Author: Jennifer

Airstream Adventures: Ruggable

image description: a silver airstream hooked up to a silver truck from a distance – the foreground and parking area are gravel and there are trees losing their fall leaves.

I’m afraid I’m not the first person to say this, but living in a tiny home on wheels is a dirty business. Even when we take our shoes off immediately upon entering Twinkie – there’s still going to be an abundance of dirt, leaves, and rocks depending on the weather, the time of year, and the environment you’re staying in. I have only encountered paved RV parks a few times and honestly, it takes something away from the appeal!

That being said, we also have two miniature schnauzers. Even if we’re only gone for a week, they have a tendency to get leaves stuck in their beards, and even though we don’t keep them in show style cuts with the finishings – they track in all sorts of things on their fur (usually leaves, thankfully not too hard to clean up).

image description: a blonde sitting in the doorway of an airstream with one salt and pepper schnauzer on her lap and a black and silver schnauzer laying beside her in the doorway.

Our current rug has been in this Airstream since we bought it. Airstreams are generally not carpeted, especially not the modern ones. Ours is no exception, with the flooring throughout being a light grey pebbled look. I bought the rug on a whim and I rather enjoy the colors although they don’t entirely take into account our decorating scheme – they are a medallion print in orange, tan, and grey.

We have worked hard to keep this typical rug clean over the years – we usually spray a diluted mix of Oxiclean and water on it and vacuum to dry – and obviously vacuum the worst of the dirt up often! (I will give a hearty support to Oxiclean, though! Our best friend spilled chinese food in the back of our then brand-new truck and Oxiclean got it out! We used precisely the method I mention above.)

That said, this rug has kind of worn out it’s welcome. It’s tired, and we’re tired of it after five years. I think that length of time means it’s probably acceptable to replace it. Enter, Ruggable. I saw my first Ruggable rug in either an RV showroom or a camping store and immediately knew this would solve so many problems! However, the color they had wasn’t great with our Serenity’s color scheme so I waited until I got home to look for a runner that would be a good fit. A peek at our current runner below (and color scheme).

Ruggable is a 2-piece rug system that consists of a removable, waterproof and stain-resistant Rug Cover and a nonslip Rug Pad. Finally, a rug you can actually throw in the washing machine! This is the thing the RV community has needed for years! Anyway, we checked them out online, here.

Below we have a selection of runners my partner and I have narrowed down to choose from – and here’s where we’re stuck! We like different runners for different reasons. So I am going to attach all three in a gallery, and then add links. You let me know in the comments which runner you would choose for our space!

If you’re interested in Ruggable, you can get a discount from them on your first order by following this link. And I might get a discount eventually too. Win-win.

Runner 1. Watercolor Floral Coral Rug.

Runner 2. Santa Fe Multicolor Rug.

Runner 3. Endah Multicolor Rug.

Truly, we would love your help making this decision! We love them all for different reasons. The first reminds me of what we currently have (though I have no idea why), the second is very reminiscent of our time and upbringing in the American Southwest, and the third, an ikat print, is my very favorite print that ever existed, but I’m not sure about it on a rug.

What do you think?! Would you use a Ruggable in your home? I’m looking forward to your input on my dilemma.

❤ Jennifer

Friday Faves

image description: the photo is of two cups of coffee on a wood surface. superimposed are the words Friday Favorites: A few of my Favorite Things. Hear Her Hands Blog.

I am not entirely sure if this is going to become a new series, but currently, I have a few major favorites for the changeable season and I am hoping that by hoping hard enough we can get a sunny, warm, long fall before the too many months of winter hit the Mid-Atlantic. (Without hurricanes, please).

I am a fan of everything pumpkin spice but in the last few months I have been struggling with a sensitivity or allergy that means I am transitioning more fully to lactose and dairy free. I miss my cheese! But in this transition, I have found some really great products and I still get to enjoy my pumpkin spice.

  • NutPods Pumpkin Spice Creamer
image description: is an orange box with pictures of coconut, pumpkin, and cinnamon. The Nut Pods logo is a green circle with white lettering. It reads limited edition pumpkin spice, naturally flavored. almond + coconut creamer.

I initially was comparing this creamer to the flavor of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte – and that wasn’t working! After the second try, it did start to grow on me. I really enjoyed the strong cinnamon flavor and the fact that I haven’t had any ill effects from it either. Great option if you’re looking for ways to reduce your dairy intake with coffee and especially if dairy and coffee together make you sick.

  • BareMinerals bareskin brightening foundation in 06 – Bare Satin.
image description: a foundation bottle in a medium tone. the lettering says bareMinerals BARESKIN Pure Brightening Serum Foundation Broad Spectrum SPF 20.

When the weather starts changing with the seasons, my skin gets more difficult to manage. Especially in spring and fall, I do not feel confident enough to go out without makeup for special events although I truly do not wear make up often otherwise! This BareSkin foundation has been a favorite of mine for a very long time. It’s easy to use, it travels well, the brush is one of my favorites in general, and it requires very little thought to use (which is great when brain fog is the order of the day). Check it out.

  • OGX Organix Argan Oil of Morocco Shampoo & Conditioner
image description: two blue bottles with gold tops, one is shampoo and the other conditioner: both labeled with the words Renewing + Argan Oil of Morocco.

When the weather changes and particularly after a long summer of lots of swimming and time outdoors, my hair is dry and I end up using far more conditioner than shampoo. Since March, I have been using this Argan Oil of Morocco shampoo and conditioner set. I wash the roots of my hair every third day with the shampoo and then every time I have trouble brushing it, I will wet it down and use this conditioner (rinseing afterwards!). It has made a lot of difference in the strength of my hair and I have had far less breakage and flyaways.

What are some of your current favorites for the fall? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Jennifer

Disability Pride Month Reads: Lost in Time

image description: photo of an opened book with an iPhone and glasses on top of it. the phone displays the cover of Lost in Time by A.L. Lester – which depicts an old time scene with two men in twenties clothing. image from @CogentHippo on Twitter.

Really lovely concept. This book is about a man from modern day who uses ‘magic’ to time travel back to the 1920s. He originally goes looking for his sister – and he finds a lot more than he bargained for.

I love history, particularly the 1920s. I loved the ideas in the book, and even got into the paranormal themes. However, I felt like there was no real wrap up – even in the sequel and the prequel (I read both, trying to get a satisfying ending).

I’m also not entirely sure where disability own voices came in. I can see LGBTQIA own voices pretty clearly in the book – as the main character Lew meets a gentleman who becomes a fling in the bathhouses – and then falls for another main character.

If you’re looking for a good story, it’s a fun read, but if you REALLY want your books to have a satisfying ending – I would avoid.

ARTECHOUSE: Infinite Space

image description: photo of a shadowed person in a mirrored space, overlaid the image are the words ARTECHOUSE What You Need To Know: Especially If You’re Disabled.

If you’re a disabled person considering visiting ARTECHOUSE in Washington, D.C. here are a few things you will want to know before heading out and shelling out for a ticket.

First, the location is nondescript – the entrance is next door to chain restaurants well outside the typical D.C. center – don’t plan to walk to this museum from your stop at the Capital or the Lincoln Memorial.

Be prepared to do a lot of unusual standing and sitting. The foyer where you enter the museum is a small square space, all hard surfaces with only a few small benches. Everyone has to read and sign documents upon entering about understanding the nature of this exhibit – even before you get to see what it is, or have an idea what you’re agreeing to.

There is one elevator that services the museum, however, it is very small and as we are not wheelchair users, we were not able to absolutely tell if it was possible to get down to the museum level by elevator (or other accessible means).

When you get to the rooms where all the technological art is displayed – there are warnings at every doorway to let you know that if you have vertigo or any issues with flashing lights to not enter. I’m sure it was somewhere in the initial paperwork we signed as well, but it *is* disorienting if you ever have issues with balance or flashing lights. Be aware of this. I have vertigo and was mostly ok, but if I was having a bad day it would not have been the place for me.

The whole point of the exhibit was the special Infinite Space room, which required signing up again, and waiting for up to 30 minutes – for what was a mere 2 minutes in the exhibit – shut in with two or three other people you didn’t know. Something to be aware of. We ended up in the space alone because of being Deaf and having a lot of difficulty communicating with the staff members who were taking names and making phone calls for turns.

We did enjoy hanging out in the beanbags and getting kombucha at the bar.

image description: orange kombucha in a black futuristic goblet with a special ARTECHOUSE coaster underneath.

As the current iteration of ARTECHOUSE is data based, my computer programming partner looked over all the code he could see and was not impressed. We still enjoyed the overall experience, but if you’re knowledgeable about data and coding this might not be much fun for you.

All in all, it was an interesting experience – worth it for one trip – and probably not something we would ever venture out to see again.

Disability Pride Month Reads : Moon-Bright Tides.

I read this book as part of my review of #OwnVoices disability authors/writers for disability pride month.

This is a sweet, cute, quick read about a romance between a mermaid and a witch. The witch is sad, lonely, and traumatized because of how she ended up being the person to sing in the tides. The mermaid she meets is also sad, and literally starving – they connect and it is a lovely story of friendship and care taking that becomes love.

I judge books by several things – character development, world building, story, and how quickly I want to read it all! This book easily met my requirements. I suggest it if you are looking for a sweet, quick read.

Weekend Wander: Boulder

I have traveled to Boulder – both when I lived in Colorado – and several times since moving to Maryland. My best friend growing up lived in Boulder and a chosen family member lives fairly close now as well.

image is of light trails around a hairpin curve above Boulder Colorado’s city lights. Overlaid in white letters are the words Weekend Wander: Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Shiro hatori via Unsplash.

On your first morning in Boulder, I would take you out for brunch. The Buff is a Boulder institution. I would recommend a Homestead Skillet – and if you like it spicy, I’d go for the Ole since you’re in Colorado. It has chorizo, green chile, and jalapeños. If you love coffee, give the local Nitro Cold Brew a try. Or we could go for a breakfast burrito at Illegal Pete’s.

It’s famous for a reason! You shouldn’t miss Pearl Street. The downtown mall was designated The Downtown Boulder Mall in 1977. It also prohibited cars – and this made the mall more attractive to tourists and locals alike.

If you’re up for a treat we could check out the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse for the location – as the teahouse is considered one of Boulder’s most attractive and popular tourist attractions. It is also a local favorite for good tea, food, and atmosphere. When I was in high school we would drive the hour across the front range just for tea and chicken salad!

Boulder has a fairly accessible trail system (if you can handle hills, anyway) on the Boulder Creek Paved Pathway – with 7 miles of paved path from the foothills all the way to the plains where you can get a taste of the landscape of Boulder.

You didn’t ask, but I’ll tell you that there are a bunch of must-dos and sees in Boulder! One of them is to take the Celestial Seasonings factory tour! The tour is wheelchair accessible and the factory has chairs on site. The Celestial Seasonings brand began in 1969 when one of the founders hand-picked herbs in the Rocky Mountains.

If you’re an outdoors person or you enjoy hiking, Boulder is the place to be for easy access to trails of all levels of difficulty. Chautauqua Park is full of trails and there is a trail map here. Unfortunately, there isn’t great indication on accessibility – only on use type and elevation.

Image description: a blonde with her hair up is posing in front of the final ascent to Royal Arch in the Flatirons.

My latest hike in Boulder was Royal Arch in the Boulder Flatirons. This is a 3 mile strenuous trail, that ends at a natural rock arch overlooking Boulder with a gorgeous view. It tends to be busy though (as evidenced by all the people in my photo above). I enjoyed the hike and the view made every step worthwhile.

Want to collaborate and share your city! Email me.

 ❤ Always, J.

Weekend Wander: Denver

I lived in Colorado up until I got married and moved away, so I will detail some places I know well as well as some places I have visited since moving in my Weekend Wander posts.

First things first, we start with food!

I’d take you out for brunch at Snooze, an A.M. Eatery. I would recommend the Juan’s Breakfast Tacos, or if you’re a Benedict fan, I love the Smashed Avocado Benny. The local cold brew coffee is also worth a try! Another option is Jelly Cafe, known as Capitol Hill’s hottest breakfast spot. Pro Tip: Grab some doughnut bites for the road!

If you’re in Denver, you definitely shouldn’t miss Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater. Even though it’s a bit of a drive! If you can go to a concert, it is an experience you will have almost no other place. I also personally love hiking around Red Rocks Park. Check out the shorter loop at Trading Post Trail. My partner and I got married at the Trading Post, there’s a really beautiful building with a scenic overlook.

If you’re up for a treat, we can check out Little Man Ice Cream – where ice cream is served from an actual milk jug. The banana pudding ice cream is somehow better than real banana pudding if you like things chilly! Bonus, for every scoop of ice cream purchased, Little Man matches that scoop with a donated scoop of rice, beans, or other essentials to a community in need anywhere around the world.

image description: a blonde wearing a striped dress and purple jacket and a redhead with a dark jacket and jeans sit on a bench in front of Little Man Ice Cream.

If you’re interested in history, you should not miss The Molly Brown House Museum (the home of the Unsinkable Molly Brown of the Titanic). The Molly Brown House Museum stands as an enduring symbol of the turn of the 20th century in Denver. Margaret Brown, never known as Molly during her lifetime, was a true activist, philanthropist and creator of cultural change. She helped create Colorado’s juvenile court system and was one of the first historic preservationists in the area. You can learn lots more about her here. Accessibility information for the museum is visible here.

Getting around Denver can be relatively simple, as there is a comprehensive bus system and an expanding light rail and commuter rail network. But if you really want to get to know the active, outdoors, and adventure-friendly city, you should hop on a bike from Denver’s community bicycles and ride around town.

You didn’t ask, but I will tell you that a trip to Denver wouldn’t be complete without checking out one of the many historic railroad locations. If you’re in Denver proper, you absolutely must check out Denver’s Union Station – a historic destination over 100 years old. The Great Hall pays homage to the pioneer spirit that started it all, while still being modern and beautiful. If you’re hanging out in Golden after visiting Red Rocks Park, go check out the Colorado Railroad Museum. Here you can learn everything there is to know about Colorado’s rich railroad history.

A few other must-sees: Larimer Square, Clear Creek Riverwalk in Golden (it’s pretty accessible), several murals by artist Kelsey Montague of #WhatLiftsUs – one #WhatUnitesUs is/was on the east facing wall of Il Posto at 26th and Larimer, and a whole list of the murals is here.

Want to collaborate and share your city! Email me.

❤ Always, J.

Summer Maxi Dress for Shorties

image description: a grid with the photo of a blonde in a teal maxi dress standing with her black service dog. on the left: A Summer Maxi Dress for Shorties: Being Petite means maxi dresses are a challenging summer essential, these six options work for those of us who are short.

I love maxi dresses in the summer, and have ever since getting married and moving away from my lifestyle in Colorado eight years ago. My favorite dresses are all still in heavy rotation – albeit a bit worn. So this summer, when it started getting hot out, I started trying on and looking for a new dress to wear in the heat.

I am a Loft dress wearer first and foremost, as Loft is often one of the few places it is easy to find dresses and really all clothing in good petite proportions. But this summer there weren’t any maxi dress options at my local store, so I had to look online and be a little more creative.

image description: blonde girl wears a teal maxi dress with thin straps and stands with her black and silver schnauzer service dog beside her.

This dress is where I got a little creative. I saw it first on HeyNasareen of Instagram, who is also petite like I am. She wore it with the extra length tied in a knot. Since it was a very inexpensive dress from Amazon, I ended up just cutting the hem for a raw edge hem look and it’s working so far! I might use fray-check on it to make sure it definitely doesn’t ravel, but it’s doing good!

Here are several other options that I found on Loft’s website. I already have the other teal dress (caution, it runs much larger than usual. I am a true 2P and I should have bought this in a 0).

  1. LOFT CHEVRON STRAPPY MAXI DRESS
  2. LOU & GREY BRUSHMARL MAXI TEE DRESS
  3. LOFT WRAP MAXI DRESS
  4. LOFT DOTTED PLEATED WRAP MIDI DRESS (This dress in Regular is long enough to be a maxi dress on me, if a little large.)
  5. GRECERELLE Women’s Summer Casual Loose Dress Beach Cover Up Long Cami Maxi Dresses with Pockets. Pockets make the dress.

Some other Amazon options that are basically the exact same as the GREGERELLE dress.

ZZER Women Casual Summer Loose Long Dress Beach Cover Up Cami Maxi Dresses with Pockets. I love that this comes in a teal floral option.

HUSKARY Women’s Summer Casual Loose Dress Beach Cover Up Long Cami Maxi Dresses with Pockets. This has a leaf/palm print option that is really cute.

ATERAIN Summer Casual Maxi Dresses Cover Up Long Cami Sleeveless Beach Dress with Pocket for Women. This has a cute mandala print.

What do you consider your best summer basic outfit? Are you like me, and you need a one-stop outfit like a maxi dress? Or are you a shorts and tee type person? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Always, J

Summer Essentials: Pool-side

image description: two women in an infinity pool with the mountains in the background. overlaid the image are the words: Summer Essentials – Five Favorites for Pool-side Fun!

  • Everyone’s Most Important Accessory: SUNBLOCK!
Image is of a spray on sunblock bottle: New Look Aveeno Active Naturals HydroSport. SPF 30.

We all know how important skin protection is now. I personally prefer Aveeno sunblocks and lotions because most other types cause skin reactions for me – my skin tends to be sensitive. If I can find a higher SPF, I will use it for sure, but the spray-on kind is easy to use and it means we actually use it. And since my partner has red in his hair, he burns easily so we reapply often!

  • My Partner’s Favorite: SNACKS!
Image of three bags of green and white. The brand says Joel's Traditional Homegrown Meats. 100% Grass-FedBeef Jerky.

This is just an example. Our pool has a bar where you can get snacks and drinks, but if I plan ahead, I like to bring things that are portable and don’t spoil like this beef jerky. I also like to bring fruit, strawberries or watermelon. And I would carry trail mix for emergency hanger.

  • A Book! Either on Kindle or in paper.
image is of a refurbished Kindle Paperwhite with a prologue up on the screen.

I read a lot in the summer. My favorite thing for as long as I can remember is to sit by the pool, well-slathered in sunscreen, and read a book until the sun starts to set. I don’t do it nearly as often anymore, but even now that I’m all grown up, my favorite books are science-fiction fantasy and getting lost in other worlds. I’ll share what I’m currently reading below.

  • A Cover-Up!
Side by side images of a long haired brunette in a black coverup dress on the left, and the same person in a white coverup dress on the right.

I think this long dress-like coverup is a cute option! When I grew up in Colorado, all coverups were either made out of terry-cloth or polar fleece because you could never tell if it was going to be freezing and windy or dry and 95.

Now that I live somewhere with humidity – and have ever since I moved away from Colorado – I have learned that you want your coverup to be lightweight, breathable, and airy. Terrycloth is only going to make you sweat!

  • A good Facial Cleanser for Afterwards.
image of the Aveeno Active Naturals ultra-calming makeup removing wipes package that has a plastic resealable top.

These Aveeno makeup removing wipes are a great option to keep in your pool bag for removing the sunblock, chlorine, and sweat immediately after your time in the pool. The first thing I do before I leave is go wipe all that stuff off my face, because if I don’t, I run the risk of getting a breakout.

My other favorite wipes are AcneFree Oil-Free Towelettes, but they seem to be really difficult to find these days. Aveeno is the only other thing I’ve been able to use without major skin reactions.

  • What I’m Currently Reading!

I just started the 9th book in the Kris Longknife series by Mike Shepherd. The title is Redoubtable. I have enjoyed the series so far, as it is my favorite kind of science fiction. This one is a space exploration series, which means that both my partner and I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because it has enough character development, relationship and plot points about people – and he loves it because it’s all about expansion and pioneering space (or pirating as the case may be.)

What is your current pool-side read? Do you have a favorite book you read every summer? Let me know in the comments!

❤ Always, J

Summer Popsicles

Rose Crush and Orange Cream

image description: photo of filled pink popsicle molds and a box that says ‘Betchsicles’ on it.

Summer used to be such a simple time. I know every adult looks back on their childhood – and especially the summers – and thinks that it was such a different time then. But I think that’s a true reflection of our times!

I never had a lot of friends growing up, but summer for me was always full of sunscreen, beach towels, chapter books, and chorine. Even when I grew up and got my first job, it was still full of all these things because I was a lifeguard.

The best thing on those hot, humid days of summer was reaching in the freezer and pulling out a popsicle. It was even better if you could combine that with the sun-filled taste of a freshly blended Orange Julius Original.

That’s where I got the first idea for these popsicles. I’ve been making my own Juliuses at home for a long time. So that recipe and these fun popsicle molds that I uncovered last winter when I organized my house sparked a creation. Yum.

Orange Cream Popsicles

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients
1/2 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup of milk
1/2 cup of cold water
1 tsp vanilla

Instructions
Combine all the ingredients and mix well.
(If you’re really particular about texture, use a stick blender).
Pour into Betchsicles molds (or any popsicle molds).
Freeze overnight.

And of course, it wouldn’t be a Baltimore blog without a recipe for a mimosa type popsicle.

This is a play on mimosa or an orange crush with Rose. Definitely more alcohol than anything else. Be aware!

Rose Crush Popsicles

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


Ingredients
1/2 can of frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of your favorite Rose.

Instructions
Combine the orange juice and water first, mix well.
Then add the wine.
Pour your slurry into the popsicle molds.
Freeze overnight.

These were a fun treat for Memorial Day.

It’s always fun to try other liquors or mix-ins! Let me know what you come up with!

❤ Always, J