Two Years and Counting

When Kyle and I gave notice at our jobs back in April of 2015 we told them we were leaving on June 15th and that we would be gone approximately six months. We didn’t even have an RV yet, but we knew exactly when we were leaving and how long we’d be gone. That was the original plan. Take off, drive across the country, do D-Con 2015, drive home, go back to life as we knew it. Kyle would go back to bartending one or two days a week on the Upper East Side and I would go back to bartending, managing and hosting karaoke.

At the six month mark we were gearing up for my mom to come to California for Christmas. “Well,” we thought, “Just a few more months. Then we’ll go back to our normal lives in Brooklyn.” A few more months went by and all of our subletters decided to move out, so we rushed back to Bushwick to clear out our apartment. Then suddenly living in Sandwich was our normal life.

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That was over a year ago now.

Since then we’ve been all over the South and Florida. We’ve eaten our body weight in fried food in New Orleans and done karaoke in Savannah. We’ve consumed Butter Beer and been to The Southern Most Point. We’ve gone to Canada! We Saw Niagara! We’ve rushed to California and back in a little rental car. We went to The Grand Canyon! Kyle was nominated for multiple awards! We got engaged!

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And while there were so many wonderful moments in the last year plus, there were also some awful ones. 2016 will always stand out in our minds as the year that Corinn died. We miss her constantly and talk about her daily. She was such an important part of our adventure.

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And 2016 was the year we lost my Grandmother who I’m so happy got to meet Kyle and see my home. She even hung out with her college roommate in it during her 90th birthday party!

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Luckily the good far outweighs the bad and today marks exactly two years since we moved into Sandwich and hit the road full time. Never in a million years did I think we would last this long. But as it stands we’ve been to forty-two states, and are on track to finish up the lower forty-eight by this time next year. At that point, once we’ve seen a massive chunk of the US of A, we’ll settle down. Temporarily at least. Owning an RV is like dabbling in home ownership and we’re in no rush to do that again any time soon. Landlords can be a pain but supers are super.

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For the moment we’re just going to keep enjoying ourselves and each other and everything the road has to offer.

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This country is so big and beautiful and weird and we are so lucky we get to spend so much time exploring it.

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A Tourist at Home

As a native New Yorker it’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that we don’t live in New York anymore. I was always one of those people who was never going to leave, who was destined to live and learn and marry and die somewhere between Brooklyn, Queens & Manhattan. Before all this it never really occurred to me that you could leave.

Kyle’s cousins were in town for Five Points Fest and a few days more, so after the show closed we spent a day uptown doing all things touristy. We started at The Plaza which now boasts condos and an impressive food court in the basement. From there we walked into Central Park to visit Belvedere Castle and Alice in Wonderland after forgoing the Zoo because it’s relatively unimpressive to anyone who lives somewhere with a proper zoo. The Bronx Zoo is amazing – The Central Park Zoo is teeny.

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And then it was off to The Met.

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I went to a little high school in Chelsea called The New York City Museum School where two afternoons a week we went to a museum or cultural institution to learn about everything from Modern Art to how to spot the difference between Doric, Ionian and Corinthian columns. We commuted all over the city in the pursuit of knowledge – from The Brooklyn Museum to The Cloisters – but most often we found ourselves at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. In spite of this, or perhaps because of it – The Met is one of my favorite places on Earth.

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While at the museum we visited Arms and Armor – because there’s just nothing cooler than a bunch of suits of armor and weird weapons.

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We saw Van Gogh and Degas and went up to the roof garden.

As a teenager and young adult I never spent much time on the Cantor Roof – but now there’s nothing better than overlooking Central Park and sipping something alcoholic while surrounded by art.

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The current exhibition is called The Theater of Disappearance and is described as follows:

Argentinian artist Adrián Villar Rojas has transformed the Cantor Roof with an intricate site-specific installation that uses the Museum itself as its raw material. Featuring detailed replicas of nearly 100 objects from The Met collection, The Theater of Disappearance encompasses thousands of years of artistic production over several continents and cultures, and fuses them with facsimiles of contemporary human figures as well as furniture, animals, cutlery, and food. Each object—whether a 1,000-year-old decorative plate or a human hand—is rendered in the same black or white material and coated in a thin layer of dust.

The artist has reconfigured the environment of the Cantor Roof by adding a new pergola, a grand tiled floor, a bar, public benches and augmented planting throughout the space. The Met’s own alphabet has even been incorporated into the graphic identity of the project. To realize this extensive work, the artist immersed himself in the Museum and its staff for many months, holding conversations with the curators, conservators, managers, and technicians across every department who contributed to the realization of this installation.

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The melding of technology (3-D Scanning and Printing) with ancient art to create something brand-new is exciting for a number of reasons. To start, it looks amazing – Like something out of an anime or post apocalyptic art loving future. Secondly the implication that everything is getting scanned into a database and that we might never properly lose any art again fills me with glee.

So while we don’t live in New York City anymore – we still appreciate it. Possibly more than we did when we were actually residents.


 

There are still just over two weeks for you to back The Willo Plush on Kickstarter! Go get you a cuddly little Willo! He likes ice cream!

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Odds and Ends

Two years ago today I failed my drivers test and then Kyle and I immediately got on a bus to Philadelphia armed with a cashier’s check and a dream. That evening we spent the night in our first Walmart parking lot and ate at a buffet for dinner.

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I posted this photo on Facebook that night with the caption, “‘What? Are you judging me for dipping my fruity pebbles treat into the last of the ice cream sundae? You’ve eaten seven plates of food and an upsetting amount of Jello. Calm it down.’ He seemed to say…”

Suddenly we were RV People, and it’s still laughable how little we knew then.

We leave Brooklyn in a few days to head back to Beacon and install some solar panels we just got! We are so excited to be even more off grid and to stop having to bring a power strip to Starbucks with us. We’ll still need to charge some things there, but it will no longer look so ridiculous.


Five Points Festival was an absolute dream. Though we almost got rained out and then winded out, it ended up working out so well. We set up some tables and a display case outside along with a number of chairs for lounging. We had bottled water and candy. We were making coffee and tea for people. It was so much fun. If you ever have the opportunity to use your home as your convention booth I suggest you take it – it’s very relaxing.

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We’re already making plans for next year which include things like actually getting to see the rest of the convention. We barely got to see anything! But we’ve talked to a number of people and the overwhelming consensus was that it was an absolute success. Hurrah!

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The Designer Toy Awards were a blast, even though Kyle did not end up winning any of the awards he was up for. Morgan Spurlock was an extremely charming host and Kyle and I got to present an award!


Getting any work done in New York City is hard, you guys. We’re constantly busy with friends and family and trying to shove all the food we’ve missed into our faces that sometimes things fall to the wayside. But here are two very important updates!

  1. The few pieces leftover from Five Points Fest are available at Kyle’s Storenvy!

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2. There is currently a Kickstarter being run by UVD Toys for a PLUSH WILLO.

We received the prototype a few days before getting to Brooklyn and we’re in love with it. It’s so soft, and so detailed, and so true to Kyle’s design. We’re super impressed with the factory’s work and can’t wait to make it a reality. If you get a moment please please check out the Kickstarter and back the project! There are some awesome rewards and Willo likes to party!

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Pennsylvania (pizza) Party

After eight days in the woods we headed to State College, PA to visit with my aunt, uncle, and cousin. My cousin is about to turn 18, graduate high school, and move to Sweden, so it’s good we got a visit in before then. It’s also nice to visit these relatives because they don’t care if Kyle sculpts at the dinner table.

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After three days of hanging out and working and eating a whole lot of food and completely forgetting to photograph anything it was time for us to be on our way. We were planning on heading directly to the world’s most amazing amusement park – Knoebels – but it was closed on the day we wanted to go.

Knoebels is the world’s largest free admission amusement park. You can either pay per ride or get a bracelet that gives you free reign of the place. None of the rides cost more than three dollars, so no matter what it’s really affordable. They have some pretty top-notch rides and there is amazing people watching. Who doesn’t love watching the Amish ride roller coasters? It’s also dog friendly and while they have your typical fair food (funnel cake, hot dogs, etc) they also have perogies absolutely swimming in butter. Kyle and I had such a good time when we went a few years ago that we were really looking forward to spending the day there again. Oh well. We’ll just have to go back.

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Once we got over our sadness about missing Knoebels we headed to Wilkes-Barre to visit my friend Mark and his girlfriend Kristle! And, because Mark knows a bunch of mechanics and owning an RV is constant maintenance, we got some shocks installed while we were in town.

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After that was done we headed to his house where he fired up his super intense pizza oven and made us some awesome neopolitan pizzas.

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Did you know that there are insanely specific rules about what constitutes that type of pizza? That there’s an academy of pizza people? THAT THERE ARE PAMPHLETS?

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Well I certainly didn’t.

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Now we’re just working our butts off to get ready for Five Points Fest! There are still tickets left – so grab them and come hang out with us! You can see Sandwich! I’m making snacks!

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Eight Days in the Woods

We learned a very important lesson last week while camping in beautiful Raccoon Creek State Park: EIGHT DAYS AT A CAMPSITE IS TOO LONG. Well, no. We’ve spent eight days at a campground before – but eight days in the woods feels like forever. If there are amenities nearby, if we can walk or bike to a shop or a restaurant or ANYTHING we’re okay – but being sequestered in the wilderness for over a week is not for us. 

We’re so used to the convenience of being less than ten minutes from a Walmart or supermarket at all times that stocking the house for that long was harder than expected. We never ran out of food, but we did accidentally run out of coffee. When checking our supplies I looked at Kyle’s coffee and it seemed like more than enough for a week. There was plenty! Unfortunately I didn’t take in to account how many times we have generally have coffee out during a normal week and how we wouldn’t have that option. Soooo…Kyle ran out of coffee and handled it amazingly well. If we ran out of tea I likely would have broken down and sobbed while penning my exquisitely eloquent suicide note, but Kyle drank tea for two days before I found the emergency coffee in the pantry.

When the regular coffee ran out I asked Kyle where the emergency coffee was and he told me he tossed it. And, like a dummy, I believed him. So when I was poking around in the pantry to find something else I unearthed the coffee and it was then that Kyle shed a few tears.

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Raccoon Creek is likely very busy in the summer months, but this early in the season it felt practically abandoned. The first night we had a fire we were unbelievably jumpy. Every little noise made us leap out of our skins and shine our flashlights in every direction looking for…I don’t know…monsters? Serial killers? Bear sized raccoons? It was terrible. Mercifully the fire went out quickly and we were able to retreat to the safety of Sandwich. 

We’re much happier when there’s other people around. Maybe it’s basic human instinct, maybe it comes from years of living in NYC. We hate pulling into Walmarts when we’re the only RV there. It never feels right and ups our anxiety about waking up at 3am to a knock on the door from the cops asking us to leave. We only had one neighbor the entire time who was in a rather run down old rig with a half erected tent hanging out behind it. He told Kyle it was for his grandkids but we never saw any children. The weirdest thing about it is that even having that weird guy near us made us feel safer.

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Later in the week, when the weekend campers showed up, we tried our hand at a camp fire again with no jumpiness. Surrounded by other campers we were able to enjoy a bottle of wine by the fire without fear. It’s bizarre that we felt so much more secure being in the company of literally the most dangerous creatures on the planet.

The good thing about being all alone in the woods is that it forces you to get a whole lot of work done. Kyle spent the majority of our time in the woods working his butt off.

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When our eight days were up we gleefully headed to a civilization and ate dinner at a restaurant where I didn’t have to cook or clean. It was also an opportunity to celebrate Kyle’s THREE Designer Toy Award Nominations. His work has been recognized in the following categories: Best Mini-Series, Best Resin AND Breakthrough Artist! We’re so unbelievably happy and thankful to everyone who nominated him. Please join us at The Designer Toy Awards on May 19th and then come hang out at Five Points Fest where you can see us AND Sandwich! It’s official – Sandwich is doing her first convention. I’ll be making snacks, we’ll be selling stuff, a bunch of amazing artists are going to be there – it’s going to be AWESOME.

Wedding Madness and the Drive East

We made it to Dayton! We made it to the wedding! We even made it to the after party ninety-five miles East of the ceremony! The wedding was beautiful and the actually ceremony blissfully short (and bilingual!). The cake metalic, floral and Star Wars themed which thrilled me to bits. It was also very very tasty. The thing about weddings these days is that they’re no longer just excuses to dress up and party – they’re also research. We’re still no closer to picking a date for our impending nuptials – but we’re getting a clearer idea of what we want. A short ceremony and an abundance of cake are both high on our lists of necessities.

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The after party was very laid back. There was a bunch of food, some liquor and a keg. There was a PA system and an iPod. The Bride, Groom, and the Bride’s parents all did keg stands. There was a bon-fire. There was dancing and some very cute dogs. Other things high on our list of wedding necessities? Chill vibes, cute dogs and bon fires.

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It was a really awesome day celebrating a great couple. Watch them be adorable here:

The day after the wedding we planned to only drive for a little while, but it more sense to get some miles in because we weren’t going to get any work done. We made it out of Ohio and into a tiny strip of West Virginia. We spent the whole drive on the very edge of an intense thunder storm that we continuously crept in and out of. We would turn north and see clear skies and then the road would veer south again and we’d get absolutely drenched with these enormous rain drops. When we finally got away from the storm we were rewarded with the most complete rainbow either of us had ever seen. You could see clear from one end to the other and if we were more superstitious types we would have known exactly where to find the pot of gold. It was really something else, but of course, nearly impossible to photograph.

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I feel like I say that a lot.

Since starting this adventure we’re constantly encouraging people to travel. The main reason is because pictures just don’t do it justice. Pictures don’t do anything justice. You’ve got to get out there and feel it and smell it and touch it. It’s the same reason I hate online shopping – (Kyle, on the other hand loves it. Lots of people do! Check out our Shops!) how can I buy a skirt if i don’t know how it fits? How can I buy a book if I don’t know how it feels in my hand? There are still so many things I still haven’t seen or tasted or smelled and if this adventure has proven anything it’s that you’ve got to go and see it. All of it. Whatever it is.

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And if there’s a rainbow when you get there? All the better.

Abandoning Alaska

After much deliberation we have decided to push our Alaskan adventure back at least a year. Our plan was to leave from New York City around June 1st and hit Michigan, Minneapolis, and North Dakota before booking it into Canada and then to Alaska. Then we sat down and did some math.

Because I don’t drive, Kyle would have to drive almost 200 miles a day to ensure we got any time in Alaska at all. That essentially means that zero work would get done over the entire summer and that’s simply not an option. We knew it was going to be expensive to drive there, but I don’t think we imagined we would have to fill up Sandwich every two days! As we sat there crunching numbers it became more and more unfeasible.

If we push the adventure back until next summer we’ll have more time to research and save up. Plus, if everything goes well, perhaps I’ll be driving Sandwich by then! Plus it means we’ll have more time to explore the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the wilds of North Dakota. Perhaps we’ll check out British Columbia or Alberta on the drive West. The point is that we’ll have a much more productive summer if we abandon this dream for the moment. Not forever…just for now.


We checked out Cincinnati yesterday! It’s a really pretty city with some impressive architecture that I didn’t get to photograph properly because we drove through the city in daylight and hung out in it after dark. BUT. We drove over the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge to enter the city and my brain thought it looked like the Brooklyn Bridge…which makes sense as it was totally designed by the same guy.

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We also got to visit with a very old friend of mine who’s lived Cincinnati since we were ten. She took us to Taste of Belgium (super tasty!) and 16-Bit-Bar which is very much like Barcade but the games were free! They had a great beer selection and a cocktail with bomb pops in it that looked amazing but I didn’t partake in. They also had four pinball machines you could pay to play, which I totally did.

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Next time we visit the city we’ll spend more time, but it was just a quick visit this time because we’re going to a wedding in Dayton tomorrow! After that we start making the crawl back to New York City in time for Five Points Fest and The Designer Toy Awards which I’m going to plug continuously until they happen. Come hang out with us!