Our 1984 Yellowstone Camper Renovation

This post was a long time coming and honestly, one of the most requested blog posts I’ve ever received. A lot of people want to see our camper renovation, so I’m excited to show you that today!

One of the most exciting things Taylor and I have done during this pandemic (besides give birth to a perfect baby girl) is renovate a 1984 Yellowstone Camper together. Neither of us had done anything like this before, but we were PUMPED. We purchased the camper in Pennsylvania back in June when we saw it on Facebook Marketplace. We replaced the tires right away and drove it down to South Carolina. When we arrived, we jumped in and spent the next month gutting it and making it into something more esthetically pleasing and functional for our family of 3.

The previous owner of the camper did a wonderful job at taking care of it. It was clean and in great shape when we bought it, but there was a lot of wood and it was very brown. It felt dark and dysfunctional. Before we made any changes, Taylor and I spent time talking about what we wanted to do and if we could make it happen. We each had individual things that were really important to us in order to feel comfortable in the camper, so we wanted to make sure we could make those changes possible.

Our number one priority was making it functional for our family with a newborn. Joanne was only 2 months old when we purchased the camper, so she wasn’t able to sleep on the pull-out couch and she was still sleeping in her pack-and-play. We also agreed that it needed to be brightened up! After priming, we used the color, Going to The Chapel by Benjamin Moore on all the walls. We chose this color because it was a warmer shade of white. It still brightened up the space without feeling sterile.

The pull out couch wasn’t functional for us and it was HEAVY. We decided to rip it out and Taylor built a U-shaped bench for seating instead. We have plans to install a table in the middle one day, which will fold down to make a full bed. For now, Joanne’s pac-and-play fits perfectly into this spot, so we’re leaving it open. In the picture above, you’ll notice cabinet space above the bench. The whole front face of that cabinet folds down to form a single person bed. There’s a ladder that isn’t pictured and a mattress topper that fits over the cabinet holes. A small child would love this space! As for us, we’re leaving it as storage.

We ordered thick foam off of Amazon and cut it to fit the measurements of our bench. Then, I bought fabric and upholstered it to the foam! The back pieces of our bench are specifically cut into sections, because they will fit onto the future table when it drops down to make the bed later on. (I hope that makes sense!)

All the old laminate floors were ripped out and Taylor installed brand new hardwoods. They’re waterproof and really heavy duty!

Along with the couch, we decided to remove the large dresser to the left of the bed and the cabinet hanging above the foot of the bed. There’s already a ton of storage in the camper, so we didn’t feel like these two were necessary. Removing the dresser beside the bed also gave us room for Joanne’s pack-and-play, so she could sleep beside the bed too! I’m really thankful that we took this dresser out, because there was a lot of water damage underneath. Thankfully, Taylor was able to remove all the wet wood and repair it. When we removed the cabinet at the foot of the bed, it revealed the breaker, which was an eyesore, but it made the space feel much more open and breathable. We also added shiplap paneling behind the bed to add more texture.

There was a rip in the ceiling wallpaper, so we racked our brains on how to fix it. We opted on cedar planks, which was one of the best decisions we made. Not only do they smell good, but they’re warm and cozy and a really unique feature! We found the cedar planks at Home Depot. They’re 1/4 inch thick and super lightweight.

We found a two pack of wooden shelves on Amazon and installed one in the bedroom and one in the kitchen. We specifically placed the shelf at the end of the bed because our iPad can hang off, and we can watch movies from bed! I also painted the arch around the shelf to give the space more character!

As for the windows, I made custom curtains out of a dowel from Home Depot. I took black hooks, black clips, and linen napkins from Amazon and assembled the curtains! I think they turned out pretty good! To keep the sun and heat out, we custom cut, double reflective polyethylene to fit each window. We can velcro them on when needed, and they fold and store easily.

A lot of changes happened in the kitchen! We painted the lower cabinets green (April Arbor by Valspar), added new hardware, painted the stove top and hood black, installed new countertops, and added a peel-and-stick backsplash. We lost one of the cabinet doors to water during the renovation, so I’m on the hunt for two matching baskets to fill the space! All the hardware and backsplash can be found on Amazon! (I have it all linked below)

The bathroom took a lot of work, but I think it has one of the biggest transformations!

We ripped out all the wallpaper, added new shower walls, added peel-and-stick backsplash, new flooring, new countertops, and installed a brand new toilette. Originally, we were going to leave the toilette that came with the camper, but near the end of the renovation, we agreed that it would look better with a new one. I’m so glad we spent the extra money on this, because I think it makes a huge difference! We left the original bathtub because it was in great shape, but Taylor and I don’t ever use the shower in the camper. We always use the bathhouse at the campground, so the tub is really only used by Joanne. Realistically, we store our clothing hamper in here. 🙂

Because we had the free time, the renovation only took about a month to get it to a point where it was “campable.” Then, we spent another month casually adding the finishing touches. We poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into this camper, but it was worth it. Our only regret is not doing it sooner! We’ve had a blast traveling around in this little camper together, and we’ve really shared a love for camping. Joanne really enjoys it too!

Besides adding the table to the living area, the camper could really use a good coat of paint on the outside! Taylor and I are still going back and forth on whether or not to invest in this! Let us know what you think! Do you like the current paint job or should we update it to match the inside?

Links to some of the products we used:

What was your favorite part of the renovation?!

I Can’t Believe We’re Still Here

Hi, Everyone!

The other day I was thinking about how much I missed writing on this blog. I haven’t written much recently (and for good reasons). I just had a baby (beautiful baby girl!) and Taylor and I have been “stuck” in American ever since Christmas. The two of us have been joking about how long we’ve been here. We came home in December with one suitcase between the two of us because we thought we’d be returning in 4 weeks. It’s been 7 months! For those of you wondering, Taylor can’t return to China because they aren’t allowing any foreigners to enter the country. So we wait. With all the chaos happening in my life, I finally feel like I finally have a grip on things and have time to sit and write.

Recently, Taylor and I have been reminding each other how EXTREMELY BLESSED we are. We came home when I was 20 weeks pregnant and we’ve gotten to experience the most luxurious maternity leave ever. Taylor was here before Joanne was born, here to help me recover from a tough post-labor, and we’ve gotten to spend 2 amazing months together loving on little Joanne as a family. This virus has been horrible for so many, but can I just say how much of a blessing it’s been to us? We will always thank God for choosing his timing. Seriously, we’re in awe.2I went back to work this month and Taylor is still doing what he can remotely. Add taking care of a newborn on top of this (as if we didn’t have enough on our hands), we decided to buy a 1984 Yellowstone Camino to renovate! We found her on Facebook Marketplace and fell in love after touring her in person. The camper was in fantastic shape and we’ve enjoyed having something to work on together. Some of my best memories as a child are from camping trips with my family, so I’m thrilled to continue the tradition with Joanne! IMG_5650IMG_5642Although the camper was in good shape, it was outdated. IMG_5605IMG_56091Currently, we’re about halfway through with the renovations, and I’m so excited to share the before and after pictures with you once everything is done! Here’s a little sneak peak…IMG_6124It’s going to look so incredible when it’s finished! We’re planning on taking the camper up to PA to visit family in the beginning of August, so it needs to be at a good stopping place, if not completely finished by then. Life is never dull around here! 🙂 Stay tuned for more camper renovation updates!!IMG_6179Talk to you soon! ❤

Summer 19′ – Home, Waco, and MLB

Hey there!

Long time no see! I took a bit of a blog hiatus this spring and summer, because Taylor and I were busy and I was soaking up every second in America with our friends and family. The two of us were hopping all over the place this summer, so it’s a bit confusing to keep up with. Here’s a breakdown of what went down during our crazy summer vacation!

I started my time in South Carolina for a bachelorette party in Charleston. IMG_0049Untitled design-5

…and I spent a lot of quality time time with Maybelle! She’s living her best life with her grandma on the farm. ❤ Untitled design-4img_1238.jpg

Afterwards, I flew to Lancaster for 6 weeks. Thankfully, my parents let me invade their space for a majority of the summer. 🙂 IMG_0394.jpgUntitled design-3IMG_0308IMG_0946img_0177.jpg

I went to my best friend Katie’s beautiful wedding and watched her marry her soulmate, Jon. I was also reunited with my best college gals! This night was filled with loads of dancing and reminiscing, which is exactly what I didn’t know I needed. I left the wedding feeling so much joy for Katie and Jon, and thankful for sweet friendships that the Lord blessed me with years ago.  IMG_0269Untitled designIMG_0234

For a long weekend in July, I flew to Waco with Lindsey and Lacie for a girls trip to Magnolia! We chose the perfect time to visit, because it was the annual warehouse sale weekend. The sales were so good that Lacie and I had to buy an additional checked bag to get all our things home. Ha! If you want a separate post on Waco, let me know. DSC_6096.jpgUntitled design-2.jpgimg_0614.jpgIMG_0464

After the Waco trip, I flew back to Lancaster for the last half of my time there. During the time, I celebrated my dad’s birthday, my 27th birthday, welcomed my best friend Grace’s new baby boy into the world, and enjoyed my final days in my adolescent home. My parent are selling their beautiful home in a few weeks and building something much more manageable within a few minutes away. I’m excited for the change, but it’s always bitter sweet saying goodbye to a place you’ve known as home for so long. DSC_6118.jpgimg_0988.jpgimg_0406.jpgUntitled design-7IMG_0439

At the end of those 6 weeks in Lancaster, I flew back to South Carolina to meet Taylor and the China MLB team! They were playing in a few tournaments here in the States, and stopped at Taylor’s house for a team cookout! This was one of the coolest days of my life. It was surreal to have both of our worlds come together.DSC_6191_1DSC_6178.jpgIMG_1098DSC_6169DSC_6180

Taylor and I spent the next two weeks in South Carolina jumping between family and watching the China MLB team play in America!IMG_1185Untitled design-6

At the end of August, we parted ways again and I headed to Seattle for a cruise to Alaska and Taylor headed to LA for a mini vacation with the MLB staff. I will write a separate post about my Alaska trip! 🙂

At the very end of August, we flew back to China! 🙂

7 Things I Wish I Packed

Hello!

Can you believe it’s already March, and Taylor and I have been living in China for 10 months now!? Within these 10 months, we’ve lived in two different apartments and have visited America a few times since. I thought this was the perfect time to chat about our packing struggles.

As you can imagine, we spent months packing our bags before moving from America to China. We traveled with a total of 4 checked bags (up to 50lbs), 2 carry ons, and 2 personal items. Packing for a 2 year journey was daunting, because anything we didn’t bring along either had to be donated, put in storage, or thrown away. It was an extreme elimination process, which taught us a whole lot about what we valued. For the most part, I feel like we did a pretty good job at packing the necessities. However, now that we’ve been here so long, I can shed light on what we really needed and didn’t need! If you’re planning on being an expat in China, this could be informative to you.

What this blog post won’t be:

  1. A guide to packing for China.
  2. Everything we packed.

Basically, this is a list of 7 things I didn’t pack on our first trip to China, but have made the effort to bring back over the past 10 months!

1-3.jpgFor some reason, I didn’t bring my own backpack when we came over the first time. I don’t think I realized how much I’d need one. We’re constantly on the go, so having a backpack has made life so much easier. I can’t be bothered to carry a tote every time we travel.

2I will never stop bringing snacks back with me. When we landed in China back in June, I had the hardest time eating any food, because I couldn’t find anything I liked. I’ve found some Chinese snacks I enjoy now, but I always LOAD UP a suitcase with my favorite foods from America before returning.

3-1.jpgThe amount of bug bites I acquired over the summer is unreal. I did not expect a huge city like Nanjing to have so many dang mosquitos. I also didn’t realized that almost all the sunscreen here had a “whitening” effect (a cultural thing).

4.jpgBefore coming to China, I asked my good friend Caitlyn about what I should pack. (she lived in China for 2 years too.) Her biggest suggestion, was to pack less clothes and more photographs and personal items. Boy was she right! I took home a ton of clothes before Christmas and came back with a lot more photos and items to make our apartment cozy.

5As we expected, we haven’t found a church here in Nanjing. This means we have to really pour ourselves into devotionals. Every time I return home, I find some more that I can bring back with me.

6.jpgFor the first two months, I went to Starbucks nearly every day. Then, I was kindly sent a mini Keurig. Unfortunately, that Keurig blew a fuse and didn’t produce one single cup of coffee. In the meantime, I settled for a small drip coffee maker. The problem I’ve been having is finding LIQUID coffee creamer and GROUND coffee. Most stores here only sell coffee beans and powdered creamer. Along with my snacks, I like to fill my suitcase with the little individual vanilla coffee creamers from Sams! This lasts me a good bit.

7.jpgLast but not least, makeup! I assumed I’d be able to find all the products I buy at Ulta Beauty in China. I was very, very wrong. Chinese woman have completely different makeup needs, and I have yet to find my staples. They do have Sephora here, but again, they don’t carry all the same products I’m used to in America. Also, I’m not trying to break the bank!

And that’s 7 things I wish I would’ve packed from the start, and always bring back with me! I hope this was interesting to read whether you’re planning on living as an expat or not.

xoxo

Our Wedding Day!

This post would not be here if it weren’t for one thing. All the glory of this day goes to God! It’s hard to believe that Taylor and I have been together for four years now. Neither of us knew how God was working when he took a boy from South Carolina and a girl from Pennsylvania all the way out to Fort Collins, Colorado. We were both accepted to a seven week summer project with Campus Crusade for Christ. What most people don’t know, is that I applied to one project, and Taylor applied to three! Most students don’t get denied their first and second choice, but Taylor did, forcing him to go to Colorado that summer. From there, God started working in BIG ways, and here we are today!

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To begin, thank you so much to everyone who helped make our wedding day so special. Our engagement was roughly 9 months, and it took a lot of hard work and prayers to make everything come together just the way we wanted. We were so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family who traveled all across the United States to see us!!

On the morning of the wedding, it was stormy and the wind was being difficult. However, The Lord answered our prayers and opened up clear blue skies with a gentle breeze. Just in time to get married!!

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This sign was handmade by my beautiful bridesmaid, Lacie!

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Our “Plan A” didn’t include a tent for the ceremony. However, the event rental company told us that we had to make a decision 5 days beforehand. At that point, the weather was questionable. Although we didn’t want the tent originally, and we didn’t actually need it, it still looked okay!

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The letter S on the tree was handmade by me. I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased a giant wooden S, then purchased some fake flower heads from Amazon. I think it was the perfect touch for our ceremony!

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When planning all the little details, it was really important to Taylor and I that we incorporate our passion for traveling and the outdoors in a subtle way.

My parents and I hand made this wooden sign, which listed some of the different places that the two of us traveled to. We also borrowed an old suitcase from a family friend for the cards!

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The bridesmaid robes were purchased from the Etsy shop, LovinglyOurs. I was very impressed with the quality and customer service. They were shipped quickly and they fit each bridesmaid perfectly! I also really loved how there was a variety of colors to choose from and several fonts.

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The suits were ordered from Generation Tux. After being disappointed with the navy suits available at some stores, Taylor found Generation Tux online. We took a leap of faith by measuring each groomsmen by hand, but they all turned out great! There were a few minor sizing glitches, but the company sent replacements overnight. Each groomsmen received their tux two weeks before the wedding, and had a week afterwards to return it. Most companies don’t allow you to pick it up until a day before and they make you return it the very next day!!

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We thought it was only appropriate that the groomsmen enter by boat! 😉

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My wedding gown and all of the bridesmaid dresses were ordered from David’s Bridal.

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We decided to set up a cupcake bar with yummy cupcakes from Brett’s Bakery! We had vanilla, red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, salted caramel, and cookie dough!

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All of the gold cupcake stands were made from old plates and candle sticks I found at goodwill. I just glued them together with industrial strength glue and spray painted them with metallic gold paint.

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Originally, we strung lights for our “Plan A” setup. When we chose “Plan B,” the lights were strung in all the wrong areas. They still looked pretty from a distance though!

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Our wedding was truly magical and flew by with a blink of an eye! Taylor and I were overwhelmed with love and support from all our friends and family. It’s not everyday that you have everyone all together under one tent! 🙂 We couldn’t have asked for a more special day together, and we can’t wait to begin this new chapter.

Once again, THANK YOU to all our dear friends and family for making this day possible!! ❤

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Photographer: Marian Ashley 

Flowers: Mill Street Florist

Event Planner: Missy Willis

Cupcakes: Brett’s Bakery 

Food: Mutt’s BBQ

Life Update: Moving, Wedding & Football

Hello Everyone!

Taylor and I have been MIA on our blog lately because we’ve been super busy and adjusting to new changes. After three years of having a long distance relationship, we are finally living in the same city!! The closest we’ve ever lived to each other, was 3 hours. It is so surreal being able to date like a “normal” couple. Now, we’re only a 15 minute drive away. We’re very thankful to be where we are today, and wouldn’t be here without the love and support from our friends and family.

We’ve both officially moved from South Carolina to Florida! Taylor accepted a graduate assistantship with the University of Florida, where he will complete his Masters in Athletic Training, which will take him two years to finish. He’s also started doing research in hopes of going on to complete his PHD. Needless to say, he’s been busy!

A lot of people have been asking us about our living arrangements while we’re down here. Before Taylor moved, he wanted to stay somewhere comfortable without spending his entire salary. He did a lot of research and nothing stood out to him. One day, he came up with the idea of living in my parent’s camper at a local campground!! Ha! I was completely against the idea, so I rent an apartment. However, Taylor has spent the past 3 months living in a camper. If you know Taylor, you know that this is right up his alley! If you want to see a post on how he does this, just let us know in the comments.

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As for myself, I moved at the beginning of September. It was difficult leaving the job I loved and my new friends, but I’m happy we’re finally together. I’ve been working with a company located in Jacksonville as an SEO content writer. The position allows me to work remotely, while incorporating my love for writing. I’ve also taken a full-time position with Chick-fil-A! I had several interviews with companies around the area, but after a lot of prayer and direction, Chick-fil-A was the best place for me and my career goals. I look forward to growing professionally and making advancements.

So far, transitioning to Florida has been smooth. As most of you know, Taylor and I are huge Clemson football fans! We moved from the ACC to the SEC and we’re trying to love the Florida Gators as much as we love the Clemson Tigers. It’s tough, but we’re working on it. 🙂

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The two teams keep our weekends filled with A LOT of football. When we’re not in Gainesville, we’re traveling to Clemson games. So far, we’ve traveled to see Clemson play Auburn and Georgia Tech.

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As for the wedding, the big day is quickly approaching! Our time as an engaged couple is flying, but with all the holiday’s drawing near, the time is only going to pass quicker. So far, we’ve locked down a date, venue, florist, theme, guest list, dress, and photographer. For those of you who don’t know, the wedding will be held in South Carolina during May 2017. You can read about our engagement here.

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Every time I think we’ve got everything under control, I realize there’s 50 other things to do! Currently, we’re working on save the dates, our registry, and our honeymoon destination! We’ll be honest, we had NO IDEA how difficult it would be to pick a honeymoon location. We’ve been scouring the internet looking for the best hotels, flights, and accommodations. There are a few destinations we’ve been eyeing, but nothing has really stood out to us yet. We’re ready to find that “wow” place! We’re always welcome for suggestions!

Thank’s for reading! 🙂