the dreamy idealist

Facebook Page for Transitioning to Minimalism

In Uncategorized on Monday September 8 2014 at 4:47 PM

10600607_286267244907408_9022239753490096998_nI’ve been interested in networking with other people whom are transitioning to minimalism.  I created a Facebook group to learn and share with others in an environment of equality.  I had been searching for an FB group focused on minimalism to join but was only able to find FB pages where people were informing others from a place of authority.

There is nothing wrong with making a financial living from your interests but my goal is to be part of an inclusive environment where ideas and experiences are shared with like-minded people.  This is the purpose for the Transitioning to Minimalism FB group.  Please join, invite others, share your ideas/experiences and all things minimalism.

T & D’s Cats of the World ~ Penns Creek, PA

In Uncategorized on Sunday September 7 2014 at 11:08 AM

As a little girl I dreamed of being an Animal Behaviorist when I grew up.  I planned to study and protect big cats.  My bedroom was plastered with posters of tigers and leopards.  I snuggled up with plush lions and cougars when I went to sleep.  I read books about endangered species and watched wildlife specials whenever they were on one of the few television channels we had.

So after all of these years, I finally have a tiger to love and she lives in a beautiful sanctuary in Pennsylvania.  T & D’s Cats of the World is a wonderfully compassionate non-profit sanctuary for animals rescued from abuse and exploitation.
















Upon arrival you are met with signs reminding visitors that animals do not exist for human entertainment or to pose for pictures.  Many of the tigers are rescues from “photo baby” situations where tiger cubs are exploited so that tourists can pose for photos with them.  Once they reach 5 months old they are killed and replaced with another baby whom will meet the same horrific fate.  People are sick.

Although in most places these animals do not have rights, at T&D’s they have the right to feel safe, cultivate relationships and live in peace without humans exploiting them.


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Animal enclosures have indoor and outdoor areas with enrichment such as these climbing areas.  The configuration is changed regularly to keep the animals engaged and stimulated.



I was impressed by this unexpected educational exhibit.









The grounds are very expansive and took over two hours to meander through.  Along the way we met many knowledgeable volunteers.  Each smiled widely as they shared their enthusiasm for the great work being done here and their affection for the animals.  The energy here is relaxed and warm.  You can see it in the animals eyes that they feel safe and valued as individuals with thoughts and feelings, just like us.


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This gorgeous Siberian Tiger stole everyone’s heart as he soaked in his kiddie pool.  I love his enclosure which is designed for the comfort of he and his companion not for the convenience of gawking humans.  Plant life grows freely providing cozy hiding spots and keeps the soil cool for summer naps.

In addition to the numerous tiger enclosures, there is also a three acre exercise acre where they take turns romping.



I could have visited with these charming and captivating characters all day.  Birds are highly intelligent and aware beings.  Sadly they are one of the most exploited and abused animal groups.



Not to be upstaged, the native Black Vultures exhibit their intelligence daily.  Many years ago these brilliant creatures observed the tigers burying their food.  With no fear of the big cats they began feasting on the leftovers.  Word got out and other black vultures took up residence as well.  I find this so fascinating and wish I could interview members of each species to get their perspectives.  The photo above reminds me of the scene in Disney’s Jungle Book, a beloved childhood favorite of mine.  I suppose the irony would be lost on the Vultures.



The grounds have a thick natural forest with a shady tree canopy.  It is difficult to demonstrate in photos how spread out enclosures are.  Each species has a buffer zone from the next.  This provides a more organic low-stress environment for the animals.  Granted the plant life is not what the exotic animals would interact with in their native land but it is one of many demonstrations of the caretakers’ dedication to creating a place where these animals can simply be animals.



T & D’s Cats of the World

Mountain Road

Penns Creek, PA 17862





 For as little as $50 to $100 you can join me in sponsoring an animal at T & D’s for an entire year.  With the holiday season just around the corner, sponsorship is a unique gift.  The recipient will receive photos, a bio on their animal, free admission tickets to visit and updates throughout the year.  A vegan-friendly, eco-friendly, minimalism-friendly gift with an educational component.


(Some Photos by Carrie-Ann Moss & Nancy Andrews)

Purging & Repurposing

In Uncategorized on Sunday September 7 2014 at 10:39 AM

yong in a bowl

For the past six years, we’ve lived in our 400 sq ft apartment with the detached philosophy of “this place is temporary so we’re not investing in it”.  Resistant to over-caring about shallow things like décor and comfort.

Attempting to live up to this lie has included quietly resenting my dated bathroom floor, holding on to furniture that is too large for this space and pretending that the nasty peg board “pot rack” a former tenant clumsily nailed to the wall doesn’t disgust me.

Stripping away the useless crap that was cluttering my space and saying goodbye to beloved antiques, shown light on the land of potential I’ve been dwelling in.  I asked myself why I’ve been self-punishing and saving all of my great ideas for our future homestead?  The reality is that our taste and needs will probably be dramatically different then.

So I’ve decided that my project of Transitioning to Minimalism will include a total apartment revitalization.



* Apartment Therapy

* The Kitchen Cure

* Relax Shacks Blog and Youtube Channel

* Hooked on Houses

* Kirsten Dirksen’s Youtube Channel

* Places I’ve Explored




Oak Double Sided Bookcase – $80

Cabella’s Camping/Sleeping Cot – $ 120

Excalibur Dehydrator – $100

Vintage Vanity/Desk – $80



8 Wooden Boards

Mission Style Console/Sofa Table

Pop Up Closet

Black Ladderback Chair



Large Jaxx Ecofoam Sleep Sack (Jaxx products are made in Atlanta, as the company is committed to US job creation  with upcycled memory foam scrap from other companies that would send it to the landfill.)



Hazardous Waste (old paint cans, varnish, gesso)

Vintage Metal Kitchen Cabinet


Extra Blankets and Towels to TCSPCA (our local no-kill companion animal shelter was transformed by Nathan Winograd)

4 Boxes to Good Will


Baller Time


With the money that I made from my Craigslist sales, I purchased a couch and a chest of drawers to use as a coffee bar in my kitchen.  For years we’ve used the Jaxx Ecofoam Sleep Sack as a “couch” because I was convinced I couldn’t find an ethical sofa.  I never wanted to purchase a used sofa because we have rescue animals. Foreign odors can trigger memories of past trauma which can result in the marking of territories.


The sofa was originally $1,000. I purchased it for $180.              Only Damage: Missing the middle leg.


Marble top chest was originally $400. I purchased it for $70.    Only Damage: Broken middle drawer pull.

With very little research, I discovered an ethical company called Save More Furniture which intervenes when furniture stores send showroom and slightly damaged pieces to the landfill.  Save More sells some of the furniture at an extreme discount and uses the money to cover their overhead and employee salaries.  I wasn’t able to find out if the employees are paid a living-wage and provided benefits.

Owner Leonard Hilldale has established several programs to provide beds and clothing for underprivileged children.

The company goes a step further with their social responsibility by operating out of a repurposed elementary school which is absolutely brilliant; as such buildings usually fall into decay and vandalism.  As an explorer of abandoned places, it was wicked cool to be able to walk around the former school in a safe way, minus the fear of stumbling across a meth lab, or worse.


The former cafeteria is now home to dining furniture.


I love that the bright red lockers are still lining the halls. While I was shopping a man was reminiscing about his days as a student at the former middle school.


The former auditorium now houses sofas and mattresses.  I love that the red velvet stage curtains are still hanging.

After the $95 delivery charge (mainstream stores charge around $400), I had $35 left from my sales.  I put it toward sponsoring a Tiger at T & D’s Cats of the World.  A wonderfully compassionate non-profit sanctuary for abused and exploited animals.  See my visit to T & D’s.

Allie Allie2 Allie3

(Some Photos by Carrie-Ann Moss and Nancy Andrews)


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