My Life Immersed in The Sharing Economy

We are here in Iceland because we are volunteering for a non-profit, for the summer. But we are also living in the most ‘Sharing’ conditions that I’ve personally experienced, even with our shared house in London (and five-six roommates at a time). Iceland is well-suited to the sharing economy that has been taking off for a few years. It makes sense because we are volunteering, but we seem to have veered off into a communal existence for this summer in Iceland.

We share:

  • Rides. Iceland is well-known for hitchhiking, but we also share rides with those who live on our camp if someone happens to be going into town.
  • Food. We eat leftovers from the summer camps that come to stay and also have communal meals with the others volunteering and working on the campsite.
  • Cars. There’s a single Jeep that we share with those who have a driver’s license.
  • Bikes. Our main transportation to and from work, from a big shipping container filled with bikes in various states of repair.
  • A single washing machine. It’s busy.
  • Accommodation. At some point, the house we’re borrowing from the power company might have as many as ten people staying in it.
  • A pet? The cat now knows me as the Food Lady, since I feed her often.
  • Clothes. Our staff uniforms are in a neat stack in the basement, and we share the fleeces and vests for leading programs.
  • Climbing equipment, archery stuff, and various kinds of activities on site.
  • A few very overworked routers.
  • Skills.
  • Two Kitchens.
  • Campfires.
  • The showers on campsite, which are geothermally heated and AWESOME.

We don’t share:

  • Toothbrushes.
  • Bedclothes. Seriously, me and Russ have separate duvets in the Icelandic tradition.
  • Underwear.
  • Plates.
  • Socks.
  • Contact lenses.
  • Secrets.

It’s working really well for us, actually. Due to traveling for several years on end and having few personal possessions, the ability to have access to a car or rides basically whenever needed is great. Our room and board are paid for in hours spent working, and we are able to spend next to nothing while on site. I took out cash at the ATM in the airport three weeks ago and I still haven’t run out, even with our big trip to the Westfjords.

Life in the Sharing Econom requires a lot of communication and a bit of patience, but it can work well even among strangers. We’re adjusting well and it might eventually be hard to go back to a more individualistic way of doing things.

Pinterest Meals For a Sunday Close

I’m closing at the bar tonight, and that means I won’t be home until very late o’clock. I decided to make a portable salad in a sauerkraut jar, an amazing grilled cheese, and a recipe for cheap potato eggs dinner that turns out to be Chinese in origin!

Check it out! Weibo!

Check it out! Weibo!

So I set about making a full Pintrest meal.

IMG_6275 IMG_6278 IMG_6279With Weibo-inspired egg potatoes, and caramelised onions for my sandwich.

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I often pack a 1 litre jar with salad or food stuffs for my closing shifts. This way I’m not tempted by a burger every single shift. Today’s salad was a peppery mix of baby leaves with balsamic/brandy dressing, whole walnuts, sliced apples, and Greek feta cheese. With Christmas tea from my Harrod’s hamper, of course.

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Grilled cheddar, apple and onion sandwich, pressed with a Christmas pudding steamer. Breaded zucchini fries, baked in the oven with the egg potatoes.

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And TA-DA! An amazing (and cheap) meal.

DIY: Wedding Veil

Putting the veil on.

Putting the veil on.

Wedding veils are a special piece of clothing. Patriarchal connotations aside, it is one of the things that marked me as a bride in my mind when I got married. I love the pictures of me putting it on before the ceremony.

Veils are horrifically overpriced. The ones I was offered while trying on my dress were all over $120. A quick scan of the major outlets that I considered, and these two come into (pricey) focus.

Courtesy of David's Bridal

Courtesy of David’s Bridal

The most affordable one, at 66 GBP ($100). Others that were similar to mine come in at nearly $200, inexplicably.

Courtesy of David's Bridal

Courtesy of David’s Bridal

You might think, as I did, that going the Etsy route might be a cost-saver. You would be mostly wrong.

How is this 81 GBP, exactly? Courtesy of gebridal.

How is this 81 GBP, exactly? Courtesy of gebridal.

I dreamed of making my own wedding veil for years. I used to wrap myself in my great-grandmothers’ table cloths, imagining how cool they would look as a homemade cathedral veil. I wanted to make my own, and this is how I went about it.

To Make Your Own Wedding Veil

  1. Decide what length you would like, and the style. My veil is a fingertip veil with a blusher to go over the face.
  2. Research your fabric options. Keep in mind that vintage fabrics will cost more. ALWAYS check the measurements with a measuring tape at home before ordering. Order a comb of a medium size as well.
  3. When your fabric arrives, play with it. For several days/weeks. Don’t cut it until you are sure of what style you’d like.
  4. Lace is hard. I originally wanted a mantilla-like veil. I decided the lace weighed it down too much and skipped it. If you want a mantilla-veil DIY tutorial, check out this one!
  5. Decide how to attach the veil. I used metal wire and wrapped it around the comb with freshwater pearls and beads, but plain string could work just as well. Make certain that the attachment will be strong.
  6. Sit down in the afternoon and attach the veil. Try it one with the comb and make sure you like the placement.
    Close up of the attachment.

    Close up of the attachment.


  7. If you’re happy with it, reinforce the attachment site with another round of wire/string.
  8. Be happy with your wedding veil!

Playing with the veil in late October.

My whole veil cost less than 20 GBP to make, and it was exactly what I wanted. If you only do one DIY project, let this be it!


The Last of My Naked Left Hand

The last...

The last…

My left hand is my buddy. I may not write with it, but it’s always been the stronger one. The brute that forces stuck taps off the lines at work. It’s marked with angel’s kisses, the roadmap to left and right I used as a child in my ballet classes. It wears the bracelets that mark me as a traveller.

It has two giant, aching flaps of skin on the tip of the thumb, a casualty of food and cocktails.

And today, it’s not naked anymore.

1920s antique ring, with old mine cut diamonds.

1920s antique ring, with old mine cut diamonds.

I’m engaged. For real and for true. With a ring and all. On last Saturday we walked along the glittering streets of Hatton Garden, the jewellery district of London.

The stores were all too big, too shiny, with too big of a price tag on their rings. I never wanted a brand-new engagement ring. Antiques suit me more. They’re more frugal (usually). They are high quality. They’re more likely to be ethical, and if not, then the reuse of the jewellery passes the buck to someone further up the line.

My ring is Art Deco, with older cuts on the seven small diamonds. It was made in the 1920s or 1930s, which is a time period with which I connect greatly. It’s unique, and it reflects the fact that my fiance made me a ring from a flower for his proposal (which he eventually scrapped, and went for a single aspen leaf instead). We chose the ring together in a family-owned and operated antique shop, and paid less than our individual monthly rent. It’s a symbol of our commitment, but also of the pragmatism that characterises our relationship.

Such a glamorous lady, just before the proposal.

Such a glamorous lady, just before the proposal.

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Immediately after, with my leaf!

Immediately after, with my leaf!

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It’s on!

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With the light.

Now, my left hand will never be naked again. I’ve been wearing the ring since yesterday at sunset, when Russ got home. I can’t stop looking at it, twirling it in the sunlight to watch is shine. I love the design even more now. It feels just right on my hand. So happy for this new, if short, period of our lives together. So happy to be a fiancee.