The Retail

RetailI typically don’t do a lot of fiction book reviews. Most of the books I read tend to be biography, improve-yourself-somehow non-fiction, or something-randomly-historical non-fiction. Most of my books also tend to be focused on living the good life somehow. The Retail by Joshua Danker-Dake is a very funny fictional story that is probably the antithesis of all that. Since the main character’s choices are such a sharp contrast to what I aspire to create with my life and my blog, it somehow seems appropriate just to remind me why I am doing what I am doing. It is sort of like saying, “See that left road up there? Yeah, well don’t take it.” Continue reading

A New Look for Lara’s Wanderings


Lara’s Wanderings now has a new look! Why is that? Well, I have decided to update my professional presence in the word which started from needing new business cards. The whole thing exploded into trying to make every part of my online and world presence match in a way that only a completely obsessive graphic designer would possible ever fret over. There are lots of changes on the horizon beyond just our move to Texas. Keep an eye out for my weekly blog posts and check out my portfolio at

Houston, Texas

houston-businessWe are moving back to Texas! It isn’t the same part of Texas that we lived in before, but that is good. Part of the reason for our European adventure was to create a different life, but it will be good to be near the family and friends who live there.  I have done reviews of various places I have been, so here is a review of Houston, Texas. Continue reading

Car-less in the USA – part 3

carIn my first post on this subject (Car-less – Part 1) I covered my family’s dilemma on deciding whether or not to buy a car. My second post (Car-less – Part 2) talked about how it is possible to live without a car in many places in the USA, but this post is now intended to explore the other side: why a car is very often necessary, not only in the USA but also in most countries of the world. Continue reading

Chop the Sleeves!


When I moved back from Scotland, I quickly discovered that most of my clothes just wouldn’t work for Florida summers, but I kept the hope that I might use some of my favorite long-sleeved shirts during the winter. Well, I had forgotten how much most people used heaters in the winter in Florida. The best outfits ended up being my summer shirts with my leather coat so I could adjust for the changes in temperature. I ended up not wearing most of my long-sleeved shirts. As you know, I can’t stand to just keep something that I won’t be using regularly. These were also some of my favorite shirts. The only choice: chop off the sleeves!

Continue reading

I am an American

It was very common when I was a child for those around me to use their culture of origin as the label to identify themselves. Those who had lived their whole lives in the USA would say, I’m Cuban or Puerto Rican or Mexican or African or Haitian or Irish or Scottish or whatever. I was never able to do that. My grandfather used to say I was a Heinze 57 because I could list at least 8 different countries of decent depending on how far back you wanted to go with my family tree and which branch you choose to follow. I find the ethic question on job applications very troubling. I look white and don’t speak any other language than English, but my Grandmother was born in Cuba. If I mark that I am Hispanic than I get a phone call from some Spanish-speaking person who I can’t understand and who often gets offended that I neither speak Spanish nor seem Hispanic in any way. When forced to answer these stupid ignorant surveys I must say that I am white even though it says non-Hispanic in parenthesis just so that I can be treated culturally the way I actually live my life. Yet, I have Hispanic tastes and cultural influences. Why must I feel like I am lieing either way? I grew up feeling confused because I didn’t have a label that fit me very well. Continue reading


UnusualFriendship-bigThe premise of this blog has been that life is better when we slow life down, savor the good things in life, and live intentionally. At one time five years ago, I was a fully employed graphic designer running around to the peak of business, yet both bored with life and stressed by it. Then I started my worldwide wanderings with my husband and had adventures to fill a life-time while still volunteering to do graphic design everywhere I went. The fact is I like doing graphic design. I especially like it when the ideas of everyone involved mesh to create something really beautiful. Continue reading

Ecclesiastes: My Favorite Book of the Bible

2014-02-18 18.32.43I started this blog mostly to be an encouragement to those like myself to slow down and savor life. In the past five years my family has gone through illnesses, hospital stays, deaths, financial loss, drama of relatives crises and divorces, personal spiritual crises, depression, homeless wandering, and extreme reduction of personal property. Even now, like many people out there, we are still struggling, but there is hope. Continue reading

RIT: It only dyes some things…

2014-06-04 15.06.20

This week I had the great idea of dyeing some of my ugly clothes black. I had a pair of bright yellow shoes that I got at Target for $5 six months ago. The problem is that I don’t like yellow and I don’t have anything yellow to wear it with. I bought them because they were cheap and I needed shoes. Second, was a pair of brown capris that fit me perfectly and that I really love, but was unfortunate enough to splash bleach onto it. Continue reading

Crates, Crates, and more Crates!


So sometime at the end of the summer we will be moving again. Hopeful it will be to a town somewhere around the world in which my husband will have a full-time teaching position. This about how specific our plans typically are right before a move until just a few weeks before we pull the trigger and start packing. Since this will be our twelfth move in 10 years (whose counting anyways?), I have noticed that our boxes don’t seem to be doing so well. We have minimal furniture because the last 5 years we have lived in furnished accommodations and I can’t stand moving big furniture anyways, but we will need furniture in our next home. Since I am obsessed with simplifying our life, I felt that there should be some way of dealing with this. My discovery: CRATES!


Wooden crates are all over the Internet as great ways to cheaply make bookshelves, side tables, coffee tables, or whatever! You can get them for a reasonable price from HomeDepot and if you use screws with bolts to form your furniture, you can take them back apart to use them again as packing boxes. They can be stained, painted, stacked, moved, and completely usable in various floor plans. As moving boxes, they should stack in nice neat rows (I hope!) and should be more durable than my cardboard boxes. I just need to save up enough money to order a zillion of them since we transport a library of books many small high schools would envy!


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