Why FIMBY is not a hair, makeup, fashion, or home decor blog

We went backpacking this weekend.

It was fabulous. Understand when I say fabulous I don't mean that every single moment was bliss. Backpacking is hard physical work. And when it rains (it did) it's muddy and wet. And it can be cold. And smelly. Your shoulders get sore, so do your feet. I could go on and on.

Backpacking is a part of who we are and we're getting better at it all the time. Better systems and routines, and best yet, lighter pack weights! Which is a good thing because in a couple summers we'll be on the trail for at least six months straight. Ahem.

I haven't always been a backpacker. I certainly didn't grow up doing this and I can't say I came to it very gracefully or without a fair amount of kicking and screaming (ok, crying). But getting out into the woods with my family for long stretches of time is now a part of who I am. For better or worse (I think better).

Which is one reason I think FIMBY will never be a blog about hair or makeup or fashion or home decor. Because if those things mattered to me at one time they matter less and less all the time. (I don't think makeup ever mattered to me, but home decor did matter and still does in a "I want a sweet, cozy, home" kind of way).

So let's take a few minutes to talk about that stuff.

Hair. Well, have you seen my hair? It's short. I don't "do" it. When it gets too long Damien cuts it with his clippers.

Makeup. My makeup routine is the same at home as it is in the woods. Wash face, apply lotion. Not much to write about.

Fashion. The clothes I wear in the woods are the clothes I wear around the house, on "the town" and wherever else you need to appear dressed. Dressing up is putting on a denim mini skirt over my hiking tights. You won't see me writing about organizing these duds because there just isn't all that much to organize.

Home decor. I like sweet, easy, DIY decor ideas. But since becoming a renter and probably staying one for the next couple years home decorating just doesn't have the same appeal.

I can understand, at least I can speculate (I don't read any home decor blogs) why these blogs are popular but they are just not where I'm at right now. Home for me is honestly wherever my lovies are. Which can be a tent on the trail (I know I'm going to eat these words), a six month chalet rental, an apartment in Montréal for a month or maybe someday our dream yurt in the woods.

Why bother talking about all the things FIMBY is not? Because sometimes defining what you aren't helps you really hone in on what you are.

You already knew FIMBY wasn't a hair, makeup, fashion or home decor blog. But this weekend in the woods I got some real clarity on what exactly I need and want FIMBY to be moving forward.

FIMBY always has been and will continue to be a story blog. Or you could call it a memoirist blog.

This is my story to live and my story to tell and that's the stuff that energizes me. Living a good story. Writing a good story (still learning how to do this better).

You know what also energizes me? Helping you live a good story.

No, I can't tell you where to find the best drugstore makeup deal. Or help you decorate your home on a dime. (In fact deals have never been my writing gig, though I am quite frugal.)

But what I can do is offer relationship-based services to help you live the life you want. And I can offer small, quality products that will equip you with tools, ideas and resources to live your own healthy, creative and adventurous life. Sharing stuff I'm learning in my own journey (through education, experience and whole lot of hard work) that will help you in yours.

FIMBY is my story space. As much as I love sharing the occasional soap recipe or details of our homeschool groove, this is not a how-to blog, unless I can share some story also.

I don't live a how-to life. I live a sometimes messy, nearly always beautiful, complicated yet simple, full of colorful characters and plenty of (inner) conflict life. To be sure, it's not a fairy tale, but it's definitely a story. And this is what I want to write at FIMBY. The story I live.

But I want to do more than that. I want to help you live your story. I want you to experience everyday creativity and health. I want you to homeschool in freedom and joy. I want to help you get outdoors with your family.

I want to nourish the ideas taking root in your head and heart. To encourage you with my experience (and sometimes inexperience). To teach skills for relationship and living. I want to share the beauty that is in my life, help you see the beauty in your own, and to build relationships.

This is my personal mission behind my writing, behind FIMBY.

I want to help you create the life you want with the family you love. At first, I thought this was "my book". Everyone's writing books these days, so this must be the way, right?

But I don't really want to write a book. A real book that is. My first small e-book felt like a short project, which is how I work best. That I can do. One of those long book projects with publishing dates looming on the horizon, buckle down and write deadlines and all that solitary writing time just isn't my gig.

I'd rather write here at FIMBY about how I'm creating the life I want with the family I love. And then help you do the same with personalized services and inexpensive, but quality teaching products.

Does this change how I write at FIMBY? Not really. I will be doing some clean up and site maintenance over the coming months to reflect this vision.

(I'm still actively seeking the support of advertisers whose products and services reflect FIMBY's message also.)

If anything, this gives me more license to go for broke as I tell our story. Because really, a good story is my favorite thing.

Redefining this vision for FIMBY gives some much needed direction to the host of ideas that rattle around in my brain vying for attention and writing time. It also guides the projects I take on elsewhere and the partnerships I work to create. 

I'm excited about this clarity and raring to go on some of the products I plan to launch in the coming months. Products I've been working on for months already but haven't done much with because of other commitments.

Products that are decidedly not makeup, hair, fashion or home decor related (in case you're wondering - smile) but that are very much planned with your needs in mind. Products in response to your questions here at FIMBY and services to help you create the life you want.

But first, I'll be doing some serious laundry from this weekend. 

Renee Tougas participates in affiliate marketing, including the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. Whenever you buy something on Amazon from a link you clicked here, I get a (very) small percentage of that sale. See disclosure for further explanation.

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  • kyndale

    kyndale on May 7, 2012, 1:58 p.m.

    I love your life. As I've said before, we have very similar lives except for the fact that we don't go backpacking as much as you do!! I should strive for more of that. We have a few things to straighten out first. So, tell me about your long backpacking trip. Out here the Pacific Crest Trail is a 6 month journey from Mexico to Canada that I'd like to do with Jonathan when the kids are older. Maybe even bringing them with us.

    Love, Kyndale


    • renee

      renee on May 7, 2012, 2:01 p.m.

      I'm not publicly announcing the long backpacking trip at FIMBY, yet. Just giving hints. We are familiar with the PCT and I love your plan to hike it with Jonathan but my vote is that you do it together, as a family!


  • Teresa

    Teresa on May 7, 2012, 2:08 p.m.

    We are a homeschooling family and live in rural Kentucky on 56 acres of wooded ridgetop. I have a blog list full of homemaker/homeschooling sites, but your blog is the one I click to read the most. ALL of your insights and stories have been a help as I've set my sights on figuring out what makes our own home tick and thrive. That searching, especially at 40+, for identity as a sahm, in a sea of suzy-homemakers is like a young girl being bombarded with fashion magazines. That question, "who am I? NOW?" never goes away, only changes. Change challenges and helps us to continue growing.

    You are beautiful without make-up. Your home feels like a true living space through your photos. When you share the outdoors from where you are, it's as close as I come to traveling up your way. Thank you for taking time from your busy days to share. I wish you abundant blessings on your journey.


  • It's Lily

    It's Lily on May 7, 2012, 2:25 p.m.

    I took the 8 y/o grandson with me on a training hike yesterday. 7 miles up and down hills, and a little bit of swamp traipsing, in the pouring rain. He/we had a blast. It's a training hike for backpacking this summer. I don't think I could have picked a better companion to go with me. I love that your whole family is hiking for 6 months. What a blessing!


  • Beth

    Beth on May 7, 2012, 3:41 p.m.

    As always, I can't wait to hear more about what you have planned for FIMBY. Your writing is ALWAYS an inspiration to me. Thank you.


  • Jill Foley

    Jill Foley on May 7, 2012, 5:03 p.m.

    And this is why I love FIMBY and it's one of the blogs I read regularly. What you write about and how you write resonates with me and how I aspire to live with my family.

    Keep up the good work, Renee.


  • Misti

    Misti on May 7, 2012, 5:38 p.m.

    As someone who spent 7 months living in a tent in 2010-2011 it is definitely something to get used to but all very worth it. I'm a homebody and after awhile each place I've lived, tent included, has come to mean something to me---even if it isn't/wasn't my permanent place of residence.

    I also like your idea of a memoirist blog---that is how mine works out to be. I don't think I could ever separate out some little part of my life and only write about that---it all goes together!


  • Kathleen

    Kathleen on May 7, 2012, 6:30 p.m.

    A few weeks ago my family embarked on a 9-day camping trip in southern Utah, with our 4-year old and 2-year old. It was our first big outdoor adventure since having children and we had such a blast. Our boys loved being outside so much, going hiking, sleeping in a tent, and having lots of undivided attention from my husband and I. We were all in a desperate need of a shower by the end (we did a lot of "washcloth" baths) but it felt great to be outside for that long and to have life simplified down to the basics. Someday, once our kids are a bit older, we will start backpacking with them. You are an inspiration, Renee, and I love the stories you tell on your blog, along with your larger life story. Can't wait to read more as your journey continues to unfold.


  • Jacinda

    Jacinda on May 7, 2012, 9:42 p.m.

    I too love a good story especially my own and my family's! This is why I read here. We are cranking up our time in the outdoors aswell - not always easy for any of us but knowing that getting off the couch (or away from the screen) and into life is the story we want to live. Thanks, as always, for writing.


  • Jen @ Anothergranolamom

    Jen @ Anothergranolamom on May 8, 2012, 12:09 a.m.

    We are big hikers, but are just getting into backpacking with all four kids. The packs are huge for Mom and Dad right now, let me tell you. We are heading out for a weekend trip during the upcoming weeks, and just packing the water (we are desert hikers) is a big job. I love that you can do this with your family so often. Congratulations on living the life you love and making your story one you (and I) would enjoy reading.


  • Nichol

    Nichol on May 8, 2012, 3:58 a.m.

    After reading this post I have some fashion questions! I am curious about what kind of hiking shoes you and your children prefer. Thanks!


    • renee

      renee on May 8, 2012, 11:20 a.m.

      We're a minimalist footwear family. You can read all about what that means on our site Toe Salad. If you are serious (I can't always tell just ffrom reading a comment) about wanting to know what we wear on our feet for hiking the best way to get an answer (since Damien is the shoe man around here) is to post a question in the Toe Salad forums.  I can tell you that this weekend I hiked in the New Balance Minimus. At least I think that's what they are called. (This is why you want to ask Damien, he remembers shoe names and such.) 


  • Kali

    Kali on May 8, 2012, 4:15 a.m.

    I always appreciate your unique story and look forward to seeing some of your new products. Keep us posted- I know you will :)


  • Shelley R.

    Shelley R. on May 8, 2012, 1:33 p.m.

    Many have stated that amidst a handful of sites bookmarked in their own perusing list, FIMBY is a site they visit most and on a regular basis. I certainly fall into that category. One reason is because this is NOT a hair, makeup, home decor site. For myself, the draw is the unabashed, genuine, vibrantly clear writing. I return for I'm not just mildly inspired, or slightly interested in a way of life that vaguely resembles our real life. No. FIMBY is a site that acts as a catalyst. In my heart, my creativity, our goals and envisioned adventures as a family. So, when you state, "I want to help you create the life you want with the family you love." I believe it. For in many ways, you have already.


  • Jessica

    Jessica on May 8, 2012, 2:22 p.m.

    I so enjoy your honesty and your full-on approach to an authentic, connected life built around relationships with those you love. I first began reading FIMBY when you posted an open letter to new mothers and your writing continues to resound with me, who I am now, and who I hope to be.


  • Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz

    Anastasia @ Eco-Babyz on May 8, 2012, 2:28 p.m.

    I've only been reading your blog for 6 months, but it has become one of my favorites! We live in the suburbs, own a townhouse, but everything about our life here doesn't feel right. We want to be outdoors more, we want to spend more time together (instead of husband being at work almost 24/7. I wear makeup once in two weeks or so :) When we go someplace where I know there will be other young moms wearing their makeup, lol. I'm comfortable with myself as is. I'm only 28, I have two young children and they are probably not the last. Reading your blog helps me make decisions about what is truly important, I have a lot of 'life redesigning' to do and a lot of listening to do when it comes to what God has in store for us...


  • Shannon

    Shannon on May 8, 2012, 3:10 p.m.

    Although our families are different, I love following your adventures, and I am inspired to dig a little deeper with my own family. Thanks as always for sharing your journey.


  • Jardinière d'Eveil à la Douceur de Vivre

    Jardinière d'Eveil à la Douceur de Vivre on May 8, 2012, 7:02 p.m.

    My blog is not a hair, makeup, fashion, or home decor one neither...But Life can be very surprising sometimes : few days ago, a friend told me she may have a cancer lesion, waiting for her results. I told her that I will cross all my fingers and toes, even my hair, to make her laugh. And it became a creative challenge to support her by distance, from my blog and through a Facebook Group.

    For 2 weeks, I have to make braids or funny pictures. It makes me work a lot on myself, because I don't take care so much about my mid-long hair. And I don't like putting so many pictures of myself on my blog lol It's not the purpose of my blog. But I really see that like a new different way to explore creativity, spirituality, well-being... maybe this is a healing path ;-)

    If you've seen my Pinterest, this is crazy how there is pictures ! lol A wide variety... And if somebody not knowing me was seeing it, he could think that I'm interested in nature and colors (yes, definitely) food and healthy nourishment (true), knitting and crocheting (true), education/children( well yes, I'm a mum, and a part of my job is linked to children, parents, and teachers), and maybe about fashion.

    On the last point, it's not really exact. I'm interested in creativity, and colors with fibers. I'm interested in the process, I'm interested in the 5 senses links, the shapes. Because, for me, it is linked to creativity, well-being for body and mind, when you wear clothes that you made yourself or created as an artistic message, a spiritual message. Conciuosly, so (though it's probably not the way they are worn, most of the time in this society ! lol)It's like expressing with differents tools who we are, instead of using words.

    More generally, I LOVE images a a tool of inner travelling, inner understandings, inner questionning (I use relaxation, visuals, and creativity in my job, not a surprise lol)... AND I really love writting too. Images or words are 2 differents facets to tell stories. That's why I love your blog. Most of all, I love your human and deep personal sharings. They are testimonials of a unique individual's path, and of a unique family's path.

    I love being in nature, but I love my comfort, and I don't feel ready to spend so much time hiking or trailing. It' not me. But I do love being a witness of this way of life. Because you enjoy it, you choose it. It is who you are right now. All of this is precious.

    Light can glow from hands to type on the computer, or by create something in another way. Creating a life is definitely a Huge Loving Path.


  • Aimee

    Aimee on May 13, 2012, 9:56 p.m.

    have you ever written a "how to" post on backpacking with children? what equipment, ages of kids, etc?? would LOVE to do this...we hike with them when we camp but never super long distances and am wondering what kind of lightweight gear to look for? recommendations?


    • renee

      renee on May 15, 2012, 11:28 a.m.

      How to backpack with children is full blown blog. I could never share all our years of experience, trial and error, etc. in one post (smile). Writing about backpacking technique and gear is not my joy so I haven't done it. Damien is good at that, breaking it all down, getting technical and sharing his experiences and reviews but he hasn't had any time for that kind of writing lately. Over the years Damien and I have shared a lot on our family outdoor blog about being outdoors in general and also specific gear and hiking tips for families. That blog has been quiet for a year now, as we had bigger fish to fry, but in a month or so it will be re-booted and will be a better resource. In fact, we have big plans for it. Plans along the lines of what you are asking and more. All that to say no, I haven't written a how-to post. Stay tuned for the re-launch of our adventure blog. Also, we do offer paid coaching & mentoring for family backpacking where we could help you figure it out for your family.  You could also check out the books I recommend in our Family Outdoors & Backbacking Amazon bookstore. But honestly, most of these are not as gear specific for families as what you would need if you are a newbie to this. There is a real lack of lightweight backpacking instruction for families. Maybe we'll write it someday?  


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