Ruby Arrived Home

Hello Everyone!

I’m very happy to report that our Ruby safely made it to her new home in Austin, Texas at Mobile Loaves and Fishes’ Community First!. A HUGE thank you to Sarah and Drew from Mobile Loaves and Fishes for driving Ruby safely there and for documenting their roadtrip to Austin! I’m going to be at Community First! later this week for a site visit. So excited!

Here are a few recent articles and pictures:

A Mighty Girl:

Bringing Ruby Home:

Santa Cruz Sentinel:

Monterey Herald:

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Update – Community First!

Hi Everyone!

It’s time for the BIG news! The tiny house is headed to…..well, keep reading and you’ll find out.

One of the hardest things for me as the house took shape was realizing that I’d need to say goodbye. The tiny house has been a part of my life for what seems like forever. It has brought me to places I’d never imagined and provided solace and positive focus during some difficult life losses. I’ve been blessed with encouragement, love and support from around the globe and learned a lot about myself and others along the way.

As I said when I started, my plan/mission was to give the tiny home to a family in need or raffle it off and donate the proceeds. After much contemplation, I determined the best route for the tiny house was to donate it. As the project neared this stage, finding a final home, I did extensive research to make sure the tiny house does in fact find the perfect place. It’s not a stretch to say that the tiny house is family to me. I devoted 800+ hours toward the NerdGirlHomes project in high school alone and didn’t accept any community service credit. It was a labor of love and curiosity. I’ve spent the past 18 months in conversation with the house recipients and feel like it’s a prefect match and what I envisioned when I started NerdGirlHomes.

The destination for the tiny house was decided upon these criteria:

  • A place where it could be used in perpetuity
  • A program with funding, oversight and the infrastructure to successfully support the people living in it
  • I like the mission, inclusiveness, longevity, and county administrative support of the organization selected

So, without further ado…

  • The tiny house will be the newest member of a twenty-seven acre transitional homeless community for 250 people in Austin, Texas called Community First!  Community First! is a truly uplifting and life-changing place. See video below and visit their website here. (

People have asked if the tiny house has a name (at Community First! there is a dedication marker with each house)…I’ve been rather torn about naming it until recently. My Grandma Dorothy told me to always remember that no matter what I did or where I went, there really is “no place like home.” Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, I need only to click my ruby slippers. So, in honor of my biggest supporter and fan, and for the future well-being of the tiny house in its new home, I’ll dedicate it in the name of “Ruby”…like those ruby slippers that brought Dorothy home. Nearly two years to the day I lost my Grandma, the tiny house is headed home. Ruby seems a fitting name for the journey, both mine and for the people who will live in her as they work to improve their lives.

On February 9th, Ruby will leave Santa Cruz and make the journey to Austin, Texas to join other Community First! tiny homes. I plan to visit in late February and will keep you updated along the way! Thank you again from the bottom of my heart for the encouragement and support…we did it!!

Here are some more videos about Community First!:

Community First Village Interview Video.

Big News Coming Soon!!

Hi Everyone,

I’ve got some very exciting news to share with you all! I have finally found the perfect home for the tiny house and will be sharing more specifics soon. Stay tuned the next few days!

Full Circle

Hi Everyone!
I got an interesting email from Mr. Meany Pants the other day and want to share it with you. It feels like everything is coming full circle.  For those of you who may not remember Mr. Meany Pants, take a few minutes and watch my TED video below before reading further. I really appreciate him taking the time to write to me.


When you came to see me and ask for advice I could not see how a young sixteen year old had the guts to accomplish the project you outlined. My vision was a young “girl” overestimating her desires. All I could see for you was a busy schedule of school, sports, boys, and a social life. Well I have to admit, I totally underestimated you and your abilities. For that misconception I apologize.

I have followed your progress through your website and read every update with interest. I even watched the videos. Did I really say, you may cut off your finger? I don’t know what I would have said if you were a “boy”. If I did I must also apologize for making a sexist statement like that. Congratulations on completing your Tiny House.

Now you’re headed to Dartmouth. Wow, how exciting. I’ve been through that beautiful campus several times. I know you will do well there. Have a wonderful time and wishing you the best.

Mr. Meanypants.

We Did It!

Hi Everybody!
I’m happy to report that we succeeded in raising over $500 and completing the match challenge! Thank you donors so much for your support! It means the world to me. This also means that NerdGirlHomes can order the last few necessary pieces for the tiny house. This is a tremendous group accomplishment. Every little bit has and will count. Thank you all again so much for your help and support! Please stay tuned for pictures and updates. In the mean time please check out the video below from my philanthropic youth awarded video, as it belongs to all of us.

Let the Challenge Begin!

Hi Everyone!

First of all happy belated Fourth of July!
I’ve been approached by a very generous donor and given a priceless opportunity. Patricia and John Walsh have charitably offered to match the funds I raise within the next five days – up to $500!! Patricia was one of my first donors and has been a positive supporter from the first day. The tiny house is 97% complete with only a little more to go! The last major piece I need is a boat heater with a custom pipe and a few odds and ends.

The challenge is officially starting……now! Please help today, this is a priceless opportunity for us. We’re so close! Again, thank you so much for the support and thank you Patricia and John Walsh for believing in me.

I really look forward to seeing who ends up with the tiny house! I’m starting to work on creating a nomination/deserving recipient application.

95% Complete

Hi Everyone!

We are making some serious progress together! The bathroom sink came yesterday! And the faucet and fridge are on their way (last I checked they were leaving Indiana). The lower bedroom/ reading nook is nearly complete, along with electrical and plumbing. I added in some lower storage pockets and finished up the walls and ceiling (with a recessed book shelf on the way). Please check out the flickr page for new photos – my doxie, Templeton is helping to show off the storage space.

Flickr Link: (will appear in a new tab)

I still need your help with donations and I’ve updated the thermometer. The tiny house is 95% of the way complete with only 700-800 dollars to go! So close, only 5% more to go! Again, thank you so much for the support! I can’t wait to see who ends up with the tiny house! (I will be working to find furnishings and deserving owners upon completion of the home).

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Hi Everyone!

Thank you SO much to the donors this past week for your generosity! Please check out both the project’s flickr page for recent house progress (the creation of the kitchen counter) and the fundraising thermometer! We’re almost there, about $1000 away from completing the home! Ordering the fridge tonight. Just need to purchase the heater and bathroom sink now!

Flickr Link: (will appear in a new tab)



Hi Everybody!

I know it has been a while since my last post. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on my tiny house!!  I’ve also been a bit tied up with both college applications and the passing of my biggest fan.

Earlier this year, just after completing all of my college apps, my grandmother had a fall and went to the hospital, later entering a nursing home. I spent weeks by her side encouraging her to keep fighting and eventually having a heart to heart with her and encouraging her to let go. Sadly, she passed away a couple of days after my 18th and her 85th birthdays. We were pals in every sense of the word.

It’s been extremely hard losing my number one fan. She always wanted to know what I was up to and what I was planning on doing next. I will remember her face lighting up when she saw me; she was always so proud of my efforts. She tried really hard to stay with me to see me complete the tiny house; she would even carry my newspaper and magazine articles around with her everywhere. In fact, the last two I gave her were beside her on her death bed.

I am so incredibly grateful that she was a part of my life for so many years. She lived with me for six of them and helped support and fuel my curiosity. I know she’s with me in spirit, but I wish I could tell her in person that I’m headed to Dartmouth College next year. She’d be beaming. Although it’s been hard lately, my grandma filled my heart with so much love and encouragement. I wish she could see the progress I’ve been making on the tiny house, which I am happy to say is almost complete!

I’ve been working feverishly on putting in insulation, plumbing, electrical, etc. Please check out the latest pictures on my flickr! It is super exciting to see this project come together. The last major pieces for which I’m fundraising now are the mini refrigerator, bathroom sink, and boat heater (about $1,600 total). And, I NEED YOUR HELP!

I’m doing a huge fundraising push as I must finish the tiny house in the next few weeks and find it a home this summer. Anything you can donate is so appreciated!  And, remember, support comes in all forms – even sharing my website with your friends on social media. Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement during this journey! I really appreciate it. I’m so excited to finish the house and see where it ends up! Please stay with me in this final phase. It should be rewarding for all of us to witness the outcome. Until next time (which will be soon)!

Flickr Link: (will appear in a new tab)

P.S. I graduated last Saturday!!


Happy Fall!

Hi Everybody! I hope this update finds you having a restful weekend. I was going to say, “Happy Thanksgiving” but realize I’ve got supporters from several different continents and not everybody celebrates the kind of Thanksgiving holiday that I do. What I do know, is that I’ve got so much to be thankful for and wanted to share some of that with you.

To date, there have been nearly 72,000 hits on my website. I’m humbled, excited and inspired by the continued words of encouragement from visitors. Check out the thermometer on the NerdGirlHomes website! I’m closer to my fundraising goal every day and am so grateful for the 157 contributors who’ve supported my house project so far. I read over your names on a regular basis and send thoughts of gratitude your way. Your generousity and kindness has enabled this project and I thank you!

I recently had the pleasure of meeting an 8th grade girl for lunch. She found my website and is interested in building a tiny house for NerdGirlHomes. I’m excited to work with her and mentor her through this rewarding process. She was really cute and very enthusiastic and I’m certain she’ll be quite capable. My hope is that our friends at the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company can help us out with plans for this next tiny home.

After watching video clips and hearing first hand reports of the devastation from SuperStorm Sandy, I am so thankful for my home, electricity, clean water and the mild weather on the California coast. If I didn’t have homework this weekend, I’d be out playing beach volleyball on this beautiful November day!

Although the weather might seem mild to me, I’m reminded daily that there are people without homes living in my town and sleeping outside. For some, this seems to be a choice, and for others a result of circumstances beyond their control. As I climb into the van and head off to school, I often see the same person sleeping under newspapers on the porch of the chiropractor’s office. There is a dog by his side. I love my dogs, as you can see in many of my photos. They are loyal companions and I’m grateful that when I slept with my labrador last night, we were curled up in my cozy bed.

Last week, I was deeply honored to receive an award at the National Philanthropy Day luncheon at Spanish Bay. I was nominated by my school and accepted the award for 2012 Most Outstanding Philanthropic Youth of the Year in front of 450 people. I was pretty nervous speaking in front of a room full of philanthropists, but their warmth and positive energy put me at ease.

One of the most inspiring award recipients was 97 years old and had made it his life’s work to help others. I’ve included a couple of photos from the event and a link to an article by the Monterey Herald about NerdGirlHomes and the award. (

As a result, I’ve added several new donors and am making significant progress toward ordering appliances. I still have a ways to go so please check out the link to my wish list on the “Current Project” page of the website and believe me when I say that every little bit helps. I hope to have all materials ordered before my holiday break from school Dec 13 so I can complete the house before Jan 2nd. Then begins the process of finding a “home” for my little home!

Thanks again for all the support in forms of donations, words of encouragement, volunteer time, in-kind and material donations and insightful questions! I feel so lucky and excited to finish my house.