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awfully big adventure Posts

things i did this week that weren’t blogging: vol. 1

Cooked. Back to healthy meals and low carb dinners for us after the ridiculousness that was the holidays. I made one new meal- chicken shawarma, and one standby- grilled shrimpies with bang bang sauce. Love them both!

Walked Finn in eighty degree weather. The sun is setting a teeny bit later, and we’ve enjoyed really perfect weather this week, so our walks have stretched a bit longer just cause they can. 

Listened to the Where’d You Go, Bernadette audiobook. This book so far is really cute anddd it’s voiced by Kathleen Wilhoite aka Luke’s sister from Gilmore Girls. The only problem is that my library only rents out audiobooks for 21 days, and I feel like I don’t have time to finish it. Does anyone else feel like listening to audiobooks actually takes so much longer than just reading one?

Got sucked into the couch/phone/social media Bermuda triangle where time disappears instead of ships. 

Watched President Obama’s farewell address and lost it when I saw Malia crying. I sure am grateful for his service and the example he was. I’m terrible at goodbyes, so the tears weren’t exactly a surprise for me. 

Planned some trips. We are headed to Marfa in March and Steamboat and LA in May. So looking forward to all three for every different reasons! We’ll have local hosts in Steamboat and in LA, but Marfa will be just the two of us and I need your recommendations! What are the must-sees? The must-eats? 

Filled up my new planters with plants, as evidenced in my instagram post. I cannot say enough about the quality of these planters, especially at their low price. The blush pink is so good. My one quibble is that they don’t come with drainage holes, but I added my own by wacking the bottom of them with a hammer. Therapeutic and pretty!

Diffused peppermint oil while working. I recently got this diffuser after searching high and low for one that I liked the look of (you can see it in this instagram.) Peppermint has been my go-to this week for two reasons: 1) it feels invigorating and helps me get into work mode and 2) it’s the only one I’ve actually been able to smell, thanks to cedar fever and a perpetually runny nose.

Sneezed one hundred billion times thanks to the aforementioned cedar fever. It’s the first thing I do when I wake up. It’s the last thing I do before I go to sleep. Sneezing is me now. 

Watched The OA. Some parts I kind of roll my eyes at but the way they are telling the story is just so darn captivating. The pros far outweigh the cons, for me. 

Thought about blogging. I’ve been pretty busy with my full time job bleeding into a couple of my nights this week, and I’ll be out half of next week at a conference for said full-time job, so I haven’t made a ton of progress on creating new content. But I have *thought* about it! And also thought about what type of posts would be fun to create on a regular basis going forward. Anything you’d love to see? 

awfully big adventure finnstagram


be the blog you want to read

Brace yourselves, guys. It’s the new year, my Christmas decorations are down, the house is clean, I just drank a green tea, and everyone’s talking about goal-setting and resolutions and words for the year. I have the sneaky suspicion that this post could get very wordy. To begin: we are quickly approaching the THIRD anniversary of this blog in March. Between that, the buzz of new year resolution-y time, and my constant habit of over-analyzing my own every move, I’ve had a lot of questions for myself about this blog and what I want from it. 

I started ABA as a 26 year old with an iPhone camera, a (free) account, and a lot of time on my hands. I was (and am still) an avid blog reader. I loved reading about lots of things- family life, fashion, retail, and home decor (which was always my favorite.) I’d always enjoyed writing, but never considered myself a “writer.” I also loved interior decorating. I figured I could marry the two to give me something to write about on a regular basis. My job at the time wasn’t particularly creatively fulfilling, so the blog gave me a solid excuse to build a pretty website, make some crafts, and write about it. 

Looking back, my posts are SO cringe-worthy, but that’s kind of part of it. Documenting everything and looking back at periods of your life and cracking up at yourself. Anyway, that’s not the point. I was having a blast taking on this new project, but after a while I started to get questions. “So, are you making any money?” (A very small amount.) “Are you going to quit your job?” (Pretty emphatic “no” to that one, haha.)

As those questions came, I started to ask myself the same thing. Why was I doing this if it wasn’t going to support me? Is it worth my time? What’s the point? Why am I still doing this? If a tree falls in the forest, does a bear shit in the woods? You get the idea. I was feeling lost. 

Those questions and doubts were only exacerbated over time. I wasn’t even sure that I was going to keep the blog until I read this post by Emily Henderson. Tucked into paragraph 3 is her blog mantra: “Be the Blog You Want to Read.” Yes, it’s a doctored (falsely attributed??) Gandhi quote that feels funny and dramatic and probably like eight kinds of wrong, but it is exactly the answer to the question -“Why am I still doing this?”- I had been asking myself.

I just do it because I can, because I like to, because it’s a fun creative thing for me to do. No one sits there wringing their hands about why they spend time painting, or knitting, or throwing pottery. Remember Oprah’s “Aha! Moments?” It’s like that, but a DOH! moment. I can just do a thing because I enjoy it creatively and not for any other reason. Beyond answering that question, finding this mantra has helped me understand what I want from the blog. It helps me to be able to see a few steps in front of me, so I answered the question “what kind of blog do you want to read?” for myself. 

I want to read blogs that are:

  • Personal
  • Helpful
  • Funny
  • Real
  • Pretty

Laying that out feels dumb because it’s so simple, but after almost three years of creating content 100% by flying by the seat of my pants, it feels so nice to have those words written out and to be able to say that I want each and every one of my posts to meet at least three of those criteria. Some posts might be helpful, funny, and pretty, but not personal or real. Some posts might be personal, real, and funny, but not pretty or helpful. And if I make a small amount of income from collaborations or affiliate links, neat. But that’s never been the point. 

I wrote out some other goals for the blog (like engaging with you more! and trying for real to follow an editorial calendar!) and I’m feeling so silly for ever having any doubts. Also feeling super grateful to Emily “Can Do No Wrong” Henderson for being smart and thoughtful enough to come up with the mantra in the first place. 

In the interest of sharing the inspirational love, I thought I’d share some blogs I love to read that nail all the criteria I listed. Read on! And tell me: what kind of blog do you love to read? 

p.s. If you’re wondering what 780 words arguing a point against MYSELF looks like, please see above.

p.p.s. Thanks for sticking with me, peeps.

p.p.p.s. Happy New Year 🙂


currently: november 2016

Well, as Ned Ryerson would say…November was a doozy! Feels like we packed a lot into these past thirty days — an emotional election, the demise of the Longhorns, GILMORE GIRLS, oh and Thanksgiving. Honestly though, if you haven’t finished the Gilmore Girls revival yet then I kindly ask that you step away from this blog post and go fire it up. I am delusional, but not delusional enough to believe that I’m more important than Gilmore Girls.

No one is.

Anyway. On to the post:


Making: Christmas cookies, and learning that it was a mistake to make them this early. They’re just sitting there. In my freezer. Begging to be dunked in a cup of coffee.
Cooking: I tried a bunch of new stuff this month and really enjoyed it all. Chicken tikka masala, tomato risotto with pan fried Barramundi, balsamic chicken with roasted veggies, and for balance: sticky buns. I also made these stuffed mushrooms for a Thanksgiving app — subbed turkey sausage for pork and they were still a hit.
Reading: I listened to A Man Called Ove this month through my library membership (::pushes glasses up nose::) and it was really, really sweet. 
: To stop loading up a catapult with my money and flinging it at the internet, but these deals yall. Good news is that I’m mostly done with my Christmas shopping AND I pulled the trigger on a chair for the study!! I hope it works out! (OH MY GOD the chair just showed up in a huge box as I’m writing this and I feel like the dad from A Christmas Story. “Frah-gee-lay! Must be Italian!!” Except it’s from West Elm but you get it.) 
Enjoying: The glow of the Christmas tree as I sit here writing. It’s still undecorated because Matt’s been working some crazy hours, but I’m looking forward to dressing it up this weekend. I’m sure Matt is counting down the minutes.
Listening: Going full holiday: this playlist, the Nutcracker all the way through, Kelly Clarkson singing O Holy Night somewhere around fourteen times in a row, you know…the usual.
Needing: For everyone to understand how excited I am that Leif (our fiddle leaf fig) has sprouted FIVE new leaves in the last month. I’m so proud of that lil guy.
Smelling: It’s our first truly cold night — supposed to get down to 42 degrees. I’ve got the windows open with the cool air blowing in, and I’m smelling someone’s fireplace. Heavenly. 
Wearing: Some things I nabbed during recent sales for the upcoming season: these sweatpants, these leggings, this basic sweater, these sparkly earrings, and I finally got a new pair of Warby Parkers (ended up with these and I love them!) To clarify: not wearing all of these things at once right now as I write this. Just the sweatpants and the sweater. 🙂
Loving: (See the next one.)
Watching: How…how do I not make this whole part about Gilmore Girls? Other people have written about it more thoughtfully than I will, so I’ll point you to some of my favorite pieces. This, this, and this about sum it up. I loved it so much. Should have known I’d cry the whole time. Other notable things: The Crown was amazing, Westworld is blowing our minds, and if you want to ease into Christmas movies with one of my terribly guilty pleasures, I’ll point you towards Just Friends which is now on Netflix.
Bookmarking: For when I want to make sticky buns the hard way, my favorite gift guide, and Young House Love bought a beach house, yall!!

luke's paper coffee cup