Emma’s 2015 Favorites

Favorite sister styleOh man, you guys, 2015 was just NUTS! I didn't entirely realize it until I started trying to figure out what I wanted to include in this post. To be honest, for me 2015 was a pretty emotional year. My sister (and Laura!) moved. Boo! (But of course, I support them.) Trey and I moved. I traveled way more than I've ever traveled in one year before. We started a few BIG projects. I worked, a lot. Lots of things changed at work, most good but a few that were hard. Am I making it sound bittersweet? Idk. I'm probably just feeling a bit nostalgic. Do you do that at the end of the year, or is it just me? πŸ™‚

Bottom line: 2015 was way rad and I can't wait to see what 2016 holds for us. Here's some of my favorite posts / things that happened this past year. 

HabitatThis past year ABM purchased and made over a small house in our hometown, Springfield, MO. We then donated the house to Habitat for Humanity. You can read all about the project in our archives here. The project was a lot of fun and it felt really good to give back. ABM is planning to do some other kind of project this year, although I'm not sure what yet. We will likely partner with another charity or not-for-profit simply to spread the love and also highlight other great causes through our site. 

NOLA travel guideAs I mentioned, I got to travel a lot more than usual this year. I LOVED every minute of it! I got to see Charleston, Nashville (multiple times), New York (mostly for work, but it's always fun regardless), Tulum (Mexico), Amsterdam, Iceland and New Orleans. I won't even pretend to pick a favorite because why limit yourself. But, I did especially love my trip to New Orleans because it was an early anniversary trip for Trey and me. Plus, I'd been wanting to visit NOLA for nearly ten years and I was SO happy to finally make the time. 

Eggplant parm meatballsI have way too many favorite recipes from this year, but one of my favorites are these eggplant parm meatballs. I never thought I would get into eggplantβ€”it's just so foamy! But I'm starting to come around I guess because this is seriously one of my favorites from the year. 

Homemade hot cerealIf you read Elsie's favorites from this year, you heard her mention that some of her favorite posts from the year happen to have also been sponsored posts. And you know what, I agree with her. Some of my favorites from the year are sponsored too (like this homemade hot cereal mixβ€”I'm obsessed!), and I think it's a good sign. We're always working to keep our site and brand authentic to our vision while working with companies from time to time and also thinking about what our readers (that's you!) might love too. It's a juggle and I don't know that we always nail it, but we always try. πŸ™‚ And so I'm taking this as a good sign from the year. :) 

Favorite hairI don't write hair posts often (probably because I pretty much do two styles all the time), but this was a really fun post for me this year. I'm still doing my hair this way all the time, so I guess it's transferred from being my favorite summer hair to being a favorite winter hairstyle too. Hmmm…

Start small dream big courseElsie and I wrote a small business e-Course this year called Start Small / Dream Big. This was a lot of fun to write because I seriously could talk about small business forever! Also we created video lessons to go along with all the text/image lessons and that's something we've never done before. It was really fun to create a more candid version of the information, and so far students seem to be loving it. πŸ™‚

Opening a barAnd speaking of small businesses, Trey and I, along with our partners (and friends), Josh and Rogan, purchased a building this year and we will be filling it with a rum bar! We're gonna be open SOOOO soon now that it's feeling crazy (in a good way). I can't wait to give you guys a virtual tour of all the work we've done inside the building and then share more about the project over the coming years. πŸ™‚

Easy DIY coffee tableI write about food more often than home decor and crafts, but I LOVE making projects and sharing them from time to time. One of my favorites this year was this super easy DIY coffee table. It's sitting in our new living room as I type this. I love making simple projects for my space, it just makes it feel all the more special. 

On that note, I've got to say, the other authors of this blog have totally KILLED it this year. I am always so inspired by what Elsie, Laura, Mandi, Rachel, LaTonya and Katie dream up. We also have a few new contributing writers that you'll see more from in 2016, and I could not be more excited. We've had a great team in 2015, and I can't wait to see it expand a little in 2016!

Angela underwaterLoved sharing the equipment I use for underwater photography. I used my gear in both Tulum and Iceland this year and it makes water activities even more fun for me since I pretty much just want to be taking photos the whole time I'm on a trip. πŸ™‚

Also, if you've never checked out our photography archives before, you totally need to. Janae contributed a bunch of useful articles this year. 

Empty home tourWe moved this year. So of course I had to share a rambling video home tour of our house just before we moved in. So much has changed already! I can't wait to share some room tours with you guys in 2016. 

We also have a super exciting NEW home decor type project that we're gonna share with you all soon. I think you're gonna like it, so I can't wait until we can spill the beans on that one. πŸ™‚

Sewed my first dress2015 was the year I got way more into sewing than ever before. I blame having helped edit the Sew With Us e-Course (which totally rocks, btw). I sewed my first dress from scratch, among some other easy and fun projects. I'm planning to make 2016 the year I tackle my first quilt. Pretty excited for that!

ABM cookbookIt's hard to say what my favorite moment of 2015 was…but it MIGHT be the day I found out we got a cookbook deal


Ahem, excuse me.

Guys, it's been a dream of mine for years to write a cookbook. We're already past our first deadline and the project is really starting to take shape and feel like it has a clear direction. I think you're really gonna love the concept, or at least I hope you do. I love it. πŸ™‚ The only drawback is sadly I won't be bugging you to preorder until 2017. So we've got some time before then. 

Thank you so, so much! Like from the bottom of my heart thank you, guys! Why? Because ABM would not exist without our amazing and kindhearted readers. I think this is one of the very best corners of the Internet because you guys make it so, and it truly inspires me everyday. Thank you for a wonderful 2015β€”I hope you're gonna stick around for next year because we have lots of exciting things in store just for you! xo. Emma