How I Still Love Blogging After 12 Years!

Twelve years is a long time, ESPECIALLY in blog years. When I first started this site, it was 100% for fun. I had no idea it would ever make a penny, but the blog world grew and evolved so quickly—it was mind blowing. We were so lucky to be in the right place and the right time, already blogging when that shift happened. But we also worked our asses off, and still do! Anyway, that’s not the point of why I’m here today.

I’m here today to talk about how we still LOVE blogging after 12 years. In that span of time we’ve seen the blogging world change and grow and then change some more. Many of my favorite blogs for years past made the decision to stop blogging or move on. It’s definitely been a topic of conversation in our close circle of blog friends—”What is your end goal? What is your exit strategy?” Emma and I even talked about this as recently as two days ago.

What’s crazy to me is that I through all the highs and lows, I truly still love blogging just for fun. I even have a family blog on the side that I do just for fun. Emma and I have had hundreds of conversations over the years about which types of posts we enjoy, which type we dread, what’s easier or more difficult, expensive, or hard on our marriages (lol, anything where you have to receive a ton of boxes). Those factors change over time. We’ve also changed the type of posts we write. Where I used to feel happiest sharing a craft tutorial or a wishlist type of roundup, I am currently most inspired by posts like this where I just get to talk—and also big room tours because they keep me challenged and growing. Emma has her own list!

We’ve said over and over that even if we decide at some point to stop blogging professionally, we would still enjoy blogging for fun. I guess that’s the best you can hope for in a career really. Right?

Here are a few keys to how and why I still enjoy blogging after 12 years:

1. I allow myself room to change. 
I am an enneagram 7 and I have often lost interest in things I was once obsessed with. That’s part of why I’m so surprised I never get tired of blogging, and I’m starting to think I never will. I’m probably about 70% a different person than I was at age 24 when I started this blog. I’ve changed, my life has changed, my hobbies have changed. Almost everything is different.

Leaving room to change and grow, and having a diverse lineup of content is the reason I’ve been able to stay interested all this time! I will admit I get envious of bloggers who do just one thing really well— interiors, food … whatever it may be. But for me, having the option to jump around and try different categories has been so helpful!

2. I am not afraid to fail and move on. 

We fail all the time, people just don’t notice. People see the successes but they don’t see the failures. We’re currently winding things up with our beauty brand Oui Fresh—we’re going to transition it to be JUST the beauty box this fall. We kind of failed. It wasn’t horrible, but it certainly wasn’t growing and thriving like a lot of other parts of our business, so we’re moving on.

Early on in the blog we had a vintage store—I actually had two storefronts if you dig through our archives long enough. They were so cute and fun, but they failed financially. I still miss decorating those store windows, but we moved on.

When I was 27, I spent all my money making demos for a toy line. I got pretty far along and even presented it in person to one of the biggest toy companies in the world, but it didn’t work out. It could have changed my life, but it didn’t happen. Just a few years later, we made our first app and it did change my life and our business path forever. You remember the successes, you don’t remember the heartbreaks.

Failure is not a big deal to me. If we let our fear of failure control us, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful as we are today. You win some, you lose some!

3. I blog about my changing interests. 

To be fair, I don’t blog about all my interests. I do keep some things just for fun, but in the early days of this blog I pretty much shared everything I was interested in, working on, watching, listening to or trying out.

I like that I CAN blog about whatever I am interested in—I mean, through the years I’ve blogged about so many random things. Whole 30, wallpaper, essential oils, our adoptions, KonMari … haha. At face value it doesn’t make sense to combine all those topics on one blog. But it works because they’re all things I was passionate about at some point.

In other words, keeping it fresh!

4. We found our boundaries. 

There are so many things we never talk about on the blog—90% of it you probably don’t even notice. Setting up healthy boundaries is key, but each person has to do the work fo figure out their own boundaries. Early on I used to think that if someone else didn’t do this or that (or did), it meant that was right or wrong. Definitely not. My sister and I even have different tolerances for what we feel comfortable sharing and how often. Each person has to figure out their own healthy space and guard it.

Now that I’m older (and wiser!), I almost never judge another blogger’s choices or boundaries because I recognize that THEY are the only ones who have to live with their choices, and I live with mine. There’s no rule book for this.

5. I consider my blog readers my friends.

Although it may sound cheesy, I do have the occasion fairly often to meet one of you, whether in the airport or the aisle of Target or at a blogger event. Without fail, these experiences inspire me and remind me that I’m writing this blog for real people—people who I have a LOT in common with. It’s the family you choose, as they say. 🙂

Whether you’re a brand new reader or someone who has been here all 12 years, thank you for reading!!!! We appreciate it and love doing this! I can honestly see myself blogging when I am my mom’s age, which makes me so happy.

Cheers to 20 more years! For real. xx- Elsie

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson, Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photo edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Thank you, Elsie. I’m reading ABM for 10 years yay, and suddenly I miss here crafts which used to be fun and creative PLUS needed for a life situation/small spaces etc. But a part Laura makes now, also kid projects. It’s a part of the growing but I don’t find any good blogs on the crafty side 😂. I’ve been here and gonna be here in the next 20 years 🙌🏻♥️.

  • I love posts like this too, Elsie! Sorry to hear Oui Fresh didn’t take off more. Do you think you’ll re-stock the Sleep blend essential oil before you wind up entirely? I’ve become dependent on it! 🙂

  • I’m so grateful you keep showing up! It’s like getting notes from a close friend. I love this blog and now your Instagram too. They give so much light to my days. Honestly, you scared me for a second talking about exit strategy, so I’m very happy you’re sticking around awhile!

  • Omg I remember the vintage stores!!! I used to read the blog obsessively. Kinda stopped reading blogs in general for quite a few years but still kept using the colorstory app. And now I’ve started reading regularly and following you ladies on insta. A nice kind of full circle back here commenting 😊

  • Glad to hear blogging still inspires you! As a reader, it’s good to know you aren’t planning to move on anytime soon! I’m happy to continue to follow along as you guys evolve. Thanks for all the inspiration and everything you share!

  • Love this—thank you for sharing all of your insight! I love that you’re not afraid to try new things and move on if they don’t quite work out. That’s really inspiring for me to hear. I’m so sad Oui Fresh products will be discontinued—your lip glosses legit became my favorite lip gloss of all-time and I have a bunch of colors. <3 (Also love the oils—I really appreciated being able to buy oils from a woman-owned business without supporting MLM.)

    • Awe thank you! We had hoped it would take off more too. Clean beauty is really a big passion for us. There will be awesome deals as we wind down on the product lines though. xx!

  • Congratulations on twelve great years, Elsie and Emma!

    I thought this occasion was as good as any, to let you know what your blog has meant to me over the years! I started reading your blog around eleven years ago. I was twenty years old, had just moved out of home, into a little apartment and had very little money. I found your blog while searching the Internet of cheap, creative ways to decorate. Through many of your craft projects, I turned by dingy, depressing little apartment into a little hub of bright colours and art, and made it very own home. At the time, I didn’t have much money for clothes either and I felt really self conscious when I would go out with my friends and to university. Through following your posts about Red Velvet. I developed an appreciation of vintage clothing (not to mention a great eye for a unique piece) and was able to develop a distinctive personal style, whilst on a budget. It’s also around the time I started sewing my own clothes, which I still do to this day. My then boyfriend used to joke that it was impossible to get me out of the house on a Saturday because I would always say ” I can’t come out until I finish (insert craft project) here. ” and he didn’t know how to explain to his rugby mates that I wasn’t coming to a BBQ until I had finished the pie I was making/ cupboard I was painting/dress I was sewing.

    Now, eleven years later, life is very different. I own my own home, that boyfriend is my husband, we are expecting our first child and I’m fortunate enough to have a stable income. But thanks to your blog (which I still read a few times a week) my closet is still filled with vintage clothes, I still make and restore my own furniture and “Stay home and make something” is basically my personal weekend motto.

    I feel like I have grown up with your blog. Because you have both been so open to change and personal growth, your blog has been able to grow and mature as many of your readers have.
    I’ve also loved following Elsie’s adoption stories, which have changed so many of my preconceived notions about international adoption.

    So thank you both for your hard work, your honesty and your willingness to take risks. You’ve made life a lot brighter, turned houses into homes, and have taught me skills I will use for the rest of my life and pass onto to my children.

    Thanks again, and congratulations!

    Jess

  • Love this post Elsie. You – and this blog and all it’s contributors are so so inspirational ❤️ I think I must have followed you all 12 years (actually I thought it was longer haha) it was all since the good old scrapbooking days. I even met you in Paris at a scrapbook convention (show) and that actually makes me think I know you a little .. lol. Hope you’ll continue blogging forever ❤️

  • I love that you put that last one in there about feeling like we’re all friends. I’ve been following a few bloggers for over ten years now, (including you guys!) and it’s so bizarre to me that I know so much about a strangers life. But I also LOVE reading these blogs because it feels like we’re growing up together. Anyway, here’s to the bizarre internet bringing a bunch of strangers together 🙂

  • I’ve known you guys since 2010. Back then, I was an angsty teen (with identity crisis) crazy about DIYs, so I read your posts religiously everyday. You guys were my hero. I’m not as much as an avid reader now as I was back then, but I still go back to ABM every so often and very happy to still-ALWAYS find posts that were inspiring (such as this one!), in a different, much wiser, kind of way.

  • This is such a fun post Elsie. I’ve been reading for about 9 years, from about when my first baby was born and I was suddenly home and looking for something fun to do when she napped! She is nine now and life has changed a heap so it’s really fun to have watched the little bit of life you share with us readers change too. I had my 4th baby the same day you adopted Nova and that was really spesh! X

  • Thank you for sharing these tips, Elsie! ABM has been an inspiration in my own blogging journey. ☺ Would love to see some of your tips on dealing with failure &/or the fear of failure. (It seems like there was one by Emma in the past (?), but it’s always nice to get a little kick in the tail about not letting the fear of failure stop you. ☺. )

  • So crazy it’s already been 12 years! I’ve been following along for the past 9 and have witnessed not only this blog’s growth, but each of you blossom into your own! From the Red Velvet store to Elsie & Emma getting married to moving to different states, all of the room makeovers & adopting precious babies! It’s been a beautiful thing to witness. This blog is my little ray of sunshine when I’m having a bad day and helps me keep a positive outlook on life. Congrats on 12 years! ❤️

  • I’ve been blogging for several years now, and I still love it. I think it’s my love of writing. I’ve tried a little of this and a little of that, now my blogs are mostly about family, friends, and a lot of misadventures… (mostly mine)

  • Love this post! I definitely agree about how important it is to grow and always write about whatever you’re passionate about.. I figure if you’re bored writing a post, then there’s no way your audience will possibly be interested in it either.

    Dee ~ Vanilla Papers

  • Hi! Just wanted to say I’ve been a reader since 2011, sending lots of love and support 🙂

  • I have been following you here from Denmark in about 10 years, and I have imagined a holiday in the US several times, just to meet you. I have dreamed about you at night 😂 Seriously you have meant so much to me during my 20s, and I feel like we are friends even though you don’t know I exist. Aw it almost sounds creepy when I write it here, but following you all these years I feel like I know you so well, and you have developed so much, and I feel proud for you.
    I wish you all the best. I’m sure you will come up with more great ideas even though Oui Fresh didn‘t work out as planned.
    Xx Julie

  • I can’t remember how I started reading your blog, but after all these years, I feel like we’re good friends ! Even if you don’t know each other. I’ve loved reading about crafts, houses, food, your weddings, your babies, your Thanksgiving parties (which I am so jealous of! we don’t have Thanksgiving in Switzerland), and all other things. Thank you, Emma and all the team for still being fresh and passionnate after all these years, and I’ll love to follow you in the next 20 years! xx

  • I rarely comment but I’ve been reading your blog for as long as you’ve been married. That’s who I keep count because the very first post I read was about youtr wedding. I started my own blog 7 years and I’ve seen the decline on interactions with readers, mainly comments, and I often feel like I’m talking to myself (there’s nothing wrong with that). So I keep blogging because I like it. It give me energy to DO things, because then I share them, otherwise I fear I wouldn’t really do anything (i know me!) so that’s why. But the struggle is real.

    Happy anniversary to both of you and all the people I’ve seen go through ABM. You’ve always been an inspiration to this girl from the end of the world.

  • Thanks for still blogging!! I’ve been so sad about others who have just stopped but it’s refreshing to be reading your blog after all these years and still be interested in what you write! I’m glad you still love it too.

  • Elsie, this posts was so inspiring to read. Your reasons for why you still love blogging after all these years, has given me the confirmation i need to make certain decisions as I start my blog. Thank you for sharing over the years. You have inspired many!

  • Elsie!!! I’m so happy you will still be blogging. ABM is my favourite blog. For some reason, it relaxes me everytime I read your blog. It’s like reading the thoughts and ideas of a family. I’m also glad that you still love blogging! My morning ritual wouldn’t be the same … I’ve been following you since your wedding. Only yesterday I started reading your first ABM posts (back in 2007)… It’s such an interesting journey! I just want to wish you and your amazing family the best, along to all ABM team! xx

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