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Ask Auntie Annabelle: How did you start writing this blog?

Ask Aunt Annabelle

My advice blogging muses, Ann Landers and Dear Abby
"Hi Annabelle,

So, what's the deal with this blog? Do you really write a new post every day? How long have you been writing this blog? Have you paid off all your debt? Where did you get the idea to write a blog?"

- Friendly Adoring Ladylike Superfan Elephant


What an interesting series of questions! How did I get started? Basically, I read a bunch of books about people who challenged themselves to improve and/or change something about themselves for one year.

These books included The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs (where he obeyed the Bible, literally, for one year); Sleeping Naked is Green by Vanessa Farquharson (where she made one environmentally friendly change everyday for a year), Living Oprah by Robyn Okrant (where she did everything Oprah said to for a year), and Up For Renewal by Cathy Alter (where she follows magazine advice for a year).

Yes, Julie and Julia is the classic of this genre, and I probably saw that movie the same year too, although I haven't read the book. Wait, or maybe I did? Anyway, I know the story of it.

Meryl Streep is adorable, Amy Adams has a terrible wig, boeuf bourguignon, etc.

Anyway, so, at the end of 2010, I suddenly realized that I could do something like this too. I had been following "live" blog projects like 365 Fashion Rehab, where the two shopaholic bloggers didn't buy clothes for a year, and thought maybe I could do the same thing. My initial plan was a crazy version of 365 Fashion Rehab crossed with Sleeping Naked is Green, where every day I would eliminate the purchase of a new sort of thing and, at the end of the year, I would have paid down my debt.

It became immediately obvious that this was crazymaking. If you go back do some of my earliest posts (easy to do, since I usually number them), you will see that I did things like list ongoing rules I would try and keep for the whole year, which didn't really last longer than a few months. Though I did try to keep up, rules like "don't buy any Starbucks drinks after you use up this $25 gift card!" were just doomed to fail.

I could maybe go without Starbucks drinks in the summer, but what's autumn without a pumpkin spice latte? Or Christmastime without an eggnog latte? SAD ANNABELLE TIMES, that's what.

Gradually, I have realized that a) I don't have the kind of willpower and/or a movie deal to get me o stick to insane goals like that and b) this isn't about a 365-day gimmick, but about trying to alter my everyday lifestyle. Like how the best diets are just when people learn to eat well, instead of only drinking cayenne pepper infused maple syrup for two weeks, right? It's a lifestyle change, not a crash budgeting diet.

Oh, and because I post every bleeding day (why did I decide to do that? I forget. Now I'm afraid if I miss a day I'll lose all my momentum) I have obviously branched out to talk about fashion, and books, and TV shows, etc.

I have also developed an insanely large amount of adorable 1960s images on my Pinterest page, due to all the scoping out for pictures I do for this blog.

All that to say, in the past 1.5 years of writing this blog, I have not gotten rid of my debt, but I have made some proactive steps. I mean, the debt hasn't gotten bigger, which is nearly an accomplishment, right?

Now, writing on the blog everyday is just part of my routine. And for days I get stuck, luckily I have Bea Danville to help me out.

Do you have questions for Ask Auntie Annabelle? Email me at annabelle(at)shoppingdetox(dot)com, or post them on the Shopping Detox Facebook page or tweet it up!

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