You, Me and Some Life Updates


I have a few (actually, many) thoughts and updates for you today.

Over the past seven years of blogging, I’ve thought a lot about you, the audience and the content here on FTRB.

At first it was easy. There was no audience! So I was just putting ideas out there about how to make my new house a home. Slowly other design bloggers and I found each other and we started having conversations through comments. (Remember comments?!) I feel like there was a relative small group of bloggers back then and we all kind of got to know each other as we visited each other other’s sites every day. It was like having a group of like-minded friends.

OBSESSED with everything about this room. Photo by Jason Ingram.

Then, the audience grew to include people who were looking for inspiration for their own homes or people just interested in design. I kept blogging about my house, more blogs were born and there was a lot of engagement on all of them. Good times.

But slowly, everything changed. Blogs primarily became sources for pretty images and more and more people were doing a drive-by, taking what they wanted and moving on. They weren’t necessarily interested in getting acquainted or coming back. While this meant my traffic was up, interaction was down.

Libraries with aubergine walls. Design by Douglas Mackie.

And looking back, this change started to affect what and how I shared here. I can’t count the number of posts I’ve written or started but never published because I didn’t think anyone would be interested in anything other than a long post filled with photos of interiors. And while that may be the only thing a one-time visitor may care about, I want to go back to having more of a dialogue with my regular readers, subscribers, blog friends….. my Right Bankers, if you will. While I’ve never been one to drone on and on about the minutiae of my daily life like some bloggers, I also never intended this to be anything but a personal blog.

So I’m going to stop editing myself so much and just talk to you about what’s going on at FTRB and what I’m pondering. And these days, that’s mostly what it means to live a good, healthy and happy life. Project Simplify is a good example. I also want to go back to sharing what’s inspiring me at the moment (like the images scattered throughout this post). You know, like back in the good old days of blogging before Pinterest put the kibosh on all that.

So with that said, let me fill you in on a few things…..

Library by Rowan & Williams. Photo from the New York Times.

First, I’ve been wanting to give you a final update on Project Simplify and I even wrote not one, but two posts about it but they were truly so boring that I couldn’t bring myself to post them. That’s also why there hasn’t been a blog post in over a month. Sorry! But I also don’t want to leave you hanging if you who have been following along so here is the ultra condensed version of what I did with the remaining three categories. (I reported on Part 1 – House here and Part 2 – Wardrobe/Closet here.)

Part 3 – Financial/Legal/Business
-Purged all unnecessary and outdated emails and files (both digital and paper).
-Updated all of my passwords. (Yes, all of them!)
-Made a list of anything with a due date (taxes, registrations, etc.) and set them as ongoing events in my calendar with a reminder.
-Created a seasonal checklist for home maintenance, researched people to take care of them and scheduled them.

Part 4 – Creative Projects
-Organized all photos (digital and print).
-Purged old art and office supplies.
-(Ongoing) Cleaning out, organizing and decorating my studio and office to create a space that is conducive to creating. (I’ll take you on a tour as soon as I’m finished!)

Part 5 – Health and Spirituality
-Set up all medical checkups in my calendar as recurring events with reminders.
-Got up to date on all checkups!
-Created a daily schedule that incorporates workout, meditation, spiritual study/reading.
-Scheduled regular breaks from social media and screens/devices.
-(Ongoing) Experimenting with simple recipes to add variety to my standard repertoire without making it too taxing. (I think I’ll roundup some of my favorite recipes in a future post.)

In summary, by simplifying these five areas of my life I feel like I’ve set up a solid baseline of organization going forward and that will free up a lot of wasted time and energy. As I said, that was the driving force behind the entire project. But in addition to that, I learned a great deal about myself in the process. I got crystal clear on my values and how I want to live my life and all of that is helping me to make better decisions about where I want to devote my attention and energy.

Wallpaper. Botanicals. Photo from World of Interiors.

For example, going forward, I’ve committed to giving more time to the charities I work with. I also want to spend the majority of my time creating art (I draw and paint mostly) and I’m working up the courage to share more about it here on the blog. Personal development is another area I want to continue to pursue. I also have some very big, extra special trips coming up in the next six months. And I’m trying to learn Italian which I’ve been studying on and off for the past year.

In order to make time for all of these things, I had to cut out other things.

So, firstly, my online pop-up shop Goods FROM THE RIGHT BANK is now closed. You may have noticed I hadn’t held a pop-up in quite a while but I recently made it official. It had a good run and I thank you for your support over the years!

Secondly, I stopped taking on e-design projects a couple of years ago but I don’t think I’ve ever made a formal announcement. I want to thank all of you who sought my advice over the years. It was always an honor to be invited into your homes and I enjoyed getting to know and work with all of you.

(I’ve also cut back on decorating projects in general but still take on consulting projects now and then where the fit and timing are right. Please send me a message if you’d like to discuss a project.)

Now none of this means I’m decorating any less because, among other things, there is still that magazine shoot to prepare for….

Pink roses in the English countryside. Photo source unknown.*

On that front, here is my punch list to get the house ready! (There has been a lot of rearranging going on!)

  1. Reupholster stools for living room.
  2. Find new pillows for living room.
  3. Hang art in guest rooms.
  4. Find rug for the master bedroom
  5. Hang art in dressing room.
  6. Find new stools for kitchen island?
  7. Paint guest room pink/peach. (This one is done but I just wanted the satisfaction of crossing it off this list!)
  8. Styling, styling, styling.

I’ll share the details of everything on this list in another post(s) since your eyes are probably ready to fall out of their sockets by now! Thanks so much for reading today….. and for the past seven years! I truly appreciate you being here. Let’s see where the next seven take us!

*If you know the source of this photo, please let me know.

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38 thoughts on “You, Me and Some Life Updates

  1. Really enjoyed this post. Thank you for not becoming a commercial laden blog. Many of the blogs I used to enjoy I no longer visit as they are filled with advertising and sponsored product plugs! Best wishes on expanding your art work.

    1. Thank you so much for saying that, Diane! It’s something I actually wanted to discuss but the post got too long. 🙂 I’m not interested in making money from blogging which allows me to share only what I truly want to share. There were times when I felt like I should just get out of the game because blogs seemed to have become just vehicles for selling. But I decided to carry on in my own way and see where it goes. So your support is really encouraging. Thanks so much again!

  2. I confess I’m one of the drive byers though I also read every word as your writing is always interesting. I have a shorter and shorter blog roll and I’m always happy when a post from you pops up!

    1. In that case you are not a drive-byer! 🙂 Thank you so much for the kind words, Laura, I consider it a huge compliment that you find my writing interesting. In fact, that just made my whole day. So thank you!!!

  3. The blogs I read are the ones that are just what you described wanting yours to be – so please carry on. I am bookmarking this post because all the areas that you mentioned in your project simplify are right on and you have inspired me!

    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your support! Project Simplify has changed my life dramatically for the better and I could not be happier about it. So I’m really pleased to hear that it’s inspiring. I would highly recommend doing some version of it to anyone who feels like there is never enough time to do the things they really want. Thanks again, Jenny!

  4. I look forward to your posts because they are consistently thoughtful and personable. Thank you and keep doing you.

  5. Your new (old) direction sounds lovely. I agree with the commenter above that many blogs have become so commercialized that the ones I find myself skipping over most of the posts that come up in my blog feed. I keep reading the ones that aren’t afraid to go a bit deeper. Erin Loechner has taken Design For Mankind in a beautifully personal direction while still taking on sponsored posts. Looking forward to seeing your artwork when you’re ready to share!

    1. Thanks for sharing that, Lesley. Blogs have changed so, so much over the years and I really miss the days when they weren’t a business. I’m glad there are still readers out there for little old hobby blogs like mine! 🙂 Thanks for your continued support!

  6. Oh, Ally, you’re always so inspiring! You know I love reading your blog because it’s just like visiting with you in person. And since I obviously can’t see you in Atlanta as often I would like, this is the next best thing. Cannot wait to follow along, see your art and your house. So excited to see it in print! Kudos, my friend!!


  7. I too enjoy a non-commercialized “hobby” blog. And I’m making an effort to comment more so that those bloggers like you know how much we appreciate what you do and how you enrich our lives. Cheers – CT

    1. Thank you so much, CT!!! That is such a lovely thing to say! Your comments are truly appreciated! Even though I know everyone is pressed for time these days, without comments, it can sometimes feel like I’m talking to myself(!) So thank you for taking the time and putting a huge smile on my face today!

  8. If I just want pretty pictures I go to Pinterest. The reason I read blogs is to hear the blogger’s point of view, to get a sense of their process, heck sometimes just to get some humanity behind perfectly styled images. In the end the spaces we occupy are what they are, because of the people we are. So to cut a long story short, that is why I still read your blog. Because it’s yours:)

    1. I couldn’t agree more about spaces being a reflection of their inhabitants. They should be anyway! Remember the days before Pinterest when you had to really search for inspiration images? I really miss the days of discovering random blogs and sites in that way. Thank you so much for reading and for your support! It means the world to hear that!

  9. I’m very excited about your new direction. Blogging and social media has changed so much during the past few years. I’m not interested in reading blogs that are all about advertising and/or have no POV.

  10. So happy you’re going back to the “old style.” I miss what blogs used to be so much, and yours was always one of my favorites. Reading on mobile instead of the PC is why I’ve stopped commenting on blogs (so hard on the phone!)…I’m going to make an effort to change that too.

    1. Hi, Christina! 🙂 It’s very reassuring to hear that you feel the same way. So thanks so much for your support! And I completely relate to what you’re saying about reading things on devices! I appreciate you making the effort. Thanks again!

  11. As a fellow blogger, I completely appreciate everything you shared in this post. I have often felt like “everyone’s a blogger” these days, and with the volume of options for readers (and the upping of the game with digital magazines and pinterest) people looking for eye candy do it without looking at blogs anymore. And, I fear many blogs are selling vehicles/sponsored post machines, and losing their originality – their voice. I’ve so far drawn the line at sidebar ads, but even that felt a bit sell-outy. In any case, I do enjoy what you share, and look forward to what’s to come! Cheers!

    1. I’m completely on the same page as you, Stephanie. Of course everyone is free to sell whatever they want on their blogs but it becomes an entirely different ball game once you go down that path. I also have side bar ads (to offset the cost of running the blog) but I don’t think they’re anything like sponsored posts as they’re not designed to look like anything other than a straight up ad. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and the kind words! I really appreciate it!

  12. Super late to the game in commenting to this post, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciate a blog with a great eye for design with enough life details to make it personal and interesting. I’ve always enjoyed your blog for that reason, so I love your refreshed outlook on the future of your blog. And of course, as always, I love hearing about and seeing your travels!

  13. It’s so nice to come across a blog which is so thoughtfully written. Your photos are beautiful and so full of detail. I’ve only just come across your site and look forward to reading more. Especially about simplifying life. Thank you

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