An important part of this balanced breakfast.

A while back, I asked y'all to comment on a post and ask me any question you wanted. I got a ton of responses, and I'm hoarding many of them for later use. But I thought it might be fun to answer some of the personal ones today, for your enjoyment and edification. Ready? Go:

How old are you? Eeeeep! Don't be mad at me for asking. I'm just dying to know!

I ain't mad. And I feel like I have mentioned this before a bunch of times? Maybe not. I turned 37 in November. My mother introduces me to people as “almost 40,” which is weird and so, so wrong. STOP IT MOM. Anyway, I was born on November 25 and share my birthday with JFK, Jr. (RIP) and Christina Applegate. Trivia!

How did you manage to become a successful blogger and Internet Famous after the challenges of pre-teen motherhood?

I became a successful internet writer by impressing Sarah Bunting with an unsolicited writing sample. I had already been blogging for a year or so, but TWoP was my first actual paying internet writing job. Which led to my stint in television writing in 2007, a thing that gave me the courage to do all manner of dumb things (quit my job, quit my job again, become a full-time blogger/decorator/camp director) But really, a lot of it was just work + luck + an appalling lack of good sense. I also have a great network of friends and family whose support allowed me to quit my job and take this leap.

As for doing this all after pre-teen motherhood, many of you know that I was just in my second year of college when Mad was born. So, you know, after her pre-teen years I was still in my early thirties -- plenty of time to work on successful blogging and internet fame.

If you can't answer all [of my] questions, I would appreciate you answering this one. My husband and I have one awesome 3 1/2 year old son who has high functioning autism. He is the cutest smartest little guy I know! I'm 38 and thinking about whether or not we want to have another child, so here goes my question(s):

Did you make a conscious choice to have one child?

Well, it was sort of decided for us : Vince and I experienced secondary infertility and weren’t able to have another child. It was very painful, of course, but each consecutive year has been easier, and has revealed a larger light at the end of that particular tunnel. And we are so grateful that this particular girl is the one we get to share our lives with.


What are the pros and cons for you having one child?

There are no cons, in my mind, but that may be a function of Madeleine’s personality. She likes being an only child. She likes that our house is always quiet. She likes that she has two rooms to herself in which to watch TV and read and play her weird XBoxes.

Also, I sort of like that we did all the hard parent stuff in our 20s. Our friends are having babies right now, and we are helping Madeleine fill out college applications. That shit is AWESOME. I can’t wait to send her care packages next year, for her to come home from school so I can wash her laundry, to get frantic texts for twenty dollars TO EAT OMG PLS. Bonus: I never have to attend another Christmas singing program.

Will you help your daughter decorate her dorm when she heads off to college?

Hells yes. She really has no choice in the matter.

What does your perfect day look like?

Coffee, SportsCenter, shrimp po-boys, Bloody Marys, hours of television, dinner out, good wine, lots of dancing. At the beach. With my dog. And books.

What other artistic or intellectual interests do you have beside interiors?

I love photography of all kinds, I love writing, and I also love the graphic design aspect of blogging. But really, I have many outside interests, and they change on a daily basis, so ask me again tomorrow and I will tell you something different. Also: Competitive ping-pong.

Will you answer a yes or no question?


How did you know when to take the leap and leave your day job? Were there doubts? 

I didn’t know when to take the leap; I just did it one day. See above, re: no regard for self-preservation or common sense. I discussed it with my family, of course, but it wasn’t a long-term planned thing. I definitely had doubts, such as my concern that we would all end up in a beautifully decorated cardboard box, but my very wise friend Eliza said to me one day, “Here’s your new motto, AB: Leap and the net will appear.” And it did.

Why do you hate eggs?

Because they are super gross. I can offer no other explanation.

What is your favorite joke?

Q: How does Snoop Dogg keep his clothes so white?

A: Blee-atch!

Aaaaaaand, scene. I hope you have all enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and into my mind. And I hope you all have amazing weekends. Please don’t eat any eggs.

AuthorAB Chao
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Welcome to the first installment of Ask AB! I think I have, like, sixty-something questions to work through, so here are the first...three. Yeah. This is going to take a while. Anyway, please enjoy this small sampling. There's more to come. Much, much more.

Elizabeth asks:

You mentioned at the Austin camp that you were contemplating making an iced coffee how-to video, or did I dream that?

Yes, Elizabeth, I did mention that. And I'd like to show you this video to illustrate why it has taken so long.

There are a lot like this. A WHOLE LOT. (But yes, it's coming soon, and it is sure to be as entertaining as it is educational.)


Amy asks:

Is it OK to hate throw pillows? I mean, I love how they look, but hate sitting on a chair with them so they always end up in a pile on an unused chair. I just want to get rid of them. But chairs/couches need some oomph so should I just get over it?! UGH.

Lots of people hate throw pillows, Amy. They are not really comfortable for leaning against or sitting near. So, in the words of the inimitable Caity Weaver: THATZ OKAY.

One thing you can do to make your throw pillows not so annoying, though, is to change out any poly-fill inserts to down inserts. Your pillows will be squishier and so much nicer to lean against. Also, they will have a better shape AND down inserts respond really well to the decorator karate chop. You know, like this:

Photo: Jamie Meares, who has been killing it lately, BTW.


Teresa asks:

You and Lori Andrews (The 10 Cent Designer) seem to be experts in the effortless looking shirt partial-tuck. Do you have any basic guidelines to determine where to tuck or how much of the tail should be tucked? This seems like a very dumb question I'm sure, but I always feel disheveled or sloppy when I try it.

I am a fan of the half-tuck, but I think it only really works for super-casual outfits. My method involves a) doing it only with t-shirts, b) while wearing a belt, and c) only tucking a little bit. If you go too crazy -- like tucking in only one side of a button-down -- it can look weird and dumb.

Perhaps Miss Lori can add to this in the comments -- she is the real expert. I mean, come on. This is GOOD:

Photo: Lori Andrews

AuthorAB Chao
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Today was maintenance day on this here website, which is why there is no new and/or fabulous content for you to enjoy. I fixed some stuff, and re-wrote some stuff, and re-designed some stuff, and unsuccessfully tried to decide on a new bio photo since the current one is so old I actually have short hair. I hate all of the new prospects, and now that Ben Corda is gone, I am in a real pickle and look like this:

Aw. That is real sad. So y'all know what that means, right? It means it's time for Ask AB: Anything Goes Edition. The last time we did this was almost a year ago. It was pretty fun. So, what do you want to know? Beauty, hair, clothing, decorating, personal? Ask, and you shall receive. To the comments!

Photo: Ben Corda *sob*

AuthorAB Chao
67 CommentsPost a comment