Monthly Life Update, October 2023

The latest update on my life and behind-the-scenes
A quick life update about my health, our cabin, our pets, my business, and more. embroidered baseball hat that says per my last email

So um… I have not had it in me to blog a ton this year. Pardon the break in monthly life updates, but I really needed to focus on me and the property and the gardens and the pets and just… living my life out here a bit. I think the time away has helped to clarify some stuff in my mind, especially about where I want to put my energy. I’ve been blogging for 10+ years and this is the first time I’ve taken such a long break. I still want to share here on the blog and have decidedly missed it while I’ve been away. So I’m rededicating myself to it. There may still be a few changes coming, but for now I really want to get back into the rhythm of sharing content here in addition to social media (Instagram, Tiktok and Pinterest in case you don’t already follow me!).

Monthly Life Update: October 2023

My Health

My health and reducing my stress levels has been my top priority this year. With that comes spending more time outside gardening and I honestly had one of the best summers I can remember just enjoying my life. I think that translated into my health because I have been having my annual check ups for Birt-Hogg-Dubé and I’m still in tip top shape! My lungs still look good, my kidney scans are clean and I’ve been mostly lucky to not have fibrofolliculoma on my face.

In terms of stress, I’ve taken on more freelance work and stepped away from sponsored content a bit this year. I’m loving the consistency of income, plus also being part of teams so I can also learn from others. I am still able to keep my odd hours (I.e. Friday naps, playing hooky if the sun is out, etc).

The Tiny Zoo

The tiny zoo has been THRIVING. Sean and I like to joke that our newest adoptees, Adeline and Milo, are living their best life now and have just had the best summer of their lives. They are constantly outside, running around and just becoming the silliest little country dogs ever. It’s so cute. And Diamond absolutely loves them, especially Milo. They play for hoursssss.

The geese now have girlfriends also! My friend Becca hatched two female Pilgrim geese for me so we went over to Spokane early in the summer to get them. Having 4 geese now is like my favorite kind of chaos. I still struggle to explain it, but I absolutely love them and their shenanigans.

And we still have about 15 chickens! Not gonna lie, moving out here has been really hard on the flock. From predators to weather to drowning, we really cannot seem to catch a break and keep them happy and healthy. We’re actually considering rehoming the entire flock since winter is coming and it’s so hard on them. It’s just really hard to think about giving up some of the ladies we’ve developed close bonds with. So we’ll see…

The Cabin

Over the course of this year, and really this summer, I have fallen SO deeply in love with this house. I feel like I’m really getting to the heart of what makes me happy out here and a big part of that is setting the scene for the background of my life. I’m obsessed with every room, every thrifted item, every paint color… it is all so comfortable and exactly what I want.

At the risk of jinxing myself, I also feel like we’re settling into a rhythm with the emergencies and things going wrong. We’ve got the generator, we’ve got the emergency supplies, our appliances are almost all entirely new, we’ve been trimming dangerous tree branches… like we are REALLY getting deep into turning this property into our dream home and I love it so much.

Business + My Blog

Like I said earlier, I’ve shifted the way I work and what I work on. I’m finding so much joy in doing content strategy and creation for my clients! It’s really stretched me in a way that I haven’t felt in a while. For at least the past 5 years, the blog and my social channels have been my number one income source. But I feel so much more secure now with consistent freelancing gigs. And while it means that I’ve scaled back a bit on my own content, I also like to think that this shift means the content I do share is better.


And last but definitely not least, Sean and I are doing well! All the people who say that marriage is hard are correct… but when you add in the fact that he is still in the city half of the time for work, it gets harder. We do our best to make time and space for each other to connect. There are times when it’s hard though.

I’m often asked if I get lonely out here and the answer is yes. I wish Sean was here all the time. I married him for a reason! But for now, this arrangement is working for us because I can focus on work when he isn’t here and then give him my full attention when he is here. And in terms of loneliness, all of my closest friends live far away and always have. So I’m used to having to put in the effort to connect with my people. I do a lot of Facetiming and texting!

So that’s a snapshot of what life’s been like for us for the past few months. As always, thank you so much for following along on our journey and being so wonderfully supportive of everything I share here and on social media.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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