10 Awesome Happenings From 2017…So Far

The last 6 months have been a sham. In today’s world it’s pretty easy to write a list of 10 terrible things that happened recently… in fact, you can probably write up 10 terrible things that have happened this week #America. But, in the spirit of being my opposite self (known pessimist) I’m going to encourage us to focus on the positive.

I think it can be really easy to focus on all of the not-so-great things in the world, and while I am not advocating for ignoring those (at all!) I am offering a 5 minute read break of some pretty cool things that have happened, but that can easily be overlooked. But don’t let it stop with me! I want to hear all the beautiful things that have happened in your lives, as well. In the spirit of celebration, share yours in the comments!

1. The apocalypse didn’t happen

Okay, so this one might seem a bit extreme. But, yo. Shit went down in January, and I think we can all agree on that (sorry for the swearing, mom). But can I just say something, really quick? I’m proud of you guys. I’m proud of my allies who post signs in their yards saying that they support people who look different from themselves. I’m proud of the people who don’t stand around ignoring homophobia or xenophobic remarks on public transportation. I’m proud of the women who take their daughters to protests with signs that say, “WE ARE HERE. WE ARE WATCHING. WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!” I’m proud of my science friends who march for knowledge. I’m proud of my friends who sat in airports and said, “No. Fear will not rule how we treat our neighbors.” I’m proud of you guys.

2. I found out what I want to be when I grow up

This is the year when I finally figured it out. I know what I want to be when I grow up! And no, it’s not a brain surgeon—sorry mom. I graduated in 2010 with a Degree in Journalism and literally no idea what I wanted to do with my life, other than have people stop asking me what my five year plan was.

I gave myself five years to do whatever the hell I wanted. I traveled the world, lived in another country and in different states. I worked for a non-profit, I took more internships than I can count. I was a nanny. Giving myself time to grow was one of the best gifts I think I could have ever given myself, and it works! I finally figured something out. Stay tuned for more details!

3. I took a trip to Europe 

Every year, since I started solo backpacking, I’ve tried to take a trip back to to Europe. Why Europe? Because it’s my heart. I don’t know how to describe it, really. But when I’m there (almost regardless of the country) I feel like I’m at home. Since 2013 I’m kept my promise to myself and this year I went to Denmark, Scotland, Ireland and Belgium! I’m so excited because I’m actually going to get to go TWICE this year, which I do not take for granted, at all. What an insane and unimaginable gift. I’m so excited.

4. I went to a clothing exchange 

Hands up if you like clothes! As someone who has more than I probably should, and a Degree in Fashion Design, I’m a 100% clothing and shoe lover. This month I got the opportunity to meet up with some other stylish ladies, and we exchanged clothing and stories and laughs. The best part was that all the extra clothes got given to an awesome non-profit that helps out women coming out of domestic abuse situations!

5. I hosted a craft night…and it was f*cking awesome (sorry, mom)

Me and a friend tried to join a knitting group about a month ago and when we got to the damn coffee shop (sorry, mom) we found out that the group wasn’t meeting anymore. We had been waiting to go for weeks, so we were pretty upset to find out we couldn’t get our knit on.

Solution? Host a craft night at my house so we DEFINITELY have a place to create and geek out. AND IT WAS SO FUN. One of my passions in life is bringing together magnificent, strong, creative women and having them all meet and talk to each other. What an awesome event for us to get to craft and laugh and drink wine and just have a great time!

6. I’ve hung out with eight estranged friends

I’ve talked about this on here, before, but my New Years Resolution was to grab coffee with someone every month, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. So far we’re 5/5 and I already have a couple coffee hang times scheduled for June.

This has honestly been one of the coolest resolutions, because it is TOO easy to lose touch with awesome people who may even live close, but are just eternally busy. And I get it, we’re so busy with life that we don’t have time for relationships with people, anymore. But let’s swim against the tide and battle those loneliness statistics (looking at you, Seattle—we’re #5 on the list).

7. I went to an awesome birthday dinner for my Grandpa

My family is borderline insane. And the great part about saying that is that we all agree, so I don’t have to apologize. That being said, we still get together and we still celebrate the occasional event. This April, we had a glorious celebration for my Grandpa’s birthday, and it was the actually a lot of fun! Maybe we’re growing out of some of our crazy?

8. I had a sleepover with my friends

Yep. Like an old-school sleepover. The brainchild of my brilliant roommate, we built a blanket fort out of our living room, watched Knight’s Tale, and ate pizza. Of course we had all types of girl talk and tons of laughs as well. The best part? It was at my house, so I still got to go to sleep in my own bed. #adulting

9. I didn’t adopt a cat…but I did get a cat sitting job

In March I got out of a pretty long term/serious relationship and as all sane recent breakup-ees do, I immediately went on the hunt for a cat to distract me from all of my woes. Thank the universe that nobody let me get one (because practically speaking I am technically allergic to most of them…broken hearts make you do weird things). The GOOD news is that I got a job cat sitting, which is awesome because I get to play with cats, get paid, and I still can breathe at home! Win-win-win.

10. I took a personal finance class…and it was awesome

Call me crazy, but why is personal finance not a required class in college? I mean, no wonder this country has so many financial problems. Ask any millennial and all we know is that if we don’t pay the student loan gods we get in trouble. What about retirement? What about balancing a budget sheet? WHAT ABOUT TAXES!? Okay, so that last one is probably more important to me because I work at an accounting firm, but come on America, where are we supposed to figure this stuff out!?

Luckily there was a free personal finance class that was offered near me, and it was like four hours of empowerment. I highly recommend looking into your local community centers (or this one was at a church—shoutout to Quest) to see if you can take one. Believe me, it’s worth the time investment.

11. I have an art exhibit going up tomorrow! 

Bonus! I have an art exhibit going up at Irwin’s Bakery tomorrow and I’m so excited! I’ve wanted to have an exhibit for a while, and it’s so awesome that the dream bubbling around in my mind is actually becoming real. If you have a chance to stop by definitely do, if you can’t, you can check out more pics (and a video – woot!) on my Facebook page.

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Peace Like A River: April Travel Inspiration

Where in the world has Emilee been?

Not an unusual question, since I’m usually traveling around the world. But lately I haven’t been on my blog, and there are a few reasons for that. March was a really crazy and kind of terrible month in my life. I had a lot of upsets, and a lot of plans got literally trampled in dirt and tears. But that’s part of life, isn’t it? And as much as it hurts, I know that I’m strong enough to press on, and to dig deeper.

I needed to take a couple of weeks away from my writing to recover, but behold — I’m back! And April is already proving to be a much (MUCH) better month.

For starters, I’ve started writing again, which is always a good sign. When I’m writing, I’m happy. If I’m not writing, there’s probably something wrong. April has brought all kinds of new opportunities for me to be able to partner with other creatives, which I’m so incredibly thankful for, and I love that the pieces keep coming together, in order for me to keep doing what I love.

So what’s up next?

April is going to be filled with copywriting projects, continuing my Etsy shop and working on paintings for the exhibit I’m getting ready to display in June (I’M SO EXCITED!). Oh, and continuing to work like a mad-woman. In the past I’ve apologized a lot for working so much, but there shall be no more of that nonsense. I love working, and I love where I work (all four jobs). And the thing is, if I love what I’m doing, how dare others condemn it. Can I get an amen!?
In other inspiration news I’ve been watching some cool shows, while working on my many projects. Here are my favorites at the moment:

Elementary: An American version of Sherlock Holmes, that actually isn’t that bad. It took me forever to start this show, because I was so worried it would be terrible, but I actually really like it.
Harlots (Viewer discretion advised): This show is a Hulu original, and all about bad ass women at the end of the 18th century. It has a (basically) all female cast and I love the politics of strong women who are so entirely bad-ass.
Mercy Street: Season 3 just ended, but I’m absolutely in love with this is an amazing Civil War era drama. Again, strong female characters who have strong character development (sarcastic *GASP*) and there’s just a really well rounded cast, overall.
The White Queen: This show is set during The War of the Roses, in England. I LOVE IT SO MUCH. I’m also really excited because there’s a sequel, “The White Princess” coming out on April 16th!
Survivor:
 Yes, this show is still on. One of my friends mentioned it and then I thought, “Oh, I’ll just watch one episode” and I got hooked. #guiltypleasure

I’m also really excited for all of the amazing arts events Seattle has to offer in the month of April. I love living in a city that’s so passionate about art and music and theater. It really does feed my soul. This weekend I’m going to the Seattle Art Museum’s new exhibit, Seeing Nature, and I couldn’t be more excited. I literally always need a little more painting inspiration in my life.

I mean, LOOK. The Seattle Art Museum’s current exhibit “Seeing Nature” looks so amazing!

I’ve also been reading a lot, lately. Over the past year I’ve bought about 20 books I want to read… and I’ve read approximately 3 of them. So, now’s the time to dive in and consume them ALL. My current read is called Uninvited and it’s a beautiful book written by Lysa TerKeurst. To be honest, the title of the book sounds depressing, but it’s actually about living intentionally with others in your life, establishing a strong self identity and overcoming obstacles. I’d highly recommend it.

And lastly I’m working on this project. It’s kind of an awesome New Years Resolution that’s been really hard for me, but has proved to be so incredibly inspiring. This year, rather than resolving against something I decided to resolve to do something: every month in 2017 I’ll meet up with one person to have coffee. Not a work date, not a group hangout session, but a one-on-one intentional sit down cup of tea/coffee. Sounds easy, right? It’s not.

The reality of the world that we live in is that we’re constantly on the go. Especially as Americans, we’re taught to keep running, running, running. But what about the people who get left behind? Not because you don’t want them in your life, but because you’re so busy chasing a career or the next adventure, or a marriage, or your children, that you completely forget to connect. Intentionally connect.

My New Years resolution was to intentionally connect with people in 2017.

I’m not going to lie, it was really hard the first couple of months. I have a really crazy schedule, and so do most people I know (because they’re complete bad-asses) but I’ve held true to my resolution. The crazy thing is, I barely made time in January, slid by in February, but in March (*dramatic pause*) I grabbed coffee with THREE people.

I’m basically a hermit, so this is a big deal.
The lesson I’m learning? We’re a very lonely society, and no amount of Netflix binge-watching is going to cure that. Once I started making time, I started noticing more opportunities, and (the best part) people started to reach out to me. It’s like once I let the universe know I was ready to let people in, it started to help me out.

It’s really hard for me to make myself leave my comfort zone/house and spend time with people (#introvertproblems) but you know what? I was wired for it. We, as humans, are wired for connection. And especially in today’s world, where things just seem to be perpetually going to shit (sorry, mom), it’s more important than I think we realize.

So, let’s take the challenge together. Who can you intentionally connect with? Who can you call, or write a letter to? Who can you grab coffee with?
Take the leap.
Oh, and leave a message in the comments to let me know how it went!

January Goals: Paris And Beyond

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January is almost finished, so naturally it’s the perfect time to write up my goals for the month. I honestly don’t even know how it happened that it is already late January! Tomorrow is my five month anniversary! It honestly feels like someone hit the fast forward button on my time in France; I wake up on Monday and by the time I step out of bed it’s Friday all the sudden… or, at least, that’s how it feels. But I really like the idea of having goals each month, because it gives me something to look back on and something to hold myself accountable to!

First off let’s look over December’s goals!

Blog more: Well, I did blog more(ish) but I still want to keep this one in place, because it’s absolutely ungodly the amount of half written posts I have on my computer. The main issue is that I’m so tired when I write them that I don’t have the energy to edit them also. So my new goal is to write posts on the weekends, so I have them ready to go before my hectic week begins!

Etsy Shop Listings: Yes! Yes! YES! I’m so excited that this goal was actually accomplished. I know you guys haven’t seen anything, YET. But that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been an incredible amount of work going on behind the scenes. We’ve been working so hard to get everything pulled together and our goal date for “premiering” is going to be in early February. Stay tuned! Awesome things are happening!

Have an amazing time in Amsterdam: I went to Amsterdam later than I had expected, so not in December, but it was still a good time. Not as fun as I expected, because my friend who was supposed to travel with me wasn’t able to come, but it was still nice to get out of Paris for a bit and have a change of scenery. AND I found one of my all time favorite café’s. 

Vlog more: Poor little Vlog. No such luck for me upping my Vog output. But I’m still optimistic. And I actually did make a post for December! It just didn’t get put out, which is kind of the trend of me posting in general, I’m noticing. Ha.

Stick with the program: Nope. I don’t think I moved all of December. Ok, I did – but I didn’t do anything regularly. Mainly because it was FREEZING outside, and I was sewing for weeks inside…but I’m going to be getting back into the swing of things once I defrost. Paris is a kind of bitter cold that I’m just not used to. In Seattle we have a moist (yeah, I just made you read that word) winter, so even when it’s cold there’s still moisture in the air. Here that’s not the same. This cold cuts into your clothing, even though the forecast might not say it’s very “cold.”

Get real serious ‘bout French: Well yes and no. I’ve officially become the only person in my French class, since everyone else has dropped out/transferred. I was tempted to drop as well since there hasn’t been much “learning” happening with lessons only once a week – but I didn’t. And I’m glad, because as little as it is, it’s still more than sitting at home and learning/practicing nothing at all.

Finish classes on KhanAcademy: Yesss. I did finish a couple classes and I’ve started more. I think I might just go through the entirety of the history program that Khan Academy has because I love the classes so much. I love being able to learn in an online class setting without the pressure of going to a class, and I get to learn/explore whenever I want to. I’ll definitely continue using this website – I love it!

Finish The Hobbit, See The Hobbit: I definitely did. It felt kind of weird to actually finish a book, but good at the same time. I think having the goal written down really helped. The movie was great because we only paid 5 euro to see it – and it was in English!! The movie was about as good as I thought it would be, so not incredible, but at this point in my life going to any movie in English is fun.

Storyline a story: I did storyline and write up the premise of the story, but I’m still not as far as I wish I was. I really want to focus on getting an actual script pounded out, now.

Get involved somehow in a French event and meet more French people: I didn’t do this, yet. But I took the pre-steps to start! I found some spoken word/poety/writer events in France, but most aren’t starting up until right now because they were on break for the holidays. But I have a friend who’s going to go with me once we find one, and I talked to my au pair mom about having maybe one night a week off to be able to go to more French speaking events in Paris!

January goals

 

1. Vlog or die: Ok, maybe that’s extreme. But this really is going to be an ongoing thing that I want to get into the habit of doing. So here we go again. One video a week is my goal for the rest of my time in France. I also want to be writing on here more!

2. Exploress awesome: If you don’t know already, I’m the content editor for a website called The Exploress and I LOVE it! I love being able to recruit women who are passionate about traveling and who love seeing the world as a global community! My goal for January was to start a Facebook community for the women who contribute regularly to this site (which I did) and I’ve loved being able to “meet” all of our awesome writers/photographers. My extending goal, off of this one, is that I would be able to extend our online community even more so we’re able to reach out to even more women globally through our other social media outlets: Twitter and Instagram!

3. Finish storyboarding a story: One of my friends and I are writing children’s books one month at a time. For December we wrote the stories. And now, for January, we’re storyboarding! It’s a lot harder than it sounds, but I’m really thankful for resources like Skillshare which allow me to learn from the best on how to do things like storyboard. Here’s to trying new and foreign things!

4. Open Shop On Etsy!: One of my friends and I have been working hard over the past few months to pull together a little Etsy shop and HOPEFULLY (pray for us) we’ll be pulling everything together by the beginning of February. It has been so much work to plan, make, photograph and now starting to edit! But I love the learning process and I’m excited to have everything done in January so we can show you all in February what we’ve been working on!!

5. Script Story: Yes, I’m also writing a comic book with another friend! Notice a lot of projects? Well that’s because I’m insane. But I like to be busy, and it’s so important to me to keep connected with the people back home who are important to me, so I’m really excited for everything that’s going on. I really want to start actually writing pages for the scripting process of this story, since I have most of an outline done.

6. IRELAND: I’m going to Ireland in 1 week and I’m so excited! Ireland has been like a fairy tale land since I was a kid (since my family is Scottish, Irish and English that whole little section of the world has always been) and I’m so happy I get to go back! I did go to Ireland and N. Ireland back in 2013 for my backpacking trip, but I’m really excited to be going back since I definitely DID NOT spend enough time there. Right now the coin is in the air for whether I’ll be going to Galway, Ireland or staying in Dublin, but we shall see. Either way I think it will be great!

7. Finish reading my book: Yep. I’m writing it down, again, since something magical happened last time I did. Right now I’m reading “Journey To The Center Of The Earth” since I got four books for Christmas (Sense and Sensibility, Wuthering Heights, and The Hounds of Baskerville included) and I really want to actually read through them all (even though I’ve already read Sense and Sensibility before – duh. Jane Austen).

8. Step up my art game: I haven’t really been drawing or painting very much lately because I’ve been busy with other things, but that’s not good. Whenever I don’t create, I’m 100% more stressed out, so I really want to take more intentional time to be making things.

9. Apply or find out things about DELF: There’s a French proficiency test called the DELF and when you attend school in France a lot of classes have you take it. My classes (since they aren’t through a school) don’t, but I’m still thinking about taking it independently so I have it on my resume as actual language proficiency, not just “I lived in Paris and I ate really good bread for a year.”

10. Get involved somehow in a French event and meet more French people: Stealing this one from last month, but I really need to get more involved with the artistic community in Paris because I know it’s important to be in community when you’re an artist. ESPECIALLY when you’re an introvert, because let’s be real, I could live entirely in my room, coming out only for food, and be perfectly happy.

And that’s the list for the month! Good grief. So busy. Goals are hard! But I know they’ll be worth it in the end, because it’s so important for me to keep moving forward intentionally while I’m living in Paris (as opposed to just floating along for a year).