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).

6 Reasons To Set Goals

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Somehow Wednesday has snuck up on us! I have about the motivation of a slug right now because; well…let’s just say 2015 hasn’t started the way I thought it would. Maybe that’s a bad thing; maybe it’s a good thing. But it is, without a doubt, unexpected, and that’s never an easy thing for me.

But that’s life, right? We have no other option than to move forward with what we have, striving to build bigger and more structurally sound things in spite of the rubble that surrounds us.

On Sunday I got a really amazing opportunity to hear a speaker who was talking about the importance of goals. Obviously, being the beginning of the year, it was an appropriate topic – especially since I feel like 2015 hit and I lost all ambition to do anything productive. Is that just me? Anyone else out there just feeling over it (whatever ‘it’ is)?

But anyway, the speaker outlined 6 reasons to set goals and I thought I would share them here (with a little commentary) because they’re awesome and I think worth being spread around the Internet. So here we go:

Six Reasons To Set Goals:

  1. Because it’s necessary

“Either you go forward on purpose, or you sit by and let things happen to you. Either you take control, or other people take control of your life for you.”

It might sound like a no brainer, but if you look at the actions of great men and women throughout history you will notice that they had great goals that got them to their places of greatness. It’s when we don’t have goals or a direction pointing our lives that we go off path and end up places we might never have wanted to end up. The best part of goals is that they are entirely free – they cost nothing, but can change everything.

  1. Objectives stretch our faith:

“Take the limits off your dreams. Instead of running after small dreams, lets fix big goals.”

If you don’t dream big, you’ll never achieve great things. As a Christian, having my “faith stretched” points to my faith in God, but I think it goes beyond that even. Having goals and objectives stretches our faith in humanity, in the future and even in ourselves! Having goals allows us to have milestones, or markers that show us where we were and where we are going. They remind us: We did that. And encourage us to dream even bigger the next time.

  1. Goals concentrate our energy

The fact is, as much as we would love to, we can’t do everything at once. And spreading yourself over acres of ideas generally does more damage than help. Having goals allows us to knock things out one at a time and allows us to take steps forward.

  1. Goals allow you to keep going when you want to stop

“If things aren’t going well, then it’s not the end yet.”

If you walked into my bedroom you wouldn’t really see anything particularly eye catching, but if you came inside, and shut the door, you would notice an entire wall collage of ideas, quotes and inspiring things on the back of my door/wall area. It’s important to list things out, write things down and remember the people and things that inspire you. Because when you have milestones, or people holding you accountable, you’re far more likely to stick with whatever goals you have.

  1. Goals build character

“What I’m becoming is much more important than what I achieve.”

Even if you fail miserably, if you learn about yourself in the process you have succeeded. It might not feel like it right then and there, but the fact remains: You having tried puts you miles ahead of those who never got off life’s ‘couch.’ When we get up again after failing it’s THEN that we grow. Success is great, but failure is often the much better teacher.

  1. Having the right goals will reap rewards

Whether you’re of a religious mindset, and you believe in the reward of heaven, or not – the fact remains that when you work hard toward things that allow you to love, grow, serve others, discover and grow in character then you will be amazed by the results of the rest of the world. I’m a strong believer that the good you put out into the world comes back to you; let’s all try to sow a little kindness back into the communities we surround ourselves with.

STAY TUNED – UPCOMING TRIP: AMSTERDAM THIS WEEKEND – Eeeek!

Happy Goalvember!

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Welcome to Wednesday.

In French au pair language that probably means something a bit different than for the rest of you.

See, in France, there is no school on Wednesdays. Or, rather, it gets out at 11:30am. Which means 10-hour workdays with the kids.

Needless to say these days are crazy, hectic and dreaded by most. Mine include piano lessons, library visits, post office visits, restaurants, athletics, golf, dinner, reading and Tom and Jerry on top of the usual homework/brush your teeth/dress kids/bath etc.

Since I just got done with this routine, pardon my half minded writing, but I wanted to make a quick post inspired by my friend Samantha. She posted some goals for the month of November and I thought: What an AWESOME idea. So I’m copying her. Because that’s the greatest form of flattery, right? Actually I’ve always hated that saying.

ANYWAY, here are my five goals for my Paris November.

  1. Open a French Bank Account: It is really hard to get a French bank account as an American, even if you live in the country. I’ve been running around trying to get everything together, but November is ‘gonna be my month to FINALLY get one! Fingers crossed!
  1. Design more: I bought a sewing machine when I first came to France and I have yet to actually use it. Which is SO sad. But I discovered the fabric district part of Paris this week and definitely collected some of my favorite things to start making projects with: Leather, fur and wool. #earthsign
  1. Etsy shop up and running: I’m restarting up my Etsy shop and I’m so excited to be part of the Etsy community again! This month is my month for really investing in my shop and promoting/working on amazing things to get set up in there! 🙂
  1. Go to a tourist/outing every week: Me and a few of my friends have started doing this thing when we go out every week and see the city. My absolute greatest fear is leaving Paris unchanged by it. I want to get to know my new city and the only way to do that is to actually go out and meet her! So far we’ve been to the: Louvre, Moulin Rouge, Sacred Coeur, Museé D’Orsay and we have so many more plans!
  1. Have an amazing “Friendsgiving”: A few American/English speaking friends and I are going to be putting together a Thanksgiving meal, even though we’re not on our home country soil anymore. Because thankfulness is a universal thing, right! We don’t need to be in the US to celebrate! What we may need to be the US for, though, is the access to the traditional ingredients. We may have to get creative, ladies and gentlemen.

Hopefully this little list will serve as something to propel me forward to really improve my time in France. While shutting myself in my room with Jane Eyre and a cup of tea might sound like a solution to every day, it really is important for me to force myself to get out there and I think having goals is the perfect way to do it!

Cheers to planning for the future…and actually following through on it!

Moulin Rouge!
Moulin Rouge!