A WEEK WITHOUT PLASTIC

Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.

Recently, I mentioned on my Instagram stories that I was planning on participating in a week without plastic, hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Lee From America. In case you missed the video, here’s the low-down…

In an effort to be more conscious and aware of our daily plastic usage, beginning Tuesday, December 5th, we will go a week without plastic. This can be as mild or intense as you choose to make it- go cold turkey on plastic or maybe just dip your toes into the water by drinking from a reusable glass bottle for the week.

I’m excited to go a week without plastic because it’s a great opportunity to recognize how prevalent every-day conveniences such as straws, to-go cups, disposable silverware, tampons with plastic applicators, and plastic bags (Ziploc & grocery) are in my life and to create new habits that are less environmentally destructive. For me, going a week without plastic is an experimentation of living a zero waste lifestyle. It’s been amazing to witness over my own life-time how much growth and acceptance there has been of habits such as recycling, composting, and the resurgence of biodegradable materials. But all of these environmental advances don’t change the fact that we discard half of all of our plastic products after just one use, even though plastic is made to last at least 5 lifetimes.

Personally, my biggest reason for going a week without plastic is my love for the ocean. 40% of the ocean’s surface is currently polluted with plastic. Plastic pollution kills 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea animals annually- most die from ingesting plastic and fragmented microplastics/microbeads, or from becoming entangled in plastic. I’ve had a special connection and fascination with the ocean since I was a young child (I know, I know, I sound like Moana) and it truly breaks my heart to look at the damage we’ve done to our most precious life source on the planet. I want to play a part in nursing our marine habitats back to health, and even though I’m just one person,  going plastic free will make a huge long-term positive impact on our oceans’ recovery.

So now, I’d love to invite you all to go a week without plastic with me! I’ll be sharing updates on the challenge via my Instastories, including tips and tricks I discover along the way and also the struggles of adjusting to living in the modern world without using plastic. I’ve also linked some reusable products below that will make the transition into a zero waste lifestyle nearly seamless! Leave a comment or send me an email/ direct message if you’ll be joining me in a week without plastic!

 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.
 Emily of wellness blog, Epicurean Emily, shares her necessities for a week without plastic.

2018-01-17T04:12:32+00:00 December 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

WHY I’M STARTING OVER

Emily of lifestyle blog Epicurean Emily sharing why I'm starting over from covering fashion to green and non-toxic beauty and holistic medicine and lifestyle.

After two years of consistent fashion, travel, & food content creation for Epicurean Emily, I’m excited (albeit a little scared) to share today why I’m starting over. This is a change that I’ve been contemplating for quite a while and I’m excited to be able to provide you, my readers, with content I consider more a bit more “useful”. Read the Q&A session below for a brief explain of the changes that will be happening and check back for site updates and new content on these brand new topics! If you’re reading this, I can’t thank you enough for supporting Epicurean Emily thus far and I hope you’ll stick around! ?

Emily of lifestyle blog Epicurean Emily sharing why I'm starting over from covering fashion to green and non-toxic beauty and holistic medicine and lifestyle.

As a refresher, why did you start Epicurean Emily? In what ways have you achieved your goals in the past two years? In what ways have you not?

I began Epicurean Emily initially as a creative outlet and wanted to use it as the foundation for building a creative career. I had just graduated college with a photography degree but was unsure if I even wanted to pursue photography full-time, partly because I was interested in so many industries of the field- product/food, fashion, and travel and felt torn between all three. Epicurean Emily was a way for me to test the waters of working within these markets and also a good excuse to keep me shooting on a regular basis.

Being a blogger has been nothing short of a trying (yet amazing) time of personal growth. Not saying that I have it all together, but it takes a lot of willpower, motivation, & hard work to create new content every week and present it on the internet! When you don’t have to answer to anyone else is when you really see what you’re made of! The best thing I’ve learned about myself during my blogging journey, though, is that I really thrive in environments where I’m surrounded by fellow creatives. I want to structure my career to allow me to work with passionate creatives every day, whether as a blogger or in another position.

I’m a firm believer that every chapter of your life is necessary to prepare you for the next. I’ll never regret starting a blog, but one of the hardest facts of growing an online presence that I’ve had to accept is that I can’t do it all, at least while I’m trying to grow an audience. I think one reason that my blog really struggled to grow is the fact that I had too many interests. This was a frustrating truth for me to accept because as I said before, the exciting part of blogging for me was to not have to choose just one area of interest. And while I loved putting together outfits to shoot and my audience responded well to them, I wasn’t behind the camera building my own portfolio of work.

What do you think is important in terms of providing content to readers and followers?

Now more than ever, it’s extremely important to be able to provide a tangible amount of value in whatever content you choose to put on the internet as there is so much already out there, vying for your audience’s attention. And a lot of people are already doing just that in the fashion space. I think that there is indeed a place for everyone but unless you have a very different angle or are covering a unique niche, a lot of your content will inevitably start to look similar to others, making it hard to stand out and therefore hard to grow. I loved sharing my attainable and affordable personal style but at the end of the day, that type of content was not enough for me to feel like I was providing something really useful and helpful to my readers. I made the decision that I wanted to start talking about non-toxic beauty and naturopathic medicine because 1. I’ve become ridiculously passionate about them over the past year 2. I wanted to create a resource that I personally would have liked to have had when I began my journey toward clean beauty and later, holistic health. 3. I truly believe that these under-regulated industries (food/health-care/cosmetics & personal care) are the root cause of the biggest nation-wide epidemics (obesity, heart problems, cancer, infertility) and it kills me to know that so many of us have absolutely no idea what’s actually going on in these industries. I want to change that.

What can we expect from Epicurean Emily in the future?

For now, my content will be focused on non-toxic and organic beauty, which usually happens to be cruelty-free and vegan, too! I’ll be sharing effective natural products that I truly love, in addition to video tutorials on how to use them via YouTube. As I’ve learned over the last year, diet plays a tremendous role in one’s overall health and although I’m no nutritionist, I’ll also be sharing recipes and actionable clean eating tips that I’ve picked up along the way on my own journey.

Will this be an end to the fashion-type content?

I’ll always have a love for fashion but as I’ve become more aware of the cruel world we live in, supporting fast fashion retailers on a regular basis is not something that I feel great about. However, with all of the changes in my personal life that have taken place over the last year, finding ethical fashion brands has not been a top priority for me (and I haven’t been shopping that much lately, anyway). I don’t think it’s realistic to only buy items from ethical brands (at least right now), but at the same time, I’ve never been a fan of the mindless wastefulness of trendy fast fashion (even though I love a good statement piece). If I buy something from a mainstream retailer, you can have confidence that it is a versatile piece that can be worn throughout the seasons and years. I hope to share my favorite ethical retailers and designers with you, too, as I discover them.

What spurred this change?

When I moved to North Carolina last year, I joined a blogging group who holds regular get-togethers and is just a good all-around support system. The first meet-up I attended with this group was held at Be Pure Beauty, a local natural beauty store. Just the week before, I had watched a fitness blogger’s Snapchat story on the danger of synthetic fragrances and now I was not only hearing about just how dirty these fake fragrances were, but also how health-harming a ton of other chemical ingredients were that my conventional make-up and skin-care products were loaded with. Having worked on the retail side of the beauty industry, I was skeptical at first. I thought to myself, “If these ingredients were really all that bad, why would the FDA allow them to hit shelves in the first place???”. Then I recalled watching “Food, Inc.” three years earlier and remembered all the examples of how the food industry was basically getting away with murder, all under the “watchful” eye of the FDA. I started doing my own research and discovered that many of these products and their ingredients have been linked to cancer, to infertility, to allergies, and to hormone disruptions which cause conditions such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PSOS). I thought about how many people I personally knew who were suffering from these illnesses and came up with at least one person in my relatively small circle of friends and family that was fighting each condition. I then realized how scary these ingredients truly were and became passionate about sharing this information with everyone I knew.

How do you respond to people who may disagree with the things you will be discussing or those that refuse to acknowledge some of these topics?

My goal in this endeavor is not to point to point fingers at anyone. I tend to be an all or nothing kind of person, but I realize that using exclusively non-toxic beauty, or only eating only whole foods is not a realistic way to live for most people. My purpose in discussing these topics is to encourage you to start asking more questions. It’s incredulous to me how we can have so much information at our fingertips on our smartphones, and yet still “follow the herd” and not possess the urge to discover things for ourselves. We do this when choosing a political party or candidate. We do this when our doctor tells us that surgery and antibiotics are the only answer. We do this when the sales associate tells us a certain product will change our life. But we never consider the consequences of failing to find things out for ourselves until we’re in a predicament. Even if you think the science behind the claims that chemicals in personal care products cause cancer is phony, find out WHY you believe that. I’m not here to start arguments, I’m here to start conversations.

“Why I’m Starting Over” Photographed by Luke Bowes

2018-01-17T04:12:33+00:00 October 4th, 2017|Uncategorized|6 Comments

MEET OUR NEW DOG FLASH

Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina, with her new dog.

Last week, we welcomed home our new adopted pup Flash! Luke and I are huuuge dog people and since I moved away from my parents last year, it’s been rough not having a furry friend to come home to. So now that our schedules are more predictable, we decided to take a look at our local shelter a few weekends ago and fell in love with Flash, an Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. We weren’t in the market for a puppy so at only a year old and already house-trained, it was a match made in heaven. We were finally able to take him home just last week and he’s brought us so much joy already! Something about having a dog around makes everyday life so much more enjoyable. We’ve been out exploring more than usual, primarily to make sure he gets enough exercise but in turn, we are also discovering new activities and creating new routines that enable Luke and I to spend more time together. Over the weekend, we showed him our favorite spot in Durham, Sarah P. Duke Gardens (which you may recognize from this outfit post), and he was overjoyed by ALL the smells! We’re so thankful for shelters like the Animal Protection Society of Durham (APS) who care for and nurture homeless pets and when they’ve found their “forever home”, make adoption easy for everyone. I’ve heard some adoption horror stories, and even though there are definitely shelters and organizations out there who make the adoption process unnecessarily difficult, I can’t stress enough how important and impactful it is to #AdoptDontShop. It’s so special to give an animal a second chance at life and I’m so happy that Flash will be doing life, filled to the brim with treats & belly rubs, with us from now on.

Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina.
Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina, with her new dog.
Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina, with her new dog.
Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina.
Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina, with her new dog.
Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina, with her new dog.
Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina, with her new dog.
Lifestyle blogger Emily of Epicurean Emily enjoys a day at Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, North Carolina.

September 2017

Photographed by Emily Davis & Luke Bowes

© Emily Davis

2018-01-17T04:12:33+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Uncategorized|7 Comments

CREATE & CULTIVATE DO’S/DON’TS

Create & Cultivate Do's/Don'ts 1

So you want to attend a Create & Cultivate conference? This post is here to help! I’ll be breaking down my conference experience and comparing my expectations and realities for my weekend in New York with C&C.

As stated in my favorite conference moments post, Create & Cultivate is a movement for female entrepreneurs and their one day conferences have become quite the hot ticket over the last few years. The events are marketed toward bloggers, business owners, and creatives that are looking for a way to monetize their talents. This post is meant to compare what I was expecting to get out of the conference (based on recommendations and reviews from past attendees and the way in which the event is promoted) to what I was actually able to take away. The purpose of the post is to share my honest perspective of the conference for anyone who may be on the fence about attending. Here are my Create & Cultivate Do’s and Don’ts!

Emily
Create & Cultivate Do's/Don'ts 2

Do…

have business cards on hand. With Luke’s help, I designed my own business cards and had them printed with MOO (can’t recommend them enough!). These were so helpful to have because the day was pretty hectic and when you meet so many people (and brands!) in such a short span of time, it’s nice to have something to remember them by. I chose to put a portrait of myself on mine to make the association between myself and my blog easier.

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Don’t…

buy VIP tickets for the ability to choose your own mentors. I was on the fence about whether to buy General Admission or VIP tickets and ended up taking so long to decide that VIP was my only option, as GA sold out in the meantime. I wanted to be able to select my track for the day and my mentors for the Mentor Power Hour, assuming that the mentors would be some of the panelists already on the agenda for the day. Mentors weren’t announced until at least a month after tickets had already sold out completely and when it was time to select mine, I wasn’t familiar with any of them. I chose the ones that seemed to be doing something similar to what I wanted to do, but I was pretty disappointed with this whole segment of the conference in general. The setting was not intimate in the least bit- each “mentor” had a group of 20-25 people surrounding her and, as I discovered in my first session of the two, if you weren’t within a few chairs of the mentor you couldn’t hear the conversation at all. It was a good time to ask questions, but the whole execution of this part of the day was really lacking in my opinion, with each group in large circles back to back in an open, echoey building. I did like getting to choose my track for the day, but in retrospect, I wouldn’t have paid an additional $200 to be able to do this. In the future, I hope to see Create & Cultivate develop an individual placement plan for attendees based on their background so that they are automatically placed in the track that is more beneficial to them regardless of if they’re a VIP or not.

Do…

reach out to fellow attendees before the conference. Since the conference is only one day, it’s a good idea to carve out additional time to spend with like-minded women while you’re in the same location. I just followed Create & Cultivate’s Instagram comment feeds to find other women who were also attending (and leaving comments like, “can’t wait!”) and then reached out to them via email to make dinner plans before our conference event on Friday evening. As an introvert, having a group of familiar faces on the day of the conference was really comforting and it helped alleviate some of the anxiety usually accompanied with large events.

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Don’t…

expect blogging “how-to’s”. There were two tracks at the NYC conference, the one I chose was the more blogger-geared of the two. While each panel had a different topic, most of the six seemed to run together because, for the most part, the blogger panelists gave the same information we’ve all read on those thousands of unhelpful “How to Blog” posts; be authentic, post consistently, only publish high-caliber content. As someone who was looking for answers and advice on how to begin to monetize her platform, hearing these shallow “tips” over and over again throughout the day was quite frustrating. In retrospect, a small blogging course on monetization probably would have been more helpful for this question I was hoping would be answered during my day at the conference.

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Don’t

get caught up with all of the amenities and fail to secure a good seat for the panels. There were so many good brands represented at Create & Cultivate like Kendra Scott, Birchbox, La Croix, and more but there was virtually no time to interact with them as our schedule was jam-packed. There was only about 20 minutes in between each panel- just enough time for a bathroom break and a quick refreshment refill before heading to the alternating indoor/outdoor stages. Luckily, I had decent seats for most, but I still struggled to hear the panelists if I didn’t have a spot front and center, so I can’t imagine that the ladies in the back of the group heard anything at all.

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Do…

book a room at the conference hotel or stay close to the venue. My friend Alexis stayed at the conference hotel and she was able to meet some other attendees that were also staying there and they split the Uber bill for their ride to the conference. I chose to stay close to the venue so that my early morning commute wouldn’t be such a hassle.

Don’t…

only talk to people you know. The biggest positive outcome of the conference for me was getting to meet other bloggers. While it was nice to have a familiar face throughout the day, I really pushed myself to chat with new people during our breakfast, lunch, and break. You never know the impact that a stranger can have on you until you introduce yourself and get to know them. P.S. Isn’t Rachel just the cutest?!

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I am happy that I chose to attend Create & Cultivate, but I do feel as if I could have spent the resources I used on this one event (conference tickets, airfare, and accommodations all add up!) to invest in smaller-scale things that would have been more beneficial to me at this point in my blogging journey and financial situation. For me, specific classes or workshops on blog monetization and growing an audience would have been a more cost-effective option than attending the conference. Looking back, I don’t think I would’ve dropped extra dough for the VIP “experience” because the extra cost primarily paid for a lot of frills that I wasn’t really interested in, like free drinks all day and access to a VIP lounge. As stated earlier, I hope that Create & Cultivate will do a placement system for attendees in the future, especially considering that the panel topics weren’t completely finalized before ticket sales opened, making it hard to tell which panel was the right choice.

Create & Cultivate has created a successful movement of entrepreneurial women and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to be in the same room as some of the panelists and other attendees. I think the conference is a wonderful outlet to meet other creatives and brands and to re-fill your inspiration tank, but if you’re looking for lots of specific blogging tips and tricks, I don’t think you’ll find them at at Create & Cultivate conference.

May 2017

“Create & Cultivate Do’s/Don’ts” Photographed by Emily Davis & Alexis Teichmiller

2018-01-17T04:12:33+00:00 May 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|6 Comments

FAVORITE CREATE & CULTIVATE MOMENTS

Favorite Create & Cultivate Moments 1

I headed to New York City this weekend for the Create & Cultivate conference, a gathering of female entrepreneurs, empowering businesswomen, successful brands, and all around creatives to invest in Epicurean Emily and learn how to take the next steps to continue to grow my platform. I’ll talk more about my overall thoughts on the conference in a separate post, but I did want to share some of my biggest takeaways over the weekend in hopes that they may resonate with you, too!

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2018-01-17T04:12:34+00:00 May 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|2 Comments

TWO-THOUSAND SIXTEEN BEST NINE

2016 Best Nine 1

This time of year, it’s easy to get in the habit of moving on quickly. Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season and before you know it you’re back home for Christmas, and ringing in the New Year a week later. With all of the hustle and bustle associated with this season, I think sometimes we forget to reflect on the progress and memories we’ve made within an annual chapter of our lives. Many of you may remember the Instagram “Best Nine”, a round-up collage of your most-liked photos of the year that were flooding your feeds immediately after Christmas for the first time last year. I began thinking about this “best nine” concept and, just like it’s tough to choose our top nine favorite photos, the same could be said for the best moments, memories, and growth spurts within the year. For me, this year has been proof that change will happen whether you’re ready for it or not, so I finally decided to just grab the reins, hold on, and see where it led me! I hope you enjoy reminiscing with me!

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1. Celebrating Epicurean Emily’s 1st Birthday It may sound strange to some, but the milestone of one year of blogging called for some balloons and confetti. When I first began my blog, I was just looking for a platform to discuss and showcase my many passions after struggling to find a career path that would incorporate them all. Not only am I proud of my mission and the work featured on my corner of the internet, but I’m very proud of myself for putting in the late nights editing photos and writing posts, spending my weekends planning and shooting content (and counting my blessings for my #InstagramBoyfriend, without whose support system I would’ve given up a hundred times over by now), and constantly putting in the work with no compensation. Even if you love something, it’s very hard to work for free. But I’m choosing to make sacrifices now so that I can one day live a life that I don’t need a vacation from.

2Paying off Debt/Building Savings Like most of my fellow millennials, I was on a paycheck to paycheck financial situation until this year. I had some outstanding debt that I wanted to take care of before our summer move and I needed a chunk of dough in savings to stay afloat for a couple of months while job-searching in my new state. The only way to do this in a short period of time was to literally save every penny I made. I only bought necessities and cooked almost every meal at home. I completely paid off my debt and contributed to savings with every single paycheck. With Luke’s help, I continue to make financially smart decisions and it feels amazing to be prepared not only for emergencies, but also for upcoming financially-draining events like vacation and Christmas. I realize that not everyone has the luxury of being able to put most of their paycheck into savings, but even setting aside a few hours worth of compensation each week builds up more quickly than you think and automatically puts you in a more comfortable financial position to handle all the unexpected things life throws your way.

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A Day at Blue Whistler Farm 19

3Strawberry Picking/Open Farm The quest continued this year for truly good food, and I was lucky enough to prosper from some amazing farms and meet the hard-working and passionate farmers behind them. Visits to my local farms were among some of my favorite experiences this year. From strawberry picking at Mountain Meadow Farms to spending a Sunday at Blue Whistler Farm, 2016 was the year that I truly tasted the difference and, as a result, set higher standards for the produce and meat that I was consuming and discovered the undeniable positive impact local farming provides for my community.

4Meeting the Family Luke and I went to England this summer and after a year and a half of dating, I was finally able to meet all of his family. I was pretty nervous initially, but they welcomed me in right away and I cherish the time I got to spend with them and am already looking forward to our next visit. I’ve heard several in-law “horror stories” and I feel really lucky to be with someone whose family treats me as one of their own.

2016 Best Nine 3

5Clean Beauty Journey After learning about the health hazards and toxins in the personal and cosmetic products I use every day, I have spent the last half of the year converting the products in my medicine cabinet and make-up bag to non-toxic options. The synthetic ingredients in these products have been proven, in most cases, to be a prominent factor in the development of cancer, they wreak havoc on the reproductive, endocrine, and respiratory systems, and they have been linked to allergies and skin conditions such as dermatitis and acne. And the worst part? The companies making these products have absolutely no unbiased over-sight by the FDA. We are literally paying for products filled with chemicals that are hazardous to our health. For me, the choice to cut toxins was not necessarily to benefit my health. Similar to my feelings about America’s food “industry” developed over the last couple of years, I could no longer fathom supporting deceitful companies by spending my money on their dishonest products. Once I’ve gathered some accurate opinions on alternative products, I plan to write informative posts about my clean beauty journey.

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6Tea at Sketch One of the biggest “pinch me” moments of 2016 was most definitely experiencing the wonderful world of multi-themed tearoom and restaurant Sketch in London (Read about my visit here). Although most would consider afternoon tea at Sketch a luxury, I thought it was worth every penny because it created a memory that I will cherish forever. And I don’t think I will ever visit a more posh restroom. ?

7Starting a Life with Luke Luke toyed with the idea of going back to business school last year and we were packing up a U-Haul to move to North Carolina 10 months later. It’s been a year filled with changes; moving out of my childhood home, getting accustomed to a new city, figuring out how to live with a romantic partner, finding a new job, making new friends – I would be lying if I said all of it wasn’t overwhelming. But there’s no one else I’d rather have holding my hand while I watch everything around me change than Luke. Adjusting to this new chapter has been the furthest thing from easy, but it has strengthened our relationship every day and I am so proud of the man that I am building a life with.

2016 Best Nine 4

8Buying a Full-Frame Camera I finally took the plunge of buying a truly “professional” camera this year (you know, only two years after graduating with a degree in photography…) and it has been fun to familiarize myself with my new professional powerhouse (and I think it’s made Luke enjoy photographing for the blog a lot more ?).

9Being Home for the Holidays It’s still such a surreal feeling coming back to my family’s house and being a visitor. I lived in my childhood home for almost 20 years so it’s taken some adjusting to feel comfortable in my new apartment that’s so far away from my family. When I returned for the first time, I realized that while everything had changed in my life, my friends and family were still there doing what they’d always done. It was an eye-opening realization for me to come home and think about how if I’d stayed there for familiarity, my life would be on such a different path – one that would involve taking the long way around to accomplish my goals and dreams. I really enjoyed being able to come home for the holidays for the first time and am so thankful for a family that welcomes me “home” with open arms, but also accepts that I now have a new home.

What are some of your best nine moments, memories, or progress of 2016??? Tell me below!

“Two Thousand Sixteen Best Nine”

Written by Emily

All Photographs © Epicurean Emily

2018-01-17T04:12:35+00:00 December 28th, 2016|Uncategorized|4 Comments

EPICUREAN EMILY TURNS ONE!

I can’t believe I’m already saying this, but it’s Epicurean Emily’s first birthday! I began this crazy blogging journey with my first post one year ago today. The time has absolutely flown by, which I guess is a good thing because it means I’m still just as much in love with blogging as I was when I first started. A lot of people ask me what my purpose for starting a blog was and I know I’ve discussed my answer vaguely on EE before but in celebration of my blog-iversary, I’d like to re-iterate for any new readers and honestly just to remind myself why I work so hard to constantly create quality content.

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Disney World Diaries; Hollywood Studios 1

I’m not going to tell you my whole life story but you should know that I’ve always been a bit of an oddball.  In elementary school, I was a tomboy who would rather be drawing or playing outside with my dog than having sleepovers with my friends. I was terribly obsessed with the Jonas Brothers in HIGH-SCHOOL (middle school was about the oldest age where a boyband obsession was *somewhat* socially acceptable) and my senior quote in my yearbook is literally about having more JB t-shirts than days of the week to wear them. Because of all the quirky things that made me me, I was far from “popular” and never considered myself to be someone who people looked up to. But in recent years, I’ve discovered that there was one quality that people admired about me – my comfortability in being true to who I was (no matter how embarrassed my family and friends were for me at times). Growing up, I often wondered why I wasn’t like everyone else, but I realize now that being a little weird was truly the best blessing in disguise.

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This generation of young people weigh especially heavy on my heart because they feel the overwhelming pressure of today’s twisted society so strongly at such a crucial time of their lives. With the advance of the internet and the skyrocketing of social media, teens today are constantly told who they should be, what they should do, what they should buy, and what they should wear. A large part of my mission here at Epicurean Emily is to encourage young people to fully accept who they are and to always be true to themselves in a world that is telling them the exact opposite. Embracing your weirdness and knowing what makes you unique can be the key to success. Beyond the comprehension of your own identity, I also encourage the constant pursuit of the best version of yourself. The minute you lose the desire to learn is the minute in which you will fail. Be passionate in your pursuance of knowledge – about anything at all that you’re interested in. I love photography. I love fashion. I love travel. I love food. Every opportunity I have to shoot, I’m trying new techniques and camera settings to learn how I can improve my images. I’m constantly looking for new editing programs and watching Photoshop tutorials on YouTube to learn new things and/or re-learn old things I’ve forgotten. I consider buying one fashion magazine per month a necessity because it’s a fresh source of all kinds of inspiration. I keep up with several fashion bloggers so regularly that I consider many of them to be old friends (See my favorites here). I feed my never-ending wanderlust by looking at Pinterest and travel blogs and planning itineraries for my future adventures. I’m always excited when a new restaurant opens in town and I research ways to improve my own cooking techniques at home and find new recipes through food publications and blogs.

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I am a strong believer in the power of the internet. It’s an endless source of inspiration and education for everyone in our modern world. It has catapulted careers for people who are doing what I’m doing – sharing themselves online in hopes of inspiring someone. But all of us know that while the internet has many great perks, it is also one of the biggest platforms for the spread of negativity. Social media provides a barrier that makes it easy for people who are hurting to inflict emotional pain on others and no one knows that to be true more than today’s teens. I think a big reason for the rise of bloggers is because they are almost a light in the dark tunnel of the internet – a real person you can trust in a galaxy of companies competing for your constant attention. I love YOU (my readers) so much and all I want to do is create quality, wholesome content that elevates your life. While there are a few bad apples in the world of blogging, I think ultimately that’s what most of us are passionate about – helping you feel like the best version of yourself when you read our new post, see our photo on your Instagram feed, or view our far from perfect lives documented on Snapchat.

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I began Epicurean Emily for a lot of reasons. It was one of the only creative venues where I could collectively combine everything that I was passionate about. I don’t just want to be a photographer. I don’t just want to be a fashion designer or stylist. I don’t just want to be travel agent. I don’t just want to be a food critic. I want to be all of these things and more. I want to be an inspiration for my high-school self – the girl who is passionately creative and consequently deemed an outcast. I want to encourage the introverted and shy that sometimes feel as if they don’t have a voice to speak up and let them know that the world is in desperate need of their unique perspective. I want to encourage people that it’s never too late to discover what makes them feel beautiful. I wore blue eyeshadow and “sensitive” mascara in high school, but I wanted to learn how to apply make-up correctly (Out of all the things my mother taught me, make-up application was not one of them – Still love you though, mom) so I watched beauty tutorials religiously and learned everything I know about make-up through bloggers (Thank you makeupbytiffanyd, pixiwoo, xsparkage, and kandeejohnson!). I want to show the fashion-obsessed college girls that it’s ok if you don’t want to wear yoga pants to class every day. Yeah, you may get some weird looks when you show up to class in stilettos, but if heels give you the confidence you need to ace your test or kill your presentation, then click-clock your way across campus. If you’re a girly girl who looks forward to doing your hair and make-up and wearing the perfect outfit every day, then allow yourself the time to get dolled up and pick out the perfect pair of shoes.  If you’re the sporty opposite of girly and are perfectly happy going au naturel and wearing workout gear and trainers, then do that – lucky for you, athleisure is very IN right now! I created Epicurean Emily to be a judgement-free platform and source of inspiration for everyone (regardless of race, gender, religion, or social status) to come together to find new ways to invest in themselves. Whether you read my blog to get outfit inspiration, for my photography tips, to hear about my travels, or to see if the new restaurant in town is worth all the hype, from the bottom of my heart I truly appreciate every one of you who has and continues to make Epicurean Emily a success. I’m so thankful for the platform the world wide web has provided me to create my own community of Epicureans who celebrate each others’ weirdness! Cheers to many more blogging years!

Emily
2018-01-17T04:12:39+00:00 August 10th, 2016|Uncategorized|2 Comments

FIVE FAVORITE BLOGGERS

Growing up as the “artistic” type, I did – and still do, highly value inspiration. Anyone who makes art will agree that there is NOTHING worse than a creative block. I’ve found inspiration much easier to come by with the age of social media. If I’m bored with my daily makeup routine, I can go to Youtube and find tutorials from a thousand different beauty bloggers, each with their own version of an “everyday makeup look”. Maybe I got a scarf for Christmas and since I’m not an accessory person, I don’t know the first thing about how to wear a scarf. There is a Youtube tutorial AND a blog post AND an info-graph for that. With the rise of social media stardom there are hundreds, realistically thousands, of Instagram accounts and blogs to inspire all of us. I wanted to share a few of my favorites because after years of endless inspiration, I have them to thank for encouraging me to start my own in hopes that I, too, can inspire others.

Emily

CHIARA FERRAGNI | THE BLONDE SALAD

I have been following Chiara on Instagram for about 2 years now and I still look forward to her posts every day. Her sense of style is so unique and she truly pairs things like no one else. My favorite aspect of fashion is the ability to be a chameleon and to experiment with my look and personal style. Chiara inspires me and many others to do just that – to be who you want to be and to wear what you want to wear, regardless of what people will think or say. She was a pioneer of the now over-saturated blogging industry, posting pictures of her outfits online while she was in undergrad to prepare for law school. She now manages a team of over 10 people who help her keep her site, The Blonde Salad, afloat while she travels around the world to attend events, fashion weeks in various countries, and to manage her Chiara Ferragni Collection of shoes and bags designed by the blogger boss herself. She made herself into a social media star and made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2015, with an estimated income of $8 million just last year. If I had to name just one person who inspired me to create Epicurean Emily, it would be Chiara.

IG: chiaraferragni | Website: The Blonde Salad

NICOLE WARNE | GARY PEPPER GIRL

I love Nicole’s classic style and her travel photos are wanderlust-inducing. A native Aussie, Nicole’s claim to fame all started from her e-Bay store, Gary Pepper Vintage, where she sold quirky vintage pieces. As the store became a success, so did the blog and she decided to pursue blogging full time and is now a creative director, model, digital influencer, and a Net-a-Porter.com ambassador as well as a founding member of their prestigious Style Council. Her fiancé is a well-renowned surf photographer and when they travel together, photographic magic happens.

IG: garypeppergirl | Website: Gary Pepper Girl

JULIA ENGEL | GAL MEETS GLAM

I was first drawn to Julia’s Instagram because of the exceptional photography. I later found out that her and her husband are self-taught photographers who have been figuring it out along the way since she began her blog in 2011. I have a crazy amount of respect for both of them and their passion for each other and for Gal Meets Glam. There aren’t any “filler” posts and even if it’s a sponsored post, it is still beautifully and thoughtfully photographed. I am a total sucker for Julia’s style, but I must admit my favorite posts are their travel posts. They have an authentic way of telling a story between their sequence of photographs and the raw way that Julia writes that makes you feel like she’s your best friend filling you in on her latest getaway. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned from Gal Meets Glam, it’s that passion makes all things possible.

IG: juliahengel | Website: Gal Meets Glam

KEIKO GROVES | KEIKO LYNN

Anyone who knows me will tell you that three of my favorite things are Disney, sunglasses, and bright lipstick and that, in a nutshell, is Keiko’s Instagram feed which I found via Modcloth. I recognized her from Pinterest as well (she’s also a beauty blogger who often swatches and reviews new products, and posts makeup and hair pictorials). I love Keiko’s retro, lady-like style and her eye for color and composition. Scrolling through her feed makes my design-craving heart happy. Bonus, she features her adorable pup, Miku, quite often.

IG: keikolynn | Website: Keiko Lynn

WENDY NGUYEN | WENDY’S LOOKBOOK

So remember when I mentioned watching a Youtube video to learn how to wear a scarf??? That was my first introduction to Wendy’s Lookbook almost 4 years ago. She is the first fashion blogger that I ever followed and her styling and how-to videos were a nice transition into something different from my nightly make-up tutorial binge-watching (don’t judge – we’ve all done it). Her content has an elegance and consistency that I truly admire- the photographs are always crisp, clean, and beautifully lit, and her videos are cinematographic masterpieces.

IG: wendyslookbook | Website: Wendy’s Lookbook

“Five Favorite Bloggers” photos are not my own and were found on the websites linked below their feature.

2018-01-17T04:12:40+00:00 January 14th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

TWENTY FACTS ABOUT EMILY

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My boyfriend, Luke, and I

1. My full initials are EDD, which led me to be called “Ed” throughout grade school.

2. I love animals – mostly dogs, more than most people. When I was little, I wanted to be a veterinarian until I grew up and realized how much math and science were involved (I’ve always been the more artistic and creative type).

3. I am a very shy and awkward person. I’m not one to start conversation with strangers and/or people I don’t know very well because I usually say or do something stupid and embarrass myself.

4. My boyfriend Luke is one of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever met. He is from England and moved here when he was 16 to finish high school and attend college. He pursues everything he wants in life with all that he has and I truly aspire to be as ambitious and as courageous as he is. Another fun fact – he also encouraged and helped me to build my blog.

5. I interned for an interior designer during high school and declared interior design as my major when I began college. I took all the pre-requisites at my local community college and the semester before I was supposed to transfer to Savannah College of Art and Design, I started having second thoughts. I had taken a study abroad photography course that summer and fell in love with photography and was encouraged by my professor to declare photography as my new major. One year later, I graduated with an associates degree in photography.

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Meet my minion, Dave

6. My first international trip (to France) was in 2010, my freshman year of college, and it changed every facet of my life. I fell in love with travel and experiencing other cultures and people and I couldn’t imagine being limited to only take one life-changing trip per year and sit in an office for the rest of the year counting down the days till my next vacation.

7. Because I have so many passions and interests (which is the primary reason I created Epicurean Emily), I have had an especially hard time trying to decide what I would like to pursue as far as careers go. My dream job would allow me to travel, to collaborate with fellow creatives, and to do something that I consider worthwhile and meaningful. I plan on moving to NYC in the next few years to go to design school so that I can gain experience and education in creative fields.

8. I am one of the biggest Despicable Me/Minion fans you will ever meet. I have my own minion, Dave, who lives in my purse and always travels with me and poses with all the famous landmarks wherever we go. Oh and Luke threw a surprise minion-themed birthday party for me this year…I just turned 23.

9. I am a bit of a perfectionist and have a painstaking attention to detail. I don’t believe in submitting anything sub-par. I not only feel this way about my creative work, but in everything that I do.

10. Sports are really hard for me. Not literally, although I am not the most athletic or graceful girl there ever was, but I just really don’t understand the hype about most of it, especially football. Where I’m from, people live for football season and football saturdays (and sundays and mondays) and then they spend ALL week reviewing stats and tweaking their fantasy teams and it just seems like a massive waste of time and energy to me. Then again they’re probably saying that about this blog of mine. Ah well, to each their own.

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I dress up as Katy Perry regularly… concerts, Halloween, any occasion that calls for a costume. Do you know how much fun it is to have blue hair and wear a donut printed one-piece and a cotton candy tutu? Do you???

11.  I consider myself a wine gal. I really despise beer. I’ve found a few that I can handle the taste of but I genuinely enjoy a nice glass of Pinot Noir a whole lot more than a cold one.

12. Since I’m talking about wine, I’ll mention my love for cheese because everyone knows that’s the greatest combination ever. Who really cares about peanut butter & jelly, anyway? I love to get really adventurous with cheese because I rarely find one that I don’t like. I’ll be honest, Camembert is NOT my favorite but is still edible. Since we’re talking about French cheese though, I’ve gotta mention BRIE because everyone loves brie. If you don’t you’re only lying to yourself. Throw a wheel in the oven and let it get all melty and gooey and drizzle some honey over the top of it once you take it out. Swipe a pita chip (or a finger-no judgement) through it and there’s no way you can say to me that you don’t like brie after that.

13. Katy Perry is basically my favorite person ever. Everything she does is gold, in my opinion. She is unapologetically herself, and even if that means strutting around the Superbowl halftime stage with beach balls for boobs and dancing with cartoon sharks (shoutout to left shark!), she doesn’t think twice about it. My favorite song by her is “Thinking of You” from the “One of the Boys” album. Most of you have probably never heard it so go listen to it now. Like right now.

14. Although I don’t follow a strict diet, I try to eat mostly protein and fruits and vegetables with as little starch as possible BUT my favorite food group is carbs so as they say, the struggle is real. I live for pastries and pasta and potatoes… (If I ever write a cheat day cookbook, I’ll keep that in mind for a title). Pasta and bread were the only foods I would eat as a child, but unfortunately I’ve had to cut back since becoming an adult with a slower metabolism (It’s not all its cracked up to be kids, never grow up and eat whatever you want forever). And don’t even get me started on fries- regular, steak, sweet potato, waffle, truffle, incredibly unhealthy McDonald’s fries… I have yet to meet a fry I didn’t like.

15. Because of my love for animals, I am very picky about the meat that I choose to eat. If it weren’t for Chik-Fil-A and the occasional burger, I could be a vegetarian easily. I typically go a few days a week without eating (or missing) meat. I try very hard to support local farming and only eat livestock that has been raised in a humane way (which usually eliminates the use of antibiotics and GMOs). I realize that humanely raising animals used for meat is kind of an oxymoron but I haven’t been able to make the vegetarian commitment just yet. I do not support the “factory farm” that American capitalism has created and I feel very passionately about educating people about what is really in their food because I’ve found that it’s not necessarily that they don’t care, but that most of them really have no clue since the government and FDA have no reign on corporations’ regulations. I try to encourage people to ask questions about what they’re consuming.

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April Ludgate is my spirit animal. Image courtesy of NBC.

16. My favorite fashion blogger is Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad. I aspire to see fashion the way that she does. She puts pieces together like no one else, she breaks all the rules but does it in a way that always looks effortless and never too over the top (wouldn’t it be nice if we could all be cool Italian girls?). I’ve only been following her for a year or so, about the time I was introduced to the fashion blogging world, but I keep up with her Instagram and Snapchat daily and I’m always inspired. I strive to be a source of unique inspiration to others through my own blog, like Chiara has been, and is, for me.

17. I’m TERRIBLE at styling hair. I don’t have the patience for it and don’t want to spend extra time getting ready after I’ve spent 30 minutes doing my make-up. I tend to do something a little different every time I go to the salon (which is like 3 times a year, if I’m being honest). I’ve had blue hair, a pixie cut, and I try bangs once a year in hopes that my cowlick has magically disappeared.

18. I have CHRONIC Resting Bitch Face (yes, its a thing). Almost all of my friends have said to me at some point, “I thought you hated me/were a bitch when I first met you”. If I had a dollar for every time someone has said that or “Are you ok? You look upset,” to me I’d be a billionaire. I’ve learned to accept it and actually kind of appreciate it at this point. It’s just my face and the people curious enough to get to know me realize that I am anything but bitchy.

19. I’m not a coffee person. I know that’s kind of unheard of in this day and age but I just hate the taste of it, although the smell is HEAVENLY. I will occasionally have the obligatory Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte or White Peppermint Mocha, but I really enjoy not having to rely on coffee to make me a functioning human.

20. I don’t really like to watch movies or TV. If I’m watching a movie at home, I have to be really into it to be able to sit still for over an hour. I only have a handful of shows that I can actually sit and watch (usually if I have the TV on it’s just background noise while I’m editing, writing, or trolling the internet). My favorite show of all time is Parks and Recreation. I love the personalities and interactions between all of the characters. Oh and I’m the closest thing you’ll ever find to a real life April Ludgate and have actually had people tell me I look like her (must be the bitch face).

Emily
2018-01-17T04:12:41+00:00 September 29th, 2015|Uncategorized|2 Comments