Euro Diaries: Paris

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Throughout many memorable experiences that was delivered throughout my adventure through Europe, we finally came to our final destination in Paris. Being my first visit to Paris, the moment that we could first see the Eiffel tower from our bus is a moment I will never forget. To see the structure romanticized by many throughout the world created a fluster of so many different emotions as the tower crept over the horizon. Of course, due to the photo above I did get to stand a bit closer. ;)

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I was greeted by my first day in Paris with a fabulous bus tour throughout the city. I was very eager throughout the whole trip to take a turn down the Champs Elysees which features my favorite structure in Paris, even more than the Eiffel, the Arc De Triomphe!

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The Arc De Triomphe makes Washington Square Arch in New York bleak in comparison.

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Once we finished navigating the streets of downtown Paris, we made our way out to Versailles. I felt as if I was looking at a painting when overlooking the Gardens of Versailles. You could spend a whole day strolling through the pathways that make up the gardens. It is simply divine.

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I was already blown away from the gardens, which was before entering the palace itself. I was eager to walk down the hall of mirrors which looks untouched by the photo above, but out of frame was a crowd taking selfies in the mirrors. I can’t lie, I took one as well.

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After visiting Versailles, we made our way back into town to visit Montparnasse tower, which overlooks all of Paris. Being above the city magnified the winding, tight European streets.

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Navigating the Metro was an interesting experience, but each station looked different, like it’s own personal touch.

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My Parisian dream ended with an evening at the Eiffel tower. I was lucky enough to be in the tower itself when it’s iconic light show. I completely recommend visiting in the late evening so you can see it during the day and it’s transition into night time. Nonetheless, I felt magical when walking the streets of Paris making this trip unforgettable. I cannot wait to return.

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Beach Days In Michigan

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As I grow older, I realize more and more how much I adore the state of Michigan. I have taken the landscape for granted. For how much I complain about our harsh Winters, it is actually pleasant have the opportunity to live within polar seasons throughout the year. The Summers are warm, Fall is chilly, Winter is almost apocalyptic, and Spring starts our year off fresh. I have not gotten the chance to visit the beaches of Lake Michigan only until late in the Summer and I have been missing out. It’s wonderful!

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Holland Beach is one of my favorite beaches because of the beautiful views of Lake Michigan. It also is way less busy than Grand Haven which is nice when you are trying to lay out and enjoy the Sun.

My friend Nicollette got a candid shot of me laying out. Actually, I made up for lost time with the Sun this Summer in this one visit to the beach. I came home pretty burnt… ouch. Nonetheless, that would never stop me from taking day trips to the beach to enjoy the sand and water of Lake Michigan.

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7 Practices For Creative Minds

“Begin with the end in mind.”

A few weeks ago, I had the marvelous opportunity to attend my first Creative Mornings seminar in Grand Rapids. The speaker was Chuck Saylor, CEO and founder of izzydesign, a collaborative business bringing products of exceptional design. Heritage being the theme of this month’s Creative Mornings, Saylor laid out the definition of heritage to be a “legacy of physical artifacts.” This got me thinking about what the past has to do with today’s fundamentals of design. Design is all about the fundamentals meant to create a certain affect by the consumer.

That being said, Saylor then went into a series of seven practices for creative minds that he has lived by, or adopted through trial and error.

1. Learn How To See… Context

Being a creative person requires you to take something and look at it from many different perspectives to create something unique and new. Something right under your nose may have a totally different use then what you originally thought it was intended to be.

2. Continuously Compose Your Life

Taking the time to compose different elements of your life may seem a little lackluster, but it is true that you need some brainpower in how you want to control your life. Yes it’s true, you will come across obstacles in your lifetime that are completely out of your control, but having some sort of composition with long term goals in mind, you will much more efficiently be able to blast right through those obstacles.

3. Choose The Right People To Hang With

I can touch on this from personal experience. I have been through the wringer when it comes to surrounding myself with the exactly wrong  people. Uninspiring, lacking empathy, ill-motivated, and negative. When your life is surrounded by people that are not on the sideline cheering you on, involving yourself with them only holds you back from being your best self. The same goes for you if you honestly could tell yourself that you wouldn’t cheer on the people you surround yourself with as well.

4. Be Authentic

When it comes to be creatively based industries, competition is always much more prevalent then other careers. With this competition in mind, self-comparisons are bound to happen. It’s best to stay away from those and do your own thing. You will find more pleasurable results if you take some risk in going your own direction then following someone else’s success.

5. Find a Great Creative Partner

This point tied well with number three. Being a creative means taking advantage of collaboration. Collaborating with other creatives opens up opportunities for you, makes connections through networking, and motivates your self to do better. When you are apart of a partnership you have double the brainpower into whatever project you take on. A partner can also hold you accountable when you are not working to the best of your abilities.

6. Reflect & Reinvent

I believed this point by Saylor to be very mind-blowing. I had never really thought about this, but when you believe a project to be complete, it is not put to rest really… ever. There is always room to make something better. This has encouraged me to reflect on my work and think about what I can do to improve in every project.

7. Wear a Silly Hat

This closing point, while eccentric, it made a valid point. Essentially Saylor explained that we must not take our work too seriously. We should be doing what we do out of passion anyways, which can lead us to lead very intense business because of this. While this is good, and the pivotal force in our success, taking our work too seriously releases the danger of making work not feel like play, when the two should go hand in hand. Do not be afraid to let loose a little bit and enjoy the ride to success.

In conclusion, I thank Chuck Saylor for such a motivating and inspirational talk which included his own personal experiences and background that helped me think about what I need to do for a successful future. Thank you to the sponsors of Creative Mornings | GR for coming to town to fuel my creativity on a monthly basis. Until next month GR…

Photos From Wildfox

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Euro Diaries: Normandy

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Normandy, a region enriched in history that impacts the inhabitants of American soil as well. The region itself is home to many beautiful cliffs, sandy beaches, and oceanside villages. Besides the hours on the busses, we reached the French countryside.

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After our first jaunt on the bus from Rouen we stopped in beautiful Arromanches. The small sea-side town was full of small shops and gorgeous views of the English channel. The first thing I was set out for lunch and a crepe. French food mainly consists of bread, no joke.

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When I travel a large distance away I try to just sit back and think about how far away I am from home and I never have been able to wrap my head around it when doing that. In the photo above I thought “the freakin’ English channel is behind me!” I still couldn’t get my mind the grasp that of course until I am home in Michigan.

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Upon stepping foot on the beach, I felt the amount of ominous history fill my mind. It was incredibly emotional to step foot on a point where so much had happened.

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To wind down, I took some time strolling through the American Cemetery before having to board back onto our bus. Reading the names stretching across the cemetery really opened my eyes in the sense of how many lives were lost during that short time on the battlefield. An experience I 100% recommend taking part in if you are ever over seas in Europe. With that, enjoy your weekend.

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Rock Your Body: Screw Body Image!

Body image is something that influences a lot of our daily decisions. No one could argue that. Beauty has turned into a system of how many likes you receive on your Instagram selfies or your score on the Hot Or Not app. This is insane and is something that has affected me firsthand.

For me, body consciousness has always been a pivotal force in my life. Throughout high school I went through a dramatic weight loss experience which was empowering but also just as dangerous itself. Once I  was conscious of how clothing looks on myself, or what my body says about I am, I became obsessive with it. Weighing myself on the scale multiple times a day, and countless hours of loathing after eating something that wasn’t a vegetable. It controlled my existence.

As I mature in age, I work to step back from the ideal body image that society has crafted from stereotypes and standards to be an accepted human. Your body should be your own canvas in which you can express in any way you want without having to feel ashamed of it’s form. I recently came across a video from StyleLikeU that was a roundtable discussion on body image, which I found to be immensely powerful.

One thing that I really took from the talk, is that women and men alike should not glorify any sort of body type. If you glorify one body type, it ropes off anyone else from thinking that it is acceptable to express themselves in any light that they please. You should not let your body navigate the clothes that you put on your body. Plain and simple.

We all will slip up every now and then, but the matter of the fact is that we are all better off growing away from the claustrophobia effusing walls of body image and focus on self expression. Self expression is endless and keeping it confined behind some sort of principle is just silly. Throw out the stereotypes, live healthy, and live happy!

Photo Credit: Betty Autier

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Euro Diaries: Canterbury

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When it came to my European Adventure, by the time I was crossing the Atlantic I had walked the grounds of a number of cathedrals. You would think that it would get boring as to the fact that most churches look the same, but the architecture floored me every time!

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Upon walking the grounds of the cathedral, my breath was taken away due to the grand scale of the worship space. This cathedral was built in 1070! I am quite fascinated by history and being in a place that has been around for so long.

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The gardens thrived throughout the ruins of building’s past.

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After experiencing the fast pace of London, it was nice to spend some time in a smaller town before making our way to France. With that, have a wonderful weekend!

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