On Changing Dreams

On changing dreams Most of you probably only know me as the gal who cooks all the food on this blog. Maybe you were around when I got married last year. Perhaps you have a hunch that I handle more of our business than just food. Let me sum it up for you as best I can. I am a co-author of A Beautiful Mess. I write a blog that millions of people read. I am a co-owner of a #1 selling app. I am a published author. I am a co-owner of a million dollar business(!!). I can’t word how lucky I feel to get to say this: I am happy. I know this probably sounds like bragging, and it is a little. But what can I say, I’m proud. And I want you to understand something about my life: I am living my dream. 

But this was NOT always the case. I’d like to pretend that this has always been the course of my life. It’s embarrassing sometimes to open up about your past and your failures. But I’m hoping that if I do, maybe someone out there will feel some encouragement, depending upon where you are in life.

On changing dreamsHere’s my story. I went to college mostly because my parents wanted me to. I had no idea what I wanted to major in, so I started off studying photography. I also worked as a wedding photographer. Eventually I realized I didn’t want to do wedding photography forever, so I quit that job and also changed my major. I eventually graduated with a BA in Philosophy. I studied philosophy simply because I loved it, and I had no idea what else to study.

During college I mostly worked for Elsie. Remember how I said I was a wedding photographer? Well, so was she. She had a small business doing wedding photography and portraits, and I mainly worked as her second shooter. Sometimes I did weddings on my own if we booked two on the same day. After that ended, I worked for a little while at a pizza place, and then I worked for Elsie again. She then had a thriving Etsy shop, selling prints and original artwork. I managed her customer service as well as packed and shipped orders. I did this throughout college.

During college I also started performing in plays and taking acting classes (outside of my college classes). I had a few friends who were really involved in local theater, and I enjoyed it too. I really loved doing anything comedic. I made plans with a friend of mine to move after I finished college to pursue acting in Los Angeles. I knew less than five people in LA. But I loved acting.

So we did it. We moved into a TINY studio apartment in Hollywood. I took improv classes at Groundlings. I took commercial acting classes. I worked as an extra (a lot). I got my SAG card. After a while I got a commercial agent. I went to a few auditions (not many). I worked odd jobs. I was very, very poor.

After about three years I was nearly out of money. I was tired of my life in LA. And I was nowhere near becoming an actress of any kind. I wasn’t sure what my next move should be. I was very seriously considering taking out loans and going to law school. I even took my LSAT and started the application process. But I dunno. It didn’t feel right.

On changing dreams During the three years I had been living in Los Angeles, Elsie and I had remained best friends. Her Etsy store had grown into a small, local shop that she supplemented with her blog, but she was having a hard time maintaining everything. She had lots of big ideas but hardly the time to execute everything and still manage all the other parts of a business you don’t see. Most of our phone conversations over those years ended with her trying to convince me to move home and be a part of her business again. It was tempting, but a part of me had wanted to move because I didn’t want to be just “Elsie’s little sister/helper” forever. I wanted to do something on my own. There was a little part of me that always felt like if I worked with Elsie I would forever be the “second shooter,” if you know what I mean.

Out of money and ideas, I finally gave in to her requests and moved home. Elsie was moving her business into a much larger building and expanding into selling vintage. I went from living on my own in Los Angeles and pursuing a career in acting, to living with my parents and helping my sister open her new shop location. Can you even imagine a more cliche situation? I won’t lie—I threw myself some pretty big pity parties those first few months. I cried a lot. I felt really defeated. I felt like I would forever be labeled a failure.

On changing dreams After some time of feeling sorry for myself I finally picked myself up and started to put together the pieces of my life again. I had started a food blog back in Los Angeles, and I decided to keep growing this passion in my life since, well, I could. I blogged more. I cooked more. I started a sweet shop and catering business in conjunction with Elsie’s local shop. I also tried to find how I could be useful within her business. I started getting all of her books and financials in order. I took over managing her blog’s advertising program. I helped run the day-to-day at the local shop. I made myself valuable, and we eventually updated the business and blog into a partnership. And together we thrived. We found ways to expand on our successes and abandon anything that wasn’t working. I had no issues with abandoning things then. 🙂 Our blog readership grew. Our business grew. We started making more money. I was able to save up enough to put a down payment on a house (and move out of my parent’s home). We eventually started hiring more people to work at our company. And last year, 2013, was our first million dollar year. Success is not always measured in dollars made, but we are feeling like our small business has a new momentum to it. And I feel as though I’ve gone from being a failure to being a success story. How did that happen?! Well, I’ve certainly learned a few lessons along the way.

On changing dreams 1. Move with the flow of life, not against it.

Life is absolutely full of opportunities. Don’t let them pass you by simply because they aren’t the opportunities you thought you wanted. We don’t always know what direction our life will go. I think it can be wise to try anything that comes your way, especially when you are young and trying to “figure it all out” (Spoiler: You won’t. Life is never that simple). Don’t set your heart on achieving one thing, only one specific way, in order to feel happy and accomplished. An amazing opportunity disguised as a mundane option may come your way tomorrow; don’t miss it.

2. Be honest about your strengths and expand on them.

I was good at working with my sister. We have always made a good team, because our strengths and weaknesses compliment each other. This was hard for me to see when I was younger, because I always felt like her achievements outweighed and looked better than mine. Instead of running away from a good situation, I should have fought to make it a great situation. Sometimes you have to be honest about what you’re good at. (A great place to start if you’re not sure is asking those closest to you.) If you enjoy something but it’s not a strength of yours, it might make a better hobby than career choice. That ended up being the case for me anyway.

3. Dreams don’t have to die, but they do sometimes have to change. Embrace it.

Even before I moved home from LA I felt afraid to do so, even though a part of me really wanted to. I felt that if I turned my back on my dream (to be an actress) then I was a failure. Being a “failure” is just a label that you give yourself. Don’t box yourself in like I did! It’s ok to change your dreams. It’s ok to pursue something else for a while if your current efforts don’t seem to be working. Embrace where your life seems to be headed, and forget the labels. Moving in with my parents after being a failed actress was the most cliche and embarrassing choice I’ve ever made. But it was also the BEST choice I’ve ever made.

4. Success is a process, not an event or state of being.

Being successful in whatever you are pursing in life is never going to magically happen one day and then it’s done. It’s an ongoing thing. You don’t always feel it. It doesn’t look the same in everyone’s life. And another really weird thing about it is you don’t always know it as it’s happening. Like I said, choosing to be a failed actress is what led me to my current dream job. This was a successful move, but it sure didn’t feel like it at the time. I felt anything but successful that year of my life. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not feeling successful this year. Keep going. Work hard. Play to your strengths. Take opportunities as they come. Be brave.

On changing dreams No matter where you are in life, I already know one thing about you: You are not a failure. Even if you’re feeling like one lately, please know I’ve been right there with you. I believe in you. You should believe in yourself.

Thanks for letting me share this (somewhat embarrassing) piece of my life with you. xo. Emma

Credits// Author: Emma Chapman, Photography: Sarah Rhodes

  • Hi Emma!

    I know it’s been a while since you wrote this, but I wanted to let you know it’s really helped me recently. I quit my high-paying tech job to just ‘figure it out’ because I was miserable and burnt out. Everyone in my life is like ‘I don’t get why you’re taking this risk’ etc, and I’m struggling to understand why myself, and feeling like a failure because I couldn’t ‘hack it’ in the high-stress world. I don’t know what I’m going to do next, and I have that feeling of being a failure because I haven’t figured out my passion yet, or what I should be doing to live my dream. I’ve followed your website since 2013, and went looking for advice — and of course I found it! I really needed to read this right now, and I was almost in tears because it was the words I wish I someone had said to me when I first quit, and the words I needed to make me feel like it’s gonna be okay. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • A wonderful article and so well written. I have two daughters and I will be sending them links so they read this! A wealth of inspiration for young women.

  • I was re-reading this post today… and years later it just feels right for me at this point of my life… Thank you for share this with us Emma! Love from Brazil! 🙂

  • hey Emma,
    Thank you for sharing such a personal story. It’s inspiring & reassuring. Keep your spirit burning the way it has & you will go miles, taking others ahead with you! Stay tough, stay happy 🙂
    good luck,

  • Your story is so inspiring! Thanks for being so honest and encouraging–posts like these are some of my favorites!

  • Oh Emma, 🙂

    You and Elsie are my heroes. I love you guies soo much. Thank you so much for sharing your life story which is so raw and similar. I too have a loving younger sister just like you. We share an amazing friendship and bond.Your story gives strength to others to keep climbing. God Bless U. And i feel so fortunate to have found you guies and your amazing blog. Keep shining!! Lots of love from Vini and Amber.


  • THIS is exactly what I needed right now. I don’t know exactly how I found my way to this post (FROM 2014) but it totally speaks to me in my current stage of my life. Thanks Emma! I would love more posts like this.


  • Such a great post. Thanks so much Emma. (Also this is totally unrelated but I totally gauge how old I feel in blog years. I remember reading in the early days of Red Velvet Art and it’s crazy how much you all have grown and expanded the brand.)

  • This is, without a doubt, of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I kind of have a refreshed outlook on life now – xx

  • Wow.

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this with us, Emma! I can only imagin how much hope you must’ve gave you readers — including myself!

    I have heard nothing but good things about this article, I even bookmarked it earlier in the week and finally got around to reading it tonight.

    Amazing & so inspiring. I am so happy for you and all your success! And I am hopeful, too. Thank you for giving so much wonderful insight… so encouraging!

    I will be sharing this on my blog tomorrow. 🙂 Others need to read this!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your every changing process!! Seeing how far you ladies have come is inspiring! Looking back it all makes sense, but when you’re in the midst of an uphill battle, it sure doesn’t seem like you’ll ever make it. Again, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Thank you so much for sharing your every changing process!! Seeing how far you ladies have come is inspiring! Looking back it all makes sense, but when you’re in the midst of an uphill battle, it sure doesn’t seem like you’ll ever make it. Again, thank you so much for sharing!

  • I’m really happy that I came across this post. I am going through a similar situation as you were when you decided to move out of L.A. I’ve been living in L.A. for almost 6 six years now and I am nowhere close to achieving my dream as a sound designer. I’ve finally decided late last week that it was time for me to open myself up to new opportunities. I’ve decided to expand my search further than L.A. county and to move in with family if any new opportunities come my way. After reading this post it makes me even more certain that I am making the right choice for me. Thank you for sharing.

  • I’ve never read anything that had more relevance for my life right now; thank you for being so brave and beautifully honest.


  • Thanks for your article, it’s very inspiring and it feels so good to see that we’re not the only one in that case! Most of the people don’t talk about that part of their life where they struggle, or some are just lucky, so when you’re working hard and see the others showing their success, you wonder why not me… Hopefully I had parents that always reminded me that success would come if I was working hard and dreaming strong, and reading articles like yours that had those moments in their life makes me realize that they are right! Thanks so much 🙂

  • Hi Emma!
    Thank you so much for your words and encouragements!!! Just the thing I wanted to hear today as my professional path is getting unknown…
    ABM is so inspiring!

    Greetings from Canada!
    Claudine :o)

  • It’s not embarrassing at all! It is so moving I cried (in a good way) I’m 20 and I know in still so young to think that I’m a failure but sometimes I feel so just because I didn’t get that dream job. It’s so shallow I know! But I also know that everybody starts from the bottom and I have high hopes that there’s no way to go but up. I am so inspired by this post. I may not comment a lot here (because your website is blocked at my work. :/) but I’m an avid reader. I’ve never been this encouraged! Thank you for this post!

  • I just stumbled upon this post tonight and wanted to say thank you. I am finally feeling like I am hitting my stride with a few things in life but am still worried about others. So this was really encouraging. And many blessings to you and your sister!

  • Oh My Goodness!

    It is wonderful to hear others share the challenges and struggles that they are going through. It also feels good to NOT be alone in this world of discovery as we go through these changes.

    I got everything ready to go last year and set up my new website, going with Word Press from the beginning. I had done months of reading other’s sites and taking notes on what works for some and doesn’t work for others. I got it up and going and then it fell flat on its face taking me with it. I kept trying to go back to it and it just hasn’t felt right, YET! I just received an email from my webhosting asking if I wanted to renew it for this year. I said yes, even though I am still not sure what I’m going to do with it, yet.

    This post has been an INSPIRATION for me. Thank you doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel right now, but I will say it anyways.

    Thank You,

  • Thanks so much for being brave enough to share this, I have that feeling at the moment where I don’t think I am really going anywhere. I am stuck in limbo not quite sure where I want to go with my life and this has made me realise sometimes you need those episodes and they aren’t anything to be ashamed of its just a process of life. Thanks again! xxx

  • Emma – thanks for sharing. Not that it matters, but it was YOU that brought me to this blog in the first place (I used to follow your food blog). I think both you and Elsie are inspiring creatures, but you definitely shine on your own. I think it’s an added bonus that you both complement each other so well. 🙂

  • Emma, You dont have know idea how much inspiration this post is to me. At this moment in my life, I’m right now where you have been after moving back from L.A. . I also moved back to my parents place, after I have failed in job, University and much more…..It’s good to know, that this happens to so many people who still dont give up. Thank you, thousand times….

    A lovely reader from Germany

  • Hey Emma, big thanks from Brazil – this was just what I needed today. 🙂 x

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. I wish I was as young as you again so that I could have those kinds of opportunities to recreate myself. I wish it wouldn’t have taken me so long to finally read this post. You deserve every happiness. I’m so glad that you share all of your strengths with us.

  • Very inspiring–thank you! I also majored in philosophy just because I loved it 🙂 Kudos to following your dream!

  • What wisdom you have to share-a beautiful and inspiring story. I have sent it off to my son and niece who are both in college. I am following where my life is leading me which is a new direction at 59. Something I never thought I would be doing- I hope to incorporate my art & illustration background as I move into drug and alcohol rehab counseling.

  • I’ve finally figured out what I really want to do with my life recently, at 35 years old.

    I’ve tried, and failed at, several things already–mainly because my heart wasn’t in them, and I couldn’t “make” myself stick with anything I wasn’t passionate about. I felt like such an undisciplined failure because of that, like I couldn’t make myself stick it out.

    But in retrospect I am so thankful for those failures. They sent my head to some pretty dark places at the time (try living with your parents, however briefly, in your thirties!), but I was able to clear out the residue of what other people had convinced me were “worthy” pursuits, and finally hear my heart’s calling.

    Success feels not only more possible with the pkans I have now, but also more enticing–not just something to check off a box. Life’s taken a big upswing. And I agree, you don’t figure everything out in your twenties. Trying out a bunch of things is huge, and so is giving yourself permission to call it quits on things that aren’t working out. I’ve never been happier than I am now, and I owe it to the failures I allowed myself to have.

  • Thank you for sharing! I feel like I am still figuring out what I want to do with my life. It is nice to hear that others didn’t always have it figured it out. I think you found your calling!

  • Dear Emma,

    Our class read your article and loved it.

    It was extremly inspirational.

    we liked the way you had the courage to tell us your past failures and triumphs with the world.

    we hope people in the future will realise that life will not always go the way they want.

    From kapunda primary school South Australia

    (Zac, Justin, Sam and Macy)

    ( Year 6/7)

  • I’ve been feeling lost and confused about what I want to do with my career, so thanks for this, thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Thank you so much for sharing! Your wise, humble and authentic words were touching and encouraging.

  • You have no idea how thankful I am for this post <3 I struggle with choosing a right direction in my life and want to finally do something with my it that will make me feel better. Although I’m only 20 I think I wasted a lot of time. Now you became my inspiration!

  • Thank you for posting! This is so encouraging. You guys are such an inspiration.

  • Hi, Emma.

    This post was such an inspiration to me! I’ve been blogging for awhile, and for way too long now I’ve been feeling kinda blah about it. I love what you guys have done here and was motivated enough to completely overhaul my entire blog (which was a lot more work than I ever thought it would be). This blog was a constant source of inspiration for me because it showed me what is possible. Thank you so much! I look forward to reading and seeing more in the future!


  • I love your pure honesty. I’m in the depths of a personal storm and your inspiration is a gleam of light that I need to keep moving forward. We all experience trials and tribulations that provide us with lessons on the path to our dreams. It’s all part of the journey, it’s just so hard to see that when you’re in it, when your dream seems to get further and further away. But, it all comes back to: everything happens for a reason.

  • Inspirational!!! I love this story! You worked hard, got lucky and found your way in life and became so huge!!!

  • This is so great, Emma. I’m currently in that process myself (I quit my job a a mechanical engineer to become a writer and yoga teacher). So worth it, but definitely scary and a terrifying process!

  • A brave and beautiful post! And very inspiring for someone who’s teetering on the edge of making new choices or sticking out the old ones. I think I know which way I’m going to jump. Thanks Emma.

  • Hi, I’ve just accidentally come across this blog and what I found here was the greatest post ever. Long time since I’ve been feeling somehow lost, giving up on my dreams just because I, again, SOMEHOW stuck in this uncomfortable place of mine. Thanks to you and this post I’m gaining hope and my motivation back… trying to open myself for all the opportunities ahead. And I know I will have a better tomorrow. Thank you, Emma!

  • Thank you for this post, Emma! I have spent most of my twenties experimenting with doing different things, going with the flow, travelling and doing creative things whenever possible. I’m now a teacher and freelance writer but have no idea what I’ll be doing in five years. It bothers me a lot less now than it did at 23 or 24 (I’ll be 30 next month). I definitely agree with the idea that your dreams can change and you should be on the lookout for opportunities that don’t necessarily fit in with your plans. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • This post is an inspiration for me. I feel strong now, after read it. Thank you very much.

    Kisses from Spain.

  • Thank you for this 🙂 I’m now 23 and I feel like I’m not where I’d be supposed to be ..but that actually gave me a lot of hope! Congratulations for your success..you blog is my forever favorite!

  • I agree that dreams do change. I remember dreaming of becoming a media practitioner when I was a kid. I took up broadcasting course and worked for a major network here in the Philippines as a segment producer.

    It was a challenging job, but literally demands ALL MY TIME. I switched-off my social life and all in exchanged for this job.

    After many years, I’ve realized that this is not the life that I really wanted to do. I want a life that gives me space and time to enjoy life and breathe.

    So I quit… found a job that gives me balance and be able to do what I love like blogging. 🙂

    Your post is very inspiring!

  • Thank you for posting this. Right now, I am in the process of starting my first food blog. I know it’s what I want to do – food is what I obsess over, to the point that I get so immersed in it that I lose track of time. Nevertheless, I have struggled with some lingering, nagging feelings of guilt that if I commit myself fully to my blog, I’ll throw myself into it completely and leave behind some other longstanding ambitions I have had in the past, ones that I have been passionate about for a really long time. I find it really reassuring to hear someone as successful as you saying that it’s okay to change your dreams and reevaluate what you want!

  • Gosh, thank you so much for sharing this, Emma. It is so refreshing when people are so honest on the internet. My big dream actually is to be an actress and a filmmaker. There are many others things that hold my interest, of course. I have no idea where that will take me or if it will work out, but you have put a new perspective in place for me. Sometimes I feel so blindsided to other creative endeavors and opportunities. I often feel like I have no one to relate to. I’m very young still, but it’s nice to read someone else’s experience. You and Elsie are amazing ladies!

  • wow, so empowering. I’ve been told by family that I kinda am indecisive. I change my mind a lot I never looked at it as a negative until they pointed it out. well I worked in customer service clerical jobs than nursing and now a want to be an boutique owner. what I’m trying to say is they were all customer service. so lately I’ve been trying to choose always what makes me happy hoping that I can make money doing that. so that’s what led me to boutique, I love playing dress up I literally have outfits planned for many outings that I don’t know of yet, LOL! so thanks I’m still trying to find my happy place! I’m married with kids house and a dog, I should be content right! anything but! well we will see! I have a fashion blog coming soon, candiedgirl.com. maybe you can check it out one day.

  • I needed this today, I’m a graduate with a history and philosophy BA degree and although my heart is in history and museums and archives at the moment (due to alot of reasons) things aren’t going where I wanted them too. After a period of long term illness I’ve realised I don’t need to be in my dream career at 30. Life is for living and experiencing, and it’s ok if I want to try something a bit different (I’ve been eyeing up veterinary nursing but feel like I’m betraying all the hard work I put in to my degree). I’ve always been someone who was good or ok at things but never really talented at anything, I always (and honestly still do) feel like a failure when I see people I went to uni with thriving in the place I want to be. Early adulthood is definitely not easy! But things are changing, I’m moving to a new part of the country with my partner and I’m ready to try and embrace all the new opportunities that may arise. It helps to know other people are feeling the same and I admire your honesty, thankyou. 🙂

  • thanks for this absolutly inspiring post ..
    you’re just great and a real heroine for me 🙂

    wish you all the best .

  • Thank you for sharing, Emma – posts like these are the reason that readers like me keep coming back for years on end. Your readers appreciate your honesty and candor about your lives, your business, your feelings…we love you!!!

  • Emma, Thank you so much for sharing this post. I wish I had found it sooner! I’ve been struggling for a while now, especially lately and this post has totally given me the encouragement I’ve been desperately needing. I feel like it’s so easy to self-criticize and label ourselves as failures if we’re not demonstrating or experiencing conventional ideas of success. I know I do it to myself a lot, and yet I would never consider viewing someone else’s experiences in that way. Thank you so much for posting, especially reminding that success is a process. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • I NEVER comment on blogs. Mostly because I read them on reader such as Feedly, so I never have the chance (and honestly, don’t ever feel like commenting).
    But this post… wow, you’re such an inspiration to me. Hopefully one day I’ll have a similar story to share, and you showing and embracing your past failures, embracing the fact nobody’s perfect (while so many out there keep trying to convince us they are), it’s absolutely inspiring. Can’t thank you enough for opening up your heart with us.
    Wish you all the best. =)

  • Wow thanks.. I recently moved back with my family. I left La -15 days ago. And I’m back in Houston,Tx where a weeks feels like a month. I’m Leaning a lot about my self I do feel defeated in a way. But reading Your story is really motivating… THANKS

  • Thank you for telling your story.
    I am feeling a bit lost now and your story really moved me.
    I hope I will find my way as well.

  • Such a wonderful and honest post. Thank you for sharing. Definitely something I needed to hear. Pursuing my dreams, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, accepting failures, struggling on little sleep and little money, has been an emotional roller coaster. I haven’t cried in my whole life as much as I have in these past few months. I truly appreciate hearing your struggles and successes! So happy for you, so thankful you had the courage to share with us!

  • this was amazing. thank you for sharing. ive followed you ladies the last 2 years and you always give me so much hope, thank you <3

    Lindsay xo

  • You got me- I am totally inspired!!! I’m new out here in blog world. Surprised at myself; somehow figured out how to make a logo, learning about codes…making story boards..I’m doing something I LOVE!!! Writing, capturing moments through the camera and words…I love it. I don’t have a lot of followers on here..yet..but I got 12 like’s on my post “dating 101- after baby” and I think that’s motivation enough to keep going with this. And if no one liked it, I think I would still be hooked and do it anyway! Anyways, I went on about myself and didn’t intend to- I LOVED this post! Thanks for sharing- it inspired me 🙂


  • Such a great motivational story. I definitely needed this after the week I had. Thanks for sharing

  • I really needed to read this at this moment! Still trying to figure it out all! I know that the path I have followed will lead me where I want, I just need to open my eyes well! thanks again for your post! 🙂

  • This was wonderful! I feel like my life has been a continuing evolution of changing dreams. The girl I was 5 years ago, 10 years ago, would not have recognized the girl I am today. But I love her! Congratulations on all your success- you deserve it! xo

  • Thanks for sharing, Emma! I am currently going thru a life transition and know that many of my friends are as well. Being in our early to mid-twenties, we think we have to have it all figured out. It’s nice to hear that we don’t. I love the #1 tip: don’t refuse an opportunity. Can’t wait to see where else your business takes you!

  • This somehow made me smile. I’ve through a lot this year and yesterday I was crying because I felt everything I was doing was just wrong in any sense!
    You’re an inspirational woman, Emma. Thanks you so much for those words because they made me feel that I can still fight for what I want, it’s just that and not there yet and there’s always a way to get it.

    P.S: your haircut is beyond lovely!



  • Thank you for sharing your story! I am 23, post-college with a useless major, and I struggle every day thinking about the direction of my life. (I can also relate to the little sister issues.) I’ve been trying to gain the confidence to start selling handmade, but I feel like I’ve been in a rut. This post is something I really needed right now! Thanks again for your honesty and inspiration. 🙂

  • I’m so glad I can read stories of people that managed through difficulties to find their way to success (and much more) and encourage other people to go after what they want in life. I must confess, your post came into my life in a very difficult time. I’m standing in a crossroad, hubby and I have to make decisions about our life, in financial issues we are facing the last 2 years. I hope we make the right one and everything will go well. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • This is…incredible. I feel like you just picked me up off the ground and gave me the gentle push I needed. I’d be crying if I wasn’t sitting in my dingy cubicle at work. Thank you isn’t enough, but–thank you 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your story with us Emma. You truly are an inspiration and reading your post gives me hope that I’ll be able to achieve the goals in life I would like. xx

  • Thank you Emma for sharing your life with us. This post was definitely encouraging and I am so happy for you! Continue moving forward. You are awesome!!
    xoxo. Brooke

  • This is the awesomest thing I’ve read in awhile and it couldn’t have come at a better time! I’ve been in LA for a little over 2 years pursuing the same dream you had and just decided to move back home. The past few weeks have been filled with the mixed emotions of excitement and worry that I’m making a mistake, but your story has really helped me see the light! Thank you thank you.

  • I LOVE this post. It touches on so many of my own experiences with so much confidence and resolve in your words. Thank you so much for sharing!

  • i totally feel the same way! i’m 24 as well and i think what’s tough for me (besides feeling lost and not knowing what to do), is that when i get a vague idea of what i can do (mine are usually very BIG vague ideas), it’s more of a “where do you start?’ sort of problem. idk, i think it’s very hard to find some sort of direction when there are so many things that i want to do and can’t pick one to focus on. because when i do, whenever i get discouraged, i just switch to another one. and the cycle continues and i end up not going anywhere. idk, this is so tough, but it’s great to see that i’m not the only one who’s going through (or who’s went through) this same thing! such a great post Emma!

  • Thanks for the post, Emma! Also, I love your new cut! Can I ask who does your hair? (I’m a fellow Springfieldian.)

  • Thanks for sharing Emma – it’s wonderful to read ABM and see all your successes, but it is also heartening and inspiring to read honest posts like this.

    This has been ‘one of those weeks’ for me and I have truly appreciated your story xx

  • Im a brasilian girl. Sorry for my english. 🙂 I love so much your post. It so helpfull to me right now! Thank you so much!

  • thank you emma for sharing all this! This makes me think about me my dreams and about what I want from my life and I really hope to achieve! Best words I read: Keep going. Work hard. Play to your strengths. Take opportunities as they come. Be brave. Believe in yourself! Real true! Hard but true! Thank you for sharing!

  • I definitely needed to read this today. It almost brought me to tears as I sit here wondering what the hell I’m doing trying to be an author. Keep moving forward. 🙂

  • This is a fantastic post. I feel like I need to have “Success is a process, not an event or state of being” written on a post-it note somewhere in nearby view! I know my life has turned out much differently than I pictured it would, but hanging on for the ride and letting the road take me where it will has been the best decision I could’ve made. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hi Emma,

    (all the way from Uganda -where we don’t have a lot to be proud of at the moment (you must have seen us in the news a lot lately) 🙁 )
    I have been reading your (you and Elsie) blog for… cant even remember how long and I love it. Every single bit of it. I can’t try everything out here because I can’t always get all the materials/ingredients I need, but I do try to be innovative and you have definitely made me be more creative in my home…
    I am turning 30 this year (am I your oldest reader?? goodness everyone seems so young…) and I am STILL trying figure myself out (does it ever end!!?). Your blog helps. I always felt my creative outlet is under utilized, and your blog just makes me want to use it more.

    Thanks for sharing your success story. not to sound mean, but it feels good to know that you weren’t always this happy! 😉
    Its definitely encouraging to me, and you have most definitely touched me deeply with it!

    Cheers to both of you!

  • Thank you for this, Emma. It has come at a very trying time for me and I’m grateful for your inspirational message.

  • Thanks for sharing this and for being so open and honest. Sometimes it’s easy to feel lost and without purpose. It’s inspiring to know that you found your way and have a wonderful business that you can feel proud of.

  • This post really made my day. I moved from LA to Tokyo a year and half ago to get into the entertainment business here and it’s not always going the way I planned to. My goals and aspirations have changed somewhat too. Your experiences and success are truly inspiring, thank you so much for sharing!

  • Hi Emma,
    I just wanted to say thank you for your brave and inspiring post!
    I’m still trying to figure out what to do with my life and I really liked what you had to say about taking any opportunity, even if it isn’t one you would normally pick for yourself. I’m really scared of trying new things, but reading your post gives me a little more courage to try. Thanks!

  • Amazing post, Emma!

    I feel like my story is a lot like where you were at my age (24!) Thanks for helping me get excited for the future 🙂

    Love Leah (Reading since 2010)

  • “Don’t set your heart on achieving one thing, only one specific way, in order to feel happy and accomplished. An amazing opportunity disguised as a mundane option may come your way tomorrow; don’t miss it.” Words to live by; in my book. Thank you,

  • thanks from Venezuela, I found you like a really inspiring girl. Here in my country things are very hard, and just reading your post makes me want a brighter future.

  • Oh my goodness…thank you so much for the practical nature of your shared lessons. This hit me at just the right time.

  • Hi there,

    I have followed you ladies for a long time and have had some fun with some your alls projects. Today and this post was my all time favorite. I often joke with my friends and fam that if my 18yr old self say me today at 28 almost 29 he would be sad, mad and disappointed in us. I am no where near where I thought I would be at this age, granted I make ok money and have a stable job, and that our dreams fell wayside. But reading this has def made me just say that “do it” and stop procrastinating or waiting till tomorrow and just do what I can today. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your story.

  • I think it’s lovely that you shared your story. It’s huge to see honesty in blogs and in other women, and it’s hugely inspiring. Thank you.

  • This blog post really hit the spot. Ah – so good to get it from someone else, not just a friend that says: youll be okay.

    Thank you!

  • Wow a friend sent me this while I was down in the dumps about where my blog is going. I have no idea the blog had grown this much! I come in a peek all the time but this is awesome. I’m really happy to see a blog/website do well! I can only hope that I can turn my passion into something as big! Thanks for sharing your story it’s seriously motivating for someone like me.

  • I’ve been an avid follower of ABM since it was 2005 and I was a freshman in college and I felt certain my calling in life was to a progressional scrapbooker. I was 18 then and am almost 27 now and have watched what seemed to be an outlet for Elsie turn into a business and passion and career for the both of you. So may I first say, what a joy to watch. I am in my last semester of graduate school, pursuing a degree in documentary film making and photography and am 2 1/2 months shy of graduating. And in the past week, I found the courage to ask if I can take another year with my documentary. (fortunately I’m in a degree program that gives that option). It has been one of the hardest things to do, being so close to the end. But I work 40 hours a week, am engaged and just don’t seem to have time to catch my breath and make something I’m proud of. Ive struggled with being ok with taking more time to make something I’m proud of and I just wanted to say thank you for your words. I have absolutely felt like a failure that i haven’t been able to do this in 2 years. Its as if Ive succumbed to admitting, no, I’m actually not Super woman as much as I wish I was and could balance all things. You ladies continue to be an inspiration that its ok to make time for the things I love. I don’t have to move so fast. Thanks again!

  • As a former actress, I can completely relate to this post and the need to be open to the unexpected twists and turns that life puts in our path. Thanks for the inspiration to continue fearlessly seizing new opportunities!

  • Thank you for sharing! Reading these kinds of stories definitely helps keep me going when I’m at this low point in my life.

  • This is absolutely beautiful! I’m currently going through my quarter-life crisis and constantly wondering about so many things in terms of where my life is going and what kind of life I want to make for myself, and reading this helped to affirm that I need to keep going in my quest – all roads might not lead directly where I would like them to, but if I keep going, I’ll get where I want to be eventually and will appreciate it even more because of the hard work that it took to get there.

    Thanks for re-inspiring me!

  • Emma thank you for the bravery for writing such a post! This is so near to my heart as I too have traveled / lived far from home (Phoenix, Chicago & Milwaukee) yet when the decision was made to move home (Northern Wisconsin) there was a part of me that really struggled with it (in the terms of seeing myself as someone who my have failed at life for doing so). BUT it was the best thing my Husband & I did for ourselves, livelihoods and business. It’s amazing how life works sometimes!

  • Your story and your honesty is inspiring. Not at all embarrassing.
    I also needed this today. I always wanted to become an architect and now I am one and I’m struggling so hard to combine it with my family (I have a 17 month old son). And maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t be so bad to change my dreams… I never thought that I would find being a mum much more important…

  • Thank you Emma. This story is so honest. I’m kind of glad to hear that the most successful people struggled with this. I hope i can find out what my strengths exactly are…

  • Such an incredible post!
    it’s been wonderful to watch the way this blog & your business has evolved!
    also good to know that everyone else seems to go through this phase too!
    i quit my job last year to help my family out & decided to spend this year trying to grow my business. it’s been rough & has already tested me in more ways than i could have ever imagined, but this is the encouragement i need to keep the faith & just keep on trying.
    thanks so much for sharing & congrats on all the success that has come your way. you deserve it!
    Cheray Natalie

  • Wow. I had no clue! I started following this blog a couple years ago and I just assumed you two had always done this blog together (as well as the store and etsy shop). I had no clue you lived in LA or wanted to go to Law School! I always love when bloggers post things like this and we get to know you all over again and realize we all have more in common than one might think.

    You guys were just normal girls with a dream and now you’ve got a million dollar company. That is CRAZY! I loved this post. Thanks for sharing.

    xo Denise

  • Thank you for sharing. Sometimes we don’t realize how much “our story” can truly inspire and encourage someone else. Thank you again for sharing such an intimate part of your life. xo

  • Hi Emma!
    I’m a 23 years old girl, almost finishing my degree in nursing and trying to understand my place in this world. I’m doing this degree because of a promise I did to my dad, university (in Portugal) it’s the place where we go after finish high school, we are so young to decide what we want with our life. I feel lost you know? I’m afraid to be a failure , like you said, if I don’t find myself. I know what I would like to do, But I’m trying to find my courage for that, I’m scared for the big next step.
    This is my first time reading your blog, but I loved!
    Thank you for sharing this with us, it’s good to know that we are not alone.

    Kiss kiss Margarida

  • Great post! I’m 29 and only just starting to feel that I’m heading in the right direction in parts of my life. The others I haven’t figured out yet, but I will get there.

  • Thank you so much for sharing Emma. I needed to read this post. Hopefully i can see the beauty in my somewhat messy life. Congratulations to you and your sister!

  • I am reading this post a few days later but I’ve got to say. You spoke right with me now… I even say that i got a tear in my eye, bcs it is exactly how this past year was for me. A completely failure, and now i am picking up the pieces and trying to go forward again. Thank you so much for sharing. You just gave me a big push that I was in need.

  • Thank you Emma. I am also the younger sister and in a difficult time right now. Your words help raise my spirits so much and hearing your story is inspiring. THIS is why you are successful – because you deserve great things.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this Emma, it is so useful to remember that successful people don’t just wake up one day, click their fingers and they are super-successful (at least I don’t think it happens that way!), but the journey getting there always seems such a secret. But I think the most important thing is to try something before you move on to something else, rather than being too scared to start. So thank you. Plus you are awesome!

  • It’s been so great getting to hear more of your story, Emma. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your strengths, weaknesses, and experiences. It’s always inspiring!

  • I have been reading this blog for years and can’t help but feel like I know you guys! Even though I don’t I am so proud of you and so glad that you are happy. I have so much respect for you both sharing your successes AND your failures. It is so sincere and motivational. I’m also a 3L in lawschool and have to say you’re much better off not having gone because (1) it’s kind of hell on earth and (2) if you aren’t sure you want to do it, you shouldn’t. So, well done. I love this blog and your app! I also totally miss Food Coma.

  • Hi Emma! Honestly just want to say that this post was extremely inspiring and definitely filled my heart with a lot more hope 🙂 I’ve been a little lost with some things going on in my life but I’m only 20 lol honestly this read was what I need on my lunch break. I started my own blog with my best friend a little ago and I love it …my hopes are for it to grow and inspire people like you have done! Thanks for this ..!

  • Dear Emma,

    Thank you so much for this.

    I am right on the stage of ‘moving back home’ after studying a Master’s Degree in Journalism and no one is hiring. I have felt like quite the failure for the past 4 months while my other friends have all been hired.

    But I started blogging more (writing which is really what I’ve always wanted to do), doing what I love and taking pictures of my travels and stories and I have slowly found myself.

    I have looked up to you guys for inspiration all along and this post couldn’t have come at a better time.

    I am happy for you and all your success and congratulations for all your hard work!

    I hope you get to read this. But if not, thank you anyway 🙂


  • Thank you for sharing your story, Emma. Even though things in LA didn’t turn out how you hoped, I’m sure it was still a wonderful experience.

    How amazing that you are living your dream while staying (and working!) so close to your family!


  • Oh! I’m one of those early readers, i used to loooove your own blog, the way you express, your writing, your sense of humour. I remember those times, we witnessed that all happening, despite not knowing the details, i felt it, and i am so so happy for you, Emma!
    As many, i am dazed and confused from time to time, because, as you said, life is never figured out, my mom told me so when i was about 13, but i anyways decided who i wanted to be, or to be more accurate: how i wanted to feel deep inside. Though i have no million dollar business (but, i’m not sure that’s what success means to me, so i guess it’s fine) and i have to struggle every month to get my bills paid and everything, i’m feeling awesome. I’m in love (and for the first time in my life i truly understand what “marrying your best friend” might mean), i’ve got projects, i’m starting to do artistic stuff i always wanted but i was too scared to, i feel talented and beloved, i don’t feel ugly anymore, and i figured out how to get up when i fall. And that’s just how i wanted to feel! That’s the woman i wanted to grow up to!
    I guess that’s what matters, being proud of your growth, your learning through failure, because everybody, everybody, does fail, in businees, in finding your career, in finding your best partner, the love of your life, etc. We all make mistakes, we all have to fall, we all have to learn that may be what we WANT is not exactly what we NEED, and let life help. I’m sure it does 😉

    Thanx for sharing and letting us share with you, and responding every comment. You rock out, i always say so.

  • Want to hear something even more embarrassing then moving in with your parents? How about being 56 years old and having no idea where your life is heading? A mid-life crisis? Hardly. I’ve sadly felt this way for years. Oddly enough I’ve always been that woman that other women kind of envy – creative, a good mom, great cook, nice house etc. But I have little to show for my talents. In short…I’m a wheel spinner!

    My GF sent me a link to this article for inspiration, having never visited your blog before. Thanks for the advice and support. I needed this today. And thanks Leslie!
    – Valerie

  • This is first post which I read on your blog. I really loved it! I also sent a link to my friend, who has some doubts about moving to different city for studies. Hope that after reading it she’ll believe that at least it’s worth trying (even if she fail and will come back to home city). Thanks!

  • I had a really awful week last week – breakdown sobbing on my bedroom floor kind of a week. I hit a breaking point with nearly everything in my life I felt was wrong or like I hadn’t managed to fix yet – a lot of the same things you wrote about here.

    So the timing of reading this couldn’t be more perfect. I’m still picking myself up from last week and figuring out where I go from here…but I just wanted to say thanks for being a voice of encouragement for a girl you’ll never meet. I needed that.


  • I LOVE your story 🙂 For the last three years i have been working with my sister in with our small jewerelly business. And my biggest dream is to make it “all the way” like you Guys! You are so cool and inspirering. Thankyou for that 🙂 Best wishes from Denmark 🙂

  • One of your best posts. I think one secret to ABM’s success is how down-to-earth and accessible you all seem, and this drove that feeling home!

  • Thank you for this real/inspiring/honest/encouraging post. I am also an art student, and to think about the future can be so overwhelming to me and make me question my path entirely. Thank you for reminding me to follow what I love, work hard and just see where it takes me 🙂

  • What a lovely post, Emma. I loved reading about your journey – bumps, bruises, and all. I think it’s easy to look at what a blessed life you have now and be jealous (LOL!) but it’s clearly meant to be. You deserve it. Bravo to you for never giving up and finally finding your true path.

  • Thank you for sharing this, after years of having a six figure salary then losing it in middle age, i too have felt like a failure on many days. I fought so hard to keep many THINGS but found once I let go and moved back to be where my family is a huge weight was lifted and it is allowing me to explore my options and be with the people that love and support me most. Thank you so much for the inspiration. I have always loved fashion and keep playing with the idea of doing a blog it would be great if you guys would post helpful tips about getting started. Sorry I wrote a book but you really got my juices flowing today, THANKS!!!!

  • Thank you for sharing, Emma. It is such an important step to erase “failure” from our vocabulary… No matter what sort of steps we take, we will learn from all of them. And, as the line of the movie goes, we are the sum of our experiences.

    I read your post as soon as it was posted, and I felt the urge to write about my own experiences. It definitely is uncalled for, but I will surely do me some good to let it out, too, and as I do not comment much, this may cover for following you guys for quite some time now 🙂

    All I’ve ever wanted to do for a living is writing and drawing. Bearing in mind that I live in Spain and that there is no such thing as a creative writing major here, or anything of the sort, I struggled to decide whether to study art or translation (I love languages and translating literature sounded like half the dream come true!).
    Translation won, and I do not regret a minute of the career. But… I did not like the prospects of being a translator, once I tried. And literature translation turned out to be a playground reserved for a couple the “big guys”…
    I did not despair, but was sort of lost. I started a PhD, working on young adult fiction translation, but it was not at all fun or interesting. Anyway, doing that allowed me to teach at the Faculty and that did yield some interesting maturity and perspective.

    I decided that books were definitely back in the picture, and I enrolled on a Masters on Literary Publishing, for which I had to move to Madrid from where I had studied and lived for quite some time. This also meant quite a monetary stretch for my parents and leaving my boyfriend behind. It did not work out. None of it. The masters was not at all worth what it cost, my relationship ended due to distance and the world seemed to come crashing down on me.
    All that I could take from the experience was the hope of getting stronger and all the doodling and writing that I did in class when it wasn’t interesting (a LOT!).

    I came back to Vigo, where I had studied, and had just a short time to find something to live off, or I would have to go back to my parents’ (reaaaally small town, lack of friends in the area guaranteed). I took some translating jobs, which where too much work, hardly any bucks. My Mom still thought that a good job is the one where someone hires you and you have some financial security. Not my idea of a happy life, but at the time only a few people blogged, there was no prospect of it ever yielding any money, and no one seemed to live off arts & crafts via web. I was told that all my studies had been erratic and too eclectic (I’ve always thought that my goal was clear, but no one seemed to share that thought).

    So I applied for some jobs and got one: since 2008 I’ve been working as an international projects manager at a university. It is not the worst job in the world, but it has become quite a burden, to be honest. There is one good thing about it, though: I work from 8 to 3. So afternoons and evenings are mine. I took some writing workshops and they were great. I learned and my work even got praised. I took my idea of a book out a drawer and worked, and worked, and worked.

    And, as you so wisely put it, work pays off. I got published. My second book is on the way. My contract covers a third one, too.

    It definitely is hard balancing both things right now, but I have proof that if I keep working at it, I WILL be able to make my dream come true. I am drawing a lot more. Even for a magazine. I am confident. I am happy. And I have a plan that is feasible and that makes me smile. The future ahead is only what we make of it. And I know that success is possible.

    Again, thank you for sharing. And sorry for this “eyeful” 🙂
    Your thoughts and experiences help even those who already passed what you have. It reassures and inspires people. And if inspiring people doesn’t make one happy, I don’t know what does.


  • I’ve been reading A Beautiful Mess for probably a year now and never commented. Thank you so much for this Emma! I am often envious of how great your life looks and wonder how I could possibly go about the same success. But it’s not always easy to get there. Congratulations on your success 🙂 You deserve it. I always enjoy hearing your funny voice through your blog posts.

  • It’s so nice to hear from people on beautifully curated blogs like yours about the “real life” stuff. I think it can be hard to remember sometimes that everything is not beautifully styled kitchen posts and gallery walls! Thanks for opening up and sharing something so personal – I know this resonates with me!

  • WOW! This was awesome! Thank you, Emma, for sharing this. Big cheers from Brazil!

  • I don’t normally comment on posts for any site, choosing instead to be a constant but silent reader, but I felt the need to send out a big thank you for this one. Your story is beautifully written and heartfelt. I have a feeling I’m gonna be coming back to re-read this post over and over.

  • This really hit home for me, thank you for sharing. I think it can take creative types awhile to figure out their path, since it’s not linear the way attending law school and then becoming a lawyer is. Often we feel like we can’t imagine pursuing any other life, so we keep at it, making mistakes, failing, until we finally land on something that works. This is what I tell myself anyway, as a blogger and nonfiction writer. Someday, we’ll all get there. Great post.

  • XOXOXO…thanks for being so genuine and sharing so much of yourselves with all of us. I have found that I have made similar changes in my life recently…former Engineer turned Jewelry Maker, and once I embraced that change and stopped focusing on the “should of’s” and began embracing the “can do’s” my business began to thrive in ways not even imaginable! And yes you have to maintain enough flexibility to change with the path deviates a bit and willingness to make a hard decisions at times.

  • Thank you for sharing! Very inspiring! And, congratulations on an awesome blog.

  • Oh my god, this is the most inspiring post I’ve read in a while.
    Thank you for sharing this!

  • What a beautiful post, Emma. I can relate so much and I’m glad it reached and touched so many people. I’m still trying to figure it all out and this gives me hope that one day I’ll get there, wherever that is. Thank you.

  • This was a great read. I’m going through something similar myself and have been feeling so down and dejected lately. This was the kick in the pants that I needed. I really want to print out your rules and post them on my bulletin board! Thank you for the encouragement and the honesty in this article. You’re amazing and your story of success and time will stick with me!

  • Wow! Thank you for this. As someone who is currently everywhere and nowhere, maybe not doing great at anything in particular, this was exactly what I needed. Very inspiring. I feel ready to take on the world now! 🙂

  • wow! thank you for sharing your true story! you gave me strength not to stop in a way to my dream! you`re really a great personality and I`m in love with your blog <3

  • Thank you so much for sharing! Life is often difficult to navigate and we hold ourselves to strange measures and standards of ‘success’. ‘Move with the flow of life, not against it’ resonated with me – I think making the right decision is often more a case of ‘following your gut’ and knowing yourself, then weighing up the pros and cons and making a rational choice. Life is amazing and surprising!

  • This story is really inspiring. I feel kind a lost now too. I have one plan after another inside my head how to express myself and make money from something that I love to do, but with so many ideas I do not know where to turn..Probably need time 🙂

    However, amazing post 🙂 good luck with your business 🙂 kisses

  • HI Emma,
    Thank you so much for sharing this entry. It takes guts to be able to share this! I’m “lost” at the moment as i’m in the midst of moving to another country. (Singapore – Germany) and I’m sure I’m bound to have some failures/mishaps along the way. I’ve only been reading this blog for about 3 years, but i’ve been greatly inspired by it. Thank you for your honesty and sincerity!

  • That was lovely, Emma! So well-said, inspirational, heartwarming. Thanks for sharing! x

  • A friend sent me this link after I posted about having no clue what the right life is for me, so I’m sure you can imagine how much I can relate! I think your first piece of advice to move with the flow and not against it is a hugely important one for me to take note from – I spend so much time analysing and re-analysing every situation to the point where I manage to talk myself out of a LOT of things. And I also compare myself to other people way more than is healthy. So thank you. It’s nice to know I’m not alone! Time to start rolling with the punches…


  • thanks for this piece – I love the part about not always knowing if what you are doing at the time is a success …. I think we all have days like this.

    I love reading your blog and enjoy your ever growing team,,,, need someone else to work for you from South Africa 😉
    I had to try 🙂 hehehehe

    I will keep blogging – this was a great article to read
    keep up the good work

    Betty Bake

  • thanks for this piece – I love the part about not always knowing if what you are doing at the time is a success …. I think we all have days like this.

    I love reading your blog and enjoy your ever growing team,,,, need someone else to work for you from South Africa 😉
    I had to try 🙂 hehehehe

    I will keep blogging – this was a great article to read
    keep up the good work

    Betty Bake

  • Congratulations on your wonderful successes, Emma. I’ve been following this blog for years, and your story really inspires me. I also blindly majored in Philosophy, simply for the brain-teasing fun of it, with no intention of using it as a career. Yes, I “have an education”, but now I’m bouncing around from city to city trying to figure myself out. It’s good to see someone who was once in the same situation come out on top! All the best to you. <3

  • So inspiring! Feeling so lucky that I found this post today,as I’m starting pursuing one of the most belated and postponed dreams of my life! 🙂

  • A very thoughtful and helpful post, thank you very much for sharing your personal story. I’ve had a number of careers, times when I felt successful as well as times when I felt a failure. During the down times, it’s great to have someone remind you of the endless possibilities that life throws our way.

  • Thanks for sharing this inspiring and honest story. I completely underline your 4 ‘lessons’. Beautiful!

  • Have you been reading my diary?? Geez. Thank you SO much for writing this. Sometimes hearing that someone else has been in the same situation is exactly what makes getting through that situation a bit easier. It’s so important to share our experiences with each other because we really never know who we are helping.

  • Hello, from the Philippines!

    My daughter is going to college next year and has been in a dilemma on what course she wants to take up. Your post is so timely and can’t wait to share this with her.

    So happy to discover your site. We started a mother & daughter blog in 2013, and you and Elsie are such an inspiration. Thank you.

  • this is SO inspiring to me. thanks for sharing your story. it is so beautiful to see how all out bits and journeys and adventures fit together! and how dreams change 🙂

  • A beautiful reminder that all of our paths are different. This was just the ephifany I’ve been looking for, thank you for sharing Emma. Good to know our creative career struggles are worth it and we all will find a career that satisfies an artists soul!

  • Your opening paragraphs are so inspiring! To own your happiness is a huge thing and to read of someone doing it makes me smile all over. Congratulations, how marvelous to held onto your true self and succeeded. I haven’t read much of your blog but that is going to change.

    And thanks for the words about failure. Hard not to feel that way when you write and write but don’t get paid or amass kajillions of users. I used to be a corporate person w a paycheck and benefits but am now in these foreign waters. Your words help.

  • Wow! I really needed to read this after battling with some life issues last night. Somehow this post is like an answered prayer. Thanks Emma for sharing!

  • I really enjoyed and connected with this post. I’ve changed my dream so often and it still feels like I’ll be changing a bit more down the road. It’s incredibly inspiring to witness your success over the years and now hear about your beginnings. Refreshing!

  • Thanks a lot for this Emma!!!
    I Love every singe word you havewrittem in this post.
    Thanks a Lot!!!!


  • Emma, thank you so much for sharing this! I just had to move back home too, and have been feeling like you were, and playing back all the what if’s in my mind. Everyday I just embrace what life brings, but I do need to give each opportunity the benefit of the doubt. This was really inspirational and exactly what I needed, Thank you!

  • Wonderful to read a true life story of the process of success. It’s not always pretty lol, I know mine certainly hasn’t been. I love the blog and the excitement that it brings to my day. Just started following about 6 months ago, but I am hooked! Seriously, I get excited to get online in the morning to see what you guys have come up with. You ladies are great and give me inspiration 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing! I love it!
    Im in that point of life, kind of… so your words made me happy. Thank you very much, so far one of my favorite posts.
    Im now following you


  • Thanks for sharing! I love it!
    Im in that point of life, kind of… so your words made me happy. Thank you very much, so far one of my favorite posts.
    Im now following you


  • I am 56 years old and am still trying to “find myself.” I do believe that this is the most inspiring post I have ever read. God Bless you. So many need to hear this, including myself. So happy for you and your success, and that you now understand and embrace what it took to get you there.

  • This is the first post I have read. A friend sent it to me because I am going through the difficult thoughts of what do I do with my life now. I am currently teaching and not really thinking it is for me anymore. I also have a blog and enjoy writing. Thank you for your wise words, it lightens my burden a bit. I really resonated with the going with the flow of life and not going against it. Its nice to know that it will not always be this way. Thank you again for being vulnerable.

  • This is a great post, I really enjoyed getting to know you a bit more and how you came to be where you are now in life. Its gives us all hope for the future.

  • I am so happy that you shared this Emma! I am eighteen, and have so many things that I want to try, things I am working towards, freelance writing, opening a small vegan bakery, but they are not really big money makers. Something more conventional may be easier, but not as much fun. Your story is so encouraging for me. I’ll be brave and give it a chance!

  • I too have never commented on your blog before, but this post really resonated with me. So heartfelt & simply direct! Not one of those ‘rah rah’ cheerleader posts, but an arm-linking ‘we can do it’ post – I love it! And so well written. Thank you!

  • Life is an adventure that’s made to be lived.
    A very inspirational post. Success is an ongoing thing, you can say that again!
    Thank you Emma.

  • This was great to read! I am going to be a college graduate in a little over two months, and everyone (aside from my parents) is asking me what I am going to do when I graduate, as though I am supposed to have my whole life figured out at 23. By the time the 3rd person in a day asks me this question, I get anxious and nervous and I think “What AM I going to do when I graduate?!”
    But then I remember that life is a process and the career I want doesn’t necessarily look like the typical 9-5 job from 15 years ago. It’s okay if I’m a barista for a couple of years while I figure things out.
    I don’t always remember these things, but reading posts like this give me a little smack in the noggin and a boost in confidence/spirits.
    So, thank you, Emma, for sharing your lovely, wonderful, amazing, non-cookie-cutter journey! It truly is inspiring!

  • I’ve followed you through most of this journey and enjoyed every minute. Your writing (and photos and recipes and outfits and everything) has always been inspiring and fun for me. I’m thrilled for you that you feel like you’re finally where you belong! I have always appreciated that you are authentic 🙂

  • I so admire you two. You’re young and you’ve got it together. I’m in my fifties and divorced nearly three years, and blogging, blogging. But I need to make more money. Due to an accident I’m pretty much homebound, so I will take your advice to heart.

  • Thank you so much for this post Emma, it’s honestly one of the most well said things I’ve read, not just about blogging but about figuring things out in life in general. All so true, especially to me, the part about moving into the things that work. And congratulations on all of your well deserved success!

  • Oh wow, yeah, definitely needed to hear that actually. Thanks, Emma, I appreciate it. And congratulations 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your story! It’s reassuring to hear other people’s stories of how they ended up where they are today.

  • Thank you for sharing this, a great read which warms the heart and soul. I respond so much to your story because in a way it’s also mine. When friends look at me now and tell me I’m successful it’s hard to tell them about all these moments when I threw myself pity parties for all the dreams that felt completely out of reach and when I lived with the gut feeling that I was a failure, that I was so late on life and on everyone. Thank you. Jesse x

  • I love to hear the stories behind every person’s success, so thank you for your honesty and sharing us yours, Emma. 🙂

  • I´m so happy for you, that you managed to find your dreamjob. You´re an inspiring example, when I think of the way I have in front of me now. I´ll graduate from university this fall (if it goes as planned)and have no idea what will come after that. But if I keep going, life will move on.

  • THANKS! For this post, you hit the nail on the head. I toss and turn about what I’ve achieved, at age 25 and I’m constantly comparing myself to friends who I know that went straight from uni to an entry-level journalist job. Where as I, went to working as a waitress, to save to move overseas for two years, where I now work as a sales advisor, in a shoe store. Though I’m writing a travel blog (not a very successful one) and writing a few local guides here and there for a website (unpaid)…I feel at least that I’ve kept the writing going and I hope that when I move back to Australia, that I’ll find THE dream job or at least a paid writing job. But you are right, all you can do is hope, believe and work hard towards your goals.

    Thanks again!

  • Wow. This post could not have come at a better time for me to read it. I am 26 and the past few years have been the hardest of my life. At this time, my husband and I have recently made the decision to move back to our hometown to pursue careers that we have been cultivating in Washington DC for the past few years. The decision was first made out of necessity (DC is an expensive and sometimes difficult place to live) but the professional opportunities that have already come to us out of our decision are making us finally feel like this is the right thing to do, and may even be a step up and forward from our lives now. Coming from a mindset of moving home = embarrassing public failure, it has been a truly life-changing decision to not only accept we are doing something good, but also accept that dreams have to grow and change from time to time to still be the right dreams for us and our growing, changing lives. Thanks for putting this out there, and let’s all keep these principles in mind for the next stages of our lives, too!

  • I could not have read this at a better time. It was very inspiring and reassuring. I’m at a point where I’m realizing that as hard as it is for me to let go of some dreams I’ve held for a very long time, doing so would free me up to pursue newer, more realistic dreams. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Thank you for this! It’s what I needed to read and you are such an inspiration.Nicole

  • What a fantastic story – I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed reading it! It definitely has inspired me to make some changes that I’ve otherwise been too afraid to try. Thank you!

  • Hi Emma,
    Thank you for this – talk about parallel lives – I too was in the Groundlings, Sunday Show for two years. I booked a lot of good work by virtue of that and it looked like my life’s dream to act would be my destiny. Along the way, I became an esthetician and began balancing the two careers. As time went by, my skin care business became more lucrative, although at the time, my heart was breaking with the diminishing acting opportunities. Last year, I decided to create my own brand of organic skin care products. I’m in the baby steps and I still feel the pull from other side now and again. It’s not easy, but as you said, sometimes you have to go with what easily flows through you in the moment. I want to add that I’m 58 and that the cliche , “you’re never too old” is a cliche because it’s true. Many thanks for helping me keep the ball in the air!

  • Aw, I really love this post! Made me believe in myself that tiny bit more! Thank you, and you’ve got a beautiful blog and make some beautiful looking food!

  • I just moved back in with my parents, carting along my cute little dog after having moved in with my boyfriend of 6 years and realizing it just DOESN’T WORK.

    This post helps.

  • This isn’t embarassing at all and I”m actually so happy you wrote this! I’m going through this stage with my life right now. I’m changing everything around me and it’s scary, stressful, but I’m not happy with where my life is going and it needs to change. Reading this makes me feel like I’m doing the right thing! Like it’s okay to go in a different direction.

    Thank you so much for this!
    Sara from andalittlechaos.blogspot.com

  • Your story arrived in my inbox at a serendipitous moment. Thank you for the inspiration and affirmation of possibility. With my 2 sons in high school I find myself approaching an exciting time in my life, my time to follow my passions. Wishing you continued success- Bernadette

  • That was an amazing post Emma. Could not agree with you more. Good luck to you and your team. You guys are amazing..


  • This is a great post! Definitely what I needed to hear at this time as I’m making a big move to NYC with not much else besides dreams. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Wow, thank you for being so honest and sharing your story. It is inspiring, so often we see others success and we dont know that back story. Hearing your story, really hit home for me.

  • this is so encouraging! i am just starting a blog about my life in brooklyn, and i know a lot will change in the next few years as I learn about my strengths/weaknesses…

  • Emma, this is exactly what I needed to read! I’m going through something very similar…went to school to become a teacher, have 3 degrees, 9 years in the classroom, and now I’m questioning if it’s what I should continue doing. I took this year off to figure things out and give myself a mental break from it all. Thank you for putting your journey into words and helping me realize that it’s always evolving. 🙂 I love y’alls blog, but especially love the app!


  • Emma, I’m new to reading your blog. Thank you for this post. It is exactly what I need to read this morning. Thank you for your honesty, and natural way. I wish you must more success in all your wonderful mess. 🙂

  • Thank you for this post. I’m a recent reader, and love how this blog is designed and structured; like other readers have mentioned, how authentic it is and feels. I think this is some kind of message that God/the Universe are trying to send through these words lol I’m going through kind of the same situation that is described on the post (almost no money, living with my parents,…), and feeling a bit lost for the past few months. It’s hard and it’s not a nice place. I’m going to keep in mind these tips/steps. And to anyone that is reading and that feels the same way, I might give some advice… Do not give up, sorround yourself with people who love you, fight for your happiness.
    Thank you again.

  • thanks for sharing. and congratulations on everything you guys have achieved so far. i cannot wait to see what’s next for the future! truly wishing you guys all the best and!

  • Emma, how brave of you to write such an inspiring post, its funny how life works out. When we’re down and out and cant see the light at the end of the tunnel, it just takes an attitude switch, after the pity party to turn it around. Sounds like failing in LA was winninglater on, how awesome to look back and learn lessons from that. I use your app for instagram and love it! Thanks for posting such a great story about you!

  • WOW!
    This is the first post ive read on this blog. And exactly what I needed to read! Very bizarre, it seems if your eyes are open you really do meet the people you need when you need them.
    Thank you for this, I will definitely be subscribing.

  • Wonderful post! As I am at a bit of a crossroads in my own life, your story is helping me reflect on what my strengths are, and what I should be pursuing… I can’t thank you enough!

  • Oh, this resonated with me so much! I’ve been following my passions where they lead for the past five years, and never would’ve thought back then I would be where I am now…I’m writing full time, which is so much BETTER than my original “plan” and going with the flow of life, serendipity, whatever you want to call it, was how I got here.

    Thank you for sharing your own path with us — it was so refreshing to your words. So often, being on the outside looking in at others’ lives it’s easy to think it was all one happy skippy, straightforward path, when that is so rarely the reality.


  • This post is exactly what I needed to read today. For some time know I have been feeling lost and stuck in my old dreams for the future. It’s difficult to take a risk when you don’t know where that will take you. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this Emma. It gives me hope that all the doubts I’m feeling about where I am right now are just part of the journey, that maybe what feel like failures are in fact stepping stones. ABM is so inspiring 🙂

  • Emma this is am amazing and inspiring post. As someone who is still in the trenches, it reassuring news to hear. Congratulations on your first million! That is freaking huge! (and a personal goal of mine.)

  • It takes courage to share things like this, thank you so much for sharing Emma! I’m really lost now but after reading the post, I feel the warmness and this is so encouraging 🙂 I have always been amazed by the creativity of all the projects u guys done!

  • “Failures” are often the crucial ingredients for success and you’re very correct that life has so many twists and turns. We can’t plan life but we can keep our eyes open and act on opportunities when we see them. Congratulations on finding your path and pursuing – and achieving – happiness.

  • Just spent about 5 minutes trying to think of a way of putting this so that I actually sound like I mean it. This really spoke to me (gonna be honest – cried a little). I’m at this point in my life where I feel a bit lost and totally incapable of achieving anything I want – which, to be frank, is not something I’ve ever had to deal with. I honestly feel like your words could turn things around for me. So, thank you, really.

  • I don’t believe in becoming succesful without having changed. As they say in Monty Python, the holy grail:
    “I build the first castle, but it was in a swamp, so it sank. Then I build a second one and that burned to the ground. Then the third one sank into the swamp, too, but the FOURTH one! The fourth one stood!”

  • Thank you for this post Emma. This is something I really needed as encouragement and direction in my life right now. This is my favourite blog by far, and I’ve been following it for ages. I love the creativity and fun you have with it. I often wish I could do something that made me happy like this makes you.

    I’m 25, live in South Africa and have felt lost ever since I started studying design and then started working. I’ve been looking for something else to do but nothing has really worked out, so I plod along with my current design job, trying to make the most of it. It can be really disheartening to feel trapped in the job you have, and not really knowing how to lift yourself out of it. You are right about being open to change and going with the flow of things. I really would love to have my own business doing something creative, but have not figured that out yet. Hopefully this will be my year of change, and I can stop being quite so broke all the time!

  • I loved this post so much.
    After wanting to work in design and fashion for most of my life, and getting a college degree in it, I decided it just wasn’t for me.. and now I’m starting from scratch. Its rather scary and depressing, but I feel this is the right decision for me.

    Somehow this post gives me more confidence in that decision, so thank you 🙂

  • How inspiring! thanks for sharing your story.

    I had a vision two-three years ago for a career change, and I’m working on my business & blog, and constantly telling myself that while it’s going very very slowly (I’m still working a day job and I have two young children, no time for anything…) at least it’s going and I *know* that I will succeed making a living doing what I love in the end.

  • Amazing post! Your story is very interesting and your tips are definately helpful. Thanks 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this. I accidentally came across your blog today, after crying my heart out that I need to give up on my design small business. But reading your blog reminds me that it is not meant to be easy to achieve your dreams. Thank you again x

  • I’ve only just stumbled across your blog and I’m so glad I did. I now know where to go when I need some pearls of wisdom. I have a job but I also write self-published comedy-romance books in my spare time. I’m writing my fourth book and I’ve been feeling despondent about the whole thing. I’ve no idea how to reach a bigger audience or if I’ll ever be able to make enough money to do this full-time. Your honesty has given me the encouragement to keep going. So thank you. I’m going to be an avid reader of your blogs from now on. x

  • Thank you so much for sharing, I surely need this lind of wisdom in this moment of my life! 🙂
    I’m kinda stuck with the idea of how my life should have looked at almost 30yrs old and I am guessing I should change my way of living it, so your post has been very inspirational! Have a nice day! 🙂

  • Loved this Emma – thank you! My grandfather used to say that the only thing that stays the same is change – and embracing that is one of my challenges – and joys! Thanks for the inspiration and have a fabulous Sunday!

  • acctally never read this blog before, I stumbled across it in my blogloving list -which I never read!
    Funny there are nothing left to chance if you are meant to embrace something bigger. I am sure this is why you struggled so mch as you where gently pushed into the right direction.
    THERE IS NO FAILURE in Changing one Dream for Another and who said this wasnt a better dream? Perhaps evertyhing you have endured is what lead you to be able to make this into this wonderful thing.
    I am impressed with you following your dream and in time also was able to realize that it was time to stop struggle and looking in new directions and claiming this as your own.

  • This was so beautiful , honest and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your light. I found this blog about 5 years ago, you and Elise have continued to be an inspiration from the beginning.

  • Really great post, Thanks! 🙂 If I might offer a suggestion though … stop calling yourself a failed actress! Failure is a matter of perspective, remember if at first you don’t succeed, redefine success. 🙂
    Nameste Florence

  • Aaahhh! Just what I needed at this moment. So inspiring to hear as I push forward with my business Tin Roof Farmhouse {Vintage Rentals} & continue to question my decision to leave the corporate world. Thank you Emma!

  • This is wonderful! Thank you for the transparency! It took courage and it is incredibly easy to identify with you.

  • Oh, Emma, thank you for sharing this! What an inspiring story, I totally needed this 🙂

  • This really was an encouraging read and I’m so happy that you feel happy about your life now. I feel even more optimistic about my future after reading this and for that I want to thank you.

  • Thanks for being so authentic Emma. This post is truly inspiring. I just quit my well paying job in the corporate world after 13 years of continued success. My heart was telling me I needed to focus on my business and I couldn’t ignore that inner voice any longer. So now that I have made the leap into the unknown it is a bit scary. Being with a secure revenue is very new to me and I have elaborated different actions plans based on whether my business takes off immediately or not. If not, I could indeed move back in with my parents for a little bit. At 37 that might seem like a failure to some but I would rather decided to launch my business and have my parents as a fall back plan than not try it at all. There is nothing worse that regrets. Congrats on your amazing work and thank you for being so honest. It shows all of us that success isn’t a straight line and it’s okay to keep our options open and be flexible to different opportunities.

  • This is exactly what I needed to hear as I am currently battling to get the $260 I need to get back home to care for my dying father and ailing mother after not speaking for 10 long years due to my mother not being willing to forgive me for leaving home to get the medical and mental healthcare I needed that my parents would not or could not provide for me. My most major illness is Ankylosing Spondylitis and the most painful. (Whole other long story of sadness, tragedy and serious losses do to another’s unforgiveness). I found out at a young age that forgiveness is for yourself, not for the other person. But if you can forgive then you have finally reached the level of maturity. It takes alot of tears and a lot of talking to Jesus to get me to where I am today. I truly feel sad for my parents as they were mistreated by their parents but I am choosing to break that cycle by being stronger and educating myself about my illnesses and conditions so I can get the care I need to manage myself better.

    However, I am trying to take the higher road by going back for a month to get them settled in a place where they can even be together. I can only be back there for one month as my own husband is Developmentally Disabled, possible ADHD, High Functioning Autistic. His Pituitary Gland and Thyroid are not working and there is evidence that He may very well have Vascular Parkinsonism like his father.

    All this to say this, I am starting a new non-profit called Gentle Whispers of Love and this article is reminding me to keep reaching for my dream and to never let it go until I succeed, but if God changes the direction then I will follow. As America was made through “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” and I am proud to be an American, but more importantly, I am proud to be ME as I am unique and you will never find another person like me in the entire world although there are certainly emulators and copy catters out there. But sorry, ya guys, God is the only one in charge of my mold and I wear it proudly with each of my battle wounds and scars.

  • This was really lovely. You do great work and it’s obvious your spirit and personality is in it. Thank you for sharing, very heartwarming and inspiring.

  • Thanks so much for sharing your story! I love hearing about what goes on behind the scenes. Just what I needed to hear today.

    Jennifer Ashley

  • So inspiring, thank you for sharing your process, it makes believe in my own dreams..

  • Coming back home was one of the best things I did too… there was a point of time when (lack of) money almost killed my online venture. Instead of quitting it, I just moved back to home and bootstrapped. I am yet to make any kind of commercial success, but reading your piece, I am confident that I will break the jinx anytime now 🙂

  • You couldn’t have posted this at a better time. Lately (especially this past week) I’ve been feeling lost with a side of helplessness + failure. I just spent the past few minutes reading this post and started tearing up because of how much I relate…I needed this reminder. There is always hope.
    Thank you Emma.


  • You’re damn right that sharing your story is inspiring to others.
    I sure need to reflect and ponder my own life, and it helps a lot to know about someone who’s been in this spot.

    Thanks Emma.

  • Ditto heloise – long time reader, first time commenter. But after reading this I just *had* to post and echo everyone else in saying how inspirational you & Elsie are in your passion for your business, and your willingness to share so much of your life with your online community. Thanks for sharing your story & cheers to you for your success!

  • As a college senior, this was a wonderful, inspiring thing to read. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  • i really thank u ,i needed this kind of talk i’m married and have a daughter but still feel that i didn’t do what i really want for so long ,now i’m moving with my husband and daughter to another country ….having problems in language in purchasing my dreams doing what i love….i’m losing faith in me


  • This is my first time commenting here but I use your app quite often. Thanks for this post. I’m 38 and just now coming into my own dream as an author. Before this I was a screenwriter, web designer, thought about taking the LSAT, blogger, knitwear designer and editor of an online knitting magazine. None of them have felt wholly right, though I still work on the web side of things a lot. Now I’m an author and I’m pretty happy with it, all because I did most of the things you mentioned above. I adapted and my dreams changed. I tell younger folks this a lot. It takes time.

  • Thank you so much! what a inspire piece inspire so much to still keep my head up and give my all always!

  • I am currently 24 and at such a loss for what I want to do. I’ve been following Elsie since she created some scrapbooking supplies back in like… 2006? I am always floored by the creativity that comes from both of you and I think it is so inspiring to read that you really found what you were best at and have managed to cultivate such a creative and successful life. Now I just have to figure out what it is I am best at.

  • I am a second year college student, still have no idea what I want to study, and feel stuck! I started off in New Orleans, and transferred back to my hometown of Phoenix to go to ASU and have been feeling uninspired as EVER! I recently decided to re-apply to my school in New Orleans and have been struggling with making the decision to make the move again. This post made me emotional as I can really relate to it. Thank you for being so willing to share. I only hope that I can take to heart your encouragement and perseverance and put it to good use in my own life! Thanks 🙂

  • Emma,

    You both have been such an inspiration to me! I cannot express enough how inspired I am thanks to this post most of all. This post has been a key factor in getting my own headspace back in order. Thank you for sharing your story and you are truly a wonderful person!


  • This was such a lovely post. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I think that honestly out of these four lessons, the fourth one is the most important, and the most easy to forget. But when we remember that success is a process and not just something that happens all of a sudden, we are also able to stay more motivated and will feel more successful naturally.

    rae of lovefromberlin

  • Oh oh oh oh oh! I was just about to comment about videos, also! 😀 It’s exciting that you’re planning to do videos. I saw one of the YouTube tutorials you made a few years ago, and I thought you were a natural, Emma.

    Have you ever thought of doing your book club discussion on camera? It’s just an idea, because that’s kind of your feature, and yeah.

  • So great! I recently started on my Bachelor’s Degree at 25, finally knowing what I want to do with my life. For the first time ever, I have a 4.0 and it’s absolutely terrifying! Of course, it is exciting, but it also feels surreal. I am in the happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilling relationship I have even been in as well. We may be leaving our lovely home of Seattle in a few months for the hustle and bustle of San Francisco so that my boyfriend can attend law school down there. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and completely anxious, but your post was extremely helpful. Thank you!

    Congratulations! You absolutely deserve it!

  • Thanks for this inspiring post Emma! Sometimes I definitely feel like I need this kind of pep talk, and it’s so reassuring to hear that other people go through this too. I’m at that stage where I’ve tried quite a few things and I still can’t figure out what I want to do with my life, so reading this gives me hope that I’ll figure it out in my own time 🙂 As Lauren said above, definitely one of my favorite posts so far, and I’ve been following along for a few years now! 🙂 xx

  • Emma,

    Thank you for sharing. I follow the blog, not extremely closely — I’m known for skimming and not reading — not a quality that I like to boast about. But I am an addict to your app. Anyways, a dear friend sent the link to this post to me today because it models exactly what I am going through. I’m right in the middle of this post…in your story I just left LA (reality NC) and actually did move back in with my parents and am now waiting tables while dabbling in blog/etsy/print shop ideas and dreams. I actually left a marriage that was crushing my identity, creativity, independence and hope. In that marriage I became helpess and hopeless — I debated my life. I failed at many career options and that only stifled any hopes and dreams. I felt like a failure. It was horrible. So here I am today, sitting in my childhood bedroom still very much in the very new, pitty party, shock stage of it all. But things are slowly falling into what feels like a new beautiful life ahead but it’s tough.

    But anyways, I say all this to say that you sharing your story makes me want to share my story. I’m the girl that you wrote your post to today. I want to be that for someone else. Your success is amazing, but more importantly what you’ve done, how you’ve done it and the humble spirit that you maintain is awe-inspiring. It gives those of us who are at rock bottom, moving one rock at a time out of the way, hoping that through all of the rubble we’ll see light, we’ll see our dream and we’ll have the hope and courage to chase after it.

    Thanks again for sharing your story.

  • Thank you, thank you! I really needed to read this. I just started my blog this past year and I have A LOT to learn and enjoying stumbling my way through it. I’m also just starting the plans for a business and I’m very excited and a little overwhelmed about it….so your post was spot on with my life right now! I’m in my midi 40’s and excited about making a serious career change and finally starting a business of my own.

    Thanks so much for your story. I love these types of posts!


  • Thank you for this. This post along with the crazy number of responses by people (most of whom I gather feel the same way I do about finding success in life) is what I needed to read today.

  • Aw, so sweet of you to open up about a vulnerable time of your life. I had moved away from home vowing not to return, then ended up coming back to take advantage of the opportunities NYC provides. Now that I’m here and have been able to build up the life of my dreams I can’t imagine living anywhere else! Being the youngest of 4 smart and successful sisters is sometimes intense, but I have been able to learn so much from them so it’s oh-so worth it.

    It was lovely to read about your journey Emma, thanks so much!


  • Great stuff! Sometimes when reading blogs I end up feeling rubbish and thinking ‘why can’t I be that organised/crafty/stylish/productive?’ so it’s lovely to hear something inspirational and real at the same time xx

  • I absolutely LOVE this post. Refreshing, honest, insightful. Thank you for sharing and congrats on all your successes (even though we miss you here in LA)!

  • Thank you dear Emma so much!You’re very inspiring)
    I tried to make something mine and now I sure that I’ll make it.
    You must be proud,you make people happy)

  • LOVED this post! I feel like the previous commenters have taken the words out of my mouth but here’s my story… I just graduated college and am on the job hunt. Not only is it daunting as can be, but I feel like all the sudden I have to know my career path. I’m a big planner and hate not knowing the future but you’re right.. sometimes you just have to go with the flow. It’s nice to be reminded that often a career path changes and evolves just as it was for you. And similar to you, I’m in the creative field (interior design to be exact) so I love reading how you tried out your creative skills and interests as careers and hobbies until you discovered what worked best. Thanks for your words and inspiration… it came at the perfect time 🙂

  • Wow, what an amazing post. I feel you Emma and I’m so happy to see you smiling in your pictures. Much love from the Midwest!

  • I really needed to hear this, even though it gave me a lump in my throat. I admire and even envy what you and Elsie do. It’s amazing, but when I look at myself, I do feel like a failure some times or just lost. Thank you for the words of encouragement (even though they weren’t just for me and we don’t know each other). I very much appreciated this. <3

  • I absolutely loved reading this! I’ve been reading the blog for quite awhile now and I have to say that this is one of my favorite posts! So inspiring to read… You have successfully made everyone who read that feel as if they’re not alone in whatever battle they may be having. The other thing that I loved about this post was reading through the comments, if everyone who has felt the same way took some time to read the responses they would know that there’s an extremely supportive community out there to help them get over the hump they’re stuck on!

  • What a lovely post Emma. Your story is so inspiring. After following your blogs for years now I always wish I had a big sister to partner/dream with. I currently live in L.A and I totally have a love/hate relationship with this city. I did meet the love of my life here, hoping we move to the Midwest to be more free in the coming years. I’ve been dreaming of switching my career from a Producer to a Photographer for a long time now. Fingers crossed! Thanks again for your honesty on this post!

  • The sentiment of this post is so close to a key themes running through The Interestings – dreams can change. Jules was so convinced she wanted to be an actress that her career as a therapist constantly felt like failure – she failed to notice she was a good therapist and her clients felt she really helped them. She ended up undermining something she was actually quite good at because she was so fixated on her past dreams and experiences. We can change throughout our lives, it’s so important to try to enjoy the journey instead of fixating on something that didn’t work – you risk losing yourself off to so many new and exciting experiences that way. Imagine if Jules had realised she had a skill for listening and caring and saw her career change as a positive – imagine the effect that would have had just not on herself but on her relationships – with her husband, her friends and her family.

  • This was a much needed read for me. It is nice to know the story that happened before all the success happened. I know for myself I definitely have “failure” moments but they are just a part of my journey not my label. Thank you for sharing.

  • this is a very meaningful post for me as i can easily relate to everything you just wrote.

    i’m 25 and going through an identity crisis. i’ve lost a lot of self-confidence in the past 2+ years and not being able to find something that makes me really happy and fulfilled has been getting me down and questioning my capabilities as a professional and even as a person.

    for me, the hardest part is that i have had something i really enjoyed doing and was great at, so i know exactly what i am missing.
    if i didn’t know and didn’t have those expectations, maybe things would be different. but because i do, it’s harder for me to be doing something less than what i love.

    i am, however, fighting for something better and i know i will get there. i’ve learned you have to chase what you love because nothing will be handed to you just like that and i’ll be damned if i’m not gonna be happy with my professional life again!

    thank you for this, Emma, from the bottom of my heart (:

  • Flooding of videos!!! Yes!!! LA is going to wish they had snatched you first…lol I could easily see a beautiful mess being a show on diy or hgtv or something like that…always inspired by you and your sister…you guys are awesome ♥

  • Awesome post! I respect you all the more for sharing this part of your story with us. Thank you!

  • Thank you. Your line “It doesn’t look the same in everyone’s life,” gives me courage to think I might be succeeding in my own life, even though it doesn’t look much like other people’s success. I’ll keep doing what I do and see where it leads. ~molly

  • Wow…thank you so much for sharing Emma. As someone new to blogging, this is a true inspiration!

  • Nearly up in tears…thank you so much for this honest, wise and insightful post! I realize I never really questioned how you an Elsie came to be in this place where you are today and that it wasn’t always like that (I’m here for about 1,5 years)- and it is very encouraging to read your words, especially at the moment.

    Best wishes for you and your plans.

  • This post is my favorite so far! College didn’t workout for me so I accepted a full time position in a department I was part time for. I love what I do now but it’s not what I thought I was ment for. This post was inspiring & made me feel so much more confident about the unexpected path I chose. It also made me feel like I could relate to this blog that much more!

  • Such a great piece of honesty and inspiration. I’m a new mom to twins and find myself feeling scared and a little bit lost in the direction my life has taken. This was a welcome reminder to embrace the changes and be brave moving forward. Thank you for sharing Emma.

  • This was a beautiful post, very inspiring. I’ve never quite known what to do with my life and that’s bothered me for the longest time, but recently, after dropping out of uni and going back to study something else, and a few more things that have happened in the meantime, I’ve learnt to embrace it. The good thing about not having A Dream I want to accomplish no matter what is, I can let things happen. I can take opportunities and move with life as things come to me, and who knows, maybe I’ll be like you in a few years. Hopefully, actually!

    Do you still act? I act as a hobby (I love it) as well 🙂

  • Emma,

    This is my first time commenting on any of the posts on A Beautiful Mess. Thank you SO much for writing this beautiful text. It kinda really hits the spot and comes at a really “crucial” time in my life: thinking about where my career is going, often feeling like I “failed”, wanting something more but just not knowing where to start exactly.

    Your post is encouraging and inspiring. To infinity… and beyond!

  • Just wanted to say thanks for posting this. I really needed the reminder to go where life takes me. 🙂

  • I begin every Saturday morning with coffee and catching up on your blog and I have never needed it more than today. My life in the past two weeks has taken an unexpected free fall that feels like I am losing everything around me. Reading this post today has been the inspiration and comforting words I so desperately needed to remind me I can do this and make something beautiful from it. Thank you so much for sharing.

  • I’m not much of a commenter, but really want to thank you for sharing such a wonderful, personal story with your readers. It’s much appreciated! 🙂

  • Thankyou Emma for sharing this! It came at exactly the right time I needed to hear it! You’ve made an inspiring difference Thankyou, Thankyou, Thankyou <3

  • Just HAD to say- the photography in this post is PERFECT – if this is thanks to the skill of your new photographer- then I’m really excited about this new change (I’m very visual).

  • Oh my goodness, the world needs to hear this story. Thank you SO much for opening up and being vulnerable. Being an actor in NYC (and blogger), I have found myself in some very similar situations- it really helps to hear others’ stories! Your bravery to tell this one will inspire and encourage so many others, so thank you! And congrats on your successes, well earned right??

  • Love reading these types of posts from you girls and really inspired by your honesty,I’m currently trying to start a small business with some friends and this lost has been so inspiring! Thanks! Méabh xox

  • Such an amazing, inspiring, and much needed post. Talk about well-timed. I’ve been throwing myself mini mental pity parties for a little while. Thank you…for the boost, for the reminder to be brave, and you know – everything. I hope I get to meet you guys next time you’re in Nashville. My sister and I have hugs and smiles ready and waiting :0)

  • Thank you for this amazing perspective. The definition of success is constantly evolving when you run your own business, and that’s a lesson I learn on a (practically) daily basis. Your words are a gentle reminder to go with the flow and push forward, regardless of the hardships. THANK YOU!

  • I love the honesty of this. My favorite is point 4: Sucess is a prcoess…

    Thank you for sharing your journey and congratulations on all your success!

  • I’ve been a reader for a couple of years now and it’s been so wonderful to see you and the blog grow. I’ve been feeling a bit in limbo with what I want to do and you’ve made me realise I should follow my heart and dreams!! Thank you for inspiring me 🙂

    Lulu xx


  • Thank you so much for sharing your moving and inspiring story ! It’s really helpful. Your sincerity is very touching. I’m glad you’ve found the life you wanted.

  • Thanks so much Emma… I sort of stumbled on this today and I think I was meant to!! Amongst other things, it also made me realise I may have missed out on doing something with my sister because I felt the same way you did. I guess it’s never too late but I wish that I had looked at it differently back then! Thanks for being so honest and an inspiration! x

  • You are amazing. I’ve been an admirer for a long time. Thanks for sharing this. It’s good to get a glimpse ‘behind the scenes” xxx

  • I don’t usually comment but I wanted to say you’re awesome for writing this. It’s hard being open and honest and I really enjoy your candid posts. It inspires me to want to write like you! xx

  • Emma,
    I can’t tell you how much I needed to hear this right now! I’ve been following you and Elsie long before you collaborated your blogs (and actually didn’t realize you were sisters until you did). I just wanted to say thank you, that you are both such inspiring examples for me, and reading your encouraging post on working towards your dream was very helpful in a change I am currently going through myself.

    Best wishes,

  • What a lovely and inspiring post! I’m so happy that you failed as an actress (hehe) because you and Elsie have a fabulous blog and have actually inspired my sister Katie and I to start our own blog.. something we’ve been thinking about for years. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Magnificent read. Thank you for this. It gave me a glimmer of hope and encouragement.

  • I’m a Philosophy major, too! I was originally going to get my Master’s in Library Science, but I’ve realized that that’s no longer my ideal job. I’m working full-time at Half Price Books now, and it’s the closest I’ve come so far to a dream job.

  • Thank you so much for this post, I feel a bit lost at the moment and don’t know what the next step in my life is so it was a bit soothing to read.

  • Wow! What an inspiring story! I’ve been feeling on the “not so sure about this” side for a while… This is exactly what I needed to read… Thank you for your amazing story and daily inspiration! & Congratulations on all of your amazing success!

  • Emma, you should not be embarrassed by anything that you shared here in any capacity. Your post was uplifting, inspiring and motivating. I am sure that I am not the only one who was touched by your words and connected to your story. Thank you for sharing.

  • Just got caught up on the blog..what an encouragement this was. Thank you, Emma! I’m 20 and in college. I was so sure of myself last year. I did an internship in Kenya thinking it would make me 100% sure of going into teaching but it did the opposite! The wheels turned but I switched to General A.A and took different classes for a time of seeing what I like and dislike. I’m still figuring it out but your post encouraged me to stay strong, be patient, and realize you can’t be so hard on yourself!

  • Emma,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am currently going through a transitional period of leaving my job of 10 years, going on a trip to visit family and regrouping myself. This has been a big scary step for me but reading your story gives me faith that I will too figure out my dream just like you did. Thanks girl!


  • Such a beautiful post. It took me quite a few heartaches, headaches and dream changes before I finally grew into my own as well. Your story resonates a lot with me! Thanks to both you and Elsie for this wonderful space. <3

  • Thanks for the tips, kinda realize few of the opportunities I miss now cause of my lack of interest, but I hope I know what I want to do like you someday! xx

  • Thank you for the post! I’ve been thinking of making some career changes lately and battling with thoughts of failure 🙂 I appreciate the honesty!

  • What a great post and, honestly, something I really needed to hear. I too have struggled with various career paths and I could totally echo most of your discoveries, which I’ve learned to embrace over the past year 🙂

    Cheers (and congrats) to you!


    P.S. I always enjoy reading your blog – so creative!

  • Emma,
    Thank you for this! You and Elise are so transparent and encouraging. It’s a true blessing to follow you wonderful blog. I wish you double the success you are already experiencing and triple the joy!
    From my heart,

  • Inspiring story. I completely agree with embracing life and allowing opportunities to move you in directions you never imagined. You and Elsie make a wonderful team and I’ve been a fan of both of yours for a long time!

  • Just what I need to hear in the current struggle to achieve my dream. Thank you for being open, and honest. It truly helps!

  • This is so heartwarming, inspiring and amazing. It takes a lot to share something like this, to bare all, just to hope to help someone else. You’re amazing x

  • Thank you for sharing this amazing and inspiring post! Everyone should read this.

  • Amazing how you always seems to stumble upon the words that you need to hear at the exact right moment. This post was exactly what I needed to read right now – Thank you.

  • That was so encouraging! Thank you for sharing, it definitely makes me feel better about “where I’m at” currently. In fact! I took a screen shot of your “1.” tip. So I thank you, you both are so inspiring!

  • Congratulations, I had no idea about all this. I think most of us readers, and possibly fellow bloggers, assume most popular bloggers are just wealthy, born with closets full of clothes, perfect homes and Pinterest type meals. This was a very “real” post, down to earth and showing how it’s not always “la vie en rose”.


  • Thanks for opening up Emma! I am so happy for you and ELsie on your success. I remember reading about you and your food blog in Artful Blogging Magazine. I think that was how I discovered ABM!

    You are both very inspiring and I look forward to watching your success continue to grow! All my best, Stacey

  • Thank you for this <3 for making me feel like i’m not alone, or crazy in deciding to follow my heart instead of what others feel i should do. anyways, thank you!

  • I have been following Elsie’s blog(s) for over 7 years. This is one of my favorite posts ever! This is so honest! I also graduated, started on a career path, and then changed directions. Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I’m struggling with finding my place in the world – I’m less and less satisfied with what I do, and am looking at starting the next chapter in my life. Your story is one of those encouraging sign posts.

  • So interesting to read! It made me realize I was assuming that the two of you have perfect lives, basically, since we only see the highlights. (Personally, I have a tough time just keeping my apartment clean and my kitchen stocked, let alone making new decorations and recipes, but you both inspire me to keep trying!)

    Also, I think it’s great when people admit their vulnerability in this day and age, when everyone is competing to make their life look perfect on social media, and get a leg up in this crazy job market. Reading things like this allows people to relate and feel okay if their own life isn’t 100% figured out 😉

    Best of luck with everything! This blog always brightens my day.

  • I adore this post. It is always nice to hear about the trials people go through and how everything we endure is a learning experience. I also went to college just because it was something “you should do” and majored in vocal performance because I loved music. I didn’t have a clue what I wanted to do at the time, but just dove right in. When I look back now, I see that it wasn’t the wisest of decisions; however, my experience greatly shaped the person I am today. I may be pursuing an entirely different dream, but the creativity and expression I felt in college didn’t disappear – it is simply channeled into a more focused path.

  • Emma,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story. This college junior who has no clue what she wants to do with her life really needed to hear it.

    Wishing you all the best in your life,

    – Natasha

  • This is a great post! It was something that needed to be knocked into my head. I have wanted to be successful food blogger and food photographer for years. I’m still waiting tables and feeling like a “failure”. Thank you for encouraging to stop putting myself down and embrace opportunities.

  • EMMA! This is the BEST blog post I have read on any blog in weeks…and I’ve read some really good blog posts. Seriously tears coupled with a huge knowing smile. I can totally relate to this and I think I am going to print it so that when my daughter is “just starting out” she can read that it is ok to not know where you are going as long as you never stop dreaming and being flexible enough to explore every avenue available to you. Sometimes dreams find us. hugs and thanks for sharing.

  • Powerful. These kinds of posts show up after the hurdles got managed. Which is always, always very inspiring. Thank you Emma, mucho!

  • Thank you SO much for sharing this. It really is extremely encouraging.

    Juli Williams

  • Wow. Much like the other commenters, I needed to hear this stuff! Next week I am moving to a brand new city to start a business, and this has helped me feel so much more motivated and so much less rigid. Funny thing is, I’m the older sibling and my younger brother is part of the project- I think I need to show this to him too! Thank you for such an eloquent and effective pep-talk.

  • This was lovely and so hopeful! Things do change and it’s hard to plan your course exactly.
    In 2012 I graduated from high school and last year went to college to study English/Journalism. Two months into the first semester my boyfriend and I decided that we wanted to get married. And soon. So in October 2012 we got engaged. June 2013 we got married. I dropped out of college. And in October 2013 we found out that we’re pregnant and our baby is due June 2014. It wasn’t our plan from the beginning to have a baby in our first year of marriage but we’ve been learning to embrace all of these changes and embrace the new paths that are being made in front of us. It’s a fun, although slightly stressful, adventure. My dream was always to be a mama, I just didn’t think it would happen so soon! On top of my coming baby, I have lots of decisions to make about my job (I currently work at a bakery) and my blog and a few other things. I’m learning to take each turn in stride and to just take chances.

    Thank you for this lovely and inspiring post. <3

  • Emma,
    I love the blog and check it everyday. I’ve never commented though…until today. Your post today was wonderful. I really appreciated your openness, your honesty and your candidness. As a daily blogger myself, I know that writing posts about recipes, cute projects or parties is the easy stuff. These posts – your post – that’s the hard stuff. The real stuff. I hope after seeing the response today, you’ll be motivated to do more because while recipes are great, the real stuff is what people connect with. I know I did.
    Thanks for the great read and congrats on all of your successes! You should really feel proud of all you two have done. It’s incredible.

  • I have no words…
    To be honest I started to cry in the middle of reading this article.
    I am 21 now… just beginning my life, as my grandma says…
    I have no idea what to do. In the last 3 years I quit two courses at university because… they were not right… and tried several little help jobs.
    And I am getting out of excuses to not think about what I want.

    Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for reminding me that life is beautiful and everything willbe good once I let it to be.
    Lots of Love!

  • Thank you for posting this and exposing yourself in this way. I didn’t even realize how much I needed to read this until I was crying at the end of your blog post. When I was 18 I wanted to go to art school or at least study something creative. My mother forbid me to do such a thing, just because she didn’t think it was a real job. I ended up graduating building engineering, but I have never worked in that profession and I do not plan to. I hated it, it didn’t make me happy at all. I am 30 now and a mother of two. I have been at home with the children for 5 years on and off, full time for the last 3 years and I feel I have lost myself, lost my goals, lost my dreams, lost my energy. I stopped drawing and painting when I realized I wasn’t going to art school, it was too painful and I felt ashamed that I didn’t stand up for myself. I can’t say that I regret any of my choices, because they took me to where I am today. I have a wonderful husband and two fantastic children but as a person, as ME, I really need to figure out a few things. This life is not what I was planning for myself, nor is it the life that everybody around me expected. But maybe that is not such a bad thing… I need to get the courage to pursue my dreams. I have all these big ideas, me and my husband even started a business to be able to realize them but I am struggling with my rusty art skills. I get so frustrated with that and with myself, I feel worthless a lot of the time. Your blog post was really inspiring. I feel I might be able to pull it off after all. One step at a time. Thank you Emma (sorry for the bad English, it’s not my first language).

  • Very inspiring, encouraging and questionning to myself (i am not very sure of my english – so sorry…). Thank you so much for the sincerity and honesty of your post

  • Just: Thank you. Very inspiring writing, and just when I needed it! Gives me hope that my stupid decisions will turn out to be just right one day (soon, I hope).
    xoxo Katy

  • Your moment of sharing this couldn’t be more perfect. Today I missed out on study-abroad scholarship I’ve been working for for years simply because of a communication mistake of the jury-committee. Your story makes me feel better, simply because even though you followed your dreams at first, it didn’t work out the way you planned, and from this feeling of failure came new ambition and an amazing success-story. It gives me hope, thank you!

  • so right about everything, try to think alike!
    i am sure that all of this is a result of hard work, and determination!
    all the best

  • Thanks for sharing with us, readers, your experience. You deserve all the success you have, because you and Elsie are great, I really appreciate that you’re not the typical bloggers who wear expensive designer clothes, you don’t have giveaways with luxury brands asking us to follow you and the brands everywhere on social networks. Sometimes I really enjoy reading the blog, sometimes I think “Oh my… they can do anything” because you both are very creative. Sometimes I look at the food you cook and I think “I’m able to do this”, sometimes I think “Mhmm I couldn’t digest this!” (garlic is not for me!) and sometimes I wonder why I don’t have a friend who cooks so well.
    Thanks again!

  • Such an inspiring post, and it comes at a great time… I am not sure about other bloggers in the blogoshere, but I am feeling worn down, uninspired and questioning my blog’s direction. Thanks for convincing me to keep going!

  • Emma,
    I’m in that state of life… where ” not sure what should be my next step in life” Thank you for sharing your story. Ive been following ABM for approx.3 yrs and you and Elsie are so inspiring. You became even more inspiring when I met your girls in NYC at the Sucre concert last year. So down to earth and very sweet. Life is about learning with everything you do. Even if its learning not to do the same mistake again or gaining knowledge for your next step in life. And your story Emma is the perfect example. You live and Learn! thank you for the encouraging story, keep up the great work. I have one request: Please have a book signing in NYC ( I love the photography book and I’m looking forward for your 2nd book :-))
    Take care and best of luck,

  • I’ve been a reader for years and love this space you’ve created. But this post…this is one of my favorite posts you’ve every written. Vulnerability and openness are so valuable to readers…that’s for sharing your story with us. 🙂

  • this is amazing! i mean i’m in my 20’s, i know what i like but still no idea in my entire head of what i wanna do for living (and enjoy it)…
    people are wonderful creatures, they are capable of doing almost everything! you believed in yourself and how wonderful it is to see how far you’ve come) keep going!

  • You got 849 post comments and counting because we could relate with you. Not only was the piece really lovely to read, it was because for a few minutes you were like us.
    I love you blog and have been reading it for years…..since you were on blogspot! I love the smiles and outfits, the renovations and creations……but it sure is refreshing to read that for a few moments in your life you had the same worries as all of us. I am not saying you are robots, but when you look at pretty things or successful accomplishments you forget that real people are attached. Thank you for your writing Emma. It was very inspiring.

  • Hey Emma,
    Thanks for your honesty. I really loved reading that post.

    I am a little sister, too, and I also just moved in again with my mum, my sister and her husband again. I really feel that exact way now that you must have felt some time ago. My sister is just the opposite of me, and she is also so creative and has already accomplished so many things that I can only dream of. But I also know that she is seven years ahead of me, and we will see where I’ll be when I am at her age.

    I am about to graduate at teacher training college, and I have decided that I am certainly NOT going to be a teacher later on. That’s funny, because my sister is a teacher and she is quite happy with that.

    Anyways, i think that your advice is quite the way I have so far been successful with, and I have no doubt I am going to make it later on. I have even been offered a manager’s position in a company, even though do not have the experience or the training that would be required.

    I guess what counts most is a positive and optimistic approach to life, and always knowing that we (as little sisters) are also the ones to make our own experiences and build up our own personalities, although being permanently influenced by our big sisters 😉

    I love how you describe exactly that in your story. How you had to get away from everything and be on your own, just to get the strength and individuality you always searched for, which maybe could be considered as the base for your succes in cooperating with your sister so well.

    And, this has to be said too: you so much deserve being proud of yourself and what you have achieved!


  • Hi Emma,
    Thank you SO much for sharing this…you have no idea how much I needed to read something like this. I am currently enrolled as a Marketing major in college…and absolutely hate my life because of it. I just recently made the decision to transfer universities in order to pursue human services and sociology. It was a totally terrifying decision for me since I thought it made me a failure. Among other things, this piece is really helping me embrace the change of heart I’ve had and look to the future for the success that is (hopefully!!) awaiting me. Thank you for being brave enough to share this piece. 🙂

  • By the way, I forgot to tell you how much I love your app. It’s easy use is an answer to my in-tech savvy prayers!

  • I don’t know the average age of your readers, but my guess is I’m one of the older ones at 50ish–but it’s never too late to reinvent yourself! Sometimes we have to tweak it daily! I’ve been a NICU nurse for years and love it, but I’m trying my hand at reaching older women and moms of older children–but it’s a lot harder than I realized, especially since my generation didn’t cut our teeth, so to speak, on technology. Thanks for this “shot in the arm”! I needed it today on a crazy Friday filled with so many sick babies that all need healing love. Sincerely, Mary Wilding

  • Thank you so much for this post! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now and have always loved all the recipes and DIYs. Reading your personal story and struggles has been very inspiring at a time when I needed it.

  • Emma,
    Thanks so much for sharing this post. I myself feel in a bit of a funk right now. I graduate college in two months, and have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with my life. When I’m felling down, and looking at other successful people, its easy to think that they’ve never been in the position that I am.
    Thanks for the motivation!

  • Emma!! This is beautiful, one of my favorite posts ever. I relate to is very much. I have been pursuing acting in Los Angeles for two years. I am a full time extra (yayyy), so I know what that’s like. I recently made the decision to move back to Wisconsin (midwest is best!) to go to art school. I had the same fears of being labeled “a failed actress”. But, I’m to the point where I am ready to change dreams and feel so blessed to have a wonderful place to go back too! I am excited for the possibilities. Thank you soo much for sharing, it did my heart so much good. x

  • Thank you for posting this. The timing couldn’t have been better for me to read this. Gave me comfort in moving on and taking the next step.

  • p.s. I have to share that right after I wrote my comment to you here I checked my email and this came in. How damn cool that life shows itself in these ways. You might appreciate this: http://www.storypeople.com/storypeople/WebStory.do?action=product&storyID=1500&productCategoryID=1000

  • I just discovered your blog and love how full of inspiration it is. I especially love this post because of the personal touch and how it can appeal to each and every one of us. Thank you for sharing!

  • I’m reading ABM for a long time and commented maybe twice) But this sincere story inspired me, thank you, Emma! It resonated with me and I feel like I know you a lot better now. You and Elsie inspire me everyday! Btw this new hair cut is so pretty! 🙂

    But I must confess!))) I never ever tryed your recipes( They always look so perfect that I’m scared to mess up(( sorry!

    kisses from Ukraine

  • I was just having this conversation with my fiance last night: feeling like a mess, a failure, not getting “there” fast enough. He reminded me that there is no “there” all set up waiting for me, no success finish line. Your lessons to success are so honest and inspiring. It’s very much appreciated, Emma!

  • I’m continually inspired by you guys. Especially this post, Emma. I’m in school right now trying to become a filmmaker. I can only imagine what you’ve endured taking such big risks. This makes me so happy it shows we can have many dreams and we can accomplish dreams we never expected.

    I love your business and hope that one day I can have a creative business too. I love watching it grow. You’ve all inspired me to stay focused on my creativity and push through to accomplish my dreams too.

    Maybe one day we can make a movie together! 🙂

  • Excellent Post Emma!

    And I have been admiring your skills on this Blog from the first day I started following back in 2012. Your post will inspire thousands to understanding the flow and ebb of life, and how it really can all work out beautifully if you have a dream and determination.

    I feel you are going to grow even bigger – (I am the one who writes from time to time, that you and Elsie are the “Martha Stewarts of a NEW generation”) – and I mean it…see it all, the APP, the Books, the Blog, I can see a tv show coming.

    Wishing you much, much more success, coupled with the “grounded-ness” and humility that you have now.

  • Emma, you don’t know how much I needed this words.
    I need to change my perspectives in life. I’m so upset with the course my life is taking (professionally speaking)!
    Well, you have oppened my eyes. Thank you.

  • Emma,

    This is so incredibly inspiring and came at just the perfect time. I am turning 24 in a couple of months and sometimes it is hard seeing people around you appearing to “have it all together” starting careers and getting married. This post was perfect for me to read because I don’t want to “settle” into a career because it’s easy, so it’s nice to hear that it’s okay not to have it all together at this point.

  • As always, you’re so inspiring! Thank you so much, Emma!
    I was needing this a lot.
    I feel the same right now.

  • Emma, you are so wise for being so young! I am (almost) 38 and I feel like I still haven’t found that ONE THING to fulfill me career-wise. My dreams seem unattainable sometimes in the midst of the thrill and chaos of motherhood and marriage but learning to go with life’s flow is always the best choice. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂


  • Judging from the hundreds of comments below this wonderful post (and it’s not even a giveaway!) I’d say you touched the hearts of so many of your readers, Emma. These are such vital things, dreams and hopes and whatnot, and I’ve learned (as you and Elsie certainly have, too) that you experience these with that sometimes tricky balance of wanting more/different, while still maintaining a love for things in your life, while still dreaming and reaching for even more awesomeness. You nailed it. Thank you for you. You are a gift. Enjoy the beautiful life you created for yourself:)

  • Awesome. I just want to thank you for this post. It’s great inspiration and insightful to hear/read stories like this. I truly appreciate your sharing this part of yourself and, as some others have stated, this has been my favorite post thus far. Thank you again for sharing your story.

  • Beautiful and inspiring post. Thanks for sharing this, Emma. This is the second time today that I’ve been shown that we really need to go for what we want the most!
    I’m happy where I am, but I will step back, re-evaluate things and make sure I’m doing what I really want to.

  • hi kate! I don’t know you but… doing what you need to for your family is the least embarrassing thing I can think of. You’re pretty awesome in my book and I wish you lots of luck!

  • I have been following Elsie, and in turn you for what seems like a decade and I felt compelled to comment on this post and say BRAVO. I have loved rooting you both on all of these years, and love what both Emma and Elsie individually have to offer. The dynamic is what has catapulted ABM! Keep on inspiring, ladies!

  • thank you so much for this… definite favorite post so far. brought tears to my eyes as i was reading, as it speaks so poignantly to my place in life right now. i feel on the cusp of some kind of creative explosion in my life, but i have been feeling a “failure” in the depths of my heart for a while now. i am excited but was in need of some creative encouragement this morning. thank you!

  • Annalisa,your comment is pretty much what I was going to say too! I’ve been reading a Beautiful Mess for a few years. I think I started reading in 2010. I’m 23 and often feel lost too. I’m trying to chase a few dreams, but barely getting started. Oh and I want to move to LA, but I live in the LA suburbs. Emma, thank you so much for sharing!

  • It was realy nice to read youre blog,I am 50 y.and have dreams,but that was agood point to give dreams the possibility to change them,still looking what I am going to do with the rest of my life.I have been brave and work hard and have reached always my goals,to be optimistic and positiv,helps me.
    Thank you you are very insiering and wish you to go on

  • THANK you for sharing this. Really, sometimes it seems we work so hard and never reap the rewards of that hard work. I’ve had to change my dreams a lot due to my chronic health issues.. and the dream I am pursuing now looks nothing like what I wanted for my life. But here I am. And it’s beautiful and it’s so hard. Thank you for sharing your success story. for reminding us that good things take time. I’m so SO happy for how well you two are doing. It makes me want to call up my little sister and see what WE could do if we put our minds together!

  • Thank you for sharing! You should be very proud of yourself! Without experiencing failures you may not of become successful in your business. Hopefully I can find that and get the happiness we all strive for! Best of luck and love the blog!

  • thank you for posting, I just sat down to write something similar last week. i think we’re around the same age and i moved to nyc after graduation. i’ve been here 6 years and my dream was to be a dancer. that didn’t pan out and i’ve bounced from one job to another every year because i can’t quite find something that blends both my interests and skill set. i think i’ve finally found what that is (opening a restaurant!!) and am on that path toward (hopefully) changing my dream into a reality. thanks for your honesty and the reminder that i am not alone.

  • Thank you so much Emma!!

    I have been reading ABM for years … congrats on all your sucess and thank you very much for sharing this.

    I feel very inspired and encouraged

    Thanks again

    (p.s. a million dollars!!!!!!)

  • This is so beautiful and inspiring, thanks for sharing your failures and successes, it really helps to give us all a new perspective on where we are in our own lives.

  • Wow, a million dollar year?! Big congratulations on that. Your blog is always an inspiration and you have undoubtedly earned every success that comes your way. My husband and I are celebrating 5 years of our business, and although things grow each year, we’re still struggling so hard financially. We’re in a totally different business than yours (remodels and custom cabinetry and furniture), and it just seems so difficult to make any money after insurance and employee costs are taken into consideration (at least in California!). We have a long list of really happy clients who I’m sure would be shocked at how little money we’re making. I’m going to keep the lessons you described in mind, and see how I can better shape/evolve our business. It is my goal this year to really make strides towards figuring this out. Aside from financial, I feel as if our business is successful in so many ways, and we do our best to remember to celebrate these successes. I’m just hoping that the financial success will follow so I can at least stop waking up in the middle of the night, worrying about how to pay the bills 🙂 As you said, success is a process… Anyhow, thanks for the continued inspiration. As a small business owner, I certainly value all of your honesty and congratulate you on your successes so far. You have put together an amazing team, and I know there is much more to come…!

  • Thank you so much for writing this, Emma. I’ve been trying to figure out for years now, how to turn my passion into a full-time job. I still haven’t figured it out yet but it’s posts like these that encourage and inspire me to keep trucking along. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your lessons with us 🙂

  • thank you so much for sharing. this happens to be right where i am in my life and it’s just what i needed to read. i don’t know where to go from here but i know that i’m not happy about where i am now. you’ve inspired me — i’m going to keep my head up and be open to any opportunities that may come. and good choice on not going to law school 😉

  • Oh my goodness, this was just what I needed! I’ve been scouring the web for the right advice and then your lovely post just appeared in front of me! I’m feeling pretty conflicted right now, and well, have been feeling weird and confused all year. Especially in contrast with the great expectations and confidence I had last year (before actually going to college!) But, I’m taking your word for it and going with the flow here. Thanks! xx

  • Beautiful confession. It is absolutely not embarassing, it’s just honest, I love it. It’s sooo inspiring. Wish you luck Emma, keep doing things as good as you do now! 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this!It’s really inspiring to learn about other people stories.It makes you see your life with a different perspective.

  • This is exactly what needed to hear right now! I’m 23 and at a job that I’ve worked my way up to for the last 6 years. Although it financially supports me, I’m stuck in it, and don’t want to be doing it forever. I know moving away is ultimately what I need to do to bring a change for what I really want. But I’m too afraid to fathom going through with it. It’s like you’ve given me a push in the right direction, thank you.

  • Thank you Emma for putting in words something that is sometime hard to believe; believing in ourselves! This is a great article! Thanks for reminding me that over all I’M NOT A FAILLURE 🙂 !!
    Kelyna xx

  • I definitely needed to read something like this today. I’m miserable in my job and not quite sure what direction to take and if I did I’m not sure I’d be brave enough to make the leap. I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for new opportunities and be a lot braver. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Thank you! X

  • seriously loved reading this post. it was just what I needed to read at this point in my life and major career shifts I’m about to make in upcoming months. thank-you for being so candid and sharing your story!! xo

  • Emma. Thank you. I need this right now more than you’ll ever know. Just moved back from Florida after a failed relationship and… the last few months have been harder than I’ll ever let anyone know. But – I’m trying!!! Workin on my blog (just posted a 30 before 30 post, so maybe accomplishing those things can help!!!) and throwin myself into roller derby help a lot! Thanks again for reminding me that we can evolve just as our dreams can.

  • Such a beautiful post! I’ve enjoyed following you ladies for so long, and while I’m always inspired by all of your creative ventures and ideas, I’m even more inspired when I hear the story behind them. You two are a force to be reckoned with! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. Very encouraging to read this morning!

  • This is so apt for me at the moment that I found myself welling up as I was reading it. Moving back in with my parents in 3 weeks and helping my mom set up a shop is making me feel like I’m losing my independence, but I’m trusting that it’s the right decision, or at least a stepping stone onto the next big adventure. Your blog has really shown me that it is harder decision to move back home and change your dreams than to stick at one that isn’t working. Thank you for this post and the self love that came with it 🙂

    From across the pond x

  • You just motivated me in a difficult time. I am currently on what feels like the 50th attempt at being what ‘I want to be when I grow up’. And I am 31 with 2 kids. I’m a year away from getting my degree for diagnostic cardiac sonography- after attempting graphic design fresh out of high school and ending up managing a thrift store for 11 years. I feel like I wasted time. I beat myself up for going in circles around my goal to get into the field I wanted to be in for a decade. But I need to realize that my path has brought me here at the right time. I just took the scenic route!

  • I am moved to tears by your text. I have just turned 26 and am struggling to make it through university. Most of the time I feel like a failure, a loser actually and you really hit a nerve with your description. My problems might seem small compared to others, but having no confidence and belief in yourself is very damaging.
    Despite all my worries and doubts I last year made the most nerve-wracking and yet exciting decision: This summer I am having a baby boy with the love of my life! Being a mother is the one thing I have always known I would be good at, so after many years we finally dared to begin writing this new chapter.
    I am not really sure what I want to say with this… But I really admire what you have achieved and most of all your perspective on things. That really moved me. I wish you all the best.

  • Love when you write these kinds of posts. You all are so inspirational. And I cannot believe that you are a million dollar company! That figure made my jaw drop. Congrats!!

  • Emma thank you for sharing this.

    I am currently in the midst of a very similar scenario and it was so reassuring to come home from a hard day, full of what felt like failures and read this.

    You made me feel much less alone and much more positive about my outlook. You inspire me everyday with this blog and it is really awesome to know more about your personal journey.


    Britt Ernst

  • What Lauren said! Just what I needed to read. Sorting out the messiness and figuring it out is definitely a process and not always fun. Thanks for sharing this – it really does help and inspire.

  • wow, emma. thanks! this was very inspiring… i legitimately started to tear up at the end there. so, again, thanks. -xo

  • Such an amazing, inspiring and relatable post. As I get closer to my 30’s I feel the pressure of not having a career or a define path for that matter. I’ve learned to go with the flow and I am still trying to figure things out and that’s okay. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is by far my favorite post on ABM to date! It is such an encouraging read for an overwhelmed college student! Thanks for being so open and honest 🙂

  • I love you Emma!!! Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story. As a young reader of your beautiful blog, it is unbelievable to know from how far you came. Fulfillment can be just around the corner… It’s amazing what you can do and accomplish when you have the courage to try something new, isn’t it? Thanks and keep blogging, please. <3

  • you’re the best, emma. thanks for sharing! so inspiring to see your journey! xoxox

  • Very inspiring and encouraging post, Emma! Thanks for your honesty. Like many of the commenters have noted, I needed to hear this right now! Wishing you continued success!

  • This brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story Emma- don’t be embarrassed, it is great to be able to pick yourself up and dust yourself off and move forward.

  • This post couldn’t have better timing for me. Thanks so much for the inspiration and motivation!

  • Wow…thanks for putting all of that out there!!! Your words were so moving that it was like hearing you say all that over coffee : )

  • Thanks so much for this! I needed a pep talk myself today.

    I also wanted to share a link of J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech called “The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination” which is akin to your thoughts:


  • From broke, a not-so-recent college graduate, who left also left the entertainment industry to live with her parents in the middle of the country.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve given my self the “girl who moved back a failure” label. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability. Thank you for the reminder that this is a process. Thank you.

  • This was such an inspiring post, thank you for being so open and honest 🙂


  • There are so many comments and I know you don’t really need another one, but I really felt the desire to come on here and say thank you for this post. I don’t comment much (even though I adore this blog and tell everyone about it) but this post really hit me at a time I needed it. Thanks for opening yourself up and sharing your story. I have gone through quite a bit of trama in my life and I’m afraid I have been living in survival mode for most of it. I’m grateful for that realization, but it has left me feeling a bit of fear on how to move forward and whether or not I can succeed in living a full life. This blog has been so inspiring for me. As a 36 year old woman trying to start to really live and make plans for changes in my life, this gave me hope. It helped me see that I may not see the good in my experiences sometimes, but how if I look back I can see the strength I have gained through them and that I really can trust myself and my own talents and abilities a bit more. It helps give me hope in the future.

    Thank you so much for that.

  • Gah! I needed this so desperately (as is evident by the tears streaming down my face!). I have tried multiple times to reinvent myself, or shall I say, find my right place in life. Sometimes I feel like time moves a little too swiftly, as I just this week celebrated my 40th birthday. However, I have faith that hard work, persistence, and not giving up on your long-term goals (even when you have to pull yourself up by your boot straps and set them aside temporarily) can really pay off. Where did you get your day-to-day strength from? I’m feeling a little low these days and I could use some inspiration! Thank you Emma for your dose of reality, yet proof that big things are TOTALLY possible.

  • I love all your DIY and photography posts, but it’s posts like this where you share a little of yourself that moves me and also keeps me coming back everyday to this lovely blog. Thank you for being so generous to your readers about your experiences. Very much inspired from Tokyo. x

  • Emma, thank you so much for sharing a little piece of yourself. You have comforted and inspired me beyond words. Now, to find my dream.

  • Hi Emma! I am a French reader who decided to pursue her dream and move to London. Life hasn’t been really easy, but I have been here (in London) for almost 4 years now and I am trying to pursue my career in art. It’s quite hard and very often discouraging but it’s good to be reminded that I just need to keep trying and success will eventually come. So thank you so much for that! I hope I will attend my dream job soon… and if not, well, I just hope to be happy 😉
    PS: I’m starting a new job in art next week, wish me good luck!

  • This is wonderful.
    Failure is just a mindset, its all about the journey.
    (needed this today!)

  • Thanks for that. I’m in the middle of a huuuuuuuuuge pity party.

  • Oh my… this is soooo inspiring, thank’s for sharing 🙂
    I’m from Brazil and just love ABM and love the work that you girls do. I wish much, much success for you and your lovely sister!
    Até mais 🙂

  • Thank you Emma!!!! You made me tear up with this post. I’m definitely a details person- better at figuring things out, organizing, managing. Sometimes, I can feel bad for myself because I’m not the creative one or the eccentric one. You encouraged me with this post to embrace my strengths which I really needed to hear.

    I’ve been reading ABM for a while now and I just want you to know that you, Elsie, and the team inspire me so much! Thank you for letting us share in your dream!!

  • Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable and share your beautifully inspiring story. As a chick who is about to turn 22 life seems so scary and unknown (and exciting!). Your insights touch my heart and bring me hope and joy

  • This post was very inspiring, thank you for sharing your own personal story!

    Charlotte x


  • Thank you so much for sharing. I really needed this. After I graduated from high school, I moved away to become a journalist. When that didn’t work out, I felt like I failed not only myself, but also the people around me. It took me years to understand that I didn’t fail, I just hit a bump in the road. Its good to hear that you’re doing good these days 🙂

  • To hear you say ‘I’m happy’, those are powerful words. And to truly mean it, even more powerful. Even though your dream of acting turned into another dream, you can always say you went for it and tried, a lot of people don’t even the courage to make those first steps. Thanks for the encouragement and for sharing your story. And I absolutely love your hair! The color and length is perfect on you.

  • this is such a great post. i’m thinking about this very often and i just want to be happy in my life. maybe if I would do my dream job, I would have private problems. the right balance is so important.

  • Thank you for this. 🙂

    I am 22 and genuinely pretty happy with myself and my life. I’ve finally realized that bad times are just that– a bad time, not a bad life. It took me a while to realize this. and to realize that there is no “figuring it all out”. which i think is better anyway, because when you stop trying to figure things out, you can just live in the current moment exactly as you are.

  • Merci ! c’est encourageant pour nos rêves !
    Je suis fan de votre blog !
    merci, merci !! 🙂

  • Oh wow. I cannot thank you enough for this post. I feel like I’m Volume 2 of this story. I’m currently in my last semester of college, a biology major (because I was pre-med) and I finally admitted to myself and my family that I am completely unhappy and really only chose Pre-Med because I thought it would make my parents proud of me. So now I’m finishing a major I really am not passionate about, making beauty and fashion blogs and videos on the weekends and trying to figure out what my step will be after graduation.

    My husband is very supportive of me and bought me my first real camera for Christmas. Ever since that time, I’ve been loving photography…capturing nature in it’s own, pictures of my family and friends. It’s something I’ve never been interested in until now (unless you count the Polaroid camera I had as a kid). I don’t think I want to make a career of photography, but I have no clue. I graduate in two and a half months and people keep saying, “What do you want to do when you graduate?”

    For the longest time my answer was, “I want to go to medical school.” But now my answer is, “I have absolutely no idea, and I love it.” I’m relishing the fact that I have NO clue what is next for me. I am letting life present me with something because I really don’t even know where to begin. This post was so perfect and inspiring and it left me thinking that it’s okay that I have no clue, it’s okay that my major in college is probably a dead end for me…so thank you. Please never stop doing what you’re doing. Every day when I read a new post from ABM, I am inspired. You and Elsie are doing such a wonderful job and every bit of it is appreciated.

    Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for your sincere and honest story Emma. I can really relate to it: I’ve noticed this kind of existential crisis in my own live but I also recognize it in lives of many of my friends. It seems like everyone is searching, failing, experimenting and trying to sort things out in their mid twenties. I just graduated in philosophy and this post-academic phase seem like a large forest in which I can’t find my way, but your story truly inspires to keep your eyes open and have an open mind! The path will come, thanks for reminding!

  • Thanks for sharing this Emma! As a blogger that got in the game later than the blog boom sometimes it can be easy to compare to huge blogs like ABM. I appreciate you being real and letting us in on your failures and struggles. It’s so encouraging and refreshing.

    Also, I really like how you talked about dreams changing. For me, I thought our blog was going to be the center of our business and what everything else revolved around. Now, somehow I’m a DIY-er hosting a DIY TV show for ABC and as great and life changing as it is and sounds, it’s still hard for me sometimes to think that East Coast Creative isn’t what’s at the center of it all. I think somedays I still put a lot of effort into the blog (just out of stubbornness) and really I should see where this journey has taken me, and pour more into my new TV adventures.

    Congrats on all of your success- you guys make an awesome team and are such an inspiration to me (and bloggers and creative types everywhere I’m sure!)


    And sorry this apparently became more of me processing this than a comment! lol

  • This post is so important and I’m so happy to read it. Life is not easy and for every person there is a different story. Mine is hard and for that reason I see life different. I work hard and I try to believe. I love but also cry a lot. I’m trying all the time to be happy and not be sad for my mother’s death and other losses… I’m trying to achieve my dream, my dreams because I don’t have only one. But it’s difficult, sometime too much. Anyway, I’m still here, working hard, sharing myself to the world with my blog, loving a lot and trying to be the person I want to be, live my life as I want to. I hope someday I’ll say too I have the job of my dreams and that I’m happy.
    Thank you a lot.
    Have a beautiful weekend.

  • This was so helpful for me today. I’m an 18 year old soon-to-college kid, and you’ve inspired me so much. I’ve been a fan of this blog for so long, and was a fan of your blog Emma:) thank you for sharing some of your wisdom! I really appreciate it!

  • I’m so glad you posted this. Just what I’ve needed to hear/read. Congrats to you on finding your way!

  • oh emma, this is so truly inspiring! just something that i needed to read today! (; lots of love from brasil!

  • Wow Emma!
    Your true professionalism within the blog as a whole is inspiring, and I think you are away ahead of times by creating a magazine online, essentially. Being at art school in Scotland, Uk, I regularly browse your blog, and others in the State which are very exciting, and weirdly something that hasn’t really happened in the UK. I hope to graduate (Textiles), and move over to work in the States. As much as I love what I’m studying, I think one of the greatest misconceptions is that if you’re in your earlier twenties, you’re having the time of your life, constantly – oh you’re not? Somethings wrong with you! This is something I get continuously, and it’s truly brilliant to confirm my angst at this situation. Yes I’m happy! But this obsession with young people today about ‘YOLO’ and partying, and that university is the be-all-and-end-all is very exhausting for those who aren’t quite there. After reading this, I’m even more sure that in years to come, my happiness and self-security will be like yours, and I can’t wait for all this to come (along with hard hard work!).
    Thank you Emma. I really hope we will meet one day! Inspiring ladies you and Elsie are.
    Rosie, xo.

  • This post couldn’t have been anymore timely, it’s like I wished for it to happen! Thanks so much for sharing, very inspiring and encouraging to hear about someone’s successes and dreams taking its natural course through life with a dose of risk taken for good measure.

  • This was great. Thank you for posting it.

    I can’t help but wonder how much all of those other experiences helped you to become so successful now. They must have taught you much being so different.

  • I really needed that, I even got a little teary-eyed towards the end :’). I’ve been feeling so lost and confused in every aspect of my life, wondering how the heck any of my “dreams” are going to come about, and even wondering if I have any dreams that are worthwhile to pursue. It’s SO good to hear that things as successful as this blog/business happen as a natural process. I don’t have to stress about making it all happen NOW, I can just focus on doing what little I can with what I have at the moment.

    Thank you for posting this, really.


  • Thank you for sharing your story Emma, its really brave to this honest. And reading it really meant alot to me. I`m sort of in the failure-feeling-year right now. I have always wanted to be a tv-photographer, and persued that dream for ten years, and I made it. But after a some years of working as a photographer I got problems with my back, and I had to quit this year. So now I have started on a new education as a sosial-worker/therapist. And even though I sort of feel like totally failing my dream, I`m also really proud of my self because I took the chance and started over. It`s sort of a weird combination of feeling failure and feeling like a brave person that won`t be stopped 😉 hehe!

    You are an inspiration, and I love to read your blog 🙂

  • Until last year I was convinced that the only thing that I want to do in life is to be professor, to guide the lab and discover something amazing that will change the mankind. In the meanwhile I got to realize that I want so many other things too, to try my creative side, to enjoy my friends, to have family and simply to have time to smell the roses. These wishes were not possible in the same time. So I have decided to give up my primary dream and find a job with which I will be able to combine my wishes. But I guess I should not call myself a failed professor, or a failed ballerina, karate girl or pharmacist. Dreams and our wishes change all the time, and only when I got to grad school I realized what being a professor really meant.

  • Thank you for sharing. Not always easy to put all our thoughts on paper for others to read. I think you did the journey you were supposed to. Hind sight is 20/20 :). Now you are where you are supposed to be and appreciate it all that much more. I am still on my journey hoping to find my niche, it’s there just have to find a way to let it out.

    I put this at the bottom of my email, author is unknown but I thought you would enjoy this.

    Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words; Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour; Keep you behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits; Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values; Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.

  • Darling Emma, your words hit home with me tremendously. It’s so hard to break free from the pressure of “figuring it out” and just let life happen. When you listen to yourself, your gut instincts and your true desires, it’s kind of beautiful how life just, stone by stone, lays a beautiful path for you to follow. I have watched you and Elsie bloom over the last few years and it feels like you have friends + sisters across the world who believe in you and all that you want to do. I can’t wait to see more from you and feel so privileged to be along for the ride.

    Figuring it out is over-rated. Embracing the bad, good, hard, easy and painful is required to find where we really belong. All the time you spent trying things before finally starting to live your dream was the fight you had to have to earn the beautiful life you live now… and you wear this life beautifully.

  • Last year was a huge mess for me (not a beautiful one, I have to say :). My professional life went down, my personal life was shattered to the core by very mean betrayal of someone I loved and wanted to spend my life with.
    But just some minutes before reading your so very inspiring post I was watching out of the window at my mother’s house (yeah, let’s just speak about feeling as a failure returning back home after 10 years of independent life) and felt in complete peace. Everything is going to be al-right, it was a hard lesson but I gonna thrive, not just merely survive it.

    It was so inspiring to find this post just after that, thank you for sharing.

  • Thank you for sharing this. Lately I’ve been feeling a bit defeated, but I honor myself and my dreams enough to know not to settle or give up. I appreciate this post so, so much.

  • It’s very sweet and brave of you to share your story. I follow Elsie’s story, and your, since the scrapbooking days, and it is so great to hear about the strugles and the success. Very inspiring!

  • Emma this was beautiful.I have been in the same place too and am truly stoked and inspired by your honesty and thoughtfulness and courage in sharing your story with the world.You and Elsie are my fav bloggers and i have followed your blog so closely because it teaches me-when i grow up i wanna be like yal:) thank you for following the changed dream and showing young women everywhere,they really can be the pioneer of their own dreams xoxo sim

  • This is a good thing, sharing this story.
    I have always been impressed by you, in my eyes you are such a strong woman and a role model. It takes a lot to talk about personal i secureness but it makes you even stronger – even if people don’t see this in first place. Thank you, Emma!

  • I loved reading your post. In the end, you are “acting”,maybe just differently than you have ever imagined – in front of the oven for the food posts (which always look amazingly delicious), behind the camera or in front of it for the outfit posts.
    I’ve always wanted to travel and being a child i wanted to be a diplomat(didn’t really knew what that means but I know they travel the world) or a flight attendant. And guess what? I’m almost working in IT world and the job and my passion for travel flu me over 3 continents already 🙂

    All the best from a far away constant reader! 😉

  • Thanks so much for writing this post Emma, I almost creid at the end because I think inside I sometimes still feel like a failure. I moved to London to persue a career in Fashion after Uni and it didn’t happen, I was poor and I moved onto other things. I’m not exactly where I want to be right now but I started my blog to encourage some creativity back into my life!

    My dreams have changed a lot since back then and I am happier now, who knows what might happen in the future! I loved reading you’re story. I feel happy and inspired after reading it.

    Thank you for being so open and encouraging!
    Nikki x

  • Oh my gosh, what a wonderful and inspiring story. Sometimes it takes a long time to see the opportunity right there in front of you because you’re not ready for it.I am so inspired by you girls and the way you have created a thriving business by being true to yourselves and your readers. Thanks for sharing such personal posts as these, they make us realize that success must be earned.

  • Thank you. Such an inspiration. Love your blog! You’re both amazing as a team 🙂

  • I read this blog avidly, and this post came at a perfect time–I’m finishing a two year English teaching job abroad this year, and although I planned to go on to study art in Italy, I can’t make it there this year. Was feeling absolutely devastated about having to move back to the states, but I’m going to go with the flow and hope a better opportunity arrives. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  • Thak you for this!! This letters encouraged me a lot.
    Best wishes from Barcelona.

  • Gosh, you know how very occasionally you stumble across something you didn’t even realise you needed? That just happened to me as I read this. Incredibly relevant to my life right now and as I approach a huge cross roads, your words have given me a much needed kick up the back side to be brave and just go for it!

    Thank you x


  • Thank you so much for sharing your story! I’ve been following this blog and your story for quite a while and I am so happy for everything you achieved :)!

  • All so so true. very inspiring. I swing between being ok with my past choices and then annoyed. But you’re so right that success is a state of mind! well done you! xx

  • Thank you for sharing your story – a good reminder that just because things aren’t going where we though they should, doesn’t mean they’re going wrong 🙂

  • Dear Emma,
    Thank you for posting these intimate and personal feelings. That’s so inspiring because most of us won’t talk about all these thoughts (little sister-, being a failure-stuff…) It’s so obvious that you are giving confidence to everyone here to be able to achieve a personal objective. I’m from Austria and following your blog everyday since over a year, besides all the creative stuff (which I truely love and awakes my creative side again), I do appreciate all of your personal comments and highlights in live (your wedding!!). It was strange to read that you have been afraid of remaining “just” the little sister of someone else. When I started the blog, I’ve always seen you as the major head creating everything. Then I realized that there is no major head, but two!
    Thank you for this inspirational and committed work. All the best, Christina

  • Thank you for this, Emma! This is exactly what I needed. I hope I can be courageous as you are. Will definitely follow where my heart takes me. <3

  • Thank you so much for sharing this. It is so positive and encouraging to hear how you got to where you are. I am soon to be 28 and due to have my first baby in June which I am massively excited about; I have always wanted a child and even though we don’t have a lot of money I know it will be amazing. My career is not going so well because I had loads of time off at the beginning of my pregnancy due to sickness and mental health issues. This means that I missed a lot and even though my colleagues are outwardly supportive I sense some resentment from them because I wasn’t there during a difficult time. The environment is so negative an things are a bit of a mess but I’m hopin it will improve soon, if not before then after I return from maternity leave. I am scared of balancing motherhood and my job and I’m not even sure if my job is right for me. However I have recently started a blog (https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6676678689344513838#editor/target=post;postID=3384963989100698503;onPublishedMenu=allposts;onClosedMenu=allposts;postNum=0;src=postname my latest post if you are interested) and I am making more time for my hobbies which include crafting and baking. Reading your post makes me feel like if I carry on with the things that I enjoy then I will work it out. So thanks x

  • Wow! This made me all teary-eyed, and so moved <3 Thank you for sharing this with us, Emma! I’m also a little sister, so I can really relate to being the “second shooter” 🙂 I really admire you, and the rest of the ABM team, for all the hard work and the resulting inspiration that is flowing out from this blog ! I’m so looking forward to following you on this journey in the years to come 🙂


  • This is such a wonderful and inspiring post, thank you for sharing it! I’m so happy that you’ve managed to start living your dream, I hope one day I’ll be able to live mine 🙂

  • Dear Emma,

    I’ve been a (silent !) reader of A beautiful Mess for several years now ; Thanks a lot fort this heartfelt and honest post, this is deeply inspiring ! 🙂

    Congratulations on everything you’ve accomplished and built !

  • Hi Emma,
    I’ve been reading this blog for a while and this isn’t a post which I’d expected to read here. It’s really refreshing to read an honest post about the problems you’ve faced, especially as you’re someone who always seems so together, for want of a better word.
    Thank you for inspiring me!

  • Hi Emma, I am one of the very loyal followers of abeautifulmess from India. And I know exactly how you have evolved in these last 3 years at least. I started following your blog in 2010 and have been hooked on ever since. Infact being an only child I do really miss having a sister like yours to start my venture with. I think sometimes having the right partner to your dream can make the dream a reality sooner and with much more meaning.. I myself am 30 & in a position today where I am starting from scratch to find what I would love to do the rest of my life so this post definitely came at the right time..much love..

  • Oh Emma!! This was just the most perfect and inspirational post!! Really. Your words were just so great to here 🙂

  • The first point about seeing apportunites..Even ones you didnt always no you wanted has struck a cord. I think you may just have had a BIG impact on my current situation…Im at a cross roads with a few things, but seeing them as opportnities even if they were the ones I planned has changed my : S to a : )

    Thank you. I love a beautiful mess!

  • Hi Emma,
    Thank you! I ‘ve been reading this blog for a long time & I find this post one of the most inspiring ones! The last months I feel very confused and lost. I work at the same job for 10 years as a graphic designer & I feel like I’m drowning. I’ m not sure what changes to make or which direction I should follow, but your post was so encouraging! I’ ll try to relax, open up and try new things no matter what!

  • This post made me tear up. I’m in a pretty messy spot of life right now, and knowing that tons of people are thinking “she has no idea what she’s doing” has got me pretty down. Moving back into my parents’ home was hard (although i’m so glad to be with family again), but thank you for the reminder that things change, and can definitely change for the better! You’re absolutely right, it’s not so much about the money and more about you living your dreams. I hope I can say that some day 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing this, Emma! I felt similar when I split with my ex and moved home after living out of home all through uni. Turned out to be the best decision for me as well. I can’t say it lead to a dream job like it has for you, but it made me closer to my family and I met an amazing guy from it 🙂

    Glad to hear things are working out for you guys. I love coming along and reading your blog each day, and congratulations to you and Elsie for building this into a million dollar business! 🙂

  • Your words inspire me. You are a lovely soul! I started my dream 3 years ago, when i opened The Mood Bookstore Cafè, a small bookshop with a cafeteria. Things are not so easy.I lived in a small city in the south of Italy. Often i have nothing in my pocket, no money in my wallet. But i feel like i’m the richest girl in the world because This is my home, this is my heart, this is my life. Keep on dreaming girls 🙂

  • Hi Emma!
    I really love the way you express yourself and your feelings. You share all your fears, expectations, disappointments and blessings so sincerely that we all could find a piece of ourselves in those posts. I believe that we all have the power to change things negative from positive in our paths. Besides excepting your failures and weakness is a SUCCESS by itself. Important thing is to make positive decisions to fix them.

    I’ll always remember you as a girl of success 🙂



  • Thank you. Strangely, sometimes things will find you, when you need them most. I did this morning. And will keep your words close to my heart for now.

  • Thank you so much for the inspiration! Recently graduating from university and living abroad, I have no idea what the next step is for me and I haven’t really worried about it. Now I feel more aware that the little steps I take now will become part of my journey. Everything is part of my journey and it is never ending- thanks!

  • Thank you for this post, it’s very inspiring. I’m in a situation where I know what I want to do I’m just not sure how to make it happen. This has helped a lot!

  • You don’t know how much I needed this. It may seem embarrassing to you to put it out there, but a lot of people (including me) respect you for that. I’m currently going to college (in Egypt) and studying something that I could do well in although it’s not my ‘dream’, but a month ago an opportunity practically threw itself at me, a full scholarship to a university in New York – and instead of ignoring it, I’m working on my application now.
    If I persevere in this, although I haven’t got my parents’ 100% approval, it’ll be thanks to you. 🙂

  • Hi Emma!

    Thank you for sharing this with us! I’m an ABM reader (and fan) since a long time and I love that you are always sincere with us readers.
    I went through something similar a year ago and i can really relate to this post.
    Your life seems so dreamy and wonderful that we can easily forget that there is a lot of work and hard moments also for you!

    Keep it goin, you rock girls!!

    Hugs from Paris : )

  • You story is really very inspiring, especially as I sit here in my dead end job wishing there was more to life. But I guess nothing happens unless you take a chance and make it happen.

  • How eerie (in a good way!) – was walking off to work an hour ago pondering on the (lack of!) direction my life is taking and feeling a little sorry for myself over the failures I’ve made. Now I’m reading this. How encouraging, thank you. We need to look at failures as the stepping stones to success and not let them define us. After all, how can we ever value success if we’ve never experienced failure? I’m very encouraged by this – thanks for sharing your great story and well done for keeping at it and for getting where you are today – it’s very much deserved!

  • You post moved me deeply and so many thoughts crossed my mind while reading it. I guess most of them have been said throughout these numerous comments : )
    So I will just say congratulations for finding your happiness even if it did not look at a first glance like what success should look like in our society. When you find happiness success just flows from there.
    Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story!

  • Thanks Emma – we are about to make a big leap of faith with our business & it gives me sleepless nights! But I love what we do & what we stand for. Your words reaffirm why we keep going & try to be brave! Thanks for your blog post & congratulations for where you are now.
    Indigo 🙂

  • I think I will frame this entire blogpost and hang it above my desk!
    I’m getting started as an illustrator and I’m experiencing that it is very hard to get yourself out there; the world is so big, how will I be noticed?
    But reading articles like these just make me want to work harder to get there; because (in my opinion very successful) people like you have been there too.
    I think it’s so brave of you to share this, Emma! You’re awesome. Don’t ever feel like ‘the little sister’; you are your own version of fabulousness just as you are 🙂

  • Thank you, Emma! For being so honest. You struck a cord with this beautiful piece of writing.

  • Someone shared this on my FB feed today (I was chuffed to think they’re an ABM fan too!) and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you so much for sharing your story, it’s inspiring and honest and awesome just like you! 🙂

  • We are finding a “sweet surrender” in laying down our expectations for our life, & seeing how we can use our talents & strengths to help other people….and what is so beautiful is that we are finding so much joy & fulfillment in this season. Thank you for sharing your experience in such a candid & thoughtful way!
    Living out Loud, Carly Diggs

  • Thank you thank you thank you. This was beautiful and so inspiring:) xoxo Katie

  • Wow. Wow wow wow. This so resonates with me right now. I’m starting to consider letting go of my acting “career” so that I can create a more stable life for myself and my son, and I’m trying to think of it as setting myself free rather than accepting defeat. Staying open to all of the possibilities that life puts in front of us really is the key to happiness, I think. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • I recently began working full time as a freelance graphic designer. And I must admit I thought it would feel better and that it would feel like I was living my dream. At the moment I’m not enjoying it is as I wish I would, and it’s a real pain to doubt the choices I’ve made to start this dream.
    I woke this morning with a particular feeling of ‘shit, I’ll never succeed’, and I stayed in bed and read this blogpost. And THANK YOU! It was a great inspiration to read about your dreams, failures and how you and your sister build this amazing business of yours. It’s truly inspiring!
    I’ll work hard today to enjoy my projects as they are, and accept that right now it’s a job, and I’ll spend the weekend dreaming and visioning how to relocate my passion and to embed whatever I discover into my professional life.

    Thanks again! And keep up the amazing work!

    P.S. I’m a reader all they way from Denmark, so you’ve done a pretty great job with that blog! Congrats!

  • Thank you Emma for this post. Felt like you were telling about my life. Hopefully I will turn it around like you at some point! 🙂 Have a lovely day.

  • All teh way in South africa your story has given me strength. I am at a Y-junction of my life and after reading your story i feel that i am no longer the failure that i called myself.

    Thank you so much for your story, i can not stop telling you how it has changed my perspective.


  • I’ve been reading this blog since just after Elsie got engaged. I’ve loved following its (and your) growth.
    This is one of my favourite posts. It has inspired me intensely.
    I’ve actually read 3 articles in the passed 2 days that seem to be pushing in the same direction. Not sure if I believe in ‘signs from the universe’.
    I guess the ‘signs’ only mean something if you want them to mean something. If you believe that the universe wants to push you in a certain direction. And I think I do.
    So I guess, what I’m trying to say is, thanks for feeling anxious about putting your ‘failure’ on display and doing it anyway. This is good.

  • Thank you so much for this Emma. This post really hit home with me and I appreciate you sharing your story. It’s been wonderful to see the evolution of ABM and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
    xo Allison

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story, Emma! I totally agree that success looks different for everyone and I think it must feel best when it’s happens as it should…not saying that it doesn’t always take hard work…but when the chips of life, education and experience fall into place the way they’re “meant to be” instead of being forced, I think it’s even more satisfying. I have a similar story, not quite at the million dollar mark yet, but I can relate in a small way so thanks again for sharing 🙂

  • what a fantastic, inspiring post. I’ve always felt that changing dreams is seen as being indecisive, when really, you only have one life and you have to try things and move on if they don’t work out. I feel like I’m still figuring it out at at 30! Thank you for your honesty and advice. This is a brilliant post on a brilliant blog.

  • Wow! What a fanfastic post! It’s so inspiring hearing your story. Thanks for being brave and sharing it. 🙂

  • Thank you for your honesty! This will be so inspiring for many of your readers – including me! Congratulations Emma, you are such a lucky and happy girl, you absolutely deserve it!

  • It’s not embarrassing, it’s beautiful and inspiring. I just graduated from college and I’m working on my first ‘real job’ right now. I don’t really like it and it doesn’t seem like the right fit, but for now it’s fine. I know there will be better times. We just should never ever stop dreaming…

  • This was such a courageous post. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, Emma!
    It’s easy to lose your sense for reality when you read blogs on a regular basis. Everything seems shiny and perfect and I really love that you girls are so honest, because life isn’t always perfect but it’s all about taking chances and making the best of your situation.

  • Love this post and love this blog! Don’t worry acting will ALWAYS be there, no matter what they say. I’ve been doing it my whole life and it’s okay to take breaks and come back. When you do, it’ll be on your terms.

  • A very open and honest story – very refreshing to hear. Also a nice reminder “to keep on trying” when things don’t just happen over night.

    Thank you


  • Thanks so much for this, it really resonated with me. I, too, am at a crossroads in my life, having just moved back from Los Angeles after three years there myself. I felt it was necessary for me to come home, but quitting my glamorous job in LA and having to work in a restaurant while I figure out my plan in my hometown can definitely feel like a failure. Your words, however, are extremely encouraging, as someone who stood in my shoes once, and can successfully “live” to talk about it. Its been a rough year, but I’ll keep in mind what you’ve said here, and I know it will get better. Thank you for the reminder!!

  • Emma,
    I am quite new to the blog. The first time I came upon it, I went through so many different posts. I spent hours reading you guys, while my 2 lil boys spent time with daddy. Ehehehe. It was “me” time. This to say that this post is by far my favorite. You both are such talented and creative women who inspire so many others. And I’m sure I can speak for everyone when I say that we are grateful for everything that you guys share.
    That moment in your life was definitely not a faliure and I just hope that myself and others going through a similar situation, having so many dreams and not really knowing which way to go, can come upon this post, read these inspiring words and see that we need to embrace every moment in life as it may lead us to some true happiness.

    Once again, thank you.
    Wishing you all the best XOXO

  • This was a really lovely post. I’m so in awe of you two, and you absolutely have earned some serious bragging rights! 🙂
    Also, for what it’s worth, I started reading the blog probably about 2 years ago and always assumed you were the older sister – you just had that air about you to me (coming from an older sister myself!) 😉

  • hi emma…im Dyan from Malaysia…hows ur story really inspiring sumting for me…tq so muc emma…im alwys the big fans of ur blog n everyday I shud read ur story…keep it up emma…send my regards to elsie…im the big fan of u two…av a gud day everyday…

  • Thank you for this. Today I felt like a complete failure, having broken my personal record for time between having and interview and being rejected for the job (a whopping four hours! go me!). But reading this really helped – I might be too poor to pay the rent right now, but things will get better. My Etsy shop is just a fledgling right now, but this really inspired me to keep going with it. The real world won’t give me a job, it’s time to make my own.

  • Emma, this is so beautiful! I can relate to a lot of what you said. I majored in music and basically failed at attempting to be an opera singer. 🙂 I moved to New York City and worked in the fashion industry but moved back to KC to marry husband. I’m a stay at home mom with 2 kids, and while that isn’t a failure, it wasn’t exactly where I saw myself. I jumped into blogging this last year and have been working my butt off at my strengths…and trying to go with the flow of where life is taking me. I really feel like I’m now doing what I was meant to do, and all of those other things grew me into the person I need to be for this moment.

    This was so lovely to hear. Thank you for sharing something personal and sometimes vulnerable. It’s very inspiring to see where you two have gotten with wonderful gifts and lots of hard work. Congrats!

  • Great article, thanks for sharing. Have to say I really like your table in one of the photos (white frame with a chipboard top) is this something you have made yourself?

  • Thanks for sharing this. As a co-founder of a tech-startup, the good days are good, but the bad days can be emotionally draining. I was less than a year away from getting my doctorate when I embarked on our startup, and although this life is less structured than academia, I have never felt so secure.

  • Dear Emma,

    From a girl going through one of those “rough patches” in life, thank you. Reading this post at almost midnight in complete darkness and feeling a bit sorry for myself really inspired me. I’ve had a tough struggle lately and it often feels like it will never get better or that I just can’t be “normal” in the sense that I wake up and do what I need to do. Instead, I feel quite depressed and like a failure. But after reading this, I don’t feel so alone and your words really inspired me to actually try to be happy and to do the things that I love.
    I’m so happy that you were able to overcome that rough patch in your life and I’m so glad you can view your own strengths now rather than feeling somewhat like you’re living in someone else’s shadow. I know that feeling a bit too well, but trust me, you couldn’t ever live in someone else’s shadow. Thank you again for this post and for opening up to your many, many readers.

    My best wishes,
    Brianna Rachele

  • This post was very brave of you. I went through a similar situation in my mid twenties when I actually went to law school, quit, moved back in with my parents and worked for my dad in a job I hated before finding my true calling as a librarian. I felt like such a loser at the time, but it gave me clarity, empathy, wisdom and a true sense of self that I don’t think I would have today. Being in your twenties is HARD.

  • Thanks for sharing this story, Emma. As a little sister myself, I totally feel the need to step out of my siblings’ shadows. I appreciate how humble and honest you are. This post reminds me that everything usually turns out for the best.

  • You and Elsie have done some amazing things. Congratulations to BOTH of you. I think you compliment each other.

  • Wow. There are so many comments on this post I doubt you’ll get a chance to see a fraction of them. But I have to thank you Emma for this post. I am a long time reader of the blog and always found you so relatable. This post could not have come at a better time in my life. Last year I finally applied to my dream job and got it. Things have been fantastic. Until I found out last week that the business is closing.

    I have felt so helpless and lost. Really feeling like I won’t find that fulfillment again. I am still feeling it. But it soothes me to know that I’m not alone.

    Sorry for the sappiness. But a million thanks.

  • Great post! Thank you, Emma. Point number 3 is a good reminder that being flexible to life’s pushes and pulls is as important as being headstrong in your pursuits!


  • This post is exactly what I needed to read, after having a very successful career I opted to follow something I felt more passionate about. Which is taking a pretty long minute to take off but I feel more fulfilled. This post just encouraged me so much. Thank you for that!

    Meghan Silva’s Blog

  • You cannot imagine how your words were more than just inspiring to me, Emma. I recently graduated from college and somehow, I feel sort of lost in the whole aspect of “the real world”. Most of my friends have started their careers and here I am still searching for myself. Your post reminded me that I should always feel encouraged and motivated to believe in myself and my dreams. I may be taking longer to get to my own success, but I know I’ll get there eventually. Thank you, Emma.

  • Oh Lord Emma, thank you for this. This is exactly what I needed to hear. I’m a 25 year old college graduate (from Springfield! :D) and life hasn’t taken me on the path I thought it would. I’m still somewhat pursuing what I majored in, but it’s NOT the dream I imagined. I find myself more and more unhappy as each week passes. I’m still looking for the strength and courage to find something else to pursue…hopefully this will end up being a little push in that direction. <3

  • Hi Emma (and ABM team!) 🙂

    I just wanted to say I love this post so much because it shows how something great can start from something so simple. Thank you! 🙂

    And your blog inspires me and my younger to start a blog too! Hopefully soon! 🙂

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

  • Thanks so much for this! I always wanted to be a dancer and even went to LA once and things didn’t quite work out. When I came back to Texas I tried my best to stay in it but I haven’t danced professionally in years just because life got the best of me. For a long time I felt like I had given up on myself but the last time I went to a concert I didn’t leave feeling like I wanted to go back to LA and jump back into auditioning again. I guess it’s just nice to see it from a different perspective rather than being hard on myself and that maybe things have just changed and there are other dreams I want now. Thanks again 🙂

    xo erica

  • My favorite post ever! I cried!!! Thank you Emma, your honesty and transparency is so inspiring. Congratulations to you, Elsie and the rest of ABM team. Xo

  • thank you thank you thank you! I have needed someone to speak this clearly and frankly about following your dreams for so long. I can’t tell you how many times I have felt live a failure for not knowing exactly what I want to be doing or for not having some strengths that other people have that I felt like were “superior”. Your story is so inspiring and makes me feel so much more a peace knowing that things will all work out if I just play to my own strengths and take opportunities as they come. I appreciate you sharing this so much!

  • Always read your blog, its a favorite, and this is my favorite post ever!
    Thanks for the reality check and the reassurance of the ebb and flow that is life. Hooray for living the dream!

  • Thank you for sharing! I love reading about how close you and Elsie are, it’s really a beautiful thing. I totally feel you on always feeling like your sister’s shadow at times in life…because I felt the same way growing up! That fades as you grow, which you definitely have. Thanks for such a beautiful blog and all of your inspiration!

  • Ah thank you Emma!

    Ever since graduating college last spring, I’ve been battling myself and much more recently about this almost exact thing. I know what I want to do (or think I know what I do), but haven’t reached it yet and very impatient about it. I’ll definitely be keeping little reminders like these with me so I can remember to slow down!


  • Totally needed this! I’ve felt defeated for the past few years since turning down my dream job to have my daughter. . . I didn’t make the big move, I didn’t get the big corner office. I instead found a smaller company where I took on new roles and I constantly question my direction. I have recently began blogging and have really tried to dive into photography, crafting and my Etsy shop. It’s nothing like your million dollar baby (I celebrate $100+ a month!! LOL) but it’s really something I enjoy. I just want to find that “happiness” in my career and form a solid direction. . . .Need to remind myself of the things you’ve said today, sometimes it’s a process . . . and sometimes those most embarrassing and confusing moments are stepping stones to your greatest accomplishments! LOVE THIS POST!

  • Thank you so much for this, Emma. I’ve read ABM since the beginning and it’s so nice to hear your POV. (PS: I’m broke and live in LA. I’ve been here almost 5 years and still haven’t moved back to the Midwest, but it’s definitely tempting.)

  • Thank you Emma for sharing this heartfelt post. I have followed Elsie (and now yours too) blog for many many years and remember when you moved away and how much Elsie missed you. I love all that you have brought to ABM, as you are a huge inspiration to me and my daughter too. By the end of your post I was in tears, not only because I was so proud of you but also because you have inspired me to keep going and keep striving to find where I fit. I am in a time of feeling misplaced and unsure. It’s is inspiring to know that others have traveled a similar journey and there is sunshine and happiness on the other side of unsettledness. Thank you x