Welcome to Project Fabulous Femme! Once or twice a month, I'll introduce you to a Fabulous Femme who's inspired me. I invite them to share their perspectives on being a modern woman and other vital corps topics. Please be kind, curious, and open-minded.
If her answers below and her title of Creative Director at a product innovation agency don't clue you in enough, Emilie is one whipsmart, creative, fabulous femme. Yet, everything she does is cloaked in this unassuming stylish kind of cool. (She'll probably even roll her eyes because I said that.) After meeting Emilie through mutual friends about a decade ago, I remember thinking, "Who is that that; and how do I apply to be her friend?" To this day, I'm beyond grateful to call her a friend - the kind of friend who let me try to kick her ass every Saturday AM as a Pilates apprentice (she brought her A-game) and never gives anything less than an honest, thoughtful opinion. She's been a vital corps supporter since it was an idea without a name. I could go on and on, but let's hear from Emilie herself.
Q + A
How would you define being a modern woman in 2015? The modern lady literally has it all – which is a terrific burden and an amazing blessing all in one. We have the opportunity to do and be whatever we want, but can be paralyzed by the abundance of choice we face. We are saddled with baggage of feminism – the expectations of mothers and grandmothers who fought for these opportunities but never got to enjoy them – and feel compelled to overachieve in every sphere lest we squander those hard earned rights. We want to embrace all possibilities, be everything everyone wants us to be, say YES to everything.
It takes a lot of courage to say NO instead, to intentionally limit yourself, to choose just what makes you happiest and not care what others think about it. Choosing not to have it all is the hardest and best thing you can do for yourself.
What would you like to see modern women give more of a shit about? We should all take more time to care about the way we treat others day to day. I’m talking about the little stuff – the golden rule. Doing something positive almost always brings some positivity back your way. All that little stuff can add up to big stuff. This is a lesson I need as much as anyone.
Conversely, what would you like see modern women give less of a shit about? Overthinking everything! I’m guilty here too. We go to pieces making the decision, and then second-guess ourselves after the fact just for kicks. I have to admit, I don’t see a lot of men with the same self-doubt, and I don’t have this problem in my professional life – but it creeps into every moment of my personal life!
What is your superpower? In other words, what can you do on a rockstar-level without even thinking about it? I would say Photoshop and Illustrator, but I know Kara wants me to say Google Maps! [Kara note: She was totally right.]
I am a trip planning ninja, mostly because I just love vacations, and a big part of that enjoyment comes in the expectation. I go 100% nerd and make these intricate Google Maps – mainly around food I want to eat – that then drive the whole of my vacation planning. I start a good year in advance and do a 360º research dive into my destination, reading classic and contemporary literature of the area, watching movies, learning about all of the food and wine, trying to pick up the local language, sifting thru hundreds of photos to find the best little villa on the hill and the most rewarding hikes – it really is like having a second job. But we end up with the best vacations in the best places with the best people!
What’s your favorite non-negotiable act of self-care you do to decompress or recharge on the regular? I’m like Mr. Rogers when I get home from work. The outside clothes are off and the PJs are on almost instantaneously. In practically the same movement, I’ve got a bottle of wine open (or cup of tea brewing) and I’m on the couch with the dog watching Jeopardy. I seldom bring any “work” into my home sphere – when I’m off, I’m off.
What’s your favorite timesaving shortcut or hack? Chartpak and Prismacolor art markers. I’ve got a lot of art supplies around the house and strong DIY streak, so I’ve found all sorts of wonderful second uses for them, and my art markers are my favorites. Got a piece of furniture with a little chip? There’s an art marker that will match. Got a nick in your leather shoe? There’s an art marker that will match. Got a stray grey that dye-job missed? There’s an art marker that will match. I make no claims about non-toxicity – use at your own risk!
What keeps you going when you're feeling down and out? My dog, Sandwiches. For one, he has such an adorable, goofy little face that you can’t help but smile when you look at him. Then he’s super soft and squishy – perfect for hugs. And c’mon his name is Sandwiches – that’s just hilarious every time.
Plus a messed-up human can learn a lot from a puppy’s approach to life. They know how to live in “the now” and appreciate the small stuff. The best sound in the world is the sound of a dog eating dog food – they make it sound SO DELICIOUS, even if it’s the dullest thing on earth. When you’re bummed, their obliviousness makes you reassess just why you are bummed in the first place – is it really worth all the stress? Wouldn’t you rather play some fetch?
Who’s a fabulous femme inspiring you? What makes her so fab? Did you know that the first novel ever written was penned by a Japanese woman in the early 11th century? The west didn’t get around to novel writing until several centuries later! Murasaki Shikibu's masterpiece The Tale of Genji beat out Cervante’s Don Quixote by 500 years – and it’s just as long and as much of a beast to finish. So never let it be said that women are just following in the footsteps of men or that we can’t be innovators. (Things you can learn researching your vacation!)
If another woman wants to connect with you, how would you prefer that happens? Find me on LinkedIn.
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