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.Β 

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.Β 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 lieβ€”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.Β 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. πŸ™‚ 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

  • Thank you for this post. I really really needed to read this today. So glad to know I’m not the only one battling feelings like this – I just haven’t quite turned it around like you have yet!

  • What an amazing post. I really admire your honesty and, as the second sibling, understand where you’re coming from too. Congratulations on your amazing career (and I love your new haircut!) x

  • Emma,

    I have been a big fan of this blog for what feels like forever. I admire you and your sister so much and often envy all of your creative genius. This post is by far my favorite. I am 24 and often feel lost or like I am failing… you are so inspirational! This has truly motivated me to not give up on my dreams! (even if I have a lot of them πŸ˜‰ ) Thanks for being brave enough to share your story with all of us!



  • Hi Emma,
    I have been reading your blog for a long time but have never commented on anything before. I am very very moved by this article ( myself an actress in NYC ) and I just wanted to say that this is a little piece of wisedom I will cherish for a long time. Thank you. H

  • Things like this make me believe in you and your work even more. Small snippets into someone’s struck always help me paint a better picture of who they are and why I am a proud follower of everything ‘a beautiful mess’ is and represents.

  • Thank you so much for sharing, Emma. This is one of my favourite posts thus far (and I’ve been reading for years). It epitomizes the beauty and truth than can only be discovered once we embrace the messiness of life and identity!

  • Thank you for this Emma! Too often we assume that “success” is fixing everything that’s “wrong” with us. This is a beautiful reminder that we can find not just success, but happiness and fulfillment when we embrace our strengths instead. Best wishes to you all, always!

  • i just love you, emma! i think you’re an amazing woman and you inspire me to cook! i’ve learned i’m a pretty talented chef!

  • I was just having a pity party when this popped up on Facebook. Thanks for sharing, Emma! πŸ™‚ I love that A Beautiful Mess is so relatable even after it’s grown so much. Love you guys, love this blog!

  • Love this – you and Elsie are a constant source of inspiration to me. Thank you for sharing your stories with us- and definitely don’t be embarrassed. You should be very proud <3

  • This hits close to home for me… I have recently finished my self pity parties and am working on going back to finish my bachelor’s degree and launching my graphic design shop, and this was very inspiring to me! I think you and Elsie are very lucky to have each other as sisters, best friends, AND business partners! I would love to be able to work so well with my sister OR best friend, but we all have very different careers! Thank you for sharing your inspiring story!


  • This is something that I have been struggling with for quite some time. Feeling like an absolute failure with failed dreams. I have so much talent and know where to put it that I see. So many ideas and not a clue where to start to make them a reality. This post was such an encouragement not to look over anything and not give up. The both of you I have been following for quite some time now. You are awesome and don’t ever forget it.

  • I really needed this. My life hasn’t always been what I’d hoped to do, and my amazing plans have been foiled by Real Life more than a few times, but I’m working on it and finding my groove and hearing other people that I look up to say ‘hey, it takes time’ and showing that you don’t need to have the perfect life straight out of college is really a good message.

    Thank you for sharing this! (And you totally deserve to brag. ;D)

  • Oh Emma this is a beautiful post and thank you for being so transparent. I’m 21 and graduating college in May and I have been evaluating job offers that have not been my dream job but you’re right success is not a state of being but a continuous thing. I’m learning that now. Thank you so much for this post.

  • Emma, this was just what I needed to read! I got laid off and had to move back in with my parents last year, and it’s hard to not feel like a failure all the time. But I’m working toward making my dreams happen, and though I know they may change, it’s good to know that everything will work out. Just like it did for you! πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for sharing your story! I am still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so it is very encouraging to read about the paths other people follow.

  • Thanks for this Emma! I needed this encouragement today. I know exactly where you’ve been! This happened to me too, moved to LA for music and then moved back in with my parents:) Now living in London, but I really needed to read this, feeling discouraged. Best of luck!

  • Thank you for sharing this. I believe that things wil change for me too. I have a job but I don’t like it, it’s not who I am but I need money. Two months ago I started blog with my sister and it feels so right, like I found myself. I don’t have enough time to do everything I imagined because I work full time, but I’m working hard on it. Your story inspired me to continue working on my blog even more harder and hope one day I get to write a post just like yours today! Thank you!


  • This was perfectly timed to get me out of my own pity party in wet, cold Chicago far from family. Thanks for your wisdom, Emma. I guess I’ll get out of these sweatpants now.

  • Elsie and Emma,
    I have read your blog everyday for years, since I first work with Elsie “in a different life,” and I’ve never once left a comment, that is, until today. This post is beautifully written and very inspiring to me and I’m sure countless others. Thank you for putting yourself out there, even when it’s a bit intimidating. Life definitely throws us opportunities that we don’t always see that way in the beginning. I think your advice is great. Thanks so much for sharing! -Stephanie in Wisconsin πŸ™‚

  • Dear Emma,

    I am currently on an exchange, away from home for the first time in a foreign country. I am 21 and constantly worry too much about what I am doing with my life and if I am “doing the right thing” and making the “right” choices.
    I can see a lot of myself in your description and my thoughts are very similar!
    You will always be one of my greatest inspirations, and this post was just what I needed to read. Thank you for sharing your story. It brings me great joy and hope to see that you are doing what you love and “living your dream”… even if it is not what you originally planned or maybe hoped for.

    I will continue to look back on this for inspiration!
    Thank you so much.


  • This isn’t embarrassing at all…it’s an amazing and bold account of everything you’ve been through, and I know that I greatly appreciate you putting it all out there for us to read. I have my days where I dream and don’t feel like I’ll ever get anywhere, but I think the biggest challenge is, as you mentioned, being honest with my own strengths and not being afraid to ask others for help. I hope to one day be as content with my day-to-day as you are now.

  • Emma, I’ve been a fan of ABM for so long and never, ever read something so personal come from you. Even when you wrote about your wedding day. I’ve always felt like you’re more of a reserved kind of person, so I think it’s really wonderful of you to write such a honest post – especially since ABM and your recipes are such a hit. Thank you for sharing this little piece of your mind. May you always be as happy as you are right now.

  • absolutely inspiring! thank you so much for sharing you success story! I always feel like a failure or like I’m settling and just seeing how successful you’ve become gives me hope!

  • Thank you so much for writing this. What a lovely, honest account of your life! I have a similar story that basically spanned age 21 to 27, and I think a lot of people do. Mine wasn’t acting but it was about learning to deal with some dreams not working out and other surprising, new ones developing. It’s important to share these stories because people going through that process can so frequently feel like they’re the only ones who don’t have it together. So again, I thank you!

  • Thanks for being real! So much truth about success being a process, and never a one-stop destination. It took me a LONG time to learn that, and sometimes, I need a reminder!

    My most beloved snippet of inspiration:
    “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” -Aristotle


  • Thank you for this personal post. I am currently trying to piece my life together. Graduating from Uni and working in unfulfilling jobs it is hard not feeling like you have failed. I am slowly discovering my strengths and weaknesses whilst also learning it’s ok to have weaknesses.

    You have given me hope to keep my chin up and keep on trying to reach my goals.

    Thanks again Emma.

  • Thank you so much. This was exactly what I needed today and even though I don’t feel any less lost, I’m a little more hopeful. Also I literally just received that dress (or one that looks exactly like it!) in the mail yesterday and wore it all afternoon and night!! πŸ™‚

  • Your advice is so incredibly spot-on and insightful, Emma! Thank you for being so honest and putting your experience out there. I’m going through some shifts and big turning points in my career right now, and hearing about your journey really makes me view certain aspects with new clarity. This was a very refreshing way to start my day. πŸ™‚

  • I’m a college student at the University of Washington in Seattle and began reading Elsie’s blog a while ago (my mom had followed her when she was really into scrapbooking). I loved being able to follow you both open your store and became inspired by your retro looks. Thank you for sharing your story Emma, my roommates and I are also struggling with choosing a direction for our lives to go in and this post reemphasizes what I’ve already begun to accept. Life doesn’t work out as planned and the ideal situation may not end up being the perfect one. Losing hope does happen but re-configuring your life goals will happen many times before you end up where you’re supposed to and those re-configurations are what help us overcome life’s obstacles and reach success. Thank you Elsie & Emma! You are truly an inspiration.

  • Thanks for sharing. Both of you have inspired me to pursue what I truly love. I’m so happy for you and congratulate you. Well done!!

  • Wow! This is such a great post! I too got my degree in Photography and found I hated Commercial Work once I got out of school and was trying to make a living on my own. I held a number of odd jobs along the way and made the move to Austin from Columbus. It was a BIG decision but worked out for the best. With the support and love of my best friend/husband I was able to start my own business (still in the first year). Your blog posts are very inspirational and I really enjoyed this post especially. It’s nice to know/ find out more about you Emma.

  • I have been feeling “stuck” in my current profession simply because I didn’t want to waste my degree even though I’m unhappy at my current job. I factor in my age, the amount or time and money I spent at college for 6 years doing something I knew wasn’t my passion anymore. The cost of going back to school… This is the best entry I’ve read on the ABM blog this far, and I am a years-long reader. You’re very inspiring, Emma. I take these words to heart. Thank you.

  • Thank you for this post–I needed this! I’m in the process of leaving one dream on hold to pursue another, and the challenges are wearying at times. It’s nice to see someone else find chance, happiness and success after changing paths.

  • You shared this at JUST the right time for me. Thank you so much! Im going through this “failure” stage right now and stuck on how to achieve my dream. This is such an inspiration.

  • Beautifully written and such great experiences to share. I love your outlook on life, and it’s fantastic that you’re sharing your experiences with us because I feel so many of us can relate. Thanks, gal! πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for posting this. It’s just what I needed to hear right now! Well done on your success, you are an inspiration. And long may it continue!

  • When y’all were children did you have that book ‘Big sister & Little sister’? It was one of our favorites. The big sister is always taking care of the little sister, then one day she gets tired & runs into a field to cry. The little sister searches and searches for her, finds her, hugs her and then cares for her. I Loved this book as a child, also being the younger sister who seemed to often live in the shadow.
    I really appreciate you putting yourself out there for all of us to read about. Such an encouragement! Being a little sister can be tough stuff AND the best thing ever.
    thank you!

  • I’ve been reading this blog for four years… and have thoroughly loved every post since (as well as earlier, I’ve read the archives too!). However, this one comes at a time when I’ve been feeling defeated and uninspired with work and life… Without a doubt, my favorite post to date.

    Thank you Emma, Elsie, & ABM team for bringing some happiness and inspiration to my day on the reg. <3

  • Emma, thank you so much for sharing this part of your life with us. Sometimes I assume some people are just successful and have never had a hard moment in their life. I have been struggling recently and this post is very inspiring. I’m happy for you and your success!

    Nicole / http://www.theanchoredsoulblog.com

  • Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Emma! You guys are so inspiring and incredibly talented – it’s good to see that it takes a little/lot of patience plus finding the right opportunity before things can fall into place as they have for you. Love your blog, book, app, etc. Congrats on all your success!

  • I’ve always wondered how you felt about becoming a part of A Beautiful Mess since it used to be just Elsie’s. I wondered if you ever felt like it was really yours too. You know? I’m glad that you take such pride in your work and have come to terms (or found your perfect place) still being Elsie’s little sister but equally a partner and co-owner and co-author and amazing individual! The pressure and expectations we put on ourselves is so great and it’s a huge milestone to understand your strengths and weaknesses and embrace them both! Thank you for sharing this. I’m so happy you’re happy.

  • there are so many people i know that feel like this right now. including myself. i’ve been a longtime reader, and although i’ve never met you, i’m proud of what the two of you have accomplished.

  • thank you, for this insight. Seriously, my life as a student is ending and some times it’s hard not to lose hope about living your dreams.

  • Great post, Emma! I recently moved across the country (Canada) with my boyfriend who got his dream job here but It’s been really hard on me living in a new city with no job and no friends. You’ve just inspired me to put myself out there more and see what opportunities are out there. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for writing this, Emma! I know a lot of young women β€” myself included β€” need this kind of encouragement right now. It may be tough out there, but we’re even tougher on ourselves.

  • Congratulations on a MILLION dollar year! More importantly, congratulations on inspiring all your readers, myself included, that we can really do what makes us happy.

  • Thank you for sharing, Emma!
    Thanks for the reminder that dreams change and putting something down doesn’t mean failure or that you can’t pick it back up again!

  • I’ve been following your blog for awhile now—and this is (hand’s down) one of my FAVORITE posts. Thanks so much for your honesty…it is helpful!

  • It’s so much more useful to read about failures than successes, and this is absolutely my favorite post on ABM. Thank you for your honesty. Regardless what dreams your readers are pursuing, I’m sure they can relate to this post. Since I enjoy scrapbooking/crafting more than cooking, I have tended to follow Elsie’s posts more closely, but this post was a great reminder why the two of you make such a great team!

  • Oh my gosh, Emma, THANK YOU for this post! I am currently working in LA at a sort of dead-end entertainment job, because I moved out here to be “in the business.” Two years in, I am discovering new talents and passions that have almost nothing to do with the entertainment business. I came out here to write (screenplays), which I still do in my spare time, but I am also finding that I love crafting/doing things with my hands. My etsy business is slowly gaining momentum and I am full of ideas on how to expand it. At first I was afraid, because that is not what I INTENDED to come out here for, but the more I embrace it, the happier I am. I know that if I follow my gut, I will get to a happy place like you are in right now. Thanks again πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. As part of a sister blogging team I can relate on so many levels. I haven’t quite found my happy place, but your story inspires me to keep on working hard, follow opportunities when they arise and create them when they don’t. I will definitely be bookmarking this and coming back to it when I feel like I have failed.

  • Thanks for sharing this insightful piece. I am currently in the post-grad, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my life phase and really appreciated your words. I’m so happy for you and Elsie’s success!

  • I really needed to read this right now. I am just now, at 37, deciding to go after one of my dreams, which is to move to NYC. I am scared and keep trying to talk myself out of it, but I can’t shake the idea either. You are very inspiring and I’m really proud of you for not only going after your goals, but realizing when goals need to change. And I’m very happy that you shared your experience with us!

  • Thank you for taking a moment to be vulnerable and share your inspiring story with us. Even though I may never make a million dollars doing what I love, because of this post, I know I’ll feel like a million dollars. There are parts of my life that I keep fighting to make work…. I think it’s about time to “go with the flow.” This is by far my favorite post I have ever read… on any blog.

  • I thinks this hits home to many of your readers! It is tough, especially for the creative people out there, to figure it all out or realizing that you don’t have to! Thank you for sharing, this was just the advice I need. You are all so inspiring and seem still very down to earth. Always looking forward to getting home and clicking my ABM bookmark!

  • This is why y’all are so successful, you both are beautiful inside and out. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  • Fantastic piece! This is my favorite post so far and very inspiring. Thank you!

  • Emma thank you for being so honest! I’m at the oh sh*t stage “what am I doing?” — I needed this today πŸ™‚

  • Thank you so much for writing this. Your blog is so beautiful and I love it but sometimes it can feed into that feeling of blog-life envy that I think a lot of people have from looking at things online–the idea that there are people whose whole lives are a never ending series of parties and crafts and cooking and cute husbands and no one is ever sad or full of doubt. Hearing you say that there have been real moments of perceived failure in your life is a good reminder for all of us that failure is as much a part of what life really is as fun and beauty. I appreciate your honesty and looking through the comments it sounds like other people do too.

  • Emma, I absolutely LOVED this. Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. I feel like I really got to “know” you for the first time just now. I adore your advice, especially the part about how calling yourself a failure is a label you give yourself, and don’t be afraid to change your dreams. Brilliant! Sending you massive hugs and support from KC. Hope we get to cross paths some day…

  • Thank for for this Emma! As a recent college grad, this is exactly the kind of encouragement I need! πŸ™‚ I have to keep reminding myself that there are new opportunities everywhere & that it’s crazy to expect or want everything to be all settled when I’m 22!

  • Hi Emma, I’ve been reading A beautiful mess since 2009 and never commented before, but I was so moved and inspired by this post I had to say thank you. Thanks for sharing, thanks for being brave.

  • this why we all love reeding your (yours + elsies!) blog. it is just so inspiring! thank soooo much!

  • This actually made me cry. I’ve definitely been having some pity party moments these days. Thank you for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • Emma it was so kind of you to open up and share this. It really helped me, and I know it will help so many others.

    I had no idea you are an actor (SAG card, heyy!), but when I saw you onstage at the Texas Style Council keynote last August, I honestly marveled at how composed, charming and well-spoken you were. And of course so pretty. I could totally see you ending up on camera again in the future. Any chance you might shoot more videos for ABM?

  • Thank you for this post…I needed this reminder. I have been stuck in failure mode for a bit.

  • This has been the most encouraging post I’ve read on A Beautiful Mess. Thanks for being transparent and sharing.


  • It’s so brave from you that you dare to share the downs of life and not only the up’s. I do soo agree with ypu that sometimes the worst times are essencial to make the best ones possible. Oh and congratulations with the million, that’s just amazing. I find it so inspirering that you guys blog for living and achiece such awesome things like the Pp and te cannon collaboration. You inspire a lot of people and you are just as importent to the blog as elsie is, i don’t think many people think you’re just here to show us some food. I wish you the best Emma.
    Love, Gemma

  • this is amazing, emma. so encouraging. i’m a little bit older than you and elsie, and i have to tell my younger friends and students this ALL THE TIME. its so easy to feel pressure to “be famous” in today’s world… and that’s the ONLY thing people think will bring them “success”. they don’t realize that TRUE “success” – is just living a happy life where you’re at peace with yourself. i’m so happy you wrote this blog. congratulations on everything πŸ˜€ <3

  • oh man, i really needed this at this point in my life (just out of college, moved w/ my boyfriend to a new place, not totally loving the location or the job i’m in) … thank you, emma, this was completely inspiring. i know more is waiting for me down the road, i’m just not ready for it yet πŸ™‚

  • Hi Emma, thanks for sharing! You definitely shouldn’t think this as an embarrasing story… it’s much more than that. I needed to be reminded of the messages you shared here, especially #4. I so agree that everyone has a different view of success and to me I need to remember that getting there is a journey to be embraced. We should feel success with each milestone and learning along the way! Again, thanks for sharing your wisdom and encouragement.

  • As the younger sibling of an amazingly talented and driven sister I can completely relate to this. Thank you for sharing! This is exactly what I needed to hear.

  • Emma this is SO encouraging! Lately I’ve been feeling lost and frustrated, and it’s nice to hear that someone as successful as yourself has struggled too. Gives hope to a girl like me πŸ™‚


  • This post couldn’t have came at a better time. I’m currently living in LA, moved here from the Bay Area about 1.5 years ago and heading back home in 8 days. I have a great job here at an ad agency but have decided to move back because I simply am not happy. My job is the only thing I am remotely interested in but when I leave work I can’t say I love my environment. Moving back and staying with family is what is eating me alive. I’m so independent here and I don’t ever want to lose that. This is what I needed to read to keep my creative juices flowing. This made my day. I will go with the flow of my life instead of scaring myself out of the possibilities. Thank you!

  • Very, very true. Having hit 40 this year I realized that most of my setbacks were necessary to reach where I am today. Success is not a straight line, you will fail, and failure is not a bad thing! Successful people aren’t successful because they never fail, they are successful because they learn from their failures, modify and keep moving forward.

  • This made me cry. It hit me so hard emotionally because I am currently picking myself up from a tremendous “failure,” and now I’m in that limbo stage you described. It’s frustrating because, like you, I have my degree, and, like you, I have talents I can offer. But I just can’t seem to get my footing.

    It’s hard to believe I’m not a failure. It’s hard to believe I can ever feel successful.

  • this actually made me tear up a bit. I’ve been working on my business for nearly three years and it’s been both rewarding and hard at the same time. I believe in what I do (I design, sew and sell custom hand bags) and I’ve been getting great feedback on my items, but when there’s not enough money to buy food at the end of the month (or in the middle often times, to be honest), it can be very discouraging. Yet I know that I love what I do, simply for the joy of creating “the exact” bag someone has always wanted. I just hope I’ll learn more about marketing my skills, that is something I definitely need to work on.

  • Thank you for posting this, Emma! It was beautifully written, inspiring & so relevant for me right now. Congrats on your million dollar year and all of the success you’ve had – you and Elsie rock!

  • Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m 22 and almost a year out of college and not where I thought I would be at all! I’m working in the field I intended to, but for terrible pay and I have a part-time retail job to make ends meet. Its so good to hear that other people (especially one of my very favorite bloggers) have been there before!

  • Wow, thank you so much for sharing this journey! I am on my own journey and I know how easy it is to get discouraged. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and insights. It really touched something deep inside, and I am encouraged by you. From one little sister to another, you are awesome!

  • I love this post, uhg I love it so much because here I am, almost graduating college and no clue where to go with my life, there’s just so much to do and see in this world! Thank you for sharing this!

  • What an amazing blog. You and your sister are both wonderful role models.
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I know I saw a couple other people say they really needed this right now and I did too. Thank you.

  • On a lighter note, you should send a script with your life story to the producers of the Big Bang Theory….it is about time that “Penny” gave up acting and LA, just like you did, and go back to cultivating a dream that does not depend on chance!

  • Emma, I love when you open up your story, the posts about your relationships, your health, your history.

    This very idea, “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.” is exactly what I’ve learned in the last year. Quitting a good job to do something “more exciting” which turned out to be also more unstable, more unsatisfying, more discouraging.

    And then, while I was looking for something else, anything, and something came along that I wasn’t sure if it was worth it long term. And it turns out, that it’s totally different than what I thought I wanted, but I love it and it’s stable and fun and has a future. BOOM.

    I love people opening up about their experiences because it gives others more room to look around, try things, find what works and not just what sounds good.


  • This is such a profound post! I am going through something very similar with my life (the down times) and am looking for a new adventure in life, a new route, and a new horizon. It is so encouraging to see this and that you’ve made so many accomplishments. I am favoriting this post to look at again in the future <3 THANK YOU!

  • I almost started crying when I read this post, because it’s describing a situation quite similar to my own. At the moment I’m not even sure if I have any dreams left, since I’ve pushed them away for so long as a result of being a little sister with a lack of confidence. Comparing myself to my older sister, and now to my little sister as well, keeps me from focusing on what really matters, i.e my hopes and dreams. Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to get a grip on life and be able to actually enjoy it.
    It was a relief reading about your journey and realising that whatever I’m looking for is out there somewhere, and that everything will be ok some day. Thank you!

  • I definitely needed to hear this! I was just having a discussion regarding my dreams and my career choice (not necessarily the same thing at the moment). I’m going to school and working — both full-time — because I have to, but I’m trying my best to take advantage of opportunities that come along the way so that I can one day combine my dreams with my career. I’ve accepted a position as a photography assistant not because I want to become a professional photographer or open my own photography business, but because I think it will help hone my technique and skill in photography so that I can make my blog better (which is really a dream of mine!). It’s been so frustrating as I practically drag my feet through school, not because I hate it, but because I don’t know if it’s something I’m really passionate about. Knowing that other people have struggled with this and have definitely come out at the end in a better place is such a great thing to hear. Hopefully one day I can reach my REAL dream and work for ABM (yep, I’m that annoying gal that won’t stop bugging you guys! haha!)



  • such an inspiring post elsie. so many of us struggle with similar issues {myself included} and it is so wonderful to hear from someone who went down quite a few paths before finding the right one. thanks for being so honest!

  • Emma, I always knew you a big part of the success for Elsie (although Elsie can for sure handle her own, I’d like to think you were a highlight). I had no idea of your back story. It’s truly inspiring. I know sharing your personal past is a gift, thanks for sharing.

  • Thank you so much, Emma. This is something I really need to hear right now, and you nearly brought me to tears. You and Elsie are doing a wonderful thing with your blog, and I wish you the best!

  • Wow. This is all I needed to hear. I’m a 20 year old living in California. I left high school wanting to pursue theatre, so I enrolled in a local junior college. I loved theatre, but hated every other school subject. So, I took two classes (theatre and psychology) meanwhile having my first job working for a pink mobile food truck, “the cupcake lady”. She had a dream and went with it, now she’s buying her second truck and bringing in 800k a year. All because of a skill for baking and a dream of a big pink truck! Somehow in the midst of all of this, my former theatre teacher, who had a side photography business, asked me to be her assistant photographer. I had never held a DSLR until that point. By the end of the night I was getting up close to the couple and taking their first dance photos. By the end of that year I had purchased a baby DSLR (canon t3i) and started my own (very small) side business. I was still taking theatre classes and loved it. I was in a few shows and never felt so comfortable on stage. As my passion for acting grew, so did my small business. I’m to the point were I am able to turn down jobs because I would be overbooked. I’m asked to shoot beach weddings in Monterey. I capture love and important moments. This is my new dream job. I’ve taken this small hobby and thrived. A HUGE part of me misses theatre. Ugh. But this is where my heart is now. I dream about photographing my clients like I used to dream about being on stage. Very bitter sweet, but very happy. Thank you, Emma, for making me feel like I’m not a failure for not pursuing my original dream. Thank you both for being such an inspiration to me. And congratulations on your success.

  • This is so inspiring. It is part of why I follow this blog, because I can identify with it. I feel like my comments are being read and my opinion is respected. Thank you Emma for sharing this. It makes me feel a lot better about my life and the confused mess it can sometimes be.

  • Ok, I’ve read this blog off and on for a few years but have never commented! I just want to thank you so much for this post. It is very encouraging & the advice you’ve given is so kind and helpful!

    In the past year, I’ve gone from living in a bustling town and working my way up in a job that wasn’t exactly my dream job but certainly was taking me closer to making that a reality to having a unplanned baby (As in, I wasn’t planning ANY. Not now, not later!) and moving to a one-horse town to stay home with him. And it’s hard not to have pity parties or get discouraged.
    Thanks for the reminder that just because it isn’t the future you imagined it would be it doesn’t mean that it isn’t rewarding or leading you towards something even better. Also, love your haircut. You’re such a babe!

  • Aaaw thank you Emma. This is a very very thoughtful post and it gave me a cheer up even though I do not think I’m a failure. I just had a bad day πŸ™‚ this made me think very positive though.
    Thank you!

  • Thank you for writing this post. I am in that spot on like where I can do anything and have no idea what to do with that! It was beautiful and inspiring to read your story! Keep on doing what you love πŸ™‚

  • Thank you so much for this post! It really helped me a lot especially to not give up and keep going. Thanks so much!! πŸ˜€

  • Needed to hear this today. It means so much to hear about your experience and it’s helping me in particular, today!
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Emma, I’ve always found your voice to be a bit more relatable than Elsie’s, though she’s lovely as well. This was well-timed for me as I negotiate what I really want to do with myself and how to go about it all.

  • Emma, I’m a local reader that’s been following you girls for several years, I rarely comment don’t really fit your demo, but as a small ecommerce business owner, it’s been fascinating to watch the growth, changes, and challenges unfold with this site. So proud of your team’s success.

  • Thank you for posting this, Emma! I have been struggling with trying to do something I always thought I was meant to do (career path wise), but it doesn’t seem to be coming easy. I’ve also been doing some failure labeling too because it’s just not seeming to pan out like I thought it would. I’ve just recently had it kind of click in my head that maybe doing something else I didn’t foresee might not be so bad if I just let things flow. This year is about trying to listen to my gut and go with the flow towards whatever feels right. Your post confirms my thought process. And I’m glad that you ended up back home co-authoring ABM, it’s inspired me so much. πŸ™‚

  • Thank you so much for your honesty! It’s much appreciated to those of us who are attempting to find our way in life. It’s nice to have a reminder that things will get better and many people have to go through trial and error until they find their calling.

  • I have never related to anything more than I have to this post. I spent the better part of last year feeling like world’s biggest loser after graduating art school and moving across the country only to get a “lowly” position at an art supply store and only having one free lance design position. Little did I know, these were actually “success moves.” Thank you so much for sharing Emma. You shouldn’t be embarrassed of your past. On paper, it sounds like your “failure” in LA was actually a big adventure. Here’s to seeing failure in a new light. xoxo Cait

  • I was 24 the year I moved back from LA. At the time it felt like such a hard year, but looking back now I view it as the beginning of everything awesome. Wishing you the same for your 24th year!


  • Honestly this is the most honest and inspiring post I’ve read to date on your blog. I definitely have been feeling a lot of this lately (recently finished school, can’t find a job, broke, thinking of moving back with my parents…) so this is the best peice of advice I could see right now. It’s tough and I don’t want to give up on my dreams, so knowing that it gets better is certainly helpful. Thank you for everything you (and your sister) do!

  • This was a beautiful post, and it was so relatable and inspiring. I definitely feel like a failure sometimes in comparison to where my friends/family are in life, but I try to not let myself think that way for too long. Not everyone’s journeys look the same, and that’s what makes it all so interesting.

    I also feel like a little bit of a failure sometimes because some people don’t understand my choice to not continue art school and instead continue art on my own, without spending thousands of dollars. I’m doing it my way, on my own terms, and for me (99% of the time) it feels totally right. One of my favorite quotes I found recently was “Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” β™‘

  • I think you are brave just for living in NYC. Such an inspiring city, but so big! I always feel a little lost when we have the luck to visit. Best of luck in your career!


  • Thanks for sharing this. I’m in a huge ‘figuring things out’ stage in my life. Sometimes I feel like Ester Greenwood at the foot of her fig tree (from The Bell Jar). Reading your story was really inspiring.


  • This is one of my favorite posts by far. I love this blog for all the amazing creative ideas but this definitely serves as a reminder of the fact you are normal young women. I feel stuck and l am still searching for my dream job and this really inspired me. Thank you so much for sharing! <3

  • Hi! I love the photos, projects and good energy I always find on your blog. Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. Best regards from Barcelona,

  • Thanks for this! I discovered ABM blog back when I was going through the exact same thing. This place, this blog, gave me so much creativity and hope that I could make something of myself, like you ladies were. I too, had many a pity parties, some that lasted too long. But now a couple years later I am on my way, working for myself and being creative in everything I do. Thanx.

  • Love this post! I am at that point my life, graduated, trying to work, i can do anything and have no idea what to do with it! This was something I needed to read. So beautiful & Inspiring to read! Thank you for keeping up with this amazing blog and sharing your story!

    Keep doing what you love!

  • Yes, I think having a strong best friend in your life makes all the difference. I’m SO lucky to have Elsie push me to be where I am today. I wouldn’t be here without her. I think friends/family are so, so important in life. We have to surround ourselves with people who are rooting for us.


  • Such an inspiring post Emma! I think we all go through this and feel like we are alone feeling this way. I’ve felt like a failure after many of my business ideas failed – my last failure was what brought me to my (finally) successful business. I feel like a success not only because I can make a living from what I do now – but mainly because I have developed a skill that I am passionate about.

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  • Both Elsie and yourself are huge inspirations for me. I am a young artist from Chicago and constantly find myself struggling to market my art. I started a blog in hopes that it can one day be as successful as A Beautiful Mess is for you and Elsie. I find myself oftentimes going through your old blog posts (on Food Coma) and old blog posts on A Beautiful Mess and I feel like I know you both so well. I once discovered that I used the same crafting scissors as Elsie and made it a huge production to all my friends and family. They may have been a little confused, but what they don’t understand is that I strive to one day be as successful as you and Elsie. You are celebrities that got where you are from mere talent and perseverance.

  • This blogpost couldn’t have come at a better time for me. Thank you for helping me cry one less time today.

  • dear Emma,
    in 2012 I moved from a little town in Germany to Bangkok. The reason was my boyfriend’s phd. Before that, I worked as an book-editor. Things did not financially turn out well for us in the big mango, so last year we had to go back to Germany. And I moved back to my parents place – with no job and no money and my boyfriend living hours away from me.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. It was very inspirational and emotionally moving. You are so right: we are no failures. Every decision is right and every experience has to be made. Those are the kind of storys that we will tell our children and grandchildren. It is good to take risks and it is good to “fail” every now and then. One will appreciate and enjoy his success even more.
    Since january I am back on track and share a nice little appartment with my loved one, a jobinterview in front of me. πŸ™‚
    keep up the good work, love your blog!

  • What a beautiful post! Thanks so much for sharing and congratulations on all your success!

  • Oh goodness was my life SO far from perfect after college. I don’t think I really hit my groove 3-4 years after. Timing is different for everyone. There’s really no reason to compare. I did a lot of that and it never made me feel like pushing forward. We have to just focus on our own life, everyone’s story is going to be different.


  • loved this. I just finally shuttered my photography business and could not be happier about the decision…. even though it took me years to make it.

  • Yes, success (in my opinion) is more a direction you head/work toward. Just work toward your dream job and learn everything you can along the way! Don’t worry if you feel like you aren’t “there” yet, it will come. It’s the getting there that’s hard but so worth all the hard work.

    I believe in you! Best of luck as you start a new chapter in life.


  • Wow this is so motivating and inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing such a raw and real piece of your life! It really does help those of us who are still (forever) figuring things out.

  • Emma, this post is absolutely great! THANK YOU!
    I am in that very year of my life! I left a great city that I loved only for a job that gave me more money in a city I had barely heard of. I absolutely hate the city, and long for the times when I was living in my other city (in New Zealand). This year I made the very hard decision that I will quit my job in June when my contract ends and move back there (with probably less job opportunities) in order to pursue my happiness, even though this job gives me financial stability. That is also the reason I started my blog, to document that very journey I am going through this year!

    It’s always good to hear from someone who achieved success with perseverance and hard work πŸ˜‰

    Veronica @ http://happylifeofacitygirl.blogspot.com/

  • Oh Emma, great post! I sure do love you and your sister! And selfishly, I am so glad that you are here instead of in LA!

  • I don’t normally post comments, but reading this brought tears to my eyes…and a smile to my face. I felt so connected to this post, especially right now when I’m feeling very lost. You, Elsie, and this whole blog have been an inspiration to me for a few years now, and this post just cements that feeling.

    Thank you so much for sharing this piece of yourself. I wish I could give you a hug!

  • It will. Just keep going. That year at my parent’s was hard and embarrassing (although, awesome too since my parents totally rock!) but it was such a important year for me. The beginning of it all. πŸ™‚


  • Thanks for this, lovely Emma! It was exactly what I needed to hear today. I’m a big believer in life being a journey and embracing all the twists and turns along the way, but while I’m back living with my parents and being knocked back from jobs it really helps to read these encouraging words!! I have 2 older, successful sisters too so I know how it feels to be the younger sister! You two are incredible and I love learning more about your story through these kinds of posts. Thank you for inspiring and encouraging me today! xx

  • I’m seeing a lot of the comments are from people who are in the same situation and I can tell you as a teenager who an see her life heading in that direction this is really encouraging. I don’t know what I want to do and I feel like I have too many options. It’s good to have a glimpse ahead, especially from someone with creative tendencies. Most people in my life view the things I love to do only a hobbies and its going to be hard for me to fail at and still continue to pursue the things I love with those people around. My blog is one of those things and I am proud of it and how much ive learned regardless of its success! Thank you for sharing. I wish more people were as honest about their rocky starts.
    Love you and many blessings!

  • I’m sure this post was hard for you to write, but I just wanted you to know, it brought tears to my eyes. This is me. I live at home with my parents and I am so happy here. They are my best friends, and I am happy. But then I start thinking that I am a failure because I still live at home, regardless of the fact that I’m happy here, pursuing my art and expanding my blog. Thanks for being inspiring.

  • Really great post. I will soon be entering a new phase in my life and your thoughts on failure and recognizing opportunities really hit home. Thank-you!

  • Thank you for being so real. You are truly inspiring. I can’t express to you how much this post has helped me today and I congratulate you on all of your success! I’ve followed A Beautiful Mess for several years and it is so refreshing to know that everyone goes through similar situations. At some point in time, everyone seems to feel as though they have failed — I know I have. In many cases, another door opens to a dream you’ve never truly realized could actually work out. Thank you so much for your honesty.

  • I so totally relate to this… after moving across the country to get a degree in product design, I felt a calling to be a teacher. After 2.5 years teaching, I decided the classroom was absolutely and positively NOT for me. I spent a year unemployed and job searching, finally landing a job in higher education that I never would have imagined for myself. It’s not where I want to be forever, but it has been perfect for right now… although I’m starting to get the itch for what’s next. But, honestly I wouldn’t trade any of these experiences… a little bit from each of them is what makes me who I am. If I could just pinpoint a position where I could use what I like best and am best at from each of them…

  • I am so so grateful for this post today – I have spent a few years trying to figure out my business. I have moved from an Etsy shop to graphic design and now to owning a brand agency. Each time I changed direction a part of me felt like a failure, but I see now that it was a learning curve and I should be proud that I have carried on carving my own path.

    Thanks again for this post Emma!

  • And with that, I’m misty eyed…

    Thank you for sharing. I know I REALLY needed to read this, and I know there are others!

    Your blog is inspiring!

  • Hi Emma,

    Thanks for sharing. I wrote a post only a few days ago about feeling a little lost and wishing to re-establish my path. I think it’s really moving that you touched on a topic that many of us “don’t like to talk about.” It’s easy when we’re surrounded by social media, blogs, beautiful photography, etc. to feel as though our own personal suffering or struggles are unique, and like our words aren’t worth sharing. It’s really nice to see how far you’ve come.


  • Thanks for sharing this. I love that you allowed yourself to be vulnerable to encourage others who might be struggling to realize their dreams.

  • The first few sentences of Your Story (college because of your parents and landing on photography since you didn’t know what you wanted to major in) is exactly like mine o.o I also moved to LA and then back home after crashing and burning and NOT achieving any of the goals that I had hoped to pursue while there. I’m back home now and just trying. Trying trying trying.

    Thank you for sharing your background. It’s comforting to read about someone else with very similar circumstances and see that they’re living their dream job. Gives me hope!

  • Thank you. Honestly, I am a bit more reserved. I find it hard to “put it all out there,” you know? It’s a scary thing. One thing that pushes me to try more though is all our readers. We have the very best readers in all the world and I hoped that my story could maybe help one (or some) of them so I decided to press publish on a difficult thing for me to talk about. Thank you for your kind words. πŸ™‚


  • I love this. Thank you for sharing. I feel somewhat like you did, having a hard time figuring out where I’m heading. I have a dream, but it keeps getting pushed back by obstacles, which is really, really tough. I’m currently getting my Master’s and so desperately want to pursue my Ph.D right afterwards…but money is a major problem. So I may have to take some time in between and use this TESL certificate I’m about to earn and go abroad to make money for awhile. Which is hard for me to accept because I wanted to be at a university, working towards my Ph.D. But you gotta take what you can. Being abroad could be amazing. We’ll see.

    Anyway, sorry for babbling my not-so-interesting story. I don’t usually comment (always read this blog of course!) but this really hit home so I wanted to thank you for sharing. I definitely understand the whole feeling of being overshadowed by siblings, too πŸ™‚

  • Hello,
    I am a college Freshman right now and I really connected with your story! I have no idea what I want to do! Thank you for your honesty, and I will keep all your advice in mind as I move through these next few years.

  • i actually cried. what the hell!
    after what i can only describe as one devastating year, something as simple as listening (reading) to someone else opening up about their story is not only awe inspiring, but so humanising.

    thank you for this, Emma. you’ve put a truly warming smile on my face. and of course, congratulations to both you and Elsie. πŸ™‚

  • This is probably one of the best posts I’ve ever read on this blog – and that’s really saying something. Thank you for your words, they’ve touched me and made a difference in my life.

  • this way amazing. the kind of inspiring tell all that turns into sort of a pep talk to keep moving towards what we want to do in life. thank you for writing this.

  • Oh Emma, this is just what I needed to hear today. After 15 years of being a stay at home mom, I start work this weekend – working part-time at a roller-skating rink. I have a bachelor’s in journalism and a master’s in library science, therefore I’m not “supposed” to have a part-time job at a place where kids come to play, at least, not in my head I’m not “supposed” to. But, our family’s finances have hit a spot where I really need to be bringing in some kind of paycheck just to get by. I know this isn’t a permanent solution – my husband of 20 years and I are working on that still – but I have been very defeated by feeling embarrassed by my new job. Thank you for letting me see it as a fun opportunity instead. I love your blog, your recipes, and you allowing us glimpses into your life.

  • Thanks so much for posting this. I am a 20-something in a real state of flux in the career area it is inspiring to see that you CAN do what you love for a living. This post couldn’t have come at a better time.

  • I agree! I sometimes feel frustrated about being the little sister, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world either. It’s just one of those things.


  • So many things on ABM are “picture perfect” (which is what I love about it), but it’s always nice to be reminded that you’re regular people with regular real life challenges, too πŸ™‚ It’s especially inspirational in this never-ending gloom of Winter. haha. Thanks, Emma! Keep up the great work! xx

  • Hi Emma,

    Thank you for sharing this inspirational story with us. I have been feeling completely lost lately. I am from Spain but moved to LA to work and study. I loved it there but I couldn’t get a new visa so I had to move back with my parents. After a year of being unemployed and feeling like I should be in the US, I decided to try again and move to NYC. I did a couple of internships as a fashion designer but once again, I didn’t have good luck with my visa. However, when living in NYC I met my boyfriend (who is from Canada) and after coming back to my parents house in Spain again and spending all my savings in NY, I decided to move to Canada with him. Now I have a good job, and a wonderful boyfriend. I hate where I live right now (Montreal) and I still have a strong desire of moving to LA again, but I feel like I already tried 2 times and it didn’t work out. I used to be so confident and have a lot of determination, but after those 2 experiences I feel like I shouldn’t even try anymore. Your post made me realize that is never too late or too difficult to try again, even if it is scary or you have tried before.

    Thanks again, and keep up the good work.


  • Thanks for the sincerity and honesty! It’s a big deal opening up like that. You’re story may have been difficult at times but you’ve become a pretty awesome person!! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Emma!
    This comes to me at the perfect time! We just had a meeting this morning at the bakery I work at about the business almost closing, and basically everyone is deciding whether to stick with the business, or look for other options.
    Although I hate the feeling of an insecure income, and hate job hunting, this change comes at a good time for me as lately I’ve been feeling the need for a career change. Although I love being a cake decorator, I don’t want to work in bakeries for the rest of my life. When I dream about my life-long career, it’s in film & tv production.
    So, right now I’m re-writing my rΓ©sumΓ©, tailoring it to a job in media production. I’ll have to start from the bottom of an industry again, but I know it’s a step in the right direction. πŸ™‚
    Even though I’ve never been a lifestyle blogger like you guys, your blogs, projects, and stories have always inspired me to stick with doing the creative work that I love to be able to turn it into a profitable business some day.
    Now, more than ever, I am working hard at making my writing, videos, etc. that I do online into something credible and someday profitable.
    Okay, that’s like my whole life story in a comment. Ha ha. This post just gave me a big gulp of inspiration that I needed right now, so thanks. πŸ˜€

  • Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated this post.

    Dream chasing, and dream changing are not always an easy thing. Playing it safe, and making ‘wise’ decisions are often what I fall back on.
    Thanks for reminding us that failures are often our greatest moments; if we are willing to admit it and dream.

  • That’s incredibly kind. I sure didn’t feel composed up on that stage that day. Public speaking is very different from acting, I think. I don’t know if either will be a big part of my future but I was happy to meet everyone last summer at TxSC.

    And yes, we’d love to do more videos. We hope to absolutely flood our youtube channel this year. πŸ™‚


  • As a college senior being terrified of wherever my life and career may take me, this is exactly what I needed to hear. Thank you so much for your transparency and honesty, it’s so refreshing and appreciated!

  • This is so great. Thank you for your honesty. Posts like this are so much more meaningful and I love to hear the behind the scenes of your work. Thanks for sharing and i look forward to hearing more!!

  • I already knew you and your sister are very special. Now I am so much more sure. I really feel happy and very honored to let me know you

  • You will Tina. Keep going. It will work out for you! I am so glad I stopped labeling myself a failure, it gave me the space I need to grow and ultimately find happiness. This will happen for you too. You are NOT a failure.


  • This is exactly what I needed to read! Thank you Emma for letting us see that it all hasn’t exactly been an easy road to get to where you are now. I’m in the position you were in (living back at home with parents, crying and having a pity party that I “failed”) and this has really made me realize that it’s not the end of the world and the best is yet to come!

  • Hi Emma! Thank you so much for this, I was really upset and crying 20 minutes ago because I have so many doubts about the future… ”What if, what if, what if?”
    Thank you again, you just made me realize what I need to do.
    Lots of love

  • Thank you for this post. It was very inspiring. I have experienced something similar. I went to university to study Architecture because I didn’t know what else to do. But it wasn’t for me. I felt like a failure when I dropped out and took the first job that accepted me, even though it was dental nursing and low paid. Over time my priorities changed. I realized I didn’t need to be earning loads to be happy and successful. That was up to me and how I felt within myself.

    Reading this post from you Emma, someone who I admire and look up to as a regular reader of ABM, was reassuring. It’s not just me that has felt like this. Other people out there, people who I see as far more successful than myself, have felt this way too.

    Thank you πŸ™‚ x

  • this is the kind of post i miss you guys doing!
    i love it!
    i love the honesty of it all!!!

    here’s to the good times now and the more to come!!!!

  • emma, i’ve been a fan since food coma. is that what it was called? anyway, aren’t you glad you pursued your dreams because then you would have always wondered, right? i mean they say, whoever they is, that we often regret the things we didn’t do or try, you know, those risks we were afraid to make. just want to say, i adore this post. your comedic timing through writing is awesome. i dig your new hairstyle too. continue creating, cooking, and dreaming on! we’ll continue reading. πŸ™‚

  • Oh Emma, you were right in thinking that laying it all out there might help someone today, because it sure helped me. Sometimes it feels like everyone else is passing me by while I’m struggling to get some footing in this crazy world. I have no idea what to do with my life, other than continue my full-time job as an admin ass’t at a law firm. Your post has inspired me to maybe put more emphasis on my writing and art.

    You are talented, beautiful, smart and funny—thank you for letting us peek inside your world!

  • emma, thanks so much for posting this! i changed my major in college at least 5 different times. i settled on accounting because it had numbers (i love numbers) and was a practical skill to obtain in the workforce nowadays. and now that i’m working full-time as an auditor, i am constantly questioning what it is that i’m actually good at and what it is that i would enjoy doing for a living. your post inspires me. thanks for sharing from your heart and your experiences with all of us πŸ™‚

  • I’m so happy you shared your story. Having followed ABM for a while, I knew bits and pieces of your background, but reading everything in your own words has touched my heart. Success and failure are so hard to measure, but somehow the label “failure” is so easy to apply to ourselves when things don’t work out the way we plan. Just like so many people, I have my own dream that I’m not sure is working out. It helps to know that success comes in all shapes and sizes, despite expectations. Congratulations on all you have accomplished!

  • Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable part of your life… I work a full-time corporate position and I think I’ve finally found a good balance between my “structured” day life and my “creative” life through blogging and social media and every day I try to work towards what makes me happy. So, thank you for this post… your journey is so inspiring and encouraging. xoxo

  • This is such an inspiration post, Emma. I have recently been forced into abandoning my first choice of career and I’m floating, thinking about my next move.

    I’ve been reading for a long time and as much as I love all of your posts, my favourites are always the ones in which you open up about your lives. As business women and creative inspirations, it’s amazing to hear about how this manifests in your everyday lives.

  • An amazing post!! You are such an inspiration and sharing your journey with us all is encouraging to those of us much further down our dream ladder. I can relate as a failed dancer myself, but I know dreams can change and I am grateful to you for reminding me of that. Congratulations on all your success, we know both you and Elsie work so hard and we appreciate everything you share.

  • thanks for sharing your experience… even if you think is embarassing, the true is that you are just spreading light to the world πŸ™‚

  • Ah, the timing of this is uncanny. Thank you for being will to share (even the parts you consider embarrassing). It is so inspiring to read the back story of how someone successful came to where they are. It’s rarely (ever?) because they just woke up knowing exactly what to do and then did that thing and this is a wonderful reminder of what success and the path to finding your passion look like in the real world.

  • Oh man, I really appreciate this post! I’m still in that lengthy process of figuring things out. It’s hard to be happy when it feels like you’re doing things differently then the people around you. This is a nice reminder though that eventually I’ll find my way. Thankyou!

    P.S. I’m so envious of the relationship you have with your sister, one day I hope to have something similar with mine

  • Thank you so much for sharing Emma. I have followed both Elsie’s and your personal blogs for a few years now and have always felt you were a kindred spirit. I love cooking and baking, animals, crafts, and I also majored in Philosophy solely because I enjoyed studying it after cycling through several other major choices (photography, political science, psychology and even linguistics for bit). I wish my sister was more like Elsie because I couldn’t dream of anything more perfect than working with her, but she is an intensive care unit nurse so I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I hope to find the way to my dream soon, as I am only losing time being dissatisfied with my life. I am currently stuck in an office dreaming dreams of another life, one where I could bake, cook, knit and craft to my heart’s content all day long. Thank you for always inspiring me!

  • Yes, life can take such big turns. Sounds like yours did, indeed. I bet you’re an amazing mother. And, like all mothers, you are so much more too! You are awesome, thank you for commenting.