Welcome to my website/blog 🙂
I am so happy you’re here. This is a place where you can find almost everything that makes me, me. You can find my favorite recipes, tips for adventuring with little ones, my photography portfolio, and even a link to my pillow cover store!
Emm Wandering has been in development for several years now.
It really all started with taking pictures. I began my photography journey the summer after I graduated high school. I had a little, blue, waterproof Olympus camera. My friends and I would go up into the mountains or woods early in the morning and try to recreate pictures we had seen other photographers do. I made my poor friends wear crazy outfits like prom dresses and mismatching hippie clothes! I would also take my camera to the local pool where I worked with the other lifeguards (who were incidentally the same people). After pool hours we would take fun underwater pictures and video our dives off the springboard (diving in with the camera still in our hands). Unfortunately, I don’t think it was meant to hit the water with such force! It completely ruined my camera, and I was devastated.
Before I could buy a new camera I needed to decide if photography was something I really wanted to pursue. I didn’t want to buy just any camera, but DSLR’s weren’t, and still aren’t, cheap. Luckily, it wasn’t a difficult decision. The creative process was something I found total excitement in. It was a breath of fresh air during a time when it seemed everyone around me knew what they were doing and where they were going in life, and I didn’t. My extremely supportive dad helped me buy a Canon Rebel T1i with the kit lenses. It was my pride and joy.
The Learning Curve
I remember the first family pictures I ever did. I charged $30 and spent a couple of hours up in the mountains with them trying desperately to pose them in good ways. It was stressful, but I still think they turned out pretty good for truly knowing nothing about photography or post-processing. I can’t really look at them now without a ton of negativity coming to mind. From there I booked a few more families who wanted some cheap pictures, and a little later I even got some small weddings that needed a less expensive photographer. With every job I learned more and more, but along the way I lost focus on what I loved about photography.
I watched a lot of Creative Live, I joined Facebook Groups, I bought editing classes, I even tried shadowing other photographers. At the time I was a student, so my photography was never consistent. It took a backseat to my schooling, and basically plateaued for a long time. I began to work at one of the cheap photography companies, the ones that charge you pretty much nothing for about 20 edits and ALL the photos from your session. We didn’t agree on editing style, so I didn’t work with them long!
Along Came a Food Blog
It wasn’t until I moved to NYC, pregnant with B, and alone a lot of the time (RB had begun an 80-100 hour work week) that my food blog was born. I was so inspired by some of the food pictures I had seen, and having loved to cook and bake, I thought I could recreate some. Let me just say, food photography is a whole different beast.
The first recipe I ever took photos of was for Tiger Butter Fudge. I spent several hours making the candy, getting the recipe just right, cutting it into cute little pieces, and then laying them out on some wax paper. Only to to find my photos turned out terrible. I had never seen anything so unappetizing and never had less desire to eat fudge than I did in that moment. Whenever I feel discouraged, I like to look back at those and remember how far I’ve come.
After a quick recovery from the dreaded fudge photos, I launched my first post with some cookies. I named my food blog It’s Raining Chocolate Chips and Toffee Bits. I bought the domain name, I became self-hosted, and for several years I added recipes to my site. However, it would always happen that every Spring my recipes would taper off. Subsequently, any traffic I had generated inevitably disappeared. And of course in the middle of everything I also became pregnant with LJ. Food was something I wanted nothing to do with.
I loved my food blog, but it just wasn’t ever going to generate any sort of income. I didn’t want it to just be an expensive hobby. So, I began to brainstorm. Many online sources suggested using my website as a way to peddle my own wares (e.g. e-books, pre-sets, etc.). I just needed some wares to sell. But what could I sell that had to do with a food blog? I settled on the idea of creating table linens and home good. However, I came to a quick realization that I needed too much seed money and had no knowledge. Seed money and knowledge are both very important things. Somehow I ended up making things that didn’t cost too much to make: burlap banners and pillow covers.
I made two burlap banners before I decided I hated them and wanted nothing to do with them. I didn’t even make a single burlap pillow cover, I had forgotten how scratchy burlap is. So, I searched and searched for a way to create patterns on fabric, and I finally found printing services. I began designing pillows in Photoshop and sending them over to the printers. They would then send me back my designs on a linen-canvas blend. I launched my Etsy shop, Rosewood Loft, just before Christmas of 2016, a few weeks before my little LJ made an early debut.
LJ and Moving
Since LJ was born early, my shop lost momentum immediately. I sold about 6 pillows to wonderful and patronizing family members, but didn’t sell any after that. But it didn’t matter. We spent a few weeks in the NICU with our little baby girl. We went into emergency mode and nothing beyond that room and time with my little girls mattered anymore.
LJ grew quickly and we were able to take her home without too much fuss. Luckily she was the biggest baby in the NICU and only needed to stay awake long enough to eat. Once that happened we were good to leave! Shortly after bringing LJ home, we found out my husband had gotten into the graduate school he wanted. So that meant moving again.
Packing with a new baby and toddler while your husband still works long hours is the worst. I had amazing friends who offered to help, but it turns out I have control issues. I had to pack everything a certain way and know where it all was. That ended up backfiring when my parents came out to move us and found us still basically unpacked (but that’s another story).
Somehow in the middle of all the chaos I designed and sold some Fourth of July Pillows. I also found the interior decorating community on Instagram and quickly made lots of friends. It gave me the confidence to keep going with my shop.
We’d been in Utah for several months when I got my annual charge for my food blog’s domain name and my web host. It was far too much to pay for an unused website. So I decided to combine all of my creative outlets into one space, and that became Emm Wandering.
If you’ve read this far, you’re awesome. Thanks for being here. I hope you find something interesting or inspiring!