August 16, 2017

Follow your dreams and doors will open.

Today I met with one of my professors that will be working with me this semester as I begin to take steps toward my dream of finishing my BA in French. She was so welcoming and encouraging, and as I walked out of her office I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I am currently in the exact place I am meant to be at this moment. 

I got to this place because I made a decision to stop thinking/wondering about what my life might be if I followed the passions that speak to me and took action. I stopped fighting against what my heart was telling me and I began to let it take me downstream. I continued dreaming, but partnered it with doing. Since I made that decision to pursue my passions, so many doors have opened for me.

I got to that meeting with my professor because I started asking questions about what it would look like to continue my studies in French. I asked an acquaintance who put my question out to colleagues on Facebook. From there, a local university reached out and I felt an inviting warmth. I started setting up meetings, filling out applications, making a plan... but it didn't feel like work. Of course I put a lot of time and effort into it, but because it was all in the name of a dream I have had for many years now, it came naturally.

A few days ago I saw a friend who I haven't seen in a while. She told me that she noticed a positive change in me, that I was singing a whole different tune than I was singing this time last year. Those words meant the world to me, because not only am I noticing those changes in myself but I am projecting a much better version of myself out into the world.

I was inspired to share this story with you as I recently started listening to the podcast Don't Keep Your Day Job with Cathy Heller. The first several episodes have all had a similar theme: get clear about what it is you really want in life and then take action. Don't just dream it, do it. And then share your story.

I'm on my journey now, and I feel so incredibly energized. It is my sincere hope that in sharing my story with you here on Fleur de St. Louis that you will feel inspired to do, to take action toward whatever it is that you are carrying in your heart. Don't write it off as impossible. Just see where it takes you, and I am confident doors will open for you too. 

And one final note that can be challenging: be patient. The doors might not open right away. One of my favorite bloggers Shannon Ables touched on this in her weekly newsletter on Friday. Her words say it so beautifully that I wanted to share them with you:

"Isn't that a wonderful lesson to always remember: Sometimes the outcomes we want take time. Sometimes we need to trust what we don't want to hear at the moment, "you're not ready, the situation you are hoping for isn't ready for you", is actually what will better serve us down the road. If you are hearing just those phrases, take it as a nudging to enjoy the life you have right now. Savor it, jump in head first and make the most of it because as we know, life's path can change without expectation, and often for the better. So why not be someone who had it good before, but now has it quite wonderful now, and you can celebrate because you know you made the most of both chapters."

The professor I mentioned in the beginning left me with some simple but powerful advice: "Just enjoy." Wherever you are on your journey, enjoy it as it unfolds. As Shannon communicated through her newsletter, I believe that most of the time there is amazing in store, something that we may have never even imagined. 

There are so many wonderful people who have been encouraging me along the way. If you have something you are thinking about taking action on but you just need that nudge, send me an e-mail or leave a comment below. I would love to talk to you so that we can encourage each other on our journeys to live the life of our dreams.

Warmest wishes! 
Happy dreaming AND doing from me to you,

August 14, 2017

August Giveaway: A personal creation from me to you!

Bonjour, readers! It has been such a wonderful experience connecting with you on a more personal level through this summer of Fleur de St. Louis giveaways. I'm hoping to do the same again next summer! :) June's giveaway featured creativity, July's giveaway featured learning, and so it would only be fitting that August's giveaway feature wellness. I have found that at the heart of feeling well is doing what you love. This month I'm sharing one of my passions with you. 

I've been getting back to my art lately. My bullet journal offers a wonderful creative outlet, but I also love watercolor (l'aquarelle in French - I adore this word). Reading Rae Dunn's France: Inspiration du Jour and Kate Schelter's Classic Style really inspired me to get back to it, and I am incredibly grateful.

(Click images for links to these beautiful books.) 

I intended to paint often on our European adventure and it just didn't happen as I'd imagined it would. When we got home and settled back in to every day life, I was craving it big time. One day I completely lost track of time, playing with my new Prima Marketing watercolor sets and painting a few of my favorite things. 

(Click the image for a link to these little watercolor "confections".)

(I hung my "classics" next to my closet to enjoy each day as I am getting dressed.)

It was so much fun, I asked a few of my closest friends if they would be willing to send me pictures of 10 to 12 of their "classics". Below you see my friend Megan's classics. I especially love the little tub of Vaseline. So her! She's planning to frame hers, too. :) 

There's something so special about creating a unique piece for someone that is 100% them. I would LOVE to do this for one of you! Here's how to enter the August giveaway:

Between now and Friday, August 18 at midnight CST, leave a comment here on the blog or on Instagram with your name and the first item that comes to mind when you think of your "classics". 

Ex: Lauren - navy and white striped anything! 

Tag a friend who you think might enjoy the Fleur de St. Louis community for a bonus entry! I will announce the winner on Saturday, August 19 and get in touch with you so that I can get started on your "uniquely you" art piece! I am so excited to share this passion with you!

Warm wishes and bon chance from me to you,

August 13, 2017

Petits Moments: Finding the Flexibility to Change

I'm pretty much always seeking out new information and experiences. Thursday evening in my yoga class, my very wise teacher talked about how easy it is to be fixed in one certain way of doing things and not feel the flexibility to change. While she was referring to our practice on the mat, it is the ability for yoga to transform your life off the mat that truly amazes me. 

That idea of being fixed? I felt that for a while. I felt fixed in the way my life was. Even though I had other passions and dreams to explore I felt stuck, like my life could only be this one certain way. 

It's funny, but the more I seek out information and experiences, the more life speaks to me. I felt a little lightbulb go off as I listened to my yoga teacher's words, but it wasn't until listening to an episode of the podcast Happier by Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft that I understood what these words fully meant for my life.

Timing is also everything. I haven't listened to Happier in weeks, but as I am completely up to date on The Simple Sophisticate and What Should I Read Next?, I was looking for another show to accompany my morning routine. Happier has always been a favorite.

The theme of Episode 116: Staring a side hustle (which they define as something YOU create on the side that's income generating) and what that can mean for your overall happiness. They go on to explain that this feeling of having something that is YOURS, that YOU created, that YOU are in charge of is not only satisfying and empowering, but also energizing and of course a happiness boost. It's a way, the two hosts explain, "to expand your world" and "make your life bigger." Without being a risk so big you feel a loss of security, it can provide you with feelings of freedom and fun, an outlet for passions you may not get to explore in your day job.

Going back to that fixed feeling, I think this is what I didn't understand before. I didn't understand that it was possible to have it both ways - to feel secure, but to also break out of the daily grind and find the flexibility to integrate more true passion into my life.

Gretchen shares her story of how she transitioned from lawyer to writer. For her, her writing side hustle wasn't at all financial at first but eventually became her life's work. I relate to this completely. My French studies, my art, and my work here at Fleur de St. Louis are what I consider my side hustle, but at this stage I'm not receiving any financial benefits. What I am receiving is a wealth of inspiration, increased self-love, and the growth of a supportive community that has enriched my life more than I imagined possible. Of course I would love to turn these passions into something that gives me the financial freedom to travel more and continue to explore what it means to live your best possible life. That's the dream, and since I found the flexibility to invite change into what once felt fixed, I feel that I am one step closer each and every day. 

I hope today's petit moment brought you some inspiration as you are enjoying your beautiful Sunday morning. If you're feeling fixed as I once felt (and not very far in the past), I hope you begin to feel that you have the power to make your life anything you want it to be. Move in the direction of your dreams, and you will invite the change that you are seeking. I truly believe that. 

I will see you tomorrow, lundi, with a special treat! I'm announcing the final Fleur de St. Louis giveaway of summer. :)

Until then, warm wishes from me to you!

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