I’m sure most of you are holding your breath and waiting in anticipation to hear about my journey across the pond. Well, the time has come. As with my travels taken last year, pictures no matter how incredible, suffer in capturing the raw emotion of personal experience.

ITALIA- if it’s not on your foreseeable “bucket list” you should consider pushing it to the immediate top. The Rome crew included my forever partner, Nick and his wondrous parents. We set up camp (although not literally) for the week in Rome, Italy. When in Rome (see what I did there ;)) we dabbled in Vatican City hanging with Papa Frank, trudged through the Colosseum and Roman Forum, investigated the ruins of Pompeii, and ate our body weight in tortellini and gelato. It was exceptional in every way. The uncanny history, the scrumptious food and the pleasurable people are just a few reasons to explore the peninsula.

I hope you enjoy the pictures and I would love to hear your comments/stories below!

Wander on wanderers!

On top of the world! (Roman Forum)IMG_0405

Roman ForumIMG_0408

Mount Vesuvius, NaplesIMG_0496

Colosseum (outer) IMG_0845

Colosseum (inner)IMG_0857

Saint Peter’s Square, Vatican CityIMG_0918

Italia crewIMG_1084

Trevi FountainIMG_1098

Piazza NavonaFullSizeRender (6)

Spanish StepsIMG_0214




Standard N&E week…

Another wild, busy, and wonderful week. I finished up the school year as a para. I cheered as my kids took home the second place team trophy at state special olympics bowling. Nick kicked butt and earned his B.A. tassel! And today we are jetting off to spend time with P. Frank in Roma! Following along for pictures, updates and flat Tom and Jenny posts. #campkunkelmoore

I couldn’t be more grateful for this winding and unexpectedly joyful life that I have. Keep it real and don’t forget to breathe, smile and travel. 

Love you all! 

Rolling hills, Coastlines and everything in between…

img_0443.jpgHello friends, HAPPY SPRING/almost summer! Only in the colder states do you get the opportunity to truly realize the blossomed beauty of the first day of 50-degree weather. Last week, I jumped at the chance (like most of you) to dig deep into the bottom of my closet to uncover my summer clothing. However, just as soon as I pulled up my shorts, grabbed my bike and raced outside it was snowing again. Of course…wouldn’t expect anything less from Minnesota.

The past couple days of warmth has awoken me from my winter slumber in a different way this year. Last year, as you followed me on my journey through National Parks, coastline visits, desert excursions and hill hikes there were literally many ups an downs. Some days my ears wouldn’t even get a chance to pop before we leveled out again. I guess you could say that we were on a figurative rollercoaster for eight months. I can’t express how grateful I am for all of the support both Nick and I received during and post-travels. Although, I learned pretty quickly after we “settled” again, that the support post-travel was more important in some ways. Yes, we were again back into a rhythm of what our American society believes is the norm for two twenty-something-year-olds. BUT something still felt off, even though now I could form my weekly activities into words when a family member or friends would ask “What have you been up to?”

I’ve come to realize that this reintegration back into ‘normal life’ wasn’t so easy. A job, an apartment, and a routine was not going to make things go back to how they used to be. I felt, thought, and saw the world differently. But did the world actually change? Let me ask you this instead- when you look back 5 years, has the world changed since then? Of course it has. So, as these experiences changed me, the world changed with me. Traveling around the U.S. was a one in a million growth experience, so it would only make sense that coming back would be another difficult transition.

Every time a person has another life changing experience it can be challenging to force the once familiar and daily tasks back upon them. Embrace the change, grow from the change and support the change. Try to Be There and Be Open- for those struggling in the lows and reach a hand out to pull them up high. We all take turns on the rollercoaster, so strap in and seize the time that we have.


Leader. Guide. Teach.

I begin all of my classes with only 3 rules.

1. Ask if you need help, ideas, or questions.

2. Clean up after yourself. 

3. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Someone should really pinch me, because evenings spent encouraging youth to dig into their imagination and throw it on a canvas seems a little too mint. The beginning of my week started with a little Kid’s Bop in the background, hips swaying, paint brushes swooshing across canvas and laughter filling the air. Euphoria. 

Be happy, you owe it to yourself. 

Please like my Facebook page -Smockme- for details on classes, questions about painting and available paintings for sale. Love you all!

All Beauty…

Bold. Fearless. Graceful. 

I was in awe watching this stellar performance of a childhood favorite coming to life. Emma portrayed an eligant, powerful and relatable Bell. Go see it NOW! 

After, come visit me at The Local Blend for live music, coffee/beer (whatever your drink-o-choice is), and all the green celebrations!! If I don’t see you, I expect that you are off searching out all those pesky leprechauns. Cheers to the freakin’ weekend!

Today is for red. Wednesday’s are for panda shirts. And every day is for women. 

My resume defines me as a Minnesota educator. That is one of my titles. Others include a friend, graduate, artist, partner, valued employee, world traveler and a WOMAN. These are the greatest honors of my life. If only I were so naive to believe that I didn’t have to be grateful to all of the strong women that fought for me or so blind to think that the work for equality is over. 

My Monday through Friday position is focused in a rural Minnesota school. However, the educating just begins during those day time hours. The remainder of my time is continually spent standing for and strengthening a foundation to offer a successful future for daughters, nieces, friends, and granddaughters everywhere. 

Happy International Women’s Day!

Through your eyes…


What does it feel like to look through someone else’s eyes? Technically, I haven’t a clue. However, figuratively speaking, I’ve spent the past month racking my brain and trying to come up with an straightforward response to this question. Allow me to share my thought process.

A little over a year ago, I began a uncharted adventure. Starting out this trip, I felt a little off. You could say that was one of the reasons that I aspired on this trip. I spiraled around with passive feelings about myself and others. I questioned what my purpose was in the world, who I was supposed to become, and why I deserved everything that I had been given. Let me put your mind at ease and tell you that those types of questions are ‘within normal limits’ of what a young woman thinks of. In fact, if I wasn’t asking those things I might be concerned that I was too comfortable and not challenging myself enough.

Even though I took this trip with another person that leaned on me just as much as I use him for stability, I learned an incredible amount about myself.

  1. The people in my life that stand by me, support me, and love me for who I am are what’s important. They see me.
  2. I am so small. But I am not insignificant.
  3. Show people who I am; stand up for kindness, goodness and peace.
  4. Respect. Yes, just as loud as Aretha Franklin.

Every day I continue to learn. The learning never ends even after I have these realizations. I believe that’s the key. Finding myself isn’t a one stop trip. Each person takes time to evolve through their own experiences and in their own way.

To look through the eyes of another isn’t rocket science or even something you have to study at all. It’s simply being a human-being uncomfortable, learning, showing support for others and loving ALL.

I cannot tell you all how much I appreciate all of you. Thank you for following me on my journey of life and taking the time to see through my eyes.

New kicks…

Meet Barry and Oliver (yes, I named my shoes). I’m working on channeling my inner superhero in and out of the work place. Running has always been something that makes my serotonin levels soar into a happier and more centered place. Even though I’m not fighting crime or bad guys I am grateful for this energy outlet.


(This wasn’t from Saturday, but I thought you would want a reminder of how adorable he is. Amirite?)

“How was your weekend Emily?” You may ask.
“It was grand.” Thank you for inquiring.

Saturday I didn’t even put a bra on. That’s how fantastic it was. I wasn’t snowed in (although the high was only 3 degrees), but I thought that after the monumentous weekend before that I deserved some down time. I later realized that Nick and I haven’t had a weekend this low key since our days in New Hampshire! Yowza! There were some similarities, but also some differences in our chill day. In both places we ate, slept, ate some more, and then moved to the couch to watch tv and eat something else. The big difference, though, was that we didn’t have to pack up after 48 hrs to continue on the road again. This morning, I did awake to speed off in Little Red. However, this afternoon I found my way back to the same location that I left from. My journey’s are timeless and will continue to give me small reminders of how I am ever so fortunate. Needless to say, we soaked up every second this weekend. 

Cheers to snoozin and cruisin!