2017 Reflection

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

One year ago from today I greeted my parents and their backpacks and carry on suitcases at Firenze Santa Maria Novella Stazione. The LeMay (grand) European tour started in Florence and ended in Milan with stops in Rome, Munich, Athens, and Crete in between.

Looking back on 2017, I can confidently say it was a terrific year––one of the best to date. I recall ringing in 2017 on the steps of Piazzale Michelangelo with Steven and KT while witnessing fireworks all over the city, hoping 2017 would be as amazing as 2016. It’s safe to say it was.

2017 taught me a lot about change and self-discovery in addition to overcoming challenges, compromising, and adapting to new situations. I achieved many goals throughout the year too. I published stories in my local newspaper, walked on to a division I sports team, made the most out of my remaining time in Florence and Europe. And I finished my first college semester in the United States with a 4.0!

I welcomed new people into my life in 2017, and I let some go too. 2017 came with many goodbyes. All three grandparents moved out of their homes (and my second home) and into apartments. I said ‘Ciao’ to Florence for who knows how long. I said ‘Arriverdici’ to my student-expat life and all the treasures it encompassed.

Spending the holidays at home was the perfect ending to an incredible year. Sitting around the Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinner table reminded me of how sweet life is simply because of those who are a part of it.

In 2018 I look forward to my first collegiate lacrosse season, turning 20 (YIKES), and working somewhere new during the summertime. I’m sure there will be spontaneous adventures, highs and lows, and a plethora of memories along the way.

Cheers! xo ~ e.

PS* Read my story that was published today here! 🙂


Emma: Freelancer Edition

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

This summer has been the summer for achieving goals.

  • Running my first 10K
  • Working in corporate
  • Eating healthy consistently (minus last night’s chicken tenders at the Dairy Bar)
  • Spending a lot of time with family
  • Reading books in addition to watching Netflix

One of my proudest accomplishments is being published in my local newspaper, the Manchester Journal. My dad worked for the Bennington Banner when I was very young. I clearly remember asking my mom how come Dad always worked and never picked me up from school. I rarely saw him, because he cranked out articles every day! He initially sparked my fascination for writing and print publication. Naturally I grew up reading the BannerJournal, and the Vermont News Guide. Being featured in them a few times was always a highlight too.

Before the summer began, I had a goal to be published in print. I wrote the article for the Florentine that was published online, but I wanted to see my name and my words on paper. Everything’s digitized now that print publication feels more ‘authentic’ or special.

I emailed the editor of the Journal, Greg Sukiennik, asking if they had a freelance budget. To my surprise, he got back to me a couple hours later saying he could help me out and meet with me after viewing some samples. Lucky enough for me, I had some to share that weren’t academic papers!

We met at Spiral Press Cafe during the week on my lunch break, and he was genuinely interested in my writing interests. It’s rare to find people who invest in young students (especially in the journalism industry).

Greg basically gave me the freedom to write about anything/anyone relevant in the community. He also said he would give me assignments. One day at Tuttle, I came up with the idea to write about Pierce Fulton, a Stratton native, who released his debut album. I got the green light from Greg, contacted Pierce’s manager, and interviewed Pierce that weekend in addition to getting a quote from his music teacher at BBA. It was quite the process!

At my mom’s camper that weekend, I proudly typed up a story (over 1,000 words). The response I got from Greg was to cut it to 750 words. Edit, edit, edit! I learned a lot from that first writing experience. News writing is something new to me (blog post to come in the near future). I was ecstatic picking up the paper on Friday morning at Stewart’s. I frantically flipped through it to find the picture of Pierce I submitted and my name. Such an adrenaline rush. There were some corrections, but overall, it was a success.

The most recent article I wrote is about the young musicians in Manchester this summer. This was a piece assigned to me specifically by Greg. He wanted me to capture What’s it like to study music in Vermont for the summer? This story took a lot of time, work, and effort. I met with four students and two directors within two days (on top of interning for 8 hours/day) and wrote the story in one afternoon at my grandparents’ house. I had a clearer idea of how to write it (I had 950 words this time) and used the suggestions from my last story to improve.

Having people mention an article in the grocery store, sharing my writing with the community, my friends, and family, and seeing my work in something I’ve read for years is a humbling and rewarding feeling. My passion for writing has deepened, and the skills I’ve acquired will be useful in the future. Stay tuned for my next article about John Werner’s 40th Annual Arlington Soccer Camp. I’m super stoked for this one–I grew up attending and volunteering at his camp! xo ~ e.

Please give my newspaper stories a read! Links below 🙂 I’ve also updated my ‘Publications’ page with some FlockU clips as well to check out.

Sweet music

BBA grad Pierce Fulton releases debut album

Birthday Weekend

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The LeMay/Dauenheimer Family celebrated a spectacular birthday weekend for the July birthdays (my mom, Aunt Louise, and me). We kicked off the weekend with some hard fought matches of racquetball. My grandpa and I have been playing nearly every Saturday or Sunday morning together this summer, but this time I got to play against his son and witness the higher skill and intensity between the two for a couple matches. It was the first time I saw Pop bring his true ‘A game!’

Saturday evening we had dinner at The Bryant House in Weston after poking around The Vermont Country Store. I can’t get enough of it this summer so it appears! We had a long dinner (Italian length), and my great aunt and uncle from Middlebury joined us. I felt so happy to be with the entire family, since it’s what I missed the most while abroad.

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My people

We headed to the Weston Playhouse to see Once! It was an amazing performance and the last one of the season at the theater. 10 years ago I appeared on that stage night after night as a daughter in The King & I.  The small yet beautiful theater holds many fond memories. The singing, plot, and love story were all mesmerizing. I highly recommend the soundtrack!


Sunday was a relaxing day at Nana and Pop’s. Writing my next article for the Manchester Journal and picking blueberries and eating donuts from the local donut cart were involved.

It was a wonderful birthday weekend with limited presents and rather an abundance of family, entertainment and relaxation. I can’t think of a better way to celebrate 19! A big thank you to everyone who made this weekend so special. You know who you are! xo ~ e.

Introducing: Art by Isabel Holden

Monday, June 26, 2017

It’s my absolute pleasure to introduce to you: Art by Isabel Holden! Isabel and I started talking to each other last spring before graduating from high school. I knew her as the ‘cool fashion design major’ in our FFE Program. This year we shared several cappuccini at La Ménagère and climbed the Cinque Terre trails in addition to hearing about the Medici Family in J.Z.’s Writing for College class on Mondays and Wednesdays at 3 PM. She is such a young and talented designer and artist. I’m constantly inspired by her work, and I am really looking forward to rocking her shark print pocket tee this summer!

Upon returning home, Isabel’s posted more on her art Instagram account (@artbyisabelholden), and I thought it was about time she had her own website. After building up my blog and familiarizing myself with WordPress within the past year, I offered to help her create her very own. Isabel and I talked back and forth for several days, exchanged photos, copy and ideas-–not to mention our Google Doc was constantly edited. The site recently went live! I am super proud of her and how the site looks. If you are in need of a similar site or blog, don’t hesitate to reach out! The more practice for me the better 🙂 Please go check it out and help support one of fashion’s biggest up & coming designers. xo ~ e.Screen Shot 2017-06-30 at 7.10.12 PM


One Month Out

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Ciao a tutti! It’s been a while. I apologize for the absence on my blog. I’ll admit that I do miss blogging daily from Florence/Europe. It’s been exactly one month since our jet left the tarmac at Florence Peretola Airport. And now it feels as though my entire freshman year is a distant dream, unattainable to reach again. I’m going to be very honest with you. The first two weeks in the United States was very hard. The immediate symptoms of reverse culture shock hit me like the wind in my face caused by the ATAF bus that blew past me every at 8:42 AM on my way to class. I felt lost and unsure of my place at home, since I had been away for so long. I realized friendships had changed, and old habits felt uncomfortably foreign. But with work and time, I gradually began to feel more at ease and confident with my life back at home. One of the worst feelings of the world is not feeling in control. And for those first two weeks, I felt anything from in control. Now I’m working 40 hours a week and cherishing my weekends. I’m exercising as much as I can and eating as much as I can that doesn’t come out of a packaged, plastic bag. On Father’s Day, I even got back on the racquetball court with my grandpa who revived my competitive spirit.

I also had some friends give me a harsh yet greatly reality check. I was reminded of my privilege for spending nine months abroad– one that many are not presented with during their entire lives. As I complained about little peeves in the United States, Vasudha told me to be grateful I’m not living in a third world country. These messages prompted me to shift my mindset. I forgave myself for having a challenging time adjusting due to missing Florence tremendously, and I started to get really excited for the next adventure to come in Poughkeepsie starting in the fall. The freshmen who were in Florence are now super pumped to start our American college careers on a traditional college campus. There’s so much to look forward to (decorating our rooms fully, joining clubs, playing sports), and the option of another experience abroad is tangible. I thank technology for allowing us to stay in touch. We reminisce about our year through iMessages, phone calls, and letters too. Although we will never relive our freshman year abroad, I truly believe we will carry the lessons, challenges we overcame, and travels with us for the remaining of our college careers and beyond.

My schedule has shifted vastly now that I’m back in the States. I’ve quickly come to terms with the fact that kids & teenagers should be in no rush to be an ‘adult’; forty hour weeks are not the most luxurious privileges of being an adult! I am thoroughly enjoying my internships– learning a lot about the corporate world. This introduction through both internships is really beneficial to my education and career goals. Here’s what my typical day looks like:

6:15 Wake up

6:45 Leave the house

7:20 Arrive in Manchester

8:30 Start work

10:00 Fifteen minute break (walk)

12:00 Thirty minute (unpaid) lunch

15:00 Fifteen minute break (walk)

17:00 Finish work

17:15 Work out in the gym or at the local park

18:15 Leave Manchester

18:45 Leave the grocery store

19:15 Arrive home and cook, eat, shower, and unwind for the day

21:00 In bed! Reading or Netflix

21:30 Lights out

It’s a brutal schedule, but it makes up for my rather leisurely days in beautiful Florence. Several of my friends are visiting my home away from home this summer, and I’ve written up an itinerary for them! Look out for further posts soon. Thanks for stickin’ with me! xo ~ e.


A New Way of ‘Glamping’

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Life in the United States has slowly gotten less uncomfortable within the past two weeks. I expected to have to deal with reverse culture shock, but I didn’t know it would be so challenging to cope with. It’s very hard to be the person I was in Italy while I’m in Vermont simply because I am no longer in Florence; I don’t have the same experiences, interactions, views and lattes, or routines. And I am not the same person I was before my grand freshman adventure. Trying to find a balance between the two is an ongoing obstacle, but I am working my hardest to discover a rhythm and feeling of satisfaction. I wrote an article about reverse culture shock for FlockU, and it was published yesterday. Please give it a read here. My internship at VCS started yesterday, so there is a consistent structure and schedule to my day. It is a true blessing! Nicki also visited for five days which kept me busy laughing and positive. We had a lot of fun together like we alway have. Reuniting with all three grandparents and spending time with my mom and dad have also proven to be beneficial and therapeutic.

A few days before I departed from Italy, my parents informed me (via phone) that they had bought a trailer. I knew they were looking at them, since my mom had started a new job at a new location (like she does every three months). For some reason, I had it in my head that they were renting a trailer for three months. That made sense to me. Rent a trailer, enjoy living in a small space, have fun the woods. Finally it registered that they bought it, and my reaction was “WHAT?! What are you going to do with a trailer?!” When I showed the picture to my friends (who don’t have much experience camping), they said something along the lines of, “OMG. ARE ALL VERMONTERS THIS CRAZY?!” Not all of them are– only a select few.

Turns out that this trailer is the cutest little thing! I went to the Adirondacks with my grandparents the day it was delivered, helped get it set up, and spent the night with my mom on the queen sized mattress, snuggled up in my sleeping bag. Although it’s small, it has everything one could possibly need to live comfortably. A bed, radio, microwave, shower, toilet, two sinks, table, two gas burners, heat and AC, and most importantly, friendly neighbors.


Since my mom moved in, we’ve decorated the place with colorful bedding, photos, and small decor items. I’ve also stayed with her for three nights! It’s a lot more relaxing and cozy than one may think. Nicki (who is not a big fan of the great outdoors) can attest to that! She slept in the camper last week. It was a new experience for her, but she said she would do it again.


Tiny house selfie


Kayaking on Mirror Lake

My dad and I both visited my mom a couple weeks ago. It was tight with three, but we were content. I cooked us a camper’s dinner, and we all read before falling asleep.


Salad with pan fried chicken and rice pilaf

To me, this is the perfect ratio of ‘glam’ and ‘camping’. Thus the coined term ‘glamping.’ There is magically wifi in some campgrounds now, and it’s more industrial compared to a tent. However, it’s still rustic being in the woods. There’s something so serene and refreshing about living outside with limited civilization and having lights out by 10. My mom lives there five days a week. So for her, the trailer is home. And it’ll be a transportable home attached with a minimalist lifestyle for when she moves around the country. It’s not ‘luxurious glamping’ but rather ‘realistic glamping.’ Somehow going to Camping World with my dad off I-87 South for a sewer hose appears to be well worth it.

Do yourself the favor and be one with nature this summer at some point– in a tent or in a cabin, cottage, or trailer. Mother Nature is calling! xo ~ e.

*My friend Talia is studying abroad in Copenhagen next semester! I wrote this guest post in honor of her for the Wonder Forest.


I love this sign

Occupation: Intern

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I am excited to announce that I clenched two part-time (paid) internships this summer! I will be interning at the Vermont Country Store under Ann Warrell in the Philanthropy department in addition to interning at Tuttle Publishing (a small publishing company specializing in Asian books) as their Publicity & Marketing intern. I went into Tuttle yesterday (the office is conveniently right across from Vermont Country Store’s North Clarendon office where my dad works) for an interview, and they hired me on the spot. I am looking forward to having some variety in my work and lots of projects to dive into. This is the first summer I’m working a full time job with a regular weekend. I’ll be saving up for that next plane ticket to who knows where! I need a busy summer to keep me occupied. xo ~ e.