Afternoon Collaboration with Videographer, Emily Ries

What a splendid way to spend an afternoon. I have to admit I feel the most upbeat when the weather is beautiful. I had a cheesy movie moment driving over. My radio was blasting, windows were rolled down, and I let my hair down to blow in the wind. Then I realized how annoying it was because I kept choking on my hair every time I opened my mouth to sing. Very short lived, but the idea of it got me pumped for another North Carolina summer! WOO! 

I met up with Emily Ries, better known on IG and the webs as "MultimediEm." She's an Asheville local who's coo-coo for video-puffs; a delightful young lady making her way to the top as a multimedia artist. A previous meet-up fell through for me so I called her up and asked if she would like to join me at my favorite nook in Westside, Dobra Tea. We decided to make a nest and bust out our laptops to go over the beginnings of website building and promotion. Since I'm biased, I linked her over to Squarespace! We dinked around and eventually looked over business cards through MOO (also biased, mainly because they rock my world). 

As we huddled around our screens we were tentatively taken care of by a young lad who served us the weekly special. Em had a tea served as a beer. It included froth and a fresh orange. I dove into a Bubble tea made with black tea which was recommended as their sweetest flavor.

I really have to vouch for Em's enthusiasm in her art form. She is such a joy to be around and her laughter is contagious. I'm always so keen to meet up with her knowing that she's motivated to share her talent and excitement to gain more information to build her profession.

All in all it was a good business session. We broke down what was important and what could be expanded on later. YOU are the brand, don't let the brand limit your creativity or pursuit. Sometimes we get so caught up in fonts and having a small fern doodled next to our name, that we get held back on putting out our work. No matter where you move or how your niche evolves, your name will be the one constant thing that will stick around (unless you get married, but follow me on this one). Set your foundation and build upon it as you get more time to map out some ideas for logos if it's that important to you. Whether that's creating something on your own or connecting with designers, remember that you can still make some magic without it! Clients aren't going to remember their experience with you from how good or bad your logo is, they're going to remember you from the work you provided and how professional you were with them. Focus on provided a good experience with those you interact with. All the doodled ferns and elaborate San Script will be around until you finalize your design. 

 Willkommen! Benvenuti! Karibuni! Bienvenido! Welcome! My name's Leah, an Army brat by birth and a traveler by trade. I'm scooting across the world to illustrate my experiences through photographs and short stories. I hope you'll find a personal connection, inspiration, or a spark of desire to go and explore as well!   Photograph by Nathan Chesky. 

Willkommen! Benvenuti! Karibuni! Bienvenido! Welcome! My name's Leah, an Army brat by birth and a traveler by trade. I'm scooting across the world to illustrate my experiences through photographs and short stories. I hope you'll find a personal connection, inspiration, or a spark of desire to go and explore as well! Photograph by Nathan Chesky. 

FOLLOW EM @multimediem

Meet Emily Ries! Also known as "MultimediEm." Connect with her on Instagram and Youtube


DSLR Guide on Youtube

I love checking out this guy's page for videography information. Cool tips about how to use your DSLR camera to create great videos! 

Don't Be a Hermit

I started my morning with a little bar stool conversation. I'm sure for many of us it is hard to engage in a conversation with someone you don't know, especially those who are sharing a quiet area to themselves. Honestly, this is how I find myself meeting the most interesting people. I mean, definitely take the time to read them and make sure they're not rushing or preoccupied with something important, but if they're just settling in, the least we can do as polite human beings is greet the person who'll be sharing the same area as you. 

I think we're becoming a very closed society. I don't always want to point towards our phones, but...GAH GET OFF YOUR DAMN PHONE! We miss so much if we're constantly scrolling our screens. Hell, I don't have enough fingers to count the handful of times I have seen people walk into things because they were so glued to their screen. I won't even get started on people using their phones during dinner or sharing drinks out in the city. I've put my phone on certain dings and even specific vibrations to let me know if it's something important. Otherwise, I'll put that baby off to the side. I'm not perfect, but I try to set myself up the best I can to stay away from frequent screen time. This is very difficult being a photographer and a blogger as well, but I do dedicate certain days and times to smash some work out. 

My best networking has been approaching people in cafes or even while sitting at a bus stop. You never know who you're going to meet and I encourage you to be kind and bring your head up. You don't need to become BFF's with these strangers, but why not have a delightful moment with whomever you cross paths with. You never know if that's something they needed or something you needed to push you to make a decision, open your mind to knew thoughts, or get you distracted from something that bothered your heart. All in all, it's always a plus (unless you're unlucky and that person is a super creeper). 

My "don't disturb me" face is when I have a book in front of it. If I'm trying to read, nuh-uh. I take that into account for other people who are working in books or reading them. Whether it's studying or leisure reading, rule of thumb is they're trying to get something out of it. If they're scrolling through Facebook, pounce my friends. Facebook is boring anyways, so we all know that it's just a bad habit to find something exciting to engage in. 

I consider myself an introvert, so by no means am I proclaiming it's easy to approach someone you don't know and chat. I have to take an internal deep breath and push myself to jump in because I don't want to rub off as obnoxious, though I'm already aware that I can be pretty obnoxious. Regardless, every time I have tried I never regret it (even the creepy people - they're kind of entertaining).

I remember one time I was crossing paths with an acupuncturist trying to take a last minute trip to Japan to clear his mind off of things. This older gentleman was also a history teacher, so for a few minutes I got a mini run down on some historical events. I'll most likely never see that person again, but I'm happy that I was able to hear someone's motivation for traveling and passion for knowledge! 

If you're shy, test the waters and confront your nervousness if you feel like you're missing out on connecting with others. If not, I can support the hermit life to an extent. We can only gain more experience if we challenge ourselves to step outside the box once in a while. 

A Date at Dobra Tea

A compilation of tea, thoughts, and travel stories over two days. 

I made a small post on Instagram about my struggle deciding to take my sister to Morocco or Croatia next year after her high school graduation. Nicole, who I had yet to meet (at least have a conversation with), made a comment about meeting for tea and tell me her experience traveling in Morocco. Without hesitation I accepted and we ventured out together a few days later to Dobra Tea on Haywood in Asheville, North Carolina.   

 Pouring out is "The Smell of Jerusalem" tea, a black Indian tea spiced with ground cinnamon (traditional Hassidic recipe from Eastern Europe). 

Pouring out is "The Smell of Jerusalem" tea, a black Indian tea spiced with ground cinnamon (traditional Hassidic recipe from Eastern Europe). 

 Nicole tasting her choice of "Taste of Kashmir," an aromatic green and oolong tea with dried apples, orange peel and cloves. 

Nicole tasting her choice of "Taste of Kashmir," an aromatic green and oolong tea with dried apples, orange peel and cloves. 

It didn't take long for us to jabber on about the pleasures of traveling and what we're doing to stay occupied here in the area. Though she's not originally from the area, she's been living in Asheville 18 years and watching her greet passing friends from the window of the cafe illustrated her ties to the community. 

I enjoy tea more than I do coffee. I know many can't live without having coffee as their start to the day, but I feel the same way about tea. I'm not after the caffeine, just the soothing warmness down my throat and the aromatic leaves and flowers that float out of the mug. After one sip my fingers, lips, and cheeks were tickled by cinnamon; my body was warmed with "The Smell of Jerusalem" tea and my soul captivated by the presence of a beautiful person and her story telling. We cut the air with our dancing hands as we relived moments of joy and fear during our travel and personal journeys. We spoke about fabrics, tastes, and future vacationing. I spent a moment illustrating Tuscan sunflower fields and I listened as she rooted her memories back from Portland, Oregon. 


HENRY JAMES, Portrait of a Lady

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.

To see Nicole McConville's work, visit

 I ordered a small cup of Miso Broth (kale, shiitake mushrooms, scallions and sea veggies) with a side of white rice. 

I ordered a small cup of Miso Broth (kale, shiitake mushrooms, scallions and sea veggies) with a side of white rice. 

I shared that no matter the amount of people I have met and spoken to, that I'm cruddy at holding a friendship because of my busy schedule and introvertedness. Despite how much I jibber-jabber, I don't find myself having a large social circle. I'm not sure if that's something I prefer, but I know that communication is important to me and I take the time to listen and understand people around me. I live for those opportunities and I appreciate the intimacy of conversation over food and drinks. Take a moment to find someone to sit with and I'll guarantee you'll learn something new about yourself each time.

 Nicole shining her smile outlined with vivid red. . 

Nicole shining her smile outlined with vivid red. . 

I learned that morning that it's okay to be honest and I shouldn't shelter myself because I don't fall under the same qualms of another human being. I've always loved the little quote that goes, "Be yourself, everyone else is taken."

Thank you for your company Nicole. I look forward to more sunlit rooms, laughter, tea, and polaroids.  

Tea For One

A short reflection. There's always so much to learn about ourselves. 

I found myself sitting in this little cafe again. I'm not too keen about cold, rainy days, so I scooted in quickly and found a seat by the window. The breeze still found a way to my shoulders and I zipped up my jacket and filed through their dictionary of teas. The waiter suggested their Masala Chai which I gladly paired with Idlis (South Indian steamed dumplings) and Thai Tom Kha Soup. 

Small bells continued to ding throughout the room as others chimed in their waiter for drinks. An older gentleman, decorated like an Native American Christmas tree, walked in and sat near me. Feathers, charms, and colored fabrics wrapped around his head and character painted across his beard. He smelled of cooked onions and the stench battled with the newly lit incense that was placed behind me. I approached him and asked if I could photograph him and he said, "In turn for the bowl of soup you just described to me. Trade for trade." I didn't have anymore cash on me to spend, because I left my wallet in the car, so instead I spent a few more minutes hearing his tales and I relocated to another section in the cafe. After resettling in a new cushion I pulled out some paper to write my boyfriend a letter. I know I can easily write him an email, but despite our advances in technology, especially with how we can stay more connected with our soldiers, you can't eliminate the intimacy, purity, and sentiment of a hand written letter. 

So, after two pots of tea and three orders of food, I thought of a good friend. Her name is Kelly and she won the opportunity to spend a year overseas in Indonesia on a Fulbright scholarship. I had trouble responding to her emails these past few weeks and I have to openly admit it was because of jealousy. It will be the first year that I haven't ventured outside from the country (despite being in Europe this past winter break). That feeling of being a quote on quote "adult" really punched me in the gut. Completing my Masters, getting a new car, and signing on to a new lease, were small financial reminders that said it wouldn't be smart for me to pick up and go as usual. I have been trying to fulfill that desire to leave by using my only day off during the week to take day road trips. But even then, it's not satisfying because I'm still surrounded by a culture I'm too familiar with.

When I spoke with Kelly on Skype for a moment before her power blew out (they were in a drought until our phone call and then it started pouring), I opened up to her about everything I was feeling. But I did also tell her that despite my envy, that I wouldn't want to hear about anyone else doing it. I don't look up to too many young women in my life and here's a woman younger than me who's always taking steps forward and that's what is so admirable about her. She was entertaining finding a way to bring me over and I cut her off and said that despite how much I wanted to be there with her, that this is her moment and I'm not meant to be a part of that. I know when I'm being selfish and I can recognize that this isn't my time and I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I walked into her journey.

So far, my time in Asheville has been challenging me to be patient. I see most people reflect changes over a year, but I compare my growth within each new place I live. But I'm guilty for overwhelming myself with a mental list of tasks I need to complete in order to be a better person. I have burned myself out many times, but I have finally accepted I'll never be perfect. If I woke up each day and there wasn't something new to learn, I don't think it would really be worth it. My boyfriend loves a beautiful, short saying: Anocora Imparo - I'm still learning. What's important is to not use those words as an excuse, but to adopt it as a personal declaration to keep exploring, studying, and adapting.