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Brittany 2022 Blog

For the past few years at Narrator, I’ve been collecting the bad data questions I often stumble upon and reflecting on how to make them better. This simple exercise, done regularly for a few years, significantly improved the quality of questions I ask. Last week, I thought other dataExplore a powerful approach that can revolutionize the way you understand and utilize data: modeling data as activities. Activities can bring clarity and organization to your data, allowing you to gain valuable insights and make the most of your data.Hey there, I’m the head of data at Narrator. Before Narrator, I was a senior data scientist at WeWork (on the rec systems team). I like data, analytics, tiny homes, and mixology :)While companies heavily rely on data to inform their strategies, the very data models they employ often hinder their ability to ask deep and insightful questions.

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Brittany is a traveling photographer, candle maker, and digital content creator based in northern Illinois with a focus on sustainability and mindful living.
In the event that you are not 100% satisfied with your purchase, I accept returns on any physical items (not digital) within 30 days of purchase. You can return your product for store credit, a different product, or a refund to the original payment method.As we round out another year, let’s take the time to reflect on all that we’ve learned over the last 12 months! Life audits help you enter the new year more mindfully and help you to connect with yourself Each moment of Luke and Victoria’s wedding day was filled with so much love, big smiles and a whole lot of fun! You’ll see just how much love and laughter was shared below! From getting ready at Windy Knolls, starting their marriage at Saint Mary’s Ellinger church and ending the night at The Compound, every […] What a wedding!! In true Texas form Malory and Nolan were married on a warm and balmy sunny December day! I first met Mal when she was a little girl when I photographed her Dad’s wedding to my good friend Jennifer. 14 years later and it’s her turn. Her Dad’s first look was one of […]
Talk about two stunning locations for Dylan and Chase’s beautiful July wedding. The Holy Rosary Church in downtown Houston was the most beautiful backdrop for the couple to become man and wife! The arches alone had me swooning. After they were married we headed over to the Bell Tower on 34th where every corner you […]
Every session, no matter the time of day, has different light that excites me every time. During Ann and John’s sunrise session they had beautiful hazy sunrise light that turned into the crisp early fall morning light that gets me so excited for fall mornings. They’ve since welcomed their adorable daughter but I loved their […]More than two years in the making and Shelby and David finally had their dream day. One look at Shelby’s smile, her parents tears and solid love from David and you’ll know this union is ready for the long haul. These two have been through a lot over the last few years and more than […]
When the wedding day starts off with a sing along from the bride, her sisters and their mom, to Going to the Chapel, you know it’s going to be a wonderfully fun day! Sterling and Hamilton hosted their beautiful wedding at Miramont Country Club on a chilly January day. As the pictures will show, I’m […]
That was my plan, and it was a good one. Fast forward to March 2020 and …. well, you know the rest. In April, I was knee deep in grant writing and it wasn’t until mid-May that I started to get worried that the meet-ups and trips that I (and a few million others) had planned for spring and summer wouldn’t be happening. As the weeks progressed, excitement about upcoming plans was replaced with dreaded uncertainty and a rather bleak outlook.I dove into book clubs with an amazing group of people from across the globe. To see each other’s faces and hear their thoughts and ideas about books that have received accolades in France made us all feel slightly more connected to the country we have grown to love, even though we were all reading from thousands of miles away from her. I have also connected with others who find joy in photography and gite owners who share a love of meeting new people. And probably the biggest blessing of all has been reconnecting with friends I’ve known and loved for years, but due to life demands we hadn’t spent time together in quite a while. Taking long walks in the woods together or sitting on a blanket in the park with dear friends became my saving grace this summer.This morning, I was reviewing a few draft posts that I had created but not published. I came upon the one below and read through it. I almost hit the “delete” button, but reconsidered. You see, it’s easy to look at someone’s life on Instagram or Facebook – or even here in this blog – and think “Oh, she’s so lucky to be living in this charming town in France.” Yes, I do feel blessed to be here. I do. It took a LOT of work and a good number of tears to get where I am. I thought that I would share this in the hopes that if people are still feeling a bit lost, I get it. I do. Just remember that we are all in this together and we are nearing the end of this pandemic (a girl can hope).Please let me know how you are getting on wherever in the world you call home. I am also interested to know whether you have any upcoming travel plans. Please do share in the comments section.

It was an interesting trip down memory lane reading that article. I can’t wait to catch you all up on what has transpired since that time. Briefly, I am now living permanently in Brittany. I have finally realized my decades-long dream and while taking the plunge and moving has proven to be quite different from the tourist version of living here, I am without a doubt the happiest I have been in a very, very long time. Moving abroad is not easy, but I have always loved and welcomed a challenge. For my long-time readers, thank you for your patience while I have been settling into my new life here. I needed time to adjust before getting back to my regular posting schedule. For new readers, you can expect anything and everything you ever wanted to know about traveling to this incredible region in France. Please stay tuned for some new and delightful places I have discovered these last few months.My future self imagines an evening where I lie in bed. I’m reminded of a time when life was very hard indeed. The whole world was struggling with a sickness, one that creeped its way across the globe, an invisible monster that was causing fear and panic and bringing out the worst in some. Fear and loneliness came with it, and many of us were struggling for a long time. Through this, however, this monster also brought out the best in many. The collective sadness and fear was overcome with gratitude and compassion. People began to help each other in their communities and across continents. Yes, my future self says, I am so thankful that this time has passed and we are able to travel and spend time with our loved ones again. What a blessing!

Let’s have a little chat. If you’ve been with me from the beginning, you know that I was posting at least once weekly on this blog and did so for months. I was excited to share my love of Brittany with you, including travel photos and information, recipes, etc. I started the end of December 2019 knowing that I had enough content and photos to share straight through to my trip to Brittany scheduled for April 2020. Once there, I would take hundreds of pictures and write about all of the adventures I planned to take. With summer break just around the corner, I could easily keep going with writing every week. I would spend from the beginning of June to the end of August in Dinan, taking you all with me to markets and castles and the sea and maybe an enchanted forest or two.
The importance of connection cannot be over emphasized. I’ve lived the majority of my life alone and I can’t say that I’ve ever experienced loneliness. I’ve been alone and felt alone, but wasn’t ever really lonely. If I have, it must have been so short-lived that I don’t recall. These last several months, when I’ve woken up before 2 AM, I’ve felt more alone and lonely than I ever have in my life and in ways I didn’t know were possible. As hard as it was, I realized that for whatever reason the universe was telling me that this is something I had to experience, and go through it deeply. After some weeks of waking up and not going back to sleep, I realized that there were whole countries of people awake at that time. I reached out to friends and, after a few minutes of connection, I could go back to sleep for a few hours. The more I connected with people from Facebook groups, I realized that there were many, many people experiencing the same feelings as I was, and together we cheered each other on and talked about 2021 being “The Year” for get-togethers. I’m so grateful to the friends that I have made, friends that I’ve known for years, months, or even weeks.

What does all of this rambling have to do with my blog on Brittany? Well, it’s that time in life when we have to decide whether to continue down the path that we’ve been on for years, the path of pleasing others, or venture down the path of pleasing ourselves and truly going after our dreams. More to come on how that is progressing, but I’m thrilled to say that I’m taking steps to make the dreams of living full-time in Brittany a reality. Stay tuned …I’ve developed a healthy exercise routine to start my day and reading to finish it. WOW had I forgotten the impact that both can have physically and mentally. Reading and taking deep breaths settle the mind and body while physical exercise just feels soooo good. While on my stationary bike, I listen to podcasts or interviews with authors and other creators. Hearing these brilliant individuals talk about the joy they experience in doing what they love, as well as the lessons learned along the way, has been very inspiring. Probably the most important things I learned from them was 1) You will disappoint many when you stop disappointing yourself and 2) that you WILL fail in creative ventures, but what you gain from that failure will lead you to an even better adventure than you could have dreamed.

If you did not know, I had written a series of articles for MyFrenchLife magazine during the summer and fall of 2021. I will provide links to those articles below along with some of my introductory articles on this blog. I hope you find them helpful.August was a rough month. Everything came to a head, ended, or otherwise fell apart, and me along with them. Nearing the end of August meant there wouldn’t be a trip this summer (I was in a bit of denial before that). It meant that the new school year would be starting – whatever that looked like – and if the borders miraculously opened up, I wouldn’t be able to go due to work commitments. Now, I know that these are considered “first world problems” but I also knew that I felt like I couldn’t breathe where I was.

Welcoming Au Pairs During the HolidaysAs we move into the holiday season our family is busier than any other time of the year it seems. Coincidentally, this is also the time of year we are welcoming our next au pair!Our lovely new au pair is coming from Mexico and will […]

To Extend or Not to Extend That is The QuestionIt finally happened. That dreaded email from Agent Au Pair’s Extension Coordinator arrived asking us to decide whether or not we were going to commit to another year with our au pair. We knew it was coming, but I wasn’t really […]
Oops! How to Handle Mistakes and MishapsAs much as we love our Au Pair Sofi and as much as she loves us we’re all human and mistakes DO happen! Here are a few of the ones we have dealt with over the last month or so and how we handled […]Your Au Pair’s Parents Visiting If your Au Pair’s family is able to visit at all, this is an AMAZING opportunity to increase your experience with cultural exchange and the Au Pair Program.Our Au Pair Sofi’s parents were able to come to the US all the way from Colombia. This […] Navigating Au Pair Scheduling when You’re Expecting!Welcoming a new baby into your home is a wonderful and stressful time! Having an Au Pair during this time is also both wonderful and stressful. On the one hand, having the extra hands can be incredibly helpful, but on the other hand you […] Tips for the First 30 Days with your Au PairThere are so many logistical issues host families and au pairs need to conquer within the first two months of your program year. From getting a social security number, to helping your au pair get their drivers’ license, host families and […]
Coping when your Au Pair is on VacationLast month our Au Pair Sofi took her two weeks of vacation to go home to Colombia and visit her family. This made a huge impact on our whole family. I think it really showed us all just how much of a family […]
5 Tips for Back to School with Your Au Pair1. Adjust the Schedule in AdvanceAs you get ready to head back to school don’t forget to adjust your au pair’s schedule from a summer schedule to a school schedule with plenty of notice! Make sure the schedule is in writing […]