Do you like to take walks in the fall? What is your favorite corner in Montreal?
From my heart to yours.
This fall, I vowed to go on weekly photo-walks through Montreal neighborhoods to really take in the fiery colors before they faded into a long, unrelenting winter. Despite a very busy schedule, pushing myself to take my camera out for a walk helped renew my energy, creativity and courage (because many of my projects are in uncharted territories for me right now!)
The residential streets in the Plateau Mont-Royal and Hochelaga-Maisonneuve neighborhoods held beautiful treasures, no matter how grey a day it was.
I never tire of our walk-up staircases, contrasts between adjacent homes, how nature and wrought-iron get tangled into one, and the secret universes tucked away in back alleys.
On the day I chose to visit Parc Lafontaine, the sun created a symphony of color. The squirrels and ducks seemed lighthearted, basking in light and tapestries of fallen leaves. The main aisle coming in from the entrance on Rachel Street (corner Calixa Lavallée) was almost regal. A quiet weekday mid-morning, only my footsteps could be heard crashing through the ankle-deep row of leaves. Squirrels were pouncing and diving from benches all around me, playful and friendly. Leaves were falling all around me, getting caught in my long hair or on the sleeves of my wooly sweater. It was magical, and before I knew it, I had spent three hours in the park.
I also took some time to stroll through the campus of my alma mater McGill University. If you step off the main paths, you'll find little pockets of color and peace to read, think or - in my case - take pictures.
These are just a few of the picturesque corners of Montreal in autumn. Our city boasts a ton of charming areas and cozy cafes to discover. Making it a habit to take a short walk and to notice the beauty of this season does the mind and body good.
Do you like to take walks in the fall? What is your favorite corner in Montreal?
From my heart to yours.
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Well, that's a wrap!
For our September show, anyway. The next Etsy Montréal show will take place in November (22-24) at the Windsor Station, and then there will be one more holiday show in December (15-16) at the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier in Hochelaga.
Last week, I shared with you a little bit about why I love participating in AND co-organizing the Etsy Montreal shows.
If you couldn't make it to the show to enjoy the atmosphere and shop from incredible local shops, here is a taste of what it was like! I snuck away from my booth for a few moments here and there to snap a few photos of the event.
To see my full album, visit my Facebook page.
Mark your calendar for the two next Etsy Montreal shows, will you?
From my heart to yours.
Photography is hard work! Please remember to credit Veni Etiam Photography if sharing these event photos!
Nous voilà à la fin de septembre déjà!
Chaque automne, Etsy Canada et ses équipes régionales de créateurs passionnés organisent un marché d'automne dans une trentaine de villes canadiennes. C'est le marché Etsy Made in Canada (qui s'appelle aussi «Etsy Fait au Québec» dans notre province).
Le weekend du 29 et 30 septembre au Locoshop Angus à Montréal, plus de 100 créateurs et designeurs seront réunis sous un même toit pour exposer leurs bijoux, papeterie, arts visuels, articles de décoration, accessoires de mode, aliments, articles pour enfants, et produits pour la peau faits localement avec amour!
J'ai eu la chance de découvrir cette communauté dès le lancement de Veni Etiam en 2015. J'ai fait du bénévolat pour l'équipe pendant quelques marchés et j'ai ensuite été recrutée comme l'une des leaders d'équipe. Ce que j'aime le plus dans mon travail au sein de cette équipe, c'est de constater à quel point notre communauté est incroyablement talentueuse et d'encourager son épanouissement. Non seulement nos exposants sont des superbes créateurs de produits fait-main, mais ils sont également des entrepreneurs super inspirants avec des parcours de vie intéressants.
Leurs parcours de vie et leurs préparatifs sont partagés cette semaine sur Instagram et Facebook dans le cadre de notre défi médias sociaux. Vous pouvez nous suivre avec le mot clic #EtsyMtlChallenge2018. Je vous promets que vous serez inspirés par ce que ces artistes ont à partager sur leur métier et leurs boutiques!
Lorsque nous faisons la sélection d'artisans pour nos marchés, le processus est minutieux et long. Nous évaluons près de 500 candidatures à chaque fois et marquons celles qui se distinguent selon notre liste de critères, qui comprend l’originalité, l’image de marque, la qualité des photos soumises et la pertinence pour nos clients en fonction de la saison. Cette première évaluation est déjà difficile à cause du calibre des candidatures que nous recevons. Nous devons ensuite passer par au moins 300 candidatures, catégorie par catégorie, avec un jury composé de membres de l'équipe. Nous le faisons en personne, souvent jusqu'aux petites heures du matin, puis nous continuons à peaufiner notre sélection avec une discussion en ligne.
À chaque édition, chacun des organisatrices a au moins un coup de coeur pour des boutiques qui viennent de se joindre à notre communauté ou qui ont vraiment amélioré leur marque en tant que les produits proposés et comment ces marques se présentent.
Voici mes 7 coups de coeur pour cette édition:
Joannie Houle Art
The Softies - Tout doux
Si vous êtes à Montréal ce week-end, passez découvrir le marché Etsy Montréal! Je serai là moi aussi avec mon art mural, mes photographies encadrées et mes accessoires de déco, y compris certains de mes nouveaux plateaux. Comme plusieurs de ces artistes, je vais également prendre des commandes personnalisées et exposer plusieurs nouveautés qui ne sont pas encore dans mes boutiques en ligne!
Voici la liste complète d'exposants et voici les détails de l'événement.
L'entrée est gratuite et les premiers 30 invités en ligne chaque matin à 10hrs recoivent un sac plein de cadeaux et de coupons rabais!
Si vous n'êtes pas à Montréal, vérifiez si un marché Etsy Made in Canada aura lieu dans votre région! Je vous encourage fortement de découvrir ce marché pour encourager les créateurs d'ici et notre économie québécoise.
Avez-vous une boutique préférée dans votre communauté? Laissez le nom en commentaire ci-dessous pour nous la faire découvrir!
De mon coeur au vôtre.
It's that time of year again!
Every September, Etsy Canada and its regional teams of passionate leaders host an annual fall show in almost 30 cities across the country. It's the Etsy Made in Canada market (which also goes by the name "Etsy Fait au Québec" in our province.)
On September 29th and 30th at the Locoshop Angus in Montreal, over 100 makers and designers will be gathered under one (historical) roof to exhibit their locally-made jewelry, paper goods, home decor items, fashion accessories, food, children's items, skin care products and more!
For more of my event photos, visit my Facebook page or this blog post. Please credit when reposting!
I was fortunate to discover this scene almost as soon as I launched Veni Etiam back in 2015. I volunteered for the team for a few shows and was later recruited as one of the team leaders. What I love most about working on this leadership team is witnessing how incredibly talented our community is, and encouraging it to thrive even further. Not only are our participating vendors creative artists, but they are also inspiring entrepreneurs with unique life journeys.
Those unique life journeys and behind the scenes moments are being shared on Instagram and Facebook this week as part of our seven-day social media challenge. You can follow us with the hashtag #EtsyMtlChallenge2018. I promise you you'll be inspired by what these artists have to share about their craft and their shops.
When we curate the collection for each of our shows, the process is meticulous and long. We go through close to 500 applications each time and mark the ones that stand out above the rest in terms of a list of criteria including originality, branding, photo quality and appropriateness for our shoppers depending on the season. That first cut doesn't even make a dent because of the caliber of applications we tend to receive. We then have to go through at least 300 applications, category by category, with a jury of team members. We do this in person, often until the wee hours of the morning, and then we continue to fine-tune our selection through an online discussion process.
Every edition, each of the organizers ends up falling in love with shops that are either new to our community or who have really upped their game in terms of the products they offer and how they present themselves as a brand.
Here are 7 artists I cannot wait to see at our market this weekend!
Joannie Houle Art
The Softies - Tout doux
If you are in Montreal this weekend, stop by our show! I'll be there with my photographic wall art, framed prints and decor accessories, including some of my new trays. Like many of these artists, I will also be taking custom orders and exhibiting lots of new items that are not listed in my online shops!
Here is the full list of participating vendors and here are the full event details.
It's FREE to enter and the first 30 guests in line each day get a special goodie bag!
If you're not in Montreal, have a look whether an Etsy Made in Canada show is coming near you this weekend! I promise you it's a special feeling to support local makers and your local economy!
Do you have a favorite shop in your community? Leave a comment below and spread the love.
From my heart to yours.
Tonight, I am both moved by life and mad at life at the same time.
Last Christmas, I met a lovely young woman at one of my holiday shows. She fell in love with one of my prints almost immediately. She held it in her lap for a long while, and I watched as it made her face come alive. Her presence in my booth really touched me. It did not matter that she was in a wheelchair. It did not matter that we had to use signs to communicate. All that mattered was that there was a connection, and she was happy.
Her parents were with her. I remember her telling me, "I'll look around the market and if I'm still thinking of your photograph later on, I'll know that I have to come back to buy it." I laughed and told her that was very wise. But her father didn't want her to wait. "Never mind," he said, and he gestured me to wrap it up for her.
This evening, the father wrote to me to tell me that she passed away this week, that the awful degenerative neurological disorder she suffered from had taken her away. He wrote to me to tell me that he had taken the photograph back from her room and that he would keep it, in memory of her. He thanked me for the photograph, and I was moved to tears.
That day at the market, her presence had made me feel connection and purpose. We are so focused on numbers nowadays, but I had felt grateful that I could impact ONE life. Tonight, I am thinking of that one life, and am grateful to have been useful for a brief micromoment within it.
Here's to her, that stranger, that happy girl. Her favorite: "Bicicletta"
Joannie et Lysa: Deux styles et une même passion donnent naissance à une nouvelle collection artistique
Read the interview in English here
Ce n'est pas un secret que l'art unit les gens. Mais quand deux artistes avec des styles, des techniques et des parcours personnels différents ressentent une connection spéciale qui les amène à créer d'une façon inattendue, cela peut être encore plus magique!
Cette connection immédiate ressentie par les artistes Joannie Houle et Lysa Jordan a mené à leur nouvelle collaboration artistique.
Profondément inspirée par ces deux femmes et leurs oeuvres d'art, j'étais intriguée par leur nouvelle collection de peintures à l'aquarelle et je voulais connaître leurs inspirations et leur processus artistique.
Une amitié grâce à Instagram
Bien que les deux artistes vivent proches l'une de l'autre, c'est Instagram qui les a réunies. "Je suivais Joannie sur Instagram depuis un moment et je suis tombée amoureuse d'une de ses illustrations. Je l'ai contactée pour acheter l'originale," dit Lysa, avouant qu'elle a été impressionnée par la qualité des illustrations et le style coloré et fantaisiste de Joannie. "Peu de temps après, je me trouvais dans son bel espace avec son illustration en main. Ce fut une connection immédiate entre nous deux et nous sommes en contact depuis!"
Joannie a également découvert les oeuvres de Lysa grâce à Instagram et elle est tout de suite tombée sous le charme de ses oeuvres colorées et lumineuses. "Quand Lysa a communiqué avec moi pour faire l’achat de l’une de mes illustrations, j’ai été si flattée qu’une artiste aussi talentueuse apprécie autant mon travail! Nous nous sommes rencontrées et nous avons beaucoup échangé lors de cette première rencontre. Sans le savoir, un projet bien spécial était né en plus d’une belle amitié!"
Deux styles différents qui convergent sur une passion partagée
Passionnées d'aquarelle et de la nature, les deux artistes ont trouvé le moyen de fusionner leurs styles très différents et de créer une nouvelle collection inspirante dont le lancement aura lieu le 24 mai 2018 à la boutique West Elm Montréal.
"Cette nouvelle collection représente cette passion que nous partageons pour la couleur et la botanique. Il s’agit de l’union de deux visions artistiques et de la naissance d’un style unique et nouveau qui nous représente toutes les deux", dont le nom Joannie et Lysa. "Nous souhaitons ajouter un peu de beauté au quotidien des gens. Cette collaboration est très douce et légère. Nos compositions sont apaisantes et nous croyons que c’est une émotion que les gens cherchent à ajouter à leur vie."
Les collaborations sont souvent des expériences intéressantes pour les artistes car elles impliquent non seulement une union de styles et de techniques mais aussi un mélange de personnalités, d'émotions et des expériences de vie.
Joannie et Lysa nous décrivent cette expérience.
"Travailler ensemble était fascinant. C’est super intéressant de voir comment nos méthodes, nos techniques et notre façon de peindre est différente. Pour vous donner un exemple, Joannie travaille assise à sa table de travail, souvent avec une image d’inspiration et de la musique et de mon côté je travaille sur le sol, sans image et sans musique!"
"Nous avons exploré, fait de nombreux tests et fait plusieurs erreurs. Celles-ci nous ont souvent amenées de nouvelles idées, qui étaient plus concluantes. Lorsque le résultat était satisfaisant c’était vraiment plaisant de partager cet émerveillement ensemble."
"Nous avons établi un calendrier approximatif au départ et nous avons tracé les grandes lignes de cette collaboration. Nous étions d’accord sur beaucoup de points alors ce fut plutôt rapide. Nous avons travaillé ensemble une journée par semaine, souvent chez Joannie qui m’a accueillie comme une reine à chaque fois dans son atelier."
Une collaboration enrichissante
Les collaborations peuvent souvent donner lieu à des surprises. Mais heureusement, pour Joannie et Lysa, ces surprises n'ont été que positives et enrichissantes.
"Nous avons eu un plaisir fou à créer une collaboration unique, un mélange de nos deux mondes. C’est merveilleux de sentir nos deux touches dans une même oeuvre. Nous sommes très surprises de voir l’équilibre des oeuvres et du mélange de nos deux styles qui en crée un nouveau qui vit par lui-même."
Les deux peintres nous racontent comment leur collaboration a enrichi leur vie d'une manière qui transcende les oeuvres sur lesquelles elles ont travaillé.
"Ce fut non seulement un plaisir de collaborer ensemble, mais aussi de partager nos vies d’artistes entrepreneurs. Nous avons parlé de comptabilité, de gestion de documents, photos, design graphique, de nos sites webs et aussi des défis de notre métier. Nous avons chacune un bagage très intéressant et ce fut très enrichissant d’en discuter ensemble. Nous avons aussi parlé de ce qui nous inspire, d’artistes que nous aimons et admirons, et échangé sur nos matériaux favoris."
Communauté sans compétition
Cette collaboration entre deux artistes basées à Montréal est un rappel rafraîchissant que l'esprit de communauté est (et devrait toujours être) plus fort que la compétition. "Nous croyons qu’effectivement la communauté est extrêmement importante dans notre milieu, par l’entraide, la gentillesse et le respect. L’art visuel est un domaine difficile qui vient avec des hauts et des bas. Nous ne pensons pas que la compétition soit nécessaire. C’est important de trouver sa voie, tracer son propre chemin et définir sa démarche artistique."
Joannie et Lysa sont inspirantes dans la façon dont elles ont trouvé leur propre approche artistique, en tant qu'individus et en tant que collaboratrices sur cette nouvelle collection. Le conseil qu'elles donnent à d'autres artistes est d'explorer patiemment ce qu'ils souhaitent explorer, jusqu'à ce qu'un style personnel émerge.
"Ne mettez pas d'effort pour essayer d'inventer un style. Si vous le faites, vous allez vous diriger vers une série d’oeuvres inauthentiques. Il est préférable de simplement travailler sur quelque chose que vous avez envie d'explorer et de voir ce qui s’en dégage. Vous commencerez à voir votre propre style personnel après avoir travaillé sur de nombreuses oeuvres."
Par contre, Lysa admet que cela ne vient pas facilement.
"Personne ne sait pour vous. Vous devez trouver votre propre chemin."
Ne manquez pas le lancement de la collection
Lorsque j'ai demandé à Joannie et Lysa d'élaborer un peu plus sur la collection et leur pièce préférée, elles étaient réticentes à répondre, nous gardant en suspense un peu plus longtemps! Nous devrons donc assister à leur lancement chez West Elm Montréal le jeudi 24 mai de 17h à 21h, où elles nous dévoileront enfin le fruit de leur travail et sûrement quelques anecdotes sur leur collaboration.
Merci, Joannie & Lysa, d'avoir créé de telles pièces inspirantes et de partager votre vision artistique avec nous!
Découvrez les oeuvres de Joannie Houle sur son site et suivez-la sur Instagram et Facebook.
Découvrez les oeuvres de Lysa Jordan sur son site et suivez-la sur Instagram et Facebook.
Joannie et Lysa: Two styles and one underlying passion give rise to a beautiful watercolor collection
Lire l'entrevue originale en français ici
It's no secret that art brings people together. But when two individual artists, with different styles, techniques and paths, feel a special connection that leads them to create something entirely new and unexpected, that may be even more magical.
That immediate connection was how Montreal artists Joannie Houle and Lysa Jordan describe the beginnings of their artistic collaboration.
Deeply inspired by both artists, I felt intrigued by their collaboration on a new collection of watercolor paintings, and wanted to learn more about their inspirations and artistic process.
Brought together by Instagram
Although the two artists live very close to one another, it was Instagram that brought them together.
"I followed Joannie on Instagram for a while and fell in love with one of her illustrations. I contacted her to buy the original," Lysa says, describing how she was impressed by the quality of the illustrations and Joannie's colorful and fanciful style. "Shortly after that, I was in Joannie's beautiful space with her illustration in hand. It was an immediate connection between the two of us, and we have been in contact ever since!"
Joannie also discovered Lysa's work on Instagram and was drawn to the color and luminescence of her pieces. "When Lysa contacted me to purchase one of my illustrations, I was so flattered that such a talented artist appreciates my work! We exchanged a lot during our first meeting. Without even knowing it, a very special project was born, in addition to a beautiful friendship!"
Different styles converge on a common passion
Passionate about watercolor and nature, the two artists found a way to merge their very different styles and to initiate an inspiring new collection, set to launch on May 24th, 2018 at West Elm Montreal.
"This new collection represents this passion that we share for color and botany. It is the union of two artistic visions and the birth of a unique new style that represents us both," hence the name of the collection Joannie & Lysa. "We want to add a little beauty to people's daily lives. This collaboration is gentle and light. Our compositions are soothing and we believe that it is a feeling that people seek to add to their lives."
Artistic collaborations can be a fascinating journey for individual artists, as they not only involve blending styles and techniques, but also personalities, feelings and life experiences.
Joannie and Lysa let us in on that experience.
"It's really interesting to see how our methods, techniques and how we paint is different," says Lysa, explaining how working together was fascinating. "To give you an example, Joannie works sitting at her desk, often with a picture for inspiration and music and on my side I work on the floor, without images and without music!"
"We explored, made many tests and made several mistakes. These often brought us new ideas, which were more conclusive. When the result was satisfactory, it was really nice to share this wonder together."
When asked about the logistics of how they worked on their collection, Lysa explained: "We established a rough schedule at the outset and outlined our collaboration. We agreed on a lot of points so it was pretty fast. We worked together one day each week, often at Joannie's place, who welcomed me into her art studio like a queen every time."
An enriching collaboration
Collaborations can often give rise to surprises. But thankfully, for Joannie and Lysa, these surprises were only positive and rewarding. "We had a great time creating a unique collaboration, a mix of our two worlds. It is wonderful to witness our individual artistic touches in the same piece. We have been very surprised to see the balance of our pieces and how the mix of our two styles has created a new style all of its own."
The two painters share how their collaboration enriched their lives in ways that transcended beyond the pieces they worked on.
"It was not only a pleasure to work together, but also to share our lives as entrepreneurial artists. We talked about accounting, document management, photos, graphic design, our websites and also the challenges of our business. We also talked about what inspires us, about artists we love and admire, and about our favorite materials."
Community over competition
Their collaboration as watercolor painters in Montreal is a refreshing reminder that community is (and should always be) stronger than competition. "We both believe in the importance of mutual help, kindness and respect. Visual art is a difficult field, which comes with its ups and downs. We think competition is unnecessary. It's important to find your own way, to chart your own path and to define your own artistic approach."
Joannie and Lysa are inspiring in how they have found their own artistic approach, as individuals and as collaborators on their beautiful new collection. Their advice to other artists is to patiently explore what they wish to explore, until a personal style emerges. "Don't put effort into trying to invent a style; if you do, you will create a series of inauthentic works. It's best to work on something you want to explore and see what comes out of it. You will begin to see your own personal style after working on numerous pieces," Lysa says, although she admits that it does not come easily.
"Nobody knows for you. You must find your own way."
Don't miss the launch party
When I probed Joannie and Lysa a little more on the collection and their favorite piece within it, they were reluctant to answer, keeping us in suspense a little while longer. We will have to attend their launch at West Elm Montreal on Thursday, May 24th from 5-9pm, where they will finally reveal the fruit of their labor and more anecdotes about their beautiful collaboration. Don't miss it!
Thank you, Joannie & Lysa, for creating such uplifting pieces and sharing your inspiring vision with us!
Shop Joannie Houle's art on her site and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
Shop Lysa Jordan's art on her site and follow her on Instagram and Facebook.
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It's a bit nutty, come to think of it, to have such a full work-week with art and science, and yet to pack the weekends with events and more events!
[Insert my Mom's concerned voice here: "When will you rest? Do you ever have time to just do NOTHING? When will you plant your flowers?"]
But (between you and me) it's my FAVE part of the job, because I can connect with you, see your reactions in person, tell you all about what inspires me, and hear about your own travels, bucket lists and decor goals. It's honestly so special to meet with you in person!
So here is where you can find me this May and June, not only in Montreal this time but also in Ottawa and Quebec City! (And of course, I'll be scurrying to add Ottawa and Quebec City photographs to my collection before then... cue the concerned Mom again!)
I'll also have loads of new prints, frames, notebooks, coasters and a brand new home-decor product with me. Stop by to see what it is!
My next events
Click on each event to find out more and to add it to your calendar.
West Elm Montreal Pop Up Shop: 29.04.2018
Etsy Montreal Marché Créatif Spring Printemps: 12&13.05
Marché de Mai On Sème: 19&20.05
Etsy Fait au Québec Printemps (Quebec City): 26&27.05
Etsy Made in Canada Spring by Cheerfully Made (Ottawa) : 9&10.06
West Elm Montreal Pop Up Shop: 16.06.2018
Will I see you at one of these?
From my heart to yours.
A couple of weeks ago, I revealed my new collaboration with the Smitten Italy & Co shop and introduced you to Heather Carlson, a fellow Italophile who became my pal on Instagram. In case you missed it, Heather interviewed me about my love for Italy on her Merry Feast Travels blog.
For the second part of our Smitten Italy series, I interviewed Heather on her love for Italy and her advice to novice Italy-travelers.
"It’s based on our love of Italy and is for everyone who is #smittenwithitaly.
The shop officially launched in early 2017 with a small line of clothing for adults & kids. Now the shop has expanded with tote bags, mugs, art prints & digital art. We are thrilled to be adding our first collaboration with Veni Etiam Photography in 2018."
Heather describes how she fell head over heels with not only "vacation Italy" but also Italy's daily, authentic side that she discovered over time.
"The first time it was all the typically romantic things. The street musicians, the architecture and art. Each time I returned, I learned more and appreciated additional things like the language, the people, the light, the history, and always the food. Food is so different from region to region and also from village to village. It blows my mind
how many wonderful and unique things there are to eat in Italy that many people have never heard of!"
Read Heather's Ultimate Bucket list for Food Lovers
"While living there, I saw a completely different side to Italy - crazy and frustrating yet continuously beautiful. And while I still love “vacation Italy,” living there really enriched my love and passion for the people and the country."
Is there a part of Italy you feel is underrated?
"Definitely Milan. While living there for several years, I really grew to love it. And I always love returning and continue to discover new things each time. It’s an amazing spot to base yourself, just a short train ride away from many wonderful destinations like the Lake district, Parma, Modena, Bologna, the Dolomites, Torino..."
Read Heather's articles about Milan and daytrips to nearby towns
What's a place you'd return to, again and again?
"Rome and Umbria," it seems Heather couldn't pick just one!
"I love them both so much and instantly feel at home whenever I return. I now lead food and wine tours in Umbria with my Italian partner who owns a cooking school and Agriturismo near Assisi. I love helping food-loving travelers plan their own delicious Italy adventures."
What advice would you give to an "Italy beginner" when helping them plan their travels?
Heather offered 3 tips for first-time Italy travelers:
1. Slow Down. Less is more for your daily schedule and in your itinerary. Allow breathing time to really sink into a place and experience it. Don’t dash from one site to another, or one city to another. Try to imagine that you will be coming back and don’t try to pack everything in to one trip.
2. Make Dinner Reservations. Book your first night’s dinner reservations before
arriving. I started doing this early on in my travels and have never regretted it
(especially when traveling with my kids) I love the thrill of the hunt of a good place to
eat, but get very grumpy if there is no plan and everyone is tired and hungry from a
long day of travel. Having a plan before we arrive takes the pressure off, and helps us
enjoy easing into our new location.
3. Eat dinner late with the locals. After your first night, adjust your dining times. Italians eat late compared to what we are used to in America. We struggled with that our first trip to Italy, and learned quickly that if you make a reservation for 7:30 when many restaurants open for dinner, you will be the only person there! What fun is that? To truly experience a bustling trattoria, adjust your time. By showing up at 8:30-9 (or later) you will soon be surrounded by the locals, enjoying your delicious homemade tagliatelle complete with delicious Italian ambiance!
Do YOU have an Italy travel tip to share? Leave a comment below. Heather and I would love to hear from you.
Visit the Smitten Italy shop for lots of fun Italy-related gift items, clothes and of course the Veni Etiam collection of Italy prints!
To learn more from Heather, be sure to follow Merry Feast and Smitten Italy over on Instagram. She's always adding new goodies to the blog and the shop!
From my heart to yours.
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This is a raw, personal, heartfelt post - I hope you can read it to the end.
Many – in fact, most – of you don’t know that for eighteen years, I have been a sufferer of severe endometriosis and other related health conditions - experiences that have changed me and my life forever.
Although I’m a writer at heart and have written about almost everything, this is something I’ve never put into words until now, not even in my own journals, and something I certainly did not imagine doing so publicly. But after nearly twenty years of this complex story, and after seeing so many other women struggling in similar ways, it is time now.
Unexpectedly and in almost one sitting, I have written my first real book – cover to cover – complete with things I’ve never written for a book, like a preface, an author’s note and acknowledgments. In it, a raw, candid, descriptive account of my personal journey - one that will surely resonate with many women and men around the world.
Why? And why now?
This March, I will be launching an inspiring new initiative called Alba – a new dawn. The website will showcase – through photographs, words and products designed for the cause – women entrepreneurs who have been affected by endometriosis, female cancers, chronic pain and infertility.
My goal with Alba is to help us shift the dialogue on women’s health and achieve a brighter dawn with more pro-active, holistic, systematic approaches for all, as well as to raise funding for research.
I have chosen to launch it in March in time for endometriosis awareness month and for Women's Day (March 8th).
The e-book is now available for pre-order through my Etsy shop.
By pre-ordering today, you will receive it in your inbox on its release date, March 8th. All proceeds from the book will go to starting up and maintaining the Alba project, which in turn will help many women find their voices and will collect funds for research on female cancers and endometriosis. Needless to say, you'd be donating to an important cause.
Whether you have been directly touched by the challenges of endometriosis and related health conditions (such as chronic pain, female cancers and infertility) or whether you are curious to learn more about this misunderstood and complex illness from the outside in, the poignant and brutally honest passages in "It's Time." are intended to educate, empower, inspire and heal.
Please follow @alba.a.new.dawn on Instagram and share this post as widely as possible, as we prepare for the launch of the initiative and the e-book!
If this resonates with you and you would like to find out about opportunities to become a member, affiliate or sponsor, please send me an e-mail to email@example.com and I’ll walk you through how the initiative will work. All opportunities will also be detailed on the website when it is launched in two weeks.
This post, and this whole mission, comes from the most vulnerable, rawest part of me. I’m taking a deep breath and hoping you’ll join me on this journey.
From my heart to yours,
“Open my heart and you will see, graved inside of it, 'Italy!'” – Robert Browning
Whether you have been following me for some time or you have just stumbled upon my world, you may have noticed that Italy plays a huge part in my collection, my writings and my days.
What's the deal with Italy? What gave rise to this "obsession"? How is Italy part of my life story? What's my favorite spot in Italy? All these questions and MORE are answered in an interview I did for the lovely Heather Carlson from "Smitten Italy" as part of our new collaboration.
Heather Carlson is a fellow italophile. We "met" in a magical place called Instagram, connected by our shared passion for Italian travel, food and culture. I stumbled upon Heather's shop of whimsical Italy-inspired goods, and later discovered that she is also behind "Merry Feast Travels", organizing culinary tours and offering travel planning services to any beginner or seasoned Italy-bound traveler.
As two individuals with Italy in their hearts, we have teamed up to offer a Veni Etiam x Smitten Italy collection of art prints in her lovely shop, and we have interviewed one another about our journey, our love for Italy and our work.
To find out more about why Italy is infused into my creative work, and to learn some Italy-related quirks about me that you probably did not know before, head to the Merry Feast Travels blog to read the full interview!
My mission with Veni Etiam has always been to inspire you, and help you find a piece of art that represents your own journey.
If Italy resonates with you as it does with me, I think you'll be excited to discover the collection that is now live in the Smitten Italy shop!
Which one is your favorite? Heather and I would love to know!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series where I will interview Heather about her story and her tips for travellers to Italy. Don't miss out on goodies: follow us!
This past weekend, one of the most scorching September weekends on record in Montreal, Etsy Montreal hosted the fourth edition of Etsy Fait au Québec, a nation-wide event (called Etsy Made in Canada in other provinces) that showcases the talents of Canadian artists, designers and crafters and encourages the population to shop local.
As one of the leaders of the Etsy Montreal team and as a participating vendor with Veni Etiam Photography, various tasks in planning for this event had filled the pages of my agenda for months. It is always an amazing cause to celebrate (and a bit of a relief) when over 7000 visitors come through our doors and happily discover the creations of over 100 artists. The energy in the room is almost indescribable, the smiles all around are truly contagious, and the feedback that comes from vendors and shoppers is uplifting. The show is a true community endeavor, and puts forward so many important values that strive to make our community - and our future - better.
During the event, I snuck away from my booth to snap some candid action shots of shoppers and vendors interacting. On my Facebook page, you can find the full album of photos (nearly 200 of them) of the event, with artists' tagged in the images and a full vendor list for you to peruse.
But if you've only got a minute or two, here's a video compilation of some of the shots.
Photo & video by Veni Etiam Photography. Music by bensound.uk
As a vendor, participating in Etsy Made in Canada / Fait au Québec is one of my favorite parts of the year. I am always uplifted and humbled by the support, enthusiasm and love my work receives from attendees and fellow artists alike.
I am not quite sure where the dream came from, this dream to make inspiring art for your homes and your heart. It just sort of snuck up on me, like the best dreams do, I suppose. A couple of years into having launched my business, some of my absolute favorite places have found a place on your walls, in your homes, in your daily routines. What could I possibly say to that? It's amazing. And what could I possibly say about the truly inspiring exchanges I have had with other incredible members of the artistic community? For everything you have taught me and continue to teach me, thank you!
From my heart to yours.
It's mid-September, although the weather gods are still totally convinced it's mid-July (fine by me!). And mid-September means one thing for certain every year: it's time for Etsy Made in Canada and our local edition Etsy Fait au Québec Montréal.
Over 100 artists, designers and makers from the Montreal area will gather under one (historic) roof to showcase and sell their incredible products with the community, which is becoming increasingly interesting in buying local.
Here are 12 artists I cannot wait to see this weekend,
as I am totally in love with their products and artistic vision.
(Clicking on each artist's image will take you to their Etsy shop. Do it, you know you want to!)
1. Mathilde Cinq-Mars Illustrations
4. Portes Bonheur
5. Pepito le Chat
6. The Hat with No Feather
7. Stéphanie Fauteux Céramiste
8. Le Cubicule
10. Us & Coutumes
11. Andrea Shelley Designs
12. Atelier Cheval de Bois
Veni Etiam Photography will also be there all weekend long with tons of new items in the Montreal collection, the brand new Havana collection, magnets and gift items, coffee tables, a surprise new product (come see for yourself!) and new frames available on the spot in the exact sizes of my prints! I'll have reduced prices on prints and custom orders, so if you have questions about sizing or anything else, feel free to reach out even before the event!
P.S. If you're curious, this post belongs to the theme #TradeThursday, part of the Etsy Montreal Social Media Challenge. The artists who are participating as vendors in the annual Etsy Fait au Quebec (Made in Canada) market are encouraged to share behind the scenes posts as they prepare for the show. Follow along with all of us on Instagram with the main hashtags #etsyfaitauquebecmtl and #etsymtl.
We all hope to see you there!
From my heart to yours.
Entrepreneurship, like anything in life, involves a lot of trial and error. It starts with passion, curiosity, motivation and a vision. It requires a leap of faith, jumping into the void, experimenting, listening, adjusting. It takes a lot of patience and perhaps a little bit of luck. It is rewarding, empowering, liberating, frustrating, discouraging, maddening, inspiring, head-consuming, doubt-provoking and exciting. Entrepreneurship is sometimes a crazy journey - a path that curves through unexpected but beautiful territory, a collection of several rights and many wrongs.
When I launched my travel art shop two years ago, I initially didn't realize that I was launching a business. I was a full-time scientist and had never ventured into entrepreneurship in any form. I learned by doing and by being.
What advice would I give now to my inexperienced self who was just starting out two years ago?
Here are 11 of the most valuable lessons I learned in business:
1. Be yourself
Just be you. That is when you can be most consistent, most unique and most magnetic. No one else is you, so no one else can quite offer what you offer. In the sometimes overwhelming face of competition, learn to shift your focus back onto you and who YOU are in how you live and what you create. There is a place for everyone. It seems silly but it sometimes take quite some mental training to hold onto this principle in the business world.
2. Stories are special
We are story-tellers. We gather, we tell, we live by sharing and consuming stories. It's only natural, then, that stories help people connect with you and what you offer through your business. Stories allow your voice and your personality to shine through and touch people in a way that makes them want to keep you in their life - whether you are half a block or half a world away from them.
When we first create our businesses, we base ourselves on our vision, our talents, our training and our values. It's really key to welcome - and to use - feedback in order to fine-tune our offerings for our target audience. Be attentive to how others' react to your work and how they describe your business. If you sell physical products like I do, this is what is so great about being present at pop-up shops or shows. Who are you connecting with? What words are they consistently using? What products spark conversation in them, with you or the person shopping with them? If you mostly sell online, consider sending a short survey to your customers or offer them an incentive to leave you a review. Listen to the traits they focus on when describing you, and amplify those traits in your how you create and present your work.
4. Social media marketing is vital
This is now fact. Whether we like it or not, this is how we roll now. Social media with a strategy is vital to getting our message out there, interacting with our target market and telling our story. Without a strategy, social media is ineffective at best and actually hurtful to the brand at worst. It can suck up a huge amount of time, energy and motivation, so it takes thinking, planning and consistent execution. I would tell my past-self not to put off joining the social media stage. But, I would also tell my past-self to have a strategy and to do it thoughtfully, without spreading myself thin over all the channels without compelling content.
Some of us might really hate putting ourselves out there online. It's one thing to put together a website or Etsy shop with descriptions about ourselves, our story, our business and our work, but the worst part is that once it is all out there, we still have to repeat it! It took me a while to realize that not everyone would know the text on my website by heart (ha ha!) and shoppers landing on my Etsy shop would probably not always read the product descriptions, let alone any of the introduction texts! Business coaches also encourage you to repeat yourself now and then. It's important that people who just stumble upon you have a clear sense of what you are all about. You'll notice that even your Facebook friends (who follow your personal page and regularly see your shares from your business page) may take time to become familiar with you and buy from you!
6. Trust your gut
Trust yourself, what you offer, what your brand is all about and what your price-point is. It's easy to feel imposture syndrome now and then, not only when you are just starting out. But, at the end of the day, trusting in your value will attract others to trust in your value. You are doing this because you believe in its mission. When something happens to shake that belief up, don't let it derail you.
7. Expertise develops continuously
You may not be an expert in ALL the facets related to your work, your craft and your business. That is okay. You don't have to wait until you are an expert in everything in order to be successful. You can (and should) invest in yourself to develop those areas that are further outside of your comfort zone, but it does not have to be all or nothing.
8. Say no
It's good to say no. Did I just say that? It took me so long to learn this, in all areas of my life! If something is not sitting well in your gut, it probably means it is not aligned with your core self, your current priorities, your values or your vision for your brand. Ask yourself: Is this something that will be brand affirming? Does it take me in a direction I'd be happy with? Does it fit with my goals? Do I have time for it without burning out or compromising my other priorities? It's totally fine when the answer to any one of these questions is NO. You have your reasons and, although you could express them as a justification, you don't really need to justify your choices.
9. Take everything as a constructive learning experience
We are constantly learning. That is the beauty (and curse) of life! Train yourself to look at every circumstance, success and failure as constructive, as fluid and as a blessing. Adjusting as you go along is part of the process. Feeling proud of little milestones - even negative ones - is also important.
10. Invest in yourself
Invest in your professional development. Create opportunities for learning. It is daunting but necessary to take up opportunities that are outside of our comfort zone and that involve a certain degree of risk. There cannot be growth without risk. When you don't risk anything, you get too comfortable. If you take a risk to invest in yourself financially or with respect to your time-commitment, you naturally strive to succeed and not fail. It helps to add a little extra fire up your butt!
11. Take time to revise and revisit
It's important not to pack your plate so much that you don't create empty spaces for assessment, reflection and re-alignment. It's important to carve out the time to revisit some approaches and practices - even the content on your website. It's one of my business resolutions for the new year, as my personality has always been the go-go-go type. I want to create space for myself to go on a mini hiatus and reflect in a systematic way on what worked, what worked less and where to go from here.
So there you have it - all the things I wish I knew when I launched Veni Etiam two years ago! Don't get me wrong, I'm still learning. Every single day. And that, I really think, is the beauty of it.
Fellow entrepreneurs, TELL ME which one of these tips resonates most with you? Leave a comment on this post!
If you're curious, this post belongs to the theme #WiseWordsWednesday, part of the Etsy Montreal Social Media Challenge. The artists who are participating as vendors in the annual Etsy Fait au Quebec (Made in Canada) market are encouraged to share behind the scenes posts as they prepare for the show. Follow along with all of us on Instagram with the main hashtags #etsyfaitauquebecmtl and #etsymtl.
Lately, I've made it a priority to pause and make a mental note of the simple joys that make a difference in my day. It helps me become better attuned to what influences my mood, my mindset, my health and my productivity.
On Instagram, I shared one of my simple recipes for a positive day:
(click on each item to learn more about it)
What are some of your tools for a positive day? Leave a comment and let me know.
Follow me on Instagram for more daily inspiration
From my heart to yours.
Thanks for stopping by! #OnTheBlog are the stories behind my prints, posts about my travels, glimpses into my daily life, news about my shop, events in the Montreal community and tips on travel, home and photography.
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