Wildlife Inspiration: Wolf Mountain Nature Center

Inspiration, Travel

IMG_3478Anyone who follows this site knows that I am inspired by nature and, more specifically, wildlife. I love animals.

This weekend I decided to go out with Andy and members of his family to find some wildlife inspiration, spending time exploring one of Central New York’s wildlife gems: the Wolf Mountain Nature Center.

Currently home to 13 wolves (plus two new pups!), four coyotes and handful of arctic foxes, I can’t say enough great things about this organization. The grounds are beautiful, hidden atop a picturesque hill in CNY, the staff is overwhelmingly friendly and their mission is honorable and strong, focused on protecting wolves and teaching visitors the beauty of wildlife and the importance of conserving it.

Our group spent a solid two hours exploring the grounds, walking to each enclosure where we were introduced to residents and given new tidbits of information by the awaiting staff members. Aside from learning a lot about the organization, its residents and the wild canine species, the best (although admittedly surprising) part of the visit was how friendly the wildlife was.

With most of the animals being born at the Center, they are all used to human contact, a trait that is critical in regard to medical treatment. Although you won’t get to pet a wolf on your visit, you will definitely get to see them up close and personal as they come up to the fences to check you out.

IMG_3484.jpg

Inspired by these encounters, I’m already in the midst of planning my next visit to the Mountain! There’s nothing quite like seeing the beauty of a wild animal, content in a humane and conservation-focused environment to warm your heart and inspire you in the best of ways.

If you’re an animal-lover such as myself, then Wolf Mountain is a resounding must-visit. To learn more about the Center and its residents click here.

In Search of Flowers 🌸

Inspiration

Memorial Day weekend is fast-approaching and Andy and I are on a mission to dress up our home for the (un)official start to summer.

One of the cheapest and most effective ways to dress up your home? Flowers! Bright, beautiful and festive, I absolutely adore flowers. They look great, they smell great, and sometimes, are downright magical.

I want all the #flowers!…But mostly the sea #dragon 😁🐉🌸

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

And what’s more fun than enjoying flowers and plants from the comfort of your home? Shopping for them!

🌹Flower shopping = my favorite kind of shopping #springhassprung

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

Check out some of the photos I snapped this week on our quest for the perfect floral decor:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Singing in Chobani’s “Fruit Symphony” Commercial

Inspiration

All the years I spent pursuing my love of music, I never pictured myself in a national commercial. I am truly overwhelmed in the most positive of ways, and have so many thoughts and feelings regarding the amazing opportunity I was given. Right now, all I can say is that I am truly blessed and have led a very fortunate life. Thank you, Chobani, for being a force of good in this world and for helping me to live my dreams.

Read more about the new commercial on Fast CompanyMediaPost and brandchannel.

HOW TO BE MORE CREATIVE IN 2017

Inspiration

New year, new you right? At this point we’re all focusing on the resolutions we made last weekend, promising ourselves that this year would be our year and that the next 365 days will bring greater satisfaction and contentment than any other year has ever seen before!

…Perhaps a wee bit dramatic but, then again, our new year’s resolutions typically are, right?

This year add another, and totally obtainable, resolution to your list by resolving to be more creative! While this can easily be reached in a number of different ways, check out my suggestions below if you are seeking a little inspiration:

Get inspired! One of the most important steps in being creative is being cognizant of where your inspiration comes from. Whether it’s books, television, poetry, film, spending time with friends and family or whathaveyou, embrace that which inspires you!

For example, I gifted myself some inspiration post-Christmas with this fabulous t-shirt:

🐉"Newt Scamander: Magizoologist" #fantasticbeastsandwheretofindthem #nerdculture #christmasgifttomyself

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

 

Invest in new supplies. Everyone likes new toys. By treating yourself to some new art supplies or kitchen appliances, you’re much more likely to get into your workspace and actually create.

 

Consider a daily calendar. Last year I made use of the “Craft-a-Day 2016 Day-to-Day Calendar: 366 Simple Handmade Projects” desk calendar, which featured a new craft every day. While I never actually completed the crafts presented in the calendar, having it sit on my desk was a great reminder to be creative on a daily basis, and provided me with some fun ideas for future art pieces and crafts.

Try new things. If you like to cook, try new recipes. If you’re an artist, try new media. If you’re all out of inspiration, step outside of your comfort zone and make it a priority to experience new things. Go see a play, experience nature in a new way, try taking a creative course or learn a new skill.

Keep an idea book. Before there was Pinterest, many creatives would (and many still do) keep idea books. Invest in a sketchbook or notebook in which you can write, draw, paint, collage and paste all of your musings and inspirations. It’s so easy to get caught up in your mind and allow the intimidation of a blank page hold you back. Break that barrier by letting loose in your idea book!

15972791_1399431586734865_4844493468307456613_o.jpg

So while I hope you are able to stick to all of your 2017 resolutions, I especially hope that you find this year to be one filled with copious amounts of inspiration and creativity. Cheers to perpetual creation!

Feature photo retrieved from https://unsplash.com/search/creativity?photo=bYOi200uQ6w

Christmas with the Celts

Holiday, Inspiration, Review

To get into the holiday spirit, my family and I decided to attend a show brought to our local Arts Council: Christmas with the Celts.

FullSizeR (1).jpg

If given the opportunity, I would highly recommend attending this show, as it was a combination of lively energy, festive music and the perfect amount of Christmas that you are looking for during the holiday season!

#Christmas with the #Celts! 👏🌲🍀🎻

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

 

The performance even incorporated local Irish step dancers during a handful of songs and a local elementary school chorus joined in during the group’s rendition of John Lennon’s “So This is Christmas.”

With the tickets only costing $31.00 per person, I’m was very happy with the quality of the show! Seriously, how can you listen to Celtic music and not be happy?

Here’s to checking off that Christmas season checklist! 

P.S. Only 7 days until Christmas!

Reviewing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (No Spoilers!)

Inspiration, Pop Culture, Review

I’ve been so busy writing Christmas and Fall inspired posts that I haven’t had the chance to reflect upon Fantastic Beasts. Having seen the film two weeks ago, I’ve been itching to write down my thoughts on the film and share them with the creative and wizard-loving community.

The first thing I’m going to say is this: Go see the movie. If you have not yet seen it, but believe that you may possess even just the slightest interest in doing so, then stop reading this and go to the theater immediately.

Because my overall review is that Beasts was, truly, Fantastic. 

Clearly very different from the Harry Potter story, this film brought something new to the table: A plot line and experience of the wizarding world seen through the perspective of an adult, littered with maturity and the vibrancy of early-1900s New York City.

Though I could absolutely rant and rave about this film, I’ll keep it simple with my top three favorite things:

1. The Beasts. Anyone who reads this blog knows of my love of mythical and fantastical creatures. If you loved watching Harry fly over the lake with Buckbeack, or perhaps secretly wished for Norbert’s prolonged residence in Hargrid’s hut, then you will love the creatures brought to you in Beasts. While the niffler provides sufficient humor, the thunderbird emanates wonder and encourages imagination.

With so many other creatures also presented during the film, the beasts are a large part of what makes this film fantastic.

2. Character Development. Without a doubt, Eddie Redmayne makes this film. Socially awkward and enraptured by seemingly “dangerous” characters, Newt Scamander is a character for whom you find yourself rooting for.

Also captivating is our first muggle/no-maj main character, Jacob, who adds an immense amount of humor to the periodically dark storyline.

fb-trl3-87979-1024x429

Sisters Porpentina and Queenie also make for well-developed main characters, playing like-able, as well as complete and total opposites.

tinaqueenie-xlarge

3. Storyline. This storyline, while playing into Harry Potter, was also completely fresh. It was also a great balance of light-hearted humor and serious, symbolic themes. Although this was her first screenplay, J.K. Rowling has outdone herself once again.

fantastic-beasts-and-where-to-find-them-ezra-miller-samantha-morton-600x400

This year has been a big one for the wizarding world, bringing us the release of  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as well as the beginning of this new Fantastic franchise. Ultimately much more pleased with this film than I was with the Cursed Child play book I look forward to seeing it one more time before it leaves theaters and ultimately encourage you to do the same.

Early Christmas gift perhaps?

Until then, so the fan art begins…

Niffler.jpg

Christmas Checklist: Finding Your Holiday Spirit

Festivity, Inspiration

It’s that time of year again! The most wonderful time of the year as a matter of fact, and everyone is abuzz with excitement and anticipation as Christmas day looms closer.

Though our culture tends to associate this season with gift-giving, most of us know that there is so much more to this holiday and that it is the traditions that make it special. While the Christmas season technically kicked off two weeks ago, there is still plenty of time to enjoy the activities and traditions that make this the most wonderful time of the year.

But perhaps you’re still in need of a little holiday spirit? Not a problem. Check out my Christmas to-do list for inspiration:

  1. Decorate the house and transform your home into a holiday wonderland.

2. Trim the tree, because it wouldn’t be Christmas without a grand and shining tree shining through your window.

🌲❄️☃️

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

3. Make a festive wreath to hang on your front door.

4. Bake an abundance of Christmas cookies (because calories don’t count on the holidays).

cookies

5. Watch a Christmas classic, such as “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” 

IMG_0825

6. Check out a Christmas show or performance, such as the “Nutcracker Ballet.”

the mouse king

7. Attend a Christmas-craft class or do one on your own!

8. Read a winter or holiday-themed book.

51w5hcx1vml-_sx258_bo1204203200_

9. Sit back and enjoy the snow.

snowflakecircle-01

Here's to hoping the #snow stays put for the next two weeks. #whitechristmas #samadams #sundayfunday ❄️🍺

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

10. Spend time with the ones you love most.

img_0783

It’s the little things in life that we remember, and the little things that count most. Be sure to make this holiday season count!

P.S. Only 18 days until Christmas!

christmaspuppy

Capturing Everyday Magic: Snowflake Embroidery

Art, Inspiration

Most of us can remember making snowflakes when we were children, frantically cutting geometric shapes out of pieces of paper and hanging them throughout our childhood homes.

Still entranced by snowflakes as an adult, I decided to bring snowflake art to the next level, completing this freestyle hand embroidery inspired by the movie Frozen.

 

SNOWFLAKECIRCLE-01.png

This piece, while differing greatly from my usual subject matter with its focus on pattern, was very relaxing to work on. After drawing the outline in pen, I then worked very methodically: filling in one piece at a time, following with the corresponding sections in the other five points.

snowflakecloseup2.jpg

As of late, I’ve been using my embroidery pieces to capture the idea of every day magic. Objects or occurrences that occur in nature (or perhaps they’re believable enough that they just might) that possess a fantastical or magical quality.

I was inspired by the Frozen snowflake in particular, as it is used as a symbol of Elsa’s powers and magical abilities.  The snowflake’s design represents the power of strong colors and geometric shapes, and their ability to transform something created by nature into something otherworldly and beautiful.

snowflakecloseup.jpg

Greatly pleased with the outcome, I plan on framing this piece and hanging it with the rest of my holiday decor this Christmas season.

A Fantastic Beast Menagerie: Magical Creature Artwork of 2016

Art, Inspiration, Pop Culture

Fantastic Beasts comes out this week and I couldn’t be more excited! Needless to say, we Potter fans are eager to explore New York City through J.K. Rowling’s wizarding eye.

For me, however, the most exciting part of this film will be the creation of more fantastic beasts. Or, more accurately, the materialization of the beasts mentioned in the Harry Potter novels but left out of the coinciding films. I.e. The niffler:

fantastic-beasts-niffler

After all, anyone who reads this site on a regular basis knows that a solid portion of posts are centered around my own artwork, especially that which features fantastic beasts inspired by the Harry Potter films.

Today, as I share my excitement for this film’s release, I’m adding to this fantastic beast collection, sharing my most recent drawing of a thestral.

thestralgood

Created in pen and ink, I knew that the black and white color scheme paired with the sketchbook quality would give the drawing the eery yet beautiful vibe that those of us who know what a thestral is have come to associate with them.

With Beasts getting ready to hit theaters this weekend, embrace your own excitement and check out photos of my other Fantastic Beast pieces below!

Dragon: Colored Pencil and Watercolor

norbert

Hippogriff: Cotton and Acrylic Paint

IMG_0962

Phoenix: Colored Pencil

image

Mandrake: Colored Pencil and Ink

IMG_1276