10, 000 hours

I wanted to post this last week before our vacation in France, but I think I was afraid of my own words and what this post really meant/ means. 
This photo is probably the coolest photo I think I've ever taken, and although I want to use its beauty as a metaphor for my life right now, I'll just let you enjoy the photo of a swan who is scared of the crazy woman balancing on rocks in the trees. Anything for the photo, right?!
When I first started writing this entry it was mid-week after a long shift at my corporate run job as a visual merchandiser for a flagship store in a high street retailer (say that 5 times fast). And although my initial thoughts and feelings have since 360'd, I want to still include the first excerpt I wrote before I get to my most recent writing. Here is what I almost posted as we went into the weekend this past Thursday...
Harewood House, where swans and flamingos love to dance. This day trip provided fresh air, beauty, and a moment to absorb our new home. Moving to England with a few suitcases and my new husband has been a rather difficult transition for me. Don't get me wrong, it is amazing living in a place where you casually stumble upon a castle in the park or can dine in a pub from 1500, but being so far from my community, my family, my network, and my home, has been really tough! By the time we move back to Portland, my youngest niece who was 3 when we left will be 7, my oldest nephew who just started middle school will be on his way to finishing high school, and my youngest nephew will actually be a talking child, no longer a chunky toddler! A few years doesn't seem like much as an adult, but with little ones in your life it is a long time. Especially when there is no set time of when you will get to see anyone or visit. We have been in England for 7 months now, and although I am grateful for double decker buses to work, cheap travel to Europe, and the general experience of being an expat, I feel like I am just waiting to go home. I suppose my mindset needs to change, as waiting for something is very different than just being. But waiting for years for something? That seems nearly impossible! I suppose I am just writing this to publicly promise that I am going to try being instead of waiting, no matter how many times that means I need to take trips back to places like Harewood House. 

On being and not waiting.
This weekend (the weekend before France) was a game changer for me, for my emotional well being, my mental attitude, my overall experience as an expat. It was the first weekend I thought, "I love living in England." And in that moment I immediately stopped what I was doing to focus on this thought. Why did I all of a sudden love living in England? I am still without my family, a financially secure job, still without a mode of transportation besides my own two feet, still without much furniture, without a community, without my friends. I was/am without many things, but in that moment, as I was meticulously hand stitching away on a bridal head piece for one of my gorgeous ladies getting married next month, I realized I was in fact happy and content. The sun was shining in through our sheer white curtains, reflecting off the glistening rhinestones I had scattered across our white work table, my husband on our old couch (that came with the furnished flat) reading and writing, and me putting my heart into creating a beautiful piece that not only will help pay our bills, but that unleashed a sense of comfort and feeling of contentment. This thought, a moment of a possible "game changer" for my experience of England, followed a rather encouraging experience.
Just the day previous, on Friday, I sold pieces to a fashionable (in a Stevie knicks sort of way) creative woman who owns by-far the most sophisticated and beautiful bridal shop in Leeds, and who is sharing my work with bridal designers all over the UK.
On my way home from that uplifting experience I stopped into a fabric store that is always closed yet I always hope will be open. Sure enough, this day it was! I knocked on the locked door to be buzzed in and upon arrival found the most beautiful fabrics and trims of rich gold, red, blue, and silver colors. Beaded chiffon, embroidered silks—it was stunning! The tiny store, or more of a an over-stocked, disheveled boutique, is just one street down from our flat and owned by a local family from Bangladesh. Luckily for me they had a sale section where I picked up a fabric of black and white stripes, the only one that stood out from the beautiful bold colors as being plain Jane, for the girl who wasn't feeling up to making a statement in that particular outfit. I got home and began draping and designing a dress for myself, excited at the future process of wearing an item I loved and designed and that was fit for my body type. And although it was a weekend full of to-do lists and running through town, back and forth on the bus in between spurts of rain and sunshine, I was blown away by how creative I allowed myself to be. I was being what I told myself I needed to be the day before: creative! Being in these moments of creativity was as important to my well being as breathing in fresh, clean air, except this air was for my soul. And I confirmed with myself, this is it. This is what I need to be doing. At 27, have I finally figured the it out? Not exactly, but creating is a better it than the slump I've allowed myself to fall into since the move.
As I continued to stitch the bridal piece and actually say out loud what I was thinking, "I'm happy we live in England...". The shock of my husbands face and my smile affirmed that my role in this life is to create. It may not bring the big bucks like a corporate job in the fashion world does, but it's the vocation that fulfills, inspires, and keeps me going in a positive direction. Creativity is my therapy. It cultivates passion. It is why I am saying goodbye to corporate and saying hello (again) to Jade Rose, the creative woman inside who has been smothered with sadness, reality TV, and too much sugar.
So what does this mean for the blog? For me moving forward? It means you get to see more DIY/made-by-hand wardrobe choices, that you get to follow the journey and process of a "designer," that you get to continue in following our travels allowed to us through hard work and a schedule we create for ourselves. It means you get to learn more about England and what makes it different from America and the rest of the world and why it is so beautiful. It means you will hopefully leave inspired from time to time. It means you get to know the real Jade Rose as I keep learning the same. And some people would say that's pretty rad. 


  1. Hey Jade. Love this post a lot a lot. Very inspiring :)

  2. Jade Rose, I have only been in the same room with you twice, on your wedding weekend when you married my nephew. But I did not think that I could be even more impressed with you than I was that weekend. I am now. This revelation about who you are and who you are meant to be is a life-changer, a "mission statement" of sorts. It is a valuable and worthy moment to savor and keep close in the coming years. Yay you! I am so looking forward to reading your blog and hopefully actually being in the same room with you again someday! Aunt Susie :)


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