Melanie Jeanne

Emily of

Y’all, today is an awesome day! You see today our Woman of Influence series hits close to home (in my home actually), touches my heart and gives me a moment of pause. Today I introduce to you our oldest daughter and my bonus babe Emily!

She’s been a part of my life for nearly half of her life. She is part of my daughter tribe. She is the oldest sissy. She is “our” first born (I did not birth her, her amazing mama did that, but in our blended family  she is our first born – semantics). And today I get to introduce her to y’all. I have been apprehensive to share too much about my bonuses on here for a multitude of reasons – most predominantly to respect their bio parents. 1. I am not her bio mom and I never have wanted to disrespect her mama or speak from a place of authority on someone else’s babe. 2. J is a no social media kind of guy and sharing about his kids never felt appropriate. But, Emily and I have had many long talks over the years and now that she is an adult, she has expressed the interest and ok that I share about her… It’s time for her to be in the spotlight and shared just has J and Doodle have.

I am also thrilled because in my journey to raising women up and sharing stories, I think there is so much value in acknowledging the influence any one person can bring to the table. Though my readership is of an age bracket where we could all be Emily’s parent’s, Emily has so much she can teach us about living life to the fullest and bringing joy to others. She is the definition of a Woman of Influence.

Let’s start easy, tell me about yourself! School, hobbies, anything and everything that would help readers get to know you…

Hello y’all. My name is Emily and I am 19 years old and just finished my first semester of college at the University of Arizona. I absolutely love my school [BEAR DOWN BABY] and I am so excited for these next few years down in Tucson. I am double majoring in English and Early Education with a minor in Adolescents, Community, and Education (otherwise known as ACE minor). I am in a sorority, Chi Omega, just like my mom and three of my cousins. I love being a Chi Omega because it is a group of wonderful women. Through Chi O, I have made all my college friends. I am very passionate about reading, traveling, and friends.

How are we connected?

Welp, you are married to my dad making you my step-mom… but, in our house we call you our bonus mom, Ma Mel. You are not just the lady married to my dad but, my talk forever and wanderlust dreamer friend. 🙂

We are a blended family. How did you take to blending our family? And now that you have two blended families, how about now?

In the very beginning, I did not take well to you. I remember the first time we all went out together – dad, you, Rachel and Doodle, we went to lunch and the movies and I remember putting my legs across my dads lap as we watched the movie. At the time I was trying to prove some kind of point that he was mine and not yours haha (silly twelve year old)! Becoming a new family did have its struggles and sometimes we still do struggle, just like any other family. But, now, I love our family so friggin’ much. I am so glad to have two blended families. I love Doodle so much, I am so blessed to have been a part of her life for as long as she can remember. And I love our silly dance nights with dad and game nights that you, me & Doodle beg Rachel and dad to participate in.

You are the oldest of our three girls, how do you like being the example for your sisters?

PrEsSuRe!!! Haha, I used to think that I had to be Miss Perfect in order to be the best big sister so that I wouldn’t lead them into doing the bad things. Now, I have stopped wanting to be the perfect big sister, but the big sister they can always turn to. I love being the big sister to Rachel and Doodle. I don’t think they know how much I love them. I love them so much I would seriously go to the playground to beat up anyone who tried to pick on them (meaning, I would defend them whenever they needed me, I’ve got their backs always). What I want my little sisters to know is that they always have me to come and talk to about anything, anytime.

I’ve had the pleasure of watching you grow up, so, what do you want to be when actually grow up?

When I first got to college I had no idea what I wanted to be. The only thing I truly knew was that I loved to travel and I want to travel as far and as often as possible. I say it all the time, I just want to see the world. Then one night I was talking to my boyfriend about what I used to want to be when I grew up. I told him that as a kid I wanted to be a wedding planner or a teacher. As I explained to him all the reasons I wanted to be a teacher, I started to tear up! So, a High School English teacher is what I want to be when I grow up, I have declared my major and am now studying to become a TEACHER! I am actually studying early education as well so that I can switch between eleventh graders and second graders anytime. I like to be versatile 🙂

Now that you are off at college, how have your routines changed? How are you enjoying this stage of adulthood? What is something you love most about being on your own? What do you like least?

My life and routines have changed dramatically since I have been in college. My least favorite part right now – deciding on, planning and choosing all of my meals all of the time. My options aren’t great, it seems like I’m eating either gross foods, greasy foods, or way too healthy foods. I am still trying to figure that part out. Other than that I love it!

One night I went to the residence hall next door where my bestie Kara lives and we stayed up talking till four in the morning! Other nights (our group) Hannah, Addy, and Kara will be up making pasta or brownies while watching a movie or talking about all the drama. I love not having to ask permission to do things and I love creating my own timetable for when things need to get done.

What are your goals for the four years you are away at school? What do you want to accomplish? Experience?

I have multiple goals for these next four years most of which include joining clubs. I want to join A Moment Of Magic, it’s a club where you get assigned to dress up like a princess and then visit  children’s hospitals to bring joy to sick kids. Next year, I also want to join some kind of sophomore honorary which is a co-ed group of leaders who give back to the community. Outside of clubs I would love to study abroad at some point, gain a leadership position inside of my sorority, and graduate cum laude.

What do you think adulthood will look like for you?

The dream adult life… it’s very fun to think about. I hope I will be living somewhere that makes me happy whether that is near home or somewhere different and fun like Maine or California, maybe somewhere that is hip for the stage of life I’m in. I hope that I can find a teaching job, I would love to be smart with my money so I can be smart when it comes to traveling on summer breaks between teaching. I have always dreamt that once I graduate college I would get married right after, that is still my hope and perhaps I could then see the world with my man. 😉 Once I’m older then I will have all the babies… like 28 or something… but, this is all a dream and God works in mysterious ways and I have no idea what life will turn out to be.

Now for some fun!

What are your greatest indulgences?

My biggest indulgence is for sure binge-watching Netflix. I am always rewatching shows like Friends, Gossip Girl, Gilmore Girls and The Vampire Diaries. I could sit all day watching reruns and browsing Pinterest on my computer. Give me some buttery popcorn with nacho cheddar and ranch seasoning and that is a heavenly indulgent lazy day.

What would be one piece of advice you’d give to a graduating senior in high school (Rachel read closely)? And what piece of advice would you give to a new freshman in college?

Advice to high school senior: Soak it all in. Go to every football game with your friends. Be the last one to leave the dances, and get ready with your friends. Be silly and have the time of your life. Spend some time with your parents, especially if you will be moving away from home, they will miss you! My time with my parents before I left were pretty special because I tried to soak up the time I had left. Above all else, don’t be too distracted about your upcoming future that you miss out on all of the amazing and fun things happening right in front of you.
Advice to a college freshman: BE DARING! Be so courageous and bold. Be yourself but, at the same time be open to learning and exploring new things. This next semester my goal is to do more things. Right now it’s pretty just my sorority, Chi Omega, that I am involved in on campus. But, there are so many different types of people and so many fun activities to do, I can’t wait to find more fun things to do. Also, this advice may be a little jaded, but, in my opinion, you should rush greek. The girls that I have met have the same values as me and are already like family. We stay up all night dancing in our tiny dorm room, talking about life and dreams, and watching movies. I have made some forever friends through Chi O.
Where do you think your wanderlust came from?
I honestly think my wanderlust came from my middle school Spanish class. It wasn’t really Spanish language as much as a Spanish culture class in sixth grade and my teacher would focus on a different country every week. We would look at pictures, talk about tourist attractions and what the locals loved to do. My teacher was so cool we would cook sometime in the school cafeteria one of the famous foods from that country. I knew then I had to see the world. I think each individual culture is so special and I want to see it all.
What would you say to other dreamers? Other young ladies bitten by the wanderlust bug? How do you indulge it on a students budget?
Take every single opportunity you can find. I love to travel far but, not only that I want to see what’s nearby. Just because I live in Arizona does not mean I have seen Arizona. Try to find small trips within your area that cost little. When you visit somewhere you don’t need to eat at fancy restaurants or stay in a nice hotel to enjoy where you are. My best friend Ashley and I have seen a lot in Arizona. We have been to Humboldt Mountain, Slide Rock, Bell Rock, The Grand Canyon, Flagstaff to see snow, Seven Falls, and more. We usually would pack our food and we would pay for a parking pass and gas. I actually have started a new blog called where I will be writing about some of these trips and some new ones to come.
For traveling further it’s about keeping your eyes open for new opportunities and jumping on them. I went on two mission trips to Kenya and Colombia in one summer and I raised all of the money through garage sales. Study Abroad through your school is amazing and there are so many scholarships out there to make it affordable. Also, something new I have found is EF Ultimate Breaks. It is for people ages 18-29 and the prices are very reasonable! I actually have become a Greeks to Greece leader so i will be planning a trip to Greece where I hopefully will be able to go for free.
If you want to see the world, you CAN do it!


Y’all, this girl is the bees knees and Wildly Wanderlusty is going to be incredible. Wildly Wanderlusty is going to be your friendly reminder that adventuring and exploring is essential to happiness. No matter your age, your experience, your lifestyle – you matter and your story matters. We are all Women of Influence and this young lady is one of my favorite influential women.


  1. Emily

    December 22, 2018 at 1:14 am

    I love you !!!

    1. Melanie

      January 10, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      I love you back!

Leave a Reply