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samantha

my wish for the new year
Reflecting on Christmas + My Wish for the New Year 1024 668 samantha

Reflecting on Christmas + My Wish for the New Year

I took a needed rest from writing blog posts and didn’t stress about posting on social media. It’s nice to take time to relax the mind and not be so busy. Christmas is by far my all-time favorite holiday. As soon as Thanksgiving is over I’m in full on Christmas mode and it genuinely makes me so happy. My spirits are 100% up!

It’s also that time of year that I watch The Family Stone 1 billion times. My favorite movie, with an all-start cast that will make you laugh ‘til you cry and pull at your heartstrings. Go watch it immediately if you haven’t yet and it will be your new favorite film!

This Christmas my family took it slow and it felt so nice to spend time together without running around. My Uncle Mark from South Carolina usually comes out so I was bummed he couldn’t make it this year, but he was with us in spirit! Our Christmas tree looked a little different this year, due to the craziness of the fires we never got around to decorating it like we normally would. But I actually love how simple it was this year! Then, my Dad unfortunately crashed on his mountain bike recently and hurt his back. We didn’t do much on Christmas Eve or Christmas except go out to dinner and again, it was so great to take it slow. We had a wonderful Christmas at home enjoying each other’s company and watching Hallmark movies.

Some of our Christmas Traditions:

  • Baking German Butter Cake (this recipe has been passed down for many generations on my grandfather’s side. It’s unique in it’s almond flavor but similar to a coffee cake, though better if you ask me) We usually make a few batches throughout December
  • Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas Eve morning
  • Church and Christmas Eve dinner at a local Italian Restaurant. We’ve been doing this for years and it feels like home when we finally sit down to eat
  • This has become sort of a funny “tradition,” if that: my Dad buys everyone stocking stuffers from rite-aid without fail every year haha. We started making fun of him, teasing that that’s the only place he gets stocking stuffers from and now it’s a thing!
  • Taking a photo of all of us on Christmas day which is usually the last photo of the year before I get pictures printed out to put in our family album. I’ve talked about this before on the blog, but it’s so important to me to preserve memories because when we’re older do you actually think we’re going to go back on “the cloud” (Which may or may not exist) and look at pictures when we were 20? I highly doubt it and everything will be lost. SO this is my way of making sure that doesn’t happen haha.

My Wish for the New Year

While there are always crazy drivers and people that resemble the Grinch around Christmas, for the most part everyone is in good spirits. I love that. I love that for the whole month of December, everyone is generally really happy and excited about giving to their friends and family. Excited to soak up that special time with loved ones. Full-hearted as they drive around looking at Christmas lights feeling so full of life.

My wish is that the Christmas spirit will be carried with us throughout the year. And the only way that’s going to happen is if we are present with ourselves and mindful about keeping the peace within ourselves and giving that to others. Not dwelling on the negative, but focusing on the positive and sending that positivity into the world.

How can you carry that Christmas spirit with you this year? Comment below and tell me one way!

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Sam Chat: Purpose & Perspective 907 640 samantha

Sam Chat: Purpose & Perspective

If anything, I’m writing this blog post for myself to remember my family’s experience evacuating from our home and the new perspective I gained from an almost life-changing event. If you’ve ever been through something similar that moved you or changed your perspective, comment below because I’d love to hear your story! If you don’t care to read my long story about the actual fire, feel free to scroll to the bottom to the sub-title called “perspective” to see what I feel like I gained from this experience.

I woke up on Tuesday morning at 4am to hear an airplane overhead which I would later find out was dropping water over the Creek fire that started in Sylmar. I went back to sleep thinking it was nothing. By the time I woke up that morning around 8am, the fire was visible from my family’s windows overlooking what we call “the wash,” an area of vast land with trails that people in the horse community ride their horses. The fire was past the wash, across the freeway, and only just cresting the top of a mountain barely visible. This has happened times before in our surrounding area and 99.9% of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. This is about that other 1% of the time.

Quickly by 9am it had already burned ¾ of the way down the mountain. At that point, no one was that worried because like I said this has happened numerous times. By 11, the freeway or those mountains were barely visible in all the smoke. Some concern set in as I watched my neighbors and my Mom worry about how to get our horse out if it came time to evacuate. The streets were already getting crowded and freeway entrances/exists were beginning to close. Then, It had jumped the freeway and started burning the wash. Our house sits on a hill just above the wash and we were told if the smoke starts blowing into our faces, into the direction of our house, that’s when we have to worry. It happened so fast. One minute we thought evacuating was unnecessary, the next we know, it’s hard to breathe, the smoke is enveloping us and our homes, and we’re packing things up as quickly as possible.

The crazy thing about fires is they’re not like a flood. It doesn’t burn down everything in it’s path, inching closer and closer like water might. The extreme winds we had carried embers from mountains that were far off in the distance to our own backyard. One minute we’re looking out our windows watching it from afar, the next we know I can feel the heat.

I can FEEL the heat. The flames were still burning in the wash, embers jumping from one tree to the next. I touched the windows inside my house and they were warm. I went outside where my Dad was wearing motorcycle goggles shielding his eyes from the ash and embers, taking a video of what was possibly the last time we would see our back hill or house as it was. The heat was even stronger outside and the flames below looked so tall. Before I knew it, it was go-time.

My mom was leading our horse out of the arena and down the street. She doesn’t have a horse trailer so we searched high and low for a horse trailer that was already in the neighborhood. People offered trailers from all over, they were even being dispatched into our neighborhood but that was only half the battle. A couple trailers we had lined up were stuck on the freeway as they closed exits down and were unable to get to us. Finally, we were able to get in contact with a kind stranger who said he could meet at the bottom of our street and take our horse TJ to a rescue center. We loaded our 4 dogs into the 2 cars and threw any last-minute things into the backseats. My family has too many cars and not enough people so I drove one car to the next street over, then ran back to get the other. The smoke really got to me by then. My lungs were burning, my eyes were burning, and from the bottom of the street my house wasn’t even visible amongst all the smoke. Flames roared high as our neighbor’s house two doors down was burning to the ground. Firetrucks crowded the streets, cars were trying to get out, and horse owners were trying to lure their horses into feeling safe enough to get inside the trailers.

A horse got loose on our street so I tried to help put her into a trailer before heading back to the house to get the other car. These poor gentle animals were scared out of their minds and had no idea what was happening. Amidst all the chaos though, I looked around and told myself to remember this feeling of a community coming together and unifying under trying circumstances. No one was going to leave a horse behind if they could help it.

Back at our house, my Dad and brother were busy putting hot spots out as embers would land on the trees and brush on our hill and our neighbor’s hill. Firefighters hadn’t yet arrived to our house as they were busy trying to help with structures going up in flames. I know without a doubt if my Dad and brother decided to throw in the towel any earlier, those hot spots would have fed off each other and eventually burned our own house to the ground. Meanwhile, my Mom and I left to get our dogs out of the smoke while my dad and brother said they would be shortly behind.

My brother later told me that he looked over at our neighbor’s house and noticed their car and motorcycle were still in the driveway and we hadn’t seen them all day. He went over there to check it out and started banging on their windows, knocking on their door. Finally the man came to the living room, throwing his arms up wondering what all the racket was. He had no idea!! I don’t know how that happens, but he had no idea there was a fire. He quickly scrambled to get out of there. Not too long after that, their guest house caught on fire and burned down.

It was a long night and a rollercoaster of answers. We got a call from my Dad who was at the house and was positive our house was going to burn down. He was sad, but grateful that the things that really mattered were safe. Eventually, firefighters came to the house and told my Dad and Brother they had to leave now. None of us would know the fate of our house for a while. By some miracle, a few hours later we were told our houses hadn’t burned and if it could survive the night and all the embers raining down, it would be safe.

We woke the next morning at a friend’s house to good news that our house had made it throughout the night. Those high winds made every scenario unpredictable but we couldn’t be more grateful. Even through the next few days we weren’t out of the clear as hot spots kept popping up, but the main fire had moved on. The smoke was intense and even now we are working to get the smoke out of everything— the house, our clothes, our cars. But I don’t care. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that none of our animals or my family or irreplaceable things weren’t lost in the fire.

A New Perspective

So many others in the Creek fire, the Thomas Fire, the Lilac fire, they all lost precious animals, belongings, and homes that they treasured. A few hours after we had evacuated, I was sitting in my smoke-filled car with 2 of my dogs in the backseat, my Mom’s car in front of me with our other dogs, my eyes just burning from the smoke and ash, my blonde hair almost stained from the ash. My phone had been blowing up ALL morning. Friends near and far were calling to see if we needed help. Friends I hadn’t talked to in a while were offering to make calls on our behalf to find a horse trailer, my best friends were offering anything they could, people were offering to bring their trucks over to help us, offering their homes for us to evacuate to. Seriously, people were amazing. Even though I couldn’t respond to half of the people at the time, I had a moment to myself in the car and just thought…how incredible that there are so many good people in this world. And when I thought about if I were to lose everything…what’s really important to me? It was an overwhelming sense of quality over quantity. That the quality people were there when we needed them most, were offering their help and hearts, and that most possessions don’t really matter.

Sometimes we place so much emphasis on materialistic things on a day to day basis. We’re blogging about our favorite clothes and accessories, the latest deals on whatever it may be. And so often I really do try to write blogs with more weight, more gravity. But everyone gets caught up.  We’re so invested in social media, showing people where we are and what we’re doing and who we’re with. But during this experience, all that faded to the background and I felt SO grateful and blessed to have the people in my life that I do, that my family was safe, and that our friends opened their home to us. It wasn’t life or death for us, not even close. But I felt in my heart the tragedy that so many others were going through. It really made me think about my purpose. During something like this, my days were filled with tasks so different than my day to day. It made me think that when I’m back to a “normal” routine, what’s my goal here? What REALLY matters? What’s my purpose? For me this experience solidified my purpose, my passions, and not taking things for granted. Because in some odd way I felt that if I lost everything materialistic, what would still be standing and strong is my purpose, my passion, and my drive. (Besides my family and animals by my side 😉

Thanks for reading and drop a comment if you’re having a “me too!” moment.

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tenthingsaboutmeblogger
Sam Chat: 10 Things About Me 681 1024 samantha

Sam Chat: 10 Things About Me

You know me, I like a good list. Lists make me happy and grounded and they’re addicting. There’s a reason why everyone reads the Buzzfeed lists, right? While those are probably more entertaining than this one will be, a good relatable list is nice. I recently polled you guys on Instagram and some of you said you’d like to know more about me. It’s funny being on the backend of things, you assume strangers know so much about you but sometimes the obvious to you isn’t to someone else. Give me a shout if you read any of these and think YES ME TOO!

  1. I’m deathly afraid of scary/horror movies. I refuse to watch them now because I won’t sleep for days. I talk myself into an irrational fear that there is indeed someone or some “thing” in my room that will get me haha. In middle school or high school I could watch them fine but not anymore.
  2. I’ve traveled internationally to Switzerland and Italy and hoping I get to do another trip abroad soon! On my bucket list: London (and also the countryside of England), France, Ireland, Portugal, Prague.
  3. I have a degree in Screenwriting and love acting. I love the world of filmmaking in general and will always continue to do that. Extra fun fact: I’ve written a feature film.
  4. My Mom is from South Carolina and while I am born and raised in the Los Angeles area, I have those southern roots. I frequently visit the south, where my uncle still lives, and love everything about it. I love home too though, where my Mom and Dad met. I also have a younger brother who just turned 22! (he’s one of my best friends).
  5. I consider myself an introverted extrovert. Your girl likes to go out and have a glass of wine with friends and be social, but the next morning you better believe I want that alone time.
  6. I LOVE love love animals. They have a special place in my heart and I wish I could rescue every single one. My family currently has 4 dogs and a horse!
  7. I’m a sucker for rom-coms. It’s the romantic at heart in me coming out, I just can’t help it.
  8. I live for Christmas. If it could be Christmas all year long I would 100% be okay with that! Something about the colors, the lights, the decorations, the traditions, the kindness we see come out in the world. I’m currently working on a blog post about how to carry that holiday spirit with us all the tine. Stay tuned!
  9. You know those memes you see where it says, “she’s classy with a little hood”? That’s me. Or the one that says “she likes to blast rap music on the way back from yoga.” Yep! I like to go to the gym a couple times during the week and you better believe I’m playing some music to pump me up.
  10. Speaking of music, country music is my jam. My all-time favorite music! Currently listening to: Frankie Ballard, Florida Georgia Line, Granger Smith, Luke Bryan, Chris Young, Rae Lynn, Marren Morris, Sam Hunt, really I could keep on going haha.

Tell me a fact about yourself, I’d love to get to know you! Leave a comment below!

Soaking Up Your Travel Experience: 5 Ways to Stay in the Moment
Soaking Up Your Travel Experience: 5 Ways to Stay in the Moment 1024 768 samantha

Soaking Up Your Travel Experience: 5 Ways to Stay in the Moment

This past weekend I took a mini-vacation to Newport Beach (about an hour and a half from where I am in LA) and it was much, much needed. It was nice to be so close to home, yet far enough away to feel like I get to explore somewhere new.

Over Thanksgiving just a few days ago, my family and I were talking about how people don’t take the time to be fully present in the experiences they’re in. All too often we see the person in front of us at a concert who won’t put their phone down and just listen. Just take in the moment that they’re in. Taking this little “staycation” was a little reminder to soak up my experiences, even if I’m close to home.

Soaking up Your Travel Experience: 5 Ways to Stay in the Moment

It doesn’t have to be an international vacation to make you stop and notice how great life is. Soak up your friends, the laughter, the music, the sunshine, whatever it is just soak it up.

Here are 5 ways you can stay in the moment and take time to be grateful for this life we have.

  1. Plan ahead. I thought about this and it could go either way. Maybe staying spontaneous makes you feel more free, but my thought is that if you plan ahead you won’t have a need to be on your phone. Let’s face it, we use our phones for everything. We Yelp the best nearby restaurants, we Waze our routes, we Google what to do, etc. Planning ahead could keep your phone in your pocket a little longer.
  2. Put your phone away. You probably saw this one coming. I’m a fan of capturing the moment don’t get me wrong! But snap a picture at the beginning of dinner (or at the end) or get a quick photo of that beautiful sunset and then just take time to actually enjoy it. Just like the concert thing I mentioned above, we get so concerned with showing everyone that we’re watching an amazing sunset, before we know it the sun has set and we can’t recall any of the details.
  3. Inhale positivity, exhale negativity. Focus on the present instead of worrying about the future. Have you ever been somewhere trying to relax and you keep thinking about your to-do list? Or stressing over something that doesn’t matter? I do that a lot. When I’m trying to be in the moment, I have to just take a deep breathe and not care. If it won’t matter in the next 5 years, don’t spend 5 minutes of your life thinking about it.
  4. I know I said plan ahead…but to a certain extent. I’ve found one of the best ways to truly be in the moment and soak up my travel experience is to get lost with the people I’m with doing something really fun and having a great time. Just like when you get lost creating something you love, or how I get lost writing something I get into that flow state and lose track of time. You can still plan ahead what you’ll do but no one needs an itinerary.
  5. Be open to exploration. Not only within the environment you’re in depending where you’ve traveled to, but be open to discovering a side of yourself you didn’t know existed or to doing something you didn’t think you’d want to do. Don’t force anything, but if you have the urge to do zip-lining and it’s available, why not! There’s nothing that forces you into the moment than doing something that scares you just a little.
  6. Okay here’s a bonus one: stop and take it in. An exercise I’ve done for writing in the past is to take a walk up the street and write down every single sound you hear. What’s crazy is you don’t realize all the individual sounds until you list them. The birds chirping, your shoes on the pavement, the leaves in the trees, cars driving down the street, dogs barking in the distance, you get the idea! Try doing this mentally on your next trip. Just stop and list everything you see and hear. It might sound weird but this truly gets you in the moment and I guarantee you’ll be able to go back to that moment in your mind because you were so present and mindful.

What do you find are the best ways to stay present? Tell me in the comments below!

Reflecting on my birthday: 24 lessons in 24 years
Reflecting on my 24th birthday: 24 lessons I’ve learned 713 1024 samantha

Reflecting on my 24th birthday: 24 lessons I’ve learned

I remember thinking on my 22nd birthday that I was finally getting older, “but imagine what 24 will feel like.” For some reason 24 sounds so much older! There’s a younger feeling about being 21, 22, or even 23. But despite all that I am EMBRACING 24 and I’m the kind of person that feels like everything gets better with age!

Well Scorpio season is among us! Scorpios are known to be the most “secretive” of the signs, and while I don’t like to spill my heart out completely on the internet I do love myself a good deep conversation (or in this case, blog post). I thought it would be fun to reflect on some simple lessons I’ve learned in my 24 years of life. Comment below and tell me if you can relate to any of these life lessons!

  1. Sometimes something we didn’t think we wanted turns out to be the greatest gift.Funny story to start this out: my brother was born premature and my parents spent weeks with him in the hospital. I was used to being the only child so when they finally brought him home I said, “I don’t like him. Can you take him back?” Well, flash forward 22 years and he’s pretty great if I do say so!
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail. In this interview, my good friend Lexy said she feels like failure doesn’t exist and rather everything is just a learning curve. I love that.
  3. Be kind, be mindful of what you say to others, be humble, be a nice person. “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou. Sometimes I haven’t forgotten what hurtful things people have said to me. And I don’t doubt that I’ve said something that hurt someone. But if we can be more mindful of how we come off to people, of how our words or actions affect people, I think we should try our hardest. Being nice doesn’t make you naïve, fake, or a pushover, it just means you care how you make other people feel.
  4. It’s okay if you realize people don’t have a place in your life anymore. This has been a huge learning lesson for me over the years. I always felt a personal conflict with issues like this; wanting to be nice and not hurt anyone, yet also staying true to myself in knowing that someone doesn’t align with who I am as a person. Follow that inner voice. You might make mistakes, but everyday things will become more and more clear
  5. Take time to be interested in your Grandparents and spend time with them. They’re gone sooner than we think. My Grandma passed away a few months ago, and that marks the last living grandparent I had. I deeply cherished every one of my grandparents and I only wish I had more time to spend with my Mom’s parents who passed away when I was much younger. See you on the other side.
  6. Hustle with heart…but not always. Taking time to pause and reflect is often just as powerful as being busy.
  7. Follow your heart. I’ve always been a firm believer of this when navigating life, careers, love, friendships, you name it. Don’t let the pessimists get to you. Doing what’s right isn’t always easy and what’s easy isn’t always right but your heart will help you navigate that. I find that somewhere along the line your heart and your mind work together.
  8. Preserve your memories. Keep a journal, print out your photos and put them in an album, take video! I’ve learned too many times that technology is temporary and photos and videos get lost along the way. In a way, our own memory is temporary too. I recently realized that gone are the days when people walk around with the big hefty home video cameras and that makes me a little sad. No one is truly preserving the videos they take. I don’t know about you but I want to look back on my life when I’m 90.
  9. Be a rebel, take chances, create your own path. In 2012 I Facebook messaged Drake Doremus who directed one of my favorite all-time movies that made me want to be an actress and writer/director called Like Crazy. I asked him some advice and he gave me the most honest answers I will always remember. Here’s exactly what he said in response, caps and all. “WATCH A LOT OF MOVIES AND FOLLOW YOUR HEART. DON’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER AND DO WHATEVER YOU WANT ALWAYS. BE A REBEL.” Thanks for responding to a random stranger, Drake.
  10. Sometimes figuring out what you DON’T want to do can you lead you to clarity for your true purpose. During my first year of college I was still getting clear on what I really wanted to do in life. It was a time of change and growth and coming into who I was as a person. I still felt mildly embarrassed to admit that I wanted to act and I hid behind my love for writing. I ended up doing an internship at Warner Brothers for MadChance Productions and it was a great experience. It taught me so much and oddly enough I learned so much about what I definitely didn’t want to do. I did not want to be a producer’s assistant and sacrifice my soul. I did not want to be a script supervisor or editor or PA etc. the list goes on. However, one night when I got the chance to be a PA on set I learned that it would kill me if I didn’t take the chance to act. I remember looking at the actors while I was a PA and thinking, “I would give anything to trade places with you right now.” It hit me like a ton of bricks that it would be sad if I lived my whole life with that feeling and vowed not to do that.
  11. It’s okay to be both introverted and extroverted. I like to go out and have drinks with my friends and be social but I also really like being alone and making lists and reading a good book. Don’t feel like you have to fit a mold of anything or anyone, just be yourself.
  12. Be mindful of who and what you put your energy into. If it’s not being reciprocated or you feel like it adds negativity to your life, let it go.
  13. The sound of your dogs snoring will make everything fade to the background. Really, what’s better than coming home and snuggling up to my dogs and hearing them sleep so soundly. (cheesy, I know. But 100% the truth).
  14. Study your craft diligently, be driven, have laser focus. The people that do this, no matter what industry you’re in, are already a step ahead of those who put half effort into things.
  15. Social media is not real life. I’ll say it again…SOCIAL MEDIA IS NOT REAL LIFE. (check out this video that explains this perfectly). Man, social media is such a love hate thing for me. I know we’ve all had our days when we wish we had what was on the other side of the screen. But remind yourself that 9/10 what’s on the other side of that screen looks a whole lot different in real life. I still believe that social media can be used for positive things, but I’ve learned to check myself in the comparison game online.
  16. Don’t be afraid to be ahead of the game. I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit about me (and I’m sure so many of you reading this do, too!) I started my Etsy shop back in 2013 and no one my age was really doing that. Not because they couldn’t but I just think no one my age really had an interest in doing that at the time. Part of me felt embarrassed to talk about the fact I had an Etsy shop at that time and I’ve learned it’s okay to stand out of the crowd. Be confident in your ventures.
  17. Just begin. The hardest part about doing the work is just sitting down and starting.
  18. Actions speak louder than words. Plain and simple.
  19. Anxiety can be paralyzing. I’ve struggled a lot with anxiety over the past couple years. I don’t have many answers here, but I’ve learned to breathe and look at the bigger picture.
  20. Deep conversations are the best way to connect with someone. I don’t know if I’ve learned this or if I was born this way but Lord knows I love to have deep conversations with people. Deep, meaning more than small talk. What makes you tick, what do you dream about, what do you think shaped you into who you are, etc. So if you’re ever having a day when you want to talk, head over to Instagram and you know where to find me!
  21. Speak with confidence about what you love. I wrote an entire blog post on this and it’s really a huge lessons I’ve learned over the years.
  22. Going out of your comfort zone helps you grow as a person. It can be as simple as going up to someone at an event and having a conversation, or joining a new community, or applying for a new job. That little pang of fear or sickness you feel when you’re doing something new…you’re growing! I wrote a blog post about how joining this network of women helped me out of my comfort zone and truly helped me grow as a person.
  23. True friendships are hard to come by. True friendships are a two way street, not one a one lane highway. They are empathetic, they care deeply about you just as you do for them, they never let anything get in the way, they love you for you. Remember, quality over quantity. I look at some of the friendships I’ve had for over 10 years and there’s nothing like a love for a person like that.
  24. You can’t control what will happen in your life. This is something I still struggle with all the time. I worry about the “what ifs” and it’s a constant reminder that I have to give up control and focus only on the factors I can control.
nostalgia and wanderlust
Nostalgia For The Familiar: An Unexpected Gift in the Midst of Wanderlust 1024 768 samantha

Nostalgia For The Familiar: An Unexpected Gift in the Midst of Wanderlust

The first thing that always hits me when I travel back to the south, where my Mom and her family is from, is how much I miss my grandparents. I spend weeks, sometimes even months, preparing for the trip so excited to explore new things and places I hadn’t been to in years past. I gear up knowing it will be a totally different experience now that I’m older each time. And yes it is different, because each time I have a deeper appreciation for my grandparents and family, for the time we did get to spend together when I was younger, and for the foundation they built our family on.

I always expect to miss them when I’m back in the south, especially in South Carolina, but I never realize how much until it smacks me in the face. I thought I was craving adventure and exploration of somewhere new, but when we arrive in their city, in their same home, I don’t realize how much nostalgia I feel for their familiar faces, their voices, their laughter until I’m standing in it.

This time in the midst of exploring a new city, Asheville, I stumbled upon something (or rather someone) so unexpected but so fitting. At the bed and breakfast we stayed at they had “social hour” every evening from 4-6. Usually a good group of visitors would come to mingle and talk with everyone. We ended up meeting this older adorable and super sweet couple from Florida. Their presence was magnetizing because of their love for travel and adventure and because of the visible love they had for each other. In SO many ways, they reminded me of my own grandparents. It’s funny how certain things or people fill the gaps you feel in life sometimes. Nothing will ever replace my own grandparents or their love, but having this couple who was so interested in my life and goals and unbelievably encouraging made me smile.

The takeaway is, it’s funny what we find when we think we’re out there searching for something different. I ended up finding a familiar feeling I missed in an entirely new place.

Thank you for that little surprising gift, world.

wanderlust postcard

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changing leaves in Asheville and Lulu's Cardigan
Changing Leaves in Asheville 1024 768 samantha

Changing Leaves in Asheville

My Mom and I took a southern fall trip back to Columbia, SC to visit my Uncle and then we drove a couple hours to Asheville, NC! I had never been there before and it’s been years since my Mom or Uncle went so we made the drive! We couldn’t wait to see the changing leaves and soak up every moment of the fall season in the south!

First, I will say that I was so happy to experience a crisp fall! It was in the hundreds when we left Los Angeles, so it was drastically different weather haha. Just a week prior in South Carolina it has been so hot though, we actually didn’t think it was going to be cold at all and we were a little bummed. When we got to Asheville though it was only about 50 something degrees! I wished I had packed a few more warmer clothing options but I was so happy it was cold enough to feel all warm and snuggled up.

We only spent 48 hours there and I’d love to do a trip itinerary if you guys are interested! We loved our bed and breakfast that we stayed in and I have so many cute pictures of the place!

Our second day in Asheville, we drove up the Blue Ridge Mountain to see some of the leaves. I’ll be honest with you…it was a little disappointing. The leaves weren’t as popping with color as they’d been in years past and the visitor’s center people confirmed this. They actually said on a scale of 1 to 10 as far as leaf color goes, this year was at a low 3 haha. But I will say, there were patches that we caught along the way driving through the Blue Ridge and it really was breath taking because we just don’t get that color here but it came in waves. The few pictures of the beautiful leaves I got were gorgeous and I wanted to stand there all day looking at the view. When we did get out to take some pictures, it was freezing. My fingers were numb trying to press the button on my camera but it was worth it!

changing leaves in Asheville

changing leaves in Asheville

changing leaves in Asheville

changing leaves in Asheville and Lulu's Cardigan

changing leaves in Asheville

Enjoy the fall leaves and stay tuned for more from this trip!

6 Lessons on Entrepreneurship I learned from Family
6 Lessons on Entrepreneurship I Learned from My Family 1022 1024 samantha

6 Lessons on Entrepreneurship I Learned from My Family

Entrepreneurship runs in my blood. It’s something I feel like I was born with and as I look back on the different lessons my family taught me, whether consciously or not, it’s shaped me into who I am and the way I navigate being an entrepreneur.

Fun fact: When I was 8 years old, I made holiday-themed stationary. I used paint pens and colored pencils to create cards and paper with pretty borders. I then photocopied the originals and printed out a ton. Then, I made my parents a PowerPoint presentation all about why I should be allowed to go around my neighborhood and sell this stationary. It was VERY detailed, and they got a huge kick out of it. They also agreed to my proposition. That was probably my earliest memory of being an “entrepreneur.”

Below are 6 lessons on entrepreneurship I learned from my family. Lessons I hope you can take with you and implement into your life as well. Keep reading, and I would love to hear a lesson you’ve learned too!

Lesson #1: Have a Strong Work Ethic

Maybe this is a no-brainer, but it’s easier said than done. My Grandpa Jack (my Mom’s Father) was extremely hard working. He came from the generation of folks who worked very hard at their 9-5 and he did so happily in order to provide for the family. For 30 years, he worked at the same company as an accountant and while he never went out on his own like an entrepreneur, it’s a lesson that anyone can apply to their life. He was extremely reliable, trustworthy, and so hard working he almost never took a sick day his entire time at the company. Having a strong work-ethic is essential in being an entrepreneur, because there will come times when you have to put in more hours than you’ve ever wanted to put in (no matter what you do). If you understand that, you’re in a better position to get to a place where you won’t have to do that your whole life.

Lesson #2: Have a Strong Support System

My Grandma Ettie (my Mom’s Mother, short for Esther) was the most nurturing, understanding, and supportive person you ever met. She was exactly the kind of person you’d want on your side and if there’s anything that entrepreneurship has taught me, it’s that it can sometimes be a lonely road. She was the support system to Jack and her family that everyone needs. Find someone to be “your person.” You will need them when days get tough, when you need ideas to bounce off of someone, when you have great days you want to share, and when you have breakthroughs that need nurturing. If you’ve never read The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks about needing a “catcher’s mitt” person. Someone to nurture your artist, to encourage you, and to support you. She also taught me to be that person for someone else and I cherish that.

Lesson #3: When You See a Need— Fill it

My uncle Mark started his own company creating first aids kits to businesses and factories.
He saw a need and filled it. He took control of his future, of his idea, and then implemented it. This is so important because often we see a need for something and even as that entrepreneurial spirit stirs inside of us, we live in fear of acting on it. He taught me that you can create your own destiny and be your own boss.

Lesson #4: Being an Entrepreneur Requires Stamina and Laser Focus

My Grandma Betty (my Dad’s Mother) came from a very very poor family in Colorado in the 1930’s. They had virtually nothing and my Grandma struggled with being seen as the incompetent girl in the eyes of her father. That really lit a fire in my Grandma to surpass everyone’s expectations and be successful. Her present didn’t look anything like the future she knew she wanted for herself, so she worked her tail off to get to where she wanted to be.

Eventually, she moved to California with her mom and brother and quit high school her sophomore year to start her own business. She had sewn some clothes here and there in the past but decided to learn everything she could about sewing, hemming, you name it. She started a business as a seamstress and realized what she needed to do to up level competition. She decided to make herself a “professional,” offering a pickup and delivery service. This made her more professional than anyone her age and in the local market. Throughout her lifetime, she had laser focus and the utmost determination to find success in the businesses she started.

Lesson #5: Believe in Yourself First

My Dad has that entrepreneurial spirit in his blood, just like his mom. His entire life he’s worked his way up from job to job, breaking into industries that didn’t even seem possible in years past. Something my Dad has taught my brother and I is that it’s so important to have confidence in yourself. You will need to take risks throughout your life and journey in your business and the only way that will be possible is if you have the confidence in yourself to do so. No one else will believe in you, if you don’t believe in yourself first. He didn’t need anyone else’s approval or validation to go after what he knew he wanted. He knew he had potential and summoned a determined force within himself to be relentless until he got to where he wanted to be. So often I talk with people who say they want to make changes in their lives or want to start a business, but they don’t go after it with confidence and that laser focus. Every day an actionable step needs to be taken. It’s easier said than done, but my Dad taught me to be driven and to go after my dreams with confidence every single day.

Lesson#6: It’s Okay to Pivot

My parents made it a priority, and had the privilege, to spend as much quality/family time with my brother and I as possible when we were little. They cared deeply about the way they raised us and I always appreciated how much emphasis they put on family time. My mom worked for many years of her life, but there came a time when she felt the need to pivot. She strongly felt the need to be home with my brother and I and what I learned is that….that’s okay. There will come a time in your life and business where you will need to shift things. Either drastically or incrementally, but it will need to be done. Welcoming that change instead of dwelling on it could be one of the most beneficial lessons you can learn. I’m so glad my Mom taught me that it’s okay to pivot and make changes or honor what you feel in your heart is the right path to take, even if it’s different than originally planned.

Many of the lessons I’ve learned I had the privilege of learning while my grandparents were still alive. Some lessons though, I really didn’t learn or even realize until long after they passed away. I’m very close with my family and even writing this post makes me so proud of my parents too. I’ve never felt more honored to be a part of this family and look back on their journey, while taking what they taught me for the road ahead on my own.

What lesson on entrepreneurship have you learned from your family? What’s something you want to start implementing into your life? Tell me below by leaving a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Photo Credit: “Made to Create” Coffee Mug Photo by Hannah Robinson. Coffee Mug by Me, find it here.

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returningtoyourvisionduringaseasonofchange
Returning to the Heart of Your Vision During a Season of Change 1024 1024 samantha

Returning to the Heart of Your Vision During a Season of Change

Autumn is known as the season of change, rebirth, and growth. Not only do we see change and growth visibly around us, but it’s a time of year where we might be experiencing changes within ourselves, our business, or our goals. Today I want to bring to the table a conversation about why it’s important to stick with and trust your goals, your dreams, or your vision during a season of change. We will encounter change in our lives no matter the season, and sometimes that change will be in small increments and other times it will hit us like a storm. However that change enters your life, here are some thoughts on trusting that vision you so passionately saw for yourself from the beginning.

Transitioning from Summer to Fall

For me, the summer months inched by for my blog and business, and even my auditions seemed to slow their roll. But now that fall has arrived I’m in full-on crazy busy mode. My inbox is getting busier and busier as the weeks go on, I find myself flooded with new ideas and sometimes struggling to make time for it all. While I try to stick to powerblocking my days, as new opportunities arise and my schedule gets more jam-packed, I have to give myself mental checks to remember my initial goals and always return back to the heart of my vision. There are some weeks when I spend far too much time worrying about my blog and I have to be intentional about giving my writing, acting, and product creation side of my life enough attention and nurture too.

Your Work Evolves but Your Vision Remains

My blog is constantly evolving and especially because I’m relatively new to the blogging world, I’m finding exactly how I fit into this crazy blogosphere (or rather, stand out). I like incorporating new ideas into my blog or exploring new branches of blogging, but I know that the reason I started this blog was to inspire and encourage other women and people in general. Even if that inspiration comes in an unassuming way (like sharing things I’m loving for fall). In this blogging world, it can be hard not to get swept up into monetizing like crazy and trying to jump into the stream of bloggers that promote a new sale every hour. That works for them, they love it, and that’s great! But that’s not the heart of my vision. I constantly return back to my manifesto I wrote when I first published this blog. Do I find inspiration in style and beauty? Sure, of course! And that’s not to say I won’t be sharing things like that. However, I will never stop writing heartfelt inspirational blog posts that I hope inspire or motivate someone.

Bridging the Gap Between Ideas

Do you ever come across someone, whether in real life or on the internet, that suddenly makes everything click for you? I’ve heard Ashley Lemieux and her incredible story before on multiple podcasts but for some odd reason, it wasn’t until this week where I felt her journey and mission clicked with me. She found a way to bridge the gap between having a blog and the products she was making that had a greater purpose and she’s given me more inspiration than she knows. She truly understands balancing blogging and having a product shop and I love that she has found ways to keep on inspiring people every day and give back in life-changing ways. I have been trying to bridge the gap for so long between my blog and the products I create in my product shop and this week has been one of the most clarifying weeks I’ve had in a long time. I have some big changes that will be coming and ideas that I can’t wait to share!

Returning to Your Vision

Whatever it is that you do, take time to be present with yourself and remember your intentions for your dreams and your life. When things in your life start to change or get busy, pause and reflect. When I have busy weeks or even busy months and spend far too much time worrying about things that don’t matter I have to stop and ask myself: why am I worrying about this? Why am I spending so much time doing this? And if you’re experiencing a slow season, return to the heart of your vision and take a small step each day towards that goal. It can be hard, but it will pay off.

Let’s encourage each other during this season of change and growth! Comment below and tell me what returning to the heart of your vision looks like for you.

Sam Chat: Leading with Kindness – Thoughts on #PrayforVegas 1024 1024 samantha

Sam Chat: Leading with Kindness – Thoughts on #PrayforVegas

Please know that the following are thoughts on the recent Las Vegas shooting. If you feel you might be affected in a way that compromises your emotional health from reading this post, this is a heads up. Although I do share how I will be spreading more kindness and encouragement to try to make a difference in this world at the end of the post 🙂

I’m not going to lie to you, my head has been completely clouded ever since the shooting in Vegas happened. All kinds of emotions have been diluting my thoughts; fear, gratitude, anxiety, anger. For days I felt like I couldn’t interact on Instagram like I usually do because things were jolted into a different perspective. When you come SO close to losing people dear to you, you feel a little shift. And today I wanted to weigh in on that shift.

Our world has been rapidly changing and it seems like there are more forces of evil since the time I was a child. Maybe that’s not true, but the older I get the less safe I feel. I can’t say that I will ever know what it’s like to have bullets grazing past my body, to have lives taken right in front of me, to hear that horrible sound of an automatic weapon silencing everything around, to hear sheer panic from human beings trying to enjoy life. But I do know that my heart sank when I got news of this massacre. I know that I’ve felt scared just going into to any public area or facility since then. I know that I look for ways out now wherever I am. And I know that while that might be necessary in today’s world, we can do our part to spread more kindness.

A roller coaster of emotions 

It was a roller coaster of emotions that night. I felt panic trying to get in touch with friends at the festival. I was about to burst at the seams trying to find out if they’re okay, angry that something like this could happen again. I felt such sadness as I learned the name and face of every person that died. Tears formed as I thought of how every person there was just celebrating life, dancing with their people, unaware of the horror that would come. I felt so angry that my friends had to go through that fear, that awful unknown. I also felt overwhelming relief when I found out my friends were okay and unharmed. I said a prayer, SO incredibly thankful. My life and my friend’s lives could have been completely changed if that moment had been any different. And while it hasn’t changed in any physical way, I can say that my outlook has changed.

While I feel such anger that this happened to innocent people, I feel more determined than ever to spread light, love, hope, and faith in humanity. Now more than ever we need to have faith that there are good people in this world and let that light shine on the good so it can dilute the bad. This doesn’t mean we turn a blind eye to the bad people and the awful things they do, but as Gandhi said, “You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.”

I don’t know about you, but as an individual I’ve often felt helpless. A small fish in a big world. We can try to change laws, we can try to be precautious about environments that we’re in, but ultimately we can’t predict what will happen. What we can do, is be mindful…

A kindness campaign: #constantkindness

It is our responsibility to have faith in humanity and put the kindness and unity back into our people. We can encourage each other, collaborate with one another, stop pitting people against one another, lift each other up, and make a point to be kind to people—our friends and strangers alike. This week on my Instagram, I’m starting a #constantkindness campaign to try to put some faith back into humanity, a challenge for us to be kind and selfless. Every week I’ll be sharing something encouraging or motivating to my followers while also trying to give back, spread some love, and encourage others to do the same.

Today I challenge you to find ways to lift others up and put a smile on their face even if it’s in the smallest of ways. Buy a stranger a cup of coffee, let people over on the freeway (we all know how bad LA traffic is) encourage someone who is trying to grow their business or go after their dreams, write a friend a sweet letter, do a chore you know a friend or family member is dreading, etc. there are SO many ways!

In a world where we might feel less safe, we can still try to be more kind. Where there is hatred, there is always love so let’s shine a light on that. The news and media love to show all the bad things that go on, but I’m confident we can share the good within our social media communities! Share your acts of kindness on Instagram with the hashtag #constantkindness and tag me @theconstantcreative and I’d love to re-post you guys!

 

P.S. shop more inspirational cards and drop someone a note of encouragement via my Etsy shop here.

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