Sam Chat: Meaningful Conversations + Inspiration

SamChat: On Crisis: Life Is For You, Not Against You 1000 667 samantha

SamChat: On Crisis: Life Is For You, Not Against You

Writing is the one thing I always return to. It’s always been the constant in my life; the safe place to return to no matter what. This pandemic that is sweeping the world has given us a lot of food for thought and I wanted to share mine.

For one, I know we all didn’t think back in January we would be here now…but that’s the thing. We didn’t think we would be here, and yet here we are. And life is sort of like that, right? Sometimes never in our wildest dreams did we think we would be standing in a dark room, the unknown extending in every direction. Sometimes we find ourselves hit with the sobering truth that we are in a position we would’ve bet our life on not being in. We find ourselves thinking: how did I get here?

This week as we’re knee deep in true social distancing, away from friends, co-workers, and often family, we’re faced with the reality of this situation. This virus is more than just “a cold,” it’s more than the celebrity that goes on social media to tell us to stay home; this virus is sinking its teeth into the people of our country that never knew what was coming until it was too late. This virus is taking the life and soul of humans around the world and we all know how tragic that is. But the question is how are we allowing that truth to affect us? I can say I personally don’t know anyone who has died from the virus or who has had to spend days in the ICU because of it. But those humans exist. There ARE people out there who can say they personally know someone. People are out there right now who are losing their best friend, their dad, their neighbor, their grandma, the love of their life to this virus. And if they were standing right in front of us, what do you think they would tell us?

I imagine they would tell us to take this pandemic seriously, beyond doing our part of social distancing. I imagine they would tell us beyond hand sanitizing and at-home workouts and TikTok videos (guilty) and happy hour Zoom calls, they would tell us to for one day, one week, stop scrolling on our phones for hours on end, stop binge watching Netflix, and ask yourself: what is this pandemic teaching you on a soul level? It’s not that these things are negative, I believe connecting virtually with our friends during this time is bringing us that connectedness we love. But it’s so easy to ignore life lessons even when they’re screaming at us in the face. If we sat in silence and tried to listen to the greater wisdom this situation is shaking us to see, what would that be?

It’s not a mistake that we’ve been forced into some form of isolation. It’s not a mistake this has happened to our world, that we’ve been forced to slow down, to pause. We are at our worst when we do not understand ourselves and sometimes we need the noise of the world to quiet down so we can stop piling on external distractions and do the inner work that we’ve been avoiding for far too long. If we want to understand our anxiety more we have to do the work. If we want to get a grip on our procrastination of (insert: your health, your emotional avoidance, your novel, your job change, your schedule, your renewed partnership, your joy) we have to do the work. Life can change all around us, but only we can change what is within us. And “doing the work” looks different for everyone. For some it will look like slowing down, being still, on actually not doing anything. For others it will look like taking a forward moving action.

I’ve struggled with anxiety for so long and recently before this pandemic really hit hard, it got to the point for me where I was like, I just do not want to do this any longer. That is not the person I want to be in life. So, I committed to changing and it’s hard work, it’s not gone overnight, but instead of being so wrapped up in the anxiety, in the fear, in the worry, I decided to go to work on changing it. I found the right help, the right tools, the right people to talk to (outside my mom). I got so so committed that I’m starting to see change, I’m starting to feel lighter. And what comes to mind for me is, that’s how life should be too, right? The only way to get through fear, to get through change, or to implement it, is to stop resisting it and take accountability. We should be so committed to truly living life and soaking up the joy and not taking it for granted. We get so caught up in the fight or flight mentality, that 99% of the time we choose flight. I know I do. But this is a time for us to look inside ourselves at old patterns that don’t serve us well and start to choose differently.

And that’s the thing: in this isolation we’re finally being asked to sit with everything we don’t want to face, everything we want to run from. For some, this will hit harder than others. Every one is at a different place in their lives and this will feel heavier to some than it will for others. And truly, I hope that it feels lighter for you more than it does heavy. Some of you will read this and know exactly what it is you’ve been avoiding, know exactly what it is you’ve locked away to deal with later, and it’s no coincidence that you’ve been gifted with a time of isolation to finally deal with it. Some of you will read this and not have something hit your heart immediately. You might think, “wow how can you get so deep in this, just get your work done from home and drink some wine.” Don’t worry, that’s definitely happening. But maybe you’ll ponder for a little bit on what this means for you: maybe it’s calling your sister to rekindle your friendship, maybe it’s finally cleaning something out in your house, maybe it’s not working soul sucking hours anymore to focus on yourself, maybe it’s finally resting and not feeling guilty for it, maybe it’s just about promising yourself to think of three things you’re grateful for every day and complain a little less.

Like the amazing Julie Day says: life is FOR you, not against you. 

Soon enough the dust will settle and we’ll be able to look back on these weeks, maybe months, to ask ourselves: so, what is for us? What does bring us joy? Who does make us feel like home? What do we want to make more time for to simply enjoy in our life? How can we laugh more and worry less? Now that we had time to sit in our thoughts, to sit with everything, how can we slow down and cherish life more? How can we start living life forwards now that we took time to deal with the things that we had been sitting on? I’m already seeing this pandemic create a stronger appreciation for connection, which is so beautiful during a time of physical disconnection.

There is a purpose in every season and this season is a wakeup call for us on a national level and on an individual level. We will forever be changed by this season, and if life is for us, and not against us, like a gardener that must shear the vines, it’s time to get rid of everything that is not for us anymore. Dreams that have changed and made way for new ones, old thought patterns, bad tempers, one-sided friendships, internal walls, bad habits that hold us back, you name it. Change is extremely hard for me and yet at the same time, I learn from it. When I find myself in places thinking: how did I get here? How did this happen? I get past some of the emotion and just start shedding things. I’ve dropped so many things these past couple of weeks that weren’t serving me anymore: a job, setting aside something I thought I wanted in my career, things that were holding me back from being better (hello, anxiety). Here are some truth bombs:

The book will not write itself for you.

Your health will not improve itself for you magically.

Your happiness will not improve itself for you while you let your mind work against it or while you’re busy blaming others for the absence of it.

It starts within you, within us. This isn’t really about putting pressure on ourselves during this quarantine to achieve lofty goals by the time it’s over. it’s about: what do you observe about yourself during this pause? What will you do with that?

And I know it’s not easy. There are some things people are struggling with I can’t even begin to understand. I think we have to work at it every day and I’m really not saying any of this from a place of knowing better than anyone else reading this. I’m saying this from a place of…let’s encourage each other, be there for one another, appreciate one another even in the midst of becoming better. We can’t change others, but we can focus on ourselves. When we work through things we become more self-aware and hopefully we become lighter.

My hope is that we come out of this radically grateful for everything in life, the good and the hard. All of it matters. My hope is that we are ecstatically joyful for everything it has to offer. My hope is that we have the courage to change. Soon enough eating at a restaurant with your favorite people will have so much more meaning. Seeing your best friend will be something you won’t take for granted. The privilege to exercise in a gym won’t go unnoticed. The trip you finally book will be treasured so much more. The sweet texts, the little things your loved one does for you will be held close. I know for me I will cherish all the ways my friends and family show up for me going forward because these past few weeks have put so much into perspective.

In our busy frantic lives, this is a message to love more, fear less, and charge into the unknown. Drop the weight, stay in the present, stay in the joy. A fulfilling, happy life doesn’t happen on accident.

The thing is no matter what happens, we’re going to look back and think: wow, now I see the perfection in that time apart from everyone. We’ll look back and say of course that had to happen because we are better for it. We have to trust the process and trust ourselves. Life isn’t always fair or easy, but I guess what I’m getting at is it can be lighter. And it’s still your life.

This is about the gift of having a life at all. And that’s what I think a person would tell you if they lost someone to this virus.

Letter to myself: February 2020 854 1024 samantha

Letter to myself: February 2020

I can make this hard on myself, or I can make it a joy. I don’t know about you, but I’m choosing joy. Every single time.

There’s a card on your dresser your parents wrote you on your birthday and the front says: “you are so much sunshine!”
Just a reminder to yourself 🙂

This month you learned that no one else is going to sit in your pain like you are, especially not the person that hurt you. Because who wants to sit in someone else’s pain? The only people that do that are the ones that so actively want to change themselves that they’re willing to see a new perspective. You learned to sit in others pain though. To sit in it, acknowledge it, and extend empathy and forgiveness. Being a better version of yourself doesn’t mean locking your own feelings or fears away deep inside you. It’s facing them so that you can move on.

This month you’ve been cracked wide open in a way you never have before. It’s allowed for new perspectives to arise within you. You learned that for you, this is a time of self-expansion. Of true self-growth. You decided you actually want to be the best version of yourself and it’s time to go to work on the parts of you you haven’t wanted to face. It’s safe to say you’ve never felt like this in your life before. You’ve never dove this deep into self-growth and it’s changing your life. You really are not who you were two months ago. Meditation has been amazing, the kind where you sit in true silence. And truly understanding hurt, confusion, fear, love, joy.

You’ve learned that you take responsibility for things that sometimes are not yours to take responsibility for. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Do not apologize on behalf of someone else.

You’re learning that happiness isn’t an end destination. That happiness doesn’t reside in the reaching of a certain point in your life or the certain achievement of a goal. You’re learning that happiness is the by-product of your thought life and it starts right now.

You’re learning that sometimes when you feel fearful of something, feel like it’s closing in on you, that your instinct is to push it away. You’re learning that you maybe didn’t even realize it was because you feared it. But you’re learning that not everything you fear means because it’s not for you. Sometimes it means you leap, not knowing if you’re fully ready, but knowing that no one is ever “fully ready.” It means you move towards the fear, because the best way out of fear is through. Because you have things to learn about yourself in this fear. Because fear is never about the thing you’re pushing away, its about the thing you haven’t confronted within yourself.

You’ve learned that you’re way stronger than you think and this month has shown you that. Keep doin’ good things.

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SamChat: The Rose, Bud, and Thorn of “Later”

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is the idea of “later.”

I’ve been reflecting on my growth as an individual these past few years and I think, as many of us do, that we spend a lot of our lives waiting for later. When I think about the various growing pains of my life and how waiting for that often distant future comes into play, it’s clear that the idea of later has been and continues to be both a blessing−a comforting idea to hold onto−and a vice, doing nothing but blocking our successes.

Everything I’ve ever wanted has been on the other side of later. There’s a long laundry list of items that are just out of reach, that linger in that later period.

If you’re in the film industry, we can agree that it’s the toughest industry to break into. It’s even tougher fighting against the mental timeline we gave ourselves at some point. However long I thought it might take to get noticed in the film industry as a writer, an actor, a producer, a creator… I should’ve doubled that. Maybe even tripled it. “Return to the work. Just keep coming back to the work,” is an all too familiar mantra. It’s about the passion and love we have for the work, yes, but it’s also our lives. It’s  the uphill battle of trying to wrap our heads around the dance of livelihood and craft, survival and passion. For those of you who read this and instantly feel that painful pull in your stomach, nodding your head in agreement with this struggle, you’re not alone. We know that all too familiar pain of watching someone the same age as us getting to live out our dreams. Comparison is the thief of joy but there are days that are so much harder to keep our heads down and focus on the work, and that’s the truth.

I’ll be able to get an agent later when I have enough footage on my reel, enough credits, enough training. “Just book a couple guest-star roles on television and come back later.”

I’ll be able to send my screenplays out to the industry later. But first, “Do you have an agent?”

I’ll be able to start production on my web series later. But first, I’ll need to find funding.

I’ll be able to grow my blog into something bigger (whatever that meant at the time), but not right now. For now, I’ll just share my thoughts, figure out my most authentic self and what I want to share on this platform.

I’ll get a better job later when I’m able to find the perfect balance between what I’m doing now and what I want to do.

But no matter what industry you’re in or what your passions are or what your life looks like right now, I know you can relate to this. As time goes on I realize the only thing standing in between later and RIGHT NOW is me. I believe wholeheartedly in creating opportunities for ourselves and every day that I don’t take one small step towards my goals, every day that I put things off for later, is a missed-opportunity, a missed-connection, another step in the mud slowing me down.

The longer we tell ourselves that we will start taking forward-moving action toward our dreams later, the closer we get to never. But the biggest thorn in my side is that later has never been my first choice, yet often my only choice. I don’t think we should make later the starting point for our goals and dreams, but even when we give it all we’ve got…later is still the best we will get in return and sometimes it’s about being okay with that. Rome wasn’t built in a day, right? This has been one of the most frustrating things in the world. I can’t say I haven’t resented later, but sometimes, later is exactly what we are supposed to wait for. Like my acting teacher Stephen says: the path you choose is the journey you take.

So, in this funny, kind of lovely, catch-22 of later, waiting for things I want has also taught me so many lessons about being patient and believing with the utmost conviction in my purpose and plan. It’s taught me so much about believing wholeheartedly that everything happens for a reason and this is my “bud” of later.

This year later has also become the place I find solace in. Knowing that good things will come later if I can stick it out through tough seasons is comforting and hopeful. Knowing that if I put time and effort into my relationship, my friendships, my projects…what I so desire in later will come, likely without me even being aware that it actually transformed into the present.

This year when my relationship was thrown into navigating living in different cities, I wasn’t sure how to face the mountain of later. How would I deal with this new terrain of not only being unsure of what later looks like, but having the patience to sit in this season of unknowns? I’ve learned so much about having faith in that later period. Putting time and effort into a relationship where you don’t live in the same city means that the time when you’ll get to be together later is what keeps you going, is what keeps you happy, is a comforting place to look forward to. Supporting each other wholeheartedly, rooting for one another’s success and individuality in life, and still knowing that you will come together later is beautiful. Dealing with later has shown me now more than ever to be present. It’s not easy, but every day I’m learning not to worry so much about later. And so, in these trials of life, I flip the coin over and see the silver linings in later.

Later has been the thorn in my side and the muck I’ve had to wade through to understand that now is as important as ever. In realizing that, later has also been my rose, my small little win, and my bud, a new idea that’s blossomed into something much greater. Later has also taught me that when everything is right, the things in my life eventually do fall into place and invest back into me, love me, and open up towards me just as strongly as I wanted them to. They will for you, too. There are lessons in life we will learn over and over and over again. This is one of them. We just have to be patient and wait it out for when later becomes now.

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Your Focus Creates Your Feeling

I am someone who fully believes that change and growth is needed to continue to be the best version of yourself, but change can still be a hard thing sometimes. When things are going good in your life and you have a nice routine going, who really wants change?

I’ve struggled with anxiety for a few years now and only within this past year have I truly started to understand how my thinking can change my emotional world.

My anxiety really started in college. It’s not that any single decision I made or new experience I was going through was particularly bad, but it started when I was hit with the realization that for once, I wasn’t completely sure what path I was taking or what was ahead. I stressed HARD on the what-ifs, lost sleep on whether I was making the right life decisions, and my body was physically struggling to keep up with me. When I felt riddled with anxiety, it’s like my mind hyper-focuses on all the negatives. For a little while it feels like things are just not going to get better. No, it’s not like over-thinking something. With anxiety, it feels like being thrown into a panic to try to solve a Rubik’s cube, only the harder you try to solve it, the worse it becomes.

I took time to sit and get honest with myself (and through too many phone calls with my personal on-call 24/7 therapist: my mom). What I’ve learned this year that truly has changed my way of thinking is this: my focus creates my feeling. Whatever holds our attention, molds our intention.  

It might sound so obvious, but for the most part we can control our thoughts. (This is of course with respect to any mental illness that simply doesn’t allow that). It’s crazy when I stop to think that I have the ability to stop myself when I’m sitting there thinking of all the possible things that can go wrong. When life seems to come to a halt and a dark cloud lingers over and all we can do is replay a little movie in our head with something negative or bad, we have the ability to think: ‘No. I’m not going to think that way. Instead, I’m going to dwell on all the positive outcomes that could happen and be grateful for all the good things in my life.’ My focus creates my feeling.

When I feel such anxiety over the what-ifs or play negative conversations or situations in my head that couldhappen, I realize I have the power to change that. I can immediately stop and tell my mind: ‘you’re better than that.’ Sometimes when I have anxiety, I truly couldn’t even tell you why. This sinking feeling hits me and I’m hard pressed to figure out what the heck is going on. But instead of feeling like I’m sinking, I actively tell myself to change my thoughts.

I stumbled across this verse from Philippians 4:8. Even if you don’t consider yourself religious, this is a sweet little reminder to dwell on the positive things when you’re feeling low.

“Fix your thoughts on whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

 This is no easy task, though. It’s hard to block out the negative downward spiral when anxiety hits, and even harder to convince yourself to start dwelling on the positives. But through trial and error I’ve found that if I can tell myself, “you are okay, right here, right now,” I can usually lead myself to think about the positive things happening in my day or my life. That switch from worry and fear to gratitude may not solve everything 100%, but it leads me back to the present.

Interview with Voyage LA Mag #TrailBlazers 1024 556 samantha

Interview with Voyage LA Mag #TrailBlazers

A few weeks ago I had the honor of being interviewed by Voyage LA Mag as part of their #ValleyTrailblazers series. I was so excited when they reached out to me for the opportunity to tell part of my story, my goals, and my inspiration. When they told me that their goal is to help hard-working, inspiring people tell their stories authentically and in their own words, I said count me in! Below is the article published on their website. Give it a read and let me know what you think!

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Skelton.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.

I’m an LA native – born and raised! I’ve come to realize how rare that is with the industry that I’m in. Aside from running this blog, I’m also an actor and screenwriter.

I had wanted to start a blog for the longest time, but just never had time in college. I majored in Screenwriting at California State University, Northridge. College was an amazing experience for me and taught me so much. As soon as I graduated, I pursued everything I’m passionate about with full speed. That meant acting, screenwriting, and starting my blog.

I finally landed on The Constant Creative because I feel like that’s how much of my life is. I’m constantly doing something– writing a new script, collaborating with others to create short films, diving into new books, always pushing myself in some new direction, and for the longest time, I also had an Etsy shop.

Has it been a smooth road?

I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spirit about me — I made a powerpoint presentation when I was 8 years old for my parents about why I should be allowed to go around to my neighbors selling Christmas stationary! So, I think I was bound to embark on other ventures like this someday, ha!

But, of course, nothing is ever easy. I’m constantly learning new things, always evolving. I don’t think I will ever stop learning in any area.

When I started my blog, it was in conjunction with my Etsy shop. I had an Etsy shop since 2013 where I sold handmade typewriter quote cards and I really thought creating my own website/blog would help business for my Etsy shop. Eventually, I learned that I was being pulled in too many directions, and if I had to pick… my energy was better spent on the things I’m most passionate about. This year, I closed my Etsy shop to focus on my acting but I still love having my blog. It’s a great way to connect with other like-minded women, meet new people, and learn new things.

My advice for other young women that want to start their own blog or business, or maybe who are hesitating to go after something they want is just to START. Just begin. The only way you will know if something is right for you or not is to try it out. It’s not the end of the world if you go in another direction. Also, don’t be so hard on yourself. As long as you’re taking action somehow, you’re forward moving.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into The Constant Creative story. Tell us more about the business.

I started The Constant Creative to ignite a fire in people and leave them feeling more inspired than when I found them. I also started it to connect with other creative people in the online community. We all leave a legacy, whether it’s on the big screen or tucked away on the internet through a little blog. I truly love that one is not more significant than the other.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?

Something I talked about on my Instagram recently was the idea of an abundance mindset vs. a scarcity mindset. I think so often women are viewed as being standoff-ish towards other women or the media pits women against each other. I see so much opportunity for women to share the wisdom they’ve learned so far and then collaborate to make something great. Everything is not a competition.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Laci Havens Photography

What It's Really Like Being an On-Camera Host
Sam Chat: What It’s Really Like Being an On-Camera Host 681 1024 samantha

Sam Chat: What It’s Really Like Being an On-Camera Host

This past year I’ve had the amazing opportunity to act as the On-Camera Host for Shea Properties. It was completely new territory for me that I was excited to navigate and I truly had no idea what to expect. It has opened many doors for me, pushed me out of my comfort zone, scared me a little, allowed me to work with a great team, and had me livin’ my best life at times eating ice cream as my job! If you’re interested, feel free to watch some of my interviews!

When I was younger I always thought it would be cool to be a news reporter or to interview people on the red carpet. I had no idea I would end up having a job doing something similar and find it to be SUCH a fun, rewarding experience!

What it's Really Like Being an On-Camera Host

The Job: What do I actually do?

When I tell people that I’m the on-camera host for the media team of a real estate company, I usually get a confused look. I get it! It’s not something you hear every day. I tell people it’s like E-news! Except I’m not reporting on celebrities. What I do is introduce retail shopping centers from Shea Properties and tell everyone all about what that specific center has to offer. So I’ll tell you all about what stores and restaurants their shopping center in Laguna Beach has or what their center in San Diego can offer. The cool part about the job is we then go to each restaurant, clothing store, etc. and interview the owner or chef and talk to them about their specific place as well as what they think is so great about that retail center.

Typically I’m given the “script” the day before or sometimes even the morning of to go over and memorize. This includes an introduction to the center, a line or two about following us on social media, and then introduction lines to each store. We usually come up with specific interview questions right before the interview so we can get an idea of what the store owners or restaurants also want to highlight.

The Perks

I have to say that we have a great team! It makes being an on-camera host that much easier and more fun when you can laugh with your crew! We’ve had lots of laughs when I was about to introduce a store and a motorcycle drives by, car alarm goes off, plane flies overhead, etc. and we bust up laughing and have to start over.

One of the best parts of the job is that after interviewing say a restaurant chef for example,  I get to try all the food! Our camera guy will film the food for promotion as well as me trying it. Let me tell you, it is not easy trying to eat huge sushi rolls gracefully on camera!

It’s fun getting to be really interactive with the people I’m interviewing, which can be anything from trying on/modeling clothes from a boutique store or taste testing beer at a brewery.

Why this job inspires me

I really enjoy talking to people and it’s amazing to see why so many of these people felt the need to open up a gelato shop, for example. So many of the people I interview are more than shop owners or restaurant owners. They saw a need for something in their community and wanted to be the one to provide it. They have a passion for starting their business and I think that’s something we can all appreciate!

The Nitty Gritty

Here are some things I never realized until I started this job.

  • Some people are HIGHLY uncomfortable being on camera and it’s my job to make them feel comfortable. That means smiling through any awkwardness and trying to think of questions off-hand. We did have someone who ended up backing out of an interview due to being so uncomfortable on-camera. I will say that we usually prepare most questions beforehand so we don’t have to cut too many videos together but it helps to be able to come up with questions.
  • You have to smile bigger and talk louder than it seems like you are. When I first started they had to tell me to smile bigger many times because on-camera it wasn’t coming across as much as I thought it was!
  • Being in heels for 8 hours is no fun
  • It was a habit to nod my head throughout the interview which I’ve learned to tone down a lot.
  • The clothes! I had to find bright professional attire with no patterns that might clash on camera and had to be sure not to repeat outfits too often!

Overall this has been a great experience and has prepared me for future on-camera hosting or interviewing! I don’t know where this path will take me, but I’m excited to continue along and have fun working as their host! I hope you found this post helpful if you’re considering doing something similar or if you have any questions feel free to contact me or DM me on Instagram!

If you liked this blog, check out my other SamChats here.

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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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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!

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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What Being in A Sorority Taught Me About Comfort Zones
Sam Chat: What Joining a Sorority Taught Me About Comfort Zones 680 1024 samantha

Sam Chat: What Joining a Sorority Taught Me About Comfort Zones

As an Alumni helping out during recruitment at Pref night for my chapter, I was asked why I picked Alpha Phi. Trust me when I say in the least self-fulfilling way that I think my response could be helpful and relatable to anyone, no matter if you’re thinking about this blog post in terms of a sorority, job opportunity, or any new experience. I told the young freshman standing in front of me that I honestly chose Alpha Phi because when I was going through recruitment, I saw a part of myself in these girls that maybe I didn’t have the confidence to be yet, and that scared me. But I also knew that it scared me because I wanted it, because it felt right, and because I knew it was time to push myself out of my comfort zone. I will forever be grateful for that decision because it has made me grow as a person, as an entrepreneur, and as a creative. I recognize that many people have had different experiences with the Greek system, some good and some bad, but this is my experience and I’d love to share what I learned from it.

If you’re reading this as a girl who might go through recruitment but you don’t know if it’s right for you (yet wandering campus alone and having two close friends who you don’t see very often also doesn’t feel right) this is for you.

If you’re reading this because you would “never” join a sorority or risk being judged for it— I’d love for you to read this, so you have a chance to see the Greek system from the perspective of someone that once had the same outlook as you.

And If you’re reading this because you’ve stood in my shoes—this is also for you so we can celebrate this journey we’ve been through.

Backstory: If you only knew…

I was a transfer to California State University, Northridge and pretty comfortable with my life as it was. I was excited about starting in the screenwriting program and finally being at a University that felt right for my needs. Two years prior I had transferred from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo because they didn’t have a film program or the major of screenwriting that I knew I truly wanted but it felt right this time around at CSUN. I was happy to see my lifelong high school friends whenever I could, but most of them didn’t live so close to me anymore. My other best friend was my boyfriend of 6 years but going into my senior year of college, our breakup kind of rocked my world. There was nothing that could’ve prepared me for feeling so not “me.” Everything going into my senior year was different: From where I lived ( I moved into an apartment) to making new friends.

I had been around a few girls that joined sororities, but I was convinced for years that it wasn’t for me. I watched my roommate freshman year go through recruitment and even my mom was in a sorority for a short period of time, but I was the girl that would say, “You couldn’t pay me to be in a sorority.” To be honest, I 100% judged girls that were in sororities. Why would I “pay for friends?” Why would I get “hazed?” Why would I want to be a part of something so exclusive? Now I look back and think if you only knew. And that’s the thing, I just didn’t know. You don’t pay for friends, you definitely don’t get hazed, and it’s not something exclusive, rather it’s something so sacred between sisters once you’re in it.

I was caught between two opposing thoughts: half the people I knew would probably judge me for joining one and caution me about getting “hazed” and I’ll be left asking myself, “How will you get yourself out of this once you realize you’re with a bunch of girls who aren’t genuine and don’t fit your personality?” The other voice was telling me that there’s a reason why so many girls fall in love with the organization they pick. And after meeting a few girls who really didn’t seem to fit the stereotype, I decided to expand my horizon and give it a go.

What I wanted from this experience

By the time Pref night came for me (where you go to the houses of your top two preferences), I was completely invested in the recruitment process and also totally torn between two sororities. I never thought I would be there, but I had found two organizations that spoke to me. My perspective might be different now that I’ve been on the other side and involved in a sorority that I cherish so much, but at the time I started making a mental list of all the things I loved about each sorority, the girls in it, their philanthropies, you name it. And what it came down to, was that one sorority felt safe and the other felt like it would push me out of my comfort zone. What did I really want out of my experience? What did I want as a 21 year old who didn’t join a sorority until my senior year, the only year I would ever get to be in one? To grow as a person and make genuine connections with people. They always say to go in the directions of your dreams, but I also think sometimes you need to go in the directions of your fears. Your fears are a fear for a reason, because you know that growth will come, because you know you might be successful, because you know that whatever lies outside of that comfort zone is something magical. I knew that I saw myself in Alpha Phi, but it almost felt too good to be true. So instead of second guessing myself or wondering what if or playing it “safe,” I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did.

The amount of excitement mixed with anxiety I had on Bid Day was insane. I opened that envelope and saw “Alpha Phi” written down and I was excited but also some voice popped in my head that said, “Oh no, what did you just do?” It was that feeling of finally getting what you wanted but then that fear kicks in and you start paddling backwards. I felt a little bit like an outsider internally because most of the girls were head over heels excited and knew they wanted to join a sorority since high school. However, looking back I also know I wasn’t as alone as I thought I was. I’ve talked to a lot of girls that were excited but so overwhelmed. I was so anxious because I’ve never been more out of my comfort zone.

Being out of my comfort zone taught me…

I can say with confidence that joining a sorority taught me SO much about why it’s important to get outside your comfort zone. Looking back, it’s almost weird that the whole experience intimidated me at first. I can’t tell you how in love I am with the Greek system now and I know that Alpha Phi is a huge reason why I am the person I am (as is any sorority you join).

  • Getting outside of my comfort zone broadened my perspective. I get asked often if I was hazed or about other common misconceptions about being in a sorority and I would love nothing more than for people to see the positive impact the Greek system can have on a young person’s life. Being in a sorority opened me up to a whole other world at my university and oddly enough for a system that gets a bad rap for judging people, I think it helped me not to judge others as much and be open to experiences I may not know enough about. Being a part of an organization that has such an impactful foundation as well as morals and values that I feel so connected to is something I never would have gotten to experience without Alpha Phi. Being part of a sisterhood where all the girls cherish that as much as I do is something really special.
  • Getting outside of my comfort zone led me to my best friends and to form meaningful connections with people. Commuting from home to campus and back without meeting new people that often wasn’t the experience I knew I was meant to have in college and yet that’s how much of my freshman and sophomore years were spent. After joining a sorority, it might’ve felt overwhelming at the time to be in a house with 100 other girls, but it teaches you a lot about being open to new friendships, conversations, and connections. I can say with 1000% certainty that my experience would be so different without being in the Greek system. I wouldn’t have had people to say hi to or hangout with on campus, no sisters to study with in the library during finals, no connections to other people interested in the film and tv industry, and I wouldn’t have met my lifelong best friends.
  • Getting outside of my comfort zone prepared me for running my own business. So much of my senior year was spent running from class to a sorority event back to finishing a project, etc. The schedule got a little crazy and stressful but I loved every second of it. Turns out, that’s really similar to my life now as an actor/writer, blogger, and Etsy shop owner.

If any of you are faced with an amazing opportunity that excites you but ignites a little pang of fear in you, take that leap. In 10 years, you’ll be so glad you went out of your comfort zone. Tell me in the comments below what you’ve been wanting to do that’s out of your comfort zone! Scroll to the bottom!

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