Life Since "Closing Down"

Hello friends!

Welcome back to this little corner of the internet, my small expression over the years of things I’ve been enjoying in the beauty world, things I’ve been up to in life and in work, and other random tidbits that have kept me writing and checking in with myself. There are some gems in here from over the years, and it feels good to be back in this little space with an update!

Last July (2018), I made the announcement that, after finishing out my 2018 season, I would be closing down the doors of LULA. At that time, the decision was a year and a half in the making, with many iterations of what changes should take place to make LULA a thing I could keep loving and ministering through. Because of the volume of inquiries coming in daily, it was helpful for me to make such a strong and drastic boundary to give myself the real time & space to truly assess where I wanted to go from there! 

For a few years, I had been working most days of the week through LULA (think trials, engagement sessions, and a smattering of other photoshoots ranging from maternity to headshots to corporate shoots) and almost every weekend of the year for weddings. I was so thankful to have so many opportunities to work doing something so creative! After a while at this pace, however, I knew something had to change. Taking breaks seemed like a luxury that I wasn’t always able to sink into because of the amount of work on my plate. When I wouldn’t listen to my mind and heart, the stress starting showing up in my body in ways I couldn’t ignore. This shift had been taking shape since my first experience with anxiety and panic attacks in the beginning of 2017.

While there are many pointers out there on starting businesses, there aren't many on how to reduce business or close a business down, so I've just gone with the flow, checked in with myself many (many) times throughout the process, consulted many trusted friends and mentors, and have tried to be patient with myself. Thank you for journeying with me!

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So what does life and LULA look like now?

I’ll admit, starting 2019 without any weddings scribbled on my weekends was a totally weird and somewhat disorienting experience, half distressing (what-have-I-done-and-what-am-I-doing-with-my-life!?!?) and half euphoric/blissful (THIS WAS THE BEST DECISION EVER!) John is at a point in his career that has allowed me space to take less work, which is a gift I am thankful for.

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  1. During last fall, while I finished up my hair/makeup commitments, I started building another creative project, which focuses heavily on my writing, giving me a web home to continue sharing which isn’t directly related or limited to the beauty or wedding world. I’m excited to share that SO soon!! (If you’re a part of my Gazette community, you’ll have seen a little peek of it from that newsletter!)

  2. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to record a new song, which I am hoping will kickstart a full-length music project that I am so so pumped about. Music has been a major player in my life and passions and I’m just so excited to have the space to grow that and keep creating in that capacity! That little songlette will be out in just a few weeks! (Stay tuned on my personal insta for music updates!)

  3. I’ve been able to continue enjoying hair and makeup styling! I knew I wanted to keep my kit to do some select beauty gigs, but I have been surprised at the opportunities that have popped up that have kept me working at least once a week since the beginning of the year. I’ve been able to be there to bless friends who have gotten married this spring, have had several clients for maternity, newborn, and boudoir sessions, speaking engagements, and special events. This pace has been so encouraging and gives me plenty of space to continue with my other creative endeavors!

  4. And I’ve been able to dabble in a little creative direction for a couple of brand photoshoots! I hope I get to keep growing in this field, because I really enjoy casting a whole creative vision that involves space, wardrobe, posing, styling, models - the overall feel and story.

It’s a lot of avenues, but I’m excited to step into a season where I’m living a little more fully as who I am! I’ve pursued a business coach to have a wise voice speak into my career from a birds-eye view and help me make some goals (can’t wait to tell you more about that!) And I’ve been enjoying working “Theme Days,” a concept I picked up from Emily P. Freeman’s The Next Right Thing podcast (episode 73 if you wanna take a listen!)

Other than work, life since last July has been a whirlwind!

We purchased a small country cottage on an acre of land in Wake Forest, totally renovating the existing structure while keeping the same teensy footprint. We remained living in our downtown Raleigh apartment until moving into our new home just before Christmas, setting up a tree (we bought one of 4 last scraggly Christmas trees off the lot!) amidst all of our half-unpacked boxes.

Personally, the last few months have looked like settling in, a lot of Facebook marketplacing, a few trips (Beaufort, Mountain City TN, Greenville SC, and Millboro VA), enjoying a new pace of life and work, and figuring out what shape and rhythm my new work is going to take!

All that to say, I am happy that I will continue taking non-bridal clients for the foreseeable future!

So if you need hair and/or makeup for a photoshoot of any kind - maternity, family, newborn, headshots, a brand photoshoot - for PR or promotional media shoot, editorial work, for a special event (birthday party, gala, formal), or for a personal consultation, please contact me here!

I hope you’re having an amazing spring, and I’ll see you here and on the new web-home, too, I hope!

Love,

Sam

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A special thank you to Lindsey Cash Photography for capturing these images in our new home! Linds, you are amazing at what you do!

April to May

April to May

 

My home is lit with candles, placed sporadically atop pieces of our mismatched furniture.  I'm sitting, looking out our opened sliding glass door.  The leaves are turned upside down on this gray morning, rustled every so often with a bustling breeze, telling of storms to come later today.

Quiet.  It's my favorite sound ever.  Not silence, just quiet.  The birds chirping to each other outside.  The sound of the washer swooshing our laundry.  The absence of mind clutter, which takes a little more intention (denying the junk-food-snacking urge to gobble up our social media things - and then compare ourselves, sometimes mercilessly or judgmentally, to the images of others' lives).  In our homes, in our hearts, we always have the option of creating peace places.  The same attitude with which we approach a getaway, we can approach our daily lives, our homes.  We all know it can't be all vacation or all quiet all the time, but I think we too often forego any peace at all in leui of the burdensome "I have to" mindset.  I have to fold all of our mountains of laundry.  I have to answer 100 emails.  I have to run a million errands today.  I have to do more than I can actually do and maintain sanity.  I say this as if I'm good at it... I am not.

A sweet woman in my life began a practice some time ago of starting her day with listening.  You know those moments between first rousing and actually stepping foot to the floor?  They can be filled with all sorts of things.  These first fruits of our day can be the pacemaker of peace in our days, if used with life-giving (not "I have to...") intention.  She would greet God, and then listen.  She would write what she heard.  Whatever she heard in her heart, whatever Scripture came to mind, whatever she felt was pressing on her heart - which was the Lord speaking still and soft as He does - she would write down.  But only, actually, for 10 minutes.

Sometimes I think we believe we need an overhaul of our lives to create the kind of lifestyle or atmosphere we truly desire.   But I believe that, more often than not, it's just a series of small intentional actions that we can start to implement in our lives that will create sustainable change in the direction we want to go.  Small changes can be the hardest.  We like overhauls because they pump us up, we get hype, and hype is an easy wave to coast on... until it tuckers out.  It's easier to endeavor to just change it all, the whole kit and caboodle all at once, than to make small, sustainable changes over time.  We think we will get more immediate change or gratification, when what we really get is the disappointing crash. Crash diets versus gradual additions of colors into our meals.  "I'm gonna read the Bible in a year!" versus I am going to read my Bible at all, even for 5 minutes, for each day for a week.  Then when we do crash, we feel worse for the wear because we "couldn't do it."  We couldn't keep it up.  OR our goals become our slave-drivers, instead of the changes we wanted in order to give us more.  More peace, more time with our family, more health, more joy... whatever our hearts were longing for in the first place out of need.  Satan loves the crash, because he loves watching us kick ourselves around.  He uses hype, because he doesn't like when we actually make changes that uproot easy footing for him in our lives.

I endeavor to make the small, hard changes.  To give 10 minutes or 5 minutes or 2 minutes of my day to listen and let that be a pace-setter of the heart behind the rest of my day.  I endeavor to have grace for myself and for others.  Whatever goals I have for this coming month, I want to come from a place a peace, from the Holy Spirit of the Living God.  I have enough stuff in my life, enough voices wrangling for time and attention, and sometimes the best place to start is just sitting in the quiet.

xo

Samantha

 

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