November Recap + End of Year Thoughts

Hi beauties!  How was your November?  

To be honest, I can't believe it's already December - I haven't stopped to really consider all that has happened in November, but I just know it was a lot!  A lot of great things, memories made, laughter, family time, a couple of tough moments, and celebrating.

Work

  • Road-tripped to the Outer Banks with Nancy to do a tag-team hair/makeup and photo session for my cousin's engagement photos!  
  • Met with one of my favorites (& designer of this website) Sarah of Native State Design to dream about some creative endeavors I've been combing through over the last several months, hopefully to come to life in 2018!
  • Partied hard at the Southern Weddings Volume 10 Launch Party!  What a fun night to dress up to the nines, celebrate a beautiful print magazine & their team, & hug people I love but don't often get to see outside of a wedding day!  By the way, did you see this editorial I was a part of?
  • Did hair and makeup for my friend Katie's wedding day (& tried Lipsense for the first time for her wedding! What do y'all think of Lipsense?? Gonna compile my thoughts here soon!)
  • Did hair and makeup for my sister-in-law and one of my dearest friend's, Jess', wedding!  I was running behind with HAMU, I was sweating like a pig, I remembered what it's like to be IN a wedding whilst getting hair and makeup done (& have a renewed sense of purpose to provide as much structure, peace, and stability as possible to my clients!) It was SUCH a beautiful day!  Joanne & Amy joined as well to help out the rest of the girls, and did a fantastic job as always!
  • Joined Beautycounter!  After a ton of time, a ton of thought, trying out product, reading up extensively on the business, purpose, and mission.  Click here to read why I chose BC for me and for LULA, and click here to shop with me!
  • Facetimed with my sweet friend Rhi of Rhiannon Bosse Celebrations and got encouraged about business, taking time away, the highs and lows of social media, and dreaming of 2018.  It is SO good to connect with other business owners in your industry to be encouraged and uplifted!

Personal

  • Took care of my little Milly niece and Winston for a couple of days
  • Helped host a bridesmaid day at my home to celebrate Jess pre-wedding!  We got our nails done, visited her new beautiful home, ate lunch back at my place, watch Gilmore Girls, did a little gifting time, and ate dinner at Bartaco (if you haven't been, you need to go! And trust me when I tell you to get a margarita and a pork belly taco!)
  • Left for the beach and celebrated all week long for Jess and Kyle's wedding!!  Woohoo!
  • Slept one million hours after that
  • Had a Thanksgiving Eve surprise date-night with John to Brewery Bhavana at the bar - Pork Bao, trust me on this one too!
  • Made the most kickass apple pie - I use this recipe from BHG every Thanksgiving and it's not for the faint of heart, but it is SO GOOD.
  • Celebrated Thanksgiving with my husband's family on T-giving day, then my family on Saturday.  On the day in between, we hiked part of the MTS trail in north Raleigh and the day was just the finest Raleigh in the fall has to offer.  We got our tree - at Kroger : )  Nothing like good prices and simplicity sometimes! 
  • Decorated our tree and our home for the holidays!  
  • Dealt with a little surprise meltdown moment, only to realize I was still dealing with loss - it was the 2 year anniversary of being pregnant, our only time conceiving in the last 3 years.  What a journey!  God is good and present through it all!
  • Reading Animal Vegetable Miracle still, and finishing up the last chapter (December) of The Life-Giving Home.  I highly recommend both of these for your 2018 reading list!
  • Trying to wake up a bit earlier to enjoy more daylight and have extended morning time to do all the things I like to do - time with Jesus, a few chores, breakfast, and working out.  Going well so far!

December + End of Year Thoughts

What an amazing year.  I really want to thank you, my kindred friends, for supporting me through so much change this year!  It wasn't easy, but I'm glad I told you all about it.  I really believe that being vulnerable and transparent is one of the strongest tools God uses in us, to encourage one another, bridge the gaps of isolation, and do some real healing.  I'm really thankful for you!  I can't wait to see what 2018 brings, and I can't wait to share what I've been dreaming up for all of us.  Thank you for your patience, your kindness, and your encouragement with and to me!

In December, I'm looking forward to a few things:

  • One engagement session, one trial, and one wedding (because let's be honest, the extra money is going to be helpful for holidaying!  And, I want to keep my skills sharp and my heart soft!)
  • Hosting our first ever holiday party for a few friends in our home.  I'm a little nervie but the best way to get over that is to just do it : )
  • Maybe sing a little
  • Go see the Governor's Mansion all beautifully decked out in red, gold, and green
  • Hang out with friends and family
  • Attend a few parties as well!
  • Do a little more shopping and wrap my presents
  • Get back in the gym with all the pre-wedding gusto I had a few weeks ago!  It really does make me feel so much better physically and emotionally!

How can I encourage you this month?  Message me or comment below.  Do you have goals posted - link em!  I wanna cheer you on!

All my love Lulettes,

Sam

 

What I've Been Up To (& What I'm Looking Forward To)

Autumn is here!

IMG_9812.JPG

The last year has been such a crazy journey for me.  I swiped the table of my professional plans, and personal life took precedence as I sought out healing for myself in a difficult time (to put it bluntly - severe anxiety/panic attacks and infertility).  All the details on that have been sprinkled about various blogs and insta-posts over the last 10 months, for those who might want to look back and follow the bread crumb trail.

I can honestly say that, though there is still some uncertainty regarding what 2018 will look like, life right now is so good.  To read what I've been up to in life and work, and what I'm looking forward, take a little browse below!

Since August 21 (when I sent the last Gazette):

In Life

  • Adopted Goldie Faith Ray, our hilarious tabby kitten who is as playful as a puppy.  Her in-shelter name was Faith, and we knew we needed to keep that in there.  After we had already signed the papers, we found out she was born on June 8th of this year, my 30th birthday!  Of course I started crying, and thankfully the people who work at the SPCA are the sweetest and did not make fun of me and my #catmom tearfest!
  • I've been trying to get outside as much as possible with friends.  Since John is working full time, I have enjoyed asking girl friends to go walking with me as a fun alternative to the coffee date, and a safe way to explore Raleigh trails instead of going at it alone.  Some of my favorites have been Lake Johnson trail (it's a 3 mile loop) and Falls Lake, and Umstead.
  • I did the Hormone Reset by Dr. Sara Gottfried , a diet similar to Whole30, but specifically geared towards women and healing metabolism.  It focuses on resetting the 7 main hormones that get out of whack largely due to what we consume.  I honestly just found the book on a whim while at the library.  I loved (LOVED) this diet, as I found it to be a little more gentle and holistic than Whole30 (which can, in my opinion, play into mindsets that are overly restrictive.) Dr. Sara also incorporates what she calls "cell to soul" work - a way to connect with your emotions, mind, and spirit throughout the process.  It was a great way for me to reconnect with my body and listen to all it had been trying to tell me (but I often try to overlook by eating whatever I emotionally want!)
  • To go with that, I have really upped my workout game by doing more classes at the Y.  I have especially loved Aerobics, Total Body Strength, and Cardio Dance.  Group workouts work way better for me because they push me harder and keep me accountable.  I also like meeting new friends!
  • Saw the last Bulls home game with John on the first cool, crisp night of early fall.
  • Helped my friend Taylor Leonhardt  for her album release.  If you guys want some fresh fall music, go stream/buy her album River House like now!  The album release show was super fun, hosted in the Portico Pictures studio with 170-ish of our friends.  I got to help create her magical backdrop and sing background vocals too.
  • Helping get things all ready for my sister-in-law Jess' wedding, which is happening so soon!  I haven't been a bridesmaid in a while, and it's really sweet to be in this season of life while bridesmaiding.  I feel like I know a lot more now about how to be a support and a help, and appreciating the honor of being someone's wing-woman for such a huge life event. 

In Work

  • Provided some touch-up hair and makeup for the 2018 Powersheets photoshoot at the Barn of Chapel Hill.  So. much. COLOR!! BTW, the new Powersheets are out and if you're any bit of a goal setter or want to be, I highly recommend snagging yourself some now!  I have been using them for the last 3 years and 
  • Got to meet some awesome ladies during the Beautiful You photo shoot with Kat de la Cruz at The Gray House in Raleigh. That was my first experience with boudoir-esque hair and makeup, and I had a ton of fun!
  • Got to do Nancy's hair and makeup for their newborn photoshoot!
  • Did Joanne's hair and makeup for her fresh headshots!  Check out all that Joanne is  up to - she's killing it with these business projects!
  • Got the ladies of Gilded Bridal all spiffied up for their team photo shoot, while they also celebrated their 1 year anniversary!  What a fun morning!
  • Joined the ladies of Emily Ley/Simplified Planner for a Holiday Shoot at the McAlister Leftwich house in Greensboro.  We channeled a little Gal Meets Glam and I loved it!
  • An engagement shoot, and a bridal trial for a dear friend getting married in just a couple of weeks!

So what am I looking forward to?

  • Savoring this quick fall season before the holidays officially get here - Sweaters, PSLs, crisp air
  • Celebrating alongside one of my best friends as she gets married in Beaufort
  • Celebrating Thanksgiving with my family
  • Picking out a petite Christmas tree for our living room (we're downsizing after our 9-footer last year!)
  • Continuing working out and eating well - treating my own body like a dear friend
  • Reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, E.M. Bounds on Prayer, and The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis : )
  • Our ignite group at our church - worshipping together, and getting onto college campuses and encouraging students!  I know I needed that when I was in college - is that the life gauntlet or what?
  • Drawing & creating stuff for fun
  • Worshiping and praying in my home
  • Making great meals in our home (I usually check out the @whole30recipes insta feed and make my meal plans from there!)

Do you have your goals posted on a blog or post?  Link it to me below - I'd love to cheer you on!

Love,

Sam

Summer Recap + Fall Happenings

June & July:

  • 7 weddings - my last weddings for 2017.  Hooray!
  • 6 trials/misc photoshoots (including Anna P.'s headshots, Nancy's maternity & newborn photos, and doing my aunt Becky's hair and makeup for her 60th bday!  Such a treat!)
  • Was featured on the Something Pretty blog ("True Beauty, An Interview with Samantha Ray"), What Inspires You Daily #peoplewhoinspire series, and Kristin of Rebecca Rose Event's Fangirl Friday roundup!  Thanks ladies for sharing so much love!
  • I turned 30!  John planned a beautiful evening party at my favorite park with all my best family & friends present.  We took a communal train ride, ate pizza & chips (my idea), and I was serenaded by my best friends.
  • Enjoyed a surprise visit to Nashville thanks to John who purchased tix for me, and arranged for me to stay with my TN BFF Laura
  • Hung out with a bunch of friends over lunches & dinners - Fiction Kitchen, Brewery Bhavana, Sola, and PDQ
  • Went to Beaufort twice - for July 4th and then later with my mom
  • Hung out with my nieces & nephews, and welcomed my newest niece Lyndon Whitfield into the world (P.S. - that middle name? Totally my middle name.  Yes.  I have a namesake!)
  • Sang BGV's on a dear friend's new project - Taylor Leonhardt's album River House is coming out this fall!  I can't wait.
  • Celebrated John's 27th bday with cinnamon rolls, morning/noon/night presents, Mexican dinner with friends, and Goodberry's!
  • Swam at the beach and the pool
  • Girls nights - it's not good until someone's crying : )  And we usually do!
  • Lots of rest, relaxing, fun, BBC shows, vitamins, water, sleep, laughter, church, family, and friends.

August & September:

  • Enjoy Saturdays with John! Woohoo!!
  • Hang with the Cultivate gals for a promo shoot!  Can't wait to share more!
  • Work with Kat de la Cruz for a "Beautiful You" styled shoot - 2 days, 6 women, tons of fun! 
  • Apple, pumpkin, squash, and gourd season at the Farmer's Market
  • Camping over Labor Day weekend
  • Planning an autumn weekend getaway to Blowing Rock, NC
  • Writing music
  • Another guest blog publication or two ; )
  • Mighty Leaf "African Nectar" Tea
  • More resting, laughter, reading books, watching shows, and getting outside

How has your summer been?  What are you looking forward to this fall?