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!

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