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!

Detox Your Beauty For the New Year

Whenever I clean up after Christmas, it usually spills over into a mini-house-cleanout.  The change to a new year provides the perfect opportunity to look through your cabinets, drawers, cosmetic bags, and shower (*gulp*) to do a little detox on your beauty!

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  • Get rid of expired products

You've likely gotten some new goodies for Christmas, so even out the influx of stuff by getting rid of some things, too.  Almost-gone tubs of conditioner or lotion, or makeup products that you've kept because they're not quite done yet but you might want to use them later (but you haven't touched them in a year) - TIME TO TOSS!  Other culprits include old mascara (3 month shelf life), ancient eyeshadow, goopy nail polish, or items that have developed an odor like lipgloss or liquid foundation.  Anything that doesn't fit into the toss category but still doesn't need to be cluttering up your drawers, donate to friends who might enjoy trying those products.

  • Clean & organize what you have

Put loose bobby pins into a cute mini glass jar, clean out your hairbrush (because really, when was the last time you did that?), get a new toothbrush, and put like with like (all lip things together, all brushes together, etc). Any powder compacts or palettes that you have (blush, eyeshadow) - spritz with 70% Isopropyl alcohol to kill any bacteria that might be lingering around, and let dry. It'll put a little pep in your step to enjoy where you get ready, knowing that everything is clean and organized!

  • Winterize your routine

It's helpful to have a different skincare, makeup, and hair routine for the cold winter months!  The cold air outside and dry heat inside zaps our skin and hair of moisture, and our skin looks lighter!  I vary 1-2 shades in foundation from winter to summer, so I have a separate lighter foundation for winter.  Consider getting matched to your current skin tone for your winter shade. Avoid using a powder, since skin doesn't get as shiny in the winter, and the powder will pick up any dry flakes on your skin.  Use a nourishing, moisturizing shampoo and conditioner, and air dry whenever possible to maintain moisture.  Use a rich body cream all over, including the tops of your feet and backs of your hands, and apply as soon as you towel off after a shower, and every day between showers.  My favorite body lotion for winter is Aveeno Positively Nourishing Calming.  Consider using a facial oil (my favorite is No. 3 Balancing Oil from Beautycounter - serious life changer) and a moisturizer for day (like Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion) and night (Beautycounter Rejuvenating Night Cream is my favorite right now.)  

  • Purchase items free of toxic chemicals, parabens, & sulfates

If you're purchasing any new items, please consider doing a little research about the toxic chemicals that are present in many of our beauty and body care products in the US!  In the EU, over 1400 ingredients are banned from cosmetics and skincare - in the US, only 11 are banned.  The last time our Congress passed a law to ban certain ingredients from cosmetics was 1938.  Not even joking.  I am super passionate about raising awareness of this very REAL issue as a professional in this industry, so you can make informed decisions for yourselves and your families!  Consider reading these two easy-to-follow posts from HuffPost: here and here, for more info!  I have decided to partner with Beauty Counter in particular, a line that has a list of over 1500 ingredients they refuse putting in their cosmetics, hair care, and skin care - and they are fighting to have Congress update their regulations on cosmetics and personal care products for our safety. Plus, their products work beautifully!! If you want any recommendations of Beauty Counter products that would be great for you, email me at sam@lulahairandmakeup.com or leave a comment below!

  • Go with less!

One of my favorite things to do in the winter is to up my skincare game, and do less everywhere else.  Airdry your hair, and avoid using heated tools.  You may also consider using a serum, such as Repair & Nourish Split End Serum.  Go as many days as you can without wearing any makeup (or at least no foundation) to let your skin breathe and rest - and just to reset on remembering what really makes you beautiful.  Let your nails get some time to breath (on your fingers and toes) without any polish on them for at least a week, focusing on filing, buffing, and oiling instead.  Try French Girl Organics cuticle oil for a luxurious treat for your nails!  

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Here's to a happy, healthy, beautiful new year (and perpetually organized cabinets : )

Love,

Sam