Life Lately

When people ask me what I've been up to, or if I've been busy lately, I'm a little unsure how to answer.

My default response to these questions is always "Yes! It's been so crazy!" or "This wedding season has been nuts!" with a sigh and big eyes.  This year, I've had to configure a new default response, because crazy and busy are not my normals anymore.  I watch Queer Eye, meet friends for relaxed hang times, and get to eat lunch sitting down - all of which are a blessing at this stage in my life!  I have grappled a little with a feeling that I should make myself sound busier out of a lurking sense of shame, and for the sake of seeming productive or successful - but really, busy and crazy do not equal productive and successful!  I know we know that, but we have a hard time living it, don't we?

So my response to how life has been lately is this:  I feel so happy with the balance of working and resting, building and maintaining home and intentionally (and gently) setting a course for the future, enjoying the present along the way.  And a bunch of fun things have been happening, too!

Here's what I've been up to the last 3 months!


  • 5 miscellaneous photo shoots (Cultivate What Matters, engagement, newborn, headshots, and one corporate commercial shoot)
  • 4 bridal trials
  • Several coffee and lunch meet ups with other industry friends!
  • 7 weddings
  • Helped with hair/makeup for the Flourish Live event hosted by The Flourish Market with Carrol's Kitchen, which was spectacular! It happens once a year and I plan on attending from here on out!
  • Got my work published on several online publications!



  • Spent the weekend in the mountains to celebrate on of my dearest friend's 30th birthday! Hiking, hot tubs, and wonderful conversation
  • Celebrated our 6 year anniversary in one of our favorite places
  • Hosted another BFF from Nashville for a Raleigh/beach getaway!  There was wine and charcuterie and lots of laughter
  • Documented 31 beautiful things for the month leading up to my 31st birthday on my personal instagram - take a little look-see! #31beautifulthings
  • Celebrated my 31st birthday with coffee & friends in the morning, a surprise spa-day at The Umstead (thank you friends!!!! If you have never experienced this - do it!) and camping with John
  • House-Hunting - we've got fun news there :) 
  • Thrifing, a long-time favorite shopping experience, reinvigorated by my sweet friend Mama Tyger
  • Reading books (Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist, Bringing Up Bébé by Paula Druckerman) and lots of magazines (Real Simple, Southern Living, Health, Garden & Gun)
  • Celebrated the 4th of July with family at the beach - we kayaked, paddle boarded, explored, played and rested!



  • Renovating our dream tiny country cottage on an acre of perfect land.  PRAISE JESUS!  New seasons ahead!!
  • Launching my next passion project, which I can't wait to tell you more about!
  • 3 weddings in July, 3 in September, and 3 in October.  I'll round out the year with a few more weddings before venturing into the hopeful unknown!
  • Become an auntie to another tiny precious baby!
  • Take a Ray family trip out West to Bryce and Zion National Parks
  • Selling a ton (ton) of housewares, furniture, art, etc. while we move.  If you don't already, follow my personal instagram to keep an eye out for some goodies you might want to snag.  We're downsizing, so a lot of awesome pieces have got to find new homes!


What is on the calendar next for you?   What are your goals for the rest of 2018?

Love to you today, Sam

Late Summer Bucket List

Summer has officially set in, and while calendars may be flipping towards school schedules and fall kick-offs, the hot weather is here to stay for a while.

And I'm trying to take advantage of it, because I'm a summer baby forever!

Here's my Bucket List for riding out the rest of summer with lots of fun and fullness!

  • Swim in a watering hole, like the Cape Fear River at Raven Rock State Park - it is a 4-mile loop (2 in, 2 out), so bring a knapsack with some snacks and river-shoes, bring your doggies, and wear your swimmies!
  • Take another road trip to the beach.  Our favorite is Beaufort, which is a tiny harbor town that is better known for it's waterway activities like kayaking/paddleboarding as opposed to sand and surf.  If you're in Raleigh like me, Wrightsville and Carolina beaches are also great options!
  • Visit the sunflower field (or a fun feature like this near you!) They are at Dix Park this year, and they're fading fast, so grab your fam and wander through the rows of flowers!
  • See an outdoor movie
  • PEACHES!  Peach Day is THIS Thursday 7/12 at the State Farmer's Market.  If you can't make it, make sure to get your peaches at a roadside produce stand or the farmer's market - grocery stores simply will not do! Once you take them home, store them on a paper towel or cloth on the counter with the stem down, not touching each other.
  • Eat as many perfect, fresh, and real tomatoes as possible while they're in season.  We love to go to the State Farmer's Market and stock up on heirlooms for the perfect BLT's!  Also stock up on fresh sweet corn and summer squashes!
  • Take time to enjoy the cricket and cicada sounds, hopefully while you're eating dinner outside with beloved friends and family.
  • Go hiking in the early morning, while there is a hint of coolness in the air.  I love making it a friend date! Umstead State Park, Falls Lake State Recreational Area, and Lake Johnson Park are great options in the area!  
  • Boating on the lake - any lake!  This is my favorite later in the summer, when the water is nice and warmed and the sunsets are perfect.
  • Bake the Nectarine and Berry Cobbler featured in the June/July issue of Garden and Gun - YUM!
  • Make time for a little girl gang fun - whether it's meeting up for an iced coffee, doing something adventurous like jumping in a lake or riding bikes, or a girls night, gather your best gals and be there for each other!

What is on your bucket list for the rest of the summer? Happy memory-making, friends!




See the above images and their sources, and more summer inspiration, on my Summer Fullness Pinterest Board.