The girl with the brave heart. Never change.

Do you ever feel as though your vulnerability is unattractive? Or that it’s somehow a complete turn off? I admit, it’s definitely crossed my mind a couple times over the years. But I’ve grown to accept who I am and not change for anyone. I constantly wear my heart on my sleeve and when I love, I love deeply. I just love people.

I’ve realized that doing so sometimes is the scariest thing anyone can do. You’re putting your whole heart out there and someone may end up not handling it with the care it deserves. If you’re like me, you might have had this bite you in the butt more times than not. (college)

To the girl with an open heart… I want to let you know that I’m still learning as a 22 year old that it’s ok if the level isn’t matched.  You have to realize that some people in your life need a little extra time to love you like you love them. Other times all you’re meant to do is give love without any expectation of receiving it.  Don’t overthink things… you have a quality too many lack. You love unconditionally and you look past so many flaws. Honestly, this world needs more of that! There are so many people out there that would give up everything just to be and feel LOVED.

Always remember:

Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness… it actually screams Bravery.

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Caseville, Michigan Cottage

Fourth Of July I was invited to spend 5 days in the beautiful state of Michigan with my best friend and her family in their Lake Cottage . Being the hardest weekend to get covered at my restaurant I still managed to be able to go on a small vacay. A much needed one to be honest!

The entire weekend was so relaxing and rejuvenating. We all made dinners together almost every night, roasted s’mores, went on the jet skis for hours, did a photo shoot in a random German town and almost got Megan hitched by a cute chocolate making boy but he turned out to be already married !!! It was hard leaving Michigan behind (let alone my best friend) but I know I’ll be back. Lake Huron Sunsets are ones for the books. Every night I was taken away in my thoughts… I could stare at that horizon for ever.

 

 

Tom

I followed my gut and said yes. I only gave him one condition …

“Tom, all I ask is that you just don’t hurt me. I can’t have my heart broken again.”

 

I’m twenty-two, a hopeless romantic, and the stereotypical sorority girl. But I grew up in a very religious family. That being said, I wasn’t allowed to date till the end of high school and at that point I wasn’t looking for a relationship. Entering college and being independent, I had guys friends but never any I was willing to commit to nor were they up to par. I had way too many standards. Guys my age just couldn’t meet them. They were still boys enjoying Greek life and the endless amount of beauties all isolated to one street… GREEK ROW.

For a bit, I gave up. I wanted a boyfriend but I knew that would come a lot later in life. At some point though, my girlfriends and I started using dating apps for fun and to see what all was out there. Yes… that’s right… Good ole TINDER. I tried going into tinder dates without expectations but I secretly was hoping for something other than a hook – up. That’s something I was definitely not looking for! I honestly wanted to just meet people and truly get to know a person. I don’t regret any of my dates, because many left me with free drinks, good laughs, a friendship and even a job! But it was the same old thing almost every time; the goal was to get in my pants. For the year I had tinder, I would go months without it because it became a broken record. One November day I re-downloaded it and just kept swiping left. After a good couple minutes, a pale man with a beer flight appeared on my screen. I couldn’t help but swipe right and funny enough…we matched. I immediately swallowed my pride of letting the guy message me first and just sent him

“I don’t know how you like beer. It’s disgusting”. *SEND

I didn’t expect much back if any at all until I received a notification on my phone shortly after.

*ding ding (Tom just sent you a message)

 That’s where it all began. This Brit just talked to me. Not about sex, not about how hot I was… but beer and wine. He was so funny too and I just kept laughing at everything he said. I eventually agreed to give him my number… and when he asked me on a date to Wine Room I couldn’t say no.

Running behind schedule as usual… I text Tom that I’m running late because of traffic when in reality I couldn’t figure out what to wear so I wouldn’t look fat. I was worried he thought I was standing him up but he responded and told me to take my time. As I speed along the houses lining Aloma, I turn down a side street passing the Alfond Inn and find a parking spot right behind Luma. I quickly reapply my lipstick and mascara and shimmy out of my car trying not to let the wind catch my black dress. I stumble as I make my way in heels on the cobblestone streets of Park Ave and finally make it to the entrance of Wine Room. I run to the restroom for a quick peak at myself again… and then make my way to the small bar to find my date. As I approach the counter (butterflies rising in my stomach) I see Tom talking to two girls making friendly conversation. (I can tell he’s nervous too). He smiles big, hugs me and introduces me as the Sam he was waiting for.

We make our way to the front to get glasses and he loads up a card for the both of us. Just what a wino like me needs… lol

We sampled so many wines and I found one that became my long time favorite that night. Pacific Rim : Sweet Riesling. A wine that Tom’s mom always makes sure she has for me!

Throughout the entire night, we both had such great connection. He talked about his mom, and all the charitable things she does and I shared some things about my background and my dreams and goals of my own life. We talked hobbies and favorite food… And just had a really great time. I saw so much of his heart in one night that it captured my attention. To sober up, we got Margarita Pizza at Luma next door and then he offered to buy me an UBER home. Being a smart and overly cautious girl, I turned it down so he wouldn’t find out where I lived. However, we made a deal. I’d drive him home and he could decide at that point if I was able to drive home on my own.

Getting in the car with him was so weird…. It was such a confined space in my 2012 Camry and I was a bit nervous on what he was going to try. (You never know with online dating!). When we approached his apartment complex I put my car in park and as he opened the door he looked back at me. Deciding that I was sober enough to drive, he smiled and said “I’d invite you upstairs to crash but I think that’s a bit too soon huh?”

I nodded in agreement. “We should really do this again Sam. “

It was that very moment I knew he was different. I had to see him again.

That following week, we both went our own ways for Thanksgiving break and texted the entire time! Once we both were back in Orlando, he invited me over for dinner and a movie. At some point during the night, he was completely bold with his intentions. Something so many young guys lack…

“Sam I really like you… I want to make this a thing”

“Tom, what do you mean? What does that make me?”

“Well, my girlfriend…”

I just looked at him and smiled, his blue eyes staring back at me. In complete vulnerability, I was so scared and nervous but there was just something about this boy. I followed my gut and said yes. I only gave him one condition …

“Tom, all I ask is that you just don’t hurt me. I can’t have my heart broken again.”

And on December 1st 2015… our adventure began.

Being my first official relationship, I had so many firsts. Kisses on the forehead, random “I love you’s”, surprise breakfasts, trips to new places, looks that made me worry less, shoulders that held me when I cried and lips that told me “everything will work out”. There were also my first fights, moments when I realized I was very insecure, and also days where I realized “I DO PMS”. Lol But through it all…. Tom has stood by me. It hasn’t been perfect but what relationship is?

Charleston, South Carolina

” I forgot how to breathe for a mere second or two when upon our entrance I was greeted by streets lined with Colonial style homes and corners taken up by massive Cathedrals rising from the ground and piercing the sky like the finger of God himself ” 

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Valentines Day 2016 happened to fall on a Sunday this year.  A Sunday in which I worked and also a Sunday in which Tom’s family scheduled a trip to the Dominican Republic for a much needed escape from the cold.  With our schedules against us, we decided that our Valentines Day would be on Tuesday, February 9th. Why? Well, because Cherub (one of Tom’s favorite band and now one of mine) was playing in Charleston, South Carolina! And this called for a road trip! Short lived, the trip would only be 24 hours but well worth it. To be honest, I was ready to get out of town and have a change of scenery.

Monday night after class, I came home to a huge Tri-Colored bouquet of Dwarf Roses in the kitchen. The girl in me squealed for the long anticipated moment of receiving flowers from a boy and ended up waking the sleeping giant in the next room who was trying to catch up on sleep for the long road trip the next morning. I bypassed wiping off my lipstick and kissed him a million times. Valentines Day was getting off to a great start.

***BUZZ BUZZ BUZZ***  I reach over to shut off my alarm. How was it 4:30 am already? I roll over and stared at the spinning blades of the fan. I was not ready to emerge from the comforts of the sheets but knowing myself, I knew I needed as much time to get ready so we could leave right on schedule. While I was putting on my face and blow drying my curls out, Tom was working on breakfast. Once the smell of sausage and hash browns reached the bathroom I quickly wrapped up my morning routine so I could eat whatever was producing those delicious flavors in the air.

We managed to get out of Orlando by  7 am and hit the road with a full tank and snackie-poos (a mango peach smoothie and banana for me and chocolate doughnuts for Tom). I slept most of the way while he drove. To pass the time when I was awake we listened to Bob’s Burgers, New Girl and Gangsta Rap. Tyga and Lil Wayne being my go-to’s.

1 pm and 43 degrees out, we finally reach the city. As the road before us descended from the bridge, I forgot how to breathe for a mere second or two when upon our entrance I was greeted by streets lined with Colonial style homes and corners taken up by massive Cathedrals rising from the ground and piercing the sky like the finger of God himself. Along the bay, yachts were docked taking a break from the cold waters and finding refuge along the shore line. This city had so much to offer involving the outdoors, but with the cold weather it definitely limited our adventurous choices.

After finding a parking garage off King Street, we headed briskly toward a French Restaurant that we previously researched as the choice for our lunch destination; Gaulart & Maliclet Fast & French Inc. We found the last two cozy seats along the small bar counter and immediately grabbed menus. We were ready for food. After reviewing the long list of options we both chose one of the lunch specials. I settled on toasted rye with pate and blue cheese, tomato bisque and the French house white wine. Tom chose a croissant pizza accompanied with soup and the white wine as well. For dessert, the waiter insisted on a warm cherry tart topped with vanilla bean ice-cream. Needless to say, my sweet tooth got the best of me.

Trying to decide what to do till the concert at 9 pm and also strategically choosing activities that kept us indoors and out of the weather proved to be a bit challenging. The museums were under renovation and all the tours were out-doors. In desperation for warmth, we decided to brewery hop. First stop was Palmetto Brewery.

We got there right as they were opening at 3pm and were surprised that there were already guests seated at the bar. We started with one beer flight of four brews,  found a quiet wooden table facing the brewery, and started a very intense game of checkers. Three games and two flights later, I claimed victory for 1 game while Tom won 2. During the beginning of the last game,  he ended up blocking me from making any moves and automatically won! He called it mere chance, but I’ve internally made the assumption that he’s a closet pro Checker Game player but he’ll never admit it.

Next Brewery, The Revelry, was about 5 minutes away. Rumor had it that they had a couple sour beers on tap.  We sat at the open aired bar and huddled close as the temperature outside was significantly dropping. We ended up with 1 flight there due to the small selections and no sour beers. With that being said, my picky palette only found one I enjoyed. Unashamed, I also ordered a glass of wine. However, Tom seemed to like all of them.

5:30 pm and finally dinner time, we head toward The Macintosh for our 6pm reservation. This was also a restaurant that we previously researched. It was conveniently located near the brewery which allowed us ample time to find parking. Which we definitely took advantage of.  Yelp set a standard for this restaurant and it without doubt was met. The room was dimly lit and the decor was simplistic and refined.  Being already a bit tipsy, I unfortunately didn’t take advantage of some of their finer entrees. Instead, I was craving a burger and fries but I will say, it was one of the best burger patties I’ve ever sinked my teeth into. Tom chose a tender piece of Rich Pork Shoulder that he was willing to let me try. One bite, and it just melted in my mouth.

After dinner, we headed to the sister lounge upstairs where we found a comfy spot on a tufted leather couch and I enjoyed a Chocolate Martini. Legs stretched across each other as we enjoyed the ambiance, time passed slowly and uninterrupted. We played a couple rounds of trivia before we headed toward Music Farm. It was almost 9 pm and Cherub was awaiting our arrival.

Doors had opened at 8pm, so once we entered the rustic venue there were already quite a few young people settled in. I grabbed my last drink for the night from the bar in the back ( a classic rum and coke) and we claimed two spots in the crowd near the stage. Two opening artists played till about 11pm. The first one did remixes on current hip hop songs and the second had a similar techno vibe to Cherub. The crowd grew impatient and we all started asking for Cherub around 10:45pm. Upon Cherub’s entrance at 11pm, the crowd went wild! Their set ran till about 1 am and popular songs such as “Freaky Me, Freaky You” and “Doses and Mimosas” played along with “Heartbreaker” and the sweet song “Monogamy”. I was blown away by their talent and vocals. It’s so different hearing a band live versus through head phones on your iPhone.  The sounds were so raw in person. Being my first official concert, I was impressed and well pleased. This wouldn’t’ be the last.

The night came to a quick close as we rushed toward the cooper about a quarter mile away. It was 32 out and I was eager to get back to Florida.

This trip might have been short but I enjoyed every bit of it. My favorite moments were the small ones. Walking down the street and hearing each other shiver, watching my breath in the air, my legs draped across his on a leather couch, and the small whispers of lyrics in my ear with his hands on my hips during the concert.

Sam xx

 

 

 

 

2016 New Year Resolutions: Are they worth making?

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“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

 Setting New Year Resolutions has been a tradition since early Babylonian times where people would make promises to God at the start of each 12 month cycle. People today now tend to make promises to themselves and do their best to stick to them although most of the time they don’t. Statistics have shown that 88% of people who set resolutions fail to succeed at the fulfillment of these newly established promises. However, you don’t have to be part of that number. It’s been proven that once you write it down on paper… you become more accountable for them and have a higher chance on achieving your goals for the year. Honestly, it comes down to a choice and it has everything to do with YOU.

I’ve experienced enough people who tend to get annoyed by the idea of New Year Resolutions and think everyone who participates in them are stupid, but at the end of the day, all I have to say is “go sit on a cactus”. In my opinion, New Year Resolutions are impactful. It’s similar to the transition from High School to College. It’s a new year, you’re given a blank slate and you can make it however you want it to be! It won’t always be easy, but it starts with writing your goals down and taking baby steps toward them. You might slip up a few times, but failure is not determined by how many “mess ups” or “mistakes” you make, but by the mere act of falling and NOT getting back up. That’s failure.

2015 was a very eventful year for me filled with new experiences starting with joining a sorority and ending with getting my first boyfriend who is now my best friend. With 2016 here, I’m excited for all there is to come. I’m hopeful on what this year will bring and the limits I will push myself to. Here are my New Year Resolutions and how I’ve started taking small steps toward achieving these goals.

My 2016 New Year Resolutions:

  1. Divulge in more casual reading: I began working toward this goal by taking a quick trip to Barnes & Noble within the first week of January and purchasing two books; “Grey” and “The Medicis Daughter”!  They now go with me everywhere. Thank God for large tote bags.
  2. Tone up and avoid doing only cardio as my daily exercise: I now do Tom’s weightlifting workout plan 5 days a week with our mornings starting at 5 am sharp.
  3. Tighten the reins on what I put in my body:  Tom and I are  currently committed to the P90X Food Plan that he swears by. It’s been fun cooking together and keeping each other accountable. It makes sticking with this goal so much easier. 
  4. Enjoy the smaller things: Starting with more runs around Lake Eola on Sunday and picnics at Wekiwa Springs. 
  5. Start my Blog: I started my blog at the end of 2014 but never stuck with it. I’ve talked about it a lot to my friends and they’ve pushed me toward starting it up again; And here I am…
  6. Travel: I’ve always loved the idea of traveling, but never put much emphasis on it. Now with Tom as my travel buddy… I want to go anywhere and everywhere . But it all starts with downloading the app Hitlist (a hub for cheap flights), getting a passport (which I’m purchasing this month)  and sticking to my next resolution
  7. Budget: Being in college and paying for most everything myself, I already am on a budget, but I want to improve on buying only what’s necessary, limit my shopping, and being more mindful even on brands at the grocery store. Choosing Publix brand over the name brand may only save me 50 cents but it adds up. With small changes, I can then direct my spending and savings toward important things like experiences and traveling.
  8. Diligence in my school work: I’m lucky enough to have good work ethic, but there is always room for improvement. 
  9. Expanding my vocabulary: Reading more always helps with this.
  10. Speak more eloquently: This starts with accepting corrections when I say something wrong or use the wrong word in a sentence.
  11. Do more good in the world: Like feeding the homeless
  12. Work on my bucket list: First on the list is going to a concert. This I might just do in February if Tom and I take a road trip to South Carolina to see Cherub LIVE!

I know what you’re thinking… these are a lot of goals. But honestly, I don’t see where there has to be a limit on New Year Resolutions. A lot of these goals I’ve already started working on and have been successful in doing so. We all know ourselves well enough to know what we are capable of. For me, I love long lists. I aim high and if I don’t get through the entire list, at least I did most of them.

So there it is…cheers to the new year and new beginnings!  Simple or over whelming as my resolutions may be, none are impossible. Hopefully, the theory stands true; if things are put into writing they are more likely to be followed through with. Now it’s your turn to test the theory out. Try writing your resolutions down to keep accountability or maybe make a joint list with your best friend. It’s always easier doing something with someone else than going at it alone. Unless it’s getting a scoop from a Talenti container. Those fortunately are never meant for sharing. 😉

Photo Credits : Caroline Miller

xoxo

Sam

 

One Coat. Day to Night

Lets get down to the Basics

With Florida being bipolar as it always is, it finally decided to cool down. With the demand of warmth at the forefront and the brisk wind on my face, I jumped at the opportunity to show off one of my favorite pieces from my wardrobe; my satin lined flesh colored wool coat . It is most certainly a basic for any girl’s closet! You can turn it from day to night with a quick change of shoes and under garments (and by under garments I’m not referring to those lacy thongs of yours). However, I will confess, I do tend to change mine up if I’m going out. A girl should always be prepared for anything and everything.

Day:

For the day outfit, I put together easy and breathable pieces that are flattering on most anyone. The white blouse and skirt combo are of the same boutique line; Chelsea & Violet. The sheer white is very much transparent which calls for a mute colored lacy bra-lette. Sexy but not in your face LOUD. The suede skirt is very comfortable and flattering. There is no elastic waste which prevents any hints of those love handles we all know and love. To continue with the color scheme I wore brass earrings that were a Christmas Gift purchased at Nordstrom, a gold Bourbon and Bowtie Bangle, and an Alex and Ani Gold ring. For shoes, I went for my Franco Sarto Brown Heels.

Night:

The Night always calls for bold and flirty! And what doesn’t say bold and flirty like a little lace black dress and red heels. Simple yet dramatic when paired with a Red Lip ( Too Faced Melted Velvet) and a Coat. The suede heels are by Vince Camuto and were a clearance find at Nordtstrom Rack. The black dress is by Aqua and also was found on a sales rack but at Bloomingdales.

Photo Credits: Krystal Bowen

xoxo

Sam

Day Outfit. Coat: J crew. White Blouse: Chelsea & Violet. Suede Skirt: Chelsea & Violet. Brown Heels: Franco Sarto
Night Outfit. Coat: J Crew. Black Dress: Aqua. Red Heels: Vince Camuto.

 

 

Santa Rosa Beach | A Floridian’s White Christmas

For Christmas this year I ended up spending it with Tom, his parents and Pippa (the pup) in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida at their second home. I’ve never spent the holiday away from my family before but, it ended up being one of the loveliest holidays spent. Tom and I were lucky enough to get out of work early on the 23rd and hit the road around 4pm. Bags packed and trail mix in hand… we were ready for the holiday traffic and the 6+ hour trip north. We got into Santa Rosa way after dark and my eyes were becoming very heavy at that point. However, as we pulled into his parents community,  I was greeted with Christmas Lights strung along the bridge and a beautiful wreath hung at the tip top of the archway. As the cooper drove under the archway, the wooden  bridge creaked and it all just seemed so magical. I knew from that point, it was going to be a great Holiday. Snow or not… we were going to have our own version of a White Christmas.

The next few days were spent drinking lots of champagne, tea, wine and stuffing our faces with traditional British Chocolate. Tom’s mom had a grand dinner almost every night ending with Creme Brûlée on Christmas Eve and Plum Pudding on Christmas. Tom and I spent a lot of time exploring the beach town in his dad’s 1969 Moke! It was our favorite thing to do. Every time we were in it, I made sure to bring my hat in an attempt to look some what decent being that there are no windows on that vintage baby. I loved every minute in that town and every minute was better with Tom. Whether, it was the bike rides through water color, runs through seaside, photo shoots in Rosemary Beach, inspirational talks with his mom, political discussions with his dad or the moments where Tom and I watched the sun rise while sipping on coffee on the balcony in our Pjs… my heart didn’t stop smiling. I left a little bit of myself up there, but I’m comforted that we’ll be back soon enough.

Till the next adventure xx

Sam