a letter to the summer

Dear Summer 2017,

I’m not sure where you went or why you had to leave so soon, but you totally rocked so here this goes…

I spent the entire first half of this year planning for you. Funny enough, when it was still December of last year, I was already trying to figure out what these few months would bring. Some call that “planning too far in advance” while I call it “adult/college pressures to productivity activate free months for career advancements”.

Spring rolled around and I still really had no idea what was going to happen, but I opened many doors and waited several eternities to figure out where fate and destiny was going to land me. Early spring soon turned into late spring and the next thing I knew, it was only a week until move out at the end of the semester. I had no dedicated plans, only a lot of people and places to hear back from. Going back to NY for the summer meant potentially missing out on cool LA opportunities but nothing was settled yet. I got fed up with waiting, but great things come to those who wait.

So, I stayed an additional month. It got me to actually move into my first LA-on-my-own apartment, which taught me that being on your own in a non-college setting is a whole new ballgame. I cut my little finger open while trying to put a cleaned glass away. The alarm falsely went off one early morning and left me shook at the thought of someone breaking in (which was not the case at all!). I grocery shopped on my own and fed myself without a meal plan. Adulting. That month provided growth and a whole lot of productivity and fun. However, I learned that I love what I do so much that I am a total workaholic and it all got so overwhelming. In need of an actual break, I flew back to New York early June.

Summer part two continued the productivity! Each week I posted two YouTube videos, I filmed and edited several promotional videos for local theater groups, I regulated posting on this lovely website/blog, I got more involved with writing/reading/planning, and most importantly of all, I got to spend amazing quality time with my family. It has been amazing in every way! We explored new places, went on majestic and nostalgic bike rides, and enjoyed each others company so much. I helped film a video or two with my brother, who has a super cool channel I should mention (youtube.com/outsidetheboxadam). I finally relaxed a bit (although, I was more of a workaholic back here too than planned) and I made a couple of milestones.

One was turning twenty. I’m officially (as young me would say), “both hands and both feet”. Not sure what to count next…

Another milestone was definitely the great loss of the tree in the backyard. Treebert Birch was a great tree. Despite the fact that it was growing towards out house and getting quite dangerous to keep around, as understanding I am at the loss, that tree will be missed.

That brings me to my next point…

This summer, I came back to family, reflection, comfort, and transition. I believe that I reached these goals with flying colors. Funny enough, I can’t mention too much about my upcoming future, but as overwhelming as things are about to get, I am so incredibly excited! (Keep updated with me for more info)

So, I suppose that’s it then. The end of summer. I’ll miss this but I’m incredibly glad that everything happened the way that it did. Thank you summer 2017. And thank you to everyone who made it so incredibly special.

Thank you.

me

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things you should know before college | back to school series

College is an incredible exciting time! Whether you are a first-timer rookie or seasoned student, here are some great tips for preparing yourself for the upcoming semester!

Pack Smart

A little bit of everything truly goes a long way.

Free Stuff

Prepare for free stuff that you will collect as time goes on. The amount of tee shirts you will get within the first week will last you!

Textbooks

Your books can get really pricy so shop around and be smart! For an entire post I wrote about the subject, click here!

Water Kettle

Invest in a water kettle for coffee, tea, soup, oatmeal, and infinite amazing D.I.Y. goods you can make in your room (saving your precious money).

MicroFridge

Yes, you want a microwave and mini fridge. Just make sure you follow the rules and codes of the school and housing so that you do not get charged for having these in your room!

One Notebook

Having one five subject notebook should help for all of your classes per semester. Keep things simple and write all of your notes in this one notebook.

Explore

Learn about your college town for fun weekend exploration!

Self Care

Sleep is important, coffee is pricy and addicting. Care for yourself!

Enjoy

Go with the flow of life! Enjoy every moment you can because time truly flies by! Meet new people, do fun things, and enjoy it all! (Take many photos to document it all too!)

If you want to see my years of college vlogs, check out my LIVIN’ CA series at youtube.com/sarahfhamilton! Tweet or comment any questions/thoughts @sarahfhamilton.

Best of luck!

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10 college textbook life hacks | back to school series

Textbooks can be super pricy (and annoying) but after two years of college, here is a collection of my best advice for the ideal textbook college life hack.

Wait until the first week

Professors typically tell you on the first day what you will need and by when. Unless you get an email from the professor in advance, your best bet is to wait it out so you don’t get anything you don’t actually need.

Compare prices

There are really great deals out there for those who don’t look around first! FIY: your campus bookstore is the most convienent way, so they probably charge the most!

Check your school library

Every school is different, but at LMU, most (if not all) textbooks are on reserve and can be used in the library for a certain amount of time. Chances are, you can probably even check some out. This is a way to save money and use the wonderful resources of your campus library!

Search online for free copies

Sometimes, copies of textbooks end up online as beautiful PDF’s. Even older editions have most of what you need for class, so this is a great way to find what you need.

E-books over Hardcover (if you can!)

Freshman year, I got all of my books as hard copies…which is exactly why I try to use ebooks at all costs now. Textbooks can be heavy and bulky. Chances are, you are already using a laptop and bringing that around campus, so to have your book on your phone or laptop is incredibly convienent.

Rent Used 

Textbooks can be rented or bought. They can also be brand new or old. You may not get lucky with this everytime, but renting used books can save you a ton of money!

If you like it, buy it!

There are some books that may be super convienent and you may want to keep on hand. These are the ones you should just buy and hold onto for life.

Share with a friend/roomie/classmate

College is a time where you are surrounded by peers who are probably taking the same classes. Team up and share textbooks! One in doubt, if you have a friend in the class you need the textbook with, split the cost of the book and then share it. This also may form a great study-buddy friendship!

Check Facebook

Students post out their textbooks to sell or just get rid of. Not only can this be you when you are done with your books, but this is a way to meet new people and get the copies you need from someone who already took the class. You can even contact another classmate with the book and ask for photo copies of the pages you need for the assignment. (Thank you, technology!)

Sell bought textbooks 

I hope those college textbook life hacks help! If you have additional comments/questions/thoughts, comment below and/or tweet me @sarahfhamilton!

Best of Luck!

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10 things you should do everyday

Making every day count is SO very important! Here are ten quality things you should try to do every single day…

  1. Relax

    Do something that eases your mind and body. Taking a moment to rest is incredibly rewarding and helps give you more energy when you need it.

  2. Read

    Taking a moment to read, especially if it is when you first wake up or right before going back to sleep, is a fantastic way to unwind, learn, and fuel the imagination.

  3. Create

    Creating things, whether that happens to be some form of art or even cooking/baking is a great way to unwind while feeling like something is being accomplished.

  4. Balance

    This could mean literally balance yourself, but the idea here is to manage everything that you may be doing/feeling/etcetera. Sometimes, life gets pretty busy but having a balanced moment per day to organize and understand what is happening will help business from piling up and stressing you out.

  5. Hydrate

    Drinking water is incredibly important to the natural health and well-being! It provides energy and keeps you going so drink up!

  6. Write

    Write down (handwritten is a personal chosen way to go) your thoughts, feelings, tasks at hand, and anything else you feel is needed. Writing releases energy and lets your mind think in new ways.

  7. Move

    Exercise via a full workout or a small walk around the block…the point to having movement is to keep you going. The quote, “what’s in motion stays in motion” is so true!

  8. Progress

    Being productive is absolutely important! Seeing tasks get done is both rewarding and incredibly exciting. When tasks pile up, stress does too! Avoid stress by getting tasks done one at a time (or multiple at a time if you are in the extra productive sort of mood).

  9. Cleanse

    Clear your mind, clean your space, take a quality shower or bath… cleansing is yet another way to keep your head on your shoulders.

  10. Smile

    Smile to yourself in the mirror and outward towards others. Simply forming a smile releases internal chemicals that will make you feel great!

Life can get so busy but taking small moments to cherish life and fuel oneself with positive vibes is a very wonderful and powerful thing.

Sm:)e On!

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healthy snacking to-go | back to school series 

No matter what level of schooling you are at (or even if you’re not at all!), having easy and healthy on the go snacks is a great thing. Here are some of my favorite snacks you can pack in a pinch!

Popcorn

It’s light and fun! My favorite brand is Boom Chicka Pop in the sea salt flavor!

Carrots

Match it with some almond or peanut butter or eat them as is! You can truly never go wrong with carrots.

Crackers

Skip the messy snacks that leave fingers dusty and orange and choose crackers and/or pretzels! Oyster crackers are amazing and for a filling snack, the Reduced Fat Wheat Thins are incredible.

Cereal

Cereal is my go to for all great snacking and breakfast delights! I recommend ones that are less to no sugar just for the sake of keeping your energy from peaking and falling mid-day. Special K and Corn Flakes are always ideal! Munch on its own or add some milk.

Fruit

Fruit can be trickier to pack but it still stands as an amazing snack! One in doubt, fruit cups and applesauce to go are ideal.

Quinoa & Couscous

If you need something a bit heartier, this lovely blend will pick you up while providing some nutrients. It goes well with meals and makes for a great hold-me-over snack! For extra flavor, add some soy sauce!

What are some of your favorite snacks? Let me know in the comments below or tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton!

Happy Snacking!

*This is not a sponsored post! All mentioned above is personal preference. However, please contact me if you or your brand would like to potentially have products featured on this site.

 

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subscriptions worth your while

It seems that every company is in this recent trend of trying to push subscribing and signing up. Every service requires an email and probably a monthy or yearly payment subscription. There are so many options and it can seem overwhelming when trying to find what is worth your personal while. So, for the sake of this post, here are the services that are worth my while and why I like them.

Spotify Premium

I have had a free Spotify account for a couple years and absolutely loved it! (I highly reccomend signing up for a free account if you have not already.) The more I used it though, the more the premium seemed like a perfect option for me. No commercials, offline connection to downloaded songs (airplane access is IDEAL with this!), and the already unlimited song options and playlist creation is something that I use on the daily. Plus, it doesn’t take up the extra space on my phone! *Students get this discounted too.

Netflix

Chances are, you either already have Netflix or you at the very least know about it. As a pretty regular TV and movie watcher (to be fair, this is technically a part of my professional lifestyle in the entertainment industry!), I like having a surplus of options available. Plus, they add new movies and shows every month!

HBO GO

To be fair, I only have access as this through my free living on campus at LMU perk, but it is really nice! I personally watch more Netflix, but having even more (and different) options for watching is super convienent and entertaining. They also add to the list all of the time which keeps things fresh.

Adobe Creative Cloud

I make lots of art of many forms and Adobe changed over their system in the past couple years where instead of buying the program you want once, it is subscription based and they keep updating the programs through it. With Premiere and Photoshop (but also Audition, After Effects, and Story), I am always working with these programs so personally, this is essential.

My YouTube Channel

If you didn’t know, I have a channel: www.youtube.com/sarahfhamilton.

Yes, this is shameless promo.

That pretty much sums it all up for me, personally. I use a lot of other programs/services as well that offer subscriptions, but choose to stay on the free versions as much as possible. Basically, if there is something that you are contemplating paying for more options and whatnot, figure out your personal usage and decide if it is worth your while.

What do you subscribe to and why? Let me know in the comments below or tweet it at me @sarahfhamilton!

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leibster award nomination!

My blog (a.k.a. this website!) has been nominated for the Leibster Award by Kerry Ireland of The Petite Wanderer!

I got sent some questions to answer for this post, so here are my answers:

What is your earliest memory?

This is a tricky question for me since I have a very vivid memory, but I literally do remember being read to before bed back in the very early days that included a crib beside several stuffed animals (in which, one particular “Mr.Monkey” was always my favorite!).

What is your favorite drink?

I drink water the most, but that’s a boring answer so I have to say that my favorite drink would have to be a bold espresso-filled almond latte. This literally changes all of the time though! Hot spiced apple cider in autumn is also a great go-to as well.

What is your dream career? 

I like to consider myself a storyteller of many forms, so my dream career has always been the idea of telling stories and just making a comfortable living off of doing the things I love to do.

What are your passions?

I am very passionate about storytelling through filmmaking, creative writing, acting, photography, and art. I do a lot but being so involved with so many passions really keeps me going.

What is the best trip you’ve ever been on?

How does one simply answer this question?!? Hmm. Every trip is super memorable and amazing in their own ways but for the sake of pretending that there is some decisive bone inside of me (where!?!?!?), I would say that the first trip that comes to mind was a trip to British Columbia and then California with my family. During my junior year of high school, I went to Vancouver and areas of British Columbia to visit Stevestons Village (the filming location of the abc show, Once Upon a Time) and tour the office spaces of Club Penguin, which my brother, Adam, designed an entire “Pup1one” persona with online. Afterwards, we flew to LA to tour some college I applied to and I visited the school I currently attend for the first time. I wrote a post about part of this trip that you can read here.

This has been such a great collaboration post and I have to take a moment here to thank Kerry again for nominating me! Check her out online at www.thepetitewanderer.com! You can read my nomination post here.

But for the moment you all have been waiting for… here are my nominees!

  • Travels of 2 Sisters (http://travelsof2sisters.com/)

Eva and Lara Michelsen are two sisters who use their blog as an outlet to share their stories of traveling while providing advice for those who wish to travel luxuriously even on a budget.

  • Alannah Williams (https://www.alannahwilliams.com/blog)

Alannah set up her site as a personal site of self-expression and a creative outlet for health, fitness, and lifestyle. With elegant design and fitspiration style, this site encourages a well-balanced life.

  • Tegan Winters (https://teganwinters.com/)

Eighteen year young Teagan Winters shares her life through her blog and YouTube channel. Her blog style is familiar to mine at LockerStyler and she has a great line up of variety lifestyle posts.

  • Elysian Moment (http://elysianmoment.com/)

Kate loves to travel and uses her site as a beautiful place to share her experiences and tips. The layout is simple and pink, leaving the site elegant with traces of wanderlust.

  • HelloAlima (https://hellohalima.com/)

Halima is a writer who uses her site as a collage of photos and creative writing pieces of all sorts. As a writer myself, I have massive amounts of appreciation for her site dedicated to creative writing!

  • Balance and Vine (http://www.balanceandvine.com/)

Jamie Kennedy, a California girl living in Australia loves yoga, wine, and photography. Her site beautifully illustrates and highlights all three and more complete with playlists and blog posts.

Congrats to all of those I nominated! Here are your instructions for the next step:

  1. Give the person who nominated you a shout-out (a.k.a. me, Sarah Hamilton of LockerStyler, www.lockerstyler.com).
  2. Answer the following questions.
  3. Nominate five other bloggers with less than 200 followers.
  4. Write your own set of questions for those nominees!

Questions:

  1. What inspired you to start your blog/website?
  2. What is your favorite thing to do and why?
  3. What dreams do you wish to accomplish?
  4. Where are you from and what’s it like there?
  5.  What advice would you give to aspiring bloggers/writers/dreamers?

I’m looking forward to seeing your responses! Tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton.

Best,

me

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tips for starting a vlog channel

It’s 2017 and the Internet culture is stronger than ever! One major staple term of this decade is “vlogging”, which for those few of you who may not know, is filming oneself’s daily life and posting it online. YouTube is a beautiful platform for creativity and there are so many people who upload regular vlogs to their channels.

Fall 2015 was the year I started college on the other side of the country in LA and I started posting weekly videos describing my life to keep track of my adventures and share them with my friends and family back home. As it turns out, that small series called, LIVIN’ CA brought me far more incredibly amazing adventures than I could have ever planned for. My second year, I continued the series but branded it slightly more as a vlog series rather than a web series. That being said, this upcoming “season” of LCA, it’s officially an all-out vlog series, which I highly recommend you watch.

But before you do, chances are, you are reading this because you would like to start-up a vlog channel or grow one yourself. While I am no guru in the subject, I have learned SO MUCH about this vlog life and I want to help share my knowledge while still using it myself (in the great words of High School Musical, we’re all in this together!).

Consistency is Key

If you’re consistent, whether that means daily, weekly, monthly…being consistant helps! If you want to pre-plan more complex videos, keeping track of what you have done and managing a similar style will definitely help as well. If you have an “aesthetic”, keep to it! This can go for your channel type, coloring, thumbnails, click-bait, etcetera.

Keep it Casual

I have noticed that the more relatable one is, the easier it is for the audience to better connect. Be true to yourself and avoid nerves and seeming uncomfortable. It should be a casual insight on your life. Talk to the camera like you would to your friends and family.

Entertain!

This one goes without saying, but if you’re being entertaining or doing something entertaining, it is so much easier to grab the attention of others! Plus, it is far more fun and inspiring to vlog when you’re being entertained by it yourself. One in doubt, find something fun to do!

The Equipment

I use the Canon G7X for my vlogs, as many people do. However, DSLR’s, camcorders, and even your phone are all prime tools when it comes down to filming! Editing is also a great way to better your content and there are so many programs and apps available of all different levels. However, keep in mind that the content you make all stems around the idea and the actual content of the video. Everything else is icing on the cake to make it look and feel more professional.

Growing an Audience

I may have a relatively small audience at the moment, but regardless, I am a believer that a few quality audience members are more valuable than many who don’t really care. That being said, leave comments, tweet, and share out your videos through multiple social media platforms. If you are more connected to your viewers, the more personable your content will be. These days, YouTube isn’t really thriving off of professional big name content, but more individual creativity and personable growth.

Be Original

It is SO very easy to get caught up in the YouTube cliques and styles. Sometimes, it seems that the only way to be searchable and grow an audience is to keep with the trends and do what other popular channels are doing but those who stay original while still throwing in some click-bait here and there are better off in the long run. Those are the channels that inspire others to copy and draw people in. Add key words into your titles and description boxes for more searchable results.

Everything Takes Time

Viral videos happen, but like most YouTubers and vloggers out there, everything takes time. Not only does it take time for one to really develop their style and routine, but it also takes time to build up that presence. Make videos for yourself first and understand that even if it seems that you are the only one watching, you’re happy with that.

Live Life

While it is fun and addicting to share out everything that you do, remember to live life in the moments as well. Photos and video should document your life rather than controlling it.

I hope those tips and tricks helped! If you have any additional thoughts, ideas, or questions, let me know in the comment section below and/or tweet me @sarahfhamilton! You can also watch my videos and the LIVIN’ CA vlog series here:

SEASON/ YEAR ONE Playlist:

SEASON/ YEAR TWO Playlist:

 

Happy Vlogging!

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thoughts college students have when home | back to school series

Because college and home can be two completely different worlds.

I missed all of this. 

My family and friends are awesome. 

Golly, my bed is cozy. 

Might as well sleep as much as I can. 

…but a midnight or two am snack is totally necessary!

What do you mean 10:30pm is “late”?

Let’s go to Target. 

Is this new or am I going crazy?

I forgot this existed.

Why does it feel like everything changed but it’s all the same?

Did this past semester even happen or was it a dream?

I CAN USE REAL CANDLES AGAIN. 

Time to catch up on youtube/netflix/sleep/etc.

How do I dress for the weather here again?

Does this even fit anymore?

Wow. Showers feel so different without flipflops.

What do I do with all of this free time!?!?

I’ll be packing this up all soon anyway so I might as well just keep it as is.

It’s nice being home.

I don’t want to go back!/I cannot wait to go back!

Relatable, college folk? Time on break always seems to fly by! Feel free to comment/tweet other lovely thoughts @sarahfhamilton.

Happy Summer!

 

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so you’re thinking about filmmaking…

I am a film and television production junior. That doesn’t make me a guru in the entertainment industry or even a full-out “professional” quite yet, but I have advice and stories to tell. That being said, if you are considering joining the entertainment industry, especially through the great complex realm that is filmmaking, this is the article for you! (So keep on reading!)

For a bit of good ol’ back story, I should mention that I made some video and film projects throughout middle and high school and had a great passion for all things storytelling (writing, art, theater, music, dance…you name it!) growing up since the start. It wasn’t until half way through junior year of high school that it dawned on me that filmmaking was a career path and storytelling in various ways could be pursued. Long story short, I made the best decision of my life and started my post high school life in sunny Los Angeles (but I prefer calling it LA).

But enough backstory…if you too are considering this path or a similar one and you’re realizing that there is both too much and too little information about it online (trust me, I’ve been there!), then here are some of my tips, tricks, and anecdotes to help you out.

Passion Drives

If you have made some videos before or just really love filmmaking as an art medium, then passion is the key element of what you do! If you are in the biz for the fame and/or big money, you are probably better off doing something else. While fame and money is nice, you should be making art for the right reasons (like connecting with others and self-fulfillment).

Finding the Path

Filmmaking doesn’t have a right or wrong path. It is simply your journey to figure out what you like and go for it! Film school is a great opportunity to learn, experience, grow, and network. It also provides a place where you can “fail” without the reprecautions of the “real world”, which will keep such issues from happening in the future. Having experience, leverage, and first hand knowledge is incredibly important.

Communication Over Competition

Filmmaking is a realm of communicating and networking among others. Collaboration is incredibly key. Avoid competition and isolation as much as possible. Keep organized and stay in touch with those you know. Sure, you may PA (production assistant) on one set but that set is filled with people who work various positions on other sets. Believe it or not, the entertainment industry is a small world. The more people you know, the more opportunities are presented. After all, art is by people, for people.

Infinite Opportunities, Open Mind

Keeping an open mind to various avenues within the entertainment industry adds value to your talents. Yes, if you have one specific job you love, that’s great, but those who get the most amount of work are those with the most varied abilities. Cinematographer one day, director the next, sound mixer another…even working in some acting here and there defines more skills you possess, but also, more opportunities to work and meet people along the way.

Glitz & Glam

For the record, the big ol’ Hollywood stereotypes of glam and glitz may be real on some level, but there is work, thinking, deadlines, and a lot more than what meets the eye. Not everything you see in the magazines, online, or on tv is anything close to reality. There is so much more to the story. But yeah, even if you are like me and hit the incredibly cinema trope of “small town girl moves to big city LA with great dreams”, there is a lot of new understanding but a ton of fun. For the record, even in times of chaos and stress, I absolutely love and adore this lifestyle and I know it is perfect for me. Dreams really do come true!

Art is Power

Filmmaking is a form of art and art can be used to not only express one’s self, but to connect with others. The importance of art stems on the impact that it makes and filmmaking is an incredibly powerful medium that can be used to not only entertain the world, but to help better shape it as well.

As you go about, here are some programs/accessories I recommend to the serious film student…

  • DSLR
  • External mic (DSLR’s internal mics aren’t all that great since they focus on image)
  • Script program (whether you are a screenwriter or not, you will write scripts!) *Adobe Story & Final Draft are great.
  • Editing program (same thing here) *I personally love the Adobe CC set up! Premiere, After Effects, & Photoshop are amazing.
  • Tripod/Camera Bag/Camera Shoe/Headphones
  • Notebook for ideas
  • Laptop that works well for editing
  • External hard drive(s) for space (video files take up a ton!)
  • Have a Vimeo & YouTube. When you get more professional experience, IMDB pro helps too.

Additional tips and advice…

  • Keep creating. You will get better skilled through experience.
  • Stay organized on your computer and in your mind.
  • Learn the details of video specs. For example, frame rates go as following:
    • 24fps – classic film look
    • 30fps – television and web
    • 60fps – typical vlog
  • Keep an open mind and explore different areas of filmmaking and creativity.
  • Pre-production is incredibly important to focus on. Production depends on it and the communication of the crew. Post-production is what makes it all worth while. EVERY PART IS IMPORTANT!

That being said, I wish you the best of luck in the world of filmmaking. As always, if you have any additional questions/comments/thoughts, please leave a comment below and/or tweet me @sarahfhamilton. You can see some of my film work at the following links:

www.youtube.com/sarahfhamilton

www.vimeo.com/sarahfhamilton

Happy Filmmaking!

*This post is not sponsored!

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