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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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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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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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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a mindful twenties lifestyle

It is official. I’m twenty.

I have gone through my entire life so far really getting caught up in the past. To make matters even crazier, I have spent so much of my life so far in *slight*, uncomfortable fear of the future, simply because I didn’t know what to expect and it seems like such a vast open land of potentials and unknowns.

That being said, it’s like a switch flipped within me the second I hit the ripe age of twenty. Being a teen was great. Being a kid was great. But being in the twenties is PRIME. I love my past, present, and potential futures. I’m far from “perfect”, but here are some of my early twenty mentalities that have left me recently glowing in a light of positivity and blissful happiness.

  • Life is everything. It can be both heavily structured and overly free at once. Perhaps, none of that makes any sense, but the overarching message here is that life can have many extremes and it is up to us as individuals to decide how to experience it all in a well-balanced way.
  • YOU are in control. Sure, there are always going to be factors that seemingly dictate our lives, but ultimately, we are the ones in control of our own lives. We make the choices and we choose to live our days the ways in which we do. Find your way back to feeling in control and everything is going to be alright…
  • …which brings me to the fact that even our emotions can be in control. So yes, choose to be happy, but also, it is completely okay to choose to feel other emotions too. Life has quite a range of emotions to feel, so why not embrace them all and look at even the darkest of moments as ones worthwhile?
  • Balance is key. I’m sure I kind of implied this one already, but might as well add an extra point about it. Be healthy, but here and there, indulge without regrets. Work hard, but give yourself breaks. Sometimes, it seems too easy to get caught up in all life has to offer, but through balancing chaos with stillness, loudness with silence, and even control with recklessness, the highs and the lows of life will balance out. Embrace it all.
  • Choose positivity and really believe. Believe in yourself, those around you, dreams…everything you believe is possible and yes, that may sound very cliché, but take it from me; it’s true. Staying positive about everything is great and to make matters even better, realize that you are the writer of your own stories and the way you perceive the good and bad is what shapes you in the long run.

Alright, I get it. I’m twenty. I’m still young, vibrant, and probably in the most wide-eyed, optimistic point of my life and I totally get that. But I have learned these things over the course of these past twenty years and they clicked in as reliable sources of my happiness. I know who I am, what I have done, what I am doing, and where I want to go and now that all of that is in check, life is opening up in every beautiful way.

That being said, I hope you enjoyed this little ramble of life. I hope it brought you some sort of happiness and/or inspiration. If it did, I always respond to comments and tweets (@sarahfhamilton), so let me know what you thought!

Dream On,

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#GIRLBOSS

As I write this, it just so happens to be a summer monday morning and I am in LA, sipping watered down coffee I made and wondering why in the world today had to be the day in which I was awakened unexpectedly at nine am. That being said, today, I am in the works of a very special video inspired partially by my own life recently and partially by a new Netflix show called GirlBoss. To set the record straight, no this is not a sponsored post (however, if the show wants to sponsor I am totally down for that!). Instead, it is a post I really feel the need to make.

Being a girl, let alone a millennial girl in this day and age is progressive, but still kind of strange reality to be in. I am very inspired to follow my passions and dreams to pave my way of success, however, there is so much that goes into this that nobody sees. I’m younger than some and older than others and that leaves people comparing. In fact, thanks to social media, we all compare ourselves to one another. This person is my age and achieving so much so where did I go wrong? That person is younger than me and look at their success! These resources are available to one and not to me so am I hopeless? All of these questions suck and quite frankly, I need to step in and shine some light since we can all actually do something about it.

  1. Being a GIRLBOSS is not just a full-time job…it is a lifestyle! You have to commit to working for yourself and paid/unpaid/work/not work…whatever the case may be, being a GIRLBOSS means having control of your life and going after what you want.

That being said, here are some of my best pieces of advice for how you too can be your own GIRLBOSS.

ORGANIZE

Keep notes, planners, agendas, and your belongings and thoughts as together as humanly possible.

HYDRATE

Water is literally the best and you’re definitely going to want to keep it up if your coffee addiction is strong.

CLEANSE

Everything should be clean including your living space, your mind, and your self. Cleanliness reduces stress.

SLEEP

I say this often but sleep really is a girls best friend.

RELAX

Take a walk. Read a book. Sing out on a road trip. Long story short, find a way to rewind and give yourself time.

INSPIRE

Finding ways to keep yourself inspire and inspire others is a really great to feel great and get more done.

MOTIVATE

Keep yourself in line with your passions and dreams and let them motivate your every move. Passion is a drive towards success!

POSITIVITY

“Don’t worry, be happy.”

This post can seriously go on forever, but that is just it…it really does come down to motivation, a sense of sanity amongst chaos, and constantly doing what you love while taking control of your life.

What makes you a GIRLBOSS? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me @sarahfhamilton!

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guide to becoming a morning person

Morning is a touchy thing…simply waking up and going about your morning routine can set what kind of day you will have and how you will feel about it. Luckily enough, if you want to become more of a morning person, there are definitely some great habits to help your mornings be more peaceful, enjoyable, and even productive! Kick start your days right!

Wake Up Earlier

Whether you have to get up for an early hour and can just barely get by running late or you usually sleep in too much, make it a point to wake up at a reasonable time for you so that you still feel well rested (at least, as much as possible) but you also still have ample time in the morning to get ready. Slower mornings will help you wake up better and boost your mood in the process.

Unplug

A quick email and social media check is fine, but if you feel like a good part of your morning routine is spent mindlessly scrolling, stop right there! Put the phone down and use that time elsewhere. Which brings me to…

Reading/Music/Art/Yoga/Peace of Mind

With that newfound time not spent on your phone, take a moment for yourself! Morning reading, writing, yoga, music, art, and countless other forms of creative expression and self-awareness will also boost your mood and leave you feeling slightly productive right at the very start of your day.

Breakfast

I know we all hear it all of the time, but breakfast is key! Personally, I really hate eating crazy early and if I can help it, I love waiting until my hunger forms for brunch, but since my schedule is constantly changing when I eat and how much, finding a moment to have something after I wake up is a critically important part of my daily routine. That being said, a small sugar boost is okay, but instead of sugared cereals and pastries, choose oatmeal, eggs, and healthier options! Breakfast gives you the boost throughout the day and leaves you less hungry throughout the rest of the day. (Also, if you’re not getting enough vitamin C from the good ol’ sun, orange juice is wonderful!)

To Coffee or Not to Coffee? That is the question.

I love coffee, usually straight up bold and black (with the occasional almond latte when espresso gets involved at a cafe!). I also really love tea. Balance is great in the morning, so if you typically have coffee, have some! If you want tea, go for that! Avoid caffeine addictions if you can help it and make it a point to make your coffee/tea at home before leaving the house. This will save you money and time standing in line at your local cafe.

To-Do Lists

A great way to set out goals for the day is to use agendas and/or to-do lists. They don’t have to be anything fancy, but just being able to visually see everything you want to accomplish in the day will help guide you when getting them done and not feeling overwhelmed by looming thoughts cooped up in your head.

Accomplish Smaller Tasks

If you have an extra moment in the morning, accomplish smaller tasks like responding to quick emails or finalizing something that was almost accomplished another day. Even taking a morning walk or getting some exercise in will help you feel accomplished. With smaller tasks out-of-the-way, you may feel more empowered to do the larger tasks.

Plan the Night Before

The night before is a great time to prep for the next day! Give yourself time to sleep earlier, plan out some options of what to wear the next day, relax, and tidy up your space. Even having a clean kitchen will be extra rewarding the next morning when you go to make breakfast!

With a bit of planning and some extra time, mornings can become your best friend. If you try any of these tips or have additional ways in which help you become a better morning person, comment them in below or tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton.

…and with that I should say…

good morning!

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first apartment essentials

Living at home is one thing and then living on campus for school is another…and then there’s the first apartment scenario where you have to learn to adult FAST. While the first apartment situation has been going well, I thought I would share some of my first apartment essentials…

Firstly, I highly recommend thinking about how you can spend less and use more of what you already have. Since I was moving from my suite (fancy dorm life) on campus right into an off-campus apartment, I already had something to work with. I recommend thinking in terms of four…

  1. Bedroom: Even if it’s an air mattress, figure out bedding, lighting, and ways to use your space efficiently, but in the cozy and cutest way possible. You want it to feel home-like, so decorate with what you have accordingly. My situation right now is temporary, but by using bins holding more stuff and scarves/fabric on top, I got instant tables that double as storage and packing. Utilize everything in creative ways and remember that less is more! (a long scarf also can work as a curtain too!)
  2. Kitchen: This is a two parter…one, appliances/pots/pans/utensils/Tupperware/mugs. You don’t have to go overboard, but just having a general overview of this will help a lot! Next, food is important. Think of healthy options that last a long time. If you’re like me and semi-able to cook, have cereals, oatmeal, eggs, milk, and consider some frozen dinners too. As easy as Postmates and eating out of the apartment is, you will save a lot by picking up groceries! Also, soups, noodles, and a sauce jar or two is ideal. (*easy recipes are regularly posted on this site too!)
  3. Bathroom: Towels, soaps/cleansers (for the apartment and you too!), and the regular bathroom essentials kind of go without saying here.
  4. Closet: Clothing and shoes are obvious but also, I recommend bins for storage! Having them makes transporting things so much easier than paper boxes and they double as smaller desks/tables too. Staying organized is key!

Okay, so here are some specific items I personally recommend…

  • Water Heater
  • Bins
  • Lighting (a lamp and some string lights go a long way!)
  • Mugs (always…they work for everything!)
  • Laundry Bag
  • First Aid (only a couple of days in, glass broke in my hands and having band aids and such on hand literally saved my sanity and finger)
  • Extra hand towels (dishes, bathroom, etc.)

To be fair, it doesn’t take a lot to manage living. Like dorm shopping, it’s really easy to get caught up in all of the adorable home decor that every store claims as “essentials” but having a touch of personal cuteness and a decent amount of practicableness is really all of the “essential” you will need. That whole saying, “less is more” is true. If your apartment has amenities like a pool, gym, or local transportation, take advantage of that too!

What are some of your best apartment/living essentials? Let me know in the comments below or tweet me them @sarahfhamilton!

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