small town girl, big city dreams

a screening,

a premiere,

a moment,

an email,

an audition,

an opportunity.

In the least overwhelmingly long story sort of way, these words capture an incredible story of my current life, a year and five months in the making.

I have always been a dreamer with passions surrounding storytelling through creative writing, filmmaking, acting, performing, dancing, and so forth. Anyone who is any ounce of familiar with who I am probably knows by now that I do a lot of things, which has brought me from my childhood in upstate New York to my current life in Los Angeles. Small town girl, big city dreams. We have all seen that cliché before, yet, it’s a pretty accurate summary of the past two years of my life.

The Hollywood Premiere That Started it All

So to get this story started here, in March 2016, I got invited to the advance screening of a movie out in Beverly Hills and then the official LA premiere the week after at the TCL Chinese Theaters in Hollywood. That movie was a lovely independent dance film called, High Strung. The opening theme sent chills down my spine in that small screening as the impending ability to meet those in the movie the next week seemed so unreal.

I had no idea.

The following premiere was everything I could ever ask for with a premiere. I wrote about the whole experience here.

When most premieres are done and the press online starts to fade into other events, that’s generally the end. I still freaked out when I saw High Strung at stores or even at my local RedBox at home. It’s on Netflix now too, so I highly recommend watching it. That being said, this movie was different…it kept on taking new forms in my life.

The Event That Changed Everything

So, let’s jump ahead to the Dizzy Feet Gala event at LA Live (DTLA) in September of 2016. I was just starting off my second year as a film and television production major at LMU|LA, and already I was feeling pretty amazing about where my college life and forming career was taking me. I was there to film interviews with my friend, Eva for her channel (youtube.com/onthespotinterviews). Among the many we interviewed that day, we were excited to see Michael and Janeen Damian again, whom we had already met during the High Strung premiere. You can watch that interview here:

There was a moment that day that left me completely in shock. This was an invite into being in an amazing movie and in my realm of what seems like a “normal life experience”, this was far outside the realm of “normal”. Everything was about to change.

The Process & Audition

As the whole movie process goes, everything takes time. Months went by and life moved on. However, I kept updated with the process and by audition time, got the opportunity to send in an audition tape. I’m a far stronger actress than dancer, but this was an opportunity that I couldn’t miss so I did want any actor should do…act! I spent countless hours in the dance studios on campus after hours working on a routine. To prep even before then, I spent time at the gym every day for weeks. Even making it to extra Bollywood dance cardio classes helped. My friend, Emily, who happens to be a dance minor helped one day too. This was a level of dedication that left my heart soaring.

 

these things i do… 💃

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dance, passion, hopes & dreams 💃…and selfies

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another dance studio photo 😎

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I couldn’t say anything and even more importantly, I could not get my hopes up. A part of me felt like something great was going to come out of this, but of course, my former experiences with getting involved with acting through auditions have always been not as successful. I have not been getting leads throughout middle and high school. In fact, before getting smaller roles (that I gave full-out back stories for), I had always felt like when it came down to acting, I wasn’t experienced or talented enough. Later into the high school years, that started to change, but only now do I fully realize how important that tricky past has been.

I never gave up. I kept trying to prove myself and improve my abilities. I had a passion for actually creating characters from nothing and transforming myself into them. There are no “small” roles, especially when you embrace any role to the fullest.

So as exciting as everything was, I became overwhelmed with the conflicting moments of trying to not get too excited while being really excited. With an email, my audition was sent. I didn’t hear back, nor get a role. To be fair, that was expected. However, the story was not over yet. The entire spring of my sophomore year was incredibly stressful due to my lack of knowledge of summer plans. While this wasn’t the only situation on my mind at that time, it was definitely one of them. More than anything, I truly wanted to be a part of this. More time passed, I spent an additional month in LA before heading back to NY for the remainder of summer. All the meanwhile, filming had begun in Romania.

While watching the live streams from set and keeping up with the process, I found out when the NYC part of filming was going to take place and that I was still indeed invited to be an extra (or as officially called now, “background actor”). A major perk to living in New York state is being a several hour drive away from the big city. Timing wise, the filming was right before the trip back to LA for the upcoming school year, but my absolutely incredible family worked it all out. The next thing I knew, I was packing once again to a weekend like no other.

The Filming On-Location

I have always loved the idea of being a part of filming movies on location because that is a beautiful combination of work and vacation all at once. Late August 2017, my family and I arrived on a Friday afternoon at the Empire hotel in NYC. Call times were set for Saturday and Sunday and by the time the Monday scenes were set to be filmed, we had to be heading back for last second packing for LA. Exploring the city again was incredible and slightly odd with timing since the last time I was in NYC was a band trip my junior of high school. Now, I’m entering my junior year of college.

The first scene I got to be a part of was at Duffy’s Square… right on Times Square! There is nothing quite like being with a movie crew, standing in the middle of a place I have been watching every new years eve, being surrounded by so many tourists and people with cameras filming the filming process. I was a part of something that I would typically be watching as an outsider thinking, “oh that’s so cool”. One of the coolest things about all of this was the fact that I got to experience this as a young filmmaker AND share this world with my family. It was a blend of what I do in familiar and new ways.

The next day, I took the subway for the first time to SoHo for a couple different locations and scenes. Between scenes and takes, I got an interview with one of the stars of the film, Harry Jarvis, who was an absolute delight to meet.

I’m not used to the interviewing life since I usually film and edit them, but it was a lot of fun. When it came down to being in the scenes, I got a general placement in frame and some directions on what to do. When High Strung Free Dance comes out Summer 2018, keep an eye out for the exterior shots that include my family and myself walking through NYC. The filming took the whole day and night. It was incredibly amazing to see how the process took place on a professional level, while taking role in the midst of it all, intensely observing and living for every second.

…Which brings me to being a film student on a professional set and the observations I made. I’ve worked on various sets before, ranging in professional levels. However, it is amazing how many sets have miscommunication issues that lead to complications with filming. It was outrageously pleasing to be on this set where everyone knew each other, communicated well, and effectively kept on schedule and even got ahead of it often.  I am incredibly impressed by how well-managed the cast and crew regulated. It was inspiring and I took many notes on things that worked well that I can carry with me through future sets. Never have I witnessed such a well-organized group that has inspired me so very much.

The Epilogue

The entire weekend of filming was overwhelming on levels I did not know could exist. It was as if a sea of emotions and memories past, present, and future collided, leaving my head spinning in a whirlwind of feelings. Everything came full circle and even though I was only filming for two days, it felt extra emotional wrapping Sunday night. Like the end of past middle and high school productions, emotional sad vibes of the end sunk in, leaving me back in the post-High Strung sadness I felt after the premiere of the first movie. The whole experience felt incredibly unreal and in more ways than I could describe, so many full-circle moments came into perspective. Of course, this isn’t the end of this whole experience, since upcoming screenings, the premiere, and all of the future releases are still to come. As I sit in my childhood bedroom the morning after getting back and procrastinating from packing to be back in LA, I am realizing that I am still the same self I have always been, but now I am a step further into my “new normal” (which is simply what I call this realm of the “biz” that feels far from normal at all).

I cannot thank everyone who made this possible more than enough. I am incredibly thankful for this life and this experience. I am excited for everything that is ahead. I am living yet another life dream.

Truthful Inspiration

This is truly a story that seems too good to be true, even to myself. Former me (even a year ago!) would have never in a million years expected for any of this to have happened and been real. That is why I have complete belief that whatever it is you want to do in life may not happen in the ways or time frames that you could expect, but they will work their way into happening. Believe, keep hope on your side, stay positive, and persevere. Anything can and WILL happen. When they do, magic happens.

Keep updated with my ever-abundantly-amazing adventures via YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…basically, every social media @sarahfhamilton. Feel free to leave comments and/or tweet/comment at me as I love to respond!

Keep Dreaming, Keep Sm:)ing!

me

 

 

ADDITIONAL VIDEOS:

Advance Screening & Press Day

Premiere

BTS of Auditioning (when I still couldn’t say anything at all)

Trip/NYC Filming

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see me at the EMMYs!

There’s this word…”normal”. LA took everything I thought I knew about what “normal” meant and flipped it like a pancake. Okay, weird metaphor over…the moral of the story is, life has been incredibly crazy in the best of ways and yet another major step into my new normalcy has happened.

I went to the Creative Arts Emmys on September 9th, 2017 (it filmed on a different day then it aired). There appeared to be only a few types of people there…

  • the nominees/announcers/famous and entertainment industry people
  • their friends and family
  • the amazing crew running the show
  • the seat fillers (a.k.a. yours truly)

As a seat filler for the Kids Choice Awards about two years ago, I knew the drill. Basically the job of a seat filler is to fill in the empty seats (pretty self-explanatory).The main celebs get up and move around during the show, but to make the camera happy, seats need to be filled. So we jump around from seat to seat and despite the fact that you may see a seat filler in various different spots during a program, most viewers won’t be paying enough attention to us to even notice.

So, I got tickets and got to be a seat filler for the Creative Arts Emmys at the Microsoft Theater at LA Live and it was one of the most amazing opportunities.

For starters, I should mention that if you watch the show, watch carefully and send screenshots my way because I make cameos from several different seats throughout the theater. For some time, I was behind the crew of Saturday Night Live. Then I briefly showed up second row right by James Cordon and Derek and Julianne Hough… just to name a few. I moved to the very front by the right steps for the ending so that was amazingly cool too. Plus, after a plethora of years worth of science classes… I can say now that I have seen Bill Nye in person and you bet I “considered the following”… WHAT IS LIFE!?!?!?

To summarize the experience, yes, I saw and sat next to and around so many amazingly cool (and pretty famous) people. At first, I felt as if being a seat filler wasn’t a legit enough excuse to be there. At first, I felt as if I didn’t truly belong there. After all, literally the night before I was spending a quality messy hair homework night on campus when everybody else seemed to be at parties or date nights (which is totally cool and all, but college is a series of varying moments). Which brings us to a moment at the Emmys where everything clicked…

I did belong there among all of those really cool famous people. I am a part of the entertainment industry and in the big picture of things, I happen to actually be a lot like them. We are all creators and storytellers and this is simply a moment of my life that continues to connect my former self who only dreamed of such random opportunities like this with a potential future where I too am a part of the whole system. Yes, I see these sorts of events as very casual moments of life because I see the practicalities behind how and why I get to do what I do. Regardless, just because I see the practicalities, it doesn’t make the umbrella of what I do any less real.

Example:

Umbrella: I went to the Emmys!!!!!

Reality: I signed up for free seat filler tickets to go to the Creative Arts Emmys, stood in various long waits, and miraculously ended up in several amazing seats where the camera did face on several occasions!

…Ultimately, both are true and this concept applies to most of everything that I do around this wonderful city. That being said, this was an incredible opportunity and I had the greatest time attending my first Emmys while being further introduced into this chaotically beautiful lifestyle.

If there could be one major thought that I would have to conclude this post on, it’s this: take into account the behind the scenes look at the media you consume. Every single day, it is so easy to take things for how they seem to be. Watching TV, seeing movies, looking at various media on the plethora of platforms that currently exist is such a common activity yet, there are so many people who spend their livelihoods making all of that so possible. So the next time you are watching something or simply scrolling through your phone, take a moment of appreciation for all of those who may or may not be on-screen who are making the content you are consuming possible.

Check out the Creative Arts EMMYS Saturday September 16th at 8pm ET/PT, 7pm CT on FXX!

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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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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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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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the truth about LA

It has already been going on three years since I made the initial decision to attend college in LA. While this is technically a school-based thing where I would always still be partially back home in New York too, seeking a career in the entertainment industry made this decision feel more permanent from the start. That being noted, I went from someone who was living in a completely different realm on the other side of the country, totally afraid and not-too-willing to leave home to someone who accepts living in two different locations as a normal thing at this point.

With the exception of those I met through first year June orientation and the obvious celebrities who most definitely live in LA but I did not know personally, I came to this city not knowing anybody. I had visited briefly, but LA is much different from my hometown and different from even itself from the eyes of the tourist.

These past couple years, I have learned a lot. Quite frankly, I keep having more experiences, opportunities, and lessons every day. Nonetheless, there are some things about living in LA that I did not expect to find out.

  • It can be lonely in paradise. Everyone is pursuing their artsy dreams and passions and while it is inspiring to be around like-minded people, a lot of time is still spent creating your own dreams.
  • The fitness culture is very real. Not only are others always wearing athletic gear and attending the surplus of available fitness classes, but the food surrounds maintaining healthy lifestyles as well! Calories are posted everywhere and there are far more vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic, GMO-free, etc. foods available than I ever even knew about.
  • Everyone seems to have spontaneous photoshoots. Partially, because it’s fun and everywhere here is so photogenic, but also, to maintain an image that usually links to creative career endeavours.
  • The weather does in fact dip every once in a very rare blue moon, but that’s when productive, brightly color dressed people suddenly bring out the grey sweats and Netflix.
  • My hair and my skin are LIVING for this dryness! The air is dry and my skin and hair is at a level of perfection that does not exist in humid climates.
  • The weather, mostly, really is perfect ALL OF THE TIME and you can wear anything you want.
  • People don’t judge. Instead, they express themselves however they want confidently.
  • This place is kind of messed up. I may not know too many other places, but LA is a really weird, unique place. It always reminds me of Wonderland…”we’re all mad here”.
  • Just because the beach is close by, that does not mean that you will be able to get there half as often as you would like.
  • It’s chill. Maybe not surfer-chill, but unless you’re on the freeway during rush hour (which is most of the day and night anyways), people are generally pretty calm about everything.
  • Everybody is networking all of the time! If you are anywhere, chances are, most of those around you have a business card waiting to go and a sales “elevator” pitch for something.
  • People know people. This goes for everywhere, but in LA, usually that means that somehow, celebrities of some sort are involved.
  • People are genuinely really nice.
  • “Hollywood” is fake. The glamorous side is real, but in a way that disguises that this is the livelihoods, careers, jobs, and dreams of so many people. There is so much more to the story when it comes down to how everything is run here.
  • It can get overwhelming. There is always something to do and the motivation to do it but there’s no way one can do it all at once. Learning to budget time, money, to-do’s, and even experiences is not easy to do.
  • For a “big” famous city, after being in it for a while, LA seems relatively small.

But most importantly…

  • I really love it here and I know that this is truly the right place for me!

Look, I have learned so much about this place and I continue to learn more and more. It is a land I am proud to call one of my homes.

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being on the ellen show!

I have taken two Warner Brothers backlot studio tours in the past few years and there was two facts about the Ellen Show in particular that I remember:

  1. It is incredibly difficult to get tickets and be an audience member. Tickets are free, but there are so many people going for them, so unless you book months in advance and can work flexibility into the mix (a.k.a., basically live close by and drop everything to go) then you may get to go.
  2. Ellen’s first vacation was to the WB studio tour and now she has her entire show in production there until she basically decides to stop it.

Being in college here and knowing months in advance that there was a slight chance that I would be here in May (which I happen to be!), I signed up for tickets months out. I was originally scheduled for early May and then got an email inviting me to a later date instead since the original day would no longer work for me. I agreed, of course, and then got an email a few weeks later with standby tickets.

Basically, this is how the tickets work:

  • Standby: You are not guaranteed to be a studio audience member until you are in the studio on the set. If the guaranteed ticket holders don’t all show up, you get a spot. If you don’t get a spot, you get to go right behind where the audience part of the stage is in the special riffraff room during the show. You may be a seat filler for anyone who leaves for whatever reason. If you are in the riffraff room, however, you get a guaranteed ticket for a future show.
  • guaranteed: This ticket guarantees your attendance as a studio audience member.

A week before, I got a morning call from the Ellen Show team confirming myself and my party. One of my friends could not attend, so I had to cancel out her name but they also allow for changing up your guests up to a week in advance. Information is sent via email for parking, local food options, what to wear, and all that good stuff.


The day of, my friend and I drove out to Burbank and entered Gate 3 for parking (which was free!). At the ground level of that parking complex there was several benches, a pop-up shop, tv sets, snack cart, restrooms, and check-in for the show. We had to show individual ID’s and then were given Ellen blue passes with numbers. We were then informed that we were welcome to stay or leave, but be back by 12:30. So, we took those cool passes and walked over to the local Lemonade for lunch. (Eat before the show!) We came back in time to see a limo enter the lot.


Myth buster right here: most celebrities don’t take limos everywhere and tinted window SUV’s are far more likely. We wondered who would be that extra, but the second we found out that one of the guests that day was Nicki Minaj…the limo made sense.


The next couple hours were a lot of waiting, which is the reality of a lot of TV and movies when you’re going to be in it (or at least, hoping to be!). They played past show clips on the tv’s and offered snacks and such. Audience scouts went around and talked to people, eventually calling them out back. I read a post before the event about this and knew that they were looking for guaranteed guests to potentially be selected for games if there were any during the show that particular day. My number being 314 kept me waiting for a long time, but eventually, we got into a line and crossed the street, going into a side entrance of the studio.


The line just joined another line for security in a long, narrow hallway. Eventually, we got to the riffraff room and they called people into the studio by numbers. Technically, my friend and I were the start of the seatfillers, but we got to sit together and stay in the same seats the whole time. The show began shortly and the fun instantly began! (It was fun to begin with, but there was a lot of waiting in Burbank summer heat.)

We danced. Cameras rolled even when the actual episode wasn’t taped. In fact, nothing was taped in order and with several cameras and the magic of live and post editing, not everything that got on camera got into the actual episode(s) filmed. Parts were filmed out-of-order too. Commercial breaks were spent dancing and having random dance battles.

The show is not filmed live, but they edit the interviews and game portion as if it were. Additional clips are added in afterwards and the order is put together at a different time. I was there on a Monday, which meant that Tuesday and some of Wednesday’s episodes were filmed that day. They don’t film on Friday’s either. Yes, there was a part after filming Monday’s episode where Ellen and Twitch changed and Ellen came out to yet another intro where we all acted like it was a new day. She mentioned something along the lines of being “so glad that it’s a Wednesday, not a Monday”. I haven’t been able to see the episodes myself yet, but if that is left in, most of the viewers will think it is a dig at annoying Mondays but really, all of us laughing audience members were noting the irony because *Hollywood magic* it was still Monday.

The show carried on and it was interesting to watch it all unfold. Despite the fact that we filmed more than just one episode, everything happened so quickly. There were timers for the amount of on-air time and commercial break timing. Every once in a while, we were informed that they were going to film a pick up, which is basically an additional clip to be edited in like it happened in the first place. The guests that day were Nicki Minaj, Robin Wright, and Andy Cohen. Of course, I saw Ellen and Twitch too! Between takes for the interviews for Nicki, what appeared to be her makeup crew kept touching up her makeup. It was strange though listening to Starships and jamming out with the audience but also her right there also jamming mid-makeup touch-up. I also happened to be sitting right behind one of Ellen’s invited guests, so she came over and have him a hug and awkwardly smiled at me since I was, you know, like right there and apparently staring more obviously than I had thought.


Before I knew it, the show was over. There was no time to actually get photos or meet anyone personally, but that was to be expected. We were informed not to take photos while on the set (whoopsies!) and then were directed back to the riffraff room to collect our prizes ($150 visa gift card and drawstring bag). Those selected to be on the episode for the games or dance and singing specials were sent to another room to sign wavers and collect their TV’s and whatnot.

We left the studio the same way we got in at our own pace (some stayed in the riffraff room to shop or use the restroom) and headed back to the parking lot. It was the end to an amazing experience. Plus, if you watch carefully, you can see me in two episodes filmed on the second to last day of taping for Season 14! *14 is my favorite number!

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being a local LA tourist

College is definitely middle-ground territory in many, many ways, but perhaps, one of my favorite is being part tourist and part resident in LA all at once. Sure, there are plenty of places like the Santa Monica Pier, Hollywood Walk of Fame, the studios of Burbank, and the classic, In-N-Out, but there are also amazing places that I have discovered since being here that are more local-native, so to speak.

Here are some of my favorite spots as a local LA tourist! (*in no particular order and not all specifically in LA, but close enough.)

SIGHTS

  • Griffith Observatory & Park

If you saw La La Land, this is a stop you should definitely make! If you haven’t, go here anyway! Sunsets are a perfect time.

  • Getty Villa 

In Malibu, this lovely museum with incredible views makes you feel like a greek god/goddess and the Mamma Mia soundtrack will run through your head the entire time there.

  • Manhattan Beach

Shops, sand, and lovely views everywhere you look!

  • Playa Del Rey beach

For when you just want sand and spontaneous beach moments with sand, ocean, & lovely sunsets.

  • Santa Monica Promenade

The beach and the pier are amazing tourist spots, but I had no idea that there is an entire promenade area too!

  • The Last Bookstore

In Downtown LA (DTLA), this bookstore is absolutely every reader/writer’s dream come true.

  • LACMA Lanterns

Want to shamelessly take all of the photos? Stop by these classic LA lamps.

  • The Grove & The Americana

These outdoor shopping plazas are incredibly fun with all of their stores and events!

TASTES

*With my orders if they are my go-to’s. Most places, I change it up a bit.

  • K.C.’s CrepesMy order – Iced jasmine green boba tea & apple cinnamon crepe.
  • Crave Cafe
  • Malibu Farm
  • Duke’s Malibu // My order: I split the fish tacos and lobster macaroni & cheese!
  • Alfred Coffee & KitchenMelrose // My order – almond milk iced latte or rose petal tea latte (again, with the almond milk).
  • Lemonade LAMy order – White truffle mac & cheese with blueberry mint lemonade (seasonal).
  • Urth Cafe
  • Paradise Bowls Manhattan Beach // My order – GUACHO (small acai bowl. blend: banana, strawberries, blueberries, acai, apple juice. toppings: granola, honey, strawberries, blueberries, goji berries)

This list could easily be a whole lot longer, so keep checking back for more post like this! if you visit any of these places, definitely let me know in the comment section or tweet it at me @sarahfhamilton.

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the earthquake

Being in LA (or California in general) is literally a looming fate of “the Big One”…aka, that earthquake we keep hearing about. Is it a conspiracy? Are we really doomed? Who’s to say? Point of the matter is, as far as I am concerned, “the Big One” keeps shaking up my world and the Earth is still technically still.

Okay, here’s a look at the life of a college junior (!!!!!) who’s trying to have a great summer (HAGS!) but has a pretty shaken up world right about now. (*writing is therapeutic, so if this is what will help me cope with my current stress, then perhaps, it could help some of you as well)

A month before the semester ended and school let out, I was far from ready to go back home to New York. Don’t get me wrong here; I love it there and I miss my family dearly but there is a level of love and appreciation for my life in LA that going from somewhere where my dreams are looming in front of me like a puppet on strings to somewhere with high humidity and a lack of summer opportunities for me kind of…well, I think you get it. Long story short, I knew I would go back for a bit at some point this summer, but it sure wasn’t going to be the full time if I could help it.

But here’s the thing; I am wayyyy to over productive and since my passions align with my career, I am technically a “workaholic” and the longer I am here, the more I can’t say “no” to cool opportunities. This isn’t bad, of course, but then I crashed before Finals Week and ever since have been longing to go back to New York for a while. I love it here, but a break is greatly needed. That is exactly why I applied to everything and tried to make as many plans so that at least one or two of them would actually work out for me. Long story short, I needed the money and the opportunities to stay productive and avoid my typical summer slump. This was a journey started even before the new year so to be fair, I have spent this entire year so far “waiting to hear back” from so many people for so many different things.

AND THAT IS JUST IT; I really don’t care one way or another, I just want to know where I stand!

You probably can tell by this post alone that I typically like having control over my life but to be fair, I have recently come to the conclusion that not everything can be controlled. I’m still in LA and I still miss home and pretty much nothing has changed in regards to my standpoint for summer plans. This has gone on so long and I am so exhausted. So, when May rolled around, my plan looked like this…

  1. I would stay for the month (working on videos and miscellaneous LA stuff) and IF I heard back from an opportunity that would keep me longer, then I would decide at that point what I would do based on the situation.
  2. There’s a part two because the opportunity part seemed unlikely so in reality, I just wanted a bit of additional LA time and then when nothing popped up I’d be like “okay, LA! See you in a few months, I am going to peace out and chill back home because I deserve a break.”

…but then this week I have been bombarded by to-do’s. My fatal downfall?

  • F.O.M.O.
  • Workaholic towards passions
  • Either being overly or underly productive (there is no in-between!)

That sums it all up.

So now I am in the works of booking myself through freelance video services (hmu if you’re interested), writing a novel that has been “in the works” far too long, auditioning my butt off for so many projects because I am addicted and totally in the loop of this now and working on multiple videos a week to post twice on YouTube while building up the channel and this blog.

I’m very involved in my LA life right now but as my schedule leaks over to June and apparently, potentially beyond that, I honestly have next to no idea what to do. I can never fully win. Yes, I have two homes now; my one in NY with family, friends, and the comfort of the past (which who knows how long I have with the remnants of all of that!?!?) and the one in LA with dreams, opportunities, friends and my productivity levels at an all time extreme high. More than anything, I want to really embrace being in both but that is more difficult than anyone could possibly imagine. It isn’t easy for me to take a break from all of this LA-ness and it isn’t easy to be there and miss out on everything here.

So, what’s a girl to do?!?!?

I don’t know and I wish I did.

The hardest part is knowing that this is completely up to me now based on what I know presently and taking guesses about what could potentially happen. There is nobody and no excuse I can truly turn to right now to make this decision for me and that sucks too. Which is exactly why I am writing this out here. Writing helps and if it gets my thoughts out, it may help any of you who could be going through something similar.

Okay, so maybe the title is a bit clickbaity but in the words of Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars, “it’s a metaphor”.

The symbolic earthquake is how my life is shaken up. I have a lot of control but at the same time, not that much. There is no right and wrong path to take and my current worlds are chaotic. Regardless, I will always keep hope on my side, I know now better than ever that everything truly is temporary and everything will work out. That doesn’t mean the stress consuming me right now feels any better.

I usually end posts with a question and even though this isn’t a normal topic I cover, a question is still in order, I suppose. So, what do you do when you are stressed? (also, what advice do you have for me with this situation? *lol I need it)

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too much of a good thing…

Well, it’s been a while.

Life has gotten insanely but wonderfully busy lately and I thought I would take a quick moment to vent and address something in which I have been noticing and reflecting on lately.

That’s right; I am finally aware that I am in this ongoing cycle of being stuck not doing anything, putting myself in a ton of fun opportunities to become more involved, and then trying to do as much as possible productively while finding myself increasingly overwhelmed and stressed out. The stress causes all sorts of issues, which eventually fade out, and then the cycle begins all over again.

Recently, I have been more reflective upon my life and well-being and it is completely true that I set too many priorities and things to do. This has been a wonderful thing, but it has also been a bit of a problem as well. So, how can I fix this?

First, sleep is important and thankfully, it is something I have been able to control. There are plenty of moments where I choose sleep over practically anything else simply because I am very aware that it will help me manage everything. So, this isn’t really anything in which I need to fix.

Priority wise, most would suggest sorting out priorities and cutting out things in my life that I don’t care about as much or is causing too much stress. The problem here is that all of my high priorities are simply too equally important in different ways, so while this remains a problem, I can’t really do anything about it.

THAT being said, I am trying a few things to help myself…

  • More movement – Okay, I can’t make it to the gym as much as I would like, but I have been trying to take longer paths and move around more often. Movement keeps us going, right?
  • More music and relaxing – Escape is key! I try to provide more time to relax with some music of different kinds, reading, and binging Netflix and YouTube. Lately, I have even found myself in theaters and the movie, La La Land has proven itself to be a great escape, while not exactly pushing everything to the side.
  • Healthier choices – This is hard since comfort comes in the form of carbs and ice cream, but I am at the very least attempting to eat better and structure out my meals and snacks ahead of time. Plus, I have seriously avoided sugary coffees (I love mochas!) and gone to more caffiene-heavy bold coffee drinks without anything more than perhaps some almond milk. Oh, and all of the water!
  • Schedule everything in advance and make choices – I am very bad at saying no to opportunities. Instead, I find ways to do as much as possible. Over the years, this has become very second nature and easy to do. But that has also been problematic stress-wise lately, so I am adjusting to better prioritization on individual events and not signing up for more than I can handle…which is very difficult but somehow working.
  • Writing, Drawing, & Reflecting – I love writing and drawing so even when my focus is trying to put all my creative energy towards major projects relating to film and YouTube (hello, time commitments!), I find taking moments to draw, write, and reflect on life simply for fun and nothing else has been mind-releaving.

Mostly, I am doing all I can to simply my complex life so that I can still do everything I love but not have it negatively affect me through the issues of stress and becoming overwhelmed. Things have been absolutely wonderful but I have learned that sometimes, I can’t be in control of everything (or mostly everything) in my life and lately, I have been trying to learn how to come to terms with that and still live productively and more happilly.

How can one overcome stress while remaining productive?

I wish you a wonderful week ahead! If you have any thoughts/comments/questions/etcetera, feel free to leave a comment or tweet me @sarahfhamilton.

me

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