Sam's Ramblings

Two Saturdays ago, I went out to The Rustic Brush. What is The Rustic Brush? Well, it's a place where you can make wood wall art. You wi...

Two Saturdays ago, I went out to The Rustic Brush. What is The Rustic Brush? Well, it's a place where you can make wood wall art. You will need about two to three hours (the class is structured for three hours) to complete everything depending upon size of your item and how fast you work. 


Booking Details/Pricing

You need to book at least two days in advance via the online website here-you must be a legal adult to attend the class due to alcohol being in the area (18). The Rustic Brush is currently in four states-Texas, Louisiana, Pennsylvania and Florida. Texas is the only place currently with multiple locations. Pricing ranges between $50.00 to $200.00 depending on the selection made. You make your selection when you book your class and pay up front so make sure you get to the class.  


Atmosphere 

I'm sure each location will be slightly different but I don't think it will be much off from my experience. I went to the Pearland location which is in Texas. There was music playing in the background with staff around to help guide you every step of the way. If you select open class like I did you will be with whoever you go with personally as well as strangers. Most strangers are super friendly, as I've experienced. It's a very chill and collaborated atmosphere. 


Overall Thoughts 

I found the experience to be really fun. You can bring your own booze and snacks. The staff walk you through each step of the process to ensure you get the best results possible, which I appreciated because I never used a power tool in my life. 



You get a stencil for your wood piece in order to paint onto the wood. You selected this when you booked the class. Depending on what you choose, there could be multiple pieces of wood or just one. You will sand the edges to smooth them out, put the wood pieces together if you have multiple pieces, stain your wood and paint your stencil on. It's very hands-on which I found to be really cool. 


Mix your hands-on experience with good conversation with whoever you bring with you, alcohol and snacks and I think it's a great way to spend a Friday or Saturday night. It can be used for Girls Night Out or Date Night. I think it works for either, honestly. For me, it was a Girls Night Out. I would absolutely go back and make something else. I'm planning another Girls Night Out with other friends at the moment so hopefully I'll be back soon. 

This year I'm 28 so I figured it would be fun to share 28 things about me. Maybe we will share things in common, this will make you laug...

This year I'm 28 so I figured it would be fun to share 28 things about me. Maybe we will share things in common, this will make you laugh or this will make you shake your head. It's always nice to learn about others and find similarities, isn't it? 




1. My birthday is February 8th. 
2. I don't wear dark lipstick often.
3. I want to go back to school to get my MBA/JD but don't like the effort school will take so haven't even applied. 
4. I got my first personal animal at 28, a Pomeranian.
5. I don't like avocados. 
6. I love brussels sprouts. 
7. I have traveled solo.
8. I usually am not photogenic.
9. I don't like the sound of German or Norwegian. 
10. I think "ya'll" sounds annoying when said.
11. I pronounce water as "wah" "ter." 
12. I strongly dislike, borderline hate, President Trump.
13. I am on birth control.
14. I've lived in three different states before the age of 27. 
15. I want to learn to speak Korean and Mandarin.
16. I don't think French is as romantic sounding as the world makes it out to be.
17. I think Toyotas are uncomfortable to drive. 



18. My favorite city in Italy is Venice. 
19. My comfort foods are macaroni and cheese, chocolate croissants, pancakes and soup.
20. I almost never buy anything from Zara because the fashion doesn't suit me.
21. Most of my work clothes come from Banana Republic, Ann Taylor or The Loft by Ann Taylor. 
22. Going into Marshals, TJ Maxx or any store of the sort makes me uncomfortable because they are so messy and in disarray. 
23. I live on my own.
24. I don't have cable and only watch Netflix, Hulu and other streaming applications on my Smart TV.



25. I look over 80% like my mother.
26. I spent my 28th birthday in Taipei, Taiwan.
27. I buy most of my groceries from Trader Joe's.
28. I purchased two cars on my own before the age of 22. 

Today is the last day of 2018 and all I really have to say is what the ever loving fuck was that? Between politics, personal relationshi...



Today is the last day of 2018 and all I really have to say is what the ever loving fuck was that? Between politics, personal relationships and career struggles, I don't think I've ever had such a stressful or weird year in my 27 years of life. I'm glad this year is coming to an end so the only way is forward, yeah? 

While many people are making their "New Year's Resolution" or their list of resolutions, I've decided to change that thought. I don't want a "resolution" but instead I'm going to set goals for this year that I will check in on another post in the beginning of July, halfway through the year. So cheers to goals and hopefully you'll make goals instead of resolutions with me. 


1. Lose Weight - This might be controversial but to me this is important. I gained about 7-8 pounds just in the two and change weeks I was in Italy because of the constant drinking and intake of carbs (pasta, pizza, bread.....). When I came back from Italy it was just a snowball of constantly running when it came to work stuff and moving into my own apartment so my gym time dwindled and my motivation to go to the gym was pretty much nonexistent. Safe to say, I would like to be down 25 pounds by the end of the year which I think is very doable. In theory, I can achieve this by July or thereabout. I don't just want to the scale to move down, though, I also want to be a comfortable size 8 in pants. I teeter between 10 and 12 right now depending on the maker/style. 

(Italy, June 2018; Photo featured on my Instagram)

2. Travel Often - Since I'm unattached, single and have no children, I want to see the world, literally. I already have Taiwan paid off and booked as my birthday gift to myself. I'm so excited to see Lunar New Year in Taiwan in February. Puerto Rico and Spain are also on the calendar for July and June respectively. If I could, I would like to go at least three other places, two Domestically and one Internationally. My preference for Domestic travel would be Chicago and Los Angeles. I go home quite often (NYC) so I don't count that as actual traveling since I'm from there but I'll be there at least twice or thrice this year. My international addition would be preference to either Dominican Republic, I love it there, Cuba or somewhere in Canada (maybe Toronto or Quebec). Please note, any work travel I don't count as actual travel because I rarely get to do anything fun when I travel for work. 

3. Buy a New SUV/Car - The goal is to buy this by the end of January, actually. I need a new car for how much I drive and I have earned one, as well. Currently, I'm looking between a Mazda CX3 (crossover SUV) and an Acura ILX. I have to enjoy what I drive which is why I'm so picky. 

(December 2017)

4. Get a Dog - As many of you may recall, I had to put my dog to sleep not even a week ago. It's been a real struggle for not only me, but also my mom. My precious little Pomeranian was such a good dog, I want another one. I want one that is shades of grey, white and black preferably. Also, I want a male. I tend to bond best with male animals is what I've noticed. My goal is to meet with breeders and find one that bonds to me by March or April. I can hear everyone shouting about adopting BUT I will tell you why I do not want to. I want a purebred Pomeranian puppy which is almost nonexistent in any shelter or rehoming organization. I want this for very specific reasons including health (Pomeranians as they age tend to have trachea issues (windpipe which is what my dog suffered from) and hind leg issues. Additionally, I want the dog to bond to me, as well as my family and so forth, and be around for more than a few years. I'm a very emotional human so only having something for two years or so will ruin me, literally. 

5. Pay Off a Credit Card/Student Loan - This year I paid off one of my student loans. I was so proud of myself. In 2019, I would like to pay off one of my credit cards (I have four and only one is really high, the others have decent balances to keep my credit score in check) and one of my other student loans. This means I'll need to close several contracts but I think I can do it. I want to be student debt free by the time I'm 32 which I think is achievable. 

I've been dating since June of this year and there have been a lot of first times for me that I figured I should share. It's importa...

I've been dating since June of this year and there have been a lot of first times for me that I figured I should share. It's important to share findings and stories so we can all feel a sense of community. Also, I can't be the only one running into these  situations so here we go.



1. Dating Multiple People at The Same Time - I've never really been one to date loads of people and see where it goes. I dated three guys at the same time which was a first. Sadly, none of them were a fit but it was interesting trying to juggle names, back stories and such. For those who normally date multiple people at the same time, you are really cool and I salute you because it's exhausting and slightly stressful.

2. Using Dating Apps Consistently - I've never actually stuck to any dating app or website until this past summer. Granted, due to personal choices, I have slowed down the usage, but I did faithfully use them from June through the beginning of September. I went on several dates and dated two guys consistently before it not really working out. 

3. Sleeping Over on the First Date- I normally don't sleep with or near someone on the first date because I really need to be comfortable with someone to actually sleep. Case in point, I slept over the guy's house and slept maybe 30 minutes. I "woke up" exhausted and cranky. It proved that I should listen to myself and not do it. 

4. Having Better Chemistry with a Friend - I was dating this guy and met one of his friend's at his house party. Safe to say his friend totally charmed me and I had a little zing when he touched me. The friend and I had undeniable chemistry. I ended up going on a date and sleeping with said friend, after the guy and I parted ways. 

5. Mixing Up Back Stories - During the time when I was dating three guys at once, I mixed up back stories on two of them. The positive is the guy took it well and laughed because he said he never told me if he had siblings or not so it's not a big deal. You need to keep like a notebook when you're dating multiple people, I swear. 

Due to my personality, I love supporting small business and women owned business. I found Switch2Pure ,an organic beauty retailing compan...


Due to my personality, I love supporting small business and women owned business. I found Switch2Pure,an organic beauty retailing company , through their pop up store in the River Oaks District (located in Uptown Houston). I did some research and the company is founded by a woman with the mission to providing organic beauty solutions and a wellness approach to life. Many of the products, I found, are reasonably priced. Just like any other store, there are higher priced items that might not be budget friendly, but my focus for this post is a few of the more budget friendly items that I am trialing. If you are looking for organic beauty products, this company's site is definitely the place to check out. 




ECO.Face Vitamin C Serum



It should come as no surprise that I'm trialing a vitamin C serum since vitamin C has been known to help with pigmentation issues and overall brighten the skin. I struggle with acne scarring on my face so I asked what would be the best product to try and was pointed to this. 

Product Type: Serum 
Product Price: $26.00
Product Promises: "A powerful Vitamin C serum filled with rich antioxidants and natural anti-aging ingredients like rosehip, milk thistle and sea-buckthorn-that also help reduce pigmentation and redness, while boosting elasticity, hydration and cell rejuvenation, leaving the skin more even-toned, smoother and glowing."
Product Usage: 15 Days
Product Findings:  My skin definitely feels hydrated, even after just the first two days of usage, so I would say that promise is verified. As for pigmentation and redness reduction, I would say it's a work in progress because I don't think there is anything that works for pigmentation in under a month's time. I will say I've noticed my skin overall looks healthier so the serum is doing its job, just needs time to work. I'll check back in on my thoughts in another few weeks.






After my first purchase of the above vitamin C serum, I began looking online for other items that might be budget friendly but useful. I had just run out of The Body Shop's tea tree oil so I looked for acne solutions. I found this little gem which has tea tree oil as part of its mix. The next time I was at the District I picked this up. Check out this brand's products here.

Product Type: Serum 
Product Price: $10.00
Product Promises: "Hello clear skin good-bye blemish. This mild but effective roller ball calms the break out and helps prevent scarring."
Product Usage: 9 Days
Product Findings:  My skin was pretty much clear when I got this but a few days after putting it on some problem spots that had started to go away, three new problems popped up. I have to say this doesn't sting like pure tea tree oil does so that's a plus. It's been calming my spots but I cannot attest to its ability to help fight scarring because it's too soon to tell if it has done anything in that regard. Overall, if you have sensitive skin, this might be something to try. 


Honey Belle Detox Mask (Coconut Rose)


I love face masks! I think I own over five at any given time because I use different ones for different problems. I also use face masks frequently, at least three days a week! The struggle of having problematic hormones and skin is so very real. While I was browsing the popup store I came across this and figured why the heck not. 

Product Type: Mask
Product Price: $14.00
Product Promises: "This Detox Mask is a fun DIY way to keep your skin looking young. SP2 loves that the mask leaves the face with a glow and bentonite clay has been used for centuries to help pull out toxins from the skin."
Product Usage: 9 Days (used twice)
Product Findings:  I have used this product twice and both times I noticed this doesn't leave my face feeling stiff. That's a big change from other clay masks I've used. It should be noted that this is a powder and requires you to add water and mix it before using. I thought that was kind of fun and different since all my masks are usually pre-made and I'm just applying them. Overall, I will continue to use this mask but I didn't see a major, oh my God difference in my face after two uses. I will see how I feel in about a month's time. 

Since June of this year I've been paying for a Spotify subscription. I started this because a lot of the songs I was listening to on Sp...

Since June of this year I've been paying for a Spotify subscription. I started this because a lot of the songs I was listening to on Spotify I didn't have downloaded into my phone and I was headed to Italy on a long plane ride. I also like being able to skip songs and play specific songs at any given moment regardless if I'm using my computer, my iPad or my phone. No, I'm not getting endorsed by Spotify, I'm just relaying how I tend to listen to my music-especially at work. 

The songs below are from varying countries, languages, artists and genres. I bounce around on what I'm listening to but I've been listening to a lot of K-Pop lately. I hope I inspire you to listen to some new stuff and maybe you'll fall in love with some artists you didn't know prior to reading this. 

 As a side note, here are my two most used playlists on Spotify if you want to see other music I didn't list here! 






Eric Nam
  • I Don't Miss You
  • Don't Call Me
  • 4 AM
  • Good For You - International Version
  • Honestly
  • Float
  • Body
  • Lose You

Blackpink
  • Really
  • Kiss and Make up (ft. Dua Lipa)
  • Stay
  • Boombayah
  • So Hot

Red Velvet
  • Dumb Dumb
  • Bad Boy (English Version)

Henry
  • That One
  • It's You
  • Monster (English Version) 

Jay Park
  • Dank
  • V
  • I Don't Disappoint
  • Demon
  • Sexy 4 Eva
  • I Got This
  • Me Like Yuh
  • Give It To Me (Ft. Crush, Simon Dominic)

NCT (127, U)
  • Regular (English Version)
  • Baby Don't Stop

DEAN
  • I'm Not Sorry
  • Put My Hands on You 

EXO
  • Baby Don't Cry
  • Universe 
  • Call Me Baby

Charlie Puth
  • Dangerously
  • The Way I Am
  • Patient
  • If You Leave Me Now (Ft. Boyz II Men)

Cash Cash
  • Finest Hour

J Balvin
  • Familiar (Ft. Liam Payne)
  • X (Ft. Nicky Jam)
  • Machika
  • Mi Gente 

Luis Fonsi
  • Calypso 
  • Despacito
  • Echame La Culpa

Juanes
  • Pa Dentro
  • Es Tarde

Drake
  • MIA (Ft. Bad Bunny)
  • In My Feelings

Halsey
  • Eastside
  • Without Me

Email is the communication method of choice in the business world. Anyone who blogs, works in any business environment or has attended any k...

Email is the communication method of choice in the business world. Anyone who blogs, works in any business environment or has attended any kind of school understands the importance of the almighty email. I'm going to share some funny email fails I've noticed since starting my job in Houston 1.5 years ago. I hope everyone laughs but also takes away a very important thing, read through every email you send out before sending it to avoid having an email fail!



1. Wrong Name? - On the receiving end, I have sent emails to vendors and clients alike with my signature clearing writing out my name as Samantha to get a response with them calling me "Stephanie" or some other S name. This shows the person wasn't paying much attention and can cause someone to feel offended. You didn't take the time to read who sent you the email before responding? Was the email that unimportant to you? Make sure you use the correct name when responding or sending an email and spell it correctly.

2. Asking What Was Already Answered - This is where I use "As per my last email" more than not. If you have questions about the email you're reading, read through it at least three times because most of those questions will be answered once you are able to process the email instead of just trying to respond and get it out of your inbox. Now, if the email is really confusing or leaves room for questions, definitely ask them.

3. Wrong Person? - Have you ever meant to send an email to someone but sent it to someone else? Yeah, it happens. This actually happened to me when I was sending an in-office email to alert the office that I had brought in cookies. One of my vendors has the first name as one of the office staff and I didn't check which email my Outlook contacts grabbed before sending the email. Luckily, it wasn't anything serious like trade secrets and my vendor said she'd stop by to grab one. More times than not, we have so much going on we forget to double-check what we are doing and it could end badly unlike my situation.

4. Misspelling Gone Wrong - This can go both ways with misspelling. There are people who use the wrong "your" and then there are people who misspell something that still makes a word but makes for an awkward email. For instance, before my assistant left, she was responding to an email of someone who's last name was Dickinson. Instead of writing Dickinson, she Dick. While I laughed, it was really embarrassing for her. On another note, I've seen lots of emails flying between vendors and my company where someone using the wrong "your" or "there" and it messes up the entire email. It takes me a minute to realize the person used the wrong one and then I have to reread it. Remember to reread everything before you hit send. It really can save you a headache, from embarrassment and from someone viewing you as less than professional.

Birth control is such an interesting thing because more than half of the population that can use it doesn't really understand it. This c...

Birth control is such an interesting thing because more than half of the population that can use it doesn't really understand it. This comes from several dozen reasons including religious beliefs, family structure, societal pressures and misinformation all over the internet. I figured it was time I put my two cents into this topic to hopefully give some thoughtful insight, especially for those who are considering the usage of it. 



Types 

  1. Pill - Everyone has heard of the pill form of birth control. It's probably the picture that pops into most people's head once they hear the word birth control. There are loads of brands and types of birth control pills. The standard structure is to regulate the menstrual cycle which helps with avoiding the issues of pregnancy. There are pills that have low dosage hormones, high dosage, mixed hormones and just pure "female" hormones as well as pills that offer only four times a year menstruating.  
  1. Ring - The ring is a low dosage form of birth control that is inserted by the user, similar to using a tampon. The ring is low dosage and requires it to be refrigerated until use. Note that is can "come out" during intercourse but, if you place in far enough inside, you shouldn't have any issues. If you're used to using tampons, you won't even notice while you have it in and it doesn't impact you doing intercourse but minimally, if at all. 
  1. Shot - For a three month effective usage, there is the birth control shot. It works much like the ring and pills but requires a doctor's appointment and one shot lasts three months. 
  1. Implant - The first implant option gets implanted into your arm by a doctor. This, like an IUD, is a longer term solution as it can be effective for up to five years. 
  1. IUD - The final birth control option is the IUD. This has two options, a hormone option and one without hormones (copper). Both options require a doctor's visit as the doctor is the one who needs to insert it. On average, the hormonal option last three to six years and the copper option last five to ten. 


Uses


  1. Stabilize Hormones - Since almost all birth control options have hormones, it makes sense that adjusting and stabilizing hormones would be a use for it. People who suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome use birth control for this purpose, myself included.
  1. Prevent Pregnancy - The main reason everyone thinks over 50% of women are on birth control, to avoid unwanted or unexpected pregnancies. It is an awesome perk because, let's be real, why can't women enjoy sex, too?
  1. Lighten Periods - Many people experience shorter and light flow periods when starting birth control, any kind. I am a living example of this as my period would normally last six to seven days and the first five days I would bleed like someone slit an artery. Now, after using birth control, my period lasts between three and five days and only day one is heavy. 
  1. Ease Menstrual Pain - It would be logical to think if the flow of the period is lighter the pain is less, yeah? Birth control is known, but it's not a guarantee, to ease cramping pain. Personally, it's made mine bearable so I don't need strong prescription drugs anymore to tolerate it. 
  1. Combat Acne - Acne tends to be a direct result of hormones rather than having a dirty face and/or body (yes, body acne impacts people, too). A few of my friends would get cystic back acne and once they started birth control, that went away. 
  1. Regulate Menstruation - Some females suffer from "sporadic" or not consistent periods from timing to length. Birth control restructures that and gives you one every month, unless you take the four times a year kind, and makes it a consistent length. It's nice for the people who were never regular.

Side Effects 

  • Weight Gain/Loss 
  • Acne 
  • Smell Sensitivity 
  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Headaches 
  • Vaginal Discharge 
  • Very Serious Issues (Blood Clots, Stroke, Heart Attack)

Misconceptions

  • Pregnancy cannot happen while taking or on birth control.
  • Birth control is only for avoiding pregnancy. 
  • Women who are on birth control are sluts/whores who just want to sleep with a lot of guys without having babies. 
  • Birth control is not essential to leading a healthy life.