Hi, before I get into this post I gotta throw in a little explanation. I’ve been trying to write at events, on transit, and in hotels so I can remember what’s going on and give more details. I was writing on the train the other day when I thought I had almost reached my destination, just keep reading and see where it went wrong, hah. I almost edited it out but thought I’d share one of the many mistakes I’ve made this trip in real time! Thanks so much for reading, all the comments and support means the world!
9/15 Excerpt from the train:
Hallo from Germany! I have been up and traveling since 4am and successfully navigated the tube, Stansted airport, Munich airport, and three German train stations. To say I need a nap would be an understatement. I really thought that the adrenaline and excitement would make me immune to exhaustion and jet lag, but I got played. I finally managed to dose on a train when the poor conductor had to try and wake me for who knows how long and look at my ticket, sorry sir. Navigation in Germany has proven to be a bit more challenging then London because of the language barrier, and this is my first experience doing any kind of solo travel. But, I gotta admit I’m a little impressed that I was able to make so many transitions alone. Hopefully my good luck continues! Like in London, the people here are very kind and helpful. So with my limited experience, I would recommend to anyone traveling here to ask for help as the local people have been keeping me on track. I should be at my destination in the next hour and I cannot wait to get off public transit and relax for a bit with some familiar faces!
FRIENDS, I just got served a big slice of humble pie. Literally 30 minutes after I typed this I realized I was supposed to be at my stop and I wasn’t bc the train I got on SPLIT IN TWO at a Y and mine went the opposite direction. I’m never writing about good luck again until I actually get to the destination. In my defense though, how was I supposed to know the cars split?? Luckily I was within driving range to my destination so a quick pickup solved my problems.
I spent three days in Weiden and Nuremberg, Germany. My once English teacher now friend, Mrs. Jannings, just relocated to Weiden and invited me to come stay for a bit so I was so excited to take her up on the offer before starting school. The first night I was there, her and her family treated me to a delicious German meal where I got to sample some of the local cuisine and we were able to catch up. I quickly learned that meat and potatoes are the staple meal, the potato dumplings are a personal favorite. We then had an early night and I was able to finally catch up on some sleep. The second day was a much needed lounge day: I slept until 11, ate a delicious meal, and Mrs. Jannings explained a lot about what life in Germany is like and I caught her up on the bit of Cobden news I still know. The third and final day we took the train to Nuremberg, German. I had never even heard of the city but it is packed with a ton of history, shopping, and food. They took me on a walking tour around all the significant landmarks and explained that much of the city was lost in the WWII bombings, but they recreated it to look like the old city, her three kids are expert tour guides. I was able to sample a local pretzel with cheese (Annie Em’s you got nothing on Germany) and a Nuremberger, which is basically a sausage. I am so thankful I was able to stay for a bit and get a more authentic German experience and to Mrs. Jannings and her family for being such wonderful hosts.
Hi friends! Today was a bucket list day: London Fashion Week. London is one of the four fashion capitals of the world and twice a year designers host a series of shows to showcase their line at what is called, Fashion Week. I’ve always dreamed of attending one of these events but usually they are extremely exclusive for celebrities, influencers, buyers, etc. This year London has become the first of the four fashion weeks to open up shows to the public and it just so happened to be the weekend of my arrival.
I planned my outfit weeks ago and many of the items are old, but I have linked some similar products below if you are interested in recreating the look. The suit is still available, and on sale, on Revolve, it was a bit of a splurge item for me but its fashion week so it felt necessary. The shoes are from Kohl’s Candies line, and the purse is a Bethany Mota for Aeropostale purchase, both from high school.
When I walked up there were paparazzi everywhere and a couple asked to take my picture, which was a total first and likely last. But, it was fun to pretend to be a celebrity for a couple minutes. I splurged on the VIP experience which provided me front row seats to a fashion show, cocktails and snacks in the lounge, a goodie bag, and access to several exhibits curated by designers. The theme was Positive Fashion and the event highlighted really prevalent topics like sustainability, inclusivity, and environmentalism. I had the opportunity to speak with many business owners/designers and it was so enlightening to hear how they are using fashion to spread good. I have found in my three days here that Europe is much more environmentally conscious than the United States. For example, it costs extra for plastic bags at the store and a lot of disposable items at restaurants are compostable or made from recycled materials. Fashion is a particularly harmful industry for the environment and there was a whole curation of designers dedicated to making pieces of recycled materials.
I am so grateful to have had this experience, not only to be exposed to the lovely European styles, but to also dip my toes in the culture here.
Tomorrow morning I catch a flight to Germany and I am off to the next adventure!
Hi friends! I am writing from my “flat” in London. I have been here for two days now and I seriously just keep walking around saying “I can’t believe I live here.”
I flew here on Wednesday, September 11. I didn’t think twice about flying that day until it was pointed out to me, but I did feel extremely safe, they were probably even more thorough at security because of the date. So thanks airport security for your excellent service, I didn’t mind waiting in line at all.
I was however anxious about navigating the Heathrow airport by myself with three suitcases, because naturally I was going to wayyyy overpack, but the English got it going on over here and getting through was a breeze. For anyone wondering what the packing situation looked like I brought: 15 pairs of shoes, at least 10 jackets, 10 pairs of pants, around 30 shirts, an entire bedding set and towel, and a bunch of other things I decided I couldn’t leave behind, ha. My mom and I were playing quite the game of Tetris as we managed to stuff everything in two 50 pound checked bags, a carry on suitcase, and a backpack. The secret to making it all work: vacuum seal bags, packing cubes, a luggage scale, and this 5ish pound suitcase.
The past two days have been a whirl of unpacking, locating the University, finding the nearest grocery store, and visiting Big Ben and the London Eye–just a casual Thursday/Friday. Traci, my friend I’m living with, and I (with the help of her dad) are getting the hang of the tube. The city is actually very accessible and relatively easy to navigate, and if all else fails the British seem to be as interested in American accents as we are with theirs so they can very immediately tell we are not from here and usually offer to help. It has been so fun exploring and the people here are incredibly nice.
Our flat is super nice and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had my own bathroom and a full sized bed instead of a twin, something about college I will not miss. There are five of us living together, Traci, who I went to school with, two girls from another school in the same study program, and a fifth girl we don’t know. We each have our own room/bathroom and a shared living space with a kitchen and seating area. The four of us in the program have been talking throughout the summer and have plans to travel together, I seriously can’t wait for everyone to get here.
Tomorrow I will be attending London Fashion Week (so excited), then I’m catching a flight to Germany to visit a friend on Sunday, and taking a train on my first solo trip later in the week. Stay tuned for the destination, and how my mom is handling it, ha. Here are some pictures of the week!
Hi friends! I cannot believe I’m writing another blog post on this site. I really thought originalsamsmith.com had seen the end… But here we are, and I’m PUMPED. I started this blog originally to share what was going on in my life, make some connections, and explore my love for fashion. I had access to a photographer, a lot of local support, and I truly enjoyed it. As I started college, I didn’t have the same passion for it when I started so I let it go and enjoyed my 3 years at Lindenwood, here are some of the highlights:
I won a national championship at 2018 NCA college nationals (flex).
I spent the last two summers in Chicago nannying, going to concerts, exploring the city, eating all the food, and hitting up all the fabulous stores here (St. Louis you have my heart, but you’ve got nothing on Chicago shopping).
I went on my first international trip as a nanny—best job, best fam, best experience, ever.
I wrapped up my last semester at Lindenwood with some of the best friends in the world.
And I turned 21, cheers!!
This Fall, I’m finishing up my marketing degree in LONDON and I realized I want to have a place to document my memories and share what’s up with my friends and fam back home… so we’re back in business, ha!! Here are some pictures of my favorite memories, and stay tuned for all the European adventures!
Hi friends! I often receive a lot of questions about why I started the blog, how it works, what opportunities it has presented and I wanted to fill you in on a bit of that today. It has inspired me to launch a mini series all about blogging and what I have learned. I am going to be interviewing and sharing stories of other girl bosses in the industry, some of the resources I have discovered for creating an online brand, and how this site has impacted my life.
So to start telling the story of originalsamsmith.com I need to back track to way before this site was even a possibility. Ever since I was little I have been super passionate about clothes. I never felt like I fit in in elementary school and even into jr. high and high school. Clothes were an identity for me. It was a way to express myself without having to talk to others and it was a way for me to feel more confident in who I was. So as I got older, clothes became more and more of a passion for me. My style was evolving, I was feeling more confident in wearing things that were a little out of the norm or things that not everyone was going to like, and I became okay with it. It helped me to develop a sense of identity and realization that the opinion of others really didn’t matter that much. It kind of became a game, like when it came time to pick out my prom dress or an outfit for an event I would think: what will be the most different thing I can come up with that will be a conversation piece, that not everyone will understand and that will still be trendy.
As high school continued I realized that I REALLY loved clothes and that I wanted to be able to incorporate style into my whole life. In high school as I’m filling out those career surveys for the ACT, applying to colleges and envisioning a career, I kept going back to fashion. Being passionate about clothes is one of those things where when people ask what you want to do after high school, you’re not sure if you admit being involved in fashion will impress the person or if they will look at you the same way if you said you wanted to be a princess or a rock star. It’s like one of those things that every little girl wants to be but few actually make it happen in their adult life. I wanted to be one of the few, but I kind of kept it a secret and would admit it in passing but always fess up a backup plan like “oh I will probably do something in marketing somewhere but eventually I want to open a store.”
Well as I entered my junior year of high school, I was signed up for a class called CEO. To sum it up quickly, CEO is a class all about entrepreneurship, and in the end each student is required to start their own business. This class really changed my perspective on careers. We would meet each morning at different local businesses, be instructed by the owners or employees of that business, and hopefully gather enough tools to start our own business. As soon as I started I knew I wanted my business to be about fashion. I mentioned earlier a store… Well for a brief minute I was feeling very ambitious and was like I want to start my own online store now. I quickly realized that as a senior in high school getting ready to move away for college, that was not quite feasible. Well for a while I had been reading a few blogs and following some Youtubers. I had been thinking about doing one, but the idea of putting myself out there on the Internet was SUPER intimidating (and still is a little bit). There is so much opportunity online, but with that comes a lot of opportunity to receive hate and negativity. Because of the fear, I never really considered launching my own site until I was in CEO, January was rolling around and I needed a business idea FAST! That is when I started considering the blog more seriously.
Quickly the question I kept receiving from my teacher, my classmates, and any one else involved was “how is blogging a business?” Over and over I kept explaining the amount of opportunity that there is online to create a personal brand and that it was about more than just blogging, it would give me the opportunity to generate a following that I could hopefully turn into customers in the future (going back to the store here), and that it would help me to build a network of connections in the fashion industry. Plus with blogging, there are sponsorship opportunities (Rendlemann Orchards), collaborations, product reviews (Tobi), and so much more. So with some convincing, I got the go ahead that this would be my business for the class.
Now it seems a little strange that all of this started as a school project, but it did. I developed the idea in January 2016, and pretty much as soon as I thought of it I got to work. From January to March I spent at least 1-2 hours a day researching what it takes to start a blog. From website design, social media following, trends, and everything in between I was constantly brainstorming and coming up with ideas for what I liked and didn’t like and how I would make it happen. In March, I approached my dad (who has experience in web design) about helping me design the actual site. He agreed to help me, and together we spent the entire month of March purchasing a domain, designing a site, and navigating WordPress.
Also in March, I was faced with a huge decision. How I was going to feature clothes on my site? I knew I wanted pictures of myself in clothes but I didn’t have a nice camera and I couldn’t afford to hire a photographer. This is where Emma comes into play. We had been eating lunch together all year and I thought of her as a good friend. She was a couple years younger then I and she had mentioned a couple times that she was interested in photography. I didn’t really know to what extent she was or how good she was but at this point I was desperate and I didn’t really have anything to lose. I approached her about being the photographer for my site and she agreed. I literally had no idea if she had a good camera and I had never seen any of her other pictures but she agreed to work with me and that was all I needed. The first day we were scheduled to take pictures I was pretty nervous, not for her but for me. I didn’t have any experience modeling and I didn’t want to look unprofessional or dumb. She pulls out her camera, and I don’t know much about photography but I immediately recognized the name Canon on the strap and I was shocked! How did a freshman in high school have this high quality of a camera and actually know how to use it? Sure enough she did… And the longer our photoshoot continued the more comfortable I became and the more I realized that she is good, like really good! I actually refer to Emma as the glue holding this site together because without her it wouldn’t be possible. For any of you that have been following the blog and are interested in having Emma take pictures of you, like her Facebook page EGS Photography and reach out to her, she is awesome!
April 1, 2016 I launched the site! That was such an exciting day and I was overwhelmed by the positive response. Since then I have met so many people and this blog has opened so many doors for me… As this series continues I will share some of those opportunities with you. If you have any specific questions please leave them below!
Hi friends! I hope you’re having a great summer so far. We finished with finals and cheer tryouts the first week of May so I have been home the past couple weeks hanging out. This week I am moving to Springfield Missouri for the summer for a job and to live with two of my best friends, Wendy and Savannah. I am so excited to see them and hopefully work a lot. There are so many fun things to do in St. Louis and last summer I was able to work enough to fund most of my fun/shopping trips this past year so I am hoping to do the same thing. I saw a post on Twitter a few weeks ago that said something like “summer in high school is all fun and games but summer in college is a matter of how much weight can I lose and how much money can I make in three months.” I thought it was so funny and true.
After finishing my first year of college I can truly say that college is the best. I have loved it so much and was genuinely sad when the year was over. Last year on my first day, we had cheer practice and I remember all of the returning girls running in and hugging each other and acting so excited to be back. I literally was thinking who gets this excited for school? I get it now! I have made lifelong friends and done so many fun things. Lately I have been thinking a lot about my first year and I am seriously so glad that my parents encouraged me to go away and I got the opportunity to live on my own and do so many exciting things.
I have been a Tobi fan for a while and think they have so many cute things and are super affordable. They even offer 50% off on first orders with the code Tobi50. They sent me a few items that I am so excited to share with you over the next few weeks. The first look is this pink suede dress. I love the shape of it and think it will be so cute for summer graduation parties, weddings, dinners, etc. Suede is one of my favorite materials because it adds some texture to such simple items. It is only $31 with the code Tobi50 so it is pretty affordable and can be worn to so many different occasions. I styled it a little dressier with my favorite platform sandals and mixed gold and silver to accent the mauve color.
Hi friends! I can’t believe how long its been since we’ve chatted last. Life has been pretty crazy lately. Last time I made a post, winter break had just started and family time and the holidays really distracted me. I did’t realize how much I missed being at home until I was back… No school, no practice, no responsibilities. It was like a mini vacation.
On January 5th, things picked right back up. I literally drove straight from my house to our cheer practice facility before I could even go to the dorm for the kick off of NATIONALS SEASON!! We got straight to work… I thought all star cheer was hard but its got nothing on college cheer. Fast forward to this past weekend we had our first performance to practice getting in front of a crowd, we hit our routine (for non cheer people that means we had no falls) and it was the highlight of my college cheer career (all 6 months of it). It was so exciting to see the hard work pay off and is really inspiring to get ready for nationals.
This semester I got to move in with my best friend Gabi! Since then, dorm life has gotten way better. Every Tuesday after cheer we watch The Bachelor together, we go on Starbuck’s runs, we get sushi, and we literally stay up until 2 in the morning talking. I know people say living with your best friend isn’t always a good idea but it is working for us. Its like having a sleepover every single night. Classes this semester are definitely harder than last. I am not getting to take as many business classes so I can knock out my gen-eds and I am ready to be done with them.
I recently got a job this semester at another boutique, Mod! I’m only about three weeks in but so far it has been awesome. They really had big shoes to fill because my last job at Philanthropy was probably the best job in the world, but Mod girls are pretty awesome and I think I’m going to like it here! It has been a great way to make new friends that aren’t cheerleaders and to finally get to dress up in cute clothes (I may have a fashion blog but I wear leggings and no makeup to class every single day). I am so excited to be working with Mod not only in the store but also on the blog! Everything I am wearing (except the shoes) is all from Mod.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with Mod, they are a small business that started in Edwardsville IL and have grown to four locations (Edwardsville, St. Charles, Kirkwood, and O’Fallon). Almost everything in the store is under $75 so they are super affordable and they are always running sales! Be sure and follow them on Instagram and like their Facebook so you can be in the loop. The family also owns Marta’s Boutique which is a little higher end and another trendy option. And, if you stop into the St. Charles location you may see me every once in a while, I’d love to help you pick out an outfit!:)
In my break from posting, I have been brainstorming some exciting stuff for originalsamsmith.com! The first thing is, I am working with Sarah Christine Photography while I am here in St. Charles. She is super talented and I can’t wait to see what we do together. But, don’t think I have forgotten about my homegirl Emma because I’m sure she will be back with me as soon as I’m home for a break. And if you didn’t know, SHE STARTED A BLOG TOO! Be sure and check her out here, I am so proud of her and miss her so much. I am in the process of designing a newsletter so I can share exclusive content, my favorite sales, and get to know you better so be on the lookout! I made a new blogger friend, Molly Brianne! She just launched her blog last Friday and it looks fabulous! Be sure and check her out and be on the lookout for a collab coming soon. I love having such talented friends!
If you’ve made it this far, thanks girl! I am so excited to be back and I can’t wait to tell you more about college and my life here! Please reach out to me in the comments, on social media, or the contact page and let me know what you’d like to see! I post a lot of my college cheer and adventure pictures on Instagram so make sure you’re following me if you want to see those!
Have a great day and I will talk to ya soon, pinky promise!
Hi friends! I am so excited for Christmas coming up! I seriously have not bought a single gift yet so I need to get started… We have this tradition where we all go the mall on Christmas Eve and split up and get gifts for everyone! Obviously procrastination runs in the family! I have been searching to get some ideas for people and found some really great options that I wanted to share! I’m working with a poor college student budget so I’m trying to make it stretch, so all of these gifts are under $30! Some could probably be wrapped under the tree but they are also perfect stocking stuffers!
Click on any of the images below to be directed to the site!
Yesterday my friends Gabi (follow Gabi on Instagram here), Paige (follow Paige here), and I went to the pumpkin patch! This was my first time ever at a pumpkin patch but I felt totally at home with all of the corn fields, horses, and hay everywhere haha! We walked around eating a funnel cake and drinking lemonade, exploring all the different things to do and taking a TON of pictures. I definitely wanted to get a few “basic” pictures at the pumpkin patch for Instagram and Gabi jokingly mentioned a blog post… And now we are here!;) If you’ve been wanting to visit a pumpkin patch I definitely would recommend Rombachs in Chesterfield. It is free to get in and they have a ton of things to do (some of the attractions cost but it is super reasonable). There was live music, pumpkin displays, a little haunted house, pony rides, and a bunch of other stuff, I would totally come back next year!
I met both of these girls through cheer and they make it so much more fun! All of the people I have met are probably the best part about cheerleading. Gabi is also a freshman and she was one of my very first friends here. We ride to every practice together (our practice facility is about 20 minutes away from campus so we get a lot of quality bonding time in) and hangout all the time, I seriously don’t think I could have survived the first month of cheer and school without her! Paige is a sophomore and we just became friends more recently. Gabi and I go hangout in her room and watch movies with her roommates (who also cheer and I love)!
All of these pictures were taken by us or a stranger with our phones so they are not quite as great as what Emma (my usual photographer) does haha! But an exciting collab with Emma all about photography is in the works, so stay tuned!
Are the water bottle and gym bag not the #truth? For real, though! Honestly, if it weren’t for cheer, I would hardly ever get a workout in! But whether it’s cheer practice or on my own time, I am a sucker for cute workout clothes and accessories. Pizza after a good workout is always good motivation for me and I think these hilarious accessories are the perfect reminder to do some extra lunges and crunches so you can indulge later, guilt free. I got this adorable Nike tank top on the clearance rack at Macy’s for less than 6 bucks. I REPEAT, LESS THAN SIX BUCKS… And these sneakers, only $27. If you’re looking for cute Nike workout gear that is affordable, Macy’s clearance is where it’s at. This sport bra and these leggings are my absolute favorite. I’ve tried many brands and I always go back to VS. They are so comfortable and fit so well and I hate working out in anything else. When I bought this set it was buy the bra and get the leggings free! I hope they do that sale again soon because I need more!
I hope you find a good workout sale this week! Xoxo, Sam
**Photography: Emma Staley, follow her on Instagram @emmabeenice