London: When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off

“It was a good effort,” my Styling Professor assured me after tearing my hours and HOURS of hard work apart.

BTS PR Project

A behind-the-scenes look of a separate project I did for PR class, which was slightly more successful.

I’m coming to terms with the things I am good at whilst also coming to terms with the things I suck at.

I am good at writing. At least I like to think I am good at writing. Shit, if I suck at writing than what am I even doing here? Or better yet, what are YOU even doing here? JK, you’re prob here because you’re my mom and sometimes (i.e. all of the time) I think she is honestly the only one who reads these things. *Insert painful laughing/crying face here*

I suck at fashion. And that totally sucks for me because after all, I am in the process of earning a degree in FASHION Communications. I mean I like fashion and all but am discovering that I am simply not good at it.

And this brings me (finally) to my entire point of this post — you know when you put a lot of hard work and effort into something just to find out that someone hates it? In my case that “something” was my styling project and that “someone” was my styling professor. So I’m studying at this school called “London College of Fashion” which sounds totally legit which it totally is because they totally take fashion SO seriously here, but the one teeny tiny problem I have is that I (as previously stated) suck at fashion. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that my Professor didn’t like the way I “styled” (“styled” is in quotes because you can hardly call what I do “styling”) a floral print peplum top with a not-matching pair of floral print Dr Martens. I get it, I suck at fashion – but it still sucks knowing that no matter what I do I will always (probably) suck.

Though I’ve decided to take this as a life lesson. That lesson being, maybe I shouldn’t pursue a career in fashion. I know what you’re thinking – one bad grade and you’re already giving up? No, I promise that’s not the case. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, maybe fashion isn’t my thing. It’s fun for now, and I’ll by no means be changing my major this late in the game, but there’s only so much effort I can put into something before realizing that something simply wasn’t meant to be. Fashion and I? Well we’re just not meant to be, I guess.


A Look Back At My Teenage Years

…because what a disaster they were.

Teenage Years

I think I was the only 12 year old in the history of 12 year olds who genuinely wanted to stay 12 forever. 13 was just an odd number and I didn’t like it, I guess that was the first sign of some really awful teenage years to come.

Then I was a freshman in high school, and as anyone who has ever been a freshman knows – the worst year of your life is spent as a high school freshman. I spent my fourteenth year of life trying to be someone I wasn’t, but then again who didn’t?

I turned 15 with a lot fewer friends than my teenage years prior. That was rough, but with that I made better friendships. This was also the year i became a “blogger.” I’ll link my 15 year old I-don’t-know-anything-about-anything-but-I-think-I-know-something-about-everything blog HERE. Seriously go read it, it’ll tell you everything you need to know about 15 year old Samantha.

At 16 I got reckless, like really REALLY reckless. 16 was supposed to be great and it wasn’t. My sixteenth year of life was spent f-cking up. We’ll get into details at another time, but just know that 16 year old Samantha came in like a wrecking ball, successfully destroying everything in her path.

I honestly can’t tell you what 17 looked like, as I spent much of it under the influence.

And all of a sudden I was starting college and things took a major turn ..for the better? I began caring again – not just about the people around me but myself as well. Starting college was SO exciting, but that spark burned quickly and things got boring. I became obsessed with this idea of being “happy” though struggled so hard to figure out what made me wholly happy.

And that brings me to where I am today, still trying to figure this whole life thing out. An interesting (for lack of better words) past behind me, I truly believe it’s only uphill from here. And in this very moment, writing these very words while sitting on a train in London, I feel happy.  I don’t want to speak too soon but I have this crazy feeling that the 20s are going to be something special – FINGERS CROSSED!


Your Blog Is Bullshit

My Professor brought up a good point when discussing blogs the other day; “I SIMPLY DON’T CARE.”

%22Boring%22 Street Art

Now if you’re reading this, I am almost certain that this thought has crossed your mind at least once when either reading my blog, another blog, or simply perusing the internet for interesting content. There are so many platforms nowadays for us to share things with the world, and more often than not people have literally nothing to say. Though despite having LITERALLY NOTHING to say, people say it anyway – publishing their mindless thoughts for the world to see in hopes that someone will “like” their awful writing (both literally and figuratively). We live in a “like” obsessed world, and that my friends is just the sad truth. But I digress, back to this whole blogging thing – allow me to explain to you why your blog sucks so fuh-reaking bad:

  1. Is your content even RELEVANT?
  2. You’re probably a liar and/or a truth-stretcher (a new word I am in the process of legitimizing to Merriam-Webster, as we speak).
  3. Do YOU even care?

Point number one is probably the most obvious when it comes to your shitty blog – if you’re writing about what the sky looked like from your apartment window yesterday morning, do you really expect anyone to care? Let’s be honest here, that “amazing” sky of yours is one that everyone else lives under as well (i.e. one that everyone else can see with their OWN two eyes). So there you have it, either instagram a picture of “your” sky you basic you-know-what or just forget about it altogether because truth is NO ONE CARES.

Secondly, we all know your life isn’t half as glamorous as you make it out to be on your bullshit blog. This one really gets to me, especially when I know the person personally and can call them out on their shit writing as I read it. I’ve got some prime examples of this truth-stretching blogging and I would kill to share it with you, but I don’t have a whole lot of friends as it is so I’m not looking to decrease those numbers anytime soon. But just know that I know that you didn’t “attend” blah-blah-blah fashion show, but merely skimmed through it on a day after the collection showed and then decided to publish your less-than-mediocre summary of it on the internet – LIAR!

And lastly, I can spot a phony from a mile away (and so can everyone else). There are many times in our lives where we prefer the idea of something more than we actually prefer that thing. It’s sort of like I really like the idea of drinking iced coffee in the summer but I can’t stomach the taste of watered-down dirt and honestly I sometimes order it anyway because I like the way I look walking around with an iced coffee on a hot summer day. So if you read a blog and think “wow, I really like this!” don’t automatically jump to “I should start a blog too!” Trust me, it’s OK not to blog – especially if your blog is bullshit.

Hope no one was too offended by this. But if you were, then chances are your blog is actual bullshit.


P.S. Yes mom, I’m done using the word “bullshit” …for now.

London: A Man Called Me “Fat” …To My Face


%22London%22 Street Art

It was Saturday night and I just wanted to go home. My roommate and I made our way out of the club and as soon as we stepped foot on the sidewalk, it all began. One guy in line asked us where we were headed, to which we responded, “home,” another group of old (and I’m talking like my dad age old) men asked us where they should go, to which we responded, “we don’t know,” to which they continued to ask until we walked away. In our mini-skirts and high-heels we searched so desperately for our bus and just couldn’t seem to find it. Then, another man, a very nice man actually, asked us again where we were going – and despite asking us if we wanted to hangout with him and his friends – helped us find our bus even after we said we’d rather head home. So finally, we’re walking in the right direction when two men (again, older) stop dead in their tracks, causing me to stop as well, when one exclaims, “I’ve found my soulmate!” (referring to me, I suppose). I smiled, being the RESPECTFUL and CIVIL person that I am (boys, take notes!) when I feel one grab my arm from behind me and say, “I can tell you’re a little fat, but I’ll let it slide.” It took me a second to realize what had just happened as I continued to walk away from them, and when I did all I could do was laugh. I distinctly remember saying (and sorry mom for the swearing, I know you hate it when I swear but an old man called me fat so I get a pass here), “What the fuck! Did he just call me fat? No one’s ever called me fat to my face before!” I broke out in laughter as I found it SO hilarious that someone had just called me FAT. I mean it was/still is funny that someone would call me fat to my face in such a matter-of-fact way. I mean he didn’t say it in a mean way or anything, and after all he did say he’d let my chubbiness “slide.” It wasn’t until this morning though, almost two days later, that I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture. A drunk man calling me fat is not something that offends me, but the way in which I get treated as a young female in the city of London is something I find offensive.

I don’t really know how else to say this, so I’ll just go ahead and be honest – a number of English men I have encountered in my three short weeks of living in London have turned out to be complete PIGS. Don’t get me wrong, I love London and all, just not the majority of their male population (which is a total bummer because I had high-hopes of finding me a nice English husband – JK – except not really). Coming from the New York City streets (I sound so hardcore, I know) where I’ve spent ample amount of time ignoring any and all forms of harassment as a young person my age would encounter. I like to think I’ve developed quite a thick skin to such annoyance – just keep walking, avoid eye-contact, and whatever you do, DO NOT react. So coming to London I thought I had it all figured out, but (and that’s a very big BUT) I quickly found myself fighting back and reacting. I couldn’t, and still can’t help myself – I don’t think I can walk a single block here without a stare that lasts too long, an “I see you baby” from a man in his car, or even an air kiss from the pervert walking past me. It’s so annoying. Like SO F—ING ANNOYING. I tell myself I can deal with it, because I know I can, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t sometimes drive me crazy. I honestly don’t know what else to say here other than, THIS NEEDS TO STOP.


London: The Columbia Road Flower Market

I hope this is what heaven looks like.

Columbia Road Flower Market Columbia Road Flower Market 2

In my Fashion Forecasting class on Thursday, my Professor (aka “Tutor” as the Brits like to call them) recommended my classmates and I take a trip to the East End of London. She (my Professor) had this presentation put together on where to go and what to do while in the East End. Though she sped through it quite quickly, as class was almost over, I was able to pick up on one very important (well, important to me at least) recommendation, and that was the Columbia Road Flower Market held every Sunday from 8am-1pm. “You’ll want to go early, as it gets pretty crowded!” she advised, and I am so happy that she did because she turned out to be so right (as it turns out, I’m not the only one who enjoys flowers around here).

Columbia Road Flower Market 5 Columbia Road Flower Market 9Columbia Road Flower Market 22Columbia Road Flower Market 20

I set my alarm for 7am, though after being up until 2am, I slept through it and instead woke up closer to 8. No one was awake yet since we all went out for a drink the night before (and I am the only person crazy enough to get up early on a Sunday for flowers). I didn’t mind the emptiness though, I’ll even tell you a little secret – it’s actually my favorite, getting up early and having the entire flat to myself. So let’s skip to the part where I quickly got dressed and headed out to the Columbia Road Flower Market – all alone – just the way I like to be.

Columbia Road Flower Market 7  Columbia Road Flower Market 15

It’s hard to explain the feeling I get when I see a flower. It’s just like the most satisfying feeling in the world when I can see and smell and experience a beautiful living organism. Flowers simply blow my mind, it’s like, how do they do it? How do they transform from something so small and basic into something so much bigger and more magnificent? How do they manage to be so beautiful? How do they smell so damn good? And how are they all so entirely unique and special in their own individual way????

Columbia Road Flower Market 18 Columbia Road Flower Market 23

Columbia Road Flower Market 12

Now I’m not entirely sure, actually scratch that – I am positive that no one thinks of flowers the way that I do. Not saying that’s a bad thing, because I’m sure there’s something in this world that fascinates everyone as much as a silly little flower blows my mind. But whatever it is, that thing that makes you light up inside and sparks an abundance of curiosity within you, please understand that that is how flowers make me feel. Pretty amazing, huh?

Columbia Road Juice and CardsColumbia Road Orange CatColumbia Road White Cat

Oh and there was also a beet juice, the purchasing of flower-decorated cards, the purchasing of a bouquet of flowers, and pictures taken of cats lying on top of cars involved in this morning as well. Pretty great morning, guys – PRETTY FREAKIN’ GREAT.

Columbia Road Sign


London: I’d Rather Be Alone

I ventured out into a new part of London yesterday, I had no rhyme or reason, I just kind of wanted to go. So I woke up early (too early) after a late night out with friends, ate some breakfast, got dressed, and walked out the door before many of my flatmates had even left their beds. From the second I woke up I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, but doubted myself for a second in thinking, should I wait for everyone else to wake up before I leave? Should I ask if anyone wants to come with me? Deep down I knew that I’d be happiest if I ventured out alone and it bothered me that I second-guessed myself, so it got me thinking…

It is pretty abnormal for a girl my age to prefer doing things on her own than in the company of other people, especially in discovering a new city which she knows barely anything about. Now I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, after all my phone is pretty much useless in this country so getting lost in London is quite easy for me to do and finding my way home can be quite difficult. Despite this though, the fear that accompanies being a young female alone in a foreign city, I still wanted and greatly preferred being alone yesterday. Now, a big misconception people have about me (and others like me?) is that I am shy and/or do not enjoy the company of other people – but let me tell you right now, neither one of those beliefs are true. I’m not shy and I thoroughly enjoy the company of my friends, I guess I just enjoy my own company a little bit more sometimes. Honestly, I can’t tell you why this is – why I enjoy spending time alone – and I wish I could because I ask myself why? every single day. I wish I knew why, or could at least explain why, I really do. Especially when I’m talking to two of my friends and one of them goes, “I’m not yet brave enough to be alone in London” to which the other replies, “Oh yeah, definitely not! I feel like I would get so lonely.” at which point I just sit in silence. This quality I possess, the quality of a natural tendency to alienate myself from others, makes me different. And because this makes me different, I’ve spent a lot of time wishing and trying to change it. But I’m learning that I can’t change, and probably shouldn’t change, because at the end of the day being alone is what makes me happy.

St Paul's

Picture of Saint Paul’s Cathedral taken on yesterday’s lonely excursion.


London: I Love You

So it’s officially been one week since I moved to London. I don’t really know how else to explain how I feel about this city other than, I LOVE IT. Instead of boring with you how wonderful I think London is and how my classes are amazing and the beer here is exceptional, I would instead like to tell you a story. That story being, the moment I fell in love with the city of London:


It wasn’t love at first sight. It wasn’t until yesterday actually that I felt that sort of warm and fuzzy feeling, that feeling you get when all is right in the world – you know that feeling? Yeah, it’s great. So back to yesterday, I had just finished day two of orientation (*cue snoring* because orientation is b-o-r-i-n-g) and ventured out with my fellow flatmates (they call apartments “flats” here – so cool, I know!) to find the nearest Primark (basically London’s version of an even cheaper Forever 21). We got off the tube station (the subway is referred to as the “tube”) and started walking, walking in what turned out to be the wrong direction. But I’m getting ahead of myself – so we were walking, and walking some more when all of a sudden I felt it. I felt wholesome and happy and downright content with where I was and where I was going. Now mind you, it was raining this sort of slow on-and-off drizzle, the sun wasn’t shining by any means, and I was being pushed and shoved by the rush-hour pedestrian traffic. But despite all of those things, the things that often make me angry or annoyed, I could not have been happier. I think that’s what true love means anyway – when someone or something’s most irritable traits don’t even bother you anymore. Then, to add to it, we (my flatmates and I) discovered we had in fact been walking in the exact opposite direction of Primark the entire time. But let me tell you, and believe me when I say this, I could not care one bit! I had my love-goggles on and could not have been happier in my new home. I love you London, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.


This picture was taken shortly after the moment I fell in love. 


What It’s Like To Be An Outgoing Introvert

Allow me to paint you a picture really quick… I work in an office that’s pretty much just one really big room with a few desks, computers, couches, etc. There’s this sort of “intern table” if you will, where all the interns sit and work the entire work day. Despite the presence of this “intern table” I am still pretty much allowed to sit and work from where I wish to. For the first few weeks, I sat and worked beside my fellow interns at our unofficial “intern table.” Though now, I opt to sit and work from a table further away all by my lonesome, while all other interns sit together, yet separate from me. I really do have a love/hate relationship with being social. Those who meet me often title me an “extrovert” but I’d have to disagree. As outgoing as I can be at times, I prefer being alone – seeking comfort in my own company. For the longest time I too thought I was an extrovert, but the older I got the more I realized that I lacked most essential qualities needed to be an extrovert. I prefer working alone, I prefer going places alone, I prefer being alone BUT I am also very good at being social. I typically don’t have a problem talking to strangers or making new friends and enjoy doing all of these things, but when put in these situations for extended periods of time or way too often, I get socially exhausted and need to be alone for a while. When I finally realized who I am and what I should be identifying as, I viewed it as an obstacle I was supposed to overcome. Push through the exhaustion, just force yourself to go out and meet new people and have fun. But what I didn’t realize was that it was OK to take a step back, it was ok to alienate myself at times, and it was ok to be an outgoing introvert. IMG_3526 Now that I’ve come to terms with my situation (???) I’m a lot more content with myself and my life. So going forward I would like all my fellow outgoing introverts to know – yes, it is possible and it is OK. Samantha

“We Need Boyfriends”

I guess talking about your failed love life is embarrassing, but I’m gonna do it anyway.

I was in the car with my friend the other night when she turned to me and said, “we need boyfriends.” I laughed, but only to avoid crying, because it is so sad how true she was – I do need a boyfriend. Boyfriends are fun and they take you places and whisper cute things in your ear and pay for your food, who wouldn’t want that? But at this rate it doesn’t seem like I’ll ever have one of my own. There’s no easy way for me to explain this, other than to create a list of the reason why I don’t have a boyfriend (and will probably live the rest of my life alone):

1. I don’t have time. With two jobs, both of which are out of state, I barely even have time to talk to my mom, never mind respond to a boyfriend. The idea of having someone or anything for that matter that would require a certain amount of time or attention from me just seems exhausting at this point of my life. It simply can’t be done!

2. I don’t like to smile. Resting bitch face is a serious problem that I just so happen to suffer from. I’ve been told on a number of occasions that my facial expressions are simply unapproachable. Trust me, I’ve tried to change but forcing a half grin just felt too phony and it made me angry.

3. I can’t seem to stay in one place for an extended period of time. Like, for example, right now I live in Connecticut and spend most of my time in New York, but a few months ago I lived at school in Massachusetts, then in a month I’ll be studying abroad and living in London. So that leaves me with the big question of where would I even have this boyfriend? In what state or country would this perspective boyfriend live? And no matter what, at some point in time, our relationship would be “long distance” – which just seems unmanageable.

4. I’m too self-absorbed. This basically goes back to point #1 and that is, I have no time to worry about anyone other than myself. I am far too wrapped up in supporting myself and building my own future that I can’t imagine someone else being a part of it. Is that totally egoistic of me to say?? This is where you say – “Yes Sam, it is.”


At this rate, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will probably be forever alone. I mean my cat can just keep me company – right? RIGHT?!


Something I Feel Strongly About

Everyone shies away from the topic of prison, but I don’t. 

A few months back, in my second semester of my sophomore year of college, I wrote a sociology report titled “The Transition From Prison To Society.” My professor entered my paper into two writing competitions, both of which I won, so I guess (just kidding, I totally know) my paper is pretty good. Now I’m not here to share my college papers with you *yawn* but rather to share with you a topic I feel very strongly about – that topic being, recidivism. Recidivism is basically when an ex-prisoner finds themselves re-entering prison, and most often for reasons out of their own control. I’ll just leave it at that for now, it’s up to you whether you’d like to continue reading or not (which I really hope that you do):

All prisoners face the same issues upon exiting prison, these include transitioning from their life in prison to their life in society as well as finding a way to maintain their place in society with a criminal record. It is hard for anyone who has never needed to overcome such barriers to imagine the hardship that prisoners go through after incarceration. Sociologists, politicians, and corporations are a few groups working towards building a better system and providing more opportunities for prisoners and their reentry into society. Preparing prisoners for life after prison and enforcing laws that make the job search easier will reduce recidivism and create a smoother transition from incarceration to society.
Reentry into society, after having been incarcerated for an extended period of time is often a very big challenge for prisoners. Max Kenner, founder of the Bard Prison Initiative, has come up with a solution for an easier transition for prisoners reentering society (Lois 2014). Kenner believes that providing prisoners with higher education opportunities while incarcerated will better prepare them for life outside of prison. Max Kenner says of his Bard Prison Initiative, “If they do that, not only will they be more fulfilled as people, but they’ll be better prepared for release, be better neighbors, better citizens, better at any role they seek to fill later in life.” Given the opportunity for a higher education, prisoners will be less likely to face hardships upon exiting prison. Typically, reentry means that prisoners must struggle to rebuild their life while also facing marginalization by their peers due to their criminal record. Ex-prisoners will then struggle to overcome the stigma of having been incarcerated. Though if a prisoner can exit prison with a better form of education they will have a higher chance of being accepted back into society. Max Kenner further enforces this point by stating, “If they have access to an education like this one, the society at large is saying something more nuanced, more thoughtful and more caring to a person in prison than, ‘You are a threat and you will carry a stigma and ‘You will never be a fully recognized citizen in this democratic society again.’” A prisoner now has more career options upon exiting prison, thus building the foundation for an overall better life after incarceration.
Time spent while in prison has been taken care of through the Bard Prison Initiative, but another very big hardship must be overcome, and that is maintaining a valuable spot in society. The national rate of recidivism is a shocking 70 percent (Katel 2007). This is highly due to a lack of resources for prisoners exiting prison and looking to rebuild their life. Michael Jacobson, a former New York City jail employee states, “Look at the people who are coming out of prison – drug-addicted, mentally ill, no stable housing – of course they’re going to fail parole. The system is set up for failure. The institutional mind-set is, ‘We don’t have enough money to deal with your issues, but we have enough money to catch you.’ It’s like shooting fish in a barrel.” Jacobson makes a valid point about how we treat inmates while in prison and how that directly reflects on how they act when they exit prison. We are currently setting prisoners up for recidivism by not offering them the help they need for a healthy life outside of prison.
If and when a prisoner receives a job after incarceration his/her risk of recidivism is in-turn highly reduced. An estimated 65 million people in the United States have a criminal record (Katel 2012) and all 65 million will be sanctioned because of it. Employers must realize that many of these people will not return to their criminal behavior, though many of them are not given the chance to prove themselves as honest and hardworking employees. Co-director of the National Employment Law Project, Maurice Emsellem, is trying to change that, “All we’re saying is that there’s got to be some reasonable assessment of risk and not to make blanket assessments. You want policy to reward good behavior. If you have a blanket disqualification, you’re not promoting rehabilitation.” Those carrying a criminal record deserve and need a better chance at being considered and obtaining a job. Ohio Governor John Kasich is enforcing laws that give people with criminal records a better chance at getting employed. Governor Kasich has eliminated the need to reveal a criminal record on a job application in the state of Ohio (Katel 2012). His efforts have proven successful; the state prison population has reduced by 6,000 inmates as a result of Governor Kasich’s law enforcement. The initiative has been taken in the state of Ohio, now it is in the hands of all other states to do the same. As a country and a society it is our duty to eliminate the stigmas we place on those with criminal records and make for an easier transition from prison to society.
Prisoners are incarcerated for the crimes that they commit, and their time spent in prison is their consequence for their wrongdoing. Therefore, all members of society need to stop sanctioning these men and women upon their reentry into society since they have already received their punishment. A more helpful and successful transition from prison to society is essential to reducing recidivism. Reducing recidivism is accomplished through providing prisoners with a higher form of education and job opportunities, overall resulting in a smoother transition from prison to society.


If you read that entire report, I applaud you – but even if you didn’t I hope you got enough out of it to forever change your perspective on prison and criminal records.