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November 28, 2017

Unconditionally Inspired by: Sami Saunders

Well, hello there! Because I have the most incredible tribe of people in my life and a lot of beautiful souls who inspire me, I decided it was only right to start an “Inspired by” section to my blog. I figured what better way to start it off with Sami Saunders (Caun), the lil babe who screamed in her most excited voice

I met Sami in college when we were both studying fine arts. We got super close in our sculpture class where we convinced our professor to let us do a collaboration project (a little foreshadowing to us collaborating as bloggers.) I don’t know what it is about Sami but I completely opened up to her and started telling her some of my darkest secrets that I was going though. I came to learn that I felt so comfortable around her because her soul is so obviously gentle, kind, and loving. All these years later, our friendship has not only remained, but grown stronger.

A day with Sami andI involves the following: Texting all morning about how excited we are to see each other. Her picking me up saying “wait, where are we going?” Starting out at a coffee shop (where Sami drinks like 2 sips of coffee and gives me the rest because she’s already too energized….and we all know I love the extra caffeine.) Exploring random parts of the city and stores we’ve never been to before. Not finishing stories because we get so exited that we can’t stay on one topic for more than 3 minutes. Looking like fools taking pictures of EVERYTHING. Laughing at literally every little thing that happens (like yesterday when I almost peed my pants laughing so hard at the noises she made when she thought she was going to hit a squirrel with her car  *no squirrels were harmed in the making of this blog post*)

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Sami is an incredible photographer, artist, and blogger… but I could never limit her to those descriptors. She is free spirited. She is magnetic. She is a true friend. And so much more. Read her interview below to find out for yourself just what I mean:

Blog: Coffee & Compass
Personal Instagram: @sam_caun
Photography Instagram: @samisaundersstudio

Usual coffee: Iced Coffee with toffee nut and almond milk. I pretty much drink this once a day. I am addicted.
Favorite filter: No favorite filter for me. My life changes so much that I can never choose one to keep for a long time. My filter changes with my emotions or with the seasons. For example, in the fall I am crazy for warm tones and in the winter blue tones are my favorite.
Favorite app: Instagram!
Most used emoji: The green heart!! I use it always. If I don’t use the green heart, I use a pine tree.
Dream job: Owning my creative company 🙂 Im on my way.
Personal hero: My husband Josh. Long story short, he is a dream. The exact person I was waiting my whole life for. He is my hero everyday.


UnconditionallyCreative: As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Sami: Oh my, I wanted to be everything. Seriously, but mainly I wanted to be a vet! I love animals SO much. They are a big key to my happiness.

UC: Can you tell us a little bit about your photography?
S: Sure! When most people see my work, they see how I shoot for bloggers and I wouldn’t call that my “style” but I try to combine a journalistic approach with a lot of movement. I would describe my main photography style as whimsical, free & happy. When you look at my photos, I want you to feel those emotions.

UC: What inspires you?
S: Wow this is a tough one. In today’s society, so much of our lives are staged. What you see on social media is hardly ever reality. I am so inspired by reality; little coffee shops, nature, and other creative people. Well, I also love a great flat lay! I just love when people use their talents and channel it towards art. A beautifully designed room or a truly well dressed person. Happiness.

UC: What does creative mean to you?
S: Creative is who I am as a person. When I think of the word creative I think of it as an feeling. In my eyes, creativity is driven by your mind. Our minds are the most powerful thing we have.

UC: Can you name a couple key turning points on your journey so far?
S: Well I used to want to be a physical trainer. Um…ya we can all take a moment to laugh about that. My first year of college was spent studying exercise science and spending countless hours at the gym. So much that I didn’t make time for friends, food or myself. I was so unhappy. I used art, photography and music as an outlet and it guided me to where I am today.

UC: What would be the most amazing adventure to go on?
S: I LOVE ADVENTURES!! If I could go out west and road trip for a month I would die of happiness. There is no specific place I want to go more than the other, I just want to see it all!

UC: What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
S: I love creating pretty much anything. If time wasn’t an issue I would spend more time making clothes, decorations or even spending more time on making music. I love to sing and play guitar, its one of my favorite past times.

UC: What advice have you gotten that has stuck with you over the years?
S: oooo I love this one.
-The way you spend your morning is the most crucial part of your day.
-Don’t compare your journey to anyone else’s! I love the saying about how you shouldn’t compare your beginning to someone else’s end. (or something like that)

UC: Name three things you wouldn’t want to live without.
S: AHH I wouldn’t want to live without Josh of course. Also, coffee. I really love coffee. Lastly, I wouldn’t want to live without my friends and family. I know thats so cliche but the little group of people I surround myself with support me, push me and motivate me.

UC: What do you hope to be doing in 5 years?
S: AH!! Okay so in 5 years I will be 29 so I hope to be settled into a home with my husband with our little one and a few dogs. I hope to have had my business grow to the point that I have a team of creative individuals helping others create the businesses of their dreams. I want a creative company that inspires people and makes them push to reach their own goals and dreams. I really want to make travel a priority and reach others just like me through my blog. Basically I want to be helping people the most I can!! I want to do everything. I can’t decide.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’re as inspired by Sami’s interview as I am.

PS. All photos used were from Sami and Josh’s wedding – which was SERIOUSLY pure magic. These beautiful moments were captured by Rebecca Dietrich.

November 22, 2017

Feelin’ Thankful Friendsgiving

Hello loves! This past weekend, I had the most incredible “friends-giving” with two of local Pittsburgh blogger babes, Maranda of Absolutely Darling and Marah of Marah Frank.  They both brought some beautiful decorations, some yummy dishes, and Aullura Boutique sent us some goodies to keep us lookinglike little fall fashionistas. (Go ahead… click those links. Maranda will tell you how we kept this fun day together under $50. Marah will give you a little book of our outfits. And well.. over at Aullura Boutique you can buy them all, because come on.. OBSESSED)

If you know me, you know I had to bring a little cheesiness to the party (and no, I’m not talking cheesy potatoes) and request everyone do a bonding activity. If you’ve been following along with my insta stories, you might have noticed that I’ve been really focusing on the little things that I am grateful for every single day. Writing it all out has really improved my happiness and has me more focused on the good in life. I decided what better way to spread this than over a thanksgivingmeal?!


We all wrote down just a couple things that we were thankful for, placed them all in a dish, and I read them out loud. I’m just imaging at a family dinner how funny it might be to guess who wrote what (for example – I deff wrote the one about my love for wine!) Another fun touch about these was that they were written on tags with wholes in them which with a little decorative string of twine would make perfect additions to any Christmas tree. Let me know in the comments below what you are thankful for… who knows…maybe we will create more ornaments out of them!!

May 18, 2017

Moments with Mom

Lets talk about superheroes today… nope, I’m not talking about capes, invisibility, or anything like that. I’m talking moms. I could write a whole book (…or series) of all that I appreciate and love about my mom. Instead of telling you a HUGE list of all the reasons she is my best friend, I’ll share with you just a few of my favorite moments with her.

Okay, this first one I don’t exactly remember because I was just a baby, but it was probably the very first moment that I ever saw a paint brush. I imagine opening my sleepy little eyes, looking up in my crib, and watching my loving mother paint on my wall. She painted beautiful bouquets of wild flowers when she put me down to nap. That is just one tiny example of how my mother opened the doors to create. I am forever thankful that she passed down her artistic gift to me.

This next one is how she taught me about love. As you can imagine, it is difficult to narrow it down to just one moment. Every single day, she is showing my older brothers and I what it is to love and be loved unconditionally. This particular memory really sticks with me though. So…… as many young and naive girls do, I got myself into a little bit of boy trouble. I was in college about an hour from her and I called her bawling my eyes out – poor thing probably couldn’t understand a thing I was saying. However, none of that mattered to her. She dropped everything she was doing just to come hug me. That was the day that I fully realized that I deserve love from her, from my significant other, and from myself.

This one is the time she taught me the value of spontaneity, following dreams, and having fun.  Right after I turned 21, her and I randomly decided to drive to Florida – with my new kitten and our blind poodle, I might add. Since she owns her own business (yeah, I did say super hero, right?) she has the ability to make her office a little bit of paradise for a month or so. I could seriously start a whole new blog about the memories from that trip, but let me just say that  the entire trip was just amazing mom-daughter quality time that I will hold in my heart forever.

I can’t say thank you enough for being you, Mom. Like you always say, Mom upside down is wow… because WOW you’re truly incredible. Single mother of three that always stayed humble, true to herself, and loves with all she has. I love you more than words can explain.

Thank you so much for reading about something so dear to me. Stay tuned for an amazing giveaway with JORD watches on my Instagram, @danniiemae! In the meantime, check out this beauty here! Shop all the gorgeous styles here!


April 20, 2017

DIY • Antique mirror makeover

This past holiday weekend, my mom and I took a long road trip to Chicago to visit my brother, Rich, and his girlfriend, Chelsea. Our time there was filled with amazing conversations, shopping sprees, delicious food, and a little home renovation. Since my brother was offered an exciting new job change, he needed the perfect home office space….and like everything else in their home, it turned out to be stunning.

Back to the point… in the process of cleaning out the room to get it “desk ready” we came across an antique mirror that originally belonged to my great grandparents. The comfort of family heirlooms throughout the home is very important to our family. However, it did have a couple dings, dirty glass ready to fall out, and a brown/gold finish. It just needed some love and I was up for the challenge!

What you’ll need:

Oh, and of course the most important part… your antique mirror. This could be one that has been passed down in the family like ours, or thrifted. You’d be surprised at the beauties you can find at Goodwill!

First, you’re going to want to block off the mirror with your blue painters tape (as seen above.) This step can be time consuming depending on how many curves and details are on your mirror. Don’t skip this step though, because it will save you SO much time in the end. Speaking of tape, check out the back of your mirror while your at it. We used strong packing tape to reinforce the backing. More than anything, this step was for our own sanity because we weren’t sure when it was last replaced.

This is where strong brothers come in handy to open the paint can and give it a good mix. Since this paint had been sitting in storage for some time, it was pretty thick. After Rich mixed it up for me, it still wasn’t good as new, but it was the perfect texture and consistency for this project.

Now for the fun part… blast your favorite music, pick up that brush, and start painting. My mirror had a  BUNCH of nooks creating the beautiful flowers, which took some time (and patience) to paint. It was completely worth it because the details created incredible dimension and interest.

The best tips I can give for this part:

1. Take breaks when needed. If you don’t, you might find yourself a little frustrated..

2. Have an open mind and stay creative. Some of the details were so small that my mom recommended I use Q-tips. I was convinced that they would just fall apart and be messy, but THANK GOODNESS I took her advice. It saved me with the tiny spots.

3. Have fun. Who says you can’t sing as loud as you can, dance like a fool, and maybe drink your favorite cocktail while painting??

After the paint is all on (you might want to do two coats depending on color) and dry, pull off that tape and clean the glass. You’ll have the look of a brand new mirror and the meaningfulness of the history behind it. The last and most exciting part is hanging it up! I had Rich help me again with this since honestly, tools aren’t exactly my strong point. We hung our masterpiece at the end of a hallway and it looked PERFECT! Stunning and ready to be stared at…..a lot.