Meet Sam

There's a new face here at Genara! We're happy to introduce you to Sam, our new shop assistant. She's here a few days a week helping out around the shop and we want you to get to know her. 

We’re so happy to have you here Sam! Tell us where you’re from and how you found your way to Houston.  
I'm absolutely thrilled to be here! I'm originally from the midwest, from a charming little city in Northeast Indiana named Fort Wayne. I came down to Houston as an undergrad university student finishing up my program in special education. I originally planned on staying for a semester before graduating and moving on, but my experiences here won me over and I ultimately decided to stay. A few years (and a lot of stress) later, I decided to change my life, leave my career, and pursue work that was simpler and gave me the inspiration and freedom to curate the life I always dreamed of. I've never been happier and I'm confident that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I now proudly call Houston's Montrose neighborhood home and genuinely enjoy every aspect of my life. 

You keep a very busy schedule- how do you start your day/ what’s your morning routine? Any personal practices or rituals that help you in your day? 
Mornings are my favorite time of day. After getting some snuggles in with my cat, my regular routine includes making the bed, opening all of the blinds, drinking a glass of water, lighting whatever incense I'm in the mood for, hopping in the shower, and making myself an oat milk latte (not necessarily all in that order). I'm a person who thrives on rituals, so I love to be intentional with the things I do in the mornings. It really makes a huge difference in setting the tone for my day. On more relaxed mornings, I love to take the time to do a little yoga, journaling, or taking my dog on a long, quiet walk around the neighborhood. 
How do you like to spend your day off? Any favorite places you love to visit, shows you catch up on, podcasts you get to binge?
My favorite days are ones where I don't have a set schedule, so I can take my time in the mornings. I love to have breakfast at home with my partner, Axel, and stop by a local coffee shop. I love visiting small businesses in my neighborhood and doing a little bit of shopping. When the weather is nice, we love to go to the Arboretum and go for a little hike through the trails, or maybe just a walk around the neighborhood. If I'm staying home, I love spending time reading, sewing, cleaning, baking, cuddling with my animals, or watching a favorite show with Axel. A few of my favorite shows to frequent are Portlandia, Criminal Minds, The Great British Baking Show, and The Handmaid's Tale. On a day where a little trip is in order, I love driving down to the beach for the day. I go through phases where I'm pretty into podcasts, but not so much lately.
We’re all anticipating getting back to socializing, events, traveling, and a slow return to normalcy. What are you looking forward to? Conversely, is there anything about this past year that you’ll look back on and miss? 
I'm definitely excited to travel again and be able to experience new places with loved-ones. At the same time, I'm a big homebody and loved being able to have time at home and having quality time with my family. While it can't be understated that the pandemic has been tragic for so many people, I appreciate how much it's forced many of us to slow down and take care of ourselves. I appreciate the reminders that life is short and at the end of the day, the most important things are our wellbeing and connections with others. 
What or who is inspiring you lately?
Honestly, the shop is hugely inspiring to me every day. Being surrounded by things that are so beautiful and precious really draws me to bring more intention and mindfulness into my own home and everyday practices. I get a lot of my inspiration from creatives that I connect with over social media, and I love surrounding myself with creative and inspiring people. Many of my friends inspire me daily, which is something I am extremely grateful for. I find that I'm constantly looking for inspiration in everything that I come across each day, so it would take me forever to list all of the individual people and things that have been sparking inspiration for me lately. 
As a small independent business, we all wear a lot of hats over here and have to accept that no two days are ever alike. What do you enjoy about being part of such a small team? 
Being a part of the shop team is quite literally a dream come true. I love the mission of bringing intentionally curated items into one's life to make everyday experiences and rituals a little more special and meaningful. When I come in each day, I know that I'm playing an important role in connecting people with incredible goods. Whether it's helping a shop visitor discover a new favorite product, writing notes by hand to thank each online shopper for their purchase, wrapping up a precious gift to make a thoughtful gesture a little extra special, or packing orders with love to send to an awaiting recipient across the country, I know that the things I do each day make a difference in the experience of our visitors (whether in the shop or online). I love being a part of such beautiful and intentional work.
What’s on your “Favorite Things" List from the shop/ what would you send out to all of your friends if you could? 
Oh, goodness. This is a tough one! Must-haves that I use literally every day are the KINTO 360ml To Go Tumbler, the Beni Balm, the Toyo-Sasaki Carafe Set, and the JAO Refresher. Truthfully, I would marry the Neroli Incense if I could, and I keep a Smudge Pot/ Brass Incense Holder duo in literally every room in my house. Other favorites are the Mono No Aware Candle, the SACRA Soul Intentions Deck, the I Am Everything Affirmation Card Deck, and the Morito Hazelnut Cinnamon Chocolate Sticks. It really has taken a lot of thought to narrow a list down to just those things-I seriously adore so many of the goods that we have.
If I went all out and made a gift basket for every person close to me, they would each include the Onsen Saru Bath SoakEdo Modern Incense, a MAR MAR Candle, a  Smudge Pot, a  Brass Incense Holder, a Kaweko Sport Fountain Pen, a Sitting Goddess Candle, the  JAO Refresher, a Compartes Chocolate Bar, and the Greek Mountain Tea, all wrapped up lovingly in a Small Bolga Basket (or probably a Large Bolga Basket because let's be honest, not all of those goodies are going to fit in the small one). 
Anything on your wish list for yourself? 
I still dream about the Hasami Tea Pot in black, the Tutti Fruiti Puzzle, the Bowglass Works Pitcher, the Blackwing Starting Point Set, the Petite Bolga Lace Basket, and the TOYO Flat Top Toolbox - feeling super eager to take each of them home some time soon! :)
Thanks for chatting with us Sam! 
You can find Sam at the shop a few days a week and follow her on Instagram @sam_on_the_internet