Our friend Samantha Gutstadt gives us the low down on her fave LA spots, weekend getaways and little info about herself and her new blog, Sam So Much. Preschool and mommy blogging have been two of the greatest experiences for us in creating new friendships. We met Samantha first through school and next as we ran into each other at various events. She’s a super talented actress, loves to do funny videos and has hosted a number of our MomFair (now Hello Métier) video interviews! She recently launched a series of private events to help keep us digital media moms up to date and connected and she’s always in the know on latest products and places to go. Love Instagram? Don’t miss Sam’s feed. Her pictures are as stunning as she is and fun to see!
AND…Samantha is part of the cast of the upcoming Expressing Motherhood Show on April 23rd.
Tell us a little about your new site?
I am so excited to introduce my blog, www.samsomuch.com! My hopes with this blog are to share tips and tricks, start conversations, and give stories of motherhood a sense of humor. The site has video content (comedy and mom hacks) a shopping section where you can click and buy any of the items I write about and a section called “6 Q’s With” where I interview celebs and other influencers rapid fire style. I want this to be a place that mom can come for ideas, advice, and inspiration and a little bit of entertainment!
What made you want to start your new site?
I’ve always loved writing! It’s my happy place. I’ve been a performer all my life but inside me was always a writer wanted to get out. When I became a mom, I was learning so much, through my own experiences and experiences my friends were sharing and I wanted to write about it. My first piece I wrote as a mom was published on the Bottle+Heels blog and it once those floodgates opened, I couldn’t stop. I guess I had a lot to share and samsomuch
allows me to do that. I also love to create video content and I absolutely LOVE sharing products I love with other mamas so my site is really a place I get to to all the things I love.
What is it about LA that benefits your blog or initiative most?
I moved to LA as an actress because it offered a larger market and more opportunity. I have to say the same about my blog and all the endeavors I’m doing now (including continuing to act). I am very passionate about the digital space (I appear on a show on Awestruck Network
) and I produce digital content for Nylon Magazine and I just sold a show to be developed in the digital space. The industry here is innovative and there is so much room to be original, and find your niche. This community here of creative, entrepreneurial mamas is so inspiring and I love the community I’m in here and the other moms’ in the same space. Everyone is supportive of each other. I think this is hands down the best city to be doing what I’m doing.
Tell us about your acting background.
Oooh my acting background. Well, funny enough it began long long ago, when at the age of 5, I came home from camp and proclaimed I was an actress ready to work. And that was it. Along came a string of commercials, modeling jobs and guest appearances on all the big Canadian TV shows all through childhood and into adulthood. I studied film in college and interned at Much Music (our MTV).
Upon moving to LA, I appeared in 6 feature films In my first 2 years and starting hosting work as well. I also performed on the UCB stage and began creating my own content, which began my love of the digital world and creative freedom it gives performers to write and create their own material and have it be seen. Most recently, I was nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy at LA Webfest for season 2 of the webseries Dogs & Me (which I was pregnant while shooting). I audition as a commercial actress all through the year and am thinking of going back to take classes at Groundlings to satisfy my love of comedy and characters.
Tell us a little about yourself. Are you an LA native? Where did you grow up? How did you end up in LA?
I grew up north of Toronto in a quiet suburb 15 minutes out of the city. Growing up acting and dance were always a huge passion. Something not a lot of people know about me is I was also a very serious tennis player. My big brother was a top Canadian player and I followed closely in his footsteps as a top Canadian junior and playing the junior world circuit. I trained at the top academies in Florida and was on the track for a sports scholarship when I decided I really wanted to focus on the arts and forged that path when I was graduating high school. Tennis is still a big part of my life and my boys take lessons now and it’s truly a family sport for us. A funny story – I was tennis buddies with actor Jason Isaacs in Canada when he was there working, and my first friends in LA were in the tennis community. I was a tennis instructor at Mountain Gate Tennis Club
and truly that was my intro to this city.
How I ended up in LA is largely in part due to my husband. When we had just gotten married (at the ripe old age of 25) I also got my working papers to come to the US which is not an easy feat, I had to prove extraordinary ability in my field. I was prepared to go back and forth from Toronto to LA for “Pilot Season” but without telling me, my husband went and got a head hunter in his field (finance) and got a job in LA and off we went to start our new adventure. I’m still a huge supporter of Canadian talent and our community here and volunteer with Canadians Abroad LA where we throw events throughout the year with the Canadian Consulate to bring together our community here. I also proudly wear my Blue Jays baseball hat all summer and go to a lot of hockey games.
What will you be performing at Expressing Motherhood? Is it funny? Sad?
I am so honored and excited to be a part of Expressing Motherhood
. I actually went to see it with a few friends last year and was blown away and when I wrote a piece this past year that I thought could be a fit, I submitted it and rest is history! My piece is both funny and sad. Most of my writing is infused with self-deprecating humor but I’m sentimental and I think my writing reflects that. I look back at moments in my life and with my children and I write about it from a very honest place which can sometimes be scary and vulnerable.
You’ve been in LA for some time now. Give us your inside tips on where to go and what to do! What your favorite local spot to meet up with friends?
I have a few favorite local spots, but if I have to pick just one I’d say Venice Wines
on Rose. This spot is small and has an amazing patio and such a great happy hour wine list and small bites. I feel very hip hanging out on Rose and I live in Venice so it’s very local for me. I totally consider it “Best of LA”!
What’s you favorite local spot for a cup of coffee or a fresh juice or smoothie?
My favorite local spot for a coffee or juice/smoothie is Superba Food and Bread
on Lincoln! This place has THE BEST coffee in town and is so pretty with one of the BEST patios. The menu is healthy and innovative and it’s also a great spot to work from cause it has wifi.
Where is your favorite place to take the kids to dinner?
Oh hidden secret, I kinda don’t want to tell because I don’t want to not be able to get a table – ok..I’ll share it – FIG restaurant at the Fairmont Hotel
in Santa Monica. Get this, they have a “happy hour” if you order dinner (and drinks) before 6 pm you get the whole bill cut in half! They are super kid friendly (they have a kids menu and kids plastic utensils), the food and drinks are amazing, they have a fish pond (!) and the staff is just so great. We have done many a dinner, brunch, and huge family holiday dinners in the private room there. Definitely “Best of LA”! (EDITOR’S NOTE – The chef is Lebanese so the dishes are infused with some of his favorite spices. The best fatoush salad in LA is at FIG. Also not to be missed – the lemon ricotta pancakes at brunch.)
What is you go to weekend activity with the kids?
Our favorite weekend activity is taking the boys to Dawn Barnes Karate kids
(they get to have their classes at the same time Saturdays or Sundays) and then grabbing brunch at Kreation Kafe
(which is also so great and kid friendly). We then have a go to afternoon/post nap activity. In the winter we hit up the indoor playground at Santa Monica Place Mall which is perfect on a dark, cold evening for the kids to get their energy out, and in the spring and summer we love going to South Beach Park on the beach in Santa Monica to play and maybe walk down to the ocean and hang out till the sun starts to set. Best way to end the day! Dawn Barnes for karate is definitely “Best of LA” and those two parks are as well!
What is your favorite date night location?
Fave date night location is Malibu Farms
restaurant on the Malibu Pier. We go to Malibu earlier and either do a hike or go to the Malibu family wines winery and then head to Malibu Farms for a delicious and super romantic dinner right on the ocean. Malibu is so beautiful and being close to the ocean never gets old. I still pinch myself every time. Malibu Farms Restaurant is definitely “Best of LA” and anyone visiting LA should go there!
Where is your favorite SoCal weekend getaway and why?
Definitely Palm Springs. There are so many beautiful getaways here in SoCal right? Endless…- you have Big Bear, Santa Barbara, Ojai..But somehow as soon as I get to Palm Springs, my whole body relaxes and I literally get into a zenlike state. I love the Parker Hotel
and the Ace Hotel
and have had countless amazing getaways there. There is so much to do whether you are there with the kids or just a romantic trip with your other half, it’s perfection. Some of my highlights include – Joshua Tree, downtown Palm Springs, the Art Deco stores and architecture, Indian Wells BNP Open, The Living Desert, El Paseo, and endless pool time!
LAURA NIX GERSON is the Founder & Editor of MomAngeles a site she launched because she was planning a lot of playdates and her friends kept asking her where to go and what to do. So it seemed easier just to put it all online in one place. In a past life Laura was a publicist, event marketer and web producer….oh wait, she still is. Laura is a regular contributor to Modern Mom and Babble. She is also the CEO of Nix Gerson Media. Follow her @MomAngeles.