In exchange for designing her blog’s logo, Sammi made her creative-department co-worker cookies. Baked ravioli definitely would have worked, too! Yum!
So far we’ve featured women making their dreams come true through starting businesses, creatively climbing their career ladders, and more. They’ve transformed their passions into day jobs.
We all have unique paths and are at different stages of designing them. While some lucky ladies can do the thing they love most from 9-5, others enjoy their day jobs and bring other passions to life outside their salaried positions. Enter Sammi Dittloff.
She’s a marketing analyst by day—but that’s just one facet of super smart, fun, talented Sammi. This gal really knows how to use her time to the fullest! Actress, cook, writer—Sammi wears many hats.
We got the chance to chat when Sammi had me over for a dairy-free dinner—she can’t eat dairy but I didn’t even miss it! So tasty.
Read on to learn what Sammi does and how she does it. Her story might not be that different from yours!
People with Panache: Can you give us a brief synopsis of all you do in addition to your day job?
Sammi Dittloff: Well I’m working on my new blog all about dairy-free living: dairyfreestate.com.
And I’ve been doing theater since I was little. When I was three, I was the Virgin Mary in our nativity play. I always wanted to act ever since kindergarten. I remember they had these cards, like career cards, with different pictures of professions. The kids each got to pick one. The closest they had to an actor was a ballerina, and I said, “I do NOT want to be a ballerina, I want to be an actress!”
I also worked at The Onion for years, but stopped last winter. I love supporting a brand I truly love.
“You know, he’s my adviser,” said Sammi, laughing, when she was in the kitchen. Alas, Walter didn’t help with the food prep.
PWP: And that’s just scratching the surface! How did you whittle it down to your main things?
SD: I started dating my boyfriend, Steve, and then I kind of had to figure out what was important. And I needed boyfriend time! I think about, What do I like doing? I try to take time off from things, too. I’m doing three shows in a row right now, so that doesn’t seem like I’m taking time off but I don’t have plans to do anything after that.
“I know I do a lot, but I think even if I didn’t do as much I’d still make time for things that are important.”
PWP: Kate and I saw you in an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” last Friday—you were awesome! Can you pick a priority out of all your commitments?
SD: I’ve got a tattoo on my back in Cyrillic that says, “You can’t please everyone.” I usually try to get involved in things I know I have time to do. In the past, I’ve run myself ragged instead of telling someone I can’t do it anymore. I was so buried doing things for others I wasn’t doing things for myself! I have one job now, I’m much more to-the-point, and I’ve given myself time to relax.
I know I do a lot, but I think even if I didn’t do as much I’d still make time for things that are important.
PWP: What do you find yourself making time for most when you’re not at work?
SD: I’ve been really into the blogging lately. Steve also got me a sewing machine for Christmas, so I’ve started to sew a little bit and that’s really fun! I just made one of my friends an infinity scarf for her birthday. I like crafting; I like cooking. When my life is spinning out of control, it feels good to come home and cook.
“Dairy-free food tastes so much better than it used to.”
Walter’s hobbies include licking jeans, sniffing everything, and jumping as high in the air as he possibly can.
Here I’m photographing Sammi photographing food for her blog. We’re so meta.
PWP: Speaking of, your blog is such a neat concept in Wisconsin, the dairy state. Why dairy-free?
SD: I started when I was a freshman in college. I lost a bunch of weight between high school and college and that’s when I noticed that something I was eating wasn’t making me feel well. I just got more and more sensitive as college went on.
The first thing I get from people is, “I feel so bad for you!” I didn’t want to either! But dairy-free food tastes so much better than it used to.
(Ed Note: I believed that after Sammi cooked me dinner loaded with vegan cheese and shared some delish chocolate-chip dairy-free cookies—though I wouldn’t have doubted her before. Check out her blog here and you’ll see what I mean. Yum!)
I ate yogurt for a while. Yogurt is really low in lactose, like cheese, or a little butter on bread. Sometimes I would eat something and take Lactaids, and then it stopped working. But I did learn I can eat goat cheese! I love goat cheese!
PWP: How do you have successful personal relationships while balancing a full-time job, a really awesome blog and acting?
SD: I try to balance it out and make plans in advance, like going to brunch on a specific day. That’s the only way I get stuff done. I’m going to do this thing on this day, and it’ll happen.
Kate and I are the same way. People with Panache is our passion project, so balance is key in our lives, too. Sammi is an inspiring example of how you can get it all done when you choose to pursue those things most important to you.
P.S. If you want to catch Sammi in her next show, she’s in “H.H. Holmes” from April 26 – May 11 at the Alchemist Theatre.
[Photos by Alysse]
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