Rachel Littauer is a part-time student, part-time florist to the stars in Malibu. A journalism major and fourth year undergraduate student at Pepperdine University, she plans to go to graduate school and ultimately study to become a therapist. Her interest in helping people stems from the natural curiosity that accompanies a journalism degree, it seems.
Littauer has lived in the small, picturesque seaside town of Cohasset, MA for her entire childhood and adolescence, but shipped off to California and the West Coast for college. Her shoulder-length strawberry blonde locks and petite frame adapt well to both settings—yet her classic Nantucket style serves as a dead-giveaway of her East Coast heritage.
An avid reader, outdoors enthusiast, and adventurer, Rachel self-describes as an “extroverted introvert.” Her job at Sea Lily, a high-end Malibu flower shop, has no doubt helped her blossom. Even after working there for nearly a year, Littauer still admits that she’s star struck by the clientele—which include Patrick Dempsey and the Kardashians. “When Patrick Dempsey walked in—oh my God. I kind of just froze,” she giggles, but points out that she did in fact manage to help him pick up his flowers on Valentine’s Day.
Despite the A-list customer base, Littauer’s favorite part of her work is in fact the creativity that accompanies the job—and the value of making others happy. “Whether it be doing a bridal bouquet or simply selling a single stem to a guy who’s going to surprise his girlfriend, flowers are something that universally seem to give people joy,” she says with a smile. “So far, my time as a florist has been one of the best decisions I’ve made this year.”
Like the flowers in her shop, Littauer thrives in the sun. “I really love to be outdoors,” she says, wistfully looking towards the window in her airy loft. Even her favorite childhood memories stem from being outdoors—she had dreamed of being a veterinarian, and was “always rescuing baby birds and bunnies and whatnot.” Now, Littauer can be found surfing on the beaches nearby, hiking, playing tennis, or just going for a walk—whatever she can do to be in her zone. On her blog and Twitter biography, she self-identifies as a “chaser of sunshine,” which might help explain her long-haul move away from the dreary, monotonous winters of New England to the year-round, temperate paradise of Malibu, CA.
“I kind of just love to be moving,” Littauer interjects quickly, as she transitions from discussing her hobbies to why she loves people. Anyone who knows Littauer understands the many different implications behind her use of the word “moving.” Her adventurous spirit has carried her from a cushy, “pleasant” childhood in Cohasset, MA to a wildly different way of life in California, far from the comforts of home. While in college, she studied in Florence for eight months and fell in love with the Italian way of life.
And her post-grad plans? “I’ve been looking online at a lot of different opportunities to travel, and I think I might do WOOF. It’s a service that lets you connect with families or businesses in other countries who will provide room and board for free while you work for them.” Littauer, an avid horseback rider, has her sights set on a family-run horse farm in rural Italy. Her face lights up as she describes her hopes of traveling and meeting new people. “I want to experience as much of the world as I can while I don’t have too many responsibilities…It might sound opportunistic, but I really feel like this is the time in my life where I have this unique opportunity to travel and do what I want, and I’m going to try to do that.”
Littauer’s dynamic nature may sound idealist at the surface, but it’s rooted in a strong moral foundation on which Littauer has chosen to live her life. She describes her summer interning for a magazine publication in Washington, D.C., and how “undeservedly blessed” she felt to have landed such an amazing opportunity. Every day, she would walk by groups of people living on the streets and wonder why them, and not her. “I found it extremely frustrating—the fact that I had so much just because of where I was born, and others had so little.”
So, in her “impulsive manner,” as she says, Littauer decided to do something about it. She started by buying boxes of granola bars and asking homeless men and women if they would like one. After a few weeks, she became friends with a few of them, and has found a renewed sense of inspiration from their conversations. Once back in California for school, Littauer began volunteering, making the one-hour trek to Skid Row, Los Angeles every week to hand out meals and chat with the homeless.
Thinking about her passions, Littauer brings up her love of meaningful conversation. It’s not hard to skip the small talk with Littauer. In fact, she prefers it. “I’m often told that I’m a no-bullshit kind of person,” she says straightforwardly. “I really don’t like it when people are overly passive.” Her best friend, Sara Campedelli, agrees: “Rachel is very genuine—so much so that she isn’t afraid to disagree with anyone—even if they’re a stranger.”
With this being said, Campedelli points out that Littauer is a fiercely loyal and thoughtful friend. “She does so much for the people she loves.” Campedelli beams, recounting a time when Littauer had flown cross-country back to MA to surprise her for her birthday. “Long-distance friendships can be hard, but with Rachel, it’s not. I know she’s always going to be there for me.”
Littauer’s strength and confidence in her own identity is best illustrated by her favorite motto: “If it’s not a ‘Hell yeah!’, it’s a ‘no.’” Fixing her anchor-adorned silver bangle—a classic sign of a New England girl at heart—Littauer says that this motto helps to keep her grounded. She uses it to check in on herself to see if the time she is spending on certain projects and activities is worthwhile. “It’s really easy for me to get spread too thin, so this helps me weed out those things that aren’t adding much to my life.”
One activity that’s always “Hell yeah!”-worthy? Reading. “I absolutely love to read—I could never even pick a favorite book if I had to.” She does say, however, that she has felt a particularly strong impact from Shonda Rhimes’ The Year of Yes. “She talks about living deliberately, and knowing when to say yes and no in life. She’s created such a dedicated life for herself, and that’s really inspiring to me.”
As graduation looms on the horizon, Littauer is markedly unfazed. When asked about potential job prospects, she pauses for a moment. “Most of the people at my school have jobs, and lots of girls in my sorority are even getting engaged,” she says. “I’m not in any rush. I don’t want to just take any old office job for the sake of having one—I want to do something meaningful.”
With so many changes coming and decisions to make, one thing’s for sure: Littauer’s future—no matter what it holds—will be as bright as the sun.