Monday, November 5, 2018

what's up with the wedding? vol. 2


Fall is in mid-swing here in Florida...we actually experienced some temperatures below 60 degrees this week, and I am not complaining. It seems October came and went in a flash, and now I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving!

October has always been one of my favorite months. It's the start of the holiday season, home to Halloween, and the month I met Ryan. Coincidentally (or not, considering I had it in my head since we got engaged), we'll even be getting married on the anniversary of our first date next year! We are already just about a year out from the big day, and even though I've had my "what's the big fuss, let's just do this thing" moments, I'm grateful for our longer engagement, because time is flying and it's been so fun to soak in every little moment of being engaged.

Since my last update, we've actually made quite a bit of headway. I'm going to be honest when I say that I've pictured my wedding in a bazillion different ways, but only since we got engaged. Even though we've been together for years, I only ever pictured a marriage with Ryan...not necessarily a wedding. But similarly to trying on wedding dresses, I discovered my own personal taste by figuring out what I didn't like first.

Venue


 (Photo credit: Station House Instagram)

We toured several different venues, all different settings: an art museum, a clay center, an old theater, an estate, a dance studio. We found ourselves feeling so "set" with one venue, only to read a few bad reviews or to feel iffy about the surrounding area for photos (seems so silly, but a beautiful venue inside and out felt important to me). Finally, we walked into Station House in downtown St. Pete and we both "knew," and did what we could to make it work.

Despite the higher price tag, we opted for Station House for the convenience factor. We looked at a lot of "DIY" or "bring your own XYZ" type of venues, but it felt like such a hassle to have to price and compare, bring everything in, coordinate setup and breakdown, hire a wedding planner who isn't already familiar with the venue, etc. Plus, service fees for each individual thing can add up pretty quickly. While our venue isn't "all inclusive," our caterer, beverages, tables, and chairs were all included in the price we were given, and we were able to hire the girl who gave us a tour as our month-of coordinator for a great rate. The venue is beautiful on its own, so we won't need a whole lot of additional decor to spruce it up besides adding our own special touches. Plus, would you look at this room that we get to use for a little photo booth setup?!


(Photo credit: Station House Instagram)

Photographer

Venue + photography were the two highest "priorities" on my dream wedding list (I say "my" because Ryan just wanted to do whatever made me happiest...ha!). While I initially gave us a large-ish budget for photography, our pricier venue humbled me a bit in other aspects, so I started browsing with caution. I totally respect and understand why wedding photographers charge what they do (sooo much time + effort goes into it!), but I still had to be mindful of my budget. My biggest thing was making sure an engagement shoot was included within the cost. I actually found our photographer Emily Mathewson (Instagram & website) by searching the Instagram hashtag #tampaweddingphotographer. I'm so excited for us to have our engagement photo shoot this weekend!

Dress

Like I mentioned here, I said "yes" to the dress in September! My sister was visiting from Europe, which doesn't happen often, so I went dress shopping with my mom, future mother-in-law, sister, and grandma. I made appointments at two places, starting with The Dressing Room, which is where I ultimately ended up getting my dress. I went there and to a larger "chain" bridal shop, and the difference in customer service was astronomical. 

We were the only ones in the store at TDR, and my consultant really honed in on the style I liked from just one picture (and hand-picked my wedding dress based off that picture!), allowed me to browse on my own, and stuck to my budget without complaint. In comparison, I felt borderline "man-handled" at the chain boutique, getting thrown in and out of dresses that were way out of my price range (and on top of that, didn't feel well made), and weren't my taste at all. It didn't feel like a special experience, and I was at the point where, even if I'd found the dress of my dreams, I had no desire to buy anything from my consultant. I went back to TDR a week later and said yes to my dress!

Advice, if you're interested:

Don't be afraid to haggle (within reason!). For our venue specifically, we were quoted a rate that was probably pretty good in the grand scheme of things, especially for our location, but was still over our budget. While we desperately wanted our venue, we didn't want to spend beaucoup dollars on one night, no matter how special. Ryan emailed, and asked what exactly we could do to get closer to our budget, and our [now] wedding planner helped us out. In a nutshell - don't be afraid to ask. As long as you're respectful and not asking for an outlandish handout, most people want to help out and work with you. Worst thing that can happen is someone tells you "no"! 

Our caterer is right downstairs from our venue, and we're setting up a tasting soon, so I'm pumped for that (give me alllll the food). I have just a couple more bridesmaids to formally "ask," and then I've gotta nail down our colors, figure out dessert, look for additional decor, etc. In other words, we have a lot down, but quite a ways to go.

341 days left until the big day!




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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

saying goodbye to restaurant life.

Back in March/April 2015, I decided that I didn't want to work in sales for the rest of my life. In fact, I decided that I didn't want to do anything related to PR, social media, or advertising as a career. I quit my job, started working in a restaurant (again), and began the journey that led me to where I am today.

I remember walking into my first training shift at that restaurant. The weight of this seemingly random, moderately life-altering decision fell on me like a ton of bricks when I was shown "the dish pit." A frequently forgotten staple to a restaurant, it all felt real in that instant. I thought to myself, "oooook, this is my life now." I'd voluntarily exchanged nude pumps for black nonslip flats, accepted primary blue dresses as my weekend evening wear, and started serving tables again.

It was hard at first, and for awhile. Not the job itself, but coming back to it after having "gone corporate." Serving is easy money, but its one of the toughest jobs out there. I've had a finger wagged in my face by guests. I've balled my eyes out back behind the kitchen because of said guests. I've had 12 tables at once. I've refused to serve alcohol to many teenagers (maybe I'll write a blog post on that soon, simply because the stories are killer). I've missed outings and trips to work a brunch shift, where I've actually watched someone throw up allll over the restaurant from too many "bottomless" mimosas. I've been told that no one liked me because I was too "bossy."

But I stuck it out, because 1) I needed money, 2) grad school left absolutely no time to venture out and find a new job/learn a new menu/train, 3) because, for the most part, they worked with my crazy schedule, even when that meant I didn't want to work weekends because I was working 40 hours a week for free at a hospital internship. And of course, because I loved the people I worked with.

Last week, I walked out of my last serving shift. I closed out all my checks, collected cash before passing "go," and said goodbye to my friends.

On Monday, I start my new job as a speech-language pathologist in the schools (and here is one of the speech rooms...it's identical to mine, but this is the other SLP's!).

I feel like I'm gonna throw up, but kind of in the best way. Here's to starting my career (again).











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Monday, October 8, 2018

i'm not always busy, and that's okay.

This weekend, Ryan went golfing in a neighboring city with a few of his friends, so I was left alone with the pooches. I was a blob for most of the day on Saturday, with the promise of dinner + movie plans with girlfriends later in the evening. When those fell through last minute because my friend got super sick, I felt like I was at a bit of a loss. On top of that, a lot of my other friends were out of town, and I just didn't feel up for hopping county lines to visit my parents. So unexpectedly, it was just me, myself, and the dogs.

And normally, I'd be fine with that. But because I'd been straight blobbin' all day, having only left the apartment for a quick Target run (for movie theater candy + new coffee) and a mini gym sesh, I was feeling unreasonably bummed. And you know when you're just "in a mood?"

I. Was. In. It. 

At Target, I could feel myself shooting RBF glares left and right, my workout felt contrived, and even the smallest decisions felt life-altering and overwhelming (do I go to the mall? do I go to my friend's place 30 minutes away? do I continue to blob it up and feel sorry for myself?!?!?).

Because here's the thing: we live in a cute little (emphasis on little) apartment, complete with original hardwood flooring, two-toned gray walls, and white french doors with gold details and faux-crystal knobs. We have nine windows just in our bedroom, twinkly lights, and trinkets. It's charming and adorable, and for the most part, we love it.

But we rented it for the area, not necessarily for its functionality. And the downside of living in the middle of a hustle-bustle-something-always-going-on type of area is just that: something is always going on, someone is always going out, etc. AKA it's a big source of #FOMO (fear of missing out, in case you didn't know!), which is so dumb, and it's something I'm really trying to work on...because contrary to what your Instagram feed leads you to believe, it's okay to chill out by yourself on a Saturday night.

Long story longer, I snapped myself out of the funk by making it a real "treat yo'self" type of night. I ordered the yummiest sushi from Uber Eats (my personal code is "eats-samanthar538" if you want $5 off!), walked my happy butt to the grocery store to pick up a bottle of wine, and set myself up with Game of Thrones. By 7:30 p.m., all my twinkly lights were on, a candle was lit, and I was in cozy mode, and I didn't care about "missing out" on anything.




A lot of times, especially as a blogger, I feel this constant nagging to be productive - to establish new routines, to brain storm big ideas, to be busy. Sometimes, especially post-graduate school, I'm simply not busy, and sometimes, I don't feel like being intentional with my time...and I think that's okay. Those are the times when we discover our new favorite novel, or binge our new favorite show. I think we're all familiar with the glorification of "being busy" in this day and age, but that's another post for another day.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to do absolutely nothing productive? And then on top of that - to not feel guilty about it?



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Monday, October 1, 2018

currently | september 2018



We’ve already hopped right on out of September, and now we’re entering one of my favorite times of the year -  alllllll the holidays. In October, I’ll be celebrating 5 years with Ryan, starting my new job (hopefully...), and getting involved in Halloween shenanigans in some form of another.  I’m a day late and a dollar short, but here’s a little “current” update, since I’ve been a bit MIA around here:

Reading: Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan. This book has great reviews, but I'm struggling to get into it. I'm nearly halfway through, so I'm committing to sticking it out! 2018 has been the year of frivolous reads, so I'm trying to get back into mysteries and thrillers. Up next: Sharp Objects (so I can finally watch the show, of course).

Watching: I just finished The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime (just in time for it to win eight Emmys!), and GUYS. I HAVEN'T BEEN THIS OBSESSED WITH A SHOW IN SO LONG. Set in the 1950s, it follows Miriam "Midge" Maisel, a New York housewife who decides to become a standup comic after her husband leaves her. It's perfectly witty with fantastic characters and a unique storyline, and I am so ready for season two. We also just finished The Handmaid's Tale, and just...what the...can we not.

Buying: As of 8 a.m. this morning, I bought a package of La Bang body oil, as recommended by my favorite fitness YouTuber, Sarah's Day. I'm awful about moisturizing anything on my body besides my face, so I'm hoping a new oil will kick start the habit (her code LOVESARAH gives 15% off, just as a helpful heads up). Also recently bought (affiliate links to follow...):
- High-waisted jeggings in a darker denim wash and black (this link says black, but they appear to be khaki...weird). I've never bought a pair of high-waist pants in my life, and I'm actually pretty excited about these! Like many, I'm loving Target's Universal Thread brand, and both of these babies are on sale for just $15. I almost sized up, but I found that they stretched pretty well over my tummy. My "next size up" had more of a legging feel with some excessive material around my hip area, if that's helpful!
These earrings, but in a darker copper color that I can't seem to find online. They're my first "crawler" type of earrings, and I'm obsessed.
- This matte lip creme by Milan in the color Loved. Maybe slightly drying, but the color lasts a long time, and at $6-7 a pop, can you really go wrong? 

Getting ready for: My first job as a full-fledged speech-language pathologist! I was verbally offered a split elementary school position with the county this week, with a formal offer to follow later this week. I'm nervous to get started, but also super excited! I officially put in my two weeks with my serving job (on a pick-up only basis for the next month or two, "just in case"), and while I'll miss my coworkers, I am beyond ready for this change.

Saying: Yes to the dress! Contrary to popular belief, I actually had no idea what I wanted my wedding dress to look like, so dress shopping was a combination of exciting and only slightly overwhelming. It's another post for another day, but I had such an amazing experience with The Dressing Room in St. Petersburg and got a perfect dress "off the rack," aka 50% off. WHAT A LIFE.


September was a month full of family time, as my sister has been staying with my parents (she lives in Bulgaria) since September 11th. She's leaving today, but it's been a trip full of bargain hunting, dress shopping, wine drinking, and laughing.

Here's to October, as to inch closer and closer to the end of 2018!



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Thursday, September 6, 2018

on negative self-talk & reaching your goals.


I never thought I was a victim of "negative self-talk." That's not to say I don't have my own personal struggles; everyone does. But I didn't look at my list of "life goals" and think that I fell into the category of, "I suck at this, I'm not good enough, etc" because what's there to get down about? All of my goals were safe, attainable, manageable (get a job, buy a house, etc.).

Then I would read my friend's blog posts about writing down goals, reaching for the stars, going after what you want, etc. and I would think to myself, "well, that doesn't pertain to me. I don't have any big, unreachable dreams."

YIKES, I hate even typing that out...but hear me out.

Growing up, I wanted to be an actress. Actually, I just wanted to be Hilary Duff, but that's beside the point. I wanted to act. I took acting classes, signed up for drama every semester in high school, even begged my mom let me join one of those scammy "agencies." I looked up auditions for random stuff on craigslist, trying to work my way in.

My parents, however, are realists in the truest sense. They weren't about to up and move me to Los Angeles to pursue a far-out dream in my early teenage years (ahem, Taylor Swift's parents). I was constantly reminded that breaking into the acting world was beyond difficult, pretty much impossible. It wasn't that my parents were telling me, "you can't do it." But on the same hand, they weren't telling me that I was going to be the next Julia Roberts, so inevitably, we fought about the state of my stardom (or severe lack thereof). Long story short, they said finish college first and see what happens.

Based upon the sole fact that I've probably never mentioned acting on this blog, I think you'll find that I didn't pursue it. I'm not entirely sure what happened along the way. Maybe I got distracted by boyfriends and jobs. A part of me feels like, because it didn't fall into my lap, I let it fall to the wayside. It got too scary, or too difficult, or felt too far-fetched. And along the way, I became the kind of person who scoffed at my own dreams and said "right, good luck with that."

Again, YIKES. 

Acting is one thing. But what I haven't realized until very recently is that my scoffing takes on many forms in my daily life. A little voice in my head will tell me "oh no, we're not cut out for that," or "nope, can't handle it." My own personal brand of negative-self talk! I've told myself that I'm not cut out for the medical side of speech-language pathology, even though I successfully completed an internship at a hospital and maintained a complete caseload by myself. I've told myself that I could never sell art, or write a real book, or do anything outlandish when in truth, it's because I haven't actively tried for more than an hour, or a week. That is negative self-talk, if I've ever heard it. And I'll tell you what...

I'm over it.

Granted, I don't want this post to cast me in an entirely negative, lazy light. Let the record show that, for the last three years, my goal was to get into graduate school, graduate with a master's degree, and become a speech-language pathologist. All of which (da-da-da-daaaa) have been accomplished. But now I'm in the market for new dreams, and I'm in the process of figuring out what those are, whether they're easily attainable or totally outlandish. And once I figure that out, I want to start taking steps to really pursue them.

Because the truth is, the people who consistently pursue their seemingly "out-of-reach" dreams are a hell of a lot closer to reaching them than the people who sit around and wait for things to happen. In this day and age, we very often see someone's highlight reel with a less-well documented struggle. A thriving actor may have taken hundreds of minuscule roles before landing even a supporting role.  A watercolor print artist may have spent thousands of hours mixing colors and trying different techniques before something finally stuck and someone took notice. An author may write ten 500-page books before writing one that really "speaks" to the public.

My point (mostly to myself, but also to you): don't listen to the little voice inside your head telling you that you aren't cut out for something. You are literally the only thing stopping you. Scribble down your goals, think about what you need to get there, and just start. 






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Friday, August 31, 2018

looking back on summer 2018


These summer storms have been keeping me pensive lately. In some ways, I feel like summer is just beginning, but looking back, it's actually nuts that so much has happened over the past few months (both good and bad). Today, I'm only sharing the good.

My summer has consisted of...

Graduating with my master's. Obviously one of the biggest moments of my summer (and probably life). It's been a long three years back in school and working at a restaurant again, but this chapter of my life is finally coming to a close.



Getting engaged! It's been almost three months since Ryan proposed. Since then, we've been easing into the wedding planning, but we've still knocked a few things out! More on that to follow in a later post.





Taylor Swift's Reputation tour with my girlfriends. In case you missed it on Instagram, we all dressed up in a variation of matching "I Heart TS" shirts (like from the Look What You Made Me Do music video, of course!) with high waisted shorts (I got these from Amazon and they are strangely amazing) and danced the night away. Despite our great seats, I managed to leave my glasses at home, so I couldn't exactly see everything the way I would have liked to. I scrolled through Taylor Swift hashtags the next morning and actually felt FOMO about a concert I attended. Sigh.




Staycationing at the Sandpearl on Clearwater Beach with girlfriends (again). Following graduation, Ryan and I initially wanted to take a trip together to celebrate. However, it's been a stressful time at work for him, so I ended up doing a little "staycation" for one night at a beautiful resort on one of the local beaches. We brunched, we beached, we conquered.


Blogger/"influencer" events. While I hardly feel like a blogger anymore, I've managed to get myself invited to a few local events which always keeps my spirits high. I love connecting with other bloggers and influencers in the area, and most times we get to do some pretty cool stuff together. I got to make this future house/wedding sign at AR Workshop, and hopped around downtown St. Pete for an exclusive block party featuring some of the cutest spots in the area.





Lots of reading! Now that I'm done with school, I've had alllll the time to read. This month I finished up Little Fires Everywhere, To All the Boys I Loved Before (so I could watch the movie...duh), and Firefly Lane, and now I'm reading Vanishing Girls. Guys, I really tried to get into Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis but I just could not. I totally get the appeal, but it simply wasn't my cup of tea. I ended up returning it after getting about 50 pages in...and then I got a new pair of shoes instead. Ohhh, Target.

My birthday at the beach! I had my heart set on a beach party to ring in my 27th birthday this year, and it did not disappoint. Neither did this one piece from Aerie. Still obsessed!





What were some of your favorite moments this summer?




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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

a little update in my newest season of life



I'm not quite sure how we've gotten past the midway point of August without so much as a blog post about me graduating (though I'm sure you're over hearing about it via Instagram), but here we are. I am a fresh little graduated petunia, and I'm scared out of my mind. But we will save that for a later date, yeah?

August has actually thrown me for an emotional loop. About a week after graduation, my grandad passed away. He'd been battling cancer for a number of years - was in remission for awhile before it came back and metastasized - but he's been in a lot of pain for the past year, so while I'm heartbroken, I'm also a tad relieved. I'm fortunate enough to be able to say that this is my first time dealing with the loss of a loved one, and it's definitely been a process. I posted a little something about it on my Instagram story on Sunday, which felt weird. I felt like I needed to acknowledge it in some way, but for the most part, I've been trying to keep it all pretty personal. So this is me acknowledging it again - not to say, "hey, feel sorry for me!" but to say "hey, sometimes social media makes it seem like things are pretty and perfect and all is going well in the world, when really, I'm crashing in ways that I don't necessarily want to talk about...but this is proof that it is happening." Does that make sense?

Shout out to Ryan for being a damn trooper during all of this - from hand holding to laundry, making dinner, and being on pooch patrol. I will say that I really lucked out in the life partner category.

In other lighter news, it's certainly weird to know that I'm not going back to school this week for the first time in three years. In some ways, the last few years felt like the longest of my life, but for the most part, they flew by. I've been job hunting and trying to find the right "fit," but I've also been trying to relax and enjoy this little season of unemployment. I'm still serving tables until then, so in between shifts I've been going to the gym, reading books, and getting together with friends.

To cap off this mixed up post, I figured I'd drop a little "currently" closer to keep you up to date with the frivolous bits in my life:

Reading: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah and Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.
Watching: Not a whole lot, honestly. I need to find something to binge watch.
Buying: These, these (which I would check your local store for...I bought them for $6.88 before the coupon!), and these from Target because they have a 30% off flat sandals coupon on Cartwheel (until August 25!). I nevvver buy shoes, so getting all three of these for less than $40 was a real treat. Additionally, I bought an Enso ring for work/the gym because I am deathly afraid of ring avulsion. I went for the pyramid stackable in pink sand.
Establishing: a morning routine. Well, attempting to, anyway. More on that later.
Attending (?): Taylor Swift's Reputation tour! I went with a group of girlfriends last week and to no surprise, Taylor killed it. I left my glasses at home (womp womp), so aside from the giant screen, I couldn't see her very well, but I had such a blast.
Booking: wedding things! If you follow along on Instagram, you'll see that we signed a contract with a venue in downtown St. Pete, and we are so pumped! Now to book everything else...yikes.






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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

what's up with the wedding? vol. 1


Due to popular demand, I have decided to commence a semi-regular wedding planning blog series to keep everyone up to date on the whereabouts of the Future Fredericks and our eventual wedding.

(Note: there was no popular demand. Nobody asked. Moving on.)

It's been almost two months since Ryan and I got engaged. For the first couple of weeks, I tried to just enjoy being engaged. We popped a few bottles of bubbly, let our friends take us out to dinner, accepted cute gifts like personalized wine glasses and ring dishes. I reallt wanted to enjoy the 'cloud 9' phase that comes with being engaged before launching into wedding planning.

...but that time came and went when I emailed my top choice for a wedding venue and they were already booked for every Saturday in October 2019. YIKES.

Fact about me: when it comes to big decisions, I have an 'all or nothing' mentality. Translation: if I can't plan our entire wedding and calculate our exact budget in the next 15 minutes, it's not going to get done. When I get into this mindset, my mom tells me that my brain has hopped on its "hamster wheel." In other words, approximately 32984293 thoughts are running through my head at one time and I try to acknowledge, crack, and solve all of them in one fell swoop. Not an easy feat.

Thus, I am trying to tackle this whole wedding planning thing one day at a time while trying to keep it fun. After all, that's all we want our day to be: fun. We aren't an extravagant couple to begin with; we've even talked about having gourmet pizza at our wedding. But imagining a dream wedding and actually planning one are two completely different ballgames.

So far, we have...

  • Toured five venues, with a few more to check out in the next couple of weeks.
  • Decided that we are more than happy to have a Friday wedding. In fact, we prefer it.
  • Attended two bridal shows (well, I have). They give you a lot of free cake at these shindigs, which is worth the price of admission if you ask me.
  • Cried. Okay, I cried. Not sure why. I think "partake in unnecessary dramatics" is listed in a wedding to-do list somewhere.
  • Bought a cute little bullet journal as a wedding planner.
  • Not decided on our "colors." Pretty sure choosing colors falls into the "don't pet the sweaty stuff" category, but here I am, sweating the petty stuff.
  • Looked up 100+ photographers, 300+ venues, 20+ rental companies, etc.
  • Decided on a potential hashtag: #AreYouFreddyForIt? Ryan's last name is Fredericks (his nickname is Freddy), and it was obviously inspired by my favie Taylor Swift. In the running: #FreddySetGo and #FreddyOrNot. Can you think of any that include my last name (Rose)?! Let me know!

All in all, it is definitely a process. Wedding planning is not for the weak, and I am truly in awe of the individuals who pursue it as a career because good lawd, it can be stressful. But having said all that, it's also a lot of fun, and I'm trying to soak up every minute! 




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Friday, July 27, 2018

pre-graduation chit-chat



Almost three and a half years ago, I quit my job to begin my journey into speech-language pathology. Nearly two years after graduating college, I abandoned my initial bachelor's in mass communication in exchange for post-bacc classes and a GRE book. That first year was one of the most difficult years of my life - I questioned myself a lot, didn't feel smart enough, didn't feel good enough, cried in the shower, didn't get enough sleep. Once I actually got into graduate school, I did a lot of the same things.

...and now I'm eight days out from graduation and in the process of looking for jobs. Like a real-life, paying, not-working-on-weekends kinds of jobs. How did I even get here?

A lot of my friends have been messaging me things like "you're already done?! that went by so quickly!" And when I look back on my journey, I think the same thing. The days are long but the years are short and all that, right? 

My underlying message beneath my rambling is this: if there's something you want to achieve, but you're worried about the time it would take to complete, just start. Make the sacrifice, take the initiative, and simply begin where you can. The time is going to pass, anyway. As the end of my academic career nears, I rarely think about how difficult it was to get to this point; instead, I think about the light at the end of the tunnel and the future I built for myself. It was all worth it.

Is there something you've been wanting to do, but you're worried about the time commitment? Let me know in the comments!

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

our first date


Nearly five years ago, on October 12th, 2013, I had my first date with a guy I'd met out at a bar.

We met on a Friday night, and we actually became Snapchat friends (I'd downloaded Snapchat that very day), then Facebook friends, then started Facebook messaging, then started texting by Saturday morning...but he didn't ask me on a date until that Wednesday.


"How about lunch on Saturday, since you work at night?" he'd asked me (I was a few months post-undergrad, and still serving at Carrabba's). I told him I could "probably pencil him in." Even though we'd only been texting back and forth for just a few days, I already felt something along the lines of "this is different." It felt like I'd known him forever; but of course, at the risk of sounding daft, I kept that to myself.

He was tall (like, really tall) so naturally I set off to DSW to find a new pair of wedges so I could be tall, too. As it turns out, wedges are really hard to come by in October, even though Florida has absolutely zero reason to break out the booties until February. Thus, I settled on my black version of Target's popular pair of braided summer sandals, and a black and cream striped high waisted skirt with a black crop top (obviously all on trend for 2013).

He lived in a neighboring city about 45 minutes away from my parents' place, where I was living at the time. I told him that if he drove to my parents' house, I would drive us to a restaurant in downtown St. Pete. He agreed, and off we went.

He was so shy that day, to the point where I even had to tell him, "you can look me in the eyes, you know." I'm very subtle, right? He ordered sausage and lentil soup, which I later learned was his favorite; something his dad had been making for years. I had spinach in my teeth for about a half an hour before he finally told me about it.

Nearly five years later, I can't remember much about what we talked about. Maybe past relationships, what we did in college, our viewpoints on first-date appropriate topics. What I do remember is just how easy it felt - and how easy it's been ever since (and now I get to marry this guy - turns out "when you know," you really do know, huh?).

Do you remember what your first date was like with your S.O.? 






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Monday, June 25, 2018

entering my late 20's

Yesterday, I made the subtle transition from "mid-20's" to "late-20's." I'm not entirely sure how I got to this point, because it feels like I abandoned my fake ID just a couple of years ago and took my first (and only) trip to Las Vegas as a fresh 21-year old. Alas, here we are at 27.



I learned a lot about myself in my 26th year, such as...

It's okay to change your mind, and to do it often.
It's okay to speak up about what you believe in, because "remaining neutral" is not a viable option.
It's okay to respect and value the opinion of the people you love, while simultaneously doing whatever feels the best for you.
It's okay to listen to your gut and choose the path that feels right for you, even if it means disappointing someone else.
It's okay to abandon ship on a book if you're just not feeling it (perhaps I should follow through on this, since I've been stuck on the same book for over a month!).

26 was a big year in the sense that 1) I passed the SLP Praxis examination, and 2) we got engaged! In my 27th year, I'll be re-entering the full-time working world in Clinical Fellowship position (wherever that may be), and planning a wedding (AH!).

Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday! I'm excited to see what's in store as I enter a few (!) new and exciting chapters in my life.







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Thursday, June 14, 2018

a BIG announcement...

...we're engaged!

After 4.5 years, Ryan proposed on Sunday, June 10th. Fun facts include the following:
  • It happened right around where we had our first kiss on October 12th, 2013.
  • I almost wore shorts and a tank top (thought we were going to a casual brunch), but decided to throw this on last minute (we stayed at my parents' place the night before and i almost didn't even pack it).
  • I had zero idea what was happening pretty much until he got down on one knee.
  • My gel manicure is about a month old (aka absurdly grown out) in this picture #selfcare.
  • My heart rate probably hovered around 170+ for the next 20 minutes.
  • I am the happiest clam!
Full story and plenty of details to come. I'm in the process of studying for the speech-language pathology Praxis exam (essentially a "boards" type of test), so the blog has been on the back burner for the last month or two during preparation. But I can't wait to dish out all the deets - where it happened, how it happened, and all of the other fun frivolities that came with it.

Thank you to everyone who has already sent along their congratulations and best wishes. I am so excited to start officially planning for our future...starting with a wedding! What?!?!

Also...probably a good time to let everyone know that the 'Rose' in Samantha Rose Says is actually my last name. Come next year, I'll be a Fredericks! (Unless I convince Ryan to become Ryan Rose, that is). 

Also alsoooo...here's a closer picture of the ring. He did SO WELL, and I can't stop looking at this thing. 



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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

unsolicited advice & helpful reminders for the week


You are a product of your environment and the people with whom you surround yourself. Surround yourself with the people who make you happiest, or inspire you to work harder, or to simply "be better." From your group of friends, to the co-workers you gravitate toward, to the company to work for; I've found that these simple factors make such a difference in my overall wellbeing.

Don't lock the doors of opportunity. A few semesters ago, I was absolutely convinced that I did not want to work with the pediatric population after graduating. Nope, nope, nope - not for me. Then I completed my externship at the outpatient rehab center of a hospital (primarily with adults), and while I absolutely loved it, I found myself missing kiddos. In SLP grad programs, I feel like there's a lot of pressure to decide which population you want to work with; like a test of your personality, your clinical capability, what you can handle, etc. Point: don't force yourself into a little career box, especially if you don't need to be there.

This, too, shall pass. Sometimes, when I'm in a particularly stressful situation (like a bad serving shift), or I'm getting anxious about some kind of interview or meeting, I take an extra moment to myself and recite the following in my head: "Samantha, regardless of today's outcome, you will be cozy in your bed by the end of the night." Literally, that is it. Meaning: whatever feels like a big deal right now (even if it is a big deal), the stress of the situation will eventually pass. My Taco Tuesday shift from hell will soon come to a close, and so will your grueling semester, or your impossible project with your least favorite coworker, or whatever it is that is currently driving you bananas.

Have any bits of quality advice you'd like to add? Let me know in the comments!

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Friday, May 18, 2018

things i don't mind spending money on


Quality skin care. I figure this is the only face I'll have for the rest of my life, so I may as well take care of it. I've gotten a lot of samples from Sephora (and my sweet friend who buys literally every high end skin care brand known to women), so I've been dabbling in some good stuff lately. This Origins serum is everything I never knew I needed, and this Tatcha cleanser makes me feel some type of way. Also a plus: both of these companies are cruelty-free, which is a big win.

Killer denim. There's definitely something to be said about a pair of jeans or cut off shorts that just make you feel like a hot little tomale. I'm still on the lookout for this kind of magic, so any recommendations, send them my way.

Experiences. Concerts, festivals, events, classes, spa days, you name it. I've spent an absurd amount of money on tickets for concerts this year (I've already seen Lorde & Justin Timberlake, with plans to see Taylor Swift in August), but every dollar was 100% worth it.

Traveling. Plane tickets, gas money, rental cars, Air BnB's, you name it.  I'll never regret spending money on visiting new cities and old friends. When I traveled to Bulgaria last summer, it put a lot of things into perspective for me. I constantly feel pressured to buy buy buy (and it's safe to say I love to shop shop shop, sooo...), but I realized how little I truly need to be a happy, fully functioning, healthy human. That's a realization that simply pays for itself.

Craft cocktails. Just being honest: I'll happily drop $13 on a well made, specially crafted beverage...especially if it's made with pears and tequila (note: would not do this every day obvi, but #treatyoself).

What kinds of things are you willing to spend your cash on?







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Monday, May 14, 2018

thinking about the future


Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what I want my life to look like in the near future. With graduation looming, I'm beginning to feel the pressure to apply for my first job in the field. I'm constantly trying to figure out what that might look like and how my everyday routines will change, from my wake up call time to when I'll carve out reading time, gym sessions, and date nights.

Other things I've been pondering about for the future:

Traveling. Ever since getting back from North Carolina a couple of weeks ago, we've been chatting with Ryan's sister about making a trip over to visit her in Los Angeles following my graduation. During our trip to NC, we talked to our friends about doing an Appalachian Trail "sectional" hike for 3 days. I desperately want to go to Yosemite, get back to Europe, visit Australia. While all of that feels a bit overwhelming to think of now (especially when I just made a whopping $17 on my takeout shift last week...), making plans gives me alllll the good feels.

Buying a house. Not yet, and probably not for another year or two. I think about where we live now, in the center of everything; close to the bay, walking distance to shops and restaurants, smack in the middle (well, to the right) of the bar scene. Do we buy what we can afford here solely for the location? Venture to family-friendly suburbs? Swap counties and hop over the bridge to get closer to the beach? Build a house exactly how we want it in BFE?

Weddings and marriage and babies. For one, I'm going to be a maid of honor in my good friend's wedding coming up next year. Two, I live with my boyfriend of 4.5 years, so obviously we talk about getting married...and you should see the man hold a baby because it's plainly obvious that he is meant to be a dad. It's inevitable that these life changes will likely take place sometime following graduation (here's hoping for a few more years before having my own personal nugget baby), so naturally I've been thinking about them more often than usual.










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Thursday, May 3, 2018

mid-week rambles


(Note: this post contains some affiliate links!)

Every time I visit the mountains, I think to myself: perhaps I'm really a mountain girl, after all. But then I come back home and hop over the bridge to the gulf and I totally rethink that statement.

I just got this one-piece in the mail today and it is fiiiiiire.

This one? Not so much. I just assumed reviewers were being a tad too conservative when they talked about how cheeky it was. Note: they were not. 

I got my first sunburn of the season, but only on one arm. Not entirely sure how that happened.

If you've been on my Instagram lately, you've probably seen me post about how my friend, Courtney, recently launched her own hand-made, organic bikini wash soap called Bikinis Over Everything. I'll be collaborating with her on a post soon, so look out for that!

My mom and I went back up to St. Augustine this past weekend to visit my grandparents, and we started listening to S-Town on the way there and back. I know I'm a little behind the times but...IT'S SO GOOD. I always forget how much I enjoy podcasts until I actually listen to them. Any other recs?

I got a spray tan two weeks ago and it's faded everywhere except my bikini line and my ankles. Why, body, why?

I just finished reading Forever Is The Worst Long Time by Camille Pagan and you absolutely must read it. Note: the Kindle version is free for Amazon Prime users!

I'm officially on my 12-day summer vacation and trying to make the most out of it while I can. To be honest, I have no idea what to do with all this free time. I've been trying to draft up some posts since my updates have been few and far between around these parts...but my well of inspiration has been feeling a tad dry (can't you tell by this random blurb of a post?).


How's everyone else been doing lately?



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Thursday, April 19, 2018

things i do right before vacation


Plan each outfit for the entire week. Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this? I check the weather, anticipate every planned activity, and then lay out every outfit on my bed before trying each of them on. I have absolutely zero tolerance for my own personal freak out mode on vacation, so I feel like having an idea of what I'll be wearing each day keeps me zen. Fewer options = fewer freak outs.

Decide that I need 234985 new things. Like 3 new gray tank tops when I'm going some place where the highs are in the low 60's. You know..."for layering." Also, it's definitely time for me to replace all my makeup and get new shoes. My internal budget fairy takes her own little vacation just a few days before I take mine, so my brain is all #YOLO and #TREATYOSELF. 

Research every single restaurant for every single meal. Well, within reason. I'll make a running list for different types of meals and outings. I'm all about going with the flow, but it is my firm belief that if you're paying more than $10 for an entree or beverage, that shit better be worth it. I've had far too many experiences where we've picked a random place just because we were tired and hungry and it sucked and we still had to dish out $50+. Nah, man. I Yelp it UP!

Clean the entire apartment approximately 10 minutes before our departure. How am I supposed to be chill AF on vacation when I know that in just a few days I'll be coming home to an unmade bed?! A coffee mug in the sink?! Sweaters hanging from the doors?!?!?! Blasphemy. I don't need that kind of stress in my life upon returning from my five day life of luxury (kidding. Or am I?).

I feel like this post makes me sound like a bit of an organizational freak, which is laughable because in most everyday situations where I should absolutely be on top of things, I fall short. But give me a vacation where everything is supposed to be relaxing and I will 10000% make sure that a mental breakdown over "hating all my clothes" or "not being able to pick a restaurant" will absolutely not happen.

At any rate, I am so excited for this weekend. We will be in Almond, North Carolina to watch one of  my best friends since high school get married! Following three nights in a mountainside cabin, we'll stay one night and two full days in Asheville before heading home. It's been a solid four months at the hospital, and I haven't been on a trip since Europe in August, so I am pumped! I'm treating myself tonight and getting my nails done for the first time since January, followed by a spray tan for the first time in nearly three years! #YOLO and all that. Plus, I got a Groupon for the spray tan, so it's basically a financial investment. Our flight leaves at o'dark thirty tomorrow!

What do you absolutely have to do before leaving for vacation? And also - where are you heading next?!







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Monday, April 9, 2018

a long-winded life update

I won't bore you with the monotony of "why I haven't been posting" because I'm sure you know the drill - it's simply been a busy season of life. You know the drill: 32-40 hours a week at my externship, working two nights a week, schoolwork (ish), studying (ish), social life. For awhile there, I just hadn't felt inspired to write about anything going on...it happens!

Side note, this post is a whole lot of rambling, so bear with me.

(I may get hospital heavy here for a second, but I'll move on to other life topics, so just scroll on down if you aren't interested!)



I had the luxury of sleeping in until 8:30 this morning because we've recently discharged patients in our 9 a.m. & 9:45 a.m. MWF slots, which administration has yet to fill...which means I'm drinking coffee on my couch at 9:15 a.m. on a Wednesday. What a life, my friends. It's the little things.

Flash back about four years ago, and working at a hospital is an opportunity I never even knew I wanted to have...but here I am with less than a month left at my first externship, and what a whirlwind it has been.

  • I recently had a geriatric patient with aphasia (an acquired disease that causes an individual to lose the ability to express or understand speech from brain damage after a stroke) call me a smart ass. 
  • I've had a patient with a severe traumatic brain injury go from naming maybe 1-2 fruits when prompted to list 3 before naming off colors instead...now he's naming 5-6 all on his own without perseverations. 
  • I've had patient's husbands and family members cry in sessions when it truly hits that this version of their loved one is their new reality, whether it's their inability to naturally speak after a laryngectomy, or the fact that they can no longer enjoy thin liquids like coffee or regular water because they're silently aspirating (when food & liquid goes down "the wrong pipe" into your lungs, but your brain isn't giving you any semblance of alert...it's super serious and even deadly).
  • I shadowed inpatient and acute care for the first time the other day (I'm normally in outpatient rehab)...definitely a different can of worms than I'm used to. I always thought it was kind of cheesy and cliche to tell someone "be thankful for your health." I was naive enough to think that being healthy was simply the "baseline." I am here to tell you: BE THANKFUL FOR YOUR HEALTH, FRIENDS. 

Long story short, I see so much every day - inspiring things, depressing things, stuff that makes me laugh, stuff that disturbs me so deeply that I actually have nightmares about it. It has certainly given me a new perspective on so many things, and for that I am very grateful.

Moving on to not hospital-related items...


I've been reading a lot, and I think I'm starting to like my Kindle more than I like carrying around a real book. Well, to some extent. My little Kindle Paper White fits so perfectly into my scrub pockets, so reading on my lunch break or the shuttle to and from TGH has been my favorite way to pass the time. So far this year, I've read:
  1. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman - loved loved loved it.
  2. My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella - cute story, light easy read.
  3. Once and For All by Sarah Dessen - even though I'm getting closer to 30 years old, I still have a place in my heart for young adult, especially Sarah Dessen. However, was not a big fan of this one.
  4. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld - entertaining enough, but kind of meh.
For some reason, I've been on a chick-lit kick lately. I think I was getting burnt out on murder mysteries and thrillers because a few months back, I felt so stressed out that I didn't want to add a complicated, mind-twisting fictional story to the mix. Now I'm starting to get a little burnt out "light reads," so we'll see where I end up next!


If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I finally met one of my first blog friends, Chelsea, from The Girl Who Loved To Write. Yes, she is just as superb in person, and I feel lucky to call her a friend! She's as kind and humorous as she comes across in her blog, with a little bit of good-hearted snark around the edges...aka my kinda girl. If you don't follow her already, you should definitely start!

Other things I've been doing/working on/thinking about/doing/getting ready for:

  • Tweaking my resume and starting to think about where I want to apply for jobs. Graduation is less than four months away!
  • Our upcoming trip to North Carolina for one of my best friends' wedding! I am in desperate need of a little vacation.
  • I'm finally caught up on This Is Us (brb, bawling my eyes out), and I just started Life Sentence (okay so far, we'll see if I stick to it). 
  • I've been practicing my jump roping every time I go to the gym and I'm starting to get kind of fancy with it. I finally learned how to do a double-under, and I can do three in a row now (sometimes).

What have you guys been up to lately? And if you're a loyal reader (or a new one!), is there anything you'd like to read about on here? Looking for a bit of inspiration around these parts!



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Monday, March 5, 2018

that overwhelming, scintillating feeling of change


I have an overwhelming feeling that everything is going to be changing very quickly, very soon.

At the beginning of a brand new year, we all toast to the idea of change, to better things, to new adventures. January 1st marks the commencement of new resolutions, and everything feels unknown, and the changes we anticipate, the trips we organize, the plans we make feel attainable...but they also feel far away.


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Friday, February 16, 2018

thoughts on gun control - it's time to wake up

Most days, I don't enjoy confrontational speaking. But I can't pretend like a story about Valentine's Day or my most recent shopping trip is relevant right now. Enough is enough, and sometimes "political" topics need to be addressed.

"Guns don't kill people; people kill people."

I'm going to cut the niceties and the exceptions to the rule here and call out the complete and utter bullshit that statement represents. Because that's exactly what it is: absolute bullshit.



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Monday, February 12, 2018

st. pete eats | review of MidiCi Neapolitan pizza


Last month, I was graciously invited to St. Pete's latest and greatest pizza place, MidiCi, an authentic Neapolitan pizza company from the one and only Los Angeles, California. Just a heads up, Los Angeles - finders keepers!

MidiCi is located right outside of Tyrone Square Mall (which, as a St. Petersburg native, can I just say how much I'm loving all the revamping they've been doing?!) but don't let that throw you - it sits alongside a couple of other fun shops and restaurants, so it gives off more of a local street vibe vs. a shopping mall. As you walk in, you're greeted by an open concept kitchen featuring wood burning ovens (for their delicious pizza, of course) and their fresh, non-GMO ingredients on display. The chefs and cooks are so friendly, so feel free to take an extra second to watch them work their culinary magic.




I'd been salivating over their craft cocktail menu since getting invited to the event, so I immediately took the opportunity to shimmy on up to their beautiful marble bar tops. The bartender was so knowledgable about every drink on the menu, and as soon as I mentioned that I was a giant fan of margaritas (because, hello, have you met me?), she recommended I try the Angel's Margarita, later to be followed up with the Devil's Margarita...because obviously you can't try one and not the other!

The Angel's Margarita was on the sweeter side, made with tequila, triple sec, blackberries, lime, and simple syrup - such a classic, crisp taste. Later on in the meal, I switched over to the Devil's, which simply swapped the blackberries for fresno chili peppers...talk about a game changer! I was a big fan of both margs, but I think the Angel's took the cake.




While the drinks were on point, the food was the real treat at MidiCi, especially (shocker!) the pizza. But before we dug into the pizza goodness, we nibbled on the house cheese board and the MidiCi House Salad: seasonal greens, baby arugula, grape tomatoes, parmigiano-reggiano, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing. Still dreaming about it.

I also feel like it should be noted that each meal was consumed in front of this gorgeous twinkly-light tree...in the middle of the restaurant. How cute?





And now for the main event - the pizza, of course. I was trying to save room for dessert later, otherwise I would have absolute gorged myself on every option. Our table was given the House Pesto: housemade pesto, fresh mozzarella, and parmesan. I normally go for pizzas with tomato sauce, but the housemade pesto absolutely made this dish and it didn't need any help...so good! Next time I go back, I definitely want to try out their double pepperoni and classic margherita pizza.



If you think I wasn't going for their dessert options next, clearly we aren't very close. Dessert = life. I try to fight my sweet tooth, but most times it gets the best of me (reason #2345982 I'll never have visible abs). MidiCi's dessert is 100% worth the price of admission, especially the Signature Nutella Calzone: Nutella strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, balsamic reduction (with the option to add ricotta cheese...um, yes). We also got to try their authentic Italian gelato and goooood lawd, guys, every flavor was a dream.



Not in the St. Pete area but still dying to try MidiCi? You're in luck - it's actually a chain! Check their website to find a location near you. In St. Petersburg, they're located at 2424 Tyrone Blvd, St. Petersburg, FL 33710. I live over in Tampa, but my parents live a whopping 10 minutes up the road from this little gem, so you better believe I will be back ASAP. If we didn't have plans for Valentine's Day already, I'd be making the trip sooner rather than later.

I had so much fun at this event - thanks again, MidiCi, for the invite! It was so fun to connect with other bloggers in the area, especially this babe from Keeping Up With Kahla:


Have you been to MidiCi before? Or if you're local, have you been to this location yet? Let me know what you think!




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