Tuesday, March 31, 2020

update: moving out of our apartment!

I can't believe I'm saying this, but our time in our tiny shoebox apartment has officially come to a close. We bought a house, and as of two nights ago, we are all moved in! I'll be following up with a post about our house-buying process and design updates, but for now, I wanted to dedicate a post to our little apartment.

We moved into a studio-converted-one-bedroom apartment in the heart of south Tampa back in November 2017. For non-locals, south Tampa is an area right in the middle of popular bars, restaurants, and shops, just steps away from the bay. Prior to moving, we'd lived in a suburb of Tampa where you had to take a toll road to get basically anywhere, and while we loved our apartment, I was so over living in what I felt like was the middle of nowhere. So when we moved into our apartment right in the middle of all things fun in Tampa, we made do with the cramped closet and lack of kitchen drawers. After all, our goal was to be out and about, meeting up with friends nearby, walking home from dinner, and enjoying the area.

Since moving in, we had to deal with more than just a lack of space. One of our building neighbors was a younger 20-something frat boy who still hasn't grown out of that lifestyle - e.g. playing awful music with excessive bass at 1:30 a.m. on a Saturday night when he wasn't even home, getting into loud, occasionally physical fights with his girlfriend(s), and playing video games at ridiculous volumes. In addition, our next-door neighbors liked to sit outside until 6 a.m. on weeknights drinking light beer and shooting the shit. Sigh. Yes, we know that with the area, we got what we signed up for, but our particular apartment is also unfortunately placed on top of a separate set of townhomes, and we hit the neighbor lottery with the guy downstairs.

I digress.

Neighbors and storage difficulties aside, we made a lot of memories in this little space, and we loved it (when it was clean). And as much trash as I talk about it, I'll definitely miss it, and it will always hold a special place in our hearts.

What I'll miss the most:

  • Original hardwood floors that we don't have to take care of ourselves.
  • Charming crown moldings and our white french doors with crystal knobs.
  • The natural light that comes from our bazillion giant windows (and by that I mean twelve, nine of which aren't covered by an IKEA closet).
  • The giant palm trees that sit just behind our bedroom windows, which give a calming, jungle feel when the blinds are open.
  • The proximity to our favorite restaurant - bartaco! I will absolutely miss being able to walk to and from the restaurant. Drinking margaritas is a lot more fun when you know you don't have to leave your car to get a ride share home!
  • ...and the proximity to everything else. Less than a half mile to two grocery stores, steps away from a ton of yummy restaurants, less than two miles to our favorite gym (that we will miss so dearly!). Nearly everything fun to do in Tampa is just a walk or short and cheap Uber/Lyft drive away!
What I won't miss at all:
  • The majority of our neighbors. Enough said above.
  • Our small kitchen with virtually no counter space or storage.
  • Keeping our food storage containers in a plastic container above the refrigerator.
  • The easy collection of dust. Our place was built in the 1920s, and I'm pretty sure the same dust bunnies have been hanging around ever since.
  • Our itsy bitsy bathroom with its painted bathtub and lack of a proper drain.
  • The drunk people wandering around aimlessly after hitting the bars at night.
  • Living between several "through" streets. 
  • Parallel parking on the street with a bunch of groceries or work bags because I can't find a parking spot in our lot.
  • Not having a dining room table, or any table at all, because there is literally no space for one.

Now that we have moved into our house, I'm really looking forward to designing our space and truly making it our own. When we moved into our apartment, I was still in graduate school, and then I was saving money for our wedding. Suffice to say, I wasn't in the market to be spending money on new furniture or home decor. Now, I am ready to take this house on as a project! Keep up on Instagram for more frequent updates.

If you've ever moved from an apartment to a house, what was your favorite part? What was the biggest change?


Saturday, February 15, 2020

our wedding day | the first look

During the beginning stages of wedding planning, I was torn between wanting to have a first look and waiting until I walk down the aisle to see Ryan's face for the first time. 

I was chatting with a good friend who used to do wedding videography, and she told me about how the tradition behind seeing the bride for the first time during the ceremony is actually not romantic at all. It stems from arranged marriages, when the groom had no idea who was going to be underneath the veil, and at the risk of the bride being "ugly," the family didn't want the groom to run away. Ha! Long story short, not super romantic. Even though it's now used as a way to catch the groom's initial, immediate reaction, we wanted those moments all to ourselves.

Enter: the first look.

With a 6 o'clock ceremony time, our plan was to wrap up makeup by 2:30, take bridesmaids photos in our robes, and be at the venue for our first look by 3:30. By 2:45, one of the stylists was still touching up the bridesmaids' hair...and they didn't finish until 3:30. I don't think I initially realized just how behind we were, which was probably a good thing. 

Skipping the minutiae, we still had plenty of time for our first look. I had more of a "first" first look than Ryan, because I pulled up in our party bus as he was walking down the stairs of our venue. I was so excited to see him, but I feel like I look nervous in the initial picture below...likely because I was nervous. And looking back on some of these, I think it looks a bit like I'm posing for them. Whoops. Guess I won't quit my day job and become a model, after all.

When he turned around to see me, he smiled in the way that makes all the skin around his eyes crinkle, which is my favorite of all his smiles. 

For those who don't know him, Ryan is goofy, but he carries himself in a very stoic, serious fashion. Any time I get him to really laugh, I want to write down whatever joke or anecdote I said so I can save it for later use, just to get that smile. 

Once we started to turn around for photos, I began reminding him to "smile like you like me, not your photo shoot smile where you look uncomfortable." While you might think to yourself, "yikes! calm down lady," this is actually me reminding him to relax, because I could tell he was feeling the nerves, too. 

But in that moment, my "poses" fell to the wayside, and I let myself soak in this time together, and that's when we truly started to relax. If you could have listened to my internal monologue this day, I guarantee it would sound like a loop of "soak this in, look around, take it all in, remember this moment" intertwined with "I love this man" and "wow he's smokin' hot."

Because isn't he?!


photographer | emily mathewson photography
dress | justin alexander
hair & makeup | femme akoi
venue | station house st. pete
flowers | the bride's bouquet


Friday, January 24, 2020

recent loves

If you've been following me on here for a long time, you'll know that I'm not the biggest shopper. When I was in graduate school, I was conscious about every swipe of my debit card. Now that I've graduated and I'm officially back in the working world, I've let up on myself just a little. My monthly student loan bill in combination with the fact that we're trying to buy a house soon hinders just how much I'd love to "go crazy" every month, but one thing I'm great at (humble brag) is waiting for a deal. Just sos ya knows, this post definitely contains affiliate links, which means I'll make a few cents or a few dollars if you purchase through them!

These Adidas - I literally live in these. I've never been a big sneaker kind of person, but I bought a pair of these for a trip to Colorado last year and now I have them in two colors. They feel like cozy socks! I wear them with my scrubs at work, when I take the dogs for a walk, or when I'm running errands in leggings and a t-shirt. SO COMFY. Just a heads up, they do run a bit narrow, and I wouldn't recommend them as workout shoes since they're so soft.
I have them in the white/gold metallic listed above and black/silver. They're cheaper on the DSW website than Adidas (plus you can stack DSW coupons, so this would be your best bang for your buck!).

I also just bought these ones, and they are so cute! I posted my purchase on IG stories the other day, and I had 10+ people message me asking where they're from (and I should note, that never happens to me). I just got them in the mail last night, so I can't speak for the quality just yet, but they're on super sale!

The comfiest leggings you will ever (ever!) own - I'm a giant fan of Aerie. I love their message, and the quality is great for the price. I have these in the dusty sage color and steel blue. I'd say they're comparable to the butter-soft feeling of the lululemon aligns. I ran a 5k in them and they definitely do show sweat, so bear that it mind. But I'll do light workouts/lounge in these bad boys all day long.

This mockneck sweater that it seems like everyone has - If you're still in the market for sweaters, look no further. For being oversized, it's such a flattering fit and looks great with leggings or jeans. I actually sized down to the X-Small/Small because they were out of regular smalls but the reviews said it definitely runs larger, and I'm really happy with it. For reference, I sometimes veer to more of a medium than a small, and the X-Small/Small still fit perfectly. I have the multi-color stripes (pictured above) and cream!

Any recent purchases that you are just absolutely thrilled with lately? 


Tuesday, January 14, 2020

looking back on the decade

At the start of 2010, I was 18 and a half years old, going into my second semester of college at the University of South Florida. I was living in a dorm room, about to rush a sorority (unbeknownst to me, truthfully), and working as a hostess at The Cheesecake Factory. My hair was box-dyed dark, I was just a few months away from starting a health kick that would cause me to lose almost thirty pounds, and I hung out with a lot of people who weren't really my friends, while also maintaining a solid group of people who actually were

Losing all that weight left me in a complicated head space that I battled on and off for a couple of years. I became lactose intolerant(ish), which threw my body and my brain for a loop as I tried to re-learn what I could eat, while figuring out what was healthy for me to eat, and what that actually meant, period. I became obsessive about everything that went into my body, which was a fight that I thankfully overcame within a year or so.

I kissed a lot of frogs, and looking back, had questionable taste in men. I accepted far less than what I deserved, but I think most everyone does in their early 20s. At my worst, I was vindictive. I sought revenge. I let people walk all over me. I had a lot of fun, and I spent too much time with guys who would never matter. I had a few boyfriends, who taught me what I want and ultimately, what I didn't want out of a relationship. Early in the decade, I met a man at a bar who would, by the end of the decade, become my husband.

I went into the decade majoring in mass communication, with an idea that I wanted to work in magazines, or become an actress one day, while doing absolutely nothing productive toward either dream. Instead, I worked in restaurants and took on scattered types of internships with no real idea of how to become what I thought I wanted to be. I worked in sales until deciding to go back to school for speech-language pathology, got a master's degree, and started my dream job nearly right out of the grad program.

Having lived in a state where humidity is a continuous season for my entire life, I had dreams to move out of state. I thought about California, thought about Chicago, thought about literally any place that could give me something different than what I'd grown up around. I applied for graduate schools out of state, but remained in Tampa, just thirty minutes outside of my hometown, where we'll likely buy our first house.

Things happened a little differently than I envisioned, and like most, I'm so happy with the outcome. I'm a lot different at 29 than I was at 19, as I should be, and for that I am thankful. I work out to stay healthy and feel good in my clothing, not because I feel I need to look a certain way. I'm working a job that I had no idea about at the start of 2010, that I now love. I'm married to the love of my life; someone who makes me better just by being themselves. I've had plenty of difficult moments, weeks, and months. I've been stressed out and broken down and at my worst. But at the risk of sounding boastful, I closed the decade feeling ridiculously happy, fulfilled, and secure.

How did you feel about the last 10 years?


Saturday, January 4, 2020

going into 2020

As I get older, I've grown to love the start of a new year. Not in a "new year, new me" sense, but because I like the idea of a fresh start. New months to create new memories, to begin new journeys, to plan new adventures. I've had a pretty slow start to the year, and it has been so good for my soul.

We woke up late on New Year's Day after having a tad too much fun on New Year's Eve. I made pancakes and coffee, and Ryan made make-shift curtains out of blankets to block out the sun's glare while we binge-watched our remaining seven episodes of You on Netflix, taking a break only to pick up Thai food and take the dogs on a two mile walk around the neighborhood. It was quiet and lazy and perfect.

I haven't put a lot of thought into my New Year's Resolutions just yet. I like the idea of coming up with a word, but I'm having trouble committing. Right now, these words are floating around in my head:

- intentional
- confident
- adventure
- create
- habit
- grow

...or can my word just be "house," because that's our biggest goal of the year? 2020 is the year we finally hop out of this adorable shoebox of an apartment. It's been real and it's been nice, but having storage space and a bigger kitchen will be real nice. 

Goal wise, I have just a few:

- Read 12 books. My goal for the past two years (that I haven't hit for the past two years) has been 25 books, but truthfully, I didn't like the pressure of having to speed through a book just to get to the next one. I get using a number as a motivator to get yourself to read, but I want to thoroughly enjoy a story just for the sake of reading, so I changed it up a little this year.
- Attend one class at the gym per week. Because who doesn't love organized sweating? Just kidding. But it's nice to just be able to walk into the gym and not think about what to do, ya know?
- Be more intentional about what I put in my closet. This means not buying clothing on a whim just because I like it, but thinking about what actually looks good on me, what will hold up, and what I'll still like in the years to come.

Going into 2020 feels kind of strange, because 2019 was such a big year for us. It was the year we finally got married. I started working for a new organization, and learned more about my field and myself as a speech pathologist than I ever could have imagined. It was a year full of wedding planning, celebrating, and learning, and I think this year will look a lot different for the simple fact that we aren't planning a wedding anymore. I'm a bag of mixed emotions about that, although about 98% of that bag is filled with relief...ha!

How's your start to 2020? Have you chosen a word, or set any resolutions?

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