Wednesday, October 7, 2020

our home project lists: weekend, 6-month, long term

As the majority of you probably know, especially if you follow me on Instagram, my husband and I are new homeowners! We purchased our home right before COVID happened, and we've been super busy fixing it up ever since. I've heard from a few of you that you enjoy staying up to date on our home improvement whereabouts, so I thought I'd give you an idea of what we're working on, and what we have plans to do. Below each to-do list graphic, I go into a little more detail:

Since making these lists a couple of weeks ago, I've actually already stained and painted our bedroom dresser! I'll be writing a blog post about how we flipped our 6-drawer IKEA Tarva dresser within the next month. We love how it turned out! 

Painting our doors feels like such a daunting task, but I know it will really elevate the look of our home once they're completed. Right now, they're only primed, and look exactly like what they are: unfinished. We're just happy to be rid of the old, shabby looking wooden doors that came with the house. 

I'm not sure how Ryan manages to work from home out of our current office situation right now, because the closet situation is an absolute mess. Since we don't have any doors or shelving, nothing has a place, and we're not able to conceal it. AH. We truly need to sit down and plan out exactly how we want to build out both the office and guest room closets so we can get adequate use out of our storage space.

And then we have the guest bathroom. YIKES. The walls (and ceiling!) are the worst, shiny brown color and the tiles are simply old, outdated, and a little rough looking. Aside from small updates in the kitchen, this bathroom is really the only "big" interior work we have left to work on. Ideally, we want to revamp the entirety of the guest bathroom - get rid of the current push-in situation, do a tile surround, replace the countertops, and maybe even the tile. 

5. Ahhhh, caulking. A simple yet incredibly tedious job. I've been working on this on and off when I have a few hours open on the weekend. Crazy what a difference it makes, though! 

Our primary concern in this moment: our back porch and patio. Our current patio situation is an unfinished attempt at additional indoor square footage. We're talking insulated ceiling foam tiles, random wooden posts, and laminate "wood" wall coverings. YIKES AGAIN. I've been out to our backyard less than 10 times since moving in back in March, because it's such an eyesore. Thankfully, Ryan makes his way out there to mow the lawn. I would love to get this project going so that we can enjoy some chillier temps out on the porch during the next couple of seasons. I already have plenty of ideas brewing!

After we've seen how much new baseboards elevated the bedrooms, we would love to get rid of our current (old) 3/4 inch quarter rounds we have throughout the house and install some new boards to spruce up our living and dining areas. It's crazy how something as small as baseboards can make such a huge aesthetic difference.

Speaking of elevating our space, I think plantation shutters over our primary (and only) front-facing window would add such a beautiful touch to our home. I need to schedule someone to come out and give us a quote ASAP.

Ahhhh, the long term projects. AKA things that probably cost a lot of money, or require lots of time and research. 

As far as the kitchen goes, we actually have very minimal concerns. I'd like to get rid of the blue Formica counters and go for something a little more neutral, but our cabinets are pretty much brand new. When we first moved in, we had ideas of knocking out a couple small walls and making our kitchen/dining/living space more of an open concept, but I'm not sure that's something we'll actually end up doing. I think it's worth living in the space as is a bit longer before making any big decisions. 

We have the absolute perfect wall for a gorgeous, custom built entertainment center (think thick wooden open shelves, recess lighting, cabinets, etc.) buuuut per our contractor, it would be approximately $3k. Could we splurge and make it work right now? Maybe. But it's not something that's absolutely necessary in this moment. 

Back to our primary concern mentioned above: our outdoor space. Once the patio is complete, it would likely be in our best interest to even out our terrain, as it slopes down to a mangrove-y type of area (there is water behind our house, but it's very far back...basically it looks like woods in our backyard!). And then once that happens...I want a spool! In other words, a spa pool...err, basically a small pool. I would like a small pool. I think I only have to mention it to Ryan approximately 38,000 more times before it happens.

Our garage is organized chaos right now, but that feels like too big of a fish to fry right now. It's functional. Ultimately, I would love to spruce up the laundry area a bit, give Ryan a proper area to store his tools, and make it feel like less of a dark, boring space. I can dream, right?

To conclude: we have quite a bit on our plate. Sometimes, we make comments about how we wish we could have moved into something a little more "move in ready." But most of the time, we're pretty excited about making this space entirely our own.


Thursday, October 1, 2020

happy fall!

Like many, I am so excited for fall! There are so many things I love about summer - optimal margarita weather, day trips to the beach, poolside shenanigans - I live for cooler weather, comfy sweaters, and cozy decor. In a perfect world, I'd live some place where I could witness a true seasonal change in a timely fashion. But if that were the case, I wouldn't live 25 minutes from the beach, so I guess the grass is always seemingly greener.

I know fall is going to look a little different for everyone this year. Fewer haunted houses, fewer Halloween parties, smaller holiday gatherings. I wonder if trick-or-treating is even going to be a thing this year. 

A friend of mine told me that, after everything we've been through this year, she plans to lean into everything holiday related, and I plan to follow suit. I've been cranking out Halloween themed Boom Cards (check out my shop if you're a fellow SLP!) since September and buying fun fall decor to get into the spirit. Here's a little list of what I want to do so that I can be more intentional about how I spend this season:

What are you looking forward to about the new season?


Tuesday, September 1, 2020

get to know me

It's been awhile since I've shared a little "about me" post, and since I have some new readers, I thought I'd re-introduce myself! SO HEY. I'm Samantha (or Sam). Formerly Samantha Rose, now Samantha Fredericks. Well, not officially. Social security has been closed, and I need to [finally] mail in my documents. But long story longer - my married name is Samantha Fredericks. 

I'm a Florida native, born & raised.

I grew up on a Florida beach, but moved about 30 minutes inland when I was 11 years old so that my parents could keep horses on our property. I used to ride competitively on and off up until I was a teenager, and then my horse passed away a few years back. While my parents still keep several horses, I haven't ridden in years. I would love to change that by the end of this year (once the weather cools down a bit).

Speaking of weather, I love weather. 

There was a point in my early teenage years when I considered being a meteorologist, until I realized just how much math and science that degree requires. I check weather apps and radar every week so I know what type of weather to expect and stay on top of my hurricane apps during the season. I also love a solid weather disaster movie. I finally watched Twister for the first time a couple of months ago, but The Day After Tomorrow is one of my favorites.

I met my husband at a bar.

We met at a local Tampa bar almost seven years ago. I was semi-freshly out of a relationship, and while I was dating around a bit, I thought I wasn't ready for anything serious. But when I met him, I knew he was going to become my boyfriend. After six months, I had a feeling that I could spend the rest of my life with him. Four and a half years later, he proposed, and we got married on October 12th last year.

Speech-language pathology is my second "career."

I got my bachelor's degree in mass communication and started working in sales right out of school, but ended up getting my master's degree in speech-language pathology a few years later. Growing up, I never pictured myself in a "helping" career. As a speech-pathology grad student, I never anticipated just how much I'd love working with children with autism. Now it's pretty much my "specialty" at work, and I love it!

Growing up, I wanted to be an actress.

I took acting classes and participated in drama and productions in high school, but my parents were always very adamant about pursuing education first, and then I could "do whatever I want." Even though I've held a job since I was 16 years old, I was basically living on their dime throughout college, so I followed their guidance. I guess you could say that dream kind of fell to the wayside as years passed. While I enjoyed it, I'm not sure I was passionate enough about it to truly pursue it. Maybe I'll join an improv group or community theater down the line, though! 

Poodles are my love language.

(Don't tell our mixed breed, Einstein). I've had dogs for as long as I can remember - primarily poodles. I had two standard poodles until I was around 13, then we've had a family toy poodle since then. When I met Ryan, he sent me a Snapchat of his toy poodle, Benni, and I think that's when I knew we were meant to be. Poodle people for the win. Plus, I thought it was pretty cute that a 6'8 guy went to the animal shelter on a "study break" during his last college finals week and walked out with a toy poodle.

Other random bits and fun facts:

- I can't stand the song "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey.
- I'm naturally dirty blonde and get a "balayage" about 1-2 times a year...but I've been brunette twice. 
- I'd opt for loungewear over regular clothing any day of the week.
- I turn 30 next summer! This blows my mind, but I'm actually pretty excited about it.
- I am a Taylor Swift fan, through and through. I don't own a single CD player, but I will continue to buy a physical copy of any album she puts out. I'm loving folklore, and my favorite songs are august, exile, and my tears ricochet.
- I don't consider myself a picky eater (I'll try anything at least once!) but I don't like peanut butter or olives. Bleh.

Anything surprise you? Tell me something about you in the comments!


Friday, August 7, 2020

my (mostly) at-home workout routine

Prior to COVID-19, quarantine, and moving cities, Ryan and I went to the gym pretty frequently. Not in a "gym rat" kind of way - we just loved our local gym and had made it a part of our regular routine. Every morning before work, I packed a bag with workout clothes to head straight there after work most nights. Ryan went to classes almost every week day. On Sundays, we'd go to the 9 a.m. morning class outside in their "shed," then go to a smoothie place nearby for BOGO free smoothies, and occasionally Burger King to split an Impossible Whopper (LOL). Honestly, our gym was one of the reasons we wanted to stay in Tampa vs. buying a house in St. Pete. Crazy, right?

Obviously, it wasn't enough to hold us back. We bought a house in St. Pete, and we were in the midst of searching for new gyms in the area when COVID happened. Even though we started working out from home almost immediately, our workouts looked a lot different. I've gained 10 pounds since my wedding back in October. At first, I thought, "maybe I'm drinking more wine? maybe I'm not paying attention to what I'm eating?" even though I felt like not much had changed. What had changed? The intensity of my workouts. I went from burning 300-500 calories 3-5x/week to 150-300 calories 2-3x/week. Definitely a difference!

I'll be the first to say I am no fitness guru, nor do I have a desire to be. Throw it back 8-10 years, and I thought about every calorie I ate, what my next meal would be, how I could fit in another workout. No thanks, not for me. My body has changed over the years, and with that, so has my mindset. I don't need to be the fittest, or even the strongest person in the room. I just want to feel comfortable with myself. My biggest goal? To fit into the jeans I already own come the cooler months. Ha! I have too much to buy for this house to have to go out and buy new jeans, too. 

While some are going back to the gym (and that's fine! you do you, guys), we haven't had a giant desire to start at a new gym, so I thought I'd share how I'm trying to stay in shape at home.


Note: this is the only thing I'm not doing from home. The pool following CDC guidelines. While it's all outside, we do have to wear a mask upon entering. They have even and odd lates starting from different ends of the pool. You have to sign up for lanes way in advance to prevent crowding. Long story short: I feel super safe when I'm there.

I swam competitively from the time I was 9 years old until I graduated high school. Country club summer teams, year-round swim teams, high school teams, you name it. While I was always more of a fan of the community and the swim meets versus actual practice, there is no arguing that swimming is a great workout. I haven't swam laps in years, so a couple months ago I bought myself a new suit, a couple caps, a new pair of goggles, and a kick board, and signed myself up for a lap membership at a pool where I grew up swimming. I'm only able to swim about once a week because of my work schedule, but it's been a fun way to vary my workouts! A plus: I get a tan without the sweat. Sign me up.


I started doing yoga at home when I signed up for AloMoves, which I later swapped for Peloton, just out of personal preference (cheaper per month, music during workouts, community feel). I love the variety of classes - I primarily do flow yoga, but I'll do a "power" yoga when I'm feeling like I want a more intense workout without too much hopping around. I'll do yoga anywhere from 1-3x/week, depending on my mood (lately, it's been like 1). I have yet to do a class at home for longer than 30 minutes (I know most in person classes are 60-90 minutes) but that's all I have the attention span for while at home, if I'm being honest.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

I've also been using the Peloton app for HIIT and strength classes, which vary anywhere from 5-45 minutes. I have to get myself motivated for these classes, because sometimes I have zero desire to do a burpee, alone, with one really "forcing" me to do it. However, I know my body, and I need a good amount of cardio to keep in shape! So incorporating a HIIT class 1-2x/week has been a necessity for me. I could probably do more, buuuuut...nah.


This is what I am most excited about! Since we're no longer going to the gym, we took the plunge (amongst many others) and bought a Peloton. We ordered it right before my birthday in late June, and finally received it this past Wednesday (August 5th). I've only done one class on it so far, but it killed me. I love that you can sign up for live classes and watch the leaderboard to see how you rank with others all over the world (or not! you can hide it, too). I'm pumped to incorporate it into my regular workout routine. I know COVID will eventually pass, but we still thought of this purchase as a good investment. When we eventually have kids, it'll be helpful to have some kind of [motivating] exercise equipment in the house. 

Now that we have our Peloton, I anticipate my weekly workout routine to look more like (example schedule): 

HIIT 1x/week (Tuesdays)
Cycling 2-3x/week (Mondays, Thursdays, and/or Saturdays)
Swimming 1x/week (Fridays)
Yoga 1-2x/week (Wednesdays and/or Sundays)

I love having a variety in my workouts, and I just want to keep myself moving everyday, so I'm excited to see the results of a consistent routine, now that I finally have one nailed down.

What have you been doing to stay in shape this year?


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

our home buying process

If you've been around here for awhile, you know I've been talking about us buying a house for a long time. It was actually one of my goals for 2019, per my personal journal. But with wedding expenses (and my new student loan payment), most of our money was going elsewhere. Additionally, our apartment lease was going to end less than 10 days after returning from our honeymoon in Hawaii. We didn't want to feel pressured to buy a house that we didn't love, so we decided to wait.

That's not to say we didn't begin our hunt before then. We started neighborhood hunting around Tampa in the early months of 2019. We'd hop in the car on a random Sunday afternoon and browse around "SOG" (south of Gandy - a semi-cheaper area of south Tampa, which is $$$) and different neighborhoods of Seminole Heights (Riverside Heights, Southeast Seminole Heights, Old Seminole Heights). We thought about looking around the St. Pete area, where I grew up, but it wasn't at the front of our minds. Even though I worked in St. Pete, we both felt confident that we wanted to continue our lives in Tampa. A lot of our friends live in Tampa, we loved our gym, we loved Bayshore Boulevard, we had our go-to restaurants and stores. Tampa was our home.

We perused open houses to get an idea of what we liked (master bedrooms that could fit a king size bed) vs. what we didn't like (narrow kitchens). We were heavily researching, but with the wedding in the works, we didn't feel comfortable making any big decisions.

We got married in October, and started to take our search a little more seriously a couple weeks later. We chose our real estate agent - a family friend who'd helped both my parents and my sister buy and sell their homes over the last 20 years - and went to our first official round of showings.

Our initial requirements:
  • 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
  • 1,200 + square feet
  • Minimal work required
We quickly realized that we had a lot more to consider. And we learned a lot in that initial showing.

For example...
  • Quick flips = chocolate covered cockroaches. Newly renovated doesn't mean carefully renovated. 
  • Master bedrooms don't always coexist with an ensuite bathroom.
  • It doesn't matter how much you love the house if you don't like the street.
Needless to say, we saw a lot of duds...but we remained hopeful!

In January, we went for a longer house hunt in St. Pete. We visited about six homes in varying neighborhoods. The first one, a 3/2 with a two car garage, was in a beautiful neighborhood (secluded street, close to the water, less than 15 minutes from downtown), but needed a lot of work. Both bathrooms were looking rough, the porch was awful, the doors had seen better days, etc. Unfortunately, it was listed too high for us to consider, given all that needed to be done. Pass.
The next few houses were in okay neighborhoods, but featured awkward layouts, half bathrooms listed as the second bathroom, and cheap renovations. Pass pass pass. 

We went to a few more showings with our realtor during the next month or so. Sometimes we saw six showings in one trip; other times we went to visit just one home. We continued to visit open houses on our own as a pre-screening before deciding if we wanted to consider it as a serious option. It was a fun weekend activity for us, until we actually started liking a house only to see it go to somebody else. We visited one we'd been eyeing for months in a cute historic neighborhood in Seminole Heights, just steps away from a few restaurants, breweries, and shops, only to find it was pending sale by the end of its first open house. Ouch.

Zillow searching became the bane of my existence. Even though our budget was pretty generous for a first home, I began to fall into the trap of "if only we had X amount of $ instead, then we could find the perfect home." Not fun, nor fair, for us.

In early February, I went to an art show with my mom and sister in Gulfport, a cute little beach town in the St. Pete area. On a whim, I asked my mom if she wanted to drive around some of the neighborhoods we'd been looking at in St. Pete. I offered to take her past the initial house in St. Pete (3/2/2, awful porch). As we entered the neighborhood, my mom began cooing and singing its highest praises immediately.

"Look at how well everyone keeps their yard! That's a great school nearby! Look, you're tucked away! Oh, a park! Oh, I love it! You need to reconsider this house." We drove past it 2-3 times in several circles around the neighborhood. It was the strangest feeling. It was in those few moments, after a quick conversation with my mom, that I thought to myself, "huh. yeah, this feels right." 

I went home to our apartment that night and discussed it with Ryan. We figured we should at least take a look at the house from a different perspective, and we arranged another showing with our realtor. Between our initial showing and our second, the seller had dropped the listing price by about $15k, which made the opportunity even more attractive.

After our second showing, we wanted the house, no doubt about it. Naturally, so did another couple. Suddenly, a house that had been on the market for months was potentially slipping out of our grasp. WHAT IN THE FRESH HELL, AM I RIGHT? 

I believe the other couple placed an offer that felt too low to the seller, so she opted to see what we wanted to do. On Valentine's Day, we popped a bottle of wine as we officially submitted our offer. It was accepted a few days later, and we awaited inspection and the appraisal (albeit, impatiently). While the seller initially wanted a 45 day close, our realtor worked his magic and negotiated a 30-day close. As it turned out, the seller found a new home very quickly, and we were able to close in less than 30 days. 

And if you're doing a timeline in your head, why yes - we closed on Friday, March 13th, just days before the entire country went into lockdown due to COVID-19. What a time to be alive, right? More like, what a time to have to go to home improvement stores every single day of your life.

  • We started looking for houses about a year in advance, but the actual house hunt took less than 6 months.
  • We opted for a house that needed a lot of work, but was in a desirable neighborhood.
  • We closed on our house in less than 30 days.
It's been almost five months since we moved in, and it's true what "they" say: home improvement is a marathon, not a sprint. We've gotten so much done in such a short amount of time, but we still have a whole lot we want to do, a lot we want to buy, a lot we want to consider. Despite the work, it has been so worth it to watch it all come together!

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