Tuesday, November 17, 2020

small changes making a big impact

You guys, it has been a year. 

Right? We all know this. We're over it.

Living through a pandemic has impacted literally everybody. Even if we've been able to find a silver lining amidst the chaos, I think most of us could safely say that we would have been a whoooole lot happier without COVID-19 and its hoopla. 

I digress.

Like many, I've learned a lot about myself since March. For example: I am actually far more of an anxious person than I ever gave myself credit for, and I've been trying to navigate that by finding ways to spark joy and reduce anxiety. Here's a short list of what's been working for me so far:


Wednesday, November 4, 2020

my first "currently" of 2020

It has been over a year since my last "currently" blog post. I could chalk that up to all the craziness in 2019 (planning a wedding, getting married), or I could blame it on 2020 (you just know). Alas, here we are. From new shows to new clothes, here's what's been going on in my little world lately:


The Haunting of Hill House - As much as I love learning about hauntings and ghosts, I have become a nervous Nelly over the years ( puns!). I was hesitant to watch this show, but I'm so glad I did. Absolutely loved it. It definitely has its jumpy parts, and I wouldn't watch it alone, but the story was just too good, and it was beautifully filmed. The twists! The turns! 10/10 recommend. 

The Haunting of Bly Manor - Started watching just before Halloween, but we're only a few episodes in! Just as chilling, but not as "jumpy" so far.

Schitt's Creek - Season 6 is finally out on Netflix. AHHHH. Surprisingly, Ryan and I haven't quite "binged" it yet, but I think it's because we're sad to have it all come to an end. We're not doing anything for Halloween, but I think I might dress up as Alexis and gallivant around the house doing her voice and mannerisms. Mmmmm, happy Halloween!

Emily in Paris - Mixed thoughts about this one. I love Lily Collins, but there isn't anything exactly novel about this show. Her neighbor in the show is nice to look at, so that's reason enough for me. I'll definitely finish the season, but I wouldn't say it's anything to write home about.

The election results - I started drafting this post a few weeks back, but how could I not add this to my "watching" list? As of now, we're still awaiting final results and my anxiety levels are hiiiiiigh.


I have been slow in the reading game this past month, and I think it's because the two books I've started are nonfiction, which takes me a bit to get through. I started reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle, but then put it down once October hit to read I'll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara for a little spooky thrill. I haven't really sat down to read in awhile, so I haven't given myself the time to catch interest in either book. I'm hoping to give both of them a real shot over the next few weeks. 

Kinda feeling like I need to hop into another fiction read, though. Anyone else have a hard time with nonfiction? I rarely get that "I have to know what happens next!" feeling.


Lots and lots and lots of Boom cards! I'm so glad I got into making these for my patients this year. Not only does it save me a lot of prep time, but I'm happy I get to use my speech and language knowledge to create a passive income. 

Our house a home! I think both Ryan and I got a little winded from all the renovations and seemingly endless projects. Our doors still aren't painted, baseboards still need to be calked, and it's time we got started on that guest bathroom, but we're slowly getting things together again. We just had someone give us a quote for plantation shutters on ONE window ($1200!!! For ONE!), and we're in the process of figuring out what to do with our backyard/porch situation. In the last few weeks, I've taken on some smaller projects, like framing and hanging wedding photos. Our home feels more cozy with our special moments hanging on the walls.

What are you up to lately?


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!


Friday, July 10, 2020

Black Lives Matter.

What an interesting couple of months it's been, right?

Actually, "interesting" feels tame. Between COVID-19 outbreaks all over Florida and the Black Lives Matter protests, this year is continuing to throw us all for a loop.

I rarely post on my personal Facebook account, but when all of the protests began, I knew I had to speak up and make my stance known. Systemic isn't a political issue; it's a human rights issue. And while I've never considered myself to be racist, I can admit that I haven't been actively anti-racist either. Ryan and I have both made a commitment to change that.

I, as a white person, am privileged. I’m privileged simply because I was born to two white parents. I’m sure you’ve heard it by now, but to my fellow white friends and family who are concerned: no one is saying your life isn’t hard. But the color of your skin isn’t something that’s making it harder.

If you weren’t aware,
▪️Black people are 2x more likely to be unemployed.
▪️Black students are 3x more likely than white students to be suspended for the same infractions.
▪️When Black people are convicted, they are about 20% more likely to be sentenced to jail time, and typically see sentences 20% longer than those for whites who were convicted of similar crimes.
▪️Black drivers are 30% more likely to be pulled over.
▪️Black women are 4x more likely to die from child birth.

I know a good majority of the world right now like to refer to facts they don't agree with as "fake news," but the racism in this country is real, even if it hasn't affected you or you haven't seen it personally.

I think it’s important to share this information because I want to make a clear message to any of my friends, family, and followers who might be harboring even the slightest racist inclination: you SHOULD be feeling uncomfortable. There is no excuse.

It’s not “us” against “them.” It should be ALL of us against RACISM.
There is so much more that could be said, but that’s what I’m putting into the universe for now. Words aside, let’s put our money where our mouths are. If you’d like to donate toward a cause, I’ve rounded up a few:

Black Lives Matter

The Loveland Foundation - side note: I absolutely love this cause! 

Minnesota Freedom Fund

Campaign Zero

NAACP Legal Defense Fund

I've also been loving the highlighting of Black-owned businesses, big and small. Ever since our wedding, I've been a big fan of browsing through goods on Etsy, so I thought I'd highlight a few  Black-owned Etsy shops that I've come across this month:

HortikiPlants - Eco-friendly container gardening kits.

The Everyday Print Co - Modern Afro wall art and prints.

Pontie Wax - so busy they're closed to fulfill orders! 100% soy candles (my personal favorite). Linking for when they open back up!

On the Edge Creations - custom made portraits! These are my favorite kinds of prints. So cute for a fun wedding guestbook, and what dog lover wouldn't want a portrait of their pooch?

Decadent Mini - OKAY, THIS IS SO COOL. Handmade scented food jewelry? Color me intrigued. Check out these cute little cinnamon roll earrings! She has great seasonal stuff, too, for those of you who like to have fun jewelry for the holidays.

Breezy Tee - towel wraps, headbands, and scrunchies that help protect hair from damage. How beautiful is this head wrap?

I know a post on social media can only do so much, but like many, I think that making your stance known is a better move than not saying anything at all. Again, this is a human rights issue, my friends. While it's disappointing that it's taken all of us so long to make big, consistent strides, I sincerely hope this is a trend that persists. I'm committing to learning (and un-learning, if need be), growing, and educating others. I hope you will be, too.

Black Lives Matter. 


Monday, June 29, 2020

back to blogging!

Oh, hey. It's been awhile.

I'm normally not one to comment on how long it's been since I've posted, but I feel I owe it to this space, and to my readers, however few and far between.

My goals for this blog have ebbed and flowed over the years. I've had periods of collaboration after collaboration, gifted opportunities, hosted meals, occasional pay. When I first started, I was in the midst of a sales job, on the brink of quitting to go to graduate school, and felt like the blogging world was my oyster. And sometimes, it still feels that way!

But over the years, my priorities have shifted. I made my way through grad school, and I'm working four 10-hour days each week. I got engaged, planned a wedding, got married, and we bought a house! I've had a lot going on - a lot worth documenting - but I just haven't felt the same urge to sit down and document it anymore. And that makes me sad to think about, because I love writing! I love sharing! I want to connect with others, and look back on my posts for years to come. Blogging used to be my own way of story telling, and I do miss it.

That being said, new life changes brought on new hobbies, like renovating and decorating our first home. I started making Boom cards for work (think Teachers Pay Teachers, but like an app), which has been a fun way to earn a little extra cash. I've also started passing the time by doing puzzles, watching movies, and reading books. I dream up ideas for blog posts every week with the intention to write one on my days off, and then I don't. 

I've gotten down on myself about blogging in the last year or two. As other local bloggers started making better connections, landing more collaborations, and ultimately working harder than I do, my desire to share started to dwindle. Blogging just to tell my story began to feel silly, to be honest. I was constantly reading about needing to have a niche, needing to provide purpose to my readers, needing to produce more more more, and in truth, I just didn't make the time for that. I didn't want that.

Anddddd, you know what? That's okay! There is no "right way" to blog, especially as a hobby. There is no need to harp on my mindset shift. There might not even be a reason to be like "heeeeey, remember me? I stopped blogging because XYZ." But I do miss sharing my life. I want to post more about our wedding. I want to [finally] post a million pictures from our honeymoon in Hawaii. I want to dive into our home renovation plans, our house buying process, my favorite books, all the things...just not on a timeline. No apologies, no expectations. All fun.


Monday, May 25, 2020

memorial day weekend | what I bought (and what’s on sale!)

'Tis the season for shopping! Right? Perhaps. When quarantine first hit, I had literally zero desire to shop for anything...even home stuff, despite the fact that we just bought our first house. But lately, I've been getting the itch! I have almost no interest in buying clothing fit for a brunch date with the girls or a date night with Ryan, because to be honest, I still don't feel like making big plans just yet. But loungewear, workout clothing, and swim suits...count me in!

I decided to round up some items I've purchased recently and loved. Most are on sale, so what better time to scoop them up? (if you're in the market for something...we're all in different financial situations given the current state of the world. remember - you don't need anything!).


Aerie Play Real Me 7/8 High Waisted Leggings - $27.96 -  (pictured below) I've talked about these before, and I will talk about them until the end of time. I LOVE THESE LEGGINGS. I got paint on my navy blue pair when we first moved into our house, so I scooped up a new pair while they were on sale for under $30. These are literal butter. Only downside - they do show sweat. I've been working out at home, so I don't care much about that right now. But these are my absolute favorite for taking out the dogs, running errands, or just hanging out around the house.

Aerie Play Real Me High Waisted 7/8 Legging

lululemon Free to Be Sports Bra - $48 - (pictured above). Okay, this is the only one that's not on sale because most of lululemon is never on sale (sigh), but this is my new favorite sports bra. I'm typically a medium in sports bras because of my broad shoulders. I ordered an 8 in this bra and it fits perfectly! Definitely more of a splurge than I usually go for, but I always reach for it.

Adidas Cloudfoam Pure Shoes - $49 - Hands down my favorite sneakers for walking and for work. Not a fan of them for running/working out, but they're a solid pair for athleisure. So light! Marked down from $70 to $49.

Nike Tempo Running Shorts - $22.97 -  (pictured below) I've been on the hunt for a good pair of athletic shorts and I completely forgot about these bad boys! It's SO HOT in Florida already, and most times, I'd rather reach for shorts than leggings (and I haven't hopped on the bike shorts train). So easy to pull on and go!

Aerie Jacquard Longline V Scoop Bikini Top - $34.95 (with their high cut cheeky!) - Purchased both in Fresh Bright. I love Aerie everything, but especially their swim suits. High cheeky bottoms are my favorite!
Also, if you love this swim suit, it's a part of the sale, too! Bottoms here, similar top here.


I've purchased quite a bit for our home lately, but next to none of it is on sale right now. If you're still interested in where I got what, you can follow me on Like to Know It, but I figured I'd just share what's on sale! When I posted our bedroom update on Instagram, I had a few people ask me where the rug was from. I went back and forth about buying this rug for weeks, and I am SO HAPPY I went for it. It's gorgeous in person!

Summer sales are my favorite! I'm holding out for a new couch, maybe around 4th of July or Labor Day. What's been your favorite sale to shop this weekend? 


Tuesday, April 21, 2020

what i've been up to, quarantine edition

Here is a brief update of things I've been doing/working on during the quarantine. This is not to say that I am productive every day, or even 50% of every day. I'm doing the best I can. Like most, I'm being thrown for a loop right now. Some evenings, I look back on my day and think, "what did I even do today?" And I refuse to shame myself for that.

Now, on to the good stuff. In the last couple weeks, I have been...

  • Making from-scratch meals at home. We had several cook books on our wedding registry, and since moving into our house with a full-size kitchen to work with (and all this newfound time on my hands), I've been keen to experiment more in the kitchen. I made a couple recipes from Cravings - lemony arugula spaghetti caccio e peppe (with linguine, since that's all we had) and sriracha caesar salad (with added sardines...because I discovered that I like them?!). I even threw together a prosciutto and arugula salad with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella tossed together with lemon juice and olive oil for lunch one day last week. Putting together meals that are a couple steps outside of my comfort zone has been a lot of fun for me - I think my husband has especially enjoyed this new hobby of mine, as well.
    *Food photography to improve over the course of this quarantine, hopefully.

  • Researching home decor + furniture until my fingertips bleed. Dramatic, but seemingly accurate. I haven't spent time thinking about how to decorate in so long, and it feels overwhelming. I'm the queen of indecision (trying to work on it), and I'm also torn between wanting to invest our money in quality pieces and stretching our budget by spending money on cheaper alternatives. Style wise, I'm drawn to a combination of modern, bohemian, and farmhouse. Isn't that called "eclectic?" To be determined. 
  • Reading. I've already read two and a half books since the start of COVID-19 (half a book meaning I finished a book I'd been reading for about a month beforehand). I set my GoodReads goal a little lower this year (12 books instead of 25) so that I could alleviate my focus from how many books I'm reading to how much I am actually enjoying a book. I've been mostly sticking to contemporary romance novels this year. I'm planning on writing a post about the books I've read in the last year soon!

  • Wondering why I've never attempted to make my blog a full-time job. Ha! Just kidding, but really. In truth, I know I've never put forth a great effort to monetize this blog. It's always been fun for me to write about my life, and even though I talk about things I buy and enjoy, I hardly consider myself an "influencer." I love to write and share stories, and that's why I blog. I've (personally) always felt like it's kind of hard to capitalize on that. Unless, of course, I wrote a book. 
  • Signing up for SkillShare. My aforementioned point. I've always loved writing, ever since I was little. It's even been said that I'm a good writer ( know, by my family and composition professors in early college). I used to have book ideas flittering about in my brain pretty frequently. In the last few years, my inspiration, motivation, and dedication to the craft fell by the wayside. I've been wanting to take a few creative writing and character development courses, just to see if I can spark an old flame. I may never write a book, but it'll certainly never write itself! 

If you have a lot of new time on your hands right now, what have you been doing with it?


Thursday, April 16, 2020

officially joining the quarantine

Greetings, from the strangest days we've all lived through thus far.

What a month it has been, right?

We bought our house on Friday, March 13th. It feels like a lifetime ago when it's been just 34 days. Groups of less than 250 were still able to gather in public places. Ryan and I didn't think twice before going out to lunch as a mini-celebration of our closing. We went to a wedding the next evening. We were on the brink of change, and like many, didn't realize just how quickly it was going to alter every aspect of our lives.

But even though it's been about 4-6 weeks since everything started unraveling, it didn't really hit me until about a week ago, when my work situation officially changed.

I work as a speech-language pathologist at a pediatric outpatient facility. In the last month, we went from seeing our full caseloads, to no patients, to medical-priority patients. More recently, I went from working my usual four days per week to one day per week. I have to take PTO (up to negative 80 hours) for the other three days until that runs out. Or that's the plan for now, anyway. What I've learned lately is that while nothing is certain, things could certainly be worse for me. All I can do is roll with the punches, and that's what I will continue to do.

Until this point, it's been difficult for me to relate to everyone "quarantining." Going to work each day (sans patients), seeing my co-workers, taking a lunch break all felt relatively normal. I watched TikTok's to "bored in the house and I'm in the house bored," and I thought to myself, "what's that like?"

Alas, now I know, because I'm among the people whose worlds have been totally flipped upside down. I might be late on the uptake, but I think it's finally time I let myself grieve the loss of normalcy. I know this is not forever. But it is right now, and it is for the foreseeable future. And while society is telling me to make the most of this time, I think it's okay to figure out what that is going to look like for me...and if that means I've spent the last day and a half on the couch with my head in a spin trying to figure out how to proceed, then that's what that means.

How have you been handling COVID-19? What does life look like for you right now?


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.


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.

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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