Monday, September 1, 2014

Budgeting bloggers: August

Welp, it was another rough month, clothing-wise. I would have been okay, but I had to buy a couple of bras. Why the heck do those have to be so dang expensive, anyway? I mean, I do shop Victoria's Secret, and they were running a special that got me a free weekend tote with my $100 bra purchase, so I guess that's kind of nice, right?

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1. H&M dress via garage sale. Don't worry, this isn't a bed bug risk; my friend had a garage sale and I loved this. | $4
2. Shirt via garage sale. Because I can never have too many striped shirts, right? | $2
3. Merona maxi skirt via Target. I seriously don't want to take this off, ever. It's the comfiest. Can I has one in every color? Seriously on clearance alert for this one. | $19.99 {exact}
4. Mossimo bikini top. Because it's been three years since I bought a new one. | $17.99 {exact, now on sale}
5. Mossimo bikini top. Because one bikini top just isn't enough! | $19.99 {exact, now on sale}
6. Mossimo boyshort bikini bottom. My old bottoms were still cute and fit, but I like having a slightly more full-coverage option too. | $19.99
7. Etsy necklace. My friend Corinne has an Etsy shop, and I bought this awesome necklace. I love the long chain and the cute pendant! | $8.96 {link to shop}
8. Two Victoria's Secret bras, not pictured because I'm weird about that. Still, they're great bras and I definitely recommend them. No picture of the weekend bag, oops...| $48 each {exact}


Total: $196.97 with tax. Okay so maybe September will be a no-clothes-shopping month, haha. How did you all do on your budgets this month?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

White pants

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blouse: The Limited via Discount Fashion Warehouse
slacks: Express via DFWh
heels: Target
necklace: Etsy

Oh, white pants. You are both awesome and terrifying. I mean, I'm a clumsy person. I knock things over and drop things and spill things like it's my job. And yet, I own a pair of white slacks, a pair of white denim capris and a white skirt. And thus far (knock on wood) I've managed to wear all three on multiple occasions without incident.

In other news, I've been crafting up a storm lately. Working on our DIY wedding flowers, making our save-the-date magnets (tutorial coming soon) and sending off invitations to my friend Hayley's baby shower have all kept me busy.

Fortunately, there's a long weekend coming up and I don't have any plans besides GSD: Getting Shiz Done. Bonus: Matt's going out of town one of the nights so I won't be temped to pull another lazy Saturday watching movies on the couch ;) Please tell me I'm not the only one who's more productive when her significant other isn't around!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Vacation, wish it would never end

Guys, I have a confession to make. I was actually MIA most of last week! Those last two posts? Scheduled in advance so I could unplug and just enjoy some much-needed down time at a beach house in Corolla, NC, in the Outer Banks. Matt and I left before sunrise Wednesday morning, drove all day, and hit the sand about 12 hours later. His aunt and uncle had rented a house and invited everyone on that side of the family to join them!

Sorry, did I say house? That place was a freaking McMansion. And it had to be, with the number of people staying there; even with all those bedrooms, some folks were sharing rooms and others were sleeping on couches. By the most incredible stroke of luck, Matt and I arrived the day another couple left, so we scored a master bedroom with a king-size bed, the most gorgeous shower I've ever seen (seriously you could have thrown a party in it) and the corner of a wraparound porch that overlooked the ocean.

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View from the balcony.

Let me tell you, there is just nothing like falling asleep every night with nothing but the sound of the waves in your ears.

We drove back Saturday, which we realized in retrospect was definitely too short of a stay. And I've been spending the last three days just trying to re-acclimate to life in central Ohio, where the nearest large body of water tends to be infested with algae this time of year. Talk about heartbreaking.

Anyway, I mostly just laid on the beach all day, with occasional breaks to join Matt as he frolicked in the sea. And of course, many photos were taken. I took my DSLR, but was so afraid of getting sand in it that I wound up shooting mostly with my phone. I did manage to brave the beach with Lucy (aka my camera, which I literally just this second named) and get some nice shots. This post has a mix of the two.

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Our group did not make any of these sand creations. We just admired them. And in the corner there you can see Matt kayak surfing, which he spent approximately seven hours doing over the course of two days. I tried it and even rode it in without tipping, but I was too intimidated by Matt's frequent spills to do it a second time.

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I did let him take me out in the kayak before I tried it solo. We rolled coming in on a wave and I took a paddle to the cheekbone while he got conked on the head with the kayak itself. Still kinda fun. I managed not to lose those sunglasses, or my phone, so that was a big success.

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Matt's little cousin and their aunt. Adorable.

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Critter shells and live critters.

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I took a LOT of pseudo-artsy photos like these. The sun wasn't quite setting yet, and the light was kind of cool. Lots of folks were still milling about on the beach, so I didn't get as many long shots as I would have liked. If you're interested in seeing anything else like these, check out my Flickr album.

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Naturally, some slackline shenanigans were in order.

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And then there's this. This, my friends, is the surf & turf at the Paper Canoe in Duck. (Yes, the town is called Duck. I love it.) If you're ever in OBX, you must go there. I didn't get photos of the appetizer (littleneck clams in a bacon tomato broth) because frankly, we inhaled them before it could even occur to me. Don't let the name fool you--I don't think I've ever had such meaty clams. This sucker, of course, was so stunning that I could barely dig in at first. It was beautiful. And everything was cooked so. damn. well. That steak just about melted in my mouth. I also failed to get a shot of dessert (blueberry crème brûlée) because I was a little tipsy (great wine, too) and frankly, I was nearly catatonic what with my full belly, haha. They practically had to roll me out of the restaurant.

We were trying to stretch it out to catch the sunset, as the place is on the west side of the island (the sound side) and it would have been gorgeous, but we were off by about an hour. I could probably have stayed and just napped until sunset, but somehow I thought that would be in poor taste. Still, that would have been the only thing that could have made a sensational meal literally perfect. Okay. Enough gushing.

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Don't let anyone tell you the Atlantic can't put on a pretty sunset.

The best thing about this vacation, I think, is that we actually took it. We do the occasional weekend trip to the Red or New river gorges, and we've done a long weekend to visit my sister and brother-in-law in South Carolina, but we haven't taken a real vacation together since my senior year in college. Four years ago. And I'll say this: Our little trip has me really excited for our honeymoon next year :)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Engagement photo outfit #1

Technically this was the third outfit of the day, but it was the only one we shot some solo blog pics of so I'm featuring it first. I'll show some of the other shots later, when I eventually get around to editing them. All photos in this post were shot by my friend and bridesmaid Emily and edited by me.

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shirt: TJ Maxx
capris: Michael Kors via TJ Maxx
sandals: BCBG via TJ Maxx
necklace: gifted

Kudos to Meghan, who totally called this outfit combo in my last Budgeting Bloggers post. You win...my awe at your sartorial psychic powers! (And to the rest of you guys, she's totally working with a few other bloggers to give away a Kindle Paperwhite for the next few days...check it out at the link!)

And because it was Emily shooting me, I did all sorts of silly things in addition to actually, you know, posing. Stuff like this:

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That look on Matt's face? That's probably him wondering why he ever decided to marry me. Or maybe he's contemplating how boring life would be without me. Who knows.

Anyway, I was excited to shoot with an actual person instead of a tripod, and one of my FAVORITE persons at that, and in a new location (downtown Columbus)! I've since renewed my campaign to get Emily to move to Columbus and become my full-time blog photographer. I think I've almost got her...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A sharper image

Okay, yesterday things got a bit heavy and I was/am dealing with some triggers. I'd be lying if I said I'm feeling back to 100% normal, but my motto is "fake it till ya make it" so I'm just gonna do that. We now return to your regularly scheduled frivolity.

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t-shirt: thrifted
jeans, flats: Target
belt: H&M
necklace: Jane

In other news, I am so so relieved to finally be showing some fairly sharp pics again on the blog. I think I've finally figured out the weirdness I was experiencing, namely that I had changed my focus area settings without realizing it and was messing around with pre-focusing my camera on a stationary object instead of letting the remote focus for me because apparently my cheapo remote does that. That noise you hear is me cheering, obvs. And okay, maybe these still aren't totally perfect but they're such a vast improvement from the entirely-out-of-focus-crap I've been shooting that I don't even care.

I don't usually tuck my t-shirts into my jeans because hello, nerd alert but honestly, the pearls kind of give it more of a ladylike vibe than a dorky one, I think. Plus, leopard print. Speaking of, this is an H&M belt so obviously it is falling apart after like a year of ownership, so I am in desperate need of a replacement. Never thought I'd be saying that about something with leopard print on it, but there you go. So, a call-out: Has anyone seen something like this belt recently, at a reasonable price?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I wish you free, Genie.


Those who have been following this blog for any length of time know that I am fairly upfront about my struggle with depression. When I read yesterday that Robin Williams had passed away in an apparent suicide, my heart broke. I was never a huge Robin Williams die-hard fan; in fact, at times I found his free-association style a bit annoying. The two movies of his that I really, really enjoy ever time have already been referenced in this post. It wasn't merely that a Hollywood legend and icon had left this world; it was the manner by which he left.

Williams too was fairly vocal about his struggle with depression. And yet, there are many who heard the news and thought, "How could someone who brought so much laughter be that far gone?" "I never would have expected him to commit suicide."

And therein lies the problem with mental health awareness.

The plain and simple fact is that depression is silent more often than not. On my very worst days, the days I contemplated flooring my car into a tree and just being done with it, I went to work or class and made everyone believe that nothing was wrong. I smiled. I joked. I wore a mask to hide the fact that inside, I was dying more slowly than I would have liked. And that's exactly what many people who suffer from depression do.

Because depression has a stigma. Because it gets really old hearing people ask, "What do you have to be depressed about? You have X, Y and Z going for you. Life should be grand." Because depression isn't always the product of something that happened or didn't happen. Because depression can be the result of a chemical imbalance in your body. You wouldn't tell someone to just "snap out of" having diabetes, would you? And yet, that's exactly how mental illness often is viewed in our society.

Perhaps a friend of mine put it better:

Mental illness affects all kinds of people. It doesn't have a look or a type. It doesn't care what you do, how much money you make, or whether or not you have the talent to make people laugh. Someone who looks happy on the outside could be fighting some nasty demons on the inside. So, to honor Mr. Williams, I would like to get rid of some of the stigma that comes with mental illness. It is a daily struggle for some. I am one of them. I fight my own demons. Tonight, I want you to know that you are not alone. You are worthy, and you are enough.

Please let this tragedy serve as a reminder to us all. It is impossible to guess what any other person you encounter in life--whether it be your barista in the morning or your friend at work or your life partner--might be hiding. Be kind to those around you, and educate yourself on what depression is and what it looks like.

And if you personally are struggling, please know that you are not alone. Believe me, I know that you feel you are. I know that depression is isolating and crippling and terribly, terribly lonely. But I know something else, too: Depression lies. (And while I'm linking to The Bloggess, here also is this bit of brilliance and a list of things that might help.

One last word to anyone out there who might be feeling desperate: Please, please, please just take two seconds to reach out to someone in your life. Anyone. I promise you, they will be glad you did. And if you think you have no one, please call a suicide hotline. They want to help you. In the U.S. and Canada, you can call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). If you're outside these areas, here is a list of suicide crisis lines worldwide.

I'll end this post with one last thought from Dead Poets Society: "Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary."

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Day off

Not that I really need it, seeing as how I'm leaving for a weekend bachelorette party for my friend Jenny tomorrow and Matt and I have a beach trip coming up, but I have a day off today nonetheless. Sadly, I can't do much of anything fun because of this:

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Man, I need a pedicure.

Fear not; it's just a very minor sprain. I (intentionally) dropped from the top of a 10- or 12-foot bouldering route while climbing yesterday and landed poorly. The super-thick padding in the drop area actually was to my disadvantage, I think; when I landed, my ankle rolled right under me. It didn't hurt too badly at the time — I even kept climbing for another hour or so, and got a route I've been working on for a few days — and I just iced it when I got home. But when I woke up this morning, it was swollen and I had a hard time putting any weight on it. I've been RICEing it (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) all day, and I think the swelling is starting to go down. I can walk to the kitchen or bathroom with little pain, but stairs are still hard and the Aleve might be masking that anyway.

But enough about my stupid ankle. Hey guess what! I have some in-focus pictures from a few weeks ago to share today.

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button-down: New York & Company
skinnies, flats: Target
necklace: Express

I don't really know why, but a crisp white shirt with skinny jeans always just makes me feel so polished. It's the simplest outfit, but I always feel so put-together in this combo. The best part is, I feel just as good about it in pointed-toe flats as I would if I were wearing heels. Comfort and style FTW!

What's your go-to for a polished but comfortable look?