Friday, December 19, 2014

Dear neighbors,

Dear girls-who-live-in-the-other-half-of-our-duplex,

I hope I didn't disturb you with my frantic vacuuming late Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. I know how rude it is to perform loud chores in the wee hours, when normal people are trying to sleep. But you see, little Spazzy (our cat) was at the emergency vet with a serious case of stupid/hey-let's-see-what-happens-when-I-eat-Christmas-decorations, and I had to rid the house of tinsel remnants prior to rushing back out the door to pick her up before the on-call doctor's shift ended at 2 a.m. I was already overtired and a little panicky at that point, and it only got worse when we brought Spazzy home and realized the sedative she'd been given--ketamine, known on the street as a rave drug called "special K"--hadn't worn off. Did you know cats can cry? Like, actual tears coming out their eyes? I didn't, until the other night, when I found out that ketamine's side effects include reduced blinking and crazy-dilated eyes, which in turn causes intense watering. It also causes cats (and people, I suppose) to completely lose their grip on reality. Spazzy couldn't figure out how to put her feet under her when she accidentally rolled onto her back. But I digress.

You have a cat, too, so this seems like a great time to mention that tinsel in any form, even an unassuming short garland, is dangerous for pets. Even if your cat doesn't usually eat stuff she's not supposed to. Even if you had the tinsel up last year and she didn't so much as sniff at it.

The good news is, Spazzy will be fine. She's had a few invasive butt-checking procedures this week, and Matt's and my wallets are a little worse for the wear after all the vet trips, but overall we really lucked out. Because you are cat owners too, I'm sure you can relate to the reckless sense of panic you're stricken with when something bad happens to a beloved pet. And so, I hope you'll forgive me for my loud vacuuming and borderline hysteria in the wee hours of Tuesday night.

Sincerely,
Emma

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Deck those halls

Most of the time, I just can't get into seasonal decorating. I can't help but feel like it's a little pointless to put up decorations that you're just going to take down again in a few weeks. So getting around to putting up our Christmas usually takes a while. But once I do get started, I tend to actually have a lot of fun setting up the tree, decorating the mantle and throwing garlands on everything.

This year, I snagged an unlit six-foot tree at Target for $15...a vast improvement over the tree we've used the last few years. (We used it last year too, I promise, I just didn't post a pic apparently.) Anyway, now our house feels more like a real grown-up home, I think.

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So the way our place is set up, there's two living rooms. The front door opens right into the front living room, and the middle living room separates the front one from the kitchen and also leads to upstairs. Those shots above are taken from the stairs; here's a shot of them from right next to the tree:

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I also tackled our mantle!

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My sweet friend Ally sends me the sweetest ornaments. The photo above is of one she sent last year; it's heavy and I like to display it safely. This year, she sent a lovely replica faberge egg from the gift shop at the Met. She lives outside Manhattan and I love how her ornaments always have a tie to the city.

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I had fun playing around to shoot and edit these photos; it's amazing how much faster/better I've gotten at adjusting my settings to fit the scene. (If anyone's wondering, I got that faded VSCOcam effect using part of this tutorial.)

Do you decorate for each season, or just the holidays, or not at all? Do you dread it until you get started like me, or are you one of the "It's November 1st let's put up the tree!!!" types a la this mom?

Monday, December 8, 2014

'Tis the season

For constantly being sick, apparently. Or at least, that seems to be the case for me lately.

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t-shirt: Old Navy
cardigan: thrifted
skinnies: The Limited via Discount Fashion Warehouse
boots: Target
necklace: Express via DFWh

I wound up leaving work after just a couple of hours today; I developed a nasty cold at the end of last week that left me with what feels like a face full of cotton. Congestion and stopped-up ears, hurrah! I thought an ear infection was settling in too, but apparently it's not quite that bad yet. Just in case, I've been wrapped up on my couch all day with Star Trek and some wedding crafts to keep me company.

I always feel like my posts have too much blabbering about random stuff and not enough about the actual outfits I'm posting. This outfit was an unusual choice for me; I don't usually like to layer like colors, like I did with this top and cardigan. But I think I like it here; it's hard to see, but the darker stripes in the t-shirt almost perfectly match the cardi, without being too overt.

Welp, I'm also using today to catch up on start my Christmas shopping. Usually I'm pretty on top of it, but this year I've gotten an unfortunately late start. All I can say is, thank god for Amazon Prime, amiright?

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Four Thanksgivings

Remember how I said that trying to return to blogging the week of Thanksgiving was a terrible idea? Well, that's because I went to a grand total of four Thanksgiving celebrations this year: two on the Sunday before Turkey Day, and two on T-day itself. This year, I decided to post some highlights! I'm kicking myself for not grabbing my DSLR on Sunday, but I had it Thursday and got some really nice shots.

Thanksgiving 1: My mom's side of the family

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My brothers. This was pre-food, mind you. What goofballs.

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My cousin's husband. "Did you take half a pie?" "No." *pushes pieces together* "Yes."

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Post-meal couch time.

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My sister, aunts and I all thought it'd be hilarious to put all our engagement/wedding rings on my little cousin's fingers. Actually, I still find it pretty funny.

Thanksgiving 2: Friendsgiving

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Obligatory creepy Pilgrim table décor.

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Dat vest doe.

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Friendsgiving = squeezing 30-some people into one house for one fantastic meal.

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And then shit got weird.

Thanksgiving 3: My dad's side of the family

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My sisters and brother-in-law. We laugh a lot.

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You know what's not easy? Trying to take a selfie with a DSLR and a 35mm lens.

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I made dis: Crostini with brie, apple, pecans and honey. *drool*

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Fact: It's not Thanksgiving without a nice lil bar. Matt and I shared our newfound love for Manhattans with my family.

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"What do you mean, dogs can't have booze??"

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So I didn't notice Matt's awesome pose until I edited these pics. I busted out laughing at work, on my lunch break.

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My sister and parents.

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My dad and sister, aka the sweetest photo ever.

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We also did a family photo, with my parents, all seven of my siblings, my brother-in-law and Matt. (My other sister's fiancé spent T-giving in the Bahamas. Can you say jealous?) Anyway, I shot these to test lighting composition and apparently forgetting to use the two-second delay on my camera's remote. For some reason, I love these shots just as much or more than the "real" shot:

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Thanksgiving 4: Matt's dad's side of the family

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By the time we got to this shindig, it was dark out. I didn't want to be a total nerd and bust out my flash, so these photos aren't quite as good as some of the others. This is the kids' table, if by "kid" you mean "individual under the age of 30 but over 21."

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Matt, telling his dad (right) and uncle (left) a story.

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Matt's grandparents. I love them like they were my own.

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Hysterical, raucous laughter from the kids' table.

Phew! It was insane and hectic and a little stressful, but in all I was (and am) so thankful to have so many amazing people in my life.

How did you celebrate Thanksgiving last week (or, if you're among my friends way up north, last month)?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers: November

Hey guys! Kind of got completely distracted this weekend and totally failed on posting this during the actual month of November. But between two Thanksgiving celebrations, two car crashes in my immediate family (everyone's fine!!), a "family fun day" with my parents/siblings, a KILLER football game between OSU/Michigan (GO BUCKS!) and a whole day of much-needed house-cleaning, I just could not squeeze this in.

Anyway, another comparatively frugal month because life = expensive in every other way. I kept it to just the essentials in November:

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1. Khombu boots via Macy's. I needed a good pair of warm, waterproof boots like WOAH. My days of frozen toes at the bus stop are over! | on sale for $58.04 w/ tax {exact, full price $75}
2. Target beanie. When you have super-short hair, there is NOTHING you can do when you have a bad hair day except rewash it or throw on a hat. Obviously, this hat's keep-me-warm capabilities pale in comparison to its hide-a-bad-hair-day capabilities. | $8.60 w/ tax {exact}


Aaaand...that's it! In all, I came in a whopping $33.36 under budget this month. Not bad! I'm thinking I'll probably put the clothes shopping on hold for December to help finance Christmas, but we'll see how that holds up...haha.

How did you do on your November budget?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Oops.

So I've come to realize that trying to get back into the blogging habit just before Thanksgiving craziness was, in itself, pretty crazy. What was I thinking? Oops.

I'm still here and still have plans to keep blogging; I just can't quite seem to get back into a rhythm. Le sigh. However, I do have a little mini-post to share today: An update on the photo-a-day project I started as part of my 26 in 26 list. Newsflash: I haven't been perfect with this. I had literally no idea how hard it would actually be to just take a photo every day. I'm not even restricting myself to DSLR-only photos; probably 95% of my daily shots are taken with my iPhone. There have been a few times were I went multiple days without taking a single postable photo. Some days, I don't take any photos at all. I'm almost halfway through the project, and I really want the second half to be more successful than the first.

You can view the entire album--141 photos as of this morning--here, view some older favorites in a blog post here, or keep scrolling for some of my more recent favorites.

August 21

August 27

September 1

September 2

September 23

September 25

October 3

October 9

October 18

October 19

October 19 pt. 2

October 30

November 4

Have you ever done a photo-a-day project? Any tips for remembering to actually shoot daily? (I have a reminder on my phone that goes off every night at 9, telling me to post a picture, but if I don't have any shots by then it usually doesn't happen.) What about tips for inspiration and picking varied subjects? (I find a lot of repeat shots--stuff from my office window, my cat, sunrises and sunsets, clouds, etc.)