Friday, July 29, 2011

Updates: financial diet and kitty's name

Well, I'm a week into my first phase of the Financial Diet, the part where I only spend $20 a week on food, clothes, drinks, whatever. And I have to admit, I'm not doing so well. Since I get paid on a bi-weekly basis, I just withdrew $40 when I got paid last week, to last me until my next paycheck next week.

I have nine dollars left.

So I'm not doing so well. But it's a learning curve. I mean, going from spending money whenever I had it to spending it in a very restricted way is a hell of a change to accomplish overnight. But I've definitely spent far less than I normally do, so I think I can still file this under "semi-success."

Today, instead of an outfit, I thought I'd share this Polyvore set that I found on Pinterest. (I'm new to Polyvore. I love it.) This outfit was put together by LLWolf.

Source: via Emma on Pinterest

I pretty much love everything about this outfit. The colors, the gorgeous grey blazer, the chic casual look of it all. I don't often copy or re-create outfits, but I think I may have to hunt down bargain/thrift versions of every single item in this set. So in love.

Also, just wanted to say a quick "thanks" to everyone who's been commenting these past few weeks. Your support, suggestions and feedback always bring me joy. And, thanks to you guys, we've come up with a name for the kitty! Cat of BrideBlu said she likes to use historic names, and she mentioned Franklin. I immediately fell in love, and Matt agreed that it was a good name. (We can call her Frankie for short!) In retrospect, I realize that Cat might have mentioned Franklin because she has a pet named Franklin. If so, I'm sorry for stealing your name, Cat! In any case, thank you for the suggestion :) I love giving boys' names to girls, haha. She arrives later tonight! (Expect many kitty pictures on the blog in the next few days.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Internal debate

I don't often post weekend-wear, simply because on the weekends I'm usually found wearing sweats/workout shorts and an old show t-shirt from my high school days as a thespian. Not really blog-worthy. In fact, I'm not even sure where I wore this last week...might have been at a cookout/drinks to celebrate a friend's birthday. But I suppose the "where" doesn't matter as much as the "wear." (See what I did there? My cleverness astounds me sometimes.)

lacy tank and top tank: Old Navy (?)
shorts: DIY'ed from an old pair of jeans
shoes: Target
bracelet: don't remember
earrings: Leslie's Baubles

So lately I've been thinking a lot about posting frequency. The recent 30x30 challenge (I swear, I'll stop talking about it someday) had me posting every single day, including many weekend days. Before that, I was posting 3-5 times a week.

Now, I'm in the habit posting every single weekday, and I worry that it's too much. Too much time on my part (because I don't already have enough on my plate), and too much of me forcing my photos into your RSS feeds every day. I know a lot of bloggers post every single day, but they also have far better style and photo quality than I do.

So, I turn to you, readers. After all, this is just as much for you as it is for me. What do you think? Should I cut back on the post frequency? Or do you like my random babble every day? (Be honest. I won't be offended, I promise.)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Here's the last of my pre-30x30 challenge outfits! I actually really liked this one. Pairing yellow with gray has to be one of my favorite color combinations! My taste for colors runs towards neutral most of the time, whether it's in my wardrobe or my home décor. Fun fact I learned about myself since I started style blogging :)

shirt: thrifted
skirt: H&M
shoes: Target
necklace: street vendor at the Short North Gallery Hop

Something else I've learned? Playing with curves in Photoshop can make you look a lot tanner than you actually are (and without the cancer risk, no less).

Well, I haven't mentioned this on the blog yet, but on Friday Matt and I are getting a kitten. She's a calico, the last one from a litter that a stray had near my friend Emily's house. She's about three months old, and is currently named Squeak. I'm think Matt and I are going to rename her, just to kind of make her "ours" I guess, so I've been calling her Kitty in the meantime. As in, "Look at all this stuff I got for Kitty!" (Don't worry, I kept to the basics and stayed within my budget. Not cheating on my Financial Diet!)

Anyway, last night I made a bed for her, instead of dropping $20 on a store-bought one. I used an old file storage milk crate thing that I had, and cut up/resewed an old comforter I had from college. It's pretty rudimentary, and she'll probably outgrow it, but I think it's kind of cute. (Like Kitty, haha)

Okay, seriously. I'm terrible at naming things...can't ever decide on one! Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

When it rains, it pours

Hackneyed and overused sayings aside, isn't it the damn truth? It's a good thing I'm doing the Financial Diet, because if I weren't budgeting my money right now, I'd be in big trouble. Well, I'm already in a little trouble...yesterday, I was told my car needs a new clutch entirely. Yeah, that runs about $700-$1,000. I actually refuse to believe the mechanic, I'm fairly certain he took one look at me (i.e., saw I am female) and decided to take the simplest and most profitable avenue. Sexism sucks.

Good news is, my parents have a really reliable (and honest!) mechanic, so I'm going to take my baby to him and see if we can't find a more feasible solution.

Then I got home and saw a doctor's bill in the mail. Which I shouldn't be getting, because I asked my doctor to code the visit in such a way that my insurance would cover it. And he said he would. Ugh. So now I have to make a million phone calls to avoid paying that bill.

So for today's post, I decided to put up an old outfit (and I mean old--look at how short my hair is!) that reminds me of cheerier times. Nothing like some bright yellow to bring some sunshine into your life, right?

shrug: Burlington Coat Factory (came with this dress)
tank & shoes: Old Navy
skirt: thrifted

I don't like to wear much jewelry in the summer. It makes me feel weighed down. Anyone else ever feel like that?

I also don't like to cook much in the summer, if you haven't noticed by the lack of food posts. But to help me curb my spending during my Financial Diet, I've made some weekly menus and grocery lists. I think this will help me cut down on waste (oh, there's that two-week old produce I was going to make _____ with!) and on buying extra stuff that I don't really need. So look out for more food posts in the next few weeks :)

And finally, I want to say hello and welcome to my new followers! I promise, I don't usually complain nearly this much.

(...I just went back to link this post to the dress that this shrug came with, and I realized that I've worn almost this exact same outfit before! I wore it here with different shoes and a belt. Does it count as remixing if most of the outfit is the same? Ha!)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Where's Emma today?

I got all freaked out today because I thought I didn't have a post ready. This weekend was just insane, I hardly took two minutes to sit down and just relax. Sad, but necessary, and the upside is that I got a lot done!

But I digress. As it turns out, there IS a post for you guys today! You just have to go visit my bloggy friend Sydney from take me for a twirl to read it ;)

Friday, July 22, 2011

SOS (Save Our Supper)!

My dear friend Allory asked me the other day for help with vegetarian meal ideas. Now, we all know that Emma rarely eats her veggies, and she almost never eats vegetarian. (And even then, it's usually by when she makes fettuccine Alfredo and forgets to make the chicken part. She's also not sure why she's talking in the third person right now.)

Anyway, Allory and I both love to cook, and we both love to experiment with recipes. I can't speak for her, but I know my habit is to scan a recipe's ingredients list, substitute items wherever I feel like it, then just throw everything together in proportions that I think are appropriate. (This doesn't always work. Baking is a science so I always follow those recipes to a T. Some of my favorite sauces, like balsamic brown butter, require a specific proportion. Found that out the hard way.)

Wow, I'm random today. The point is. This is an official request to you, my lovely readers: Allory and I want you to share. Do you have any delicious vegetarian recipes (hopefully, ones that can be easily modified at a whim) in your cookbooks?

The IT List!

Happy Friday peeps! I hope you are staying cool these days... stay inside and discover some great new blogs with all these fun links! Enjoy!
  • gs lillian uses two men's neckties as a belt - this is so cute and fun idea for raiding your guys closet! Or the mens section in your favorite store or thrift shop! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • a spot of whimsy brings you gorgeous beach photos... does the beach ever get old? Never. That's what I say! (find a spot of whimsy on twitter!)
  • johns journal had her handsome, handsome baby boy this week... bop on over and give her some sweet words! (find johns journal on twitter!)
  • alisha of alisha and brandon gives tips to style bloggers on how to do your own photos... especially helpful when your live-in photographer (or otherwise) isn't available! Check out her tips! (find alisha and brandon on twitter!)
  • sweetie pie style devotes a whole week of her blog to her kitchen... stop by to see the "befores" and give your two cents on her selections. She has a very fun project in the works! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • little tin soldier mixes yellow and leopard print. I suddenly wish I had more of both in my closet - gorgeous! (find little tin soldier on twitter!)
  • simply stylish mom is giving away one of these adorable wall flags... stop by to check them out and enter to win! (find simply stylish mom on twitter!)
  • verbal melange is going on a Financial Diet and she's encouraging you to join her - stop by to see what it's all about! (find verbal melange on twitter!)
  • the style dossier takes three sisters who each style up the same dress... see how they do it! This is so fun! (find the style dossier on twitter!)
  • fabulously average calls this outfit "corporate chic" - I love that! I remember working in a business office in the summers and finding it difficult to look profession and keep cool She does it! (find fabulously average on twitter!)
  • take me for a twirl shows off this awesome thrifted skirt in bold red! What a fun color for summer. (find take me for a twirl on twitter!)
  • good life for less contemplates what's appropriate wear for summer outdoor activities... check it out! (find good life for less on twitter!)

the IT list is produced weekly by jill of good life for less, for more information on how to be involved... click here!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

EBEW: Thrift edition!

I'll admit I was a little nervous when I heard that Everybody, Everywear was doing a thrift edition. Yes, I love a good thrift store find as much as the next girl. But I never seem to have the time or the patience to really go out there, find the best ones in my area and dig through the racks for those hidden treasures.

But then I remembered this vest. It was the first thrifted item I ever bought. I got it from a Plato's Closet (technically a consignment store, but I won't split hairs) back when I was in my late teens. So this vest is pretty old, as clothes go, and I still love it. It's great for layering in the winter OR the summer, as you can see here.

vest: thrifted
shirt: Old Navy
capris: Target, maybe? They're new, but I forget already :(
shose: Target
necklace: no idea

This is probably my favorite thrifted piece for sentimental and practical reasons. I used to only wear it one way--with a cream-colored short-sleeve turtleneck sweater and khakis--but lately I've been mixing it up with other shirts, camis, jeans and Converses. (It's hard to tell in the photos, but it's a dark brown, so color matching isn't always easy.) But I always manage to make it work, I think.

Head over to EBEW to check out other peoples' thrifted treasures. Do you have a favorite thrifted item?

Thrift | Everybody, Everywear

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Financial diet link-up!

First, a thank you is deserved to all of you for your kind and encouraging comments. Things are rough for me right now, that's for sure, and it's all because of money. But I'm staying positive, because I know things will get better. And what's more, I'm taking some action! It all begins with the financial diet.

I'm kind of already on one out of pure necessity (aka, I'm flat broke) but that doesn't mean we can't start the OFFICIAL link up for everyone else! Click the "financial diet" tab at the top of the page, or if you're lazy like me, just click here.

So what is this, anyway? Really, I'm not quite sure yet. A support group sort of thing, perhaps? Really, a way for us all to recognize other bloggers who are trying to get their wallets under control. There will be guidelines, I suppose. Let's think up a few right now.

1. Identify and list your monthly expenses. This includes vitals like rent, electric, gas for your car, etc. But it also includes "luxuries" like cable, dining out, shopping, etc. You don't necessarily have to post all this info for the world to see, but you should create a spreadsheet to help you keep track. Keep an eye out for a Google doc that I'm going to upload soon. You can download it and use it as a starter or a point of reference.

2. Figure out what expenses you can cut. For me, the first things to go will be dining out, shopping and bars. I'm choosing not to cut cable, mostly because I live with the bf and he probably wouldn't be down with that. I'm also not giving up my smartphone and data plan. The use simply makes up for itself. What you cut is up to you, but remember that the more you cut, the more you can save.

3. Start saving! Take all the money from the stuff you cut, as well as any money that's leftover when you subtract your expenses from your income, and open an actual savings account if you have no willpower, or keep in in your sock drawer (it's not like it will make much of a difference in potential interest, given the current economic climate). This is what you'd call a "rainy-day" that you only touch in true emergencies. Like your car's transmission goes out or you wind up in the hospital. Fake emergencies, like the Victoria's Secret Semi-Annual Sale, do not count. There aren't many ways to fail at a financial diet, but this is one of them.

4. Reward yourself. It's important to set aside a little "petty cash" each month, so you don't feel like a scrooge. And hey, we all know that going to the bars with friends and not having a beer with them will seem rude. So decide how much you want to set aside for petty cash each month--I'm thinking about $20 per paycheck for me--and stick to it. I'm going to make it easier on myself by taking it from the ATM. That way, when the cash is gone, I'm done spending for that pay period.

5. Spend wisely. This means on everything. Save some extra cash on groceries by clipping coupons, whether they be from the Sunday paper, junk mailings that you usually toss, or stuff you found online. Sites like Groupon are great, but only if you use them to buy discounts on stuff that you already buy. Don't be buying a Groupon for a $20 manicure, unless you want to use all your petty cash on that one item. For clothes, try to only shop at thrift stores for a month and see how much money you save. Or, stick exclusively to the sales racks at stores like Target and Marshall's, where everything is already affordable.

6. Share! If you have a tip, email me at verbal{dot}melange{at}gmail{dot}com. I'll add it to a list of tips on the Financial Diet page of the blog, and we can really help each other with this one.

Okay, those are all off the top of my head. Shoot me an email or a comment if you have anything to add or see anything that you think should be explained more or changed altogether. And keep an eye out for a post with a link to the Google doc spreadsheet to help get you started! Happy saving, everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New giveaway winner!

Alright, since Brooke didn't respond to claim her prize, I've picked a new winner!

Congrats, Steph! For those of you who don't know, Stephanie and her brightly colored walls were featured on the blog a few days ago here. We know each other from our college days at Ohio University and she's such a doll. Girlfriend, look for a message from me soon!

(Full disclosure: Yes, a friend of mine won this giveaway. To be fair, about half of the entries were either my friends in real life or in the bloggy world. This truly was a random number generation; I didn't just pick one of my friends to be biased. Don't worry, you'll get another chance to win something awesome next month, when I host another giveaway from a bloggy friend :) Hooray!)

This is not yesterday's outfit.

In fact, it is the first of a series of outfits that were worn/photographed before the 30x30 challenge. Time to play catch up, amiright? :)

Sadly, yesterday's outfit was not photographed at all due to unfortunate circumstances. I don't want to bore you, so long story short, my clutch system in my car is screwed up. We think it has something to do with engine temperature running slightly too high, which makes some metal part--probably a spring or a worn-down pad--expand and stick. So I'm driving through some terrible stop-and-go construction traffic, trying to get back to work after a doctor's appointment. And my clutch starts sticking. Then it stays stuck. As in, pushed all the way in, so when I hit the gas, my car goes nowhere because it thinks it's in neutra, even though it's really in gear.

So there I am. It's 95 degrees (higher if you consider the heat index) and I'm backing up traffic. Everyone's beeping, even though my hazards are on and I'm waving them to go around. Finally, some kind soul stops and helps me push my car off to a side street. I call the tow truck and wait 45 minutes in the sweltering heat. My outfit is soaked through with sweat (gross, I know, but that's why I couldn't take pictures of it). When the tow guy gets there, my clutch is perfectly fine again. UGH.

Was up all night with stress dreams about money, the work I missed yesterday, etc. Feeling like crap this morning. There's ten bucks in my wallet, I'm thinking about taking it to the thrift store for some discount retail therapy. Cause you KNOW I can't afford real shopping now that I have a car repair to deal with.

But on the bright side. I love this outfit and it makes me smile.

shirt, brooch and long shorts: New York and Company
shoes: Franco Sarto via Marshall's

I missed these shoes during my 30x30 challenge. I wore them yesterday, too, which made me look ridiculous--running around by my disabled car in a cami (had to ditch the button-up shirt, too hot), a bright red pencil skirt and these monsters. It was so hot (HOW HOT WAS IT?) it was so hot I had to actually walk up to a woman doing some yard work and beg her for a glass of water. She was the sweetest lady--she and her son brought me inside, where it was air conditioned, and gave me two full glasses of ice water, plus one for the road. They also offered me OJ and snacks. Sometimes, the kindness of people really makes a bad situation a bit better.

Monday, July 18, 2011

30x30: A reflection

Well, I can certainly say that I have learned to look at the contents of my closet a little differently. There have been days when, given the full range of clothes in my closet, I've stood in front of it and moaned that I have nothing to wear. This feeling of defeat approached me only a few times during the challenge, and yet I always managed to pull something together.

As I said before, I now feel like I have tripled my wardrobe, without actually buying anything. I'm currently wearing clothes and shoes that I haven't touched in more than a month, and I love it. (Particularly my shoes. I missed my Franco Sartos.) And I definitely appreciate that I don't have to take photos, edit them and post them all before I leave for work. Thinking of taking my tripod and camera out to the Park of Roses again after work. Hello, change of scenery!

But what have I really learned from this challenge? It's difficult to say. I realized that I already remix much of what I wear, because I rarely am able to buy a lot of new clothes. And I realized that in reality, I've been dabbling in the remix deal for quite some time. Granted, in high school it was less remixing and more wearing the same outfits over and over, but in college I started trying to be a bit more creative. And I bought new clothes even LESS frequently then. I probably went a full six months at one point or another without buying any new threads. Good thing I wasn't a style blogger then, I suppose.

So, here I am. About to jump into the financial diet, if I can ever get a game plan of some sort together. And that means I'll be buying fewer clothes then, too. So I suppose in a way, the remixing doesn't end here for me. Maybe it never will. And you know, that's just fine with me.

The 30. Click here for the 30 items.

I did come pretty close to repeating...outfits 5 and 26 are pretty close. I was kind of ready for something like that to happen, but I guess I could have fixed it a little by wearing different shoes one of those days. After all, there's only so much you can do with a safari-style dress like this. (In retrospect, I kind of wanted to wear the white sleeveless button-down as a vest over the dress, but I forgot about it. Oh well...guess that's an outfit for another day!

What about you? Any reflections/revelations on your 30x30 challenge?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Made it!

That's right folks, I am officially through my very first 30x30 challenge! I may have cheated a few times (bought a necklace, wore non-30 outfits in the evenings that I wore items from the 30 during the day, skipped days, added/subtracted items...haha) but overall, I'm quite proud of the accomplishment. And now, my closet seems 10 times bigger than what it did before the challenge, without even buying new clothes! That's fun.

items: 6, 15 17, 26
necklace: Figleaf
bangles: don't remember
bag: Boo Bags! giveaway win

I was originally going to wear jeans with this outfit to a cookout that our friend was having yesterday. But after snapping just a few outdoor photos in those long pants, I was sweltering, so I switched it up for shorts. Good call, if you ask me.

Oh, and this bag? I won it in a giveaway from Nick of Predictably Irrational. It's a Banksy print tote, and I absolutely love it! Very nice quality, very sturdy. I can tell I'll be using this bag quite a lot this summer! Nick is really creative with DIY-ing and makeover-ing making over items like Tshirts, too. (One of her more recent posts is a gorgeous Tshirt redo that is simply to die for!)

I know it's customary to do a 30x30 lookback at the end of the challenge. Well, I'm a somewhat traditional gal in many respects, so I'm busy compiling all my photos and thinking about what kind of reflections I want upon. Stay tuned!

Giveaway winner!

So, I'm a little behind on announcing the winner to this giveaway. My apologies, guys, this weekend had me a bit frazzled/distracted. But I used to select a winner this morning...and the winner didn't include an email address. So Brooke of A New View 365, you have 48 hours to email me with your contact information! It's verbal{dot}melange{at}

If I don't hear from Brooke, I'll select another winner, again with Stay tuned!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Just popping in

As you may or may not recall, I took today off work to recover from staying up half the night to watch the new Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movie :) It did deviate from the original book, as I expected, and the 3D effects definitely could have been better utilized, but overall I thought it was a good adaptation. There was not a dry eye in the house during some of the more dramatic death scenes...I don't think I've ever been in such an emotional theatre!

But that's not what I'm here to talk about. I spent most of my day today sleeping in (yay!) and working on other stuff. I helped my friend Stephanie move and paint in her new apartment, and I have to say it will look great when she gets all her furniture in there! Her uncle and a friend from dental school both helped, too.

Bright, warm yellow for the living room.

A cool blue for the long wall in the bedroom.

Steph's a pro at rolling now.

I'm hoping she'll let me post photos of the whole place, once it's put together. It's gonna look awesome!

Now, off to do more work. The not fun kind that involves testing/reviewing software. Boo.

The IT List!

Happy Friday folks! I hope you have a fabulous weekend planned!
Take some time to check out these awesome links!

  • johns journal is still pregnant and looking fabulous! Head on over and see how she totally rocks maternity style and give her some good mojo for her upcoming delivery! (find johns journal on twitter!)
  • alisha of alisha & brandon is slowly making her way through the 30/30 Challenge - nothing wrong with that! I love the layered tops she wears here! (find alisha on twitter!)
  • gs lillian seriously hit the ball out the park with this military green/pink/clutch/bracelet combo! Just gorgeous! And she sells that gorgeous bracelet in her shop... you MUST check it out! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • verbal melange marches through her 30/30 Challenge and is almost done... I love this simple outfit with ruffles and flats! (find verbal melange on twitter!)
  • one hundred inspirations has this perfect summer to fall Kim Kardashian look for less! I would love to recreate this look!
  • sweetie pie style rounded up fun pieces from Asos... I'm totally in love with these tasseled sandals! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • simply stylish mom found a gem of a working farm in Vancouver complete with a farmers market and I am a such a sucker for a good farmers market! (find simply stylish mom on twitter!)
  • a spot of whimsy is knitting up this adorable scarf to wear the the Harry Potter movie this weekend - how fun! (find a spot of whimsy on twitter!)
  • little tin soldier illustrates the fabulous outfits that she wears - it's hard to decide which I like better, the illustrations or the real life photos. Check them both out! (find little tin soldier on twitter!)
  • take me for a twirl pairs two absolute summer staples - a pencil skirt and stripes!
  • good tots features one simple black maternity dress and two ways to wear it! Check it out!
  • good life for less is styling a simple white t-shirt in three fabulous ways! Here's to wardrobe staples! (find good life for less on twitter!)

the IT list is produced weekly by Jill of good life for less - for information on how you can be involved, click here!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Almost there!

That's right folks, this is my second-to-last outfit in my very first 30x30 challenge. It's definitely made me think about my closet differently, but I'll save the musings for the recap this weekend.

Speaking of weekends, today is my Friday! I actually used some of my PTO hours to take tomorrow off, since I'm staying up until 2 or 4 tonight to watch a double feature of both parts of the seventh Harry Potter film. That's right. I'm sitting down to 7 or more solid hours of HP tonight, starting at 9 pm. Am I crazy? Perhaps. Crazy in love with a certain series. I'll admit, I never liked the movies as well as I did the books (I have yet to see the sixth film, heard it wasn't true to the book at all), but this is the end of an era. I feel compelled to join in the frenzy.

Don't know if I'll wear real clothes tomorrow...I'm helping my friend paint her new apartment (after I wake up wayyyy late, haha) and then I'm catching up on a bunch of work for my freelance job. But before the weekend is over, I'll have posted my final 30x30 outfit!

For some reason, only the photos of me looking away from the camera turned out alright today. Weird.

No long-windedness today, folks. I have to swing by Kroger to pick up something dessert-y for our company picnic today (I tried to make cookies the other day and failed miserably--I am not a baker) and then I have an early meeting that will probably eat up most of my day. I'd be annoyed, but it's to select photos for the next issue of the bridal magazine that we put out twice a year. I think that's my favorite part of working on that particular publication :)

(P.S. Make sure you enter my ends tomorrow!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Financial diets

I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on the financial diet idea. Glad to know I'm not the only one ;) haha. But in all seriousness, I'm thinking about making it a Thing. You know, like how Kendi took a problem--she needed to remix her closet--and made it into a Thing--the 30x30 challenge. Not that I'm expecting it to catch on, but a linky party and maybe a button would be fun, no? Leave me a comment if you'd participate, so I can get an idea of how many of you there are.

Stay tuned. The second I have free time, I'm making a button. Yay!

(P.S. For those of you who care: I turned in a resume for a part-time bartending position on my lunch break today. Fingers crossed!)

Work work work work work

Can you guess what's on my mind lately? Yep. Work. And money. And how there never seems to be enough of it in my bank account. So, I've decided that once this 30x30 challenge is over (today is day 28!), I'm imposing a new challenge upon myself. It's a financial diet, if you will. I can't reasonably cut out all spending, and to be honest, I wouldn't want to. I take the term "retail therapy" very seriously. It's sad, but shopping genuinely makes me feel better when I'm in a bad mood. Which, given my history through high school and college, explains why I'm so broke now.

But I'm trying to remedy that, particularly because next tax season is probably going to kill me. Or come close. It's my first year filing taxes as a non-student, and I'm earning some decent money freelancing on the side, which I don't get taxes taken out of them. So I'm going to owe good ol' Uncle Sam a pretty penny come April. So I'm trying to plan ahead! Yay, me!

So what does that mean? It means I'm looking for a part-time job (which will bump my employment up to 1 full time job, 1 freelance job, 1 part time job and 1 blog that's kind of like a job, only I don't get paid--yikes). Free time? Who needs it? Well, I do, but if I have less of it, maybe I'll shop less.

And when I do shop, it will be exclusively at thrift stores. If I want to splurge, I may buy something handmade on Etsy. But no full-price anything. Until...well, until I can't do it anymore. I'm aiming for a minimum of one month, but if this goes well, I'm going to try to stretch it out for the rest of the year. *gulp*

Okay, enough whining about money woes. Here are some fun photos! (Wow. That even rhymes. Ew.)

items: 4, 5, 9, 27
bracelet: street vendor @ Short North Gallery Hop
necklace: Claire's, about 5 or 6 years ago

Is this a pretty close copy of this outfit? Maybe. But it's the end of the challenge and to be honest, I'm running out of ideas. I can't wait to get my whole closet back! It will feel like I just went on the biggest shopping spree ever!

There I go again, talking about shopping. Ugh.

So, today's post has some homework. And you thought you were off the hook, with it being summer. Well, the school of VM never takes breaks! Muah ha ha ha!

Seriously, it's fun stuff.
- Enter my giveaway, if you haven't already. Ends Friday!
- If you have an account on 20 Something Bloggers (20SB), you should vote for me for the August featured blogger here. First person to vote for me gets a vote FROM me for their blog in return ;)
- If you have tips for saving money or whatnot, share! I need all the help I can get, haha.

Also...I don't say this enough, but I love you all. Really. Each and every one of you who reads this: you are awesome. And thank you. *muah*

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Shameless self promotion...GO!

Do you like me? Then you should go here and vote for me to be the 20SB featured blogger of the month. The first 20SBer who comments to say that they voted for me will get a vote FROM me for THEIR blog in return ;)

I don't like spiders

They scare the living bejezus out of me. Doesn't matter how small they are, the second I see one, I start to panic. (This extends to most insects and centipede-like creatures. Ew.) So when I saw a spider floating gently down in front of me on its little web of fear in the middle of my photo shoot this morning, I got a little uncomfortable. Fortunately, he was small enough for me to take care of the situation...but unfortunately, he was big enough to interrupt my photos. Hence the strained looks and the peering at the ground, haha.

items: 12, 20, 27
yellow shirt: thrifted
necklace & knot earrings: The Limited

Ok, so I cheated just a tiny bit on my 30 items here. But it's for a good reason...Everybody Everywear! This month it's yellow. I don't own much yellow at all...I think it makes my skin look funny sometimes. But I have a few shirts, so here's my yellow for the month :)

In other news...still looking for 2-3 guest bloggers for early August, when Matt and I go to NYC. Email me at verbal{dot}melange{at}gmail{dot}com if you're interested!

Update: I have all my spots filled for vacation time. Thanks, guys, for the responses! If you want to guest post for me at some random time, you can still shoot me an email. I love connecting with other bloggers!

In other other news...have you entered my givewaway yet? Time's running out! (Ends Friday evening.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are we there yet?

"There" referring to the end of the 30x30 challenge, that is. I've gotta be honest, I'm running out of steam a bit. If you couldn't tell, from the steady downward progression in creativity of my outfits. Oh well, this one is number 26, so I'm nearly there. I might have to take off a day for Thursday's Bloggers Do It Better challenge, since I don't have any maxi skirts in my 30 items. Or in my closet at all, for that matter. To the thrift store!

items: 2, 27
necklace: Sweet Stella Designs

I got this necklace at the North Market Food & Ohio Wine Festival this weekend. For you non-Columbusites, the North Market is this great little collection of shops that sell awesome food and other things. There's prepared food stands serving Vietnamese, pizza, deli sandwiches, Polish food, gourmet ice cream and even Belgian waffles. Other stands sell high-quality meats, cheeses, seafood...there's even a shop that sells just about any spice you can think of! Needless to say, the foodie in my loves the North Market. At the fest on Sunday, there was an artisan market as well. Tons of jewelrymakers and other crafters were selling their wares.

I fell in love with the jewelry at Sweet Stella Designs' booth. Go on and check out her site; she has AWESOME jewelry. With any luck, you'll be seeing more of this designer on my site. Haha, this could be bad for my wallet ;)

Forgetful me

Silly me forgot to put up these photos from Saturday. The plan was to post these yesterday, but I was completely overwhelmed and overexcited by the fact that our New York City vacation is officially back on! I absolutely love the city, and Matt's never been, so we're both super excited that the trip isn't cancelled after all. My aunt and uncle live in New Jersey, about an hour outside the city, and we'll be staying with them. It's going to be lovely :)

(On a related note...would anyone like to guest-post for me while I'm gone? Email me: verbal{dot}melange{at}gmail{dot}com.

And now, here's what I wore on Saturday:

items: 7, 16, 30
belt: thrifted
necklace: Claire's, about five years ago (haha)

First, I just want to say again how much I looooove these shoes. Every time I put them on, I smile because I remember they're Banana Republic and they only cost me $15. Thanks, Rag-o-rama :)

Anyway, Saturday I went to my friend's going away party. He got a job out in Santa Fe, working for a weekly newspaper. Super jealous, and super, super sad to see him go. This guy hired me for my first real-world job...*sniff* But the part was a lot of fun, and I know he'll do really well out in the southwest. Best of luck to you, Reyan!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The little things

Sorry for the poor photo quality today's raining/thunderstorming outside, and it's supposed to carry on all day, so no dice on outdoor photos. Oh, well. This outfit isn't anything spectacular, anyway ;)

On the bright side, I got to lie in bed and listen to thunderstorms all morning. I really do love that. It's the little things.

items: 6, 15, 28
necklace: Banana Republic...I think the latter
bangles: H&M

Man, I need to make a trip to F21 and H&M as soon as this challenge is over. And the thrift store. The thing is, my 30 items are about 1/3 of my closet, and they're some of the items I wear most often anyway. So I definitely feel like I need a little wardrobe refresh. Just a few things here and there.

Speaking of "the little things" (well, I was earlier anyway), I had a great one yesterday too. See, most of this week has been one disappointment or annoyance after another, and I've been really, really stressed out. So after work yesterday, Matt and I met up with a friend from OU (the same one from "guy time" yesterday, haha) and we went down to the climbing wall at the Scioto Audubon park. I love that park more than any other place in the city, I think. So I got a good route in, then I decided to be really gutsy and try lead climbing for the first time ever.

For those who are rusty on your climbing terminology, lead climbing is far more difficult from top-rope climbing. In top-rope, your rope is looped through an anchor at the top of the route, so it goes from your harness, up to the anchor, then down to the person who is belaying you. (The belayer is the one who keeps the rope taut so if you fall, you don't fall far.) In lead climbing, there is no top anchor. Instead, the rope goes from your harness straight to the belayer. You climb up the wall and hook into several bolts that are placed on the face of the wall itself as you go. This means, if you fall, you will probably fall much farther, and harder. Lead climbing forces you to rely on your skill alone, instead of relying on the rope to hold you up.

It's terrifying.

But it's also incredibly rewarding. There were several points where I honestly didn't think I'd make it to the top. And I even took a fall (albeit a small one--just a few feet). But somehow, I made it. Every muscle in my arms and my legs was kind of twitching by the time I got lowered to the ground, haha. But it was an amazing feeling to know that even if I think I can't do something, I can somehow find the strength to push on. And that doesn't have to be physical; it can be a mental strength as well.

Sorry for the rant. I am just super excited about my climb. And about the boost it gave me :) Do you have anything that gets you pumped up like that?

The IT List!

Welp, it's week two on the IT list for me...and, coincidentally, it's my 100th blog post! That in itself is kinda exciting. Hugs all around!

It's Friday again... what do you have planned for this summer weekend?
Take some time to check out these great links!

  • johns journal shows off her gorgeous and inviting outdoor deck space. Head on over and be inspired on simple ways to spruce up your own deck! (find johns journal on twitter!)
  • a spot of whimsy has great retro inspiration if you are planning on making a splash this weekend! (find a spot of whimsy on twitter!)
  • sweetie pie style rounds up serene bathrooms including one with an absolutely gorgeous mermaid print - I'm in love! (find sweetie pie style on twitter!)
  • one hundred inspirations is on 'Kate Watch' all this week while the Duchess has been touring Canada - check out these Kate looks for less!
  • alisha of alisha & brandon snagged her husband's shirt to wear herself. I love it! (find alisha & brandon on twitter!)
  • good tots has the perfect activity for young kids on long card rides - a simple and classic Road Trip BINGO... download the game for free!
  • simply stylish mom rounds up gorgeous celebrity moms that are rocking denim - I love being inspired by celeb moms! (find simply stylish mom on twitter!)
  • gs lillian is looking fabulous in polka dots and I am just dying for her shoes... head on over and check them out! (find gs lillian on twitter!)
  • verbal melange has a giveaway going on... go on and check out the fabulous necklace that she is giving away! (find verbal melange on twitter!)
  • good life for less has great tips for packing for a beach vacation... but most importantly - don't forget the bold nail polish! (find good life for less on twitter!)

the IT list is produced weekly by Jill of good life for less, for information on how you can be involved - click here!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's only Thursday?

Does anyone else feel like this week is just dragging along? And if so, do you also find it ironic that it's really been a short week, since most people had Monday off? Yeah, I thought so.

I think that for the next 30x30 challenge, I won't post outfits the day I wear them. It's too stressful trying to get up early enough to shoot photos, edit them, upload them, write about them and post them. Homegirl likes her sleep. Which is why today, this post is being written during my lunch break, instead of before I leave for work.

items: 8, 17, 26
cami: Marshall's
necklace: The Limited
bracelet: NYC Canal Street shop
rings: American Eagle and gift from my mom

I think I'm officially hooked on the trend of painting one nail differently. If you couldn't tell. I did a little mani-pedi last night while Matt was at the climbing wall with one of our friends from OU. I would have gone, but my head was still hurting a bit and I figured, let the guys have their guy time. Aren't I a good girlfriend? Haha

Also, I think I'm still on the fence as to whether or not I like these shoes. I've never worn them with shorts before, because they're so heavy. What do you think?

Also also, go enter my giveaway if you haven't yet :)