Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of 2012, part 2

And as promised, round 2! Now, I'm off to prepare for a New Year's celebration of which, as of right now, I am still unsure as to location.

(Btw. Click on the text below the pics if you want to see the original post with more shots of the outfit!)

7 july
{first} {middle} {last}

8 august
{first} {middle} {last}

9 september
{first} {middle} {last}

10 october
{first} {middle} {last}

11 november
{first} {middle} {last}

12 december
{first} {middle} {last}

Mmkay, so there they are! I like doing the end-of-the-year roundup posts, because it gives me a chance to look at the pieces I style best and wear the most. Like those pink skinnies? Love 'em. And apparently, I've been big on dresses/skirts during the warmer months...but not so much when there's snow on the ground. Go fig.

So yeah, have a safe and happy New Year's! See ya in 2013 :)

Best of 2012, part 1

Ok, so here's round 1 of my favorite outfits of 2012. It was really refreshing to look through all the spring outfits, when I didn't have to bundle up and had so many bright colors to choose from. I know there's eight inches of snow on the ground still, winter over yet??

(Btw. Click on the text below the pics if you want to see the original post with more shots of the outfit!)

1 january

{first two photos} {last photo}

2 february
{first} {middle} {last}

3 march
{first} {middle} {last}

4 april
{first} {middle} {last}

5 may
{first} {middle} {last}

6 june
{first} {middle} {last}

Stay tuned because later today, I'm posting outfits from the last six months of the year :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

*looks around in bewilderment*

Oh, hello there. I seem to have forgotten that I have a little blog going here. I guess a little break was necessary, given all the chaos of the holiday and the wretched cold/flu hybrid I'm just now recovering from. Anyway, I'm still here! And I still have outfits to post! Hooray for having a little stockpile of postable outfits :)




dress: H&M
cardi, booties, tights, belt: Target
necklace: sidewalk sale

So I decided to do the whole "year-end outfit review roundup" post, but because I am the queen of a nation called Procrastia (see what I did there?), I'll be doing two posts tomorrow. Making up for lost time in December, I suppose?

In other news, I got a TON of kitchen stuff for Christmas this year. You know what that means? More food posts in 2013!! Woop woop! Better dust off that ol' gym membership now, haha...

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sick day blues

So, this has been my life for the last week and a half:

Yup. Grade-A, miss-work-because-you're-coughing-too-hard-to-breathe head/chest cold. And while I'm finally off the cold meds, the sick has evolved into some kind of stomach bug, so I'm out of work today, too. Don't worry, I won't show a picture of that whole situation.

The fortunate part about it (what I'm calling a Christmas mini-miracle) is that I got a little bit of a break between the cold and the bug. And that break fell during the Christmas traveling Matt and I did. All 500 miles of it. We did six Christmases in three days. It was a whirlwind, but it was really nice because we got to see both sides of both our families, which we don't do every year.

Anyway, I hope you'll all forgive my absence from the ol' blog the last 10 days or so...and will continue to do so until I'm feeling well enough to put on real clothes again, haha. Hopefully I'll be back to normal before one of my favorite holidays of the year--New Year's!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Tis the season

For many things, it would seem. Including my annual "cold that's so bad I'm pretty sure I'm going to keel over" illness extravaganza. I spent all day yesterday on the couch, and barely dragged my sorry butt through work today. But time and tide wait for no man, or something like that (feels like that cold medicine is kicking in...I'm loopy) so here are some pics of our Christmas tree this year.





I wanted to get a real tree, but space is something of an issue, so I used our speaker as a kind of tree extender, complete with green garland and lights. And because there wasn't room for all of our (okay, my) Christmas ornaments, I used some to decorate beside the tree and on our mantle (which is crazy cluttered and therefore unphotographed). We have a lot of Ohio University ornaments. School pride! Go Bobcats!

In other news, it was really frustrating taking these photos until I discovered that I can actually adjust the ISO settings on my point-and-shoot. Score!

Oh, and those presents down there? Matt and I opened them already. I was really excited for him to open his gifts, so I insisted that we do it last week. I got him a really nice new tent and cufflinks shaped like the Starship Enterprise. He got me some gloves that have fingertips specially designed to work with touch screens, so I can text and stay warm :) And a bunch of Pampered Chef things I really wanted, AND an amazing pair of slippers that keep my feet toasty warm. (That's kind of a gift for him, too...I used to put my cold feet on his legs at night to warm them. But no longer!)

What about you guys? Any early present-openers out there?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A day of silence...and how you can help

I was going to post pictures of our Christmas tree today, but each time I tried, I couldn't find words that seemed anything more than trite and trivial, in the face of Friday's tragedy in Connecticut. (Yes, I posted on Friday...a pre-scheduled post that, in retrospect, I kind of wish I had re-scheduled.)

I'm not going to preach about what needs to change in this country--there are too many items to list. I'm simply going to ask that all of you reading this take a moment--to pray, if you pray, or to just send positive thoughts if that's more your thing--and think about the children, teachers and families in Newtown who have been affected by Friday's horrific events. If you want to help in a more concrete way, I invite you to check out the resources below.

- The United Way is collecting donations for the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. You can donate via credit card here, or you can mail a check to:

Sandy Hook School Support Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Bank
39 Main Street, Newtown CT 06470
- Newtown Youth & Family Services is a nonprofit mental health clinic that is providing emergency counseling to families. I know the emergency counseling was going on last weekend, but I'm not sure how long they plan to continue. You can find their contact info and learn how to donate here.
- The Newtown Memorial Fund is asking for donations to assist in covering funeral costs. (Be warned. They list the kids' names and ages on the front page. It was heartbreaking to see.)
- The Emilie Parker fund has been created to help the family of one of the victims, 6-year-old Emilie Parker. Here's that fund's Facebook page.
- The Friends of the Engel Family Fund has been set up in honor of 6-year-old Olivia Engel. It also has a Facebook page.
- Donations to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Victims Relief Fund, via Crowdrise, are directed toward the school's PTSA organization, according to its founder.
- If you wish to send a message to the community of Newtown, you can do so via Evergram. CNN reports that all the messages submitted will be put together and delivered to community members.

If you know of other ways to help, please feel free to share them in the comments below.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Fiscal Fridays: Exceptions and rules

So I was going to post this last Friday, but a last-minute invite and a particularly stressful week had me heading straight out for a night on the town instead of going home after work. Thank goodness for casual Fridays and friends who are chill enough that I don't have to swap flats for heels and a sparkly top when we go out. Anyway.

Today, I want to touch first on the whole using-credit-cards-for-online-shopping thing. When I last mentioned it, after my insane Cyber Monday gift-shopping-spree, I mentioned that I used my card so much that it temporarily stopped working. And to be honest, I felt a little guilty/nervous about charging $300+ worth of gifts. But my dad, the unofficial financial guru of my family, read that post and had a few pointers.

He first mentioned that using a debit card when shopping online (or even at the gas station!) often puts a "hold" on your card, for more money than you're actually spending. If your balance is too low, you could actually wind up overdrafting while that hold is in place.

Even if you make it a habit to have at least a hundo or two on your debit card (in which case, congrats dude!), they don't offer the same consumer protections as a regular credit card. The protections vary from bank to bank, but typically it is much easier to contest a credit card transaction than a debit card transaction, in the event that your card number is compromised. And we all know that's a common risk when shopping online.

So bottom line, for this part of the post anyway, is that it's sometimes better to use a credit card. Just make sure you track how much you're spending, and pay it off as soon as possible. I like to pay mine off as soon as the transactions post to my online banking, which is usually a couple of days after the purchase. For Christmas shopping, I created a new "budget" in the Spendings app I use to help with my various budgets like groceries, gas, and the like. (More on that, and other useful budgeting apps, here.) Because I finished my Christmas shopping mostly on Cyber Monday, and the rest the following weekend, I was able to see exactly how much I was charging, so I didn't spend more than I could pay off before the end of this month.

So. That's it for the "exceptions" part of today's post. The "rules" part is really more of a tip, something I realized I have been subconsciously doing for a while now.

I used to have a real problem with impulse purchases. Instant gratification was the only thing I knew. See it, want it, buy it. And that's how I racked up thousands of dollars in credit card debt in my college years. Since hitting my "financial rock bottom," as I like to think of it, I've been actively stopping myself from big impulse spending. Now, it's at the point where I don't even realize that I'm restraining myself.

Basically, the rule is this. Never, ever make a large purchase the same day that you decide to make it. I have done this twice this week alone. The first was with a rug that our living room desperately needs, and the second was with tickets to see Lady Gaga in DC in February. In the latter case, I had the tickets in checkout, ready to purchase, credit card in front of me. I know I'm getting a freelance payment this week or next that is roughly equal to the cost of the tickets. My plan was to charge now, pay in a few days when the money came in. And then a little voice in my head said, why charge it? Why not just wait until you have the money in hand? So I cancelled the order.

My idol. I love her. Totally worth $200 and 5 hours of travel.

With the rug, I already had most of the money in hand, in the form of a "wellness rewards program" cash card that had about $100 left on it. The rug cost $150. Again, I realized that it was a big purchase, at least in terms of my typical budget, and maybe I should wait. So I did. And still am.

Source: via Emma on Pinterest
To be fair, it's a sweet rug and it would look awesome in our space.

It wasn't until yesterday, two days after my near-impulse purchases, that I realized the significance of my hesitation. That I truly have changed the way I think about money. I'm not saying I've conquered impulse buying--that's something I'll probably have to struggle against for the rest of my life--but I'm at least improving. In all likelihood, I'll probably still buy the concert tickets and the rug both. But at least I'll have thought about it, planned it out, and figured out where I'm going to cut back in the next couple of months in order to better afford the purchases. And that, my friends, is what this journey is really all about for me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Conundrum: Loves to cook, accident-prone



t-shirt, hair flower: H&M
cardi: The Limited
jeans, flats: Target
necklace: gifted

Most years, I wind up getting cooking utensils and gadgets for Christmas. Last year it was a really nice food processor, and the year before it was Julia Child's cookbook. This year, I've gotten a bunch of Pampered Chef stuff from Matt and a fondue set that doubles as a deep-fryer (yes, you read that right...I was so excited) from the girls upstairs. Suffice to say, I like to goof off in the kitchen. There's just one problem.

I am a complete and total klutz, particularly when hot and/or sharp objects are involved. I have a massive, four-inch-long scar on my arm from a burn sustained a few years ago (funny story btw, remind me to tell it sometime). I have numerous scars on my hands from various cuts, and once I cut the tip of my finger almost completely off.

So this afternoon I was curing this new fondue set with hot oil, per the instructions. And now, typing up this post is quite difficult, thanks to the massive blister on my pinkie. Lovely.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An outfit and a winner

The outfit is not the winner. The winner is that of my Nurtur the Salon gift certificate, entry #17, Amanda! Congrats girl, check your email for details on claiming your prize!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The outfit is this one, which is one of my more favorites this season.



sweater: thrifted
tank: Old Navy
skirt: New York & Company
tights, boots, socks: Target
necklace: InPink

I'm not quite sure why I was experimenting with different shooting locations within my room the night I shot these. Or why I decided to get down on the ground for a pic. But I did, so here you are.

These boots are super slouchy, which can be a bit annoying when you're pairing them with socks here. Guess I'll just have to do more toe lifts to bulk up my calves, right? Haha, who am I kidding. I don't work out.

Note to self: You have a gym membership. Start using it.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pin-spiration Monday: Copycat Chick-fil-a nuggets

I can't really write a long post tonight because I'm on deadline, but this weekend I tackled a Pin from long ago: Copycat Chick-fil-a nuggets.

Now, as someone who absolutely loves Chick-fil-a chicken (the whole "we hate gays" debacle this year was a huge source of inner conflict for me), I can say with all honesty that this recipe really does taste a lot like the delicious fast food goodness.

(Please ignore the mac & cheese. It's from a box. What can I say? I like what I like.)

The secret to this recipe? Pickle juice and powdered sugar. It's true. I could hardly believe it myself. (And if you don't like pickles, no worries; you really can't taste it at all once the chicken's been cooked.) For the full recipe, click the Pin above. There's a honey mustard sauce recipe on that post too, but I don't really like mustard so I didn't make it.

And now, I'm off to write (some more)! While I'm doing that, why don't you enter my giveaway? One day left!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Good choices



vest: thrifted
cami: Old Navy
jeans: Target
heels: Franco Sarto via Marshall's
necklace: old, don't remember
bracelet: H&M

I wore this for a night out on the town with my friend from work a few weeks ago, back when weather was warmer and less rainy. It was her birthday, so she and I, and a few others, all raged appropriately. Or inappropriately, depending on how you look at it.

Just before I walked out the door, I took off those 4-inch heels and threw on my leopard-print flats. In retrospect, it was the best decision I made all night. I am a bit awkward in these heels when I'm sober, and I knew there'd be a good deal of walking involved. I was right.

Hey, so did you enter my giveaway yet?

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Almost forgot....

I got so excited about the giveaway yesterday, I completely forgot to mention one more thing about the Nurtur salon in Grandview. They're having a special holiday shopping event (which I most certainly will be attending). It's on December 12th and 13th, from 4-8 pm. If you go, you can sip some of that delicious Staufs coffee or tea that I mentioned while shopping the awesome Aveda product, which will all be 20% off and will earn you double Pure Privilege points. And if you schedule an appointment while you're there, you'll get 20% off that service, too. As if that weren't enough, there will be other holiday-themed refreshments as well. See you there!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Local review: Nurtur Salon

When I moved to Columbus, one of the first things I looked for was a new stylist. Having just graduated from college in a town with approximately three salons to its name, I was overwhelmed with the options this city had to offer. Luckily, my friend Allory recommended a salon she'd been frequenting for years. Now, I'm a die-hard fan of Nurtur, an Aveda salon in the Columbus-adjacent suburb of Upper Arlington. So when their marketing person contacted me to do a review of their newest location, in the trendy little neighborhood of Grandview, I was thrilled.

(Bear with me on this review. It's long, but only because I love this place. And at the end, there's a giveaway!)

Nurtur is an Aveda salon, so it has great product and exceptional customer service. The Grandview location (1325 Grandview Ave.) doesn't disappoint there. When I walked in, I was promptly greeted by the smiling faces of the staff, who checked me in and offered me something to drink.

This location features a unique drink menu, with Staufs coffee and two blends of Staufs tea that were specially made for the store. The original location has coffee and tea, but they're not from Staufs, which is a locally owned coffee house here in Columbus that has what is, hands down, the best coffee I've ever had. So. Good.

Anyway, my stylist John was waiting for me once I got my drink. John's been doing my hair for about six or seven months now, since my original stylist left the company. He's fantastic; he knows my hair better than I do and is always able to tweak my style a little bit to keep it fresh. Plus, he's a great conversationalist, which in my opinion is almost as important in a stylist as actual talent.

All hair appointments start off with a quick stress-relieving chair massage. This is a major selling point for me; I have constant knots in my shoulders. I know what you're thinking, and yes, it's totally included in the cost of your cut/color. So yeah, that's pretty awesome.

After the chair massage, it's off to the super-comfy hair washing station. I know what you're thinking...comfy hair washing? At a salon? It sounds like a contradiction, but I promise it's not. The chair and sink are both adjustable, so you can really settle in for the shampoo-and-condition routine, complete with scalp massage. But it doesn't stop there. While the conditioner is soaking in, you get your choice between a mini facial or a hand and arm massage. I've had both, and I highly recommend the mini facial. It's basically pure heaven.

Then it's off the chair for the actual cut. I was really impressed with the clean, uncluttered design of the styling station. Most salons just have a mishmash pile of product and brushes and tools jumbled on the counter. Here, everything's grouped together off to the side, so all I saw in front of me in the chair was the mirror and a nice, clean counter.

Of course, the cut itself was phenom, as always. Like I said, John really knows my hair better than I do, and he always seems to know exactly what I want, without even having to ask. He knows his stuff.

In addition to hair cut and color, the Grandview location also does texture treatments (like relaxing), makeup application, brow waxing and hair spa treatments. And if you live here in Columbus (or plan to visit soon), you can win a $25 gift card for any of the aforementioned services! Enter below...giveaway's open until Tuesday the 11th, so jump on it :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway