Monday, December 30, 2013

Back to it (waaaahh!)



blouse: Express via Discount Fashion Warehouse
tank, boots: Target
skinnies: H&M
necklace: gifted

Well, last week was kind of a lovely little vacation from everything. I only worked on Monday, and after the holidays were over I just kind of laid on the couch, worked out a bit, caught up on some projects and generally didn't really think too hard about anything. It was superb. So much so that I'm actually contemplating calling in sick to continue the trend. And actually, I am coming down with a cold...I've had a sore throat since Saturday night, which I've been treating with copious amounts of tea and honey (and a smidgen of bourbon, hot-toddy-style). But I'm not calling off, because I have too much to do this week and it'll be shortened thanks to us having New Year's Day (aka National Hangover Day) off. So. Here we are.

So I wore this outfit to one of Matt's and my six family Christmas parties. (Can you even imagine if we were products of divorce?? It would be so many more Christmases! As it is, we still celebrate with both sides of our extended families, plus separate gatherings with our nuclear families.) Anyway. I've also been wearing this outfit to about a billion other things, because it's adorable and comfy. I'm practically living in these skinnies right now. Well, not right now, because skinnies only fly on Fridays at work, but you know what I mean.

In other news, the face I'm making in my last photo there is a testament to how terrible my balance is. Note to self: Get to work on that. In other other news, I promise I'm planning to stick to the Makeup Mondays series I introduced a few weeks ago. Really. I just keep getting distracted and end up having to throw together a shorter post at the last second...

Friday, December 27, 2013

Fiscal Fridays: December clothes budget

Hooray for another month of staying within my budget! I'm actually about one-third under-budget this month, which is good because Christmas is freaking expensive, what with all the travel and gift-giving. I tend to get a little carried away with the latter; I almost always overspend on others. What can I say? I like to give awesome gifts, haha.

Anyway, this month I went back to Discount Fashion Warehouse, which makes my under-budget-ness even more of a shocker (for more on that, see my last post on the store). So even though the descriptors below say Express or The Limited, they're all VIA DFWh. Just an FYI :)

12-27-13 Dec budget

1. Express necklace. Chevron for the win! $7
2. Express Portfino shirt. I've been wanting to bump up the number of sheer blouses in my closet, and what better time to buy them than off-season? And with polka-dot-esque stars to boot? Yes, please. $9
3. The Limited sweater. I usually don't like high-low styles, but they're cute when they're subtle. Also, two words: Elbow. Patches. $12
4. The Limited 678 skinny jeans. Because who doesn't need a pair of mustard skinnies? $10
5. The Limited blouse. Thus fulfilling my absolute need for a blouse that's open in the back. Bonus: The buttons let me control how open, so it's both work- and bar-appropriate. $9
6. Express cardigan. Nude and white striped cardis are pretty much a staple, right? That's what I thought. $12
7. The Limited blouse. If this looks familiar, it's because I bought it back in September on my first trip to DFWh. Then I stained it. Luckily, I found another on this trip! $9

So there it is! How did you do on your budget this month? (And don't forget to link up with me to Franziska's Budgeting Bloggers! She should be posting the linkup soon.)

Monday, December 23, 2013

It's that time of year...



shirt: The Limited via Discount Fashion Warehouse
necklace: Express via DFWh
slacks: thrifted
cami, shoes: Target

...when I have entirely too much to do and not enough time to do it in. Yay! Between my regular freelance work, a new side gig I picked up doing some marketing for Everything But Hair (the salon I did a giveaway for last month) and of course Christmas shopping and trying to narrow down venue options for the wedding, I have been one busy gal. In fact, I had to deliberately force myself to take a couple of hours yesterday to just hang out with Matt and not actually do anything. It was really nice.

I'm hoping to use this week to catch up. I planned ahead and used vacation time so that today's the only day I actually go to work. Then it's driving all across Ohio the next two days (though we blessedly get to sleep in our own bed each night, hooray!) to visit families. Thursday and Friday (and I guess Saturday and Sunday) are my big get-things-done days. Writing, fixing a few blog things, taking the cat to the vet for her shots, fiiiiiinally cleaning the's going to be glorious. I might even get my Christmas thank-you cards sent out before New Year's this year! (What?!)

In other news, can I say how much I'm digging this shirt? I got it on a recent trip to Discount Fashion Warehouse, during which I managed to stay UNDER my clothes budget for the month (instead of blowing double the amount like last time). Anyway, I've been searching for a cute open-back blouse for a while. Three cheers for finding one at a crazy discount!

So anyway, are you traveling for the holidays this year? Or are you one of those lucky ducks who will stay at home and enjoy a nice, quiet holiday?

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Overthinking mode, engage!



sweater, flats: Target
slacks, blouse: thrifted
necklace: gifted

Oy,vey. Matt and I haven't even been engaged a week and I'm already trying to figure out centerpieces. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's meticulous planning. If there's one thing I'm bad at, however, it's prioritizing effectively. I'm sitting here, trying to figure out how many adorably mismatched vases I'll need to procure, and I don't even know how many tables we'll need because we don't even have a solid guest list or even a budget planned yet! Objectively, I know those big details have to come together before I can start thinking up the little ones. But the big details are scary and expensive, and the little ones are so light and fun!

Okay, enough about that. I promised I would try to keep wedding stuff in check here on the blog :) Sooo let's talk about dressing for work in the winter. It kind of sucks. I find myself gravitating to one of two extremes:

1. Proper business casual that keeps me warm but is boring as hell. See above. The cardigan/blouse/slacks combo is kind of my go-to on those dreary mornings when the sun doesn't rise until after I leave the house and I just don't feel like trying.

2. Pushing the "casual" aspect of B.C. a little too far, like yesterday's outfit. I wore this shirt, these khaki skinnies and these boots. Definitely not a professional look, but it kept my feet dry in the snow and it was comfy under all my bundled layers. Fortunately, it's the week before Christmas and most of the folks who would care are already on vacation. Yay, loopholes!

So here's my question to you: How do you stay comfortable and stylish when there's four (or six, or ten) inches of snow on the ground? Do you wear skirts and tights and just suck it up, even when the wind chill puts the temps in the single digits? Or do you go for comfort/function like me and just look less comfortable in the dark, cold months of winter?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

25 in 25: A six-month update

{image via}

So today is my half-birthday. I don't typically celebrate such things, but since I made a "25 in 25" list for this year, I thought I'd post a little update on how I'm doing. Here we go:

1. Become debt-free
2. Get a DLSR and learn how to use it
3. Visit a new city
(Pittsburgh, and I'm going to Baltimore and Martinsburg, WV next month!)
4. Lead-climb the arch route at the Audubon (I've top-roped it about a quarter of the way up so far)
5. Build up three to six months’ worth of emergency living expenses
6. Pick out an engagement ring. Make up yo damn mind!
7. Start a savings account/fund for Matt's and my wedding
8. Visit all three of my sisters at least once (One in South Carolina, one in Bowling Green, Ohio, and one in Athens, Ohio)
9. Get at least one of the tattoos on my list (In light of the engagement, I'm thinking this probably won't happen. More important things to use my money for...see numbers 5 and 7!)
10. Finish up my ear piercings (Another I'm thinking of scrapping...the two I got in May took ages to heal!)
11. Go white water rafting
12. Get furniture that I’m not embarrassed of (Priorities: couch, bed frame)
13. Lead-climb a 5.9 route at the Red River Gorge (or I guess the New River Gorge)
14. Do a 5k (Color Run in July--so fun!)
15. Do more “pay it forward” stuff
16. Visit the Columbus Zoo
17. Visit the Franklin Park Conservatory
18. See at least one of my favorite bands perform live
19. Go to the ballet
20. Go to the symphony
21. Learn to sew
22. Sample more of Columbus' independently owned restaurants and bars
23. Beef up my camping gear (Priorities: backpack, hiking boots, sleeping pad)
24. Make Julia Child’s boeuf bourginon
25. Learn to moon-walk!

Oof. Looks like I have some work to do in the next six months! Did you make a __ in __ list on your last birthday? How are you doing on it?

Monday, December 16, 2013

An announcement!

So if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, feel free to disregard this entire post. See you back here tomorrow :)

But if you don't, or if you weren't on much this weekend, I have some exciting news! Matt, my boyfriend of nearly six years, asked me to marry him. Wow, even after a weekend of announcing that to family and friends (and even considering that I helped him pick it out a few weeks ago), it's still kind of hard to believe!

He totally got me, too. He contacted my friend Hayley, who I work with, and asked her to help coordinate. She asked me Friday afternoon to go with her while she bought some tickets off a guy on Craigslist. I'm a frequent CL buyer/seller, and I own a can of pepper spray, so I was more than happy to make sure she didn't get murdered. She said we were meeting the guy at the Ohio Statehouse, which is right across the street from where we work. And it's an absolutely gorgeous building, buy the way — one of my favorites in Columbus.

In retrospect, I should have known something was up. She was so giddy, and she kept trying to make me put on makeup: "Emma, want to try this sweet new concealer I got? Ooh, here, check out this new lipgloss!" I thought she was just being weird. So we finally leave, we're walking to the crosswalk, and I get the weirdest sensation of being watched. You ever get that feeling? I just somehow knew that the "Craigslist guy" was over at the Statehouse, staring at us. It actually creeped me out. Later, I found out Matt actually had watched us leave the building and walk down the street. Weird, right?

Anyway, so we get there and Hayley dashes up the stairs. My hand is on my mace in my pocket, which is standard protocol for any Craigslist meetup. She's running up the stairs, and I'm telling her that the door is locked, we're at the wrong entrance. And as I get to the top of the stairs, Matt steps out from behind a pillar. My hand jerked involuntarily in my pocket, and then I realized it was just him. Then it dawned on me: He was dressed up in a button-down and a tie under a sweater, and he definitely, absolutely wasn't trying to sell Hayley some basketball tickets.

I was actually so shocked, I kept, backing away from him, until I hit a pillar behind me. And then I just cried and cried, and he got down on one knee and gave this beautiful little speech, and...oh, damn. I'm crying again.

Long story short, it was absolutely perfect.

12-16-13 proposal

It's been such a blissful weekend, to the point where I'm not even sure if I've used that word correctly before today. I can barely even find words for it.

So you all can expect the appearance of some moderate wedding content around here, though I promise to try to keep it in check for those of you who couldn't care less :) haha. And while diamonds are notoriously difficult to photograph, I did manage to get a couple of decent shots for anyone who wanted a closeup:



So, was your weekend? Haha.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Big things are happening




sweater dress: The Limited
cardi, boots: Target
tights: Groupon deal
belt: H&M
necklace: Express

I think one of the worst parts about blogging, for me, is having news that I'm not quite ready (or allowed) to share on the blog. When it comes to my own personal secrets, I am a terrible keeper. I just get so excited and want to share that excitement with the world! (When it comes to other peoples' secrets, however, I'm a vault. Swear.) Anyway, some pretty exciting collaborations and other fun things are coming up, both here on VM and in real life. And I can't talk about most of them for, like, another month. Maybe more? One of the IRL things I actually have no idea when I'll be able to share. How's that for cryptic?

Don't worry, I'm not a complete tease here. I do have one fun thing to share with you guys. A fellow Ohio University J-school alum, Rachel, has started a blog about Generation Y-ers/Millennials. Specifically, folks that age who aren't living up to the media hype of being lazy underachievers. Her first feature? It's me! I'm so flattered; to be honest, I didn't think of my debt paying-off-ness as really a huge achievement. It was just something I had to do. Then I thought about the numbers...$18,000 in less than three years is something to be proud of. And I am. Ok, not-so-humble-brag over. Check out Rachel's blog, both now and later when she has some more features.

In other news, there are clothes pictures here too! I'm digging this outfit, though I think the tights might be a little too dark. I had the same problem when I wore them here, but I think it was worse for that outfit. Here, it seems almost passable. What do you think?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Makeup Mondays

So a while back, my dear friend Ally made a sweet comment on a post of mine. It was about makeup and how it gives some women a huge advantage. And it made me laugh, because she implied that what I post on the blog is largely natural. And it's not. Which got my gears turning, and made me decide to start a little mini-series that I'm going to call "Makeup Mondays."

I wear a fair amount of makeup, mostly to hide the constant dark circles under my eyes. They're there no matter how much sleep I get. Thanks, genes. And while the makeup I wear goes a long way to hide them (more on that another week), they're usually making an appearance by the end of the day, when I take my photos. So I have another "makeup" trick up my sleeve: Photoshop.

I know it's a bit controversial to Photoshop one's appearance in pics, and I promise, I don't do any of the crazy making-myself-skinnier things or whatnot. I basically use it as an after-affect makeup application. I'll clean up the circles under my eyes, and sometimes whiten my teeth a touch if the lighting makes them look bad. In the interest of full disclosure or what have you, I've decided to present a few comparisons:


The image on the left is unedited, while the one on the right has my circles touched up. (It also has my standard clarity edits, which I swear I've posted about, but I can't find. If I do find that post, I'll update. UPDATE: Here it is.) You don't have to look very closely to see the difference.

The other edits I do involve minor cover-ups, like if I have a major breakout, and slight teeth whitening. I really only need the latter during indoor shoots, when the lighting is a bit on the yellow side anyway. Below, you can see where I did that, and where I fixed an annoying little thing where my nose ring was sticking out of my nose and looking like...well, you know. Gross. I also, of course, lightened under my eyes.


So there you have it. That's how I use Photoshop as makeup, so to speak. Stay tuned in future weeks for tutorials on how to do these tweaks, makeup tips and overviews of which products I like best.

What about you? Do you use Photoshop to tweak a few facial flaws? Or do you prefer to go au natural? Do you feel strongly about using Photoshop this way? Sound off in the comments, I want to hear what you think!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Fiscal Fridays: November clothes budget

So I totally failed last Friday, which is when I meant to post this. Oops. Anyway, I was really good last month; I even came in way under my $100 budget! Yay me. Here's what I got:

12-6-13 Dec budget

1. Olive skinny jeans from H&M. They were on sale, and I got another 10% off for signing up for H&M's mailing list (which I somehow don't get emails from. Yay!) $8.95 |exact|
2. Chunky sweater from H&M. I've been searching for some good sweaters for a while. This was only left in a large, so I swim in it, but I kinda like it that way. $24.95 |exact (I think?)|
3. Thin sweater from H&M. I couldn't find an exact photo online, but here's me wearing the real deal. There was a hole in it, so I got 10% off. The hole has since grown because I'm wearing this so much (see previous link), so I have a little repairing to do. Worth it. $13.45 |similar|
4. New sunnies from Target. I lost mine. Cat-eye FTW! $12.99 |exact|
(not pictured)
5. Pantyhose from Walmart. It was an emergency last-minute purchase that had me and my friend Hayley rushing through Walmart in full-on eveningwear. We (she) also bought Spanx, lip gloss and like eight cases of beer. It was interesting, to say the least. $4.74
6. Nose rings from Hot Topic. Mine fell out while Matt and I were camping back in late October. I was using one I had on hand and hated, so I snagged up a couple packs of extras during a BOGO half-off sale. $20.96.

Total with tax: $89.59. Boo-yah achieved.

Thursday, December 5, 2013




shirt: secondhand
slacks: thrifted
flats: Buckle
necklace: Stella & Dot (giveaway win)

This shirt is weird. I mean, I like it, and it was pretty fun to style, but it's weird. I lightened the photos here to give you an idea of what I mean. It's got that cross-chest bit of fabric, and on the inside the bottom layer only goes down halfway. It's crazy-comfy, and I think it looks pretty cool, but all day when I was wearing this, I kept trying to pull the top layer of fabric down for some reason. It felt like it should fall below my boob? It makes zero sense, I know.

Not really much else to say today. The holidays are always super-stressful for me, between parties and gift-buying (which I'm wayyyyy behind on this year) and various other social demands and constructs. But I love food and family, and the holidays always bring lots of both, so I really can't complain. Just don't judge me if I don't really get around to putting up a Christmas tree this year, 'kay?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Boozy Tuesday: Infused bourbon recipe

Ahh, yeah, sorry about my radio silence these past few days. Happy Thanksgiving! It was a crazy-busy, extra-long weekend and I'm not even going to bore you with the details. Instead, I submit to you this vanilla-cinnamon-apple bourbon I infused. And oh wow. You guys, oh WOW.

So this was a bit of a trial-and error thing. I Googled a bunch of recipes to get ideas about proportions, which I promptly ignored. It wasn't the best result. Fortunately, I had enough to make two batches: a one-week infusion and a two-week infusion. I was able to correct my mistake in the longer version and hot dang, is it tasty.

I started with a 750 mL bottle of Woodford Reserve. You can use any kind of bourbon you like, but this is what was recommended to me by the bartender who inspired me to try my own hand at infusing. I also picked up a couple of green apples, a jar of vanilla beans (which fortunately contained two beans), a jar of cinnamon sticks, and two quart-size mason jars. The nutmeg I had on hand, but has since mysteriously disappeared from my house...


Anyway, I just split the bourbon into the two jars.


Then I sliced the apples and added one to each jar. I went back and added another half-apple to each jar, which was actually a mistake as it turns out. In fact, I would suggest doing one-half or three-quarters of an apple per jar, or using Golden Delicious apples instead. The Granny Smiths were just too tart.


Anyway, I also divided the cinnamon sticks between the two batches and added them with a dash of nutmeg to each jar as well. I think I ended up with three or four cinnamon sticks in each batch.


Next up was the vanilla. Real vanilla beans are interesting things, and to get the full flavor you have to split them down the center with a sharp knife to open them up. You don't want to cut all the way through; just enough to get the "tube" of the bean open. Inside are all these tiny, wonderful-smelling grains of vanilla-ness. It was kind of hard to photograph, but here's my attemp.


Then I just popped one bean into each jar. I had to kind of fold them in half so they'd fit well.


Then I gave each jar a good shake, labeled them with the date and the duration for infusing, and left them in a cool, dark space on my counter where they wouldn't be disturbed.


When the time came, I gave the jar a good hard shake to mix everything up again. Then I took a fine-mesh strainer and poured the jar through it into a different container. I gave the jar a good rinse to get rid of any loose particles, then poured the newly infused bourbon back into it.


On tasting the first batch, I realized it was wayyyyy too tart. So I took about half the apples out of the second batch, which still had a week to go. It turned out perfectly. As for the first batch, I'm thinking about adding some pure vanilla extract to it to tone down the tartness a bit. Sydney also suggested adding maple syrup, which may be the most Canadian thing I've ever seen. (Except perhaps my six-pack of fleece-lined leggings.) I might split the jar and try a little in each to extend the experiment.

Despite the minor setback of the tartness, I'd call this foray into liquor infusions a great success. Have you ever tried infusing booze? Tell us about it (and link to a recipe, if you can!) in the comments :)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Stuff and things

Oh, holidays. You keep me so preoccupied with stuff. And thaaaangs.

A post-Thanksgiving freelance deadline and the wonderfulness (not) that is seasonal depression is making said stuff-n-things even harder. But I'm still here! Still truckin! And still taking outfit photos, among other various projects. I'll be back after Turkey Day, folks. Enjoy stuffing your faces--I know I will be.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giveaway winner!

Ok, by now I'm sure you're sick of me telling you to enter my giveaway. SorryI'mnotsorry. It was the biggest giveaway I've ever hosted, and likewise, it was the biggest response I've ever seen! Thanks everyone for entering! And don't forget, you can still get 10% off your services at Everything But Hair until the end of the year if you mention this blog or my name. Pretty rad. Ok, I know you're all anxiously waiting. And the winner is...


Ashley, via her "tweet about the giveaway" entry. Congrats, Ashley! Check your email later today for details on how to claim your prize.

Friday, November 22, 2013




sweater: thrifted
sleeveless button-down: New York & Company
skinny khakis: Old Navy
boots: Target

I think one of my least-favorite things about Ohio fall/winter (besides the dreariness, the cold and the inconsistent temps that mean you're freezing in the morning and sweating under your down jacket in the evening) is that it forces me inside for blog photos. It's usually too dim for me to take outfit photos before work, and it's practically full-on dark by the time I get home. And I usually don't have the time to document my outfits throughout the week and re-shoot them on the weekend. Le sigh.

At least these are starting to get better. I don't have any kind of professional lighting equipment, of course; it's just me and my cheap-o detachable flash (though for the price, it works pretty dang well).

The other day I was talking about favorite things and outfits on repeat. I get the feeling that variations of this outfit will be on repeat this winter as well. Umm, business casual AND pants-tucked-into-boots? Yes, please! It's boring, but hey. It meets dress code and it keeps my feet warm and dry. Win-win, if you ask me.

Hey P.S. My spa day giveaway ends this weekend. If you're in/near Columbus, make sure you get your entries in!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Favorite things



sweater, skinnies: H&M
shoes: Target
necklace: InPink (giveaway win)

Guys, like me introduce you to my new favorite outfit.

It seems like every season I have one or two outfits or pieces that I wear constantly on repeat. I only post them here once, because it would be boring to re-post every time I wore it, but trust me when I say I'm probably wearing it at least once every week or two. This fall/winter, I'm re-wearing this.

The sweater and skinnies were actually copycat purchases. My sister Anna was wearing the sweater at our last family gathering, and I am not lying when I say that I nearly snuck into her room at night to steal it. Fortunately, there was one (ONE!!) left in stock at my H&M. Major score. And I've been wanting a pair of olive skinnies ever since I saw Audrey wearing them. This was only compounded when my friend Hayley rocked a pair one casual Friday.

So I wore this to work one Friday, and I wore it again with my moto-esque ankle boots to run some errands. And again to run errands. And I've basically been lounging in this sweater nonstop in the evenings...Now I'm wishing the store had had two in stock. I'm getting the feeling I might wear this thing right out!

What favorite pieces are you wearing on repeat this season?

Psst. If you live in/around Columbus, or plan to be in the area before February 2014, be sure to enter my super-awesome spa-day giveaway! Mani, pedi, facial AND browshaping could all be yours! Enter here.

Monday, November 18, 2013




blouse, skirt: secondhand
blazer: Express via Discount Fashion Warehouse
tights, heels: Target
necklace: gifted

Oh yeah, I went there. Does using words like "chillaxin'" make me cooly ironic, or just dorky? Wait, don't answer that; I've just realized that I don't actually care :)

So I thought this weekend would be a pretty busy one, but it actually turned out to be fairly chill. We went to a friend's housewarming-slash-football-viewing party (Go Bucks!) for most of the day Saturday, then Matt and I ordered in and watched movies the rest of the evening. (Apparently one's day-drinking skills go out the window a few years after college.) And Sunday I did some freelance work while Matt ran errands, and we settled in for some more do-nothing laziness. It was incredible, especially after the chaos of last weekend.

And of course, it's now Monday and I'm wishing for a third consecutive morning of lay-in-bed laziness. Ah, well. I guess I'll never be able to get enough of that :)

On a random note, after looking at these pictures, I've decided it's time to pull another RIT-in-the-washing-machine-dye-job. This blazer is decidedly less black than the tights and shoes. I've done it before, but dyeing clothes in the washer always makes me nervous. Have you ever tried it?

P.S. Hey Columbus-ites, don't forget to enter my giveaway! Ends a week from yesterday. Also, it's pretty damn epic.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

MAJOR giveaway alert: Spa day at Everything But Hair

Okay, so if you follow my Twitter machine, you might have seen a couple tweets about a blog-post-for-service kind of exchange. And I promise, I’m not gonna be one of those lameo bloggers who completely sells out and just schleps her posts for swag. I’ve always maintained that the only sponsored posts you’ll ever see here will feature products and companies that I really love and stand behind, and this post is no exception. So read on…especially if you wanna win free spa services because that is totes about to happen, yo.

Like I said, I got a freebie Shellac manicure from this incredible salon here in Columbus. It’s called Everything But Hair and, as the name implies, they do just about everything but haircuts and styles. If you were a client at Erika Taylor Urban Spa, the atmosphere might seem familiar; Erika closed up shop to open this little haven in German Village. (She worked at a number of top Columbus salons before starting her own gig—think Charles Penzone, Salon Lofts and Jacob Neal.)

11-14-13 entrance
The salon is located in a former residence-turned-spa. So the whole ambiance is very homey, which I love. You feel like you could just kick off your shoes and hang out! And, can.

11-14-13 nail area
Fresh flowers, decadent products and massage chairs on the pedi station equal ultimate comfort.

And when she says they do everything but hair, she really means it. In addition to the standard manis, pedis, waxing, facials and massages you’d expect at a salon/spa, you can also get permanent makeup (including eyelash extensions—sign me up, please!), Reiki, and even a personal psychic consultation. I haven’t had my cards read yet, but I’m curious to try it out—supposedly the woman, Susan Rawlings, is phenomenal. The local upscale hotels recommend Erika’s former and current salon to guests, and as a result, some pretty big names have benefitted from her salons’ services. Who, you ask? Oh, no one special…only Britney Spears, Julia Roberts, America Ferrera and Margot Kidder, to name a few. (Most of her male clientele prefer not to be named, to save face—after all, who could take a famous rapper seriously if they found out he got pedicures?)

11-14-13 psychic area
The psychic consultation area is designed to feel both comfortable and luxe.

Anyway, enough name-dropping. Let’s get down to the serious stuff, like why you’d wanna go there. Um, how about cause it’s awesome? Leona did my mani and oh girl, it was pretty awesome. She sent me home with a little bottle of oil for my ravaged cuticles. What a sweetheart. I also got little hand/arm massage and a mini Reiki sesh from the very talented and charismatic Starr Dillon. So much love. Oh oh oh, and I almost forgot the best part. This is a booze-friendly salon, y’all. That’s right. Just sign up for an annual membership (or a one-day membership for just $3) and you can BYOB your choice of libation. Bring a six-pack or bottle of wine, or write your name on a bottle of your fave liquor and leave it there; membership comes with other perks, so it’s definitely something worth considering.

11-14-13 details
It's all about the details. Booze and gummy bears? Gorgeous chandeliers, stained glass and local art? 
Yes, please.

So here’s where the post gets really fun for anyone in the Columbus area. (Sorry everyone else. Come visit?) Between now and December 31, you can get 10% off any service at Everything But Hair if you just mention Verbal Mélange, or say that Emma sent you. (Cue announcer voice.) But that’s not all!!

Erika also has oh-so-generously agreed to give away an amazing spa package to one lucky Verbal Mélange reader! It’s the “Everything Package,” which consists of a “Pampered” manicure and pedicure (that’s the whole shebang; see details here), plus a “Blissfully Beautiful” facial and brow shaping. That is a $228 value, you guys. I KNOW, RIGHT? Easily the biggest giveaway I’ve been lucky enough to share here. Again, this is technically open to anyone, but you have to use the package here in Columbus before February 28, 2014. And gents, don’t be deterred; you can gift the package to someone else! I know a lot of girlfriends and wives who would be pretty psyched to find a spa day gift certificate in their stockings.

Giveaway is open until midnight on November 24. Winner will be announced and contacted via email within 24 hours. And folks, I do check to see whether you actually did the things you said you did to enter. So please don’t cheat. I’ll kick your butt to the curb! So what are you waiting for? Get to entering below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wild wedding weekend



sweater: thrifted
t-shirt: The Limited
skinnies: Forever 21
boots: Target

Er. Mah. Gerd you guys. This weekend was so ridiculously crazy and wonderful. Matt and I went to Pittsburgh for my friend Hayley's wedding, in which I was a bridesmaid. In a true break of my usual character, I put my phone down and actually took in every moment instead of snapping pics constantly. (Except for the rehearsal dinner and the morning of, because there was no professional photographer, so Hayley asked me to step in.) But for the most part, I wasn't really snapping away. I'll try to dig up some pics from Facebook and scan in the photobooth shots to share, though. All in all, it was crazy-fun. Congrats, Hayley and Ernie :)

I wound up with a four-day weekend, since I had to be there early on Friday (Matt met me in town on Saturday) and yesterday was Veterans Day. So in between the crazy partying Saturday, the doing-nothing-and-recovering Sunday and the chore-filled Monday, this weekend was pretty jam-packed.

I always feel like it's rough going back to work after a long weekend, but this morning has been a particular struggle thanks to the first real snowfall of the season. It's only two inches, but it's slowly crushing my spirit. So here's an outfit from slightly warmer, significantly less snowy days. I'm almost certain it's a near- (or exact) repeat of an outfit from last year, but eh. Who's keeping track, right? (Also, I've only just noticed that my necklace was inside my sweater for every single shot that day. Wompwomp.)

Did you guys have exciting weekends?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Craziness and sorryness


sweater: New York & Company
Oxford and slacks: thrifted
shoes: Target
necklace and bracelet: Etsy

I apologize for the lack of quality posts this week. My friend Hayley is getting married this weekend, and I've spent most of the week fulfilling various bridesmaidly duties and just generally preparing myself for a weekend in Pittsburg. And just kind of catching up on life in general, since this weekend was kind of a major bust in terms of productivity (but not in terms of fun...there was lots of that).

And I guess while I'm at it, apologies might be owed for these photos as well...they were my first indoor shots of the season, from a few weeks ago when we got that wild flurry of snow. Ugh. It's warmed up since, so I have a few more outdoor shots to share, but I know those days are numbered. Guess I'll have to improve my indoor shooting skills as well. They were never all that good to begin with, but I'm hoping that now, thanks to the help of my DSLR and the wonders that are RAW Photoshop editing, I might be able to improve upon them. What I really need is a quality light and some reflectors, but let's be honest. Ain't nobody got time for that.

What are you all getting into this weekend? Fellow U.S.-dwellers, any fun plans for the long Veterans Day weekend?