Saturday, June 29, 2013

(Belated) Fiscal Friday: June clothes budget

Friday was a tad distracting, so I didn't get this post finished until literally just now. More than 24 hours after I wanted to post it. Oops?

Anyway, this month, it was all about shorts. Upon FINALLY putting my winter clothes into storage and pulling out my summer clothes, I made the horrifying discovery that the "shrink fairy" had visited and only one pair of shorts fit. I'm trying to save money for our upcoming move in August, so I cut my clothes budget down to $50 this month. That meant only one thing: A thrift shopping day.

And man did I find a great haul! Some J.Crew, some The Limited, and some (possibly fake?) Michael Michael Kors. (I only say possibly fake because of the price tag slapped on them. Also, the included keychain embellishment thing looks a little cheap? But I'm no expert.) I also snagged a pair of regular boot-cut, dark wash jeans to fill a very major hole in my closet. Booyah!


1. J.Crew $3.49 Goodwill
2. Michael Michael Kors $16.50 Rag-O-Rama
3. The Limited $3.49 Goodwill
4. Calvin Klein long jorts $8.99 One More Time
5. Jones Sport Stretch (no idea what that is) $3.49 Goodwill
6. J.Crew Matchstick jeans $18.50 Rag-O-Rama

So overall, yeah, I'm pretty pleased with the haul! And yesterday my friend Hayley invited me over to shop her closet, and I came home with about two dozen new dresses, shirts, skirts and blazers. Basically, this month my closet saw one of the biggest overhauls ever. Not bad for an otherwise crappy June, eh?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hell to the yes!

Taking a little break from my frenzied week for this quick post...

{Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press}

I usually avoid getting political here because this is supposed to be a fun, creative little outlet for me and I don't want to worry about lame trolls coming and starting flame wars in the comments section. But after today's Supreme Court ruling, I just had to come out and say how insanely happy I am to see DOMA struck down.

Gay marriage is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart. Part of it is because I have a lot of friends who currently are unable to marry the person they love. Or if they do marry that person, they have to travel out of state, then live in a state that doesn't recognize their commitment to one another. It breaks my heart to see my loved ones struggle to gain the right to something that those of us in hetero relationships just take for complete granted.

But it's so much more than that.

I truly believe, with every fiber of my being, that NO government has the right to tell two consenting, competent adults in a committed relationship that they cannot obtain the same legal status as other adults just because they are both the same gender. Gay marriage is not a "gateway issue" that will lead to an adult marrying a child or an animal. It won't lead to anyone being forced into marriage. And it will not, by any stretch of the imagination, destroy the sanctity or importance of straight marriage. If you want to talk about the sanctity of straight marriage, first take a look at the marriages of Brittney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Newt Gingrich or Glynn "Scotty" Wolfe.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm very, very excited about this step forward for marriage equality in America. But with that excitement, I offer to you all this reminder: This is a great step, but it still is just a step. 70% of American citizens still live in a state in which marriage equality is still a dream. Let's use this momentum to inspire us and keep us motivated until marriage equality is a reality for all Americans, and after that, the world.

Okay. Soapbox done. Happy Wednesday :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

Crunch time


t-shirt, necklace: Old Navy
short-sleeve button-down: New York & Company
skirt: thrifted
shoes: Payless

I read somewhere once that our brains are hard-wired to reward us for procrastinating. That must be true, because I always find myself in a tizzy the week before a deadline, scrambling to get everything together at the last second that I refused to do back when there was time.

This week is that week for me. But I've already sent in one project, and I just have one more three-story assignment to get through before July 1 before I'm able to get back to normal. And then I probably won't take on anything new for a while ;) But until then...I have a lot of work to do.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

25 in 25

So this is the post I meant to do yesterday, but my short attention span got in the way. C'est la vie, no?

image via random Google search

Recently, my dear bloggy friend Sydney made a list of 24 things to do while she's 24. (Aka the age she turned on Friday.) And I was inspired to do the same! After some thought, here's what I came up with:

1. Become debt-free (On track for October!!!)
2. Get a DLSR and learn how to use it
3. Visit a new city
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, at my alma mater)
9. Get at least one of the tattoos on my list (I'm thinking the watercolor/dandelion back piece. OMG!)
10. Finish up my ear piercings (One more on each side)
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 (Note I did not say "run" a 5k...I just need to complete one haha)
15. Do more “pay it forward” stuff (Why are cars never behind me in the drive-thru??)
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! (This has been a recent topic in my hip-hop dance class. I have the process, just not the smoothness/coordination)

Do you have a mini-bucket-list-type thing for the next year of your life?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Oh yeah, there's a birthday in here somewhere...

Hint: It's mine! And it's today! Things are still super crazy right now, what with filing insurance crap and tracking down receipts and making up for lost freelance work, but I made it a point to take this weekend off and just enjoy turning 25. Saturday we went climbing with a couple friends at the Audubon downtown for like four hours, and then we went to Dirty Frank's for a very late lunch. That night, we went out with some friends on to a new brewery in town called Seventh Son. There, I probably enjoyed myself a bit too much, because Sunday was a tad bit miserable ;)

Today, though. Today was pretty sweet. I slept in, then grabbed lunch at Panera and headed off to my spa day, courtesy Matt! I'd been trying to give myself a birthday spa day for a few years now, but something always came up to screw up my budget in April or May. This year, I had the appointments made and everything, and two days later my stuff got stolen. As I was lamenting the loss of my stuff and the cost to replace everything, I realized I would have to cancel my spa day yet again...but then Matt stepped in and made that my present! He's so awesome. I should mention too he spent all of yesterday taking care of my hungover self! I'm needy when I don't feel well. Like, really needy. Did I mention how awesome he is?

Anyway, here's what I wore out Saturday night. Casual but cute was my goal, and I think I achieved it pretty well!



shirt, shorts: thrifted
necklace: gifted
shoes: Target
belt: H&M

Now I'm off to meet my grandma for dinner. She's the sweetest :)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Like a boss

Forgive this post if it seems a bit narcissistic, but it's basically a bunch of pictures of me being a BAMF last weekend. I meant to post them last night, but I got distracted. Days aren't long enough, I think.

So I'm definitely standing on a ledge here (Kentucky Pinstripe)...but the picture cuts off so let's pretend I'm not, cause that makes this so much more awesome.

Starting up "the one that got away" last time (Eureka)

Almost to the top of Eureka!

Starting out on The Offering. I like this shot because I'm actually mid-clip here, so you can see how far the last bolt is below me and how far I'd go if I fell!

More of The Offering

Last couple of moves on The Offering

This might be my fave. Look at those back/shoulder muscles! Technically I'm cheating here; I'm hanging on to the anchor, not the rock. But hey, any way you can make it up, right? Right.

So yeah, there you have it! Pretty cool, if you ask me :)

Monday, June 10, 2013

This is how I forget about bad things.

So before all the shiz went down on Wednesday, Matt and I had been talking about taking another trip down to the Red River Gorge to tackle the routes we couldn't quite manage in April. On Thursday, he asked how I felt about the trip. I immediately responded, "Hell yes, let's get the eff out of here!"

So Friday evening, off we went with our friends Jay and Marcy. We stayed two nights this time, and the whole weekend was a lot of firsts for me. First two-night camping trip. First route over 60 feet tall. (Two of them, actually.) First 5.10a-rated route (usually I stick to the 5.6s and 5.7s). And first time lead climbing on an outdoor route, which is waaaaay harder than top rope climbing. All of those were pretty terrifying, to be honest. There were a lot of moments where I just stood/hung/clung there and thought, I can't do this. I'll fall too far, it's too high, I'm not strong enough physically. But then I told myself, you chased a criminal this week while you were wearing flip flops and a dress. You can do anything. And then I did it. I did it all.

Sadly, none of the photos below are of me. They're shots of Matt, Jay and Marcy that I took on my phone. Marcy has a bunch of really great shots of me (and everyone else) on her camera, so once she gets them uploaded I'll post a few :)


First row: Jay on Kentucky Pinstripe (80 ft, 5.10a) at the Lady Slipper/Global Village wall (the arrow is pointing him out waaaay at the top) | Matt on the same | Marcy on Eureka (85 ft, 5.6) on the same wall
Second row: Matt on Eureka | Jay on Creature Feature (60 ft, 5.9) at the Phantasia wall | Matt on the same
Third row: Matt on Methane Rising (60 ft, 5.11a--the one he didn't finish last time) at the Bruise Brothers wall | Insta of Marcy on The Offering (45 ft, 5.7) at the same wall (aka my favorite route at the Red so far) | Jay on the same | Matt on the same
Fourth row: first two are Matt on The Offering | view from our tent on Saturday at Miguel's

I tried Creature Feature but could barely get six feet up--it was the end of the day, and the start was really difficult. We also climbed a newer 5.7 route (about 60 feet, maybe?) at Bruise Brothers, but I can't remember what it's called and it's not in our guidebook. And we went swimming, played around on the slack line I got Matt for his birthday, and just generally had a good time. It was exactly what I needed. When I climb, I get really in the zone. It's like meditation, or a trance, and all I can think about is where I'll put my foot next, what hold I can reach after that. It's a kind of focus that I just don't get from anything else in my life. And it's perfect for helping me forget about things that bum me out. It didn't hurt that the weather was absolutely gorgeous and I was getting a ton of endorphins from hiking and the climbing itself. Overall, it was a pretty amazing weekend.

Friday, June 7, 2013


I am so humbled by all the supportive blog comments, Facebook comments, text messages, emails, phone calls and in-person sentiments that I've gotten since Wednesday. Thank you all for your kind and uplifting words. It's been a hell of a week, but I am getting to the point that I can just accept what's happened and start trying to put it behind me.

I find writing therapeutic, however, so I'm going to stay on this topic for at least one more post. Read it or don't; I just want to get this all out.

I'm a person with a disproportionate sense of justice. Growing up, I think my most-repeated phrase was, "But it's not fair!" To which my wise mother always replied, "Sweetie, life isn't always fair." And then later, when I was too old to whine about fairness, "Your life will be a lot easier if you can just accept that life isn't always fair." But that in itself didn't seem fair to me. So it never really sunk in.

I feel that this experience has opened my eyes to that a little better. Sometimes, shitty things just happen. To good people, to bad people. That is life. And you can't always get retribution for the wrongs that have been done to you. The fact is, this guy will probably almost certainly get away with felony theft in this case. The best I can hope for is that the amazingly fast police response and the Good Samaritan car chase spooked him enough to toss everything in a dumpster, where it will rot and not give away any of my personal info. Or maybe the laptop will turn up in a pawn shop, where the serial number will get a hit with the system, and I may be able to recover the info at least. Who knows.

That's the most frustrating part for me. Knowing he's still out there. Knowing where he lives, and how close it is to my neighborhood. I find myself obsessively checking license plate numbers any time I'm in traffic. I can't leave my house without a can of mace in hand, finger on the trigger. We're sleeping with a baseball bat and a giant, heavy Maglite next to each side of the bed. And the worst part is, he knows what I look like, but I have no idea what he looks like. I'm jumping anytime a stranger that matches the very vague description is anywhere near me. (Black male, possibly in his 30s, average height/ yeah, that narrows it down.) I'm not really proud of that, because it makes me look...well, not good. But because I didn't get a good look at his face (smart enough to pull his hat down and turn away--he's a pro), I don't have much to go on. He could be anybody.

So, I'm trying to accept it. To understand that there is nothing I can do to change what's happened, to let go of it. To focus on the positive things. And there are positive things:

- I still have my phone. THANK GOD I STILL HAVE MY PHONE.
- My insurance deductible doesn't have to be paid out-of-pocket; they'll just take $500 out of my settlement check. So I don't have to dip into my savings account to cover that.
- The incredibly awesome bank teller who helped me close and re-open all my accounts told me that it "didn't seem fair" (haha) to make me pay to replace the checks that were the bank paid for my new checks.
- I managed to cancel all my cards before any transactions could be made, so that's one less headache.
- The Adobe Creative Suite license I had installed on my computer has another install left on it (had no idea I could use it on two machines!) so I'll have my Photoshop et al. back just as soon as an external optical drive for my Mac Mini comes in.
- When I went to Target to replace my wallet and other miscellaneous purse items, I found the exact same bag that I'd lost! It's this one and it's seriously the best purse I've ever had. I thought I'd never get an exact replacement, because I bought it ages ago. But nope, still in stock online!
- I have just the best, most supportive and incredible boyfriend in the world. Matt has been my rock these past few days, through the tears and the punching (inanimate objects, not him) and the panic attacks and the (probably unreasonable) level of fear and the despair...he has been my constant source of strength and serenity. And you all. My friends, both cyber and real-world. It makes more difference than you could ever imagine to have a solid support system.
- And of course, I'm safe and physically unharmed. It's so incredibly easy to take that for granted. But I keep reminding myself that I could have come away from this experience injured. It could have killed me. But it didn't, and I need to remember to be thankful for that.

So that's where I am. Trying to accept, trying to let go, trying to focus on the positive things. Trying to stop the scene from replaying in my head at inconvenient moments (or all the time), but I don't really think that's going to go away anytime soon. If you read this all the way to the end, thanks for being a trooper. I'm off for a much-needed weekend of not thinking about it. Hopefully I can return to some sense of normalcy soon.

Oh and hey, this whole experience makes for great Fiscal Friday fodder, yes? How to get home/renter's insurance, how to catalog your stuff before something bad happens, and how to file an insurance claim. Woo-hoo, adulthood.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Well fuck.

Yesterday morning started out great. I got up earlier than my usual time, got some blog stuff done, shrugged off the fact that I didn't get any freelance work done, got ready for work, took some blog pics, packed a lunch, put my laptop in my bag to do some freelance work at lunch and headed down to the bus stop.

Then I got robbed.

(Well, I've been told that technically it's not robbery, since I wasn't assaulted or verbally threatened. But it sure felt just as traumatic as a proper "robbery.")

I was waiting for the bus, like I do every morning, on a fairly busy street at about five to eight a.m. My bag was heavy, thanks to my seven-year-old MacBook, so I put it on my feet, leaning up against my leg. Like I do many mornings. It was sitting just on my toes as I talked to my mom, like I do many mornings. And some asshole darted around the corner, snatched it and took off before I knew what had happened.

Other than my laptop, that bag also had my purse, wallet, Kindle, a few medications, cash, a pair of shoes, my lunch, and a lot of other miscellaneous things in it.

What followed next was like a scene from a movie. I immediately took off after the guy, screaming nonsense obscenities (sorry, Mom) and making mental notes of what I had seen of his face, what he was wearing, and what kind of car he jumped into. Long story short, between me and a Good Samaritan who stopped to help, we got a license plate number. (It turns out we were both off by one number, which makes it hard or impossible to collar the guy...I found this out when the cops actually spotted the car that matched my color/make description, but with a slightly different plate. He drove off before they could pull him over.)

Then all the annoying stuff happened. The adrenaline wore off and I had a panic attack in front of the cop who was taking down my report. Matt came home and got the landlord to change the locks (since my keys and ID with my address were in my purse) while I canceled or froze every credit card and bank account I have. I called my mom back and apologized for scaring her. (Apparently she had been screaming "Don't chase him! Don't chase him!" on the phone, but I hadn't heard.) I called my insurance to see if I'm covered (I am, after a $500 deductible) and went to the DMV to get a new license.

I still haven't heard back from the cops, so my hopes are pretty low. So now starts the arduous and painstaking process of replacing everything, except that which can't be replaced, like my pictures (including blog pics), half-completed freelance projects, music that wasn't backed up, notes on the notebooks I had in my purse, etc. Expect posts here to once again become sparse, since all my stored-up content is gone. As is my photo editing software.

I'm trying to stay positive, but negative thoughts keep creeping their way in. I can't stop obsessing over the "what if?" What if I had gotten up earlier and done enough work to not need my laptop at work that day? What if I hadn't finished my coffee at home and had some piping hot liquid to throw on him and maybe stop him? What if I'd just held the damn purse on my shoulder? What if I'd been standing further away from the corner of the building? What if another person had been waiting at the stop with me? What if?

Everyone keeps telling me to be thankful: Thank God he didn't hurt you. At least your phone wasn't in your purse. "Things" can be replaced. You got a plate number. But I can't stop thinking about is the stuff I lost that can't be replaced. The little coin with an inspirational quote on it that my mom gave me. The little purse-holder hook that Matt's grandma gave to me at the last Christmas I saw her before she died. All my work, my notes, all the little scraps of "don't forget this!" paper that I left in the bag. I'll probably never see any of that again, and it's driving me crazy.

And now the reality of it is setting in. I wasn't attacked, but I'm as fearful as if I had been. You play out all these scenarios in your head: What would I do if ____ happened to me? How would I defend or protect myself if I were attacked or my house were on fire? You fantasize about how brave you'd be, how hard you'd fight, all the while knowing that it will never happen to you. And then something like that does happen. And then you feel like any of it can happen. My anxiety is at levels that I haven't experienced since I was on medication in college. I had another panic attack within minutes of waking up this morning. I'm a mess.

And I just feel so helpless. I'm going through the motions--cancelling accounts, changing passwords, compiling lists for the insurance claim. But I feel like I'm adrift at sea and I'm completely clueless as to what I should actually be DOING. How I should be handling this.

I don't know if I'll keep riding the bus, or whether I'll keep using that stop. If I do, I'll certainly always have a can of mace in my hand in the fire-ready position. (You hear that asshole? Try me again, I'd freaking LOVE to mace your eyes.) Maybe I'll start driving myself and paying the exorbitant parking rates for downtown Columbus. I honestly am having trouble thinking that far ahead; for now, I'm carpooling with a coworker whose commute takes her past my neighborhood. And carrying mace everywhere I go.

I think more than anything, I'm mad that he took away my sense of security.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013



dress: eShakti
shoes: Buckle
belt: Target

Well, eventually I want to start getting up at 6 a.m., but this morning I managed to drag my sorry night-owl butt up at 6:30. It's better than nothing, but it leaves me with time for little else besides quickly editing these pics and throwing up a super-short post. No time for any of my freelance writing, but hey, there's always my lunch break, right?

I'm not really feeling these pics today, which is a shame because this is that super-cute dress I bought with last month's clothes budget. I wore it to a baby shower for one of Matt's cousins and got a lot of compliments. I also wore it to work, where I also got compliments, so yeah, I'm pretty pleased with this dress. I just wish I had taken better pictures in it, haha. My hair...ick. And what's up with the tilted background?? Oh camera, you are so weird.

Here's a close-up of the pattern on this dress. I. freaking. love it.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Well, if you're looking at the timestamp on this post, you'll notice that it was written during my lunch break at work, not during the delightful pre-dawn hours that I vowed to start waking up at yesterday.

I blame our cat.

She inexplicably decided to tear through the house like a demon, sending shoes flying through the room, yelping a little (cats can yelp, apparently) and at one point, prompting us to think a burglar had broken in when she knocked over Matt's guitar. It was in a case, so it wasn't damaged, and it was even kind of cute to see Matt leap out of bed, baseball bat in hand, to check things out.

Anyway, this went on from 4:30 or 5 a.m. until about 10 minutes before our alarms were set for 6. Naturally, we opted to get up at our regular time (7 a.m.) to make up for that lost sleep. Try again tomorrow, I guess?

Also, no outfit post today. I just realized all my photos left are on my camera, which is at home, and not my computer, which is right here. So, big fail there, too. Oh well...

Monday, June 3, 2013

It's a brand new day, and the sun is high




pink shirt: JCPenney
collared sleeveless shirt: New York & Company
skirt: Target
shoes: Payless
necklace: Express

That is a reference to Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, for those of you who didn't know. And if you haven't seen it yet, my God, go do it. Right now. It's only 45 minutes long and I swear it is both hilarious and incredibly well-done. (Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day, directed by Joss Whedon...need I say more?)


That song popped into my head as I was trying to think about what to write tonight. Because I'll be honest, May did not end well for me. Part of it was external issues that were affecting me, but it was mostly a negative attitude on my part that really dragged me down. And that negative attitude was caused, in part, by my inability (or unwillingness) to cope with what was stressing me. It was this awful cycle that took me into two weeks of rollercoaster emotions.


As the song goes, it's a brand new day. I still have a lot on my plate (what in the world possessed me to take on two huge freelance projects simultaneously?!), but I'm going to handle it differently. And that includes being proactive about my stressors--finding ways to beat them before they get out of control.

That means making some real changes in my life. No more skipping out on the gym--I need the endorphins, and all of my shorts from last year didn't simultaneously shrink of their own accord. (I'm not kidding. I have exactly one pair of shorts and no capris left from last year--had to do a mad dash around thrift/consignment stores last weekend.) I'm also going to be more productive in the evenings, freeing up time to work on work and not bloggy stuff. I'm going to get up an hour earlier every morning (aaaahhhhhhhh!) to write posts, take and edit photos, and (on days I'm not posting) to do still more freelance stuff. That part will be the hardest. I'm not a morning person. I'm already dreading my alarm.

So bear with me as I adjust to this new schedule. Posts might become a little more weird and confusing--I often sip a glass of wine when I blog in the evenings, which explains a lot of my candid/stream-of-conscious writing, but obviously I can't do that before work in the morning. And sleepy Emma is a lot weirder than one-glass-of-wine Emma. You'll see.

*cue evil laughter*