Monday, September 30, 2013

House tour part 3: Closet, before & phase 1

Yes, a whole "house tour" post dedicated to my closet. I'm not even gonna apologize or make excuses, because this just might be my favorite room in the whole house. In fact, when Matt and I were initially touring the place with the landlord, I mentally signed the lease the second I laid eyes on this space. It's directly off the bathroom, and the previous tenant used it as random storage. What a waste. Never fear, I am using this room to its full potential. Here's what it looked like before:



The first photo is looking into the room from the doorway, the second photo is at the back of the room looking toward the door.

Two trips to Ikea, one to Target, two to Bed, Bath & Beyond, a few coats of paint and several installs later, this is what it looked like:



From basically the same angles, kind of. Excuse the purses on the floor, I still haven't fanangled my system for hanging those yet, but it's next on my list. The clothes bars/shelving just barely fit, and actually had to be modified a tad from my original plan because I apparently can't measure for crap. And that extension cord? Yeah, the only outlet in the room didn't work, so we were running that cord from the outlet by the bathroom sink, behind the tub and over to the power strip that the overhead and vanity lights were connected to. Not really safe, and rest assured that we have since remedied the solution. Sort of. Well, it's better than an extension cord next to two water sources.

I'll do a full-on closet organization post down the line, after I tweak a few more storage situations. But for now, here's a photo of Spazzy sniffing around my shoes. She loves my closet almost as much as I do.


Saturday, September 28, 2013

Werk it

Disclaimer: Most of my outfits are fairly modest/tame, but you are about to see what is undoubtedly the most risqué outfit I've ever posted, and possibly ever worn. It was for a bachelorette party that consisted of nothing but bar-hopping in Columbus' Arena District, where I was actually dressed more modestly than many girls out that night. That said, I felt pretty damn fabulous. Here goes:




dress: Express via Discount Fashion Warehouse
shoes: Lane Bryant via Discount Fashion Warehouse
necklace: Express
bracelet: Etsy

Ok, so it's not THAT bad. But I've never even considered wearing something with mesh-covered cutouts over my waist, back and chest area. I actually felt really awkward and nervous until I got a couple of drinks in me...then all the women in the bathroom kept complimenting me on it and I felt much better, haha. The only downside is that I now need to find another excuse to wear it out. It's not exactly a dinner-date kind of getup...unless I want Matt to look like he hired an escort for dinner ;)

Still. Every time I buy something, it's with the intent to remix it and wear it a billion times. It's kind of nice to splurge on a completely frivolous item! I initially thought the heels would be frivolous too, but they're so comfy and so awesome that I think I'll be wearing them fairly often. The challenge? Styling them for work. Muah ha ha...

Oh, and heads up: I only posted this today because frankly, it seems weird posting such an intense outfit during the week. Like, oh hey, happy Tuesday, here's waaaaaaay more skin than you're used to seeing. Let this serve as inspiration for your weekend, maybe? PARTY ON DUDES.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Fiscal Fridays: September clothes budget

Ok so if you read my last post, you'll know that I was really, really bad this month. Like, shamefully so. Dave Ramsey would be so disappointed. This extends to all of my spending habits, really, but my clothes budget was probably the most out of control. I blame moving. It got me into a "it's okay to spend" mood and I just went buck-freaking-wild. It's not okay. And as a result, I will be seriously cutting back in October. No clothes shopping. Packing my lunch every day. Purchasing only essentials as much as possible. We'll see how that goes... :/

Anyway, I guess it's time to stop beating around the bush. My monthly budget for clothes is $100. I usually don't beat myself for going over a tad; I'm talking like $10 or $15 over. This month, I spent $222.11 on clothing items. *cue blushing* The only thing that keeps me from feeling absolutely horrendous about this is that I filled some major holes in my closet and scored some truly unbelievable deals. No lie. In under $225, I got two pairs of shoes, six pairs of fleece-lined leggings, two dresses, two pairs of dress pants, one pair of skinnies, a blazer and five shirts. That averages out to just about $11 per item. And these are new, quality, name-brand pieces. That I will wear pretty often (for the most part). So consider my guilt (slightly) assuaged.

Since there's so much to cover, I'm deviating from my standard one-image-and-a-list-of-descriptions format. Aaaaand since the end of the month totally snuck up on me, some of these photos are less than awesome. Sorry?

These all are from Discount Fashion Warehouse, a heaven-on-earth store that takes returns and "flawed" items from stores and resells them crazy cheap. (Usually the flaw is a tiny hole or something, and everything I bought was damn near perfect.) The two beige shirts are Express, the mint and green ones are The Limited. They have lace! Studs! Tie-fronts! And one has a subtle high-low thing going on that is just about as far as I can go with that trend. $9 each.

Also Discount Fashion Warehouse (I'm just gonna say DFW for the rest of this post). Both are Express, both were originally $80, and both cost me only $22 apiece. The shirtdress was a longtime want, though I'll admit I bought the red dress specifically for my friend's bachelorette party. Now I have to figure out how to appropriately re-style a dress with mesh cutouts on my chest and hips (and back)...

White and gray slacks from Express, red skinnies from The Limited, all via DFW. I've been dying for some red skinnies, so these were an awesome find at just $10. And the slacks were $14 each.

Blazers almost never fit me (too tight in shoulders or too loose in waist) so when I tried on this Express number at DFW, I was elated to see it fit perfectly. And for $25, I couldn't pass it up.

OH GURL THESE SHOES. They're Lane Bryant and they were $12 at DFW. TWELVE DOLLARS! (Originally $70.) They were half a size too small and usually that's enough to make me put them back, but I risked it and I'm so glad I did. I stretched them via the two-layers-of-socks-and-a-hair-dryer method, and it worked like a charm. They fit perfectly and they double as a self-defense weapon!

I actually already owned a pair of these, but I wore them almost every day and the toes gave out. Target was sold out for a while, so when I got the email alert that they were back in stock, I snapped them right up again! They were only $20, and I'm debating whether I want to buy another "backup" pair. But I guess that will have to wait until November...

So I had a "$10 off a Groupon" code that was about to expire. I used it to snag a six-pack of these fleece-lined leggings. Three pairs of black, and one each of gray, navy and brown. So perfect! I'm going to use one black pair for camping and the other two for everyday wear :) They're usually $20 a pop, but it was $30 for six via Groupon, and with $10 off, I paid just over $20 with tax and shipping. Score!

So yeah, not my best month, budget-wise. Not really proud, but not really disappointed either. Ish happens, right? And hopefully I'll be able to say I didn't buy anything in October, putting me right back on track...*fingers crossed*

Do you have a clothes budget? How did you do? Better than me, I hope!

Lady in a blue dress




dress: Express via Discount Fashion Warehouse
sandals: Target
necklace: The Limited

So yesterdayI got these photos and another set all ready to post today and (gasp!) tomorrow. And then I realized that today is the last Friday in the month, which means a Fiscal Fridays post about my clothes budget for the month. That'll be up later today, for any of you who enjoy such things :) Spoiler alert: It ain't pretty. But until then, here's an outfit

I've had "cute shirtdress" on my list of closet essentials for quite some time. So imagine my excitement when I came across this during my big shopping spree over Labor Day weekend!

I realized after taking all these photos that this dress is hanging weird in most of them, so please use your imagination and pretend that I don't look like Lumpy Space Princess in a blue dress. (Ten points to whoever guesses that reference! Love that show.)

Feeling more scatterbrained than usual this morning...oh well. Be back later today with my embarrassing September clothes budget reveal ;)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

House tour part 2: The upstairs, before & phase 1

If you read my last post, you'll know Matt and I are decorating the house in stages. (Okay, it's mostly me, but he helps with manly stuff like hanging shelves ginormous mirrors so I have to give him some credit.) Anyway, last post I showed you the downstairs. Today it's the upstairs, minus my closet, because that deserves an entire post of it's own, don't you think? I do.

This one has a lot of photos, so I'm just gonna delve right into them. When you go up our stairs, immediately on your right is the bathroom:




That little doorway next to the claw-foot tub (squee!!!) is my closet. More on that later. Anyway, when you come out of the bathroom, you're greeted by this hallway. It's the only thing in the house that hasn't changed since we moved in.


The first room on your left is our spare room. It's mostly Matt's "jam room," if you will, but it's also where we house overnight guests. Our last place didn't really have the space for a "guest room," even a part-time one, so I'm pretty excited about this. I'm sure our sisters, brothers-in-law and various out-of-town guests are pretty stoked, too.




Finally, at the end of the hall, is our room. A little smaller than our last bedroom, actually, but still pretty sizable. Matt's happy that his closet is in the same room he sleeps in again. (In the last place, I kicked him out of the bedroom closet and took it all over for myself. He got the smaller closet in the spare room, which then served as a tiny office/jam room.) No pics of his closet because...well, it's a boy closet. You get the idea. He doesn't even fill it. Blasphemy.




So there you have it! I hope to have the closet photos ready for tomorrow, but we'll see. There are a lot of them. I really, really love my closet. #sorrynotsorry

And speaking of ridiculous use of hashtags, this is kind of hilarious. You're welcome.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

House tour: Before and Phase 1

Okay guys, bear with me on these photos. I shot them a while back and kept putting them off because editing these takes fo-freaking-eva, and I procrastinate a lot. Here we go.

As I've been promising, here are the first round of before-and-"after" shots from the new place! There's not much to compare it to, because I didn't really post much about the last two apartments, but really they were crap so you're not missing out. Our new place is a duplex house, like our last one, but this time we are side-by-side with our house-mates instead of below them. So we have stairs! And lots of space! And it finally is starting to feel like a home and not a sardine can. So that's all awesome.

"Phase 1" of decorating this space basically consisted of painting, unpacking and solving some major storage issues. I managed to hang a few curtains, too...but not all of them. Phase 2 is underway (so there are changes since I took the "Phase 1 photos!) and consists of getting the art and remaining curtains hung and doing a few quick-hit upcycle DIY projects. Adjusting storage as needed. Maybe a new rug or something? And Phase 3 will be the final touches and upgrading our furniture. We're hoping to stay in this apartment until we're ready to actually buy a house, which will likely be quite a while. So we're really settling in!

I thought about doing a floor plan, Young House Love-style, but I fell asleep forgot. Since I'm only sharing the first floor, which isn't too complicated, I figured it can slide this time. So basically, when you first walk in the door, this is what you saw/see:



The couch is opposite the fireplace, so that door next to it is the front door. The doorway on the right side of the first photo leads into the second living area:





Yeah, we have a bar cart. We're ballers like that. Our collection is slowly growing :) To the left of the desk is a little hall-alcove-kinda-thing, which houses the door down to the basement. I didn't take a photo of the "before" of the basement door, but when I hung all our mops and brooms and other cleaning apparatuses on the back of the door, the screws stuck through. Solution: Hang art on them!


And through the alcove/hall thing is the kitchen! There's a back door that leads to the backyard, but I'm kind of intentionally avoiding outdoor photos of the house for safety reasons. (My outfit photos are taken in the backyard, which we share with our house-mates, or in the alley behind us. So that gives you a little bit of an idea of space, I guess.)





So there you have it! The first floor, before and after Phase 1. Upstairs will come soon, though I can't make any promises on when exactly. Same goes for a little "how I did it" post on that cubes-with-the-countertop thing in the kitchen, next to the fridge. I just need to get my ish together on both counts...

Monday, September 23, 2013

A little fancy for your Monday morning




dress: Lily Boutique
blazer: secondhand
necklace: Jane (formerly VeryJane)
heels: Target

I meant to post these on Saturday, but the weekend got crazy-busy in record time. Friday night I wound up driving down to OU to pick up my sister, and Saturday most of the rest of my family came into town to watch the Buckeyes. We went to the Skull Session to see The Best Damn Band in the Land perform (other than the OU Marching 110, of course) and then most of the family went to the game. I didn't have a ticket and had a lot of stuff to do at home, so I was super-productive with cleaning and laundry and freelance writing while the Buckeyes slaughtered the competition. Then I grabbed dinner with the fam, and then it was off to Oktoberfest — a home-brew festival in which my friend and a bunch of his friends all brew beer and we all drink it. There were 60-some different beers and ciders there. It was magical. And on Sunday, I took my sister back to OU, visited some friends who just had a baby (congrats again, Maggie and Jeff!) and did some more writing. Phew!

Anyway, so this outfit post is a little fancy for a Monday — especially considering that I am seriously about to keel over from tiredness right now — but oh well. I wore it to a friend's wedding last month (congrats again, Braden and Christine!), which was an absolute blast. There was a photobooth, which was awesome. See?

Yeah, Matt and I are pretty cool.

I wore this dress to Matt's sister's wedding last year, too, and knew that I needed some sort of coverup for it. Especially since the ceremony itself was in a Catholic church and, as a former Catholic myself, the very thought of showing that much skin in a church was mortifying. I think I did pretty well...better than the girl who's dress exposed the entire back of her bra when she sat down, anyway. Sheesh. Of course, the blazer came off at the reception, but by then everyone had been drinking and I felt much less self-conscious.

So anyway, hope this little bit of fancypants (or fancy-no-pants, I guess) brightens up your Monday!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday inspiration: Say yes

{via Pinterest}

So I saw this quote recently (maybe it was in Bossypants? which btw is awesome and you should definitely read it) and at first I kind of dismissed it. And then as I was sitting around this week, thinking about how much I really don't want to complete yet another freelance assignment that I blithely took on in lazier times (aka two weeks ago), and it occurred to me. This quote is my life. This is how I've unwittingly lived for the past 25 years. And sure, it creates stress sometimes. Maybe a lot of times. But you know something?

I wouldn't change for anything.

I've had some pretty awesome opportunities so far (one of which I'm still kind of keeping mum — nothing's published yet but believe me you'll know when it is) and some pretty awesome life experiences to boot. I don't always succeed in living up to it, though. Sometimes I give up. Sometimes I say no, I can't, it's too hard. That's okay too, I guess. I see it as room for improvement :)

Uh...I don't get introspective very often. Now I feel awkward. I'm just gonna go ahead and schedule this post and close the window now...

(And go finish writing this assignment because it's Thursday night as I'm typing this and I have a Friday deadline. Shh.)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Notice anything?




blazer, blouse: Discount Fashion Warehouse
jeans: thrifted
flats: Target

So it only just occurred to me that I'm basically wearing this exact outfit again today, just with a different blazer. Weirdly enough, it looks different enough that I don't think anyone will call me out. We'll see, I guess?

But the "notice anything" in the title doesn't actually apply to that. (Well, how could it since you can't actually see what I'm wearing this second? Anyway.) It refers to my photos, which received a little extra editing attention today. Jess from Here & Now recently did a post on sharpening your photos before posting. I didn't do any of the metering tips, because these photos are from like two weeks ago, but I did use her Photoshop tips! I took them a step further and turned them into actions for more convenience. In retrospect, I think I went a little overboard on a few of these (I was excited, ok?) but overall I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. (Except for that backwards pose. It's awkward as hell but I wanted to show off that lace!)

And then I got lost in the link-dumps that Jess linked to (specifically this and this), and I got really inspired to try shooting in manual. I kind of derped around with the camera yesterday evening, but only took photos of my living room, my feet, the cat...I didn't use it for outfit shots yet because I was in my PJs by 6 pm yesterday. Don't judge. But shooting in manual is WAY easier than I thought it'd be, thanks to my having a little more experience with the camera itself and some great tutorials I dug up. I got pretty excited, though, and started babbling to Matt about how cool my camera is. Again. He has the patience of a saint and I'm pretty damn lucky for that :)

So. Would anyone out there be interested in some tips I picked up while playing with my manual settings? Or creating Photoshop actions? Or...I dunno, anything else I talked about today? Holla at ya girl :)