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?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Product review: Essie matte nail polish

Okay, so I don't do this very often, but every once in a while I find a product that I really love, so I decide to share it with you. Today I'm talking about Essie's matte topcoat. (Later this month, we're gonna be talking lip stain. Woohoo!) Anyway, I realize I'm a little late on the matte nail trend, but better late than never, right? Right.

So you can buy actual matte nail polish in a variety of colors, but I say, why limit yourself when you can buy the topcoat and make EVERY nail color you own a matte color? The Essie topcoat is called "Matte About You." I think you can probably buy it in drugstores, but I got mine on Amazon for about $6. And I can tell already that I'm going to go through it fast. Here's what it looks like over OPI's "Nein! Nein! Nein! Ok Fine!":


I love how smoky and sultry it is! And it makes my nails feel silky smooth. A coworker suggested I try it over hot pink, so I grabbed a suuuuper old Wet & Wild shade I had lying around:


Also pretty rad. Now, let's break it down:

The Pros
- It. Looks. Awesome!
- It dries super fast.
- A little bit goes a long way, so even if I'm constantly using this, the bottle should last a decent amount of time.

The Cons
- It's prone to chip. A friend suggested a workaround, but...
- It's time-consuming. So I basically have to paint a base coat, two color coats (although looking at those pink nails I think three would have been better), a clear topcoat, then the matte topcoat. And then every other day, I reapply the top coat. (Otherwise, the matte rubs off and the color gets glossy again.) This protects takes forever, because you have to let each coat dry. And adding extra layers on top means the polish gets pretty thick. But with this method, I can get chip-free matte nails for about a week.

The Verdict
Yes, there are a few minor inconveniences to this matte topcoat. But honestly, I'm thinking they'd apply to any matte topcoat, and overall, the end result is just too cool to pass on. I give it two matte thumb(nail)s up!

Please note that I was not paid, perked or otherwise compensated to do this review. Essie did not ask me to write it. I just really like this polish and wanted to share it with you all!

Monday, November 4, 2013


Har har har, I'm so clever, aren't I? Terrible plays on words aside, this weekend was pretty cray. Matt and I are about to sit down and catch up on Walking Dead since we were at a Shadowbox Live performance of Spamalot, which was hilarious, with our friends Omri and Heather last night.

Friday night and Saturday night, we went to Halloween parties. I dressed up as the title character from Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Here it is on Netflix. YOU'RE WELCOME. Seriously, if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and spend 45 minutes watching this short. Because it is one of my favorite things ever. Anyway, here was my costume:


I was pretty excited about it, but Spazzy thought it was too scary:


Matt was my nemesis, Captain Hammer. We like to get into character.



Sooo, yeah. Now it's zombie time :)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fiscal Fridays: Tackling two topics

Ok, since both of these are pretty short and sweet, I'm combining them into one post. Which will probably still be short. Because weekend, or something.

So first up is my no-eating-out-accountability update for the end of October (25th through the 31st). I did grab some fast food here and there, but I used a Visa gift card that I had originally earmarked for something else and then changed my mind, so no money out of my pocket. There is one mysterious transaction I can't account for, from the 29th. Apparently I bought breakfast or a snack or something from the cafeteria for $3.80. Kind of freaked out that I don't even remember doing it. But other than that, I managed to overcome temptations or use gift cards or just snack on brought-from-home items. And I packed lunch! Every day! Except the one that I bought lunch with the Visa gift card! So in all, last week was my most successful week of the month. And now it's November, so excuse me while I go inhale some sushi from Maki Go next door, which I have been craving literally all month.

Mmmm, sushi. *wipes away drool* Now then, on to the next topic. The other "ban" I put myself on was clothing items. Because in September, I blew all of my September AND October clothes budgets on a trip to Discount Fashion Warehouse. I got a great haul, but it took a lot of self-restraint to not buy anything in October. I may have gone through shopping withdrawal. I even managed to keep my Halloween costume pretty cheap, buying close-but-not-quite items that were better deals than the real things. I did need a pair of khakis for the costume, but I was able to score this pair from Old Navy for way cheap, thanks to a $10 off coupon my friend gave me and the remainder of that aforementioned Visa gift card. So, you know, I didn't actually spend MY money on them at all! Great success!

Er...that's really all I got. Have a great weekend, everyone! I think I'll go do some clothes shopping, now that my budget has been restored ;)