Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: December

Another month, another Budgeting Bloggers linkup! This month was more or less on target, though considering how underbudget I was last month, a little wiggle room is fair to me. Shall we, then?


1 & 2. Forever 21 sweatshirts. Why yes, those are identical to the sweatshirt I bought back in August. It was just so comfy and all-purpose, I had to have more colors. I like dressing them up with a pretty, delicate necklace and skinny jeans (outfit post to come, whenever I get around to taking some photos). | $10.90 each {exact}

3. Hunter fleece boot socks via Nordstrom. I wound up replacing the Original Tall Hunter boots I bought back in September with a pair of Huntress boots, which are made for gals with wider calves. Turns out that rock climbing gives me big calves in addition to big biceps. Who knew. Anyway, these Original Tall socks should still do the trick this winter. | $30 {exact}

4. Target sunnies. Because I love my cat-eye sunglasses so much that I'm constantly losing/breaking them. | $16.99 {exact}

Not pictured: I hit up the "seven for $27.50" table at Victoria's Secret, but no one needs to see that. I also bought a $5 pair of yoga pants at Forever 21, which promptly ripped on the side seam. I'm still wearing them, because the hole is small and I'm lazy, but it was annoying nonetheless.

Grand total this month: $108.24, just a few dollars over my $100 budget.

Usually, I end these posts with a "So how did you do on your budget this month?" thing, but today I'm going with a different question. Do you guys enjoy these posts, or are they kinda boring? I'm not sure if I feel like keeping up the series in 2016, though if you all find them interesting I'll obviously do so. Let me know :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy holidays!

Well howdy. How's everyone doing this lovely (extremely warm) holiday season? Life has been super crazy these past two weeks, of course. Between Christmas shopping, making and sending our cards, a freelance assignment, making props for a newborn shoot and actually conducting a few photo shoots, this winter is shaping up to be anything but the hibernation period that winter usually is for me.

Still, I wanted to drop in and wish everyone a merry Christmas, happy (belated) Hanukkah, joyous Kwanzaa, pleasant solstice and just general peace and love to all!

I hope you all have safe travels and lots of great times with family! And happy new year if I don't pop in around these parts before then :)

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pattern mixing




dress/belt and heels: Target cardigan: thrifted necklace: Jane watch: secondhand (Coach)

Do you guys remember when pattern mixing was A Thing? A few years ago, it was all the rage with bloggers, right up there with color blocking and arm parties. I personally wasn't disappointed to see color blocking go the way of the dodo, as they say, but I think pattern mixing is a fairly classic trend.

I bought this dress back in early summer when it became apparent that I had five weddings on my calendar for 2015 and no appropriate dresses that hadn't already been seen by those particular social crowds. It's great for work too, though, and in the winter it's perfect with a pair of black tights. Although we're still facing unseasonably warm temps, so I feel like I could still get away with wearing this with nude hose if I wanted to. Craziness!

In other news, I now have a second blog (because maintaining one lately isn't enough). You can follow my adventures in portrait photography over at Elfie Photography, my business site. And hey, if you're looking for a newborn or family photographer in Columbus, Ohio, I'm your gal! Mention this blog to get 20% off your first session :)

Monday, November 30, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: November

November has been nuts, and it really reflects in my spending habits for the month. Usually this would be a really negative statement, but today I'm happy to say that it only means I didn't have much time to shop this month!


1. Mossimo flannel shirt from Target. I was in the store to buy dog food or something and I mysteriously wound up in the clothes section. Funny how that happens, isn't it? Anyway, I saw that the plaid shirt I bought last month was back in stock in other colors, so I snagged a blue one too. The Cartwheel app gave me an extra discount so I felt a little less guilty about the impulse buy. | $18.53 {exact}

2. Merona messenger bag from Target. I carry a messenger bag to work with a few notebooks, my iPad, my lunch and sometimes my laptop in it. My old one finally gave out, so I snagged this one online with a $10 off coupon. | $15.31 {exact}

Grand total for the month: a whopping $33.84! I did want to pick up a pair of boot socks for my Hunter boots, but since my car is in the garage (again), I guess I'll just put that on the list for December.

How did you guys do on your clothes budgets this month? Find any great deals?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Blogger Hall of Shame



sleeveless button-up: New York & Company
pants: secondhand
heels: Target
necklace: gifted (Kate Spade)
bracelets: don't remember :(

I've been a bad blogger lately; these photos have been sitting in my queue since late July. July! Now they just look ridiculous. I mean, no one would be wearing flowy pants and a sleeveless shirt this time of year...unless they lived in California or something. Can we just pretend I live in California? Ok. Thanks.

Ah, if only that were true. But alas, I live in central Ohio, where this time of year I only get to see the sun through the window of the office that's next to my cubicle. Maybe if I'm lucky, it won't be overcast on my commute in to work and I'll get a tiny bit of vitamin D, but it's always dusk as I'm heading home. It's been a struggle, mood-wise, since daylight savings time, so I bought a lightbox to help offset the worst of it.

The upside to the lightbox (aside from its mood- and energy-boosting properties) is that it forces me to sit still for an extra 30 minutes in the morning. It's too bright to do my makeup by, so I can use that time to sip some coffee and cuddle under a blanket with Cam while I work on blog posts, or edit photos, or research for freelance stories...Thank goodness Cam (like me) isn't a morning person, haha.


I'm also making sure to carve out time in the evening for the gym to help combat the dreary Ohio winters. I never really WANT to go to the gym when it's gross out, but if I can force myself to get there I always end up feeling a hundred times better.

Do you have any go-to methods to beat the winter blues?

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Style: Summer flashback



t-shirt: secondhand
capris: Target
sneaks: Converse via Famous Footwear
necklace, bracelet: Etsy
watch: secondhand Coach

You guys, I've only done two style posts since the beginning of June. TWO! I have no real excuse for June or July, but I will say that it can be a bit difficult to do outfit photos when you have a puppy running around the backyard, so that's my excuse for August, September and October. Actually, these photos are, in fact, from June...I just never got around to posting them. But we've had a pretty warm November so far, so maybe we can just pretend I wore this semi-recently?

Actually, if we're being honest, I kind of lived in outfits like this over the summer. A casual tee, a nice pair of denim and some comfy Converses...what more could you want?

I haven't taken any great outfit photos since July, really, partially because I've gotten into a groove (NOT a rut!) in my wardrobe and as a result, I'm not wearing a whole lot of "new" outfits. And partially because of aforementioned puppy running around-ness. Not sure if I'll keep up with outfit photos, especially in the winter when taking them indoors with a backdrop is even harder than taking them outside, but who knows. This blog has been a little outfit-heavy in the past few years, mostly because those were the easiest posts for me to do. But I really want to bring the "mélange" back into Verbal Mélange, so expect more variety in content moving forward :)

Similarly, I'm going through a lot of other changes in my day-to-day lately, which is to blame for my lack of posting frequency. Not 100% ready to announce anything yet, but I stay tuned! (And no, Matt and I are not expecting a baby. Just gonna clear that one up right away, haha.)

How about you guys? Anything new and noteworthy going on, or are you all (like me) hunkering down and bracing for winter?

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: October

Back again with another link-up to Fran's Budgeting Bloggers. I stayed pretty well within budget this month, but that's mostly because I couldn't find the time to go out and shop for much on my list. October was a month of weddings and photo shoots, trips and networking. But I did find time for a Target run, where I picked up a few basics.


1. Mossimo flannel shirt. I have no idea why it took me so long to get a nice flannel, but I've been wearing this one constantly. Obviously I'll need to get more. | $15 {exact}

2. Denizen jeans. I've had a great pair of Denizen boot-cut jeans for a while now — the fit is perfect and they come in a long inseam option. They started wearing out, so I picked up a new pair (on sale thanks to the Cartwheel app). | $20.99 {exact}

3. Denizen jeans. While looking for a pair of medium-wash every day perfect-fitting jeans, I saw this dark wash too and totally caved. Fortunately this, too, was on sale with the app! | $20.99 {exact}

Grand total, with tax: $61.48...nearly $40 under budget. It's been a while since I could say that, haha!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Décor: Bar cart basics

So last week, I stumbled upon Chairish, a "curator-approved online marketplace for vintage and used furniture"...right up my décor alley. I'll admit, most of the items on the site are pretty far out of my typical budget, but word on the street is that some items in the lower price range are available, too.

All of that to say, today I'm collaborating with Chairish in today's post to style a bar cart. In true indecisive fashion, I couldn't pick just one...so I styled two carts for two purposes! One is a fancypants cart for the wine aficionado, and the other is a more laid-back setup for a cocktail queen.

wine cart

1. This Mid-Century Brass Bar Cart is where it all begins!
2. I have a Houdini Corkscrew myself and it's like magic. Just squeeze the handles, dip the lever and your cork is out!
3. Wine classes come in all shapes and sizes, and it's not just red and white — but this Riedel Vivant Pino Noir Stemless Glass is a great basic option for your reds.
4. Similarly, white wine glasses vary in size. I don't like chardonnay, but I love the Riedel Vivant Chardonnay Stemless Glass. (Stemmed glasses are always an option too, but my clumsiness goes full-scale when I'm drinking wine so stemless for me, please!)
5. A good decanter, like this Ridel Vivant Balloon Decanter is a must for red wine lovers.
6. Sometimes, you just can't finish a whole bottle. Don't let it go to waste — pump out the extra air to save what's left with something like this OXO Vacuum Wine Preserver.

liquor cart

1. This Hollywood Regency Brass Faux Bamboo Bar Cart is a little more casual than the one above.
2. What glasses you need really depends on what kind of cocktails you prefer. We're a bourbon household, with an occasional rum drink thrown in for funsies, but I've picked a few basics here.
a. A standard double rocks glass, like this Luigi Bormioli Classico Double Old Fashioned Glass, is my go-to. It's a great all-purpose glass for cocktails and drinks served straight-up or on the rocks.
b. I almost didn't include this, but as an avid mule fan I had to throw one in. This Moscow Mule Mug is great...though I prefer the Kentucky variation.
c. Once upon a time, I was a sucker for a margarita. (Who am I kidding, I still can be.) It'd taste fine in a double rocks glass, but it'd look so much better in this Glory Margarita Glass.
d. I've never liked martinis much, but if you do, you can't go wrong with this Viv Martini Glass. Also great for cosmos!
3. A stainless steel swizzle spoon isn't a necessity, per se, but it'll make you feel like a real bartender. This one has a fork on one end for spearing garnishes.
4. A muddler is a must for mojitos, not to mention a number of other tasty cocktails. I love having this OXO Muddler in my arsenal.
5. I never used a jigger in college, but then I grew up and realized that yes, proportions do matter and no, more liquor isn't always better. This OXO Double Jigger has a 1.5-ounce side and a one-ounce side, each with smaller incremental measures for more accurate pours.
6. Shaken, not stirred. (I couldn't resist!) No bar cart is complete without a cocktail shaker, like this Chefmate one.
7. An ice bucket doesn't just look nice; it also saves you from running between the bar and the freezer. Get one with a scoop or tongs, like this Threshold Hammered Metal Ice Bucket, so you don't have to stick your fingers in peoples' drinks.
8. A divided serving dish doesn't just look nice; it helps keep your lemons, limes, cherries and/or olives from mixing into a nasty flavor mélange. I've got one of these Easton 2-Part Stainless Steel Server on my shopping list now!
9. This cart lacks a drawer, so I picked out this Threshold Acacia Tray to keep all the bits and pieces corralled.

And there you have it: My bar cart basics, split up based on whether wine or liquor is your libation of choice. What do you think...anything I missed?

Disclaimer: This post does NOT contain affiliate links. I was not paid or perked for this post. Content created in collaboration with Chairish. Not sponsored by or affiliated with OXO, Chefmate, Riedel Vivant, Target, Crate + Barrel or Amazon.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Wedding stuff: Video preview

Last weekend, our wedding videographer emailed me with a "teaser" for our wedding video! I loved it so much, I teared up in the middle of tailgating. (Go Bucks!) It was honestly that good. So I thought I'd share it with you all, too!

Special thanks to Spell Bender Media for putting it together! I can't wait to see the long cut :)

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: September

It's a short one this month; just one item purchased (and yet I still managed to go overbudget). I had a $50 Zappos gift card to burn after returning the defective winter boots from last year. So for this year, I decided to go all-out and invest in some quality rain boots that could double as winter boots, thanks to the addition of a yet-to-be-purchased pair of boot liners.


They were $160 + tax on Zappos, (get them here), but I paid $120 out of pocket with my gift card. So, $20 over budget for this month, but I'm not complaining.

Afraid that's all I have for today...it might be Sunday, but Cam is exhausted from a mile-and-a-half walk yesterday + a full afternoon romping with her friends at doggie daycare, so I'm going to take advantage of her snoozing to do some transcribing, laundry and groceries. The fun never ends, I tell ya ;)

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Henterly lately

Heyyyy, everybody! Yes, I am still here. Turns out that I, having owned cats most of my life but no dogs, severely underestimated just how dependent a new puppy is. As in, I thought I'd be able to do things around the house like clean and blog and freelance and redecorate, when I was home alone. Guess who has two thumbs and was way, way wrong!

Fortunately, I think we're finally getting to a point where I can start catching up with life again. But the last six weeks haven't been all puppy cuddles! Here's a little of what I've been up to lately.


Lots of walks. ALL THE WALKS. Some days, I'm walking around my neighborhood four times a day. Cam has a lot of energy, so most of our walks are at least half a mile to a mile. I am really excited for her to get her leash manners together and start going on runs. I never thought I'd ever say this, but I miss running.


My secret weapon to getting work done is taking Cam on a 45-minute or hour-long walk, playing tug or fetch for 10 minutes, then watching as she collapses onto the couch in pure exhaustion. So what if there's a puppy nose on my laptop? I can squeeze in a solid hour or two after a hardcore workout for her.


We're just about halfway through our wedding season for this year; as of today, we have four down (including our own) and three to go. This was, sadly, the only picture I managed to take when our friends Tim and Kellen got married earlier this month. It was our first night out since bringing Cam home and let's just say a good time was had by all.


I also started getting more involved in my Big Brothers, Big Sisters match this summer. The last two years, my Little and I have met during her lunch break on Fridays during the school year. At the end of this year, she asked if we could add an outside-the-school match (called a "community match") and I melted. I mean, could you say no to this? She isn't allowed to come to my house yet and Cam was feeling under the weather the last time we got together, so we went to the pet store in lieu of a trip to the dog park.


I've also been working a lot outside of work, in both freelance writing and photography. One recent assignment involved taking pictures at a fundraising event, for which I was compensated in lobster. So I got to take photos of local/national celebs like Jack Hanna and Dominique Reighard (as well as other Columbus-area notables) AND I got a free multi-course seafood feast. All the win.



And of course there's my portrait work, which has been picking up more than ever. I got to do two really fun family shoots recently; the B family (top photos) has become a regular client for me, and the D family (bottom photos) consists of the sweetest couple I know from college and their two-year-old son. I'm playing with a new photo editing style (which you might have noticed in my Washington, D.C. photos in the last post) and I'm so in love with it right now.


Also, my odometer rolled over, which is pretty nifty. I've never rolled one before and I gotta say, this moment was pretty much the highlight of that day for me.



Then, last weekend, my little sister Ellen got married! It was an unbelievably beautiful ceremony and an incredibly fun reception. The band even let Matt on stage to join them for a song, and I about fangirled myself to death. He fiddles around with his guitars in the hours fairly often, but hasn't really been on stage since high school, before I met him. So it was so awesome to see him play live! (If you couldn't tell by my face above.)


One of my biggest regrets from my own wedding reception is that I only made it into our photobooth once, so I made sure to grab the bride and all our sisters for a quick sesh. We're beautiful and classy, I know ;)


This is just a field. Ellen got married in our family's hometown in northern Ohio, west of Cleveland. The drive between Columbus and their town is mostly farm country; usually I find the drive boring but weather was PERFECT on the Sunday drive back and I thought all the fields were just breathtaking. Plus, I was reveling in the fact that I somehow skipped the hangover portion of the weekend (not for lack of trying Saturday night) and basically the whole world seemed amazing.

So that's it! Like I said, much has been happening and it shows no sign of slowing down, but with any luck I'll hit my stride soon and get used to this new normal that is my life :)

What have you all been up to lately?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Travels: Washington, D.C.

Welp, I definitely wanted to get this posted last week. But puppies make for terrible work buddies...this is how I edited most of my photos from my recent trip to D.C. with my friend Emily.


Aaaaand when I sat down to write this post tonight, this is what happened:


I swear this dog does more than just sleep. She just has a little cold right now and has been a bit more sleepy than usual. Fortunately, the vet doesn't think it's kennel cough. But anyway.

So I had been to D.C. once before, when I was about 12 or 13 on a school trip. I was really excited to go back as an adult and actually appreciate it. I was also really excited to bust out my camera for a personal project again; it feels like ages since I've done one.


We started with brunch in Baltimore obviously. Actually, this is quite obvious to Emily and I — Woodberry Kitchen is well-worth the hour-ish drive from the District. Emily lives a good two hours from Baltimore and I usually fly in there on a Saturday morning just so we can get brunch. I had a watermelon mimosa, homemade rhubarb pop-tart and stirred eggs with crab meat, chives and maybe some kind of cheese? It was heavenly.


After brunch, we did some shopping at Tysons Corner, where we were staying, and that evening we hit up the Jefferson Memorial to catch the sunset.



Isn't Emily adorable?



I was stressing about getting shots without tourists in them, but Emily convinced me that they can be kind of nice, too. She was a photojournalism major and she takes the greatest "storytelling" photos. I forget sometimes that there's more to a picture than lines and color. But looking at the two photos above, I gotta say I like the one of the couple kissing as they walk out of the memorial.





That night we grabbed a late dinner and drinks at Comet Ping Pong. I didn't get pictures because it was super dark, but the atmosphere of the place was really cool. And there were actual ping pong tables in the back, which was equally cool. The next morning we went to brunch at Old Ebbitt Grill, which has been open since 1856. I had some awesome oysters — my favorite was the Caribou Island — and I definitely didn't may or may not have ordered a second plate of three. Brunch proper was eggs Benedict, featuring the most perfectly poached eggs I've ever had.


Then it was goofy tourist stuff time.




One thing I didn't notice about DC when I was a kid was the architecture; it's stunning. After some walking around and general touristing, we headed over to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Again, I'd been as a kid but it was so much cooler to see as an adult. Or maybe I'm still just a kid at heart. (That's probably it.)




We went back to Tysons for dinner at Wasabi, a conveyor-belt sushi restaurant that I learned is entirely too dangerous for me. I mean, seriously. Any sushi you could want just rolling past you on the belt...I ate so much that Emily had to practically roll me back onto the plane home.

And that was my whirlwind weekend in the nation's capital! There was a ton more I would have liked to do, obviously, but I guess that means we'll just have to go back :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: August

Well, little Cam has been in our house for just over two weeks now and it's been...interesting, to say the least. I've never had a dog before, so I'm learning as much as she is and poor Matt is just waiting for us both to catch up.

ecap But I'm not here to gush about our puppy (I mean I totally am, but not today). Today's my monthly clothes budget recap, and it was a rough one. Mostly necessary, but still a little rough.


1. Journee pumps via Target. My sister, Ellen, is getting married this month and she wanted her bridesmaids to wear gray shoes. I didn't have anything suitable, so I bought these and a pair of flats. The flats won out for all-day wearability, but I decided to keep the pumps for work, where I sit at a desk most of the day. | $39.99 {exact, on sale!}

2. Odell ballet flat via Target. Enter the flats that won out! A near miss, too; they're not available anymore. | $14.99

3. Salomon Ellipse GTX hiking shoes via REI. Matt knew I've been looking for a good pair of trail shoes, so when he saw these after work at an REI Garage Sale, he called me right away. They had been returned because the previous owner didn't like how they squeaked (really?!) so I snagged them for a steal. | $24.90 {exact}

4. Forever 21 sweatshirt. I was bad with this one. My friend Emily and I planned a girls' weekend in D.C. for the end of August (back before I realized the puppy of our dreams was coming to our house — pics soon!) and by the time it rolled around, I had maxed out my clothes budget and then some. Things were fine, until Emily realized she forgot to pack a cardigan for her outfit. We were staying at Tysons Corner, a huge mall, so we popped in to find her something to wear. And I may have accidentally walked out of Forever 21 with this, the comfiest sweatshirt ever. I tried to tell myself that a cozy around-the-house sweatshirt was on my list anyway so it's okay, but it only kind of worked. | $10.90 {exact}

5. H&M skinny jeans. I bought a few pairs a while back from Forever 21, but the fit is not great on them and honestly? They're just not comfortable. These fit the bill much better. | $19.99 {exact}

6. & 7. H&M t-shirts and 8. Old Navy t-shirt. My basic white tee mysteriously disappeared, so I snagged these two H&M v-necks on sale for $5 each. I also picked up the old faithful, a scoop-neck white tee from Old Navy. | $5, $5 and $7.50 {exact H&M, exact Old Navy}

not pictured: H&M three-pair earring set. I swore I'd stop buying cheap earrings that turn my ears colors, but these were too cute. (I can't find a picture online and I already gave a pair to Emily, so no pic.) The two I kept are a pair of small rose gold bars and a pair of thinner, longer silver bars. Another wardrobe hole I've been meaning to fill! | $5.99

Total damage (with tax): $141.10. Ouch.

How did you do on your clothes budget this month?