Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Budgeting Bloggers: June

Well, June is nearly behind us, and what a month it was. I didn't do much shopping this month, which is probably for the best. I've decided to focus my clothes budget on re-wearable staples and basics, rather than the one-off, frivolous, impulse items I've been buying the last few months.


1. Mossimo shorts and 2. Denizen shorts, both from Target. I lost a few pounds before the wedding, first on purpose and then indirectly because ALL THE STRESS, so first up was buying shorts that weren't a few sizes too big. Originally I was just going to get a denim pair, but a bogo half-off sale convinced me to get a white pair, too. So much for being un-impulsive. | $32.13 for both {exact 1, 2}

3. Mossimo Lenia sneaks from Target. I realized that while I had a lot of flats and some running shoes, I was severely lacking in the "true" casual shoe department so I got a pair of basic black, and... | $21.49 {exact}

4. Converse All-Star Chuck Taylors from Famous Footwear. I mean, look at that double tongue. Just look at it. So perfect. | $48.36 {exact}

Grand total: $101.98, aka right on target. In my quest for more good basic pieces and fewer too-trendy impulse buys, I made a shopping list of sorts for the next few months' budgets. Here's hoping I can stick to my plan :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

26 in 26: A recap

To celebrate my birthday the last two years, I've done a "# in #" list a la Sydney. So for my 25th birthday, I made a list of 25 things I wanted to do that year. And I did the same again for my 26th. My 25 in 25 list wasn't entirely successful--I completed 14.5 of the 25 items--and I'm sad to say that my 26 list wasn't much better. I completed 11 full items and a few partial ones:

(As in my original post, the first 9 items are leftover from the 25 in 25.)

1. Lead-climb the arch route at the Audubon
2. Get at least one of the tattoos on my list
3. Get furniture that I’m not embarrassed of (Priorities: couch, entryway closet, living room chairs)
4. Visit the Columbus Zoo
5. Visit the Franklin Park Conservatory
6. Go white-water rafting
7. Visit all three of my out-of-our-parents’-house sisters at least once (One in South Carolina, one in Sandusky, Ohio, and one in Athens, Ohio)
8. Make Julia Child’s boeuf bourginon
9. Beef up my camping gear (Priorities: hiking boots, sleeping pad)
10. Beef up my climbing gear (Priorities: PAS, quickdraws, crash pad, outdoor rope)
11. Toprope a 10a at the Red or the New
12. Learn how to clean a route
13. Climb or boulder somewhere new
14. Perform in a dance piece in front of an audience
15. Visit a new city
16. Visit another new city
17. Visit a new country
18. Get married!
19. Do a photo-a-day project (365 days!)
20. See a band/artist I like in concert
21. Go to a beach
22. Make a dress
23. Make a skirt
24. Tackle at least one project a month from either my “Seriously...get on this” Pinterest board or my general house to-do list.
25. One locally owned restaurant/bar per month (no repeats)
26. Be able to do at least three pull-ups

Part of the reason for my uncompleted list is due to my own tendency to overcommit. I mean, come on...did I really think I'd have the time to do a monthly project or the money to each at a new, locally owned establishment each month? Or to make my own clothes? Or to just leisurely stroll around the zoo for a day? Please.

Still, I got a fair amount done. Some fun details on some items:

#10: I very nearly got finished this--and honestly, the only reason I didn't make quickdraws a bigger priority is because Matt has a pretty decent rack already; I just want my own. But now that we're married, what's mine is his, right? So the quickdraws are mine? I'm gonna count it. CHECK.

#11: I managed to fanangle my way up a 10b route at the New River Gorge last June, with just the slightest bit of help on Matt's end. He belayed me and took just a teensy bit of my weight to help me through the hardest part of a route. It doesn't technically count, but I'm still counting it.

#18: As if you hadn't figured out by now that this had happened. Pictures soon, I swear...it's just that I was given creative license to edit them and while my photographer did an AMAZING job, he also gave me beaucoup unedited shots and I am just having a field day with those. I'm almost done. Really.

#20: I can't believe I never blogged about this, but I saw Cartel during their 10-year Chroma anniversary tour this spring. It was incredible and the teen in me died all night long. I even caught the eye of the drummer from up on the balcony--I met him after the show and he commented on how impressed he was that I knew every word. (Which I absolutely did; I sang along all night.) I told him 16-year-old me was beside herself. She totally was.

#22-23: I picked up some patterns at least. That counts for something, right?

#24: I did exactly one project: Making a box to put our cat's litter box in. Which is to say, I found a properly-sized flip-lid box with wicker sides, convinced Matt to cut a hole out of one side, lined the inside with carpet scraps and called it a day. Oops?

#25: The four restaurants in that linked post are the only four I wound up officially visiting. I guess technically we also went to Local Cantina late last month, but I didn't take pictures and pics or it didn't happen, amiright?

#26: I came so close. SO CLOSE. But then the wedding happened and I didn't go to the gym for like two and a half months and all my progress just disappeared. I was almost there!!!

I'm still trying to decide if I want to do a "27 in 27" list. Part of me wants to, if only because now I'll have a bit more free time to tackle some of the things I didn't get around to this past year. And part of me says that my track record on completing the list speaks for itself.

If I do decide to do it...any suggestions?

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Travels: Coopers Rock State Park, WV

So Wednesday was my 27th birthday and I had exactly zero desire to go to work and be a responsible adult. So Matt and I took off after work Tuesday night for a mid-week climbing trip at Coopers Rock in West Virginia! Despite some traffic snarls, the trip itself was pretty easy at right around four hours. We saw a gorgeous sunset...


And got to the campsite just after 10 p.m. Our friend Nick had gotten there just ahead of us, so we built a fire and hung out for a few hours. Matt set an alarm for midnight so as to wish me a happy birthday as soon as possible. Isn't that adorable?

The next morning, we were up bright and early for some quality camping breakfast (bacon and eggs and oatmeal, natch) and we hit the trail! The guys challenged me to get 10 problems that morning, and I was well on my way; I got five or six at the first site alone, including one pretty high route that quite honestly was one of the scariest bouldering problems I've ever done. Not because it was difficult or anything, but I actually am quite afraid of heights and climbing 20-some feet without a rope was a bit horrifying. But I did it, and I didn't fall, and I celebrated with a foot selfie:


Matt and Nick kindly demonstrated proper bouldering and spotting positions:


I also got to try out my birthday present from Matt: A camera pack! I initially didn't intend to bring my camera out to the woods for such a short trip, but Matt insisted on giving me my gift early and I was so excited, I had to haul everything out.


The problems at Coopers Rock are pretty difficult; I was even struggling with some 0s and 1s, even though I can tackle 2s and even some 3s at the gym. But man, everything was so beautiful, and it just felt so great to be back on real rock again!


The forecast that day called for rain, though I had hoped it would hold off until later in the afternoon. Not so; it started pouring around noon or so. We sat under an outcropping for a while to see if it'd let up, but unfortunately it didn't. Still, we had nowhere to be for a while and there was no sense in getting soaked, so we hung out in the woods for a bit. There may or may not have been some flask-passing involved. While we were waiting, the coolest thing happened: A deer ventured out from behind some boulders and just stared at us for a bit before moseying on.


Heading back to the car, I stopped to grab a pretty cool, misty, post-rain shot of the road:


Then we drove into nearby Morgantown for some lunch and a drink. We stopped in at Mountain State Brewing Co., which had awesome wood-fired flatbread pizza — we got the pesto and prosciutto — and okayish beer.


Then Nick had to head back home, but Matt and I went to catch a matinee of Jurassic World in 3D (obvs). It was really entertaining and really cool; everything I could have hoped for from a Jurassic Park reboot...minus the rumored Jeff Goldblum cameo, that is.

Then it was time to drive home, where we had just enough time before bed to watch this week's Game of Thrones. All in all? I'd say it was a pretty damn good birthday :)

Monday, June 15, 2015

My life right now, as told by reaction GIFs

So once upon a time, it was June 1st and I got an email asking if I'd like to do a freelance assignment. I'm currently obsessed with upgrading my camera body, so of course I said yes. She told me it was due June 19 and I was like, cool, I have like a month and a half, I'm good to go.

Then I looked at the calendar and realized that June 1st meant it was actually really June, not mid-May as my post-honeymoon brain kept insisting, and I actually only had about three weeks to do interviews for and write a 1,600-word story--my biggest assignment in months.

And then, in a haze of my-brain-is-so-fried-I-apparently-can't-use-it-at-all-ness, I decided to take off for my birthday (it's this Wednesday) and do a little climbing day-trip with Matt and our friend Nick. Because I'm totally a responsible adult who is capable of understanding that June 17 is just two days before June 19.

In the meantime, I've gotten my wedding photos back, plus about 600 unedited images that have been just begging me to forgo responsibilities and edit/post them. I spent 90 percent of my weekend alternately transcribing interviews and editing photos, because I have the attention span of a goldfish and can't really do a task for more than a few hours at a time. So now it's Monday, I have one interview left to conduct and a total of three interviews left to transcribe, and I'll be in a car (and eventually a tent) Tuesday evening, climbing all day Wednesday, then back in a car Wednesday evening.

In all seriousness, I think I've got a handle on this. I'm getting those transcripts done tonight, even if it means I *gasp* don't get to catch up on Game of Thrones. Then I can make all my notes in the car Tuesday night, and maybe even throw together some wedding photo layouts to post here next week. I prefer to do my writing all in one sitting, so Thursday night is well accounted for. Bam! I got this

This month's lesson? Know what date it is before you say yes to things and maybe count your days before just assuming that three weeks = six weeks. Huzzah!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Normalcy and coziness

6-4-15a 6-4-15b 6-4-15c
shirt: secondhand sleeveless button-down: New York & Company maxi skirt: Target d'orsay flats: Forever 21 necklace: giveaway win watch: secondhand Coach
Oh hi June, when did you get here? Funny, seems like mid-May was just here. No? You've been sneaking up for a while now? Huh. Imagine that. It's been nearly a month since the wedding and frankly, I still feel like it just happened last week. As much as I try, I've had the hardest time getting back into any semblance of a routine. This week, Matt and I only just got in our first climb since...oh, since these pictures were taken, maybe? And these pictures are two months old. Not that you'd ever know it, of course. It's been so unseasonably chilly the past few weeks; I haven't even packed my sweaters away yet. And I've been wearing a lot of my business-ultra-casual outfits, like this one, lately. It's the best of both worlds, really! I look pulled together but the soft and flowy fabrics are ridiculously cozy. Slap on a sparkly necklace and your'e good to go! I'm sure soon things will start to feel normal again...right? Right?!