Monday, February 29, 2016

Budgeting Bloggers: February

Soooo I know I said I was going to try not to spend any money on clothes this month, because I went over last month's budget by about $80. I tried. I failed. Hard.


1. OU sweatshirt from College Bookstore in Athens. I went down to visit my sister for Sib's Weekend early last month, and the first place we stopped was the bookstore for some OU apparel. I found this gem for a steal, and it's the comfiest thing ever. | $18.04 (the year OU was founded, natch) {exact}

2. OU flannel PJ pants from College Bookstore. Speaking of comfy...woah. I love these pants and have been wearing them pretty much nonstop. | $26.99 {exact}

I was going to make the above my only purchases for the month and still try to save some face in terms of my budget...and then I discovered ThredUp. It's an online consignment store and I swear it will be the death of my clothes budget forever. I snagged a first-time shopper discount and used it to get the following steals:

3. White House Black Market dress. I've realized that peplum is just My Thing. I had a huge aversion to it at first, which is unfortunate because us hip-less gals need a little oomf in our figures. This one has a great cutout on the back. | $13.80

4. Ab Studio dress. Wrap dress ftw! I can't believe I didn't already own one of these. | $8.10

5. Saks Fifth Avenue skirt. This was totally unnecessary and I wasn't even sure it'd fit, but I loved it and that was enough for me. Bonus: It does fit! | $17.08

Grand total, with tax: $93.47. So I mean, I'm *technically* under-budget for the month. That's something, right? Right??

Here's hoping you all did better on your spending goals than I did this month...or if you failed like me, here's hoping you at least got some good deals :)

P.S. ThredUp gave me an "invite friends" offer. I can send you a link to get $10 off your first purchase (and I get $10 off too). Shoot me an email at verbal.melange {at} gmail {dot} com if you'd like one! (This post isn't sponsored by or affiliated with ThredUp. I just found something I really like and wanna share it.)

Monday, February 22, 2016

52 Week Challenge: Weeks 7 and 8

Due to a weird series of events — a big freelance deadline, a sick puppy, etc. — I totally failed to post my week 7 photo. Oops. Anyway, things are settling down a bit so here we go!

Week 7 was a portrait (my favorite!) and the prompt was "faceless." I snagged this shot during an unnaturally warm weekend that I spent at OU, visiting my sister. We went bouldering in the hills with her boyfriend and his sisters. (It was Sib's Weekend, natch.) This is one of the boyfriend's sister's tackling a tricky little slab problem.


Week 8 was a landscape (my least favorite, if only because I have no idea what I'm doing) and the prompt was "panoramic." I do panos all the time on my iPhone, but I'm really pushing myself to do this whole challenge on my DSLR. So I got to learn about Photoshop's panoramic stitching feature! This shot is of downtown Columbus. I had scouted a location via Google Maps, and arrived only to find out that it had the perfect elevated walkway from which to take my shots.


(I realize that photo is very tiny; here's a link to the full-size if you'd like to see it.)

This challenge also has me getting out my camera more in general, not just for challenge photos, so I'm hoping to put together a post or two of just random things I've been shooting. I've caught some really cool stuff at the dog park lately especially; shooting there is really great practice because you have to be fast or you'll miss your shot.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

52 Week Challenge: Week 6

This week's challenge was an artistic shot, with the theme of "candy/something sweet." The challenge creator suggested trying out macro photography, which I was all too happy to do. I first tried using a tube extender I had, but frankly the quality was poor and I just wasn't feeling it. So I took that as a sign to pull the trigger on two lenses I've had my eye on for a while: The Sigma Contemporary 17-70mm f/2.8-4 Macro OS HSM, and the Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Di LD Macro.

I bought the Sigma to be my new walkabout lens, and the main lens I take to Europe later this year. The Tamron is my first telephoto lens, and I am in love with its macro work. While the Sigma does have macro functions, I found the Sigma to be just a bit more of what I was looking for. All three of the photos below were taken with the Tamron.


That's my main image for the challenge. I used my favorite candy — a dark chocolate bar with freeze-dried raspberries in it — and some fresh berries to add a pop of color and texture. I'm not 100% on this image, either, but it's possibly the best from the two separate shoots I did.


That was from my first shoot. I got some feedback from other challenge members on it and used their suggestions to style my second portrait. Mainly it was about removing those crumbs (which I actually liked, womp womp) and adding the raspberries. I might still like this photo more. What do you guys think?


And just for funsies, here's my setup. I made my own light tent by cutting out the sides of a box and taping tissue paper over the holes. Then I set up my two flashes on their stands and put them in slave mode so they'd fire when my on-camera flash went off. (The on-camera flash had little to no effect on the image itself, thanks to the camera's distance from the subject and the brightness of the off-body flashes.) The backdrop is just two pieces of computer paper that I layered inside the box. Viola! Easy-peasy.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Verbal Mélange feature

Hi all! This week, Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge. featured me in her Style Bloggers < 3 Budgeting series. Make sure you click on over and check it out :)

Monday, February 1, 2016

52 Week Challenge: Week 5

Welp, they can't all be winners, and last week's photo proves it. I posted this photo in the Facebook group for the challenge and asked for feedback, with the intent of going back to re-shoot it. But then the snow/ice all melted and I went to a crazy wedding this weekend that left my Sunday a bit...unproductive, to say the least. So I guess I'm stuck with this. Womp womp.


I'll be the first to admit that landscape photography isn't my "thing." I've seen a ton of great landscape photos, but I have a hard time defining why I think they're great...and it's next to impossible to incorporate those unknown elements into my work.

Do you like landscape photography/take a lot of those images yourself? Any tips for me in the future? (Every third week is a landscape theme, so I have lots of opportunity to improve!)