Friday, August 30, 2013

Pinterest problems

Ok fellow bloggy buddies, I have an issue that I seriously can't figure out and I'm hoping you can help me with. When I pin my blog images (yes, I know how narcissistic it is, but oh well because promotion right?), they always look awful. They're 500 pixels along the longer length when I post them, but on Pinterest they always end up smaller and with weird boarders and way lower resolution. Example. Can anyone explain this?? Do I just need to post bigger photos?

I'm seriously frustrated because whenever I pin images from other bloggers who use sweet DSLR cameras, like this or this or this or this or this, they pin beautifully. Not so mine. And these awesome ladies aren't "professional" bloggers, and their posted pics aren't all that much bigger than mine. What gives? Anyone?

Fiscal Fridays: August clothes budget

Usually when I write these posts I'm all, "Whaaaaat it's the end of the month already??" But August was so eventful, I'm really just thinking, "Yeah, that seems about right." And as expensive as August was in terms of completely destroying my new house/moving budget, I actually came in under for my clothes budget! Cue the shock and awe.

Of course, I am going on a major clothes shopping trip with my friend Emily tomorrow...but I'm thinking I'll just pretend that trip happens on September 1 instead of August 31 and count all purchases toward next month's spending. It's only cheating by, like, 12 hours. That's okay, yeah?


1 and 2: Necklaces from VeryJane. Have you ever heard of this site? It's one of those "daily deals" things, like Groupon, only for clothes and accessories. Anyway, I saw these necklaces for $15 each, I snapped up two colors. With tax and shipping, they came to $33.48.
3: Heels from Target. Ever since my only pair of nude heels got stolen along with my purse/computer bag in June, I've been on the hunt for a replacement. These were on clearance online. $15.19 |similar|
4: Cropped pants with belt from Target. I saw these on the rack and didn't even hesitate. And that belt! So. Cute. $22.99 |exact|
5: Rose gold necklace from TiffanyAvenueBridal on Etsy. I need more rose gold in my closet. 'Nuff said. $19.50 |exact|

So grand total: $91.16 out of a $100 budget. Good job, me. At least I can stay in range on something...

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Product review: Shur-line Premium Select Paint Edger

Okay first, a few disclaimers. Most importantly, I was not paid or compensated in any way for writing this post. I just used a product that I really, really liked and decided to recommend it. Because seriously y'all, this little buddy cut our edging time in half. In thirds! And secondly, I'm apparently the worst blogger ever because I didn't take any photos of us using this thing. None. We painted seven rooms and not once did I stop to say hey, this warrants a pic. Not even on my phone. In my defense, I really freaking hate painting so I was really just in the mindset of "let's get this over with already."

Because Matt and I were taking the time to paint pretty much the whole house before we moved in (two living rooms, the kitchen, two bedrooms, the bathroom and my closet), I thought I'd give a paint edger a whirl. Taping and edging a room with a brush takes foooooooooooooofreakingever and I hate, hate, hate it. So I decided to give the Shur-Line brand edger a try.

I wound up buying two Shur-Line edgers: This one from Amazon for just under $5, and this one from Lowe's for about $6. The Lowe's one had wheels and little "retractable guides" to cover them (more on that later); the Amazon one did not. We basically used the Amazon one once and tossed it. The Lowe's one was far superior, so that's the one I'll focus on from here on out. (I also bought a ton of these refill pad thingies from Amazon. They're about $2.50 for a two-pack, and they fit the Lowe's edger just fine. Matt and I were feeling both lazy and wasteful, so we just tossed them out as we went. I suppose you could wash them out, but it would take next to forever. I tried one, just for kicks and giggles. There were no giggles involved.)

edger large

Anyway, getting an edger was pretty much the best decision I ever made in regards to painting. It was as easy as dip, scrape, swipe, swipe, repeat.

A lot of Amazon commenters complained that the paint went on too "goopy," so I made sure to use the following method: Lift the retractable guides (so important to remember, or you'll have a line of paint on your baseboard/ceiling). Dip the pad in paint, soaking thoroughly. Scrape off excess paint on the edge of your tray. Slowly and with steady-but-not-too-firm pressure, swipe the edger along your chosen edge. Go back over the extreme end of your edge (where it meets the still-white wall) with a light brushing motion, as the edger sometimes "beads" extra paint there. That's it! I could do the entire length of a 13-foot wall in under 90 seconds once I got my rhythm and pressure figured out. In some areas I pressed too hard, so I had to go back and do a second little coat. But with the right amount of pressure and the right amount of paint on the pad, this thing is a freaking godsend!

Of course, there are a few cons. The beading was an issue at first, and I may or may not have dripped paint onto the baseboard a few times before I got the hang of it. And our baseboard was really thin, so it took a bit of extra concentration not to slip down onto it. But the retractable guides and wheels were simply superb against the ceiling and the thicker window/door trim. Also, because of the way it's designed, corners are a challenge. Matt had to go back through with a brush and get the very innermost parts of the corners after I hit them. But still. We were able to finish each room in probably a third or even a quarter of the time it would have taken to tape and edge by hand. No lie.

What's your take on painting? Is it a chore that must be dealt with, like it is for me, or do you find it therapeutic and rewarding, like my friend Jen does? Have you ever used an edging tool, or do you prefer the tape-and-brush method?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013





shirt: secondhand
pants: The Limited
shoes: Buckle
necklace: Express

Have you ever had a mentor in your life? Someone you looked up to, who encouraged you and maybe taught you a few life lessons? Someone other than your parents?

Yesterday I attended an interview and training for Project Mentor, a collaboration between area businesses and organizations (including mine) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. Once I get cleared, I'll be assigned a sixth-grader in Columbus City Schools. I'll go to her school once a week during her lunch period to just kind of hang out and, hopefully, make a real connection with her. The goal of the program is for us to stay paired as she finishes middle school and high school, all the way up to graduation.

In a few weeks, we volunteers will head to the schools for some group activities before we choose who we'd like to be paired with. I'm a bit nervous--what if I wind up with a girl who doesn't like me? what if she doesn't really want to be mentored?--but the program is a really good one and I've heard that those things don't happen very often.

I'm not sure why I'm really telling you all this, other than it's something I'm excited about and I don't know much else to say this morning. That's a good enough reason, right? Right.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013





t-shirt: DIYed
shorts: thrifted
fedora: H&M
sandals, bracelets: Target
necklace: Etsy

Mornings are so hit-or-miss for me. Yesterday I hopped out of bed the first time my alarm went off, jumped in the shower, did a little yoga, got ready, made coffee, wrote a blog post, packed a lunch and practically skipped out the door.

This morning, not so much.

No, this morning I hit the snooze. I have a bit of a lingering migraine, so I skipped yoga. (Really bad headache + downward dog = more pain.) I slogged through getting ready and practically took a nap on the floor of my closet as I was picking out clothes. I'm seriously considering buying a lunch today so I can take a 10-minute nap before I leave. I went to bed at about the same time Sunday night as last what's up with being so sleepy today?

Anyway, I wore this outfit to a party last month. Like I said in my July clothes budget post, I was inspired to get a fedora. This is the first outfit I styled it with. The t-shirt is the one my team and I made for the Color Run last month. Yes, our team name was the Ninja Chameleons. We're awesome like that.

Ok, I think I'll nap for just a second now. Ugh. Is that coffee ready yet?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Settling in




shrug thing: came with a dress from Burlington Coat Factory
button down: New York & Company
skirt: Old Navy
necklace: Express
heels: Target

Well, I can hardly say that Matt and I are completely settled in to the new house, but we're getting there. There's still a ton of framed art leaning on the wall and packed in boxes that needs to be hung. And another box of vases and whatnot that I need to find a home for. And our living room looks kind of like a basement at the moment, thanks to all the random junk that's just kind of thrown in there. And Matt's studio/the guest room needs some serious work before my friend Emily comes to stay Friday night. But all in all, we're getting there.

We went to our friends' wedding this weekend (congrats Braden and Christine!), helped other friends move into the house they just bought (congrats Tim and Kellen!) and got a few things hung and put away here at the house. I'm hoping to post before-and-current pics of the house before the weekend...but I also have a good handful of outfit photos that were shot at our old place that I have to get through, too. I took my very first outfit photos at the new place this week, and I'm loving how they turn out.

So. It's still a crazybusy time (I mean, when is it not?) but I'm hoping to get a ton of posts up really quickly so I can blast through those old-house-outfit-photos. Woohoo!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Oh hey, I'm still wearing clothes too!



button-down: New York & Company
colored shirt: The Limited
slacks: thrifted (Express)
shoes, bracelets: Target

So yeah, outfit posts have been rare around here lately. I've been repeating a lot to make things easier on myself. And a lot of my outfits that aren't repeats have been pretty simple: slacks or a plain skirt, a nice blouse and minimal jewelry. It's just easier, considering how all my stuff has been in various states of packed/unpacked all month. This is actually from pretty early in the month, before I packed up all my accessories.

So I have a handful of photos from the old house's backyard left to post, and I'm trying to get those ready to post so I can move on to shooting at and posting photos from the new house! And that will kind of fill up some time while Matt and I get the final boxes put away. I'm hoping to hang some art this weekend, but we have a wedding to go to on Saturday so I really have no idea how much I'll be able to accomplish on Sunday ;)

And hey, I just want to take a second to say thanks to you all for sticking around while all this shiz is going down. I know I've been really quiet around here, and I promise it's so justified. Most nights I'm up an hour or two past my regular bedtime, and I've been getting up 30 or 45 minutes earlier too. And unless I'm eating or taking 50 minutes to unwind before bed with an episode of Dexter, I'm go-go-go that whole time. (Yes, Matt and I are just now getting into Dexter. Cable and internet only just got installed at the house today, so we started watching the series from the beginning. He loves it; I'm still on the fence.)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Update and a giveaway!

Just popping in for a moment on my lunch break to give y'all a little moving update. Matt and I and some awesome friends moved most of our stuff over on Saturday, including hauling a queen-size boxspring up onto the roof and through the bedroom window. Now we just have to grab a few minor things at the old place, like some lamps and a load of dishes that somehow never left the dishwasher. (And fill a billion nail holes/clean, but I don't wanna think about that).

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen that by Saturday night, I'd unpacked our bedroom, most of my closet, the bathroom and the kitchen. Yesterday, Matt did the living rooms while I was at an all-day bridal shower. (I'm one of the bridesmaids, and my "job" for the day was "official photographer." I was in heaven.)

I know I keep saying "pictures soon," and I'm afraid I have to keep saying it for just a bit longer. I got a surprise, fast-turnaround deadline for a MAJORLY exciting publication, so that's kind of taking all of my non-moving-related attention for the moment. More on that soon, too ;)

In the meantime, here's a little giveaway! I dunno about you guys, but one of my favorite movies of all time it 500 Days of Summer. So when a representative from A24 Studios contacted me about a new film from the same writers of Summer, I was alllllll over it. The film is called The Spectacular Now, and it looks like a really brilliant little coming-of-age story. I know I'm super excited to see it!


So if you live in Columbus, 30 of you can snag two advance screening tickets! Yes, you read that correctly...30 people can get these tickets. Here's what you have to do:

Just be one of the first 30 people to go to GOFOBO.COM/RSVP and enter the code 4VIP2CDA to claim your complementary pass for two to see the new movie THE SPECTACULAR NOW, starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller, at the Gateway Theatre on Wednesday, August 21. Seating is first-come, first-serve, so you might wanna plan ahead if you want good seats.

You do have to sign up for an account on GOFOBO, but it's free and really quick, I promise. Just opt out of the "please send me emails about other stuff" thing and it'll be totally pain-free! If you're one of the lucky many who gets a pass, be sure to let me know how you like the movie! I unfortunately have somewhere to be during the screening time :(

Friday, August 16, 2013

The end is in sight!

The end to this whole moving saga, that is. These past two weeks have been a whirlwind of painting, shopping, painting, packing and painting. Here's a little sampling of what I've remembered to take photos of:

Untitled Untitled





That wine was last night, aka the first night I actually finished my entire to-do list for the day. So I celebrated, natch. Tomorrow we move the rest of the stuff and unpack, and Sunday I'm off to a bridal shower, then more unpacking. And then I can post more pictures! Yay!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Morning, all! Well, it's been a heck of a weekend. Saturday Matt and I and a few awesome friends painted the entire house, minus a bathroom. That's two living rooms, the kitchen, two bedrooms and my closet. It was crazy but didn't take long at all thanks to many hands and this one awesome tool — I'll come back to that. We finished painting on Sunday, thanks to a color mix-up that delayed one wall, and moved a few boxes over to the new place. And yesterday, I went to Ikea to pick up a TON of furniture, as our new place is a bit bigger than the old and needed some major storage and lighting upgrades. You should of seen me...I was rolling through the warehouse pushing a flatbed and a regular cart at the same time. As my fellow Ikea-obsessed friend Emily put it: mad skills. I also Tetrised the hell out of my car to get everything to fit:


I'm still working to get everything put together and am doing a few hacks to make some items look pretty sweet. With several pretty time-consuming projects going on, not to mention the official move itself and a bridal shower this weekend, posting will probably remain light this week. But in the meantime, here's a teaser for what's to come:

- A review of that really awesome painting tool that cut our painting time in half
- A cool storage hack using this little beauty, aka my former dresser.
- A transformative project for this dresser...or rather, two of them.
- A before-painting house tour. Please excuse the mess. And of course a post-move-in tour as well. Please excuse the still-unfinished-ness.

So yeah, that all should be pretty fun. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Packing sucks.




t-shirt: The Limited
skirt: Spotted Moth
flats: Target
necklace: Express

You guys. You guys. I hate packing. I really, REALLY freaking hate packing. It's just so tedious. This evening, Matt and I went to a little 10 for $10 wine tasting at The Refectory (the amazing French restaurant where we had our anniversary dinner this spring). Then he left for a meeting about this climbing co-op that he's thinking about getting involved in, and I threw a bunch of books and pictures in boxes. I didn't like it.

But on a semi-related note, packing when you're a teeny bit wine-drunk is a bit less odious than packing when you're not-at-all wine-drunk. I (and funnily enough, my sister) highly recommend it.

And I promise, these are the last of the blurry outfit photos. I'm sticking with autofocus for these shots from now on. There's just no sense in trying to figure out whether the shots are in focus on a screen that's only a few inches diagonal. Right? Right.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Upcoming changes and awesomeness

Okay. So for those of you who have been long-time readers (or as long-time as you can get for a blog that's two and a half years old) will recognize this as the post where I apologize profusely yet somehow lackadaisically for the upcoming infrequency of posts. Yup, that pesky thing called "life" is happening again (go figure) and I'll be a bit quiet for the remainder of the month. But instead of the old "freelance work is burying me alive!" excuse, I actually have a fun reason.

Matt and I are moving!

We'll still be in Columbus--in fact, our new house is only about half a mile from our current one--but the new place is a major upgrade. It's a side-by-side duplex, so we have an upstairs for the first time! (Our current place is a one-over-the-other duplex, so our neighbors live above us.) Also, it has air conditioning, about 50% more space, a claw-foot bathtub, and an enormous six-by-nine-and-a-half-foot room that will be my very own closet. Needless to say, we're chomping at the bit.

Fortunately, we find ourselves with a bit of an overlap. Or a lot of an overlap. More than three weeks' worth. We got the keys last week and started painting over some ugly trim, narrowing down paint choices for the rest of the house, and just generally figuring out how much furniture and whatnot we'll need to fill the space. This weekend we'll paint pretty much every room in the place, thanks to some help from friends, and next weekend we officially move in. Then it's just a matter of cleaning up the old place, filling a multitude of nail holes, and all the other little things that will help us get our deposit back.

So what does this mean for Verbal Mélange, you might be wondering? Or not, I mean, I'm sure no one is as deeply interested/invested in this little corner of the internet as I am. But in case you're curious, I'll tell you. It means the aforementioned shortage of posts for now, but also a HUGE FLOOD of house-related posts in the near future. I'll still post outfit photos, of course, along with the occasional recipe. But the DIY- and decor-related stuff around here is gonna be featured in a big way. What can I say? I love to nest. And this house is actually worth nesting in, unlike our current one that features not-up-to-code flooring, teeny tiny spaces and generally sub-par potential.

So for now, I leave you with these unfortunately blurry photos. Sorry, guys...I didn't realize it until I deleted the others from this shoot. Womp womp.



dress: secondhand
button-down: New York & Company
shoes: Buckle
necklace: The Limited

Friday, August 2, 2013

Tutorial: No-sew tutu

Exactly zero of you have been clamoring for tips on making a tutu after my Color Run recap last week, but I already took the photos so I'm gonna post a tutorial anyway, mmkay? As the title of this post says, this is a completely no-sew project. It's super-easy, but a bit time-consuming I thought, so maybe have your favorite movie or a TV series you need to catch up on all queued up.


- Tulle. I used about eight yards of tulle that was cut to 54 inches wide. Emily (in the photo above) used half that, but she cut her fabric in half to make a shorter tutu. So it depends on how long you want it to be, and how full. Whatever the width of your fabric is, your tutu will be about half as long.
- Waistband-quality elastic, a few inches longer than your waistline.
- Scissors
- Safety pins

1 supplies

You'll notice there's a measuring tape in that photo. I thought I'd need it. I didn't. So let's all pretend it's not there, shall we?

First, you'll want to cut your tulle into strips, about an inch to two inches thick. At first, I folded my eight-yard cut of tulle in half width-wise (so I was cutting through 27 inches of material instead of 54). But you guys, tulle is hard to cut. Especially when you're trying to cut it while sitting on your grey-ish carpet. I may have cut up my carpet a little. (Okay, I did. Oh well.)

Then, a brilliant idea struck me: Keep folding the tulle! So I folded it in half, then in half again, and again until I had an almost-rolled tube-thingy of tulle. It was much thicker than the single-half-fold, so it was easier to cut through, and it was SO MUCH SHORTER, so it was faster to cut through as well. So I cut the eight yards into one-yard sections, then folded/rolled those sections and cut them into strips. Does that make sense? Here's a picture. In fact, here's two.

5 rolled

6 cut

So all those little rolls are actually 54-inch strips. So. Then I just had to attach them to the elastic. (Forgive the weird half-full-to-empty-elastic switch. I made this thing in two sittings, and I may have been a tad wine-drunk on during one of them. Or both. Hey, it's an easy project...I had to keep myself entertained somehow.)

So anyway, to attach them to the elastic, you unroll the strip, then just fold it in half lengthwise. The closed end of the folded strip will go "upside-down" against the elastic, like so:

2 loop-a

Then you bring the open ends of the strip down under the elastic and through the loop. It's kind of hard to see, but here's what it looks like:

3 loop-b

Then you pull it tight!

4 loop-c

And then repeat approximately eight hundred quadrillion times until your wine is gone and your DVD ends and your eyes are crossed. In all, it took me about two or three hours, but if I had figured out the no-duh method for cutting the tulle faster, I might have cut that time in half. Once you have all your strips tied on, you just loop it around your waist and safety-pin the elastic to itself so it's like a belt. Voila!

7 final

And if my rambling is completely throwing you off, here's the video I used as a guide. The girl's narration kind of bugs me, but she gets the point across. Probably more effectively than I do, haha.

So, have any of you ever made a tutu? Did you use this method, or something different?

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The power of positive thinking




blazer, dress: secondhand
shoes: Target

So this week at work, like all weeks that include the "first Friday" of a month, is insanely stressfully crazybusy. It's so bad that I'm making up words to accurately describe it. But I've realized that when I think negative thoughts, negative things happen. (Case in point: The last two times I've said, "It's gonna be a long day," events that day led to hours-long crying spells. Oh vey.) So instead of complaining abotu how much work I have to do this week and how frustrating it is, I'm going to be thankful that I'm gainfully employed in a job that I'm good at and (usually) enjoy doing. Booyah, positivity!

In other news, can we talk about these pics for a sec? I mean, woah. I'm not gonna lie, as I was editing them I kind of felt like I was working with shots from a professional shoot with a professional model. Who is this girl and how did her pics get on my camera? I mean, these obvs aren't really professional-quality shots, but the lighting was the best I've worked with yet. In both flash and flash-less images.

I wish I could say I spent the rest of the day I took these strutting around work like a 6-foot-tall America's Next Top Model contestant, but unfortunately I did not. And it's not because I'm only 5'8", either. Actually, about an hour or two after I shot these, I started feeling so ill that I had to lock myself in the bathroom and beg my neighbor to come pick me up and drive me home. It was really weird and random and gross. TMI?

I'll end this on a more pleasant, non-flu note. Remember back in June (uhhholycrapitsaugust) when I mentioned shopping my friend Hayley's closet? Yeah, both the blazer and the dress are from her. Love it.