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 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 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?