Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers: October

Taking a break from my break to share with you all my October clothes budget! I know you've been waiting on the edge of your seats for this and I wasn't about to let you all down. You may recall, because you read with rapt devotion, my saying that I wanted to try to only buy a pair or two of boots this month, without blowing my $100 budget. I'd say in that respect, this month was a mild success. See for yourselves:

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1. Merona "Morgan" boots via Target. I noticed that my black slouchy boots were seriously scuffed on the toes. As in, the toes were wearing through completely. I could have colored them in with marker, but I wanted a boot that a) wasn't slouchy and b) would keep my toes dry if it rained. Problem, solved. | $39.99 {exact}
2. Madden Girl Elsiee boots via Famous Footwear. My cognac slouchy boots were in even worse shape than my black ones. I realized that I wore my cognac boots more than any other pair last year, so I decided to invest in a nicer pair this year. These were a little more than I usually pay for boots, without taking up my whole month's budget. | $69.99 {exact}
3. Sunnies via Target. To replace the identical pair I've been wearing forever, including when riding Perdita the Scooter. The original pair has a lot of scratches, so they've been designated my official scootin' sunnies. | $13.49 {exact, but a different price for some reason}


Grand total with taxes: $133.16. Okay, so it's a tad overbudget. But considering what I got, I'm not at all disappointed :)

Disclaimer: I also bought a dress for my Halloween costume that I might be able to rewear, but I'm not counting it. Because Halloween.

How did you do on your budget this month?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

DIY: Our save-the-date magnets

Howdy folks! Taking a quick break from editing my friends' engagement photos to post a little DIY featuring our engagement photos! I knew I wanted to do a magnet save the date, both for the convenience of the recipients and frankly because it's just kinda cool. But when I researched prices from places like VistaPrint, it was just more than I wanted to pay. So when I found this tutorial for DIY save-the-date magnets, I was sold.

I have InDesign, so I figured doing the magnet layout wouldn't be too hard. I was wrong, or more accurately, I severely underestimated my perfectionism; it took me something like two weeks to design the dang thing. But once I finally settled on my fonts, graphics, photos and overall layout, I was ready to go.

I found a nice paper cutter and some 8.5-by-11-inch sheets of magnet with adhesive backing on Amazon, and found a nice semi-matte paper at Staples. I decided to print on 11 by 17 paper; fewer sheets meant more cutting but a lower cost. So once the sheets were printed, I had this:

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Then I just had to cut them in half, so each 11 by 17 sheet became two 8.5 by 11 sheets:

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Then I peeled the backing off of a magnet sheet and very carefully laid the sheet of save-the-dates on the adhesive side:

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That actually took a bit of trial and error, but luckily I thought to have extras, so ultimately there was no lost. Then, it was just a matter of cutting out the individual save-the-dates:

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Ta-da!

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This wasn't quite the end, though. The paper cutter was nice, but it wasn't exact. And to be honest, I was kind of hurrying to get them all done. So I tended to wind up with some imperfect edges:

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Soooo I just trimmed them by hand with scissors:

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And here they are! Just over 100 save-the-date magnets, all done in an afternoon!

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If anyone's wondering, I went with a "tying the knot" theme because Matt and I climb; that's our first climbing rope in the top photo. The shot on the side, with the two big columns, is the Ohio Statehouse — where he proposed :) And the shot in the bottom-right is us at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park, which has the nicest faux-rock wall I've ever seen. Bonus: It's outside, and it's free to use! Oh and I apologize for the blurred line, but I didn't feel like advertising our wedding website — with details on the time and location of everything — in a public forum. #sorrynotsorry

Anyway, there you have it. Easy-peasy save-the-date magnets!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Jamberry Nails (aka my latest obsession)

Heyyyy folks...Long time no see! I'm still around and prepping for the insanity that is to come this month, but I thought I'd pop in real quick to shamelessly self-promote the online Jamberry party I'm hosting.

Some background: I first heard of Jamberry just last month, when my friend Kathryn hosted a party. I'll paraphrasing her sentiment on the matter, which I agree with wholeheartedly. Direct marketing sucks. It's a goofy thing and no one likes it. But Jamberry really is a cool product, which is why I'm schilling it here. Also, if just two more nail wraps are purchased before my party closes at 8 pm EST tonight, I get free stuff. So, full disclaimer there. I like free stuff.

So what is Jamberry? Basically, it's a nail wrap. A sticker thing you put on your nail. It lasts for up to two weeks (depending on how fast your nails grow). I'll admit, I was skeptical at first. Anything that claims to stay on your nails for two weeks typically tends to spend half the time on my nails. I have oily nail beds or something. Even a gel manicure didn't last longer than a few days for me! But these things, oh man. Jamberry nails really do last. My Jams typically last me 10 days, at which point my super-fast-growing nails make them look a bit silly. But in that 10 days? I rock climbed four times, one of them on real rock outdoors, and I saw nary a chip or peel.

These nail wraps really are that good.


The Jams I've bought so far, clockwise from top-left:
Vintage Chic, Sweet Nothing, Birds of a Feather, Midnight Celebration.

Other fun info you might like to know: Each sheet should get you two manicures AND two pedicures...unless you have crazy-big nails or something. They're non-toxic, vegan, and gluten-free. (So those with super-high gluten sensitivities won't be affected by them touching your skin/nails.) To apply: peel one off the plastic backing, stick a teeny edge of it on an orange stick or cuticle pusher, heat it over a hair dryer for a few seconds (like, five MAX), then just gently press it down onto your nail. You trim the excess with nail clippers or manicure scissors. To remove them: just soak a cotton ball in regular nail polish remover, soak it over the wrap for a few seconds, then use the orange stick/cuticle pusher to gently lift it off. Fun fact: You can also use coconut oil!

Bonus: If you buy three, you get one free!

If you're having trouble figuring out when the nails might look like on a real hand, you can search #(wrapname)jn on Instagram. Right now, I'm wearing Vintage Chic. So if you wanted to see my photo of that, and literally hundreds of others, you could search #vintagechicjn on Insta. (JN = Jamberry Nails, natch.)

Soooo if you want some sweet mani/pedis, head over to the site and select "Emma" at checkout


Just some of the Jams I want to get soon!
Top row: Icy Boysenberry Polka and Boysenberry Chevron; China Rose Tip and China Rose.
Middle row: Urban Lights and Gilded Leopard; Puppy Love and Bright Noise.
Bottom row: Flirty Flair, Glam, Pumpkin Spice.


The legal stuff: I was not paid for this post and it is not sponsored by Jamberry. I really, truly like the product. I hosted a party and wanted to get some extra sales so I could be eligible for freebies. Views and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Aaaaand once again, I have to say...brb.

I'm really annoyed at how frequently these mini-hiatuses are popping up. But ever since I did a photo shoot of my friends' daughter, the requests have been coming in like mad from family and friends. Baby photos, family photos, engagement photos, maternity and newborn shoots...I'm starting to really branch out my photography from a little hobby to a potential part-time side gig. When a friend emailed me today to ask if I could do her and her fiancé's engagement photos in October, I looked at my calendar and was stunned to tell her I only had two days available!

So what with several photo shoots, editing said photos and working on my woefully neglected wedding crafts, I am going to scale back temporarily from 2-3 posts a week to probably just one. I thought about just shuttering this ol' thing altogether, but honestly, I don't want to miss out on the little community and bloggy friends I've made. Plus, the self-obsessed side of me wants to hang on until at least after the wedding...I'm sure I'll want to post nonstop about the big day after it's over and everyone I know IRL is sick of hearing about it ;)

TL;DR - You might be seeing less of me in the next few weeks, but I'm not going anywhere yet!

Also, I just want to take a second to send some much-deserved gratitude to Ally, without whose generosity my interest in photography would never have brought me to this point. Allycat, you are a wonderful friend and I owe you, big-time :)

Finally, if anyone's interested in checking out the photo shoots I've done recently, you can see them all over here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Budgeting Bloggers: September

So as I've said before, my spending has been a wee bit...shall we say, extravagant, these last few months. I blame wedding planning; after you start shelling out hundreds or a thousand dollars at a time for things like deposits and wedding dresses, a few $30 clothing or makeup purchases seem like nothing at all. But they add up, and when they're added to all those wedding purchases, well...it's bad. So this month, I tried really hard to not buy any clothes. I *almost* made it.

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Merona maxi skirt via Target. I love my gray one SO MUCH that I had a complete moment of weakness while picking up a friend's bridal shower gift one weekend. I may have accidentally purchased the juniors version, but it fits so okay then? | $17.99 {exact?}

But that's it! One item! I'm debating whether to continue my shopping ban into October, but truth be told, I could really use some new boots. A pair of winter boots — something waterproof and lined for those wet, cold waits at the bus stop when it gets too cold to scooter to work — and a pair of stylish cognac boots to replace the pair I wore through last winter. The latter could probably wait until November; I have a pair of crappy galoshes and thick socks to tide me until the real snow comes. But if I find a pair of great cognac boots on sale in October, well, I'm not making any promises!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

I do what I want

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sweater dress: secondhand (H&M)
earrings: gifted (Lia Sophia)
shoes: Target

Can you call this a sweater dress? I mean, I'm going to anyway because it's my blog and I do what I want but I'm not 100% convinced that I'm right. Whatever it is, it's cute and comfy and cost me $4 at my friend's garage sale. And that's all that really matters, yeah?

Speaking of absolutely nothing because I have a terribly short attention span and am horrible at transitions...

So I think I mentioned that I had a fitness coaching meeting recently. A friend-of-a-friend is a personal trainer, and she gave me some tips on how to achieve my personal fitness goals. It was insanely motivating, and her ideas were spot-on in terms of what will help me make a plan and stick to it. I've been getting up half an hour earlier on weekdays to squeeze in some yoga, because I never manage to do it before bed, and I've been getting a lot better and making time for evening workouts. Yesterday was my first real "blow it off" day, as the class I wanted to go to got cancelled and an Ikea order I placed was delivered. It's like the universe WANTED me to spend my evening drinking bourbon-spiked cider and building a few chairs and a closet. (On that note, I will have a home-decor update soon; the living room is *nearly* finished, finally!)

Tonight might be a little rough for me as well, because I scheduled a massage therapy session for right after work (I get a lot of wrist pain from my job and freelance schedule), and working out right after all my muscles got worked on seems counterproductive. I might just do a longer, slightly more intense yoga sesh instead of hitting the climbing gym. Actually, that sounds really pleasant. I have a couple hour-long yoga vids I've been meaning to try.

(And mom, if you're reading this, my "blow it off" day TOTALLY doesn't count for our wager. If anything, I should get seven freebie days, since you started your workout regimen a week after I started mine :P I've been brainstorming where I'd like you to take me to dinner when you lose...! Haha.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Five fall faves

I recently posted some of my favorite things about fall, so forgive me if this feels a bit redundant. But I thought I'd go into some more detail about a few of the things that make cooler weather less sucky, at least in my world :)

Fall favorites


Obviously, the very first thing that came to mind for me was warm, cozy sweaters and sweatshirts. Ones that are long enough to cover all your business and therefore be worn with leggings. I busted out my sweaters this weekend, but I'm still in the market for a nice cozy, casual sweatshirt like this one. Only not like this one because it's from J.Crew and it's $80.

I also really love dark, vampy nail colors. Not to be a hipster, but I was wearing black nail polish before it was cool. Okay, I had a little punk phase, but the bottom line is I've loved dark nails for the last 10 years and I'll probably never stop loving them.

Growing up in semi-rural areas and on big lots means that fall always brought bonfire weather. Oh man, the smell of smoke and gooey roasted marshmallows...heaven.

As for beverages, I shun the Pumpkin Spice Latte thing. I've never even had one. I'd rather just stick with my delicious, delicious chai tea lattes, please.

And finally, boots. Oh, boots. Boots are the greatest. These two right here? I need both, please.

I've been kind of overdoing it on the shopping lately, so I'm trying to put myself on a clothes-buying ban this month. I'm not doing terribly well, so I was pretty excited to discover Raise.com. Basically, it's a site where you can buy discounted gift cards to your favorite stores, or sell the ones you have but aren't gonna use. (Requisite disclaimer: I was not paid or perked for this post; the folks at Raise simply inspired me to write it.)

I signed up for a free Raise account, and it looks like the discounts vary by store. When I browsed, Macy's cards were selling for 12% less than their value, Target for nearly 4%, H&M for 10%, and TJ Maxx for a whopping 19%. I think I know how I'm going to stretch my clothing budget to the max next month!