2017, blog, debbie gillum, debbiegillum

A Day in the Life: Q + A with Debbie Gillum

Recently, I had the honor of being featured on Portfolio Creative’s blog. They do really great “Day in the Life” features on creative professionals living in Columbus. I wanted to share the post here on my website:

Hey, I’m Debbie and I’m the Marketing and Digital Communications Specialist at Volunteers of America of Greater Ohio. I currently live in downtown Cbus across the street from the North Market (above Barley’s and Brewcadia). I’m originally from Indianapolis but moved to Hilliard in middle school and have been in the Buckeye state ever since. I went to Denison University, a small private liberal-arts college and studied English and Communication. I was President of the Quidditch team and editor of the student newspaper. Now, I’m a Founding member of Women in Digital, a national group devoted to empowering women in digital careers.  


I’m utterly addicted to coffee so I always consume an enormous amount of black coffee in the morning. I listen to the radio as I get ready because it helps me stay informed about what’s going on in the world. I’m a fan of making smoothies for breakfast. It’s a yummy way to sneak in a lot of healthy foods. On Fridays, I’ll treat myself and swing by Upper Cup Coffee for a muffin and an amazing large cup of Joe.

At work, I live and breathe social media. My favorite part of my job is interacting with fans who shop at Volunteers of America thrift stores. I love writing blog posts sharing the best thrifting tips and tricks. As a kid, I always enjoyed creative writing and as I got older, I liked strategic problem solving so it’s exciting to be in a career where I can do both for a living. I keep an on-going to-do list at work that helps me stay organized and gives me a rush of satisfaction when I can cross off a task. Seems like there’s always a future fundraising or open house event to plan for, so I’m often crafting email invitations, postcards, signs and event programs. I keep my beloved radio on in my office all day and it’s usually tuned to either NPR (big fan of All Sides with Ann Fisher), CD102.5 (love the variety and local music) or WNCI (Dave and Jimmy’s Morning Zoo).
My favorite place for an afternoon pick-me-up coffee is Cherbourg Bakery in downtown Bexley. They take such pride in their coffee and artfully craft each pourover.


In the evening, I take horseback riding lessons out in Canal Winchester. I grew up riding my own horse and have adored horses all my life. I love the thrill of jumping and the comforting nuzzle of horses. For dinner, I go to Houndogs in Clintonville with my boyfriend and friends for Wednesday PB&J (a pizza, pitcher of beer and shot of Jameson).  I have two side hustles helping a trivia company and mobile low-cost veterinarian with their social media and blog posts. I love keeping busy!

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2016, blog, debbie, debbiegillum, myblog

Everyone is getting soap for Christmas

On Sunday afternoon, Nate and I walked around Grandview and we stopped in Glenn Avenue Soap Company. 

I’d heard about Glenn Ave. from their commercials at The Gateway film center. I’d also seen them in some local bar’s bathrooms (like Zauber, across the street) and from when I went to a Zumba class at the Brickhouse Cardio Studio that’s right next door.

Walking inside, we were immediately greeted by a friendly and knowledgeable young woman. She explained to us about the organic locally made soaps and answered our questions when we were looking at the beer soaps. She told us that no, they don’t smell like beer but are made with beer that’s given to them by the bars that they have soap dispensers in. The beer soap is supposed to be very good for your skin.

I was kicking myself because I just bought some more bodywash at Ulta Beauty. As soon as I start to run low, I’m going to try one of their beer bar soaps.

I treated myself to a bottle of their famous foaming hand soap in Peppermint and Tea Tree Oil. 
“You and your peppermint,” said Nate, when I bought it.
What can I say, I love peppermint.

I totally want to go back here and give all my friends and family soaps for Christmas. Whether it’s bars of soap, foaming soap, lotion or something else, I think it’s a nice, practical, locally-made gift.

2016, blog, debbie, debbiegillum, myblog

Scheiders bakery

Working in Westerville for so long has helped me learn where the best spots are to grab a bite. One of my favorite lunch time stops has become Schneider’s Bakery. I admit that I keep their menu in the bottom drawer in my desk.

I like Schneider’s because of their reasonable prices. Cookies are 60 cents, donuts 75 cents,  and muffins are 80 cents. It’s so rare to find prices that low at a bakery. They also have a section in the back behind the counter where you can get day-old items for even cheaper. Once, I got a bag full of cookies (including the beloved date pinwheel cookies) for $2.

The staff there is so patient and tolerates me when I point to a pastry and ask “What’s that?” six different times.

Why, yes. Yes, I do. 
Schneider’s is great for the lunch grazer like myself or the business man who wants to impress the office with a dozen of donuts. 
A dozen impressive donuts 
2016, blog, debbie, debbiegillum, myblog, travel

St Louis Weekend

It’d be neat if Columbus had an icon like the Gateway Arch
Our hotel lobby, from the 8th floor

Somehow, I woke up at 5am. Fiona came to my room to help encourage me to get out of bed but it was still a struggle. Mom drove us to the airport and we caught our flight out at 6:40am. We had a layover in Chicago but stayed on the plane so it was easy.

We arrived in St. Louis around 10:30am and picked up our rental car. On the shuttle bus to the rental car area, we got off the bus and I thought my dad had grabbed my backpack but he didn’t. I raced back to the shuttle bus. The driver held my purple backpack and said, “Yeah I saw someone left this, you look pretty panicked so I assume it’s yours.”

It was too early to check into our hotel so we met up with my aunt and uncle in the Lumiere casino, downtown. We ate breakfast at the casino sports bar where the coffee was lukewarm, service was lousy and the homefries were greasy.

To kill some time, we decided to go to the Budweiser Brewery. It’s great because it’s a free tour. They walk you through the Clydesdale stable, the brew house and you get two free samples.

Trying my dad’s Oktoberfest beer and the Hoegaarden
All of the Budweiser

Uncle Steve, Me, my dad, and Aunt Diane 

After the tour, I took a glorious nap and got ready for the wedding.

The wedding and reception took place at Bissinger’s  which is a chocolate factory in downtown St. Louis. 
The ceremony was inside due to the rain but was still very nice. 
At the cocktail hour, there was of course, chocolates, and many yummy snacks.

The dinner at the reception featured a salad with a caramel dressing, chicken in a chocolate glaze sauce and Ted Drewes chocolate frozen custard. There was not a cake, however later on in the night, there were S’mores.  The s’more S’mores the better!

We wanted a better breakfast than the casino sports bar so we went across the street to the Four Seasons hotel restaurant. It was incredibly fancy. Like so fancy they had a beverage server and a food server. I treated myself to the smoked salmon and sincerely enjoyed it. 

I’d like to have this for breakfast every day, please

We went over to my cousin’s Stephanie house for a family get together in the afternoon. She has such nice decorating tastes so I tried to take notes on home decorating tips I could use in my own place. I tried some St. Louis ribs that were quite yummy. 

Around 4pm, we drove to the airport and headed back to Columbus 
2016, blog, debbie, debbie gillum, debbiegillum, myblog

Simple ways to save money

Part of being an adult is learning to spend money like an adult. The money tree in the backyard has been dead for a while now.  Here’s some of the ways I try to stretch my money on a daily basis:

  • Use coupons
    • This seems like the most obvious way to save money, I know. 
    • I have a coupon organizer where I can sort them into categories like “Food,” “Drinks,” “Bathroom,” “Oral Care,” and “Makeup.” It takes a little bit of organization and maintenance but it is worth it when I look at my receipt and see how much I’ve saved.
    • Only use coupons:
      •  for items you would’ve bought anyway
      •  if the discount is more than 50 cents 
      • and if the coupon is for less than 2 items
  • Get your flu shot at Target
    • Target has a promotion right now where if you get your flu shot at their CVS Pharmacy, you get a $5 gift card. The vaccine was free with my health insurance, so it was a win-win. I was basically paid to get a flu shot. 
  • Check out Goodwill
    • For decorating your home or picking up knick knacks, Goodwill is cheaper than antique shops or other big retailers, plus the pieces there are unique.
  • Buy toilet paper in bulk
    • Think about it, you will always need toilet paper. Buy it in the biggest pack it comes in. 
    • This applies to other household staples like soap, tissues, trashbags, etc, where your demand will stay constant and the items won’t expire. 
  • DIY Manicures
    • You can save so much money just by painting your own nails at home. I’m all for manicures but I like to save them as a treat instead of a regular occurrence. 
  • Groupon
    • You can get some really good deals on Groupon but I think it’s easy to buy things you wouldn’t usually buy just because they are on sale. So, I’d make sure you use Groupon to check for discounts on hair cuts if you were already planning on getting your hair cut. 
  • Order a Cafe Misto at Starbucks
    • A Cafe Misto or Cafe Au Lait is coffee + steamed milk. A latte is espresso + steamed milk. A Cafe Misto is significantly cheaper and quite similar. It’s a good way to save a buck at Starbucks.
  • Request free samples online
    • There’s lots of websites that list who is giving away free samples and how to get them. I’ve gotten samples of feminine hygiene products, shampoo and conditioners, sugars, Emergen-C, cat food, and coupons.  
    • http://www.mysavings.com/freesamples/
    • http://www.sweetfreestuff.com/freesamples/
    • http://www.getitfree.us/freebies
  • Watch gas prices
    • Lately, if I see gas for under $2 somewhere, I’ll fill up. I never know when the price will jump back up again. Carpe Diem. 
    • Use Kroger or Giant Eagle Fuel Perks or Speedy Rewards. Sometimes you can get 3 cents off per gallon or earn points to even more money off a future purchase.  
    • I use an app called Gas Buddy to help me find the cheapest gas prices nearby. 

  • Free Friday at Kroger
    • With my Kroger card, I get emails on Friday morning about a “Free Friday download” so I click on the link, sign in, and download the coupon. Usually the Free Friday item is somewhere up at the front of the store near the check out stations. Buy the item, use your Kroger card, and it’s free! 
    • With this Free Friday, I’ve gotten gummi worms, granola bars, soda, a pack of gum, yogurt, and more.

2016. march, blog, debbie, debbiegillum, myblog

My weekend

I wonder if The Weeknd describes his Weekend to people.

Friday, I worked until 3pm then drove to my foot doctor’s appointment. (Warning: gross talk about feet ahead)
I was concerned about the appearance of my big toe nails. They aren’t supposed to be greenish brown, right? So gross! The doctor cut off a sample of my toenail and sent it off to the lab. She wasn’t sure if it was fungus or another problem from the many ingrown toenails I’ve had throughout my life. I’m at the point where I’d be okay removing the entire big toenail on both feet.

After my appointment, I popped over to the library to quickly pick out an audio book. I checked out Us by David Nicholls and All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I recognized the cover of this book from when I worked at Barnes and Noble. I remember reading it behind the counter when I was bored. I thought I’d only read the beginning so I thought it would be good to read the entire book.

I picked up the audio books because I knew that I needed something to keep me occupied during my 6 hour drive to Tennessee. I listened to All the Bright Places on my drive down and back up. It was 9 discs that were 11 hours and the drive is 12 hours so that was nicely timed. 

As I was listening to the book, I recognized parts of it! Like, they were my own memories but described aloud. Turns out, according to Goodreads, I read the book back in May 2015 so that’s why I recognized it. Hahaha. I still enjoyed the book a second time and noticed different parts this time around. It reminded me of a John Green novel, like Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns. 

I made it to the cabin around 11pm and was pretty tired. It wasn’t a hard drive, just long. 

Saturday morning, mom and I went to Dollywood. She bought me a season pass which is great so now I can go back again. We usually go at least twice a season so the season pass is the way to go. It was spring break so the park was really crowded. (I mean Dollywood crowded, not Disney World crowded.) We just did a few rides. We watched the bird show and a Celtic rock band. There was an international festival going on so all the traditional shows were replaced by international performances. How cool! 

Saturday afternoon, Dad grilled hamburgers out on the patio and we ate outside. I love cookouts. I hadn’t had a big fat meaty hamburger in a while and forgot how much I like hamburgers. I had a similar sensation on Sunday when I ate some ham and roast beef at the community picnic. The meat melted in my mouth and was so juicy. Yum! 

Sunday morning, we ate a nice breakfast with my grandparents at the Apple Barn. We’d eaten Christmas dinner here and enjoyed that. It was less crowded on Easter but just as good a meal. I ordered quiche with fruit and really liked it. I ate my leftovers today for lunch and they were still phenomenal. 
At 11am, we attended a church service in a rustic church that is in our cabin community. It was a traditional Anglican service, which I’d never experienced before.  It was more call and response than I’m used to. 

After church, we went in the cabin’s hot tub. I wish my apartment had a hot tub! They are amazing. I keep my swimsuit down at the cabin because I always forget to pack a suit. 

At 4pm, we ate dinner at the community picnic which was really neat. 

Then, we drove back to Ohio.

2016, blog, debbie, debbiegillum, february, myblog, review, songs

Currently Listening To

My top 5 songs right now:

  • 7 Years by Lukas Graham
    • This is one of those songs where I listened to it on repeat probably 5 times in my car. I heard it at the bowling alley, of all places. It caught my attention because of how soulful it sounded and because I thought it was Andy Grammar singing. Whoops. The lyrics are so sincere and it reminds me of that song “100 Years” by Five for Fighting. I’m  a big fan. I like songs where the artist is brave enough to write down how they are actually feeling, whether that’s frustrated by the music industry or insecure about their own art. I admire their honesty.
  • My House by Flo Rida
    • Aziz Ansari described Flo Rida the best: “When you hear a Flo Rida song at first you’re like, ‘What is this, Flo Rida? It’s the same thing you’ve always done. I’m not listening to this song.’ And then you keep hearing it and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, Flo Rida. You’ve done it again! This is a hit, baby!’ And that’s what people are like. People are like a Flo Rida song. You need to hear them a couple of times before you really get what they’re about.”
    • That’s exactly how I felt about this song. At fist I thought “Ugh, not again” but pretty soon I was like “Yeah, this is my house!” It’s too darn catchy and silly. I saw this music video on MTV and asked myself “Is this really where we are in 2016?” This is the progress we made?” Then I shook my head. 
  • 3 AM by Mads Langer
    • I loved Mads Langer when I was abroad in Denmark and I still like him. He’s a Danish pop singer but he sings in English. I’m not saying I like this song more than his song “Elephant” because I don’t think I could like any song by him more than “Elephant” (The one lyric is “I feel like I’m an elephant in a porcelain shop.”) but this is a fun disco pop song. I like to jam out to it in my car. 
    • It’s the type of song that you could jam out to at a bar or club on a Friday or Saturday night. Just a fun upbeat song.  Don’t listen to it for the lyrics, just listen to the sound. 
  • Mississippi by The Griswolds
    • I first heard of The Griswolds when they opened up for a concert I went to. They might have opened up for New Politics or Smallpools. I usually have low expectations for opening bands but man, they blew me away. They have a chill sound and up temp beats. 
    • Plus, isn’t “The Griswolds” a kinda cool band name. I’m assuming they love the “Vacation” movies.
    • In this song, the lead singer sings occasionally in this neat high pitched voice and it sounds so melodic.  I’ve only seen the Mississippi river in Memphis but this song from how great it sounds, makes me want to drive down south.
  • Oh Cecilia (Breaking My Heart) by The Vamps 
    • Simon and Garfunkle will always own the best version of “Cecilia.” However, The Vamps did a pretty cool remake of the song. Bonus: Shawn Mendes is in the song too. Love him! I heard this on Spotify Radio and at first thought it was another cover of Cecilia but then in the middle, I realized they had combined two songs and added some different parts in the middle. This song opened my eyes to how cool the band The Vamps is. I like their boy band pop sound because I have the musical tastes of a tweenager. I mean, look how cool those guys look. 
2016, blog, debbiegillum, fashion, january, myblog

ModCloth Review

So, right after I ordered my Stylish Surprise dress from Modcloth, they had a huge clearance event. I’m talking about 80% off items. Wow!
Clothes I had on my wish list were suddenly under $20 and so I snagged a few of my favorites.
I tried to be careful about ordering things since the clearance items were non returnable.
Overall, I’m happy with what I got. 
First, I wanted a long sleeve dress to wear to work and that wasn’t as short as some of my other dresses. I like this one because of the killer neckline. Makes my boobs look three sizes bigger! The color matches my eyes and the skirt is long and flowy. I wore this with leggings, boots and a scarf on Saturday. 
This black dress below was one I’d wanted since Black Friday. I thought it was overpriced back in November and sure enough, my cheapness paid off because it went even more on sale in January. I adore the floral skirt, the simple elegance and the bow tie belt. The belt’s my favorite part because unlike other belts, the bow itself clips into a hole and the excess of the belt is tucked away behind. Gorgeous. 
The picture below shows off the dark red cardigan I got. This is probably my least favorite item I ordered but I’ll still wear it. I don’t love it because it’s a bit tight in my arms and shorter than my other cardigans. I think if I tried to button it up, I’d get that awkward gaping between the buttons. 
Last, I ordered this plaid skirt. The skirt was longer than I expected but then again I think I have a warped definition of what a “long” skirt is. I like the plaid pattern of it and was looking for a school uniform type skirt. 
Once again, thanks Modcloth for the cute clothes. 
2016, blog, debbie, debbiegillum, dress, fashion, january, myblog

ModCloth Stylish Surprise

For the second time, I took advantage of Modcloth’s Stylish Surprise. Thanks to Emily for telling me it was going on. 
When I got online, the shirts were sold out so all I bought was one dress for $20. 
The way ModCloth’s Stylish Surprise works is that you pick your size and they send you any dress. You have no clue what it will be, how much it’ll be worth and you here’s the kicker: you can’t return it. It’s a big leap of faith. 
When I opened my package at first, I thought “Oh no!” because all I saw was the strange pattern of the dress. 
Turns out, it was a gorgeously cut dress. I love the A-line skirt and the neckline. 
At first, I thought “Oh no!” 
It has this zodiac pattern
I wore it today to work and made it winter appropriate with leggings, boots, a cardigan and scarf. 

Appropriate for winter or summer
Leggings, cardigan and scarf + braided hair

Love the A line skirt
The dress is pretty simple, just fabric cut and sewn in a flattering way. It’s the kind of dress that someone could potentially sew and make themselves. If I ever get into sewing, I’d try and copy the pattern of this dress.