Monday, October 20, 2014

MEMO TO MEN: 5 traits of a real man

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: What's a real man...?
DATE: October 20th, 2014
Alright, boys, I think a little lesson is in order today. Not because I don't have all the faith in the world in you -- because you know I do -- but because I sometimes worry that you may have picked up some bad habits or advice along this highway we call life. And, really, who wants to be barreling down the highway, only to realize that it's a dead-end road? Not fun, I know. But don't worry. I'm here to save you from that sorry fate.

Society loves to set all sorts of standards for what does and doesn't define a "real man." A little of this, a lot of that, not too much of that, absolutely ZERO of this. You almost start to think that there's some sort of magical formula somewhere. Well, there is -- sort of. It's less of a formula and more of a set of recommended traits. Don't believe me? Here are my Top 5 Traits of a Real Man...

1. A real man...keeps in touch with his family: He doesn't groan at the thought of Thanksgiving dinner around the kitchen table or helping his little cousin with homework. He knows those are memories in the making and will appreciate them wholeheartedly.

2. A real man...looks past your scars: He sees the real you, flaws and all. The real you doesn't scare him or make him recoil in terror or even run away. He loves your scares because he has scars of his own. He also sees the beauty in your scars and isn't afraid to tell you so.

3. A real man...understands the importance of communication: He listens when you talk and doesn't put walls up. In fact, he'll work his hardest to tear down your walls because he knows the key to a solid relationship is being on the same page.

4. A real man...loves to laugh: He can be serious when he needs to be, of course, but he knows the power of laughter and isn't afraid to let out a hearty chuckle when the mood strikes. He loves to make those around him laugh, and he'll stop at nothing to make you smile.

5. A real man...knows a 'real man' can be sexist: He's knows not to box people too deep into stereotypical roles and walks through life with an open mind. Really, when all is said and done, he's just trying to be the best human being he can possibly be. Just like everyone else.
Got that, boys? What do you think? Anything else you'd add to the list? Any traits you're just not down with? Have you encountered a lot of sexism when it comes to defining what a real man is and is not? xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]

Must-watch: Matthew McConaughey gets deep

Have you seen these two commercials from Lincoln Motor Company? They feature Matthew McConaughey front and center waxing poetic about life. That soul. That depth. Wow, what I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in that car... xoxo

Sponsor Spotlight: Clothing Labels

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of organization. I've alphabetized my CD collection. I've organized my magazines by date. I've even been known to separate candy by color a time or two in the past. So you can imagine my happiness when I discovered Clothing Labels, Lisa Rosenberg's clothing labels company. The Florida-based shop offers custom-printed clothing labels in a variety of styles, from apparel, fashion, embroidered, leather and rubber. Each label is professionally woven into the fabric -- how awesome is that? Read on to learn more about Lisa and what inspires her the most! xoxo
Keep in touch...
Official Web site: Clothing Labels
Become a fan on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Get inspired on Pinterest

Tell me about your shop. What's the inspiration behind its launch?
The perfect affordable finishing touch to your clothing products is our custom woven cloth fabric labels and clothing tags. These are professionally woven cloth labels used by many large garment manufacturers, designers and crafters who rely on our professional services. Woven clothing labels are the ultimate finishing touch! We have a very low minimum order quantities and offer free samples of our work available to be sent to you! We wanted to help others needing labels that found high minimums and set-up fees. We wanted to start a company that will take the time to help people.

Your shop features so many inspiring finds. What inspires you the most?
Helping others.

What is your favorite piece/design in your shop and why?
All of our many items are wonderful

Man Candy Monday.

Good morning, friends, and happy Monday! We've got a guy who sort of flies under the radar today. He's currently starring in this great mystery. He's a bit of a mystery himself. And he's got those soulful eyes that can get you lost if you're not careful...

KEVIN ZEGERS!!!!!!!!!!

"I have always liked doing accents; I find it much easier to get into character for me."

Friday, October 17, 2014

Have a great weekend

Good afternoon, friends, and happy Friday! What are you doing this weekend? We don't have any plans set in stone yet, which actually sounds like the perfect weekend! We started watching Gracepoint last weekend and are really enjoying it. It's a 10-episode mystery about a young boy's murder in a small town. Have you seen it? It's great if you're looking for something suspenseful. Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

Halloween nail art for grown-ups.

10 discontinued beverages coveted by collectors. Surge, anyone?

What's your personal mantra?

Orchid looks like the perfect color for winter, doesn't it?

A DIY creepy crawly wreath for Halloween.

Great Web site: Live Colorful.

How awesome are these handmade touches for fall?

Is Google making us dumber? The neuroscience of search engines...

This list is making me very nostalgic.

Ever wanted to just throw out your scale? This write did and thinks you should too.

NPR's fascinating new series on Millennials, who now outnumber Baby Boomers in America.

Dream Vacation: European inns (via The Short and the Sweet of It).

Congrats, Jillian!

The psychology of good and evil.

Breaking the blogging mold.

Diane von Furstenberg on getting ahead.

How one writer's 98-year-old grandfather embraced the Internet.

An eagle's view of Paris.

Happy National Pasta Day -- enjoy these homemade recipes this weekend!

10 new bridal trends for 2015...thoughts?

**Don't forget to enter the Earrings Nation Mint Glass Pendant Giveaway -- you've got until next Wednesday!!

And as always, feel free to connect with me on Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and now YouTube! See you there, friends! xoxo

[Photo via bippity boppity boo]

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Birthday, Janelle: 3 lessons you've taught me...

Dear Janelle:
I know, I know. You said you didn't want me to post about your birthday, but you should know me better than that by now. After all, I write about my life, and suffice it to say, you're a pretty huge part of it, so here we are.

First, a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! You're the big 29 today, and that fact alone baffles me. How can that be? It seems like it was just yesterday when we were in the living room making elaborate ramps for our Matchbox cars. Or putting on glamorous fashion shows for our Barbies. But, obviously, we're not children anymore. We're adults. Where some sisters drift apart as time marches forward, I like to think you and I have only grown closer. I'll be the first to admit that our life has had its share of ups and downs, but I can't imagine anyone else I'd rather share this roller coaster ride with. We've been through a lot, and I'm proud to say that we've been through it together. Partners in crime, even. I may be the older sister, but I wouldn't be the person I am today with you. I've learned so much about love and life from you. Don't believe me? Here are three lessons that top my list...

1. A kind heart goes a long way: You were voted Most Kind-Hearted in elementary school. Do you remember that? You're always kind to everyone you meet, and I've long admired that quality. Not everyone has that sort of kindness in their hearts, so it's something that should most definitely be treasured when you do find it. After all, the world could use all the kindness it can get. Thank you for being a friend.

2. Giving up is not an option: When you were little, you once stayed outside all day until you'd mastered learning to ride a bike. We were all in awe of your sheer willpower. Over the years -- from things like college to exercising -- you've taught me that persistence really does pay off. Even after Father died, you never gave up. Even through your own struggles, you never gave up. And for that, I am forever inspired. Thank you for being a friend.

3. Be who you are: I absolutely love your quirky self, so please never lose that side of yourself. It's a beautiful side. You've taught me to be unapologetic in who I am and to not care so much about what people think. It's amazing how freeing it is, don't you think? And did I mention how utterly real you are? You're probably the only person in the whole world who I can count on for an honest opinion. About anything and everything. As we say, you always "tell it like it is," and I'm a better person because of that. Thank you for being a friend.
Happy birthday, sister! You may be my sister, but even more important, you're my BEST FRIEND in the whole wide world. I couldn't ask for a better, funnier, cuter, more honest friend. Thank you for always being there and for all the good times. Here's to many more years of good times -- and millions of smiles. I love you more than you'll ever know, Sister Bear!! xoxo

My Diaries (The Remix): Reading #55

Instagram fun #8: Fall fun and a haircut...

Now, before you bring it to my attention...yes, I am aware that I used "fun" twice in the title of this blog post, but just read on and I think you'll agree with me. I dare you...

I (finally!) got my hair cut a couple days ago. This is actually the shortest I've worn it in awhile and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. Thoughts?
You know the season has changed when Target has been transformed into a beautiful pumpkin patch...
...and candy corn becomes the best candy EVER! Been snacking way too much on these!

Confession: I could barely hold myself evidenced by these pumpkin spice Oreos...been doing some serious damage!
And look who I found...because no photo round-up of my daily life would be complete without at least one cat photo. How can you resist? I. CAN'T. HANDLE. IT.

What have you been up to lately, friends? Favorite Halloween candy? Favorite haircut you've ever had? Don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more fun (wow, I really do love that word...)! xoxo

P.S. A new Diary Reading and a special Birthday Open Letter is coming up shortly! :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Earrings Nation Mint Glass Pendant Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Earrings Nation, the gorgeous jewelry boutique that specializes in both bridal and everyday pieces. There's something for everyone -- from bridal jewelry sets to necklaces to bracelets to, of course, earrings! And, how pretty are these hair accessories?

Owner Eaindar began selling jewelry online in 2004, and in 2009, she opened up her Etsy shop, where she sold jewelry for everyday wear.

"I personally love weddings," she says, "so I decided to start selling wedding jewelry in 2011."

Now, she and her husband run the boutique full time, and each piece in the shop is 100 percent personally handmade -- "we are confident the beautiful pieces created can bring out the beauty in you, Eaindar says. "Our creations are suitable for all, from little girls to beautiful ladies."

They're giving away this beautiful mint glass pendant to one lucky reader. The classic and modern necklace features an infinity charm with a matte gold-platted initial leaf charm. What letter would you have inscribed on the leaf charm?

For your chance to win, simply visit Earrings Nation and pin one piece from the shop. For additional entries, you can (please leave a separate comment for each entry)...

*Fan Earrings Nation on Facebook
*Follow Earrings Nation on Twitter
*Follow Earrings Nation on Pinterest
*Fan So About What I Said on Facebook
*Follow So About What I Said on Twitter
*Follow So About What I Said on Pinterest
*Follow So About What I Said on Instagram
*Follow So About What I Said via GFC (see right-hand sidebar...)

You can also Tweet about the giveaway -- just make sure to mention @melissablake + @EarringsNation in your Tweet!

A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, October 22nd, so you've got a whole week to enter. Have fun, friends! xoxo

Tip: What if we lived in the present?

My mom used to have this light blue magnet prominently displayed on our refrigerator. I often thought she put it there because that's where we'd see it the most. On the magnet, printed in tiny white letters, is one word. It's a simple word, actually.


Now, truth be told, I did laugh a time or two at just how much power this little magnet seemed to hold for my mom. But looking back now, maybe there's some truth behind it. Are we as focused on the present as we could be? And what's more, what's stopping us from, well, just stopping? Even if only for a little while.

I know what you're thinking because I've thought it too: We humans are busy people. We have a lot of things to juggle, like family, work, school, some semblance of a social life. It can be a lot. In fact, we show no signs of slowing down -- if the past is any indication, the future will be a whirlwind world of speed, speed, speed. But what if we lived in the present? Sure, it might take some training on our parts to re (focus!) our brains, but something tells me that it would be worth it in the long run.

I admit, this is something I still struggle with, but I'm really trying to live in the moment lately. Now yesterday, not tomorrow -- and especially not five years from now. So maybe my mom's little magnet made a pretty big difference after all.
So, tell me, friends, what are YOU doing to live in the here and now? Have you noticed a positive change in your life from it? What sorts of things do you worry about when you start looking ahead? How do you pull yourself back to the present? I'd love to hear your tips! xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]
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