Wednesday, September 28, 2016

In Defense of Being Alone

Being alone sure gets a bad rap. It's *almost* even worse than the plague or being seen in last year's fashions. Surround yourself with people, people, people! Being alone is sort of like the kiss of death. There have been songs about it, books on the subject and movie/TV characters exploring the idea at every turn.

The horror!

And what's more, we can't want to be alone. We must never show any inkling of this desire for fear of friends and family bringing out the Kleenex and sitting us down for a heart-to-heart discussion that may or may not really be their attempts at an intervention. Times a-wasting and something must be done before all hope is lost. Something must be done before it's too late, right? I mean, there must be something wrong with you if you want to be alone so much; people want to try and "fix" you, to perform some sort of miraculous exorcism by which that evil demon will loosen the tight grip it has on you. Or something like that.

Whoa! Are you tired yet? I know I am. This idea of choosing to be alone -- it's a lot to take in, apparently. I'm not sure how wanting to be alone ever became such a taboo thing in the first place. Surely there were cave people who were like, "Hey! Yes, you, fellow cave dweller...please leave me alone! I want to contemplate this fire thing all by myself!" They may not have used those exact words, but I'm willing to bet the overall sentiment was there, loud and clear.

Maybe it's all because the idea of being alone is such a foreign concept to some people. Or, maybe it's because it's natural to sometimes project your feelings onto other people's lives -- we've all done it, haven't we? But at the very root, I think it all comes down to assumptions. We've come to associate being alone with being unhappy, so we automatically assume that you must be miserably unhappy if you should find yourself alone. To be alone is to be sad, and no one would actively choose that, right?

Yet a lot of people confuse "being alone" with "being lonely," and those are two entirely different concepts. You can be the most popular person in the world and constantly be surrounded by people -- a steady stream of people going through the revolving door of your life.

Or you can choose to feel like an island sometimes and be perfectly content. That is, you can be alone and -- wait for it -- LOVE IT. At least that's the case with me. Now, I'm not saying I'm going to feel this way forever; who knows how I'll feel in a month, a year or even five years from now. But today, I'm happy to be flying solo, to have time to myself and still feel completely present. Perhaps Mindy Kaling said it best when she spoke to Buzzfeed last year...
It’s funny, I used to freak out about being single much more in my twenties. I’ve noticed that the more professional success I have, or the more happy I am professionally, the less I worry about that because I have a great deal of professional confidence. I’ve noticed whenever I’ve felt the most boy crazy or when I wanted to get married it was when I was not so happy professionally. I have this thing and it’ll happen like five times a year on a Sunday night, the feeling like, Oh, a family would be great. Not even being in a relationship — but a family because I’m 35. I think what snaps me out of it is just the fact that I love being by myself. I think that if I was in the wrong relationship, which I have been in several, that would be so much worse than the feeling of autonomy I feel right now.
So, the lesson here? Don't assume that there is something inherently wrong with craving alone time. It isn't desperate or sad or pathetic. It isn't abnormal and it certainly doesn't mean that there's something wrong with you. Yes, people may try to change your mind or try to change who you are. Don't let them. Being alone can be such a beautiful, freeing and refreshing experience. When else would you have the opportunity to really dig in and discovery who you are? I've learned so much about myself over the years, and I doubt I would have be able to do that if I was surrounded by people 24/7.
LET'S ALL CELEBRATE BEING ALONE...you know, just not celebrating together!

Do you like being alone, friends? Why do you think it's become taboo? How do you carve out some quality alone time for yourself? Any tips you'd like to share?? xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.





"Should've known better...Than to fall in love with you..." --Richard Marx

[Photos via That Kind of Woman]

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday Tunes: 6 Possible Wedding Songs



I had such a good time doing a TV theme song round-up last week, so I thought I'd do another fun round-up today.

Who hasn't thought about their ideal wedding song? I know I can't be the only one here, right? Maybe I'm just a sappy sucker for those slow, romantic tunes, but I literally have a list of first-dance songs for the future Mr. Melissa Blake. OK, so some consider it a rather long list, but I don't care because each song means something to me. And that's what really matters, isn't it?? So, with dreams of starry nights and starry eyes, here are my 6 top wedding song picks...
"Fields of Gold" -- Sting: True, it may sound a bit, umm, melancholy, but it's that sort of hauntingly beautiful melancholy. And that?? Well, that just makes all the difference in the world.
Crimson & Clover -- Tommy James and the Shondells: Those opening notes and damn, that hauntingly seductive opening line. Doesn't it just sound positively perfect? "I think I can love her...over and over." It's just you and me, Mr. Melissa Blake -- for all of eternity.
"You Baby" -- The Turtles: Because I like to break tradition every so often, why not opt for a song that you wouldn't expect to hear? This one's uptempo and it's got such a sense of optimism to it. What a great send-off for starting your life with someone!
"When I'm With You" -- Sheriff: Oh, come on! You know I HAD to slip an '80s power ballad in here, if for no other reason than for the pure, unadulterated emotion these songs express. It's the perfect way to passionately describe how you feel about your loved one!
"Please Forgive Me" -- Bryan Adams: The idea of being so consumed by someone that you feel almost out of body? Sounds sort of intriguing, doesn't it? Plus, I just love Adams' gravely voice!
"Groovy Kind of Love" -- Phil Collins: Sure, this may be an overly simplistic song, but the greats always are. There's nothing pretentious or conditional about this love. It just is. It's how all great loves should be.

What do you think of my choices, friends? If you're married, what was your wedding song? Which song would you choose for your future special day?? I'd love to see all your picks, too!! xoxo

[Top photos via We Heart It]

Family Photos: Autumn Closing In


And, yes, you're welcome for putting Bob Seger's "Night Moves" in your head for the rest of the day...mwahh!!!

Anyway, the title of this post rings an abundance of truth, my friends. As summer slips away, fall starts to put down roots in the form of changing colors and cooler weather. Because it's the season, here are a few autumn-approved photos, starting with our two new friends, above. Janelle named them Peter and Pamela, and they now guard our house from the driveway. Aren't they cute??
Speaking of Janelle, she's been working on taking her baking skills to the next level. These cupcakes are pretty good proof...OMG, they were SO delicious!!




My mom snapped these pics one morning on the way to work. You know fall -- and winter! -- is right around the corner when the sky starts looking heavy. It's sort of mesmerizing, though, almost as if the clouds are fluffy pieces of cake. Wow, do I have sweets on the brain today...
And, of course, an adorable shot of Harry because...you NEVER need a reason to show off your cat!!

How are things going today, friends? Have you decorated for fall yet? Halloween? Or is all this talk just too darn early? xoxo

Monday, September 26, 2016

Olive Yew's Engraved Ring Giveaway!


Today's giveaway is from Angela Parker-Kennedy of Olive Yew, the gorgeous line of custom and engraved jewelry! Angela is based in North Carolina and all her pieces are handmade, including bracelets, earrings, necklaces (both engraved and locket!), rings, jewelry sets and wedding jewelry. I especially love how everything has a simple, delicate feel to it and can be personalized for the perfect keepsake.

"Each piece is designed like it will be the only jewelry you’ll ever need," says Angela. "Olive Yew’s rose gold, silver and gold designs are sophisticated enough to stand out and simple enough to compliment your personal style. No matter who you are or what you wear, these pieces will add just the right amount of charm and personal touch to your look."

She's giving this engraved ring to one lucky reader. How beautiful is it? The pretty piece comes in silver, gold or rose gold, and I love that you can add a personal touch with a name or date -- up to eight characters. The possibilities are really endless, aren't they? What would you choose that has special meaning to you?

Olive Yew's Engraved Ring Giveaway! We'll be using Gleam this time around for entering. For your chance to win, simply visit Olive Yew, and leave a comment below telling us what engraving you'd choose. See above for LOTS of extra chances to win. A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, October 3rd, so you've got a whole week to enter. Have fun, friends! xoxo

Love Lounge: On NOT Chasing...

What's the deal with our preoccupation with the whole 'chasing' phenomenon when it comes to relationships and being with someone? It's almost become one of those pop culture tropes these days, and movies and TV shows love to pull this rabbit out of a hat all the time. We've seen it enough times to know the general gist: Two people meet, they obviously have some sort of electric connection, but tragically, time or circumstances rip them apart. Maybe one person got scared or feared commitment. Whatever the reason, one person high-tails it out of that situation, only to have the other person chase after them relentlessly in this weird sort of cat-and-mouse game.

It all goes on for awhile, and before you know it, everything just becomes...so...boring.

There. I said it. Everything just morphs into this back-and-forth state of bland, boring nothingness, if you know what I mean.

And don't even get me started on the double standard of the whole situation. Have you ever noticed how we're much quicker to react positively when the guy is the one doing the chasing? We think it's valiant and romantic and all knight in shining armor-y. Here's a guy going after the woman he loves, right? But if the woman is the one partaking in a passionate pursuit? Well, she's just clingy and desperate, isn't she? I mean, it's practically on par with Fatal Attraction here.
So maybe that's why I'm such a HUGE fan of the above quote. I stumbled across it floating around the Interwebs and think it speaks to so much self-empowerment and courage. Because this whole idea of having to chase someone is just really a giant smokescreen that ultimately means a whole bunch of nothing. Call me bitter or disillusioned, but I'm not really seeing the appeal of The Chase anymore. Why should someone have to chase you in order to be with you? If they're truly worth it, I don't see the point in going through that whole tired song and dance. It's just played and worn out.

I'm not going anywhere. I'm staying right where I am. If you ask me, that's the most romantic thing of all.

What are your thoughts on The Chase, friends?? Is it useless? A sign of immaturity?? A wonderful way to make a sweeping romantic gesture?? Let's chat, shall we??? xoxo

P.S. Are you addicted to the chase?

[Photo via We Heart It]

Man Candy Monday.

Happy Monday, friends!! Hope you're having a good day so far! Now, full disclosure here: I'm not exactly sure where I've been for the last decade or so because we just started watching Criminal Minds LAST week -- can you believe that? Suffice it to say, I love it, especially one of the actors. He's intriguing. He's a bit mysterious and lots of quirky. And he's all kinds of smart, which is always hot...

MATTHEW GRAY GUBLER!!!!!!!!!!





"I never thought I'd be making a living off of acting - it's still kind of a shock for my family and friends to see my face on TV every Wednesday night."

Friday, September 23, 2016

Have a Cool Weekend

Woohoo, TGIF, friends!! It may be rainy and dreary here in the good old Midwest today, but at least it's Friday! What are you doing this weekend? I really enjoyed doing TV Week and can't wait to check out some of the new shows for fall. I heard This Is Us is a good one -- did you watch it? I hope you all have a relaxing weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

Do you know the most important dates in human history?

How much common sense do you have?

Popular names by year.

"Let's stop helping terrible men go viral"

Confession time: Who was your most embarrassing celebrity crush?

Two pretty rings.

Thoughts on these cotton candy ice cream cones?

YIKES! The world's longest lightning bolt stretched for almost 200 miles across Oklahoma.

Aww, what an adorable alternative to wedding bouquets.

No wonder my sister was always the smarter one.

MoMA puts thousands of historical exhibition photos online.

This remote. That's all.

The life of the single modern woman.

Plus, here are 7 TV-related posts to round out the week...

15 spin-offs no one asked for.

The ultimate guide to all the new fall shows.

Fierce women to watch out for in the new TV season.

Grey's Anatomy: Will Meredith and Alex ever get together?? I've got LOTS of opinions here, people!

Love Supernatural? Here's a road trip playlist from Sam and Dean!

What do you think was the best CW show of all time?

Which TV show is basically your life right now?

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

Guest post: How To Declutter Your Workspace

Wondering why you find it hard to focus every time you try to study or get work done? Wondering why you can’t find the motivation and focus? Well, I may be able to help you. But first, I would like to ask you this: Is your desk a bit messy? Are your books strewn all over your desk? Is there too much clutter everywhere? If you answered "yes" to all of my questions, then it's time to clean that cluttered and messy desk.

If you wish to finally declutter for space for good, here are some of the tips that you need...

Get a box
In order to organize your email, you put them in different folders, right? But only a few people have physical boxes where they can put their things. It is recommended that you get at least three boxes and do not forget to label what’s inside of them. You can allocate one for documents, one for school supplies and one more for your books.

Place a trash can underneath your desk
Ever wonder why your desk is filled with clutter? Well, that is because you tend to delay throwing out papers or other things that you will no longer use. To keep your space neat and tidy on a daily basis, it is recommended that you place a trash can underneath your desk so that you will be able to throw your trash away easily and immediately.

Clean your desk on a regular basis
In addition to getting rid of garbage on a daily basis, it is also recommended that you take the time to clean your desk on a weekly basis. When you invest time cleaning regularly, the clutter and things in your desk will not pile up, making it easy for you to clean it right away.

Personalize your space
Did you know that you can use the appearance of your desk to motivate you? Yes, you can do that by putting up posters with mantras or affirmations, a picture of your family or maybe a photo of the destination you wish to visit someday. All these things will remind you why you should work hard.

Get rid of paper clutter
The biggest clutter in the desk would certainly be papers. For sure, there are plenty of important papers that you need, but if you want to minimize the items in your desk, there is one thing that you can do: Scan those documents and save them in your computer. When you do this, it will be a lot easier for you to access and find them when you need them.
Keep in mind that a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind. In addition to that, you should also understand the fact that cleanliness contributes to productivity, so if you want to work well and be productive, we recommend that you do all the tips mentioned above.

--Aileen Pablo is a Filipina Event Management blogger from Open Colleges.

[Photos via We Heart It]

Thursday, September 22, 2016

5 Best '90s TV Shows

Yesterday, we looked at some of the classic TV shows that defined the '80s. Since it's TV Week, I thought it only fair to discuss that other decade from my youth.

The '90s.

It was quite a time, wasn't it? So much going on and, arguably, one of the best times for television. From sitcoms to teen dramas, here are the five that defined my life...
Full House (1987-1995): Though it started in the '80s, the Tanners really found their stride in the early '90s. They helped the TGIF lineup become a family activity, and I have SO MANY fond memories of sitting in our living room every Friday night with my family. Plus, Stephanie's "how rude" catchphrase accurately captures how I feel so much of the time!
Seinfeld (1989-1998): Who knew that a show about nothing could be so compelling?? And more than compelling, it was relatable. Whether we admit it or not, there's a little bit of George Costanza in all of us. And how fun would it be to have Kramer for a neighbor?
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (1997-2003): This one was an obvious choice. I've binged it three times now and love it more every single time. Here was Buffy, a strong and fierce role model for young girls. That was so refreshing, to see someone who could kick butt and be herself!
ER (1994-2009): I suppose it's no surprise that I have a weakness for medical dramas; what can I say, they sort of remind me of home movies. We'd eat frozen pizza for lunch and watch this every Saturday afternoon. Apparently, television really had a way of bringing my family together!
Frasier (1993-2004): It's hard to believe that this started out as a spin-off of Cheers because it didn't take long for the show to stand proudly on its own merits. I could identify with Niles so much, especially in his journey with Daphne, but it wasn't until after my father died that Frasier truly became our "comfort show." And, thankfully, it still is.

Are there lots of '90s TV lovers out there?? What shows would you add to this list? And, what sorts of shows are you binge-watching these days?? xoxo
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