Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Rilla Store $100 Gift Card Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Courtney from Rilla Store, the online style boutique of curated apparel and accessories. The San Francisco-based shop, named after Courtney's great-great grandmother, is full of awesome new and vintage finds -- from dresses to tops to bags to jewelry. Plus, there's an entire Living section and a sale section of $30 and under finds -- who doesn't love a good sale?!?!?!? I also love that Courtney works with a ton of independent designers.

"Rilla strives to support eclectic designers and artists in their process as well as to engage the community by sharing their stories and exploring current trends in pattern, print and texture," she says.

She's giving away a $100 gift card to one lucky reader. What would you choose? I'd go for this plaid shirt ($23, reminds me of a polo shirt...), this Bentley James connections bag ($39) or this copper ring ($69). They'd all be perfect for fall, don't you think, friends?

For your chance to win, simply visit Rilla Store, and leave a comment below telling us what you'd pick if you won. For additional entries, you can (please leave a separate comment for each entry)...

*Fan Rilla Store on Facebook
*Follow Rilla Store on Twitter
*Follow Rilla Store on Instagram
*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 sidebar...)

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

A winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, September 23rd, so you've got a whole week to enter. Have fun, friends! xoxo

Wise Words From Readers: On the beginnings of fall...

Ahh, can you feel the crisp chill in the air, friends? Can you smell that familiar scent of burning leaves in the distance? Can you spot the beautiful leaves dancing as they fall off the trees? It all comes together to create one intoxicating recipe for fall. I know -- it's hard to believe, but the first official day of fall is right around the corner. Everyone has their favorite season, but fall seems to hold an extra special place in people's hearts. And your memories were quite strong this week...

*My favorite part is the air. It always smells a little different and it almost feels like you're drinking fresh water when you take a deep breath of chilly fall air! I love when it smells of crunchy leaves, burning wood, apples, hay, etc. Those are the smells I associate with autumn. Also, the sound of crunching leaves on a walk makes me so happy! Oh, how could I forget marching band season!!!!! Yessssssss!!!!

*Joe (my husband) and I fell in love in the fall!

*Walking home from school, kicking the leaves in the gutter the whole way. Bonfires!!! After the frosts begin, the air smells clean and sharp. I love the autumn! Marching band and football games. The stars seem clearer.

*Cooler temps in the South!

*I enjoy the sense of newness, like things are about to turn around.
What wonderful memories...makes me want to jump in a pile of leaves or go pick raspberries in our favorite orchard, which is something we always used to do when I was growing up. Also on my list: Candy corn, caramel apples, apple cider donuts and pumpkins. Hmmm, I'm noticing that my list is quite heavy on the food! Anyway, here's next week's question...

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three things would you bring along and why?

Visit So About What I Said on Facebook and Twitter to share your smarts -- and don't forget to use hashtag #WiseWordsFromReaders. See you there, friends! :)

[Photos via We Heart It]

Family Photos: The Midwest in the morning

In high school, I used to get up at 6 a.m. every morning. Half asleep, I'd typically drag myself out of bed. I never appreciated the beauty of the morning, but now I find myself missing those quiet moments.

Thankfully, though, I can always count on my mom to whip out her trusty iPhone to snap a photo or two. Bright and early at 7 a.m. Don't these photos just scream "GOOD MORNING!!"?? xoxo

Monday, September 15, 2014

MEMO TO MEN: A guy who uses a semicolon and other things that are surprisingly sexy...

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: Surprising sexiness...
DATE: September 15th, 2014
Oh, boys, I'll just come right out and say it (since that's my style...): I think I need to break up with some of you. The time has finally come. At least for awhile, that is. Now, all you traditional types out there, it's not you, it's me. Really. I promise. Maybe I'm going through a phase. Maybe I just need a change in scenery. Maybe it's because I've never really been a conventional gal. Whatever the reason, one thing is abundantly clear: I need to break with tradition for awhile. What exactly do I mean by "tradition"? You know, boys -- those things that people typically find sexy. Deep blue eyes. A dark, brooding soul. A man with a guitar slung over his shoulder. Basically, I need a break from anything that has mass appeal.

Because when I think about it, there are so many things that are unconventionally sexy, and I find them all sorts of intoxicating -- the good kind of intoxicating that doesn't leave a nasty hangover the following morning. Here are four things I find surprisingly sexy...

1. A guy who loves grammar: He doesn't have to be a stickler in that annoying hipster sort of way, but a guy who has an appreciation for and uses the semicolon, for example, has a special place in my heart. There's just something about a man who loves words and knows how to use them that drives me...a...bit...wild.

2. A guy who loves to read: It doesn't even have to be a book. Maybe it's a favorite magazine or even a comic book, but you know that a reader will always have something to say. Plus, a love of reading shows he's got passion, and who doesn't love a passionate guy?

3. A guy who loves to talk: I'm honestly pretty much done with those men of few words. I'm a talker, in case you haven't noticed, so I need someone who can keep up! The ability to just shoot the breeze is an amazing thing, and it can foster such emotional intimacy between two people.

4. A guy who loves spending time with his family: I've always believed that love starts in the home -- you learn about love, how to treat others and even about yourself from your family. Who are the people you can count on the most? Your family. Who are the people who will always be honest with you, no matter what? Your family. A man who spends time with his family is a man who knows where it's at in my book.
What do you think, boys? Anything that I've missed? If there's one lesson to learn here, it's that there's sexy all around you. Never be afraid to look for it, even in the most unconventional of places, OK? xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]

Etsy Love: Hand-painted plates

How beautifully detailed are these hand-painted ceramic plates from Susan Simonini, an Australian artist and designer whose handmade works are created from rustic clay.

They remind me of life in the Midwest, which is something that always makes me smile. They'd also make a great housewarming gift, don't you think, friends? xoxo

P.S. A new MEMO TO MEN is coming up this afternoon! :)

Must-watch: Orange Is The New Black meets The Golden Girls

Oh, you know, it's no big deal -- just the greatest, most awesome mash-up video EVER! #ByeByeMondayBlues... xoxo

P.S. Orange Is The New Black behind-the-scenes photos and posters.

[Via Cosmopolitan]

Man Candy Monday.

Happy Monday, friends, and welcome to a new week! Hope it's off to a good start so far! Today's guy is someone whose song I immediately fell in love with the first time I heard it. The lyrics just described my life perfectly. He's also a master on guitar. His smile could light up a room. And he seems like such an optimistic person, which is such a refreshing thing these days...

HUNTER HAYES!!!!!!!!!!

"I'm very shy and awkward. I think the best thing is to embrace it. It's about accepting who you are and what you want to become and knowing all that you've got to work with, whether it's good or bad. My music was the only place I could be me for the longest time."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Have a cozy weekend

Woohoo, friends, happy Friday! Are you excited for the weekend? I'm pretty pumped about it, as I am this close to finishing my Great Clean Project that I started way back in 2013. There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishment, is there? Hope you all have a relaxing weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

McDonald's is giving away free coffee!

Congrats to Neil Patrick Harris!

This lavender and oatmeal bath soak recipe looks so calming.

How has blogging changed your life?

15 problems only perfectionists understand.

Loving this denim look.

HA! What's your fashion blogger name?

Is this nail polish too bright for fall?

Fashion do or don't: Leather skirts.

Spiced pear upside down cake just in time for fall nights!

Looks, it's New York Fashion Week meets food!

Sarah Silverman is coming to SNL.

Yikes, dating nightmares come true.

Wonderful piece on the art of confessional writing.

Anna Wintour answers 73 questions for Vogue.com.

These dresses are made out of milk.

Dream Home: Dark hues (a surprising do!).

I love living vicariously through bloggers during New York Fashion Week every year.

The benefits of writing with a good, old-fashioned pen and paper.

Who was your boyfriend in a past life? I got...Elvis Presley!!!

**Don't forget to enter the rose gold elephant necklace giveaway! You've got until Tuesday!

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, September 11, 2014

Ms. Bear's Kitchen: Make-your-own pizza

As the summer winds down, so are we! So, we decided to make a simple dinner the other night. We felt like pizza, but wanted something a little healthier than the store-bought or take-out kind. Melissa and I were talking about how when she was young, we would make a Chef Boyardee pizza kit. All four of us would make our own little pizza with our favorite toppings. Then we would all take our food into the living room, get comfy and watch ER, which we had taped (remember those old things called VHS tapes?!?!?) and saved for the weekend. Good times!

Here's how we made the pizza this time. You need...
*Green pepper, onions, roma tomatoes...chop them all up
*Turkey pepperoni
*Mozzarella cheese, shredded
*Jiffy pizza crust mix
*Pizza sauce (I used the Chef Boyardee canned sauce, for old times sake!)
*Green salad ingredients and raspberries to round out the meal

All you have to do is follow the directions on the Jiffy box and assemble your pizza however you like! Enjoy! Watch an old TV show when you eat and talk about old times. You'll be glad you did!

Ms. Bear's Kitchen will be back around the holidays for more Blake family recipes! Thanks for reading all summer. It's been fun!!!

My Diaries (The Remix): Reading #51

P.S. A new Ms. Bear's Kitchen is coming up shortly! :)
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