Saturday, June 25, 2016

Have a Cool Weekend

Good day, friends! Are you excited for the weekend? What are your plans? We're getting together with friends for lunch today and I'm hoping the weather will be nice so we can sit outside for game time! There's really nothing like those warm summer days! I hope you all have a relaxing weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

Do you remember your old phone numbers?

"The ring I made to remember my father by"

10 naive words for the gullible.

A Golden Girls-themed restaurant is coming to NYC.

Queen Elizabeth just cool!

The 30 best songs of 2016 so far. What's your favorite?

All pop culture fanatics should visit these restaurants.

Miranda Sings is my spirit animal.

A letter from the love you haven't met yet.

The lessons one woman learned while working at a suicide crisis hotline.

Quiz: Which Buffy The Vampire Slayer villain are you?

LOVE this petition for a rainbow flag emoji.

Umm, is this chef single?

True love.

How perfect are these DIY graphic beach towels for summer?

What a beautiful collection of flower petals.

Thoughts on this ultimate wedding playlist?

Was 1997 really the best year in music?

I want this lemon square bar soap, don't you?

5 summer beauty products for redheads.

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

[Photo via bippity boppity boo]

Thursday, June 23, 2016

10 Random (Probably Abnormal) Thoughts I Had While At The Hospital

We all have our "happy place" somewhere in the world, don't we? That one spot where everything makes sense and you just feel like everything is right with the world. Maybe it's your childhood tree house or your grandparents' kitchen or your elementary school playground. Wherever your special spot is, you feel safe, protected and at ease.

For me, that place has always been the hospital.

Yes, you read that one correctly. I'll let it just sink in for a moment here.

Have you recovered? OK, good! Hear me out for a minute.

Well, I found myself right at home on Tuesday morning as I sat in the hospital waiting room. I was there to get my blood drawn, but you wouldn't have known it by the look on my face. Why? Because I was, umm, just a wee bit giddy. Seriously. I kid you not. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, like someone who'd just won the lottery.

Yes, I was that excited.

Now, before you bring it to my attention, I know this is slightly abnormal. It's just that I have so many happy memories from days spent in the hospital growing up and being with my family. I know, that sounds even more abnormal, doesn't it?

Anyway, as I sat there in that waiting room, waiting for them to call my name like I was the next contestant on The Price Is Right, I got to thinking about my relationship to the hallowed halls of the hospital. And sure enough, the thoughts began coming in rapid-fire succession. Just like that...
1. Oh, this place is so cozy. I seriously could just sit here all day.
2. Ooh, look at that big screen TV.
3. Be still my heart! It's a doctor in a white lab coat! Quick, I should think of a pick-up line or at least feign sudden illness!
4. Today definitely calls for a little look-see in the gift shop.
5. I'm so jealous of everyone who gets to work here every day.
6. I even get a hospital bracelet! I feel like I'm at some sort of exclusive club. Score!
7. These smells bring back so many fond and joyous memories.
8. I sure wish I could book a room and get a bag of I.V. fluids.
9. I wonder what's down that hallway.
10. The cafeteria is such a wonderfully calming place. Time to sit down and sip an orange soda!
There you go, friends! A little peek inside my mind. I'm sure there were many more random thoughts, but, you know, I didn't want this post to stretch on forever. Don't think I couldn't, though... xoxo

This Vintage House Will Blow Your Mind

I've been to Graceland twice and each time, I've fallen in love with EVERYTHING about Elvis' humble abode. The selling point for me was that the house has remained virtually unchanged since the '70s -- and it shows! The rooms and the decor are rife with vintage patterns and motifs, and, honestly, I always found something sort of comforting about that. It was a time capsule from a bygone era that you could escape to.

Well, if you're like me, then get ready to have your mind blown! A house in Palm Springs has stood the test of time and remained virtually the same since...

Get ready...

...are you sure you're ready?...


Yup, that's right! The three-bedroom house is 3,350 square feet of culture and history, from the pink carpet to the floral couch to the wood-paneled den to the vibrant-colored drapes to the...bathtub in the middle of the bathroom? Hey, I guess whatever floats your '70s-loving boat -- pun intended.

How awesome is that, friends? Are you a fan? Can you see yourself living in a house like this? Or do you prefer a more modern decor? xoxo

[Via Jezebel]

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

My Essay on Good Housekeeping: "Why I Didn't Love My Red Hair Until After My Father Died"

Mark today's date, friends, because it's a VERY special day! I can now officially check off another item on my Writing Dreams Bucket List with my newest essay "Why I Didn't Love My Red Hair Until After My Father Died" for Good Housekeeping. Never in my wildest dreams did I EVER think I'd have a personal essay in the beauty section, but I do and this is one I'm very proud of -- I know, I say that all the time, but the ones about my father just hold extra special meaning for me.

It's no secret that I've long had a love/hate relationship with my hair. I hated the redness of it, which always made me feel a little like Bozo without the face paint. Then after my father died, I noticed a not-so-subtle shift. I suddenly, well, loved it a lot more than before. I'd look in the mirror and see my father. It made me feel so close to him, like a tangible connection I'd always have with him.

Anyway, here's an excerpt of the essay, and I love the photos they chose...
As I grieved his death, I finally saw my life through a new lens. More specifically, I looked in the mirror and my red hair looked different. This was the first time that I actually saw it for everything that it had been and everything that it could be.
Growing up, I always saw my hair as just one more thing that made me stand out, just like my physical disability and the fact that I barely crack the 3"10' mark. It made me unique, and to me, unique was the kiss of death. I could easily be picked out of a crowd, and that was the last thing I wanted. I wanted to blend in. To go unnoticed, to be just like everyone else. But little did I know that wanting to be someone else meant I'd risk losing the most important part of myself — the essence of what makes me, well, me.
I missed my father so much. With him gone, I wanted to fiercely hold tight to anything that would keep him with me. I could now see and appreciate the unique connection my red hair gave me. I began to see my red hair not as a Scarlet Letter, but as one of the lasting connections I'll ever have with my father.
You can read the full essay here and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at and let's chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can't wait to hear from you! Love you all... xoxo

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"Oh, oh, oh woke up today feeling the way I always do...Oh, oh, oh hungry for something that I can't eat...Then I hear that beat..." --Hairspray

[Photos via That Kind of Woman]

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday Tunes: Hanson's "With You In Your Dreams"

Editor's Note: Song lyrics denoted in bold italics.

The year was 1997, and it was summertime. August, to be exact. I had just turned 16 and on a shopping spree to spend some of my birthday money, I found myself browsing the aisles of the local record store -- remember those ancient places? You know, stores filled with rows upon rows of actual, physical CDs? I know, you don't have to tell me; those certainly were the good old days. Anyway, as I was looking around, I spotted them. It was a transcendent moment if a teenager was capable of having one. I can still remember every detail of that CD. It was orange and had three boys staring pensively at the camera. I could just tell they were deep in thought, contemplating the philosophical issues of the day. Oh, yeah, they were on to something. And I wanted in on it too.


Who were these boys? I'd never heard of them, but I suddenly couldn't wait to get that CD home and pop it in my disc-man. As luck would have it, we had a family vacation coming up. It was the perfect opportunity to bring that CD along and listen to it in the car on the way to Michigan for my cousin's wedding. And listen we did. I'm talking about having it on repeat for hours on end, much to the eye-rolls and chagrin of my parents. But did I care? Heck no. It only took one listen and I was in love with those boys?

Hanson's "With You In Your Dreams"
From Middle of Nowhere

I'd loved my fair share of boy bands in the past, but Isaac, Taylor and Zac were different. So much different. You can keep your Backstreet Boys and N*sync any day of the week. I mean, they were OK if you just wanted something cool to dance around and bob your head to. But the brothers Hanson? They were musician -- in the truest sense of the word. They had something to say, something very real, about life and love. Their tunes made you feel something, and I'm not just talking about feeling your heart swoon every time Taylor hit those high notes. While I love all their songs, there's one that has always touched me on a deeper level -- and it's only come to mean more to me in recent years.

If I'm gone when you wake up
Please don't cry
And if I'm gone when you wake up
It's not goodbye
Don't look back at this time as a time
Of heartbreak and distress
Remember me, remember me
'Cause I'll be with you in your dreams

The boys often sang about the speed of life, how it never slows down and how we usually don't notice just how fast it's gone until after it's too late. I admit that I'd never spent much time thinking about those sorts of things growing up. Time? It just was. And life? It was just something that you, well, lived. There didn't seem to be anything too complicated or earth-shattering about that, as far as I could tell. I always thought all the people I loved would be here forever. Call it naive, but part of me must have thought they had some sort of superpower or some kind of superhuman ability. Honestly, I didn't think anything would ever changed. I liked the way things were and if things could just stay like that for all of time, I'd be more than content. I was happy. I had the people I loved all around me and I felt lucky. I couldn't ask for anything else.

And then, when I started losing everyone who meant everything to me -- first my grandmother, then my father, my uncle and then my grandfather -- I didn't know how to deal. At all. I just couldn't seem to make any sort of sense in the madness and grief. What did it all mean? Why did this have to happen at all? What happened? Where did they all go? One day they were here and the next day? They were just gone. They just disappeared.

Don't cry, I'm with you
Don't cry, I'm by your side
Don't cry, I'm with you
Don't cry, I'm by your side

And though my flesh is gone, whoa
I'll still be with you at all times
And although my body's gone, oh
I'll be there to comfort you at all times

I did want to cry. All the time, actually. So many emotions were flooding my head and hijacking my heart. I didn't know what to do. The people I wanted to talk to the most were no longer here. Days and months went by, and slowly -- sometimes painfully so -- I felt them coming back to me. Not literally, of course, but I felt them with me. Every time I'd look in the mirror or say something they used to say, I knew they were here.
To my surprise, that realization was an unbelievable comfort. I'd said goodbye, but maybe my loved ones would always be with me in my heart. We think that the absence of a physical presence means that you have to say goodbye and forget forever, but maybe it doesn't have to be so cut and dry like that. I'd wanted them to always be with me, and the more I thought about it, the more I felt they all were. Even now, so many years later, I like to think they're all still looking down on me. I hope they're proud of the woman I've become.

Hilarious TV Show: Baskets

Leave it to Janelle to once again make me hip to all sorts of new things in the world of TV -- remember Portlandia? SNL's Stefon?

This time around, it comes in the form of Baskets, the hilarious comedy on FX. Have you guys seen it? It stars Zach Galifianakis as Chip Baskets, a man who is just trying to find himself and make it after failing out of France's famed clown college. He moves home to Bakersfield and takes a job as a clown at the rodeo -- who even knew there was such a thing? Paste magazine ranked the show one of the best sitcoms on TV today and called it a "true to life" comedy...
While Chip’s passion in life is to achieve the high artistic value of being a classically-trained clown, he must face the realities of a loveless marriage, reliance upon the support of his family, and uncertainty over how long he can financially support himself while chasing his dream. Despite its less likely moments, Baskets is a true to life comedy. Nothing is ever completely serious, and nothing is ever taken as a complete joke. Something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store and waiting in a slow line could be a comedy scene if you look hard enough. That’s exactly the type of show Krisel and his colleagues set out to make—the kind where the absurdity of life is highlighted and the humor can be found in just about anything, including tragedy.
The supporting characters are scene stealers too: There's Penelope, the French mademoiselle who married Chip just to get a green card, and insurance adjuster/Costco employee Martha, who has somehow become Chip's personal chauffeur. My favorite character, though, is definitely Christine Baskets (aka, Mama Baskets) played by Louie Anderson.
The show is quirky and in-that-good-way weird, and I think we can all see a part of ourselves in Chip, even if he can be a bit angry with the world. If you need a summer show, I highly recommend checking it out. Season one just ended and it's already been renewed for a second season.

What other shows have you been watching lately? Any good binge-worthy recommendations? You know I'm always on the hunt for my next favorite! xoxo

Monday, June 20, 2016

My Essay on YourTango: "8 Ways My Disability Will Be Amazing For My Love Life"

I've been over-the-moon excited about sharing my new essay with you, friends! I'd spent so looooong (read: years!) thinking my disability would be this huge, negative elephant in the corner when it came to dating that I pretty much psyched myself out about the whole thing.

And then, like a lightning bolt of common sense, it hit me: IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY! Where had this revelation been hiding all my life? Under a rock? How had I missed it all these years?

Well, leave it to me to write about that very subject in "8 Ways My Disability Will Be Amazing For My Love Life," which went live on YourTango last week. Here's an excerpt of the essay, in which I seriously use the phrase wing woman...
I'll just cut to the emotionally revealing, music-swelling rom-com monologue right now: I'm a woman with a physical disability. I've also never been on a date or had a boyfriend.
That's not to say I've never fallen in love because I have. Many times. I've fallen hard and I've fallen fast and I've also fallen somewhere in between the two. They made my heart want to leap out of my chest and do cartwheels down the street like a scene from one of those old-time-y cartoons.
But as I got older, something clicked. I realized that any sort of acceptance had to start with me. I had to learn to love myself — all of myself — before any man ever could. My entire life, I'd never thought of my disability as anything but a negative thing, especially when it came to dating and relationships.
But maybe it didn't have to be so black and white. Maybe it could just be one more awesome asset on the road to finding The One.
You can read the full essay here and I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to email me anytime at and let's chat! And of course, feel free to share my essay on Facebook, Twitter or even your local refrigerator. If you share on Twitter, be sure to tag me @melissablake so we can connect! I can't wait to hear from you! Love you all... xoxo

Etsy Love: 6 Cute Pins For Summer

You know I love me a good Summer Solstice and today is where it's at! Sunshine, long days, cool nights, beach frolicking, ice cream, pool boys. You know, the simple things in life...

So on this, the official first day of summer, I thought I'd get us in the mood with these six cute pins from Fairgoods, the awesome Canadian shop of seriously fun gifts. Seriously, that's their tagline. Wouldn't these babies make a nice addition to a cool, laid-back summer outfit? The s'mores one is making me hungry... xoxo

Man Candy Monday.

Well, friends, it's Monday, and you know what that means -- a new week full of fun, summer sun and exciting blog posts! What are you doing this week? To kick things off, let's spotlight one of my favorite guys. Honestly, I can't believe I only mentioned him in the context of his vamping ways on my favorite show from my teen years. He's certainly never lost his appeal. He's smoldering. And I'm pretty sure that smile is from another world altogether...


"I'm a fighter. I'm a lover."
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