Friday, January 30, 2015

Have an exciting weekend

Happy Friday, friends! What are you doing this weekend? I hear there's something called the Super Bowl on Sunday (haha!), and even though I don't have a sporty bone in my body, who says I can't enjoy the food? If you ask me, that's really the best part anyway. So we'll be making some delicious chili and watching Katy Perry's halftime performance. Also, there's still time to take the Reader Survey 2015 -- would love to hear from you! You can also email your thoughts and suggestions to mellow1422 [at] aol [dot] com and we can chat! Anyway, hope you all have a great weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

How awesome are these DIY popcorn paper bags?

Why words can and do hurt.

How-To: Be the new girl.

Oh, this post makes me want to hop on a plane to Paris right now.

I love Jillian's Etsy picks for Valentine's Day.

Pumpkin spice latte chocolate pudding cake, anyone?

The Grand National Roadster Show looks awesome, doesn't it?

The cast of the Ghostbusters reboot is pretty much perfect.

You go, Tess Holliday!

Wise words.

"Five things I wish I would have known before my wedding."

Now this is a style guide I can get behind.

I'm not a fan of coffee, but these pouring photos are pretty neat.

10 scientifically proven ways to reduce stress (via Little Observationist]

These abandoned greenhouses are both eerie and intriguing.

Feeling at home in a new culture.

Guess what? It's OK not to be a perfect blogger!

Just in time for Sunday -- free printable Super Bowl bingo.

How cute is this DIY Guess Who game?

Life hacks anyone over 50 should know...

**Don't forget to enter the Personalized Necklace and Circle Gold Earrings giveaways -- you've got until next week!

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

[DIY bike basket photo by Caitlin from The Merry Thought]

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Circle Gold Earrings Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Laliv about the inspiration behind Studio Baladi, an Israel-based jewelry boutique of gorgeous gold, sterling silver and brass pieces. She works full time to create necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets. "I can be inspired by materials, lyrics of songs, my urban surroundings, toys," she says, "and I confess that my best work happens when I least expect it, usually by accident when I'm trying to form something I had in my head and end up falling in love with my mistakes on the way."

She's giving this pair of Circle Gold Earrings to one lucky reader. I love that they're delicate, simple and elegant. Plus, they're the kind of earrings that would just sparkle, don't you think, friends?

For your chance to win, simply visit Studio Baladi, and leave a comment below, telling us how you'd wear them if you won! For additional entries, you can (please leave a separate comment for each entry)...

*Fan Studio Baladi on Facebook
*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 in your Tweet!

A winner will be chosen at random on Thursday, February 5th, so you've got a whole week to enter. Have fun, friends! xoxo

Let's talk napping!

Are you a napper? I never have been and am always jealous of those who can magically go to dreamland whenever and wherever their head hits the pillow. In fact, now that I think about it, the only time I ever sleep during the day is if I'm sidelined by the flu or some other annoying illness. My cousin Mona, on the other hand, is a Master Napper (and yes, I just coined that awesome phrase...). She can catch some Zzzzzz in the middle of the afternoon and wake up totally refreshed. I'm beginning to think that there's some sort of art to napping -- or at the very least, I never inherited the napping gene.

But! We've heard for years that napping is good for us. "The United States appears to be becoming more and more sleep deprived," according to the National Sleep Foundation. "And it may be our busy lifestyle that keeps us from napping. While naps do not necessarily make up for inadequate or poor quality nighttime sleep, a short nap of 20-30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance."

Still not convinced? Maybe these six nap facts will help...

*There are three basic nap styles: Planned napping, emergency napping and habitual napping.

*Naps are most beneficial when they're taken with intention. You choose the nap. The nap does not choose you.

*Short naps can be just as effective and rejuvenating as longer ones.

*Research has shown that the Ultra-Short Sleep Episode (just SIX minutes long!) aids our ability to recall facts and knowledge.

*Some companies, realizing the benefits of napping, have even begun to set up "sleep spaces" to allow workers to take a nap on the job. For example, MetroNaps has installed sleeping pods for companies like Google and Huffington Post.

*And, sorry, coffee lovers: Research has shown that naps are better than caffeine when it comes to improving verbal memory, motor skills and perceptual learning!
Well, are you sleepy yet, friends? Are you a napper? What kind are you? Any napping rituals -- or are those not even a thing? Enlighten this napping newbie, please! HAHA! xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]

DIY Conversation Heart Macarons

With Valentine's Day just 16 days away (yes, of course I'm counting...aren't you??), Sugar & Cloth's DIY Conversation Heart Macarons reduced me to a collective "Awwww!" this morning. Who doesn't love carrying out romantic conversations on sugary treats? Answer: No one, of course! xoxo

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Personalized Necklace Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Sima, the creative dynamo behind Simag Jewelry. The Colorado-based designer crafts personalized and meaningful jewelry in Hebrew and English. Her pieces -- everything from necklaces to rings to wedding items to items for him -- reflect her focus on the simple and the unique. She "loves to help people express their unique points of view through jewelry design." How awesome is that?

She's giving away this sterling silver disc necklace ($45 value) to one lucky reader. The best part? You get to personalize it with your name or one word in either English or Hebrew! The cursive font is really cute, and it would be such a nice piece of jewelry to wear close to your heart every day.

For your chance to win, simply visit Simag Jewelry, and leave a comment below, telling us the inscription you'd choose if you won! For additional entries, you can (please leave a separate comment for each entry)...

*Fan Simag Jewelry on Facebook
*Follow Simag Jewelry on Twitter
*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 + @SimaGilady in your Tweet!

A winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, February 4th, so you've got a whole week to enter. Have fun, friends! xoxo

One simple tip for journaling

What are you journaling about these days, friends? Sometimes, I swear I was a historian in a past life. Back in the day when I kept a journal the old-fashioned way, I was obsessed with sharing every single little detail. What restaurants we went to. What I ordered. What hotels we stayed at while on vacation. How many of said hotels had indoor pools.

In fact, it sort of became a running joke in my family. Anytime my mom was trying to remember something, she'd say, "Melissa, check your journal for me!"

Well, it looks like I'm ahead of a trend! It looks like those mundane moments aren't so mundane after all, according to new research from Harvard Business School. Ting Zhang, a doctoral candidate and lead author of the four-part study published in Psychological Science, looked at the inherent "unexpected value of rediscovery." She took 135 undergraduates and had them create time capsules, full of things like their most recent conversation, their most recent social outing, three songs they had just listened to, a photo they had recently taken and a recent Facebook status they had posted. The students also rated how interested they thought they'd be about seeing this time capsule in the future -- the average rating was a three out of seven. Fast-forward three months, and the students answer the same question before opening their time capsules -- the average had jumped to a 4.34.

The Atlantic writer Cody C. Delistraty put this theory to the test during a family car trip over the holidays. His plan of attack was perfect...
I had five days with my family over Christmas and each day I spent 10 minutes writing about what we had done—what I had seen, eaten, touched, and smelled—and then collected an object to mark the day. When we went to the movies I brought home my ticket stub. When we went to a seafood restaurant I brought home a dolphin figurine that came with our bill. After we opened gifts on Christmas morning, I saved a swatch of wrapping paper to remember not just the gifts but the pleasure of opening them.
I also love how he describes these seemingly mundane events becoming part of his identity -- something that he will carry with him long after he's thrown away the mementos from those mundane days...
Surely, I will throw these items away some time or another. I can’t hoard trinkets forever. But I want to wait to revisit them after I have forgotten the moments they represent. Within the year my grandparents will likely move to an assisted living home. My father, brother, and I will no longer make the cross-state car trip. I won’t see Tuesday morning movies featuring “Cary” and “Bogey” at the Galaxy Multiplex with my grandparents. The family won’t sit around in the living room eating cinnamon rolls and talking while my grandfather adjusts his hearing aid and tells everyone to quiet down when Meet the Press comes on.
YES!! This is definitely one of the 65621551845 things I love about blogging. Even blogging about those little things is an act of making a memory, you know? It's creating something that I can look back on years from now and think, "Wow, it feels like that was only yesterday!"
Do you do something like this in your own life, friends? Scrapbooking is another activity that comes to mind as a good way of capturing life's mundane magic! Get out there and start creating, friends! xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"Closing time...Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end..." --Semisonic

[Photos via My Summer Twist]

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

In The Pursuit of Happiness: Jennifer Lopez on love and dating

I've always admired Jennifer Lopez for her powerhouse personality and even bigger powerhouse set of pipes. She's never been afraid to be herself, even in the face of some harsh critics and a very public divorce. So when J.Lo speaks, what do you do? You just shut your mouth and listen, naturally.

She recently spoke to SELF magazine about love and learning to be alone. And her thoughts of a certain "C" word? Well, it's pretty much everything I've been thinking. Forever. And ever.
"All the old clichés about women need to be undone. Enough already. We're in the other position now. We are desirable older; we can date younger guys, and it's not this big taboo! Men have been doing this for years, and it's no big deal. Enough with the clichés about women."
Well said, Ms. Lopez. I've talked about the Cougar taboo a time or two before, and it's still something that truly baffles me. There's such a double standard between men and women when it comes to love and dating, and I often wonder if that gap will ever be bridged. Or, are we destined to love on opposite sides of said gap for eternity? What do you think, friends? xoxo

Adorable wooden dolls

I find Donna Wilson's wooden dolls oddly mesmerizing for some reason. The hand-painted dolls were inspired by Wilson's journeys to Japan and Scandinavia and are modeled after people she has known in her real life. Aren't they adorable, friends? They'd fit perfectly on a bookcase or perched on a bedside table, don't you think? I love Glen's little tie!! xoxo

Monday, January 26, 2015

MEMO TO MEN: Four things more important than looks...

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: More than looks...
DATE: January 26th, 2015
Well, boys, let it never be said that I'm a shallow person. You should know me better than that by now. After all, I've laid my heart at your feet for some six years now, and, in the words of today's hip teens, I always tried to "keep it real" with you. Because I think you deserve nothing less than the honest truth.

We're sent so many mixed messages: Pretty people get ahead, beauty is only skin deep, don't judge a book by its cover. I'll be the first to admit that said mixed messages can easily play with your head. They can start to swirl around, spinning faster and faster, until you're dizzy and can't see straight. It can make things frustrating. It can make things complicated. It can even make things a bit heartbreaking.

But! You're in luck, boys, because I have my own little not-so-secret secret to share: I'm going to fall in love with who you are far quicker than what you look like. What, you don't believe me? Oh, ye of little faith. Over the years, I've discovered four things that are far more important than looks...

1. Your dazzling personality: This includes things like your sense of humor, your gentleness and your kind-hearted spirit. I need to be able to connect with you on that deeper level that goes way beyond the physical.

2. Your relationship with your family: You can tell a lot about a guy -- or anyone, really -- by how close he is to his family. If you've been estranged for year, well, that raises more than a few red flags for me. A man who loves his family is aces in my book!

3. Your passions: I want you to be excited...about something! Maybe it's your career. Maybe it's your Fantasy Football picks. Maybe it's a new hobby. Whatever it is, embrace it fully. Everyone needs to find some passions in life. These passions can make all the difference in the world -- not just to you, but to everyone around you.

4. Your sexy brain: This should be a no-brainer -- pun intended! Your brain is your biggest asset, so make sure you use it wisely and often. Let's have long, lingering conversations, but let's not be afraid to tease each other with witty, flirty jokes.
The overall lesson here: It's all about the long haul with me, and a big part of that is that deep connection we make. I hope that connection is as important to you as it is to me. What four things would make your list, boys? xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]
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