Monday, July 28, 2014

Four things I learned from not complaining for 24 hours...

Truth time: I can get going on a good complaining kick with the best of 'em. In fact, given my competitive nature, if I'm provoked, I just might turn the whole thing into one giant sport. So maybe that's why I challenged my mom a few weeks ago to go a full 24 hours without complaining. I was up for the challenge (who couldn't benefit from a little less negativity in their lives?), but I honestly wasn't sure what to expect. Could we do it? Would we even last a day? A morning? Breakfast?

Well, I'm happy to report that we, indeed, did last the whole day, without too much under-our-breath huffing or pulling our hair out in sheer frustration. In fact, just yesterday, my mom remarked that we could probably benefit even more from doing the 24-Hour No-Complain Challenge again, and I can't help but agree. I've been thinking about the big lessons I learned from this seemingly little exercise. Here are four of those big lessons that stand out...

You have more control over your life than you think
True, there are just some things in life that are out of your control, and you just have to come to terms with that. But how you react to the things that happen to you? A lot of that is well within your control. You control how you look at it. You chart your own course, and no one can do that for you. I'm always telling my mom to "take back your power" when she gets herself all stressed out, and I think the same thing applies here.

There is a fine line between observing and complaining
Several times during the day, my mom and I found ourselves on the verge of uttering a not-so-very-positive sentence, so to try and rein ourselves in, we tried to re-frame said sentences as mere observations. Why? Because it's a very slippery slope from an observation (i.e. "it's hot outside...") to the black hole of complaining (i.e. "I hate this hot weather. I think it's going to kill me...and my day us ruined..."). See what a fine line it is? You want to stay on the right side of it, obviously.

Turns out, Abe Lincoln was right
Our 16th president was famous for saying that "folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be" and if you think about it, there's a lot of truth in that. If you choose happiness in one aspect of your life, chances are that it will carry over into other areas. It's almost like the ripple effect -- one teeny, tiny pebble of happiness could be felt all around you. Can you feel the calm yet?

My shoulders felt noticeably lighter
When I let all that complaining go, I felt as though a heavy weight had been lifted off my shoulders. You don't fully realize how much extra useless baggage you're carrying around until, well, you're not carrying it around anymore. It's one of the rare moments in life when simply not caring is quite possibly the greatest feeling in the world. When it comes to complaining, never underestimate that!
Did you take part in the No-Complain Challenge? What was the experience like? Was it what you expected? What did you learn? Will you be doing it again? Here's hoping you're relaxed and calm on this summer Monday, friends! xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]

Sponsor Spotlight: Anata Jewelry

There's something so special about jewelry, isn't there? It's like you get to carry around a story with you wherever you go -- both the story behind the gorgeous piece as well as the story behind the talented designer who created it. And the story behind Anata Jewelry is such an inspiring one. Anat, an Israel-based designer, opened her Etsy shop three years ago, after having worked in the financial sector for 12 years. Her shop is full of beautiful pieces from necklaces to bracelets to earrings to rings. Read on for more of her exclusive story and her need-to-know shopping tips! xoxo

Keep in touch...
Official Web site: Anata Jewelry
Become a fan on Facebook
Get inspired on Pinterest
Tell me about Anata Jewelry. What's the inspiration behind its launch?
My name is Anat and I am a goldsmith and jewelry designer. After working for 12 years as an analyst and a manager in one of the leading financial institutions in Israel, and after having 3 beautiful children, I have decided to make a change in my life and began learning goldsmith’s work. I love working with metals -- it’s a great feeling, transforming raw material into a piece of art, and it always makes me happy to see people wearing and enjoying my jewelry. All my jewelry is designed and handmade by me. I create everyday jewelry made of sterling silver, gold-plated brass and gemstones. My jewelry is for women and girls of all ages. My designs can fit any event, day or night and great for the working woman that can wear them the all day. My work is either one-of-a-kind or limited-edition.

Your shop features so many inspiring finds. What inspires you the most?
I get inspiration from nature and the world around me. I love clean and simple design, but my collection is eclectic. You can find oriental jewelry too, which is very trendy these days!

What are your top 3 tips for shopping online and finding great deals?
*Check the shop policies, learn about the customer service, return and exchange policy, read the reviews and feedback.
*Learn about the item: Read the item description, what materials are used, the size of the earrings or pendant.
*Check out the owner of the online shop.

What is your favorite piece in your shop and why?
It's so hard to say my favorite item because I love them all. The cat pendant necklace is so cute (you can find it in gold plated too), and the flower post earrings are so unique.

Harry's on the mend...

Just a little thank you from Harry for the well wishes you all sent him last week. He's recovering well from his surgery, and although the vet had to remove more teeth than he originally thought, Harry's been such a little trooper!

We're proud of you, little man!* xoxo

*Yes, I'm aware that I do treat my cats like they're my children. But c'mon...that face!!! :) 

Man Candy Monday.

Good morning, friends, and happy Monday! I thought we could use a little retro fun today, and needless to say, this guy is at the top of my Retro Rad list -- please tell me you have one of those lists too! Actually, he's been at the top of said list since I was a wee girl in elementary school. I'd come home every day and watch back-to-back episodes of his classic show. Oh, this guy was sure a dreamboat. He was a Casanova. And he was nothing if not all things hip and cool...

BARRY WILLIAMS!!!!!!!!!!





"When it's time to change, you've got to rearrange...who you are into what you're gonna be."

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Happy Birthday, Father!

Well, Father, here we are. Another year. How can that even be? You would have turned 63 today, and honestly, there are so many questions running through my head: Who would you have been today? What would you have looked like? Would you still like the same things? Would you still laugh at the same things? Would you still tell the same old corny jokes? Would you still call me and Janelle "rosebud"?

I suppose it's all these questions that have got me so confused. Because, really, sometimes it's like you're right here with us -- almost as if I can feel you. And then other times, it's like you were never even here at all. I hate this times because they're the ones that hurt the most.
But I hope you know how much I'm thinking about you today. We all are. You are still so loved, even in those dark times when we feel like you're a million miles away. You're with us. And we're with you. Forever. Always... xoxo

Friday, July 25, 2014

Have a great weekend

Happy Friday, friends! Do you have any exciting plans this weekend? I'm actually psyched to continue my Great Clean Summer Project -- it's coming along quite nicely, if I do say so myself. There's nothing like the sweet relief that comes from seeing this all tidy and organized! Hope you all have a great weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

The best exes EVER.

Great piece on dating with a disability. Couldn't agree more!

I never thought Ryan Gosling could get any hotter. I was wrong.

Flashback: Remember these songs from your middle school dances?

What did you love about summer in the '90s?

And boy, do I miss the early '00s.

The 45th anniversary of the moon landing!

What do we think of Blake Lively's new lifestyle blog?

How to apologize.

Which Disney female are you?

When Carpe Diem doesn't work out.

It's a bird...it's a plane...it's a new photo of Ben Affleck as Batman! Excited?

Every brand name ever mentioned on Sex and the City.

How women define success.

Organizing tips to the rescue!

This quiz thinks I'm 16...I'll take it!

On why you shouldn't save the good stuff for later.

What no one tells you about marriage.

What are your social etiquette pet peeves?

The link between writing and staying positive is real.

There is nothing more inspiring than women running the workplace!

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

[Photo by Erin Boyle of Reading My Tea Leaves]

Guest Post: Preparing your space for creative projects

Simple as they may seem, both tape and measuring tape can play a major role in determining whether a project is a success or a failure. Using them in projects involves only minuscule costs and small amounts of effort, but can make your projects significantly easier and more successful. It may surprise you to know the difference these simple tools can make!

Painting
Few professional painters are caught without tape and measuring tape in their tool bags, and you shouldn't be either. Use these handy tools to prevent your project from turning into a mess!

Make Stripes Sharp: Painted stripes create a striking effect, but getting them right can be tricky. Use a measuring tape to determine stripe width, and then use masking tape to mark off the stripes to be painted. The end result will be straight, clean, and striking painted stripes.

Keep Trim Pristine: Prior to beginning to paint any room, use a low-adhesive masking tape to cover the edges of trim, crown molding, door knobs, light switch plates and any other surfaces that should not have paint on them. When you're done painting, simply pull the tape up from the surfaces.

Decorating
Though a measuring tape may be an expected part of a decorating arsenal, masking tape can play an equally important role. Use both as you embark on your next decorating project to prevent oversight.

Determine Fit: It's easy to fall in love with a piece of furniture on the showroom floor, but all too often the piece doesn't look right when brought home. Take a measuring tape with you while furniture shopping to determine if you have room for the piece in your home as well as whether the proportions fit with the scale of your other furniture.

Experiment with Placement: Use masking tape to outline the placement of furniture and artwork. If the placement is off, it will be much easier to move tape around than to lift heavy furniture or patch nail holes.

Organizing
Get Shelf Liner Right: Use your measuring tape to make certain fresh shelf liner is exactly the right size before cutting. You will save yourself from liner that comes up short.

Produce Quick Labels: Keep masking tape and a marker around to quickly label and organize anything. From pantry staples to shoe boxes, masking tape labels help you know exactly what everything contains.

(This post was sponsored by Elizabeth Donerson, a Canadian home decor expert and enthusiast. Thanks so much for continuing to support So About What I Said's wonderful sponsors!)

[Photos via We Heart It]

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stoic Design Wall Art Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Richard and Tia from Stoic Design, a beautiful Etsy shop full of inspiring wall art. There's something for everyone: Vintage map canvas art, vintage sheet music art, vintage book canvas art and pretty prints. The husband-and-wife team have set up their design shop in southern Indiana, where Tia describes herself as the "idea haver" and Richard as the "graphic designer and manual laborer." What a team!

They're giving one lucky reader the item of her choice from their shop. What would you choose? I'm loving the Lost at Sea print, the You Are My Sunshine print, the I Want To Have Adventures With You print and the Imagine print.

For your chance to win, simply visit Stoic Design, and leave a comment below, telling us which print you'd choose if you won. You can also LIKE Stoic Design on Facebook, FOLLOW on Twitter and GET INSPIRED on Instagram for extra entries -- just make sure you leave a separate comment for each entry and include @melissablake in your tweet. A winner will be chosen at random next Thursday, July 31st, so you've got a whole week to enter! Good luck, friends! xoxo

Grab the tissues: Ex-lovers' shirts


Beware of the water works ahead! Photographer Carla Richmond and writer Hanne Steen painted a visual portrait of breakups with their photo/interview collaboration. For Lovers' Shirts, Richmond photographed women wearing their ex-lovers' clothing, and then Steen told their stories in the form of unending poems.



Losing someone who was once such a part of your life is something we can relate to, and I love how these brave women didn't hold back in their photos. Some are clinging to their shirts as if they're trying to hold onto every last thread of the relationship. Letting go is hard, but, as these photos also show, remembering is sometimes even harder. What do you think, friends? xoxo

[Via My Modern Met]

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Poor Harry!

I'm without one of my co-workers today. Harry had to go to the vet early this morning for surgery. We took him in a few weeks ago and they discovered an infection in his mouth. We tried two shots of antibiotics, but it didn't work, so now he'll have several teeth removed.

Needless to say, the house feels downright empty -- it's far too quiet. Who know such a little cat could bring so much life and love into a home. He'll be coming home tonight, but he could use all the positive energy sent his way! All you cat (and dog -- I don't discriminate...), I'm sure you understand what I'm feeling! I love you, Harry... xoxo
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