Friday, February 05, 2016

Have a Relaxing Weekend

TGIF, friends!! How are you? What are you doing this weekend? Watching the Super Bowl, perhaps? As I've said before, I'm really only interested in the food...that is, after all, the best and most important part anyway, right? Be sure to eat lots of good food this weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

Dream Vacation: The beauty of Iceland.

You are beautiful, inside and out.

This '70s-inspired photo shoot makes me want to go back in time!

15 inspiring Henry Ford quotes.

This actress almost played Carrie Bradshaw.

"I quit texting my boyfriend for a week..."

Feel like going ice skating through a forest in Canada?

Apparently, the traditional bridal shower is on the decline.

How Instagram changed the celebrity crush.

Wow, Alice In Wonderland Syndrome is a real thing.

How adorable are these baby piglets born in Chicago?

Wise words.

Meet the 'Survival Mom.'

If male scientists were written about like female scientists.

The best + worst time jumps in TV.

Real-life couples who starred together in music videos.

Check out this cereal vending machine made completely of Legos!

Pin love.

Why, Twitter, why??

9 stylish planners to organize your LIFE.

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

[Photo via We Heart It]

Thursday, February 04, 2016

MEMO TO MEN: What's Up With 'Lost Boys'?

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: Feeling oh-so-very 'lost'
DATE: February 4th, 2016
Let's talk about the above quote, boys. It's life, actually. Or, my life sometimes -- it really does speak an honest truth.

I often wonder where those Lost Boys come from and what exactly has happened in their life to make them the way they are. I mean, is there some sort of factory that just keeps churning them out by the generation full? Is there a mold that said factory uses to ensure that each one is the same?

As you can probably tell, it's pretty hard for me to wrap my head around the entire concept. But what's even harder for me to come to terms with is my apparent weakness when it comes to these boys. OK, let me just be perfectly clear here: I'm seemingly unable to resist falling for these types. I know it's wrong. I know things will just end in heartbreak. I know we'd never be on the same page about anything. And yet, for some weird, mysterious reason, I get it in my head that it will be different with me. Oh, yes, I wholeheartedly believed in that fantasy. I was going to save that Lost Boy and turn him into a Found Man; it was going to be such a beautiful experience that we share together. I was going to get him to finally open up to me, revealing his the self at long last and we were going to live out our days in glorious happiness.

The truth is, though, it's not different with me. It never is and I should know better -- should have learned my lesson by now or something. Because like the quote warns, I don't want to lose myself in the process. That's the very last thing I want to do and it's quite a scary thought, isn't it? How a reasonably self-assured and independent lady like myself could get so darn caught up in trying to make someone into the person I want them to be. So here's to breaking bad habits once and for all, boys... xoxo

Etsy Love: Raw Garnet Stacking Ring

Umm, this raw garnet stacking ring from Rhode Island-based jewelry designer Erika Young? It's DEFINITELY getting is almost Valentine's Day, after all... xoxo

P.S. Will my obsession love for Etsy ever end?? :)

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

5 Reasons I Love Being Home Alone

In the past, I've waxed poetic about the joys of dining a la solo -- about how I find it utterly calming, about how I don't understand why people dread it, about how I secretly like to eavesdrop on the conversations of the people around me. It's all just one enjoyable experience.

Well, I feel the same way about being home alone. And what's more, I always have. I'm a natural solitary hermit by nature, so I'm sure this has something to do with it, but I've never been more content than when I've talked my mom and Janelle into running some errands, have ushered them out of the house and have a long afternoon stretched in front of me. Don't get me wrong, I love them dearly, but a girl's got to have her freedom. You know, let her hair down every once in awhile. I got an extended taste of that sweet life during my Carefree Bachelorette Weekend and fear I am now addicted. Here are five reasons having the house to yourself rocks in a major way...

1. You can sing at the top of your lungs: Not only is the music of choice a continuous spin of my favorite hits, but there's no one home to tell me to stop singing! There's no one saying, "Melissa, stop singing!" Or asking, "Melissa, do you ever stop singing?" Obviously, my answer to that last question is NO. I mean, I have to live out my pop star fantasy somehow, right? So I figure they calls for lots of singing -- everything from Taylor Swift to Carrie Underwood to the Grease soundtrack.

2. The chance to be as silly (or as lazy!) as you want: The beauty of being home alone is that you don't have to answer to anyone about your behavior, however odd it may seem. It's a virtual free-for-all full of endless possibilities. So you want to eat Lucky Charms for lunch? Go for it. Don't feel like combing your hair? Well, it's not like anyone is going to see you anyway. I could even make like Tom Cruise and get wild and crazy -- like his character in Risky Business, not like his infamous couch-jumping incident.

3. No one will give you a strange look when you start talking to yourself: I'm a HUGE proponent of talking to yourself when it comes to getting stuff done. Heck, I'm my own sports caster in that I can usually be heard giving a play-by-play of exactly what I'm doing when I'm doing it (thanks for passing on that lovely trait, Mom!), and I like having the freedom of being able to express my frustrations about my laptop without any glaring looks. It's a glorious freedom unlike anything I've ever known, actually.

4. I can have hours of uninterrupted writing time: Too many times in the past, I've set myself up at the kitchen table ready to write, only to hear those sounds -- the familiar creaking of the garage door, slamming of car doors and shuffling of feet. That could only mean two things. One, my mom and Janelle were home. And two, I wouldn't be getting much more writing done for the rest of the day. But when all is quiet on the home front? That's when the creative juices really start flowing and the real writing work can begin.

5. The TV remote: I think this one speaks for itself. There's really no explanation needed here.
Do you enjoy being home alone, friends,or do you find it lonely? Refreshing? Intimidating? Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some plotting to do... xoxo

What Type of Feminist Are You?

Speaking of feminism, a new national survey by The Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation found that there are six distinct groups when it comes to views on feminism. Hmm, how very interesting. Apparently, it's not a one-size-fits-all type of thing. So, naturally, then the question becomes: What Type of Feminist Are You?

What did you get, friends? Take the quiz and be sure to share your results in the comments. I got... xoxo

P.S. Zooey Deschanel on feminism, 11 quotes on feminism and the double-standard debate! :)

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"My head is saying, 'Fool, forget him'...My heart is saying, 'Don't let go. Hold on till the end'... --Grease

[Photos via That Kind of Woman]

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Tuesday Tunes: Michelle Branch's "Hotel Paper"

Editor's Note: Song lyrics denoted in bold italics.
We've been doing Tuesday Tunes for a few months now, and today marks the second time I'm featuring a Michelle Branch song. What can I say? That girl's music strikes a chord with me -- pun intended.

Michelle Branch's "Hotel Paper"
From Hotel Paper

But seriously, the first time I heard today's song nearly 13 years ago (umm, did I really just admit that??), I immediately thought to myself, "Wait, hold up! Did Ms. Branch just read my diary or something?" Because seriously, her words are my life. The. Exact. Story. Of. My. Life. And as the years have rolled on, things have only seemed to get worse. Well, maybe worse isn't really the most accurate word here -- more like 'eerily similar.' Yes, that's it. My life has only become more eerily similar to this song.

I write mostly on Hotel Paper
Knowing that my thoughts will never leave this room
I'd be out of line telling you, "leave her"
So I lie lonely surrounded by you
By you

Never mind the fact that I've probably actually done this in the past -- written about a guy or two on hotel paper -- or the fact that these were the types of guys I shouldn't have been falling for in the first place, but all my scribbling and (over)-thinking was typically done in privacy. You know, the kind of privacy you used to demand when you were a kid and made one of those 'KEEP OUT' signs for your bedroom door. Well, this was sort of the same thing, only this time, the privacy sign was on my heart.

You turned out to be more than I bargained for.
And I can tell that you need to get away
Forgive me if I admit that I'd love to love you
We both realized it way too late

Because, you see, I knew deep down in said heart that I had absolutely no right to tell someone how to go about their own, private relationship. No matter how much I hated the person they were with or how unfit of a match I thought they were. Who was I to ask someone to walk away? Would I want someone to walk away from me if the shoe were on the other foot? So I was left with that achy tenderness of being so close to something, but knowing that it's really a million miles out of your reach. It's a very unsettling feeling, to say the least.

And I wanted to be
Giving you everything that she's not giving
And I wanted to see
'Cause I didn't believe what I'd been hearing

Maybe, like me, you've been through this. Knowing what you want to do and, at the same time, knowing that you can't do it, is a pretty tough spot to be in. It's like you're just sort of left there and forced to watch things unfold before your very eyes, knowing full well that there is absolutely nothing you can do to stop it. Any of it. You feel invisible and unable to speak, as if Ursella herself a la The Little Mermaid has swooped in and stolen your voice.
And, really, I'm not sure I even have an answer or any sound advice about getting out of this situation. Is it one that you just have to push through and wait until you come out on the other side -- the other side of your emotions, the other side of all the over-thinking, the other side of all those, "what's wrong with him" moments? Maybe a little hanging on and perseverance is the only optimal path here. I'd LOVE your thoughts on the matter, friends! xoxo

New Obsession: Kate Spade Charms

See, this is exactly why I should never have subscribed to the Kate Spade newsletter. The result? I spend time just scrolling and scrolling through their new arrivals section as if I have all the time in the world.

But, really, though, how cute are these pretty charms? What a sweet good luck charm -- I can just see if peeking out from my pink purse! xoxo

P.S. A new Tuesday Tunes is coming up! :)

Monday, February 01, 2016

Letters To My Future Husband: Letter #177.

Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
Ack! I know it's been quite awhile since I last wrote to you, and for that, I am truly sorry. It's not as if I haven't been thinking about you, though, because I have been -- and yes, I know that does sound a bit creepy, but seriously, I mean it in the least creepy way possible. I promise.

Anyway, it's February 1st, and you know what that means, don't you? The month of love and hearts and flowers and chocolate and waiting for that little guy named Cupid to make a visit with his little arrow. I'm primed and ready for that arrow, as you can probably imagine, but at least I'll have that box of chocolates as a consolation prize if Cupid somehow runs out of those arrows.

But that certainly doesn't mean that I'm not excited to meet you, because I am. I'm VERY excited. A couple weeks ago, I came across the above quote that really spoke to me -- isn't it amazing how just one paragraph can encapsulate everything you're feeling or everything you want to say but just can't seem to find the right words to say them? Well, this quote about did it for me, and naturally, I proceeded to become one melting puddle of feels -- do the hip cats still use the term 'feels' in the future? The words and the sentences practically jump right off the screen and right into your heart -- that's how much you identify with it. It describes your life perfectly and in ways you never thought possible before. It's sort of like that light bulb feeling, I suppose. You know, it's like a light bulb finally went off over your head and things finally clicked the way they were supposed to.

What kind of love do I want? What kind is going to make me the happiest in life? And, how will I know when I've found it -- that moment when I can say, at last, that, "YES, this is it. I've found it. I've found home"? It seems like everyone likes to talk about the qualities they look for in another person -- they want someone who is funny, sweet, handsome, hard-working, likes to get bagels for Sunday brunch and reads 18th Century French poetry fluently. Sure, I've had my list or two once upon a time, and of course those things do have their place.
But in the grand scheme of things, what about the simpler things in life? Shouldn't those have an equal position in the Game of Love too? Things like being someone's safe landing place, the place where they can let their guard down and not be afraid to be themselves. If you ask me, being someone's soft and cozy blanket is the ultimate; it makes everything look superficial in comparison. There's power in making someone feel safe and feeling safe in someone else's arms, and I can't help but feel like people are too quick to dismiss that power sometimes. I mean, if you don't have that connection -- that safe, tight connection -- then what exactly do you really have in the end? A few similar hobbies in common? Not so sure that you can build a lasting, loving relationship on that. For me, at least, it's all about the deep-down emotional connection, and how much more emotion does being someone's 'home' get?

Plus, I suppose it goes without saying that you have to get to know yourself pretty well before you can even begin to figure out what you can give to another person. So, Sweetpea, I hope you'll always know that I will be your safe place, whenever you need me. I'll be there, just as I know you'll always be there for me. Tell me your secrets, your fears, your dreams and even your embarrassing nightmares, and I promise to listen. Always. Until we meet... xoxo

[Bottom photo via We Heart It]

Sponsor Spotlight: IDoBliss

They say that presentation is key, and that's never been more true than when it comes to invitations. Gone are the days of boring, plain and simple invitations. It's time to say hello to a new generation of ones that pop, fun and unbelievably eye-catching. Perhaps no one knows that better than Laura from IDoBliss, an Etsy shop full of all sorts of invitations for every occasion -- everything from weddings to bridal showers to baby showers to save-the-dates; there are also a variety of gorgeous stationery sets to choose from! All the invitations are handmade, and Laura describes her shop as a place "where creativity with paper prevails!" Read on for the scoop on what led Laura to open her shop, her love of stationery and her tips for the perfect invitation! xoxo

Keep in touch...
Official Web site: IDoBliss
Become a fan on Facebook
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Tell me about IDoBliss. What's the inspiration behind its launch?
I have always been a creative person and especially in regards to paper, crafts and scrapbooking. I began creating designs for many family and friends’ events and special occasions even as a teen. I worked as a microbiologist for a medical device company for many years, but was looking for a change. My goal switched to a career in forensics, so I began seeking out a new career path. In 2005, I chose to strike out on my own and start a custom design business, and at the same time, my dream forensics job came calling. I became a wife, a forensic scientist, an entrepreneur and a mom all within a few years. I have since then mastered juggling all these exciting facets of my life. I am still solving crimes with fingerprint analysis, and creating invitations for brides around the world.

When did you become interested in stationery and design, particularly in wedding stationery?
In 2003, I decided to create my own wedding invitations and the obsession began. I really enjoy using different papers, ribbons and embellishments to create something unique and unlike any other type of card available to brides. My handmade pieces are truly pieces of art, and each item is hand assembled by my hands -- and so I take great pride in my items and work.

Why do you think the perfect piece of stationery/invitation is so important?
Setting the tone for your wedding is crucial. I believe that people still enjoy receiving mail in general, and when a wedding invitation shows up, in between the ads and bills, there is a level of excitement that still exists. With all the technology in today’s world, receiving an actual physical invitation is still important and necessary. I don’t think we should give this up quite yet for the ease of simplicity or cost. Especially when we are celebrating one of the most special events in a lifetime, a wedding invitation should capture the romance, love and anticipation of the upcoming day -- and emanate that to their loved ones.

What are you top 3 tips for the perfect invite?
1. Have a budget and a specific color palate
2. Use a variety of textures and paper sheens
3. Adding embellishments such as ribbons, shells, crystals or feathers will help the invitation stand out from the rest

What is your favorite piece in your shop and why?
I have a lot of favorites, but right now, my favorite piece is the Gatsby wedding invitation. I just adore the bright color combination of blues and purples, and it literally makes my brain want to get up and start swing dancing! This invitation has a touch of glitter gold, which is a new color through my supplier, Envelopments. The peacock feather adds that touch of class, and I like the fonts and layout as they are not ordinary.
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