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

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.





"Light on my heart, light on my feet...Light in your eyes I can’t even speak...Do you even know how you make me weak?" --Demi Lovato

[Photos via 17 sailors]

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Found: 5 Essentials of the Perfect Staycation

A few weeks ago, I talked about the must-haves for the perfect road trip (hello, Beach Boys!), but since the summer is half over, I thought we could all use a little staycation. You know, that perfect vacation that's not a vacation in the traditional sense -- the kind where you kick back and relax without leaving the city limits (or your property, as is usually the case with me!). And just like those road trips, there are a few quintessential things that take any old staycation from drab to fab! Here are my Top Fives Essentials of the Perfect Staycation...
1. Constant stream of Netflix: Because if you run out of TV shows to binge watch, you just might go crazy. And that will ruin anyone's staycation.

2. Your favorite magazines or that novel you've had on your night stand for six months: I always have a stack of my favorite glossies at the ready; I say that you can never be too prepared. The same is true for books. Keep a running stack (or a list...) on hand so you're not left empty handed and wondering, "What in the heck should I read?"

3. A bottle of your favorite nail polish: What's better than an afternoon of pampering? I picked up Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Red Carpet and have been dying to finally use it!

4. Outdoor sun and relaxing: Who needs the beach when you can lounge in the backyard and soak up the sun? My mom and I have been known to play Yahtzee on our patio and enjoy a lazy summer afternoon. Bonus points if you have an actual hammock in your backyard! Because hammock make you an instant rock star!

5. An ice-cold root beer: Because you're going to need something to keep you cool while you're lounging. And nothing says cool -- both literally and figuratively -- quite like root beer! Again, your rock star status just grew exponentially! You're welcome!

Have you taken a staycation this summer, friends? What items were on your must-have list? Have I forgotten anything? What's your favorite part of the whole staycation experience? Why is it so appealing to you? xoxo

P.S. The benefits of a staycation + our staycation shenanigans! :)

Wise Words From Readers: On personality traits...

Remember when you were a kid and it was so easy to name your best personality trait? It was as easy as rattling off your favorite food or your favorite color. Maybe you loved how you always gave great advice to your friends or the fact that you were always the peacemaker. Or maybe you were proud of the fact that you never gave up.

But somewhere along the way, we seem to lose that wonder and introspective knowledge about ourselves. At the very least, we have a pretty hard time nailing down what exactly we like about our own personality. Sure, it's so easy to see everyone else's good qualities, but yours just seemed to be hiding, refusing to come out. So, I was so glad this week when some of you weren't shy about singing your own praises...

*I have a sense of humor that I don't always get, but hey if it makes people laugh I'm fine with it! We all need cheering up.

*Kindness. It has seen me through some tough situations!
How true! I was thinking about my own personality recently and am pretty darn proud of my fearlessness. It's had it's up and down, especially since my father died, but I feel like now, it's on a permanent upswing. Being fearless gives you this sense of strength even if you're completely terrified. That's a comforting notion, isn't it, friends? Anyway, here's next week's question...

What the best advice you've ever received from a sibling? Why did it mean so much to you?

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]

Monday, July 21, 2014

Family Photos: My Carefree Weekend of TV and Food

Well, as you can probably guess, my Carefree Bachelorette Weekend revolved around two things: TV and food. That's only fitting, I suppose, since those are my two favorite things in the whole world! And of course, I had to document all the fun. Here's a peek into my shenanigans, including a bit of cleaning that uncovered the above book (toss or blog column?)...
Day #1 of my classic home-alone lunch! The major food groups are mostly covered...
And for some afternoon entertainment, some shows on our new TV... #LazySaturday

Saturday night's feature was Domino's pizza and a viewing of Jurassic Park (and yes, in case you were wondering, I did indeed sleep with one eye open that night...). #PartyForOne
When my mom is gone, I eat a whole donut!

So, what did you do this weekend, friends? Try any good food? Watch any good shows? I'd love to hear! xoxo

Sponsor Spotlight: Olive Yew

One of my favorite things about summer fashion is the dainty, delicate vibe when it comes to jewelry. There's just something about the laid-back beauty of summer that really makes a statement when it comes to some summer trends. One of my new favorite examples? Olive Yew, the North Carolina-based jewelry line from designer Angela Parker-Kennedy. Angela is inspired by the stylish women from her childhood and a never-ending fascination with jewelry. Her pieces, she says, embrace a design that is as timeless as it is versatile -- everything from necklaces to bracelets to rose gold rings to earrings! Read on for more of Angela's inspirations and her tips for finding good deals online! xoxo

Keep in touch...
Official Web site: Olive Yew
Become a fan on Facebook
Follow on Twitter

Get inspired on Pinterest
Follow on Instagram
Tell me about Olive Yew. What's the inspiration behind its launch?
I always like simple, petite jewelry (and things in general), so it made sense to me to focus on petite jewelry when I began learning how to make it. I was phasing out of a contract position in corporate and I just couldn’t fathom going back into a cubicle environment. I decided to take a local jewelry making class and really enjoyed it. I’ve always made stuff and I majored in art in college. I didn’t expect this to take off the way is has, but I was pleasantly surprised. Olive Yew has allowed me to remain out of a cubicle since 2011.

Your shop features so many inspiring finds. What inspires you the most?
I get inspired by the smallest things and sometimes it comes from seemingly nowhere. I always try to boil everything down to simplicity. I can let a design get a little crazy, sleep on it and strip it down to the basics...but it’s way easier when I know when to stop.

What are your top tips for shopping online and finding great deals?

1. Google is your friend. I Google almost every item I purchase online to make sure it’s not on sale somewhere else.
2. Check shipping costs too. I hate finding a lower price only to find out that I have to pay a ton in shipping or that I have to pay shipping per piece. At Olive Yew, we have a flat fee for shipping no matter how many items you purchase, and we offer free shipping days often (and promote them on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr & Facebook).

What are some of your favorite fashion and jewelry trends this summer?
I love the orange and florals this season. I also appreciate that heels are getting thicker so I can walk in a pair! As far as jewelry, I prefer timeless pieces over trends.
What is your favorite piece in your shop and why?
This changes often, but right now, my favorite piece is our name bracelet. It works so well with numbers, letters, Roman numerals or symbols. It’s really the perfectly personalized piece.

Dream Vacation: Lego Bridge


How awesome is the Lego Bridge in Germany? Street artist MEGX transformed an old overpass into a colorful ode to everyone's favorite childhood toy. The 250-square-meter bridge was repainted in four weeks!

Who's up for a little getaway? xoxo

[Via Design Milk]

Man Candy Monday.

Good morning, friends, and happy Monday! Are you having a good day so far? As you know, I've been living the carefree life this weekend, and let me tell you, I went WILD. But before I get to that, here's a guy who drives my heart positively wild. We're talking full on pitter-patter here. I first discovered him in this show and now swoon over his character in this show. He broods with the best of them. He's still under the radar enough to not be jaded. And he's a devoted father (translation: sexy times infinity!)...

MIKE VOGEL!!!!!!!!!!





"When my wife and I met, I couldn't talk to her - and my defense mechanism is sarcasm. I belittle someone with verbal pokes and prods. I did it to her out of complete awe. When friends introduced us, I said 'Hi' - and turned my back. Later, I called my mom and best friend and said, 'I think I just met my wife.'"
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