Friday, September 12, 2014

Have a cozy weekend

Woohoo, friends, happy Friday! Are you excited for the weekend? I'm pretty pumped about it, as I am this close to finishing my Great Clean Project that I started way back in 2013. There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishment, is there? Hope you all have a relaxing weekend, and here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

McDonald's is giving away free coffee!

Congrats to Neil Patrick Harris!

This lavender and oatmeal bath soak recipe looks so calming.

How has blogging changed your life?

15 problems only perfectionists understand.

Loving this denim look.

HA! What's your fashion blogger name?

Is this nail polish too bright for fall?

Fashion do or don't: Leather skirts.

Spiced pear upside down cake just in time for fall nights!

Looks, it's New York Fashion Week meets food!

Sarah Silverman is coming to SNL.

Yikes, dating nightmares come true.

Wonderful piece on the art of confessional writing.

Anna Wintour answers 23 questions for Vogue.com.

These dresses are made out of milk.

Dream Home: Dark hues (a surprising do!).

I love living vicariously through bloggers during New York Fashion Week every year.

The benefits of writing with a good, old-fashioned pen and paper.

Who was your boyfriend in a past life? I got...Elvis Presley!!!

**Don't forget to enter the rose gold elephant necklace giveaway! You've got until Tuesday!

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

[Photo via bippity boppity boo]

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Ms. Bear's Kitchen: Make-your-own pizza


As the summer winds down, so are we! So, we decided to make a simple dinner the other night. We felt like pizza, but wanted something a little healthier than the store-bought or take-out kind. Melissa and I were talking about how when she was young, we would make a Chef Boyardee pizza kit. All four of us would make our own little pizza with our favorite toppings. Then we would all take our food into the living room, get comfy and watch ER, which we had taped (remember those old things called VHS tapes?!?!?) and saved for the weekend. Good times!

Here's how we made the pizza this time. You need...
*Green pepper, onions, roma tomatoes...chop them all up
*Turkey pepperoni
*Mozzarella cheese, shredded
*Jiffy pizza crust mix
*Pizza sauce (I used the Chef Boyardee canned sauce, for old times sake!)
*Green salad ingredients and raspberries to round out the meal


All you have to do is follow the directions on the Jiffy box and assemble your pizza however you like! Enjoy! Watch an old TV show when you eat and talk about old times. You'll be glad you did!

Ms. Bear's Kitchen will be back around the holidays for more Blake family recipes! Thanks for reading all summer. It's been fun!!!

My Diaries (The Remix): Reading #51


P.S. A new Ms. Bear's Kitchen is coming up shortly! :)

Underwater Puppies


In 2012, photographer Seth Casteel turned hearts to mush with the simple click of his camera when he published Underwater Dogs, a collection of his photos of -- you guessed it! -- dogs underwater. Well, he's back this month with the equally adorable Underwater Puppies. Casteel began volunteering at an animal shelter in 2007, when he was just starting out in photography, and many of the puppies featured in his upcoming book are rescue dogs!

"You know, puppies lift our spirits," he says of the power of puppies. "They don't care who you are, what you've been doing, where you're going, they just want to love you and they just want to be your friend. And I think that's always going to make us feel good."



Those eyes! Those smiles! All that untamed fur! Aren't those little rascals just the cutest things you've ever seen? And this, coming from a self-professed cat person... xoxo

[Via NPR]

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

4 Life Lessons From Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off"

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last month, chances are you've heard Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off," the unbelievably catchy first single from the singer's upcoming fifth album. Maybe you've even seen the equally peppy and catchy video, in which Swift shimmies and, well, shakes through a fun array of scenarios.

Shake it off. Shake it off. Shake it off. Shake it off. Shake it off. Shake it off. Shake it off.

The song's message is clear. In fact, it only takes Swift three simple words to get to the heart of her newest memo to the world. Much has been said -- and even more written, for that matter -- about this song, but there's one undeniable truth that shines above it all: Life lessons pour out of every word and note. Four life lessons, actually, as far as I can tell...

1. Hater's gonna hate: An obvious one, I know, but it's true. In life, there are just some people that are going to hate you, no matter what you do. You won't be able to please everyone, and once you learn that, you'll feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. It's extremely freeing to just 100 percent NOT CARE what people think about you. Trust me. That's not to say that you don't take people's opinions into consideration -- you just don't let their words and their voice flood your head and make you doubt yourself. You've found that perfect balance, and it's quite a happy spot to be in.

2. It's OK to try something new: It can be scary -- I know about that all too well. But who you were doesn't have to be who you are forever. And who you are now certainly doesn't have to be who you become in the future. I mean, Taylor is embracing her new pop sound in favor of her classic country past despite some detractors (read: haters), so I figure we should all take her cue and do something that re-energizes us. Maybe a career change is just the thing you need to get that spark of creativity back, or maybe reconnecting with old friends is just the ticket. What I'm trying to learn is that just because you've always done things a certain way doesn't mean that it's set in stone. Become a rolling stone!

3. Be yourself and don't apologize for it: Those same haters will no doubt try to knock you down and change you. At the very least, they'll leave you questioning yourself, but DON'T LET ME. Here's a little secret I've learned: That's how they win. The bullies only come out on top if you stop being yourself. Don't give them that power. It's not worth it. I promise.

4. When in doubt, just dance: Dancing can solve an immense number of problems in life, both large and small. When you don't know what to do, just let loose for a few minutes and I guarantee you things will begin looking better and brighter. And to the haters who will say, "But, Melissa, you can't dance..."? Well, I've mastered the art of chair dancing, and it's become my jam. You should see me.
In the end, it all simply boils down to this: Just shake it off. Shake off the haters. Shake off the unrealistic pressures and expectations. Shake off the fear. Shake off the doubt. It's the only way to make room for you! What are you waiting for, friends? xoxo

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.





"Love takes time...to heal when you're hurting so much..." --Mariah Carey

[Photos via My Summer Twist]

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Elephant Necklace Giveaway!



Today's giveaway is from Stacy from Love Obsessed, an online jewelry shop full of gorgeous necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings. Stacy, an avid collector of vintage and antique jewelry, founded Love Obsessed at her dining room table after her son was born. "Love Obsessed has grown into a collection of my own handmade pieces, vintage originals, as well as a curated collection I have put together from other designers," she says. How cool is that?

She's giving this rose gold elephant necklace to one lucky reader. The necklace is 17 inches long and would be the perfect delicate accessory for fall. And...isn't he adorable?!?!?

For your chance to win, simply visit Love Obsessed, and leave a comment below telling us what you'd wear the elephant necklace with if you won. For additional entries, you can (please leave a separate comment for each entry)...

*Fan Love Obsessed on Facebook
*Follow Love Obsessed on Twitter
*Follow Love Obsessed on Instagram
*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

You can also Tweet about the giveaway -- just make sure to mention @melissablake + @LoveObsessed80 in your Tweet!

A winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, September 16th, so you've got a whole week to enter. Have fun, friends! xoxo

Wise Words From Readers: On dream vacations...

Nothing says bye-bye to vacations like the end of the summer. Life -- or at least the lazy kind -- is over for awhile and we're faced with our old routines. But who says that we can't daydream? I'm a firm believer in the notion that a little vacation fantasizing never hurt anyone. At the very least, I figure it'll be a good antidote to the impending winter doldrums. And it looks like you all agreed with me...

*Cruising! Any cruise, but my dream cruise is a river cruise in Europe! On my Bucket List!

*Disney World at Christmas time -- Mickey Mouse and the Christmas parade on Main Street Disney, Contemporary Hotel -- with my family.

*Beach house, lots of family, best friends and all my animals!

*Cabin in Yosemite for one week.

*Just one? One of those coral atolls, scuba gear and scientist Sylvia Earle sharing a research project with us.
All these vacation spots sound so relaxing! I'm half Swedish, so I'd love to visit Sweden someday and learn about my heritage. I'd probably end up eating my weight in meatballs, but that's OK. Or, I'd love to go back to New York City -- in fact, I'll probably be joining my mom on her Big Apple adventures next summer! Looking forward to it already! Anyway, here's next week's question...

What's your favorite part of fall? Do you have a favorite fall memory? What are you most looking forward to this year?

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]

Disabilities In The Media: NYFW features quadruple amputee


As far as I'm concerned, the true standout inspirations at this year's New York Fashion Week are Carrie Hammer and Karen Crespo, who teamed up to bring some much-needed diversity to the runway.

Earlier this year, Hammer began Role Models Not Runway Models, a campaign advocating for professional women who are typically underserved in the fashion world. Crespo, who lost her limbs to bacterial meningitis, saw one of Hammer's shows and was so inspired that she contacted the designer to thank her for all her work. Fast-forward to last Friday, and Crespo found herself in a runway show modeling a dress named after her!

"My whole platform is that beauty is all equal," says Hammer. "Everyone is equally beautiful, and we should highlight that and focus on our accomplishments. Our job as designers is to make women feel beautiful and have them achieve what they want to achieve."
How awesome is that? I love that NYFW is starting to include all definitions of beauty because when you think about it, there are SO MANY!!! So inspiring! xoxo

P.S. Remember last spring's Diesel ad campaign? :)

[Via The Frisky]

Monday, September 08, 2014

Letters To My Future Husband: Letter #171.

Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:
Well, OK, Sweet Pea, we both know that you don't have to say it. I know it's been awhile since I last wrote, but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about you -- that sounds a bit creepy, doesn't it?

Speaking of creepy, I discovered a portrait of myself from 2009 while I was doing some cleaning over the weekend. The source? Some of my old writing, and it's sort of scary just how accurate it is. It captures everything so perfectly, and it looks like I called the Great Feminist Debate long before it was even officially a thing. My unfiltered thoughts as a 28-year-old woman on the verge...
This whole new side of me? I'm not sure it's a side I like. It's bold. It's an "I-don't-care-about-the-consequences" side. When did I become that girl? I'm cautious. I'm a good girl. I most definitely always follow the rules. And yet, here I am. What sort of woman calls herself an independent feminist and mentally analyzes everything? There's this huge disconnect going on here. Maybe I just like the idea of being with someone who makes me feel happy again, who makes me laugh and who lets me just let go for once and not think everything to death. Is that such a bad thing?
And right now as I'm typing this, Carly Rae Jepsen's "Wrong Feels So Right" comes on. Fate, Sweet Pea, or are you trying to send me a message from the future? Nonetheless, even though five years have passed, I'm still fascinated by the whole idea of caution vs. risk-taking when it comes to love. When should we go with our gut, even when our head is screaming at us not to? Can anything good ever come from those types of situations? Can we learn from those situations if we never even take the chance in the first place?
It's a lot to think about, and I'm pretty sure I'll be talking your ear off on this very subject years from now. Who knows, maybe you turn out to be that chance I wasn't sure if I should take. Are you? Or maybe I'm the chance you weren't sure about at first? It's all a very romantic notion, isn't it? Until we meet... xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]
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