Monday, October 31, 2011

MEMO TO MEN: Let's talk R-E-S-P-E-C-T

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: Have some respect
DATE: October 31, 2011
"Value yourself enough to choose to be with someone who wants you as much as you want them."

I came across that quote yesterday, boys, and quickly realized it was the perfect opener for today's lesson. And before you ask, no, this is not about me. I promise.


Everybody wants it and thinks they deserve it. And yet, some are so unwilling to give it in return. And when it comes to respect and relationships, the two are mutually exclusive; you can't have one without the other. I know how difficult it can be to always love yourself. After all, we're our own worst critic, and all it takes is one look in the mirror and we're already rattling off a laundry list of our supposed "shortcomings."
It saddens me to see that, of course, but what makes me downright sick to my stomach, boys? People who see that vulnerability in other people and pounce on it as if it were their own chew toy to do with it whatever they'd like.

In recent months, I've seen this happen, and honestly, it just broken my heart. No, wait, it more than breaks my heart. It disgusts me. How could you ever think so little of someone that you think it would be OK to pretend to care about them? How could you ever think it would be OK to blatantly use someone as if they were your puppet on a string? Well here's a wake-up call, boys: It's not OK. Pretending you care about someone just so you can get what you want is about as low as you can go. And not feeling bad about said pretending is stooping even lower. It makes me wonder how in the world you ended up with such a skewed sense of values. Or if you even have any at all.
So I suppose that it should come as no surprise that if, in the very unlikely of circumstances, I should find myself in a "relationship" with one of you, boys, you can be sure I'm going to call you out on it.

Because those type of boys? They aren't to be respected. They aren't to be cheered. In my mind, they aren't even to be liked. They are cowards. They are jerks. Everyone deserve more than that. They are worth more than that.

[Photos via Calendar Girl]

New Feature: Would you rather...

My friends, I'm still working on the blog redesign, but since we had such a great discussion in last week's Love Lounge, I thought it would be fun to whet your appetite with a new feature: Would your rather.

First conundrum: Would you rather live to 100 or be a billionaire? I saw In Time over the weekend, and it was one of those films that had you mesmerized the whole time. And in a roundabout way, it raises that very question. In the future, the world no longer revolves around money, but time. Time has replaced money as the ultimate currency, leaving people desperately craving more of it. More seconds. More minutes. More hours. More days. Anything they could get their hands on.

Now, if you had asked me this question before the movie, I would have said, hands-down, I want to be a billionaire. But when I think about it today, time seems so much more precious - yes, even more precious than gold. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, and I can look back and say, "I wish I had more time for..."

So, which would you rather have? Have you seen the movie?

P.S. Have a great question for a future Would You Rather? I'd love to hear from you at, so feel free to email me (mellow1422 [at] aol [dot] com)! :)

Mad Men posters

Nerd alert: I've been counting down the days until Mad Men returns, which isn't until March 2012 (Ack!). But in the meantime, how super cool are these posters promoting the new season? They make me want to put a record on and wear those pink sunglasses!
And here are some first-look photos from the set! Are you excited, friends? xoxo

P.S. Five more Mad Men posts...

[Via Eight Hour Day]

Man Candy Monday.

Good morning, friends, and happy Halloween! I've got quite the treat for you this morning. Honestly, I feel a bit guilty that I haven't taken the time to honor him before. He's actually one of the first celebrities I ever met. OK, so I didn't exactly meet him per se, but I did sit in the studio audience for the taping of one of his shows. He's a regular guy. He's a hard worker. And of course, he can count like it's nobody's business...

CARSON DALY!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Have a spooky weekend

Happy Friday, friends! What do you have planned for the weekend? I'll be relaxing tomorrow (can't wait!) and going to a nice brunch on Sunday. Plus, I'm working on redesigning So about what I said, and I can't wait to share the finished product with you soon! I hope you'll like it! Is there anything in particular you'd like to see in the new design?

I hope you all have a fun fall weekend. I'll see you next week, but in the meantime, here are my favorite finds from the wonderful Web...

Oh goodness, it's a collection of bacon blogs!

Awesome alert: Beatles Love Mashup.

What do you do in your sleep?

Love: Pumpkin seeds + cookies!

Great quote.

Don't you love this Halloween nail art?

Yummy caramel corn.

Do you go to the movies alone?

Tote love.

These colorful chairs make me happy.

Awesome best friend commandments.

Do you like haunted houses? These look scary!

Score: Scrabble-inspired projects.

More Scrabble love.

A touching pregnancy story.

Could you tweet every word in the English language? This man is going to try!

Yay or nay: Knee-patch tights.

Cool laptop bags! Which one is your favorite?

Tiffany is on a shopping freeze...could you do it?

Another Great quote, no?

[Photo via Twig & Thistle]

Fashion Friday: Happy Socks

In the fall, there's nothing I love more than putting on a warm pair of socks and sitting in front of the fireplace. Open my sock drawer, though, and all you'll find is one white pair after another. So, it must be fate that I'd fall in love with Happy Socks, a company based in Sweden. Their philosophy on the art of socks? "A vision to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colourful design piece."

How cool is that? Could you imagine rolling on a bright pair and taking to the streets? Oh, the possibilities! Here are the three eye-poppers that have me doing a little happy dance...
Dots splits
Dots fade
I love that they're sort of cartoonish and pictured on actual feet, don't you? Just looking at them makes me want to dance around my living room! What about you, friends? Would you wear them? Are you a sock lover? xoxo

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Love Lounge: Would you rather be gorgeous or smart?

YourTango recently asked this question on their Facebook page. Now, friends, it seemed like an easy enough question to me. In fact, the answer seemed obvious. I was pretty sure I had an idea of what people were going to say. But then I started reading the 96 comments to that very question. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. That word was beginning to make me nauseous, giving me that feeling I get in the pit of my stomach when I've eaten too many pieces of Halloween candy corn. It's not pleasant, trust me, friends. Why? Because I've never cared much for those sorts of extremes, those ideas that you can be one or the other, but never, under any circumstances, both. So often, we're taught that if you're gorgeous, you can't possibly have brains, and if you have brains, then you must not have inherited the beauty gene. Maybe it's just me, but the ultimate in sexy is when you can be both and be comfortable in those shoes.
I did love this comment, though: "Smart - most guys will go for stunning, but any man with brains will go for smart." And a comment advocating gorgeousness above all else? Well, let's just say it knocked my socks off, especially when you read it without correcting the spelling or punctuation: "stunningly gorgeous and average smart (or a bit above average) Studies have shown that the better looking you are the more advanteges you have however there's a threshold-cross that and people feel uncomfortable around you."

That, my friends, just proves my point. Being gorgeous is definitely not as sexy as being smart.

What about you? Would you rather be gorgeous or smart? Both? Do you think it's harder for men or women to be both? Let's chat, friends! xoxo

[Photos via Le Love]

Do you have nicknames for your siblings?

After my sister's birthday a few weeks ago, I got to thinking: I rarely call her by her name (which is Janelle, by the way...). For as long as I can remember, we've called each other sister. It just felt so much more comfortable, and eventually, that moniker morphed into sister friend, which ultimately morphed into my personal favorite sister bear. I'm guessing the last nickname comes from our love of The Berenstain Bear books.

There's something so sweet about nicknames, isn't there? It's almost as if it's a secret just between the two of you -- something only the two of you share. And honestly, it feels weird now when we call each other by by our first name; I almost have to do a double-take. Is that weird?

So, friends, I'd love to know: Do you call your siblings by their names? Or do you have nicknames for each other? Have they changed since childhood? Do you like these nicknames?

P.S. Look out! A new Love Lounge is coming your way shortly!

Two more Halloween treats

Speaking of Halloween treats (because, really, who can ever get enough of gooey sweets? ), I couldn't resist sharing these two finds. First up: Pumpkin chocolate chip pie. The marriage of chocolate chips and pumpkin sounds like sheer perfection, doesn't it?
And what about these apples in a blanket? You peel about an inch off the top and fill it with cinnamon sugar. Is your mouth watering yet? I thought so.

Is it just me, or are there so many amazingly delicious treats this season? What are you baking, friends? xoxo

Do nothing for two minutes

Let's all try a challenge this morning: Can you do nothing for two minutes? It's harder than it looks. Post your victory in the comments, friends! Happy relaxing! xoxo

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Letters To My Future Husband: Letter #139.

Dear Mr. Melissa BLake:
Did you ever have one of those revelations that come from the most unlikely of places, Sweetpea? I had one a few weeks ago. I was immersing myself in all the glitz and glam that was Kim Kardashian's wedding. What, you didn't know know about my little obsession with reality television? Ooops...more about that later.

But on that night, I sat there in my living room watching as Kim got ready for her big day, and I could feel myself getting teary eyed as Kim described her sadness over her father not being there for her special day. I know it might sound stupid, Sweetpea. After all, my father's been gone for 8 years; you'd think I'd have come to terms with this fact by now. But in some sense, it's almost as if it's been that little elephant that's always been in the back of my mind. The little elephant that I know is there, but that I try so desperately to avoid. Maybe if I avoid him, said little elephant will end up trotting off into the distance and leave me alone.
And yet here was Kim herself putting into words all the emotions I've felt but have been afraid to express. No, my father won't be there on my wedding day. No, he won't be there to walk me down the aisle. No, he won't be there for the reception dance or toast. No, he won't be here for one of the most important days of my life. And you know what, Sweetpea? That makes me incredibly sad. It makes me miss him all over again. I suppose I have to find a way to come to terms with that. I know it probably sounds like such a minor thing to you, Sweetpea, but I'm realizing that our wedding is another event to add to the Things Melissa's Father Will Miss List. I don't mean to sound angry. I really don't.

But for women like myself, anticipating the gigantic void left by your father's absence can get to feeling overwhelming. After all, we've been dreaming about our wedding day since we were little girls, in those early days when putting your tiny hand in your father's huge hand suddenly just made everything right in your little world, in the days when your father was the smartest person in the whole world, in the days when there was absolutely nothing in this world that an ice cream cone couldn't cure.
Do you remember that scene in Father of the Bride (another one of my favorites) when Steve Martin's character looks back on his life with his daughter? I sometimes wonder if my father would have done that before my wedding if he were here. What would he remember? What snapshots would stand out tall and mighty against the others? The summer nights we sat in our backyard and he'd give me little lessons about the planets and stars and galaxies? The time I couldn't help but laugh at him when he was so proud of himself for memorizing the names of all the members of Nsync and the Backstreet Boys? Or how about the times when he'd come home from work so excited to read the newest article I'd written for my college newspaper?

So yes, like Kim, I'll probably shed a tear or two on our wedding day, Sweetpea. I suppose you should just expect it. I'm sure it will be a cathartic experience, for both of us. Until we meet... xoxo

[Photos via Pinterest]

Zombie engagement

How's this for a fun and eek-citing (cheesy play on words, I know...) engagement photo shoot: Ben and Juliana look like a quiet couple, don't they? They're quietly sitting in a field looking all lovey-dovey....
...but wait. What's what?
A mysterious man approaching from the woods. Ack! What will the couple do?
Save the day, of course! The idea for the shoot came from Ben, who "wanted to make sure his manliness wasn't lost in an engagement session," says photographer Amanda Rynda. I love how these photos give off a soft, romantic touch and a tough vibe at the same time, don't you? Would you ever try this, friends? You can see all the photos here.

P.S. Speaking of love, a new Letter To My Future Husband is coming up this afternoon! :)

[Photos by Amanda Rynda]

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"It's time to be a big girl now...and big girls don't cry." --Fergie

[Photos via My Summer Twist]

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Bully

I'll just come right out and say it: I hate bullies. In fact, there's nothing I detest more.

I hear the stories from my mom, the stories of her students who are afraid to come to school, the stories of students who don't think twice about laughing at and calling other students down-right nasty names. I've even witnessed bullying more in my adult life than I ever did as a teenager. People who thrive on putting others down just to make themselves feel superior is just, well...incredibly sad. And when that bullying takes the form of adults bullying other adults? It's just plain pathetic, isn't it? No one should ever have that much power to make you feel so small.

So in honor of October being Bullying Awareness Month, I was so glad when I came across the recently released anthology Dear Bully. The book features 70 authors reflecting on their own experiences with bullying, whether they were the victims of bullying or the ones doing the bullying.

It scares me that more and more people, especially adults, are thinking it's cool to turn into real-life Mean Girls. Let's stop it, shall we, friends? The next time you see an act of bullying, stand up and stop it. Because, really, if you just walk by and do nothing, you're just as bad as those who are doing the actual bullying.
And here's an interesting question: If you've been a victim of bullying and had the chance, what would you say to the person who bullied you? If you found yourself bullying other people, what would you say to them? What's your bully story?

You can buy the book here.

P.S. Additional new essays not included in the book are posted once a week here.

[Bottom graphic via Do Something]

What's your favorite scary movie?

My father loved scary movies. Not necessarily the kind that send blood and other bodily organs spewing across the screen, but the suspenseful, nail-biting, sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, holding-your-breath, tingles-running-up-and-down-your-spine kind of scary movie. See, friends, in the world of scary movies, there are slasher ones and suspenseful ones. Like my father, I prefer suspenseful ones. I love plot twists and suspenseful music and people not being who you think they are and huge secrets being revealed at the very last second. It's one of my favorite parts about Halloween. Here are the 5 movies that leave me keeping the light on at night...
Rosemary's Baby: You can't help but feel sorry for Rosemary and her husband as the young couple's excitement over the impending birth of their first child/evil spawn draws closer. And how awesome was Mia Farrow as Rosemary?
The Omen: My mom always warned me about movies like The Omen, mostly telling me to stay far away from them. But I just couldn't listen; apparently I had to see for myself what exactly it was that I was missing. Well, let's just say that I can never look at barking dogs the same way again. The same goes for boys with a little too much mischievousness in their eyes.
Gremlins: Without a doubt, the scariest movie of my childhood. I sometimes even curse my parents for letting me watch it. I feared cute little fur balls were going to morph into evil green little monsters. Just thinking about those little slimy things right now is giving me goosebumps! Eeek!
I Know What You Did Last Summer: Ahhh, the ultimate in suspense greatness from my generation, I fell in love with this movie when I was a wee teenager. It was the sort of movie that would have you changing your theory about what happened every 5 minutes. And by the end, you still hadn't figured it out.
Scream: How awesome is it that a scary movie opens with the question, "What's your favorite scary movie?"? They've made so many sequels, but you can't beat the original. It makes me want to hire a team of security guards to keep an eye on my house.

So, friends, do you have a favorite scary movie? Why do you like it? Do you prefer slasher or suspense movies? Are there any movies that you just can't watch? My sister is terrified of the Chuckie movies for some reason, even though we've never seen them!

P.S. More funny cartoons here!

[Top cartoon by Dave Coverly]

Wedding invitations

How awesome are these camp-themed wedding invitations? The bride Hillary actually made them to look like a little brochure booklet and groom Michael did all the copyediting and photography. The feather adds such a nice touch, don't you think? These have me daydreaming about breezy summer weddings outside. You can check out the full set of photos here.

[Photos by Michael Kiser, via East Side Bride]

Monday, October 24, 2011

An Open Letter To Myself.

Dear Melissa:
Oh, Melissa, you're a good girl, remember? You're the sort of girl a guy's parents would love and welcome into the family with open arms. You're the sort of girl who is at once too innocent to even realize she's innocent. You do what's right. All the time.

But at night, when you're lying in bed and drifting off to sleep, I know that you sometimes find yourself dreaming about Sandy, Olivia Newton-John's character in Grease. By the end of the film, she went from being a straight-laced, Little Miss Perfect to a leather-clad, puffy-haired, wild-child-in-training with spunk the size of that loud hair. You've always had a secret yearning to be her. You marvel at how someone could be so comfortable with going from the seemingly good girl to the bad girl. And then, the inevitable question comes up: When will it be your time to rebel?
The truth is, I know that you wish you could be impulsive sometimes. Not the sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, always-throwing-caution-to-the-wind impulsive girl. But maybe just doing something because not doing it would leave you with more regret, because you got so caught up in the moment that you just let your heart take over, because for the first time in your life, you just let go.

Do you ever get tired of all the thinking, analyzing, calculating, constantly worrying about the fall-out, the consequences. Don't you sometimes just want to say, "Who cares"?

Remember that one time when you found yourself folding laundry, something that is decisively good-two-shoes-y? What song should show up on SIRIUS? The '90's classic by Wilson-Phillips.

I don't wanna think about it
Don't wanna think clear
Don't analyze
What I'm doing here
Wanna be impulsive
And lose myself in your kiss

You're giving me a feeling
It's a sudden rush
Acting on the moment
Spontaneous, woh
Ooh this is not like me
To follow my heart so easily

I know, I know; it's a little slice of '90s cheese, but you can't deny that these are some very wise women. For some reason, that song always struck a chord with you as a child. Were there actually people in the world like that? It all just seemed like a foreign, scary land - someplace your straight-laced, buttoned-up self would never, ever enter. Nope. No way. You must never enter. After all, it's a slippery slope. One day you're harmlessly living it up rebel-style by drinking regular instead of diet Barq's and the next, you find yourself standing in front of an Elvis impersonator/minister in Las Vegas pledging your undying love to someone you met at the casino lunch buffet.
There's a fine line between experiencing life and being stupid. I know you're smart enough to know the difference. And maybe all these wanting-to-be-impulsive fantasies are overrated, anyway. After all, I'm sure that kind of lifestyle gets old after awhile. But in the meantime, who says you have to fold your laundry...? :)

[Photos via We Heart It]
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