Monday, February 08, 2016

Love Lounge: Why Is It So Hard To Accept Compliments?

Compliments are a funny thing, aren't they? They're paradoxical, even. I mean, think about it: They're supposed to be these big, positive statements that are meant to make you feel better about yourself. But more often than not, any time someone gives you a compliment, even if it's just a simple "Great job today at that meeting," a huge gulp forms in your throat as you struggle to smile and say "thank you." You feel a bit uncomfortable, to say the least.

Uncomfortable. Maybe that's the right word to best describe how compliments make us feel. So we try to counter these positive words with negative replies, as if negating what was just said will somehow diffuse what we perceive to be an awkward situation.

It's the opposite of the humble-brag because the last thing any of us wants to do is appear vain or overly self-confident. We work hard to become masters at the Art of Downplaying, and before we know it, we can brush off every compliment that comes our way -- practically with ease and the utmost of effortless calm.

It's almost as if we're disconnected from everything we do, like the successes we have in life happen to us rather than being the result of something we did. We're not talented. We're the victims of random happenstance. We couldn't possibly be the cause of our own good fortune -- yet are, of course, the reason behind every single bad thing that's ever happened to us. We're bystanders in our own lives.

Last month, Refinery29 wrote a great trend piece on women and compliments, noting that while women can easily dispense compliments, accepting them is a completely different story.
"Women are typically harsh critics of themselves. So accepting compliments can be difficult if a woman is not self-confident, said Dr. Amy Wechsler, a board-certified dermatologist and psychiatrist. " Women are brought up to apologize for their intellect and to deny positive comments about themselves. I think this is slowly changing, but it's a hard habit to break."
I know I'm not AT ALL immune to the Compliment Conundrum, either. It's become a knee-jerk reaction for me to scrunch up my face and shrug off the "nonsense" whenever someone says something nice about me. Even if I'm inwardly proud of myself, I don't want to appear too boastful to the outside world. And it's sort of weird because I'm more comfortable about being proud of myself in the company of my family, but maybe that's just because I'm much more relaxed and open with them. Is it the absence of shame here that makes the difference?
I suppose my point is this: It's confusing enough trying to navigate the world these days without having to make such a show and effort to fend off genuine and harmless compliments. It's much easier -- and healthy -- to accept them in the spirit with which they are given. Yes, it may take work to re-wire your brain, but I'm willing to bet the end result is more than worth it. So the next time someone compliments you on your sense of humor or your know-how when it comes to presidential trivia, stand tall, hold your head high and say those two little words out loud...

"Thank you."

You'll be glad you did.

[Photos via We Heart It]

Style Guide: Valentine's Day

When we think of Valentine's Day, we typically think of teddy bears, flowers and chocolate. But fashion? That's not usually at the top of the list.

Yet, I'm all about those pink and red hues, and when it comes to style, they can really make or break a festive outfit. So! Let's come out on the 'make' side, shall we? Here are 8 essentials for the perfect Valentine's Day ensemble...
Classic red dress, $42 | Metallic rose gold head scarf, $20 | Mixed Emotions Heart Pin, $10 | Gold heart ring, $24 | Rhinestone necklace, $13.99 | Owl-shaped lip gloss, $3.90 | Faux swede pumps, $24.90 | Coin purse, $58

Which is your favorite, friends?? Any special V-Day ensemble you look forward to bringing out of your closet every year? xoxo

P.S. Look for more Valentine's-themed posts all week long! :)

Man Candy Monday.

Happy Monday, friends! In the wise words of my girls The Bangles, "it's just another manic Monday!" I'll never understand why the weekends seem to go by so darn fast, but to make us feel better, here's a fun guy! He seems pretty independent and carefree -- I mean, he did walk away from the biggest band on the planet right now. His accent is pretty intoxicating. And his smile is quite inviting...

ZAYN MALIK!!!!!!!!!!

"I'm not one to get involved with what anyone says about me."

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
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