Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wise Words on Crying

Do you remember the last time you cried? I've shred a few tears over some petty frustrations, but the last time I had a good cry -- you know, the kind that wells up from the depths of your stomach and unleashes a flood of never-ending tears -- was during the throes of my depression close to five years ago.

I still remember the terror I'd feel when those tears would come on because I felt so out of control. I had no idea where these feelings were coming from, but I was sure of one thing: I couldn't stop them. They raged through me with a force I'd never experienced before. They demanded to be felt and to be heard and to be given some sort of voice, no matter how little. So I cried. And cried. And cried. I hadn't cried that much since my father's suicide. Crying has a sneaky way of making you feel like you're out of control; it's almost like you're on a high-speed merry-go-round that you're stuck on. Crying hijacks your heart and preys on your emotions.

Maybe that's why I started to feel weak. From a young age, we're told that crying is the ultimate sign of weakness. We're discouraged from crying, told to "man up" and "get control" before our emotions get the best of us for good. The last thing we ever want to feel is vulnerable, so we try so hard to keep holding onto that control. Sometimes we can even trick ourselves into believing that we've somehow mastered the art of not crying, as if it was a prize of sorts. Not crying becomes a badge of honor, and we want to wear it proudly.

But here's the catch: We can't keep this sort of strength up forever. The pace becomes even more exhausting than the crying itself. You can't run. You have to face it. Head-on and with all the fearlessness you can muster.

My mom has given me some of the best advice about crying, especially in the first couple years after my father's suicide. She'd always say, "Sometimes it takes more courage to cry. Crying is a sign of strength, not weakness."

She's exactly right, don't you think? Have your views on crying changed over the years? Do you allow yourself to be vulnerable? I know I've said this before, but I'm so grateful for this amazing community. Thank you, friends, for always letting me be vulnerable, and I hope you're never afraid to share your feelings as well... xoxo

Found: The Perfect Watercolor Cookies

Jacquelyn Clark from Lark & Linen has hit the pretty/delicious sweet spot with her watercolor cookies, don't you think, friends? She hand decorated each one, and her boyfriend even joined in on the fun! Jacquelyn suggests making a few "test cookies" to start -- I'm sold! xoxo

P.S. Watercolor prints and watercolor nails.

How Good Is Your Memory?

If there's one thing I hate about getting older, it's the forgetfulness that creeps its way in sometimes. But when I was a kid? Memory was my game! I mastered that game by the time I was in the first grade, and I never looked back.

Here's a fun quiz to test your own memory. How'd you do? Share your results in the comments!

[Photo by Lisa Larsen]

P.S. Remember this embroidered memory game? :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Love Lounge: Four Things I Know About Love

Love is a funny thing. We spend so much time trying to find it, figure it out, trying to explain it and, in some cases, trying to get it back. It's a mysterious little devil, this crazy thing called love. It has the power to both break you into a million tiny pieces and also glue you back together again -- heck, sometimes in the span of one day! From your first kiss to your 50th wedding anniversary, it's love that always keeps you guessing and on your toes.

A few people have told me that I couldn't possibly know anything about love since I've never really had much experience in said department (I'm talking about you, Anonymous...), but I have learned a thing or two over the years; I don't think you can really go through life without being at least touch by it, from seeing it play out around you, from seeing how love weaves its way in and out of people's lives and from seeing the choices that others make. Contrary to what Simon and Garfunkel once mused, no one is an island unto themselves. And right now, as I'm typing this, Michelle Branch's Goodbye To You just came on Pandora. This song never fails to make me all sorts of emotional -- come on, don't pretend like you're immune to it! So! Here are four things I know about love, even though I've never been "in love" (well, love that was reciprocated, anyway)...

1. Love takes time: Not to steal from a classic, but Miss Mariah sure knew what she was talking about. Love -- the kind that is deep and meaningful and long-lasting -- is sort of like the perfect stew. It takes time to cook and has to simmer for awhile before it's "just right." I mean, you don't want undercooked meat and raw vegetables, do you? Of course not! You want things to come together, not forced. You want to have time to get to know those vegetables -- oops, I mean each other!

2. Love teaches you about yourself: Every new experience gives you a glimpse into who you are, what you want and what you most certainly don't want. As important as the other person is to you, love teaches you to look out for yourself and love yourself first. Those romantic butterflies may make it hard to see that sometimes, but it's such an important thing to remember.

3. Love is an unexpected roller coaster: Now, this is most definitely something I know all too well. You can have this vision all mapped out in your head -- a vision of exactly how you think everything is going to go -- and then? BOOOOM!!! The rollercoaster you're on takes an unexpected turn and you find yourself in completely unfamiliar territory. I've even found myself in these murky waters a time or two. I've fallen for guys I NEVER expected to, hung on for a little too long with some guys and even spent an absurd number of hours analyzing every...single...detail. It can be intoxicating, sure, but those unexpected twists and turns can be doozy too.

4. Love, at the end of the day, is beautiful: For as messed up and complicated as love can seem sometimes, I can't help but feel like we make it too hard. I do this all the time, even if most of those complications are largely in my head. Just listen to an '80s love song. You'll know what I'm talking about.
What are some things you've learned over the years, friends? Do you feel like you've gotten wiser? Are there still some things that you just plain don't understand? What advice do you have for all us lovebirds out there? xoxo

[Photos via We Heart It]

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"A woman needs to believe...She can take the road she's never known..." --Jessica Harp

[Photos via My Summer Twist]

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

LWF Designs Portrait Giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from Leah from LWF Designs. She opened her Brooklyn-based custom portrait shop last summer, but her love of art can be traced all the way back to preschool. She's immersed herself in the art and photography world for more than 20 years. "Drawing, painting and doodling relaxes me, and I love the feeling of creating a portrait that makes another family happy or celebrates a milestone," she says of her work.

She's giving a Custom Family Portrait to one lucky reader. You can see examples of Leah's other portraits here, here, here and here. The portrait is a 6 x 8 colored pencil drawing of your family. Each drawing is sketched especially for you with details that show your unique features and comes ready to be framed!

The process, she says, is really exciting: "When beginning a new piece, I study the photograph I'll be painting from, and then sketch the piece in pencil. Painting is the fun part, and I save that until last. If I'm working on more than one piece at once, I sketch them all first and then paint." How awesome is that? This would be the perfect housewarming or graduation gift, don't you think?

For your chance to win, simply visit LWF Designs, and leave a comment below, telling us who you'd include in your portrait if you won. For additional entries, you can (please leave a separate comment for each entry)...

*Follow LWF Designs 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 (see right-hand sidebar...)

A winner will be chosen at random next Tuesday, May 26th, so you've got a whole week to enter! Good luck, friends! xoxo

Pick Your Favorite: Dark Chocolate or Milk Chocolate

Just as I was enjoying my afternoon snack of chocolate (you caught me, friends!), I came across an article about that highly controversial topic: Dark chocolate or milk chocolate...which is better? We all know that in the world of chocolate connoisseurs, there is no middle ground. In the war on chocolate, you must choose a side -- and fast!

Elite Daily tried to make the decision easier for us all with their characteristics of dark and milk chocolate lovers. A little bite-sized sampling of said characteristics...

Dark chocolate lovers are old-world romance; milk chocolate lovers are a first kiss. 
Dark chocolate lovers want to get away to the mountains; milk chocolate lovers want to go to the beach. 
Dark chocolate lovers are health-conscious; milk chocolate lovers have a sweet tooth. 
Dark chocolate lovers like to rationalize; milk chocolate lovers like to indulge. 
Dark chocolate lovers read poetry; milk chocolate lovers read magazines. 
Dark chocolate lovers write letters; milk chocolate lovers write emails. 
Dark chocolate lovers are sensual; milk chocolate lovers are a lot of laughs. 
Dark chocolate lovers make plans; milk chocolate lovers make dates. 
Dark chocolate lovers prefer the classics; milk chocolate lovers enjoy a modern flare. 
Dark chocolate lovers are mysterious; milk chocolate lovers tend to be more “what you see is what you get.” 
Dark chocolate lovers are refined; milk chocolate lovers are rebellious. 
Dark chocolate lovers love a fabulous night out on the town; milk chocolate lovers are a night on the couch. 
Dark chocolate lovers are good for the brain; milk chocolate lovers require no thinking.
Dark chocolate lovers are for deep love; milk chocolate lovers are for that spark.

Oh, yes, I do love my milk chocolate, and, not so surprisingly, the traits for milk chocolate lovers describe me perfectly! Who knew?!?!?!? Time to 'fess up, friends: What side are YOU on?? Have you always been on one side, or are you more of a chocolate flip-flopper? xoxo

[Photo via We Heart It]

Pretty Floral Temporary Tattoos

Temporary tattoo brand Tattly recently launched their collaboration with Rifle Paper Co. in the form of this set of floral tattoos. Aren't they beautiful? I'd say this is a match made in heaven! xoxo

Monday, May 18, 2015

MEMO TO MEN: First Date at Chipotle

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: First-date locations!
DATE: May 18th, 2015
Oh, boys, I've got quite the gem of a proposition for you today. You know how we've talked a lot about dating and how exactly our dates might play out, but one thing we've never really discussed is the specific location where these wild sparks would fly. Now, I may not know everything about the dating scene or have any sort of experience to fall back on, but I do know one basic truth: When it comes to that all-important first date, like real estate, it's all about location, location, location.

And because I'm the sort of girl who does her homework, I've found the perfect spot in which to get to know each other. Based on user data, dating app Clover revealed the top five perfect first-date locales: Starbucks, Chipotle, Panera Bread, The Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse.

Well, I spent some time contemplating, as I usually do, and came to some conclusions about said locales. One, I don't like coffee and can barely tolerate hipsters, so Starbucks is pretty much out. Second, Panera Bread is pretty pricey -- the sort of pricey that should be reserved for, say, the third or fourth date. And, as much as I love Texas Roadhouse, I'm thinking the allure of the peanut pale would distract me from our conversation; I'd be willing to bet that those mouthwatering cheesecakes would have much the same effect.

So it looks like Chipotle is the place to be, and really, I couldn't be happier with this choice. I mean, where else will my massively gigantic burrito simply blend in? Just think about it. We can fill our tortillas with our favorite ingredients (making googly eyes at each other when we both realize that we *just love* extra tomatoes! And rice! And peppers!) and then spend hours getting to know each other. Trust me, it'll be a match made in fine dining heaven! Rest assured that it will most definitely be one hot and spicy affair -- and that's even before the goodnight kiss after you walk me to my front door!
I hope you'll agree with my decision. It occurred to me that my entire plan rests on the assumption that you, too, love Chipotle as much as I do. If you don't, well, then I suppose we could always choose another restaurant from the list. Just no hipsters, please!! I'm sure you understand! xoxo

*Please note that Chipotle had nothing to do with the writing of this post. I just really, really like their burrito bowls. That, and planning my fantasy first date.

[Photos via We Heart It]

The Secret To A Long Life

Meet Emma Morano. She hails from Italy and has led quite the remarkable life -- and quite the long one as well. At 115, she's the oldest living person in Europe. When it comes to the source of her very own fountain of youth, she credits two things: three raw eggs AND remaining single for most of her life. The New York Times ran an inspiring profile of her, and it brought such a huge smile to my face this morning.

"She is also convinced that being single for most of her life, after an unhappy marriage that ended in 1938 following the death of an infant son, has kept her kicking. Separation was rare then, and divorce became legal in Italy only in 1970. She said she had plenty of suitors after that, but never chose another partner. 'I didn't want to be dominated by anyone,'” she said.

I LOVE this! What a wild adventure she must have had plowing through life and charting her own course, especially during a time when it was rare for a woman to be unmarried. But it looks like Morano didn't care, and that is so refreshing. So often, we hear women bemoan, "I'm going to end up an 80-year-old spinster in a tiny apartment with cats," as if that is some sort of fate worse than death. Their lives would be completely ruined if that happened. Very seldom do we hear the term spinster in such a positive light, which is why Morano is making the hearts of single ladies the world over swell with pride!

How awesome is she? Do you know anyone like her in your own life/ Live long and single, friends! xoxo
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