Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Food Week: Just Desserts.

My grandmother always used to say, "Wouldn't it be great if people ate their dessert first?" I always wondered why she never did, so today, friends, let's eat our dessert first in honor of her, shall we? I'm going to do it at dinner today. Are you with me? Maybe these treats will entice you...
Reese's Cake
Checker Board Cake
Sweet Candy
Cupcakes + mini cupcakes
Fudge Brownies
Coconut Bars
Peanut Butter Pie
Blueberry Crumb Cake

So now tell me...what's your favorite dessert? xoxo

P.S. Check out Bake or Break for more sweet treats + this awesome directory of food blogs!

P.P.S. An entire site filled with cupcake photos and recipes!

MEMO TO MEN: You (Still) Make Me Smile.

TO: Men all over the planet
FROM: Melissa
RE: You DO really like me...
DATE: June 30, 2010

Hello, boys. Once again, I've combed the Melissa archives to bring you some additional classics. Feel free to take lessons from these lovely lads, and let me know what you think! xoxo

*I usually rawk the awkward moments. lol

*Continue to make Melissa smile more

*I am the coolest badass alive

*Have you been watching "the notebook" again?

*Haha I don't think I've ever seen or heard you swear. Great timing for that lol

*Hot damn is supposed to be good you fool lol

*You made it out to be a negative exclamation for anger or agitation. It is
supposed to be something hella cool,attractive or awesome

*No. I'm usually only sarcastic with you in person


So, what do you think, boys? xoxo

[Photo via Audrey Hepburn Complex]

How I Feel (In 5 Photos) Wednesday.

"In my life, there's been heartache and pain. I don't know if I can face it again." --Foreigner

[Photos via cosmic]

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Food Week: Cheese, Please.

If I had to eat one food for the rest of my life, it would undoubtedly be cheese. I find no shame whatsoever in admitting that. Cheddar. Mozzarella. American.

In fact, every time I travel to Wisconsin (my version of heaven...), my only goal is to eat as much cheese as I can and bring a big brick of the goodness home with me. And my mother claims I had a Mickey Mouse doll when I was little that would say, "I'd like some cheese, please" when you pulled the string on his back. I don't remember this, but maybe that's what started my love affair with cheese.

Just let me eat cheese! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to have myself a nice snack of string cheese! What is your favorite kind, friends?

P.S. There's even a Cheese School in San Francisco! That's chessetastic, isn't it?

[Cheese print by Kilroy and Maw, via Where The Lovely Things Are]

Summer Pleasures: Lazy Daze.

There's something so pure and magical about those lazy, hazy days of summer. It makes me feel like a kid again. Some lazy things I love...

*Running (well, rolling...) through the sprinklers.
*Sitting outside and watching the white, fluffy clouds go by.
*Reading from my endless stack of magazines.
*Watching episodes of The Golden Girls.
*Writing more lyrics.


What about you, friends? What are your lazy summer go-to activities?

[Photos via Much Love]

Tales From The Trenches: Tale #42

Today, our guyspert Kasey teaches us about that crucial relationship component: Trust. Enjoy! xoxo


Rule #9
Learn To Trust

Sorry. You’re going to have to trust someone for this whole “relationship” thing to work out. Quit being paranoid and checking their phone. Just ask them about things you are concerned about. Now, they do have to earn your trust, of course, and as you get to know them better, hopefully your trust in them will grow. If trust diminishes, then you need to dump them. But relationships are all about trust.

It is like that old game you used to play where you close your eyes, fall backwards, and hope that your “friend” will catch you. If they let you fall, you aren’t going to play anymore, no matter how funny it seems to the “non-catcher.”

Dating is just like that game. And if your date doesn’t catch you, go play with someone else. Otherwise, you’ll just end up getting hurt.

[Photo via Le Love]

Monday, June 28, 2010

An Open Letter To Myself.

Dear Melissa:

I know you dubbed this the summer of taking chances, and I wholeheartedly applaud you for that.

After all, you did take two chances. Now, albeit, they're not the sort of chances most people your age would even consider chances, but I am proud of you. Sort of.

So things didn't exactly end the way you wanted them to. Or should I say, things didn't exactly begin the way you wanted them to? OK, so things may have sort of blown up in your face - let's just be honest about that, shall we? That's probably because you feel like your head and your heart are flying a million miles an hour in the opposite direction, and you feel like you'll never be able to bridge the two.
When everything came to that crucial crossroads? You got scared. I get that. This is all new to you, and in the words of Martin on one of your favorite Frasier episodes, "You're just learning how to date. It would have been nice if it had happened 20 years ago, but you play the cards you're dealt."

True, it's never healthy to deny your feelings. But you have to remember that you haven't. You've acknowledged them, indulged them and even tried to put them out there more than once. There's a difference between denying your feelings and realizing that acting on them at this time is most definitely not the right time. Please never forget that there's a difference between recognizing your feelings and then acting on them. I know you, obviously, so I know you're overthinking and analyzing and wondering if you should have done something differently.

Well, I'm here to tell you that you shouldn't have.
So, as you're sitting there right now listening to Carrie Underwood's Unapologize on repeat - don't try to deny it (I'm you, remember...) - just know that you did the right thing when you look back on all this in a year or two or five years. You had no choice but to apologize on the outside, even though on the inside, you did want to snatch back that apology. Your head meant the apology even if you're heart didn't. And for right now, maybe it is best if you listen to your head for awhile. The last thing you want to do is make things worse, right? Don't worry...I already know the answer to that one.

Here's my final take (well, I guess it would be your take too...): Sometimes the right thing, the mature thing, isn't always what we want to do. It can be hard when we get caught up in our feelings, I know. But in the long-run, you did the right thing. For now. Who knows what will happen in the future. And think of it this way...now, you can fantasize all you want about that possible future, because, well, it hasn't happened yet. And you never know what will happen, do you? I love you... xoxo

[Photos via Le Love and Audrey Hepburn Complex]

Food Week: What's Your Favorite Food?

When I first spotted this photo, I immediately thought: That woman and that photo is so unbelievably beautiful. Let's devote this new theme week to the glorious topic of food, shall we, friends? I feel no shame, guilt, remorse or embarrassment in admitting that I am deeply and utterly in love with food. Heck, as odd as it might sound, I suppose I sort of have a romance of sorts with food. It's always there. It brings me comfort. What's better than that? As I always say, "If you're looking for the type of girl who choose a sleek body over a cheese cake, you can just give me the cheese cake right now and continue on your merry search."

That's how comfortable I am with my love of food and my need to break that evil stereotype that have somehow seeped into women's (and men's!) heads: That food is the enemy, that it's to be resisted at all costs and that you're somehow a strong person by not giving in to the temptation.

Isn't that a bunch of bologna (no pun intended...), friends? So let's celebrate to the fullest this week and squash some stereotypes in the process! To start the week off right: What's your favorite food? Don't be shy... xoxo

[Photo via We Heart It]

Man Candy Monday

Happy Monday, friends! Today's feature is one of my favorites. It was his character on a certain Mob drama that I first fell in love with, even though said character was bad to the bone and the furthest thing from a law-abiding man. But the more I got to know the man behind the character, the more I found him to be (thank goodness!) the exact opposite. He's charming. He's personable. And he seems like the ultimate romantic...

MICHAEL IMPERIOLI!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Have A Relaxing Weekend.

Hello, friends, how was your week? What are you doing this weekend? I was outside for the majority of the day yesterday, and my gosh, I think I suffered a bit of heat stroke. So I'll be staying indoors this weekend, probably playing lots of rounds of Bananagrams and knocking back a few cans of the good old stuff - I'm referring to Barq's here, friends!

Oh, and I've got another great theme week planned for next week, so get pumped for that! Any guesses as to the theme? xoxo

While I rest and relax, check out my Top 5 Favorite Blogs this week...

Lovely Little Things: The name says it all!

Pondside: A dreamy and whimsical look at life!

The Design Pages: My weekly lesson in fashion and style!

A Page of Inspiration: A great dose of daily inspiration!

Coeur de La: I've been really into food this summer, and this blog has awesome recipes!

And don't forget to check out these awesome Web finds this week...

I really do love country life...

An interesting photo shoot, no?

Love these vintage masks

Congrats, Elizabeth!

Cruel Summer video -- blast from the past, anyone?

New favorite: MothHouse on etsy!

Jelly belly print!

This photo reminds me of Pippy Longstocking!

A cute camping engagement shoot!

I'm loving Print Liberation's etsy shop!

Genius: Pear cupcake print

Fabulous flowers!

Pops of color!

Great Save-The-Gulf shirt

What does vintage mean to you?

Don't you love these boho brights?

I love the Sunday Steals from Erika, don't you?

More great summer handbags! My mom would love these...

Absolutely adorable!

Yay or nay: Feathers?

Beautiful love quote!

Who could resist these yummy cupcakes?

Red. Velvet. Pancakes.

I love this love story!

Check it out! I was a featured blogger!

I could eat this dessert every single day...

Yay, another sun hat lover!!

Terrific terrariums Sigh...

Are you a city or country gal?

Hmmm, the swoop chair?

Pretty French prints!

Gorgeous garden sheds!

Oh my gosh, it's an OREO pie...

Isn't this a cute baby bag?

On a carousel...

Lovely summer photos!

Pandas are the most adorable creatures on earth, no?

A great way to store books!

Add these items to your summer to-do list!

Doesn't salt water taffy remind you of your childhood?

[Photo via MANDR]

Obsession: Blue Hour Designs.

Have you discovered Blue Hour Designs yet? I fell in love with Alysia's lovely handmade jewelry via her etsy shop, and, well, let's just say I may have gone on a wee bit of a spending spree since. I think I've bought out their entire ring section.

Need proof? In the last year, I've added these rings to my new jewelry box...

Petite green-hued amber ring, $33

Petite amber ring, $38

Red button ring, $35

Petite agate ring, $38

Lemon burst ring, $58

Dark cherry ring, $58

So, what's your favorite item, friends? Do you think I have an obsession? xoxo

P.S. Don't forget to check out her blog too!

Freaky (Funny!) Friday

I was in the South, trying to make the best of the not-so-happy holidays. And then I realized: I did have one thing to put a huge smile on my face...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Letters To My Future Husband: Letter #97

Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:

I'm not exactly sure what it is with me lately, but I'm in more of a confessional mood than ever before. I know what you're probably thinking, "If my wife gets any more honest, our life is going to end up as a cover story in US Weekly."

Oh, I like the sound of wife...
Ooops, where was I? Oh, yes, my confessional mood. Remember last week when I disclosed my addiction to a certain cake and cupcake topping? Well, there's more to the story, Sweetpea. Not that story exactly, but another story. Well, OK, I suppose I'll come right out and say it.

My name is Melissa, and I am a soda pop addict.

Wow, that phrase really does make you feel better, doesn't it? It's true. I have a weakness when it comes to all sodas. Root beer, of course, is my favorite, but I can juggle pop (and that's what we call it in the Midwest...) like some women juggle men. Not literally, of course, but when it comes to that sugary stuffy (the pop, not the men...), let's just say I've never been one to discriminate.
Coke. Pepsi. Sprite. Sierra Mist. Mountain Dew. Grape.

My only rule: Why drink diet when you can savor the flavor of the real thing?

And maybe this is just a weird quirk of mine, but I have this habit of taking photos of me showing off my soda can...and no, that is not a euphemism, Sweetpea. I mean this in the most literal sense. It's like I'm showing off my badness of drinking diet-free pop or something. And apparently, the same is true with awesomely good juice boxes too!
Do you find that odd? Cute? Charming? None of the above? Well, don't worry because we'll have a lifetime to discuss it. And speaking of pop, can I request that you make me a Barq's root beer float on our anniversary every year? How awesome would that be? I know. Completely romantic. Until we meet... xoxo

P.S. Oh, and to the lovely folks at Barq's - call me! You see, I've got bite too, and I'm available for your spokesperson needs!

The Wrong Thing.

I wrote this a few days ago. Why do I say things at the absolute wrong time and sometimes, to the wrong people? Do we all do this? It's just sort of sad to think of what could be, you know...?

I'm don't know why I keep putting my heart on the line for you
You'd think I'd have learned my lesson by now
It just comes back around
But still I wonder if you think of me as much as I think of you
There's just so much I wish we could do

Sometimes I think I say the wrong thing
To people i shouldn't be saying them to
Why can't I stop saying these things to you?

'Cause it's the sound of the rain and the way it takes my breath away
When I'm with you, I just don't know what to do
It's the way you make me laugh that's got me feeling like I never want to go
back to the way we were
So I'll be the one to say it first
Whatever you're feeling, don't think about leaving

The minute the words came out of my mouth
My heart sank 'cause it's something I knew I shouldn't have said
You didn't catch on to what I was talking about
And maybe some of those words I don't really regret

Sometimes I think I say the wrong thing
To people i shouldn't be saying them to
Why can't I stop saying these things to you?

'Cause it's the sound of the rain and the way it takes my breath away
When I'm with you, I just don't know what to do
It's the way you make me laugh that's got me feeling like I never want to go
back to the way we were
So I'll be the one to say it first
Whatever you're feeling, don't think about leaving

So tell me, baby, is this is the wrong thing
Why does it all feel so right to me?

'Cause it's the sound of the rain and the way it takes my breath away
When I'm with you, I just don't know what to do
It's the way you make me laugh that's got me feeling like I never want to go
back to the way we were
So I'll be the one to say it first
Whatever you're feeling, don't think about leaving

'Cause it's the sound of the rain and the way it takes my breath away
When I'm with you, I just don't know what to do
It's the way you make me laugh that's got me feeling like I never want to go
back to the way we were
So I'll be the one to say it first
Whatever you're feeling, don't think about leaving

So tell me, baby, is this is the wrong thing
Why does it all feel so right to me?


[Photo via Le Love]

Inspiration: Chalkboard Love.

I've long dreamed of having wall-to-wall chalkboards in every room of my house (well, maybe not the bathroom....?). I get so many ideas and half the time don't have a pen with me. This way, I could just pick up a piece of chalk (colored chalk, of course...) and write it down, no matter where I was. It must be the writer in me.
What do you think of these chalkboards, friends?
Or ones with frames could be neat too! xoxo

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Letters To My Future Husband: Letter #96

Dear Mr. Melissa Blake:

I wrote this last year, but I thought you should read it. It gives you a good glimpse of how I felt up until, well, 2010. Just a few months ago, actually. How am I doing now wherever we are? Until we meet... xoxo

I've had three great loves in my life, all three of which rejected me. They were all silent rejections too. No words were said, and no reason was given for said rejection, such as “I need my space,” “This just isn’t working for me” or “I met someone else [read: someone who is prettier, smarter, less clingy, etc].

I’d even settle for the classic “I just want to be friends” routine.

But then again, I didn't need them to say the reason out loud. I already knew what it was: my physical disability. It was my own Scarlett Letter, a sort of man repellent, I thought, that seemed to make men want to stay at least 50 feet away from me. At. All. Times.

Some people are afraid to fall in love. Me? I'm afraid I'll never fall in love. Or should I say, I’m afraid I’ll never find that sort of love that is mutual in its rampant passion, altogether sensual in its togetherness and forever in the honeymoon, can’t-keep-our-hands-off-each-other phase. I know, I know. Real-life love isn’t always like that, people tell me, but why can’t we at least believe it’s out there?

I always assumed I’d too find this love someday. Like any younger girl, I’d sit on my bed and fantasize about how it would all play out when I was a “grown up.” My fantasy was always the same, my own private fairy tale. I’d meet my soul mate in a crowded, dimly lit room, he’d instantly fall in love with my awkwardness, I’d think his geeky glasses were the cutest thing ever and we’d walk out hand-in-hand at the end of the night. And we'd be laughing, of course, because we have so much in common.

It’s funny (well, probably more like psychologically significant), but in this fantasy, I’m neither disabled nor able-bodied. It just naturally never entered into the picture. I just am. I’m just me.

But like all fantasies, reality never seemed to measure up. In reality, my disability tended to be in the picture. Quite a lot, actually. In high school, I remained virtually invisible to the opposite sex, which resulted in four years of silent tears and inner angst and frustration. Of course they saw me, just ‘never in that way’ like they saw all the other burgeoning women with their long legs and fresh-face, scar-free skin. In college, things remained pretty status quo; at least I had consistency in love with me.
But somewhere after I graduated from college in 2005, it all caught up with me. I no longer had my books and classes and, well, life to distract me anymore. And what I realized even more than the absence of books was the absence of that story-book romance. I saw it all around me: On a crowded city street, on a bench in a quiet park, at candlelit tables in restaurants. Madly-in-love couples kissed and held hands as if showing that their forever signaled my never.

A crooked nose can be attractive. A round belly can be sexy. A pair of big feet can be downright adorable. But a whole body full of scars and deformities? In our society, where physical beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, I simply didn't fit into any category.

Who would ever love me?

What man could ever want me?

Who would look at me and think I was any ounce of beautiful – a plucky red-haired 27-year-old who spent more times in hospitals than singles bars and had more scars than freckles.


I eventually got tired of letting those questions have free reign in my mind, so I tried overlooking, maybe even denying, the fact that my disability had anything to do with my relationship (or lack thereof) with men.
But the truth was, it did. Or maybe more important, it did to me. In my attempts to deny my disability, I also pushed myself so inward that no one – not even the strongest man – could penetrate the wall I’d built around myself.

But finally, it began to sink in. I had followed other people’s notions of beauty for so long that I’d lost track of my own. I thought that if I could just walk, if I could just cover up those pesky scars, if I could just be blonde and blend into the background for awhile, I could be just another face in the crowd.

Maybe that's part of the reason I became a writer in the first place, not so much to escape my disability altogether, but to take a little breather every once in awhile. In my writing, I could be anyone I wanted to be. I could be the woman who gets the guy. I could be the woman who is chased instead of the one always doing the chasing. I could even be the girl who finds her Happily Ever After.

It was only in that moment when I realized that there is really no such thing as normal, that I could start to feel my insecurities melt away.

Who knows, maybe men were more turned off by my insecurities than my disability all along. I know I’ll never be a 5”7’ blonde model walking the runways of Paris, and that, yes, to some extent, my disability will always stand out. But I also know that’s okay. I’ve finally learned women can’t keep relying on others to guide them on all things beautiful; it’s up to every women to form her own category of beautiful, to find what it is that makes her stand in front of the background.
The more I grow, the more I love the category I’ve created for myself. I love how my red hair turns heads, how I’m not afraid to look people in the eyes when we’re talking, how I’ve discovered a newfound confidence as a freelance writer and how I no longer care if I’m the one who laughs the loudest. I feel more womanly than I’ve ever felt before. I feel confident and sexy. I finally feel like me. A strong woman can live with her disability but not live within it

It just happens to be that my disability is the first thing people see when they look at me. If they dug deeper, they'd see I'm more than the sum total of all my parts, deformity, scars and all. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I’m a best friend. I'm a writer and lover of great movies. I'm feisty and have known to be stubborn more than once. And of course, I am a woman.

And anyway, who says scars can’t be sexy?

[Photos via Just Be Splendid]
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