• waves
    Pretty Pictures,  Random Thoughts,  Travels

    Crisis Averted.

    Jim and I were on the Emerald Coast of Florida over the weekend. The 24-mile stretch of beach along Highway 30A in the northwestern part of the state is one of the most gorgeous areas I’ve ever seen. The sand is like white sugar and, as you can imagine from the nickname, the water is so many gorgeous shades of green-blue. I took so many pictures at the beach, but that’s what I do. While we usually buy something small for our house when we visit a place for the first time (this time we picked up a handblown glass sand dollar paper weight), my very favorite kind of souvenir…

  • Random Thoughts,  Uncategorized

    Not the First Time I’ve Written About Change and Probably Not the Last, Either.

    We were at the bar for Trivia Night recently when I looked around from my perch in the front corner of the room, our favorite place to sit. As I glanced at what was happening around me I realized that the scene looks basically the same every Tuesday night we’re there. Outside of our comfy chairs, the tables are full of other trivia teams, most of them regulars like us. The beertenders (because this is a beer bar; they don’t serve hard liquor) are smiling and chatting with customers. The young girls who work at the Mexican restaurant next door enter the bar every few minutes with food orders, glancing…

  • 9/11 memorial
    Something That Could Change Your Life

    18 Years and Always Remembering

    In 2012, I started a new personal tradition for the National Day of Remembrance. I had visited the National September 11 Memorial when I was in Manhattan for BlogHer ’12, and was extremely moved by the experience (massive understatement). It occurred to me that, rather than passively watch the televised tributes and read what the rest of the internet had to say about 9/11, each year I would involve myself by actively remembering and learning about a couple of the victims of that terrible day. On September 11, 2001 Ruben S. Ornedo was heading home to Los Angeles on American Airlines Flight 77 from Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.…

  • Field Notes
    Confessions

    I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up.

    That’s what it feels like, anyway. Two years ago and all the time in my life before that I was a complete overachiever + perfectionist + compulsive planner + lots of other things that kept my shoulders firmly planted next to my ears at all times. Some of you who have only met me recently would probably say, “Uh, you still seem a little like that?” Believe me: I have changed. While I can still make things look good, I still care about details, and I am still more organized than the average person, I don’t routinely give myself and everyone else in my immediate vicinity anxiety and/or the shakes…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings

    Precious Time

    One evening early last year our friends were over for dinner and I was telling them that I wanted to put a water feature in our backyard, in between our bedroom windows. I thought it would be nice to lie in bed and hear the water when we were able to have the windows open. My friend’s eight-year-old—who, just like his mom, loves anything having to do with landscaping (weirdos)—spoke up immediately: “I could design one for you, Melisa!” I thought it was an excellent idea and told him to start thinking about it and we’d talk more about it later. Last summer went by in a crazy blur: they…

  • Confessions,  Do I Really Want My Readers To Know This?,  Food,  Fun in Knoxville,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    The Thrill is in the Hunt.

    I used to throw themed parties all the time. My boys were raised with big birthday parties that had tons of elements that coordinated with whatever show, movie, or thing they were into that year. The ability to take a theme and run with it, usually far further than the average person would care to and what I mean by that is “until said theme is nearly dead and gasping for breath but in a good way,” is something I come by honestly: my sister and I both get it from our mom. While I have contributed ideas for themed parties in the past few years when my friends have…

  • Friends,  Fun in Knoxville,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Friender Bender

    I love my car. Wait, let me correct that: I LOVE MY CAR, in BOLD and ALL CAPS. I’ve been driving this Buick Regal GS for five years (Day One pictured above), and you know how usually there’s a honeymoon phase with a new car but after a while your eyes start to wander in the direction of newer cars? That hasn’t happened with me and this vehicle. I mean, my Dream-Car-Since-I-Was-Sixteen is coming up next, but I’m in absolutely no hurry. That’s because this gorgeous red car is so *mwah, kisses fingers* with its sunroof, power everything, leather (and heated) seats, adaptive cruise control, heated steering wheel (just to…

  • Childhood Memories,  Confessions,  Family Fun,  Reflections on Parenting

    Photographic Evidence

    If you know me even just a little bit you are aware that when I take on a project I truly put everything into it (“go big or go home” and all that jazz). While I can annoy myself along the way, I’m rarely disappointed at the end. In fact, Jim reminded me of that just last week. I’m making a Blurb book (just for me) out of all the letters I wrote ahead of my fiftieth birthday last year and decided to add photos. The problem was going to be finding what I needed: like needles in a house-sized haystack. I was talking to Jim about stopping my hunt…

  • Confessions,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    A Body Positivity Story in Two Pieces: An Update…and a Strategy.

    You might remember that I suddenly “lost my mind” last July and started wearing bikinis (the bottoms having fuller coverage because, ahem.) rather than my normal tankinis to the neighborhood pool after not having worn bikinis since I was about six years old. If you don’t remember, let’s get you caught up. Click here, and then come back. I’ll wait. After I jumped in with both feet, so to speak, I wore the bikini tops a lot for the rest of the summer. I got used to how it felt to have less of my body covered in front of other swimmers and was very proud of myself. Still, I…

  • Am Reading,  Motivation,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Read This: The Power of Moments

    Normally I would not devote an entire blog post to a book I have just completed. I’d write up my happy little review on GoodReads and then move on to the next one. This time is different. I just finished The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by brothers Chip and Dan Heath. My brain is buzzing, not only because I loved the book but also because of the clarity it gave me. The Heath brothers write about creating memorable, impactful peaks in our lives and the lives of others. These peaks can be simple acts like complimenting someone on a job well done or shoveling an…