• 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…

  • Best Thing Ever,  Childhood Memories,  Friends,  Music,  Travels

    My Name Is Melisa and I’m a Born Again Fanilow.

    When I was a kid in the 70’s, Barry Manilow was totally my jam. He was the first artist I truly loved; I collected his record albums (real vinyl ones, kids!) and played them so much I’m surprised the needle didn’t wear the grooves down. Is that even possible? Never mind. I was a Child Fanilow. Exhibit A: When I was 7 or 8 I was taking ballet classes every week. One week, my ballet teacher announced that we had an upcoming Parents’ Night and we were each tasked with picking a song–any song of our choosing!–and choreographing a routine for that special evening. I chose Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” and…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  Friends,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Spreading the Bloggie Love

    Community Yesterday, Today, Always.

    I’ve been thinking about “community” a lot lately. Rather, I think about it all the time but lately I’ve thought about it more than usual, probably because it was conference season and my main job is to maintain and inform the BlogHer Conference attendee community on Facebook. I spent hours upon hours (as I have for the past four years since we started the group) reassuring “newbies”, what we affectionately call our first-time attendees, that they’re going to learn/make friends/have fun/come away inspired. In part due to my involvement and in part due to our conference veterans being the best, most helpful people ever and in part due to other…

  • Friends,  I've Got Mad Skillz,  My Friends Have Mad Skillz,  Too Funny To Ignore

    Karma’s a Beach.

    I’m just finishing another fantastic week hanging with my sistuh-from-anuthuh-muthuh and the rest of my New Jersey family and, as always, there were lots of shenanigans. Some of our adventures made it onto social media and some did not, but there was one particular laugh riot that needed its own blog post. Some things I have learned about Liz over the years: 1. She is not easily grossed out 2. She can be extremely impulsive 3. She is very curious When you know those three things about her, it shouldn’t surprise you that when she is walking on the beach and comes across some foreign object in the sand that…

  • Food,  Friends

    Let’s Make a #HousefulOfCookies!

    Today I’m participating in the #HousefulOfCookies blog hop, hosted by my friend Natasha of Houseful of Nicholes. You can follow the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram to find the recipes that have been posted so far, or if you like to make your life a little easier you can just go to Natasha’s post that lists everyone’s cookies and links. Today I am delighted to share one of my favorite holiday cookies (both to make and to eat), Chocolate Mint Sugar Cookie Drops. The recipe is by NestlĂ©. I started making these cookies more than twenty years ago and their biggest fan in our family is my older son, Dylan.…

  • Friends,  Pretty Pictures

    All Mine! Mine! Mine! Mine! at the Adler Planetarium

    I was going through some old photos to get some quick inspiration when I found the pictures from Kate and “Bean’s” visit to Chicago in the summer of 2010. For those of you who haven’t been here long, Kate is my close friend from high school and Bean is her daughter. I have spent lots of quality time with Bean and her family over the years. I went to Europe with them for a week when Bean was a toddler. I spent a week at their house shortly after Bean’s little brother (formerly known here as Squeaks) was born. (Dinner conversation with five-year-old Bean is here, Kate.) That visit to…

  • Blessings,  Family Fun,  Food,  Friends,  I've Got Mad Skillz

    10 Things That Made Me Happy This Holiday Weekend

    It’s not even Sunday yet and this long holiday weekend has been packed enough for a whole week. It’s been great, too. In fact, I’m wishing it wasn’t ending tomorrow. Anyway, we arrived home after this evening’s festivities a little late and I need to get to bed soon so I made the executive decision to write up a listicle so I can check “Write today’s blog post” off of my to-do list. Ten things that made me happy this holiday weekend? Let’s count ’em down. 1. Jim and Jason came home for the holiday, so all four of us were under the same roof, yay! 2. Thanksgiving was gloriously…