• your vote your voice
    How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  Uncategorized

    Don’t Let the Polls or Anyone Else Dictate How You Vote This Year: Make Up Your Own Mind.

    Jim and I went out the other night and had a great discussion about the 2020 election. It wasn’t the first political discussion we’ve had, by far, but it was a really good one. First let me say that I’m very lucky we can have good political discussions, because he and I have never agreed on what the best candidate should possess, though what we want (or rather, what we don’t want) this year is closer than it has been in the past. It hasn’t always been this way, the “having good political discussions” thing, which was actually the topic of that conversation. Like now, in our younger days he…

  • Motivation,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Change It Up.

    On most Wednesdays around 5:30am when I turn into the parking lot for the strip mall where my boxing gym is located, there is a pickup truck parked diagonally near the entrance, engine running and lights on. I assume he or she is waiting for someone; perhaps it’s a carpool-to-work arrangement. Even though the truck is the only vehicle on that whole side of the parking lot I always go around it the long way instead of turning in front of it to get to my parking space five stores down. I’m not sure why, but it’s become a compulsion. Every week there’s a split second in which I think,…

  • Amazing People,  Blessings,  Childhood Memories,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    The Best Kind of Quilt

    Just like so many others in my family, my Aunt Nancy was an extremely creative person. She was an avid knitter and enjoyed lots of other crafty pursuits, but one in particular eventually took the lead and became her favorite: making quilts. She started quilting in the early 1980s, completing her first quilt in 1983. After that there was no turning back. For nearly four decades she pieced and sewed, gifting her creations to lucky friends and family members like me (I received a quilt for my college dorm room as well as baby quilts for my sons). For as long as I can remember, if she wasn’t holding court…

  • Truffles
    Best Thing Ever,  Favorite Things,  Food,  Something That Could Change Your Life

    Here’s a Chocolate Truffles Recipe That Will Make You Super Popular.

    For the most part, I have trimmed back on my holiday baking every December by quite a bit. Back in the olden days when our boys were younger, I baked a large variety of treats. Now that it’s just Jim and me I usually pick just a couple of our favorites and keep it simple. One recipe that makes the cut every single year is the one I use to make chocolate truffles. They are easy, delicious, and keep in the refrigerator for weeks if they’re in an airtight container. I gift these truffles to friends and have been complimented like crazy on them as if they’re the greatest thing…

  • mail merge
    How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  Tradition

    A Note To Future Melisa Re: Mail Merges

    Dear Future Melisa, Mail merges, huh? They’re hard for us, for some reason. Each and every year when it’s time to get the holiday cards done and out, we pull up the handy-dandy Excel spreadsheet that has all of the addresses on it, updated throughout the year, and get ready to create labels in Word. And then, we go through an infuriating ritual. Looking it up online and then still messing up the process somehow turns what should be a joyful task (“Holiday cards to loved ones! Yay!”) into an absolute chore (“I am going to scream and possibly toss my laptop across the room if I can’t get this…

  • 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.…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Food,  How To,  Something That Could Change Your Life,  Travels

    How to Remove Coconut Meat Without Losing Your Mind

    One of the highlights of our visit to Maui last November was a tropical plantation tour. We learned about so many of the delicious fruits and flowers grown on the island; seeing pineapples, mangoes, avocados, bananas, and many others in their natural habitat was fascinating and we enjoyed the afternoon tremendously. One mind-blowing moment came when our tour guide pulled the tram over so she could demonstrate how to break down a coconut. By the way, I absolutely love coconut but I do not love all of the steps involved in breaking them down. I can gleefully poke a skewer into the eyes and pour out the water, and vigorously…