Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 Ambitions

Now that it's New Year's Eve, I should probably think about what I want to do with 2009. January 1st starts a clean slate. If I want to modify my behaviors and habits, now's a good time. Rob always says that New Year's resolutions are for the weak, but he's just mean. Besides, he's made the "I'm going to have less road rage" resolution about 10 times throughout the last 12 months.

I did a TERRIBLE job of sticking to my goals of last January. But you know what, I had an amazing year anyway! I think my problem was that I might have made the goals too measurable. Instead, I think this year I need to set some ambitions. Suggestions. Keep them vague.

I have one major goal. Do something with Operation NICE.

See? I said "something" which really leaves it quite open for interpretation. Operation NICE is the best thing I've done in 2008, maybe even ever. It has brought me so much happiness, and I can really see this project turning into a significant part of my life. In fact, it already is. So in 2009, I need to develop a plan and figure out exactly what I want to accomplish with Operation NICE. You know, like get on Oprah. (The show, not the woman.)

As far as my other ambitions, there are the standards. Eat better. Exercise (the Wii Fit I got for Christmas should help me out with this one). Spend less. Save more. Be more organized. Be more creative. I try to make those resolutions every morning when I wake up, but I tend to forget them by the time I walk out the door. I think I blow dry them out of my brain or something. So aside from the one mentioned above, I really only have one ambition.

This year, I resolve to be happy, to have fun, and to be as good of a person as I can be.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you!

As a major procrastinator, holiday stress is inevitable. This year it was alleviated a bit, due to the fact that the number of gifts purchased decreased due to an increase in charitable donations in lieu of presents. But still, it's tough to plan it all out. Particularly when you have a husband that renounces all things Christmas.

Overall, I'm very happy! My parents gave us a goat and two chickens. (Well, not to us, but in our honor.) I gave them a nice donation to Feeding America. Along with Rob's family, we'll be making a nice donation to Heifer International. I was able to make a donation to Children for Children. So I feel like I got that whole "giving" thing down pat. Not to mention the fabulous gift that is going to make Rob regret putting me through jingle hell throughout this holiday season.

But anyway, since I probably won't have a chance to say it tomorrow, have a wonderful Christmas! I hope Santa brings you everything your heart desires! (And I hope your heart desires some peace and quiet for little ole me!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Merry Christmas, Geeks!

Technology:A Geek's Guide To Surviving Christmas

That girl wish list is pretty accurate, but as a girl geek, I would also enjoy video games and dvd's.

Monday, December 15, 2008

He'll save children...

...but not the British children.

I can't get this song out of my head!

Warning: NSFW due to hysterically foul language and cartoon violence.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dating Catastrophes

My friend told me that she had so many terrible dates that she could write a book about them all. I suggested a blog! (Of course I did, being blog-obsessed and all.) So, after a little encouragement, she signed up.

It was such a fun concept that I couldn't resist designing it for her! I whipped this up in a jiffy.

Dating Catastrophes

I think this could be really fun, don't you?? I personally don't have any bad date stories. Maybe one, and it wasn't even that bad. I met Rob when I was 20, so I didn't do much dating in my life. No one really "dates" in college. I'm excited to see what kind of stories she gets. Her stories alone are worth the read!

Check it out!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Holiday Photos

Courtesy of the Pho*ho*hoto Booth.

Rob's came out so much better than mine. It's tough to get it to work right with the bangs and the glasses. I know this is something I could easily do using Photoshop, but there's something about their models and backgrounds that just work so well!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Mission: Accomplished!

In my opinion, the food drive was a success! I had a fabulous time organizing it, and I really felt like I did something valuable with my time. I'm basically reposting what I wrote on Operation NICE, but here's how it went.

I didn't get any nasty-grams, like I was afraid of. Phew! Last Monday, I came home to a bag of non-perishables on my doorstep, left by my sweetheart neighbors, Jen and Max. My first donation! I was so thrilled! Mid-week I received a call from another neighbor, letting me know he had some items to drop off. Friday rolled around and there were two more donations waiting for me when I got home. Later that night a neighbor dropped off some bags of food and told me that he was going shopping the next day and would pick up some diapers to donate. Wow! The next morning a sweet woman named Marcia came by with a giant plastic container packed with food.

Then I went out for my drive around the neighborhood. I shrieked with delight each time I saw a bag on a doorstep. And as I walked around, filling up my trunk, I had the biggest smile on my face. One household had four full grocery bags on their porch. I was a little nervous that they had their groceries delivered or something and I'd be taking them unknowingly! But they were all in different bags, so I think I'm safe.

Here's the pile of food and goods that I collected, minus the box of diapers which came later and the two bags of food that I grabbed from my own cabinets.

Food Drive

I went to the Food Bank of South Jersey this morning to drop everything off and the grand total was 277 pounds of food and goods! Woohoo! I'm really looking forward to doing this again next year!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Shins, eh?

I was over visiting Cleverly Eleanor, and she had a post about her 25 most played songs in iTunes. Hmm, I never checked. So I took a peek, and it seems I must have gone through a phase where I played Wincing the Night Away on repeat or something. I'm kind of surprised. I definitely thought I'd be Radiohead, which is great work background music, or Maritime, which I honestly did play on repeat for a while there. But no, The Shins and Aqualung edged out the crowd.

(I'm glad my list doesn't reveal my Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch obsession.)

Speaking of tunes, I got some new stuff from eMusic. That is the best service ever. For $15 a month, I have downloaded SO MANY wonderful albums. My most recent fave is Ra Ra Riot's The Rhumb Line. In addition to that, lately I've downloaded The Duke Spirit, Art Brut, The Unicorns, The Spinto Band, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Okkervil River, Marching Band, Los Campesinos!, and others. Super awesome!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

melissahead, in print!

I was contacted a year ago to submit some images of my cards for a book about handmade greetings. Of the cards I submitted, six had been chosen for the book, and I sent 'em in to the author. I eventually forgot about the whole thing, until a few weeks ago. I decided to look into it, and I saw that the book was available for pre-order on Amazon, so I went and ordered it. It wasn't supposed to be available until January, but lo and behold, it arrived on my doorstep yesterday!

So, here it is!

1,000 Handmade Greetings: Creative Cards and Clever Correspondence

I'm pretty stoked! It's really exciting to see my work in a real, life, published book. It makes me wish I was still crafting and not on "hiatus"!

Rockin' Around My Christmas Tree

As you may know from my previous posts, putting up my Christmas tree is a big deal. It connects me to my grandmother, who really was the only person in my family with any holiday spirit. So now that she's gone, I'm all by my lonesome. My husband runs so quickly from me when I'm decorating, you'd think he was allergic to cheer. He might be, actually.

Like I've done the last few years, I put on a Christmas album and carefully placed each ornament, reminiscing on holidays of yore. It's times like this when I wish I had a large family to share in the spirit of Christmas. But I suppose for now, I'm in this alone.

I was disappointed with the way the green ornaments blended into the tree last year, so I went out a bought blue ones. Now I almost feel like my tree is patriotic, but I still love it. All I need is a lovely red, tree skirt and I'll be all set.

Maybe this Christmas will mean something more
Maybe this year love will appear
Deeper than ever before
And maybe forgiveness will ask us to call
Someone we love
Someone we’ve lost
For reasons we can’t quite recall
Mmm, maybe this Christmas

"Maybe This Christmas" by Ron Sexsmith

Look both ways!

I had a scary morning yesterday. I saw a woman get hit by a car.

The street in front of my building is a narrow one way street. People cross it all the time because the door to my building is in the center. No point in walking to a corner cross walk. Well, anyway, walking back from Starbucks at 7:30 am, I had to cross that road but an SUV flew by, so I waited, then I crossed. Afterward, I noticed the SUV, which had almost made it down to the end of the street, had stopped and started to reverse...quickly. Even though my back was to the road, I had to turn around because I was so surprised at how fast the SUV was traveling backwards. I checked to see if anyone was in the middle of the road, and I saw a 40-something woman start to cross. I had just enough time to think, “Oh no,” when he slammed right into her. Thank god he didn’t run her over!! He must have seen her at the last minute and braked.

I dug through my purse for my phone and called 911 while a small crowd formed, including my coworker who gathered the woman’s things and told her that help was on its way. She wasn’t bleeding, but she looked terrible. Shaking and moaning. When the ambulance came, I heard the driver tell the paramedic that he was only going 10 mph, but that was a complete lie. It put a humongous dent in the back of his SUV!!! So it’s not like he gently pushed her over! I made sure to tell the cop that I saw everything, and I gave him my statement. I know it was an accident, but what that driver did was beyond careless.

A few hours later, my coworker came into my office to let me know that the woman was fine! Her husband came by looking for her cell phone and he said she just had a mild concussion and he was taking her home. Crazy! I was so relieved. But I keep replaying that moment in my head, watching her get hit. I'm still a bit freaked out. It might be dramatic, but I keep thinking that I crossed that road 15 seconds earlier, so it could very well have been me. And being as frail and stickly as I am, I definitely would have snapped in half.

Now I'm going to be extra cautious and look both ways before crossing, even one way streets!

Monday, December 01, 2008

The Demon Barber of Nathan Drive

That's me. For some reason last week, I decided that my outgrown bangs were ruining my "look", so I was going to get a blunt cut. But since it was a holiday week, I couldn't score an appointment with my stylist. Drats! So thanks to some coaxing, (thanks a lot, Jeope) I got the idea in my head that I could cut my own hair. I used to do it. And there were rarely any disasters, except for the time my mother took the scissors to my bangs the day before 9th grade class pictures and they ended up a whole inch shorter than I wanted.

I stopped at the grocery story on the way home from work last Wednesday and bought a $20 pair of barber shears. I stormed into the house and shouted to Rob, "I have to take care of something!" SNIP!


That first snip was a little shorter than I wanted. Dammit!!! Well, it was too late now, so I had to do the whole thing. I walked out of the bathroom with a new 'do and said to Rob, "I think I made a terrible mistake."

The next few days I started to get accustomed to my fringe. And now, I don't hate them at all. I might even like them. I think it'll look even better once my non-bang hair grows longer.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Mine was delightful. Spent the day with Rob's family and then went to my parents' house for the weekend. I have instilled a love of Rock Band in my father. I'm so proud.

This morning I went around the neighborhood hanging door hangers for a neighborhood food drive. I got the idea a few weeks ago and I'm pretty excited about it! My only fear is that some crotchety neighbor will leave me an angry voicemail about leaving garbage on their door. But hopefully people are filled with the holiday spirit. Here are the door hangers I whipped up.

Food Drive

So I suppose that's all that's going on right now. I'm also trying to organize our holiday soirée, but it seems that a lot of people already have plans on the 20th, so it may end up being a small group of us pigging out and playing games. I'd be perfectly happy with that!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How old am I?

I'm 28. But that doesn't mean I'm too old to dress up in costumes and make stupid videos.

Last night there was some Rock Band fun in my living room. Hot Sundae was formed, bonus points if you get the reference. We made a few music videos in the process of taking over the world. Enjoy!

Kay on vocals | Christina on drums | Melissa on guitar |
Crystal as ghostly figure | Cinematography by Rob
Key moment: Rob discovers zoom and Crystal takes the elevator behind the armchair.

Ballroom Blitz
Melissa on vocals | Christina on drums | Kay on guitar | Cinematography by Rob
Key moment: Christina laughing behind her mask and Rob makes a special appearance accidentally during a fancy camera shot.

Say It Ain't So
Christina on vocals | Kay on drums | Melissa on guitar | Cinematography by Rob
Key Moment: Christina standing two inches away from the tv so she could see without her glasses and Kay sweatily tearing off the gorilla mask.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Preparing for the Holidays

It's creeping up quickly. Christmastime. Pretty soon I'll be pulling my grandmother's tree out of the garage and struggling with hanging lights. But I'm vowing to make this Christmas different. Come on, I'm the NICE girl, right? It would be out of character if I didn't try to do something socially responsible.

At Barnes and Noble the other day I picked up this book, 1001 Ways to Do Good. When paging through, one jumped out at me.

#361. Organize a Neighborhood Food Drive

Hmm. Well, I live in the perfect neighborhood. It's a small, confined suburban development filled with townhouses and condos. I could hit a lot of homes in a short amount of time. The more I started thinking about, the more I liked the idea. I could design little cards to leave at their, door hangers! And I could ask people to either bring their bags to my house or leave them on their doorstep at a particular date and time and I could go around the neighborhood picking them up. Easy! I mean, everyone must have some cans or boxes of something they aren't using in their pantry. Right? So I contacted the Food Bank of South Jersey, and they are super supportive of the idea! My goal is to do this the first week of December. I really hope all goes well. If it does, I'd love to make it a yearly tradition!

My other good thought was actually Rob's step mom's idea. She mentioned at the last family function that instead of buying gifts, she'd rather just chip in and buy a family a llama, something her mom continues to do with her friends. We chuckled at the idea, but I really think it's brilliant! Every Christmas, we painlessly stand in front of the grocery story gift card wall and select presents for Rob's family. And you know what? We get the same things in return. Not that I'm not grateful! But it seems a little pointless to give someone a $50 Lowes gift card when they give you the same exact thing right back.

So in that book, they mention Heifer International, where you can provide needy families with resources like cows, llamas, sheep, chicks, etc.

I'm going to print out the info and bring it along to Thanksgiving. I feel like I might be maturing. (Finally, at 28 years old!) Normally, I'm pretty greedy. I want gifts. Good ones. Lots of them. But really, for the first time this year, I don't want anything. And I can say that in all honesty. I always thought my parents were crazy when they said things like that, but maybe they are right. Maybe I got to the age when I have everything that I need. A wonderful husband, a good job, a beautiful home, a loving family. What else could I ask for?

I mean seriously. I already have Rock Band.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Introducing The Bean Freaks

I went to my parents' house last weekend for my mom's birthday. Saturday night we had a friendly family (me, my mom, and my dad) poker game and I happened to win the big pot...20 whole dollars. I gave the $20 to my mom who was headed to Atlantic City on Monday and asked her to make me a rich woman. I wrote "Melissa's Lucky $20" on the bill and handed it to her.

Monday afternoon my mother called my cell phone while I was at work. When I answered, I could hear the huge smile on her face. She popped my $20 into a video poker machine and won $500! 2000 quarters, to be exact. Since she did all the hard work, we're splitting the winnings. But that gave me more than enough to cover the purchase that I have been talking about for weeks!

Oh yes! I am the proud owner of Rock Band! I played for about three hours last night while Rob was out, and I guarantee that this will stop all productivity in my household. No eating. No cleaning. Just rocking! I sang a bunch, but that was really easy. So I switched to the guitar. On the medium level, I was doing pretty well, so I switched over to hard and nearly had an anxiety attack! I should have video taped it. Maybe tonight I'll try drums.

Oh, The Bean Freaks? That's my band name. They asked me so suddenly and that was the first thing that came to mind. Don't ask why. Yeah Bean Freaks!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

And so the obsession starts...

Yes, I bought my first feathered headband a week ago. Yes, I have already purchased another.

But get this! I wore my first one out last Friday and a friend of mine mentioned that his sister makes them. Come on. Now that's like feathered fate, right?? So I took a peek at her etsy shop. Her headbands are gorgeous! I couldn't resist and I bought one right away.

More feathers!

This one is much more "hey look at me!" so I may have to save it for nights and weekends. I don't know if my coworkers could appreciate the fabulousness of such an item. (Hey, side note. Fabulousness is a real word. Hmm.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

EDIT: More photos to share!

I'm editing this post to include all of the "submissions."

This is what happens when you post a photo of yourself on a graphic design forum. Photoshop war! They took my nice, little, happy "Vote here today" photo and turned it into...well, you'll see. I love how two of the designers had the exact same idea at the exact same time! Obviously I was good inspiration!

I enthusiastically voted!

I voted!

It was a tiny room with one voting booth. But it moved along swiftly and I was out in less than 15 minutes. Pretty sweet considering my Philadelphian coworkers had 2 hour long lines.

I hope you all (that live in this country) had a pleasant voting experience!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Post Halloween Blues

I love Halloween. Why? Because I'm all for any excuse to wear a wig and a ridiculous outfit. For example, last year's Björk swan dress. This year I went in a different direction. While in a thrift store a few weeks back, I saw a hideous fur coat on the rack. I thought it might be funny to douse it in red paint and play a PETA victim (though I know they don't do that....anymore). I got Rob to play along as an animal rights activist. I even rigged up the paint can with some red streamers for a high tech paint-tossing effect. Here's the result.

The Money Shot

I was a little concerned with the shortness and sparkliness of the sequined mini. I'm normally one against the skankification of Halloween, and I think quite a few people mistook me for a dead hooker. But all in all, I was satisfied.

It was a great Halloween weekend! We ended up hitting four different events, two on Friday, two on Saturday. I already can't wait for next year. We're toying with the idea of going as two wild and crazy guys, but I suppose we have a year to figure that out.

I hope you all had a splendid Halloween!

Friday, October 31, 2008


I've jumped on the "headbandwagon", which means I bought myself one of those sickenly trendy, yet oh so cute, feathered headbands. I was in Urban Outfitters yesterday, and I just couldn't help myself. I blame Kenley from Project Runway. Despite being a massive beyotch, she was freakin' adorable. I don't know how I feel about it. Something in me tells me that I can't pull it off. I don't have that "retro" look going on, no matter how much eyeliner and red lipstick I slap on. But hey, it's worth a shot.

Well, I've done it.

I'm going to Making Time tonight. (Making Time = sweaty, crazy, indie rock, dj, live band, dance party) I'm pretty stoked. And then we have two parties to attend tomorrow night. Busy weekend!

Today is the Phillies celebration parade. Depending on whether or not I feel like walking in that direction to get lunch, I may pop over to see it. But it's not a priority for me like it is for the other 1.5 million people here. So many of my coworkers have ditched out today, which means it's extra quiet for me. Just how I like it!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ooh, a tag!

I feel so special! Annie of imogene tagged me!

favorite artist/designer: I've always loved Keith Haring
I love to create using: paper
what inspires me: music, really creative advertising, my insanely talented friends
favorite medium besides my own: letterpress, I wish I could do it!
most inspirational city: NYC
ideal weekend off: wandering around a busy city on a beautiful day and sitting on a park bench reading a great book with a cup of coffee in my hand
favorite color: lately it's been plum
favorite musician: (of all time)- tough call, i love stuart murdoch of belle & sebastian, or elliott smith, or thom yorke
favorite movie: I have to steal Annie's answer and say Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
favorite song: "pyramid song" by radiohead or "don't leave the light on, baby" by B&S
favorite song lyric: "Give me my money back. Give me my money back, you bitch. I want my money back. And don't forget. And don't forget to give me back my black t-shirt." Ben Folds Five
If I could have any other job it would be: Does "singer in a crazy punk rock band" count as a job?
I wish: I had more free time to do all of the things that I want to. Take classes, go on vacation, craft, write, draw, hang out with my family, volunteer, read, cook, clean, decorate, organize, sleep, shop, sew, etc.

Okay peeps, here's who I'm tagging: Maria, Devon, and Jules.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Yeah, I'm slacking, I know. Blogging is hard!!

I took off work today so I could work on a project, but I haven't even started and it's 2:15 pm. That's bad. And it's all your fault! I could have started, but nooooo. I had to post for you! You'd better feel special.

Anyway, I wanted to get some work done today because I'm not going to be around this weekend. We're headed up to my parents' house tonight, since they are closer to NYC. Tomorrow we're going on a walking food tour in Greenwich Village with my in-laws. Unfortunately, the weather couldn't be crappier. "Windy with morning showers evolving to a steady, soaking rain in the afternoon." Awesome. That's kind of putting a damper on the fun of the whole thing.

In other news, I wanted to share this with you. Suzie, who is an absolute sweetheart and writes the blog Button & Squiggle sent me a package of goodies! Blog readers, meet Gelb (left). Gelb, meet my blog readers. She was holding a little blog contest for Gelb and she ended up making a bunch of Gelb friends so that she could send one to everyone who had entered! He's so lovely! She also sent me an assortment of paper goodies too, which you know always wins my heart.

But in addition to all that, I got a special treat. Suzie creates these beautiful illustrations, and she drew a picture of me and Gelb! I think it's the best drawing of me that exists! I was so excited about it that I ran out to Target to buy a frame, and I hung it in my office. Isn't it great?!

Me and Gelb

Other than that, I have no news. I'm working on this project, sort of having to do with Operation NICE. If all works out, it could be really amazing, but I don't want to get my hopes up just yet. I'm not going to share in fear of jinxing anything, but I'll let you all in on it when the timing is right.

Rob called me when I was in the middle of this post. After our conversation, he said, "I love you, now go right." I replied, "What?" And he kept saying, "go right, now, go right." So I look right, and there's my window. I'm thinking, is he outside and he's trying to tell me he came home early? "Huh??" Then he says, "Write, like type. Go write!" Ohhhhh. Those dang homonyms. They get me every time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Sleep-talking Nonsense: Part 2

I have mentioned before, sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and just start talking nonsense. I'm half awake, but I really believe that what I'm saying makes perfect sense.

The other night I woke up, turned to Rob, and said, "The ducks can't pronounce the g's." He thinks this is the most hilarious thing. So he tries to convince me that I'm babbling about ducks, but in my head, I feel like I really need to explain what I mean. I'm not insane! So I go off about how the ducks are on a game show, but they just can't pronounce their g's. Finally, when I feel like he just doesn't "get it", I frustratedly roll over and go back to sleep. But I'm awake through this event. When Rob brings it up the next day, I remember the whole thing! It's then, and only then, that I realize I was talking like a crazy person.

Pick a Flick

Once again, I've resorted to posting videos so that I don't have to write much on here. But this is for good reason. There are so many good movies out right now, and I've been trying to get out to see them. But between Rob's soccer practice and the baseball playoffs, he hasn't had much time to see a movie, let alone four or five!

I'd like to see Religulous. Rob, surprisingly, isn't as interested. Mainly because he thinks Bill Maher is a "dick". But I think this will be a nice companion to The Year of Living Biblically, which I'm currently reading and loving. It's making me think about religion differently.

And then there's Towelhead, a movie by the same writer of American Beauty and creator of Six Feet Under. Part humorous, part disturbing.

Trouble the Water is only in the theater here for a few more days, so if I want to see it, I should go on Wednesday. I have a feeling this one will make me feel like crap, and I'll probably cry my eyes out.

And lastly, I kind of sort of want to see Choke and Burn After Reading. I won't post those trailers because they are mainstream. So, have you seen any of these?? What do you think?

Friday, October 03, 2008

I love scarf weather!

I love wearing my plaid tweed blazer, complete with elbow patches along with a wooly scarf. That always seems to be my uniform for attending the Collingswood Book Festival, which happens to be tomorrow. The weather should be perfect. By the time we start (10am), it will be just chilly enough to justify a cup of hot chocolate.

I always leave Rob alone to do his nerd thing while I wander the farmer's market, stuffing my face with cheese samples. Then I'll probably pull up a bench and start reading. Rob thinks it's funny that I'll bring a book to a book festival, but I can't even keep up with the ones I currently have, so I'll take that time to relax, read, and people watch. I might even bring my moleskine to jot down some notes.

Either way, I'm really looking forward to it! I won't even be sad if the Stewart's Root Beer truck isn't there. Okay, maybe a little.

I love scarf weather!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Keeping Busy

Hi everyone! I've been around, I swear. I know you've noticed that my posting has not only diminished in quantity, but also quality. Sorry for the lame video posts, life has been a tiny bit overwhelming lately. Work is...well, work. It's busy season for us. And unfortunately our busy season is much like the baseball season. Excruciatingly long. (Um, I mean, go Sox!)

Aside from work, Operation NICE has been quite the time-sucker lately. I mean that in the best way possible! I love this project, I do. But sometimes it's tough sitting in front of a computer for 9 hours straight and then eating a quick meal only to sit in front of a different computer for a few more hours. Do you know how behind I am in Top Model, Project Runway, and Gossip Girl?! Egads! But in the end, it's all worth it. (Oh, side note. There's a giveaway going on over there now, so you may want to stop by.)

My Roberto has been coaching soccer, which means he isn't around to do his wifely duties like dishes, vacuuming, and laundry. And lord knows I'm not pickin' up those tasks! Therefore, you can imagine the state of our home. I could probably write "WASH ME" in the layer of dust on our hardwood floor.

In hilarious news, my mother called me today to tell me that they had a sewage blockage which resulted in the explosion of their bathroom. An explosion of poop! My clean freak mother bleached the entire area approximately 40 times, but she claims she can still smell poop in the house.

Excuse me for a minute.


Okay, I'm back. I tried to show her how funny this situation is, but she doesn't see it that way. One day she will.

No other news to report, as of yet. I hope you all are doing super duper!

Don't Vote

Seen on Jenn Ski Studio Blog:

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

I'm not Jewish...

...but I'd be willing to make The Great Schlep.

You know, if I had grandparents in Florida. But I don't. So I'll stay put.

Either way, this video cracks me up! Oh Sarah Silverman, please tell me, how can I be as delightfully funny as you are?

Warning: This video has hilarious NSFW language.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mosaic of Mel

Found this on Danielle's blog, Midwest Modern Girl, and I couldn't help myself. There's nothing like a flickr distraction on a rainy Friday.

1. Melissa Vogue, 2. Flickr Loves Sushi. Mmm., 3. Toms River High School North Marching Band, 4. Lime Green Window Shutter, Red Flowers and a Rail, 5. Nick Zinner, Yeah Yeah Yeah's, 6. Fitz's Root Beer, 7. Greece, 8. Chocolate Mint Brownie Sundae , 9. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, 10. 3 / 52: creativity, 11. Le Carnaval de Nice - 1 : flying papers, 12. melissahead buttons!!!

My answers:
1. What is your first name? (melissa)
2. What is your favorite food? (sushi)
3. What high school did you attend? (toms river high school north)
4. What is your favorite color? (lime green)
5. Who is your celebrity crush? (nick zinner)
6. Favorite drink? (root beer)
7. Dream vacation? (greece)
8. Favorite desert? (brownie sundae)
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? (rich and famous)
10. What do you love most in life? (creativity)
11. One word to descibe you? (nice, duh)
12. Your flickr name? (mel829)

So here's the answer the following 12 questions about yourself (my answers are in parentheses):

Wanna play? It's addicting! Type your answer to each of the above questions into Flickr's search. Using only the images that appear on the FIRST page, choose your favorite and copy and paste each of the URL's nto the Mosaic Maker (or make it yourself in photoshop). Have fun (and post a comment here if you do it)!

{photo credits are listed above}

Now what?

Things are going super, thanks for asking! Yesterday, my virtual baby Operation NICE was featured in the Daily Candy weekend guide, which was pretty freakin' awesome. My total hit count for yesterday was 8,345. Just to give you a basis of comparison, I normally average around 400. Insane right?

So, now what? I sort of feel like I just reached a goal, and now I need a new goal. Do I make Operation NICE a non-profit?? I'd love to, but that businessy stuff, well to be honest, it frightens me. But I have thoughts about things I'd like to sell. And you know what else I'd love to do? I'd love to do workshops or give talks about the importance of niceness. Kind of funny to hear coming from a self-proclaimed introvert. But I actually love public speaking. I know, I'm weird. Also, I was talking with some friends of mine about the idea of a book...maybe. I don't know.

I feel like I'm at a crossroads, but instead of two roads in front of me, I have twenty. My dad always said that there is no "wrong" path. Each path will lead you in a different direction, but none of them are "wrong". That's comforting. But I also don't want to take the really windy, treacherous, never-ending path. The short, flower-lined, well-paved path is good for me!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Melissa: The Last 10 Years

Yesterday was my 10 year high school reunion. I debated whether or not I wanted to go for over a month. I was one of those people that graduated and promised myself I'd never go back. But you know what? I'm glad I did. It was an enjoyable experience. I reconnected with some people who I wish I would have known better when I actually was in high school. And I also discovered that things haven't changed much, even though I have.

While watching everyone drink their $50 worth, I realized WHY I was an outcast in high school. It wasn't because I was a geek or a loser. It was because I shared nothing in common with nearly everyone else. I really believe that my high school was filled to the brim with one-dimensional, superficial people. Many of them came from wealthy families. And that just wasn't me. And it isn't me. So going last night was sort of an epiphany. Closure. I was truly happy that I wasn't "accepted" by the "in crowd" back then. As cliché as it sounds, it made me who I am today. And the folks who I enjoy spending time with usually had a similar experience in high school. So there must be something to it!

Also, I was talking with someone about the experience, and they stated that the majority of people peaked in high school. Not me. I'm peaking now. Late bloomer, I suppose!

But I will say this. I looked fabulous! Haha! Thanks to the voters, I went with the shirt dress and ended up getting a FANTASTIC pair of brown and purple snakeskin heels. So, here's me!

And just for fun, I scanned my senior portrait in and did a little comparison. My hair got shorter yet bigger. I'm much paler. But all in all, I think the years have treated me well!

Friday, September 19, 2008

News and Outfit Help

I haven't been around much, I know. But I've been waiting for this for a week or so. Awesome, right?!

Anyway, I'm really posting for a reason. I need help. My 10 year high school reunion is on Saturday, tomorrow. And I don't know what to wear! First of all, I wasn't going to go. But after a month of going back and forth, I'm just going to see what's up. But, since I was a huge dork in high school, I have to do the stereotypical thing and show everyone how FABULOUS I am now. Heh heh.

Do you like any of these outfits???

What do I wear???

I don't know if I do. I couldn't find anything with enough WOW factor. I may have to go shopping after my hair appointment. But I thought I'd get some opinions. Let me know!! THANKS!

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Okay, this had me nearly in tears!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I received my gorgeous wall decal from TastySuite the other day so I attempted to put it up last night. I wasn't quite sure where to put it. I knew it had to be in my office. And there's this huge empty spot above my computer, but nothing seems right there. I was thinking maybe a picture rail with a collection of framed artwork. Who knows.

Anyway, I decided to put the decal above my Expedit bookcase. Seemed like just the right amount of space. I love it!
New Wall Decal

So I haven't been blogging as much lately. I think it's because most of my blog time has been taken up by Operation NICE. Speaking of that, some pretty awesome news to come regarding that next week!

Let's see if I have any updates worth mentioning. Well, I went out to see my friend's cover band in New Hope last Friday and the old DJ dude called me Sarah Palin. Yes, because all women with glasses look alike. I was a tad bit offended, but I suppose that's better than saying that I look like Janet Reno.

The Red Bull Soap Box Derby was not a ball of fun. I was pretty miserable actually. Soaked. Irritated. Sweaty. Squished. All around uncomfortable. But the Ben Folds show was the redeeming event of the day! Dang he's good. And with an orchestra?! Unbelievable. I nearly cried like five times because the music was so moving.

I actually don't even have any purchases to speak of because I've been good! That is most likely because I STILL haven't worn all the new clothes I bought. Once I get through them all, I'll go back to shopping like a maniac. In the meantime, I should put some money into my savings account quickly, before I know any better!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Rain Rain Go Away

Rob and I really try to hit every fun Philadelphia event that we can. Which is why we were super excited to hear a few months ago that the Red Bull Soapbox Race was coming here, on the Manayunk Wall no less! Race day is tomorrow, and it was bound to be a great party with awesome photo potential. "Was" is the operative word here.

But it looks like Mother Nature hates soapbox races because she sure is trying to ruin this one.

They claim that they are racing rain or shine, but heavy rain and wind is definitely going to put a damper on this event. I know there will be a few hardcore partiers out there no matter what the weather, but I'm sure there will be few parties, fewer people, and much soggy discomfort for the folks that stick it out.

Knowing Rob, we're going to try to go no matter what. Unless there's lightning. He hates lightning. So maybe I'll put those rain boots and new trench coat to good use. Either way, I get to end the night with one of my loves, Ben Folds! Plus a full orchestra! And considering the forecast, I'm glad I sprung for regular seats instead of the lawn!

Here's what tomorrow could have been like:

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Dumb Luck?

You can see on the left hand side of my blog that I'm currently reading this book called, The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life. I love it. I'm about halfway through, and last night I read the chapter on Mindfulness. I need some help in this area because I always tend to worry about the past or the future, without focusing on the present. So that's something that I'll work on.

But one part was talking about how lucky people really aren't lucky. They are just more mindful. They notice things around them. They are aware of the good and therefore stumble upon what folks would consider lucky. Sure, makes sense. But for a self-proclaimed mindfully-challenged individual, I've had a lot of luck lately!

I noticed it this morning when I received an email from Rachel over at Red Prairie Press saying that I had won the scarf contest on her blog! Yay! My fingers were crossed for that Pink with Poppies scarf that she had.

Amazing! I was so happy to find out that I won! Then I thought about it and realized that it was the THIRD blog contest that I had won in a matter of a week and a half. Earlier last week I received an email from Justina of perch saying that I won the TastySuite wall decal contest on HER blog! I narrowed it down to two and asked her to choose her favorite, so it would be a surprise.

And then also last week, Niki from Niki's DesignO'Blog let me know that I won her business card giveaway! She said they would contact me and I haven't heard from them yet, so we'll see what happens. But isn't that kind of crazy?? It's not like I'm the only person entering these contest. I'm feeling pretty lucky! Maybe it's good karma. Maybe it's the creative vizualization. I mean, I totally visualized myself wearing that pink scarf, handing out Operation NICE business cards, and applying my wall decals. Maybe it works.

Whatever it is, perhaps I should buy a lottery ticket.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I need help!

I've always joked that I have a shopping problem. But I think it's becoming serious. I honestly can't walk into a store without buying something. Lately, dressing nicely has been very important to me. Not sure why. But while I've always loved clothes, in the last year, I find myself wanting more and more. I need pants in every style and color. I need more skirts and dresses. I need accessories that match every outfit I own.

Luckily, I don't have any credit card debt. I'm fairly responsible when it comes to my finances. The only thing is that I could be saving A LOT more than I am. I'm hoping that once it gets cooler outside, I won't be going out to shop as much. As long as I can cut out the online shopping, I'll be all good.

Just to give you an idea of what I do, this is a list of all of the clothing items I purchased LAST WEEK. Now, just so you know, it's not like I haven't shopped in months or even weeks. I buy clothes every week. The previous week I most likely bought half as many items, but still. I'm going to need a second closet soon.

pink short sleeve button down
gray short sleeve button down
cream lace cami
black lace cami
light brown long sleeve wrap
black long sleeve wrap
yellow ballet flats
tiffany blue ballet flats
yellow corduroy blazer
purple scoop neck tee
purple scarf
white scarf
silver necklace
purple shirt dress
teal short sleeve scoop neck sweater
brown pin striped dress pants
gray dress pants
black pin stripe dress pants
black pin stripe vest
5 pairs of tights (2 black, 2 yellow, 1 burgundy)
black trench coat
gray long sleeve cardigan
pink long sleeve button down shirt
red skinny belt
black skinny belt

This is the only reason I'm happy to go back to I can wear my new clothes. It's excessive, right? I wish I had photos of all these items so I could make a ridiculous mosaic. But check out these two pairs of shoes I bought! Aren't they the cutest?? I blame that purchase on Danielle.

I'm stopping now. I swear. If I post about anything else that I bought, please reprimand me.

28 years young!

Last Friday was my 28th birthday. One year closer to 30, as my grandchildless mother likes to remind me. It was a fun day, particularly since I didn't have to work. I took this photo in the morning, so I have one to document my 28th year. People still think I look like a kid. I suppose that's a good thing.

Melissa @ 28

We started our day with breakfast as a nearby café. I heart breakfast foods. Pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, toast. Mmm. Artery-clogging goodness! Then we went to see the Real Pirates exhibition at the Franklin Institute because I had received free tickets via Starbucks. (Thanks Starbucks!) It was really neat. I was blown away when I saw the real pirate's treasure spilling out of the cliché treasure chest. We were even able to touch some of the "pieces of eight", but Rob refused because "do you know how many people have TOUCHED that????"

Afterwards we headed to Marathon Grill for a burger and then I had a delicious milk shake on the way home. I was able to rest for a few hours before we headed back to the city for bowling with our friends.

The best part of the night was the end of our final game. The boys side finished early because they had one less player. Rob had the lead with a 149. When it came to my 10th frame, I had a 130. I told everyone that I needed either a strike then a spare or a spare then a strike, which was highly unlikely, to beat Rob. But everyone was rooting me on because apparently no one ever wants Rob to lose. Plus it was MY birthday! My first ball ended up being a strike. The crowd cheered! My next ball was a 6. Not great. The pressure was on. I threw that final ball and we all watched intently. It felt like slow motion. SPARE!!! I won with a 150, highest game of the night! Haha! It was glorious!

After bowling we went to the 700 Club and boogied down to some old school hip hop. There's nothing like a little Skee-lo on your birthday. All in all , a way fun night!

I was teasing Rob because he kind of blew it a bit. The bowling party wasn't a surprise, since he had to ask me for my friends' phone numbers. And he didn't buy me a birthday present. No card. No cake. Nothing. And his reasoning? "You don't need anything." Well duh. He said that my present was breakfast, lunch, and bowling. He's right, I don't need anything. But I admit it was a little sad not having any gift to open. And no surprises. Even if he would have picked up some grocery store flowers of something, it would have been a surprise. But Rob has never been the greatest with surprises, so I kind of expect it now. That's why I spoiled the heck out of myself that whole week. Someone's gotta, right? Luckily I take good care of myself since my hubby isn't the "spoiling" type.

But I loved my birthday! And I have a feeling my 28th year is going to be a really great one!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm always late.

I know most of you are probably familiar with what has happened to fellow blogger Stephanie and her husband Christian. If you aren't, please visit this site. For those that are aware, you know that today (Thursday) was declared Nie Nie Day by Design Mom.

Being the procrastinator that I am, I missed the deadline to submit my blog to Design Mom, but I felt I should do my part anyway. Technically it wasn't procrastination. I was away in NYC all day with no laptop. So anyway, I'm holding a silent auction of my own over at Operation NICE. Even if you aren't interested in my things, I'd love it if you could check out the Design Mom blog because she has over 275 listings of silent auctions, so there might be something out there for you! All proceeds go directly to Stephanie and Christian's recovery.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 25, 2008

I Can See (physicially and spiritually)

I came to my parents' house this morning for a few days of quality family time. On the agenda for today was a manicure, eyeglass shopping, lunch, and a trip to Barnes and Noble.

Picking out frames was much easier today than it usually is! I normally go through a good hour of indecision before I decide on a pair that I really feel so-so about in the end. But today I found about five similar frames, and I really did like all of them. But the pair I ended up buying was the easy winner. Check 'em out!

New frames

New frames

While waiting for Lenscrafters, my parents and I went to kill time at Barnes and Noble. At the recommendation of my father, I picked up Creative Visualization. I have this feeling inside of me that I should be doing something more meaningful with my life than formatting faxes or powerpoint presentations, so I'm going to see if I can find a bit of guidance. My father is a brilliant man, and I take his opinions very seriously. He truly believes in the idea of creative visualization, so I'm going to give it a shot.

I visualize myself doing some serious shopping tomorrow with my mom. I think I can make that happen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Excited for a new look!

Next Monday I'm going to spend some time with my parents for a few days. The one thing that I'm excited for is picking out a new pair of glasses! I love buying new glasses. It's like a whole new me. I've been getting a lot of use out of my brown frames, which I got last summer, but I could use a new pair of stylish black frames. You know, to match my hair. Gotta coordinate.

So when my mom asked what I wanted for my upcoming birthday, I already knew my response. We're headed to lenscrafters! I was browsing around their website this morning to get an idea of what they might have, and I picked out a few of my faves.

I am absolutely in love with the top pair. It's exactly what I was looking for. So I hope they look right when I put them on!

So excited!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Weird incident this weekend #1

I feel like since I started the nice blog, there's been this weird gravitational pull around me.

Yesterday, as we were driving to Barnes & Noble, we noticed something in the street in the middle of an intersection. Rob drove past slowly and realized it was someone's wallet, so he pulled over. He brought the wallet back in the car and looked for a phone number. I suppose no one really ever puts their cell # in their wallet, but gosh, I think I'm going to start because tracking this guy down was more difficult than expected!

I did a reverse address lookup on my trusty iPhone and came up with a phone number for a household about 25 miles away. We called a few times. No answer, no voicemail. Rob tried to call the guy's Blockbuster to see if they could give us a number. Turns out he gave them a bogus number because owes them "a lot of money" according to the Blockbuster lady. On our fifth attempt calling the number I dug up, an older man answered. I asked if was the residence of Mr. so and so. He said no.

No? But his address is the same and the last name is the same. Weird.

Anyway, a few hours later, that same number calls me back. It's the wallet-owner's dad. He thought I was a telemarketer, but his son must have contacted him about the wallet because he thought I might be the one who found it. So, long story short, we met up and returned the wallet. Good deed for the day!

Rob said it was a good thing we found it because he feels like only 30% of people would make sure the wallet was returned. I don't know about that. Maybe I have more faith in humanity than is deserved, but I'd like to think that the majority of people would try to return the wallet. What do you think??

I'm so sneaky, in a nice way!

I know I need to keep this blog separate from Operation NICE, but the things I do for that blog always seem to be worth mentioning over here! And I know I'm being redundant because I'm assuming that the people that read this blog also read that one, but I can at least talk about things more personally over here.

My "assignment" for today was to leave little nice notes scattered about. So of course, I had to be the first to perform this task. I whipped up some little notecards and took a quick walk outside this morning. Hey, I needed to get my Starbucks anyway. So I took a brief detour and left four notes in Philadelphia.

This one was on a park bench outside of my office building:
NICE note

Then I walked up a few blocks and stuck this one on a pole at an intersection:
NICE note

I wanted to go over to the Comcast Center, since it's such a busy building with a lot of business-folk that could probably use a little "nice", so I put this one on a fence near the bike rack:
NICE note

And lastly, I snuck one into the napkin dispenser at Starbucks:
NICE note

All of this was done around 9am, which is a crazy busy time in the city, so I felt a little odd sneaking around, taking photos of my notes. I'm sure tons of people saw me and were wondering what the heck I was doing. But on my way back to the office, I saw my bench note was still there. I'm really excited about the idea of someone finding my notes! It would be great if they would visit Operation NICE and let me know how it affected their day. We'll see. And I sure hope some other folks decide to attempt today's assignment.

EDIT: Okay, something is wrong with me. Above the 2nd picture, where I wrote "walked up a few blocks", I had to edit it because I initially wrote "walked up a few blogs". Oh my gosh. I need help.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Start spreading the news

Ahh, that's just what I wanted to see. Rob and I have been waiting patiently for a gorgeous day to head up to NYC for a little meandering. This Saturday is shaping up to be the perfect day for that.

We'll probably just tour our usual favorite areas, the East Village and SoHo. Maybe I'll see if there are any events going on while we're there. I always like visiting the farmer's market in Union Square. (I think it's Union Square, right?)

Seems like every weekend this summer has had a threat of a thunderstorm, so this is just what we need. YAY!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friendly Reminder: Giveaway

That giveaway on Operation NICE is happening tonight at 8pm, so if you'd like to be included in the drawing, send your comment soon!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gasp! She'd been Milli Vanillied!

Olympic girl seen but not heard

What?! They had a little girl lip sync in the opening ceremonies because the SEVEN YEAR OLD with the great voice wasn't CUTE ENOUGH?? Wow. This is even worse than the whole C+C Music Factory debacle. Things that make you go hmmm, indeed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Amish Paradise 2008

Rob and I spent the weekend up at Rob's dad's house for his 4th annual summer bbq extravaganza. It was a great time! The weather couldn't have been more perfect. Rob and I dominated Ladder Ball. I spent some quality time with all of my in laws. I ate so incredibly well.

I should have taken a photo of the actual party to contrast these photos of the area where they live.

Weekend in Amish Country

Friday, August 08, 2008

Giveaway on Operation NICE

Hi folks! Just wanted to post a little note to let you know that I posted a giveaway on Operation NICE today. It's for a beautiful set of letterpress cards from one of my favorite shops, Simplesong. What could be better than that? So go enter the drawing or you might miss out on all the letterpress goodness!

(image from Simplesong)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Starting a Collection

Yes, I shopped again. So sue me. At least I went one day (yesterday) without shopping.

It all started at 12:32. I received an email from russell+hazel that happened to mention a "sidewalk sale." I saw this KIT Business Card Binder and couldn't resist. I always end up throwing business cards away because I don't know what to do with them. But I'd love to keep all the ones I gather, especially the really cool ones. Like a collection.

I also bought the KIT Binder with Paper, just because I have an obsession with binders and notebooks. I don't even use them! It's unhealthy, really.

Then during lunch, I made a teeny tiny little stop at H&M. Well gosh, everything in there is cute and inexpensive! I left with a cute short sleeved, gray and purple argyle turtleneck sweater, a chunky necklace, and the most adorable green dress with little black polka dots. I must take a photo of it because I can't find one online. I think I'm going to put it on before I head out to the movies to see American Teen tonight.

I'm vlogging!

The wonderful camera that crazy Maria sent me is a Flip Ultra. It's so tiny, it fits in my purse! And it's orange and white!! Super cute! I'm going to use it all the time!!!!! (Excuse the gratuitous exclamation points.)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I've Got It!

I know what I can make! I'm going to sew myself a neck tie!

I've mentioned before how I love wearing ties. I own quite a few actually. But I'm always on the lookout for more feminine ties. Obviously they are hard to come by. So maybe I can try to make my own. It looks a bit difficult for a novice sewer like myself. But hey, gotta start somewhere.

Getting Antsy

I need to make something. I have no idea what. I love the mini canvas magnets that Jessica over at How About Orange made. So cute. I've been wanting to try my hand at a little paper collage. Or maybe some bookbinding? I can always fall back on cards. I made a few the other night (first time in a while) and wasn't happy with them.

I feel like I haven't found my niche yet. I'm a lost crafter!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

As Devon wrote in an email on Friday:
"mel solves everything with shopping! lol. ;)"

Truer words were never written.

My shopping problem has been taken to a whole new level lately. Bear in mind, I only use my debit card, so it's not like I'm racking up the credit card debt. If it ever gets to that point, I may need help.

Anyway, I went out for First Friday, and one of our last stops was in J Karma. I was good all night, but when I saw the great bags available at what I consider to be very reasonable prices, I knew I wouldn't leave empty-handed.

I ended up buying this satchel from Sondra Roberts. (Excuse the crappy camera phone photo.)

Mama's Got a Brand New Bag

I am absolutely in love with this bag! It's huge! It's split into two large compartments with little pockets in each. The strap is nice and thick, which is great for me because skinny straps hurt my boney Skeletor shoulders after about ten minutes. And it's very lightweight. When I walked out of the store with this in tow, Rob didn't hide his disapproval. But I don't care, it's such a great bag! Worth every penny!

In other news, we went to my parents' house for the weekend where I lived the Garfield life of eating and sleeping. For your viewing pleasure, here's a camera phone photo of my mother's dog, Mindy. Isn't she the cutest thing??

Adorable Mindy