To Do In June


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Looking for something to do in the month of June? I have two suggestions for you.

Why not try out 30 Days of Creativity? It’s aim is to challenge you to do something creative for thirty whole days in a row. I plan to write every day. Creating sentences like only I know how! … or something like that. Hope for more blog posts.

Want a real challenge? Join Spoonful of Sugar-Free’s Sugar-Free Challenge. Eliminate sugars, hidden sugars and artificial sweeteners from your diet for the first ten days in June. I’m already anxious just thinking about it. But that’s a good thing. It means I need to detox. I’ll write more about this soon… assuming that I actually complete it. (I’ve tried before… I’ll try again…).

How to Write a Maid of Honor Speech

It’s wedding season right now and currently all you maids of honor out there are scrambling to write the perfect toast, compose an amazing speech and basically wow an audiance of people you probably don’t know too wel.. I know how that is, I just went through that. It didn’t matter that I am a writer, I spent hours Googling “How to Write a Maid of Honour Speech” and coming up with links that left something to be desired.

I left statuses up on Facebook asking to read others’ speechs and toasts trying to get a feel for what it is that I wanted to say. I’ve been to only a few weddings in my life time, I’ve never been in a wedding and honestly, I don’t remember anyones’ toasts. (Sorry!) I wanted mine to be memorable, but I knew that it was likely it wouldn’t be memorable to everyone. I was okay with that. And so, without any real response or guidance, ventured on my own to write an awesome toast.

So I’m here to offer my suggestions.

1. Love your Bride to Be. Okay, this might sound like it’s a given, but honestly I know people who were Maids of Honor in weddings they didn’t approve of. (Get out of there, ASAP.) If you don’t love your Bride to Be, if you wouldn’t spend late nights awake wondering what you might say and if you aren’t willing to wake up countless times during the night with random thoughts of words and ideas that must be remembered (And will probably be forgotten) just stop right now.

2. Think about your relationship. This is the most important part. Are you BFF with the Groom? Is your Bride to Be as great as she should be? Are you bitter because she’s a total bridezilla and you pretty much can’t stand her at this point in your life? Do you want to tell everyone about your relationship? Because you should. You should want everyone to know how great/ special/ weird your girl is. And this is where the fun begins.

3. Decide your tone. Are you going for sentimental? Sweet? Are you willing to embarass her or wanting to get back at her for something? This is the second most important part of starting your speech. Decide where you want to go with it.

4. Highlight your relationship and find a way to make it exemplify the Bride to Be as the amazing person/ bitch/ silly girl/ best friend she is to you.

I chose to highlight the strangeness we were as children, and I wanted to build that in a slightly sarcastic way, but I knew that ultimately I wanted to highlight how awesome of a friend she is to me. I also chose to end with a sweet, slightly cheesy note to her Groom that pulled it all together.

5. Start off by introducing yourself. Most of these people don’t know you. Explain to them why you are the Maid of Honor. Make them care. (Example: Shaylin and I have known each other since Kindergarden. When I tell you that, you immediately try to do the math in your head, estimate how long we’ve known each other — going on 21 years — and that instantly makes you care a little more. This is one long friendship, friend!)

6. Don’t ramble on and on. Pick a few points or stories you want to stick with. Revise as many times as possible. Have other people revise for you. Go to your English major friends and ask them to tighten it up for you. Don’t make your toast longer than a page. After that, no one cares.

7. Don’t use inside jokes unless you’re willing to explain the joke in your toast and it’s comnpletely relevant to what it is you’re trying to say. We don’t want to try to figure out what you’re talking about if you aren’t going to put in the effort to tell us. Also, that leaves us out and we are going to most likely tune out after that.

8. Mention the guy, but only if you want to. Some people read my makings of a toast and wondered why I didn’t talk about the Groom more. My reason was because I had nothing specific to say about him that added to my point. At least, not until the parts when I did mention him. And besides, this is my toast but I’m representing the Bride to Be. If you don’t talk about her in your toast… there’s reason to be concerned.

9. Bring it all together nicely. This is hard to do. I spent three days panicking trying to figure out how to end my toast. I knew where I wanted to go with it, but I didn’t know how to get there. Try taking a lot of showers. That’s where my last few sentences just popped into my head.

10. Have fun with it. If you don’t have fun, your audiance will know.

Have any more suggestions? Please share!

If you want to read my toast, head on over to right here.

Living In The Moment


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(This post would best be read while listening to In The Summertime.)

It may only be the end of May, but summer is forcing itself on us quicker than usual. Massachsetts went from dark and cold, rainy days to humidity and sunshine over night. Am I aware that this probably won’t last? Sure. But I’m reveling in it while it’s here. Customers are happier, exclaiming, “Have a good weekend!” and smiling when otherwise they would be somber. Girls are wearing tiny shorts and flip flops and you can’t forget the sunglasses. I love sunglasses, even though I am a wearer of “corrective lenses” and I refuse to submit to the optomistrist-pressure of contacts.

Usually around this time of year, I think about tanning. I lament the fact that I do not have tan skin and I try to ignore the fact that I will never really be tan. Sure, I’ll get a tan. I’ll turn pink first, regardless, and my skin will darken just a little bit. Around this time of year I’m reminded that I should probably get perscription sunglasses. I think about how I miss the days when I had an entire summer stretched before me.

I remember bike rides around the cranberry bogs, buying slushes and making many stops to the public library. There’s a certain carefree feel about these months, even when I do work forty plus hours a week (And during the day, no less! It takes up most of the good beach time). I make pacts with myself not to take advantage of this weather. I want to appreciate it for exactly what it is so that maybe by the time winter comes I won’t be so upset that it’s gone.

I am going to focus on living in the moment more. When I think about the vacation week I have coming up, I’m already dreading the fact that it will be over. When I think about trying to make plans, I don’t want to because it will “waste” a day I have all to myself. Instead I want to plan with gusto, but not over plan. I want to spend my vacation doing everything I wish I could be doing while I’m at work. And I want to return to work feeling refreshed, renewed and relaxed. This requires a lot of sunshine, not a lot of money spending and, I’m just going to come out and say it, yoga.

(I should start my yoga practice now so that by the time it’s vacation week I slide easily taking my practice too seriously).

It’s interesting how I can remember moments of my childhood summers so vividly I could practically taste those memories. Hiding out in my basement after we had to leave John’s Pond because it was thundering, naming a pile of rocks and the area around it Egypt, falling into a thorn bush because there were bugs in my face and I lost balance on my bike, diving into the pool after that to clean my cut up legs, hiding candles by tree trunks so we had something to play with, collecting stones and calling ourselves gypsies, reading Frankenstein while listening to August and Everything After on a camping trip. I used to camp all of the time with my family. I remember going to find a bathroom with my brother, we were probably eight and five. And we got lost on the way back to the camp because we were one road over from where we should have been. There was this place we used to go to that had a slide that went right into the pond. My cousin told me if I went down the slide with my hands in circles over my eyes a certain way, I’d go down faster. I remember trying this out. I remember the slide at my grandparents’ house, we probably spent all summer there.

I remember the summer of 2005 as being one of my favorites. I had themed parties every Thursday, and worked two jobs. Harry Potter parties with costumes and movies. A luau with a drunken girl and my cardboard cutout of Elvis got leied. A ridiculous pizza party. Soda cans keeping cool in the kiddie pool Shaylin and I bought (and hung out in with drinks and fancy glasses).

For some reason I can barely recall memories from other times of the year. Unless they are very specific to a time of year, or place.

I want this summer to be one to remember because every summer, ever moment should be one to remember. And it’s a lot easier to remember it if you were there, soaking in the entire atmosphere, showing up to your life and living in that exact moment.

Things I Love Thursday


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Whole Living magazine
long walks
flip flops
penny days. this song & this video:
new sunglasses
damn you auto correct
gelato dates
Coconut Lime Verbena
manicures
holding hands
Chuck’s Challenge (on the iphone)
picking out recipes I want to try
writing bits and peices that might someday be a story
stocking up on novels to read
photobooth pictures
long e-mails
making mixes for everyone
long weekends (even when mine isn’t really long)
Third Eye Blind playing at work
wearing Chuck Taylors
dancing at weddings
finishing Moleskines
waiting for packages of Lush products
bright green nails
braids
sequins
wearing shirts that are a size smaller than I’m used to
fresh fruit is finally in season (strawberries! mangoes!)
planning time to exercise (even if it really doesn’t happen. I’ll get there…)
portobello mushrooms
“I think I lost weight in my foot” “That’s the first place you lose weight”
Instagram. Wanna be friends? Starsgoneblue is my user name.
Shaylin’s neices/ her flower girls
going out for breakfast. especially at (real) diners
note paper with cupcakes on it
talk of inventing a teleporter
drunk texts from Shaylin
learning that my girl Zooey is going to be on a TV show this fall (The New Girl)
countdowns until my vacation week in June
What do you love this week?

A Toast to Happily Ever After

Hi everybody, my name is Melanie. I’ve known Shaylin since we were in Kindergarten. She liked my Dumbo dress and I continuously forgot her name and had to ask over and over what it was. I went home one day to tell my mom, “I have a new best friend, but I forget her name!” We were always a little weird. In first grade we started what we called the “Cleaner’s Club”. We wrote a theme song and tried to clean my basement. It didn’t really work out. In sixth grade we impressed our classmates with our Alien status. Shaylin was from Pluto and I from Saturn. All those other Earthlings were too normal for us.

In high school Shaylin made bracelets out of tooth brushes and wore them up to her elbows. During a career quiz she announced she wanted to be a green Popsicle when she grew up. We worked together at Peaceful Meadows, scooping ice cream for tourists and trading stories about the regulars. Our senior year of high school I wrote her fairy tales instead of giving her presents.

Then for a while we went our separate ways. Shaylin met Ben at Bridgewater State while I was busy hopping from college to college searching for something. But Shaylin has always been there for me, just one phone call away. She flew to California for the weekend of my 21st birthday so we could celebrate in San Francisco. She was excited to go on a real trip where she could bring a blow dryer. Though I’m pretty sure she never put it to use.

Shaylin has always been one of the most loyal people I know. If she loves you, she’ll stand up for you no matter what. Even if you’re fighting against yourself. I tried to ask if her she could recall any of my embarrassing moments that she’s been there for. She replied with, “You don’t have any embarrassing moments.” How am I supposed to exemplify the fact that she was my friend regardless of whatever happened if nothing embarrassing happened? Well there was that one time after apple picking I ate cheez wiz off my hand. She’s still my friend after that.

Shaylin, I’m sorry you never fulfilled your destiny as a green Popsicle. And even though we’re Earthlings, the future is less than normal… but in a good way. Thank you for choosing me to be your maid of honor. You look beautiful.

Ben, I could not choose a better person for Shaylin. You put up with us even when we’re at our silliest, and that’s important. I can write her fairy tales, but only you can give her happily ever after.

To Shaylin and Ben and Happily Ever After…


Things I Love Thursday

* It’s wedding week and the countdown is verymuch here.
* Francesca Lia Block will be in Boston in June and I am lucky to not only see her, but go hopefully go to a workshop of hers, also.
* Cayenne pepper in tomato soup.
* I’m going to miss the American Idol finale tonight. The top three is amazing, but I’m hoping Lauren Alaina wins.
* Having a dance party in the bar waiting for lanes (that we never got).
* Stick on mustaches.
* Pop rocks and pixi sticks.
* Gummy Beartini drinks
* “Can you make me a copy of this CD?”
* my little windowsill garden
* Ben driving all the way to pick me up and bring me to the mall to get Celestial.
* Sarah Dessen’s new book What Happened to Goodbye 

I have many more things I could add to this list, but I’m going to be late for work if I keep going.

<3

Adventures on Sunset

I’ve gone some distance for concerts. Tulsa, Oklahoma stands out the most. Last year I almost went to Chicago for a weekend. My most memorable experience, however, takes place in California.

I was living in Sonoma County on campus without a car. I had only been in California for a couple weeks at the longest. Hanson was on tour, but not coming to the West Coast at all. How does that even happen? I fly all the way across the country and they stay on the East Coast and Mid
West to tour, taunting me….

Until…

The announcement was made that Hanson would perform in Los Angeles. They would not just do one show, they would do two in one night. An entire acoustic show followed by an electric one. And they were also playing on the Howie Mendel show the night before. (At least, I think it was Howie Mendel. I honestly can’t remember). I know my roommates thought I was insane for wanting to go. Even my mom questions why I still want to see more than one concert per tour. They play the same songs after all. This isn’t always true, though. And it isn’t just the songs I go for. It’s the entire experience that makes me feel like I’m at home even when I’m across the entire country. Once I learned about the shows, my immediate thought was, “How am I going to get to LA?”

There wasn’t even a question whether or not I would go. All I wondered was: how?

And so my adventure began. I bought my tickets before I had a ride there. Worse case scenario, I could hop in the car with a random stranger and risk everything for my first night in The City of Angels, a night of memories and the chance to see my boys three times in two nights .

Did I say worst case scenario? I meant to say, that’s pretty much exactly what I did. I made posts on Hanson community message boards, namely the paid membership side of Hanson.net in search of anyone planning to make the eight hour hike southbound. That’s when I met a fan willing to drive a little out of her way to help me out. It was not happily ever after in friendship-land. I don’t even remember her name. What I do remember is reading Francesca Lia Block books in the backseat; eating Luna bars and listening along to pop music while she and her cousin drove.

We got along okay. I forked over some gas money, pitched in to sleep on the floor of a dingy hotel for our second night and left feeling just fine about my overall experience.

Los Angeles was utterly amazing. My experience was limited mostly to Sunset Boulevard where the street and I became intimate friends for the first night. Camping outside a venue has never been my idea of a good time, no matter how good the possibility I could get a good spot inside would be. (It wasn’t even an impressively close distance. We were not the only girls sleeping against buildings that night). But I decided the entire situation was great life experience and kept on with the plans.

The day of the show I met some nice girls, ate slices of pizza from a little restaurant down the street and wandered the isles of Hustler. I even bought a coffee drink from the café inside Hustler. I saw the guy who played Alfalfa in the Little Rascals movie (Someone asked him, I didn’t recognize him how many years later….), was flashed some girl-flesh when I asked what a girls’ tattoo was and did an endless amount of waiting, something I’d been so used to from going to shows that spending most of an entire day waiting in line didn’t phase me.

Showtime made the drive, sleeping on a sidewalk, waking up shivering and spending a whole day in line worth it. I even left with the cell phone numbers of Isaac, Taylor and Zac, not to their knowledge. At this point the numbers had started to get passed around the fan-base. My ride drunk dialed them and left them a message of their own concert on their voicemail. The entire experience boiled down to the moment those three guys walked onto the stage and I was home, at last, surrounded by music I adore and people who feel the same way.

Have any crazy stories to share? Have you ever camped out for a band, or caught a ride with a near stranger?