Back To Life, Back To Reality.

by Melisa Wells on September 22, 2014

The past week was absolutely insane for me, and by “insane” I mean “moderately horrible”. I threw my back out two Saturdays ago doing who-knows-what (I think just walking?). Not knowing how an injury originated, by the way, does make the coping with it worse for me, mentally. I had to replace almost all of my normal activities with things like making sure to take ibuprofen regularly, sitting with a heating pad, laying down more than usual, and generally being miserable and crabby.

It was awful.

One bright spot came at the end of the week when I received a surprise flower arrangement from Kalla and the girls at Chicagonista Live (this post is not sponsored, promise!). Early in the summer I attended the Chicagonista Live show and learned all about Kalla, a new florist in the Chicago area. I fell in love with their arrangements and when asked about my favorite I truly couldn’t decide: I said I’d gladly take any of them!

Kalla Chicago

So late on Friday afternoon after having a terrible week with my back and general feelings of “I DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS LAYING AROUND, OMG!” it was an amazing surprise to receive the “Rosa and the Artist” arrangement from Kalla, right out of the blue. Kalla arrangements come in huge, beautiful boxes and it is quite the experience to open it all up and find the most beautiful (and whimsical) flowers I’ve ever seen.

Kalla Chicago

Kalla Chicago

Kalla Chicago

Kalla Chicago

So the flowers definitely set the weekend up right.

My back, however, wasn’t impressed. It kept hurting and I was pretty much useless on Saturday. On Saturday night I started suffering from a massive headache on top of everything else. I’m not sure where that came from but I have a feeling that a week of only sleeping three to four hours a night might have caught up with me.

Yesterday I never even got dressed and ended up staying in bed all day long which, if you know me is so incredibly unlike me it’s not even funny. Here’s what I got done yesterday:

1. Nothing.

Actually, not true. I watched a bazillion episodes of “The Cosby Show”, worked on some LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER paperwork, played “Hay Day” a lot, and formulated an essay in my head. I also obsessed over the things I was unable to do. I’m really good at that.

Today though—TODAY!!!—I woke up after sleeping for nearly seven hours (that’s like, TWO NIGHTS’ WORTH!). Although remnants of my headache are still hanging around and my back is at about 95%, I loaded up on ibuprofen and I am pretty excited about today’s possibilities.

Simple pleasures.

If that isn’t a good way to begin a week, then I don’t know what is. Happy Monday!


Just Do It.

by Melisa Wells on September 16, 2014

Last month I wrote about the sad state of my family room walls. After living in this house for nearly fourteen years and using the family room more than any other room during our waking hours, I never made the time to finish hanging things on them.

Happy update: I finally did it. I received the photo canvas that I ordered online and hung it on the wall over the TV—i.e. the wall I stare at the most—and completed the wall behind my couch, which I adore so much now that it is the home of some of my favorite pictures.

canvas wall finished

family room wall finished

Getting the walls finished motivated me enough to tackle another project that was completely minor in scope but huge in impact: a kitchen cabinet switch.

When we moved into this house we thought that the best cabinet for our spices and other miscellaneous baking supplies was the one in the corner, above the appliance garage. The corner cabinet is shaped a lot like a wide letter “V”, with the door at the base. That’s top view. Wait, am I being confusing? Just nod while you act like you know what I’m saying, and keep reading.

corner cabinet

Anyway, that was an extremely silly and thoughtless decision, because have you seen the size of spice containers and most other baking supplies? They’re small, or as my dad would say, “Ess-Emm-All”. Putting all of those tiny things into a huge cabinet that has only one door and very little visibility from that one opening meant that we would spend (and have spent) nearly fourteen years nervously reaching into the Great Abyss, trying to locate the ground nutmeg or the food coloring and finding the taco seasoning or the garlic salt instead.

On the other hand, when we moved in and I unpacked my Grandma’s Desert Rose china collection, which I adore yet only use once every eighteen months at best, I stored it in two large cabinets that have equally large doors. I can access the heck out of that china I never have to access.

double cabinets

It suddenly occurred to me last year—which isn’t so sudden when you think about it but humor me—that I should put the china in the corner cabinet and the baking supplies in the two large cabinets. Delayed stroke of genius, I know.

I took the afternoon to make the switch two weeks ago and felt a little bit of relief with every move from cabinet to cabinet.

Sidenote: I don’t think Roxie was impressed at my triple-chair solution to the problem of having to jump down and climb back up every ten seconds. I, on the other hand, was totally impressed with myself. It was like I was carrying spices and measuring cups across a babbling brook on hefty stones. Or something like that.


When I was finished, I started screaming at myself with joy, “THIS WAS A FANTASTIC IDEA! WHY DIDN’T YOU DO THIS EARLIER??”

spice cabinets

china cabinet

Kitchen life was immediately simplified. It is a joy to reach into the spice cabinet for ground nutmeg and pull out the ground nutmeg on the first try. I mean, can life get any better than that?

My point is, whether you’ve been “waiting” to do something around your house for nearly fourteen years or just one year (or just a week) and for some reason you’re procrastinating the job even though you are one hundred percent sure that getting it done will make your life easier or happier (or better yet, both!), just do it.


Why are you still here?

Go. Do it.

And then report back to me. I want to know what you did.



Roxie: Keeping Things Unpredictable Since 2004

September 12, 2014

Last weekend my sister and I drove down to our parents’ house in Tennessee on a trip that was planned with less than twelve hours’ notice. For various reasons, I decided to bring Roxie along rather than board her as I normally would, and I was not looking forward to that part of the trip […]

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Take Action On The National Day Of Remembrance

September 11, 2014

In 2012, I started a new 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 […]

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A Little Like Stopping To Smell The Flowers

September 10, 2014

I’ve written a few times about how I don’t look too hard for souvenirs when I travel, because the photographs I bring home on my camera card or in my phone are the best takeaways, in my opinion. The very best thing about traveling is the potential for experiencing people, places, and things that you […]

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Take A Hike.

September 4, 2014

When D was a Cub Scout and going on his first group hikes, he used to stay at the front with the other little boys. They would inevitably increase the distance between us parents and them by speeding up from excitement and not paying attention. “Slow down,” we’d yell. “We need to be able to […]

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Pitbull In Pictures

August 29, 2014

On Wednesday I had the extreme pleasure of, along with my friend Samantha, being an audience member at the taping of the season premiere episode of Steve Harvey’s daytime talk show. Steve is great and all (and in fact I found lots of his small talk between takes to be very inspiring), but the “extreme […]

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Up Close And Personal

August 26, 2014

Yesterday I was walking south on Michigan Avenue from Tribune Tower so I could meet a friend at the Cultural Center. As I approached Lake Street, I glanced upward (as I often do; I’m always looking for photo opportunities!) and noticed a mural on the side of a building that I had never seen before. […]

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It’s Okay To Be Okay.

August 22, 2014

The other day I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time when we crossed paths in the parking lot of our local big box store. I remembered that she had just dropped her second child (her daughter) off at college for her freshman year, officially joining the Empty Nester Club. In […]

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If These Walls Could Talk

August 19, 2014

We’ve lived in this house for nearly fourteen years. Our family room, where we collectively spend the most time (hence the name) is home to an awesome and comfortable sectional couch, a bookshelf, a mission-style recliner, a chest full of quilts, and the television with all of the accessories that go along with it. We […]

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