Halston*, We Have A Problem.

by Melisa Wells on July 21, 2014

We moved into this house in December of 2000 and one of the things I wanted to renovate as soon as possible was the double-length closet in our master bedroom.

There wasn’t anything wrong with it, really. It was a standard his-and-hers closet with a rod for the hangers and a shelf above it for boxes or other items.

I had, however, a dream. I had a dream of a beautiful closet with a place for everything and everything in its place. Hoping to make that dream come true sooner rather than later, I had been stalking custom closet organization products; not the expensive, richly-finished, installed-for-you kind, but the kind that consists of wire shelving and drawers along with metal rods at different lengths, sold to regular, good-with-handtools Jacks and Jills for installation on one’s own over a weekend.

Once we found out that we would be receiving a tax refund the following year, I spent a few days designing our perfect closet. One extra long wire shelf would reach from end to end on top of everything. Just under that on Jim’s side, I included double rods halfway across and shelving filling the other half. On my side, I stacked drawers on the left side and then included double rods with the exception of the eight inches closest to the wall. There was only an upper rod there with nothing beneath; THIS would be where I would hang my dresses.

Eight inches of metal rod back then was actually quite generous because I only had a few dresses. I even hung my swimsuit coverup there and still had plenty of room to spare. See?

dress hangers before

Then, in 2011, something switched in my brain and I rediscovered dresses. I wrote about it and you can read it here if you’re interested. Also, a “Ross Dress 4 Less” opened near my house and I can get dresses for less than twenty dollars a piece when I’m lucky. Let me just say I’m lucky a lot.

Suffice it to say that I now have a problem with the dress rod in my closet.

Dresses after

My swimsuit cover-up no longer fits and it, along with a couple of dresses, are squished over on the top rod and they really have no place to go on the bottom. I figure I have a couple of choices. From easiest to most difficult:

1. Get rid of some (more) dresses. I did this a couple of weeks ago, before I took that second picture.
2. Move some dresses to D’s closet where they’ll still be accessible but not clogging up the system in my own closet.
3. Consider re-doing my side of the closet with a longer dress rod.

If you know me, I think you see where I’m going with this. Stay tuned.

*None of my dresses were designed by Halston, by the way. The name just worked with my title. See what I did there?

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The Purple Pig In Pictures

by Melisa Wells on July 14, 2014

Last night, Jim and I drove into the city to meet up with someone I became friends with in eighth grade (C), and his wife (K). We’ve kept in touch all these years and faithfully send holiday cards to each other every December, but we haven’t actually gotten together in twelve years. Or thirteen. We couldn’t figure it out.

I was thrilled when C messaged me a few weeks ago to tell me that they would be in town for a wedding and would love to see us, and that’s how we ended up at The Purple Pig on Michigan Avenue last night. We had a great time.

I hadn’t ever dined at The Purple Pig before, and was excited to go. We loved it. It was busy, noisy, and there was something awesome to see no matter where I looked.

It’s for that reason (and one more, which I’ll get to in a minute) that I developed a slight case of the virtual shakes after promising myself that I was going to stay off of Instagram and other platforms while we were with these friends. I was going to one-hundred-percent focus on who was in front of me and just grab a picture of the four of us at the end of the evening.

It was tough. I mean, we were seated near the kitchen, which was a beehive of activity. And the food we ordered was SO PRETTY. And…well. Sigh.

There was one more reason why I kept my phone in my purse for the entire evening. I had just read the article about the restaurant whose management looked at current surveillance and surveillance tapes from ten years ago and they made the discovery that people messing with their cell phones delays pretty much everything in restaurants and…well, you can read it here.

So in mentioning how hard it was for me to sit there and not take ONE PICTURE, I joked that I was going to commit everything to memory and draw it all up later. We all laughed about it and then a split second later I was mentally commending myself for coming up with today’s blog post, even though I am terrible at drawing. Like, really bad.

Still, without further ado, here’s my experience at The Purple Pig, nineteenth century-style.

The entryway is on Michigan Avenue, and you can easily walk by it if you’re not careful. I love the gate!

Purple Pig Chicago

One wall had a listing of their available cheeses and some really awesome quotes. Sorry; I couldn’t remember any of them. The square pendant lamps were really pretty.

Purple Pig Chicago Wall decor

As I mentioned, we were seated near the kitchen. It was pretty cool. Many of the chefs wore branded headbands and looked pretty bad-ass. By the way, there were people sitting in those barstools—the restaurant was packed the entire time we were there—but I left them out of the picture so you could better see the kitchen. (I couldn’t do THAT with a camera. Take that, technology!)

Purple Pig Chicago kitchen

We were seated at a long community table, which was pretty cool, especially when the people on either side of us made food recommendations for the small plates we were considering. I feel terrible that I couldn’t draw C and K better; I had to change Sharpies and they (especially C) got a little smudgy. They are way more attractive than that in real life. Again, I didn’t draw the people on my side of the table for clarity’s sake.

Purple Pig Chicago community table

And finally, the food. Wow. It was amazing. There wasn’t anything we ordered that I didn’t like. I ended up drawing the first four dishes that I could remember, and I’ll have you know that while Jim chuckled on his way out the door this morning because I was drawing pictures, he DID indeed recognize that #! was the fried Manchego cheese with membrillo, #2 was the roasted bone marrow with herbs, #3 was the charred cauliflower with toasted breadcrumbs, cornichons & parsley, #4 was the salt-roasted beets, whipped goat cheese & pistachio vinaigrette, and #5 was my “Don Draper” glass of rum and Coke. So I guess I’m not too bad at this drawing thing after all.

Purple Pig Chicago menu items

Most importantly, we had a great time. It’s pretty rare to see someone after twelve years (okay, or thirteen) and just pick right back up with easy conversation and lots of laughs, and we did just that. I can’t wait for the next visit. I think I’ll buy some colored pencils for that one.


All You Need To Know About Me Is Right Here.

July 11, 2014

The videos from the 2014 season of LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER are now on YouTube! Naturally I’m a little biased and highly recommend that you watch the Chicago show first (the playlist in show order is HERE). That said, I did visit the Madison, Milwaukee, and NW Indiana shows and they were awesome too, and […]

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Office Space

July 8, 2014

There’s a running joke in this house about Melisa’s office space. I have lots of offices here. Err, I should say “offices”, in quotes. I have a family room “office” (on that couch), a living room “office” (on the other couch), an upstairs “office” (the little rolltop desk in D’s bedroom, which I have actually […]

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One Of The Most Important Posts I Will Write This Year.

July 2, 2014

Ready to do a good deed today? I’ll make it super-easy for you. Start here: One of the reasons I was excited to work on ConAgra Foods’ Hunger-Free Summer Initiative with Feeding America was because I was paired locally with the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD). The GCFD was actually our charity partner for Chicago’s […]

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My Mom Is Pretty And Other Mantras

June 30, 2014

Although I wouldn’t say that I’m a worrier by nature, I do sometimes grab onto an idea or a situation and mentally wring it out for all it’s worth. My latest worry is the quality of my skin. I know how it started. Two things: 1. I recently remembered for no reason whatsoever that I […]

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Spelling Bee.

June 27, 2014

It’s very, very rare that I will repurpose or republish a post I’ve already written but in this case, a post I wrote back in 2009 couldn’t be a more perfect lead-in to tell you about the Drury Lane production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, which I was invited to check out, […]

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Ten Years Ago #Selfiebration

June 23, 2014

This year, BlogHer is celebrating the tenth anniversary of its annual conference and in honor of that milestone, there are lots of activities going on around the Selfiebration hashtag. Last week, BlogHer’s Executive Editor Julie Ross Godar asked, “Where were YOU ten years ago?” If that’s not a great blog post prompt, I don’t know […]

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It’s A Process.

June 18, 2014

In my newfound* quest to try and change up my work routine so that I can achieve some work/life balance, I’ve had a really productive week. And by “productive”, I mean “sort of successful according to my newly-created standards”. I didn’t open my laptop all weekend, instead only using my phone or iPad sporadically to […]

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Balancing Act. (Or, Bringing This Full House Home With Me. Sort Of.)

June 12, 2014

For the past three and a half weeks, I’ve been attempting to make some minor tweaks in how I operate during the day around here. It all started when I was in New Jersey with Liz last month. I did a lot of thinking about how relaxed and happy I am when I’m there, even […]

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