Are We Thankful, or Shopaholics?

Hello Lovelies!

I hope you had a great weekend! Though Thanksgiving is a US holiday, I’ve noticed that many countries do some kind of “giving thanks” celebration around this time of year. Even if they don’t do the big dinner, SHOPPING has definitely become a big tradition!

Yes, I’m a shopper who loves a great deal, no doubt. However, I’m not crazy about the Black Friday frenzy. Getting up in the middle of the night to go stand in a long line to MAYBE get a discounted item is not my idea of a good time! In the States, the Black Friday mayhem has gotten so crazy that many stores open on Thanksgiving night! Sometimes fights break out, prompting extra security to patrol these crowds. Have we gone too far?

What happened to spending time with family and friends? Going to a movie? Passing out after gorging ourselves?

For me, I try to find balance between finding meaning in the holiday season while finding a good deal for gifts. Most of all, I think it’s fun to be creative when coming up with a gift for a friend or family member. Since I can’t go home for the holidays, I want people to know that I put some real thought behind what I chose.

Right now, I am thankful for the good health the Hubby and I have, a safe and lovely place to live, careers which challenge and make us happy, and for the love we share. I am especially proud of him today, as he just got promoted! Of course, I had to look fierce for the ceremony!

Dress, Forever 21 Plus.

Dress, Forever 21 Plus.

Heels, GX by Gwen Stefani, Shoe Dazzle.

Heels, GX by Gwen Stefani, Shoe Dazzle.

F21 blue 2

I mentioned in my last post that I got a Fit Bit. Not wanting to take it off today, I decided to create an arm party and dress it up! Not bad, huh?

Just add sparkle!

Just add sparkle!

Lovelies, I am thankful for YOU! I am still running my “My Beauty Faves” giveaway until Dec 12, so scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Rafflecopter icon on the RIGHT! 

Good luck!

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xo Melanie.

 

 

 

 

Summer: A Season for Love

Surrounded by love!

Surrounded by love!

I couldn’t think of a better time for the Hubby and I to visit Two Lovers’ Point here in Guam. In light of the landmark decision by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing marriage rights to all, there’s no better place to be than taking in the sights in a beautiful place!

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Such a great day to celebrate love! The weather was perfect- warm, but not too hot with a slight breeze. Perfect for debuting my new romper from INC and bag from Just Fab. Comfy and cute!

BW INC 1

Got this beauty half off!

Got this beauty half off!

BW INC 3

Though the lovers in the legend die together (very Romeo and Juliet- forbidden love), their devotion reminds me how powerful love is. I cannot imagine my life without my husband, and I am so grateful I can legally be wed. Now all who love can do the same!

He photographs me so well!

He photographs me so well!

Here’s to love! (and laughter, and shoes…)

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xoxo

Melanie.

Go With the Flow

Moving to a new area is exciting, a little scary, and…yes, frustrating. Even in a paradise like Guam, I have had moments where I just wanted some familiarity.  The Hubby and I are in our new home, but it isn’t “home” yet. Our furniture, pictures, favorite games, convenient kitchen gadgets, etc. are still en route to us, and it could possibly take another month for these things to arrive. Trying to find where to get resume’ paper, a hose for the tub (these things are not in the same place!) and spending an afternoon driving around to find these is a bit challenging. Thank God for the beach!

Beautiful and lonely.

Beautiful and lonely.

A couple of days ago, I was really struggling with loneliness. The time difference between here and Michigan is 14 hours, so pretty much the two times of day I can call home is early in the morning, or late at night. Not exactly the most convenient times.

Wish my family could enjoy this with me.

Wish my family could enjoy this with me.

There is the saying, “this too shall pass.” Belongings will arrive, new friends will be made, and I’ll be a whiz at finding bargains.

Until then, I’ll just soak up the sun and go with the flow.

Fringe beach 2

Fringe beach 4

I love fringe, but hate it when a snag happens!

I love fringe, but hate it when a snag happens!

Kimono by Primark, tee by Calvin Klein.

Kimono by Primark, tee by Calvin Klein.

Until next time, lovelies!

Love, laughter, and shoes-

xx Melanie.

 

 

 

 

Thankful for Travel, Thrift Finds, and Beer!

Hello lovelies!

Back home, it’s Thanksgiving and a time for being thankful for all the blessings we have. I am very thankful to have the opportunity to travel while here in Europe, and since it’s our last Thanksgiving in Germany, we decided to head to one of our favorite places to stay, the Edelweiss Resort in Bavaria.

It's like a storybook location!

It’s like a storybook location!

You know the “Sound of Music?” This area is where Julie Andrews was spinning around and singing about the hills being alive! Though there wasn’t any snow (which is a bit unusual this time of year), the view is still gorgeous.

The town of Garmisch is adorable with many unique shops and cozy cafes. Though it’s mainly a U.S. tradition, Germany has jumped on the Black Friday train (though they are more sane about it – no 4 a.m. openings here!). However, I discovered a thrift store on an army base and got this comfy and stylish sweatshirt dress for just $5!

My $5 find!

My $5 find!

Shirtdress pocket

Check out the cool little details on the pocket! The shoulders have faux leather patches. Looks great with my H&M skirt and Just Fab boots!

shirtdress selfie

Shirtdress boots

What else do I love? German beer! Especially when I can go on a brewery tour and taste many different kinds! The hubby and I got to sample all kinds of beer, even one with a chocolate base (Don’t worry; we had someone drive us)! Wolfgang, the brew master, presented us with honorary Brew Master diplomas!

shirtdress wolfgang

Why sure, I'll try another kind...

Why sure, I’ll try another kind…

On a more serious note, I am incredibly thankful for all the love and blessings in my life. Life can be very tough at times (and I have had my share of those moments), so when life is peaceful, I enjoy every bit of those moments.

I am also very thankful to all of YOU for reading my blog! I really appreciate the “likes,” comments, and sharing. Here’s to all of the blessings we enjoy!

Cheers!

Cheers!

 

Reflection of a Journey

Summer is winding down, and as I look ahead, I realize that our time in Germany is coming to a close. In a few short months it will be time to get ready for a new adventure! Such is the life of a military family.

I have really enjoyed living in Europe these past three years.  This girl who grew up in a small town in Michigan used to fantasize about seeing the Eiffel Tower, and I still shake my head in disbelief that I did!

Mel Paris shrt

Ahh Paris! Tourist shirt over an H&M dress.

From Amsterdam, to Paris, Switzerland, Crete, Berlin, Venice, Milan, Verona, Rome, Florence, Innsbruck, Munich – and all of the little towns we visited in Germany, it’s been an amazing ride. I appreciate and treasure the wonderful opportunity for all the travel we’ve been able to do.

Calling Romeo on Juliet's Balcony in Verona!

Calling Romeo on Juliet’s Balcony in Verona!

It’s been a trade off, though. For all the wonderful memories made, we’ve missed out on weddings, a funeral, Christmas parties, birthdays, and everyday hangout time with family and friends. Our time away definitely makes me more appreciative of the time we do get with them, and with every passing year, I know there is less time for all those things. It’s hard being away sometimes.

Wearing an icon from Deb Shops in front of the iconic Gucci store in Rome.

Wearing an icon from Deb Shops in front of the iconic Gucci store in Rome.

Someday we will be back living in the States, and though I will be glad to be closer to loved ones, I know I will be in for culture shock. I will miss the charm of a small village, the castle on a hill, a designer store just minutes away, the ancient architecture.

Will I be able to adapt back to a city with strip malls, Wal Marts, and fast food on every exit? I don’t know.

But until then, I will make as many memories here as possible!

With Cleopatra and Marc Antony in Verona.

With Cleopatra and Marc Antony in Verona.

Love, laughter, and shoes –

xx Melanie.

 

 

Where Did You Inherit Your Love of Fashion?

My mom made her dress (that lace is gorgeous!) and mine for my christening.

My mom made her dress (that lace is gorgeous!) and mine for my christening.

 

Hey all! Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there! It’s a day to celebrate moms everywhere, be they moms to human kids or fur kids. 🙂

I’m paying tribute to my mom, who passed away 17 years ago (and miss so much!) and gave me my love of fashion. She could design and sew just about any style I admired (made a gorgeous prom dress, evening gown, and my 1st wedding dress). If she were here today, I know she would be amazing on Project Runway! Like me, she could appreciate a great vintage find, recycle a hand-me-down, and marvel over a bargain. I sure wish I inherited her ability to sew, but I lack the patience! I miss and love you, Mom.

Speaking of bargains, Mom would’ve loved this dress I got recently from Fashion to Figure. I love the “painting style” of it, and the color is my favorite color of blue! Fashion to Figure is a great site for we curvy gals (sizes 12-24), where the on-trend styles are very affordable, plus the fit and quality receives high marks from me.

Merry Go Round 2

Dress, Fashion to Figure. Tunic, Charlotte Russe.

 

Merry Go Round 3

Merry Go Round 1

Notre Dame blue

Give your Mom a call, a hug, a dinner. And if you’re a Mom, enjoy your special day!

My hubby surprised me with a brunch to celebrate his “furry baby mama.” Ha ha! Love this man.

Bacon, hashbrowns, and cheesy eggs!!

Bacon, hashbrowns, and cheesy eggs!!

Love, laughter, and shoes!

xx Melanie.

Frustration & Fun= Frankfurt for Fourth Wedding Anniversary

With my partner in crime and love of my life!

With my partner in crime and love of my life!

The Hubby and I just celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary, and we decided to do a little overnight getaway in Frankfurt, Germany, which is about an hour and a half from us. We’d only been there to catch a flight from the airport, so we thought seeing the city would be fun.

Little did we know how CRAZY it would be to drive around the city limits! There were so many one way streets, and God help you if you just missed a turn. That happened a couple of times, and due to construction, we ended up driving way back around the city to get back where we belonged.

I could feel my hubby’s rising fury and the number of muttered expletives grew by each minute. It was looking like we weren’t going to be able to park right by our hotel, so I gently suggested we choose a parking lot down the street. Wearily, he obliged!

After checking in the Manhattan Hotel (yep, a place in Germany named after New York!) and having a nap to reset ourselves, we ventured out to dinner. Our original restaurant choice ended up being closed down (boo!) but hey, after many years together, we’ve learned to improvise. A sushi place caught our eye, and though I was a bit overdressed, I didn’t care! Hubby took these great pics of me in the hotel’s lobby before we went out. I wore a favorite look of his, this Forever21 Plus peplum dress.

Hubby loves the hourglass look! Forever21 Plus dress, Graceland flats.

Hubby loves the hourglass look! Forever21 Plus dress, Graceland flats.

Having my hubby as photographer brings out the best in me:)

Having my hubby as photographer brings out the best in me:)

This rhinestone bracelet is one I picked up for $6 at a little shop in Saugatuck, Michigan! I love finds like this!

He makes my heart flutter....

He makes my heart flutter….

We spent the next day at Zoo Frankfurt , which was a lot larger than we’d anticipated! So many types of animals to see! From the big cats to the smallest lizards and everything in between, we ooooed and ahhhed over the wildlife. Definitely worth the visit!!

This "bear" was so nice to pose with me!

This “bear” was so nice to pose with me!

All in all, we had a great time. Frankfurt has a lot to offer visitors, and the subway system is definitely the way to get around! Very easy to navigate your way.

The lesson learned, though – next time, we take a train there!

I love that he can be silly with me!

I love that he can be silly with me!

Most importantly, I am very blessed to be married to my hubby. He is incredibly supportive, giving, funny, witty, has great integrity, and makes me feel amazing! I love him with all my heart! Awwwww.

Enough gushing for now! Until next time – love, laughter, and shoes!

IFB_SEAL_RED

Reworking Vintage by Raiding the Closet!

VINTAGE 1970s gold disco purse!

VINTAGE 1970s gold disco purse!

There is a great thrill when you find that special piece…that dress, accessory, or necklace at a thrift shop, and you CANNOT believe someone gave it up!

This purse is one of those finds. Back in Michigan, I would regularly raid the local Goodwill for treasure. One day, there it was…a 70s disco shoulder strap purse! I swear, I felt like I got a passport into Studio 54 when I left the store.

The only trouble with these treasures is that it can be tricky to find things that complement them well. However, today I rediscovered a sweater dress from Express tucked away from last year that did the trick just fine!

Dress by Express. Bag, vintage. Boots, JustFab. Leggings, Forever 21 Plus.

Dress by Express. Bag, vintage. Boots, JustFab. Leggings, Forever 21 Plus.

I also lucked out and got my hands on some treasure by fellow blogger and friend Signe Savant of thedailysavant.com! She was doing a spring cleaning (which I need to do as well), and this super cool Charlotte Russe choker necklace is mine! Woo hoo! Be sure to check out her tales and fashion as well:)

One blogger's spring cleaning is another blogger's treasure!

One blogger’s spring cleaning is another blogger’s treasure!

I am also very lucky to have a great hookup (my stepmom!) who runs an Ebay store (hollywoodprincessfashion) that has discount designer wear. On many occasions, I’ve received terrific designer shoes, dresses, purses, and jewelry, including these awesome earrings by Betsy Johnson! Thanks, Diane! xoxoxo!

cu betsy johnson

Betsy Johnson leopard earrings, c/o hollywoodprincessfashion

What’s been your favorite vintage find? Please comment!

Love, laughter, and shoes xoxo!

Why Friendships Matter

Remember when you were a kid and all it really took to make a friend was to walk up to someone on the playground and say, “want to play?” Then, BINGO – you were best buds. That is pretty much how my best friend and I met -we were four years old, I was playing with my Barbie and Debby rode up on her bike and asked if she could play. Flash forward, we are still BFFs -MANY years later (no need to give ages away!).

For most of us, making and keeping friendships can get a bit sticky as the years pass, and as adults, it can be even harder to make friends. We’ve all been burned at some point and our guard is up. Many times, we feel the other person wants something from us (want to buy my makeup? Insurance policy? Bank with us?) and the deeper connection with other people can get lost.

Add to the mix a spouse, a job, perhaps kids (or in my case, pets) that take the attention. Friendships can take a backseat to those responsibilities, and it’s easy for the friendship to wane. However, as I’ve become older, I find that I NEED my friendships more than I ever did. Life becomes more complicated as we face loss, breakups, firings, and moves.

As much as I love living in Europe, I miss my friends back home very much. I’ve been very fortunate to have a strong circle of lifelong friends, and when I got the opportunity to visit home last summer, I felt so rejuvenated spending time with my “sister” Debby, my dearest friend Terry from college, and several friends from high school who I haven’t seen in years. These are the people who saw me through the Duran Duran obsession, supported my artistic side, held my hair when I had a little too much to drink, raised eyebrows over fashion choices, let me cry over first loves, and stood with me at my wedding. These are the people who helped to shape who I am now.

Today, I can say since we moved to Germany I’ve added a few people to my life who I feel will still be good friends when we’re sixty-something. The unfortunate thing is, one has gone back to the States and the others are soon to follow. Such is military life! But it is a small world, and I have hope we will cross paths again soon, if only for a visit.

This year I resolve to keep in closer contact with my friends. They are so much more than that word, “friend.” They are my extended family, a part of my blood. I love them all!

Me with Drea and Vanessa-looking fierce!

Me with Drea and Vanessa-looking fierce!

With my "sister" Debby, my lifelong BFF.

With my “sister” Debby, my lifelong BFF.

With my partner in crime, Terry, from the college days!

With my partner in crime, Terry, from the college days!