Monday, January 25, 2016

Music Monday: #GIRLBOSS

Do you ever need a playlist to pump you up to get shit done ladies? Well look no further. I've been collecting some of my favorite Girl Boss anthems over the weekend and this playlist has boosted my productivity all morning.

Nothing like Queen Bey encouraging you to slay all damn day.

I will be adding to this as the day goes on I'm sure. If you have any song suggestions shoot them my way!

And remember:

Friday, January 15, 2016


I've talked about my body issues on the blog before and my desire to fix them. I've claimed many a time since packing on the poundage after my diagnosis (and subsequent medication, which caused the weight gain) that I'm going to lose the weight. I'm going to get fit (and have fun! Body Break. Anyone? Bueller?).

How many times have I said this? At the very least 10. How many times have I given up/failed/not even started? At the very least 10.

So what's so different this time? January begs the question: "Is this going to be another failed New Year's resolution?" No. My answer is a hard and firm no. Because this time, I have more of a reason than "I don't want to be fat". This isn't a weight loss. This is a lifestyle change. I'm saying goodbye to the scale. I'm saying goodbye to tracking the pounds. I'm saying goodbye to setting myself up for failure. I'm saying goodbye to an unhealthy lifestyle.

Really, what's different? I have real reasons. Ones that don't revolve around "so I can be thin" or "he won't love me if I'm fat."

1) My dad. After my dad was diagnosed with cancer, it really struck me hard. I quit smoking, I started going for daily walks, I quit eating fast food 4 times a week. Because the biggest thing I took from that is I want to be healthy for him. Because he doesn't need to worry about my health while going through such a shaky period with his. And because I want to reduce my risk for having to go through the same thing. I want to be better for him.

2) Working for a sports organization. I work in a sport building. There's nothing quite like being surrounded by fit and happy people every day. See what I emphasized there? Happy. It's amazing how happy the majority of people in this building are, and I KNOW endorphins have something to do with that. If that's not inspiring I don't know what is.

3) Realistic expectations. At almost 26, I'm finally over comparing my body to everyone else's. Everyone has different genes, different metabolism, different bodies. No two women are the same. I will never not have curves, I will never fit a size 2. AND THAT'S OKAY! I'm more worried about feeling good than looking good. This is about me, not everyone else or their expectations. I want to be fitter so I can be happy, healthy, and around for a long time.

4) Support system. I have people on this journey with me. I'm not going it alone. I have friends who have my back, who go to the gym with me, who support me and remind me that no matter what, I'm beautiful. Also, it's a lot harder to bail on the gym when you have two people harassing you not to quit. I'm also very lucky that my coworkers are also mega supportive. (Again, sports organization, all about being healthy and happy.) Two amazing women I work with are also all about that #fitgirllife. It's great to come in and talk about our struggles, our successes, and our progress. Also knowing I'm not the only person whose muscles are screaming bloody murder at them in the office is nice.

5) I'm doing it for me. There are zero outside influences for once. No shitty boyfriend telling me I'm fat. I'm not doing this for validation from a man. I'm doing this for validation from myself. I'm ready to love myself fully. While I've come along way on my self-love path, and think I'm awesome inside, I want to feel awesome on the outside. I want to feel comfortable in my clothes. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. It's only been a week since I really began this journey, and I already feel better. It's amazing what proper nutrition, a little exercise, and a good night's sleep can do for your mentality.

So if any of you reading this are on a similar journey, or need a little reminder of how great you are, hit me up. I will support you if you need, I will remind you that you are beautiful, and if I can do this, so can you!

Monday, January 11, 2016

What Would I Tell 16 Year Old Me?

Dear 16-year-old Melissa, 

It's hard to believe that 16 was ten years ago. Ten years since you sat in your room listening to Snow Patrol on repeat for the 100th time. Since you spent hours searching for the perfect lyrics for your MSN status. Since sleepovers with your friends where you fantasized about life at 26. Fantasized about being an adult; romanticized it. "Where do you think we'll be in 10 years?" The conversation that never grew old, because the whole world lay before you. But you were so naive. 

Let me tell you about life ten years later. Let me give you a glimpse of life at (almost) 26. 

You will not be married; not even a little bit close. That college boyfriend you dreamed of? It didn't work out. You didn't graduate high school and go to journalism school. You didn't travel the world telling stories. You didn't find the man of your dreams at 21 and marry him. That big house you thought you'd have? It's an apartment with a roommate. Those 2 kids you wanted before 25? They don't exist. That dog you always dreamed of? Well you have her, so that's one point for you. The bank account you thought would be full of money? Laughable.

But let me tell you about that apartment and that roommate. It's the most fun and frustrating thing in the world, learning to live with someone else. And your roommate doesn't judge you when she sees you in your underwear, eating corn dogs and binging Netflix at 1 a.m., crying over old romantic comedies. Could you do that in front of your husband? Maybe, but he sure as hell wouldn't join in. 

Those two kids you thought you'd have? You didn't have them, but one of your best friends did, and they are the light of your life. Plus you get to do all the cool, fun aunt things with them and give them back when they cry or poop. 

That dog you always wanted? Well you didn't wait for the white picket fence and the husband to find her. You chose to go it alone and it's the best decision you've ever made. Because rescuing and caring for a dog on your own is one of the hardest and most satisfying things you could do. 

The money you thought you'd have? It doesn't exist because you chose a different life path. One that involved a lot less money and a lot more helping people. You're richer in so many other ways. 

That accountant/finance guy you pictured as your husband? You met him. You met two of him actually, and they were pretty big assholes. The idea of the perfect man you had in your head doesn't exist. He never could. You've learned to find imperfections beautiful and it's made you much better, much less likely to settle.  

But life at 26 is not lonely. Single is not bad. You have the most amazing group of humans around you. Your parents become your world, so maybe you should have laid off the attitude at 16; they really didn't deserve that. You don't have 100 friends. But the few that you do have, are the purest, kindest, most wonderful people you could have in your life. You may not have met "the one" just yet, but you certainly found your soulmates. 

Life at 26 isn't anywhere near what you imagined - it's better. You've fallen and picked yourself back up. You had your heart broken (a lot) and survived. Your family was shaken to its very core and you learned just what strength is. You're a better human for not having things work out the way you planned. And what's the fun in planning your life anyway?

These are the moments you'll never forget. You're making the most of your twenties in a way you never thought you would. You've come a long way on your journey to love yourself, and none of it had to do with the value placed on you by a man.

So go back to braiding your hair, go back to your sleepovers, and go back to fantasizing, but just know that life is about to throw you for a loop over the next 10 years, and it's the best damn thing you never asked for. 


25-year-old Melissa 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Top 10 of 2015: Part Two

Things got pretty hectic over the holidays. Curve balls were thrown; situations had to be dealt with. Family was focused on. So I did not, as promised, deliver part two of my Top 10 of 2015. I hope you can forgive me. Without further ado, I present my top five!

5. Justin Trudeau

I've never cared about sharing my political affiliations, but when it came to this election I was a little uneasy. We were quite divided in my family so I tended to keep my support for Trudeau quiet. My dad was not pleased with my alliances. But I must say, I voted Liberal and don't regret it one bit.

Yes, he's quite good looking. No, that is not why I voted for him. I believe in what he values. I believe he will do great things for this country. Despite what other people may believe, I believe he truly wants to make this country better.

Also, sassy. When a reporter asked why he had put so many women in his cabinet this was his reply:

4. Manitoba Pumpkin Growing Kid 

I mean, I really have no other words. This kid is my idol. He made national news.. FOR HIS PUMPKIN. Dreams, folks. Follow them. Plus he's from my area so bonus.

3. Year of the Sequels

When in doubt, make a sequel. This seemed to be the general consensus in cinema this year. The sheer volume of box office records being shattered proves they had the right idea. From Jurassic World, to Star Wars, to the new Avengers, there was no shortage of blockbuster hits. And I saw every single one of them.

It's no secret that I'm obsessed with movies. It's also no secret that I'm a giant nerd. This year's selection of blockbuster sequels was enough to bring me to tears.

Seriously, when I went to Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the holidays, I started crying at the opening titles. I cried harder as I realized John Williams can take you to another level with his music. I cried when Han Solo came on screen for the first time in over 30 years. It was just a disaster. Plus I have a new love for Adam Driver and John Boyega.

This has turned into me fangirling over Star Wars but whatever... Just one more thing on that note. Everyone saying Carrie Fisher has not aged well needs to reevaluate their eyesight. The woman is 60 for god's sake. She looks great!

(Also fun fact, my favorite Chanel from Scream Queens is Carrie Fisher's daughter and also has a tiny role in Star Wars. Just all of my favorite things combining. It's great.)

Oh, another crying story... I went and saw Jurassic World of course. I proceeded to cry when the T-Rex showed up. I think I need help...

Andrea likened my predisposition for happy tears to that of Kristen Bell: "Emotionally, if you're not between a 3 and a 7, you're crying." This is 100% accurate but whatever.

2. Amy Schumer

This woman is everything to me right now. Why? CONFIDENCE. 

She had, in my opinion, the funniest movie of 2015. Trainwreck was absolutely brilliant, hilarious, and it featured Amy as the non-size 2 lead who gets to bang John Cena. That's just an all around win for women everywhere.

She's BFFs with Jennifer Lawrence, is effing hilarious, and inspires me to love myself as I am. So thank you Amy. THANK YOU.

1. The Return of Adele

The lack of a new Adele album in my life was taking a serious toll. I mean, I was running out of deep Instagram captions. How else was I to reach out to an ex before Hello? It's pure genius and also made me do some things I regret. But whatever.

Our Queen and savior returned just in time, and then of course that also brought me to tears. Her voice sends actual chills down my spine. She's also unapologetically herself, much like my future BFF Amy Schumer. She's also goofy, humble, and her laugh is absolutely infectious.