A Very Crafty Wedding: The One Where I Thank Friends & Family

No need to double check your computer screen, yes, it is indeed I.  With a blog post.  On my actual blog.  I tell ya, the second half of 2014 is really shaping up to be a doozy.  Between starting my own business and getting married, I must admit that, as the kids say, the struggle is real!  My days disappear and it seems like there is never enough time to get to the bottom of my to-do list; mostly because shit just keeps piling on every time I blink.  So things like writing, reading, and essentially anything else relegated to the dreaded “hobby” category has struggled.

And here I find myself on the cusp on October.  The wedding was over two weeks ago and it feels like just yesterday.  I knew I wanted to write this post months ago when I started planning.  I knew I’d  need something to actually close the door behind the wedding.  And while I still have some thank-you cards to mail out, it is time that I actually admit, I’m no longer a bride, I’m a wife.  Being a wife is pretty rad (especially with an incredible hubby), but I have to admit that I’m going to miss looking forward to my “special day”.  I’m going to miss planning and chatting and dreaming.  I’m going to miss conversations with my mom and friends that are literally all wedding, all the time.  Count yourselves lucky dear readers that I haven’t had time to write.  Because this blog would have looked like Pinterest purged itself all up in here!  I’m going to miss spending ridiculous sums of money.  Wait, that last one is a lie, and besides, I can’t miss it when I’ll still be paying for those four blissful hours over the next several months.

So good-bye wedding!  You were awesome.  I bid you adieu with part one of my wedding highlight countdown.  And I start with the biggest highlight of all besides the wonderful man I married:  my friends and family.

My friends and family seriously rock.

So you’re convinced you have good friends huh?  And you’d swear your folks were the bomb?  Well they’ve got nothing on mine.  Check it:

Kasi (aka bestie #1, the bossy one, knows her role):  She flew in from NOLA and just said, “I got this.”  Need someone to make sure you don’t pass out cause you forgot to eat?  Again?  Yeah, done.  I was tranported back to being a kid as she coaxed, “just a few more bites.”  Need someone to kick the party out so you can get some sleep?  She’ll be sweeping folks out with a broom.  She knew her role was to mitigate my stress.  No telling how many issues popped up that I still don’t even know about.

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Bee (aka bestie #2, gay #1, power cleaner and other roles):  Oh, you like my bouquet?  Yeah, this dude made it with his bare hands and his creative-ass mind.  Boutonnieres?  Them too.  One hour before people arrived at my house for rehearsal dinner he was Dysoning the house like a mad man.  Before he mopped.  Did the house need it?  No, but he knows his best friend is a nut case when it comes to her house.

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Jim (aka bestie #3, gay #2, brunch coordinator jones, florist):  Spend $2000+ on a florist?  Why?  I spent $200 and my flowers looked like a divine hand crafted each arrangement.  Because it did.  Jim’s hand.  He’s also responsible for making sure I had a good cry the night before to “get it all out”.  Asshole.  His GoPro skills still need some work, but his hosting skills are top notch.

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Bradley (aka Bee’s boyfriend, gay #3, moving up the ranks to bestie status, fan scrubber, grocery getter):  Bradley just got shit done.  I didn’t even ask, things just happened.  Lots of things.  I can’t even list them because they were just happening, all the time, all weekend.  If he were trying to butter me up to ask for Bee’s hand in marriage, it worked.  Pretty sure that’s like a thing, asking the best fruit fly’s permission, right?

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Nelson (aka my new brother, the Matt chiller-outer, the Gator cusser):  I didn’t have to worry about keeping up with Matt all weekend (not that I would), because Nelson was right by his side.  He helped him cuss the Gators.  He helped him drink lots of beer.  He made sure of the some other stuff too.  I think.  Oh, he brought Growlers of some great beer from AL.  Easiest way into my heart.

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My brother Dustin & my sister-in-law Brooke (aka partners in beer, packers of baskets):  Brooke made sure I toasted the morning of in style with some mimosas.  Dustin lifted heavy stuff with his big man arms.  And they both made sure Matt and I left with at least a bit of wedding food.  It’s true, you really don’t have time to eat at your own wedding!

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My cousins Molly & Brien and their daughter Savannah (aka the diva wagon, travel agents, charm wranglers):  These guys made sure I had the cutest flower girl in the history of weddings.  Check history.  It’s true.  Brien hooked up a sweet hotel.  And they carted my great aunt and uncle to ATL to join the weekend long party.  Awesome.

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My friend Kristie and her son Grady (aka dragon slayer):  One, let it be noted that Kristie was on time for 3 events on 3 consecutive days.  That’s a life record.  Thanks lady.  She also ensured that Grady made sure he was extra adorable and defended me against any and all dragons lurking around the wedding.

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My officiant Jonathan (aka my work bud, Napolean Dynomite with a law degree):  I wanted someone close to my growth over the last few years to do the honors.  J-Hill stepped up, got ordained, and made it all legal.  Bonus points for reading my ceremony as written, Huey Lewis lyrics and all.

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Full Service (aka the jams, supplier of sick beats, my #1 choice for my wedding day tunes):  I can’t say enough to express how very excited I was to have these guys play.  I’ll have a bit more to say about their awesomeness in part two of my countdown.

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Kim (aka magic hair godess, black eye-liner rocker, braider extraordinaire):  I asked for Game of Thrones hair and she delivered.  My hair looked EXACTLY like I imagined it.

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Danielle (aka the Sparkle and the Glam):  She somehow got a girl who doesn’t wear a lot of makeup to wear a lot of makeup without looking like a drag queen.  In my mind, that’s magic.

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Last, but certainly not least, our parents:  Mom, Dad, Susan, and Dennis you all made our day everything we dreamed it would be.  Your love, support and encouragement was the perfect fit!  And Mom, your crochet skills are on point!

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Family and friends traveling from far and wide:  you’re the best!  You took tons of pictures (Aunt Debi).  You provided moonshine and encouraged shots, shots, shots (Uncle Ray, James and Amelia).  You made the trip solo (Crystal, Ben, and Roger)! You provided sisterly bonds and smiles (Karen, Elizabeth, and Cay).  You showed up nearly two hours early by accident (Lisa, Tony, Brad, and Nate)!  You rocked out a softball cheer (Elle Wood, MJ, Paul, Claire, Shikha, Roger, Dustin, Dustin, Tony).  You hopped on a flight from St. Louis with your lovely wives (Brad and Andrew).  You surprised me with a shower and a kegerator (my work family).  And to everyone I didn’t mention by name,  you all are awesome, every single one.

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More wedding madness soon!  Come back and join me in saying goodbye!

Stay positive & love your life.



Listening to:  Foo Fighters – Best Of You

Eating:  Quesadillas

Random thought:  How do I shave 7+ miles off my work commute and it still takes just as long?  ATL is a traffic black hole.

100 Word Song: Blake, Incarcerated

Everything in the place has the same smell. I can never quite put my finger on what it is. Musty and sad, like how you’d imagine broken dreams may smell. To me, it smells like home. I always knew I’d end up here.

Father was forever down on his luck and looking for his next scheme. Mom, well she was the Bonnie to his Clyde, his biggest fan and willing sidekick. And that left me as heir apparent, ready to pick up the banner and march on when they were sidelined. I’m their son, from my head to my toes.




My 100 words for Lance’s 100 Word Song Challenge based on Alabama 3’s “Woke Up This Morning”.  Why not give it go yourself?  Up for the challege of telling a story in 100 words?  Go visit him here.


Stay positive & love your life!




Listening to: 

Eating:  couscous and aparagus

Random thought:  I need to admit to my caffeine addiction.  That’s the first step, right?

Five for Friday: 5 Reasons My Dad is Awesome

So I really don’t have a clever lead-in like I did for my Mothers Day post.  This week at work has been completely insane; thus the bit of blog neglect.  No time at lunch to write.  And I definitely don’t want to be on the computer when I get home.   But there is absolutely no way I can let Fathers Day pass without an Ode to Wendell!

For Mom I just gave a simple 5 reasons, out of the many, she rocks.  I have to go a different direction with Dad.  You see, I am my father’s daughter.  I ended up with so many of his traits it’s ridiculous.  This is why we end up butting heads on occasion.  We are just too similar.  And we know just the right buttons to push. Trust me, I would get on my own nerves if cloning were a possibility!  But I can honestly say that these characteristics have contributed greatly to my success and happiness in life.

So here are five, out of a very long list, great things about my Dad; the five things I’m lucky enough to share with him.

5.  He’s secretly sensitive.

My Dad can, at times, come off as a hard ass.  He’s very assertive.  He likes to be the leader.  It seems like nothing can possibly upset him (aside from firing up his temper).  But I know that he’s actually a big ole softy.  The guy is sensitive, but he’s only going to show that side to the few he really loves and trusts.

4.  He’s handy and resourceful.

He can fix damn near anything!  And he’s not afraid to jump into a project in which he’ll need to learn as he goes.  I’ve seen him do everything from building every bit of a structure by himself to home decor.  And he always has a project going on at the house.  He’s already thought of the next two before he finishes the one on which he’s working.

He’s a problem solver.  The backwards town I’m from “designed” our subdivision without building proper roads, drainage, curbs, leveling of lots, etc.  So anytime it rains the water flows straight into my parents yard.  From the entire neighborhood.  It boggles the mind.  Their house has flooded several times.  And trying to get anything done in good old Branford is like making a diamond from coal.  You need tons of pressure and it’s going to take a billion years.  So Wendell just decided to build his own retention pond in the yard all by himself.  And he made a ton of emergency sandbags.  And fashioned a retaining wall of sorts.  That’s pretty kick ass.

3.  He will never stop learning.

He always has a new fascination.  He finds something that interests him and then researches it to the nth degree.  Then he talks about it non-stop until he’s learned and explored every single iota of information available.  Then he moves on to something else.

I think this is cool because it’s so out of character for the general population.  A lot of  people aren’t curious once they grow up.  They don’t question things that are happening all around them.  They wander through life with blinders on or they’re so set in what they were always told to believe that they’re closed off to new information and experiences.  Not Wendell.  He’ll be 90 years old and telling me about how he knew GMOs were dangerous before they caused all of the issues we’ll be seeing.

And I owe a lot of my love of reading to him.  He’s always been an avid reader.  My obsession with Lord of the Rings stems from him reading me the books as bedtime stories.


He drew me a picture of Smaug (similar to this) to put on my bedroom door for protection when I was young and afraid of the dark.

2.  He loves music.

I mentioned this before in my post https://melstepp01.wordpress.com/2013/05/10/music-you-are-my-constant-companion/  My Dad doesn’t just listen to music, he feels it!  It encompasses him like a warm blanket on a cold day.  It is one of his basic needs in life.  And he is always open to new music from any genre.  I love burning him playlists to add to his iPod!

We both listen to music constantly (from the time we wake up until we lie down at night) and we listen to it loud!


First album that comes to mind when I think of him.

1.  He cares an awful lot.

Just like the Lorax.  He cares about so many things:  respecting Mother Earth, taking care of his furry family members (he and my Mom taught me just how much of a responsibly it is to have a pet  and what it is to welcome them into your family as  true members), my Mom (he thinks she hung the moon….he’s right), and his kids (he’d do anything for my brother and me).


His mustache even kind of looks like the Lorax….

But there are two areas in which he chooses to care that mean the most to me:

He cares about himself…..finally.  He finally realized his life and body are a temple and what you put in is what you get out.  I’m so glad to see him taking care of himself, because that means I will have him around for many more years to come.

He cares for family members that honestly don’t deserve it.  The fact that he can “be the bigger person” and be there when needed with open arms without so much as a thank you uttered in his direction just says everything about who he really is, one hell of a guy!

So there you have it.  My Dad is the best and I’m proud and happy to be his daughter!


Here he is snuggled up for a nap with Sugar.

Stay positive & love your life!



Listening to:  Tom Petty – Free Fallin’

Eating:  The last of the leftover beans.

Drinking:  H2O

Random fact:  My Dad used to wiggle his ears and make lizard faces to make Dustin and me laugh.  Actually, he still does this.  And it still makes me laugh.

Sick & Grateful

Still sick.  I am now limited to mouth breathing and I’m blowing my nose every 2 minutes.  BUT I’m confident that this medicine will start doing the trick soon…..either that or whatever is causing this will admit defeat.  I’m far too stubborn to be taken down by a cold/URI/allergies or whatever this is that has me feeling like acting like an infant.


This is exactly how I’m breathing.

As I was sitting at the doc in a box for two hours after work yesterday feeling rather sorry for myself, I was browsing news updates.  And thank goodness something snapped me back to reality.  There I sat sniffling and coughing while people in OK were looking for loved ones and worring about how they were going to put their lives back together.  It really put things into perspective.  We must always look at the big picture and constantly get out of our heads.  That’s no place to live when there is so much going on outside.

Couple the OK tragedy with the fact that I’ve been connected to three deaths in the past week and I suddenly feel the need to “count my blessings”.

It’s unfortunate that it takes life’s major reminders and losses to make us focus on how much we have.  But if there is a positive to loss, it is that it can resharpen our focus.  We need to quit putting things off.  Do it now.  You don’t know what tomorrow brings.  I despise the saying YOLO.  Generally I see it tied to a meme of someone doing something incredibly stupid or selfish.  But it can be applied quite nicely to our daily existence.


  1. Take the time to tell the ones you love just how special they are to you.
  2. Don’t let fear of rejection stop you from going after what you truly want.
  3. Spend some time each day doing something to make the world a somewhat better place even if it’s just the world of one being (yourself, a friend, your dog).

Because maybe you’ll get lucky and you’ll have many more days on this earth.  And you’ll have created the best possible version of life in which to enjoy those days.

Gone but not forgotten by those whose lives they touched…..

Rachael Weaver- I have many a great memory of fun times spent in your company.  In the words of Amy, “Heaven has a rock-n-roll angel”.

Mrs. Linda Cannon- You are tied to nearly every day of my years spent at BHS.  You will be sorely missed.

Caroline Neisler- I never knew you personally, but I know you must have been a pretty amazing person to have been friends with Matt.  I know your family, friends, and teammates will miss you greatly.

The many lives lost in OK-  Your families are in my thoughts.


Go hug someone today just because you can!

Stay positive & love you life,



Listening to: Architecture In Helsinki – YR Go To

Eating:  A late lunch of salad

Drinking:  Monster

Random fact:  I don’t like talking on the phone unless it is with my parents.

Half of a Squirrel: An Homage to Jan

This morning I was greeted at the door by 1/2 of a squirrel carcass complete with detached tail.  How awesome is it that my cat Duben left this wonderful offering for me?  And how awesome of a chick am I for cleaning up the “gift” with minimal bitching and only a small amount of dry heaving?  Seriously folks, Matt’s exact statement, “I’m not picking that up.  Effin gross.”  Matt’s my boyfriend and pretty much an all around bad ass, but even he was unwilling to clean up the crime scene.  So it got me thinking, women are pretty legit when it comes to cleaning up gross stuff.  You know what else women are?  Moms.  Yep, this dead squirrel anecdote is my lead in to my Mother’s Day post.  Bam! Didn’t see that coming, did you?


This is in no way similar to Duben’s victim

I’m going to go ahead and say that my Mom is the bee’s knees.  She is the type of Mom you’d see on a sitcom and say, “damn, I wish my Mom were that cool.”  I could list at least 472 reasons why she’s so great.  But in the interest of brevity and due to the length of my lunch break, I’m going to narrow the list down to a top 5.  Without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons that Jan is bomb:


Now I know what some of you are thinking, “Melissa, I had no clue your Mom had moves.”  And to that I say, exactly.  That’s because she really doesn’t….in the typical “good” dancer sort of way.  But she isn’t afraid to shake it even if her skills make Elaine from Seinfeld look like a member of the American Ballet Corps.  Bottom line is that she likes to have fun and she really doesn’t care what you think about her routine.

I once saw her put on a routine with my friend Bee’s mini-Dachshund to Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory”.  Said Dachshund was wearing a monkey costume given to him by my Mom complete with a pink tutu.  That’s pretty amazing people, think about it.


This is Otis in his monkey costume sans tutu.


Instead of the thumbs, Jan deploys a downward Karate chop action.

And all those dance shenanigans take us right into number 4-


Back in the day my Mom developed a mean Butthead impersonation.  And she did it all the time…..in front of my friends.  Most kids would be mortified.  Not me, because that shit was hilarious.  And she would start cracking herself up and then came the uncontrollable Mom laugh.  She has the best laugh.  It’s infectious.  You can’t not laugh.  I’ve scientifically tested it!

*She also does a staggeringly accurate Ren from “Ren & Stimpy”


“huh, huh, huh, hey baby”


As I mentioned in my previous post,  both of my parents are huge music fans.  My Mom’s taste is probably a lot different than your Mom’s though.  Don’t believe me?  Does your Mom listen to Rage Against the Machine?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  But Jan does!  Her preset for Sirius is Octane.  That’s pretty hardcore to be rolling to in a Prius.  And it’s also pretty sweet.  This new found love for heavy music is a departure from her days of loving groups like Bruce Hornsby and the Range, Level 42, INXS, etc.  I like all of those bands, but I think it’s great that her tastes keep changing.  That’s because she keeps changing…..


My Mom never stops growing and evolving.  She picked up running a few years ago.  My Mom was the last person I could ever see running.  She hated it.  Now she’s out running 3+ miles several times a week!

She adopted Veganism a few years ago as well.  Just like, “hey, I want to be a Vegan” and then, overnight, she was.  Years of eating habits abandoned.  That’s pretty admirable and rare.


Here’s a shot of her grocery shopping.

And most importantly…..


Even if she weren’t my Mom, I would admire and respect her.  She’s just a damn good person.  She has the biggest heart of anyone I’ve ever met.  I’m pretty sure this came from my Grandma Patton.  She also had a huge heart and a generous spirit.

There’s just no other way to say it, she’s just the best.   And I’m one lucky lady to have been raised by her!


Here she is feeding a stuffed raccoon.  Yep, she’s a big influence on my weirdness.

I love you like crazy Mom!

– Melissa


Song:  “Tulip” Here We Go Magic

Food:  Tofu and Udon bowl.

Drinking: Diet Coke

Reading:  Just finished “Acirema:  A New Beginning.  A Better Way” by: Bill Williams

Random Fact: I love the way shoe stores smell.