all about the orange, not of the pumpkin variety. . .

if i hear one more basic bitty, talk about the PSL and pinterested chunky sweaters, i *might* dump some water on them. all for charity you guys ;) can we please enjoy the waning summer before it’s gone? i mean. i am FULLY aware: #winteriscoming.

that said, we are enjoying some time with some out of town visitors and doing some city-discovery. i love pittsburgh and being a tourist in my own town! we also were on the receiving end of some amazing produce from my MIL’s garden in central PA. mmmm those summer tomatoes!

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a drink recipe coming up on the blog for ya with a new product by spodee
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and a lovely little libation called ‘red pepper’ i had last night at round corner. it was savory with a little heat and not too sweet! perfect :)
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happy labor day weekend everyone! hope you get to do something fun x

chit-chat mish mosh

it feels like autumn doesn’t it? it’s completely insane that the end of summer is barreling down our doors. i had to laugh when i saw a huffpo article promoting the return of the infamous starbucks pumpkin spice latte (PSL). basic bitties rejoiced right? honestly, i’ve never tasted one—am i missing out here? maybe i’m too much of a coffee snob in the fact that when i go to a shop, i want a cup of jo.

i’ve been all wrapped up in some heady thoughts lately. i can’t get into it too much but i don’t want to call it so much a career change as perhaps a career ‘extension.’ more on that later, but i have to do some more research and talk to someone about my options before i can elaborate. the planner/organizer in me is in overdrive and having to be patient in this time is always a challenge.

moving on, how about this life hack! have you ever accidentally texted the wrong person? immediately put your phone on airplane mode and once it fails to deliver, delete the message. boom. i was pretty pumped about that one :)

i’ve been all about nesting lately and having our home smell amazing. i just ordered this vetiver candle and this neroli one. apparently, i like to live in an urban setting but pretend i’m in the forest.

lastly, is anyone still watching true blood? it’s so bad but i can’t NOT finish it at this point.

hope you all had a great weekend! x

three little things

1. this body butter is amazing. cannot get enough lately and i think the perfect scent for summer!

2. jenny lewis has a new album called the voyager. she’s a great gal so you should check it out! listen on spotify here.

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3. my new favorite magazine called ‘lone wolf.’ it’s for thinking but fashionable ladies who want a bit more than cosmo. rather, that we think MORE of ourselves than what cosmo seems to think we care about.

we’ve almost made it to the weekend! any special plans or are you taking it easy? share with me a ‘little thing’ that’s made you smile lately.

the voyage

hey everyone! happy friday and hope things have been going well with you! it’s been some time since i’ve updated–thanks for your thoughts on toronto. i’m always eager to hear stories of travel and exchange tips with you all.

since we last talked, it’s been getting pretty interesting at chez TDP. our new trial opened for patients on july 12 (it’s live now on http://www.cancer.gov/) and i got to make a vaccine for our first patient this week. #stresscentral but happy to report, all went very well! we have to wait two weeks for all the sterility testing to come back but if it’s clear, i can thaw it and load it into a syringe for administration! it’s a pretty cool job :)

speaking of which, i was thinking a lot about people that seem to be unhappy in their situations. contrary to what you might believe, scientists are NOT rolling in the cash. honestly, it’s sometimes a little depressing that the compensation doesn’t always match the amount of mental gymnastics and high level technical ability it takes to do some of these tasks. in fact, i bet there are some people who tweet for a living that make more than i do.

however, it’s not all about the money. i tend to view my vocation as a ‘whole package.’ i’m passionate about a lot of things but guess what, i call those hobbies. i would never want to do my hobby as my full time occupation. don’t get me wrong, i love science and the details that go with it but it isn’t my entire life. i take pride in what i do and enjoy doing it but at the end of the day, i feel like i could say that about a lot of jobs. i try not to pigeon hole myself into some dreamy sequence where i go on an endless quest to find the ‘perfect job.’ guess what, it doesn’t exist. we have bills to pay and no one is going to hold my hand while i ‘figure myself’ out. sorry if this sounds harsh but i guess it’s just out of frustration lately. i’ve been hearing/seeing lots of millennials chronically complain about their woes and the entitlement sometimes is grating. this sums it up pretty well.

all this to say, stop navel gazing and go out and enjoy your life! challenge yourself, meet new people, try new things and you will end up infinitely happier than your current state i promise. you have this whole life to live so start living it! x

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p.s. i set out to actually do a 3 little things post and it turned into this diatribe! i’ll share my new discoveries shortly :)

toronto recap

this trip was nothing but spontaneous and i loved every second of it…even the squatting den we found ourselves sleeping in. i posted a video of a fourth floor walk up air bnb and if i had to describe it in one word, it would be ‘musky.’ i think we both felt a bit rock n roll this weekend and as liberating as that is, i’m glad to be home safe and clean!

it took us about 8 hours to arrive due to road work and customs over the peace bridge. google maps lied and told me it was only 5.5h so ignorance was most certainly bliss. all i can say is thank god for empty coffee cups when nature calls.

we were humbled by 1. how many cars there are and 2. how big toronto really is! we spent most of our time in the fashion district, china town, kensington market and the arts & design section of town. we walked over 50k steps in 4 days and only saw a tiny fraction of what the city has to offer! so please take this recap in stride because i could go on for days about it and bore you all to tears. i’ll try to keep it concise :)

every day started out with us on a quest to sample lovely flat whites, cappuccinos or americanos. we loved the decor at early bird espresso brew bar, the quaintness of white squirrel & the overall vibe and brew by jimmy’s coffee (he gives you free coffee if it is your first visit to his shop)!

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a couple things that surprised me: it is insanely windy! hey, there’s a giant lake there so way to be observant melissa. also, the street art is incredible! i mean, is it regulated or not? any canadians want to help me out here? do they commission art? this isn’t your run of the mill, street tag and run away. these are legit and beautiful!

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eats! we enjoyed some $5 drinks and tapas at beast which was nate’s favorite place. our appetizer was oysters and beef heart which i’d never had before! we also sampled a couple raw vegan places that were just lovely! hibiscus cafe in kensington market where they have the BEST large salad bowl. also, feel good guru to balance out your french pastry indulging across the street at nadege. we also got free gluten free cones + vegan ice cream simply by stumbling across brunner’s grand opening!

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shops! one of my favorites was the coal miner’s daughter which is a darling boutique stocked with local canadian brands. also noteworthy is this amazing paper goods store called kid icarus. we bought a local candle (this one) and this print which nate is holding against our geometric wallpaper. he is going to make a black frame for it, and i can’t wait to have it up so i can look at it and be reminded of our memories in canada.

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lastly, the main reason we went to toronto was to experience TURF (toronto urban roots festival). some of our favorite bands were playing and we got to see jenny lewis (who is a total babe btw), gogol bordello (most energetic crew EVER), jeff tweedy with his 18yr old son playing drums (his stage banter is the best) and finally neutral milk hotel of cult indie fame. it was an exhausting weekend but well worth it!

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have you ever visited toronto? what did i miss out on this time? i might just have to schedule a return trip :)

whirlwind trip

this past holiday weekend, nate and i went to toronto! boy were we in for some treats :) lovely people, music, drink & eats and perfect weather rounded out a trip we will never forget. i’ll be back soon with the highlights and personal recommendations of our favorites!

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like it could all happen, that’s why i’m leaving

well hey there! is anyone still out there? here’s a random smattering of things lately:

1. ultraviolence by lana del ray. get. it.

2. had the fortune of stumbling onto this lovely lady’s new online shop. if you’re a natural beauty junkie then go here for a lovely selection of makeup and skincare products! my picks: this deodorant which smells like berries and cake! also, picked up a totally luxe pangea organics body wash that smells like pine and amazing herbs. i rub my hands together in the shower and just breathe deeply. smells like i’m in the woods! also in the package was a free matcha mask which i used post haste! it smells really earthy and herbal and pulled the gunk out for sure! my skin felt nice and smooth afterwards without any redness or irritation so this would be great for sensitive skin!

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3. oh yeah, i got a thigh piece on sunday. i am so in love with it! go to my private instagram to see it :)

4. lastly, we’re heading to toronto! it’s my first time in the city and i’m pretty stoked about it! i obviously had to consult these beauties to get the low down on where to eat, drink, and see while we are there. i’ll be sure to report back with our adventures…someone has gotta do research right? ;)

alright guys, i need some road trip music suggestions! give me some love in the comments x-m

the struggle is real

we’ve been spending more time out in nature and less time in front of our screens. it’s been great for the soul!

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also, i’m so guilty of this…worrying too much about what other people think. it holds me back man. i’m not living up to my fullest potential and i’m horribly aware of it. if you read nothing else today, please read this: go tame your mammoth!

see you soon! x-m

a weekend reflection

happy weekend–it’s gonna be absolutely perfect! sunshine and the warmth on my skin has been such a relief after the harsh winter we’ve left behind. speaking of moving past seasons, i’ve been working through some stuff since the beginning of this year. i think i’ve finally stopped grieving the loss. i’m still on the fence if i should share the story on TDP, and i’m not intentionally trying to be all cryptic. i mean, i get that this is a public blog and privacy is not something i can ‘claim’ when i put myself out here in the land of the interwebz. however, i don’t wish to incite the parties involved or re-open a wound. i am the victim/on the receiving end of the debacle but perhaps in sharing my story, i might help others not feel so alone. we’ll see, gotta think on it some more! just know….

We work hard to disown the parts of our lives that were painful, difficult, or sad. But just as we can’t rip chapters out of a book and expect the story to still make sense, so we cannot rip chapters out of our past and expect our lives to still make sense. Keep every chapter of your life intact, and keep on turning the pages. Sooner or later you’ll understand why every scene, every chapter was needed.”- Sandra Kring

now chin up and go enjoy a cool treat! ^_*
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not all men but. . .

oh boy. so here i go into a potential misstep in political correctness but you know what? i’ve stopped caring. i usually keep quiet on TDP RE:major news stories to keep it a light and friendly place. a spot where you can come share your thoughts and ideas, see some tasty food or make something fun. i share things i’ve learned and little glimpses of my life with you all. this is one of the most personal posts i’ve ever featured here so please forgive any typos. i am speaking from a place of emotion, and i hope it stirs something in you as well.

a few days ago, you might have heard about a story of a guy who decided it was ok to kill people because he couldn’t get what he wanted from them.i am aware that he didn’t just kill women but it is clear from his manifesto the gender in which his hate stems. aside from the obvious mental illness in which he suffered, there was something i couldn’t shake from this story.

before i go into this, i just want to say that i am heartsick for those who were injured and traumatized by this attack. we can’t bring them back, only learn and spread awareness. finally, please understand that this post is not meant to be ‘all about me,’ but in that sharing from my personal experience others can reflect on similar accounts. ok. now that i’ve disclaimered myself ad nauseam…

i’m a woman. one that has often felt the undercurrents of sexism and misogyny along the way. sometimes i intentionally turn a blind eye to a situation so as not to upset myself. things like a cat call when i’m running, or someone honking/shouting out their window when i’m walking home. i turn my gaze downward to avoid the leering looks and appear insecure. why is confidence something to hide in order to protect oneself?

i don’t look at anyone on public transit because i fear giving them the ‘wrong impression.’ i’ve been called cold or standoffish on numerous occasions. can’t you see i do this because i’m trying to protect myself from you? i know it’s not all men but guess what? i’ve heard too many stories/had experiences of my own to make me afraid.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” - Margaret Atwood

i can remember things from my early teenage years that i now look back on in horror. i was told not to wear tight shirts and jeans because i might be tempting boys in class or church group to ‘stumble.’ um. what? this was the 90s…era of delia’s baby doll tees and mudd denim. how about a little self control? why was this my fault/problem?

i was given mace as a ‘gift’ to protect myself because apparently being a female automatically made me a target.

when i didn’t want to ‘go all the way,’ i was called a tease. no matter that i was not emotionally or morally ready. i had my own convictions but no one seemed to care about them.

i’ve held my tongue on many occasions in regards to feminism because i didn’t want to appear ‘bitchy.’ since when is voicing an opinion on the rights of other humans considered unsavory in this country? the wage gap exists and believe me it.is.REAL.

i’m feeling a revolution coming on and changes for the better. quiet women are starting to speak up. i am looking to the past for inspiration and ladies…isn’t it time we started eating pizza in bathing suits comfortable with ourselves again?

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be the change ladies. . . x- melissa

women’s health hotline
women’s shelter in pittsburgh