Italian Raspberry Cheesecake Popsicles

“We have been warned that ordinary is less than, a sign of inferiority, an indicator that so much more awaits if we could just get the mix right. But the truth is, most of life is pretty ordinary, so it is precisely inside the ordinary elements…—career, parenting, change, marriage, community, suffering, the rhythms of faith, disappointment, being a good neighbor, being a good human—that an extraordinary life exists.” I had just finished giving the start of my speech about finding beauty in the ordinary by putting down your iPhone when this quote from Jen Hatmaker’s book, Of Mess and Moxie, popped up on my screen. I was looking at Facebook in my office, the same place I was delivering my speech to a crowd of one—myself. There’s something oddly cathartic about hearing your thoughts spoken. But it should be noted: I could never be a public speaker. I need backspace too much. Read more

Easy Pasta

“Hey Melissa, we have some exciting news! Will you send me your email address?” The message was in my Facebook inbox from Ian who works at Saveur. This must be the meanest scam ever, I thought. I sent my address anyways. In my email inbox the next morning was the craziest email of my career. I guess that’s what you call this thing. A career. “Congratulations, you are a finalist for the Best Style & Design Blog category for the 2017 Saveur Blog Awards.” My hands trembled. They’re still trembling. I took a screenshot of the email as proof and sent it to Kev and my sister. Read more

Cozy Minimal entryway

I almost titled this post “Don’t Forget the Entryway.” It’s that short room at the start of the house that often gets overlooked, especially when it’s not needed as much in the summer, and especially when square footage is at a premium. But come winter time, it’s the space that welcomes your guests, gives them a place to hang their coats, a bench to take off their boots, and a tray to set them. Our builder was so deliberate about designing the house not only for us, but for our guests too. I’ve come to appreciate that immensely. I love that the entryway is both minimal yet functional (inspired by this pin and this pin). But it took teaming up with Studio McGee to make it cozy. Read more

“What are you in the middle of?” my neighbor asked at one of our recent happy hours. In our tiny pocket of houses, where the streets come together like spokes on wheel, homes line only one side of the street. With a city address, we have plenty of privacy due to this street formation. But it’s not conducive to seeing your neighbor, unless you count the blurry sightings in the periphery. So a couple neighbors organized a permanent happy hour every third Thursday of the month. Women only. We sit across a table so we can actually see each other and answer question’s like: what are you in the middle of? Starting an Airbnb, hosting a graduation party, finding a new home for aging parents, writing a book, memorizing medical devices.  Read more

The backyard, at least this section of it, is done! We’ve officially moved ourselves back here until winter hits. We’ve also committed ourselves to learning how to cook dinners in a wood fired pizza oven. More on that coming soon. In the meantime, I’d like to introduce you to #thebackofthefauxhouse. It’s so cozy back here. Before we get too far into this post, be sure to check out the plans for our Minnesota Modern Backyard from a couple posts back, including details about that matte black fence. It’s come a mighty long way. See below for proof. Read more

I seem to have my most “profound” thoughts after watching an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Though, maybe they’re the thoughts of Shonda Rhimes, spoken by the character Meredith Grey. Despite the tall story lines, Shonda manages to inject the shared realities of being human into the plot. I love, too, how circular she writes for the show. Each episode ends exactly where it begins. “Freezing, choking, getting tongue tied. It’s what we call it when your mind goes from brilliant to blank. You can prepare all you want. But the feeling can still hit you out of nowhere. So when it hits you, when your mind shuts down, when you open your mouth and no words come out, the good news is, it happens to all of us.” That’s how the episode begins, triggering another one of those profound thoughts. This time the mouthpiece was Jackson Avery. Read more

We’ve been itching to finish out the backyard since we moved in two years ago. During our first summer in #thefauxhouse, we were committed to finishing the inside of the house, leaving no resources for the outside. The next summer, we hired someone to create a backyard plan that we would then execute. We realized two things—we needed to cut down and trim a couple trees. (I begged our builder to keep as many as possible during the build.) We also realized that the backyard we wanted was well above our expertise level, which is extremely low. So, we focused on the tree situation and waited. Here were are now. It’s our third summer in the house, and the backyard is happening (and nearly done)! If you follow my Instagram stories, this is old news.  Read more

I put my head down in January when there was still snow on the ground to write a book. I turned in my manuscript on June 30th at 5:47pm (!!!). And here we are talking about back to school ideas. Where did half a year go?! I lived most of my grade school life in Texas. As soon as the calendar struck August, we went back to school. Even though school starts in September in Minneapolis, the Target shelves say otherwise. In the back-to-school spirit, I’ve partnered with Scotch™ to share a couple simple things we do throughout the preschool year to keep things running smooth(er). These ideas are fit for the 5 and under crowd. Read more