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Melody

gift guides, Style

Birthday Wish List

My birthday is in nine days. Do you know how I know this? Because it’s on my driver’s license. But also because the cheerful customer service guy who helped me cancel my health insurance over the phone (I’m joining my contract company’s plan) told me so. This is the difference between me turning 37 and me turning 26. As an almost 37-year-old, I proactively called to cancel my insurance so I wouldn’t have to pay double premiums. As an almost 26-year-old, I got a tattoo of a mustache on my finger from Bubba at Elm Street Tattoo in Dallas after having a shot of Tequila at Reno’s Chop Shop Saloon down the street. Pretty happy about both of these decisions. Annnyhoo, while perusing one of my favorite SERIOUSLY FUN online shops—BAN.DO—I realized I needed a lot of SERIOUSLY FUN stuff & things in my 37th year of life. I thought I’d create a post of my current favorites and send them to my boyfriend share them with y’all. Take a look and let me know your favorites in the comments! (It’s the roller skates, I just know it.)

Birthday wish list items from BAN.DO

Better than cake: 1. Available for Weekends t-shirt – medium $38, 2. 17-Month I Am Very Busy Agenda – large $32, 3. Pom Pom Earrings – black & white $75, 4. Doin’ Fine Slides – size 8 $70, 5. Champagne is My Game Plant Holder $52, 6. Fancy Dress Dogs Scarf $140, 7. Third Eye Bangle $56, 8. Amigo Circle Bag – Onyx $95, 9. I Did My Best Socks $10 and Moxie Pink Roller Skates $279, 10. Square Pink Felt Letter Board $60, 11. I Don’t Work Here Ceramic Mug $14, 12. Rose Bomber Jacket – medium $36

Mel and Farrah in Houston
Life, Texas

How to Help Houston

It’s been a heartbreaking past few days watching the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Houston is very close to my heart. I love the city—and the people and animals who live in it—very much. Most of the tears I have shed have been out of heartbreak, but some recent ones have come from hope. It has helped my heart watching people helping people. This is why I love Houston. This is why I love Texas. I’ve also come across some really nice love letters to Houston.

It’s frustrating not being there to help, but I’m hoping this small blog post does something. Below is a list of organizations where you can donate your time, money and household items. Keep scrolling for links to other helpful lists. To my Houston friend fam, you know I love you. Hang in there. #HoustonStrong

The Houston Food Bank’s goal is to make food accessible to hungry people in their greatest times of need. You can help them most by donating money (every $1 provides 3 meals), but they’re also asking for canned ready-to-eat vegetables and fruit with pull tops, protein in pouches or pull-up top cans, peanut butter, toiletries and more to be dropped off at their main location on Portwall. If you’re local, you can sign up for volunteer shifts.

Save the Children is passionate about giving children a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm—every day, in times of crisis and the future. Their CEO and president, Carolyn Miles, has been spending time with displaced kids in the child-friendly spaces the organization has set up. Donate here to help them provide infant and toddler supplies (and so much more) to three Houston mega shelters.

Houston Humane Society is a charity dedicated to ending cruelty, abuse and the overpopulation of animals while providing the highest quality of life to those in their care. Over the past few days, their team has participated in rescue missions to save people and pets. Miranda Lambert and her MuttNation Foundationteam recently helped them transfer animals that were at the shelter before Harvey hit, in order to free up space for strays and displaced animals that will need shelter in the next few days and weeks. Give directly to their Hurricane Harvey fund, or buy them something from their Amazon Wish List. Follow their Facebook page for updates.

Austin Pets Alive!, the leader of the no-kill movement in Central Texas, has already saved over 600 (and counting) animals who have been displaced by Harvey. They have run out of room to hold the many donations they’ve received in the past few days, so they are asking for financial donations instead. They are, as always, in need of fosters, adopters and volunteers. Keep up with their efforts on Twitter and Instagram with #APAHarvey.

The South Texas Blood and Tissue Center has extended the hours of many donor locations in response to the high demand of blood. They have already made their first large shipment to the Texas coast, and will continue to make shipments in the next few weeks. Sign up to donate blood here. If you’re not local, you can donate blood through the Red Cross.

Texas Diaper Bank is an organization based in San Antonio who helps provide diapers to babies and seniors. Help them continue to ship diapers to shelters in Corpus Christi, Rockport and Houston by donating here. They are also asking for volunteers to help them count, sort and send out donations.

The United Way of Houston has launched the United Way Relief Fund to provide safety, shelter and basic needs, like food, to those in need. 100% of donations go to helping the community recover. Visit their website to donate or text UWFLOOD to 41444.

Direct Relief’s mission is to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies without regard to politics, religion or ability to pay. They are providing emergency funding, medical supplies and medicine to local health care centers. Donate here.

More Lists on How to Help Houston

Houston Chronicle – Hurricane Harvey: How to help victims of the Texas storm
Houston Press – Want to Help Harvey Victims? Here’s How.
Greater Houston Community Foundation – Hurricane Harvey Relief Resources
Texas Monthly – Here Are Ways You Can Help People During Hurricane Harvey
Cupcakes and Cashmere – 5 Ways to Help Victims of Hurricane Harvey
SPCA of Texas – Hurricane Harvey: Who’s Helping and How to Help Them
NPR – Here’s How You Can Help People Affected By Harvey
New York Times – Where to Donate to Harvey Victims (and How to Avoid Scams)
Texas Tribune – How to Get (and Offer) Help After Harvey
Click2Houston – How you can help Hurricane Harvey victims
Fox 26 Houston – How you can help victims of Harvey
Today – Here’s how you can help animals affected by Hurricane Harvey
Farmhouse Delivery – How to Help: Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts
People Pets – Hurricane Harvey’s Amazing Animal Survival Stories: Rescues, Reunions and Furry Refugees

How to survive the #whole30 | MustacheMelrose.com
Food, Inspiration, Whole30

How to Survive Whole30

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed from time to time I put myself through absolute hell set out to do something really healthy for my body and mind, and partake in the Whole30 Challenge. In a nutshell (yes, you can eats nuts), the Whole30 is a 30-day reset where you replace sugar, grains, legumes, dairy and booze with whole foods like vegetables, fruit, meat and seafood. Did I lose you at no booze? I get it, and yep, no wine, beer or liquor for 30 days. You will live, I promise. Is it hard? Yes. Is it totally doable and will you feel like a champion afterwards? Oh hellllll yes. Check out my tips and let me know if you have some of your own to share in the comments below!

Get yourself a big ‘ol calendar. And use this lifesaver timeline to mark the days you can expect to feel great and the days you can expect to feel murderous a bit grumpy. Note that your mood may not exactly match the timeline, but it’ll be pretty darn close. The best part of the calendar is crossing the day off and being that much closer to your goal. Go you! P.S. If you love the timeline above, you’ll also love these other helpful official Whole30 downloads.

Hide all the things. Go through your pantry and fridge before you start. Toss or donate any no-no’s, or put any that will still be good on day 31 in a paper bag (like one from Target or Trader Joe’s) and push it to the back of the fridge. Ignore it for the next 30 days. This way when you open the fridge, you’ll know anything in there is fair game.

How to survive the #whole30 | MustacheMelrose.com

Food prep your little heart out. This might be the most important tip. It’s super frustrating when you get home from an unexpected long and hard day and you have no idea what to eat/don’t want to cook dinner. Set yourself up for success by spending a little time over the weekend cooking and prepping as many meals as possible. I wasn’t much of a chef pre-Whole30, but I now have more than a few favorite recipes (keep scrolling), and I really look forward to my Sunday evening time in the kitchen.

On office life. If you work in an awesome office like mine, there are always amazing treats out for the taking—donuts, cupcakes, chicken & waffles, pizza, beer. I’ve been taking pictures of all the treats that magically appear, which in a weird way, makes me feel like I’m consuming them. I sat close to a tray of donuts in a meeting once just so I could smell them. On that note, you will do really weird things on the Whole30. Just be prepared with your lunch and know there will be treats next month!

The first weekend was super hard for me. Get yourself some La Croix or Topo Chico with lemon or lime and watch a good movie or Netflix season. Scott and I have done the Whole30 three times now, and on the first two tries, we always found some reason to talk ourselves into cheating. “Welllll, maybe we can have red wine on weekends. It’s good for your heart!” I’m proud to say we didn’t cheat at all during our most recent Whole30 in September. I tell you this because you will think of hilarious reasons you can just have a little of this or that. But don’t. When you’re having a huge craving, make yourself busy and let it pass. When you wake up the next day without cheating, you’ll feel so much stronger. It’s totally a brain game. So weird! So fun!

No but really, load up on fun water. Okay, so part of the challenge is that you’re not supposed to swap out bad stuff for fake bad stuff. For example, you shouldn’t drink Topo Chico from a wine glass. But I mean… if it’s going to keep you from falling off the wagon, do it! Perhaps give it the old college try first though and reserve the mocktail for when you just. can’t. take. it. anymore.

For my sweet tooth sisters. Okay, same point here. You’re not supposed to eat fake dessert because Whole30 is all about breaking those bad habits. But if you’re really hurting, keep some dates in the freezer and treat yo self TO ONE when you’re about to fall off the ledge. I swear after not eating sugar for a while, it’ll taste like chocolate.

Don’t go crazy on fruit or nuts. Scott and I did that during our first go and I think it messed with our results. We treated ourselves to a few grapes and strawberries at breakfast and lunch on our recent Whole30 and it was totally fine.

When days are rough. Remember why you’re doing this. “Remember that you are the CEO of your body and you should be boss about that sh*t.” Also, talk to a friend or head to Instagram to see how others are staying strong. Whole30’s official Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest definitely help too. It’s such an interesting science experiment you’re doing on your body, so when days are hard, just think of it that way. It’s pretty amazing what you learn about your habits and brain. I promise by the end of the 30 days, you’ll feel in charge, rather than your body/sugar being the boss. Neat.

Okay cool story, but what the hell do we eat?? The hardest part of Whole30 is not knowing what the heck you can eat. Huzzah! Check out my favorite recipes below.

Breakfast:

  • My Whole30 Pinterest board, duh.
  • Make this breakfast casserole on Sunday night and it will last you through Friday morning. Trust me, it will save you on busy mornings. I trick it out with 2-3 chopped sweet potatoes, half of an onion (chopped), a bag of frozen spinach and 11 eggs instead of 10. We fancy.
  • On weekends, we get down with bacon (check the label for sugar-gah), avocado, eggs made with coconut milk and a small amount of fruit. Oh, and coffee with coconut milk and cinnamon is delightful!

Lunch/Dinner:

  • My Whole30 Pinterest board, duh.
  • Roasted veggies and sausages make for an easy and quick meal you can make at work for lunch or dinner if you get home late. I love Trader Joe’s already cooked sausages. Be sure to read the package though—they’re not all Whole30 approved. We love the chicken apple, jalapeno, garlic herb and sun-dried tomato flavors. Roast two pans of veggies on Sunday and they should last you through the work week.
  • I make this turkey kale soup every Sunday night and it lasts us 2-3 dinners.
  • It’s always good to keep a ton of tuna fish in your pantry. I mix mine with Just Mayo, chopped black olives, chopped cucumbers and Dijon mustard. I eat it with carrots or plop a big spoonful in romaine lettuce cups. Side note: I tried to make my own mayo and it was a huge fail. Just Mayo is approved and does the trick.
  • Tuna patties with Just Mayo for dipping, sweet potato fries and grapes. I LOVE this recipe. It’s so dang good and easy. Instead of breadcrumbs, use almond or coconut flour and allow the patties to hang out in the fridge for about 15 minutes before cooking so they stay together in the skillet.
  • Slow cooker chicken with roasted veggies and grapes. The grapes feel like a treat. I make the chicken on Sunday and it lasts for a few meals. It’s super easy and sets you up for success. This chicken recipe is a favorite. And so is this one.
  • Butternut squash, sweet potato or zucchini zoodles. You can use a spiralizer like this one if you have time to cook. OR, buy the zoodles already zoodled. We found this brand at our local grocery store. Just throw them on the stove with garlic, onions and a little bit of clarified butter, then toss in some protein like grilled chicken or shrimp. (Keeping cooked, deveined & peeled shrimp in the freezer is a lifesaver on late work nights.)
  • Meatballs, y’all! They’re great with zoodles, clarified butter, garlic and diced tomatoes or a no sugar added tomato sauce. I like this recipe, but often use turkey instead of pork.
  • Fried okra with avocado cream is such a good side.
  • I could eat a pan of prosciutto wrapped asparagus for dinner.
  • Sweet potato, kale and shrimp skillet. So easy and delicious. Make more than you think you need for easy lunch leftovers.
  • Jalapeño turkey burgers with sweet potato fries, diced red onion and Wholly guacamole.
  • Moroccan spiced roasted sweet potatoes and carrots with Balsamic steak rolls.

Great Links From Others – I’ll keep these updated as I come across new ones!

Have you done the Whole30? What was your experience like? Share your thoughts and tips in the comments below! xo, Mel

 

Style

ALL OF THE DRESSES

There’s this thing that happens when I walk into Anthropologie. Joy overcomes me. All the colors. All the fabrics. All the textures. ALL OF THE DRESSES. A warm and fuzzy feeling runs up my body from my toes to my forehead. Then before I know it, I’m spinning through the store singing the main song from the movie Beaches at the tops of my lungs while the shop manager picks up the phone to call the mall police and women pick up their small children and back out of the store slowly. Ahem. Imagine my delight this morning when an email hit my inbox that read 25% off all dresses from Anthropologie. Take a look at my favorites below, then head over to the Anthropologie site or store to choose your own.

Cute green dress from AnthropologieFlounced T-shirt Dress $88.50

Cute printed dress from AnthropologieGallerina (GET IT?!) T-Shirt Dress $148.50

Cute black printed dress from AnthropologieNightvision Swing Dress $148.50

Cute red shoulder showing dress from AnthropologieGemma Silk Dress $298.50

Cute black maxi dress from anthropologieMarova Maxi Dress $298.50

Cute pink dress from AnthropologieLilibet Dress $103.50

Cute dainty dress from AnthropologieLayered Victorian Dress $126

Outdoor Movies in Austin with the Alamo Drafthouse | MustacheMelrose.com
Austin, Texas

Outdoor Movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse

Last night, Scott and I went to one of the coolest events we’ve been to since moving to Austin. Outdoor movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse! The Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow is hosting pop-up outdoor movies at various locations in Austin. Last week, they screened “Goonies” at Live Oak Brewing and last night, it was another one of my favorites—“Moonrise Kingdom”.

Outdoor Movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse | MustacheMelrose.comThe event took place at the French Legation Museum, which is located in a cute little neighborhood, a street off the beaten path in east Austin. It’s surrounded by adorable historic homes—some remodeled, some still standing strong in their need-some-lovin’ glory.

Outdoor Movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse | MustacheMelrose.comThe scene reminded me of events I attended in Austin back when I was a little girl. It wasn’t too crowded, and everyone there was super friendly and more than willing to offer up a piece of beef jerky or share a bottle opener if you forgot yours at home. Before the movie, we all sat on blankets enjoying the warm, yet somewhat breezy air, while watching lightning bugs light up the sky. It was a perfect night.

Outdoor Movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse | MustacheMelrose.comIf you missed the magic of last night, don’t worry. There are plenty of Rolling Roadshow events to catch in the future. Next week, they’re screening “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” with a very special guest in attendance—Judge Reinhold! And the next few weeks after that, they’ll have more movie surprises up their sleeves. You can bet Scott and I will be at most of them.

Outdoor Movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse | MustacheMelrose.comTickets are only $10 per person. Bring a blanket, some treats, drinks and comfortable chairs. There are clean bathrooms a few steps away on the property and plenty of room to spread out. Free street parking is available, though you may have to walk a tiny bit since some of the streets are designated only for resident parking. (So read the signs before ya put it in park.)

Outdoor Movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse | MustacheMelrose.comCheck out the Rolling Roadshow Facebook page for more pics from the event and future event details. See y’all at the next one!

Outdoor Movies in Austin with Alamo Drafthouse | MustacheMelrose.com

Culver City, Los Angeles, Travel

Bye Felicia! Off to California

Hey guys! Scott and I are headed back to Los Angeles today to celebrate his 30th birthday. I KNOW! BIG DEAL! I haven’t been back to our old hood of Culver City since October, so I am extra excited. We’re catching up with fraaaanz at our favorite pizza & beer joint on Friday, then heading to the lovely Solvang on Saturday. But wait, there’s more! We’re going to see Louis C.K. live at the LA Forum on Sunday, Scott’s actual birthday. Whew! Should be a good time. Keep up with with our trip on Instagram, and in the meantime, scroll down to view our pics from Scott’s birthday at Disneyland last year! The captions are full of me pretty much yelling with excitement. It was magical.

OMG OMG omg! Happy birthday @heyscottrowan!!! DISNEYLAAAAAND! #disneyland

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

It’s the most wonderful, colorful place in the world! #disneyland

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

So much fun! #disneyland

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

#disneyland parade!

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

So exciting! California Adventure today with @heyscottrowan for his bday! Hi Goofy!

A video posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

Coffee and a Mickey Mouse cookie for the birthday boy’s breakfast! 👌😘

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

Eeeeeeee

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

I ❤️ you, Mr. Potato Head. (Sorry @heyscottrowan)

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on

Bye for now, #disneyland! 😘😘😘😘😘🙋😍🙌

A photo posted by Melody Lowe 🙋 @MustacheMelrose (@mustachemelrose) on