December 27, 2012
Dear sweet August,
You already have the biggest personality of a little person I’ve ever known. This should be no surprise to anyone since your parents are two of the most hilarious people I’ve ever had the privilege of meeting but even you, little man, are already wearing the silly-pants in your family. I mean….let’s be honest, all of my conclusions, even after just a single morning spent with you, lead to your greatness as the next Andy Samberg; the charming, funny guy that can throw down lyrical gems & dance moves with Justin Timberlake and equally steal my heart with his solid acting chops in Celeste & Jesse Forever. Considering you stole my heart within the first 10 minutes of meeting you (and have re-stolen my heart about a hundred times since, thanks to your mama’s Instagram feed) this won’t be a stretch for you.
Can’t wait to say I knew you way back when. (And that I saw you in only a diaper. Mwahah.) xo
i’m yours, melissa
December 7, 2012
YOU GUYS. Were it not for the Instagrams dated over the last 5 weeks, I would doubt November even happened at all. HOW IS IT DECEMBER? Wait, let me rephrase… HOW IS IT THE 7TH OF DECEMBER?!
I said goodbye to the 2012 Wedding Season on November 11th by photographing the most beautiful Northwestern wedding of two of our most beautiful-hearted friends. I haz printed photos. CHRISTMAS. TREES. TIMES. THREE! I DIY’ed. I voted! I attended the stunning coming-out party of Tara LaTour at the best bridal salon in the Midwest (and maybe ever), L’atelier Couture. I traveled to Maryland to watch my mama’s inauguration as Cecil County Executive and learned my mom has recently picked up a gun-hobby. Via her office door. (Remind me not to argue with my mom anymore.) Also subsequently learned that I really (really) enjoy speech writing/editing (with wine). #secretskillz I brunched with mah husband. Twice. And to top it all off, Gunnar found a new favorite resting place…on my stomach.
So, how was your week this week?
Follow me on Instagram here!
i’m yours, melissa
November 29, 2012
You guys. I have a high-maintenance dog. I do. He prefers soft (and expensive) baby toys to durable (and slightly less expensive) dog toys and requires that all meals be served to him on our bed (ok, not really but it feels like it). It also might be possible that he takes after his dog mom and is a lover of nice things (or his dog mom is a sucker that buys him nice things, let’s not think in detail about that possibility).
So, today, for those 4-legged lovers in your life, I give you Gunnar’s picks for his furry friends (and himself).
For the Sweetpea : Portia Pebble Dog Toy | $34
Is Gunnar suggesting you purchase a $34 dog toy for your pet? YES. YES HE IS.
For the Chowhound : Vintage Pet Food Bowl & Stand | $19 to $39 per piece
We purchased a similar pet food bowl & stand set from Pottery Barn when we were still counting Gunnar’s age in weeks (5+ years ago) and it has held up (magically) through his chowhound, rough-and-tumble ways so he’s a big fan of anything Pottery Barn does for pets; especially anything that provides him with food.
For the Active Dog : Downtown Burly Collar | $20
Yet another Gunnar’s I-Own-This-I-Approve items. We can’t take him anywhere without someone asking where we got his collar. The local answer? Urbanimal but you can find it online here.
For the Silly Cat : Packed Lunch Fish Cat Toy | $20.50
My bestie’s cat is one of the most hilarious little rascals I’ve ever encountered and toys like these are Dutch-approved which counts for everything in Gunnar’s book.
For the Sleepy Bear : Bolster Dog Bed | $267.50
I love the aesthetic of a basic dog bed but my picky pup likes to rest his body against something when he sleeps (yep). This gorgeous bolster dog bed fits his desire for something to lay against and my desire for a dog bed that isn’t an eyesore. (Related. Can you pass along picky tendencies to your dog?)
For the Scaredy Cat(Dog) : Thundershirt | $39.99
I joke about my dog being neurotic but the truth is, he really is. Gunnar is terrified of almost everything including the sound my desk drawers make, binder rings opening & closing and anything that even remotely sounds like a fire alarm. For years, we’ve scoffed at the idea of the Thundershirt until we actually tried it and our anxious dog suddenly was brave and uninhibited. Consider us Thundershirt converts. (And if you see a redhead out walking a dog in a shirt, say hi. It’s likely me.)
For the Bone Lover : Crochet Bone Dog Toy | $21
Gunnar can’t get over how sweet this little toy is and how much he wants to chew it up.
For the One Who Likes to Play : Metro Dogs Daycare & Boarding | Daycare starting at $16, Boarding at $39/night
I am a crazy dog mom; this has been established, many (many) times. I’m also the kind of crazy dog mom that just hates the idea of boarding her dog. I mean, we’re talking I would do anything in my power to avoid boarding my dog. However, earlier this year we ran into a situation where Gunnar’s dog-sitter auntie was unavailable and we were out of options; Matt discovered Metro Dogs via some incredible reviews online, sent me links to watch their videos and I was hooked. If I have to leave my dog, all I want is someone who will love my dog like I love him and care for him like I would and Metro Dogs is the first place that made me feel (through their service, video cams and Gunnar’s literal tail-wagging love of going there) that they do. I am so, so incredibly grateful to Amy and her staff for always caring for Gunnar in the BEST way.
For the Hungry Cat : Cat Bowl Meow | $22.50
That “meow” in the bottom of the bowl is the reason Gunnar would buy these for his cat friends. Not even lying about that.
For the Tug-of-War King : Cotton Rope Tug | $12.50
Gunnar loved this toy like it was his BABY until it met it’s untimely death earlier this year. (Don’t tell him, but there’s another one under the Christmas tree.)
i’m yours, melissa
November 28, 2012
No one ever tells you that when your closest friends have babies that you become obsessed with their children. You want to buy them little $84 sweaters that they will grow out of in 2 months. You start counting ages in months. YOU CUDDLE WITH THEM (and when they are long distance, you wish you could…daily). You buy them little ABC flash cards even though they haven’t hit the age of 2 because you know they are that smart. You change diapers, break food up into little pieces for them to munch on and print photos of them to display in your office. In short? Totally obsessed.
I don’t know who I am anymore but I’m pretty sure my name is Auntie Melissa.
For the Little Monster : Oeuf® Baby Monster Sweater | $84
I was already in love with Oeuf’s quirky & adorable pieces but this monster sweater is so incredibly perfect for that little troublemaker on your list.
For the Mini Artist : Gingiber Chalkboard Silhouette | $40
Picture this, you are trying on clothes and your 6 year old has exhausted her favorite iPhone apps and demands to leave right this minute. Pull this perfectly-sized chalkboard out of your purse and let her practice her artist skills to her hearts content. Warning, you may have to paint a chalkboard wall in your house to keep up with artistic demands. (Also available in a boy silhouette!)
For the Animal Lover : Maileg Bambi | $38
Stuffed Animals are my fallback baby gift of choice. The more adorable the better.
For the Newborn : Lamb Baby Mobile | $80
You know those baby items you are tempted to purchase because one day you will have a baby and you need this? Yep.
For the Reader : Dwell Studio Bookshelf Bus | $124
I was a little reader when I was young and have a serious affection for children who show a propensity towards books. This little bookshelf bus is the perfect way to start & display their book collection (which may turn into a serious addiction to colorful books when they grow old).
For the Snuggler : Collection Baby Cashmere Blanket | $228
Start their love for cashmere early.
For the Silly One : Oh, Spit Bib | $14
One day, when we have children, I will not be above putting them in hilarious outfits just to have photos to embarrass them when they are older.
For the Sweetheart : Bear Cable Knit Tights | $9.95
A little one I photographed recently wore these adorable bear tights and her parents are lucky I photographed anything other than her little backside after I spotted them.
For the Dapper Little : noé & zoë Bow Tie | $40
From what I’ve been told, being a mom is all about functionality and with a piece that can be used as a bow tie, headband, belt or even tied on a bookbag? I just can’t imagine anything better.
For the Little You Love : I See Me Personalized Books | starting at $9.95
True story, I still have a personalized (and very, very pink) “On Location with Barbie!” book from my childhood and those random times when I spot it on my bookshelf and pull it down, it brings back such fun little memories of the Christmas I received it from my grandparents. I have to thank I See Me for reintroducing me to the world of personalized books because once I received a copy of one their gorgeous (seriously, gorgeous) My Very Merry Christmas book it immediately made me want to buy one for every little person in my life so one day they, too, can reminisce about their sweet little memories of youth.
i’m yours, melissa
November 27, 2012
I’m convinced that the guys in my life have banned together to outwit me from a gifting perspective. No sooner have I searched out the perfect gift for them do I get a picture text, Facebook update or Twitter mention that THEY JUST BOUGHT (insert gift I just bought) AND LOVE IT. They are already hard to shop for, have all they need and 9 times out of 10 will just go out and purchase what they want before I even know they want it so, this year, I am determined to get ahead of their game. DETERMINED.
Tomorrow is the Little Ones Oho Gift Guide and if there’s one thing I’m looking forward to about that, it’s that they can’t go out and buy it themselves before Auntie Melissa buys it for them.
For the Tech Lover : Fujifilm X100 | $1,199
I’ve heard this camera referred to as the Hipster Camera just for it’s retro feel but it is truly 100% modern with it’s 12.3 megapixels, hybrid viewfinder (wha?!) and crazy low-light shooting capabilities. This is exactly what my hard-to-shop-for dad would lose his mind over.
For the Kitchen Master : Leather Strap Cutting Boards | starting at $60
I mean. LEATHER STRAP + CUTTING BOARD = MANLY MAN THINGS. Obviously.
For the Whiskey Lover: Albert Bottle | $99.90
There are a few guys in my life who have named 2012 the year of the cocktail so what better gift could there be? Add in a rolling bar cart and I think I may win their affection for life.
For the Sartorialist : Greenwich Vintage Repurposed Wingtips | $245
These wingtips have been high on my gifting list ever since Greenwich Vintage showed up on my radar earlier this year. I can’t get over the quirky colored soles and the stunning worn-in look of the leather on the wingtips (especially the repurposed vintage pairs!); add in the fact that it’s a Minnesota company and I’m just head-over heels.
For the Tardy Guy : Tokyo Bat Agent Watch | $175
My Oho has been in the market for a nice, substantial but everyday kind-of watch for a while now and Martin Patrick 3 (hands down my favorite local men’s shoppe) has a great curated collection of watches that are a perfect match for my guy with his preppy-meets-casual-guy style and won’t break the bank like that vintage Rolex Carrie gave Big. (Just saying.)
For the 9-to-5 Guy: Pierrepont Hicks The Cutty | $82
Matt says that high quality ties just tie better and while I know nothing about that, he says his Pierrepont Hicks ties are some of his favorites (and trust me, the man is picky about his neckwear).
For the Entrepreneur : Nespresso Pixie Espresso Maker | $229.95
You guys. If I could buy one thing for everyone on my list, this would be it. If not for purely selfish reasons (like I won’t have to pack mine up to bring along when I travel home for the holidays) then for the reason that I, now, can make a better latte at home than my favorite Starbucks barista. WINNING.
For the iPhone Lover : Wool Gloves with TouchTec Palm Patch | $68
Thank goodness for this invention because removing a glove just to text when it’s -10 outside is just pure stupidity.
For the Lovable Nerd : Paul Smith Michael Caine Glasses Cufflinks | $145
Considering the fact that we have Batman art in our living room, I think it’s safe to say I am married to the most lovable nerd out there and these Michael Caine Glasses cufflinks are just plain perfect (especially considering they look almost identical to HIS glasses too).
For the Tastemaker : rib & hull Macbook Sleeve | $78
Introduced to this brand by one of my favorite lady tastemakers, I’ve been a fan ever since. It’s the perfect “I didn’t even know this was missing from my life until now…” gift for the tastemaker in your life.
To View the Holiday Gift Guide Series:
An Oho Holiday Gift Guide (for the Ladies)
i’m yours, melissa
November 26, 2012
I’m the first to admit that I don’t have the best gift-giving track record. It’s not the quality of the gift that is in question (let’s not mention that one year I bought everyone’s gift from mall kiosks in a Christmas Eve panic, mmmmk?), it’s my crazy-late-but-it’s-the-thought-that-counts timing. Christmas gifts in January. Birthday gifts a month (or three) tardy. So, it might come as a shock that for maybe the first year EVER, I am (semi) on-top of my Christmas shopping, gift list making and am currently filled to the brim with Holiday Cheer (and peppermint lattes). And while that might not be the world’s biggest accomplishment, for this Oho, it’s considerable improvement on years past.
The fact that I do my best gift-giving under the pressure of time is a major (major) plus for you, my amazing friends. Add to it the fact that every single one of these items can be purchased from the pajama-clad comfort of your couch? You can just call me Santa.
Ho, ho, ho.
(PS, tomorrow we address those hard-to-shop-for guys in your life and if yours is anything like mine? You won’t want to miss it.)
For the Activist : Stubbs & Wootton “Undecided” Smoking Slippers | $400
It’s no secret that we just came off a very charged political season and while the peacemaker in me wants to put the whole thing in the past and move on with life, the activist in me loveloveloved how passionately opinionated it made my friends and these smoking slippers would be the perfect piece to keep the conversation going.
For the One with the Dog : Dyson DC35 Multi-Floor | $329.99 (on Cyber Monday Special for $247.49!)
I realize the potential flack I am opening myself up to by putting a vacuum on the gift guide but it’s a Dyson. And it’s cordless. Enough said.
For the Music Scene(r) : We Are Frends Layla Rose Gold | $149
So. Much. Better. Than. Earbuds.
For the Girl who is a GIRL : Mrs. P. Hicks x J.W. Hulme Bag | $590
Two Twin Cities darlings joined forces to put their signature style on one of my favorite accessories? Done. And pretty sure no one else in your book club will have it.
For the Hostess : Batik Fork & Spatula Serving Set | $32
Perfect for that friend who is the Hostess with the Mostest. Also, pretty sure these bad boys will get you invited to more dinner parties.
For the Chef : The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook | $14.99
This is the cookbook to end all cookbooks. The photography alone will make the most inexperienced cook want to dive in head-first and that only means good things for you. Until you have to clean up after them. And then…sorry.
For the Fashion Girl : Giltwork Pin-Fringe Clutch | $78
The perfect (and I mean perfect) addition to any holiday wardrobe; this clutch screams New Years Eve in the best way possible.
For the Oho : Carriage House Earmuffs | $61 (on sale!)
Blatant gratuitous personal use of the Gift Guide. I am not ashamed.
For the Cold One : Faribault Revival Stripe Throw | $149.50
When you live in Minnesota and spend 8 months of the year in wool socks, a quality blanket is a necessity and few places do blankets better than Faribault Woolen Mill (and yay, they are a Minnesota company!). Besides. It’s pretty.
For the (soon-to-be) Fiancée : Oli + Me The Lace Ring | $1,285
Admittedly, this isn’t the gift for every girl and certainly has the price-tag of a Special Occasion type of gift but I couldn’t make a 2012 gift guide without this beauty on the list. Holy. Moly. Gorgeous. (And make sure to check out the rest of the Oli + Me Rings. That Whisper Ring is a stunner too.)
i’m yours, melissa
November 22, 2012
i’m yours, melissa
November 19, 2012
Let’s talk about Engagement Sessions.
I’m not talking about how they build trust between you and your photographer (they do). I’m not referring to how they are super fun and super low stress (they are). And I’m not even here to tell you how much I love photographing them (because I do, I so do). I’m talking about the biggest (literally, the most caps ever) question I receive from my clients, WHAT DO YOU WEAR TO AN ENGAGEMENT SESSION. SERIOUSLY. (And I quote.)
I mean. I’m not a professional. I’m not. I know a girl if you need someone. But me? No. But if there’s one thing I am exceedingly good at? (I mean, like, really really really good at.) Shopping. Especially for other people. And especially if you give me unrestricted access to J.Crew and a bottle of wine. (Best ever.)
So, what are my tips for getting the most out of your Engagement Photos Fashion?
The very heart of what I want to do is to tell your story and a huge part of that is documenting who you are, right this very moment, as a couple. And since clothing can be such a great representation of your personalities and the location(s) you have chosen for your Engagement Session (which, ideally, are also a part of your personality) why not take advantage?
I know, I know. You have probably heard from a well-meaning friend/family member/stranger that you should stay away from pattern and trends and that maybe you should avoid this or that color or maybe even that you should wear classic styles as to not date your photos. Ignore, ignore, ignore. Thank them. And then ignore. I’m going to put this in all-caps so you hear me, YOUR ENGAGEMENT SESSION IS NOT A TIME FOR YOU TO PLAY IT SAFE.
Trends are FUN. So embrace color, patterns & the occasional trend and don’t worry about photos that may or may not end up dated. If I’m doing my job right, this won’t be the last time in the next 10 years you have your photo taken. (And if it is, expect a knock on your door from this girl in 10 years.) Besides, who’s to say that we won’t all be wearing silver jumpsuits in the year 2032? (YEP. I JUST WENT THERE.)
There are so many amazing places for inspiration but I’ve collected some of my favorites on my Fashion Loves board on Pinterest. And if your outfit is inspired by one of those photos? I may just hug you and never let go. Especially if it involves sequins or (faux) fur.
Easy, right? Yes. Completely. But don’t let his fashion take a backseat just because it’s easy. Adding a festive tartan tie or switching out his boring ol’ laces for a bright, fun pair can make all the difference (and bonus points, gives me fun details to photograph).
No, but seriously. This is my MO in life in general so just trust me on this one. There’s no panic like the I-HAVE-AN-ENGAGEMENT-SESSION-IN-FOUR-HOURS-AND-NOTHING-TO-WEAR panic. And besides, stress resonates through your entire body and will affect how your Engagement Photos look even if you find that perfect outfit two hours prior. My mission in life is to make your Engagement Session a wonderful, fun, oh-we-were-so-comfortable-we-didn’t-even-notice-your-big-camera time and ideally that starts even before you arrive at the location.
Lastly? Email Me. I have a handy little PDF full of fashion goodness for the Fall/Winter, location ideas and even more ideas about how to get the most out of your Engagement Session. I’d love to share it with you.
i’m yours, melissa
November 15, 2012
Six years of living in Minnesota and before my weekend in Hayward, I had experienced cabin life a total of one other time. Let me repeat, ONE TIME. (I can hear my Minnesota friends gasping from here.) So, when Emily & Tom invited us to join them at Tom’s family’s cabin in Wisconsin, I pretty much fell all over myself saying yes. (And then Googled, “what do you wear to a cabin?” but that is a completely different story.) Little did I know the magic this particular weekend would hold between lakeside sunrises, inedible cornbread (that I made, naturally), campfires, so.much.wine, Sunday morning Scrabble and the amazing sweetness of getting Emily & Tom in front of my camera at the place where they fell in love. THIS is what life should be. (Also, dear Patagonia, I’m coming for you. I have six years to make up for.)
Emily & Tom. Not only are you both wonderful hosts, you are also genuinely kind, caring and so, so thoughtful. I can’t get over how much fun that weekend was but more than that, how excited I am for your wedding and even more than THAT, how excited I am that you both are in my life. Thank you for everything. (And just so you know. Had the place you fell in love been at a Dairy Queen on Highway 88, I would have met you there too. Also. Sorry for almost killing you both on the 4-wheeler. Won’t happen again.) Love you guys like woah. xo
i’m yours, melissa
November 2, 2012
We’ve got three weeks of catch-up to do, friends…
I lost a shoe in the Charleston airport x-ray machine and experienced my first airport tornado warning evacuation at O’Hare. I am not lying when I say, MSP has never looked so good. I pedicured in a much-needed kind of way. We road-tripped to Hayward, WI and fell in love with cabin-life after an early-morning lakeside sunrise and fell equally in love with one of my amazing September 2013 couples. (Love you Em & Tom!). We spent Halloween at a muppet-themed Marvel Bar & Bachelor Farmer and by the end of the night I was in love with Miss Piggy. (Am I right, Faithers?) I edited like a mofo, photographed like a maniac, crossed off to-do items like it was my job and managed to fit in some quality doggy snuggles & dedicated time with my lady loves.
And currently? I’m cuddling on the couch with the husband, with a bottle of Malbec, watching Shark Tale. Not even lying. Best Friday night in recent memory.
How was your week?
Follow me here! Or search for @melissaoholendt!
i’m yours, melissa