Performancing Metrics


{holiday spirit) oooh, pretty paper!

{holiday spirit) oooh, pretty paper!

Oooh, gifts. The secondary meaning of Christmas. The proof in the pudding of HOW WELL DOES MY SIGNIFICANT OTHER KNOW ME?!

I was happy that I had the opportunity to cuddle some kitties at the Humane Society prior to leaving for Ohio. Although it broke my heart every time I wished a cat a Merry Christmas. I hope they find warm, friendly homes this season. But I digress…

AB & I spent Christmas Eve with his family (cousins for an amazing themed French cuisine dinner), then drove up North to hang out with my dad’s side of the family (until way past our bed time). Christmas Day is always fun (to wake up to Mimosas) and just sit back and relax for the entire afternoon. We always finish off our giant meal of lamb and side of “Christmas rice” with games — this year’s picks: Left-Right-Center and Apples to Apples.

My “big gift” from the boyfriend was a sewing machine (mentioned in passing, which he remembered) that the sender almost ruined, shipping the giant box unwrapped to the house when I was home accepting packages. Thankfully (for AB’s surprise), I was heading out and UPS lifted the (heavy) box into the entryway for me. I barely glanced at it, since it was addressed to the Man of the House instead of me. And I was in a rush (as per usual).

Regardless, YAY SEWING MACHINE! I lost the last one in my divorce*, so I’m psyched to have my own again. I do not intend to have another year of half-assed, hand-sewn side seams to take in scrimmage t-shirts. Also: I’m going to start doing my own tailoring — which I know is quite a skill, but for serious, EVERYTHING I buy off-the-rack needs taken in/up in some way. That shit is expensive, yo. And I’m going to learn. At the very least I’d like to master hem lengths. Or how to put on buttons.

My Dad bought me a Kindle — not the fancy, schmancy colorful lets-fill-it-with-games version (I mean, that’s what my iPhone is for), but the plain ink print screen model (with keyboard), just as I hoped. I intend to cross off Bucket List Item #7 this year: Read 52 books in 52 weeks. Kindle should help me, especially when I’m traveling (also, super awesome that I can “rent” books through Carnegie Libraries!). My iPhone and I need a break. For serious.

The most fun is opening the small-but-sensible stocking items (so useful!). I’m now fully stocked on nail files, Wisps, toothbrushes, toothpaste, almonds, anti-bacterial gel and such until some time next year.

Some more fun stuff:
S’mores Grill Kit. NOM-tastic.
Sweater tights and new pajama pants. Warm & Cozy.
Workout gloves. The better to lift your weight with.
Brie baker with cheese board identifiers. Can’t wait to host you… with CHEESE!
Coasters from Paris that match my dining room artwork. Awesome.
A really cool coffee table book. LOVE.
Charger of barrel-aged 12 Dogs of Christmas. Cheers *clink*
Raspberry-flavored alcoholic whipped cream (a last-minute toss in). All Your Hot Chocolate Belongs to Us.
Personalized derby wear. Hella-fantastic.

Oh, and if you’re wondering what I bought AB for Christmas:
Chalkboard Keg Handle (which currently reads as “Empty :( ” as he attempts to install his keg fridge in the kitchen cabinets — THAT’LL BE A POST!)
A ring that doubles as a bottle opener (he saw this on a friend while tailgating for a Pahr game, and wanted it; so, he got one. He got a ring last year too and rarely wore it. I sense a Christmas trend)
Set of copper Moscow Mule mugs
Leather Dop Kit Bag (stupid left his in the cabinet at the old apartment)
…And, I feel like there was something else, but my memories of Christmas already evade me.

Somehow in all my pre-season Grinchy-ness, I managed to enjoy a stress-free, somewhat-relaxing holiday (with a side of stomach uneasiness for a few hours on the holiday).
Next year: all I want to do is wake up in my new home on Christmas morning, snuggling cats** and my boyfriend. Then? I’m all yours.

Did you get anything great this year?

*that’s about the best way to describe this break-up; those who know me know I’ve never been married.

**and then there were THREE?! Heh.


{awesome sauce} IT EXISTS!

{awesome sauce} IT EXISTS!

Someone on your shopping list need some extra AWESOME?

Or maybe, as the product description suggests, your peanut butter and jelly sandwich needs some AWESOME… Do what now? For serious:

You’ve used the expression; now put it in your mouth! Awesomesauce is 12 oz of delicious, spicy, garlicky sauce that will make most anything you make taste more awesome. What’s that, you say? You only make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches? Well, have you tried a peanut butter and awesome sandwich? Yeah. Chew on that.

I wish clients would let me write product descriptions like this.

*112% of your recommended daily dose of awesome.
I’m seriously considering making this my blog mantra.


{holiday spirit} Mel’s Christmas Gift Guide for the men who annoy, tolerate or complete you.

{holiday spirit} Mel’s Christmas Gift Guide for the men who annoy, tolerate or complete you.

Ho-Ho-Ho! - Thanks for agreeing not to buy each other anything for Christmas and then making me feel guilty by buying something anyway.

Oh, so now it’s the last minute and essentially you’re fucked. But I’m going to share this gift guide with you anyway. So… CONGRATS! You survived long enough to not get dumped before Christmas. I mean, no man is that much of a dick he’d dump you the day before a holiday and after all the gifts are purchased, right?


Men’s gifts come in three easy shopping categories:

  • Have to Have Every New Gadget
  • Sure I’ll Cook For You
  • Needs a Makeover

Likewise, these categories fit into three various stages of relationship:

  • Unsure How to Label Us
  • Spent at Least One Holiday Together
  • Get the Fuck Out (which I covered in the post with a friendly kick in the nuts)

A gadget guy this season wants anything that includes the words: handheld, 3D, Blu-ray, Sonos, or iPhone. Think in terms of device or electronic accessory (and if he’s a Mac Head or an Android Ass), and spend according to aforementioned Status of Relationship and individual budgetary concerns. PS: If one or both of you is employed, then FUCK CHRISTMAS, and go cuddle kitties at the animal shelter.

Unsure: get him one of those 3-in-1 USB sync-n-charger thingie-do-hicker or a car phone charger.
Holiday Togetherness: he’s probably been drooling over the likes of a Roku or Mac Mini. MAYBE YOU CAN FINALLY CANCEL CABLE AND SPEND MORE TIME TOGETHER! Or a Bluetooth iPad keyboard.
Fuck Him: a Garmin

Credit: dklimke via flickr

The home chef will steal your heart… right through your stomach. Then gut it with expensive knives when you complain about the temperature of your undercooked steak. With promises of dinner on the table every night to being the go-to cook for parties and potlucks, you can thank him for making you fat with these nifty kitchen ideas.

Unsure: wow, you’re fucked. DID YOU READ ABOUT THE KNIVES?! Calm your nerves (and the man with the butcher chop) with a digital scale, a nice spice rack or matching place settings.
Together-4-EVER: cast iron skillets, a Cuisinart or anything to do with bacon- or beer-of-the-month club.
Fuck Him: an apron that reads, “I RUB MY MEAT FOR TWO MINUTES!

Who can wait for resolutions? ’tis the mother-fucking season for changing him. Change your hair, change your life, right? Clothing, shoes — replace those damn holy socks too. Shit, retool his entire underwear drawer to what YOU want to see him wear. I don’t care what level of comfortability you are in this relationship. Nobody wants to look at shitty (heh) undergarments. Who cares if his saggy balls are uncomfortable in boxer briefs. RYAN GOSLING SAYS SO!

Unsure: a set of trial size toiletry products — complete with new dop kit, a magazine subscription to GQ or… or… JEDI BATHROBE!
I LOVE YOU, SO I CAN BE COMPLETELY HONEST WITH YOU: a gift certificate for a mani-pedi (hell, a day at the spa!) or a new electric razor. And get that boy a grown-up man bag already!
Fuck Him: a baby.

Dating a hipster? I cannot fucking help you. Are mustaches still cool?

Need some gift guidance for your lady friend? Then you missed my Christmas Gift Guide to Get Your Holly in Her Jolly.


{holiday spirit} …and a kick in the nuts!

{holiday spirit} …and a kick in the nuts!

I chuckled at this holiday gift guide: Gifts For Someone You’re Planning to Dump (aka: What to Buy Your Soon-to-be-Ex) – {Jezebel}. Passive-aggressive never worked for anyone.

I never intentionally sought out gift ideas for people I didn’t want to be with (I suppose I should have taken my own hint when I didn’t get 10SB something for Valentine’s Day)… and most of my former break-ups took place on/around New Year’s or Fourth of July (for SERIOUS).

Have you ever been in this situation (on either side)? What was the worst “I’m Going to Dump You Soon” gift you received?

The only one that comes to mind is when dating HG Shady McShadester. That asshole took me all the way to Phoenix for my Christmas “gift” to celebrate New Year’s and the Buckeyes Fiesta Bowl. So what: he made me sit in coach, while he stretched out in first class; and let’s not forget that time he was hitting on another girl while his friend occupied me at the other side of the bar; or that time his friend claimed it his attempt at having a three-way; or his general, skeevey-boyfriend tendencies — those are all a WHOLE OTHER ISSUE OF DATING — I got to visit my sister and niece at no dollar sign off my bank account. Although I did slip in the bathtub pretty hard during that trip; that was borderline disastrous.

Gah, just thinking of that loser makes me FULL ON regret not asking for AB’s number eight months prior. I need to take off my Grinch hat, like, now…

End note: if you receive something this Christmas that you’d rather unload than have remind you of his stupid, ill-timed ass, might I suggest Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry?


{holiday spirit} Mel’s Christmas Gift Guide to Get Your Holly in Her Jolly… or something.

{holiday spirit} Mel’s Christmas Gift Guide to Get Your Holly in Her Jolly… or something.

Cats: It's what's for Christmas!

Two years ago (!!), I posted a Mel’s 12 Days of Christmas Gifts Guide for your Lady Friends that STILL gets a ton of hits this time of year. And actually gives me a bit of the uncontrollable chuckles. Seriously though, have I been phoning in all my posts this year?

But that was Cleveland; now, this is Pittsburgh. Shit just got real, didn’t it?

I’m a huge fan of local shopping because I despise malls and crowds of meanies and overachievers and sales fliers… especially this time of year. Likewise, online shopping has saved me from doubling my prescription of Xanax and/or having an assault conviction on my record. But Christmas is creeping, so get Web orders in soon.

Some of the following are on my own Want List, and this gift guide is a mix of both local and online favorites:

1. Am I the only female currently obsessed with these monthly shopping clubs? Much in the same vein as the Monthly Wine Club or the Monthly Beer Club or the Monthly Hideous Decorator Plate from Franklin Mint, you can subscribe your lovely to a year’s worth of t-shirts (StyleMint), shoes (ShoeDazzle) or beauty products (Birchbox). Or lingerie (Adore Me), if that’s your style. Just make sure you’ve been dating the girl long enough that you actually know her cup size… and her shoe size.


2. There is not a girl on the planet who does not like cheese. And if she says she doesn’t, she is either a) lying or b) vegan. In either case, you probably will not live harmoniously in dairy for all eternity. At least, NOT IN MY HOUSE. Not that there’s anything wrong with Veganism… oh boy, MORE CHEESE FOR ME. Check out the Cheese of the Month Club from local awesome, Penn Mac.

3. PittGirl of That’s Church did a perfect job putting together an awesome Yinzer Gift Guide. Check it aht for local flair and fare. Or if you’re especially artistic or talented, make her something JUST FOR HER.

Pssst: One last chance to shop I Made It! (the original) this Wednesday, December 7.

4. Sporty gals need love too! Ahem, check out page 13 in this month’s Pittsburgh Magazine for Black n’ Gold (and Blue) gift ideas for local sports fans.
{/shameless personal plug}

5. Keeping with a Pittsburgh-centric theme, here are a few of my favorite things (local boutique): Pavement, Wildcard, Pageboy, Zipper Blues and Louis Anthony Jewelers. Some other of my favorite, famous fashion bloggers in the area would also recommend Jupe Boutique (I still have yet to make it over there, for shame) or Highway Robbery (for a woman who loves unique and vintage in the same sentence). Shoes. Jeans. Jewelry. Stuff for the House. In that order, converted in years of relationship status.

6. An outdoor enthusiast is a girl after my own heart… wait, what? Check out local organizations like BikePGH and Venture Outdoors (which includes specials with Kayak Pittsburgh) for yearly gift memberships. Maybe she’ll invite you along on a paddle tour of the city or a nature hike. Or maybe you’ll continue being a lazy ass in your Zubaz. Your choice. Know that one option begets sex. The other, will be the smashing of your big screen TV.

7. PSA: a self-conducted twitter survey shows that women want more sex this year. HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM APPLES, male species. And that’s a gift; not a resolution.

8. NEED MORE ELECTRONICS FOR STREAMING HILARIOUS CAT VIDEOS. And, oh yeah… reading. I asked for a Kindle this year, but not because I don’t like regular books (as the overly-full shelves in my house suggest); just that I want to replace my nightly iPhone games ritual with something more than making up words via Scrabble tiles. And if it’s in electronic form, I’ll be more apt to use it in bed (ahem, FOR READING, pervs) — and my iPhone just plain sucks as an eReader. Also: I never have room to pack books when I’m traveling and already carrying-on AN ENTIRE SKATE BAG.

BIG Ideas: Kindle (and similar eReaders) for your lovely Book Worm, iHome travel speakers for your jet-setting Globe Trotter, or an old-school Polaroid camera for your photography junkie (HELLS YES!). LDR? Get her on Skype (on the regular) with a computer-mountable video camera. Or if you’re Daddy Warbucks, an iPhone for weekly Facetime chats.

9. If you know her taste in novels or non-fiction is more old-school (read: paper), check out local bookstores: Awesome Books (in the Penn Avenue Arts District AND its new “pop-up” location downtown) and the East End Book Exchange at the Pittsburgh Public Market. A book is still one of my favorite gifts. True story.

10. This is where my practical side takes over. If my partner purchased me a package of lessons or classes for one of my favorite activities or pastimes, life for him would be all HJs and BJs. Haha… yeah, right. Has she shown an interest in aerial aerobic classes? Art or pottery? Piano? (*squee!*). Ears up, boyfriend: start listening to your girlfriend’s passions. I would like AB to purchase me the actual Jillian Michaels, but since she’s not available for sale (only threesome fantasies), personal workout sessions with a local trainer would be a nice runners-up prize.

Word to the un-wise: if you selected, pole classes, you go straight to the coal-in-your-stocking and not-getting-any-for-a-long-while pile. And a likely bonus of spiked-heel-in-your-ball-sack.

11. Dating a comic or cartoon geek? There’s a ToonSeum membership for her.
Better than flowers: gift her a Phipps Conservatory membership.
A membership to the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh includes the Museum of Natural History, Science Center, Warhol & Museum of Art (Groupon today, yinz!) — one pass to fit all her varied personalities and interests. Don’t you dare call her crazy.

12. Ladies, love a guy with a big… *cough* heart. Has she been talking about adopting a cute cat or adorable puppy… or a bitty bunny rabbit? Surprise her with an afternoon trip to the Animal Rescue League to socialize with some of the local shelter animals (I never recommend the gift of “here’s a kitten!” without prior agreement or conversation in place). And if you’re both not ready to become parents (or she’s already borderline Cat Lady), show her that it’s NOT ALL ABOUT HER by donating to a local animal rescue organization or shelter in her name (or in that of her existing pets). Or sign you both up for volunteering.

I fully encourage and support the holiday being about more than gifts, but organizations like Toys for Tots exist because everyone needs a little “break” from the yearly sadness and seriousness. Give what you can, where you can… and offer your time, if money is a concern. Year round, n’at.
{/serious tone}

And keeping with blogging tradition and such, I shall have a men’s version up next, with help from the one-and-only AB (now properly dressed in his Arrogant Bastard shirt from Stone Brewery, gifted to him last Christmas. ‘Cuz I’m awesome too).

Ladies: anything else on your Wish List this year?

Top photo, courtesy of jbudoner via flickr.


{she’s crafty} handmade arcade

{she’s crafty} handmade arcade

It was difficult not to buy all the Pittsburgh t-shirts and 83 key necklaces at last weekend’s Handmade Arcade. But we did get these awesome holiday card packs from local artist Noelle Griskey, of Pink Bathtub Designs. Her etsy shop is full of cute letterpress goods — good for you and for gifts.

YES, I’M SENDING OUT HOLIDAY CARDS THIS YEAR. But definitely not before Thanksgiving. Trying SO HARD to get into the spirit… by drinking Snow Melt and Christmas Ale, natch. But a beach vacation might help too.


{bucket list} 2012 by 2012

{bucket list} 2012 by 2012

No, that’s not the number of items to complete on my personal bucket list (although, how awesome of a challenge would that be?). THAT is the basis of BikePGH’s goal of getting 2,012 members to sign up by 2012. Two months left… and less than 300 members to go.

I think a BikePGH membership will be a nice complement to my Venture Outdoors membership (which I intend to renew as well for the new year). The membership comes with some awesome local discounts as well as fun “extras,” so check out BikePGH for more info. Not only is this a benefit for YOU, but it also reinforces your support for maintaining the organization’s many goals and plans for local bike riders.

Keeping with talks of Bucket lists, my #31: Bike the Appalachian Trail — as well as our commitment to a single-car household, relying often on a bicycle as a second mode of transportation — somewhat coincides with BikePGH’s mission: to establish Pittsburgh as a city that is increasingly safe, accessible and friendly to bicycle transportation. All things considered, we’ll be doing lots of bike riding/training this year, and will also require special outfitted rentals for such a trip. All of which fall under the support, guidance and assistance of a bike-friendly community.

BONUS: some of you might be searching for a unique idea for that special Pittsburgh someone this holiday — there’s a GIFT FOR THAT!

Help Bike Pittsburgh get 2,012 members by 2012


PT: Gift Guide

Wanna lick my "icing"?

Wanna lick my "icing"?

While the post office and UPS dictate it is far too late for potential online presents to invade your body cavities for the naughty holiday known as Christmas, if you order today, you and partner can spread some… ahem, “joy” next Tuesday. You know, the only truly important day of the week.

Behind getting laid every day, OF COURSE.

Some gift tips. And just the tip:

Women love candles. ‘specially penis candles.

While every woman would prefer her husband/boyfriend/man maid to have a big penis, some girlfriends — while seemingly perfect on the outside — are harboring the (non)painful truth of 3 inches in the bedroom. *le sigh* Rub it in a little with The Big Penis Book.

Because Christmas is also about jealousy and guilt trips.

Oh, and boredom. Here’s an activity book to keep you occupied through Midnight Mass. But not for the kiddos because there are ENOUGH creepy priests “uncles” in this church.

Sweet ol’ Aunt Bettie made cookies (again) this year. Can that woman ever get Gingerbread right? Tempt that lady with a little Cookie Sutra to make next year’s holiday haps more adult friendly.

Because where there’s ADULTS ONLY family room, there is ADULTS ONLY drinking table. Drink up, drink up, the ENTIRE family’s here. Oh, look, Uncle Carl brought WINE! Penis. Wine?! Yeah. Chin down.

“And put your dick down too!”

Now, everyone is tipsy and poking fun at the sister who does NOT prefer a brown banana. (If you know what I mean).

No, what?!

“Shut up and grab me some candy off the buffet table.”

And some of that candy lube thingymajigger…

Send all your guests home with some chocolates to remember Christmases… ahem, come and gone.

But don’t let Granny get “run over” by any reindeer.


A (high maintenance) gift guide to your man whore.


I love my man whore. But after scrolling through his recommended gift guide, shit, he has, ahem, “expensive taste.” He’s a high maintenance ho! I mean that in the most affectionate way, of course. So, if you still do not know your man well enough for gift-giving practices (perhaps you should not look at this list because you should DEFINITELY not be spending this much on him), take a look at some high-tech, super geeky, yet refined selections, courtesy of the #1 Man Whore of my heart, AB:

LG BD390 I used to memorize my cell phone model numbers. I can vaguely recall program versions and updates — on a clear day what processor I’m using. Now I’m all “iPhone” and “MacBook.” Yet, I looked at this alpha-numeric item a couple times, and I still have no clue of its use, outside of streaming Netflix. And some Blu-ray, wifi BS, and that is only because it was originally stated as such in his email to me. So, yeah, men like cool gadgetry shit for the TV setup. But Boxee boxes don’t ship until Spring.

Nikon D3000 digital SLR
I’ve decided I want a really good camera too. I’ve been fluctuating between wanting a vintage or a digital SLR, so we could both use this one. Then, once we get our house, I can set up a dark room in the basement, and acquire bunches of cool, vintage photography development shit. Wouldn’t that be sweet. Homemade naked shots of hot neighbors. In black-and-white, of course.

The new iMac A computer for the apartment that already houses six laptops. With no desk. Or an office space. Yeah, maybe next year. You know, when we can reassemble your office chair that we’ve hidden in the “furnace closet.”

Glenrothes single barrel 1967 vintage Vintage beers, whiskeys, scotches, beers are an awesome gift. Noted. And by that, I mean, ladies, pay attention to your man’s distinguished drinking habits. You can get him drunk, and take advantage of him. Like a good girl on Santa’s list.

Canon Vixia HF10 Digital Camcorder I’m certain there’s a perverted purpose for this… I’m in. Duh.

TomTom GO 740 Live
What’s that about men and asking for directions? No more fights on road trips. Well, unless you date someone completely unhinged, as I have.

2010 Demotivator Calendar This cracked my shit up. But seriously, if your man in even the tiniest sort of way hints at daily laziness, this might not be the gift for him. Otherwise, de-motivate away!

Nostalgia Electrics Kegorator Beer Keg Fridge Um, I think we already have one of these? You need one in black? Make sure it matches the appliances. I think I’m drunk. Or maybe he is…

ORB Audio the “People’s Choice” Mod4 Speaker System Speakers are cool. We seem to have a lot of them around the apartment. Ones that don’t work. Perhaps I should have thought of a solution before gift-giving season. Dammit.

Nice Collective – Wells Coat (or anything at Brigade) I love my boyfriend in this shit. Cleveland-local shop Brigade is obviously not a place for your man if he wears Starter jackets. Or team gear on a daily basis. They ARE good for remembering your man and all his measurements and sizes (and general likes & dislikes) if by some chance you come across a “perfect” label item. They sell cool shit. This year, we fulfilled our closet addictions by shopping (and saving!) for ourselves the day after Thanksgiving. His three-piece pin-striped suit is fucking hot. In a very “Mentalist” sort of way. Mmmm.

A selection from the Bunny Ranch MenuYEEEEAHHH. That’s my man. Whipped Cream Party sounds like a good time. Note to self: buy some Redi-Whip and find a girlfriend for Valentine’s Day… and take pictures with my awesome vintage camera.

The last item (since he only gave me 11) was something I wish I would have thought about before I created shopping lists — a telescope. Living downtown (and being entirely too voyeuristic for only my set of boobies), this would be a great party piece for any bachelor pad. Imagine that close up on the naked drying-off girl across the alley! Or the boss-assistant combo up on floor 33 you’ve been dying to watch. Heh. Great fun for all of his friends. And, well, perverted girlfriends just the same. You know, until you move that into a furnace closet, and force all your 18 throw pillows onto his bed. Just don’t change the curtains.


Weekend update


Thanks to the wonderful suggestion of the one-and-only Cleveland Bachelor in finally getting my ass over to Cinematheque (where I thought I’ve been before, but perhaps not) to see “We Live in Public” on Friday night. It was a fantastic documentary about Josh Harris — a man who should be familiar, but unfortunately is not. So, if you like social media, history on the beginnings of the internet and other amazing technologies of the online variety, check him out. The movie is gone from Cleveland, but perhaps in that being a story about an internet guru, it would find its way to downloadable status somewhere.

After our weekly trip to the West Side Market (complete with holiday music, courtesy of the  St. Ignatius band), Saturday was meant for holiday shopping.

And for any day-long festive stress fest, food fuel (and beer) are prerequisites. The Mighty Macaroni Melt from Melt (and holiday brews) did the job! The wait wasn’t horrible for lunch time on Saturday, but as always — it’s totally worth it. My mouth and stomach were at capacity at only a quarter of sandwich eaten. (And I was not hungry for the ENTIRE duration of the day). That being said, my Melt tattoo is not finished in its design phase, but I intend to revisit hopefully by February to join the melty-happy-tattoo club. 25% for life and The Goddess of Grilled Cheese is certainly a religious sacrament I can get behind.

We fortunately walked off most of those calories. I was excited to find a copy of  “Paris je’taime” DVD at the CD Exchange in Lakewood as well. And subsequently cannot WAIT until the sequel, “New York, I Love You” — coming soon.

A little further into Lakewood, a stop into my most favorite of chocolatiers – Sweet Designs — for an add-on birthday gift for AB’s mom.

Shop. Shop. Shop. Shop. Stand on line. Annoy. Annoy. Horrible Hat Head. Go broke. Get happy, happy holiday cards from that piece of shit sitting in River. Heat broken. Grrr. Fixed. Shop online.

Need more Christmas Ale.

Our end result was ne’er too merry — we still have to finish up next weekend. But the trip should prove to be a fun shopping excursion, with visits to vintage stores and kitchsy galleries and home stores. Again, more West Side.

I was wholly tuckered by ten o’clock.

Coming up this week: Tuesday is the last day to enter the Penis Tuesday giveaway, courtesy of the ever-gracious Princess Patti (and her crocheted penises). I’ll have a Gift Guide for the Male in your life. Also, a random ex-boyfriend story. New Year’s plans are set, with an upcoming vacation/road trip and then the mother of all vacations in January.

Did you catch Cold Case Sunday night, inspired by the music of the iconic Bob Seger? Tuh-die.


Mel’s 12 Days of Christmas Gifts Guide for your Lady Friends


I’ve been asked for ideas* for holiday presents this season for females**, so sing along with me***:

On the first day of Christmas my boyfriend bought for me Murad Hydrating Toner… *cough* or Mineralize MAC shadow! Boys, raid your ladies’ medicine cabinets and see which of her favorite products are running low. Bonus: sparkly shadows are make-up bag pleasers, and the MAC shadow suggested is a perfect complement for those date nights you promised as part of your Couple Resolutions for the new year.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me: a manner of stress relief that didn’t involve massaging… your penis. But while we’ve got your attention on holistic health services, a massage (followed by facial, followed by pedicure) sounds abfab in the most non-pervy sort of way. Preferably at a place that serves me champagne and a steam bath. And a limo ride home. Heh. If your “friend” spends her money on more sensible objects like, say, alcohol, she probably won’t treat herself to spa services. Enter: Ladies & Gentlemen, an all around local fave (plus they’re paid handsomely that they don’t accept tips, which I think is doubly-awesome for gift giving — it’s been a couple years, and I hope this is still true!). AND there are two east side locations, you know, so by selecting Legacy Village, there’s more a chance that she won’t run into any weird acquaintances from Memorial Junior High school. Tip: Hopefully by now, you recognize your woman’s salon — call them up. Guaranteed someone will refer a great selection of regular (or splurge) services she requests.

On the third day of Christmas my computer geek emailed to me: something awesomely geeky. While I can’t find these specific panties sold locally, a small additional gag gift for a woman with a sense of humor works every time. “For what?” I hear you ask. Well, a reminder how hilarious you are (you know, that whole women like a man who’s funny thing. Oh, you forgot that part of courting already. Well, you need to complete this part of your gal’s Wish List ASAP). Local suggestion: Big Fun (TWO locations: Coventry & Cleveland/Lakewood border). Remember the silliness of her NKOTB obsession — I’m sure there’s a boxed 80s Jordan Knight doll for that. Star Trek geek — oh, they definitely have you covered.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my Man Around the House cooked up for me: *gasp* Michael. Symon. and Chef Sawyer Chef School. Sure, cooking schools have been around, but for the foodie in your heart, these two hottie chefs present a gift idea for the new generation, regardless of the lady of the house’s experience level (hey, watching someone cook is a skill too!). And, frankly, looking at hot (ahem, married) chefs doesn’t hurt a meal. Call your local favorite restaurant and check out what special dinners or classes are offered.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my lover wrapped for meeeeeee: lessons to be learrrnnnned! So, speaking of lessons, has your sig other talked about ballroom dancing lessons (*choke*) or perhaps learning the tango (*swoon*)? Maybe she could benefit from a few months of paid lessons from a local instructor to learn more than just that same freaking song. Longing for the days of piano recitals and relearning your classical repertoire? Shit, if money and space isn’t an option, surprise! It’s an antique piano! I’m sure you catch my musical drift.

And on the sixth day of xmas my true love made for me? Hahah. No, silly, he BOUGHT handmade for me: the cutest handmade scarf ever seen! Search etsy for local handmade or visit CLE events like Bizarre Bazaar or the Made in the 216 holiday shop. Girl not into handmade? Go vintage for classic accessories. My obsession is vintage coats and cardigans (and old rhinestone necklaces and silk scarves and hats…). Do a small bit of research on sizes (vintage runs different than modern sizes!!). Start with these shops: Suite Lorain or Busy Broad.

Am I on the 7th Day of Christmas? Um, yes, gift cert to Voodoo Monkey, please. You know, for my geeky code tattoo. Added bonus: if your woman is a Melt-fanatic (who isn’t?!), help design a grilled cheese tattoo for $25 off, courtesy of VooDoo Monkey artists. And well, we all know the cult following — the gift that keeps on giving: 25% off Melt grilled cheese for LIFE. Just as permanent as the tattoo. And hopefully, as you.

On the eighth day straight of drinking spiked egg nog, my boy toy bought for me: a CLE-made iPhone appstand. Holy crap — be still my ever-gadget-lovin’ heart! I have so many ideas for its use in our apartment, it makes my head spin: an ever-changing digital photo frame to show off all my Facebook fans, set up to read online recipes while in the kitchen, narcisstically showing off my awesome new iPhone version of my website. Oh, you didn’t know? Seriously, grab your smartphone and check it out. Awesome, right?

On the ninth day of Christmas, my non-book-reading boyfriend gave to me: Yes. It’s a $100 (used) book. Shut up. Local bookstores can likely order it just the same. Be that as it may, stalk her Amazon wishlist. There’s a reason for it. But support one of the many FABULOUS local bookstores in Cleveland, if available.

Dear Santa, Day #10: still craving cheese. Ohio cheeses: MacKenzie Creamery habanera goat. Heini’s Vidalia onion. Guggisberg baby swiss. Yes, as much as I drooled over the “Cheese of the Month Club” in Williams-Sonoma, knowing where my dairy comes from (and especially knowing their practices) is important. I’ll leave my fancy imported cheese porn for my next dinner with the maître fromage at L’Albatros.

On the eleventh day of damn-my-freaking-nipples-are-falling-off, my tent buddy bought for me: awesome outdoor activity gifts. There’s kayaking (certain classes are available to ready your skills for the open waters in Spring), horseback riding (RR stables), snowmobiling (*sigh* WTF?! I still cannot find a local renter of snowmobiles. I don’t get it – there are trails, but no equipment available to rent in the area. More people in Cleveland must enjoy the snowy trails as much as I do! I just don’t have the storage space for a snowmobile). It’s Winter in Cleveland — Hell may freeze over, but the lake doesn’t… completely. You want a Red Rider BB gun? I want a Red Ryder sled.

And (thankfully) on the final effin’ day of Chrismahanukwanza my significant other shared with me: a museum membership. Dating an art major (Become a member of Cleveland Museum of Art) or hankering for a history buff (The Nature League is a GREAT member group of The Cleveland Museum of Natural History). Does your marriage need a little more rockin‘? Perhaps your Best Friend’s Girl is an independent or international film freak (CIA Cinematheque)? Passion breeds passion. *wink*

*please adapt accordingly to your girlfriend/FWB/wife/favorite Diamond’s stripper.

**males are next! I’ll have 12 gift ideas for the men in our life, courtesy of AB.

***but really, don’t sing. I hate Christmas music.

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