Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Show Your Real: Melissa

Today is a bit of a change of pace for the Show Your Real series...and guess what: I'm excited about it! (But that shouldn't surprise you. I say that every time. But I can't help it. Every time I get a new post in my inbox from a contributor, it's pretty much like Christmas!)

Melissa is writing today, and she's my real life friend. Ok, more like real life friend of a friend, but I knew her long before our online lives collided, so it's extra fun for me to have her share here. She's also got a different take on things because she's not a mom (yet. I hope she will be someday, because she and Jeff are sure to have some beautiful, talented babies. And the world always needs more of those). Things were getting a little motherhood heavy around here...not that there's anything wrong with that...but I love getting a glimpse into a different phase of life. And hopefully you all will be able to relate a bit to what she has to say. She's got what many people (myself included) would think of as a dream life- young, married, glamorous job, business owner (plus she has a super cute puppy!) And while all of that is real, there is more behind the scenes that is even more real, and I love that she's willing to share those parts too.

So even if you aren't a dog loving, ridiculously tall and gorgeous, super baker, I know you'll like hearing about someone who is...and you'll definitely want to follow along with her delicious adventures. Check out her instagram accounts: @melissaroses and @sweetmelissacake.)


Hey there, how are ya? My name is Melissa. I hope you're having an awesome day so far! If you’re not, be encouraged that your awesome day can begin right this moment and that alarm clock that didn’t go off or that fender bender you got in this morning is just a colorful start to your day.

(that’s a gratuitous picture of myself. Most days it’s more like this):

I’m excited to share a bit about my life with you, but first I must say that I was pretty excited (flattered even!) when Courtney wrote asking me to be a part of this little community of truth she has cultivated here. I used to blog for a few years on Tumblr and I struggled constantly with comparing myself, my life, my career, and my relationships to those shiny, perfect(ly edited) ones I saw every day in the blogosphere. Needless to say, I really believe in this initiative to be real with each other because let’s face it; comparison is the thief of joy and us ladies are way too hard on ourselves. We need to give ourselves Grace!

Ok. Where to begin?
I’m a 26 year old living in Raleigh NC with my awesome husband Jeff and our tiny dog Arlowe. We’re obsessed with that little guy and this adventure the Lord has taken us on. You see, we moved to Raleigh in June of 2012. Prior to this awesome little city, we spent two years in a tiny town in upstate NY for Jeff’s job and I struggled HARD there. NY was a difficult, depression-filled, desperate season of my life, but that’s another story for another post. The moral of that for me was to lean on the Lord, and the harder it is to do so, the more I need to do so. God lifted us out of one of the hardest seasons of life and dropped us in this charming little city where we found authentic friendships, a solid church, great jobs, and even blessed us with a brand new home.

So back to present day life:
By day, I’m a litigation paralegal. Do you watch Law and Order/Matlock/Judge Judy/The Practice/JAG/Boston Legal? Yeah, it’s not like that in real life. Most days I open mail, file a ton of papers, and try to avoid office drama like the plague. I actually struggle every single day with working in an office. I know in all corners of my heart that the Lord has created me for bigger and better things. He created me to live and be and adventure and move and dance and love and create. It’s a struggle to physically sit for 7.5 hours every day. I hate feeling chained to a desk. I have to punch a time clock which I think is both degrading and humiliating. (How’s that for real?)
By night, I work in the wedding industry as both a wedding coordinator and a cake designer. Two separate gigs, same industry. I utterly love the whole wedding coordinator thing. It’s fun and exciting and insane all in the same day. No two days are ever the same. Pick up 500 krispy kreme donuts on the way to the church? Check. Find the DJ who is holed up in a quiet room eating dinner when the father of the bride is trying to do his toast? Check. Attend a wine tasting at 8am on a Tuesday morning? Check. Calm a crying bride when her bridesmaids are an hour late because they were shopping at the mall and they have her mom’s dress in their car? Check. Organize 200 totally smashed wedding guests and try to get them all holding LIT sparklers at the exact same moment to create that perfect getaway photo? Check. Check. Check.

(shameless wedding coordination selfie!)

Is it glamorous? Not exactly. It’s a very long day in heels and a pretty dress doing things that are better suited to jeans and sneakers (moving a 200 lb flower arrangement? Par for the course.) But it is the most fun and fulfilling job I’ve ever done outside of working at Younglife camp. Not a wedding goes by where I don’t pause for a moment during the ceremony and reminisce about our own wedding day, fall in love with Jeff all over again, and text him “I LOVE YOU!”. It’s crazy and chaotic but SO MUCH FUN.

And the wedding cake thing? Oh yeah, I own that business: Sweet Melissa Cake. That’s something I’ve been developing for years to become a business  that can allow me to leave the desk thing and do something creative to earn a living. It’s fun (I LOVE that moment when the cake is delivered and set up and it all comes together and the hours in a hot kitchen become worth it). It’s challenging (not a cake goes by where I don’t pray with all my might that the delivery goes smoothly). It’s fulfilling (the wedding cake tasting is usually the couple’s-and always the groom’s- favorite part of wedding planning). Owning a business is a million things. I love the independence. I grow discouraged when I don’t make much money from it. I struggle with realizing that I cannot and should not derive my self worth from it (‘What do you mean they don’t like that frosting?’- That’s a shot right to my heart.) I have to constantly ask myself and check my heart why I’m doing this. Is it to be known in the wedding industry? Unfortunately, yeah, that ugly pride is in my heart. Should it be purely to serve others on the most special day of their life? Yes.

Guess what else?

I’ve recently started an Etsy shop to sell my handmade sugar flowers for wedding cakes AND handmade fresh floral crowns (also another story for another post). Why you ask? Because I’m a serial entrepreneur and that A.D.D.  Check out the store but don’t judge because it’s legit like a week old.

So, in summary, my REAL day-in-the-life-of-a wedding planner/paralegal/professional baker/20-something wife goes a little like this:
Alarm goes off at 7:30, snooze 5 times and roll out of bed at 8:05. Throw on whatever isn’t wrinkled yet it office appropriate jet out the door at 8:15 8:20, hop on my Vespa, and get to work at 8:35 (5 minutes late. Almost every day.) Hubby picks up dunkin donuts coffee and drops it off to me around 9 (I’m spoiled) and he heads to work. I do the day job thing, talking myself down from desperation several times until lunch, where I scoot home, walk Arlowe, grab something to eat, and head back to the office. When 5:00 rolls around my heart is beating out of my chest with joy. I head home, walk Arlowe, figure out something for dinner, vacuum, and pick up around the house till Jeff gets home. Then we will eat, and usually we’re both answering emails/doing work, or I’ll occupy myself with a house project (currently painting our garage) until Big Brother comes on. Then Jeff insists on falling asleep on the couch while I pursue Pinterest or Instagram and doze off myself.

Such a glamorous life.

Show Your Real is a bi-weekly series of guest posts centered around the concept of authenticity. The goal is to encourage each other to expose the reality of our lives- good and bad- and to foster a sense of community that goes beyond the often suface-cy interactions of social media. We invite all of you to participate! Please comment, link, and hashtag to spread the showyourreal love. If you would like to contribute a guest post in this series, please email me! 


    1. I love it...and you!!! I'm equal parts proud of you and envious of you! You're a peach!

    2. From an outsider's perspective your real does seem to have a touch of glamour! All of it just sounds so fast paced and exciting. Well, except the stressful parts like looking for lost wedding officiants and such...that would be way to stressful for my liking! So nice to virtually meet you and get a glimpse into your life! Best of luck! Hope there is a follow up post when you get to quit the paralegal work and pursue your passions full time! When, not if!