by melissa alyse

Life + Loss

Recently a lot of my closest and dearest loved ones have lost some of their most cherished loved ones. Frankly, it has been a tough year.

In fact I am actually writing this on the train ride back from a celebration of life that was held for a loved one in the city. While this may seem odd to some, if you have been following along in my previous posts you know I am someone who deeply believes in the process of reflection. I reflect, analyze and go over every little thing. While ridiculous to some, it is just how my mind processes things so that I can (hopefully) learn a lesson or come out on the other side of trials and tribulations wiser.

However with life and loss, it’s not that simple. Reflecting is not going to produce this deep unwavering understanding as to why someone was taken too soon or a reason as to why an accident can result in the loss of a human life. But what it can do is help you to appreciate and value the life that you have.

Over the past 10 months, I have done a lot of experiencing life and not a whole lot of reflecting. But I think it’s about time I start to write some things down again. Because these people were the “take their shirt off their back for you” kind of people. The type of people that you want going through life alongside you because they make it better. The type of people you want on your team.

Although some of these people may not have been in my life for long, they made a huge impact on it and I think that what they have taught me is worth sharing. So here are few things that these people have taught me along the way…

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While some of the lessons, suggestions, or realizations may not seem groundbreaking they all come from a place of great humility. So I will take all these little nuggets of wisdom with me as I move forward and I’ll try to live my life in a way that reflects what I have been taught.

Here’s to those we have lost…

“You are loved beyond words

And missed beyond measure”

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse


The Side Hustle

Because there’s more to life than the 9 to 5…

But seriously, there is. I know I’ve talked about it before, but it’s something that I am really passionate about so I wanted to talk about it again. Student debt, monthly bills, and saving for the future are serious expenses that millennials are currently facing. Sometimes our main source of income just isn’t enough. Not to mention if you’re not even happy with your job, the pressure to stay because of expenses is all too real.

This is why a side hustle can be so important. It can allow you to focus on your passions, develop a new skill, and relieve some financial stress. Not to mention that it’s possible that your side hustle could turn into your main source of income over time.

Luckily, there are lots of different options for people who want to start up a side hustle and the majority of them can be done online! With one quick google search I was able to find a list of 68 different ideas for a side hustle that someone had pulled together. The information you may need to get started is 100% out there and there are so many amazing and free resources that you can find too.

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The possibilities are endless and there has never been a better time to make some extra income. So if you’ve been thinking about developing your passion, or you need some extra money, get out their and get hustlin’ because cool doesn’t pay the bills.

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse

The Promise of Something New

When I was younger September, rather than the 1st of January, always meant the start of a new year. As the leaves changed colours and the nights became cooler I would become more and more excited for what was to come. September always felt like the promise of something new.


While it’s been two years since I went back to school, I still feel the same excitement that I did when I was younger. The last two years have been filled with moving…a lot, changing jobs… a lot and reflecting, you guessed it…a lot. Would I go back and change those last two years? Absolutely not. Why? Because as Heraclitus said, “the only thing that is constant is change”. All of those experiences and changes have shaped me into the person that I am today. Without the will to make a change I would likely be unhappy and I would not have experienced personal growth through trial and error.


As I mentioned I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting and all of these thoughts came full circle on a walk that I took just the other day on the Trans Canada Trail. Some of the leaves were starting to turn, I had been brainstorming all morning for exciting fall projects and the weather reminded me so much of a hot September day on the school yard.


I couldn’t help but also be reminded of a movie that I used to watch sometimes on Labour Day weekend with my family, Stand By Me. This was in large part due to the fact that I was determined to see Double’s Trestle Bridge located just inside the border of Orange Corners and once I got there I was instantly reminded of the Trestle Bridge scene in Stand  By Me.


While the coming of age story about 4 young boys may not appear to be very relatable to a young adult female, I couldn’t help but resonate with the change these kids craved or their undeniable hope for something better.

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I mean even some of their little side conversations have all been questions we’ve asked ourselves or our friends one time our another…

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And if anyone gives you a hard time about just tell them to piss up a rope! But in all seriousness I think the point that I am trying to make here is that there is going to be a time in your life where there is a promise of something new. You might question it, be excited about it or you might be afraid of it, but don’t back away from it. Embrace the change and believe enough in yourself to cross that trestle bridge when you get there.


Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse

Be Smart & Act Your Wage

A few weeks ago, a number of my friends and I were getting excited for a fun night out in the big city. This weekend wasn’t going to be cheap as we were celebrating and going “all out” to the fullest extent. While there is absolutely no harm in celebrating life and doing fun things with your friends (it actually should be encouraged) inevitably you are going to have to consider, can I afford this?

While a friend and I discussed how stoked we were for the weekend ahead, he mentioned this concept to me, be smart & act your wage and encouraged me to talk about it here. I’ve always been a person who makes a budget at the beginning of each month (thanks mom). I’m old fashioned, and so I write it all out  on a piece of paper and then whatever is left over after paying bills and putting away savings is my fun money. I am also fortunate enough to have a residual income, which I talk a little bit about here.

But more so to the point, a lot of us millennials really aren’t acting our wage. Depending on where you are at in life and your career (if you have chosen that path) really should reflect how you are spending your “fun” time. Again, I just want to reiterate that I am not a fun crusher but here’s the deal:

  • In a recent poll released by the Canadian Payroll Association it was found that 48 per cent of respondents said that they have to rely on each payday to pay their bills and 40 per cent of them admitted that they spend an amount equal to all or more of their net pay each week.
  • In an article released by the Canadian Millennials An Abacus Data Practice it was stated that 78% of millennials reference their friends’ spending habits to determine how to spend their own money.
  • It was also found in a Canadian study done by Project Millennial that, “the most consistent debt is credit card debt [which] helps support [millennial’s] lifestyle and acquisition of ‘stuff'”.

If this sounds like you, it might be time for you to take your spending habits into consideration. I know it can be tough to turn down a fun weekend away or a night out on the town but the reality is credit card debt is not fun. Using your friends’ spending habits as a reference point for your own is not smart and neither is spending all or more of your pay cheque as soon as you get it.

While money isn’t the be all end all, it is nice to not have to worry about enormous, crippling debt. If it seems impossible right now to start making a change in your life to be more conscious of your spending habits, start small. Cut out those expensive luxury Starbucks drinks, put your bar change into a big tin when you stumble on home, or actually sit down and make a monthly budget. Whatever it is, take those baby steps towards building a better and more financially stable future. Still have fun with your friends and treat yourself when you feel the need to, but remember to be smart about it and act your wage.

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse


5 Things That Can Happen When You Wake Up Early

I used to be such an early riser. I was that annoying person that didn’t need an alarm clock. I would actually wake up everyday at 7 am without fail. As I got older and started staying up later, that changed. I still would consider myself a morning person but I certainly am not waking up without an alarm these days.

The last few weeks I have been focusing on getting back on track and into a routine. As I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago, I have been treating my birthday as a fresh start. This summer has been really fun and relaxing but I am looking forward to implementing some structure back into my life.

My first step in doing that is training my body to wake up early again. Of course I have been using an alarm to help in this process but the early mornings haven’t been all that bad. So in light of that, here are 5 positive things than can happen when you wake up early:


1. You can watch the sunrise.

Sunsets and sunrises are truly a thing of beauty. While I love watching the sun go down over a lake during the summer, there is something to be said for watching the sun come up to begin a new day.


2. You can catch up on some emails.

These days I have personally found that it is all too easy to let your inbox get out of control. Take this extra time to weed through some emails that need to be sorted, deleted or even replied to! Small tip: when you’re sorting, be sure to unsubscribe to any pesky emails that somehow keep ending up in your Inbox. No one has time for junk mail.

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3.  You can squeeze in a workout.

Hitting the gym in the quiet hours of the morning will allow you to jump on any machine and workout without the hassle of the lunch hour crowds. If you don’t have a gym membership, invest in a yoga mat and YouTube some free workouts online. Even if you can squeeze in 20 minutes before you get ready for the day you will feel better for it.


 4. You can catch the early morning news.

Whether you like to read the paper or tune into your local news station, the early morning provides some solace for those who want to check in on what’s happening in the world.

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5. You can enjoy some peace and quiet.

Silence is golden.


What do you like to do when you wake up early in the morning? Share in the comments below.

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse

Love At First Sight

Last week I had the immense privilege of being invited over for tea to my neighbours’ house. It was a wonderful morning filled with laughter, yummy treats, and of course stories. One of my favourites was the story of how B and L met*. The two of them have been married for 60 years! B will be turning 90 next year, and L will be turning 86. Because their story warmed my heart, and took me to an era of simpler times, I wanted to share it here with all of you…

Imagine that you are living in the 1950s in a growing city with a booming manufacturing industry. There’s a central railway hub, and the buses that run within the city are the main source of transportation –  as street cars have already become a thing of the past for Peterborough, Ontario.


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Photo taken from the Peterborough Examiner.

It’s a Friday night and L has been working all day for the Bell Telephone Exchange. “Please hold”, L says into the phone as she flicks a switch. It’s almost time to clock out, and tonight L has agreed to go out on a double date. The catch is, L has never seen her date before. L thinks to herself the dance will be fun regardless of what her mystery man looks like.

B has been working all day too. He’s about to finish up at GE  for the day when he remembers he has some clothing to pickup from the cleaners. He dashes over to the cleaners, and picks up his pants and shirt just before closing time. B approves of his freshly pressed trousers and thinks, “perfect, I have a pair of pants to wear for my blind date tonight”. B is originally from England, but he is in Peterborough on a working vacation. He’s a welder by trade, and finds that the opportunity is greater here in Canada right now than it is back home. Not to mention as his mate has set him up on a date, things are going pretty well for B right now.

The time as finally arrived, the dance is about to begin and B and L are about to meet for the first time. After some brief introductions, L just knew…

First impressions are everything, and right away L approved of B’s freshly pressed grey pants. They were perfectly creased and she knew that B was neat and clean. How could he not be the man for her?

Unfortunately, the night did have at least one blunder. As the group sat down with their drinks at a nearby table, L got a little chatty with her hands. Her Pink Lady ended up right in B’s lap! Of course the drink had to be a sticky one, and the location of the spill was not exactly humorous at the time. But the date went on and no spilled drinks could damper the connection between B and L.

As B and L were retelling their story, B joked about his eyesight and how it never was any good but that even still, looking at L that night, he knew too.

The pair got married and moved back to England only to find that times were still hard. They decided to make the move back to Peterborough to start their family. After a few years in an apartment they moved into their very first home. They have lived there now for 55 years.

While the two of them may physically show signs of age, their hearts and minds are young. The love that they have for one another radiates and truly could leave you feeling warm and cozy for days.

So here’s to B and L, and true love at first sight.

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse


*To protect their privacy I have given my neighbour’s the pseudonym B & L. 

Another Year Around the Sun

I love to celebrate people’s birthdays. It’s an excuse to throw a party, spoil your loved ones, and eat too much cake. This year, for my birthday I was so excited to celebrate with my friends and family. However, I was not all that excited to turn another year older.

For some reason turning 24 seemed like a really big deal. Maybe it’s because it’s one year closer to a milestone birthday or maybe it’s because, in all honesty, I am not really where I thought I would be at this age. Nonetheless the day of my birth has arrived and I have decided to have a positive outlook on getting older. I think that much like New Years, birthdays are a day to start fresh. Today is day 1 of another 365 day journey around the sun and I am going to buckle in and enjoy the ride.

I also just wanted to say a big thank you to all my friends and family that made this weekend so special. I’m so lucky to have such amazing people in my life.

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse


Now here are some photos from Saturday’s celebration!


Just applying some final touches before everyone arrives.

I used flowers from my mum’s garden to finish off the table settings.

I loved getting to add some personal touches to make my backyard birthday theme come to life.

Thanks to MB we were able to capture some Kodak moments with my new Polaroid Camera!

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No birthday is complete without a little selfie action.



I love my friends.

Ricarda’s Opening Night

It’s a warm summer night in the city and the expectations of the evening are high. I haven’t made it down to Toronto in a while but I never leave disappointed. Last Friday night was no exception. 

My cousin Kristy and I were set to attend a restaurant opening on Peter Street. As I had never been to a restaurant opening before I was extremely anxious to see what it would be like. 

When we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted by two lovely staff members who checked us in on their list. Feeling a bit giddy at the celebrity-like treatment we continued on through to the restaurant. 

The venue was really filling up and the atmosphere looked promising for an entertaining evening. Our first instinct was to do a lap of the venue. We checked out the the open bars (yes, there were multiple), food stations, and of course the desserts. Everything looked so appetizing.

We settled on getting a drink to start. First up was a Muscow Mule. While the ginger beer was quite strong, I thought it was neat that they had it set up so that you could garnish your own drink. 


After our drinks we decided to check out the food. From the oysters to the pasta, Ricarda’s aced it all. I don’t think I could say enough about how amazing the food was. There was such a wide variety of choices. The opening event really showcased the restaurants diverse menu.

A bit later in the evening the entertainment got started. There was a performance by several talented dancers as well as aerial performers that propelled down from the restaurant’s atrium ceiling. 


After the performances the party really got started. The DJ played the best songs and everyone was enjoying themselves. While Kristy and I may have come as just a pair, we were in good company all evening. We got to know some really nice people and I was shown true Toronto hospitality. 

The night was certainly one for the books and I am so grateful that Kristy brought me along as her plus one. Next time you’re in the city I highly recommend that you check out Rircarda’s; you won’t leave disappointed.

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Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse

Malin + Goetz

Since I was a baby (so I am told) I have always had sensitive skin. From having graffiti skin, as my mum likes to call it, to breaking out if I used the wrong kind of cleanser as a teen; my skin has been through a lot.

Recently, I entered a contest that a local boutique was running here in Peterborough. I couldn’t help but enter because A. I love the store (Plush) and B. Who doesn’t get excited about the possibility of winning free stuff?! To my surprise I actually won!

What I ended up winning was a few items from the Malin + Goetz skincare line. These items included a cleanser, moisturizer, and a hand & body wash. As excited as I was to win these items, I was a bit nervous to try them out. So before I gave my newly acquired products a try, I did what any 23 year old female would do… I heavily stalked their Instagram, website, and any online review I could get my hands on. Naturally, I got the 411 on Malin + Goetz, but one thing I needed to know for sure was if my sensitive skin could handle their products.

Luckily, I was not disappointed with what I found. Malin + Goetz products were literally created with people who have sensitive skin in mind. Malin’s own personal story of having sensitive skin is even shared on their website.

“Matthew Malin suffers from rosacea, eczema, seborrhea, fragrance allergies and dry skin. He and Andrew Goetz have developed easy-to-use treatments to be both gentle and effective for multiple skin conditions. Our advanced formulas blend trusted natural ingredients with performance technologies for the face, body and hair.”

Feeling confident in the information that I found about Malin + Goetz’s products, I decided to give them a try and here are some of my thoughts.

1. grape fruit cleanser.

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This is one of the best cleansers I have ever used. It didn’t leave my face feeling dry after using it which is a big deal for me as most cleansers I have tried do. I also found that less is more. You don’t need a lot of product to get the job done. I also loved the smell of this product, I am huge fan of grapefruit and its natural scent stands out. After using the cleanser, my face felt smooth and so clean. I felt as though I had actually rid my skin of the dirt and makeup that I had exposed it to throughout the day.

2. vitamin e face moisturizer.


The moisturizer is my favourtie product out of the three. It’s oil-free and has a natural fragrance so it isn’t harsh on your skin at all. I loved using it in the morning after washing my face right before I put my makeup on for the day. Like the cleanser, less is more. You don’t need a lot of this product to cover your whole face. I really just felt that my skin was being hydrated and nourished each time I used this product and that’s really what I want out of my moisturizer.

3. rum + hand body wash.


I think this product was the most interesting out of the three. It took using this product a couple time before I got used to the smell. It’s not a bad smell by any means, it’s just different. Now I almost crave it in the mornings because it’s so fresh. I love using it the shower as a body wash rather than a hand soap. It’s really refreshing and it cleans my skin without drying it out.

Overall, these products are awesome! Their natural ingredients really seem to work for people with sensitive skin. I didn’t have one rash or breakout from using these products and I am happy to report that I am currently working them into my skin care routine.

If you’re in the Peterborough area and interested in trying these products out, head down to Plush Boutique and they will hook you up. If you’re reading from a different part of the world don’t think I would leave you hanging…here’s a link to their website. Keep in mind, their prices are in US dollars. 

Let me know what you think of these products in the comments below!

Yours truly,

Melissa Alyse


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