Travel: A Wedding in Puglia!

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They told me that a wedding in the south of Italy would be like nothing I’ve ever experienced in my life. They weren’t wrong. Check out the pictures and read all about it below. 

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It was a fairytale wedding and an unforgettable occasion.

It’s a 10 hour drive from Varese, Italy to Puglia so we opted to fly.

We were only staying three days so I packed light. Just a couple of my favourite dresses from Asos, a few pairs of shoes, three swimsuits…Ok I didn’t pack that light but I was able to stuff everything into my carryon.

Unless I’m going on a long trip I usually bring a carry on so as to avoid baggage claim. I’ve been using a hardshell spinner suitcase. I switched to it when I started traveling more often and I’m never going back. You can find a wide selection at Amazon. I’ve got my eye on a few new ones.

The multidirectional wheels make it so easy to maneuver around a busy airport. I like the hardshell because they’re pretty durable and if I’m unlucky enough to have to check my bag due to a packed flight then I’m not worried about it getting damaged.

Our flight was quick and painless.

I listened to my new favourite audiobook “Sometimes I Lie,” by Alice Feeney for the duration.

By the way, I HIGHLY recommend this audiobook from Audible.com. If you haven’t tried Audible for free for 30 Days yet, you’re missing out. You simply haven’t enjoyed a good book like “The Girl On The Train” or “The End of the Affair” until you’ve heard it as an audiobook. But don’t just take my word for it. Click the pic above, sign up for the 30 day free trial and see for yourself!

When we arrived at the airport in Brindisi we had to wait 20 minutes for our ride so we started the celebration early with a cold beer, which we ended up having to chug since our ride arrived earlier than expected.

We then headed to meet the rest of the family for a big lunch with the groom. I mentally prepared myself for all the food I would be consuming over the next couple of days. There’s. So. Much. Food.

After lunch, we went on a very quick tour of the tiny town. I immediately fell in the love with the architecture and the colours.

We then checked into a quaint little BnB, which was right across the road from “Mosquito,” the only bar in town. The rest of the family arrived for a few drinks before going back to our rooms to get ready for dinner. Again, I mentally prepared myself for all the food we were about to consume!

After dinner we went with the groom to his bride’s home where he serenaded her with a song. It was romantic and I started to cry. Like, I was seriously emotional about it. Possibly too much Prosecco? After the singing we had more Prosecco then went back to the bar for more drinks.

We spent the next morning at the beach where I mostly slept off my hangover. Then it was time to get ready for the wedding. One would think I’d be all wedding’d out considering I’d just had my own Italian wedding just one month prior but actually it was even more fun because the pressure of being a bride wasn’t on me this time around. I could relax and enjoy being a guest!

All of the guests looked so beautiful but the bride and groom shined, of course. I didn’t understand a word of the ceremony since it was all in Italian but it was nice to be in a church again – even if it was boiling hot!

After the ceremony it was time for the reception. We all piled onto a charter bus (I affectionately called it the “drunk bus”) for the 45 minute drive.

The venue was absolutely stunning, the food was delicious, the music was perfect and I’m still dreaming about the dessert.

We poured ourselves into bed at about 4am. It took about a day to fully recover from all the fun. I’m bummed I didn’t get a picture with the bride because she was absolutely stunning. But I did have a memorable experience. Weddings truly are magical.

And I’d love to visit Puglia again soon.

Ciao for now,

Youtubers, Body Image & Influence

Yes this blog post is about Patricia Bright from Youtube’s Britpopprincess. She got new boobs and many of her followers/fans/subscribers/stalkers have had a lot to say about it.

Patricia Bright is a super popular Nigerian Fashion and Beauty Blogger based in London.  You’ve probably heard of her and if you haven’t then you will.  Many people have actually been very supportive of her boob job simply saying things like “Do you, boo” or “She grown and it’s her money” and others have said she looks beautiful, which is true, she does look beautiful.  But there are other people who feel like Patricia is fake telling us to “embrace the body we have” but then turning around and getting a boob job.

Personally, I don’t care what she does with her body.  I’m actually more impressed with the fact that she was brave enough to undergo surgery in the first place.  I’m terribly afraid of surgery and anything hospital related so kudos to her for having the balls to do it. I agree that it is her body and her money and she can do whatever she wants. Honestly, I didn’t even notice the change until she posted the pic of her in a revealing halter top that showed a lot of cleavage and it was finally obvious that she’d gotten a boob job.  But prior to that I hadn’t noticed.  I don’t really go around checking out other women’s boobs unless their wearing a blouse I wish I could squeeze my own boobs into.

Having said all that…it is somewhat contradictory to post videos like:

(Edit: Video title has been changed since this blog post was published.)

And then go get a boob job.  It sends a mixed message to the younger teens who watch her videos and adore her. Admittedly, it also made a grown woman like me feel a little confused too.

As someone who developed early I’ve always had trouble finding blouses that I could actually button up without busting through.  I often fantasized about getting a breast reduction.  I don’t have back problems or anything due to my breast size, I just wanted to wear strappy dresses and mesh tops and blouses.  Aesthetically, I thought smaller boobs would suit me.  I don’t think the smaller boobed ladies out there really appreciate how lucky they are to have the freedom to go bra-less, wear bikinis that fit without having spillage, wear cute bras (because for some reason manufacturers only make DD and DDD bras in ‘ugly’), and find a simple blouse that actually buttoned up all the way.  On both sides there are drawbacks.  The grass is always greener I guess.  I mean, aside from just clothing I also got a lot of unwanted attention from boys at a young age.  People would tap on my boobs like they were  bongos or pretend to squeeze them or sometimes my guy friends would pull me into inappropriately long hugs just to cop a feel.  It made me feel cheap and disrespected but we can go into all that in another blog.  For a long time I really just wanted a breast reduction so that I wouldn’t feel so self-conscious.  I said if I ever got the money to I would.  In the meantime, I’m on a weight loss journey that will naturally reduce my size somewhat.  But I still give the side eye to the B and C cup ladies who can still leave something to the imagination.

I first stumbled onto Patricia Bright’s Youtube page about three years ago when I was working for a Youtube network.  I wasn’t into fashion and make up then so I don’t know why I kept watching Patricia’s videos.  Something about her just made me want to listen.  Back then she talked more about God and Prayer and family and Faith.  I enjoyed her look books and tutorials but it was the videos about her personal life that really drew me in.  As her channel grew, so did her success (she now gets sponsorship from a ton of different brands).

Patricia always talked about loving ourselves the way we are and working with what we got.  I was encouraged to start exploring make up after watching her videos.  I started to believe that I could be beautiful at my size, with my natural hair and with my 38DDs (G-cup in some stores).  Living in Los Angeles totally stripped me of any confidence I had in my looks but over the past three years, just watching Patricia’s videos helped me change my way of thinking.  I wasn’t giving the side eye to smaller boobed chicks anymore!  I was working with what I had and finally starting to feel confident again.

So I can understand why this recent change has caused such a stir amongst Patricia’s youtube subscribers and instagram followers.  I have to admit, I felt momentarily crestfallen.  I thought, “Oh.  It’s work with what you got until you can afford to change it,” (which opened up a whole other can of pain for me because really – I work in retail, when am I gonna be able to afford a breast reduction, lyposuction, butt implants, a nose job and to remove that annoying bunion?)  For a split second it was back to square one for me.

But then I started to think about the bigger picture and how Patricia Bright’s shiny ample-sized boobs are just a small part of what’s going on with the internet. 7 years ago YouTube was a great escape from the same lame crap in TV. Also it was our platform to express ourselves blah blah blah. Now its totally exclusive. Hollywood totally had its fingers in it. We cant escape commercials. Celebrities are doing web series. And body image has is an issue that’s transferred from movies, print and TV to our so-called safe haven. I thought the internet (specifically YouTube) was the answer to the Hollywood exclusivity problem. I was wrong. But that too is another blog post.

Anyway, one thing is for sure, Patricia (and Beautycrush who also recently got a boob job) are confirmation that getting sponsors is a really well-paid gig.  Patricia has been going on all sorts of amazing trips, she’s been encouraging her readers to enter competitions with major brands, some of her videos have product placements and she’s been featured in several magazines.  She’s doing well. Seeing her grow and change over the years has been pretty awesome and inspiring.  I want to see good things happen to her even though I don’t know her.  But changing her body makes me worry now about how Youtube is becoming like TV and Films where body image issues will again rear its ugly head. Yutubes biggest beauty gurus have gotten boob jobs.  Whether they like it or not, they are sending a message to their viewers.

I went to bed a little sad last night after reading Patricia Bright’s instagram post.  I was more annoyed with myself for caring so much.  I got into Youtube to be entertained not to actually be influenced by people I don’t know.  But ultimately that’s what happened.  I started to think of Patricia Bright as my “big sister” in a way and after seeing that post I started feeling insecure about my boobs again. I started thinking that they may be big but they don’t sit up pretty without a decent push up bra.  I had that ugly horrible moment of comparing myself to other people again.  It sucked.  It sucked that someone’s actions had such an affect on me. Truth Bomb: staying positive and confident is my daily struggle.

If you’re a Patricia Bright fan (fanatic) please keep reading before you get all defensive here.  I know it’s up to me to get over my own issues.  I know that Patricia Bright never officially came out and said she wanted to be a role model.  I know that at the end of the day, she hasn’t done anything wrong.

But for every action there is a reaction.  It’s probably a good thing that I’ve had the reaction that I did toward Patricia Bright’s boob job because now I can reprogram my brain. I remember why I got into YouTube and can distance myself a little. I can be less obsessed with living life vicariously through Patricia Bright (because let’s face it, that’s what we’re all doing when we eagerly click on her videos salivating over her Primark and Top Shop Hauls and say “You’re so gorgeous!” over and over again after every instagram photo) and I can refocus my attention on own journey.

I have this bucket list I’m trying to get through.  I’m still on this (former) sidekick girl journey and I really have to stay vigilant about being positive and moving forward and not slipping back into old habits.  Habits like thinking I’m not pretty enough, or thin enough or have perky enough breasts…I can’t be that girl again.

I just want to reiterate that I am not judging Patricia and I don’t think she’s done anything wrong.  She’s a beautiful person and I’m really glad I found her Youtube channel.  What she said in her instagram post was so on point – Change Happens.

Yes.  It certainly does.

So why did I write this post about Patricia Bright’s boobs?  Because I wanted to.  Simple as that 🙂

I Could Be That Girl

“Head down…as I watch my feet take turns hitting the ground…”

Beyonce’s “Smash Into You” is playing on my Ipod and I’m 1 mile into the three I plan to run on the treadmill.  Earlier this week I’d run the three miles in 34 minutes – 6 minutes faster than last week and I wanted to beat that time on this night.  Incline at 2.0 – I’m panting and sweating and my sides are burning and I’m thinking somewhere in another dimension there is a version of me who could do 3 miles in 30 minutes in her sleep.

This other version of me has been healthy all her life.  No freshman 15 (or 20) to slow her down.  Her 20s were not a clusterf*ck of scrambling to write screenplay after screenplay — jumping from random job to random horrible job just to pay the bills (and barely doing that).  She was not disorganized or lazy and she didn’t suddenly decide to go to musical theater school and waste 2 years only to find that musical theater was not her passion.

This other version of me feels so far away.  So far ahead of where I am in life.  She’s probably engaged or married and ready to start a family.  She’s probably a homeowner and spends her weekends gardening.  This other version of me has probably been to London dozens of times.  She already has her Master’s Degree.  She doesn’t waste her time writing a bucket list or overthinking important life decisions so much she doesn’t get anything done.

I run faster and pant harder and sweat even more as I think about this other version of me.  If I could just push myself a little more….almost at the 2 mile mark….maybe I could reach her.

Maybe I could catch up to her.

Because two weeks ago it took me 45 minutes to run 3 miles.  And last Thursday I ran it in 40 minutes.  And earlier this week I ran it in 34 minutes.  I could run three miles in 30 minutes on this night.  Maybe I couldn’t do it in my sleep or without breaking a sweat but I could do it.  And if I could do that…I could catch up to this other version of Dawn Melissa…maybe even surpass her.

I didn’t do everything right – even though I imagined I would.  I made mistakes, got lost, took the wrong jobs and passed on the right ones.  I made the wrong friends and let the right ones go.  I didn’t become a famous writer…but it doesn’t mean I’m not the Dawn Melissa I was meant to be.  And this other version out there somewhere….she’s just fine.  I could be that girl.

But I’m OK with being me.

2 weeks into my training…I’ve lost 3.5 pounds and my best time running 3 miles….is 30 minutes.

And yay…today is my rest day.  I get to rest.

(Official) Bucket List

Is everyone calling these lists the bucket list?  I feel like there might be another name for it.

Anyway, I was reticent to post my bucket list because I was afraid that if I put it out there and I never accomplished some of these things that I would look like a jackass.

But I’ve decided that’s silly.

So here’s my Bucket List (or whatever you want to call it).  A (growing) list of things I’ve always wanted to do and things that I have a new found interest in doing.

1. Go to London

– March 2013, done!  I went for a month and even got a BONUS trip to Paris out of it.  Best trip of my life.  I cannot wait to go back!  Hopefully for a much longer stay.

2. Get a Tattoo

– April 2013, done!  I posted a picture of it- check out the post: “Tatted…Finally!”

3. Get down to 140lbs (Bonus if I get down to 130 lbs)

4. Shoot another short film (and get it into a bunch of film festivals!)

5. Get (at least) 100,000 youtube subscribers (Hey…you never know!)

6. Backpack through Europe (or some variation of that.  I don’t necessarily have to backpack)

7. Drive across the U.S. (or let someone else drive or take turns driving)

8. Learn to cook (like for real, not just a couple of recipes for learn to cool for real)

9. Learn Italian (or Spanish…or both)

10. Master RP (I will have an authentic sounding English accent!)

11. Win a (major) writing competition! (i.e. Nicholls Fellowship or Fox etc)

12. Land My Dream Job (whatever that may be, a job that makes me happy and I can look forward to go to everyday)

13. Try Bikram Yoga and/or run a marathon

14. Finish My Book (Check out my blog – Cabernet in the Dark, (Mostly) True Tales of a Side Kick Girl)

15. Make a new friend (I know, right?  Cue the violins)

16. Make a great first impression (People don’t usually warm up to me until about the 3rd or 4th meeting)

17. Make an impression on someone else (Inspire, enlighten, encourage, uplift!  How can I make you smile today?)

18. Get My Master’s Degree

19. Develop a new skill (Would you believe I’m not really that great with using Excel or Photoshop?  Shhhhh, don’t tell anybody.)

20. Find a new hobby or craft (other than cooking).

I may add more to the list but for now this what I’m looking forward to doing.  My vlog (youtube.com/DawnMelissaVlogs) is mostly about doing everything on this list so check back in with me every once in awhile!

Accompanying video coming soon!

I Want Beauty

An old boyfriend made the mistake of telling me I was awesome because I was “low maintenance,” “fun to be around,” and “like a dude with boobs.”  He said it was so cool because I was his best friend that he could make out with.

I took it as a compliment.

I was a teenager and I wanted boys to like me and this was a huge compliment.  Because it meant I wasn’t a boring girlfriend.  I wasn’t a nag.  I wasn’t high maintenance.  If I was fun to be around and it was like hanging out with your best friend then a guy wouldn’t feel like he was missing out on something when he was with me instead of his bros, right?  And if all of those things were true then I wouldn’t be the girl who got dumped.  Right?

Right.  Sort of.

To this day, I’m pretty fun to hang out with.  I drink beer.  I love going to sports bars and playing beer pong.  I love playing video games.  Yeah I’m pretty cool.  But being cool has never saved me from heartache.  So…there goes that theory.

The problem is I totally took the whole “low maintenance” thing to heart.  I never really got into make-up or hair.  I didn’t want to come across as “too girly.”  And that totally bit me in the ass as I got older since it meant not having much in common with other girls and not really knowing how to dress.  Like, I’m seriously watching beauty blogs to figure this stuff out.

I let myself go.  Once I got the boyfriend (and I’ve never really had trouble in that department. I’ve been loved.  I am loved.  I feel blessed.) I just sort of threw in the towel.  I thought, “Oh my natural beauty is what he loves.”  And I’m sure that’s true.  But I’m not a teenager anymore and it now takes work to get this “natural beauty.”

I’m never going to be the girl who takes 5 hours to get ready.  I don’t need to put on fake eyelashes (unless it’s for a sketch) or pencil in my eyebrows or learn how to do Halle Berry inspired make up.  I like to dress in comfortable clothes and I fear it’s too late for me to learn to walk in heels.  But I do want to step up my game a bit.

I was wrong to deny myself make-up and other things “girly”  just to impress a boy (boys).  I was silly.  I never would’ve admitted it back then but I can admit it now:  I want what most women want.  I want to be beautiful.

I want to work out and get nice lean muscles and sexy abs.  I want to show off those muscles and abs in sexy clothes and I want to accentuate all of that with sexy hair and make-up.

And if that makes me “high maintenance” so be it.

Geez.  What the hell do teenage boys know about maintenance anyway.  I cannot believe I listened to them.  Because seriously, the second we stop “maintaining” is when they start complaining.  (Nice!  I rhymed).

Happy Halloween!

Free Spirit or Lost Soul?

 

I was explaining a dilemma that I was having to someone and I might’ve thrown in a few choice phrases like, “Maybe I want to go teach abroad” or “I kind of want to be my Masters degree”  or “Marriage is cool but maybe I should date awhile longer.”

I guess I sounded all over the place which was amusing to her.  Strangers typically find that side of me charming.  People who have known me for a long time tend to roll their eyes upward in that “get it together, Dawn” way whenever I start rambling about my own arrested development.

 

This woman described me as a “free spirit”

 

I’d like to think I was interesting enough to be a free spirit.  When I think of free spirits I think of people who go backpacking across Europe with very little to no money who aren’t afraid to take on odd jobs for extra cash, volunteer, talk to strangers, try strange or exotic foods…I daydream about being that kind of person but in my heart I know I’m not.  If I had to be completely honest I guess I would I crave structure.

So I don’t consider myself a free spirit.

 

I think I’m more a of a lost soul.

 

I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing.

 

And contrary to what the moderately attractive supporting characters in those romantic comedies might try to tell you – there’s nothing amusing or charming or even remotely exciting about it.

 

But I’m not going to kick myself while I’m down.  I’m just going to – figure it out.  Somehow.

Open to suggestions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breathe…Breathe…Breathe

A friend told me that when she was single (she’s currently in a relationship) she’d had a low night in which she’d sat in her car crying, feeling lonely and just overwhelmed with a desire for love.

At that moment, a car full of (a-hole) dudes rolled up, saw her crying and instead of doing the polite thing and pretending not to see my friend crying alone in her car they rolled down their window and started laughing hysterically at her.

Obviously it only made her feel worse.

It’s OK though, after she got into a relationship she was able to look back on that memory and not feel like crap about it.  She even made a comedy video about it and it was hilarious.

Because it’s important to be able to laugh at yourself…not take yourself too seriously…not be so hard yourself…and breathe.

I’m having one of those moments.

Not an overwhelming desire for love.  I am loved.  My desire is for something else.  Something bigger and more important to me than a relationship (right now).

My Writing Career.

Instead of crying in my car I’m crying at my computer trying to make these words work.  Trying to make this dialogue snappy and funny.  Trying to make my Youtube Channel interesting enough to draw in subscribers and get comments and likes etc.

Ugh.  It is a low moment.  And it’s so overwhelming watching my favorite TV shows, wishing I was part of that writing staff or watching my favorite Youtubers…

Maybe in a few months…or a few weeks…or even a few days (fingers crossed)…I might experience a miracle.  And this will be a memory I can laugh at and make a comedy video about….

For now I just need to Breathe…Breathe…Breathe…