Dec 6, 2011

i like-a the books.

girls like guys that read.  
accent optional, but rather helpful for some.

Dec 5, 2011

gift cards!

i can't handle traffic.  so instead of being angry in traffic, i stopped to run errands and ended up actually accomplishing something.  gift cards for my LMT business!  easiest and best Christmas present ever, for all your gift-giving needs.  getcha some.  (melaniejoyeLMT@gmail)

Oct 31, 2011

sometimes life is like lucy & the football.

this is one of my favorite seasons.  this is one of my most favorite images of fall.  charlie brown vs lucy & the football.  this is also how i felt last week...

i saw the football.
i visualized my approach.
i started to sprint.
i aimed!
i kicked! 
and i missed it.....

i like to plan.  i really enjoy it.  i had planned to go to a structural integration school in miami and be awesome at structural integration and save the world.  my plan was in place.  little things started to happen, but i was so focused on my goal that i missed the little whispers.... a warning note from a family member, the massive financial risk, my body was literally hurting from stress, and i was having terrible dreams.  i just really wanted this training.  i wasn't listening.  it was chaos.

the stress of the sprinting, aiming, and kicking was taking its toll - and nothing was moving forward.  at all.  then a few wise friends spoke, and i finally listened.  this is what they said...
"God does not speak in chaos.  He speaks in peace."
"follow the peace."
immediately after those words, my verse of the day was about how God does not speak in the storm, or in the wind, but in a still, small voice.  amazing that you can know.

the relief of letting go was almost more than i could handle.  i'm not afraid of a struggle.  struggles are good.  they make you stronger; the right answer is made clearer.  so i am not deterred from my goal.  i know there is a link to be made between counseling & bodywork.  i know i want continued training in structural integration, but it's going to be a different path than i thought.  and much better than anything i could hope or dream.

Oct 6, 2011

ROUND 2: the adventures continue!

remember that one time i quit my job and went to africa?  (and needed lots of sunblock?)
remember that one time i went thru massage therapy school and am now licensed?

well, round 2 of needing lots of sunblock is about to commence: after completing 2 sessions of advanced training in connective tissue massage, i've been made an offer i can't refuse to continue my bodywork education at the institute of structural integration in miami/north bay village, FL.

my goal is to find a way to integrate counseling and talk therapy with bodywork therapy for anyone who has survived trauma:  rape survivors, military personnel who have lost limbs, those struggling with PTSD... basically anyone who has the biggest disconnect in their mind-body relationship.  this training in structural integration is a large piece of my puzzle.  once this round is complete, i will be one of 8 therapists in nashville who understand and practice this modality.  our bodies are designed magnificently, and an amazing detail is our mind-body ability to shield us from trauma - we hold trauma down to a cellular level!  some of that cannot be released until that layer of tissue is released.  i believe there is a significant link between talk therapy and bodywork that would bridge the disconnect between mind and body - naturally and holistically.  any one else want to find out?

you can read more about connective tissue massage and structural integration here:
the institute of structural integration in miami

so remember that one time i asked for help to go to africa?  here's round 2.  i drained my savings account going to school the first time around, and building my business here in nashville has been a slow process - as i expected.  this opportunity with training in miami was dropped into my lap, exactly how most of the best things in my life come about.  i'm going to keep this succinct and ask for specific things:
1.  i need prayer.
2.  i'm having a garage sale 10/22 to raise some money - want to donate your fall purge?
3.  i need someone to sublet my room in nashville from jan - may with my awesome roommate.
4.  i would like a house sitting gig in the miami/north bay village area from jan - may, or a possible extra room in someone's home, or any safe housing option.
5.  i would like to bring my little dog with me.
6.  i need money.  cost of living/rent/etc plus school will run around $12,000+.
7.  i need a part time job while i'm there.

i almost choked writing that, but i know and have seen that with God, all things are possible.

any thoughts, ideas, contacts, prayers - all are appreciated.
donations will be happily accepted thru paypal or venmo.

and yes, i will have sunblock in miami.  and a parasol.

Jun 23, 2011

capital LMT!

me.  licensed.  officially.  yessssss....

sunblock, episode 3. a 2-fer

this is a pretty great lotion, if you're prepared for how fluid it is.  i was not.  and half my sample runneth over onto my bathroom floor.  3 oz for $34 is beyond my price range.  shisheido ultimate sun protection lotion is quite lovely for your moisturizing and sunblockey needs.  and spf 60 is as high as you can go without getting screwed on prices above the magic number of spf 60.  if you're a fan of this brand, you won't be disappointed.

i'm a big fan of this stuff.  nice, soft, matte finish - but the low spf 15 is a deal breaker for this girl.  plus $42 for less than 2 ounces really hurts my feelings.  if this was spf 45, i would consider, but aveeno's spf 30 is doing me real fine at the moment for $10.

i really super bad want to find a natural sunblock in the spf 45 range, but i have yet to find non sticky, non stinky coverage that isn't as good as the old faithful... this neutrogena is my most favoritest.  $9 for 5 oz!  i'd also like to try the aveeno version of this in the same price range.

Jun 20, 2011

i have a logo!!!! (now i need a license.)

as i tap dance around my house impatiently "waiting" for notification of my licensing approval, i'm trying to create forms, signup sheets, and line up some work.  i also needed business cards, thank you notes, and the little teensy details that make a business.  oh, and a little brand recognition might help.... therefore, i enlisted the services of my friend James at LaCroix Design.  when your friends help you out with their professional and creative services - it's such a humbling gift.  i was blown away by James' enthusiasm to make me a logo.  let's be honest, i cried when i got to my car after seeing his work.  not because i am a melty wuss, but because he truly cared about what i wanted to do.  plus, it's always FUN to work with your friends.  i am continually stunned at the talent that surrounds me here in nashville.

i will now brag on James.  we go back a few years, but both ditched the music business and sort of lost touch.  when i contacted him needing help with my new logo & identity, he jumped.  i was thrilled, especially after nosing thru his site!  (his work speaks for itself - i would preach on, but you can see i don't need to.)  

it's a bizarre process, this branding thing.  unlimited options overwhelm me.  i baby-stepped it from there.  i found a tablecloth with the colors and texture i liked.  this tablecloth is now a drape in my home studio.  use what you like, i say.  i knew i wanted the color pallet from the tablecloth with the imagery of leaves.  i learned about leaves and essential oils in my aromatherapy class and was blown away by their healing properties.  i searched out images of these healers... eucalyptus, comfrey, olive, arnica, barberry.  i emailed him some zip files of the color pallet, the tablecloth, and leaves.  "here are things i like.  i want it to be simple and classy."  i'd like to be an idea person, and sometimes i am, but for the most part i am a planner, a finisher, a completer, a fixer.  logos are out of my creative strengths.  and i tell myself that's ok.

we then met up a week later.  he showed me a few ideas, but i knew the first one was what i wanted.  you can see his work on my logo here.  the 2nd attachment was the first one he showed me - and i thought to myself, "self, that one would be perfect if it was in a square."  i loved that it looked like a seal or stamp.  OMG I CAN MAKE A STAMP AND STAMP THINGS.... (i love and delight in the little things) and he even made me a pattern!  we chose pantone colors, a business card layout, etc.  

he loves the mathematics of design.  i love the elements of line & repetition.  he either read my mind, or intuitively knew what i needed even if i couldn't verbalize it.  even the leaf is based on one of my favorites, the eucalyptus, which has wonderful healing properties.

and so cheers to you, my friend, James LaCroix.  and dear internet universe, hire this fella.  you will be thrilled you did.  


so my beloved friends over at BGLU have decided to read Jon Acuff's book, Quitter, and chronicle their journey.  since i already quit my money job to go to africa, came home and wondered how i was going to make a living, and then went back to school to become an LMT, i can say with a smile that i am already a quitter.  but i want to read it anyhoo, because i love a good dose of encouragement.  especially as i start my own little business.  read along with Tia & Toya - they are hard at work to whip their side hustle into their full on dream job.  and i may put in my 2 cents.  

ok, let's be honest.  i will totally put in my 2 cents.

i hope parents don't hate me, because i think everyone should quit their job to go to africa and then sit around wondering what it is they really want to do... how they really want to invest their lives...  to be in a spot where they must figure out what their mission(s?) really are - in their very guts and not just what someone tells them.  

total random side note:  the best roadie shirt i ever saw in my former touring life?  "rehab is for quitters."  it still makes me chuckle.

May 24, 2011


i am THREE days away from completing a 600 hour training program to be a licensed massage therapist.  it was an inkling way back in 1993.  now it's a real thing.  i can't wait to work.

the goal:  to have several steady clients, allowing me to charge a lesser rate so i can help those who couldn't normally afford a massage but desperately need stress relief.  i want to work with military families, rape survivors and those who suffer from PTSD.  opportunities keep popping up out of the proverbial blue.

my favorite comment from my clinic hours last night:
first a muffled grunt, then, "i bet you could rip a phone book in half."

18 years in the making and it's 3 days away.

May 16, 2011

beyond organic

i heard about this from dr. josh axe at exodus health center!  i use garden of life supplements - you can find them at the best price at
here's the article from dr. axe... beyond organic.

click here to register with me! 

May 8, 2011

sunblock testing, episode 2.

today's sample is Peter Thomas Roth Max All Day Moisture Defense Lotion.  (writing that, i felt like i was back at ol' G and their incredibly long product names...)  

bonus points:
+ non-greasy moisture!
+ smooth and non-irritating!
+ anti-aging!  (ticked off i must start heeding this crap)
+ has vitamins and what not!
+ i kinda like it - have been sporting it for two days and no irritation.

- $29.99.  which really isn't that bad - hurray for amazon prices!  it's $42 on Sephora.  i'm currently paying - $10ish for Aveeno's Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 - again with the long names)
- contains several chemicals like avobenzone & octinoxate that have been called into the principal's office.

so now i have to go look at all my sunblocks and figure out which one will kill me...  juuust kidding.  i will, however, do some homework on more natural or organic sunblocks to see if my old favorites need to be rejected.  and if those that claim they are natural are legit or full of .... really hard for me to not rhyme it..... hitpostnow

May 6, 2011

sunblock testing, episode 1.

have decided to review sunblocks and SPFs. fell for some shiny packaging and a freebie at Sephora because i'm always on the hunt for newer, better, less chemically ways to not fry like an egg. tested these each on my semi daily trek with violet the dog. she taste-tested this one and seemed pleased.

why do you need a sunscreen towelette? dunno.

feels like:
.... a nice lotion when you smooth it on.
.... you dipped your hands in flour about 30 minutes later.

bonus points for the following:
Smells clean - not like a coconut or a beach or a fruit.
paraben and fragrance free, good for my sensitive epithelials.
no animal testing.
packaging: *because 1st impressions and fonts are important, people!
this is pretty, simple, straighforward & yellow. pleasant.

demerits for the following:
not even close to sweat proof.
why, towelette, why?
lots of leftover lotion in the packet. boo and fail.
cost - $34 plus shipping for 21 wee towelettes. @#$!?
are you fresh out of your mind? that's nigh to $1.34 per wee towelette. foolish.

i pity the fool that buys Dr. T's Supergoop.

Mar 15, 2011


about two weeks ago there was a buzz question - what are you giving up for lent?

as a relatively newb anglican, i'm still stretching into the true, sacred meaning of lent. two years ago i started taking on a something or other, instead of giving up a something or other. giving up chocolate or caffeine doesn't really mean anything to me, and i'm pretty sure God doesn't want me to torture myself.... so this year i decided to take on P90X. healthy shmealthy. taking care of the ol' temple. plus, my pants don't fit as i think they ought. for me, it's an offering of one hour and 30 minutes of my day. working + school + study = this is a big chunk o' time & determination.

the other day my friend JH was over and he asked me what i was giving up for lent. instead of blathering on about it, i had to think. "to keep in simple? self loathing." he responded with a welcome burst of laughter.

on a much holier & less sarcastic note, i offer you this for your Lenten mediations:

“For Lent, 1966”
By Madeleine L’Engle
It is my Lent to break my Lent,
To eat when I would fast,
To know when slender strength is spent,
Take shelter from the blast
When I would run with wind and rain,
To sleep when I would watch.
It is my Lent to smile at pain
But not ignore its touch.
It is my Lent to listen well
When I would be alone,
To talk when I would rather dwell
In silence, turn from none
Who call on me, to try to see
That what is truly meant
Is not my choice. If Christ’s I’d be
It’s thus I’ll keep my Lent.

Mar 3, 2011

LMT journey, part 2. Takin' care of biz-ness.

Website 1, website 2, twitter handle, basic business philosophy, colors, logo, space, business license, massage license, zoning...... What in the world am i doing? The Great Name Game was fought and won: Studio Massage played along with music city, my wee in-home studio, and it was simple. I duked it out with a few geniuses about securing my .com address, but some guy in Madrid has been sitting on it since 2003. So I scooped up the .biz, my own name, and the closest twitter handle I could secure:



3. @StudioLMT

Luckily, I work at a great web design company, have a great boss, smart co-workers, and get great how-to advice. Wondering if I can get an iPad and do everything paperless. That would be a great challenge and oh, how very green of me.

I suppose:

1. .com is best, .biz works the same way, with a bit more effort of promoting my BIZ-ness so people don't default to .com. I will not fall prey to's fear tactics!

2. because it's my name.

3. simple, short, and sweet.

Apparently I need to do MORE research about zoning, certificates, licensing, LLCs, sole proprietorships, incorporations… lots of hoops, so little time.

Feb 27, 2011

LMT journey, part 1. Life changing.


I quit my job, went to Rwanda for 4-5 weeks, came back and wondered what I was going to do with my life. Always loved the idea of massage therapy + health + alternative therapies + a total life change. Luckily, my money job (not really a money job, I just never really bought anything) provided a savings account, so I have the great luxury of working part time while going to school. I am getting nervous about it - an unexpected move with unexpected expenses, and other unexpected life moments.... budgets simultaneously rule and rot.

So I decided to go Natural Health Institute here in Nashville. Going back to school at 34 is just weird. Weird, I say! Even with years of hearing, "Melanie, will you rub my shoulders?" I was not prepared for SCHOOL. For homework. I had no idea how to study. It was a rough go at first, even as I felt more and more confident about my choice. The more I learn, the less I know, and the more I love to learn. I love Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Kinesiology… my instructors are legit. So much experience, so much care, so much knowledge - they continue to pour their guts into their students, and they really care about us. I sit in class and am in awe of the creation of the human body. "Wait-a-second… this muscle can do THAT? and THAT?! from there?" Highly nerdy moments of excitement. Our bodies are brilliantly designed. If given enough time and proper resources, our bodies can heal themselves with their intrinsic wisdom. (of course there is that nasty percentile of crap that just happens) Keep it simple. Eat real food. Get real rest. MOVE. Fill your soul with good things. Fill your time with good people.

What I'm learning: I cannot effectively care for others if I don't properly care for myself.

Easier said than done, but let's give it a go!

Feb 20, 2011

why i am too old to go to general admission shows, and the dos and do nots of concert attendance.

my amazing friend rachel was in town this weekend, and we were quite excited about our tickets to see jimmy eat world and david bazan. we had a plan. we arrived early and camped out stage left. short girls have to take a wide stance at shows so we don't get stepped on. so we did, and we held our ground. during bazan's set, we watched the couple in front of us consume over four drinks each, get in some snogging, all while she showed him photos on her phone - of her dog, wedding dresses, things on facebook, etc. he then yelled at her to stop. then came the set change, and we were caught in a full court press of place stealers who didn't get there early to get their spot.

(1. i can't go to general admission shows because people are so overly rude, late, and tall.)
(2. i can't go to general admission shows because people pay their money, and yet wave around their facebook, phones, and photos to the detriment of other concert goers. like me.)

Snogging Couple became Snuggling Couple, and quite a wobbly one. every time Snuggle Pants would put his arm around Wobbly Girl, he would come an inch from bashing rachel in the nose. so i politely told him so - "hey buddy, you probably aren't aware, but each time you hug your girl, you're close to smacking my friend in the nose." i did my best to be really sweet. his response? a resounding "WE WERE HERE FIRST!" rachel is much quicker on her feet and retorts 'we were here sober!' - which did nothing for me keeping a straight face.

(3. i can't go to general admission shows because people get drunk and stupid.)

he turns around and immediately throws the elbow up and around Wobbly Girl. good thing rachel is scrappy and quick - she dodged the elbow. no small feat considering we were being squashed by rude, tall, late-comers. at this point, Wobbly Girl is woozing around a bit. in order to keep myself less squished, i had put up my dukes to keep my parts to myself. i basically am holding her up with my forearms at this point. suddenly, Snuggle Pants, whips around and starts yelling at me about having my !@#$-ing elbows in his girlfriend's back. my shock was mirrored on the faces of those who watched the rest of this go down. my favorite demand was that i tell him how many songs bazan did, with no opportunity to respond - he must have been convinced there had been no one standing behind them for the past 30 minutes? he spewed profanity and threats... spouting about them being there first, how i should stop causing a scene, (?) more profanity and threats to my person, etc. i'm watching the utter hatred on his face and, despite the "adrenaline rush" of being publicly cussed out, i felt desperately sad. i also knew that any reasonable problem solving steps would never happen with a mean drunk.

(4. i can't go to general admission shows because i feel really sad for foolish people.)

the yelling stopped and he continued being angry, but at least was facing forward. Wobbly Girl was now leaning on me full force, and turning around telling me to move back. now i'm firmly wedged between her and Large Guy behind me, so there is literally nowhere to go.

(5. i can't go to general admissions shows because i don't want to get squished and have great anxiety of getting squashed like a grape)
(6. i can't go to general admission shows because i didn't pay good money to have one of my favorite band's performance ruined by a really really mean person)

rachel and i ended up wiggling thru the crowd to some fresh air and nicer faces. my calves ache from being on tiptoes, but at least we were surrounded by people joyously singing every word, and having a great time. it really was an amazing set, and it's such a drag that the mean guy will get none of my earthly justice....

i would write a list of dos and do nots of concert attendance, but i will just suffice to say a few things.
i really don't want to see your tongue moving around in someone else's mouth. really. no, really. why are you at a show if you are just going to be on facebook the entire time? remember the good ol' days when people just used their phones as really expensive lighters? be aware of your surroundings. your super nice phone is quite bright/annoying/distracting as you update your status.

dear jimmy eat world, i love your shows because you have just as much fun as the crowd, everyone sings along because you write great songs, and it's always been ridiculously great experience. i am tore up because i love live music, and it's reason #7 why i'm too old to go to general admission shows... because i am too old. sigh.