Melissa DavisFounder of Ruby Press & Creator of This is OaklandOAKLAND, CAPhotography by Lauri LevenfeldStory by Lauri Levenfeld
Melissa has always been everywhere and dialed into everyone. It’s a bit of the Kevin Bacon effect where everyone you mention her name to- knows her, knows of her, or will know her sometime in the near future. Her connections to the people in her community are strong and deep and she has tremendous passion, pride and respect for the businesses they have created in the city her family currently resides. These are the reasons Melissa was propelled to curate and write This is Oakland – a book of all things fabulous in her hometown. TMP visits a few of Melissa’s favorite spots.
I’m Melissa, a PR agency owner, wife and mother to my 3.5 year old son, Sammy.
Running Ruby Press, a boutique PR firm, was already a job that overflowed into my free time, so needless to say, my life has been hectic since my son was born. And yet, I wouldn’t change a thing!! I created a book with friend and photographer Kristen Loken this past year in my free time, so this 2013-2014 has been a true juggling act.
Before I started Ruby Press, I was a fashion editor in NYC (at Harper’s Bazaar and Mademoiselle). When I got to California I worked as the fashion editor at 7×7 and a contributing editor at Lucky magazine. I started Ruby Press in 2001, and in 2013 we moved our offices from Berkeley, CA to Oakland, CA, where I have lived with my husband Sam and son Sammy for the past ten years.
The move inspired me to create a book celebrating the city of Oakland and all of the exciting things that are happening here right now. It’s called This is Oakland: A Guide to the City’s Most Interesting Places, a city guide full of gorgeous photos that (I hope!) inspires people both locally and nationally to take a look at what’s happening here and come visit! The book hits shelves this month- so I am beyond excited.
I have learned as a mom to be in the moment. When I’m with Sammy, I literally stop and smell the flowers. I can’t multi-task when I’m with him, and I don’t want to! If I have my phone out when I’m with Sammy, it’s usually because I’m obsessively snapping photos of him.
I have found my hardest moments as a mom to be when I see kids being rude or mean to my little guy. It’s so hard not tell the other kid off- or the parents!! My husband Sam calls it the “mama bear” syndrome.
Child: Sam (Sammy) Davis- 3.5 years old
Sammy is obsessed with my iPad- and there are some awesome games for kids on it. (Some educational, some not!) He also loves drawing with his Daddy on his easel, building trucks with Working Trucks, and racing his Hot Wheels cars on his race track.
He loves books and his favorites are The Tale of Peter Rabbit, In the Night Kitchen, Chicken Soup with Rice, and The House on East 88th Street.
I didn’t realize it until Sammy’s room was finished, but I dressed it very much like I dress him! It’s a mix.
His bed mixes patterns and colors- a nautical inspired navy and white striped duvet with white sheets and yellow stars.
His bookshelf and nightstand are mid-century modern but the rug is a traditional Persian print.
And his dresser is a vintage Victorian era dresser painted navy blue with rope knot knobs. We hung an oversized print of the cutest baby donkey from Animal Print Shop on the wall (along with other adorable furry friends) and a handwritten watercolor print from Oakland’s Book/Shop.
This past year, I had my long hair chopped off to a blunt chin length bob. It has simplified my morning routine to a quick 5-minute blow dry, add some Olo cedarwood and rose hair oil to the ends and spritz with a little Ocean Mist from SachaJuan. I’m an oil-addict- no more lotions for me. This comes after learning that the waxes in lotions clog your pores. I use Marie Veronique Organic’s Rose Neroli Body Oil and Pacific Face Oil, both smell amazing. And I always add black liquid eyeliner on the eye, a touch of YSL hot pink blush and a sheer pink lip. I love natural fragrance and some of my favorites are Lurk AS 01 and True Nature Botanicals’ Noble Floral and Noble Citrus.
My style is more bohemian in the warmer months, more utilitarian/preppy in the winter months. After 8 years in NYC working as a fashion editor, I have fully embraced a flat (except for photo shoots- wink wink). No more running around the city in stilettos for me!! I live in jeans and love oversized cashmere sweaters, Indian block printed cotton tops and striped tees. I have an 18k gold silhouette pendant that was made by a dear friend and client, Vicente Agor. It’s a hand-cut silhouette of my son Sammy and alternate wearing it on a short and long chain. It really looks like Sammy- I love it (And get so many compliments on it!).
The Hot List by Nathan Waldon of Nathan&Co
1. Neil & Mary Green Abstract Towel
Jack Rudy Cocktail Co Small Batch Tonic
Farmhouse Pottery Maine Farmed Sea Salt
Lemon Poppy Seed Sugar Whipped Soap
2. Sunny Life Beach Sounds
3. Bun B’s Rap Coloring & Activity Book
Dandy Candy Neon Markers
4. Colossal Ice Cube Tray
Mrs. Lilliens Dessert Cocktail Search Book
Fishs Eddy Green Hand
5. Now Designs Napkin Serviette
Go Home Serving Spoon & Fork
Core Wooden Plate
Gamago Boom Box Butter Plate
If you are anything like me, I am totally in ooh-and-ahh of everything Melissa and ready to spend many of my sunny summer weekends scurrying the hot spots of Oakland, thanks to this amazing mama. For more eye candy and many more incredible places to visit, hop on over to Melissa’s site and purchase your copy of This is Oakland. And let’s hang in East Bay.