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Women in pink dresses holding birthday cake

49 Truths from Cabana Life's Founder Melissa

Melissa's b-day message: 

My BIG wish for my 49th birthday is to get to know you all better! 

I’ve been so busy working to create convenient, stylish, sun safe solutions for you that I haven’t had time to REALLY interact with YOU the way I want to. 

Let’s change that! 

What are YOUR wishes for new collections? What makes you happy? How do you wear Cabana Life? What’s your story? 

Woman's hands running through clothing rack of colorful dresses

I’m kicking off my 49th year with 49 truths so you can get to know me the way I hope to get to know you. Drop me a line at I’d love to hear from you!

So, here's the truth:

1. Yes, I am now 49 (but identify in my 20s or 30s depending on the day). 

Woman wearing blue and white maxi dress holding up peace sign

2. I had a melanoma at 26, scary AF hearing the word “cancer” at that (or any) age. I go for a skin check twice a year, and in the years following my diagnosis it was every 4 months.

Woman pointing at arm in blue dress on sidewalk

 Sharing my story (and skin cancer scar) for New York TV special.

3. I have more freckles than I can count, something I HATED growing up because it made me different. Amazing how age quietly teaches you to embrace your differences. 

4. Laugh as much as possible, even (or especially) at things that could make you cry.  

5. There’s a diamond and gold bar necklace I hope to get for my birthday to wear as a reminder to constantly raise my personal bar.Woman in white collared shirt with gold diamond bar necklace

The necklace on my wishlist!


6. Cabana Life was technically my first baby, I incorporated before my first daughter was even born. I have 3 beautiful kiddos: Devon (19 & sweet), Sasha (17 & sassy) and Branson (11 & the baby). Seems impossible that I have teenagers because like I said in truth 1, I don’t identify as 49.

family picture

My family 💙

7. I’m married to a super quirky guy who keeps me on my toes – anyone else get a 6’ unicycle for Valentine’s Day or have a hairless dog named “Sexy” (RIP)? 

Man riding tall unicycle on sidewalk

My husband, Alex

8. I live in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL (grew up on Long Island and lived in CT). I recently bought a country house on 8 acres outside of Charleston as a mid-life or covid-crisis. Even with the ongoing renovations, I love the rural tranquility with the perks of a nearby city. 

 Women in blue dresses & white dress on beach

Me & my daughters on the beach!

9. I LOVE my college friends & return to Tulane every year for Jazz Fest (NOLA will always have my heart!).

10. I FIRMLY believe in girls trips – take them often! It’s the greatest reminder of who you are and the energy you need to get where you want to go. 

Women in dresses in front of a colorful dot background

Loved this girls' trip to Cabo – highly recommend!

11. I give big cheerleader energy. Surround yourself with people who are genuinely rooting for you and be a cheerleader for all those you hold close. 

12. Friendship should be easy. 

13. Turn your problems into your purpose – that’s what I did with Cabana Life. 

 Pin board with pictures & color swatches

14. My most valuable gain from Cabana Life is my work-wife, now best friend and business partner, Alyssa. We’ve been together 18 years and counting, weathering the ups and downs while laughing, dancing, drinking and hustling HARD. 

Two women in Cabana Life dresses on boat

Me (left) & Alyssa (right) on a complimentary cruise to sell Cabana Life on board (work perks!)

15. People say I am “lucky” to have Cabana Life, but I know the hard work and dedication of so many that makes that “luck” happen.  

Woman wearing Palm Desert Cabana Life Dresses with 1 & 5 silver balloons

Me (left) & Alyssa (right) celebrating 15 years of Cabana Life!

16. I love being an entrepreneur (most days). 

Woman in Cabana Life dresses in front of Cabana Life sign

Alyssa (left) & I (right) at a tradeshow.

17. I am questioning at what age I need to have shorter hair, not yet! 

18. I often wake up at 4am to capture the early morning quiet hours where creativity runs free (not a great look for my under-eyes).

19. I dream vividly every single night and remember them – kinda weird. I then feel the need to share them with anyone who will listen. 

20. I run for my sanity (often stopping to email or text). 

21. I love the app Melissa Wood Health for a daily dose of zen and a stretch for “long, lean lines.”

Woman doing yoga in front of pool

Wearing a Cabana Life tankini & leggings doing yoga on vacay in Costa Rica.

22. Shhhhh, I wear mostly solids but love designing colorful prints. 


23. Peanut M&Ms are my go-to. 

Cabana Life Founder Melissa with clothing & messy desk

Always have my fave snack handy!

24. I drink decaf coffee and LOTS of it (nobody needs me caffeinated).

25. I enjoy dirty martinis with blue cheese stuffed olives, a spicy bloody mary, red, white or rosé – I don’t discriminate.

Drink on top of pink book in front of marsh

26. Most stunning place I’ve traveled: Santorini

Woman wearing White Terry Tunic in Greece

Still dreaming of this family vacay in Greece! It inspired our best-selling print, Santorini (restock coming soon!)

27. Bucket list: Morocco (the tile print inspiration!)

28. Next trip: Eleuthera, Bahamas

29. Nickname in college was Last Minute Marks (Melissa Marks). My VERY patient, loving parents can attest. 

30. I believe that being late just means you are optimistic you can get more done. 

31. I’ve accepted my dichotomy: super chill type B person masquerading as type A. 

32. If you want something done, give it to a busy person.

33. I live by my running to do list – electronic & paper (preferably on backs of envelopes and discarded print designs).

34. I only like the beach at sunrise or dusk.

Woman on beach in blue dress holding child

Our family photoshoot for my birthday (at dusk!) 

35. I’m messy! But make myself feel better with a candle on my desk that reads, “Creative minds are rarely tidy.”

36. I love witty banter and great puns. 

37. I was overwhelmed by my daughter’s college applications (and she is now at Tulane, my alma mater).

 Woman in white dress on beach

My oldest child, Devon

38. Root beer & pizza are sometimes all I need to feel good.

39. I don’t read physical books. I’d sooner write a book (love writing). I do enjoy audio books on long car rides, mostly business or autobiographies. 

40. My first job out of college was at a start up gourmet foods company working for a young entrepreneur, Daniel Lubetzky (founder of KIND Bars). I attribute my grit and scrappiness to those early experiences where we had no fear in asking for anything we wanted.

41. I believe that worry is a wasted emotion. I try not to worry. Action is my love language.  

42. I’m not so social on social media but am determined to connect more! Follow along @cabanalife as I start to share more behind-the-scenes & takeovers.

43. I wear my grandfather’s wedding band on my middle finger (sorry g-pa) and my grandmother’s rings on the ring finger next to it every day to remember my two favorite people together as my right hand in everything. 

 Woman wearing pink gingham off the shoulder dress on sidewalk surrounded by greenery

44. I’m always freezing cold (but a warm person I like to think).

45. My fave quote: “Toss your hair in a bun, drink some coffee, put on some gangsta rap and handle it!”

46. My favorite job (aside from Cabana) was working for Seventeen magazine – traveling with boy bands, hosting fashion shows, going on the news and signing autographs for adoring teens. 

Woman in black dress & hat in front of pink Seventeen step & repeat

47. It's hard to choose, but one of my favorite new collections is Algarve (coming soon!)

Melissa founder of Cabana Life wearing Algarve

We can't wait to launch SO MANY new prints (coming soon!)

48. I am currently working on the 2025 season (gasp!) and need your input! I hope that you will help me make Cabana Life the best for YOU by giving me ideas, feedback and anything else you want to generously share. Chat with me at

49. #1 Time is a little thief! Sneaky AF. Your cute babies grow & change in a blink (not to mention your own cute body- feelin' you almost 50).


Women in pink dresses with sunglasses on holding birthday cake

Don't forget to leave a comment on Instagram & Facebook to wish Melissa a "happy birthday!" Follow along for more behind-the-scenes fun with our Cabana Crew. 

Women in blue dresses looking at colorful swatches & fabrics on white desk

And, there's more! Discover the start of Cabana Life in our founder's 15th anniversary celebration blog