Cheers to 5 Years! Happy Birth-a-versary!

 

happy 5th

I baked some red velvet cupcakes just to celebrate a bit!

 

Let’s take a look back…

5 YEARS AGO I posted my first blog post here on michelle leigh writes… 

Hey there…and welcome ❤
January 8, 2013

I guess I should introduce myself. I’m Michelle  and I’m going to be writing for you. Writing is something that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s difficult to put one’s writing out into the world and have others read and speculate and generally speaking, critique your inner most thoughts. I’m very modest about my writing and often get nervous to share it with others, but this year I’ve promised myself that I would start changing that. I know, I know, once the new year strikes often many of us make promises we know we can’t keep…or won’t keep. But starting a blog has always been on my radar and I’ve always made excuses not to do it, but not this year. This year it’s happening. So if this blog speaks to you please read along, if not no hard feelings. But all I ask is to let this be a safe place for the written word. I’m not claiming to be an award winning writer, I’m just a girl with a lot of heart, who has A LOT of thoughts like I’m sure many of you do. Thoughts that may serve better being read then being cooped up in a journal. Who knows maybe you’ll find that someone else understands you. Here’s to writing! and Happy Reading Folks! -xoxo Michelle Leigh

To say that as I’m reading these words today, and I still feel a strong connection to their meaning is amazing. For the most part, I’ve overcome the fear of posting my work for strangers. Not that the fear is no longer there, I still find it difficult at times, but I continue to do it anyway. Sometimes I still worry what others who know me may think if they read my blog. If a family member or friend reads it, what will they think of me? Like- oh SHE wrote THIS? I know people may think of me a certain way and then they may read a “scandalous” scene in one of my short stories and think wait what? Ew. Lol. But I can only be true to my writer’s heart and to the characters I create in  my stories. At the root my stories are all about love, friendship, family. Things that make life worth living. 

Below are  all the celebratory birthday/anniversary posts over the past 4 years

“Secret” Society, “Resolutions”, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!! + (My 1st VLOG)

Happy Birthday or Happy Anniversary?

Dear 2016, + Happy 3rd Anniversary!

Happy 4th!!!!!!!

In 5 years, I’ve managed to form a post schedule, share poetry, short stories, fangirl experiences, music and movie reviews, fashion, lifestyle, female empowerment, party planning tips and Writing experience/tips, with you. I’ve given you my heart for 5 years and it has been such an important part of my life. And I’m really glad that my motto, “A safe place for the written word,” still holds true for me. Because this blog has really been my writer’s outlet.

We’ve gotten to explore different writing styles, I’ve posted vlogs/videos, and I even have social media accounts for this blog now too. Come and follow along, talk to me! 😀

Social Media Links:

Twitter

Facebook Page

Instagram

It’s crazy to me that it’s been 5 years!

I’m excited for the future. For the new characters you’ll meet and the new poems that will come together and if you are reading this or have read any of my blog posts, I thank you for your support.  I know that I may not have thousands of readers, or comments, but that doesn’t matter to me.  What matters to me is that for those who do read along, or manage to stumble upon my blog, that they take something from it. That they find something in it that they can relate to. I hope you continue reading! And I hope to continue to grow this blog with all my heart.

Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary or (Happy Birthaversary) if you will,

michelle leigh writes!

(I still don’t know what to call it!) 😉

Again THANK YOU, thank you!

See you Thursday- with an *ALL NEW* Chapter of Move! 

MOVE poster

 

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

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2017 Memory Jar Review

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!!!

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As I reflect on 2017, sifting through my memory jar, my Instagram and my blog posts, I realize SO MUCH happened this year. At the start of the year I made a vision board that I framed. It was made of just cool funky colors and images to match my room, but it also had one main word in the center and that word was CHANGE. I wanted to change and work on so many things and I wanted to make that word my mantra. As someone who fears change, I wanted 2017 to be the year I embraced it. And even though I had my ups and downs, my tearful breakdowns, my stressed out moments, and I lost a very special person- My Grandma very early on in 2017, I still managed to make some incredible memories. 

I’d I have to say that I rose to the occasion and embraced change. I changed. And this year I’m hoping to continue to change. To better myself, my life, my relationships and my career.

So here are My 2017 Highlights.

(in no particular order-but categorized)

 

*FAMILY/FRIENDS* 

-I rung in 2017 with my dad’s side of the family- my parents, my cousins, my aunt, and my grandparents. We even got to skype my brother and sister in law who were on their honeymoon in Hawaii at the time. I dressed up, made glitter cups, ate fun finger foods, and lit up sparklers as we had an impromptu dance party outside. It was a blast. It was in fact the last Holiday I got to spend with my Grandmother before she passed in February. I’m glad my family got to have that time together. It was also a huge family reunion when she passed, family and friends from all over came to be together. Although such a sad time, it was beautiful to see how much love there is and how many people wanted to share in honoring her life. Read more about that journey HERE. 

-Many family dinners, my brother hosted a few holidays at his new house- memorial day, mother’s day, father’s day, Christmas 2017, and New Year’s! My mom also hosted a few family dinners too. A lot of time spent with my immediate family. ❤

-I became a Titi. (In Spanish it means Aunt.) My sister in law and brother found out they were expecting their first child, so we got to be apart of the baby kicks and all that, I even got to sit in on one of their sonogram visits! We were all there for the birth and for hospital visits and for her Welcome Home. We also got to be with her for her first Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year! She’s precious. I’m obsessed.

-My family/friends welcomed a few new babies- my cousin’s baby girl, my brother and sister in law’s baby (my niece!!!!), and one of my oldest friends- Kate’s baby boy. 

-I attended special occasions like, my little cousin’s first birthday- it was a mickey mouse clubhouse theme!, my best friend Roe’s engagement party (where I was asked to be one of her maid of honors), I also went for several bridesmaids dresses, and got to see both my best friend’s in their wedding dresses during their hunt for the perfect dress! Attended my other best friend Jenny’s shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner and wedding, where I was her maid of honor and my other friend Kate’s wedding/baby shower and her wedding! 

-Took a Zumba class.

-I caught up with some friends I haven’t seen in a while! 

-Had a few girls nights/day in/out. Got to see my best friend Jenny’s new place. Had lunch with my mom and my best friend and her mom. Met up with a high school friend a few times, had some sushi and froyo with some work friends, and went to visit with old middle school friends. 

-I dragged my Aunt and my mom to the Mermaid Parade, in the rain and we ended up having a blast! Of course I dressed up! 

-I got to see my two little girl cousins in their Talent Show, my other boy cousin in his school play where he played Mufasa in Lion King Jr. and my God Daughter’s first dance recital!!! I love going to creative things like that, they are so inspirational. And I always end up tearing up. I love art!

-I read milk & honey.

-I went to the Polar Express again!

-My cousin moved back from Florida for a few months. So I got to see him, and it was nice because he hasn’t been home for that long in a long time. 

-Had a fun park day with my God daughter and her baby brother. 

-I spent the 4th of July at home with some family, we had food outside and then went on our roof to watch fireworks. 

-I got to treat my mom to another play- this time I took her to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then I took her to Olive Garden. 

-My family and I went to this old neighborhood amusement park we used to go to as kids, and we played mini golf and I beat my brother! HA! 😉 

-Had a fun Beach Day with my mom, cousins, and Aunt. I only made it to the beach once that summer, but at least it was once!

*WORK*

-Started doing holiday/festive themed bulletin boards for my classes to display their Creative Writing work.

-My job hosted a Talent Show and my class did a skit called “School Struggles,” and they did so good! 

-I got a bunch of last day of Summer cards from kids I work with. The word around my co-workers was I got the most.  😉 I was kind of super flattered and I felt all warm and fuzzy inside! 🙂

-A few movie projects were completed by my kids in my Film Making class. 

-Chaperoned a few trips- one was to see Captain Underpants (which was surprisingly really entertaining!) at this really cool theater with reclining comfy seats, blankets, pillows and food service! The other was to the Museum of Moving Image which was really cool! We even got a special viewing of Moana. 

-My job hosted an end of the year carnival- with blowup rides, a photo booth, DJ, and a Taco truck…can you guys what was my favorite part—T-A-C-O!!!!

*BLOG*

michelleleighwrites turned 4 years old!!!! (it turns 5 next week!!!!)

-I finished the short story series- Welcome Home! (Start the series from the beginning by clicking the title.)

-Started a new short story series MOVE (will be continued this year).

-Also posted two themed shorts- one for Halloween entitled RED THIRST & and the other for Christmas entitled A Husband for Christmas.

-I did BLOGMAS! (and posted to social media regularly.) 

-Someone made “She Said” into a little video and sent me it, I found out it was also used as someone’s monologue. 

-I created social media accounts for MLW!

^(Accounts are linked in the BLOGMAS RECAP! post.)

*TELEVISION/NETFLIX/MOVIES*

-I fell in love with Hallmark’s  When Calls The Heart and #JACKANDELIZABETH

-I started watching Supergirl

Stranger Things & Fuller House released new seasons and they are killing the game!

-That’s So Raven got a Reboot- Raven’s Home– the nostalgia is real! Raven and Chelsea still crack me up!

Will & Grace got a Reboot as well, and they haven’t changed a bit!

-Got hooked on and binged Scream the TV series

-Also got hooked on Riverdale…and fell in love with a new ship- #BUGHEAD

-Bethany Joy Lenz was in a new film on Lifetime- Snowed Inn Christmas, and my best friend Roe and I watched it during our “Best Friend Christmas” tradition we have every year where we get together and exchange our gifts and watch a Christmas movie and drink hot chocolate and Sangria while munching on snacks. And let me tell you this movie was AWESOME! It had everything- Christmas magic, humor, romance, heart, a handsome guy, and our girl Joy! Duh? 😉

-I found a bunch of good movies on Netflix!

*MUSIC*

-Bruno Mars “24 K Magic” Album (songs rolled over into 2017)

-Ed Sheeran “Divide” Album

-Sam Smith “The Thrill of it All” Album

-New Selena Gomez Music

-Demi Lovato’s “Tell Me You Love Me” Album 

-TAYLOR SWIFT  “Reputation” ALBUM!!!!!! (And Music Videos)

*PERSONAL/PARTY PLANNING*

-I fell in love with lighting candles, and wearing big comfy sweaters, which if you know me I used to shy away from because scents and fear of overheating myself would cause my anxiety to spike. I know that sounds like a weird highlight, but for me it means that I’m able to manage my anxiety in a way I wasn’t able to before. And do things people normally don’t think twice about. 

-I had a pretty fun fall- a lot of fall vibes, went to a pumpkin patch and got my fall goodies, lit candles, bought festive soaps and décor. Watched a bunch of Halloween movies, I even ordered Halloweentown on DVD, (FINALLY!). 

-Mini When Calls The Heart Premiere Party!

-I hosted a PUMPKIN PARTY! (Which I always wanted to do!)

-Had a Stranger Things Premiere Party (post COMING SOON!)

-I had a really special moment in confession this year. Read more about it HERE.

-I sent my god daughter and her baby brother (my second cousins) and my niece my special hand made, Santa Letters. It’s a tradition I started with my God daughter when she was born. I write a letter to her from Santa and mail it. So I continued it for her brother and of course I had to start it for my new little niece! ❤

-I was given a few special gifts in honor of my new role as “Titi,” two t-shirts, a bracelet and an ornament.

-I celebrated My GOLDEN Birthday! #26OnThe26th 

-I had some fun fashion moments! Palazzo Pants 

-I baked my butt off for this holiday season- for Thanksgiving I made Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter cookies with Reese’s Pieces, and for Christmas I made Chocolate cake batter cookies with Peppermint kisses in the middle and then White cake mix cookies with Milk Chocolate kisses in the middle and I also made a Berry Crumble.

-I’m learning my limits, and when to say no. I’m a fixer, and I realize rationally I can’t fix what I can’t control. And in this life there is a whole lot we have no control over!

-I finished editing a bunch of VLOGS!

-I put my birthday gift-Ninja bullet to good use and started making smoothies!

-I continue to decorate and organize my room. 

-Last Summer, I died my hair BLUE! and now it’s like a green/teal. I have yet to post pics, but that’ll be a post COMING SOON! After the last wedding I’m in, in July, I’m thinking of doing another color next Summer…maybe purple? 😉

***

That was my year in review as you can see, A LOT HAPPENED. And after my family was hit with a major heartache and loss early in the year, it’s an amazing thing to say that for the most part 2017 was a really good year. Looking back on all these memories, I realize that so much change happened and I managed to get through it all and make the most of it- at least I tried in most cases. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t hard, or scary, but I realized that a lot of the changes were good, happy things. And although they can come with stress too, I’m happy to say that I had so many good things to celebrate. I hope 2018 is just a celebratory for my friends and family but also for myself. 2017 was a lot about me showing up for other people, and although I don’t regret it, I realize I still didn’t get to do a lot of what I set out to do in 2017. So I hope to accomplish them in 2018. That doesn’t mean I won’t continue being there for my family and friends, it just means learning when to say no, and learning when to make myself a priority. Like Sophia Bush once yet,

“You are allowed to be both a masterpiece and a work in progress, simultaneously.” 

I wish you all a Happy, Healthy, 2018! May all your dreams for this year come true. Cheers! 

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLOGMAS RECAP!

Before we roll into the new year I just wanted to do a little reflection/recap on #BLOGMAS.

lights blogmas edit

I actually did it!!!! 25 days, 25 posts- a post a day, everyday!

There were many times I doubted if I would stick to it. If you’ve followed this blog for a while, you know there are many times I let life sidetrack me from my blogging goals. 

However, this was something I set out to do, to see if I could actually meet the challenge. 

In the beginning, I felt it was pretty easy to post, because I had a few posts already scheduled and ready to go. It was just a matter of checking in on things and then posting to social media. So it was a breeze- then it got harder as I had to post in real time. Every day, I had to set aside time to make sure I could write, edit, and post all in one day. And this is when I realized just how difficult it could be.

With all the holiday things going on- the shopping, the planning, and other things in life like friendships, family, and work, it was difficult to stay on track. Towards the end, I was uploading minutes before midnight! But I made it!

I even blogged ON Christmas Eve AND Christmas Day. I had planned to schedule those ahead of time, but it just got so stressful and so busy, with baking and last minute shopping for the little things. This Christmas was absolutely insane, a lot of traveling around, and it just felt like I was going and going non-stop. I have a new little niece so we had a lot of new special traditions this year. 

So in between all that, I was typing up posts on the go, on my crappy cell phone. Making myself slightly car sick! Lol. Hey, at least you can’t say that’s not dedication! Right? 

Needless to say not only was my cell phone giving me trouble, my laptop decided to die on me too! So in the face of this challenge I had given myself, it felt like there were a lot of obstacles against me. But I pushed past every one. I borrowed my mom’s computer, my aunt’s computer, to continue the journey, I typed notes into my cellphone, I excused myself on Christmas Eve and Day to upload on my brother’s computer, all on minimal hours of sleep and holiday stress. Just so I could prove to myself that I could do this. And I did. Wherever I went I had BLOGMAS on the brain. 

I know it may not be a big deal to some of you reading this, but to me, it’s a huge deal. I often let this blog slide, when I have a lot going on in my life, because it’s my blog, I can pick up whenever or wherever I want. But giving myself a challenge, made me feel like I was  being held accountable for something. Don’t get me wrong I felt rude at times sneaking away to write or sneaking off to work on a post/use someone else’s computer to post. (NOT THAT I USED WITHOUT ASKING PERMISSION, lol, because that would just be rude.) I just mean that I did feel bad doing something for myself in the middle of the holidays where your supposed to be sharing it with others. But it was important to me, and I think they all (or at least I hope they all) understood. I didn’t let it stop me from enjoying time with my family. I did what I had to do for BLOGMAS and shut the computer down and resumed my family time. 

Another thing I had to come to terms with when posting daily, (because I didn’t always have time to plan and pre-write) was that I couldn’t over-analyze my ideas for my posts. I got an idea, if it was feasible in a day, I ran with it. It usually will take me hours to write, edit and post. Especially if it’s a short story. But with BLOGMAS I was in a bit of a constant time crunch. So I had to leave my perfectionism behind. At times it was hard, because I felt like it wasn’t my best work, but BLOGMAS was a learning experience. You don’t have to love what you write, everyday, but writing everyday is great for a writer to do. 

My posts were all Christmas related, which was not my initial intension. But it kind of just happened that way, I guess I was inspired by the season. 

Another thing that was new to me, was posting regularly to my social media websites for this blog during BLOGMAS. In case you didn’t know michelleleighwrites is on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram! Come follow along! I’d love to chat with you! 😉 And as someone who personally doesn’t post to social media everyday, it took some getting used to. But it was a cool experience.

I know I also mentioned this to you guys at some point, how my WordPress account needs updating and I haven’t been able to do that yet, so my photo memory is extremely limited, and so it was a challenge to post without images. I always like to have an image accompany my writing, I feel like it adds a visual aspect. I had to go in and delete images to make room for the few new ones I needed, or work with images I already had. There were many weird obstacles during BLOGMAS, and usually when things like that have happened in the past in life, I would just be like “Oh well, it’s not working, I can’t do it.” But not this time. I set a goal and I met it! I think there was only one day where I posted to social media a few minutes late, but it was posted on the blog, on time, so I was in the clear! Lol. 

It was a long BLOGMAS journey, but it kind of flew by and the more the time passed, the days grew and the numbers on the calendar kept climbing, and I kept posting and it just started to become part of my routine and it started to feel really good. There were times I thought to myself, “I’ve got this,” and there were times where I was like, “Oh no, I’m going to miss my deadline!” But I did it, I posted every day from December 1-25 and I am super proud I was able to commit to it and complete the task I set out to do. For myself, but also for all of you. 

Thank you for reading… (and if you missed any days of the MLW #BLOGMAS series, I will link them all down below for you to browse.)

BLOGMAS -Day 1- Christmas Bucket List

BLOGMAS -Day 2- Christmas Playlist

BLOGMAS -Day 3- Christmas Movie List

BLOGMAS -Day 4- A Broken Heart For Christmas Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 5- My VLOGMAS Favs

BLOGMAS -Day 6- (Mini) VLOGMAS 2016 Update

BLOGMAS -Day 7- Single in Season

BLOGMAS -Day 8- A Christmas Story

BLOGMAS -Day 9- A Christmas Morning Memory

BLOGMAS -Day 10- Winter Wonderland

BLOGMAS -Day 11- The pressure the Holidays put on us

BLOGMAS -Day 12- Snowed Inn Christmas

BLOGMAS -Day 13- “A Husband for Christmas” Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 14- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 2] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 15- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 3] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 16- Cynical Shopping

BLOGMAS -Day 17- My Perfect Winter Day

BLOGMAS -Day 18- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 4] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 19- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 5] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 20- Give me your Light, Oh Lord.

BLOGMAS -Day 21- Winter [2017] Favorites

BLOGMAS -Day 22- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 6] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 23- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 7] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 24- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 8] Short Story

BLOGMAS -Day 25- “A Husband for Christmas” [Part 9] Short Story

 

*STAY TUNED!

My 2017 Highlights/Memory Jar post will be up tomorrow!!! 

Have a very Happy and safe New Year’s Eve and if your feeling the romance tonight- check out some of my New Year’s Eve stories…

Kiss Me At Midnight…A Short Story 

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

*^ The second is a year after follow-up to the first, it follows the same characters.^*

For Old Times’ Sake

Once again Thanks for reading this year! See you in 2018!

-<3-

Video Update

There are often so many areas of life we feel we need to be good at all the time. And often times we struggle trying to make that happen. It’s impossible. You can do anything but not everything. You can be anything, but you can’t be everything, to everyone, all the time. If you try to, you will break.

As the summer comes to an end, the self-bashing comes for not doing half of the things I wanted to. Summer is kind of like New Year’s Eve in that way, don’t you think? We make so many promises to ourselves and then life happens.

I’ve been really thinking about my relationship with video and film making. And because of this, I’ve learned a few things. I wanted to get really real with myself about this topic.
To back track just a bit, I have a Bachelor of Arts degree. I studied Mass Communications with a concentration in Film and Broadcasting. The dream-the goal- to write for television. And yet when I look at all the video projects I’ve actually finished…the total number is not many. Many unfinished scripts/ideas for scripts collecting dust too!

Back in college, I had to do a few projects- one was a music video which I did for The Civil War’s Poison & Wine and the other was a concept video which was about throwing away stereotypes- it was very abstract and I titled it “Tearing Down The Label Makers.” It’s crazy because I feel like the message holds even more relevance today. Then I worked on my thesis which as you may know was a documentary about a day/or days in the life of my Grandmother who had been struggling with Alzheimer’s disease. I did two versions of that for two separate classes- one was the full version, and one was an abridged trailer version entitled Vai Com Deus.

“Poison & Wine” Video Shoot-

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“Tearing Down The Label Makers” Video Shoot-

Tearing Down the Label Makers

Neither the music video nor the concept video have been uploaded to YouTube, although considering these two were my very first video projects I am still very proud of how they came out and the messages behind them. I’m seriously considering sharing them. Providing the actors give their permission for me to do so, actually I’m pretty sure I had them all sign release forms!

During my college years I also attempted to shoot a script I wrote called Dumb Luck. A lot of time and production went into that but, it never got finished and the footage has been difficult to revive since my college computer died on me and I’ve gotten a new one. I am hoping to revive that and get that up, it’s super raw,  and you can definitely tell I was just starting out but the story is juicy. We only got to shoot the montage sequence. But a few years ago I shared the script, if you’d like to read that…click HERE.

“Dumb Luck” Prop Pictures

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“Vai Com Deus” process-

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Since I graduated I’ve done a few little side projects that are actually finished- I shot a yoga video for my cousin, a poetry video for MLW- to name a few and a couple of vlogs. The vlogs are less planned and less cinematic of course.

Yoga Video Shoot (Behind the Scenes) (this is not available to watch,  even though she was happy with the result-the video was for a school assignment and my cousin didn’t want it uploaded.)

“Secret” Society Video Shoot/Vlogs (Behind the Scenes)

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Then there are more video attempts- there are bits of footage shot for a zombie horror short that my brother and I had been working on. We even got as far as building a timeline of the clips in editing, but then…life. Life came in, things got busy, I got distracted and something else needed my attention.

“Inhumane” process- (Behind the Scenes)

20160418_20195320160417_235705Inhumane

Its 4 years now since I graduated and it seems that every time I get close to the idea of shooting something- I may do well for a brief time but then cue the rut.

The other day I was going through some old paperwork and things, trying to organize my room and I came across some old scripts and video treatments/storyboards. Both were horror related. One was the zombie short titled Inhumane, the other titled Head Over Heels (which I think would be a bad ass Halloween upload). And when I see these scripts and how the planning process was beginning it makes me want to get back into video. But then I hit a wall and the reality sinks in. There’s just no realistic way. For the past-I want to say 2 years- I have been well involved/invested in the engagements, weddings, bridal/baby showers of many people that are very close to me. And I have had to really dedicate my time and my funds to them. When I think about doing something short/simple- I think how I don’t have the actors, or the equipment, to do so.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, my brother is a photographer and he has a lot of equipment that I’ve used in the past. But I’m very weird about using it, mostly because he’s very particular about it, lol. And I get nervous I’ll do something wrong! And so because of that I am very weird about asking him for help. I feel like it’s a burden, especially now that he is newly married and he and his wife are expecting their first child. Even though he has been hounding me to get back into shooting Inhumane, I know he simply doesn’t have the time, we don’t have the people, and quite honestly there are just so many other things I’d love to shoot instead. #HeadOverHeels #MysteriousAttractionTeaser

I also don’t have the best sound equipment or the best editing software either so it’s kind of like a million things weighing against me. I think about how people would perceive the work I put out. “Didn’t she go to school for film and video? This sucks!” That’s how I feel they would judge it. Along with all the other worries, I fear I may not be good enough at it.

I know this may seem like I’m complaining and I’m not. I don’t want pity. I understand that life is fast paced and ever changing. I love being asked to be part of special moments in people’s lives. People who mean the world to me. But sometimes when everything seems to happen all at once it can be very overwhelming. And we all know that I can get overwhelmed pretty easily and my anxiety definitely tends to spike a lot more when too much change is happening.

I just think that in life you often have to prioritize and these things in my life have been coming one after the other and they need special attention. I’m the type of person who really wants to show up for you on your special day/during your special time. My relationships with my family and friends are everything to me. And so I give 150% every time. (Or at least I really try too!)

With my bank accountant taking some serious hits over the past few years, lol-so has my time management skills. I can multi task…sure…just ask my computer- I can have 8 different tabs open at once and hit all of them. But I can’t say with absolute confidence that I can multi task well all the time. I just end up overwhelming myself and needing to narrow things down. Focus on one thing at a time. Rightfully so…no? I mean how much wedding/baby events/day to day responsibilities can one girl take at once? Ya know? It’s a lot. But thankfully, thank god it’s mostly beautiful, happy stuff, all deserving of celebration. I will always be grateful for that.

Needless to say I know there are ways around this funk I’ve created for myself. I know that fear of inadequacy, lack of funds and time are a huge part of why video has taken a back seat. But I want to try and make some solutions to these problems.

Dear Michelle,

ACTORS ask people I know/ research sites that can help find actors willing to participate for low funds or pizza! Haha. Asking people you know, can be difficult, it doesn’t always work out. My film and video professor used to always tell us to have a plan B because people aren’t always reliable and it can break your heart when a project falls through the cracks. This I know first hand. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked family or friends to be apart of shorts and they cancelled on me because of work or life in general got in the way. It happens, I get it. But creatively, it’s heart breaking. Another thing to consider when filming is to keep the shorts abstract- quick cuts- simple images-

Avant Garde it- experimental film, experimental cinema- a mode of filmmaking that rigorously re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores non-narrative forms and alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working.

TIME make time- plain and simple. Plan it out, and stick to a schedule.

SPACE/LOCATION keep it local, go where you know- use people’s homes, lol.

FUNDS keep things simple/super low budget- use house hold items.

EQUIPMENT use equipment you have, or ask to borrow equipment in advance.

EDITING SOFTWARE use what you have and make it work.

FEAR“Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” -A Cinderella Story. Your never going to not be fearful of new challenges. You just have to decide how bad you want it, and be brave enough to just do it, to hell with what people think! 

When you’re just starting out, or easing back into something Don’t Expect Perfection! If things are a little janky, it’s ok, it’s better to shoot footage than not try at all. And Vlogs do count. I’ve noticed I like vlogging when I have some cool things to do, I just have to get better at the editing turn around. Mini Vlogmas is still only partially edited. :/ As is the Gender Reveal Party Vlog for my brother and sister in law and a Family Trip Vlog to Great Wolf Lodge we took last Summer. I also shot a bunch of footage of a Polar Express Trip and my best friend’s engagement night. Really got to get back to editing!!!!

*Current Update– Since I last scheduled this post (which was a while ago back in the Summer when I was what I like to call bulk blogging) I have edited my butt off and have finished editing Vlogmas, The Gender Reveal, The Great Wolf Lodge Trip and The Engagement. I however am torn as to whether or not I should post them on YouTube/link them on this blog. I know have alluded to the fact that I would post them, I’ve mentioned it in many blog posts [including the Vlogmas announcement], however I am not the only person in them and I don’t know if others would appreciate their images being out on the internet. I know- why announce Vlogmas, take forever to edit them, and then never post them. The truth is I did do a small Vlogmas, and I did edit them, but I don’t feel 100% comfortable sharing videos of my family. I may just keep them as home movies for me, and my friends and family. But I am excited that I got so many of them done. That’s a win for me!

When things start to settle down on the wedding/baby front, I will start to save up for some new equipment. In the mean time, I just have to do it. Pick up the camera I do have and shoot something. Stop worrying about how crappy it might turn out and just dive in. I know I’ll feel better once I do. And the excitement and natural high of doing something I love will come back. I just need to do and stop second guessing, stop making excuses and just use the time I do have for myself wisely.

The reason for this long winded post is because I needed it. Sometimes you need to reflect on all the ways you let life pass you by in order to make you realize that you need to try a little harder to make your dreams come true. Be a bulldozer – and plow through the writer’s block, through the lack of inspiration, through the Summer Blues, through the funk that I’ve been in, and just go for it!

So here’s hoping to change my mind set! Wish me luck. No Scratch that- Wish me determination!

 

*All images and videos are my own.*

-<3-

 

2016 Memory Jar Review

First off, HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!!!!!!

I cannot believe it is already 2017.

 

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My camera year is wrong…should say 2016, ignore that mishap. :/

 

As I sat down on New Year’s Eve to sift through my memory jar- a bandwagon that I finally hopped on two years ago- I was amazed at how little I felt like I did, because of how quickly I felt the year had flown by. It was a blur for me. But as I dove into these colored pieces of paper, the many memories came flooding back….and a lot actually happened. It’s so easy for us to get wrapped up in the holiday bit at the end of the year, that we forget all the memories we made throughout the year.

So here are some of my most favorite memories- (in no particular order!)

 

*My 2016 Highlights*

 

Took my god daughter to see Trolls- “Sophie’s big girl movie date”- Trolls, went to a diner, and saw the Christmas Lights with my family.

 

Had a little Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere Party but… RIP Glenn still heartbroken: / haven’t watched an episode since then, but my party looked awesome. Read my post HERE!

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Celebrated my grandmother’s 83rd birthday with a whole bunch of family.

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I made a few job changes and had to bounce around a bit, which was a bit difficult but finally found a place where I am happy for now, it was for the better- I’m building a work family and have made some great friends. Read my post on “adulting” HERE!

Finished two short story series-On The Run & Love Conflicted (-premiered in 2015 but carried over into 2016)

Official full cast photo movie poster

Started a brand new series- Welcome Home (-first chapter premiered in 2016, rest will be continued in 2017)

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My best friend Roe got engaged!!!!

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Went on a massive family trip to Great Wolf Lodge and had a blast! (vlog will eventually get edited!)-Read my post HERE!

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Why does my camera have the wrong year? How do I fix that?

Sophia Bush retweeted my tweet and my phone blew up….

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My brother got married and he and his wife bought a house.

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I entered one of my scripts into a writing contest! (although nothing came of it, it was a huge leap that I took, and I was really proud of myself for facing that fear.)

I got free movie passes for covering a story in my local theater, my best friend Jenny and I saw Finding Dory in 3D…because why not?

I’ve realized that I can overcome my anxiety on my own, but the help that I have received has been a gift I will continue to utilize.

My best friend and I finally saw Bethany Joy Lenz in concert and WE MET HER! #LifeGoal –Read my post HERE!

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Fuller House seasons 1& 2 are killin’ the game #NetflixIsDangerous

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I went for bridesmaid’s dresses for my friend Jenny’s wedding-I was asked to be her maid of honor last year.

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I went on The Polar Express with my god daughter and other family members. (vlog will eventually get edited!)

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I worked for a summer camp, and my kids made some really great story books for my creative writing class.

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I hosted a Gilmore girls: A Year in the Life- Netflix revival….viewing party- Read my post HERE!

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I got a vlog up on my YouTube channel, and have been vlogging more, but editing has been a slow process. I WILL GET THERE!

I finally got to pretend to be a YouTube vlogger and did a Mini “Vlogmas” from Dec. 23-Dec. 31 into 2017 (Stay Tuned!)

My brother and I started to shoot the first installment of our zombie short, but it got halted because…. #WeddingCraziness #BridalShowerCraziness

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michelleleighwrites turned 3!!!!!!! Read my post HERE! (It’s turning 4 in a WEEK!!!!!!)

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 Justin Timberlake released new music & a video – Can’t Stop The Feeling! (he also produced the soundtrack to Trolls (What a beautiful, fun loving film, highly recommend seeing it!). Read my fangirl report HERE!

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Valentine’s Day Girls Nite In with my girls.

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Celebrated my Aunt Mary’s birthday  with some dinner at her favorite Mexican restaurant and had some Pepsi- her favorite drink. Love you Aunt Mary, Miss you!

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Bruno Mars new album, listening to it as I write. So obsessed! #24KMagic #Chunky #ThatsWhatILike #VersaceOnTheFloor #Finesse LISTEN

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Rocked some obnoxious Christmas Lights for the holidays. #BestDecisionOfMyLife #5BucksWellSpent #ShoutOutToStrangerThings

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Received some handmade Christmas cards from my students.

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30th Birthdays Celebrations- We hosted a big family dinner for my sister in law and went on an AC family trip for my brother.

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Family BBQ’s!!! #Cousins

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Best Friend Weekend. – Even at 25, my best friend and I still keep our sleepover tradition going. It started off going to the Zumba class that my best friend teaches, then we had some dinner at her house (BBQ chicken my fav at their house hold-like old times), next we watched our favorite tv show One Tree Hill until 4 AM, Went for breakfast the next morning, got manicures, and shopped a bit. It was so nostalgic and it was just what we needed. #BestFriendMiniWeekend #RoshellWeekend

That Zumba class tho-I had been trying to get to one, forever!

Britney’s back bitches! #GLORY album is just….EPIC! Read my post HERE!

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Rainbows.

Pineapple float- #SOTRENDY

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Took my mom to see the Radio City Spring Spectacular- it was her mother’s day gift and it felt really great to be able to do that for her. What a brilliant show. Visually stunning!

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Got hooked on Murder Mystery 13 Part Series American Gothic- so damn good! #SHOUTOUTTOBETHANYJOYLENZ

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Started Stranger Things #NetflixIsDangerous

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Attended my best friend’s engagement party.

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Continued with the annual chop.

 

Dressed up in Hawaiian theme attire for my cousin’s birthday party.- Read my post HERE!

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Finally got to rock the yellow, red, blue look I’ve wanted to try for forever! Read my post HERE!

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After the chop, had to try out some new hair do’s – Reverse Space buns.

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Marina Squerciati answered my tweet, (cuz we’re besties) ;). #thathashtagtho

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My parents treated me to a massive birthday dinner at my favorite restaurant. Got my big gold number balloons too! #BlackAndGold #Family #Friends Read my post HERE!

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That TWD finale tho. #WHOISIT? Read my feels HERE!

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Started an unintentional tradition of taking massive group family photos/selfies.

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Bridal expos with my bestie. #MaidofHonor #OnCall

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My cousins from Florida surprised us with a quick visit!

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Curvy Barbies (and other body shapes and sizes) are a thing! #FINALLY #Variety

Read my post HERE!

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That *NSYNC picture. #reunion #myheart

 

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Met our newest family member! My god daughter is a big sister!

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Started watching a few new tv series- This Is Us (I have to catch up, I’m so behind) and Shades of Blue.

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*****

Damn a lot can happen in a year. I am grateful for the blessings 2016 has given me. Of course it wasn’t all marshmallows and honey all the time, but I still fought through obstacles and made beautiful memories. Cheers to 2017, may it be beautiful and happy and healthy for all of you, filled with love and inspiration and success. See you soon friends!

*Most images are my own.*

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bethany Joy Lenz Concert (+ VLOG!)

So I thought I’d give this concert vlog thing another whirl. Let’s see how we do.

Last Thursday, on July 28th my best friend and I went to see Bethany Joy Lenz in concert. To say we have waited for this for along time would be an understatement.

We have been fans of Joy since her One Tree Hill days. As many of you may know Joy is best known for her role as Haley James Scott on the hit teen drama. And as our obsession with the show grew so did our admiration for Joy and her undeniable talent.

She is without a doubt one of my greatest and longest running inspirations. She hasn’t ever really been on tour in New York- well since the One Tree Hill Tour that my best friend and I tried to get tickets for but failed, (I wasn’t the ticket savvy queen I am now.) I have never been able to see Joy live. So back in April when she posted a concert poster, I freaked out when I saw a New York date and swooped up two tickets for me and my best friend to give her as part of her birthday gift!

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Outfit of the Day + Hair & Makeup

The concert was held at Highline Ballroom in New York City. And it was probably the coolest concert venue I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. It is so cozy, the lights are dim, there is a ground floor and a mezzanine level. The ground floor had some tables and booths but were reserved seating and the rest was standing room only.

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Me and my friend are grandmas with big ole purses so we wanted to catch a good seat, so we rushed up to the mezzanine level and grabbed ourselves a nice little booth perfect for the two of us overlooking the stage. At the candlelit table you were asked to order a minimum of $10, however the ballroom comes fully stocked with a dinner and drinks menu.

We ordered two glasses of rose (oh so fancy), some mushroom sliders, butter lettuce salad with grilled chicken and fries. Everything was delicious. Not to mention that our floor had it’s own bathrooms too! So everything we needed was at our finger tips! We even ran into some family friends which we were able to share our fangirl experience with. The whole night was amazing, the show, the venue. It was such a great time and the ambiance gave off great vibes. Intimate shows are so much more soul satisfying. Artists talk more, they tell you stories. It’s beautiful. And you don’t have to deal with a crazy, loud, crowded concert hall.

We watched the whole show in sheer awe of what was actually happening. Sometimes I literally would just scream or make this face at my best friend-

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-because I just didn’t know what else to do, I was that excited. When you experience something you’ve always wanted to, you kind of lose yourself. I certainly felt like I was living an out of body experience at times throughout that night.

Joy was amazing; she sang an array if folk/country/soulful songs. Some I knew, some I hadn’t heard, but either way it was moving and she is pure talent.

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Joy released that night’s set list via a post on instagram. *”Dance with me” is one of my favorites!

I had a mission that day-to vlog my experience. I love to take pictures and video, I love to document my life, so that I can look back on things and remember. I’m extremely sentimental. However, as I literally sat there trying to record every song, I felt like I was watching the concert through a screen. This concert that I had waited so long to see, this person who I have in some sense idolized for over a decade. How could I let myself not be in this moment.

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So as those thoughts crept into my mind, Joy said the thing I needed to hear. In the video you will see how she explains how technology has gotten to all of us, including herself. So at her shows she asks for her audience to put their phones and cameras down and to just “Be Here With Us.” I did my best to do so, I’m only human and I certainly filmed and took my pictures, but there was a chuck of time between when she asked to when the “phone song” came on that I had definite moments where I was able to disconnect from the digital and relish in the present moment, and take in the whole world of wonder that was around me. Something that is so difficult for this generation to do.

So let’s get into the fact that WE MET BETHANY JOY LENZ. I have to be honest, it wasn’t planned. When I had bought the tickets there was the option for a meet and greet, but it was quite expensive. I internally hoped that there would be an alternate way to swing a meeting because the venue was on the smaller, more intimate side. I must have had some good vibes swinging that night, because the minute I went down to check on the merchandise and memorabilia being sold, I was told that something was already sold out. I looked at the girl behind the table and asked “Oh no what did you already sell out of?” She said they just got word they could sell more polaroids. I asked her what she meant, when she told me that for $35 you could meet Joy after the show and take a polaroid picture with her and she would sign it. I was dumbfounded for a hot second. Is this real life? Is this opportunity literally within my grasp?

“Do you take credit cards?” I asked quickly.

“Yes!” she replied excitedly.

“Oh my god, Ok, I’ll take two,” I say whipping my credit card out and handing it over.

“My best friend is upstairs and she’s going to freak out when I tell her.”

So I rush up stairs, internally freaking out and sit across from my best friend.

“Oh my god you’re gonna die when I tell you what just happened?”

“Oh my god, did you meet her?”

“No, but we’re going to.”

As I told her the whole rundown, she streaked and hugged me.

This was going to happen.

After the show, we waited online to meet Joy, we strategically placed ourselves toward the end of the line, so that there wouldn’t be people rushing us off quickly. The audience was quite the mix, but there were teens there. A lot of teens. The way I describe it – “the Netflix generation.” You know the girls who fangirl over One Tree Hill, but didn’t actually live through it while it was on the air. Waiting week to week for new episodes, or waiting for winter hiatus and summer breaks to pass while we waited to find out if Haley and Nathan would get back together. It was safe to say that we were the old ones in the crowd and you know what it was beautifully nostalgic. I chatted with the littles and told them to breathe and stay calm. We joked and it certainly made the time pass nicely.

When it came our time to meet Joy, I was strangely at ease. Considering I balled my eyes out when I met Sophia Bush years ago, I’d say my behavior while meeting Joy was a major improvement. I guess I just realized that she’s a human being made of skin and bones just like the rest of us. I guess I’m growing up.  

She gave us hugs and we took our pictures.

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I turned to her and told her that we had been waiting to see her in concert for years and when I finally saw she was going to be in New York, I knew we had to go. And that the show was so amazing.

She smiled saying “Thank you so much.”

After we posed for our pictures she signed our polaroids and we made our exit, but not before I turned to say bye and blew her a kiss. Haha. In hide sight, it was kind of weird and awkward, she didn’t exactly reciprocate. Haha. The thing is it’s kind of a reflect for me, to blow a  kiss to a friend when I’m saying goodbye. I do it all the time, and I clearly felt like she and I were besties so it just fit. 😉 And just like that a childhood dream came true.

Anyway you know what they say…”Never meet your idols, because it’ll never measure up to what you have in your heard.” That may be true. The meeting was quick, and Joy certainly seemed exhausted and kind of ready to fall asleep. But she still stuck it out and met all of us, posed for pictures and signed autographs, it was a pretty sweet deal. And she was still her sweet self. The rest is just me overanalyzing. Haha. Until next time, Joy. Until next time.

*All photo/video content (excluding the set list pic, concert poster, and Zac Efron gif) belong to me and my best friend. *

-<3-