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-

 

 

 

 

Celebrated my 23rd Birthday in the 80’s!

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the hairspray

the overdone eyeshadow

the neons, the animal prints, the denim

it’s all part of the illusion.

I always say how I wish I could live a day (or longer) in every major decade. There’s just something so interesting to me about exploring the way other young people used to live, to experience all the difference fashions, foods, music, and other decor. Don’t get me wrong, I was born in the 90’s and I love being a 90’s baby…boy bands and tamagotchi all the wayyyyy… but I love the 80’s too! And being that I grew up with a brother who was born in the late 80’s, a lot of the 80’s spilled over into the early 90’s, so I was able to remember some things. However, being so young I never really got to “Rock the 80’s.” I didn’t get to dress like Madonna, or do test tube shots with my best friends. So when my 23rd birthday started to roll around, I decided what better way to celebrate then by Rocking the 80’s with some of my best friends. I kept it a Girl’s Night because we all seriously deserved one! I shot some vlog footage to better showcase the experience and to help any other future 80’s party throwers out there. Because trust me I had to do a lot of research for this party!

I love to play hostess, I love to plan parties. My mom always tells me event planning is my true calling. But to me, it’s more of a hobby. I love entertaining and putting together something that I think people will enjoy. I like creating a space that feels different then everyday life. However, let me give you the full 411 on my experience planning parties…

5 steps to entertaining (and entertaining well)

1. Decor (helps to have a theme)

*I ordered most of my 80’s decorations from Party City & Oriental Trading*

2. Food/Dessert (Never assume it’s ok to not serve food…food at parties is crucial.)

3. Drinks (account for all guests; which means alcoholic & non.)

4. Music (best to make a playlist…with songs appropriate for the event, my playlist was full of classic 80’s greatness (MJ, Madonna, Cyndi Lauper…) ok ok there may have been a few *NSYNC, Britney, & Spice Girls jams, that snuck their way in, but I mean I had to rep for my 90’s soul.)

*Optional*  5. Photo”booth” (proved to be a huge hit… However if this is not a feasible option for you, other activities like games or karaoke are fun too!)

Bonus: It’s fun to give your friends a little favor as they leave. I gave my friends little goodie bags, with a bunch of novelty candy. The 80’s were all about the candy!

Photo “Booth” Tutorial:

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Note: I used VHS/Cassette tapes, a Rubiks cube, and an old Atari game for decorations!

What you’ll need:

A DSLR Camera

A Flash

Tripod

Gaffers tape/or post-its (to mark the tripod stand placement)

*^This helps to keep camera out of the way when not using to avoid any accidents^*

A camera remote

*^Allows people to take pictures themselves and leaves everyone free to mingle,

and not having to play camera man^*

Some colorful or printed curtains

Props:

Sunglasses

Hats

Mustaches

Word bubbles:

Colorful Oaktag

Print out some cool sayings

*^I used just some 80’s inspired catch phrases and words and also some fun 80’s movies quotes^*

*I free handed the word bubbles by just looking some up on google, but I’m sure you can print them out or use them as stencils. Once you attach the quotes to the oaktag then, you attach the word bubble to a wooden skewer. And Voila!*

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When my guests first entered the party, they were greeted by this small table. It urged them to “GET YOUR “VALLEY GIRL” ON” accompanied by some double bubble, for that gum poppin’ valley girl accent. Some 80’s inspired pins and glow sticks. And last but not least some 1980’s Slang Sheets (full of fun phrases and words to enhance the 80’s vibe.)

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Next the guests will find some lady like essentials in the restroom. Some 80’s Aqua Net hairspray, scrunchies, hair clips, clear nail polish, and lipsticks, all part of the “BEAUTY CORNER.”

*Fun Fact: I actually use Aqua Net Hairspray*

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And just some mirror inspiration

Next up is Food & Drinks (very important)

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The 80’s were all about junk foods and candy.

So I kept my appetizers simple.

Popcorn

Vegetable platter

Chip and dip platter

Nachos Supreme (with the works)

*Don’t forget the sour cream, salsa & guacamole!*

Click here for the recipe, I followed loosely.

For Dinner nothing says 80’s and simple like a phone call to a good ole Pizzeria;

Pizza choices: Plain, Pepperoni, and Mushroom!

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For Dessert: Ice Cream Cupcakes (so good!) Found these at Pathmark. (and fruit salad that we forgot to put out but later my best friend and I ate during the night haha)

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For drinks I looked up most popular drinks in the 80’s and I saw cosmos (cosmopolitan drink mixer+vodka+blend in blender with ice til frothy and garnish with a lime) and kamikaze shots (lime juice+ vodka+triple sec, serve in a test tube shot glass!)

wine coolers

coca cola (in the glass bottles)

*Also party tip, have soda, some wine, and water bottles, on hand at all times

for those who aren’t into the signature drinks!*

*And keep some black sharpies handy so guests can write their names on their cups, because I assure you, you will lose track of your cup at some point!*

Cyndi Lauper drank here

Cyndi Lauper drank here

Ok so there you have it my recipe for a kick ass 80’s party!

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It was so much fun living in the 80’s for a night with my best friends, that I think from now on my events/birthday events are gonna be decade themed! It’ll be my way of living a day in each decade, like I’ve always dreamed.

Next stop…on the decade party train?

Disco 70’s?

Hippie 60’s?

I do love the 40’s!

Who knows!

Happy Monday!

-<3-

“Secret” Society Comes to Life

As you may know, (if you follow this blog) I recently posted a my first VLOG…(you can watch that HERE) and in it I stated how I wanted to get back into shooting videos and editing. Since I graduated I have really just been more focused on the writing portion of my interests. But this year I wanted to reacquaint myself with the act of telling a story through moving images rather then just through words. So as a way to combine my two passions of writing and video, I decided to take a few of my poems that have already been featured on this blog and transform them into Poetry Videos. So I hope you watch and I hope you enjoy!

*Please welcome MichelleLeighWrites first video of my Poetry “in motion” Series…*

( thanks for the name Lauren! 😉 )

Starring the Lovely Lauren

Photo By: Robert DeSantos Jr.

Photo By: Robert DeSantos Jr.

First Read “Secret” Society HERE

Then Watch “Secret” Society HERE

or Watch Below

Comment on YouTube or tell me here in the comments what you think!

Thanks for watching!

************

Just a few photos from the video shoot! 😀

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Having fun “on set” (p.s. thanks to Rob Jr. for the assistance!)

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Lauren deep in character…

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Lauren had quite the few outfit changes…I call this the “art teacher” look

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Lauren rockin’ her “Freedom” T-shirt…*peace sign* is a must 🙂

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Directing... Gotta work them angles ;)

Directing… Gotta work them angles 😉

Lauren's Artwork, I'm keeping it! #memories

Lauren’s Artwork, I’m keeping it! #memories

If you take anything away from this poetry video…

let it be this…

it’s ok to BE Yourself.

Happy Monday!

(**And stick around I’m hoping to shoot another video soon!**)

-<3-

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

So a year ago today, I sat down at my computer and fighting all my insecurities and fears about writing… michelleleighwrites was born. I didn’t know what to expect, and didn’t know what would come of it, or what my blog would really be. And to be honest I still am not quite sure what I want it to be. But never the less it’s been something that I’ve really grown to love. It’s served as an amazing outlet for my writing and my creativity and I only hope that it’s brought something to those who read it as well…all of you out there in cyberspace, I thank you for coming along on this journey with me.happy bday mlw

And with that said…there’s going to be some new developments on this blog…

Welcome my first VLOG! 😀

Like I said I’ve been out of the video loop for quite sometime, so I promise these videos will get better, bare with me!

And Poetry Video…Coming Soon

https://michelleleighwrites.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/secret-society/

“Secret” Society

Starring Lauren Ali 😀

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Photo By Robert DeSantos Jr.

-<3-