2018 Inspiration and Planning Ideas

I’m a planner and I love to know what’s ahead of me. Granted, I realize that’s not always possible, but having some vague plan in mind, tends to lessen my anxiety so I go with it.

I recently bought myself a new planner. Nothing fancy, as much as I love how they have all the stickers and the sticky notes and all that, I just don’t think I would actually use them. So I just went to my local Walgreens and picked up a Blue Sky, monthly/weekly planner. 

When I start to plan for the new year, the first thing I like to do is reflect on the year that just passed. As you can see in my- 2017 Memory Jar Review post.

I go back through my memory jar, my instagram posts and my blog posts and see what I accomplished. I also review my goals list and check off the things I accomplished, and narrow in on the things I still want/need to work on, or continue to implement. 

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Because even if I did accomplish a specific goal in 2017, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t carry over into 2018. For instance like personal growth- and working on my anxiety, that’s a goal that’s on going, bettering my mental and physical health is always a goal every year, as it should be. 

After I reflect, I review my old goal list, and check off, or add to it. And then eventually I’ll probably make a new list. 

After that I will look at the many many things on my list and realize that it is VERY overwhelming!

So this year I’ve decided that from that big list I will pick 4-8 things that I want to ABSOLUTELY accomplish this year. And so that way my brain knows what it needs to focus on. Categories can help- so for instance- Health/Self-care, Relationships, Career.

After that, this is where my planner comes into play. 

I like these planners (Blue Sky) because they have the monthly calendar and then the weekly where you can write in things per day.

However in hindsight, I usually end up needing more space, no matter what. So I’ll either use post-its or a separate sheet of paper/notebook or notepad for daily To-Do Lists or if something I’m working on needs a little more planning. 

I’m debating getting just a desperate notebook for To-Do Lists, because I feel like I make them so often, I end up with all these sheets of paper all over. So we shall see. 

It’s only January, things are definitely going to change as we go along.

I’ve started to do like weekly to do lists, and goals, and also I think eventually I may try monthly. Let’s be real January is a total hangover month. I’m still on 2017 time, so everything is trial and error at this point for me.

And that’s totally okay, because you don’t need a new year, to make a change. I kind of feel like I implemented some new things into my life last year around fall time, because I felt inspired to do so with the new school year starting up again. So you can always renew, revamp, and reflect. There are no rules. 

Last year I said my “mantra word” was CHANGE, and ALOT changed around me, and I adapted and am continuing to do so, and although I feel I made some changes for myself too, I want to continue to grow and change on my own this year as well. However, I’m going to add another word to my mantra this year and that is DETERMINATION. There are certain things I want to do, that are big, BIG CHANGES I want to make in my life, and in order to do them, I’m going to need that fire, that determination. So I’m going to aim to up that factor in my life this year, because let’s be real, we all get in our lazy funks. It’s winter after all, and there’s a huge snow storm outside. So nothing says “it can wait til tomorrow…” more. But here I am trying to stick to my Monday/Thursday posting schedule anyway, while the tv is calling my name- waiting for me to catch up on all the shows I’ve missed over the past few weeks. Determination, Michelle, DETERMINATION.

Another thing I find that inspires me is looking up videos on YouTube. Some of those ladies make the most inspirational planning videos! And they just give you the pep you need to get planning.

I’ll link a few below, that I’ve watched this year for inspiration. I’ve definitely pulled from them when doing my planning.

I also like to have a visual to display so that I can see it. I never shared last years with you-(it was just a bunch of fun images with the word CHANGE), but after a while, it ended up getting buried in a corner of my room when I was reorganizing, but it’s back up and I’m going to add one near it to display images of my 2018 MAIN GOALS and the word DETERMINATION! 

vision board 2018

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So to review the steps I use to plan:

Step 1: Reflect on the past year

Step 2: Review 2017 Goal List/Write a New One

Step 3: Narrow Goals Down (to the most important you want to focus on)

Step 4: Buy/Use a planner/To-Do List (to keep track of everything)

Step 5: Find inspiration (if you need help planning your goals)

Step 6: Choose your mantra word (the theme for your year)

Step 7: Create a vision board (to keep visible as a reminder of your goals for this year)

Step 8: Breathe & Believe in yourself ❤

MY MAIN BIG GOALS FOR 2018

*Get healthier- mentally/physically/emotionally

*Take the next step in my career

*Save money for my best friend’s wedding festivities!

*Get my permit/take driver’s ed (yes I know I’m way behind on this, in life- but hey I live in NY, technically- I don’t NEED to drive) 😉

*Work on relationships

*Self-publish a body of work (not on this blog, but elsewhere)

*Write my Pilot episode

Now that I have this locked down, I can go through and plan how to accomplish each one, step by step. I haven’t done that just yet, but…I will. The year is new, the year is young. 

Happy 2018! Now let’s crush it! ❤

Tell me how you plan for your year ahead in the comments below, and if you have any other YouTubers you find inspiring!

-<3-

*I do not take credit for the images used in my edit or otherwise.*

 

 

 

 

 

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 -Day 3- Christmas Movie List

During Christmas time there are certain movies, I just feel are a MUST watch for me- those include- A Christmas Story, Home Alone, and Elf.

But there are also a bunch of other great Christmas films, we can’t forget about!

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How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Just Friends

Frozen

The Holiday

Four Christmases

3 Days (Freeform)

Snow globe (Freeform)

Christmas Cupid (Freeform)

Holiday in Handcuffs (Freeform)

Freeform usually releases a new Christmas movie every year. I always watch! And Hallmark is always on point. I MISS IT SO MUCH! I recently had to downgrade and I don’t get that channel anymore. :/ I seriously love their festive attitude, they just make you feel the seasons. 

 

What’s your favorite Christmas movie?

 

-<3-

 

 

 

 

BLOGMAS -Day 1- Christmas Bucket List

Happy December Jolly Friends!

So I know I’ve been neglecting this blog for the past month or so, and although I’ve just recently gotten back into it, I want to make a greater commitment to you, to this blog, to myself.

So I decided to try out BLOGMAS. Just to see if I can actually keep up with it.

What is BLOGMAS you may ask…

Well if you are into YouTube then you’ve definitely heard of VLOGMAS, which is basically a vlog style video every day in December leading up to Christmas Day. So basically a 25 days of Christmas for YouTube. 

BLOGMAS is the same just with blog posts, instead. 

Now, I know that VLOGMAS is usually Christmas centered, and although some of my posts will be Christmas related, I will have some others posted throughout the month. I won’t just be sticking to Christmas related topics. Besides, I still have a short story series that needs to get finished…Catch up on “Move,” HERE

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Today’s post is going to be… 

My 2017 Christmas/Winter Bucket List

Decorate

Buy Christmas presents early

Buy cute Pajamas

Buy a new ugly sweater

See the Christmas lights in the neighborhood

Watch Christmas movies

Buy a new ornament for this year

Buy a Christmas drink(s)- Eggnog!

Go see the Rockefeller Tree

Listen to Christmas music

Burn/Buy more Christmas candles

Look up fun treats to make

Go to Polar Express

Build a Gingerbread house

Send out Santa Mail to the kiddies

Buy a real Poinsettia 

 

-<3-

 

Selena Gomez.

Over the past few years I have really grown to love Selena Gomez.

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VOGUE Magazine 2017

I loved her last album Revival so much and I am loving here newest tracks.

In May of this year she released Bad Liar

Read the lyrics HERE

And then this month she released Fetish-

Read the lyrics HERE

Each song is a new sound for Gomez and quite frankly new for the music scene. I haven’t heard anything like it recently. “Bad Liar” transports you back to the 70’s, with it’s incredible chanty hook. While, “Fetish” dives into this sexy, breathy, lyrical call- drawing you in only like a siren could.

I’ve always admired how Selena managed to grow up in this industry with class.  She allowed her journey into dressing sexier and exploring more adult topics in her music, to be gradual and she is now in a place where all of that is authentic. It’s not just a marketing tool to fuel the “Sex Sells” fame machine, but rather just a young girl becoming a woman. We all go through it. 

I’ve seen her handle herself in interviews and she is just so smart, so well grounded, and so mature. If anyone is worthy of being called a role model for young girls, Selena Gomez is it. She speaks on real issues and is genuine about her love of people and caring for them. I’ve always been impressed by her maturity and how she carries herself. In this recent interview below, I love how she discusses her time in treatment. And how much it’s helped her. She’s unapologetic (and rightfully so), and she knows that therapy can be a positive part of life and advocates for knowing when you need just a little extra help to get your mind right. There is nothing wrong with that.

“If anyone is worthy of being called a role model for young girls, Selena Gomez is it.” -Michelle Leigh Writes

Selena also goes onto to explain that her new material is a collection of songs that each stand on their own, and have different sounds and messages. After hearing the newest tracks, I can say I am officially hooked and cannot wait for this record.

Selena then dropped the video for “Bad Liar” this June and it is a MASTERPIECE!

Selena plays several of the roles herself where we see this rollercoaster of a family navigate their bizarre everyday routine, while a young Selena secretly harbors a crush on an older female character. There are many ways you can spin this, but I’ll leave it up to Selena to tell you the true meaning. I just adore the way it is filmed and the coloring and the 70’s inspired setting. And props to SelGo for really making a statement, AND playing 4 roles!

She really is growing her career in the best possible way with a good head on her shoulders and a kind heart to top it off. I cannot wait for the “Fetish” video, because the audio imagery is super interesting, and the images she’s been posting on her instagram page have been super cool and vintage inspired. Girl I see you, do your thang!

Selena Gomez thanks for being a diamond in the rough girl, looking forward to all the new things this fresh start in your career will bring!

*I do not take credit for any images, videos, lyrics, or music used.*

-<3-

 

The walls I’ve built.

 Why is this so difficult for me?

I feel as though I fear the truth.

Some untold story, hidden within.

To have to face the reality that I waited far too long.

Haven’t been diligent enough.

Been closed off.

Unapproachable.

Other opinions twisted and swirling in my mind.

Feeling as a judgement placed on my heart and character.

Am I incapable of change?

Void of something.

Trying to fill it elsewhere.

Making excuses.

Placing blame.

Afraid of intimacy.

Afraid that he won’t understand the journey I’ve struggled through.

Or lack thereof one.

Privacy will be gone?

Insecurities will be high.

Lessons learned.

Through the observant eye.

A new anxiety producer.

Hard work down the drain.

Something wanted and waited for my whole life.

When opportunities knock, why retreat?

Love.

Falling in.

Falling out?

Forever?

Is there such a thing?

I’d like to think so.

A romantic at heart.

A sarcastic cynic in mind.

What ifs are the luggage I carry with me everywhere.

The barrier which stops the leap.

I sit with myself, still unsure.

Still confused.

Stuck between yes and no.

Between “go for it” and motivational self-made pep-talks…

And crimpling self-doubt.

Stubborn to a fault at times.

Open to new possibilities at others.

The inner struggle- a tug of war with myself.

In the end… it’s up to me.

Can I break these walls, let the light shine through.

And if it should only shine but for a brief day, can I find my sunshine again.

If light goes dim, can I find the switch in the next room.

In times I have rushed myself before my heart was truly ready.

Jumping before my mind and heart have reached a compromise have never proven my best strategy.

The journey is to be continued.

And I am a work in progress.

But that doesn’t mean that I’m calling off all bets.

It means I’m going to bet on myself.

Trust myself.

Sit with myself.

Stay tuned.

This is my next chapter.

My next anxiety.

My next lesson.

2017.

I see you.

And I raise you a glass of change.

Cheers.

-<3-