2020 Plan With Me & Happy 7th Birthaversary MLW!

Hey there friends! I’m baaaack! 😉

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It has been a minute!

But it’s a new year. A new decade. A decade of roaring twenties,

magical 2020 vision and a sparkling new opportunity for growth.

Happy New Year!

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Today also happens to also be MLW’s 7th Birth-a-versary! That’s a combination of Happy Birthday/Happy Anniversary if you were wondering. That’s right 7 years of creating content from the heart here on michelle leigh writes! It’s kind of a big deal for me, since it took me years just to warm up to the idea of someone reading my writing.
And yes there have been lost posts and months of inactivity. But like I always say, I always come back. In my heart I know I have so many stories to tell, poems to craft and party planning ideas to share. And I’m grateful for this space where I can be truly me and speak freely. It will always be my “Safe place for the written word.”

In honor of my 7th blog year, LUCKY #7!

I baked some white chocolate, sprinkle, cake cookies!

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So today, I thought I’d kick off this new post with a little 2020 planning for you. It’s in my bones to plan. I feel like every year I do the same thing. I plan and plan and then all plans get shot to hell when life flies into chaos. So I almost stopped myself from getting to much of the planning bug this year. But then I decided, maybe I can take a different approach this year. After all it is a new decade.

I rang the New Year in at my best friend’s house. Her and her husband hosted and it was a great time. We had champagne, wine and great food. We played this really fun game Telestrations After Dark. Warning: Not a kid friendly game. LOL. Then I spent New Year’s Day just being lazy in PJ’s, but being super productive in planning, straightening up my bedroom (which had become a mess because of the holidays,) and prepping for the work week. Thankfully, it was a short one to ease back into the swing of things! Because, we all know how hard it can be to get rid of that vacation brain. Your girl is still struggling! 😉

2020 PLANNING IDEAS!

Buy a new Planner, Calendar, and Notebook. A must for me. Every year. Shout out to my Aunt Linda who gets tons of free calendars every year, so she always gives me one! This year I got a really pretty floral inspirational quotes one.

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I got some cool new pens for Christmas!

Make a list of 2019 highlights. Every year I think “what did I really do this year? Not much.” It’s easy to get down on yourself and feel bad if you didn’t go on some lavish vacation, or fall in love and get engaged, or buy that house, or get that dream job. But I guarantee if you look back on your social media (if you’re a social media posting person) then you will see that you created so many countless, beautiful memories. My list was so long, I couldn’t even share it here if I wanted to! LOL.

Make a list of things you learned in 2019. Every year is full of ups and downs. But in those moments, there is always something to learn. Personal growth is an amazing thing.

Make a list of 2020 goals (re-evaluate your 2019 goals and how much you accomplished.) Sometimes this can be a daunting task. If you’re like me, sometimes you feel like every year you have the same goals. So evaluating the past year’s goals can make you feel unaccomplished. But that’s why I also like to make a list of highlights so you can see how much you actually did accomplish! It’s all about perspective people! Although it can fly by, a year is a significant amount of time, and you can really do so much. You do so much. You just don’t realize it. And sometimes, the little things are the big things.

Check in on Work In Progress projects. So this is referring to my long list of projects I started this year and old projects that I haven’t finished over the past decade! So I just sort of took stock of their status and prioritized the few that I want to tackle this month.

Create an inspirational playlist of songs to set the mood for your 2020. I did this last year too, and it was super fun. I’ve been listening to mine and it’s full of fun vibes. I have some New Year’s songs on there, some slow jams, some old jams, some new jams, some 1920’s music. I’m actually still adding, every time I hear or think of a new song that resonates with my vibe this year.

Create a YouTube playlist of inspirational videos you want to watch. So I’m a big YouTube fan, and everyone is posting New Year content, which is really inspirational. So much so that it was getting overwhelming seeing the videos roll in. So I decided the best way to help myself was to create a playlist of all the videos I wanted to watch, and that way I can watch them at my leisure. Some of my favorite YouTubers include, Rachel Talbott, Kalyn Nicholson, Carrie Rad, Marisa Mohi, Kristen Martin, and Niki DeMar.

Start getting back to routine. Work, exercise, eating right, meditation, prayer. I find that when I have this kind of routine, I feel more centered, more focused, less anxious and more like myself.

Make a “Stress Away” basket full of things that you can pick from, to calm those stressful nerves. In mine I included, an adult coloring book, a stress ball, two small note pads and some pens, a gratitude journal, a FRIENDS quiz book, puzzles, t-shirt designing stuff (because yes I sometimes like to make my own t-shirts), a painting kit, and a word search book. I also plan to add a few more things as I go. You can really customize this to whichever you wish.

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Order some fun products online to add to your New Year vibe. I have been into trying to clear up my skin, and also find fun ways to exercise. So I recently ordered a humidifier, a facial cleansing brush, a lap desk for my lap top, writing gloves, a dry brush, a white head tool for acne, an exercise hula hoop, an energy lamp, and YouTuber Kalyn Nicolson’s poetry book Dancing with elephants.

Practice Gratitude. So I have a gratitude journal that I sometimes write in, where you write down 3 things you are grateful for that day. But lately I’ve just been saying Thank You to God at moments, in my prayers, out loud, to myself. Just a simple thank you. It’s peaceful and it feels good. Because even if your day sucks, there is something, even the smallest thing, that could make you feel grateful. Every day may not be good, but there is something good, in every day.

Do a tarot card reading for 2020, AND/OR Read your horoscope. I get that this isn’t for everyone. And I don’t buy into it as strong as some people do. But I do think it can be really fun. I have an Animal Spirit Deck and A Fairy Deck. Yes ya girl loves fairies. Have since I was a kid and saw a movie about fairies and then saw one flying around in my room in the middle of the night. #MAGIC. Inspired by Kalyn Nicholson’s 2020 reading, I decided to do my own, and man oh man was it eye opening. It gave my 2020 some seriously good vibes and a cool direction. I also looked up my Aries info for 2020.

This was my reading.

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Reach out to family and friends and start to book plans in for the month or the next. If you’re like me, you have a ton of people you love and value in life. But when life gets so crazy, it can be sometimes really hard to make time for everything. So I decided to just start early and check in with all my various friend groups and start to make plans to hangout. Life is just more joyful when you have great friends to chill and talk with. Sometimes you just need a night with your girls! My calendar is already slowly filling up! I can’t wait to see everyone!

Go food shopping. I don’t know about you guys but after the hustle and bustle and traveling of the holidays, I had been eating like total crap, and my body was definitely feeling it. And so my mom and I took a trip to the supermarket and stocked up on healthier food options. My body is very happy now! 🙂

Balance your check book. (Maybe do this one before ordering a bunch of stuff on amazon!) 🙂

Give back and make the world just a little bit better. I recently donated to Givit for the wildfires happening in Australia. I’ve been seeing these devastating images all over social media. And I just wanted to do something. Even though it was small. It was something and every little bit counts. I also donated to the National Autism Association and I always donate to the Alzheimer’s Association during the walk which I did in 2019. Like I said it may not be much, but I give what I can afford and I hope and pray it helps.

Create a mood board or an inspiration board. This is where that 2019 Highlights list comes into play. You can look at that and see how much you’ve actually done over the last year and then pull a few things from it, and print out some pictures to symbolize those things. I personally just scroll through my instagram and see what I posted throughout the year or years. I chose a lot of inspirational quotes too, and pictures of family and friends, and then I also used pictures of myself in memories that instilled feelings in me that I want to recreate or feel again this year. Things I’ve done to step out of my comfort zone. Things I’m proud of. Things I want to work on. Things that were just fun. ALL THE INSPRING THINGS! I’m so used to putting pictures of OTHER people- mostly celebrities- on these boards, that when I look at them they don’t FEEL like me. So this year I thought, why not inspire MYSELF, by highlighting things I actually did in the past that I can try to implement again this year. Because we get in ruts, and we fear change and every New Year is a chance to fight that and try harder to accept change. After all there is peace in acceptance, if you look closely enough!

Write a list of important dates. For me this included writing a few subscription dates. I know I have some ending in the next few months so I want to be aware of that and be sure I renew them or cancel them. This can also be for any doctor appointments or adult things you need to do. Write them down!

Reflect on the past decade. This one might take some serious thinking!

Look up a list of New Year’s Eve movies. I just googled and found a list HERE. I guess I tend to live in theme. LOL. I have been craving a NYE film, I basically watched Sex and the City all New Year’s Eve. But I actually didn’t get my “New Year’s Eve” fill. I kind of love that movie!

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You may notice there’s a lot of writing involved. What can I say, I’m a writer. 😉 And a lover of a good list. Now you see what that notebook purchase was for! Make use of it! Keep in mind you obviously do not have to do all these steps in the first month. You do have a whole year. You don’t even have to do all these steps at all. This is just what I did. And it’s just helping me take stock and see what I wish to work on this year. I just feel extra motivated and I’m going to go with this soul flow. Good Vibes.

So there you have it. My tips and tricks to rock 2020. I know this is not a full proof method. And there will be hard times that deter me. But I feel inspired and I just thought I’d share this with you on this special day.

Thanks for reading! XO

Feels good to be back.

Happy 7th Birthaversary Michelle Leigh Writes!

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To celebrate I think I’m going to grab a glass of Champagne Rose,

a few White Chocolate Chip cake cookies, and pop on one of those New Year’s movies! 😉

Update: I watched Freeform’s new version of Party of Five and Chicago PD instead. 🙂

 

*All images are my own.*

 

-<3-

 

 

My F.R.I.E.N.D.S Pop-Up Experience

To re-cap my love of FRIENDS check out some earlier posts!

2013- Central Perk Party…

2014- My TV Nerd Dream Came True

2019- FRIENDS Pop Up!!!!

This year Friends hit it’s 25th Anniversary! So naturally the world took notice and the events started lining up. Thankfully, my sister in law was able to score tickets to the FRIENDS Pop Up.

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I went in mid September and it was everything I wanted. Tickets were about 35 dollars, and you got a time slot. This was super organized and we didn’t have to wait like the Central Perk Pop Up in 2014. The staff was super nice and helpful and it was just a blast.

Character Corners

Rachel

 

Monica (and her cleaning tips!)

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“Monica Clean!”

Phoebe

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Glyniss- An original Buffay

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Phoebe’s dollhouse

Joey

 

Chandler

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Ross

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Other Artifacts from the show

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Scene Recreations! (My favorite part!)

Monica & Rachel’s Apartment door

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Joey & Chandler’s Apartment

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Joey’s Chandler Impression…

“Look at me I’m Chandler! Could I BE wearing anymore clothes!”

Chandler

 

Monica’s Turkey Dance!

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Just to put my fellow germaphobe friends at ease, there were Clorox wipes on hand! 😉

 

 

The EPIC Pivot Scene!

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The Opening Credits & Central Perk

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The Real Coffee Shop/Gift Shop Areas

Other Random Fun Atmosphere Stuff

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The Pop Up was so much fun, I loved seeing the artifacts, and getting to recreate scenes from the show. I love television and storytelling. My dream is to write for tv, so these events are such a dream for me! It was one of the best days, and I’m really glad I got to share it with my brother and sister in law as we rocked our FRIENDS t-shirts. (I got mine in HOT TOPIC.) 

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Also we went to Black Tap after for lunch and I had to get their friends themed shake! It was delicious, but massive so I couldn’t finish it all. LOL. 

 

 

FRIENDS is my favorite show of all time. I love each character and all their quirks. They have made me laugh countless times. Thank you FRIENDS, for always being there for me. Happy 25th Anniversary! I can’t wait to see what they do for the 30th! 

*All images are my own.*

-<3-

Summer 2019 Vibes!!!

I know I haven’t posted much this summer… I guess I’ve just been busy…

LIVIN MY BEST LIFE! 😉

As this Summer officially comes to an end for me, (I start work back up tomorrow!) it has dawned on me that this Summer has been pretty great. Which is not always the case for me. No, I wasn’t able to go on some luxurious vacation, but I was able to have some really fun times with great family, friends, food, and lots of wine! 😉 I got to do more than I usually get to, because this summer I decided to take off of work. Granted, my job is different then most, I can either apply to work the summer or not, it’s my choice. Normally I work every Summer, but something made me decline this Summer. And I’m glad I did. My credit card isn’t happy, but I think it was the right move for me personally. 

No my Summer wasn’t perfect, it actually started off really difficult for me and my family. And I have had many emotional moments and hard times, but when I look at all the good. Somehow, that wins. Good always wins. And so, I thought before I jump back into my usual work routine, I should just take a second and reflect of the Summer memories I was blessed with. 

JUNE, JULY, & AUGUST 2019

My Summer started with my usual tradition of taking my mom to see a broadway show. I get her tickets for her Mother’s Day gift and then we usually see the show in June. This year we saw Waitress, and it was ABSOLUTELY amazing. [Fun Fact: I actually just watched the movie and it was good, but I LOVED the play even more!)]

4th of July we celebrated with some family and it was really sweltering hot, but it was a really great time.  As an anxious person, heat really tends to effect me. But I’ve really learned to manage my anxiety in the Summer better. The 4th was really fun! Especially since my cousin and his family were in from Florida. It was really nice to be able to spend a holiday with them, it’s been a minute! I also found this super simple COOKIE RECIPE, and they were a hit! I think I made them, like 3 times for 3 separate occasions this summer, I just switch up the sprinkles depending on the occasion. A kid favorite for sure! *You could totally make these for Fall, Halloween, Christmas, Easter, etc. I would even like to try it with chocolate cake mix. BTW if you look closely, you may spy that I wore a Britney Spears t-shirt…it was the only red, white, & blue I had. And like I was cool with it! 😉 #ITSBRITNEYBITCH Guess you can tell, I’m kind of a graphic tee fan…more to come on that later on!

A Stranger Things themed Coney Island! So if you are a fan of the sci fi/mystery Netflix show, you would know that this Summer Season 3 was released. [I’M ONLY UP TO EPISODE 6…SHHHHH!!!!] Coney Island was transformed into a Stranger Things theme park in the show’s 80’s fashion. It consisted of just posters hung around of the logo and the characters, the theme song was placing on the speakers, and the staff had on custom tees. Nothing crazy, I was kind of disappointed. BUT I went with my mom, aunt and my aunt surprised us by bringing my goddaughter, so we got to go on some rides, play games, and eat some food court summer food. 

Local Baseball Game for my Cousin’s husband’s 40th birthday! I’m not a super fan of baseball, but we had a box room, and there was catered food, and the weather was great. The kids even got to run the bases after the game. 

   I got to catch up with my coworkers…and eat this load of calories! 😛

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Atlantic City Overnighter with my fav ladies, my mom and my aunt! We stopped in the small town Smithville on the way. Gambling isn’t my fav, because I HATE losing money. But there were a few fun games I liked, like CRAZY MONEY! BUT I got some sweet Gilmore Girls/Stars Hollow vibes from the small, quaint town, and picked up some goodies.

[INSERT MINI SMITHVILLE HAUL-SLIDESHOW BELOW]

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Two small jars of honey, peanut butter, a candle, a jar of jam, worry dolls, a tie dye t-shirt [this was from one of the boardwalk shops in AC], and a wine opener in the shape of a wine bottle with my name on it and a cute saying-my Aunt bought me as a gift!

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TOY STORY 4! THE LION KING! ALADDIN! #RELIVEDMYCHILDHOOD Thank you!

So I never had a super strong connection to The Lion King or Aladdin as a kid. I was never a super big Disney kid, I had my favorites but they weren’t it. But I really had to see the new live action films. Because, duh? However, Toy Story was a thing! My brother and I were a fan of the films growing up.

I really enjoyed all three films.

[INSERT MINI MOVIE REVIEWS!]

The Lion King was a little bittersweet because I felt like Nala being played by Beyoncé kept taking me out of the story, because I was just thinking ok you’re Beyoncé. And I just felt annoyed by it. And I just felt like the real animals (although Timon and Pumbaa were HYSTERICAL) were just weird to watch in this sing along world. I felt like the color in the animation helped with suspending reality and enjoying the world. But I did enjoy it for the most part, the original is better, in my opinion. The music was better in the original too. 

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My friend and I in the theater with our cherry cokes and our granny glasses. 

Aladdin was amazing! I loved the romance between Aladdin and Jasmine. You know me, if there’s a love story, I AM IN IT! I thought Jasmine’s vocals were INSANE. And Will Smith as the genie….I mean he cracked me up the whole damn time. The music was beautiful…And I watched a crappy boot leg copy because by the time, I got around to watching it, it wasn’t playing in theaters near me. But I really loved it, and if I watched it in a clear, crisp copy, I’d probably love it even more.

Toy Story 4 was EPIC! It was everything-emotional, funny, nostalgic, scary….like those dummy dolls were legit! It was amazing and I actually didn’t think the ending was as sad as everyone made it. I think it actually left room for other films.  

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Had to see Toy Story 4 with my big bro, cuz… childhood. #Nostalgia Peep the shirts! #PIZZAPLANET

Pool/Beach Vibes

So I actually got to go to the beach TWICE this Summer, which is kind of a big deal for me. There have been some Summers I wouldn’t get to go at all! I went once with my mom to a local beach, then I went to Ocean City with some family, and stayed with them in a rented house for a few days. I also got to have some fun pool days, one with my best friend at her house and one with some family, my cousin has a pool membership. I kid you not it was very Stranger Things-80’s pool vibes. Super fun! 

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We were only there for 5 days, but we did so much! The beach, the amusement park, the water park, the arcade, BBQ nights in, shopping strips, dinner night outs, we played cards and other games, mini golf AND survived the crazy heat wave too! 😉 

Goodies ocean city

Clearly you see I was vibing with the Tie Dye trend! I’ve always liked it, but now I actually own it! I bought two t-shirts, an ankle bracelet, a cross necklace, a candle, and Spice Girls wine glass charms. I mean I just thought they were hysterically awesome!

I bought my family tickets to see Ain’t Too Proud! It was my dad’s father’s day gift this year! And the talent was incredible! I honestly was so amazed by their vocals. I grew up with the music of The Temptations playing in my house. I’m definitely a MOTOWN influenced kid. I love their music, songs like My Girl and Just My Imagination were some of my favs! The show was so amazing, I felt like I was seeing them live in concert.

Descendants 3 Premiere with my God Daughter!

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My cousin threw a party for her daughter & her friends, and so I made some fun treats for the girlies. Besides, I was kind of excited for the 3rd film too! I was a bit obsessed with Evie’s blue and red vibes from the second film. The second is my favorite, but I enjoyed the new film too!

Descendants premiere party

I love planning themed parties, and believe me I have a few TV related mini parties I had throughout this summer, but I’m going to do a whole separate post on my Summer TV and Music Favs! So STAY TUNED!

Fun with Fashion!!!

I got to play around a little more with fashion this summer. More than I usually do, because I didn’t have to dress a certain way for work. Also, I became a huge fan of hats and tassel earrings. Also the two white t-shirts with the logos on them are both shirts made by my brother. The “she writes her own story” tee was a custom made for me, but the “You’re Making Me Blush” tee is available on his etsy shop! He has some great designs up, please take a look and follow him on instagram @mytshirtaddiction 

I told you I love graphic tees, I guess it runs in the family! 😉 

I just got a fresh new cut and color because my hair was kind of looking rough from dying it purple in April. I basically had Mermaid hair all Summer. Which was like cool, but I was growing sick of it and I needed a darker vibe for Fall! I’ve had Pink, Blue, and Purple hair over the years and I still have yet to show any of that on this blog! One of these days, I’m going to do a whole Hair Chronicles! LOL. 

Had My God Daughter over for a sleepover- and we did everything under the sun from making tie dye tees to baking a cake for my brother’s birthday to making our own chipwiches- I also created a scavenger hunt for her! We also had my brother and his family stay over unexpectedly one night, and it was my niece’s first sleepover at our house. So I had to scramble and make it festive for her and get her some goodies. We decorate every time we have my god daughter for sleepovers so we had to do the same for my niece too! I also babysat my niece by myself for the first time! (It’s not like I can’t… I just never have until this summer, I can be a nervous Nancy when it comes to watching kids all by myself. LOL) Great times with my two favorite little girlies!!!!

 

Music & TV Vibes!

So I do want to share with you all the shows and music I fell in love with this Summer in a separate post, but I just wanted to highlight a few things! I saw Shawn Mendes in concert with my friend and needless to say it was kind of an anxious experience. I will get more into it in a separate post. But let’s just say I will never sit in Barclay’s upper seating again. It’s quite terrifying! Shawn however, was AMAZING! And it ended up being a fun night. Taylor Swift dropped her new album #Lover as you may have guessed from my last few posts, I’m KIND OF a fan! It’s EPIC and I love it! So there has been lots of fun Taylor Swift memories this Summer. As for tv, there were so many shows I saw premiere, shows end and all the feels in between. But the two that I hold so dear to my heart has to be the new 90210 reboot- BH 90210. SO GOOD! And the announcement of the Lizzie McGuire reboot! I AM DYING!!!! SO SO PUMPED for that! I’m already planning my premiere party in my head guys! Nostalgia is a dish best served nice and toasty. Childhood memories….feels like home. 

Family Day at the Aquarium! We got caught in torrential down pour, but it was still a good time! 

Speaking of rain, I think I got caught in crazy down pours and thundering and lightning like 4-5 times this summer. I’ve been soaked from head to toe on multiple occasions. One time my umbrella wouldn’t even open! Some days I could laugh it off and some I just wanted to stop and cry! But looking back at this summer I can just say Thank You! Thank You 2019 for getting me through some really hard emotional blocks, and testing me and proving to me that I can handle so much more than I give myself credit for. Anxiety does not define me. And just because I feel the weight of the world one day or even a week doesn’t mean that it’s forever. That my funky moods, don’t have to be my all day moods! I’m so hoping to bring that knowledge with me into this new Fall Season…MY FAVORITE SEASON! Such a basic bi*ch, I know! #FIGHTME. 😉 BRING ON THE PUMPKIN EVERYTHANG, the flannel, the leather, the cool air, the crisp leaves and the HOLIDAYS! I feel so blessed to have had the Summer I did. And blessed to start this new fall year, that is already filling up with some exciting things!

Time to focus on the positive. 

 

How was your Summer?

*All images are my own, except the movie posters, the Taylor Swift image I stole from my bestie, and the Lizzie McGuire pic I reposted from Hilary’s instagram.* 😉

 

-<3-

 

 

Bake with Me: St. Patrick’s Day Edition

This past weekend, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at my Aunt’s house. So I decided to bake a bunch of yummy green inspired treats. Baking for every holiday is kind of my thing. I love finding fun recipes, buying all the ingredients, baking, and then creating festive trays for the occasion. 

FIRST UP- Slutty Brownies (Click for recipe) 

I called them Sassy Mint Brownies instead, lol! #KIDEARS

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To display them, I put them on a green tray lined with white doilies. Then I added some butterscotch candies (gold coins) and the Andes mint chocolates (green theme candy). I also added a few shamrock toothpicks. 

NEXT UP- Green Cupcakes

I didn’t really have a recipe for this. I just saw this picture online and drew inspiration from the image itself.

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Not my photo

Here is my version, and what I used to create it…

I used Betty Crocker white boxed mix and Betty Crocker Cream Cheese frosting. I added a crazy amount of green food coloring to the batter to get that vibrant green color. I frosted them using a little pastry icing tool, added some green sugar sprinkles and topped it with either a green cherry (which I was super surprised to find!) or a butterscotch candy which I used to mirror a gold coin, (I couldn’t find any gold chocolate coins).

LAST UP- Lucky Charm Treats (Click for recipe)

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I just added some green food coloring to make them even more festive! 

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To display these, I placed them on a white oval tray lined with doilies, and added some spear mint gumdrop candy to add some décor to it.

 Here’s my little set up…(dinner cooked by both my Mom and my Aunt…mom made Sheppard’s pie too, but I didn’t get a pic.)

 

I threw together a bottle of sangria and some green fruit (pear, grapes, apple). Apple wine on the side in case someone just wanted a glass of wine, or wanted to add more into the sangria. And some festive napkins, plates, and straws. A drink is so much better with a little umbrella or a cute straw! It was so good, I had quite a few glasses and was feeling a nice buzz. #YesImOfAge 

 

And you know I had to dress for the occasion with some fun festive accessories, and that morning I had some tea in my holiday themed mug…

 

The day was really fun, and everything was really delicious! However, I will say for the mint brownies, if you aren’t a fan of mint, than you may not like them. I like mint, so I LOVED them! I love celebrating my heritage and getting to do so with great food, and good company. They had an early birthday cake for me too, and I even got some early birthday gifts. It was a really sweet surprise and a great time! 

Happy “Belated” St. Patrick’s Day!

*All photos are my own.*

-<3-

 

Sweet Little Winter Care Package Gift Idea + Oreo Cheesecake Cookies

This past week, my family and I celebrated Valentine’s Day together. Because I baked cookies and cupcakes and we had a little candy station for our party, I didn’t want to gift them too much candy either. I mean your girl loves chocolate just as much as the next person, but I mean how much can I person really have? So I thought a bit and decided on doing a little Winter Care Package for each of them. When I think of Winter, I think of a few essentials we all may need to reach for during the daily chill. And I know not everyone thinks to carry those things with them. So I thought I’d do a little something to help my loved ones out. This was my little way of saying… “Hey I love you. Keep safe and warm this Winter.” 😉

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Things I Included: Chapstick, a pack of tissues (these came with some cute inspirational sayings!), a travel sized lotion, hand sanitizer, and some watermelon flavored cough drops. I put all of those things together securing it in these cute heart printed cellophane bags. Next, I included a hot chocolate packet for those cold winter nights, a scratch-off for some fun, and of course just a bit of Valentine’s Day chocolate. 

I made them for my Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister in Law and Aunt. So I had two versions- one for the guys and one for the ladies.

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The Guy’s Version^

 

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The Ladies’ Version ^

 

I found these cute decorative paper bags and Valentine’s Day stickers, and cards. And decided why not be super cutesy and nostalgic and write some Valentine’s to the people who I love most. I know Valentine’s Day is very much marketed as a couple’s holiday but love is all over. It comes in different relationships and bonds. And my family and I have always treated it like that. I love my family and I love that even though I don’t need a special day to show that. I still like that there is a holiday solely dedicated to showing love. It’s just a way to make sure in the craziness of this life, we stop and show our love to those who treasure. No matter the type of relationship.  

 

***

 

Onto the cookies I made for Valentine’s Day. I got the recipe from a Pinterest pic, but the recipe that was linked was this one HERE, with the additional step of adding a few drops of red food coloring.

Pinterest inspo…of course…

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[NOT MY IMAGE]

 

My baking process…

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This was only a 5 ingredient cookie recipe and it was pretty simple. Also…they are DELCIOUS, my whole family really enjoyed them! 

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Happy Love Day! ❤

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Hope this little winter care package idea comes in handy if you’re looking for a little something to give a loved one. And I hope you give this cookie recipe a try. I’m sure you can make them for any holiday, if you alter the color! Enjoy!

 

*All other images are my own.*

-<3-

 

2018 Highlights- Year in Review

This past year, I actually didn’t end up using a memory jar. It kind of became more of a flower vase and I forgot about it. But as usual, instagram and this blog were definitely helpful in my yearly reflection.

Here are my 2018 Highlights

(in no particular order)

Justin Timberlake released his new Album Man of the Woods and I bought tickets to see him in October. (However as you may know from my fangirl report the show was postponed due to bruised vocal chords. It was rescheduled for January 31st (his birthday) so let’s hope it sticks and I get to start my 2019 off with my fav babe!) He also released a summer single too- Soulmate. It’s fire!

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MLW turned 5 years old! This blog has been with me through so many ups and downs. I have taken month(s) long hiatus’ and have gone MIA many times, and I’m sure it will happen this year too. But I always come back! And it means a lot to me to have this outlet. To have “a safe place for the written word.” We also got our own domain this year-michelleleighwrites.com
happy 5th

I took up Jewelry Making in order to teach a class at work and I realized I do really enjoy it. For some one who loves accessories and loves jewelry, it’s cool to have pieces that I created myself. When people say that’s so pretty, I can say “Thanks, I made it!” I’m hoping this year to get my own Jewelry supplies and make a hobby out of it!

 

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We started many new family traditions, now that we have a 6th person at our  usual table of five. My baby niece turned one and she’s learning so many new things, it’s so amazing and so exciting to watch her grow. Holidays are sweeter now that she’s here and we were able to celebrate many of her first holidays this year too. And as usual so many other special family moments with our extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. I also got to take my mom to see Summer (the donna summer’s musical) and help out with a mother’s day photoshoot for my sister in law, my brother is a photographer and he wanted me to shoot some behind the scenes footage for him, so that he could make a montage video.) 

Jack & Elizabeth’s Wedding on When Calls The Heart. This show is so magical. (Except SPOILER ALERT the actor playing Jack decided to leave and so they had to kill off his character just shortly after the characters got married. So Elizabeth was left a pregnant window. It still breaks my heart so much. But I’ve been watching reruns on Netflix of earlier seasons of their courtship and I can’t help but love this show. It is so full of strength and hope and grace. And these women are fierce as they come.) Despite the heartache, the wedding was absolutely beautiful and when it comes to TV viewing parties and themes, I can be pretty “extra.” I learned to sew in order to make my own custom WCTH tee and had a cup of tea and some pie in honor of the special occasion. I still don’t have the Hallmark channel so I totally bugged my brother and watched at his house.  The show did the wedding right, they even had a invitation that you can rsvp to, pick your meal choice and request a song. Hallmark still has a full wedding album up too. Such beautiful pictures, Elizabeth looked gorgeous and their vows were breathtaking. 

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^In other tv related news (because you know me, I’m a TV fan girl) I fell in love with the show The Resident on FOX and the Netflix film- To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (it’s getting a sequel!) 
To all the boys

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I had a lot good times with friends (fell in love with a new tea spot, tried hot pot for the first time, had a few brunch meals, tried frose, and braved karaoke, etc)-work friends, high school friends, old friends, new friends! Caught up with some middle school friends I haven’t seen in a while. We actually were able to get in two visits this year, so we are doing really well, considering we are all always so busy- one is a mom and one is always traveling, so I’m so happy we made it work! My best friend got married and I was one of her maid of honors, so we got to do all the things-the shower, the bachelorette party (which was epic thanks to me and my co maid of honor), the rehearsal, and the wedding. It was all magical! And they are a beautiful couple.

 

*NSYNC got their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, on “It’s Gonna Be May” Day (April 30th) and it was broadcasted live for all to watch. I totally did, and I may or may not have bought a few *NSYNC merch tees, they are being sold in stores like target, and spencer’s/hot topic, but also on *NSYNC’s official site! The guys were also on Ellen!

So I was kind of in fangirl heaven!

I hosted a 90’s theme Girls Night In for my best friend, as our own little bestie send off before her wedding. It was A BLAST. I love nostalgia and I LOVE the 90’s. Butterfly clips, chokers, and blue eyeshadow, OH MY! 😉 

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My family participated in our first Alzheimer’s walk in honor of my Grandma who passed away in February of 2017. We all had t-shirts and it was a beautiful day, honoring someone we all really miss and love. We raised well over what our goal was! Thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who organized it all, and to all who donated. Our hearts are full! 

I did BLOGTOBER– blogged the entire month of October! My fall was so full of all the Halloween, Pumpkin things!

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I participated in my first ever #NaNoWriMo– National Novel Writing Month (November) October and November were very busy for me, it made me really proud to be able to write so consistently and meet my goals. 

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I continued writing my short story series- Move that I started at the end of 2017, but still have to continue and finish it this year. I also started another short story series that has yet to be finished and posted- tentatively called Crazy Stalker Love. (STAY TUNED! for all of the stories to come!)
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Crazy Stalker Love Sneak Peek-

I had a list of over 60 great memories for this past year, so I guess it was a really good one. So I can’t complain. But in the interest of time, I chose a few. Thanks for the memories 2018, I am very blessed. I look forward to all the magic ahead in 2019.

Happy New Year friends!

May all your hopes and dreams come true!

Stay Tuned for much more content this year.

So many stories to tell!

-<3-

#BLOGTOBER Day 19- The Jack-o-lantern

When I was a kid, my family and I used to watch Halloween every year together. We would gather on the couch, light our recently carved pumpkin and shut the lights out. The one lonely flame, flickering. My mom loves scary movies and growing up we always watched together, screaming along the way.  Cue the music

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There was this one specific year we were in the middle of the chilling killing sprees of Michael Myers, when all of a sudden our flickering flame in our Jack-o-lantern shut out. I remember we all gasped, breath held in, until it then re-lit. I think the fact that it re-lit was more scary than it going out in the first place. A draft can come in out of nowhere, but relighting? Now that’s some spooky shit. Pardon my French. 
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We laughed and finished our movie. But for a few brief moments it was super creepy there, and we all felt it. Hey Halloween is a time to get a little spooked, right? Haha. It’s a memory we still talk about today. 

Ah, Halloween memories, with the fam. Good times. 

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Who’s excited for the new 2018 Halloween?…Jamie Lee Curtis is back, bitches!

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OUT NOW!

 

 

 

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

-<3-

 

 

#BLOGTOBER Day 9- Pumpkin Picking with the Family plus mini Fall Haul #2

Every year, my family tries to schedule a day to go pumpkin picking. My family is pretty big so it can get really hard to get everyone’s schedule to line up. But this year, even though not everyone could make it, we still had a pretty decent sized crew. And it was even more special because it was my niece’s first time pumpkin picking!

Here are some fall shots I took…  

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I spent quite the pretty penny in the little shop that they had there, so I figured why not show you what I bought…

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Treats/Goodies:

Blueberry pie

Apple Cider Donuts

Moon Pie Bites

Red Raspberry Preserves 

Pumpkin Butter

Peach Apricot Cherry Jam

Apple Cider

Décor:

3 little stick figures- a pumpkin, sunflower scarecrow, and ghost 

^I feel like these would be really cute in a floral arrangement. 

A witch

^This can be hung up on the wall or on the door- anywhere really. 

My pumpkin that I picked! I have to think about what I want to do with it this year. In the past I’ve done some fun and funky designs…

RHONDA

rhonda

JUANITA CROMWELL

juanita cromwell

ROXY

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SUNFLOWER SAGE

Sunflower Sage

LOLITA LEIGH

Lolita Leigh

BABY PUMPKIN

baby pumpkin

 

Any ideas for my 2018 design?

*All images are my own.*

 

-<3-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For My Future Daughter

One day, I hope to be a mom, and I thought about what I would want to say to my own daughter. The advice I would give her. Here it is…                                                                                                              

 

                                                                                                                              March 19, 2018

Dear Sweet Girl,

I know life isn’t always going to be easy for you. I know jobs will be hard to find and boys will break your heart. And people you are close to will disappoint you at times. Myself included, sadly. No one is perfect.

If you are anything like me, I know insecurity will find you and you will have to fight to see the silver lining in every bad day. I know you will question your faith in times of pain and grief. And wonder what your true purpose is.

I know you may fight your anxiety everyday like I do and I also know that you can and you will win.

My hope is that you never have to deal with any of these hardships. That you are forever cast with a smile on your face. But living in this world, I know that is unfortunately an unrealistic notion. There will be bad days. There will be sad days.

I know that you will be so loved by so many, that you will feel like you have to always be good and “perfect.” To always say/do the right thing. Your self awareness and self consciousness will be both a weakness and a strength for you. But your heart is so big.

Just breathe my girl and you will get through it all-one foot at a time. One day at a time. Because you are a force to be reckoned with. You are your own heroine. The star of your own sold out show. You can be anything you want to be.

Never let anyone tell you different or try to dull the sparkle that surrounds your very soul. And please… never stop dreaming.

 

                                                                                                                               Love You Always,

                                                                                                                               Mom ❤  

When Calls the Heart Chat & Style Files

Hallmark series When Calls the Heart is such a wholesome gem. I fell in love with it last year when I binge watched it and got caught up before the return of it’s 4th Season. 

Now it’s in it’s 5th season, and I unfortunately no longer get the Hallmark channel. And I miss it so much! Not only do I miss the fun seasonal movie themes but I miss this Sunday night series terribly! I try to keep up with it through social media, but it’s just not the same.  

I haven’t found a free, reliable way to watch online either. 😦

All I know is there was a Christmas Special which I missed, and then the first 3 episodes have aired. Last season we left off with Jack proposing to Elizabeth who obviously said yes! But then he had to leave to go fight in a war. Leaving us #Hearties heartbroken. 

So Erin Krakow’s Elizabeth Thatcher was left waiting for quite a long time. Waiting in worry. 

Daniel Lissing who plays the role of Constable Jack Thornton, was absent from many of the ending episodes of the 4th season. And from what I’ve learned online, he wasn’t in the first few episodes of the 5th season either. [However it did appear he was home for Christmas briefly]. I hated not having our favorite smouldering Mountie at Elizabeth’s side. 

Needless to say he returned in this past Sunday’s episode and their reunion was so sweet and charming, as usual. Thank you to the sweet soul on instagram who uploaded clips!

 

“I’m home.”

 

Jack and Elizabeth have FINALLY set a date for their wedding, maid of honors and best men have been picked and Rosemary is clearly already in planning mode. 

It’s so sweet to see how happy Jack is to start his life with Elizabeth. He even created a rough blueprint for their future home, and took her to the land he bought for them. 5 bedrooms! He’s planning on growing their family that’s for sure! #LoveScene? 😉 They even had a sweet candle lit dance with a music box he bought while on his travels through the Northern Territories.

“There are so many rooms!”- Elizabeth

“Family is going to grow, right?”- Jack

“Apparently by a lot.”- Elizabeth *Of course Elizabeth has her shy eyes on.*

“I want to put a big dining room right here.”- Jack

“How big?”- Elizabeth 

“Well big enough to fit all of the Thornton Clan.”- Jack

So cute! I can’t take it. He’s so excited!

However, in sneak peeks for future episodes. It appears that the wedding planning doesn’t exactly go so smoothly. With a fire in the church, I imagine that will set things back. And a few moments of pain inflicted in Jack’s eyes, hints that we may get a bit into what he suffered through during the war. There seems to be a potential post traumatic stress disorder story on the horizon. If you ask me that is so realistic and makes total sense. Jack is very quiet in his emotions, very laid back. Never likes to make a fuss. Even when he and Elizabeth had their breaks in their relationship he was never overly dramatic about their confrontations. Sure he’s well skilled in the grand gestures, but he’s worked on them for 5 years, at the beginning of their courtship boy did he stumble over his feet.

Jack is so grateful to come home to the love of his life, but he’s throwing himself into planning their wedding and their future life together without taking a break. It’s all going to come crashing down on him. And I sense from what I’ve seen  so far, that Elizabeth knows that. She’s asked him several times to “Take a breath,” to “rest and relax because he must be exhausted.” She also has been asking him about the war and what it was like, to which he often deflects saying it “was what is was, and it’s over now.”  

“I’ve waited so long for this.”-Elizabeth

“It’s good to be home.”-Jack

“Now we can go back to where we were.”

“No.”- Jack

“No?”-Elizabeth

“I don’t wanna be engaged.”-Jack

“What?”-Elizabeth

“”I wanna get married. Build a house. Start a family.”

“Okay. Catch your breath.”-Elizabeth

“I don’t need to. The thought of coming home to you, and having you there everyday, it energizes me. It got me through some rough times.” 

I just love them. They are so sweet together and he really loves and respects her so much. I get all giddy just thinking about all the sweet little moments they’ve had together over the seasons- playful banter, disagreements, kisses, all the small looks and smiles. Even when they talk about each other with other people they’ve said such sweet things. In fact this past Sunday in a chat with a younger man- Jesse who is courting Clara (Abigail’s daughter in law whom came to live in Hope Valley after her husband was killed in the mine accident along with Abigail’s husband) asked for some advice. Jack responded that he knows he’s smart enough to know how lucky he is. When Jesse inquires if he and Elizabeth ever broke up, Jack answers that there were times when they put things on hold. He and Elizabeth took some time getting back to each other but they did in the end. Jack further explains that if Jesse and Clara are meant to be they will find their way. It was so sweet to see how he is now in this position to give a younger man advice. Many times he would seek his own advice about Elizabeth from sources like Lee, Bill Avery, and Abigail. He and Elizabeth have come a long way and have really grown together. The list is endless, I could go on all day. In fact I’ve been re-watching seasons on Netflix just to get my WCTH fix. I miss it so much! Lol. 

It’s so crazy that they are at this point in their relationship, I mean from their early scenes together, it’s beautiful to see them now so in love. It seems like time flew by. I mean granted I binged on Netflix, I’m sure those who watched live feel like it’s been an eternity. But in many ways I too feel like it’s taken them quite long to get engaged and now married. I mean Jack was courting Elizabeth for quite a while, and Rosemary and Lee even got married in season 3, before our favorite Hope Valley couple Elizabeth and Jack. Lee and Rosemary are super cute though too! I love how he is so patient with her and all her craziness! Lol. 

Although Rosemary came into Hope Valley at the end of Season 1 hoping to win Jack back (Plot Twist she and Jack used to be engaged!) It’s so crazy to see how much has changed, Rosemary and Elizabeth used to be each other’s competition, and now they are the best of friends. And so are Lee and Jack! Lee didn’t come in until the beginning of Season 2 and the two wed in Season 3! So it’s been a bit of a fast track for the Coulters.

So mind you, you can imagine how anxious we #Hearties have been to see Elizabeth and Jack finally on their way to tying the knot. IN TWO WEEKS! Gosh it’s going to kill me not to watch it! It’s such a big season for them! And I am very passionate when it comes to television and my ships! After all he’s had the damn ring since like what Season 1 or 2, I think! It’s been a long, beautiful journey and I really miss watching it live! 

I guess I’ll have to stick it out and wait until Season 5 is on Netflix. 😦 

In the meantime I wanted to chat about the things that make this show so charming. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that it’s set in a small town. I love small towns, and quaint little cafes, church and shops. I love the simplicity of their life, (not to mention that they have such a comradery in hope and faith throughout the town). 

And last but not least I LOVE the FASHION.

Fashion in the 1910’s were all about the long skirts, and the corsets. The lace, pastel colors, and dainty earrings. The hair was also in a league of it’s own with simple updo’s with a twist or long soft curls. In the first season, Elizabeth dressed a bit more showy, with large hats and flashy dresses, after all she hailed from Hamilton where she lived a wealthy city life. But soon she embraced the more simplistic nature of Hope Valley and toned things down a bit. She found herself, she found her home.

But for a character like Abigail Stanton played by the lovely Lori Loughlin, she had a bit of  the reverse happen. When we first meet her she is all about simple undo’s and no makeup. Beautiful no matter what, but soon Abigail starts to find herself again, she starts to find hope too and realizes she still has so much living to still do despite suffering so much loss when the coal mine tragedy struck taking her husband and son from her. She starts to let her hair down again, and begins entertaining some gentleman callers who obviously couldn’t help but fall for her. All while being a café owner and town mayor. Total Girl Boss. 

Simplicity at it’s best…

Abigail Stanton…

I just love it all. Rosemary spices things up with her red crimson wardrobe as only she could! #Theatrics 

*Get the 1910’s inspired look HERE

One of these days I plan to host a 1910’s inspired party. I need to dress up! I’m dying to play pretend and live in Hope Valley for a day. 

When Calls the Heart airs on Sundays @ 9 pm on the Hallmark Channel. 

 

*I do not take credit for any images/videos used.*

-<3-