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-

 

 

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! 😛

NIA fam

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! 

[INSERT MINI OCEAN CITY HAUL]

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-

 

 

Finally….A Summer Update

The longer I’ve waited to post, the harder I’ve felt this has been. I went through having zero ideas, to so many ideas-good and bad. And here I am, just wanting to say SOMETHING. I’m a writer, who hasn’t really written in months. Is that normal? I suppose not.

Hi all. I hope someone is still listening. This has been a long time coming, and quite frankly I was hoping to come back with some fun, fancy, well-crafted story or work of art. But it’s just not coming, so instead, I’m going to just speak my truth. Hopefully you can relate.

It’s been quite a long few months since I last posted, and yes when I look back at old posts, I have definitely written many posts similar to this. Being a creative soul is thrilling and fun, until it isn’t. Creativity isn’t always guaranteed. I haven’t posted at all this summer. There are a lot of reasons why, but the number one reason is because well…I just haven’t felt inspired or motivated to do so. 

You know when your favorite YouTuber goes MIA for a while, because they just haven’t been happy with any of their content. That’s how I feel.

I hit these walls where I feel like my life is at a standstill and instead of doing something to change it, I internalize and my mind becomes a ball of anxious thoughts unable to move myself forward. A vessel just going through the motions. I have a really hard time being present in the moment. I’m constantly over thinking everything. It is the most daunting feeling. My mind gets clouded and unfortunately creativity gets pushed to the side. Which is bizarre because I know this is the time when I need it most, to pull me out of my slump. 

Creativity can be an incredible outlet for stress, but sometimes I just choose to ignore the issue and let days pass me by. Filling my time within mindless tasks.  

I wish I had some big revelation for myself. I wish I had some inspirational advice to share about how I’ve just been too busy living life to post, but unfortunately that is just not the case.

I have a case of the summer funk. And I honestly can’t wait for it to be fall. 

The air is crisp.

The fashion is cooler.

The colors are gorgeous. 

And let’s face it, there is a plethora of pumpkin.

Here’s to breaking the silence and powering through. 

I’m going to end this with a quote from one of my Writer’s Corners from back in 2015. It’s amazing how the words still hold truth for me:

“Giving up on that dream [of being a writer] is not in my line of vision. It can’t be. I don’t think my brain or sanity could take it. Too many stories to tell. So when the walls start caving in and you feel like you’re going to emotionally explode, get out of your head. And get out of your own way. And just do what you do best. Write. Because writers feel things deeper than most, and when we tell those stories, someone out there in the universe is going to get it, and feel gotten. Keep fighting, keep striving, and know that there is always a safe place for the written word here on Michelle Leigh Writes. Soldier on my friends.”- Michelle Leigh Writes * Writer’s Corner * “Get out of your own way”

 

**While you wait for new stories…feel free to browse my Short Story Collection HERE

 

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-<3-

 

Magic.

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Magic is something we understand as children.

A world of possibilities,

unlike any other.

Colorful.

Full of big dreams and twinkling stars, all within our reach.

All right at our fingertips.

A bolt like lightning in the sky.

So bright.

Fearless.

Free.

Freedom.

When the only thing that mattered was being a kid and having fun.

Playing outside.

“Making pretend.” 

It’s a shame we let life dim our lights as adults.

Leave a little glitter everywhere you go.

A little glistening never hurt anyone’s soul.

Sparkle- it doesn’t come with any age restrictions.

Be the unicorn this world needs.

Side note: So often we hear, “aren’t you a little too old for that?” We have these constraints put on ages- at [this age] you should be doing this, wearing this, saying this…who decided these things? As we approach adulthood, we silence our inner child at times. When really we should be embracing our childish moments. We should continue to dream without worry or fear of not being successful. and just continue to work hard at our goals and dreams. We should be mesmerized by the stars above, by the simple things like when you hear your old favorite song, or smell a scent that takes you back.

Nostalgia can be a tricky thing. We can get caught up in it, and forget to notice to present and the new journeys ahead. We idealize our pasts and believe our best days have been put behind us. I loved my childhood, I have many fond memories of growing up in the 90’s/00’s. But it wasn’t perfect, nothing ever is. Just like now isn’t perfect. But I’m approaching 30 [hey now, your only 27 girl, hush now! ;)] and they say that’s your prime. So cheers to that.

Believe in the magic, embrace your inner sparkle. Shine it for the world to see. Just because we are growing up and gaining more life responsibilities, does not mean we have to forget to laugh loud at silly jokes, play games, rock creative colorful outfits, or dance around to songs from decades past.

Magic comes in all shapes and forms, open your mind to it. Dream Big. And never stop. 

 

-<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 ❤  

The February Slump 2018

Hi friends!

It’s been a bit, I know. 

Today I would like to talk about the February Slump. I know you know what I’m referring to.

You know that point in the new year where you start to slack off on all the goals you set out to accomplish this year. 

I knew this time would come. January was a month of making changes, and making lists, and plans for a better future. Putting things into motion and action. 

Then once February came, I started noticing myself slacking. Going to bed late, not reading/writing everyday. My daily goals getting distracted by life and the day to day. 

Overall, January was pretty great for me. I felt like I was forming a routine, and working out consistently, taking my vitamins, drinking a lot of water, carving out a day within the week to work on each of my big goals for the year. [SEE HERE by reading my- January 2018 Update]

But came February and a few late nights, family functions, and busy times and I started slacking. My goal was not to get angry with myself when this happened but to pick myself back up and hop back onto the routine I’ve started to create, improving it and crafting it as I go along. And that’s what I’m hoping to do this week. Thankfully I am on winter break and I can strive to plan things a little better. However, why is it that it’s only Monday and I already feel like the week is over. There’s so much I want to do, clean, research, make time to see friends and family. You know what they say, there’s never enough time in a day. 

I just need to get myself back on track and learn to balance my time to include my dreams, my goals, and my inspirations with my family and my friends, work, (tv shows, because #TVJunkie) and a social life. 

Balance is key. And that is what I need to build on in order for all of this to work. Life is a balancing act. Summers become Winters. Christmas becomes Easter in the blink of an eye. And before you know it, the goals you set out to accomplish in that year, are rolled over into the next.

This year I want that to change. I want inspiration, change, and determination to run through my veins. Change? Michelle, you want change? What? You hate change. No you don’t, your just scared of it.

Change is a scary word. But not all change is bad. And I think I’m starting to realize that in order for my dreams to come true I’m going to have to let change in. I want to take action. Take control over my life. There are things I always put on hold, things I just don’t force myself to do, habits that come and go. I let life lead me, rather than the other way around. And then I mentally scold myself for not accomplishing my goals.  

So…this year I’ve started to implement the necessary changes I need to do in order to reach my goals. Granted, it’s a slow climb. I’m definitely a work in progress, and I’ve definitely had my days/weeks where I’ve slacked off. The important thing is to acknowledge the slump and work towards moving past it. I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over it, because that’s not going to help me. And I can’t go back in time and change it. Getting down over it and scolding myself will only make me feel bad which in turn will hinder my motivation starting a vicious cycle and I don’t want that. So time to focus, time to revamp, time to balance.

Keep going girl, you got this! 

-<3-

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

 

 

 

Life Update

Hello friends!

I know it’s been quite a minute since I posted last. I just have had so much going on, and to think about sticking to my regular posting routine was exhausting, and yet impossible at times. But today, is a nice quiet Sunday that I am finally able to get to all the things I’ve been having to put off. So productive! And I am super happy! 

Between the holiday season, planning for the weddings I am in, work, and my beautiful baby niece being born- my usual day to day has been thrown off course and this blog has been- neglected, sad to say.

I had big plans for October/November! I had posts I wanted to write and I was even thinking about editing a potential Fall themed vlog of all the clips I took checking off things from my Fall Bucket List. But it just hasn’t been feasible.

And on top of all of that, I just realized I’m having some technical issues with my computer battery and my WordPress account in general, which have really hindered my posting options as well. I have some updates to do regarding the site, since I have run out of my image memory on here. So I need to do a bit of research and decide what my next step will be regarding the michelle leigh writes update plan. 

So in the mean time,  I am going to still try to post on here when I can. Just been dealing with a lot of changes and need to get my life back on track, lol. I know many of you can definitely relate! 😉 Just know that I am not going anywhere. I still have a lot to say!  

Stay Tuned!

xo Michelle

Video Update

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

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

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

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

“Poison & Wine” Video Shoot-

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“Tearing Down The Label Makers” Video Shoot-

Tearing Down the Label Makers

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

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

“Dumb Luck” Prop Pictures

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“Vai Com Deus” process-

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

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

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

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

“Inhumane” process- (Behind the Scenes)

20160418_20195320160417_235705Inhumane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Michelle,

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

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

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

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

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

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

EDITING SOFTWARE use what you have and make it work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

*All images and videos are my own.*

-<3-

 

Summer Time Changes- Let’s Talk

summer-tag-copy[1]I think it’s safe to say, Summer is here and kicking. The 4th is tomorrow and that right there is the epitome of Summer to me. The weather is hot, school is out and life becomes this different existence. Everything is slightly more laid back- or at least it’s supposed to be.

For me, Summer is a bit of an anxiety stressor. My job changes a little bit and I get placed in a new environment, working with new people for the duration of the summer. So that feels like an uproot, and something new I have to get used to all over again. Last year it was actually a really pleasant change and so this year I’m hoping for the same. I’m pretty optimistic that it will be and that’s a good feeling. 🙂

I also don’t do well in the heat so that’s another reason why Summer brings upon anxiety for me. Along with having this extra time during this season, there’s a lot of pressure to make use of everyday and do fun exciting things, everyday. Raise your hand if you’ve compared yourself to anyone on social media lately? #Guilty. I’m sorry I don’t have that kind of money to just be jumping flights, here and there. I have a lot going on in my life that I need to be saving up for, so unfortunately vacationing isn’t in the stars for me. And that sucks, but it’s my reality and that’s ok. Everyone’s life is different.

I think I’m learning to balance my boundaries. Sometimes I know I can push through my anxiety and sometimes I know I have to pull back and give myself a beat. And knowing that has made an incredible difference in my life. This notion is certainly a work in progress, but it’s coming along slowly.

It’s ok, to take breaks. It’s ok, to push yourself a bit, you will learn what you can handle. It’s ok, to say no. It’s ok, to strive for change. And it’s ok, to be afraid of that change, and still go for it anyway. My whole life I thought that I couldn’t use the words risk taker to describe myself. I’m taking that back. Recently I died my hair blue. BLUE! (No not my whole head…they’ll be a post coming soon!) But I have freakin’ blue hair right now and I’m just doing things I’ve been wanting to do for myself.  Different things. I’m just going for it! Sometimes I feel guilty, like wait that’s too much money or I should be here or there or doing this or that. But then I think wait- why can’t if do this for me? It’s allowed! There’s nothing wrong with caring about yourself or the things your passionate about. 

I’ve also been thinking about huge life changes lately. Some will take a while to accomplish, but the building blocks can start now. The other day I was told; “you seem optimistic and seem to be accepting change.” This was an incredible thing for me to hear from another person who knows me and knows how my life is and the things I struggle with. Change is literally the reason why I realized I have anxiety. Anytime change is upon me, my anxiety can peek. It doesn’t always, but if I’m anxious it’s usually because of some change happening in my life.

I’m at a point in my life, where I can see things a tiny bit clearer and the things I want out of life. The things I want for myself. And sometimes that means being a little selfish and doing my own thing. I hate how some may take offense to that,  because it is not intention. But I think that now is the only time I have to be selfish. Other people do it, why can’t I? And that’s not a dig at anyone, it’s just an observation. Once I’m older, and have a family of my own things will be very different. And my husband and my children will be my priority. So now this is my time to sort myself out so that dream of having that life when I’m older can eventually come true. I don’t want to sit back 10 or 15 years from now and regret not going after the things I wanted. I don’t want to resent my family. So this is the time to get my  mind right and just do my thing.

I’m trying to tackle the things that scare me. Granted, I have my days when I falter and I let that fear hold me back, or I allow the laziness of summer overcome me. But I’m keeping high expectations for myself this summer. There are so many things I want to accomplish on a personal and professional level that I am making strides toward those goals already.

I’ve always wanted to write a pilot script for this tv show I’ve had running in my head for YEARS-since high school. The show is written in shifts and on random papers all over my house-some are on my computer- it’s all over the place. I’ve never written a concise first episode. There’s no organization and I am all about organizing this summer. My planner and inspiration notebook are my best friends! So that ish, is getting written THIS SUMMER. I’ve started to do my research, surprisingly I know a lot of the things I’ve found out which makes me feel kind of good. But there was also a ton I didn’t know- things I’m still learning, still researching. Oh you mean I have an excuse to watch television. Awesome! 😉 Your never going to stop learning, ever. Life is full of lessons.

So there’s that big change happening. Which is huge for me, because researching my craft has always been scary for me. I can’t exactly explain it. It was, I guess something I loved so much, that I was scared that if I researched it I would find out how little I know, or how far from my dream I actually am. But my mind set is different now and I realize that I can’t get there if I don’t try. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to where I want to be. I don’t know if I will ever get my dream of creating my own tv show. But the show is not ever going to leave my heart or my brain. It could be months, and then a story will pop into my head for one of my characters and I will have to revisit that world. Or a line will pop into my head and I will go-“Oh my god that would be the perfect thing for Travis to say to Sara.” (Shhh Spoilers!) 😉

I’ve been thinking more seriously about my next move. About my career long term. I love where I work right now. I know I haven’t given exact details of my work, but that’s because I truly believe in respecting privacy and I want to remain professional. But basically I do work in a school setting teaching creative subjects like writing, and film. And I think it’s been an eye opening experience for me. You really can learn by teaching.

I have a lot of creative projects I am tinkering with this Summer too. I’m not going to reveal them, because I don’t want to jinx them, or put extra pressure on myself to finish them all. I will overwhelm myself with an over extensive to do list, I know this. So let’s just say that my main creative goal is to get my pilot script written and keep learning more and more about writing and working in television.

I would love to track that process on here for you guys to see, but to also be able to reflect back on it and see how I progressed. I hope you’ll come along on this journey with me.

Happy Summer!

XO

Michelle Leigh

Future

The Future.

What marks them?

At what point in our lives does the future stop being a factor?

It’s ever changing.

Tomorrow is the future.

Until it becomes today.

Until it becomes yesterday.

But there’s always a new future put in place.

Constantly daunting.

Hovering.

Unknown.

What do you do when you worry?

When you fear?

When you don’t know what comes next?

Missing something.

You don’t have “it.”

Self doubt overcasts the sky above you.

Your sky clouded.

Raining insecurities.

Thundering negativity.

What would you tell your best friend?

Go for it.

Believe in yourself.

You got this.

What would you tell a child who doubts their abilities?

Keep trying.

You can do this.

You can do anything you set your mind to.

You can be anything you want to be.

Be yourself.

Tell yourself the same.

Take your own advice.

Don’t tear yourself down.

Don’t beat yourself up.

We’re often our biggest critics.

Be your own cheerleader.

Your future is what you choose for it to be.

You will fail.

Get back up.

Regroup.

Start again.

Your dreams are worth it.

You just need to start somewhere.

You may not know where that is right now.

I don’t either.

But you will.

Be your own future.

Inspire yourself.

Wake up.

Good Morning, Love.

Welcome to the Real World.

It can suck, but it can also be something really beautiful.

 

-<3-