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-

 

 

2017 Memory Jar Review

HAPPY NEW YEAR FRIENDS!!!

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

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

So here are My 2017 Highlights.

(in no particular order-but categorized)

 

*FAMILY/FRIENDS* 

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

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

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

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

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

-Took a Zumba class.

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

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

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

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

-I read milk & honey.

-I went to the Polar Express again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

*WORK*

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

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

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

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

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

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

*BLOG*

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

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

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

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

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

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

-I created social media accounts for MLW!

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

*TELEVISION/NETFLIX/MOVIES*

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

-I started watching Supergirl

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

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

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

-Got hooked on and binged Scream the TV series

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

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

-I found a bunch of good movies on Netflix!

*MUSIC*

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

-Ed Sheeran “Divide” Album

-Sam Smith “The Thrill of it All” Album

-New Selena Gomez Music

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

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

*PERSONAL/PARTY PLANNING*

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

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

-Mini When Calls The Heart Premiere Party!

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

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

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

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

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

-I celebrated My GOLDEN Birthday! #26OnThe26th 

-I had some fun fashion moments! Palazzo Pants 

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

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

-I finished editing a bunch of VLOGS!

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

-I continue to decorate and organize my room. 

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

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

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

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

-<3-