Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Long Day In My Pink Patterned Shoes

Some days are longer than others...

Just because a day is long, doesn't necessarily mean that it's bad. I actually enjoy long days at times, they make me feel more productive and accomplished. In addition to blogging, I work full time, go to school and attempt to tend to every need of my family. I posted last year about a typical day in my life, you can read that here. Now that I have a brand new job and a slightly different schedule, I thought it might be fun to revisit a day in my life.

So here we go...A Day in my Pink Patterned Shoes...

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

6:30am: Time to wake up! Take the Chiweenies outside, wake up the pre-teen and start up the Keurig. I have got to have my morning coffee! I pick out a Starbucks blend this morning. I have been drinking my coffee black for months now. I actually enjoy it this way. The only think I add is a few ice cubes. Then it's time for a shower and getting ready for work. I feel like it's a vintage kind of day, so I pick out this denim polka dot dress and this awesome coin necklace I bought from a vintage shop. The pre-teen is out the door just before me.

7:35am: I am out the door and on my way to work. My new job is super close to my home, which makes me a very happy lady! Even with a little morning traffic, I am at the office in 15 minutes.

7:50am: I'm at the office bright and early (I don't need to be there until 8am), but I am still fairly new and I like to keep up my good impression. I check my email and make sure all of my documents are in order for my morning meeting.

A co-worker suggests bagels for breakfast...yum! We all chip in for some Bread Company. I love sesame seed bagels. I also love blueberry. And pumpkin pie.

Just so you know what I do...

At my new job, I work with people with physical and developmental disabilities to assist them in discovering what kind of job/career they might be interested in. I do hands-on assessments at places they might want to work and I administer paper and pencil assessments to help them discover interests. After I finish the assessments, I either recommend job development or other services.

10:00am: Morning meeting! I get to recommend job development for a client, which makes me happy because I know she is excited about getting to work!

11:30am: Lunch time! Everyone at my new office eats a bit early and I have happily adapted to the new schedule. Everyone tries to eat together if at all possible. I love that my co-workers do this. I think it brings a sense of togetherness to the office. I was a good girl this day and brought my leftovers. Before my break is over I text the hubby and check on his day. We never go a day without texting each other. I am more in love with him everyday :)

I spend the rest of my afternoon finalizing paperwork and organizing client files. I make sure all of my appointments are scheduled for the following week and reminders have been sent.

4:00pm: I leave the office and head out to school! I am scheduled to graduate in May with a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. I'm more than ready for graduation!

4:30pm: Career Development class...we learn about career interest inventories and Holland Codes.

6:15pm: A school mixer with the Rehabilitation Counseling and Music Therapy students. This is an out of the ordinary event. We mix, mingle and are served cheese, crackers, fruit, beer and wine. I can't shake the uneasy feeling that I should not drink alcohol in between classes. It's weird. But I have a glass of wine and a beer while I mix and mingle.

7:30pm: Internship Class...Tonight we are video taping mock counseling sessions. I meet up with my partner and we take turns playing counselor and client. Each session is only 12 minutes, but I am nervous about being taped. There are four students in my internship class. We watch all four 12 minute sessions. I take note that I need to learn to have better posture and that I really should begin working out again.

9:49pm: I pull up in front of my house. It feels good to be home! I picked up a banana for dinner. Watching the video of myself totally killed my appetite. I foresee this won't last long and my regular appetite will be back tomorrow. I get to spend about 10 minutes with my son before he's off to bed. That's probably what I dislike most about late school nights. Even if we aren't doing anything productive, I like just being at home with my family.

11:00pm: My husband is actually ready for bed before I am (which never happens). He is a night owl and loves to stay up late. I drift off to sleep after vegging out to QVC. I just love that channel. It's on right now as I right this post. Rick is selling computers.

Well, that's my day! I'm so happy everyday isn't this long. I know putting in the hours and effort will be worth it, so I'll keep on keeping on until I own my evenings again!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Trending: The Writer's Block Rescue and Ronan Farrow

Sometimes...only sometimes...I don't have a recent craft to display or recipe to share. Sometimes...I am fresh out of "words of wisdom" and cleaver anecdotes. Sometimes...I know I want to blog about something, I just don't know what.

This happened to me today. True story. Like 30 minutes ago.

So I thought to myself, "why not see what's trending and write something about that? Gosh Michelle, you are so smart. And I bet you are the first blogger ever to think of this idea. Your post is going to get a million views!"

I am very confident I am not the first blogger to think of this. Just as I was not the first blogger to make a holiday wreath or use owls in Christmas decor. But my hope is that this post will reach someone who has not heard this idea and to help spark a little creative writing.

  • How to I find what's trending?

Once you find what's trending, write about it. For example, the top trend on Google Trends this evening was Ronan Farrow. I have no idea who that is. Who is Ronan Farrow?

Ronan Farrow is a human rights activist. I thought he was a movie star. Now I am embarrassed. According to his Wikipedia Page, he is also a freelance journalist, lawyer and government official. And he looks pretty handsome. 

He has actually lived quite an amazing life. I highly recommend checking out his page and learning more about him. He was a child prodigy and went to Yale University at age 15. He is trending today due to talks of hosting an MSNBC show. So interesting! 

In conclusion, I hope this blog post has helped at least one person with the dreaded blogger writer's block. Thanks for reading! 

Information on trending gathered from Make Use Of.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spicy Jalapeno Orzo

I will not lie to you guys.

Tonight I suffered from a "make whatever is in the pantry" dinner.

You know what I am talking about. When you haven't been to the grocery store...don't feel like going...refuse to get fast food...would rather eat all carbs than spend $40 on pizza delivery?

So what was on the menu tonight? A box of macaroni and cheese, reheated pretzel buns and what turned out to be excellent orzo.

I was so impressed with this orzo, I kept telling my husband to try it all night...until he finally did...and he loved it. Enough about how I am too lazy to go to the store. On to the recipe!

Spicy Jalapeno Orzo

2 Tablespoons Oil (olive, vegetable, whatever)
Quarter of a white Onion, chopped
Half of a Jalapeno, chopped (more if you can take the heat)
2 1/2 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Cup Orzo
Salt and Pepper (I use a lot, but this is all up to you)

Heat up your skillet: medium heat.
Saute the onion and jalapeno in the oil for about 5 minutes or until there is some color on the veggies.
Salt and pepper your veggies.
Pour in the chicken broth, bring to a boil.
Add the orzo. Salt and pepper. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Stir it, let it set for a few minutes and eat it up!

If your orzo starts to look a little dry, add a dash more chicken broth. If your orzo is a little soupy, simmer a bit longer.

My cooking is not an exact science, I wish it were so that I could give you amazing instructions. 

I hope you enjoy this! I sure did!

What's the weirdest "make whatever is in the pantry" dinner you have ever made?

Life, Lily Pads and Bad Blogging

What makes a "bad" blogger? 

A blogger who doesn't post for three months? Or a blogger who lets their domain expire?

I think I have been a "bad" blogger.

The truth of it is, my life has been a bit of a whirlwind during the past few months. I went through a job transition, which has been turning out to be fabulous. I have learned the meaning of "drained" and "overwhelmed". I spent my summer balancing graduate school, old job, new job and always: my family. The truth of it is, many nights I come home and can barely muster up the energy to turn on QVC before bed.

I love blogging. I love creating things. I love writing. I love the blogging world. I love link parties. I love meeting new bloggers. I love comments. I love social media. I love photographs.

I hope to be a better blogger over the next few months. As always, thanks for reading: blogs are happier when they have readers :)

Have you ever been a "bad" blogger?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Imagine Your Perfect Day

This post was inspired by an exercise I found at Silly Grrl Design and Circus. Her website is truly amazing! Check out the post that inspired the one you are about to read, The Escape: Imagine Your Perfect Day.

My Perfect Day...

I wake up with the sunshine, no alarm clocks.
I make coffee and go to morning yoga or Pilates.
I come home, shower, get dressed for the day.

I go to my shop (Columbia Upcycle), where I am surrounded by creativity. I spend my day looking at the treasures customers bring in for exchanges. I get to make unique things, write tutorials and blog about it. I get to meet people who share a love for things that are vintage and a love for crafting. I am always on my own time. There is no boss to correct my work. There is no one to report to. I feel a sense of calm and excitement. There is no stress. There are no deadlines. I play music all day and sing along in my store. I make enough money to pay all of my bills on time. I have enough money for my family to take vacations. I don't have to borrow money from others just to make it to my next paycheck. My family is happy.

I come home to my husband, our son and our crazy Chiweenies (Ok, sometimes the puppies spend the day at the shop with me). We have healthy meals and a clean house. We all talk about how great our days were. We are all happy.

In the future there are more children, who spend the day at the shop with me until they go off to pre-school. I always make my own schedule, so I never miss a field trip or class party. I will never again drive an hour or more to work. My shop is close to the kids' schools and to our home.

Ahh, what a perfect day!

I have to be honest, when I first starting writing this post, I had every minute of the day planned out. For example: "8am: wake up, 9am-10am: yoga, 10am-10:30am: breakfast". I wrote out my whole day and then I said "NO". This is exactly the kind of life I am trying to escape. I do not want every moment of my day scheduled. I do like some structure, but the anxiety of trying to meet a deadline every half hour has taken its toll on me.

So, this is my perfect day. What's yours?

Three Personal Qualities Needed to Thrive During the Start Up of a Small Business

Starting a small business is hard work! 

Starting a small business 120 miles from where you live is even harder work!

Spending everyday doing something you love...worth all of the hard work!

I have identified three personal qualities needed to thrive during the start up of a small business:

  • Patience: Extraordinary things take time and hard work, it won't happen over night. I try to be patient and enjoy the little things about starting a business (like designing business cards and organizing inventory). It is important to enjoy every step in the process, sit back, and take a deep breath. 

  • Faith in Yourself: You are awesome. You are smart. You have an amazing plan. You can do this. No one is a harsher critic on my work than I am, but this time, the most important person on my team is myself. This is my dream, this is my goal. If I am not believing in myself 100%, it will be hard for others to do the same. 

  • Determination: Keep on keeping on. Marketing, social networking, event planning...every little step is one step closer to your goal. It all matters. Just because something did not go as well as you planned doesn't mean it was not a success. Every person who knows about your business matters. Every business card you hand out matters. Every "like" on Facebook matters. Smile. You will be a success. 

I am always looking for small business tips. Do you have any helpful tips or links? I would love to hear from you! 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

My Business Adventure: Columbia Upcycle

Sometimes we feel stuck. We have all of these dreams and ideas and never do anything about them. I made a decision to stop complaining and to start doing something about it. For a while I have thought about opening a shop of some sorts. I love thrift stores and craft stores. We have a place in St. Louis called The Upcycle Exchange, which is a crafting materials exchange shop. Ever since my first visit there (over a year ago) I have thought how wonderful it would be to own a shop like that.

I wrote a piece for about eco-friendly shops and featured The Upcycle Exchange (you can read the article here). The more I learned about the business, the more I loved the idea of opening a store. So I took some time and thought about my obstacles and how I could overcome them. Then I contacted the business owner and got started.

Here's how the store works: It is an arts and crafts materials exchange and drop off shop. Customers get store credit for unwanted crafting items, can drop off things that are taking up space and can come in just to purchase items. The store has pay-as-you-wish pricing, with an average amount consumers usually pay per amount of items purchased.

I am starting out small, running the business as a pop-up shop at events. I don't have the money to open up a storefront, yet, but that is the hope within the next year or so. I have learned a lot about the logistics of opening a small business and I have a lot of faith in myself that I can do this. Only time will tell how successful I will be, but I know I am taking a step in the right direction!

Come visit the business website at:, and follow the shop on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Science Class Rap: I Like Big Rocks

I have to take a moment to share the creativity of my son, Jasen (or as we like to call him, "Rhyme Master J"). This is the rap he wrote for science class this week. It's a remix of "Baby Got Back".

I like Big Rocks
by Jasen Melville

I like big rocks and I cannot lie
No others can deny
There’s metamorphosis, sedimentary and igneous

Metamorphic rocks form from underground, so give me a pound
Sedimentary rocks form from layers, but they aint no football playas
Igneous rock forms from magma, but it aint my mama
That’s how the rocks form, so stay in your dorm
And get ready for the brain storm

I like big rocks and I cannot lie
No others can deny
There’s metamorphosis, sedimentary and igneous

Metamorphic rock forms in high pressure and a really high temperature
Sedimentary rock forms from sediment and it could use a new apartment
Igneous rock forms from cooling lava, but it’s hotter than a cup of java

And that’s my song; it’s cooler than the emperor’s gong
This song is better than honey, plus it’s a little funny Photo Extras: Luna Lounge

Check out my article on a fantastic bar in south St. Louis! If you love friendly people and St. Louis style food, this is the place to go!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Husband's Healthy Pizza

My husband Nathan made this for me last night and it was sooo good! He is being so supportive of my healthy eating, I just love him! :)


1 Spinach soft tortilla
1 C Spinach leaves
1 Can of diced tomatoes (we didn't have any fresh ones handy, we used the kind mixed with oregano, basil and garlic)
1 C Mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly oil your cast iron skillet with olive oil (or anything so that it won't stick). Place the tortilla in the skillet. Cover with spinach leaves, tomatoes and cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until your cheese is melted how you like. Cut it like a delicious, veggie pizza!

Health Information:

Tortilla: 210 Calories, 4.5 g of Fat
Cheese: 120 Calories, 9 g of Fat
Spinach: 20 Calories, 0 g of Fat {Way to go Spinach!}
Canned Tomatoes: 140 Calories, 1.5 g of Fat

Total: 490 Calories, 15 g of Fat

This will vary depending on what type of ingredients you use. I think next time I might try and cut more calories by using fresh tomatoes and a different type of tortilla. Happy Cooking!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Holy Blogging! It's been one year!

I have to admit, the creation of Pinterest led to my blogging. It was about one year ago when my sister introduced me to the site, and I spent hours looking at projects and recipes. I looked at all of the cool and creative blogs these pins came from and I thought, "I want one of those too!". 

I promise you that there are much better blogs out there than mine. Blogs with better photos, higher quality posts, better page organization and more frequent posting, but I didn't start this blog to be the best. I started this blog to share ideas with people and because honestly, I love when people tell me that the stuff I create looks awesome or that I have good ideas. The attention does feel amazing! 

I can't even begin to tell you how much I have learned about blogging in the past year! I have learned to network with other bloggers, I have learned blog promotion, HTML coding and much more about photo editing than I ever expected to. I have used programs that I had never heard of before (Rafflecopter, InLinkz) or for that matter, I never knew they existed. I am proud that I taught myself these skills that are sure to be beneficial in other aspects of my life as well. 

I have made some great blogger friends and received incredibly valuable advice from other bloggers. I have also seen the nasty and mean side of blogging, where people have made fun of my projects or tried to virtually bully some of my blogger friends. It is a learning experience on how to ignore hurtful comments and grow thicker skin. 

I am amazed everyday to look at my blog and how far it has come. My heart is happy when I see 100 page views per day on my stats (when I first started I would be so psyched about 10 per week). I can't believe sometimes that people are actually out there, reading what I write. I have gotten opportunities to do things that are so cool and fun (like product reviews or help host giveaways). This little blog has opened up a whole new passion for me. 

So, thank you. YOU. Whoever is reading this. Without people reading this little blog of mine, it just wouldn't be the amazing thing it has become. I am very grateful! 

Cheers to 1 year and many more!

Spring Product Review for eShakti!

I am so happy to do this Spring product review for eShakti! Here are a few bullet points about what I love from this company:

  • Super Friendly
  • Fast Shipping
  • Great Products
  • Custom Sizing!
This time around I ordered custom sizing, which worked out great! I was a little nervous because I had never had anything besides my wedding dress custom sized. The website was so helpful in determining how to do correct measurements. 

I love my dress! I wore this to my Nana's funeral (I know, kind of a downer), but I also wore this on Easter (which is when I took the photos). In conclusion, the dress is very versatile :) and it has pockets, which I always love! 

On to the photos...

Web address:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Positive Trading Cards! {Creative Therapy Idea}

This project was SO fun, my girls in my 8th grade group begged me to do it again. They loved using all of the different art supplies and getting to be creative. I even had one student ask me if I got paid to do this. I loved that comment :)

Positive Trading Cards:

The purpose of this activity is to increase positive thinking among students. 


A deck of playing cards (I bought mine at Dollar Tree)
Various Art Supplies:
          Scrapbook paper, paints, old magazines, scissors, glue, sparkles (whatever you can find!)


I told the girls we would be making positive trading cards. The only guideline was that they needed to create something positive on the cards, it could be a positive quality or something that inspires them. I asked them to make cards for themselves and at least one to give to another person. 

I gave the girls a few playing cards and told them they could make them over however they would like. I found that using glue sticks and scrap book paper did work best. The painting was a little challenging with the texture of the cards.

One thing I loved about this activity was the time we spent talking while they were creating their cards. It was an open, informal dialogue and I got to know a lot about the girls. We turned on music, talked and had fun creating pretty things. 

This lasted 2 group sessions. I asked the girls to present their cards at the end of the last session. 


This activity was inspired by something I found on Pinterest, here is the link!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

4 Ingredient Brownie Cookies...Yum!

Are they brownies or cookies? It definitely does not matter! I thought up this recipe this evening while we were snowed in. They are SO good! My husband actually said he was mad at me because they tasted so great ;)

How to make them:

Pouch of brownie mix (I used Everday Essentials)
Instant Chocolate Pudding
1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix together the pouch of brownie mix and chocolate pudding mix. Add the egg and vegetable oil. Stir with a spoon until batter is moist, not runny.

Roll into little balls, place on cookie sheet.

Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees.

Makes about 15 cookies, depending on size. Enjoy!

 Article Extras!

I had several articles published this past week, I am excited! I love writing for and seeing my work published. Here are the links to my articles and some additional photos.

The Old Dutch Hotel and Tavern in Washington, MO

Nothing Fancy Cafe in Union, MO

Lewis Cafe in St. Clair, MO

Three 3am Bars in St. Louis

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Creative Therapy: What do healthy relationships look like?

This has been one of my favorite activities to do with my girls group! It is so interesting to see what kinds of things the girls use to define a "healthy relationship".

I start out the group by talking about healthy relationships.

  • What do you look for in a relationship? 
  • What does your ideal or "dream" relationship look like? 
  • What kinds of qualities will this person have? 
  • Is there anything you don't want in a relationship?
After a short discussion, the girls got to work on their collages. I gave them some old magazines, canvases, scissors and glue. 

Here are some of the finished products:

Each girl got to present her collage to the group. It sparked a lot of discussion. 

We discussed things they would want their significant other to do for them, such as cook, clean or work hard. We discussed the topic of presents and gifts. We discussed physical qualities and physical affection.

The girls in my groups always amaze me with their creativity and ideas. This was definitely a fun project! 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Grief and Loss: This is not a group.

I have posted before about the grief and loss groups I facilitate at work. I run four groups on Mondays and 1 group on Thursdays. I have done this every week since November. So you would think I have become an expert on this, right?

Not exactly.

It is a whole new ball game when it's personal. I have been through loss before. One of the hardest times in my life was when my son's father passed away in 2006. It was sad and tragic. I had a very hard time coping. My son was only five at the time, so I dealt with my own loss more than his. I grieved over the future he would never have with his dad.

Now, my Nana is going to pass away soon. She is older (in her 70's) and has lived a wonderful life. My son is now twelve and having a very hard time dealing with this. I knew he would be sad, but I didn't think this would impact him as much as it has. No amount of knowledge or preparation can ready someone to see their child truly in such a state of sadness.

This must be one of the hardest parts of being a mother. I think I am saying all of the "right" things. I have officially gone "counselor" on him. I am spending more time with him, telling him about death, telling him it is ok to be sad, and trying to make him laugh. But there is nothing I can do to make him feel better.

I know this is a part of being a mother, but that doesn't make it any easier. I know with time he will be ok. The pain lessens and sadness will not be there everyday. It's just waiting for this time to be over that is the hardest. Seeing him sad multiplies my sadness by a million.

I think sometimes the stars align just right to fill us with sadness before moving on to a better time.

One of my co-workers recently passed away (last week). He was only 61. When I was younger, that was ancient to me, but now, it seems way too young. He was a wonderful man and helped so many people. The sadness I feel for his family is overwhelming.

I am trying to reach into my mind for all of the words of "wisdom" I had to offer my students during their time of grief. I think what helped them most was not the art, not the games and not the activities. I think it was just being with each other and knowing they weren't alone.

Everyone dies. We teach our children to tie their shoes, do their chores and study hard. As well we must teach them about death and how to lose someone we love.

Books to Movies: What I'm Reading

I love to read. Sometimes. Other times I get caught up in life and don't have the time or motivation. I have found a new reading hobby: Reading books that will be made into movies. I love the idea of reading a story and then seeing it come to life. Is it what I imagined in my mind? How is the story different?

In 2013, I would like to read more books. I forgot how a book can take you to a whole different world, it's like your mind is on a mini vacation. Not to mention, it does set a good example for my 12 year old to see Mom reading instead of Facebooking or Pinteresting.

Here is what I have read over the past few weeks:

Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks
I saw the movie and I loved it as well!

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
The movie was quite different than the book, but I equally enjoyed them both!

I am currently reading Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
I can't wait to see the movie!

Any suggestions for me on books that will be made into movies this year?


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