Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview withMicheleVecchitto. Michele is a friendly and kind woman who has a talent for writing wonderful poetry and engaging stories. I have been following her for a couple of years now, so I hope you will like her writing as much as I do. You can visit her blog here: Steps Times Two – Love and Life . . . The Second Time Around.
1. Hi Michele, Please Tell Us About Where You’re From?
I live in Niantic. It’s a lovely town on the Connecticut shoreline that somehow manages to hold on to the charm of days gone by while still offering all the conveniences I might need.
One of the many treasures in Niantic is a used bookstore calledThe Book Barn.It now has four or five satellite locations, but the main store is a complex which includes a large barn and several quirky, smaller buildings, each overflowing with books devoted to a particular genre. The few resident cats and some goats, add to its unique vibe. It’s a place to spend the day and get lost in books. Niantic also recently opened a new boardwalk along the beach that offers fantastic views and a place to meet neighbors.
2. Can You Tell Us More About Yourself, Your Everyday Life?
I’m the second of four sisters. My family is especially close and the fifteen children my sisters and I have between behave more like siblings than cousins. My parents are definitely the foundation of our lives. I love everything about belonging to a large family – the support, the laughter, the chaos, and the history we create.
My three children are young adults, busy finding their place in the world. In some ways, they could not be more different from one another, but they remain close. I’m enjoying watching them evolve into the adults they will become. I’m proud of the choices they’ve made and the direction each of them is following in life.
I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life.My husband and I have been married just over five years. Markis an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.
Our personalities are different but we complement each other well. We are each other’s top priority and do everything we can to support each other in our many endeavors. We’ve intertwined our families and I feel blessed to have his three strong, caring, and talented children in my life as well. They, along with their families, are a vital part of my life.
On a professional level, I teach middle school Literature and Language Arts. I love working with students of this age. It’s my favorite age group of kids. I’ve taught math and science and enjoy teaching each subject, but I’m most thrilled to spend my days sharing Literature with my classes. Preteens and teens this age are discovering their voice and it’s exciting to see the world through their eyes.
Additionally, I work as a freelance editor. I’m working with an audio book company and enjoy the exposure to books I might not otherwise read.
“I’ve been exceptionally lucky to find a man who provides the perfect balance to my life. My husband and I have been married just over five years. Mark is an Executive Chef and extremely creative in his own way.” – Michele Vecchitto
3. When Did You First Start Writing and Blogging?
I started my blog in 2014 as a way of keeping myself disciplined about writing, but I’ve always been a writer. I kept journals as a teenager and still have poems I wrote for a memorable class in high school.
My teacher, Ms. Jordan, helped me discover my voice and probably inspired me to become a teacher. I was a stay at home mom for fifteen-years, and when my children were in school, I’d spend eight or more hours a day writing. I took writing classes and completed two novels and a few children’s books.
When I divorced in 2007 and returned to work full time, I lost some of my dedication to the craft. Steps Times Two is my blog and remedy to not being able to write all day anymore.
4. What Does Writing and Blogging Mean To You? Why Do You Write?
I’ve always been a writer as mentioned earlier. I many of my stories and poems from younger days and used to write tales for my kids, nieces, and nephews.
I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.
Beyond these meanings, I love the way writing connects people. I am so excited to be able to talk with people from all over the world about subjects I have brought up or someone else has written about. It sounds sappy, but I believe people are more alike than different and we all have something to share. I am a big fan of the community writing fosters between writers and readers (etc).
“I find if I have an idea for a poem or a story, it screams in my head until I write it down. It’s a great way to discover new ways of thinking about situations or work through issues which lurk beneath the surface. There were times, when I was going through my divorce, writing preserved my sanity.” – Michelle Vecchitto
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Write?
Sometimes motivation comes from pure emotion. I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of it’s own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.
Inspiration for me can come from anywhere:a look between two people; a snippet of conversation I overhear; the expression on someone’s face when they don’t notice I’m looking; and/or an unexpected situation or some mundane activity we all experience. Music also inspires me. My playlist has a bit of everything on it and I love to hit play and let my mind drift. Sometimes I’ll find something to write about immediately and other times, I have to file an idea away and let it resurface when it’s ready.
As well, I’m a huge fan of writing prompts and blogging events. It’s a terrific way to stay involved in the writing community and interact with other people. I love to follow and read what other people are writing because each piece leaves me with something to think about and offers a varied perspective to consider. Prompts for me are similar to a puzzle. Each of us figures out how to put the pieces together in a different way to create authentic images. It’s fun when someone has a completely unique take on the same prompt.
6. Is There A Time Of Day You Prefer to Write?
I prefer to write in the mornings, although, it’s not always possible. During the week, I will write when I come home from teaching school. When I was a stay-at-home mom, I’d write from the time the kids went to school until they came home. I miss those days! I’m hoping to stay home next year and write full time.
“I do some my best writing when I am out of my mind angry or excited about something or someone. I find the best writes are the ones in which I completely lose myself and emerge after I’ve released all my demons on the page. It’s a purge of excess energy which takes on a life of its own. Surrendering to the moment can lead to exciting results.” – Michele Vecchitto
7. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects?
I have my blog which I try to work on each day. I also post on Poet’s Corner on WordPress and do my best to keep up. I am working on a historical fiction novel based on my husband’s grandfather who escaped from Poland in the early 1900’s. I’m enjoying the research portion of this novel greatly. In addition, I recently cleaned up a YA novel I wrote about ten-years ago. My romance novel also needs editing and I have two short stories to finish.
My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!
8. Can You Tell Us About What Your Publishing Process Has Been for Some of Your Writing?
I’ve had poems published in anthologies and in places like The Reverie Journal. I have self-published two volumes of poetry which can be found on Amazon. I’m considering adding a third volume but I think my next push will be seeking a publisher for a novel.
Years ago, when I had more time, I was organized about sending my work out. I had a contract with Blue Mountain Arts and several ‘good rejections’ from publishing houses. I took classes and attended conferences. I think networking is a huge part of the publishing process and hope to get back to it in the next year.
I’ve been invited to participate in the Austin International Poetry Festival next April. Eight of my poems will be included in their anthology and I plan to travel to the event to do some readings.
“My biggest hope for writing projects is finding time to submit projects again and become more involved in responding to all the blog posts I read. Responding to blog posts is a full time job in itself!” – Michele Vecchitto
9. Are You Able to Describe Your Writing Process To Us?
My writing process varies, depending on the type of project I’m working on, but it always includes music. I have a million playlists and a great pair of headphones.
The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.If I’m working on a poem, I jot ideas or prompts on post-it notes and arrange them around my writing space.
If I’m working on a formal piece, I’ll have notes on rhyme schemes and various types of poetry. After I write, I’ll look for photos to accompany what I’ve written and then decide on a title. My titles always happen last.
If I’m working on a novel or short story, the music part is the same, but I’ll have notes on my bulletin board or in folders which I can flip through. I also send rough drafts to my sister Maureen. She’s read everything I’ve ever written and offers me honest feedback. She’ll tell me what works for her as a reader and what doesn’t, then I go back and edit.
I set my larger pieces aside, sometimes for days but often for months, and then return to them so I can see them with fresh eyes. My YA book has been through three major revisions already and I think it’s almost ready to send out.
11. Do You Prefer Certain Areas of Writing or Reading? Any Genres In Particular?
I’m not sure you can be a writer without being a reader. I love both equally and will read almost anything. I like to balance my writing with quick, light reads and books which require more concentration. I’m a big non-fiction reader. It must be the teacher in me, but there’s never too much knowledge to learn. I always want to discover new things.
My own writing style has surprised me at times. My YA book is a fantasy novel which is something I’ve never followed, however; a fantasy story was the tale waiting to be told when I tackled the YA book project.
I must confess, I do enjoy writing darker, more provocative pieces. There’s such power there. I enjoy inspirational pieces as well.Both of these kinds of writing have their place.
“The first thing I do is put my headphones on and blast the music so I can disappear from the world around me.” – Michele Vecchitto
12. Do You Have Any Advice For Other Writers or Anything Else You Would Like To Add?
I find the more I write, the better I get. It’s a commitment and like any other craft, needs to be nurtured so, keep writing.
I’ve also started aFacebookpage and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitterhas been a great resource for finding writing communities and sharing information for me as well.
13. Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs?
I’m not sure I have favorites. I love to read blogs of all styles and content. A friend of mine started a blog in which she combines book reviews and running calledBelle of the Book. It’s fun to follow a blog when you know the writer personally. If the writing is good I want to read it.
14. Here is A Piece of Michele’s Writing She Has Shared:
Michele says about “Deerfield’s Ghost:” “I love this one because it almost wrote itself. When I came to the point when I narrowed in on a subject, I googled “massacre” to find a specific date to use and came across a list of victims from the Deerfield massacre of 1704. The funny thing is, it included the names and ages of people I had included in my poem.”
More Links To Michele’s Blog Pieces:
Ray holds special meaning for me because it was written for a dear friend who passed away. Reading it at his funeral was the first time I’d read my poetry in public and I feel grateful I had a chance to honor him in this way.
Small Town Hens is an example of a poem I wrote after I witnessed a situation that made my blood boil. It makes me chuckle now because it captured my disgust at poor behavior.
Light of Love was written after the nightclub attack in Orlando. I will sometimes respond to current events in poetry. This incident demanded a response.
The Choice and Metamorphosis are two old ones that I wrote during very difficult times. I try to live my life as described in “The Choice”and “Metamorphosis” speaks to the ability to persevere in even the darkest of times.
Thanks to Michele for thoroughly and thoughtfully answering the interview questions. I wish her much luck with her writing and future endeavours. Here is the link to her blogone more time: Steps Times Two.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s interview. If you would like to share and answer interview questions on writing and blogging of any kind, feel free to reach-out to me on my contact page.See you in two-weeks!
Good Afternoon everyone. I’m back with some of my favourite beauty products I’ve tried since my Fall Beauty Haul. I hope you like the products and find some you can incorporate into your own beauty routine.
This wasn’t a product I went out and bought, but I received the full-sized product with a coupon code from Sephora. Its a product part of Benefit’s recently revamped brow line since brows have become a big deal these past two-years where makeup is concerned.
I haven’t used this product long, only a week, but I wanted to include it in the Beauty Haul. So far I enjoy the product and it makes my brows feel soft. You don’t have to wear other brow products on top of it. If you want, you can wear Browvo alone. Basically, Browvo’s a pen and you squeeze some of the conditioning product out. There is a soft rubber comb you can use to brush it on your eyebrows.
The biggest feature I think of this is product, is that it is conditioning so if you have sparse brows, this makes them appear “fuller, thicker, and healthier.” Browvo is a “nutrient rich” conditioning formula with “keratin” and “soy proteins.” These ingredients are known to help brows appear fuller.
For women who have either over-plucked their own brows or gone to places to have their brows waxed and had them waxed and shaped too thin for a long time, Browvo is fantastic product for you to try out. Also if you find the pencil or gel you are filling in your brows with doesn’t last, Browvo is a brow primer and will aid you in keeping your brow makeup in place.
My brows have always been on the fuller side so even though my brows feel nice when I put Browvo on, it’s not a product I would purchase because I don’t think its a product marketed to me but to women who have sparser brows. If I needed primer on my brows I would use my usual face primer which is POREfessional primer from Benefit.
On a different makeup order, I received a full-sized sample of Benefit’s of ka-Brow. I’ve been using it a few weeks and its a great product actually. Ka-Brow is a cream gel product you use to fill in your eyebrows, instead of a pencil or other brow products. I’ve never used a gel product on my eyebrows, so I was eager to try ka-Brow out.
The lid comes of this product and you pull off the brush as well, to dip it into the brow gel container which is on the bottom of the product as you can see. It can be difficult to tell at first, how much of the gel you need to use to fill in your eyebrows. I found a little ka-Brow goes a long way. The brush is tiny and it’s easy to fill in your brow more naturally, with tiny strokes. Or to make your brows look more defined by using thicker swipes of ka-Brow on your eye brows.
The product promises to “fill,” “sculpt,” and “define brows.” You can build it from a “natural” look to a more “dramatic” one quite easily with ka-Brow as I mentioned. Ka-brow is also Waterproof and lasts 24 Hours.
I had never considered using a gel product such as ka-Brow to fill in my brows.I am quite happy to use a brow pencil which is soft but not too soft. I find despite using ka-Brow, I require Benefit’s blond brow gel over top to set the product.
I’m undecided about using ka-Brow over a pencil such as an Anastasia Brow Pencil I’d been using before trying this product. Ka-Brow can accidentally be put on quite too thick and I don’t know how long it lasts compared to a brow pencil. A good brow pencil such as one from Anastasia, lasts me three-months. So I’ll see if this product lasts another couple of months.
There is nothing wrong with ka-Brow. It works well, and I chose the shade o1 Platinum for blonds and the colour is perfect; however, it’s up to you what products you prefer to use on your eyebrows and how much you can afford to spend on a brow product for how long it lasts. I haven’t decided if I like this product enough to buy it again.
I admit, I’m a mascara junky. Out of all the products I use, mascara is the one I change the most often. My last one from Make Up Forever, I ended up loving in the end, except that the brush which covered every tiny lash, made mascara go all over my eye area and the mascara didn’t appear to have such a volumizing effect as I was hoping for. So for over top, I bought this L’Oreal mascara from Shoppers Drug Mart and it worked extremely well to use over top the Make Up Forever Mascara and fill out my eyelashes.
I find myself consistently going back to L’Orealmascaras because they reliably, time and again, have well priced mascaras which do the same job as most mascaras in the $30.oo to $40.00 range.
For L’Oreal you are only paying around $10 CAN for their mascara. It’s a shame when you buy an expensive mascara and hate it. But if you don’t like a cheaper mascara it isn’t such a big deal if it doesn’t work out. The only difference I can say between say L’Orealmascaras and expensive mascaras such as Dior, is that mascaras such as Dior, have fantastic black or brown colour pigment.
However, I do tend to receive many beauty samples, especially in mascara. I will try out a new mascaras a sample from a more expensive brand, and put the L’Oreal over top to set a non-waterproof mascara (because it runs under my eyes) and to add a little extra volume if needed. I completely recommend this L’Oreal mascara and many other kinds of L’Orealmascara, as long as the mascara is waterproolipf.
Lately, I find myself becoming more interested in lip products.For most of my twenties, lip gloss or lipstick in a light pink was fine for going out or during the day. Now I find I enjoy wearing a bit of colour on my lips because you can wear a bold lip and wear hardly any other makeup than a bit of mascara, eyeliner, and concealer.
Usually, I like to wear makeup but every once and a while, if I’m just running quick errands and than going home, I don’t feel like putting all the effort into doing my full makeup routine. My pet peeve about lipsticks and glosses is in a way, the same way I feel about mascaras: I hate when I buy a more expensive lipstick or gloss and it comes off right away, the first time you have a glass of water. Also, I hate that many lip glosses can be sticky.
This is not the case with Make Up Forever’s Artist Plexi-Gloss. It’s super amazing stuff and you can buy it many colours in a high shine finish or in a shimmer finish. The colour I bought was a Fuchsia Pink and it’s amazing. I’m not huge on bright red lipstick as you know, but this is my trade off. I love wearing this bright shade some days, and it stays on incredibly well through drinking, eating, and whatever else you’re doing. I’m so pleased by how long the colour lasts.
Besides the brilliant colours this Artist Plexi-Gloss has an artist designed foam applicator (a”superflex” tip) which is amazing for applying the gloss and having “precision and control,” while doing it. As well, I enjoy that the Plexi-Gloss is shiny but not super shiny such as many sticky lip glosses or moisturizing lipsticks. Plexi-Gloss is more akin to lipstick with shine, the colour is so intense. I highly recommend this lip product; it is most certainly worth the $24.00 CAN.
I’ve hardly ever had a problem with dry skin in my entire life. My problem has always been oily skin. Being a couple of years into my thirties, I find my skin is changing a bit. It has become more dry. The chilly -25 degrees Celsius weather we are experiencing in Alberta, Canada isn’t helping my dry skin either.
Having had troubles with many skin products in the past, I’m always hesitant about different face masks and other brands of skincare. But I’ve been so pleased with a newer brand to Sephora called Laneige. I’ve tried a couple small one or two day samples of their products. But also with my Sephora points, bought a large sample of Laneige’s Multiberry Yogurt Repairing Mask.
It smells wonderful, a bit as yogurt of course, but also as strawberries. The sample I received which was (0.6 fl.oz), lasted two-months and I’ve been used this moisturizing mask every two-days as directed. This Yogurt Repairing Mask is put it on after using your toner. You leave the mask on for five to ten minutes and then gently rinse it off your face with lukewarm water. After you can apply any other creams or your moisturizers you use to your face.
I wake the next morning after using this Yogurt Repairing Mask and my skin feels soft and hydrated. It’s not dry as my skin has often been feeling lately. I did go and purchase this from Sephora, it was highly worth it.
Laneige’s Multiberry Yogurt Repairing Mask delivers “nutrition” and “antioxidants” deep into skin. It is formulated to “remove dead skin” from the surface of your face. Its unique “fermented yogurt” formula provides “anti-irritation” benefits to the skin. Not to mention, I’ve never once broken out after using this mask the next day or any days after. I’m excited to maybe try other products from Laneige’s skin care line. I most definitively recommend this mask and I think for how long the product lasts, the price is reasonable.
Please stay tuned for Part Two of my Winter 2016/2017 Beauty Haul!