Interview With Michele Vecchitto


Hi everyone! Wonderful to see you again for this biweekly interview with Michele Vecchitto. 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.


miichelle-interview-4
Credit: Michele Vicchetto

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 called The 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. Mark is 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


michele-interview-1
Credit: Michele 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


michelle-interview-3
Credit: Michele Vecchtto

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


michelle-interview-5
Credit: 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 a Facebook page and hope to add more writing related posts in addition to my own poems. Twitter has 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 called Belle 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:

“Deerfield’s Ghosts”

By Michele Vecchitto

deerfield
photo: Atlas Obscura

Wandered into a cemetery

surrounded by a stone wall

hidden in the deep wood

The cold winter’s wind

calling the shadows and

whispering my name

Air weighted with sadness

as tombs of sorrow beckoned

like a house so empty

I stood alone, waiting

as voices of the lost

washed me in time’s tempest

My hands embraced each soul

as I traced those crumbling stones

placed long ago with care

Overcome with tears

as I read of Martha. loving daughter

a life lived five short years

And her mother, wife of John

who shared the same last day

in another time, another place

Night fell and mockingbirds

resumed their evening song, playing chords

that matched a funeral march

Chilled to the bone and wearied

I sank to my knees beside a family plot, crying

Tell me where hope lives

Awareness that each stone was marked

with that date, February 29, 1704,

came slowly, deliberately

Echoes of war drums rang

through the silence as fear

electrified the hallowed space

The massacre of yesterday

forgotten as time moved on

still hosts ghosts of the innocent

Every once and awhile

the lost invite someone back

to share their story

And so I did


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 blog one 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!


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

Advertisements

Part 1: February to May Beauty Haul 2016 – For Eyes #everydayinspiration


Happy May Long Weekend! I haven’t had a beauty post in a long while.

These products I’ve picked up are from February to the present month of May. I didn’t necessarily buy all these products at Sephora, but it is  easier to search for them all on the Sephora website. As I’ve mentioned, I often buy some of my makeup and skincare at Shoppers Drug Mart or at Beauty Boutique Online, but they do not always carry all the products and brands I use.

This is Part 1 of a beauty haul. I have a second part coming soon with products unrelated to the eyes. Also, a note, I’m using this post to fulfill a Writing 101 prompt to critique something; I’m certainly critiquing these eye makeup products and tools.


 

1. NARS – Dual Intensity Eye Shadow in Andromeda – (www.sephora.ca) – $33.00 CAN

Beauty - NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadow in Andromeda 33.00
NARS Dual Intensity Eye Shadow in Andromeda -Colour appears less pink than it is. (www.sephora.ca)

I’m fond of NARS blushes and eye shadows because they have fantastic colour pigment. Years ago, I had bought a NARS palette with eye shadows and blush included, but I have never used NARS eyeshadow since I used up that pallete. I was searching for a lighter coloured eyeshadow with a bit of sparkle and shine to it when I saw this NARS shadow at Sephora. The colour Andromeda is perfect for highlighting your brow bone or the corner of your eye. It also is a beautiful colour to wear all over your eyelid if you are looking for a colour to make your eyes pop. Darker colours can make eyes appear smaller (even though darker shadow look lovely in an ombre or smokey eye). Another reason I like Andromeda is because in other eyeshadow palettes I’ve purchased, I always run out of the lightest colours first. My skin is pale so extremely dark colours don’t often suit me unless I’m going out at night but even then, I can only use a bit for effect.For the most part, a medium intensity or lighter coloured eye shadow suits me in the daytime and those of you who have lighter skin tones. I’m able to use Andromeda with my palettes to replace the lighter colours I use up quickly. There are many more gorgeous colours of NARS eyeshadow available at Sephora and I recommend NARS eyeshadow for their quality of pigment and variety of colour.

 


 

2. Make Up Forever – Smoky Extravagent Mascara: Dramatic Impact and Graphic Precision – (www.sephora.ca) – $30.00 CAN

I received this mascara as a sample from Sephora.  It is an excellent mascara due

Beauty - MAKE UP FOREVER - Smoky Extravagent Mascara
Make Up Forever – Smokey Extravagant Mascara: Dramatic Impact and Graphic Precision (www.sephora.ca)

to its wonderful volumizing brush. The shape of the brush is extremely wide at the bottom of the mascara wand and tiny at the top. This means you receive major volume where your lashes need volume in the middle of your eyelashes, but the wand still picks up the tiny lashes in the outer corners of your eyes. I’m extremely pleased with this mascara.

Using the product, I’ve had to use a waterproof mascara over top (as usual) as regular mascara tends to streak around my eyes due to my oilier skin. With the waterproof mascara over top the Smokey Extravagant Mascara, the product stays on well. On Sephora’s website, however; I found a waterproof version of the Smokey Extravagant mascara called Aqua Smokey Extravagant Water Proof Mascara. The price is exactly the same, so if  I bought this mascara in the future I would buy the waterproof version. Using the regular mascara or the waterproof version, Smokey Extravagant is a fantastic mascara, one of the best mascaras I’ve used in a long time. The brush on the mascara wand makes such a huge difference when you apply mascara, not to mention a mascara formula which doesn’t become clumpy over time.


 

3. Tarte – Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 Mascara – (www.sephora.ca) – $25.00 CAN

Beauty - TARTE - Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 Mascara
Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes 4 in 1 Mascara (www.sephora.ca)

I received this mascara as a sample from Tarte when I ordered off their website. It is a great mascara. The brush is designed so it picks up every lash and I know many people who rave about this mascara. There is also a waterproof version available on Sephora called Lights, Camera, Splashes, for the exact same price. I was pleased how the Lights, Camera, Lashes mascara wand picked up every one of my lashes coating them with mascara. I would have said it was the most awesome mascara, before I tried the Make Up Forever mascara above.The issue is, sometimes mascara wands which pick-up every tiny lash, fail to create volume in your eyelashes where you need it. The mascara itself appeared to be a great formula but I think the Lights, Camera, Lashes brush needs a bit of work. I believe it is an excellent mascara and I would use a sample again if I received it, but after using the Make Up Forever Smoky Extravagant mascara, I think the Tarte mascara doesn’t quite measure up .On the upside, Tarte products are made from natural minerals and are a Vegan makeup line so if you’re looking for these aspects and want makeup that is of excellent quality, Tarte is the brand to use. As well, a five dollars difference in price between the two mascaras maybe a deal breaker for some of you.


 

4. Stila – Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black and Midnight Blue – (www.sephora.ca) – $29.00 CAN

Months ago, I was searching for a

Beauty - STILA - Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Intense Black
Stila – Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner – Intense Black (www.sephora.ca)

waterproof liquid eyeliner to replace my Lancome liner, which changed after many years. I had used the non-waterproof version of the Stila liquid eyeliners and was not impressed. I was hesitant to try the waterproof version, but after seeing how intense the black eyeliner was on my hand, I decide to give the black eyeliner a try. It has become my new go-to for black eyeliner. The felt tip is pointy so you can give yourself a thinner line or build it up to be a thicker line. The Intense Black liner has lasted me four-months and is going strong.

Recently, I have seen a trend in magazines, of blue eyeliner with a paired down eye of basic eyeshadow.  I went and I purchased the same Stila liner I have

Beauty - STILA - Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner in Midnight Blue
Stila – Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner – Midnight Blue (www.sephora.ca)

in the colour Midnight Blue. I probably chose a darker blue than they showed in the magazine, but I’m extremely happy with this Midnight blue liner and have been wearing it everyday since I bought it. It’s dark enough that it doesn’t make your eyeliner completely standout, but the Midnight blue is change enough you notice it isn’t black liner. The colour goes well with blue eyes and I imagine it would appear beautiful on people with  brown eyes, as it is an opposite colour for brown eyes in makeup. I believe these Stila liquid eyeliners are a fantastic investment for eyeliner, whatever the colour(s) you choose. Sephora has other colour options available as well. Also, the waterproof liquid liner stays on your lash line well and works well for giving yourself a cat-eye flick. You are able to wipe a bit of liner away if you’ve messed up your line, as long as you do it immediately after applying. If you’ve waited too long, you can take some concealer on a Q-tip and gently make some of your eyeliner fade and disappear where you messed up.

For those of you who have trouble with eyeliner, especially liquid eyeliner. Here is a helpful YouTube Tutorial I found on Basic Eyeliner this morning:


 

5. Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion in Minor Sin – (www.sephora.ca) – $26.00 CAN

I have used various versions of Urban Decay eye shadow primer for years. Their

Beauty - URBAN DECAY - Eyeshadow Primer Potion in Minor Sin
Urban Decay – Eye Shadow Primer Potion – Minor Sin (www.sephora.ca

primers for eye shadow are the absolute best and help your eyeshadow stay put on your eyelid, without your eye shadow fading. I usually use Urban Decay’s basic primer but I chose to buy Minor Sin this time as it has a bit of a shimmery golden sheen to it and can be worn without eye shadow. Layering eye shadow over Minor Sin, also gives your eye shadow a slight sheen underneath, if you don’t apply too much shadow over top. Urban Decay eye shadow primers also last a long time. I usually receive over six-months use out of a large tube.

The only issue I have with  Minor Sin is I do not like  that its tube is not a squeeze tube such as my Urban Decay eye shadow primers have been in the past. Minor Sin comes with a brush and I don’t like the brush. I don’t believe it is as sanitary as a squeeze tube. You shouldn’t place the primer directly on your eyelid/eye area with the brush because bacteria could get into the tube once you put the brush back in. I think the best idea is to put some of the primer on the back of your hand and use your fingers to apply it to your eyes, however; I do not like this method either because it is easy to waste the product accidentally applying too much product to the back of your hand. The squeeze tube was both more sanitary and made the primer last longer as you only used as much primer as needed with the squeeze tube. I love how Minor Sin looks and works as a primer, but I’m not happy with the design change of the tube and brush.


 

6. Sephora – Must Have Powder Eye Shadow Brush #60 – (www.sephora.ca) – $19.00 CAN

Beauty - SEPHORA - Must Have Powder Shadow Brush - 60
Sephora – Must Have Powder Shadow Brush #60 (www.sephora.ca)

My last fluffy eye shadow brush I bought was from Shoppers Drug Mart and I still have it and use it. But Shoppers Drug Mart didn’t have the same brush available so I went to Sephora, whose brushes I have found to be better than Shoppers Drug Mart brand makeup brushes anyways. I didn’t choose Sephora’s top of the line brushes as I have with some of my makeup brushes such a foundation brush or a blush brush. I do not find it necessary to have top quality makeup brushes with eyeshadow brushes, which don’t go through the wear and tear other brushes do. I wanted another fluffier powder brush to blend eyeshadow above my lid and this brush works perfectly for the job.It’s not as fluffy as the Shoppers Drug Mart brush but it it is good enough and washes up well with dish soap. No hairs have fallen out of the brush so I believe for the price point and design, the brush is excellent.


 

7. Sephora – Crease Eye Shadow Brush #73 – (www.sephora.ca) – $20.00 CAN

Much of what I said with the last eyeshadow brush applies with this crease eye shadow

Beauty - SEPHORA - Crease Eyeshadow Brush- 73
Sephora – Crease Eye Shadow Brush #73 (www.sephora.ca)

brush. The crease eye shadow brush is used to blend a darker shade of eyeshadow into your crease area. I have and use my first crease eyeshadow brush from Shoppers Drug Mart and I like it better than the one I bought at Sephora.

Although, the Sephora brush is nice and the hair doesn’t fall out when you wash it, the brush is a bit big and fluffy for blending eye shadow in one’s eye crease. It works, but it is easy to accidentally apply too much eye shadow in your crease with this brush. But for my purposes, this brush is fine. I use it to go in after I have used my original Shoppers Drug Mart crease brush, and blend all the eye makeup in my crease together. The reason I bought both brushes was for blending purposes and not to actually apply eyeshadow, although; I will probably use the brushes for both jobs. I’m happy with both brushes, but wish the crease eye shadow brush was smaller and less fluffy. For the price point and quality, they are both excellent brushes.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for Part 2.


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.