Sunday, August 23, 2015

The painting and the desk.

Since my engagement post, I've been quieter than normal due to my wisdom teeth surgery. I am happy to report that I am finally 100% better. Dry socket was no joke. I've never been on so many pain meds and Advil for a long length of time (I have an extremely low pain tolerance). The worst part was being unable to drink wine that first week, so I am looking forward to getting out and stopping by my favorite wine bar today.

But first, a few updates. Michael's parents surprised us this week with the beautiful painting below:

This, my friend, is a custom painting of Cafe Roussillon, the place where Michael and I met almost three years ago. This is the most thoughtful gift we have ever received, and I love that I can be reminded of that moment every time I see it. I am truly thankful that I will be marrying into such a wonderful family. It still seems all surreal to me.

In other wonderful news, Michael has informed me that he is moving his desk out of our shared office so that I can have it all to myself as my writing cave. His faith in me that I will accomplish my dreams is something I can't even put into words. When someone believes in you and supports you so much, it's enough to combat your own doubtful thoughts and believe it, too. I'm excited to have my own space, but I still have no idea what to do about it. But one thing I've always wanted was a writing desk. Granted, I was using a perfectly old brown desk Michael had in storage, but I just wanted something more me. So I got this:

It brings some color to the room, which will come in handy during those gloomy grey winter months! So far, it's been great working on it and having silence in the room (Michael was always the blast music while he works type, I was the quiet and write in silence type).

From my mentee bio, you probably know that I've entered Pitch Wars for the second time along with my CP Krystal (wish us luck!). I've submitted M4, which I've currently titled, Diamond Queen. I know it isn't perfect and it still has a ways to go, but I am glad I took the chance.

The writing community truly has been wonderful and I love how people really support one another. Even if I don't get chosen, I'm walking away with gained friends and some encouragement to keep on writing/revising/editing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pitch Wars Mentee Bio: Hi, my name is...

Michelle. Thank you so much for stopping by to read my mentee bio. For my regular readers, feel free to disregard this post, unless you'd like to learn even more about me ;)

I always feel really self-conscious about writing these bio's so I'm gonna make it short and sweet by writing a couple of lists! If you're not into lists, then feel free to read my blog bio, here!

In a nutshell:

1. A 20-something dreamer, trying to make her dreams come true while working full-time.
2. Currently living in the suburbs of Seattle with my fiance who I met in PARIS (true story), but I'm originally from Sacramento (a west coast, girl for sure).
3. Love, love, love food & drinks. (I'm up for trying any cuisine and any cool concoctions. I'm also the best dessert taster!).
4. Speaking of drinks, my absolute fave is wine, followed by lattes, then tea. You can bet I always have a beverage while I write.
5. I have a little black cat named Blaire who acts more like a dog than a cat.
6. When life and circumstances allow, I love to travel. There's no better high (besides hitting 'The End' on a manuscript) than exploring a new place.
7. My favorite season is Fall. And though I like Summer a whole lot since I get rain the majority of the year, I'm looking forward to the leaves changing.
8. Lying on a cozy carpet, wrapped in a soft blanket, in front of a fireplace with a yummy drink reading/writing = my perfect day.
9. I am the youngest of five sisters, and was raised by the most hardworking mother ever. She took a risk leaving her homeland, doing whatever she could to get to the U.S. so that we could have a better life, and for that I am eternally grateful. 
She is my muse when it comes to writing and living a fulfilled life.
(total mama's girl, I know)

Why I'd make a great CP/beta/friend/cheerleader:

1. I have a passion for writing and reading.
2. Love meeting new friends!
3. I hate to see people give up on what they love to do, so you bet I'll give you a pep talk or two.
(if you need it)
4. I love how the writing community is all about helping each other, and challenging one another to improve upon our craft.
5. I received my BA in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing.
6. I graduated with honors from the University of California, Davis, as the commencement speaker.
7. A few of my poems were published by an independent press.
8. I completed a YA Workshop course at Hugo House, Seattle.
9. Using points 5-8, I've critiqued before so I know what critiques are constructive and what is not. Think of me as the bracing to your building, not the wrecking ball. 
I'm not the type of CP that will tear you down (because I've had experience with those who do - and it's not fun).
8. I am a member of SCBWI. Anyone one else in the Western Washington region?
9. Genres I like to critique/beta read in: anything in YA, and Contemporary NA

For a list of some of my favorite books, check out my bookshelf here

Wanna connect with me? Feel free to use the contact form, twitter, or Instagram on the right side bar. Or leave a comment below.

Thanks again for reading and stopping by!

To check out other mentees and return to the blog hop, click here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

We're engaged ♥

Dear family and friends,
After our amazing wine tour the previous day, I didn't think our weekend (or even life) could get any better this past Sunday. Glad to know I was wrong. I am so excited to officially announce that Michael and I are engaged!

What started out as just a normal day of wine tasting before making the drive back to Washington, will be a day we'll remember for the rest of our lives and I am so excited to share it with you.
At the recommendation of our guide Amy, we headed to the White Rose Estate, in the Dundee Hills. As we drove up we were greeted with rows upon rows of vines until we reached the landing surrounded by greenery, lavender, and the wonderful view.
From the very first taste, we knew this place was magical. The tasting room manager invited us along with a small group downstairs into the cellar where we were able to taste straight from the tanks and the barrels.


When we came back up, it started to sprinkle. Summer rain is always a rare thing that makes me pause and the scent of petrichor is one of Michael's favorites. Looking back, maybe I should have taken it as a sign that this wasn't just an ordinary day.
After Michael made purchases of our favorites (which we will now age and open yearly to celebrate this awesome day), we headed back to the car to put them away. Michael asked if I'd like to take a walk. This was something we always did when we stumbled upon a beautiful vineyard, so I accepted not thinking anything of it. But Michael took me down this row, my hand in his, and when we were one third in, he knelt down on one knee...

MT: *Eyes widen as he reaches into his pocket* Is this a joke? Are you joking?
MA: *Holds up beautiful ring, and I swear the clouds break and sunlight catches it making it sparkle even more* I love you now, I'll love you forever. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?
MT: OMG. *Starts sobbing like a baby, covering my face, while nodding erratically* Yes. Yes!

(obviously Michael is the more eloquent one in the relationship)
Everything after that was a blur. Lots of crying (well mostly on my end), hugging, kissing. Me saying 'oh my gosh' one too many times as we finished our walk and came out the other side, engaged!

It was absolutely perfect. No words--not even this post--can do this moment justice.

Now we can drop the F word whenever we want! And by that I mean fiancé/fiancée ;) Because Michael and I are getting married!!!


When's the date?

No date yet:) Just enjoying the moment while we figure out the details.

How did you guys meet?

Paris, France, at Café Roussillon, September 3rd, 2012 in the evening.
Want more details? Check out my post, 'Love, in the City of Paris.'

Who designed the ring?


Do I love it?


Did you know he was going to propose?

We talked about getting married for a while and I suspected it would be this summer. But at that exact moment, I was completely surprised (hence my dorky reaction). Nervously I had asked if it was a joke because it seemed so surreal that it was actually happening!

Would you like to hear Michael's side of the proposal?

Comment below if you do, and any questions you want to ask him, and maybe I can convince him to do a guest post ;)

Oregone Wine Country

This past weekend was a special one indeed! Michael and I explored the Oregon wine region with Winemaker Tours for Michael's birthday. Our guide Amy planned an amazing itinerary for us filled with amazing wine, delicious food, beautiful sights and great people.

At Bergstrom we tasted different Pinots in different AVA's. It was interesting doing side by side comparisons because each wine had different characteristics despite being the same grape.

On our way to Walter-Scott, Amy told us all about the geography of the area and different families that have come over to start their own vineyards here. Before we knew it we were at our destination. Interestingly, Walter-Scott were sold out of their current releases, so Michael and I got the chance to do barrel tastings for the first time and buy future wines.

Oregon wasn't just Pinot Land. We got to try some neat whites at Brooks and Eyrie.

By the time we got back to our room, we had more than a few bottles and we ravenous for dinner. We ended up going to Bistro Maison in McMinnville. Classic French food that I highly recommend!