Tumblr Testing.

Admittedly, I'm a bad blogger.

I just don't seem to have the attention span lately for anything longer than an 140 character tweet [which is addicting].

I even planned on jumpstarting my motivation again by participating in NaBloPoMo, but alas, the first of November came and went without a posting so that idea was scrapped.

So in an effort to both combine my tendency for a shorter attention span and also renew my interest in posting, I've started a Tumblr account.

If I've set everything up properly, this should be where everything I post comes together, from twitter to facebook to this blog, all under one colorful little roof.


New Blog Design!

What do you think?



Blog Action Day, Save a Polar Bear.

It is mere seconds after I posted the following tweet: @michelleshea wishes she had the energy to do a blog action day post, but instead you can check out those who did:

I felt a tug of guilt immediately after pressing 'send'. I mean, I work for Greenpeace, the least I could do is send a Climate Change blurb into cyberspace before crashing into dreamland.

For those of you unaware, today is Blog Action Day. Apparently, every year a topic is chosen for bloggers to write about, raising awareness and creating cyber discussions worldwide for a specific subject. I would probably be totally unaware of this event if it wasn't for the fact that this year's topic is Climate Change.

For six hours every weekday, I stand on the [very cold] streets of Chicago and convince strangers to talk to me about this very topic. So, in honor of Blog Action Day, here is my spiel:

You've heard of Global Warming right? You know, that tiny little problem that's been nagging at us for the past several years [for those who can't read sarcasm, there's a big chunk of it on 'tiny'].

Well did you know that the US is actually a HUGE part of that problem? 25% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions [those pesky little pollutants that cause dangerous climate change] come from the United States and we here in the States only make up 5% of the world's population. If you're not good at math, you should be told that this means we're doing WAY more than our share of polluting our amazing planet.

So what can you do to help?

1. Sign up to be a member of Greenpeace. [ok, I'm half kidding...I'd actually prefer you track me down on the street to do this. ;)]

2. Cut back on your individual greenhouse gas emissions. Walk, bike, carpool, or take public transportation. [nothing new right? It's because simplicity works.]

3. Eat your Peanut Butter and Jelly. Or at least eat less animal products [I said LESS, Carnivores! So please stop threatening me with your steak knife] in order to reduce your meal's carbon footprint.


4. If you're in the area of an event on October 24th, you might consider participating in Climate Action Day. Same concept as Blog Action Day, only replace the avatars with real, live people


Do NOT attend AIO.

A situation regarding my online degree with the Art Institute has plagued me over the past few months and I wanted to share it with the online community in the hopes of helping others avoid similar frustrations.

However, because I am absolutely exhausted with the amount of times I have had to re-hash this situation in writing, I will simply share with you the email explaining the situation that was sent to the head of the financial department just this afternoon:

Mr. Kiss,

I am writing to inform you of a situation that I hope has been brought to your attention already. I am a recent student of AI Online and was signed up under the Digital Design program. Because of your institution's lack of clarity and communication, I am now deeply upset by the financial situation that has been forced upon me.

Upon enrollment, I was contacted by Silny Arcia regarding the payment options for my tuition. According to Ms. Arcia, I had two options: 1. to pay the tuition in full with a one time payment or 2. to make several payments over the year that would also include interest charges. Not wanting to accumulate interest on an already high amount [$8996.00 after financial aid and loans] and also not wanting to worry about making payments over time, I agreed to pay in full.

However, about a month later, in October of last year, I received a stipend check in the mail for the amount of $5839.18. There was no explanation accompanying the check to let me know why I was receiving said amount so I did some investigating. Since my emails to Ms. Arcia went unanswered, I was left with no choice but to call the general student hotline for finances. It took quite a few calls to receive a clear answer, but eventually an explanation was given. Apparently, the amount of the stipend was a portion of my payment being sent back to me to hold until further billings arrived. I told the representative that I had chosen to pay in full to avoid interest charges and he said that he understood and that it must be 'because there can only be a certain amount of money in the student account at one time.' This, in and of itself is a frustrating concept after being told that I would be able to pay all at once, but I simply put the funds into savings and left it untouched.

Unfortunately, when I received my final tuition statement in the mail I was shocked to find that it's amount FAR exceeded the remaining amount of the stipend. Since email and phone inquiries to Ms. Arcia continued to go unanswered, I contacted my academic advisor in hopes of some directions to another financial contact. He in turn directed me to Tobe Resetar. Upon explaining my situation to Mr. Resetar, he too found that the numbers did not add up and said that he would have to contact the accounting department and get back to me later that day...he never called back. After about a week and a half without response, I contacted Mr. Resetar via email to find out what the progress was. This email was responded to via phone call in which he informed me that the money in question had not yet been 'put back in' my account. Now, why said money was supposedly missing, Mr. Resetar didn't say, but he did inform me that he would contact accounting to find out what the issue was and call me later that evening...again, I never received a second phone call.

Finally, at the completion of classes, tired of the lack of communication and the constant misunderstandings regarding my account, I simply paid the remaining amount from my stipend [$812.22] and sent Mr. Resetar an email informing him that, since the remaining balance was still 'missing' from my account, I would assume he could take care of it with the help of the accounting department. I, in turn, considered myself paid in full based on the information gathered in our previous conversations. That is, until Mr. Resetar's response informed me that I did in fact owe the remaining $919.66. He claimed that this was due to the fact that my 'full amount' payment was actually only for the first academic year from Oct-May AND that I had signed paperwork informing me of such.

HOWEVER, when it is stated at the start of enrollment that a person can PAY THE FULL AMOUNT, one assumes that this is what is happening. Furthermore, had that initial payment not been partially returned to me, I would have been aware of the additional charges sooner when statements containing an unpaid balance arrived at my door. The fact that an institution of this size and stature cannot figure out what to do with a large tuition payment is ridiculous. If a student expects to pay in full to avoid messing with future payments, this option should be fully available. They should not be forced to deal with the hassle of making payments once a large payment has already been made. And on another issue, students of an online organization should be able to expect excellent communication on the part of the school's staff. If face to face is not an option, one should not have to pull teeth in order to get a response from financial advisers and staff. To this day, I am still unaware as to whether Ms. Arcia is even still employed with AIO. I had contact with her for the first few weeks during enrollment and then NEVER HEARD FROM HER AGAIN. This is unacceptable. Staff should return phone calls and emails promptly and follow thru when they say they will call back.

In closing, I wish to leave you with a story about Prudential insurance. Not long ago, Prudential faced a class action lawsuit for the very complaints that I lay before you. In this situation, new clients of Prudential were informed verbally that they could pay for their new insurance with the interest from their existing insurance and never face any out of pocket expenses. However, when interest rates dropped and the first insurance no longer had the amounts predicted, the new clients of Prudential faced unexpected charges. When complaints of this issue were brought to the company's attention, clients were informed that they had signed paperwork that stated this could be a possibility. This mattered not to the clients who had been verbally promised their finances would remain untouched. So, in gathering numbers, the disgruntled clients of Prudential filed a class action lawsuit against the company for falsification of their information. AND THEY WON.

Sometimes what you have in writing doesn't matter as much as what you say. I suggest that you look into improving your lines of communication and clarity before your institution faces a similar fate, perhaps not far in the future.


Michelle Shea Walker


Cactus Flower.

My newest cinematic obsession: Cactus Flower.

I'd caught pieces of this one way back when [in the days that I had access to cable], but it wasn't until last night's Netflix viewing that I was able to appreciate the whole zany start-to-finish experience.

I love most Goldie Hawn movies, but particularly those from her early days. Not only are her characters adorably free spirited, but her clothing is amazing. Standing at a diminutive 5'2", I'm a fan of the mini dress, and in the 60's Goldie was the mini queen.

Here are some of my favorite leg flashers from Cactus Flower [excuse the screen cap quality, I only recently lost my Ctrl + Prnt Scrn virginity and I'm still a bit of an amateur]:

From the very first scene, this costume captures my heart. First of all, it's pink [I've become such a girly cliche, but I'm okay with it]. Even better, it's also short and pleated and ruffly, my other fashion favorites.

This jacket/scarf combo is another aesthetic I'm starting to love. Moving to the Windy City, I'm learning to appreciate the value of cute outerwear. And I love that this jacket clearly isn't even the length of an average dress, yet there's nothing else underneath.

I wish I was talented enough to have gotten a decent full-length shot of this scene. It's another short jacket/no pants combo, but with an adorably tailored flair. And have I mentioned ruffles?

Now if you'll excuse me, I must get back to my Netflix...I might miss a mini.


Sugar-holic's Return

It's that time of year again, apparently the fall is when I get just crazy enough to try some self-experimentation.

Once Again:

30 Days. No Sugar. No Sanity.


Just a Tease.

I've always thought something big would happen at 25. ;)


Sweet Home Chicago.

"Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning."

[Carl Sandburg, Chicago]

Views from the top of the Sears Tower:



103 Stories High.

Right at Home. :)

I'll say it again:
I ♥ this city.


Birthday Wish List.

I am always a bit hesitant about wish lists. First of all, it's rather presumptuous to assume anyone plans on buying you a gift at all. Secondly, it's hard to walk that line between what you want and what you feel comfortable asking people to spend on you.

However, on the flip side, I find it very helpful having a list of what my friends would like on their special occasions...registries are my friend.

So friends, in that spirit, here are some gift ideas [and one dream item thrown in just for fun] for my 25th on July 17th.

1. It Happened One Night DVD-I can actually watch this on Netflix online for free, but I've viewed it at least once a week for the past month so I think that qualifies it to be added to my collection.

2. Sofia Minis-Anyone who's been to The Corner Wine Bar with me knows that this is a favorite. I've found it in bottle form up here which is great, but the mini's are much more practical for this single girl.

3. Lipstick Jungle, Season 2-My guilty pleasure. I really only watch for Victory Ford's story lines, but the fabulous clothes and colorful decor make the viewings totally worthwhile.

4. L.A.M.B. Rosebury Boots-This is my dream item. No one I know would be able to afford buying these boots for me, nor would I want them to, but I just adore them too much not to at least mention them. :)

5. Urban Outfitters Gift Card-I finally live just blocks away from an Urban Outfitters and I can't afford to shop there. It's torture.

6. Pushing Daisies, Season 2-This one is for the late-givers since it's not actually released until July 21st.

7. TCM's Katharine Hepburn Collection-Having Netflix has made me realize just how much I miss watching old films on TCM. The Philadelphia Story has been on my wish list for forever, so why not include the other Katharine greats while you're at it?

8. The Book: An Actor's Guide to Chicago, Sixth Edition-Do I really need to explain why I want this one? There's actually a Seventh Edition out now that is probably more up to date, I just couldn't find an image of its cover.

9. Priceless DVD-Another Netflix find, this movie has become a part of my top ten. Loosely based on Breakfast at Tiffany's, the story walks the line of imitation perfectly without stepping on the toes of the original.

10. Itunes Gift Card-I like music. And movies. And TV shows. Enough said.

11. Burlesque and the Art of the Teese-I ♥ Dita. And I'm a notorious collector of beautiful coffee table books like this one. I've wanted it for ages, but can't bring myself to buy it on my own.

12. Chinese Laundry Tabb Boots [size 7 1/2]-This wish list item was actually inspired by item 13. In How to Steal a Million, Audrey Hepburn throws together a last-minute ensemble that includes a nightie, a pink pea coat, and a pair of patent leather rain boots. There's something about this combination that I adore and I've been obsessing about these boots ever since.

13. How to Steal a Million DVD-Again, blame Netflix for this one. I'm always adding to my Audrey collection anyway and this is one of few DVD's I'm missing.


Help me, Twitter-verse!

Alright, dear readers, I'm currently working on applying for a summer internship dealing with online social networking and I need 500 followers on Twitter and 500 friends on Facebook.

Here's what you can do to help out: follow me and RT [that's re-tweet] my pleas for help!

If you don't already have Twitter you can join and follow, which I highly recommend.
Twitter updates can be linked to other social networks such as Facebook, making posting on the go easy via text messaging.
It's addictive and fun. :)


Happy Father's Day. ♥

Favorite Things About My Dad:
♥ Growing up he had an arsenal of nicknames for me, none of which had any reasoning behind them whatsoever [Chellie-Pie, Chellie-Bear, etc.].
♥ He smells like cigarettes and Zest soap.
♥ He has the best laugh ever. I'll pretty much do anything to try and make my dad laugh.
♥ His hugs are the greatest.

This is one of my favorite photos of my dad, taken around 1962.
I found it one evening pouring through old photo albums at my parent's house.
It's now on display in my livingroom.

Another favorite, this photo was taken by me at age 1 1/2.
I love that he's clearly trying to help make sure he's in the frame.

And in other, equally important news, today is my little sister's one year anniversary with her husband, Cody. I couldn't wish for a better brother-in-law.

Redecorating: Catwoman Style

This is one of my favorite movie transformations ever:
from doormat to sex kitten.

And frankly, I'm not sure that years of watching it as a child hasn't influenced my adult decor choices. My apartment theme isn't that much unlike post-Catwoman Selina's:
covered in pink, but with a slight destructive edge.
I even have LED lights in my bedroom.


influenced by Influence.

Throughout my life there have been three references people often make upon hearing my name:

The first, and most common, is the oh-so-evident Beatles song, the inspiration for this blog's moniker. Now I adore the Beatles as much as the next vintage loving twenty-something, and I feel very special to possess one of the many names that brings about a reference to one of their songs [something only the lucys, sades, and prudences of the world can understand], but I've also heard far too many off-key renditions of "MEEESHELL MY BELLE..." rattled off at the sound of my name.

The second connection made is usually much later, once the person has been let in on a little of my past and become privy to the information that I was in the band for six weeks in sixth grade. I had to quit because, despite my best efforts, I was unable to produce any sound whatsoever from my...flute. [You see where this is going?]

The third reference is the most interesting kind to witness [or perhaps a close second to the serenade]. It's often made during a discussion of favorite TV shows of the past. Without fail, someone will bring up Full House and again, without fail, someone will feel the need to point out that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen played a character named Michelle...just like my name! Why these people feel that this fact might have escaped my attention over the past 22 years, I have no idea, but often this realization excites them more than it probably should. But as annoying as this reference may be, as MK and Ashley have grown older and their sense of style began to draw attention, I became a closet fan. Both in fashion and in fascination, I sort of admire them. I guess you'd say they're a bit of a guilty pleasure, though I often show little guilt in my indulgence.

So of course, when I heard word of their book Influence, I immediately had a craving.

Unlike the teeny-bopper fare that the Twins have been so famous for over the years, Influence is for the grown up fashionista. With interviews with style Mavricks like Diane von Furstenberg and Christian Louboutin, it's like a grande-sized fashion mag, complete with eye-catching imagery [who doesn't love a close up on a Louboutin heel?].

Having only owned the book a few days, I'm currently still pouring thru the pages. However, there is one interview that has caught my interest from the first thumb thru. It's with former Interview editor and Warhol friend, Bob Colacello. In his conversation with Mary-Kate, Bob talks about how anyone can create their own Factory environment simply by being open to meeting new people and embracing the creativity in the ones around you. As a wannabe Factory Girl myself, this idea intrigued me. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I've already surrounded myself with a Factory of creative spirits, each with their own appeal and specialty.

So here's what I'm thinking: Why not feature my very own Influence interviews right here in this blog?

Stay tuned for more 'influenced by Influence' blogs featuring the cast of my own personal Factory.


past life personas

There are certain things in this life that feel inexplicably familiar:

The pad of my bare feet on my apartment's hardwood floor.
The breeze of the El train as it rushes by on the platform.
And the comfort I feel from watching an old black and white film.

Netflix has become an addiction as of late and through this addiction, I've found a new favorite film: It Happened One Night.

There's something about the strength and gumption of the female characters in the 1930's that sucks me right in.
Memories of a past life perhaps?


Naptown Girl in a Chitown World.

It's been just over a week and I'm in love...
in love with Chicago,
in love with the El train ride,
in love with my little home.

And since I finished hanging posters and paintings today, I figured I'd give you a glimpse into my Chitown haven:

Color-coded cinema. :) [who knew so many DVD's were white?]

Yes, those are shoes. They're not very comfortable to wear, but they make for interesting decor.

I have lots of scarves, why not make a mini curtain?

This theater shows mostly old hollywood films and new cult classics.

Notice the massive collection of vintage purses that I never wear.

My little reading/music nook. ♥

Hallway view. [Excuse the laundry.]

Walk-in closet! ;)

Tiny bathroom filled with pink.

Canvas-covered hallway.

and finally*, where I lay my head [at either end].

*There's also a kitchen at the other end of this
room, but in order to capture it's image properly I would have had to do dishes
...perhaps another day. :)


gracious gifts from farewell friends.

J'adore my friends.

The following was a goodbye gift from my bestest Miss Kiley K. given to me during a farewell feast for two last weekend.

Crafty little minx, isn't she?

Gift Explanations:

*Harry Potter 3 & 5-A true addict turned pusher, Kiley recently turned me on to Harry by loaning and/or giving me a few books at a time [hardcovers she wanted back, paperbacks were for keeps due to her ownership of multiple copies...told you she was an addict]. I had just returned an unfinished book 3 to her that night, now I can continue reading.
*The Book of Lost Things-Yet another addiction being pushed on me, but rather willingly. Supposedly this book contains everything fairy tale lovers like she and I hope for and more...we shall see.
*Vegetarian Cookbook-No, Kiley is not a veg head. This is simply an addiction of my own that she has decided to become an enabler for...and amazingly it is the first cookbook of its kind in my collection.
*Green Apple Soy Candle-It's soy and that's environmentally friendly, need I say more?
*Little Shop of Horrors-This is perhaps my favorite in the collection. Kiley and I first became friends while portraying the Skidettes/DuWop girls of Skid Row at FC so this has a very special double meaning. ♥
*The Cat's-Eye View-We're crazy cat ladies together. That's really all you need to know.

Love you, Ki. :)


bzzz-y, bzzz-y bee.

Life comes at you fast...
here are some quick updates on mine:

1. While the rest of the world takes a school break for summer vacation, my online classes are still in full swing. I've finally reached the halfway point in my year-long trek towards a digital design diploma so to commemorate I've added the amateur beginnings of a design portfolio to my flickr sets, perhaps you'll notice them fly by the sidebar slide show from time to time.

2. My newest little brain child, Be the Lorax, has admittedly been neglected over the past month. But fear not, I do have a few tiny tidbits scheduled to be posted in the next few days. Once my life in the real world settles down a bit, I'm hoping you'll be able to count on more consistent updates...just hang in there with me a bit longer.

and finally, the source of my current time shortage:

3. I'm officially moving to Chicago at the end of the month. My lease technically begins Friday, but the move is scheduled for the 29th. Why such an overlap? Because I jumped at the chance to have the cutest little apartment that my vintage-covered mind could ever dream of: 1920's building. Garden courtyards. Walk in closets.

What more could a girl ask for?


be the lorax.

I've planted a very small seed...

After months of mulling over ideas and stumbling across inspiration, I have finally created my own fledgling webzine dedicated to environmental topics.

Water and sunlight are still needed, but check it out and watch it grow.


what claudia wore

Hot off the inter-web: I have a new obsession. Or rather, I've rediscovered an acceptable 20-something way to obsess about my former pre-teen obsession: The Baby-sitter's Club.

Me and the BSC go way back...and I was not just a casual user, I was hardcore. I've read Every. Single. Book. [that's 131 regular series, 12 super specials, 36 mysteries, 4 super mysteries, and a few other odds and ends]. I was so excited for the BSC movie that I wrote fan letters to every actresses in the club [and most of the them wrote back, resulting a guilty pleasure collection of autographed photos].

Why am I sharing this somewhat embarassing information? Because today I found this:

A blog dedicated to the clothing choices of BSC's most fashion forward character.

I'm in ♥.


Photo Vote.

You're invited
to help me choose my modeling portfolio.

to promote my efforts in the worlds of fashion, film, and print all under one url.
: my future dot com page.
[to be created within the next year]
Your mission
: access the photo selections here to leave your votes [in comment form] for the images that should be included.
Keep in Mind: I'm looking for the images that 'sell' me best.
[Yes, I'm a fashion whore.]
To My Photog Friends: which photos show qualities that you would look for in a model?


Steap in Tea.


Poetic Inspiration

As a poet, I find myself inspired by lyricists more often than traditional poets. There are the rare exceptions to this rule [e.e. cummings has my ♥], but for the most part, nothing gets me more jazzed up to write a rhyme than a set of well-worded song lyrics. So, as I sit in need of inspiration, I present you with my top three poetic role models:

1. Christina Aguilera. Perhaps my all time favorite, Christina's songs endlessly inspire me, particularly her 'Stripped' album. Full of heartache and emotion as well as brilliant phrasing.

Favorite Lyrics:
'I'm addicted to your allure and I'm fiending for a cure.' [Walk Away]
'My heart has been bruised. So sad, but it's true, each beat reminds me of you.' [Walk Away]
'Trying hard to fill the emptiness, the piece is gone, left the puzzle undone, ain't that the way it is?' [Beautiful]

Can't you just feel it? Brilliant.

2. Gwen Stefani. I ♥ Gwen for so many reasons: her style, her hair colors, her obsession with Asian culture, but mostly because of the raw honesty in her song writing. Her word choice and metaphors are flawless.

Favorite Lyrics:
'Take this pink ribbon off my eyes, I'm exposed and it's no big surprise.' [Just a Girl]
'I pacify problems with kisses and cuddles, diligently doubtful through all kinds of trouble, then I find myself choking on all my contradictions.' [Bathwater]
'As we die, both you and I, with my head in my hands I sit and cry.' [Don't Speak]
'I'm full of artificial sweetener, my heart's been deceitful.' [Artificial Sweetener]

[Yes, I realize this video contains none of the lyrics I've listed, but I love it for being the perfect example of Gwen's capability to write exactly what's on her mind. That, and the Alice in Wonderland theme. :)]

3. Mandy Moore. And no, I'm not talking about Candy. Her most recent album 'Wild Hope' flew way under the radar, but I think it's an absolute gem for simple yet poetic lyrics.

Favorite Lyrics
'Well I put so much thought in the getting ready, now I know that was the best part. It's so easy to get caught up in what I'm regretting, forgetting what I got from a wounded heart.' [Gardenia]
'I'll miss the version of you who loved me and all that they don't see. You said you could be good, but somehow you're guilty and you're not even sorry.' [Ladies Choice]
'Lost inside of my head, empty side of the bed, I feel misplaced without you. I keep pushing the blues 'cause I don't want to lose what I loved about you.' [All Good Things]

Honorable Mention: Eminem. Surprised? I've always loved Eminem. Though he's not on heavy rotation on my I-pod [he should be, I just haven't downloaded him], I still feel that he really is one of the best of the modern day poets. And I say that without an ounce of sarcasm.


Sex on Paper.

sexy, smart [and often humorous] finds in ad research [for class]:

And I ♥ PETA ads so these must be included:


GOOP is good.

I have a new obsession. Actually, I've been following this one for several months, but just now got around to sharing it.

It's GOOP.com. Written by Gwyneth Paltrow and scoffed at by the media, I personally adore this advice site with weekly newsletters over subjects from fashion and travel to cooking and spirituality. The site itself consists of six categories: make [recipes], go [travel], get [shopping], do [proactive lifestyle tips], be [spirituality], and see [books, art, and film]. The advice comes from Paltrow's own life experiences as well as tips from the people in her life that she admires [life coaches, film directors, fellow actresses, etc.]. Basically, it satisfies my need to be a foodie, a fashionista, a worldly traveler, and a complete person all in one url.

And speaking of fashion and Miss Paltrow, I adore her post-Iron Man style. It's a sort of sexy-dominatrix-meets-60's-sexpot: extra short skirts and super high heels [my own personal style M.O.].

[Image via fabsugar.com.]

And then there's the shirt worn as a dress for harper's bazaar last year:

[If you know me, you're quite familiar with this concept. ;)]

Now if only I could have access to Gwynnie's shoe collection as well...


Flies on Cake

Check This Out:
Miss Capps [of the cupcake photos fame] has officially entered the world of photo blogging:

Drop in
and check out shots from her past, present, and future artistic endeavors.

Everything's just Dandy.

New article on Miseducated.net.


A Pastrytale.

Once upon a time, there lived a curious cupcake princess...

...she was taken captive by an evil scientist...

...who forced her to eat cookies and cake all day long...

...jealous? ;)

The End.