end-of-year updates

Hello, all! I hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas season. I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging as often as I would like, but I’m getting back on the ball for the new year! In the meantime, here are a few exciting updates on

what I’m up to right now:

My new job is going super well! I love working at Current, and I especially like working with my former boss at Oxygen again – she’s awesome. The hours are long and I’m constantly busy, which is why I haven’t had as much time to write, but I’m loving every minute of it!

I’m 21 (as of tomorrow, anyway). I am now officially recognized as an adult and can be served alcoholic drinks at bars and restaurants. Also, I’ve been told this is the last birthday I’ll be excited about celebrating before I start feeling “old.” So we’ll see….

I am now a pet owner! That’s right – I adopted a beautiful Yorkie, the dog I’ve always wanted. I’ve named him Augustus (yes, after the character in The Fault in our Stars). Pictures to come!

 

Okay, so that’s it for now. Tell me: what are your big changes for the New Year?

 

Peace,

Caitlin Michelle

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big changes

Me with The Glee Project’s Damian McGinty (formerly Rory Flanagan on Glee), Samuel Larsen (Joe Hart on Glee), Cameron Mitchell, and fellow intern Brittany

Big things have been happening lately in my life, and I’d be a pretty bad blogger if I didn’t share them here. So with that being said, I have an announcement to make:

After a year of interning and almost 7 months of working there full-time, I’m leaving the Oxygen Network. I’ve had great times and wonderful memories working on shows like The Glee Project and Tori & Dean, but I think it’s time to move on. In two weeks’ time, I will officially become the Social Media Coordinator for Current TV. I love working in media and look forward to transitioning from reality TV to politics. It’s different, yes. And it will be an interesting first few weeks adjusting to a new company with a new staff in a new section of New York City. But I find comfort in knowing that my first boss and mentor will once again become my supervisor. And it’s great knowing that she’ll be there as I start this new leg of my career.

The Glee Project’s Hannah McIalwain, Brittany, and I are total Gleeks

Am I scared? Yes, of course. This will only be my second full-time job at a major media company, and I’ve got butterflies in my stomach just thinking about my first day. But I’m also super beyond-anything excited about this opportunity. I love politics and I feel like I’ll be able to really make a difference.

 

Inspired and hopeful and excited,

Caitlin Michelle

 

 

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snapshot saturday – mario and sidney

This one’s an oldie but a goodie. I took this photo with my iPhone at work minutes after filming a vlog with Mario Bonds, an up-and-coming musician who competed on The Glee Project. One of my favorite things about working at Oxygen has been meeting the contenders and running the social media accounts for The Glee Project, a reality competition series that finds a fresh face for the following season of the hit show Glee. This past season of The Glee Project (which aired during the summer) featured three contenders with disabilities: Mario Bonds is blind, Charlie Lubeck has mild autism and ADHD, and Ali Stroker uses a wheelchair. And of course, all three are excellent performers.

What I love about this particular photo, though, is the genuine happiness on Mario’s face. I feel like I almost interrupted a very sweet bonding moment between man and guide dog (a beautiful black lab named Sidney). This was one of those “taken at just the right moment” pictures and, even after a photography class and several months of practice, I still feel like it’s my best shot ever.

Peace,

Caitlin Michelle

Follow The Glee Project on Twitter (@TheGleeProject) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/thegleeproject), and visit the website at http://connect.oxygen.com/.
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style

You know what they say: another day (or week in this case), another discovery. And this week’s discovery was more of a reawakening than a realization. In addition to working on Oxygen’s upcoming fashion-based shows, I’ve been styling my friends and helping them shop for the outfits that I know will make them look best. I’ve always loved shopping and clothes and all that fun stuff that comes with being a girl living 20 minutes from New York. So it’s not like my boyfriend Chris had to twist my arm to get me to help him buy new clothes for the Fall. It’s become a relationship routine of sorts; with every major change in weather, we head to the mall and I pick out some basic pieces and cool accessories to supplement his seasonal wardrobe. He ends up looking quite put-together and handsome, if I do say so myself. This autumn I was going for a sleek look with button-downs, sweaters, and vests (think Justin Timberlake circa 2007), so I was running around the store looking for the clothes and then running back to his dressing room to deliver the next piece for him to try on. Then just a few days later, I hit the mall with my friend Lyss to find her new outfits for Fall. And yes, I must say I enjoyed these shopping outings immensely, especially since I believe that what a person wears says soooo much about him or her.

One glove only

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t love fashion for the reasons that non-fashionistas (is there even a term for people who aren’t into clothes?) may think. I’m not shallow or all that materialistic, and I certainly don’t judge people solely on appearance. But whether or not you’re pretty/plain/rich/poor/disabled/all of the above, you have the freedom to choose exactly how to decorate and present your body to the world. And how awesome is that? As a writer/creative/media professional/artist/20-something/whatever you want to call me, I’m really into personalizing everything. From the background photo of my baby cousins on my iPhone to my hot pink and zebra print bedroom (rawr), it’s all about self-expression. And what better canvas than the body that takes me through every moment and every action to showcase who I am?

Now let’s get one thing straight: I don’t buy into the “ideal figures only” approach to fashion. Having a disability doesn’t preclude me from celebrating the way I look and wearing the clothes I want to wear. And over the past few years I’ve found a handful (haha, I love puns) of ways to highlight and prettify my asymmetrical figure. Sadly, though, the computer that was home to the majority of my photos crashed a while back. So I hope you don’t mind if I post pictures I found on Google or store websites instead of pics of me in the completed looks. Anyway, I type too much. So without further ado:

1) One-Shoulder Tops/Dresses – I LOVE asymmetrical necklines because they mirror the unevenness of my arms and make the statement that strange or different proportions are beautiful. There’s a lot of talk in the science world about beauty and symmetry being synonymous, but this look proves that it’s the unique and the off-kilter that strikes the eye and holds attention.

Subtle but lovely

2) Upper Arm Bracelets/Cuffs – When I’m not wearing my prosthetic hand, I don’t have a wrist on my left arm to wear a bracelet. But I think that arm deserves to wear pretty accessories too, so upper arm cuffs work particularly well. Plus, it’ll go just as great with a party dress as it will with casual jeans and a tank top. If Cleopatra could pull it off waaaaay back when, then I say why not?

3) Opera Gloves – Yes, they look super fancy shmancy over the prosthetic and paired with a cocktail dress, but I think it’s also pretty cool to wear just one on any given day. (Note: For me, it started for practical reasons rather than as a fashion statement. The “skin” on the prosthetic was easily stained by ink on newspapers and books, and I hated how it looked “dirty” so I just wore the glove over it.)

4) Grecian/Roman Goddess-Inspired – The famous Venus de Milo statue has long served as a standard of beauty for all women, in spite of AND due to her lack of arms. So it’s always fun to channel this icon with a Greek/Roman-inspired piece or full outfit.

So there you go – just a few ideas on how I like to use clothes and style to my advantage. I hope this has been an interesting post. And I promise I’ll start taking more pics of what I wear so I can post them on this blog. Do you want to see more style/fashion content on this blog? Let me know what you think.

Peace,
Caitlin 🙂

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perspective

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently taking a really cool photography class. I never gave photography more than a passing thought for most of my life (excepting Instagram here), but I needed the credits and I liked the idea of walking around the City taking pictures during my lunch breaks. Anyway, this week’s assignment was about perspective and how the photographer is in control of making the viewer see his or her artistic vision. Photographers play with different angles and techniques in order to get the perfect shot. The very essence of the art is making people see a certain object or person in a new light (often literally.) It’s funny, though, because even though the students’ assignments were all exactly the same, none of our photos looked a bit alike. Everyone had drastically different views and ideas that they captured in their pictures. And the even funnier thing is that that’s a pretty good metaphor for life in general. Everyone has ideas and thoughts and stories, and they don’t always align with what others think and do and feel.

NYC Windows

When I was a teenager and my aunt drove me to my high school, I used to spend the half-hour trip reading in the front seat. My cousin always conveniently left her fashion magazines in the car, and I loved flipping through them. A lot of the magazines featured real women writing short memoir-like pieces about a particular aspect of their life. One day, I found one about a woman with a disability and her experiences with dating. I don’t recall the specifics, but the woman had something along the lines of a lopsided back and misshapen legs. She wrote about how she would hide in dark corners at swanky bars so that attractive young bachelors would not notice her “flaws.”

I distinctly remember feeling a shred of pity for the poor woman who, I believed, had it much worse than I did. After all, I’ve always had a decent figure and shapely legs that I consider to be my best feature. But as I continued scanning the story, I read something to the effect of “It could be worse: I could be an amputee….” Yup. While I was rejoicing that I wasn’t shaped like her, she was thanking her lucky stars she was not missing a limb like me.

NYC Street

It was a pretty insightful lesson I learned from that fashion magazine. People have different ideas about EVERYTHING. There’s no objective hierarchy in terms of whose disability is worse or better to have, just like there are people who prefer blondes to brunettes and people who are willing to hurt each other just to prove that their ideology is more correct. There are people who will consider a disability a deterrent to a relationship and those who will love someone with a limb difference, not in spite of, but WITH the disability. It really depends on the person’s perspective.

NYC Art

So there you have my thoughts on this. I’ll leave you now with this short anecdote: My boyfriend and I were at his parents’ house last week when his mom started talking about a new adoption show I’m working on (I’m Having Their Baby on Oxygen, if you want to check it out.) I casually mentioned that I’d like to adopt a special needs child someday. Her response was not what I’d hoped for; she said it would be very. difficult to raise a child with special needs.

“Well, I turned out okay,”I said sheepishly.
“Oh Caitlin,” she laughed. “But you’re not Special Needs!”
I have no idea what “Special Needs” means to her, but it’s nice knowing that the picture of me in her head is one that doesn’t fit the category I’ve been placed in all my life.
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