Swap-bot: Magpie Journal Swap

Here are some examples of what a Magpie Journal *may* look like, just for reference. You may include just about anything you like in yours. Some exceptions: anything dirty, sticky or smelly (that includes perfume samples, etc – in case your swap partner has allergies).

On my pages you’ll notice a variety of items: address labels, bits of mail, prescription labels, clothing tags, fruit labels, ads, appointment reminders, washi tape, decorative elements, stickers, interesting shopping bags, maps, gift tags – and there are millions of other things you could include!

Please note: These swaps are not intended to be art journals and are not required to have an intensive writing element to them. They’re more along the lines of junk journals, gluebooks, etc. They’re called “magpie” journals because magpies collect bits of all sorts of things to make their nests with.






I hope this helps give you some idea of what this swap is about. Use your imagination and have some fun with it!


Michelle (chelle523)


Me, Only Bolder

So I just got back from 4 1/2 days in Vegas, and what a ride it was! I was there for our corporate conference – “Hoopla” and I’m gonna be completely honest – it got off to a bumpy start. But I had so many tiny breakthroughs, I can tell you – I’ve come back a changed woman.

Let me preface this by saying I’ve always been terrified of flying. It’s not rational, it’s not logical – it just is. I know that it’s because I’m not in control of the plane and because I’m the type who’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and is there any bigger shoe-drop than plummeting 50,000 feet to your death? I don’t think so. So, 3 years ago when my husband and I were planning our trip to Paris for our 25th anniversary, I decided I was going to do something about it because I didn’t want to be sobbing and panicking for 8 straight hours on the plane. I found a great training course, completed it, and made my way to Paris with a minimum of tears. Fast forward to 5 days ago, and I got onto a plane again, and even though takeoff still has me a bit freaked out, I didn’t cry even once. Even looked out the window and saw the Grand Canyon on the way back (HOLY SHIT Y’ALL – it’s HUGE!) .

So there I go being all proud of myself and feeling like a badass in my short little wrap dress and sandals with all my KEEP jewelry on and as I’m leaving the plane, some jackass makes a comment about me being pregnant. Spoiler: I’m not. In one instant, I let all of that badassery slide right out of me. Notice that I said “I let” because that’s the truth of the situation. He didn’t do shit to me. *I LET* him make me feel small and ugly and ashamed. And as I generally do, I went to Facebook to rant, and as my friends list usually does, they propped me right back up. And I heard this tiny little voice in the back of my head saying, “Did you ever stop to think that maybe those people who actually know and love you are right and that random dude (who probably wasn’t actually trying to be an asshole) isn’t?”.

Dressed for success...and also so I can drink my rum and coke on the plane in comfort.
Dressed for success…and also comfort.


We got to Vegas, got all checked in, headed out to conquer the city and amidst a clusterfuck of missed communication and misunderstanding, wound up missing out on the group of girls I was trying to hang out with and as a result of walking 2+ miles in the 110 degree heat, got a ginormous blister on my foot which really had me in a foul mood. Hoopla hadn’t even started, and I knew I was going to have to do a ton of walking over the next 4 days and already my feet had betrayed me. What upset me most was that I had earned a special honor – Sparkle Reception – which is a dance party just for people who promoted into leadership – and I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear the heels I’d brought with me. And here comes my husband to save the day. After walking me to the MGM for my day of Bold Leadership (that’s our theme this year: “Be Bold”), he stopped at a shoe store on the way back and was sending me pics of sparkly sandals that I could swap out for my heels. Yes, while I was in training, my Prince Charming was out shoe-shopping for me. And no, I won’t share him, so don’t even ask.

The shoes...commence drooling.
The shoes…commence drooling.


So I went to the Sparkle Reception, nerves and all. Social situations like that generally make me want to crawl inside a shell and hide out, and I was still stinging from the day before (oh and I was rocking a killer cold sore – did I mention that?). A few drinks and a couple of line dances later and I ran into our Chief Happiness Officer Mike. And in a spontaneous moment of boldness (and maybe insanity) basically tackle-hugged him. Now I admire the hell out of Mike. He’s one of the happiest, most positive people I’ve ever seen. But there’s no way I’d feel comfortable approaching him normally and certainly not hugging him around the neck like I’d just been called to Contestant’s Row on “The Price is Right”. Bless his heart, Mike laughed and said, “Congratulations on being here! It’s great to meet you!”

And then came Friday. Friday is opening session for ALL of KEEP Collective – meaning there are hundreds and hundreds of women in the audience, and at the beginning, they have a parade for new promotions. Which meant that I had to walk across the main stage  as a new Star (something that would normally cause at the very least anxiety and possibly the dry heaves as well.) I sat in the audience last year and thought for a split second, “I wanna be up there next year” and then just as quickly “There’s no way.” because in my mind, everyone on that stage was somehow something other than what I was. They were somehow better, smarter, more successful, prettier, braver, more outgoing – the list goes on and on. Yet there I was, lined up with my star wand (they freaking give us star wands – I mean, how perfect is that?!?) And somehow, when the time came, I was ready because I knew that I had earned that walk and I wasn’t going to let anxiety ruin it for me any more than I’d let it ruin my trip to Paris. 20170714_095223

Me and my KEEP sisters Laila, Genevieve and Julianna getting ready to walk that stage! And believe it or not, smiling big is another bold move for me ever since getting braces at the age of 46. 😀 (Edit: No clue why this pic is sideways when you view this but it looks fine when I go in to edit it so screw it – tilt your head. Lol)

Over the next couple of days, I was forced out of my shell a bunch of times – meeting new people, talking to strangers instead of avoiding it by staring at my phone, dancing like a fool, crying and yeah, even getting pulled into the pre-show of “Zumanity” (the Circue du Soleil show) from my comfy seat in the audience to dance with one of the performers and be part of a sexy little vaudeville scene. I watched my personal heroine, Danielle Redner walk out on stage in skyhigh heels and jeans with a fauxhawk, black and grey eye makeup on point and head-banging to “Down With the Sickness”. And yep –  I rode back on the plane without crying again.

danielle IMG_20170204_173503089

Professional badass Danielle Redner at Hoopla and when I got the chance to meet her in February in Chicago. 

But my boldest moment has yet to come. Because my boldest moment has been building for months and years now. I’m finally learning that there’s something fierce in me and always has been. Oddly enough, I was the last one to notice it. I’m not any different than any of the women (or men) who’ve inspired me – I just haven’t felt comfortable enough in my own skin to jump in with both feet instead of dipping my toe in the water. But I am so damn done with living life in half-measures. I’m tired of doing things the way I think I’m supposed to. I’m tired of living according to someone else’s rules. And I’m ready to do something about it.

lil badass

I am ready to rediscover this little badass again, because I used to know that I was Wonder Woman without any doubt at all. 

So watch out because here I come.




strawberry soda from ecuador

Day 30: Purple Rain (the untold story)

Well, we’ve come to the end of the month. I hope you’ve enjoyed the songs and a bit of the stories behind them. When it comes right down to it, for a real appreciation of Prince’s genius, you have to go past the amazing lyrics and powerful music to find the stories about HOW he made the music. Like the fact that he had the “Purple Rain” album completely written when the record company decided none of the singles were suitable for a debut single, so he went back and wrote TEN songs overnight, including “When Doves Cry”. Like the fact that his first few albums were completely written, produced, and arranged by Prince alone and he also did all of the vocals and played all the instruments. Before getting his first major record deal, one of the conditions was that he prove to the record company that he had done everything on his demo by himself (they thought he was faking) When he went into the studio and did it all solo again, they knew what kind of talent they were dealing with.

And then there’s this video. Everyone knows the song. It’s his magnum opus, and undoubtedly one of his best. But many people probably didn’t realize that the recording that’s on the album, and is shown in the movie is recorded almost note for note from this performance from a charity event at First Avenue almost a year before the movie debuted. It’s also the first time the band had ever played the song in public, and the first time Wendy Melvoin played in public as a member of The Revolution. If you listen closely, you can hear some of the crowd noises that you’ll hear on the album. The song was cleaned up a bit, some orchestration was added, a verse was removed, but other than that, this performance is what’s on the album.

One of the few blessings of the last year has been the discovery of footage like this that shows some of what went on behind the scenes in the making of his music. It has been a blessing getting a chance to see videos that many of us haven’t seen in decades, and learn new things about this man we all love through interviews with his friends and loved ones. It’s given me a whole new appreciation for the genius that it took to constantly reinvent himself with each album. I used to think that it was sad that he never achieved the same success that he had with “Purple Rain” again, because he did release plenty of music that was as good, if not better. But in the end, if the greatest thing you ever make is something of the magnitude of “Purple Rain”, what a tremendous gift you’ve given the world! To ask for more than that would almost be greedy.

So here is the video of the first time “Purple Rain” was ever performed in public. I apologize for the quality, but after all this is a video from a nightclub performance in 1983! I don’t own this video, so please don’t share it or the link. I don’t want to get any record company lawyers breathing down my neck. I’m only sharing it because the story behind the song and the way it was recorded is almost as powerful as the song itself.  (Click on the photo below to watch.)

purple rain

Thank you for coming along for the journey this month. It’s been a pleasure sharing so much of his amazing work and it has helped take a bit of the sting out of missing him so badly.

I wish u heaven.


Michelle O(+>

dmsr mix

Day 29: DMSR

I really hope everyone’s heard this one, but I don’t really want to take any chances. Talk about your straight-up, no question funk anthem – this is it.

“DMSR” (or “Dance Music Sex Romance”) was a sure way to drive everybody to the dance floor back in the day.  I believe it even made an appearance in the movie “Risky Business”.  It’s from the “1999” album. And it’s not such a bad philosophy when you get right down to it. Later on in his career after he converted to Jehovah’s Witness, he switched up the lyrics a bit, but it didn’t take away from how absolutely amazing this song really is.

So here, without further ado, “DMSR”. Enjoy your Saturday night! (Click on the photo.)

prince dmsr

Peace and b wild,

Michelle O(+>


Day 28: The Greatest Romance Ever Sold

If you go on any Prince fan message boards, there’s bound to be at least one board devoted to interpretations of the lyrics to this song. And given that it’s Prince, there’s every chance that not one of us got it *right*. I won’t try to interpret it for anyone else; all I can say is that lyrically, I think it’s one of his finest songs. And it’s one of his sexiest, as well.

“The Greatest Romance Ever Sold” is the third track on Prince’s “Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic” album.  Various remixes of the song were also released with Eve, Maceo Parker and The Neptunes taking part.

It’s sensual and slinky and gorgeous. Enjoy the video by clicking the image below.

prince greatest romance

Peace and b wild,

Michelle O(+>


Day 27: God (Instrumental)

Yep – an instrumental today. I’ve been in a yoga/meditation frame of mind and I think this song is just perfect for it.

If you’ve ever seen “Purple Rain”, you’ll recognize this as the love song that’s played when Apollonia and Prince make love for the first time. The instrumental version is the b-side to “Purple Rain”. Prince actually recorded a version of the song with lyrics that are a sort of Prince version of the beginning of the book of Genesis. But I think that the instrumental version has so much more impact, simply because the music is so beautiful and transcendent.

Click on the photo below to enjoy “God”, and I hope that it has the same effect on you that it has on me.

prince god

Peace and b wild,

Michelle O(+>

prince 2

Day 26: Temptation

This is another song from “Around the World in a Day” – the final track on the album.

The song starts right away with a blistering guitar solo that leads immediately into a classic bump and grind and all of this melts into one of Prince’s sexiest songs ever, in my humble opinion. He does some amazing vocal theatrics in the song, but at its core, it’s just sexy, but it’s also much more. He begins the song talking about how everyone in the world has a vice (and his is obviously sexual) and by the end of the song, a higher being comes to him and shows him the error of his ways. He now understands that “love is more important than sex” and promises to be good. Yet another example of Prince’s mixing of sex and faith and his constant effort to reconcile the two, given society’s beliefs and some religious beliefs.

Click on the photo below to listen to “Temptation”.

Talk about purple electricity…

Peace and b wild,

Michelle O(+>

prince controversy

Day 25: Controversy

“Controversy” is the title song to Prince’s 4th studio album, “Controversy”. It also marks a radical shift in his music and his career. Enter the trademark purple trench coat, immaculately trimmed facial hair, skintight pants and heeled boots. In the video, he’s jumping off the stacks, and most of the players that would eventually become The Revolution are in place.

prince controversy

Just as fine decades later. 

The song’s lyrics show that Prince had obviously become famous enough at this point to draw the attention of the press and the public in general. The opening lines of the song show his feelings on the intrusive nature of some of the attention:

I just can’t believe all the things people say (Controversy)

Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? (Controversy)

Do I believe in God? Do I believe in me? (Controversy)”

Prince was always a very private person, so it’s not surprising that he wasn’t keen on interviews and constant probing into his private life. It seems he never really understood why people were curious about such things. He felt that he showed what people needed to see through his music and wasn’t interested in being a tabloid story. And the more secretive he was, the more curious the public became. He always had a love/hate relationship with the media, often deliberately feeding them false information about himself, and creating an aura of mystique that lasted through his entire lifetime.

Click on the photo to watch the “Controversy” video.


Peace and b wild,

Michelle O(+>


Day 24: The Ladder

Prince was as notorious for his faith as he was for his risque songs. And in his younger days, he had no problem reconciling the two. He viewed sex and sexuality as a gift from God, and seemed to also see it as a way to commune with the Divine.

“The Ladder” is the eighth track on “Around the World In a Day”, and is a funky, straight up gospel song. The song starts with the story of a mythical king living in the land of “Sin-a-Plenty” who was looking for the ladder. The ladder is a metaphor for whatever we are looking for in life – a deity, the meaning of our existence, the answers to our most basic questions.


Cover art for “Around the World In a Day” featuring The Ladder in the middle. 

The song was co-written by Prince’s father, John L. Nelson, and the strings were composed by Lisa Coleman and Wendy Melvoin. This song really was a family affair. In addition to Prince’s father working on the song, two of Wendy’s siblings (Susannah and Jonathan – who later went on to play for the band Smashing Pumpkins) and Lisa’s brother, Jonathan did as well.

The song wasn’t released as a single, and wasn’t regularly featured in his live shows, but was widely considered one of his best gospel songs.

And here is “The Ladder”.

Peace and b wild,

Michelle O(+>


Day 23: Adore

My intention for this month of blogging was to cover some of Prince’s lesser-known works, but this one is just too good to ignore, even if it is a bit more well-known.

I love Prince’s music no matter the style – funk, R&B, rock, pop, soul, psychedelic, hip-hop – you name it. But nobody does a love song the way that he does. I mean, “The Beautiful Ones”? “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World”? “Forever in My Life”? “Slow Love”? I love them all. But “Adore” is one of those songs that is sure to get every woman (and probably a lot of the men) in the audience all twitterpated. And he knew it. He absolutely knew how to write a love song that was sure to make you fall in love with him. “Adore” is a perfect slow groove from a man who wrote quite a few of them.

adore prince adore

“Adore” is the last song on the second disc of the “Sign O’ The Times” album. Prince does all of the vocals and plays all of the instruments in the song with the exception of the horns. His last performance of the song was on April 14, 2016, during the first of two shows at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. Those would be his last performances.

Enjoy “Adore” by clicking on the photo below.

prince adore

Peace and b wild,

Michelle  O(+>