A Sneak Peek …

Posted by melissa kandel on August 7, 2020 in home decor | No Comments

By Heatherly Grace Shepherd

A new season … a new house … a new vibe …

Each time I move into a new space, I like to change the vibe with wall color, furniture arrangement and decor to match my mood entering the season. Shifting from a downtown apartment to a suburban house, a jam-packed schedule and – of course – functionality for my kitty, Billi, I’m reinventing my bedroom to make the most comfortable room in my house exactly what I need. Take a sneak-peak at some pieces that inspired me! And stay tuned for three sensationally unique Oliver Gal pop-art canvases! Read More

Thoughts on Spanish Sand

Posted by melissa kandel on August 6, 2020 in Fiction | No Comments

Here you will come undone.

The Thought was odd. Too dark for the cloudless, turquoise morning and even weirder, not my own. The words I could sense, and almost touch if I wanted to, but they didn’t crystallize from my mind. It was as if each time I watched the sailor work the ropes to set his boat free and look toward the hotel on the edge of the Maspalomas Dunes, he was looking at me. Or he could’ve been looking through me, an insignificant nothing standing on a palm-treed porch next to a 30-foot heave of sand. Read More


Posted by melissa kandel on August 4, 2020 in art, business journey | No Comments

In keeping a promise made to no one, I’ve decided to write several posts for the month of August. Maybe it’s the long summer days and breezy, late nights but writing here feels a little like coming home.

Anyway, hey. Read More

An Interview with Matt Graves of Redbird Rants

Posted by melissa kandel on July 22, 2020 in Interview | No Comments

By Heatherly Grace Shepherd

An aerospace engineer isn’t the first person you’d expect to be a sports media expert, but in the case of Matt Graves, it’s as a winning a combination as the Cardinals’ lineup in their 11 World Series titles. I met Matt while studying communication at the Loveliest Village on the Plains and witnessed his obvious passion and dedication for sports content first-hand. As a St. Louis native with a penchant for analyzing the ins-and-outs of baseball, he has mastered the art of the sports story.

Officially, Matt is the site expert, editor and media representative for Redbird Rants, the St. Lous Cardinals Fansided page. Unofficially, he’s go-getter with a deep understanding about how to create engaging sports content people want to read. Along with writing, editing and social media management, Matt has been featured on podcasts for the Kansas City Royals and Love Sport Radio out of London. He took the Redbird Rants site from 300,000 viewers to 900,000 viewers during his two years with them, and kept the platform updated with fresh content even during the 2020 MLB season pause due to to COVID-19. Read More

#WriteOnSummer Challenge: Five Days, Five Writing Prompts

Posted by melissa kandel on July 13, 2020 in #WriteOnSummer Challenge | No Comments

Inspiration is everywhere but maybe it’s also right here. If you’ve been feeling creatively sparse, this week is all about stirring and shaking up the dormant creative within.

Starting today, we’re kicking off the little word studio #WriteOnSummer Challenge. It’s simple to play: five days, five writing prompts and five chances to unleash your inner artist. Each prompt will be posted on our Instagram, @littlewordstudio, so refresh the page for your new daily prompt then get to writing. When you’re finished – your work can be 10 words or 1,000 – tag us in your post or email us a link so we can read. We’ll repost and publish a few of your responses.

The first prompt will be posted later this afternoon …

Read More

Late Night Thoughts

Posted by melissa kandel on June 23, 2020 in Guest Post, Personal | No Comments

By Heatherly Grace Shepherd 

As my air conditioner is broken, I’m kept up at 2:00 in the morning by the summer heat seeping through my windows, and thoughts of my resiliency and what that word actually means.

So … why? I was raised in a military family and resiliency was a big word that was thrown into nearly every message. We are resilient because of how we handle the obstacles we must overcome. Whether that be deployments separating families, relocating your children after they finally made friends at their last new school, uprooting your career to follow your service member to their next assignment or living under the weight of uncertainty upon your shoulders with no one familiar to help carry the load, overcoming these hardships is a part of our day-to-day. I thought I would have left the need for resiliency behind when I became an adult living my own life, but in my years functioning as an individual in a very different world, I realized I had to embrace resiliency for myself. Read More

Embarking on a New Journey: Recognizing and Owning Your Worth

Posted by melissa kandel on June 17, 2020 in business journey | 2 Comments

By Heatherly Grace Shepherd

Over my past six-or-so years in the Communication field I have learned a lot – both in skills of the trade and knowledge of the professional world. While all learning experiences are important for your growth and maturity, one lesson in particular plays through my mind on repeat when I happen upon a potential networking opportunity (which, as we all know, is every time you have an interaction with someone at any given time).

A few years ago after relocating to Birmingham, I was hired at a publication company by a contact I had met through my immediate circle after we communicated about my search for a new job in my new city. His initial offer was for secretarial and clerical work so I could earn a little bit of a paycheck. However, I sat down and discussed my experience and skills that qualified me for a position on the sales floor – a position he hadn’t even named yet. I knew this company was looking to bring their printed content online and create more sales opportunities through social media marketing, and I knew I had the experience to help them pioneer this department. While discussing our plans for the position and how I could help his company he asked me, “How much compensation do you want?” Read More

little word studio Releases Free Lead Generation Guide to Help Small Businesses Navigate COVID-19 Challenges

Posted by melissa kandel on June 12, 2020 in business journey | No Comments

Newport Beach-based content marketing agency adds to its collection of custom small business resources with latest guide

Newport Beach, Calif. (Jun. 12, 2020) – little word studio, a Newport-Beach based content marketing agency servicing clients across the globe, today released its newest small business guide – the little word studio Lead Generation Guide – to help small businesses increase sales amid the complexities created by the COVID-19 crisis.

“The phrase ‘we’re all in this together’ is meaningless until we really act on it,” said Melissa Kandel, founder and CEO of little word studio, and author of the Lead Generation Guide. “I created this guide to assist small business owners worldwide who are struggling right now; it’s a practical handbook they can leverage, filled with the proven tactics I’ve implemented these past few weeks to successfully create new sales and generate growth.”

The guide is available for download here.

Read More

COVID-19 and the Current State of Content

Posted by melissa kandel on April 28, 2020 in business journey | 1 Comment

There’s an interesting idea circulating that content creators are right now getting back to basics. Stripped of the glitzy studios, the majestic mountain backdrops or the artsy mural walls, the inner artist is the outer artist is the Artist. True creatives are rising from the fiery rubble of a global pandemic to simply create. These are the meme-makers and the risk-takers, the TikTokers and the House Party heroes, and they’re changing the current state of our content today and probably forever.

How? Let’s break it down … Read More

GUEST POST: Earth Day Reflections from a Rock in Newport Beach

Posted by melissa kandel on April 23, 2020 in Guest Post, Photography | 3 Comments

Words and photography by Guest Contributor Paul Bivens

Yesterday was Earth Day, April 22, five weeks into quarantine.

It’s certainly been interesting; airports are empty, beaches are closed, restaurants are only open for takeout and 30% of the country is unemployed. As Bob Dylan says, times they are a changin’. But really they are, and there’s no telling how long this will last or how the world will behave after this is over.

Like many of you, I’ve missed running away for a weekend and getting lost in the great outdoors. So, here I am, sitting on an oddly uncomfortable rock perched high above the Pacific Ocean on Crystal Cove’s El Moro Canyon, for a quiet hometown adventure. With camera by my side, I take time to write down a few thoughts … Read More