2016 Wrap-Up | 2017 Reading Challenge

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I did it!  With 45 minutes to spare on New Year’s Eve, I completed both of my reading challenges for 2016.  Here is what I read for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge:

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📚 Published This Year •

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

📚 Finish in a Day •

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum 

📚 Meaning to Read •

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

📚 Recommended by Bookseller or Librarian •

The Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket 

📚 Should Have Read in School •

Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace 

📚 Chosen by Spouse, Partner, Sibling, Child, or BFF •

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar 

📚 Published Before You Were Born •

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

📚 Banned at Some Point •

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 

📚 Previously Abandoned •

Elixir trilogy by Hilary Duff 

📚 Own But Never Read •

An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson 

📚 Intimidates You •

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

📚 Already Read at Least Once •

Sisters of the Quilt trilogy by Cindy Woodsmall 

• Total: 12 categories & 31 books

• Here are links to my blog updates & my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge:

2016 Reading Challenge

– 2016 Reading Challenge Update #1

– 2016 Reading Challenge Update #2

Life Update | November 2016

– My 2016 GoodReads Reading Challenge

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I told myself I wouldn’t do it, but here I am.  I’ve decided to once again do the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge.  Keep reading to find out my tentative list for the twelve categories.

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📚 A Book You Chose For the Cover – The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi

I found this gem in my local library’s teeny tiny used bookstore.  The bright yellow bird against a blue background hooked me, and the murder mystery synopsis reeled me in.  I’m trying my best not to build expectations, but I really hope this book is as good as I want it to be.

📚 A Book With a Reputation for Being Un-Put-Down-AbleSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this book.  Some people have said it’s one of their favorite books/duologies ever written.  Of course I’m going to start with the first book, but I am optimistic that I will be purchasing book two very soon.

📚 A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been But Would Like to Visit – The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

Fun fact: I am dying to visit Egypt!!  Egyptology is one of my favorite subjects to learn about.

📚 A Book You’ve Already ReadThe Rook by Steven James

The Patrick Bowers Files series is AMAZING.  To be fair, I’ve only read the first two books, but how could it possibly go downhill from there??  I would actually like to read a few of the books in this series in 2017, but I’m setting the bar low so I don’t get too stressed.  I want these reading challenges to remain fun!

📚 A Juicy Memoir –  In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett

DUH!  Who wouldn’t want to read behind-the-scenes stories about The Carol Burnett Show?!

📚 A Book About Books or Reading – Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett

This book is part of one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  It has been on my shelf for a few years, and it’s about time I got around to reading it.  Fun Fact: The main character’s cat is named Miss Marple.  How cute is that?!

📚 A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid – The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

I rarely read and enjoy contemporary books outside of the mystery genre, but I’m willing to give this book a chance since it revolves around books.

📚 A Book You Don’t Want to Admit You’re Dying to ReadHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I’m not embarrassed about this book.  It’s just weird to admit that I’ve never read such a beloved series.  My aunt was kind enough to give me the first book for my birthday so I will definitely be reading it this year.

📚 A Book in the Backlist of a New Favorite Author – Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

I received all of the books Tessa Afshar has published thus far as Christmas and Hanukkah gifts.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I finish all of them before January 1, 2018.

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great TasteAs Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers

My friend Gabby recommended the Mark of the Lion series years ago, and I finally got around to reading books one and two in 2015.  The experience was so unbelievably mind blowing that I had to take a break.  There is no longer a good excuse so I need to pick up book three NOW.

📚 A Book You Were Excited to Borrow or Buy But Haven’t Read YetThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I am on pins and needles waiting to read this book.  I’m going to watch the movie with my brother first since that’s what I did with Gone Girl.  I realize that sounds like reader sacrilege, but I’m not your average bibliophile.  Watching the movie first or liking it better doesn’t bother me. ;)

📚 A Book About a Subject or Topic You Already LoveWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

I haven’t actually seen the musical yet, but I am obsessed with the story and soundtrack.  I liked The Wizard of Oz growing up but fell out of love with it for a period of time.  Listening to the Wicked soundtrack every day has made me fall back in love with Oz, and I am ready to read the story that started it all.  I am on page 32 and loving it so far. 💚

• Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge 

• Goodreads Website 

• Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge 

• Modern Mrs. Darcy Blog

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Jonathan Crombie Memorial

On April 15, 2015, tragedy struck the Anne of Green Gables family.  Actor Jonathan Crombie, known for his role as the beloved Gilbert Blythe, passed away.  If you are interested, here is the blog post I wrote following the news of his death: Don’t Forget Me

A member of the AOGG fandom, Sandra McKinney, has started a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of putting some kind of memorial in David Crombie Park.  The Toronto park is named after Jonathan’s father, and Sandra felt it was the perfect place for a memorial.  She has talked to the proper authorities, and the idea has been accepted.  If there is any money left over from the donations, it will be given to a charity of the Crombie family’s choosing.  Donate if you are able to do so, but don’t feel like you have to.  At the very least, share the page on social media and help spread the word.  Sandra’s efforts speak volumes on behalf of the AOGG community, and I want to do my part to help.

• GoFundMe Page – https://www.gofundme.com/2mbc344k

• Facebook Group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/970383573006872/

In the words of Sandra, “If you like this idea and would be willing to help so that this can happen please donate whatever you can. Let’s make this fundraising campaign a success and let’s keep Jonathan’s memory alive for our generation and generations to come.”

– Lauren Michele <3

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The 88th Academy Awards | Part 1

Welcome to the winners’ circle!  I am going to list each of the categories and their respective victors.  Part 2 will be available tonight on my art blog; it will feature my favorite looks from the red carpet.  First, I want to congratulate Chris Rock.  Hosts make or break award shows.  I rarely tune in because I lose interest quickly, but thanks to Mr. Rock I thoroughly enjoyed the Oscars this year.  Two thumbs up! 👍 👍

* * * Note: Videos of all the acceptance speeches will be posted in this article as soon as I can find good quality versions.

– Opening Monologue –

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144808155563319/

– This Year in Film –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m88THpMK590

🌟Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144973592213442/

🌟Best Actress – Brie Larson, “Room”

Best Animated Feature Film – “Inside Out”

Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant”

Best Costume Design – Jenny Beavan, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

🌟Best Director – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “The Revenant”

Best Documentary Feature – “Amy”

Best Documentary Short Subject – “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”

Best Film Editing – Margaret Sixel, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Foreign Language Film – “Son of Saul”

Best Live Action Short Film – “Stutterer”

Best Makeup – Damien Martin, Elka Wardega, and Lesley Vanderwalt, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Original Music Score – Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144900588887409/

Best Original Screenplay – “Spotlight”

Best Original Song – Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith, “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144835135560621/

* I congratulate Sam Smith on his win, but I was rooting for Lady Gaga.  What a powerful song!

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144912732219528/

🌟Best Picture – “Spotlight”

Best Production Design – Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Sound Editing – David White and Mark Mangini, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Sound Mixing – Ben Osmo, Chris Jenkins, and Gregg Rudloff, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

🌟Best Supporting Actor – Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

🌟Best Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Best Visual Effects – “Ex Machina”

Best Writing Adapted Screenplay – “The Big Short”

• Here are the trailers for all of the movies that won an award:

– A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk2OcKVu8qU

– Amy –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RvmFr_OCLgU

– Bridge of Spies –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBBuzHrZBro

– Ex Machina –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyKqHOgMi4g

– Inside Out –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seMwpP0yeu4

– Mad Max: Fury Road –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJnMQG9ev8

– Room –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_Ci-pAL4eE

– Son of Saul –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6MJZnDV27U

– Spectre –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4UDNzXD3qA

– Spotlight –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwdCIpbTN5g

– Stutterer –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnlBGQUn0tM

– The Big Short –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgqG3ITMv1Q

– The Danish Girl –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk

– The Hateful Eight –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_UI1GzaWv0

– The Revenant –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoebZZ8K5N0

There are three more things I want to highlight:

1.  C-3PO, R2-D2, & BB-8 made an appearance.  How cute was it seeing the droids all together on the stage?!  Dream come true for me! 💕

2.  Dave Grohl performed “Blackbird” during the In Memoriam presentation.   It was beautiful!  What else can I say??  The performance speaks for itself. 🎶🎶🎶

3.  I am sure Brie Larson doesn’t want any kind of special attention for her kind deed during one of the commercial breaks, but I think it deserves attention.  She stood up and hugged each and every one of the sexual assault survivors as they left the stage following the Lady Gaga performance.  That speaks volumes about who Miss Larson is as a person.

Source:  https://www.yahoo.com/celebrity/brie-larson-hugs-every-sexual-assault-survivor-052750529.html

Part 2 – The 88th Academy Awards | Part 2

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Goodbye 2015 | Hello 2016

What a year!  Join me as I take a look back at 2015.

January

• I finally had an Anne of Green Gables moment – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/in-the-barnyard/

February

• My last snow day in Texas – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/sweater-weather/

April

• Jonathan Crombie passed away – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/dont-forget-me/

• I had one final sleepover with my best friend, and we filmed some hilarious Youtube videos together. <3

• I left my home of 13 years in Texas and moved to California – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/moving-on/

June

• I saw RED perform at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney.

August

• My mom and I found THE BOOTS – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/27/the-great-boot-detective/

• I hiked up part of “Devil’s Slide” – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/kids-say-the-darndest-things/

• I became a brand ambassador for MyWebRoom:

https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/mywebroom-brand-ambassador/

http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/

September

• I celebrated the one year anniversary of my bachelor’s degree – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/college-graduation-one-year-later/

October

• CBS cancelled “Stalker” and broke my heart – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/rip-stalker/

• I visited Orlando, Florida, and Disney World for the first time with my family:

https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/florida-travels-part-1-vacation-woes/

https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/florida-travels-part-2-disneyland-vs-disney-world/

https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/13/florida-travels-part-3-the-highlight-reel/

• I saw Phinehas, Silent Planet, Fit For a King, and For Today in concert.

 

November

• I was finaly able to say “I’m feelin’ 22” – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/11/06/im-feeling-22/

• I got a job!!  (my first job in retail) – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/may-the-odds-be-ever-in-your-favor/

December

• A mass shooting occurred in my state – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/why-i-pray/

• I witnessed my first crime – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/12/17/merry-christmas-ya-filthy-animal-blogmas-2015/

• This blog passed the 200 follower mark – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/12/01/blogmas-day-1-210-followers/

• I found out Michael Flatley is coming to California – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/lord-of-the-dance-blogmas-2015/

• I saw “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and it was everything I expected and much much MORE – https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/12/26/merry-force-be-with-you/

• I reached 15 subscribers on Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Farewell to Chris Carney (husband of actress Tiffany Thornton), Dean Jones (Jailhouse Rock, Monkeys Go Home, Saved by the Bell: Hawaiian Style), Donna Douglas (The Beverly Hillbillies), Jonathan Crombie (Anne of Green Gables trilogy), Maureen O’Hara (The Parent Trap), Omar Sharif (One Night With the King), Sir Christopher Lee (Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy), Stuart Scott (ESPN anchor), and Taylor Negron (So Little Time).

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Because I love Christmas, December is somewhat of a comfort zone for me.  After the holidays end, I find myself coming off of a high and getting anxious in the face of a new year spread out in front of me.  The unknown scares me beyond words, but life goes on.  2015 was full of major life changes, and I hope to settle down and find normalcy in 2016.

Happy New Year readers! :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: Merry Force Be With You

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Merry Force Be With You

Hello hello hello readers!  I’m here to to tell you all about my galactic Christmas.  My family woke up, drank coffee from “It’s A Grind”, opened presents, and got ready for our annual trek to the movie theater.  My brother picked a theater in a specific city in hopes that it wouldn’t be crowded.  We arrived forty minutes early and found seats in the very back of the theater with a good view of the screen.  One minor detail: The theater was a small, cheesy-looking theater.  Saying we had a good view of the screen isn’t significant because it was 1/3 the size of a normal movie theater screen.  The room was split down the middle with approximately fifteen rows on each side and eight chairs per row.  It was a brief disappointment, but once the movie started, all was well.

* * * SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!  DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS”!!!!!

Fear not!  I’m not going to give a full synopsis of the movie, but I do want to share some family moments that reveal characters who appear.  First of all, I had tears in my eyes and chills throughout the movie.  I was so FREAKING happy!!  Within the first few seconds (the classic opening crawl), I knew it was a great movie.  When Chewie made his first appearance, my mom leaned over and whispered “Isn’t that the cookie??”  For the next five minutes I struggled in vain to choke down my laughter, tears streaming down my face.  For those who don’t get the joke, Chewbacca is a Wookie, not a Cookie.  I am a Star Wars fan, but I don’t know EVERYTHING there is to know about the franchise.  However, well done me because I guessed the plot twist involving Kylo Ren’s identity.  I thought I had Rey’s identity figured out but soon realized that some changes were made to the story.  By the end of the film, my theory had been tweaked to what I think is correct.  Time will tell!  As the end neared, my heart was racing in anticipation of the BIG reveal.  When the hooded figure’s face was revealed, me and my brother looked at each other and simultaneously whispered “We are not worthy.”  That sums up our “Force Awakens” experience and love for the Star Wars franchise.

* * * Shout-out to Oscar Isaac!  I watched him as Joseph in “The Nativity Story” on Christmas Eve and as Poe Dameron in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Christmas day.

Afterwards, my family ate lunch/dinner at Sizzler.  FYI, the steak and lobster is okay but definitely not worth $20.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing at home.  A simple but memorable day.

Only 365 days until Christmas! :D :D :D :D :D

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– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: So Long, Farewell | Blogmas 2015

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So Long, Farewell | Blogmas 2015

I apologize for the lack of posts these past couple of days.  I was trying really hard to recover from my illness in order to be strong enough for work.  I wasn’t successful, but I did survive and make it to my two days of freedom.  I hope you’re having a better Christmas Eve than me.  I’ve been moody all day.  Bleh!!  I’m trying to “reverse the curse” before midnight. :P Anywho, Blogmas has officially come to an end.  Until next year, merry Christmas readers!! :)

Here are links to ALL of my December activities:

– Artmas –

Artmas Day 1 – Amigurumi by Jean Greenhowe

Artmas Day 2 – Digital Art by Gregor Gorsic

Artmas Day 3 – Winnie the Pooh

Artmas Day 4 – Living in a Ginger World

Artmas Day 5 – Illustration by Tracy Hetzel

Artmas Day 6 – Makeup Merriment

Artmas Day 7 – Dancing in a Winter Wonderland

Artmas Day 8 – Marta Nael

Artmas Day 9 – Yulia Brodskaya

Artmas Day 10 – Midnight Magic

– Blogmas –

210 Followers | Blogmas 2015

I’m a Mess | Blogmas 2015

Lord of the Dance | Blogmas 2015

Retail Rant | Blogmas 2015

Elf in Recovery | Blogmas 2015

Deck the Halls | Blogmas 2015

Seasonal Sneezings | Blogmas 2015

Nipping at Your Nose | Blogmas 2015

Merry Christmas Ya Filthy Animal | Blogmas 2015

Hold on Tight | Blogmas 2015

Good Night | Blogmas 2015

(  What a grumpy Christmas! ;)  )

– Vlogmas –

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Good Night | Blogmas 2015

Good evening/morning readers!  It is 12:28 am, and I got home from work forty minutes ago.  I am currently wrapped up in blankets listening to the rain and watching “The Great Holiday Baking Show.”  I’m so glad Mary Berry finally made it to the USA. :D  My Sunday was eventful to say the least.  I once again stayed home from church because I was sick.  The week before was more of an exhaustion-related illness.  This week, I am actually S-I-C-K.  As I was preparing to chug ginger ale and get well, one of my managers called and asked me to work a double shift.  Although my head was pounding, I said yes because I knew she really needed help.  It was absolute hell dealing with holiday madness for 8 hours, but I survived.  Two more days of work and I will finally have time to relax and watch Christmas movies with my family.  TWO.  MORE.  DAYS.  HALLELUJAH!!!  All of you are most likely warm and snug in your beds right now so sleep tight and don’t let the bugs bite. ;)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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