2017 Wrap Up | 2018 Reading Challenge

With twelve minutes to spare in 2017, I completed my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books. Thanks to the diversity of those books, I also completed the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. Let’s recap the categories accompanied by detailed & extensive lists:

📚 A Book you Chose for the Cover – Before we dive into the list, I want to clarify that I define a cover buy as a book I picked up because the cover caught my eye, which doesn’t  mean I didn’t look at the synopsis:

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins | I almost didn’t buy this book, but I couldn’t get the cover out of my head.

📖 The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudis

📖 Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

📖 Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis

📚 A Book With a Reputation for Being Un-Put-Down-Able

And Then There Were None & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie | Some people might also include Death on the Nile, myself included.

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

📖 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Cinder & Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📖 The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, & The Queen by Steven James ( bestselling author & series )

📚 A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been but Would Like to Visit

🇪🇬 Egypt – Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, Crocodile on the Sandbank & The Curse of Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,  And Then There Were NoneCrooked House, & The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis, Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon,  & Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland – The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

📚 A Book You’ve Already Read – I did a lot of rereading last year:

📖 Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

📖 Kristy’s Great Idea, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, & The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

📖 Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

📖 Mind Over Monsters, To Catch a Vampire, & Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow

📖 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Tutu Deadly & Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts

📖 The Rook, The Knight, & The Bishop by Steven James

📖 White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter

📚 A Juicy Memoir In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett. The ending made me cry. No lie!

📚 A Book About Books or ReadingThe Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan & The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📚 A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid – These aren’t all genres I avoid on purpose; I just don’t reach for them often:

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins ( contemporary )

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff ( science fiction )

📖 In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett ( memoir)

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ( fantasy )

📖 Mind Over Monsters, To Catch a Vampire, & Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow ( supernatural )

📖 The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan ( contemporary )

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling ( fantasy )

📖 Cinder & Glitches by Marissa Meyer ( science fiction )

📚 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 by this series but rather ashamed that I didn’t pick it up sooner. I also read …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire.

📚 A Book in the Backlist of a New Favorite AuthorPearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste – These are recommendations by bookstagrammers, booktubers & friends:

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Night by Elie Wiesel

📖 Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

📖 Cinder & Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📚 A Book You Were Excited to Borrow or Buy but Haven’t Read Yet – Though I’m excited about every book I purchase, this list includes the titles I’d been dying to read but had yet to do so:

📖 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

📖 The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

📖 Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📖 The Queen by Steven James

📚 A Book About a Subject or Topic You Already Love – Another thorough list:

📖 And Then There Were None, Crooked House, Death on the Nile, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories, & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie ( mystery )

📖 The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie ( Christmas & mystery )

📖 The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie & Charles Osborne ( mystery )

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins ( the holidays )

📖 The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudis ( crime )

📖 In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett ( The Carol Burnett Show )

📖 The Mystery of the Stone Tiger by Carolyn Keene ( mystery )

📖 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ( Christmas )

📖 Crocodile on the Sandbank & The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters ( Egyptology & mystery )

📖 Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet ( mystery )

📖 Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire ( I already love the musical! )

📖 The Postcard Killers by James Patterson ( crime )

📖 Kingdom Come by Jane Jensen ( Amish life & crime )

📖 The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan ( books & reading )

📖 Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon ( mystery )

📖 Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis ( mystery )

📖 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder ( pioneer life )

📖 Cinder & Glitches by Marissa Meyer ( fairytales )

📖 Heartless by Marissa Meyer ( Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland )

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ( books & reading )

📖 Tutu Deadly & Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts ( dance & mystery )

📖 The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, & The Queen by Steven James ( crime )

📖 Land of Silence & Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar ( Bible times )

📖 Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delaney ( Christmas & mystery )

📖 White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter ( Amish life & Christmas )

Total: 12 Categories & 50 Books

Here are links to my reading updates & 2017 Goodreads Challenge:

2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Reading Challenges ( V I D E O )

January Reading Wrap Up | 2017 Reading Challenge Update

BookTube-A-Thon

October 2017 Wrap Up | November 2017 TBR

Murder on the Orient Express Vlog

November Wrap + December TBR

📚 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge 📚 

Due to reading fatigue, I am not officially committing to the 2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. However, I’m not giving up completely. I may join at any point during the year so I’m leaving the categories here for reference.

📚 A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to ReadA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste – TBD

📚 A Book in TranslationThe Time in Between by Maria Duenas

📚 A Book Nominated for an Award in 2018 – TBD

📚 A Book Of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay CollectionRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

📚 A Book You Can Read in a DayLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📚 A Book That’s More Than 500 PagesHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

📚 A Book by a Favorite AuthorMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

📚 A Book Recommended by a Librarian or Indie BooksellerThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

📚 A Banned BookTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

📚 A Memoir, Biography, or Book of Creative NonfictionTalking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

📚 A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your OwnHarvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar

Last but not least, I pledged to read 55 books on Goodreads. I’m not going to push myself because reading should be fun, not a competition. Regardless of whether or not I read a certain number of books, I’m doing something I love. Happy reading!

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Limited Edition Disney Pins | Pin Mail

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I promised another Disney pin post, and here it is.  I bought two limited edition pins on eBay and hoped for the best in terms of authenticity.  I am pretty sure both pins are real (YAY!) but feel free to let me know in the comment section whether or not you think either pins are fake.  If you want more of the surprise factor, press play on the video down below to watch me open the two packages and reveal the pins.  If you want to skip ahead and see close up pictures, scroll down.

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🌞 Disney California Adventure Greetings From California Pin 🌞

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• Minnie Mouse pin on Pin Pics

http://www.pinpics.com/pinMT.php?pin=68969&keyw=minnie+greetings+from+california

• disneypinsandvinylmation on eBay

http://www.ebay.com/usr/disneypinsandvinylmation?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

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🌊 Disney Soda Fountain Characters in Cars Lilo and Stitch Pin 🌊

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*Note: The lighting made the back of this pin appear bronze, but it is gold.

• Lilo & Stitch pin on Pin Pics

http://www.pinpics.com/pinMT.php?pin=68269&keyw=characters+in+cars

• the_wicked_wench on eBay

http://www.ebay.com/usr/the_wicked_wench?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2754

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• Disney Pin Collecting & Trading Blog Post

https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/disney-pin-collecting-trading/

• Disney Pin Collecting & Trading Video

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PART 2 COMING SOON!!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Seasonal Sneezings | Blogmas 2015

Is sneezings even a word?  Oh well!  It sounds clever. ;)  I stayed home from church today because I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck.  Dairy-free egg nog and “The Great British Bake Off” on Netflix has proved to be a successful remedy.  I really need to get better because I work tomorrow night.  Lovely!  Sadly, today was the last day of Hanukkah.  I am grateful for all of the gifts I received.  To commence the Festival of Lights, I will be watching “Maccabees: The Story of Hanukkah.”  Here is a clip of the short, animated movie:

Last night I started reading “The Pawn” by Steven James.  I have read it before, but I am starting over because the series is longer now so I want to refresh my memory of the first few books.  The Patrick Bowers Files is a great series; in a nutshell, the books are thrilling crime/mystery adventures.  The format is similar to that of “Criminal Minds” on TV because you read from many points of view including agent Patrick Bowers and the unknown serial killer.  I will definitely be reading a few chapters before bed tonight.  Smart decision!  If you are interested in this series, click the link: Books

Vlogmas – Lauren Michele

2 days until Artmas – Lauren Michele Photography – WordPress.com

12 days until Christmas…

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– Lauren Michele <3

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The New Normal

Moving HouseDavis, Katy. Moving House. 2012. Web. 24 July 2015. http://www.gobblynne.com/blog/womans-weekly/.

Wow!  I really need to do a better job of balancing my blogs.  I set out to write an even amount of posts on each but always end up focusing on one or the other.  Sorry about that!  If you want to see what I have been up to, go check out my art blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

I am back and ready to do some reflecting.  My family has been reunited for 3 months and finally, as of earlier this month, live in a house.  We were previously living in a loft above someone else’s garage, a space meant for two people max (+ a small child).  It feels amazing to spread out, have my own room, and not live out of boxes.  There are many day-to-day things that I took for granted before.  I don’t want to make this some cheesy promise that my outlook has changed, and I will never take the small things for granted again.  I am human, and I will mistakes,  However, the adventure I have been on these past few years has definitely taught me to be grateful for the mundane.  I have an actual bed to sleep in, not an uncomfortable couch.  I have a closet and a dresser, not boxes and suitcases.  I have my own sink, and the shower has hot water.  I have plenty of space to exercise without tripping over a box or having to let someone pass me.  I have cable and Wi-Fi, not a DVD player and internet the speed of a snail.  I have kitchen appliances, not just a microwave for ramen and a refrigerator for sandwich ingredients.  I have the choice not to balance my plate on a pillow and eat on the couch because there is a table.  The list goes on and on.  Those struggles are nowhere near being the worst that could happen, but they were hard to go through just the same.  The past three years were not easy, but I will cherish the memories for the rest of my life.  Getting up at 4 am with my mom to hike and take landscape photographs for my portfolio so I could graduate college and reunite with my brother and dad.  Eating ice cream and watching movies with my mom in the one and only furnished bedroom in our old house.  Having Christmas dinner at a Mexican restaurant because the loft didn’t have a full kitchen.  Squeezing four people onto a three person couch for family movie night.

I must ride on to my next adventure (guess the reference, and we are instant BFFs).  Have a great week!  I will be back very soon.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass.  It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”  – Vivian Greene

“Things may never go back to normal.  You may need to create a new normal.  And that’s okay.”  – Unknown

Go with the flow readers!

– Lauren Michele <3

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In The Barnyard

In The Barnyard (Source: http://kindredspiritmommy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Shaun_the_Sheep_06.jpg)

Earlier this week, a friend of mine invited me along for a house sitting adventure.  The adventure was mine to have because my friend had already visited this house and barn many times.  I have seen farm animals multiple times in my twenty-one years of life, but feeding them was a brand new experience.  To be exact, there were five dogs, three cats, two doves, two horses, two donkeys, and a small herd of goats and sheep (approximately ten).  The first part of the afternoon was spent inside watching TV with the dogs.  Nothing especially exciting except for the new episode of Once Upon a Time (Any fellow Oncers reading this??).  Eventually it was time to go outside and feed the other animals.  It was raining, but I did not care one bit.  I was practically leaping out of my skin from excitement!  I put on boots and a large coat, and followed my friend’s lead out the door, over the little bridge, and into the barn.  After filling buckets with two kinds of feed, I volunteered to feed the horses (my favorite domestic animal).  I enjoyed every little thing: opening the gate, walking through the rain and mud, and filling the barrels.  What happened next was the real adventure.  I walked into the goat and sheep enclosure but left the feeding task to my friend.  Have you ever watched goats and sheep be fed?  They are greedy!  There were three bowls, and yet as soon as my friend moved on from one bowl to the next, the entire group would ignore the food in front of them and follow the bucket.  After giving the donkeys some feed, we made our way back into the horse pen.  The group of goats and sheep followed, and one particularly bossy sheep managed to push her way in.  She made her way over to one of the horses and watched it eat as though she was going to take part.  Like I said, GREEDY!!  As I made my way through the mud and attempted to herd the animal back to where she belonged, I could not help but laugh.  The seemingly annoying situation was actually a dream come true.  I felt like Anne of Green Gables trying to get her cow out of Rachel’s field with the help of her best friend Diana.  I managed to back the sheep against the gate but simultaneously had to keep the rest of the pushy herd out.  Teamwork prevailed, and all animals were where they were meant to be once again.  I really wish the chase was on video, but alas it is not.  All I have is the hilarious, muddy memory.  I hope I was able to paint a vivid picture and add some laughter to your Saturday night.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend readers!

– Lauren Michele :)

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