Riverdance Turns 25

I couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the 25th anniversary of a show that changed my life: Riverdance. The stage show began as a 7-minute act performed during an intermission at the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, 1994. The performance was a smash hit with the audience, causing a chain reaction that breathed new life into Irish dancing around the world. The great minds behind this phenomenon are composer Bill Whelan, director John McColgan, featured dancers Jean Butler and Michael Flatley who also contributed choreography, producer Moya Doherty, and, of course, the rest of the hardworking crew & talented company of dancers.

Four years after Riverdance made its grand debut, I received a VHS from a family friend, a tape of the show during its 1995 debut run in Dublin. Four-year-old me had no idea my life was about to change. I can’t even tell you how many times that tape played while I leaped & twirled across the living room floor. It wasn’t long before I was taking my first tap class. Did I become an Irish dancer? No. Did I bring every ounce of passion I possessed as a proud Irish girl into ballet, jazz, modern, & tap classes for 12 1/2 years? YES I DID!!! 🔥

It’s hard to explain how much this show means to me, but believe me when I say it holds a very VERY special place in my heart. It was not only my introduction to the dance culture in both Ireland & Spain but also my introduction to dance. I lost my passion & did not pursue a career as a dancer, but I never lost my love for all things dance. To this day, I drag my dad to the theater if Riverdance visits our neck of the woods (he knows he loves it!). I’ve seen it five times, & I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

To the Riverdance companies & crews: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you have done. Happy Anniversary! I am looking forward to 25 more years of this special show!

Do yourself a favor & watch the moment when it all began:

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

P.S. Shout out to María Pagés, the original flamenco dancer in Riverdance & my Spanish queen since the age of 4. 🇪🇸

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk6LYFwP8lE

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

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Turn that frown upside down because, for once, Monday isn’t so bad. Today is Harry Potter’s 20th birthday. Actually it’s the book’s birthday, but you get the point. In honor of J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book turning twenty, I’m sharing some amazing art with you as well as my experience with the series. The tribute will continue from this blog post to my art blog and end on my YouTube channel. Make sure you read carefully and use the provided links so you don’t miss anything. Hop on your broom and AWAY WE GO!!!

P A R T   T W O   ➡️   ➡️   ➡️   ➡️   ➡️   G O L D E N   T R I O   A R T W O R K

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The Wonderful World of Disney Presents:

Image Source: http://abc.go.com/shows/the-wonderful-world-of-disney-disneyland-60

I know I know I know!!  I talk about Disney A LOT.  However, I couldn’t help writing a post about the Disneyland 60 celebration that aired on ABC tonight.  Before I jump headfirst into all the amazing moments that took place, I want to mention two things that are not so good.  Go ahead and call me a prude, goodie two-shoes, etc.  I don’t care!  I personally think that the revealing costumes in the opening dance number were inappropriate; this was a special in honor of a family friendly theme park, and families at home and in the park were watching.  The second thing I want to mention isn’t bad, but it is somewhat of an elephant in the room and a detail that will most likely be mentioned by at least one person on the internet.  Most Disney fans wont mind watching two hours of Disney-related television and freaking out over the nostalgia and memories.  However, this two-hour special was more about Disney than Disneyland with the exception of a few interviews and fun facts throughout.  I don’t really care, but the truth is the special was a tad bit unnecessary if you consider that the subject was supposed to be Disneyland.  Moving on to the good stuff!

– Dance –

The “Part of Your World” dance number featuring Maddie Ziegler was short but beautiful.  The flowy costumes, monochromatic blue stage, and underwater background set a tranquil, dreamy mood.  Derek Hough lead a dance number set to “Step In Time.”  I couldn’t help but shed a few tears when Dick Van Dyke stepped onto the stage and danced at the end.

– Music –

The musical performances were amazing!  Here is a list of the songs performed in order:

• “Be Our Guest” – Pentatonix

• “When You Wish Upon a Star” – Jessie J

• “I Wan’na Be Like You” – Fall Out Boy

• “Circle of Life” – Elton John

• “Rainbow Connection” – Tori Kelly & Kermit the Frog

• “Let It Go” – Idina Menzel

• “Part of Your World” – Kelsea Ballerini

• “Friend Like Me” – Ne-Yo

• Star Wars Medley

Hore, Steven, and Sky Creative. Sky Movies, Star Wars. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. http://imgur.com/gallery/G7AaaFg.

Hore, Steven, and Sky Creative. Sky Movies, Star Wars. Web. 22 Feb. 2016. http://imgur.com/gallery/G7AaaFg.

• “Steve McQueen” – Little Big Town

• “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” – Gustavo Dudamel & The Los Angeles Philharmonic

• “Wonderful Crazy Night” – Elton John

– Non-Musical Highlights –

• Helen Mirren was one of the first presenters.  Her grace & eloquence was in fine form and the perfect way to open the show.  She’s not a Disney princess; she is an honorary Disney QUEEN!  👑

• During the “Modern Family” cast interview, hidden Mickeys were discussed.  Being the geek that I am, I began to hyperventilate when I realized that hidden Mickeys were placed within the interview setting.  They were eventually pointed out, making me feel super smart.  😉

• I must admit I got teary eyed during the Disney girls montage.  Hearing famous lines from the diverse group & interviews from female celebrities impacted by female Disney characters was touching.  💕

• It was really cool to see a sneak peek of Star Wars land & the Shanghai Disneyland Park.  Soon, Star Wars fanatics will be able to board the Millenium Falcon in California 🌠, and Disney princess enthusiasts will be able to see the largest Disney theme park castle in Shanghai 🏰.

• Last but certainly not least, my favorite part of the entire show which occurred early on.  While walking around Disneyland, Josh Gad visited Walt Disney’s apartment and mentioned a lovely fact: When working inside the park, Walt Disney would keep his lamp by the window lit to let employees know he was watching to make sure everything was running smoothly.  Now, in his honor, the lamp is lit at all times.  🌟

During financial troubles, Walt took a leap of faith and created a mouse.  His creation continues to have a worldwide impact.

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Now I desperately want to visit Disneyland.  I hope you enjoyed this post readers.  “See” you soon!  :)

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January 2016 Favorites

Hello readers!  Today I’m going to be sharing my favorite event & products from January 2016.  Feel free to leave comments down below. :)

– Riverdance –

Being the totally awesome parent that he is, my dad bought tickets to a 20th anniversary performance of Riverdance.  The seats were one row back from the stage!!  Unfortunately he got sick, but my mom sacrificed and took his place. ;)  It was my fifth time seeing the show, and I still got emotional.  It was absolutely incredible sitting so close and seeing the emotion and camaraderie between the dancers.

– Seared Ahi Spinach Salad –

After the performance, my mother and I had a lovely dinner at Claim Jumper.  Having said that, NEVER eat dinner at a mall on a Saturday.  The restaurant was across the street from the theater, and by the time we ate, the show had been over for three hours.  However, the salad I had was amazing and worth the wait.  Here is a list of ingredients for those of you who desire such details: ahi tuna, crunchy noodles, red onions, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, feta cheese, glazed pecans, sesame seeds, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

Everybody in my church subconsciously decided to make tamales and give them to my family at the same time.  I dove in headfirst and never looked back.  I want to clarify that my newfound appreciation is directed towards one specific variation: tamales with olives.  My Mediterranean blood compels me to love olives, and I do.  Tamales with olives are muy delicioso!

– Plantain Chips –

Plantain chips are the bee’s knees, and I want the world to know it.  They are crunchy like dried banana but savory like chips.  I recommend the lightly salted Pampa plantain chips because I strongly dislike heavily salted foods.

– Winterberry Wonder Lotion –

This delightfully scented concoction was a Christmas gift, and it has been my go-to lotion ever since.  The keynotes are red winterberry, ruby apple, sparkling cranberry, snowkissed camellia, and crystal vanilla.  It smells mostly floral with hints of berry and apple.  Call me crazy but I almost always smell a hint of watermelon in Bath & Body Works lotions, this product included.

– English Lavender Linen Spray –

I struggle with insomnia, and one of the commonly known remedies is lavender.  I researched and found several different products but ultimately decided to give the spray a try.  Even though this spray from Bed, Bath, & Beyond isn’t made specifically for insomnia, it works.  The scent is distinctly lavender and very fresh.  I spray it all over my pillow and bed right before going to sleep.  Sometimes I read a book post-spray, another helpful trick for treating insomnia.

– Fragrant Jewels Candles –

I bought these candles to review the company for my Youtube channel.  Even though the draw of this company was the rings hidden inside the products, I ended up loving the candles.  The Frosted Gingerbread candle is spicy, and the Winter candle is woodsy.  They can burn for up to four hours at a time, and the scent is detectable within a few minutes.  For more information, watch my video:

– Soda Scribe Womens Booties –

I wore these boots to work on New Year’s Day and received so many compliments.  They are comfortable and look great with or without socks/tights.

– Adult Coloring Book & Colored Pencils –

 

I’ve been wanting an adult coloring book for a long time and used a recent family trip to Barnes & Noble as my chance to get one.  It was a little embarrassing paying for a coloring book and colored pencils, but I got over my pride and did it.  I can already tell this book will last me a lifetime because I haven’t even finished half a picture yet.  Coloring is relaxing and a great creative outlet, and I highly recommend you give it a try. :D

– “Sisters of the Quilt” by Cindy Woodsmall –

I’ve already discussed this series on this blog so all I will say is this series is fantastic and impossible to put down.

“I live in a home full of strict rules, even for an Old Order Amish family. My Daed doesn’t believe in allowing our tradition of a rumschpringe. At its best, the running around years is meant as a time of extra freedoms that gives singles an opportunity to find a spouse. But sometimes young people take advantage of it, so my Daed all but forbids.  Still, I have found love, and even though Paul isn’t Amish, I know that if I spent a lifetime looking, I’d never find a better man. He’s gentle and kind, and his sense of humor is every bit as strong as his sense of responsibility.  But if my Daed knew of our friendship, he’d put an end to it, and I’d be grounded from stepping off the farm for even a stroll for months, maybe a year.  Paul leaves Owl’s Perch each fall, and even though he writes me letters and sends them to his grandmother’s house, he’s never hinted at how he feels beyond friendship.  Despite my Daed, despite that I’m only seventeen, despite that Paul goes away to a sea of girls each year, I choose to believe that he cares for me like I do him, and that love will find a way for us.”

– “Child Genius” –

Does anyone else love this TV show?  I have been watching it since the first season, and the kids never cease to amaze me with their knowledge.  The premise is children with high IQs competing for the title of “Child Genius.”  Every episode features two rounds, each focused on a different subject such as math, history, or logic.  For more information, follow this link: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/child-genius

– “The Bletchley Circle” –

I am in love with this miniseries!  Netflix recommended it to me.  The show follows a group of codebreakers post-WWII.  Once the war ended they were required to move on with their lives without telling anyone what they had done.  They find themselves brought back together by circumstance in order to solve a crime; this occurs three times.  For more information, follow this link: http://www.pbs.org/program/bletchley-circle/

– “Dance Academy” –

I have watched this show at least three times all the way through.  It is definitely one of my favorite TV shows of ALL time.  WOW!  That’s a bold statement.  I relate to this show on a deep emotional level because of my dance background.  I understand the family-like bonds that develop and the struggles that come with being an aspiring professional dancer.  On top of all that, it’s a great show.  All three seasons are currently available on Netflix.  For more information, here is the IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1551948/

– “Gossip Girl” –

I realize that I am way late to the “Gossip Girl” party but better late than never.  I’m not that far into the first season, but I like it.  It’s a good show to turn on when I have hours of work to get through.  The show follows the drama surrounding a group of wealthy teenagers living in Manhattan.  It is currently available on Netflix.  For more information, here is the IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0397442/

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– Lauren Michele <3

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We’re All in This Together

I can’t believe it!  Today is the ten year anniversary of “High School Musical.”  I just finished watching the cast reunion on Disney Channel.  I am so glad they maintained close relationships with one another.  I had a huge, goofy smile on my face listening to them reminisce.  HSM was a HUGE part of my childhood, and I want to take a trip down memory lane to share with you my most vivid memories.

1.  I don’t actually remember watching the premiere of HSM.  I may not have watched it on January 20th, but I discovered it soon after because I remember following the cast’s every move  and watching the premiere of “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”

2.  I freaked out when the music video mentioned above premiered.  It was an extra song featured on the soundtrack but not in the movie.  I watched it to death!  It also fed my suspicion that “Zanessa” was real. 😍

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFB54wp41zo

3.  Seeing Zac Efron sing in the music video strengthened my belief that he sang in HSM.  He didn’t, but I believed and fought for him until the 2nd movie came out (he sang in the last 2 movies).  I’ve learned to live with it. 😂

4.  I might as well follow #3 with the fact that Zac Efron was a 2000s heartthrob featured in Bop, J-14, M, Tiger Beat, etc.  Yes, I did have posters of him on my wall, but I also had posters of the other cast members.  No shame. ;)

5.  I believe this happened in either 2009 or 2010, but me and my dance friends put together a big sleepover complete with food, games, and a “High School Musical” marathon.  There was a lot of squealing, laughing, singing, and crying.

6.  Every time we did jazz squares in dance class, me and my friend Katie would look at each other and quote: “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Every time without fail!!  Nailed it.

6.  Up until 2010 (the big bad Zanessa breakup), I followed the cast’s every move.  They were the BIG Disney celebrities of the 2000s.  I wouldn’t say I was obsessed, just genuinely curious and in awe.  I think every young girl goes through that phase.  I looked at every publicity photo, listened to every solo and group song, and read every magazine.  I also want to clear up that the breakup wasn’t the reason I lost interest.  I still look up the cast from time to time, but everybody grows up and leaves behind the things of childhood.

Favorite Character:  Gabriella Montez

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4lv9xVA3Tk

Favorite Scene:  The very first scene featuring “Start of Something.”  That moment started the whole HSM phenomenon.

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6EOUaWscrE

Favorite Song:  “Breaking Free”

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLa__49Ltv4

Favorite Quote:  “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Also, everything Ms. Darbus says.

Only Ms. Darbus could pull off these quotes:

*Chad is playing with a basketball at his desk*  “Mr. Danforth! This is a place of learning, not a hockey arena.”

“Holidays are over people.  Way over!!”

“This school is about more than just young men in baggy shorts flinging balls for touchdowns.”

“The theatre is a chapel of arts, a precious cornucopia of creative energy.”

“It’s called crime and punishment, Bolton. Beside, proximity to the arts is cleansing for the soul.”

Say it loud, say it proud:

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!

Wildcats!  GETCHA HEAD IN THE GAME!!!!!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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June 2015 Favorites

June 2015 Favorites

Here is a list of my favorites from the month of June.  If you would prefer to watch a video, click the following link: https://youtu.be/dQ7BGGt4N9M

If you want to look at pictures and read, proceed!  :)

– RED Concert –

RED Concert

Me and my brother had an AMAZING time at this concert in Downtown Disney.  We weren’t too fond of the first three bands on the tour, except “Bad Seed Rising.”  They were pretty good.  However, when RED came onstage, the ticket price and standing for hours was worth it.  They KILLED it!!!

Show their Vevo some love and listen to their music: https://www.youtube.com/user/REDVEVO

RED Website: http://www.redmusiconline.com/

– Downtown Disney Souvenirs –

• Disneyland 60th Diamond Anniversary Minnie Mouse Plush Doll –

Disneyland Diamond Anniversary Minnie Mouse Plush(Source: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Disneyland-Anniversary-Diamond-Celebration-60th-MINNIE-MOUSE-9-PLUSH-Doll-NWT-/371333109280?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item56752d9620)

Google: https://www.google.com/search?q=Diamond+Anniversary+Minnie+Mouse+Plsuh&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8#q=Diamond+Anniversary+Minnie+Mouse+Plush&tbm=shop

• Genie pin

Genie Two Wishes Pin(Source: http://www.magicalearscollectibles.com/assets/images/400008628822-500×290.jpg)

WDW Store: http://www.yourwdwstore.net/Disney-Aladdin-Pin–Genie–I-am-here_p_26957.html

While I attended the concert, my mom was kind enough to get me the Diamond anniversary Minnie Mouse plush for my collection.  I buy one every time I go to Disneyland.  Even though I didn’t actually go into the park, I was in Downtown Disney, and I don’t know if I will make it to the park before the year is over.  I also have a pin collection and needed/wanted Genie for my collection in honor of the great Robin Williams.

– Bates Motel –

Bates Motel(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/bates-motel-season-2_n_4687153.html)

This show is unbelievable.  The tension will tie you in knots, but your eyes will not be able to look away.  5 stars, no hesitation.  I gave the set, costuming, and lighting a review on my art blog.  Check it out: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/welcome-to-the-bates-mote

– Chobani Coconut Greek Yogurt –

Coconut Chobani Greek Yogurt

Chobani Website: http://www.chobani.com/products/blended#coconut

I love Chobani’s peach yogurt, but once I tasted this flavor, nothing else compared.  I actually used to hate coconut but developed a liking for it a few years back.  This yogurt has a pure coconut taste as well as shredded coconut throughout.  I highly recommend this to any of my fellow coconut lovers

– White Keds –

White Keds

I have been wearing my white Keds all month long, the perfect 50s touch for any outfit.  They can be dressed up or down, they match everything, and they are both stylish and comfortable.

Kohls Website: http://www.kohls.com/product/prd-1128957/keds-champion-oxford-shoes-women.jsp

– Bath and Body Works Country Chic Ultra Shea Body Cream –

Bath and Body Works Country Chic Ultra Shea Body Cream(Source: https://www.shopmyexchange.com/products/images/xlarge/6405537_0000.jpg)

Bath and Body Works: http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/product/index.jsp?productId=41553786&cm_vc=200

I love smelling good, and this warm, sunflower fragrance is the perfect way to start my summer.  Here is a list of all the layers in this scent:

Top Notes: Sparkling Lemon, Grapefruit Zest, Juicy Pear, Marigold

Mid Notes: Fresh Raspberry, Golden Sunflower, Day Lily, Sheer Gardenia, Orange Blossom

Dry Notes: Peach Nectar, Vanilla Orchid, Cedar Wood, Amber Wood, Airy Musk

* NOTE: This item was accidentally left out of my favorites video on Youtube.  You are getting a blog exclusive.  :)

– Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask –

Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser:Mask

Neutrogena Website: http://www.neutrogena.com/product/clear+pore+cleanser-mask.do

This a repeat from last month.  My acne has definitely improved; my skin is almost entirely clear right now.  Thank you Neutrogena!  My next foe: blackheads!!!

– T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel –

T.N. Dickinson's Witch Hazel(Source: http://www.amazon.com/Dickinsons-Astringent-Natural-Witch-Hazel/dp/B00016WW8Q)

T.N. Dickinson Website: http://www.dickinsonbrands.com/firstaid_natural.htm

I’ve been using this alongside of my acne face wash, and I think it has definitely sped up the healing process.  I’ve been using witch hazel for years, and I still stand by it as a miracle product.  I use this brand for healing pimples, Thayers Rose Petal Witch Hazel for taking away redness before applying makeup, and Thayers Cucumber Witch Hazel for moisturizing before bed.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my June 2015 Favorites.  Stay tuned for the next  blog post coming very, very soon.  Happy summer readers!

– Lauren Michele <3

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Live From New York, It’s Saturday Night

SNL 40(Source: https://www.facebook.com/snl/photos/a.10150716644436303.459282.10714086302/10153109418346303/?type=1&theater)

Hopefully I am not the only person whose life has revolved around the Saturday Night Live marathon on VH1 Classic for the past  three weeks.  The mega marathon is leading up to the Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary Special airing tomorrow night at 8/7 central on NBC.  Because my mind is consumed with all things SNL, that is what we are discussing tonight.

Favorite Era: The 90s & 2000s

Favorite Host: Justin Timberlake

Favorite Cast Member(s): Amy Poehler, Ana Gasteyer, Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Bobby Moynihan, Cheri Oteri, Chris Farley, Jason Sudeikis, Jimmy Fallon, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Nasim Pedrad, Rachel Dratch, Taran Killam, and Will Ferrell.

Favorite Impression(s): Amy Poehler as Hillary Clinton, Andy Samberg as Nicolas Cage, Justin Timberlake as Jimmy Fallon, Kate McKinnon as Ellen DeGeneres, Jane Lynch, & Penelope Cruz, Maya Rudolph as Beyonce & Donatella Versace, Nasim Pedrad as Arianna Huffington, Taran Killam as Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, Eminem, & Michael Cera, Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and Will Ferrell as George W. Bush & Robert Goulet.

Favorite Character(s): Bobby Moynihan as Drunk Uncle, Cheri Oteri as Rita DelVecchio, Chris Farley as Matt Foley, Dana Carvey as Church Lady, Jason Sudeikis as The Devil, Kristen Wiig as Target Lady, and Mike Myers as Linda Richman.

Favorite Sketch(es): “Chippendales”, “Get Off the Shed”, “Homelessville”, and “More Cowbell.”

Favorite Sketch Series: “Bronx Beat”, “Celebrity Jeopardy”, “Delicious Dish”, “Get in the Cage With Nicolas Cage”, “The Californians”, “The Culps”, “The Lovers”, “Two A-Holes”, and “Wake up Wakefield.”

Feel free to comment with your favorites.  Have a great Sunday & don’t forget to clear your schedules for 7 pm, NBC.  “LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT!!!”

– Lauren Michele :)

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