2016 Reading Challenge

I am SUPER DUPER excited about what we are discussing today.  Thanks to a friend on Facebook, I was introduced to the “2016 Reading Challenge.”  Don’t know what that is?  Stand by for a photo…

I am starting to feel like my old self in regard to reading so this challenge came at the perfect time.  I’m going to share my tentative list in hopes that you will get some inspiration.

• Published This Year – “Land of Silence” by Tessa Afshar | “A Spy’s Devotion” by Melanie Dickerson

• Finish in a Day – “Bookplate Special” by Lorna Barrett | “A Caribbean Mystery” by Agatha Christie

• Meaning to Read – “Zoo” by Michael Ledwidge & James Patterson

• Recommended by Bookseller or Librarian – “The Girl on The Train” by Paula Hawkins

• Should Have Read in School – “Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ” by Lew Wallace

• Chosen by Spouse, Partner, Sibling, Child, or BFF – “As Sure As The Dawn” by Francine Rivers

• Published Before You Were Born – “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” by Truman Capote

• Banned at Some Point – “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll

• Previously Abandoned – “Elixir” series by Hilary Duff

• Own But Never Read – “First Light” by Bodie & Brocke Thoene

• Intimidates You – “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

• Already Read at Least Once – “Sisters of the Quilt” by Cindy Woodsmall

A few of those titles refer to a series so I am challenging myself beyond what is necessary.  However, I am only expecting one book in each category.  I don’t want to set myself up to fail and be disappointed before I have even started.  Can I do it?  Can you do it?  Yes we can!  We shall reconvene and discuss our triumph next January.  On your mark.  Get set.  READ!!!!! :D

“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.”  – Mary McLeod Bethune

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– Lauren Michele <3

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I’m Feeling 22

(Image Source: I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22. #tswift #itsmybirthday …)

I waited three years for November 5, 2015.  I can finally say “I’m feeling 22!!!”  If you are unsure of what I’m referring to, listen to this:

” I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22!”

Follow along as I take you through my day: My best friend Gabby bombarded me with texts at 7am, wishing me “Happy Birthday!” and gifting me with Tom Hiddleston and Johnny Depp gifs.  HAHAHA!!!  I tried to go back to sleep but couldn’t.  I decided to make myself some homemade salted caramel coffee.  My mug didn’t fit under the Keurig so I removed the bottom container.  That was a big mistake because it catches excess liquid.  When I poured in the water, the excess had nowhere to go but all over the counter.  Fun times!  Unfortunately, the coffee did not taste as great as my expectations.  Next, I spent some time checking my social media accounts, blogging, and watching “Criminal Minds.”  I published a very special art project that took three months to complete; I made collages to represent my top 6 favorite TV and movie couples.  Check it out: Can’t Help Falling in Love

Due to my early morning start, I fell asleep on the couch around 11am.  I was awakened one hour later by my mom wishing me “Happy birthday!” and encouraging me to open my presents.  I received seasons 6 and 7 of “Little House on the Prairie” and the complete series of “The Nanny.”  Yes, yes, and YES.  I ate pancit for lunch and relaxed until 4pm.  My family went to “Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill” for dinner.  I had an 8oz sirloin and macaroni & cheese; wings and rolls were also involved.  From there, we went to an Ontario Reign vs San Diego Gulls hockey game.  The Gulls are the Anaheim Ducks minor league team so I was cheering for them; unfortunately they lost 4-1.  The game wasn’t the most exciting thing I have ever experienced, but we didn’t pay full price thanks to Groupon so I guess it was kind of a win.  I ended the night with Ben & Jerry’s “Americone Dream” ice cream and “The Carol Burnett Show.”  Not a bad day!  My family is also planning a belated-birthday trip to the zoo very soon.  I will be vlogging so subscribe to my Youtube channel and keep an eye out for that video within the next 2 months.  :)

So far, I haven’t had any “One Year Older Epiphanies.”  I don’t feel one year older, but that has a lot to do with the fact that I still look twelve.  In the next year of my life, I want to continue working hard and expanding my blogs and Youtube channel.  Having outlets for my voice and creativity means the world to me.  Thank you to each and every one of you who have chosen to subscribe and follow along with me; it means a lot to me that you care about what I write.  Also, I can’t believe our little blog family is 11 members away from 200.  What an amazing gift!!

I hope you enjoyed my birthday recap.  Don’t forget that Christmas is coming!  Artmas (on my Art Blog) starts in 38 days, and Blogmas will begin in 25 days.  You don’t want to miss it!

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– Lauren Michele <3

49 Days Until Christmas

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Moving On

Moving On

On Monday I left Texas, my home of 13 years. My family’s 6-bedroom house provided shelter to 26 people, not including me, my parents, and my brother; I always had extended family around me. On Tuesday I arrived in California, my new home; my family currently lives in a one-bedroom apartment above a garage. Quite the adventure we are on!! The picture you see above is my room, an empty room bursting at the seams full of memories. It is amazing to recall all the things that took place in that space: Babysitting, beauty transformations, concerts, counseling, dance practice, dreams, doll shenanigans, dramatic dress up, DVD viewings, emotional breakdowns, exercise sessions, fashion shows, fights, hide-and-seek, 2+ hour phone calls, illness rehabilitation, internet browsing, late night reading, outfit planning, schoolwork, and sleepovers. One last thing: Me and my best friend Gabby officially became friends in that room thanks to “Lord of the Beans.” I moved to Texas when I was 8, and I am now 21. My middle school, junior high, high school, and college years took place in that state. Many different struggles and transitions took place in that house; perhaps now you have a better idea of why it is so special to me. It is bittersweet to move on, but I will always carry the memories with me in my heart.

Treasure each moment readers! You never know when you will be uprooted and replanted.

– Lauren Michele :)

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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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