Birds of Prey

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  • 

Birds of Prey came out this past February, but I unfortunately didn’t make it to a theater, the reason having nothing to do with the movie or reviews. I was very excited to see it, but honestly the harsh criticism leading up to the release was a major bummer. I understand that DC fans are disappointed with a large portion of our cinematic universe, but that doesn’t excuse negative reviews of something that hasn’t even come out yet. Sadly, people did not show up like they did for previous DC films. I don’t want to feed the idea that it struggled because it’s a female-centric film but can’t help doubting the motives now that I’ve seen it for myself. The filming and music and costumes and cast were all fantastic. Color me confused because I have no idea why it came and went without the support I expect from the DC Comics community. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a total flop. It doubled its budget & received mostly positive reviews. However, its box office gross ranks last in three different categories compared to the seven other DCEU movies that have come out since 2013. I think the lack of success can be interpreted in a couple different ways, but I’d like to confront the elephant in the room. One of the biggest complaints had to do with the feminism and politics people picked up on in the trailers. I want to make one thing clear: YOU NEED TO GIVE THINGS A CHANCE BEFORE YOU PASS JUDGEMENT! I had concerns about the movie too but still gave it a fair chance. Turns out I love it, & there was never anything to be worried about. Now’s your chance to make amends & show it some love. Watch it on HBO Max, buy the DVD/Blu-Ray, stream the music, purchase the soundtrack, follow the cast, & spread the word. All I ask is that you give Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn a chance. 💋

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  •

–   A W E S O M E   B I R D S   O F   P R E Y – I N S P I R E D   A R T   –

•  💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  •  🚨  •  💀  •  🐤  •  🔪  •  🃏  •  🏹  • 💎  • 🚨  •  💀  •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Riposi in Pace

It’s been one month since you left this earth, & I still can’t believe what’s happened. It was only four years ago that I was bidding farewell to you as a professional basketball player. Now I’m saying “Rest in Peace,” & the words don’t feel right coming out of my mouth. I know I’m not alone because every day I see social media posts about the shock & deep sadness that is still being felt around the world. You inspired actors, announcers, artists, authors, baseball players, basketball players, chefs, coaches, comedians, commentators, dancers, directors, fashion designers, figure skaters, football players, golfers, gymnasts, hockey players, hosts, influencers, journalists & reporters, MMA fighters, music artists, soccer players, tennis players, volleyball players, wrestlers, youtubers, etc. Mamba Mentality transcended a team, a sport, a city, a state, a country. That is a rarity, a feat that deserves every bit of recognition it receives.

I truly cannot put into words what you’ve meant to me. I was two years old when Charlotte drafted you in 1996, six years old when you won your first ring with the Lakers in 2000, and sixteen for your fifth & final championship in 2010. I cheered you on until my voice gave out. I went toe to toe with grown men, fighting on your behalf. You weren’t perfect, & I never defended you as such. That’s what made you human! Watching you take responsibility & right your wrongs further solidified my respect for you.

It breaks my heart that in the weeks leading up to the helicopter crash, I told my brother that I thought Gianna was going to be a huge asset to women’s basketball. She would’ve carried the Mamba torch with strength & grace, fire & ice. I know how much your girls meant to you & you to them. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about your family & what they’re enduring. I’m feeling pain & emptiness as a fan, but that’s nothing compared to the loss felt by your wife, daughters, parents, & sisters. From my heart to theirs, I’m sending love & all the prayers I can muster.

💜 Purple & gold is forever. Our family loyalty runs deep & lasts to the very end. We will continue the Mamba legacy & leave absolutely everything on the court wherever we go. Let’s get out there with Mamba Mentality and make Gigi & Kobe proud! 💛

🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍

🏀   M A M B A   O U T   B U T   N E V E R   F O R G O T T E N   🏀

🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣ 🐍 8️⃣ 🐍 2️⃣4️⃣ 🐍

🍃 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4 🌿

⛅️ Rest in Peace:

🌟 Ara Zobayan 🌟

🌟 Gianna & Kobe Bryant 🌟

🌟 Alyssa, John, & Keri Altobelli 🌟

🌟 Payton & Sarah Chester 🌟

🌟 Christina Mauser 🌟

• Fund supporting the Altobelli, Chester, Mauser, & Zorbayan families – Mamba on Three 

• Fund supporting the Mamba Sports Academy – Mamba Sports Foundation

Collage:

Bereswill, Paul. 2019. https://www.newsweek.com/jimmy-fallon-tribute-kobe-bryant-tearful-1484313. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Top Left )

Bryant, Kobe. 2019. https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-moms/pictures/kobe-bryants-close-bond-with-daughter-gianna-photos/common-interests/. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Top Middle )

Berezovsky, Allen. 2019. https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local/pictures-these-are-the-victims-in-the-kobe-bryant-helicopter-crash/2299204/. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Top Right )

Martinez, Ronald. 2009. https://www.vcstar.com/story/sports/nba/lakers/2020/01/29/vanessa-bryant-changes-instagram-profile-photo-kobe-gianna/4612863002/. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Middle Left )

Elsa. 2016. https://people.com/sports/vanessa-bryant-changes-profile-photo-kobe-and-gianna-hugging/. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Middle )

Berezovsky, Allen. 2019. https://www.billboard.com/articles/news/8549617/vanessa-bryant-social-media-post-kobe-gigi. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Middle Right )

Getty. 2018. https://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/story/2020-01-26/kobe-bryant-daughter-gianna-basketball-crash-death. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Bottom Left )

Bryant, Kobe. 2019. https://www.usmagazine.com/celebrity-news/news/how-gianna-bryant-was-remembered-by-uconn-womens-basketball-team/. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Bottom Middle )

Shutterstock. 2012. https://nypost.com/2020/01/28/kobe-bryants-love-of-being-girl-dad-inspires-fathers-to-share-their-stories/. Accessed 30 January 2020. ( Bottom Right )

Aquaman Review

I’m starting the new year with a review of Aquaman, my family’s 2018 Christmas movie. Even though I’m a “DC Girl For Life,” I still have the ability to be constuctively critical. In short, I loved this movie. In depth, there are a few things that bothered me:

  1. Some of the camera angles & shots took me out of the movie. The beach training scene between Arthur and Vulko involved back and forth shots of both characters straight on. It felt odd and a bit too melodramatic. In the Italy scene with Arthur & Mera, the atmosphere dramatically changed to a cheesy rom-com and felt out of place in an adventurous superhero movie.

2. Speaking of the rom-com scene, that brings us to the terrible soundtrack. Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration. I specifically dislike the songs from the Black Manta costume creation scene (“It’s No Good,” Depeche Mode), the Italy rom-com scene (“She’s A Mystery To Me,” Roy Orbison), and the infamous Pitbull cover of Toto’s “Africa.” I should clarify that those first two songs aren’t bad; they just felt out of place. The Pitbull song is the one I hate with a vengeance, with or without the movie. All that being said, the score is amazing, and I really like the end credits song “Everything I Need” by Skylar Grey which fits right in with the tone of the movie’s finale.

Let’s end with two MAJOR positives:

  1. I  teared up twice: once during the title sequence from pure, unadulterated joy & again when Arthur Curry is proclaimed king of Atlantis because FINALLY we have the Aquaman we deserve on the big screen.

2. My dad loved the movie! You definitely won’t understand why that is such a big deal so let me provide some clarity. He enjoys movies like Darkest Hour and The Post. Superhero blockbusters are usually a little too weird & rarely impress him as great films. I 100% expected him to either fall asleep or walk out of the theater unimpressed. Shock of all shocks, he stayed awake the whole time and loved both cast and plot. 😱

I can understand why length was an issue for some people. Right before the finale, it started to feel like the story was being stretched out . . . and then BAM! It ended with an E P I C fight; I teared up; and all was forgotten and forgiven. Lastly, I want to give the cast & crew a round of applause. Director James Wan brought Atlantis to life which is no small feat considering you can’t actually film an entire movie underwater. There wasn’t even one weak link in the cast; I was impressed with every single performance, and I can’t wait to see more.

This is a DC film I can stand behind, and I think my fellow fans should do the same. Moving forward, we need to focus on the positive & support the parts of our cinematic universe that we love. Things can only get better from here because the casts & crews are experimenting, learning, and growing. So what if DC is darker and/or weirder?! At least we’re daring to be different!

GO.  SEE.  AQUAMAN.  🌊

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wcj6SrX4zw

🌊 🦀 🐠 🧜🏼‍♀️ 🌊 🐢 🐟 🧜🏻 🌊🐬 🌊 👑 👊🏼 💥 🔱 🌊 🐙 🌊 🧜🏾‍♀️ 🐳 🦑 🌊 🧜🏿‍♀️ 🦐 🦈 🌊 

Check out some awesome Aquaman art  ➡️  H  E  R  E  ⬅️

🌊 🦀 🐠 🧜🏼‍♀️ 🌊 🐢 🐟 🧜🏻 🌊🐬 🌊 👑 👊🏼 💥 🔱 🌊 🐙 🌊 🧜🏾‍♀️ 🐳 🦑 🌊 🧜🏿‍♀️ 🦐 🦈 🌊 

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Avengers Assemble

It’s been one week since Avengers: Infinity War premiered in the United States. If you’re still feeling emotionally drained, here are some funny clips of the cast to cheer you up. Prepare to squeal & laugh! 😆

–   T h e   E l l e n   S h o w   –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8SciRAdC44

–   J i m m y   K i m m e l   L i v e   –

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9Nh1gayzOE

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1Hm41N0dUs

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tiwbf54evWw

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrnpSe4OChM

–   T h e   L a t e   L a t e   S h o w   W i t h   J a m e s   C o r d e n   –

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiOiMVHW37o

–   T h e   T o n i g h t   S h o w   S t a r r i n g   J i m m y   F a l l o n   –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3ymBk6Vb04

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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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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The Great Dreidel Caper of 2017 | Blogukkah 2017

Let’s ignore my slacking and move on to my Hanukkah tale:

For Vlogmas, I wanted to film a few Hanukkah-themed vlogs including a video on how to play dreidel. I dug through my memory chest to get my trusty old dreidel from a VBS years and years ago. I was surprised to find it missing but figured it must have been placed elsewhere in the chest. After a thorough inspection, I became slightly more frantic. Fast forward a few days later. I checked the chest one last time before trekking out to the garage; I was on the hunt for the backup dreidel stored with the Christmas decorations. I carefully went through each box which is no easy task when you’re paranoid about dying from black widow bites. I will now add some holiday humor to describe the fruit of my labor (or lack thereof): I rolled the dreidel, and it landed on nun. Two identical dreidels mysteriously missing when needed most. Target did come to my rescue, but I still can’t believe I had to buy TWELVE dreidels. Is it really that hard to sell one all by itself?? At least it was only $3. 😑

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

F o u r   D a y s   U n t i l   A r t m a s . . .

E  l e v e n   D a y s   U n t i l   C h r i s t m a s . . .

❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄   🕯️   🎄   🎁   ❄️   ⛄

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Anthology Candles

Today I am reviewing products from Anthology Candles, a company owned by Rheney Williams and her husband Stephen.  Their soy products are whimsically inspired by music, movies, & books.  Keep reading for information on their candles, mini candles, & wax tarts.  My Youtube review video will be posted at the end for those of you who want to see the products in action.

Candles | $16.00

The top white layer is clean river water; the middle lavender layer is a floral blend; and the bottom purple layer is a mixture of flowers & water.  There is no need to burn the candle down to smell each layer; it immediately smells clean and floral.  If you like strongly scented candles that fill a room within minutes, this is not the product for you.  It took an hour for me to smell the scent, and even then I had to remain within a foot or two to enjoy it.  Once it is burnt, the candle’s scent is hidden by the smell of burnt wick.  As time goes on, the scent comes back and gets stronger.  The draw of this candle is definitely the aesthetic.  The design, inspired by the lantern scene in the Disney film Tangled, is spot on.  The white wax becomes transparent when burning and makes the candle appear as though it is a lantern.  The effect is mesmerizing!  If you are planning a Tangled party, think about investing in these candles and creating your very own “Floating Lanterns” scene.

• Find the candles here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/candles

Mini Candles | $14 per sampler pack

Instead of purchasing more big candles, I got a sampler pack of four mini candles.  Belle’s Library is aged library books, hint of leather, & wild roses.  To me, it smells nutty with a hint of rose.  My nose is obviously confusing the smell of old books for nuts.  I don’t know of any other way to describe it.  It just smells nutty!  Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is bakery cakes with vanilla icing, chamomile tea, and a twist of cinnamon.  I do smell cinnamon and occasionally vanilla but mostly an icee.  I know that sounds crazy but it’s true!  Part of Your World is crisp coastal breeze & warm golden sand.  I smell a blend of vanilla & flowers, and the strength of the scent reminds me of Bath & Body Works products.  Tink’s Flight is fresh verbena, sweet coconut, & tangy lime.  I smell every single one of those notes.  The scent is sweet & sour just like Tinker Bell.  Time for the bad news.  The wicks are folded down in the packaging so when it comes time to light them, zip zilch NADA!  I had to trim the wicks a little bit and wipe them gently with a paper towel; I wasted a lot of matches before finally getting flames.  Once lit, the candles look pretty but don’t smell at all.  These sampler candles are fine if you plan on testing the scents without flame.  It might be a better investment to know what scents you like and buy a few big candles.

• Find the mini candles here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/sample-packs

Wax Tarts | $25 for 4 different scents

* Note: Wax tarts are cubes of scent-infused wax.  Once placed in a warmer (e.g. Scentsy), the heat melts the wax and releases the scent.

I bought one sampler and received four different wax tarts.  Rivendell is amber, oakmoss, twilight woods, & woodland foliage.  I wish I could tell you that my dream of being a Middle Earth elf was fulfilled by this product.  Alas, it smells like play-doh, and the warmer is no help at all.  However, due to circumstances I cannot explain, the scent is improving.  There is hope yet!  Soaring Over is orange blossoms, orange groves, and salty sea breeze.  The scent is inspired by the Disney park ride Soaring Over California.  It smells of oranges and takes me right back to my childhood in Orange County.  The Black Pearl is cannonball smoke, mildewy wood, musty “pirates” water, & salty sea breeze.  I did not like this funky scent at first.  All you smell is must, mildew, and smoke.  Surprise of the year, it smells much more pleasant in the warmer.  If you aren’t into scents that are clean, floral, and/or sweet, this scent might float your boat (get it?!).  Wilderness Lodge is campfire and a forest tree mix of juniper, pine, & spruce.  This spicy forest scent will be p-e-r-f-e-c-t for Christmastime.  Overall, I am very happy with the scents I purchased.  However, much like the candles, it takes an hour or more for the scent to be recognizable, and it does not fill the room; you have to be within a few feet of the warmer to enjoy the scent.

* Rivendell scent description courtesy of http://ritareviews.net/2015/11/anthology-candles-spotlight-lord-of-the-rings/ *

• Find the wax tarts here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/wax-tarts

Conclusion:

The novelty of Anthology Candles is attractive.  I would recommend their products for two things:

1. The candles and wax tarts are best enjoyed in close proximity (e.g. bedside table or living room side table).

2. I have seen the candles used as decor all over Instagram, especially on bookshelves.

My overall experience was good.  There are only a few changes I would suggest.

1. There are descriptions on the website for the candles but not the wax tarts.  This works out fine if the wax tart happens to have a candle, but if it doesn’t, there is no way of knowing what the scent is.  Also, the packaging gives no indication of the scent.

2. The mini candle sampler packs are not customizable.  There are three packs available, each with a set group of candles.  I am not sure of the possible complications, but it would be nice to have a customization option in the future.

3. The wax tarts can only be purchased in groups of four.  Once again, a customization option would be nice in the future.

4. These products would be much more enjoyable and worth the money if the scents were stronger.

• My review video:

• If you’re interested in more information on Anthology Candles, here are some links to get you started:

Article – http://ritareviews.net/2015/10/the-craft-behind-the-candles-by-rheney-williams/

Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnthologyCandles

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/anthologycandles/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/anthologycandles/?hl=en

Twitter – https://twitter.com/anthologycandle

Website – https://anthologycandles.com

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– Lauren Michele <3

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You Can Make a Difference

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

You might be thinking “I don’t hold a position of power.  How can I be effective and help eradicate prejudice?”  You can talk and keep the conversation going in a civil manner.  You can also take action.  That doesn’t mean becoming a one-person revolution.  It can be as simple as looking someone in the eyes and smiling.  I want to share a story with you that furthers my point.  Read until the end and keep an open mind. :)

Thank you NikkieTutorials for sharing!  Why is Natasha Howell’s story important?  The tragedies that have taken place are heartbreaking, and our reactions dictate the future.  Reacting in anger and causing a divide changes nothing.  If each and every one of us does our part to treat people with kindness, those small puzzle pieces will create a chain reaction and fit together to create something big.  Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I truly believe the people who care about unity outnumber those who allow prejudice to affect their attitude.  You might be one person in a big world, but it is better to make a difference in at least one person’s life rather than stand by and do nothing at all.

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

I want to share a video that was posted on Facebook today.  It made me cry, but it also made me happy and hopeful.  You might know Candace Payne as “Chewbacca Mom.”  In this moment, it doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is regarding her claim to fame.  What matters is that she continues to use her newfound platform to make people smile.

 

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

– John 3:16

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

– John 15:12

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

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– Lauren Michele 😘

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Mamba Out

I know I blogged about Kobe Bryant yesterday, but I couldn’t stay silent after the performance he put on last night.  Jack Nicholson predicted 40 points.  Shaq asked for 50.  I would have been satisfied with an average performance knowing that his body could only handle so much.  The team gave him the floor and allowed him to take as many shots as he could.  Surpassing all expectations, the Black mamba scored 60 and led his team to victory one last time.  Fans would’ve accepted the bare minimum, but Kobe delivered a vintage performance, turning back the clock and refusing to go out on a low note.  When the game ended, thousands of people screamed his name while he embraced coaches and teammates on the court.  It felt like my childhood was replaying before my eyes: Brian Shaw, Derek Fisher, Devean George, Gary Payton, Lamar Odom, Rick Fox, Robert Horry, Shaq, and many more.  Even Adam Morrison made an appearance!!  More basketball players, coaches, and celebrities paid tribute through video.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zk_j4drvDNw

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX6PvEMAvtA

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzpsyFvz7W0

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6ZOdXrV2sM

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9FKooZs-Pwg

🏀 Art inspired by Kobe – Kobe Bryant

🏀 My thoughts on Kobe retiring – Kobe Bryant | Black Mamba

The entire night was emotional and overwhelming, but I wouldn’t change any of it.  A storybook ending for Kobe Bryant’s untouchable 20-year career.  The game of basketball will never be the same. 🏀 🐍

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– Lauren Michele <3

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