Super Bowl LII

Though I’m not a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I feel like my team won the Super Bowl. Want to know why?? Because the evil empire has been defeated!! I truly believe we achieved world peace last night. 😂 In all seriousness, that was one heck of a football game. Congratulations to the Eagles! I also want to give a shout-out to P!nk for singing the national anthem beautifully despite having the flu and to Justin Timberlake for a fantastic halftime show. I also loved Leslie Odom Jr.’s rendition of America the Beautiful. Moving on to my favorite commercials of the night:

🎬 Honorable Mention – WOW | Pringles 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk0nVMU76bc

🎬 Honorable Mention – Peyton Manning: Vacation Quarterback | Universal Parks & Resorts 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlNoeTWSfe4

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T O P   🌟   F I V E

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🎬 Alexa Loses Her Voice | Amazon 🎬

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6-8DQALGt4

🎬 Doritos Blaze vs Mountain Dew Ice | Mountain Dew 🎬

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eKYR_iL5eU

🎬 Dundee | Tourism Australia 🎬

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XM8GyfxRzA8

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E7ZTh9Rd0aA

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

🎬 It’s A Tide Ad | Tide 🎬

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gGXnE1Dbh0

🎬 Touchdown Celebrations To Come | NFL 🎬

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwSLRbBk_2w

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xq3bLed1Zyk

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DA4CNdYCWNA

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8hPpgsILO8

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

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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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White Christmas Pie | Blogmas 2017

I recently reread White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter and decided to finally try the recipe at the end of the book. Let’s do some baking!

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1/4 Cup of Cold Water

1 Tablespoon of Knox Gelatin

Combine the gelatin with the water, mix well, and set the mixture aside while you move on to the next step.

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4 Tablespoons of Flour

1 1/2 Cups of Milk

1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

1/2 Cup of Sugar

Put the flour, milk, salt, & a 1/2 cup of sugar into a saucepan. Over low heat, stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil it for 1 minute & remove from the heat. This can take a long time due to the small amount of heat so once I saw a few bubbles, I used a lid to capture the heat and encourage the cooking process, and it didn’t affect the pie at all. Mix in the gelatin, which should now look a bit like a sugar scrub, and set the mixture aside for 15-20 minutes. Once it’s completely cool, whisk until all the lumps are gone.

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1/4 Teaspoon of Almond Extract

3/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla

1/2 Cup of Whipping Cream

Whip the cream until it thickens. Add the almond extract, vanilla, & whipped cream to the saucepan mixture, and mix well.

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1/4 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar

3 Egg Whites

1/2 Cup of Sugar

1 Cup of Flaked Coconut

Beat the cream of tartar & egg whites until the mixture becomes stiff. Add a 1/2 cup of sugar and beat again until soft peaks form. Fold this mixture into the saucepan mixture, and then fold in the flaked coconut.

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Two 9-Inch Pie Crusts or Shells (baked)

Divide the filling between two pie crusts/shells. The recipe does not fill both all the way to the top so if you’re better than me at math, feel free to make the recipe a teeny bit bigger to fill two pies to the brim. If you want to stay traditional, sprinkle flaked coconut on top of the pie. If you want to be fancy, use a piping bag to decorate the top with whipped cream before sprinkling with coconut flakes. If you want a bit of Christmas color, use crushed up candy (the peppermint flavor of candy canes would be a delicious addition) or dyed coconut. I saw a pie online with a wreath of red & green coconut flakes around a white coconut center; you could take it one step further and enhance the color of the wreath with some candy. Now we come to my genius idea. I love the combination of chocolate & coconut so I decided to use a chocolate graham cracker crust. At the last minute, I decided to go all the way with my non-traditional pie & toast my coconut flake topping.

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The original white Christmas pie was good but a little too sweet for my taste, an easy fix with an unsweetened pie crust rather than a sweet graham cracker shell. I might be a tad bit biased, but my pie was definitely the winner of the two. The chocolate and toasted coconut made the pie less sweet but no less delicious. Success! I will definitely be using this recipe again.

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

➡️   ➡️   ➡️   A R T M A S   ⬅️   ⬅️   ⬅️

S i x   D a y s   U n t i l   C h r i s t m a s . . .

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

Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– 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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Subscribe to my blog to receive email notifications, and check out my other links listed below.

– Lauren Michele <3

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Disney Pin Collecting & Trading

*Note: I am a newbie so feel free to correct me if the need presents itself.  I don’t want to give people false information.  Please & thank you!

Hello hello hello!!  It feels like forever since I’ve written a post, but in reality it’s only been 9 days.  I am back with a very interesting subject to discuss.  Ever since my first trip to a Disney park in 2002, I have been a Disney pin collector.  I buy at least one pin to commemorate each of my visits.  I was aware that other people were collectors like me because so many pins are available to the public.  However, I didn’t know there was another large part of the Disney pin world: Disney Pin Trading.  I’ve seen cast members with pin lanyards, but I assumed those were for show.  I didn’t realize people could bring pins into the park and trade with cast members.  There are also numerous pin boards (boards with pins) located around Disney parks.  There is a limit per board and cast member, usually 1-2 pins, and any pin can be traded regardless of the value of the pin being acquired.  What do I mean by that?  Pins have different values based on characteristics such as release occasion and rarity.  For example, when trading with a fellow trader, exchanging a Mickey Mouse rack pin for a Hunchback of Notre Dame pin with an LE of 300 would be ridiculous and unfair to the person receiving the Mickey pin.  It is fun to trade outside of Disney parks, but many people prefer trading inside because no rules apply regarding value.  You can buy an inexpensive set of pins and potentially trade for a limited edition pin.  What a deal!  Cast members and the majority of traders do their best to keep the pin flow pure, but fake pins have unfortunately made their way into the mix.  I will go into more detail about fake pins later in the post.  Now let’s go over some important pin trading terms.

• Artist Proof Pin (AP) – A high quality pin made during the manufacturing process as a test run.

• Fantasy Pin – An unofficial pin made in the likeness of a Disney character or scene, usually something that is not available in the official circle of Disney pins.  Disney is not associated with fantasy pins, and these pins are not allowed to be traded within the parks.

• Limited Edition Pin – A pin that was made in one and only one batch.  An LE of 300 means only 300 pins exist.  An LE of 1500 means only 1500 exist.  And so on…

• Limited Release Pin – A pin that is available for a limited period of time.

• Pre Production Pin (PP) – A pin made during the creation process to test design.  These pins may differ from the final version.

• ProPin – Disney pins made in Germany.  They usually have gunmetal gray backs whereas most American pins have gold or silver backs.

• Rack Pin – An open edition pin sold on the racks of Disney stores.  They are neither limited edition nor limited release.

• Scrapper – A pin that is fake.

This vocabulary list is by no means extensive, but it is enough to get you started.  Now let’s look at some procedures for identifying scrappers.

1.  Scrappers are made at low prices so the paint is low quality.  The colors should be vibrant and true to the characters.  Any color that looks dull and/or odd may indicate that the pin is fake.

2.  The text, no matter how small, should be legible.

3.  Most of the time, there is one or two prongs on the post that keep the pin from spinning.

4.  Official pins have a stamp of the pin trading logo on the back.  The stamp is often faked so look at the sunburst, the border around the stamp made up of triangles.  A fake sunburst has sharp lines, and a real stamp has soft edges.  The only exceptions are pins sold at locations outside of Disney parks such as the Soda Fountain in Los Angeles; those pins have the logo of their respective store.

5.  Disney pins are made of metal so they should be thick and heavy.

6.  The pattern on the back of pins is called a waffle pattern.  There are different variations; the ones I know of are ice cream cones, Mickey Mouse heads, and sorcerer hats.  The pattern should go off the edge of the pin; there should be no border around it.

7.  Pins should have a glossy finish.  If a pin lacks shine, it could be fake.

8.  Pins should never have rough edges.

9.  If the paint job has defects, your pin might be fake.  This is not a surefire method because older pins could have been mishandled or dropped.  But, keep in mind that Disney wouldn’t sell new pins that show sloppy craftsmanship.

10.  PinPics.com is a database full of Disney pin pictures and information.  The numbers and images provided are helpful for identifying authentic pins and scrappers.

Scrappers have evolved therefore one method is not enough to tell if a pin is fake or not.  It is better to do an exhaustive investigation and use every method you know of.  Another way to fight against the scrapper business is not being a part of it.  It is frustrating to buy or trade for scrappers, but don’t turn around and sell or use them for trade.  Help yourself and your fellow collectors and traders by keeping them out of circulation.

Here are some other links that might interest you:

• The Disney Pin Tag by ImSarahSnitch, the video that introduced me to pin trading:

• Everything Disney Pins, the company that fueled my love for Disney pins

Youtube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/user/DisneyPinsFacebook

Website – http://everything-disney-pins.com

• eBay is a good source for pins, but make sure you do your research.  Many pins on eBay are fake so check the seller reviews and product photos.  On top of that, be aware that any purchase is a gamble.  I would like to take this time to address eBay sellers.  If you are vigilant in inspecting pins and feel confident in your status as a legitimate Disney pin vendor, PLEASE provide more than one photo of the pins you are selling.  Images from different angles would make your customers feel more comfortable making a purchase.

http://www.ebay.com

• Pin Pics

http://www.pinpics.com/index1.php

• I made a Youtube video about collecting & trading Disney pins.  Give it a like & subscribe to support my channel.  Please & thank you!

To those of you interested in Disney pins, I hope this post was helpful.  I have a couple more Disney pin posts headed your way in the next few weeks so stay tuned.  Now I send you off into the pin world.  Go forth and collect/trade with valor & honor readers! ;)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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