Goodbye 2018 | Hello 2019

It is time to say goodbye to the past year and look ahead to a brand new chapter. Out with the old & in with the new! I know this has not been a great year of consistency on my blog, and for that I am deeply sorry. I can only promise to try my very best to do better in 2019 and move on. Walk with me down memory lane & see what my year looked like:

–   J a n u a r y   1   –

• G o o d b y e   2 0 1 7

2017 Reading Wrap-Up  +  2018 Reading Plans ( B l o g   P o s t )

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vKpIwxNQxM&t=2s

–   J a n u a r y   2 1 s t   t o   2 7 t h   –

• I filmed my life for one week.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M0_thzwVkA

–   J a n u a r y   2 6   –

• My blogs FINALLY  got their own domains!

Art Blog ➡️ laurenmicheleartblog.com

Lifestyle Blog ➡️ laurenmichelelifestyle.com ( New Name, Same Blog )

–   F e b r u a r y   2   –

• I received my Elretron Penna wireless bluetooth typewriter.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX1-bktxdf8

–   F e b r u a r y   5   –

• The evil empire was defeated in Super Bowl LII

–    M a r c h   2 8   –

• I joined the trend & created a Disney & Pixar Bracket

–   A p r i l   4   – 

• I saw Crowder in concert.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhNIiKflus3/

–   A p r i l   1 5   –

• The 3rd anniversary of Jonathan Crombie’s death. Gil, you are gone but never forgotten!

–   A p r i l   2 7   –

Avengers: Infinity War was released in the USA. 💥

A R T

(Funny) Avengers Cast Videos

–   A p r i l   2 8   –

• I attended my first LA Galaxy game at StubHub Center.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2mpPAKuP9A

–   M a y   4   –

• I unboxed my first bookish box.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvcG3W6hXdY

–   M a y   1 1   –

• I tried not to sing on Snapchat & FAILED.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtymrHlQUa0

–   May / June 2018   –

• I made some changes to my room.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOmrfPeHTy8

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DdPv_WjUlk

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

–   J u n e   2   –

• I saw Third Day in concert during their farewell tour.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM93yOHc0W0

–   J u n e   1 8   –

• I got glasses! 🤓

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaGqkyp9Ie4

–   J u l y   3   –

• I revealed my (growing) Disney pin collection to the world.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y06BlkrU5lU

–   J u l y   2 0   –

• I made my favorite Youtube video to date. 😂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wg-gQ2hXxA

–   J u l y   2 3 r d   t o   2 9 t h   –

• I participated in the 7in7 Readathon for the first time.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo45XqUaUFo

–   J u l y   3 0 t h   t o   A u g u s t   5 t h   –

• I participated in BookTubeAThon for the second time.

Source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyEZ9gzZb8c

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHZs4Lxxr30

–   A u g u s t   3   –

Christopher Robin was released in the USA ➡️ A R T

–   S e p t e m b e r   4   –

• I said goodbye to Bug’s Land via photos from 2002 & 2009

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnU71Hnl02K/

–   S e p t e m b e r   2 6   –

• I received my first pair of Mickey ears in a Disney-themed bookish box.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz5blv56tsc

–   S e p t e m b e r   2 7   –

• I went to Universal Studios Hollywood for the first time.

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqSORL5R0h4

–   O c t o b e r   1 5 t h   t o   2 1 s t   –

• I participated in Spookathon for the first time.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUz0HJjwdUg

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMmn3r4M4_Y&t=4s

–   N o v e m b e r   5   –

• I turned 25 ➡️ Reflecting on 25 Years of Life

–   N o v e m b e r   1 8   –

• I saw As I Lay Dying in concert for the first time ever. SO GOOD!! 🔥

–   N o v e m b e r   2 3   –

• A project I’ve been working on for 2 years finally came together. 🎉

Blog ➡️ Bookish Gift Guide

Video ➡️ Bookish Gift Guide

–   D e c e m b e r   3 r d   t o   9 t h   –

• I participated in TisTheSeasonAThon, a brand new holiday readathon.

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyvAdtvthT8&t=12s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORnYN7RZZDo

–   D e c e m b e r   5   –

• I made a Hanukkah gingerbread house for the first time.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15XUa-uv-gM&t=14s

–   D e c e m b e r   6   –

• I finished We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany, completing my 2018 Goodreads goal of 55 books. 🎉

• I attempted to make buñuelos for Hanukkah.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nQ-WGA7uzQ&t=8s

–   D e c e m b e r   8   –

• I learned some basic Hebrew for Hanukkah.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCffRhVhle4&t=9s

• I unboxed a pair of gorgeous Hanukkah Mickey ears from FastPass Creations

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apm0EXwuyno&t=10s.

–   D e c e m b e r   2 1   –

• I showed off my family’s holiday movie collection.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=witJbYoPn2Q&t=12s

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Farewell to Anita Shreve (author of “Stella Bain”), Aretha Franklin (singer), Barbara Bush (former First Lady), Billy Graham (evangelist), Burt Reynolds (actor), Charles Lazarus (founder of Toys “R” Us), Dorcas Reilly (creator of green bean casserole), George H.W. Bush (41st president of the United States), Jerry Maren (Wizard of Oz), John Mahoney (Frasier), John McCain (politician & Vietnam War veteran), Kate Spade (designer), Ken Berry (actor), Ed King (co-writer of “Sweet Home Alabama”), Luis Valbuena (baseball player, former Los Angeles Angel), Mike Taylor (Walk Off the Earth), Nanette Fabray (actress), Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley), Scott Wilson (Walking Dead), Sigi Schmid (former LA Galaxy coach), Stan Lee (comic book editor, publisher, & writer, co-created Dr. Strange & Spider-Man with Steve Ditko), Stephen Hillenburg (creator of Spongebob Squarepants), Steve Ditko (comic book artist & writer, co-created Dr. Strange & Spider-Man with Stan Lee), & Verne Troyer (Austin Powers movies, Jingle All the Way, & Men in Black).

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Let’s take a look at some numbers as inspiration for the coming year: I ended 2018 with 431 art blog followers (up from 357), 420 lifestyle blog followers (up from 346), & 244 Youtube subscribers / 88,153 views (up from 188 & 72,815). I look forward to growing my internet family in 2019. Onward & upward! ➡️ ⬆️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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• Previous Post: A Laugh a Day Keeps the Doctor Away | Blogmas 2018

• Previous Video: The Joy of Christmas Book Tag | Vlogmas 2018

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I’m a Terrible Blogger

Six months without a word. Boy do I have a real gift for consistent blogging! 😂 I have a couple of good reasons so bear with me while I make excuses. Number one, I had a two-month work project. Adulting at its finest! Number two, I’ve been going through a creative slump. I can only maintain two blogs & a YouTube channel for so long before I need a break from one or more outlets.

As you can tell from the photo above, I have moved on from the spookiest month of the year because CHRISTMASTIME IS HERE!!🎄 My Christmas playlist has been on since yesterday, and I just drank my first peppermint mocha frappuccino of the season. I am feeling very merry and bright, although my feelings are subject to change after work tonight. 🙄 I let you down in 2018 as a blogger, but I’m going to try and make it up to you during the holiday season. I’m still in retail (UGH) so stay tuned for a roller coaster of emotions. Can’t wait! 🤪

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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C O L L A G E :

2012. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2433396/. Accessed 2 November 2018. ( Top )

2005. https://www.theodysseyonline.com/winter-break-according-to-the-office. Accessed 2 November 2018. (Bottom)

Dry Brush Kit | Minamul

I tried dry brushing for the first time last year, and the following is my review posted on amazon.com:

⚠ Disclaimer: Minamul contacted me to review their product, and I chose to do so because I was genuinely interested. This is an unpaid & honest review.

📝 Note: I have yet to use the konjac sponge therefore I have no thoughts regarding that product.

Information – There is a helpful chart that demonstrates what directions to brush in; it also has instructions for using the konjac sponge. Other than that, there is no information on what each brush is for or the benefits of dry brushing. I had to do outside research to fill in those gaps. It would be beneficial for the company and convenient for the customers if that information was provided in the bundle.

Brushes – I have sensitive skin, and the brushes, surprisingly, did not cause any irritation. With even pressure, you should feel a tingling sensation, not pain.

Side Effect – Not long into the process, I developed a painful breakout on my legs, specifically my thighs, which forced me to stop dry brushing below the waist. Because this product is meant to clean out the body, I don’t fault the company in any way. I just want future customers to be aware.

Results – After each dry brushing session, my skin felt softer and rejuvenated, and my mood was calm and relaxed. Even though the breakout on my legs was painful, it proved that the dry brushes work efficiently to clean out the body. It’s difficult to define the results because most of what is expected to happen is internal, not external. However, what I experienced is enough to know that these products are effective.

My main issue with this product has to do with the lack of educational information. Also, I am less likely to make another purchase from Minamul because I don’t need the entire bundle again, just some of the individual products. However, I assume that over time they will expand their product line so I will definitely be checking for updates. Overall, I think this bundle is great quality and perfect for first-time dry brushers.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Contact me for a 20% off coupon code! 😎👍 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

M i n a m u l   •   L i n k s

➡ A m a z o n

➡ F a c e b o o k

➡ I n s t a g r a m

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: New Name, Same Blog

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Mad Dash

I need you to sit down & settle in for part two of my blog post from yesterday. About 15 minutes after it was published, my phone rang. Thanks to caller i.d., I knew it was one of the managers from my retail job. Forgetting that my phone was charging, I grabbed it only to have it ripped from my hands. While the ringing continued, I frantically searched my room on hands & knees. I finally found it on my bed (hold your laughter), but the ringing had already been replaced by a voicemail. I will now take you back to about one hour earlier. While eating dinner, my mom implied that I had to work that evening. I replied that she was thinking of my closing shift on Friday. I was 100% sure that I had two days off before my two weekend shifts so I didn’t even bother to check my schedule, which is something I do religiously. Fast forward to my manager’s voicemail. I was 15 minutes late for my closing shift, and she was wondering if I was ok & still coming in to work. In an outright panic, I called the store to let her know I would be there as soon as I could to replace a fellow associate who couldn’t stay much longer. Feeling like a horrible person, I got ready as fast as humanly possible, which is no easy task when you’re shaking like a leaf and clumsy. It would’ve been  much easier if I hadn’t had a ton of coconut oil in my hair. I didn’t want to look like a greasy mess at work so I had to wash my hair, two shampoos required. I put on as little makeup as I was comfortable with and braided my hair, all of which looked as effortless as it actually was. A hoodie, jeans, and boots completed the look, and I was out the door. I received the call around 5:15 and made it to work right before 6. For the first hour my body was shaking uncontrollably, but I eventually settled down. It wasn’t the restful night I had planned, but everything turned out ok in the end. On the bright side, I am free as a bird today. Go ahead & laugh now. I am.

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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You Just Made The Naughty List | Blogmas 2017

I’ve been a busy bee working on Artmas, Blogmas, & Vlogmas these past few days. I’m working at my retail job almost every day for the next two weeks so the time to get ahead is running out. I’m trying to think happy thoughts to keep my mind off of the impending insanity. First of all, I’m seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi tonight with my family. FINALLY!! Second of all, I have a funny story to tell about my neighbor:

A few days ago, I was standing at the kitchen sink looking through the window at the backyard (let’s pretend I wasn’t simultaneously looking and wishing for snow that will never fall). Out of nowhere, a medieval-looking tool moved into view above the fence and slowly made its way to a frond on the nearest palm tree. Against such precise motions, the poor frond never stood a chance. The tool disappeared from view only to reappear and cut down another frond. This seems like a good time to mention that the palm tree is in my family’s backyard. It would’ve made more sense if any of the frond victims had been hanging over the other side of the fence, but they weren’t. I know there is a certain amount of give and take between neighbors, but that sort of action seems so childish. Oh well! It gave me a good laugh. 😂

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

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

S 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 ❤︎

⬇️ Important Links ⬇️

• Previous Post: I’ve Lost My Touch | Blogmas 2017

• Previous Video: How To Play Dreidel | Vlogmas 2017

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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

I have waited all year for this movie! Part of my birthday celebration was seeing the first showing at my local theater. As a passionate Agatha Christie fan, I have thoughts both good and bad so settle in for a semi-bumpy Orient Express ride.

Many people had doubts about Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of beloved detective Hercule Poirot. If you’re a doubter, I want to put your mind at ease. Mr. Branagh is hands down the best part of the movie. He kept the spirit of the Poirot we all know and love while adding humor and his own unique touch to the character. He is a constant source of smiles and laughs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Overall the ensemble cast did not disappoint. Johnny Depp is fantastic as always (SPOILER) even though his part is short-lived. Michelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz have some shining moments, and Dame Judi Dench’s monologue about little Daisy Armstrong made me tear up. Lucy Boynton and Sergei Polunin’s respective portrayals of Count & Countess Andrenyi are dark, a hidden gem that is impressive considering their inexperience. Josh Gad was good for the most part, but the chase scene involving Poirot felt awkward. The conflict between Hercule and Dr. Arbuthnot also felt clumsy. Daisy Ridley acted well, but I did not like Mary Debenham’s demeanor. In the book, she is polite and reserved which leads Poirot to suspect she might be the mastermind behind the murder; his suspicion makes little sense in the movie because Mary is much too bright and happy.

The book’s methodical layout is not perfectly suited for a movie. Some may find the added action irritating, but I understand the necessity to shake up the format onscreen. That being said, some of the clues got lost in the shuffle due to a speedier pace. As far as I remember, all the clues from the book were included, but they weren’t given the time they needed to simmer and encourage the audience to consider possible outcomes. Perhaps the extra, non-book stuff could’ve been trimmed to accommodate character interviews and clue discoveries, making the final reveal much more grand than it actually was. I also want to mention that I don’t remember Biniamino Marquez being named at the end. (SPOILER) The twist relies on the shock of twelve people being involved, each with a specific connection to the Armstrong family. The cast may seem large, but those who know the story well won’t miss anything, even if only one name is passed over. This goes back to details being muddled at the end. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the greatest stories ever written in the mystery genre. If you don’t lay it out correctly, you spoil the thrill and fun of the twists and turns.

I love two-thirds of the movie, but the ending is a disappointment. Things can surely get better from here so I hope Kenneth Branagh is giving the chance to continue the series, perhaps with a book that has less adaptations. I truly believe he can do great things with Poirot. The final scene hints at a sequel based on Death on the Nile. How great would that be?! 😄

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boSSSZpAkyw&t=25s

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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