Blogmas 2014 – Come Light the Menorah

Levin, Alex. Magnificent Light of Menorah. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. . Calvin College openURL resolver

Levin, Alex. Magnificent Light of Menorah. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.artlevin.com/page409.html&gt;.
Calvin College openURL resolver

Chanukah Sameach readers!!  In honor of the first night of Hanukkah, I want to give you a VIP tour through my favorite Jewish holiday.  If you did not read my post last year, here is the story of Hanukkah: The Jews were, at one time, oppressed by a Greek king; he killed Jews, outlawed their religion, and defiled the temple, their place of worship.  Despite their small number and “underdog” status, Judah Maccabees and his army were successful in their rebellion.  The temple was restored, and a celebration took place.  There was only enough oil to light the temple menorah for one night, but the lamp miraculously burned for eight straight nights.  That, ladies and gentlemen, is why we celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights.

Read or recite the following:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, Asher kideshanu b’mitzvotav, Vitzivanu, L’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah – Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who made us holy through your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, Sheh’asah nissim la’avoteinu, Ba-yam ha-heim, Ba-zman hazeh – Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in those ancient days at this season

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu, v’ki-y’manu, v’higiyanu, lazman hazeh – Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season  (“The Hanukkah Blessings”)

If you want help with pronunciation, follow along with this playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_fb-tkAet5A&list=PLcRF_zFl6hpHXnmP-CaCK2OO-3xfmm1kg

I hope you have enjoyed Hanukkah 101.  Now go make latkes and play dreidel.  Stay kosher readers!!  (See what I did there??)

– Lauren Michele :)

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ ”  – John 8:12

 

Works Cited:

Levin, Alex. Magnificent Light of Menorah. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.artlevin.com/page409.html&gt;.

“The Hanukkah Blessings.” myjewishlearning.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Hanukkah/At_Home/Candlelighting

/Blessings.shtml>.

 

***My links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

Calvin College openURL resolver

Blogmas 2014 – Artmas 2014

Artmas 2014

Good evening readers!  I am not really in a blogging mood tonight.  However, I wanted to let you know that I am participating in Blogmas 2014 on my art blog for the next ten days.  I am calling it “Artmas.”  All of the art will be Christmas and/or winter related  Here is a link to my first post: http://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2014/12/16/artmas-2014-danbo-the-robot/   If you would like to read posts related to art year-round, subscribe!!  I will be back tomorrow.  Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele :)

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”  – Pablo Picasso

 

***My links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

 

 

Blogmas 2014 – Quizmas Shenanigans

Quizmas Shenanigans (Source: http://www.instant-quizzes.co.uk/product_images/uploaded_images/wise500.jpg)

Good evening readers!  So, here’s the deal.  I am once again feeling less than jolly tonight, but instead of being “Bah Humbug”, I want to improve my mood.  We are going to have some fun and do some Christmas-themed quizzes together.  I have chosen one quiz from each of my favorite quiz websites.  Feel free to explore and find more on your own.  Warning: they are addictive and will take up hours of your time.  Let’s do this…

Which Christmas decoration fits your personality?  “You got a Christmas Tree! Everyone and anyone can feel the awe and majesty that you can give any room. And it is in that moment, that the beholder knows that it is finally Christmas. You are the decorations of decorations, as you yourself, are in turn decorated again with hangings, lights, and ornaments of all shapes and sizes. From house to house, you are incredibly personal, as no two of you are alike. Some like you so much, they don’t take you down until Spring!”  I have no words.  This is both the funniest and the most flattering compliment I have ever received.  I am obsessed with Christmas time so I don’t have a hard time believing I ooze Christmas spirit.  But awe and majesty?  That makes me sound pompous.  Here is the link to the quiz: http://www.playbuzz.com/avibwx10/which-christmas-decoration-fits-your-personality

Which foreign Christmas tradition are you?  “You are throwing food at the ceiling.  In the UK you’ll be shouted at if you don’t eat the food put in front of you, but in Slovakia you’ll be expected to throw food at the ceiling.  It’s thought that a spoonful of turkey and gravy lobbed at the ceiling on Christmas Eve by the head of the household will predict how much luck the family has the next year.  The more food that sticks to the ceiling, the better their luck.  Unless, of course, you’re the person who has to clean it up.”  What does this say about me?  Apparently I get major holiday mood swings.  Fair enough considering my love/hate relationship with Christmas spirit this year.  Here is the link to the quiz: http://www.buzzfeed.com/jackdanielsuk/which-foreign-christmas-tradition-are-you?b=1

Can we guess your favorite Christmas movie?  “It’s a Wonderful Life.  Forget about all these newfangled holiday movies – you’re into the classics.  You love a feel-good movie with a message, and every time a bell rings you’re positive an angel gets its wings.  You like nothing more than gathering around the TV with the people you love to carry on the Christmas tradition of watching George Bailey learn how to appreciate life.”  False.  This is not my favorite movie, and I do not hate modern holiday films.  However, I do love feel-good movies with a message, and I do treasure traditions shared with family so this result is 50% inaccurate.  If you are wondering, my favorite holiday movies are “Old Fashioned Thanksgiving” and “Nativity Story.”  Here is the link to the quiz: http://www.zimbio.com/quiz/7kYouobapL1/Can+Guess+Favorite+Christmas+Movie

I hope you enjoy these quizzes as much as I did.  Feel free to comment and let me know what result you got and how you feel about it.  Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

What does December have that other months don’t have?  The letter D.

How did Scrooge win the football game?  The ghost of Christmas passed.

What kind of motorcycle would Santa ride?  A Holly Davidson

Why was Santa’s elf depressed?  He had low elf esteem.

What did the reindeer say before beginning his comedy routine? This will sleigh you.

(Source: http://www.jokeschristmas.com/Christmas-Puns/)

 

***My links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

Blogmas 2014 – Candles Candles Candles

Candles Candles Candles (Please excuse the bad quality phone picture)

I hope your noses are in tip-top shape because tonight’s post is all about CANDLES!!  Today was the sacred day that die-hard Bath & Body Works shoppers crave the other 364 days of the year, leap years excluded.  Today was “$8 Candle Day.”  I cannot tell a lie.  This whole “I need a gazillion candles in my life” craze is new to me, but I caught on quickly.  First of all, the store was absolute chaos.  California women do not mess around when it comes to sales, even if they are holding one or more babies.  I was poked, prodded, stared down, and 100% overwhelmed.  Even the employees were getting trapped by the sea of shoppers.  Despite my “fear”, I was more worried about the candles.  People were moving about as if the store was full of cotton instead of fragile candles.  Take a chill pill!!  If you can’t already tell from my dramatic narrative, I am NOT a crowd person.  Fun fact about me: I will not go to a store to wrestle over an item in person.  However, I am a master online shopper; I will bid to the death.  Perhaps I will share some of my wisdom with you another time.  Back to the topic at hand.  I made it out of the store alive with four candles.  At $8 apiece with the inclusion of a $10 off coupon, I paid a little more than twenty-three dollars total.  That is the amount I would have paid for ONE candle on a normal shopping day, and I walked out with FOUR candles.  Hallelujah, praise Jesus.  I love saving $$$!!!  I will end this post with a description of each candle, including Marshmallow Fireside which was purchased last month.  FYI: These descriptions come on the bottom of each candle; I cannot take credit for the text in quotation marks.

Cranberry Woods – “Fresh tart cranberries, blackcurrant, and warm cinnamon bark combine in a delightful fragrance inspired by the magic of the woods during harvest time.”  I chose this candle over “Frosted Cranberry” because the scent was more delicate.  Despite the absence of citrus, the scent has a citrus quality that cuts the harshness of the cranberry.  This scent is ideal for any Thanksgiving table.

Gourmet Espresso – “The fragrance of rich espresso delightfully brewed with artisan coffee beans is the perfect complement for your homemade holiday treats.”  Coffee lovers need this candle in their life.  I am not a coffee aficionado nor do I drink pure coffee, but this scent is absolute heaven.  This candle was made to be lit in your kitchen every morning.

Holly Jolly Christmas – “Have a holly jolly Christmas with this festive blend of bright mandarin, red pomegranate, and fresh balsam.”  Christmas-themed scents tend to be too spicy for my taste.  If you are like me, this is the candle for you.  The notes of fruit add just enough pop to the fresh balsam without being overpowering.  A “Fresh Balsam” candle is also available, but I chose this candle instead because the scent offers more than one note of Christmas.

Marshmallow Fireside – “A sweet toasty end to a long cold day – toasted marshmallows and sumptuous vanilla cream blend with the comforting aroma of rich smoldering woods.”  I am not a huge fan of sweet scents because they can be very nauseating.  While this scent is very sweet, in small doses it is a pleasant pick-me-up.  You know that scent from bonfires that makes your eyes and nose burn?  Hints of that toastiness are present and break up the sweetness a little bit.  This scent is 100% dependent on the first impression.  You either like it or you don’t; there is no compromise.

Mint Mocha Bark – “Wrap this delectable medley of creamy smooth mocha, vanilla, and icy mint in a bow and give it to your nearest and dearest.”  Plain and simple: if you want to have the scent of a Starbucks peppermint mocha frappuccino within reach at all times, this is the candle for you.

Now go forth, shop, & fill the air with fragrance.  Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“It is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

 

***My links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

 

Blogmas 2014 – Bah Humbug

Bah Humbug

Good evening readers.  I’m pretty sure the title says it all so this post will not drag on.  I have been in a blah mood today.  I could not fall asleep all day, and my mind refused to focus on an activity (e.g. reading).  On the positive side of things, candles are $8 at Bath & Body Works tomorrow, and I am finally leaving this apartment after one week of illness.  No cough or sneeze will stop me!!  Perhaps my post tomorrow will be all about my new candles.  Wont that be fragrant!  Sorry.  My brain is crazy from the boredom.  What else did I do today that was interesting…  I watched the finale of Gracepoint.  Did anyone else follow Gracepoint from the beginning?  Crazy ending.  I wont give it away, but I finally predicted something on a TV show.  I’ve basically won at life.  Not really.  I also watched Elf.  I love that movie!  My favorite part is when Buddy the Elf hears Jovie singing in the shower, innocently joins in, and scares her.  That scene tickles my funny bone every time.  Well, that is pretty much the extent of my day.  Sorry I wasn’t in a holly jolly mood today; I did my best.  Good night and stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Cindy Lou Who: Santa?

Grinch: WHAT?

Cindy Lou Who: Don’t forget the Grinch. I know he’s mean and hairy and smelly. His hands might be cold and clammy, but I think he’s actually kinda… sweet.

Grinch: SWEET? You think he’s sweet?

Cindy Lou Who: Merry Christmas, Santa.

Grinch: Nice kid… baaad judge of character.”  – How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Iced In

crabapple_tree_ice

I cannot take credit for the photo, but that is what most of North Texas currently looks like.  I am iced in!!!  I took full advantage of having no school and enjoyed an unexpected day of relaxation, complete with hot chocolate, a good book and 2 Christmas movies.  Speaking of ice, here is my December 6th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday weather?  As a California native, I have had my fair share of warm Christmases.  When my family moved to Texas, we were iced in for 3 days, and I realized what I was missing out on.  Cold weather is my favorite holiday weather.  I cannot fully explain why, but low temperatures heighten my holiday spirit.  I think Christmas is associated with snow because snow is associated with winter, the season during which Christmas is celebrated.  Cuddling under blankets and sipping hot chocolate puts me in a winter mood, which puts me in a Christmas mood; it is a chain reaction.  That is the only logical explanation I can concoct at this moment in time.  Now it’s your turn.  What is your favorite holiday weather: chilly or warm?

I would like to apologize for my late blog posts.  Despite my best efforts to balance blogging and finals, school has overwhelmed me this past week.  Thankfully I only have one more week left.  I should be back to my merry self very soon.

Stay merry readers!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“…The weather outside is frightful
But the fire is so delightful
And since we’ve no place to go
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”

Christmas Cinema

hallmark

Some of my favorite times during the holiday season involve hot chocolate, warm blankets, and a holiday movie, preferably one that involves romance.  Here is my December 5th favorite:

What is your favorite holiday movie?  My favorite holiday movies are Old Fashioned Thanksgiving/Christmas (I consider them one movie) and The Nativity Story.  Old Fashioned Thanksgiving/Christmas is set in the time period of Little Women and is heart-warming and romantic.  The Nativity Story brings the Christmas story to life with beautiful scenery and a convincing cast.  The majority of the plot is accurate, but I would still recommend that you read the original book; it is 100% accurate.  :)

If you need advice regarding a holiday TV playlist, I can be of service.  I have years of experience using a remote and DVR, watching shows, movies, and specials, and refining my list of what to watch annually.  I cannot tell you what to watch because everyone has their own personal preference regarding entertainment, but I can help you get started.  My first tip is to keep an eye on the channels that play Christmas movies all day every day; my channel choices are ABC family, Hallmark Channel, and Lifetime.  My second tip is to utilize the search engine on your DVR; look up keywords such as Christmas, snow, and holiday and record anything that catches your eye.  If you are an admirer of holiday movies, trial and error is required in order to create a list and refine it.  Make sure you are ready for the challenge because new episodes and movies premiere every year, ans the list will get longer and harder to remember and manage.  The holidays come with many challenges; Christmastime is not for the weak!

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned something.  Thank you to all my faithful readers. Stay merry!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“You know what your problem is, it’s that you haven’t seen enough movies – all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.”

– Steve Martin

The Red Cup

tumblr_luikwahshW1qgh11mo1_500

If you do not recognize the red cup, you have obviously never set foot in a building designated by a green sign with a white mermaid.  When Starbucks starts serving their beverages in red cups, Christmas has officially arrived.  The red cup brings with it 3 holidays flavors: caramel brulee, gingerbread, and peppermint.

My December 4th Favorite:

What is your favorite Starbucks’ holiday beverage?  My favorite fall (Thanksgiving) beverage is a salted caramel mocha frappuccino, and my favorite winter (Christmas) beverage is a peppermint mocha frappuccino.  I recently tried a gingerbread frappuccino and was impressed.  It did not dethrone my reigning Christmas favorite, but it was good enough to make it into my holiday beverage rotation.  My next taste-test endeavor is a caramel brulee frappuccino; let me know if you have an opinion regarding this beverage.  By now, you may be questioning my motives for drinking frappuccinos during one of the coldest times of the year.  Truth be told, I like hot beverages but have more of a soft spot for cold beverages.  I do suffer because of my choice, but what a delicious way to suffer!  Now it is your turn; what is your favorite Starbucks’ holiday beverage?

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Keep calm and drink coffee.”

Holiday Confections

400704

Going right along with yesterday’s post on food, today is about anything and everything sweet.  My December 3rd favorite:

What is your favorite holiday dessert?  My favorite Thanksgiving dessert is pumpkin pie, with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream.  My favorite Christmas dessert is grandma’s cookies; cheesecake is a close second.  For as long as I can remember, my grandma has mailed a cookie package to every member of my paternal family.  Christmas is not official until that package arrives and the cookies have been displayed on the kitchen counter.  Sometimes, I ring in Christmas morning with a piece of grandma’s chocolate bread and a cup of hot chocolate.  Sssshhhh!  That is between you and me!  As for my mention of cheesecake, my family has always accompanied our main course of steak with a cheesecake.  I think the entire meal has something to do with my dad’s east coast upbringing.  Shout out to New York!

What is your favorite holiday food?

Stay merry!!!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“Life is uncertain.  Eat dessert first.”  – Ernestine Ulmer

Holiday Feast

holiday-food

Thanksgiving is still visible in the rear-view mirror, and food should be the further thought from our minds.  In my crazy mind, the next logical subject to discuss is food.  So, without further adieu, here is my December 2nd favorite:

What is my favorite holiday food?  My answer cannot be said in a simplistic manner, the reason being that my family is not super traditional.  My favorite main course food is steak; turkey is a close 2nd.  My dad has always grilled steaks for holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas, but here is the kicker: The accompanying main course is always pizza.  How did that happen?  The “grown-up” food did not always satisfy the taste buds of me and my younger brother, and the tradition remained, even as we got older.  I will take this opportunity to mention that my family now eats turkey for Thanksgiving.  My favorite side dish is green bean casserole; baked macaroni & cheese is a close 2nd.  Green bean casserole is always my responsibility to cook therefore I might be slightly bias.  I find it delicious regardless of who makes it, but I know deep down inside that my satisfaction is based primarily on pride in my successful cooking efforts.  Now that I have finished my spiel, what is your favorite holiday food?

Chanukah sameach, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“A recipe has no soul.  You as the cook must bring the soul to the recipe.”  – Thomas Keller