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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Anne with an “E”

Ever since the day I found out about the CBC/Netflix adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, I have been skeptical. I grew up with the Sullivan trilogy; if anyone asks what my favorite movie is, I answer with those three films. They are very near and dear to my heart, and it is difficult for me to accept anything else. The new series came to Netflix on May 12th. I tried numerous times to watch it but couldn’t bring myself to press play. I realize that I sound like a total drama queen, but keep in mind that I have always been compared to Anne who is the actual queen of drama. Fast forward to July 4th. I finally watched the first episode… and then the second episode… and then the third… two days later I’ve finished all seven, and I NEED MORE!!! Yes it is different from the 1985 movie, and no that is not a bad thing. The first episode was difficult to watch because I could only picture the Sullivan cast, but once I relaxed and and allowed myself to accept the changes, I was fine. Most of my favorite moments involved Anne & Gilbert and Rachel & Marilla. I hope the series continues for a very long time because I can already picture myself watching the cast grow with the story. Fellow AOGG fans, I understand the trepidation, but change isn’t always bad. If you haven’t watched Anne With an E, I highly recommend you give it a chance.

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Farewell American Idol

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

*Note: There were a number of contestants unable to be involved in the Idol finale.  Some of those absences were disappointing, but it must have been a nightmare trying to organize so many different people and schedules into two hours of television.  I am squelching my feelings and focusing on the positive in this post.

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Going into the Idol finale, I knew I would be emotional, but I didn’t realize the tears would fall so soon.  Familiar faces from past seasons appeared during the opening song, and the floodgates were open.  In that moment I buckled my seatbelt and prepared for a two-hour storm of nostalgia.  The majority of the show was dedicated to a flow of performances by contestants and judges.  I really like that the contestants were mixed rather than organized by season.  It was fantastic to hear duets and groups that I would never have dreamed of seeing perform.  Even Larry Platt (“Pants on the Ground”), Sanjaya Malakar, and William Hung made an appearance.  I died from laughter when I realized Sanjaya was moving around the audience and wearing different wigs.  😂  Of course the original judges had to make an appearance: Paula, Randy, & Simon, the trio that started it all.  Judges come and go, but they will always be the most memorable panel.  I noticed that the current judges were very emotional throughout the night.  It’s hard to say goodbye to the show, but I think it had more to do with the slew of past contestants & winners making an appearance.  This show has been on the air for 15 seasons, and the numerous performances proved that more times than not, the judges and voters got it right.  Not every contestant made it to the pinnacle of fame, but they are spread out all over the world of music sharing their unique gifts.  Last but not least, America found out who the final “American Idol” is.  The winner is… Trent Harmon!!  Even though I was rooting for La’Porsha, Trent is incredibly talented.  I wish both of them nothing but the best.  I believe both of them can go very far in the music industry.

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4eWXM5CYFU

🎶 Uh oh… here come the waterworks!! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkgz31z3IJE

🎶 This song was performed by the original top 2 Justin Guarini and Kelly Clarkson.  One boy & one girl.  Bookends!! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6jNCX5cgfiY

🎶 “I have won and I have lost.  I got it right sometimes, but sometimes I did not.  Life’s been a journey.  I’ve seen joy, I’ve seen regret.  Oh and You have been my God through all of it.”  Sing Colton Sing! 🎶

– Kelly Clarkson Medley –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q1PEC1yVCAE

🎶 Chris Daughtry, one of my favorite voices EVER. 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiCz05ZY7Nc

– Country Medley –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8_BYnpJhAo

🎶 How adorable is she??  Such a beautiful voice! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQHdMkaJnv8

🎶 I didn’t know I needed a Casey James & Katharine McPhee duet, but I did.  One of my favorite parts of the show. 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A42LQdytWdY

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCHJ5Qm8NuY

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txFl3teEUJY

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzNu26Z3JrY&nohtml5=False

🎶 These are my boys!!  I’ve always felt that the singer-songwriters from “American Idol” were underrated. 🎶

– Gag Reel –

– Original Judges Reunite –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWjnS31C_hY&nohtml5=False

🎶 Oh.  My.  Gosh. 🎶

– Ford Memories –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfJiBg8r95g&nohtml5=False

🎶 I see you mouthing “Praise the Lord” at the end.  Preach girl preach!! 🎶

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4t267JTtalw

🎶 Once again, congratulations Trent!! 🎶

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*Note: The videos that are missing will be posted once I find them on Youtube.

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I didn’t start watching this show until season 6, but it impacted my life long before then and continues to do so.  I have owned Chris Daughtry, David Archuleta, David Cook, Kelly Clarkson, and Lee Dewyze CDs.  My ipod playlist has included Angie Miller, Carrie Underwood, Colton Dixon, Jason Castro, Jordin Sparks, Kris Allen, and Phillip Phillips.  My diary (2006-2014)  is full of “American Idol” predictions & celebrations.  I still own Kelly Clarkson’s album “Breakaway” on CD.  Over the past decade, I have played that thing to death.  Watching Kelly’s medley tonight, I was reminded of just how talented and special she is.  She was a huge part of my childhood, and I will forever be grateful that she took a chance and auditioned for a brand new reality competition TV show.

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

Farewell American Idol!!  Your legacy lives on in the careers of the numerous stars you have produced.

🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶 🎶

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– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale | April 2016

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The Walking Dead Season 6 Finale | April 2016

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Take a deep breath TWD fans.  Let’s talk through the pain.

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* * * Warning: I will be talking openly so please DO NOT read this if you have not watched the season 6 finale.  There may be SPOILERS ahead.

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1.  I have no idea what is wrong with Maggie, but I’m scared.  What happens if she miscarried??  Every human that dies becomes a zombie.  What does that mean??  Are things about to get really weird??

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2.  I’m pretty sure Carl and Enid will never be friends again.  He locked her in a closet!!  I know he was trying to protect her, but I don’t think she will be very understanding.  On the other hand, maybe she will be.  The group has worse things to deal with now.

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3.  I loved watching Carol’s progression into the kick-butt category but didn’t realize the toll it had taken until this episode.  She stared death in the face and taunted her shooter to finish the job.  She has managed to stay alive, but fear and emotion are starting to make her unstable.

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4.  I was concerned when Morgan told Carol’s shooter he could leave alive.  He has tried my patience this season with his “zen” approach to the zombie apocalypse.  Thankfully he did what he had to do: shoot the enemy.  Seriously though, the one time he decides to kill a (bad) human, and he wastes all of his bullets.  One headshot would have sufficed.

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5.  The Saviors taunted Rick’s group the entire episode, but the worst blow was the stunt they pulled dressing two zombies with items from Daryl and Michonne.  That was cruel considering no one knew Daryl, Glenn, Michonne, and Rosita were in danger.

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6.  This episode had me on edge the entire 90 minutes.  By the end, I had cried and said goodbye to every character just in case.  When Eugene left with the RV, I was sure he was a dead man.  Next thing I know, I’m watching several beloved characters kneel before Negan and fear for their lives.  My body was shaking.  My hands were partially covering my eyes.  Tears were streaming down my face.  I was not okay.  I’m still not okay.

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Closing Thoughts:  First of all, let’s take a moment to appreciate the stellar cast.  The regulars did a fantastic job, especially those who came face to face with Negan.  Watching Rick go from confident leader to powerless victim was heartbreaking.  The Saviors’ whistling sent chills down my spine and freaked me out, paving the way for Negan.  I knew Jeffrey Dean Morgan would kill it, and he did not disappoint.  In the end, it was implied that someone died a la Lucille, but the identity was not revealed.  I was so emotionally shaken that I didn’t think twice about the cliffhanger until I read social media comments.  I have come to expect cliffhangers from TWD so I wasn’t bothered, but I understand why fans are upset.  After numerous mid-season and season finale cliffhangers, people were craving some closure, closure they once again did not get.  I trust that the writers know what they’re doing, but I do think the show has lost some of its edge in the eyes of viewers.  I have not given up and don’t plan on doing so anytime soon.  The Negan storyline is promising in terms of edgy content, and I’m nervous/excited to see what happens next.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Seasonal Sneezings | Blogmas 2015

Is sneezings even a word?  Oh well!  It sounds clever. ;)  I stayed home from church today because I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a truck.  Dairy-free egg nog and “The Great British Bake Off” on Netflix has proved to be a successful remedy.  I really need to get better because I work tomorrow night.  Lovely!  Sadly, today was the last day of Hanukkah.  I am grateful for all of the gifts I received.  To commence the Festival of Lights, I will be watching “Maccabees: The Story of Hanukkah.”  Here is a clip of the short, animated movie:

Last night I started reading “The Pawn” by Steven James.  I have read it before, but I am starting over because the series is longer now so I want to refresh my memory of the first few books.  The Patrick Bowers Files is a great series; in a nutshell, the books are thrilling crime/mystery adventures.  The format is similar to that of “Criminal Minds” on TV because you read from many points of view including agent Patrick Bowers and the unknown serial killer.  I will definitely be reading a few chapters before bed tonight.  Smart decision!  If you are interested in this series, click the link: Books

Vlogmas – Lauren Michele

2 days until Artmas – Lauren Michele Photography – WordPress.com

12 days until Christmas…

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– Lauren Michele <3

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