Support the Irish Arts

As I was writing this blog post, the Gilmore Girls episode currently playing on my iPad, season 3 episode 7, referenced Riverdance. That is the best possible sign that today is a great day to support the Irish arts! Former Riverdance dancer Kincaid Stringer & his mother Shannon Kincaid, a painter, have teamed up for a great cause. They’re selling seven of Shannon’s paintings through Indiegogo for a COVID-19 relief fund; all proceeds will support Irish actors, artists, backstage workers & crews, clubs, concerts, cultural & event spaces, dancers, dance schools, festivals, musicians, performers, singers, theaters, & writers. I grew up dancing & singing so the arts are very important to me. Riverdance is the reason I asked my mom to sign me up for dance classes at the age of four so the Irish arts are also very important to me. Let’s not forget my Irish ancestors! 🇮🇪 The arts have done a lot for us in quarantine so it’s only right that we give back. You can choose to only donate money or receive a painting or two or seven in exchange for your donation. If it’s not already obvious, I’m buying “The Dancer.” Can’t wait to have a gorgeous Irish dancing queen above my bed! 👑 Please consider setting aside $25, or more, to support a great cause & get a piece of Ireland for your home. 💚🤍🧡

*NOTE: The Indiegogo campaign ends on September 17th, & the paintings will ship in November. Because of COVID-19, please consider that shipping could be delayed.

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Irish people’s love of dancing has been well documented throughout their written history. In fact, one of the earliest references to dancing details a visit between the Mayor of Waterford and Mayor of Baltimore in 1413. The modern Irish dancing of today is no longer merely a processional combination of singing and dancing as an act of celebrating, but a sport that produces athletes that are physically strong, as well as creative and artistic. What was once a tradition specific to Ireland (as well as England, Scotland, and some parts of America) caught like wildfire in 1994 with the debut of Riverdance. The theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance took the world by storm and has been a global phenomenon ever since. Now, twenty-five years later, the Irish dancing community consists of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world today. Teachers from around the world have committed themselves to spreading their love and passion for Ireland’s traditional form of expression. Regardless of how far a dancer progresses competitively or professionally, being an Irish dancer is something that is inextricably bound to their identity forevermore. In this piece entitled “The Dancer,” you feel the excitement, the confidence, and the artistry that comes from expressing a centuries-old tradition that has touched the hearts of many.  – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland and Scotland combined have a rich culture within the performing arts, which has resulted in a thriving gig scene. Musicians are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to create new and fresh work that is often steeped in tradition. Many are staunch believers that musical traditions must be preserved as they always have been – the “play it like my father used to” kind of sentimentality. Yet, every generation brings a new wave of talent that feels that this attitude discourages progress and evolution. This debate between tradition and innovation is a tale as old as time. Still, many feel it is possible to honour your origins while also exploring and adapting to the future; they are not mutually exclusive. Irish music legend, Míchéal Ó Súilleabháinn, believed that traditions are never frozen, but rather are fluid. He believed that the idea of authenticity originating from a pure source located in antiquity was bogus! This painting is for the new wave of artists and musicians who are creating some of the most incredible new-age folk / Trad music in the world. Project Smok, Beoga, Talisk, Ímar and the like are leading the way for the future of Irish music. – Kincaid & Shannon

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  – George Bernard Shaw

Ériu is the goddess of sovereignty and the mythological mother of Ireland. She is often interpreted as the modern-day personification of Ireland. Along with her two sisters, Banba and Fódhla, Ériu was a part of a triumvirate of goddesses. Before their final defeat, each goddess requested that the island be named for her. This was granted to all of them, but Ériu became the chief name in use. The old Irish name Ériu evolved into Éire in modern Irish and depending on the case is spelled Éireann or Éirinn. This is how we finally arrived with the English name for the country, Erin. The painting has been imbued with symbols to depict all that Ériu embodied within pre-Christian Irish culture. Ériu represents the sacred feminine, as illustrated in the column capitals, or the decorative element at the top of a column, that represent the three phases of a woman’s life cycle – the maid, mother and crone. The stars behind her and the lunala around her neck evoke her role as a lunar goddess. Her hair bleeds into the trees, depicting her connection to the earth and its bounty. She holds this bounty in her hand as a glass of mead, which was served at the feast of Goibhniu, and offered immortality to those that drank it. Around her head is a ring of knot work encasing the land, which is topped by the stone of divisions from the hill of Uisneach, the symbolic and sacred centre of the island in Irish mythology. Ériu’s bones are said to have been laid to rest on this hill and serves as a gateway between the Underworld and the world above. – Kincaid & Shannon

There is much more to an Irish pub than just having a drink. In Ireland, pubs are central to the way of life. Similar to a church, they represent a pillar of Irish social life and community. A place where pints, comfort food, live music, and sport can be always be found; somewhere you can meet friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers, in an inviting atmosphere. It’s for these reasons that recreations of Irish pubs can be found in any city around the world. O’Connor’s was opened as a pub in Galway in 1942 by Thomas O’Connor, and is currently operated by third generation O’Connors. Every inch of it decorated in eclectic memorabilia, the pub has become famous for its hospitality and world-class live music. So much so that Ed Sheeran used it as the location of his music video “Galway Girl” in 2017 featuring actress Saoirse Ronan, furthering the pub’s world-wide recognition. – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland has a rich tradition of various festivals taking place throughout each year. The Rose of Tralee was first held in 1959 and has since been held every August in Tralee, County Kerry, to select a young woman to be crowned the Rose. Cities all over the world host their own selection balls to determine who will represent them in Ireland. The festival bills itself as a celebration of the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility, and Irish heritage” of modern young women. Bursting with music and dancing, this festival celebrates the very best of Irish culture and the future of Irish relations worldwide. The winner and their family become a part of a global network, showcasing how Irish culture is thriving amongst the Irish Diaspora. They say, “Once a Rose, always a Rose.” – Kincaid & Shannon

A session is a casual gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music, usually taking place in a pub, but has also been known to take place on street corners or even in someone’s kitchen. Irish “trad” music has garnered a deep appreciation, not just in Ireland, but also around the world. It’s important to note that a session is more than just a casual jam between musicians – the focus is on the instrumental tunes found within the Irish tradition – reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slip jigs, and the like. Whether it be in a pub or someone’s home, sessions are times of brilliant music and ever-flowing drink that have a certain habit of continuing late into the night, if not into the wee hours of the morning! – Kincaid & Shannon

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

These are just two quotes from one of the biggest literary personalities in Ireland’s history, Oscar Wilde. A literary treasure, Wilde was a hugely popular playwright and poet in the late 1800s. Besides well-known works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lady Windermere’s Fan, his biting wit and flamboyant style gained him notoriety as well. As a people, the Irish are known for their good sense of humour, which has bolstered them during periods of great hardship throughout history. Wilde embodied this intrinsically Irish trait to the very end. Even as he faced death, he was cracking jokes and reportedly said, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” A collection of art in support of Irish culture would be incomplete without paying homage to Oscar Wilde. – Kincaid & Shannon

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHAx8IE3PTk&feature=youtu.be

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

O.W.L.s Readathon 2020 + Stay At Home Reading Rush

It’s that time of year, time to take my Ordinary Wizarding Levels. This is an amazing Harry Potter-themed readathon run by G from Book Roast & AJ from @asjamestweets. Last year I vlogged so this year I’m blogging. I hope you enjoy following my monthlong reading journey! 📚

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRuZ4EBkiKA

Last year I picked a career, read the required books, & managed to also pass the remaining exams. This year I’m focusing on passing all 12 O.W.L.s rather than a specific career. Basically I’m indecisive & want to keep my options open. 😂 Here are the exams/reading prompts & my TBR:

🌀 Ancient Runes | Heart Rune: Read a book with a heart on the cover | I chose “The Night Country” by Melissa Albert which has an anatomically correct heart on the cover.

🧮 Arithmancy | Magical qualities of the number 2: Balance/Opposites – Read something outside your favorite genre. | I chose “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller because I don’t often read comic books, although I do like them.

🔭 Astronomy | Night Classes: Read the majority of a book while it’s dark outside. | I chose “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins. I was actually supposed to read “The Hunger Games” for this prompt, but I forgot to read part of it at night so I switched it to my Care of Magical Creatures textbook.

🐉 Care of Magical Creatures | Hippogriffs: Read a book with a beaked creature on the cover. | I chose “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. My original textbook was “Catching Fire,” but as you already know I made a mistake & had to switch books.

✨ Charms | Lumos Maxima: Read a book with white on the cover | I chose “Every Crooked Path” by Steven James.

🧙🏼‍♂️ Defense Against the Dark Arts | Grindylows: Read a book set at sea or on a coast | I chose “The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude. The story is set in a fishing village on Cornwall’s Atlantic coast.

🔮 Divination | Third Eye: Assign numbers to your TBR & use a random number generator to pick your book | I assigned numbers to some of the Agatha Christie books I want to read & ended up with “At Bertram’s Hotel,” a book I previously DNFed (Did Not Finish). I’m ready to finish it!

🌱 Herbology | Mimbulus Mimbletonia: Read a book with a title that starts with the letter M | I chose “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins. By now you’ve surely figured out that I’m rereading the series in anticipation of the new prequel releasing in May. 🎉 

📜 History of Magic | Witch Hunts: Read a book featuring witches/wizards | I chose “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling because I’m in the mood for a series reread. Also, I’ve been dying to read my illustrated editions.

👱🏻‍♀️ Muggle Studies | Read a book from the perspective of a muggle (Contemporary) | I chose “Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James, the sequel to “Every Crooked Path.” Mr. James is one of my favorite crime authors!

🧪 Potions | Shrinking Solution: Read a book under 150 pages | I chose “Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond” by Adam Beechen which has 144 pages.

🐈 Transfiguration | Animagus Lecture: Read a book that involves shapeshifting | I chose “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson, a classic I’m very interested in but haven’t read yet. SPOILER: Obviously the shapeshifting in this book has to do with Jekyll turning into Hyde through a concoction made in his science lab.

A P R I L   1

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 38 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 72 pages

📖 110 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2

📖 0 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   3

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 82 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 88 pages

📖 170 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   4

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 33 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 47 pages

📖 80 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   5

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 46 pages

“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 14 pages

📖 60 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   6

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 113 pages

✔️ “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins – 153 pages | I completed my Care of Magical Creatures exam. 🐉

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMCATh4VVz8

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 48 Pages

📖 314 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   7

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 93 pages

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W E E K   O N E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 1

📝 Pages: 827

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A P R I L   8

“Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 61 pages

✔️ “The Dark Knight Returns” by Frank Miller – 216 pages | I completed my Arithmancy exam. 🧮

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGKqkZ28cIA

📖 277 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   9

✔️ “Batman Beyond: Hush Beyond” by Adam Beechen – 144 pages | I completed my Potions exam. 🧪

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWs5GJXH__M

✔️ “Every Crooked Path” by Steven James – 124 pages | I completed my Charms exam. ✨

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Te8ndpLzz0

✔️ “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson – 57 pages | I completed my Transfiguration exam. 🐈

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciJ0QH5fvXY&t=9s

📖 325 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 0

📖 0 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 1

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 7 Pages

A P R I L   1 2

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 50 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 102 pages

📖 152 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 3

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 45 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 101 pages

📖 146 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 4

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 102 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 100 pages

📖 202 Total Pages 📖

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W E E K   T W O   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,109

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A P R I L   1 5

“Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 11 Pages

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 3 pages

📖 14 Total Pages 📖

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*Note: From April 16th to 19th, I participated in the Stay Home Reading Rush. I picked books for my TBR that fulfilled prompts for both readathons. Multitasking at its finest!

My TBR:

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling | Set at a Hogwarts, a place I would love to visit & part of a magical series that will always put a smile on my face. I read the entire book in my bedroom, specifically in my bed.

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert | Has a castle on the cover

A P R I L   1 6

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 37 pages

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 48 pages

📖 85 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 7

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 69 pages

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 39 pages

📖 108 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 8

✔️ “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling – 140 pages | I completed my History of Magic exam & 3 prompts for the Stay Home Reading Rush. 📜

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAHciSqi1-8

“The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 153 pages

📖 293 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   1 9

✔️ “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins – 128 Pages | I completed my Astronomy exam. 🔭

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QGwmoIJKB8

“Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 3 pages

✔️ “The Night Country” by Melissa Albert – 86 pages | I completed my Ancient Runes exam & the last prompt for the Stay Home Reading Rush. 🌀

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-Zfa9Pmyx4&t=2151s

📖 217 Total Pages 📖

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A P R I L   2 0

✔️ “Every Deadly Kiss” by Steven James – 256 pages | I completed my Muggle Studies exam. 👱🏻‍♀️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R5IyKqaplUc

A P R I L   2 1

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 33 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 23 pages

📖 56 Total Pages 📖

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W E E K   T H R E E   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 4

📝 Pages: 1,029 

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A P R I L   2 2

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 90 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 55 pages

📖 145 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 3

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 21 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 69 pages

📖 90 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 4

“At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 5 pages

“The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 13 pages

📖 18 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 5

✔️ “At Bertram’s Hotel” by Agatha Christie – 102 pages | I completed my Defense Against the Dark Arts exam. 🧙🏼‍♂️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LPoaNHkY36U

✔️ “The Cornish Coast Murder” by John Bude – 126 pages | I completed my Divination exam. 🔮

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUKqsr05Az8&t=23s

📖 228 Total Pages 📖

A P R I L   2 6

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 15 pages

A P R I L   2 7

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 43 pages

A P R I L   2 8

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 159 pages

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W E E K   F O U R   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 2

📝 Pages: 698

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A P R I L   2 9

“Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 97 pages

A P R I L   3 0

✔️ “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins – 76 pages | I completed my Herbology exam. 🌱

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

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O . W . L . S   T O T A L S

📚 Books / Exams: 12

📝 Pages: 3,836

1 Magical Readathon

30 Days, April 2020

1 Ravenclaw Student

2 Comic Books

1 E-Book

11 Physical Books, 5 Hardcover & 6 Paperback

3,836 Pages

12 Ordinary Wizarding Levels

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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• Previous Post: The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | March 2020

• Previous Video: Disney Plus Marathon Part 6 | December 7 – 11, 2019

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Disney+ Marathon Day 1 | November 12

I didn’t win the Disney+ Dream Job contest, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have my own 30-day marathon. Whether or not you have Disney’s new streaming service, I hope you’re ready to hang out with me for one month. 😊👍

12am – Disney+ is live! One episode of Bonkers! before bed. 🌛

*Note: The streaming service actually went live at 10pm PST. 🌴

S1E1 – In the Bag

Has anyone else noticed how much Bonkers D. Bobcat resembles Chester Cheetah?? An interesting mystery. We deserve answers!

Mad Hatter & March Hare spotted! Such a cool pair of cameos & an easter egg for eagle-eyed Disney fans. ☕️

9am – Rise & shine! 🌞

10am – Breakfast + Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers 🥥

S1E1 – Piratsy Under the Seas

10:30am – Blogging + Bonkers! 💻

S1E2 – Hear no Bonkers, See no Bonkers

11am – Laundry + Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers 🧺

S1E2 – Adventures in Squirrelsitting

11:30am – Blogging + Bonkers! & Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Rescue Rangers 💻

S1E3 – Out of Sight, Out of Toon ( B! )

S1E3 – Flash the Wonder Dog ( C & D )

12:50pm – Blogging + Darkwing Duck 💻 

S1E1 – Beauty and the Beet

S1E2 – Getting Antsy

S1E3 – Night of the Living Spud

3pm – Blogging + Aladdin 💻 

*Note: I wanted to start with my favorite Disney movie Tarzan, but it isn’t available yet so I watched my number 2 movie. 👍

I sobbed my way through the ENTIRE movie. 😭 I wasn’t allowed to watch Aladdin as a child so my only exposure was the Disney sing along songs VHS tapes & the TV series. One of the songs I grew up learning was You Ain’t Never Had A Friend Like Me so Genie has meant a lot to me for a very long time. I’m extremely emotional every time I watch the film, especially following Robin William’s passing. Gone but never forgotten! 💙

5:45pm – Blogging + Disney’s Hercules: The Animated Series

S1E1 – Hercules and the Apollo Mission

S1E2 – Hercules and the King of Thessaly

S1E3 – Hercules and the Secret Weapon

I don’t think I’ve watched this show since grandma’s house in the late 90s & early 2000s. What a blast from the past! 😮

8:30pm – Blogging + Hercules 💻 

Of course I had to complete my top 3 favorite Disney films of all time! Tarzan. Aladdin. Hercules. I’ve always loved the heroes. 💥😊💥

Final thoughts for the day: I didn’t experience an annoying amount of bugs on Disney+ aside from the occasional loading issue or touchscreen controls not responding properly through my iPad. As a MEGA Disney fan, this streaming service is worth the money. Films & shows I’ve wanted to watch again for years & years are finally available to me, some that I haven’t seen since I was a child. It was a blast reliving my childhood, & this is only DAY ONE. I got through 12 TV episodes & 2 movies. Not bad for a Tuesday!

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D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   O N E   A R T 

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Post: Quarter Life Crisis

• Previous Video: Talking About My Favorite Disney Movie: Tarzan

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2018 Reading Wrap-Up

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For once, I completed my reading goal with time to spare & exceeded it by two. I set my goal at 55 and completed 57 books. Yay! 🎉 Now for the semi-disappointing news: I didn’t complete the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. I could beat myself up, but reading is supposed to be fun, not a competition. Not all of the 2018 challenges matched up with what I wanted to read last year, and that is okay.

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📚 A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to Read

📖 A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📖 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

📖 Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

📖 The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📖 The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste

📖 As Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers

📖 The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

📖 The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

📚 A Book in Translation

📖 N/A 

📚 A Book Nominated for an Award in 2018

📖 Obsidio by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📚 A Book Of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay Collection

📖 N/A 

📚 A Book You Can Read in a Day

📖 Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn

📖 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

📖 On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 Scream All Night by Derek Milman

📖 Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

📖 Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

📖 The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

📖 The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Athur Conan Doyle

📖 The Little Android by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Secret of Shadow Ranch by Carolyn Keene

📖 The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

📖 The Queen’s Army by Marissa Meyer

📚 A Book That’s More Than 500 Pages

📖 Gemina by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 Obsidio by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

📚 A Book by a Favorite Author

📖 The Mummy Case by Elizabeth Peters

📚 A Book Recommended by a Librarian or Indie Bookseller

📖 Hiddensee by Gregory Maguire

*Note: This category doesn’t (necessarily) count. Even though Hiddensee is on an IndieBound list, I didn’t read it because of their recommendation.

📚 A Banned Book

📖 N/A 

📚 A Memoir, Biography, or Book of Creative Nonfiction

📖 The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

📚 A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your Own

📖 Gemina by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Australian)

📖 Harvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar (Persian)

📖 Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar (Persian)

📖 Obsidio by Amy Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Australian)

📖 The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom (Dutch)

📖 The Strings of Murder by Oscar de Muriel (Mexican)

*Note: The definition of “ethnicity” is different depending on who you ask so I relied solely on where an author was born. I didn’t include British authors because of my own family’s roots, but perhaps that was just overthinking on my part.

I also read:

📖 A Fatal Winter by G.M. Malliet

📖 Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Antidote to Venom by Freeman Wills Crofts

📖 Cress by Marissa Meyer

📖 Escaping From Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

📖 Fairest by Marissa Meyer

📖 Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke

📖 Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

📖 In The Woods by Tana French

📖 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 Mistress of Rome by Kate Quinn

📖 Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

📖 Reign: The Chronicles of Queen Jezebel by Ginger Garrett

📖 Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

📖 The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Centurion’s Wife by Davis Bunn & Janette Oke

📖 The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

📖 The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah E. Ladd

📖 The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson

📖 The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill by Julie Klassen

📖 The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

📖 The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene

📖 The Rose and the Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

📖 The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

📖 Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

📖 We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany

📖 Winter by Marissa Meyer

📖 Written on the Wind by Judith Pella

Total: 9(ish) Challenges & 57 Books

⬇️  Here are all of my 2018 reading-related links  ⬇️

2017 Wrap-Up | 2018 Reading Challenge

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

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHZs4Lxxr30&t=714s

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORnYN7RZZDo&t=4s

📚 Stay tuned for my 2019 reading plans! 📚  

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Reunited, & It Feels So Good

Last night I stayed up late reading. In my mind I knew I should be a responsible adult & go to bed, but my heart told me to take advantage. It’s been awhile since I devoured a book so I resisted sleep for as long as I could, specifically until 1:30am. Goodbye reading slump! For those that are curious, I’m currently reading Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco. It is the sequel to Stalking Jack the Ripper, and I am loving it so far. Speaking of books, my family visited Barnes & Noble Sunday night. I always know how depressed I will be looking at all the books I can’t afford, but I go anyway. My parents were kind enough to buy me a new book. THANK YOU!!!!! I chose Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero, a novel I’ve been dying to read for months. I am a HUGE Scooby-Doo fan so I hope this mystery gang-inspired story lives up to my expectations. In regard to my Tuesday agenda, I am currently blogging on my typewriter while watching my favorite Almanzo & Laura episodes of Little House on the Prairie. I hope you enjoy the rest of your day. Happy Tuesday! :)

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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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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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I’ve Lost My Touch | Blogmas 2017

My North Pole elf powers have taken a serious hit in the past few years. In 2016, I had to repurchase two gifts due to damage. This year, I received two damaged gifts and was only able to successfully replace one. The other was a handmade, custom item and arrived twice in terrible condition due to measurement issues; I chose to walk away with a refund rather than risk receiving a third defective product. Seriously, what has happened to me?? Gifting used to be my cup of tea, and now I can’t seem to climb out of the funk I’m in. I carefully observe the recipients so I can pick the perfect gifts; I make an airtight budget so I can save and spoil my loved ones; and I buy from trustworthy sources (eBay has disappointed me one too many times). I’m still satisfied with my 2017 gifts, but I can’t help feeling disappointed. On top of my misery, I can’t see Star Wars: The Last Jedi until Monday night. UGH!!! On the bright side, I have a day off (from my retail job) to relax a little bit. Even though I have a to-do list of work that has to get done, I will definitely be squeezing in some baking, Christmas movies, & reading. Happy Saturday!

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

T w o   D a y s   U n t i l   A r t m a s . . .

N i n e   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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Moment of Weakness | Blogmas 2017

It finally happened. My Scrooge veneer cracked, and I shed a Christmas tear. Yes, it was a cheesy Hallmark movie. No, I don’t feel any shame. It might’ve had something to do with staying up until 3am the night before, but we’ll ignore that detail and say that I was overcome by the spirit of December. I also want to give credit where credit is due. Finding Santa was a good movie, and that’s saying a lot considering I don’t often enjoy a new offering from Hallmark, otherwise known as Christmas Incorporated. 😂 I’ll add to the good news by announcing the arrival of grandma’s cookies. See?! December isn’t a total loss yet. My elf ears are starting to perk up, and we still have a little over one week of celebration left. 🎉

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

T h r e e   D a y s   U n t i l   A r t m a s . . .

T 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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Filming Frustrations | Blogmas 2017

If the joy of Christmas is what you seek, bah humbug. I swear I’m not trying to ruin your Christmas. As a blogger, it is my duty to be honest about my life. The past twenty-four hours have been awful. Last night I found out that two of the gifts I ordered online were damaged. I woke up late because I stayed up to watch a Christmas movie that I didn’t end up liking (I’m looking at you Noel). I forgot to charge my camera batteries overnight AND while I was getting ready. Despite racing to beat the sun, it took several hours to film only two videos. I wanted to get a third filmed, but I couldn’t find my dreidel which was supposed to be the starring prop. I still haven’t found that darn top! I am now tired and cranky and probably the top name on Santa’s naughty list. Bring on the coal! Despite all the stress, I am thankful for a home that is still standing because there is a fire burning a few miles away. My thoughts & prayers are with everyone being affected. Stay safe California!  <3

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

T e n   D a y s   U n t i l   A r t m a s . . .   

E i g h t e 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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• Previous Post: Cozy Night At Home | Blogmas 2017

• Previous Video: Coloring The Nutcracker Ballet | Vlogmas 2017

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