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   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

2018 Reading Wrap-Up

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

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.

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

📚 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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HGW-XvQ6N0&t=9s

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyEZ9gzZb8c&t=288s

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUz0HJjwdUg&t=1s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMmn3r4M4_Y&t=5s

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyvAdtvthT8&t=14s

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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The Last Jedi | Blogmas 2017

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ DISCLAIMER: My intention is not to spoil the movie for you, but spoilers are hard to avoid once you’ve seen and want to talk about it. You have been warned! ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ 

I recently saw Star Wars: The Last Jedi and loved it, but I’m still dealing with a lot of feelings. The severity of my emotions caught me off guard, and it wasn’t just because of Carrie Fisher’s death, although that sadness is still very fresh. This is the end of an era, a transition from the old to the new. I’m excited about the next generation of characters, but that doesn’t make the change any easier. When the twins reunited, Luke said the words “No one’s ever really gone” as he placed Han’s dice in Leia’s hand. From that point on, I couldn’t stop crying. That one poignant moment sums up my experience with this film. I know that’s a really short statement about a really big movie, but I honestly can’t bring myself to say anything more.

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

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

F o u r   D a y s   U n t i l   C h r i s t m a s . . .

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

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

– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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The 88th Academy Awards | Part 1

Welcome to the winners’ circle!  I am going to list each of the categories and their respective victors.  Part 2 will be available tonight on my art blog; it will feature my favorite looks from the red carpet.  First, I want to congratulate Chris Rock.  Hosts make or break award shows.  I rarely tune in because I lose interest quickly, but thanks to Mr. Rock I thoroughly enjoyed the Oscars this year.  Two thumbs up! 👍 👍

* * * Note: Videos of all the acceptance speeches will be posted in this article as soon as I can find good quality versions.

– Opening Monologue –

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144808155563319/

– This Year in Film –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m88THpMK590

🌟Best Actor – Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144973592213442/

🌟Best Actress – Brie Larson, “Room”

Best Animated Feature Film – “Inside Out”

Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Revenant”

Best Costume Design – Jenny Beavan, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

🌟Best Director – Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, “The Revenant”

Best Documentary Feature – “Amy”

Best Documentary Short Subject – “A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness”

Best Film Editing – Margaret Sixel, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Foreign Language Film – “Son of Saul”

Best Live Action Short Film – “Stutterer”

Best Makeup – Damien Martin, Elka Wardega, and Lesley Vanderwalt, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Original Music Score – Ennio Morricone, “The Hateful Eight”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144900588887409/

Best Original Screenplay – “Spotlight”

Best Original Song – Jimmy Napes and Sam Smith, “Writing’s on the Wall” from “Spectre”

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144835135560621/

* I congratulate Sam Smith on his win, but I was rooting for Lady Gaga.  What a powerful song!

Source: https://www.facebook.com/ABCNetwork/videos/1144912732219528/

🌟Best Picture – “Spotlight”

Best Production Design – Colin Gibson and Lisa Thompson, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Sound Editing – David White and Mark Mangini, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

Best Sound Mixing – Ben Osmo, Chris Jenkins, and Gregg Rudloff, “Mad Max: Fury Road”

🌟Best Supporting Actor – Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”

🌟Best Supporting Actress – Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”

Best Visual Effects – “Ex Machina”

Best Writing Adapted Screenplay – “The Big Short”

• Here are the trailers for all of the movies that won an award:

– A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gk2OcKVu8qU

– Amy –

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

– Bridge of Spies –

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

– Ex Machina –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyKqHOgMi4g

– Inside Out –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seMwpP0yeu4

– Mad Max: Fury Road –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJnMQG9ev8

– Room –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_Ci-pAL4eE

– Son of Saul –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6MJZnDV27U

– Spectre –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4UDNzXD3qA

– Spotlight –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwdCIpbTN5g

– Stutterer –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnlBGQUn0tM

– The Big Short –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vgqG3ITMv1Q

– The Danish Girl –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d88APYIGkjk

– The Hateful Eight –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_UI1GzaWv0

– The Revenant –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoebZZ8K5N0

There are three more things I want to highlight:

1.  C-3PO, R2-D2, & BB-8 made an appearance.  How cute was it seeing the droids all together on the stage?!  Dream come true for me! 💕

2.  Dave Grohl performed “Blackbird” during the In Memoriam presentation.   It was beautiful!  What else can I say??  The performance speaks for itself. 🎶🎶🎶

3.  I am sure Brie Larson doesn’t want any kind of special attention for her kind deed during one of the commercial breaks, but I think it deserves attention.  She stood up and hugged each and every one of the sexual assault survivors as they left the stage following the Lady Gaga performance.  That speaks volumes about who Miss Larson is as a person.

Source:  https://www.yahoo.com/celebrity/brie-larson-hugs-every-sexual-assault-survivor-052750529.html

Part 2 – The 88th Academy Awards | Part 2

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Merry Force Be With You

Hello hello hello readers!  I’m here to to tell you all about my galactic Christmas.  My family woke up, drank coffee from “It’s A Grind”, opened presents, and got ready for our annual trek to the movie theater.  My brother picked a theater in a specific city in hopes that it wouldn’t be crowded.  We arrived forty minutes early and found seats in the very back of the theater with a good view of the screen.  One minor detail: The theater was a small, cheesy-looking theater.  Saying we had a good view of the screen isn’t significant because it was 1/3 the size of a normal movie theater screen.  The room was split down the middle with approximately fifteen rows on each side and eight chairs per row.  It was a brief disappointment, but once the movie started, all was well.

* * * SPOILERS AHEAD!!!!!  DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN “STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS”!!!!!

Fear not!  I’m not going to give a full synopsis of the movie, but I do want to share some family moments that reveal characters who appear.  First of all, I had tears in my eyes and chills throughout the movie.  I was so FREAKING happy!!  Within the first few seconds (the classic opening crawl), I knew it was a great movie.  When Chewie made his first appearance, my mom leaned over and whispered “Isn’t that the cookie??”  For the next five minutes I struggled in vain to choke down my laughter, tears streaming down my face.  For those who don’t get the joke, Chewbacca is a Wookie, not a Cookie.  I am a Star Wars fan, but I don’t know EVERYTHING there is to know about the franchise.  However, well done me because I guessed the plot twist involving Kylo Ren’s identity.  I thought I had Rey’s identity figured out but soon realized that some changes were made to the story.  By the end of the film, my theory had been tweaked to what I think is correct.  Time will tell!  As the end neared, my heart was racing in anticipation of the BIG reveal.  When the hooded figure’s face was revealed, me and my brother looked at each other and simultaneously whispered “We are not worthy.”  That sums up our “Force Awakens” experience and love for the Star Wars franchise.

* * * Shout-out to Oscar Isaac!  I watched him as Joseph in “The Nativity Story” on Christmas Eve and as Poe Dameron in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” on Christmas day.

Afterwards, my family ate lunch/dinner at Sizzler.  FYI, the steak and lobster is okay but definitely not worth $20.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing at home.  A simple but memorable day.

Only 365 days until Christmas! :D :D :D :D :D

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– Lauren Michele <3

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From Pack Rat to Minimalist

Borgman, Jim, and Jerry Scott. Web. 18 Aug. 2015. http://zitscomics.com/comics/september-20-2013/.

We have a fun topic to discuss this evening.  Seriously.  I cannot possibly be the only person on planet earth who made this transition.  Back in my middle school and junior high days, I was a pack rat.  I collected rocks, stickers, stamps, dolls, and stuffed animals.  I colored pictures, bought posters of my favorite quotes, and printed photographs of my favorite celebrities and put them all over my bedroom walls.  I never got rid of anything.  In my tween brain, everything had “nostalgic” value.  The cherry on top of the hoarder sundae was my messiness.  To this day I am organized in spurts, but more often than not, my environment is chaos.  As I made my way into those not-so-delightful high school years, I felt an intense desire to purge.  I got rid of trash bag after trash bag after trash bag of stuff, JUNK that had been sitting without purpose for years.  I am glad I was able to let go of all that stuff, but I do have a few regrets such as ripping up my first diary.  I had a very personal, emotional reason for doing so, but I desperately wish I had been strong enough at the time to hold on.  My bedroom style went from “Tweenhood Explosion” to ” European-Bohemian-Shabby Chic.”  My style has not changed much now that I am an adult so I will describe the basics in my current room:

  1. White furniture (One used bureau/cabinet, two used sidetables, one new 8-cubby shelf)
  2. Zebra bedspread layered on top of a purple bedspread & a multi-colored, multi-patterned blanket
  3. Black, white, and purple pillows
  4. Europe-inspired decor including framed illustrations and a Paris-patterned bench/trunk
  5. A few stuffed animals including Scooby-Doo, Mike Wazowski, and Sulley (Yes, I am 21)

It is fun to laugh at my once-cluttered living space (in terms of stuff, not cleanliness), but the evolution of style isn’t something to be ashamed of.  When I was a child, I had the freedom to be young and impulsive.  I didn’t care about outside opinions.  My bedroom was a space where I felt safe and happy, and that is all that mattered.  My tastes naturally shifted.  At the time, I was embarrassed by my room and wanted a change immediately, but really I was just maturing.  Nothing new under the sun, and nothing to be ashamed of.  At the risk of turning this discussion into a major cheese-fest, I encourage all of you to be yourselves.  I am a writer, and it is important for me to have a space where I feel comfortable and inspired.  Cover your walls with posters and proudly display your stuffed animals if that is who you are.  Think of it this way: Your bedroom is usually the last room you are in before closing your eyes and going to sleep; you should be excited to end up in that space after each and every day.

Screen+shot+2012-01-01+at+10.31.22+AM(Image Source: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-6S0YfpgKD98/TwCYlDnggpI/AAAAAAAAGXk/1Ajl3mUSaDA/s1600/Screen+shot+2012-01-01+at+10.31.22+AM.png)

Wow!  This post started out lighthearted and took a turn into the “Serious Zone.”  Nevertheless, I hope the message resonates with you.  “See” you soon readers!  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Oscars 2015 Part II – Best Dressed

Here it is readers: Oscars 2015 Part II.  Tonight I will be discussing the top five dresses that caught my eye on the red carpet.  The following information and images are brought to you by the New York Times.  Let’s skip the chit-chat and get things started counting down from the #5.

Oscars 2015 Jennifer Lopez

Designer: Elie Saab.

Celebrity: Jennifer Lopez

The warm nude color is gorgeous against Miss Lopez’s skin.  Although I approve of the monochromatic details and minimal styling, this was not my #1 pick because I am not a fan of wide V necklines.  In my opinion, the neckline ruins an otherwise perfect Saab creation.

Oscars 2015 Anna Kendrick

Designer: Thakoon Panichgul

Celebrity: Anna Kendrick

This gown missed the top spot because of simplicity.  I find no fault in simplicity, but many of the red carpet looks this year were eye-catching because of the details.  However, Anna can do no wrong in my eyes.  The pink hue and jewelled collar, appropriately accentuated by soft neutral makeup, make her skin glow.  She did more than enough to make my top five.

Oscars 2015 Emma Stone

Designer: Elie Saab

Celebrity: Emma Stone

I am not a fan of the yellow-green color family therefore this dress is not my “Best Dressed” pick.  However, Miss Stone earned her #3 spot by miraculously pulling off this color and embodying the style and grace of “Old Hollywood.”  The styling– side curls, coral lips, and matching bracelets –was well done and assisted in making the color easier to accept.

Oscars 2015 Felicity Jones

Designer: Alexander McQueen

Celebrity: Felicity Jones

First of all, I am thrilled to see Felicity evolve from female lead in the British television film “Northanger Abbey” to Oscar-nominated actress in “The Theory of Everything.”  She was gorgeous then, and she is gorgeous now.  The color of the gown is surprisingly flattering.  It is light gray, and yet shine and a hint of periwinkle keep Miss Jones’ skin looking alive rather than washed out.  The detailing in the bodice is what edged out the competition for this #2 spot.  The color reminds me of space, and the bodice accents remind me of the ocean.  In a nutshell, this look is a chic ocean/outer-space hybrid.

Drum roll please!!  I am giving the “Best Dressed” title to…

Oscars 2015, Lupita Nyong'o

Designer: Francisco Costa, Calvin Klein Collection

Celebrity: Lupita Nyong’o

I stand and applaud Ms. Costa.  APPROXIMATELY SIX THOUSAND PEARLS!!!  I think we can all agree that not many people could wear this gown and pull it off effortlessly.  Mission accomplished Lupita!  The silhouette is elegant, and the pearls make Miss Nyong’o’s skin glow.

If you would like to see other red carpet looks, here is a link to the New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/projects/cp/red-carpet-watch/oscars-2015/felicity-jones

I hope you have enjoyed my two-part recap of the 87th Academy Awards because I had a lot of fun writing it.  Perhaps I will do this again next year and add on more information such as a movie review and/or men’s fashion.  Until then, stay classy readers!

– Lauren Michele :)

Oscars 2015 Part I: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/24/oscars-2015-part-i-and-the-oscar-goes-to/

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Oscars 2015 Part I – And The Oscar Goes To

Oscars 2015(Source: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Wxtzw0UVkcw/VMO4JhBZANI/AAAAAAAAMrc/_5CAcxONTrs/s1600/poster1.jpg)

The 87th Academy Awards took place last night, and all the media outlets are buzzing about the movies that got snubbed.  This year’s tight race was made up of outstanding nominees; no matter who won what category, the other nominees would have been snubbed in the eyes of the general public.  Congratulations to both the winners and nominees!!  Here is a complete list of winners, courtesy of ABC News and Washington Post:

– Actor: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

– Actress: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

– Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

– Animated Feature Film: “Big Hero 6”

– Animated Short Film: “Feast”

– Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”

– Costume Design: Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”

– Documentary Feature Film: “Citizenfour”

– Documentary Short Film: “Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1”

– Feature Film: “Birdman”

– Film Editing: Tom Cross, “Whiplash”

– Foreign Language Feature Film: “Ida”, Poland

– Live Action Short Film: “The Phone Call”

– Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Original Score: Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Original Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman”

– Original Song:Common and John Legend, “Glory” from “Selma”

– Production Design: Adam Stockhausen (Production Design) and Anna Pinnock (Set Decoration), “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

– Sound Editing: Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman, “American Sniper”

– Sound Mixing: Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley, “Whiplash”

– Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

– Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

– Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher, “Interstellar”

If you would like to see the nominees in each category, ABC News has that covered: http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/oscar-winners-full-list-2015/story?id=29148491

If you are like me and have, unfortunately, not seen any of the nominated films, here are the trailers for all the winners:

“American Sniper” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MItGoIxoVGk&index=14&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“Big Hero 6” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcqbqeXIjZ8&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=2

“Birdman” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jAfBd3g6bA&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=7

“Boyhood” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IiDztHS3Wos&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=9

“Citizenfour” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiGwAvd5mvM&index=4&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSxt1GNQX-c

“Feast” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAIf4aIOYyY

“Ida” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JIXxo8qUn0&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=3

“Interstellar” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2LqzF5WauAw

“Selma” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6t7vVTxaic

“Still Alice” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrXrZ5iiR0o&index=10&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgGXL5lJ-6g&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=8

“The Imitation Game” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuPZUUED5uk&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS&index=12

“The Phone Call” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0NggvtmNeg

“The Theory of Everything” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUayjO_KgsQ&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

“Whiplash” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHDEZXoh4-c&index=11&list=PLn106HlSzrNs__tjQTVVj4bqZ44S4kvzS

Stay tuned for Oscars 2015 Part II, which will be posted tomorrow.  I am warning you now: The topic is my best dressed pick as well as honorable mentions.  I am only discussing the actresses, not the actors.

“I have a theory that movies operate on the level of dreams, where you dream yourself.”  – Meryl Streep

– Lauren Michele :)

Oscars 2015 Part II: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/oscars-2015-part-ii-best-dressed/

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