Dawsey + Juliet

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Good morning! Rise and shine and drink some coffee because I’m about to drop many, many words for your reading pleasure. 🌞 I recently picked up “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer. Say that title ten times fast! This is the official synopsis:

“It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.”  – Goodreads

I didn’t know exactly when I bought this book until recently when I remembered showing it in a thrift store book haul on my YouTube channel in July 2018. I talk about it starting at 3:20.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxQoU0GFdWU

My local library is small, and the volunteer-run used bookstore is even smaller, literally the size of a walk-in closet. In 2018 the library underwent renovations, and the bookstore temporarily moved to an empty store in that same shopping center, which actually provided room to display more books . I was dying to visit so my mom and I checked it out during one of our used bookstore adventures. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” was one of six books I picked up that day. It caught my eye because I knew about the upcoming Netflix movie. I paid one dollar for a hardcover edition in brand new condition. Funny story: The cashier told me she didn’t enjoy the book. Why would you tell a customer that?? She did deter me a little bit, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. It sat on my shelf for two years. The premise interested me, but every time I looked at it, I was never in the right mood to open it and begin. It’s worth noting that the realistic style of the book cover is not my usual taste, which may have contributed to my hesitation; this colorful version of the cover is more up my alley. Fast forward to The Reading Rush in July 2020. One of the reading challenges was “Read a book set on a continent other than the one you live on.” I wasn’t feeling any of my choices until I opened my bureau and saw “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” sitting on my small, brown bookshelf. I decided that was the time to dive in and give it a fair shot. To start, I was very distracted and couldn’t concentrate for more than a few pages at a time. But once I focused and really immersed myself in the story, I was hooked. I almost stayed up overnight to finish it but ultimately took the smart route and finished it in two days. It received 5 stars and became one of my favorite books. SUCCESS! 😍

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Now that we’ve discussed the book, let’s talk about the Netflix adaptation. Unlike many other bookworms, I’m always up for a film version. I’d seen the two lead actors Lily James & Michiel Huisman in clips and pictures so I knew they had chemistry. Even if the movie ended up being terrible, I already shipped them as Dawsey and Juliet. If you haven’t seen the movie, feel free to watch the trailer below before moving on to my review.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP9eDmX0ow0

*Note: First you’re going to read my notes that ignore the bigger plot points involving Juliet’s relationship with Mark. Don’t worry! I’m going to end with all the juicy details and tell you how the story ends.  😉  I’m going to indicate all the MAJOR SPOILERS, but please be aware that anything I write could potentially be a SPOILER. Read at your own risk!  ⚠️

•  The book is all about pen pals, and the story is told through letters. That format works when the consumer is reading it, but as a visual medium, the film had to be different. There are still a few letters mentioned and read aloud but only that of Dawsey and Juliet in the very beginning of the movie. There are no written words exchanged between Juliet and her friends or the other members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; all their interactions take place in-person. Actually, Juliet’s only friend that made the transition from book to movie is Sidney. For time purposes, I can understand why the film focuses more on the society members.

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•  I like the addition of Juliet’s landlord Mrs. Burns as a character. She adds a bit of humor as well as motherly attention. She seems to be uptight at first, complaining about the loud sound of Juliet on her typewriter. However, she’s the first person to express concern over Juliet’s mood after her return from Guernsey. Her face when she hears Juliet typing again is so sweet.

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•  For the most part, all the society members are as they should be. Dawsey is my new book boyfriend so my feelings about him are fairly obvious.  🥰  Eben is a sweetheart, and his grandson Ei is his mini me. Elizabeth McKenna is the go-getter in the group, the one with courage to stand up to the nazis. Isola Pribby is an adult version of Luna Lovegood, and I dare you to not love her. It’s impossible! Amelia is the character whose portrayal shocked me because she’s so cold at first. I’m not sure if this is the reason why, but Jane is her daughter in the movie, not Eben’s daughter. Elizabeth was Jane’s best friend and a second daughter to Amelia so Amelia’s protective of anything belonging to Elizabeth including the society. It’s worth noting that Eben could’ve been cold in the book for that same reason, but he wasn’t. I understand that she lost her husband, daughter, and Elizabeth during the war; that is a horrible burden for anyone to bear. I’m still not a fan of that creative choice, but Amelia is much more like her book self once she warms up to Juliet so that smooths out some of the edges for me.

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•  After the society is formed, there are clips of each member reading books in different spots on the island. In the midst of World War II & nazi occupation, those stories were their escape. That scene gave me chills and reminded me just how valuable books are.

•  Charlotte Stimple, the woman who gives Juliet a room for rent, is an awful person, similar to Patricia Hamilton’s portrayal of Rachel Lynde but without the redeeming qualities. Her name is different in the movie, the original being Adelaide Addison, but her personality is exactly as it should be. Horrible and wicked!

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•  I will discuss this in detail later. For now all you need to know is that Mark proposed to Juliet before she left for Guernsey, and she said yes. After she is on the island, Juliet has an interesting phone conversation with her friend and publisher Sidney about the proposal. His hesitation to congratulate her implies that he isn’t convinced Mark is the man for her. It feels like a nod to Sidney’s letters in the book disapproving of Mark and teasing Juliet about her constant mention of Dawsey. I appreciate that the film included this detail, even if the letters were combined into one phone conversation.

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•  Juliet’s reaction to Kit being half German is a great talking point. Most non-German Europeans during WWII had a fear of nazi hatred, in this case a fear of it being genetic. Despite that fear, the society raised Kit, and Juliet grew to love her like a daughter. The nazis were a manmade group of extremists who did not and do not represent the ethnically German people. Their army was filled with soldiers groomed from a young age to view certain groups of people with hatred and wipe them out. There’s a saying that kids aren’t born with hate in their heart, it’s taught to them. This is a prime example, sick and twisted and something to ponder.

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•  The conversation about Christian’s death between Amelia and Juliet is though-provoking. Amelia comments that his death is just like that of her husband; they both drowned at sea. There are two sides to every war, but in death all men are the same.

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•  I love the scene when Juliet puts Charlotte in her place after catching her snooping around her rented room. I also love that she leaves and becomes Isola’s housemate because it gives us a closer look at their budding friendship. During their first night as roomies, Isola inquires about Mark’s reading habits. Juliet never answers because Mr. Playboy doesn’t share her passion for books. Another ❌for Mark and another ✔️for Dawsey!

•  The scene in Dawsey’s bedroom is HOT, and that sounds incredibly inappropriate unless you watch the scene. The intimacy and chemistry is scalding without them even touching one another. I already need a drink of cold water! 🥵

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O18EdP3ziQw

*Note: Those blue pieces of paper inside the book are Juliet’s letters to Dawsey. HE SAVED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HER LETTERS! I’M YELLING BECAUSE THAT’S INCREDIBLY ROMANTIC!!  💌

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•  When Eli was evacuated off the island, Elizabeth gave him her father’s Great War medal, saying it would give him courage. When Dawsey has to tell Kit that her mom is dead, Eli gives him the medal. It can read as a gift of courage for Dawsey or Kit; either way that gesture is too precious! 😭

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•  Let’s add this to the list of reasons why I hate Mark Reynolds: He stops Juliet from comforting Amelia when the society finds out about Elizabeth’s death. I know he doesn’t have a relationship with the society, but he lacks empathy, as though he is above and they are beneath.  😡

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•  You know what’s incredibly beautiful? Dawsey immediately understanding Juliet’s hidden message to him in her letter to the society with her manuscript about their book club. The message references their conversation in the bar when she tells him that his letters made her sense she’d met someone who already understood her. GET MARRIED ALREADY!

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The biggest issues I had with the film adaptation were the changes made to Juliet & Mark’s relationship. The book timeline is as follows: Juliet is charmed by Mark, and he eventually proposes. She doesn’t accept right away, leaving for Guernsey to meet the literary society. She connects with the island and people and never seems like she’s planning to leave. Mark grows impatient waiting for her and travels to Guernsey. His arrogance is the final straw, and she ends their relationship. Through the misadventures of amateur detective Isola, Juliet finds out that Dawsey reciprocates her love and proposes to him. “Would you like to marry me? . . . I’m in love with you, so I thought I’d ask.” Sweet, precious, adorable Dawsey answers “My God, yes!” and proceeds to sprain his ankle climbing down the ladder he was on. Juliet writes of her upcoming wedding to Sidney, ending with a hilarious postscript about good old Ms. Adelaide Addison: “P.S. I ran into Adelaide Addison in St. Peter Port today. By way of congratulations, she said ‘I hear you and that pig-farmer are going to regularize your connection. Praise the Lord!'”  😂 😂 😂

This is the movie timeline: Everything is the same until Mark proposes in front of the boat headed to Guernsey, and Juliet says yes. Just like the book, she’s enchanted by the island and people. However, she rents a room, and her stay feels temporary. Mark is annoyed by her absence and makes the trip to Guernsey. They have a fight, but she sticks by her answer to his marriage proposal. She accompanies him back to London with no implication that she’s coming back. The goodbye is very emotional, and it weighs her down. Not long after they arrive back home, she gives back the ring and ends their relationship. She plans to return to Guernsey but runs into Dawsey at the dock. He made the trip to tell her how he feels. Before he can get very far, she proposes, and he accepts, both using the same beautiful dialogue from the book. They return to Guernsey, get married, and live happily ever after.

The movie timeline isn’t terrible, but it removes aspects of the book that I love. Obviously Juliet knew very little about Dawsey’s age and appearance with only letters as reference, but I think their correspondence fed her doubts about Mark being her soulmate. She never says yes to his marriage proposal because she never wants to say yes. Mark’s attitude on Guernsey is the last straw. He doesn’t care about why she’s there or what she’s writing about. He’s annoyed by little Kit’s presence and arrogantly assumes Juliet wants to be his wife. She rejects him once and for all, telling him she never wants to se him again. She describes herself as free!

I don’t like that “movie Juliet” goes along with the Mark charade for so long, even leaving Guernsey for him. Definitely not a positive for me, but not a dealbreaker either. The proposal in the book would’ve been adorable onscreen, but the dock proposal isn’t a horrible replacement. Mark proposed to Juliet on the dock before she left for Guernsey, and then Juliet proposed to Dawsey on that same dock where she was boarding a boat to go back to Guernsey. I love that parallel! Almost all is forgiven by me thanks to the final scene. Juliet is seen walking out of the cottage once owned by Elizabeth McKenna, her wedding ring just visible. She walks over and lies down beside Dawsey who’s reading a Charles Lamb book to Kit, Lamb being the author of the book that put Juliet’s address in his hands. The ensuing hand choreography and looks of true love are MAGIC. One of the best endings to a period romance film! 😍

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•  I read a review that pointed out the differences between Mark and Dawsey, and I love the contrast (I really wish I had saved the blog name). This is a mix of the previously mentioned blog post and my own thoughts: Mark filled Juliet’s apartment building with flowers. When he visited Guernsey, he brought a bouquet from London and mentioned that Guernsey needed a proper florist. RUDE! Dawsey gave her a small, purple bouquet picked from the side of an island road the first time they met. Life with Mark is a constant string of evening parties, lots of drinking and dancing. Life with Dawsey is days of laughter while playing with Kit and tending pigs; don’t forget about the books! Mark proposes with an engagement ring the size of a boulder which Juliet is hesitant to wear while walking around Guernsey. Dawsey proposes with a simple wedding band which is absolutely stunning in the final scene because the newlyweds look so in love, and that is more than enough for Juliet. I’m sure there’s more to be compared between the two, but you get the picture. *sigh* Perfection!

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•  At the end of the movie, the credits roll while audio clips from a society meeting play. I love hearing those now familiar voices read aloud from books and debate characters and plot points. Dawsey and Juliet are a beautiful part of the book and film, but the literary society is the true heart of the story. If they hadn’t formed, Dawsey would’ve never found the Charles Lamb book. If he’d never found the Charles Lamb book, he would’ve never acquired Juliet’s address and written that first letter. Without that first letter, Juliet would’ve never known about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Without knowing about the society, she would’ve never traveled to Guernsey to meet all of them, Dawsey included, in person. That was the best way to end the movie, listening to the society members do what they do best: Talk about books!

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📖  Let’s go back to what I said earlier: I paid one dollar for a hardcover edition of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” in brand new condition. I opened the book two years later, & it became a new favorite. What books give readers is priceless! 📚 

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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: The Reading Rush 2020

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

• Art Blog

• Goodreads

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• Snapchat

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The Reading Rush 2020

It’s the end of July which means it’s time to do some reading & rushing for seven straight days. The Reading Rush, formerly known as BookTubeAThon, is an annual weeklong readathon that I’ve been participating in since 2017. There are reading challenges, virtual badges, social media reading sprints, giveaways, merch, and so much more. This is my 4th year, & I’m ready to make it the best one yet. Start scrolling to follow my reading journey for 7 days. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed! 😉👍

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–   J  U L Y   2 0 T H   –

🏅 Earned the 2020 Reading Rush badge for participating in the readathon

✔️ Started & finished “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 328 pages | Earned the Read a Book in a Genre You Want to Read More of badge

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–   J  U L Y   2 1 S T   –

✔️ Earned the Participated in a Twitter Sprint badge with Maureen Keavy

✔️ Started & finished “P.S. I Still Love You” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 312 pages | Earned the Read the First Book You Touch badge | I really wanted to continue this trilogy so I cheated a teeny tiny bit. I laid out four books on my bedroom floor & touched the one I wanted to read. Ariel & Raeleen said this prompt could be interpreted multiple ways so I used creative license. 😉

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–   J  U L Y   2 2 N D   –

✔️ Earned the Participated in a Read In Live Show badge with hosts Ariel & Raeleen 📱

✔️ Started & finished “Always & Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han | eBook on Scribd | 316 pages | Earned the Read a Book With a Cover That Matches the Color of Your Birthstone badge | This book cover has a pale yellow tint that matches honey topaz. If that’s not enough, topaz comes in multiple colors so take your pick. Another slight cheat! 🙈

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–   J  U L Y   2 3 R D   –

✔️ Started & finished “Stuart Little” by E.B. White | Leatherbound edition from Barnes & Noble | 145 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Inspired a Movie You’ve Already Seen badge

✔️ Earned the Read Over 1,000 Pages badge

✔️ Started & finished “Aquaman, Volume 1: The Trench” by Geoff Johns | Softcover Comic Book | 144 Pages | Earned the Read a Book Completely Outside Your House badge – I read in the shade on my patio. It was really nice until I got “attacked” by a fig beetle. I know they’re harmless, but I don’t care. Beetles freak me out! 😭

✔️ I gave “Aquaman, Volume 1: The Trench” 5 stars & earned the Read a Five Star Book badge

📖 Started “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | Hardcover | 52 pages

📖   3 4 1   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

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–   J  U L Y   2 4 T H   –

📖 Continued “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | 57 pages

📖 Started “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer | Hardcover | 120 pages

📖   1 7 7   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

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–   J  U L Y   2 5 T H   –

✔️ Finished “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer | 158 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Takes Place on a Different Continent Than Where You Live badge

✔️ Finished “The Murder of Roger Ackroyd” by Agatha Christie | 104 pages | Earned the Read a Book That Starts With The Word “The” badge

✔️ Earned the Read Seven Books badge

📖   2 6 2   T O T A L   P A G E S   📖

🎉  I FINISHED ONE DAY EARLY ! !  🎉

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–   J  U L Y   2 6 T H   –

I wanted to participate in the final Instagram & Twitter reading sprints so I picked up “Capturing the Devil” by Kerri Maniscalco, which I started back in October 2019. I finished the last 175 pages & completed the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. 🎉

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R E A D I N G   S T A T S

1 Reading Rush

7 Days

1 Comic Book, Softcover

3 E-books

3 Physical Books, Hardcover

7 Books

1,911 Pages

13 Badges

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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: O.W.L.S Readathon 2020 + Stay at Home Reading Rush

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

• Art Blog

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• Pinterest

• Snapchat

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• Twitter

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The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender | March 2020

Last weekend I participated in The Bookie Trials Royal Weekender, 48 hours of reading to take everyone’s mind off the Coronavirus pandemic currently affecting most of the world. It was also a contest to find out which team gets a 2-day lead during The Bookie Trials in July. I’m on Team Mage; the other 3 teams are the Bards, Outlaws, & Scribes. Start scrolling to see how I did. 🧙🏻‍♀️

🗓   Wednesday, March 25, 2020   🗓

1:50pm – I declared my TBR on Twitter & earned my Oath Maker badge.

Source: https://twitter.com/LaurenMichele93/status/1242916815132483584

🗓   Friday, March 27, 2020   🗓

4pm – I earned my Power Surge badge by watching the Starting Ceremony Live Show & participating in the reading sprints. I started “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacquie Winspear & “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE5oyp45vfk&t=5s

6pm – I posted my TBR & played This or That on my Instagram story.

6:30pm – I earned my Tournament Ready badge by participating in the Scavenger Hunt.

Source: https://twitter.com/TheBookieTrials/status/1243705603060641797

🎭   –   M A S K   –   🎭

🥇   –   G O L D   –   🥇

*Note: My photo came out a little blurry so I’m using one from the internet.

💦   –   W A T E R   –    🌊 

🔑    –   K E Y   –   🔑 

📖   –   B O O K   –   📚 

➡️   –   A R R O W   –   ⬅️

⛵️   –   B O A T   –   ⛵️ 

🐉   –   M Y T H I C A L   A N I M A L   –   🐉 

🕊   –   F E A T H E R   –   🕊

🍋   –   F R U I T   –   🍋

👠    –   S H O E   –   👠 

👑   –   C R O W N   –   👑 

🚪   –   D O O R   –   🚪 

🪑   –   T H R O N E   –   🪑 

🗡   –   S W O R D   –   🗡 

🌟 Wrap-Up: I finished the day with 24 pages read in “Maisie Dobbs” & 38 pages in “The ABC Murders,  a total of 62 pages.

🗓   Saturday, March 28, 2020   🗓

Noon: Things did not go as planned. Despite trying to get my mind off current events, I received news that the store I work at is closed until further notice & was encouraged to apply for Unemployment Insurance. My reading time turned into a long afternoon & evening spent crunching numbers for an application. I didn’t open a book until 11pm. 😴 💤

🌟 Wrap-Up: I stayed up until 3am & read 116 pages in “The ABC Murders.

🗓   Sunday, March 29, 2020   🗓

9am – Running on 6 hours of sleep, I was determined to finish 1 book. A few hours later, I reached my goal & earned 3 badges: Clairvoyance, Magi Might, & Tome Champion.

Noon – 4pm: I wanted to attempt to finish a 2nd book, but the application process I started on Saturday got in the way. I turned into the Hulk & had a meltdown so it was for the best that I stepped away from reading. I did, however, earn my Master Your Craft badge by watching one of my favorite YouTubers: BooksAndLala.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFdJ0tSlDdA

4pm48 hours later, the readathon was over. 🎉

🌟 Wrap-Up: I read 24 pages in “Maisie Dobbs” & finished “The ABC Murders. I read 247 pages total & finished 1 book, earning 7 out of 8 badges.

✔️ Oathmaker – Share Your TBR – I declared my TBR on Twitter.

✔️ Tournament Ready – Join a Competition – Scavenger Hunt

✔️ Power Surge – Complete a 2-Hour Sprint – Starting Ceremony

✔️ Tome Champion – Finish One Book – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

❌ Expansive Lore – Discover a New World – “Maisie Dobbs” by Jacqueline Winspear

✔️ Master Your Craft – Watch a Favorite YouTuber – BooksAndLala

✔️ Clairvoyance – Read a 5-Star Prediction – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

✔️ Magi Might – Read a Book With Purple on the Cover – “The ABC Murders” by Agatha Christie

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The Results:

4th PlaceTeam ScribeAverage score of 6.99 & an average page count of 537

3rd Place: Team Bard | Average score of 7.14 & an average page count of 537

2nd Place: Team Mage | Average score of 7.16 & an average page count of 543

1st Place: Team Outlaw | Average score of 7.20 & an average page count of 632

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

This weekend didn’t go as planned, & my team didn’t win, but after a horrible reading slump dating back to 2019, I was happy to finish at least one book. I can’t wait for the big event this summer.  I vlogged last year so I think I’m going to blog this year. See you in July! ☀️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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• Previous Post: Activities For Social Distancing

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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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White Christmas Pie | Blogmas 2017

I recently reread White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter and decided to finally try the recipe at the end of the book. Let’s do some baking!

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1/4 Cup of Cold Water

1 Tablespoon of Knox Gelatin

Combine the gelatin with the water, mix well, and set the mixture aside while you move on to the next step.

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4 Tablespoons of Flour

1 1/2 Cups of Milk

1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

1/2 Cup of Sugar

Put the flour, milk, salt, & a 1/2 cup of sugar into a saucepan. Over low heat, stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil it for 1 minute & remove from the heat. This can take a long time due to the small amount of heat so once I saw a few bubbles, I used a lid to capture the heat and encourage the cooking process, and it didn’t affect the pie at all. Mix in the gelatin, which should now look a bit like a sugar scrub, and set the mixture aside for 15-20 minutes. Once it’s completely cool, whisk until all the lumps are gone.

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1/4 Teaspoon of Almond Extract

3/4 Teaspoon of Vanilla

1/2 Cup of Whipping Cream

Whip the cream until it thickens. Add the almond extract, vanilla, & whipped cream to the saucepan mixture, and mix well.

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1/4 Teaspoon of Cream of Tartar

3 Egg Whites

1/2 Cup of Sugar

1 Cup of Flaked Coconut

Beat the cream of tartar & egg whites until the mixture becomes stiff. Add a 1/2 cup of sugar and beat again until soft peaks form. Fold this mixture into the saucepan mixture, and then fold in the flaked coconut.

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Two 9-Inch Pie Crusts or Shells (baked)

Divide the filling between two pie crusts/shells. The recipe does not fill both all the way to the top so if you’re better than me at math, feel free to make the recipe a teeny bit bigger to fill two pies to the brim. If you want to stay traditional, sprinkle flaked coconut on top of the pie. If you want to be fancy, use a piping bag to decorate the top with whipped cream before sprinkling with coconut flakes. If you want a bit of Christmas color, use crushed up candy (the peppermint flavor of candy canes would be a delicious addition) or dyed coconut. I saw a pie online with a wreath of red & green coconut flakes around a white coconut center; you could take it one step further and enhance the color of the wreath with some candy. Now we come to my genius idea. I love the combination of chocolate & coconut so I decided to use a chocolate graham cracker crust. At the last minute, I decided to go all the way with my non-traditional pie & toast my coconut flake topping.

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The original white Christmas pie was good but a little too sweet for my taste, an easy fix with an unsweetened pie crust rather than a sweet graham cracker shell. I might be a tad bit biased, but my pie was definitely the winner of the two. The chocolate and toasted coconut made the pie less sweet but no less delicious. Success! I will definitely be using this recipe again.

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

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

S i x   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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Fall Tag

(Leaf Image Source: http://pngimg.com/download/3601)

I combined three Youtube tags and made my own tag by removing and adding questions.  Enjoy fellow autumn enthusiasts!

I Love Fall Tag by MissJenFABULOUS: http://youtu.be/uBzboXYO0LY (Unavailable)

Sweater Weather Tag by ItsMeLexie1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GznrLPa1Wks

The Fall Favorites Tag by Jaclyn Hill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPJSgxzC-jE

Fall Tag Video: Fall Tag | Lauren Michele ♥

• Q1:  What is the Weather Like Where You Live?

(Image Source: http://thehazelkey.com/wow-thanks-rant/)

• A1:  California did not get the memo that fall has begun.  Although it is finally starting to cool down, there is a chance of eighty degree temperatures this week.  NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!  I will cheat on the west coast and move to the east coast if the sun rears its ugly head.  Clouds and chill all day everyday for this girl!

• Q2:  Favorite Fall Nail Color

(Image Source: http://www.sinfulcolors.com/productMain/colorDetails/8)

• A2:  Black.  I am not picky about brands although me and Essie have a love/hate relationship.  I currently have Sinful Colors Professional in “Black on Black”, and it is a repurchase.

• Q3:  Favorite Fall Eyeshadow

(Image Source: http://www.makeupalley.com/product/showreview.asp/ItemId=103910/Exotic-Berries-Quad/Milani/Eye-Shadow)

• A3:  When the air starts to get chilly, I immediately reach for my Milani “Exotic Berries” quad.  These colors not only blend well with each other but also with other eyeshadows.  I am not sure about other eye colors, but this quad does wonders for green eyes.

• Q4:  Most Worn Sweater/Sweatshirt

(Image Source: https://poshmark.com/listing/USC-vintage-hoodie-5470d92af71a860549012561)

• A4:  My USC sweatshirt from Forever 21.  I wore this hoodie so much in college, students made jokes when I showed up wearing something else.  Very funny!  No, I did not attend USC.  Growing up, I was influenced by family friends.  FIGHT ON TROJANS!!

• Q5:  Favorite Fall Clothing Item

(Image Source: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Womens-Mossimo-Supply-Co-Khloe-Fold-Over-Boots-/271570299387)

• A5:  Mossimo Supply Co Khloe Fold Over Boots.  This pair of shoes goes with every color of the rainbow and makes me look cool and heroic like Katniss.  ;)

• Q6:  Favorite Fall Drink

(Image Source: http://sgadvertisings.blogspot.com/2012/09/starbucks-venti-sized-salted-caramel.html)

• A6:  Tall, decaf, sugar free Salted Caramel Mocha Frappucino/Latte with soy milk and no whipped cream.  I’m actually drinking a frap right now.  Salty & sweet.  :)

The Official Recipe: Mocha sauce and toffee nut syrup are combined with coffee and milk, then topped with sweetened whipped cream, caramel drizzle and a blend of turbaned sugar and sea salt.

Recipe Source: http://www.starbucks.com/menu/drinks/espresso/salted-caramel-mocha

• Q7:  Favorite Candy

(Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%26M%27s)

(Image Source: https://www.mansfieldpaper.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=productflypage.tpl&product_id=1635&category_id=367&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=2&vmcchk=1&Itemid=2)

• A7:  I don’t really like candy, but two candies I can tolerate are M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

• Q8:  Favorite Thanksgiving Food/Dessert

(Image Source: http://www.campbellskitchen.com/recipes/classic-green-bean-casserole-24099

(Image Source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131120005407/en/Sara-Lee®-Desserts-Launches-Hotline-Pie-Predicaments)

• A8:  Green bean casserole & pumpkin pie.  What more can I say?  These two dishes are Heaven on earth.

• Q9:  Favorite Fall Candle

(Image Source: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwisq_LA3J3JAhUJR4gKHXxrDWoQjhwIBQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pinterest.com%2Fpin%2F506232814341353495%2F&psig=AFQjCNHf3a-tq1Jv26BqN4QOx7A4GbYRHw&ust=1448064958234680)

• A9:  Cranberry Woods – “Fresh, tart cranberries, blackcurrant and warm cinnamon bark combine in a delightful fragrance inspired by the magic of the woods during harvest time.”

• Q10:  Favorite Fall Song

(Image Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2936352/Southampton-school-pupils-nightmares-seeing-Michael-Jackson-s-Thriller-video.html)

• A10:  “Thriller” by Michael Jackson.  First of all this song screams fall/Halloween.  Second, I don’t know of any other songs that are specifically about fall.  Third, after Halloween I listen to nothing but Christmas music.

Fun Fact:  My dance class did a tribute dance to “Thriller” the year that MJ passed away.  We wore old clothes and messy makeup.  It was a fun way to deal with sad circumstances.

“Thriller” Music Video/Short Film:

• Q11:  Football: Yay or Nay

(Image Source: https://instagram.com/p/9yiFCByoEV/?taken-by=usc_athletics)

(Image Source: http://www.sports-logos-screensavers.com/DenverBroncos.html)

(Image Source: http://www.sports-logos-screensavers.com/NewYorkGiants.html)

• A11: YES!!!  My favorite college team is the USC Trojans; my favorite NFL team is the Denver Broncos; and the New York Giants are my #2 NFL team.  :)

• Q12:  Favorite Fall TV Show

(Image Source: http://starcasm.net/archives/319691)

• A12:  DUH!  “The Walking Dead.”  I also love “Once Upon a Time”, but “The Walking Dead” is #1.  Forever and always!

“The Walking Dead” Season 1 Trailer:

• Q13:  Favorite Fall Movie

(Image Source: Amazon.com: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving: Jacqueline Bissett …)

• A13:  I am not really a fan of Halloween, but if I were to pick Halloween movies to watch, I can handle “Hocus Pocus”, “The Addams Family”, “Addams Family Values”, and “Halloween” (Original and New version).  However, my favorite fall movie is “An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving.”  It is based on a short story by Louisa May Alcott, author of “Little Women.”

“An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving” Trailer:

• Q14:  Scary Movies – Yay or Nay

(Image Source: http://humor.gunaxin.com/terrifyingly-scary-halloween-pumpkins/167307)

• A14:  NAY!!!  I watch some horror movies but only to spend quality time with my brother.  That. Is. LOVE.

• Q15:  Favorite Fall Memory

(Image Source: http://www.brides.com/wedding-ideas/wedding-cakes/2011/09/fall-wedding-cakes#slide=3)

(Image Source: http://www.nutcracker.com/index.php)

• A15: Me and my dad are both November babies so my family always comes up with fun stuff to celebrate both birthdays.  Another great memory is my time as a dancer in the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker.  Auditions usually took place in September, and rehearsals lasted until the shows at the end of November.

Moscow Ballet Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/nutcracker.moscowballet/

Moscow Ballet Website: http://www.nutcracker.com/

Moscow Ballet Youtube Channel:  https://www.youtube.com/user/moscowballet

You may or may not see me at 8:01 – 9:24 :)

• Q16:  Favorite Thing About Fall

(Image Source: http://www.playbuzz.com/lafayetteimage10/which-fall-activity-is-for-you)

• A16:  Fall is my favorite season so I love everything about it.  :D

If you want to watch me answer these questions, watch the video:  Fall Tag | Lauren Michele ♥

* * * Remember readers: 13 days until Blogmas, 27 days until Artmas (on my art blog), and 37 days until Christmas.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Blogmas 2014 – Pumpkin Pie, M.D.

Pumpkin Pie M.D

Well, well, well.  What do you know?  I am behind on my Blogmas posts.  Deja vu!  I do have two excuses, the latter being much better than the first.  On December 4th, I kept procrastinating and ultimately forgot.  On December 4th, I was out and about for the first half of the day and ended up back at home sick (Very unexpected considering I was just sick for three weeks).  I decided that instead of pushing myself to write three Blogmas posts whilst sick, I would just post one and hope for the best.  I apologize for the unexpected circumstances and promise to try much harder in the coming days.  Moving on to the title.  I LOVE pumpkin pie.  Actually, that is an understatement, but, for the sake of sparing you from a pumpkin pie lovefest, I digress.  I was not able to have pumpkin pie with my Thanksgiving meal so today was the day to make up for that.  As I mentioned before, I am really sick, and since I love pumpkin pie so much, I was hoping that it would miraculously heal me.  I don’t feel better, but the pie was delicious so it wasn’t a total waste of time.  Side note: I had to bake the pie in a toaster oven.  That was interesting.  I was freaked out that I would blow up the apartment, but all went well.  Fun fact: It is possible to bake an entire pie in a toaster oven.  Perhaps you already knew that, but I did not so this is a fascinating discovery.  I am in desperate need of sleep so I will end my rambling here.  I hope my pumpkin pie story was entertaining enough for December 6th.  I will try my very best to post tomorrow.

Stay merry readers!  Only 19 days until Christmas…

– Lauren Michele :)

“Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.”  – Jim Davis

Blogmas 2014 – Merry Shopmas

Merry Shopmas

Happy December 3rd readers!  Despite the cloudy weather I experienced today, my Christmas spirit is not drenched (See what I did there??).  I actually enjoy cold, rainy weather.  The first half of my day was spent doing laundry.  Exciting stuff.  However, a mommy-daughter lunch at Coco’s made up for 3 1/2 hours of washing, drying, and folding.  After that, we made a quick stop at the store for some essential groceries A.K.A. salted caramel hot chocolate and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  What is it about the holidays that makes our shopping carts so unhealthy??  One word: tradition.  That one word can justify all things unhealthy, ranging from eggnog and hot chocolate to cookies and pies.  Well, it doesn’t really justify, but, in the spirit of Christmas, the details are blurred.  Some say “Holiday calories don’t count.”  Tell that to my body when it is screaming from pain after post-Christmas workouts.  Thank God Christmas only happens once a year.  Oh the struggle!!

Only 22 days until Christmas.  Stay merry readers!!

– Lauren Michele  :)

“We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup. ”  – Buddy Hobbs, “Elf”