2016 Wrap-Up | 2017 Reading Challenge

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

I did it!  With 45 minutes to spare on New Year’s Eve, I completed both of my reading challenges for 2016.  Here is what I read for the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge:

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

📚 Published This Year •

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

📚 Finish in a Day •

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum 

📚 Meaning to Read •

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 

📚 Recommended by Bookseller or Librarian •

The Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket 

📚 Should Have Read in School •

Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace 

📚 Chosen by Spouse, Partner, Sibling, Child, or BFF •

Harvest of Rubies by Tessa Afshar 

📚 Published Before You Were Born •

The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

 

📚 Banned at Some Point •

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 

📚 Previously Abandoned •

Elixir trilogy by Hilary Duff 

📚 Own But Never Read •

An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson 

📚 Intimidates You •

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

📚 Already Read at Least Once •

Sisters of the Quilt trilogy by Cindy Woodsmall 

• Total: 12 categories & 31 books

• Here are links to my blog updates & my Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge:

2016 Reading Challenge

– 2016 Reading Challenge Update #1

– 2016 Reading Challenge Update #2

Life Update | November 2016

– My 2016 GoodReads Reading Challenge

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

I told myself I wouldn’t do it, but here I am.  I’ve decided to once again do the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge.  Keep reading to find out my tentative list for the twelve categories.

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

📚 A Book You Chose For the Cover – The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi

I found this gem in my local library’s teeny tiny used bookstore.  The bright yellow bird against a blue background hooked me, and the murder mystery synopsis reeled me in.  I’m trying my best not to build expectations, but I really hope this book is as good as I want it to be.

📚 A Book With a Reputation for Being Un-Put-Down-AbleSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this book.  Some people have said it’s one of their favorite books/duologies ever written.  Of course I’m going to start with the first book, but I am optimistic that I will be purchasing book two very soon.

📚 A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been But Would Like to Visit – The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

Fun fact: I am dying to visit Egypt!!  Egyptology is one of my favorite subjects to learn about.

📚 A Book You’ve Already ReadThe Rook by Steven James

The Patrick Bowers Files series is AMAZING.  To be fair, I’ve only read the first two books, but how could it possibly go downhill from there??  I would actually like to read a few of the books in this series in 2017, but I’m setting the bar low so I don’t get too stressed.  I want these reading challenges to remain fun!

📚 A Juicy Memoir –  In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett

DUH!  Who wouldn’t want to read behind-the-scenes stories about The Carol Burnett Show?!

📚 A Book About Books or Reading – Bookplate Special by Lorna Barrett

This book is part of one of my favorite cozy mystery series.  It has been on my shelf for a few years, and it’s about time I got around to reading it.  Fun Fact: The main character’s cat is named Miss Marple.  How cute is that?!

📚 A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid – The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

I rarely read and enjoy contemporary books outside of the mystery genre, but I’m willing to give this book a chance since it revolves around books.

📚 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 about this book.  It’s just weird to admit that I’ve never read such a beloved series.  My aunt was kind enough to give me the first book for my birthday so I will definitely be reading it this year.

📚 A Book in the Backlist of a New Favorite Author – Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

I received all of the books Tessa Afshar has published thus far as Christmas and Hanukkah gifts.  I don’t want to set myself up for failure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I finish all of them before January 1, 2018.

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great TasteAs Sure as the Dawn by Francine Rivers

My friend Gabby recommended the Mark of the Lion series years ago, and I finally got around to reading books one and two in 2015.  The experience was so unbelievably mind blowing that I had to take a break.  There is no longer a good excuse so I need to pick up book three NOW.

📚 A Book You Were Excited to Borrow or Buy But Haven’t Read YetThe Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

I am on pins and needles waiting to read this book.  I’m going to watch the movie with my brother first since that’s what I did with Gone Girl.  I realize that sounds like reader sacrilege, but I’m not your average bibliophile.  Watching the movie first or liking it better doesn’t bother me. ;)

📚 A Book About a Subject or Topic You Already LoveWicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

I haven’t actually seen the musical yet, but I am obsessed with the story and soundtrack.  I liked The Wizard of Oz growing up but fell out of love with it for a period of time.  Listening to the Wicked soundtrack every day has made me fall back in love with Oz, and I am ready to read the story that started it all.  I am on page 32 and loving it so far. 💚

• Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge 

• Goodreads Website 

• Modern Mrs. Darcy 2017 Reading Challenge 

• Modern Mrs. Darcy Blog

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

– Lauren Michele <3

My Links:

• Previous Post: Goodbye 2016 | Hello 2017

• Previous Video: My First White Christmas

• Support My Blog

• Art Blog

• Goodreads

• Instagram

• Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom

• Sign up for MyWebRoom

• Pinterest 

• Snapchat: LMichele93

• Tumblr

• Twitter

• Youtube

 

Advertisements

Farewell Rio

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

With sadness, I bid farewell to the 2016 Olympics.  I have been filled with pride and joy watching my teams compete these past two weeks.  Yes, I said teams.  Of course USA is my number one, but I also support the countries that make up my heritage.  After all, they are underdogs compared to team USA.  No harm done!  Let’s take a look at the medal count:

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

• Team USA 🇺🇸 | 121 Medals | 46 G – 37 S – 38 B

• Team Great Britain 🇬🇧 | 67 Medals | 27 G – 23 S – 17 B

• Team Spain 🇪🇸 | 17 Medals | 7 G – 4 S – 6 B

• Team Israel 🇮🇱 | 2 Medals | 2 B

• Team Ireland 🇮🇪 | 2 Medals | 2 S

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

What were your favorite moments in Rio?? I have so many I could mention, but I will try to narrow it down.  I felt like a proud mother watching Michael Phelps have one last successful Olympic games after the rough few years he’s had (maybe he’ll be back!).  The USA women’s gymnastics team kicked butt and made me feel more patriotic than I have ever felt in my entire life.  Shout-out to Michael Phelps (5G, 1S), Katie Ledecky (4G, 1S), and Simone Biles (4G, 1B)!!  According to Google, they are the top medalists for 2016.  Team USA made me proud all around, but it felt good to dominate artistic gymnastics and swimming.  After a rough start, I am so proud of Spain for getting the bronze in men’s basketball.  Also, a silver in women’s basketball.  Top 3 in the world.  Not too shabby!!  I watched Marc Lopez & Rafael Nadal win gold in men’s doubles.  I’m pretty sure I grew gray hair during that match.  The stress was real, but Lopez earned his first medal, and Rafa now has a gold medal in singles and doubles.  I watched Team GB get the gold in women’s field hockey.  It was a stressful but thrilling game.  Well done ladies!  I did not have the pleasure of watching Ireland at all, but I am nonetheless proud.  Last but certainly not least, I want to express my admiration for Team Israel.  My heart breaks knowing that the Israeli athletes continue to be treated like trash.  However, they held their heads high, maintained composure, and walked away with two medals.

Farewell Olympics!  See you in Tokyo!! 🇯🇵

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: DC vs Marvel

Previous Video:

My Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56028577-lauren-michele

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Sign Up For MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

Lifestyle Blog: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com

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

Snapchat: LMichele93

Tumblr: http://lauren-michele.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

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

Kingdom Hearts Rant

First of all, I am not a gamer so I realize that this rant is laughable to those who have mastered the gaming arts.  Second, I don’t care.  I have actually played Kingdom Hearts twice in the past.  I beat it with help the first time, and I did not finish the whole game the second time around due to my family’s big move.  I am determined to complete the game by myself.  That is proving to be way more difficult than I expected.  After a year of on and off attempts, I finally beat the Wonderland trickmaster last week and moved on to the Deep Jungle.  Tarzan is my favorite animated Disney movie so I was pumped to get started.  My balloon was immediately popped when I met a nemesis from my KH past: THE VINES!!  I cannot for the life of me swing from vine to vine for more than one minute, and I’m starting to resent Hippo’s Lagoon because that’s all I ever see due to the number of times I fall.  I know my lack of experience is a large part of the problem, but I also think the controls for this game are infuriating.  Perhaps that’s a defensive statement, but I have a little evidence to back it up.  My brother, who is a gamer, tried to play it and had to walk away.  He said the controls are different from other games, and he doesn’t understand why.  I don’t understand the details, but I do trust his judgement because he’s been playing video games since he was a little boy.  Why is this rant important?  It isn’t.  Just now I attempted to advance in the game and failed miserably.  The vines were once again my undoing, and I wanted to blog with fresh anger burning within me.  Hopefully someone somewhere can commiserate with me.  I can’t be the only who hates KH now that I actually play it!!

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: Those Summer Nights

Previous Video:

My Links:

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

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56028577-lauren-michele

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

Sign up for MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com

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

Snapchat: LMichele93

Tumblr: http://lauren-michele.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

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

Florida Travels Part 3 – The Highlight Reel

(Image Source: http://saszombieassault.wikia.com/wiki/File:Cute-sun-with-sunglasses-clipart-yTkg5reGc.jpeg)

Part 1: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/florida-travels-part-1-vacation-woes/

Part 2: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/florida-travels-part-2-disneyland-vs-disney-world/

The time has come.  Let’s look at the highlights from my trip to “The Sunshine State.”

1.  Leading up to the trip, I was freaking out due to the constant rain in Florida.  I knew my family desperately needed a vacation and didn’t want anything to go wrong.  Praise Jesus hallelujah!!!  It barely sprinkled while we were there.

2.  For the first time in my life, I got to stay in a resort.  The experience was not perfect, but overall it was really nice and relaxing.

3.  Me and my brother love to swim.  Unfortunately, we do not own a pool or live near a pool.  It felt great to have a pool nearby for 7 days.  The hot tub was the cherry on top, especially after walking all day at Disney World.  ;)

4.  My family ate at Freddy’s and Shake Shack for the first time, two places that have delicious burgers and to die for frozen custard.

5.  Staying with the theme of food, we also ate Brazilian food at Gilson’s Brazilian Restaurant.  YUM!

6.  Seeing Disney World for the first time was pretty special.  I rode/visited the following attractions:

• Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom)

• Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Magic Kingdom)

• Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom)

• Kilimanjaro Safaris (Animal Kingdom)

• Pirates of the Caribbean (Magic Kingdom

• Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom)

• Swiss Family Treehouse (Magic Kingdom)

• The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Magic Kingdom)

• World Showcase (Epcot)

7.  Hearing foreign accents and languages for 3 days straight was music to my ears.

8.  While in Hollywood Studios, I noticed a group of kids lining up to meet a Disney Junior character.  Thinking of my niece, I walked over to see who the character was.  I was so excited to discover it was Doc McStuffins.  I immediately recorded a video and sent it to my sister so she could show my niece.  Hearing that my niece was watching the video over and over again made my day.  :)

9.  My family has endured a lot over the past three years.  Finally being together, relaxing, and laughing, the experience is indescribable.  My heart was and is very happy and satisfied.  <3

10.  Last but definitely not least, this is the highlight of my year.  Mom, John, and Lauren are standing at the entrance of Reebok waiting for dad to make a purchase.  A man walks in looking for a friend.  He yells “Marco!”  Mom promptly yells back “Polo!”

Are you done laughing???  I’m not!!!  We had to walk out of the store because we were laughing so loud.

I hope you enjoyed this 3-part series about my first trip to Orlando, Florida.  I have one more Disney-themed post coming your way so keep an eye out for that.

Check out my first Disney World Vlog:

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/florida-travels-part-2-disneyland-vs-disney-world/

My Links:

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

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Sign Up For MyWebRoom: http://9nl.me/LaurenMichele

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

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

 

 

Dresses and Llamas

February 26th, 2015(Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/danmeth/a-tribute-to-the-memes-of-february-26-2015)

February 26th, 2015, a day made famous by llamas on the loose and a dress of many colors.  Congratulations America!  You have finally cracked.  In all seriousness though, the social media frenzy was amusing.  If you have no idea what I am talking about, allow me to explain starting with the llamas.  Three llamas were scheduled to make a therapy visit to an assisted living facility in Sun City, Florida.  They did indeed arrive and provided company for over an hour.  The handlers took the trio outside for a bathroom break, and that is when the hijinks commenced.  One llama got spooked and successfully attempted to break loose, followed by a partner in crime.  The pair ran around the city for an hour before being corralled.

All of my information came from this article by Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/02/27/llama-drama-2-loose-llamas-lassoed-after-running-amok-in-phoenix-area/

For more amusement, here is Fox 10 Phoenix video footage of the last 34 minutes of the llama chase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIFZQlhg-SQ

Time for The Dress!!!  The following story originated in Scotland and resulted in a social media frenzy and worldwide debate.  A bride-to-be’s mother sent her a picture of the dress she intended to wear to the wedding.  The bride and fiance found themselves arguing over what color the dress was.  The bride posted the picture on Facebook to get outside opinions.  No one could agree on what color it was.  A friend of the bride saw the online debate and decided to take it one step further by posting the image on Tumblr.  The debate took over the internet!  Here is the dress:

The Dress(Source: http://cdn.abclocal.go.com/content/ktrk/images/cms/536706_1280x720.jpg)

What color duo did you immediately see??  If you saw white and gold, you are part of the majority.  If you saw blue and black, you are part of the minority.  Sorry majority!  It has been confirmed that the dress is blue and black.  I saw blue and black the first time I saw the dress, and I still see blue and black.  The only time I saw white and gold is when I looked at a white and gold dress first.

There is a scientific theory that explains why different people see different colors.  I honestly do not care because I see blue and black, and those are the actual colors.  However, if you want to know, here is a New York Times article on the science: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/02/28/science/white-or-blue-dress.html?_r=0

The Original Story: http://www.businessinsider.com/origin-of-white-gold-or-black-blue-dress-2015-2

As if the color debate was not amusing enough, the dress was found on amazon.co.uk, and gag reviews were posted.  This sounds ridiculous, but some of the reviews are actually hilarious.  Here are some of my favorites:

“As an eye doctor, I placed this dress on display outside my office, and business went through the roof!”  (Anonymous)

“The good: Works equally well as formal or business casual attire.  The bad: Carves a crooked path through perceptual reality and leaves behind it a wake of confusion and existential crises. Also unforgiving on the hips. ”  (Credit to Daniel Wallace)

“I was going to a fancy white and gold party. (It’s a thing) so I bought this dress because clearly, despite the item description, it was the perfect color combination of white and gold. How disappointed I was when half the people attending told me I looked crazy in what they said was a “black and blue” dress. To make a long story short, I am now scared, depressed, friendless, back on my psych meds, questioning my entire existence and filing for divorce tomorrow. I gave it 3 stars Bc the fit is fantastic!”  (Credit to Joli Fine)

 

If you would like to read more gag reviews, here is the link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Roman-Womens-Detail-Bodycon-Dress/dp/B00SJEUIME/ref=sr_1_1?s=clothing&ie=UTF8&qid=1425096246&sr=1-1&keywords=Roman+Women%27s+Lace+Detail+Bodycon+Dress+Royal+Blue

I hope that rather than boring you this post gave you a good laugh.  Have a great day/afternoon/evening readers!

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.”  – Charlie Chaplin

– Lauren Michele :)

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/sweater-weather/

My Links:

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

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

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

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