Lazy Winter Days

The holiday season is officially over, and I have yet to start my Christmas do-over. My work schedule was supposed to slow down, but I’ve been receiving extra hours & shifts. On one hand it’s a nuisance because I was looking forward to days of rest, but on the other hand I desperately need the money. I can no longer afford to “play” instead of work, which is why kids should never be in a hurry to grow up. Adulthood isn’t all bad, but it definitely isn’t as carefree as childhood. Anyway, I’m not here to rant about the struggles of adult life. I was blessed with a couple of days off from my retail job so I’m taking full advantage. Yesterday I did nothing, and it was pure bliss. I may have snuck in an hour or two of work in the evening, but most of the day was dedicated to binge-watching El Barco. After a refreshing night’s sleep, I started the day with a pumpkin frappuccino & a pumpkin bagel. I am currently watching season three, episode one of El Barco and blogging with my new Elretron typewriter. It uses Bluetooth to connect to my iPad, but the keys look, feel, & sound like I’m back in the 1800s. I get the best of the old & the new! I never invest in anything on Indiegogo, but this one time I’m glad I did. Once I’ve used it consistently, I will be putting together a full review so watch out for that. I go back to work tomorrow so I’m off to enjoy the rest of my semi-lazy Thursday. If you’re still on a holiday break/vacation, enjoy the rest of your time off. :)

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Misadventures in Babysitting

I recently reread the first three books of The Baby-Sitters Club series, and the nostalgia was overwhelming. I remember being inspired back in the day to make my own “kid kit” and be the best babysitter EVER. I’ve been blessed to care for children of all ages, and I like to think that I made some kind of positive impact on their lives. This is starting to sound heartwarming so let me put on the brakes because this is not about the good times. Be honest; you’re here to laugh at my expense. 😂 This is a more accurate description of what you’re about to read:

Just to be clear, I am a responsible babysitter, and nothing dangerous has ever happened in my care. The tales I’m about to reveal weren’t directly my fault, just a handful of humorous and unfortunate events.

– Board Game Gone Wrong –

The brother & sister I was babysitting suggested we play chutes and ladders, and I eagerly agreed because I thought it would be fun to relive my childhood. I have to be honest and tell you that I got beat fair and square. I didn’t come in first place nor did I come in second; I was dead last. This particular board game is meant for kids, and even though I had no intention of beating my young companions, I didn’t think I would be so terrible. We hadn’t been playing long before the sister turned to me and said with a straight face: “You’re really bad at this game.” There is nothing quite as humiliating as an insult from someone who is less than half your age. I haven’t played that game since.

– Late Night TV –

This particular situation was mostly my fault, but have no fear because it had nothing to do with my young charges. For an extended period of time, I had a steady babysitting job with a family who lived in my neighborhood. One night while sitting at their house, I decided to watch some television after the kids were sound asleep; of course I had the parents’ permission. It was late at night, and there was a thunderstorm brewing. Of all the things I could have watched, I settled on a crime show. That was my first mistake. I eventually decided TV was a bad idea, and picked up the book I brought with me which just so happened to be a mystery. That was my second mistake. My third and final mistake was leaving only one lamp on. I’m not sure why, but I never turned on the room light to make myself feel safer. It was a tense few hours. I didn’t know nighttime could be so noisy! I can’t even tell you how many times I checked the doors and windows to make sure they were locked ( once I built up the courage to do so ). When the parents arrived through the garage, I naturally thought they were murderers until they stepped into the house and greeted me by name. That was the last time I ever watched a crime show or read a mystery while babysitting.

– I Cry Fowl –

I will ease you into the fourth and final story with the typical babysitting story of a bird in the garage. It happened while I was outside with the “chutes and ladders siblings” for some fresh air and playing time. While taking a brief break from the sun, a curious bird joined us. He was harmless, but I couldn’t help panicking. The brother’s personality was unpredictable, and I pictured him opening the door and accidentally letting our new winged friend inside the house. Of course I had to cage (get it?!) my fear so the kids wouldn’t panic and do what I just described. I spoke softly and encouraged them to stay still so the bird wouldn’t feel threatened. He explored a little more and flew away, never to bother us again. Crisis avoided! I swear the animal kingdom is out to get me.

– Dino and the Popsicles –

I realize that the title sounds like a cool band name, but the following events are anything but cool. Literally! I was once again babysitting my neighbors, but this time it was during the day. The parents provided popsicles and told me the kids could play outside. Simple enough, right? WRONG!! When the time came, the siblings grabbed their cold, refreshing popsicles, and we ventured outdoors into the unbearable heat & humidity. After some quality playing time with their dog Dino, the sister informed me that she had to use the restroom. I thought nothing of it until she went to turn the doorknob, and nothing happened. I thought the door was stuck because that is normal in Texas, and I gave it a try. Nothing happened, and my heart started to sink into my stomach. I took some deep breaths and reminded myself that I had to stay calm because I was in charge of two kids and one dog. I made my way to the front of the house to try the garage door; I brought along the sister because she was old enough to stay calm and help me with the code to open the door from the outside. I managed to get the garage door open, but the door to the house was locked, and we had no luck finding the spare key. Trust me, I searched high and low. I had told the brother stay in the backyard with the dog; thankfully the garage wasn’t far from the gate so the sister and I pulled double duty keeping a close eye on them. Unfortunately that didn’t work. The little boy gave in to his curiosity and opened the gate before we could reach him. That wasn’t my main concern. Remember who he was with!! I spent the next 10-15 minutes running up and down the street yelling “DINO!!” No, this is not an unaired episode of The Flintstones. I desperately tried to shepherd him into the gate held open by the sister while simultaneously keeping my eye on the brother because, as you already know, he was very unpredictable (typical at his age). He tried to help by joining in with his small but mighty voice, but really it was just more noise and extra stress. Finally I got that darn dog into the backyard and locked all of us in. I had a mischievous dog and two sweaty, sticky kids in my care, and I felt helpless. I hated to pull them away from something important, but I had to inform the parents of our predicament since I had tried every other way to get back inside. Thankfully I had my phone on me so I called and left a calm, collected message. I spent the next hour or so keeping the kids distracted on the trampoline until their parents came to our rescue. I profusely apologized and fully expected to never work for them again. The parents shocked me by apologizing about their faulty lock, which they forgot to tell me about before leaving, and applauded my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. I did indeed work for them again, and thankfully the preceding story was the worst experience I ever had, both with them and with babysitting period. It was a tough experience to go through, but I learned a lot.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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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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Rain Is My Favorite

I woke up to the sound of rain, the most beautiful sound in the world.  Rain never fails to put a smile on my face and inspire me.  I jumped out of bed, made a peppermint mocha latte, and sat down by a window to blog.  I hope your 2016 has been as wonderful as mine so far.  This didn’t happen in 2016, but my family took a mini vacation the week after Christmas (not our best idea) and visited the San Diego Zoo.  Subscribe to my Youtube channel and keep an eye out for my vlog that will be posted VERY soon. :)  My brother and I started watching the Star Wars and Hobbit movies.  YES! :D  I saw Riverdance for the fifth time, and it still made me emotional.  More to come on that subject!  On Sunday, my family and I sat and watched not one but two movies: “Get Smart” & “Nacho Libre.”  It was a cozy movie night. <3  Yesterday, despite not wanting to go to work, I was blessed with a slow flow of customers and a bigger than usual paycheck from the last week of Christmas madness.  Even though my bank account is a happy camper right now, I’m still waiting for one million dollars to fall from the sky. ;)  I’m off to read “The Pawn” by Steven James (thrillers were made for rainy days) and watch some Netflix (after the reading of course).  Enjoy the rest of your day readers!

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Musical Tag

Musical Tag Thumbnail

This is the musical tag.  If you are not interested in musicals, I would suggest that you stop reading and stay tuned for my next blog post.  If you would like to watch the Youtube version, click the following link: https://youtu.be/jla9o38LHxE

If you are prepared to read, proceed.  :)

Q: What is your favorite stage musical?

A: I have never seen a musical performed by a professional group.  However, I saw a homeschool group from my childhood city perform plays and musicals, and they did an excellent job.  The productions were so well done, they might as well have been professional.  Brava!

Q: What is your favorite musical film?

A: “Fiddler on the Roof”

“Fiddler on the Roof” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QegNUOg2ajE

***Note: I added the following question.

Q: What is your favorite animated musical film?

A: “Prince of Egypt”

“Prince of Egypt” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmBDY-fSlIs

Q: What is your favorite musical performance?

A: I think this question refers to live productions, but that does not apply to me.  I am changing the context to my favorite singular performance within a musical film: “Singing in the Rain” performed by Gene Kelly.

“Singing in the Rain” Movie Scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1ZYhVpdXbQ

Q: What is your favorite genre of musicals?

A: Every era has at least one good musical, but most of my favorites come from the Post-Classical Era (Post 50s).

Q: Who is your favorite composer and/or lyricist?

A: Alan Menken, Hans Zimmer, and Phil Collins.

Alan Menken Medley: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-WhOZZstiU

Samples of Hans Zimmer’s Work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cdgUhz2F0Mg

“Two Worlds” by Phil Collins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGn4zSfw6K4

“On My Way” by Phil Collins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDtBnTMpltM

Q: What is your favorite underappreciated musical?

A: All of the musicals I like are well-known and liked therefore I do not have an answer.

Q: What musical are you dying to see?

A: “Wicked”, “Phantom of the Opera”, and “Aladdin.”  Anything else would be icing on the cake.  :)

“Wicked” 2012 Broadway Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrpLayS57cY

“Phantom of the Opera” 2013 Broadway Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNWUdSxxnHM

“Aladdin” 2014 Broadway Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4sl3sQPzgc&list=PL0kqHD3g0haHgDgqMW-5tX2k6U5rOiMMQ&index=14

Q: What musical did you not like?

A: I apologize to anybody who likes these two musicals.  I did not enjoy “Gigi” or “Cry-Baby.”  The character Gigi annoyed me , and I could not connect to the characters or storyline in “Cry-Baby.”

“Gigi” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rH8aVaeHqq4

“Cry-Baby” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB1bLlguZVY

Q: What is the best musical adaptation?

A: “Fiddler on the Roof”

Q: What is the best original musical?

A: “Once”

“Once” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWJIylZ8VyM

Who is your favorite character from a musical?

A: Tevye from “Fiddler on the Roof”

“Tradition” Performed by Tevye/Chaim Topol: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gRdfX7ut8gw

Q: What is your favorite song from a musical?

A: “Falling Slowly” and “I See the Light.”

“Falling Slowly” Performed Live by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=koPjCqb3igw

“I See the Light” Music Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hYbHzzWmKUs

Q: What is your favorite soundtrack?

A: “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Into the Woods ” (2014 film), “Prince of Egypt”, and “Tarzan.”

“Fiddler on the Roof” Soundtrack Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLTxj-kXhg0&list=PL6vJR5WPUWn_-zubC0hU4BuQVqmi_tJbM

“Into the Woods” Soundtrack Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KId_A5H-BXw&list=PLuovSEX8xEHes6AJxPnrTcxShMEc9XOBi

“Prince of Egypt” Soundtrack Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3WKN0XF8-3Q&list=PLrjhOUTfRro7ro9MjrNV_W5gwFCMbSxEu

“Tarzan” Soundtrack Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n4hVVn5OlnI&list=PL7FE43190CD86C300

Q: What musical would you love to see happen?

A: A musical based on the ABC TV show “Once Upon a Time”, a story about Disney characters set in modern times.

“Once Upon a Time” Season One Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QjaxiuIa7A

Q: Why do you like musicals?

A: Musicals were a normal part of my life growing up as a dancer, and they still hold a special place in my heart.

Q: Describe yourself using one lyric from a musical?

A: Defying.  Fear is one of the biggest obstacles in my life, but I constantly find myself taking on challenges and completing what I thought was beyond my limits.

“Defying Gravity” Performed Live by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3g4ekwTd6Ig

Q: Who is your favorite actress from a musical?

A: Julie Andrews.  QUEEN!!

“The Hills Are Alive” Movie Scene, “Sound of Music”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R462Ro5fqU

“Feed The Birds” Movie Scene, “Mary Poppins”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHrRxQVUFN4

Q: Who is your favorite actor from a musical?

A: Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.

“I Got Rhythm” Performed by Gene Kelly, “An American in Paris”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LvglHa_P9BA

“Funny Face” Performed by Fred Astaire, “Funny Face”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xo1onGh3us

Here is a list of all my favorite musical films:

“Aladdin”

“Aladdin” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWLa6y7Z2TE

“An American in Paris”

“An American in Paris ” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2WAMZRCbpU

“Chicago”

“Chicago” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9EpaMmF9WVU

“Fiddler on the Roof”

“Funny Face”

“Funny Face” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6VLdVrVQGQ

“Grease”

“Grease” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzWmxjYNfz4

“Hercules”

“Hercules” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ds88gvnEVo

“Into the Woods”

“Into the Woods” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Byk9Is3TjY

“Music Man”

“Music Man” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sIPL8Yb25T4

“Phantom of the Opera”

“Phantom of the Opera” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=44w6elsJr_I

“Prince of Egypt”

“Singing in the Rain”

“Singing in the Rain” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36QiuRc_3I8

“Sound of Music”

“Sound of Music” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UY6uw3WpPzY

“Tarzan”

“Tarzan” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfciC33t3M0

“Thoroughly Modern Millie”

“Thoroughly Modern Millie” Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCug0golA6c

If you would like to know more details surrounding my answers, watch the Youtube video (https://youtu.be/jla9o38LHxE).  If you love musicals, I highly recommend you do this tag.  It is so much fun!

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RIP Stalker

RIP Stalker (Source: http://radio.com/2014/09/03/we-hear-you-listening-a-playlist-for-stalker/)

My world has been shattered.  After months of “Will they?? Wont they?? Will they?? Wont they??”, CBS has officially cancelled “Stalker.”  I know that my opinion is bias, but I really do believe this is a mistake.  “Stalker” is one of the best shows that has come out in the past eight months.  Critics were unhappy with the blunt approach, but I appreciated it.  It may sound stupid, but horrifying storylines make me feel prepared for any dangerous scenario imaginable because they make me think.  “Stalker” was startling and unexpected, two adjectives that made it stand out.  It will be greatly missed by me and many other fans.  R.I.P. “Stalker.”

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cbs-cancels-vince-gilligans-battle-794524

Stay alert and safe readers!

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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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