“Gilded” by Marissa Meyer | Book Review

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“Though 18-year-old Serilda Moller has lived in the town of Märchenfeld her whole life, most of the townsfolk choose to ostracize her. Cursed by the god Wyrdith before her birth, Serilda’s eyes are covered by the golden wheel of fate and fortune, and she possesses the ability to spin fantatsical tales, earning a reputation as an impulsive liar. One night under the Snow Moon, she lies to the wrong person, the Erlking, and changes the trajectory of her small town life. Now she is at his mercy, forced to answer his call every full moon to enter his haunted castle and spin straw into gold. A mysterious boy comes to her aid the first time, but even though he’s slowly falling in love with her, his magic cannot be given away for free. It’s apparent that the Erlking will never be satisfied, and Serilda is quickly running out of currency to continue paying the price of magic. Will she find a way out of her predicament, or will she be forever bound to Erlkönig and Adalheid Castle?”

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The beginning of Gilded was promising, so much so that I was prepared to hand out a five-star rating. I would highly recommend the audiobook, which I listened to all the way through; Rebecca Soler did a fantastic job as the narrator, making me feel like I was being read a fairytale before bed each night. The winter setting is cozy, and the darkness of the story kept me on the edge of my seat. I also appreciate the way foreshadowing was used. In chapter two, Serilda’s students comparing her storytelling to spinning straw into gold, transforming their dull lives in the town of Märchenfeld into something special. A second example is the moss maidens Meadowsweet and Parsely gifting jewelry to Serilda in chapter five; the crest on the ring and picture in the locket end up being significant clues that tie everything together. 

I was enchanted and ready to be taken on a immerisve journey for 500 pages . . . until chapter ten. Despite dark subject matter that toed the line, it’s the romance that lost me. It fell into the insta-love category and took me out of a world that had previously enraptured me. Never once did I feel a spark between Gild and Serilda. I wasn’t invested and found myself reading at a slower pace whenever they shared a chapter. I understand that his century-long loneliness as a poltergeist and her past with bullying gave them a connection as outcasts, but their intimacy progressed too quickly. The ending was wrapped up in their relationship, and I’m not sure there’s any part of it I liked. I sincerely believe a slow-burn romance would’ve suited this dark fairytale; instead an insta-love story weighed down an otherwise promising book.

Despite my disappointment, I’m giving this book 3 stars, and the completionist in me plans on reading the sequel. If you’re looking for a wintery read and like the idea of a Rumpelstiltskin retelling, give “Gilded” a try. Maybe the insta-love won’t bother you as much as it bothered me. Beware, this book is heavily inspired by German folklore and extremely dark. I’m shocked that there are no trigger warnings and did my best to cover everything down below so you’re fully prepared for the amount of blood & violence. 

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Trigger Warnings:

Abandonment – Serilda’s mother left when she was a young child. It’s mentioned throughout the book but addressed directly in chapter 17, starting on page 154.

Abortion – Though an abortion is not performed, it is used as a threat.

Bullying – Serilda’s experience with bullying due to her appearance is mentioned throughout the book.

Blood & Violence – If you can’t stand even a hint of blood, don’t read this book. There is blood and violence in most of the chapters.

Death & Suicide – Death is a major theme throughout the book, including the death of children. Chapter 49 is the most disturbing in my opinion because it deals directly with children’s dead bodies. There is a brief mention of suicide on page 178 and miscarriage and stillbirths on page 325.

Discipline – I know this isn’t always a bad or triggering subject, but on page 10, Madame Sauer grabs a willow branch and threatens to strike Serilda’s hands, bringing back painful memories from her school days. It’s briefly mentioned again on page 170. I wanted to note this because in my opinion, it’s a controversial and borderline abusive method of discipline.

Hunting & Trophies – There are frequent mentions of the Erlking hunting for magical creatures as sport; he mounts some of them on the walls of his castle and keeps others chained in cages.

Kidnapping & Missing Children – The Erlking is known for luring children from their homes & leaving their lifeless bodies at the edge of the Aschen Wood, sometimes keeping their spirits as prisoners in his castle.

Supernatural – If you’re easily creeped out, be aware that there are mentions of demons, appearances by ghosts who bear the wounds that caused their death, & eery creatures such as the Nachtkrapp, a raven with no eyes.

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Content Breakdown:

*Disclaimer: In order to be thorough, there will be spoilers in this section.

Alcohol – There are approximately 10 pages that mention alcohol and drinking, possibly a few more, but nothing too extreme – Pages 3, 103, 112, 134, 269, 280, & 326 

Blood, Violence, & Death – There are approximately 132 pages that mention blood, violence, and/or death, ranging from brief to descriptive & disturbing.

Page 2 – The Erlking shoots an arrow that pierces the wing of the god Wyrdith in beast form; there’s mention of bloodied feathers.

Page 12 – Serilda is daydreaming about the Erlking’s Snow Moon hunt, imagining that “after their demonic ride, there will be feasting on what beasts they’ve captured, and drinking of mulled wine spiced with the blood . . .”

Page 14 – Serilda tells the children “”the only way to kill off a Nachzehrer is by putting a stone into its mouth. That will keep it from gnawing on its own flesh while you cut off the head.”

Pages 17 to 20 – Serilda tells a story about the Erlking bringing lost children to his queen Perchta who longs to be a mother. Once they grow out of babyhood, she tires of them, & he takes them to the forest & kills them. The child in this particular story has his throat cut by a hunting knife.

Page 37 – A female ghost riding with the Snow Moon hunt has blood stains down the front of her tunic, seemingly from the gash in her throat which was the cause of her death.

Page 41 – Brief mention of a hypothetical bargain signed in blood

Page 43 – Serilda is thinking about the rumors that the Erlking murders children, how in the past children’s corpses were found at the edge of the forest, often picked clean by crows.

Page 47 – Brief mention of Serilda’s story about a water nix who bites off fingers

Page 48 – Brief mention of Serilda’s story in which she brandishes a lethal fire iron & stabs her enemies, including one of the Erlking’s hellhounds

Page 55 – The first appearance of the Erlking’s servant Manfred, a ghost with an iron chisel sticking out of his left eye socket & a beard soaked in blood. He appears frequently so his appearance is described more than once.

Page 59 – The carriage Serilda rides in is made of a beast’s ribcage, the lantern out of his jaws & skull.

Page 65 – A young ghost servant of the Erlking is noticed by Serilda. She speculates that the bruises on his neck might be evidence of abuse from when he was alive or his cause of death.

Pages 65 & 66 – One of the Erlking’s hellhounds breaks loose and attempts to attack Serilda so he puts it down with an arrow which strikes through one of its eyes and jaw.

Page 71 – The Erlking’s castle is full of taxidermied creatures; the different heads & bodies are discussed throughout Chapter 9. 

Pages 73 to 74 – There is mention of tapestries depicting the brutality of the Erlking’s hunts.

Pages 76 to 77 – If Serilda cannot spin straw into gold, the Erlking threatens to mount her head and that of her father on his castle walls.

Page 80 – Brief mention of bloodstained walls which is what Serilda thought the Erlking’s dungeons would have

Page 83 – A panicked Serilda wonders how the Erlking will cut off her head, with an axe or a sword?

Pages 103 to 105 – Serilda tells another story in which the Erlking kills a child, this time by stabbing with an arrow.

Pages 118 to 119 – Mention of a tapestry depicting a stag bleeding from multiple arrow wounds

Pages 122 to 123 – Serilda is attacked by a creature with a demon face, something known as a Drude; his claws draw blood.

Page 125 – Mention of bloody footprints & a pool of blood in the throne room where Serilda is walking

Page 134 – Mention of the dried blood on Serilda’s cheek

Pages 140 to 141 – Serilda & Leyna talk about Nachzehrer, creatures that eat people & their own body

Page 161 – Serilda has a beautiful dream about some kind of celebration at a castle which suddenly turns into blood spilling from under the gates and into the lake

Page 165 – Brief mention of a wolf pack taking chickens & goats from a local farm

Pages 177 to 178 – Serilda starts to tell the school children a story about seeing a Nachzehrer, freshly risen from the grave, who had already chewed off his burial shroud and right arm

Page 178 – Brief mention of suicide, Fricz explains that someone who commits suicide could potentially become a Nachzehrer

Page 178 – Brief mention of Serilda remembering the screams & bloody footprints from Adalheid Castle in Chapter 14

Page 194 – The Crow Moon hunt catches up to a red fox who is swiftly killed with a cudgel. Serilda mentions that the hunt will end with a feast of their kills served on silver dishes in a pool of blood.

Page 194 – Back at the castle after the Crow Moon hunt, the hellhounds are lured back to their cages by bloody meat.

Page 195 – The Erlking grabs Serilda by the hair & threatens her with a blade against her throat.

Page 198 – The Erlking strikes his blacksmith, throwing him into a wall.

Page 198 – After his latest prank, the Erlking gives orders for the castle poltergeist to be strung up with rope in the dining hall.

Page 199 – The Erlking theartens Serilda, saying “Either this straw will be gold come morning or it will be red with your blood.”

Page 209 – Serilda continues her story from chapter 12, mentioning once again the prince who is badly wounded and bleeding while watching the Erlking continously stab his little sister with an arrow.

Page 210 – In that same story, the great huntress Perchta is bleeding from an arrow wound inflicted by the prince.

Page 228 – The Erlking remarks that he won’t be gutting Serilda since all the straw in the dungeon has been spun into gold.

Page 231 – Two brief mentions of blood

Page 232 – Serilda mentions that if the Erlking finds out about her lies, he will kill her and mount her head on one of the castle walls.

Page 237 – A man appears in front of Adalheid Castle, seemingly wounded with blood spilling out of his mouth

Page 238 – Serilda runs into a goblin in the castle who begins to bleed from his neck; on that same page, Serilda mentions the stench of blood in the air.

Page 240 – Another mention of the smell of blood in Adalheid Castle

Pages 241 to 242 – Serilda runs into a woman who isn’t wounded at first, but suddenly a red line appears across her throat.

Page 261 – Serilda wants to know more about Adalheid Castle & “what had happened to leave its walls haunted by so many brutally murdered spirits.”

Page 261 – Brief mention of the Erlking killing mortals & stealing children

Page 266 – Serilda considers how she might kill the Erlking; she certainly can’t walk right up to him & stab him with his own hunting knife.

Page 268 – For the Spring Equinox celebration, the citizens of Adalheid decorate their doors with garlands made of animal bones.

Page 269 – A man with a cart full of live animals passes Serilda; the animals are left caged or tied to posts to await their fate during the Erlking’s Spring Equinox hunt. A cart of rabbits is added on page 272.

Pages 272 to 273 – Lorraine tells Serilda that trying to have a conversation with the Erlking during the Feast of Death will be “ . . . asking for him to skin you alive! To pluck out your eyeballs and feed them to the hounds. To tear your fingers off one by one and . . .”

Page 273 – Brief mention of the innocent children who disappeared because of the Erlking

Page 275 – Leyna tells Serilda that the live animals will be let loose for the hunt to chase down & kill; the meat is then thrown upon the likeness of the god Velos where the hellhounds feast upon it.

Page 279 – Serilda recognizes two ghosts riding with the hunt, describing them as “covered in their own blood”

Page 280 – Music is being played at the feast by “gore-splattered musicians”

Pages 280 to 281 – The live animals are let loose, running as fast they can from the pursuing hellhounds & hunters who are cheered on by a crowd of ghosts

Page 286 – Serilda sees a tapestry in Adalheid Castle that depicss a skeleton dressed as royalty and a small body ripped in two, identified as a female child from the pink dress & ringlet curls

Pages 287 to 288 – When a drude attacks Serilda, it gives her horrible visions: the Märchenfeld school on fire with children trapped inside, her father’s body being scavenged by birds, three of her young students being poked & prodded by goblins while locked in a cage, two other students being ripped to shreds by hellhounds, Leyna and her mother being attacked by Nachtkrapp, & Gild pinned like a moth to a spinning wheel.

Pages 288 to 289 – Gild fights with two Drudes, & there’s mention of blood & entrails.

Page 289 – Gild is bleeding from a wound on his scalp.

Page 290 – Gild explains to Serilda that Drudes can torture you for hours until your heart stops, when you can’t handle any more terror & give up.

Pages 292 to 293 – Gild drags his hand through his hair which smears his fingers with blood from his head wound. Serilda cleans the wound as best she can.

Page 304 – Another mention of the Erlking’s Spring Equinox hunt throwing the captured animals’ carcasses onto the effigy of Velos for the hellhounds to feast upon

Page 306 – Serilda catches a glimpse of the hellhounds fighting over the meat hanging from the likeness of Velos.

Pages 314 to 315 – Serilda cleans her shoulder wound caused by Drude talons, gouges caked in dried blood.

Page 325 – Mention of children dying from disease as well as mothers suffering a miscarriage or giving birth to a stillborn baby

Page 334 – Brief mention of blood

Page 364 – Serilda passes by two ghost gardeners, the man with shears sticking out of his neck & the woman with a crooked head, possibly from a broken neck.

Pages 365 to 366 – The Erlking shows Serilda his collection of caged beasts, looking miserable in their confinement; some even have untended wounds.

Pages 367 to 370 – The Erlking’s fellow hunters drag their latest catch into the gardens, a chained Tatzelwurm who is promptly put into a cage.

Page 405 – Brief mention of blood

Page 409 – Mention of the great huntress Perchta liking to toy with her prey, both animal or human, no torment enough to satisfy her bloodlust

Pages 414 to 417 – Serilda’s father returns as a Nachzehrer, a zombie covered in blood with visible bones. When he can’t get ahold of Serilda, he starts to eat his own finger. Madame Sauer suddenly appears and decapitates him with a shovel.

Page 417 – It is explained that Nachzehrer come back to life to eat their family members.

Page 420 – Brief mention of blood

Page 423 – Serilda asks a Nachtkrapp if he’s found any plump mice this morning, & then tells him to stay away from the hearts of the local children. 

Page 425 – A Nachtkrapp scratches Serilda’s hand & draws blood.

Chapter 49, Pages 433 to 442 – This might be the most disturbing chapter in the whole book. Five of Serilda’s favorite young students go missing after the Awakening Moon hunt. After a town-wide search, their bodies are found at the edge of the Aschen Wood. Sadly they are not peaceful & untouched; they all have holes where their heart should be, bones sticking out & covered in drying blood. 

Chapter 50, Pages 443 to 454 – Serilda continues her search because the fifth child’s body was not found. She ends up in Adalheid Castle, telling a gruesome story about a massacre from the past that killed all its inhabitants. That story triggers a pool of blood that opens a door into The Veil where the Erlking resides after dawn. Right before entering, Serilda sees a horrifying sight, a little girl’s body hanging from the throne room chandelier. 

Chapter 51, Pages 455 to 461 – There is mention of blood at the very beginning of the chapter, & the four children’s ghosts are by the Erlking’s side when Serilda finds him. 

Page 463 – Mention of ghosts with “battered bodies & bleeding wounds”

Pages 466 to 467 – The Erlking hung Gild outside the castle with chains, non-fatal but meant as a punishment.

Chapter 53, Pages 472 to 477 – The whole chapter revolves around the Erlking wanting to abort Serilda’s unborn child.

Page 475 – At the prospect of Serilda’s magic not returning, even if the fetus in her belly is removed, the Erlking says it would be better to slit her throat and be done with both of them.

Pages 477 to 478 – The Erlking shoots his barber in the heart, black blood spilling down his convulsing body.

Pages 482 to 483 – The Erlking stabs Serilda in the wrist with a gold arrow to curse her, putting her under his control; there is mention of blood from the wound.

Page 487 – Serilda once again notes the appearances of the ghosts around her at Adalheid Castle, each of them bearing the wound or wounds that killed them.

Page 490 – Gerdrut is revealed to also be a ghost with a hole where her heart used to be.

Gods & Magic

There are heavy magical themes, mentions of curses, potions, & witches. There are seven (mostly) fictional gods who are mentioned frequently: Eostrig-god of spring & fertility, Freydon, Hulda-god of labor, Solvilde-god of sky & sea, Tyrr-god of war & hunting, Velos-god of death & wisdom, and Wyrdith-god of fate, fortune, lies, & stories.

Grammar & Spelling

Page 140 – “It was a far cry tastier that the buttered rye bread . . .” instead of “It was a far cry tastier than the buttered rye bread . . .”

Language

By the old gods (as an exclamation) – Page 41

Damned – Page 312

Gods alive (as an exclamation) – Page 140

Sensual/Sexual Moments

Page 227 – A brief kiss

Page 312 – Extended kiss

Pages 358 to 361 – A kiss that turns into touching which leads to something more but fades to black. The only additional information is that he helped her get dressed before they fell asleep side by side.

Page 363 – She briefly daydreams about her night with him, imagining his body, his hands, & his mouth.

Pages 376 to 377 – She considers the opinion of society concerning unwed couples sleeping together & ponders whether or not she feels shame for sleeping with him; she concludes that she does not.

Page 469 – She realizes she’s with child after missing her period.

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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“The Latke in the Library & Other Mystery Stories for Chanukah” by Libi Astaire | Book Review

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“Thanks to a handful of nasty falls, mystery writer Agatha Krinsky is moved into an assisted living facility with the help of her nephew Sheldon. On her first day she gets lost and finds herself inside the library with a dead body. To her dismay, no one believes her story or offers to call the police. She is taken to the dining room where she meets Ukrainian PI Herschel Perlow, knitting enthusiast Miss Eppel, and husband and wife team Ronny and Rubles Bernfeld. As they take turns reminiscing a la “The Tuesday Night Club,” Agatha impatiently waits for another opportunity to bring up the body in hopes that someone will do something. Will her new friends help, or are they too distracted by their mystery-solving memories?”

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In my search for Hanukkah books, this short story collection caught my eye because Agatha Christie is my favorite author. I was excited to start reading but also nervous because those are big shoes to fill. I couldn’t help but smile at all the details added to make her characters and stories Jewish. The names and Yiddish vocabulary and mentions of Hanukkah were great, but the transition was not flawless. The mystery-aspect got lost in the shuffle, leaving behind more novelty than quality. I know this is a short read for the holiday season, but don’t promise me Agatha and not deliver on the intrigue.

It’s hard to rate something that tugs on my Jewish heartstrings, but I have to be honest. 3 stars for novelty and 2 stars for quality which averages out to 2.5 Stars. If you’re a Jewish Agatha Christie fan, this book is good for a one-sitting read and some fun. Don’t expect too much from the mysteries and enjoy it for what it is.

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If you’re not knowledgeable about the works of Agatha Christie, here’s a cheat sheet:

Characters:

Agatha Krinsky – Agatha Christie

Agatha’s nephew Sheldon – Miss Marple’s nephew Raymond West

Ukrainian PI Herschel Perlow – Belgian PI Hercule Poirot

Miss Eppel – Miss Marple

Ronny & Rubles Bernfeld – Tommy & Tuppence Beresford

Inspector Haddock & his grandfather Sir Harold Withering – Sir Henry Clithering & his godson Detective Inspector Dermot Eric Craddock

Stories:

“The Latke in the Library” – “The Body in the Library”

“Evil Under the Wick” – “Evil Under the Sun”

“And Then There Were Gornisht” – “And Then There Were None”

“The Olive Cracked” – “The Mirror Crack’d From Side to Side”

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– Lauren Michele ♥️

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I Had the Holiday Blues | Belated Blogmas 2020

Another year, another failed Blogmas. I like to be consistent. 😂 This year my excuse isn’t work because I had less shifts than I’ve ever had in December thanks to 20% capacity in malls. My excuse this year is . . . um . . . well, I’m not actually sure what it is. Lack of motivation? I was excited for the holiday season back in October, but something inside me fizzled as the days went by. I didn’t put up my family’s nativity scene or watch my favorite Christmas movie The Nativity Story. In fact, I barely watched any holiday movies. I did listen to a fair amount of festive music, but that was about it. If you’re feeling left out in the cold over here on my lifestyle blog, I didn’t do Vlogmas for my YouTube channel either. I desperately wanted, nay, needed to be in the Christmas spirit this year, but I just couldn’t muster up the energy to celebrate. Despite an undercurrent of sadness draining my energy, I still managed to have a lovely day at home with family on the 25th. I watched The Santa Clause & played Crash Team Racing with my brother, cooked a repeat of Thanksgiving with my mom, & watched the Lakers game with my dad & brother. The Lakers beat the Mavericks! 💜💛 We ended the festivities with a fire, popcorn, & Wonder Woman 1984. I didn’t like it as much as the first movie, but it was still a lot of fun to watch. Highly recommend! After that my brother & I watched Friends until midnight, the official end of Christmas. I guess all of that is a good metaphor for 2020, feeling down but making the best of the situation. In the words of Hugh Martin & Ralph Blane, “From now on we’ll have to muddle through somehow so have yourself a merry little Christmas now.” 💚 🎄 ❤

H A P P Y   H A N U K K A H  🕎  M E R R Y   C H R I S T M A S  🎄  H A P P Y   N E W   Y E A R  🎉 

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December 21st – December 25th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   2 1 S T

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   W i s h e s   &   M i s t l e t o e   K i s s e s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I admit that I was in a MAJOR Grinch mood after a long day at work. That being said, this movie wasn’t for me. There was not even one redeeming factor that would motivate me to give it a second chance. I felt zero chemistry between the lead actors, & the story never gave me the warm, fuzzy Christmas feelings I expect from Hallmark. I’m acknowledging I watched this movie once & walking away with no intention of looking back. Onward & upward!

Rating: 1 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

M o o n l i g h t   &   M i s t l e t o e   |   2 0 0 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This is classic Hallmark so I own a DVD copy. It isn’t at the very top of my favorites list, but it is on the list. Christopher & Candace are adorable as an onscreen couple, & the story has lots of festive cheer to warm your heart on a cold December evening. Tom Arnold is always quirky & a little cringey in his Hallmark roles; it can be annoying at times, but in this case it doesn’t affect my rating too much. A solid, above average Christmas movie to turn on every holiday season!

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 2 N D

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h e e r f u l   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Chad & Erica had some chemistry, but even though there were a handful of cute moments, I wasn’t blown away by them as a pair. Erica’s personality as Lauren was bubbly; I could see how it would annoy some, but honestly that was the least of my concerns. Canadian actor Chad Connell played a British character. I’m definitely not an expert, but I was able to notice the accent wasn’t authentic. It was fine at times, albeit a bit generic, but at its worst it morphed into a caricature of the posh upper-class. The side character Maryam also had an interesting accent that left me scratching my head; I wasn’t sure if she was meant to be American or British because the accent was a strange blend of the two that often sounded like a bad Katherine Hepburn impression. Overall this isn’t the worst that I’ve seen, but it isn’t the best either, falling just short of average.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   B r i d e   f o r   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 2

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This is another film I try to watch annually. It’s not creme of the crop, but it is a good one. Andrew & Arielle work well as an onscreen pair. Arielle’s character Jessie is annoying throughout film due to her inability to commit, but not enough to stop me from rewatching. The storyline about a bet to marry a girl in order to win a better office is offensive so I’m acknowledging the issue & taking it into consideration with my rating. I’ve also considered that Andrew’s character Aiden realizes his error before the film ends.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 3 R D

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

P r i d e,   P r e j u d i c e,   &   M i s t l e t o e   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: There’s nothing outright bad about this film. Brendan & Lacey have good chemistry, & the story is fine. The main issue I have is the title which references Jane Austen’s famous novel “Pride & Prejudice.” There are expectations that come with such a reference, & this movie is only a subtle nod to the story of Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet. In fact, the use of names is the main connection between the source & the Hallmark version. One of my favorite movies is the 2005 Focus Features adaptation so this was never going to live up to my standards. Basically this movie let itself down by referencing a classic romance & falling short.

Rating: 3.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

S e n s e,   S e n s i b i l i t y,   &   S n o w m e n   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: The leads had some chemistry, but I never reached a point when I was rooting for them as a couple. The side romance also felt lukewarm. My love for Erin Krakow & her stunning wardrobe wasn’t enough to overcome a missing puzzle piece or two or three. I need to mention that the teddy bear Edward gives Ella is one of the ugliest things I’ve ever seen. Still trying to shake that image from my brain! I really wanted to like this movie, but it just didn’t blow me away so Pride, Prejudice, & Mistletoe is still my favorite Hallmark movie loosely inspired by Jane Austen.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 4 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   S o n g   f o r   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 7

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Becca & Kevin were adorable as an onscreen couple, & the story was sweet. It was good, just not great. I have yet to be blown away by a Hallmark Christmas movie about a singer/songwriter. That being said, I’m willing to rewatch this because it’s one of the better Hallmark offerings centered around music.

Rating: 3.25 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

H o l i d a y   H e a r t s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Keep in mind my family made jokes during the entire movie so I was definitely distracted. Ashley’s character was fine, but I didn’t feel any chemistry between her & Paul. Because most of these Christmas movies are centered around romance, zero chemistry guarantees a low rating. I didn’t feel much of anything, & that is why I seriously considered a 1 mistletoe rating. I raised my rating slightly because I, as a viewer, was not fully focused. I would consider giving it a second chance at a later date.

Rating: 2 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T h e   M i s t l e t o e   P r o m i s e   |   2 0 1 6

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This is another movie that’s earned a spot on my watchlist. It’s not perfect but does enough to get the job done when I’m in the mood for some Hallmark. The leads have good chemistry, & I’m a sucker for the “fake dating” trope. I want to note that the moment when Elise breaks down in the parking lot during her business Christmas party is cringey; the stilted dialogue & acting feel forced. The ending is also cringey but not as bad. Just want to be transparent about both the pros & the cons.

Rating: 3.25 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D o u b l e   H o l i d a y   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: After the Holiday Date fiasco, I was extremely cautious going into Hallmark’s second Hanukkah 2019 offering. WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT! It wasn’t perfect, but it had much, much more heart. I was not expecting the leads to have such great chemistry so that was a pleasant surprise. I was also not expecting to cry, but I did! At a business Christmas party (SPOILER), Chris put Rebecca & her family center stage, asking that they share the Hanukkah prayer with the other guests. It may sound like he put them on display like a museum or zoo exhibit, but it came straight from his heart, wanting to make up for taking them away from their intimate family celebration for a business function. This movie restored my faith that Hanukkah has a place on Hallmark.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

D E C E M B E R   6 T H   –   1 0 T H

D E C E M B E R   1 1 T H   –   1 5 T H

D E C E M B E R   1 6 T H   –   2 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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December 16th – 20th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   1 6 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T i m e   f o r   y o u   t o   C o m e   H o m e   f o r   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Based on the marketing I saw beforehand, I wasn’t sure this pairing would be convincing as a couple. I was pleasantly surprised by great acting & sweet chemistry between Alison & Lucas. The final kiss was a bit awkward, but that didn’t spoil the whole movie. It wasn’t perfect but good enough to be labeled “above average.”

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   I n c o r p o r a t e d   |   2 0 1 5

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Shenae & Steve were so stinkin’ adorable together! One glance at the poster makes me squeal all over again. Obviously the chemistry was great, but that’s not all. The acting was good, & so was the story. Not only is this “above average” but also a candidate for receiving a higher rating in the future. Only time will tell!

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 7 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

S l e i g h   B e l l s   R i n g   |   2 0 1 6

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: At first I was convinced that the leads had no chemistry, but in a positive turn of events I was converted to a believer. Actually, they ended up being great together! I also loved their dynamic with Laurel’s daughter Scarlett. When a child is involved in the plot, trio chemistry is just as important to me as the romance. There was some focus on a side story so I’ll give it a quick mention. One or two parts felt a bit too awkward for interactions between a married couple, but I think Wade was meant to be a bit quirky as well as anxious about keeping his surprise hidden from Betty. Their scene together at the end was sweet so all’s well that ends well. Overall, I’m pleased to say I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. What a pleasant surprise!

Rating: 4.25 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A n g e l   F a l l s   A   N o v e l   H o l i d a y   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: After an unconvincing start, the chemistry between the leads & the warmth of the story did improve. However, it wasn’t enough to convince me this movie deserves a spot on my annual watchlist. I didn’t connect enough to care about the main romance. In fact, my favorite part was the side story about author Tina Finnegan learning to love Christmas again after a painful loss.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 8 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   B e l l s   a r e   R i n g i n g   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: To be fair, this movie was better than I expected. The Cape Cod setting was pretty; the story was interesting enough to keep me entertained; & the leads had decent chemistry. It wasn’t amazing enough to be a new favorite but good enough to earn a middle of the road rating.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   M i r a c l e   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: First of all, I want to mention how great it was to see Tamera in her own Hallmark Christmas movie after watching Tia in A Gingerbread Romance. Seriously, I LOVED them growing up. Still do! ♥️ Back to A Christmas Miracle. Brooks & Tamera did have chemistry, but it took me some time to warm up to Marcus as a character. I know there was supposed to be tension in the beginning for the sake of drama, but he just didn’t come across as likeable until later on. Tamera’s radiant smile & sweet personality were perfect for a plot centered around positive, heartwarming stories. This movie isn’t perfect, but it did put me in a good mood & pour some much needed holiday cheer into my life.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 9 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   i n   M o n t a n a   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Kellie Martin has been my girl since her Christy days. Because I’m such a big fan, I’m picky. Based on the trailer, I wasn’t sure if I liked her paired with Colin. I’m so glad I gave it a chance because I was w-r-o-n-g. Their chemistry hit me out of nowhere! Some of the “saying the same thing at the same time” moments felt forced, but that didn’t spoil the entire movie . Not only did Sara & Travis have chemistry with each other but also with Sara’s daughter Chloe; their dynamic as a trio worked well onscreen. I also loved the cozy Montana setting & all the side characters. Definitely a new favorite & an addition to my annual watchlist.

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   M a d e   t o   O r d e r   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I was nervous going into this movie; it was highly anticipated because of the leads, & I didn’t want to be disappointed. Good news: I wasn’t! The story was very festive; Alexa & Jonathan had great chemistry; & I loved all the side characters. As Steven’s guard came down, he got a little goofy at times, but as a dedicated Food Network viewer, I know that’s part of Jonathan’s personality in real life. On a serious note, he surprised me with some tender, well-acted moments. Alexa, as always, was fantastic & a joy to watch. Another new favorite!

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   2 0 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   V e t e r a n ’ s   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I love Eloise & Sean as an onscreen couple in Christmas With Holly, but this movie doesn’t compare. The chemistry was there, but it wasn’t on the same level for reasons that I can’t place my finger on. All I can say is that it just wasn’t the same. The character Joe felt overacted at times, not very natural. Actually, that goes for some of the side characters as well, specifically Joe’s Aunt Nellie. Because there were some truly heartwarming moments, like Grace’s reunion with her dog Christmas, my rating is less severe.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   G o d w i n k   C h r i s t m a s   M e a n t   f o r   L o v e   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I didn’t feel much chemistry between Benjamin & Cindy. Actually, I didn’t feel much of anything during the entire movie. To my surprise, the ending had quite a bit of chemistry & feeling. It wasn’t enough to make me like the film, but it did make me question why I didn’t feel anything sooner. Even though she had very little screen time, I enjoyed Kathie Lee Gifford’s performance; she put a smile on my face which goes a long way in my book. Those two redeeming qualities saved this movie from a worse rating.

Rating: 2.5 Mistletoe

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❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

D E C E M B E R   6 T H   –   1 0 T H

D E C E M B E R   1 1 T H   –   1 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Video: CenturyLink Hallmark Movie Dream Job Video Entry

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December 11th – 15th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   1 1 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   D u e t   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I wanted to like this because I felt chemistry between Chaley & Rome. Unfortunately I had a difficult time connecting to both the characters & story. The acting left a lot to be desired as well; it was noticeably patchy throughout the movie. I just never reached a point when I felt invested in what was happening therefore this is not a new favorite.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   M e l o d y   |   2 0 1 5

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I have to be honest & admit that the story about Kristin’s daughter writing a song that turns out to be Mariah Carey’s holiday hit “Oh Santa” is too cheesy, even for a Hallmarkie like me. That being said, my rating is high because Brennan Elliott & Lacey Chabert are my favorite onscreen couple on Hallmark. Their chemistry is on a level yet to be reached by another pairing. They’re in a league of their own, & I can’t bring myself to give them a lower rating, even though it should probably be a 3.75 or 4. In this case, I’m definitely biased.

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 2 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D a s h i n g   T h r o u g h   t h e   S n o w   |   2 0 1 5

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Andrew & Meghan had good chemistry, & I like the idea of two strangers falling in love while forced to take a road trip together in the airport’s last rental car. However, all of that was overshadowed by the idiocy of the FBI. Ashley is wanted for questioning, & unbeknownst to her, Dash is the agent in charge of keeping a close eye on her. Suspicions grow because she speaks Romanian & is transporting a mysterious red box. Turns out she has some Romanian friends, & they are the recipients of the red box that is JUST A PRESENT. After a dramatic arrest, the situation ends up being a giant misunderstanding. I know mistakes can be made, but the whole thing looks so idiotic from the outside looking in. I cannot get over such incompetence, even on TV.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   t h e   P l a z a   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: The setting is The Plaza Hotel in New York City which makes the movie feel like an Eloise book come to life but for adults. I didn’t know if Simmons would work with anyone other than Fitz ( AOS reference 😉 ), but Elizabeth had great chemistry with Ryan. Following Jessica’s job setting up a historical exhibition about Christmas at The Plaza was fascinating, especially when she decided to focus on the unique tree topper displayed each year. If you want to sound extra smart, the official name is finial d’arbre. The only issue I have has to do with makeup. For one whole scene, Jessica had lipstick on her teeth. Poor thing! The crew should be keeping an eye on details like that because it’s embarrassing for the actor & distracting to the viewers. 😡 Since that has nothing to do with the cast or story, my opinion remains the same. In the middle of the movie I started to overthink my rating, but at the very end when Nick decorated Jessica’s house, I knew for certain I had found a 2019 favorite. 🎉

Finial – A distinctive ornament at the apex of a roof, pinnacle, canopy, or similar structure in a building or an ornament at the top, end, or corner of an object.

D’arbre – French for tree

S O U R C E

Rating: 5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 3 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   i n   L o v e   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Brooke & Daniel had chemistry, but it didn’t feel romantic, more like friendship. They just didn’t work as an onscreen couple. The story was fine, & the overall vibe of the movie wasn’t a total turnoff. Basically, it was just okay. I was considering 2.75, but I rounded up because it’s Christmas. I could change my mind after the holidays.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   G r a c e l a n d   H o m e   f o r   t h e   H o l i d a y s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Unfortunately this was not for me. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the leads, & the acting was patchy throughout the movie. The story did warm up in the middle but not enough to change my opinion. Actually, I might’ve been too generous with my rating, but I’ll leave it for now.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 4 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   f o r   t h e   B o o k s   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

*Note: To clear up any confusion, the title of the movie did change.

Thoughts: From what I saw, Chelsea & Drew have the potential for good chemistry; unfortunately I didn’t feel it in this movie. Actually, I had a difficult time connecting to anything. I didn’t care about the characters nor feel anything from the story. It all left me feeling cold, no Christmas warmth.

Rating: 2.75 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

H o l i d a y   D a t e   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I refused to feed into the hate surrounding this movie until I’d watched it for myself. Having seen it, I’m unfortunately siding with the majority. I didn’t like the characters, especially Joel; his personality was too goofy for my taste. I felt no chemistry between the leads which means I wasn’t invested in the romance. For the record, I’m totally fine with a cheesy Hanukkah movie because all the Christmas movies are cheesy too. My problem is what’s lost in translation. Even though this is a minor Jewish holiday, I don’t think that makes it any less special. What I’m missing from Hallmark’s interpretation is the heart. The prayer scene was a missed opportunity to share an intimate look at a family home during the eight nights of Hanukkah. I know the story is relying on the “holiday date” trope, which we’ve seen before in Hitched for the Holidays. However, it would be nice to see a Jewish family celebrating together rather than one Jew on his or her own in a gentile home, a bit like an exotic animal on display at the zoo. There’s nothing wrong with a teaching moment, but I’m craving serious, heartfelt family moments that are seen in all the Christmas movies. I decided on a rating of 2, but even that feels too generous. Fingers crossed that Hallmark’s 2nd Hanukkah 2019 offering is much, MUCH better.

Rating: 2 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

N o s t a l g i c   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Brooke had good chemistry with Trevor, more than she did with Daniel in Christmas in Love. Unfortunately I didn’t feel any onscreen chemistry between Trevor’s character Keith & his daughter Jessie. There was no ease about his parenting; it felt more like he was watching someone else’s child. Everything else – the atmosphere, the characters, the story – were fine. I wasn’t blown away by anything, but I’d be willing to watch it again.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   D r e a m   o f   C h r i s t m a s   |   2 0 1 6

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: The leads Andrew & Nikki had great chemistry. There was strong acting from two Hallmark veterans which gave the story much more depth than one might expect. Another pro is the story which relies on one of my favorite tropes: A woman wishes for a better life, gets her wish, & wants her old life back. I have one stupid complaint so please bear with me. Nikki’s character Penny is the main character because she’s the one who’s unhappy with her life &  gets a wish. However, I can’t help feeling the absence of her husband Stuart during a portion of the movie. In the grand scheme of the plot, it makes total sense, but in my own little La La Land it sticks out enough to (slightly) distract me. This isn’t a “girl falls in love with boy” type of romance so my complaint isn’t valid, but I think it’s worth noting just to be thorough. A Dream for Christmas isn’t perfect, but there’s something very sweet about watching a wife fall in love with her husband again because she didn’t realize what she had until it was gone.

Rating: 4.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

D E C E M B E R   6 T H   –   1 0 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

⬇ Important Links ⬇

• Previous Video: CenturyLink Hallmark Movie Dream Job Video Entry

• Support My Blog

• Art Blog

• Goodreads

• Instagram

• Pinterest

• Snapchat

• Tumblr

• Twitter

• Youtube

December 6th – 10th | 25 Days of Hallmark

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️   P O T E N T I A L   S P O I L E R S   ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

D E C E M B E R   6 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   S c a v e n g e r   H u n t   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: What a roller coaster ride! The first 30 or 40 minutes, I was prepared to give a shaky 3 mistletoe or less. Dustin’s attitude rubbed me the wrong way even though I knew the intent was tension between him & Belinda. I did not like him at all! He was more like the jerk boyfriend or second suitor in a Hallmark movie than the charming male lead. Thankfully there was a palpable shift, & they were the cutest, sweetest couple by the end of the movie. I also really loved the concept of teams competing in a one-day scavenger hunt. Such fun! 😉

Rating4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

S m a l l   T o w n   C h r i s t m a s    |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: In theory this should’ve been a new favorite because I’m a sucker for cozy small towns in Christmas movies. Emmett & Nell had chemistry, but the movie overall left me feeling lukewarm. The characters & story didn’t grab me, make me feel invested.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   7 T H 

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

B e s t   C h r i s t m a s   P a r t y   E v e r   |   2 0 1 4

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This movie isn’t outstanding, but it has two major things going for it. Number one: The party planning storyline which is fun to watch when done right. Who doesn’t love the idea of a career using a theme, budget, & creativity to throw a party?? That sounds amazing, especially at Christmastime. Number two: Jennie & Nick have great chemistry. They are so cute together, & you find yourself rooting for them from start to finish.

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T w o   T u r t l e   D o v e s   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Michael & Nikki had a decent amount of chemistry, but it didn’t blow me away & leave me wanting more. The story was sweet; I liked the idea of the grandmother leaving behind a to-do list of traditions to complete in memory of her. It wasn’t amazing but not bad enough to land below 3 mistletoe. Actually, I’m willing to give this one a second chance next year.

Rating: 3 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   8 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   H o l l y   L o d g e   |   2 0 1 7

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I’ve seen & liked Alison Sweeney & Jordan Bridges in separate Hallmark projects, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about them together. What a pleasant surprise! They were fantastic together. Even though the atmosphere & chemistry took a slight dip in the middle, I really enjoyed this movie overall. Also, I’m a sucker for Hallmark movies set in a cozy inn or lodge.

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

O u r   C h r i s t m a s   L o v e   S o n g   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: Alicia Witt starred in A Very Merry Mix-Up, a favorite of mine. When I saw that she was starring in a brand new Hallmark Christmas movie, I was very interested. Unfortunately this did nothing for my Christmas spirit. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the leads nor any connection to the story. Overall it was a big disappointment.

Rating: 2.5 Mistletoe

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D E C E M B E R   9 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

A   C h r i s t m a s   L o v e   S t o r y   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: After watching Kristin in 12 Men of Christmas (GASP! A Lifetime Christmas movie), I wasn’t sure I could watch her with anyone else other than Josh Hopkins. I was pleasantly surprised by her connection with Scott Wolf. The chemistry didn’t blow me away, but it was sweet. I also love that adoption was discussed, something that is near & dear to Kristin’s heart as an adoptee herself. The story was emotional enough to make me cry, & the final scene with Danny, Greg, & Katherine singing into kitchen utensils was adorable. 💕

Rating: 3.5 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

O n c e   U p o n   a   C h r i s t m a s   M i r a c l e   |   2 0 1 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: This movie hit me out of nowhere! I didn’t know anything about the plot until I watched it for this marathon. Aimee & Brett had great chemistry, & the story packed an emotional punch. I was near tears for most of the second half, but the floodgates didn’t open until a photo of the REAL LIFE couple was shown at the end. I didn’t know it was based on a true story! I suggest a box of kleenex for this one.

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

D E C E M B E R   1 0 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

C h r i s t m a s   a t   D o l l y w o o d   |   2 0 1 9

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I’m always cautious with movies that I’m anticipating because I could potentially be setting myself up for disappointment. I’m happy to report that this met my expectations. Most of the movie was set at Dollywood, & it was great to get a peek at the theme park. I also loved hearing Dolly Parton sing Christmas songs throughout the film. If you’re curious, she did make an appearance once or twice & perform at the very end. In regard to the romance, Danica & Niall had great chemistry. Definitely a keeper for my annual catalog!

Rating: 4 Mistletoe

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❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

T h e   M o s t   W o n d e r f u l   T i m e   o f   t h e   Y e a r   |   2 0 0 8

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

Thoughts: I can’t remember if I saw this movie when it premiered in 2008, but I do know that it’s been on my Christmas watchlist for years. The leads have fantastic chemistry which guarantees lots of romance & resulting squeals. However, the real star in my eyes is Henry Winkler. He is endearing & hilarious; by the end you’ll want him as your uncle too.

Rating: 3.75 Mistletoe, changed to a 4 on December 14th

🎄 For more info, click H E R E

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

D E C E M B E R   1 S T   –   5 T H

❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️ ⛄️ 🦌 🎁 🎄 🎅🏻 💘 🤶🏻 ❄️

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Reflecting on 25 Years of Life

This isn’t going to be easy for me to write so while I take a few deep breaths, please listen to this song (or at least part of it):

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFeJkfB4xKo

“This is a story that I have never told. I gotta get this off my chest to let it go. I need to take back the light inside you stole.”

A few years ago I choreographed a dance routine to “Warrior” for a talent show. I hadn’t danced in awhile so it wasn’t my best performance ever, but something inside me needed an outlet. After I finished, I had to run to the bathroom because I was shaking so bad & sobbing. I’m not open about things in my past because I don’t think it’s something the public needs to know. However, if you are someone who is still healing, you are not alone. Middle school and high school were hell for me, but college was even worse. I suffered for so long and then turned around and made my precious family suffer because of my anger. I was angry at myself for being weak & at God for abandoning me. I hope my mom doesn’t mind me sharing this, but she has told me that she thought she would lose me in college because I was so close to the edge without caring. There is no sugar coating this: I wanted to die.

Tomorrow I turn 25 years old. The broken little girl in middle school didn’t think she would make it this far. The angry college student didn’t want to make it this far. God brought me this far, and He isn’t done yet.

“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.”  – Psalm 40:1-3

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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My Disney & Pixar Bracket

It’s been awhile since we last talked so why not do something that will likely rip us apart. 😂 We are in the midst of March Madness so naturally a Disney bracket is making the rounds on social media. I have very strong opinions when it comes to all things Mickey Mouse, but it was extremely difficult to make these “life-altering” decisions. I felt like I was choosing between children. I allow me to walk you through each category so I can relive the pain.

Brave vs Up – This was hard because I really like both movies, but I had to listen to my wee Scottish heart. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🇬🇧

Toy Story vs Toy Story 2 – I absolutely adore this entire trilogy so my answer to this category is WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME CHOOSE?!? In the end, I went with Toy Story because it’s the classic that started it all.

Cars 3 vs Coco – I haven’t seen either, but I went with Cars 3 because it’s the only one I’m interested in.

The Good Dinosaur vs Toy Story 3The Good Dinosaur is good, but it never had a chance against Toy Story 3 which makes me weep with little more than a thought.

A Bug’s Life vs Ratatouille – This is another tough choice. I would drop everything & watch either right now. I ultimately went with A Bug’s Life because I’ve always loved the concept & characters . . . which is also true about Ratatouille. UGH!!

Inside Out vs Finding Nemo – Why has Pixar made so many great movies?? 😡 I chose Inside Out, but both reduce me to tears so it could be a different answer on a different day.

Cars vs Monsters, Inc.Cars is really good, but Monsters, Inc. is my favorite Pixar movie so this choice was easy.

The Incredibles vs Wall • E – I’ve never seen Wall • E so The Incredibles won by default, but I probably would’ve chosen it anyway.

Right side is complete! Moving on . . . to the left, to the left!! ⬅️ ⬅️ 😂

The Lion King vs TarzanI love The Lion King, but I chose Tarzan because it’s my favorite Disney movie. Duh!

Lilo & Stitch vs The Princess and the Frog – I chose Lilo & Stitch because it’s in my Disney top 10. Also, I’m not a big fan of The Princess And The Frog. Sorry (but not really).

Tangled vs Big Hero 6 – I’ve seen Big Hero 6 once, and it was okay but not very memorable. Tangled, however, is amazing. Flynn Rider has my heart. 💘

Frozen vs Moana – Frozen wins by default because *gasp* I haven’t seen Moana. 😭

Aladdin vs Hercules – My babies!! This category ripped my heart out of my chest, broke it, & stuffed it back into my body so I could relive the pain all over again. 💔 The only reason I was able to make a decision is because I have a set Disney trinity: Tarzan, Aladdin, & Hercules. That being said, Aladdin is pretty much interchangeable with Hercules.

The Little Mermaid vs Pocahontas – Ariel was one of my favorite princesses growing up but not so much anymore. These days Pocahontas is #3 behind Mulan & Jasmine therefore her movie wins this battle & my heart. 🍂 🍃 🍂 🍃 🍂 🍃

Mulan vs Zootopia – I love Zootopia, but as I’ve already mentioned Mulan is my favorite princess. 💚

Beauty & The Beast vs The Nightmare Before Christmas – I’ve tried to get into Nightmare Before Christmas, but it just isn’t happening. Beauty And The Beast will always hold a special place in my heart. 🌹

The time has come to choose between Tarzan, my favorite Disney movie, & Monsters Inc., my favorite Pixar film. I love both, but the choice is easy . . .

🍃  🌳  🐵  🌳  🍃   T  A  R  Z  A  N   •   F  O  R  E  V  E  R   !  !  !   🍃  🌳  🐵  🌳  🍃

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Reunited, & It Feels So Good

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

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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