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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Support the Irish Arts

As I was writing this blog post, the Gilmore Girls episode currently playing on my iPad, season 3 episode 7, referenced Riverdance. That is the best possible sign that today is a great day to support the Irish arts! Former Riverdance dancer Kincaid Stringer & his mother Shannon Kincaid, a painter, have teamed up for a great cause. They’re selling seven of Shannon’s paintings through Indiegogo for a COVID-19 relief fund; all proceeds will support Irish actors, artists, backstage workers & crews, clubs, concerts, cultural & event spaces, dancers, dance schools, festivals, musicians, performers, singers, theaters, & writers. I grew up dancing & singing so the arts are very important to me. Riverdance is the reason I asked my mom to sign me up for dance classes at the age of four so the Irish arts are also very important to me. Let’s not forget my Irish ancestors! 🇮🇪 The arts have done a lot for us in quarantine so it’s only right that we give back. You can choose to only donate money or receive a painting or two or seven in exchange for your donation. If it’s not already obvious, I’m buying “The Dancer.” Can’t wait to have a gorgeous Irish dancing queen above my bed! 👑 Please consider setting aside $25, or more, to support a great cause & get a piece of Ireland for your home. 💚🤍🧡

*NOTE: The Indiegogo campaign ends on September 17th, & the paintings will ship in November. Because of COVID-19, please consider that shipping could be delayed.

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Irish people’s love of dancing has been well documented throughout their written history. In fact, one of the earliest references to dancing details a visit between the Mayor of Waterford and Mayor of Baltimore in 1413. The modern Irish dancing of today is no longer merely a processional combination of singing and dancing as an act of celebrating, but a sport that produces athletes that are physically strong, as well as creative and artistic. What was once a tradition specific to Ireland (as well as England, Scotland, and some parts of America) caught like wildfire in 1994 with the debut of Riverdance. The theatrical show consisting mainly of traditional Irish music and dance took the world by storm and has been a global phenomenon ever since. Now, twenty-five years later, the Irish dancing community consists of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people around the world today. Teachers from around the world have committed themselves to spreading their love and passion for Ireland’s traditional form of expression. Regardless of how far a dancer progresses competitively or professionally, being an Irish dancer is something that is inextricably bound to their identity forevermore. In this piece entitled “The Dancer,” you feel the excitement, the confidence, and the artistry that comes from expressing a centuries-old tradition that has touched the hearts of many.  – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland and Scotland combined have a rich culture within the performing arts, which has resulted in a thriving gig scene. Musicians are constantly pushing the boundaries in order to create new and fresh work that is often steeped in tradition. Many are staunch believers that musical traditions must be preserved as they always have been – the “play it like my father used to” kind of sentimentality. Yet, every generation brings a new wave of talent that feels that this attitude discourages progress and evolution. This debate between tradition and innovation is a tale as old as time. Still, many feel it is possible to honour your origins while also exploring and adapting to the future; they are not mutually exclusive. Irish music legend, Míchéal Ó Súilleabháinn, believed that traditions are never frozen, but rather are fluid. He believed that the idea of authenticity originating from a pure source located in antiquity was bogus! This painting is for the new wave of artists and musicians who are creating some of the most incredible new-age folk / Trad music in the world. Project Smok, Beoga, Talisk, Ímar and the like are leading the way for the future of Irish music. – Kincaid & Shannon

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”  – George Bernard Shaw

Ériu is the goddess of sovereignty and the mythological mother of Ireland. She is often interpreted as the modern-day personification of Ireland. Along with her two sisters, Banba and Fódhla, Ériu was a part of a triumvirate of goddesses. Before their final defeat, each goddess requested that the island be named for her. This was granted to all of them, but Ériu became the chief name in use. The old Irish name Ériu evolved into Éire in modern Irish and depending on the case is spelled Éireann or Éirinn. This is how we finally arrived with the English name for the country, Erin. The painting has been imbued with symbols to depict all that Ériu embodied within pre-Christian Irish culture. Ériu represents the sacred feminine, as illustrated in the column capitals, or the decorative element at the top of a column, that represent the three phases of a woman’s life cycle – the maid, mother and crone. The stars behind her and the lunala around her neck evoke her role as a lunar goddess. Her hair bleeds into the trees, depicting her connection to the earth and its bounty. She holds this bounty in her hand as a glass of mead, which was served at the feast of Goibhniu, and offered immortality to those that drank it. Around her head is a ring of knot work encasing the land, which is topped by the stone of divisions from the hill of Uisneach, the symbolic and sacred centre of the island in Irish mythology. Ériu’s bones are said to have been laid to rest on this hill and serves as a gateway between the Underworld and the world above. – Kincaid & Shannon

There is much more to an Irish pub than just having a drink. In Ireland, pubs are central to the way of life. Similar to a church, they represent a pillar of Irish social life and community. A place where pints, comfort food, live music, and sport can be always be found; somewhere you can meet friends, neighbors, or even complete strangers, in an inviting atmosphere. It’s for these reasons that recreations of Irish pubs can be found in any city around the world. O’Connor’s was opened as a pub in Galway in 1942 by Thomas O’Connor, and is currently operated by third generation O’Connors. Every inch of it decorated in eclectic memorabilia, the pub has become famous for its hospitality and world-class live music. So much so that Ed Sheeran used it as the location of his music video “Galway Girl” in 2017 featuring actress Saoirse Ronan, furthering the pub’s world-wide recognition. – Kincaid & Shannon

Ireland has a rich tradition of various festivals taking place throughout each year. The Rose of Tralee was first held in 1959 and has since been held every August in Tralee, County Kerry, to select a young woman to be crowned the Rose. Cities all over the world host their own selection balls to determine who will represent them in Ireland. The festival bills itself as a celebration of the “aspirations, ambitions, intellect, social responsibility, and Irish heritage” of modern young women. Bursting with music and dancing, this festival celebrates the very best of Irish culture and the future of Irish relations worldwide. The winner and their family become a part of a global network, showcasing how Irish culture is thriving amongst the Irish Diaspora. They say, “Once a Rose, always a Rose.” – Kincaid & Shannon

A session is a casual gathering of musicians playing traditional Irish music, usually taking place in a pub, but has also been known to take place on street corners or even in someone’s kitchen. Irish “trad” music has garnered a deep appreciation, not just in Ireland, but also around the world. It’s important to note that a session is more than just a casual jam between musicians – the focus is on the instrumental tunes found within the Irish tradition – reels, jigs, hornpipes, polkas, slip jigs, and the like. Whether it be in a pub or someone’s home, sessions are times of brilliant music and ever-flowing drink that have a certain habit of continuing late into the night, if not into the wee hours of the morning! – Kincaid & Shannon

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.

These are just two quotes from one of the biggest literary personalities in Ireland’s history, Oscar Wilde. A literary treasure, Wilde was a hugely popular playwright and poet in the late 1800s. Besides well-known works such as The Picture of Dorian Gray and Lady Windermere’s Fan, his biting wit and flamboyant style gained him notoriety as well. As a people, the Irish are known for their good sense of humour, which has bolstered them during periods of great hardship throughout history. Wilde embodied this intrinsically Irish trait to the very end. Even as he faced death, he was cracking jokes and reportedly said, “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.” A collection of art in support of Irish culture would be incomplete without paying homage to Oscar Wilde. – Kincaid & Shannon

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHAx8IE3PTk&feature=youtu.be

➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️   S U P P O R T   T H E   C A M P A I G N   H E R E   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

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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Quarter Life Crisis

As of November 5th, I am 26 years old. Year 25 was NOT a walk in the park for me. I have really struggled with energy & motivation & purpose this past year. I am so passionate about what I do online, but being defeated time after time after time is so deflating. My Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube follower counts barely go up from month to month. I stay up late editing videos & writing blog posts, but it feels like no one cares when I make my work public. I worked for weeks & hours on my Tarzan video for the Disney+ Dream Job contest. I was so incredibly proud of what I produced, & yet I didn’t get one of the five spots to watch 30 Disney movies in 30 days for $1,000. Instead of breaking down barriers, I feel like I’m beating my head against a wall that isn’t going to budge. Is year 26 going to be better, or do I have to accept that I’m not meant to do this any longer?!?

How do I turn this into a positive? One step at a time. I may not have won a check for a Disney+ marathon, but I’m going to do it anyway. Starting November 12, I will be watching a Disney show & movie every day for 30 days. Don’t worry! You can follow along on here, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube. Just use my links listed below to make sure you’re following me with notifications turned ON. 🍋 This is called turning lemons into lemonade. 🍹 I’m also trying to step outside my comfort zone & interact with people I follow on social media. Scary! 😱

🌻 Go enjoy your Saturday readers! 💛 Hopefully it’s cold & feels like the holiday season wherever you are because California is still HOT. 🥵 🙄 😂

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Riverdance Turns 25

I couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging the 25th anniversary of a show that changed my life: Riverdance. The stage show began as a 7-minute act performed during an intermission at the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, 1994. The performance was a smash hit with the audience, causing a chain reaction that breathed new life into Irish dancing around the world. The great minds behind this phenomenon are composer Bill Whelan, director John McColgan, featured dancers Jean Butler and Michael Flatley who also contributed choreography, producer Moya Doherty, and, of course, the rest of the hardworking crew & talented company of dancers.

Four years after Riverdance made its grand debut, I received a VHS from a family friend, a tape of the show during its 1995 debut run in Dublin. Four-year-old me had no idea my life was about to change. I can’t even tell you how many times that tape played while I leaped & twirled across the living room floor. It wasn’t long before I was taking my first tap class. Did I become an Irish dancer? No. Did I bring every ounce of passion I possessed as a proud Irish girl into ballet, jazz, modern, & tap classes for 12 1/2 years? YES I DID!!! 🔥

It’s hard to explain how much this show means to me, but believe me when I say it holds a very VERY special place in my heart. It was not only my introduction to the dance culture in both Ireland & Spain but also my introduction to dance. I lost my passion & did not pursue a career as a dancer, but I never lost my love for all things dance. To this day, I drag my dad to the theater if Riverdance visits our neck of the woods (he knows he loves it!). I’ve seen it five times, & I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

To the Riverdance companies & crews: From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all that you have done. Happy Anniversary! I am looking forward to 25 more years of this special show!

Do yourself a favor & watch the moment when it all began:

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

P.S. Shout out to María Pagés, the original flamenco dancer in Riverdance & my Spanish queen since the age of 4. 🇪🇸

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rk6LYFwP8lE

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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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Filming Frustrations | Blogmas 2017

If the joy of Christmas is what you seek, bah humbug. I swear I’m not trying to ruin your Christmas. As a blogger, it is my duty to be honest about my life. The past twenty-four hours have been awful. Last night I found out that two of the gifts I ordered online were damaged. I woke up late because I stayed up to watch a Christmas movie that I didn’t end up liking (I’m looking at you Noel). I forgot to charge my camera batteries overnight AND while I was getting ready. Despite racing to beat the sun, it took several hours to film only two videos. I wanted to get a third filmed, but I couldn’t find my dreidel which was supposed to be the starring prop. I still haven’t found that darn top! I am now tired and cranky and probably the top name on Santa’s naughty list. Bring on the coal! Despite all the stress, I am thankful for a home that is still standing because there is a fire burning a few miles away. My thoughts & prayers are with everyone being affected. Stay safe California!  <3

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

T e n   D a y s   U n t i l   A r t m a s . . .   

E i g h t e e n   D a y s    U n t i l   C h r i s t m a s . . .

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

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Fall Is Actually In The Air

The Autumnal Equinox is here, and I have already felt and seen the change of seasons: cooler temperatures, storm clouds, & wind. The past few years have been extremely disappointing due to uncommon humidity and a drought so I am more than ready for a genuine fall. I’m a November baby so this season runs through my veins; I need all things Autumn like I need oxygen to breathe. I have a cozy pile of books ready to go for October; there are some exciting movies premiering soon; and my family is finally taking a vacation. Things are looking golden for my favorite time of year!

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Night of the Living Moths

Be honest. You love my bug stories. Need I remind you of the june bug saga?! You can’t make this stuff up!!

• Big Bad June Bug Attack of 2015

• Those Summer Nights

This story begins at midnight on August 28th. I was the last person awake in my household and decided that reading a crime novel would be a great stimulant for sweet dreams. I happened to glance up and see something on the wall. I immediately knew it was a bug and what looked like a moth. Even though I know that they’re harmless, they still make me anxious. While deciding how the heck I was going to dispose of him without disturbing my sleeping family, I didn’t dare move or breathe. In a heart-stopping moment, the moth flew to a new spot on the same wall. Simultaneously I dove off the couch and ran down the stairs, making a beeline (get it?!) for the bug spray & fly swatter. Armed with weaponry, I slowly made my way upstairs. The moth had now moved even lower down the wall, low enough for me to see him up close. Even though I was scared out of my mind, I inched closer until I was halfway behind a wall but still about a foot away from my foe. I thought my fear couldn’t possibly get worse, but then I saw it. This was no ordinary moth. It was the Moth From Hell a.k.a. Mothra. I had never seen a moth with a head like this, if it was actually a moth. It had wings like a moth but a big head that appeared to be red, although I cannot defend the accuracy of what I saw since I had been reading a crime novel. The only thing I can compare it to is the round, red nose of a fighter plane; I’m not even joking.  I couldn’t swat him because my brother was sleeping right behind the wall and had to be up early for work. I knew I had to risk it and use the spray even though Mothra could potentially fly into my face. I’m sure it’s not hard for you to believe that it took me several moments to summon up the courage. Thank God he didn’t move!! I finally pulled up my big girl pants and inwardly commanded myself to JUST DO IT. I assumed the proper stance for quick reaction, said a quick but heartfelt prayer, and sprayed Mothra with the vengeance of Godzilla. Of course he moved so I naturally ran and hid. Big mistake!! When I inched back around the wall, he was G-O-N-E. I thought his movement had been downward due to the lethal spray, but I wasn’t quite ready to search just in case he still had enough life left to fly at me. It was now 1am, and I was panicking. Unfortunately my mom saw the lamplight and decided to see who was still up. She was now part of my late night soap opera episode. We spent the next fifteen to twenty minutes searching the entire house for Mothra. We never found his body. Also, my fear became too much for me, and I cried. I don’t mean pitiful tears; I mean my body was shaking and water was leaking out of my eyes like the California drought was at stake. I calmed down a little bit, but nerves still ruined my night. I shut my bedroom door, which I never do, and after a few more hours of reading because I didn’t want to shut my eyes, I tentatively turned off my light. I had a difficult time falling asleep and woke up several times but did eventually get some rest. It still upsets me that Mothra disappeared. I know what I saw was real, but that’s hard to explain when you’re the only one awake and you’ve been reading a crime novel which amps up imagination. If Mothra reveals himself again, dead or alive, I will add an update. Hopefully tonight is uneventful because I am exhausted. 😭

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Life Update | August 2017

– C O F F E E –

This is a very important update so listen up: I rarely go to Starbucks anymore. G A S P ! ! The reason comes in individual serving size packets and pairs nicely with almond milk & ice. Have you guessed? I still drink Starbucks coffee but in the comfort of my own home thanks to Via Instant. I know that most people know about this product, but it has been unbelievably easy to enjoy frappuccinos on days when I can’t make it to my neighborhood Starbucks. In fact, I have become so obsessed that even when I’m presented with the option to go to an actual Starbucks, I choose my “homemade” frappuccino. How crazy is that??! My favorite flavor at the moment is Sweetened Iced Coffee.

– B E D R O O M –

My room is small so the arrangement requires a lot of creativity. I recently had an epiphany at work regarding how I could make it feel more spacious and homey. I am happy to report that my idea worked, and I vlogged the whole process. The three-day project was exhausting but worth the effort because I feel like I have officially settled in.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbC6KS9yYNc

– B L O G G I N G –

I’ve been trying really hard to post consistently on both my blogs. The balance was off earlier this year because I got a paying job helping a photographer maintain her blog. I have since settled in, and I think everything is back to normal. Here are my recent blog posts:

• Misadventures in Babysitting

• Dance of the Paints | Thomas Blanchard

– F I N A N C I A L  S U P P O R T –

I love blogging & vlogging, but it does require money which I don’t have a lot of at the moment due to my status as a sales associate. I’m not exactly breaking the bank with my checks! I recently discovered a brand new website that makes it fun & easy for subscribers to support their favorite bloggers, business, vloggers, etc. Here is my Ko-fi ( pronounced like “coffee” ) link ➡️ https://ko-fi.com/A3023728

– R E A D I N G –

Good news: I took part in BookTube-A-Thon 2017, my very first time doing so. Even though my camera broke on day 6 and I couldn’t continue vlogging, I did continue to participate by reading & interacting on social media. I had so much fun and can’t wait for next year! Bad news: I am in a terrible reading slump A G A I N ! ! I was in one before BTAT, and here I am right back at square one. I have the desire, but every time I attempt to read, I have to force myself to keep going. Reading is the ultimate getaway for me, and I hate being in this mood. I need to pull up my big girl pants and just do it. I’m in the middle of 6 books ( yes, SIX ), and I need to finish all of them because I have exciting books to read in October & November. I also need to make serious progress on my Goodreads reading challenge because I have only completed 26 of my 50-book challenge. Not bad but still not great. Cheer me on!!

– R E T A I L –

I still hate retail. That’s pretty much it. 😂

– V A C A T I O N –

I am counting down the seconds, minutes, hours, days, & months until my autumn vacation. I know I echo the rest of my family when I say we desperately NEED this trip.

⏰ Current Countdown: 1 month, 12 days ⏰

– W E A T H E R –

If you’re a loyal follower of my blog, you know my visceral hatred for the summer months. I love cold foods & swimming, but this season is the absolute worst. I do nothing but sweat and feel gross and uncomfortable. I would much rather be cold & snuggle up in blankets while wearing a sweater. Whether you like it or not, autumn is upon us. Even though it’s my favorite season, I am hesitant to get excited. California disappointed me last year by remaining unbearably hot until the end of the year. Please please please don’t let me down this year!! 🍂 😭 🎃

– Y O U T U B E –

Lots of exciting news! Since my Charmed Aroma review video, I’ve been contacted by two more companies for reviews. I also have a major project in the works, something I’ve been planning for several months. I am slowly compiling products for a Bookish Gift Guide, a list of gift ideas for the bibliophiles in your life. I’ve already purchased two Jane Austen pillows and five candles inspired by A Game of Thrones, Edgar Allen Poe, Harry Potter, Romeo and Juliet, & The Princess Bride respectively. Before this video comes out later next year, there will be 1-2 review videos for various book-inspired candles; I plan to make this an ongoing series on my channel so suggestions are welcome. Last but not least, I mentioned earlier that my camera broke; thankfully I was able to replace it. The Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II has amazing quality, and I feel refreshed and excited for all the new content coming soon to my channel. Things are happening, and I’m going with flow. 🎉

| • I hope all of you have had a great summer. 🌞 I will be back soon with another post. 😘 • |

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– Lauren Michele <3

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