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   ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️ ⬅️

Disney+ Marathon Day 18 | November 29

4:30am – Rise & shine! 🌞

Need coffee! ☕️ Must. Survive. Black Friday. 😭

6am – Work 🛍

4:45pm – Dinner + Lizzie McGuire 🍕

S1E23 – Last Year’s Model

5:15pm – Bath + Monsters University 🛀 

Final thoughts for the day: To say I’m exhausted would be an understatement. I don’t have an ounce of energy left in my tank to say much more than I hope your Black Friday was better than mine. To my fellow retail employees, my condolences. 🖤 Here’s to wishing day 19 is MUCH better! 🥂

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

D I S N E Y +   M A R A T H O N   D A Y   E I G H T E E N   A R T 

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

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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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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Goodbye 2018 | Hello 2019

It is time to say goodbye to the past year and look ahead to a brand new chapter. Out with the old & in with the new! I know this has not been a great year of consistency on my blog, and for that I am deeply sorry. I can only promise to try my very best to do better in 2019 and move on. Walk with me down memory lane & see what my year looked like:

–   J a n u a r y   1   –

• G o o d b y e   2 0 1 7

2017 Reading Wrap-Up  +  2018 Reading Plans ( B l o g   P o s t )

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3vKpIwxNQxM&t=2s

–   J a n u a r y   2 1 s t   t o   2 7 t h   –

• I filmed my life for one week.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4M0_thzwVkA

–   J a n u a r y   2 6   –

• My blogs FINALLY  got their own domains!

Art Blog ➡️ laurenmicheleartblog.com

Lifestyle Blog ➡️ laurenmichelelifestyle.com ( New Name, Same Blog )

–   F e b r u a r y   2   –

• I received my Elretron Penna wireless bluetooth typewriter.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PX1-bktxdf8

–   F e b r u a r y   5   –

• The evil empire was defeated in Super Bowl LII

–    M a r c h   2 8   –

• I joined the trend & created a Disney & Pixar Bracket

–   A p r i l   4   – 

• I saw Crowder in concert.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhNIiKflus3/

–   A p r i l   1 5   –

• The 3rd anniversary of Jonathan Crombie’s death. Gil, you are gone but never forgotten!

–   A p r i l   2 7   –

Avengers: Infinity War was released in the USA. 💥

A R T

(Funny) Avengers Cast Videos

–   A p r i l   2 8   –

• I attended my first LA Galaxy game at StubHub Center.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2mpPAKuP9A

–   M a y   4   –

• I unboxed my first bookish box.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvcG3W6hXdY

–   M a y   1 1   –

• I tried not to sing on Snapchat & FAILED.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtymrHlQUa0

–   May / June 2018   –

• I made some changes to my room.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOmrfPeHTy8

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DdPv_WjUlk

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

–   J u n e   2   –

• I saw Third Day in concert during their farewell tour.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM93yOHc0W0

–   J u n e   1 8   –

• I got glasses! 🤓

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaGqkyp9Ie4

–   J u l y   3   –

• I revealed my (growing) Disney pin collection to the world.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y06BlkrU5lU

–   J u l y   2 0   –

• I made my favorite Youtube video to date. 😂

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wg-gQ2hXxA

–   J u l y   2 3 r d   t o   2 9 t h   –

• I participated in the 7in7 Readathon for the first time.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wo45XqUaUFo

–   J u l y   3 0 t h   t o   A u g u s t   5 t h   –

• I participated in BookTubeAThon for the second time.

Source https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyEZ9gzZb8c

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHZs4Lxxr30

–   A u g u s t   3   –

Christopher Robin was released in the USA ➡️ A R T

–   S e p t e m b e r   4   –

• I said goodbye to Bug’s Land via photos from 2002 & 2009

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BnU71Hnl02K/

–   S e p t e m b e r   2 6   –

• I received my first pair of Mickey ears in a Disney-themed bookish box.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bz5blv56tsc

–   S e p t e m b e r   2 7   –

• I went to Universal Studios Hollywood for the first time.

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqSORL5R0h4

–   O c t o b e r   1 5 t h   t o   2 1 s t   –

• I participated in Spookathon for the first time.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUz0HJjwdUg

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMmn3r4M4_Y&t=4s

–   N o v e m b e r   5   –

• I turned 25 ➡️ Reflecting on 25 Years of Life

–   N o v e m b e r   1 8   –

• I saw As I Lay Dying in concert for the first time ever. SO GOOD!! 🔥

–   N o v e m b e r   2 3   –

• A project I’ve been working on for 2 years finally came together. 🎉

Blog ➡️ Bookish Gift Guide

Video ➡️ Bookish Gift Guide

–   D e c e m b e r   3 r d   t o   9 t h   –

• I participated in TisTheSeasonAThon, a brand new holiday readathon.

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

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyvAdtvthT8&t=12s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORnYN7RZZDo

–   D e c e m b e r   5   –

• I made a Hanukkah gingerbread house for the first time.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15XUa-uv-gM&t=14s

–   D e c e m b e r   6   –

• I finished We Wish You a Murderous Christmas by Vicki Delany, completing my 2018 Goodreads goal of 55 books. 🎉

• I attempted to make buñuelos for Hanukkah.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nQ-WGA7uzQ&t=8s

–   D e c e m b e r   8   –

• I learned some basic Hebrew for Hanukkah.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCffRhVhle4&t=9s

• I unboxed a pair of gorgeous Hanukkah Mickey ears from FastPass Creations

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Apm0EXwuyno&t=10s.

–   D e c e m b e r   2 1   –

• I showed off my family’s holiday movie collection.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=witJbYoPn2Q&t=12s

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Farewell to Anita Shreve (author of “Stella Bain”), Aretha Franklin (singer), Barbara Bush (former First Lady), Billy Graham (evangelist), Burt Reynolds (actor), Charles Lazarus (founder of Toys “R” Us), Dorcas Reilly (creator of green bean casserole), George H.W. Bush (41st president of the United States), Jerry Maren (Wizard of Oz), John Mahoney (Frasier), John McCain (politician & Vietnam War veteran), Kate Spade (designer), Ken Berry (actor), Ed King (co-writer of “Sweet Home Alabama”), Luis Valbuena (baseball player, former Los Angeles Angel), Mike Taylor (Walk Off the Earth), Nanette Fabray (actress), Penny Marshall (Laverne & Shirley), Scott Wilson (Walking Dead), Sigi Schmid (former LA Galaxy coach), Stan Lee (comic book editor, publisher, & writer, co-created Dr. Strange & Spider-Man with Steve Ditko), Stephen Hillenburg (creator of Spongebob Squarepants), Steve Ditko (comic book artist & writer, co-created Dr. Strange & Spider-Man with Stan Lee), & Verne Troyer (Austin Powers movies, Jingle All the Way, & Men in Black).

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Let’s take a look at some numbers as inspiration for the coming year: I ended 2018 with 431 art blog followers (up from 357), 420 lifestyle blog followers (up from 346), & 244 Youtube subscribers / 88,153 views (up from 188 & 72,815). I look forward to growing my internet family in 2019. Onward & upward! ➡️ ⬆️

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

– 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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New Name, Same Blog

My eagle-eyed followers might’ve noticed a big change on my blog, but allow me to make an official announcement for those who missed it. I started this blog in the midst of my poet phase of life, but it’s been awhile since I transitioned to lifestyle content. I’ve wanted to change the name for years but hesitated due to the cost. Last week I decided to take the plunge & couldn’t be happier with my decision. This blog has officially changed from laurenmichelepoetry.wordpress.com to laurenmichelelifestyle.com. Thank you so much for faithfully following my blog! I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for my little corner of the internet.

• 🎨 • My art blog also has a new name ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ ➡️ laurenmicheleartblog.com • 🎨 •

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

– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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2017 Wrap Up | 2018 Reading Challenge

With twelve minutes to spare in 2017, I completed my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books. Thanks to the diversity of those books, I also completed the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. Let’s recap the categories accompanied by detailed & extensive lists:

📚 A Book you Chose for the Cover – Before we dive into the list, I want to clarify that I define a cover buy as a book I picked up because the cover caught my eye, which doesn’t  mean I didn’t look at the synopsis:

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins | I almost didn’t buy this book, but I couldn’t get the cover out of my head.

📖 The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudis

📖 Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

📖 Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis

📚 A Book With a Reputation for Being Un-Put-Down-Able

And Then There Were None & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie | Some people might also include Death on the Nile, myself included.

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

📖 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Cinder & Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📖 The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, & The Queen by Steven James ( bestselling author & series )

📚 A Book Set Somewhere You’ve Never Been but Would Like to Visit

🇪🇬 Egypt – Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie, Crocodile on the Sandbank & The Curse of Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 England – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens,  And Then There Were NoneCrooked House, & The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis, Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon,  & Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Scotland – The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

📚 A Book You’ve Already Read – I did a lot of rereading last year:

📖 Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

📖 Kristy’s Great Idea, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, & The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin

📖 Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters

📖 Mind Over Monsters, To Catch a Vampire, & Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow

📖 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📖 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

📖 Tutu Deadly & Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts

📖 The Rook, The Knight, & The Bishop by Steven James

📖 White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter

📚 A Juicy Memoir In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett. The ending made me cry. No lie!

📚 A Book About Books or ReadingThe Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan & The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📚 A Book in a Genre You Usually Avoid – These aren’t all genres I avoid on purpose; I just don’t reach for them often:

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins ( contemporary )

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff ( science fiction )

📖 In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett ( memoir)

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern ( fantasy )

📖 Mind Over Monsters, To Catch a Vampire, & Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow ( supernatural )

📖 The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan ( contemporary )

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling ( fantasy )

📖 Cinder & Glitches by Marissa Meyer ( science fiction )

📚 A Book You Don’t Want to Admit You’re Dying to ReadHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling. I’m not embarrassed by this series but rather ashamed that I didn’t pick it up sooner. I also read …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire.

📚 A Book in the Backlist of a New Favorite AuthorPearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste – These are recommendations by bookstagrammers, booktubers & friends:

📖 Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Night by Elie Wiesel

📖 Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon

📖 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, …Chamber of Secrets, …Prisoner of Azkaban, & …Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

📖 Cinder & Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📚 A Book You Were Excited to Borrow or Buy but Haven’t Read Yet – Though I’m excited about every book I purchase, this list includes the titles I’d been dying to read but had yet to do so:

📖 And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

📖 The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters

📖 The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

📖 Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

📖 Heartless by Marissa Meyer

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

📖 The Queen by Steven James

📚 A Book About a Subject or Topic You Already Love – Another thorough list:

📖 And Then There Were None, Crooked House, Death on the Nile, Miss Marple: The Complete Short Stories, & Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie ( mystery )

📖 The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding by Agatha Christie ( Christmas & mystery )

📖 The Unexpected Guest by Agatha Christie & Charles Osborne ( mystery )

📖 My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories by Ally Carter, David Levithan, Gayle Forman, Holly Black, Jenny Han, Kelly Link, Kiersten White, Laini Taylor, Matt De La Peña, Myra McEntire, Rainbow Rowell, & Stephanie Perkins ( the holidays )

📖 The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudis ( crime )

📖 In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett ( The Carol Burnett Show )

📖 The Mystery of the Stone Tiger by Carolyn Keene ( mystery )

📖 A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens ( Christmas )

📖 Crocodile on the Sandbank & The Curse of the Pharaohs by Elizabeth Peters ( Egyptology & mystery )

📖 Wicked Autumn by G.M. Malliet ( mystery )

📖 Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire ( I already love the musical! )

📖 The Postcard Killers by James Patterson ( crime )

📖 Kingdom Come by Jane Jensen ( Amish life & crime )

📖 The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan ( books & reading )

📖 Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon ( mystery )

📖 Murder on the Cliffs by Joanna Challis ( mystery )

📖 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder ( pioneer life )

📖 Cinder & Glitches by Marissa Meyer ( fairytales )

📖 Heartless by Marissa Meyer ( Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland )

📖 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak ( books & reading )

📖 Tutu Deadly & Tapped Out by Natalie M. Roberts ( dance & mystery )

📖 The Rook, The Knight, The Bishop, & The Queen by Steven James ( crime )

📖 Land of Silence & Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar ( Bible times )

📖 Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen by Vicki Delaney ( Christmas & mystery )

📖 White Christmas Pie by Wanda E. Brunstetter ( Amish life & Christmas )

Total: 12 Categories & 50 Books

Here are links to my reading updates & 2017 Goodreads Challenge:

2016 Wrap Up & 2017 Reading Challenges ( V I D E O )

January Reading Wrap Up | 2017 Reading Challenge Update

BookTube-A-Thon

October 2017 Wrap Up | November 2017 TBR

Murder on the Orient Express Vlog

November Wrap + December TBR

📚 2017 Goodreads Reading Challenge 📚 

Due to reading fatigue, I am not officially committing to the 2018 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge. However, I’m not giving up completely. I may join at any point during the year so I’m leaving the categories here for reference.

📚 A Classic You’ve Been Meaning to ReadA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle

📚 A Book Recommended by Someone With Great Taste – TBD

📚 A Book in TranslationThe Time in Between by Maria Duenas

📚 A Book Nominated for an Award in 2018 – TBD

📚 A Book Of Poetry, a Play, or an Essay CollectionRomeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

📚 A Book You Can Read in a DayLittle House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

📚 A Book That’s More Than 500 PagesHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

📚 A Book by a Favorite AuthorMurder at the Vicarage by Agatha Christie

📚 A Book Recommended by a Librarian or Indie BooksellerThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

📚 A Banned BookTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

📚 A Memoir, Biography, or Book of Creative NonfictionTalking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, and Everything in Between by Lauren Graham

📚 A Book by an Author of a Different Race, Ethnicity, or Religion Than Your OwnHarvest of Gold by Tessa Afshar

Last but not least, I pledged to read 55 books on Goodreads. I’m not going to push myself because reading should be fun, not a competition. Regardless of whether or not I read a certain number of books, I’m doing something I love. Happy reading!

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Goodbye 2017 | Hello 2018

Some of you may be sorrowfully singing “Where are you Blooogmaaas??” Apologies for my sudden exit from the festivities. I had to work every day leading up to Christmas, and most of my time at home was spent relaxing and sleeping (in between uploading pre-filmed Youtube videos & reading to reach my 2017 goal). I hope you enjoyed what I was able to post in December. If it makes you feel a little more warm & fuzzy on the inside, I will be doing a Christmas do-over in January to make up for my low spirit during the actual holiday season. Basically I’ll be catching up on all the cheesy movies I didn’t watch. Moving on to the subject at hand. The new year has arrived so it’s time to take a look back at the past twelve months:

– J a n u a r y –

Goodbye 2016! 🎉

Netflix created a Lemony Snicket masterpiece ( A R T )

• I read my first Harry Potter book 📖

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BPa7fTSAzMr/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

Mary Tyler Moore passed away

– F e b r u a r y –

• My art blog hit 3️⃣ 0️⃣ 0️⃣ followers

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BQG0PwhAvAT/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

• I traveled to Texas to be a bridesmaid 

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4i9IixnBqmU&t=372s

– M a r c h –

Beauty and the Beast premiered ( A R T )

– A p r i l –

• I purchased a custom iPhone case from Yaz Raja Designs

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BTCmpOvBjsA/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

– M a y –

The end of an era on Once Upon a Time

– J u n e –

DC delivered the superhero the world didn’t deserve but needed

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BVFxvSulX7A/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

Peter Sallis passed away

Adam West passed away

• All my bookish dreams came true thanks to this gorgeous blanket from Sweet Sequels

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BVs1jgwlqYN/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

• I became a Potterhead just in time for the 20th anniversary of the first book

– Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone –

– The Golden Trio Artwork –

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFna5QIwNWI

– J u l y –

Anne With an E charmed its way into my heart

– A u g u s t –

• For the first time ever, I participated in BookTube-A-Thon

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BWs4WjNF75C/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICG_Vt60l6M&t=3s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i_J_yAEYRig&t=2s

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G47bU3jWK9U

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–   B  l o g   P o s t   W r a p   U p   –

I joined Ko-Fi 

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BXdqpALFYFC/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

I got a new camera 📷

I found out I have Mottephobia 🐝 🐛 🕷️

– S e p t e m b e r –

• I don’t remember the exact date, but at some point in late 2017 my most watched video on Youtube reached 2️⃣ 0️⃣ 0️⃣ 0️⃣ 0️⃣ views

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjxSV6ZnKoY

– O c t o b e r –

My clumsiness reached new heights

I gave Gilmore Girls another chance ( A R T )

• Family trip to San Diego

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C17D76AzoNM

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DbdRaQ4xAwA

– N o v e m b e r –

• I turned 24 🎂

The Orient Express hit the big screen

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

• My childhood dreams of seeing the Justice League on the big screen came true! ( A R T )

• I tried dry brushing

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVDgHLLS8nM

• I went on an autumn safari

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BcGQiV6lVOt/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

– D e c e m b e r –

I finally made White Christmas Pie

Source: https://www.instagram.com/p/BdBerpBF1nP/?taken-by=laurenmicheleonline

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2fRIRj3r8_U&t=25s

It was a Star Wars Christmas once again

• I accomplished my goal of reading 50 books in 2017 with 12 minutes to spare. 📚 

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Farewell to Adam West (Batman), Christopher ‘Big Black’ Boykin (Rob & Big, Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory), David Cassidy (Ruby & the Rockits), Della Reese (Thats So RavenTouched by an Angel), Don Rickles (Toy Story franchise), Heather North (Scooby Doo franchise), Jerry Lewis (Martin and Lewis), Jim Nabors (The Andy Griffith Show, The Carol Burnett Show), June Foray (DuckTales, Looney Tunes, Mulan, Rocky & Bullwinkle), Mary Tyler Moore (The Dick Van Dyke Show)Peter Sallis (Wallace & Gromit), Rose Marie (The Dick Van Dyke Show), and Sir Roger Moore (James Bond franchise).

🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

The numbers aren’t why I do what I do, but it’s inspiring to see how far I’ve come. I ended 2017 with 357 art blog followers, 346 lifestyle blog followers, & 188 Youtube subscribers (72,815 views). I hope to add many more to my internet family in the coming year. Onward & upward! ➡️ ⬆️

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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• Previous Post: The Last Jedi | Blogmas 2017

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I’ve Lost My Touch | Blogmas 2017

My North Pole elf powers have taken a serious hit in the past few years. In 2016, I had to repurchase two gifts due to damage. This year, I received two damaged gifts and was only able to successfully replace one. The other was a handmade, custom item and arrived twice in terrible condition due to measurement issues; I chose to walk away with a refund rather than risk receiving a third defective product. Seriously, what has happened to me?? Gifting used to be my cup of tea, and now I can’t seem to climb out of the funk I’m in. I carefully observe the recipients so I can pick the perfect gifts; I make an airtight budget so I can save and spoil my loved ones; and I buy from trustworthy sources (eBay has disappointed me one too many times). I’m still satisfied with my 2017 gifts, but I can’t help feeling disappointed. On top of my misery, I can’t see Star Wars: The Last Jedi until Monday night. UGH!!! On the bright side, I have a day off (from my retail job) to relax a little bit. Even though I have a to-do list of work that has to get done, I will definitely be squeezing in some baking, Christmas movies, & reading. Happy Saturday!

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

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

N i n e   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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• Previous Post: Moment of Weakness | Blogmas 2017

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