Dry Brush Kit | Minamul

I tried dry brushing for the first time last year, and the following is my review posted on amazon.com:

⚠ Disclaimer: Minamul contacted me to review their product, and I chose to do so because I was genuinely interested. This is an unpaid & honest review.

📝 Note: I have yet to use the konjac sponge therefore I have no thoughts regarding that product.

Information – There is a helpful chart that demonstrates what directions to brush in; it also has instructions for using the konjac sponge. Other than that, there is no information on what each brush is for or the benefits of dry brushing. I had to do outside research to fill in those gaps. It would be beneficial for the company and convenient for the customers if that information was provided in the bundle.

Brushes – I have sensitive skin, and the brushes, surprisingly, did not cause any irritation. With even pressure, you should feel a tingling sensation, not pain.

Side Effect – Not long into the process, I developed a painful breakout on my legs, specifically my thighs, which forced me to stop dry brushing below the waist. Because this product is meant to clean out the body, I don’t fault the company in any way. I just want future customers to be aware.

Results – After each dry brushing session, my skin felt softer and rejuvenated, and my mood was calm and relaxed. Even though the breakout on my legs was painful, it proved that the dry brushes work efficiently to clean out the body. It’s difficult to define the results because most of what is expected to happen is internal, not external. However, what I experienced is enough to know that these products are effective.

My main issue with this product has to do with the lack of educational information. Also, I am less likely to make another purchase from Minamul because I don’t need the entire bundle again, just some of the individual products. However, I assume that over time they will expand their product line so I will definitely be checking for updates. Overall, I think this bundle is great quality and perfect for first-time dry brushers.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Contact me for a 20% off coupon code! 😎👍 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

M i n a m u l   •   L i n k s

➡ A m a z o n

➡ F a c e b o o k

➡ I n s t a g r a m

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

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Moment of Weakness | Blogmas 2017

It finally happened. My Scrooge veneer cracked, and I shed a Christmas tear. Yes, it was a cheesy Hallmark movie. No, I don’t feel any shame. It might’ve had something to do with staying up until 3am the night before, but we’ll ignore that detail and say that I was overcome by the spirit of December. I also want to give credit where credit is due. Finding Santa was a good movie, and that’s saying a lot considering I don’t often enjoy a new offering from Hallmark, otherwise known as Christmas Incorporated. 😂 I’ll add to the good news by announcing the arrival of grandma’s cookies. See?! December isn’t a total loss yet. My elf ears are starting to perk up, and we still have a little over one week of celebration left. 🎉

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

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

T 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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Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

I have waited all year for this movie! Part of my birthday celebration was seeing the first showing at my local theater. As a passionate Agatha Christie fan, I have thoughts both good and bad so settle in for a semi-bumpy Orient Express ride.

Many people had doubts about Kenneth Branagh’s portrayal of beloved detective Hercule Poirot. If you’re a doubter, I want to put your mind at ease. Mr. Branagh is hands down the best part of the movie. He kept the spirit of the Poirot we all know and love while adding humor and his own unique touch to the character. He is a constant source of smiles and laughs, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Overall the ensemble cast did not disappoint. Johnny Depp is fantastic as always (SPOILER) even though his part is short-lived. Michelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz have some shining moments, and Dame Judi Dench’s monologue about little Daisy Armstrong made me tear up. Lucy Boynton and Sergei Polunin’s respective portrayals of Count & Countess Andrenyi are dark, a hidden gem that is impressive considering their inexperience. Josh Gad was good for the most part, but the chase scene involving Poirot felt awkward. The conflict between Hercule and Dr. Arbuthnot also felt clumsy. Daisy Ridley acted well, but I did not like Mary Debenham’s demeanor. In the book, she is polite and reserved which leads Poirot to suspect she might be the mastermind behind the murder; his suspicion makes little sense in the movie because Mary is much too bright and happy.

The book’s methodical layout is not perfectly suited for a movie. Some may find the added action irritating, but I understand the necessity to shake up the format onscreen. That being said, some of the clues got lost in the shuffle due to a speedier pace. As far as I remember, all the clues from the book were included, but they weren’t given the time they needed to simmer and encourage the audience to consider possible outcomes. Perhaps the extra, non-book stuff could’ve been trimmed to accommodate character interviews and clue discoveries, making the final reveal much more grand than it actually was. I also want to mention that I don’t remember Biniamino Marquez being named at the end. (SPOILER) The twist relies on the shock of twelve people being involved, each with a specific connection to the Armstrong family. The cast may seem large, but those who know the story well won’t miss anything, even if only one name is passed over. This goes back to details being muddled at the end. Murder on the Orient Express is one of the greatest stories ever written in the mystery genre. If you don’t lay it out correctly, you spoil the thrill and fun of the twists and turns.

I love two-thirds of the movie, but the ending is a disappointment. Things can surely get better from here so I hope Kenneth Branagh is giving the chance to continue the series, perhaps with a book that has less adaptations. I truly believe he can do great things with Poirot. The final scene hints at a sequel based on Death on the Nile. How great would that be?! 😄

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

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

🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂 🔪 👨🏻 🔍 🚂

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Come Together

Today is November 5th a.k.a. the date of my birth. In honor of this special day, I want to tell you a story. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about doing more to combat prejudice. During my family’s recent vacation, I witnessed a moment that touched my heart in an unexpected way. My dad, brother, and I wasted no time in checking out the pool once we arrived at our hotel. Right before we left, a trio of teenage girls walked by, each appearing to be of a different ethnic background. There was also an older couple, possibly in their fifties, sitting near the gate. I mention age and race for a reason so stay with me. The girls saw the couple and immediately lit up, saying hello and sitting down to talk; they even took some selfies together. I watched long enough to deduce that these five people were acquaintances because of the hotel. Age didn’t matter. Race didn’t matter. They were able to find things in common and establish a relationship. It is easy to get caught up in the news and feel weighed down by the negative all the time. I want this story to be a reminder of the good in this world as well as a beacon of hope. Please hold on to the positive, no matter how small, because it does exist. ❤️

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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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Charmed Aroma

*Disclaimer: I was sent one free candle in exchange for a review. It was my choice to purchase more products with my own money.

– C A N D L E S –

☀️ Aloha Mango Necklace Candle ☀️

“Treat yourself to this luscious tropical getaway!! Juicy mango,freshly picked mandarins and sugared blackberries come together for an energizing burst of island aromas.”

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

🍏 Green Apple Bracelet Candle 🍏

“Savor the first bite of crisp green apples in a sun-kissed orchard! Refresh your spirit with this juicy fragrance that combines the scent of apples with a sophisticated blend of peaches and exotic flowers.”

T h i s   b r a c e l e t   i s   w o r t h   $ 5 0 .

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💋 Sugar Kisses Ring Candle 💋

“Love is in the air! Fall in love with this romantic blend of strawberries, peach, cotton candy and warm amber. The sweet aromas will fill the air with magic and passion.”

T h i s   r i n g   i s   w o r t h   $ 1 5 0 .

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🍓 Sweet Berries Earrings Candle 🍓

“Lure your imagination into a luscious field with juicy strawberries and plum blossom. The perfect blend of rich strawberry, juicy pomegranate and creamy vanilla will have you feeling ‘berry’ relaxed!”

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

I sat within a few feet of each soy candle while it burned. The scents smell exactly as described. They are subtle at first but grow stronger after the first hour; they don’t hit you all at once but rather in waves every few minutes. For the Green Apple candle, I changed the location to a central room in my house; after the three-hour burning time, every open room smelled like green apples. The fruit scents are my favorite because I’ve transitioned into spring/summer mode; they smell even better when the candle is lit, like grilled fruit for a summer BBQ. Sugar Kisses was a pleasant surprise because Charmed Aroma was nice enough to send it to me for free. I am happy to announce that it is not sickly sweet like candy but rather soft like vanilla.

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

💲 Comparing Jewelry Candle Prices 💲

• Charmed Aroma – $25.99 to $44.99

• Diamond Candles – $24.99 to $39.99

• Fragrant Jewels – $24.95 to $26.95

• Jewelry Candles – $24.95

• Jewelry in Candles – $19.99 to $39.99

• JewelScent – $23.99 to $74.99

E X T R ABath & Body Works – $10.50 to $24.50 ( no jewelry! )

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

– B A T H   B O M B S –

🌊 Sea Breeze Bath Bomb w/ Ring 🌊

“Ever dream of swimming with the dolphins? Take a dip into the turquoise waters and drift into a dream state.  This fresh-scented bath bomb captures the pure marine notes of the sea that will have you dreaming of your next getaway!”

T h i s   r i n g   i s   w o r t h   $ 1 5 0 .

T h i s   r i n g   i s   w o r t h   $ 1 5 0 .

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This bath bomb turned my bathwater into a gorgeous shade of turquoise blue but didn’t leave any stains. After one hour my skin smelled like I had spent a day at the spa. I’m not really sure how to describe the scent.  It’s kind of floral but also a bit like watermelon. This is an odd thing to say, but the only thing I can compare it to is the Seabreeze Squeeze smoothie at Jamba Juice (cranberry/apple juice blend, orange sherbet, banana, raspberries, strawberries).

The first bath bomb arrived broken. I filed a complaint on March 31st and received a response on April 1st that my broken bath bomb would be replaced. I received an email on April 7th that Sea Breeze was out of stock and replied that Green Apple would be fine as a replacement, even though it isn’t what I ordered. My package shipped on April 19th and arrived on April 22nd. I wasn’t expecting it, but I did receive Sea Breeze. I am happy that the problem was resolved, and the customer service representatives were very nice. However, the process was frustrating. I initially wanted to place my first order back in February, but all the bath bombs on the website were out of stock. I waited a little over one month, and finally a new bath bomb was introduced. It arrived broken, and when I tried to get a replacement, it was out of stock. I said Green Apple would be fine, but my package took another two weeks to arrive because I was sent Sea Breeze. I ended up with what I ordered, but I wish someone had told me that was why my package took so long to ship. Due to lack of communication, I had no idea what was going on.

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

💲 Comparing Bath Bomb w/ Jewelry Prices 💲

• Charmed Aroma – $15.99

• Fragrant Jewels – $14.95 to $15.95

• Jewelry Candles – $16.95 to $17.95

• Jewelry in Candles – $14.99 to $16.99

E X T R ABath & Body Works – $6.50 ( no jewelry! )

E X T R ALush – $4.50 to $12.95 ( no jewelry! )

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

– B O D Y   B U T T E R   &   S C R U B –

🍓 Acai Berry Body Scrub w/ Ring 🍓

“Engage your senses every day with the tropical sensation of Charmed Aroma’s Acai Berry Body Scrub. Our unique sugar scrub formula contains a balance of gentle exfoliants and deep moisture that leave your skin healthy and refreshed. Massage generously onto skin with warm water.”

T h i s   r i n g   i s   w o r t h   $ 8 0 .

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

💲 Comparing Body Scrub w/ Jewelry Prices 💲

• Charmed Aroma – $24.99

• Fragrant Jewels – &19.95

• JewelScent – $27.99

• Jewelry Candles – $25.95

• Jewelry in Candles – $24.99

E X T R ABath & Body Works – $13.50 to $25.00 ( no jewelry! )

E X T R ALush – $6.95 to $22.95 ( no jewelry! )

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

🌴 Mango Coconut Body Butter w/ Ring 🌴

“Pamper your skin with an indulgence that lasts throughout the day. This rich, luxurious cream with natural coconut oils penetrate deep into the skin’s surface, infusing it with deep moisture and a silky soft feeling that lasts for 24 hours.”

T h i s   r i n g   i s   w o r t h   $ 1 5 0 .

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💲 Comparing Body Butter w/ Jewelry Prices 💲

• Charmed Aroma – $23.99

• JewelScent ( créme ) – $21.99

• Jewelry Candles (lotion) – $22.95

• Jewelry in Candles – $24.99

E X T R A – Bath & Body Works ( cream & lotion ) – $5.00 to $16.50 ( no jewelry! )

E X T R A – Lush ( butter & lotion ) – $3.95 to $40.95 ( no jewelry! )

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🍓 Acai Berry Body Scrub & Mango Coconut Body Butter Bundle 🌴

“Pamper yourself with The Sterling Body Butter & Body Scrub Bundle. Each bundle contains (1) Sterling Mango Coconut Body Butter and (1) Sterling Acai Body Scrub.”

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The scrub isn’t chunky and abrasive but rather like a gritty silly putty. I know that’s a weird description! Basically it’s great for sensitive skin. I recommend soaking in the tub after using the scrub to let the numerous oils soak into your skin; the silky smooth results are worth it. The creamy body butter adds even more moisture, and the combination of scents are a tropical match made in heaven. The lotion did make my sensitive skin a little red, but the irritation went away within a few minutes. After nine days, I had used approximately 75% of the scrub and 15% of the lotion. Perhaps I used too much scrub at once but I would say the lotion is a better value for the price.

*Note: If you like the Mango Coconut body butter, you will like the Aloha Mango candle and vice versa.

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💲 Comparing Body Butter & Scrub Set w/ Jewelry Prices 💲

• Charmed Aroma – $48.98

• Jewelry Candles – $59.95 for 3 products ( bath bombs, lotions, and/or scrubs ) or $65.00 for 4 products ( bath bombs, lotions, scrubs, and/or soaps )

• Jewelry in Candles – $30.00

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I placed my order on March 23rd. The package shipped on March 24th and arrived on March 31st. I am very happy with the quality of each product, and the beautiful jewelry is an added bonus. The earrings don’t hurt my ears, and the rings don’t make my fingers turn green. My one complaint is the Sugar Kisses ring has some kind of yellow glue on it which cheapens the look. The products are pricey so I wouldn’t recommend Charmed Aroma for value but rather a special treat every once in awhile. They are also a great resource for gifts. Happy shopping! 🛍️

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⚠️ For More Info on C H A R M E D   A R O M A ⚠️

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– Lauren Michele <3

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