We’re All in This Together

I can’t believe it!  Today is the ten year anniversary of “High School Musical.”  I just finished watching the cast reunion on Disney Channel.  I am so glad they maintained close relationships with one another.  I had a huge, goofy smile on my face listening to them reminisce.  HSM was a HUGE part of my childhood, and I want to take a trip down memory lane to share with you my most vivid memories.

1.  I don’t actually remember watching the premiere of HSM.  I may not have watched it on January 20th, but I discovered it soon after because I remember following the cast’s every move  and watching the premiere of “I Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”

2.  I freaked out when the music video mentioned above premiered.  It was an extra song featured on the soundtrack but not in the movie.  I watched it to death!  It also fed my suspicion that “Zanessa” was real. 😍

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFB54wp41zo

3.  Seeing Zac Efron sing in the music video strengthened my belief that he sang in HSM.  He didn’t, but I believed and fought for him until the 2nd movie came out (he sang in the last 2 movies).  I’ve learned to live with it. 😂

4.  I might as well follow #3 with the fact that Zac Efron was a 2000s heartthrob featured in Bop, J-14, M, Tiger Beat, etc.  Yes, I did have posters of him on my wall, but I also had posters of the other cast members.  No shame. ;)

5.  I believe this happened in either 2009 or 2010, but me and my dance friends put together a big sleepover complete with food, games, and a “High School Musical” marathon.  There was a lot of squealing, laughing, singing, and crying.

6.  Every time we did jazz squares in dance class, me and my friend Katie would look at each other and quote: “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Every time without fail!!  Nailed it.

6.  Up until 2010 (the big bad Zanessa breakup), I followed the cast’s every move.  They were the BIG Disney celebrities of the 2000s.  I wouldn’t say I was obsessed, just genuinely curious and in awe.  I think every young girl goes through that phase.  I looked at every publicity photo, listened to every solo and group song, and read every magazine.  I also want to clear up that the breakup wasn’t the reason I lost interest.  I still look up the cast from time to time, but everybody grows up and leaves behind the things of childhood.

Favorite Character:  Gabriella Montez

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4lv9xVA3Tk

Favorite Scene:  The very first scene featuring “Start of Something.”  That moment started the whole HSM phenomenon.

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6EOUaWscrE

Favorite Song:  “Breaking Free”

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLa__49Ltv4

Favorite Quote:  “It’s a crowd favorite.  Everybody loves a good jazz square.”  Also, everything Ms. Darbus says.

Only Ms. Darbus could pull off these quotes:

*Chad is playing with a basketball at his desk*  “Mr. Danforth! This is a place of learning, not a hockey arena.”

“Holidays are over people.  Way over!!”

“This school is about more than just young men in baggy shorts flinging balls for touchdowns.”

“The theatre is a chapel of arts, a precious cornucopia of creative energy.”

“It’s called crime and punishment, Bolton. Beside, proximity to the arts is cleansing for the soul.”

Say it loud, say it proud:

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!

What team?  Wildcats!

Wildcats!  GETCHA HEAD IN THE GAME!!!!!

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: 2016 Reading Challenge

Previous Video:

My Links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

Sign up for MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://lauren-michele.tumblr.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

 

 

Advertisements

Tips For a Better Holiday Shopping Experience

(Image Source: http://www.metro.us/news/black-friday-don-t-forget-about-small-business-saturday/tmWmkx—efUBgYqtPMYDk/)

Happy faces??  I think not!!  I am sure I’m not the only one who hates crowds, especially around Christmastime.  I love shopping, but holiday crowds are in a league of their own.  I want to share the tips I have learned from my experiences in hopes that your stress level will decrease and your holiday spirit increase.  Let us proceed with the merriment!

1.  It is never too early to start Christmas shopping.  Sometimes the best deals show up after Christmas.  Why not get a head start?  The only thing you will have to worry about is a good hiding spot.  ;)

2.  Make a budget.  Know what you have to spend and shop accordingly.  Keep track of your money every step of the way.  Before shopping, I make a list of anticipated prices; I round up each price (e.g. $15.35 would be  $16) and add fifteen dollars for tax and shipping.  Always overestimate and expect the unexpected.  Bonus: It feels good to finish shopping and have money left over.

3.  Have your loved ones write down what they need/want.  A list will eliminate guesswork which takes precious time away from shopping and other holiday tasks.

4.  Adding to #3, make a list of what gift(s) you are getting for each person.  This way, you only have to spend time finding the best deal for specific items instead of wandering the internet with no light at the end of the tunnel.

5.  Do not be afraid of the interweb!  The internet is your best friend if you want to avoid crowds.  Also, you get to shop in pajamas and sip hot chocolate from the comfort of your home.  Nothing wrong with that!

6.  If you are concerned that an online store is sketchy, use a website like scamadviser.com or consumeraffairs.com.  You can also type the name of the business and the term “legitimate” into your web browser’s search engine for results containing reviews.

7.  If you are worried about online shopping costing more due to shipping, fear not!  You will be pleasantly surprised at how many online stores offer low shipping prices or free shipping, especially during the holiday season.

8.  The websites I visit first are Amazon and eBay.  Those are two good places to start if you want to dig and find good deals.

9.  My main tips for handling an eBay auction are as follows: Be online for at least the last five minutes of the auction, continuously refresh the page, wait until the last few seconds to bid, and bid at least one dollar above the price (e.g. if the price is $30, bid $31).  This isn’t a surefire way to win, but you will have a better chance of avoiding being outbid and winning.  And yes, I have won an auction with this plan.

10.  The Google Shopping tab is a good tool to use for finding the lowest prices for products.

11.  If you find coupon codes, use them!  I know this sounds like an obvious tip, but I am 100% certain there are people who have made purchases without realizing that there was a great coupon code available.  Not all coupon codes are valid so some trial and error may be involved, but it is worth it.  At least try!  One way to get coupon codes is to make a free account with the website you are shopping on; most online stores send a discount to new members.  Another way is typing the name of the store and the term “coupon code” into your web browser’s search engine.  The first few results are usually the most reliable (e.g. RetailMeNot or Groupon).

12.  Adding to #11, coupon codes and discounts are great, but make sure you do some math before checking out.  Discounted products could allude to higher tax and shipping cost.  Full price is not always the enemy.

13.  Another good way to compare prices is “checking out.”  Basically, I start to check out on two or more websites with the same item but only go to a certain point.  I do this in an attempt to find out the exact tax and shipping costs and calculate the cheapest total.

14.  I know there is a rush that comes with shopping for loved ones during Christmastime, but be patient.  If you rush, you might miss out on some great deals and/or accidentally go over budget.  Do not give in to impatience and accept the first price you see for the sake of feeding your excitement.

15.  On the flip side, if you find a ridiculous deal and your gut says act fast, do it.  Certain deals come once and only once.  Experience is the best tool for gauging if a deal is good or not.  That’s right!  The more you shop, the more you know.  ;)

16.  When in doubt, remember why you are shopping.  You want to put a smile on the faces of your loved ones and show them how much you care.  That is all the motivation you need to complete your mission shoppers.

My 2015 budget was $266, and I had three people to shop for.  I bought my first two presents and felt pretty good about where my budget was at.  Then, a shopper’s worst nightmare came true for me: I realized that I had accounted for $40 I did not have.  DUN DUN DUUUN!!!  That number may seem insignificant, but when your piggy bank is a source of income and a budget your lifeline, $40 is a make or break amount.  I had a complete meltdown: tears, screaming, the works.  After my less than stellar adult moment, I regained composure, put on my thinking cap, and did some more research.  Currently I have all but one gift purchased and am well under budget.  A Christmas miracle in November!!  Once I purchase my last gift, I will have spent $194 total for six gifts, received $80 for outside contribution, and be $152 under budget.  Keep in mind that the six gifts I bought for three people could easily be six gifts for six people.  I hope this gives you a visual of how the 16 tips listed above are effective, especially when money is tight.  Also, they are functional year-round.  Happy shopping!

(Image Source: http://giphy.com/gifs/christmas-lights-tree-jPVMA8hVPEl6E)

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: May the Odds be Ever in Your Favor

Previous Video:

My Links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Sign Up For MyWebRoom: http://9nl.me/LaurenMichele

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

 

Florida Travels Part 2 | Disneyland vs Disney World

(Image Source: http://disneydose.com/disneyland-v-walt-disney-world/#axzz3oJ2zYWzd)

Let’s get ready to rumble!!  Although it has been a little over a year since I visited Disneyland, I was able to determine differences between these two parks and decide my favorite.

– Weather –

In this category, Disneyland is the winner.  The dry air makes for a much better experience when one is on their feet all day long.  The Florida humidity was miserable to endure, and it brought back awful memories from my time living in Texas.  Sweat?  No thank you!

– Size –

Disneyland is at a disadvantage in terms of “wiggle room” therefore when a new ride is opened, more often than not an existing ride has to go.  Sometimes the change is good, sometimes it is bad.  Disney World has plenty of room for expansion; however, more room also means larger crowds.  Because I am most definitely not a people person and both parks get ridiculously busy, I am calling this a category a draw.

– Accessibility –

Disneyland is the winner of this category because its two parks, Downtown Disney, and the parking lots are close together and within walking distance.  Disney World is so big that a significant part of the day is spent catching a bus or the monorail to visit another park or leave.  This requires extra walking/running, and it takes up park time.

– Rides –

Most of the rides I went on were different in a subtle manner, specifically “Space Mountain” and “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.”    The one ride I went on that was unique to Disney World was the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was really fun; however, much like Radiator Springs Racers at Disneyland, it was disappointingly short.  The changes that caught my attention at Disney World were Pirates of the Caribbean being short and the lack of an Indiana Jones ride (there is only a show).  Those are two of my favorite rides therefore Disneyland wins this category.

– Cleanliness –

The bathrooms and a few of the park areas were dirty, and, in certain areas such as Animal Kingdom, the tables only had two chairs therefore if a family took chairs to accommodate a larger party, others would not have seating.  I understand that it is hard to keep up with such a large crowd, but it is very much noticeable and inconvenient.  However, I am not picking a winner because I do not recall the state of Disneyland.

– Animal Kingdom –

Animal Kingdom is unique to Disney World.  I love going to the zoo so I was really excited to visit this park, but it exceeded my expectations.  I had the pleasure of seeing numerous gorillas, watching a hippo swim from an underwater point-of-view, and coming closer than ever to zebras, my favorite exotic animal, on a safari ride/tour.  This park was a pleasant surprise.

– Pricing –

One more thing I would like to discuss regarding both parks is the ticket and pass prices.  I am outraged that the pricing continues to rise.  Disney makes MILLIONS of dollars per year.  Why do people have to go broke in order to enjoy a fun day at a Disney park??!!!  I guarantee that the prices could be significantly lowered, and income would remain steady.

– The Results –

There are many more categories to debate such as castle size (FYI, I don’t care), but I chose only those that directly affected me and/or caught my attention.  Disneyland is the obvious winner based on both the categories and my California roots.  Disney World is a fun adventure to plan for and experience at least once, but Disneyland is much better in terms of frequency.  Once again, keep in mind this is my personal opinion, and I am a biased California girl.  ;)

Stay tuned for part 3 A.K.A. “The Highlight Reel.”  :)

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/florida-travels-part-1-vacation-woes/

Previous Video:

My Links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Sign Up For MyWebRoom: http://9nl.me/LaurenMichele

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed

 

 

Florida Travels Part 1 | Vacation Woes

(Image Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/shookphotos/5727898411)

My family recently returned from a 7-day trip to Orlando, Florida.  Expect the unexpected because I am starting with the negatives of the trip.  Prepare yourself for ranting and venting.

(Image Source: http://www.theprospect.net/what-its-like-to-travel-through-airports-a-gifs-piece-25245)

1.  I have always wanted to travel the world, but I am having second thoughts.  On the way to Florida, the layover in Dallas lasted four hours instead of one hour; sleeping in an airport is definitely not comfortable.  Despite not having problems in the past, I got extremely sick during the flights.  In a nutshell, I am no longer a fan of flying.

(Image Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/mathewg5/18-questions-sweaty-girls-are-tired-of-being-asked-dst2?sub=3400732_3475297#.al3we0wOdx)

2.  I lived in Texas for 13 years, and the humidity was unbearable.  Visiting Florida was like reliving a nightmare.  Non-stop sweating, irritability, and face breakouts.  Fun stuff!!

3.  I have heard tales of the hissing cockroaches in the sunshine state.  I believed they were big but thought the size was exaggerated.  NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!  Me and my brother, while exploring the resort grounds, discovered the dead body of a cockroach.  Believe me when I tell you the stories are not an exaggeration.  Hissing cockroaches are BIG.

(Image Source: https://nicolegoldfarb.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/10-things-ive-learned-about-living-in-nyc/)

4.  Hotel prices are ridiculous.  I paid $14 for SPF 15 sunscreen.  Seriously???

(Image Source: http://memegenerator.net/instance/24458614)

5.  Where are all the kids coming from??  Is there a fall break from grade school that I have never heard of??  Either that or everyone in Florida is home-schooled.

6.  Sports highs are amazing.  Sports lows, not so much.  Unfortunately, during the trip, the Anaheim Angels came up one game short of the playoffs, and the USC Trojans were upset by Washington.  My heart is still recovering.

(Image Source: https://ethiopiacatalog.wordpress.com/2013/12/02/peace-corps-abcs/)

7.  I had a blast at Disney World, but the crowds were both unexpected and annoying.  My family purposefully went during October because it is supposed to be a slow month.  If that is a slow month, I cannot even fathom what summertime is like.  The crowds were massive, and the people were, more often than not, rude.  I had a lot of fun, but I would be lying if I said the amount of people didn’t make me miserable more than once.

(Image Source: http://smileslovesyou.tumblr.com/post/30292461109)

8.  Never EVER wear converse to a theme park.  For the first two out of three days at Disney World, I wore Converse.  NEVER AGAIN!!  I cannot even begin to explain the excruciating pain, limping, and blisters I endured.  Thankfully, my family lifted my spirits by making me laugh and allowing me to sit and rest every now and then.

(Image Source: http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/3t8s5i)

9.  Vacation is exhausting!  I know that might sound snobby and/or ungrateful, but I am being dead serious.  I need a post-vacation vacation.

Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.  The theme is Disney World versus Disneyland.  :)

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/college-graduation-one-year-later/

Previous Video:

My Links:

Art Blog: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/laurenmicheleonline/

Sign Up For MyWebRoom: http://9nl.me/LaurenMichele

Lauren Michele’s MyWebRoom: http://www.mywebroom.com/room/laurenmicheleonline/#

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/lagirl93/

Tumblr: http://laurenmichelephotography.tumblr.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenmichele93

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA/feed