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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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.”

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🍏 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!”

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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.

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💲 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! )

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– 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.

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💲 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! )

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– 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 .

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💲 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! )

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🌴 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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➡️ https://charmedaroma.com 🇨🇦 | https://us.charmedaroma.com 🇺🇸

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

– Lauren Michele <3

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MacGyver Moment

If you thought my misadventures as a retail employee were over, think again!  Buckle your seat belt and prepare to be amused.  Let the story begin!

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Carrying a large bag of trash and a medium sized cardboard box, Lauren walks down the creepy hallway and opens the door to the alley where the dumpsters are located.  She looks for the brick used to keep the door open and finds nothing.  The door will lock upon closing if she walks away to put the trash in the dumpster.  She frantically looks around for something to keep the door open.  She uses the trash bag as a temporary solution while throwing away the cardboard box.  Resuming the search, she looks in all directions, her gaze eventually landing on her feet.  It is the only way!  She reluctantly removes her Italian-made boot, places it in between the door and door jamb, and moves as quickly as she can to and from the dumpster in one boot and one Hanukkah sock.  She makes it safely out of the alley, and the boot fulfills its task without a scratch.

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I will leave you to appreciate my ingenuity in solitude. 😉

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Anthology Candles

Today I am reviewing products from Anthology Candles, a company owned by Rheney Williams and her husband Stephen.  Their soy products are whimsically inspired by music, movies, & books.  Keep reading for information on their candles, mini candles, & wax tarts.  My Youtube review video will be posted at the end for those of you who want to see the products in action.

Candles | $16.00

The top white layer is clean river water; the middle lavender layer is a floral blend; and the bottom purple layer is a mixture of flowers & water.  There is no need to burn the candle down to smell each layer; it immediately smells clean and floral.  If you like strongly scented candles that fill a room within minutes, this is not the product for you.  It took an hour for me to smell the scent, and even then I had to remain within a foot or two to enjoy it.  Once it is burnt, the candle’s scent is hidden by the smell of burnt wick.  As time goes on, the scent comes back and gets stronger.  The draw of this candle is definitely the aesthetic.  The design, inspired by the lantern scene in the Disney film Tangled, is spot on.  The white wax becomes transparent when burning and makes the candle appear as though it is a lantern.  The effect is mesmerizing!  If you are planning a Tangled party, think about investing in these candles and creating your very own “Floating Lanterns” scene.

• Find the candles here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/candles

Mini Candles | $14 per sampler pack

Instead of purchasing more big candles, I got a sampler pack of four mini candles.  Belle’s Library is aged library books, hint of leather, & wild roses.  To me, it smells nutty with a hint of rose.  My nose is obviously confusing the smell of old books for nuts.  I don’t know of any other way to describe it.  It just smells nutty!  Mad Hatter’s Tea Party is bakery cakes with vanilla icing, chamomile tea, and a twist of cinnamon.  I do smell cinnamon and occasionally vanilla but mostly an icee.  I know that sounds crazy but it’s true!  Part of Your World is crisp coastal breeze & warm golden sand.  I smell a blend of vanilla & flowers, and the strength of the scent reminds me of Bath & Body Works products.  Tink’s Flight is fresh verbena, sweet coconut, & tangy lime.  I smell every single one of those notes.  The scent is sweet & sour just like Tinker Bell.  Time for the bad news.  The wicks are folded down in the packaging so when it comes time to light them, zip zilch NADA!  I had to trim the wicks a little bit and wipe them gently with a paper towel; I wasted a lot of matches before finally getting flames.  Once lit, the candles look pretty but don’t smell at all.  These sampler candles are fine if you plan on testing the scents without flame.  It might be a better investment to know what scents you like and buy a few big candles.

• Find the mini candles here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/sample-packs

Wax Tarts | $25 for 4 different scents

* Note: Wax tarts are cubes of scent-infused wax.  Once placed in a warmer (e.g. Scentsy), the heat melts the wax and releases the scent.

I bought one sampler and received four different wax tarts.  Rivendell is amber, oakmoss, twilight woods, & woodland foliage.  I wish I could tell you that my dream of being a Middle Earth elf was fulfilled by this product.  Alas, it smells like play-doh, and the warmer is no help at all.  However, due to circumstances I cannot explain, the scent is improving.  There is hope yet!  Soaring Over is orange blossoms, orange groves, and salty sea breeze.  The scent is inspired by the Disney park ride Soaring Over California.  It smells of oranges and takes me right back to my childhood in Orange County.  The Black Pearl is cannonball smoke, mildewy wood, musty “pirates” water, & salty sea breeze.  I did not like this funky scent at first.  All you smell is must, mildew, and smoke.  Surprise of the year, it smells much more pleasant in the warmer.  If you aren’t into scents that are clean, floral, and/or sweet, this scent might float your boat (get it?!).  Wilderness Lodge is campfire and a forest tree mix of juniper, pine, & spruce.  This spicy forest scent will be p-e-r-f-e-c-t for Christmastime.  Overall, I am very happy with the scents I purchased.  However, much like the candles, it takes an hour or more for the scent to be recognizable, and it does not fill the room; you have to be within a few feet of the warmer to enjoy the scent.

* Rivendell scent description courtesy of http://ritareviews.net/2015/11/anthology-candles-spotlight-lord-of-the-rings/ *

• Find the wax tarts here: https://anthologycandles.com/collections/wax-tarts

Conclusion:

The novelty of Anthology Candles is attractive.  I would recommend their products for two things:

1. The candles and wax tarts are best enjoyed in close proximity (e.g. bedside table or living room side table).

2. I have seen the candles used as decor all over Instagram, especially on bookshelves.

My overall experience was good.  There are only a few changes I would suggest.

1. There are descriptions on the website for the candles but not the wax tarts.  This works out fine if the wax tart happens to have a candle, but if it doesn’t, there is no way of knowing what the scent is.  Also, the packaging gives no indication of the scent.

2. The mini candle sampler packs are not customizable.  There are three packs available, each with a set group of candles.  I am not sure of the possible complications, but it would be nice to have a customization option in the future.

3. The wax tarts can only be purchased in groups of four.  Once again, a customization option would be nice in the future.

4. These products would be much more enjoyable and worth the money if the scents were stronger.

• My review video:

• If you’re interested in more information on Anthology Candles, here are some links to get you started:

Article – http://ritareviews.net/2015/10/the-craft-behind-the-candles-by-rheney-williams/

Etsy – https://www.etsy.com/shop/AnthologyCandles

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/anthologycandles/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/anthologycandles/?hl=en

Twitter – https://twitter.com/anthologycandle

Website – https://anthologycandles.com

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Lord of the Dance | Blogmas 2015

Okay readers.  Time to cheer up and put some life back into Blogmas 2015.  Prepare for a freak out in 3…2…1…

YEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!  THIS IS THE BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!!!!!!!!!!  Michael Flatley, my dance hero and the reason I started dancing.  He is FINALLY coming to California.  I am crying tears of joy!!!!!!!!!!  This is the best thing that has happened in my life in a loooooooooooooooooooooooooong time.

I have NEVER seen Michael Flatley live, only on “Riverdance” and “Feet of Flames” VHS tapes over and over and over and over and over again.  My Christmas has suddenly taken  a turn for the better.  Click the links & witness the majesty:

• Michael Flatley Youtube Channel

• Michael Flatley Website

For those of you wanting to purchase tickets to the “Lord of the Dance United States Tour 2016,” click this link – USA

I am beyond excited and already have a countdown on my phone.  God help the person, place, or thing that tries to get in the way of me seeing Michael Flatley live.  There will be hellfire and brimstone if that happens!!!!!  On a lighter, sweeter note, I am watching Christmas movies and waiting to go to work.  I hope you are having a lovely, relaxing Saturday. :)

Vlogmas – Lauren Michele

10 days until Artmas – Lauren Michele Photography – WordPress.com

20 days until Christmas…

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– Lauren Michele <3

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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