Dawsey + Juliet

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Good morning! Rise and shine and drink some coffee because I’m about to drop many, many words for your reading pleasure. 🌞 I recently picked up “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Annie Barrows & Mary Ann Shaffer. Say that title ten times fast! This is the official synopsis:

“It’s 1946 and author Juliet Ashton can’t think what to write next. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance, he’s acquired a book that once belonged to her – and, spurred on by their mutual love of reading, they begin a correspondence. When Dawsey reveals that he is a member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, her curiosity is piqued and it’s not long before she begins to hear from other members. As letters fly back and forth with stories of life in Guernsey under the German Occupation, Juliet soon realizes that the society is every bit as extraordinary as its name.”  – Goodreads

I didn’t know exactly when I bought this book until recently when I remembered showing it in a thrift store book haul on my YouTube channel in July 2018. I talk about it starting at 3:20.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxQoU0GFdWU

My local library is small, and the volunteer-run used bookstore is even smaller, literally the size of a walk-in closet. In 2018 the library underwent renovations, and the bookstore temporarily moved to an empty store in that same shopping center, which actually provided room to display more books . I was dying to visit so my mom and I checked it out during one of our used bookstore adventures. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” was one of six books I picked up that day. It caught my eye because I knew about the upcoming Netflix movie. I paid one dollar for a hardcover edition in brand new condition. Funny story: The cashier told me she didn’t enjoy the book. Why would you tell a customer that?? She did deter me a little bit, but I’m glad I didn’t give up. It sat on my shelf for two years. The premise interested me, but every time I looked at it, I was never in the right mood to open it and begin. It’s worth noting that the realistic style of the book cover is not my usual taste, which may have contributed to my hesitation; this colorful version of the cover is more up my alley. Fast forward to The Reading Rush in July 2020. One of the reading challenges was “Read a book set on a continent other than the one you live on.” I wasn’t feeling any of my choices until I opened my bureau and saw “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” sitting on my small, brown bookshelf. I decided that was the time to dive in and give it a fair shot. To start, I was very distracted and couldn’t concentrate for more than a few pages at a time. But once I focused and really immersed myself in the story, I was hooked. I almost stayed up overnight to finish it but ultimately took the smart route and finished it in two days. It received 5 stars and became one of my favorite books. SUCCESS! 😍

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Now that we’ve discussed the book, let’s talk about the Netflix adaptation. Unlike many other bookworms, I’m always up for a film version. I’d seen the two lead actors Lily James & Michiel Huisman in clips and pictures so I knew they had chemistry. Even if the movie ended up being terrible, I already shipped them as Dawsey and Juliet. If you haven’t seen the movie, feel free to watch the trailer below before moving on to my review.

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vP9eDmX0ow0

*Note: First you’re going to read my notes that ignore the bigger plot points involving Juliet’s relationship with Mark. Don’t worry! I’m going to end with all the juicy details and tell you how the story ends.  😉  I’m going to indicate all the MAJOR SPOILERS, but please be aware that anything I write could potentially be a SPOILER. Read at your own risk!  ⚠️

•  The book is all about pen pals, and the story is told through letters. That format works when the consumer is reading it, but as a visual medium, the film had to be different. There are still a few letters mentioned and read aloud but only that of Dawsey and Juliet in the very beginning of the movie. There are no written words exchanged between Juliet and her friends or the other members of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society; all their interactions take place in-person. Actually, Juliet’s only friend that made the transition from book to movie is Sidney. For time purposes, I can understand why the film focuses more on the society members.

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•  I like the addition of Juliet’s landlord Mrs. Burns as a character. She adds a bit of humor as well as motherly attention. She seems to be uptight at first, complaining about the loud sound of Juliet on her typewriter. However, she’s the first person to express concern over Juliet’s mood after her return from Guernsey. Her face when she hears Juliet typing again is so sweet.

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•  For the most part, all the society members are as they should be. Dawsey is my new book boyfriend so my feelings about him are fairly obvious.  🥰  Eben is a sweetheart, and his grandson Ei is his mini me. Elizabeth McKenna is the go-getter in the group, the one with courage to stand up to the nazis. Isola Pribby is an adult version of Luna Lovegood, and I dare you to not love her. It’s impossible! Amelia is the character whose portrayal shocked me because she’s so cold at first. I’m not sure if this is the reason why, but Jane is her daughter in the movie, not Eben’s daughter. Elizabeth was Jane’s best friend and a second daughter to Amelia so Amelia’s protective of anything belonging to Elizabeth including the society. It’s worth noting that Eben could’ve been cold in the book for that same reason, but he wasn’t. I understand that she lost her husband, daughter, and Elizabeth during the war; that is a horrible burden for anyone to bear. I’m still not a fan of that creative choice, but Amelia is much more like her book self once she warms up to Juliet so that smooths out some of the edges for me.

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•  After the society is formed, there are clips of each member reading books in different spots on the island. In the midst of World War II & nazi occupation, those stories were their escape. That scene gave me chills and reminded me just how valuable books are.

•  Charlotte Stimple, the woman who gives Juliet a room for rent, is an awful person, similar to Patricia Hamilton’s portrayal of Rachel Lynde but without the redeeming qualities. Her name is different in the movie, the original being Adelaide Addison, but her personality is exactly as it should be. Horrible and wicked!

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•  I will discuss this in detail later. For now all you need to know is that Mark proposed to Juliet before she left for Guernsey, and she said yes. After she is on the island, Juliet has an interesting phone conversation with her friend and publisher Sidney about the proposal. His hesitation to congratulate her implies that he isn’t convinced Mark is the man for her. It feels like a nod to Sidney’s letters in the book disapproving of Mark and teasing Juliet about her constant mention of Dawsey. I appreciate that the film included this detail, even if the letters were combined into one phone conversation.

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•  Juliet’s reaction to Kit being half German is a great talking point. Most non-German Europeans during WWII had a fear of nazi hatred, in this case a fear of it being genetic. Despite that fear, the society raised Kit, and Juliet grew to love her like a daughter. The nazis were a manmade group of extremists who did not and do not represent the ethnically German people. Their army was filled with soldiers groomed from a young age to view certain groups of people with hatred and wipe them out. There’s a saying that kids aren’t born with hate in their heart, it’s taught to them. This is a prime example, sick and twisted and something to ponder.

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•  The conversation about Christian’s death between Amelia and Juliet is though-provoking. Amelia comments that his death is just like that of her husband; they both drowned at sea. There are two sides to every war, but in death all men are the same.

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•  I love the scene when Juliet puts Charlotte in her place after catching her snooping around her rented room. I also love that she leaves and becomes Isola’s housemate because it gives us a closer look at their budding friendship. During their first night as roomies, Isola inquires about Mark’s reading habits. Juliet never answers because Mr. Playboy doesn’t share her passion for books. Another ❌for Mark and another ✔️for Dawsey!

•  The scene in Dawsey’s bedroom is HOT, and that sounds incredibly inappropriate unless you watch the scene. The intimacy and chemistry is scalding without them even touching one another. I already need a drink of cold water! 🥵

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O18EdP3ziQw

*Note: Those blue pieces of paper inside the book are Juliet’s letters to Dawsey. HE SAVED EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HER LETTERS! I’M YELLING BECAUSE THAT’S INCREDIBLY ROMANTIC!!  💌

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•  When Eli was evacuated off the island, Elizabeth gave him her father’s Great War medal, saying it would give him courage. When Dawsey has to tell Kit that her mom is dead, Eli gives him the medal. It can read as a gift of courage for Dawsey or Kit; either way that gesture is too precious! 😭

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•  Let’s add this to the list of reasons why I hate Mark Reynolds: He stops Juliet from comforting Amelia when the society finds out about Elizabeth’s death. I know he doesn’t have a relationship with the society, but he lacks empathy, as though he is above and they are beneath.  😡

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•  You know what’s incredibly beautiful? Dawsey immediately understanding Juliet’s hidden message to him in her letter to the society with her manuscript about their book club. The message references their conversation in the bar when she tells him that his letters made her sense she’d met someone who already understood her. GET MARRIED ALREADY!

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The biggest issues I had with the film adaptation were the changes made to Juliet & Mark’s relationship. The book timeline is as follows: Juliet is charmed by Mark, and he eventually proposes. She doesn’t accept right away, leaving for Guernsey to meet the literary society. She connects with the island and people and never seems like she’s planning to leave. Mark grows impatient waiting for her and travels to Guernsey. His arrogance is the final straw, and she ends their relationship. Through the misadventures of amateur detective Isola, Juliet finds out that Dawsey reciprocates her love and proposes to him. “Would you like to marry me? . . . I’m in love with you, so I thought I’d ask.” Sweet, precious, adorable Dawsey answers “My God, yes!” and proceeds to sprain his ankle climbing down the ladder he was on. Juliet writes of her upcoming wedding to Sidney, ending with a hilarious postscript about good old Ms. Adelaide Addison: “P.S. I ran into Adelaide Addison in St. Peter Port today. By way of congratulations, she said ‘I hear you and that pig-farmer are going to regularize your connection. Praise the Lord!'”  😂 😂 😂

This is the movie timeline: Everything is the same until Mark proposes in front of the boat headed to Guernsey, and Juliet says yes. Just like the book, she’s enchanted by the island and people. However, she rents a room, and her stay feels temporary. Mark is annoyed by her absence and makes the trip to Guernsey. They have a fight, but she sticks by her answer to his marriage proposal. She accompanies him back to London with no implication that she’s coming back. The goodbye is very emotional, and it weighs her down. Not long after they arrive back home, she gives back the ring and ends their relationship. She plans to return to Guernsey but runs into Dawsey at the dock. He made the trip to tell her how he feels. Before he can get very far, she proposes, and he accepts, both using the same beautiful dialogue from the book. They return to Guernsey, get married, and live happily ever after.

The movie timeline isn’t terrible, but it removes aspects of the book that I love. Obviously Juliet knew very little about Dawsey’s age and appearance with only letters as reference, but I think their correspondence fed her doubts about Mark being her soulmate. She never says yes to his marriage proposal because she never wants to say yes. Mark’s attitude on Guernsey is the last straw. He doesn’t care about why she’s there or what she’s writing about. He’s annoyed by little Kit’s presence and arrogantly assumes Juliet wants to be his wife. She rejects him once and for all, telling him she never wants to se him again. She describes herself as free!

I don’t like that “movie Juliet” goes along with the Mark charade for so long, even leaving Guernsey for him. Definitely not a positive for me, but not a dealbreaker either. The proposal in the book would’ve been adorable onscreen, but the dock proposal isn’t a horrible replacement. Mark proposed to Juliet on the dock before she left for Guernsey, and then Juliet proposed to Dawsey on that same dock where she was boarding a boat to go back to Guernsey. I love that parallel! Almost all is forgiven by me thanks to the final scene. Juliet is seen walking out of the cottage once owned by Elizabeth McKenna, her wedding ring just visible. She walks over and lies down beside Dawsey who’s reading a Charles Lamb book to Kit, Lamb being the author of the book that put Juliet’s address in his hands. The ensuing hand choreography and looks of true love are MAGIC. One of the best endings to a period romance film! 😍

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•  I read a review that pointed out the differences between Mark and Dawsey, and I love the contrast (I really wish I had saved the blog name). This is a mix of the previously mentioned blog post and my own thoughts: Mark filled Juliet’s apartment building with flowers. When he visited Guernsey, he brought a bouquet from London and mentioned that Guernsey needed a proper florist. RUDE! Dawsey gave her a small, purple bouquet picked from the side of an island road the first time they met. Life with Mark is a constant string of evening parties, lots of drinking and dancing. Life with Dawsey is days of laughter while playing with Kit and tending pigs; don’t forget about the books! Mark proposes with an engagement ring the size of a boulder which Juliet is hesitant to wear while walking around Guernsey. Dawsey proposes with a simple wedding band which is absolutely stunning in the final scene because the newlyweds look so in love, and that is more than enough for Juliet. I’m sure there’s more to be compared between the two, but you get the picture. *sigh* Perfection!

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•  At the end of the movie, the credits roll while audio clips from a society meeting play. I love hearing those now familiar voices read aloud from books and debate characters and plot points. Dawsey and Juliet are a beautiful part of the book and film, but the literary society is the true heart of the story. If they hadn’t formed, Dawsey would’ve never found the Charles Lamb book. If he’d never found the Charles Lamb book, he would’ve never acquired Juliet’s address and written that first letter. Without that first letter, Juliet would’ve never known about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Without knowing about the society, she would’ve never traveled to Guernsey to meet all of them, Dawsey included, in person. That was the best way to end the movie, listening to the society members do what they do best: Talk about books!

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📖  Let’s go back to what I said earlier: I paid one dollar for a hardcover edition of “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” in brand new condition. I opened the book two years later, & it became a new favorite. What books give readers is priceless! 📚 

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Game of Thrones Rewatch

❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ⚔️ 🦁 ❄️ 🐺 🔥 🐉 ❄️

Leading up to the Game of Thrones season 8 premiere, I was determined to rewatch seasons one through seven. I meant to start on April 1st but actually started on the 2nd. For your blog post viewing pleasure, I copied all of my Facebook updates down below. Enjoy!

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⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️  S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

⚠️ S P O I L E R S   A H E A D ⚠️

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April 1 

8:48am – To all my fellow GOT fans spending the next 2 weeks binging seasons 1-7: May the odds be ever in your favor! 👸🏻

April 2 | S1 E1-6 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

10:48am – Even though I love Daenerys, I think I’ve known all along that my heart belongs to House Stark. ❄️ 🐺 ❄️

11:16am – The W O R S T part of a GOT rewatch is Joffrey. 🤢🤮

2:19pm – This time around I’m trying really hard to keep track of GOT families & historical events. 3 episodes in, I’ve already been on google a billion times! 🤣

4:34pm – Let’s take a moment to appreciate that Sansa started out annoying & ended up being pretty darn BA. I am HERE for 2 strong Stark Girls! 🔥

4:41pm – Popular Opinion: Tyrion is literally the O N L Y bright spot in House Lannister. 🦁

April 3 | S1 E7-10, S2 E1 ( 5 episodes, finished after midnight ) 

1:40pm – GOT lured us into a false sense of security by killing Viserys first. No one liked him! Now, 7 seasons later, we’ve all mourned at least one beloved character. 💔

3:48pm – The 2nd time around actually hurts worse because now I recognize all the foreshadowing. I’m doing a lot of emotional preparation for the end of season 1. 😭💔

5:43pm – WHOA!! Now I understand the signifance of Aemon Targaryen’s interactions with Jon Snow. 😳

6:07pm – I’ve had an up & down relationship with Jamie Lannister. At this moment, I’m feeling no mercy & wondering if the Starks should have just killed him when they had the chance. 🤷🏻‍♀️

6:11pm – I knew episode 9 was coming, but now it’s actually happening . . . SOMEONE HOLD MY HAND!! 😭💔

April 4 | S2 E2-4 ( 3 episodes, finished after midnight ) 

11:53pm – Season 2, Episode 4 a.k.a. the birth of Arya’s kill list! 🐺

April 5 | S2 E5 ( 1 episode, finished after midnight )

N / A

April 6 | S2 E6-7 ( 2 episodes, finished after midnight )

N / A

April 7 | S2 E8-10, S3 E1-5 ( 8 episodes, finished after midnight )

1:11pm – I will probably reach the Red Wedding tonight or tomorrow morning. The 1st time gutted me. This time around I know what’s coming, & I’m still upset. 😭

1:23pm – (S2 E10) The scene when Daenerys walks into the “Iron Throne room” full of snow with a torch . . . that is how you do symbolism! 🔥 Fire & Ice ❄️Also, when she walks “outside,” I’m pretty sure it’s supposed to be The Wall. More symbolism, more genius, such foreshadowing! 😱

1:34pm – Remember when season 2 ended with WHITE WALKERS EVERYWHERE?!? That was fun. 😭

April 8 | S3 E6-10, S4 E1-2 ( 7 episodes, finished after midnight )

2:42pm – Very few shows can take my emotions on a rollercoaster ride like GOT. One episode I’m indifferent to Theon Greyjoy, the next I absolutely despise him. Next thing I know, I want Ramsay Bolton dead & Theon safe and sound. It’s a lot to handle, and yet I wouldn’t change a thing. 🤷🏻‍♀️

3:12pm – For a period of time, it seems like Margaery’s influence might be softening Joffrey. And then in S3 E6 he shoots Ros with his crossbow & nonchalantly walks away. Does he die soon?? I need that to happen NOW. 😭

4:35pm – Davos learning to read is too pure for HBO television. 😭❤️

5:40pm – I made it to S3 E9. *DEEP BREATHS* I knew this was inevitable. The time has come to experience the Red Wedding all over again. H E L P 😭

6:02pm – Jon Snow being in the same place as his brothers/cousins & not even knowing breaks my heart. 💔

6:32pm – Knew what was going to happen. Still cried my eyes out. One of the MOST gut-wrenching episodes in television history! 💔 #RedWedding

12:46am – Joffrey is FINALLY dead. Now I can go to sleep. 😴 BTW, I’ve made it to S4 E3 in 7 days. 👍🏻

April 9 | S4 E3-10, S5 E1 ( 9 episodes, finished after midnight )

2:52pm – Olenna Tyrell did what needed to be done, & I appreciate her for that. MVP! MVP! MVP! 🎉

4:03pm – Here’s the deal: I’ve realized my allegiance lies with House Stark. I wouldn’t mind any of the remaining family sitting on the Iron Throne. That being said, their purpose has always been ruling The North, never the entirety of Westeros. I would be THRILLED if Danaerys ended up on the Iron Throne & established a strong relationship with the Starks ruling The North. There’s my take! ❄️🐺🔥

4:51pm – When Bran & Jon don’t reunite ➡️NNNNNOOOOO!!!!! 😭

5:20pm – S4 E6 – The dragons are getting bigger! 🐉

8:19pm – Oberyn would still be alive as would those who died in his wake if he hadn’t been so emotional during the fight. He. Had. The. Mountain. Defeated. What a shame! 😔

10:28pm – I REALLY don’t want to like Jaime, but his relationship with Tyrion in season 4 puts me in a gray area. He saves his life! 🤷🏻‍♀️

April 10 | S5 E2-7 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

10:06pm – I hate to brag about my gift, but I immediately knew Dorne is inspired by Spain. I felt it in my Mediterranean soul! 🌴 🇪🇸 🌊

12:26am – The thing is, Joffrey is a horrible person but in an annoying way that makes me want to meet him in a dark alley. Ramsay Bolton is on another level. He makes me scared to go outside alone! Joffrey is awful, but during this rewatch I’m realizing that Ramsay is definitely worse. Every time he abuses Sansa, my skin crawls, & I see red. Spoiler Alert: Both of them are now burning in hell. 😈🔥

April 11 | S5 E8-10, S6 E1-4 ( 7 episodes, finished after midnight )

4:26pm – That first white walker battle at Hardhome is just . . . 😱 There is a zombie waterfall! 🧟‍♂️

4:45pm – S5 E8 Hardhome – What a masterpiece! Props to Kit Harrington & Kristofer Hivju for their acting. The emotions are palpable as they float away from the battle & deal with the magnitude of what has begun: a war with the dead! Also, the creepy ending is both brilliant & bone chilling, the newly dead rising to join the Night King’s army. 💀

5:15pm – Shireen’s death is one of the saddest in seasons 1-7. I always despised Melisandre, but this is the moment I wanted Stannis dead as well. What a disgusting excuse for a human being & father! 😡

7:39pm – Brienne & Pod coming to the rescue of Sansa & Theon is a freaking M O O D. 🔥😈🔥

April 12 – 6 Episodes | S6 E5-10, S7 E1

3:56pm – If we’re discussing the saddest GOT deaths, Hodor is near the top of the list. 💔

4:44pm – 🐉 FULL. GROWN. DRAGON. 🔥

7:43pm – Watching both Hodor & Rickon die in one day is too much to handle. Pray for me! 😭🙏🏻

8:02pm – Ramsay’s dead. I feel better now. 😈🔥

9:35pm – Seeing Cersei on the Iron Throne makes my blood boil. If a dragon eats her, it will be too kind a death. Remove her crown, whatever it takes! ❄️🐺🔥🐉

April 13 | S7 E2-7 ( 6 episodes, finished after midnight )

5:11pm

Missandei: “You stand in the presence of Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, rightful heir to the Iron Throne, rightful Queen of the Andals and the First Men, Protector of the Seven Kingdoms, the Mother of Dragons, the Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, the Unburnt, the Breaker of Chains.”

Davos: “This is Jon Snow. He’s King in the North.”

Still one of my favorite GOT moments. 🤣

5:12pm – I FREAKING love Tyrion! 💘 His humor is a bright spot on a very intense show. 🦁

5:40pm – We should all agree on this: the moody, holier than thou three-eyed raven is not our favorite version of Bran. 🙄

11:36pm – Please take a moment to appreciate that Uncle Benjen was half dead & exhausted but stayed alive long enough to save the lives of two nephews. What. A. Hero. 😭👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

11:49pm – Remember when the biggest threat was dead people? Additionally they have bears & giants & horses, oh my! Those were the days. S7 E6 changed all that for the worse. Now they have a ZOMBIE DRAGON!! 😱

12:10am – A zombie running at Cersei? Replay! 😂

12:56am

Bran: I became the three-eyed raven.

Sam: Oooh! . . . I don’t know what that means.

None of us do!! 🤣

1:17am – 🎉 I did it! I finished Game of Thrones seasons 1-7 in 12 days. 🏅 IIIIIIIIIII AM THE CHAAAMPION MY FRIIIEEENDS!!! 🏆 

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

– Lauren Michele ❤

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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! 😎👍 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

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– Lauren Michele ❤

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Misadventures in Babysitting

I recently reread the first three books of The Baby-Sitters Club series, and the nostalgia was overwhelming. I remember being inspired back in the day to make my own “kid kit” and be the best babysitter EVER. I’ve been blessed to care for children of all ages, and I like to think that I made some kind of positive impact on their lives. This is starting to sound heartwarming so let me put on the brakes because this is not about the good times. Be honest; you’re here to laugh at my expense. 😂 This is a more accurate description of what you’re about to read:

Just to be clear, I am a responsible babysitter, and nothing dangerous has ever happened in my care. The tales I’m about to reveal weren’t directly my fault, just a handful of humorous and unfortunate events.

– Board Game Gone Wrong –

The brother & sister I was babysitting suggested we play chutes and ladders, and I eagerly agreed because I thought it would be fun to relive my childhood. I have to be honest and tell you that I got beat fair and square. I didn’t come in first place nor did I come in second; I was dead last. This particular board game is meant for kids, and even though I had no intention of beating my young companions, I didn’t think I would be so terrible. We hadn’t been playing long before the sister turned to me and said with a straight face: “You’re really bad at this game.” There is nothing quite as humiliating as an insult from someone who is less than half your age. I haven’t played that game since.

– Late Night TV –

This particular situation was mostly my fault, but have no fear because it had nothing to do with my young charges. For an extended period of time, I had a steady babysitting job with a family who lived in my neighborhood. One night while sitting at their house, I decided to watch some television after the kids were sound asleep; of course I had the parents’ permission. It was late at night, and there was a thunderstorm brewing. Of all the things I could have watched, I settled on a crime show. That was my first mistake. I eventually decided TV was a bad idea, and picked up the book I brought with me which just so happened to be a mystery. That was my second mistake. My third and final mistake was leaving only one lamp on. I’m not sure why, but I never turned on the room light to make myself feel safer. It was a tense few hours. I didn’t know nighttime could be so noisy! I can’t even tell you how many times I checked the doors and windows to make sure they were locked ( once I built up the courage to do so ). When the parents arrived through the garage, I naturally thought they were murderers until they stepped into the house and greeted me by name. That was the last time I ever watched a crime show or read a mystery while babysitting.

– I Cry Fowl –

I will ease you into the fourth and final story with the typical babysitting story of a bird in the garage. It happened while I was outside with the “chutes and ladders siblings” for some fresh air and playing time. While taking a brief break from the sun, a curious bird joined us. He was harmless, but I couldn’t help panicking. The brother’s personality was unpredictable, and I pictured him opening the door and accidentally letting our new winged friend inside the house. Of course I had to cage (get it?!) my fear so the kids wouldn’t panic and do what I just described. I spoke softly and encouraged them to stay still so the bird wouldn’t feel threatened. He explored a little more and flew away, never to bother us again. Crisis avoided! I swear the animal kingdom is out to get me.

– Dino and the Popsicles –

I realize that the title sounds like a cool band name, but the following events are anything but cool. Literally! I was once again babysitting my neighbors, but this time it was during the day. The parents provided popsicles and told me the kids could play outside. Simple enough, right? WRONG!! When the time came, the siblings grabbed their cold, refreshing popsicles, and we ventured outdoors into the unbearable heat & humidity. After some quality playing time with their dog Dino, the sister informed me that she had to use the restroom. I thought nothing of it until she went to turn the doorknob, and nothing happened. I thought the door was stuck because that is normal in Texas, and I gave it a try. Nothing happened, and my heart started to sink into my stomach. I took some deep breaths and reminded myself that I had to stay calm because I was in charge of two kids and one dog. I made my way to the front of the house to try the garage door; I brought along the sister because she was old enough to stay calm and help me with the code to open the door from the outside. I managed to get the garage door open, but the door to the house was locked, and we had no luck finding the spare key. Trust me, I searched high and low. I had told the brother stay in the backyard with the dog; thankfully the garage wasn’t far from the gate so the sister and I pulled double duty keeping a close eye on them. Unfortunately that didn’t work. The little boy gave in to his curiosity and opened the gate before we could reach him. That wasn’t my main concern. Remember who he was with!! I spent the next 10-15 minutes running up and down the street yelling “DINO!!” No, this is not an unaired episode of The Flintstones. I desperately tried to shepherd him into the gate held open by the sister while simultaneously keeping my eye on the brother because, as you already know, he was very unpredictable (typical at his age). He tried to help by joining in with his small but mighty voice, but really it was just more noise and extra stress. Finally I got that darn dog into the backyard and locked all of us in. I had a mischievous dog and two sweaty, sticky kids in my care, and I felt helpless. I hated to pull them away from something important, but I had to inform the parents of our predicament since I had tried every other way to get back inside. Thankfully I had my phone on me so I called and left a calm, collected message. I spent the next hour or so keeping the kids distracted on the trampoline until their parents came to our rescue. I profusely apologized and fully expected to never work for them again. The parents shocked me by apologizing about their faulty lock, which they forgot to tell me about before leaving, and applauded my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. I did indeed work for them again, and thankfully the preceding story was the worst experience I ever had, both with them and with babysitting period. It was a tough experience to go through, but I learned a lot.

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Cinderella Part II – Have Courage and Be Kind

Cinderella 2015(Source: http://img1.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20141119151633/disney/images/b/b4/Cinderella_2015_1.jpg)

Good evening and welcome to the 2nd and final part of my Cinderella series. Part I was posted on my art blog yesterday. If you did not read it, I suggest you read it now.  After all, what is part II without part I?? Here is the link: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/cinderella-part-i-a-little-magic/

Part I was all about the beautiful costuming created by designer Sandy Powell.  Tonight’s post focuses on the main motto of the movie: “Have courage and be kind.”  Ella’s mother expressed these words before [SPOILER] her death.  Ella took the phrase to heart and recited it in order to endure harsh treatment from her stepmother and stepsisters.  Despite being treated like a servant rather than a relative, she was gracious.  However, when her happiness was on the line, she had the courage to speak up.  What an example!  In negative situations, it is always a better choice to be the bigger person and turn the other cheek.  But, never let your kindness be mistaken for meekness.  The unfortunate truth is that there are people who will attempt to take advantage of compassion.  Kindness should always stem from genuine desire, not obligation or fear.  Have the courage to speak up if you feel uncomfortable and/or threatened.

I hope you have enjoyed this two-part Cinderella series.  If you have not already seen the movie, I highly recommend you do so.

Cinderella Movie Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20DF6U1HcGQ

“Have courage and be kind.  Where there is kindness, there is goodness and where there is goodness, there is magic.” – Ella’s mother, “Cinderella”

– Lauren Michele :)

Cinderella Part I: https://laurenmichelephotography.wordpress.com/2015/03/18/cinderella-part-i-a-little-magic/

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/03/15/in-the-barnyard/

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