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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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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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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DC vs Marvel

If you’re wondering what the heck is going on, here’s a basic synopsis: Since DC Comics threw their moviemaking hat into the ring that Marvel has dominated since the 2000s, fans have split down the middle, and it is heated.  Relax!  I’m not going to pick a side and start an argument.  I’m here to talk about my disappointment.  If you like a movie embraced by the majority, no one bats an eyelash.  If you like a movie despised by the majority, all hell breaks loose.  Why do people feel the need to bully individuals who like a certain movie?!  No amount of argument is going to change someone’s personal feelings.  You can hate a movie, but don’t attack someone who liked it.  It isn’t difficult to walk away without saying something, especially on the internet.

This is a great time to be alive!  The superheroes we grew up watching on TV are now on the big screen.  We are getting films from DC and Marvel every single year.  Why can’t we all just get along and agree that this is FREAKING awesome?  If you like a movie, feel free to share and spread the love.  If you didn’t like a movie, respect your fellow fans and consider keeping your opinion quiet or refraining from a review that is nothing other than a bashing session.

There’s only one way to end on a positive note.  You’re welcome! 👍

Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOtpeYERu9w

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Best Friend Tag

If you follow my Youtube channel, you know that me and my best friend Gabby did the Best friend Tag.  We had so much fun talking and reminiscing.  I ended up having to edit the video into four parts.  For your viewing pleasure, I am linking all the videos in this blog post for convenience.  Enjoy!

– Part 1 –

Veggietales, Dress up, Wolf Pack, Dream Jobs, Makeup, and Golden Girls

Best Friend Tag 1_Collage

– Part 2 –

Europe, Codewords, Bathroom Karaoke, Fears, and Weather

Best Friend Tag 2_Collage

– Part 3 –

Showtunes and Heavy Metal, Youtube, Shoes, Twinzies, Spongebob Squarepants, Pet Bugs, and Death by Fire

Best Friend Tag 3_Collage

– Part 4 –

Movie Genres, Middle Earth Allegiance, Calamari, Tattoos, and Too Much TV

Best Friend Tag 4_Collage

If you and your best friend(s) would like to do this tag, here are the questions:

1. How and when did you meet?

2. What’s your favorite memory together?

3. Describe each other in one word.

4. What’s your dream job?

5. What’s your favorite makeup brand?

6. What is something that annoys you about the other person?

7. If you could go anywhere in the world together, where would it be and why?

8. Favorite inside joke?

9.  Who takes longer to get ready in the morning?

10. Favorite season?

11. Favorite song?

12. What’s it like being friends with someone who is obsessed with Youtube?

13. Heels or flats?

14. Pants or dresses?

15. Favorite animal?

16. If your house was burning down, and your family was sure to be okay, what would you save and why?

17. Comedy, horror, or chick flick?

18. Blackberry or iPhone?

19. Favorite movie?

20. What is something weird that you eat?

21. Do you guys have anything matching?

22. What’s your favorite TV show?

– Source: http://www.wattpad.com/34825305-best-friend-tag-questions

– Some of these questions are meant for girls but can easily be changed for boys.

” Best friends are people you don’t need to talk to every single day.  You don’t need to talk to each other for weeks, but when you do, it’s as if you didn’t even stop talking.”  – Unknown

Treasure your best friend(s) readers!!

– Lauren Michele <3

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In The Barnyard

In The Barnyard (Source: http://kindredspiritmommy.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Shaun_the_Sheep_06.jpg)

Earlier this week, a friend of mine invited me along for a house sitting adventure.  The adventure was mine to have because my friend had already visited this house and barn many times.  I have seen farm animals multiple times in my twenty-one years of life, but feeding them was a brand new experience.  To be exact, there were five dogs, three cats, two doves, two horses, two donkeys, and a small herd of goats and sheep (approximately ten).  The first part of the afternoon was spent inside watching TV with the dogs.  Nothing especially exciting except for the new episode of Once Upon a Time (Any fellow Oncers reading this??).  Eventually it was time to go outside and feed the other animals.  It was raining, but I did not care one bit.  I was practically leaping out of my skin from excitement!  I put on boots and a large coat, and followed my friend’s lead out the door, over the little bridge, and into the barn.  After filling buckets with two kinds of feed, I volunteered to feed the horses (my favorite domestic animal).  I enjoyed every little thing: opening the gate, walking through the rain and mud, and filling the barrels.  What happened next was the real adventure.  I walked into the goat and sheep enclosure but left the feeding task to my friend.  Have you ever watched goats and sheep be fed?  They are greedy!  There were three bowls, and yet as soon as my friend moved on from one bowl to the next, the entire group would ignore the food in front of them and follow the bucket.  After giving the donkeys some feed, we made our way back into the horse pen.  The group of goats and sheep followed, and one particularly bossy sheep managed to push her way in.  She made her way over to one of the horses and watched it eat as though she was going to take part.  Like I said, GREEDY!!  As I made my way through the mud and attempted to herd the animal back to where she belonged, I could not help but laugh.  The seemingly annoying situation was actually a dream come true.  I felt like Anne of Green Gables trying to get her cow out of Rachel’s field with the help of her best friend Diana.  I managed to back the sheep against the gate but simultaneously had to keep the rest of the pushy herd out.  Teamwork prevailed, and all animals were where they were meant to be once again.  I really wish the chase was on video, but alas it is not.  All I have is the hilarious, muddy memory.  I hope I was able to paint a vivid picture and add some laughter to your Saturday night.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend readers!

– Lauren Michele :)

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