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.

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When It Rains, It Pours

It has been a rough few days in my household. After my cheerful blog post on Tuesday, things went downhill. My mom got really sick & went to Urgent Care which turned into an emergency room visit. She used to be a nurse so sickness rarely affects her unbelievable threshold for discomfort & illness. I knew the pain was serious when she sought treatment from a doctor. Approximately fourteen hours later, all tests had come back negative, and my very tired parents were back home. I was worried sick about what the illness might be, but nothing major appears to be wrong. My mom is strong & healthy, and I have no doubt she’s going to make a speedy recovery. I swear she is a living, breathing superwoman. The day she got sick, she bought groceries & dinner despite the pain. After everything was unloaded from the car, she said the following to me: “Here’s the food. Please fill this container with dish soap. I’m going to Urgent Care. I’ll be back.” If you think that sounds nonchalant, you are correct. She might as well have said “I’m going to the nail salon. I’ll be back.” I want to be her when I grow up! 💪🏻

In the midst of being concerned for my mom, I received a distressing email early Wednesday morning from YouTube. According to their new standards, I am no longer eligible for their YouTube Partner Program. This means I lose out on making money from my videos as well as helpful features such as creating my own thumbnails & scheduling upload times. I wouldn’t still be a YouTuber if money was my main motivation, but what little I do make helps me to continue creating content. It is so motivating to watch my monthly income increase month by month thanks to increased viewership & support. Right now the news feels like a punch to the gut, but I refuse to let this stop me. I am here to stay for as long as I feel inspired to make videos. If you want to support my channel, thank you from the bottom of my heart! <3

The cherry on top of this emotionally draining week is a bit more humorous. Thanks to the amount of clothing I have jammed into my teeny tiny closet, the right pole flange (look it up) broke. I had to remove one of my hanging shelf organizers on the other side of the closet, no easy task when you’re angry & tired, and make space for some of the clothes about to fall to the floor. Just what I needed to cheer me up! 🙄

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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Injured Reserve

My clumsiness is no secret, but I have outdone myself. If you’re even the least bit squeamish, LEAVE NOW JUST IN CASE!!

1. On Friday September 15th while folding clothes at work, I looked down and realized my arm was scratched and bleeding; I still have no idea when or where it happened.

2. On Saturday September 16th while carrying a heavy sign at work, I stubbed my toe. It hurt momentarily, but I didn’t think anything of it. When I put the sign down, I realized my toe was bleeding… A LOT. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as it seemed; my toenail was only partially split, and the bruise caused very little discomfort.

3. Fast forward to Thursday September 21st. I was preparing my usual breakfast: coffee & a blueberry bagel with lactose free cream cheese. The cream cheese was brand new so I slid my finger around the container to loosen the lid. What you think happened did happen and required immediate medical attention. Nothing a quick patch up couldn’t fix! I went back to preparing my bagel and found myself uttering these words: “Dang it! I got cream cheese on my band-aid.”

4. I can’t remember the exact date, but I know that sometime that same week I tripped going up the stairs and scraped my leg in two places. I can’t even remember the last time this happened to me so it was bound to happen sooner or later. The bruises are still visible.

One, two, three, FOUR accidents in one week. That is quite possibly a record! The embarrassment is long gone so feel free to laugh at my expense. If you don’t want to laugh at me (I appreciate your loyalty), laugh at this girl. ⬇️

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– Lauren Michele ❤︎

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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.

(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.  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Dear Younger Self

(Image Source: https://worthyofagape.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/dear-younger-self.jpg)

Two nights ago, I had an eye-opening experience.  I couldn’t sleep so I decided to read through my old diary, and what I found shocked me.  I used vague language and failed to mention most of the significant events from my childhood.  There was no substance!  I am a writer; when the need arises, I express myself through words to vent and heal.  In my poetry journals, I was completely open about what was going on around me and how I was feeling.  However, those poems were written within the last five years.  My diary was started four years prior to my discovery of poetry.  Perhaps I’ve been watching too much “Criminal Minds” because I have an analysis.  I wont give explicit details, but I went through a lot mentally and emotionally.  My memories are crystal clear, but, based on my diary, I was not aware of how I was being affected.  I brushed aside contributing factors as minor annoyances.  I believe that repression is why, years later, I react so explosively; I am overcompensating for my silence in the past.  I don’t want to drag on so I will end with these words, a note to my younger self and girls who have gone through/are going through similar struggles:

“You feel ugly, fat, alone, and hopeless.  You have given up on yourself because no matter how desperate you are to speak up, you are afraid.  Let go of your emotions; allow yourself to scream and cry.  When you feel better, pick yourself up and start anew with your head held high.  It may feel impossible now, but you make it farther than your young mind can imagine.  Do not lose the fire inside of you.  Never stop fighting!”

(Image Source: https://img0.etsystatic.com/024/0/6604282/il_570xN.509481350_gcnr.jpg)

(Image Source: https://fightingchronicpain.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/never-stop-fighting.jpg)

(Image Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/qwj1znuklIGc0/giphy.gif)

“And all those things I didn’t say, wrecking balls inside my brain.  I will scream them loud tonight.  Can you hear my voice this time?  This is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I’m alright song.  My power’s turned on.  Starting right now I’ll be strong.  I’ll play my fight song.  And I don’t really care if nobody else believes ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.”

“Fight Song” by Rachel Platten: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo1VInw-SKc

                                   (Image Source: http://frenchpressmornings.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Hebrews13.5.png)

(Image Source: http://megansmidt.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/jeremiah-29-11.jpg)

“In the midst of deep sorrow, I see Your light is breaking through.  The dark of night will not overtake me.  I am pressing into You.  Lord, You fight my every battle.  And I will not fear.  I am not alone.  I am not alone.  You will go before me.  You will never leave me.”

“I Am Not Alone” by Kari Jobe: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfveawSAHJA

(Image Source: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-IFBiMPMV-jQ/VTb70apiEZI/AAAAAAAAS_M/wk8D5yENqM0/s1600/just-keep-swimming.gif)

(Image Source: http://24.media.tumblr.com/c3a6fcfcb0fc5843efd73dd3e2a394ee/tumblr_mz4anao6Pn1rd0hedo1_500.gif)

(Image Source: http://s1064.photobucket.com/user/kaitlinleighs/media/tumblr_m7utqjHJzL1r9fcwro1_500.gif.html)

(Image Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/13uNYQRS1U6mTC/giphy.gif)

I hope you feel better!  Feel free to talk and/or vent in the comment section.  This is a safe environment.  “See” you soon readers.  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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The Fickle and The Faithful

(Image Source: http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mc6ohtA7MX1qbhmovo9_1280.jpg)

Once again I find myself blogging early in the morning about a not-so-pleasant subject.  But, it must be done because bottled up emotions are never a good thing.  This morning I am venting about fickle friends.  OOOOOHHHHH SNAP!!!!!  You are probably thinking I am  calling out someone specific.  These thoughts are inspired by personal experiences, but I am speaking generally.  The first thing I want to address is this:  Everyone has been a fickle friend at one time.  Do not beat yourself up if you have thought badly of a friend, gossiped, yelled, or been physically mean.  Those things are terrible, but what truly matters is your heart and what you do to make things right.  Friendship is a two-way street; if all persons involved are willing to trust one another and fight together, that relationship will last.

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  – Proverbs 18:24

I have lost more than a handful of friends during my twenty-two years of life.  I have grown a thick skin and would even say I have a certain amount of bitterness in my heart towards friendships.  However, I would be lying if I said that losing friends does not hurt me in the slightest.  No one should ever feel like they are convenient for another person.  “Our parents know each other.”  “We do the same activity together week after week, year after year.”  “We go to the same school and attend the same classes.”  I know what it feels like to have compartmentalized friendships.  Once those “compartments” are no longer part of your life, the friendships eventually fade away.  Why?  The convenience is gone, and suddenly the friendships requires effort in order to last.  It hurts to share secrets and fears with someone for a significant number of years, and then one day find yourself on the outside looking in at their life.  No matter how high your walls are and how thick your armor is, the pain of losing a friend will find its way to your heart and sting.  I want to encourage those of you who have had similar experiences and/or feel like you have no friends.  You are not alone!  Do not give up on yourself!  The only people you need in your life are the people who want to be there.  I know this has been said a million times in a million different forms, but it is the truth.  I would rather have one genuine, through-thick-and-thin friend than numerous fake friends.

*** Cue the friendship quotes and gifs!!

My best friend Gabby :) :D :P

My brother John <3 <3 <3

(Source: http://www.prettydesigns.com/25-friendship-quotes-for-summer/)

This is just for laughs because I actually hate hugs.  LOL!

(Image Source: http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llizvp2ILY1qfyncko1_500.gif)

*Tears*  Disney for the win!

(Image Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/1a6aa6fb37763f6a3b2ff96d7a581597/tumblr_mm3bbne7R21so67mao1_500.gif)

I hope you feel encouraged.  I will “see” you very soon.  Feel free to leave comments and thoughts below.

Cherish your true friends and no matter what, be a friend readers!

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Early Morning Pondering

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I should most definitely be in bed considering I have had intense headaches on and off for the past three days.  However, here I am at 3am wide awake; my brain is working overtime.  Many changes have taken place in my life over the past three years, and the process has been overwhelming.  There have been moments when I chose to not think, ignore the problem, and pretend like everything is A-OK.  The emotional pain has been easier to deal with in parts.  I have a breakdown, struggle through the resulting depression, feel a little better, and wait for the next breakdown.  It is incredibly hard to move away from a place you called home for thirteen years.  No words can describe the pain of letting go of a life I thought I would have forever.  I never once considered that God would uproot me and my family and take away the house, the people, and the atmosphere I was familiar with.  Routines are my comfort zone.  Anytime change comes along, I panic.  Hence my earlier statement about shutting down and becoming a zombie.  I have no regrets about the jobs I accepted, the events I volunteered for, and the people I associated myself with.  I have vivid memories, both positive and negative; at least I have something to remember.  During this time of transition, social media has been a great tool for staying in contact with friends.  However, it has also been a window for watching life go on without me.  As I said before, I never once thought my life would change so drastically.  Now that my comfort zone is gone, I realize how much the small things meant to me.  For those of you who are letting go of something or someone right now, I am right there with you.  The process sucks, plain and simple.  Cling to the happy memories and the hope that something even better is right around the corner.  Oy vey!  That was cheesy enough to stop my tears.  But seriously, give yourself time to mourn and adjust.  I stayed up late Monday night eating goldfish and watching episodes of “Make It or Break It.”  I know, I know.  I am practically the conductor of the crazy train.  My point is that taking the time to do something you know will instantly make you happy works wonders for your mood.  One step at a time.  Breathe in, breathe out…

Image 1 Source: http://gifsgallery.com/tangled+lanterns+gif

Image 2 Source: http://mickeyandcompany.tumblr.com/post/58935992915/the-descending-lantern-that-rapunzel-lifted-back

This quote scares me to death, but I suppose that is a good thing: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”  – Alan Watts

Think happy thoughts readers!!  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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