Come Together

Today is November 5th a.k.a. the date of my birth. In honor of this special day, I want to tell you a story. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about doing more to combat prejudice. During my family’s recent vacation, I witnessed a moment that touched my heart in an unexpected way. My dad, brother, and I wasted no time in checking out the pool once we arrived at our hotel. Right before we left, a trio of teenage girls walked by, each appearing to be of a different ethnic background. There was also an older couple, possibly in their fifties, sitting near the gate. I mention age and race for a reason so stay with me. The girls saw the couple and immediately lit up, saying hello and sitting down to talk; they even took some selfies together. I watched long enough to deduce that these five people were acquaintances because of the hotel. Age didn’t matter. Race didn’t matter. They were able to find things in common and establish a relationship. It is easy to get caught up in the news and feel weighed down by the negative all the time. I want this story to be a reminder of the good in this world as well as a beacon of hope. Please hold on to the positive, no matter how small, because it does exist. ❤️

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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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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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You Can Make a Difference

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

You might be thinking “I don’t hold a position of power.  How can I be effective and help eradicate prejudice?”  You can talk and keep the conversation going in a civil manner.  You can also take action.  That doesn’t mean becoming a one-person revolution.  It can be as simple as looking someone in the eyes and smiling.  I want to share a story with you that furthers my point.  Read until the end and keep an open mind. :)

Thank you NikkieTutorials for sharing!  Why is Natasha Howell’s story important?  The tragedies that have taken place are heartbreaking, and our reactions dictate the future.  Reacting in anger and causing a divide changes nothing.  If each and every one of us does our part to treat people with kindness, those small puzzle pieces will create a chain reaction and fit together to create something big.  Perhaps I’m a bit naive, but I truly believe the people who care about unity outnumber those who allow prejudice to affect their attitude.  You might be one person in a big world, but it is better to make a difference in at least one person’s life rather than stand by and do nothing at all.

🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍  🌏  🌎  🌍

I want to share a video that was posted on Facebook today.  It made me cry, but it also made me happy and hopeful.  You might know Candace Payne as “Chewbacca Mom.”  In this moment, it doesn’t matter what your personal opinion is regarding her claim to fame.  What matters is that she continues to use her newfound platform to make people smile.

 

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

– John 3:16

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

– John 15:12

❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

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– Lauren Michele 😘

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Let’s get down to business readers.  I am serious about this Youtube endeavor.  I have no expectations for immediate success because I’m a newbie, a baby youtuber with a measly 16 subscribers.  It would be nice to be successful, but I sincerely enjoy what I do.  Youtube reminds me of my dance days.  You put in blood, sweat, & tears and receive nothing in return.  I have nothing to show for the hundreds of hours of planning, filming, and editing I have done, but I could not be any more thankful for my 16 subscribers who chose me for me.  All that being said, I want to step up my game and make a run at being a successful Youtuber.  You follow my blog for a reason, and perhaps that reason will translate to Youtube.  In regard to my video content, my personality and style are down-to-earth and laid back; I discuss all aspects of my life including art, beauty, books, fashion,movies, etc.  I won’t beg you to check out my Youtube channel and subscribe.  However, if you are curious, watch this:

Take a peek at my channel:

* https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCic1VLw_OuW2fzDQ88oi_AA *

I sincerely appreciate your support of my blog and hope we can continue to be online friends on Youtube.  If my videos do not suit your tastes, I completely understand.  We can still be blog friends. ;)

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Debbie Downer

Illustration by Lily Clark                     Clark, Lily. 2011. Web. 16 June 2015. http://www.layouth.com/held-down-by-depression/.

Prepare yourself.  I’m about to vent about some not-so-happy issues.  Me and my mom recently relocated to the west coast to join my dad and brother who had already been living in that area for a few years.  Because of college, the move was stretched out to three years for me and for my mom who selflessly chose to stay behind and help me.  Words will never be able to express my gratitude!  An impending out-of-state move is not easy to deal with while going through undergraduate education.  As if the stress of daily homework and sleepless nights wasn’t enough, let’s throw in living out of boxes and without furniture.  Fast forward to now.  My family is currently sharing a mini apartment above a garage, a space I have nicknamed “The Loft”; it has one main room (a living room, table, and kitchen with no stove), one bathroom, and one bedroom (two small beds).  In case you haven’t already done the math, four adults are sharing a living space meant to comfortably accommodate two people, perhaps two adults and one small child.  I can’t complain because at least my family has somewhere to live.  However, living in small quarters for an extended period of time is not a comfortable situation to be in.  The cherry on top is I have no job, no money, and no car.

I am an introvert therefore it is important that I force myself to go out otherwise I wont do it at all.  So far I am failing miserably even though living like a hermit is sucking the life out of me.  I am pale from not going outside.  I have no physical energy.  I have way too much time to analyze and criticize myself.  I am becoming even more uncomfortable around people.  I am stressed to the point of regular migraines and anxiety attacks.  In a nutshell, NO BUENO!!!  Why the heck am I writing all this down on my blog??  Well, Tuesday was one of those days when I was stuck in the loft working on my laptop and stressing over my current project and life in general.  Also, it was really hot outside, and heat is the worst possible antagonist on a stressful day.   I doubt it is too late for me to get out of this awful cycle, but in my “Debbie Downer” brain, it is.  Being social has not produced positive results in my life therefore I am very cautious.  I am unfortunately comfortable in this way of life, but I know it is not a healthy way to live.  The moral of this story is “Don’t live like a hermit if you have the choice not to.”  The black hole does not magically disappear and replace itself with sunshine and rainbows; it only gets deeper.  Find a happy medium between being yourself and living without regret.  I am going to close with a list of things that make me happy.  Let’s end on a positive note!

– Books –

Bookstore(Source: http://ericsmithrocks.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/gif-belle-books.gif)

Reading(Source: http://cdn1.theodysseyonline.com/files/2015/02/20/6356007252500528281501978539_reading-icarly.jpg)

– Dance –

Dancing 2(Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/aae44b2e115758ff9f398dafd9d0baca/tumblr_mw9jc58eUV1rk27dgo3_500.gif)

Dancing 3(Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/6cec61d67499e2f768b5a81978562039/tumblr_mzfcf5cEhA1s2ntk9o4_500.gif)

– Disney –

Disney(Source: http://33.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3krhzBJEL1r63keto1_500.gif)

Disney 2(Source: http://imgfave.com/view/5795750)

– Fashion –

Shopping(Source: http://s3.scoopwhoop.com/osi/momshop/12.gif)

Clothes(Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/iB37W6VDrWWAw/giphy.gif)

– Music/Singing –

iPod(Source: http://cdn.pigeonsandplanes.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Commute7.gif)

Singing(Source: https://38.media.tumblr.com/189f117354908443e8d52ab73d2517f9/tumblr_mh7c8ceZjz1rrlldmo1_500.gif)

– Water –

Dancing in the Rain(Source: http://media.giphy.com/media/ZotL3kezxlpFC/giphy.gif)

Swimming(Source: http://33.media.tumblr.com/82a0f1d735eb1f001888dc0f4a0c4df3/tumblr_inline_n5heuejuuH1scyims.gif)

I spent the rest of the night playing a video game and watching a movie with my brother so I already feel much better.  Keep moving forward, and don’t look back readers!

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”  – Albus Dumbledore, “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkban”

– 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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