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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Farewell Rio

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

With sadness, I bid farewell to the 2016 Olympics.  I have been filled with pride and joy watching my teams compete these past two weeks.  Yes, I said teams.  Of course USA is my number one, but I also support the countries that make up my heritage.  After all, they are underdogs compared to team USA.  No harm done!  Let’s take a look at the medal count:

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

• Team USA 🇺🇸 | 121 Medals | 46 G – 37 S – 38 B

• Team Great Britain 🇬🇧 | 67 Medals | 27 G – 23 S – 17 B

• Team Spain 🇪🇸 | 17 Medals | 7 G – 4 S – 6 B

• Team Israel 🇮🇱 | 2 Medals | 2 B

• Team Ireland 🇮🇪 | 2 Medals | 2 S

🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆🏆 🏆🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆 🏆

What were your favorite moments in Rio?? I have so many I could mention, but I will try to narrow it down.  I felt like a proud mother watching Michael Phelps have one last successful Olympic games after the rough few years he’s had (maybe he’ll be back!).  The USA women’s gymnastics team kicked butt and made me feel more patriotic than I have ever felt in my entire life.  Shout-out to Michael Phelps (5G, 1S), Katie Ledecky (4G, 1S), and Simone Biles (4G, 1B)!!  According to Google, they are the top medalists for 2016.  Team USA made me proud all around, but it felt good to dominate artistic gymnastics and swimming.  After a rough start, I am so proud of Spain for getting the bronze in men’s basketball.  Also, a silver in women’s basketball.  Top 3 in the world.  Not too shabby!!  I watched Marc Lopez & Rafael Nadal win gold in men’s doubles.  I’m pretty sure I grew gray hair during that match.  The stress was real, but Lopez earned his first medal, and Rafa now has a gold medal in singles and doubles.  I watched Team GB get the gold in women’s field hockey.  It was a stressful but thrilling game.  Well done ladies!  I did not have the pleasure of watching Ireland at all, but I am nonetheless proud.  Last but certainly not least, I want to express my admiration for Team Israel.  My heart breaks knowing that the Israeli athletes continue to be treated like trash.  However, they held their heads high, maintained composure, and walked away with two medals.

Farewell Olympics!  See you in Tokyo!! 🇯🇵

🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊 🎾 🚴 ⚽ 🏀 🏇 🏉 🚣 ⛳ 🏊

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– Lauren Michele <3

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Florida Travels Part 3 – The Highlight Reel

(Image Source: http://saszombieassault.wikia.com/wiki/File:Cute-sun-with-sunglasses-clipart-yTkg5reGc.jpeg)

Part 1: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/florida-travels-part-1-vacation-woes/

Part 2: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/florida-travels-part-2-disneyland-vs-disney-world/

The time has come.  Let’s look at the highlights from my trip to “The Sunshine State.”

1.  Leading up to the trip, I was freaking out due to the constant rain in Florida.  I knew my family desperately needed a vacation and didn’t want anything to go wrong.  Praise Jesus hallelujah!!!  It barely sprinkled while we were there.

2.  For the first time in my life, I got to stay in a resort.  The experience was not perfect, but overall it was really nice and relaxing.

3.  Me and my brother love to swim.  Unfortunately, we do not own a pool or live near a pool.  It felt great to have a pool nearby for 7 days.  The hot tub was the cherry on top, especially after walking all day at Disney World.  ;)

4.  My family ate at Freddy’s and Shake Shack for the first time, two places that have delicious burgers and to die for frozen custard.

5.  Staying with the theme of food, we also ate Brazilian food at Gilson’s Brazilian Restaurant.  YUM!

6.  Seeing Disney World for the first time was pretty special.  I rode/visited the following attractions:

• Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Magic Kingdom)

• Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (Magic Kingdom)

• Kali River Rapids (Animal Kingdom)

• Kilimanjaro Safaris (Animal Kingdom)

• Pirates of the Caribbean (Magic Kingdom

• Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Magic Kingdom)

• Swiss Family Treehouse (Magic Kingdom)

• The Magic Carpets of Aladdin (Magic Kingdom)

• World Showcase (Epcot)

7.  Hearing foreign accents and languages for 3 days straight was music to my ears.

8.  While in Hollywood Studios, I noticed a group of kids lining up to meet a Disney Junior character.  Thinking of my niece, I walked over to see who the character was.  I was so excited to discover it was Doc McStuffins.  I immediately recorded a video and sent it to my sister so she could show my niece.  Hearing that my niece was watching the video over and over again made my day.  :)

9.  My family has endured a lot over the past three years.  Finally being together, relaxing, and laughing, the experience is indescribable.  My heart was and is very happy and satisfied.  <3

10.  Last but definitely not least, this is the highlight of my year.  Mom, John, and Lauren are standing at the entrance of Reebok waiting for dad to make a purchase.  A man walks in looking for a friend.  He yells “Marco!”  Mom promptly yells back “Polo!”

Are you done laughing???  I’m not!!!  We had to walk out of the store because we were laughing so loud.

I hope you enjoyed this 3-part series about my first trip to Orlando, Florida.  I have one more Disney-themed post coming your way so keep an eye out for that.

Check out my first Disney World Vlog:

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– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/florida-travels-part-2-disneyland-vs-disney-world/

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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.  :)

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

– Lauren Michele <3

Previous Post: https://laurenmichelelifestyle.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/the-fickle-and-the-faithful/

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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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Summer Essentials 2015

These are my must-haves for Summer 2015.  Watch the Youtube version here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYeTuY_DPJs – or continue reading.  Click the names of each product to get more information.  :)

*** I apologize in advance for the weird spacing!  I’m having technical problems with my blog but doing my best to fix them.

Sunscreen Spray

 

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen Spray

Sunscreen spray takes less time to apply than sunscreen lotion but is just as effective.  Coppertone offers sprays ranging from SPF 30 to 100.

– Swimsuit –

Roxy Moroccan Beach Tiki Tri Tankini Top

Roxy Moroccan Beach Tiki Tri Tankini Top
Roxy Classic 2" Boardshort
I apologize for the bad quality.  I couldn’t find a better picture!
iPod
  Purple iPod nano 5th Generation
This is a 5th generation iPod Nano in purple.
– Books –
"Bookplate Special" by Lorna Barrett
This is what I am currently reading.  It is the third book in the Booktown Mysteries series by author Lorna Barrett.
Sunglasses
Black Wayfarer Sunglasses
My sunglasses look exactly like these except for the Ray Ban logo; they don’t have any logo on the temples..  I bought them at Nordstrom Rack and took them home in a Lacoste case, but I vaguely remember that the Lacoste cases were all they had left.  Therefore, my sunglasses could very well not be Lacoste.
Jergens Natural Glow Moisturizer
I use this as a moisturizer before applying makeup during the Spring and Summer seasons to give my skin extra color.  I use “Medium to Tan” to expedite the tanning process.
CoverGirl LashBlast Volume Mascara
I have used this mascara since my relationship with makeup started back in junior high, and I do not plan on stopping anytime soon.  LOVE!
Physicians Formula Powder Palette Multi-Colored Custom Bronzer, The Bombshell Bronzer, "Blondes"
I wear this as a highlighter on top of my Physicians Formula Cashmere Wear Ultra-Smoothing Bronzer.
Evian Facial Spray
I use this to cool down my skin, but it is also an inexpensive alternative to expensive makeup-setting sprays.
– Lip Balm –
EOS Smooth Spere Lip Balm, "Sweet Mint"
Rose Salve
I own way more lip balm than I need, but these two are my favorites.  EOS is great for day-to-day use, and Rose Salve is great for extremely chapped lips.
Starbucks
Starbucks
When the sun comes out, nothing beats the heat quite like a Starbucks frappuccino or iced coffee.  Can I get an amen??
Hey you, sunshine.  Bring on the heat!!  I.  Am.  Ready.
– Lauren Michele <3