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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Rain Is My Favorite

I woke up to the sound of rain, the most beautiful sound in the world.  Rain never fails to put a smile on my face and inspire me.  I jumped out of bed, made a peppermint mocha latte, and sat down by a window to blog.  I hope your 2016 has been as wonderful as mine so far.  This didn’t happen in 2016, but my family took a mini vacation the week after Christmas (not our best idea) and visited the San Diego Zoo.  Subscribe to my Youtube channel and keep an eye out for my vlog that will be posted VERY soon. :)  My brother and I started watching the Star Wars and Hobbit movies.  YES! :D  I saw Riverdance for the fifth time, and it still made me emotional.  More to come on that subject!  On Sunday, my family and I sat and watched not one but two movies: “Get Smart” & “Nacho Libre.”  It was a cozy movie night. <3  Yesterday, despite not wanting to go to work, I was blessed with a slow flow of customers and a bigger than usual paycheck from the last week of Christmas madness.  Even though my bank account is a happy camper right now, I’m still waiting for one million dollars to fall from the sky. ;)  I’m off to read “The Pawn” by Steven James (thrillers were made for rainy days) and watch some Netflix (after the reading of course).  Enjoy the rest of your day readers!

“The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain.”  – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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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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Florida Travels Part 2 | Disneyland vs Disney World

(Image Source: http://disneydose.com/disneyland-v-walt-disney-world/#axzz3oJ2zYWzd)

Let’s get ready to rumble!!  Although it has been a little over a year since I visited Disneyland, I was able to determine differences between these two parks and decide my favorite.

– Weather –

In this category, Disneyland is the winner.  The dry air makes for a much better experience when one is on their feet all day long.  The Florida humidity was miserable to endure, and it brought back awful memories from my time living in Texas.  Sweat?  No thank you!

– Size –

Disneyland is at a disadvantage in terms of “wiggle room” therefore when a new ride is opened, more often than not an existing ride has to go.  Sometimes the change is good, sometimes it is bad.  Disney World has plenty of room for expansion; however, more room also means larger crowds.  Because I am most definitely not a people person and both parks get ridiculously busy, I am calling this a category a draw.

– Accessibility –

Disneyland is the winner of this category because its two parks, Downtown Disney, and the parking lots are close together and within walking distance.  Disney World is so big that a significant part of the day is spent catching a bus or the monorail to visit another park or leave.  This requires extra walking/running, and it takes up park time.

– Rides –

Most of the rides I went on were different in a subtle manner, specifically “Space Mountain” and “Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.”    The one ride I went on that was unique to Disney World was the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which was really fun; however, much like Radiator Springs Racers at Disneyland, it was disappointingly short.  The changes that caught my attention at Disney World were Pirates of the Caribbean being short and the lack of an Indiana Jones ride (there is only a show).  Those are two of my favorite rides therefore Disneyland wins this category.

– Cleanliness –

The bathrooms and a few of the park areas were dirty, and, in certain areas such as Animal Kingdom, the tables only had two chairs therefore if a family took chairs to accommodate a larger party, others would not have seating.  I understand that it is hard to keep up with such a large crowd, but it is very much noticeable and inconvenient.  However, I am not picking a winner because I do not recall the state of Disneyland.

– Animal Kingdom –

Animal Kingdom is unique to Disney World.  I love going to the zoo so I was really excited to visit this park, but it exceeded my expectations.  I had the pleasure of seeing numerous gorillas, watching a hippo swim from an underwater point-of-view, and coming closer than ever to zebras, my favorite exotic animal, on a safari ride/tour.  This park was a pleasant surprise.

– Pricing –

One more thing I would like to discuss regarding both parks is the ticket and pass prices.  I am outraged that the pricing continues to rise.  Disney makes MILLIONS of dollars per year.  Why do people have to go broke in order to enjoy a fun day at a Disney park??!!!  I guarantee that the prices could be significantly lowered, and income would remain steady.

– The Results –

There are many more categories to debate such as castle size (FYI, I don’t care), but I chose only those that directly affected me and/or caught my attention.  Disneyland is the obvious winner based on both the categories and my California roots.  Disney World is a fun adventure to plan for and experience at least once, but Disneyland is much better in terms of frequency.  Once again, keep in mind this is my personal opinion, and I am a biased California girl.  ;)

Stay tuned for part 3 A.K.A. “The Highlight Reel.”  :)

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– Lauren Michele <3

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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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