27 of my Favorite Things

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DRESS: c/o Chicwish  //  BALLOONS: c/o Pretty Goods ATX  //  SHOES: c/o Irregular Choice  //  EARRINGS: similar Oscar de la Renta

Happy Thursday friends!! Today happens to be my 27 birthday, and after the popularity of my 2 year blogiversary post explaining 24 things you may or may not know about me (like that my family owns a funeral home business or that I met my husband on Facebook in high school) and my 26th birthday post commemorating 25 highlights from year 25 last year, I decided to do another personal post. This time I’m celebrating 27 by rounding up 27 of my favorite things (because let’s be honest, I’m not always going to be counting when it comes to birthdays!)

With so many “favorites lists” out there (remember when that was trending on Facebook years ago?!), it was hard to choose which to include in the 27, so I tried to go for questions/favorites that we’re out of the ordinary or that I could definitely speak to. So, here it goes! Click on the read more button to read about more-than-just-a-few of my favorite things, plus – get the full scoop on this fun and flirty outfit featuring the cutest ruffle sleeve cold shoulder dress.

It’s always shocking (but in a very pleasant way!) to learn that you all actually like to hear about my personal life stories. While I love fashion, writing is another passion of mine and it’s always such a thrill to write about real-life stuff beyond my outfits. That’s why I’ve resolved to start a new series next month where I answer questions from you all! I get instagram dm’s and emails all the time with questions, so starting this July, I’ll be doing a post every month on the blog answering those questions! From blogging tips to personal life stuff, Disney-related questions and everything in-between, you can feel free to ask me anything!! So, I’d love to know…

What Question(s) Do You Have For Me?

Let me know by scrolling to the bottom of this post and leaving a comment and I’ll be sure to include them in my post next month!

And now without further ado, scroll down to the bottom of this post to read 27 of my favorite things!!

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My 27 Favorite Things

 

 1 – Favorite Childhood Memory?

This isn’t one singular memory, but rather a mix of hundreds of memories that shaped who I am today. Growing up, I was the oldest of four girl cousins/sisters on my dad’s side of the family (until our baby brothers came along!) I have countless memories of making up dances, plays or songs, and then dressing up and making all of our adult family sit in the living room as we put on shows of all sorts. We would spend hours upon hours creating these performances and finding just the right outfits to accompany our show and we had so much fun doing it! These memories are some of the most joyful and poignant from my childhood, and I know that the creativity and playfulness I developed from that time in my childhood has carried on throughout my adult life and truly helped shape who I am.

 

2 – Favorite Disney Movie(s)?

Cinderella, The Little Mermaid and Moana. (Apologies, but this Disney fan simply can’t pick one! The Lion King and Beauty and The Beast are also up there but it was getting to lengthy.) Listed in order of release date, not by preference (I LOVE them all equally!)

Cinderella, which is currently playing on the TV in my office behind me, is one my favorite from the Disney Golden Era. From the beauty of the animation, inspired by one of my favorite artists, Mary Blair, to the classic storyline and the simple-but-rich characters, I just adore this Disney classic, and hearing the soundtrack and dialogue in the background is so nostalgic to me (which is why it’s frequently on repeat in my DVD player).

The Little Mermaid is another favorite of mine for so many reasons. The first being because Ariel represented a new line of strong, fearless Disney female characters who truly drove the plot line of the movie and weren’t afraid to express what they wanted. Two, is because I’m OBSESSED with the music. This was the first Disney movie that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken collaborated to create the music (who would go on to do Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, etc.) and it’s pure magic.  Last of all, the bright colors and animation in The Little Mermaid is so so vibrant, happy and fun, which is probably why I’ve always loved watching it over and over again.

Moana is my final favorite Disney animated movie. I could go on and on about why I love this film so much, the first being the magic of Lin Manuel Miranda’s music, but most of all, I LOVE that Moana is perhaps Disney’s most strong female character to date. This is one of the only Disney princess movies where the leading lady (or heroine in this case) doesn’t have a love interest (and the first where a love interest isn’t even mentioned!), and I love the message that sends to young girls. Moana is brave, fearless, determined and unwilling to let anyone else deter her dreams. In the final reprise when she sings “I Am Moana” I get chills (or cry!) every time.

 

3 – Favorite Pixar Movie(s)?

Finding Nemo and UP. (Sorry y’all I can’t just have one on this either!)

-My first was Finding Nemo because I’ve always been so fascinated with the ocean, and I was completely mesmerized by how beautiful the picture was, plus there are so many good laughs (Ellen DeGeneres as Dory is one of my favorite characters ever!!) and I love the message it has about finding family in friendship.

-When UP came out a few years later, I instantly had another favorite. It’s the sweetest story about love and the adventure that life gives us through our relationships (and a real tear-jerker…gets me every time!!). The scene where Carl and Ellie’s house is first lifted in the air by the mass of rainbow balloons is one of my favorite cinematic moments of all time.

 

4 – Favorite Place I’ve Ever Been?

WDW or Costa Rica. This one is hard to answer because I actually haven’t done much travel outside of the continental United States yet. Disney World will always be one of my favorite places on earth (I won’t be repetitive, but you can find out why here or here), but another of my favorite places I’ve traveled to so far is Costa Rica. I went for the first time just over a year ago for one of my best friend, Olivia from Livvyland‘s, bachelorette party and instantly fell in love. I’ve always loved the beach, but I would get bored after a few beach days, so I loved that Costa Rica had so much to explore beyond the beaches. Costa Rica is also a rain forest, so there was so much to see and do beyond the beach, plus I’m obsessed with animals and I couldn’t get over how amazing and adorable all of the monkeys were!!

 

5 – Favorite Emoji?

Monkey face with hands over the eyes. The emoji I use the most is the blushing smiley face because I think it’s sweet and adorable, but my favorite emoji (and second most-used) would probably be the monkey with the hands over his eyes because I’m pretty scatter-brained, so he reminds me of me when I forget something (insert monkey face).

 

6 – Favorite Teacher Who Inspired You Most?

Another hard question because I was blessed to have so many teachers who inspired me throughout my life, but there’s one in-particular whose influence was especially influential. I was fortunate enough to be in what was called the “Renaissance”  English program in high school where I had the same English teacher for my freshman, sophomore and junior year. Mrs. Muhl is a special kind of teacher who doesn’t see teaching as a job, but as her passion in life (in fact, even in retirement she’s still teaching – my mom gets to experience the magic of Mrs. Muhl through an amazing women’s group Mrs. Muhl has started since retiring!) Mrs. Muhl not only taught us to be better writers, she also instilled a love and appreciation for the arts and humanities by regularly taking us to plays and musicals, museums and galleries (and even quizzing us on classic art works – we had to know the name of the painting, the artist and the year just by looking at it – SO hard y’all!!), and a yearly educational trip we did during spring break to New York City, Washington D.C. and Disney World (I know…it’s a dream, right?!) Her love and concern for her students went even deeper than that, though. She truly established a relationship with each of us, wanting to know what our career and life goals were, and encouraging us along the way.  There’s a quote she used to say all the time to us that will forever stick with me:

“Don’t let life pass you by like a train in the night.”

 

7 – Favorite Meal?

Crawfish Pasta. This was a Cajun meal my mom cooked growing up (she’s from Louisiana and my dad says when he tried this recipe he knew he was going to marry her!) and I still cook quite frequently (it’s an instant way to make my husband SO happy!!), and there are really no words to explain how delicious it is.

 

8 – Favorite Fictional Character?

Moana (Daenerys Targaryen is a close second!). You can read why in the above question about my fave Disney movies. Side note -Auli’i Cravalho, AKA voice of Moana, is speaking at the D23 conference I’m attending later this year, along with voice of Ariel Jodi Benson, and I seriously cannot contain my excitement!!!

 

 9 – Favorite Beer?

Revolver Blood and Honey. Up until the last couple of years, I absolutely hated beer because I’d only tried the college frat party-style light beers (which I HATED!), but about a year and a half ago I tried my first craft beer and I was hooked. Now I love going to breweries to taste local craft beers when we travel.

 

10 – Favorite Quote?

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” -Walt Disney.

 

11 – Favorite City?

New Orleans. As I mentioned, my mom is from Louisiana and my Nana now lives just outside of New Orleans, and I absolutely love the city. There are so many big cities filled with towering steel skyscrapers where you wouldn’t know one from the other at first glance, but New Orleans has a look, feel, sound and smell that is distinctly it’s own. From the Jazz music and delicious Creole food to the French-inspired architecture, the city is just

 

12 – Favorite Superhero Power You Wish You Had?

If I could have a super power, it would be to fly. My favorite ride on earth is Soarin’ at Epcot in Disney World and California Adventure Park in Disneyland because it gives you the sensation that you’re actually flying above some of the world’s most stunning places, and I would love to actually get to see the world from a bird’s eye perspective.

 

13 – Favorite Color(s)?

Yellow and Blue. Yellow is sunshine and happiness to me, so I love wearing it and using the color in my home. Blue is the color of the ocean, so it’s calm, serene and really is so versatile to wear or use in your home.

 

14 – Favorite Beverage?

Alcoholic: margarita  //  Non-alcoholic: water. Blame it on all the Tex-Mex I’ve grown up with, but I LOVE a good margarita. When it comes to non-alcoholic beverages, I’m really pretty boring. I decided to give up cokes in eighth grade for “lent” (I’m not Catholic but I still wanted to try it!) and I never looked back. Plus, I have naturally dry skin, so I’ve always craved SO much water and constantly have a giant Yeti cup filled to the top at my desk.

 

15 – Favorite Trait You Got From Your Parents?

From my momma:  compassion. My momma has never left a room without making a friend ,and has this kindness and compassion that transcends to others (which I certainly hope that I also have!!). From my dad: my entrepreneurial spirit. My dad has always been a go-getter, starting his own company from the ground up and he’s always been my greatest support of encouragement to never give up.

 

16 – Favorite TV Series?

Game of Thrones and Downton Abbey. Clearly I love dramas, but I especially love dramas related to a specific period in history (yes I know GOT is fictional, but it is based on Medieval times). Fun fact: I’ve watched all six seasons of Downton three times and I was kind of a GOT hater until I decided to give it a try last summer. I then proceeded to complete all 6 seasons in less than a month (NOT.OKAY.)

 

17 – Favorite Place You’ve Never Been?

Postiano, Italy. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy in general because of the beauty of the country, the amazing food and wine, and the rich, artistic culture and history, and as a girl who loves the ocean, the gorgeous coastal town of Postiano looks like an absolute dream.

 

18 – Favorite Spirit Animal?

Besides Lucky, my spirit animal would probably be a dolphin. First because I absolutely love ocean creatures and I think dolphins are the unicorns of the sea (and the closest thing we have to mermaids!) Also, they are so joyful, playful and just generally happy. 🙂

 

19 – Favorite Musician?

Taylor Swift. No shame here. Taylor is not just a singer, she’s a writer, and a really good one. Being the same age, her lyrics have always spoken to me at different times in my life (usually when going through a break up and I need a good healthy cry!) I also love how real and comfortable with herself she is, and that she hasn’t conformed to the super-sexy pop star status that so many of our generation have, making her an amazing role model for young girls!

 

20 – Favorite Live Action Film?

When Harry Met Sally. I could watch this classic romcom over and over again. Just perfection!

 

21 – Favorite Flower?

Hydrangeas. If I could keep them alive in a vase, I would have them around all the time! They just look like pastel, cotton candy clouds.

 

22 – Favorite Decade You’d Like to Travel To?

1920’s. This was a huge defining time for fashion and culture in the United States and Europe, and it would be amazing to get to see a day in the life of the roaring 20’s.

 

23 – Favorite Wine?

Cole and I have done a lot of wine tasting, and we’ve found that we love a good Spanish tempranillo.

 

24 – Favorite Villian?

 Ursula. She’s just such a an iconic character with a huge personality and presence.  Plus, she’s got amazing vocal chords and knows how to rock a good red lip.

 

25 – Favorite Book of All Time?

I love reading and while blogging has taken me away from it a bit in the last few years, it’s still something that’s always been an important part of my life (and writing this remind me that I need to make some time for it again!) As a child, I absolutely loved chapter books, but it was when I first picked up Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone in the third grade that I had that can’t-put-it-down, completely immersed in the story kind of feeling.

 

26 – Favorite Article of Clothing?

This is so random because I’m not a super sentimental person when it comes to clothing, but I still have the dress that i wore on me and Cole’s first date in 2008, and I probably will never wear it again, but I love seeing it in my closet and I just will never get rid of it.

 

27 – Favorite Guilty Pleasure?

My favorite guilty pleasure of all would be animated Disney movies because that’s my go-to when I have a day alone where I want to relax, but I really feel no shame or guilt in that. I do love to indulge in a really, really good pepperoni pizza (like not the delivery kind – the kind you have to order for take out!) every once in a while (by that I mean at least once a week!)

 

That’s all for now! Hopefully you learned a little something you didn’t know about me! Starting next month, I’ll be doing a monthly panel answering questions that you all have for me!! Whether about blogging or personal life, I’d love to know…

What Question(s) Do You Have For Me?

Let me know by leaving a comment on this post and I’ll be sure to include them in my post next month!

 

Fair-well xx,

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11 Comment

  1. Reply
    Chantel
    June 29, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Beautiful photos and happy birthday.

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      July 7, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Aww thanks so much love!! It was a very happy birthday!!!

      xx,
      -Lauren

  2. Reply
    Keyondria
    June 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Happy Birthday! Are you and Cole close to finding a new home?

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      July 7, 2017 at 8:36 pm

      Hi Keyondria!

      Thanks os much!! It was a wonderful birthday!! 🙂 Cole and I are definitely getting close!! We’ll for sure make the move by the end of the year, we’ve just had around 18 weddings this year, so we’ve both been busy bees!! I’ll definitely make an announcement when we start getting real about house hunting!! 🙂

      xx,
      -Lauren

  3. Reply
    Caroline
    June 29, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Would love to know the crawfish pasta recipe!

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      July 7, 2017 at 8:13 pm

      Hi Caroline!! Ohh that’s a really good question!! That would be such a fun recipe to share on the blog!! Maybe I’ll make it my first! 🙂

      xx,
      -Lauren

  4. Reply
    Melyssa
    July 1, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Happy (Belated) Birthday, Lauren! In just 7 years, you will be half my age. 🙂

    One thing you can add to your “favorites” next year to make it 28 — your Favorite overall possession.

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      July 8, 2017 at 10:29 am

      Hi Melyssa!!

      Ahh thank you SO much!! It was truly a wonderful birthday!! 🙂 Ohh I love that idea!! I’d definitely have to think on it…but I’ll add it in sometime today!! 😉

      xx,
      -Lauren

  5. Reply
    Lauren
    July 7, 2017 at 10:14 am

    Hi Lauren <3

    LOVE this new series idea!! I have SO many questions :-), saying sorry now.

    Does your hubby take ALL your photos for your shoots?
    Your flat lays are amazing, any tips and tricks?
    Favorite Cheap Amazon Clothing Recommendations?

    Love your blog, keep up the AMAZING work <3

    1. Reply
      Lauren Vandiver
      July 8, 2017 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Lauren!!

      Aww thank you SO much for the encouragement love!!! 🙂 Girl – don’t even apologize, the more questions, the better!! I’ll go ahead and answer your first one, but I’ll elaborate it on the panel post!! Col used to take all of my photos for everything, up until last August. He still takes nearly all of my photos for travel (or whoever is traveling with me, such as my dad, mom or sister), but most of the blog photos are taken by the amazing Angie Garcia, a photographer here in Dallas. 🙂

      As for the second about flatlays, I’ve had so many questions about that, I’ve decided to do tutorial…stay tuned!!

      Last of all – such a good question about Amazon!! I’ll actually be doing a full round up up of what I’m buying on Amazon Prime day on Monday July 10th – so be on the lookout!!

      Thanks so much again for the love!!
      xx,
      -Lauren

  6. Reply
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    October 4, 2017 at 10:47 am

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