hey! with school starting in two weeks, it’s time to review my summer bucket list and see if i actually did any of the things i set out to do.
(key: ✅ means i reaches my goal, ❌ means i failed, and 🔵 means i partially did it.)
1) explore ✅
i think i got in a good amount of exploring this summer. i went to the dam down the road a few times to fish, pick up trash, and just get away from home. and i walked all over the camp i worked at and found some new areas, like the high ropes course, more remote campsites, and an animal graveyard.
2) read 15 books ✅
i read 18 books this summer! my favorites were the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by mackenzi lee and i am princess x by cherie priest, but you can see all of them by friending me on goodreads.
3) nail my back handsprings ❌
because of how often i was at camp, i had to quit gymnastics for the summer. since i don’t trust myself enough to practice back handsprings without a spotter, i didn’t get anywhere near to accomplishing this. that’s ok, though — i’m hoping to rejoin my gymnastics class in the autumn, and i’ll keep working on my handsprings then.
4) vbs 🔵
vacation bible school was . . . wild. i had five little boys, including two sets of brothers (who were also cousins). they were good the first day, but then they got out of hand. one kid wouldn’t stop crab walking and punched me in the chin and none of them would listen to me. i got to skip the last two days for band camp, and i am so thankful for that, because i don’t think i would have made it.
(i’m giving this one a partial because i wasn’t there all week.)
5) hang out with friends 🔵
i actually didn’t see my friends much this summer. we were all just really busy. one was at a ballet intensive in the city for a month, and i only saw her once, when i went with her family to see her final performance.
but i did make a few new friends at camp and spent several weeks working with them. my bff izzy came to ahg camp with me, too.
6) earn 2 ahg badges ✅
i actually got a few more than i was hoping for. gardening & plant science, nature & wildlife, and boating safety are ones that i’ve completely finished, and i’ve almost earned creative crafts, pen & paper arts, and swimming thanks to camp.
7) go to camp ✅
i spent three weeks at camp this year (i was on staff for two weeks, and a camper for one) and had the best time of my life. so much crazy, fun stuff happened, and i’ll have to make a separate post about my experience, but there was never a dull day.
8) garden 🔵
because of my insane schedule, i didn’t get to tend to my garden very much. but it rained so much that my plants survived anyway. it sucks that i didn’t get to enjoy my flowers, though. and while everything is still alive, it’s totally overgrown, so it’s not even that nice to look at.
9) get a tan ✅
i have visible tan lines for once in my life?? amazing. really, my skin is only darker because i didn’t use sunscreen at camp and got burned at the waterfront, but i think it still counts.
10) go swimming ✅
i swam in the river by my house a few times, went tubing, jumped into a pool with all my clothes on while at camp victory, hiked to a swimming hole, and swam everyday at ahg camp for the boating badge and waterfront survival/lifesaving class.
so i completed six of my goals, sort of did three, and only failed one. i’m usually rather horrible at keeping up with the goals i set for myself, so i’m actually sort of proud of this.
how was your summer? are you ready to go back to school? let me know in the comments.
you know those pretty lyric edits you see all over tumblr and pinterest? last month, i was bored and thought i’d try making some. so i dug through years of pictures, found some of my nicer ones, and used canva to edit them. they turned out a little better than i expected, and i’m actually rather proud of some of them?
i would wear my heart on my sleeve
if it were not in pieces
i would hold your heart in my hands
if it were not black and white
can we forget that you curled up beside me
underneath a floral blanket
and i couldn’t hold you in my arms
you kissed my cheek as a goodbye
it was tender and blush pink
you must have practiced on the mirror
i swayed and kissed back
but it was sloppy, nervous, shy
i was inexperienced then
now the chapstick stains on
my bathroom mirror match yours
i hope i get another chance
to kiss you before you go
this time, you will be the one
whose fingers trace their flushed skin
every morning when you wake up alone
i spent the last week working at summer camp, so that’s why i haven’t been posting. i think i’ll be able to get lots of content out of my camp experience, though, because it’s been . . . wild. so keep an eye out for that, i guess.
it’s been awhile since i posted more answers to my q&a (coughit’sbeenlikeeightmonthscough), so that’s what i’m doing today. enjoy! :)
i would like to use my art to help others feel less alone. maybe i’ll be able to draw or write something so honest that people will realize they’re not the only one to feel that way.
having a job where i can make an impact on someone’s life seems good, too. like a youth group leader or camp counselor or something.
writing or reading?
i get writing and/or reading slumps quite often, so my answer would depend on if i’m in one of those at the moment. but right now, i’ll say writing. i’ve been writing down lots of memories and journal entries and poems recently.
drawing/painting or photography?
same thing as the last question. i get lots of hobby-related slumps. i’ll go with art for now, because it’s relaxing, i can create something beautiful out of nothing, and i have some great art supplies.
favorite book ever?
(i manage to come up with a new favorite book every time i get this question.)
i’m going to say tiger lily by jodi lynn anderson. it’s a peter pan retelling from tiger lily’s point of view and it broke my heart the first time i read it. it’s heavy and touching and, despite being set in neverland, so real.
your favorite word?
it might not be my favorite word ever, but i really like “litost.” it means “a state of torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.” “ethereal” is important, too, for personal reasons that i’m not sure how to explain.
the first five things you think when you hear your own name?
(for anyone who doesn’t know, my real name is loren, not apollo.)
1) how everyone pronounces it “lauren” unless they know me well. :’)
2) it means “laurels and victory,” which is kind of funny because i’m a loser.
3) this one girl (also named loren) at camp two years ago who got high off of bug spray.
4) my soccer coach made us all pick a food that starts with the same letter as our name, to make it easier to remember who’s who. my food was linguini.
the first five things you think when you hear MY name?
1) i know a girl named grace and apparently she has a golf cart??? i’m jealous.
2) one of my youth group leaders (also named grace) always brings really good snacks to bible study.
3) this super sweet girl who helped me during one of the worst days of my life. her middle name is grace, i’m pretty sure.
4) a girl at my church was telling me about her friend who is basically the exact same person as me. we like the same music, have the same hobbies, share a zodiac sign, etc. she moved before i got to meet her, but i follow her on social media, where she goes by the name grace.
5) and i think of you, of course, sweetheart. :)
what would you pick, to be able to fly, or to breath underwater?
breathing underwater, i think. in my head, it seems like chilling underwater would be really peaceful and exciting. but i’d probably hate it in real life because i’d be afraid of drowning.
what’s your favorite tv show?
i don’t particularly like watching tv, because i get bored too quickly. but two shows that i really like are gravity falls and over the garden wall. they’re both cartoons with weird elements mixed in. i’ve also been watching the office and parks & rec, and i’m enjoying those a lot.
what’s your favorite day of the week?
at the moment, i’m looking forward to sunday, because that’s when i leave for my second week of camp. i don’t usually like sundays, though. i’m not a fan of getting up for church, and something about them makes me feel sad and tired.
do you like seeing movies in the theater, or at home?
i never go to movie theaters unless i’m going with friends or i’m on vacation. but i prefer watching movies at home anyway. i can wrap myself up in blankets and have free snacks and draw while the movie plays.
what’s one food you will never get tired of?
peanut butter. it goes well with everything.
popsicles or ice cream?
one time i had a popsicle, and the joke on the stick was “what is it called when a bunch of raspberries get together and make music? a jam session.” and i swear, i had never been more glad to be alive than when everyone groaned at that joke.
but i like ice cream better. there are more flavors and you can use toppings and it’s not as sticky.
if you where a demigod, who would be your godly parent?
the quizzes i’ve taken say apollo. that makes ense. he’s supposed to be the god of archery, healing, and poetry, right? that fits me. and i already go by the name apollo online.
if you where an elf in keeper, what ability would you want to manifest?
being a shade would be pretty sweet, i think. but i took a quiz and got inflictor, which would be ok as long as i could make people feel happy and safe.
if you were a dragon, what color would your scales be? (PURPLE!!)
i’d hope for silver or maroon.
what’s your favorite video game?
the legend of zelda series is really great, i love the characters and lore and music. i also really like this ds game that my brother has called fantasy life, and skyrim, of course.
do you have any left handers in your family?
just one of my uncles, i believe.
have you read lodestar yet? what did you think of it?
i have read lodestar, my mom bought it for me because i won nanowrimo last year. i don’t exactly remember what it was about (haha oops), but it’s the keeper of the lost cities, so i’m sure it was incredible.
what do you think the difference is between a fairy and a pixie?
pixies are the mischievous ones, and they all have pixie cuts. fairies are the ones that sing to flowers or whatever.
about an inch past my shoulders. i’ve had long hair for most of my life, but i thought i’d try something new this year.
skirts or shorts?
shorts, absolutely. the only time i wear skirts is if it’s for a costume. shorts are just much more comfortable to me.
elves or hobbits?
as much as i love the hobbits, the elves clearly have it better. they’re tall, they can sing, they’re beautiful, they have glorious hair, they’ve got cool names, and did i mention that they’re tall? because that bit is important.
i really love turtles. i want to have one as a pet and name it billie joe armstrong, like the lead singer of green day. but none of the pet stores in my area sell turtles anymore and apparently it’s illegal to keep a turtle you find in the wild.
i bought combat boots last autumn and they’re pretty much the only shoes i wear. and they have pink flowers printed on the inside, so that’s cool. but i also adore the beat up converse that i’ve had for years. they have a moon drawn on the toe.
winter or summer?
winter, i think. i like that i can wear boots and hoodies and beanies, and how much nicer hot showers feel, and stepping outside and seeing your breath puff up in front of you. this summer might change my opinion, though, because of how much time i’ve been spending at camp.
it’s snowing right now, i wish it was summer. but when the summer rolls around, i wish i was freezing. (cough it out // the front bottoms)
favorite star wars character?
poe. oh my gosh i love him so much.
favorite dessert and lunch?
cereal for both. i don’t care what time of day it is, i will always be down for having cereal. specifically honey bunches of oats in a tea cup with no milk. that’s strange but i don’t really care.
hang on, i just made myself hungry. i’ll go get some cereal and then come back and finish this post.
i hope you guys enjoyed this! maybe you learned that we have something in common, or that i’m weirder than you thought. please don’t come after me for not putting milk in my cereal.
when i was a child, my family would drive down the gravel road to the greenhouse at the start of every summer. stepping inside the tent was like stumbling upon my own narnia, where it’s always june instead of perpetually winter. the perfume of so many flowers mingled together in the humid air. puddles on the floor reflected back the rainbow of blooms. bugs flitted from plant to plant. the atmosphere made it easy to pretend that i was the goddess demeter and the growing beauty all around me was my own handiwork.
my father would tell my brother and i that we could each pick one plant to bring home. my brother always chose something spiky and blossom-less, such as a serrated-edged, deep purple persian shield or a dark succulent. time after time, i was drawn to the romantic array of cherry, fuchsia, punch-pink, and candy cane geraniums. i always bought one and my brother always got a plant as sharp as his personality. some things are as predictable as the sunrise, and our greenhouse habits are no exception.
when my brother and i placed our special flowers on the counter beside my dad’s box of purchases, the worker would adjust her sin sifter and let us pick out a free marigold. there was a box of fiery blooms in the windowsill, straining for the sun. my brother would claim an orange one and i would choose yellow, and we would hold them in our laps on the ride home and plant them side by side in the yard.
my brother doesn’t care for flowers anymore. our family goes to the greenhouse without him, and i’m allowed as many plants as i would like. the woman behind the counter no longer offers me a marigold.
if we went early enough in the summer, there would be a cage around the back of the greenhouse where they kept easter bunnies. i cupped them in my hands one by one, trembling pompoms with a heartbeat, watching their bubblegum noses twitch and their fur flit around in the breeze. i begged my parents for one — promised that i would make its life heaven on earth, read every book about taking care of rabbits that i could get my hands on — but they never agreed. it’s too much responsibility for you, they said. the cats wouldn’t like them. bunnies are mean, anyway. so i never got a rabbit, and at some point, they got rid of the cages and i never held another easter bunny.
a year or two ago, i went on a walk one dusty, golden evening, and my feet led me down the gravel road to the greenhouse. i paused by the sign announcing the valley’s favorite greenhouse and stared out across the soy fields. birds rustled and sang from the crops and danced duets in the pale sky. the sun-warmed rocks beneath my bare, callused feet became too intense as i stood there, absorbing a picturesque summer sunset in the country, so i scooted off into the grass beside the road. wild strawberries poked up around my toes. a gemstone beetle crawled across a daisy as it continued its steady journey back home.
i have only known creekside junes and julys, spent hunting water snakes on slippery rocks, staining my lips and fingertips with blackberries, biking by myself through corn fields, burning marshmallows in the backyard while watching a shooting star overhead. the ache of every perfect summer i will never experience is eating me alive.
i’ve bought sixteen books this week and i’ve spent under $20. that might sound rather impossible, because readers know that books can be ridiculously expensive. but it can be done, and i’m going to share with you where i find such cheap books. :)
before you buy a book on amazon, you should check out those little used and new links below the format options. they’ll take you to a new page with more listings on it. you can get the same book for a much better price, just from a different seller. so i could buy the book in the picture for the actual price ($7.99), or i could get another new copy for $1.75.
i found out about book outlet through mya’s unboxing post, and it’s a great site. they have tons of popular books, all priced much lower than if you bought them from a book store. plus, you can earn points (aka discounts) by purchasing books and completing little challenges.
i ordered six books from them last week. at the moment, i’m reading i am princess x, but i’m hoping to finish it today so i can start on moxie.
i don’t know if everyone has one of these, but basically, the book fair is a warehouse that’s stuffed with inexpensive books. i think i’ve gotten more than half of my books there. they’ve got just about every book imaginable, and i always end up leaving with way more than i planned on buying.
i would suggest looking online to see if there are any book fairs near you, because it’s an amazing experience for book lovers.
my favorite place to buy cheap books is definitely thrift stores. i’ve gotten about thirty books from them this year, and i doubt i’ve spent more than that. most books at thrift stores are a dollar or less.
the best thing about shopping at thrift stores is that there’s always something new, and sometimes you can get really great surprises. for example, i found a signed copy of a court of thorns and roses by sarah j. maas.
now for that book haul!
i’ve been on a reading kick lately (if you follow me on goodreads, you know). unfortunately, i haven’t been able to go to the library as often as i would like, so i had to buy new reading material instead. i went to three thrift stores in two days, and this is what i found:
i’ve read a few of these before (the arctic incident, a grimm warning), but the rest are all new to me, and i have no idea what most of them are about. i don’t read book summaries anymore and i’m not sure why. at least that way every book is a surprise.
the books i’m most excited about reading are the rest of us just live here by patrick ness and peaches by jodi lynn anderson (she’s one of my favorite authors).
what are your favorite ways to buy cheap books? have you read any of the books in my haul?