life, i guess (6)

hey everyone!

it’s been a hot minute since i last chatted with you all about how life is going (a hot minute = seven months, in this case). i’m out of school right now because of the coronavirus, so i decided to take advantage of all this free time & share some updates.


– my birthday was awhile ago, & since all my friends are busy 24/7 it took awhile for us to set something up. but we ended up getting smoothies, running into my boss from summer camp, & going to a paint your own pottery studio. i picked up my piece last week & it actually turned out way better than i thought it would. it’s a coffee mug with anoutdoorsy camping scene on it to help me get through the next few months while i wait for summer camp to start up again. :)

here is my mini birthday haul: rainbow kånken from my amazing mom, bouquet from my grandma, & some cute trinkets from one of my best friends, like a candle, a jewelry dish, & a highlighter with a makeup brush.

– i got my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. i was supposed to get them removed in january, but i was wearing a heart monitor at the time & the surgeon didn’t want to operate on me until the monitor was off. (apparently anesthesia doesn’t mix well with heart conditions. & it turns out that there’s nothing wrong with my heart, so don’t worry.) anyway, they had me on so many drugs (an anti-anxiety pill, laughing gas, anesthesia, etc.) that i don’t remember anything until the drive home, when i found some ice cream in my post-op goodie bag. i would take the dessert out of the bag, exclaim that i couldn’t believe they’d given me ice cream, put it away, forget about it, & do the whole routine again a few seconds later. i feel really bad for my mom for having to deal with that. also, the pain meds i was prescribed gave me hives, so this whole recovery thing is definitely going to be a fun time.

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– my scouting troop was planning a camping trip to a maple syrup farm last month, & since my mom is in charge of the troop & i’m somewhat of an expert camper, we felt like it was our duty to go along. even though the forecast called for 18° weather the first night & i don’t particularly like camping, especially in the winter. it ended up being a fun time, though. we got to help with the entire maple syrup-making process, from stacking wood for the fires to tapping trees to eating fresh syrup with every meal. & there were a bunch of little boys staying on the farm that all got attached to me. i basically had my own troop of six preschool/elementary-aged boys following me around the farm & forest, which i loved so much because i really want to volunteer with a cub scout pack sometime in the future. i taught them about smoke signals & fire safety & how to make really incredible s’mores with reese’s and cookies instead of graham crackers. they were such adorable kids & i miss them a whole lot.

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–  all of this time off school has been forcing me to be crafty again, so i made this clay tea bag holder that’s shaped like a toadstool. i haven’t used it yet but i’m lowkey proud of it. that is all.

– i know everyone is probably tired of hearing about the coronavirus, but since i feel like this is going to end up in history textbooks, i want to talk about it at least a little bit. there are currently a few confirmed cases in my county, which is kind of scary. but my family isn’t really following the whole self-quarantine thing so it doesn’t exactly feel real. however, my school is closed for at least three weeks (two by state mandate, one for spring break) & there aren’t any plans for online schooling yet. i have mixed feelings about that, because on one hand i literally have three whole weeks without any school, & i’m trying to get my mom to take me on some all-day hiking/biking trips. i feel like we’ll be fairly safe from corona at the top of my state’s tallest mountain, right? but the downside is that the soccer season got suspended, which sucks because i worked super hard to make varsity & no one knows yet if the games we’re missing are going to be rescheduled or not.


so that’s basically how life has been going lately. although most of this stuff actually happened earlier in the year; everything got cancelled so i haven’t done anything noteworthy recently.

before i go, i wanna know how all of you have been dealing with the coronavirus. do you have any cases near your home yet? has your school gotten cancelled? if you’re quarantined, how have you been keeping yourself busy? a global pandemic is obviously a pretty scary thing to be living through, so i wanted to check in & make sure that everyone is hanging in there.

xo apollo

get to know me | tragic backstory + questionable fun facts

hello everyone!

i’ve gotten a lot of new followers lately, so i thought it would be a good time to reintroduce myself. i feel like whenever i talk about myself on here, it’s through the form of, i don’t know, tragic poetry or sad song lyrics that make everyone concerned about my mental health. i never really say stuff like “tofu isn’t actually that bad” or “i don’t remember how to do long division,” which i’m sure is the type of get-to-know-me content that y’all actually want, right? so maybe this post will be helpful for not just my new readers, but the ones who have been putting up with my posts since 2014, too.


to kick things off, my name is not actually apollo, which is probably not a shocker for anyone. it’s loren, which for the most part is a great name. but people always either pronounce it like the name lauren, or expect me to be a boy because traditionally it’s a male name. so i use a pen name on my blog, & i chose apollo because the things he symbolizes (archery, music, the sun, poetry, healing, etc.) really appeal to me. so that’s the story behind my name, but i honestly don’t care if any of you call me loren instead of apollo or vice versa.

ok, moving on. my name is loren, & i’m in high school. i live in the american south, & yes, i do have an accent. not a full-blown country singer kind of accent, but you can definitely tell i’m from the south because i say some words with a twang. there are fields on three sides of my house & sometimes there will be tractors on the highway when i’m driving around. yeehaw & all that.

i was homeschooled before i started going to high school. i know some people think that’s sad, to have a parent as your teacher & to not have any classmates besides your siblings, but it was actually pretty great. my mom was an amazing teacher & she took my older brother & i on educational trips a lot. we would go to the national park that we live by, museums, historical sites, etc. & since everyone else was in school, we would typically have the whole place to ourselves. so, to sum things up, my education was superb.

now i go to a public high school. i’m not having a great time, but i suppose that’s not surprising to anyone. i’m a huge introvert, so spending all day around loud people is exhausting for me. & i haven’t had to try very hard in my classes yet, not even the advanced ones, so it’s pretty boring. but what i am enjoying about high school are the science classes & extracurricular activities.

marching band be like
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i do marching band in the fall & soccer in the spring. i play bass in our band’s drumline, & while i (someone who is 5’2″) look ridiculous marching around with a great big drum strapped to my chest, i absolutely love it. my band is pretty small, with about forty members on a good day, but we’re actually sort of amazing & win a lot of awards at competitions. as for soccer, i play for the varsity team as a striker/midfielder. this season feels a little weird so far because we have a new coach & i’m not really friends with anyone on varsity, but it just started so i’ve still got some hope.

between homework & those extracurricular activities, i don’t have a whole lot of free time, but when i do, i’m usually doing one of three things: reading, writing, or scouting. i’m sure most of you know that i like to write, because that’s one of the main things i post on here. currently, i write a lot of poems & memoirs, which you can read by clicking right here. when it comes to reading, i typically go for poetry, fantasy, paranormal, & contemporary books.

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here’s me looking snazzy in my uniform

so the third hobby on that list is scouting, & i have a lot to say about that one. i first got into scouting when i was in elementary school. my brother was in cub scouts & my parents were in charge of the den, so i went to all of the campouts & meetings & events. i loved it, but once my brother aged out of the den, i couldn’t participate in anything scouting related because girls weren’t allowed in the BSA at that time. so a few years later, my mom started an american heritage girls troop, which is just a girls scouting organization modeled after the BSA. my best friends were in the troop with me for awhile, but they quit after awhile. i miss seeing them at meetings, but i still love scouting: earning badges & going camping & volunteering & helping younger scouts with their requirements.

i ran out of pretty summer photos so here’s some chaotic camp pics
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in fact, i love it so much that i work at a BSA camp in the summer. i’ve been going to this camp as a scout since 2016, & now i get to work there, so it’s super special to me. i teach handicraft classes all summer with my friends, go on adventures, cause trouble, eat questionable amounts of ice cream, etc. & sure, some days it reaches 100°, my staff cabin is basically a shed, & i have to wear a uniform all summer, but it’s great! seriously, if you want to have a good summer, work at a sleepaway camp. you will be doing very little sleeping, but you’ll have the time of your life.

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here’s a watercolor i did last year

i do have some other hobbies, like art & music & photography, but i don’t have much to say about them other than that i like them. so we’ll just move on to fun facts with loren/apollo/???

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this is my kitty, she’s so precious

– i have two cats, my favorite of which is named navi
– i’ve been vegetarian for over a year
– i’m lactose intolerant but that sure doesn’t stop me from eating dairy 24/7!
– i love drinking tea (hot or sweet). the caffeine in it makes me really sleepy though
– my dream job is to be a paramedic, maybe for a medevac service
– i have some weird areas of hypopigmentation on my arms & legs that i think is caused by eczema?? i’m not 100% sure, just hoping it isn’t vitiligo
– according to my notes app, my favorite movies are sixth sense, dead poets society, catch me if you can, & the breakfast club.
– i have a slight obsession with lip balm but it’s totally not that big of a problem haha

so i guess that’s it? i know that was way too much useless information, but hey, if i ever become famous, you guys will ace those buzzfeed quizzes about me! but if by any chance you have more questions, leave them in the comments & i’ll stick them into a q&a post sometime.

xo apollo

i dreamed a dance with you

next to normal

in my dreams, there is a lake with a forested island in the center. we dance on sandy shores. i am always dancing with you in my dreams. there is never any music.

i dream about an angel. sometimes it is a woman with marble cheeks & bronze hair that gleams like a suncatcher. sometimes it is a young native american man. his hair is shorn & his chest is scattered with scars. i hope you’re looking out for me, i tell the angel. i would like to believe that something as beautiful as you would never leave. sometimes i imagine that i can feel a hand smoothing my hair as i fall asleep. i hope it’s you.

i dream about angels following their soldiers into war. the soldiers leave their weapons on the ground on christmas day. they sing together as the smoke clears. not even the angels have heard a choir like that before.

sometimes i dream about hands around my throat. when it happens while i’m awake, my head gets fuzzy; i short out. i am a program malfunctioning. i haven’t dealt with it & i can’t & i won’t. i write poems when the memories are too much to swallow, but i never say it for what it is. there’s no truth in it so there can’t be any healing. i think that i try to tell the truth in my dreams, but i can’t sleep anymore.

xo apollo

thrift store haul

hey, everyone!

i’ve been really into thrift shopping for the past few years. a lot of my books are from second-hand shops, as well as my homecoming dress from two years ago. & a broken cat clock with incredibly creepy eyes (his name is heath), & some of my favorite clothes.

i always have a good time at thrift stores, especially when i have a friend to search through all the racks & bins with me. also, it’s good for the environment, because buying second-hand helps reduce waste. so basically, thrifting is a win-win-win: fun, easy on your wallet, & good for the planet.

anyway, i went thrift shopping last month & came back with a few great finds that i wanted to show you all!


flora & fauna t-shirt – i saw this shirt while christmas shopping with my mom, & while we both loved it, it was a little too expensive for us. so we were super surprised to find the exact same shirt at the thrift store a month later, because how lucky is that? it’s extremely oversized on me, so i cropped it & sewed the sleeves so they’re rolled up all the time.

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fall out boy centuries t-shirt – i was a huge fan of fall out boy in middle school, & while i don’t listen to them quite as much anymore, i thought this was too good of a find to leave at the store. i like the colors & the nostalgia of it.

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varsity sweater – i got this solely because it reminded me of the movie grease. i love the fashion in that musical so much, every time i watch it i wish that people still dressed that way. so that’s the main reason behind this buy, but my last name starts with h, so the letter works too.

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peony sundress – i have a huge problem with buying sundresses & then never wearing them, & i know this, but it doesn’t stop me from getting more of them whenever i can. & it’s not that i decide i don’t like the dresses once i’ve purchased them or anything. it’s just that i have to wear a uniform at the camp i work at, so i can’t really dress how i want to (i.e. sundresses) during the summer. hopefully i can find a time to wear this, though.

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skeleton dress – so this might not have been the most practical purchase, but seriously, how could i have passed this up? it’s not really an everyday kind of dress, but you can bet that i’ll be wearing it around halloween & every time i have to do a presentation in my anatomy class. also, i think the style of this dress is completely adorable; it looks like something you could wear to a tea party (if it didn’t have bones all over it, of course).

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b&w gingham dress – this dress is also not extraordinarily practical, but i adore it, so whatever. it’s got schoolgirl/40’s vibes, in my opinion. i would love to wear this dress with red lipstick, but i’m probably too insecure to actually do that in public.

which of these finds is your favorite? do you like thrifting?

xo apollo

diy lip balm recipe

hello everyone!

i have a slight obsession with lip balm. i probably have around fifty right now. i’ve dreamt about eos at least two times this year already. but good lip balms can be a little pricey (i really paid $7 for one from sephora), especially when you buy them as often as i do, so i’ve been learning how to make my own. it’s a pretty quick process, & i think all the ingredients are natural, except for maybe the flavoring & coloring, but those are optional.

so here’s the recipe! let me know in the comments if you try it out. :)


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ingredients:
– beeswax
– shea butter
– almond oil
– baking extracts (for flavor)
– lipstick (for color)

materials:
– small glass jar
– stirring stick
– pot
– pipette
– lip balm tubes

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the first step is to measure out equal parts shea butter, beeswax, & almond oil & put them all in a small glass jar. the recipe calls for one tablespoon of each, but i’m pretty sure i used half of that because i only wanted two tubes of lip balm.

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fill your pot with water & put the jar with ingredients inside. it doesn’t really matter how much water you use as long as it doesn’t go over the rim over the jar. put the pot on the stove over medium heat.

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once the mixture has melted, add lip stick shavings for color & stir them in until they’re fully integrated. the balm generally cools to be a lighter color, so keep that in mind.

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then add your extract! you’ve really just got to experiment to see how much flavoring to add. i had to use quite a bit of peach extract because it’s not as strong as some flavors, like peppermint, which you only need a few drops of. but there’s really no right or wrong amount, it just depends on how flavorful you want your lip balm to be.

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once you’ve got your coloring & flavoring blended in, use your pipette to suck up the mixture & deposit it in a lip balm tube. fill it all the way to the top because it’s going to condense as it cools.

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put it in the fridge for an hour or two or until it’s cooled all the way through. & then you’re done! the whole process (minus cooling time) takes about twenty minutes, tops, & you get smooth & shiny lip balm as a result.

i’ve given five different flavors to my best friend over the years (raspberry, peppermint, tangerine, vanilla, & peach), & she says that likes them more than store bought lip balm. she even used up the whole tube of raspberry in less than a year, so that should say something about how good this recipe is.

what’s your favorite lip balm flavor? do you prefer lip stick, balm, or gloss?

xo apollo

2019 reading recap

hello!

i know it’s a little bit late for a 2019 recap type of post, but it’s still (barely) january so i think it’s ok. & there were a few books i read last year that i just love to death & would regret not telling you guys about. i usually include stats with my reading recaps, like genres/ratings, but i did a really awful job tracking those things this time around. so this is just some quick reviews & my thoughts on the best & worst books i read in 2019.


favorites

crush – this is easily my favorite poetry collection, if not one of my favorite books ever. one time i described richard siken’s poetry as a fever dream that lingers in the back of your mind, & i still stand by that. i use lines from this book as instagram captions, i got a gift last summer of a soccer ball covered in his quotes, i want these poems tattooed on my body someday, etc. i really don’t know how else to explain how much i love crush, but it’s gorgeous & unforgettable.

thirteen doorways, wolves behind them all – i don’t usually read historical fiction, because i feel like they usually focus more on portraying past events correctly than on developing interesting characters. but this book got five stars from me. it’s got orphanages, ghosts, tender romances, & more wonderful things that i’ve forgotten about because i read it too quickly. it made me think a lot about God & dreams and fate. also, the diction is so achingly beautiful. 10/10 would recommend.

a list of cages – i have a lot of feelings about this book!! the main characters are two boys, adam & julian, who both have disabilities (ADHD & dyslexia, respectively) & share such a sweet bond. julian gets abused by his uncle throughout the course of the story, & the descriptions of what julian had to suffer through were incredibly hard to read about. it made me cry & i felt like i was going to be sick at some points. despite that, it’s still an important, touching story that i would recommend to anyone who thinks they can deal with reading about the graphic abuse.

a thousand naked strangers – i don’t think i’ve mentioned this on my blog before, but i want to be a paramedic, maybe for the coast guard or a medevac service.  i read this memoir in order to learn more about EMS. i loved it because of the intense, exciting calls, the way the author’s job impacted him as a person, & because it’s a peek into the life i want. so this is more of an “i liked it because it’s personal” kind of book, not “everyone will think this is amazing & should read it right now!!” type, because EMS probably isn’t something that everyone will find captivating.

honorable mentions

overhyped

so i have one big thing about each of these books that really frustrated me, & here they are:

love & gelato – i thought the mc was kind of rude to all the other characters she interacted with, so it was hard for me to care much about what happened to her. & the entire story occurred over the course of just a few days, which means that it contains sickeningly high amounts of insta-love.

when dimple met rishi – rishi’s pursuit of dimple was sort of creepy in my opinion, because he knew she wasn’t interested in the arranged marriage but kept trying to woo her anyway. & as for dimple herself, she was honestly a huge jerk. she threw a drink on rishi the first time they met, was always mentioning how much better she was than other girls (just because she didn’t wear makeup & she liked STEM), was rude to everyone for no reason, & was overall just an unlikable character. & since i didn’t care about either of the mcs, i didn’t care about the story, either.

the upside of unrequited – none of the characters in this book were good people?? (except for molly’s moms, of course. absolute sweethearts.) i just thought that all of them were irritating & they didn’t look out for or seem to care about each other, even the twins & best friends. all the platonic bonds in this book were ignored in the pursuit of romantic ones.

dumplin’ – for a book that’s supposed to be about body positivity, willowdean sure does seem to hate the way she looks. she’s always self-conscious about her size when she’s with her love interest or best friend, which a) isn’t a good sigh in any relationship, romantic or not, & b) undermines the message of the story, which is essentially that all bodies are good bodies. i thought the movie was a lot better, which isn’t something i say very often.


so those are the highs & lows of my 2019 reading challenge! let me know in the comments what the best or worst books you read last year were. & if you’ve read any of the books i mentioned in this post, tell me how you felt about them.

xo apollo