my summer in photos

let’s pretend this isn’t how it ends. walk through the garden of your heart’s plans. august love, you won’t remember it, but i can. (august love // grayscale)

(inspired by clara)

school started for me about two weeks ago, so summer is pretty much gone. but this summer felt like i was living out the plot of a ya-novel. i can confidently say that it was the best summer of my life, and maybe just the best time of my life in general. i think i’ll miss this summer until i die.

summer started with my best friend and i driving to the state border to frolic by a lake all afternoon. our sweaty hair was still tied back in ponytails from that morning’s soccer game. we picked bouquets of wildflowers, followed animal tracks through the sun-hardened mud, and fished (without any luck).

i accidentally locked our keys in the truck. we were miles and miles away from home and we didn’t have any cell service. we had to yank down the window an inch and use a fishing pole to pull the keys out.

my best friends and i were all reunited for one perfect day in late may. we met up at our co-op’s end of the year picnic and then relocated to bethany‘s enormous farmhouse. it was so hot that we couldn’t do anything more than lie around on the trampoline in their dusty barn and nibble on strawberry popsicles.

we caught up on how our lives had been going since the last time we’d been together. romance, summer plans, dreams, drama — everything confusing seems to fall into place once you share it with the people who know you best.

a round of popcorn gets intense.
hey there delilah

singing old love songs when your lips are stained bright red from the strawberries leaves me dying for a kiss.

it started to cool down in the evening, so we decided to go on an adventure. this “adventure” consisted of splashing around in a muddy stream until kelsie screamed that there was a snake in the water with us (there wasn’t).

we split up awhile later, three of us going to a lawn party while bethany went out to see another friend.

it’s easy to pretend that everything is simple when it’s twilight and you’re tumbling down a blow-up slide in your socks. this is what it’s like to be a kid again. this is what it’s like to be joyful.

we sprinted into a barn when it started to rain. beneath the fairy lights strung across the rafters were tables of food and desserts. i think i cried when there wasn’t any cheesecake.

and then there’s the old power dam. i biked there a few times to wade in the river and look at the graffiti. i don’t think i’ve ever found a place that’s more me. i love how it’s hidden but has lots to say, overgrown and vibrant. it seems almost romantic to me.

DSC_1433

ironic

the greatest lie the devil ever told was convincing the world he didn’t exist
i hope marty’s ok

one day someone will love me back, and i’ll take them here so they can see who i really am.

dear cheerful,
a poem

sweltering august days often lead to flushed faces
but summer isn’t the only reason for the heat in my cheeks
the staccato rhythm of the drumline across the parking lot
matches the pounding of my heart when i see you
the sweat glittering on your brow shines like tiny gemstones in the golden afternoon sun
it lights up your hair like a halo
sometimes, you are so beautiful it makes my chest ache

| summer 2018 playlist |

peach (lobotomy) // waterparks
take her to the moon // waterparks
stupid for you // waterparks
rollercoaster // bleachers
young volcanoes // fall out boy
never fall in love // MØ
time-bomb // all time low
rock to my roll // anarbor
still be around // a summer high
shut up and dance // WALK THE MOON
on top of the world // imagine dragons
favorite record // fall out boy
crush // tessa violet
wild heart // bleachers
riptide // vance joy


of course, there’s also all the time i spent at camp, and that’s what really made this summer so overwhelmingly wonderful. i’m working on a post right now about the highlights of my weeks there, and hopefully i’ll be able to get that up soon. :)

xo apollo

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my favorite photography apps

you all know i’m really into photography. i’ve loved it since 2014. and recently, people have started telling me how aesthetic my pictures are. i know exactly why the compliments have shifted from “pretty!” to “this is so aesthetic,” and it’s as simple as this: i started editing my photos.

in the past, i’ve only cropped my photographs and adjusted lighting. but i downloaded a bunch of photography apps this year, and they’ve definitely made my pictures better. so i thought i’d share my favorite free editing apps with you guys. :)


| picsart |

i don’t use picsart very often, only for making crazy edits or adding text. a few things i know how to do include turning certain objects black and white, changing the color of something, putting spirals around people, etc. i’ve found lots of tutorials on instagram that walk you through some of the more complicated edits.

but sometimes i just make edits like this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ when i made it, i thought “buidheachas” meant “yeehaw” in some other language, but google translate now tells me it means “thank you” in gaelic??

it also has tons of free stickers you can download to add something extra to your photos.

another feature worth mentioning is the beauty section. there are tools to remove blemishes, whiten teeth, smooth your skin, etc., but the most fun ones change your eye and hair color.

| huji |

when you open the app, it looks like a retro camera, which i think is adorable. tapping on the viewfinder will give you a better look at what you’re photographing.

it adds an orange-ish, vintage filter with a datestamp to the pictures you take through the app. it comes out cute every time and makes even plain subjects interesting.

| lomograph |

lomograph lets you add vintage-looking filters and datestamps to your pictures. once you select a filter, clicking on the photo will change it slightly, adding white flecks or lens flares. i think it’s really helpful because sometimes i’ll take a photo and later wish i had taken it with the huji app so it would look vintage. with lomograph, i can just edit the original picture instead of retaking it with huji.

| vsco |

out of all my photography apps, i use vsco the most. i edit most of the pictures i use on my blog with it. if you use the filters right, it can really take your photos to the next level. besides the filters, there are also basic editing options, like changing exposure, contrast, temperate, etc. once you find a filter + editing combination you like, you can save it as a “recipe” and easily apply it to other photos. this makes it really simple to maintain a theme, because all your pictures are edited the same way.

you can post your pictures on your profile, and they’ll appear in your friends’ timelines, too. unfortunately, it’s really difficult to find friends on the app. the only way i’ve ever been able to get to my friends’ profiles is when they’ve shared a link.


do you edit your photos? if so, what editing apps do you use?

xo apollo

lyric edits

hey.

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?

enjoy!

painting flowers // all time low

cough it out // the front bottoms

peach // the front bottoms

favorite record // fall out boy

twelve feet deep // the front bottoms

centuries // fall out boy

tiffany blews // fall out boy

11:11 // waterparks

peach (lobotomy) // waterparks

picture by bethany.

 

we need to talk // waterparks

i’m going to keep practicing and working on making the yellow text show up better, but i think i’m off to a good start.

any song requests? preferably from bands i’ve mentioned in my music recommendation posts (here and here). i can’t promise that i’ll make an edit for you, but i’ll try.

have a good day, everyone!

xo apollo

greenhouse

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.

xo apollo

washington, d.c. travel diary (2)

i’ve finally finished writing my d.c. travel diary! enjoy, and read part one here if you haven’t already.


« day two »

one of the only things i hate about traveling is that i never sleep well. i always wake up ridiculously early and just wait in the dark until i decide it’s late enough to start moving around (aka 5 a.m.).

my mum made us pack up all our stuff first thing in the morning. we stuffed our bags into the car and went to get breakfast in the hotel’s dining room. i ended up burning my already hurt taste buds on (very) hot chocolate.

bethany and i texted each other while we ate, which was dumb, because we were sitting across from each other. my messages were along the lines of “wish you were here! this trip would be so much more fun if you were with us!” we’re stupid, i think.

we hadn’t picked what we were going to do that day, so we decided over breakfast: the eastern market. mum drove us into the city (we only got lost a few times) and we started walking in the direction of the bazaar.

the capitol building was on our way. being the tourists that we are, we stopped to take pictures by the capitol’s statues and reflecting pool.

bethany was vlogging some of our adventure. unfortunately, the only parts she got were of me making really awful weed and homeschooler jokes. :’)

some of the trees along the sidewalk had words and doodles scratched into the bark.

is it the illuminati or bill cipher? we’ll never know.

ironically found on a trashcan.

space cadet.

no war.

bethany insisted that we pop into one of d.c.’s many starbucks. it had this lovely mural on the wall, so i’m glad we went in. bethany got some fancy cold caramel drink and she let izzy and i taste it. it was the first time i’d ever had starbucks coffee. it was kind of weird and made my throat hurt, but i guess it was alright.

i wanted to take pictures of the pigeons, but bethany was in a modeling mood.

if i had a shop, i would definitely put up lights like these.

we started daydreaming while we meandered down the streets, gazing at the colorful ivy-covered houses squished side by side. we imagined we’d live in one together, the three of us, maybe with a cute puppy. bethany would pursue a career in makeup at the mall, i would become some kind of sad freelance artist, and i guess izzy would just eat all our food. it sounds nice, you know — falling asleep to the sounds of the city beside my best friends.

pastel walls.

color block.

we made a friend. :)

this gorgeous mural is next to the eastern market. it’s odd, but i like it.

i’m convinced that my friends only keep me around to take pictures for their instagrams.

bubbles always make me think of rutvi’s about to burst poem. you should definitely read it. :)

after a lot of walking, we finally reached our destination. the market is a vibrant, buzzing mess of creativity: always something new to see, to smell, to hear. there were paintings, jewelry, honey, flowers, clothes, fruit, soap, candles, live music, etc.

i used to knot bracelets like these, they’re really fun to make.

an outdoor display. the market was so colorful.

flower shop.

i ended up buying a tapestry with a dragon yin and yang design in the center. i actually just put it up in my room today!

fairy godmother books & toys
from pandelibros.com

while we were deciding where to go next, we spotted a tiny shop called fairy godmother books & toys. it was super cramped (you could barely move without bumping into a shelf or customer) and a bit messy (lots of books were splayed out on the floor instead of stacked), but they had a great selection.

i bought the screaming staircase by jonathan stroud. it’s the first book in one of my favorite series.

by afternoon, we were really hungry, so my mum fed us chocolate from her purse while we went in search of the food trucks. i feel like most mothers carry little snacks in their bags. it kind of creeps me out, because as soon as you say that you’re hungry, all the moms around dig something out of their mary poppins purse. bonus points if someone has those weird strawberry candies.

while we were looking for somewhere to eat, we took a detour through the national gallery of art. i don’t have pictures of the actual paintings, but here’s a photo of a little café tucked between the wings.

i did a drawing based on this one. i’m working on another art post right now so i can share it with you guys.

i wish this one wasn’t so grainy. :/

there was also this insanely cool pathway between two of the galleries. the ground moved under you, and thousands of lights in the walls lit up as you passed.

isn’t this magical?

i got two souvenirs from the art museum: a color wheel pin and a map of the gallery, which i didn’t realize was in mandarin until it was too late.

once we escaped the national gallery, we bought a really chewy soft pretzel from a food truck to share while we explored the statue garden. most of the statues there are just misshapen hunks of metal that would be hard to call art. still, there were pieces like the amor statue, a creepy rabbit, and two boards painted like the sides of a house that looked complete no matter where you were standing that i enjoyed seeing.

all you need is love . . .

lunch was french fries for me and fried chicken sandwiches for izzy and bethany, which i thought looked pretty gross. idk, maybe that’s just how it is in the south.

there was a street musician playing an electric guitar. he could make his voice do some insane stuff. it was nice to listen to while we ate.

we stopped at the smithsonian museum of natural history on our way back to the parking deck that evening. i’ve been there a few times, but it still amazes me. my favorite part is easily the gem section. i didn’t get any photos of it this time, but there are display upon display of vibrant jewels. and the hope diamond is housed there, which is allegedly cursed, so that’s exciting (read about it here).

there was a tiny garden by one of the windows, mostly orchids. i got an orchid around valentine’s day, and all the blooms fell off over the weekend, so i don’t understand how theirs looked so good.

           bethany must have mentioned these doors a million times. she was really set on getting a picture in front of them, so we paused to get one once we were done with the natural history museum. i think they’re by the building where the declaration of independence is kept, but i’m not 100% sure.

we listened to twenty one pilots on the way home. the blurryface album is good road trip music.


i had an amazing time, and i’m so glad i have friends who are content to just wander around all day. izzy and bethany, thanks for the wonderful weekend. <3

have you ever been to d.c.? if so, what’s your favorite thing to do there? i like people watching and looking at art.

xo apollo

sunrise hike

when i was at the lodge, i joined a small party that was going on a sunrise hike. we got up at 5:30 and trudged straight up the mountain through the snow. it was so eerily quiet. there was no birdsong, no laughter, no music; just heavy breathing and snow crunching under rhythmic footfalls.

it was a ridiculously hard climb, and all the snow didn’t help at all. the leaders said it was about a 45 minute hike, but it felt a lot longer. being in nature so early seems to make time stretch. but the worst part was that when i thought i had reached the top, another peak appeared, even steeper than the ones before.

the top of the mountain was absolutely freezing, and windy. we had to huddle to stay warm (and keep each other from getting blown off the peak).

look at that insane child in the shorts. (he’s homeschooled, so that might explain some of it.) i was incredibly cold, and i was wearing long sleeves and a jacket, so i can’t imagine how it must have been for him. i mean, my hair was damp from a shower the night before, but still.

i know i’ve just been complaining this whole time, but it was so, so worth it. standing on the top of a mountain while the sun flooded the hills and sky with light was such a wonderful experience. it’s pretty impossible to describe, but it made me feel awestruck, like i was in a painting or poem, like i was shaking from the sheer beauty of it, not the cold.

 

after the hike, one girl started talking about how it made her realize just how big and wonderful the world is. and as amazing as it is, God loves us even more. there are gorgeous sights like the grand canyon, carefree beaches, colorful cities, misty forests filled with quiet life, and we are more lovely than any of it.

most of us headed back to the lodge before the sunrise finished, but i got glimpses of the pink and orange through the trees. i would love to do it again, hopefully when it’s not quite so cold. :)


2/19/18

love, the sky was glorious, painted by the old artists with a starry brush. when the mountains and trees are stretched out below you like a patchwork blanket, you realize how tiny you are in the grand scheme of things. i told myself i was just a stitch in the quilt of the universe. but i must have done something right, to be on top of the world with the sunrise staining the snow pink.

from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised. -psalm 113:3

xo apollo