2018 christmas haul

hello!

christmas has come and gone, and i’m actually glad that it’s out of the way for another year. i just couldn’t seem to make myself excited about the holiday season, so all the parties and events were a bit of a headache. i feel like a brat for saying that, but i just wasn’t in the spirit this time around.

summer berry meringues from christmas tea

despite not being that into it, i celebrated on many different occasions. some of my friends and i had a mini christmas feast during lunch. my friends from co-op and i went out to watch the new grinch movie and had bubble tea. i got to see my band and choir friends perform at a christmas concert at school. my best friend and i had a christmas tea. i baked cookies and drank hot cocoa by a lake in the rain. my family saw a christmas carol at a shakespeare center on christmas eve. we visited family on christmas and the day after. just a lot of festive events stuffed into winter break.

before i get into what i got for christmas, i want to make it clear that i’m absolutely not trying to brag. i just enjoy reading and writing haul posts, and this is for people who like them, too. i’m extremely thankful for everything that i received.

with that out of the way, here are some gifts that the amazing, generous people in my life blessed me with. :)

(by the way, photo quality is not super great throughout this post. my camera is being stubborn and no matter what i do, the photos refuse to turn out clear consistently. i’m probably getting a new camera soon, but until then, pictures will be a bit blurry.)


i usually do everything i can to get out of buying full priced books, and i must say that i’ve become somewhat of an expert at it (you can see my tips for getting cheap books here). but there are some books that i just can’t find anywhere and have to end up paying what they’re actually worth. the books that i got for christmas fall under that category. (although since they were gifts, i didn’t really have to pay for them myself, but still.)

i am so excited to read these books! especially dr. bird’s advice for sad poets, because that one has been on my TBR for awhile.

i got a little bit of jewelry. the necklace is from a girl from my church and has tiny dried flowers inside! and while i don’t wear earrings very often, i wore the glittery bell ones a few times over the holidays. i love how they jingle whenever i nod or move my head.

my mom is an artist who does watercolors and oil painting, and she’s been trying to get me into her kind of art for as long as i can remember. and i do like art, but i’m more partial to drawing than painting. however, she’s still very determined, so she got me a set of winsor & newton watercolors with twelve different paint colors. i still don’t think i’ll ever really like painting as much as my mom does, but it seems like a good quality set, and i’m excited to try it out.

i wanted a portable charger to take with me to summer camp and on long bus rides to competitions next band season, so my mom got me this. it seems to be a pretty good model, but it’s also large and heavy, which makes me wonder how portable it is. it certainly won’t fit in my pocket next to my phone like my friend’s does. however, i’m still thankful to have it, and my mom did say that we could look into finding a less clunky one.

i got a whole lot of beauty products, which is sort of weird because everyone knows that i’m not that into makeup (just lip glosses, really). but these look fun so i won’t complain that much. i got a LUSH lip scrub that i talked about here, a honeydew/honeysuckle eos, and several lip products from sephora. there’s a honey lip scrub that you apply just like any chapstick, but it leaves your lips soft and shiny. and the banana lip balm, which has such cute packaging and smells just like banana candy.

i also got a lip balm making set (the flavors are raspberry, cherry, french vanilla, and chocolate mint)!

my friend gave me a bunch of face masks, plus some african black soap makeup wipes. i’ve genuinely only used one face mask in my life, so i’m excited to try these out and see if they work.

the same friend got me sephora’s midnight kisses lipstick set! it comes with six different colors: celebrate (#12), wanderlust (#33), a little magic (#22), landing in shanghai (#2), festival lights (#51), and golden gates (#31). i’m not a huge fan of lipstick, but this set has some fun colors that will hopefully help me branch out from just glosses.

my friends kelsie, izzy, and i had lunch together at tropical smoothie cafe one day after christmas, and kelsie surprised us with christmas presents. my gift included these super soft black slippers, peppermint lotion, and a bath bomb.

Image result for boston
via FaneuilHallMarketplace.com

and here comes the Big Gift: i had unwrapped a box to find a single, folded sheet of paper inside. the only thing printed on it was this photo of boston, massachusetts.

around september, i found out that music students/marching band members are allowed to go on a trip to boston in the spring. of course i wanted to go, because i love traveling and wanted to hang out with my band friends after marching season and pep band were over. but the trip is ridiculously expensive, so my mom vetoed the idea pretty quickly, and the spots filled up even faster. but apparently there were eight spots still open by christmas, and my mom had found the money for it somewhere, so i might get to go to boston in the spring! my band director hasn’t emailed back to confirm that there’s a spot for me, but i’m hoping it will work out.


what’s the best thing you gave/received this christmas?

xo apollo

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goals for 2018 | results + goals for 2019

hello!

since 2018 has come to a close, it’s time to revisit my list of goals that i posted last january and see how many i completed. i always forget about the goals that i’ve set by about march, so i don’t have much hope.

(key: ✅ means i reached my goal, ❌ means i failed, and 🔵 means i partially did it.)


reach 1000 followers ❌

guys i was so close :'( i had 994 followers on the last day of 2018. literally just six away from reaching my goal. sigh.

i’m not really surprised, though. with school and camp and marching band taking up my time, my posting has definitely not been consistent this year. and if i’m not regularly sharing content, then i can’t expect to gain a lot of followers, you know?

reach 50k in my novel ❌

oh dear. definitely did not achieve this one. i stopped writing fiction altogether after last year’s nanowrimo, and this november was the first time in three years that i didn’t participate. but i do miss my novel and my characters, so maybe i’ll pick it up again sometime.

not cry on the first day of school ✅

i think i actually did this one, yay me! then again, i don’t really remember the first day of school, so who knows. however, i definitely did cry during band camp, but that doesn’t really count.

learn to play drums ✅

i’m taking percussion 1 this year, so i am learning! i can play basic stuff on snare and bass now, and i plan on joining my school’s drumline next marching season. there’s also talk of a county-wide indoor drumline being started, which would be so amazing.

our christmas concert was lowkey a disaster

go to a concert 🔵

i mean, i played percussion in a christmas concert, and i attended my friend’s choir concert, so technically i did this? but since it’s not the type of concert i was thinking of, i’m not going to consider it fully completed. none of the bands i like had concerts nearby this year, and even if they had, i wouldn’t have had the money to go.

meet an internet friend ❌

no, because most of my internet friends love ridiculously far away, and i didn’t travel much this year. i love you guys so much and it’s a dream of mine to meet some of you.

go to camp ✅

i spent about three weeks at summer camp this year and i loved (almost) every minute. i made so many memories and new friends that i will cherish forever. click here to read about this year’s camp experience.

i am so ready to go back in january to work at winter camp! it’s going to be freezing, but i’m still so excited.

get better at drawing faces 🔵

the one on the left is from spring of 2017, and the right one is from this summer. i guess that’s improvement? i didn’t draw as much this year as i would have liked to, and when i did, it usually opted for my flower people instead of ones with actual faces. but it doesn’t take me nearly as much time to draw a fairly decent face now, so i’ll give myself this one.

get better at gymnastics ✅

i ended up having to quit gymnastics in early summer because of camp, and i wasn’t able to go back in autumn because of marching band. despite that, i think i did complete this one, because at the beginning of the year i learned to do front tucks on the floor and fly aways on the uneven bars, among other things. also, i’m starting lessons again this month!

make a new friend ✅

yes!! i made quite a few new friends, actually, or at least acquaintances. i’m proud of myself for completing this one because since i’m so painfully shy, it’s usually really hard for me to make friends. that’s why i’ve had the same four friends since probably fourth or fifth grade. but being in band forced me to interact with my peers, so i’ve met a bunch of people whom i adore and who (hopefully) like me back.

read 100 books ❌

eh, not quite. i thought i could do it, but i had a huge reading slump over the summer and ended up missing my goal by 23 books. i posted about some of my most memorable reads from 2018 year right here, in case you missed it.


now, moving on from the the goals i failed in 2018 to the ones that i’m destined to forget about this year, too!

24280

read one page of les misérables a day

my brother did the math for me, and if i read one page of les mis a day, i’ll finish it in about four years. this sounds more appealing to me than sitting down and trying to get through 1,463 pages of a book that i’m just reading for bragging rights.

join drumline

i wanted to do drumline last marching season, but due to a miscommunication on my mum’s part, i ended up in front ensemble instead. and that’s ok; i learned to play mallet instruments, aux percussion, and became friends with one of our section leaders, but i really just want to play bass drum.

the drumline’s section leader has let me play bass a few times in the stands and at pep band. and i really like most of the people in drumline, so i think it’ll be a better fit than front ensemble (especially since our section leaders aren’t coming back next season). unfortunately, joining drumline will require me to audition, learn to march, and memorize sets, but i’m determined to do it.

get a summer job

since i worked at summer camp as a CIT last year, i’ll be able to be a full-time counselor this year, which i am so so excited about! i just need my mum to agree, which she’s sort of hesitant about because i’ll be spending over a month away from home, and because she doesn’t want to drive eight hours every weekend to take me to and from camp. but i’m still hopeful that it will work out. and if i can’t be on staff the whole summer, i’ll definitely be a CIT again.

earn 10 merit badges

i always earn about 4 or 5 badges at summer camp, so as long as i do a few by myself during the rest of the year, i should be set. a few badges that i’m hoping to complete include outdoor skills, music performance, skiing & snowboarding, and the two space-themed ones.

vegetarian bean enchiladas

go vegetarian

i’ve been wanting to be vegetarian for awhile, mostly because i just don’t like meat that much. in december, i ate next to no meat and made a bunch of vegetarian recipes, so hopefully this is the year that i really go for it.

continue to explore cooking

i’ve discovered that i really like cooking and it’s something that i want to keep doing through 2019. i want to try more complicated desserts, as well as making my own vegetarian meals so i don’t have to eat my mom’s meat-based dinners. there’s a whole section of vegetarian cookbooks at the bookstore, and i’m hoping to pick up one of those so i have somewhere to start.

read 50 books

i read 77 books in 2018, so i’m kind of disappointed in myself for lowering the number. but i’m just trying to be realistic. i usually do a lot of reading over the summer, but if i’m going to be working at camp, i won’t have as much free time to read as i normally do. 50 books doesn’t sound that challenging to me now, but we’ll just have to see.


what are your goals for 2019?

xo apollo

2018 reading recap

hey guys, i hope you all had a good christmas! or if you don’t celebrate it, just a great day anyway.

since it’s nearing the end of the year, i want to share the books (both the best and worst) that i read in 2018. this posts includes fun statistics and mini reviews/rants. :)

best book with a disabled mc: a taxonomy of love by rachael allen
best book with a lgbt+ mc: in other lands by sarah rees brennan
best book with a poc mc: the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue by mackenzie lee
best book with a mentally ill mc: charm & strange by stephanie kuehn

not shown: horror, sci-fi

i’m so glad i started reading fantasy again. it was favorite genre when i was younger, but as i grew up i couldn’t find many fantasy books that looked interesting to me. thank god for magical realism and in other lands by sarah rees brennan for getting me back into it.

half stars are rounded up

i guess my star rating system is a little screwed up. because i can read a book that’s practically perfect, but if i don’t have some kind of emotional connection to it, it won’t be getting five stars. i think i only had four five star reads this year.

my favorites

 

carry on – the beginning is definitely heavily inspired by the harry potter series, but it develops into its own thing that is wonderful and and which i love dearly. so if you like harry potter, you’ll probably adore this book too! in fact, i actually liked it so much more than any of j.k. rowling’s books?? i’m so excited for the sequel to come out next year.

bone gap – i spent most of the book trying to figure out the genre. mystery? romance? fantasy? who knows, but it was amazing and i love it to death. it’s the kind of book that you want to reread as soon as you finish it because it will make so much more sense the second time around.

the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue – i am not usually a fan of historical fiction, but this book is one of my all time favorites. things i love about this book: queer characters in historical fiction are rare but so needed (lgbt+ people have always existed!), monty is an idiot who constantly makes bad decisions (same, honestly), there’s so much rep, and the writing is witty, sarcastic, and engaging.

 

charm & strange – this was a twisted and intense story about a boy struggling with his sanity as he confronts a traumatic experience in his past. the mc, drew, is a dark sixteen year old with mental health issues — on top of that, he’s an extremely unreliable narrator, which makes trying to understand what really happens in the story difficult. like bone gap, you’ll understand better after a reread.

the perks of being a wallflower – the first time i heard of this book was about two years ago, when my friend told me it was one of the best books he’d ever read, but that i should probably never read it because it was that sad. and after i read it (without telling him, obviously), i completely understand why he thought that. because this book deals with so many heavy and uncomfortable issues that the mc faces while growing up that it was hard to stomach at times. this is one of the few books that i think actually changed my life.

in other lands – this fantasy story follows a trio of best friends from their early teens to almost adulthood: elliot, a bisexual know-it-all in the council training course; serene-heart-in-the-chaos-of-battle, an elf who ran away from home to join the warrior training program; and luke sunborn, a member of one of the most respected families in the world. full of war and messy romances, it goes from sarcastic and flirty to heartbreaking in an instant, and is one of the best fantasy books i’ve ever read. (also . . . elliot stabbed himself with a butter knife to get out of a conversation, which is so relatable??)

honorable mentions

 

most disappointing

 

a court of thorns and roses – a retelling of beauty and the beast. i don’t remember much of it at this point, but i think it was too slow, i didn’t like the mc, there were some sexual parts that i wasn’t expecting, and i just didn’t care about the story. there are only two redeeming things about this book: the cover is pretty, and i found my signed copy at a thrift store for maybe one dollar.

the maze runner – before i start: this wasn’t a bad book. it just wasn’t everything that i was expecting. it took me forever to get into because i found the first half so unbearably slow, and i didn’t think many of the characters were very likable. that being said, the pace definitely picked up towards the end and i plan on finishing the series.

 

no one else can have you – i only remember two things about this book: it’s about girl trying to unravel the mystery of her best friend’s murder, and i hated it. i’m pretty sure there were a few racist comments, as well as sexism, victim blaming, and a relationship between a teen girl and an old man (aka a pedophile). also, the author apparently stalked someone who left a bad review on her book, so maybe don’t support her by buying it.

schooled – this is about a homeschooled boy going to public school for the first time. i decided to read it because that’s the situation i’m currently in, but it was so, so horrible. the mc, capricorn, is so sheltered that he’s never had pizza, watched tv, or done anything that pretty much everyone, even homeschoolers, do. and then he goes to middle school for some reason that i can’t remember, gets bullied at first, but then somehow becomes super popular and decides that he loves public school?? which is fine but it doesn’t match up with the experiences of any of my formerly homeschooled friends. the rep was just so bad and exaggerated that it was sort of funny.


click here to view my goodreads and see all the books i’ve read this year.

did we read any of the same books in 2018? what are some books that i should definitely read in 2019?

xo apollo

ahg summer camp 2018

the annual summer camp post is finally here! this was absolutely the most interesting year so far, and i’m so excited to tell you guys about it.

i’ve been going to this camp for the past three years. it’s a boy scout camp that my scouting group, american heritage girls, gets to use for one week in august. it’s also the camp that i worked at as a CIT this summer.

the badges i took this year were pen & paper arts, creative crafts, boating safety, and outdoor cooking. my bff izzy and i were in all the same classes, and i was already friends with the counselors, so it was pretty fun.

pen & paper arts was taught by mary, who worked at outdoor skills during the boy scout camp and helped at the health lodge. we did origami, paper weaving, calligraphy, etc.

we were supposed to make something in the style of an illuminated manuscript, and this is what i made. it’s lyrics from peach // the front bottoms. i was originally planning on adding more drawings to the borders, but i decided that i didn’t care enough.

i created a stencil of a rocket and made this with it.

we tried suminagashi (paper marbling with water and ink, although we used paint) and mine turned out alright for a first try.

mary taught outdoor cooking, too. that day, we made all our meals in the class. most of the food didn’t turn out that well, and it took forever to get our fire started in the morning. it would’ve been fine if the other scouts actually listened to my tips, because i’m really good at making fires, but no such luck. they kept pushing the sticks i gathered out of the fire pit and telling me that i was building it wrong. i only got the fire going once most of the girls had drifted away to work with the food and i could do what i needed to.

i spent a ridiculous amount of time setting up this picture of my lumpy basket

jordan taught creative crafts at the handicraft lodge. he’s one of my favorite people at camp, and he’s going to college in my town, so that’s exciting. anyway, he showed us how to make clay pots and use a potter’s wheel, weave baskets, dye and stamp leather, and make gimp braids. while i loved his class, he didn’t get us anywhere close to earning our badge. i don’t think we even completed an entire requirement. i love jordan, but come on.

here are some pictures of stuff that i made in the class.

leather stamping

a calligraphy/watercolor disaster. i strongly believe that it’s the worst thing i’ve ever made, but i have no dignity left, so i’m going to share it with all of you.

boating safety was probably my favorite badge. we got to use rowboats, sailboats, and paddle boards. when we weren’t on the water, we were learning knots and how to radio for help and first aid.

i was signed up for an all-day hike on friday, but i hurt my ankle during a 5k the day before camp started, so i switched out of that. i ended up taking a waterfront survival class that was basically just lifegaurding stuff. i actually really enjoyed it, and it helped me get my swimming badge.

at one point, we were doing rescues with a pole, and a girl accidentally kicked the one i was using into the lake. (i got the blame, of course.) one of the staffers slid another pole down the dock to me, but he overshot and that one went into the lake, too, so we were out of poles.

beth & izzy during last year’s cinematography class

i got to meet up with old camp friends, which was probably the best part. beth was there, and we’ve been friends since my first year at camp. this year, we figured out that our real names are super similar (i’m loren, she’s laura, and we have the same middle name), and she hosted a “talk show” every night. we used a flashlight shining through a water bottle as a microphone, and we asked each other really dumb questions, the best of which was simply “eeg?” the number of imaginary listeners went up each night, but it started with just the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, and her mom.

the other friend i was reunited with was rachel. she was there my first year of camp, missed the second, but came again this time. i love her so much, she’s kind of my other half. she likes the same music as me, has a dark sense of humor, and a rebellious streak. it’s surprising because she goes to an all-girls catholic boarding school, and that doesn’t fit her at all.

some shenanigans my friends and i got up to:

– rachel and i were hanging out in the deserted gaga ball pit at night, and we decided to make a bet. she thought her mom would come by soon and tell us that it was late and we should get to bed. her mom did show up a few minutes later, and she did comment on how late it was getting, but she never told us to go to bed, so i won. rachel was supposed to buy me food from the trading post, but it was closed, so she promised to do it next year instead.

– rachel and i were hanging out in the dining hall one night when we saw an entire apple pie on one of the tables. i love this camp’s apple pie, and i hadn’t gotten any for dinner that night. the pie didn’t seem to belong to anyone, so we took it and two spoons and went down to the fishing dock to eat it. we talked about mothman while we ate. it was honestly kind of magical.

we ate pie 2k18 ♥

– another girl i hung out with was paetyn. she probably hated me by the end of the week, because rachel and i sort of terrorized her during meals. we would select a piece of food, make it as awful as possible, and then get her to eat a bite (rachel and i usually tasted it, too). the worsts things we created, in my opinion, included a breakfast of powerade, instant oatmeal, ketchup, a hardboiled egg, and mustard in a cup, and a dinner of an already nasty BBQ sandwich, a raisin cookie, hot sauce, and cheetos, all doused in blue powerade. the staff actually encouraged it, which was maybe the funniest part. the boating instructor gave me the hot sauce to put on her sandwich.

– some of my friends and i were going down to the waterfront one evening when we found a pale green caterpillar outside the tent i shared with izzy. paetyn decided to kill it. she built a tiny cabin of sticks around it, used a chip as a fire starter, and burned the whole thing. it was really pretty cruel, but by that point, the caterpillar was in such bad shape it just seemed kinder to finish the job. once it was dead, we named the caterpillar kathryn and carried him down to the lake for a funeral. paetyn placed him on a lily pad and set that on fire, too. i gave a speech that was honestly quite touching and shed a tear or two. rest in peace, kathryn the caterpillar, you are missed.

– waterfront games is absolutely my least favorite part of camp. it was even worse this year because i couldn’t participate at all thanks to my sprained ankle. i guess beth and rachel hated it too, because they suggested we bail and go investigate the graffiti in the boys’ bathroom at the dining hall.  i didn’t want to vandalize anything in case it affected my chances of getting hired again, but rachel wrote “celery” in one of the stalls.

i really enjoyed the friday night campfire this year. the skits were terrible as always, but i loved watching my friends make fools out of themselves. i ended up having to embarrass myself too, though. the girls who took the search, survival, and rescue class had stolen my campsite’s flag and the patriots had to do the chicken dance to get it back.

(now, listen. that was technically against the camp’s rules. dancing/singing to retrieve belongings falls under hazing, which is prohibited, but i guess i’m the only one who knew that.)

i had to edit out one of the words on the bottom for safety reasons

the camp had a patch design contest for scouts this year. guess who won? :) i spent maybe an hour working on it the day of the deadline. it’s inspired by the totem poles at the camp’s entrance. it’s not that great, but it looks pretty dang good as a patch. and jordan told me that the staff was super proud of me for winning, so that was nice.

i’d lost my water bottle earlier that day (it was in the health lodge’s freezer, but i didn’t know that then), and by the time the campfire was over, i was ridiculously thirsty. the only water nearby was in the lake. so i got a cup from paetyn’s brother (he was on the staff and had been wearing a stack on his head) and just drank some of the lake water. it was honestly not that bad. a little warm and gritty, sure, but it was too dark to see the color, so it was alright. jordan noticed when i was on my second sip and sort of lost his mind. he screamed and slapped the cup out of my hands so it splashed all over us. it’s nice to know that he cared, but it was kind of rude.

every year after the campfire, there’s a sleeping under the stars event at the dining hall. and, every year, it rains and everyone spends the night inside instead. we watch a movie and the kitchen staff make us snacks and set out all the desserts that didn’t get eaten over the summer. we watched the lego movie this time, and when everything is awesome started playing, everyone sang along. it was kind of amazing. i love my generation.

the trading post was apparently giving out free slushies that night, and beth made me go with her to get one. unfortunately, they had just closed the store when we got there. but when they noticed it was me, they let us both in and we hung out with the staff for awhile. i know it didn’t matter that much, but it gave me the most wonderful feeling. i guess i realized that i had friends there who would bend the rules a little for me even though i wasn’t on staff that week.

i saved the most exciting adventure for last! tuesday morning, my sprained ankle was bothering me so much that i went to get ibuprofen from the health officer. i mean, it hurt so much that i woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep, and i was limping so bad i could barely get anywhere. anyway, i had a rough experience with pills when i was younger, so i’ve avoided them ever since. but pills were the only form of ibuprofen the health officer had, and i was willing to take them if it meant the pain would be more bearable.

i took the pills, and they helped a bit, so i went and got some more that afternoon. things were going alright until that evening, when my chest started to feel tight and it became hard to breathe and swallow. it seemed like an allergic reaction, but i’d never had one before, so i wasn’t sure. then i realized that it could be the effects of an overdose. the health officer had given me three pills that afternoon, which i was quite sure was too much medication for someone my size.

i figured the symptoms would go away eventually, so i tried to ignore it, but eventually it became so bad that i went and found the health officer again. he checked my oxygen levels and apparently they were lower than normal, and he said my throat was swollen. he decided to call an ambulance, and i ended up having to go to the ER. the EMTs gave me oxygen on the drive there, and when i got there i had to take more pills to help me breathe. i didn’t get back to camp until two in the morning.

it’s really going to suck it i’m actually allergic to ibuprofen. i’m an athlete, what am i going to do if i get injured during a game and can’t have any pain killer?

the health officer had to give me more oxygen later that week. i don’t know. that’s not really how i wanted camp to go, but it was certainly eventful, to say the least.


i wish i had more pictures of camp to use in this post, but there was a new rule this year asking that no one share photos of the scouts. i didn’t bring my good camera because of that, so the only pictures i have were taken on my ipod (which i wasn’t even supposed to have with me).

did you go to a camp this summer?

xo apollo

summer bucket list

school ends for me in about two weeks, so i thought it was an appropriate time to post this. i’ve been joking about how this is my last summer of freedom before i go to public school full time, but i guess it’s actually true. i’m going to try and have fun this summer, so i made a list of ten things i want to do over the next few months.

when i go back to school, i’ll make another post about this to see how close i got to accomplishing all my goals.


1) explore

there’s an old dam down the road that’s covered in graffiti. it’s got a river on one side and forest on the other, and i think that’s where i’m going to be exploring this summer. i’ve only been there twice so far; the first time i biked and checked out the graffiti, and the second time i went fishing. and my family just bought a bunch of inner tubes, so hopefully i can get a friend to head down there and go tubing with me.

2) read 15 books

i was originally planning on reading 100 books this year, but i’m way behind on that, as i can’t seem to concentrate on anything. reading even 15 books in a few months sounds kind of difficult for me, but i’m still going to try.

3) nail my back handsprings

one of my gymnastics coaches was helping me with back handsprings one day, and she told me i twist to the left when i do them. the same thing happens when i do bridges or back walkovers. but i think that if i can straighten them out, i’ll be able to do them by myself.

4) vbs

i think the theme my church picked for this year’s vacation bible school is “road rally,” or something like that. i’ve already signed up to be a crew leader, hopefully for elementary school kids. izzy tells me that our age group is only allowed to work with preschoolers, but we’ll see.

5) hang out with friends

since my friends all go to different schools, i don’t get to see them that often. in fact, the only friend i’ve hung out with regularly since school started is izzy, who i see 3-5 days a week. i miss my friends and i want to have another summer with them before i go to public school, my schedule gets crazy, and we drift apart.

6) earn 2 ahg badges

(ahg is my scouting group, for those who don’t know.) i’ve almost completed the gardening and plant science badge, and after i get that i think i’ll work on nature & wildlife. doing badge requirements is sort of my go-to boredom buster, and i’m trying to see how many i can earn before i age out of ahg (i currently have about ¼ of all the available badges).

7) go to camp

going to ahg camp with my best friend is always the highlight of my summer. i’m excited to see my camp friends again, swim in the lake, go to the shooting range, and hopefully buy a rainbow knife that i couldn’t get last time because the staff heard me talking about murder with izzy. :)

i’m actually going to two summer camps with her. the other one is a weekend camp at beginning of june, and we’re going to be counselors.

8) garden

i got my garden planted a few days ago, so i’ve already kind of done this one? i have some herbs, mint, daises, aloe, a succulent, primroses, and some little flowers that i don’t know the names of. i’ve also been growing cacti from seeds, and hopefully i’ll be able to keep them alive.

9) get a tan

i currently have a slight shinguard tan from soccer, and it’s only going to get worse as the season goes on. for anyone who isn’t familiar with what a shinguard tan is, it means my thighs and calves are pale, and just my knee is tan. the only way to fix it is to go outside for something other than pratice/games, which i will unfortunately do if i want to look less like a zebra.

10) go swimming

my family doesn’t actually go swimming that much, but since i just got two new swimsuits, we kind of have to. one is a maroon one-piece with a kind of crisscross thing on the chest, and the other is a black bikini with a bunch of different colored stripes. i did a really bad job explaining them, but they’re very cute.


 so that’s my plan for the summer! it’s unlikely that i’ll actually do everything on my list, but i’m still going to try.

let me know in the comments what you’re looking forward to doing over the summer!

xo apollo

goals for 2018

i’m a bit late to the new year’s resolutions party, but it’s fine.

other than the first one, they’re all personal goals (instead of blogging goals), but you’ll definitely hear about them if i complete any.

let’s get into it. :)


reach 1000 followers

with 828 followers, i’m actually pretty close to this already.

i don’t like asking for followers, but maybe join the killjoy gang if you want to help a teenager with low self-esteem feel accomplished for once in her life? just a thought.

reach 50k in my novel

i have a pattern with my writing habits: write a ton for nano, and then take a break during december, promising that i’ll resume my story in january. but, of course, that never happens, so i have a bunch of half-finished novels lying around. hopefully this will be the year i keep working on my nano project.

(i’ve actually got 21k right now, whoop whoop.)

not cry on the first day of school

i’m going to high school full-time next year, and i’m not ready. like, at all. it will be a miracle if i don’t break down in a bathroom or the middle of class.

my main concerns are a) i look gross and i don’t always want people to look at me, and b) i’m not going to have any friends!! just hear me out on this. i already know a lot of people in my grade and none of them have expressed any interest in befriending me. why would that suddenly change next year? so i won’t have any buddies unless some upperclassman decides to take me under their wing because of how lonely i look.

learn to play drums

i plan on joining my school’s marching band, but apparently you need to be able to play an instrument to do that?? who knew. drum seems like the easiest, and i’ve always wanted to play, anyway. plus, i already have a drum (technically my brother’s) that i can practice on.

go to a concert

literally everyone i know has gone to a concert, even ones who aren’t into music and only tagged along because of a friend. i would definitely cry from happiness if i get the chance to see a band i like this year.

meet an internet friend

i’m looking at you, sam and rutvi. you guys are incredible and i love you and it sucks that you both live so far away from me.

go to camp

it’s pretty much guaranteed that i’ll be able to go to ahg camp again this year. it’ll be my third time there so i’ll be an experienced camper™. i’ll hopefully be able to get that rad rainbow knife that i couldn’t get last summer because one of the staffers overheard me and my friend discussing murder.

i’d also like to go to a place called camp victory with said friend. they do zumba every morning.

get better at drawing faces

i can sometimes draw faces, but they’re sort of cartoon-ish. i’d like to improve my skills so my people look more realistic.

get better at gymnastic

my brother and i did gymnastic together for years when we were younger, and i just started going again this week. it’s not as hard as i remembered, which is probably a good thing. i’d like to stick with gymnastic for the entire year and finally get down my back handspring, which i had almost mastered when we quit.

make a new friend

i don’t think i made a single friend in 2017 that i’ve seen regularly. in fact, i kind of lost some instead. hopefully i’ll make a friend at my school so i don’t have to do high school by myself.

read 100 books

this doesn’t sound that difficult, but i only read about fifty books last year due to a huge reading slump, so we’ll have to see.

goodreads tells me i’m one book ahead of schedule but i think it’s lying.


so there you have it. everything i want to achieve in 2018. some of them are too outlandish for me to actually accomplish (i’m looking at you, not crying at school and making a friend), but some of them seem attainable? maybe? who knows.

do we have any of the same goals? what’s something you want to do in 2018? let me know in the comments. :)

xo apollo