mini birthday haul

hello, loves!

i had a birthday awhile ago, and i finally got around to putting together a haul for you guys. the gifts from my friends/family are all extremely thoughtful and i’m so grateful for everything i received!

i didn’t plan anything crazy this year, like when i took my friends to d.c. for my last birthday. this time, we just went out for dinner and then watched clueless at my  house while eating homemade soft pretzels and discussing astrology. i was trying to combine two friend groups (homeschool friends + public school friends), and that made things kind of awkward, but i’m still thankful that everyone made an effort to bridge the gap for me.


notebook & paper mate candy pop felt tip pens – my favorite section leader from marching band gave these to me and told me that it’s a new poem notebook. i never really talk to any of my friends about my poetry, so i was really touched that she knew that about me.

the notebook that i currently use for poetry is from a camp friend, and it’s still mostly empty. but my journal is approximately ¾ full, so i think i’ll start using this one as a journal once i run out of pages in the other one.

candy bars – nothing makes me feel more loved than when people remember tiny details about me, like what my favorite types of candy are (anything mint or coconut!). that’s why something as simple as candy from someone  i love made my day. :)

megan sent me the sweet card on the left, and the small one with the fish is from a girl in drumline. they’re both so gorgeous and my friends’ artistic talent is amazing to me.

(i’ve come to the conclusion that my friends only buy me makeup/skincare stuff because they are tired of my facing looking the way that it is.)

freeman feeling beautiful avocado + oatmeal clay mask – despite their messiness, i prefer clay masks over sheet ones. i guess i like being able to move without worrying about the mask slipping off? anyway, this mask is such a pretty sky blue color and i can’t wait for a night when i have enough time to try it.

under eye gold gel mask, purifying black charcoal mask, & hydrogel lip patch – i always have really dark shadows under my eyes (thanks, insomnia), so maybe the under eye mask will help with that.

baby lips cherry me, pink punch, and my pink – my sweet friend from math class picked these out for me because they’re her personal favorite. i’d never tried baby lips before, but now i really love them. i adore the red tint from cherry me, and my pink smells incredible.

milani flashing light holographic lip topper – this is maybe the weirdest lip product i’ve ever used. i tried it on when i first got it, and it genuinely looks like i put glitter glue on my lips. also, it has this really distinct smell that’s somewhere in between candy, icing, and cookie dough.

e.l.f. moonlight pearls highlight – last halloween, my friend izzy and i were playing around with facepaint to go along with our costumes. i was particularly fond of some white glitter paint, which i used in lieu of highlight. i giggled all evening and took tons of pictures of myself because i loved the way the sparkles looked in the autumn light. it makes me so happy that my friends remembered how much i loved it and then went to the trouble of getting me an actual highlight!

squishmallow pug dog – izzy walked into the restaurant carrying an enormous white trash bag with this cutie stuffed inside. she flipped between proudly announcing that it was the Best Gift Ever and telling me that i would probably hate it. as it turns out, i don’t hate the pug at all, and his name is turtle, and he feels exactly like a giant marshmallow. there is no other way to describe it.

gap year in ghost town by michael pryor – a school friend got this paranormal book for me! it’s been on my TBR for a while, and obviously i’m really excited to read it. it sounds similar to the lockwood & co. series by jonathan stroud, which is one of my favorites, so i have high hopes for this. :)

recipe book – my grandma knows that i enjoy cooking, so she put together a cookbook for me with the help of my great aunt. it already has pages and pages of their favorite recipes with handwritten notes, and it’s such a sweet, thoughtful gift. there are a few meat-based recipes that i doubt i’ll be making anytime soon (april marks my fifth month of being vegetarian!), but i am still so touched by this cookbook.


again, i am so thankful for all the thoughtful gifts i received! it was probably the most chill party i’ve ever had, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. i feel like i would’ve preferred celebrating on my own, though? who knows.

what do you usually do for you birthday? i tend to come up with super complicated cake ideas and chat in the kitchen with my mom as she struggles to create them.

xo apollo

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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

where to get cheap books + thrift store book haul

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. :)


amazon (used)

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.

book outlet

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.

book fairs

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.

thrift stores

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?

xo apollo

2017 christmas haul

hey, friends. :)

i’m finally putting up that christmas haul that i promised. please keep in mind that i’m not trying to brag — i’m thankful for everything i received (except maybe the stamps) and just wanted to share.

idk. let’s get into it.


stocking stuffers

i got a lot of candy in my stocking — these are the only two that i haven’t eaten already. my mom thought she was being funny by getting me turtles, because i’d been asking for a pet turtle all year.

i love lip balm!! this one is hershey’s brand. idk what flavor it is because the packaging got thrown out, but it’s kind of fruity with a tiny bit of peppermint.

my brother and i both got fun string. i sprayed it in his hair as soon as i got it open and have been tormenting him with it ever since.

let’s ignore the change of scenery.

the last thing in my stocking was this tiny music box. it plays the song somewhere over the rainbow. :)

from family

my brother gave me animal crossing: new leaf. i named my town hell, which makes the conversations about moving in much more interesting. for example: “so do you go to hell very often?” “i sure hope you find a sweet little house and have lots of fun making new friends in hell!”

of course i got books. i’m super excited to read these, especially nightfall and everland.

i got a white sweatshirt (very soft on the inside) with this informative sign on top of it. apparently my mom is going to print out the dear evan hansen logo and iron it onto the shirt. personally, i think she’s going to forget out it and never help me, but it’s whatever.

ft. barakat the plant

i picked out these pajamas and got to open them on christmas eve. they’re incredibly soft, and they’ve got pockets and a hood.

i’m not a fan of purses, they get in my way and it’s hard to run with one. but i need something to carry my junk around in. you see my problem?

so grandparents #1 got me this cute mini backpack. :)

grandma #2 bought these things for all the kids. i’m not really sure what it is, but it’s very loud.

some candy that will likely find its way into my brother’s stomach.

grandma #2 planned a game where tiny trinkets were bundled up in a ball of cling wrap. we passed it around in a circle while the person who had it before tried to roll doubles on some dice. once they got it, the ball and dice were handed off again. you got to keep whatever you tore from the ball on your turn.

why did she think kids would like stamps for christmas? who knows.

i also got some seeds from the cling wrap ball! granted, most of them are probably too old to grow anything from, but i’ll still try.

from some other family members, i got a face mask and summer fruit eos. my brother got the bubble bath and lip balm (avon iced gingerbread) in the cling wrap ball and gave them to me.

i’ve never used a face mask in my life, so i’m excited to try it out.

in my family, christmas is not complete without getting lots of money. i got $190, as well as target and chick-fil-a gift cards. i’m not sure what i’m going to spend the money on yet — maybe books or clothes (i’m thinking oh wonder merch).

from friends

my friend izzy spoils me. she got me a ton of stuff and i love her for it.

the first thing she gave me is a beanie with wireless speakers sewn into it. i can connect my ipod to its bluetooth and play my music while everyone thinks i’m listening to them. it was more of a joke then an actual gift, since izzy didn’t think it would work, but it surprisingly does.

another thing she got me is this beautiful dear evan hansen case! it’s a bit too big for my ipod, but i stuffed a tissue into it and now it’s good.

izzy took me to the mall and let me get whatever i wanted. i found all time low’s don’t panic album on cd at this sick music store. it’s mostly clean, which means i can play it in the car when i’m with my mom.

i dragged her to hot topic to hunt for pins. she hates the store because she had a dream where vampires that were hiding there kidnapped her or something like that. anyway, i found a few pins there: bob ross, panic! at the disco’s logo, and for loser.

we also found this gravity falls patch for my jacket.

from k, i got a wooden L, a picture frame, and an ornament of the white rabbit from alice in wonderland.

she always gets me something alice in wonderland-themed. over the years, i’ve gotten the complete works of lewis carroll, a mad hatter origami kit, etc.

other

i went to a christmas party with bethany and mckenna and got these at the white elephant gift exchange. they came in a bag with a can of refried beans and gas-x, but idk where those are now. i gave the gas-x to my brother as a joke, which he didn’t think was funny.

i’m going to use the itunes card to get the heathers soundtrack, because it’s not on spotify.

honestly, what i’m most excited about is all the lip balm i got. i’ve been collecting them for years and i currently have 40+. granted, i only use about five of them, but still.

i hope you enjoyed reading my haul. :)

did we get any of the same things? what’s the best gift you received? 

xo apollo