Monday, December 15, 2014

Glasses and Me


A couple weeks ago I went to the eye doctor, because I had noticed that my far vision was getting a little blurry. I didn't think anything was really wrong, and I doubted I would need glasses, but half an hour and a couple of tests later, the doctor informed me that I'm nearsighted. For all of you who have never been able to figure out the difference between nearsightedness and farsightedness (like me until recently), being nearsighted means that objects in the distance appear slightly out of focus (more or less so, depending on the seriousness). Seems like it should be simple, right? Somehow I always get it confused.

Anyway, my vision isn't that bad; my myopia is pretty mild. I have 20/40 vision (I believe), as opposed to the normal 20/20. Still, when I got my glasses and slid them on, I was surprised at how much my vision improved. Now I can read signs across the street! I can make out the features in far away faces! I have superhuman eyes! Or not.

I just picked up my glasses this afternoon. I picked them out last week, and boy did it take me a long time. I tried to find ones that looked good on my face, but my reflection never looked like me; I wasn't used to myself with glasses. I'm still not, actually, but I guess that's because I've only had them for three hours.

A suggestion to you all: if you're squinting at the board in school, or having trouble reading things on the other side of the room, make an appointment with an eye doctor. Mainly I want glasses so that I can read the boards in my classrooms; last week a teacher actually saw me squinting and advised me to sit closer. If you've just had a growth spurt (like me) sometimes that can cause your vision to get a little out of whack.

Well, it's time to begin my life wearing glasses! If any of you have them already, feel free to leave me tips.


Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Truth About Braces


As some of you might remember, this past July I got braces. I've now had them for almost exactly five months, which obviously doesn't make me any kind of expert, but these past few months I've racked up a few tidbits of wisdom I feel at liberty to share with you. So now, for all you braces-and-non-braces-having people alike, I present The Truth About Braces (now a major motion picture).

1. Getting them on hurts the worst. When they first put your brackets on and tighten those awful wires; that's when your mouth is going to be the most sore. They told me it would hurt for at most, four days. It hurt for eight. For the first week, you won't be able to eat anything remotely crunchy, and most things will have to be chewed in the very back of your mouth, where it hurts the least. When you get them tightened every six or so weeks after that, you'll be sore for a few days, but it will never be as bad as that awful first time.

2. Once you get braces,  everyone feels at liberty to tell you how crooked your teeth used to be. Maybe this is just me, but I found that once I got my braces on, suddenly everyone seemed to feel free to admit that before my front teeth were definitely crooked. It's one of those times when you're like, Should I be offended or not? Fortunately, it doesn't bother me that much. My teeth straightened out pretty quick after I got them on, and I know they weren't perfect before, so I like to think that when people tell me how crooked my teeth used to be they're just giving me a very oddly-worded compliment. 

3. Braces will kill your toothbrush. I wish I could take a photo and show you how banged up my toothbrush is right now, after less than a month of using it. The bristles get caught in your brackets, and are constantly being torn out and thrown askew. If you think of a toothbrush as a head of hair, mine has 100% split ends. Nowadays I have to replace it a lot more than I used to.

4. Your orthodontist will never be satisfied with your brushing. Orthodontists are like dentists. Every time you go into the office, they cluck their tongue and tell you that you have hoards of plaque in between your teeth and that you need to angle your toothbrush more and how many times a day do you even brush? Two? NONSENSE! I have five steps of dental care I go through every night, and still it's never enough for my orthodontist. WILL I EVER BE GOOD ENOUGH?!

5. Your orthodontist will warn you about the dangers of candy. But, if you are like me, you will eat it anyway. I popped two brackets in one week, after Halloween. If you non-braces folks don't know what that means, basically two of my brackets came unglued and just kind of slid around on the wires, not doing any work to help straighten out my teeth. It doesn't hurt, but it really makes me paranoid. I've popped three brackets in five months. (I'm trying to be careful, I swear!)

So there you have it. The truth about braces, plain and simple. All the action and adventure you didn't pay for! Hurrah! There are a lot more things I could say about braces (wax, soreness, when your orthodontist doesn't give you colors even though all your other friends have them and…okay, calm  down, Ella) but I think this post is long enough. 

Oh yeah, and I'm getting glasses. Turns out I'm nearsighted. The end.

Friday, November 28, 2014

I SURVIVED NANOWRIMO

As of 2:40pm today, I am officially a National Novel Writing Month Winner!

It was a long month of grueling hours in front of the computer screen, but after everything I made it through unscathed, and with 50,000 words to show for it. I'll admit it: I'm proud of myself. I wrote (part of) a book. Although my manuscript is far from done, I completed the challenge, and hopefully I'll keep on writing without the motivation of must write 50k!

The goal helped a lot. The idea that I HAVE TO WRITE 50K IN 30 DAYS kept me from procrastinating or putting aside ideas because I thought they weren't good enough. Which means there's a lot of rambling sentences and unnecessary scenes dumped onto those pages, but that's what the editing process is for, right?

In conclusion, if you are doing NaNoWriMo, don't give up just because it ends in two days. Keep writing. Stay up all night. Fall asleep in the middle of dinner. WHATEVER IT TAKES. And even if you don't make it, at least you worked hard and have part of a book to show for it. Keep going, even after November has ended. That's a direct order from me to you.

Good luck and good writing!

(PS. I got this awesome winner's certificate, which I'm going to force you to appreciate.)
(PPS. Happy Thanksgiving)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Being Cold (and Staying Warm)


I think I am secretly a reptile. Not because I have scales or four legs, but because I'm 93.07% sure I'm cold blooded.

I get cold way too easily. If I'm swimming and the water is anywhere below seventy-five degrees (I estimated there), I'm left with my teeth chattering uncontrollably and my lips a very unnatural shade of purple. In the winter, I'm not one of those girls who you'll see wearing a thin jacket with no gloves or hat. I'm the one with the big coat and the neckwarmer that leaves only my eyes exposed, the puffy mittens, and the fat boots. Trust me, it'll be the fashion in oh, I don't know, twenty-thousand years. I'm a trendsetter.

Anyway, I thought I'd write up some tips for any fellow reptiles out there who need some help staying warm as the temperature drops.

1. Weekends are for comfort. During the school week you might need to stay on top of your fashion game, but come Friday evening you can strip off the jeans and thin tops and opt for the warm, comfy choice. Nobody's going to know if you laze around in your room wearing sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts. It'll be your little secret.

2. Drink ample amounts of cocoa. There's nothing wrong with guzzling down a gallon of hot chocolate to keep your insides toasty. Heck, bring some to school in a trendy travel mug if you can. If necessary, stop by a local cafe after school (or, okay, Starbucks), and treat yourself to a mug of cocoa. There. That's better.

3. Never leave the palace that is your bed. Seriously. If you can stay beneath the warmth of your comforter all day, do it. There's nothing wrong with living in your pajama paradise. As long as you have a stash of chocolate and a good book, you'll be fine. Trust me on this one.

4. Wear layers. You might not want to cover your cute top with a sweatshirt, but you can layer underneath to keep warm. Wear a cami if that helps. And I know how dorky this sounds, but if you're walking to school and it's not a gym day, slip on a pair of long underwear under those jeans. Nobody has to know, and your legs will thank you.

5. Hats + gloves = happiness. Girls seem to think that they won't look cool if they wear gloves or hats, but I personally think it's the opposite. If it's ten degrees out and you're not wearing proper head-or-hand-wear, sometimes it can look like you're just trying too hard to seem cool. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but that's just how I see it. Fortunately, hats and gloves don't have to look dorky. There are plenty of cute and fashionable hats out there, as well as adorable knit or leather gloves. If you want to suffer frostbite for the sake of...I don't even know what it's for the sake of, well, that's your choice. Brave the elements with bare skin, Shackleton!* Or don't. And be happy.
*Look him up.

There's my advice, if you so choose to follow it. Stay warm, folks!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Yours Truly

Hey, everyone! As I mentioned in an earlier post (as in, like, three months earlier) I signed up for National Novel Writing Month for the first time this year. A brief recap of NaNoWriMo for anyone who might not remember: you try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, updating your word count as often as possible on your profile (go to nanowrimo.org to sign up--there's still time!).

It's a-week-and-a-day into NaNoWriMo, and I'm 16,500 words in (a little over 30 pages, on my computer). I'm really trying my best to commit and actually win, so nowadays my schedule mostly consists of homework, eating, play practice, and writing. I usually write anywhere from 1,600 to 2,000 words a day.

Anyway, the main reason I created this post was to encourage any other WriMos out there to keep at it! 50k is certainly a daunting task, but you can do it! Carve out a little time every day to write, and use it. Don't think about the quality of what you're writing. Absolutely DO NOT go back and edit (I know this is hard for some people, but that comes at the end!). Write whatever comes into your head. Your main goal here is not to write a stunning book, but to write 50,000 words. As odd as that may sound, the point of NaNoWriMo is to just get it all out. Then, when the calendar changes to December 1st, you can go back and edit the heck out of your novel.

Here are some tricks that I find help me to write, in case you need a little push.

1. Get everything else done that you need to do. There's no way you can write freely when you've got a whole load of homework sitting on your desk beside you. Knowing you have more commitments is going to weigh you down. Get work out of the way first, so you know you have all the rest of the day to just write.

2. Wear comfortable clothing. If you're constantly pulling at your too-tight collar or scratching at an itchy sweater, you won't be able to focus fully on the task at hand. Wearing a comfortable and cozy outfit will help you keep your eyes on the prize.

3. Bribe yourself. Every time you write 500 words, or 1000, or however many you see fit, reward yourself with a piece of candy or something else you've been waiting longingly for. Tell yourself that when you finally get 50,000 words--and you will!--you'll go out and buy a hot chocolate or a taco--whichever is more appetizing.

4. Don't think. NaNoWriMo is about getting the words down on the page, regardless of how crazy or strange your ideas may be. Maybe you've already plotted the whole thing out--great, you don't need this advice. But if you're like me and you only have a vague idea of what's going to happen, let your imagination run wild. Do whatever it takes to keep your novel moving, even if that means killing someone off or even adding a whole new character to the story.

Now go fourth and WRITE!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween Cheer

SOLVE FOR X: pumpkins + costumes + candy = x

Solution: x = HALLOWEEN.

Halloween is upon us! Carve your pumpkins, pull out your costumes, grab that pillowcase and head out to the streets to get free candy from complete strangers! What could be better? Nothing.

This Halloween, my friend Marika and I decided we wanted to be raggedy birds. We made wings that extend out when we extend our arms and attached colorfully patterned cloth to them, cut out in the shape of feathers. She has a bunch of masquerade masks, which we are using for our face. 


We wore our costumes to school and that alone made it basically the best day ever.

Last night I carved an awesome pumpkin. The video below should be self-explanatory.
Anyway, tonight a couple of friends and I are going to trick-or-treat and hang out and it should be a ton of fun. I hope you have the best Halloween imaginable, and that you gets lots of candy (if you choose to go trick-or-treating :), and that you do not get a cavity. Because that would be no fun at all.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sweaters

Things I Like #5

I have a confession to make. I may or may not be addicted to sweaters.

At the moment, I only have three, which I bought on a shopping spree two weeks ago. But I will get more. Oh yes, soon my dresser will be stuffed with too many sweaters to count. Soon I will be draped in layers upon layers of fuzzy coziness.

I really just learned about the beauty of sweaters. Before this year I'd never had any sweaters. Then I realized all the greatness and potential they held and I stocked up. My collection will only keep growing, until it's spilling out of my room and filling up my entire house and the enveloping the world as we know it.

When I got my firsts sweaters two weeks ago, I tried them on and then stood in front of my mirror at home and literally squealed and jumped around for a good five minutes. I couldn't express my excitement with words, so I resorted to high-pitched chirps of delight and hopping around. It was actually kind of strange, now that I think back on it. As I said, I have a problem.

Ask any of my friends, and they will tell you that when I go into any clothing store, I head directly to the sweaters and pile as many as I can up into my arms, then ask for a dressing room so I can try them on ASAP. This prompts slightly odd looks from salespeople, but I don't have time for their criticizing glances. I MUST TRY ON AS MANY SWEATERS AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE.

Fortunately, where I live it's either fall or winter for approximately seven months of the year, so I have plenty of time to bask in the glory of my sweaters. I just don't know what I'm going to do when summer comes around again....

On an unrelated note, for those of you who have tagged or nominated me for anything, I'm extremely sorry but I think I'm going to be taking a break from tagging for a while. It's just too much for me to handle, and I don't want my blog to become a sea of award posts. I hope none of you are too disappointed. Keep your head up! Sweaters exist!


Friday, September 26, 2014

Scribblings and Comics

Hi, guys. I've been having a lot of fun with the new school-issued iPads, and in my spare time I've created a bunch of little doodles and such. I figured I might as well share a little corner of my stash with you, so here you are.

I'm thinking maybe I'll post a recent doodle or comic once a week, if you guys enjoy these. Tell me what you think!

This one is kind of random, but hey, it rhymes!

Feel free to interpret.

Sushi are so fun to draw :D

Tis the truth. 
Two words: TEACUP ANIMALS

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Ukuleles and Llamas (among other things)

Hey guys! Long time no see. As usual, my life has been busy as ever, what with jetting off to other countries for important meetings and the like. Or not. Anyway, today two of my friends, Olivia and Marika, and I went to a harvest festival in our area, and Marika and I played an hour's worth of songs in one of the tents, which was pretty exciting. All our own material. (Marika is my bandmate.) Then the three of us walked around and ate way too much food, and also tried to make the llamas like us. But they didn't. Because they are very indignant creatures that mingle only with their own kind. I think in total I ate two pieces of chicken, one slice of pumpkin pie, one crepe with cinnamon sugar, honey, and apples inside, 1/3 of a cone of cotton candy, and half a maple lemonade. I was very stuffed by the end of the day. 

Hope you all had a good Saturday. More posts coming soon!
Marika and me playing a set
LLAMASSSSSS

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Welcome, Autumn

The days are getting colder. The leaves are turning redder. The nights are growing longer. What does this mean? Fall is here!

Fall is my favorite season. Actually, my favorite season is usually whichever one happens to be present at the moment. Come winter, I'll probably be ranting about how much I love it. But that's a post for another time.
For now, I decided to just make a list of why I adore the season of fall. Enjoy.

1. Chai tea. My unofficial mantra is that chai tea fixes everything. One thing I love about cold days is that I can curl up in my bed with a book and sip cup after cup of chai tea. Sure, summer is an opportunity for a nice iced chai latte, but it's just not the same as during the colder seasons.

2. Fashion. I can't help but adore fall fashions. Loose sweaters. Long scarves. Knee high boots. I could never successfully pull off the casual look of fall, but I'm content with just pouring over photos of adorable outfits on the Internet while I sit hunched at the computer in my baggy hoodie and pajama pants.

3. Fall foliage. Where I live, fall means leaves turning brilliant shades of red and orange and drifting to the ground, leaving the branches bare and striking. There's something about walking down the street and hearing the crunch of crisp leaves beneath your feet that leaves* you with a feeling like no other.
*See what I did there? I know, I'm so punny. Whoops, did it again! Okay. Sorry.

4. Cool weather. I have a very low tolerance to cold (and I mean LOW), but I can't help but like the cool, fresh feeling of fall air. I like bundling up and going outside and just feeling like fall is here, everything's great, and Halloween is just around the corner. Which leads me to my next bullet...

5. Halloween. Must I explain myself for this one? Halloween is an opportunity to dress up in awesome costumes and get free candy. Who can say no to that? Even though this year I feel like I'm finally too old to go trick-or-treating, I'll still be content with staying home and sneaking Snickers out of the candy bowl while I watch Netflix. Plus, Halloween is on a Friday this year. And everything's better when it's a Friday.

So there you go! What do you guys like about fall? Let me know in the comments! :)

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get myself another cup of chai....


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Windy Days


You know those days where you wake up, and look out your window, only to find that it's blustering relentlessly outside? Those days when the wind just won't let up, when it rips the papers from your hands and teases the hair around your face and tugs at the tree branches until they bend and submit. When the sky clouds over and casts a gray filter over the world.

Yeah, we all know those days, don't we? Well, today was one of those days. And maybe I should have thought, Darn, September weather is catching up to me, it actually made me kind of excited. There's something about an overcast, windy day that makes me feel like I'm the heroine of a mystery novel, or that a raven is going to fly down and deliver a message from some distant land in the sky. It seems as if anything could happen.

Biking to school was quite an adventure; a fun one. There is this cute little street I have to ride through, where all the houses are painted bright colors and the gardens are spilling over with shrubs and flowers. On this particular street, the wind had knocked two recycling bins into the road, and there were magazines flapping all over the street, little birds preparing to take flight. I stopped my bike and moved the bins back to the curb, then returned some of the lost magazines. My good deed for the day.

This afternoon the sky cleared up and the sun came out, and the wind died down a little, and the air of mystery faded away. Maybe tomorrow will be another windy day on the brink of adventure. Who knows?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

iPhone 6 Release Spoof

Hey guys. As you might know, I have a YouTube channel. I have a very special video for you today…the new iPhone 6 came out this afternoon, and I decided to do a spoof on the release. Enjoy!
(Ps. If you don't totally get it, look up the new iPhone :)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Respect the Muffin

You've probably all seen those tee shirts that say stuff like, "Cupcakes are Just Ugly Muffins", or other slogans that totally dis muffins as a snack. I think this is a problem that we need to address. This is a form of muffin-bullying. Muffins all throughout kitchens in America feel put down by these sayings, and feel that they, with their healthy nuts and dry texture, are nothing compared to colorful cupcakes with swirly frosting that are 90% sugar. This must stop. We cannot let muffins feel inadequate because of something they cannot help. Muffins and cupcakes are both special in their own ways.

This morning, I made this little comic kind of thing on my iPad, and I guess it's being a little mean to cupcakes, but oh well. Cupcakes have been on top for too long. It's time to let the muffin shine.
Feel free to share image, as long as you give me credit. :)

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Trader Joe's

Things I Like #4

I went to Trader Joe's today. And although I'll admit I've only been three times in my life, I have to say it is one of my favorite grocery stores ever. 

I mean, how can you not like Trader Joe's? Everything is cheap and delicious. And another factor, which is important to a cute-a-holic like me, is that the packaging is adorable. Some of it looks all creative and cute and hand drawn, and even what doesn't is still perfect in its own way. I feel like whoever designed the packaging did it with me in mind. 

Plus, it was raining hard today, and when my mom and I exited the store carrying our bag with the hoods of our raincoats up, an employee with an umbrella came up to us and escorted us to our car. When you have a guy in a Hawaiian shirt dutifully holding an umbrella over your head as you stumble around the parking lot in search of your car--that's good service. 
Please tell me--is this packaging not perfect? These are only a few of the many goodies bought today. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Second Piercings

Hello! Here is a little update on...my ears!

For a while now, I've been wanting to get second piercings, and yesterday my mom took me to finally have it done. However, when we got to the shop, they informed us that my mom needed her driver's license, which she wasn't carrying with her at the time. So I had to run all the way home, get her license, and run back to the shop. We filled out some paperwork, and then I sat down and--KACHUNK, KACHUNK--I had two pretty new piercings on my earlobes!

In case any of you are wondering if you should get second piercings (or even firsts) here are my little words of wisdom for you. First of all, second piercings don't hurt any more than firsts. They're basically exactly the same. You just feel a sharp pinch, and then your earlobes feel a little hot, then you wipe them with this special cleaning solution and they feel fine. It's really quite easy. Second, if you're worried that you might be allergic to certain metals, go with gold studs to start. Gold is the least allergenic metal. When I got my first piercings, I used gold, and it all worked out fine. For these second ones, I opted for white gold.

If you have any ear-piecing questions, I would be happy to answer them! (Note: I'm not any kind of expert, but I know some basic things). I'm really happy with the way these piercings turned out and I can't wait for six weeks to go by, so I can change them.

Happy Labor Day!
Newly pierced!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Picture Perfect

Hey there! I've decided to enter Elly's (http://a-girl-named-elly.blogspot.com) photo contest. Hope you like the photos!
Category 1: People

Category 2: food
I took this at a little cupcake place in town. They make the cutest cupcakes!

Category 3: animals
I found this little dog sitting picturesquely on a stoop in Spain. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

First Day

Today was my first day of high school. I don't have much to report. Basically it was more like an orientation for freshmen, rather than a real school day. Only ninth graders were there, and we went around all our classes and only stayed for ten minutes, to get to know our teachers a little. There are so many buildings and hallways and classrooms; it's very confusing.

My mom always takes pictures of me on my first day, so here's one for you. Kind of a little mini fashion post, I guess, with all my new clothes I bought the other day.
Shirt - Urban Outfitters
Jeans - American Eagle
Braces - the orthodontist :P

Monday, August 25, 2014

Birthday, Fair, Henna, and More!

Hello there! A ton of things happened over the last couple of days, so sit tight.

First thing's first, I had my birthday party, and I turned 14! I am officially a teenager! I know you're probably thinking, Um, no, 13 is a teenager, but in my head you're not really a teenager until your 14, when you're actually going to high school and such. Soooo…welcome to my real teenager life!

For my birthday party, six of my friends and I all went to the fair. It was, to put is simply, awesome. We went on tons of rides, some mild some incredibly scary and thrilling, we drank Coke and lemonade, and ate fried dough and fried Oreos. At the fair, they fry EVERYTHING. They had fried Oreos, fried candy bars, fried Twinkies and even fried pickles! They were called frickles. And no, I did not try them. Not really my thing.

We got there at around three and didn't leave until almost nine. We also went to the art exhibit, because I submitted one of my drawings (above). It won a green ribbon. I had so much fun, and hopefully all my friends did, too. Back at my house, we had pizza, and then I pulled out a box of Sharpies and a pair of new jeans and my friends and I doodled all over them. So now I have an awesome pair of jeans with cool scribbles and funny drawings on them.

Presents were amazing. My friends are awesome and they all got me cool things, including pretty shirts, cute earrings, little erasers that smelled like exotic tea, real exotic tea, a geode, a camping hammock and lots of other stuff. By the time we got done with all of that, it was late and everyone was tuckered out from running around the fair for five hours, so we decided to leave the cake until the next morning and go to bed. Two of my friends who needed to get up early went upstairs to sleep, where it was quiet, but the rest of us stayed downstairs and talked and laughed until 2:30 in the morning.

The next day we cut the cake and gobbled it up. Every year I get an ice cream cake from Ben and Jerry's, and this year was no exception. It even had a narwhal on it. The rest of the morning everyone just hung out, until at noon it was time for them to leave. One of my friends, however, is staying at my house because her parents are out of town, so she stuck around. My other friend stayed late and then jetted off on a Skidoo to her little vacation house across the lake. Yeah. Pretty cool.

My friend and I went home, and then put together her DIY henna kit and drew henna tattoos all over ourselves. It was super fun and they turned out really cool. You can get henna kits at craft stores or online, and I definitely recommend them as an activity to do with your friends.

Today, two of my friends and I went downtown and shopped all morning. We went to a bunch of stores, like Pac Sun and American Eagle and Urban Outfitters. I think Pac Sun is my new favorite clothing shop. All the clothes are so awesome and they have tons of cool patterns and I am just in love. Urban Outfitters is cool, too. And American Eagle was having a sale on jeans, so I bought a pair. All in all, I bought a pair of jeans and three shirts and then a few other accessories at a couple of different stores. A successful shopping spree, in my opinion.

Tonight two of my friends and I are having our annual day-before-school starts sleepover, and then in two days, BOOM, I'm a high schooler.

Oh, and I won't even mention the whole kid-pulls-the-fire-alarm-and-firefighters-come-and-evacuate-the-whole-restaurant incident. You're welcome.

Hope your last couple of days were as fun as mine!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

DIY: Pressed Flowers

Hello there! Today I'll be showing you a super simple DIY: Pressed flowers! 

What You Need
1. A variety of flowers from your garden
2. Two sheets of wax paper
3. A couple of heavy books

What to Do
1. Lay the flowers out flat on a sheet of wax paper. How you leave them is how they will preserve.
2. Cover them with the second sheet.
3. Carefully place the heavy books on top.
4. Now we wait. Flowers actually take a very long time to press. I had to press mine for a couple of weeks. For best results, wait as long as possible.
5. After a few weeks have gone by (and if it's summer, those weeks will pass in a blink), remove the books and carefully peel the flowers from the paper. Voila! Perfectly pressed flowers!

You can use them for any purpose, from scrap booking to other arts and crafts projects. I actually put some of mine in the cover of my new binders for school, and they look really cool.

Have fun!
Some flowers that I put in my English binder


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hello, High School

High school.

I'm going to be a freshman. New school, new people, new teachers, new everything. This is probably going to be the biggest school transition of my life, even bigger than going from elementary to middle school. See, my schools were right next to each other, practically the same building. As a young'un I had occasionally ventured into the middle school building to use their gym or go to their library, so I knew the place pretty well, and it wasn't such a big deal when I moved from fifth to sixth grade.

But now I'm going to a whole new building, which I barely know at all, with over three times the number of students than there were in my middle school. There are six different buildings, and they all look exactly the same. Back in May all us incoming freshman went to an orientation, where seniors showed us around, but after the tour was over I still had NO idea where anything was. I mean, that place is HUGE.

If you're shaking your head as you're reading this, thinking, Oh, you are such a wimp. My school has 3000 kids in it, well good for you. But going from 350 students to over 1000 is kind of terrifying to me.

And here are some of my other concerns: what if all the classes are super hard? What if I fail? What if I get a ton of homework? High school is the really critical part of your education; what you do in those four years can determine your future forever. I mean, colleges are going to be looking at your records, deciding if they like you or not, if you're a good student, that kind of stuff. HIGH SCHOOL CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOUR FUTURE.

I probably sound dramatic. And I know everyone says freshman year is the easiest, that you'll look back on that year fondly as you sit down to take the SATs. But that's like telling a kid at the doctor's office that it won't hurt a bit to get a shot; that at the end of the process they'll realize it wasn't so bad after all. When doctors say that, it does not stop me from worrying. When kids say freshman year is easy, it really doesn't ease my mind.

So there you go. All my fears poured out into a couple paragraphs for the whole Internet to see. If you have any advice for me about starting high school, or if we share any of the same fears, feel free to comment.

High school, here I come.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Book Review: Starbird Murphy and the World Outside

Starbird Murphy and the World Outside, by Karen Finneyfrock

Sixteen-year-old Starbird lives on the Free Family Farm in Washington State--what you and I, as “Outsiders” might refer to as a cult. On the Farm, everyone is part of the Family. Children don’t know who their biological father is; all the men are thought of as dad, and all the women are thought of as mom. Most of the Family has never touched money, as it can corrupt you. Many Family members are “off-gridders”, meaning that because they were born at the Farm they have no birth certificate or Social Security number. Everyone is given a name--names that would seem strange you and me, like Venus Lake or Gamma Lion--which is Translated by the Free Family’s founder and leader, EARTH, who is supposedly spoken to by the Cosmos. The Cosmos instructed him to start the Farm, and they tell him how to make decisions and when to go on Missions.
    But when Starbird was just shy of 13, EARTH left on a Mission to go find more Family members, right around the same time that Starbird’s brother, Douglas Fir, ran away from the Farm. Now it’s three years later, and both of them have yet to return.
    Everyone in the Family receives a Calling--whether it be to live in a treehouse or have another child--and when a position opens at the Free Family Cafe in Seattle, Starbird is doubtful that it’s hers. But then she learns that her last name is Murphy, and that her mother disobeyed EARTH and gave birth at a hospital, meaning that she is not, in fact, off the grid, and can legally work. Add all that to the fact that the boy she’s in love with might not have feelings for her, and Starbird decides she might as well just pack up and move to Seattle. But Seattle means braving the complicated world beyond the Farm, and dealing with Outsiders and non-Believers. Is Starbird really ready for the World Outside?
    I enjoyed this book for many reasons, one of them being that the topic is just so different than any other book I’ve read. I mean, it’s not every day that you pick up a book and read about communes in rural Washington. It was interesting reading about life on the Free Family Farm, and thinking about the differences between it and my life on the “Outside.” On one hand it seems like it’d be nice to live on the Farm--everyone shares everything, and helps each other out--and on the other hand the idea of never touching money or using a cell phone, and being “off grid”, just seems weird.
    However, parts of this book are still relatable. Starbird, after being homeschooled all her life, is dumped into the Seattle public school system, left to fend for herself in the confusing world of high school. If you’ve ever gone from homeschool to public school, or even just moved to another school district, you will most likely have experienced something akin to what Starbird’s going through.
    And even if you haven’t had that particular experience, you can probably still relate to Starbird’s boy trauma--old crushes conflicting with new ones, dating drama, those kind of things.
    In short, Starbird Murphy and the World Outside has a little bit of something for everybody. You will laugh at some parts, you will cringe at others, and even some will have your chest doing that weird rib-tightening thing because you really, really want to get to the end of the chapter to see what happens. Or maybe that doesn’t happen to anyone else.
    And just in case you need one last attraction to convince you to read this book, it has a cool book jacket. Personally, a stand-out cover always helps me decide whether to read a book or not. I’m not saying to judge a book by it’s cover or anything, but you know….
    Happy reading!
Starbird cover.JPG
Get the book here

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Fire

I don't really know how to start this post, so I'll just come out and say it: a whole block in Thousand Islands burned to the ground. I slept through all the sirens, but apparently the block where the ice cream parlor and the real estate agent is somehow caught fire and went up in flames late last night. Practically the whole town came out to watch (except sleeping me). Incidentally, the block also contained the fire trucks and ambulances, so they had to call in the trucks from another town to come put out the fire. Nobody was hurt, fortunately, and the hotel and the houses around the block are fine. But it's still kind of crazy.
The remains
I think a water pipe burst, and also they had to use a lot of water to get the fire out, so we have no water at our houses. We had to go scoop some from the lake to use to make our toilets flush. Anyway, for any of you Thousand Island regulars out there, this is probably just a bit of info you should know. I'm not sure what's going to happen with that block now. Maybe they'll rebuild? Who knows? Hope your day is going well and does not involve any burning buildings.

UPDATE: Around 12:30 our water came back on, thankfully. 
Getting water from the lake with my grandmother

--Ella

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Home

Hey, there. I've decided to enter Bethan's writing challenge. This is a little piece I put together called Home. Thanks for reading!



The air around me hung suspended, frozen. The tips of my fingers were unfeeling, crammed into my jacket pockets in hopes that the numbness would melt away. Winter pressed itself against me, squeezing the oxygen from my lungs and drawing tears that pricked like needles on my skin.
I could hear the trees murmuring to each other, great oaks whispering back and forth.
“Do you see her down there?”
“Yes. She’s standing by my trunk.”
“Where is she going?”
“Where do you think? The same place they all go, in the end.”
A breath escaped between my lips, and a pearly mist materialized before me, melting away as quickly as it had come.
But why not? This was the place where nothing stayed.
I heard it before I saw it. The sputtering and grinding of the engine, the tires crunching on the hard-packed snow. The headlights illuminated my figure, huddled by the curb, eyes too dark even to reflect the light.
The bus rolled towards me, its rusty doors already squeaking open before it lurched to a stop.
“You coming?” The driver had gray eyes. Ancient hands clutched the wheel like the branches of a gnarled tree.
I nodded, and stepped gingerly aboard. The smell of grease and ashes overwhelmed me. But there was something else there, too. Something familiar.
Three people. Three others like me. Stationed in their hard plastic seats, bent over and staring at the floor, clutching a backpack and looking stonily ahead.
I slowly lowered myself down. I could feel the aching in my knees, stiff and rusted and begging for relief. My hands found each other, and managed to fold onto my lap. They were still numb.
The doors scraped closed. The engine groaned but obediently sputtered on. Outside the dirt-streaked window, the oak trees did their best to wave goodbye.
“So, where are you headed?” The voice from beside me, quiet, tired.
I looked over. Raven hair. Ivory skin. A stranger. I turned back to the window.
“Home.”

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bee Free

Yesterday was quite nice. I played soccer with my cousins, jumped off the dock, and had lunch at the little cafe/ice cream parlor on the corner. They sell little fruity Tootsie rolls for 1 cent each, which I think is a fair deal, so I bought some of those. They don't really have a beach here, but they do have a dock which you can jump off countless times. The water is pretty cold, but if you just jump in and swim out really quick you don't get too chilly. 

In the evening we went to the amphitheater where they screened the movie Rio. I've seen it already, but it was still funny the second time around. 

And good news! They cleared the other house of bees, so I moved in over there without having to worry about getting swarmed. I've never been stung, so for all I know I could be allergic. I'm not planning to test it any time soon. 

It rained on and off all day today. We stayed in the house and read and did jigsaw puzzles. It wasn't so bad, though. 

More later.

--Ella

I did this little doodle on my phone. Kinda random, but hey. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thousand Islands

Today we drove up from my grandmother's house to Thousand Islands, where we are having our family reunion. We met aunts and uncles and cousins there and then went to find the houses we rented. Where we are staying there are basically a bunch of beach houses by the seaway and everybody drives around in golf carts. No joke. The last time I was in a golf course my friend and I were just riding bikes around for fun and then all these people yelled at us to get out of the course. So we did. But anyway, golf carts are nice when the people in them aren't yelling at you. 

One of the houses we rented turned out to have a problem: it was infested with bees! Apparently there were bees all over the carpet or something. So we are in another house while they somehow get rid of the bees. 

Probably no one else has noticed this, but there seems to be a pattern of bees in my blog posts. First, a couple weeks ago, my mom's friend's son got stung at Bread and Puppet, then last week my mom's friend's daughter got stung at World Fellowship, then this week our whole house is full of bees. Coincidence? I think not. 

 In other news, tonight was a supermoon, meaning that the moon was huge, and all red during the sunset. It was actually really cool. (Sorry about the photo; it doesn't do the sight justice.)

More tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Rose Petals

The final category in the photo contest on The Joys of Being Paige is "Something in Your Hand" so here you are! A few weeks ago I went to a wedding in New Jersey and I took this photo at the service.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

DIY: Painted Rock Markers

Hey there! Today I'm going to be doing a little DIY, showing you how to make cute markers for the plants or vegetables in your garden, using rocks and paint. Let's start, shall we?

What You Need:
1. Any number of fairly large, flat rocks.
2. One large paintbrush.
3. One small, fine paintbrush.
4. A variety of bright paints (nothing too dark, or the lettering won't show up.) I'd suggest acrylic paint. Definitely not watercolor.
5. One black or dark blue or purple paint (for the lettering.)
What to Do:
1. Lay out some newspaper on a flat surface, where you want to do your painting, and put the rocks on top of it.
2. Shake up your paints (don't want them to be separated!) and then open the paint cans.
3. Dip in your BIG brush and paint the first side of the rock or rocks.
4. Wait an hour or two for the paint to dry. Don't leave it out in the rain while it's drying, or it will wash away.

5. After they've dried completely, turn the rocks over and commence painting the other side. Let them dry again.
6. Now using your SMALL brush, dip it into the black/dark blue that you are going to use for your lettering. Before actually doing the lettering, I'd suggest penciling out the letters so you don't mess up.
7. Letter the rest of your rocks, and ta-da, you're done! They don't necessarily need to be for your vegetable garden; they can be for anything. You can do little pictures, or write your name...whatever you want. Have fun!