Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving in NYC

Hey there, one and all. Happy Thanksgiving! I'm not going to do a what-I'm-thankful-for post because...well, you can probably guess what kind of generic things would be on it. So instead I'll tell you about my time here in NYC with my family.

These past two days we've been out and about, exploring the city, visiting friends, and going to a show. We saw the musical Waitress, about a waitress who's a really good pie chef and has to negotiate having a baby and a crappy husband and trying to win a baking contest. The music was written by Sarah Borellis, and it was quite good. Obviously, I would have rather gone to Hamilton, but wouldn't we all have. ;)

I made a blog about our first day in the city, so watch away! And if you're not subscribed to my YouTube channel...what are you waiting for?


How is your Thanksgiving going?

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Friday, November 4, 2016

Life as of Late




Helloooooo, friends, colleagues, and small but devoted Martian readership (jk, but that would be super cool). Since I haven't done a "daily life" type post in a while, I thought I'd update you on life as of late. Let's plunge right in.

First off, last Saturday my friend Marika and I threw a Halloween party / fall food fest and invited all our closest friends. We spent all afternoon cooking creamy garlic spaghetti squash and making soup, and then all our friends showed up bearing gifts of delicious, autumnal meals. There was pumpkin bread, pesto mac and cheese, and delicious little meringues, decorated to look like ghosts.

We pressed homemade cider, played tag in the dark, and watched Stranger Things. It was a wonderful night with wonderful people, and I'm so glad we were able to pull it off.


Monday, of course, was Halloween! Marika and I coordinated costumes; I was the Moon, and she was the Stars. I wore all black and cut out a sparkly moon, which I stuck to my chest. Marika bedazzled herself with gold and silver stars. The crowning jewels of our outfits were battery powered strings of lights, which we wrapped around ourselves (I had blue ones, and she had gold ones). We walked around school all day, all dressed up in our awesome costumes, and got plenty of compliments. Later that night, we handed out candy and even went trick-or-treating briefly, because hey, if you have a good costume you deserve a little candy, no matter your age. Halloween = success.

And now, bear with me while I discuss the same topic every other blogger has been talking about all this month: National Novel Writing Month. Marika and I decided that, as this is our third year accepting the challenge, that we wanted to start a NaNoWriMo Support Group at our school. We now have a devoted little group of 4 or 5 freshmen who we meet with every day in the school library, to write intensely for a half hour. If you've ever done NaNo, you know that it's easier to reach the goal if you have a support system, and we wanted to provide that for others. I'm so proud of my little NaNo apprentices. It warms my heart to refresh my Writing Buddies page on the website and see their word counts climb.

The last thing that's been sucking up my time lately is the school musical. I'm only in the ensemble, but opening night is just two weeks away, and I have practice nearly every day. It's fun, of course, but on some level I just want it to be over so I finally have time to myself again.

November is definitely one of the busiest months of the school year, at least for the first half. Between desperately trying to hit my word goal for NaNo and managing play practice six days a week, not to mention all the homework that junior year provides, there's a lot going on. I just try to close my eyes and ride the roller coaster without crashing and burning.

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

OTD: Vintage shorts + graphic tee + LL Bean Boots


It's official: I've become my mother.

The other day I was rooting around in my mom's old clothing, and I discovered a treasure-trove of soft, faded tee shirts she wore back in the eighties. Baggy, vintage, and just my style. Along with them, I uncovered an awesome pair of high waisted jeans, frayed and ripped from years of use, complete with patches on the back. Tee shirt + vintage shorts + mom's old LL Bean Boots = perfect outfit.


This outfit kind of makes me look like a through hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail; there's definitely a just-wandered-out-of-the-wilderness-after-two-months vibe going on here. And I'm not going to lie: I'm into it.

The shirt is from when my mom went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California many years ago. I actually went there once when I was six; I don't remember it of course. But it has otters on it and it's super cute, so I decided it was perfect for this look.


As you can see, these shorts have taken quite a beating. The right hem is torn and hanging at my thigh, and both hems are frayed beyond belief. My favorite part is the patches my mom sewed onto them many years ago. That whale one? Adorable! They're super high-waisted, and--you're not going to believe this--the pockets are over six inches deep. After spending most of my life with itty-bitty pockets (thanks, whoever decided women don't need pockets!) this felt like a real treat. I could fit my whole phone in there! Heck, I could hide a small child!

They're a little big for me, so I looped a belt through them and that did the trick.


For shoes, I slipped on my mom's old LL Bean Boots. These were all the rage a couple years ago, before I had the same size feet as my mom, of course. I love how worn in they are; if you can't tell, the theme of this outfit is "used". 

Not much accessorizing going on here. I'm wearing my usual glasses, along with a pair of swirly, multicolored earrings to add a little flash. I've also got a black and yellow ribbon pinned to my belt loop; last week, five kids my age who go to a high school in my state were involved in a fatal car crash, and today they passed out these ribbons for students to wear in commemoration. 

That's all, folks! Obviously, considering this look is almost 100% vintage, it's impossible to recreate completely; if you're interested in an OTD involving clothes you can actually buy, let me know. And if you, too, are all about the Vintage Mom/Through Hiker aesthetic, I want to hear about it! 

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Saturday, October 15, 2016

DIY Choker Necklaces

choker ribbon
ribbon wrapped twice around the neck, tied at the back
Chokers are my favorite kind of necklace. They're stylish, versatile, and--best of all--easy to make! Chokers are hot right now, which means that they can be unreasonably pricey. Fifteen bucks for a ten inch piece of rope? No thank you! Fortunately, chokers are the most DIY-able necklace. If you learn to use the materials around you, you'll never have to buy one again. Without further ado, here is some inspiration and how-to to get you started.

ideas for materials
First, gather your materials. The list for what can make a choker is endless. Shoelaces, ribbon, old/broken necklaces, leather, wire...you name it. My friend even made me a choker by braiding old pieces of jeans!
Second, figure out how much material you need, and how you're going to fasten it around your neck. If it's something like ribbon or string, you'll need enough to tie a bow around your neck. The braided jean choker on the above left clasps together via a safety pin on either end. If you're using an old necklace or chain, you might need to find a pair of needle nose pliers and an old necklace or bracelet clasp and fasten it on.

jean braided choker
braided jeans! 
The last step is deciding how you want to wear your new choker. If you're using twine or ribbon, consider wrapping it twice around your neck, and experiment with putting the bow in both the front or back (you might need someone else to tie it for you, it you have slippery fingers like me). Also consider wrapping it tight around your neck, and then having the second loop hang down at your chest, with a heavy pendant at the end. Experiment with pendants of all kinds; take them off other necklaces or make your own out of wire and household objects.




That's it! Making your own, stylish choker is seriously that easy. Now when you see a must-have choker in a store window, stop and think for a moment: Can I make that? The answer is almost always yes. Now go forth and create!

leather, weighted down with a bottle of seashells
an old necklace, revamped


L8r sk8r,
Ella

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fashion and the Power of Self Expression

self expression fashion blog

There was a time in my life when my favorite outfit combination was brown capris with white polka dots, paired with a brown shirt with white polka dots. I believed outfits made up of the same pattern in (almost) the same shade was the epitome of fashion, which lead to many years of stars-on-stars, stripes-on-stripes, and polka-dots-on-polka-dots. While I didn't really care about what I wore, I had fun and took pride in picking out my carefully-matched clothing. Life was good and clothing wasn't a big deal.

I've gone through countless style transformations in my 16 years on this earth, whether I was nine and literally just pulling random clothing out of my drawers, ten and wearing a cape to school picture day, or eleven and rocking hot pink, zebra patterned, velvety bell-bottoms. Now I can laugh at the clothes I wore as a child, and while my first instinct is to proclaim that I had "no fashion sense," when I stop to think about it, I realize that, although my clothes weren't "trendy," I was actually embodying what fashion is truly about: self expression. 

Nine and wearing baggy, tie-dye tees and floral shorts, I was portraying the free-spiritedness of my youth, and the carelessness I put into my outfit is a reflection of that. Ten and sporting my wizardly-attire (see above re: cape), I was showing the world a picture of a naive, fun-loving child whose quirkiness was spilling out the edges. I was different, proud, and unconcerned with the world's view of me. Eleven and donning my snazzy matching ensembles and vibrant prints, I projected the image of a bold, slightly clueless pre-teen, unafraid to stand out and be herself.

When I hit the ages of 13 and 14, some of that boldness fell away, revealing the insecurities and lagging confidence that comes with being a teenager. I wasn't sure who I was or how I wanted to present myself to the world, and that showed in my clothes. The opinions and actions of those around me began to influence me, and suddenly I wasn't sure how to express myself. Occasionally I found clothing I felt truly good in: my first pair of skinny jeans, my favorite striped shirt, a thrifted pair of black boots that I originally bought purely for a play and ended up wearing often. But most of the time my style meandered, settling on generic pieces that fell flat or that didn't boost my confidence, like a good outfit should. I just didn't know how to express myself through clothes.

Last year I began to truly find my voice in fashion. I started to find outfits that made me feel confident and happy, and that I felt were truly a reflection of myself as a person. One "milestone" I particularly remember is a day last year when I wore a skirt, flowy shirt, and jean jacket, and the girl in my grade who I considered my fashion "inspiration" commented that she liked my outfit. My fashion icon approved of my clothing choices! Mark the day! Even though a good outfit should make you feel awesome without the validation of others, it's always nice to get a compliment, especially from someone whose opinion you value.

This year I feel I've truly found a style I love, which works for me on every level. It's casual but edgy, a mix of street style, grunge, and hipster. It reflects the artistic and creative side of me, which is such an integral part of who I am. When I'm wearing an outfit I love, I feel the most true to myself. I feel confident. I feel unbreakable. And that's how clothes are supposed to make you feel.

Fashion is not about "flattering your figure". It's not about following arbitrary rules. It's not about wearing what everyone around you is wearing just because you feel like you should. It's about being true to yourself and letting your clothes speak for you. Fashion is about simply being yourself.

L8r sk8r, and don't forget to stay true to yourself.

Ella

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

OTD: Mom Jeans + Graphic Tee

It's been a hot minute since I did an OTD (and yes, if you're wondering, I have figured out that the correct acronym is OOTD, but, well...I like my way better). So I thought I'd share with you today's outfit, which is one of my favorite looks at the moment: a generic graphic tee tucked into mom jeans, plus a flannel and, of course, my mustard yellow Converse.

fashion mom jeans fall flannel ootd

I started with a base: cropped mom jeans from Pacsun and a vintage graphic tee that I dug out of my mom's closet. It's actually one of my favorite shirts; I cut the neckline and the sleeves, as well as the hemline to make it sit better on my body. Here, though, I tucked it into the jeans. I've been really into tucking shirts into high-waisted jeans lately. It adds some shape and feels kind of retro.


To pull the look together, I donned my staple Converse, and tied an Abercrombie and Fitch flannel around my waist. A button up at the waist can do wonders to tie an outfit together, and it's great for school days when the heat in every classroom fluctuates randomly; just untie it and slip it on for an added layer. I've definitely been overusing this flannel lately, but hey! It's autumn--flannels are unavoidable.


I got a new pair of glasses last week, pictured here, from Glasses USA, a super cheap online retailer. I was looking for some larger, rounder frames, and these do the trick. In my ears I've got some cool, dangly silver fish, another piece picked up from my mom.

And last but not least, I slung my trusty succulent terrarium necklace around my neck. It goes with so many of my outfits, and I love just picking it up to peer in at the adorable little succulent all throughout the day.

Let me know what you thought of this outfit, and if we're perhaps style twins!

L8r sk8r,
Ella

PS. After over two years, I got my braces off last week! Now Retainer Life starts, however. If you have any sage wisdom for me, feel free to give it.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Sweet Start to October



grinding the apples
apples galore!
Yesterday, I welcomed October by dressing in my fall getup, purchasing an autumnal eyeshadow palette, and pressing apple cider and cooking pumpkin pasta with my best friend.

It was a cool day, the perfect temperature for fall: cold enough that you can wear a few layers of thin jackets, but warm enough that you don't have to zip them up. I started off the day by heading to my local CVS to pick out a NYX eyeshadow palette filled with golds and browns to match the changing leaves. I need to stop spending so much money on makeup, but I just can't help myself.

After glitzing up my eyes, I headed to Marika's house, where we laboriously assembled her apple cider press, hosing off all the wooden pieces and scrubbing them down with soap and bleach. When we had finally put it all together, we fed the apples in, crushing them to pulp and then pressing them until the juices ran free, trickling into the silver pot.


We collected about a gallon of cider, which we carried into the kitchen to taste. It was delicious; so sweet and thick, with a heavenly aroma. For all the labor we put into making it, it was certainly worth it.

What to do next? It was a few hours from dinner, so Marika and I conspired to follow up our autumn drink with an autumn meal. After a few minutes browsing online, we came up with a recipe for pumpkin pasta. It looked delicious and relatively easy. We were just missing two ingredients: parmesan cheese and a pie pumpkin.

Marika has her drivers license already, but she couldn't drive down to the grocery store because her foot is currently in a boot (long story). The store isn't too far from her house, however, so I volunteered to whiz down on my bike and pick up the ingredients. I hopped on my bike, headed to the store, and was back in twenty minutes with pumpkin and cheese in hand.

sweet, fresh cider
From there, we commenced making our fall meal: roasting the pumpkin, boiling the pasta, sizzling up the garlic and chopped pecans. Then we set the table, put out the food, and got to eating. It was delicious, of course. Whenever I go over to Marika's I end up cooking a meal (not that I'm complaining--I've got to start learning to cook for myself).


Needless to say, my October started off on a good foot. As I write, I'm snuggled under flannel sheets while rain sprinkles outside my window. I hope your autumn is going just as well as mine.

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Monday, September 26, 2016

Teen Lingo as Explained by an Actual Teen™


texting teen lingo

Hi. It's me, Ella, a 16-year-old and Certified Teenager™.

You may have heard about teens these days participating in "texting," "group chats," "g-chats", and other internet-or-cellular-based communication. And even more confusingly, they communicate using  cryptic acronyms and internet lingo!

How many times have you peeked over the shoulder of a texting teen and witnessed them type a befuddling phrase that you just couldn't decode? Well, worry no more. I'm here to share with you my patented Teen Lingo Decoder™, which comes equipped with a complete list of youth slang, so that next time you secretly search your teen's online conversations, you won't find yourself "IDK"-ing at your teen's IKRs and LOLs.

☞ ☞ ☞

Sorry, not sorry, y'all, I just really felt like trolling you today. ;)

This post was inspired by an Instagram post I saw, "explaining" a list of acronyms and slang that teens apparently use on the daily. Except they were all completely ridiculous and I had never used one in my life.

So I dug through my bookshelf and found some "girl guides" my mom gave me when I was a middle schooler, and sure enough there was a page on "Lingo for Online Chats." And, as I suspected, most of the "lingo" was pretty laughable, or just outdated. 

For example, have you ever typed DTRT? Or even know what it means? Neither did I, until this book informed me that it's short for, Do The Right Thing. This strikes me as funny because, a) the fact that it's an acronym implies that it's so commonly used that it's gotten to the point where it's easier just to shorten it, and b) the phrase is so much less motivational as an acronym. Imagine if you texted your friend, "I'm afraid to tell someone that Amanda is being bullied. What should I do?", and they just texted back, "DTRT." Like, excuse me, I need a little more advice than that, friend. Also, I'm obviously hurting here and you don't even have the decency to write out the whole phrase?

Okay, here's another for you to guess: G2GP. I'll give you three seconds to mull it over. 3...2..1.... And the answer is: Gotta Go Pee! Yup. For that moment when you're chatting with your friend and are suddenly struck with the sudden urge to tinkle. But your friend is waiting expectantly for a response! You can't leave her hanging. There's no time to type out a full three words--your bladder can't wait that long! Frantically, your fingers fly across the keyboard. Click, clack, clank, cluck. SEND. A message pops up on your friend's computer, all the way across town. By the time she's read those four fateful numerals, you're already relieving yourself in the water closet. 

I'll leave you with one last apparently common piece of lingo: BTDT. Baked That Danish Today? Nope. Bought Ten Dried Tangerines? Guess again. The correct answer is: Been There Done That. I am almost positive that I have never even said that phrase out loud, much less typed it in abbreviated form. How many text conversations does this apply to? Friend: Ugh, I just ate like ten funnel cakes at the fair and threw up behind the House of Mirrors. Me: BTDT. Yikes.

And now for the final challenge: Can I use all three of these ridiculous terms in one sentence? 

Okay, gimme a minute.... I think I've got one. Ahem. 

You know that moment when you're in the community pool and you've G2GP but you're wearing a one piece and the bathroom is just so far away, and even though you know you should DTRT, you're just like, eh, BTDT, when you G2G you G2G, amiright? 

I even slipped an extra piece of snazzy text lingo in there. You're welcome. 

L8r sk8r,
Ella

PS. Is it ironic that my sign-off signature is dorkily abbreviated, or is that the incorrect use of irony?



Sunday, September 25, 2016

My Favorite Clothing and Accessories

Hello, hola, bonjour and ahoj!

Now that you've gotten your language lesson for the day, I'm going to switch gears to tell you about my favorite items of clothes, and the accessories that are near and dear to my heart. That's right, folks, it's another fashion post. Cause I love me some style.

mom jeans fashion pacsun denim
get them here
First off, I'm low key obsessed with mom jeans. This style of jean is gaining popularity right now, and it's something I never thought I'd see in my lifetime: high waisted, slightly baggy, hip-plumping jeans are all the rage. And honestly, I'm into it.

Obviously, before I went out and bought a pair, I sought out my very own mother in hopes she would have an authentic pair of mom jeans she was willing to hand over. Unfortunately, they weren't my size, which meant it was off to the mall to try and find an affordable pair of jeans.

As usual, Pacsun delivered. Gotta love that place. I picked up a pair of light/mid wash, true denim, cropped jeans, and I am obsessed. All I have to do is tuck a baggy graphic tee into them, pop on my signature yellow Converse, and I'm ready to go. A++.

converse yellow rubber shoes
find something similar here








Speaking of signature yellow Converse, they made this list, too. They're probably my favorite pair of shoes...ever. When I first bought them, I thought their bright yellow hue would clash with every outfit, but I have yet to find one outfit that they don't pair with (okay, maybe one, but Miracle Shoes don't exist). They're just so my style that I can't put together an outfit that doesn't include them. These shoes are living proof that fashion risks can pay off, big time.

succulent terrarium necklace
get it here




Wait a second, is that a...? YEAH, IT IS. This is a real, live succulent living in a tiny necklace pendant. My best friend got it for me for my birthday, and it's the coolest. It combines two things I love: unique necklaces and succulents. The latin name for this lil' sprout is Cremnosedum, but it's common name is Little Gemstone. Aided by the light and a little water once a month or so, it grows in this tiny terrarium. When it gets to be too big you pop it out and plant it in a pot. I am constantly amazed that I have a living organism around my neck. I would 100% recommend buying this for the plant lover in your life (hint: it might be yourself!). It's actually very cheap and you get what you pay for, plus there are multiple succulents to choose from.

denim bullhead pacsun jean jacket
find something similar here
Moving on to my jean jacket. Once again, I purchased this spiffy number from Pacsun, although the brand is Bullhead Denim. It's light wash, and slightly distressed, giving it that edgy vibe that I crave. I've made it my own by adorning it with tons of pins and buttons, which also happen to be some of my favorite accessories. Pins can say so much about a person, and add such an awesome, personalized flair to basically everything. This jacket is great for when I want to spice up an outfit that's lacking.


sunglasses earthbound round
get it here




Sunglasses are a staple of summer, which is why you have to make sure that you love the ones you have. Fortunately, I can say with certainty that I love these frames! I was surprised to find that the round lenses actually work well for me (and occasionally make me resemble John Lennon). My favorite part of these glasses, though, are the little, gold birds in the corners of the frames. It's an unorthodox addition to an otherwise basic round lens, and by now I think you know that I have a taste for the unorthodox.
graphic tees
find something similar here





In the last few months, I've come to love baggy graphic tees. I love slipping on a soft, comfy shirt and tucking it into a pair of jeans or shorts. I get my tees everywhere--my mom's closet, thrift shops, various events. Sometimes I'll cut them at the sleeves or the neckline, but recently I've come to terms with their un-touched form. The tucked-in-graphic-tee is one of my favorite looks right now, just because it's so chill, comfy, and I feel so true to myself and my style while wearing it.
necklaces chokers
find some sick chokers here and here






Say hello to choker neckalces! I don't want to sound like a broken record and tell you, "The nineties are back!" or whatever, so I'll just say that chokers seem to be blowing up right now. And for good reason! They pair perfectly with almost any neckline, and I love how snug they are against my throat. Plus, they are the most DIY-able necklace. I make mine out of ribbons, old anklets, bits of chain I have lying around, etc. (Hmm...do I smell a DIY choker post coming soon?)







So there you have it! Some of my favorite clothing and accessories. I'm sure my tastes will continue to change with age, but for now these are the fashion staples that I hold near and dear to my heart.

If you have a favorite item in your own closet, or you too love any of the pieces I've written about here, tell me down below! I love making fashion friends.

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Sunday, September 18, 2016

School Thus Far

Welcome one and all. Today I want to do a kind of "school review," where I go through my classes for the year and tell you what I think so far (and probably complain. Cause school.)

First off, I'm a junior in high school. Junior year, as most people will tell you, is supposedly the most stressful year of one's high school experience. It's packed with standardized testing that can determine your future, it's the year you're supposed to start thinking about colleges, and it's also the year that colleges and universities focus on when reviewing your application (so I've heard). That means that junior year you have to step it up. It also means it's a Stress Extravaganza.

Without further ado, here are my classes for the year.

 Drivers Ed. I only got my permit in April, so I wasn't selected for summer Drivers Ed, and my class schedule was already full, meaning I couldn't take it during the semester. That left one option: coming to school at 7am every day for a 45 minute class. Yeah. It kind of sucks, but it only lasts a semester and doesn't count towards your GPA, so I'm dealing.

Honors Pre Calculus. Despite passionately disliking mathematics, I'm still somehow in advanced math. So far I'm just sucking it up and rolling with the class, and even though I don't enjoy it, it's better than Honors Algebra II last year, which was just a nightmare. Algebra is my least favorite branch of math.

Fundamentals of Graphic Design. I'm so thankful our school provides plenty of art classes for students, because without art in my school day I think I'd enjoy school a whole lot less. Graphic Design is interesting so far, although all we've really done is learn how to use Adobe Illustrator. I think I'm going to have fun and learn some good skills.

Honors Physics. I'm not very into science, and physics hasn't managed to ignite any passionate spark in me. For homework we always seem to be assigned word problems out of our textbook, which basically just means I'm doing extra math every night. So I'm a little bitter about that.

Concert Chorus. Don't be fooled. The "Concert" in the name isn't special. It's actually ninth grade chorus. Our school has two chorus levels: "Concert" for all the freshpeople, and "Senior" for all upper grades. Unfortunately, Senior Chorus didn't fit into my schedule, which means I'm stuck singing with the freshies. It's not really a problem, except they're all afraid to sing out, which means my voice alone makes up half the volume of the alto section.

Metals in Art. Metalworking is by far my favorite class. It's a relaxed environment with a great teacher, and I take it alongside my friend, so we get to talk all class while we work on various projects. Currently, we're making rings, which is really interesting and great fun. It's a low pressure class where I get to do what I love: make art. 10/10, would recommend.

Spanish 4/5. Due to budget cuts in the district, Spanish 4 and 5 have been combined into one class. Fortunately, I'm part of the "4" group, so I don't feel like I'm re-learning the material, but I feel bad for the seniors who are in a class with a bunch of kids below their level. Language comes relatively easy to me, so I'm able to doodle in my sketch book most of the class and not fall behind, which is all right. I also have it with two of my friends.

AP US History. My only AP class this year. Over the summer I had to read six chapters of the textbook and fill out this huge packet, and that's a pretty good description of the class itself. Even though the teacher is great, our only purpose is to drill the material so we can ace the AP exam. Every day we take out our note packet and follow along while the teacher lectures. And every week, starting soon, we have to read a chapter and fill out a packet. No creativity, no room for error. The only thing I like about it is that it's a structured routine that I know I can depend on, and I know that this method works and will help me do well on the exam.

Poetry. For my English elective, I wanted to take creative writing. Unfortunately, it was full, so I'm taking poetry instead. I'm not too disappointed, because I enjoy writing poetry and am eager to learn new techniques. So far the class hasn't been very revealing, and we've mostly just read and analyzed poems, but I have it with my friend and it's pretty relaxed, so I feel good about it.

Madrigal Choir. Even though this is an extracurricular, it counts as half an arts credit, which is why I'm including it here. Last year, I joined Madrigals when our new chorus teacher revamped it, and I'm in it again this year. Basically, it's a select choir that sings and performs at festivals and concerts throughout the year.

All in all, school is okay. After two years of being in high school, the thrill has worn off. I'm not giddy at the size of the campus anymore (can you say STAIRS?). It doesn't feel like a luxury to eat on the lawn, especially when all the grass is dead and it's infested with biting ants (seriously. They will chomp down on you). And this year they're supposedly implementing a new policy that requires students and faculty to wear their IDs on lanyards at all times, so that should be double the fun.

How is school for you? Ups and downs? Classes you love/hate? Feel free to rant in the comments.

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Friday, September 2, 2016

I Dyed My Hair!


Helloooo, blogisphere! It's me, Ella, back at it again to tell you about my recent experience with coloring my hair.

If you aren't familiar with my obsession with awesome hair colors, get with the program! JK. But I do love really cool hair. Back in January, I dyed a strip of my hair purple, and in June I ventured to dye my whole head. Well, by the end of August most of the color had faded out, so the day before school started (oh yeah--I'm a junior now. Whoopdeedoo.) my mom and I laid out a piece of plastic on the lawn, I lay down with my hair splayed, and she snapped on dish gloves and grabbed a bottle of hair dye.

This time I decided to try something new: dying the bottom layer of the back of my head blue, and the rest purple. I bought a set of blue dye claiming to give you an ombre effect, but it all kinda turned out the same color.


Here is how I dye my hair: First, I put on an oversize t-shirt that I'm willing to stain. Then I take some Aquaphor and smear it along my hairline and the tips of my ears, so if dye accidentally touches my skin I can wipe it away (if it does get on my skin, I'm stained for at least a week). I go outside and lay down a sheet of plastic or some kind of tarp (this is new--before we did it in the upstairs sink, which was a really pain on my neck) which I can lie on to keep the dye from getting on any unwanted surfaces. Finally, I put aside a crummy towel to wrap my head in after I've washed the dye out. The crumminess of the towel is important, because it will definitely get splotched with dye.

Then I lay down, and my mom puts on her gloves and gets to work. Her patented system is called Squirt and Smear. It involves squirting the dye onto my hair and then smearing it around and hoping every hair will be covered, and it definitely leaves the dye slightly inconsistent, but we haven't figured out a better way.

If you're wondering, no, I don't bleach my hair. I'm one of the lucky, blond-haired souls who doesn't have to use bleach and can still have the color show up. Obviously it's not as vibrant as it would be applied to bleached hair, but I still like the way it turns out, and bleach is horrible for your hair.

After wrapping my hair in tinfoil and letting it sit for an hour, I lay down in the driveway and my mom uses the hose to wash most of the dye out of my locks. Then I get in the shower and scrub out the majority of the loose dye, watching as purple and blue stream down my body. For the next couple showers the water will run purple as the dye continues to loosen.

Then I step out of the shower, dress in my pajamas, lay down a towel over my pillow so as not to stain it, and hit the hay. When I wake up in the morning my hair will be dry and newly colored.

Because my hair has natural highlights, it takes the color differently in different places, meaning some of my hair will be deep purple and some more pinkish, and some barely dyed at all (where the Squirt and Smear technique failed me). I actually kind of like this effect, but I think I'm going to work out a system where the color is more evenly distributed.

The blue underneath came out kind of greenish--more of a teal than a sea blue. As my mom rightfully pointed out, "yellow plus blue makes green". Still, I love having dyed hair. I feel like a mermaid princess. If you're thinking about dying your hair but are feeling a little nervous, I promise you'll love it! And remember, dye fades and hair grows back.

If you're planning on dying your hair, let me know! Everyone deserves awesome hair.
L8r sk8r,
Ella

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mean Sixteen \\ Birthday Fun

Six awesome ladies I am so happy to have in my life.
On August 25th, I celebrated my Mean Sixteen. Yes, I'm aware the common saying is "Sweet Sixteen," but "Mean Sixteen" is kind of an inside joke with my friends. Actually I mostly just say it and they roll their eyes and tell me to use the correct term. I just like it cause it rhymes.

Anyway, while my birthday was on Thursday, I celebrated with my six of my friends on Saturday and Sunday. I always have a slumber party on my birthday--it's my favorite kind of party. I love staying up late into the night, giggling and talking with my friends amidst a nest of sleeping bags and pillows.

Henna-ing Olivia's belly button
The main activity was a scavenger hunt my dad set up, where we followed a series of clues all around town, stopping along the way for soda at a local restaurant and to look around various thrift shops. Back at the house, we ordered pizza and gave each other henna tattoos. I drew designs around a few of my friends' bellybuttons (and my own), and one of my friends with a steady hand drew super cool carrots and radishes on people's arms and legs.

As it grew darker, we broke out sparklers and choreographed a dance to "Catch and Release", then tried our hand at taking long exposure photos. We ended up taking a really great one that spelled out "Ella 16". Honestly I'm just shocked we were able to be that coordinated.

I got some really wonderful and thoughtful gifts, and then it was time for cake! It's a tradition that I order a Ben & Jerry's ice cream cake on my birthday. I love their ice cream, and the frosting on their cake is delicious. This year I asked for a very specific thing on my cake: succulents. If you don't know me, I love succulents and cacti and I had seen a really cool photo of a cupcake frosted with buttercream succulents, which seriously inspired me. The B&J staff tentatively said they would do it, but I was worried they wouldn't be able to handle such a specific request.

Hands down the best birthday cake I've ever had.
I was wrong. When we went to pick up the cake, I was awestruck at what a great job they had done. They created a beautiful succulent garden, filled with all different kinds of plump succulents, which flowed down the side of the cake. It tasted great, and it looked even better.

After enjoying the cake (Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Phish Food, in case you were wondering), we set up camp in the living room, changed into our PJs, and then gave each other sparkle tattoos. I put a cute feather on my wrist and a silver strip down my spine.

As we snuggled down into our sleeping bags and began to gossip and swap stories, I couldn't help but be filled with joy at being surrounded by my friends, able to make and share memories and have intimate conversations. This time last year I only had a few close friends, many of them having been lost in the chaos and strain of freshman year. Over the past year I have formed bonds and spun a web of people I can rely on and be open with. Friendship is extremely valuable to me, and I'm just thankful to have so many people I can share it with.

As the night drew on, we lost people to the temptation of sleep, until it was just me and two others, talking about school and life and feminism. Finally, about 3:30am, our words began slurring and we drifted off. I fell asleep warm and happy.


L8r sk8r,
Ella

Thursday, August 25, 2016

What is Intersectional Feminism?

intersectional feminism intersectionality
If you've been here for a while, you might remember that I wrote a post a little over a year ago called "What is Feminism?" While I do not regret writing that post and sharing my beliefs, in the past year I've educated myself quite a bit and, naturally, my views have evolved with that education. One of the biggest parts of that evolution has been coming to understand and put into practice intersectional feminism. 

A year ago, I had no idea what intersectionality was. And perhaps some of you reading have heard the word but are fuzzy on its meaning, or are finding yourself faced with a completely new concept. Not to worry! I'm here to educate you and help you become an even better member of the feminist community.

To get us started off, feminism is commonly defined as the social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. Simply, it's about privilege. Men in this world hold the most privilege of the genders, and feminism has been historically about advocating for women specifically to gain the same rights and privilege as men.

Here's the thing: gender is not the only factor that determines one's privilege. This is where intersectionality comes into play. Intersectional feminism is about recognizing that some people have more than one factor that determines their privilege in society. There are many factors besides gender that can hold a person down in our society, including (but not limited to) race, sexuality, economic status, place in the world, ability, etc.

For example, a white woman in America is more privileged than a black woman, because of the systematic racism in our society. This does not devalue the problems the white woman might face. It just means that the black woman has more odds stacked against her, and that because of how our society functions, the white woman happens to have more privilege than her.

Intersectional feminism aims to recognize and include women who are oppressed because of more than just their gender. As an intersectional feminist, it is my job to recognize the privilege I possess as a white, able-bodied, middle-class American and use that privilege to help uplift the women--and people of all genders--who are struggling beneath multiple layers of oppression.

Equality of the genders cannot be truly achieved until issues of racism, ableism, classism, homophobia, etc are resolved, because until women who are facing these issues firsthand are free from these types of oppression, they will still be faced with barriers that make it impossible to achieve equality to those not facing the same issues.

It would be irresponsible of me to ignore my privilege and fight only for women facing my specific set of oppressions. I would be shirking my duty to fight for all women, no matter where they stand in society.

I bring up intersectional feminism in the context of my old post, because at that time in my life I had never heard of intersectionality, and was not thinking in that mindset. While working on that project and writing that post, I was coming from a place of privilege, something that shows through in my writing and research. For example, I said that women earn 78 cents to a man's dollar. What I neglected to mention--or even realize--was that number represents what a white woman makes to a white man's dollar. A black woman makes 65 cents to a white man's dollar. A hispanic woman makes 58 cents. In fact, a black man only makes 73 cents to a white man's dollar. This is a perfect example of how I, as a white woman, have privilege in society. Not all women are born onto equal playing fields. And as an intersectional feminist, I am fighting to level the playing fields of all women.

If you didn't know what intersectional feminism was before this, thank you for reading, and I hope you've come away with a new perspective on feminism and your role in this movement. If you did know about intersectionality, think of this as a "correction" of my previous post. Either way, keep fighting for gender equality and don't forget to check your privilege.

L8r sk8r,
Ella

Monday, August 22, 2016

OTD: Yellow Converse + Jean Jacket


Welcome to another...drumroll, please...Outfit of the Day! I was feeling stylish today, so I decided to put together a hipster/alternative outfit and I'm really happy with how it came out. Listen to me, talking about fashion as if it's an art form. Which it kinda is. 

CLOTHING:

Glasses: Maybeck frames from Zenni Optical, a super cheap online shop where you can order Rx glasses for really great prices. 

Shirt: Just a chill, green tee from a charity concert. I've been really into vintage-esque graphic tees from events or organizations. I used to think these kind of shirts were so dorky, but now I honestly love how they look tucked into high-waisted jeans or shorts.

Jacket: Denim jacket from Bullhead Demin, bought from Pacsun (my holy grail of stores). I've adorned this jacket with pins and patches, and even put my own homemade stamps on the back. I like it because it's ripped in the shoulders and looks slightly worn. Loving the distressed look.

Jeans: High-waisted jean leggings from Hollister. If you're a skinny bean like me, Hollister jeans are great. I wish these were actual denim instead of stretchy material, but I'm working with what I've got.

yellow converse rubber shoes

Shoes: Converse! This is a staple part of the outfit. I bought these full-yellow Converse on sale at a local shop just recently, and I have no regrets. The material isn't your usual fabric--it's actually rubber. My mom was quick to point out that they're "not breathable" but since I don't sweat very much I don't think it will be a problem. 

Some people might be hesitant to wear bright yellow Converse, but I'm loving them. They make a great statement piece and actually work with more outfits than you'd imagine. 


The two things that tie this outfit together are the jean jacket and the shoes. The jacket serves as a fashionable layering piece, and the shoes are a sturdy and eye-catching foundation. The look just wouldn't be the same without them.


Let me know if you're into this whole fashion blogging thing, cuz I honestly love putting together outfits.

L8r Sk8r,
Ella

Friday, August 19, 2016

2 Dangerous Things I Will Never Do Again

Howdy from the warm waters of North Carolina. Just kidding--where we are the water isn't that warm. I'm at a family reunion with all the cousins, aunts, and uncles on my dad's side. Funny thing is, my dad isn't here. He hates the beach, so it's just my mom and me.

Anyway, that's not the point of this post. I am writing this to warn you about two new things I've tried this week that have left my body bruised and battered.

The first one is paintball. A few days ago I piled into a jeep with my uncle and seven cousins and drove to a paintball range. If I hadn't know it was for paintball, I would have thought the area was a creepy junk yard or abandoned hobo camp. Basically, it was a wooded area filled with heaps of old tires, broken down vehicles, and planks nailed to trees. These are what you use for cover as you attempt to shoot the opposing team.

I was looking forward to blasting my cousins with paint bullets, but when the marshal laid the heavy, black rifle in my hands, all I could think was What if this were a real weapon? As I donned my black gas-mask type helmet and followed my cousins out to the range, I couldn't help but imagining what would happen if this were a real battlefield. If I was actually a soldier in war, out to shoot and get shot.

Pushing these sobering thoughts aside, I crouched behind a pile of tires and dutifully did my best to shoot the small, yellow paint pellets at my family members. I also got hit quite a few times, and let me tell you something: the bullets hurt. And it's never just one bullet at a time; it's four or five, shot quickly and haphazardly. Most of them don't even break when they hit you; they simply smash into your skin and then bounce off, unbroken. After a few rounds I really wasn't feeling it, and I decided to sit out the rest. There's just something stressful about running around the woods and knowing at any time someone could let loose a round of bullets at your body.

Back at home, we compared bruises. My legs were completely demolished; I had some gnarly scratches from where I had run through brambles, multiple bruises across my knees and calves, and one distinct red mark from where a bullet had made direct contact. Was the pain worth it? No.

I thought that was the end of my bodily mutilation. And today, when my aunt suggested a friendly competition involving two teams of cousins using a giant sling shot to launch water balloons at each other, I readily agreed. Who doesn't want the chance to peg someone with water balloons via a huge sling shot?

The first few rounds were great. A few rounds in, I linked arms with my team mates and watched as the opposing team readied themselves from twenty-five feet away. Oh, what the heck, why didn't we get a little closer, make it a little easier to hit the human targets? Great idea. We shuffled up five or so feet.

My cousin plucked a bloated, pink balloon from the cooler and placed it gently into the fabric of the slingshot. He grabbed the handle and pulled back, the elastic stretching. I watched as he crouched to the pavement, squinted, aimed, and released. There was no time to react. The balloon slammed into my thigh with deadly speed and accuracy.

yes, a water balloon did that to me!
Immediately, a horrible pain spread through my leg. I bent over, gasping. OW! Was it supposed to hurt this much? I mean, seriously. Family gathered around me, cooing in concern. I looked down. Where the water balloon had made contact at the top of my thigh, a nasty bruise was already starting to form. Broken, red blood vessels leaked a huge, splotchy mark under my skin. Yikes.

Without me, the rest of my team continued, but--I kid you not--the next balloon fired slammed my cousin right in the stomach. She crumpled to the ground, clutching her ribs. It didn't leave the same horrible mark as it did on me, but she's having trouble bending over just the same.

I sit here a veteran of two dangerous games I shall never take part in again. Learn from my battle wounds. The pain is not worth it.

L8tr sk8tr,
Ella

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

OTD: Clear Plastic Bomber Jacket

Clear Plastic Bomber Jacket from Topshop
um, yes, this is almost the same photo as on my sidebar. nbd.


It's time to try something new! Presenting my...dun da da dum...Outfit of the Day!

I actually wore this last Saturday, but I'm just assuming that it's normal for an OTD to not be posted on the day it was worn. So forward we march.

All Star hightops converse boyfriend jeans
This outfit fashionable yet very wearable. Hollister boyfriend jeans pair with All Star high tops and a black tee shirt for a casual and comfortable look. The focal point of the outfit, of course, is the clear plastic bomber jacket from Topshop. When I saw this online, I knew immediately I needed it. I love a good bomber jacket, (or any jacket in general, really) and the clear design is so unique. 

outfit of the day hollister jeans topshop jacketAlthough it's made from polyurethane, the material is surprisingly soft and much thicker than I expected. It keeps out the wind and rain, keeps you warm, and still lets people see your bomb shirt underneath. If you're looking for a comfortable and stylish statement piece, this jacket is the one. It's a little expensive for my taste, but there's free shipping, and I couldn't find any other decent clear jacket on the web. (Also, if you're wondering why I was fervently shopping for a clear jacket, it's because I saw this EXACT jacket in this Buzzfeed video).

L8r Sk8r,
Ella

PS. Would you wear a clear jacket?

PPS. I started this blog two years ago this month. Can't believe I'm still blogging. Time really does fly.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

10 Girls, A Flat Tire, and 100 Miles to Las Vegas

I've been wanting to tell this story for some time now.

At the end of the school year, I went on a school trip with myself and nine other girls from my grade to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. While we were there, we volunteered to clean trails, socialize with animals, and help out around different parts of the massive sanctuary. Although that was an awesome experience and certainly deserving of its own blog post, the story I am about to tell is not of our time there, but of getting home sweet home.

It was Monday afternoon. The time was about approximately 6 in the evening, and we had just finished having dinner in St. George, the last meal we would have together in Utah. The trip was coming to a close, and we were all a little despondent as we loaded into two vans to complete the last stretch of our trip, the drive to Las Vegas Airport, where we would board a plane at 10:30pm to take us home to the east coast. Or so we thought.

It wasn't long before we crossed over the border to Arizona. The scenery surrounding the interstate was bleak, rolling tan hills dotted with shrimpy shrubbery. Outside the evening sun was scorching on the desert, but in the comfort of the car's AC we didn't feel it. We took it for granted.

It was around 6:30 when there was a resounding BANG! from the right side of our van, followed by a drawn out hissing noise. It sounded as if someone had slammed the side of the vehicle with a baseball bat.

I pulled out my headphones. "What was that?"

In the driver's seat, Ms. L* pursed her lips. She flipped on the hazard lights and pulled into the breakdown lane. Behind us, the second van full of students did the same. Ms. L got out of the car and walked around to the side where we had heard the noise.

She looked down, sighed, and announced, "We've got a flat tire."

Our very flat tire.
All 10 girls and 2 teachers piled out of the vans and began a frantic search for the spare. The students scrambled around the car, checking all the nooks and crannies, while Ms. L and Ms. T pulled out their cell phones to try and contact the rental car company and Triple A.

We checked the hood, we checked the back, we checked under the back seats, but the spare tired was nowhere to be found. Finally, one of the girls lay down on the side of the road and peered under the car. And there it was, attached beneath the car, our only hope for making our flight: the spare tire.

The teachers were pacing back and forth, cell phones to ears, wading through "call holding" and various robotic menus in an attempt to get ahold of a human who could tell them what to do. Meanwhile, four or five girls were clustered around the front of the van, flipping through the car instruction manual and figuring out how to detach the tire from the bottom of the car. Claire was laid flat on the pavement, attempting to use a long metal device to pull the tire out from under the car. There were foxgloves stuck in her clothes and tangled in her hair, but that was the last of her worries at the moment.

Now we were feeling the desert heat. I and a few others sat in the expanded trunk of the car, sipping lukewarm water and using wet napkins to cool ourselves down. Mind you, we were parked in the breakdown lane on the interstate. Cars were racing by at terrifying speeds, and every 30 seconds a huge truck would zoom by terrifyingly close, screaming in our ears and blowing hot wind onto our faces.

By now it was 7:15 or so. Our flight was in a mere three hours, we weren't even halfway to Vegas, and we still hadn't managed to retrieve the tire, when a black truck pulled up onto the side of the road.

"Triple A! They're here!"

Shouts of joy rose up from the twelve of us, as the door of the truck opened and a gangly guy in his mid twenties stepped out. We greeted him with a chorus of hellos as the teachers explained our situation. He had no trouble at all retrieving the tire from under the car, rolling it around to the back with shouts of joy from the rest of us.

"Oh, thank goodness!" Ms. L gushed. "What do I have to do about the insurance?"

"Oh, I wasn't sent by Triple A," the guy, Tyler, said in a drawling South Dakota accent. Then he laughed. "I work for them, though."

He wasn't from Triple A. He was just a nice guy--the only nice guy--who pulled over to help ten kids and two teachers in distress. And he didn't leave. He stayed with us, to make sure we got onto the road safe, even using his in at Triple A to help us come to a solution.

Tyler, our savior.
At that point, a fundamental flaw in our plan to attach the spare tire and book it to Vegas was revealed. The spare was not a real tire. It was a donut, a skinny, wimpy tire meant to take a vehicle to the next exit, where it could find somewhere safe to pull over and call a tow truck.

Ms. L's face turned ashen. "I can't drive 80." She shook her head in defeat. "All right, we've gotta make it to Vegas but I'll drive 55."

The sun was setting over the hills, casting brilliant golden rays on us as we frantically tried to form a plan. We were tired. We already had a red-eye flight home. Our families were expecting us at 10am tomorrow. We called the airline and asked them to delay the plane (they wouldn't, of course). We checked available flights. We considered riding with Tyler in the back of his truck. Maybe Tyler could call his buddies at Triple A and get us to Vegas in a tow truck.

"Oh my...look!" Haley grabbed my arm. "He has a baby."

I looked to where she was pointing. Standing in the dry grass by the side of the road was a young woman, cradling an infant in her arms. This whole time, she had been seated in Tyler's truck with their child, waiting for him to do his good deed so they could continue on to the Arizona strip.

She smiled wearily at us and rocked the infant. "He does this all the time. Always stopping to help people."

Finally, with the help of Tyler getting us an in with his Triple A buddies, a plan formed. A tow truck would come from St. George. It would load up the disabled van, and then four girls and Ms. T would ride in the front of the truck with the driver. The other seven of our group would drive in the working van behind us. And maybe, just maybe, we would make it to Vegas on time for our flight.

We screamed with joy as the tow truck pulled up onto the side of the road. It was about 8:30 at this point, maybe 9. The driver hooked up our van to his tow bed, and then Claire, Haley, Olivia and I all squished into the back seat of the truck. We were smushed shoulder to shoulder, knee to knee. In fact, there were only three seats back there. Well, Olivia and I could double buckle.
The tow truck, loading up our van.

With the tow truck driving 80mph (yes, that giant tow truck went 80), and the fact that we went through a time change that gave us an extra hour, we saw the lights of the Las Vegas strip at about 9:45. It looked like we might, miraculously, make our flight.

We reached the airport, thanked the tow truck guy, and then booked it to check in. With our suitcases bumping along behind us, we raced through the parking garage, leapt into a shuttle bus, waited irritably as the shuttle trundled along at a pace we were unable to control, and then leapt out again to race through the front doors to a check in desk. It was 10pm. Our flight was in half an hour, and it looked like we had made it.

The airport employee behind the desk pursed her lips at us. "I'm sorry, cutoff time for check in is 45 minutes before the flight."

No. It couldn't be. We had baked at the side of the road, flexed our muscles trying to change a tire, enlisted the help of a stranger and his newborn baby, finagled a ride in the back of a tow truck, somehow managed to arrive in time for our flight, and yet...we couldn't board?

"Please," Ms. L begged, "find us something."

Three ladies gathered around the computer at the desk, hands on hips, eyebrow furrowed in concentration as they tried to find a flight path with twelve available seats that could get us to our destination. The three of them looked like they were trying to disable a bomb, as they furiously clicked away at the keyboard and shot ideas into the air.

"What if we put them here...?"

"No, that won't get them to the right airport."

"How about this?"

"No connecting flights."

"If we put them on standby for this flight...."

"...they might get to board and then they could take Flight 183 to..."

"Yes, that might work. That just might work."

Finally, a tentative ray of hope appeared. We would be put on standby--meaning if other passengers didn't show up we would get their seats--for a 1:15am flight to Dallas, Texas. From there, we'd once again be on standby for a flight to Philadelphia. And if we managed to make it there, we'd be able to catch a flight home.

"A lot of people miss red-eyes in Vegas," we were informed. "People come to gamble and they get drunk and confused and end up missing their flight."

So that was it. Our last hope for salvation was the possibility that twelve people would party too hard and pass out in their hotel rooms, forfeiting their tickets to us. And apparently twelve noble people did have a wild night, because we got our tickets.

Our teachers pumped their fists in celebration as they came back from the boarding gate, triumphantly waving a handful of boarding passes. We celebrated, but it was only 11pm and we still had two hours to kill until our flight left. Exhausted, we charged our phones, updated parental units, and changed into comfy clothes for the long ride home.

Sandwiched into tiny seats, I fell into a much-needed but unsatisfying sleep. Four hours later we landed in Dallas, where we stumbled to our gate, munched down on some crappy airplane food, and then waited with high hopes that we would be able to make it onto the next flight. Fortunately, our tickets came through and it was off to Philadelphia. I was smushed between two strangers (middle seat--classic), and I fell back asleep immediately.

When I woke up we were in Philly. I scarfed down some pizza and then boarded for the last flight of the day(s), the one that would take us home.

This rainbow appeared as we descended into our local airport.
When we landed, it was Tuesday afternoon, 3:30pm local time. I was wearing the same clothes as I had been 28 hours ago. Under my sweatshirt, my Junior Ranger pin from the Grand Canyon was sagging on my shirt. My hair was a greasy mess, there were black mascara smudges under my eyes, and I'd gotten approximately 4 hours of on-off sleep in the last day. But at least I had made it home.

So there you have it. The legendary story of ten girls stranded in the middle of the Arizona desert with a flat tire, rescued by a good-hearted young man from South Dakota, his girlfriend and infant child, a tow truck driver determined to get us to Vegas, a flight just barely missed, and a 28 hour journey that ultimately got us where we needed to go. Home.

L8r Sk8r,
Ella

PS. If you've ever had a crazy travel experience, share it below!

*names have been changed so protect me from getting sued. Ya know.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Trying to Get a Job

Well, I am almost sixteen. It's the summer before my junior year. And you know what that means: no longer do adults care what my summer plans are. Everyone wants to know--am I getting a job?

The answer, my friends, is...erjdfkgjsdj. Let me break that down for you. I want a job. But I am slightly picky, and also at a bit of a disadvantage. First off, I'd rather work for a local company, rather than a chain. A few months ago, I emailed my top choice--a local frozen yogurt joint--to inquire as to whether they required any summer help. Unfortunately, they did not--although they said they might check back with me during the summer if anything changed. They have yet to contact me.

Then I dove into the deep end of job applications...and realized how grossly under qualified I am. Previous work experience? None. Age? Too young. References? Refre-whats? Here I was, swimming in confusion, and all around me other teens were swooping up jobs left and right. I can't go into the mall anymore without seeing at least three kids from my school working behind some counter. I'm inclined to think they're all there because of nepotism. I know it's not true, but it makes me feel better to think it might be, because how else could they possibly be getting those greenbacks when I'm jobless? Leave me alone, okay?

In all honestly, I have yet to actually apply to any jobs. But that's not to say I haven't made progress. Last week, I went to a job fair for my local grocery store. I pictured rows of tables advertising different available jobs, which I could flit between as I surveyed my options. Instead, I was lead to a grim waiting room filled with people at least twice my age, given an application, and told to fill it out, at which point I would go in for an interview. Basically, a sped up application process. Unfortunately, I was completely unprepared to fill out the application. When I got to the references section, I gave up and left. It was...disheartening, to say the least.

Today, my friend, Maria, who is also looking for a job, and I went downtown to the mall. We entered almost every single store and asked if they were hiring teenagers. And literally every store had a minimum age of sixteen. Imagine being two months from sixteen and hearing, over and over again, that you are too young to work. The end-of-summer birthday struggle is real, people, and it plagues thousands of frustrated teens each year.

There was one singular store that showed promise: a toy store, where the lady at the register informed us that there was no application, but that we could write down our phone and email and the managers would contact us. "We usually hire at sixteen, maybe fifteen." Fifteen! She threw my age in there! I scrawled down those digits on a Post-It and eagerly handed it over. Out of at least twenty stores, I had found one potential job opening. Oh miracle of miracles.

The worst part? We walked by the frozen yogurt stand I yearn to work at, and sitting behind the cash register was a girl from my school...who is two months younger than me.

Sneaky, terrible universe. Why must you always betray me?

L8r sk8r,
Ella