dear 2017

dear 2017,

You were one of the craziest years of my life. So much had happened, both good and bad. I went through a lot. I’ve also grown so much.

So I just want to say thank you.

Thank you for teaching me to give it all I’ve got if I want to accomplish my dreams. Thank you for teaching me to believe in myself and in my work. Thank you for teaching me to slow down, take a deep breath, and take one step at a time. Thank you for bringing the most amazing people into my life. Thank you for giving me so many amazing opportunities. Thank you for showing me the importance of hard work.

Looking back at my journal, I can see that I really focused on myself this year. I wanted a chance to reinvent myself and feel like me again. However, I also lost myself towards the end of the year. I was in a strange and unfamiliar place that I am only starting to come out of now.

This year, I pierced my ear again, read more than ever before, went on a weeklong vacation with my family (over 20 of us), applied to colleges, got my first (and second) job, went camping, started my senior year of high school, got into 9 colleges, and became an adult (!!).

I am finally in a happy place in my life. I want to continue down this road, and make 2018 even more memorable than 2017.

dear 2018,

I promise to make you wonderful.

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2018 goals

I am a huge goal setter. I set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for myself all the time because I like to keep myself motivated with them.  So naturally, I had to create this post because the beginning of 2018 is now upon us. I know 2017 wasn’t the best year for everyone, but that just means we can only go up in 2018. Besides the things that were going on in the world, I changed a lot in 2017. However, I am looking forward to 2018, and I hope to change more than just myself- I want to change the world.

And now, the reason you clicked on this post- my goals!

Say “yes” more

I say no to going out and doing things a lot. I am a homebody, and I need time for myself in order to recharge. I haven’t been spending a lot of times with friends over the past couple of months, especially since I started working. Over winter break, I finally had the rest I needed, and I feel like I am ready to go out again.

Go on more adventures

Like I said before, I stay home a lot. When I do go out, it’s always to the same few places, and I don’t mix it up a lot. This year I am hoping to change that. I want to explore new places in my town and in my state. I want to step out of my comfort zone and see all the different sights there are to see.

Use my film camera more

Over the summer, I bought a film camera, and since then, I have only developed one roll of film. I want to take more pictures and actually use the camera, since I spent a lot of money on it. I want to take the pictures so I can turn them into physical memories. I just need to remember to bring the camera with me.

Spend Less money

I have been a shopaholic my entire life. This is my worst trait in my opinion, because it means when I finally have some money, I impulsively buy way too many things that I don’t even need. If I only follow one resolution, I want it to be this one. Wish me luck (I’m really going to need it for this one).

Read for quality, not quantity

In 2017, I read a total of 65 books. My goal on Goodreads was 50, so I definitely surpassed that. However, I was constantly picking up the shorter books from my TBR in order to finish more books. I don’t want to read like this in 2018, because I don’t want reading to be a competition. Therefore, I set my goal to only 1 book this year so that I can still keep track of what I read, but without the added stress of reaching a goal.

Get organized when it comes to blogging

Way back two years ago, when I first began this blog, I was so organized. I planned out each post, I scheduled them weeks in advance, and had all my pictures taken and ready. Now, I write blog posts in a hurry because I find that I never have time to write them. I want this to change. I want to go back to producing quality content. Hopefully this first post will begin this challenge. I also want to get a routine and a schedule for posting.

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Those are all of my goals for this year. What are some of your resolutions?

xo, jessica

top 10 books of 2017

2017 was a really amazing reading year for me, and while I am sad for it to be over, I am also really excited to see how well 2018 goes for me! I read so many great books, so narrowing this book down was extremely difficult! But, I have done it, and here are my top 10 books of the year!

10. Never Never

I absolutely love Colleen Hoover, and I have read so many of her books (and I own so many more). I read this e-book towards the beginning of the year, and while it is really short, it was so fascinating. I haven’t gotten to part 2 or 3 yet (I have no excuse), but just the first part was enough to make me fall in love. Hopefully I will get to the other 2 very soon!

9. Eighteen Years

I just recently finished reading this but it was a great collection of poetry! I wanted to read it for such a long time and then I finally got around to it. It was so emotional and strong.

8. Always and Forever, Lara Jean

This is the finally book in the trilogy, and it was my favorite. It was such a great way to end the story of Lara Jean. I fell in love with the characters even more, and it was so sad to think that it was going to be over. I really enjoyed the book, mostly because the series was really important to me.

7. Caraval

Coming in at number 7 is this widely known book! I absolutely loved reading it and I was so fascinated the entire time. The plot twist was crazy, and the world was so interesting. I am glad I decided to read it, even though it’s not something I would normally pick up.

6. Illuminae

This is another book that I wouldn’t normally gravitate towards but I got it for a really good price online. I was a bit confused by it when I first started it, but soon I was completely hooked. I absolutely need to read the second book, but I haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet. I highly recommend giving it a try because the style was so unique.

5. The Princess Saves Herself in this One

This was the first book I finished in 2017, and it set my year off on a good start. When I think of poetry, this is the book that comes to mind. Since reading it in January, I now own a total of 3 copies (all signed) and I have read it twice. The poetry is amazing, the author (Amanda Lovelace) is so sweet, and the message is empowering. I suggest this book to everyone and I talk about it so often.

4. Talking as Fast as I Can

If you love the show Gilmore Girls (like I do), then you have to read this book! It is written by Lauren Graham (Lorelai) and it is an autobiography. She talks all about the show in a comedic way, as well as different events in her life. It was so interesting to listen to (I got the audiobook) especially in her voice.

3. Everything Leads to You

This book really showed me a different side of the film industry that I hadn’t thought about in the past, so it was so interesting to learn about. The entire story was also really cute. I will probably be re-reading this soon, too.

2. The Hate U Give

I’m sure you have already heard about this book, but if you haven’t, you need to go read it right now. It was so POWERFUL. It really took my breath away. The story is very relevant to the world right now and deals with race issues (black lives matter movement). I think this needs to be read by everyone, and it would be a great book to read at school.

1. Turtles All the Way Down

This is John Green’s latest novel, and it was BEAUTIFUL. It was such a relief to read a book that accurately portrayed OCD and anxiety. People often think I am exaggerating when my compulsions get the best of me, but they are true. I wish I could hand all of my friends this book to read in order to understand me better. I often don’t know how to phrase my own anxieties, but he did it in the perfect way.

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What were some of your favorite books of the year? I would love to know! Leave it down in the comments :)

xo, Jessica

first q&a !

A few weeks ago I asked you all to ask me some questions for a Q&A, and now I’m here to answer them!

What book(s) made a huge impact on you as a kid and now?

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was The Hunger Games. I was obsessed with it and it was one of the first books that I actually couldn’t wait to get my hands on. I was in 6th or 7th grade when I read it, but I think it would be so interesting to re-read it and see if my opinion has changed at all.

Now, there are way too many books that have had an impact on me. To name a few- To Kill A Mockingbird, The Hate U Give, The Princess Saves Herself in This One.

Has a book ever derailed you and completely changed the course of your life?

No, a book has never completely changed my life. There are definitely books that have changed my mindset or made me see things from a new perspective, but not enough to change my life around.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I am planning on going to college to be a public relations major, so I would like to be something under that field. Possible a publicist or a public relations manager. I also hope to be an author, which would be my ultimate goal in life.

Do you collect anything? If so, what?

I don’t collect anything now, unless books count. When I was younger, I used to collect many random things- rocks, nail polish, etc.

What is your favorite poem and favorite form and why!

I have so many favorite poems. There are honestly too many to choose. One of them is haiku #2 from Madisen Kuhn’s book “Eighteen Years”. I also really love poems by Amanda Lovelace.

I don’t have a favorite poetry form though. I like any style, as long as it is well written. What I look for in poetry is just emotion and an ability to relate to the subject.

If you’d like to answer any of these questions in the comments, feel free to do so! I’d love o know your answers.

Also, I hope you all had a very merry Christmas (if you celebrate) and an amazing holiday season!

See you soon.

xo, jessica

17 things i learned being 17

On November 15th, I turned 18. That is INSANE to me. I am officially an adult. This past year has been all about growing and learning for me. I have definitely changed as a person, friend, writer, blogger, and student. Not only did I get my license, but I also started my first official job, finished my college applications (and even got some acceptances back already), and so much more. I know that I will continue to grow everyday, but I wanted to do this post so that you guys can hear some of my advice (no matter what age).

  1. take care of your body.
  2. do what makes YOU happy
  3. it’s okay if you don’t have everything figured out
  4. crying does not make you weak!!
  5. not everyone is meant to stay in your life
  6. be kind to everyone
  7. mistakes are okay
  8. don’t be afraid to show people you care
  9. write everyday
  10. you can say “no” without making up excuses
  11. get off of your phone sometimes
  12. don’t be so negative all the time
  13. don’t let the little things bother you
  14. embrace the future, don’t let it scare you
  15. you are the only one who can make things happen for yourself
  16. stay humble
  17. you are doing just fine

Each of these little lessons/reminders have helped me live a less anxious and happier life. I struggled a lot at the beginning of the year with anxiety and stress, but these tips were really useful. I hope you keep these in mind, and I hope they help you out!

xo, Jessica

how to ACTUALLY prevent breakouts

I never really struggled with acne, but I get multiple breakouts a month, which can be so frustrating. They always pop out at the worst times. With the school year starting, stress can be a big factor in the breakouts I get. There are always some things you can do to prevent them, though.

Today, I have 4 tips that have really helped me.

Change your pillow covers often!!
This is a big one for me. Sleeping on the same pillow everyday can cause tons of bacteria and oils to get on your face. If you don’t have multiple pillow covers or time to wash them a lot, I suggest getting 2 facial towels and putting those on your pillows at night. That’s what I do. They are the perfect size to cover my whole towel, and I can easily wash them at the end of the week, without much hassle.

Drink lots of water
An app that might help you with this is Plant Nanny. This app is the reason I started drinking 85 oz a day, and I have seen a huge difference in my skin. Water will keep your skin hydrated, and it will flush out the bad oils. It is definitely a must.

Wash your face everyday (and moisturize)
This is so so important. I have never, in at least a year, gone to bed without taking off my makeup. That is so so so bad for you and I can not stress it enough. Even if you didn’t wear makeup one day, please wash your face. It can make a big difference in your skin. Try to keep up the same routine everyday. Also, make sure you moisturize. Even with oily skin like mine, moisturizing is still important.

Avoid Dairy
This is my last tip, and the biggest one. Dairy causes so many breakouts, at least for me personally. I love dairy, so I could never cut it out of my life completely, but try to limit your daily intake. If you struggle with acne, and you eat a lot of dairy, try cutting down for a few days to see if it helps!

Let me know if you try any of these tips, or if you have tips of your own to share!

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change | journal excerpts

Change has always been a good thing to me. I have embraced it with open arms every time. I can not even imagine a life where I am stuck with the same routine day after day. I do not want to sit behind a desk and watch my life pass me by. I want a career where I can explore different paths daily and have new adventures. I’m not sure where life will take me just yet, but I hope that it will bring me to change. Because change is the only constant that I want in my life.

//

I keep telling myself that my life won’t really start until I’m older. When I have a real job, and I’m living on my own. But life is short. And I don’t know how long I’ve got. So what am I waiting for? 17 years of precious time have gone by. It is time to go out and make something of myself. Live a little more. While I still can.

//

Her eyes lit up when she talked about it. She was so passionate about the art she created, and she couldn’t get her mind off of it. The happiness she felt when a paintbrush was in her hand was enough to make anyone smile.

– jess

notes from my journal

i stared up at the white, wispy clouds. the sky was a beautiful shade of ocean blue. you sat beside me and took in all my features. all my imperfections. i turned to look back at your emerald eyes and smiled. we were surrounded by the world, yet you still told me i was the most beautiful sight. i never felt as full and happy as i did in that moment. you handed my all your thoughts wrapped in a neat bow while i let out my deepest secrets in an explosion. we were total opposites. but when you said those 3 words, i knew that opposites really do attract.

i fall in love with the idea i create of people, rather than who they truly are. i have too much faith in people and in love. i am definitely a romantic. i try so hard to make relationships work, expecting people to change. i get my hopes up and end up disappointed every. single. time. it also makes it so much harder to get over someone. i only want to believe they are good-hearted, rather than face reality. but i would always choose to be full of hope than completely hopeless. because maybe true love really does exist.

you don’t have to have it all figured out. in fact, you shouldn’t. life is messy. life is unpredictable. things don’t ever go according to plan. just embrace every moment with a positive mind and see where the world takes you. the universe always has a plan.

you finally told me everything i always wanted to hear, but i realized it didn’t matter. i’m not the same person as a year ago. i know who i am and what i want. it just isn’t you anymore. and i’m sorry to myself that it took so long to realize my worth. but i’m okay now. i finally got the closure i needed so desperately and i can move on with my life. it truly is freeing to feel this way. i can finally be happy and be myself again.

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the law of attraction

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a Youtube video about the Law of Attraction.  I was super intrigued by it almost immediately. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the topic, and I thought I would give a bit of an explanation on it here in case you haven’t heard of it!

The law of attraction is a belief that the universe does things for you based on your thoughts. It says that everyone has the ability to “attract” the things they want into their lives. This can range from relationships, finance, and your career.

At first, I was super skeptical of this idea, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. It basically goes along with the idea that a positive mindset will bring positive things into your life. Obviously, this is just a theory, and there is no definite proof that it will work for you. However, there are tons of success stories online of people who decided to try it out for themselves.

The same goes for negative energy, though. If your thoughts are very negative, the experiences you have will show that.

Basically, your mindset is super important when it comes to your own well being. I haven’t tried out this idea for myself just yet, but I really want to see if it is beneficial. You will not achieve any of your goals if you don’t think about them and ways to accomplish them. The more you think about something, the more likely you are to do something to get there. If you visualize what you want, it will come.

Have you heard about this theory? If so, have you tried it out?

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Interview- Ashley’s Lens!

Yay! I finally have another interview :) This one is with a Youtuber I recently found, whose videos are so incredible and inspiring. Let’s just get into it.
I know you have a Youtube channel (which you can check out here), could you tell everyone what type of videos you post?
Yes I do :) I post stuff about art, photography, film, music, and life. I like to talk about stuff that I know will help people, concerning depression and anxiety, just to be an online friend for some people. But also about more uplifting things like books and my general thoughts on life. From time to time I also sing and post covers or original songs. I try not to be tied down by one specific thing though.
Why did you decide to start a Youtube channel? Where did the idea to make one come from?
I started Youtube because of music, actually. When i was around 12, I never used to watch “Youtubers” back then, but as i started posting (really crappy) singing videos, i soon began to lose interest because the music community on Youtube is extremely cut throat and very demotivating. So I took a 1 year hiatus and fell in love with the youtube community as an audience member and learnt the responsibility, passion and dedication a creator must have – I came back with film, my first “short film” called Letter to September around a year ago (I think, maybe 2). Then, I was into Youtube for the right reasons, and it took me till January 2017 to starting posting every Monday (people that don’t do Youtube will never understand how much commitment that takes)  and now here I am.
You posted a brilliant short film titled “Things We Didn’t Say.” How long did that take you to plan out and write?
Before that film i had been planning another film, more classical than Things We Didn’t Say, with a cast and characters and dialogue. However, I started getting stuck at every crossroad and couldn’t write it as one cohesive thought. Thats when the “incident” that inspired the film happened, right when I had given up on my previous idea. It took me about 2 weeks to write, taking some lines from previous unshared work. It also took about 6 re-writes in those 2 weeks and I tried 4 different sets. It was a short but complex and flowing process, i loved every second of it and can’t wait for the next one.
Where do you get the inspiration for your videos from?
Inspiration can’t be pinned for me, it comes just when I don’t want it to. If I try force it, it never comes. I was feeling rather depressed today for the first time in a while actually, and I went down to the beach because I really needed air and thought I might puke, and sitting there in self misery and disgust I came up with a stellar idea for my next writing project. Inspiration comes from dark places, light places, all over really.
What are some of the challenges of having a Youtube? Has there ever been a time when you wanted to quit?
Ha. Yes and No. Youtube is kind of like all hobbies/jobs. There are parts that you hate and parts that make it all worth it. I used to hate coming up with ideas and that’s what stopped me from uploading often but now I just turn the camera on and talk. Whether it’s cohesive or not – doesn’t matter. If you go into youtube completely committed and completely careless as to what the people want, letting what happens happen but on a regular basis, making sure you do it for you and no one else – there really is no downside. I do it to create things and to keep me healthy.
What is your favorite part about Youtube?
Just with my small subscriber base i have a new family. For example;  I have Mark that always comments an essay about his life, and I love learning about him every week. I have Dylan that always snapchats me. I have Sophie who always comments “YAAS”. I have Lola that always writes three honest lines. and so many more. I’ve made so many cool friends. Unlike school, where you’re forced to make friends with strangers, youtube allows you to connect to people who are just like you.
Are you working on any big projects at the moment that you plan on putting out into the world soon?
numero uno – more classic short films
numero dos – (merchandise… how exciting!)
numero tres – more poetry and monologue films
How do you unwind/relax after a hard day? What are some of your tips for relieving stress?
Going to be honest, I’m not good at relieving stress because I don’t really let anything harsh my mellow. School doesn’t stress me because I don’t think it’s that important in the grand scheme of things, but I still try my best. I just try my best at everything I do. If I try my best, I have nothing to stress about. Even if my best isn’t “up to standard”, I do what I can and I’m happy with that.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years? What do you hope to do in the future?
I hope to be happy, most of all. Living somewhere busy in my own swanky apartment with lots of cats and plants and stuff from Pinterest, you know. But firstly happy, that’s what’s most important to me. I also hope I’ll be creating stuff all the time, and I hope one day I can support my family with my art (as a HAPPY artist).
Finally, if you’re not filming a video, what are you doing?
Napping with my cats: Lilly and Cuddles. Shoutout to the real inspiration for my happiness.
Thank you so much Ashley! It was a pleasure to have you featured on here. You’re responses are amazing, and I hope someone gets some inspiration from them.
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