Monday, December 31, 2018

Blogging Goals for 2018 Recap: Where I Succeeded, Where I Failed & What I Want to Improve On

I thought it would be fun to look back at the resolutions I set way back at the beginning of 2018. I haven't looked at them since I created them so this will be a real treat. I'm gonna create some blogging goals for 2019 based on this reflection.

Double my pageviews // I got super close to this goal but didn't end up meeting it. I'm still so proud of how much exposure the blog got considering I hardly posted on here. I think I got so many page views because I became more active in promoting my posts using Pinterest, Instagram, and blogging groups.

Create an editorial calendar // I created an editorial calendar but I didn't follow through with using the calendar. I found that I put all of my ideas into the calendar rather than thinking if I could really create these posts. I'd like to be more intentional about creating an editorial calendar in the future.

Post consistently // I definitely didn't do well on this. I definitely wish I made the time for blogging more but sometimes life gets in the way. I definitely don't want to take a huge blogging break in 2019 like I did this year.

Improve blog photos // I succeeded on this. I definitely didn't use my nice camera enough but I chose quality iPhone pictures to post. I'm super proud of how my graphics have turned out this year. Canva is super user-friendly and has the cutest graphic designs.

Make videos // I didn't even try on this one. Maybe, I'll do it next year.

Create social media // I technically have an Instagram and a Pinterest but I didn't use either well. I always posted on Instagram stories when a new post went up but I didn't create any content for Instagram. I've been good about promoting my content on Pinterest but I should be doing it more frequently.

Find blog besties // I totally dropped the ball on this. I'd love to reach out to a few college and high school bloggers next year.

Attend a blogging conference // I definitely planned on doing this but my summer camp was during Her Conference. I'm pretty sure I'll be busy next year too.

Create a newsletter // I completely forgot about this idea. I'd love to create one next year.

Use a blog planner // Nope. While this is a good idea, it's not practical for me currently.

Work with companies // This didn't happen either. I'd love to work with companies in the future.

This year was a great year for me personally but I could have worked harder on Gold Clutter. I hope to make Gold Clutter even greater in 2019. I'm going to print out my blogging goals for 2019 and keep them up somewhere visible. This will remind me of the goals I've set for the year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

11 Random Thoughts

Hello, internet! I found writing down my thoughts in my previous 11 Random Things so refreshing a few months ago. I thought I'd create a new installation. Here's what's brewing in my head currently.
  • I spent a lot of time studying at Starbucks studying for finals. They recently redid the one by my house, and it is so nice. I would plop down with my small passion tea and toasted with no butter whole grain bagel, and work for hours. I found people walking in was the perfect distraction for me without me getting unfocused from what I was doing.
  • I recently finished City on the Verge by Mark Pendergrast. The book gave a fascinating look at how the Beltline is influencing Atlanta. I am obsessed with my city so it was no surprise that I loved the book. I want to read more books about Atlanta in the future.
  • I have wanted a bookshelf in my room for the last few years. I finally ordered one a few weeks ago. I hope to get it built before winter break is over so I can place my books on it nicely.
  • I've gotten further into the college process over these last few months. It's surreal to think I'll be going off to college so soon.
  • I'm the editor for my school's journalism site. We recently came out with a print edition for the first time in four years. It was so rewarding, and made me miss the days where I would pick up a print edition from the library while in middle school. I hope we can create another print edition in the spring.
  • I'm moving to Athens, Georgia for a few weeks for school in January. I have so much to do to get ready but also so little. I'm surprisingly not stressed about this adventure I'm undertaking.
  • I need to order a new pair of everyday sneakers as I've worn my current pair almost every day since I got them last December so they're showing wear and tear. Unfortunately, the style I like best appears to be sold out. I'll have to look online later today to see if they're now available.
  • I have been trying to get a winter jacket for the last few months. It's so difficult to find a vegan winter jacket in my size. I guess I should order a few online from REI, and return whatever I don't like.
  • I have used the same Nalgene for the last few years, and it still works lovely. I've been seeing Hydroflasks everywhere, and I would love one but I feel bad buying one when I have a perfectly useable water bottle.
  • I've begun journaling lately. Its been such a calming activity for me, and is a wonderful way to document my life. I print pictures out at Costco every few days and write what's on my mind. I might write a post about it as this method of journaling is the first method I've done consistently.
  • I'm making a few of my friends care packages. Its been a bit more of an undertaking than I expected. I've gone to the post office three times in the past two days trying to get the correct box size. By the time I've finished making the care packages, I'll have tried all the sizes at the post office at this rate.
That's it for me, folks. You just got treated to a brain dump. Feel free to brain dump in the comments. Have you ever made a care package? Do you own a Hydroflask? What type of winter jacket do you own? Where do you study?

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Semester 1 Recap

Wow, this semester has been a wild ride! I've been nonstop busy making new friends, going on adventures, and taking all the opportunities I can get. I'm still shocked that the semester is over as it feels like August was just yesterday. Time really flies when you're having fun. Here's a look at what I've been up to this semester. I've somehow edited 700 plus pictures down to 39 pictures (I know its still a ton of pictures) so I can guarantee I'm not covering all of the excellent memories I've experienced over the last few months. Let's dive in beginning with August.

I celebrated the first day of school
Theater had a meeting to go over all that we'd be doing each year, which got all of us pumped for the everything we'd be doing this year. Afterward, my friends and I had a little photo shoot outside our school while I waited with them for their parents to pick them up. This picture is one of my favorites as we all look happy. Katie and Davis are just the cutest!

I went to LTI
I met Wade at this convention. Funnily enough, her first BBYO program was a leadership convention. She's absolutely hilarious and is up for an adventure anytime. I adopted her as my little this weekend.
LTI was an eventful weekend spent with some of the coolest girls in BBYO. I hadn't seen most of the girls since May so it was a nice treat to spend so much time with the girls in my chapter. The weekend showed off how unique everyone in my chapter is and why I'm so thankful for my chapter. I was also so impressed by everyone's ideas. It was obvious everyone truly cared about what they were doing. 
Our chapter theme was tie-dye. As someone who loves tie-dye, I thought this idea was genius. Side note: Lily and Hailey seem like the coolest people ever. I'm making it my mission to get to know them better next semester.
These people are some of my favorite people in BBYO. Here's Isabelle, Bobbi, Lauren, Marin, Wade, and me.
Isabelle brought a tent instead of a sleeping bag by accident. We set up the tent for some laughs. That's me, Wade, and Marin.

My sister's Bat Mitzvah
My sister's Bat Mitzvah was such a special experience. I was filled with pride as I watched her be called to the bimah. She worked incredibly hard to master the prayers, study Judaism, and fully understand her Torah part. Lucy's dedication to her Bat Mitzvah was beautiful to watch. That's me with my cousin. I'm obsessed with my cousin's jumpsuit, and I might have to borrow it next time I see her.

Colorado weekend
My dad and I took advantage of my Labor Day weekend break to take a quick trip to Colorado. During our brief time, we covered a lot of territory. We visited Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, Vail, and Aspen. That's me on a rock overlooking the Rocky Mountains. While we were in the national park, I spotted a Hawaiian license plate. I ended up talking to the owner of the car, and he said he was getting a Colorado license plate that week. I felt so lucky to see the license plate.
I thought this was such a unique piece of art. The bear sculpture is common in mountain towns out west but this one was made of a material similar to nails. I loved the ingenuity in its design.

Big Little
I went with Lauren to get gifts for our littles. Before we got gifts, we grabbed dinner together at Loving Hut, a vegan restaurant, since we're both vegan. We got delicious cake slices to share. 
Isabelle, Lily, and I are all snuggled up together. It was a like a black hole with us all squeezed together. Everyone dropped their bags down there, so it turned into a situation like a never-ending foam pit.

College Fair Meetup
I was attending a college fair when I ran into my friend Charlotte from camp. We hadn't seen each other in seven years so it was a real treat to see each other. It reminded me of how much camp has impacted me. I don't think I'd be as confident in myself without camp.

New York City
My mom, sister, and I adventured to New York City for a quick weekend trip. We had the best time visiting the Color Factory and Candytopia. My sister loves the Office so my mom got tickets to see the Office! A Musical Parody. I hadn't seen the Office before but I still thought the show was funny. We decided to get sorbet after the show, and the sorbet place was right next to a pizza place with a sign for me. I had to snag a picture with a sign dedicated to me.

I get to spend forty minutes every Tuesday with these girlies, which I'm so thankful for. I'm in advisory with Katie and Anna. Our advisory is a great group of people who love to chat with each other. Our advisory conversations always end up with everyone laughing.

Isabelle's Birthday Dinner
This was such a good day. While I only have two pictures from the entire day, I must tell y'all about what happened. The day began with APES where I had a field trip to collect water samples. I love our APES field trips as we go to a calming nature preserve. Next, I had journalism where we made our calendar for the month. From there, I went to political activism club. I really like the club as I'm exposed to other people's perspectives. Next, I had French where we researched cities in France for a project. I quickly hopped on over to theater but everyone was sick so it got canceled. As I was leaving school, my friend Sylvie invited me to Rumi's with her mom. I had a beautiful conversation with them, and I enjoyed a delicious hummus plate. Next, I went to Starbucks for an hour to plan out my weekend and get a head start on homework. From there, I hopped over to Mellow Mushroom where I had an International Kallah gathering with the coordinator/International N'siah Noga. It was nice to see her and some friends who I hadn't seen since LTI. Finally, I went to Isabelle's birthday dinner. It was so beautiful to see so many people who love Isabelle.
I got to see some of my favorite people, Marin and Sarah, which was so nice.

IC Launch Party
I went to the BBYO IC launch party with Lauren and Jessie. No one was there and not much was happening so we went to Loving Hut for Cake. Jessie got a chocolate peanut butter cake, Lauren got a coconut cream cake, and I got chocolate tiramisu. We all ended up sharing and laughing over our cakes for a few hours.

The people in theater from my grade are some of the funniest people on the planet. It's been such a joy to participate in theater with these wonderful humans.
The original costuming trio, Ariel, Katie, and me. I'm so thankful that I get to spend four days a week with these girlies.
My advisory is definitely into theater. Four of us do tech while Anna acts. The advisory tech squad is Joseph Henry, Katie, Jack, and me.
Tech loves to go out and get Sweethut together after tech Saturdays. I'm so thankful for this tradition. It was hilarious to see Libby and Katie's reactions to trying bubble tea for the first time.

Shayna Visits Atlanta
Shayna was in town for a wedding so Marin, Sarah, and I got to see her. It was such a nice treat to see her. We got donuts at Revolution Donuts since she's a fellow veghead. From there, we adventured to Krog Street Tunnel before walking through Cabbagetown to Little 5 Points. I totally planned on taking us thrifting at Little 5 Points but everything was closed. We ended up walking to Krog Street Market where we went on the Beltline for a bit to get King of Pops.
We're just the cutest all squeezed together.
I love this selfie of all of us with Shayna's mom.

Gracie Visits Atlanta
Gracie was in town for a wedding and we only had a few hours to spend together. We ended up buying ice cream at a grocery store and bringing it on a stoll through the Chattahoochee.
We briefly walked around the Battery. The sky was stunning that day.

I was in DC for a conference but I ended up flying up a day early to spend time with my friends. I spent the day with Dalia exploring Potomac, Maryland. We got brunch with Maddy, Elias, Alyson, and Lily. I ordered a bread basket because I knew I should bring food to the conference. My friends were definitely a bit confused by that. Dalia and I went to a farmers market where we introduced her to bao buns. We filmed a muk bang of us eating them. We swung by Warby Parker so Dalia could help me pick out glasses. Dalia dropped me off at the subway. Somehow, I got lost once I got off the subway. I ended up walking to a Costco instead of the hotel. When I finally got there, it was such a treat to see Shayna.
Marin and I went up to visit our friends. We took a selfie together with Dalia and Kate.
We went to Georgetown for a bit.
We went to some of the art musuems. I always love seeing this piece everytime I go to DC.
I'm obsessed with license plates so this was cool.
The spinny chairs were so much fun with Shayna.

Veg Fest
I went with Lauren to Veg Fest. Both of us were so happy as we could eat anything there. I got a delicious chamomile bubble tea.

City Day with Lauren and Isabelle
Lauren, Isabelle, and I adventured around the city for a day. It was so fun to show off Atlanta to them as I'm much more familiar with the city than they are.

SRC was such a great weekend. My chapter's theme was pizza so I bought pizza umbrella hats for a few of my friends and me to wear. They ended up being such a hit. I walked into my friend Emma's room for a few minutes and ended up spending an hour and a half laughing with Emma, Zoe, Tamar, and Hillary. Hannah and I ended up running around chasing each other with water bottles one day. I helped run Shuk as our Giz couldn't be there so that was fun. Lauren, Rachel, and I crammed two boxes, two suitcases, one duffel bag, and four backpacks, and bolted to Chipotle after the convention.

Maddy and Emma Visit Atlanta
I've been so lucky to see so many of my friends from BBYO this semester. Emma and Maddy flew into Atlanta before taking an Uber to UGA. They toured UGA before hopping over to Marin's house. I met up with them there. We went to Lindy's Hannukah party. Marin and I wanted to give them the ultimate Atlanta experience so we took them to Waffle House for hashbrowns and waffles.

Semester 1
Semester one was one for the books! I had such a great time living in the moment this semester. While I didn't include many fabulous memories, I wanted to shout out a few. I didn't mention so many people that matter to me. I'm so thankful for all of the experiences I've had this semester, and I cannot wait to see what else life has to offer in the future. Is it sad that I'm already counting down the days till school starts again?

Monday, August 6, 2018

11 Random Thoughts

Hi! How is your week going? I've been MIA for the past few weeks for good reason, but I'll tell y'all about it later. In the meantime, I wanted to get a post up featuring some random thoughts that are currently on my mind. Maybe, I'll turn this into a series. Who really knows? Let me know what you think of this bullet point style of a post.
  • At the beginning of June, my dad and I went on a road trip through the Washington national parks. As you can probably imagine, the trip was stunning and breathtaking. I'm still trying to understand the caliber of the national parks we visited as I'm struggling to wrap my head around their beauty and size. I've always known that I love national parks but this trip just proved that I want to visit every national park. I guess I officially have a bucket list now. I'm coming for you, all 58 national parks.
  • I went on a summer program where I kept a journal for a little while. As I look back at what I wrote, my memories come to life and are so much clearer than had I just thought of them. I also found journaling to be a calming activity to do every night. I'd love to continue this tradition by spending ten minutes before bed writing down whatever comes to my head.
  • I really miss the art of the handwritten note. I want to make more of an effort to send my friends handwritten letters this year as I believe handwritten notes demonstrate so much love for someone. I hope this means I'll have a collection of letters, stamps, pens, and other letter writing supplies by the end of the year.
  • I've always known the power of no phones, but I spent a day with two hundred fifty people where no one was on their phone. It was beautiful to see people talking with one another as they waited in line, people turning to each other as answers to their questions, and people having genuine conversations free of distractions.
  • I desperately need to reorganize my closet as my closet has an overwhelming amount of storage but its chopped up in a weird way for the current layout I have. I'd like to take the time to take everything out of my closet and set it up in a way that inspires me to create outfits that excite me. I'm hoping a closet transformation will help me get more into fashion.
  • I haven't sat down and listened to music in almost a year. It's alarming to know I went so long without enjoying the beautiful art of the written word, but I'm happy to be back to basking in the glory of music. I'm planning on creating a playlist for me to get ready to so I can guarantee I'll listen to music more often.
  • I walked into my closet and couldn't remember the last time I used my running shoes. It's frankly quite embarrassing to admit this so I know I need to change this. I'd like to start going on walks with my dog every night during the sunset to allow me to soak up the last few weeks of summer.
  • I've been experimenting with some face products recently. While they're not as natural as I'd prefer them to be, I'm hoping they'll clear up some areas on my skin that I'd prefer to look a little less blemished.
  • I haven't been doing much personal reading in the form of books in the last few years, and its really starting to bother me. I think I'm going to pick up a few books to keep on my nightstand to encourage me to read more.
  • I'd really like to create a proper night routine as I often change up what I do each night before bed. I'm planning on including some time for journaling and reading a book. I'd love to add in time to do some light stretching or back rolling as I know they're both good for you, but I don't want the routine to become too long it doesn't happen.
  • I'm really struggling with how to keep up with blogging as I feel like I am good at blogging for a few weeks and then awful for a few months. I have an evergrowing list of ideas for posts so that's not the problem. I'm thinking connecting with more bloggers will help solve my problem.

Alright, that's it for me. This was really calming so I might end up doing it more often. Tell me your thoughts, favorite party food, whatever's on your mind.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Step Into My Week: Piedmont Park, Ponce City Market & Asheville

The first few weeks of summer have been absolutely amazing. I’ve truly taken advantage of this time off by spending it with friends and doing activities that I enjoy. I’m excited to see where the rest of the summer goes, but, for now,  I’ll catch y’all up on what I’ve been up to the past few weeks.

On the last day of school, my friends, Sylvie and Emma, and I had quite the girls day. We started the day off by listening to some music by our friends before jetting off to our adventures. We decided to get lunch at Bar Taco where we had some great tacos and delicious guacamole. I don’t know what they did to the guac, but it was incredible. 10/10 recommend y’all checkout Bar Taco. We were in the mood for a sweet treat so we decided to drive to Revolution Donuts. The donuts were great. This place has the best vegan and non-vegan donuts in the city. To continue our adventure, we went to Little 5 Points. We explored some of the clothing shops and checked out Criminal Records. Before ending the fun gals adventure, Sylvie and I went to Cinnaholic for cookie dough. They make incredible vegan cookie dough and cinnamon rolls that I completely adore. We might not have eaten the healthiest, but we had tons of fun.

I convinced my sister to go to Piedmont Park for a fun day at the park. We didn’t know the Atlanta Jazz Festival was also happening, so the traffic situation took forever. We ended up parking 7 blocks up from the park because we couldn’t find any closer parking. Anyways, the time we spent at the park was lovely. The Jazz was the perfect backdrop for a chill hangout. We were in the mood for a sweet treat so we stopped by Revolution Donuts for cinnamon rolls. They were great, per usual. To end our day, we went to Oakland Cemetery to see Golden Hour. Golden Hour was a 10-day art installation where 13 artists created art that represented golden hour. We didn’t get to see much of it as it started to pour 20 minutes into our visit, but the part we saw was incredible. I cannot wait to see future installations at Oakland.

My dad, sister, and I decided to check out the Old 4th Ward festival. We saw several cute succulent shops, so we ended up buying a plant. The succulent has the cutest planter with a cow at the base of the planter. My dad and I, on the way, we’re talking about how he wanted a sandwich from the food truck, so we were surprised to see the truck at the festival. We also listened to some great music at the festival. We then decided to pop over to Ponce City Market. I was sad to see that my favorite bao bun place has officially closed, but I decided to try the hot dog place that took its place. The veggie dog was alright, but not worth the long wait.

I visited my friend, Isabelle, who just got her wisdom teeth out. We don’t go to the same school so we don’t see each other as often as we’d like. I brought her vegan cheesecake, flowers, and a magazine full of quizzes. My other friend, Lindy, was also there so we had a great time eating the cheesecake. I turned Isabelle onto Chrisley Knows Best, and, now, we’re both determined to meet them one day.

My friend, Catie, and I spent a day hanging out at some of my favorite spots in Atlanta. We tried to go to Oakland Cemetery but the art exhibition had ended. We still walked around for a bit, but it started to rain. We didn’t let the rain stop us as we headed off to Yeah Burger. Yeah Burger makes the most incredible vegan burger. I don’t get to go there very often so it’s always a treat. We then headed off to Ikea where we spent a few hours goofing off while looking for for some boxes. We ended up not finding the boxes I needed, but we had a great time exploring the fake homes, designing a kitchen, and trying out the couches. It was definitely a successful day.

My sister and I decided to venture out to the mall. I’m not a huge fan of shopping, but I had a great time with my sister. I didn’t find anything I liked but my sister had some success at the mall.

My friend, Brian, and I decided to spend a day hanging out. We went to Ponce City Market for ramen. The ramen was really great. We went to Citizens Supply, an Atlanta emporium of products crafted in Atlanta. I love their T-shirt collection. I have a shirt that says ATL in the MTV logo that is so cute. We also checked out the succulent plants part of Citizens Supply. We were in the mood for a treat so we popped into Cinnaholic for cinnamon rolls. At this point, I’ve gotten so many of my friends hooked on Cinnaholic. We decided to venture over to Zesto’s. Brian wanted their $1 ice cream. We ended up seeing our friend, Avsha, there which was a nice surprise.

My first trip of the summer was to Asheville. We ended up getting in super late as my sister had a dinner with her friends, which meant we went straight to bed.

The adventures continued with vegan pizza at Garlik pizza with my grandma, sister, and cousin. It’s a vegan pizza place a little south of Asheville. We went on a road that had flooding, so we had to turn around and find a new way to get there. It was definitely an adventure trying to get to the pizza place. We decided to swing by Dolly’s. Dolly’s is an ice cream place in Brevard that has wacky flavors based off of local sleep away camps. When I went to camp in Brevard, my friends and I would get so hyped to visit Dolly’s. Unfortunately, they don’t have vegan flavors, but I always love going.

My cousin, Chloe, sister, and aunt ventured out to do some shopping. We ended up stumbling upon a store that sold incense that Lucy and Chloe were mesmerized by. After we had finished shopping, we decided to get dinner at White Duck Taco with Alan and Gabe. After our dinner, we helped break down a wedding. The wedding was in the most beautiful location with a stunning backdrop of the mountains.

We decided to venture out to Hot Springs for a visit to their mineral pools. The drive to the mineral pools was very curvy, but the views of the mountains were totally worth it. The mineral pools themselves were a fun experience, but I’d love to experience true hot springs. I went to a hot spring 4 years ago in Colorado that was so much fun.

I’ve recently found this app called Sound Print that tells you if it’s too loud. I’m so fascinated by the technology. Ethan and I were sitting in the car when he decided to turn the music up way too loud. I decided to test the app to see how loud the car was. It was insane to see that cars could make noises that were way past the mark for hearing loss starting to occur.

On our last night in Asheville, my mom, Lucy, Chloe, Claire, Richard, Addy, Alan, Ethan, Gabe, and I went to a Korean bbq restaurant. Although we all weren’t able to cook the food due to some complications it was still a great experience.

My friends and I decided to have a Bachelor watching party. Maddie, Bari, Shayna, Isabelle, Marin, and I all went to Maddie’s house. Most of us hadn’t seen the Bachelor so it was definitely an interesting experience for all of us.

To put it simply, the past few weeks have been great. I can definitely say this summer will be one for the books. Here’s to more summer memories!

Monday, April 2, 2018

These Last Few Months, An Update

Gold Clutter Update
To put it simply, these last few months have been quite hectic. I've had some stuff going on personally that has left me unmotivated to create content. I'm hoping to be getting over this phase, but I want to produce content I wholeheartedly adore. I chose to let myself take a break from blogging, and it was a much needed and well-deserved break that allowed for a multitude of personal reflections.

Traveling is truly the greatest // These past few months have consisted of visiting Salt Lake City, Columbus, Orlando, Washington DC, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, and New York City. I left each of these remarkable trips with memories of times spent laughing, exploring, and enjoying my environment of friends and family. When I disembarked on my plane ride home after each adventure, I could imagine the vivid moments of true enjoyment I felt. These trips had different purposes, but they all left me with the spark to see and explore the world.

Spend time doing the things you are passionate about // I've been reminded lately to take advantage of the times spent with friends and family in the past year. This has really honed in on me in the last few months. I'm hoping to look back on my time spent in high school and remember the nights spent with my friends instead of the nights spent studying. While my adventures have prohibited from spending time with my friends, I'm looking forward to creating memories with my friends over the next while. My latest adventures have established some friendships that I hold near and dear now. I hope to spend the remainder of my high school years cherishing the memories I make with my friends and family.

Focus on the goodness of life // So much of the past few months have been full of the most thoughtful people and memories. At times, I've taken these memories and people for granted instead of focusing on nurturing them. I'm hoping to move forward focusing more on the goodness occurring in my life and less of the negative aspects.

Focus on yourself // I've realized that self-care is possibly the most important aspect of life. I've been emphasizing paying attention to how I feel and how the things around me are affecting me, and its been quite beneficial for me. I'm intending to continue to manifest the favorable aspects around me into my life.

Be willing to take risks // By nature, I'm not much of a risktaker, and I have no current plans of changing that, but I'd like to be more accepting of new challenges that come my way. This year has thrown me many curveballs that I was not anticipating allowing me to grow tremendously as a person. I want to use the knowledge from these events to grow into someone who is willing to take risks.

Disconnect when needed // I've been making a conscious effort to know when I need to step away from current things lately. This has allowed me to be more aware of my surroundings and focus on growing my friendships. I'm hoping this habit will continue as I become more and more aware of myself and my surroundings.

I want to sign off by saying that my blog has always been a creative outlet for me that I wholeheartedly adore. Moving forward, I want to make a more conscious effort to create content that inspires me as I have not felt that has been the case for the last few months. I hope to be back shortly with content that allows me to grow as a creator.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Step Into My Week: AIPAC Policy Conference & DC

I’m currently on a plane as I type this to sunny Southern California from Washington D.C. where I attended AIPAC’s Policy Conference. BBYO sent out applications a few months ago, and I was so excited to hear I was accepted to be apart of BBYO’s delegation. The actual conference lasted from Sunday to Tuesday but I flew in early to spend time with my friend from a BBYO summer program.

I ended up flying on Friday right after school. I literally had to make a mad dash to the airport for fear I might miss my flight if I got stuck in a ton of traffic. Luckily, I got to the gate ahead of time. I was definitely shocked to see such a jam packed gate as I didn’t know flights were being cancelled left and right because of the wind in the northeast. The girl I ended up sitting next to on the flight is a pilot instructor. She ended up telling me all about planes, the process to becoming a pilot, and answered any questions I had about planes. It was pretty cool to strike up a conversation with someone sitting next to me.

I flew into Baltimore as it was the closest airport to my friend’s house. My Lyft driver was interesting to say the least. The driver wasn’t super familiar with the part of Maryland my friend, Carina, lived in. We ended up getting a little lost as their was a downed tree close to her house. When I finally arrived, I was so excited to see her.

She had told me that her power had gone out, but I completely forgot. I was a little worried that no one was home, but I was so excited to see her. Her mom was the sweetest and made the most amazing vegan food for me. I had pita with hummus and a salad and grain mixture. It was so good. I also tried chia pudding with fruit that was absolutely divine. I loved it so much. We ended up hanging out in her room catching up. We decided to FaceTime one of our friend’s, Chase, where we debated over who has the better hat collection. Carina’s hat collection is pretty cool. She has a cat hat and a cheesehead.

The next morning we were out the the door at 10:30 ready to explore the city. We dropped off my bags at the hotel as I didn’t want to lug my bag around all day. We drove over to the Newseum but decided to go to the National Building Museum instead. I was completely amazed by all the different newspapers on display. As a journalism student, it made me so happy to see newspapers from all over the U.S.

The National Building Museum was crazy cool to say the least. Carina and I ended up playing in the little kid’s play zone for a little while. The building blocks and Lincoln logs were super fun to play with as we constructed homes. The museum featured a paper model exhibit that was truly mind-blowing to see the exquisite detail in the models. I’d love to see the process of creating a 3-D model as I’ve only seen ones that are getting characters to stand up.

The focal point of the National Building Museum was an exhibit featuring a model home. The premise of the museum was that today’s homes aren’t suited to work with the evolving lives of the individuals who inhabit today’s homes. The model home was incredibly innovative with storage everywhere, foldaway showers and beds, and moving walls. I left the exhibit feeling inspired to see what housing will look like when my generation begins to buy houses.

We ended up spending way more time in the National Building Museum than we anticipated, so we were pretty hungry when we left. We ended up going to Le Pain for lunch. Let’s just say that I was incredibly impressed. I got an amazing black bean and sweet potato toast that was so good. I had the hardest time choosing between all the incredible sounding food. I was so excited to see that they had vegan Nutella. I ended up buying some to take home with me, but security at the airport took it away from me. I’m definitely ordering some online as the chocolate spread was such a great treat.

We decided to go to the Washington Monument to allow me to see at least one of the monuments. The Washington Monument is being renovated so we weren’t able to get close but it was still very cool. I’d love to see the view from the monument as I’m sure its very pretty.

We had to make a mad dash back to the hotel as Carina had a BBYO event she had to be at. Although I got there a little early compared to everyone else, one of my roommates, Melanie, was also early. Both of us were hungry so we went to Shouk. It’s vegan Israeli cuisine that is seriously the bomb dot com. I’m so hoping they open up a location in Atlanta because vegan Israeli food isn’t super available in Atlanta.

We went back to our hotel and met the rest of our roommates. My other roommate, Sarah, was super sweet. She’s going to College of Charleston. My big in BBYO goes to Charleston so it was cool to meet another BBYOer whose going to CofC. My other roommate, Leah, is super cool. She actually goes to camp with someone who goes to my school so we ended up hanging out for most of the convention. The international n’siah (president), Rebecca, was also roommate. That was pretty cool!

The entire BBYO group gathered together to get dinner. My roommates along with Gabby, another girl in the group, went to Whole Foods for dinner. It’s so incredible to me that we all instantly got along. BBYO truly unites us. We had a blast and a half chatting for hours. We grabbed dessert at Jeni’s Ice Cream where I got a delicious chocolate flavor. All of us took pictures of our ice cream as it was so pretty.

Sunday was the first official day of AIPAC. We got to hear from so many speakers share how their helping to support a strong US and Israel relationship. It was pretty neat to be in the presence of so many people who shared the same love for Israel. My favorite panel that I heard from all about how AIPAC will win on college campuses. I was so incredibly inspired by all the innovate programming the college students were putting on. I was particularly inspired by UC Berkeley’s programs that they were putting on. The girl from UC Berkeley talked about a Israeli vegan food market. I’d love to see something similar be put on by my chapter in BBYO or by the JCC.

I had the opportunity to lobby my representative. I hadn’t lobbied for anything prior to AIPAC so I was stunned to see the inner workings of Congress. I’m inspired to come back to D.C. to lobby for other causes I’m passionate about. Capitol Hill, you’ll be seeing me real soon.

Friday, February 2, 2018

February Playlist

I got to see my result from Spotify's 2017 Wrapped a few weeks ago. I was taken aback by how little I listened to music according to Spotify. The tracker said I listen to a whopping 867 minutes of music in all of 2017. Granted,  I have a record player that I listen to music off of too. I'm definitely aware that 2017 wasn't my prime year for listening to music. I'm hoping to listen to more music in 2018.

I've decided I'm going to create a monthly playlist to help me discover more music starting next month. This month, I opted to stick with one of my favorite playlists. This is a soft, mellow playlist that has lots of emotion. I'm definitely the type of person who chooses to listen to calming music rather than pop music.

I'd like to create a music playlist for when I run on the treadmill. I'll probably end up creating a throwback playlist as that's the type of music that gets me dancing. In the meantime, I've been listening to podcasts while I run. Be on the look for a running playlist for next month's edition.

Free Spirit // Atlanta Rhythm Section
Laundry Room // The Avett Brothers
Snow Time // James Taylor
Atlanta // Ron Pope
Black Balloons // Local Natives
Sun It Rises // Fleet Foxes
Tuesday // The Eveybodyfields
White Apple // Blind Pilot

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Step Into My Week: Homecoming, BBYO & Atlanta

I'm back! I always forget about the adjustment time it takes to get back into the school routine. It was definitely a little worse for me than other years. I always strive to produce the best high-quality content so I chose to take some time for myself to regroup with school before creating blog content. This month will be a true test for blogging with 2 fun trips planned for this month, so many projects due in the next 2 weeks, and a huge project I'm taking on. I'm so excited to see all that I do this month.

At this point, I've lost how many days I've had off because of snow or some other weather-related issue. I'm very thankful that my school hasn't had to extend the school day or add additional days to the calendar like a lot of other schools have to. I'm definitely one of those people who absolutely loves school. I love getting a day off every now and then, but I get bored after a few days off. I'm glad that we haven't had any more unexpected days off.

My school has basketball homecoming. Truthfully, I love that we have basketball homecoming rather than football homecoming as the hype gets built up for a little while. This year, my friends and I decided to get dinner at what we found out was a popular place to eat before the dance. It's hilarious to think we must've seen at least 25 people from my school and even more people were in a different room. The dance itself was super fun. I always love dancing it out with my pals.

After homecoming, I drove on over to my BBYO chapter's kickoff. We had an ice skating themed kickoff that was super fun. I got to see so many people I hadn't seen in quite a while. It's so cool to think about all the awesome friendships I've created because of BBYO. I was so happy to see so many new faces as January tends to be a big recruitment month. I can't wait for all the chapter programs coming up in the next few months.

My friend Catie and I went out for dinner at the new Braves stadium's little town center. It was so much fun. Unfortunately, I got lost driving around the Braves' campus, so we didn't get to hang out for too long. We ended up going to a Mexican restaurant where I tried empanadas for the first time. They ended up being delicious. We also had the most amazing avocado salsa. I'm definitely going back to get avocado salsa.

I ended up volunteering with a special needs organization. I had an amazing time helping out at Tu B'Shevat. It's such a great Jewish holiday that celebrates trees and nature. I hope to celebrate it even more next year.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Skin Care Wishlist Under $25

Skin Care Wishlist Under $25

I'd really like to start taking better care of my skin this year. Currently, I just wash my face and call it a day. I figured I'd put together a collection of all the products I'm interested in getting to give myself a proper skin care routine. I'm pretty sure all of the products featured are vegan and cruelty-free, but I could've accidentally made a mistake. What are your favorite skin care products? Am I missing an essential item on my list?

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Step Into My Week: Skiing, Park City, & Atlanta

It's another snow day for me so I figured now was a good time to give a recap of all that I've done in the past week or so. I've traveled all over Atlanta, and I went a little west to the ski town of Park City. With my travels, I've gotten quite a bit of cold weather. Hopefully, we get another snow day tomorrow or it warms up.

My class went to the High museum where we met the curator for the civil rights exhibit named Fire that No Water Could Put Out: Civil Rights Photography. We were fortunate enough to get a tour from the curator herself. It was truly fascinating to hear her talk about why she picked each photo and the importance of each photo. I'd like to start going to curator talks in the future. Hearing her speak about the exhibit while touring it allowed me to have a deeper connection with the history, signifigance, and overall understanding of the exhibit's photos.

On Friday, my class went to the Atlanta History Center. I'd been to the center numerous times but not in a few years. I was excited to learn more about Atlanta during our time there. The center was nice enough to take us into the archives where we got to see maps, photos, city records, directories, and a few other archival pieces. I mostly enjoyed my time moseying around the archives admiring and reading all the books they had in their collection. I'd love to go back to spend some of my own time there.

I went skiing in Park City at Deer Valley this past weekend. It was truly an amazing time. We landed on Saturday, but we didn't go skiing until Sunday. Instead, we went snow tubing at Gorgoza. I loved going up the slopes as you had to go a magic carpet. It was completely insane how fast you went. I'd love to go to Stone Mountain now.

On Sunday and Monday, we went skiing. My sister and I took a group lesson on Sunday to help us get back in the groove again. We started on the bunny slope, but before we knew it we were on some difficult greens. I personally didn't love Success as I don't love steep hills in general. I loved going down Homeward Bound and Ontario. During our midday break, we stopped for lunch at Silver Lake Lodge. I ended up getting an amazing mushroom and tofu pho on both days. I'd love to find a place that serves vegan pho in Atlanta.

My sister's friends we're also skiing, but we didn't end up seeing them until we got to the airport. We all ended up on the airport which was definitely a little funny. I was truthfully a little sad to hear school was cancelled as I was really excited for my field trip on Wednesday, but I had a blissful day playing in the snow, relaxing, and unpacking and organizing my ski clothes.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Blogging Goals for 2018

2018 Blogging Goals
I'm back today showing all that I want to accomplish this year related to blogging. This year, I chose to make my own resolutions blogging related. I'd like to dedicate a large chunk of time this year to improving and growing my blog. I also want to take a minute to celebrate the fact that I got serious about my blog about a year ago. I'm so proud of all the amazing content I've created on my platform. I'm so pumped to see all that I create this year!

Double my pageviews // I'm so proud of how many views my content got this year. I had to make several pageview goals for 2017, so I'd love to knock my goal number this year out of the park.

Create an editorial calendar // I keep a Google doc for any ideas I have for content creation. I try to sort the ideas into months so that I have somewhat of an idea to post each month. I did a really great job of making an editorial calendar last year, but I struggled with sticking to the calendar. I'd like to create more a more practical calendar as I've been reminding myself that I'm a high schooler who does tech theater every day, participates in BBYO, volunteers a lot, spends time with her friends and family, and runs a blog. I shouldn't expect myself to create content for every single weekday as that's just not practical.

Post consistently // I did a really great job posting some months and a not so great job posting other months in 2017. I'd like to work on improving my consistency. I think having an editorial calendar will help me achieve this goal. I also need to remind myself that I'm a teenager, so sometimes I won't have content up. I do think it would be great to spend one Sunday a month creating content for the blog. I always have an amazing week when my posts are written and scheduled ahead of time. 

Improve blog photos // I worked really hard to pay for a nice camera all by myself, but I don't use it as much as I'd like to admit. I just need to go out and practice taking pictures in order for me to improve. Along with this, I'd like to work on creating beautiful blog graphics. I focused on creating great graphics for my gift guides, and I'm extremely proud of how they turned out. Canva has been really helpful for creating graphics so far.

Make videos // Video creation has been on the rise in the last few years. I'd love to be one of the pioneers in the blogging community who also creates videos. I've been practicing making videos, and its much harder to film than I expected to be.

Create social media // I'm very excited about this goal as I know its super important that Gold Clutter have a social media presence. I only really know about Instagram, so I plan on starting there before growing to additional social networks. I can definitely say this one will be happening sooner rather than later.

Find blog besties // I'm very proud to be a teen blogger, but it's very much a niche community that not many people are aware of exists. I initially struggled with finding other teen bloggers, but I've begun to find many others that I really like and admire.  Once I've found my blogging bestie, I think it would be really fun to collaborate with them on a post together.

Attend a blogging conference // I really wanted to attend Her Conference last year, but I was working then so it couldn't work out. I'm almost positive I'll be attending camp during this year's conference, but I'd love to start going to blogger meetups. It would be a great way for me to meet more people in the community and grow my blog.

Create a newsletter // I always love seeing the creative content my favorite bloggers create for their newsletter subscribers. It would be such a fun time to create my own newsletter. I know it will create a great deal of time, I really hope I can create one this year.

Use a blog planner // I have a Day Designer that I absolutely love, but I think it would be helpful to have a dedicated space for organizing blog related information. It will help me live an even more organized life. Additionally, I'd like to create an inviting space to blog at. Currently, I use my desk, but I'd like to spruce it up a bit.

Work with companies // I had the great privilege of working with several companies this year. The opportunities I've gotten through blogging excitement me so much, so I'm thrilled to continue working with companies this year.

This year is going to be an amazing year! I'm so excited to see all that Gold Clutter accomplishes this year. I was consistently blown away by all the positivity and love I got towards Gold Clutter, so I'm thrilled to be creating even more content this year.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

2017 Resolutions Recap

I thought it would be fun to take a look back at my resolutions adventures for 2017. 2017 was truly a remarkable year where I became extremely passionate blogging. You can read all about what I did in 2017 here.

Volunteer // I feel like I knocked this goal out of the park. I spent so much of 2017 volunteering whether it was playing with special needs kids or planning service days or being a camp counselor. This year really showed me that I want to work in the non-profit world when I'm older. I want to be able to say how my job is benefiting the community I'm serving every day.

Find a physical activity I enjoy // I definitely didn't make exercise as much of a priority in my life as I should've. I did take PE for a semester where I easily saw what I didn't enjoy. I personally don't enjoy working with weights and weight room equipment as I got easily overwhelmed by them. I love working out with friends when I can chat with them while we workout. I've been going to the gym these past few weeks, and I'm beginning to find somewhat of a groove.

Make my voice heard // I definitely made my voice heard this year as I was very active in the blogging and journalism front. I also stood up for what I believed in numerous times.

Go tubing // I didn't succeed with my goal for this, but I went on plenty of other adventures.

Watch the sunrise // I already knew going into this year that I'm not an early bird, but this year proved it more than anything. I, unfortunately, didn't wake up early enough to see the sunrise. I'd like to make this more of a priority this year, especially when I'm traveling.

Watch the sunset // I got to watch the sunset several times this year. I'm always amazed by the beauty of nature whenever I get to see a stunning sunset. I'd love to go out and watch more sunsets this year.

Try new restaurants // I tried my fair share of restaurants this year, specifically, I tried more vegan restaurants. I've become obsessed with Herban Fix and Upbeet. I cannot wait to see new vegan restaurants popping up around town.

Read more // I definitely did not achieve this goal or come anywhere near close to achieving this goal. I absolutely love reading, so it hurts my heart to know I didn't meet this goal. I'd like to spend a few minutes before bed reading each night and keep a book in my bag to read whenever I have a few minutes to spare. I think publishing a post of books I'd like to read would be helpful motivation for me to read more.

Find/create a blog design I love // I found a blog design that I think is so cute! I'd love to learn some HTML so I can customize it a bit. I'm so lost on anything relating to coding, but I know it's a useful skill to have in this fast, changing world.

Blog every day for a month // I didn't achieve this goal, but I'm so proud of all that I achieved with the blog this past year. I hope I can publish articles every day for a month this year, but I've learned that I'd rather put out quality content rather than lots of content.

I'll be back tomorrow with my blogging goals for this year. In the meantime, be sure to check out my post that has all the information on my 2017 resolutions.