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?