When I say I’ve learned so much from other bloggers, I’m really telling you the truth. I started my blog (and going to YoungLife!) because of Faith, and I’ve found so many of my dance dresses because of McKenzie. Seriously—getting inspiration from some of my favorite bloggers has been a HUGE part of this process.
After reading a blog post by McKenzie, I found my favorite site to buy dance dresses off of. I got this black polka-dot dress ($19) from SHEIN and it came even sooner than expected. The best thing is, I only paid $3 for shipping. I’ve now bought 3 dresses from SHEIN; I wore my others to the Emmys and prom and not a single dress has disappointed me yet. It was super cute, comfortable and was backless so it didn’t get too hot while dancing. If your homecoming is anything like mine—does a dark, sweltering hot school gym sound familiar?—then this dress is for you.
One of the biggest high school heart-breaks for me has to be the fact that I’ve never been able to wear earrings. It sounds dramatic (yes), but I swear, you would not BELIEVE how many insanely cute sets of earrings I have passed up over the years. I’ve always been allergic to the metals, so when Renee pulled these magnetic earrings ($2.88) off of the shelf, I flipped out. They stayed on the ENTIRE dance (except for when I figured out that if they were attracted to another metal—aka someone else’s earrings while hugging—they’d fall off). The best part? You can’t even feel them.
In regards to shoes, I bought them from Famous Footwear ages ago. Nothing too special there. Luckily, I’d been standing in 3″ choir heels for the past week, so these seemed like a dream. 11/10 would recommend.
That’s just about it for homecoming! The dance was great, and I’m super happy I ended up going my senior year (especially after skipping out on last year). Until next time!
I’m really not kidding when I say I’ve really missed writing for this blog. Between college applications, choir concerts, homecoming and other obligations, it’s safe to say that I haven’t slowed down in a while. Even tonight, I’ve been working on numerous applications, but I decided I needed a minute to detox.
I’ve forgotten how therapeutic writing for my blog can be. If you’ve been following along, I learned quite a few things about myself this summer, including the fact that my writing really encompasses who I am and is oftentimes the only thing that can bring me back down to earth after a stressful week.
I wanted to put a pause on life and share some things I’ve learned this quarter, because as hard as it is to believe, I’m 1/4 of the way done with my senior year. I’ve finally figured out a routine and somewhat of a rhythm to the organized chaos that my life has been this year.
If there’s been one thing that’s been really carrying me through this first quarter, it’s definitely been my YoungLife group. I’ll be honest— I had never even heard of YoungLife before reading Faith’s blog. Faith’s blog was actually the inspo behind lots on my own (and I’m loving still being able to keep up with her as she starts college at Baylor). YoungLife is a Christian-based youth group that meets a few times a week. For me, we have club on Monday nights (full group) and a smaller gals group that grabs coffee once a week before school. We gather together, dive into a devotional, and I swear, nothing puts me in a better mood for the rest of the week. I would’ve never imagined that one small group of people (and mainly underclassmen) would have such an impact on me throughout the week. They’re there for me whenever I need and I have loved getting to learn from them and help mentor a few of the younger ones—I’m even headed up to a YoungLife camp next month to work for a weekend! My mom thinks I’m crazy for volunteering to work for free for a weekend, but I’ve loved YoungLife so much that I think it’s time I pour some of my own energy back into an organization that’s given so much to me this year.
This quarter has also been my first-time being so insanely involved on campus. As busy as it makes me, I’ve loved every minute of getting to bond with new groups of people throughout the year. I’m so lucky to have such a core group of people that have really poured into me this quarter, especially my choir friends. They’ve helped me through some crazy-busy weeks (3 fall concerts + a college app + homecoming all in one week, anyone?) and seriously, I appreciate them so much for it. It’s been incredible. It’s bittersweet, knowing that after high school, I won’t be able to be in show choir anymore, but I think that’s one of many reasons why I’m loving it so much this year. After all, I’m really trying to make the most of every moment, but more importantly, leave behind a firm foundation for the younger ones that are going to be following behind me.
As I finish up college applications, I’m excited for where life is about to take me. Although so much is uncertain at this moment, I know that God has a plan, and he’s been so active this year so far. I’m ready for what’s in front of me, and now, I’m hoping to make it more of a habit to keep sharing it with you all. Until next time.
I got to meet with 50 other high school seniors from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for a week in Washington, D.C. This week was seriously the fastest week of my life.
Each day, my roommate Nabiha and I would wake up around 6 a.m., dress in our conference wear, and run downstairs to breakfast before getting on a bus and heading for the Newseum. Every day was packed with seminars, workshops, panels and incredible meals. I mean, seriously, what more could a hungry student journalist ask for?
There were so many highlights of the week, but the biggest one was getting to meet one person from every state (and the District of Columbia)! It was absolutely incredible getting to see all of the different personalities and backgrounds everyone had, I’d truly never heard of an experience quite like it. The entire group of 51 was laser-focused on journalism and their passions surrounding it. For me, being in D.C. was an experience unlike any other, because for the first time, I was surrounded by other people who were just as passionate about journalism as I am.
Something I didn’t know much about before attending the program was political journalism. Suddenly, I was surrounded by numerous people who were well-versed in politics, and with a visit to Capitol Hill and Meet The Press, it put everything into perspective. I’ve personally never seen myself as a political correspondent or reporter in the future, but getting to learn from my peers was something I never expected out of the conference, but I’m so glad that it happened. It’s definitely a huge benefit to be well-versed in policy and really invest some time into catching up on the latest debates, you never know when a question about them may come up (Newsmania, anyone?)
One of the events I became obsessed with while at the conference was the Olympics. I met reporters that had covered the Olympics several times, and all of the sudden, I was inspired to go someday. Hey, I’ve never been a huge sports person but I still remember watching the summer Olympics with my cousins in New York several times over.
Panels included those about internships, digital media, augmented reality technology in journalism, diversity, investigative journalism, fake news and more. I loved getting to hear from professionals from CNN, NBC, The New York Times, The Washington Post and more. Sitting in front of professionals during the program was awe-inspiring and I was getting so many ideas for what I want to do with my future by just sitting and taking notes… I really managed to fill an entire composition notebook within just 5 days.
One of the highlights of the conference was definitely getting to meet members of the alumni network of “free spirits.” There have been over a dozen free spirit classes, and each year, they have the ability to reconvene at a ceremony presenting the Al Neuharth Award for Excellence in Media. On a rainy night at the program, we all dressed up to attend a dinner and the presentation of the award, which was given to an incredible Pulitizer-prize winning photojournalist, Carol Guzy. She was so sweet and her photographs were breathtaking—several of her photographs are also displayed in the Newseum.
The other free spirits and I got to bond each night through tours of historic landmarks and memorials, as well as creating some TikToks at night in the hotel lobby. Some of my fondest memories of the program were riding on the bus while sitting next to someone new. I’m telling you, I got so many life stories in the span of just a couple hours (some of the best occurred at Busboys and Poets… you all know what I’m talking about). It’s honestly so surprising how similar all of our life experiences had been even though we each live in such a different place. Getting to know the other free spirits was exciting and emotional on so many different levels. In just one week, I’d made friends that I know will last a lifetime (our group chat is still going strong 2 months later)! On our last night, we headed to Virginia and boarded a boat for a final dance party and dinner. I miss every second of it; if I could spend one last night with them, I definitely would.
Leaving the program was bittersweet, especially when we found out that the current location of the Newseum would be closing at the end of 2019. Leaving our home for the week was heartbreaking because we knew we’d never get to see it again, but it was also encouraging to know that we had built such strong relationships between us and were ready to carry on the Newseum’s legacy. I beg you, if you have the chance to visit the Newseum between now and December 31st, you really won’t want to miss it.
I’m looking forward to reuniting with some of my free spirits, hopefully next year at our reunion or even in college (seriously, how cool would it be to be roommates with one of them?). I’m so grateful for the experience I had in D.C. and I’ll forever owe the Freedom Forum, Newseum and the Neuharth family for changing my life in just one, short week this summer. If you’re out there reading this wondering if you should apply, you definitely should. Don’t doubt yourself, you could have one of the best weeks of your life.
As my first semester as a JLB ambassador comes to an end, I really wanted to share some of my best advice for gals looking to apply for this semester. Before I give some of my best advice, I wanted to share the story of how I become an ambassador for Jadelynn Brooke.
first, a failed attempt.
I first applied to be a Jadelynn Brooke in the fall of 2018 and I was rejected. I promise you, whether it’s one rejection or four, there’s still a place for you on the Jadelynn Brooke team. I definitely felt discouraged, as it was the first time I’d ever applied to be a brand rep for any company. I loved Jadelynn Brooke and so dearly wanted to be a rep for their company, but, I had missed my very first shot. I decided to look for more information from girls who had been accepted as reps so that I could better prepare for the next time.
then, a realization.
I found from a past rep and from a post by Lexi, Jade and Brooke that one of the keys to being an ambassador is being active on Instagram. After all, all reps have to post about Jadelynn Brooke very frequently on their accounts. So, I decided that throughout the semester I was going to invest lots of time and effort into my blog and Instagram page. I worked on posting bright, happy, positive posts on a daily basis and really engaging with my followers. Through comments, likes, and DMs with other bloggers, I learned not only how to be more consistent, but how to really form connections with people I had met through my blog.
next, a second chance.
I won’t lie, I was pretty nervous to apply again, but let me tell you, I’m so incredibly happy that I did! In the spring of 2019, I got an email congratulating me that I had been accepted as a new rep for JLB! It was an exciting moment, and I couldn’t wait for my first rep package to apply.
the first box.
Receiving my very first rep box was so exciting. I got back from a choir trip and found my package waiting inside. On top of my rep package was a personal note from Lexi, Jade, and Brooke welcoming me to the program and explaining a few of the requirements being a rep. The box was full of JLB tees and accessories… I literally fell head over heels in love with this brand. Everything from JLB is crazy colorful and just screams happiness.
From that very first box, two more arrived with tons of items that I posted all about on @andthenemma throughout the year. I’m so grateful for everything that the girls sent me and loved getting to share it with friends. Earlier this year, they even sent me some shorts that I was able to send off in a giveaway.
my best advice for first-time applicants.
First off, don’t be discouraged or intimidated by the application! The sole purpose of the application is just for Lexi, Jade and Brooke to be able to get to know you better. Just be genuine and pour your heart into your application. Be honest about what you love most about JLB and why you want to be an ambassador, it will really shine through in your application for the girls.
Be ready to post a lot and be very engaged on Instagram. I must admit, sometimes it’s hard to balance being a rep with being a high school student, but it’s well worth the relationships you make. Be sure to spend time talking to your other reps (there’s typically a HUGE group chat) so that you get to know them. You never know when you’ll need someone to talk to or are just looking for inspiration. The girls of JLB are definitely people that I can easily turn to for just about anything.
If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to dm me on @andthenemma. I’d love to hear from you, and I wish you the best of luck!
Wow. It’s hard to believe that I’m already coming to the end of my second week at cherubs. In case you missed my first week, you can find it all here. This week was definitely draining, but it’s safe to say that my time here gets better and better by the day.
I’ll start with the bad news: I definitely got sick this week, no one was kidding when they said colds spread like wildfire at college. I ordered 60 packets of emergen-c, tons of vitamins, and am blowing through the tea packets I brought like crazy.
On the bright side, it’s been a great week. I’ve been writing types of articles that I’ve never tried my hand at so far, so that’s been an interesting experience. I can’t say it’s been my best work, but I’m getting better at it, that’s for sure.
Earlier this week, we had to do a descriptive writing piece where we basically went “people watching” and wrote about our experience. My piece was pretty underwhelming and I was surprised how long it took me to find someone in Evanston that stayed in the same relative spot so that I could watch them. It was actually a nice break from interviewing strangers all week long.
I’ve learned how to write fast. It’s not always necessary, but let me tell you, it definitely is helping me balance my work at cherubs and at home. I think I’m prioritizing my work here, but sometimes when I get away from home, I forget just how much I do there. I’ve been getting texts from VHP people, NHS people, and those I work with at Love For The Elderly all week long. I tend to forget just how much happens during the school year, and now that it’s coming up fast, I’m not quite sure how ready I am yet. 18 days until senior year starts. Wow.
The cherubs are keeping me busy. We love having floor parties, watch parties, and just about anything else. It’s a rare occasion for the floor to be quiet and for people to not be around. As I’m writing this, it’s strangely quiet on the floor and I’m not exactly sure what to think.
Besides our adventures inside the dorm, I’ve actually had quite a few outside as well (although I’m still waiting to go to the beach, I haven’t been able to tag along since I don’t feel well). This week, I was invited to watch a child’s music lesson as part of a story I was writing, which made me feel like I was back at school in choir. It was kinda nice to get to sit back and listen to piano music, and let me tell you, this kid was a musical genius.
To round out the week, we visited Chicago, went on a boat ride, and visited Medill’s graduate building. The city is beautiful– think of a cleaner, smaller, and kinder version of New York; they weren’t lying when they said that midwestern people are some of the nicest you’ll meet. I’m already excited to return back to Chicago next week, as we take a new field trip every week here.
Overall, Northwestern has totally stolen my heart and I never want to leave. Life is good here at Cherubs, and I’m looking forward to all the weeks ahead of me.
A little bit of a story for you: When I left home, I considered writing these blog posts for a while. I knew I would be exhausted at the end of each week, but then I remembered how invested I was in trying to find cherub blogs the year that I applied. I was always searching for a way to get some more personal insight on cherubs, so today, I’m hoping that someone reading these is a future cherub or wants to be. If you are, please DM me on Twitter and I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions.
Cherubs has been a whirlwind of an adventure and it’s only week one. For those who I haven’t annoyed with details yet, Cherubs is five weeks long and ends only a few short days before my senior year starts (talk about a crazy turn around). The program is officially called the Medill-Northwestern Journalism Institute and this year, it brought together 83 high school seniors from around the globe to learn all-things journalism.
Let me just say, before coming here, I thought I knew my “craft” pretty well. I was entirely wrong. In one short week, I’ve had many lectures that have challenged everything I’ve learned. I’m a little different here in that I haven’t been formally taught journalism in a classroom, but that’s why I’m crazy excited to be here. I’m finally getting formal training and really getting to improve my work– I’ll definitely be bringing home some of these tips to my VHP kids.
This week had so many celebrations, events, and last-minute hangouts. For the Fourth of July, we all marched into Evanston to find stories (actually, ran. You’re going to be traveling over 10 miles pretty easily). I ended up meeting the Hartrey Porch Band, a neighborhood band that gathers once a year to play patriotic songs before the parade. Side note– the Evanston parade is HUGE. I would definitely love to come back and watch it again sometime.
Saturday afternoon, after meetings with our instructors and grabbing lunch, about 20 of us trekked down to the movie theater to see Spiderman: Far From Home. For some of us, it was because of our dedication to the Marvel series, but for others, it was definitely our love for Tom Holland that made us go. One of the greatest things about the Northwestern campus is that everything is so accessible. It’s really easy to make your way around.
Saturday night, we went over to the Lakefill to play in the Junior Junior Olympics, a crazy field-day type event that ended with Ben having to try on a frozen t-shirt.
We also braved the all-day story, where we wrote 11 articles in a few hours. That definitely exhausted me, but you’ll soon learn that you reap the benefits of learning how to write fast. Trust me, that skill will serve you well later on.
Cherubs just love socializing. We’ve hosted floor parties, game nights, Black Mirror binge nights, and so much more. It’s something special when 83 people can all come together and find so many things in common. If you’re looking for a good way to bond with Cherubs, just grab some food and head downstairs. You’ll find everything you’re looking for.
Among the best Cherubs finds are definitely Target, Andy’s Frozen Custard, and Insomnia Cookies. Food will definitely suck you in here in Evanston.
For Cherubs that are wondering, our days don’t start too early. If I’m being honest, I’m getting more sleep than I do during the school year. Unless you get spit-listed (you’ll find out what that is), you can pretty much get up every morning at 8 a.m. and sleep in on Saturdays and Sundays (which is exactly what I did today). Class is long, and you definitely will be exhausted, and climbing the stairs at the end of the day isn’t the greatest. But I promise you, it’ll all be worth it.
You’ll also love games like the AP Style Quiz, rotating rewrites (this one is SO hard but it does so much good for you in the long-run), and all sorts of lede writing exercises. Life is busy here, but every minute is good.
This next week, we’ll be splitting up into groups for electives, media tours, campus tours, and more games with our color teams. I’m already excited for a jam-packed week two. As for right now, it’s time to jog over to Hinman for lunch, turn in an assignment at Fisk, and then get ready for Broadcast Club. Life is good at Cherubs. Until next time.
If you would’ve told me a year ago that I’d actually be attending my dream summer program, I probably would’ve laughed and prayed a little bit. I also would’ve gone into my room, tapped the program invitations that were taped over my light switch (anything in the name of summer program superstition) and glanced over the dozen sticky notes that were plastered all over them, all with things like: “Get that SAT grind!” “You’ve got this!” “Seriously, spend time on that application!”
If you would’ve told me that on a Saturday morning in April I would’ve hopped into my dad’s car after my AP Calculus practice exam and had a letter fall on me with a “Congrats!” stamp, I would’ve laughed a little and returned to my room to tap the program invitations yet again.
Since my sophomore year, I have collected the Medill Cherubs brochures that edged their way into my mail box, and I had been waiting until I was old enough to apply for the program. I shuffled my way through the brochures every now and then, never forgetting to run my fingers along them as I headed out my bedroom door each morning.
Laying in bed now, I’m starting to realize that the best summer of my life is ahead of me. It’s almost surreal, thinking that a program I prepped for for two years is finally becoming a reality for me: a small gal from Phoenix who doesn’t even have a newspaper at her school. Sure, I write for local magazines and I’ve gained other experience, but I’ve caught myself thinking “What if I’m the only one who’s not an editor-in-chief” several times.
Packing up my sunny Arizona life for a few weeks in windy (and often chilly) Evanston, Illinois, is quite the difference. I didn’t really consider how many things you need in order to live on a college campus for a few weeks until now. As I pack my life into a tiny suitcase, I’m thinking about roommates, meals, and assignments. I’m thinking about if I’ll be brave enough to sing in front of my new friends, how much they’ll want to know about life back home, and if there’s maybe someone else from Arizona on their way as well.
The college lifestyle is starting to creep up on me and I’m incredibly excited. Being away from home for 5 weeks will definitely be the first experience of its kind for me, but I seriously can’t wait to meet dozens of people who are all my age and passionate about the same thing that I am. I’m sure you’ll all hear tons about it along the way, and you can always see what I’m up to here or on @andthenemma.
In regards to final thoughts, all I can think about is the phrase that I found on this cute Target headband in the dollar section. “Let’s Do This.”
In many ways, I feel like life has begun to involve me flying solo a bit. This week, I’m quite literally flying solo, for potentially one of the best reasons ever. Sidenote– to those of you who care enough about me to be catching up on my summer adventures, thank you. I appreciate you.
I’m headed to Washington, D.C., for the Al Neuharth Free Spirit and Journalism Conference. I actually found this program while I was scouring the internet for pretty much anything journalism related I could find. I wanted to do tons of summer programs, so I found this program that is not only all-expenses-paid, but provides a scholarship as well. With a quick application deadline and only one student selected per state, I worked long and hard on that application; I’m incredibly grateful to say that it paid off.
This week, I fly into Washington, by myself, all the way from Phoenix. I’m going to be rooming in a hotel with a complete stranger from another state, and to be honest, I can’t wait to learn who. I’ve actually done this once before when I went to New York with Channel Kindness, and it was a wildly fun experience. My roomie and I only got to spend one night together, but it was crazy how much we both shared in that short amount of time. Due to the length of the conference, I’ll actually be spending six nights with my new roommate, so it’s safe to say we’ll get to know each other fairly well.
I received the itinerary earlier this week, and let’s just say that it’s jam-packed. I’ll be visiting veteran memorials (which I am particularly excited about), Capitol Hill, the White House, and tons of other monuments and must-see sites in the nation’s capital. I previously visited D.C. when I was back in elementary school, so it’s definitely been a while since my last visit… I think that it’ll be amazing to see the city with such a new perspective.
I can’t wait to visit the Newseum and learn from all of the incredible faculty there, as well as the incredible Neuharth family. Be sure to stay tuned on the blog and on my Instagram, as I will be sure to update you all throughout the trip and throughout my preparation process. Here’s to flying solo!
Let me tell you, there are definitely some things in life that you’ll only learn from being a camp counselor, and there are some things in life you’ll only learn from kids church camp. Sure, you’ll learn all about how to scare away bugs (because even if you don’t like bugs, you’re the counselor, and this job now falls on you), convince kids to drink more water, and how to time manage like none other, but above all, you’ll always learn more life lessons year after year.
patience. is. key. I cannot tell you how much your patience will grow throughout kids camp. It is amazing in every way, but there are always times when you will be tested. Working with kids is definitely the best way to become more patient and graceful, because you are getting to work with the coolest kids, and sometimes, things take time.
burnout is legit. Giving your 110% for days in a row is definitely exhausting; personally, my burnout hour is riiight after lunch every time. Don’t be afraid to take little breaks, even if that means not being high-energy for an hour or two. Nevertheless, kids give you an insane amount of energy, so definitely lean into that and you’ll have the time of your life.
always be willing to pour your heart out. You lead by example at kids camp, and kids will always follow your actions. Never be afraid to worship like crazy in front of them or ask challenging questions. Being a role model is always the best thing you can do, and showing these kids your love for Jesus (or any passion, really) will definitely impact them.
let kids be kids. I learned this one back during my training at the ymca. Sometimes, it’s hard not to be a control-freak. Maybe you want a clean cabin or you’re too scared to let the kids spill milk at breakfast, so you never get a break because you’re constantly in “fix-it” mode. This is an easy way to prompt burn out, so be sure to let kids be kids and take a step back every now and then. Let yourself sit down at meals, and let kids learn from spilling the milk every now and then… trust me, they’ll be okay.
starbucks cold brew + emergen-c save lives. enough said. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you will become one for one week of your life.
There’s only one way you’ll learn more and that’s by going to kids camp by yourself. If you’ve never volunteered at a camp, vacation bible school, or any type of kids programming, I would definitely recommend it. You’ll learn so much and maybe even find a new passion or two… there’s really nothing else like it.
Okay, I have to admit, I didn’t really follow through with my 19 Books for 2019, but I have been reading a TON this year, which I’m super happy about. I used to be able to read more often, but with junior year, life got a little busy, to say the least. I figured I’d offer a few summer reads that I actually think might be able to hold you over this summer!
1.The Girl On The Train – Paula Hawkins
Wow. This was was phenomenal. I just read it, and I finished all 300 pages in about 2 days. If you’re a big fan of mystery or true crime novels, this is definitely one that will captivate you. This was one of the first full-length “adult” genre novels I’ve ever been able to make it through, and I’ve actually picked up a few more of Paula Hawkins’ books… she’s phenomenal.
2. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
Apparently, this one has been made into a movie!
Where the Crawdads Sing is Owens’ debut novel, a “part time crime drama centered around Kya, a wild and unkempt girl. The book follows the ups and downs of her life. She lives a lonely life, but her story is a hopeful one as well. With a little help, she’s able to survive and even learn to read.”
This one seems promising, and not to mention, the cover for this book is absolutely beautiful (I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover).
3. Five Feet Apart – Rachael Lippincott
Every now and then, I’m a real sucker for a romance novel. What can I say? This one seems almost seems similar to The Fault in Our Stars, but I’m hoping it’ll prove me wrong. It was recently made into a movie that didn’t receive the best reviews, but I heard that the book completely blows the movie out of the water. Here’s to hoping this will be the great romance novel of the summer!
Let me know if you end up reading any of these and if you like them! I’m also to any recommendations, and I’d love to hear your suggestions. Happy reading!