Category Archives: musings

I Didn’t Do Whole30.


Eat less sugar. Carbs are evil. But eat whole grains! Eat veggies! Eat less. Eat more. Fats can be healthy, bring on the guac. Avoid fat at all costs. Please only eat organic coconut oil and flax seed.  Life is short though, and ice cream makes you happy.  Love your body. But you need a flat stomach. Above all, don’t stress about dieting…you are what you eat as the old saying goes!


Diet is a scary word.


All last summer I worked as an outdoor overnight camp counselor. I probably burned a ton of calories, but was constantly starving at the end of every day. And then I proceeded to take a two week trip-of-a-lifetime to Italy where I consumed pasta and pizza and gelato and bread every single night.  I’m not fat. I’m fairly tall, and growing up I got all the “you’re so skinny” “you’re all legs” comments.  After the summer though, I just wanted to lose five pounds.  Coming off of the Italian carb frenzy, I figured changing my food habits was probably the way to do it.

I get where the hate for the word diet comes from. Even just typing it makes me feel all squirmy and guilty and vaguely mom-ish. The trend these days is more towards “choices” and “lifestyle” food changes, which is where Whole30 comes in.

If you aren’t familiar, Whole30 is a program where you follow strict guidelines on eating only super nutritious food for 30 days, absolutely no cheating or you have to start over. No sugar/honey/syrup/stevia, dairy, tree nuts, grains or rice or wheat. Basically just tons of fruit, veggies, and meat. The program claims to reset your nutrition, and people rave about how you fill up so fast and stop craving dessert and carbs all the time (was this for real?!).

The problem is, I’m a teenager. I’m lucky enough to be a part of a family where we eat together almost every night, and my mom does most of the cooking. I couldn’t alter the entire family’s way of doing meals. Plus, having to be so high-maintenance when going to a friend’s house, eating out, or babysitting wasn’t worth it. And health food is expensive!  So last September I attempted to modify the plan and did my own pseudo-Whole30 less intense diet thing.


The plan.

Basically I made up a several rules for myself in an attempt to eat healthier. I’m not going to list them all because

a) I am not a nutritionist

b) Dieting is very subjective as you already know from reading the first paragraph of this blog post slash novel

and c) Spoiler alert, I don’t recommend what I did.

But just think of a list of foods you’d consider unhealthy, and I didn’t allow myself to eat any of them no exceptions, and you get the idea. My birthday was in a little over 3 weeks, and I knew I’d want to eat cake and ice cream then, so I decided to keep it until my birthday dinner and then see how it went. 25 days couldn’t be that difficult, right?

Enacting it.

The results really were a mixed bag.  The diet forced me to get creative and try a lot more healthy foods, especially to snack on. Eating healthier, even with little changes, takes time. The ten minutes it takes to make a smoothie or cut up a sweet potato add up. The extra steps became worth it though, because within a few weeks I was sort of craving the healthier food.  I’m not sure why, but anything to make salads and carrots with hummus appealing, right? And I learned to drink black coffee, which has always been a goal of mine!

Passing up certain foods was difficult, especially at social gatherings.  I survived by finding alternatives I enjoyed, like watermelon or a mug of tea. That makes me sound really lame. I guess I was lame for eating a ton of watermelon at that one party, but it was my prerogative and 25 days isn’t forever.



From a purely food-focused standpoint, I’d consider my foray into the dieting world a positive experience. I did eat healthier for those 25 days and during the months since.

So why am I not 100% on board?

The food plan reinforced the pattern of constantly thinking about nutrition facts and weight.  While trying out a Whole30ish diet, I was consistently thinking about what I was eating or what I would be eating. Mentally, it was not a healthy experience.

My birthday apple crisp and vanilla ice cream shouldn’t be thought of as “400ish extra calories and a lot of sugar”. It should be remembered as the dessert that my mom baked for me and I enjoyed with my friends on my birthday.  I should be appreciating lunch at a friends house rather than fixating on the grams of fat I’m eating in the pizza they’re serving. While awareness is a good thing, a fixation on numbers can’t be healthy.

As in everything, eating healthy is a tricky a balance. I’m still searching for the happy medium, but in the meantime I’m going to try to enjoy my strawberry salad as much as possible…and maybe a doughnut every now and again too.

I’m not even pretending to have all this figured out.  Dieting and fitness and body image are all rather awkward and controversial topics , but I’d like to open the conversation up for the week.

I have a few more posts in this vein for this series, and then I’m planning on going back to normal, sporadic creative lifestyle posts. So if this isn’t your thing, I get it.  

That being said, if you’re still reading, I’d love to hear your thoughts on any and all of it. How do you balance “healthy” – nutritionally but also mentally/body image-wise? 

Stay lovely,


B(M)I Week


Filed under B(M)I Week, food, diet, and body image, musings

thankful | volume 5



  • The new friends I made this summer when I worked as an overnight camp counselor for eight weeks. Lesson learned: the best friends are the ones who can make even cleaning the dining hall seem like pretty much the most fun job in existence.
  • The opportunity to visit Italy and Austria with my family a few weeks ago. I still can’t get over the experience of merely existing in another culture – hearing Italian spoken all the time, walking everywhere instead of driving, seeing yet another 400-year-old cathedral.


  • Thankful for whoever invented the Common App so I’m filling out all of the paperwork involved in applying to colleges only once instead of 5+ times.
  • For plums and peanut butter and pesto and having access to good tasting food in general. And spicy zoodles!
  • For metronomes for making practicing an almost mindless activity for this rhythm-deaf pianist.


  • Cheering on the Falcons on Sunday afternoons
  • Taking the test to get belay-certified at the rock climbing gym near my house
  • Drinking loads of tea and coffee while conquering Calculus. BOOM.
  • Getting to wear all the lovely giant sweaters in the near future
  • Reading my growing stack of library books…book review time maybe??

Have a good Wednesday, guys.


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thankful | volume 4

thankful again

  • Libraries.  Gotta love a place that will let me take home an armful of books for free. I love that now school is slowing down I have time to read again!
  • Tea. I used to hate tea, but I started drinking it last fall. It’s gotten me through a lot of school stress this semester.
  • That I had the opportunity to stage manage a show this semester. I learned a lot from working backstage, and I’m so thankful my “drama friends” as I call them were there for me.
  • Spotify. All the free music and organizing it into playlists!!! I’m sensing a theme with the free stuff though…
  • My friends.  Some of them are graduating on Saturday, and it’s gotten me reeeeally sentimental.   Those of you reading this – I’m so happy for you guys and am 100% positive that you’re going to do great things!

Right now, I’m also thankful to anyone reading this. Life happens, and school hasn’t given me a lot of leeway to pursue more creative things (hence no blogging since last JANUARY), but I enjoy getting to use this text box as an outlet when I can.

Happy Thursday!  Book review coming soon…


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Living the Homeschooler Life

This post really should be titled “Living the High Schooler Life.” Despite being educated at home my whole life, besides kindergarten which doesn’t really count anyway, I don’t believe identifying as “homeschooled” is such a big deal.

However, I get a ton of questions whenever one of those people who actually go to school (in a building! everyday!) find out that I’m a homeschooler. So here I am to interpret this label for you guys!

1. We’re pretty unsocialized. (;


I have friends. Even more mind-blowing, I met most of them through school! Whether it be those people who I met through co-ops that I did in middle school and we still get together every few months, or the ones that I see multiple times a week for class and drama club, my friends are actual [really awesome] people.

2. We’re also pretty sheltered.  


Observe, our family Christmas card! Not really…

I get the vibe that the non-homeschool crowd thinks that homeschooler is synonymous with with weirdo.  And I sorta get where that’s coming from.  I have noticed that at least in my Christian homeschooler group of friends we can definitely make a whole lot of drama over any little thing, but that might not have to do with being sheltered as much as being teenage girls. (:

Not all homeschoolers wear long skirts, do side hugs Duggar-style, and think Harry Potter is evil.  Most of them don’t wear crop tops and aren’t fluent in rap music either.  It’s a spectrum. I will say that I’ve met people in the second category before, but have yet to come in contact with the first group…

3. We have a lot of things in common with “normal” schools.

We have prom.  I go to high school football games as often as I can drag my friends along with me. I don’t wear pajamas to do school work.  There are a few cliques. I have tests, teachers, grades, and a high school transcript (basically that means that I do in fact have to take 4 years of English and P.E. class to graduate).  I take summer vacation.  Oh, and study hall is a thing too.


A friend demonstrates how we all feel about study hall. (:

4. I’m in some classes.

There are many different kinds of homeschooling that you can do.  Contrary to popular opinion though, my mom isn’t the one who teaches me physics.  But I do actually “do” physics.  What happens is I physically go to class for a few hours once or twice a week per subject.  Then the majority of the school is homework that we get to work on for the rest of the week, and then is graded by our teachers.  The homework gets done either in study hall, or in my living room table/sofa in between driving all over the place for classes.


Imagine this with a ton more books and papers laying around, and it’s “school”

So Mondays, I go to a homeschool co-op and take economics with other homeschool students (there are other classes happening at the same time as well). Tuesdays and Wednesdays I go to a French class somewhere else and we meet in a community center type building.  Wednesdays are also for Health and P.E., which meets at someone’s house.  Thursdays, I take physics, study hall, then AP Literature at another co-op that meets at a church. And then Thursday nights and Friday morning I’m in an AP psychology class that meets online through gmail chatting and a skype (sort of) meeting.

My largest classes are the AP ones (psych has over 40 students, AP Lit has 20ish I think). Smallest is French, which only has 4.

5. I’m going to college!  


visiting a very, very large college with a very, very large bulldog

It’s really hard for me to think about college since it seems ages away, except really I have to start thinking about applying in the next few months (SCARY), but yes, I am actually going away to an actual college! That exclamation point was sarcastic…I’ve always known that my homeschooling will definitely not be continued past high school graduation, and it kind of weirds me out whenever someone asks if it will.  My parents are my guidance counselors, the ones encouraging me to go on college visits and working on my transcript.

There’s still a lot of options I’m considering. Large university or liberal arts college, for example…I don’t know for sure, yet. Nowadays it’s always in the back of my mind as I’m wading through precalculus homework.

Speaking of which, I should probably go do.

Stay strong! It’s almost summer (oh yeah)!


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Hello, 2016.

I’ve had a blog for 145 days now. 145 days!

So with this milestone and the fact it’s a new year, I guess now is as good a time as any to recap where this blog ride has taken me so far.  Some of my favorite posts:

tips for refashioning

headband tutorial finished 1Headband tutorial…still my favorite sewing tutorial. (:

Picture1If you made me choose a book review that was my favorite, it would have to be 13 Reasons Why or Hope Was Here.


And my very favorite (and coincidentally the top-performing) post was Living the Teenager Life.  It was just a random post I wrote one day…probably when I was feeling a bit angst-y.  But I liked that it resonated with people!

According to dozens of articles I’ve read on blogging, the number 1 way to grow your audience is by blogging consistently. While I’d love to be able to make that my New Year’s Resolution, I can’t make a promise I can’t keep. Schoolwork will always take priority, and junior year is hard!!  So it means a lot that my few followers have stuck around through these past few sparse blog-post-wise months.

And speaking of followers and blog posts.

Writing this stuff is definitely a learning process.  Some people like words, some prefer pretty pictures.  Some people who read this are reading because they’re my friends, some because they wanted to read book reviews and WordPress told them to jump here, and some because a random google search brought them here by accident.  Some people like the “cute” stuff like fonts and quirky punctuation, and for some people it really bothers them to see a sentence fragment and a non-capitalized sentence.

photo (4)

See, I’m dedicated. My dad stole (sorta) me a road sign with my blog name on it.

Obviously the only person that truly enjoys every topic I post about here is me (although some I do like more than others. Book reviews are super relaxing to write, but Start the Camp posts are more tedious. I’m only still writing them for my future self who might forget [/end tangent].)

So thank you everyone who stuck around!  What was your favorite post of the year?  Certain categories you’d like to see more of in the future?

Let me know in the comments!!


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thankful | volume 3

How could I not on Thanksgiving?

I’m so glad we have a holiday to give thanks for what we have (especially right before a holiday that’s more focused on the gifting).  So yeah.  I hope this post doesn’t come off as all sappy and #blessed…that’s not what I’m trying to do.  Thankful is definitely an attitude I want to strive for.  For me, it’s just nice to stop and think about what I am thankful for, because the more I consciously think about it, the easier it becomes to list things off.  God is good.

FullSizeRender (1)

Please enjoy the random beach picture, to break up the wall of text. 

I’m thankful for…

  • Books books books and the author’s that write them.  There’s nothing more stress relieving than getting absorbed in a really good, thought-provoking book.
  • The ocean.  Especially when it’s at its awe-inspiring, swimmers-tiring best.  (ha! I did a rhyme. not sure if it made sense though…basically when the waves are so big that swimming in them makes your legs feel like noodles afterwards).

Those colors were for real.

  • For catch-up days (school, sleep, standardized tests, piano lessons, drama club…)
  • A really-fun-almost-97.5%-of-the-time relationship with my siblings

Some of us like Taylor Swift more than others. (feat. Grace)

  • Free fonts.


  • That not only do I have everything I need for survival, like food, clothes, house, great family and friends, I get so much more on top of that.  For example creativity, or having the ability to listen to music all day during school, or living in a city with pretty season changes.  
  • Also: Sweet potato casserole on thanksgiving (thanks mom!)

Can it be dinner time yet?

I truly hope you are having a #blessed day. And go Georgia Tech on Saturday. (;


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Thankful | volume 2

lots of truffles

Today, on this rainy Friday afternoon, I’m thankful for…

  • A friend who brought me Starbucks for my birthday this past week in the middle of study hall.  Since I’m still convinced it’s summer, I had a vanilla iced latte instead of pumpkin spice. It’s only the second time trying coffee and Starbucks for me, and I’m proud to say that I drank almost the whole thing and actually started to enjoy the taste towards the end (which is really embarrassing considering the sugar to coffee ratio…one day I’ll be able to drink it black). But it seriously made my day. (:
  • Children’s books. For school, I had to write a report on a book I loved as a kid, which was the best assignment ever. I’ve fallen back in love with Madeline.

    “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines
    Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines
    In two straight lines they broke their bread
    And brushed their teeth and went to bed.
    They left the house at half past nine
    In two straight lines in rain or shine-
    The smallest one was Madeline.”

  • Physics. I have so much school this year, but I am so lucky to have classes which I enjoy. And I expected to hate Physics since I’m not a math person, but all the math so far is so easy! It makes sense!  And I get to learn about interesting things like retrograde motion and crazy guys who subjected themselves to 40 g’s of acceleration!  I’m kind of scared to publish this, because my dad is going to cheer and say “I told you so”…
  • Oreo truffles.  Also, for interested parties, we’ve figured out how to keep the melted chocolate off the counter: drop the truffle into the bowl of chocolate, and then turn it over, and scoop it out with a fork.  The slots in the fork let more of the chocolate drain off back into the bowl than a spoon.

one truffle

  • New handmade projects to look forward to.  I just bought a dress pattern (I’m making variation 2) and some fabric…think black and vintagey! I’ll keep you guys posted.

kim dress

I’m aware that it’s been a week since I’ve posted, and much longer than that since a sewing tutorial or book review.  I miss spending my afternoons writing blog posts, but unfortunately school takes priority (this time it’s my mom cheering).

I’ll be back soon with a book review, but in the meantime, have any good book recommendations for me? (:  let me know in the comments.

Have a lovely weekend!


Filed under hodgepodge, musings