Summer Goals: How’d I Do?

At the beginning of the summer, I wrote a list of goals.

Then, I forgot about them.

Meh

So, since it’s September and all, I figured now would be as good a time as any to wrap them up. Let’s see how much I accomplished (without trying to accomplish it).

Reading

Original goal:

This summer, I’d really like to branch out a little more in terms of what I’m reading, and also focus more on LGBT+ books, especially nonfiction. I tried to keep that in mind while creating my reading list, and in the end came up with a very diverse list, ranging from OCD, The Dude, and Me to 1984. I’ve also found some really interesting looking nonfiction, like a book about psychology (it’s aimed toward teens but not patronizing, which is nice) and some really cool books about the riot girl movement.

I actually read most of the books on my fiction list, and found some new favorites, including (but definitely not limited to) The Perks of Being a Wallflower and We All Looked Up. I also read some rad new comics like NimonaLoki: Agent of Asgard, and V for Vendetta.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do terribly well with the nonfiction side of my list. I did read more nonfiction than I usually do – on topics ranging from colleges to art – but none of the ones that were on my list.

I also started reading more poetry this summer! I found to collections that I really liked, Please Excuse This Poem and Poisoned Apples. I’m hoping to read some more poetry through this school year because I never really realized how enjoyable it can be.

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I’ve also signed up for the teen summer reading program at my library! I did it last year too, but joined late and was only able to participate in one of the activities. This year, it’s superhero themed, so I’m really excited (and a little nervous, admittedly, but I’m always nervous about meeting  new people, so that’s nothing new). I know I haven’t been posting about it as much lately, but I’m still a massive Marvel fan!

I did this, and it was a lot of fun! I met a lot of new friends, (re)watched a bunch of my favorite Marvel movies, and found some really cool books. Plus, I’ve joined a YA book club and the library’s Teen Advisory Group, both of which are going to continue throughout the year!

Music

I’d like to learn a little bit more about my ukulele and teach myself a few more songs. As of yet I only know one, so it’ll be fun to learn some more.

I’m also going to start doing some extra chores to earn money for a guitar, because, I mean, the main reason I’m teaching myself ukulele is to get practice for when I have a guitar (I’ve heard that the ukulele makes good practice because the chords are very similar- same shapes, different names). Wish me luck!

Also, I’m going to keep working on my flute, and hopefully start private voice lessons.

Well. In some ways that worked out, and in some ways it didn’t.

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On one hand, I haven’t played guitar since spring. Oops.

But on the other hand, my brother got a guitar for his birthday. So even if it’s not technically mine, I have a guitar to play, at least until I’m able to save up enough money to get my own.

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In terms of listening to music (as opposed to playing it), I’d like to branch out a little more. I really do have a pretty wide range of musical tastes, but lately I’ve been sticking pretty closely to my favorite bands and not really trying to find anything new. So this summer I’m going to be enlisting Pandora’s help in finding new music, especially some more punk rock. I’ve listened to a little teeny bit of the Ramones and Joan Jett, but that’s about it.

I listened to a lot of new music this summer, and I’m glad I did. Although I still have those special bands that are close to my heart (Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance in particular), I’ve fallen in love with a lot of new music as well, especially indie pop.

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I think I’ll actually be doing a new Music Medly post soon, so keep an eye out for that.

Art

I’d like to work on my drawing skills a little, but I don’t really have anything in particular in mind aside from… well, draw more!

I did a lot of art! You can check out the post I wrote about it here.

My mom found a really cool website called DIY that basically lets you work toward different badges, and it has a lot of cool project ideas that I’m going to try. If you want to see my progress/ what activities I’ve done so far, just check out my profile!

I spent a lot of time on DIY too, and it was soooo much fun! I’m going to try and keep up with it through the school year, but realistically I won’t be able to do as much as I did over the summer. If you’d like to see my DIY profile, here’s the link– it’s more up to date than the blog post and so it has a lot more of my projects included.

Writing

I don’t have a whole lot of writing-specific goals, but I would like to post more frequently on this blog and try to finish a short story I’ve been working on.

Well. On one side, I did to a LOT of writing. I had a story I needed to write so I could submit it to get into a writer’s workshop, which I poured hours and hours of work into- but then the workshop was cancelled. But on the good side, I do have a killer new short story! And a friend of mine and I are planning to hold some writer’s meet ups, so there is that.

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I didn’t do very well posting here, but… oh well. I’m not posting as much, but on the good side, I feel a lot more relaxed about it, which has really improved the quality of my posts (at least, I hope…).

So, overall, it was a really fun summer! And I actually did pretty well on these goals, even though I didn’t even keep track of them, which I think is pretty impressive.

What did you do this summer? Did you get as much done as you had wanted to?

Why You Need to Listen to Halsey (Like, Right Now)

Halsey

Halsey is pretty new to the music industry- her first album, an EP titled Room 93, just came out in 2014. But she’s taking the world by a storm- within just the past year, she’s performed at the huge music festival South by Southwest and toured with massively popular bands like The Kooks and Imagine Dragons.

I won’t hesitate to admit that I can be… just a teeny bit of an elitist about pop. “It’s factory made music!” “There’s no heart to it!” “There’s nothing artistic about it!” I don’t really mean to. I’m just… not really into pop.

But there are a handful of pop artists I do like- Marina and the Diamonds, Echosmith, some of Taylor Swift’s newer, less country stuff- and Halsey is at the top of that list. Let me tell you why.

So, Halsey is an indie/ electronic pop singer and songwriter. Her music is totally beautiful- it’s whimsical and pretty, but has a dark and gritty layer to it, too. She writes her own songs and does an amazing job at it, if I do say so myself.

She’s honest and heartfelt, something that I feel is missing from a lot of pop. She knows what she’s singing about, and she owns it.

She sings because she cares about it, not because she’s a particularly good singer (she is, but apparently she doesn’t think so herself). In one interview, she said

Yeah, I mean, I write all my own music—I’m a writer at heart. I’m not actually even a very good singer. I’m not. I’m okay with admitting that because some of the best musicians in history weren’t great singers: Patti Smith, Bob Dylan. I loved a guy named Conor Oberst who’s in a band called Bright Eyes. He can’t sing. Love him. And it’s cool because it’s almost like the most liberating thing ever. This is a side note, but I can go up on stage and not have to worry about if I sing good because I already kinda can’t. I don’t have to worry about hitting runs and being ridiculous. For me it’s about emotion.

She’s a breath of fresh air for pop music.

Also, she has the coolest hair!!!

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But if that’s not enough to persuade you, there’s more.

Because Halsey is an outspoken bisexual, biracial, and bipolar feminist! Remember what I was saying about her being a breath of fresh air for pop? Because Halsey is what a lot of girls need these days- a positive role model. Someone who speaks out about homophobia, racism, mental health, and so much more.

Like, seriously. So much more. Just skim through her Twitter and you’ll see.

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In one interview where she was discussing being bipolar, she explained

They’re like, ‘I want to be with someone who is like crazy.’ Well, guess what? It’s not all painting at four o’clock in the morning and road trips and great things. Sometimes it’s throwing things and, like, getting hurt and having to pick someone up from the police station at two o’clock in the morning. My biggest fear has always been being that woman.

Like, I cannot express how great of a role model Halsey is for girls.

I kind of just embraced the things about me that were a little odd. The thing about having bipolar disorder, for me, is that I’m really empathetic. I feel everything around me so much. I feel when I walk past a homeless person, and I feel when my friend breaks up with someone, or I feel when my mom and my dad get into a fight and my mom’s crying over dishes in the sink. I used to say to her all the time, like, ‘I hate this. I want to be naïve. I want to be worried about my prom dress. I want to be worried about getting my math homework done. I want to be like everyone else my age,’ and she would say, ‘Would you rather be blissfully ignorant or would you rather be pained and aware?’ That was one of the things that’s kind of followed with me through my whole life. She’s encouraging of what I’m doing because she knows that even if sometimes I might be in pain, I’m aware.

Like, seriously!!! It’s so nice being able to see someone in the media who actually speaks out about these things, and does it honestly.

Another quote, this one discussing the decision whether to cast a man or a woman as her romantic partner when she was filming a music video for one of her songs, Ghost.

The content of the video was me being a little oppositional actually. We were in a meeting talking about just doing a higher budget version of the original and someone said “alright well, we’ll cast a guy” and I think I kinda snapped. I wasn’t planning to, honestly, it wasn’t some political move, I just kinda went “why would you assume that you’d cast me a guy”.

That general assumption that a guy should be cast, like, that the video was about a hetero-normative plotline, just made me angry and made me realize how important it is to do something that people aren’t expecting. Like, I’m a bisexual woman so I’m interested in relationships with both men and women and I know how important it is to showcase that.

Such!!! A!!! Great!!! Role!!! Model!!! A pop artist spreading a positive, girl power driven message!

And she doesn’t let the power get to her head, either- in this interview, she explains that she recognizes that she makes mistakes, and she’d rather have kids look up to her ideals than idolize her.

I don’t insist that any of my ideas or opinions are the perfect form, but I’ve kind of accepted the fact that I’m a role model for a lot of different types. I’m mixed race—my dad is black and my mom is white—and I’m very pale. Growing up there weren’t a lot of mixed people in the media who were as pale as I was. I always felt like I was too light to identify with anyone else. I now have girls reach out to me all the time and say, ‘I’m mixed race like you and I’m just as white as you are. Thank you for being that for me.’ Or, you know, someone reaches out with a mental illness or someone reaches out who is, you know, a feminist. I just like to be the in-between role model—the one I didn’t have growing up. At the same time, if I’m going to be a role model, I would rather kids idolize my intention to do good and my intention to be myself and my intention to be different rather than my actions. I think my intentions are more admirable than my actions.

So, I mean, if this hasn’t persuaded you to listen to her, I hope it’s at least showed you how amazing she is. I mean, I get it if you don’t like her music but she’s seriously so cool and it’s amazing that girls have someone like her to look up to.

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Music Monday #2: Nostalgia

Music Monday is a bi-weekly blog link up to encourage the sharing and discussion of people’s favorite music. Join in to share your own music and find new songs to listen to! A new theme will be posted every other Monday.

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Theme

So, welcome to the second Music Monday! The last one was a pretty big success, so I’m hoping that this one will go well too. This time, the theme is nostalgia, which is kind of open ended. It can mean songs that you listened to when you were younger, or songs that bring back memories, or however else you interpret it! Just like last week- it’s up to you, as long as you stay within the topic and have fun!

Rules

  1. This will probably be a bi-weekly feature- I’m going to try this as a link-up this month, and if it works, we’ll keep it. If not, it may become weekly or monthly.
  2. Assuming that it stays as a bi-weekly feature, the theme and my own playlist will be posted every other Monday, starting tomorrow. You can post your own playlist any time between the day the theme is posted and the day the next theme will be posted.
  3. I make an album cover-y graphic for each playlist. You’re welcome to use mine or make your own, whichever you prefer.
  4. If you want, you can post your playlist on Spotify, 8tracks, YouTube, or whatever else works for you, and link to that from your blog.
  5. You may use whatever music you want, but if it contains explicit language, please mention that in your post!
  6. This isn’t really required, meaning I won’t kick you out or anything if you don’t do it, but try to listen to and comment on a couple of other people’s playlists as well. The intention of this is to encourage the sharing of people’s favorite music!
  7. Have fun!

Join In

Music Monday #1: Girl Power

Music Monday is a bi-weekly blog link up to encourage the sharing and discussion of people’s favorite music. Join in to share your own music and find new songs to listen to! A new theme will be posted every other Monday.GirlPowerCover

Theme

So, welcome to the first Music Monday! This week’s theme, Girl Power, is one that I’ve actually wanted to make a post on for a while. Share some songs you like with particularly feminist lyrics, or just some of your favorite female singers! It’s up to you, as long as you stay somewhat within the topic. And, of course, have fun!

Rules

  1. This will probably be a bi-weekly feature- I’m going to try this as a link-up this month, and if it works, we’ll keep it. If not, it may become weekly or monthly.
  2. Assuming that it stays as a bi-weekly feature, the theme and my own playlist will be posted every other Monday, starting tomorrow. You can post your own playlist any time between the day the theme is posted and the day the next theme will be posted.
  3. I make an album cover-y graphic for each playlist. You’re welcome to use mine or make your own, whichever you prefer.
  4. If you want, you can post your playlist on Spotify, 8tracks, YouTube, or whatever else works for you, and link to that from your blog.
  5. You may use whatever music you want, but if it contains explicit language, please mention that in your post!
  6. This isn’t really required, meaning I won’t kick you out or anything if you don’t do it, but try to listen to and comment on a couple of other people’s playlists as well. The intention of this is to encourage the sharing of people’s favorite music!
  7. Have fun!

Join In

My Playlist

  1. Hurricane by Halsey
  2. Born for This by Paramore
  3. Bad Reputation by Joan Jett
  4. Cherry Bomb by The Runaways
  5. Sex Yeah by Marina and the Diamonds
  6. Proof by Paramore
  7. The Best Thing (That Never Happened) by We Are the In Crowd*
  8. What Are You So Scared Of? by Tonight Alive
  9. Teen Idle by Marina and the Diamonds
  10. My House by PVRIS

* These songs have curse words in them.

Don’t forget to join in with the link up!

Announcing a New-ish Blog Feature!

Last month, I decided to try doing a new blog feature- a weekly playlist post. It was a lot of fun, and actually pretty popular, too. I got a lot of comments with people sharing their own favorite songs, and that’s exactly what I was going for!

Then, Chloe from Free as a Girl With Wings had a really awesome idea- I could turn the playlists into a blog link up! I think it would be a lot of fun and encourage just what I had intended- people sharing and discussing their favorite music.

Rules:

  1. This will probably be a bi-weekly feature- I’m going to try this as a link-up this month, and if it works, we’ll keep it. If not, it may become weekly or monthly.
  2. Assuming that it stays as a bi-weekly feature, the theme and my own playlist will be posted every other Monday, starting tomorrow.
  3. I make an album cover-y graphic for each playlist. You’re welcome to use mine or make your own, whichever you prefer.
  4. If you want, you can post your playlist on Spotify, 8tracks, YouTube, or whatever else works for you, and link to that from your blog.
  5. You may use whatever music you want, but if it contains explicit language, please mention that in your post!
  6. This isn’t really required, meaning I won’t kick you out or anything if you don’t do it, but try to listen to and comment on a couple of other people’s playlists as well. The intention of this is to encourage the sharing of people’s favorite music!
  7. Have fun!

The theme for the first link up will be posted tomorrow!

Playlist: Love Songs

For this week’s playlist, I decided to do some of my favorite love songs! I’m actually not usually really into songs about love- less because of the subject matter and more about how superficial they usually feel. “You’re beautiful and let’s live happily ever after.” Not that there’s anything wrong with those kinds of songs- they’re just not usually what I’m into. But there are some love songs that I really do like, and here they are! (And remember, feedback is very welcome!)

LoveSongs

Listen to the playlist on YouTube

  1. Still Into You by Paramore
  2. When the Day Met the Night by Panic! at the Disco
  3. She’s the Prettiest Girl at the Party, and She Can Prove it With a Solid Right Hook by frkniero andthe cellabration
  4. Cinderblock Garden by All Time Low
  5. Girls/ Girls/ Boys by Panic! at the Disco
  6. We Don’t Believe What’s on TV by twenty one pilots
  7. If These Sheets Were States by All Time Low
  8. Check Yes Juliet by We The Kings
  9. Alone Together by Fall Out Boy
  10. Carry Me Home by We Are The In Crowd
  11. Only Love by PVRIS
  12. Roman Holiday by Halsey
  13. The World is Ugly by My Chemical Romance
  14. Starlight by Tonight Alive

Are there any songs you would add to this list? And remember to let me know what you think of these playlists!

Playlist: Feel Better

So, I’ve decided to try doing playlists as a weekly feature. I’m going to try it out this month, and if you guys like it, I’ll keep doing it. Let me know if you like it, or if you want to see more or less! Any feedback would be really helpful. I’ll be posting the playlists on YouTube for now.

This week, I decided to do a feel good kind of playlist- music that cheers me up and makes me feel like dancing, even when I’m sad or angry. Basically, sad songs that sound happy. Enjoy!

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Listen to the playlist on YouTube

  1. Coast (It’s Gonna Get Better) by Patrick Stump
  2. Hallelujah by Panic! at the Disco
  3. Empty Gold by Halsey
  4. I am not a Robot by Marina and the Diamonds
  5. Fast in my Car by Paramore
  6. Favorite Record by Fall Out Boy
  7. Hell and Back by Tonight Alive
  8. Paint You Wings by All Time Low
  9. The Strays by Sleeping With Sirens
  10. Not Today by twenty one pilots
  11. Party Poison by My Chemical Romance
  12. Ghost by Halsey
  13. Basket Case by Green Day
  14. Missing You by Fall Out Boy

Are there any songs you would add to this list? And remember to let me know what you think of these playlists!