My Goals for the 2017-2018 School Year

     Happy Tuesday!  Today, as I have been every Tuesday since the beginning of August, I’m sharing another Back to School post!  If you haven’t read my other Back to School posts, you can read them all, from this year and years’ past, here!  This post is all about my goals for this school year, my junior year of high school; academically, athletically, spiritually, socially, and for my blog.  I personally find making goals to be very beneficial because even if they aren’t accomplished, they give me something to work towards.  Posting them here will somewhat hold me accountable for them, so I’ll try to share my progress in December and at the end of the school year!  I hope reading my goals will inspire you to come up with a few for yourself.  Enjoy!

Academic Goals

  1. Complete the school year with all As and Bs.
  2. Be somewhat successful in A.P. Environmental Science (Science isn’t really my best subject.  It’s not that I’m really bad at it, I just typically don’t perform as well in that subject as I do in my other classes).
  3. Get a 100 on a test.
  4. Make 4s and 5s on my three A.P. exams at the end of the year.

Athletic Goals

  1. Attend as many preseason lacrosse practices as possible.
  2. Workout more.
  3. Play more in lacrosse games than I did last year.
  4. Make the varsity lacrosse team again.
  5. Score a goal during a varsity lacrosse game.

Spiritual Goals

  1. Make lots of new middle school friends as a WyldLife leader.
  2. Go to YoungLife club every week that I possibly can.
  3. Feel refreshed after fall weekend at Windy Gap (a YoungLife camp in North Carolina).
  4. Read the Bible daily.
  5. Pray more often.
  6. Use my devotional daily.
  7. Go to winter weekend with WyldLife campers as a leader.
  8. Apply for YoungLife camp summer work crew.

Social Goals

  1. Make five new friends (or at least acquaintances).
  2. Do something really fun one weekend with a friend(s).

Blog Goals

  1. Post at least twice a week every week.
  2. Reach 20,000 total site views for 2017.
  3. Collaborate with a big brand.
  4. Host at least three giveaways.

Thanks for reading!  If my post inspires you to write your own blog post about your goals for the school year, I’d love it if you’d link my blog so I’ll get notified and can go check it out!

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10 Things I Wish I’d Realized Before Sophomore Year of High School

     About a year ago, I shared my advice for high school freshmen (read the post here) and I got a ton of positive feedback on it.  You all also seemed to love my “Sixteen Things I’ve Learned by 16” post, so today I thought I’d share something that’s a bit of a combination of the two; “10 Things I Wish I’d Realized Before Sophomore Year of High School.”  If you ask me, sophomore year of high school is one of the most crucial when it comes to finding and accepting yourself.  You’ll start to see friendships unravel more so than freshman year and you’ll face a lot of tough decisions socially.  This is my first post in this year’s Back to School series and I’m honestly really excited to start this yearly series up again!  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t particularly love the fact that summer’s ending, but back to school themed posts are so fun to write for y’all!  Find all of my Back to School posts from years past here.  I truly hope you get something out of this post and can use this knowledge this school year, whether you’re a high school sophomore or not.  Let’s get into the post!

1. If you truly love doing something, it’s worth fighting for.  No matter what other people think. – Maybe you have a blog that you’re passionate about, maybe you’re really into theatre, maybe you go to a ton of concerts because it’s where you feel the happiest.  Don’t let anyone take any of that away from you.  Just because someone else doesn’t like what you’re doing or expresses their disapproval of it doesn’t mean it’s bad for you.

2. You can’t always expect people to return the friendship you give them. – Sometimes it won’t matter how many things you invite someone to, how many hard things you’re there for them through, or how little you judge them when you feel like you completely had the right to, they might not return the favor.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let this hurt me and I wish I’d known to lessen my investments in certain friendships earlier.

3. It’s okay to miss a social event simply because you don’t want to go. – There will probably be Friday nights when you don’t feel like staying out late for the football game and that’s okay!  Your real friends won’t judge you for choosing to spend the night in hanging out with your family or just catching up on sleep.  Plus, there will be many, many social events in high school so you shouldn’t feel pressured to attend every single one if you don’t want to.

4. Own it.  Always. – Own your personality.  Own your appearance.  Own your hobbies.  Own your school work.  Take pride in everything you do and you’ll never have anything to be embarrassed of.

5. Ten years from now, most of your peers’ opinions of you won’t matter. – I’m not saying you should go wild because it doesn’t matter in the long run, you should keep in mind that you still have to live with the reputation you create for the next however many years.  However, you shouldn’t let the fact that a few of your peers think you’re “uptight” or “not cool enough” hurt your confidence.

6. If all you can talk about is grades and other people, you should get new friends. – Seriously, if you find yourself sitting at your lunch table and the only conversation you and your friends can hold is filled with complaints about grades and gossip of what so and so did over the weekend, you should start to get the idea that these aren’t good relationships.  Try to change the subject, but if it drifts back every time you might want to find some new friends because there should be far more positive and interesting things to talk about!

7. Wherever you are, be all there. – Think about it.  How much better of a friend would you be if you focused solely on listening, supporting, loving, and being there in the moment with your friends whenever you’re with them?  How much better would you be at chemistry if you only thought about chemistry as soon as you entered the classroom?  Be mindful of these things and start channeling your energy into whatever you’re there to do.

8. You get out whatever you put in. – This one feeds off of the last point a bit, but it’s such an important thing to remember.  Yes, there are people that can breeze through courses successfully without studying, but in most cases you’ll get the grade you work for.  This isn’t just true for grades either, it’s true in all aspects of life.  If you never hang out with a friend or aren’t there for them in times of need, you can’t expect them to have a clear schedule for you or to be there when you need them to be.  You can’t not read the Bible or go to church and expect to feel a remarkably close relationship with God.  It’s just not how life generally works.  I don’t know where I heard the quote “life doesn’t work unless you do,” but I’ve found that it’s so true.

9. At the end of the day, there’s going to be a God shaped hole.  You decide how you fill it. – I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come home feeling unsatisfied even though I got the grade, made the team, and hung out with so and so.  There’s always going to be this God shaped hole in our hearts, but we get to decide how we try to fill it.  You might stuff the space with extracurriculars, an AP course load, or a cute boyfriend, but nothing will fit quite right.  Only a close relationship with God will.

10. You need more than one best friend. – If your only best friend gets grounded for a month, who are you going to hang out with?  If you two get into a big fight, who will you talk to at school?  Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, make a few close gal pals that you know you can always count on individually.  I went through a bit of a dark time a while back because my closest friend was grounded for a couple months and I hardly had any plans the whole time.  Learn from me and don’t let that happen to you!

Thanks for reading!  I hope you’re able to take something away from this post!

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Sixteen Things I’ve Learned by 16

     Good morning!  Today is my sixteenth birthday, so I thought I would do a fun post in honor of that; “Sixteen Things I’ve Learned by 16.”  I’m sharing sixteen things, including life lessons and little pieces of day to day knowledge, that I think are important that I’ve learned in my sixteen years of life.  I like to think I’m more or less wise, so hopefully this post will give you some useful information.  Enjoy!

  1. You will meet people you don’t like, and that’s okay, but that doesn’t give you the right to be mean to them. – Sometimes you just flat out won’t like someone.  Maybe they act in a way that you don’t agree with or they’re mean to someone you care about.  It’s perfectly fine to dislike people, but this isn’t an excuse to be rude to them.  I’m not saying you’re expected to constantly walk up to them and spark positive conversations, but smile at them every once in a while and try to avoid talking negatively about them.  This can definitely be hard, I know, but you and those around you will be better for it.
  2. Never dry any piece of clothing you like.  Ever. – I wouldn’t exactly call myself a laundry pro, but I’ve been doing my own laundry for the past two years and I have yet to ruin, shrink, or dye anything.  One thing I absolutely live by when it comes to laundry is never drying anything I like.  I hang dry all of my favorite big tee shirts, nicer tops, cute shorts, dresses, the list goes on.  Drying is most often what shrinks your clothing and I like most of my things to fit a little looser than normal, so this is a good tactic for someone like me.
  3. If an insult regarding your appearance or being “annoying” is the worst thing someone can say about you, it says more about them than it does about you. – I can’t even count how many times I’ve been told that someone said I was annoying.  It used to really hurt me, but now I just brush it off.  If someone feels the need to take time out of their day to make a negative comment about your appearance or to call you “annoying” rather than comment on your personality or heart, it truly speaks more about their heart than about you.
  4. Always try/offer to do the dishes at your friends’ house after a meal their parents have prepared/bought for you. – This is something my grandmother taught me when I was about eight years old.  She did this as a teenager and said she was always invited back because everyone’s parents loved her.  Little acts like these are things that show your respect, gratitude, and kindness towards the family that is hosting you and that’s something that they won’t forget.
  5. Don’t quit being a friend when things get tough for them. – People will go through hard things, that’s life.  Sometimes these events will cause your friends to take out anger on you, and while that can be tough, they still need you, now more than ever.  Even when it’s hard to be a friend, be one.  You’d want a friend to be there when your life gets hard no matter how much you push them away, right?
  6. Best friends can make anything fun. – Need to go grocery shopping for your parents? Pick up your best friend on the way.  Want to start working out?  Take your friend with you to Zumba class.  Have a (your sport here) game you’re nervous about?  Make your friend come.  Best friends make everything better.  I speak from experience.
  7. Always tell your teachers to have a good day/afternoon/weekend when you leave their classroom. – Yes, there will be kids who think you’re a suck-up or whatever, but this could very possibly be the nicest thing this teacher hears from a student all day.  A little kindness goes a long way, you never know what this teacher might be going through.
  8. Sometimes people will dislike you for no reason at all, but if they can’t see your value they’re not worth your time right now. – There’s a quote I read a few years ago that said something along the lines of “You could be the sweetest, ripest peach in the world, but there will always be someone who doesn’t like peaches.”  I especially love this quote because I don’t even like peaches.  You can’t please everyone, so I think the best thing to do is just be so undeniably you that anyone who just doesn’t like your personality will flake off before you get hurt by them leaving.
  9. You are entitled to your emotions. – Don’t take this the wrong way, I’m not telling you that you should be overdramatic about every single thing that happens to you.  However, if someone does something that hurts you, don’t think you have to get over it immediately just because they don’t think it’s a big deal.  I hate that the word “petty” has gotten so big over the past couple of years because I think it frowns upon people who take the hurtful actions and words of others seriously.  You get to choose how long it takes you to get over something and you have every right to be upset about what others do or say to you.  Don’t forget that.
  10. Money spent on a concert or trip is never money wasted. – Over the past couple years I have realized that I will eventually get bored of almost every material item.  I will wear out (and grow out of) my clothes, I will eventually want a new phone, and I will lose plenty of other things over time.  Some things I don’t tire of are the memories of a concert I went to as my birthday present last year, going on my school’s trip to New York City as my only Christmas present in eighth grade, and attending Music Midtown after working off my ticket.  I love these types of experiences and I have yet to regret spending money on a trip or concert.
  11. It’s more important to be happy than it is to be right. – I can think of so many petty arguments I’ve taken part in that didn’t even need to take place.  Think about how much your accuracy will matter ten days from now, or even ten minutes from now. If its only effect will be your friend being irritated with you, it’s probably best to just let them be right.
  12. You have time for whatever you make time for. – No, “I don’t have time” is not a good excuse for not reading the Bible, reading in general, doing your homework, or calling your grandmother.  Something that I’ve learned over the past year or so is that you most definitely have time for whatever you choose to make time for.  Since this time last year, I’ve chosen to make reading the Bible and my Book of Common Prayer a priority of mine, I’ve chosen to be sure I write at least one blog post every week, and I’ve chosen to call my Grandma at least one Sunday every month.
  13. God will always love you more than anyone else ever will. – Seriously, God loves you more than that boy could, more than your best friend could, more than even your parents could.  That being said, don’t let a breakup or fight with a friend rule your life, you are always going to be loved more by someone much greater.
  14. Good things are worth waiting for. – This proves true for an infinite number of instances.  True love.  Splurging on a super nice bag.  Watching a raved about PG-13 movie when you’re finally old enough.  A senior trip.  Heaven.  “Good things come to those who wait” is annoyingly true.
  15. Pictures are great, but don’t forget to live in the moment too. – Almost a year ago, I was given my first DSLR camera.  I love my camera.  I take it everywhere, from high school football games to music festivals to the Bahamas.  I love taking pictures and remembering those moments, but I’ve realized that actually living that moment is far more important.  One of the instances that comes to mind when writing this one is Music Midtown.  My friend, Scout, and I had made our way to front row for G-Eazy’s set.  I had my camera on and was ecstatically taking pictures throughout the set, but then there was a time that G-Eazy was literally right in front of me on stage.  I finally put my camera down and just had a “Wow.  I’m here and G-Eazy’s right in front of me” moment.  While I don’t have a ton of pictures of him as close as he was at that moment, I have vivid memories of eye contact and screaming the lyrics with him.  That’s something I’m glad I didn’t miss.
  16. Never let someone that you love think that you don’t love them. – Nope, I don’t care how mad at them you are or how big of a point you’re trying to make.  How much would you hate if they got in their car, got into an accident and died?  What if they had an unexpected stroke while at work or school?  I’ve seen and heard of these kinds of things happening everywhere; at my school, on television, from family members.  I would be devastated if I found out a loved one had died and I thought our last conversation left them feeling unloved.  Always say I love you.

Thanks for reading!  I hope this post made you think through some things, realize some things, or even gave you some kind of good advice.  Have a great day!

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See You Soon!

     Hey everyone!  This isn’t a formal post, just a quick little announcement and explanation of what will be happening on my blog and Instagram over the next week.   I am so excited to be heading to Frontier Ranch, a YoungLife camp in Colorado, today and I know I will have a ton of fun.  The camp includes so many fun activities like mountain rappelling, swimming, go-kart driving, horseback riding, and of course worship at club.  However, our phones (and other non-camera electronics) will be taken up on our way there, so I will not have access to my Instagram or blog until the return trip next Sunday.  I am more than happy to take a break from electronics, but I don’t want to leave you all without any new content for a week.  With that being said, I have blog posts scheduled for Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and next Sunday and one of my good friends made through blogging, Olivia (from the Instagram account @faithandliv and the YouTube channel Olivia Stepp), will be taking over my Instagram, reminding y’all of my new blog posts, and announcing a huge giveaway in my absence!  I know her Instagram posts will be great and you all will love her as much as I do.  I couldn’t be more excited to be spending this week at YoungLife camp and I know I will write a post (and hopefully make a video) about it soon after my return.

I hope you all have a wonderful week, see you soon!

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My Experience as a Jadelynn Brooke High School Ambassador 2016-2017

     As many of you know by now, I have been a Jadelynn Brooke high school ambassador for the last two semesters.  I have absolutely loved working for this brand more than I could have possibly imagined and today I’m so excited to share my experience as an ambassador and tips on applying with you all!  I know the Jadelynn Brooke High School Ambassador program has become significantly more popular over the last year or so, so I figured y’all would like to see this post and have some of your questions answered.  I asked you all on Instagram to send me any questions you had for me about the program, so if you missed that be sure to follow me on Instagram here so you don’t miss any other opportunities to participate in a Q&A!  Now, let’s get into the post!

 

Application & Acceptance

     I’ve been following the Jadelynn Brooke brand since they began in 2014 and worked with them briefly in the spring of 2015.  I loved the little experience I had with them, so when they announced on their Instagram that applications were opened for high school ambassador positions in July of last year I knew I had to apply!  Jadelynn Brooke opens applications in early July and early January, you should follow their Instagram here so you are notified when the applications are open!  All ambassadors from the fall semester that are interested in repping again in the spring must reapply in January.  The application was fairly simple and I completed the whole thing within half an hour.  In the application, you provide Jadelynn Brooke with a little information about yourself, including what state you’re in, what school you go to, what your social media handles are, how involved you are in your school and community, what your favorite Jadelynn Brooke designs are, and why you want to be an ambassador.  Definitely think about that question, why do you want to be an ambassador?  Is it because you want free clothes?  Is it because you love their company?  Is it because you want to share the brand with your friends and family?  Be honest about this question and know that they will choose the girls that they think embody the company the most accurately.  Within a few weeks of the application deadline I was contacted by email and told that I was accepted as a high school ambassador!  They sent all of the accepted ambassadors a little survey asking simple questions about sizing, tee shirt theme preferences, and Jadelynn Brooke products that we already own (so we don’t receive duplicate products, isn’t that thoughtful!).

Requirements As an Ambassador

     Yes, Jadelynn Brooke does guarantee at least three boxes of free Jadelynn Brooke goodies including lots of adorable tees, tanks, stickers, and more, but these aren’t just for you to have.  Jadelynn Brooke includes a note in each rep box and in the first one that you receive each semester they ask that you post something featuring their products on your Instagram at least once a week with their hashtag #JLBhighschoolambassador, create a Pinterest board filled with their products, and follow them on all of their social media handles (In case you’re wondering why I don’t have a Pinterest board that I share with you all it’s because I don’t have a Pinterest.  I discussed this early on with one of the sisters and they were super understanding and said that was fine!).  No, they don’t kick you out of the program on the eighth day between posts, but you need to be considerate of the fact that these sweet ladies are sending you hundreds of dollars worth of product for free, and the posts are all that they’re asking of you.  You are encouraged to comment and like their Instagram posts frequently, but that isn’t necessarily required.  They also give each rep a code that provides you, your friends and family, and your followers with a 15% discount (mine is “FLHS”!).

The Contents and Frequency of Rep Boxes

     Like I said before, this past year Jadelynn Brooke promised the ambassadors three to four rep boxes at the beginning of both the fall and spring semesters.  These promises were not only fulfilled, but my expectations for these boxes were always exceeded!  I can’t exactly separate each box in my mind, but I unboxed each one on my Instagram stories throughout the year (again, follow me on Instagram here so you don’t miss anything!) and while most of them included at least two tees and lots of stickers, some boxes even included some of Jadelynn Brooke’s more expensive products such as shorts, sweatshirts, sleep shirts, leggings, and dresses!  Sometimes the amount/value of the products inside the boxes differs from ambassador to ambassador based on how much you post for Jadelynn Brooke on Instagram and how much you engage with the brand on their social media platforms (especially Instagram).  For example, in our last rep box during the fall semester, I received a sweatshirt while some of the less active ambassadors received a long sleeve tee shirt.  Another example would be that in our last rep box of the spring semester some less active ambassadors received one logo tee while I received two tees and a dress.  I know of these differences because I’m in a few Jadelynn Brooke ambassador group chats and we’ve all compared our boxes several times.  This absolutely does not mean that Jadelynn Brooke likes these ambassadors any less, it just means that they’re less active and some aren’t really holding up their end of the deal.

My Favorite Parts of Being an Ambassador

     The reason I wanted to rep for the Jadelynn Brooke sisters has always been because of how much I respect them.  I not only respect them for the successful family business that they have built from the ground up, but for the bond that the sisters share and publicize. Jade, Lexi Lynn, and Brooke are as close as can be and always seem so supportive of each other.  Their relationship is one that I’ve modeled my sister and I’s relationship after for years now.  The brand’s tees have constant themes of girl power, God loving, and patriotism; three things I love to represent by wearing their products.

     Aside from the brand itself, I have grown close to girls all over the country through the Jadelynn Brooke Ambassador program.  I have been a part of multiple ambassador group chats and FaceTimes since joining the program in August and I am so thankful for these unique relationships I have formed!  I now have ambassador friends in Texas, North Carolina, New York, and Florida as a result of this program, isn’t that cool?

Questions from Followers

What’s the application process like?: As mentioned above, the application is a simple survey that can be completed on a phone and doesn’t take long at all to fill out.  The only follow up is an email telling you if you get accepted or not.  There are no additional questions or calls aside from a sizing and basic interest and sizing survey so they know what to send you!

What did you include in your application that you think made them select you?  How do you stand out?: After talking to Jadelynn Brooke they told me that follower counts, bright pictures, previous posts with Jadelynn Brooke, direct messages between you and the brand, apparent passion for Jadelynn Brooke, involvement in school, and more all play a significant role in their selection process.

Is it hard to become a rep?: Yes and no.  While the application itself isn’t difficult, Jadelynn Brooke recently told me that several thousand girls apply each time and the numbers are only growing.  You’d be surprised by how well rounded many of their ambassadors are.  I’ve seen quite a few who have well over ten thousand followers, run highly successful blogs and/or YouTube channels, hold pageant titles and/or school leadership positions, play multiple sports, etc.  However, not all of Jadelynn Brooke’s ambassadors have all of those features, they choose girls that they believe have a passion for their brand and will fulfill their end of the brand/rep relationship.  So many of these girls are so impressive, so if you don’t get accepted you should keep in mind that you had some great competition and there’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of!

How do you find out when applications are available?: Jadelynn Brooke always announces their application openings on their Instagram account, so make sure you’re following them (their account is linked here) if you’re interested in applying.  Maybe even turn on their post notifications in July and January to guarantee you don’t miss it.

Do you have to have a public Instagram account to be a rep?: No, you don’t have to have a public Instagram account to be a rep!  However, Jadelynn Brooke informed me that having a public account during the application period does greatly increase your chances of being selected.  Your end of the ambassador deal is your posts, so they should be able to view your account to see more of you and decide if they could really see you representing their brand.

Thanks for reading!  If you have any unanswered questions about the Jadelynn Brooke Ambassador program please leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer!

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My New Year’s Resolutions 2017 Collab

     Happy New Year!  If you read my blog post yesterday, you heard about how incredible 2016 was for me.  Today I’m collaborating with Cayleigh of CNPrepster to share our New Year’s resolutions that aim to make 2017 even better!  If you haven’t read Cayleigh’s blog before, you should definitely go check her out!  Her resolutions post is linked here.  My resolutions will hopefully help me be happier, produce more (and better) blog content, succeed in school, and live healthier.  I encourage you all to make some resolutions and goals for yourself for this year, and if you do I’d love to read them in the comments below!  Here are my seventeen resolutions for 2017.

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(Background image via Amy Sharp)

     I hope you had a wonderful and safe New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!  On New Year’s Eve I hung out with a few friends and we rang in the new year together!  I wore a bell sleeved top from Banana Republic (see more pictures of it in a post all about the top here) with jeans, booties, Kendra Scott earrings, and my favorite double wrap necklace from Jewelzbyhanz.  Be sure to check out Jewelzbyhanz for more trendy jewelry!  Here are some pictures from my NYE festivities.

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Thanks for reading, I hope your New Year is nothing short of wonderful!  Don’t forget to check out Cayleigh’s post here and comment your New Year’s resolutions for this year!

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