// 2017 christmas haul //

hey, friends. :)

i’m finally putting up that christmas haul that i promised. please keep in mind that i’m not trying to brag — i’m thankful for everything i received (except maybe the stamps) and just wanted to share.

idk. let’s get into it.


stocking stuffers

i got a lot of candy in my stocking — these are the only two that i haven’t eaten already. my mom thought she was being funny by getting me turtles, because i’d been asking for a pet turtle all year.

i love lip balm!! this one is hershey’s brand. idk what flavor it is because the packaging got thrown out, but it’s kind of fruity with a tiny bit of peppermint.

my brother and i both got fun string. i sprayed it in his hair as soon as i got it open and have been tormenting him with it ever since.

let’s ignore the change of scenery.

the last thing in my stocking was this tiny music box. it plays the song somewhere over the rainbow. :)

from family

my brother gave me animal crossing: new leaf. i named my town hell, which makes the conversations about moving in much more interesting. for example: “so do you go to hell very often?” “i sure hope you find a sweet little house and have lots of fun making new friends in hell!”

of course i got books. i’m super excited to read these, especially nightfall and everland.

i got a white sweatshirt (very soft on the inside) with this informative sign on top of it. apparently my mom is going to print out the dear evan hansen logo and iron it onto the shirt. personally, i think she’s going to forget out it and never help me, but it’s whatever.

ft. barakat the plant

i picked out these pajamas and got to open them on christmas eve. they’re incredibly soft, and they’ve got pockets and a hood.

i’m not a fan of purses, they get in my way and it’s hard to run with one. but i need something to carry my junk around in. you see my problem?

so grandparents #1 got me this cute mini backpack. :)

grandma #2 bought these things for all the kids. i’m not really sure what it is, but it’s very loud.

some candy that will likely find its way into my brother’s stomach.

grandma #2 planned a game where tiny trinkets were bundled up in a ball of cling wrap. we passed it around in a circle while the person who had it before tried to roll doubles on some dice. once they got it, the ball and dice were handed off again. you got to keep whatever you tore from the ball on your turn.

why did she think kids would like stamps for christmas? who knows.

i also got some seeds from the cling wrap ball! granted, most of them are probably too old to grow anything from, but i’ll still try.

from some other family members, i got a face mask and summer fruit eos. my brother got the bubble bath and lip balm (avon iced gingerbread) in the cling wrap ball and gave them to me.

i’ve never used a face mask in my life, so i’m excited to try it out.

in my family, christmas is not complete without getting lots of money. i got $190, as well as target and chick-fil-a gift cards. i’m not sure what i’m going to spend the money on yet — maybe books or clothes (i’m thinking oh wonder merch).

from friends

my friend izzy spoils me. she got me a ton of stuff and i love her for it.

the first thing she gave me is a beanie with wireless speakers sewn into it. i can connect my ipod to its bluetooth and play my music while everyone thinks i’m listening to them. it was more of a joke then an actual gift, since izzy didn’t think it would work, but it surprisingly does.

another thing she got me is this beautiful dear evan hansen case! it’s a bit too big for my ipod, but i stuffed a tissue into it and now it’s good.

izzy took me to the mall and let me get whatever i wanted. i found all time low’s don’t panic album on cd at this sick music store. it’s mostly clean, which means i can play it in the car when i’m with my mom.

i dragged her to hot topic to hunt for pins. she hates the store because she had a dream where vampires that were hiding there kidnapped her or something like that. anyway, i found a few pins there: bob ross, panic! at the disco’s logo, and for loser.

we also found this gravity falls patch for my jacket.

from k, i got a wooden L, a picture frame, and an ornament of the white rabbit from alice in wonderland.

she always gets me something alice in wonderland-themed. over the years, i’ve gotten the complete works of lewis carroll, a mad hatter origami kit, etc.

other

i went to a christmas party with bethany and mckenna and got these at the white elephant gift exchange. they came in a bag with a can of refried beans and gas-x, but idk where those are now. i gave the gas-x to my brother as a joke, which he didn’t think was funny.

i’m going to use the itunes card to get the heathers soundtrack, because it’s not on spotify.

honestly, what i’m most excited about is all the lip balm i got. i’ve been collecting them for years and i currently have 40+. granted, i only use about five of them, but still.

i hope you enjoyed reading my haul. :)

did we get any of the same things? what’s the best gift you received? 

xo

loren

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// 2017 reading recap //

hey.

i hope you all had a wonderful christmas. mine was fairly good. i’m currently putting together a haul, but i doubt it will be up until the new year because i have another family celebration to attend.

anyway, i saw book recaps on dragon waffles and paper fury and decided to make one myself. after all, i can only go so long without gushing/ranting about what i’ve read.

shout-out to my friend izzy for making me read paranormal/horror books.

so apparently 20% of the books i read this year were romance? that’s a bit concerning because i generally hate that genre. but it’s rare to find a contemporary that isn’t also a romance, so that probably explains it.

i had more books with lgbt+ characters on my tbr, but my mom wouldn’t let me read them. because, you know, i might become more open-minded and accepting and we can’t have that.

i’m very picky when it comes to giving five stars.

also, i don’t think i’ve ever given a book just one star in my life.

2017 favorites

(not all of these were released this year. they’re just the best ones that i read in 2017.)

how to say goodbye in robot – i started sobbing when i finished this one. (this might be because i am extremely emotional and not because the book was sad, although it was.) i really wanted everything to turn out well for ghost boy and robot girl, and it ended much differently than i expected.

tiger lily – peter pan retelling from tiger lily’s pov!! i’ve always loved peter pan and this book gave neverland new depth. it’s a romance, but not a fluffy one — it’s gritty and real and they hurt each other.

all the bright places – i know this one is controversial, but i actually loved it a lot. i read it when i was “asleep,” as finch would say, and it stuck with me because it was like i was reading about myself.

 the empty grave – thanks for ripping out my heart, stroud. i hate you for putting my sweet children through that.

lucky few – homeschoolers with death wishes!! sounds like my autobiography.

heap house – originally, i thought it was just really, really weird, but it’s been growing on me since then.

prettiest covers

(currently still reading the girl who drank the moon, but i can include it because i said so.)

overhyped

i might get hate for this, but i detest most of these and have no idea why they’re so popular.

must read in 2018

 how can i call myself a bookworm if i haven’t read any of maggie stiefvater’s books??

have you read any of the books i mentioned? do you agree/disagree with me on my picks for the overhyped section? let me know in the comments.

xo

loren

// cwwc 2017 | winners //

IT’S FINALLY HERE. HALLELUJAH. I’VE SPENT MOST OF MY SATURDAY COUNTING POINTS AND DESIGNING GRAPHICS AND DOING MATH PROBLEMS IN SPANISH FOR SCHOOL. HALLELUJAH.

i got entries from the names in bold:

ellie (hope in full)
rebekah (head in the clouds)
jordan (daythinker nightdreamer)
daisymermaid (the girl with auburn hair)
audrey (please just one more page)
allison (a farm girl’s life)
mia (creative castle)
c.a. peetz (cliff’s brink)
katie

points from this round: 17

sarah
lauren (comma hangover)
clara (clara and co.)
sari (penumbra reviews)
rose (sun on a cloudy day)
hope (the nerd notebook)
poppy
arunima (dreamer’s dreams)
madi

points from this round: 23


olive (hidden hollow ag crafts)
jess (the artful author)
danielle (near but far)
suzy (ends&odds)
k.a. (bursts of inspiration)
dara
wysteria (head in the clouds)
charis (charis rae)

points from this round: 26

 chloe (my hobbit hole)
megan (a barefoot gal)
annecy (free fallin’ girls)
orchid (crochet buddies)
sarah (for all who wander)
kiki (the thoughts of a girl with aspergers)
nicole (worlds beyond words)
anika (this journey called life)
carol (peeking through a kaleidoscope)
madi (madi grace)

points from this round: 20

if you wrote a story, but don’t see your name on the list, let me know so i can fix it.

three of the teams had members who didn’t submit stories for any of the challenges. since it’s basically the same as not having enough writers on your team, those three (narnia, hogwarts, and half-blood) will be receiving thirty-two points for each “missing” member (4 extra points x 8 challenges = 32).

ready to learn who won?

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a lovely girl named kitty sent me a drawing she did of me. isn’t it amazing? she’s incredibly talented.

she used this picture of me as a reference.

kitty, if you’re reading this, i absolutely adore the drawing, and i’m going to print it out and put it in my room once our printer is working. :)

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your scrolling is now interrupted by some dumb things i’ve found on the internet.

(i’m just trying to waste your time.)

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Valentines tumblr

x

sorry. i’ll stop procrastinating.

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total points: 237

GOOD JOB, TEAM HOGWARTS.

total points: 262

YOU DID AMAZINGLY WELL, YOUNG DEMIGODS.

total points: 269

SHIRE PALS, GO CELEBRATE WITH AN AFTERNOON TEA.

before extra points were given for “missing” members, team shire had the most points: 269.

(or you can use this graphic, i don’t care.)

total points: 277

FOR NARNIA AND FOR ASLAN.

i hope everyone enjoyed cwwc 2017! if you want, you can leave suggestions in the comments on how i can improve it for next year. just make sure they’re polite, please. :)

have a lovely day!

xo

loren

// two years + blogging tips //

yoooo, it’s my two-year blogiversary.

*my cat explodes, showering you with candy and confetti*

how rad. i would suggest a party, but 1) i hate parties, and 2) i pulled another all-nighter and i’m too tired for one.

i was trying to come up with something special to do for this very important moment in history. i came up with making mallowmelt and doing a giveaway, and although that would be pretty fun, i feel like my eyes are going to fall out, and fun just sounds like “getting tired while laughing.” so i’m going to post some really interesting stats while i think of something else.

but you should totally listen to party poison // my chemical romance to celebrate.

anyway. the stats.

*coughs*

*adjusts glasses*

664 followers.

315 posts

80k views

9k comments

top commenters:

rutvi – 106 (get a LIFE, rutvi. honestly.[i’m kidding, i like your comments.])

sam – 45

mckenna – 32

allison – 32

kathleen – 26

gracie – 24

so i thought of something sort of special that i could do. blogging tips. *jazz hands* it’ll be fun, don’t worry. i’ve got three and a half years of experience total, so i’m definitely qualified to write this (sarcasm).

☼ if you’re trying to design a button, header, featured image, etc., canva will be your friend.

☼ white backgrounds look the cleanest.

☼ avoid colored text, it’s hard to read.

☼ reply to comments and comment on other blogs.

☼ hosting challenges is a great way to get views.

☼ experiment with themes and colors until you find something that feels right.

☼ try to write about a variety of topics (unless, of course, your blog is specifically about one thing).

☼ tag your posts! they’ll help wordpress users find your blog.

☼ whatever you’re working on for your blog right now will be embarrassing in time. you’ll look back on it someday and wonder why anyone let you put that on the internet. it’s alright, post it anyway.

☼ if your pictures are blurry, say that they’re aesthetic, and no one will be able to complain about it.

☼ write down your blog-related stuff in a notebook. it can be titles for posts, bits of poetry, ideas for challenges, things you want to take pictures of, whatever.

☼ when in doubt, do a tag or q&a.

☼ pictures are good. make them big.

☼ make a separate email for your blog, so your main one doesn’t get swamped with notifications.

☼ give credit where credit is due. if you’re using a picture you didn’t take, link it back to the owner.

☼ there’s no shame in editing your pictures. the photo editors i use are picasa and picmonkey.

☼ try not to check your stats obsessively.

☼ proofread your posts. preview them before you hit publish and check for spelling and grammar errors. make sure that they’re well formatted.

☼ leave a gap of at least one day between posts.

☼ take hiatuses whenever you need to. there’s no need to post if you don’t want to/don’t have inspiration.

☼ become friends with other bloggers. internet friendships are amazing (although a little painful, since you can’t actually be with them). you can share ideas, encourage each other, chat, etc. you might become closer to them than your irl friends.

if you’ve got any tips to add, leave those in the comments.

so if my blog is two years old, then i myself must be at least that old, too. maybe i got my blog as a gift on the day that i was born. maybe i’m actually a two-year-old who got ahold of a computer and a dictionary. i’ve tricked all of you into becoming friends with me, a baby. let’s be lost is run by a two-year-old, pass it on.

(i’m not actually a baby.)

(well, a crybaby, perhaps. but that’s different.)

now we’ve just got to see if i can survive another year and get to my three-year blogiversary. :)

Dance Tylerjoseph GIF - Dance Tylerjoseph Twenty GIFsx

^^ tyler knows how to party.

xo

loren

// cwwc 2017 | sign-ups //

hello, my friends! the time has come to sign up for cwwc 2017. before i get into all of the details, how to sign up, etc., here are the teams:

team narnia (the chronicles of narnia) — 95 votes.

team hogwarts (harry potter) — 90 votes.

team half-blood (percy jackson and the olympians)– 31 votes.

team shire (lord of the rings) — 24 votes.

“important” information:

what it is:

creating words writing camp is an online writing challenge. it will last the entire month of august.

how it works:

for each challenge, i’ll post three writing prompts, a mix between dialogue and picture prompts. the participants will have four days to complete their entry and post it on their blog/email it to me. your entry can be a short story, poem, or story that continues throughout the challenges.

the goal:

to grow as a writer, and to help your team win. the winning team is whichever one has the most points at the end of august. you can earn points by submitting your stories on time (worth two points) and using the provided writing prompts (one point per prompt).

teams:

this year, the teams are team narnia, team hogwarts, team half-blood, and team shire. all of the participants will be sorted onto a team.

if you don’t have a blog:

you can still participate! all that changes is that instead of posting your story on your blog, you email it to me instead. my email is happyhouseofag@gmail.com.

how to sign up:

☼ leave a comment on this post, telling me your name and blog url.

☼ for those without a blog: tell me your name and that you are participating through email.

☼ tell me which team you would like to be on, as well as a second choice.

make sure to sign up before midnight on july 30th. i will post the first challenge on august 1st.

still have questions? you can ask me in the comments, and i’ll do my best to clear things up.

xo

loren

// creating worlds writing camp 2017 //

yep, it’s official — creating worlds writing camp will be returning for its third year!

for anyone who doesn’t know, creating worlds writing camp (or cwwc) is a month-long writing challenge. i’ve been hosting it yearly since 2015. it’s quite popular among my readers, so i decided to bring it back this year.

cwwc 2017 will take place this august. every few days (either three or four, i haven’t quite decided yet), i’ll post three writing prompts, and all you have to do is write a short story/poem/story that continues throughout the challenge/whatever inspired by them, and give me the link before the time limit is up. (if you want to participate, but don’t have a blog, you can email your writing to me.) you’ll get one point per prompt, plus some points for submitting your story on time, and whichever team has the most points at the end of the month wins.

this is just an announcement post, so i’ll write up all the rules and open sign-ups closer to august.

the main purpose of this post is to decide on what the teams will be. in the past, the teams have always been team narnia, team half-blood, team dragon, and team keeper. i wanted to mix it up a little this year, come up with some new team names. there might even be more teams this year, depending on how many people sign up. anyway, i made a poll of name ideas. vote for your favorites, please, it would help me a lot. all the teams are going to be named after book series, and if you think of one that should be on the poll, you can let me know in the “other” section.

there’s another thing i need your help with. should you have three days to turn in your story, or four? (the day i post the prompts for the challenge would count as part of the time limit.) here’s another poll for you to vote on:

thank you for helping me out! i’ll start working on all the cwwc-related stuff before august, so hopefully it will be less stressful for me than in previous years. :)

are you excited for cwwc? do you plan on participating?

xo

loren