Dear YA Authors,

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Dear Young Adult authors everywhere,

Your books are popular. Thousands of teens all over the world immerse themselves your stories. Fandoms are created. Fan-fiction is written. Memes go viral. Teens obsess over your works. Your stories trigger laughter, tears, and many other floods of emotions.

Ugh. It’s infuriating!

I am about to relate pretty much the three types of YA novels EVER!

The High-School Love Story

Yes. We all know this one. The book on how two teenagers meet, and even though they are totally different, they still fall in love. Every. Single. Time. They really normally don’t have anything in common. One is supper funny and popular. The other is awkward and a nobody. The boy writes sappy poetry or metaphors for the girl. FYI high school boys are not like this!!! Seriously. I just pretty much described one-half of every YA novels. One I have read lately: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.

The Dystopian Future Novel

I am looking at you, Divergent, The Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Uglies, and more. Okay, I like some of them, but there are too many plot similarities. Protagonist lives in some twisted government-gone-wrong society, and it is up to him and a bunch of (not the smartest) teenagers to fix the world’s problems. It is a good idea, but we need some plot variety here, please! Later they are made into some big-hit movie that everyone loves, but just remember that the book is better. always.

The Main Character that is battling some sort of Illness Book

Whether it be a mental illness, eating disorder, or physical sickness these are insanely popular. Probably due to the fact that we all become emotional over these stories. The main character defies all odds and overcomes his/her illness or dies. (we all know which book I’m talking about!). They’re completely and utterly predictable. Whatever you do, have a tissue box ready.

That is basically every YA novel ever wrote. Just throw in a love-triangle, a ton of stereotypes, and unnecessary language, and you got yourself a bestselling predictable story that every teen will gobble up.

I guess what I am basically trying to say through all this is: Dear YA authors, please write something other than the predictable fluff out there. I want real characters. Real stories. Not some story with a cliche “happily-ever-after-ending” where the guy gets the girl, the world is saved by a bunch of rash-acting teenagers, or the main character transforms into a totally new person. My life isn’t like this! No one has that perfect high-school love story that is all butterflies and rainbows. I don’t live in a world with a twisted government that is making their citizens fight to the death for entertainment. For real. Write something of quality. Is that too much to ask for?

Sincerely,

(Most) Teenagers Everywhere

senior pictures {Lane}

How time flies! Lane my lovely sister is graduating this year. Can she really be a senior already?!?! I honestly cannot believe it! I was able to take her senior pictures a couple weeks ago, but I am just now getting around to sharing them! If you have taken a look around my blog, you will find that I do not take a lot of pictures of people, so taking portraits was defiantly a first. It was a great learning experience, and I am looking forward to growing more as a photographer. Thanks, Lane for being a “guinea pig!”

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Not only is she gorgeous, Lane is an amazing blogger, sister, and friend! I cannot wait to see her soar in the years to come!

 

the rules of photography

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Someone once asked me “so, tell me all the rules of photography.” I honestly didn’t really know what to say, so I stumbled through explaining the rule of thirds (probably in a very confusing way). A key phrase stuck out in my head that day: the rules of photography….. the rules…..rules. Afterwards as I was muling over that conversation in my head, I came up with a single solitary rule: there are no rules in photography. I know, I know. That is probably freaking some people out. Our brains are naturally telling us there are always rules. Stop at the stop sign, don’t steal the candy bar, look both ways before crossing the street, to name a few, but in reality, rules are a box that we often try to fit our creativity in. 

Of course, things like the rule of thirds, color theory, framing, and texture contrast are great, but when you are so hard and set of following these “rules” your image might not reach its full potential. I think it is especially easy for new photographers to fall into the habit of following rules too strictly. I know that I personally have been guilty of trying too hard to follow all the rules.

Okay, I will say, it is good to learn the “rules” before you break them. In my opinion, the best way to grow in your photography is to study pictures you love. While studying them, determine what exactly you love about them and why you love it. That is how you grow. I always seem to be drawn to the pictures with bright colors and high contrast, so I shoot that way. If I told myself that I need to meter at 0, my photos would look pretty different.

I guess what I am trying to say is that instead of trying to follow rules, rules, rules, learn by trial and error. See what you love and recreate it. Use rules to help you but not limit you. I apologize for my seemingly unorganized rant that you might call writing.

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apple photography {reflections}

I am always looking for new ways to change up my still life photography. Enter reflections. Reflections easily add depth and interest to a seemingly simple still life. This giant bathroom mirror has been sitting in our garage for ages. So it was lugged out (thanks, Dad!), cleaned, and dragged outside. My sister and brother just returned from a trip to Vermont and brought back DOZENS of apples, so enter perfect subject. I had a lot of fun playing with the aperture and the tree reflections!

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Enjoy the fall weather and the weekend!

tutorial: watercolor wax resist

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Dear friends, it’s been too long. Summer has come and gone. I have been on two whole vacations. Taken over 2,000 photos {that will be at some point shared}. Read 15 books. Taken more pictures. And not blogged a single bit.  Alas, I am here with goals of blogging more frequently–hopefully they will work. But I am back with a tutorial for y’all!

Watercolor wax resist is super easy! It is great to make for stationary, lettering projects, wrapping paper, and pretty much anything artsy under the sun!

Supplies:

+ watercolors {nothing special. I used some from a cheap, ancient art kit}

+ brush

+ water

+ card stock {you can use regular paper, but I found card stock to work better}

+ white crayon

 

I decided for my first ones, I would do some stationary {cut card stock at 20×13 cm}. First you need to write or draw whatever you want on your paper with your crayon. Wherever you draw with the white crayon will resist the watercolor meaning it will stay white. It will be hard to see where you write, so be careful. Also apply a good amount of pressure to ensure you don’t miss any spots.

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The next step is the fun part! Choose your watercolor and paint all over the paper. Where the crayon is, will stay white. Pretty cool, huh?!

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I like to add some other color highlights. Here I used orange to along with the fuchsia.

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Here is another card I made.

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The possibilities are basically endless! birthday, thank you, christmas, get well. anything.

I decided to get creative next. I took a part of the Bible verse our family is currently learning, and I am pretty excited about how it turned out!

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I am pretty happy with how all of them turned out! Happy crafting, and happy weekend!

 

 

 

summer reading {part 1}

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There is nothing like sitting in a hammock in the heat with a good book, or sitting in the sand at the beach with a good book, or sitting anywhere knowing it is summer with a good book. Every summer we have to read for summer reading for my mom (and sometimes for academic classes the coming year). In short, we do a lot of reading around here! Here are some books that I have read so far this summer, and how I liked them! Also check out my Goodreads to see more books that I love!

  1. Peter and the Starcatchers  by David Barry

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Although I was quickly drawn in by the eye-catching front cover, I did not enjoy this read. It is often that I do not really enjoy books, but it is rare that I flat out do not like them. I stuck with this one, though. Let me tell you, the conflict wasn’t introduced to the story until around page 200(ish)! The book was entirely too long with an entirely to slow beginning! I will say that it became better towards page 300,  but the ending was not good enough to justify the very boring beginning.The story line was good, but I felt like it could be re-written in about half as many pages. (the whole book was about 450 pages long!) Everyone that I know who has read it has raved about how good it is, but I did not like it very much. It is actually one of my younger sister’s favorite books! Anyone else not like this one?

2. Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead

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This one I could not put down. Really. Although it was semi-plotless, Rebecca Stead never fails to draw me in with her down to earth characters, funny moments, and creative ideas. I cannot pin down specifically why I love this book so much, but I just do. One of the main themes is how you can either let all the trials and drama in middle school (or high school) tear your relationships apart, or you can choose to use those trials to bring you closer together. I give it my “Grace-Stamp-of-Approval”

3. Finding Alice by Melody Carlson *Warning: it is hard to talk about this book without the spoilers below. You have been warned!!*

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What else can I say about this book besides: it is beautiful. Well, I can actually say a lot about it. Alice has schizophrenia. She runs away.  She feels she is worthless. She is stalked by Amelia. She is broken. She finds hope. She finds a home. She is precious. She is protected. She found God. This is one of those books that you feel terrible while reading, and you just cannot bear to see Alice’s illness get worse. Never fear, the ending is so redemptive. It is such a beautiful story how someone as broken as Alice can turn to God and be healed and find peace. I cannot recommend this book enough!

4. First Light by Rebecca Stead

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Okay, yes, I am on a Rebecca Stead kick, but that is not a bad thing! First Light was her first book, and I applaud her for the very creative idea. Parts of it reminded me of Gathering Blue by Lowis Lowry and some parts of it reminded me of Goodbye Stranger. Two totally different stories come together in this very unique story. While this book was good, it has not been one of my favorite. I rated it three stars on Goodreads which means “I liked it.” So yes, I liked it, but I felt like it was a bit dull and confusing at times. I am glad I read it though.

5. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt

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Gary D. Schmidt captures the pure essence of middle school perfectly. Holling thinks his teacher “hates his guts”, and maybe she does because she makes him read Shakespeare!! *gasp* This book had me internally rolling with laughter as one mishap after another happens to poor Holling. Yes, the beginning is slow, but this ending does justify the slower start. This is an easy read that people of all ages will find most enjoyable. I mean yellow tights, cream puffs, professional baseball players all in one story! How much better can it get!

 

That’s all the books I have read for the time being! More to come! Happy Summer!