Reaching For The Stars: Ep. 1 // The Cheer Competition

Lea’s POV

I took a deep breath as we entered the floor, smiling, waving, and tumbling into our starting positions. My heart pounded with a mixture of excitement, adrenaline, and fear as the music started.

Immediately, we all ran towards the platform, making a formation to catch Jade as she would flip into our arms. As we scrambled into position, I thought of how important this performance was for me. It wasn’t just my first year on the elite Shooting Stars cheerleading squad – it was my first year cheerleading, period. And also my first competition ever!

Jade flipped into our arms! We caught her, preparing to throw her up in the air as we turned around. Jade was a high school cheerleader, but the three top junior high cheerleaders got to compete with Jade, the captain of the high school team, at Luv2Cheer (the competition we were at). It was so crazy that I’d made it here, insane that I was performing this routine after a few weeks of cheer and a modest tumbling background…

But as we spun Jade around and lifted her up, all my thoughts melted away. I only focused one on thing: getting the flyer up in to the air.

And we hit perfectly! The crowd roared as we pulled Jade high above our heads, beaming. Jade threw her arms up in the air and smiled widely before we dismounted, placing her on the ground.

We raced into formation and stood with our arms at our sides and our feet parallel, which in cheerleading is called “clean”. I ran through the dance motions in my mind in the few counts we had before the music switched and we would begin our dance…

But suddenly, the beat dropped, and I didn’t have to think about it at all. I smoothly moved from one position to another, muscle memory and adrenaline taking over, as I made different smiley and sassy expressions!

The dance section ended, and Tenney and Alexandra dropped into a middle split while I ran forward and Jade stepped backwards, forming a “V” shape. I stood in a lunge in anticipation of the huge, crazy stunt we were about to do…

Tenney and Alexandra quickly stood up from their splits as I did a back walkover, landing in a bridge! All those years of once-a-week tumbling classes since I was little finally paid off.

I stood up into a handstand, feeling nervous and confident and shaky all at once. I knew what would happen next…and the stunt we were about to do was crazy difficult. If we could hit this, we would win the competiton almost automatically.

And we did it! Just in time, Alexandra and Tenney scrambled on to the platform in the nick of time for Jade to toss me on to her shoulders. Alexandra and Tenney held me up. I beamed with pride, holding my hands high in the air. We did it!

Tenney, Jade, and Alexandra lowered me on to the ground. As they ran to position, I did a spectacular front handspring! I could hear the crowd cheer as I did the impressive move – but I tried to block everything out. I had to focus on the routine…

I landed the tumbling section and slid into a split, while Jade and the other girls posed on top of the platform. The next move we were about to do was even crazier than the rest of this routine…and if we messed this up, we would have no chance at first. The first half had been perfect – and now we had to live up to it.

And we formed a pyramid with Tenney on top as Jade threw her hands up and lunged in preparation for the stunt…

And Jade sprung off the platform into a toe-touch…above Tenney and the pyramid! The crowd screamed, and the judges scribbled down impressed notes. But their faces remained impartial; was this all enough to beat some of the most experienced teams in the state?

Isabel Landed, and we stood up on the platform and held her high in our final formation. The music ended, and we headed off the stage. I was sweating like crazy, my muscles ached, and I should’ve felt exhausted, but I didn’t. Instead, I felt full of energy and couldn’t stop smiling long after we’d exited the floor. I know we’d done it.

Jade, our captain, held up our first place trophy high for the photographers. It hadn’t been easy to get here – I’d had to face haters, jealousy, trials, and injuries. But I couldn’t help feeling like I’d made it through it all.

I’d reached for the stars – and grabbed them. I was swinging from the stars, higher than the moon, on top of the world.

Hey guys! So this originally started out as a doll-stunting expirement, then a cheer-themed photoshoot, then a short photostory, and now it’s become a series! So yes, this is the first episode of Reaching for the Stars – but it starts with the end of the story. The following episodes will show how Lea got here, and all of the challenges she had to face! I’m super excited for this spontaneous photo series, and hopefully you guys are too!

Are you excited for this series? Anyone noticed the hidden label on the featured image? Have you ever done cheerleading? Which stunt was your favorite?

PS My birthday post is up on Diary of a Daydreamer!

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October Birthday Bash // An Aesthetic Llama-Themed Birthday Photoshoot!

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Hey guys! October is upon us, which means birthday season for the AGW fam! On top of my birthday on the tenth, it’s also Alexandra, Paris, and Z’s birthday month. To celebrate, I have a super fun llama-birthday-party-inspired photoshoot for you guys! (Which, of course, is super summery, but OH WELL)

This photo is so cute! I love how Lea’s camera matches the party’s aesthetic. I’m also obsessed with how Z’s outfit and scrunchie match too, lol. In case you were wondering, the scrunchie is actually the one I got from this post on Diary of a Daydreamer, my lifestyle blog!

This pizza photo cracks me up! She looks so serene and relaxed, but then she’s biting into some pepperoni and cheese. Oh, and I love how the stuffed llama is staring judgemently in the background. XD

I made this unicorn Frapuccino following a tutorial on American Girl Ideas! Isn’t it cute? I love how aesthetic it is. The purple is wayyyy brighter in real life, but it showed up reddish for some reason…Also this photo is REALLY vibrant, but oh well.

These llamas are so cute! The one on the right is Jeffrey, and the other one I got at camp named Bailey.

SO CUTE! You know what this photo reminds me of??

This pic from last November! In case you didn’t know, I’m obsessed with llamas, and it was super cool to take a selfie with one. XD I love how the llama was posing for the picture! (But ugh, my teeth are so yellow…and I still had my retainer back then, ew!)

Aw, this pic is really cute! I like how the background is blurred just enough to where you can see the decor, but are still focusing on the dolls. Also, Z and Paris are very distracted, lol.

Since school has started, Alexandra, Tenney, and Lea have joined the cheer squad that Jade is captain of! I’m obsessed with cheer right now – I’m so excited for tryouts next year in seventh grade! I thought it would be fun to do a post about the girls’ cheer competition…what do you guys think?

Ever since I started DD and school has started, you might have noticed that I haven’t been posting very much lately. I wish I had a really good reason, but I only have a few that are kind of lame: I’ve been super busy lately with school and dance, and when I do have time for blogging, lately I’ve been preffering to work on DD.

Also, I’ve been a little unmotivated lately, since my stats for posts have been going way down. I only get a handful of comments or even no comments at all on posts I’ve worked really hard on, which is really discouraging sometimes. I know stats aren’t everything, but I always am wondering why my posts used to be more popular in the past.

On that note…isn’t this photo so cute? Z and Paris aren’t super photogenic dolls, but I do think that they look pretty good in this photoshoot! Don’t you think?

More pictures with the camera…it’s just so cute! I love how Lexie is posing with her arm around Paris.

I got Alexandra as my second doll for my birthday when I was seven years old. I remember I picked her out because she looked the most like me, and I was ecstatic to open her! I remember I loved finally being able to play InnerstarU (any long-time AG fans remember that?) because she came with an account code. I spent hours playing on that website as her, finally being able to have a friend for Isabel, and making up countless stories with them!

I was definitely not expecting to come home with Ziana from the AG store on my tenth birthday! I remember liking her when she first came out, but I never really thought I would buy her…that is, until we went to the AG store for my birthday and I picked her out! Immediately I made an unboxing video, and realized she had the dreaded permapanties, so I sent her to the hospital and now she’s as good as new!

I got Paris as another unexpected gift for my eleventh birthday, and I was so happy! I had sent my grandma a list of some stuff I wanted for my birthday, and I sort of liked this Truly Me. On my birthday morning, I found her with the rest of my presents!

I guess that concludes this little birthday party post! I really hope you guys enjoyed reading this. Which photo was your favorite? When is your birthday? Which doll do you like best? Are you as obsessed with the aesthetic-ness of this birthday party? Don’t forget to follow along and leave a comment!

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I Have 12% Of A Plan Blog Tour: The FaceTime Fiasco! // A Photostory Feat. Diamond @ Build A Bears Furever!

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I sat on the floor of the living room, scrolling through random posts on Emmie’s WordPress reader.

But a post called Surprise! from Build A Bears Furever caught my eye. I clicked, curious.

What?! I thought as she read the post. Diamond is starting a personal blog? That’s crazy! I have to FaceTime the Stones!

The phone rang…and rang…and rang! Ugh, this is taking forever. I waited impatiently for a few moments, before Cloud answered the phone. “Um…who is this?”

“CLOUD! It’s me, Maryellen! From American Girl World? Helloooo? Remember me?”

“Oh yeah! I know you. Why are you calling?”

“Well…” I lowered my voice dramatically. “I saw that Diamond posted something very important on the stuffie blog. Something about…a surprise.”

“WHAT SURPRISE?” Candy butted in. “Who is this?”

“Maryellen,” I said. “I saw that Diamond is starting a new blog.”

“Oh, really? She hasn’t told us. Cool!” Cloud said.

“But here’s the thing – ever since Emmie started her personal blog, Emmie’s posted like two posts. TWO POSTS. And how many of those was I in? NONE!”

Candy gasped. “You don’t mean…”

“Yes,” I nodded solemnly. “Diamond is going to forget all about you!”

“WHAT?!” Candy shrieked. “No! No! That can’t beeeeeee!” She wailed. “That means less presents! How dare she?”

“Oh no! I love the blog. She can’t abandon us!”

“Sorry to break it to ya. But that’s what happens!”

Just then, Alexandra came into the room. “Hey, Ellie! I’m home!” Then she noticed I was on Paris’s iPad. “Ellie! You’ve gotta stop doing that! You’ve reached your device limit for today. Hand it over.”

“But I can’t! I’m calling the Stones to tell them that Diamond is starting a new blog and she’s going to forget all about them. See?” I shoved the phone in Alexandra’s face for emphasis. Candy and Cloud waved from inside the phone.

“Maryellen! Why would you tell them that? That is so not true.”

“But it is! Haven’t you noticed that Emmie hasn’t done any posts since like August? Which just so happens to be the month she started her new blog?”

“That’s not true – Emmie’s been working hard on transferring to the new website all weekend. Plus, she’s also been so busy with school and dance that she even missed last week’s post on her new blog!”

“Oh…”

Alexandra took Paris’s iPad right out of my hands. “I’m so sorry, Cloud and Candy! Diamond still loves you, she’s just going to be spending a little time getting her new blog started at first.”

“YES!” Candy cheered. “More presents!”

“Phew!” Cloud sighed in relief.

“Okay, I’ve got to start packing. Maryellen, say bye to the Stones!”

“Bye!” I waved, and Alexandra hung up.

“But you do realize that Emmie hasn’t posted about either of us all summer, right?”

“We’re in a post right now.”

“Oh.”

Hey guys! I had so much fun collaborating with Diamond to make this cute photo story for her blog tour for her new blog, I Have 12% of a Plan! I love the pictures she took – thank you so much, Diamond! I really hope you guys liked this photostory, Diamond and I worked super hard on it!

Do you like the photostory? What do you think of the little living room setup? The FaceTime editing? Maryellen’s new freckles? The little iPad I made? Diamond’s adorable photos?

And…hmm…what could Alexandra possibly be packing for?

September 12th: Build a Bears Furever

September 13th: Middle Mary

September 14th: Taking the Cake

Spetember 15th: Liberty

September 16th: Pananaw

September 17th: American Girl World

September 18th: Treasured Script

PS. I FIGURED OUT WHY HER BLOG IS CALLED 12% OF A PLAN MWAHAHAHA (hint: it’s a marvel thing)

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Just The Beginning: AGMV (Ft. Original Song By Emmie!) // Camp Pineapple FINALE!

When Tenney discovers that Camp Pineapple is hosting their annual end-of-summer talent show, she has to sign up! But, she’s facing writer’s block on her newest song. As she thinks back to all of the memories she’s had at Camp Pineapple, can she finally write the song and perform it in the talent show?

Just the Beginning – LYRICS:

(Verse 1) Got a couple things left to say, hey

Before we all just go away, hey

Been such a crazy journey

Come on and sing along and dance with me

(Transition) Summer’s almost over, don’t got much more time

So come with me, while we still got daylight

I know it’s been such a crazy ride

But right now everything just feels so right!

(Chorus) Let summer last forever

Just all of us together

This isn’t ending

It’s just the beginning

We’ll party all day, laughing in the sunshine

Singing by the campfire in the moonlight

This isn’t ending

It’s just the beginning

This isn’t ending

It’s just the beginning

(Bridge)

Summer’s almost over, we’re running out of time

But you can trust me, everything will be alright

School’s out

Surf’s up

And we all start laughing

Sun’s out

Hands up

And we all start dancing

All of us, fireworks, light the sky

The night of our lives, yeah!

(Repeat Chorus)

Lyrics by Emmie

Vocals performed by Emmie

Track: Puzzle — Declan DP [Audio Library Release] Music provided by Audio Library Plus Watch: https://youtu.be/S0h8b-6Iiy4 Free Download / Stream: https://alplus.io/Puzzle

What did you think of the final episode? Are you sad Camp Pineapple is over? Check back soon for a brand-new photostory!

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Here’s What “DD” Really Means | I’m Launching A Lifestyle Blog!

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels.com

It took months and months of planning. Writing. Designing. Brainstorming. Organizing. Changing. Creating. And now, DD is ready for the world to see.

But what does DD even mean? What’s this secret project, anyways? Well, you’re about to find out.

But first, here’s what DD doesn’t mean. 😂 (Awesome guesses on the survey, guys!)

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

“I think that DD means uuuuuuuuuuum………*thinks for 10 minutes* something?”

“Nope 😝 maybe a new doll? I have no idea”

“No earthly idea lol”

“Either a book or an impressive video.”

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

You’re releasing one of your books??? Nooo idea. XD

“DD… does it have Doll as one of the words?”

“Hmm, another doll??”

“You’re going to publish a book?”

“Videos of your dolls dressed as tap-dancing rainbow llamas? (no idea)”

(I’m 99% sure that last one was Natalie. 😂😂😂)

And here’s some guesses that came pretty close to what DD really means:

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Pexels.com

“Is there a new blog or business?”

“Hmmm, a new blog maybe? A blog design service?”

“Giveaway?”

But, there’s only one guess that got it spot-on:

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

“IT’S A PERSONAL BLOGGGYYYYYY”

Yup, you read that right! (You also read the title which completely gave this all away, but oh well 😂) I’m finally starting a lifestyle blog – an idea that’s been bouncing around in my brain ever since I first started AGW. It’s been my dream to have a lifestyle blog – and now that dream is coming true!

But wait – what does DD even mean? What does that have to with anything?

Here’s the deal: My new blog is called Diary of a Daydreamer, which is what DD stands for!

The name Diary of a Daydreamer came to me like a whisper in the middle of the night. I kept flipping back and forth between different names, trying to decide what fit DD the best. But then I came up with that name – and I knew it was perfect. I set up some polls to see which one my audience liked the best, and Diary of a Daydreamer won by a landslide!

This new blog is a place where I share my ideas, stories, tips, tutorials, life, songs, and daydreams. At Diary of a Daydreamer, every Saturday you’ll find posts on Blogging, Dance, Fashion, Lifestyle, Music, and Writing. Make sure to subscribe and follow on the new blog so you never miss another post!

CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT DIARY OF A DAYDREAMER!

But here’s the best part – to celebrate DD’s launch, we’re hosting an epic giveaway with amazing prizes! And here’s the best part – the giveaway is COMPLETELY virtual, meaning the only address you’ll have to give me is your email! 😉

YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT ON THESE AMAZING PRIZES! CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

And don’t forget to follow the blog tour! This week, 6 different blogs and I are going to be posting some awesome content for you guys about Diary of a Daydreamer!

7th: Kickoff Post @ American Girl World
First Post @ Diary Of A Daydreamer

8th: Liz @ Home With The Hummingbirds

9th: Bekah Banister @ Questionable Tortoise Couture

10th: Natalie @ Taking the Cake
Emmie @ Standing Firm in My Faith

11th: Morgan McCartie @ Swingsets & Snapshots

12th: Enni @ On The Wings of a Dream

13th: Jo @ Pananaw
Wrapup Posts @ American Girl World & Diary Of A Daydreamer

I’m so excited for this new blog, and I can’t wait for all of the amazing opportunities! Thanks for reading this post, and I hope you’ll check out Diary of a Daydreamer!

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Setting Up American Girl Doll Sleepaway Summer Camp Cabin!

Hey guys! Paris and Tenney are heading off to Camp Pineapple as campers and Jade as their counselor in Phoenix Cabin! Check out this fun, relaxing, and weirdly satisfying (lol) video about making a summer camp cabin for American Girl Dolls. It’s the perfect place for the Camp Pineapple campers to hang out in this awesome doll room!

*Credits in the video’s description*

I have this shelf unit in the doll room I use as a photography/video/stop motion studio that worked perfectly as a cute cabin for a summer camp! I’m literally SO EXCITED for my sleep away camp – only like 2 more weeks! Ahhh I can’t wait.

So, some of you guys who’ve been following AGW since the beginning might remember this terribly cringey photo story series I posted, which was literally called “What My Dolls Did While I Was Gone” and was exactly that. As usual, it was super dramatic and very cheesy. XD

So I thought about doing a sequel series, (kinda like what Together is going to be!) but then I thought, “Wouldn’t it be so much more fun if the dolls were actually AT camp?” So, I decided, I’m doing a summer camp series!

It’s going to be full of photo stories, crafts, guest posts, games, activities, and a ton of fun! I have the DD surprise, my other blog, Together, a contest coming up, and my summer camp and vacations to work on, too, so for the next few weeks I’ll be filming/photographing/writing the episodes to be scheduled as posts throughout the summer, so that way I can focus on my other projects and have a fun series for you guys!

I’m super excited for this series, and I hope you guys like it too! Of course, the dolls need a cabin for Camp Pineapple (their summer camp in the series!), so in this video, I set up a cute summer camp cabin for the dolls! I hope you guys enjoyed, and don’t forget to subscribe to the American Girl World YouTube channel (we recently hit 50 subs, ahhh)!

And now, for some *drumroll please* behind the scenes photos!

Are you excited for the new series? Aren’t the BTS pics hilarious? Do you like the cabin? What do you think of my new profile picture?

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I Entered Lea in a Doll Photography Contest…and Got 2nd Place?! | All Of My Photos From the Competition!

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Hey guys! Emmie here, with some incredible news! I entered Lea in a doll photography contest, and I won 2nd place! This is such a huge achievement for me, and I can’t believe I made it all the way to the finale!

I put a lot of hard work into each and every one of these photos, so I decided to share them with you guys, and tell you what place in each round I got for each one!

Quick disclaimer: In no way am I trying to brag, I just wanted to share something I accomplished and I thought you guys would enjoy the photos! So, without further ado (adieu?), let’s get started!

This was my photo to get into the competition, hosted by AG TV. on YouTube! I absolutely could not believe it when I ended up being one of the finalists, that was crazy! I was so happy!

I really like how this photo turned out! I took it in front of a mural in a historic town, which was really fun. The original had a lot of stray hairs blowing over her face, so I edited those out in Photoshop Fix and brightened up the colors, contrast, and her eyes.

I think this one is my favorite photo out of the entire competition! The theme was Animal Week, and I actually got first place this week, which was crazy! I couldn’t believe it!

In an app called Messenger Kids, they have all of these fun and weird filters. I was experimenting with the zebra filter, which happened to work on dolls! I realized it would be perfect for animal week, so I put together a top out of some spare zebra-print fabric, and snapped a photo using the app. Then, I erased the background in PowerPoint, and added an African background from Unsplash. I edited the photo in Pixlr, and then sent it to AG TV.!

This weeks theme was Editorial, which basically means weird, high fashion, strange, glamorous, over-the-top, etc. This was a SUPER hard theme, but I ended up recreating a photo of Maddie Ziegler in her editorial photoshoot! I love how the photo turned out and I got third place!

I cut out elements of Maddie’s photo in PowerPoint, and then cut out the background of a photo of Lea. Then I combined all of the elements in both PowerPoint and Pixlr, and added some effects, and I was done!

The theme for this week was Movie Poster week! This was so cool and fun to make, and I think it turned out pretty well! I ended up getting second place!

Basically, I took a photo of Lea, and then darkened around the edges a LOT, so much that you couldn’t see the background and it looked super dramatic. In Photoshop Fix, I erased some shine marks and smoothed her skin, and in Canva I added the words! My idea for the movie was a horror/drama/thriller about a bunch of kids who are on a mission to find a lost girl, but it turns out, she doesn’t exist. *Dun dun dun!*

Sorry this version of the photo is so blurry! I had to enlarge it so it would fit. Anyways, the theme was Colors, and I got Orange! Orange is a SUPER hard color – nothing is orange, so it was really hard. But, somehow I managed to get first place this round, which is crazy!

I used a background from Unsplash and cut out Lea in PowerPoint, and then I added a transparent background image of a balloon from Google! I fixed up the photo in Pixlr, and added a quote.

So this weeks’ theme was Minimalistic/Simplistic Week, and I was actually on the bottom! It was super nerve-wracking. I was nervous about this photo, and I had to ask a bunch of different people if it was simplistic enough, but AG TV. still thought that it didn’t fit the theme and there was too much going on. Thankfully, I didn’t get eliminated and stayed in the competition!

Once again, I found an image on Unsplash and cut Lea out in PowerPoint, and I fixed up the image and added the holographic fringe effect in Pixlr.

This week was Unedited Week, which meant that I couldn’t edit or could only minimally edit my photo this week! This week I kind of had to step out of my comfort zone, since I’d been heavily relying on editing for my last several photos in the competition. I actually got first place, though, which was crazy and I was so happy! I really love how this photo turned out!

We went to the park for one of my first location shoots in a while, and I took a bunch of different photos of her with my Mom’s iPhone X. The only editing I did was brightening up the exposure, and that’s it! This was super fun to take and I’m really happy about the end result!

So this week was Marvel Week, AKA the grand finale! I did Black Widow as my character. I was SO NERVOUS for this finale! I got a few negative comments on this one, but also a lot of positive ones, so I was really nervous if I was going to win or not. Turns out, I got second place, and I was SO HAPPY AHHHH! I could NOT BELIEVE IT!!!

I recreated a movie poster of Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow/Scarlet Johanson, and used the background from it for the photo. I cut out Lea, and added some dramatic effects in Pixlr and the iPhone camera app. I added a logo in the corner!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is untitled-design-7.png

So, that’s how I did in the photography competion! I couldn’t believe that I got second place, and I loved the experience! I grew so much as a photographer! I’m planning on doing my own contest like this this summer, so stay tuned!?

What was your favorite photo? Have you ever done a contest like this? Are you excited for the summer contest?

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