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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e x p l o r e | a paris photoshoot

Hey guys! By the time you read this, I’ll be at camp! *excited squeals* Ahh, I literally cannot wait! I recently went to my grandma’s house, and she has the most amazing backyard ever! It’s super aesthetic, and even has this little secret passageway.

I’ve probably done three or four photoshoots here, but I’ve improved so much in my photography that I decided to do another one with Paris! I hope you guys enjoy these photos with summery, adventure vibes!

This photo turned out so gorgeous with the bokeh in the back and the beautiful sunstreaks! I really love Paris’s outfit, too. This might be my favorite photo if Paris was looking at the camera!

I’m starting to think that Paris might have the eye defect. I’ve never really noticed it before, but when I’m looking at all of these photos, she’s not looking at the camera, even though I’m at eye level – she’s looking down!

I love this photo! Her hair is a bit messy, but the lighting is perfect. It looks like there’s a filter or something! If only she was looking straight at the camera….

I love this photo, too! It’s my favorite out of this photoshoot, I think. The bird pool reminds me of the Chronicles Of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, because it looks like the wood between the worlds!

This picture is pretty similar to the last one, and I really like it too. I prefer the angle in the other one, but the lighting is amazing in this photo! Plus, the colors are so vibrant. I can’t believe this turned out so well, I’m really excited!

She’s kind of looking at the camera here! Yay! I don’t think I’m going to send her in to the AG hospital right away, since the eye defect doesn’t bother me too much. Maybe while I’m on vacation I’ll send her to the AGH? I’m not really sure. Plus, I don’t want to wait three weeks! I should probably finish filming/photographing/writing Camp Pineapple first.

I think this photo turned out pretty well! I love the woodsy vibes from this photoshoot, and it’s nice how her jacket matches the background without blending into it.

AHHHHHHHHH! I think this photo is HORRIBLE. It’s probably the worst out of all of the photoshoot. Her eyes are completely dark, her face is shadowy, the lighting is harsh, the angle is weird….not my best work! Ugh…

This photo took FOREVER to edit, but I think it turned out pretty well! I took a different approach to the photo and tried a really far way angle that still focused on Paris. I did a ton of editing – the background was too bright compared to the foreground, so I darkened it, but it still doesn’t look that right…oh well! I also blurred the background, which is why the blurring is a little inconsistent. Sorry about that!

I really love this picture! The filter I added looks really great with the rest of the picture, and I also brightened up her eyes. I like the angle! The one problem – SHE’S NOT LOOKING AT THE CAMERA!

I played around with the weird lighting on the porch and it ended up turning out really cool! The light filtered through wood on the porch roof, creating these cool shadows on Paris and the pots and plants behind her.

Did you know I took all of these pictures with an iPhone 6? I didn’t bring my camera with me, so I had to use my phone. They actually ended up being really great quality!

I hope you had fun e x p l o r i n g the beautiful summer scenery with me and Paris. I can’t wait for all of the amazing adventures coming this summer – there’s so much possibility!

One of those adventures is going to be camp tomorrow…which reminds me, I better go pack. Bye!

What adventures are you going on this summer? Which photo is your favorite? Do you think Paris has the defect? Should I send her to the doll hospital?

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Heal The World | Z’s Memorial Day Photoshoot

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race


There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me

If you want to know why
There’s a love that cannot lie
Love is strong
It only cares for joyful giving


If we try, we shall see
In this bliss we cannot feel
Fear or dread
We stop existing and start living

Then it feels that always
Love’s enough for us growing
So make a better world
Make a better world

Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race

There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make a better place for you and for me.

Lyrics from Michael Jackson – Heal The World Lyrics | MetroLyrics


Thank you so much for reading! Today we take a step back and think about what our veterans and soldiers do for us and how they risk their lives for our country and safety. This song by Micheal Jackson makes me think about the goal of our veterans, and how they help heal the world and make it a better place.

I hope you enjoyed the photos! Doesn’t Z look stunning with the flag backdrop? I think my favorite was the first picture! Also, I decided that the camp series won’t start until next week. 🙂

Which photo was your favorite? Are you thankful for veterans and soldiers?

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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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Hola! | A Summer AGMV (Cover)

Hey guys! It’s Emmie here with a brand-new AGMV with a summery vibe! I absolutely LOVE this song and I was super excited to cover it for an AGMV!

Lately I’ve been taking summery snapshots with my polaroid camera for my scrapbook, so I decided to go with a polaroid theme for the AGMV.

I added a fun called called Bristol, and hopefully it went with the summery, aesthetic theme of this AGMV! I also put in some clipart and graphics, along with a paint splash for the lyrics in Canva.

I spent all morning dressing dolls, fixing lighting, brushing hair, creating outfits, posing dolls, and snapping photos! The rest of the day I spent editing everything together.

It took a ton of hard work, but I’m really happy about how it turned out!


☆ CREDITS ☆

☆ INTRO TEMPLATE: HeyIt’sMya | https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8l3… ☆

☆ END SCREEN: editing by matthieu | His channel: http://bit.ly/editingbymatthieu

☆ BACKGROUND TRACK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUDv-… BY SOL CHRISTIAN BACKDROP KARAOKE | SONG ORIGINALLY BY HOLLYN, PERFORMED BY EMMIE ☆


Did you like the video? Do you like the song? What did you think about the post format?

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Z Crew News Episode 4 | Coverage You Can Count On (Ft. Julia Herkel & Jo @ Pananaw)

Welcome back to Z Crew News, here for our fourth episode in the hit series! I’m your host, Ziana Yang, here with coverage you can count on. In this episode, you’ll find the usual Around the Blogsphere (now hosted by Paris Elliot) and What’s Up, AGW? segments, along with two super-special spotlights with Julia and Jo!

Now, onto Paris for the fan-favorite segment, Around the Blogsphere!


Hey, everyone! Paris here with the latest scoop from around the blogging world. In this segment, we feature awesome blogs that we love who are accomplishing some awesome things, going on hiatus, hosting a giveaway or contest, reaching a milestone, and more!

thedolljournalist from Little Doll Journals is hosting an American Girl course! The six week course may not have any actual educational value, but you will learn a ton of awesome new things about American Girl that you never knew before, including hairstyling and dressing your dolls, AG’s history, and all about AG. The course will launch on (insert date), and you can check it out here.

Natalie from The AG Spot is creating an AG Blogger’s Club! Members of the bloggers club will be able to reblog their posts, get publicity, have their site listed, make friends, do collabs, and more. The official site will launch soon, and you can sign up to become a member here. AGW is super excited to be apart of Natalie’s AG Blogger’s Club!**

Hannah from The Striped Plaid has started aesthetic blog where she posts quotes, aesthetics, photos, and more! You can check out SP Aesthetic here.**

Arabella from Sparks of Ara created an aesthetic blog also, titled Arasthetic. However, it was mysteriously deleted, without any notice, about a week ago! We contacted Ara, and she says, “I deleted Arasthetic because although it was a fun blog, it didn’t have much purpose and I could have been posting that stuff on my main blog, Sparks of Ara…I also knew I probably wouldn’t end up posting a lot. I think at some point in the future I will start a similar blog to Arasthetic. It’ll be focused more towards my life, with aesthetics and photos as well. I’m hoping to start it as summer comes, because I can share things from the summer!”

AG’s in Alaska, whose doll blog is titled the same as her original username, has started a brand new personal blog, called Swingsets and Snapshots, and changed to the pen name Morgan McCartie! “…as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that I feel quite limited in what I can post about on my doll blog,” she said in a recent post announcing the news. “I’m sure many of you feel the same. I don’t want to be limited by only being able to post about dolls, so on my personal blog, I’ll be posting about photography, traveling, reading, writing, Alaskan life, my pets, and maybe even cooking!”* Why Morgan McCartie? She explains in the post that a long time ago her family’s last name got changed from McCartie, and her parents thought about naming her Morgan. Morgan thinks the two names go together perfectly, and the AGW crew and I couldn’t agree more!**

Mary from Middle Mary, Just Around the Corner, and Forever American Girl is celebrating one year of blogging with a stationary-themed giveaway! The prize package includes stickers, washi tape, clips, scrapbook paper, and more. You can enter here.

Ariana Evans from Ariana’s Archives recently changed her blog name from Ariana’s Flying Life to Ariana’s Archives! She also is now hosting weekly challenges on her blog and started a theology podcast, also called Ariana’s Archives.

Following the footsteps of many other bloggers who recently started podcasts (including Christina’s Convos, Blogging 101, and Ariana’s Archives), Heaven from Glorify Christ and her sister started an Adventures of Odyssey -themed podcast called Raspberry Ripples! Check out the podcast at their new site, Raspberry Ripples.

Also, Sam from Happily Ever After Dolls started a new personal blog! Don’t forget to follow Cherry on Top! Sam’s gorgeous graphic design and short and sweet posts are so amazing!**

Dozens of bloggers are back from Camp NaNo hiatuses, and even more joined the winner’s circle this year! “Over 70% of my cabin finished their projects this year!” Emmie says. “I’m so proud of everybody! We all worked so hard and did such a great job!”

And that’s it for the latest news from Around the Blogosphere! Back to you, Z!

*Post excerpt used with permission.

**None of these mentions are part of a blog tour.


Now for our next segment, What’s Up, AGW?, where we chat with Emmie and the other AGW dolls to find out the latest happenings and what’s coming up on the blog!

“I won Camp this year!” Emmie says excitedly. “I can’t believe it! Before Camp, I re-outlined Paris Takes The Shot, and renamed it Trying for the Sky. I recreated all the characters except Paris and Alexandra for copyright reasons, and restarted the actual writing part of the book. And now I’m at the first pinch point and almost 26k! I’m so happy and proud of myself!”

And what’s coming up on AGW this summer? “My school gets out on May 9th! I have a TON of things planned for this summer (including Forever Season 2)! There’s also going to be some BIG changes and BIG things coming to American Girl World (expect a post on that soon)! And, as usual, I’m planning a HUGE surprise.”

Emmie gave the ZCN Crew one cryptic hint of her surprise. She revealed the letters “DD” in her interview, and we’re puzzled at all of the possibilities!


We’re so excited to have TWO blogs spotlighted in our Spotlight segment this episode! First, please welcome Julia Herkel of Julia’s Creative Corner!

“I’m the third of seven girls, a reader, writer, singer, blogger, and dreamer. I homeschool, and love my coffee,” Julia says. Her friends would describe her as “Funny, writer, loyal. [And,] I love to sing and draw. I don’t call myself and artist yet in the drawing category, since I’m not that good yet. But I really want to get better, and in the future, get a drawing tablet.”

“I began blogging from a mixture of motives: I wanted other writers to learn from my mistakes, so they wouldn’t do the same (sometimes dumb) things as me. 😝 The other part was that I wanted to start growing an audience for my writing,” Julia says. She’s been blogging at JCC for just over a year and a half.

Her main goal for her blog is to help other writers. “My readers are basically what keep me going. I love knowing that I’ve helped someone with a problem, or to learn something new!”

She’s also working on growing her audience and making everything better for them. “I want my blog posts to be easier for them to understand, and fun to read. I’ve been putting in clear, followable steps at the end of my posts recently so that they can implement what they’ve learned from my post in their own writing.”

“I’ve written all types of posts in the past: interviews, tags, book reviews, cover making reviews, and writing posts. The majority of my posts are all writing-related, and I have to say, those are actually my favorite to write!” she says about the different posts on JCC. “They help me understand the subject better myself when I’m trying to put it into words for others, and I know that, somewhere out there, there’s a writer who needs this post exactly in their life right now. Feels pretty great!”

“I have one book available for purchase at the moment. It’s on Amazon, and it’s called The Storm Inside. At this time, though, I am actually rewriting that book to make it even better! 😃 Once it’s ready, I’m going to also put up a print copy to buy, instead of just an e-book format,” Julia says.

Her favorite genre to write is fantasy adventure, and her favorite part of the writing process is rewriting. “I love to see everything become better than it previously was. But I think this part is the easiest because I’m pretty good at seeing what’s bad about my own writing and what I should change in it. With the first draft already written, I can just work with it and rewrite it to be better,” she says.

Julia recalls her first ever novel. “Oh man, it was really bad! 😂 I called it The Changelings Six, unaware that mythical creatures [were already a thing]. These six kids were brought to another world, and are supposed to defeat the evil president there: Evan Evansan. (as you can see, I’m super with those last names) I cringe every time I think of that book!…As far as first books go, I think that I did okay. I tried to give everyone different personalities, and everyone was supposed to have their own motives. It all went crazy, though, when I threw in about sixty more main characters in book 2. It was nuts.”

The hardest part of writing for Julia is the end of each part, whether it’s writing the first draft, editing, revising, planning, or something else. “I love to make up new books, see them build before me, become better, and then perfected. But toward the end of each phase, I start to hate the current one I’m in, and wishing that I was in the next one already. I have to admit, that’s where I’m currently at in my writing right now. 😅”

We were so happy to have Julia on ZCN! Thank you so much, Julia! We enjoyed learning new things about you and your writing and blog! Don’t forget to check out Julia’s Creative Corner and subscribe to her email list!


For the next spotlight of this episode of ZCN, please welcome Jo from Pananaw and formerly The Lens and the Hard Drive as part of a blog tour!

“I’m Jo, I’m weird, and I can tell stories. XD I try to do everything I can get my hands on, and I try to do everything for God’s glory, and I’m a hopeless fanperson. Hopeless, I tell you!” Jo describes herself.

Her favorite part of homeschooling is “Getting to try things I could’ve have if I was in regular school. Because of homeschooling I am able to blog, to write, to join Bible Bee and NaNo, and I have a much more flexible schedule…it’s pretty neat! Also no social interaction. It’s both a pro and a con.”

In a few words, her friends would describe her as “IDEK. I. don’t. even. Know. It’s an inside joke about MBTI and how I get different results when I take the test. XD Pretty accurate, I gotta say!”

“People often think I’m Chinese because the corners of my eyes are turned up just slightly,” she shares a random fun fact about herself. “But honestly, I couldn’t look any more different- even if I am part, part part part Chinese.. ehhe. XD It’s kinda hard to label someone who’s a lotta things, I guess.”

And according to all of the activities Jo loves to do besides blogging, she certainly is a lotta things! “AOLKGGNOLJGNOGLKNG EHEH YES YES YES—so I’m an amateur acting enthusiast as well as a martial arts enthusiast- which is my way of saying that I love these things and do them but I’m not very good at them. XD I also like audio and video editing… and memes. Ice skating. Violin. You know. Things. Analyzing Marvel, LOTR, Naria, Wingfeather Saga, and the books I alpha. Fun stuff. “

Jo, an Emmie Award winner for best new blogger, blogged at The Lens and The Hard Drive for one year and a few months. “Which, as we all know in blogging years, is pretty long, all things considered,” Jo says. “It’s hard to believe everything that’s happened within the course of a year.”

Jo was inspired to create The Lens and the Hard Drive by “…my sister, who, before she left for college, ran this beautiful and deep, and sadly, archived blog. My sister inspired a ton of stuff 😂 and blogging was one of them…I wanted to [create TLHD] because I thought that, hey, maybe it would be fun to share thoughts with the world, make people smile, and y’know- I don’t think much. 😂”

But soon, Jo decided it was time for a fresh start with a new blog. “I kept trying to change The Lens & The Hard Drive’s theme and look, and y’know, stuff like that, but (as I believe Tess says) sometime last year was the end of a chapter in my life, and a new one was already being written down. Pananaw [her new blog] is a result of that change affecting everything in my life, blog included.”

Pananaw means Vision in the Tagalog language, and Jo wanted to reflect that on her new blog. “Originally I was going to name my blog Viewfinder, keeping in with my camera theme, and playing on the words “view” and “finder” to kinda show how I was trying to find that view for myself. But since that name was taken, I had to think of something unique, still meaningful, and hopefully one word…Pananaw is what happened after relying on my culture and some creativity.”

She blogs “to glorify God, make people smile (and think and laugh) and to have a blast. That’s it. XD What keeps me going is the fact that apparently, people do smile and laugh and think because of reading my posts, and that’s motivation to keep blogging.”

The types of posts Jo loves to write and the type of content that will be on Pananaw is “anything that lets me be sassy. And have GIFs. And memes. Oh the memes. And have a ton of references, cause, y’know, they’re pretty great. I usually write those, but I also tend to write about a lot of topics that I think about, such as well, movie themes and how they compare to real life, to the Bible; about how shutting your emotions down can be damaging, and how fast food workers are really important. That mix is what I’m hoping to bring to Pananaw, as well as a hint of Filipino culture- just a little bit. 😉”

We’re so thankful to have the chance to chat with Jo as part of the Pananaw blog launch! The link to the Pananaw blog is hidden in some of the different blogs in the tour – so you’ll have to check out every post to find the link to the blog! Follow the tour here:

May 5:

Character Interview with Ava @ https://elysianartiste.com

Combo with Enni @ https://onthewingsofadreamblog.wordpress.com

Interview with Rose @ https://apurposeofwingeddogs.wordpress.com/

May 6:

Combo with Grace @ https://www.gracefullyinthemoment.wordpress.com

ZCN News Interview + Spotlight with Emmie @ https://americangirlworld.blog

Interview + Blog Spotlight with Isabel @ https://chasingfantasia.wordpress.com

May 7:

Interview (aka squealing) with Tess @ http://steeplechase-blog.com

Isa @https://www.artofbeingisa.wordpress.com

Charrie Interview + Spotlight with Merie Shen @ https://imperialscribis.wordpress.com/

May 8:

Interview with Allison Grace @ https://allisongracewrites.com/

Blog Spotlight with Meredith @ https://artsyarrow.wordpress.com

Combo with Christina @ https://christinaandcamera.wordpress.com

May 9:

Character Interview with Chloë Mali @ https://chloemali.wordpress.com/

Blog Spotlight with Maya J.T @ https://mayajt.wordpress.com/

Combo with Amie @ https://crazya.blog

Character Interview + Blog Spotlight! Penny Wood @ https://asouthernbellewithstoriestotell.wordpress.com

Blog Spotlight with Bayance @ https://bayance.wordpress.com

Blog Spotlight with Starling @ https://starling7.wordpress.com

Character Interview + Blog Spotlight with Liz @http://www.homewithhummingbirds.com


That’s it for this episode of Z Crew News, where there’s Coverage You Can Count On! We’d love to hear from you – don’t forget to leave us a tip through the contact form or the comments! (Plus, you could even get spotlighted if you do!) Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time on ZCN! Z Crew, Out!


What’s your favorite segment on ZCN? Are you excited for Pananaw? Are you going to check out Julia’s blog? Do you want to see more of ZCN?

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