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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Camp Pineapple Ep. 4 | How to Make DIY Friendship Bracelets for 18″ Dolls (Video)

Hey guys! Once again, I’m sorry I’ve been slacking on posting regularly – I actually just got back to school yesterday, and I’ve been super busy with that plus volleyball and keeping up with my other blogs!

I’m super excited for today’s video – it’s the second-to-last episode in the Camp Pineapple series! I worked super hard on it, and I hope you guys enjoy. Friendship bracelets bring back so many memories of summer camp, and I’m really sad summer’s over for me!


Don’t forget to send in photos of your craft to americangirlworld[at]icloud[dot]com!

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Welcome back to the Arts & Crafts Corner at Camp Pineapple! Today, you’ll learn how to make an easy DIY craft, Doll Friendship Bracelets, that’s perfect for your American Girl Dolls. This craft for kids is easy, fast, and fun, and you can do it in 10-20 minutes!

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Don’t forget to subscribe!

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(For music, intro, and outro credits, please click here.)


(P.S. Quick shoutout to Madi, she recommended this album to me!)

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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. ๐Ÿ˜‚ (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 ๐Ÿ˜ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚)

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 ๐Ÿ˜‚) 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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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Camp Pineapple | Episode 1: Making New Memories (A Photostory)

Paris smiled widely, taking a deep breath of the fresh, woodsy air. Here she was, finally, at the place that was basically her second home: Camp Pineapple.

The past couple of months had been kind of hard for her, with so many new things and new people and places since moving to AGA. Being back here at Camp felt like everything would be back to normal, even if it was only for the summer.

Just then, Tenney came running, panting. “Ugh! It’s so hard to walk through the mud in my brand-new shoes! This stinks. Why did I have to come here, again?”

Paris rolled her eyes. “Because you really wanted to, remember? All of the other girls didn’t get to go, and now you’re here, complaining. Felicity or Z or even Isabel would’ve been super grateful.”

“Puh-LEASE don’t compare me to the other girls! I don’t care. I just care about getting to the cabin so I can wash off my shoes!”

Paris rolled her eyes again and sighed. “Hopefully we’re in Jade’s cabin! She won’t tell us what cabin we’re in, even though she knows.”

Just then, a little stand in the corner caught her eye. “OMG!” Paris ran over to the stand. “Lanie! What’s up?”

“Hi, Paris! This must be Tenney! Nice to see you girls again!” Lanie said. “You guys are in Phoenix Cabin.”

“Yay, I heard that one has a loft! I guess you’re not my counselor again this year?”

“Nope, sorry, I’m in Sundown this year,” Lanie shook her head. “You guys can write your names here to sign in. Phoenix is right behind the Sanctuary, next to Buckhorn and Sterling City.”

“Oh yeah! I was in Buckhorn the year before last year!” Paris exclaimed. She thought of all the memories from the four summers she’d spent so far at this camp, and felt even more excited. Not even Tenney’s complaining could ruin it!

They signed their names and Paris led Tenney over to Phoenix cabin. The door squeaked a little as they opened it and stepped inside.

“JADE!” Tenney and Paris squealed happily, running over to greet their sister/dormmate. “I’m so happy you’re our counselor!”

“Me too!” Jade smiled. “I wanted it to be a surprise! We spent all day yesterday getting ready for this session. Ahh, I’m so happy to be a counselor this year!”

“I’m definitely going to be a CIT when I’m in eighth grade,” Paris said. “And then, of course, a counselor!”

“Good plan!” Jade laughed. “Here’s y’alls bunks – we picked up most of your luggage, so your backpacks and trunks are already here.”

“I call top bunk!” Paris shouted, scrambling to the top to claim her spot. She lied down on the comfy bed, and closed her eyes, thinking about how awesome this summer was going to be.

But then she was interrupted. “Fine! Bottom bunk is more mature, anyways,” Tenney said snottily, pouting as she threw her bag onto the bottom bunk and crawled in.

“Tenney, please don’t be obnoxious! I had bottom bunk two years in a row, and it was awesome because I could make a fort and it’s super cozy.” Paris tried as hard as she could to show Tenney that the bottom bunk is fine.

“I guess.” Tenney propped up her pillows, pulled out her phone, and started texting.

“Tenney, you can’t have phones at camp, except for cell phone Sunday every other week,” Jade reminded her.

“NOOOOOO!!!!!!” Tenney wailed. “Every other WEEK?! But, but- YOU get to have one!”

“Only because I need to be able to call in case of emergency, and I use it to talk to my family, and NOT just to check social media,” Jade said firmly. “Hand it over.”

Reluctantly, Tenney gave up her phone. “But, couldn’t they make an exception for me? I am a CELEBRITY, after all.”

Jade said, “Tenney, it was your choice to come to this camp. You should’ve known you just have to be a regular kid for the summer here.” Tenney didn’t say anything. “I’ll go put this in my room. You guys can get settled in and chill for a little bit, and then we’re going to have a bonfire tonight! It’s a camp tradition.”

“I can’t wait!” Paris said. She closed her eyes again, picturing everything she loved about this place, and slowly drifted off into a light sleep. She dreamed of the best summer she could ever imagine.


The fire flickered before Paris, illuminating the smiling, laughing faces of her and her cabinmates. Tenney softly strummed her guitar, the sound echoing throughout the woods.

Tenney hummed softly, then started to sing. “Gather round, gather round, the campfire tonight; You and me, singing in the starlight.”

“This where our dreams come true, by the campfire, with me and you.”

“Oh, please don’t go away, summer, please just stay; So I can sing by the campfire, with you.”

Jade and Paris clapped, Tenney smiling as she strum the last note on her guitar. “That was…” Paris gushed in awe. “That was incredible.”

“I just made it up,” Tenney shrugged, blushing. She smiled even wider now. She started to strum the tune to her song again. Softly, Paris joined in, harmonizing with her. Jade started singing, too.

Paris saw how happy and peaceful Tenney looked, and started to think that maybe Tenney really does want to be here. She just doesn’t want to show it because she feels out of place. Paris looked at Tenney, heard her beautiful voice and saw her joyful smile, and knew that she was right.

And together, they sung by the campfire, laughing and smiling as they welcomed what was going to be the best summer yet.

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I really hope you guys like this photo story! I worked so hard on it, and I’m really proud of how the photos turned out (especially the campfire ones, those were hard to do! ๐Ÿ˜‰) I’m back from camp and I had the BEST TIME EVER. I miss it so much already! This series is going to be inspired by all of the adventures I had at camp. I’m really looking forward to this series!

Have you ever been to summer camp? Are you and your dolls going to be doing Camp Pineapple? Did you like this episode? What do you think of the campfire photos?

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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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