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Exploring the Lost Lands of Texas

Exploring the Lost Lands of Texas

Avinger, Texas
Jefferson General Store

For New Year’s I explored the old town of Jefferson, Texas. Jefferson is in East Texas and sits close to the Louisiana border with a population of about 2,000 people. Jefferson dates back to the pre-civil war era and served as an important port for the confederacy during the civil war. The town is really small and the roads leading to it are fairly remote, passing through other aesthetic towns like Avinger and Pittsburg. Of all the remote towns I’ve explored in the past few years, Jefferson is definitely one of my favorites.

The first thing I noticed about Jefferson was it’s vintage vibe and out-of-Texas feel. Unlike the majority of the Texas towns I’ve visited, the town is encompassed by wooded areas and the houses are fairly spread out. In fact, Jefferson is built right along a Bayou and is in close proximity to Caddo Lake. The buildings, however, are what gives Jefferson it’s charm.

Jefferson General Store is an old fashion soda fountain and, it being New Years, it was closed, but it looked so cute. Signs hung on the side of the brick building indicated what it sold and an old fashioned, bright blue truck with ‘Jefferson’ painted on it was parked out front.

An old gas station in Jefferson

To add to the town’s charm there was an old fashioned gas station and a bridge going over a portion of the bayou. There were also a series of really cool alley ways between old buildings and sites holding historical significance. One of the coolest historical sites in Jefferson was the Excelsior House, a hotel at which Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, and Oscar Wilde once stayed. Right across the street there was also an old train car from the Union Pacific railroad.

The bridge in Jefferson
One of the most aesthetic alleys I’ve ever seen
The train car
Excelsior House

The trip to Jefferson, as a whole, was really cool and I was able to get plenty of good pictures out of it so it was definitely worth it. Strong recommend if you’re ever in the area to drive through. It was also a great kick off to my 2019 adventures and I can’t wait for so many more!

A mural depicting Jefferson’s ‘Golden Era’ following the civil war
Jefferson, Texas

Weekly Blog 1: Christmas and the Fast Food World

Weekly Blog 1: Christmas and the Fast Food World

December 23 – December 30, 2018

With the new year approaching I decided to start blogging again and despite my busy schedule I came up with a way that I can consistently blog while maintaining my lifestyle; weekly blogs about my week! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live an extravagant or crazy life, but I do have some interesting stories to share and advice to give. Also, no worries, I’ll post my usual content too, but this way you guys get the best of both worlds and I’ll have something to post every week. So here y’all go: my first weekly blog! Enjoy and, most importantly, don’t forget to sparkle!


Christmas

Ok so the first major thing that happened recently is that I got the iPhone XR! Technically that was a few weeks ago but it was an early Christmas gift so I’m including it in this post anyway. The camera is really nice so I should be able to start including some nice photos in my weekly blogs. I’m honestly really excited about it and I can’t wait to experiment more with it’s camera.

My school had finals right before Christmas break so it has definitely been a reprieve from that and Christmas itself was really good. My family came over and we opened gifts and then watched Christmas movies and I was finally able to watch ‘A Christmas Story’ for the first time ever and the day was overall really great. I got a lot of cute clothes and makeup as well as gift cards and a new planner which I’m honestly hyped about (anybody who knows me knows that I am obsessed with my planner).

The Fast Food World

So another thing I’ve been up to recently is I have been working a lot. I work for a fast food restaurant and I work front register as well as drive thru and let me tell you, it sure is an experience. The majority of my weekly updates’ entertainment will likely come from work stories as a forewarning. For instance…

A customer threw his food at me

Ok, so this customer came through the drive thru and he asked simply for a fish sandwich that the fine establishment for which I work offers and he asked for it plain. The sandwich usually comes with tomatoes, lettuce, and mayo so I put ‘no’ to all of those so that it would be plain. He asked if I had made sure it was plain and I assured him I did. So he gets his food and leaves but then he came back 15ish minutes later and when he got to the window he. was. enraged. He practically threw the bag with his food in it at me through the window and yelled at me about it not being plain. I was a little shook even though people are jerks all the time, but I kindly apologized and assured him I would have it fixed. So I took the bag to my manager and we opened it together and the sandwich was plain???? There was only the fish and the bun? How plain did he want it? “Would you like fish and bread on that fish sandwich sir?” “would you like a sandwich at all sir??” But anyway, my manager decided that he would take orders for a while from then on for whatever reason.

Honestly though I’m learning so much about people from my job. For instance, I’m forming this theory that whenever people have really bad days or are grumpy they decide to go to fast food chains to take out their anger on the poor suckers working there. They usually choose drive thru too so that they can get their rage out at lightning speed and then eat delicious food triumphantly. Moral of the story: please avoid drive thrus if you’re in a bad mood. Or at the least, please don’t take out your rage on the workers; It’s not our fault! Anyway, despite the jerks,

I kinda love my job…

My coworkers are weird in the best possible way and they teach me things I never asked to learn but am glad I did. For instance, root beer and sweet tea make a great pair, chicken gravy and melted cheese on fries is amazing, and friends can be made in the weirdest places by the most random group of people forced together all because we need a little money.

Beach Blog 2018

Beach Blog 2018

This post was supposed to go up last week but better late than never I guess. Here’s what I did when I went to the beach for a few days about a week ago, what have you guys done this summer? Feel free to dm/email me ūüôā Also, as always, don’t forget to sparkle!


Port Aransas pretty houses teen blog stuff to do at the beach when bored

I didn’t travel a whole lot this summer but I did go to Port Aransas on Padre Island off the southern cost of Texas for a few days. Honestly, Port Aransas has the coolest beach vibes. I’ve been to beach towns all around the United States and of them Port Aransas has to be one of my favorites. For one thing, the houses are all painted very brightly and it is so aesthetic and cute. To add to the aesthetic, there are palm trees of all different shapes and sizes everywhere.

To make the trip even more fun, we rented a golf cart. Unlike a lot of beaches in the country, the majority of the beaches on Padre Island, if not all, allow you to drive on the beach as long as you have a special permit. It was so much fun driving around the beach on the golf cart and being able to drive right up to the water for a quick swim. Also we were able to ride the golf cart to the store and to restaurants for dinner which definitely added to the experience. The greatest thing, however, about the golf carts was how many there were everywhere: it definitely added to the beach vibes.

As well as spending time relaxing at the beach we explored the town a lot. One thing we definitely were made aware of was how bad the destruction of Hurricane Harvey actually was; more than once we passed hotels and condos still being fixed or left uninhabited and destroyed. To make things better, during one of our adventures I was able to get some really cool photos of a pier that had been entirely wrecked by the storm.

Overall, even though I did end up very sunburned, the trip was very fun and certainly memorable.

Don’t forget to check back next Friday for another post!

XOXO, Sophie

5 Things to Keep in Mind in Order to Live your Best Life

5 Things to Keep in Mind in Order to Live your Best Life

Hey guys, long time no see!

For this week’s post I decided to share a few things that I personally have realized allow my life a greater sense of purpose and happiness. I hope these help you out ūüôā Also, as a quick heads up I am leaving on vacation this Sunday and will take many pictures so I can blog about it and that will be posted next Friday. Hope you’re summer has been great and now let’s get on to the article. Don’t forget to sparkle!


In the world we live in today it is easy to be afraid of things we don’t know much about. It’s only natural considering the regular precautions we practice in our everyday lives. This being said, it’s easy to get caught up in said worries and lose touch with what it truly means to get lost in the moment. We’ve all heard some form of the phrase ‘live as if you were to die tomorrow’ before and it’s time that we start obeying it. After all, we only live once: we must explore, eat, play, and achieve as if we only have one chance because sometimes we do.

In a world run by negativity we have to stay positive. There is always a chance of bad things happening but if we dwell on that chance, which is really only a number, we are preventing ourselves from enjoying life. Of course it’s ok to be negative every once in a while, a rant helps us release steam, after all, but at the end of the day we must learn to direct our energy towards learning and adapting because of our situations. Positivity truly is powerful and can make all the difference when it comes to living a happy and fulfilling life.

One very overlooked key to a fulfilled life is being passionate about something. There’s so much to find passion in in this world whether it be music, travel, art, dance, or even something like religion, volunteer work, or activism. Having a passion can both give you something to do and make life feel more meaningful. So, next time you get invited to do something strange, give it a shot. Who knows, it might be your new passion.

Sometimes it can feel like the hardest thing in the world to let something go, but it’s important that in the end we drop the rope and let the balloon fly away. Whether it’s knowing when t0 give up on a pointless argument, forgiving someone who doesn’t seem to deserve or want forgiveness, or letting go of stress or a toxic relationship, it is important that at times we evaluate our priorities and decide if something is truly worth our time or not. Through learning to let go we are allowing ourselves to grasp onto the things that are actually important.

After all, anything could happen.

~XOXO, Sophie~

Road Trip Blog Finale

Road Trip Blog Finale

Hey guys, my road trip blog series is¬†finally at its end! Also, I have a giveaway coming up in the next month¬†and so far it has tea, makeup, candies, and other¬†products included. To get updates on that, Subscribe to¬†my website using the form to the right or down below on mobile devices. And,¬†as usual, don’t forget to follow all of my social medias and don’t forget to sparkle!


Day 4: Saratoga, Wyoming

On day four we were supposed to leave to Jackson, Wyoming so that we could stay there and explore Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park, but I ended up needing a small medical procedure, so we stayed in Saratoga. First thing that morning we called the local medical clinic and then we walked out to go get breakfast from a local shop in town. On the way I got some great pictures of the center of town.

We ended up getting breakfast at this really cute bakeshop on the street called Sweet Marie’s Bakeshop. I got a breakfast burrito and green tea latte and I must say it was delicious. If any of my tea loving readers find themselves in Saratoga, make sure you get a green tea latte from Sweet Marie’s. I dare say it was the best green tea latte I have ever had.¬† Also, the shop was decorated very cutely and the owner left out cupcake papers and markers so that people could decorate them so that she could hang them on the wall.

After breakfast, we drove around the outskirts of town and I finally got some pictures of the pronghorn antelopes that we had seen in New Mexico and then hadn’t seen again until we hit the highlands of Wyoming. I even got a picture of a mother with its baby.

After the ride we headed to the clinic and I got a mini surgery. Although it was a bit painful, afterwards I felt a lot better. The staff at the clinic were incredibly nice and professional and I will forever be thankful for them being able to help me out. From there we went out to get ice cream from an ice cream parlor right next door to our hotel. I got birthday cake ice cream because I wanted to try a weirder flavor and it was actually really good. My sister got cinnamon and it was also delicious.

I basically needed to recover for the rest of the day so I didn’t do much, but it was a good day anyway. I watched Mean Girls and downloaded my pictures from my trip. We ended up booking another night at the Wolf hotel because it was really nice.

Day 5: Saratoga, Wyoming

We still weren’t able to leave Saratoga on day five because I needed to check back in with the doctors, but¬†I have to say that Saratoga was really growing on me. That morning we went to Lollypops, the ice cream parlor we had visited the previous¬†night, for breakfast. I had a Belgian waffle and an iced tea and they were both delicious. Afterwards we decided to explore the Saratoga Museum which was right next door to the clinic. For being a small town, it had a very nice museum!

Later that day we went to the Grand Encampment Museum which was in the small old mining¬†town of Grand Encampment. The museum was fairly big and had a really cool set of old buildings they had moved out back from their original locations including old homes and businesses. We got a guided tour and were able to go into the buildings where the museum had set them up to look like how they would have during their time. It was really interesting because every building had some sort of story to go with it. For instance, there was a boarding house where somebody could pay a quarter and sleep in a bed with a ton of strangers for the night. There was also a beautiful old home which was built by one man to please his wife Ella who he had kidnapped and brought up to Wyoming after she said she didn’t want to go with him. Because it was a tour, I didn’t take a ton of pictures but I got a few.

On the night of day 5, the Wolf was fully booked so we ended up switching hotels to the Riviera which ended up being very nice too.

Day 6: Somewhere in Nebraska

The next morning, we packed up our stuff, dropped off some baked goods and a card to the medical clinic, and started to head home. On the way back down through Wyoming we stopped in Medicine Bow National Forest to take pictures.

It was actually really cool because the whole way down from Saratoga to Cheyenne there was a bike race going on. Also, on the way out of Wyoming we passed through the smallest town in America and tied as the smallest town in the world: Buford.

What is the smallest town in America? What is the smallest town in the world? Buford, Wyoming. Small Towns in the US Towns with a population of One
Buford, Wyoming: the smallest town in America and tied as the smallest town in the world.

From Wyoming we decided to drive back down through Nebraska and Kansas and both were relatively flat states and slightly boring. We ended up staying in a hotel in the middle of nowhere in Nebraska that night.

Day 7: Home

On the morning of day seven we found this really cool place called Pioneer Village which was this really big museum. The main building was full of old cars and planes that date back to the early 1800s which was really cool. Out back behind the building there were a lot of old buildings including a church, a livery, an appliance store, and a train station which were placed in a circle to create a cute village. It was really cool to walk through everything and picture what life would have been like back in the 1800s and on into the 1900s.

After exploring the Pioneer Village we continued our trek home. Not far from the museum, we passed a farm where there must have been hundreds of cows packed together in small pens with nothing but troughs of food to eat. It was really sad to see because we had seen so many farms where cows had nice large pastures t0 graze on and then there were these cows who had nothing to do but eat. Anyway, the rest of the ride was pretty unimpressive; the landscape was very flat and there was lots of corn. The same goes for Kansas. Either way, we ended up making it home that night. I really enjoyed the road trip, even if it was cut short, and I highly suggest that you guys take it if you ever find yourselves in the area!

 


So yeah, that was my¬†road trip blog finale! Prepare for upcoming back to school posts and, of course, a giveaway! I have posts scheduled for the next few weeks so be sure to subscribe to Sparklenews.com and check back every Tuesday and Friday to see those. Don’t forget to Sparkle!

Road Trip Blog Day Three

Road Trip Blog Day Three

Hey guys! I’m back after a week of inactivity. I have been really busy with summer reading and homework¬†but I’m really sorry. That being said, from now on I am writing my posts ahead of time and scheduling their posting, so you can bet on the fact that there will be a new post every Tuesday and Friday for sure! So, you should definitely subscribe using the form on the side bar. For other news, I am happy to announce that I am going to be holding a giveaway here on Sparklenews.com! More information will be coming up in future articles and on my social medias so make sure to follow those and check back weekly for updates. Also, I would like to thank you all for the recent incline in views I’ve been having, I really appreciate it. Finally, don’t forget to read road trip blogs day one and two if you haven’t already!¬†And, without further adieu, here it is: Road Trip Blog Day Three.


Day 3: Saratoga, Wyoming

On the morning of day three, we packed up and then headed out to a Target near the hotel where I ended up buying my new camera! I set up my camera in the car on the way to seven falls at the edge of Colorado Springs.¬†Seven falls is this really cool nature place where you hike up about a mile to see the falls. Overall it was a pretty hike: there were wild flowers on both sides of the path, a small stream to the right with birds playing in it, and steep mountains of rock sloping up on either side. Sadly, although I had brought my camera with me, it ended up that it could only hold three photos without an SD card, so I¬†needed to use¬†my phone camera. When we got to the top of the trail there was a large rock with the falls. It was pretty, but to be honest the falls weren’t as large as I had expected. Despite this, it wasn’t disappointing considering how nice the walk had been. We took the elevator to the top of a lookout point where you could see the falls beautifully. We had actually gotten lucky with our timing because the lookout point had been closed all morning because there was a couple getting married on it and the ceremony had just ended by the time we got to the end of the trail.

Seven falls ended up taking a lot longer than we had expected, so we left for Saratoga a bit late but it was definitely worth it. So, after seven falls we went back to Target to get my camera an SD card and then headed towards Saratoga. The drive from Colorado to Wyoming was gorgeous although once we got on top of the mountains in Wyoming it was fairly flat. We did get to see more of the Pronghorn Antelopes like the ones we had seen in New Mexico though which was cool. Also, in Wyoming we came across this really pretty town with a population of 270 called Centennial and I had to stop for pictures.

I really love these pictures just because they look so unrealistic. The town was such a speck compared to the barren plains on top of the mountains in Wyoming and it looked so pretty against the mountainous backdrop. By the time we had gotten to Centennial we were only a few hours from Saratoga. From there it felt a lot longer though because we had reached Medicine Bow National Forest which is huge. To make matters worse, as it got dark it began to rain really hard and the roads curved a lot. After awhile the rain stopped and we made it to Saratoga. Saratoga has a population of 1,600 and is this really cool old town. The hotel we stayed in was built back in the 1800s  and called the Hotel Wolf.

That night we ate at the Hotel Wolf Restaurant which made really good real steak hamburgers. Also, I must add that the hotel was really cool. The room was decorated very nicely and to match the old fashion utilities and atmosphere of the hotel. Despite it being old, the hotel was also very clean and well kept. The only downside was that there was no AC, but we were able to open the windows to get cool air. Overall, day three was very fun.


So yeah, that was Road Trip Blog Day Three! I hope you all enjoyed and keep watch for Road Trip Blog Days Four and Five which come out on Friday! Then, the Road Trip Blog Finale will be posted next Tuesday. Thank you for reading!

While you’re here, here are a few of my recent articles you should check out:

Road Trip Blog Day One

Road Trip Blog Day Two

Quality Vs. Price

Packing Tips for Vacation

Remembrance- A short story

Road Trip Blog Day Two

Road Trip Blog Day Two

Hi guys, I am so happy with all the¬†extra traffic I have been getting on my website recently! As you¬†may or may not know, I posted Day¬†One of my road trip blog on Thursday so if you haven’t already, go check that out now.¬†For those of you who have read it already, here is day two of my road trip blog! Enjoy and don’t forget to Sparkle!¬†(and don’t forget to follow all of my social medias either)


Day 2: Colorado Springs, Colorado

The morning of the second day was pretty calm. We took our time to get ready and get things packed up before heading downstairs to eat breakfast. ¬†I had received a map of Amarillo with all of the tourist attractions on it the night before and circled the ones I had already implemented in my road trip binder along with ones I thought were interesting so it was easy to know where we were headed. The first place we stopped was the RV museum. Unfortunately, when we got there we discovered that it was closed on Sundays. So, after that we headed off to the well known landmark Cadillac Ranch. For those of you who don’t know, Cadillac Ranch is ten vintage Cadillacs stuck in the ground in middle of a corn field off the side of a highway. As a man had told us on the way in, Cadillac Ranch is basically America’s Stone Hedge. We brought sharpies to sign the Cadillacs with, as is custom, just to find that they were soaking wet with spray paint. Luckily, there was a family who was leaving and giving away their spray cans. I signed the first Cadillac from the left twice and than my whole family signed one of the others. Honestly, the experience was so strangely satisfying. Especially considering there were so many people. People were coming and going CONSTANTLY.

After Cadillac Ranch, we headed back towards the center of town to explore the Route 66 Historic District. I have to say I was slightly disappointed with it because it was kind of sketchy and the image I had found on Route 66’s website didn’t turn out to be around the area. It was still really cool to see though. For our final thing to do in Amarillo, we went to the Palo Duro Canyon. Note that the pictures I took there aren’t nearly as good as the ones from before it because the camera I was using was dead and I needed to use my phone camera.

When I was planning the road trip I¬†didn’t¬†included Palo Duro canyon in the plans because I hadn’t seen it online, but I must say it was amazingly beautiful and I am so happy that we went. The best part was that we were able to go all the way down to the bottom of the canyon where there was a trading post. Also, in the gift shop there was a hallway made into a mini museum telling the history of the canyon and about the Native Americans that used to live there. I definitely recommend visiting it if you haven’t already. After Palo Duro canyon, we were on the road again. We passed through New Mexico on the way to Colorado and I got to see a lot of really cool rock structures and Pronghorn Antelopes. Because we spent so much time in the canyon, we got to Colorado Springs pretty late but the hotel was nice.


Thanks for reading guys! Road Trip Blog Day Three will be coming out on Tuesday so keep watch for that!

While you’re here, here are a few of my recent articles that you should check out:

Road Trip Blog Day One

Quality Vs. Price

Packing Tips for Vacation

Remembrance- A short story

The Ultimate Summer Bucket List

 

Quality vs. Price

Quality vs. Price

Hey guys! I know that I posted my road trip blog for day¬†one already, and I promise that I’ll post day two on Friday, but I thought that this would be an interesting and informative article to break up the series with. We all know that feeling where you get a great deal… and then our purchased item breaks the next day. To avoid instances like this, we sometimes have to ask ourselves which is more important: quality or price? So, let’s ask ourselves this one important question. Also, don’t forget to follow all of my social medias and don’t forget to sparkle!


Personally, and I’m sure most of you would agree with me, quality matters a lot more to me than price. This is because of a few simple reasons. For one thing, with good quality products, even if they are slightly more pricey, you feel like you actually got your money’s worth. In addition, you feel more satisfied with your buy because even though you spent more than you would have hoped, you did get a great product. Think of it in the sense that a more expensive item will last longer saving you the price of needing to buy replacements that¬†would¬†be necessary¬†if you bought a worse quality product. Of course I don’t always buy the more expensive item, we all like a good deal once in a while, but I find that higher quality items¬†usually make me happier.¬† Also, yes of course there are cheap yet good quality items, but for the most part the higher the price the better the quality.

So, now that we have decided that quality is more important, a new question arises; what exactly makes a product good quality? The most important factor of a quality product is material. For instance, leather is a much higher quality material than many other options: especially when it comes to accessories including purses, bags, shoes, and jackets. Leather is very durable making leather items far less likely to rip and allowing them to stay nice for a very long time. Also, leather is water resistant, so if you’re clumsy like me you don’t have to worry about spilling water all over your new bag or jacket and wrecking it. You can simply look at leather or even smell it and realize¬†that it is a¬†great quality material. Plus, who doesn’t like¬†the looks of leather?¬†If you are interested in knowing more about leather and its benefits and why it is used for accessories, click here to check out an interesting post about it from Mahi Leather. Overall, it’s pretty clear that leather is a great material and that material is what dictates whether an item is high quality or not.

Basically, the point that I am trying to get at is that sometimes we need to overlook the price of an item and pay more attention to how long it will last and how well made it is. Even if it is a little more expensive, if it is a good item it will make you happy with your choice. Also, most importantly, remember that it is okay to treat yourself to something special every once in a while too.

Road Trip Blog Day One

Road Trip Blog Day One

Hey guys! As many of you already know, for the past five days I have been on a road trip with my family. What you don’t know is where I have been and what I have been doing. So, here is my recap of day one and day two will be posted tomorrow. Also, as always, don’t forget to follow all my social medias and to stay active. And, most importantly, don’t forget to sparkle!


Day 1: Amarillo, Texas

Our first destination was Amarillo, Texas. We packed the car, dropped my dog off at his doggie daycare, and left my cat with lots of food and water in the morning before hitting the road. I’m not exactly sure when exactly we left, but I think it was around noon. Although the ride was long, about halfway through we came across this really cute small town called Childress. Childress was founded 1902 and had a lot of really cool old buildings, cars, and an old train.

If any of you ever find yourselves a few hours south of Amarillo, I highly recommend that you stop in Childress. After Childress, we kept on driving so that we would make it to Amarillo before it got dark. We got to the hotel pretty late so we didn’t really explore Amarillo much, but we did stop at a Target near the hotel so that I could buy a camera I had been reading about online to use on the trip. I was looking for the Nikon Coolpix L340 but unfortunately they told us that Target was discontinuing selling the item. After we got back to the hotel we settled in for the night. The room was really comfortable because it was split up into two smaller bedrooms and a main living area. So, me and my sister watched Say Yes to the Dress on TLC and Toy Story 3 on Freeform before going to bed sometime just before midnight. Even though we didn’t do a whole lot on the first day, it was still very fun. Also, we did A LOT on day two so make sure to go check that out here.

On the road.

Packing Tips for Vacation

Packing Tips for Vacation

I¬†have been traveling since I was born. In country and out, I have traveled by basically any method: Train, plane, bus, car, you name it. With these years of traveling come years of packing experience. So, I decided to share some of my wisdom with you guys to hopefully help you all out the next time you need to pack for vacation. Also, as a quick side note, I will be going on a road trip next Saturday and will be blogging daily so keep an eye out for those posts! Also, to stay informed on everything I’m doing and get the extra scoop, don’t forget to follow my social medias which are on the side bar or down below if you are using a mobile device.¬†Feel free to share your¬†vacation pictures with me using #newsthatsparkles!¬†And now, let’s get packing!

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