I Feel Guilty About Unsubscribing from Email Newsletters I Never Read

It shouldn’t be so hard to unsubcribe, but it is.

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I feel guilty about unsubscribing from email newsletters.

Do you ever feel that way?

You’re checking your personal email account & there’s this one newsletter you just skip over when you see it. Like, it doesn’t even register in your mind when they email you anymore. Your eyes just skip past like it’s not even there at all.

One day, you realize you have a lot of unread emails. You take a closer look at them & see The Newsletter.

“Oh, I forgot I receive their emails still. Boy, there sure are a lot of them. All of them are unread.”

“When was the last time I opened one?”

Sometimes you only pay notice because the sender sends you one of those “Hey, let me know if you still want to receive my emails” emails, which typically inform you it’s been like a year since you even OPENED one, much less read it.

Or it’s a newsletter that has good information that has helped you in the past. Sure, you might open them, but you always make them unread without reading them so you can read them at some point in the future.

You say to yourself,

“There’s at least a hundred of these clogging up my inbox! I have 3,052 unread emails, but I feel like none of them are really important.”

You take a look at The Newsletter.

“Pretty boring. Why did I even sign up for it? Oh, that’s right. I got a free ebook if I did.”

You scroll down to the bottom to click the “unsubscribe” button. Should be pretty easy. You haven’t read The Newsletter in more than a year, the information is often mediocre, or maybe it’s a store you don’t really shop at.

But that’s when the sweat starts running down your face. Your finger or your cursor hovers, as uncertain as a chihuahua at an airport, over the unsubscribe button.

“But I LIKE supporting this company. If I’m not following them, this poor person is going to go out of business.” You say, if the email in question is the newsletter of a small business.

No, they won’t. You’re not doing them any favors by not reading their newsletter. All you’re doing is potentially costing them money if they have to pay for a certain number of subscribers, & making their send-to-open ratio a whole lot lower. If you’re not buying from them, & you never open their newsletter, you are not actually helping them, only feeling like you are. So unless it’s your mom’s business & you’re her only email subscriber, if you don’t open or ever buy from the newsletter, HIT THAT UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON.

“But SOMETIMES I learn something interesting.” You say, if the newsletter in question is informative.

Yes, you might. BUT ONLY IF YOU OPEN AND READ IT. You are literally learning nothing by staying subscribed to a newsletter you never read. NADA. So here, you must face a choice: either begin opening & READING these emails so you can learn what you should have been learning anyways, or HIT THAT UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON.

“But sometimes they have good coupons! I don’t want to miss out on a sale. What if they have something I might want?” You say, looking at the marketing newsletter from a medium/large.

A classic case of FOMO. You don’t wanna unsubscribe from the Groupon newsletter because sometimes they have sales you want to take advantage of. FINE. But if you never open the newsletters or never use the coupons they send (NEWSFLASH: probably because you don’t actually like shopping there are much as you think you do), YOU ARE NOT HELPING YOURSELF OR THE COMPANY. Also, especially if it’s a large company, literally hundreds or even THOUSANDS of people might unsubscribe from it daily. To them, you’re just a number. They’re not going to go out of business because you unsubscribed. No tears will be shed in the marketing department when you HIT THAT UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON.

Moral of the story: if you never read it, never use it, or don’t need to use it, HIT THAT UNSUBSCRIBE BUTTON. No one who creates the newsletter is probably going to cry over you unsubscribing. There’s really no reason to feel guilty about unsubscribing.

And here’s the most magical part of all: if at some point in the future, you realize you miss the newsletter…

YOU CAN SUBSCRIBE TO IT AGAIN!

*cues balloons & confetti

And if you’re afraid of forgetting the newsletter, write down a list somewhere of what you have unsubscribed from.

You really have nothing to lose by unsubscribing. So how about you hit that unsubscribe button & experiment with not getting the newsletter, at least for a while.

Try unsubscribing. You might just like it.

MARCH 2019: AN EPIC MONTH IN REVIEW

OVERVIEW: Published one book, went on an epic Everglades mini-road trip, went on a “slough slog” in the Everglades, walked two famous Everglades trails, tried alligator meat for the first time, released three songs, published one short film, got my art displayed in a public place for the first time, released an unofficial commercial for Bugles, went to the Florida Strawberry Festival for the first time ever, tried world-famous strawberry shortcake, went on my first roller coaster ever, rode on a Dumbo ride for the first time, saw 8 bands in concert, tried shaved ice for the first time, read 11 books, paid off a credit card, bought my first marionette puppet ever, & MUCH MORE.

CREATIVITY & BUSINESS

  • BOOKS: Published Charlie the Churro. TOTAL: 1. // Began writing several more books.
  • SHORT FILMS: Released “The Power of Music & Food”, a short film featuring Shorty, my new giraffe marionette!
  • INTERVIEWS: Did a podcast interview with magician & life coach Jason Gardner!
  • MUSIC: Released three songs (I Know it Takes a Lot; The Daylight Savings Song; I Tried in the Night).
  • ART: Released several new designs on SHOP Ashlee Craft, including “Neverland Rebel”, “Lucky Clovers”, “My Happy Place – Mrs. Tiggywinkle”, “Norwegian Lundehunds are Special & Magical”, “You Have What it Takes” dancing sloth, “I Love Myself” Sloth, Horned Owl Scientific Name design, & “I Hope Something Really Wonderful Happens for You Seen”.
  • My art is displayed in a public place for the first time!!! This has been a huge goal of mine for a long time! My mom & I have our art displayed in a case at the New River Library in Wesley Chapel, FL! It features 3 of my books (Five Senses: The Nature Box Book, Sally the Kiwi, & Owls), two macrame pieces from Amy Craft Studio (my Mom’s Etsy shop!), plush owls & bees (including all the plush bees from my plush bees course, now with more than 550 students on Udemy!), a mini owl canvas, an original painting, a copy of my I BELIEVE poster, a macaron print, Life is My Playground pins, & a customized cupcake denim jacket! You can see a photo of it here.
  • Published a cute vintage-style unofficial “commercial” I filmed about Bugles snacks!
  • Wrote 15 poems.
  • Inspired by Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist, I began this awesome “Swipe File” on Pinterest! I’ll be posting images of things that inspire me & that I keep in mind when creating my own art projects.
  • Put out a video finally detailing my experience with doing my first book signing & vending my first event ever!
  • Applied for some more acting jobs!
  • Began some new marketing campaigns.
  • FUN FACT: As of March 14th, I have published a total of 91 BOOKS!
  • Played around with some new marketing things, including more advertising.
  • Went through my script for my first official music video & did pre-production work on it for the first time!

CONCERTS

Total: 8

  • Saw Willie Nelson & Family in concert at the Wish Farms Soundstage in Plant City, FL at the Strawberry Festival!
  • The Drifters at the Wish Farms Soundstage in Plant City, FL at the Florida Strawberry Festival!
  • The Coasters at the Wish Farms Soundstage in Plant City, FL at the Florida Strawberry Festival!
  • The Platters at the Wish Farms Soundstage in Plant City, FL at the Florida Strawberry Festival!
  • Steve Miller Band at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL!
  • Bobby Lee Rodgers at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL!
  • Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL!
  • Sunny Sweeney at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL!

FOODS

  • TOP 3 FOODS: Orange juice over ice, chocolate in general, & SPARKLING WATER.
  • TRIED ALLIGATOR MEAT FOR THE FIRST TIME! While I was on my Everglades day trip this month, I stopped by the Everglades Alligator Restaurant in Homestead, FL, & tried some! It tastes kind of like chicken but a little more like a seared sea scallop, & the restaurant was so cute! I sat by the big adorable alligator sculpture out front to eat mine.
  • TRIED SHAVED ICE FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!!! I have been wanting to try shaved ice for such a long time & I’d never had any before because things just never worked out so I was able to get any, any time shaved ice was available somewhere I was. I finally got some when I went to the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL! I GOT BIRTHDAY CAKE FLAVORED SHAVED ICE & IT WAS YELLOW & IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!
  • Tried some of the “World-Famous” Strawberry Shortcake at the Strawberry Festival & it was LITERALLY THE BEST.
  • Drank a McDonalds Frappe for the first time ever! Also got fries. The Frappe was awesome & I had a really great & positive experience with the service there, which I wrote about here.
  • Put Reese’s Peanut Butter Spread on top of some squares of a dark chocolate bar & IT WAS EPIC.
  • Ate Hormel canned beef tamales for the first time!
  • Ate a Sumo Citrus for the first time!
  • Ate a “Sweet Griller Pepper” for the first time!
  • Particularly good lunch: roast chicken lunch meat roll ups on soft tacos with pepper mayonnaise with chocolate cookies for dessert.
  • Tried the Lindor Orange Dark Chocolate truffles for the first time!
  • My mom made grits & they were so good that it was the only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed eating grits. Congratulations, Mom! (Also I put crushed Lays chips on them).
  • My dad made a really awesome apple crisp & I loved it!
  • The best thing my dad made though were chicken breasts that he grilled with just olive oil & salt. SERIOUSLY AMAZING CHICKEN!
  • Ate Haribo Fruit Salad gummy candy for the first time!
  • Bought a honey mango that was shaped like a Peep.
  • Tried Chauo Bacon chocolate for the first time & it is SERIOUSLY some of the best chocolate! Been waiting to try this one for a VERY LONG TIME.
  • Tried Wensleydale cheese for the first time!
  • Tried Jarritos Cane Sugar Soda for the first time!
  • Tried birch beer for the first time & it was really good!
  • Went to Chili’s for the first time ever! Tried a queso burger & it was really good!
  • Ate really good smoked cheese & smoked pork that kind of formed a salt crust along with turtle pie & some smoked grilled peppers!
  • Tried Talenti Caramel Crunch gelato for the first time!
  • Drank Gatorade G2 Raspberry Lemonade for the first time!
  • Tried Yasso PB & Yay Frozen Yogurt for the first time!
  • Drank La Croix’s kiwi watermelon sparkling water out of fancy glassware.
  • Ate a Boston Cream Custard iced doughnut with SO MANY SPRINKLES at Target, which is the first Target doughnut I’ve eaten & it was really good! & did I mention I LOVE SPRINKLES?
  • Tried Tastycake Scoop Shop Cookies & Cream mini doughnuts for the first time!
  • Great lunch: baked sweet potato with steak sauce, grilled chicken with steak sauce, chipotle gouda cheese slices, & chocolate from a Christmas countdown (Despicable Me minion-shaped chocolate, no less!)

MEDIA

  • STARTED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) Manifest Your Destiny (Wayne Dyer), The 5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman), Feel the Fear…And Do it Anyways (Susan Jeffers), The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle), #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, & Self-Awareness (Gary Vaynerchuk), What If? (Randall Monroe), The Millionaire Next Door (Thomas J. Stanley), Mindfulness (Ellen J. Langer), Meatball Sundae (Seth Godin), Born Standing Up (Steve Martin), Your Best Year Ever (Michael Hyatt)
  • FINISHED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me): The 1% Rule: How to Fall in Love with the Process & Achieve Your Wildest Dreams (Tommy Baker), An Audience of One (Srinivas Rao with Robin Dellabough), The Lessons of History (Will & Ariel Durant), The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey), Manifest Your Destiny (Wayne Dyer), The 5 Love Languages (Gary Chapman), The Power of Now (Eckhart Tolle), #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, & Self-Awareness (Gary Vaynerchuk), The Millionaire Next Door (Thomas J. Stanley), Mindfulness (Ellen J. Langer), Meatball Sundae (Seth Godin) Total: 11 (Up from 11 in February)
  • WATCHED: (episodes in parenthesis for shows; all others are films. * means re-watches; all others are things I’ve never seen). The Umbrella Academy (Run Boy Run, Extra Ordinary, Man on the Moon, Number Five, The Day That Wasn’t, The Day That Was, I Heard a Rumor, Changes, The White Violin), Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (Phone Cake), Extraordinary Interiors (S1:E1), Arrested Development (Family Leave, Self Deportation, Everyone Gets Atrophy), The Office (Dunder Mifflin Infinity, Launch Party) Total: 16 (Up from 11 in March)
  • ALBUMS I LISTENED TO: (*First time listening to this album!): How Strange, Innocence (Explosions in the Sky), Don’t Forget (Demi Lovato), You Never Walk Alone (BTS)*, Destroyer (KISS)*, Enema of the State (Blink-182)*, Musas (Natalia Laforcade)*, Healing (Todd Rundgren)*, Bitches Brew (Miles Davis)*, A Wizard/A True Star (Todd Rundgren), Let it Bleed (The Rolling Stones)*, Dream Wife (Dream Wife), Let Go (Avril Lavigne)* Total: 12 (Down from 14 in February)
  • Favorite songs this month: Feel it Still by Portugal. The Man, I Want Your Wonderwall, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking Theme Song, I Can Fly by Rainey, I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany, & Paper Birds by Parachutes.

PETS

  • Began using some new hot spot healing gel on Sparky to see if it helps his chronic skin problems.
  • For Sparky, I switched him over to the PureBalance Salmon & Pea Dog Food, & he likes it! I like that it’s a good value dog food, & from what I researched, also very good quality.
  • Switched Frogecoin, my Pac-Man Frog, over to a staple diet of nightcrawlers & my frog LOVES them! Set up a worm bin for nightcrawlers before eventually getting nightcrawlers that must be kept in my fridge for temperature reasons.

PERSONAL

  • SAW AN ARMADILLO IN MY YARD & IT WAS AWESOME!
  • Planned my travel for this year!
  • Had a really bad flare up of my seasonal allergies this year, complete with having a fever for almost a week & coughing for about two weeks. I took it easy, I rested a lot, the allergies calmed down outside, & I feel back to normal now!
  • Went to a brand new Hobby Lobby store & got some great new t-shirts & cute sculptures!
  • Researched a lot of logistics for making a lot of my big goals happen & pitched some people for big ideas.
  • Planted watermelon seeds from a little kit I got!
  • Implemented a new system for organizing my inbox that I think will really make organizing it more efficient! Article about this will come eventually after I’ve tested it more.
  • Put on a glitter temporary tattoo of a cute French Fry & it was a lot of fun! I got these at the dollar store.
  • Put new wind shield wiper blades on my car for the first time ever! (First time my car has had new wipers since I got it, & also my first time putting any wiper blades on any car).
  • Set up another bookshelf in my garage, this one for storing & organizing some extra books that I want to keep & be able to look at, but don’t have room for in my house! (I have a TON of books, BTW, & I probably get at least a few new ones each month – I read & re-read them all!). Unpacked one box of books onto this new shelf & organized them.
  • Got some samples & supplies at the hardware store for some projects I am working on.
  • Cleaned up & organized a lot more items in my home, especially in my art area. Shredded & recycled a lot of stuff I don’t need.
  • Set up a set of plastic storage drawers in my bedroom for organizing my jewelry! Put hair accessories/suspenders/necklaces in one drawer, earrings in the next, & bracelets in the last!
  • Paid off one of my credit cards!
  • Did a lot of lying on my dog’s trampoline with him on the back porch, snuggling with him & looking up at the trees & the sun.
  • Realized I wasn’t shy as a child, it was just a mask I put on over time.
  • While cleaning off my desk, I found both a black & a yellow ink cartridge for my printer, both of which I needed, & both of which I dreaded having to buy. Thank you, Universe!
  • Sold stock for the first time & profited some by doing so!
  • Used iron-on patches to fix clothes for the first time!

THINGS I PURCHASED

  • Bought two new cacti! A Prism cacti & an Aalto cacti!
  • Bought a croton plant!
  • Bought a red triceratops Hot Wheels, which is one I don’t have yet for my collection!
  • FOUND AN ALLIGATOR HOT WHEELS CAR for the first time ever, the day after I got back from my Everglades trip, of all times. IT IS SO CUTE.
  • Bought a cute card with rabbits on it that I will use as a wall decoration for Easter!
  • Discovered the glorious feeling of purchasing used paperbacks on Amazon, which are often cheaper even than the Kindle versions of many books!
  • BOUGHT A BROWN + GLITTERY TY BEANIE BABY PLATYPUS & IT IS THE CUTEST. It makes me so happy!
  • Bought some amazing plastic magnets from a booth at the Strawberry Festival! I got an orange sting ray, a colorful lollipop, & a flamingo! It was raining the day I went & the booth hadn’t had many customers, so the guy running the booth was really grateful that I had come to buy some stuff.
  • Bought my first marionette EVER, named Shorty the Giraffe, from the MOST MAGICAL little booth ever (Omar Industries Puppets’ Marionette booth at the Strawberry Festival – see below under “Travel & Experiences” for more details!).
  • Bought some new lemon-print shorts!
  • Got a new paint brushes (which is always a nice feeling!)
  • Bought two new plastic storage tubs for organizing my holiday decorations in my garage!
  • Bought yellow & pink fuzzy Easter chicks at the craft store!
  • Bought an awesome colorful set of hair bows, including a silver sparkly one, one with little rainbows, & more!
  • Bought yellow & pink Lego’s, novelty socks that say “smooth snailing” & have a picture of a snail wearing a captain’s hat, novelty socks with flamingos wearing necklaces & high heels, novelty socks with fuzzy sloths, novelty socks with four-leafed clovers on them, a paint-able plaster snail, & sea green Crayola bath paint (which I then used for the first time, that night to paint an owl & a dinosaur in the shower) at Target!
  • Bought a tiny plush sloth & a tiny purple plush alpaca at Target also!
  • Bought a mini red ceramic dish, neon yellow & pink sequins, fruit-shaped rubber stamps, a cacti-shaped rubber stamp, & adorable fabric featuring owls, one featuring flamingos, & one featuring pineapples!

TRAVEL & EXPERIENCES

  • WENT ON A DAY TRIP TO THE EVERGLADES TO DO A “WET WALK” or “SLOUGH SLOG”, which I’ve wanted to do for 2+ years, ever since I was preparing for my Epic Florida Road Trip. It was such a special & fun & educational experience. I drove the 5+ hours there & back in the same day. While I was in the Everglades, I also walked the Gumbo Limbo & Anhinga Trails, both of which are famous trails in the Everglades that I didn’t get to do the first time I visited. Oh, & I must note that I arrived at the place to do the wet walk tour just two minutes before the tour started, so I was really lucky on time! The whole trip though was fantastic. Tried alligator meat for the first time ever at the Everglades Alligator Restaurant in Homestead, FL! 
  • WENT TO THE FLORIDA STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!!! The fair is such a freaking magical place, kind of like a hyper-reality almost, because it’s this magical world that exists as part of the actual, “normal” world. Took so many photos of magical things. It looked so magical, especially when everything was lit up at night. Skipped across the grounds. Tried the World Famous Strawberry Shortcake. Saw strawberry plants & their little setup showing an example of a strawberry farm, including tiny baby green strawberries & huge tractors! Went into the animal barn & got to see a bunch of cute rabbits, chickens, & SHEEP WEARING SWEATERS!!!!! Got to see the strawberry mascots! Listened to Mint Royale’s Blue Song on the way home & it was perfect.
  • Saw the Pompeyo Family dog show at the Strawberry Festival! The dogs did some really cool tricks, & they were all so adorable & smart! So many poodles!
  • Saw a pig race from Robinson’s Racing Pigs for the first time at the Strawberry Festival! They raced four types of pigs, including some cute potbellied pigs that jumped into a pool & swam across, BABY PIGS, & totally adorable young wild boars (including a really cute spotted one!).
  • WENT ON MY FIRST ROLLER COASTER EVER! The biggest “roller coaster” I’ve been on previously was the dragon-shaped kids’ one that they usually have at fairs. I went on the biggest regular car roller coaster-style coaster that I’ve seen at the fair, at the Strawberry Festival. It was really fast & super fun!
  • At the Strawberry Festival, I went through a fun house that I think has to be my favorite ever – a Jurassic Park-themed one with dinosaurs painted all over the outside! I LOVE fun houses & this one was amazing. It had so many different things to walk through, rollers you walked over, platforms to jump across, ladders & stairs to climb, one of those spinning tunnels you have to jump through without falling, & a big slide at the end. It had so much stuff to it & I LOVED that it was dinosaur-themed.
  • Rode around in a gigantic spinning strawberry ride at the Strawberry Festival!
  • Rode in a tiny yellow helicopter (a ride, not a real helicopter) at the Strawberry Festival!
  • RODE ON A DUMBO RIDE FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!! Seriously, I was so excited about this. I’ve wanted to ride a Dumbo ride ever since I was like three, but I’ve never been to Disney (GASP! Say all the Floridians) & I had never been on one. I got to ride on a purple elephant & I made it fly as high as it could the whole time & it was so magical & so fun!!!!!
  • Discovered the most MAGICAL little booth ever at the Strawberry Festival: Omar Industries’ Puppets. Warm light spilled out into the darkness from a miniature room. On either side of the doorway, there were lit boxes with yarn marionettes magically dancing. I had seen the booth earlier, but didn’t want to buy anything until I was about to leave the fair. I knew before I even walked into the booth that I was going to buy a marionette. As I walked up, the guy in the booth showed me one of the multiple marionettes he was carrying around – a raccoon – & made it go over to a tiny food bowl, toilet, & more as he talked about “how to care for your marionette”, as though they were real animals. It was awesome. After looking around the booth & trying one of the marionettes, a giraffe one caught my eye. The guy at the booth really wanted me to remember what he had named the giraffe (Shorty, the star of my recent short film!) & in general seemed to be such an awesome person who really, really cares about marionettes. Super magical. I will totally get more marionettes from this business again! And I LOVE Shorty the Giraffe. It was just a super-magical experience.
  • Watched a 4-H animal show for the first time! Watched one age class of young sheep being judged & it was interesting! I had no idea what was happening, & I walked in in the middle of the show, so I pretended I knew what was happening.
  • Saw the biggest block of cheese I have ever seen!!! Walked up to the booth & said, “I just gotta know…how much does that cheese block weigh?” The guy said it weighed 40 pounds! (The kind of questions I have to ask…)
  • Went on a local “Tour of Homes” & toured some really nice houses (worth $500k – $1.5 million!), the type that it’s my goal to live in in the future!

LIST OF ALL TAROT CARDS IN ORDER (INCLUDING PLAIN TEXT LIST)

I recently had trouble finding a list of Tarot cards. I wanted one that was in order. And I wanted one that was, most importantly, just a plain list of the cards without the clutter of a bunch of definitions (because that makes the list hard to copy & paste if you just want a list of the cards). So I made this one! Hope it is helpful!

Scroll to the very bottom of the page if you want an unnumbered list of the cards, one which is perfect if you need to copy & paste a plain text list of the cards!

MAJOR ARCANA

*Note that the numbers in parenthesis are the number associated with the cards’ technical place in the deck

  1. The Fool (0)
  2. The Magician (1)
  3. The High Priestess (2)
  4. The Empress (3)
  5. The Emperor (4)
  6. The Hierophant (5)
  7. The Lovers (6)
  8. The Chariot (7)
  9. Strength (8)
  10. The Hermit (9)
  11. Wheel of Fortune (10)
  12. Justice (11)
  13. The Hanged Man (12)
  14. Death (13)
  15. Temperance (14)
  16. The Devil (15)
  17. The Tower (16)
  18. The Star (17)
  19. The Moon (18)
  20. The Sun (19)
  21. Judgment (20)
  22. The World (21)

MINOR ARCANA

Suit of Wands

  1. Ace of Wands
  2. Two of Wands
  3. Three of Wands
  4. Four of Wands
  5. Five of Wands
  6. Six of Wands
  7. Seven of Wands
  8. Eight of Wands
  9. Nine of Wands
  10. Ten of Wands
  11. Page of Wands
  12. Knight of Wands
  13. Queen of Wands
  14. King of Wands

Suit of Cups

  1. Ace of Cups
  2. Two of Cups
  3. Three of Cups
  4. Four of Cups
  5. Five of Cups
  6. Six of Cups
  7. Seven of Cups
  8. Eight of Cups
  9. Nine of Cups
  10. Ten of Cups
  11. Page of Cups
  12. Knight of Cups
  13. Queen of Cups
  14. King of Cups

Suit of Swords

  1. Ace of Swords
  2. Two of Swords
  3. Three of Swords
  4. Four of Swords
  5. Five of Swords
  6. Six of Swords
  7. Seven of Swords
  8. Eight of Swords
  9. Nine of Swords
  10. Ten of Swords
  11. Page of Swords
  12. Knight of Swords
  13. Queen of Swords
  14. King of Swords

Suit of Pentacles

  1. Ace of Pentacles
  2. Two of Pentacles
  3. Three of Pentacles
  4. Four of Pentacles
  5. Five of Pentacles
  6. Six of Pentacles
  7. Seven of Pentacles
  8. Eight of Pentacles
  9. Nine of Pentacles
  10. Ten of Pentacles
  11. Page of Pentacles
  12. Knight of Pentacles
  13. Queen of Pentacles
  14. King of Pentacles

 

PLAIN TEXT LIST

The Fool
The Magician
The High Priestess
The Empress
The Emperor
The Hierophant
The Lovers
The Chariot
Strength
The Hermit
Wheel of Fortune
Justice
The Hanged Man
Death
Temperance
The Devil
The Tower
The Star
The Moon
The Sun
Judgment
The World
Ace of Wands
Two of Wands
Three of Wands
Four of Wands
Five of Wands
Six of Wands
Seven of Wands
Eight of Wands
Nine of Wands
Ten of Wands
Page of Wands
Knight of Wands
Queen of Wands
King of Wands
Ace of Cups
Two of Cups
Three of Cups
Four of Cups
Five of Cups
Six of Cups
Seven of Cups
Eight of Cups
Nine of Cups
Ten of Cups
Page of Cups
Knight of Cups
Queen of Cups
King of Cups
Ace of Swords
Two of Swords
Three of Swords
Four of Swords
Five of Swords
Six of Swords
Seven of Swords
Eight of Swords
Nine of Swords
Ten of Swords
Page of Swords
Knight of Swords
Queen of Swords
King of Swords
Ace of Pentacles
Two of Pentacles
Three of Pentacles
Four of Pentacles
Five of Pentacles
Six of Pentacles
Seven of Pentacles
Eight of Pentacles
Nine of Pentacles
Ten of Pentacles
Page of Pentacles
Knight of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles
King of Pentacles

Playfulness + Self-Reliance = GAMIFICATION

jplenio / Pixabay

I have deemed 2019 the year of my “second childhood”. I want it to be a year filled with as much childlike freedom & imagination & fun & play & believing anything is possible, as I can fit into a year.
But at the same time, I also have deemed it the year I stop crapping around & start acting like an adult. I want to stop using the “my parents will pick up my slack” line as a convenient excuse to be, at times, a broke slob.
How can these two things co-exist when they seem to be moral opposites?
Because each exists on its own spectrum. Yes. I believe that you can be chillin’ & paying down your credit card debt while playfully imagining colorful owls swinging on a swing set. Why?

Because the adult never had to come at the exclusion of the childlike.

It’s a cultural myth. Coming from a viewpoint, no less, that somehow thinks that being stodgy, stressed out, about to have a breakdown, unhealthy, & unhappy is more respectable & “responsible” than someone who lives whimsically, eccentrically, playfully.
O12 / Pixabay
And this makes absolutely no sense. It’s not an “either/or” proposition. It’s BOTH.
As I stated in “Weekend (In the Breeze)”, a song off a recent album of mine:
“It was illusion, the way they told me being grown-up had to hurt,
They told me happiness was all a scam,
All around me I saw adults falling, into the depths of the rat race
They’d created, thought it was the way it had to be
But they were just trying to sell escapes to you & they were jealous of your dreams”
And recently, I’ve really been learning a lot about & finally IMPLEMENTING a lot of gamification in my life. Mostly thanks to reading “Level Up Your Life” by NerdFitness creator Steve Kamb & beginning to use the awesome Habitica app.
Google defines gamification as:
the application of typical elements of game playing (e.g. point scoring, competition with others, rules of play) to other areas of activity, typically as an online marketing technique to encourage engagement with a product or service.

Nietjuh / Pixabay

In other words, it’s about using fun, playful strategies to make things that might be boring or just not as fun as they could be into a form of play.
Which is why gamification is the primary tool I’m going to use in 2019 to achieve both my themes of “second childhood” & “greater self-responsibility”.
Here are a few specific things I’ll be doing to combine the themes using gamification that you can use too:
  • Giving cool, fun names to tasks that aren’t necessarily inherently fun. Instead of “clean your pet cages”, the task can be called & thought of as “caring for your precious zoo animals”. Instead of shopping, you’re Indiana Jones hunting for a treasured artifact or a hero gathering survival supplies or a pirate digging for buried gold.
  • Treating everything like a quest. Pretend everything is a quest or a step necessary to achieve a quest, or pretend you’re an awesome character as you’re going about your daily tasks (either a character from fiction, history, or your own creation).
  • Breaking things down into smaller, more manageable steps. Instead of trying to clean your bathroom all at the same time, try cleaning just one different part of it every day. Sundays, you might just clean the mirror. Mondays, you might mop. Tuesdays, you might wipe down the counter. Etc. This makes tasks seem less overwhelming & therefore, more likely to get done.
  • Making sure playfulness is a prominent part of daily life. Use your imagination more to tell stories about what you’re doing & who you are, just like when you were a kid. Take time each day to actually do something playful, whether you actually play or experiment or explore objects/places or even just a fun game on your phone. And if you’re too busy any given day to do that, at the very least you can approach problems & situations with a playful mindset.
  • Let yourself feel free. Try to see the world again through responsible, but childlike, eyes. Is it really the end of the world if you don’t tackle the WHOLE pile of dishes on the counter? Try to spend less time stressing out about all the things you think you’re not doing well enough at & take more time to just be. Flow through the day. Take your time. Give yourself some space to breathe. Take breaks. Let yourself change course or activities as the mood strikes you. My epic Florida road trip was very playful, but as I was the only one caring for myself, I also was entirely self-reliant.
  • Start being accountable for the results of your life. I was googling the idea of self-reliance when I came across this awesome quote from The Art of Manliness’ article, “Developing a Self-Reliant Mindset“. “[…] while it’s easy to get by by having other people do everything for you, ‘the trouble is, when you’re not self-reliant, you’ll never do more than just get by’.” I think that quote is one of the most important things I’ve ever heard. The truth is that nobody cares as much about your world or your environment or your dreams as you do, so if you’re always blaming others for how things turn out or when you don’t get what you want or always putting the responsibility on them to make things happen for you, you’re always going to be let down. Start accepting responsibility. Why? When you hand responsibility off to someone else, you’re in a sort of disempowered “victim” mindset. But when you take responsibility & look at your life & can healthily say, “Yes, it’s my fault that this didn’t turn out right.” You’re acknowledging yourself as source of the problem. But when you’re the problem, you’re also empowering yourself to be the SOLUTION. If it’s your problem, you can also fix it.
Playfulness & self-reliance are compatible, & if you want to be a next-level person, both are essential.
How are you going to mix playfulness & self-reliance this year?

Rosie the Riveter…With Rainbow Freckles – Outfit of the Day – February 22, 2019

blue collared button down shirt / grape purple Danskin cloth shorts / pink & white bendable hair tie I got from Amazon a long time ago / Doc Martens with rainbow laces that I bought at Hobby Lobby / strawberry earrings / pink Wet ‘n Wild paint palette eye shadow / red & yellow & blue freckles created with cheap face paint crayons!

This was actually something I wore a more than a month ago (February 22, to be exact) but sadly it was the most recent outfit I could find that I’d photographed since then (I guess I need to up my outfit game – I’ve been feeling a bit bland). AND I really, really loved this combination. First off, I loved the blue + purple of the shirt & shorts together. And I love my Doc Martens with ANYTHING.

But my favorite bit was definitely the makeup & hair tie combo. I have been sometimes doing realistic-looking fake freckles with brown eyeliner, & several folks I follow on Instagram began doing brightly colored freckles, sometimes as part of a clown aesthetic. Of course, I’m for anything colorful & happened to have some old face paint crayons, so I gave it a try & LOVED it. I’ve done it several times since then & it just instantly makes you look colorful & magical. I dusted a bit of powder over them when I was done drawing them to “set” them.

Then, I added this super-bright pink from a Wet ‘n Wild paint palette I got around Halloween with really saturated colors. The pink was a bit dry & ended up staining my eyelids for a couple of days, but that color didn’t go anywhere even when I was out in the heat of the day sweating, so I loved that.

Finally, because I wanted to wear a hair accessory, I remembered this great one I own. I was going for a slightly retro, Rosie the Riveter-type look, which I think I pulled off well with the combo of the polka dot hair tie & the denim shirt ♥

Great Experience at McDonalds Store 34367 SR 54 in Wesley Chapel, FL!

skeeze / Pixabay

Yesterday (3/28/19), I visited the McDonalds store located at 34367 State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel, FL! I was having a big craving for a sort of iced-coffee milkshake type thing & wanted to get a good deal on one. I’d never been to this McDonalds before, nor had a Frappe before.

I went through the drive thru, ordered a small caramel Frappe, & two small fries because my mom & I both wanted some (also, McDonalds fries are THE BEST). The person on the speaker at the drive thru was really nice, & I drove up to the window to pay.

At that window, the associate who helped me was very friendly & helpful. She cheerfully told me I was lucky, because they were afraid they were out of the caramel Frappe mix but they found some just in time. She seemed to genuinely care.

When I went to the window to pick up my food, the associate here again was incredibly friendly & welcoming. She told me it would be a minute on the Frappe because they were changing out the bag on it, so I should pull up in front of the store & they would bring out the Frappe.

As I haven’t been to McDonalds that many times before & didn’t know where to pull up for them to bring my food out to the car. I’d forgotten to ask. I parked along one side of the building & saw for a few minutes, but didn’t see anyone bringing my drink out. I pulled around the other side & still didn’t see anyone, so after waiting for a few more minutes I went into the store.

As soon as the associate who had given me the fry part of my order saw me, in a genuinely caring tone she asked,

“Oh, you didn’t get your drink?”

When I said no, I hadn’t, she immediately stopped what she was doing & began making the Frappe right in front of me. She apologized. I admitted I probably hadn’t pulled up where I should & asked her where I had been supposed to pull up & she explained it very nicely. The associate who was supposed to bring the drink out but who didn’t see my car & had thought I’d left came over & apologized too. The associate making my drink gave me a free upgrade to a large Frappe instead of the small that I’d ordered as a way of saying sorry, & apologized again.

I can’t think of any way that throughout this whole experience that the employees could have been kinder or more helpful towards me. I think the customer service skills of anyone really shine best when a problem is resolved, & these employees solved the problem (even which was more my confusion than theirs) quickly in a very satisfying way, & were just so nice & welcoming throughout the whole process.

I count this among some of the best service I’ve received eating out anywhere, & probably the MOST positive experience I have had with service & staff at a fast food restaurant anywhere. Kudos to the staff at this location. I will definitely be returning!

15 REASONS WHY NETFLIX’S UMBRELLA ACADEMY IS THE BEST SHOW – REASON #1

REASON #1: THIS IS THE FIRST SHOW I’VE EVEN WANTED TO BINGE-WATCH IN A VERY LONG TIME

Source: IMDB.com

This is the first show I’ve wanted to do my version of “binge watching” on in a VERY LONG TIME. It’s very important to note that I am NOT a binge watcher. (I usually don’t even watch movies all at the same time, much less watch more than one episode of a show on any given day.) The last time I was watching a show where I HAD to know what happened next was probably in Season 2 of BBC Sherlock or Season 6 of Doctor Who.

But with Umbrella Academy, I just couldn’t stop watching it, especially after the second or third episode. I divided the first episode up over a few days (a normal rate for me watching a 1-hour episode of anything), but I watched an episode or more per day starting with Episode 4.

On the day I finished the series, I watched 2.5 episodes, which is a ton of watching anything for me. But it was THAT good. I HAD to know what happened next & was willing to lose a bit of sleep over staying up to finish an episode. And when I found myself in my car in a parking lot waiting for it to be time to go into a concert venue, I took the fifteen or so minutes I had & used it to watch JUST A FEW minutes more of the show. Whether or not the episode ended on a cliffhanger or with a new revelation, I really cared about the characters & NEEDED to see how this was going to end.

The plot was just so fucking good though, which made Umbrella Academy one of the best, most intriguing, most well-done series I’ve watched in a long time.

FEBRUARY: MY MONTH REVIEW

OVERVIEW: Got to meet Art Garfunkel thanks to some glorious serendipity, published two books, released two songs, put out a new comedy video, saw 4 concerts,went to the Florida State Fair for the first time, milked a cow for the first time, rode a camel for the first time, finished revamping all my online store listings,  did my first cartwheel, got to pet cows, sheep, lambs, a donkey, & a burro for the first time, & more!

CREATIVITY & BUSINESS

  • BOOKS: Published 2 books – Ashlee Craft/Assemblage, Issue 14 & Moles (Wonderful Wildlife #9)Began on a new poetry book & Fallon the Wizard, Book 2.
  • MUSIC: Released 2 songs – “There Was a Man” & “& The Night Was Over (Post Rock Remix)“.
  • Began painting on canvas paper for things I think would come out better painted on textured art paper instead of regular copy paper, the latter of which is what I usually use for most of my art. Painted my crying circus strongman & the upcoming orange-haired funky girl paintings. This was also my first time in a long time of painting actual cohesive paintings (aside from book illustrations; I’ve drawn cohesive things but hadn’t made any cohesive “paintings” for a long time). Also, this was my first time of painting people (just a few months ago, I finally realized I could DRAW people [I always had this weird belief that I couldn’t, or couldn’t do it well], which lead to my Mighty Boosh & Pee-Wee’s Playhouse themed works).
  • My Mom & I collaborated on a piece of art for the first time ever, where she came up with an idea & I drew it! The result of this was the Marching Money design.
  • FINISHED EDITING ALL MY PRODUCT LISTINGS ON SHOP ASHLEE CRAFT as part of the months-long revamping of my shop! GO CHECK IT OUT HERE →
  • Submitted the first thing I’ve ever done that’s going to be published in someone else’s magazine! SO EXCITED about this, because the magazine also happens to be one of my favorites. Announcement about this coming soon!
  • Put out a comedy video – an interview with Victoria of Victoria’s Secret! Based on a joke that did surprisingly well at the comedy club.
  • Began to “storyboard” movie scenes! What this means is, as I learned more about what goes into directing films, I realized I needed to draw a storyboard of the different shots I wanted for things I was filming. But then I realized I didn’t know what made a good shot, so I decided to draw storyboards for some of my favorite movie scenes. This is so much fun & so educational.
  • Filmed footage for a “commercial” I am making & wrote & recorded a jingle for it!
  • Applied for three acting jobs, two of which I auditioned for.
  • Published my 2018 Yearly Review article! You can read it here.
  • Wrote 8 poems, including my first two “newspaper poems” ever!
  • Made my first absurdist comedy quote image using an old vintage photo/illustration (an idea I’ve had for a while).
  • Began planning script for the one-person show that I’m developing. Played around with script & ideas. This will be something I pursue pretty soon.
  • Published an article about why I began watching movies again (after a hiatus in doing so).
  • Published an article about my goals for 2019!

CONCERTS

  • Saw Herbie Hancock at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL. Phenomenal.
  • Saw Fleetwood Mac in concert at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL. It was one of those big, iconic concerts for me & I’m so so glad I got to see them.
  • Saw Art Garfunkel at Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, FL. Thanks to some MAGNIFICENT serendipity & the fact that I bought the very last “cheap seat”, which put me sitting next to the best friend of the wife of one of Art Garfunkel’s very best friends since college & still to this day, I GOT TO MEET ART GARFUNKEL & shake his hand & tell him how his music had been really important to me when I was a teen. He looked at my hair & said, “Good hair cut.” It was SO MAGICAL.
  • Saw Christopher Cross at Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, FL. So many flamingos.

FOODS

  • Went to Panera & tried their Prickly Pear Hibiscus Fresca for the first time! It’s awesome!!!
  • Drank Swiss Miss K-Cup hot chocolate for the first time!
  • Ate My/Mo Mango Mochi Ice Cream for the first time! SUPER GOOD. I’ve tried some other flavors of the My/Mo mochi ice cream but I’d never tried the mango one before.
  • Ate dinosaur gummy candy for the first time.
  • Made these banana almond flour muffins for the first time, after a very long time procrastinating on making them. They were super good.
  • One day, I had a soft-boiled egg in a cheese bed, sliced wild tomatoes with salt, & a yellow chocolate cupcake for breakfast.
  • Tried the Applewood Smoked Bacon Marinated Fresh Pork Loin Filet for the first time, & it was incredibly good! I’m usually not the BIGGEST fan of pork tenderloins, but this one had an amazing flavor & my Dad is super good at cooking meat.
  • Tried Campbell’s Chunky Jazzy Jambalaya soup for the first time!
  • Tried Mighty Sesame Vanilla Tahini bars for the first time!
  • Tried Chobani Gimmes yogurts in the birthday cake & cotton candy flavors!
  • To use up some roasted chestnuts I had, I melted blue cheese on them & they were awesome! That, plus some marshmallow hot chocolate, made for some awesome breakfasts.
  • Tried rainbow Twizzlers for the first time & they were great & so colorful & fun!
  • Bought some Walmart-brand Peach Bellini water flavoring, & I really enjoyed it.
  • Tried a veggie mixture with fresh vegetables that I bought that you microwaved to cook. It had salsa & cheese you put along with it, & it contained cauliflower, sweet potatoes, kale, & some other stuff. Really good mixture; I just can’t remember which brand it was.
  • Tried La Croix Kiwi Watermelon sparkling water for the first time!
  • Tried gummy frogs for the first time! They’re really good, & super funky.

MEDIA

  • STARTED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) The Adventures of Robin Hood (Howard Pyle), The Anatomy of Peace (The Arbinger Institute), An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake (Srinivas Rao with Robin Dellabough), A Little Book of Sloth (Lucy Cooke)*, The Ugly Animals: We Can’t All Be Pandas (Simon Watt), Mindset (Carol Dweck), Steal Like an Artist (Austin Kleon)*, The Untethered Soul (Michael Singer), The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Agatha Christie)*, The Lessons of History (Will & Arial Durant), The Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey)
  • FINISHED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) Letting Go (Dr. David Hawkins), Level Up Your Life (Steve Kamb), Girl, Wash Your Face (Rachel Hollis), The 4-Hour Work Week (Tim Ferris), The Anatomy of Peace (The Arbinger Institute), A Little Book of Sloth (Lucy Cooke)*, Mindset (Carol Dweck), Steal Like an Artist (Austin Kleon)*, The Untethered Soul (Michael Singer), The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Agatha Christie)*. Total: 10 (up from 7 in January)
  • WATCHED: (episodes in parenthesis for shows; all others are films. * means re-watches; all others are things I’ve never seen). Barbie Dolphin Magic, Absolutely Anything, Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later (Reunion), 555 (Acting), Cold Pursuit, In Order of Disappearance, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (King Tutta), The Office (Fun Run), The Umbrella Academy (We Only See Each Other at Weddings & Funerals), Red 2, Gayle (Episode 19 – Jay). Total: 11 (Exact same number of things I watched last month)
  • ALBUMS I LISTENED TO: (*First time listening to this album!). St. Vincent (St. Vincent)*, Abandoned Luncheonette (Daryl Hall/John Oates), War Babies (Daryl Hall/John Oates), A Wizard/A True Star (Todd Rundgren), Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)*, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out (Panic! At the Disco)*, Varsity (Varisty), We are So (ModPods), Escape the Gray (my own album), Our Own House (MisterWives)*, Three Dog Night – The Complete Hit Singles (Three Dog Night)*, Fleetwood Mac (Fleetwood Mac)*, Earth (Jefferson Starship), My Girl & More of the Drifters (The Drifters)*. Total: 14 (Up from 7 last month)
  • Was reminded of the amazing scene in The Dark Knight Rises (one of my favorite films EVER) where Batman is preparing to climb out of the pit & everyone is chanting “rise”. One of the best movie scenes ever & a huge inspiration to me on more occasions than I can count, so unless you’ve just watched the movie already this week, give it a watch here.

PETS

  • Looked into different dog foods & experimented with two different new types for Sparky, my Boston Terrier/Shih-Tzu/Chihuahua mix in order to find one that he likes, that’s good quality, & hopefully helps improve his skin health.
  • Bought my rabbit a better brand of rabbit food to upgrade his diet.
  • Added more organic soil to both my pet millipede enclosures to improve their environments. They had some coconut coir mixed with oak leaves & twigs in their tanks but I wanted to give them nice deep soil to burrow in now that I had organic soil. They seem to really like it!
  • Researched & switched guinea pigs over to a different brand of food that is still good quality but more cost-effective & a lot easier to find in my area.
  • My dog recognizes my car now, so he watches for me when I’m coming home & when he sees my car pull he, he gets excited & starts barking.

PERSONAL

  • Did my first cartwheel EVER! This was something I’d wanted to do for a long time.
  • Hung up all my current buntings on the ceiling in my room. It looks AMAZING & I have even more; I just haven’t found the box they’re packed in yet. But the ones I hung up made my room look so so MAGICAL.
  • Got another savings account at my bank to help me better divide up my money & save it for specific things, such as certain bigger purchases I want to make or investing. Changed the names of the savings accounts to be what I want so when I put money in them I’m not just putting it in “Savings Account 3” but “Road Trip”.
  • Sprayed a pair of shoes with shoe waterproofing for the first time!
  • Redefined “failure” for myself so that the idea of it is no longer something that can stop me. I realized that even if I “failed”, I could still craft a most excellent life, like I am already doing now. When you have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain.
  • Shattered my phone screen by dropping my phone on cement, for the first time ever. Not a highlight, but I did learn how to “fix” a phone screen with packing tape. It’s still growing strong, & I plan on keeping it for a while because it’s still usable & I prefer to fix things rather than spending money on new things when I don’t need to.
  • Unsubscribed from several email newsletters, which frankly I haven’t missed at all!
  • Cleaned up a lot more of my bedroom, which I’ve needed to do ever since I moved.
  • Ended up at a stop light next to a truck that had bee cages in the back & a sign on the tailgate that warned that it was transporting bees, & I thought this was great.
  • Worked more on painting & decorating the sand koala sculpture I’m reinventing. I got it at a thrift store years ago & it’s bland so I’m making it awesome & funky.
  • Saw a COW COMING OUT OF A FOREST & it was FANTASTIC!!!
  • Tried a new makeup look where I did colorful freckles with face paint crayons, & I LOVE IT.
  • Began to sort through my jewelry collection. Also cleaned off a lot more of my desk, which has been a complete mess for months!

THINGS I PURCHASED

  • Began using the RenPure Rose Water body wash, & it is SERIOUSLY A FAVORITE.
  • Got a new T-Rex Hot Wheels car to add to my collection of Hot Wheels.
  • ONE OF THE BEST THINGS that I purchased were two TOTALLY ADORABLE, mischievous, & colorful owl kitchen timers with the SWEETEST FACES EVER.
  • Hallmark cards were BOGO at the grocery store, so I got two that I’d had my eye on for a while – one with kittens screaming with joy, & another that says “We Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”. Both are going to be framed & hung up on my walls, which is what I like doing with cards.
  • Bought another Jack Reacher book (one that I do not own yet [I own a large number of them]) for $0.50 at the library!
  • My Mom gave a plush alligator for Valentine’s Day & it is ADORABLE <3 <3 <3 She also got me a plush stegosaurus & a TOTALLY ADORABLE huggable plush sloth. My sister got a PINK GLITTERY PLUSH HEDGEHOG!!!
  • Bought a plush triceratops, which I love because it’s primary-colored.
  • FOUND DINOSAUR-SHAPED PASTA at the grocery store, so of course I bought some.
  • Bought an awesome old book about cacti at the library for $0.50!
  • Got my Makeup Eraser sample & it’s great! Really works the way it’s supposed to.
  • Bought a wind-up dinosaur, holographic rainbow Easter egg garland to decorate my house with, a notebook for “storyboarding” movie scenes in, & a wooden painted frog.

TRAVEL & EXPERIENCES

  • Went to the Florida State Fair for the first time EVER!!!!! I absolutely ADORE fairs. I love everything about them, including all the great food stands, which give me major aesthetic & design inspiration. Saw a lot of great booths & food booths. And while I generally never play games at the fair, I still like taking inspiration from seeing the prizes you can with (think: giant pastel plush sloths & alpacas). One of my favorite booths was an inflatable lemonade stand. Ate a blue raspberry Sno Cone while I was there.
  • MILKED A COW for the first time ever at the Florida State Fair. This was the thing I most wanted to do at the fair & I wedged myself in there among all the children who were also trying to get their turn to milk the cow so I wasn’t mistaken for an uninterested parent. IT WAS AMAZING. Also I got one of their official “I milked a cow at the Florida State Fair” ribbon & sticker & posed with it while smiling smugly.
  • RODE A CAMEL. GUYS, I RODE AN EFFING CAMEL. I did this at the fair too. They are so tall & I got to ride it three laps around the ring & their humps are so fuzzy.
  • GOT TO PET SO MANY COWS. This was my first time petting adult cows (I petted a baby cow last year). My favorite was a big reddish cow with huge horns (I think it was a Scottish Highlander or something) who kept putting its horns in the walk way but was a big sweetheart. Petted so many types of cows.
  • PETTED A SHEEP AND LAMBS FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!!! Their wool is so soft & fuzzy & lambs are so effing adorable. Like, I can’t even believe how cute they are in real life. Favorite sheep was one that kept trying to be sociable because it wanted food & kept trying to take the empty feeding cups out of the bin on its stall. Petted a lot of different breeds of sheep.
  • SAW BABY GOATS THAT HAD LITERALLY JUST BEEN BORN, like, their-mom-was-still-licking-them-clean new, & they were super-microscopic, & they were effing adorable as anything.
  • Went on rides at the fair! I went on the yo-yo ride with my Mom, we both went on that really really tall ferris wheel & got to see the whole fair from a bird’s eye view, & used my last few tickets to go through a decent fire fighter-themed fun house (I love fun houses, BTW).
  • Got to pet a donkey & a burro, both for the first time!
  • At the fair, also got to pet a bunch of goats of a variety of types, which are obviously always adorable. Saw a baby water buffalo & baby pigs that were wagging their tiny little tails as they nursed, & baby chicks. Saw baby cows, including a baby cow that had only been born earlier that day. I saw them giving the mom cow an IV because she was dehydrated after giving birth. Also saw zebras, an alpaca, a llama, a kangaroo, & giraffes. Went into the rabbit & chicken show barn & saw lots of adorable breeds of both, as well as some gorgeous chickens & fluffy chickens (including some with FLUFFY FEET!!!). And some chickens with crazy hair. ALSO I got to watch a turkey make a gobbley noise in real life! It was awesome! Also saw geese up close & they were really cute.
  • Couldn’t get to the exit I needed to in time before the highway split, so I had to take a different road home. This serendipity lead to me driving past the Florida State Fair when everything was LIT UP AT NIGHT & BEAUTIFUL, on the VERY LAST NIGHT THAT IT WAS THERE, & it was so magical to be able to see.
  • Went to the grand opening of an Earth Fare store, which is the first time I’ve ever been in one! Got a free reusable shopping bag. They had three huge pink balloons flying above the building & you could see them from the road!
  • Went to a new pet store in my area that I’d never been to before to see what they had.
  • Went to the movie theater with my whole family for the first time in YEARS.
  • Found a small ringneck snake on my back porch! Tried to catch it to remove it from my deck but I got away from me & left my deck on its own accord. But this was my first time of ever seeing a ringneck snake, & if you like snake, they’re really cool looking!

MY TOP 19 GOALS FOR 2019

19 goals for an awesome year.

This isn’t a TOTALLY comprehensive list of my 2019 goals. First off, it would change too many times so I’m always changing & adding to it. Second, I like keeping some goals secrets until I’ve actually done them so then they can be surprises. And third, it would be too long 😀

Anyways, here is a list of 19 of my top goals for 2019.

  1. Write, direct, produce, & publish a feature film.

    I’ve wanted to make an ACTUAL film for a long time. I didn’t make any short films at all from mid-2015-most of 2018 but now I’m making a bunch. I have a ton of great ideas & a vision for what the film would be like, & I think as a filmmaker it’s an amazing goal to make something longer than a short film, not to mention a fun challenge!

    Free-Photos / Pixabay

  2. Build a cement roadside dinosaur.

    I AM OBSESSED WITH ROADSIDE DINOSAURS. I found this article of all the ones in Florida. I’ve seen several of them but someday I’d like to see them all. And I hope to seeing the Cabazon Dinosaurs this year in my travels. AND I’m photographing cement roadside dinosaurs for a photography book I’m making. But this year, I’d like to MAKE a roadside dinosaur so other people can enjoy a new one too.

  3. Start a circus.

    I don’t know what format it will be in or how it will be structured, but I would LOVE to start a circus full of amazing acts. Circuses (that don’t involve animals, I must note) are amazing & so seriously funky & whimsical so it would be so super cool to START A CIRCUS.

    ckirner / Pixabay

  4. Set up a funky museum.

    I want the THEME of it to be a surprise, but you can bet it’ll be funky, totally surprising, & one-of-a-kind. It will likely be small, weird, & one of those awesome attractions you’d find on Atlas Obscura. Collecting & curating a specialty collection & creating a really special place where people can gather & marvel at how weird & wacky the world is, is a big goal of mine.

    Couleur / Pixabay

  5. Buy an used ice cream truck.

    I’m not sure what I’ll use it for (I have SOME ideas though!) but it too will be amazing & funky. I just love the whimsical idea of owning one.

    Momentmal / Pixabay

  6. Write & publish 12+ books.

    In 2016 I did 10. In 2017 I did 11. In 2018 I did 12. I have so many great books in the works & I am SO EXCITED to be putting them out in 2019. Oh, & in 2019 I’ll also publish my 100th book! Woohoo! As of the publication of this article, I’ve already published already!

  7. Take a mini vacation each month.

    I live in the Grand Old State of Florida, & despite what my teenaged self believed, there are TONS of great places to visit & amazing things to do without even leaving my state. Of course, I have some plans to travel a lot further than just within my state, but making the effort to go to a new place, at least for a day trip, each month sounds awesome. I want to visit the Florida Keys & Miami again & see more stuff in northern Florida! Currently, I haven’t got to do this yet for either January or February, so I guess I’ll just have to take two vacations in two of the months!

    moorpheus / Pixabay

  8. Publish 3 Udemy courses!

    As of currently, I have FINALLY released my first course, “How to Make 3 Styles of Plush Bumblebees”. But what I’m most excited about is my super-comprehensive “101 Ways to Love Yourself” course, which should be out within the next few months, as well as a guided meditation course.

  9. Make enough income from growing my business, books, music, art etc that I get to spend 95% of each day everyday doing things I enjoy & feeling great & making an abundant living working for myself.

    rawpixel / Pixabay

  10. Live a completely outlandish, magical day like Pippi Longstocking does in my favorite childhood movie “The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking” but with me being an adult American with parents 😂

    HansLinde / Pixabay

  11. Get an acting role in a mid-to-big budget film.

    I have wanted to do this since I was a kid, because I love acting & I love films. So why not?

    skeeze / Pixabay

  12. Start living my version of the “Millionaire Lifestyle” regardless of whether I’m a millionaire (yet) or not.

    I just read Tim Ferriss’ “The 4-Hour Workweek” for the first time & it’s one of the most inspiring books I’ve read. It’s made me realize that even without having a millionaire’s income (yet!) that I can still live the lifestyle I would live as a millionaire.

    maya_7966 / Pixabay

  13. Walk a marathon.

    As of me publishing this article, this has been done! It was super challenging & took me 8 hours of walking through a local park to achieve, but it taught me so much about resilience & I’m so proud I did it.

    Free-Photos / Pixabay

  14. Go on a California road trip!

    I’ve loved the idea of California for a long time, & they’ve got so many great things out there. Los Angeles, the redwoods, ostriches, oceans, & dinosaurs are just a few things I’m looking forward to seeing.

    12019 / Pixabay

  15. PETS:

    Upgrade my 10 gallon aquarium 55 gallon aquarium. I love my freshwater aquarium, where I keep some small catfish & minnows & a snail. When I was 11 I had a 20-gallon aquarium, but I want to get a nice big aquarium so my fish have more room to swim & so I can have a more robust tank. I will be adding live plants & more fish! By the end of the year, I also would like all my pet reptiles & amphibians to be in spacious, bioactive vivariums, & I want to find my dog a food or something that isn’t steroids that helps his chronic skin problems (Malassezia pachydermatis).

    seagul / Pixabay

  16. Build, grow, & turn my own special miniature world into something that takes on a life & space of its own so others can enjoy it & nourish& nurture it too.

    harryHermione / Pixabay

  17. Read 100 books.

    Last year, I read 67 books (my goal was 75). But I hadn’t discovered the free Hoopla library of audiobooks until about halfway through the year. Or audiobooks in general. Audiobooks revolutionized reading for me. I have a lot of down time at work & driving time in general, so I can read a few books a week without spending additional time thanks to audiobooks!

    Free-Photos / Pixabay

  18. Write & perform at an actual venue a successful one-person show. 

    It will be a mix of comedy, theatre, music, puppets, & good-old-fashioned quirkiness. SO EXCITED TO BRING THIS ONE TO YOU!

    skeeze / Pixabay

  19. EXPERIENCES:

    Grouped together, because these are smaller & easier to achieve, & don’t require their own paragraphs: go snorkeling with manatees, milk a cow (done!!!), camp overnight on an island, pick blueberries, pick oranges, go on a 40+ mile bike ride, attend the Strawberry Festival in Plant City FL, go to the Florida state fair (done!), eat at at least 10 restaurants I’ve never been to before (one so far!), photograph roadside dinosaurs, buy more vinyl albums, sit in the front row of a medium sized concert & shake hands with the band members (DONE!!!), complete a rope adventure course, complete an obstacle course, go indoor skydiving, touch a sloth, touch a flamingo, tour the deep Everglades, get into parkour, go pescetarian for a month, take at least a few circus arts classes, connect more spiritually with the Universe, & more.

    suju / Pixabay

Here’s to a freaking amazing year <3

HOW I STARTED WATCHING MOVIES AGAIN

Why I got over my shit & started watching films & TV shows again.
NOTE: I wrote this blog post in October of 2018, lost it in my notes, & just found it now so pretend you’re reading it in October of 2018. “Recently” in the context of the article means “October of 2018”. [Yeah, I know if I say ‘October of 2018’ again, you’re gonna throw a pie in my general direction]
There’s going to be a new feature on this blog & I am SUPER DUPER EXCITED.
*drumroll*
MOVIE REVIEWS!
Recently, I’ve began watching a lot of movies again.

I didn’t watch many for a long time because I got into this extreme hustle mode where if something didn’t seem absolutely productive, I cut it out. Many forms of “entertainment” were reduced or eliminated. I thought that only things that were educational mattered.

Which isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be constantly learning. It’s just that after so much learning & deep intense thinking, your brain does need to play.
And movies are perfect for that.
I used to watch movies all the time, typically at night before going to bed. I’ve always been obsessed (read that as ✨✨✨OBSESSED✨✨✨) with movies. As a kid, I watched tons of movies. My sister & I would frequently wear out video tapes or scratch up our DVDs in the pursuit of watching our favorite scenes over. And over. And over. And over…
Anyways, I would endlessly emulate my favorite characters. I’d try my best to dress like them, look like them, act like them. This applied to books as well as movies. Violet from the Boxcar Children. Hermione & Luna from Harry Potter. Indiana Jones. Jack Ryan from The Hunt for Red October. And like hundreds more. SO many characters have had an impact on me throughout my life. I wanted to be like ALL of them.
As a teenager, I also watched a lot of movies. This was sometimes limited to what I could find on DailyMotion or other video sites, because I had no Netflix & I was too awkward to tell my family about movies I wanted to see. They were also judgmental about movies sometimes or movies being a “bad influence” or not appropriate for my younger sister who was almost always home. So I was on my own as far as finding movies, which lead me to watching (*cough* *cough* pirated) versions of them from video sites (the ones that were free & not “free” but requiring a credit card, obviously. Those were shady. And I didn’t have a credit card anyway). But I DID watch a lot of amazing movies from what I could piece together from YouTube, DailyMotion, & other sites.
To quote actor Jim Sturgess,
“Actually, I feel like [the film that I’ve just seen] every time I come out of the cinema. If that film’s about being a hippie, then I’m like, ‘That’s it, I’m gonna grow my own vegetables.'”
Still, through the years, I eventually lost my zeal in watching movies. “I’m too busy.” I complained. Which was sometimes true. I have had patches where my work schedule was very demanding & if I wanted to SLEEP in any given day, there was no time for movies. (Or much else, to be honest).
Then when I DID have time, I cited the lack of “educational” value in TV & films. “Bring on the personal development!” I would shout to myself. But it wasn’t like I watched documentaries. Usually I just watched nothing (& crapped around the internet instead, to be honest).
Fast forward to NOW. A few months back, during a rough patch when I was going through some stressful family problems. Not only was I trying to process my own emotions, but I had to be the rock to help others as they processed THEIRS. So I needed an easy, reliable form of stress relief & routine to start my day off right so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed.
I began watching episodes of Arrested Development each morning. I was stuck in the second season & hadn’t watched much of anything for a while. Bob’s Burgers wasn’t on Netflix (bummer), so I went back to another of my favorite shows.


via GIPHY

It really helped. Watching something funny always has been highly restorative to me. I give that show a lot of credit for helping me get through the rough patch only mildly scathed. It was like therapy, for only the cost of Netflix each month. (On days when I didn’t have like 25 minutes to watch a whole episode before I got up, I’d watch a five minute episode of one of my favorite hilarious web series, Yacht Rock.) My objective was to start the day with something funny each day.
The rough patch ended, things got busy again, & I didn’t watch any movies for a few months.
Fast forward slightly to very recent times.
So a little more than a week ago, I felt kind of an “off” energy in my life. And I thought, “I need to watch something funny.” I decided I’d just pick something from my (long) Netflix watch list & watch like 20 minutes of it so I could still go to sleep at a reasonable time.
So I selected the 2016 movie “Masterminds.” I had no idea what it was about aside from the three-line Netflix description. But it had Owen Wilson in it, & I’ve never seen an Owen Wilson movie I didn’t like.
I watched twenty minutes of it. It was hilarious! So the next night I had a bit more time & watched like 45 minutes more. I didn’t have time the next night. But the night after that I finished it. I loved it. (I’m going to write a review about it very soon – it will be the first film I review here).
Not only did I love the film, but I loved the way watching a movie felt.
And I realized (again, because I technically had realized this before but hadn’t used this logic in a long time) that I didn’t have to wait to watch movies until I had two hours of free time. As long as 20 minutes wouldn’t impede upon my sleep (like if I got out of work late & had to come in early the next day), there was no harm in taking the time to watch a movie.


via GIPHY

In fact, doing so was valuable. I realized my idea that “watching movies was a waste of time” which would be better spent on more “austere” activities (*cough* *cough* surfing the web) was utter BULLSHIT. Of course, there are some activities which would have more value than watching movies, instead of the phone-surfing one. And of course, if I spent all my time watching movies I wouldn’t be very productive, would I?
But I thought back on this video by Allen Gannett.

“‘Aha’ moments [are subconscious only once you have] the ideas that pop into consciousness. And scientists have found that the way to have more of them is to consume more. […] What you find is that these great creators are actually mass consumers of culture because if you wanna connect the dots, you have to have the dots to actually connect.”

Consuming RELEVANT entertainment can add to your mental toolbox & help you create better things.

And I know for one, even if that wasn’t even enough of a benefit how much watching movies BENEFITED ME. (Movies, or engaging for short periods of time each day in other non-developmental activities, aka “entertainment”). Watching movies in this manner actually ADDED a lot to my life. And they actually did have developmental & educational merit as well.
Mostly because (*drumroll*) I AM an actress, director, & filmmaker. So I had a DUH moment when I realized of COURSE I should be watching movies so I can study movies, in the same way I listen to & study music because I’m a musician, look at people’s art in galleries or on Instagram because I’m an artist, or read books & articles because I’m a writer. IT IS A LOGICAL THING TO DO. Not a low-level activity like I was convinced it was.
When I watch a film, it’s more than just entertainment alone. As far as acting, I look at:
  • The character development
  • The unsaid things behind what a (good) actor is physically expressing
  • The acting & how the actors show certain emotions, or develop the mannerisms of their characters, etc. Then I can emulate their acting of a scene & learn boatloads about acting. I mean, there are some scenes in movies that have taught me more about acting than anything else (example: the suicide scenes [1, 2] in Lethal Weapon taught me how good acting is subtle but strong). Character observation is invaluable to my development as an actress & as a fiction writer.
And I observe the story as a whole.
  • How does the story unfold?
  • How does it match the “beats” described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat?
  • What makes it funny? Are there moments of comedic tension among an otherwise dark film?
  • What makes the antagonist so creepy & hate-worthy?
  • What makes you care about the protagonists? Why do you love these characters so much?
  • How does the story build in suspense?
  • What is the climax like & how did they set up the rest of the film for that? Does the climax, or any other scene, contain callbacks to earlier scenes?

Etc etc etc. This is invaluable for my work as a writer & a screenwriter.

I also consider the filmmaking process itself:

  • How was the movie filmed?
  • What cinematography elements do they use?
  • How do they build the feel of the world they’re trying to create?
  • Do they use certain lenses to make it look darker or more magical?
  • What angles do they use? What makes those angles effective? How do they switch between camera angles & why?
  • What flashbacks do they use, & what specific shots of those do they use & why?
  • Why were the stylistic choices that were made, made?
  • How did the director work with each member of the crew, especially the actors, to achieve the end result?
  • How was the film edited together? Why was it edited that way?
  • How were the stunts performed?
  • How were the sets built?
  • Where did they put the equipment so it wasn’t visible in that shot? Etc.

All of which are vital lessons in directing & filmmaking.

And films even have value for their FASHION, which is something I am totally obsessed with:
  • Side one of that is why the costume designers picked those outfits for those characters. What does each item of clothing they’re wearing & their physical appearance say about them as a character? How does a character’s clothing inform us of small details of that character that otherwise wouldn’t be spoken about? How do those clothes help the actor feel like their character?
  • And side two. If I incorporate that item of clothing they’re wearing, how will I feel? What do I want my clothes to say about me? Not to mention the boat-ton of excellent OUTFITS that I want to get or make myself because I STILL love emulating characters or copying their fashion vibes. Because as a fashion designer, those types of insights are also invaluable. And until you see how the clothes make the character & how the outfit moves on them…looking at still photos can’t do a lot of outfits justice.
So it seems like watching movies could teach me almost as much as going to acting & film school (but for so much less money! :D).

On top of ALL THOSE BENEFITS, watching movies is FUN.

And the thing I’ve learned about a lot recently (a current “experiment” I’m beginning to engage in, & will write about soon) is how vital fun is to your health & your lifestyle, & how enriching it is to your mind. And how important it is to feel good as often as you can.
So watching movies is good for my health. It teaches me almost a degree’s worth of knowledge about acting, filmmaking, directing, cinematography, character development, story writing, & fashion design & principles. It enriches my mind. It’s fun. It adds so much to my life.

It helps me level up my life.

That’s why I’m back to watching movies again.