All About My New Pet Guinea Pigs!

All about the newest additions to my fuzzy family.

Two brown and white Rosette guinea pigs being held

Moose (left), & Olive

In the middle of August, I accomplished a very long term goal of mine: I got pet guinea pigs! The one on the left is named Moose, & the one on the right is Olive. They are the sweetest little things, each with their own personalities, & they’re getting even cuter as I get to know them more.

For a very long time, I’d been thinking about getting a small pet. When I was fourteen, I had a pet rabbit named Indy, short for Indiana Jones. He was the light of my life, but unfortunately passed away suddenly at only six months old. After I grieved for him & was ready to get another pet, I decided on a dog, & got Sparky, my Boston Terrier/Shih-Tzu/Chihuahua mix.

A few years passed, & I found myself still wanting a small pet. I love animals, & wanted to add a small pet to my family that would be cuddly, affectionate, enjoy human attention, & be relatively easy to care for. Sometimes, I’d start looking further into getting a small pet, but I never ended up actually doing so. I extensively researched rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats, as they met my basic criteria.

One day, after going to the pet store to observe the different types of pets I was considering, it finally became clear to me what type of small pet I really wanted to get. A wonderful guinea pig with black & white Dutch markings put his feet on the cage bars & peered out at me, bold & unafraid. I fell in love with him. After going home & giving it a great deal of thought, I knew guinea pigs were the right kind of pet for me to get. They were easier to care for & more cuddly than rabbits, & they had a much longer lifespan than rats. I decided I wanted to get this guinea pig, as well as a second one, as I knew that most of the time, it’s better to have guinea pigs in groups of at least two.

The next day I went back to the pet store. The black & white guinea pig was still there. I held him, & although I was admittedly kind of creeped out thinking he wanted to bite me even though he didn’t (a fear well-founded due to my sister’s pet rabbit, who by no means can be considered friendly), I decided to bring him home. In another cage of guinea pigs, I found an adorable mostly brown guinea pig with a white rosette. He was super-sweet & cuddly, so I decided to bring him home as well.

Things didn’t get off to the best start. Even in their cardboard box on the way home from the pet store, the black & white guinea pig was fighting with & trying to assert dominance over the smaller brown one constantly. Things were even worse when I put them in their cage together. The black & white guinea pig continually tried to assert dominance over the brown one, even though the brown one rarely challenged him back. They fought quite a lot, & frequently, whenever the brown one wanted to drink water or eat food, the black & white one would scare him away. The cage I initially put them in was one unfortunately much too small for them, despite having been sold in the pet store as a “guinea pig cage”. This went on for several days.

I wondered if perhaps their lack of floor space was causing them to fight. I designed a home for them out of a kiddie pool. After reading on the Humane Society website about how if your guinea pigs really aren’t getting along, you can try bathing them together so they “bond together out of necessity”, & so they smell the same to each other. When I tried this, they were trying to fight in the bath tub. After their bath, they seemed to get along a little better, but a few days later, their fighting was only getting worse. One day in the space of an hour, they had two fights that had to be broken up with my family clapping their hands or tapping on the outside of their cage to distract them from their fight, & the brown one ended up with several small scabs. This resulted in them having to be put in separate cages for the safety of the brown one.

It was at this point that I realized they weren’t going to get along. I was conflicted regarding what to do about this. It broke my heart to think about returning the black & white one, now named Oreo, back to the pet store, but I also felt like it would be detrimental to separate them & have the brown one, whom I named Olive, live alone permanently, as even when Oreo was being mean to him, Olive still sought out comfort & contact from Oreo. That evening, I had a light bulb moment. I didn’t have to make either of those choices. I could have the best of both worlds, & make this a win-win situation for all involved.

Two brown and white guinea pigs in their cage

The photo above is from when Olive & Moose were first meeting in their cage.

I decided to give Oreo to my sister. Ever since I’d gotten him, she’d adored him the most, as she understood his somewhat nervous, active personality better than I did. The day after I decided what to do, I promptly went to the pet store to look at a third guinea pig. They had adorable baby ones, but because Olive was probably several months older than the babies, I didn’t get a baby one because I was afraid Olive could hurt it. There were quite a few adult ones, but I wanted to get one a similar age as Olive. Finally, I saw a wonderful brown & white rosette guinea pig. His fur was the exact same shade of brown as Olive’s, his eyes were the same shade of red, & his rosette on his forehead was identical. They looked like they could be brothers. This was the guinea pig I decided to get.

I introduced Olive & the new guinea pig to him on the carpet. They got along reasonably well, with very little dominance behavior between them. I put them in their cage together, & it was so refreshing seeing them getting along. They did & still do occasionally have small arguments, but they get along so well together for the most part, & both seem happy & healthy. I ended up naming the new guinea pig Moose, after failing to find another name I liked beginning with O for him.

Additionally, it’s amazing how much healthier & happier Oreo seems now, living in a separate cage. He actually seems a lot happier living in a cage without other guinea pigs. His cage overlooks the kiddie pool where mine live, so he gets to see, hear, & speak with them still, & my sister is able to spend a lot of time with her guinea pig. At least once a day, we have a controlled playtime for all the guinea pigs, where they can run around on the floor together & interact.

Brown guinea pig being petted on a yellow blanket

Olive snuggling in his blanket on my Mom’s lap.

I am loving having guinea pigs as pets so much. They are so cute & so sweet. When they’re out on the floor, my dog likes to gently approach them & just look at them. He finds their sounds the most fascinating thing in the world. Sometimes, he crawls towards them & gently touches them with his nose, or gives them a few kisses on their backs or ears (obviously I am sitting right in the middle of all the pets, supervising them closely). The guinea pigs now are used to Sparky to the point where they will voluntarily crawl towards him & sniff noses with him. It’s the cutest thing to watch.

It’s also awesome watching my guinea pigs’ personalities really start to come through. Olive thoroughly enjoys sitting on my shoulder when I hold him on the couch. He perches on my shoulder with his back end under my chin & will sit there for the longest time, sometimes quietly making sounds. Moose recently has started enjoying this as well, & he’ll sit there talking quietly the whole time. They are getting more bold when they run around on the floor as far as walking around & exploring, & they like climbing onto my lap when I sit on the floor by them. Every time anyone in my house touches a plastic bag, even a shopping bag, the guinea pigs started “wheeking” with excitement because it sounds like their hay bag. Moose is definitely the most talkative, & Olive is the most cuddly.

I’m so glad that I decided to add some guinea pigs to my life. They’re exactly what I was hoping for, & I’m looking forward to the future with them. ♥

Fields of Destiny Re-Release! (Plus Song Lyric Designs for You to Save + Share)

Fields of Destiny - 2016 Cover - Republished by Freedom Meadow Media

Available on iTunes
Available on Amazon Music

Listen to Fields of Destiny on YouTube

On August 26th my debut album, Fields of Destiny, was re-released on my publishing label, Freedom Meadow Media. You can read more about it on the Freedom Meadow Media website, if you’d like an overview of what the album is like. Basically though, I’m very, very excited about the re-release, for a couple of reasons.

First of all, I’m thrilled that there is a label for it to be published on, that I started my record label after many years of wanting to, & that my music can be released on my terms, with all the legitimacy having your album released on a label includes. It was so nice when I was submitting a song from my album to Pandora to actually be able to put something in the “Label Name” field! I’ve been waiting so long to be able to do that.

Second, I am so glad that people will actually be able to buy my album. When I released my first song ever (the single version of The Strength of Hope), I chose to distribute it through CD Baby. That was about four years ago, but it seems longer. After much recording, re-recording, mixing, re-mixing, & spending significant amounts of time getting my songs sounding the way I wanted them to, I released Fields of Destiny. I published it on YouTube & Soundcloud, allowing free downloads of some of the songs on the album & streaming of the album. For about the next year after releasing it, I either forgot about wanting to distribute it via CD Baby, lost interest in or procrastinated in publishing it, or didn’t have the extra money to pay the approximate $70 it cost. After that point, I procrastinated putting it for sale because I wanted to start my label first, which ultimately made more sense. Unfortunately, this included some additional delays as I learned about how to properly start a company & went about starting it, but I’m glad I waited.

Third, one of the reasons I’m glad I waited is because I did a little more mixing on the overall sound of the songs on my album. When I listened to the first “proof” version of my music on CD Baby before approving it, the songs sounded reasonably tinny, thin, & just lacking something. I put all the songs into Audacity, played around with some of the EQs, & ultimately ended up with something I am THRILLED with. Chills were literally running down my spine when I listened to the remastered proof version of my album, because the songs sound so damn good now, better than they ever have before.

You can check it out on iTunes or Amazon here. It is or will be in the near future on a lot of other great music websites, so if you’re into a music source other than Amazon or iTunes, keep your eyes open, because there’s a good chance it will be on there soon.

Now, here are 10 awesome song lyric photo designs for you to save, share, + enjoy!

Great Day Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft Shooting Star Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft
Shooting Star Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft 2 The Strength of Hope Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft
You'll Never Own Me Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft I Tried in the Night Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft
I Know You Can Make It Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft I'm Going Out to Be Free Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft
Everything's Gonna Be Alright Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft Great Day (Reprise) Lyric Art by Ashlee Craft

P. S. –

If you buy my album, I would really appreciate if you could leave a quick review for it on whatever site you buy it on, your blog, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or whatever social media site you like, so thank you in advance for reviewing my music, but thank you even more for buying it in the first place!

Obsessed with the Aesthetics of Everything

I Am Obsessed with the Aesthetics of Everything

From Issue 12 of Assemblage.

The way the art looked on the wall when it was winter & pale afternoon sunlight streamed in. The affected manner in which he always spoke. The Zig-zags painted on his face & constantly evolving persona. The way she looked as she stepped off the bus & music was playing. The way fields looked in the summer, or the porch that night we watched the stars & looked forward towards impending change & impending maturity. The way she strolled through the store with red dyed hair & combat boots like nothing could touch her, not even Fear. The feeling I got when I was finally able to say it was truth. The way light streamed in through windows onto the floor making patterns & the way it felt driving down the highway with the windows open listening to The Rolling Stones. The characteristic fedora, the iconic red braids & the flying bicycle, & watching that movie where he modernized Shakespeare. The way it needed to be put in that exact place in that exact time; replicating movie scenes listening to their theme songs in tandem, or the way the moon looked at night riding around with the windows open listening to particular songs. The way the pictures characterized the exact way that I was feeling, & the way that dancing in the moonlight felt on a summer evening, or how they fell in love & lived in the forest together.

How to Find a Book Without the Title or Author

Stack of unknown books

Recently, I’ve been obsessed with figuring out the names of books I read when I was younger. It’s part of a grander obsession of mine to remember + document things from my past. For a couple of years, I’ve been keeping kind of a running list of books I had memories of, but no idea what the titles were.

Over the past few weeks, I remembered a bunch more books that I had to know what they were called. Just like when you hear the melody of a song in your head but you can’t remember what song it is, trying to remember the name of a book is the annoying kind of thing you’ll lie awake thinking about, & the kind of thing that will keep bothering you & gnawing at your brain until you find the answer.

If you remember a book but you have no idea what the title or author was, here are a few tips that I used to help me figure out what every single book on my must-know list was called. It feels so good to finally know!

Normal Google Search. This is a good general place to start in any book search. If you can remember any words from the title or character names, this can be a great way to find the book. Years ago, I remembered a book I’d read from the library. I remembered that the cover of the book featured a girl sitting in a barn with a dog, that there was a character named Jenny & one named Sam, & that the book was pretty old. Initially in my searching, I only remembered the main character’s name was Jenny, but later in my search I remembered Sammy as also being a character. I knew the plot of the book & that there was a character with an old-sounding name that began with an “H” who the main character told stories about to some younger characters. After searching various combinations of the keywords “Jenny Sam book invisible”, I found Jenny, Sam, & the Invisible Hildegarde

If there are any books, series, or authors that keep showing up in your search that definitely don’t have to do with the book, try advanced search to exclude those words. Also, the more combinations of potentially relevant keywords you try, the better off you will be. You can also try searching for things like “book about _______________”, & add as many relevant keywords as possible. The more details about the book you can provide, the easier it will be to find it. Think about including keywords regarding things such as professions/ages/genders of characters (teenage boys, lawyers, kids), features of characters (if they were friends, animals, a club, etc), time frame story takes place in (1950’s, war time, futuristic), place (magic world, England, Florida, old barn), intended audience or details about the book itself (children’s book, old book), or things characters do/what happens (go to the beach, club for conversations about ideas, guy gets murdered). The “book about ____” format helped me remember The Famous Five series, which I had been searching for, & “ladybug book with transparent pages” brought up Ladybugs & Other Insects (With Transparent Pages).

Google Image Search. Much like the aforementioned “Normal Google Search”, searching for any keywords you can remember about the theme of the book – even if they seem quite random – can help you find the book, especially when coupled with using Google Images. The title alone might not ring a bell, but when coupled with seeing the title & cover, you might experience a “EUREKA!” moment.

In one of my searches, I remembered a series I had sometimes read. It was about some preteen girls who time traveled into the past to have adventures, based upon (I believe) a treasure chest in an attic. After searching some keywords relating to this topic, I found The Magic Attic Club books, which was what I had been looking for. Additionally, this worked well when I wanted to find a book I’d read as a child, which featured a colorful, artistically-drawn rooster on the front. Relevant keywords & the utilization of Google Images brought up Barnyard Banter, a book I enjoyed a lot when I was three years old.

Library Records. If you got the book at the library, finding it may be a little easier. If it wasn’t too long ago, even if you no longer have a library card at that library, searching for keywords relevant to your book could bring it up in their system. Some libraries allow you to view a complete list of every book you’ve ever checked out. Searching this list could be helpful, provided that you still have an account at that library.

I was searching for a book I’d read about four years ago. I remembered it was kind of science-fiction themed, as I was in the phase where I read sci-fi books & books about physics/time travel/chemistry/astronomy extensively. I remembered reading it in the fall or winter, when I was in my phase of being obsessed with the band Queen, so I must have been reading the book sometime between September & March of 2011-2012. The book was about some kids who lived in England/Scotland, who, during the war (presumably World War II), were sent to live on a farm with relatives of theirs. The book had really beautiful descriptions of things, & I unfortunately had to send it back before getting very far into it.

After the above methods of Google searching things like “book about kids England farm war” didn’t bring up the book, I decided to look with the library system. I got the book when I lived in a different county, so I couldn’t view those library records. The library did however email me every week regarding books that needed to be renewed. After looking through the emails they’d sent me in the designated time period, I found the book, which is called A Traveller in Time. You could also try describing your book to a librarian, who may be able to find it for you.

Amazon Search. Amazon searches can be helpful in two different ways. Amazon is better if you have more relevant keywords which are part of the title or a major theme/topic of the book. If you have an idea of the topic or important word in the title, you can search Amazon for that, then narrow them down by category, age range, or other specifications, which can be helpful. I remembered a funny fiction book I had gotten from the library when I was obsessed with reading about manatees. I searched the keyword “Manatees” on Amazon, then narrowed my search to fiction. I found the book Key Manatee this way. I also used this search method to find a non-fiction children’s book about Salmon that I read when I was eight years old. I searched “Salmon”, narrowed it down to juvenile non-fiction, then looked at the publication dates for books published before 2003. This was how I found the book, which is merely titled Salmon.

Google Books. This was perhaps the very best search method I found, especially for books which I could not find based on the other methods alone. Google Books allows you to search the full texts of millions of books, & any keywords you came up with relating to the book you’re searching for are going to be especially helpful here. Here are three types of searches I recommend in Google Books.

  • Try searching Google Books by theme keywords. I remembered a paperback chaper book my mom had read the first few chapters of to me when I was about six years old. I remembered the cover, but the other methods of searching had not helped me find the book. All I could remember about the theme was that it had four main characters, & that the first character the book discussed was a girl sitting on a swing who got turned into a frog, & that the whole theme of the book was “be careful what you wish for.” I searched Google Books for “be careful what you wish for frog”, & discovered the book was called The Wish Giver: 3 Tales of Coven Tree.
  • Search Google Books for actual quotes from the book. Yesterday, someone around me made mention of the phrase “go jump in a lake”, & I was eating a piece of cake, which compelled me to connect the phrases & remember a quote from a childhood book. “Go jump in the lake, said the chocolate cake.” I remembered a poetry book for children. There was a poem about food with the aforementioned chocolate cake line, a poem about snow covering everything in a city, & a bunch of other kind of funny poems about things. The first poem in the book included the lines “Gooseberry looseberry gooseberry jam.” I searched Google Books for these quotes, & rediscovered Blackberry Ink.
  • Search any random keywords from the text that you can even begin to remember. The most frustrating, & long-lived book search I had been engaged in was a hunt to find a book I’d read when I was eight years old. The book had a lion, possibly other similar animal characters like giraffes or elephants. There were four animals characters in this book and they were friends who had some sort of club where they met in this tree house or by this tree. The book was about having good morals, like being honest & having self-esteem & such. I also remembered it had somewhat glossy bright white pages, was a medium sized book, had illustrations every few pages, & the illustrations were fairly realistic & well-drawn. I had been looking for this book off & on for a few years, & no amount of Google searches was bringing it up. After my luck yesterday in discovering the above books in Google Books, I decided to give it a try. The keywords “lion tree house virtues” or “lion tree house club” weren’t bringing up the book. Some part of my brain vaguely had an idea of the word “golden” being used on one page of the book. I searched “lion golden friend”, seemingly random keywords, & amazingly, The Treasure Tree: Helping Kids Understand Their Personalities came up, & it was the exact book I was looking for.

Rare Book Search. BookFinder.com allows you to search common & rare books alike, including out of print books, using a combination of keywords, publication dates, etc. It seems to have a lot of books & give pretty extensive search results, & if you find your book on here, it shows you somewhere you can buy a copy of it. I tried using it to find The Treasure Tree before I knew what it was called, & although I didn’t see it on there, I feel this search engine is a valuable tool for any book lover to know about.

Social Media, Friends, & Family. Social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Goodreads, Yahoo Answers, & other forums are another good way to find out what a book might be called. I didn’t get to the point of describing the book on social media & asking for suggestions of what it might be, but I think it could give you some great suggestions regarding what your mystery book could be. With some of the books I remembered, I didn’t really know what they were about as much as I remembered the way they looked (like in the case of the Salmon book), but provided you knew the general theme or plot of your mystery book, social media might be a valuable thing to try, especially if you still cannot find your book from all the other methods. Talking to family or friends about your book may also help you figure out important details or keywords about your book, & they may even be able to tell you what it is.

With these tips, I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before you know what the mystery book that’s been bothering you for the past five years is. You will finally be able to feel relief in knowing exactly what it was you were searching for, & relax as you read your now not-a-mystery book. Until the next time you remember an obscure but for some reason, important book from your past.

But this time, when the all-too-familiar feeling of needing to know what a book is called fills your mind, you won’t have to feel helpless. This time, you are armed with the knowledge & resources to track down your awesome forgotten book, & you will be able to find it both quickly and accurately. Happy book searching!

Previous Outfits of the Day, #1 (Including Ombre Rainbow Eyebrows & Red Ombre Hair!)

Special Effects Nuclear Red Ombre & Debut of Rainbow Eyebrows!

Special Effects Ombre #2

red ombre hair / blue & teal rainbow eyebrows / blue & gray striped shirt customized by me by adding the gray flower I crocheted & embellished with beads

Ombre Hair with Nuclear Red Ombre & Teal & Purple Rainbow Eyebrows

A few weeks ago, I decided I wanted to lighten the ends of my hair so I could dye them a bright color. I watched a YouTube video where someone used a blonde Garnier hair dye to lighten their dark brown hair. I decided to try Nutrisse Nourishing Color Crème in 93 Light Golden Blonde, & as I’d had good luck with the high-lift red I used last summer for my red & brown ombre, so I assumed this one would work just as great. Unfortunately, my hair is quite impervious to coloring, & the dye had little effect. Luckily though, it added a few lighter brown highlights, as well as damaging my hair a little bit more to allow the hair dye to soak in more.

Originally, I was going to do a rose gold ombre, but as my hair didn’t get light enough for that, I decided to go for my Nuclear Red Special Effects hair dye. The Special Effects dye definitely works better on my hair than Manic Panic, although it didn’t show up very well with my natural hair color. I love Special Effects, btw. I put the Special Effects dye in my hair, & let it sit under a shower cap for 30+ minutes. When I rinsed it out, I was pleasantly surprised by the bright color! It was just what I had hoped for with the Nuclear Red. The dye faded out over a little more than a week, & now is a subtle red color, which is also pretty. Soon, I hope to go to the salon & get the ends of my hair bleached for real, so that I can dye it whatever color I want.

Purple & Blue Colorful Eyebrows

Also, my sister taught me how to do rainbow eyebrows, because I’d seen plenty of photos online of them, & my sister has done them quite a few times on herself. Thanks to my e.l.f angled brush & some bright-coloured shadows, I soon achieved a teal & purple ombre effect, which I was happy with. I definitely want to try more things with the rainbow eyebrow trend, because it’s one more way to look cool + colorful.

Blue Bow & Stripes

Blue Hair Bow and Striped Bon Worth Blouse

Red and blue striped blouse from Bon Worth / cherry earrings / diamond earrings / blue hair bow headband

A cool picture I took with the sky as my background. The sky ended up looking cool & washed-out, which goes along well with the slightly-wistful expression on my face. I matched the colors of this blouse with my red earrings & blue headband.

Gold & Winged Liner

Gold & Winged Liner

gold short-sleeved blouse from my grandmother / winged eyeliner over gold glitter eyeshadow / sparkle “celebration” earrings. worn during winter/spring.

I had been wanting to create an outfit with this awesome glitter blouse for a long time, but the last time I’d tried it on, a few years ago, & the fabric was very scratchy. Thankfully, I discovered camisoles, & wearing one under this blouse made it comfortable to wear. I decided to pair it with the Elizabeth Taylor elegance of winged liner, & one of my favorite pairs of sparkly earrings, which I have just dubbed my “celebration” earrings. For added measure, I added gold facial glitter to my eyelids, because if you’re going to wear a sparkle outfit, you might as well go all out.

Leopard Print & Dress Shirt

Leopard Print & Dress Shirt

unbuttoned white dress shirt / gray & black sleeveless leopard-print shirt / round neon pink earrings / white plastic giraffe earrings / ponytail

I felt like wearing my leopard-print sleeveless shirt, because #funkypatterns, but my arms were cold so I decided to put my favorite white dress shirt over it. To add to the ensemble, as well as tie in with the color of the dress shirt & continue the safari theme, I added white giraffe earrings. For a small splash of color, I wore my favorite neon pink earrings in my second ear piercings.

Classic & Simple
Simple & Classic

multi-cabana stripe dress shirt by Devon & Jones / black ballet flats / black capri tights

I went through a big fashion phase last year where I pretty much just wore dress shirts, even when I wasn’t at work. I don’t wear them as often now, mostly because there are other things I like better (& are probably a little more comfortable). Dress shirts provide a clean, classy look, & they can be made more casual by both rolling up the sleeves, & by pairing them with less formal accessories, like the capri tights. Simple & Classic #2

With glitter & happiness,

Ashlee

Jazz Recommendations // Playlist

A few recommendations of jazz music I love, from Ashlee Craft / Assemblage, Issue 11. Many of the songs on this list are lesser-known gems, like Torben Waldorff’s beautiful & comforting Alice, while some are classics, like Dave Brubeck’s hip Take Five or George Benson’s Breezin’. Each song on the playlist is followed by one word which best summarizes the feel of the song.

Jazz Recommendations From Ashlee Craft

Listen to playlist on YouTube

1 // Breezin’ by George Benson

2 // Alice by Torben Waldorff

3 // Take 5 by Dave Brubeck

4 // Time After Time – Miles Davis

5 // Blue Rondo à La Turk by Dave Brubeck

6 // So What by Miles Davis

7 // September by Smooth Jazz All Stars

8 // Cantaloupe Island by Herbie Hancock

9 // Light on the Path by Edward Wilkerson Jr.

10 // Unsquare Dance by Dave Brubeck

Issue 12 of Ashlee Craft / Assemblage Now Available!

Issue 12 - Ashlee Craft / Assemblage - Zines

Issue 12 of Ashlee Craft’s life-is-a-playground art & poetry zine, Ashlee Craft / Assemblage.

TABLE of CONTENTS

good riddance to you too 4 / wake up (my eyes are open) 5 / neon erasers 6 / like a butterfly 7 / that actually is a good question 8 / impressing, okay? 9 / drawn into a corner 10 / Standard’s story 11 / coffee beans 12 / peace, love, & fortified cereal 13 / ironing is rebellion 14 / am I genuine? 15 / rewritten personality 16 / R-E-S-P-E-C-T 17 / maybe that will be my specialty! (looking back) 18 / being gentle 19 / questioning is always good 20 / fighting for my chair 21 / floors & sleep 22 / how many of them will leave? 23 / deal with all problems as they arrive 24 / I heart learning 25 / tip for organizing your to-do list 26 / dear W. 27 / finally real again? 28 / I never felt that way (I thought I was supposed to) 29 / bye-bye 30 / confused by how we think living is supposed to feel 31 / changed me for the better 32 / good job 33 / a loner – you will not perish without them 34 / don’t gain the world & lose your soul 35 / 19:09 36 / to do soon 37 / fun 38 / an analysis of my desired personality, two years ago 39 / today will be a perfect day 40 / mistakes are okay 41 / a dream about saving the day 42 / obsessed with the aesthetics of everything 43 / exercise wall 44 / to have that control again 45 / be the dawn 46 / felt like a badass in the morning 47 / this time I am the Phoenix 48 / rainbow boas 49

Publish Date // June 26, 2016
Paperback 50 pages
Genre // Magazines

Kindle Edition
Paperback

Favorite Fashion Trends, June 2016

1. Bold Blue Eyeliner

Blue Eyeliner

 

When I watched Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom for the first time, I was immediately struck by how awesome the funky-vintage blue eye makeup that Suzy wears is. It’s a bold look which manages to look both modern & vintage at the same time. When I saw the ad for the Aqua XL teal eyeliner (featured above), I started thinking about how great the Moonrise-Kingdom type look would be if you used a wide teal eye pencil. Then, I read this great article about blue eyeliner looks from Refinery29, & it reinstated my desire to try something like this. I haven’t gotten around to purchasing a nice, saturated blue eyeliner or shadow yet, but I’m thinking about maybe trying the Color Tattoo eyeshadow in Tenacious Teal, because I own some gold Color Tattoo shadow & I’m very pleased with it.

2. Jumpsuits & Rompers

A Few of my Favorite Jumpsuits

 

When jumpsuits & rompers first started picking up in popularity, I found myself slightly intrigued with them. I would occasionally search Amazon for them, & I thought they were cool because ones with shorts bottoms would be like wearing a really cool, matching pair of shorts & a shirt in the summer, & wearing a pants-version could look like a hip, vintage 70’s type of disco look. Admittedly, I’m not totally crazy about the cuts of a lot of rompers I see, but I really love the above rompers/jumpsuits. Some features that I find appealing in jumpsuits are monochromatic colors, button-down-type shirt collars, interesting but relatively simple patterns, & glitter.

3. Enamel Pins

Groovy Enamel Pins
Enamel pins are one of my new favorite things. I am seriously so obsessed with them. All I want to do is look for them at local thrift stores & make my own enamel lapel pins (more should be announced about this soon!). I just bought my first enamel pin, this really really awesome one featuring sloths holding a surfboard while riding a bike. I can’t wait for it to arrive! Why do I love pins so much? The short answer is : they are another awesome avenue to express myself.
A few more reasons?
  • I love the DIY, punk aesthetic of pins
  • They allow you to say something about yourself + your opinions (to help you connect with like-minded people)
  • They are reasonably cheap, fun, & easy to collect (like stamps, another favorite collectible of mine.)
  • They are a fun, colorful way to add to any outfit

4. Watermelon Print Summer Things

Watermelon Themed Summer Clothes

 

I love watermelon print things because watermelons are pretty much the epitome of summer, & I love summer. Watermelons are such a bright, fun, funky print. It would be awesome to wear an outfit entirely made of watermelon themed items, & if you owned a lot of clothes with this print, you could keep a little piece of summer with you all year round, & a nice splash of color. Out of the items pictured above, I especially love both of the watermelon print shirts!
What are your favorite fashions right now? Let me know on Twitter!

my eyes are open

My Eyes are Open // Ashlee Craft / Assemblage, Issue 11

the real truth of the matter was bold like the business cards & the muffled sound & flashing cameras in the studios / when that type of gold lost its shine / I walked the false pathways many times before & saw the reflections on the other side of glass mirrors / hard work, & real integrity, he said, & I believed him, & loved the road-songs / I remembered the utter freedom of the time, & the way it felt driving towards the storm, & also away from the storm simultaneously

& the real falling-in-love happened, & the veil was stripped away, revealing the core of your own frequencies, sent out into the universe / I watched the facades fall away, & the clear-crystal water reflected my own face back, gently

10 Easy Ideas for Immersing Yourself in Nature

10 Easy Ideas for Immersing Yourself in Nature

In my busy life, sometimes I don’t end up spending as much time outside in nature as I’d like to, even though it’s something I really love doing. When this happens, I end up feeling a sense of disconnect that I can’t quite put my finger on. I feel like when we spend all our time in artificial environments, surrounded by florescent lights and air conditioning, we miss out on an important, deep-rooted need to be around nature. Here are some things you can do when you’d like to become more immersed in the natural world.

1. Make an effort to go outside every day. Just like anything else important in your life, if you don’t make it a priority and set aside time to do it, you may not find the time to. Even if you only have as little as a few minutes a day to spend outside, it will make you feel so much better if you do. Make spending time outside a habit, and you’ll look forward to your special time to reconnect with nature each day.

2. Find a new favorite nature place. If you don’t already have a “happy place” outdoors, set out to find yours! Look for an unclaimed patch of sand among mangrove trees, a fallen tree in the middle of a forest clearing, a bench in your community garden, your own backyard, or anywhere else that speaks to you. Find a place that makes you feel grounded, centered, and connected, then visit it often.

3. Draw, sketch, photograph, or do a crayon rubbing of the various nature textures and patterns around you. Trunks of trees, unique flowers, interesting-shaped leaves, the outsides of buildings, and clouds are great things to document, and by doing so, you’ll become more mindful of the beautiful secrets of hidden details.

4. Go for a mindful hike. Hiking is always enjoyable, but to make it even better, try adding mindfulness into the mix. As you walk the pathways, really pay attention to the sound of birds chirping, wind rustling the leaves of trees and plants, and the sound of your breathing. Feel your feet making gentle impressions on the earth & the way your clothing moves with you. Look at the way sunlight dances on the trees, & notice the fresh clean way the forest smells. Doing this always makes me feel refreshed, and can serve as a type of walking meditation.

5. Photograph the best sunset. Remember how when you were a kid, everything was awesome? Capture that same spirit of being enthralled and excited about beautiful, everyday nature. Every sunset can be the “best”. The idea is to find a sunset or something else beautiful, & get really enthusiastic about how great it is, then document this so you can remember it and look back on it later.

Mossy Tree Stump - 10 Easy Ways to Immerse Yourself in Nature - ashleecraft.com

6. Learn a new outdoor skill. This takes a little more time than some of the other things on this list, but it’s a great way to connect with nature while challenging yourself and learning something new. Take up jogging, read up on how to pitch a tent and set up a campsite, plant a garden, or learn to kayak, dive, surf, ski, or rock climb.

7. Discover new things about your environment. Sit in nature with a notebook and pen, then list at least 10 things about your surroundings that you didn’t notice when you sat down. Get a magnifying glass or microscope and take a close-up look at leaves, stones, moss, or shells. For an opposite viewpoint, get a pair of binoculars and look at far-away things, like treetops, distant birds, shorelines, and mountains.

8. Learn to identify bird songs, plants, animal tracks, fish, birds, flowers, or seashells. Your local library is a great source for nature guides with pictures of these things, and there is a great joy in being able to identify things that you see. You can also find bird song identification apps for your smartphone or tablet, as well as video and audio examples of common bird songs on YouTube.

9. Eat a meal in your own backyard. I’ve always thought that food tastes better when you eat it out in nature, and by combining eating with being outside, you have more time each day to spend connecting with nature. If you don’t have a backyard or you want to go somewhere different, take some food to your favorite nature spot for a real picnic. For added enjoyment, bring some friends or family along with you to enjoy the meal.

10. Open your windows & let fresh air into your home. This is really simple, but I feel like it makes a huge difference in feeling better in general. Especially when you consider the EPA statistic that indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outside air, it makes even more sense to freshen the air in your home. Doing so will make your house feel and smell better, and will bring a healthy part of the outdoors in. Fresh air has a purifying effect on the energy + vibes of your home, & when I feel the need for an energy detox & a fresh start, I open my windows.

Spending more time outside will give you knowledge and a greater appreciation for all the beauty of the natural world, as well as a sense of peace and connection. By making a conscious effort to immerse yourself in the natural world a little more, you’ll find the time you spend outside not only connects you more with the earth, but with yourself as well.