MAY 2019 IN REVIEW

OVERVIEW: Published 1 book, 2 new songs, 2 comedy videos, saw 1 concert, ate at 2 new restaurants, read 10 books, got a new pet Corydoras catfish, & went on a day road trip to St. Augustine with my family!

CREATIVITY & BUSINESS

CONCERTS

  • Saw David Crosby & Friends at the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater, FL!

FOODS

  • TOP 3 FOODS: Garlic aioli, pico de gallo, & sparkling water.
  • Went to Burger King for the first time since I was a kid! Got a Burger King Crown. Ate a cheeseburger, some fries, & a slice of Hershey’s pie that comes in a little pie-shaped box!
  • Went to Ford’s Garage for the first time & got the Ahi Tuna Poke Stack with Diced Avocados & Fried Won Ton Chips! I loved the Sinclair dinosaur sign they had in the bathroom.
  • Got really good ice cream at Sweet Frog!
  • THINGS I ATE FOR THE FIRST TIME:
    1. A sour orange!
    2. Got a Cosmic Coolata & a Cosmic Donut at Dunkin’!
    3. Got this good dragonfruit smoothie mix from the freezer section at Walmart & made really good smoothie bowls with it!
    4. A mini chocolate bundt cake from Walmart
    5. Juniors Caramels
    6. Wavy salted Pringles
    7. Got a McFlurry with M & M’s at McDonalds for the first time!
    8. Went to Twistee Treat for the first time! Got a medium fancy waffle cone with rainbow sprinkles & chocolate dip & pistachio ice cream. It was amazing!
    9. My/Mo Cookies ‘N Cream mochi ice cream
    10. A salted caramel cookie crunch Flurricane from Wawa
    11. A international brand of Papaya yogurt I can’t remember the name of the brand
    12. Kraft garlic aioli (I WAS OBSESSED WITH THIS)
    13. Talenti salted caramel truffle layered gelato
    14. Pico de gallo
    15. Pico de gallo over chicarrones
    16. Cherry Bubly water
    17. Orange Vanilla & Chocolate Lighthouse Fudge from the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
    18. Mango Bubly water
    19. Sweet tamarind candy
    20. Proyo Cookies N’ Cream frozen yogurt.
    21. Jimmy Dean egg, sausage, & cheese breakfast bowl.
    22. A gummy hotdog.
  • Helped my dad make beef jerky for the first time! It came out good.

MEDIA

  • STARTED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) Letters to a Young Artist by Anna Deavere Smith, Mysterious Encounters: Unicorns by Elizabeth Silverthorne, Nature’s Children: Sloths by Josh Gregory, Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone*, A Snicker of Magic by Natalie LLoyd, 33 Artists in 3 Acts by Sara Thornton, The Ecotraveler’s Wildlife Guide: Costa Rica by Les Beletsky, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster*, Feel the Hidden Flowers by Ashlee Craft*, The Circus Age: Life Under the Big Top by Janet M. Davis. Total: 10
  • FINISHED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) Letters to a Young Artist by Anna Deavere Smith, Mysterious Encounters: Unicorns by Elizabeth Silverthorne, Nature’s Children: Sloths by Josh Gregory, Be Obsessed or Be Average by Grant Cardone*, A Snicker of Magic by Natalie LLoyd, 33 Artists in 3 Acts by Sara Thornton, The Ecotraveler’s Wildlife Guide: Costa Rica by Les Beletsky, Tips & Traps for Negotiating Real Estate by Robert Irwin. Total: 8
  • WATCHED: (episodes in parenthesis for shows; all others are films. * means re-watches; all others are things I’ve never seen). The Dirt, The Mighty Boosh (Call of the Yeti, The Priest & The Beast) Total: 3
  • ALBUMS I LISTENED TO: (*First time listening to this album!) Smooth Jazz Greatest Hits (Multiple Artists)*, Dave Brubeck’s Greatest Hits (Dave Brubeck)*, Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan), Abandoned Luncheonette (Daryl Hall & John Oates), Sheer Heart Attack (Queen), Can’t Buy a Thrill (Steely Dan), Some Girls (The Rolling Stones)*, Sheer Heart Attack (Queen), Shout at the Devil (Motley Crue)*, Out of Step (Minor Threat), The Very Best of Todd Rundgren (Todd Rundgren)*, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (Bob Dylan)*, The Runaways (The Runaways)*, The Earth of Not a Cold Dead Place (Explosions in the Sky) Total: 14

PETS

  • Got a new pet Corydoras Catfish named Bean for my aquarium to be friends with my other corydoras!
  • My leopard gecko, Squiggles, let me pick him up for the first time ever!
  • My Pac-Man Frog, Frogecoin actually turned his head to look up at me while I was feeding him & it was adorable.

PERSONAL

  • Hung up my adorable “Kittens Screaming with Joy” card up on the wall of my room.
  • Built a banker box for the first time (I’m going to use them to organize magazines & papers).
  • Made this cool stained glass bee out of this kit I got at the store!
  • Downloaded the Freeosk app for the first time! It is cool. I got a mini pack of caramel M & M’s.
  • Changed the wiper blades on my Kia Soul for the first time!
  • Used an amazing Renuzit in my room for the first time! It was rose, fresh cut grass, & lavender scented!
  • Convinced my mom to give powdered laundry soap a try & she loves it now!

THINGS I PURCHASED

  • Bought some cool books at the library! Got a book about hidden animals, an iSpy book (!!!!!), & the Gail Gibbons bat book which I freaking LOVE & had just read a borrowed copy & was hoping to find one to buy someday!!!!! (Especially the illustration of the tube-nosed fruit bat had me almost sobbing).
  • Bought a toucan-shaped salt/pepper shaker!
  • Got 2 new Beanie Baby owls that I didn’t have!
  • Bought a pink alligator sculpture with plastic succulents on its back! It is really cool & cute.
  • Got a new iPhone – an iPhone 6 – because I broke the screen on my last one & was tired of looking at the broken screen & dealing with its crappy battery life because I’d had the previous one for several years.
  • Bought a colorful stegosaurus.
  • Bought a metal flamingo wall hanging at Walmart.
  • Bought 2 adorable magnets with photos of flamingos on them!

TRAVEL & EXPERIENCES

  • Went on a day vacation with my mom & sister in St. Augustine! I’d been there before as part of my Epic Florida Road trip, so it was fun to share some of the things I saw the first time around with my family so they could enjoy them too, as well as see some great new things I didn’t have a chance to see on my first visit!
  • We visited:
    • Fort Mantanzas park (& got to visit the island with the fort on it, which I didn’t get to do last time!)
    • The Castillo de San Marco
    • Catherdral Basilica of St. Augustine (which had really beautiful stained glass!)
    • The Old City Gates
    • The St. Augustine Lighthouse
    • St. Augustine Beach
    • Saw the famous water mill!
    • Saw the oldest schoolhouse in America!
    • Walked through a lot of Downtown St. Augustine
    • Saw a roadside dinosaur in Citra, FL
  • Finished booking all my tours & other tickets I need for Costa Rica!
  • Went to the Epperson Lagoon for the first time, which is a huge “lagoon” swimming pool!

A (Micro) Interview with Michael Sheen

Stephen Fry’s 2003 film, “Bright Young Things” is a good movie, but the absolute BEST thing about it for me is the character Miles, played by the amazing Michael Sheen. Miles is seriously one of my favorite characters I have ever come across, & the way Sheen plays Miles couldn’t be more perfect.
If you’ve seen the movie, you know how sad Miles’ final scene in the film is. Miles’ facade of confidence is shattered when (spoilers) he learns the police have a warrant out to arrest him for being gay & he is forced to leave the country before they can.
The emotions in that scene are so palpably genuine, vulnerable, & honest. And poor Miles just looks so perfectly sad, with his very red eyes, his mannerisms, the way his voice cracks & he looks away, unable to make eye contact. I’m filing this scene in my “amazing textbook examples of sadness & vulnerability” category, so I can study the scene & acting, & use what I learn from studying it to improve my own acting.
Which brings me to my second point. As an actor, I really wanted to know whether Sheen was “actually crying” in the scene, or whether anything like a tear stick or tear blower had been used to assist this effect.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with actors using things like tear sticks to help their characters cry, if they really need to. I understand that having to reshoot a scene, or working a long day & being emotionally exhausted, etc might make it hard for an actor to cry naturally.
But what I wanted to know was, as an actor, if I were trying to portray a scene in a similar way, would it be fair to hold myself up to the standard of actually crying that much, or whether the way a scene like that was done DID rely on a sort of incidental “special effect” of a tear stick. A lot of things in films are simulated or rely on even a small amount of “stage magic” to work properly, & I wanted to know whether a scene like this was one of those things, or whether it was real vulnerability worth striving for.
I went on Twitter & the following discussion happened:
Q: “The actor in me would love to know whether in this beautifully-acted scene, your eyes were that red & sad from crying naturally (perhaps from multiple takes), whether a tear stick/makeup/etc was involved, or a combination?”
A: “Just crying a lot.”
Knowing that about this scene makes me want to hold myself to a higher standard of acting, & makes me want to get a lot better about learning how to get into my characters better so I can, when the time calls for it, bring about genuine emotions in the mindset realm of the character. It also makes me love this scene even more than I already did & is a true testament to Sheen’s talent in bringing his characters & their emotions to life. I just think it’s so lovely how genuine this scene is.
A huge thank you to Michael Sheen for giving me permission to publish this as an interview on my blog!

 

NEW JUVENILE NON-FICTION BOOK: MOLES (Wonderful Wildlife, #9)

Moles are narrow tube-shaped, furry insectivores (insect-eating animals) that are perfectly adapted to living in tunnels underground. Moles have silky fur. Most people think of mole fur as being black, but moles can also have white, cream, orange, gray, or piebald fur. Moles belong to the family “Talpidae”. Moles spend most of their day digging & hunting for food. There are a total of 42 species of moles!Learn all about moles in this fun, comprehensive book!

PUBLICATION DATE: February 21, 2019
PAPERBACK: 37 Pages
GENRE: Juvenile Non-Fiction
SERIES: Wonderful Wildlife

Available on Amazon

NEW POETRY BOOK: Between the Crevice & the Meadow

Dedicated to the beautiful, painful, crazy, dark, light, pitiful, glorious, desolate, depressing, frustrating, hope-filled, stunning, confusing, joyful, lovely, uncomfortable, & radiant space between where you are were & where you want to be, & for those who are facing towards their own meadows & not towards their prior crevices. Keep heading towards the meadow.

Between the Crevice & the Meadow is a collection of 136 poems about triumph, mental health, depression, hope, & finally beginning to heal & step into the amazing future that’s available to you.

PUBLICATION DATE: October 30, 2018
PAPERBACK 218 Pages
GENRE: Poetry

Kindle eBook
Paperback

NEW POETRY BOOK: Alive & Thriving

Alive & Thriving is a collection of 57 poems by Ashlee Craft.

//

some morning light

I want to stand where I can
see outside into the
bright morning day that is
blooming out there not that
I’m not happy inside the cement fluorescence;
it’s better now, the light is also inside
but I still long to drop what I am doing & run out the doors into the bright fresh morning
& sit under a tree reading a book, lying on a blanket in the grass
& changing the direction of the tracks
so that I am happy right now,
not just at some undetermined point in the future

PUBLICATION DATE: April 28, 2019
PAPERBACK 80 Pages
GENRE: Poetry

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NEW PHOTO BOOK: EPIC FLORIDA ROAD TRIP: THE PHOTO ALBUMS – DAY 1: Myakka River State Park, Sanibel Island, & Naples

In May of 2017, I went on a road trip that changed my life. I later dubbed it my “Epic Florida Road Trip”. It was my first vacation ever – a life-changing solo trip that took me from my home in Tampa south to the Everglades, down through the Florida Keys, Miami, & north again to St. Augustine. It lasted a week, & when I returned from it, I wasn’t the same person I’d been when I’d left. I returned with a lot of amazing, magical memories, a lot of no-see-um-bites, & a lot of stories to tell. But the biggest thing I brought back with me was a quiet, bold confidence in the knowledge that I knew how to take care of myself, knew what I needed to do to fix the problems in my life, & deep down, knew how to be happy again.These are the photos from that time.–This is book one of seven photo albums from my road trip – there is one book for each day of the trip spanning the highlight photos of the day & showing the things I did. I hope that these books feel like the kind of photo album your friend would share with you if they had gone on a vacation – honest & beautiful & joyous.

PUBLICATION DATE: April 20, 2019
PAPERBACK 126 Pages
GENRE: Photo Books – Florida

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