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!

APRIL: AN EPIC MONTH IN REVIEW

12019 / Pixabay

OVERVIEW: Published 3 books, released a new song, released another comedy video, had something I created published in one of my favorite magazines (which was also the first time something I created appeared in any magazine at all!), saw 4 different musicians in concert, finished reading 15 books, bought a really awesome shark kite, went blueberry picking for the first time, got my first passport, saw a meteor randomly for the first time in my adult life, & much more.

 

CREATIVITY & BUSINESS

  • BOOKS: Published 3 books (EPIC FLORIDA ROAD TRIP: THE PHOTO ALBUMS – DAY 1: Myakka River State Park, Sanibel Island, & Naples, Learning Colors with Cute Llamas, Alive & Thriving)
  • MUSIC: Released 1 new song (“I’m Goin’ Out to Be Free“, from my album “Down Past the Fountains”)
  • Something I created was published in a magazine for the first time ever! The magazine was Friday Magazine, one of my ABSOLUTE FAVORITES, & this super-fun tutorial of mine is what I created for it! You can find my tutorial in Issue 3 of Friday Magazine!
  • Filmed & released another comedy video – What Happens When Sandhill Cranes Cross the Road?
  • Wrote 19 poems.
  • Went on a mini road trip in my local area & took almost all the rest of my photos for the local film photography book I am working on! Really excited, as this is something I’ve been putting off for pretty close to a year now & I HAVE FINALLY DONE IT! Saw a bonus roadside dinosaur that I had never seen before too while driving through a neighborhood, so I was really excited because I LOVE roadside dinosaurs.
  • Began writing several new books.
  • Released KIDS CLOTHES on SHOP Ashlee Craft for the first time ever!
  • Created 100+ new subcategories on SHOP Ashlee Craft to hold some amazing upcoming products that’ll be released soon!
  • Applied for more acting jobs.
  • Listed my domain, “www.coffeeandsucculents.com” for sale on GoDaddy’s auction site, so if anyone is interested in buying it, go ahead & make an offer on it!
  • Contacted someone about vending at an awesome local art event!

CONCERTS

  • Saw Jackson Browne in concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL.
  • Saw KISS in concert at the Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL on their farewell tour & it was absolutely AMAZING.
  • Saw The Temptations in concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL.
  • Saw The Four Tops in concert at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL.

FOODS

  • Went to Culver’s for the first time! Got a chocolate concrete mixer with M&M’s & raspberries added to it as my toppings & also tried their fried cheese curds. One of the staff there taught me about the difference between custard & ice cream!
  • Ate in the Sam’s Club Food Court for the first time! Got a soft pretzel & it was really good.
  • Got something from the Wawa food counter for the first time! Got a veggie sub with garlic aioli & mayo chup plus roasted red peppers & it was SO GOOD. Also, garlic aioli is like my favorite thing ever.
  • Got a Wawa doughnut for the first time too! It had sprinkles on it.
  • Ate Salt & Vinegar pork rinds for the first time!
  • Ate a Peep Donut from Dunkin Donuts for the first time!!!
  • Finally bought the peanut butter & jelly that comes in the same container together for the first time in probably a decade & a half (aka, the first time in my adult life)
  • Tried Lays Electric Sea Salt Lime potato chips for the first time!
  • Tried Walmart brand regular jelly beans for the first time.
  • Ate Pillsbury bunny face Easter cookies for the first time.
  • Tried Cookie Crisp cereal for the first time.
  • My dad made a really great blueberry cheesecake cobbler with puff pastry & it was so amazing.
  • Ate a strawberry cheesecake Chobani yogurt flip for the first time.
  • Ate raspberry chocolate Milano cookies from Pepperidge Farm for the first time.
  • Ate cotton candy Peeps marshmallows for the first time.
  • Ate High Road Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream for the first time!
  • Got Trix cereal for the first time in my adult life.
  • Ate neon gummy lifesavers for the first time!
  • Bought Walmart brand cheese whiz for the first time & really liked it!
  • Drank Tropicana Orange Mango juice for the first time!
  • Ate a pistachio tahini bar for the first time!
  • Ate blue raspberry Peep marshmallows for the first time!
  • Had a Saffron Road Green Curry Chicken microwave meal for the first time!
  • Drank Promised Land chocolate milk for the first time in a long time!
  • Ate Sam’s Club cinnamon rolls for the first time!
  • Got some good samples at Sam’s Club too – a chocolate strawberry & citrus salmon!
  • My sister gave me a chocolate egg with a DOUGHNUT SHOPKIN inside!!!
  • Ate cheese Sun Chip crisps for the first time!
  • Drank Great American blackberry sparkling water for the first time.
  • Ate birthday cake Cookie Crisp cereal for the first time.
  • Ate “chicken dipping sauce” for the first time & loved it!
  • Tried hazelnut spread M & M’s for the first time!
  • Drank Apple Bubly Water for the first time!
  • Ate Winn-Dixie pizza for the first time.
  • Ate a Saffron Road Mango Thai Chicken Bowl microwave meal for the first time!
  • Ate nacho flavored pea puffs for the first time!
  • Ate part of the Palmers rainbow sprinkle Easter white chocolate rabbit for the first time!

MEDIA

  • STARTED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me). The Umbrella Academy Volume 1: Apocolypse Suite (Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba), 29 Gifts (Cami Walker), The Millionaire Mind (Thomas J. Stanley), May Cause Miracles (Gabrielle Bernstein), The Good Neighbor: The Life & Work of Fred Rogers (Maxwell King), National Geograhic Kids: Bees (Laura Marsh), National Geograhic Kids: Bees (Laura Marsh)*, Wicca (Scott Cunningham), Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice (Brene Brown), Gratitude Daily (Nataly Korgan), The Millionaire Mind (Thomas J. Stanley)*, Hello, Universe (Erin Entrada Kelly), Bats (Gail Gibbons), See it in Spanish, Say it in Spanish (Margarita Madrigal). TOTAL: 14
  • FINISHED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) The Umbrella Academy Volume 1: Apocolypse Suite (Gerard Way & Gabriel Ba), 29 Gifts (Cami Walker), The Millionaire Mind (Thomas J. Stanley), May Cause Miracles (Gabrielle Bernstein), The Good Neighbor: The Life & Work of Fred Rogers (Maxwell King), National Geograhic Kids: Bees (Laura Marsh), National Geograhic Kids: Bees (Laura Marsh)*, Wicca (Scott Cunningham), Rising Strong as a Spiritual Practice (Brene Brown), Gratitude Daily (Nataly Korgan), The Millionaire Mind (Thomas J. Stanley)*, Hello, Universe (Erin Entrada Kelly), Bats (Gail Gibbons), Born Standing Up (Steve Martin), Your Best Year Ever (Michael Hyatt). Total: 15
  • WATCHED: (episodes in parenthesis for shows; all others are films. * means re-watches; all others are things I’ve never seen). Monty Python & the Holy Grail*, The Incredibles 2, It Takes Two, The Unicorn Store, Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone*, Pretty in Pink, Noel Fielding’s Luxury Comedy (Mashed Potato Utopia), The Easter Bunny is Coming to Town*, Barbie: Life in the Dream House (Perf Pool Party & Trapped in the Dream House), August Rush* Total: 10
  • ALBUMS I LISTENED TO: (*First time listening to this album!). Emotions (Carly Rae Repsen)*, Tommy (The Who)*, Aqualung (Jethro Tull)*, War Babies (Daryl Hall & John Oates), War Babies (Daryl Hall & John Oates), War Babies (Daryl Hall & John Oates), War Babies (Daryl Hall & John Oates), Can’t Buy a Thrill (Steely Dan), War Babies (Daryl Hall & John Oates), War Babies (Daryl Hall & John Oates) Total: 10
  • Began my project of reading Newberry Medal books again!
  • My favorite song this month is “If it Feels Good, Do It” by Ian Lloyd & The Stories.
  • WATCHED THE TAYLOR SWIFT & BRENDAN URIE “ME” VIDEO FOR THE FIRST TIME & IT IS EVERYTHING. I seriously love the song & the uber-magical video SO MUCH.

PETS

  • Sparky thought my sister threw his sheep onto the roof because she threw it onto the porch at the exact moment that a bird flew over the roof, so he was very offended trying to find it until my sister showed him it was on the porch. It was absolutely adorable!
  • Sparky wants me to lie on trampoline with him in the mornings in the sunlight, & he will sit on the trampoline & stare at me & keep pretending he wants to come inside until I come out there to see him sometimes.It’s so cute.
  • Found a wooly worm on the sidewalk that was being attacked by ants. I got the ants off of it & put it in a jar with some leaves. The next day, it sadly had died from the ant bites, but at least it hadn’t gotten eaten alive by anything.
  • Found a barely-responsive brown anole lizard on the sidewalk with ants circling around it (yes, in Florida ants are out to kill anything on the sidewalk). I put the lizard in a bin on my back porch where it could get feeling better (& out of reach of homicidal ants) & so I could hopefully release it the next day. Surprisingly, the next day it was responsive & normal again, so I was able to release it into the wild!
  • Molly, my pet Texas Gold Millipede, sadly passed away.

PERSONAL

  • GOT A PASSPORT FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!!!!
  • Organized my pantry a bit more & threw away some expired food.
  • Cleaned up a lot more of my garage, & in the process found some items I’d been missing since I moved.
  • Sorted my inventory for my business into better-thought-out categories to make it easier to find stuff.
  • Started telling my hairdresser to cut my hair like Audrey Hepburn & I love how it looks!
  • Had some great revelations about taking mini vacations throughout the year, & what those places might be!
  • Taught my mom how to crochet!
  • Had a very nice visit with my grandmother & aunt!
  • Used the “Freeosk” at Sam’s Club, which is the first time I have used a Freeosk?
  • Wore Hard Candy’s dark green mascara for the first time!
  • Cleared more stuff off my computer hard drive!
  • Used the window washer fluid at a gas station for the first.
  • I couldn’t use my car’s AC for a while, so I had to adapt to the Florida heat with things like a necklace fan & having the windows open. It can be fun sometimes to have to come up with interesting solutions to interesting problems.
  • Used Maybelline SnapScara Blue Mascara for the first time & now I use it every day!
  • Made progress on increasing my net worth!

THINGS I PURCHASED

  • BOUGHT A SHARK KITE & IT IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS EVER.
  • My mom gave me an awesome, adorable lemon-print pouch!
  • BOUGHT A YELLOW PLUSH EASTER RABBIT that was still available after Easter (I had been waiting on the price to go down on this specific one) so I got it!
  • Got a PEEP EASTER BASKET at a garage sale, which is something I saw this Easter season while shopping but didn’t see any for a price I wanted to pay, but since I freaking love Peeps I was so happy to get this one for JUST $0.25!!!
  • Also got a Peep rabbit-shaped sun dancer on clearance!!!
  • Bought an iSpy book, a Small Miracles book, & an Enid Blyton book at the library book sale for a total of just $2!!! I sure do love library book sales.
  • Bought a piranha-shaped Hot Wheels car
  • Bought smiley face scrubbing pads for washing dishes & they are so cute!
  • Bought a cute book about breeds of kittens at the library!
  • Bought flamingo & pineapple shaped reusuable ice cubes.
  • Bought some awesome Gildan shirts at Hobby Lobby in blue, medium blue, teal, orange, & red, which are (a) some of my favorite t-shirts that I wear all the time, (b) SUPER COLORFUL, & (c) just $2 EACH.
  • Bought a lot more awesome colorful beads at the craft store.
  • Got some great new rubber stamps featuring foods & animals mainly!
  • My sister gave me the BEST Easter Eggs ever that had miniature dinosaurs, stickers, & kawaii erasers in them!!!
  • Bought a light-up sign that says “GOOD VIBES” from TJ Maxx.
  • Bought a new, shiny, holographic mermaid scale notebook for writing theme motto in each morning.
  • Bought a copy of the “Crayola Epic Book of Awesome” coloring book on clearance & it is so adorable!
  • Got some really great Easter rabbits on clearance! Got a lemon flavored one, a caramel one, & two white chocolate with sprinkles in the chocolate ones!

TRAVEL & EXPERIENCES

  • WENT BLUEBERRY PICKING FOR THE FIRST TIME!!!! Went with my Mom & sister to Bob’s Blueberry Farm in Hudson, FL & had such a great time!
  • SAW A METEOR FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY ADULT LIFE as I was walking out to my car after work one evening. The timing of the Universe was perfect, as if I would have been walking out even a few seconds sooner or later, I wouldn’t have seen it. It was SO BEAUTIFUL & one of the best natural phenomena that I have seen!  (pleased with myself too for spelling “phenomena” correctly on first try).
  • On Easter morning, went out with my mom & flew my new shark kite in the field & it was SO MUCH FUN & such a lovely experience.
  • Went to the Pasco County Earth Day event at Crew’s Lake Park. Got to see owls there & a cool alligator! Petted some cute rescue dogs including this super cute pit bull mix that snuggled her head against my leg & I just wanted to bring her home <3
  • Also went blueberry picking at the same farm a second
  • Saw “performance painter” David Garibaldi as the opening act for KISS at the Amalie Arena & he was amazing!
  • Saw a glorious dog, a big black & white Great Dane with its gigantic ears flapping around as it stuck its head out the car window on the highway. It looked so happy.
  • Excited to see a Twistee Treat ice-cream-shaped building with its roof lit up at night with small, beautiful, colorful lights.
  • Saw a GORGEOUS sunset from the Courtney Campbell Causeway as I drove on it in the afternoon. The sun glowed, burning neon orange, above the horizon & it was so radiant.

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!

2018 ACCOMPLISHMENTS LIST

2018 was an EFFING EXCEPTIONAL year, beyond any expectations I had of it, & beyond measure. I began the year feeling hopeful, but also really struggling with depression & anxiety. But due to me taking positive actions to improve my life, my life itself went from “barely getting by”, “surviving”, to me actively creating & shaping the kind of world I wanted to live in, & then beginning to live there. My essay MAGIC HOURS sums these feelings up best, but here is a VERY BIG & comprehensive list of all the things & actions I took & progress I made that took those feelings & made them REAL.

CREATIVITY & BUSINESS

CONCERTS

I saw a whopping 67 BANDS IN CONCERT IN 2018!!! (List in chronological order!)

  1. AJR (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  2. Al Stewart (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  3. Alan Parsons Project (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  4. Alice Merton (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  5. Andrew McMahon & The Wilderness (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  6. Ann Wilson (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  7. The Association (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  8. Bastille (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  9. The Beach Boys (With Special Guest John Stamos) (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  10. Beat Root Revival (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  11. Billy Joel (Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL)
  12. Blackfoot (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  13. Bob Dylan (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  14. Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  15. Brian Wilson (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  16. Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  17. Chicago (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  18. Chuck Negron (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  19. Chvrches (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  20. The Cowsills (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  21. Daryl Hall & John Oates (Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL)
  22. Dawes (Pepsi Center – Denver, CO)
  23. Deborah Bonham (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  24. The Doobie Brothers (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  25. The Eagles (Camping World Stadium – Orlando, FL)
  26. Elle King (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  27. Firefall (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  28. Foreigner (With Rock Symphony Orchestra) (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  29. Foster the People (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  30. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  31. Greg Kihn (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  32. Jeff Beck (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  33. Jeff Lynne’s ELO/Electric Light Orchestra (Pepsi Center – Denver, CO)
  34. Jimmie Vaughn Trio (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  35. Jimmy Buffet (with special guest Caroline Jones) (Camping World Stadium – Orlando, FL)
  36. Joan Jett & The Blackhearts (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  37. John Fogerty (Coachman Park – Clearwater, FL)
  38. Julian Frampton (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  39. Kandance Springs (Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL)
  40. KC & The Sunshine Band (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  41. LANY (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  42. Lords of 52nd Street (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  43. Lynyrd Skynyrd (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  44. Mark Lindsay (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  45. Michael Tolcher (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  46. Nathanial Racliffe & The Night Sweats (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  47. Panic! At the Disco (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  48. Paul Dowers (Elfers Community Center – Elfers, FL)
  49. Paul Rodgers (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  50. Paul Simon (Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL)
  51. Queensryche (Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL)
  52. REO Speedwagon (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  53. Rick Springfield (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  54. Roy Orbison (HOLOGRAPHIC CONCERT – Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  55. Ryan Kinder (Coachman Park – Clearwater, FL)
  56. Scorpions (Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL)
  57. Steely Dan (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  58. Styx (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  59. Tesla (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  60. The Turtles (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  61. Three Dog Night (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  62. Todd Rundgren (The Capitol Theatre – Clearwater, FL)
  63. Tommy Tutone (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  64. Toto (Ruth Eckerd Hall – Clearwater, FL)
  65. Train (Amalie Arena – Tampa, FL)
  66. Young the Giant (MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre – Tampa, FL)
  67. ZZ Top (Coachman Park – Clearwater)

FOODS

  • Went the whole month of October without eating any sweets as part of my self-directed NO SWEETS OCTOBER CHALLENGE!
  • Ate five servings of veggies & fruits every day for a month, as part of a FRUITS & VEGGIES challenge I did in August.
  • Tried macarons for the FIRST TIME EVER! Got a pistachio one from a local grocery store.
  • Went to Le Macaron for the first time & tried some AMAZING rose & coffee flavored macarons.
  • DRANK BOBA TEA FOR THE FIRST TIME, at the very wonderful Buttermilk Provisions in Wesley Chapel, FL.
  • Ate my first vegan doughnut ever at the aforementioned Buttermilk Provisions.
  • Made my first smoothie bowl ever (those acai-bowl looking things) & they are AMAZING so I make them a lot now.
  • Ate fried pickles for the first time ever (from Sam’s Beach Bar in Hudson, FL!). Ate them while sitting on the beach in the middle of break from jury duty.
  • Ate a mincemeat pie for the first time (from That Little Bakery Cafe in Elfers, FL!)
  • I have a screened in back porch now, & it’s lovely to sit out there on a warm morning & drink a cup of tea.
  • Got really good frozen yogurt at Sweet Frog.
  • Amazing combo I tried: vanilla white balsamic reduction over vanilla Haagen-Daaz ice cream with organic ribbon-sliced basil (thanks to the back description on the Alessi balsamic reduction for this recommendation!)
  • Tried a cherry mash candy for the first time.
  • Ate raw snap peas for the first time. I also really like to mix them with raw wild tomatoes.
  • Tried tostones for the first time (the lime ones are AMAZING).
  • Tried szechuan for the first time!
  • One of the best products I discovered was the Fat Toad Farm caramel, which is OUT OF THIS WORLD.
  • Decided I liked sparkling water after spending like a decade hating it. Favorite brands? Perrier (obviously), any La Croix in the slim cans (especially the blackberry cucumber one), & Icelandic.

PERSONAL

  • 2018 IS THE YEAR I BEAT MY DEPRESSION. It was clinical, it was scary, I discovered the tools I needed to teach myself how to be happy, I reinvented myself, learned how to be happy, & for the first time in nearly a decade, I AM DEPRESSION FREE. You can read more about that here.
  • Was part of writer & personal development expert Benjamin Hardy’s outstanding AMP Program (originally called 52 Weeks of Momentum) for the entire year. Thanks to this course & the people in it & the things I learned from it & the books I read because of it, I was able to TOTALLY TRANSFORM my life throughout the course of 2018.
  • Although I am usually amazed by & impressed by how much progress I am able to make in a year, 2018 is one for the books when it comes to reinventing myself. I started the year as a depressed & anxious person struggling to survive, & I ended the year as a confident, happy person with so many exceptional & exciting things in the works.
  • Quit the job that was a huge source of unhappiness & stress in my life so I could do a job I enjoyed more, even if the job I enjoy more still isn’t what I ultimately want to do. This was one of the biggest ways I upgraded this year.
  • Donated a HUGE amount of stuff to Goodwill, the Veteran’s Administration, Kidney Foundation, etc, & donated a bicycle to the amazing Eileen’s Place bike shop in Hudson, FL.
  • Got my hair cut short for the first time in a decade, & I love it so much more than having long hair! That was in February, & in September I got it cut even shorter. I LOVE IT.
  • Participated in Lake Jovita’s 5k Reindeer Run with my mom (it was her first 5k!) & won third place for my age category (by default, because I was one of three people in my category)!!! You were encouraged to wear a festive costume, so I dressed as “Indiana Jones, Christmas Tree Wrangler”. Did not win any costume prizes, but EVERYONE knows I had the best costume 🙂
  • Started listening to vinyl albums! We got a record player last Christmas, & I EFFING LOVE THE SOUND OF VINYL. Bought myself a few used vinyl albums, & I have listened to a good number of albums now on vinyl. And there are a whole bunch more of my favorites I’ve never heard on vinyl that I’m super-looking-forward to hearing on vinyl in the upcoming year. It just sounds so warm & wonderful.
  • Best things I discovered this year: Edgar Wright films, Chris Fleming, Todd Rundgren’s A Wizard/A True Star, Melissa Strype, The Mighty Boosh, Noel Fielding, Shrek Retold, Mission Impossible: Fallout, the Bohemian Rhapsody movie, the new-ish Star Trek movies, & watching musicals live.
  • Began investing, more officially, in the stock market & building a portfolio that I’m proud of!
  • Began listening to audiobooks frequently thanks to Hoopla, where I can listen to books for free using my library card! I highly recommend it, & they also have movies, ebooks, & albums!
  • Moved across town to a nice new house!
  • Improved my wealth mindset.
  • Connected with so many amazing, creative, kind, & intelligent people out in the world & by networking with people online.
  • For Halloween, dressed as an owl with flamingos!
  • Bought an AMAZING polka dot jumpsuit so I can be covered head to toe in polka dots. AND I also got a rainbow feather boa, which is so funky & is pretty much the funkiest thing ever when I wear it with my polka dot jumpsuit.
  • Participated in the Hillsborough River Half Marathon, hosted by Endeavor Racing! This was the first marathon event I participated in, I walked it rather than running because I don’t like running, & I had a marvelous time!
  • Bought some more plants, including a really great parlor palm. I’m setting up a mini makeshift plant room in my bedroom!
  • Got a lot more adorable plush animals, including some Geico gecko plush, more plush owls, & a whole bunch of funky plush reptiles & dinosaurs, among other critters!
  • BOUGHT MYSELF A CHICKEN SUIT & A RUBBER CHICKEN, which I have made good use of in my comedy so far 🙂
  • Colored my hair a caramel auburn color, purplish black, dark brown, & probably some other colors I can’t think of right now.
  • FIRST TIMES:
    • Drove a moving truck for the first time! It was a 15′ U-Haul truck, which obviously isn’t big for a truck but the biggest thing I had ever driven prior to that was a Kia minivan, & I my car now is a Smart Car. My mom, who followed behind me in the moving truck (as I drove it by myself, nonetheless) said that I “drove it like I had been born in it”. The first thing I had to do as soon as I started driving it was do a u-turn on the highway, & I swung out enough not to run over the median strip AND managed to also not hit the other side of the road. I got the truck back in one piece & was very proud of myself.
    • Went to a skate park for the first time! Went down some ramps (I still couldn’t do an ollie) which freaked me out & I had a good time.
    • Used my weed eater as an edger in my yard to edge my sidewalks for the first time! I had been using one of these.
    • Got my first root canal! Not something to be proud of, but still an experience in itself. Video coming soon. The dentists all thought I did really well, especially considering I have never even had a cavity filled before.
    • Bought some wigs for the first time, which I use in my comedy videos.
    • Used a drill by myself for the first time to build a bin for my discoid roaches that I breed for my reptiles to live in!
    • Used a Hoover Floormate mop vacuum for the first time.
    • Used regular latex paint (from the paint section of Home Depot) for the first time ever! Got them to mix me up a really gorgeous shade of amethyst purple to paint my gemstone shelf/altar with.
    • Tried on a dress (one I can’t yet afford!) at Nordstorm. It was my first time doing something like this (trying on something really nice). I tried on the INCREDIBLY GORGEOUS Galvan London Clara dress, which was covered in hand-sewn gold sequins. So much fun to think big & think ahead!
    • Went to an At Home store for the first time! They have so much great stuff.
    • Changed the brake pads on my Smart Car for the first time that I’ve done it entirely by myself! (I’ve only ever done it one other time, & I did most of the work then but my dad did help direct me & this time I did it totally alone, & successfully too!)
    • Calculated my net worth for the first time.
    • Began making something I call “mind dump lists” to help organize my thoughts & keep my always-on mind working its best. Article coming soon!

PETS

  • Got my first pet reptiles ever!
  • Went to Repticon (the big reptile expo) for the first time ever!
  • Got 3 crested geckos – Toe Bean, Pinwheel Shark, & Baby Pineapple!
  • Got a pet leopard gecko – Squiggles!
  • Got a pet albino Pac-Man Frog, Frogecoin!
  • GOT A PET MILLIPEDE, which I’ve wanted since I was 10.
  • Got a pet Texas Gold Millipede & 5 pet bumblebee millipedes.
  • Got pet/feeder superworms & have been caring for them for the past 6+ months.
  • Raised a dermastid beetle larvae to an adult.
  • Bought & began raising & breeding discoid roaches to feed to my reptiles & my frog once their colony gets going.
  • Got dwarf isopods (pillbug-looking things) & other things I need for setting up bioactive vivariums.
  • Bought & began raising mealworms to feed to my reptiles.
  • Finally bought a one of those plastic poop scoops for my dog Sparky, which makes cleaning up the yard so much easier & I wonder why I didn’t get one sooner.
  • Bought my guinea pigs an EFFING ADORABLE bumblebee costume (video coming soon!)
  • Switched Moose, Olive, & Oreo (my guinea pigs) & Starlight (my/my sister’s rabbit) to Aspen shaving bedding, which is more cost effective & seems to work as well as the paper CareFresh-style bedding I had been using.
  • Upgraded my betta tank from a 1-gallon with no filter that I had been using for years to a 5-gallon with a nice filter & a heater, & again, it’s another thing that I should have gotten a lot sooner.
  • Upgraded my guinea pigs to eating Oxbow premium guinea pig food instead of the old cheaper brand they had been eating.

READING

  • Read a total of 61 books, up from 57 in 2017.

TRAVEL & EXPERIENCES

  • Traveled to Denver, CO for the first time ever!!! I specifically went there to see Jeff Lynne’s ELO in concert (like how I traveled to Houston, TX in 2017 to see Queen in concert) & had an absolute BLAST, even though I was only there for less than 20 hours in total.
  • Visited Rocky Mountain National Park & drove the entire Trail Ridge Road! This was one of the highlights of my year. The Rocky Mountains are GORGEOUS. I drove through the Arapaho National Forest as I drove from Denver to the Rockies & drove back through Estes Park. The whole area was beautiful, & at the highest point along Trail Ridge Road, I experienced an altitude of more than 11,000 feet! Jogged back to my car at this altitude & felt like I’d run a marathon (that altitude is a lot anyways, especially when you hail from Florida & had only been in Colorado for less than a day, like me!)
  • Tried rocky mountain “oysters” for the first time while I was in Denver, from the Buckhorn Exchange! They were delicious!
  • Toured Alpaca Magic, an alpaca farm & got to pet & feed alpacas for the first time ever! It was my first time seeing an alpaca in real life too. I also got to make a piece of wool out of alpaca fiber, as part of the alpaca farm tour experience & it was SO AWESOME.
  • HELD AN OWL FOR THE FIRST TIME!!! At Tampa Repticon in February of 2018. (Thanks, Friends of Largo Nature Parks!)
  • Picked blackberries for the first time at a farm with my mom (Bob’s Blueberry/Blackberry Farm in Hudson, FL)! We had such a good time & the blackberries were delicious.
  • Toured the awesome Wildlife Survival Sanctuary in Spring Hill, FL & saw tigers, lemurs, mountain lions, tortoises, leopards, & more!
  • Went to a movie theater to watch a film for the first time since I was a young teenager, so probably the first time in 7+ years or so! Went to see Bohemian Rhapsody on its opening night, & it was fantastic!
  • Went to a wind chime making class & made a funky beaded wind chime.
  • Went to Jury Duty for the first time & turned it into something awesome by TOTALLY SEIZING THE MOMENT. Will write an article about this soon!
  • Took the world’s most satisfying nap in my hammock on my screened back porch, after getting up early for an audition. The weather was PERFECT, it was warm & slightly breezy & birds were chirping but the air was quiet like a weekend afternoon.
  • Visited Citrus Mall in Citrus Park, FL for the first time. They’ve got some great shops there!

JANUARY 2019 AT A GLANCE

Highlights: Published my first Udemy course ever, walked a marathon, started learning Spanish, published 1 book, visited the Tampa Museum of Art & got to experience an exhibit by Yayoi Kusama (one of my favorite artists), began releasing 4th album & released two songs from it, released 1 short film, interviewed 1 person for my blog, sat in the front row at a concert for the first time ever thanks to some amazing serendipity, saw 4 concerts, read 7 books, set up my first biactive vivarium for my pet frog, got a new pet betta, designed a new logo for my company, & more!

CREATIVITY & BUSINESS

  • BOOKS: Published Flowers, 3 (a zine, this one of flowers I photographed at the Mercer Botanical Gardens in Humble, TX in 2017).
  • SHORT FILMS: Released “Birth of a Rock Star“, an awesome stop motion/silent animated film with a killer soundtrack by yours truly about an alien creature that crash lands in a strange world.
  • INTERVIEWS: Interviewed guitarist virtuoso Paul Bielactowicz!
  • MUSIC: Began releasing fourth album, “Down Past the Fountains“, which is a previously unreleased album I recorded when I was 16 & really into folk music & Bob Dylan. It was the predecessor to “Fields of Destiny”. I recently rediscovered the album & realized how much I liked it, so I’m putting it out there one song at a time over the span of the next few months! Released two songs from it – “You Can Try, But You’ll Never Own Me” & “Hard Road Blues” (which IMO really really sounds something Bob Dylan would have done, even down to the Dylan-esque harmonica solos). This makes me proud.
  • ART: Released two designs I’m especially proud of, “Valentine Owls” & “I AM EVERYTHING I NEED“. Made a lot of small art projects too & did a lot of things that I felt expressed my creativity in awesome ways.
  • RELEASED MY FIRST UDEMY COURSE EVER!!! “How to Make 3 Styles of Plush Bumbleebees”.
  • Designed a new logo for SHOP Ashlee Craft! It’s never really had an official logo before, & the one I designed is so fun & funky.
  • Helped my mom set up her first Etsy shop, “Amy Craft Studios“. She makes some amazing macrame, which you can check out here!
  • Researched hiring independent contractors, marketing ideas, vaudeville, & circuses, among other things.
  • Working on a really really cool short film! Downloaded the awesome 8mm Film app (for iPhone & possibly other platforms) to use for it, which is so amazing.
  • Did standup comedy at The Improv Comedy Club in Tampa, FL!
  • Made the first one I’ve made since I was a kid of an epic new product I’m launching soon! Also made some more art I will be listing in the near future!
  • Made a handmade pom-pom from scratch (aka without a pom-pom kit) for the first time since I was a kid!
  • Published the first Benjamin the Chicken video on my comedy channel!
  • Conceived & began planning a one-person show.
  • Did my first livestream ever on Instagram – a comedy livestream where I did a short standup set!

CONCERTS

  • Saw Diana Ross at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL.
  • Saw Gladys Knight at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL.
  • Saw Air Supply at the Capitol Theater in Clearwater, FL. Had a seat in the middle of the audience, but through a stroke of completely random good fortune & the kindness of a stranger, ended up sitting in the center of the SECOND ROW. Got to stand up against the stage, got to shake hands with both Russell & Graham, & got two souvenir guitar picks from the two of them. IT WAS OUTSTANDING!!! First front-row seats EVER!
  • Saw America at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL.

 

FOODS

  • TOP 3 FOODS: Sparkling water (especially Blackberry Cucumber La Croix in the slim cans), blue cheese (I wanna put it on almost EVERYTHING), & dark chocolate. Oh, & I’m also going through a yogurt phase.
  • Favorite invention of the month was a “brie burrito”. Recipe coming soon.
  • Ate at Panera for the first time ever! Had a good bacon tomato toasted cheese & a cappuccino 🙂
  • Used a tea pot to make tea for the first time & it tastes SO AMAZINGLY BETTER than just microwaving the water for a bit.

MEDIA

  • STARTED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) Free Prize Inside (Seth Godin), Relentless* (Tim S. Grover), Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (T. Harv Eker), If You’re Not First, You’re Last (Grant Cardone), The 10x Rule* (Grant Cardone), Level Up Your Life (Steve Kamb), Show Your Work (Austin Kleon), Girl, Wash Your Face (Rachel Hollis), The 4-Hour Workweek (Tim Ferris).
  • FINISHED READING: (* means a re-read; everything else is new to me) The Whole30 (Melissa & Dan Hartwig), Mindfrick: Master Your Inner World & Succeed at Anything (T. Harv Eker), Free Prize Inside (Seth Godin), Relentless* (Tim S. Grover), Secrets of the Millionaire Mind (T. Harv Eker), If You’re Not First, You’re Last (Grant Cardone), The 10x Rule* (Grant Cardone). TOTAL: 7
  • WATCHED: (episodes in parenthesis for shows; all others are films; * means rewatches, all others are things I’ve never seen) Pee Wee’s Playhouse (Now You See Me, Now You Don’t), Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, The Diaper (3, 4, & 5), The Big Lebowski, Shaun of the Dead, Imaginaria*, Austin Power in Goldmember, The Mighty Boosh (Electro), & 555 (Mom). TOTAL: 11
  • ALBUMS I LISTENED TO: (*First time listening to this album!) Listened to Magical Mystery Tour (The Beatles), A Wizard/A True Star (Todd Rundgren), Pet Sounds (The Beach Boys), Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan), Blonde on Blonde (Bob Dylan), Pray for the Wicked* (Panic! At the Disco, & The Hermit of Mink Hollow (Todd Rundgren). TOTAL: 7.
  • First song I listened to in 2019 was my FAVORITE (which has been my favorite for a few months now) – Todd Rundgren’s Just One Victory.
  • But the favorite music video I discovered this month is Mint Royale’s “Blue Song“, featuring one of my favorite comedians ever (Noel Fielding), plus Julian Barratt AND NICK FROST AND IT WAS DIRECTED BY EDGAR WRIGHT.
  • Also, rediscovered the songs Paper Birds by Parachutes & I Want Your Wonderwall, both of which together were a vital song combination for me when I was 18.
  • I also really love the song Feel it Still by Portugal. The Man.

PETS

  • Got a new betta (the first female one I’ve owned!) who I named Amethyst! My sister & I are sharing her. The betta we had before lived for close to three years but passed away at the end of 2018, so we were ready for another betta again.
  • Set up my first bioactive vivarium ever – for Frogecoin, my Pac-Man frog! A bioactive vivarium is a self-sustaining mini-ecosystem involving the use of isopods & other small invertebrates to keep the cage clean & they have a lot of benefits for pet reptiles & amphibians.
  • Got & began using this critter playpen so guinea pigs & rabbit can have more safe time out of their cages, even when I’m not able to supervise them.
  • Sparky, my Boston Terrier/Shih Tzu/Chihuahua mix, turned 9 years old!
  • Got a free aquarium that’s somewhere between 15 & 25 gallons I think that someone was giving away!

PERSONAL

  • WALKED A MARATHON without any training. First marathon I’ve both attempted & completed. Super proud of myself for this one, & a video & some blog posts on this topic are coming soon!
  • Began learning Spanish (again; I learned some last year but then fell off the bandwagon; this month I got back on!)
  • The first person I paid this year was myself, & the first person I worked for this year was myself.
  • I’m part of Benjamin Hardy’s AMP mastermind group this year too!
  • Began using the gamified to-do list app Habitica & it has been seriously been a productivity & organization game-changer, & it is seriously SO FUN.
  • Got rid of a good number of clothes & some knickknacks that I did not enjoy owning! Also worked more on sorting & organizing photos from my phone. Also improved (by embellishing or painting or changing in some way) several other “belongings of conflict” that it always bothered me that I owned because I thought they were bland even though they had cute, redeeming qualities about them. More on “belongings of conflict” coming soon!
  • Made my amazing dream trash can for my bedroom, which can be described as “yellow round trash can with sharks & rainbow gemstones”.
  • Painted & put adorable stickers on my new custom light switch plate cover, which I installed in my bedroom!
  • Told my mom I wanted to see Les Miserables live this year. Ended up seeing billboard for Les Miserables while out & about, just a few hours later!
  • Finally cleaned up one half of my bedroom, put stuffed animals on top shelf of closet, & decorated room more!
  • Began using a daily exfoliating facial cleanser, which I think has improved my skin!
  • Put my entire enamel pin collection up on the pin bulletin board I decorated!
  • Experimenting with taking the brain health supplement GABA to compliment the L-Theanine I’ve been taking for a long time.

THINGS I PURCHASED

  • Power-scented dog fragrance for Sparky
  • Lots of SUPER ADORABLE clearance Christmas ornaments
  • A GIANT YELLOW POM POM (like 6″ diameter)
  • A pink blown glass stegosaurus ornament
  • A winter TY Beanie Baby owl plush (one I don’t have for my collection of TY owls!), which I was prepared to pay $7 for but when it got run up it was on clearance for $1.74!
  • Mini burgers & sausages meant for dogs, for Sparky (for his 9th birthday!)
  • Bought so many effing adorable sloth/dinosaur/alligator & more themed Valentines things in that amazing cheap colorful front section at Target!
  • A FLUFFY RAINBOW ALPACA.
  • Valentines reusable bags which read “Peas be my Valentine. I carrot lot about you.” with effing adorable peas & carrots on them 🙂
  • FINALLY purchased one of artist CatRabbit’s INCREDIBLY PRECIOUS egg breakfast plate pins. Check them out here.
  • Got two more dinosaur Pez dispensers for my collection that I didn’t have yet!
  • A GIANT YELLOW POM POM PILLOW to match my other “GIANT POM POM”.

TRAVEL & EXPERIENCES

  • Went to the Tampa Museum of Art for the first time & saw the outstanding YAYOI KUSAMA (!!!!!!!!) exhibit – “Love is Calling, which is one of her famed “infinity rooms”, which was SO SO SO EFFING GREAT. I LOVE immersive art, multimedia, & hyper-realities. Yayoi Kusama has been one of my favorite artists for years, & this was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to see her work in person. Of course I wore my polka dot jumpsuit there! 😀 Also saw an exhibit from Robert Indiana & got to stand in front of one of the iconic “LOVE” sculptures.
  • Saw the play “Spamalot” at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater for the first time. I had never seen Spamalot before but I EFFING LOVE IT. It’s such a hilarious play. I love me some British comedy & Monty Python is just brilliant. There was no one on either side of me for 5+ seats & no one directly in front of me (I was in the very back row!) so I was just chillin’ & enjoying the show. My favorite scene ever is the “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” scene & I loved the “Find Your Grail” song.
  • Went to a new Goodwill store for the first time & bought an awesome electric yellow blouse.
  • Sat on the back porch with my dog & my sister on a trampoline on a breezy day & we just talked & it was great.
  • Saw a truck that said “POPCORN REMOVAL” on the side of it & I LOVE that idea.
  • Saw three cows with standing with their foreheads together in a field alongside the road, like friends.
  • Went to the Container Store for the first time! THEY HAVE SO MUCH COOL COLORFUL STUFF! Bought 20 yellow hangers, which is what I went there for because I need more hangers for my closet & I have standards so I would only accept YELLOW hangers. Yellow hangers were super hard to find & The Container Store was one of the few places with any decent price I could find them at.

Guest Post from “Homeless for the Holidays” Author PeggySue Wells!

We’ve got a guest post today from PeggySue Wells, author of an awesome new Christmas story that I had the pleasure of being on the launch team for!

Homeless for the Holidays by PeggySue Wells & Marsha Wright

Available October 8, Homeless for the Holidays, is the hope-filled novelization of a film with the same name, based on the real life experiences of producer George Johnson. Unemployed, Johnson penned the screenplay in three weeks. Though the usual budget for a film like this is $1.5 million, George kept costs to $30 thousand. Expecting fifty people might show, open auditions were announced in the Auburn, Indiana newspaper. Eight hundred actor hopefuls auditioned. All together, there were five hundred people in the cast.

The film featured local residents including media personalities who played themselves in the scene where main character, Jack Baker, opened his front door to find his cul-de-sac filled with television and radio crews. In the media crowd was Marsha Wright, Johnson’s friend who loaned her house—decorated for Christmas—as the setting for the Baker family home. Marsha agreed to novelize the story, inviting author, PeggySue Wells, into the writing process.

rawpixel / Pixabay

“A screenplay tells a story in 120 minutes,” PeggySue said. “A book allows the author to tell a far longer, embellished tale. Writing from a screenplay is akin to receiving a newly constructed home on a bare lot and having the freedom of an unlimited budget to decorate and landscape.”

Drawing from seasons she experienced growing up, and as an adult, when employment and finances were less than adequate, PeggySue added the between-the-scenes details of what life could look like as a family faced an extensive period of unemployment. She shared the completed manuscript with folks who had been unemployed and homeless, adding what she learned from them to the manuscript.

PeggySue’s  favorite character in Homeless for the Holidays is the Baker’s son, Adam. The mother of seven, she mined Adam’s sense of humor and quick wit from quips made by her own young adults. The generous review provided by The Christmas King, Richard Paul Evans, made her heart happy.

“The world needs hope more than advice,” PeggySue observed. “Throughout Homeless for the Holidays hope shines bright.”

2018 WEEK 21 :: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of May 20 – 26 to make my life AWESOME.

jill111 / Pixabay

  1. Published 2 YouTube videos.
  2. Painted the rest of the illustrations for my Perfect Day book.
  3. Finished the first round of edits on my Epic Florida Road Trip Book! Started round 2 of edits.
  4. Improved my morning routine.
  5. Made 3 Instagram posts.
  6. Thought about & brainstormed how to be more of a giver in business.
  7. Published 1 blog post!
  8. Finished reading Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly & Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz. Began reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking (not a smoker, but I’ve heard it’s an amazing book about understanding addiction in a general sense).
  9. Drew 1 new design.
  10. Committed to changing my life for real, because I’m fed up with things always being the same.
  11. Moved forward in my shorts I am designing.
  12. Looked into how to make my sticker app work because the Bundle ID allegedly doesn’t match (any ideas on how to fix this would be AWESOME!)
  13. Worked on new gift box product.
  14. Made a new, much more inspiring goal list for this year.
  15. Connected with 2 new people!
  16. Went blackberry picking with my mom at Bob’s Blueberry/Blackberry Farm in Hudson, FL! It was so much fun & the blackberries were DELICIOUS!

2018 WEEK 20 :: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of May 13 – May 19 to make my life amazing.

JuergenPM / Pixabay

  1. Published 2 blog posts.
  2. Published 2 YouTube videos.
  3. Moved my crested geckos (Toe Bean, Baby Pineapple, & Pinewheel Shark) into their new enclosures! Built their new enclosures & set everything up in them.
  4. Edited a lot more of my road trip book.
  5. Made 4 Instagram posts.
  6. Made a mockup version of a charity t-shirt I designed & sent it to the charity to see if they were interested in using it.
  7. Connected with 1 new person
  8. Worked on editing images for my upcoming 101 Ways to Love Yourself Udemy course.
  9. Saw The Doobie Brothers & Steely Dan in concert at the MidFlorida Credit Union Ampitheater!
  10. Made 3 illustrations for my Perfect Dat book, including the cover. Started painting the illustrations to color them in.
  11. Researched pet reptiles.
  12. Wrote 3 poems.

2018 WEEK 19: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of May 6 – 12 to make my life awesome.

Free-Photos / Pixabay

  1. Made 5 blog posts.
  2. Published 1 YouTube video (Episode 046 of The Ashlee Craft Show)
  3. Recorded a new song for my upcoming album!
  4. Posted 4 Instagram photos.
  5. Looked into getting better bin cages for my three crested geckos! Researched this idea & learned how to make them.
  6. Edited more of my upcoming Epic Florida Road Trip book!
  7. Improved more of my Shopify store as part of my remodeling of it. Finished adding all current products to the new, more specific categories!
  8. Drew 8 illustrations for my upcoming book.
  9. Listened to The Beach Boys album “Endless Summer” on vinyl for the first time.

2018 WEEK 18: ACCOUNTABILITY UPDATE

What I did the week of April 29 – May 5 to make my life awesome.

cocoparisienne / Pixabay

  1. Decided to live my life by this idea: “If I were living an exceptional life, would I do this?”
  2. Finished writing & PUBLISHED a new book – 50 Adorable Moose Facts!
  3. Cleaned a lot in my house to get ready for moving & to become more of a minimalist.
  4. Colored 3 pages worth of the illustrations for my upcoming Apple iMessage sticker app! Edited the images & began working on app.
  5. Published 2 YouTube videos (Episode 045 of The Ashlee Craft Show & a video of my dog eating a taco) using my new microphone, so the sound quality is much better!
  6. Watched Jim Rohn’s The Art of Exceptional Living
  7. Looked up some prices for travel plans I have for this year.
  8. Made a big list of goals for this year, a really nice updated one!
  9. Researched best disinfectants for reptile cages other than bleach.
  10. Did research on some more pet reptiles I’m interested in getting.
  11. Made 2 Instagram posts.
  12. Made 1 illustration for my upcoming book.
  13. Did a lot of editing on my Epic Florida Road Trip Book.
  14. Saw Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, Blackfoot, Jimmie Vaughn, & Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert at the MidFlorida Credit Unit Ampitheatre.
  15. Worked on updating my Shopify store with new product categories!