THIS MONTH’S MEDIA: FEBRUARY 2021

What I watched, listened to, read, & played in February 2021!

I didn’t have a lot of time for watching TV or reading, but I did listen to a lot of podcasts including starting some new ones!!

TV

  1. BuzzFeed Unsolved: Supernatural: S2. EP 1
  2. Ouran High School Host Club: S1 EP. 8

Total: 2 Episodes

BOOKS

  1. N/A

Total: 0 Books

MOVIES & DOCUMENTARIES

  1. Groundhog Day*
  2. The Martian
  3. Dateline Mystery: The Serial Killer Next Door
  4. Much Ado About Nothing
  5. Greyhound

Total: 5 Movies & Documentaries

PODCASTS

  1. Across the Veil – Yuletide Special: Gryla & Her Gang, Black Cats, The Rougarou, Doppelgangers, Selkies, Double Creature Feature: The Bunyip & Kappa
  2. Cults: Rajneeshpuram Parts 1 & 2
  3. Dos: After You: S1 Ep. 20
  4. The Great American Scream: Mummies
  5. Kakos Industries: S1 Episodes 15
  6. Know it All: What You Need to Know About the Moon, Do Plants Have Feelings?, What is Eurovision Song Contest, All About Werewolves, Who is the Lady of the Lake (EDIT APRIL 2021: The day I listened to the last episode is the day I googled the host & it was the first I had heard about their racism/scandal. I listed this episodes here because I did listen to them, but I will not be listening to any other content from this host in the future.)
  7. Less is Morgue – Ep. 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 117, 118, 119
  8. Lore: Episodes 22, 23, 24, 25
  9. MBMBAM: Episodes 7
  10. Project Botany: What is Botany, How Do Seeds Work, What are Plant Hormones, What Do Plants Do With Water
  11. Purrcast: Ep. 6
  12. The Queer Thesperience: Cris King
  13. Sawbones: Episodes: Plague Medicine, Opium
  14. Schmanners: Baseball, Hotels & B&Bs
  15. Serial Killers: The Midwest Black Widow Parts 1 & 2, The Angel of Death Parts 1 & 2, Bible John Parts 1 & 2, The Lethal Lovers Parts 1 & 2, The Butcher of Rostov Parts 1 & 2
  16. Sounds Fake But Okay: Ep. 5
  17. Unsolved Murders: True Crime Stories: Ep. 1: The Axeman
  18. Welcome to Night Vale: Episodes 125, 126, 127, 128, 130

Total: 57 Podcast Episodes

ALBUMS

  1. Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan*
  2. 7 EP by Lil Nas X

Total: 2 Albums

GAMES

  1. Dig Dug* (ongoing)
  2. Galaga* (ongoing)

Total: 2 Games

*Things marked with the asterisk mean it’s something I’ve read/watched/listened to before, everything else is new to me! 

THIS MONTH’S MEDIA: JANUARY 2021

What I watched, listened to, read, & played in January 2021!

I feel like I read a nice number of books this month, didn’t get to watch that many TV shows but my family can vouch I had a great time watching the Gingerbread Showdown show. Also I actually watched some movies for once lol including the first Lord of the Rings movie so I’ll finally understand some of the references to it~

TV

  1. BuzzFeed Unsolved: Supernatural: S1. EP 7
  2. Steven Universe: S3: EP. 5, 6
  3. The Try Guys: Without a Recipe:  Sushi
  4. Holiday Gingerbread Showdown: Ep. 1, 2, 3, 4

Total: 8 Episodes

BOOKS

  1. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner*
  2. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett*
  3. The Baby-Sitters Club #4: Mary-Ann Saves the Day by Ann M. Martin*
  4. The 20’s & 30’s: Flappers & Vamps by Cally Blackman
  5. Wild Edible Mushrooms: Tips & Recipes for Every Mushroom Hunter
  6. Molds, Mushrooms, & Other Fungi by Steve Parker
  7. Finding Yvonne by Brandy Colbert
  8. Frog & Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  9. Princess Jellyfish, Volume 2 by Akiko Higashimura
  10. The Random House Book of Easy-to-Read Stories with an Introduction by Janet Schulman*
  11. If the Dinosaurs Came Back by Bernard Most*

Total: 11 Books

MOVIES & DOCUMENTARIES

  1. Knives Out
  2. One Night Only: The Best of Broadway
  3. The Hug
  4. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Total: 4 Movies & Documentaries

PODCASTS

  1. Across the Veil – Ghost Stories with Zelda & Amy, The Loveland Frogmen, The Squonk, The Yuki-Onna, The Ijiraq, Double Creature Feature: The Mahaha & Nisse
  2. The Adventure Zone: Episodes 65, 66, 67, 68
  3. Cults: Church of Euthanasia Parts 1 & 2
  4. The Great American Scream: 27. Haunted Dolls, 40. Superstitions
  5. Jar of Rebuke: Episodes 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11
  6. Kakos Industries: S1 Episodes 14
  7. Know it All: Why Do We Like Movies About Crime, The Mysterious World of Magic (EDIT APRIL 2021: The day I listened to the last episode is the day I googled the host & it was the first I had heard about their racism/scandal. I listed this episodes here because I did listen to them, but I will not be listening to any other content from this host in the future.)
  8. Less is Morgue – Ep. 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110
  9. Light Hearts Podcast – EPs. Painting the Night with Sarah Werner, Writing the Story with Sawyer Greene, Minisode: Passing Through, Minisode: Halloween, Borrowing the Book with A. R. Olivieri, Minisode: Holiday
  10. Lore: Episodes 21
  11. Midnight Margaritas: The Broom Closet
  12. The Queer Thesperience: Charlie Alemán, Amanda Noriko Newman
  13. Sawbones: Episodes: Bloodletting 
  14. Schmanners: Accessories: Handkerchief, Napkin, & Fan
  15. Serial Killers: The Green River Killer 1 & 2
  16. Sounds Fake But Okay: Ep. 3, 4
  17. The Spooky Sapphic Storyteller: 12, 13, 14, 15
  18. Talking with Shadows: Episode 47 – Tales by Monitor Light w/ Casper Oliver
  19. Welcome to Night Vale: Episodes 118, 119, 120, 121, 122, 123, 124

Total: 55 Podcast Episodes

ALBUMS

  1. Heathers: The Musical*
  2. Catch Me if You Can: The Musical
  3. Rubber Soul by The Beatles*
  4. Highway 61 Revisited by Bob Dylan*
  5. Abandoned Luncheonette by Hall & Oates*

Total: 5 Albums

GAMES

  1. Dig Dug* (ongoing)

Total: 1 Game

*Things marked with the asterisk mean it’s something I’ve read/watched/listened to before, everything else is new to me! 

20 Favorite Podcasts of 2020

A list of my top 20 favorite podcasts of 2020!

Pexels / Pixabay

I listened to way more podcasts in 2020 than any year before, I’m so lucky to be part of the cast & crew of several podcasts on this list, & I discovered so many new amazing podcasts, so I wanted to make a list of what they were & why I like them!

A lot of them are spooky in some way, a lot of them are edutainment, & many of them are queer. There is a THEME here haha. There were a few others I listened to, but I didn’t listen to enough episodes for them to make the cut, but considering how much I liked what I heard, they will likely be on another list at some point because I wanna recommend them to you too.

You can view this list on Podchaser here!

1. Jar of Rebuke

What It Is: Every 7th and 21st, join in Dr. Jared Hel’s audio journal entries as he works to re-discover his forgotten past and learns about all of the strange supernatural entities and anomalies for an organization called ‘The Enclosure’ within the small midwestern farm town of Wichton. With episodes based upon REAL legends and lore within the midwestern United States, follow along as Jared tries to figure out the secrets of the town as well as the secrets of his own identity.

Why I Like It: WELLLLLLL I’m part of the cast & crew for this podcast so MAYBE I’m biased haha & it is created by  my best friend & business partner Casper Oliver, BUT I love Jar of Rebuke because the protagonist, Dr. Jared Hel, is an amazing character who I really relate to & would totally wanna to be friends with if we lived in the same universe, there are so many other fantastic characters like Darius, Jamie, Holly, Milo, Ester, Laura, & SO. MANY. MORE. Plus a STELLAR cast of voice actors & a super awesome & intriguing storyline that has the perfect balance of humor, angst, & creepiness mixed with cryptids based on real Midwestern lore.

2. The Queer Thesperience

What It Is: “The Queer Thesperience” is a bi-weekly podcast featuring guests within the entertainment world who are also within the LGBT+ community to discuss their experiences, knowledge, and stories with your host Casper Oliver, a queer trans actor and podcaster.

Why I Like It: ALSO might be biased on this one because I’m part of the crew for this & was interviewed on the pilot episode of this show which is also hosted by Casper. But I love it because every episode gives me so many interesting insights & ideas from an INCREDIBLE selection of guests across a variety of performance mediums, & it’s so fascinating to hear about the experiences of such cool people! ALSO, it’s super queer & has to do with performing which I am Very Here For because that sums up me as a person haha~

3. Midnight Margaritas

What It Is: Hollis Coffin (he/him) & Casper Oliver (they/he) discuss different topics in witchcraft! From holidays to practices to specific tarot cards, once a month we do a video call and talk witchcraft! All while playing a drinking game with rules that we establish at the beginning of each episodes.
Find our hosts on social media at @coffinpolish & @casperolivervo.

Why I Like It: I’ve been a witch since I was 16, so I love anything witchy, & with two hilarious queer hosts joking around as they teach you about interesting lore & facts about witchy history, celebrations, different gods & goddesses, & more!

4. Georgie Romero is Done For

What It Is: Georgie Romero has risen from the grave, driven to solve the mystery of her former human life with the help of an inept witch and a cynical ghost. Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/georgieromeroisdonefor/support.

Why I Like It: Georgie Romero is Done For has the PERFECT combination of feel good & spooky. I love the character of Georgie – she’s determined & spunky, & her friends Hanako & Zabel, as well as all the other interesting & funny residents of their AU Florida, make this podcast a joy to listen to especially when I want something compelling & light-hearted. Also, I’m friends with several people on the cast & crew (including one upcoming cast member!) so that makes it even more fun to listen to!

5. Dos: After You

What It Is: Things changed after him. Deck has fallen for someone that isn’t human, and so he leaves a hungry home to find him. Todo cambió después de él. Deck se ha enamorado de alguien que no es humano, y deja así atrás una casa hambrienta para verle de nuevo. ¿Le estará esperando? El mundo ha cambiado… ¿Y él?Horror, urban fantasy LGBT+ audiodrama available in English & Spanish. Find out more about Dos: After You at https://dosafteryou.com/ and support the podcast by joining our patreon at www.patreon.com/dosafteryou.com Twitter: @dosafteryou Instagram: @dosafteryou_ Email at podcast@dosafteryou.com English Spanish Category: Fiction, Art, Fiction: Drama. Clean. Dos: After You is Licensed Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Why I Like It: Created by an almost-entirely trans cast & crew, telling a dark & fascinating story about a man who has fallen in love with a god & trying to find him again, Dos: After You is both a dark love story AND a compelling suspense drama story that I am super excited to see what happens next in. Also, I think it’s really cool that each episode is released in both English AND Spanish, & episodes are usually only 5-7 minutes long, which makes it very easy to listen to (so no excuse NOT to listen to it if that plot sounds interesting to you, just sayin’~).

6. Across the Veil

What It Is: Best friends and amateur cryptozoologists Zelda and Emma discuss creepy creatures, strange happenings and spooky circumstances. Follow us on instagram @across.the.veil and twitter @acrosstheveil1 Support us by becoming a patron! https://www.patreon.com/acrosstheveil Support this podcast: https://anchor.fm/acrosstheveil/support

Why I Like It: I’ve learned SO MUCH about cool cryptids & ghosts & whatnot from this podcast! I love how the hosts tackle primarily things I’ve never heard about before – as much as I adore Mothman, it’s really nice to hear about cryptids from other countries like the Pontianak or the Bukit Timah Monkey Man, as well as some lesser-known American cryptids like the Fresno Nightcrawler! The hosts cover the topics in a super informative while also super fun way, & watching them interact in their friendship is just a joy, they seem like friendship goals haha.

7. The Spooky Sapphic Storyteller

What It Is: A hybrid personal narrative/audio drama podcast exploring LGBTQ experiences and the paranormal.

Why I Like It: I’ve never listened to a podcast before that combines telling personal stories from the writer’s own life through fictional characters & their interactions with other characters & storylines within the podcast, but I LOVE it! Both the fictional story & the personal stories are both compelling, I totally wanna see what happens next for all the characters because I care about their stories (THERE ARE QUEER & TRANS GHOSTS!), & it’s also nice to hear about the experiences of other people who have gone through similar things that I have!

8. Less is Morgue

What It Is: Set in an alternate Tallahassee, FL where monsters, ghouls, and ghosts are the norm, our hosts Riley and Evelyn attempt to record and produce a podcast, often interrupted by everything from Blackbeard’s ghost to an irritating tech bro with a God complex.

Why I Like It: I haven’t had a chance to listen to that many episodes yet, but I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve heard so far! The love-hate friendship between the two protagonists (who host the “podcast within the podcast”) is hilarious & so much fun to watch, & I know that some of the more recent episodes address topics like mental health, so I’m super excited to see that! I also think it’s a fun universe this story takes place in, & also, QUEER & NONBINARY CHARACTERS!

9. Welcome to Night Vale

What It Is: Twice-monthly community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, where every conspiracy theory is true. Turn on your radio and hide. Never listened before? It’s an ongoing radio show. Start with the current episode, and you’ll catch on in no time. Or, go right to Episode 1 if you wanna binge-listen.

Why I Like It: I just started listening to WTNV in 2019 after Casper recommended it to me & I, wanting to actually listen to interesting & good podcasts for a change after a long time of NOT listening to any, or any good ones at least, decided to give it a try. Well…….I ended up loving it, & here I am, 120 episodes later. I love WTNV because of interesting spooky stories, so so many great characters that I just love A Lot, & the way that it handles queerness just as something that *is*, without making a big deal out of it in a similar way to what Good Omens does!

10. Kakos Industries

What It Is: A deeply entertaining, R-rated, darkly satirical, sex-positive comedy audio drama with elements of horror. Congratulations! You are now a shareholder in Kakos Industries, a megacorporation that specializes in helping its clients to Do Evil Better. You are now entitled to listen to the shareholder announcements that keep you up to date on all of the advancements made in Evil and the bizarre occurrences inside of Kakos Industries itself. For fans of Welcome to Night Vale, Douglas Adams, Better Off Ted, the Venture Brothers, and Archer.

Why I Like It: Kakos Industries has kind of a similar vibe to WTNV, but it’s less spooky & more of an absurdist comedy about an organization that secretly runs a lot of the Evil in the world. I love absurdist things, & though I may be asexual, I still do enjoy me some dark & R-rated humor, so Kakos Industries has a great mix of both those things.

11. Sounds Fake But Okay

What It Is: A podcast where an aromantic asexual girl and a demisexual-straight girl talk about all things to do with love, relationships, sexuality, and pretty much anything else that they just don’t understand.

Why I Like It: I love podcasts where two friends talk about things they really find interesting (as you can see by many other podcasts on this list haha). And this one has two best friends talking about something I don’t hear about quite as much in podcasts – being asexual & aromantic! As an asexual (specifically, at this point I identify as demisexual but I might be gray asexual~) & aromantic person, so many of the topics covered on this podcast are things I’ve ALWAYS wondered, but never wanted to actually have to ask my friends, so I’ve learned a lot from it & felt less confused as an aroace person because of it.

12. A OK

What It Is: Weekly interviews with people on the asexual and aromantic spectrums.

Why I Like It: I know this podcast isn’t running anymore, & I haven’t heard many episodes of it yet, but I’ve loved what I’ve heard! It’s interviews with folx on the asexual or aromantic spectrums, & a lot of them have really cool & interesting insights about what it’s like & with their own experiences! Which I also like, & it reminds me how many ace & aro people there are in the world while also giving representation to those identities!

13. The Adventure Zone

What It Is: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy from My Brother, My Brother and Me have recruited their dad Clint for a campaign of high adventure. Join the McElroys as they find their fortune and slay an unconscionable number of … you know, kobolds or whatever in … The Adventure Zone.

Why I Like It: Any of the McElroy-related podcasts on this list were ALSO recommended to me by Casper (who, tbh probably actually recommended nearly everything on this list to me now that I think about it haha, they have SO MANY GOOD RECOMMENDATIONS for so many things~). This is probably my TOP comfort podcast to listen to, so I tend to listen to it a lot when my life gets stressful. I love it because it has a super good, funny, emotional, & fascinating storyline to follow, is made by some really funny & nice people, has AMAZING characters, &…I laugh SO MUCH to myself in my car at this podcast. I just love it a lot, definitely one of my favorites.

14. Shmanners

What It Is: Join husband Travis McElroy and wife Teresa McElroy every Friday and they’ll improve your etiquette week by week! Perplexed by thank you notes? Baffled by black tie? Dismayed by dinner parties? Worry no more, Shmanners has your answers!

Why I Like It: I *LOVE* edutainment podcasts & shows because I love learning & I love fun & humor, so when you put those those two things together, you end up with an excellent chance of me liking something. While I may have rebelled when my grandma tried to teach me manners as a kid, I am now an adult with some social anxiety, who really wants to be likeable, & who also loves learning cool facts about the histories of things & why we do certain things that we do. Shmanners has ALL of that & is hosted by some really great people.

15. Know It All

What It Is: Know It All is the Netflix podcast hosted by OnlyJayus, the internet’s favorite weird fact finder. Every other week, Jayus will look for the answers to all the questions that come up while watching Netflix shows.

Why I Like It: Short episodes that teach me cool & interesting facts about a variety of different random topics while also being a fun edutainment podcast by an (I’m fairly sure) queer host.

16. My Brother, My Brother And Me

What It Is: Free advice from three of the world’s most qualified, most related experts: Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy. For one-half to three-quarters of an hour every Monday, we tell people how to live their lives, because we’re obviously doing such a great job of it so far.

Why I Like It: I have never heard anything by the McElroys that I didn’t like, & this is no exception. Three hilarious people give sometimes good but usually bad advice to people who’ve asked questions online, & hearing their answers is so hilarious, I’ve laughed at this podcast so many times & I haven’t even had a chance to listen to that many of the episodes yet.

17. Sawbones

What It Is: Join Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin McElroy for a tour of all the dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we’ve tried to fix people.

Why I Like It: ANOTHER great edutainment podcast from the McElroys, this one talks about weird medical things people in the past did, & it is SUPER fascinating & also oftentimes, funny. People used to do so many seriously weird & sometimes even harmful things in the name of medicine, & I feel I’ve learned a lot about history in general & weird interesting medical facts which I then like info-dumping on my family from this podcast.

18. Cults

What It Is: Mystery. Manipulation. Murder. Cults are associated with all of these. But what really goes on inside a cult? More specifically, what goes on inside the minds of people who join cults and leaders who start them? Every Tuesday, Greg and Vanessa (co-hosts of the podcast Serial Killers) explore the history and psychology behind the most notorious cults. Cults is part of the Parcast Network and is a Cutler Media production.

Why I Like It: Cults are fascinating to me on a lot of levels in the same ways that serial killers are, & Parcast Network does a really good job of covering the stories of various cults while also the psychology as to why the cult leaders did what they did, & why their followers ended up following them.

19. Serial Killers

What It Is: Every Monday and Thursday, Serial Killers takes a psychological and entertaining approach to provide a rare glimpse into the mind, methods and madness of the most notorious serial killers with the hopes of better understanding their psychological profile. With the help of in-depth research, we delve deep into their lives and stories. Serial Killers is part of the Parcast Network and is a Cutler Media Production.

Why I Like It: Another great podcast from Parcast Network, this is a really interesting look at serial killers & their stories. I started listening to it when I was doing research on Jack the Ripper, & they do a really good job telling the stories in an interesting & compelling way, which is why I’ve continued to listen to it!

20. Lore

What It Is: Lore is a bi-weekly podcast (as well as a TV show and book series) about dark historical tales. Each episode explores the mysterious creatures, tragic events, and unusual places that fill the pages of history. Because sometimes the truth is more frightening than fiction.

Why I Like It: This usually delves into darker & spookier topics, but I love learning about lore & stories of creepy things like ghosts, hauntings, superstitions, cryptids, & more from the past. I always learn a lot from this podcast, & it’s given me a lot of interesting ideas to use in stories!

 

There you go, folx! You now have a list of 20 great podcasts I started listening to in 2020, & I hope you found at least one that sounded interesting to you!

THIS MONTH’S MEDIA: SEPTEMBER 2020

What I watched, listened to, read, & played in September 2020!

I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked this month, but I got to listen to plenty of podcasts! 🙂

TV

  1. Transformers: Prime S2: EP. 2
  2. Steven Universe: S2 EP. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

Total: 9 Episodes

BOOKS

  1. Salmon by Sylvia M James
  2. What Was Stonewall? By Nico Medina
  3. My Neck Hurts: Nonsurgical Treatments for Neck & Upper Back Pain by Martin T. Taylor

Total: 3 Books

MOVIES & DOCUMENTARIES

  1. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events

Total: 1 Movies & Documentaries

PODCASTS

  1. The Adventure Zone: Episodes 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48
  2. Welcome to Night Vale: Episodes 88, 89, 90
  3. Schmanners: Episodes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
  4. Kakos Industries: S1 Episodes 7,
  5. The Queer Thesperience: Episode 4, 5, 6
    (I design the promotional graphics for this podcast so….you should totally check this podcast out haha)
  6. Cults: Episodes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14
  7. Serial Killers: 1, 2
  8. Lore: Episodes 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
  9. MBMBAM: Episodes 2
  10. Jar of Rebuke: Episodes 2, 3
    (I ALSO design the promotional graphics for this podcast & read the end credits so….you should also check out this one lol)
  11. Critical Role: Vox Machina Ep. 0

Total: 41 Podcast Episodes

ALBUMS

Total: 0 Albums

 

GAMES

  1. FaeFever by Monkey Wizard Entertainment

Total: 1 Games

2018 Week 6: Accountability Update

Alpacas at Alpaca Magic USA in Homosassa Springs, FL
Week 6 was a really good week! I got a lot done & did some great, fun things!
  1. Made 1 YouTube video (Episode 033 of The Ashlee Craft Show).
  2. Downloaded 5 new fonts from the awesome Google Fonts.
  3. Faxed off IRS letter to update EIN with new company name!
  4. Downloaded numerous Kindle eBooks on the programming language Python so I can start learning it.
  5. Networked with 14 new people.
  6. Began working on a video about my personal “Mission Statement”.
  7. Installed DaVinci Resolve video editing software on my computer.
  8. Made post on here about interviewing people from my blog & received a lot of responses! Began writing interview questions for some of the people.
  9. Organized more of my Google Drive, which will ultimately make all my files easier to find.
  10. Wrote & published 2 blog posts.
  11. Had revelation about WHAT DO I REALLY WANT? (I wrote about this revelation here http://www.ashleecraft.com/personal-evolution/5-beautiful-rare-things-want-feel-2018/)
  12. Drew 3 new designs, which I will put on products in my online store once I edit them.
  13. Used CoSchedule’s Headline Anaylzer tool for the first time & was impressed by it.
  14. Re-vamped my Evernote to-do list to make it more practical & easier to use.
  15. Saw Billy Joel in concert!
  16. Went to Alpaca Magic USA, a local alpaca farm in Homosassa Springs, FL. Got to feed & pet alpacas, & got great footage for a YouTube video about alpacas!
  17. Began writing my 50 Adorable Moose Facts book, & got about half of it done.
  18. Felt like I lived with passion more of the days this week than not. I did a lot of amazing, fun things! My anxiety bothered me for a few days & on those days I had no motivation to do anything. But I took it easier when I needed to & worked through it.
  19. Slacking on my veggie-munching goals. I’m lazy when it comes to eating vegetables. So I bought mini veggie cups of beets & three-bean salad, as well as some fruit squeeze pouches, so I have no excuses. Ate sugar compulsively two days in the past week. Still not exercising as much as I wanted to.
  20. Began reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It” by Kamal Ravikant & “I Will Follow You: A Poetry Novel” by C. J. Robinson. Finished reading “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It”.

17 Better Things to Spend Your Money on Than Kylie Jenner’s New $360 Silver Series Makeup Brushes

 Things to throw your dough at that might give you more value for what you spend.

I just read an article about how Kylie Jenner recently came out with a set of makeup brushes in her Silver Series line. If you haven’t heard yet, they cost $360 for a set of 16 synthetic brushes. Do you know a ton about makeup & understand the difference between different makeup brushes? Do you still believe that the brushes are a great price for what you’re getting? By all means, buy them then. I have nothing against the brush set, except that I personally think it should be less expensive.

The thing is, I want you to buy what’s going to make you GENUINELY HAPPY. Not just spend your money on something you think you’re supposed to want or like.

These brushes might be the perfect thing for you.

But this article is for the people who aren’t totally on board with buying the brush set but still feel like buying SOMETHING. The alternatives on this list are equally great alternatives for anything else you’re on the fence about buying. Especially if what you’re debating buying is something else that’s hyped, new, popular, & probably overpriced, especially for everyday people who don’t need pro-quality tools for whatever they do.

I want you to spend your money on things that are going to add real VALUE to your life, however you define that value. Because it’s not really the price that matters as much as whether the value you’ll personally get from buying something is equal to or higher than the price you’re going to pay for it. I just don’t want to feel pressured into buying something just because it’s “cool” or because a celebrity is involved with it.

So if you’re debating about whether to buy the brushes (or other expensive, popular item), here are 17 way better things you can use that money for that will give you back so much personal value in return for what you’ll spend on them.

  1. Invest In Yourself. This is my absolute #1 use for this money. NO OTHER INVESTMENT will probably give you as good of an ROI (return on investment) than investing in yourself. Websites like Udemy offer courses in pretty much EVERYTHING you could ever want a course in, & they always have courses going on sale for $10 — $20 or so, which means you could get a LOT of courses for your $360. On Udemy, you can take classes in everything from business knowledge, marketing, & finances, to playing guitar, healing people with crystals, & becoming a life coach. SO MUCH POSSIBILITY HERE. You could also use some of the money to take a IRL class, buy books/ebooks, or take a college class. Investing in yourself will help you become a better person, learn the skills you always wanted to have, start your own business, increase your knowledge, get a higher paying job, or develop a new hobby (which could turn profitable). All of those can potentially increase your happiness so much, which makes investing in yourself an awesome thing to spend your money on.
  2. Pay Off Some Debt. From a financial standpoint, paying off your debt is one type of investing that ABSOLUTELY will have a ROI. The stock market can crash, but money spent paying down your debt will always benefit you. Most money you’ve borrowed in one way or another has interest you pay on it (or will pay on it if you don’t pay it off before the interest-free time is over). So by paying down your debt, you’re pretty much putting money in your pocket by not handing it casually over to the bank each month via paying unnecessary interest. Spend your money here, & you could possibly increase your credit score, pay off a loan sooner (so you don’t have to keep putting money towards it each month), avoid unnecessary interest, avoid late fees, or if nothing more, increase your net worth & get closer to achieving financial freedom.
  3. Put the Money in Savings for Your Emergency Fund. Do you have an emergency fund? GOBankingRates says that 34% of American adults don’t have one at all. Now is a great time to start, even if you don’t have an emergency fund. Even putting $5 in savings is better than having nothing in your emergency fund. I know that technically, you’re supposed to have a few months’ worth of living expenses, but starting is so much more important than perfection. For me personally, even having a few hundred dollars in my emergency fund feels really good, because it gives me the confidence that if something big comes up & I need to pay for it, that I will be able to without having to worry about it. Being able to have certainty in your future might be more valuable to you than owning new makeup brushes.
  4. Put the Money in Savings to Buy Something Big. If you want to buy your dream house, car, RV, Jacuzzi, or something else expensive but valuable to you, this is the perfect time to put this money in savings so you can pay the down payment on one of those things. Sure, having nice makeup brushes might feel good, but how amazing would it feel to be able to confidently go shopping for one of the above & more easily be able to pay the down payment? Then you’d own your own house, or have a reliable car you didn’t have to worry about, or be able to travel the country in your RV, or be able to chill in your Jacuzzi sipping your favorite milkshake. The options are endless!
  5. Adopt a Pet. If you’re really ready for a pet & you’ve done all your research, the love & enjoyment you get back from owning a pet will be unmatched. IMO, nothing feels better than having an awesome animal to care for, to nurture, & to love. BEST FEELING EVER. My pets are my world. If you’re ready for a pet & know exactly what you’re getting into & how to care for it, this would be an awesome use for the money. $360 is enough to get a lot of types of pets & still have some left over for supplies, vet care, etc.
  6. Donate it to Charity. Think about how amazing it would feel to be able to write a check for $360 to your favorite charity! So many people/animals could be helped with $360. Your money could be used to feed the homeless, build schools for kids in another country, assist battered women, rescue abused animals, or save the rain forest. Going to sleep at night knowing you made an impact on the quality of life of another living thing is so worth it.
  7. Invest in the Stock Market. First off, DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISER (or do I play one on TV), so please do your research or talk to a real financial professional before doing this. But there’s no reason to be scared of the stock market. I know us millennials grew up during the recession & some of us are nervous about the stock market for this reason, but if you utilize it right, can be a good place to put some of your money. Unlike most regular savings accounts (unless you have a high-yield savings account), if you invest correctly the stock market can grow your money beyond the rate of inflation. But do your research or talk to someone who is qualified to work with you on this if you want to pursue it. There are lots of brokerage websites you can sign up with & begin investing if knowledge-wise you’re ready to do this, such as Ally Invest, which I like because there are low fees & no minimum investment needed to fund your account.
  8. Use the Money to Start Your Side Hustle. In the back (or front) of your mind, maybe you have a business idea you’ve been thinking about for a while. DO IT NOW! There’s literally never been a better time in history to start a business, thanks to the Internet & the infinite number of people you can reach through technology. Maybe you watch your favorite YouTubers & wish you had a good camera you could use to make vlogs too. Maybe you love nothing more than making a perfectly-decorated cupcake & thought about starting a catering business. Maybe you want to learn how to be a programmer so you can get a better paying job or make apps everyone will use. Maybe you’ve started doing research on starting your own business but you haven’t been able to do it yet. Use this $360 to start your side hustle. The extra income you could make from it (as well as the possibility of working for yourself one day, if that’s what you want) might be way more valuable to you than buying new makeup brushes.
  9. Buy Concert Tickets. Over the past year, I’ve gone to a lot of amazing concerts. EVERY SINGLE CONCERT I’ve ever gone to has been more than worth what I paid for the tickets, regardless of how much that was. Getting to see your favorite musicians in concert & hear them playing it in real life & know that YOU ARE IN THE SAME ROOM AS THEM breathing the same air & they are really REAL & everything is such a thrilling feeling. Going to a concert lets you experience the music in a way that makes YouTube pale in comparison, especially when the crowd starts singing along & you realize this big amazing thing that you’re part of.
  10. Get Your Car Fixed. Or whatever other item has been broken for too long or needs some work done but you keep putting it off because it’s expensive. You know what I’m talking about. Stop procrastinating. Get your oil changed. Fix that squeaky brake. Get that annoying cavity looked at. Get your driveway pressure washed. There is probably something kind-of-broken-but-not-broken-enough-you-have-to-fix-it that you should just FIX before it actually causes a problem. Then you won’t have to worry about it anymore. It will be done, & that will feel good.
  11. Travel. Traveling, like concert tickets, is something else I’ve always found gives you WAY more value out of it than the money you put into it. $360 won’t necessarily cover a lot of travel expenses (unless you’re going somewhere close by or only staying one night). But there are some amazing hotel + flight packages, so this money might get you something like that depending on where you go. You could also go camping or take a weekend enjoying a “staycation” & checking out all the awesome attractions in your area. If you’ve always wanted to go on a cruise or travel to another country, put this money aside & you’ll be way closer to being able to afford the trip of your dreams. Makeup brushes < watching a stunning sunset in a place you’ve never been before after spending an amazing day doing things you’ve never done before? Like they say in the MasterCard commercials, “Priceless.”
  12. Invest in Your Hobby. Whether you love stamp collecting, scrapbooking, belly dancing, playing video games, crocheting, or cooking, spending this money on your hobby could be a great use for it. Buy those collectibles you’ve had your eye on for forever, get yourself a new video game, or take a class up upgrade your skills & become even better at your hobby. And, if your hobby is makeup, you might enjoy buying a lot of really nice but less expensive brushes for the same price, or get the higher-quality versions of some other types of makeup you’ve been wanting to try. You could also buy yourself a good quantity of less expensive makeup, giving yourself more makeup variety for your money & more possibilities for your look.
  13. Upgrade Something You Use Every Day. Does your laptop piss your off daily because it’s so slow? Do you wish you had a better phone? Is your fridge so old that you are surprised it’s still running? Is your mattress so uncomfortable you spend most of your night rolling over & trying to get comfortable? Does your bath towel rip in half a little more every time you shower? (mine just did). Is your bike so rusty that you could find your way back home by retracing the rust flakes? Upgrading something you use all the time might be perfect for you. Even if the $360 doesn’t cover the full price of upgrading this item (like a fridge, for example), it should cover a decent chunk of it, & you’ll be that much closer to making your life easier thanks to your new upgraded gadget.
  14. Spend the Money On Your Business. If you already have a business, think about how much you could improve it for $360! You could use it to buy the WordPress plugin you really need to pursue that awesome idea you had, pay for Shopify for a year so you can have your own eCommerce site, boost your top-performing Facebook posts, hire someone to revamp your website, improve your logo, buy inventory of a new product you’re interested in selling, purchase a better tool or service to level-up what you’re able to put out, or increase your business knowledge.
  15. Do a Random Act of Kindness. Pay for the groceries the person behind you is buying. Give your waiter or waitress a really good tip. Pay for the person’s drink in line behind you at your favorite coffee shop. Buy a warm meal to give to a homeless person. Buy pet food & donate it to an animal shelter. Get the money broken down into $20 bills & hand them out to people. Buy something nice for someone you love. However you choose to spend it, doing something nice for others will feel SO AMAZING.
  16. Invest in Your Appearance. You can still use the money you were going to spend on makeup brushes to improve your appearance without buying the makeup brushes. In fact, you might even be able to do things that help you feel & become more like your best version of yourself for the same or less money. You could color your hair the bright-neon-fantasy color of your dreams, put the money towards a set of Invisalign braces, buy yourself some amazing new clothes, or get a facial, manicure, or pedicure. You’ll not only be looking & feeling good, but you’ll also probably get more value for the money you spend on it.
  17. Invest in Your Health. Investing in your health, like investing in yourself, is a fantastic way to spend your money. As long as you make consistent-as-possible use of the health things you throw your dough at, the value you’ll get from this will only compound. There are SO MANY things you could use this money for to improve your health. You could join a gym, take dance lessons, sign up for multiple 5ks or marathons, buy some exercise equipment for your home (like a new set of weights or a trampoline), hire a personal trainer, get the newest fitness wearable, or buy some really nice running shoes & new exercise clothes. You could also invest the $360 in buying more organic vegetables or grass-fed meat throughout the year, going to the chiropractor, learning how to eat better, or taking yoga classes. Anything health-related you spend it on will be an excellent investment not only in your health, & in your future.

If you still think Kylie Jenner’s new Silver Series brushes are a great price, they must be something you know will really add value to your life. Buy them & feel good about the fact that you realized they’re something you really want that you know will matter to you.

But if you’re now really hyped up & excited about how great putting that money towards your business would feel, or helping others, or upgrading something you use everyday, do that instead. You are the only one who can define “valuable” for yourself. The best thing is, you can divide the money up between multiple things on the list above if you want. There’s no reason you have to pick just one. Maybe you spend $100 adopting a cat from the shelter, & then you spend $100 on marketing your business & put the other $160 in your savings account. Whatever makes the most sense to you, go get those things.

Go pursue what’s going to add the maximum amount of value to your life.

DISCLAIMER:: I AM NOT A FINANCIAL ADVISER, so please talk to an actual financial adviser if you have any questions/concerns about anything on this list. Thank you!

Favorite Commercials of 2016

Favorite Commercials 2016

A few of the commercials I saw in 2016 that made me happy.

Honda – “Sheep Singing Queen Music” (2016 Superbowl Commercial)

Why I love it: the combination of sheep singing with one of Queen’s BEST songs is perfect.

Ad Council – “Penguin – No One Should Text & Drive”

Why I love it: a cute penguin belays an important safety message is both funny & true. Another commercial I think it great, on the subject of safety commercials, is the Budweiser “Friends are Waiting” commercial with the dog waiting for its owner to come home.

Heinz – “Mustard Dachshunds” (2016 Superbowl Commercial)

Why I love it: Nilsson’s “Without You” as the soundtrack for adorable dachshunds in a joyous reunion with their owners.

Wes Anderson – H&M – “Come Together” (Christmas Commercial)

Why I love it: Four minutes of beautifully choreographed classic Wes Anderson with a heartwarming, understated-but-profound Christmas story.

Tropicana – “Good Morning, Good Morning” Oranges

Why I love it: ORANGES JUMPING INTO A CONTAINER WHILE SINGING “GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING.”

IBM – “Ideas are Scary”

Why I love it: Out of all the commercials on this list, this is one of my absolute favorites. I love the story, heartbreaking at first, where the poor creature is rejected & cast aside for being different & unusual. After suffering much hatred at the hands of others, IBM welcomes the outcast creature into its building, where it immediately starts blossoming, & eventually becomes fully-fledged & beautiful because it is accepted.

Febreeze – “The Dog Car”

Why I love it: it’s hilarious & true – you think your car smells beautiful, but it really smells like Dogs-R-Us. The idea of a giant dog-shaped car cruising down the road with a triumphant dog merrily peeking out the window is hilarious.

Marshalls – “Recalculating”

Why I love it: This ties with the IBM commercial for absolute favorite. I love the concept of leaving behind the path that everybody says you “should” be walking on & leaving it to explore the true majestic world that surrounds you, seizing the day & the environment you’re in. I love the music too, as well as the creativity behind it.

Air Wick – “Rooms”

Why I love it: secret rooms, each with their own unique aesthetics & smells, are always awesome.

Farmers – “Hot Dog”, “Synchronized Swimming Dogs”, & “Romantic Rodent”

Why I love it: Hilarious dog escaping an exploding house, all for the sake of a slice of pizza.

Why I love it: Adorable dogs are synchronized swimming in a living room!

Why I love it: An adorable groundhog makes his sweetheart happy by bringing her the stolen ring of a caddie.

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.

My Favorite Things, December 4, 2015

Sunset Rose // My Favorite Things, December 4, 2015

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products that I recommend. When you click on an affiliate link to a product on an external website, I will recieve compensation if you buy something. If I recommend something though, it is because I really do like it. Thank you for your support.

 

LISTEN

★ I Spy by Mikhael Paskalev. LET ME SAY HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS SONG. This is one of those songs that just gives you a music epiphany. That makes shivers run down your spine & makes your ears feel bliss. I can’t really even put its brilliance & ebullience & magic into words. I love how it starts out sounding kind of lo-fi like it’s playing on a record in a room in your house. I love how it suddenly gets powerful & passionate when all the other instruments come in. I love the part where everyone is singing the part about “lost at sea” & the reverb at this part. Pure, pure magic.

★ Bulletproof by La Roux. This is the song I am playing on repeat & have been ever since I first heard it. I was creeping on YouTube looking for new music & found this song via the recommended video section of a Marina & The Diamonds song. It’s my go-to feel good song right now. I love everything about it. The bouncing, active, futuristic synth feel of it, the fierce lyrics, don’t-bring-me-down message, & the overall feel of it.  Also, the music video is so awesome, & reminds me a little of David Bowie’s work.

★ Blue Moon by Beck. I heard this song on the radio & immediately wanted to know what song it was. It has a driving, dreamy sound to it that made me fall in love with it & all its bittersweet renditions of love.

★ Confident by Demi Lovato. A badass song. Confidence is the key, & if you’re not confident yet, then I am a firm believer in faking it ’till you make it. Great for practicing your confidence walk to, posing in front of the mirror, or dancing to.

Safe & Sound by Capitol Cities. “I know that we’ll be safe & sound.” I love the bouncing & warm & synthy sound of this song. I find it a feel-good, comforting song.

 

EAT

Odwalla Superfood Drink. It has apples, peaches, strawberries, bananas, mango, spirulina, & kale. What more can you ask for? KALE. It tastes good, & tastes more fruit-based than greens-based, but it still has that little bit of hearty earthiness that more greens-based drinks provide. Also, it comes in bulk, which saves money. I like veggie smoothies like this because they make it easy for me to get my daily servings of vegetables in even if I’m busy.

Better Than Bullion Organic Vegetable Base. A recent major-fave of mine. I make a package of plain ramen noodles & when they’re done, I dissolve some of this in hot water & pour it over the noodles. It tastes exactly like regular ramen noodles, if regular ramen noodles’ flavoring was both organic & vegetarian. I love this stuff.

CHEESY PRETZELS. Since I discovered these, they fit into the category of foods that I always want to keep around in my house. They have a great cheese flavor, the right amount of saltiness, & as an added bonus, you get a collection of cheese dust stuck to your fingers to lick off when you’re done eating the pretzels. I love these things.

 

READ

Am I Really Happy Every Single Day? A few great tips on how you can make your life into the awesomeness that it can be.

The Importance of PlayEven though you might be busy/stressed/bored/an adult/etc, play is still important.

 

WATCH

★ 13 Sandwiches From Around the World. These look SO GOOD & made me want to create a whole bunch of new, weird sandwiches, as well as try all the sandwiches in this video.

Baby Owls Blinking. That’s all you need to know. They are so fuzzy.

 

WEAR

★ Flannel Shirts. I own a pink flannel shirt & a red flannel shirt. They look rugged & wintery & woodsy, & I typically roll up the sleeves. Also, flannel shirts are cozy for the winter, as well as very comfortable.

★ Combat Boots. They look badass, & you can wear them with pretty much any outfit to make it look even more awesome. Jeans & a t-shirt? Badass. Rugged pants & flannel? Badass. Frilly pink dress & a hair ribbon? Badass. They go with everything, last a long time if you get good ones, & can be worn at all times of the year. Kind of like good ol’ Converse. Both are essentials, as well as versitle classics.

★ Photo Print Socks. I adore my photo print socks mostly because (a) they look cool, & (b) they look really cool inside my clear glitter jelly shoes. I only own a pair of strawberry-print ones currently, but I would like to own lots of pairs of them, especially ones with pizza, doughnuts, & probably ones with pineapples & animals too.

 

TO DO

Make Perfect Corners On a Bed Sheet. I did this last time I changed my sheets & it looked beautiful. I never used to use a flat sheet but now I do, so with that comes the necessary education of making it look really nice.

Unplug From the Internet with Help From Rookie Mag. I love these articles about doing Real Things in Real Life. The Internet is great, but you shouldn’t live there.

 

THINGS 

★ Nothing is worth it if you aren’t happy. Doesn’t matter what accolades or prestige it has, or whether it’s what you’re “supposed” to do. You gotta live life on your own terms, & as long as you aren’t hurting anybody, go full speed ahead towards the things that really make you happy, & shun & push away anything that doesn’t.

 

NEW AWESOME THINGS

Issue 7 of Ashlee Craft / Assemblage has been released!

I had a great Thanksgiving. I had the day off, so I sat around the house & worked on my upcoming poetry book & the novel I am currently working on. I ate turkey, vegetarian turkey cutlets, & lots of great side dishes, as well as pecan pie. Then, my family watched The Santa Clause, which is a holiday tradition of ours for us to watch it sometime during the holiday season. It was a fun & relaxing day.

My veggie tray meal as a snack on Thanksgiving afternoon.

(above) My veggie tray meal as a snack on Thanksgiving afternoon.

Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving dinner!

★ More Christmas posts will be coming soon! This means coloring pages like the Thanksgiving ones I made, & hopefully soon some lists of cool things to buy for people you know.

 

My Favorite Things : October 27, 2015

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links to products that I recommend. When you click on an affiliate link to a product on an external website, I will receive compensation if you buy something. Thank you for your support.

LISTEN

★ Walk On – U2I love this song for so many reasons, but probably my favorite line in the song? “What you got, they can’t steal it. No they can’t even feel it.” They can’t take anything away from you. They cannot confine you. You can leave them behind. You are not trapped.

★ Sweet Thing – Van MorrisonA beautiful epiphany in a song. The multi-layered instrumentation is phenomenal & magical & perfect. Soaring flutes. The tender melody & lyrics. Ebullient guitar. One of my all time favorite songs.

★ You Still Believe In Me – The Beach BoysThe comforting knowledge that even after everything that has happened or will happen, that there is a constant person who has your back & will believe in you, no matter what.

★ Crowded House. I started listening to more Crowded House recently. The song that made me start loving their music was Archer’s Arrows (which is a phenomenal & fantastic song). Then I heard Don’t Dream It’s Over (see below), & fell in love with that too. I haven’t heard that many songs of theirs yet, but I’ve liked what I’ve heard so far. Their songs are very aesthetically pleasing, & very atmospheric. They’re the kind of songs I would like to work into a variety of playlists.

In A Sentimental Mood – John Coltrane & Duke EllingtonI like this song because it’s evocative in a somewhat melancholy way, & John Coltrane expresses this mood perfectly.

 

EAT

★ Vanilla Talenti Gelato. Seriously. Try this with rainbow sprinkles. It’s seriously THE BEST. Rainbow sprinkles make good things even better. Gelato somehow always manages to taste elegant & make you feel elegant while you’re eating it. I also love Talenti, because they keep their ingredients simple & to the point, & produce an awesome product. Fun fact : my father usually refers to my Gelato as “ice cream”, a term which I don’t think encompasses the awesomeness & quality of Gelato.

★ Ducktrap Smoked Salmon & Ducktrap Smoked Trout. I am a huge fan of smoked fish. A huge fan. Their smoked salmon with dill is AMAZING, & I am so in love right now with their smoked trout, which I just recently tried. The smoked trout tastes like a combination between fresh smoked herring fillets and smoked salmon. One thing I love about both the smoked trout & the smoked salmon is that the fillets of them are nice, thick, & wholesome, which is even better than the thin fillets more commonly found. Also, I want to put dill on everything now. I recently made homemade guacamole with dill in it, & it was great.

★ This awesome meal I made a while ago

 

READ

★ Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie PerkinsThis was a nice, heartwarming YA romance story. It made me feel all warm & fuzzy inside, & it’s just a sweet book in general.

★ 10 Really Easy Ways to Love Yourself More TodayAs always, Gala Darling has a lovely, illuminating, magical list. I especially like Point #8, about liking what you like & not liking things just because they’re popular.

This article about Street Dreams Magazine from The New York TimesI really, really like the idea of bringing the Internet into a more tangible, DIY form. Like a zine, of photographs.

 

WATCH

★ Jamming Baby Owls. BABY OWLS DANCING. Owls are the best thing ever.

★ John Owen-Jones Singing “Who Am I?” From Les Miserables. I love this song with a passion, & John Owen-Jones is the very best at singing it. He fills it with an emotion & evocative vulnerability that I haven’t heard in other renditions of the song. It is the most real, honest version, & because of this, a favorite.

 

WEAR

★ Colorful socks inside my awesome sparkly jelly shoes. Right now, I am especially loving my photo print strawberry socks, but since I bought the jelly shoes, I have bought a lot of cute, colorful novelty socks, just for wearing inside my jelly shoes.

My canvas medic bagI wear this bag in a lot of the fashion photos I take, & it’s my go-to bag for everyday usage. Ever since my Indiana Jones phase as a teen, I wanted a bag like this. I finally found one which appropriately matches the one in the films. I love it because it is sturdy, holds a lot of stuff, is comfortable & easy to wear, & just looks cool. Looking cool is the primary reason. It adds a ruggedness & uniqueness to any outfit I add it to.

★ Knee Socks with Jelly Shoes or Combat Boots. I will be posting photos of this combination soon, but it looks tough but feminine at the same time, & also allows me to include the edginess of combat boots while still showing off all my cool, patterned knee socks.

 

TO DO

★ Laying on the floor with my dog & playing fetch with him when I get home from work. He looks forward to this, & would seriously play for hours on end if I didn’t get tired of throwing his toys for him.

★ Learning how to drive. I didn’t learn when I was younger because I had no need to, but I’m learning now, & it’s going great!

★ Earning my GED & passing all the subjects the first time around. I got honors on Reasoning Through Language Arts and in Social Studies, & was one point away from honors in Science. This was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, & I’m so proud of myself for accomplishing this goal.

 

THINGS 

★ “When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” ― Margaret Drabble. Embrace the confusion. Now that you have nothing to lose & maybe nothing to prove, you can do anything. Now that you’re confused & uncertain & scared of the changes going on around you, you can turn this into anything. You have a blank canvas from which you can paint & create & shape into whatever feels best for you.

 

NEW AWESOME THINGS

★ My new album, Confusion is Over. 

New Book – Document Your Life : A Journal.

★ New Book – Panorama Novelty

★ New Book – Ashlee Craft / Assemblage Issue 5