You might be a Cancer (sign) if …

June 21, 2017

Your birthday falls between June 21-July 22.

You are perceptive and intuitive.

You are sensitive and emotional to the nth degree. You definitely wear your heart on your sleeve.

Since you are in so touch with your emotions, you have a very affectionate nature. It’s not rare for you to be the first to show you care (probably via a hug or in my case, an inappropriate butt pat).

You find yourself looking for excuses to stay in over going out. Home is your sanctuary.

You are extremely thoughtful. You never forget anyone’s birthday or favorite movie, and take care to make sure they know you remember their quirks.

Your shyness gets mistaken for indifference or snobbishness (or bitchiness).

You are overly self-critical.

You love hard (and it’s often unmatched).

You are uber nurturing; whether it’s animals or children, you really draw people in with your natural nurture spirit.

You are fiercely protective. You will go mama bear over any injustice or perceived slight to your people.

Your creativity knows no bounds; even if yours are not necessarily “artistic” pursuits.

You are organized and list-obsessed. (Umm, hello, like this?)

You’re probably a history/culture buff.

You value tradition, loyalty, especially when it comes to your patriotic roots.

You don’t take criticism (or advice) well (or at all).

You can be a bit touchy, moody aka crabby (which is the animal rep for the Cancer sign).

Friday five

June 16, 2017

ONE || My Cousin Rachel

There are two things I inexplicably love: summertime scary movies and Rachel Weisz, and My Cousin Rachel offers both.

My Cousin Rachel tells the story of a young Englishman who plots revenge against his mysterious, beautiful cousin, believing that she murdered his guardian. But his feelings become complicated as he finds himself falling under the beguiling spell of her charms.

Currently on Rotten Tomatoes, this creepy film has a fresh score from both viewers (with a 61%) and critics alike; sitting pretty at 74%, this scary movie is, like, scary good.

Hands up if you’re going to sneak in some Milk Duds for this summertime thriller?

TWO || Smart Penny Institute

This project is the more focused, realized, and authentic version of what was once Save Money, Dammit.

Brian, the author and founder of both SMD and Smart Penny, is passionate (some might say obsessed) and super knowledgeable about everything finance-related; from budgets, investments, and non-traditional money goals, Brian know about its.

Free and available to read now, his ebook, The Complete Guide to Creating a Budget that Works is the first of many to come. I’ve actually already read it (privileges of being the wife), and though I’d consider myself an intermediary budgeter, I found the book to be helpful and informative with zero pretense. A quick, fun read (not something that can always be said about financial books), it will give you actionable advice that can be put to use NOW.

For a limited time, you can sign up to be a part of the Insider’s Club. Why? Well, the benefits, of course. You’ll get the exclusive inside track to all upcoming bonuses, freebies, and resources, and I promise you, you want to be on that list.

If you’re interested in amping up your financial game, Smart Penny Institute will be your favorite go-to source.

THREE || Pet Therapy: Calming Music for Cats

Yes, I am a crazy cat lady, but hear me out.

This Spotify playlist is meant to sooth your kitty friends and help them seriously ree-lax. It’s especially beneficial for households that are multi-petted, whether that means several cats or an animal house menagerie.

Some cats Zen out when listening to the playlist, so it can be good relaxation method for fur babies with separation anxiety.

And good news! It can be calming for puparoos, too. Honestly, the music is straight relaxing; I put it on for Sarafina (my cat, pictured above), and I found myself feeling calmer and more peaceful.

“Fire Moon Woods” is some truly hypnotizing magic.

FOUR || Flag Sweater

Classically preppy. Cotton. Polo by Ralph Lauren. Need I say more? 

Anything bedecked in the American flag is an inside joke between my family and me. My 4th of July birthday caused lots of distress. Kids were always out of town or busy, and the Portlandia-level flag decoration — cups, shirts, plates, bathing suits, banners? Put a flag on it — caused a red, white, and blue ban in my house (at least for my birthday).

Fast forward several years, and I can’t get enough of the patriotic scheme. Flags, gingham, plaid, red everything? Yes, please!

So, yeah, this sweater.

FIVE || Lifestyle Photography: Capturing Inspiring Visual Stories

This is a Skillshare video course, and since Skillshare is one of my absolute favorite ways to learn and experiment with fun hobbies outside of my comfort zone, I’d share one of my favorites so far.

What is Skillshare, you ask?

Experts and enthusiasts can go onto Skillshare, and share their skills. From calligraphy and graphic design to blogging courses and cooking tips, Skillshare has something for all interests and skill levels.

All that being said …

This particular class was led by lifestyle photographer, Marte Mari Forsberg, and I really enjoyed it.  She has a dark, moody aesthetic that I gravitate toward, and the course is only 19 minutes long. It’s short, sweet, and informative.

If you’re at all interested in trying Skillshare, you can sign up for a two-month trial subscription for FREE just by clicking on the button below!

Just don’t forget to cancel the membership once the two months are over because you will be charged the membership fee, otherwise. Do like me, and set a reminder on your phone or calendar a couple of days before the deadline. However, if you LOVE it, then sign up for the subscription, and keep on keepin’ on!

Celebrate

June 15, 2017

I’m sure you’ve heard about all the drama surrounding Katy Perry’s new album (it involves a certain leggy, red-lipped, cat-eyed, blonde mega star with a bursting Rolod-EX), and if you haven’t, then keep it that way. It’s dumb.

But here’s some deliciously drama-free new music from one of my faves, Ingrid Michaelson.

Get your life right, and go listen to Ingrid Michaelson’s new songs. I like “Hell No,” “Still the One,” and particularly “Celebrate.”

And to anyone who is saying Miley Cyrus’ “Malibu” is the song of the summer, I say, no, it’s “Celebrate.”

But I don’t want to cause any drama.

It’s Flag Day

June 14, 2017 USA flag

Today is Flag Day.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love the American flag as much as the next person (I was born on July 4th, so I mean, I win), but I think we’re all wondering why exactly we have Flag Day, and what’s the significance of the June 14th date?

Wikipedia says:

The reason we celebrate Flag Day is because it’s the day that marks the adoption of the flag of the United States. This happened on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. Flag Day is also a special day for the United States Army because they celebrate their birthday on June 14th.

If you’d like to learn more about the significance of Flag Day in the United States (you might; I don’t know your life), then check out any of these credible (more so than Wikipedia, at least) sources:

The American flag, our flag, represents something different for everyone. For some, it’s a beacon of hope and independence, and for others, it’s a reminder of a storied past, troubled present, and uninspired future; for those like me, it’s a symbol of privilege, pride, and patriotism.

Whatever it means to you, let’s be reverent today. Let us be gracious and thankful that our flag represents a free nation, equality for ALL (even the people we don’t like or agree with), and loss– remembering that much blood has been spilt and many lives sacrificed for us to wave our banner proudly. Let us practice empathy and respect, and take shelter, together, under her colors as a united people.

Eat the frog

June 13, 2017

At some point in his life, Mark Twain gave us this, albeit wise, unappealing piece of philosophy:

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

I wasn’t always a procrastinator. In fact, I was once an overachiever. If the deadline was a week away, I’d finish it the day it was assigned. What can I say? I ate my frogs, and I ate them in one painless swallow.

Somewhere along the way — college, maybe? — I changed.

Instead of getting my shit done with time to nit-pick, perfect, or go the extra mile, I started procrastinating. I said buh-bye to Type A(shlee) who ate her frogs and welcomed her dark, evil twin, Bizarro Ashlee who, though still organized and anal, procrastinated ’til the very last moment.

I don’t know why.

It didn’t feel good; the stress alone kept me up at night: whether finishing the work last minute or laying awake worrying about all the worst-case scenarios. My work suffered. suffered. All of it self-inflicted.

What does it take to just do your work without waiting until the last possible second?

I’m trying to go back to my old ways of eating my frogs first thing in the morning, but it’s been a difficult road. There’s pushback. Whether it’s sheer laziness, dread of the work to be accomplished, or some other deep-seeded emotional hangup, I know not.

Frogs just aren’t as appealing to me as they once were.