My Forged Summer Bucket List (again)

purple, sky, and galaxy image

So last year I did this silly thing where instead of making a summer bucket list around May, I made it at the end in August with a bunch of things I actually did do.😄 It was very fun, so I figured I’d do again! Let’s see what I got accomplished on THIS summer bucketlist.😉

Watch “Stranger Things” and LOVE IT.
Visit my best friend and have a blast.
Celebrate my birthday at the Rainforest Cafe.
Make apple fries for fun.
Get a job at Dairy Queen.
Eat at Captain D’s in Georgia and die from nostalgia brought on by flavor.
Buy a JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure t-shirt.
Watch Deadpool and love it.
Start driving.
Make friends at work and avoid drama.
Recreate Mellow Mushroom’s bruschetta with dollar store items.
Watch Finding Dory in theaters.
Watch Civil War in theaters with my best friend.
Go to ComiCon, high-five Deadpools, and buy more anime posters.
Eat genuine southern food while in the south.
Go swimming once.
Make a nice paycheck by filling in for other people.
Survive airport security and travel.
Have sleepovers with the little bro and VHS Disney movies.
Cook Miss Rita’s Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken twice and die from the yumminess.
Learn new crochet stitches.
Redo my purse so that nothing gets lost again ever.
Pick homegrown strawberries.
Cut potato chips out of my diet to save money , then crave salt for two months.
Soak in the tub during a heavy rainstorm.
Watch Olympic swimming and gymnastics at the neighbors one evening.
Make overall big life adjustments for the better and be happy for the future.

That was my summer; I truly was able to jump into some things I, like driving and getting a job. Meeting James was huge and amazing too, and all the little things are so wonderful I don’t want to forget them.❤ What’d you do this summer?


15 Memorable Things I’ve Learned Being 21

As my 22nd birthday approaches with the Sunday sunrise, I figured I should reflect on different experiences, thoughts, and lessons learned during my 21st year while I’m still 21.


1 Potato chips aren’t necessary for life to go on. Tightening my budget means cutting out unnecessary crap, and that has included chips. *sobs* However, I’m learning that while the cravings are tough, life moves on.

2 I learned I have a passion for helping people help themselves. I go over this in depth in this post, but it was amazing to find my personal calling this past year! Knowing what I love to do is so freeing!

3 I can drive a car. I’m still learning, and sometimes it’s still a little scary. but it is possible.

4 Perspective is a curious thing. Everyone’s reality is a little different; its something I’ve pondered throughout the year or observed through interaction. How people see the world, how they see themselves, how they see me. To some people, I am little more than a name. To others, I am their entire world: that’s mind-blowing.

5 I can get an A in math if I WORK for it. Ugh I hate math, but I got an A for it last semester. My best friend was a gracious, incredibly patient tutor (I’m still so sorry I can’t do math in my head, James) and I studied A LOT. Hirasawa and Enya saved my sanity at times too while I did homework. And I got an A!

6 I learned my intelligence wasn’t solely based on my math skills. It turns out there’s a Theory of Multiple Intelligences, and I’m actually incredibly smart in interpersonal, musical, intrapersonal, and linguistic intelligence. Major confidence booster there, lemme tell ya.

Disney Jazz is a wonderful thing. Just ugh. <3<3<3<3<3<3

Mickey Mouse <3:

8 The strangest yet most beautiful souls ride the bus every day. I saw so many different individuals on my bus route. The I-think half intoxicated woman getting home who was so proud of her daughter’s academic accomplishments. The older woman who smelled of buttermints when she walked by. The girl wearing an anime shirt, and the teenager with the Star Wars hoodie. The transgender man, the two elementary aged children, the people lost and finding their way, the people who gave their seats to others. Even the ex-convict who I spent 30 minutes chatting with at my stop. Such an array of souls.

9 Facebook can be enjoyable when you take control of it. I for real learned this, and while it might sound silly, it was very fun making my feed more positive. I took re control of several of my social networks during the last year and it was very freeing.

10 I lost 8 pounds riding my bike to school. At the beginning of the year biking that three-quarters of a mile to my school, it felt like such a long trek. In a couple months, my breathing was better, my endurance stronger, my legs were more powerful. Forced exercise is the best.

11 JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. This anime is one of the most enjoyable, crazy, hysterical, intense stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching and I’m so glad I caught up with the series this past year. Time worth spent lemme tell ya. Also now I have a poster of Joseph Jostar on my wall, handsome devil.😄

12 My self-confidence grew, slowly but surely. I learned I could take public transportation regularly and be ok. I learned I could still fly across the country on my own and be ok. I learned I’m loved exactly as I am and that I should love myself the way I am too. I learned I have incredible strengths worth growing. I learned that hardships are often times neverending but I can survive them bit by bit.

13 Communication is hard but worthwhile. I poured everything I had into communicating consciously and as clearly as I could with my best friend to make our meeting in May a success. The result was a trip I’ll never forget and all that communicating was completely worth it!

14 I won ten dollars from a lottery ticket. That was really fun.😄

15 I need music like I need air. I really came to terms with how influential, necessary, and engaging music is for me. I love exploring music, using it to process my states of emotion, and writing about it. Often times, music is the way I survive: The long waits for the bus or the times when my brain gets so loud that I have pump it through my ears for hours on end outside late into the night. It’s how I bike to school and walk the dogs and wash the dishes. It feels good acknowledging its importance and my own confidence in my taste.


Tomorrow I’m going to the Rainforest Cafe for my birthday lunch and mall shopping, and then hopefully I’ll get to skype with my best friend for the afternoon. Right now, I’m just back from seeing Finding Dory as well! Hopefully, it’ll be a chill, happy birthday!❤



How Knowing My Strengths Helped Me Find My Life’s Purpose and Career Path

Last fall semester I took a single college class called Career Exploration for Creative Minds and it completely changed my mindset about myself and my future. Beforehand, I wasn’t sure what career truly called my name or if I even had the potential to pursue one. I was coming out of a dark time in my life and I was feeling so many insecurities.

While I learned SO MUCH that semester, today I want to talk about how I learned my purpose for life; specifically through understanding my natural strengths and how knowing them raised my self-confidence and discovered what I wanted to do with my life

You still have time.:

My professor had the entire class take StrengthsQuest, a very comprehensive online test, which in the end, out of 34 official strengths, would tell you your top five strengths with paragraphs of information about how these natural abilities helped you see the world. I’m going to go over my five now and share about each one so you can follow my final career conclusion!

1 Empathy.
“People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.”

Dr. Brené Brown #empathy:

My biggest strength is empathy. The crazy thing is, while I knew I was a very empathetic person…I’d never considered it a strength before.

Empathy is different than sympathy: feeling sympathy is feeling sorry or pity. Feeling empathy is understanding someone else’s perspective, from their shoes, from their eyes. It means being open to hear someone else’s voice. It doesn’t mean I always agree with them or condone their actions, but I do understand. I can sense their unvoiced concerns; often I can help them put their feelings into words when they previously couldn’t find the right way to express themselves. Empathy is helping people feel valued because they feel heard and understood.

Being empathetic makes me want to help others understand themselves better. I want to help people feel like they can take on their life’s difficulties. I have a way of making utter strangers feel safe enough to talk about their lives to me. I’ve met multiple, talkative people on bus routes who I could just tell: they just need someone to smile at them and be interested in them without any judgment. They just want to be heard. So that’s what I did, and I was always left feeling better afterward.

I knew I was empathetic. But it hit me hard when it came out of as the FIRST result in my test. It is a strength. That blew my mind when I realized that. It means I understand when others might not. I can really help by listening and encouraging when others might lecture and not really hear what a person is trying to say. It strengthens me because it brings me joy to help others feel valued.

2 Adaptability.

“People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.”

just go with the flow:

I’m a very in-the-moment person but I didn’t use to have a word for this. I knew my adaptability is how I survived my parents’ divorce, by quickly being able to adapt to the major life changes that happened. However, I also understood that this strength, living in the moment, means I find joy in so many small things that a lot of people miss because they’re so busy looking at the future. I just live naturally in the present. I can also communicate and adjust to other people easily because I can adapt to the needs in the room. Being adaptable means that I naturally understand that life is ever changing; I might not like change sometimes, but I can respond to it without falling to pieces, generally.

It was very comforting to learn this is an actual strength of mine. I’ve lived with “planners” and “futuristic” people forever, and despite their good intentions, I’ve often felt completely misunderstood by them for being myself; for living and reacting as life happens IN THE NOW. It’s who I am. Both sides have their positives of course, but learning this about myself has made me more confident in how I was made to be.

3 Maximizer.

“People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.”

via @mijnhuisje_ on Instagram

Ok, I didn’t understand this one right away. But when I did, I felt like I suddenly understood another side of myself that I didn’t even realize was there before. Ultimately, it means I’m very good at pinpointing the good in anything (people, projects, etc) and then drawing out that good to make it great. Once I understood what this was, I saw this pattern all over my life. It’s my third biggest strength. Ultimately, it is often how I view others too.

Being a Maximizer means I can accept other people just as they are and work with them in that place. I can find what’s special about them that’s different from anyone else. I like to help people feel inspired about those things that make them special. It often helps me find the good in projects too, or how to make decent situations become great situations with a little tweaking. It’s a unique strength, maximizing what’s already good. When I recognized this within myself, on top of Empathy and Adaptability, it really began to show me what I wanted to do with my life.

4 Ideation.

“People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas.They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.”

#quotes #intelligence #imagination The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.:

Oh yes, I knew this about myself, but I’d always seen it as a flaw rather than strength. I love ideas; just sometimes I’m much better at coming up with them then I am with carrying them out. But I’m trying to learn to accept this about myself and that if I work with the right people, others can benefit from my ideas and help me execute them.

Being strong in Ideation means that I’m a creatively minded person who can solve problems, be original, bring fresh ideas to the table; all things which I didn’t realize can often be valued in certain work settings. It means I enjoy discussions with rich vocabularies or complex thoughts. It means I’m a little quirky, but in the right places, it is something sometimes desperately needed. I love coming up with ideas, thinking about ideas, getting the ball rolling in an abstract way; those “what ifs.” I can see and connect things others can’t.

I love embracing that I love ideas, connecting things, creating things, exploring my own smarts. I love owning that part of myself now.

Last but not least: this final strength specifically changed how I saw myself:

5 Positivity.

“People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are gong to do.”

While I’ve seen my positivity and enthusiasm as something that has helped me survive the last several dark years, I’d NEVER. NEVER. NEVER actually considered it to be a strength. Isn’t that sad? I felt SO VALIDATED when I read about how my positivity is one of my greatest strengths in life. A part of myself that seemed taken for granted was suddenly acknowledged as something special; as something I overflow with naturally.

I aspire to be a giver. A giver of love, a giver of good vibes and a giver of strength.:

To be positive is to be enthusiastic about life. It means I find so much joy and goodness in life. It means when people ask me to share my views on things I get very excited to share my enthusiasm. It means I like to make situations more fun. I like to share that I love life: even when life REALLY SUCKS, I know there are still things to enjoy and be happy about. I like bringing that perspective to others who might be too weighed down to be excited about life.

I remember when I saw my test results for the first time. I received the list of 34 strengths with their definitions along with my top five. When I saw that Positivity was amongst those top five, I felt so…. understood. Suddenly, being positive wasn’t just something I happened to be. It happened to be SOMETHING I WAS GOOD AT. That blew me away.

Especially after having gone through such DARK times the past five years: Loosing communities, losing good friendships; my parents’ ugly separation, having to cut my own dad out of my life for being so narcissistic and controlling; feeling frightened, scarred and vulnerable; feeling betrayed by the Church; realizing I lacked a proper education and attending school for a year for my GED to fix it….And yet, I can say through ALL OF THAT I have honestly never stopped enjoying life. Sometimes it was really really hard but somehow, I still found joy in the little things. I was still able to be positive for my mother and sister and brother. I was still able to smile and laugh with my best friend. I was still able to feel and bring joy to others. It was just what I did.

But it took a test for me to realize that that was actually something very special; it wasn’t just a way to survive the dark times. Being positive when others might not be is a God-given strength. Learning that helped me feel so validated.

you learn a lot:

These strengths–being positive, full of ideas, strengthening what’s already good, being adaptable, and being empathetic–have been my weapons without me even realizing it. But now they will continue to be my weapons, sharpened, for the rest of my life.

So, from knowing my strengths, I realized what I want to be.

I want to be life coach. To be a life coach is to be someone’s cheerleader. It is adapting to the different people who come to you, helping them feel understood, helping them identify their own strengths with a unique perspective, equipping them with ideas to improve themselves, and then positively encouraging them on in their journey through life. Being a life coach is being available to help people find their purpose and then encouraging and celebrating with them as they accomplish their dreams and goals for themselves. That is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It will be a long journey to be a real life coach; I want to get a degree in Communication, become a licensed counselor, and gain life experience that I can then bring to the job of being many different individuals’ life coach. It will take a lot of living, personal development of myself, while strengthening my natural communication and humanitarian skills. It means that right now, I can keep being the friend who encourages and is excited for you. It means I keep growing and educating myself while learning what makes people tick. It means I must become a stable person myself so that I can turn around and be a stable person for others.

That is my life’s calling, and I KNOW IT deep down in my heartt. But I only realized it when i discovered what my biggest strengths are and how they made me see the world around me. But having that understanding, that idea of a path to follow, having that confidence in who I am, is now the best feeling in the world. That was the best thing I learned during that fall semester.

"I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say 'because of you, I didn't give up.'":

My final thought for you is this: LEARN WHO YOU ARE. Recognize your weaknesses but FOCUS on your strengths: learn about them, water them, grow confident in your skin and how you tick. These strengths were given to you for a purpose. So when you know who you are and what you’re strongest at, you’ll find you know your life’s purpose too.❤


Memories From Georgia

If you’ve already read my post about how I met my best friend online and have been waiting to read more about my visit, well here it is!❤ I wrote out some different memories today. Literally just being together in person, eating meals and looking at the stars and riding in the car–just normal things–felt so special because we were finally off each other’s computer screens.❤


A photo posted by Jamie (@jamie2211b) on

There were so many trees; no, you don’t understand, it’s a big deal to me. I’ve lived in Phoenix my entire life; I’m used to being surrounded by buildings, buildings, buildings. Most of the trees I see are palm trees and mesquite trees, which are blah…the rest is dirt and dust and crumbly hills. Yet the edge of Atlanta, that I saw, was filled with TREES. It blew my mind and I wasn’t even in the country yet. They almost made me feel claustrophobic. So much of the sky was blocked by them. It was crazy and beautiful and SO GREEN.

I had a wonderful room to myself at James’ grandparents home next door. In the mornings James and I would eat cereal or yogurt or fruit, often outside on a swing beneath a big tree. I love that swing a lot. The cat would play with the flowers and chase things and we’d glide back and forth for hours talking. Sometimes a wasp flew too close and I’d fuss. One time we played anime opening songs off my iPod and made the other try to guess which show it was from. We stared at people driving by wondering if they were staring back. I loved those mornings on the swing.❤


It was fun just being outside together. I felt ridiculously spontaneous one evening and ran in the huge sprinklers in the front yard. James laughed at me when I forgot the water was rotating and caught me off guard. He showed me their gardens and I got to pick a few strawberries even. Near the end of my visit, we went swimming in the backyard. We swam in circles to make a whirlpool, played Marco Polo, and attempted to sing the different Star Wars melodies together. We ate peach ice cream in cups and floated round and round.

Then, I had the grandest time when Rebecca picked me up in her bug and drove me all over the place; bookstores, Starbucks, O’Charlies. She told me the funniest stories of her and James growing up together; we sat on the floor in the humor section and combed through books giggling till we were sore; we talked about anime and college and hopes for the future. Later that night James and I met her at the movies together and goofed around in our seats till the film started. I was so happy; I got to sit between two of my greatest friends for the first time and it felt so good.

Courthouse with James for scale.😄

A photo posted by Jamie (@jamie2211b) on

James and I wandered the town square and I took pictures of war monuments. We misread a crossing sign and laughed when we realized we were utter idiots.😄 I pulled him by the hand through an antique furniture store and called literally everything “so cute”; every guy should be tortured like that at least once.😉😄 After I aggressively sniffed soap samples he bought me the yummiest smelling of them all. We ate scrambled hamburgers in a little diner and I was happily stunned to find scripture on the napkin holders and Christian music playing over the radio. He had to remind me I was now in the Bible Belt. That was nice.

His mom, Miss Rita, was a wonderful host, between spoiling me with amazing food and making me the cutest scrapbook to bring home. I got to see her own scrapbooks that she’d made, full of the cutest pictures. She was the best tour guide through her town and I saw all the sights. She showed me how she made yogurt, biscuits, french fries, and the yummiest homemade ice cream, too! Her Apple Cider Vinegar Chicken was to die for. She made me feel at home, right from the moment I met her at the airport. I miss her and the rest of James’ family as much as I miss James himself.❤

The Hungry Games: Mocking Jay 1 film site in town.
The Hungry Games: Mocking Jay 1 film site in town. The sun was very bright.😄

He and I watched a lot of movies together during my visit; I never knew movie watching could be that fun. We watched a lot of anime too. We blogged together, chugged down water from the forest of water bottles that collected on the table, and I tried beating him at left-arm wrestling and lost. I played movie and tv themes on his grandparents piano while he guessed them. We talked and laughed and teased and talked some more. Before bed, we prayed together too. It was nice being together like that. For the record, his shoulder is a very nice place to cuddle your head on when you’re watching anime on the couch.😀❤

Before Civil War began. Best Marvel movie ever, btw. 😉 #latergram

A photo posted by Jamie (@jamie2211b) on

It was a full moon that week, but I insisted we still try to see the stars because I knew I’d see more out there than in the city. I was right, too. We found the big dipper and Orion and what I thought was Mars. We’d have some of the best conversations in the evenings, so it was hard to stop for him to go home each time.

And the night before I left I let myself cry. I didn’t want to lose it later at the airport, so I let myself cry into his shirt instead before our final goodnight. He hugged me so tight and sweetly, and reassured me we’d visit each other again soon. He gives the best hugs, you guys! And I only teared up a little bit the next day when I said “I’ll see you later.”

still one of my favorite pictures of us.

I really can’t wait to go back to make more wonderful memories!❤


2016 Bucket List Check-In

On January 1st I don’t make resolutions; resolving to change a behavior is fine but usually, that’s ineffective to me personally. However: I do make a bucket list: I figure that listing actions for myself might give me better luck in improving throughout the new year. But I don’t follow it strictly, as life tends to change and I want my goals to be able to adapt or change with it. “They’re more guidelines than rules” sorta thing here.😄

large 1.1

It’s nearly my 22nd birthday, and half the year is over. As I become contemplative over another kind of year gone, this would be a great time to revisit the  year’s list and see how I’ve done so far!

Investigate more video game and anime soundtracks for writing. Have done this, want to keep doing this! Favorite anime track (below) and favorite game track discovered so far.

Officially meet my best friend in person. Did it. Best ten days of the year (maybe my whole life) as of yet. Just ugh, the feels and fun we had. I miss you so much, James! (Am writing another post on this BECAUSE SO MUCH HAPPINESS!)

Learn the rules of the road. DID IT. I didn’t want to write “get drivers permit” for fear of jinxing myself (send me help) but it worked. I’ve also gotten about 25 minutes of practice in already. Please pray I learn smoothly and easily and that the right vehicle is provided just when I need it.

Take better care of myself emotionally and physically. Am learning to do this and will continue to learn and practice. Surrounding myself with supportive people has helped; there’s nothing quite like seeing yourself from someone else’s perspective and realizing you’re worth so much.❤

anime, anime girl, and manga image

Finish reading and underlining my Creative Writing books. Haven’t attempted this yet. I have set books out in the open where I can see them, though. Just need to actually pick them up and read them.😄

Spend money consciously. Doing better at this, need to get even better quickly, especially as I begin job hunting.

Find unique ways to express my personal creative spirit and needs. I’m going to leave this open, as I want to do this much more. So far, I’ve invested into some excellent temporary tattoo sets; I absolutely love artistic temporary body art, especially on my feet. And I’m getting back into crocheting by learning new stitches. But I want to express myself even more!!! I’m hoping to Booktrack more this year, and would love to just find brand new ways to be me.


Continue enjoying anime and anime blogging. I’m only just returning to aniblogging lately after a two-month break, so I’m leaving this open too. I’m hoping the new Summer Season will be more memorable than the last two seasons; so far its a promising one!

Make a YouTube playlist of empowering/humanizing songs to memorize. This is half done. I’ve made one, I just need to listen to it more often.

Play the piano more consistently again. Need to do this more too. I’ve recently found more music that I want to learn, however, so I’m hoping that will help. Specifically Summer (below) and Fire by Brian Crain (so I can expand my memorized collection of his songs: I can play Rain, Wind, and Song of Sienna by heart with my eyes closed.)

Continue maintaining online relationships and build new ones at college. This one I’m managing (I made one nice friend last semester!) but it is changing slightly since I’m taking a year off from college to start job hunting. But hopefully, I will be able to build some nice relationships where ever I work!

Write only for me. I actually feel like I’m doing pretty good on this one! This has interpreted as also being “write only when I wish” as well, and I’ve done that as well; I only blog when I feel like saying something and I’m continuing to work at saying what I truly think and feel.

Re-blog my updated 100 Favorite Movies series. Haven’t done this yet, mainly because I’M STILL TRYING TO RANK THEM ALL. So hard! But I’ll do it eventually!

And I'm passing it down to the next generation!:

Clean out my room of useless junk during my next furniture arrangement ritual. Haven’t rearranged my room this year yet, but I’ll remember to do this the next time I do.

Decide on a college major. This I’ve done, kinda. I know I’ll probably be getting an Associates of Arts Degree in Communication, whenever that happens. But that’s about all right now.😄 I’ll work on that.


Listen more when others speak, but speak up more for the authentic me.

This one I’m going to leave open too because it’s something one should never stop doing. I do believe I’ve gotten better at this the past year and that makes me happy.❤

2016, new year, and quote image

How’s your year fairing? Accomplishing anything you thought you would? Any goals change when you thought they wouldn’t? Did you do something that turned out to be easier/or harder than you anticipated?