Weekly layouts in my Bullet Journal

Hi, everyone!

I want to start posting more regularly here on my blog, particularly on topics that are important to me. My bullet journal has helped me become more productive ever since I began using it last year.

I have been searching for a weekly layout that I really like. Here are some pictures of the layouts I have tried:

I kept searching, using free printables, and planning. Somehow I knew I would find the right one.

And now I have. I began to use Jessica from Pretty Prints and Paper’s rolling week two weeks ago, and it has really worked for me!

I decided to change it up this week by creating a horizontal rolling week. I like it!

Thank you for reading! Hope you have a happy Thanksgiving! Stay tuned to my blog for writing and bullet journal updates, and also subscribe to my YouTube channel for planning videos!


Inspiration for “From an Open Window”

My grandmother was mesmerized by the Kennedy family.  She was given up for adoption in 1923, and always wished that she had been part of a large family.  She was happy when John F. Kennedy was elected as President in 1960, and when she became pregnant in 1963 at the same time as Jackie, her connection grew stronger.

My mother was due on August 7th, 1963, but she arrived four days early.  So when Patrick Kennedy was born premature on my mother’s due date and died two days later, the imaginary bond that my grandmother created grew stronger.

I grew up listening to my grandmother talk about her admiration for the Kennedy family.  I was born eighteen weeks premature, which created another link in my grandmother’s non-existent broken chain that she shared with Jackie. She told me stories about the Kennedy children and parents and showed me old articles out of Life magazine that she kept in her cedar chest.  These memories made it easy for me to recreate that traumatic day in Dallas.  I was able to close my eyes and hear the cheers of excited people waiting to greet the couple they admired and then feel the grief that swallowed the nation after the fatal shot was fired.  I was able to visit “the cold dark place within” (Lamott 197) and share the “way to the truth” (Lamott 201).

My grandmother was an eccentric lady who lived life to the fullest. She believed that every day had a memory waiting to be made and she loved people unconditionally. My poem about Jackie is a tribute to the invisible friendship my grandmother shared with her and it is a testament to how strangers admired the strength of the elegant woman wearing a pale pink suit who endured so much in her young life as the first lady of the United States.

(Quotations are from Anne Lamott’s book Bird by Bird)

Here is where you can read “From an Open Window”: From an Open Window”

Inspiration for “Sunk”

Earlier this summer, I published a short story called “Sunk.” I wanted to share the inspiration behind it in this blog post. The quotations are from Nancy Lamb’s book The Writer’s Guide to Crafting Stories.

When I was growing up, my mother would tell my sister and me stories about her childhood.  She grew up in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, and she spent her summer days outdoors from morning until night with her four older brothers and the neighborhood kids.  They had all kinds of adventures in the woods that surrounded their homes, along with their regular hangout of Heckman’s Hill.

One summer day, my mother’s older brothers dared a neighborhood boy named Timmy to ride his bike down Heckman’s Hill.  Well, he accepted the dare, and his bike sank to the bottom of Glade Lake.  Her brothers were not as creative in ways to help Timmy retrieve it, but they were very creative in ways to help him make money to pay his parents back.

The only tough part was figuring out how to start the story.  Nancy Lamb discusses the idea of the “opening gambit” (37). My first idea to begin the story was having Tyler dare Peter to ride his bike down Heckman’s Hill.  While I liked it, it also did not seem right.  Next, I tried using the sentence: “I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over.”  But that did not seem right either.  Finally, I closed my eyes and pictured what would happen if I began the story as Peter’s bike was sinking into Crescent Lake.  That, according to Lamb, is a way to “uncover a problem” (37), so I began the story in medias res, or “in the middle of things” (“In Medias Res”).      After receiving valuable feedback, I decided to once again rewrite the beginning of the story, so I would not give away the climax in my opening.

This story, to me, has an image that I can feel and touch.  I have been to the top of Heckman’s Hill and rode a bike with the wind in my hair.  I have also walked in the footsteps that my mother and her brothers walked in to get to Glade Lake.  I even ventured out to the furthest part on the pier, where Timmy’s bike entered the water.  I even thought on a very clear day, that I could see the reflection of a silver Stingray bike at the bottom of the muggy lake!


“Oma” and its inspiration!

Hi, everyone! I apologize for not posting a recent blog entry. I’ve been busy with the start of the fall semester and with work and writing. I have a few pieces out on submission. And on August 18th, I published a short story called “Oma.” I wanted to share my inspiration behind it, as well as the link to read it:


I based Oma off of my great-aunt Dottie. Like Oma in the story, she is incredibly fearless. Each summer, she and her children and grandchildren vacation at the beach. She looks forward to parasailing each year, and there is a rotation of her copilot each year. Although I have never been parasailing, I was able to write it through watching videos that my relatives have posted on Facebook. A picture of Dottie wearing her favorite yellow shirt and pink sneakers also caught my eye, so the pink sneakers became a symbol and a part of Oma’s character.

I changed a lot of details and debated over the ending for a long time, and after I finished, I sent it to a few magazines. Three days after receiving it, Every Day Fiction accepted it.

Thank you so much for reading! I’ll be posting more soon!


Publication of “An Early Arrival”

I originally wrote this essay as a school assignment, and I kept it in my portfolio for possible publication someday.

Well, someday became today! I am proud to share this personal story about my premature birth and the obstacles I overcame to become who I am today!

Hope you enjoy!



Publication of “Sunk”

I am so excited to present my newest short story, “Sunk,” which was published in Dime Show Review this morning! 

You can read it here: http://www.dimeshowreview.com/sunk-by-ashley-kauffman/

Hope you enjoy!


“Magic Dew”

I wrote this in memory of my grandmother Evelyn, and I wanted to share it today. Happy #MayDay!

“Magic Dew”

     Her skin was flawless, just like the porcelain doll that rested in my mother’s handmade cradle. She told my sister and me that she used “magic dew” on her face. We were always mesmerized by all of the stories she told, and we wanted to be just like her. We hardly slept on the night of April 30th, waiting to climb out of our bed before the sun rose on May 1st. We cautiously opened the front door and walked out across the cement patio to place our hands in the wet morning dew. We wiped our hands across our faces, so our skin would be magically transformed. Our grandmother is no longer alive, but she lives in our memories and in the reflection of our porcelain skin that gets clearer with the magic dew we wipe on our faces every year on May 1st.


My Kipling 100 Pen Case!

Hi, everyone! I wanted to post about one of my favorite pen cases! It’s called the Kipling 100 Pen Case. You can get it on Amazon or at retailers like TJ Maxx, Marshall’s or Homegoods. My mom got mine from Amazon for me!

I’m a huge fan of pen cases because I take my writing utensils everywhere with me, especially on long trips. There is lots of room to store my pens in the pen slots in the front and in the space in the back. Although it depends on the type of pen with regards to whether it stores 100 exactly.

I wanted more storage on the back of the canvas that separates the storage from the pen slots, so I put two hair elastics on it to store stickers.  I use weekly stickers from the Dollar Tree sometimes.

I’m still working on filling up the space in the back, but I’ll figure it out!

Thanks for reading! Remember to always be kind!

P.S. Check out some pictures!

Paper mate ink joy gel pens on the left; Pentel Energels on the right!

Hair elastics and stickers courtesy of the Dollar Tree!

The front of my Kipling!

Empty and ready for pens!

Empty storage space for now!


Author Apparatuses I Use Part Three: My Smart Pens 

Hi, everyone! It’s been a while! I wanted to add a third post to my Author Apparatuses I Use series! I’m hoping to keep this series going and adding more things to it over time! So without further ado, here is part three!

While I mainly use my laptop to write, sometimes I get ideas in my head when I am away from it. And other times I just like to write in a distraction-free way. Some authors use an AlphaSmart word processor for this. I use my smart pens!

The first smart pen I got was my Livescribe pen in 2009 when I started my junior year of college. I was planning to use it for taking notes in my classes, but I ended up not needing it. I kept it to jot down ideas for writing. I eventually got a second one, which I also use for writing.

A haiku poem I wrote one morning after seeing the sunrise last year.

The inside and outside of my Pulse and Livescribe 3 smart pen notebook!

Photo credit: Google image search

Photo credit: Google image search

This past Christmas, I got a Moleskine smart pen and notebook. I love using it! I recently used it to jot down writing ideas for my grad school class. I also use my smart pens as regular pens to write in my journal sometimes. 

Pages from my M+ Notes app!

Photo credit: Google image search

Something I love about my smart pens is that my handwriting can be exported to text. I can email my notes to myself to put in my laptop from the Livescribe or M+ Notes apps.

Basically, my smart pens work together with my technology. On one hand, I take a break from technology to write the old fashioned way, but on the other hand, it imports my writing into the apps to preserve it forever.

Thanks so much for reading! See you soon! Bye!


Laurie Halse Anderson and me!

Happy early birthday, Laurie Halse Anderson! Our friendship began by a random meeting when I was in second grade. This wonderful lady took the time to send handwritten letters to a little girl who aspired to be an author! Our friendship has stayed intact through technological advances and I never miss an opportunity to come to one of your book signing events! 

It is amazing how God brings special people into our lives when we least expect it. I hope someday that I will be able to impact the lives of young readers as you did for me and continue to do every day! 

I hope you have an amazing birthday tomorrow! And thank you for all you have done for me over the years!