Tuesday, May 26, 2015

#31 Attend the Coca - Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

{Photo © Crystal @ The Italian Bella Diaries, 2015}

Not only did we attend the Coca Cola 600, with pit and driver introduction passes, but we attended qualifying, practices, and the Xfinity race. 
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My Coca Cola 600 and Pit/Driver Introductions tickets.

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Tony Stewart's Pit Box

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Tony Stewart's car being taken to inspection
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I wished Tony Stewart good luck on the start/finish line... with a little Louisiana flair.
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The honorary pace car driver was NFL's Man of the Year, Thomas Davis, of the Carolina Panthers.
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Jeff Gordon in his last Coca Cola 600 Driver Introductions.
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Tony Stewart during driver introductions.

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Some of the Coca Cola racing family. I only took this picture because Tony Stewart was looking directly in my direction and smiling while everyone else was doing other things. And I just wanted another picture of him.
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Jeff Gordon during a pit stop.
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Carl Edwards is the winner. He is also my oldest daughter's favorite driver.
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And she is jealous that I got to see the backflip in person.
I am addicted to live NASCAR events now. If I could, I would literally follow them around to every track. Watching them live is so much better than on television. I may have gotten burnt and maybe walked close to 10 miles, but it was so worth it. Will definitely be going back to the Coca Cola 600, hopefully in 2016.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

#52 Go Without Soda for a Month

I completed this task on September 6 - October 6, 2014. It was a long month, but I accomplished it. I had given up regular soda back in 2012 anyway, but this was the month that I went 30 days and only drank water or lemonade. Of course, on October 7th, I went straight for a diet soda.

Of course, I have gone back to drinking a diet soda on occasion. The goal was only for a month.

#15 Make a List of 101 Quotes That Inspire You

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  1. "Look closely at the present you are constructing. It should look like the future you are dreaming." ~ Alice Walker
  2. "Courage is... what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also... what it takes to sit down and listen." ~ Sir Winston Churchill
  3. "Think positive and positive things will happen." ~ Unknown
  4. "Perfection is over - rated. An idea doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be implemented."     ~ Unknown
  5. "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing, that's why we recommend it daily." ~ Zig Zigler
  6. "The struggle you're in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow." ~ Unknown
  7. "The greatest step toward accomplishment is self - confidence." ~ Jim Rohn
  8. "Believe you can and you're halfway there." ~ Unknown
  9. "Beauty is how you feel inside and it reflects in your eyes - it is not something physical."         ~ Sophia Loren
  10. "The question is not how to survive, but how to thrive with passion, compassion, humor, and style." ~ Maya Angelou
  11. "I am the creative force of my life." ~ Unknown
  12. "Success is the best revenge." ~ Unknown
  13. "If you make the unconditional commitment to reach your most important goals, if the strength of your decision is sufficient, you will find the way and the power to achieve your goals."        ~ Robert Conklin 
  14. "Happiness is a conscious choice, not an automatic response." ~ Unknown 
  15. "Positivity can change your life." ~ Unknown
  16.  "The darkest hour is just before the dawn." ~ Unknown
  17. "If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it." ~ John Irving
  18. "I can and I will." ~ Unknown
  19. "I am grateful for all of my problems. After each one was overcome, I became stronger and more able to meet those that were still to come. I grew in all my difficulties."                                 ~ James Cash Penney
  20. "Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there's love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong." ~ Ella Fitzgerald
  21. "Grant me the strength to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference." ~ Serenity Prayer
  22. "Dare to dream." ~ Unknown
  23. "Start now. Make it happen." ~ Unknown
  24. "A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner, so if one's life is cold and bare he can blame no one but himself." ~ Louis L'Amour
  25. "Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how blessed you are." ~ Unknown
  26. "Experience can't be taught." ~ Unknown
  27. "What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity." ~ J. Sidlow Baxter
  28. "Identify your problems but give your power and energy to solutions." ~ Unknown
  29. "The future is open; we decide what's in it." ~ Wolfgang Sonnenburg
  30. "Be stronger than your excuses." ~ Unknown
  31. "The choices I make today will determine the rest of my life!" ~ Ginny Dye
  32. "My father instilled in me that if you don't see things happening the way you want them to, you get out there and make them happen." ~ Susan Powter
  33. "It doesn't get easier. You just get stronger." ~ Unknown
  34. "Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start having positive results."    ~ Willie Nelson
  35. "One of the greatest things in life is that no one has the authority to tell you what you want to be. You're the one who'll decide what you want to be." ~ Jaime Escalante
  36. "My scars reminded me of where I've been, your scars reminded me of just how perfect you really are." ~ R.M. Drake
  37. "Life has many ways of testing a person's will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once." ~ Paulo Coelho
  38. "The world makes way for the man who knows where he is going." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
  39. "It isn't life that weights us down - it's the way we carry it." ~ Elizabeth Potier
  40. "We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind's greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear." ~ Elizabeth Kubler - Ross
  41. "Make peace with your past so it doesn't spoil your present." ~ Unknown
  42. "If you wouldn't write it and sign it, don't say it." ~ Earl Wilson
  43. "Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."       ~ Thomas Edison
  44. "Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength." ~ Tibetan Proverbs
  45. "Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments." ~ Unknown
  46. "Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck." ~ Dalai Lama
  47. "Sometimes when things are falling apart they may actually be falling into place." ~ Unknown
  48. "I don't know a perfect person. I only know flawed people who are still worth loving." ~ John Green
  49. "Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how blessed you are." ~ Unknown
  50. "Money is numbers and numbers never end. If it takes money to be happy, your search for happiness will never end." ~ Bob Marley
  51. "Do what is right, not what is easy." ~ Unknown
  52. "God will wreck your plans when he sees that your plans are about to wreck you." ~ Unknown
  53. "Sometimes the strongest among us are the ones who smile through silent pain, cry behind closed doors, and fight battles nobody knows about." ~ Unknown
  54. "The only people I owe my loyalty to are those who never make me question theirs." ~ Unknown
  55. "Life is the movie you see through your own eyes. It makes little difference what's happening out there. It's how you take it that counts." ~ Denis Waitley
  56. "Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things only hoped for." ~ Epicurious
  57.  "In order to succeed, you must first be willing to fail." ~ Anonymous
  58. "The wishbone will never replace the backbone." ~ Will Henry
  59. "You will never be the person you can be if pressure, tension, and discipline are taken out of your life." ~ James G. Bilkey
  60. "Adversity has the effects of eliciting talents, which, in prosperous circumstances, would have lain dormant." ~ Horace
  61. "Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into, us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday." ~ John Wayne
  62. "When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself." ~ Wayne Dyer
  63. "Never waste your time trying to explain who you are to people who are committed to misunderstanding you." ~ Anonymous
  64. "The reason people give up so fast is because they tend to look at how far they still have to go instead of how far they have gotten." ~ Anonymous
  65. "I've learned more from pain than I could've ever learned from pleasure." ~ Anonymous
  66. "Only those who care about you can hear you when you're quiet." ~ Anonymous
  67. "Life doesn't get easier or more forgiving. We simply get stronger and more resilient."              ~ Anonymous
  68. "Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever." ~ Mahatma Gandhi
  69. "Loyalty is hard to find. Trust is easy to lose. Actions speak louder than words." ~ Anonymous
  70.  "When we do the best that we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another." ~ Helen Keller
  71. "With self - discipline most anything is possible." ~ Theodore Roosevelt
  72. "Your big opportunity may be where you are right now." ~ Napoleon Hill
  73. "The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have." ~ Vince Lombardi
  74. "I think in terms of the day's resolution, not the years." ~ Henry Moore
  75. "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We only have today. Let us begin."                 ~ Mother Teresa
  76. "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." ~ Albert Einstein
  77. "There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them." ~ Denis Waitley
  78. "We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its chapter is New Year's Day." ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce
  79. "Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength." ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
  80. "Ninety - nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses."    ~ George Washington Carver
  81. "Men are equal; it is not birth but virtue that makes the difference." ~ Voltaire
  82. "Life is not the way it's suppose to be, it's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference." ~ Virginia Satir
  83. "The miracle is this - the more we share, the more we have." ~ Leonard Nimoy
  84. "It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that." ~ J.K. Rowling
  85. "Never regret. If it's good, it's wonderful. If it's bad, it's experience." ~ Victoria Holt
  86. "If you develop the habits of success, you will make a success a habit." ~ Michael E. Angier
  87. "I would rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed." ~ Robert H. Schuller
  88. "No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities. Always see them, for they are always there." ~ Norman Vincent Peale
  89. "Every test in our life makes us bitter or better, every problem comes to break us or make us. The choice is ours whether we become victim or victor!" ~ Unknown
  90. "I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become." ~ Jung
  91. "With ordinary talent and extraordinary perseverance, all things are attainable."                         ~ Thomas Foxwell Buxton
  92. "Holding anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." ~ Buddha
  93. "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." ~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  94. "Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive. Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings." ~ Author Unknown
  95. "You can't choose the ways in which you'll be tested." ~ Rovert J. Sawyer
  96. "Desire creates the power." ~ Raymond Holliwell
  97. "When faced with senseless drama, spiteful criticisms, and misguided opinions, walking away is the best way to stand up for yourself. To respond with anger is an endorsement of their attitude." ~ Dodinsky
  98. "Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives." ~ Tony Robbins
  99. "Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself." ~ Robert Collier
  100. "You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." ~ Abraham Lincoln
  101. "Fear does not have any special power unless you empower ot by submitting to it."                    ~ Les Brown

Saturday, July 19, 2014

#3 Attend my Graduation.

University of Phoenix
Charlotte Campus

announces that
Crystal D.S.

is a candidate for the degree of
Bachelor of Science in Psychology

for the Commencement Ceremony on Saturday,
the nineteenth day of July
at eleven o'clock in the morning
Two thousand and fourteen

Bojangles' Coliseum
2700 E. Independence Boulevard
Charlotte, North Carolina
to the Class of 2014

  All of the Graduates participating in the Charlotte Graduation ceremony.The front section is the Masters graduates, the middle section is the Bachelors graduates, and the back section is the associates graduates. The doctoral graduates are on stage.
Me walking down the far steps after walking across the stage.

Me walking back to seat.

All the graduates standing to be conferred and then the ceremonious switching of the tassel.

Me and Chris after my graduation.

Me and Debbie after my graduation.

Me and one of my dearest high school friends, Jemayne. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

The List!

101 Things in 1001 Days
Adapted from Day Zero Project

The Challenge:
Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria:
Tasks must be specific (ie. no ambiguity in the wording) with a result that is either measurable or clearly defined. Tasks must also be realistic and stretching (ie. represent some amount of work on your part).

Start Date: June 23, 2014 
End Date: March 20, 2017 
# of items completed: 6
% completed: 5% 
Items in regular face: Not Completed
Items in Blue: In Progress
Items with Strikethrough: Completed  


1. Finish my Masters Degree.
2. Join HSLDA.
3. Attend my Graduation.


4. Blog every day for a month.
5. Complete the 30 Things My Kids Should Know About Me. {12/25}
6. Create a schedule for my blog topics each month.
7. Complete the 31 Days to a Better Blog exercises. {2/31}


8. Complete a 365 day photo challenge.
9. Take a picture for each letter of the alphabet.
10. Take a photo of a place through all four seasons.
11. Take a self – portrait every week for a year.
12. Take a photography class.


13. Write a novel.
14. Answer the “50 Questions That Will Free Your Mind”. {50/50}
15. Make a list of 101 quotes that inspire me. {101/101}
16. Write 5 letters to 5 people who changed my life.
17. Keep a “My Day in Six Words” journal for 6 months.
18. Complete NaPoWriMo each year of the challenge. {0/2}
19. Complete all NaNoWriMo activities each year of the challenge. {1/8}
20. Complete Writing 101 on the Daily Post.
21. Complete the 5000 Question Survey. {200/5000}

Movies, Books, & Music 

22. Watch the 10 highest – grossing movies of 1978 (birth year). {1/10}
23. Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the Alphabet. {14/26}
24. See 10 classic movies I’ve never seen. {0/10}
25. Ask 20 friends to suggest one book, and read them all. {0/20}
26. Listen to 26 bands I’ve never heard of, each starting with a different letter of the alphabet. {10/26}
27. Re-read all of Edgar Allan Poe’s works.
28. Read 5 classic books (no Poe and no Shakespeare). {0/5}
29. Read the complete works of Shakespeare.


30. Visit the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
31. Attend the Coca – Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. May 24, 2015
32. Attend WWE Raw or Smackdown.
33. Attend an Atlanta Braves home game.
34. Attend a NASCAR race at Darlington.
35. Attend one Saints game (home or away).


36. Visit Biltmore Estate.
37. Visit the Fort Sumter National Monument.
38. Visit Charleston, SC.
39. Take a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC.
40. Go on a cruise.
41. Visit 10 museums. {0/10}
42. Make a list of 50 places I would like to visit in my lifetime.

 Health and Fitness

43. Lose 25 pounds. {8/25}
44. Start exercising regularly.
45. Complete a 30 Miles in 30 Days Challenge
46. Do a Couch to 5k running plan.
47. Complete a 100 Pushups Challenge.
48. Complete a 200 Sit – Ups Challenge.
49. Complete a 200 Squats Challenge.
50. Log food and exercise for a whole year. {1/365} 7/6/14 - 
51. Drink the recommended water intake each day for a month. {0/30}
52. Go without soda for a month. {30/30} September 6 - October 6, 2014
53. Go without chocolate for a month. {0/30}


54. Learn Italian. {3/66}
55. Make a list of the top 5 people who have positively influenced me and write them letters. {0/5}
56. Tie a note to a balloon and let it go.
57. Read through the Bible in a year.
58. Write a personal mission statement.
59. Write a letter to myself to open in 10 years.
60. Create a memory jar.
61. Create an inspiration notebook.
62. Create a list of tiny dreams, big dreams, bucket list, favorites, and challenges.
63. Go camping.
64. Call/email/message my brother.
65. Get my passport.
66. Learn sign language.
67. Send my Grandmother flowers.
68. Name a star after each of my 3 angel babies. {0/3}
69. Log purchases and incomes every day during the challenge. {14/1001}
70. Learn 50 new things by clicking the random article button on Wikipedia. {6/50}

Cooking and Food 

71. Cook 20 new recipes each week of the challenge. {0/?}
72. Make a list of thirty recipes I want to cook and cook them. {0/30}
73. Try Sushi.
74. Eat at all Cajun restaurants in my city.
75. Buy ten cookbooks; make one recipe from each. {1/10} {0/10}
76. Create one recipe a month. {0/?}
77. Buy a big cookbook and make a recipe from each section.
78. Bake something from scratch.
79. Learn a new recipe from 15 different countries. {0/15}
80. Make a custom recipe book.


81. Get a new tattoo.
82. Buy more dresses/skirts and wear them!
83. Get my ears re-pierced.
84. Buy a piece of jewelry each month. {1/??}
85. Replace my make – up collection.
86. Buy a new bottle of nail polish a week. {18/??}
87. Whiten teeth.
88. Dress up once a week for a year.

Being a Happy Homemaker 

89. Learn to knit.
90. Fall back into the FlyLady habit.
91. Complete 5 Pinterest crafts. {0/5}

For Fun 

92. Complete a coloring book.
93. Buy a lottery ticket when the jackpot is insanely high.
94. Learn a new word every day for a month. {0/30}
95. Attend an author event as a reader.
96. Attend an author event as an author.
97. Create a business plan for my dream restaurant.

The End 

98. Donate $5 to charity for each task I don’t complete. {3/101}
99. Inspire someone to make a 101/1001 list.
100. Save $5 for every task I complete. {6/101}
101. Make a new 101/1001 list.