Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to you and yours from
The Famous Ashley Grant
Tampa Bay Freebies
The Photographic Times
We Are Full of Bull!!!

May you be blessed this Christmas and may all of your dreams come true in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inspirational Video-Hallelujah Flash Mob

If you haven't heard about this video...I URGE you to check it out. Imagine being in a food court and a bunch of people suddenly erupt in song. I got chills watching it and seriously wished I had been in that mall when this happened. It's amazing. God Bless you and yours!

Please check out all of my sites.

The Famous Ashley Grant

The Photographic Times

We Are Full of Bull

Tampa Bay Freebies

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Blog Spotlight: Darn Near Free Christmas Decorating

I'm loving my new site Tampa Bay Freebies! Below is my most recent post from the site =)

Christmas is my favorite holiday of the year and because of this I always try to go above and beyond with decorating my apartment for my husband and me to enjoy. One of my favorite ways to decorate is darn near free! I take Christmas wrapping paper and wrap my frames to look like Christmas presents and hang them back on the wall. It's simple to do and makes the room festive for the holidays. Mix and match colors or make it a coordinated look =)

Thursday, November 25, 2010

It's Doing What You Love That Makes Money

This article was originally posted HERE

How Changing My Intentions Made Me Money

This guest post is by Roman from how this website makes money.

Two years ago I stumbled across the concept of blogging for money. Instantly it hit me as the perfect thing: sit behind a computer, design a site, write, be my own boss, work from home, what could be better? I knew nothing about traffic, SEO, backlinks, Pagerank, or keywords. I knew nothing about how to make money with a website. So what did I do next? I registered the domain name howthiswebsitemakesmoney.

Looking back all I can do is laugh at my arrogance. Like thousands before me and thousands who will come after me, my first attempt at blogging was a site about making money online.

Two years later, I know how to start a site, I know how to write content, I know about SEO, I know about backlinks, I know how to add advertisements … but I still do not know how to make good money online. The site makes dimes a day, not dollars.

The site has been two years of disappointment. Two years of waking up in the morning and seeing the same green egg in AdSense. Two years of waiting for a four-digit affiliate check with my name on it. Two years of working without pay. Two years of scratching my head.

So I asked for advice, and every time the reply was the same: create a site about something else. Create a site about what you know and what you enjoy. Do not create a site with the intent to make money, create a site with the intent to help people by doing something you enjoy doing.

What happened when I changed my intent

Six months ago I created a new site. This time my intent was pure pleasure.

I live in Prague and I love it here. So I made a little site about how great Prague is and what people should do when they come for a visit. It was built in a month. In a gust of activity I designed the site and wrote the content.

It was so easy. I did not agonize over what to write about. The content flowed effortlessly from my head to the keyboard. I did not have to take long walks with the dog or waste water standing dazed in the shower coming up with new ideas. I just sat down at the computer and wrote about what I know. It was so easy I actually looked forward to it.

As an afterthought, I created a simple page where people can order a real postcard from Prague. Visitors select a picture of Prague and fill out a form indicating what they want written on the postcard. After they hit the Submit button I get the request by email. I grab a postcard and, like an ancient scribe long before computers, lick the tip of the pen and write. After pounding a Prague stamp on the postcard I toss it into the mailbox on my way to work. I charge $4.00 for this five minutes of work.

I created this site with no aspirations of becoming rich, no day dreams of shaking hands with Oprah, no imagined scenes of telling my employer to find some other donkey to kick around. I created the website because it was easy for me to do and I enjoyed it. I made it because I needed a break from my ‘real’ website. I expected nothing to happen.

Again, I was wrong.

My hand is ink blue from all the postcards I have written.

I wrote a postcard from a son playing a trick on his mother: “Hi, Mom! Sorry for not calling in last few days. But I am in Prague with friends. Having a great time and the beer is sooo cheap. Say hi to Dad.”

I have written postcards to countries all over the world. Some of them in languages other then English—I have no idea what I am writing. Fortunately, the order form does not allow Chinese characters!

I get emails from people thanking me for the information they found on the site, thanking me for the postcard, asking for more information.

I feel like I am making the world a better place. I made a website about something I know about and am interested in and people are thanking me. Emotionally it is a soft, warm, fuzzy ball.

And yes, I am making money.

Intend to enjoy and you might make money

I learned a lot about making money online not from my site about making money, but from licking postage stamps.

New arrivals to the make-money-online scene go through the same initiation—they start out with the intent to make money, then fail to make more then a pile of pennies. For some it means the end and they quit, but for others this brutal introduction teaches them that their intent needs to change.

Of course, making money is about traffic, clicks, affiliates, backlinks SEO, but it’s also about finding something you enjoy doing. If your intent is only to make money the odds are stacked against you: you will probably quit. But if your intent is to do something you enjoy then you will keep moving forward until one day, you will be surprised to find that you are making money.

What’s your intent?

Roman intends to figure out how this website makes money. He has been trying to do that for two long years, so when he needs a break and do something fun he goes onto his other website to send a real postcard to his mother who misses him very much.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to each and everyone of you! I'm grateful for everyone who has been helping me realize my potential lately and even more grateful to those helping me get the boost I need to be where I want to be in my life. I love you all and really do hope that you have a great day spent with the ones you love.
And for a little downloaded from

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Easy As Pie! 11.24.2010

It is the day before Thanksgiving so I thought I would share a photo of the two chocolate pies I just made. They are so easy to make that I am going to share the recipe with you as well!

1. Jello-O Instant Pudding and Pie filling Mix
2. Frozen pie crust

To make...
1. Bake the pie crust according to directions
2. Make the pudding according to directions
3. Pour the pudding into the cooked pie crust before the pudding sets
4. Put in fridge...
5. Wait 3-4 hours impatiently
6. Eat! Smile! Repeat!

Photo of the day 11.24.2010

One of my many jobs is that I work as a photographer/writer for 10 Connects' Metromix. I get to do really sweet gigs like bar reviews, restaurant reviews or event galleries. Occasionally I'm sent on the mission of hunting down drinks with a theme...romantic drinks, Christmas drinks, etc... This month I got to hunt for Thanksgiving drinks. Below is the incredible martini known as Harvest Moon Martini from Ocean Prime.
This drink is absolutely delicious and it's my photo of the day =)

Downloaded from for use on

Check out the entire gallery HERE

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Have Laptop and Camera- Will Travel

I'm starting to book clients for photography and writing services through December 2013 and have also started booking for 2014. If you need a writer, photographer or someone who can handle both I hope that you will consider hiring me! Bio below =)

Details about me:

Ashley Grant has been a professional writer and photographer since late 2007. She went to the University of South Florida and majored in Mass Communications with a specialization in Magazine Journalism.
Grant’s focus is mainly on Tampa Bay area lifestyle topics such as charity events, trends, restaurant and bar reviews, movie reviews and much more. She tries to tell the story of the events and the people behind them.

Presently Grant is a writer for as their Tampa guide.

National publications have included Young Money Magazine ( and Past publications include Tampa Bay Times ( and their affiliate tbt* and 10 Connects online affiliate, The USF Oracle, Style Magazine, The Tampa Tribune, Focus Magazine (Brandon, New Tampa, Plant City, Lakeland and East Pasco editions), and Real Health and Image Magazine. Her articles have also been featured in Tampa Bay Metro and Tampa Bay’s Best Magazine.

Event Gallery Buc v Panthers Gallery 11.14.10

Downloaded from for use on
On Sunday 11.14.10 I got to shoot the Bucs v Panthers tailgate party for Metromix.
See the entire Gallery HERE

Monday, November 8, 2010

Motivational Monday 11.8.2010

If you are anything like me, you need motivational phrases, clips, stories etc... to start the week off right. I decided that every Monday I'm going to post something to motivate you from now on. Today's motivational phrase is ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE! Here is the video to prove it!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

For Those of You That Don't Know

My Bio:

Ashley Grant has been a professional writer and photographer since 2007. She went to the University of South Florida and majored in Mass Communications with a specialization in Magazine Journalism.

Grant’s focus is mainly on Tampa Bay area lifestyle topics such as charity events, trends, restaurant and bar reviews, movie reviews and much more. She tries to tell the story of the events and the people behind them.

Presently Grant is a freelance writer for a few local publications in Tampa including The St. Petersburg Times ( and their affiliate tbt* and 10 Connects online affiliate National publications have included Young Money Magazine ( and Past publications include The USF Oracle, Style Magazine, The Tampa Tribune, Focus Magazine (Brandon, New Tampa, Plant City, Lakeland and East Pasco editions), and Real Health and Image Magazine. Her articles have also been featured in Tampa Bay Metro and Tampa Bay’s Best Magazine.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Full Disclosure

So...Apparently as I'm reading people's blogs I am finding that there is a rule about Full Disclosure. In order to make sure I am not harassed at a later date after I become hugely famous online for being such an amazing blogger-let's get the Full Disclosure out of the way!

The Following FTC Disclosure holds true for all of my blogs and websites including but not limited to:

The Famous Ashley Grant

The Photographic Times

We Are Full of Bull

Tampa Bay Freebies

Tampa Bay Bikini Babes

To Keep Me From G*mbling

Lessons Learned From Frugal People

Living the Secret


Disclosure – The Full Monty

This blog and the other blogs I'm working on are not primarily financially driven, but I hope that they lead me to becoming a millionaire. How's that for honesty? I began blogging in 2008 for several reasons- to have a place to write how I feel, to show people where to find my articles and links to photographs I have taken, to voice reactions and opinions (goes back to how I feel), to teach people things and hopefully learn things too and to establish a little more credibility for myself as a journalist.

That said, beginning December 1, 2009, the FTC requires bloggers to provide disclosures whenever there could be hidden interests or unspoken biases related to recommendations.

First, the obvious: I am a freelance writer and photographer. Essentially I will write and/or take pictures for anyone that will pay me and if they don't pay me I get some form of compensation whether it be in advertising and promotion, food, products or services.

Second, the less obvious: Per the FTC rules, if I interview someone and they grab the bill for lunch, I would need to specify this. Ditto if I use an Amazon link that gets me 8 cents instead of an Amazon link that gets me 0 cents. If someone gives me a comfy t-shirt with a logo and I wear it in a photo, same deal.

Disclaimers all over the place.

This would be tedious for me and a continual eye sore for readers. But rules is rules.

To cover my ass and preserve your reading experience, please assume that, for every recommendation, link, and product I use, the following all hold true:

This post including the images was copied from the blog of Tim Ferriss and changes were made to the post where necessary. Per his statement on his blog this post was used with permission "Please feel free to use the text and images on this page with proper attribution. There is no reason why each blogger should have to reinvent the wheel."

Please check out Tim Ferriss and his book The 4-Hour Workweek!

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Launch of Tampa Bay Freebies

For those of you who haven't heard I have officially launched Tampa Bay Freebies!!! I am super excited about this new venture because I love free stuff and I love telling others how I get free stuff!!!! Please read the post below from Tampa Bay Freebies:

Posted on Tampa Bay Freebies 10/10/10

Over the past few months I have really been getting into couponing and saving every penny I can for several reasons. The economy, desire to become debt free, waiting until I get my big get the idea. Well, because of my new found obsession I have also been looking for every free thing I can get my hands on. I began saving free items in a container because I figured since Christmas is coming up I might as well see what I can get to give my friends and family without breaking my budget. The container turned into four containers and I'm still adding to my collection.

I started this freebies site as a blog and never kept up with it but after seeing how many things I was able to collect within 30 days I knew I had to share this with everyone I can. Below are two photos with just some of the stuff I have gotten for free. How have I been getting this stuff for free? Coupons, deals, sales and all that jazz. From now on every time I find out about something I can get for free I'll post it on this site.

What better day to set up this website officially then 10-10-10? It seemed like the perfect time to launch!!! I figure if Mark Zuckerberg can launch facebook within a week, why not officially launch this on such an epic date?

If your business has a freebie for new customers, old customers or even just free samples to offer and you want me to tell all of Tampa about it...please email me at morethanphotographs at gmail dot com and I would be happy to spread the word!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Time To Become The Famous Ashley Grant

People calling me The Famous Ashley Grant has become quite a fun joke for me over the past few months and the humor behind it is why I got the domain in the first place. After being "dubbed" this goofy name I started using it as a way to introduce myself since it made me laugh and seemed to make others laugh as well.

It wasn't until I started going to amazing seminars like Recipe for Success and Spice Up Your Brand that I realized being The Famous Ashley Grant is becoming my brand. My goal is to be a famous national writer and photographer and in order to do that I have to become my brand and become The Famous Ashley Grant.

So what does that mean exactly? How do I become The Famous Ashley Grant? I need to put myself out there more. I need to start attending every event I can to get my face in peoples' minds. I need to have better business cards and pass them out as often as possible. I need to host events and contests and things of that nature for people to know who I am. I need to amp up my facebooking and my twittering and really get into the groove of being The Famous Ashley Grant.

I plan on doing a new photo shoot with new headshots, I will be doing Youtube videos, making more appearances at events, I'll write more articles, I'll take more pictures and I will blog a lot more as well. I look forward to bumping into more people than ever before and hopefully helping other people with their careers while I boost and expand mine.

Love always,
The Famous Ashley Grant

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Reposted by Popular Demand: Article Spotlight Addicted to Saving

I have talked sooo much about Addicted to Saving because...well to be honest...I've become Addicted to Saving!!!
Click the links below to check out three articles about them:

Article one
Article two
Article three

I know it is hard to believe but for everything you see in this picture I paid less than $30 with help from Addicted to Saving. Since this picture I have gotten even better. My last bill was $0.04 for $65 worth of groceries!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A Few of My Favorite Things

Cupcake Spot...recent winner of the Creative Loafing Loafie award for the best place to eat your feelings. I love the Cupcake Spot!!! I first tried their cupcakes in celebration of my turning a quarter of a century last year 8/14/2009. Then I did a gallery of their cupcakes for Metromix (HERE) and I have been hooked ever since. Check out their website HERE

Witty Wocks...I got introduced to Witty Wocks at the Tammy Levent birthday bash at Saks Fifth Avenue in July. The owner is Adria Bernstein and she is as beautiful as she is Witty. If you ever need a smile check out her awesome rocks that she has built to look like celebrities, animals and people. I liked them so much I did a little slideshow that appeared HERE
Check out her website HERE

Viktoria Richards Chocolates!!!...OMG!!! This chocolate is the best chocolate I have ever had! I have been going on and on and on about it for three years!!! I first heard about it at the Vino Las Vegas wine tasting event held at the Tampa Theatre and I have told so many people about it since then. I haven't found a chocolate that can impress me the way these can...he Blueberry has just a hint of blueberry, the Champagne Heart makes me wish someone would invent a chocolate champagne. We already have chocolate wine...why not have chocolate champagne? The Cappucino tastes like you dipped coffee in chocolate...I could go on and on. Just check them out for yourself HERE

The Full of Bull Shirt...this is by far my favorite bulls shirt I have EVER owned. I designed it myself with the help of Image Depot Tampa and every time I wear it I feel more and more Full of Bull. Check out the details about the shirt HERE

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ashley Grant and Suite Caroline

I got shot with Suite Caroline while photographing the Taste of Clearwater for Metromix on Thursday 9.23.2010.
This adorable 13 year old has accomplished more for her age than I have in 26 years! Unbelievable! She is quite an inspiration and makes me want to work harder at achieving my dreams.
For more information about Suite Caroline click HERE

If I am always behind the camera, who shot me? Fellow photographer, freelancer, Metromixer and friend Jeff O'Kelley!

Tampa's Coldest Party 9.16.2010

I got to shoot the awesome event Tampa's Coldest Party at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino 9.16.2010 for Tampa Bay's Metromix. Ryan Nece (to the far left) made an appearance and the event featured the new Coors Light can that has a label that turns blue when the beer is cold enough to drink.
Check out all the photos HERE

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Headshot Giveaway For Working Women of Tampa Bay

Need new headshots for your business but they are just not in the budget right now? Then, enter to win!!!

You have FIVE chances to win a headshot session and a ticket to a Working Women of Tampa Bay power lunch!!! Total value of the prize is $125!!!

How to Enter:

You can enter up to five separate times on this post. Do not leave a comment on Working Women of Tampa Bay’s Facebook page, Ashley Grant’s Facebook page, or email me your entry.

1) Leave one comment on this post letting me know what your favorite thing is about being a Working Women of Tampa Bay member.

2) “Like” Working Women of Tampa Bay on Facebook (go HERE to like it) . Leave a second comment on this post stating whether you are a new or existing Facebook Fan.

3) “Like” The Writing & Photography of Ashley Grant on Facebook (go HERE to like it ) . Leave a third comment on this post stating whether you are a new or existing Facebook Fan.

4) Follow “The Famous Ashley Grant” on Twitter (go HERE to follow ). Leave a fourth comment on this post stating you now follow ashbabe1984 on Twitter.

5) Leave one comment on this post letting me know what you would like to see at a future Working Women of Tampa Bay event.

The winner will randomly be chosen from the comments on Friday October 1, 2010

Contest sponsored by

Ashley Grant of More Than Photographs

and Working Women of Tampa Bay

Photo credit:

More Than Photographs did the headshots for Brandi Kamenar of Icon B in August 2010.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Freelance Writer is a One Man Band

You Are on Your Own in More Ways Than One

A common misconception about freelance writing is that it is glamorous and fabulous with work coming in all the time and everything moves swiftly and smoothly. Are you ready for the hard truth? It ain’t all cherries and roses!

As a freelance writer you are a one man band. Below is a list of just a few hats you will wear.

Everyday you will be pimping yourself out to new clients. You have to call, email and practically harass everyone you know to get work. Once you are lucky enough to get work, you have to convince these people they still need you.

Bookkeeper and Accountant
You are now responsible for sending invoices, paying bills, following up on payments. You also get to have the task of making sure supplies are stocked up.

Time Manager
You have to run the whole show and decide what will fill each hour you work. When will you go to lunch? What time can the meeting with a potential client fill? How long can the meeting last?

Radell Hunter said, “Learning to manage our time is an important way to reduce stress in our lives.” View her top ten time management tips HERE

There is no one else to answer the phone, check email, send the faxes, doing research etc… All these tasks that can be delegated to others now fall on you. However, there is the option of getting a virtual assistant. The catch is making sure that they won’t cost you more than you are making.

Ferrero Stella said, “Virtual assistant offer you all the facilities, which you can avail from an office-based personal assistants. Their tasks range from appointment scheduling to internet research to offer you an ease in completion of your numerous tasks.” Read her story on How to Select a Cost Effective Virtual Assistant HERE

In many cases you will end up having to take your own pictures. For some people just the thought of using a camera for professional use is a scary thought. Hiring a photographer can get pricey and depending on your pay for an assignment it might not be practical.

Photo editor
Now that the photos were taken by you, you have to edit them to make sure they are print ready.

Once you finally get an interview or a subject to write about, it’s time to write the article you hope to be paid for.

Copy Editor
Don’t forget once the article is written it has to be checked for spelling and grammatical errors. Make sure the word count requirement is met too.

I’m sure there are a lot more hats I haven’t listed here, but all these hats are what keep freelance writing so interesting. If freelance writing is something you are considering pursuing, it is important to think about all of the factors involved. Sometimes it can make the decision of whether or not to pursue it as a full time job an easy one.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Photos From my Birthday 8.14.2010

I know I am the Queen of Procrastination so this slideshow of images is ridiculously overdue...but at least I am posting now.
My bday party was at AJA Wiregrass.

The Famous Ashley Grant at AJA:

Check out the entire slideshow of images HERE

Me at The Bulls Fanfest 8.22.2010

I decided it is time to start showing some of the photos of me at the places I go to give you a peek into My So Called Freelance Life. at the Bulls Fanfest 8.22.2010.
See the entire post from the Full of Bull Blog HERE

Ashley Grant (that's me!) with a few of the players =)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We Have No Budget

As a freelancer a common response I am getting to requests for work is:
"I'm sorry we don't have a budget to pay anyone right now. If you'd like you can still publish and get a clip. We have blah blah blah customers who read our publication and the exposure you will get for having your article in Blah Blah magazine will be payment enough"

Here is my response to that:
Hell no but thanks for the offer!!!

When you give away your work for free you are inviting the magazine to do a few things:

1. They might expect it all the time and thus you will never see a dime from them.

Example, you write the piece and after it's published you ask for a paid piece. The response of the magazine will most likely be something like, "We still don't have a budget and since you wrote for free last time, I'm sure you wouldn't mind doing it again" Sure they won't put it this bluntly...but you get the idea.

2. They might tell other people you are willing to work for free.

Like it or not, magazine publishers that don't hate each other talk. If the subject of how to get free content in their publication were to come up, it is possible that your name will too and you could get the dreaded call of, "Hi, I heard you wrote a free piece for Blah Blah magazine and I was wondering if you would like to do the same for us. We can offer more exposure and I'm sure it will benefit you."

Well- if you have more customers, why can't you pay? If you have more exposure, isn't it safe to assume that you have more advertisers and thus less excuse to not be able to pay?!?

3. They might expect other writers to do it for free.

More and more people want to be writers and there is an excitement that comes with having your name in a publication. Letting a magazine have your work for free makes them think that it is okay to ask others to work for free.

When is it okay to work for free?

If you are an intern working towards a degree. I still find unpaid internships unfair, but they can lead to work for pay.

You should be able to get all the clips you need for a respectable portfolio during your internship and after it has ended command payment for every piece you do after that.

The only other time I think it is acceptable to work for free is if it is for charity. At that point it is not work, it is volunteering for a cause you believe in.

What to do when someone asks you to work for free?

Here you have some options!

You could say no and never call them again.

Be a grown up and respectfully decline and mention that you would like to be remembered when the budget allows for paid writers.

Suggest alternative payment such as trade. Many publications I have encountered receive gift certificates for dining, a day at the salon, shopping or travel. If they insist they can't afford to pay you, ask for some trade that will be the equivalent to your writing rate. Beware of this though if you ever expect to get money out of them in the future!!!

Errors Spell Check Won't Catch


Its versus It’s (and all other apostrophes):
According to a copy editing instructor for California-based copy editing service provider Edicetera, confusing “its” and “it’s” is the most common error in the English language. That one minuscule apostrophe (or lack thereof) drastically changes the meaning of the entire sentence. “It’s” is a contraction of “it is,” whereas “its” refers to possession. Also, watch out for “your” versus “you’re.”

Sales versus Sails
Can you imagine writing on your resume that you “increased sails by 20 percent”?! Unless you’re applying to a job for a sail boat manufacturer, this careless mistake will probably get your resume sailing right into the recycling bin.

Affect versus Effect
There is a lot of confusion around this one but here’s the rule: “Affect” is a verb and “effect” is a noun. It’s as simple as that.

Would Have NOT Would of

The subtlety in pronunciation leads to the rampant misuse of this phrase; however “would of” is never correct and may make you appear as if you are not well-read.

Through versus Threw
“He threw the ball through the window.” “Threw” is a verb and “through” is a preposition. And speaking of “through,” be careful to make sure you don’t actually mean “thorough” or vice versa. The slight variation in spelling will not be picked up by a computer, but writing “I am through” when you mean “I am thorough” is quite ironic, don’t you think?

Then versus Than

Six is more than five; after five then comes six. “Than” refers to a comparison, while “then” refers to a subsequent event.

Supposed To NOT Suppose To

“Suppose” is a verb, meaning to think or to ponder. The correct way to express a duty is to write, “I was supposed to…”

Wonder versus Wander
You can wander around while you wonder why “wander” and “wonder” have such different meanings, yet sound oh so similar.

Their versus There versus They’re
OK, once and for all: “Their” is possessive; “there” refers to distance; and “they’re” is a contraction of “they are.”

Farther versus Further
While both words refer to distance, grammarians distinguish “farther” as physical distance and “further” as metaphorical distance. You can dive further into a project, for instance, or you can dive farther into the ocean.

Please check out all of my posts at

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yesterday Was a Great Day

Very late on Monday/early into Tuesday I said I was going to be more optimistic and that I would praise myself for things accomplished rather than kick myself for things left undone and I gotta say it was a GREAT day!!!

I didn't get as much done as I would have liked, but I did get a lot done and am now motivated to get even more done today. I was able to publish a couple of articles, do a few blog posts, got a lot of errands done and purchased the main piece for a photo project I have been saying I wanted to do FOREVER!!!

Today I am pumped and looking forward to a great Wednesday! Happy Hump Day ya'll!!!

Article Spotlight: Coffee Without Chains

So excited that a business review I wrote got published on the Creative Loafing Blog!!!

Read the entire article HERE

Move Over Starbucks! In today’s economy people are looking to save money. One way they are saving is by foregoing the latt├ęs and overpriced coffee chain specialty drinks. The good news is that smaller non-chain coffee houses are offering many craved caffeinated beverages for a fraction of the cost. One such place is Felicitous Second Hand Shop and Coffee House.

See pics of the place below!!!

Blog post spotlight: How to Get the Most out of Swagbucks

Read the entire post HERE

Swagbucks is becoming all the rage throughout the blogosphere. Freebie hunters everywhere are using it and talking about it every chance they get in order to pump up their referrals and to show off all the free stuff they are getting by using Swagbucks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Creativity is Key in Freelancing

I was reading this fascinating story today about two women that took a regular kitchen tool and turned it into a lifesaving device. If you haven't read the story, read the story HERE The reader's digest version of the tale is that Rice University undergraduates Lila Kerr and Lauren Theis were given an assignment to "diagnose anemia without power, without it being very costly and with a portable device."

What the girls did was transform a simple salad spinner into a centrifuge which "separates blood to allow diagnosis of anemia with no electricity."

The story got me to thinking about how crucial creativity is with freelancing. There are literally thousands of story ideas out there, but coming up with a creative angle is the key to getting your name and your story into the magazines and newspapers.

I used to write business advertorials for a local Tampa magazine and three issues in a row we has to write stories about tile. Yes, boring tile. How did we write three different stories?

The first story was about using tile to be fashionable in the home. You could choose colors and patterns that could transform a room for blah to fabulous.

The second story was about the background of the tile store's owner. We mentioned the fact that he had all kinds of patterns and colors, but focused more on how long the company had been in business and the reputation the company had built in the community.

Last but not least, the third story was about how tile could give your home a cleaner look and upgrade it's value.

One story can have multiple angles. Your job is to find a different one from what has already been published. Sometimes the same angle can be rehashed, but wait a while before suggesting it again. The same story every three months will get old. Give it a year if it isn't timely.

A brainstorming technique that we had to do in one of my journalism classes is find one classified ad and come up with 5 story ideas based on it.

Example- I found an ad for a single man seeking a single women that liked dogs.
5 story ideas I generated from the ad:
-do relationships that start from a want ad ever work out?
-having things in common with your partner will help the relationship last longer
-how does one go about putting a want ad in the paper? what words work best? what do all those abbreviations mean?
-who likes dogs more? men or women?
-does owning a dog mean you're responsible?

Happy Brainstorming everyone! Be Creative and get more gigs!!!

You Should Always Write in Public

Found this online finally and had to share. Love always,

Glass Half Full

As per usual I'm reflecting on the day since it is late at night and kicking myself for all the things I set out to do and then didn't do.

Here's what I've realized today. When you wake up in a pissy mood, it's easy to stay in a pissy mood. I let myself believe that the day was already ruined because of my mood and thus ruined my entire day because I didn't kick it in the ass upon realization.

What I could have done was gone for a jog, written an article, something proactive! Hmmm...reminds me of a post I read at The Crooked Table about fifteen minutes ago by the fabulous Robert Yaniz Jr.

I actually did accomplish a few things today though. I went grocery shopping, threw out some crap I don't need and began to see the light at the end of the tunnel of disorganization and lack of motivation.

Early this morning I sent off sets of galleries that were going to be published today. I sent off an invoice that has been needing to be sent for a few weeks. I also finished burning 9 CDs worth of images tonight that should have been done a couple of days ago.

Okay, I have huge dreams, but the thing I have to keep in mind is that it is progress to be taking baby steps. I have held onto my dreams for more than 4 years and they are not just going to come true over night. The fact that I did do a few things even though I didn't accomplish everything I had planned to do today is a step in the right direction.

On the docket for tomorrow?
I will be performing as Bubbles the Clown at AMC Regency 24 in Brandon and after that I have a long list of plans towards my dreams and career. I would love to post tomorrow night that I checked off every single thing on my list, but rather than beat myself up for missions unaccomplished, I have decided I will instead praise my self for things I do get done.

Hopefully in praising myself for the stuff that does get done I will encourage myself to continue on and eventually my dreams will come true and then I'll have a chance to come up with new dreams.

What do you do when you don't accomplish the tasks on your to-do list? If you beat yourself up, take a moment and think about the things you did do!!! Positive reinforcement will go a lot further than feeling like a failure.

This week my personal mission since I was not very nice to Monday is to look at the glass half-full.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

For Your Humor


I saw a sign at Islands of Adventure on Saturday in line at the Spiderman ride that absolutely cracked me up!

Midnight deadline! You must turn in either: your final story copy or your resignation. It's your choice. Sincerely, the management.

I was so amused by this it lead me to find some other writer laughs...

Fun jokes about writing:

A writer died and was given the option of going to heaven or hell.

She decided to check out each place first. As the writer descended into the fiery pits, she saw row upon row of writers chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were repeatedly whipped with thorny lashes.

"Oh my," said the writer. "Let me see heaven now."

A few moments later, as she ascended into heaven, she saw rows of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they, too, were whipped with thorny lashes.

"Wait a minute," said the writer. "This is just as bad as hell!"

"Oh no, it's not," replied an unseen voice. "Here, your work gets published."
There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.

When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.

A screenwriter comes home to a burned down house. His sobbing and slightly-singed wife is standing outside. “What happened, honey?” the man asks.

“Oh, John, it was terrible,” she weeps. “I was cooking, the phone rang. It was your agent. Because I was on the phone, I didn’t notice the stove was on fire. It went up in second. Everything is gone. I nearly didn’t make it out of the house. Poor Fluffy is--”

“Wait, wait. Back up a minute,” The man says. “My agent called?”

for more humor

Getting That Big Break

As artists, we always are dreaming of the day that we will get our big break! It excites us to think of the moment we will have thousands of fans and finally have all of our hours of work somehow legitimized.

I found these two stories of art being made popular and I found them so inspirational I decided to share them with whoever is reading my page.

The first is an amazing story of an unknown waitress becoming famous overnight thanks to the show So You Think You Can Dance. Christina Perri wrote a breakup song called "Jar of Hearts" that inevitably ended up in the hands of a choreographer from the popular reality dance show. The song is played in the video below, but you can read the story HERE

The second, although not about a traditional artist, is about an artist nonetheless. A man who used to live in a 4,000 sq. ft. home has made his business, but more importantly his life out of now living in a home that is bare 100 square feet. Jay Shafer is showing people how to live with less. Do you think you could handle a life with less?

If you are anything like me you have too much excess in your life and there is a lot of downsizing you could do that would probably make you happier than you are now. See inside this man's tiny home below and watch his Yahoo! news story HERE

Saturday, July 17, 2010

A New Gig!

I went on a much needed vacation to Kentucky for a few days and now I feel recharged and ready to get my career back on track. Sadly, I have said this many times before but have been too damn lazy to actually act on anything I have talked about for the past 3 or 4 years.

The first piece of good news now that I am back in Tampa is that I am so excited to report that I will be taking pictures on Fridays and Saturdays at Club AJA at Wiregrass for the next several weeks and possibly even beyond that!
I've been looking for a little more regular income and this is truly a blessing!!!

I still have lots of plans rolling around in my head and I'm anxious for all of them to start being played out, but definitely needed to get some dollars in the bank before I could move forward.

I can't wait to see where the next few weeks take me, but here is a taste of what is to come:

1. Full redesign and upgrade of three of my websites:
- We Are Full of Bull

- The Photographic Times

- The Famous Ashley Grant

2. Official launch of Tampa Bay Freebies

3. More posting and linking to The Crooked Table

4. I don't know what else at this point...but I'm working on it =)

I'm also doing a body makeover on myself. In an effort to have the energy to do all of the things I want to do to make my dreams come true, I'm going to make a more valiant effort at getting my body in the condition it needs to be in. I got my hair did and I worked out today and plan on trying to get myself right in body and mind and hopefully spirit.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

When Work Gets Cancelled

A little bummed because a project I was supposed to work on this afternoon that would have paid me 1/3 of a standard week's pay got pushed back. On top of that I am waiting on 3 checks from 3 different clients and watching the dollars in my account keep going down. My husband Jeremy continues to try to comfort me by saying that when I begin to get regular work I won't feel the pinch of waiting on the money as much...but getting to the regular work part is becoming more difficult than the feeling of waiting on a check.

When work slows down for you, what do you do for extra money?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Article Spotlight: 5 Fall Wedding Venues in Tampa

Where it was posted: Associated Content
Whats its about: There are hundreds of places to get married in Florida. These are my picks (alphabetically) for the top five fall wedding venues in the Tampa Bay area.
Where to read the article: CLICK HERE

Article Spotlight: How to be the Cool Kid

Where it was posted: Associated Content
What's it about: The cool kids seem to have it all. This article shows you ways to be the cool kid.
Link to the story: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Did I Really Only Make $50?!?

So, it just hit me that so far this week I have only made $50!!! Grrr! Grant it I have been sick and have not felt at all like writing, working or asking people for work, but still! This sucks! I basically just got a rude awakening about what happens when you work for yourself! The days you don't work, you don't make money!!!

There are no sick days, no paid vacations, nothing! Sure, there are lots of perks to working for myself, but it was hard to look at my books and see such a dismal amount of money to be made 3 days into the work week. Even more saddening is knowing that I won't make any money again until Saturday because me being ill has kept me from setting up appointments and all that jazz.

This post is not my way of trying to get people to feel bad for me, so let's clear that up right this second. Instead it is my way of showing you that although my job is the coolest ever, it does have its downsides. I'm not a millionaire [yet ;)] and I do have to work every single day that I hope to make money. That is until I come up with some amazing book that makes me royalties while I sleep, right? Hey! It could happen so don't hate.

Photo credit:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bubbles the Clown is Back in Town!

Just got $77 worth of groceries at Publix for $8.60 thanks to Addicted to Saving! Would have been less, but I splurged on candy bars for kids I'll be hanging out with for summer movie camp!!! love the fact that I can splurge a little for things like that now that I'm becoming a super couponer!

Which reminds me...
If you want to see me as Bubbles the Clown come to AMC in Brandon and get a chance to win some of the candy I just bought. Every Tuesday morning this summer select kids movies are just $1! Details HERE

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cheap Eats Review: La Ideal Sandwich Shop

Click HERE to read my Cheap Eats review for Metromix on La Ideal Sandwich Shop. A restaurant qualifies for Cheap Eats if two people can eat for under $20.

Bar Review: Shephard's

Click HERE to read my Bar Review for Metromix on Shephard's

Bar Review: Blend Lounge

Click HERE to read the review on Blend Lounge I did for Metromix

Bar Review: Pour House

Click HERE to read my Bar Review on Pour House

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

820 AM was Full of Bull Today! 6.8.2010

Patrick Hooper had me as a guest on the Chris Markowski show today to promote the Full of Bull Shirt

Check out the pics below:

Wishing and Hoping for Page Views

This morning I'm just soooo sleepy and really wishing I could just go back to bed and have page views come to me while I snooze. What do you do when you need to wake yourself up? Don't mention anything involving caffeine! I'd like to see something more creative!!

Monday, June 7, 2010

I'm So Thankful for Addicted to Saving

I'm what many would refer to as a starving artist. As a freelancer sometimes money is tight. Thanks to websites like Addicted to Saving I'm not only saving money on my groceries, I'm becoming inspired to do more to save money in every aspect of my life. With the help of websites like this I won't be starving anymore =)

In this photo is almost $110 worth of groceries. I actually spent $29.09 on all the food you see here!!! I have become so obsessed with Addicted to Saving that today I saved the most on groceries I have ever saved. Look closely-there is yogurt, egg beaters, peanut butter and more. You don't have to buy junk to use coupons. All the feminine pads you see in the picture I got completely free thanks to the coupons I used.

If you haven't checked out Addicted to Saving then you are probably overpaying for your groceries.

Like I said, the website inspired me so I've started a blog about free stuff in the Tampa Bay area myself. Check out HERE

I also wrote two articles about Addicted to Saving. Check them out HERE and HERE

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Turn off the Television!

One of my problems? The television. It has become a bad habit to turn on the t.v. as soon as I wake up. I even gave myself the excuse that I just wanted to watch the news, but as soon as the news is over daytime t.v. shows somehow manage to be on my screen.

The t.v. is very distracting. I can see myself developing into an even lazier stay at home worker if I don't start taking control right away. It would appear I need to leave the tube off and just turn on the radio if I need the news fix to get me going that badly.

Thank goodness I'm figuring out all my vices and distractions early so that I can hopefully combat them quickly and get to work!

Monday, May 31, 2010


Oh boy! It's been a little more than a week since I became a full time freelancer and I already feel like so much of a slacker. I have a long list of ideas. So many post it notes, napkins, business cards, random pieces of notebook paper and so much more and here I am more than 240 hours later without much to show for being on my own.

Sure, I've done some stuff, but nothing to make me feel worthy of the title of freelancer. I'm acting like an unemployed shlub with random spurts of working. I have to change my ways ASAP if I'm going to start making an actual living out of the thoughts in my head...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Help me get my page views up!

Hey everyone! I really need to get my page views up. Please click on my
articles. Whether you read them or not please, help me get to the next
"clout" level!!! Click here to help me!! Thanks bunches and bunches!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Paid my parking ticket

Yup! I got a parking ticket while shooting a charity event. Parking sucks in so many places in the Tampa Bay area!!! So...thought I'd write up a post on my thoughts regarding parking if you are a photographer, writer or even just a vendor working an event somewhere:

1. Check out places to park for free before you go!
2. Call your contact and see if there are places designated for you to park
3. If no place to park for free find the closest place with the cheapest price. *hint* If you have a lot of gear to bring with you, the extra coin for a closer space is usually worth it.
4. Bring a roll of quarters with you EVERYWHERE! If nothing else this might save you if there is an unforeseen toll road in your future.
5. Bring at least $10 in ones. Why $10? Well...several of the places I've had to park in the Tampa Bay area are between $0.50 and $1.25 an hour. You don't want to be checking your watch at a crucial moment in the event and fearing you have to run to your car.
6. With metered parking read the limit on it. Just because you keep adding coins doesn't mean the extra time will be added once your limit is up. i.e. $0.50 for an hour and a one hour limit on the meter...don't add $1.00 because you will then lose $0.50!!!

That is all I can think of for now. If you have other tips please comment =)
Sure these ideas may seem like common sense- but planning ahead can save you the $40 I totally just had to shell out for parking at an event I wasn't even paid for! If my post helps one person I'll feel a little better about this whole situation!!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

What did you write today?

I wrote this post October 29, 2009 for a Blog called The Crooked Table
It was so important to me that I feel it should be resposted here:

Sit down in the chair! Do it now!
Get a pen and paper and write down 5 places you want to write for.
This is the life of a freelancer...

Got those 5 places you wanna write for? get up out of the chair and head to the library and find those publications and study the crap out of them.

Studied up? Fantastic! Now sit back down in a chair and with 5 pieces of paper. At the top of each piece of paper write the name of the publications. example-at the top of Page 1 The New York Times Page 2 Penthouse Magazine and so forth and so on....yes I'm aware Penthouse will not be at the library, but I digress....

On each of these 5 pieces of paper brainstorm and write down ideas of articles that you could potentially make query letters out of for these places....

Once you have done that find out how the publications go about accepting queries. If they don't no big deal because at least you had an exercise in brainstorming. If they do accept queries, then what the hell are you waiting for? Write one!

Write your best idea to each publication that you dream of writing for and then wait....and wait...and wait...hopefully soon you will receive a letter, an email or a phone call that your idea has been accepted...

While you wait to be accepted keep doing it. Constantly be studying the publications you want to write for and constantly be sending in good ideas to them.

As Dr. Wilber from the University of South Florida often said, EMBRACE REJECTION!!!

Why should you embrace rejection? Because not only did you at least attempt to get an article in your dream publication, you have now been given the chance to try again. 90% of the battle is trying. Eventually, if your ideas are good, you might get the dream gig. Never give up! Never surrender.

Happy freelancing ya'll!
Ashley Grant

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Post at Tampa Bay Freebies

New Post HERE

Insomnia is a Side Effect of Being a Freelancer

I've had trouble sleeping lately because my mind is a flurry of ideas. I have to keep a notebook by the bed because my brain is constantly working and I have to write these ideas down to be able to go back to sleep. Funny thing is I often don't do anything with the darn ideas once they are written down. My goal is to start acting on the many pages I've collected if they are worth pursuing. Are you a creative being? Do you have insomnia because of it? Tell me about it...
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