Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm Grateful to Have a Home

I'm sitting in International Plaza in a comfy booth with a.c. on reading the tbt* and sipping an ice cold Diet Pepsi and feeling very grateful not only for this moment but also that I have a home to go back to at the end of my day. On page 15 of the tbt* is a picture of the town of Manila- a poor community in the Philippines. Tropical Stom Saola ripped apart these people's already minimal living quarters and the image reminds me of how lucky I really am.

This morning I argued with my husband over how late he stayed up fearing he wouldn't make it to work on time. The truth is I get upset over stupid and petty things like that too often. I am grateful that this image was there to remind me how fortunate I am. Thank you for my home and all the luxuries I take for granted.

Article Spotlight- Dining at the Original Hooters

If you have ever eaten at a Hooters then you know they are a lot a like wherever you go. The tacky Christmas Lights, the girls in familiar attire of orange shorts and white tops, the sports on the television sets, the wooden panels and hard wood floors and of course beer and wings. Hooters has been a fun dining spot since 1983 when the first one opened at 2800 Gulf to Bay Blvd. in Clearwater.
Continue Reading!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Article Spotlight- Concert Venues of Tampa Bay

concert venue 

Loud music, smoky atmosphere, booze and your favorite singer on stage are all the makings of a great concert. Below are the concert venues in Tampa Bay. Know of one I missed? I want to know about it. Tell me about it here. This is part one of two to the list of concert venues in Tampa Bay.

1. St. Pete Times Forum

The St. Pete Times Forum encompasses 670,000 square feet with three decks and seven separate levels. The building is 133 feet 10 inches in height and 493 feet in diameter. The innovative design of the St. Pete Times Forum provides for 19,758 seats for NHL games, 20,500 seats for Basketball games and up to 21,500 seats for concerts and center stage events. The St. Pete Times Forum brings in huge musical acts like Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and Carrie Underwood.

Continue Reading!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Article Spotlight- Sea Sea Riders Review

sea sea riders 

The Bottom Line
From the day it opened, Sea Sea Riders has served meals with a homemade touch. The restaurant opened in 1988 and proprietors Artie and Sylvia Tzekas took over the restaurant in 1990. Since then it has become a favorite of Dunedin locals and out of town guests.

  • Plenty of parking
  • Full bar with a pretty decent wine selection
  • Everything is made fresh to order
Continue Reading!!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Article Spotlight- Best Mexican Restaurants in Tampa Bay

 Chihuahua Mexican Grill  

Tacos and nachos and quesadillas, oh my! Here are the Tampa guide top choices for Mexican restaurants in Tampa Bay.

1. Cantina Laredo

Located in The Shops at Wiregrass, Cantina Laredo serves up authentic Mexican cuisine and the best traditional and strawberry margaritas in town. After a day of shopping (or work) its hard to imagine something better than Mexican food and a cocktail. Cantina Laredo is almost as famous for their table side guacamole as their happy hour. The guacamole is made fresh at your table and serves two to four people depending on your appetite. If guacamole isn't your thing, try the ceviche or the queso laredo.

2000 Piazza Ave
Wesley Chapel, FL 33543-5429
(813) 907-3068


Friday, July 27, 2012

Article Spotlight- SideBern's Review


The Bottom Line
SideBern’s is a great spot to stop by for happy hour and nibble some appetizers while enjoying some delicious specialty cocktails.
  • Appetizers and cocktails with artisan qualities that are unique
  • Everything is made fresh to order
  • The atmosphere seems to encourage getting together with friends or coworkers

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Article Spotlight- Staycations on St. Pete Beach

Staycations in Florida make a lot of sense because we already have so much to do and see in our own backyards. One awesome place to visit is St. Pete Beach. If funds are super tight visit for the day and then head home, but if you can splurge a little and want to spend a weekend or even a week on St. Pete Beach here are three amazing hotels you should consider. CONTINUE READING!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Article Spotlight- Green Springs Bistro Review

green springs bistro 

The Bottom Line
Located in downtown Safety Harbor, Green Springs Bistro is a great place to relax, get a bite to eat and enjoy local art while listening to a local musician.
  • Great service and great value
  • Delicious food with perfect portions
  • Fun atmosphere with lots of local art to enjoy CONTINUE READING!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Article Spotlight- Hula Bay Dining Review

hula bay mojito 

The Bottom Line
When it comes to Waterfront dining Hula Bay is one of the swankiest spots to do it. Not only can you eat while watching all the boats go by, you can relax poolside with a beverage in hand after.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Article Spotlight- Hard Rock Cafe Tampa Dining Review

hard rock cafe 

Hard Rock Café Tampa Review 

The Bottom Line
The Hard Rock Café inside Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tampa is the perfect blend of food and music.
  • You can listen to the music of old and new
  • Touch screens allow for an interactive dining experience
  • The food, the entertainment and the staff are all wonderful. CONTINUE READING!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tammy Levent's Birthday Bash 7/21/12

tammy bday 7212012
I had a BLAST at Tammy Levent's Birthday bash last night! There is nothing quite like getting to show off a new makeover after months of hard work losing weight and I got to do just that by being one of the "models" in Tammy Levent's fashion show at her birthday party on Saturday, July, 21, 2012.

One of the coolest things about being in the show is that before I even knew I was going to be in it I had added that to my list of goals I wanted to accomplish for my 101 in 1001 challenge!

Here is the final product after a couple of hours of transforming from no hair, no makeup, no accessories into the full package:
makeover image 3 

Hair: Dawn Marie Rodriguez of Sei Bella Salon
Makeup: Connie Rose of Victims 2 Survivors and Marla Lamont of Dr. Adam Scheiner's office.
Dress: The black and creme goddess looking one was a gown on loan from Lending Luxury. The blue and black one you see in the pic at the top of me and Tammy was from my closet. LoL
Accessories: Nelly Wakin's Shop Fashion Outlet
Weight Loss Program: Dr. Lara. I've lost 40 pounds on his program. Read all about it HERE!

Here are the images of me getting ready and then showing off my new look:
makeover image 1 
 This is the start of my makeover

makeover image 2 

My hair is done after an hour of work! Onto the makeup chair!
makeover image 4 

Base coat on! Let's do eyes!
makeover image 5 
eyes? CHECK!

 makeover image 6 
 Lips need some color. Let's do that next!

 makeover image 7 
I was feeling red so we went with a color called Rapture. 
 makeover image 8 
 makeup complete! Now, time for my dress and accessories!

 makeover image 9 
Ready to party! (and party I DID!)

Article Spotlight- Taco Bus Lunch Review

taco bus

The Bottom Line
Taco Bus, located on Central Avenue in downtown St. Petersburg is a food truck that offers delicious grub to go.
  • The food is really good
  • Everything is made to order
  • Prices low with generous portions CONTINUE READING!!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Where You Can Find Me TONIGHT 7/21/12

Tammy Levent 2012 Bday 

Tonight I'm partying Greek to Freak Style with Tammy Levent! You can't get tickets online anymore, but tickets will still be available at the door. Come out and see me, The Famous Ashley Grant, and a bunch of other awesome Tampanians for a fun night for a great cause!!

See the description of the party from Tammy Levent's website:
Celebrate Tammy's Birthday & Help Two of Tampa Bay's Most Amazing Charities! Sip Specialty Drinks, Greek Dancers, Belly Dancers, Catered Cuisine, Cigar & Hookah Lounge, Celebrity Guests, and Lots of Surprises as Every Year! Purchase Your Tickets Today!

Admission:  $ 65.00 at the door ( includes 2 drink tickets)

VIP Admission: $ 100.00 at the door ( includes full liquor bar)

Swag Bag to the first 100 VIP guests!
Official VIP After Party Held @ The Blue Martini
For more information, click HERE!!

Article Spotlight- Bern's Restaurant Review

berns with jer
Bern’s opened its doors in 1956 and the goal was to serve quality food with the best service. Today, the restaurant is busier than ever and the quality of food and service is just as important as it was when the business first started. Continue Reading!!!!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Article Spotlight- Top 10 Places to get a Martini in Tampa


There is nothing better than nursing a martini while gossiping with friends, hanging out with a hot date or enjoying a great meal. Here are the top 10 places to enjoy a martini in Tampa.

1. Ocean Prime Tampa

Located near International Plaza, Ocean Prime is known for its steaks, seafood and cocktail lounge. The best drink on the menu is the Berries & Bubbles Martini. It features both vodka and champagne and is served with dry ice so that it smokes and bubbles as you drink it.
2205 N. West Shore Boulevard
Tampa, FL 33607
(813) 490-5288

Thursday, July 19, 2012

How to Make Sports Inspired Drinking Glasses

Here it is guys! My first video in my first ever web series. Initially I was going to do a series of videos on one subject, but after REALLY thinking about it I decided to just go with what I know best and that is how to make stuff! I love crafting and thought a series of crafting and how to videos would be a ton of fun and every week I plan to load a new video of a craft I've done and show you how you can make it too! This also helps me with one of my tasks for my 101 in 1001 challenge! So, without further adieu...check out my video for How to Make Sports Inspired Drinking Glasses

You can check out all of the videos I've loaded on Youtube HERE!! 

Article Spotlight- 10 Best Italian Restaurants in Tampa Bay

 spaghetti warehouse lasagna image 

In Tampa Italian Restaurants are easy to find. Narrowing down the choices to the top 10 places to grab Italian grub was not, but here they are:

1. Luigi's Italian Restaurant

Located between Himes and Macdill on Gandy, Luigi’s Italian Restaurant is known for great food and wines that pair perfectly with the meals. The prices here are low and the portions are big making Luigi’s the budget friendly place to eat Italian food.
3324 W Gandy Blvd Ste 3
Tampa Fl 33611
(813) 835-5885

Continue Reading...

WikiHow's How to Get Famous

In an effort to become the Famous Ashley Grant I've started reading articles about how to get famous and happened upon How to Become Famous in 5 Steps from Wikihow.

Oddly enough the 5 steps are not written items 1 through 5 but upon further review there are in fact 5 steps listed:

1. Understand that there is more than one way to become famous. This is my favorite tip! They even give ideas of ways to become famous. Unfortunately I'm not sure which ones will work for me...

    • Write a best-selling novel. -Working on it, but I'm thinking eBooks will be my actual path to being a best seller 

    • Perform a popular song. - Nah, I may have won a singing contest at Wal-Mart, but I highly doubt this will actually get me famous. Although, I reckon I could try it and throw it on Youtube...anything is possible I suppose. 

    • Become an actor. - Easier said then done. I don't even know where to begin in terms of finding a place to audition. Again, I think I'll just attempt a few Youtube videos.
    • Invent something useful. - But I'm not that smart!!
    • Become a model. - They said I'm too short. LOL Runway models start at 5'7" and I'm only 5'4.5"
    • Start a successful business. - If I had a successful business I would just travel and forget about fame and don't you have to have a level of fame to get success??
    • Do something heroic.- Like what?!? I can't fly, I can't breathe underwater, I don't have x-ray vision and last time I checked I can't lift more than 50 pounds without squinting. What makes a hero?
    • Become an elected official. - Oh HELL no. Too many skeletons in my closet to attempt being an elected official. I prefer being allowed to drink, dance, gamble and make out with my spouse in public thank you.
    • Excel at professional sports. - Nope! Not gonna happen. Not now, not ever! I can't catch a ball even if you are standing right next to me
    • Marry someone already famous- I'll have to check with my current husband in regards to how he feels about this. My guess is he will not be okay with this considering he loves me and I love him...
      2. Make sure that becoming famous is your ultimate dream. DUH! Of course it is!
      3. Do something inspirational so others can look up to you.
      4. Build upon one of the four techniques above to apply it in your desired field of fame.The four techniques they are referring to are from item #3 which they actually call item 1 under the subhead "Be Unique"
      5. Put yourself out there. This is my second favorite tip. I put out, er I mean I put myself out there whenever I can. ;)

      Wednesday, July 18, 2012

      There is ALWAYS Something to be Thankful For

      I am thankful 

      Today, I'm feeling so very grateful and thankful for my career. In the past five years I've gotten to do things and see things I don't think I ever would have if I had stayed on the path I was on before deciding to become a writer and photographer. In 2005 I was still an education major and believed that my path was to become a high school social studies teacher. I knew I could find a way to be content with it but something always felt off.

      Luckily, one of my professors, my art professor in fact, told me she saw me in a different career. She visualized me as a member of the media and suggested I take a mass communications class as an elective. Figuring I had nothing to lose I took Professor Rick Wilber's Introduction to Mass Communications and fell in love with ALL things media! After that I was done with education and changed my major to Mass Communications with emphasis in Magazine Journalism. 

      In February 2007 my very first article was published in the USF Oracle. Since then I have loved every minute of being a writer and photographer. There have been ups and downs but at the end of the day this is everything I could have ever dreamed of and more. I love my job and I look forward to every story I write and every photograph I take! I also look forward to actually becoming The Famous Ashley Grant!

      Sure, I'm not 100% where I want to be in my career yet, but I know that if I continue on my current path I will have everything I want and get to keep doing the things I love to do. I do still want to teach, but I think my path will bring me to grad school to teach at the college level and instead of teaching social studies I'll teach journalism, but that is several years off. I have so much more I want to do before becoming a teacher.

      I will write books, I will write more articles, I will take a crap ton more photos and I will BE the Famous Ashley Grant. I am so thankful I get to do this as my career and I am so grateful that my husband Jeremy has supported me in my dreams since I decided this would be what I would do for a living!

      Article Spotlight- Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa

      Seminole Hard Rock 

      What was once an Indian Reservation turned bingo destination has morphed into one of the hottest spots in Tampa Bay. When the clubs have closed Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Tampa is the place the party moves to, but it's also a place to eat, drink, dance or play any time of day. Continue Reading...

      Tuesday, July 17, 2012

      Article Spotlight: Tampa Bay Club Sport

      Regardless of whether you are new to Tampa or have been here for years, you may be looking for something to do in your spare time. Joining a Tampa Bay Club Sport league is a great way to entertain yourself, get to know people and get in shape.

      Tampa Bay Club Sport (TBCS) is a group of leagues that play many different sports throughout the Tampa Bay area. Adults 18 and up looking for a way to interact with strangers and friends can form or join teams to play sports. Continue Reading...

      Want for Europe- External Hard Drive

      external hard drive for Europe 

      I want the Seagate 500 GB External Hard Drive for my trip with Jeremy to Europe for next May! Having this will make saving all the images a breeze! Must get!

      101 in 1001: Read 100 Books

      pile of books

      One of the posts I created recently was called 101 in 1001 and it basically was 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days. The 101 in 1001 idea was found on Pinterest and I decided I wanted to try it for myself. One of the items on the list was to read 100 books or eBooks. I've started reading my 100 books and here's the list of books read as of 7/17/12:

      2. 100 Thing Challenge By Dave Bruno

      Monday, July 16, 2012

      Packing for Europe

      backpack Europe list 

      Now that I've decided I AM going to Europe in 2013 I figured it's time to get serious about planning for this trip. I found this awesome packing list on the website Backpack Europe and I think I will use this as my basis for my actual packing list for my trip! Can. NOT. Wait for this trip!!! This is going to be soooo much fun!!!

      Friday, July 13, 2012

      101 in 1001: Watch 100 Movies

      popcorn and drinks for a movie

      One of the posts I created recently was called 101 in 1001 and it basically was 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days. The 101 in 1001 idea was found on Pinterest and I decided I wanted to try it for myself. One of the items on the list was to watch 100 movies either in theaters or on DVD.
      I've started watching my 100 movies and here's the list of watched movies as of 7/31/12 (I would like to point out that no where in my list of 101 in 1001 rules did I say I couldn't watch a movie I've already seen.):

      1. Rock of Ages
      2. Magic Mike (watched twice- but it only counts as one LOL)
      3. Men in Black 3
      4. Prometheus
      8. The Secret ....Yes, this movie is pretty bad as a movie, but hey- watching it gets me in a Law of Attraction mindset. :)
      9. The Stepford Wives
      10. The Dark Knight
      11. Savages
      12. The Amazing Spiderman
      13. Ted

      Thursday, July 12, 2012

      Post Vacation Laundry

      How is it that my clothes in my suitcase seem to have doubled since going on vacation? I knew I would have a bunch of laundry to do since I snagged some clothes at a thrift store but sheesh!!! I had no clue I would have THIS MUCH!!! Luckily my mom's dog (was my dog before I moved out) came over to visit and help me with the task! :)

      Wednesday, July 11, 2012

      Maple Bacon Snacktime!

      Stopped about 100 miles from home at Burger King for my Maple Bacon Sundae...this too is another novelty food item I will NOT be purchasing again. Although it did not taste bad per se, it was not the best of desserts. 1/3 of the way into it I had to throw it away basically throwing $2 of the $3 I spent on this stupid frozen treat in the garbage. Oh well, you only live once...right? LoL...onto the next adventure I suppose...

      Doritos Locos Taco Review...

      Since I have failed miserably on my diet and plan on getting back on track in the morning I decided I will splurge two more times. For lunch I had the Doritos Locos Taco from Taco Bell and for a snack later I will be trying the Maple Bacon Sundae from Burger King.

      My review of the taco-it tastes exactly like it sounds. It is Taco Bell meat in a big dorito chip. I honestly did not like it and will not be ordering it again.

      I will be posting my review of the Maple Bacon Sundae as soon as I try it.

      As for my status of how far from home I am...I am about 150 miles from the exit I take to get to my apartment complex... I have roughly 3-4 more hours of road time ahead of me still. I can't wait to get home and look thru pics and videos of the trip and all of my garage sale and thrift shop finds.

      No Really- In Georgia

      My previous post was 11 miles premature...we are really in Georgia NOW!! Ha!

      In Georgia!

      Been on the road 3 hrs and 45 mins...2states down 2 to go

      Lottery Tickets Take 2!!!

      Heading home so at it again. Buying Powerball tickets in every state! Mom and I agreed that winning is a good reason to revisit any state!!!

      Tampa Bound!!

      It is early. The sun is not out but we are heading home. Tampa or bust!

      Tuesday, July 10, 2012

      Sunglass Lenses Help iphone Cameras

      Mom was trying to get another photo of the Kentucky sunset and decided to do it with her iphone. Unfortunately the iphone was not cooperating with her for the images and I suggested using my sunglasses to get a better picture. Well, mom took the sunglasses and covered the lens of the iphone with them and got some really neat pics. As soon as I am able to load some of those images I will but for now this is my mom taking sunset photos with a sunshaded iphone! LoL. If it works why not do it, eh?

      The Table & Chairs Made of Rocks

      Here in Kentucky the rocks are so big you can build furniture with them. My Granny Betty's sister and her husband made a picnic table and two benches out of rocks they found out and about.

      Slept til the Cows Came Home

      Last night was the most sleep I have gotten since coming on this vacation. Woke up and grabbed breakfast and decided to eat it on the back patio deck. All the cows came up to the fence while we were eating so I guess you could say we slept until the cows came home...

      Monday, July 9, 2012

      Trying to Snap on a Chair

      My mom wanted me to get a photo of the sunset on my Granny Betty's deck and the best way to snap the image was to stand on a chair so I wouldn't get the electric wires in the shot. You see, the deck is right under the electric poles and the wires dangle just above our heads while we stand on it. I always fear getting zapped!

      The good news is that standing on the chair got me some great photos!

      Thinking of St. Petersburg

      I'm at a consignment shop with mom in Berea, KY and there is a book here called "The Man From St. Petersburg." Now, the book is about a man from St. Petersburg, Russia, but seeing it made me think of fun nights with pals while hanging out in Tampa Bay. I guess you could say no matter where I travel to, I always have fond thoughts of Tampa Bay. I may be from Kentucky, but my heart is in Florida.

      Candle Store Shopping

      There is an outlet store here in Berea, KY that sells factory rejects and candles that don't sell in stores for dirt cheap prices. We bought a whole bunch of the empty candle jars to use for painting and crafting projects today. My granny Pat bought a bunch of the candles for when the power goes out. The store is scheduled to close in September and we are so sad to see it go because we just love the deals we snag on the goods for gifts for people.

      Sunday, July 8, 2012

      Those Who Can't Find- Buy

      We found a whole pile of moon rocks. The catch? They're for sale! $3 for a small, $5 for a big or $7 for two big ones. Mom went ahead and bought a whole pile of the ones for sale just in case we don't find any on our hunt today. Ha!

      Moonrock Hunting Day 2

      Got up @ 7 a.m. to go moonrock hunting in Mt. Vernon Ekntucky. Had breakfast and cleaned yesterday's haul of rocks. Then we got on the road about 9:15 and started driving through the country to get to the creeks that supposedly host the motherload of moonrocks. We'll see if we come home with some good moonrocks or if we head home empty handed...

      Saturday, July 7, 2012

      Moonrock Hunting

      In Kentucky in the creeks and on the edge of the creeks are these beautiful rocks that lots of folks call moon rocks. You don't know if you got one or if it is just a regular old rock until you bust it open.

      A bunch family members and I decided to go hunting for them after a cookout today and we found a whole bunch of what we are pretty sure are in fact the rocks. When we bust them open with a hammer or axe we hope to reveal the gorgeous crystals that are found in moon rocks.

      Here is a photo of me in the creek at at a church hunting for these precious finds!

      One of the Reasons My Diet is Failing

      Alcohol, lard and sweets! Oh my!!! It is damn near impossible to stick to my diet on this vacation in Kentucky. What is not deep fried or covered in lard is served with an adult beverage or a guilt inducing dessert. I'm going to HAVE to get back on track STAT!


      Moonshine is illegal to make but a company has made it in a fashion that the state deems legal. Apparently if you make your moonshine in a factory instead of your barn and allow the state to put a tax on it then it's legal to have and drink...so...now I will get to try moonshine!

      Renfro Valley Lake

      While driving to yard sales we ended up on the back end of a tourist attraction and saw a beautiful lake known as the Renfro Valley Lake. Renfro Valley is a famous tourist attraction where country music singers stop on their tours. While viewing this lovely lake we accidentally ended up off roading in my mom's suv that has NO business going off road! Definitely added some adventure to this trip! Happy to report we didn't end up turning her vehicle into a boat!

      3 Yard Sale Lessons Learned in Kentucky

      On the Kentucky trip I'm learning a whole bunch of stuff about yard sales and here are three tips I've picked up:

      1. Gather a bunch of stuff you want and offer one price to the seller. Start at half the tagged price and go from there.
      2. Don't commit too much to an item where the seller can see your excitement. If they know you really want it they will try to sell it for the full tag price.
      3. Beware the sales that have multiple sellers that are not present at the sale. You are less likely to haggle a price if the sellers aren't at the sale because people aren't willing to speak on behalf of others.

      Another Day of Yard Sales...

      So much for sleeping in this vacation. LoL. Day 2 and we got up super early again to head out to more yard sales. It amazes me just how huge yard sales are in the area we are staying!

      The picture is the street sign for my Granny Betty's street and the sign is only a few years old. They didn't add one until after my grandpa needed an ambulance when he got sick a while back. It's amazing to see just how much this area has grown since we moved to Florida 26 years ago. It's a slow growth, but it's a growth nonetheless. No matter how much the town grows the ways of the people are still simple and much more calm than the hustle and bustle of Tampa Bay life.
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