Tuesday, April 30, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Tuesday, April 30, 2013

breath of fresh air

Prompt: Do you feel like you get enough fresh air? If the answer is no, get outside after you write your post!

Nope! I've been trying to fix this by opening my windows in my apartment more often, taking walks outside and rolling the windows down in my car.  I want to hike and camp and get outside a lot more. Guess, it's time for another walk...

I actually hope to buy a home ASAP- when I get one I'll start a garden, get some bicycles to ride with my husband and set up a nice outdoor space to retreat to.

Source for image above

Article Spotlight: Palm Pavilion Review

 Palm Pavilion 

Gorgeous location is great, but better food, stronger drinks and nicer staff would be a good idea at Palm Pavilion. Don't get me wrong, the people I went with made the trip better and it could have just been an off night, but my experience at Palm Pavilion doesn't exactly make me want to go back any time soon. Read the rest of my review of the Palm Pavilion.

Monday, April 29, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Monday, April 29, 2013

smile in a sea of sadness

Prompt: Samuel Johnson said: "Where grief is fresh, any attempt to divert it only irritates." True or false?

False! The attempt to divert grief can only irritate you if you choose to stay sad. You can choose to be happy in a sea of sadness. Those who choose to stay sad when they can instead find a way to smile have no one to blame but themselves for their unhappiness. There is always, always, always a reason to smile. Even when we are grieving, regardless of the cause of that grief, there is always a reason to smile.

"The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief." ~William Shakespeare, Othello

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Why Mondays are Awesome According to The Buried Life

cute happy Monday image 

#TBL  #TheBuriedLife
Found this on the facebook page of The Buried Life and loved it so much I HAD to share it- “I know today is Monday and you assume it’s going to suck, but according to statistics, there will be over 5,000 weddings, 10,000 childbirths, and 42 million hugs occurring today throughout the United States. Also today, there will be at least 4 people that will win the multimillion dollar lotteries, 600 people will get promotions at work, and 3,000 people will lose their virginity. There will also be 600 dogs adopted, 35,000 balloons sold, and 800,000 skittles eaten. Plus, the words 'I love you' will be said over 9 million times. So again, I know today is Monday and you assume it’s going to suck, but just smile, because according to statistics, it should actually be a really nice day.”

Have you heard of the show The Buried Life? The premise is simple. What Do You Want to Do Before You Die? This simple question spawned what is now a more than 6 year journey of four young guys trying to cross items off their bucket list. One of the coolest things to me about their journey is that for every item they accomplish on their list they have to help a stranger accomplish something on the stranger's list.

I just finished watching Season 2 last night and immediately went online and purchased their book and I can't wait to get it and read it!!! These guys are a massive inspiration to me.

Like them on facebook and while you are there, like me too :)

Source for image above.

Article Spotlight: Empress Tea Room Review

 Empress Tea Room 

Formerly located in Temple Terrace, the Empress Tea Room & Bistro has relocated to a bigger and better store front in Tampa. It is housed within the same plaza as Side Splitters Comedy Club and is quickly becoming the go to place for gals in Carrollowood to meet up for tea and those familiar sandwiches and scones that make up a traditional English High Tea. Read more...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Article Spotlight: Gratzzi Italian Grille

Gratzzi Italian Grille 

It may be in a strip mall, but the outside should not keep you from coming into Gratzzi. This restaurant is an adorable Italian spot in the middle of downtown St. Petersburg. The deep red walls, drapes and dim lighting are all warm and inviting. Continue Reading...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Article Spotlight: Lucky Dill of St. Pete Review

Located at the corner of 3rd Street North and Central Avenue, the Lucky Dill offers New York Style dining and catering. Owner Ken O' Bannon promises “fresh food, large portions and great service done New York style- right here in the heart of St. Petersburg.”

The dining room in the Lucky Dill is small and crowded. The room is packed to the brim with wooden tables and chairs. The walls are adorned with New York themed memorabilia including photos, articles and more. The dark dining room leads to the front counter where guests place their orders prior to sitting and waiting for their meal to be made-to-order. The exterior of the building has tables and chairs for dining as well if it gets too crowded inside or if you just prefer eating outdoors. Continue Reading...

Be sure to check out all of my websites: Tampa Bay Freebies, The Famous Ashley Grant, Living the Secret, We Are Full of Bull    

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Friday, April 26, 2013

5 Things I Learned From Sarah Jenks


Have you heard of Sarah Jenks? I confess, I only recently learned about her. However, now that I know who she is and what she does, I'm a fan!

The Reader's Digest version about Sarah Jenks is that she is an advocate for the empowerment of women who teaches them to "Live More, Weigh Less". Regardless of where you are now in mind, body and spirit, her goal "is to change the landscape of the way women relate to their bodies and to redefine what it takes to be happy."

Do you see why I became an instant fan? Ah, she is amazing. Watching her free training videos got me pumped up enough to make changes in my own life too. Check them out HERE and I'll bet you will feel just as pumped as me.

Here are 5 Things I Have Already Learned From Sarah Jenks

1. You should not wait until you have lost weight for your dreams to come true. Instead of focusing so much on all the things you will do "when you are thin" do them now! Why wait on the weight?

2. You should not be working out. Instead, you should be moving and having fun and getting in tune with your body. Why pump iron and hate it when you can go out dancing and have a blast? Why get bored on a treadmill when instead you could join a friend for a walk on the beach. Moving your body is way better than "working out". If it's a chore, it'll be a bore!

3. Diets don't work. Sure, you can lose weight but eventually you will give up on your diet and possibly gain all the weight back, if not more.- I can DEFINITELY relate to this. I was on a crazy diet last year and once I could no longer stand being on it, I went right back to my old eating ways and gained every last damn pound back. No! I'm not proud of it, but it proved to me that Sarah is right, diets simply don't work.

4. You can make a change right now! You can begin doing things to make your dreams come true regardless of where you are in life.
5. Getting spiritual can help you "find the magic in everyday life". Connecting with a higher power, meditating and just getting in tune with your mind can help you find your happiness regardless of your situation.

Want to learn these lessons I've learned and more? Then you have got to check out the Sarah Jenks website. Check out her free training videos on how to Live More, Weigh Less. They are inspiring and quite eye opening!

NaBloPoMo - Friday, April 26, 2013

Prompt: Margaret Atwood said: "In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt." Agree or disagree?

Initially my gut instinct was to disagree. I was going to write that as kids, yes we should smell like dirt because we should have spent the afternoon playing. However, as adults we should also spend the afternoon playing. Sure, we have to work and we have things to do, but that doesn't excuse us from being outdoors and getting active. In fact, it should probably be a requirement because then we can stay young!

Source for image above

Thursday, April 25, 2013

5 Things I've Learned From Emily Thorne


If you have not seen the show Revenge , then it's high time you get schooled in the awesomeness of the show. You can watch the entire first season on Netflix for with their Free Trial and then catch up on Season 2 via the Hulu Plus Free Trial.

The main character of the show is the "lovely and beguiling" Emily Thorne played by Emily VanCamp. It's about a woman's attempt to get revenge on the folks that framed her father for a crime he didn't commit when she was a little girl. 

Here are 5 Things I've Learned from Emily Thorne:

1. When you head down a path of revenge you sacrifice many things. One of those is the chance at true love. Emily's true love is a boy from her childhood, but she can't be with him because he is not part of her plan for revenge.
2. When trying to get revenge, you can't even trust your friends. Having friendships is something you really can't afford because if they turn on you, your plans can be ruined or altered in the blink of an eye.
3. Money makes things easier. As soon as Emily inherited millions of dollars, her hopes for a plan of revenge were easier to set in motion.
4. Rich people are always suspicious of everyone. Getting close to them is not easy, but even when you do get close, they will stay suspicious of you.
5. Revenge can feel sweet in the moment, but forgiveness is the only hope for peace in your life. Your best hope for happiness and sanity is to forgive your enemies. Sure, never forget what they did, and keep your guard up, but let the past stay in the past and move on with your life.

NaBloPoMo - Thursday, April 25, 2013


Prompt: Truman Capote wrote: "Aprils have never meant much to me, autumns seem that season of beginning, spring." Which season signifies the "beginning" of the year for you?

I feel like the first day of the new calendar year signifies the "beginning" of the year for me. Regardless of the the weather January 1 always feels like a clean slate. It's probably because it's been engrained into me throughout my years in grade school and college. January was the beginning of the new semester so I always thought of January as a new beginning and a new chance to do better on assignments, exams, etc...

“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been” - Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Don't Fall for This Nutellla Imposter!

You sir are an imposter! Give me the Nutella and no one gets hurt!!!

I made the mistake of buying the Jif Hazlenut Spread. This is a mistake I shall not make again. You see, I had a coupon that made this imposter much cheaper than my normal Nutella purchase so I thought- hey- it probably tastes the same. I'll just get it.

What happened next left me feeling like a five year old begging mom for a Barbie and instead receiving a dollar store knock off doll. Or worse an adult asking for Diet Pepsi and being given a Diet Coke!!! No, No, No, No!!!!!!!!!!!! This will not do.

The Jif Hazlenut Spread may have had good intentions, but it's never gonna be Nutella!!! No one can BE Nutella!!! Nutella is Nutella damn it and that's all there is to it. The Jif brand tasted exactly like what I purchased- a cheap wannabe version of the real deal. Coupon or no coupon, I shall not fall for imposters again. I'm so sorry my dearest Nutella. I hope you will forgive me and allow me to place again lovingly into my grocery cart now and ever more.

NaBloPoMo - Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Prompt: Do you like a fresh start?

Fresh starts are always welcome in my book. It's a clean slate that gives you a chance to either get it right or to at least do it better than you did it the last time.

With people- They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, but I'm a firm believer in giving people the benefit of the doubt. The day you have that first encounter could have just been an off day. We all have them and offering someone the chance to start over is a nice gesture.

With my career- Every new project is a fresh start and therefore a fresh chance to do it better than the job before.

With living space- I personally want a fresh start with where I live. I have said it before, but I often fantasize about giving everything away and moving to a new place and starting over.

With finances- As soon as my debt is paid off I feel like that is going to be a fresh start to do it right and play the money game better and finally win!!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Prompt: Do you like the rain?

I LOVE the rain. So many amazing things have happened to me thanks to the rain.

- I went on my first date with my husband because of the rain. A week after we met I was heading to my car which was parked in the "park and ride" lot of the University of South Florida and he was heading towards the campus. I knew his walk would be at least 5-10 minutes and the sky was about to open up and gush water. I offered him a ride to his class and he accepted. As soon as his bottom hit the seat in my car the rain came. I told him that since I saved him from the rain, he had to join me for lunch and he said okay! That was our first date.

- When we said "I love you" for the first time was in my car behind the movie theater I worked at. We were sitting in my car- yep the same one I saved him from the rain... It was pouring like crazy and we just blurted it out!

- One of our favorite first dates was a trip to Busch Gardens and it started pouring and rather than run for cover we played in the rain, ran around splashing in puddles and goofed off like kids again!!!

- When he asked me to be his wife it snowed that day- still precipitation!!!!

- On the night of our wedding it rained too.

- So, yes, I LOVE the rain :)

Source for image above

Pizza Hut Crazy Cheesy Crust - A Review

Pizza Hut Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza 

My hubby and I order from Pizza Hut more than I care to admit. Every time we order we always get a large pie, half supreme and half meatlovers and ALWAYS with a stuffed cheese crust.

Upon hearing about the new Pizza Hut Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza, my husband and I decided we HAD to try this pie. It was promoted as though it took forever to figure out how to make and like it would be soooooo much better than just a regular stuffed crust pie.

At the time of this review, a one topping large Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza was being promoted for $12.99 carryout. As I mentioned we always do half supreme and half meatlovers so that added $3 to the bill and is partially why the pie that we got looks different than the ad. (Not to mention that I've never seen one of their pepperoni pizzas arrive with THAT much pepperoni ...unless of course you order the pepperoni lovers pie and that would still be an additional $3...but I digress...)

From a visual standpoint I was excited. It looked just as I thought it would. Sure, not exactly like the one in the ad, but considering our topping choice wasn't just pepperoni I was pleased with the visual appeal. It smelled just as good as it looked too. Cue the drooling, slurp, slurp, nom nom...

The pie...The middle tasted just as good as always. We were disappointed, however, that it seemed we didn't get as many pizza toppings as we normally do because of how much of the crust had to be lost to the cheese cups. It ended up being more bread and cheese with a side of pizza than pizza with a side of bread and cheese. The cheese cups were not all that great in my opinion. The cheese was not as gooey as I anticipated and the ratio of cheese to bread made me long for my stuffed crust pie.

I don't care how long it took to create a method to make the Crazy Cheesy Crust Pizza, I would take my stuffed crust pie over this new thing any day!!!

Why did they have to create something new when they had something so awesome? I already know the answer and so do you...publicity! DUH!

Everyone and their brother was talking about this new pie on the blogosphere on the news and even on facebook before it debuted and once it came out everyone started reviewing the pie giving even more attention to Pizza Hut. It makes sense to try a novelty item considering how much publicity Taco Bell got for it's Doritos Tacos. What was it they said? A Taco that created 15,000 jobs? Anyway, my point is that I totally get the idea behind trying something new to get attention. I just feel that the Pizza Hut Crazy Cheesy Crust is a bust.

In case you couldn't tell, I won't be ordering a Pizza Hut Crazy Cheesy Crust Pie again. I will, however, be happy to order my usual large pie, half supreme and half meatlovers with a stuffed cheese crust.

Great, now I'm hungry. Is it lunch time yet? Ugh...

Monday, April 22, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Monday, April 22, 2013

Prompt: How do you keep blogging fresh year after year?

This is a difficult question to answer for my Famous Ashley Grant site... I basically just write about the things that are fascinating me or interesting to me. So, I guess the answer to keeping things fresh on my blog is simply writing about the things that are fresh to me.

With my Tampa Bay Freebies site I keep things fresh by simply adding the latest freebies available in the Tampa Bay area. The more new freebies there are, the more fresh and new content I have.

My First Attempt at Fiverr

my fiverr gig 

I'm trying out this website I keep hearing about. Fiverr...For those of you who don't know what Fiverr is, "Fiverr is a place for people to share things they're willing to do for $5."

After much contemplation about what I could do for $5 and get completed quickly for the customer, I settled on painting letters "graffiti style" on 8X10 canvas boards. A boy I had a crush on in middle school taught me how to paint the letters in this fashion and I've been doing it ever since. Anytime I would draw my own name I would get dozens of people asking me to do theirs too on notebook paper, computer paper, I even did it on a napkin once. I remember trying to get names done before the bell would ring and scrambling to complete that last name on my list hoping not to get caught by the teacher but also wanting the name to look good.

For my "gig" on the site I offered to paint these letters in black on a white canvas so folks could color them in themselves. I haven't gotten any orders yet, but hey- I am trying to put my art out there and make money too, so at least I'm trying right?

Would you like to order your name in "graffiti style"? Check out my Gig on Fiverr.com HERE!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

I Just Deleted What I Wrote...

I wrote out a lengthy and meaningful post and then immediately deleted it. As soon as I wrote it out I regretted it and knew that posting it would be even more depressing. I've been trying to make a serious effort to make this blog (and every blog I run) as positive as possible and what I wrote was filled with so much negativity I could not bring myself to publish it. So, instead of anything negative below are 10 positive images to make you smile :) I found these on facebook so if you own the rights to them please let me know and I'll give proper credit where it's due :)

There, now don't you feel better. Smile, tomorrow is a new day and it WILL get better!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Movie Marathon Day

channing tatum

It's been FOREVER since my husband J and I have been to the movies. So, armed with a $25 gift card, we went to the movies. Now, between you and me and everyone reading this, J and I went to 3 movies. (I used to work at this theater so no one seems to mind when we theater hop- I don't recommend doing it though- way awkward if you get caught.)

We caught up on our action flicks by watching G.I. Joe: Retaliation, Olympus is Down and the new Tom Cruise flick Oblivion.

Out of the three my top pick for best action was Olympus is Down my pick for best story line was Oblivion. I like movies that make you think so Oblivion was a great flick to watch. Unfortunately I wasn't too impressed with G.I. Joe Retaliation because it had a pretty predictable story line and the action just seemed overplayed, overdone and well blah. At least I got to watch Channing Tatum...GROWL!!!

***Spoiler alert!!! quit reading if you don't want to read what happens in G.I. Joe: Retaliation or Olympus is Down***
It really pissed me off that they killed Channing Tatum off in the first 20 minutes of the damn film in G.I. Joe Retaliation!!! Oh, and they killed Ashley Judd off in the first 20 minutes of Olympus is Down- what the hell?!? Since when is it okay to kill big name artists off in the first portion of a big budget film? GRRRRRRR!!!!

Anyway, after the movies J and I went to Red Lobster and split the shrimp linguine, a Caesar salad and of course those amazing cheddar biscuits. Nom nom nom!!!

It was one of the best Saturdays we have had in a looooooooong time. If only every day could be this fun...once I have my million dollars in the bank I vow to have more days like this =)
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Friday, April 19, 2013

My Burn It Book

burning book 

I have a journal I write in that no one will ever read. It's what I lovingly refer to as my "burn it book". It's filled with things in my mind, things I would never say to anyone, letters to people I'll never send, miscellaneous things I feel guilty for, judgements of things that have happened and so on... I shred or burn the pages of this book frequently and once it's full and completely empty, I'll get another journal and do it all over again.

Why? Simple- some thoughts were never meant to be shared with anyone. EVER! I simply need to get them off my chest and out of my head and writing it in a journal is cheaper than getting a therapist.

There is an amazing sense of freedom from writing things down that I know no one will ever see. Now, if I haven't put the current pages in the paper shredder or atop a fire soon and something happens to me or I leave the book in public, sure, there is a chance that these pages could be viewed but I am hopeful that this won't happen.

Typically right after I write something down in this journal it's destroyed, but sometimes I get a little reckless and put it off a few days. However, for the most part I write freely knowing my thoughts can freely escape my mind and then go into the abyss and feel secure that no one will know what I have written.

Imagine being able to tell your boss EXACTLY what you think of them, tell your spouse exactly how awful that meal they spent four hours trying to cook REALLY tasted or tell your kids that you sometimes wish YOU could run away from home. It could feel great in the moment but you might regret it as soon as the words leave your mouth. Everything you are not supposed to say can be said and probably should escape your mind so that you don't blow up later and actually say these things to these people ...that is what the "burn it book" is for me. No one gets hurt by it and I'm instantly left with an overwhelming sense of calm once I've put pen to paper.

Want to start your own burn it book? It's so easy to do. You can get a really fancy journal like this one, this one or even the journal that looks like the one from Cruel Intentions. Since your going to be burning/shredding it though, you could just get a spiral notebook from the dollar store. Then, all you do is write. Anything, everything, even things you don't think you should write down or say out loud.

The most important thing is to make sure that as soon as you write down what you don't want others to see you destroy it! Don't be the fool that ends up getting a divorce, getting fired or being ousted from your family because your thoughts became public! In fact, do yourself a huge favor, keep your paper shredder by your bed or your writing area and as soon as you finish your page, SHRED IT IMMEDIATELY ;)

What do you think of the idea of a "burn it book"?

Source for image above.

NaBloPoMo - Friday, April 19, 2013

doing the dishes

Prompt: Which cleaning task do you enjoy the most? The least?

My favorite cleaning task is washing, drying and folding towels. They are big and bulky and make me feel like I accomplished more than I actually did. I also really like doing the dishes. I don't know why, but something about an empty sink makes me feel like my apartment isn't nasty anymore.

I hate taking out the garbage. Such an easy task, but I really hate it. I live in an upstairs apartment and usually don't have shoes on when I'm at home so taking out the garbage means gathering up the bags from the bedroom, the bathroom and the kitchen and finding my shoes and opening the glass door to the balcony and going down the stairs and putting the bag in the can and then walking back up and closing the glass door and refilling all the cans with bags and washing my hands and putting away my shoes....ugh just typing it was exhausting... hahaha!

Source for image above. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

New Obsession: Pentatonix

Pentatonix! Omg! Just heard about them on Yahoo!'s homepage because they featured Pentatonix for their video with The Ultimate Sing-Off: Pentatonix Mash Up Five Musical Centuries and this lead me to viewing several of their Youtube videos and in a word they are TALENTED! I'm officially a fan!!! I want everyone to share their videos, subscribe to their Youtube channel, make them huge because they deserve to be. They are touring now and this my open plea to them:

Pentatonix PLEASE come to Tampa!!!!

Some of their videos that I already am hitting play over and over again are:

NSync Medley which is also embedded into this post

Their Thrift Shop cover is just awesome! Love that they made it all PG ;)

Radioactive- ah- I'm speechless and those of you that know me know this is hard to do. Wow!

NaBloPoMo - Thursday, April 18, 2013


Prompt: What task will go undone during spring cleaning this year?

I hope all of my tasks will get done for spring cleaning this year, but there is a big chance that going through all of the copies of publications I have articles printed in might not happen. I want to find every article I've written, scan a copy into my computer, load it to my digital portfolio and then finally have the courage to part with those copies of the publications. I only need the articles I wrote, but it's hard to let go of the entire publication for some reason. Am I alone in this? Have you had an article published and just can't let go of the entire magazine or newspaper or whatever it was published in?

Source for image above.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ongoing and Upcoming Projects


I thought for today's blog post I would just tell all my readers about some of my ongoing projects I'm working on and some upcoming ones too.

- Three years later I'm still working on my website Tampa Bay Freebies. Nothing makes me happier than getting something for free. I just LOVE free stuff!!! In March 2010 I posted my first freebie onto the website and on 10-10-10 I purchased the domain http://www.tampabayfreebies.com/ and I've been posting to it ever since. I've got a long way to go before I have the site exactly how I want it, but I'm getting closer every day. My goal is to have the site be a place that Tampa Bay residents can come to to find out how to eat, drink and go to the movies completely free. I also want to hire several writers to help me update the site more frequently and be able to pay them all a nice fee so that we are all making money on the site.

- In November 2009 I started the website We Are Full of Bull. This website began as just a place to sell a shirt I had designed but now several years later I'm trying to decide what I want to do with it. I would like for it to become a place for tailgate recipes, tailgate pictures, fan craft ideas and more. I'd also like to feature an athlete of the week and a Business Bull of the month and things like that. I plan to make the decisions on what all I will do with the website by football season. Again, I also want to hire several writers to help me update the site more frequently and be able to pay them all a nice fee so that we are all making money on the site. I also want to hire photographers to take pictures at the various USF events and place them on the site 100% free for fans to enjoy and download.

- In 2009 I began posting to a blog inspired by the book The Secret, but I've taken it down, put it back up and then finally purchased the domain http://www.receivingmiracles.com/ for it less than a year ago. I'm getting more serious about posting to it. I started posting The Prosperity Game onto it pretty frequently and want it to be a site people can go to to become inspired for their dreams to come true and have their wishes fulfilled. I also want it to be a diary of the abundance coming into my life and the accomplishment of the items on my personal bucket list.

- I got accepted by About.com to be their Tampa Guide in March 2011 and I've enjoyed every minute of being their guide!!! I just signed my 2013 renewal in March 2013 for another year and I look forward to working another year with the site and hopefully being renewed for many many many more years to come. Check out my site with About HERE. My goal is to build and grow the fan base for my site and get the community to submit more events and story ideas and make into a viable option for finding about things that need and want to know about the Tampa Bay area!

- Other projects: I own several other domains that I'm debating about what to do with. I am working on research for four eBooks and have one eBook done that is in editing now. I plan to self publish the eBook that is being edited right now by the end of this month if all goes well. I just want to be writing and taking pictures more than ever before and ultimately end up traveling the world and document my travels online and in eBooks and anywhere people want.

The more I work the more excited I get. I am a professional blogger in that I'm getting paid to do it, my next goal is to be a 6 figure per year earning problogger and world traveler with my husband. Beyond that, I'm not sure exactly what else I see in my future but every day that I get closer to accomplishing the goals I currently have makes me happier and happier!

Source for image above.

NaBloPoMo - Wednesday, April 17, 2013

spring cleaning products

Prompt: Do you enjoy cleaning? Why or why not?

Yes and no.There are days I wake up and all I want to do is clean. Other days I just can't even bring myself to change out of my pajamas let alone run the dishwasher. I think the main problem I face (aside from my laziness) is a lack of organization and an abundance of junk. My apartment is filled with crap I don't need and I haven't really figured out a way to organize said junk. I know I need to purge a lot of stuff, but that takes effort.

Hopefully I will wake up in the mood to clean again real soon and be able to organize every single item so that when it is time to clean up I'll at least know 1. where to begin 2. where things go- have a place for everything and everything in its place :) and 3. know when I'm done because once everything is in its designated spot that's my stopping point.

Source for image above.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

5 Things I Learned from Bridget Marquardt

Bridget Marquardt

Anyone who knows me knows I'm a die hard The Girls Next Door  fan. Ever since the first episode I watched featuring Bridget Marquardt, Holly Madison and Kendra Wilkinson I was hooked! Who wouldn't want a life of luxury and fantasy that these women got to live?!? I personally wouldn't want to be a girlfriend of Hugh Hefner, but I would love the perks they got from living at the mansion!!!

While watching The Girls Next Door I learned a lot believe it or not. My favorite girlfriend was and always will be Bridget Marquardt. Why? Well, she was a mass communications major, I too was a mass communications major. She loves Halloween, I love Halloween. She loves to dress up and I do too when I have the money to do so. She likes to party plan and I do as well...the list goes on and on of things I have in common with this awesome chick. Of the many lessons I learned watching the show, here are five that REALLY stuck with me:

1. Never give up on your dreams! Bridget tested to be in Playboy and didn't get chosen so she went back to school. However, she didn't give up on her dream of being in  Playboy. When the opportunity to move into the mansion came up she jumped at the chance. Not expecting anything from it, she just set out to have fun. Low and behold though moving in led to the chance to be in the magazine and she was stunning in every pictorial she was a part of.
2. Age ain't nothing but a number! Even over the age of 30 Bridget still had a rockin' body and got in Playboy magazine. Now, I don't desire to be in Playboy, but as a gal that is not exactly getting any younger this inspires me! You can be sexy over 30!
3. Be genuine! In the first episode Bridget talks about how she was there at the mansion to have fun and not to see what she could out of it. She was always genuine and the girls that were fake were weeded out of the mansion. People can tell when you are just being friendly to use people. Be genuine with people and your relationships will be deeper and more fulfilling.
4. You CAN eat and look good!  The episode where Bridget prepares for her strip tease and the episode where she prepares to do a workout video both spoke to me. I've struggled with my weight since high school and it was nice to see someone who loves food as much as I do could workout in a fashion that burned off pizza, cake and whatever else she wanted to eat!

This is a twitter exchange I had with Bridget in January about her workout routine nowadays:

5. Once a Dream Comes True, Dream Bigger! You can keep dreaming even after your dreams come true. The end goal of being in Playboy led Bridget to dreaming of being a radio host, hosting a travel show and so much more. I hope that all of my dreams come true and once they do I plan to make new lists of new dreams and go after them too.

Are you a fan of  The Girls Next Door? What are your favorite episodes?!?
Want to get the series on DVD? Click the HERE to get all of the episodes.

Source for the image above.

NaBloPoMo - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

maid robot

Prompt: If you could invent a machine that could help you with one aspect of spring cleaning, what would it do?

I would invent a real life Jetsons maid robot.  It would help me clean everything. The best part? I'd only have to pay once instead of a maid that gets paid monthly, weekly or daily. Ha!

Source for image above

Monday, April 15, 2013

Happy Birthday Leonardo da Vinci!

leanoardo da vinci 

Today is Leonardo da Vinci's birthday. The man may best be known for his paintings, but what always fascinated me was what Wikipedia calls his " technological ingenuity." Things that were not even possible in his day, da Vinci scribbled onto pieces of paper such as "a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, and the double hull, and he outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics."

It's just amazing to me to think of someone who could effectively come up with ideas such as these out of thin air. It makes me think about how science fiction ideas can come out of thin air and then ultimately be made into real, tangible, usable things.

Old science fiction flicks also come up with wild ideas, but when you really think about it, some of those ideas have become realities. Once a pipe dream, cell phones are everywhere now. "The first concept of a mobile communication device occurred on a little television series called Star Trek." (via Dvice) The same goes for iPads and other flat screen touch computers: "Whether you own an iPad or a Kindle Fire or some sort of touchscreen flat device, you owe a debt of gratitude to the previously-mentioned Star Trek, this time Star Trek: The Next Generation." Check out the full list of 10 current technologies directly inspired by science fiction HERE.

I can't help but wonder what products the science fiction flicks of our generation will yield in the future.

NaBloPoMo - Monday, April 15, 2013


Prompt: It's time for spring cleaning: tell us which room you're tackling first.

I'm tackling my kitchen first. It has the least amount of stuff that will need to be thrown away. From there I'll make my way into my dining room and then the living room and then the bathroom and then the last one - the one I dread- my bedroom.

When I think about spring cleaning I always find myself just wanting to give everything away and start over fresh without a single pot, pan, linen or pair of shoes. Am I alone in that?

Source for image above.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

My Go-to Cookie Recipe

cake mix cookies

I love cookies! I know they are not the healthiest thing to love, but we all need an indulgence now and then and homemade cookies are definitely mine! Anytime I'm craving freshly baked cookies I have one recipe that is my go-to if I don't want to put too much effort into the task of having some fresh baked awesomeness!!! It's cake mix cookies.

Why is this my go-to recipe? Because it doesn't have to just be yellow cake mix made into chocolate chip cookies! The recipe is soooooo much more versatile than that. Just a few of the combos I've made with the recipe below are carrot cake mix and raisins, chocolate cake mix with white chocolate chips and the ultimate indulgence- devil's food cake mix with ground up candy bars. omg!!! So good. Here's the basic recipe:

- 1 Box Cake Mix
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 c oil
- 1 cup Filler Item ex. Chocolate Chips, White Chocolate Chips, Raisins, Crushed Candy Bars, Nuts, etc

1) Preheat oven at 350 degrees
2) Mix Cake Mix, eggs, oil and filler item together. Form into little balls
3) Bake for 4 – 10 minutes or until edges have turned light brown.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

In Case You Need a Laugh

Anytime I'm in a bad mood, in a funk or just in need of a laugh I find myself hunting for goofy, stupid and funny videos on Youtube. Luckily, a bunch have been coming up in my news feed from friends on facebook and usually when I watch one from there I get suggestions that lead me to hours of entertainment. In case you need a laugh, here are some videos that have had me laughing until it hurts lately:

1. How Animals Eat Their Food
2.Official Video: Cat Bath Freak Out -Tigger the cat says 'NO!' to bath
3.Stalking Cat
4.Marissa: The Extreme Couponer
5.Perform This Way (Parody of "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga)
6.will.i.am - "Scream & Shout" ft. Britney Spears PARODY
7."The Hunger Games" — A Bad Lip Reading
8.What if Animals Could Talk :)
9. Funniest Videos - Top Ten
10.funny crazy cats ))

Friday, April 12, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Friday, April 12, 2013


Prompt: How do you interpret the words "live simply?" 

When I think of the words "Live Simply" I immediately have the urge to clean out my apartment and get rid of the excess junk and stuff I don't need and live only with what I need. Living Simply means traveling the world with the clothes on my back, just a few things in my pack and sharing my writing and photography for all to see and enjoy online.

Living Simply means abiding by the ideas in the 100 Thing Challenge and not collecting stuff for the sake of collecting stuff. Living Simply means keeping in mind that Tyler Durden was 100% right in the movie Fight Club when he said "The things you own end up owning you."

One of my dreams is to be a photographer, writer, nomad. Living Simply would be required for that dream to become a reality. I don't need a house filled with crap. I need a mind filled with memories, a website filled with diaries and logs of my travels and a set of photos to go along with those writings.

Be sure to check out all of my websites: Tampa Bay Freebies, The Famous Ashley Grant, Living the Secret, We Are Full of Bull  

How to Lose a Customer to a Corporate Competitor

bad customer service 

In an effort to be a local shopper I've been making it a point to buy from a local cafe for breakfast in the mornings instead of going to the big corporate chain that actually charges less money and is within minutes of the local mom and pop owned business. Well, sadly I think that ends today. The photo above is an extreme example of bad service and I didn't take it, but what I experienced today was just as annoying....in fact, it's something I've experienced so much lately that today's incident was just the final straw.

The problem with the local cafe? The people that work there are just plain RUDE! They complain all the time, roll their eyes when you walk in complaining they would rather be home and can't wait til the end of the day, they bitch about the cost of running their business and don't like it when you ask simple questions. Even worse? They have a television they watch during the day that is in full view of the customers that is NOT behind the counter and on several occasions has been tuned into soft core porn. I'm all about expressing sexuality, but I don't need boobies and "sausage" with my eggs and croissant thank you.

Today, as I said was my final straw. I got into the cafe about 9:30 a.m. and was going to order my usual sausage, egg and cheese on a croissant sandwich but noticed they were out of eggs and that the single piece of sausage left was burnt. I inquired if they had more eggs and got a snappy response that they were making more. Ok- that's fine. "What about the sausage? Will you be making more of that?" I was hit with a bunch of comments about how sausage was already available and that if I expected fresh and non burnt sausage I should have shown up earlier in the day.

Now, this company has a sign that says breakfast is available until 11 a.m. It is not MY fault that you burnt your damn sausage! It is not MY fault that goods cost money and that corporate chains get price breaks because they buy in bulk. It is not MY fault that you have been so rude to me for the past SEVERAL times that I tried to give you my hard earned money that I now choose to make it my mission to do everything possible to avoid being a customer of yours EVER again!!!!

If I want breakfast now I WILL go to your corporate competitor or bring something from home.

So, there you have it folks. Being rude and treating your customers badly is a great way to lose a customer to a corporate competitor!!

Source for image above.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tax Day Freebies 2013

taxes due 

This post originally went live on my Tampa Bay Freebies site earlier today, but seeing as how everyone hates Tax Season and loves free stuff, thought I'd post it here too as part of my Ultimate Blogging Challenge :) Enjoy! Feel free to check out Tampa Bay Freebies as well!

1.Free Curly Fries and Potato Cakes at Arby's "Enter your name to print a coupon for a free value-sized curly fries or small potato cakes from Arby's. You can redeem the coupon anytime on April 15th to get your free fries or potato cakes. Arby's is also having a sweepstakes where you can enter to win one of ten $500 tax relief payouts." (via Freebies.About.com)

2.Free Samarai Surf & Turf at Panda Express "This tax day freebie is happening a few days after tax day.Print out a coupon to get a free single serving of Panda Express's Samarai Surf & Turf for free on Wednesday, April 17. No other purchase is necessary and this is limited to one coupon per person." (via Freebies.About.com)

3. Free popcorn at AMC (via STLMommy)

4. Office Depot: FREE Shredding on April 16th (up to 5lbs) with Printable Coupon (exp. 5/1/13) and FREE Black & White Copy of your Tax Return with Printable Coupon (exp 5/1/13) (via STLMommy)

5.Free Birthday Cake Cookie from Great American Cookie Stop into Great American Cookies on Monday, April 15, and get a free birthday cake cookie. (via Freebies.About.com)

6. 7-Eleven is providing a medium Slurpee for free when you text “Slurp7″ to “711711″ (ends April 30). (via AARP)

7. Chili’s is giving you a free appetizer or dessert when you “like” its Facebook page. While you are there, be sure to "Like" Tampa Bay Freebies too! (via AARP)

8. Pinkberry is giving away Pinkberrygreek yogurt from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday until April 24. (via AARP)

9. Subway’s deal: Buy one 6-inch sandwich before 9 a.m., get a second one for free (ends April 30). (via AARP)

10. FREE HydroMassage Experience on Tax Day – April 15 – 19 (via Freebie Depot)

NaBloPoMo - Thursday, April 11, 2013

save the planet  

Prompt: Which natural resource do you worry about the most?

All of them. All natural resources are in danger the more we use them without thinking about the future. People are only concerned with convenience and the now. What about years from now?
Trees are being plowed down to build homes that are too big, office buildings that are larger than life and unnecessary structures. Sure, I know there are lots of people overpopulating the planet and that buildings are being put up to accommodate them, but I just can't help but feel like too many folks are buying homes bigger than they need when space could be used in a better way. No one needs 24,000 plus square feet - no not even celebrities!

According to the premise of the book What Has Nature Ever Done For Us? by Tony Juniper via Cambridge News: "Every second of every day, nature provides us with ‘services’ worth trillions of pounds. The soil recycles its nutrients, an army of predators tackle unwanted pests, forests renew fresh water and remove carbon dioxide from the air, plants provide food and drugs, and coral reefs and mangroves act as insurance against floods. Yet these natural resources are regularly being destroyed – in the name of economic growth."

As the world continues to focus on growing rather than living off what is already here, the bigger the chances are of our future generations not having the things they need to survive.

Source for image above.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

4/25/13 is Pay it Forward Day

pay it forward image  

Get ready because according to http://payitforwardday.com/, Thursday April 25, 2013 is Pay it Forward Day...

Have you seen the movie Pay it Forward? If not the Reader's Digest version of the film is a 12 year old boy is given an assignment to fix the world inspiring him to help three people with the requirement that they help three people and thus the helping will be "paid forward" to the next recipient.

If you haven't seen the movie, then maybe you have heard those wild stories about the chain of folks that bought coffee for the person behind them and it kept going until one person finally didn't want to pay for the coffee for the person behind them. One of the most recent occurrences I read of this happening was in December in Winnipeg Canada where a "pay it forward" coffee chain went on for three hours...

Have you ever participated in an act of paying it forward? I personally have. I have given coupons to ladies that I knew could use them at the grocery store, I've paid for coffee for the stranger behind me, I've even paid for gas for someone who's credit card kept getting declined. In each instance I simply said to pay it forward...I like to think that these recipients of my random generosity did just that.

I think the idea of paying it forward is brilliant. If everyone started doing random acts of kindness with no expectation of receiving something in return, I think the world could be a better place. Maybe I'm taking it too far with that belief, but maybe not.

Looking for ways you can do a random act of kindness on Pay it Forward day or anyday? Here are some ideas:

- If you are like me and sometimes get breakfast at a chain on the way to work, give the cashier $5 for the person's breakfast behind you.
- Leave a $1 in the toy section at the Dollar Store. I saw this on a website where a woman would take little snack bags and place $1 and the tax in them and taped them in random spots of the toy section at Dollar Tree. Can you imagine the excitement in a child being one of the lucky ones to find that baggy?!?
- While at lunch/dinner today tip your waiter 50% or all of the cost of your bill. Or pay for some stranger's entire meal. I recently read a sweet story of a young couple who went out to dinner for Valentine's Day and when they requested the check there was a note on it from a stranger that said "The only request is that someday you pay it forward. In the meantime, enjoy your youth, enjoy friendship, enjoy love. Be good to each other and good luck." The anonymous older couple had paid for a $250 dinner for these young lovers!!! Amazing!
- The simple one that has gone viral- pay for the coffee for the person behind you at your favorite coffee place
- If you own a business pick a random past customer and give them something free
- In downtown Tampa and St. Pete meter monitors watch for meters to expire to give folks parking tickets. I sometimes keep extra coins to fill those meters before they expire saving random people from getting a ticket. You could do the same in your area =)
- Leave a coupon next to an item at the grocery store. The person that gets it might be needing that little bit of savings and you could make their day.

What ideas do you have for paying it forward? Have you paid it forward in the past? I'd love to know. Share it in the comments below.

NaBloPoMo - Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Prompt: Do you have a green thumb?

I wish....but sadly, the answer is no. Since I don't have one and have no tips to offer, I thought I would just share this video I found on how to "grow" your own green thumb.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Review: Atkins Beef Merlot

atkins beef merlot 

Over on my website Tampa Bay Freebies I wrote about how you can get a free Atkins Starter Kit. If you want one too click HERE to learn how to get one. One of the things in the kit was a coupon for a free Atkins frozen meal. I opted to buy the Beef Merlot. Here are my thoughts on this frozen meal:

- First, I was pissed at Wal-Mart because the would not take the full value off even though the coupon said free! They made me pay $0.49 out of the $3.98 original cost! WTF Wal-Mart? FREE MEANS FREE! Whatever! I'll just go to Publix next time when I have coupons since they don't screw me...but I digress...
- The package instructions were easy. I've gotten some frozen meals that require you to slit the plastic, heat the item, pour it out, spin around, do a dance, make a fire, then put it out, put the meal back in the microwave, bang two sticks together and then pray to the sun gods for a nice day and then you can finally eat. Okay- obviously that is complete bullshit, but you get my point that some instructions are so long and annoying you are left wishing you just ate a PB&J because that has less steps...
- The meat was a lot saltier than I expected but it was decent. A little chewy, but overall pretty good considering it's a "diet meal". The flavor was pleasurable in fact.
- The broccoli was okay, but not great. I found myself slathering it in the left over sauce from the meat to be able to get it down.
- "Wow that TV dinner was really filling", said No One EVER! It was a decent snack, but unless you pair it with a salad or eat two of them, you'll be left hungry and dissatisfied.

*Note- I didn't get paid for this review and am not an affiliate for Atkins, but I felt it necessary to share this anyway

Source for image above

NaBloPoMo - Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Prompt: Talk about a time you were on a farm.

My favorite times on a farm were in Kentucky when my Papa Rader was still alive. My parents moved me to Florida when I was just a year old but we went back to visit as often as we could. I remember Papa Rader's happy smile and the walk/dance he would do coming down the path to greet me every time I went up to visit. I can't describe it but I sure do wish it was on video because that move he did as he greeted me made me feel like I was the most important thing in the world if only for a few moments. True, he had lots of grand children, but in that moment I always felt special.

I feel like my Papa Rader was taken from this Earth too soon...However, everything else I want to say I'm going to keep to myself because I don't think my family would understand my feelings and thoughts. I will just conclude this post with the fact that I'll never forget the warmth and love I felt when visiting Kentucky and my extended family back then.

Monday, April 8, 2013

NaBloPoMo - Monday, April 8, 2013

Prompt: Do you own a garden? What do you grow?

Because of the facts, this will be a short post. Nope! I don't have a garden :(

I tried but the poor seedlings I planted died a fast death. Apparently when you don't water your plants/seeds death comes quickly. Who knew?!? If I ever attempt it again, I'll have to set an alarm clock to remind me daily to take care of my crops to be. Oh well, I guess until then I'll just have to keep buying produce at the market like other non green thumbed folks...

How to Make 6 Figures in One Year

money image from salon 


I said in a recent post that my goal beginning with this year is to make 6 figures a year annually. Here, now are 10 of my ideas of ways to make 6 figures in one year. At the end of this list, feel free to add a comment if you have a better way to make 6 figures in one year or if you would like to chime in about how crazy/brilliant you think I am in the comments section.

1. Ask 100,000 people for $1 and assume they will give it to me. Or get really crazy and ask 20,000 people for $5 and assume they will give it to me ;) Oh, that reminds me...Can you spare $5 to my BlogHer fund? If so, feel free to donate HERE!(Thanks in advance!!!)
2. Write a book, self-publish on Amazon, at $2 in royalties sell 50,000 copies to have $100,000. Repeat every year for the rest of my working days.
3. Promote a product that is at least $100 on Amazon and get 25,000 people to purchase it since I currently get 4% of any purchase as an affiliate.
4. Sell 20,000 items on Fiverr.com. My current offer that is up is to "Paint Your Name Graffiti Style on Canvas for $5"
5. Begin stripping in Pasco/Polk County (since someone said I'm too fat to strip in Hillsborough- long story LOL) for a year hoping to earn about $274 a night. Mom, if you are reading this- calm down. I'm not actually going to become a stripper it was just an idea I had for this list of 10 ways I could make 6 figures in a year!
6. Make a Youtube video and try to make it go viral to make 6 figures. Not sure what the per view rate would be so I'm not sure how many views I need for a viral video- but you get the idea ;)
7. Use Google Adsense on all of my blogs and somehow get enough page views on them to result in 6 figures. Again, not sure what the per view rate would be but assuming a penny per view I would need 10,000,000 in one year. Since I said this I guess I should post links to my current websites: Tampa Bay Freebies, The Famous Ashley Grant, Living the Secret, We Are Full of Bull  
8. Write 4,000 blog posts for other people at $25 each
9. Work 2,000 hours as a photographer at $50/hr in one year
10. Get 1,000 freelance writing gigs at $100 each in one year. The most I've gotten in one year was 52 gigs at $100/gig, but hey! I didn't try as hard as I should have and if I put my mind to it anything is possible. Right? Right? Crickets? Seriously...was that sound byte really necessary? Oh, those sounds are in my head? I guess I'm just losing it...

Maybe I should just meet a millionaire and ask him for $100,000. This is highly unlikely, but then again I'm very persuasive when I'm motivated enough to get what I want. Ha!

In all honesty, I'm thinking the one I'll pursue the hardest to make 6 figures this year is option #2 because I just finished writing my first eBook and plan to self publish via Amazon this month ;)

Source for image above.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Lazy Sunday

I'm having a laaaaaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzy Sunday, so this post will be short. It's one of those days where I have no interest in writing at all. I'd rather just lay in bed all day and watch television and eat junk food and not even think about all the things on my to-do list. I think I'm seeing how important it is to schedule posts to go live later because there are some days when all I want to do is write and other days, like today, that I would rather do anything but write... So, the next time I get in a mood to write like crazy, I'll schedule a bunch of posts...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chipotle, Nutella and Magazines! Oh My!!!

I thought since today is Saturday and I'm not really in the mood to write anything that is too serious or thought provoking I'd just let me readers know a little more about me by sharing a few of my favorite things. The first is Chipotle...I don't know about you...but I LOVE Chipotle!!! I frikkin' crave it ALL the time!!! My favorite thing to eat there is a burrito bowl with rice, carnitas, lettuce, cheese and sour cream. Yum! My fitness pals are forever fussing at me for not getting veggies and beans in place of rice, but you know what? I don't care sometimes. This combo makes me happy and it's so delicious!!!

Gasp! Another unhealthy item! Nutella!!! If you don't like Nutella I immediately assume you are an alien because this stuff is sooooooo good. My favorite way to eat it? On fresh hot pancakes. My second favorite way is to slather some crescent rolls and roll them up, at some sugar and then bake em into gooey chocolate filled yumminess. Tastes like a piping hot doughnut. MMMMMMMMMM!!!

 woman’s world magazine 

Finally...something healthy. Woman's World is one of my favorite magazines EVER! This magazine makes me feel better mentally, physically and emotionally. It's a weekly mag that always has words of inspiration, ways to drop a few pounds and tips to de-stress, de-clutter, and be happy. I LOVE this magazine and hope to write for it someday!

 first for women magazine 

First For Women Magazine is another magazine favorite of mine that I have a goal of writing for. It's another feel good magazine that has tips for saving money, tips for making life easier and a lot of ways to just feel better all around. This and Woman's World are two mags I can be seen buying all the time!

word search 

I love doing word searches because it is an easy mindless activity that just calms me down within minutes. It's fun for me to find the words and sometimes I'll even time myself to see how fast I can find them. I do about one a day. I just get a sense of peace during this me-time activity =)

What are a few of your favorite things?
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