Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Tuesday, December 31, 2013
What do you want to do more of in 2014?

See my #NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Monday December 30, 2014 for this answer....today and yesterday go together!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Monday, December 30, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Monday, December 30, 2013
What do you want to do less of in 2014? 

In 2014 I want to deal less with debt and have more freedom from debt. I want to worry less and have less stress and more excitement. I want less weight on my body and a more fit physique. I want less sadness and more happiness. I want less suffering and more enjoyment. I want less drama and more fun. I want less clutter and more organization. I want less eating out and more home cooked meals. I want less busy work and more real work that yields income. I want less junk and more structure. I want to travel more and stay at home less. I want to make less wishes and make more of my wishes that I already have come true in 2014.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Friday, December 27, 2013
Which do you enjoy more: the last week of the year, or the first week of the year? 

I enjoy the first week of the year more than the last week of the year! Every new year brings new beginnings. It's a chance to start over and wipe the slate clean. It feels like another opportunity to keep all the promises you have made. A chance to right all the wrongs you may have done. A way to open the doors you may have neglected before. A new year is a chance to do the things you intended to before but never got around to...I am a sucker for new beginnings.

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

People Like You
By Joanna Fuchs
A brand new year!
A clean slate on which to write our hopes and dreams.
This year:
Less time and energy on things; more time and energy on people.
All of life's best rewards, deepest and finest feelings, 
greatest satisfactions,
come from people-- people like you.
Happy New Year!



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Thursday, December 26, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Thursday, December 26, 2013
Did Christmas fulfill your expectations this year? 

Yep! Christmas fulfilled my expectations. The meal at my father-in-law's house on Christmas Eve was a delicious serving of Honey Baked Ham, scalloped potatoes, baked beans and Hawaiian Sweet Rolls. At my mom and dad's place on Christmas day we had ham, green bean casserole, broccoli cheese rice casserole, rolls and baked beans.

My father-in-law got me a perfume I've been saying I wanted for years, my sister-in-law got me crafting supplies, my hubby and I got each other massages and my mom and dad got me an awesome stocking filled with goodies!


Before Christmas even arrived though- I had a wonderful time with a couple of girlfriends on a dinner cruise in Clearwater for our annual holiday get together. We have made it a tradition to do a fun activity together instead of spending money on each other on gifts.

A couple of weeks ago my mom, sister and I got to enjoy the fun of Christmas Town at Busch Gardens in Tampa. I went sliding down a snow bank, walked through an amazing display of countless lights, sat on Santa's lap, sang Christmas carols and so much more. It was one of the best nights I can remember enjoying with my mom and sister in a long long time...

The night before Christmas Eve also brought some fun as another gal pal of mine met up with me for a night of bliss at Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Tampa. I got a coupon for a free Hard Rock calendar and then we had dinner and played some games and then hung out til the wee morning hours when we had some more food and then called it a night. Such a fun time!

All in all it was actually a wonderful Christmas season. I'm very grateful for all that I did, all I received and all I was able to give. I look forward to an even brighter and more abundant 2014 and fully intend to give a lot more next year and every year after that!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

 Merry Christmas from the Hubster and The Famous Ashley Grant!!!

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Merry Christmas (if you're Christian)! Share a photo from your day.


Merry Christmas!!!


I hope that Santa brings you everything you asked for this Christmas. It is my most sincere hope that you and your family have a holiday filled with love, happiness and all the warm memories you deserve. XoXo

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Tuesday, December 24, 2013
If you celebrate Christmas, are you doing the holidays larger or smaller this year? 

I'm doing the holidays the same way I've done them for the past several years. Small and cheap...Not because I want to do Christmas on a small scale, but because I'm doing the best I can with what I have right now...

I hope that in 2014 I can do the holidays much bigger. Not because I want to receive more presents, but because I want to give more presents... I want to be able to buy toys for lots of children that don't have them, meals for those in need and pay for bills for random people just because it feels good to do something for someone else. I also want to take better care of my family not just in the upcoming year, but from now on...

Thank You for Promoting Five Buck Christmas!

 

From 12/17/13 to 12/21/13 my eBook Five Buck Christmas was free. I want to thank everyone who helped me promote the eBook during it's free five day period. Facebook pals, twitter tweeters and bloggers- thanks so much!

A special thank you to the following blogs for the shout out you gave my eBook:


Thriving on Thrifty

Old Fashioned Families

Whole Food Mom on a Budget

Homemaker's Challenge

Closet of Free Samples

Did you miss the free promotion? You can still get the eBook Five Buck Christmas. It's just, you guessed it, FIVE BUCKS!

In this eBook you will find ideas for gifts and crafts for Christmas that will cost $5 or less! The first section is filled with décor and craft ideas for your home. The second section is filled with fun gift ideas.



No kindle? No problem! There are FREE kindle reading apps for iphone, droid, tablets, ipad, PC and MORE!! 
 
Get your copy of Five Buck Christmas today! Thanks in advance for your support! 
 
This post contains links to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday, December 23, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Monday, December 23, 2013
Which is better -- a small Christmas tree or a large Christmas tree? 

Depends on the size of your place! I live in a small apartment and so a small tree on my dining room table is all I need. However, if I lived in a home with more square footage, I'd probably want a much bigger tree.

I will say this though, my tree doesn't hold all of the ornaments I've collected over the years. They have to stay at my mom's house on her tree because I don't have room for them. I like my mom's big tree because almost every ornament on it has a history. Each one of mine is dated for the year we got it. We have had a tradition of my sister and I each getting to choose an ornament for the year ever since we were old enough to pick one out for ourselves. I remember how excited I used to get trying to find that perfect one that reflected my personality or at least something I liked for the year.

For a few years I lost the excitement of that tradition. Then, this year I went with my mom to pick one out and ended up finding a lovely pack that had four in it. Purple for me, green for my mom and then my sister will be able to choose between the other two. These ornaments were so pretty, simple and elegant, but just going with my mom again to pick it out was special to me.

I'm still not 100% certain I'm going to have children, but if I do- I plan to let her (oh yes! it better be a girl. ha!) pick out an ornament every single year. I guess by then, I'll need a bigger tree to hold all of mine and hers.

This year my husband and I celebrate 10 full years and 11 Christmases together. My gift to him was one hand painted ornament for every Christmas we have spent together. Perhaps I'll be needing a bigger tree sooner than I thought ;)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Friday, December 20, 2013
Do you do any volunteer work? Tell us about it.

Well, this is an embarrassing and depressing prompt to write on...No, I don't really do any volunteer work anymore.

However, I used to and I honestly would like to again.

I regret falling out of doing volunteer work. I've helped with running a charity's thrift store, golf tournaments for a few different charities, painting walls...I even helped build a house for a family in need. I am no longer in most of the groups I used to be in doing these charitable acts. I want to start doing them again on my own regardless of the groups I am affiliated with. I'm hoping that 2014 will bring me the kind of opportunities I would like in order to be able to do volunteer work again.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Thursday, December 19, 2013
What was the last donation you made? 

Thanksgiving week. I bought Thanksgiving dinner for a family of strangers. I don't even know who they were or if they enjoyed their free meal. All I can do is pray it made their day.

That week I also bought ten gifts for Christmas for kids. I feel like charity is important all year round, but there is something about the holidays that makes me want to give even more.

The truth is, I just wish I could do more. If I had it my way, I would be giving more of my time, funds, abilities, etc...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Tell us about a time you did more with less. 

Everyday! I don't have an advertising budget, but I continue to advertise my websites, writing and photography business daily. I send out emails, make phone calls and post to social media.

Want to learn how to advertise your business for free? Check out 3 Ways to Advertise Your Business for Free HERE!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Do you give people more than what they ask for, or do you leave them wanting more? 

I used to give people more than what they asked for and I always ended up screwed in the end. Nowadays, I give people exactly what they ask for in hopes they will want more and then come back for it. The sad thing is though, that I want to give people more than what they ask for. It just stinks that once you start giving to most people they start taking and begging for even more than you want to give...

I wish I had enough money in the bank to be able to just give all day, everyday. If I did, I probably would do more jobs for fun regardless of the pay. Sadly, until that day comes, I have to charge a certain fee and only give what people pay me for...

All I want is enough money to pay off my debts, take care of my mom and set up a retirement account that will yield a decent return annually to keep my bills current while allowing me to just give away my time to whoever I want forever. Here's hoping that in 2014 I'll come up with a way to make enough money that I can just give away my writing and photography services to anyone and everyone that wants them.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Monday, December 16, 2013
Albert Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge." Do you agree or disagree? 

I think it depends on the end game. Imagination can bring you some fun regardless of your income, but at the same time imagination can be your ticket to the story idea that can make you as rich as J.K. Rowling. There are rich people that are dumb as a box of rocks and poor people that are sharp as a tack. I would bet that the richest people have a blend of both knowledge and imagination.

If you want to just have enough money to pay your bills, you can probably get away with knowledge or imagination. However, if you your end game is just to be happy regardless of income - all you really need is imagination. So, in my opinion, if your endgame is to be super rich you need both knowledge and imagination.

This post contains a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Friday, December 13, 2013
George Bernard Shaw said, "Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance." Do you agree or disagree? 

I would have to agree. Some people are so adamant about things they believe to be true even when they are wrong that no amount of truth can sway them. Conspiracy theorists definitely come to mind with the danger of false knowledge vs. ignorance. An ignorant person can be taught the truth, but someone who believes a false truth has already "learned it" and embedded it into the brain. Once it's embedded into the brain, it seems harder to remove.

This prompt reminds me of the question "What's the difference between someone who is stupid and someone who is ignorant?" The answer of course is "Stupidity can't be fixed!"

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I am NOT a Failure!


In my writing career, I've had months in the black and months in the red. Sure, I've had more months in the red over the years. However, I have not failed. I have not given up and I will continue to work at my dream of being a traveling writer and photographer. Until the day I stop writing, I have not failed.

Like Thomas A. Edison  said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

I look forward to continuing to find the way that my path will work and I will be a "success." Until then, I will simply keep going, keep trying, keep writing...

Source for image above.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Thursday, December 12, 2013
Would you rather have one more hour with someone you like, or one fewer hour with someone you can't stand?

I feel like this is a trick question! I was taught to surround yourself with positive people because the negative people will only bring you down. Because of this I would choose to spend one more hour with someone I like. In my opinion spending that extra hour with someone I like will make the people I can't stand stay away from me in the mental and physical sense. The longer you spend with people you like, the less time you have for the people you can't stand!

Are You Santa Claus?

 

 

Yesterday, I came across a letter about Santa Claus that I must keep in mind should I ever decide to have children. The gist of the letter is that a kid asks their mom if she is Santa Claus. Mom's response? "The answer is no. I am not Santa. There is no one Santa." Fast forward to the end of the letter and she concludes with, "Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness. I’m on his team, and now you are, too."

One of the things my husband and I have discussed when talking about when or if we want to have kids is whether or not to have our child grow up believing in Santa Claus. On one hand it feels like deception, but on the other hand it feels like giving our kid the magic we had when we believed in Santa.

The interesting thing to me is now that I have read the letter about Santa Claus, I feel like I can believe in Santa again. "Santa is love and magic and hope and happiness." Doesn't that line just make you feel all warm and fuzzy? I personally want to recapture that feeling around the holidays once more.

Read the entire letter about the Truth About Santa Claus HERE.


This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Tell us about a time you took the less traveled path. 

I was on track to be a teacher. I was in my second year in the College of Education. I was a substitute teacher. I was looking into internships and all the requirements necessary to graduate in the four year plan...then, a glitch in the matrix...

I was taking an art class as one of my liberal arts requirements and my teacher took a liking to me. I would visit her in office hours and one day she told me she had a crazy dream about me being a wildly successful writer. She urged me to take a mass communications class. The next semester I signed up for Rick Wilber's Introduction to Mass Communications and the rest, as they say, is history...

I could have stuck with teaching. That would have meant stability, regular paychecks and pretty much guaranteed work. Instead, I'm chasing my dream of being a traveling writer and photographer. I've had months where I had full time income and months where I could not pay my bills. I hope I'll make it big, but no matter what happens- I'm happier chasing my dream than I ever would have been as a teacher.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Tuesday, December 10, 2013
C.S. Lewis said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it's thinking of yourself less." How good are you of placing others before yourself? 

I'm a little too good at placing others before myself. I worry and fuss over others so much that I neglect my needs. I'm trying to get better about that, however. I am learning that if I don't take care of my needs before taking care of others that I am not going to have anything left for myself -let alone anyone else. I do believe it is important to take care of others, but I have learned it is just as important to take care of yourself too.

I do wish that more folks would take care of others. So many people seem to care more about themselves and have the mindset of "not my problem" when it comes to others. I genuinely feel like if more people helped there fellow man we would all be better off. I don't feel like people should sacrifice or do without to help others, but if you have extra money, time, food or clothes you should try to lend a helping hand. Take care of yourself and your family first, but if you have extra anything after- help a fellow man/woman/child in need.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo Prompt for Monday, December 9, 2013
If you could banish one thing from this earth -- tangible or intangible -- what would it be? 

I wish I could banish evil. With evil of course comes greed, jealousy, wickedness, immorality, etc... I wish I could see more people caring about one another and helping their fellow men/women in need. I wish I could see people who work hard being rewarded rather than overlooked. I wish I could see those that are always lifting others up being lifted up when they are down. I wish I could witness people giving rather than taking.

Instead, I often see people who expect to be given things they don't earn. Instead, I see people "stepping on others" to get to the top. I see people working themselves to the bone barely making enough to survive while some make more money than they deserve by lying, stealing and cheating.

I know personally even I have had moments of evil. I have said something bad about another person. I've gossiped. I've lied before. We all have. The difference to me is I feel guilty for my personal acts of evil. I just can't stand those who don't seem to be bothered by committing these and even worse acts of evil.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday, December 6, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo Prompt for Friday, December 6, 2013
What do you wish you had more time to do each day? 

I wish that I could spend more time with my husband each day. I also wish I could hang out with my family more often. Spending more time with my family is weighing especially heavily on my heart this week with the unexpected loss of my Uncle Eddie on Tuesday. As I sit here in Kentucky, just a few hours before his funeral, typing this blog post, all I can think about is how much I want to spend more time hearing his laugh, hearing his stories and just enjoying his company. I thought I would have more time with him. He was taken too soon.

It's typical for families and friends to say that they will not waste the time they have left with those still living in moments like this. Sadly, after all is said and done we then get caught up again in our daily lives with work, school, chores, appointments, errands, etc... thinking we will have more time later to spend with those we love and care about. Then, something like an unexpected loss occurs and we stop everything and spend time mourning the loss and wishing we could go back and spend more time with them. Of course, we can not. All we can do then is try to keep the promises we make to ourselves that we will make time to see those we love and enjoy their company while we still have time...

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo Prompt for Thursday, December 5, 2013
Set a timer for 10 minutes and try to write your whole daily post. Now go back and give yourself 5 more minutes to write about how you felt working under such a tight deadline.

I don't need a timer to write a post, I generally write my NaBloPoMo posts in ten minutes or less. When I have used a timer in the past, however, I write better and faster. I have always been better at writing under pressure. The only exception to this? Writing about subjects I don't know much about/have passion for. Generally when it comes to things I really care about and know a lot about I can write quite a bit in just a little bit of time.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Wednesday, December 4, 2013
How often do you go back for seconds? 

Not really all that often because I make small meals. On Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two times of the year that there are large meals that I can go back for seconds for. The rest of the year I typically only make enough food for me and my husband. The problem with this is I have to cook more often. My plan for the future is to start cooking bigger meals and split them into small portions before serving them that way I can cook less and continue having small meals.

Folks that cook a bunch of meals in advance- what is your favorite way to cook ahead? What do you use to portion things out? School me!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

December 2013 BlogHer Image 

#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Prompt for Tuesday, December 3, 2013
Do you see the glass as half full or half empty? 
The glass is always full! Since the glass is always full, that means everything will be alright. There is no reason not to be optimistic. See proof here:




 

Special Charity Announcement for December 2013!

Since today is #GivingTuesday I've decided I want to give back for the rest of the year. If anyone purchases a blog post, photography session, one of my eBooks or any other item I put online for sale in the month of December, I will take 25% of the proceeds from those sales and give it to The Spring in Tampa Bay
The mission of The Spring in Tampa Bay is to prevent domestic violence, protect victims and promote change in lives, families and communities. Since their founding in 1977, The Spring has provided sanctuary and services to more than 60,000 abused adults and their children.

- Buy Five Buck Christmas and $1 goes to The Spring. Purchase the eBook HERE.

- Buy 50 Ways to Keep Me From Gambling and $0.70 goes to The Spring. Purchase the eBook HERE.

- Buy a set of blog posts from me and $18.75 goes to The Spring. Purchase three 300 word blog posts for your blog HERE.

- Buy one hour of photography services and $12.50 goes to The Spring. Purchase one hour of photography services HERE.

This post contains a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013


#NaBloPoMo December 2013 Monday, December 2, 2013
Do you think you're more or less likely to complete December's NaBloPoMo?  Why?


I'm MORE likely to complete December's NaBloPoMo because I'm more committed than ever to make a go of being a freelance writer and photographer as a career. I also know that the best way to get better at writing is to write MORE. So, I plan on writing as much as I can, as often as I can, come what may! I just published my second eBook, am working on my third and have a full list of eBook ideas I want to write for every month in 2014.

Five Buck Christmas Now Available!

 

I mentioned this to pals on Facebook on Friday, but now I'm proud to announce here on this page that my new eBook Five Buck Christmas has been published on Amazon!!

In this eBook you will find ideas for gifts and crafts for Christmas that will cost $5 or less! The first section is filled with décor and craft ideas for your home. The second section is filled with fun gift ideas.
Get your copy of
Five Buck Christmas today! Thanks in advance for your support!
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