Monday, June 30, 2014
Today's blogger shoutout is Nicole Kavanaugh of The Kavanaugh Report. One of the things that drew me to this blog is how official it sounds. I reckon if you add the word report to any blog it would make it sound a little more official. Although The Famous Ashley Grant Report would be too much of a mouthful now that I think about it, but I digress...
Nicole is a "student turned lawyer turned stay-at-home mom...for now." Her blog appears to be loaded with stuff about kids, having kids and most recently her pregnancy of her daughter that was born earlier this month. If I ever have kids I definitely hope to document my experience the way she has. Check out her blog HERE
24 days to BlogHer
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Today's blogger shout out is Michele Cook of Dodging Acorns. The title came from the blogger's husband’s idea two years ago as they "were literally dodging the falling acorns on our back deck. But there’s a post about that."
I love what she says about her blog title in relation to life. She said, "when my husband had the idea to name my blog 'Dodging Acorns,' I realized it was perfect. It’s a perfect description of where we are right now physically and in all aspects of our life. Dodging acorns – whether literally or figuratively – has become our life. We’ve had our share of ups and downs in the past 5 years or so, but no matter what, we work together as a team to keep moving forward and doing what we need to do for our family."
Check out her blog HERE!
25 days to BlogHer
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Today's blogger shout out is Mandy Fish and her blog is MandyFish.com.
I love her blogger profile. Check out her "introduction" area- "Hi. I like Windex®. I spray it on everything. Counters. Floors. Refrigerators. Small children and pets. I work at an advertising agency as a copywriter. I write the junk mail you delete in your inbox and throw out in the trash. Sort of a modern-day Bartleby, The Scrivener. I'm also working on a memoir and trying to get some of my creative nonfiction published in literary journals. I practice Buddhism and retail therapy as a means to stay sane. When that doesn't work, I go back to spraying things with Windex."
Check out her blog HERE
26 days to BlogHer
Friday, June 27, 2014
Today's Blogger shout out has been Busy Since Birth and coincidentally that is her blog's name. Cheryl Stober has been blogging since 2007.
Cheryl said, "...juggling all of that - the marriage, kids, work, school, home, health, life! - has become a topic that fascinates me. How we make choices in life, what we deem important. I've tried to chronicle my experiences here, and created The Having It All Project to be a resource for others struggling to get through it all too. There's the occasional post on Judaism, pop culture, blogging and family vacations too - this site is the baby book I've never gotten around to creating on paper."
Check out her blog HERE
27 days to BlogHer
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Today's blogger shout out is Jennifer Wieland's My Sweet Sanity. Her blog began from a love of baking. Jennifer said, "To help me keep a bit of my sanity I started baking a couple of years ago and took some Wilton cake decorating classes. This became my stress reliever and way to relax. My favorite things to bake are cupcakes and cookies. Sometimes I bake and cook with the kids and other times it’s just my me time. Either way I always feel better afterwards and so does everyone else around me when I feed them."
Her blog is filled with all kinds of yummy recipes that will make your mouth water.
Check out her blog HERE
28 days to BlogHer
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Welcome to Day 2 of my 30 Bloggers in 30 Days series. Today, I'm giving a shout out to Erica Varlese. What drew me to Erica's website is the fact that on her card her title is "Happiness Engineer". I love that!
Turns out she is a Happiness Engineer for Automattic. On their page this is her bio:
New Jersey born and bred, Erica engineers happiness from the Garden State with her canine companion, Francis. She graduated from Drew University with a degree in Anthropology and French, which means she often references obscure societies, à la Bones, in casual conversation. In her spare time, Erica is likely reading far too many books at once or defending her home state from yet another reality TV show.
Check out her blog HERE
29 days to BlogHer
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Today, June 24 officially marks 30 days to BlogHer 2014 so I'm going forgo the rest of the NaBloPoMo posts for this month and next month and instead give a shout out to 30 bloggers in 30 days!
So, first up is Retro Food by Tarrant Figlio. Tarrant's blog is all about "food, a lot of fun, and oh yeah, vintage cookbooks and retro cooking…basically a love song through vintage recipes." Tarrant began the blog around the love of all of those things.
Tarrant said, "I like Retro-food even if I do say so myself. I like food blogs and talking about food, but so many of them are so…modern. I can’t picture how things taste and work and I really hate having to buy some (usually expensive) exotic ingredient to make one recipe. I love the 'food porn' photography…some days. Other days, I think 'how silly! I want dinner not an art project.' I love the lovely pots, pans, gadgets and gizmos of kitchens. Yes, I am impressed that folks manage to photograph step by step the making of a masterpiece. But…that isn’t the cooking that goes on at this house. That isn’t the cooking I want to hang around."
So, Tarrant's blog is "is like settling down at the kitchen table with friends, the kitchen is full of homey smells, familiar ingredients and chatter. I want to talk about the food stained cookbook, the tattered recipe card, the difficulty of getting Aunt Mary’s deviled eggs to turn out like hers because the holidays aren’t the same without her. "
Check out her blog HERE
30 days to BlogHer
TIPS PEOPLE! Get your Hands on Tammy Levent's Tips ;) Her new eBook is out and you should buy it!
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This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.
Monday, June 23, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Monday, June 23, 2014 How much weight do you give reviews? Do you write reviews?
I take all reviews with a grain of salt to an extent but I generally do read them for products I'm interested in buying and restaurants I'm interested in eating at. I write reviews pretty often so I'm always curious as to what other writers are saying when they write reviews of products and restaurants. I have had reviews sway my decision as to whether or not to try a restaurant or product.
I will say this though- I rarely read a restaurant review of a place I'm going to be writing a review for until after I write my review because I don't want it to influence what I'm going order or what I'm going to say. If it's a place I'm just going to for fun and I just want to know what others think about it then I'll read the reviews before I go. Same goes for products. If I'm writing a review of a product that was sent to me for the purposes of review I won't read anything about it except for the product's description and instructions for how to use it when applicable because again- I don't want what others have written to influence my review.
I'm PR friendly ;)
31 days to BlogHer
Saturday, June 21, 2014
While at BlogHer 2013 I was introduced to the awesome brand ambassadors for CLR. After the conference they sent me the CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner, the CLR Stain Magnet and the original CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover for the purposes of review. Although I received these products for free this did not influence my review and all of the opinions are my own.
The first product I tried was the CLR Stain Magnet and I have to say this stuff is pretty awesome. It removed nail polish from my tile and permanent marker from my table. If you have little ones at home or you are just a total clutz like I am I would highly recommend this stuff!
Next up I tried the CLR Bath & Kitchen Cleaner and was pleasantly surprised that I got all the mildew off from around my kitchen sink.I should have taken before and after pics of this but forgot. Whoops!
Lastly, I tried the original CLR Calcium, Lime and Rust Remover but I have to confess I already knew how amazing this stuff was before I "reviewed" it as I've used it several times in the past. Nonetheless, I will show you the horrendous before and after photos of what I cleaned (even though my husband is having a fit over me sharing the before picture). I have very hard water in my apartment and hard water stains seem to be a constant in my toilet and on my shower head. If you don't believe this stuff is amazing, just check this out:
How frikkin amazing is that? I would definitely recommend all of the CLR products. They are just awesome!
33 days to BlogHer
This post may contain a link to an affiliate. See my disclosure policy for more information.
I'm PR friendly ;)
Friday, June 20, 2014
Rather than answer today's NaBloPoMo, I decided to answer a question posed in an email to me from BlogHer: Where Were You 10 Years Ago?
10 years ago I was 19 about to turn 20. I had been dating my husband for a year and was about to enter my third year of college. I think this might have also been about the time I was debating about whether or not I wanted to be a teacher and was contemplating a different path.
This was also about the time I was working as a substitute teacher and moving out of my parents house. I knew I wanted to live at least one year on my own before marrying my husband just to prove to myself I could take care of myself without a man.
It's kind of wild sitting here thinking about the fact that I was on a completely different path back then. I was on track to be a social studies high school teacher with a steady job and summers off but a gut feeling that I wouldn't be happy in that life.
In the past 10 years I've changed my major twice, gotten married, finally graduated college, had two internships, several writing gigs, published two books, written hundreds of blog posts, traveled to a few more states, finally got out of the United States and grown and changed more than I ever thought possible.
In the next 10 years I want to visit between 10 and 20 countries, publish 10 books or more, get to my goal weight, earn enough income to retire whenever I want and continue growing and learning. I don't know what else the next 10 years will hold for me, but I'm very excited about the path I'm on now as a writer and photographer :)
34 days to BlogHer
Thursday, June 19, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Thursday, June 19, 2014 Tell us about the best advice you ever received from a reader.
The best advice I ever got from a reader is to start blogging for others. I started ghost blogging for a few companies and am working on getting more clients and once I have enough I'll hit the road while running my virtual business! My goal is to get enough writing work that I can travel the world while working for my online clients :)
35 days to BlogHer
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Yesterday I received an email from BlogHer that posed the question: What Does Blogging Mean to You? It got me to thinking about what my answer to this question would be. So, rather than do today's NaBloPoMo since I don't have a good response for it anyway, here is what blogging means to me:
Blogging means the opportunity to write how I feel and what I think. I have written restaurant reviews, bar reviews, movie reviews, product reviews and more. Blogging has allowed me to share my thoughts on all of these things with the world. Sure, the world may not be reading what I'm writing right now, but the fact that blogging means the world potentially could read what I have written excites me in a way that is hard to explain.
Blogging means new avenues of income. When I began my career as a writer I knew I didn't want to be the beat journalist writing the same thing every day. With blogging I get to write for a travel agent one day, a wedding planner the next day, a website all about Tampa the following day and I could do something completely different the rest of the week.
Blogging means I get to do what I want. Through blogging I've had some pretty spectacular experiences and for the most part have been able to write and get paid from any place that has an internet connection. As it stands right now I am working a full time day job, but I like to think that blogging will get me to my ultimate goal of making money writing and taking pictures from anywhere in the world.
In a nutshell- to me blogging means freedom! What does blogging mean to you?
36 days to BlogHer
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Tuesday, June 17, 2014 Tell us about a comment you left that was a masterpiece.
I wrote the most glorious comment once. It was a couple of paragraphs and it was on a page that I really enjoyed reading. Then, when I hit the post button- POOF! My wonderfully written comment disappeared instead of posting. I was so devastated I didn't even re-type it. I just exited the page in protest!
Because of this traumatic experience I often will write a super short comment that I don't mind re-typing in the event something like that happens again OR if I REALLY want to leave a long comment I'll type it in notepad and copy and paste it so that if the website didn't let me post it I can just copy and paste it again :)
37 days to BlogHer
Monday, June 16, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Monday, June 16, 2014 Tell us about the best comment you ever received.
No single comment stands out in my mind as the best comment I've ever received but the best comments I receive compliment me and/or compliment my blog. Telling me I'm funny or cute or just the most awesomest person ever makes me a happy Ashley indeed!
38 days to BlogHer
Saturday, June 14, 2014
I'm having one of those days where I want to sell and give away almost everything of mine that isn't nailed down. Do you ever look around your living space and feel like that? I want to keep my cameras and my laptop but I am seriously just looking at everything else in my apartment wishing I could just put it all up for sale on Craigslist or something like that and start over with my clothes, my dishes, furniture, etc...
I know that everything I have wouldn't get much money but for some reason this morning instead of wanting to clean anything, I just want to get rid of it all. Tell me I'm not alone in this feeling.
I've talked about this before, but I have a desire to live more of a minimalistic lifestyle. I have watched the movie Jack Reacher a few times and one of my favorite things about the character Jack Reacher is he has no belongings. There is a scene in the beginning of the film where he walks into a thrift store, buys clothes to change into and then donates the ones he was wearing when he walked in on his way out of the store.
Now, I would never put on clothes from a thrift store before washing them, but the idea of having no possessions and being able to do whatever you want, whenever you want excites me.
I think this feeling is one of the reasons I've recently become addicted to reading about Natalie Sisson a.k.a. The Suitcase Entrepreneur. When she built her business she made it so that she could work from anywhere in the world that had an internet connection. She lived and worked out of her suitcase! Talk about freedom!!! Her clients never know if they are getting an email from her while she is sitting on a beach or doing a webinar minutes from the Eiffel Tower! How cool is that?
More and more lately I've just wanted to sell and give away my possessions and just hit the road with my husband making money by writing and taking pictures.
I've started to wonder what is holding me back. I've got debt but so what? Who says I can't make enough money to pay my bills from the road?!? I'm not getting any younger and I fear that if I don't just take off and hit the road soon I may never do it.
So, this post began as one about me not really wanting to clean my apartment, but I guess the real heart of the matter is I want to run away from home. LOL!
40 days to BlogHer
Friday, June 13, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Friday, June 13, 2014 For Friday the 13th: have you ever received a comment that scared you?
I have never received a comment on my blogs that scared me. I guess I'm just not famous enough to get anything scary. Don't get me wrong, I don't ever want to receive anything scary either! I've had friends get comments that scared the hell out of them before. I suppose the subject matter I write about hasn't given anyone cause to threaten me so far.
I have been sent private messages via my blog's contact form that freaked me out, but luckily it's never been anything too weird that I couldn't handle.
41 days to BlogHer
Thursday, June 12, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Thursday, June 12, 2014
After you leave a comment, do you go back to check and see if people responded to your comment? Why or why not?
Nope! In general I don't go back and check to see if people responded to my comment on someone else's page. I am just waaaaaaaaay to a.d.d. to keep up with that kind of stuff. The only time I have looked at what others wrote after I wrote a comment on someone else's page is if I accidentally clicked that I wanted an email sent to me when others comment. I hate when I do that!!! It's like I was totally ready to move on with my life and then I had to go and ask to be reminded of something I did and that someone had something to say after I did.
Now, this is completely different when I comment on my own pages. I'm always anxious to see if someone commented and then I'll comment back and anxiously wait to see if they commented back because then we can have an exchange and be bloggy friends!
42 days to BlogHer
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Write on Someone Else's Blog Day: instead of writing a post on your own blog, go leave five comments. It still counts as writing!
Blogs I Commented On:
1. Muse Days The post I read was The No. 1 Secret to Living Like Successful People Do. I loved this post and posts like it because they are so motivating. My favorite part of it was "to switch from a mindset of 'what if' to 'why not you'."
2. Lauren Napolitano's Blog- I wrote my comment on her BlogHer page though because I couldn't comment on her actual blog ;) Her post was called The One Thing That Suffers When You Are Over-Scheduled and it was about the importance of getting busy even when you are too busy to get busy.
3. The Frugal Girl She had an awesome post called Summer Bucket List for 2014. Now I want to write my own summer bucket list!
4. Quirky Chrissy's post Heading to BlogHer 2014 in San Jose and Things I’m Going to Con Brian into Doing made me really wish my husband was going with me to California. Come to think of it, I wish my husband and I could go on lots of trips together. I still want to do a cross country road trip to California, fly to Europe and backpack across the continent, go to Australia...sigh. So much traveling I still want to do!
5. Northern Belle had an adorbs post on DIY: Glittery Wine Bottles. Such a cute gift idea!
43 days to BlogHer
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
This morning was a serious wake up call. I woke up feeling so sick that I couldn't go into my day job. I have seriously got to make some adjustments to the way I organize my time, my business, my life. If I keep burning the candle at both ends there won't be any light left for me or anyone else to enjoy.
Folks chasing your dreams while trying to pay the bills- how do you organize your time to have it all?
I posted this originally on facebook this morning and Domestic Goddess Kristen behind the amazing blog The Road to Domestication had the best answer for me. Check out what she wrote:
I literally SCHEDULE IN down time. Sounded so dumb to me at first…but everything else in life takes up time, so why not schedule in some time to rest, too?!
I have also had to remind myself that I CANNOT DO IT ALL, and I can’t HAVE it all…and that is okay. I prioritize the day – the things I HAVE to do, like go to my full-time job, because if I don’t do that, then I’m in trouble as far as budgetary needs, ha!
I make sure there is time to do something for MYSELF. As selfish as I thought that was at first, I realized that, if I crash and burn, I can’t do anything for anyone! And if I am rested, and happy, and not feeling stressed, I really can do everything else BETTER. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’m out getting a pedicure every week or anything. Sometimes doing something for myself is just going for a walk in peace and quiet…or going to bed early! LOL
New for me in 2014 is blocking. I have literally blocked out several months of the year so I don’t have anything else happening except photography, Or except insurance. Or except family time. Or anything else. Not only can you get more accomplished when you’re focused, but you don’t feel so scattered from having to fight 10 fires at once.
I don’t even know if any of that book I just wrote makes sense…but YOU asked! LOL....
We are the ones who have a hard time listening to our bodies But we only have one! Hard to remember, but true!
To me every single part of what Kristen wrote makes perfect sense. I think it's exactly what I needed to read right now. I realize I can't keep giving myself to everyone because that's what caused me to wake up this morning and literally have nothing left. I could barely form a sentence when I called in sick. I had the most massive migraine and just took some Advil and went back to bed.
I normally get up at 6:30/7 at the latest and I slept in til 11 a.m. and felt so unaccomplished because of it. I just have been trying so hard to do so many things that my body slapped me silly this morning and then threw me back in bed.
Now I want YOU to chime in. How do YOU find a balance when trying to chase your dreams and maintain a day job?
Source for image above
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - Do you think you get "enough" comments? What constitutes "enough"?
I have no idea if I get enough comments or not. I do enjoy getting comments that compliment me and the things I write, but I don't really freak out over lack of comments. I freak out over lack of page views because page views is how I make my money. I freak out over not being able to come up with something to say because I'm a writer dammit! When I lose my ability to speak I feel lost.
So, sure- I get enough comments. Do I sometimes wish I got more- yes, but that's only because it means more people are visiting my page and feel compelled to drop me a line. However, I'm not going to lose any sleep over people not commenting.
44 days to BlogHer
Monday, June 9, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Monday, June 9, 2014- Are you good at holding your tongue, or do you need to say what is on your mind?
My inability to hold my tongue is what always gets me in trouble. It's gotten me fired, laughed at, hated, ignored, lied to, yelled at and abandoned. You know what though? I don't care! I tell it like it is and if you don't like it you don't have to be my friend. You don't even have to be associated with me. I can assure you that if you don't like me the Earth will keep spinning, the sun will keep rising and that if the world should collapse it won't have a frikkin thing to do with how you feel about me.
45 days to BlogHer
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Okay, June means we're halfway through with 2014 so I've started thinking about my 2015 goals. Here are five of them for your reading pleasure:
1. I want to hit as many blogging conferences as humanly possible! By now my readers know that I'm going to the 10th Annual BlogHer Conference this year but, my goal for next year is to go to even more conferences!!!
2. I want to write and release one eBook a month in 2015 or one HUGE eBook by the end of 2015.
3. I want to be my goal weight in 2015- my goal weight does have a number, but I actually just want to be as healthy as my physician says I should be for my age and height.
4. I want to visit another country by or at least in 2015.
5. I want to start vlogging weekly...
Now that half of 2014 is gone what are your goals?
46 days to BlogHer
Source for image above
Saturday, June 7, 2014
I hate asking for help. I am so used to getting up to get myself something when I want it and I get very annoyed when this isn't possible. Today I have no choice but to ask for help. I hurt my heel and because I need to stay off my foot today to be able to work tomorrow I'm being confined to my chair and only hobbling around to go to the bathroom. It sucks!
I'm sure anyone who has every had an injury that leaves them unable to do things on their own knows what I'm talking about. The feeling of not being able to be independent is as crippling in the mind as the injury is to the body.
I know I need to heal my heel but it's very frustrating sitting in this chair. I have errands to run, things I need to be doing but I can't do anything but sit here...GRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
47 days to BlogHer
Friday, June 6, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Friday, June 6, 2014 Would you read a personal blog without a comment section? How do you feel when a comment section is closed?
I absolutely would read a personal blog without a comment section! When someone's comment section is closed it does sometimes frustrate me when the content is about something that fires me up and makes me want to comment. However, I understand having a closed comments section. I especially understand closing the comments when the subject of a blog is a delicate one or controversial one. I just assume that the writer has either been burned by comments in the past, fears spam or just doesn't want to know what people think about what the wrote.
48 days to BlogHer
Thursday, June 5, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Thursday, June 5, 2014 Are there any comment sections online that you refuse to read?
I don't completely understand this prompt but I'll answer what I think it is asking. I never really read the comments section on news websites or radio station websites anymore. If I do I generally find myself getting so angry at the ignorance of the people posting that I just can't stand it. It infuriates me the way people will respond to things when they clearly have no idea what they are talking about.
The comments section on these sites usually end up with a couple of passionate people fighting each other with comment after comment about how person A is wrong and person B is right and that person C should keep her/his mouth shut.
I made the mistake ONCE of commenting on a news story and then was attacked for a couple of days by people who didn't agree with what I wrote. They found me on facebook and sent me hate messages and it was just more trouble than it was worth.
49 days ...aka 7 weeks to BlogHer
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Wednesday, June 4, 2014 Have you ever deleted a comment? What would make you delete a comment?
Yes! I have deleted a comment before. It was crude and wildly inappropriate and I just couldn't bring myself to allow it to stay on my blog. I guess that pretty much sums up my criteria for what would make me delete a comment too. If it's rude, crude, inappropriate or would embarrass me more than something I wrote in a post- it will most likely be deleted.
I also have deleted a lot of spam comments. You know the ones- they are all misspelled and full of links and have nothing to do with what the post was about. Yep- those get deleted too.
50 days to BlogHer...
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
#Nablopomo June 2014 Prompt for Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Who owns the comment section: the blog writer or the blog readers?
In my opinion it is the writer of the blog who ultimately has full creative control over their site. They bought the domain, they wrote the content, they asked for comments, they have the power to delete comments. Therefore the blog writer owns their comment section. As bloggers we just pray that several people care enough to read what we write and then feel compelled to write something in the comment section. A comment in some small way makes us feel like our post is then validated...
51 days to BlogHer...
Monday, June 2, 2014
52 days to BlogHer...
Source for image above
#NaBloPoMo June 2014 Prompt for Monday, June 2, 2014 Do you have commenting guidelines for your readers? Today is a great time to let them know the commenting policy for your blog (or set some new expectations).
To be honest, I don't really have commenting guidelines. I do have a spam filter of sorts in that blogger requires most, if not all, commenters to fill out a "captcha" but other than that I don't really filter anything. There have been some comments I felt the need to delete for being off color or just downright crude, but some of the comments that have bothered me the most I let stand because they led to more page views. Nothing wrong with that... Right? Controversy = page views doesn't it? It has to REALLY bug me for me to delete it...
Sunday, June 1, 2014
I am in the mood for something to smile about so rather than write a review, a prompt or any other thing that involves more that a few sentences, here are some funny photos for Sunday Funday. Enjoy!
All pics were found on Facebook. If you are a photographer who took a photo above and want it removed OR if you just want a photo credit let me know. I'm a photographer too- I understand :)
53 days to BlogHer