Category Archives: Latest News

How Not to End a Musical – A Love Never Dies Review

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center I received two complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to Love Never Dies. This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own.
“Only For You” – Mary Michael Patterson (“Meg Giry”) and the Ensemble of Love Never Dies. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Okay so look. I LOVE musicals. Like, wish I was the one singing and dancing on stage kind of love for musicals. M’kay? So, please go into this post knowing that first and foremost so you don’t just think I’m hatin’.

I want to start by saying that the cast, the sets, the singing, the overall production of Love Never Dies – they were all absolutely stunning. I loved the set so much, it was just gorgeous! And, the singing gave me goosebumps in the best way. Just awesome. Everything was going great. At intermission I was on cloud nine. I even tweeted this:

Gardar Thor Cortes (“The Phantom”) and Meghan Picerno (“Christine Daaé”) star in Love Never Dies. Photo by Joan Marcus.

And then…the last frikkin number came, and what happened after ruined EVERYTHING!!! I won’t spoil it in case you’re going to go see it. BUT!!! Love Never Dies ended in the worst way of EVER!!! I hated it. I was fuming. I was crying like a blubbering frikkin’ mess, and then I was pissed off the entire way home. I thought musicals were supposed to have a happy ending dammit! This one did not, and it made me mad. Like so mad I couldn’t even tweet about how I was feeling about it for more than an hour.

Meghan Picerno (“Christine Daaé”) stars in Love Never Dies. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Here’s the thing – if you want to believe the end is happy, leave after you see the peacock. Let Christine sing for you, and as soon as the song ends and the peacock goes away – LEAVE. THE. THEATER!!! Then, pretend the ending was a lovely, sweet one, and you’ll walk away feeling like it was one of the greatest musicals perhaps of all time. BUT, if you want to get mad, sad, heartbroken or any other array of negative emotions…stick around for the horrible conclusion that left me wanting to punch someone.

This is one time I wish somebody had warned me about the ending. It’s the one time I wish someone had said, Ashley LEAVE after the song in front of the peacock. If I had known and walked away, I would have ended the evening feeling that it was a fabulous night out, and simply an amazing production.

I want to reiterate at this point that I LOVED all of the rest of the show. It kept me on my toes, and falling hard for some of the characters. Maybe that’s why the ending made me so upset. Or maybe it’s my own life experiences that made the last moments of the production ruin the entire show for me. I’m not 100% sure. What I do know is this though – that to me was how NOT to end a musical.

Love Never Dies is playing at the Straz Center in Tampa through December 17, 2017. To see all of the shows playing at the Center, click here.

Photo by Rob-Harris



Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set Giveaway – Winner’s Choice Thru 11/6/17

Strictly Briks Winner's Choice Giveaway!! (ends 11/6)

Hey bloggy friends! I’ve partnered with Africa’s Blog to bring you another awesome giveaway! Below you can enter to win a Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set now through November 6, 2017 from Strictly Briks. The best part is the winner chooses their prize!

Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set Giveaway – Winner’s Choice!

About Strictly Briks:

Our mission is to innovate creative play.  We offer numerous colors, shapes, and sizes of stackable base plates and towers to new types of play like our patented silicone straps and The Cube.  We provide an affordable platform and structure for kids to build from and encourage combining with toys you already have, like action figures, mini figures, cars, stuffed animals, etc., to play in a new way and let your kids’ creativity shine.

Strictly Briks is recreating the way your children play and Africa’s Blog has shared her family’s chance to test both the starter pack of 119 Big Briks and the new Brik Buster over on her blog here.

Follow Strictly Briks via their social media outlets; FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.

The Giveaway!

Winner’s Choice – Brik Buster OR 119 piece Starter Set

Strictly Briks® items are compatible with all major brands, including LEGO®, DUPLO®, Mega Bloks®, & K’NEX® brand sets. Strictly Briks® is not affiliated with or endorsed by these brands. LEGO® and DUPLO® are trademarks of the LEGO Group of Companies, which does not sponsor, authorize, or endorse Strictly Briks® toys.

Giveaway ends 11/6/17 at 11:59pm est
Giveaway open to US, 18+ entrants only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to USA, 18+ only. Limit one entrant per household. Confirmed Winner(s) (by will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest, Instagram or Klout.

This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements. Entrants must only enter with either one email address, IP address and/or Facebook account, anyone found violating these rules will be disqualified. It is at the sole discretion of the admin of the giveaway if the winner has met the rules or not.

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup – Part 3

Hi bloggy friends! I’m here with part 3 of 3 of my veggie recipes roundup sponsored by Veggie Wash! Did you miss part one? Check it out here. What about part 2? Did you miss that one too? For shame! But, fret not – You can check out part 2 here!! Part 3 of this roundup is also sponsored by Veggie Wash. Enjoy!

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part Three

Cabbage Carrot Slaw

Eggplant Spaghetti Sandwiches

Zucchini Squash Bake

Spinach Crepes with Pan-Roasted Vegetables

Broccoli Cheese Bake


Easy Grilled Veggie Sandwich Recipe

Healthy Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

Brussels Bacon and Cauliflower Side Dish

Easy Sesame Greens Side Dish

Hot Pepper Cauliflower Rice Pilaf

Baked Mushrooms- a Light and Easy Side Dish

Zesty Parmesan Ranch Baked Potato Wedges

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Zucchini Ribbon Lasagna

Whole 30 Butternut Squash Carbonara with Apple and Bacon

Garlic and Broccoli Rabe Recipe

Aloo Mattar – Potato and pea curry

Crispy Oven-Baked Green Bean Fries

One Pan Ratatouille Recipe

Brown Rice Veggie Bowl

Spanish Style Omelette with Potato and Red Pepper

Carrot and Coriander Soup with a Spicy Kick

Cheesy Asparagus and Potato Casserole

Chickpea Pumpkin Biryani (Vegan + GF)

Slow Cooker Mexican Corn Dip Recipe

Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe

Simply Sautéed Italian Green Beans Recipe

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

How to cook a fresh pumpkin

Squash and Fresh Pumpkin Cooking Tip

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part TWO

I’ve gathered some of the best vegetable recipes by my bloggy friends, and I wanted to share them with my readers. This is part 2 of 3 of them. Though this post is sponsored by Veggie Wash, all opinions are my own. Enjoy!

Did you miss part 1? Check those out here!

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part Two

The Ultimate Vegan BLT

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf

Whole Roasted Cauliflower With Black Sesame Yogurt Sauce

Dutch Green Beans Recipe

Matbucha Recipe

Zucchini Appetizer Squares

Perfect Potato Latkes Recipe

Like Veggie Recipes? Don’t forget to wash your produce with Veggie Wash!

Oven Roasted Asparagus

Rainbow Vegetables Recipe – Easy Healthy Oven Roasted Veggies!

Spicy Garlic Oven Roasted Eggplant Slices Recipe

Simple broccoli cheddar risotto

Garlic and basil sweet potato fries

Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Zesty Lemon Squash

Summery Lemon Garlic Potatoes

Veggie Noodles 3 Ways

Balsamic Roasted Asparagus

Cream Cheese Cauliflower Mashers with Asiago

Roasted Root Vegetables

Instant Pot Brussels Sprouts Gratin Recipe

Broccoli and Mushroom Casserole

Spinach And Feta Stuffed Tomato Tarts

Over Roasted Vegetables

Creamed Peas and Pearl Onions

Crispy Parmesan Potatoes and Brussels Sprouts

Broccoli and Cauliflower Au Gratin

Easy Southern Style Green Beans

Pan Fried Potatoes and Green Beans

Parmesan Crumb Asparagus

Gluten Free Low Carb Zucchini Fries Recipe

Pan Fried Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Cranberries

The Greatest Gluten-Free Eggplant Parmesan Ever

Vegetable Noodle Stir-Fry

Stay tuned for part three of this Veggie Recipes Round-up!

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part One

Hey there bloggy friends! Today I have a very special post! I’ve gathered a bunch of veggie recipes to share with you. These posts that my bloggy friends wrote are just amazing, and I hope to try making each and every one of them VERY soon. Though this post is sponsored by Veggie Wash, all opinions are my own.

Best Veggie Recipes Roundup Featuring Veggie Wash – Part One

The first recipes I simply HAD to share combine veggies with fruit!!! Anyone who knows me understands that if it’s going to be healthy, it sure better be tasty if you expect me to consume it. Ha! Well, these are smoothies that blend fruit and vegetables making them the perfect breakfast on the go that has protein, stuff that’s good for me, and most importantly taste amazing! Check them out:

Strawberry Blackberry Sweet Potato Smoothie

Healthy and Hearty Pumpkin Apple Smoothie

On a side note – my friend Tracy from Having Fun Saving and Cooking wrote an awesome book of more than 50 smoothie recipes, and many of them incorporate vegetables into them. Check it out here! It’s less than the cost of a smoothie at your favorite cafe!

Now onto the recipes where veggies are the stars. Don’t get me wrong, I love most vegetables, but I simply have to have recipes that still taste good. After looking at many of these, and trying a few, I feel confident in saying they will all be added to my cookbook of what to fix in my meal plans going forward.

Low Carb Broccoli Cauliflower Rice

Cinnamon Honey Glazed Sweet Potatoes

Butternut Squash Soup Recipe: Simple to Make And Simply Delicious

Kadai Paneer Recipe

Fresh and Sweet Cooked Carrots Recipe

For all of the recipes listed here, make sure you begin by washing your produce with Veggie Wash! Pesticides and other agricultural chemicals are specifically engineered to be "waterproof" so they are not washed off by rain and irrigation. Many fruits and vegetables (grapes, apples, cucumbers, etc.) are also coated in wax to preserve the quality and appearance of the produce from the fields to your kitchen table. In addition to agricultural chemicals and other residues, 20 or more strangers may have handled your fruit or vegetable before you put it in your mouth. Veggie Wash safely and effectively removes wax, soil, and agricultural chemicals found on standard and organic produce. It cuts through wax and chemicals to leave fruits and vegetables truly, safely clean. What's more, Veggie Wash uses ingredients from citrus, corn, and coconut, to remove harmful surfaces.

Scalloped Potato Casserole With Root Vegetables

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes

Crispy Asparagus Fries

Italian Stir-Fry Veggies

The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

One Pot Vegetable Biryani

Honey Roasted Carrots

Asian Cucumber Salad

Purple Sweet Potato Gnocchi With Tahini Parsley Sauce

Lemon Balsamic Asparagus Recipe

Roasted Buffalo Cauliflower with Blue Cheese Sauce

Honey Roasted Carrots with Goat Cheese and Pepitas

Bruschetta made with Heirloom Tomatoes and Kale

Healthy Vegetarian Spinach Rolls

Avocado Potato Salad

Mediterranean Sweet Potato Hash

Veggie Loaded Breakfast Casserole

Creamy Roasted Vegetable Soup

Garlic and basil sweet potato fries

Ginger Curry Carrots

Mexican Style Quinoa~Healthy Meal or Side Dish

Chili Lemon Mint Sugar Snap Peas Recipe

Turmeric Cauliflower Broccoli Gratin

A Pick Me Up for ALL Ladies

I found this on my friend Shelby Johnson’s facebook page and decided it HAD to be shared with all ladies STAT! So, ladies, here is your quick me up for the day. Enjoy! 🙂

You are not your bra size, nor are you the width of your waist, nor are you the slenderness of your calves. You are not your hair color, your skin color, nor are you a shade of lipstick. Your shoe size is of no consequence. You are not defined by the amount of attention you get from males, females, or any combination thereof. You are not the number of sit-ups you can do, nor are you the number of calories in a day. You are not the hair on your legs. You are not a little red dress. You are no amalgam of these things.

You are the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you. You are the goals that you set. You are the things that you laugh at and the words that you say. You are the thoughts you think and the things you wonder. You are beautiful and desirable not for the clique you attend, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your life a full and meaningful one. You are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul it carries.

Source for image above- original source unknown. I found it on facebook too. 
If it’s yours, let me know and I’ll give proper credit where it’s due!

Some of My Favorite Martin Luther King Jr. Quotes


Random I know, but I felt compelled to share some of my favorite Martin Luther King Jr. quotes. Here they are:

“Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

“No one really knows why they are alive until they know what they’d die for.”

“No person has the right to rain on your dreams.”

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.”

“the time is always right to do the right thing”

“If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”

“Courage faces fear and thereby masters it”

“If we do an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we will be a blind and toothless nation.”

Source for photo above

Unpaid Writing Positions- That’s NOT a JOB!! (RANT ALERT!)

Warning! This is not a warm and fuzzy blog post. If you are looking for warm and fuzzy go google sweet cat pics or something. This is me being sick and tired of writers (and all artists for that matter) being asked to work for free. I’m over it! This trend of websites popping up all over posting job openings for unpaid positions ticks me off!! In my opinion they should not be allowed on job boards because unpaid= not a job in my book!

What prompted this angry blog post from me? Welp, I’ve been trying to get more writing work because my husband is planning on going back to school in the fall and I am going to need to take over more of the money making responsibilities. I’ve been filling out lots of applications and stumbled onto a website similar to one I’m already getting paid to write for. So, I sent an email to this writing website because I heard they too are seeking new writers. In the email I listed my credentials, how long I’ve been writing and ended with an inquiry about compensation. Was promptly emailed this:

“Right now, we are only inviting people to join our writers community, which offers a link and Google+ authorship, but they are not paid positions. It’s a steadily growing group of writers who want a bit more exposure with their work. If you’re interested in that, you can read more and sign up at (website redacted).”

Below is the response I WANTED to send back to the company but instead opted to not respond at all.

Dear evil company that plans to make money off the backs of unpaid writers,

Most writers don’t need exposure. For the most part, we all get plenty of exposure by excitedly sharing what we write with friends, family and our social networks via facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and more.

What most writers DO need is rent money, food money, gas money and money to pay the rest of our bills. Would you expect your dentist, your plumber, your landlord/ mortgage loan officer, your doctor or any other service provider to be paid in word of mouth advertising? I highly doubt it, so why can’t you pay a writer for their services?

No, I’m not interested in working for your company and I sincerely hope other writers will refrain from writing for your company for free as well. Continuing to make websites and publications think it is okay to not pay us is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. However, as I’m not a jerk, I do wish you good luck in your future ventures.

All the best,
Ashley Grant

8 Spaces that Need a Citrus Magic Solid Air Freshener

I'm a brand ambassador for Citrus Magic, and though this post is sponsored, all opinions and images below are my own.

I can’t stand a stinky space. I’ve got an incredibly sensitive nose, and when I walk into a space I don’t want it to smell bad. I don’t want to smell your pets, or your garbage, and certainly not last nights dinner. This is why I LOVE Citrus Magic Solid Air Fresheners. They absorb odors and stop the stink. My favorite two fragrances so far have been Pure Linen and Lavender.Citrus Magic Solid Air Fresheners are great for stopping the stink!

Here are 8 spaces that I feel NEED a Citrus Magic Solid Air Freshener:

1. Under the seat in your car and/or your RV – I’ve got the New Car scent in mine right now!

2. On the back of your toilet in the bathroom – You know why.

3. The floor of your walk-in closet – It smells nice while you’re picking out your clothes.

4. Inside your home office – Though NOT scientifically proven, I feel like a nicer smelling space makes you more productive.

5. Laundry room – Come on now, you know darn well you don’t wash and dry all of your clothes every night. Absorb the odors that come with piled up dirty laundry. You’re welcome!

6. The garbage can – I put one in the bottom of mine and place the bag over it. It keeps odors out of my can surprisingly well!

7. In the pet area – I know my furbabies can stink a good stink, and Citrus Magic stops it before they can say woof!

8. In the garage – I don’t have a garage right now, but I remember the odors that came out of my parent’s garage after dad mowed the lawn. This space could have benefited big time from the odor absorbing magic of Citrus Magic Solid Air Fresheners.

BONUS – if you live in a state that has basements, I’d recommend adding one there too! Heck, put one in every room, because friends don’t let friends have stinky spaces!

Do you want to get some of the Citrus Magic Solid Air Fresheners for yourself? They are on sale at select Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Publix, Winn Dixies, and here on Amazon.Citrus Magic Solid Air Fresheners 2

Have a product you want me to try or review? 
Contact me HERE! I’m PR friendly 😉

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



Candle Safety Tips for Burning Your Citrus Magic (or any) Candles

Hey guys! As you know, I've been a brand ambassador for Citrus Magic for a while now, and I've been LOVING their candles. While this post is sponsored, all opinions below are my own.

The Citrus Magic Candles smell so good, and they burn for hours. But, as with anything that burns, you need to play it safe! Around 10,000 house fires are started with candles annually, and most of these candle related fires start in the bedrooms – more than any other room in the house (source). With that in mind, here are some candle safety tips for burning your Citrus Magic (or any) candles…

Candle Safety Tips for Burning Your Citrus Magic (or any) Candles

1. Using good quality candle holders. 

Luckily, Citrus Magic Candles come in a sturdy jar that doesn’t require a candle holder. However, when you’re using a candle that does need a holder, you need a holder that will prevent the candle from falling down or turning over which can cause a fire.  A good quality candle holder should be fire resistant, and prevent spillage of candle wax.

2. Avoid leaving a candle unattended. 

Leaving a candle unattended is asking for trouble because freak accidents can happen at any time. You want to be able to catch it quickly should anything go wrong!

3. Keep the candle away from flammable items and substances.

Think papers, loose clothing, hair and curtains. You also don’t want to keep your candles near things like hairspray or nail polish remover as the heat from the candle could cause combustion in the containers. In short, candles should be placed in open areas far from flammable things.

4. Place the candle on a stable surface. 

You don’t want to put a candle on something wobbly like an uneven table or the edge of a table/shelf. It’s also a bad idea to place a candle under furniture or in a shelving unit as the heat can “cook” what’s above and cause it to ignite.

5. Keeping away candles from the reach of children and pets. 

Pets and children can tip over candles and/or might think they are play things if they are in reach. Avoid the potential accidents by simply keeping them away from all the babies – furbabies and human ones!

6. Properly dispose of your candles after use. 

Avoid throwing away a candle right after use. Even if the wick is gone and it’s just hot wax leftover. You’ll want to let it cool completely before you throw it away.

7. Blow out any candles before going to sleep. 

As stated earlier most candle fires do start in the bedrooms, putting out the candle before sleeping reduces chances of candle related accidents.

By implementing the above tips safety measures, candle related accidents are likely to drastically reduce. Other fire safety measures such as ensuring smoke detectors are working properly should also be considered when a candle is in use to help in detection of fire before it gets out of hand.

Now, I want to hear from you. Did I miss any really good candle safety tips? Leave a comment below and tell me your favorite tips!

If you’re interested in trying out the Citrus Magic Candles, you can get some HERE! They really smell great and I just love them so much. My favorite is the Pure Linen.

Have a product you want me to try or review? 
Contact me HERE! I’m PR friendly 😉

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


Also, stay tuned because I have a fun upcycle craft I’ll be sharing soon for what to do with the jars from your Citrus Magic Candles after they are done being used.

A version of this post was also published on Medium.