Category Archives: Blog

Aladdin The Musical At Straz Cast Ensemble 2

Aladdin The Musical Makes Wishes Come True

Thanks to the Straz Center, I received complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to “Aladdin The Musical”. This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

I love the Disney classic movie Aladdin. I have for as long as I can remember. Who can forget the iconic Robin Williams playing the role of Genie, and stealing the show? It came out when I was 8 years old, and I remember wearing that VHS tape out watching it so many times while growing up. Remember those?!? VHS tapes. Ha, now, I feel old!

I learned all the lines, and know every song by heart. And I would annoy my mom singing the tunes at the top of my lungs. I can almost hear her saying, “Ashley, are you going to say every line out loud, or are you going to let me hear the characters say them?” I was obsessed.

Then, when they brought the cartoon to life with the hit feature starring Will Smith earlier this year, I fell in love with the story all over again as an adult. I guess you could say I’m a sucker for a rags to riches story! And, the Genie? HELLO! Will Smith did a phenomenal job in the role.

From the moment I learned about Aladdin The Musical reviews started to pop up in my social media feeds about that sang its praises. As soon as I heard it was coming to Straz Center in Tampa, I put it on my Tampa Broadway Bucket List! I just HAD to see it! So you can imagine my excitement when I was granted my wish of seeing the show right here in my own back yard. Read on to learn what I thought about the live musical version of one of my favorite stories…

Aladdin The Musical At Straz Cast Ensemble 1
image source

Aladdin The Musical – What Straz Said About It

Discover a whole new world at Disney’s ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical.

From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of ALADDIN, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.

See why audiences and critics agree, ALADDIN is “Exactly What You Wish For!” (NBC-TV).

Aladdin The Musical At Straz Cast Ensemble 3
image source

Aladdin The Musical – My Review – (Warning! Spoilers ahead!)

Now, in my defense, if this review really has spoilers, clearly you’ve been living under a rock because how can you NOT know the story of Aladdin?!? Then again, I guess there are some differences between the films and the play. But, I digress… Alright, now – guess what I thought of the show tonight? Yep, you’re right! I LOVED IT!

I loved it so much I rushed home to write this review to share with all of you that I think everyone should see it. It was such a wonderful date night for me! Don’t tell anyone, but I even shed a tear or two from how much I adored watching the play.

From the opening number to the very last beat, I was tapping my toes, and singing along to every song that I knew. #sorrynotsorry (I at least tried to sing them as low as possible as to not annoy the other theatergoers. I think my mom would be proud that I didn’t sing too loud this time ha!) I was excited to hear new songs, but I was incredibly grateful that all of my favorites were in the score.

The show opens with the song Arabian Nights. And, the costumes were just as exciting and colorful as I hoped they would be. We meet the Genie for the first time in the first number, and then Aladdin, and later Princess Jasmine. All of my favorite characters (less a monkey) were in the show. Though I missed Abu, I appreciated that for the most part the musical stayed true to the story I first fell in love with.

There were some obvious tweaks here in there because, well, you can’t exactly include everything from the cartoon or even the full feature film in a live stage show. But, they came darn close while still capturing the magic and amazement of both films in my opinion.

Read the full synopsis of the Aladdin here.

Can we just talk about those sets for a moment?!? They absolutely took my breath away. This was especially true for the Cave of Wonders set. WOW! WOW! WOW! The gold, the shimmer, the pyrotechnics! It was just incredible. All of the sets were wonderful, but that Cave of Wonders was the highlight I wasn’t expecting. But I was there for it!

One thing that really tickled my fancy was all the magic and humor they added to the play. It was so much fun. Aladdin disappears and then reappears in one illusion, there are wardrobe changes that happen in the blink of an eye, and flowers appear out of what felt like thin air. It was just non-stop entertainment that dazzled and delighted me in a way I can’t even explain.

And, of course, the Genie steals the show in this production too! They could not have picked a better actor to portray him! He was soooooo good. And I laughed my face off.

Seriously, this show is great for the whole family and I highly recommend it! It’s perfect that it’s here during the holidays because it truly felt like Christmas as I watched this fun play tonight. I would definitely watch it again, and I sincerely hope I get to someday once more very soon!

Aladdin The Musical At Straz Lamp
image source

Aladdin is playing at The Straz Center now through January 5, 2020. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE!

*Source for feature image

Fiddler On The Roof Header Image

Fiddler on the Roof – A Review

Thanks to my membership in the Tampa Bay Bloggers and their partnership with the Straz Center, I received complimentary tickets for the purposes of review to “Fiddler on the Roof”. This has not impacted my review and all opinions below are my own. This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

Fiddler On The Roof Cast
Image courtesy of Straz

I’ve had a bucket list of shows I’ve wanted to see on Broadway, or even on tour, for years. Fiddler on the Roof was certainly one of them. So, when I learned that I had the chance to watch it, I couldn’t wait. I had a yummy burger at the cafe on the water at Straz, and then settled into my seat honestly not knowing what to expect. All I really knew is that everyone I knew that had seen it said it was amazing.

In fact, one of the women in line with me, as I ordered my burger, said it would be her fifth time watching the show that night. WOW! Before we dive into my thoughts, here’s what Straz posted about Fiddler:

Fiddler on the Roof – What Straz Said About It

Audiences across North America are toasting a new production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF!

Rich with musical hits you know and love, including “Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” and “To Life (L’Chaim!),” FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is the heartwarming story of fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and life, love and laughter.

Tony®-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Featuring a talented cast, lavish orchestra and stunning movement and dance from Israeli choreographer Hofesh Shechter, based on the original staging by Jerome Robbins, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF will introduce a new generation to the uplifting celebration that raises its cup to joy!

To love! To life!

Fiddler on the Roof – My Review – (Warning! Spoilers ahead!)

The thing that struck me the most in watching the play, was how many of the songs were familiar and yet I never knew why. For example, Matchmaker –

Matchmaker, Matchmaker,
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Matchmaker, Matchmaker
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match (Lyrics source)

Growing up, I’d heard this song a few times. I didn’t know where it was from. Or this one –

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days (Lyrics source)

And finally, one that I knew the tune, but didn’t know the original words…

If I were a rich man,
Yubby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dibby dum.
All day long I’d biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn’t have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Idle-diddle-daidle-daidle man. (Lyrics source)

Admittedly, the reason I knew the tune for this song is because of Gwen Stefani’s “If I Was A Rich Girl

Fiddler on the Roof - Gwen Stefani Rich Girl
Image source, and where to buy the song

Sure, the song is not the same, but the tune is very similar, and hearing the origin of this bop was certainly entertaining to me. Have you ever wondered where songs come from? I certainly have, and it often fascinates me to learn the inspiration for some of my generation’s biggest hits.

I can honestly say, my favorite thing about the entire play was the music. I loved the songs more than anything. I am obsessed with music, and truly feel that it can make or break a play, or movie. Just me?

I also could genuinely feel the feelings the people playing these characters were exuding. You could feel the nerves of the father, Tevye, when he decided to let his two oldest daughters marry for love instead of money. You could feel the pain as he cast aside his third oldest for marrying outside of his faith. You could even feel his anger when things seemed to be going awry and the God he was praying to was not granting him a reprieve.

Read the full synopsis of the Fiddler on the Roof here.

If nothing else, this play will make you grateful for everything you have. It will also make you appreciate your family, and the freedoms that you have. Dare I say it might even give you some insight to win family members don’t understand children making untraditional choices.

Fiddler On The Roof Daughters
Image courtesy of Straz

Overall, I felt the play was acted out very well, and the music was phenomenal. Though the storyline itself absolutely broke my heart into a million pieces, I think that was the point. You were supposed to feel upset at these people living poor lives, and ultimately being removed from their homes at the end. After all, change can’t happen unless people feel something is wrong. And you sometimes have to put it right in their face to let them see the truth.

I’m grateful for the fact I can say I’ve finally seen Fiddler on the Roof, and can cross that one off my musical bucket list. Luckily, the list is growing so I still have plenty more shows I can’t wait to see. I’ll have to share a post soon of all the shows I still want to see. The one on the top of my mind right now is coming to Straz next month – Aladdin. Dying to see that one y’all!

Until next time, I just want to say thanks for reading. I’m the luckiest girl in the world that I get to do what I love for a living. And, may we all continue to enjoy our lives, and the freedom to make things better if we want to.

Fiddler on the Roof is playing at The Straz Center now through November 10, 2019. To see all the shows playing at the Straz, click HERE!

Area Rugs Ottomanson Living Room

Area Rugs Give Your Space a Pop of Color

FTC Disclaimer: Huge thanks to  Ottomanson for sponsoring this post. And, this post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support! 

I don’t know about you, but I LOVE me some nice area rugs. They are great for adding a pop of color to your space, and they can completely transform a room. If you are thinking about getting area rugs for your home, below are three important things you should consider before making your purchase.

Consider the Best Size for Your Space

How big should your area rugs be? As Wayfair explains, when it comes to a piece like this, bigger is usually better.

Area Rugs Ottomanson Blue
This is a Navy Ottomanson Area Rug found on Amazon. Get yours here:

They said, “A few inches can make all the difference between the rug pulling the room together or making it feel disjointed. Opting for the larger option, especially if you’re choosing between sizes, will prove that it is worth the extra expense every time.”

Ottomanson said your area rugs “should be large enough to fit under your major furniture in the room. If that would be way too expensive for you, it should at least be able to fit your key upholstered pieces.

When choosing which size is best for you, I highly recommend reading Wayfair’s complete guide to rug sizes.

Buy Area Rugs that Will Match Your Decor

Area Rugs Ottomanson Floral Print
This is a Floral Print Ottomanson Area Rug found on Amazon.
Get yours here:

Color goes beyond just the paint on your walls and colors of your furniture. You’ll want to also factor in your artwork that is on the walls, any pillows or fabrics you’ve used, and any accessories that are in the room as well.

Some design websites recommend choosing solid color rugs if you have a lot of other colors and patterns in the decor of the room you’re purchasing area rugs for. By choosing a solid color or a rug with less colors, it will be easier to tie the room together without it feeling “too busy.”

On the other hand, if most of your colors are neutral, choosing a rug with multiple colors can be a nice focal piece for the room. For example, the floral print rug above is in a living room with white furniture, and neutral colored walls. This rug with all the colors fits well in this space, and becomes a work of art for it as well.

Unfortunately, You’ll Need to Factor in Cost Too

Area Rugs Ottomanson Hundred Dollar Bill
Yep! This is a rug too. How fun would it be to have a Hundred Dollar Bill rug in your office? Get your Ottomanson Hundred Dollar Bill area rug here:

Cost is often the deciding factor for folks trying to decide which area rugs are the best for their home. I understand this, believe me. It’s sometimes hard to justify a big purchase for a piece of home decor.

What I would recommend is to purchase the smaller rugs for the smaller rooms first. It’s no secret that smaller rugs usually come with lower price tags. In fact, your entire decor budget for a smaller room is likely to be much lower than your larger rooms. So why not tackle those first, and save the bigger rooms and bigger expenses for later.

After all, there is no rule that states you have to buy everything to fill your entire house all at once. You’re allowed to let your home’s decor be a work in progress. Take your time so that you can save up the money for the pieces that cost a little more.

I personally feel like decorating your home slowly over time is the better way to go because not only will it ensure that you get the pieces you really want, you’ll have time to change your mind. I change my mind all the time before I’m ready to commit to how I want to decorate! Can you relate?

Speaking of changing your mind – I want to revisit color for just a moment. Solid colored rugs tend to be cheaper. And, another benefit of choosing solid colored area rugs is that they will most likely match more than one room in your home. Let’s say you have changed your mind, and you no longer want a rug in your bedroom. Suppose the one you bought for the bedroom matches the colors in your living room. You can easily move it from your bedroom to your living room. No added costs, and it still can be used!

For me, I personally like trying to keep a lot of the colors in my home in the same palette for this reason. I can move things around without spending any extra money anytime I get bored with the space and want a change.

Caring for Your Area Rugs

It’s important to read about the materials and maintenance of your area rugs prior to purchase. Some area rugs can be vacuumed and others should not be. Some can be deep cleaned with carpet cleaners, and others should only be cleaned by professionals. You want to care for them regularly and properly so you can extend the life of them.

When you’re ready to buy area rugs for your home, check out Ottomanson Rugs. You can find Ottomanson area rugs in the following retailers:

  • Amazon
  • Wayfair
  • The Home Depot
  • Overstock
  • Wal-Mart and
  • Hayneedle

About Ottomanson Area Rugs

Here’s a little bit about Ottomanson Area Rugs directly from their website:

Ottomanson was established in 2007. Today, it has become one of the leading wholesalers of area rugs in the United States, particularly the Tri-State Area due to their experience in the rug business, efficiency in production, and competitive prices. Ottomanson offers a large variety of high-quality heat-set, BCF, and printed area rugs in traditional to fashionable contemporary designs available in a wide array of colors.

Founded with the aspiration to embellish indoor and outdoor spaces applying a distinct taste and touch while adhering to current trends and worthy customer demands, Ottomanson Inc. combines years of knowledge and experience within the home décor industry to best serve this aspiration. Always bearing function and fashion in mind as well as offering premium quality for a broad range of budgets, Ottomanson has reached a large scope of product line in home décor including area rugs, runner rugs, kids’ rugs, indoor/outdoor rugs, printed rugs, grass rugs, doormats, stair treads, chair mats, towels, blankets and tablecloth. We take pride in our manufacturing, retailing, logistics and warehousing competencies which flourished from a modest business expanding to international growth and advanced customer service. Ottomanson’s mission is to further augment these competencies with the help of its professional and passionate administrative and operational staff in order to fully serve its commitment to high-quality standards and contemporary customer demands.

How to Outsource Residential Pressure Washing

FTC Disclaimer: Huge thanks to Zap Cleaning for sponsoring this post. And, this post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

I’ve been becoming pretty obsessed lately with outsourcing all the things. Though I’m still not outsourcing as many things as I would like to, I’ve been enjoying handing tasks off to others so that I can focus on things that can either move my business forward, or that give me more time off to enjoy with my family and friends. One thing you can outsource that kind of surprised me is residential pressure washing. 

I knew you could outsource laundry, cleaning services, lawn care, and even grocery shopping – but pressure washing? Though it honestly didn’t surprise me, the ability to outsource residential pressure washing was news to me.  I thought that only big commercial companies could do something like that. 

Residential Pressure Washing Fence
Residential Pressure Washing Fence After

When I was growing up, I remember my dad rented a pressure washer at one point. Then, because he felt we needed one, he spent hundreds of dollars to buy a pressure washer of his own

The problem with buying your own pressure washer is that not only do you have to shell out several hundred dollars upfront, you also need to know how to use it, and then have a place to store it. I recall several times where he nearly took the paint off the walls because he didn’t know how to properly use his pressure washer.

He’d spend the entire day reading the instructions, and then working his tail off cleaning the entire house. Especially the pool deck! Man, I can picture him outside putting in so much effort to clean the deck, and then having to go back over his work again because he missed so many spots trying to hold the hose steady.

And, I also remember him having to build a custom storage unit to house the pressure washer when it wasn’t in use. Sure, there was more than just that one item in there, but it seemed so silly to me that he had to house this product and many others that he only used once every six months or so. 

To make matters worse though, some of the components rusted and wore out, and he ended up having to buy a new unit after a couple of years. I’m betting if he were around today, he would opt to outsource his residential pressure washing instead of having to buy and store such an expensive piece of equipment. 

How Do You Outsource Your Residential Pressure Washing?

Residential Pressure Washing Zap Cleaning Rust Removal
Left – Before Pressure Washing; Right – After Pressure Washing

Here are the steps you’ll want to take to outsource your residential pressure washing for your home:

1. First, you need to find a company that does it in your area. If you’re in the Sarasota area, I recommend checking out ZAP Cleaning

2. Find out what services they offer. For example, do they handle things like rust removal, roof cleaning, house washing, window cleaning, etc…?

3. Look up reviews on the company. You want to make sure that whoever you hire has a reputation for doing a good job. If you don’t hire someone that is professional, and that knows what they are doing, you could end up with a big mess on your hands. 

For example, let’s say you hire a pressure washing company that isn’t as skilled as they should be to clean your roof. The company comes over to do the job, but doesn’t use care while cleaning and they damage your roof. Now, not only do you need to repair the damage, you still need the roof cleaned! 

4. Call the company, and ask them about pricing, scheduling, and all the details you need for them to do the job you need done. 

5. Hire them for the job, and then sit back and relax while they do the heavy lifting. 

Your house will look like new, and you will barely have lifted a finger. Doesn’t that sound so much better than spending all that time and money trying to do it yourself? 

Residential Pressure Washing Roof Cleaning Service
Roof Cleaning Service From ZAP Cleaning Residential Pressure Washing

Why Hire ZAP Cleaning for Your Residential Pressure Washing?

At ZAP Cleaning, their goal is for their customers to be extremely satisfied. Because of this, top-notch customer service is their number one priority. The areas they serve in Florida include: Sarasota, Vamo, Venice, Laurel, Nokomis, Southgate, North Sarasota, Bee ridge, Osprey, South Venice, Sarasota Springs, Venice Gardens, and Siesta Key. 

However, they sometimes service other areas. So give them a call for more information if you’re close to, but not quite in the Sarasota area. 

ZAP Cleaning’s services include a variety of exterior house cleaning options. Some of these are pressure washing, window cleaning, roof cleaning, and other home exterior cleaning. If there is an outdoor cleaning service that they don’t offer, however, they encourage you to call them to see if they can complete those tasks for you!
To learn more about ZAP Cleaning, call them at (941) 404-0423. Or visit their website at

How to Make Your Own Indoor Herb Garden

How to Make Your Own Indoor Herb Garden Plants

I have always wanted my own indoor herb garden, but to be honest, I have a black thumb. True story. Any time that I have brought a plant into my apartment, it doesn’t stay long before it withers and dies. But, thanks to the following guest post from Francesca Singer and Lawn Starter, I might just try my hand once more at growing an indoor garden of my own. Check it out below.

How to Make Your Own Indoor Herb Garden

Who needs a spice cabinet when you can grow herbs and spices in your kitchen? Growing edible herbs makes it easier to grab a seasoning while you’re cooking. Here are some tips on how to make your own indoor herb garden.

Find a Sunny Spot

Most herbs do best in full sunlight. A place in front of the kitchen window (preferably facing south) is perfect for giving them six to eight hours of direct sun. Don’t have a windowsill? No problem. Just place a pole near the window and use hanging planters.

You may need to move the planters during a frost since most herbs thrive when the temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees.

Use Potting Soil

There’s a difference between potting soil and dirt. The right mix will contain vermiculite and fertilizer, giving your plants the moisture and nutrients they need. Dirt from your garden may hold onto too much water and outdoor pests — the last thing you want in your kitchen! Make sure your containers have small holes in the bottom (or put gravel in the bottom), so the soil can drain.

What to Plant

Your herbs will add flavor to all your dishes. Some also have medicinal qualities and can save you a trip to the drugstore.


Mint will add flavor to your tea, dessert, and even meat dishes. It’s also soothing and helpful with relieving indigestion and gas. Mint is easy to grow in the kitchen, and flourishes in moist soil and indirect sunlight. Pick the leaves and chop into your salad or marinade. Peppermint can also freshen your breath.

How to Make Your Own Indoor Herb Garden Basil

This fast-growing herb is great in tomato sauce, pesto, in salads or sprinkled over tomatoes. Pick a few leaves at a time, and tear them instead of chopping to get the most flavor.


What’s a baked potato without sour cream and a few chives? You can also chop these up to use in salads and sauces. You’ll get the taste of onions with a little greenery in your dishes.

German Chamomile

Known for its mellowing properties, German chamomile is well-suited to growing in a pot, provided the container is at least twelve inches across. This soothing herb loves low-key lighting and will do best in a north or east-facing window. Harvest the flowers and use fresh or dried to brew up a calming tea.


This pungent herb is best known for its seeds, but grown fresh it has many many uses. You can serve it raw in salads, chutney, or pickles, cooked in rice, or made into a tea. It’s also an effective cure for bad breath, and its leaves pureed into a paste and applied to the scalp are a cure for dandruff.

Lemon Balm

Pungent and cooling, lemon balm is an antiviral herb that can also be crushed and applied to cold sores to heal them or rubbed on the skin to repel insects. It adds a lemony flavor to tea and can help with anxiety. It’s also a tasty addition to salads or can be used to brighten up fish and seafood dishes.


Also known as cilantro, this herb is a traditional spice in many regions. The leaves and seeds are also good for treating digestive disorders and stimulating one’s appetite. Pinching and removing the leaves encourages growth and guarantees some spice in your favorite dishes.

Tulsi ‘Holy Green Basil’

The most revered of all Indian herbs and often called “the elixir of life.” It’s used for both repelling insects and treating insect bites, regulating stress, and encouraging healthy gums and teeth. You can also eat it in salads or chew on it as a snack.

Aloe Vera
How to Make Your Own Indoor Herb Garden Aloe Vera

The same plant that most people have in the garden or potted indoors is a powerful healer. Aloe heals sunburns, rejuvenates the skin, and aids in digestion. The plant is easy to grow and to use. Remove a leaf and peel away the green skin and rinse thoroughly before ingesting, or slice open a leaf and generously apply to the skin.

You don’t need a green thumb or a lot of space to create your own indoor herb garden. But you may need a little patience. Some seedlings such as parsley and oregano can take more than a month to mature. Once they’re ready for the picking, you’ll be enjoying these herbs for years to come. Bon appetit!

Francesca Singer is a DIY enthusiast who designed an Ayurvedic herb garden for the American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas. When not writing or wrangling a toddler, she can be found wielding power tools or working in the garden.

How to Make Your Own Indoor Herb Garden Pinterest

Check out another home improvement post:

Considering hiring an electrician? Are you lost on the process of how to go about it? If so, this post may help you with your decision! Check it out by clicking through the image!
Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer in Hand

Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer (Gluten-Free!)

While this Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer post is sponsored by Envy Apples in partnership with Publix Apron's Schools, all opinions are my own. This post may also contain affiliate links.

I LOVE apples. More specifically, I LOVE Envy Apples. That’s why when they reached out and asked me if I had any interest in creating another recipe for a sampling night at Publix Apron’s Schools, I jumped at the chance to do so. Last year in 2018, I shared my Granny Betty’s Mountain Dew Apple Dumplings. This year, instead of a dessert, I wanted to do an appetizer that could easily double as a quick lunch or after workout snack.

I chose to make a Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer on apple slices. While I often eat chicken salad on a croissant, or hamburger bun, I wanted to make this version low carb and gluten-free so that even if I’m trying to watch my diet, I can indulge in this delicious snack. Here’s how I made it:

Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer


Cran Apple Chicken Salad Ingredients
– Approximately 1 1/2 cups of rotisserie chicken chopped (I pulled it right off of a Publix rotisserie chicken!)
– 1/4 cup celery chopped into small pieces (I used Dandy pre-washed celery because it has such a great crunch and I don’t have to cut or wash anything. It’s ready right out of the bag!)
– 1/3 cup of mayo*
– 1/3 cup of sour cream*
– 1/4 cup of dried cranberries chopped (I used Craisins)
– 1/4 cup of grapes sliced
– 2 or 3 medium sized apples (I used Envy Apples – highly recommend these because they don’t brown as fast as other brands)
-A handful of crushed walnuts (optional!)


Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer Plated

1. Mix all ingredients except for the apples in a bowl
2. Salt and pepper to taste, mix again, and then chill your chicken salad mix in the fridge for about an hour
3. Wash and dry your apples
4. Cut thin slices of your apples. You want them just thick enough to hold something on them.
5. Lay the slices onto a serving platter
6. Scoop about 2 tbsp of chicken salad mix onto each one of the apple slices
7. Serve and enjoy!

*Recipe note: If you like your chicken salad a little drier, cut the mayo and sour cream back to 1/4 cup each.

This Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer is perfect for barbecues, baby showers, and all kinds of parties!

The weekend I made these we went to a Memorial Day weekend party and they were a hit! The cold chicken salad on a crisp apple slice was the perfect kickoff to a delicious barbecue. You can make a huge batch of these before any party.

If you won’t be serving them for a while you can soak your apples in a bath of Sprite before hand. Envy Apples already keep their color a long time, but the Sprite adds even more time before browning occurs.

Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer in Hand

Want to Try a Sample of this Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer?

Join me at Publix at the Shoppes of Citrus Park on Saturday September 7, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. There I along with some of my Tampa Bay Bloggers will be passing out free samples of our Envy Apple creations, and admission is also free. Get more details about the event here.

If you attend the in-store event, you’ll be givin a special discount promotional code to their upcoming An Evening with EnvyTM Apple Demonstration class on September 28, 2019!

About the Envy Apples I Used in my Cran-Apple Chicken Salad Appetizer
  • Envy TM apples are premium apples with extraordinary crunch and texture and refreshingly sweet
  • Envy TM have naturally higher citric acid content which prevents the ‘browning’ enzyme from activating. This means they are VERY slow to brown, which makes them ideal for kid’s lunches, picnics, salads, charcuterie boards and party platters – they will look great for hours!
  • Envy TM is cross between Braeburn and Royal Gala. They are non-GMO and are grown naturally in Washington State and New Zealand.
  • Envy TM apples can be found nationwide at grocery stores including: Publix, Whole Foods, Walmart, Market 5 one 5, Central Market, Raley’s, King Soopers, IGA, Wegmans and more. For the store nearest you, visit and click on the
    store locator.Cran-Apple Chicken Salad on Apple Slices Appetizer- Pinterest Image-

Blogging Tips Round Up and a FREE Blogging Course

Hi bloggy friends! It’s been a hot minute since I shared a post about blogging, let alone a round up of awesome posts from my fellow bloggers. So, I thought I’d squash two birds with one stone in this sexy piece I like to call….the Blogging Tips Round Up!

But first, I have a KILLER freebie for anyone who is thinking about becoming a blogger. Say what?!? I know! My bloggy friends over at Create and Go have created a FREE 7 day ecourse on how to start a successful blog! Grab that beast ri’chere while it’s still free y’all, because it’s so good, I can’t believe they aren’t charging for it.

Now, without further ado, here’s the other awesomeness I promised you when you showed up here today:

Blogging Tips Round Up

1.) 51 Unique Lead Magnet Ideas & How to Create The Perfect Opt-In
2.) How to Brand Yourself Online: 15 Hacks to Build a Profitable Personal Brand
3.) How to Monetize a Blog: Four Basic Steps
4.) 8 Best Blogging Resources for Bloggers on a Budget
5.) Best Ways To Prepare For A Blogging Conference
6.) How to Use Pinterest for Beginners
7.) Blogging 101 | Where to Find the Best Royalty Free Images for your Blog
8.) Blogging 101 | Tips For Successful Link Building
9.) Blogging 101 | 5 Amazing Ways to Create Authority Links to Your Website
10.) Blogging 101 | How to make SEO work for your blog
11.) Blogging 101 | Searching for the Best Domain Name
12.) How to Become a Full-Time Blogger: A Simple 5-Step Guide
13.) 10 Blogging and Social Media Tools I Can’t Survive Without
14.) 3 Simple Blogging Projects to Do NOW for More Revenue This Fall
15.) 10 Failproof Income Generating Blog Tasks (that take the guessing out of blogging)
16.) Blog and Social Media Stat Tracker Printable
17.) Blog Planner Printable: Sponsored Post Payment Tracker
18.) Blog Review Shipment Worksheet: 30 Days of Free Printables
19.) Pinterest Tips To Increase Traffic
20.) Easy Ways to Increase Blog Traffic
21.) 5 Ideas on How to Get More Social Shares for Your Blog
22.) 3 Great Tips for Your Blog Content
23.) 5 SEO Tips for Bloggers
24.) 5 Handy Tips For Handling Negative Comments on Your Blog
25.) 3 Tips to Learn from Your Blog Competition
26.) How to Start a Blog {when you have no idea what you’re doing}
27.) How To Make Money Blogging (In No Time)
28.) How To Start A Blog
29.) How to Start A Blog on A Budget
30.) Start a Food Blog from Budgets of Zero to One Thousand Dollars
31.) How to Master Blogging with a Full Time Job
32.) What Vloggers Can Learn From Traditional Bloggers
33.) The 25 Best FREE Tools for Bloggers
34.) Nine Things No One Tells You About Blogging
35.) 11 Steps For How To Start A Blog (And Make Money) In 2019
36.) Blogging For Beginners: What Works In 2019
37.) How to Start a Successful Health Blog
38.) How to write a blog post fast
39.) The Ultimate Guide To Pinterest For Beginners
40.) How To Make Money With A Blog For Beginners
41.) The 11 Best Affiliate Programs For Bloggers (In 2019)
42.) 4 Social Media Mistakes That Are Killing Your Blogging Game
43.) Begin to Blog: Content Schedule
44.) Blogger Toolbox
45.) 3 Easy Steps to Grow Your Blog Email List
46.) 8 Things I Learned My First Year Blogging
47.) How to Install a Genesis Theme on a WordPress Blog
48.) How To Make Money With A Website Without Selling Anything
49.) SEO Checklist for Beginners – when you don’t even know what the heck SEO stands for
50.) How to Find Time as a Mommy Blogger
51.) How to Start a Money-Making Blog in 5 Easy Steps
52.) Top Reasons You Aren’t Getting Pinterest Traffic {and how to fix it!}
53.) 13 Easy Ways to Get New Pinterest Followers
54.) 5 Easy Ways to Grow Your Blog Traffic
55.) 3 Top SEO Tips For Niche Businesses – Ranking Your Blog Content
56.) 4 Critical Legal Pages You Must Have on Your Blog
57.) How to Succeed at Affiliate Marketing and Make Money Blogging
58.) Easy Pinterest Strategies to Boost Your Traffic
59.) What is Niche Blogging + Profitable Blog Niches of 2019

I also learned about a really cool post I just HAD to share with you guys. It’s the “100+ Amazing Blogging Stats & Facts” post on isitwp, and it’s filled with some pretty interesting information. Like this for example – “Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website.” Or this – “Blogs that post daily get 5X more traffic compared to those that don’t.” The entire post is chock full of, well, amazing blogging stats and facts just like the titles says. I highly recommend giving it a read if you’re into blogging trivia like I am!

My Secret Love of Billboards

This post is sponsored by Irvin. Now that we've gotten that pesky FCC compliance out of the way, let's jam on my super secret love that is not a secret anymore.

Okay, that title might seem strange to you, but I secretly love billboards. Like a lot. When I was talking about it with a colleague earlier today I thought the love affair started in college, but as I pondered it further, I realized my love began somewhere in high school.

When I was on road trips with family I always loved seeing the various pictures and text on billboards. Then, in high school, I took a marketing class and I remember we analyzed several billboards for color, text size, and a variety of other factors.

I always found it fascinating that a large picture could reach a bunch of drivers passing by. This obsession only got crazier when I got to college and took an advertising class as part of my prerequisites for graduation. We had to write two papers that I remember vividly that semester. One was on Super Bowl Ads, and one was on – you guessed it – billboards.

That also was around the time my husband and I went to billboard city – New York City to be exact. Seeing all those flashing lights and large boards for a variety of businesses was so exciting for me. Am I alone in this? Leave a comment and tell me if you love billboards as much as I do.

Fast forward to today, and many billboard displays feature LED lights. What I love about that is the fact that these lights are more energy efficient, and they create brighter lights with better colors. They are vibrant and attention grabbing. If you think about the billboards you would have seen 10, or even 5, years ago compared to the ones you might see today, billboards have really come a long way!

The billboards we think about in the past are dull, and usually just pictures on a board above a highway. They might disappear at night when it gets dark, or be barely visible with the assistance of street lights. Luckily, advancements in technology have allowed billboards to proudly display their messages in bright LED light at all hours of the day.

In addition to LED lighting, there are also solar billboard lighting and solar sign lighting options. These lighting options are ideal for systems with a self-contained power source, where there is no or limited access to electricity. Adding electricity can be extremely costly, which can make solar billboard lighting a more affordable illumination of choice.

But, where do you even start if you are looking into your billboard options? My answer for you is Irvin, Inc. That’s where you start. Irvin Inc. is proud to partner with the best sign and billboard LED light manufacturers and component suppliers in the industry. Irvin, Inc. spends countless hours researching and testing all of their solar and LED billboard lighting to ensure that they are dependable, durable, and able to withstand all types of wind and weather.

Irvin, Inc. has been a trusted leader in billboard supplies for more than two decades. Providing billboard supplies for over 20 years now, Irvin also expanded its lines in recent years to include LED and solar lighting. In 2017, Irvin furthered its industry footprint by partnering with Lightking Outdoor to offer the industry’s most revolutionary, high resolution LED billboards and displays. Such alliances set Irvin apart, as the company takes time to aggressively pursue the continued introduction of the most advanced and innovative solutions on the market. Irvin collaborates with outdoor companies, sign shops, independent electrical contractors and other related enterprises to take their businesses to the next level.

There is a lot of technology and science that goes into billboards and when you are walking through Times Square in New York City, you would never think about that aspect of it, but if you are a business that is looking for billboard advertising solutions, it’s hard to know where to start. That’s why Irvin, Inc. offers a versatile and customized approach to illumination through strategies that incorporate input from top engineering and manufacturing partners.

The proposals they give are as unique and they aim to create energy efficient lighting alternatives that maximize profitability and minimize carbon footprint. As inferior LED alternatives flood the market, Irvin, Inc. is committed to empowering clients with the tools and information necessary to make sound lighting decisions while providing the industry’s most reliable options and service.

While a secret love of billboards might be a strange love, I hope I have been able to help you see billboards in a new light (pun intended). I think the advancement in technology and how far billboards have come is so incredible, and it is amazing how much they can impact the people who see them.

There is a reason why people always think of Times Square, and the many beautiful billboards there, when they think of New York City. Let me know below if you share my love of billboards and advertisements, or if you have memories of cool billboards like the ones in Times Square!

Rosen Inn Honors Fathers All Summer Long With Special Getaway in Orlando Designed Just for Dad

A prime location on International Drive, a sparkling outdoor swimming pool with plenty of areas for lounging and more make Rosen Inn in Orlando a top choice for celebrating Dad!

Available Now Through Sept. 30, Including Father’s Day, Dads Can Enjoy Multiple Days to Play

This just in from the awesome folks at Rosen Inn – What’s better than a Father’s Day getaway on Dad’s big day? One that lasts the entire summer long!

Maybe Dad can’t take all summer off, or even worse, has to work on his big day. No worries! Rosen Inn hotel closest to Universal Orlando Resort™, one of eight Rosen Hotels & Resorts in Orlando, offers loved ones the opportunity to honor Dad as he rightly should be – anytime – or multiple times – throughout the summer. The hotel’s special value-oriented overnight stay package has all of the perks and special discounts only a dad could love.

The fun begins upon arrival, when Dad is encouraged to relax with plenty of refreshments, including two welcome drinks at check-in and special offers at the hotel’s variety of dining outlets. Then, whether Dad wants to race go-karts, try indoor skydiving or hang out with his favorite characters at the theme parks, with Rosen Inn’s ideal location on famed International Drive, adventure is just steps away. For onsite entertainment, a sparkling outdoor swimming pool, video arcade, Sakura Sushi Lounge, Palm Dining Room, dinner and a show at Shogun Japanese Steakhouse and more provide plenty to enjoy a relaxing day or evening.

Combining true skill, taste and entertainment, the teppanyaki chefs at Rosen Inn’s Shogun Japanese Steakhouse provide an experience unlike any other on International Drive.

Rosen Inn’s Summer-Long Father’s Day Getaway starts at $79.99 plus tax, per night and includes:

  • Deluxe guestroom with two double beds, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and more.
  • Two welcome drinks at check-in
  • Buy one breakfast buffet, get one free (one per stay)
  • Buy one dinner at Shogun Japanese Steakhouse and get one at 50 percent off of equal or lesser value (one per stay)
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi access in guestrooms and public areas
  • Kids Stay Free
  • Special “Kids Eat Free” with a paying adult (ages 5 and under)
  • Complimentary parking
  • Complimentary scheduled shuttle service to Universal Orlando Resorts, SeaWorld Orlando and Aquatica theme parks. Reservations required.
  • 24-hour security
  • Never a resort fee!

To book your travel dates, visit or call 800-999-6327. Based on availability; black-out dates apply. For more information about Rosen Inn, located at 6327 International Drive in Orlando, visit

Give Dad a Father’s Day to Remember at Rosen Hotels and Resorts in Orlando

Give Dad a Day to Remember this Father’s Day at
Rosen Hotels & Resorts in Orlando
Stay Packages, Dining Specials Show Appreciation for a Father’s Care
The AAA Four Diamond Rosen Shingle Creek features the Shingle Creek Golf Club.

This just in from the Rosen Hotels & Resorts in Orlando — Dads may not be into all of the attention and compliments that come with celebrating Father’s Day, but they all want to be appreciated for everything they do. So, give that special guy a day – or a weekend – to remember by treating him to a stay and a dad-style meal at one of Rosen Hotels & Resorts‘ stellar properties in Orlando.

Whether he’s a new dad, a veteran dad or has been doing it long enough to start to master this “dad thing,” all dads appreciate the time to rest and recharge. He can do that with overnight stay packages and special golf and dining offers available at Rosen Shingle Creek, Rosen Centre, Rosen Plaza, Midpointe Hotel and Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista.

Stays with Rosen Hotels & Resorts always include free Wifi in guestrooms, state-of-the-art RFID locking systems and never a resort fee!
Overnight Stay Packages and Offers
Rosen Centre’s newly refurbished guestrooms feature plush accommodations and plenty of tech integrations including a favorite of dads — 50-inch flat screen TVs.
Father’s Day Package at Rosen Centre
Make it a special day for Dad at Rosen Centre Hotel with a Father’s Day package for only $159, plus tax, for a one-night stay. The package includes:
  • One-night deluxe accommodations
  • Buffet breakfast for two at Café Gauguin
  • 25% discount on select dining, excluding the Father’s Day Buffet
  • 25% discount on spa treatments at The Spa at Rosen Centre
  • Complimentary access to the fitness center
  • Complimentary self-parking
The package is available June 14 to 16. To book, visit or call 407-996-9840.
Who’s Your Daddy-O? Special at Rosen Shingle Creek
The Who’s Your Daddy-O? special at Rosen Shingle Creek is for any dad who likes the finer things, especially if that includes golf. For only $299 plus tax (upgrade to a suite for just $100 more), the package offers:
  • Two-nights deluxe accommodations
  • Two rounds of golf at the Shingle Creek Golf Club
  • 35% discount on individual golf lessons at Brad Brewer Golf Academy
  • 35% discount on select restaurants
  • 35% discount on an indulgent treatments at The Spa at Shingle Creek
  • Complimentary access to the fitness center
  • Complimentary self-parking
  • Complimentary scheduled shuttles to Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica and theme parks (by reservation only)
The Who’s Your Daddy-O? package is available from June 14 to 16, so call now to reserve a room and celebrate Dad in style. To book, visit or call 407-996-9939.
Brad Brewer Golf Academy Father’s Day Gift Offer
Give Dad the gift of better golf where two learn for the price of one!
Share a lesson, playing lesson, half-day Academy or more at the acclaimed Brad Brewer Golf Academy, located onsite at Rosen Shingle Creek.
The offer is open to the general public and does not require an overnight stay. The offer can be purchased now through the month of June and must be redeemed
by Jan 1, 2020.  For more details, visit
Father’s Day for the Entire Family at Midpointe Hotel, by Rosen Hotel & Resorts
Celebrate Father’s Day with the entire family at Midpointe Hotel with suite accommodations fit for a king for just $85 each night, plus tax. The hotel is adjacent to sister property Rosen Centre. The package includes:
  • One-night Suite accommodations
  • Buffet breakfast for two at Café Gauguin at Rosen Centre
  • 25% discount on select dining at Rosen Centre, excluding the Father’s Day Buffet
  • 25% discount on spa treatments at The Spa at Rosen Centre
  • Complimentary self-parking
The package is available June 14 to 16. To book, visit or call 407-351-5100.
Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista Father’s Day Overnight Stay
An excellent value with the perfect location near Orlando’s world-famous theme parks, Clarion Inn Lake Buena Vista is an ideal getaway for Dad! A special rate of just $74.44 plus tax, per night includes:
  • One-night accommodations
  • Bed & Breakfast for two
  • Two welcome drinks
  • Free scheduled shuttle service to Walt Disney World®, Universal Orlando Resort™, and SeaWorld Orlando, as well as free transportation to Orlando shopping venues. Reservations required.
Offer is good the month of June. To book, visit or call 407-996-7236.
Father’s Day Dining Specials
Treating Dad to a meal out that he will enjoy and appreciate also is easy with dining specials designed to appeal to every man.
Rosen Plaza’s Jack’s Place features all of Dad’s favorites.
EVENT: Dads and Little Ones Dine Free at Rosen Plaza’s Jack’s Place
DATE: Sunday, June 16, 2019
TIME: 5-10 p.m.
LOCATION: Rosen Plaza Hotel, 9700 International Dr., Orlando, FL 32819
COST: Complimentary meal(s) with purchase of adult entrée
DESCRIPTION: Celebrate Dad with a free entrée on his special day at Jack’s Placerestaurant, featuring the world’s most extensive collection of autographed celebrity caricatures. Plus, with the purchase an adult entree, two children will enjoy a complimentary meal each from the Kids Menu at Jack’s Place. Enjoy delicious food and extraordinary service at Rosen Plaza’s fine dining restaurant, a treat for the entire family. For reservations, visit
PHONE: 407-996-9702
EVENT: Harry’s Sip & Savor Pairing Series
DATE: Friday, June 14, 2019
TIME: 6:30 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. seating
LOCATION: Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819
COST: $60 per adult plus taxes and service charge. Reservations are strongly recommended. Complimentary valet and self-parking is included.
DESCRIPTION: Treat Dad to an incredible meal and cocktail pairing that he won’t soon forget. Harry’s Sip & Savor pairing series will offer the next installment of the popular pairing events, a summertime showcase of signature spirits and cocktails featuring Avión Tequila, Absolut Vodka and Malibu Rum*. These artisan cocktails will be served along with a menu of tantalizing dishes created by the talented culinary team. It’s a night out enjoyed al fresco at the hotel’s Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill, a tropical restaurant situated among the palm trees lining the scenic pool. Reservations are strongly recommended for this popular event. In addition, guests with Harry’s Sip & Savor dining reservations can take advantage of a special discounted rate of $119 for a guestroom to make it a complete night out.
PHONE: 407-996-3969
EVENT: Father’s Day Picnic Buffet at Rosen Centre
DATE: Sunday, June 16, 2018
TIME: Noon to 6 p.m.
LOCATION: Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819
COST: $35.95 per adult and $16.95 for children ages 4-12, plus tax and gratuity.Complimentary valet and self-parking is included.
DESCRIPTION: Dad and the family can have a traditional cook-out without all the work at the Rosen Centre’s Father’s Day Picnic Buffet. He’ll enjoy sharing favorite foods and relaxing with the crew in the Florida sunshine at Harry’s Poolside Bar & Grill, surrounded by the tropical ambiance of the palm tree-lined hotel pool. Dads and their guests will enjoy spiced shrimp boil, smoked island tropical chicken, Harry’s smoked spare ribs, and Harry’s Mancave Dessert Station. Each dad also will receive one complimentary craft beer with his paid meal. Treat him like a king and reserve a spot for Dad and the family today!
PHONE: 407-996-3969
EVENT: Father’s Day Dining Special at Rosen Shingle Creek
DATE: June 12-17, 2019
TIME: 5:30 – 10 p.m.
LOCATION: Rosen Shingle Creek, 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819
COST: Free entree with purchase of an entree
DESCRIPTION: Show Dad some love this Father’s Day with a complimentary dinner at one of the two AAA Four Diamond restaurants at Rosen Shingle Creek. Choose either the fine-dining Italian bistro Cala Bella or the signature steakhouse A Land Remembered for his special meal and he’ll get a free entree with the purchase of an entrée of equal or greater value. Treat him to a luxury meal he won’t soon forget this Father’s Day. Make a reservation now.
PHONE: (407) 996-3663
All dining and overnight stay packages are subject to black out dates, based on availability and may not be combined with any other coupons, promotions or special offers or used for group business.