5986231444_5d52a13999_bphoto by gabe

Did I ever tell you about the time I filmed a TV commercial?!

I had been keeping it a little secret but now it’s time as at any moment you may be seeing my face plastered over your tv, if you haven’t already.

I wanted to give you a glimpse of what it looked like from my perspective. A little behind the scene, if you will.

First, let’s start with how it all came about. I was contacted by a research company through my blog. They had asked if I would be willing to test out an unnamed dish washing detergent, if I agreed they would send a free sample pack. Sold.

I knew from the beginning that there was a possibility of my mug ending up on tv but it was a long shot and honestly I was satisfied with the opportunity to sample some new detergent. Since becoming a mom and having to run the dishwasher multiple times a day I’ve come to realize that it’s the little triumphs throughout the day that make life easier. Clean dishes is indeed one of those triumphs.

Within a couple of days I received the product. I had stockpiled some dishes – you know, for research’s sake, not due to laziness. I followed the instructions that read, “Do not pre-rinse.” I put some of my most difficult dirty dishes to the test. A pan that was coated thick with dried-on egg, a pot that had simmered cowboy beans all day and was left over night so that the interior of the pan was no longer visible and what remained was a thick coating of petrified beans. And a large dutch-oven that had spend the whole day braising pork shoulder.


photo by gabe

From the moment I opened up the dishwasher that ran with the sample detergent, I was sold. Dishes that typically sat in the sink all day to soak were now spotless having simply placed them in the dishwasher straight from the stove.

I tested the product for one week with each load I broke all the cardinal sins of how to properly clean dishes. I overloaded, I left crusty food on the plates, I didn’t soak the red dyed wine glasses or pre-scrub the ring of dried coffee stains that marks most of our mugs by the end of one day. The consistency remained. The moment the dishwasher hushed marking the end of its cycle I eagerly opened its door, letting the last moments of the drying cycle fog my glasses. And every time I was impressed. My wine glasses shimmered like I never knew they could and that dreaded egg pan that has caused many rifts in my marriage as we casually argued over who would have egg-pan-clean-up duty came out egg-free. Marriage saved.

Over a skype-interview with the research company I gave an honest and glowing review. In the background the kids were competing for my attention and the dishwasher was running its second load of the day.

A few days later I was informed that I had been selected to be in the commercial for this product.



From that point it was a whirlwind. One week later we all met at my parent’s house (where we host many of our cooking classes) to film. At 6 am I woke up and looked out the window to see a swarm of people unloading a large moving truck filled with lighting equipment. I went back in bed and soaked in that moment and prayed that I would stop shaking by the time the girl with the black and white marker snapped that slate and called “action”.

The crew was immensely kind, calming my nerves and encouraging me even though I was a bit camera-awkward. I wasn’t given a script. Everything that I said was sincere as I talked about my experience during the week of testing.

The most thrilling part of the day was that my brother, a very talented cinematographer, was manning the second camera. There was one point where it felt like it was just my brother and I, even though there were twenty others standing close by.

He was filming me as I was taking pictures of a salad I had just composed. He directed me to “stand-up then slowly crouch down while taking pictures.” As I snapped away my mind flashed to him as a 12-year-old running around the house with my dad’s giant camcorder. He was filming me then as he was now. I was a shy child but loved any chance to be center stage. We were filming a mock newscast. I was the journalist on the scene interviewing my dad about whatever dramatic news worthy event we had made-up.


That broadcast clings in my memory as a rare moment when I wasn’t just his pesky younger sister that constantly tried to vie for his attention and in the process would completely annoy him (I get it, I was pesky). He’s five years older, with that age gap I always looked up to him for guidance and lessons in all things “cool”. My entire life, even now as I’m 29 and he’s 34, I look to him for his thumbs up. In adulthood I have tried to step out of the shadow of little sister and into the realm of equal, friend, and simply sister. Now, I am happy to call my brother a friend.

In that moment during the shoot we were both living out childhood fantasies. We were working together, as peers. He was fulfilling his calling and I was doing something that I love. In that moment we had the rare opportunity for our paths to collide – I felt that same giddy joy as I did when I was 7.

In an instant it was done. Gabe and I quickly packed up our family and left for Seattle as I had to rush back to teach a class that night.

As quickly as it all happened it was over and it felt like a dream. Since that day I have continually asked myself, “did that really happen?” But now as it airs I am once again faced with the nervous shakes and praying for them to subside as I did on my bed that morning.

I am so grateful for the opportunity and I stand behind the product that is the star of the commercial. I’m afraid, however, that I may have been caught with the bug. The being-in-front-of-a-camera bug. That’s not true, that bug has always been in there but I suppressed it. Everyday life seems just so mundane. I’m only kidding, mostly. I am so honored to have been a part and thankful to the crew for making it such a fun day and for my family who happily played with my children enabling me to have some fun in front of a camera.

This is something I have never done before. Rarely do I promote a product on the blog, unless it is something that I love. Which is the very reason why I agreed to do the commercial. The majority of my day is spent caring for a family of five. Much of that is cleaning up after them, which I’ll be honest, I’m a horrible cleaner. Dishes pile up, as does the laundry and the long list of items to be dusted, scrubbed, put away and swept up.  Anything that can make that burden slightly lighter I will cling on to. I know I am not alone in this and felt that you all should know that this product, Finish Quantum, works incredibly well. It has replaced my old detergent and I have no intention of going back. It makes my job a little easier and helps me quickly get back to the job of dirtying dishes – which I enjoy doing and do it quite well.

The commercial.

Disclosure: Opinion expressed prior to disclosure of manufacturer and product “Finish Quantum®”. Appeared in a TV commercial after product use. Compensated for endorsement.

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78 Responses to “Behind the scenes”

  1. Iman

    I saw the commercial! thats how I found your blog, and i’m in love with it! 😀 Congrats!

  2. alison

    Yes!! You did amazing haha! Good Job!! I wish i actually had a dishwasher. my hands do all the work these days! Congrats friend!

  3. Alanna Kellogg

    Very exciting — and what a great opportunity to introduce many more readers to Not Without Salt — to say nothing of introducing people to a dishwasher product that actually works. (I’ll buy the Finish Quantum today.) Congratulations

  4. Misty

    1) Your parents’ house is beautiful.
    2) So are you. You look like Reese Witherspoon.
    3) Congrats, and keep up the great work!

  5. Jill

    I have followed your blog for awhile now, and I was SO surprised to see the commercial over the weekend! I thought to myself – I know her! So amazing! Great job! Love your website and your insight.

    I have to laugh – when reading your “about me” – I saw myself when you said you think about food constantly and are planning the next meal while eating the one you are on! That is so me! 🙂

  6. Lynn

    I just saw the commercial last night! How cool to be able to work with your brother like that. I’m looking forward to trying the new dishwashing stuff – we’ve always been a Cascade family but I’ll drop them in a minute if it means less time dealing dirty dishes – especially since I have teenage boys who feed in the middle of the night and aren’t always good about soaking the dirty remains.

  7. Jennifer

    Your commercial is playing in the Chattanooga market, which is how I discovered your blog. So glad that I did! =)


  8. Stephanie S

    I saw the commercial last week, but didn’t know how to integrate it into a comment without sounding fangirl-ish and silly. But now I can say: I saw you in a commercial for a product I can’t use because I have no dishwasher 😛

  9. Kate

    I saw the commericial too, and instantly recognized you! Congrats you looked great and seemed totally natural! A friend recommomended I check out your blog, we apparently went to the same college, and now I am hooked! Love the recipes, style, and way you tell a story! Congrats!

  10. Naomi Bulger

    I really enjoyed reading this post. The whole whirlwind experience was entertaining (and I never thought I’d say another person’s account of dishwashing detergent could be entertaining), but I particularly enjoyed the sweetness of working with your brother, playing out your childhood games for real. Thank you for sharing this and I hope the commercial is a success for you.

  11. Snippets of Thyme

    I must say to you that for ONCE my teen kids were impressed where blogging can end up. I get lots of ribbing and teasing for loving blogland so much. When they peered at your new commercial, I got some impressed looks. Way to go!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Thank you all SO VERY MUCH. I am blown away by the comments and welcome all of you who came via the commercial. Welcome to our happy NWS family!!

  12. Hongying

    Just watched your commercial and that is how I found myself here! Congratulations! That is so exciting!!

  13. Latryce

    The commercial is how I found your website! I have enjoyed your blog so much. I’m going to try the S’mores Rice Krispies and Random Acts of Cookies this week. This was the first post that I read. (I’m going to make them for my homeroom. Wish me luck!)
    I look forward to more post and photos! Love the photos!!!

  14. Dana

    Our little movie star! So cool that you got to work with your brother and I’m sure this is not the last we see of you on TV!

  15. Amber

    how cool – and fun that you got to work with your brother too…commercial is great! Congrats!

  16. Chris

    Thanks Sister, It was great to work with you as well and even better to have you as a friend.

  17. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    Congratulations! This is oh so very exciting! And I loved the story behind it. I have to say that I would have done a commercial if I had tried the detergent and it had been such a huge success.

  18. Carla

    I’m an only child and I’ve always wondered it would be like to have siblings. Your story is what I imagine having a sibling would be like 🙂

  19. Jennifer B

    I aspire to have a food blog one day. Preferably a successful one, but I’ll take a pretty and composed, but unsuccessful one too. I saw your commercial and had to stop by! I love food, but I would consider myself a foodie-in-training. I’m learning how to take better pictures of food, how to create the best lighting, which lens would work best on my camera, etc. Any tips would be appreciated! Congrats on the commercial!!

    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Thanks for your comment! And thank you for reading.
      The most practical advice I have is to take pictures all. the. time. I
      realize this isn’t very feasible but the more you train your eye to
      see through that lens the better your images will be. You will start
      to really understand your camera, composition, color, etc. I found
      that it’s only through this daily repetition that I improve as a
      photographer. Once time has passed when I haven’t been shooting it’s
      almost as if I have to start over a few steps back.
      Even shooting pictures with my iPhone keeps me in practice.
      When you’re not shooting learn from others whose images inspire you.
      The great Renaissance artists learned by copying the masters. Through
      emulating others you will begin to find what feels most “you”.
      I appreciate you asking me, I’m honored.

  20. Darlynne

    When I first saw the commercial, I almost jumped up off the couch and I know I was yelling, “Hey, that’s Ashley from not-without-salt, that’s the person who loves bacon as much as I do!” Obviously I was very excited, for both of us. Congratulations, you were and are terrific.

  21. MG Atwood

    Remember we, the little people on your rise to stardom! Good things come to those that wait, or those with talent…your talent shall rise like the cream…cheers to you.

  22. cheryl

    I saw it on my way home from New York yesterday on a Jet Blue flight. I was like, wait! I know her! (Even though, of course, I don’t.) Nice to read the back-story now, too. The part about your brother is a lovely bonus.


  23. The Undercover Cook

    I found your blog a little over a month ago and have really enjoyed reading it and trying some new recipes. Then a few days ago I happen to catch your commercial and thought “I know her!” (sort of anyway). You did a great job! Commercials shoots are worldwind of activity and pretty surreal. Glad you had fun doing it! It is always fun to peak behind the curtain and see the tv magic in the making.

  24. Tracy

    Congrats on the commercial! I was so surprised when I heard your blog name on TV; I was like, “hey, I know her blog!” Great job! 🙂

  25. julie {chefjulieyoon}

    hehe… I was watching TLC’s “Crazy about Pippa” and saw your commercial. I didn’t really pay attention to the commercial, but I saw “” at the bottom and was curious what that was so I punched it in. Great description of your experience and I’m happy to have come across your blog!


  26. Danielle

    Very cool ad, and I’m sure that this is only the beginning of your TV career! 😉 Your endorsement has me curious to try out some Finish Quantum detergent myself.

  27. Kasey

    I love this! You look absolutely fabulous…and so polished – wow! I know from my run in with TV that this stuff is not easy and it takes SO LONG.

  28. Aprill Lytton

    Saw your commercial this morning! Thats what brought me over here. I am a huge foodie and new to this blogger world I am loving. So glad I found your beautiful site!

  29. Cher

    Just saw the commercial, and looked your blog up to make sure it was real!! Congrats on such an opportunity!

  30. Jamie-Lee

    I just saw the commercial and found your blog through that. I love seeing food bloggers becoming so successful, and I hope to be as successful someday. Way to go! You looked great! You have a new follower =]

  31. Anne

    I saw you on TV last night during Toddlers and Tiaras, too. I wasn’t really watching the commercial until I heard Not Without Salt and my head jerked to attention. You looked great!

  32. bridget {bake at 350}

    OK, so even though I don’t *know* you, every time your commercial comes on, I have to alert my family….”The Food Blogger Commercial Is On!!!” I totally bought new detergent today because of you! 🙂 Congrats! You did the food blogging community proud! 🙂

  33. Crystal Malek

    Wow, great commercial!! I haven’t seen it yet, on tv, but I’ll be looking now. Thanks for the recommendation of a great detergent! Been irritated with mine not getting the job done, so I’ll take the challenge. Great job!

  34. Kasey

    How funny. I saw this commercial the other day, and when you mentioned your blog in the commercial, I guess it didn’t even come to my mind that I actually read your blog. Until now, CONGRATS!

  35. shannalee

    Wow, Ashley, I don’t know how I missed this post in August, but tonight we saw your commercial and I was so excited! A little Googling brought me back over here… you were a natural and I love seeing a little of the behind the scenes here. : )

  36. Kim

    Because of you I, too, took the Finish challenge and couldn’t be happier. Thanks for sharing and I LOVE the commercial.

  37. candiecane

    love your blog! just saw the commerical today, that’s where I heard of your blog, and I am now hooked! awesome website! great job

  38. Lakeitha Duncan

    And that is how I found you!!!!! I saw the commercial today and said “Wow, I bet herblog is fantastic!” And I was right! Glad I found you:)

  39. Monica

    I love your blog. I discovered it late last night after watching your commercial. Congratulations!

  40. Debbi

    Read your end to 2011 and saw the blog entry about this commercial.

    I saw a cute blond on tv holding a camera. Since I’m infatuated with photogrsphy I reran it over and over to get the name of your blog! Hooked here ever since! One of my favorite food blogs!

    I tried Finish an love it too! No spots when using my 100mm macro lens!

  41. Brian Palmer

    just saw the commercial, I know I’m late with a congrats, but congrats anyway. That must have been some whirlwind of emotions and amazement! Love the site, love the photos too! Keep up the great work and inspiration.

  42. Abadeu

    You are on Tv, and that’s how I found your blog. That’s so cool. Sometimes you think that these brands just use people, but now I trust branding better. I’ma take a look around and keep on coming!!

    Congrats again.

  43. Connie t

    I just saw the commercial and looked up your blog. That is great that you got a commercial. Your blog is amazing. I love your photography. You have a really nice camera. I subscribed.

  44. Kori

    I too saw the commercial and then looked up your blog (I’m getting really into cooking and baking now so I’m also into food blogs now). I love what you wrote about sharing an incredible moment with your brother. It was very touching and so cool to read! I’ll be perusing your blog and all its recipes now. Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year!

  45. Audria Rose

    I too found your blog due to the commercial you did, awesome! Such a wonderful blog and great way to get your blog out there!! 🙂

  46. Ella

    i saw the commercial and this is how i found your site:) great job!

  47. Edwin Martinez

    I know I’m late to the party. We don’t have TV so we have no idea what’s on TV… but at Nina’s grandmothers house yesterday Jan 7, 2012, we saw you and your folks kitchen. Several times. It was awesome! So Cool, you’re a natural. Actually happen to use the detergent for the first time yesterday as well.