American Junk Food As Viewed By Irish People

I found this video not only hysterical but also very eye opening. A group of Irish people tasted some pretty iconic sweets from good, ol’ USA, and for the most part, they were pretty confused out of their minds. And no, they weren’t confused because they were wondering why they had been deprived of this sweet goodness their whole lives. But rather, they wondered, “Who would eat this?”

Sometimes as I’ve snacked on certain junk foods, I’ve wondered the same thing, though my question is, “Why am I eating this?” Have you ever had that feeling mid junk food binge?

Check out the video below and let me know what you think!

New Healthy Fall Themed Ebook!

FULL DISCLOSURE: Totally not paid to say any of this. My friend Alyssia at Mind Over Munch graciously gave me her ebook so I could test out the recipes and share my findings with you. This is 100 percent me being honest.

Hey y’all! Do I have some great news for you. I was offered a peek at the newly released Fall Seasonal Recipes from Mind Over Munch, and I can’t WAIT to tell you about it. Best part? Mrs. Healthy Ever After readers get a discount. The ebook is already affordable at $5.99, but type in mrshealthyeverafter and you’ll get a dollar off.

Less than $5 for a healthy cookbook of fall treats? YES, PLEASE.

Here’s the image from her website below. Spiffy, right? I linked her ebook below if you want to click now, or you can keep reading to find out about my personal experience trying out her recipes.

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It was released last week, and I meant to post about it over the weekend but between revisions for my book and testing out these yummy recipes (because of course I need to test it out before I recommend it to you guys), this is my first breath of air.

First– this ebook is beautifully designed and easy to understand. I was thoroughly impressed by the quality for such an affordable price. You definitely have a quality product here that’s fun to read with beautiful photography that makes your mouth water.

But let me tell you– the book isn’t just pretty. It passes the ultimate test– BEING DELICIOUS. So far, I’ve made four of the 25 recipes, and I am thoroughly impressed. I’m already planning to make more!

My favorite one so far is the Grape Chicken Skewers that the lovely Alyssia at Mind Over Munch also did a video for on her Youtube channel. Who would have thought that grapes would make such an amazing marinade? It also had my favorite component mixed in– balsamic vinegar– so there really was no going wrong with this one. Hubs gobbled them up like crazy when I served it to him for lunch over brown rice with steamed broccoli. I can’t wait to make these again. I’m actually tempted to marinate whole chicken breasts in this goodness and serve it as a fancy meal next time I have company.

It really is THAT good. Check out your own sneak peek below. (if it’s not the right video, click through to her channel to find it. For some reason, it only let me post the playlist which is ever-changing).

And, of course, because I have an ongoing love affair with my slow cooker, I couldn’t WAIT to try her Pumpkin Chicken Curry. WHOA. Just amazing. I did kick it up a notch with a little extra spice, but overall it was a delicious meal that made SO MUCH FOOD and was incredibly filling. I served this one over brown rice for the Hubs, and he absolutely loved it. Even our downstairs neighbor smelled it when he stopped by and asked for some. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

For dessert, I tried the Pumpkin Coconut Bars which were delightful and light (though I really wished I had stevia on hand. I ended up subbing pure maple syrup and mine weren’t as pretty as her picture). Hubs actually ate the bars for breakfast because for 64 calories a bar (well, double for him because he cut a big one lol), and all natural ingredients, this dessert was actually healthy enough to be a breakfast. And considering my husband tries to convince me he doesn’t need breakfast all the time, I was very impressed when I woke up to him munching on these without any prompting from me.

And I also made the Sweet Po Pomegranate salad for my lunch at work. It’s definitely a unique flavor combination but was great to shake up my lunch slump I tend to find myself in when trying to pack healthy food. It was a tad too sweet to me, but next time I’m going to cut some of the honey and just add more mustard. But overall, it was very satisfying and super filling. I couldn’t believe how much of a rib sticker something so healthy could be. You can never go wrong when sweet potatoes or pomegranates are involved.

Next on the agenda? Her carrot soup and butternut squash potstickers. I’m just itching to get back in the kitchen. I’m telling you guys– recipe after recipe just looks incredible and you’re going to want to get your hands on this as soon as possible so you too can enjoy a healthy fall in a way you’ve never experienced before.

So go on– get your own ebook at MindOverMunch.com and don’t forget to type mrshealthyeverafter in for your promo code so you can get your very special discount.

And seriously, let me know the second you try one of these recipes! I’m excited to hear what you think!

A Personal Pitch Wars Update

I’ve been putting off this post because I’m honestly not sure what to say and was, at first, slightly afraid it was a mistake. During the Pitch Wars application process, I got to meet so many cool and talented authors whose books are AMAZING. When close to 1250 authors applied with only 75 getting a main slot, I knew my chances were slim.

And when three of the four mentors I applied to requested full versions of my manuscript, I started getting extra nervous. I really didn’t want to get my hopes up. I had my eye on this contest since I learned about it last year, so naturally, like all 1250 authors who applied, I REALLY wanted to make it. But I kept convincing myself I wouldn’t make it and that all my other cool author friends would so I’d be ready to cheer them on instead of crying in a corner while eating Ben & Jerry’s with my mouth open.

It’s a terrible visual, I know. But I own the fact that I’m an ugly cryer

But Tuesday night at midnight (I guess technically Wednesday morning), I found out live on the unofficial Pitch Wars show that I had made the list. Originally I was going on the show to co-host with the show creators, the talented authors Natasha Raulerson and Tiffany Rosenthal, to discuss editing vs. critique partnering vs. beta reading/critiques (kinda like when I presented at the International Writing Center Conference in 2011 on direct vs. indirect mentoring strategies). But when we found out that the mentee selections were being announced at midnight, we switched gears to make it a countdown show with fun games and superlatives. I had a blast. Mentors and even the contest creator, the lovely author Brenda Drake, came on the show– and we had a hat contest. Don’t judge me for wearing panda ears, y’all. And I was like wickedly nervous.

But while we were waiting for the results, Brenda’s site crashed from all 1250 authors scrambling to find out.

Somehow, the hubs was able to check the site downstairs while watching the show live with the neighbors and ran up to our house, tapped on the window and said, “YOU GOT RACHEL!”

I told him to go away and stop lying to me.

Then I realized I had the results emailed to me because I subscribe to Brenda’s blog, and there it was—-my name was on the list. And Rachel Lynn Solomon was my mentor. I was so excited, I may have smacked my head on the coffee table by accident. I tend to be a flailer.

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I’m caught between two very strong emotions that can be summed up in this Broadway show tune:


And of course, a Jennifer Lawrence gif:

For those of you who are still a little confused on what Pitch Wars is, my new mentor Rachel will help me get my book to where it needs to be so that it’ll be super duper extra awesome and publishable (God willing!). I’m already beyond inspired by her notes and am ready to rip my book apart, gut it, and make it super polished and shiny.

One big revision— for those Beta readers out there who have read THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES– will be combining two characters, Julie and Francis Grace. I already rewrote one scene with the new improved Francis Grace and I’m all like…why didn’t I do this before?

Oh and the best part? Rachel is from Seattle. When writing a book set in a certain region (mine is in Mississippi), its easy to fall victim to thinking “well everyone in the South knows this.” It’s so refreshing to be pushed to explain things in new ways that make something come across more effectively to those who aren’t familiar with certain things.

It’s going to be an awesome two months filled with blood, sweat, and tears. And I’m so grateful for the experience to meet all these awesome authors and get to work with Rachel. And I’m so flabbergastedly (yes, I made up a new word) humbled beyond belief.

So, I know I’ve neglected my blog a bit lately (especially the healthy aspect…I tend to eat like a fat kid when I’m in creative author mode), but I promise I’ll keep updates on my revision process. I’ve been contemplating sharing my other mood boards for characters, like I did for Mack.

But thanks everyone for the support and for those who read my first couple of drafts THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES. I hope I can do you all proud.

So far in #PitchWars…

So the entries are in and the waiting begins. For those of you who are just now hearing about this, you can read my earlier post about how I entered the TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES into Pitch Wars this year. 

And a couple days ago, it was announced that nearly 1250 authors submitted their books. And from a lot of mentor tweets, there are a TON of good ones. Competition is fierce, y’all.

And of course, leading up the contest I re-read my novel, THE TRUTH ABOUT TWO SHOES 9 bazillion times over and over. There was a lot of this…

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But what I want to touch on today is how Pitch Wars is so much more than just a contest. It’s a community. Since even the mentor list was announced months ago and even now after submission deadline has passed, Twitter is abuzz with awesome writers all connecting and working together on their current project, future projects, and more. We’re even playing daily games where we tweet #bestlines, #lastlines, #characterfears, etc.

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And yes, you have to be a writer nerd to see the value in any of this, but I swear– it’s fantastic. You should check it out if you want to learn more about future books before they’re published.

There’s even two lovely ladies who have been live streaming a show talking about writing in general and interviewing the mentors. The hubs even hooked up our TV so I didn’t have to stare at my tiny phone while folding laundry. It’s pretty fantastic.

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I’ve met a lot of great people and awesome writers who I would have never otherwise connected with. And it’s so encouraging to find other people who I can talk to this about other than my cubicle neighbor who graciously puts up with my excited yammering about my books she’s never read.

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Disclaimer: We totally posed this shot. I promise I don’t usually have crazy eyes, and I really don’t bug her THHAAAAT MUCH. In fact, we had many outtakes…

Haha. This was her original "mean/annoyed face." She's so sweet.

Haha. This was her original “mean/annoyed face.” She’s so sweet.

But I also did enter this contest with a very dear friend of mine, Emily from The Newfangled Housewife (who entered her book, MISSING)  We were college friends turned long-distance buddies. Originally we met working for the student newspaper and realized we were both taking playwriting together. She was a creative writing major and I was in journalism, so that was our only class together since it was my elective. She even played a part in my play, “Cement Shoes”…though her only line was “surprise!” before I had her shot and killed. It’s a comedy, I swear.

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But man I wish we were closer because she is the best at procrasti-baking. Seriously, check out her blog. This week to distract ourselves from the wait of #pitchwars, we long-distance baked the same thing in our own unique ways– healthy banana brownies. Obviously her’s were most likely better.

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The best procrasti-baker I know.

 

But alas, in all the waiting/ stress of Pitch Wars, as long distance buddies, most of our convos now end up like this:

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This is an old photo (no my hair is no longer that awful color). But the look of terror is very similar to how we discuss waiting, editing and revisions for each other since we CP.

But old friends and new friends alike, I’m so glad to really connect with writers in this way. I can’t wait to see success take shape as all these awesome books get their chance to make it out in the world. I wish I could read every single one. Thanks so much everyone for the experience. I hope we can be neurotic author friends forever.

I’m Featured on Shape.com!

You have no idea how thrilled I was when Shape.com contacted me about a blog I wrote almost a year ago called, “5 Ways to Get Your Husband to Eat Healthy.” Turns out, they wanted to feature my tips in an article they were doing. GAH! So excited and grateful for the opportunity. Check it out below by clicking the image!

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A Writer’s Life Told Through Gifs

With all the Gifs people are using for #PitchWars on their blogs and tweets, I got a little inspired. So here’s my personal life as a writer with a day job writing while also making time to freelance and write novel after novel…in Gif form.

I start my day much like this.

Often times,  I’ll feel really strong.

Other times, there’s a lot of this:

Which getting all weepy isn’t a bad thing…unless you wrote a really sad scene or article but for some reason, you realize it’s not nearly as emotion-packed as it should be. #Fail.

But despite the ups and downs of writing and revising and editing and critiquing and working, I trudge through because I’m  a writer and no matter what, I can’t NOT write. I just may need more coffee…

Sometimes I can get in over my head when deadlines overlap or I’m suddenly inspired by one project that shouldn’t be as important as some other one, but I just have to remind myself that I got this, and this is who I am.

 

Sometimes I lose track of time, and things like the real world slip by in a blink of an eye.
Hubs: “You coming to bed?”
Me: “What? This early? I’m still on a roll!”
Hubs: “It’s 2 a.m.”
…..oops.

The sleep deprivation doesn’t get any better when I’m woken up in the middle of the night with epic ideas I need to write down right away. Sometimes I wish I could tell my characters to make an appointment only during waking hours, but alas, apparently that’s not how one authors.


(oh how I wish!)

And despite my mad determination and creative spells, I am constantly impressed that my husband doesn’t mind me being addicted to words or talking about my fictional characters all the time.

(Yes. That means he makes me feel like a Disney princess. Sorta. As long as I get to occasionally hit him in the head with a frying pan.)

But then as I approach the finish line of a draft…something happens. It’s like the first 60,000 words were a cake walk and all of the sudden there is SO MUCH PRESSURE to get it right. Sometimes I allow a select group to read up to a certain part of an in-progress draft just to gauge what they want in an ending. Then I’ll make a balance between giving them closure and still surprising them.

And when I’m done with a draft, there’s a lot of this…

Until someone says, “Glad your book is finished! Half the battle, right?”

Don’t get me started on the revision journey or the research-publishing-industry-so-you-know-what-you’re-doing journey. Those are entirely different blog posts.

What’s your writer life like– or if you’re not a writer, how about life in general? Link me. The more Gifs the better! ;-)