Posts made in January, 2013

it’s official.

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Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in Career

Holy shrimp on a stick, I don’t have a job anymore.

Yesterday was my last day in the office, then I worked from home today to tie up some loose ends, and I’m staying on freelance to work on some big projects, but as of about an hour ago, I’m technically jobless. Holy crap.

me champagne

My co-workers were amazing on my last day. They showered me with kind words, a beautiful gift and a ton of (healthy!) snacks. They even got me a giant bowl of Cheddar Bunnies! It was a really sweet way to say goodbye.

work snacks

It’s a good thing they got me healthy snacks at work, because Craig and I are celebrating with the aforepictured champagne plus pizza and cheesecake. Ha! Healthy balance, right? And, of course, I’m not the only one celebrating. Craig’s last day at his job was yesterday! He starts a new gig in a few weeks, but tonight, we celebrate and revel in our joint joblessness!

cheesecake

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t pretty sad driving away from Bloomington yesterday. Our jobs were really our last ties to that wonderful, amazing town. We’ve both loved being Bloomingtonians, and we’re excited to see what it’ll be like to come back to B-town as visitors now instead of townies (because you know we’ll be back to go to basketball games and visit friends!). I definitely got a little misty as we drove away for the last time. When we moved, it was different because we knew we’d be coming back to Bloomington each week for work. But this, this feels very final.

road driving stock

As sad as I am to be leaving Bloomington, I feel so fortunate to have been given this opportunity to pursue my dream of being my own boss. Leaving a stable job is a huge leap of faith (read more about my plans for my newfound “free” time here), but I’m feeling good about my chances of making it in this big ocean of opportunity I just tossed myself into. Sink or swim, right?

It’s amazing the doors that have opened since I announced I was quitting. I now have enough work to carry us through comfortably for a few months. Work that wasn’t even on the horizon a few weeks ago. Not to get all new-agey-touchy-feely on you guys, but I truly believe that I opened myself up to the universe and all it had to offer, and the universe rewarded me for my trust and hard work. It’s absolutely incredible how things just work out sometimes, isn’t it? Thank you all so, so much for your support. You are just…the best group of people in the entire world.

babyface me champagne

Anyway. Enough of this mushy-gushy stuff. I’ve gotta go pack a suitcase! We’re up early tomorrow morning to jet off to Canada to visit with Craig’s family.

Holy crap. I’m a jet-setting, jobless person!

bthr book club discussion: terra

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Posted on Jan 31, 2013 in Fun

Good morning, everyone! Who is ready to talk Terra? I’m super excited! But before we dig into that, I do have a little bit of housekeeping to tackle. When we first decided to do a BTHR book club, lots of folks were interested, but the interest has definitely fizzled as we put the book club into action. So I’d love for you to answer a few questions for me. A) Are you still interested in continuing with the BTHR book club? B) If so, what changes would you like to see? Thanks!

Now, onto the debut novel from the amazingly talented Gretchen Powell. Be warned, spoilers abound! 

terra-final-ebook

Before I talk at all about Terra, I have to admit, I’m incredibly biased. Not only am I an insane fan of Gretchen and her blog, but Gretch also tapped me to design Terra’s cover. I jumped at the chance to design the cover because I’d read the first two chapters of Terra and was so impressed with Gretchen’s writing that I knew it was a project I just had to be a part of. I’m so proud to have my work on the cover of this novel. I hope it does the inside justice, because damn, I love the inside. But because I’m personally invested in this book, I’m sure my review is totally, 100% biased.

I’m a huge, huge fan of the YA dystopian genre, which means that I am incredibly picky about books in it. This is such a hugely popular genre right now, and, honestly, there is a lot of crap out there (and I’ve read pretty much all of it), but I think Terra really stands out among the superstars in the genre. If I’m being totally honest, I was nervous to read Terra because Gretchen is such a good friend of mine. What would I do if I didn’t like it? What if the writing was bad? What if I didn’t like the characters? But I didn’t have to worry about any of that because I was honestly blown away with how good it was. The writing was colorful and interesting without being distracting or over-the-top. The characters were interesting and well-developed. And the world Gretchen built was simultaneously totally realistic and totally unbelievable (in a great kind of way).

My favorite thing about Terra is how Gretchen struck an incredible balance with the character of Terra herself. So often, in YA books, heroines are either (a) insanely strong-willed, closed off and emotionally stunted (I’m looking at you, Katniss) or (b) weak, simple-minded and whiny (I’m looking at you, Bella), but honestly, I think the vast majority of women in the real world are both strong and vulnerable, and I think Gretchen did an incredible job painting Terra as that “every” woman. At points, I felt like Terra was saying and doing things that I would do in that situation. But then at times, she was being so strong and powerful that I found myself looking up to her. I think that’s a really tough balance for any author to strike in a character, especially in a first novel.

I think what I love the most about Terra is that it’s obvious that Gretchen absolutely loves this genre, loves writing, loves her characters and loves this story. There is so much care put into each and every word in this book. Every phrase, every sentence, every paragraph was purposeful and helped build the story. I think many self-published authors do themselves a great disservice by not working with talented editors, but it was obvious from Terra that Gretchen had an incredible creative relationship with her editor—and the end result is a beautifully flowing story that had me sucked in from the first page.

Alright, let’s have a discussion!

Since Gretchen is so awesome, she’s agreed to pop in here and answer any questions you guys have for her, so make sure to ask ‘em in the comments. Feel free to write-up your own review, but I have a few questions about Terra that I’d love talk over with you guys:

  1. At what point did you know something was “up” with Adam and his story? Even if you picked up on it early, did you figure out what his secret was or was that a surprise?
  2. What did you think the machine Terra found was?
  3. If you were living in Terra’s world, do you think you’d live in the skycities or the groundworld?
  4. If you were casting the movie of Terra, who would you cast as Terra and Adam?

wellness calendar: february 2013 (free printable)

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Posted on Jan 30, 2013 in Motivation

feb2013

I’ve got February’s wellness calendar ready a few days early for you guys! We’re jet-setting off to Ontario to visit with Craig’s family for a few days on Friday, and I’m trying to get everything together so you guys don’t have any interruption in content here. I’ve got a few great recipes on the docket. You won’t even notice I’m gone (well, except I might be a little slow with approving comments or answering questions).

If you’ve never downloaded one of my wellness calendars before, these little guys have a daily wellness-focused challenge. When you put them all together, you’ve got yourself a great start to a healthy month! I like to believe that a healthy lifestyle is built off of a lot of small, daily healthy decisions, and this calendar helps you get there. Download the PDF, print it out and hang it up so you can see it daily.

Enjoy!

download

what i ate wednesday: i feel great

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Posted on Jan 30, 2013 in Food

You guys know what feels amazing? Healthy momentum. It can be so hard to start sometimes, but by the time you get a few days or weeks into a health upswing, it feels like nothing can stop you. Woohoo! I love this feeling! I’m eating clean. I’m exercising. I’m hydrating. I feel awesome. It can be so easy to forget how good this feels when I’m in the middle of a downswing. Next time I say, “Oy, with the poodles already I ate too much sugar and I haven’t worked out in a month and I feel terrible” remind me of this post and how awesome I feel because I’m taking care of my body, k? Onto my eats…

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  1. My morning started off as most mornings do lately—with green tea. I tried a new green tea I snagged at Whole Foods and it was not yummy. It tasted like someone steeped rotten spinach. Gross! So I dumped that out and went back to one of my favorites—Jasmine Green from Teavana. So good. I just wish it wasn’t so pricey. Yowzas. I also skipped the sweetener this time around. Trying to seriously curb my sugar consumption.
  2. Babyface hooked us up with some yummy, yummy breakfast. Oats made with peanut butter, maple syrup, apples, cinnamon, flax, chia seeds and peanuts. Yum!
  3. Breakfast was so filling that I had just a snack instead of lunch. I love yogurt bowls so much. In this one: plain Greek yogurt, granola, strawberries, blueberries, chia seeds and a few chocolate chips.
  4. Dinner was a regular recipe in our house—Penne Rosa. We’re trying to use up as much produce as possible before we leave for Canada in a couple of days, so on the side, we had a big garden salad.
  5. After dinner, I sipped on some Chamomile Mint tea and had a big hunk of dark chocolate for dessert.

This week, I’m trying out the Lose It! app to keep track of my food intake and the Waterlogged app to keep track of my water. I’m really liking the interface design of Lose It! but I so wish it had water tracking in it—that’s where Waterlogged comes in.

wiaw-screen

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten so far this week?

things i’m digging…

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Posted on Jan 29, 2013 in Lifestyle

1. My new bangs!

me hair

Yup. I jumped on the bang bandwagon and lopped off my hair! I’ve been thinking about doing it for a while now, but never had the courage. Then I saw Gretchen do it and, since I want to be like her when I grow up, I decided to go at my head with a pair of scissors. I’m kinda in love with them. 95% of the time, my hair is either in a pony tail, a top knot or braids, and the bangs make my lazy hairstyles look a lot less lazy and a lot more fashionable.

2. Harmony glass tea tumbler.

tea tumbler

I snagged this tea tumbler from Teavana for mega clearance, and I’m totally digging it. The reviews weren’t great on it—mostly people saying “but I dropped it and it broke!” well, duh, it’s glass—but I’m totally in love with it. It’s beautiful, it keeps my tea warm, and I think it actually travels really well. I love that the tea can float around in the tumbler and that it strains when you drink (as opposed to having an infuser basket inside of it).

3. Edible magazines.

edible louisville

You guys have picked up an Edible magazine in your area, right? I’ve actually written a few pieces for Edible Indy, and now that I live in the Louisville area, I’m totally loving Edible Louisville. Most of the major metro areas in the U.S. and Canada have their own  Edible version, and they are offered for free (at least in our area) at many local restaurants and grocery stores. It’s all about local food, drinks and producers. Highly recommended!

4. Mini tart pans.

tart pans

It’s hard to tell in this picture—I should have included something for scale—but these little guys fit in the palm of my hand. How cute is that? I picked them up from a local kitchen supply store, and I’m kind obsessed with them. They are the perfect size for individual servings of desserts. Expect lots of future mini tart recipes.

5. Emily Owens, M.D.

ipad emily owens

Does anyone else watch this show? I haven’t heard anyone talking about it, but I’m absolutely loving it. Mamie Gummer is amazing (how could she not be with her mother being who her mother is?) and the whole show is heartfelt and touching without being too heavy or dramatic. It’s a fun watch.

What are you digging right now?