I love to bake cookies. LOVE it. And then, I love to give them away because otherwise I’m liable to eat the whole batch. So, now that I’ve been writing and working from home (1 year today!), I don’t have anyone to give my cookies too.
02 Dec / Are You a Stressed Out Writer?
A 2004 Gallup poll revealed that half of all Americans are pressed for time and stressed out. Ever feel like that? Me too! Somehow, despite my best intentions, I often find myself overscheduled, strapped for time and therefore, stressed about how I’ll get everything done.
Add to that cranky clients and the hassles of everyday life and well, things can start to feel pretty overwhelming.
A constant overachiever, I decided last year that I would cease all double-booking. This has been amazing for me. Only one social activity a day – no more. Instead of having happy hour with my sister and visiting a friend’s poetry reading – I only choose one activity. But, lately, I’ve forgotten my rule. I’m having lunch and dinner with friends and then going to a book reading. I’m out at appointments all day doing interviews and then have a social gathering to attend.
A stressed out, low on sleep, irritable Heather.
Not a good thing, let me tell you.
And so that’s why this weekend, I did nothing – or at least only activities I love. Unsure of what “nothing” looks like – check it some of my suggestions:
-No makeup all weekend (poor boyfriend!).
-Comfortable sweatshirts and a ponytail.
-Do only what you LOVE. For me this meant, baking, cooking, organizing my filing cabinets and closet and putting up my Christmas decorations.
-Sleep. I slept 8 hours each night, in my favorite comfy sweatshirt. Take that!
-Watch perfectly fabulous movies. I watched 3 movies in a row. And only watched movies – I didn’t even knit – no multi-tasking allowed!I NEVER do this.
-Put together a puzzle.
-Pet the cat.
-Eat wonderfully yummy food (wheat-free cookies and gluten-free spinach pizza baby!).
-Read books you adore.
All in all, my 2-day weekend felt like a 5-day vacation. For some reason, without multi-tasking, my days were longer, more fun and more fulfilling. I could get used to this doing nothing thing…
So – what do you do when you’re doing “nothing” (i.e. not working)?
Recently, I went to visit Java Nation in Beaverton, Ore. – the newest no-Starbucks alternative for those in favor of supporting small businesses (and besides, Starbucks has zero food offerings for us wheat-free, dairy-free, low sugar folks!) – for some peppermint tea, free wi-fi and goodies.
Fortunately, I discovered Heart Thrive energy bars by Sun Cakes filled with vegan ingredients (and no refined sugars!), not to mention delicious taste, high fiber and calcium.
These sun cakes are power packed! But, beware – while two come in a package, you only want to eat one at a time. They’re very filling, which makes them the perfect healthy snack, but eating two at once just might be too much. I tried the chocolate chip and while very wholesome the chocolate chips gave it a nice kick. Oh, and I just saw on their website that when you place your first online order you receive 6 free sun cakes. Nice!
This is now my fave new snack when on the go.
Do you have a favorite wheat-free, dairy-free and low sugar snack? If so – do tell!
While I managed to survive the holidays quite well wheat-free, dairy-free and low sugar style (thanks to my fabulous pumpkin pie & stuffing!), the rest of the weekend proved quite challenging.
We spent 2 days at the McMenamin’s Edgefield property in Troutdale, Ore. over the long weekend. While I can almost always find a way to eat wheat-free, dairy-free and low sugar at restaurants, the McMenamin’s restaurants are a challenge. Particularly at the Edgefield locations (to say nothing of the haunted farmer that kept me up all night!)
Here’s how I survived:
-Salads, salads and more salads.
-They have a killer Thai salad roll on their appetizer menu. Thank god!
-Ate two appetizers for a dinner entree.
-Allowed myself one cheat – marionberry cobbler (just ate the fruit and dealt with the stomach trouble) – sans vanilla ice cream.
-Salmon Cesear – minus the cheese/croutons and with low fat Italian dressing.
-Breakfast was the easiest; egg scramble with potatoes and fruit. Always ask waitstaff if you can substitute toast for fruit. It’s healthy, easy and leaves you feeling fabulous.
Now, I don’t recommend McMenamin’s as a great dining locale for WF/DF/LS eating, but if you have to, follow these guidelines. Usually they have a soup I can eat, but unfortunately, it was cheddar cauliflower (ick!) and turkey pasta the two days I was there. Next time, I’ll bring more fruit and veggies to snack on in between.
Do you have a WF/DF/LS restaurant horror story? Please share how you dealt with the challenge in my comments section!
Also – check out the following upcoming GF cooking classes:
For more info, contact Andrea at: 360) 828-8551.
A friend of mine and kick-ass 20-something author, Christine Hassler, is seeking submissions for her Chicken Soup for the 20-Something Soul book. It’s a great opportunity to share a story/lesson from your 20’s, get a pub credit and make a couple hundred bucks off of your life. Not bad, right? I definitely recommend you send in a story. Check out the guidelines below. Oh and be sure to let Christine know that Heather sent you. 🙂
Guidelines for a Chicken Soup for the Soul® Story
1. Tell an exciting, sad or funny story about something that has happened to you or someone you know in 300-1200 words. Make sure that you introduce the character(s).
2. Tell your story in a way that will make the reader cry, laugh or get goose bumps (the good kind!) Don’t leave anything out — how did you feel?
3. The story should start with action; it should include a problem, issue or situation. It should include dialogue and the character should express their feelings though the conflict or situation. It should end in a result, such as a lesson learned, a positive change or pay-off.
4. Above all, let it come from your HEART! Your story is important!
1. It is preferred that all submissions are sent via our website at www.chickensoup.com. To prepare your inner author, go to www.chickensoup.com and read the story guidelines there.
2. Think of your awesome, incredible, tear-jerker, laugh out loud, tug at the heartstrings, message with passion, coincidental, life lesson, or just really juicy story.
3. Write your non-fiction story – approximate word limit is 300-1200 words (but I’ll edit it for you so don’t worry about being exact!)
4. Go to www.chickensoup.com, click on “Submit a Story” and be sure to select Twenty Something as the book title. Fill out the info and just paste your story in the appropriate box.
5. No anonymous or author unknown submissions please.
6. Submit only one copy of each submission.
7. We do acknowledge all submissions, but you will be notified if yours is selected.
8. DEADLINE January 15th!!!
Please contact Christine directly at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
19 Nov / Thanksgiving Wishes!
While Thanksgiving is a fabulous time to stuff yourself silly, it’s also, more importantly a time to stop and appreciate all of the wonderful opportunities and people in our lives.
Have you made your Thanks-giving list yet?! If not, I encourage you to do so. It’s a great way to start any day and puts you in alignment with attracting more fabulous assignments and editors/clients.
Here’s my Thanks-list (in random order of appreciation):
-My cat, Beatrice – she keeps me entertained throughout the day.
–Jennifer Powers – a great business partner who I can bounce any challenge off of.
-Heather – a fabulous soul friend who I am so grateful to know!
-Jessie – editor at DDI Magazine. An editor who really gets it and keeps me laughing.
-All of the awesome editors/assignments I’m currently working with/on. You rock!
-My agent who has diligently sent my proposal to dozens of publishers – who will soon be fighting over me, offering up the best book deal ever. 🙂
-My writing. It has been there for me through it all and I am so grateful to have it as a gift.
-Anatomy of the Spirit/Health Intuition – Caroline Myss & Karen Grace Kassy inspire me to tap into that place within me where I just know.
-All of the yummy food I get to eat, even with food intolerances.
–Feng Shui (10K Blessings is the Best!) and all of the abundance it brings.
–Portland, Ore. – The best place on earth to live.
-Lynnette – coolest friend ever and a fabulous travel buddy!
-Jim – For always making me laugh.
-Amanda – The best sis’ a girl could ask for.
I could keep going, but I’m sure I would bore you all to tears. Anyway, you get the point.
Please be sure to share your thanks list.
With love and wishes for a truly abundant Thanksgiving!
19 Nov / Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie & More!
Hope you’re all prepared (as I am not) for the upcoming holidays. We’re spending this year with the boyfriend’s fam, which means, I’ll be bringing along my own food. One of my specialties is my wheat-free, dairy-free and low sugar pumpkin pie. I found the recipe in Natural Health magazine a million years ago and have revised it to meet my needs. Hope you’ll enjoy!
Also – the Boston Globe did a big story on the increase in food allergies and the need to create products to fill this ever growing niche – duh! Check out the story here. LOVE that the mainstream media is catching on.
Have a wheat-free, dairy-free, low sugar T-giving recipe? Please share!
Pumpkin Pie – WF, DF, LS Style
1 15 oz. can organic pumpkin
1 container of silken tofu
1 c maple syrup
1 free range egg
1 T cinnamon
1 t numeg
1/2 t salt
Who has time to make a pie crust? Not me! So, I typically visit New Seasons and grab a spelt pie crust, but for those of you that want to make one on your own (and without spelt), try this recipe from Pamela’s Products:
1.5 c Pamela’s baking & pancake mix (the BEST mix – I use it in everything from cookies to muffins and pancakes)
2 t sugar substitute (dry would work best)
4 T non-dairy butter
1/3 c ice water
Combine baking mix and sugar into a bowl, cut butter through flour mix. Add ice water and mix dough until it balls together. Roll out on wax paper and should be thin, about 1/8 of an inch. Place in pie dish and bake with pie.
(For pumpkin pie, you’ll have leftover dough.)
Bake on 350 until center of pumpkin pie is set – roughly 35 minutes.
***Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Cooking Class 11/20****
Date: Tuesday, November 20th
Where: Escape Body Therapy, 120 NE 117th Avenue, Vancouver
Questions? Contact Andrea: email@example.com
Post a comment if you attend and let me know how it is. I hope to make it to one of their GF classes in the near future. Stay tuned for more information on future classes.
Whenever I prepare something absolutely fabulous (defined as such by how much of it my boyfriend eats!), I have to share. Especially when it’s easy and fits my wheat-free and dairy-free requirements. Check it out and let me know what you think:
-Trader Joe’s Pad Thai Noodles & Sauce
-Prepare according to package instructions.
-Add one package of frozen mixed veggies to increase the nutritional quotient.
-For those with diabetes or wanting to significantly reduce sugar consumption, do not use the sauce provided, instead add 1/3 c wheat-free soy sauce to mixture or flavor individually.
Best of all, you’ll have leftovers. The package says it feeds 2, but for us, you’ll have lunch leftovers for at least 2 days.
Vanilla Rice Cream with Ginger Snaps
Mi-del GF/DF Ginger Snaps – delish on their own, but crumble on two small scoops of vanilla rice cream and you’ll be in heaven!
I love Rice Dream, vanilla flavored ice cream. Not to fab on its own, but great to add toppings to.
11 Nov / Wordstock: Writer Heaven
For those of you that made it to Wordstock in Portland, Ore. this weekend, you already know – it rocked. The house. I spent a luxurious few hours there on Saturday and was inspired and impressed. Here are some of the goodies I uncovered:
–Kathleen Flinn has my dream life. This amazing writer was laid from her corporate job and, instead of languishing in a pool of self pity, transformed it into following her dream. She moved to Paris, studied at Le Cordon Bleu and then wrote a book about it. LOVE it. Her passion for food and writing is captivating. You’ll fall in love with The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry.
–Less really IS more. I caught the tail end of the Magazine Writing panel, perfectly poised to hear the words that I needed from Peggy Orenstein, when she encouraged writers who are not based in New York (with access to editors of major pub’s) to focus on a few target publications and form relationships with those editors. Yes! I’ve had this very thought multiple times, but her words reminded me that a haphazard query approach is a waste of time. Yay Peggy!
–Oregon Humanities – lovely literary journal.
–University of Oregon’s Turnball Portland Center is working on a Masters in Journalism program to be released in the very near future.
–Simon Fraser University in gorgeous British Columbia offers Summer Publishing Workshops on book proposals, editing, cover design, as well as magazine and software topics. Another reason to visit the fabulous B.C.
–VoiceCatcher 2007 is out! And the submission deadline for the 2008 book is March 31st.
Did you attend Wordstock or have pearls of wisdom from a writing event somewhere else in this glorious world? Would love to hear all about it – post your comments right here!
04 Nov / Take an Artist Date
Being a self-employed writer means you have the joy of making your own schedule, wearing whatever you want, only taking assignments that you enjoy and working from home. It also means you often don’t turn off your computer until 10pm, only to wake up at 2am thinking about work.
While I don’t advocate working 24/7, often, it can happen before you know it. And then, again, before you know it, you’re struggling to write even the simplest of pieces, convinced that your creativity has left, never to return.
An artist date is your time to get in touch with your creativity, in whatever way you would like. For me, this translated into seeing the racy play, Cabaret, starring Portland’s Storm Large, going to watch Jim Gaffigan perform (hilarious comedian – a must-see!), reading trashy tabloids at Barnes & Noble and window shopping at a variety of high-priced retailers.
So, as you can see, an artist’s date is simply taking time out for whatever inspires you. Even if it’s only for a brief amount of time – like the 15 minutes I spent reading about Britney Spears latest drama or browsing through aisles of five-inch stiletto heels. I then return to my computer – refreshed, excited and with plenty to say.
Do you have a favorite artist date? Do tell!