Stop pulling my hair

It’s an odd thing, living in Idaho. No where else can I attend a hockey game and have a relative stranger tug my hair. I’m serious. Actually reach out and give my hair tug, like it’s not real.

“Are these extensions?” she asks.

Before I can give an audible reply, I somewhat automatically pull away, but it’s hard. She’s sitting right next to me. I do the next best thing; I attempt to show some grace by laughing it off.

“Yes, as you can probably tell by now,” I say, expecting her to stop pulling. Instead, she moves her hand a little deeper into my hair.

At this point, I’m having an out of body experience. I mean, over the years, I’ve been told I’m rather intimidating, on the phone or in person. Here, in a hockey rink, watching my husband play and with my two girls, I’m suddenly like the pregnant woman who has unwanted foreign fingers touching her belly.

But back to the hair. I realize that my look of “get your hands out of my hair,” is not doing the trick, and I physically take her hand, hold it still and lift up my hair to the roots.

“See? No glue ons.”

Here again, I expect this to suffice. Nope. I must explain the concept of glue ons to this gal, who has a profession that will not be named, but rest assure you, it took an undergrad and graduate degree to get her where she is today, thereby confirming that not all book smart people are street smart, or have class.

All this to say I’m still a bit unsettled by the whole experience, two days later. I like to say it’s a North Idaho thing, where people have no filter, and no sense of boundaries. At least that’s the way I justify these types of situations, which are becoming more normal, not less so (the last time this happened I had a woman at a checkout counter peer at my face, and specifically my eyelashes. Thanks mom and dad. You gave me great eyelashes).

Rog says this is our new normal. Blunt of question and freedom to feel and touch as one chooses. Come visit, if you’d like. Just make sure those extensions are glued in and on real tight.

Video books…the latest thing

I

wish I could sit back like a lot of authors I know and write all day, but I can’t just set aside twenty years of talking. It was what I did for a living…on stage or to the press or to business partners. The writing aspect only happened when I was stuck on bedrest and blessedly received a book deal. So perhaps it’s only fitting that I try to emulate the songwriters who put their music out for all to enjoy on youtube. While authors can’t quite do a music video to a chapter (wouldn’t that be hysterical though?) I did set up my fav chair by my fireplace over the frigid winter months and recorded the unabridged author reading of Made for Me.

So let’s be honest. It was a bit hard, especially when I’m reading sensual parts that are meant to get you a bit hot. When I wrote them, I got hot. ha. But not overly so, because I’m in the genre that’s roasty but not burnt, if you catch my meaning. For the book rating system, that means moderate/adult, less than 10 swear words and not bad ones at that, and no open door sex (you prob didn’t even know this existed, did you? But it does, and it means all the difference between getting into certain channels of bookstores or not). Besides, I may thing about sex in a way that’s normal and nature, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to write it down. I do have daughters after all, and friends….and relatives….

It was also hard when I read emotional/sad parts. When a beloved character dies, I cry, and yes, as a person with feelings, I admit to fearing what commentators might say when seeing/listening to my reading of a scene. But isn’t that the fun part of life? Seeing someone’s raw emotions?

Oh! and if you read my previous blog on cleansing…you are going to notice I was downright Oprah-like. I started out reading when I was a bit pudgy from way too much great winter food. When I looked at the replays, I was mortified. As a woman who still has a bit of vanity and lacking in facelifts or botox, my Swiss/Swedish sharpei tendencies were on full display. Thus, I had a bit of motivation to drop some poundage. As my comfort levels for crying and putting my emotions out there for all to see, the videos became easier to watch (at least in my mind). As a consequence, I like the last 20 chapters (and particularly the last 10) infinitely more so than the first.

Made for Me, recorded in my living room

The audio book version of Made for Me on youtube. Click on the M4M playlist and listen to all 57 chapters.

Because I started the Q & A videos with Chuck on Author Straight Talk at the same time, it’s like this progression of comfort.

Ten episodes of Author Straight Talk, each video focusing on a chapter of the book. Click here for playlist options, select AST and it will loop through continue to each episode. I also included a look for the free ebook on each video commentary. Subscribers get a notification of new videos…

Otherwise, the direct episodes are:

Intro
Episode 1: The Money & Motivation
Episode 2: Finding Inspiration & Dealing with Writer’s Block
Episode 3: Genres & Trends
Episode 4: Social Media
Episode 5: Copyrights & Ownership
Episode 6: The Critical Role of Editing
Episode 7: Getting an Agent
Episode 8: Overcoming Fear
Episode 9: Tools & Time Management
Episode 10: The Process Start to Finish

Cleanse recap: death, diet and determination

In the midst of my cleanse, we left for spring break to the land of cheese and tacos, returned and my father-in-law passed away. This was not the time for a cleanse. It was the time for chocolate.

However, I made up my mind to be strong and stick to my goals, which was purify my mind, body and to the degree possible, my spirit. For the first time in years, it worked. Not sure when it happened, but the reality that the swirling temptations and drama around me did not require that I stuff food in my mouth hit me. The only thing I could control was what I ate, so I focused on being successful at that.

Week 2– I was down 8 pounds (hurrah) but I was tired all the time. The lack of sugar pretty much drained me of energy, and while withdrawal headaches abated, my body wasn’t balanced enough to create it’s own energy. I also have to admit that I started fantasizing about hot chocolate in all the wrong ways. Clearly, I’d created a demon that was alive and well, and showed no signs of leaving. I needed an exorcism.

Week 3-The energy returned and I was down 13 pounds. I hated making food, because really, I wasn’t “making” anything. I was sautéing or juicing, which is akin to not living. I’d make all kinds of great meals for the family (lasagna, spicy meatballs) and looked longingly as I ate my veggies. Creative vegetarian is not my thing, although I do like lots of items (lentil soup, cold salads etc.) I realized that I like big meals, warm food and a main dish that keeps me full for several hours. The thing about “eating clean,” a la fruits and veggies is I’m hungry about every two hours. That in itself is fatiguing. So by the end of week three, I literally didn’t even want to bother with food. That was a blessing and curse.

Week 4– (day 21-24 ish) In Mexico. I’m ultra worried that my whole cleanse is going to be shot, but then I’m so darn proud of myself for sticking with it, I veer towards the veggies everywhere. I allowed myself proteins (eggs) and wouldn’t you know it? I kept all the weight off and felt great the entire time until….

The cheese got me! oh man, did I pay the price. My stomach cramped and ached within thirty minutes. It was like someone gut punched me. That killed my desire for quesedillas. Not one to be stopped however, I started sampling meats. Again, I got hit in the gut plus I felt sick. My system was used to–and appreciating–foods that were, and are, easy to digest.

I came home, all up in my head about my success and what did I do? I lasted exactly five days then went right back to the sauce. I started downing my own concoction of badness (cream, milk, and semi sweet and milk chocolate ghiradelli) because it’s my comfort food. In 10 days I whacked on ten pounds. It was during this time we had the death in the family and I just held on for dear life.

The following downer cycle of depression followed. For those of us on the weight loss/weight gain cycle, it goes like this. Lose weight, feel great, glory in the success by allowing a treat. Then another. Depression leads to more food. Loose clothes get tight. More depression and eating. Pants don’t go up the thigh. More depression. One day, the madness hits the wall like an egg splat and the cycle stops. Veggies and sullenness follow. Slowly, the pants loosen up. The clouds part. Confidence starts to appear like the sun after the rain. Veggies don’t taste so bad.

Now, today (5/21) I’m back to having lost the 8 pounds and have decided that for the sake of my stomach, my energy quotient and overall health, I should pretty much stick with generally clean foods, which comes as a shock to no one. It’s the willpower and determination that’s required to pull it off.

A broken soul & the 28 day cleanse

It’s not often that one reads about having a cracked or “broken soul,” when reading a book about food and wellness, but I did. Me being me, the first time I read this, I dismissed it as I eagerly absorbed the rest of the book’s content. (It could have been the surroundings: poolside, feet beyond the view of the top of the book, and my focus was on looking good rather than feeling good, but I digress). That was six months and two deaths ago. Yesterday, my focus was feeling good, and thus, the broken soul notion jumped out at me.

The book that ended my migraines

If you are following along, it’s found in book two by William Anthony, the Medical Medium. The short story is that at 4, Anthony had a spirit appear that stood by his grandmother, and who aided him in putting his hands on his grandmother’s chest and repeat the words “lung cancer.” The room went quiet, ad the grandmother was so unnerved that the next week she saw the doctor who told her that yes, she did have lung cancer, despite having no symptoms. Spirit, as Anthony calls his guide, has been with him every day of his life, ever since. He’s diagnosed the medical conditions of thousands over the decades, and more importantly, given specific direction for what to eat to heal the body…and soul.

Whether or not you believe the above, I will tell you this: I’d been suffering from severe, debilitating migraines starting a few years and nothing, save serious drugs, helped me out (and I despise even taking an aspirin). To that point, I’d been spoiled. Never so much as had even a menstrual cramp. Well, life changed and no amount of help, both western and non (think homeopathy, herbs, essential oils…changed a thing). Had I been rich and eccentric, I would have visited a shaman in Africa if I thought it would help.

Knowing my desperation, my next door neighbor (a doctor, ironically) tentatively suggested this book and it’s sequel. I read both in the span of about twenty-four hours. The sections are specific, and designed to aid one in self-healing. I looked up migraines, and got the “recipe” for a smoothie and other herbs to take.

The result: my migraine left within an hour. When the next one started to come on, I repeated the concoction. What’s more, as I read about the triggers of unhealthy food (and consequently my bad food intake) I have had only one migraine, and that was because like a rebellious teenager, I willfully and wantonly abused my body.

Back to the soul

The first read-through was six months ago. Last week, I was feeling emotional down, mentally drained and frankly, scraping the bottom of my personal barrel. When you read my sassier blogs, it’s because I have my moments of happy, and that’s when I tend to write…when I’m up, not down. Well, I go back to the book and essentially learn that my soul is aching and my (bad) food intake is exacerbating the problem. This didn’t take me entirely by surprise, but what did was the connection of the (good) energy of the food and how this can literally fill in the gaps/cracks/holes in the soul.

The notion being that God created life. Every living thing has positive energy, particularly food. The specific energy in any given plant or fruit aids a particular part of the body, and the root energy behind it, or the soul. Anthony contends that over a period of time, negative events crack the soul (divorce, death, etc.) and that if not filled with the positive energy (from the best source), then they remain.

Now, I like to think that I’m a normal, highly-functioning person. Yet, as I reflect on my forty years-plus of life, I have to admit that yeah, I probably have some of this ick still in my body….as in, it’s literally in my body in the form of toxins. So, going back to the soul concept, I may have rid myself of the bad spouse, but the toxins may yet reside in my body. When a trigger hits me, then I go for my comfort food, and instead of getting the badness out of me, I am just adding more toxins.

The outcome

At this point, I’m bought in. I’m nodding my head, and think I’ll do anything to feel better at any level. The next chapter is…a cleanse. I am wondering why it took me another six months of pain and punishment to essentially say: Yes, I am worth it and yes, the best thing I can do for myself is get clean and see what happens. (Just so you know, I’ve never, ever, been able to maintain a diet, cleanse or other notion for more than five days. E.V.E.R.).

Day one: fruits and vegies as prescribed by what’s in the book and what’s in my kitchen.

3 main meals with some grazing in between. Easy to manage. My mood goes mellow around 10 am. By 12 I’m starving but the salad and smoothie works wonders. At night, I have the prescribed salad and more fruit but I am sooo tired. My body is shutting down, or so I envision.

2 am. I feel a headache coming on. I knows it’s withdrawal symptoms from the sugar/whatever badness is in my system. I breakdown and take a pain pill because I can tell I’m going to puke if I don’t. Sleep until 4:30 am, and my eyes pop open, and I am wide awake. As in Wide. Awake. I give it up, take a shower, bond with the dog and drink some water.

Day two: I have my water, then my smoothie, but before I hit yoga at 9:30, I’m jittery. I’m not a coffee drinker and am generally very sensitive to caffeine (it triggers headaches) but seriously, I might as well have taken 3 caffiene tablets.

The hour-long class is wonderful until I realize I’m causing the horrific stinking smell that’s surrounding me (GROSS). Nothing like marinating in your own ammonia smell.

Still, I figure “it’s working!!!” That’s good. I just apologize to my fellow classmates and leave as quickly as I can to spare then, and myself.

11 am: I stop by the store, load up on more fruits and veggies and inhale 2 bananas No headaches, still jittery, but feeling really good.

Day 2-4. no issue and I have dropped 7 pounds. Weight loss wasn’t the primary goal (and still isn’t) but it’s nice nonetheless.

Day 5. In the morning I’m fine, but I sense I’m heading for a fall. We got the news my beloved cat is dying of an incurable disease (next blog probably) and we have made the decision to put him down. While I don’t have cravings, I’m unsure how I’ll handle it. The time comes, the deed is done, and around 9 pm, I lose it. I buckle to my trigger go-to of hot chocolate, which is really half-cream, half-milk, and Ghiradelli chocolate. It’s 10:42 pm now, and I don’t feel any better. In fact, I feel worse. ugh. Now I’ll regroup and get back on it again tomorrow.

That’s it, right up present. If you want to join this journey with me, do so. No time like the present. If not, I’ll periodically give an update and you can laugh and cry with me.

 

Men ask questions, Women are silent

Since posting the last blog, what, 72 hours ago, on the tightening effects of Preparation H to the face, I’ve had 4 men reach out to me via Instagram or my blog. Two bikers (as in, motorcycles), a radio executive and an author. Each one basically wrote: “You’re going to go out and buy this stuff?” And generally, my response has been: “Are you kidding? I’m going to take a bath in it.”

The women, on the other hand, have remained silent. As I’m hanging upside down like a bat this morning in sweaty yoga, I’m contemplating why it is that women haven’t made a peep. My conclusion? The women are driving down to the store and getting a few tubes, shaking their heads the whole way, wondering why in the world my mother didn’t raise me to have a bit more shame.

“Better her than me,” is what I imagine to be the common thought. My husband agrees.

“Can you see Nicole Kidman or Reese Witherspoon texting on Instagram the joys of a fanny ointment?” (Truth be told, I had to change a word or two of his quote for obvious reasons).

Yes, I know. Of all the important things to share with the universe, I’m covering this, but as my sister says: “This is life changing! People should know!”

I promise to go back and give more plugs for giveaways, new releases and exercise tips, trying to stick with the five-paragraph rule that seems to be the Holy Grail for bloggers, but it’s hard. My blog is like my invisible friend, the person who’s always there, nodding, agreeing with me, endlessly interested in whatever I write, like any true friend.

And a true friend cares about fannies and faces.

 

The Best Face Ever: A Farmer’s wife tells all

There I am, sitting in one of five barns on the property of a couple who live between a hill and the gully near the lake, when I comment on her age.

“Okay, Robin. You’ve never told me how old you are.” She smiles coyly.

“How old do you think I am?”

“63,” interjects my 12 year told daughter.

“Yeah, about that,” I chime in.

Robin gives us a modest grin. “I’m 74.”

We both exclaim and when enough time has passed that I think it won’t be rude, I ask how she has gotten to her seventh decade with so few wrinkles, for in truth, she has a few around her lip lines, but zero on her cheek, other than a moderate smile line between her mouth and cheek.

Preparation H,” she replies with a straight face. My mouth drops. My eyes widen.

“You are kidding.”

“Nope,” she says without a hint of embarrassment. “I was told forty years ago to use it and I have.”

Mystified, I later ask my husband about it and he nods his head, in a “of course,” kind of way. Apparently, certain ingredients exist within the Prep H that tightens the skin. Seriously.

As any woman determined to look younger for as long as humanly possible, I hit the Internet. Sagging skin and Preparation H I query. Sure enough, up comes an article on Livestrong about tricks to tightening sagging neck skin (always a lovely visual). If you are like me, and hate clicking on all the various links: here’s the skinny, directly from Livestrong.

“Because Preparation H contains Phenylephrine HCl 0.25 percent, a vasoconstrictor drug that causes blood vessels to constrict, it is also a popular remedy for swollen eyes and puffy skin, according to the Preparation H website. However, there are no clinical studies to prove alternative uses for Preparation H. When applied to affected areas, Preparation H forces excess water out of the skin, creating a smooth and lean appearance.”

The article gives four steps to skin greatness.
Step 1: Determine whether Preparation H gives you an allergic reaction, swelling or rash. Apply a small amount to an inconspicuous part of your skin such as the inside of your elbow or behind your knee and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wait at least 24 hours to see if an allergic reaction, swelling or rash appears.
Step 2: Apply Preparation H to smaller areas with your finger or apply with a brush or washcloth to larger areas you wish to appear tighter or more toned.
Step 3: Wait 10-15 minutes and rinse your skin. Reapply Preparation H if you did not achieve the results you want. Rinse thoroughly.
Step 4: Apply lotion to the area you treated with Preparation H to prevent dryness and scaling.
Now, on this last step (and I’ll admit I’ve not yet tried this on my own skin, but when I do, I will show you the results), I use Aquafore about every other night. I have dry skin anyway, but a friend of mine (a plastic surgeon who has worked on half the women in Seattle), said that Aquafore is the go-to product for post-surgical operations. It heals, it hydrates, and it is essentially the miracle skin product. I started using it on my skin, directly after washing it at night, and walla. My skin does look infinitely better…fewer lines, plumper skin etc.
So there you have it. Forget the lift, the tucks and the retinol. Hop right down to the store and buy a tube, ignoring the clerk’s look of sympathetic interest. That’s what I intend to do. What I haven’t yet figured out is what I’m going to say to the person who comments on my face (assuming this works). I can imagine it now:
“Sarah, you look younger. What’s happened? Facelift? Trip to Europe?”
“Oh, nothing like that,” I’ll reply. “I mistook my face for my fanny and this is what happened.”

2nd book in the month of romance….

As I sit here listening to one of my fav sets from ABGT 200, I’m making sure all of you who have been eagerly awaiting the freebie eBook of Destined for You, the 2nd book in the Danielle Grant series. Get it now, as it’s up for the next five days as a download.

Happy reading (and dancing and trancing)….and a Happy Valentine’s tomorrow. For inquiring minds, who think I am married to a man who does outrageous things (like Will Smith famously sending 5,000 roses..), nay. Rog and I have always boycotted V-day out of principle (as in, what about all the other days where we do nice things? Don’t those count)?

So, we go out the day after because the places are empty, and we are, in fact, hungry. Call us kooky, but better deals are always to be had the “day-after” anything, never, ever, the day before.

24 hrs left for Book 1

Just a reminder for the last free ebook #1 in the month of romance….

Made for Me, book one in the Danielle Grant series…ends 2/10

Free download…then the next one up is the sequel, Destined for You. All books available in print at Amazon and B & N a’course  if you must have the hard copy.

Factiod: Writing the final book in the series, although I will say more than one reader wants another. Not in the plans, but you never know. What I’m really thinking about is  sequel to A Convenient Date, since so many readers have asked for another one (or more) books to follow. We shall see.

Getting over it, Literally

There I am, lying in my bed (alone) staring straight up at the ceiling, trying to feel the vibes from my Himalayan salt rock to my left, and all I can think of the report I read on the bar in the Midwest that prominently featured a sign that read something to the effect of: any patron using the word “literally,” will be escorted from the premises, and that they would have no Kardashian here.

In the depth of my recent despair (death of a loved one) you would think I’d have better things to occupy myself with than this, but that’s the irony. Until you have lost a loved one (or two), you can’t guess at the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wringer that’s going to occur. After a while, the body gives, then the mind, and not necessarily in that order.

So, I’m ruminating on girls and a word apparently used in a show (and real life) that I’ve never watched even once, literally. How could this obsession gone so far and wide and deep in to the fiber of middle America to cause a bar owner to literally put up a sign on the window?

This, then, gives way to my own rumination on the word itself. The more I start to think about the word, the more I literally think it’s valid for many things:

  • a comma, used for a pause in a sense (literally)
  • a period. He’s an idiot, literally
  • a question. You think I want you, literally?
  • an exclamation. I’m so pumped, literally!

Come down to it, those dark-haired, big-bossomed LA gals referenced in the media have it right. Literally is about the only non-offensive word that is used at the White House and an outhouse, what’s more Americana than that, I wonder, trying to will myself to sleep.

Literally.

 

Month of romance/ free books & videos

Cover art inspired as I was sitting by the water on Lake Zurich. The Alps in the background, crazy exotic cars everywhere. it was great inspiration.

In February, the month of all things heart-shaped. Because everyone I know can use more love in their life, (I mean, how often do you hear someone say “I’m full-up on love. Don’t need anymore?) I’m going all in with a four-week give-away of my four women’s fiction books, aka, contemporary romance.

What does that mean?

  • A free book a week, no download limit (as in, you can download on any device)
  • You can share the link with your friends (same as above)
  • You can read and review….and review (did I mention review?)

Lichtenstein Castle that plays a role in the book with Danielle’s man of romance (the first one:)

I’m starting off with a fan favorite, Made for Me. Why? It’s exotic (set in Switzerland), it’s fast-paced and it’s a sequel. So the next book will be Destined for You.

Tap on the title or this link and you are on your way. The full description is below.

Oh! If that isn’t enough, you can read along with me. I’ve started a Made for Me playlist on my YouTube channel. subscribe and you will get notified of new chapters as they are posted.

Another view of the castle. What’s interesting is that the family still lives on the property and we saw the young Prince and his gang smoke cigs and lounging by their small BMWs watching us. It was surreal, funny, sad and a bit weird all at once. Not quite as romantic as I imagined, but I moved on.

So grab your best drink, sit back, read, watch or listen, and enjoy February with me!

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