Just Read a Flippin’ Book, Gretchen!

Well, turns out I may just have a touch of the gift of foresight after all, because two of the things I predicted in my last post have indeed come true. First off, I am just as sore as I thought I would be after my mega workout on Monday. Yesterday, my legs felt like they weigh 100 pounds each, and my obliques were quick to remind me that they do, in fact, exist. Y’know. Because they hurt.

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So I took yesterday off from the gym, and did a stretching routine at home instead. It actually worked out that I was too sore to work out, since Penny and I did not exactly have a night conducive to expending lots of energy at the gym. She slept terribly Monday night: tossing, turning, waking up, and crying out a lot more than usual. And then she just casually popped up and was SUPER AWAKE from 4 – 5:30 AM — chatting, playing, crying, and just generally keeping me (and only me -_-) up.

She did eventually fall back asleep (after several failed interventions of my own), and then proceeded to sleep in until 8:30! And on a daycare day no less (I usually try to drop her off around 8 so she can eat breakfast there.) After the night we had, though, I wasn’t about to dare try and wake the Kraken before she was ready. So I texted daycare that we’d be a little late, and after a hastily-fed, super healthy breakfast that consisted of two cherry tomatos and half of a tortilla, I finally got her there and hastened off to get some work done.

I met up with two of my coworkers, Mike & Kimberly, at Rare Bird Coffee Roasters in Falls Church, and between sips of my honey lavender latte and bites of proscuitto-gruyere quiche (sooooo good), I managed to put my nose to the grindstone and bang out quite a bit of work! Though it really shouldn’t, it still surprises me how productive and focused I can be when I get out of the house and work with intention. Even when Penny’s not there, it’s just so easy to get pulled away by different things at home — the dogs, laundry, dishes, etc. Another good reminder as to why I’m continuing to work towards figuring out a routine and carving out specific time (and apparently, space) for work.

After the three of us had put in a few hours of work, we headed to nearby Yayla Bistro for some lunch. We split a few appetizers, their mixed grill platter, and some salmon. It was all super delicious, and the portions were very generous (as were my coworkers for giving me the leftovers to take home, hehe.)

Mike had to hit the road after lunch, but Kimberly and I decided to get just a smidgen more done before daycare pickup called both of us away. We took a quick pitstop to pop into the independent bookstore across the street, and it was like a total breath of fresh air. I’d forgotten how much I love bookstores, love browsing, and, hello, love BOOKS!

It’s pretty shameful for me to admit, but aside from The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and Guide to Your Child’s First Year, I haven’t read an entire book in almost two years. Words are my lifeblood, so taking a step back to realize that’s the case is seriously sad. So I did my due diligence in supporting a local business and picked up a couple novels that I’ve been meaning to read since long before the movies came out (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Crazy Rich Asians), a parenting book that I’ve had bookmarked for a little while (How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk — though a follower actually pointed out there’s a Little Kids version of this book that I think I’ll want to read first), and another one that caught my eye in the store (How to be a Happier Parent). And I’ve decided that the next item on the evidently unending list pertaining to Gretchen’s Total Life Renovation™ (lol) is to just start flipping reading again.

It sounds really simple, right? I mean, really it should be. I just need to unplug a little earlier each night. Instead of whittling my final moments before bed browsing the internet, scrolling through Instagram, or rewatching The Office YET AGAIN, I can read a chapter or two. But, of course, I think we all know that while something may sound easy in theory, it doesn’t always work out so smoothly in practice. Maybe the baby’s having trouble sleeping, or there are chores to finish, or maybe we just really, really want to finish writing a blog post (cough cough) instead. But hey, the point is to try, no? Hence why it’s called practice.

To help me with my goal of getting to the titles that I’ve long been piling onto my “To-Read” pile, a friend also suggested I dip my toe into audiobooks. I’ve never been a voracious consume of audiobooks (I used to feel like it was kind of pointless since I can read faster than they can speak, haha), but now that my life is basically just one constant frenzy of multitasking, the concept is very appealing. After all, I am now commuting into the city once a week(ish), and listening to an audiobook does allow me to do things like fold laundry or put away dishes while still allowing me to consume all those wonderful, beautiful words! So I’m taking Audible for a spin with a couple of free audiobooks I’m able to try out. I’m starting with Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis, as well as Sophie Kinsella’s My Not So Perfect Life. (I feel like I really relate to both of these based on title alone.

So I’d say that yesterday was quite a productive day, all things considered. Let’s see if I’ll be able to successfully add another positive habit into the mix — I gotta admit, while I’m still going surprisingly strong with working out and taking my vitamins, my attempts to start my days with mindfulness and calm via guided meditation have been less successful. Ah well, tomorrow’s just another opportunity to practice again, right?

#HLS13

By this time tomorrow, I’ll be on my way to sunny (?) Minneapolis for the 2013 Healthy Living Summit! This year marks my third year at the Summit, and my second year speaking.

Some of you might remember that last year I gave a presentation on Blog Photography 101, and this year I’m teaming up with my gals Lauren from Me and the Mountains and Cassie from Back to Her Roots for a panel on how blogging has helped lead to our dream jobs (without having to blog full time AS our jobs).

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I’m super excited, not only for the panel, but getting to reunite with Lauren, who moved from this area a few months ago, and to finally MEET Cassie, who I feel like I’ve already known forever. Cassie designed an absolutely epic presentation and I know it’ll be amazing.

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(I mean, seriously, it is the most beautiful set of slides I’ve ever seen in my life. Do you SEE why I asked her to design my book cover now? :D)

Here’s the official blurb for our panel in case you’re interested in exactly what we’ll be speaking about:

From Blog to Job: Utilizing Your Personal Blog to Elevate Your Career

Unfortunately, it is a small (itty bitty, teeny weeny) percentage of us that will be able to turn our blogs into a full-time career on their own. But that doesn’t mean that blogging can’t help lead to great things for our careers! Join Cassie from Back to her Roots and Lauren from Me and the Mountains for a panel led by Gretchen of Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen, on the ways that blogging has helped these different women find their dream jobs.

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In addition to leading the panel, I’ll also be front and center at the HLB Book Club meeting which is on… my book, TERRA! Yay! Hopefully this will be the final push I need to finish out Book 2! Hehe.

If you’re at HLS this year, PLEASE make sure to say hi! I like to think I’m fairly easy to spot now that my hair is purple. Purple and pink. Kekeke.

Two Good Things

Good thing #1: I’m almost done being sick! Almost. I actually have my voice semi-back to normal, and my temperature has been down in the normal range for over 24 hours. THANK GOODNESS. I am so over being sick. Donezo. Bright side? This flu has been the most effective diet ever. Down 6 pounds in 5 days! Now, if only I could make it stay that way… sigh. Too bad I, you know, am actually excited to have an actual appetite again. C’est la vie.

Good thing #2: The giveaway winners for signed copies of my book, Terra, have been drawn! If you are one of them, email me at [email protected] with your address. Oh, and if you’d like me to sign the book for someone other than yourself, just let me know in the email!

So, without further adieu, the winners!

1) Megan @ Love, Literature, Art, and Reason

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2) Sam Dailey

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3) Jasveen

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4) Allison W.

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5) Janice

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Congrats, guys! Again, be sure to email me with your deets!

And if you didn’t win, don’t lose heart. Terra is only $4.99 on Kindle, Nook, iTunes (YES, NOW IN THE iBOOSKTORE!!), and Kobo, or $9.99 for a paperback on Amazon!

Thanks to everyone for participating, this was my most-entered giveaway to-date! Which feels awesome, because it means you guys want to actually read my book. (Or, at least you do if it’s free, hahahaha.) For those of you till on the fence, definitely check out all the awesome reviews Terra has been getting on Amazon and Goodreads and decide if it’s something you’d like to take a $5-chance on. 😉 (End shameless plug here.)

‘Til next time, friends! <3

Terra (Giveaway!)

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who entered! See if you’re one of the winners here.

Hi friends! Happy Thursday — we’ve almost made it to the end of the week! And in order to make this NOT-Friday just a little more bearable, I’ve got something really (in my opinon) pretty great.

I don’t know how many of you follow the bodacious blog (yeah, I’m bringing back “bodacious”) Back to Her Roots, but my homegirl Cassie is hosting a book club today featuring none other than…

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My book, Terra!

If you’re interested in reading about Cassie’s thoughts on the book (she asks some great questions!) or leaving commentary of your own, definitely head on over there! And in order to celebrate not only the book club feature, but a pretty epic sales milestone (details on my writing blog), I’m giving away FIVE SIGNED HARDCOPIES of Terra!

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Yep, five smooth, glossy, trade paperbacks of my baby, personally signed and mailed from my house to yours. And if you’re good and promise not to stalk me via return address, maybe I’ll include a little something-something extra in the package. 😉

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what one of your all-time favorite books is!

Additional entries will be granted for the following (remember to leave separate comments on this post for each thing you do!)

– Following me on Twitter
– Liking my Author Page on Facebook
– Blogging about, retweeting, or posting on Facebook about this giveaway! (Sample tweet: Love YA dystopian lit? @gretchenpowell is giving away FIVE SIGNED COPIES of her book #Terra! Check it out: http://bit.ly/Vw2J1J)

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The FIVE random winners will be drawn on Wednesday, February 6th (also my mama’s birthday!) — good luck! And thank you so much for all your support throughout all of this, seriously. I love you guys.

Taco, Taco, Taco!

Well, I think Gir pretty much says it all. But in case you guys needed some real life proof of why tacos are so amazing (or in case you don’t get the Invader Zim reference… in which case FOR SHAME) I shall explain further.

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See, last night the loverly Aileen graced me with her presence so I could give her some ridiculous camouflage UnderArmour accessories that I got from my sister. (It’s a long story as to WHY she finds this so exciting, but I think the above picture is pretty self-explanatory as to HOW excited she was about it.)

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So, to celebrate our ridiculousness and also because, you know, we gotta eat, Sean and I (but mostly Sean) made fish tacos and homemade salsa. (Okay, fine, it was pretty much ALL Sean.)

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But I did my part by whipping up a batch of cilantro-lime rice and freaking out about the salsa being too spicy. (Spoiler alert: It wasn’t. It was perfect.) I also weighed in on the cabbage-to-onion ratio in the slaw. Important work, I know.

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There may or may not have also been beer.

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And, needless to say, it was all INSANELY delicious. Ben and Taylor ate with us too, so they can confirm. Sean made tilapia two ways and they were both scrum-diddly-umptious. True story.

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Also, since Aileen has the handy duel role of both friend (remember her flippin’ awesome guest post?) AND editor, we talked about Underground-related things (that’s the working title of the sequel to Terra, for those of you who don’t know) quite a bit. I think it’s safe to say you should get excited… 😀

In related news, this morning I’m going to talk to a few dozen high school students about my book, writing, publishing, and all that jazz. Please refer back to the picture of me above if you would like a visual as to how prepared I am for that. I feel like I am juuuuust old enough to be thoroughly out of the loop when it comes to things that high schoolers like. (What?! Today’s youth doesn’t care if Backstreet’s Back?? And what do you mean, “What’s a mood ring?” Let me hobble back into my cave, log onto http://www.cheekybingo.com, and revel in my outdatedness.)

At any rate, I’m hopeful that my undying love for Harry Potter and The Hunger Games will work in my favor.

At any rate, think positive thoughts for me between 9:53 and 11:37 AM!

Oh yeah, and have an awesome weekend, too. 🙂