Thursday, October 8, 2015

Out of the Box

Hi friends!

I didn't mean for the blog to go dark through September, but that is (clearly) how it shook out. We made an offer on a house on my mom's birthday - August 5th, had it accepted on the 6th, and closed on the 11th of September. Danny and his older brother moved the heavy furniture over the weekend of the 18th, and we moved most everything else the weekend after.

We spent the next week making trips back and forth (about an hour each way, in traffic) to finish packing and some fairly intensive cleaning of our rental townhouse.

Those keys we happily relinquished on Sunday - we are now all in.

Cluttered, unpacked - but in.

Up next: I need to finish Together at the Table. Did some plotting with Katie Ganshert and Melissa Tagg, and let me tell you - I've got a slam-bang finish cooked up for you (high-fives if you recognize that movie quote).

Also, I'm teaching at Oregon Christian Writers' Fall One-Day Conference on the 17th. We'll be talking about character building! So if you write and you're within reasonable driving distance of PDX, swing by!

While I've been unpacking and cleaning, I've also been catching up with the new slate of Fall TV programming.

Doctor Who is at the top of the list with a bit of a character rewrite for the Doctor - much needed after last season. We've also started The Grinder and Quantico, as well as returned to Brooklyn 99. Not keeping up as much with Project Runway as I have in the past - even though the original iteration is leagues higher quality than All Stars, last season of All Stars broke me. So I'm periodically checking in with it, but forgetting to do so more often than not.

But really Doctor Who is quite interesting this season. One of these days I'll write a proper post about Who, but I have some boxes to unpack in the meantime.

I'm also reading Antoine Laurain's The Red Notebook, not quite into it yet? Book recommendations much appreciated!

What are you watching, reading, and eating these days? Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fresh Flavor Sunday - Blackberry Banana Cake

It's been a summer of mood swings here in Portland - we've had very hot, very cool, and very stormy weather, as well as smoke from recent wildfires blanketing the valley.

So I haven't been as on-top of my blackberry picking as I have been in past years. We live near some wonderful walking paths, a lot of them lined with blackberry bushes, so I've been anxious to go out. Well, I finally got to it yesterday with my niece. We were fairly certain we'd get rained on, but this was a rare Pacific Northwest moment where the dark clouds blew away from us!

We had a good time, but didn't find the kind of volume I would have hoped for. A lot of the berries were either unripe, out of reach, or shrivelled on the vine. We hiked through some tall grass in hopes of finding better berries, but only found dried ones - and wound up covered in burrs for our trouble.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Fresh Flavor Friday: Adventures in Gardening with Katherine Reay + Book Giveaway!

Hillary here - so delighted to have guest Katherine Reay to chat about her adventures in gardening!

My family loves food. When we lived in Ireland, another family and ours would get together and share a huge Sunday dinner – one that took hours to cook and an equally long time to enjoy. Now that we're back in the states, Sunday dinner remains one of our favorite family traditions. The menu varies – barbeque one week, Coq au Vin another and some multi-course Italian extravaganza at least monthly. We love the time together, searching for the menu, and the cooking. We endure the clean-up. In fact, when writing Lizzy and Jane, I tapped into this passion. Most of Lizzy’s food comes from family favorites.