off the shelf: Danielle Walker’s Celebrations

celebrationsbook_zpsevsvpinjAgainst all Grain is my grain-free bible. Of all the paleo/grain-free/gluten-free/Whole30-esque cookbooks I’ve read, Danielle’s has been the best resource for home-style, every day recipes that I a) want to eat and b) can actually make (skill and ingredient-wise). When I learned that she was publishing a book of holiday menus and recipes, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Celebrations is a beautiful, inspiring collection of recipes for a delicious, grain-free holiday. The book is divided into holidays and features a full menu (including drinks, desserts, entrees, appetizers, and sides) for each event. Some of these include specialty flours, but these are regularly available at Whole Foods and similar markets. I’ve already marked my holiday menu and can’t wait to try the Thanksgiving and Christmas recipes.🙂

I received my copy of Celebrations from Blogging for Books.

managing online profiles, or my life is not for you

I’ve seen a rise in the number of followers I have on Instagram. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I am making a point of being a public figure on social media, but I do like to draw a line where people I know in real life are concerned. Family in particular. I am not “friends” with my family members. I barely speak to most of them and have little desire to get any closer. Former students and colleagues are a similar situation. If I haven’t stayed in touch, I don’t really want you in my life. Cold, but true. There are some I will ignore, but I just blocked someone I didn’t want following me. Is it a harsh move? Maybe, but I don’t want to deal with the mess that will inevitably happen when that person is offended by something I post (this person is related to me BTW).

How do you handle the divide between those you know IRL and everyone else? I find that I prefer my online followers; I actually have a better relationship with some of the people I’ve met through this blog or on twitter than I do with relatives or people I’ve met through work (my last job was at a Catholic school, needless to say, my views didn’t always mesh).

Just some thoughts worth mulling.

video: sparking joy – working on conscious consumerism

I’ve been thinking about the things I buy — the things that add to my life and the things that make me cringe at the waste (mostly of space and money). I’ve been making a concerted effort to shop mindfully and really think about the things I bring into my life. Where will they fit in my home? How will they add to my state of being? Will they last or will I regret the purchase in 6 months? It’s a challenge, particularly because I have no one to answer to but myself (part of the reason I decided to document this process in the first place is to hold myself accountable). I’m learning and growing. There are some things I’ve purchased recently that I should have checked myself on, but I bought them anyway. I’ll try harder next time.

Now that I’ve rambled long enough, watch the video to learn more about the things don’t buy anymore and the things I’m working on as I move towards a more conscious lifestyle.

life: things are starting to look up


It’s been a strange month, lots of changes and constant motion, but things are finally settling into something like normal. First things first: I got the car. Yes, I got the same car I had and, no, I didn’t give it the same name (these are questions people have asked). I took advantage of the storm that wasn’t to get a loan and close the deal. And then I sort of forgot to mention it… too much happening at once. Anyhow, the car is back and I no longer have to worry about sharing a ride with my mom and carting her around to do groceries on the weekends. Joy for all.

It seems so insignificant, but you really can’t get around without a car in South Florida (unless you want to rely on unpredictable public transit). Just knowing that my weekends are my own and I don’t have to structure my free time around my mom’s schedule is a weight off my mind….which means I can also get back to writing without worrying about needing to be somewhere. I spent the whole weekend catching up and it was perfect. Very productive and just what I needed to get back on track.

Meanwhile, I’m reading way too many books and thoroughly enjoying Crooked Kingdom🙂. I’m mulling several ideas for this week’s video, but I’m starting to lean towards a declutter… or something chatty… I dunno, sometimes the ideas pour and the time fades. #adulting

On the menu for this week:

  • Finish two chapters by Sunday
  • Declutter my nail polish collection
  • Review my fall wardrobe options
  • Stick to my meal planning and tidy up the apartment (because kitties be messy)

5 things: fantasy reads (or recent loves)

I read in all genres, but I always come back to fantasy. It is truly my not-so-guilty pleasure. And I have read a lot of good fantasy this year. I am especially partial to what I think of as magical girl fantasy (much like magical girl manga), so I scoured my list of 2016 goodreads books for my top 5 of 2016 (read in 2016, not published). Here they are in all their wondrous glory:

5 things: recent fantasy reads

These books are otherworldly, mythic in scope, and full of wit and wonder.

life: waiting, again?

So the storm has come and gone, leaving mostly wet rounds and lights out for a lot of Miamians. Most shocking of all, my power made it through the winds… though, with my luck, it’ll probably go out when there’s not a breeze to be felt.

All well and good, except that they’re projecting a second hit (?!). It’s happened before. So the plants are going back out,  the cold brew will be had, and my emergency meal prep will be eaten, but I may have to go through it all again in a few days. Gah!

Anyhow, I’m taking advantage of this day off (I had it off even before the storm), and going to get a loan for the new car. I can’t keep living with so much uncertainty.

life: storm’s a’coming

Yep. I’m in storm mode. The forecast is always uncertain, but I’ve been through enough hurricanes to know that even the little ones can cause major damage. This will be the first big storm I’ve waited out in my apartment and I’m a little anxious. This place shakes in a bad thunderstorm, and I hate thunderstorms. I know I’ll be wide awake once the winds start howling tonight. My mom asked me to stay over at her place, but with two cats that are still skittish about being contained, I didn’t want to take the chance. They’ll be nervous enough without being in an unfamiliar environment. Pretty nervous myself. Hoping for the best.

Things on hold due to inclement weather:

  • loan and car shopping – because, really, this mess just gets messier
  • tomorrow’s post, because I probably won’t have any power once the winds pick up
  • follow-up doctor’s visit, re: car accident
  • anything outdoors
  • life in general

Meanwhile, unexpected pruning and emergency garden storage. At least my home is nice and green.

Plants are in. Not much else I can do in this old rental. #hurricanewatch

A photo posted by Gricel (@emperatrixx) on

life: October goals and moving on

There’s a lot that needs doing in October. I have a major library event to manage, a conference event (but a fun one), two leadership workshops to attend, and a car to buy (as soon as the check rolls in). I am barely managing to keep myself from going into a full-on panic. I can do this. I’ve had worse. But it’s always darkest before the dawn (or so they say). I really can’t wait for a drama-free week. I desperately need a few days without prep or planning, just some time to be.

  • My main goal is to settle the car situation without turning into a mush of nerves. We’ll see how that turns out.
  • Next goal: continue working on Round 1.2 (because round one became three rounds). This is the stick middle, which needs two rounds of careful revision before I can unravel it. My personal goal is a complete draft by January, but I foresee delays given recent events.
  • Speaking of delays, I will not be participating in this year’s NaNo. I was really looking forward to it, but I haven’t made the progress I need to even think about working on something else. I’ll keep storing my ideas for later, perhaps Camp.
  • Healthwise, I want to control myself around the holidays. I’m debating a Whole60 in November, while following most of the Whole30 principles in October. The holidays are my weakness when it comes to bad food habits, and I’ve been doing so well, I don’t want to fall off again.

As of today, I’ve waved the car goodbye and started preparing for a potential storm situation. I’m hoping for the best. Meanwhile, I’ve stocked up on books and cold-brew coffee. Probably no video on Friday.

That’s my plan. What’s yours?