Tag: sweet spot


Two Weddings & A Book Signing!

What a great book! ;)

What a great book! ūüėČ

It feels so good to be back. Here I sit with on my comfy couch with a big pot of tea and my laptop, writing away. I missed this! Did you miss me? Of course you did. Well, sit back, relax, and get ready for some fun and an EXCITING announcement! But fun first.

Shane and I had a crazy, whirlwind vacation that included two weddings and a book signing. To get to the first wedding, we hopped on a train in Chicago. To be more specific, we boarded the Capitol Limited Sleeping Car and spent 20 lovely hours in our first class accommodations, enjoying all the food and free time. If you haven’t traveled by train, you need to give it a try. Not only do you get to feel like Harry Potter, but you are essentially forced to relax. There are no obligations, nothing to do, and nowhere to be. For 20 hours, Shane and I just got to be with each other–and on such a crazy trip, that was soooo nice.

My favorite part was getting up at sunrise as we were going through the Appalachian Mountains. I grabbed my laptop, a cup of coffee, camped out at a table in the observation car and wrote for a few hours. It was one of the best parts of my trip.

View from the Tidal Basin

View from the Tidal Basin

When we got to D.C., my friends Sarah and Patrick took even better care of us than the porter on the train. In our three and a half days in Maryland, they drove us around to sights, fed us, and let us crash at their beautiful apartment. And, of course, I got to spend some much needed girl time with my Sarah! She’s been one of my best friends since high school, and I was so happy to get to see her!

There's me and Sarah being just so fabulous

There’s Sarah & me¬†being just so fabulous

And, of course, Wedding #1! It was a lovely ceremony that took place on a cruise down the Potomac River.¬†Seriously,¬†how gorgeous can¬†you get?!¬†My friendship with¬†Matt also goes back to my high school days, and I couldn’t be happier for him. I was honored to be a part of the ceremony, and we had SO MUCH FUN! Congratulations, Matt & Josh!

Thanks for letting me be a part of your big day

Thanks for letting me be a part of your big day

After the wedding, it was back to Wisconsin for a few days with family. I¬†FINALLY got to meet my nephew, Samuel, and¬†spent some more time with my other¬†little nephew, Ira.¬†One of the days we spent in¬†historic Cedarburg,¬†walking around the town and touring the¬†Cedar Creek Winery. And¬†Shane and I got to climb in a barrel. No, no, that isn’t some innuendo. We¬†actually climbed in a¬†wine barrel.¬†We are small hobbits, and the tour guide asked us if we wanted to shimmy through the tiny opening. Which, of course, we did. And now I have a shirt to prove it, thanks to my Dad. After the wine tour, we had a picnic in one of the downtown parks and all went to a Kenosha Kingfish baseball. It was an all-around awesome summer day with our family.



Then came the Book Signing at the SweetSpot! It was SO good to be back! I had a BLAST reading excerpts from Seven Stones, signing books, and answering all sorts of questions from readers. Thank you to everyone who came out to support me, and special thanks to Lacey and the crew for inviting me out and making my time magical and delicious. It was AMAZING! ūüôā

Onto Wedding #2! We booked it down to Illinois (aka Enemy Territory to Packer Fans) for the wedding of another very good friend. The venue itself was GORGEOUS, the bride and groom were fabulous and happy, and the party was off the hook (if people still say that nowadays). Congratulations, Kayla & Brandon!

Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Thul!

A beautiful day for a wedding!

So, there in a tightly packed nutshell, is our vacation. We got to see friends & family, celebrate love, do a bit of sightseeing, and have an overall fantastic time. Now, friends, is time for the BIG ANNOUNCEMENT.

While on vacation, Shane got a call from a station in Mankato. After a second interview, KEYC offered him the weekend sports anchor/sports reporter position! I know how long he has been working for this, and I couldn’t be more proud. I am sad, however, to say goodbye to all of our Bemidji friends and can only hope you come visit us in Magnificent Mankato! Here’s to a new adventure!

We move in 10 DAYS! HOLY CATS!

I’m going to go pack. Happy Wednesday!


Seven Stones Coming to Wisconsin!

Now that I’m rested from my trip to the Highland Games, it’s time to get back on the road! I’m officially on vacation mode!!! Shane and I are taking some time off to visit friends back home, take a train to D.C., and stand up in two weddings. It is going to be an action-packed vacation! But what would a vacation be without an author event?! That’s right, during our vacation, I’ll be making a stop at my old coffee shop, the SweetSpot in Whitewater, Wisconsin!

I love the SweetSpot!

What?! You’ve never been to the SweetSpot?! Now is your chance!¬†The SweetSpot has some of the BEST food and coffee this side of anywhere. I used to spend hours after getting off of my barista shift, writing short stories and scraps of scenes that would eventually inspire Seven Stones.

I’ll take one of everything, please!

I’ll be at the SweetSpot for a book reading and author Q&A from 5:00-7:00pm on Friday, July 31st. After I’m done talking with everyone, I’ll be selling and signing copies of my novel. Good food, great coffee, and a signed copy of Seven Stones? Now that’s what I call a perfect night!

One of the most exciting parts of the trip for me will be the train ride to D.C. I LOVE trains–they are my favorite way to travel. And this year, Shane and I sprung for a first-class cabin as our five-year anniversary gift to each other. I’ve never traveled first class before, and I can’t wait to share beautiful photos from the train windows and especially report back on the food (first class cabins come with meals on the dining car included). After reading so many Agatha Christie novels, I feel like I’m Poirot about to embark on an adventure. But¬†I’ll be okay¬†if no dead body mysteriously appears on the train. ūüėČ

Our food for the train trip is taken care of, but there is still the 10 hours of driving between us and the station in Milwaukee. That means road trip snacks! Here’s what Shane and I are packing in our coolers and bags:

Fresh veggies from our CSA (including snap peas, cucumbers, turnips, radishes, and greens)

Fresh fruit

Dried fruit: mango, figs, & dates

A batch of homemade granola bars

Pizza Popcorn

Hard boiled eggs

Now, that list may seem like a lot, but¬†we’ll be visiting friends and family, sharing the extras along the way. And, as hobbits, those snacks are just the barest of essentials (can’t miss second breakfast).

One of my absolute favorite snacks EVER is popcorn. I could eat it every day–and most of the time, I do. I’ve had popcorn every way: microwaved, air popped, those Jiffy tins. Over time, I’ve grown to be a bit of a popcorn connoisseur and the best way to make popcorn, in my expert opinion, is on the stove.

Stove top popcorn has such great flavor, is leagues healthier than the nasty wannabe microwaved stuff, and is open to almost endless topping combinations. The one I’m taking with me on my trip combines two of my favorite foods: pizza and popcorn! Salty, crunchy, and dusted with herbs, this snack is sure to satisfy! As a bonus, I add nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast has 8 grams of protein per serving and about 200% of your daily B vitamins–plus it gives the popcorn a lovely cheesy flavor.

As for oil, my favs are coconut oil, EVVO, and Earth Balance. Usually, my go-to is coconut oil, but I use different ones depending on what I feel like that day. Each will give a pleasant and unique flavor to your popcorn.

So, get ready to experiment, have fun, and munch on a whole grain, unprocessed snack that packs a powerful flavor punch!

Julia’s Pizza Popcorn!

Photo courtesy of noshon.it

Popcorn + Pizza = BRILLIANT!

1 cup organic popcorn kernels

1/4 cup oil (coconut, olive, Earth Balance–whatever you fancy)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp Pizza Seasoning 

Salt to taste

Turn a burner on medium-high. Grab a large pot (with lid) and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the popcorn kernels and place the lid on the pot. Begin shaking the pot gently back and forth over the burner to prevent kernels from popping. The kernels will be popping and filling up the pot–keep up the shaking motion until the kernels are almost done popping (until there are considerable pauses between pops. Like five seconds between pops).

Remove pot from heat. Remove the lid (once you’re sure the popping is done. Otherwise, you’ll have popcorn all over the kitchen ūüôā ). Add the nutritional yeast, pizza seasoning, and salt. Put that lid back on.

Now’s time for the best part. Grab that pot and SHAKE it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture. Or like you’re trying to disperse the seasoning and salt evenly. Whichever works for you.


Suggested Pairing

A cold glass of iced tea and the open road

3D Glasses optional

What is your favorite popcorn flavor?

So long for now! I’ll see you when I get back with lots of pictures and stories from vacation!





Author Events!

Taking these bad boys on the road...

Taking these bad boys on the road…

Now that the book is officially released, it’s time to really spread the word! I have been amazed at how many people have been sharing Facebook posts, Tweeting, and telling friends about Seven Stones. THANK YOU! I am very eager to hear what you think about my book. Please feel free to post reviews on the Seven Stones Amazon page and on GoodReads. Word of mouth and personal reviews are an awesome way to get the word out on a good book. ūüôā

And in other exciting news: it is time to begin planning THE BOOK TOUR!!!!! We’ve been putting together a schedule of author events and appearances, and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve decided to truly kick-off the book tour in May because I’ll be done with grad classes for the semester and able to focus on all things literary (including finishing the sequel by September). I can’t WAIT!!! Here is the list of author events and appearances that I am scheduled for so far. There are some events that are still being worked out (more details to follow), and I’m hoping to add more events as the summer draws nearer! Stay tuned for updates!

Seven Stones Book Tour

Also, I’ve had several people ask me about book clubs. My answer is YES! I would be honored to come to your book club and discuss my book. Just give me enough heads up and I will be there (or Skype)!

And for any of my Minnesota friends who may have missed the book release in Brainerd: my first official book signing will be in BEMIDJI! Even if you did happen to make it to the book release, please feel free to stop by and say hi!

That’s all for now!

Happy Wednesday!