Monthly Archives: September 2015

Romance 2.0

I’m feeling whimsical today. Maybe it’s because of the perfectly sunny fall day. Or maybe it’s thanks to that last Tate’s chocolate chip and walnut cookie I just ate. Or maybe the upcoming release of Accidentally Hers has me focusing on romance.

I don’t know, and it doesn’t matter. The point is I’ve got romance on the brain today, so I might as well be productive about it.

As a woman who has been in the same relationship for twenty years and counting, I know how it can sometimes feel like there aren’t any surprises left. If there are things I don’t know about my husband, it’s because he’s hiding them, right?

Well, maybe not, actually.34252037_s

When I step back and think of it, we’ve both changed a lot over the years. Sure, we’ve been together for those growth cycles, but I can’t say we’ve always discussed them in detail, or that I know he who really is now as opposed to who he was when we married. Honestly, who has time for philosophical discussions when one is stuck in the middle (of life, of careers, between needy kids and aging parents)?

With so many important matters vying for one’s attention, relationships often get shoved to the bottom of the to-do list, and you talk less and less about non-essential things. But those dreamy, non-essential things are precisely what people spend so much time discovering about in the beginning of any relationship. What if that on-going dialogue is the key to keeping a relationship fresh?

With this idea in mind, I thought it would be fun to make a short list of little things anyone can do to boost his/her real-life romance and renew intimacy:

  1. Daydream together (what if we won the lottery, where would you most love to retire, if you could be granted one wish, who’s your current real-life hero…). You know, just make it fun and see where the conversation leads.
  2. Give your undivided attention to your partner when you ask about his/her day. I mean it! Look him/her in the eye and really listen.
  3. Hold hands while driving/riding in the car.
  4. Make a list of your partner’s best/most admirable traits and surprise them with it.
  5. Ask him/her what you can do to make their day better.
  6. Make his/her favorite dinner on the weekend, when everyone can relax and enjoy it.
  7. Send a sexy text (no, not a “sext” pic) in the middle of the day to set the mood for later that night.
  8. Make a list of relationship goals (be specific, like twice-a-month date nights, one weekend per year road trip, and so on).
  9. Let each person choose a movie (in my house that would be heavy drama for me and anything with Will Ferrell for my husband) and then watch them each together (no complaining allowed…or at least keep the eye-rolling to a minimum).
  10. Role reversal! Basically, walk in the other person’s shoes for a day. Cooking, laundry, yard work, whatever. Get an appreciation for what your partner contributes to making life a little easier in the household and talk about it later.

Hopefully these little efforts will yield big payoffs in the romance department. And don’t be shy. If you’ve got an idea to share with the rest of us, please do so in the comments!

XO-Jamie

Milestones and Measures

Yesterday I turned forty-nine (or seven squared, as my math geek friend noted). Basically, I’m almost at the mid-century mark, and very likely past the halfway point of my life, too.

That’s a breathtaking thought. I’ve less time left than I’ve already burned through.FullSizeRender(19)

Naturally, it forces me to reflect on how wisely I’ve spent my time. I suppose, on paper, one might think I’ve accomplished quite a lot in my life. The resume reads pretty well: college, law school, M.B.A., law career, writing career. And the personal life is not too shabby either: marriage in its seventeenth year, two kids (no pets), close extended family relationships. Last but not least would be a decent list of avocations and hobbies, such as skiing, music, cooking, hiking, and so forth.

But that string of data is not reflective of whether I spent my time wisely. For example, those graduate degrees weren’t really my dream. At that point in my life, I still didn’t believe enough in my dream to pursue it, so I chose the safe, easily-defined (and “job will be waiting for you”) path. That’s not to say I didn’t learn a great deal that I can now use in my life, but had I died at twenty-eight, I surely would have had less personal satisfaction in my life than I do today.

I suppose that is a roundabout way of encouraging you to sit in a quiet space and get to know yourself. Figure out who you are and what excites you. Then go for it. Don’t wait for the right time. Don’t worry about what other people expect or think. Set attainable goals leading up to the end game, and then move forward, steadily ticking off those smaller items until you end up where you dreamed of being.

There will always be sacrifices, over-scheduling, and other loved ones who need attention. But those things don’t prevent you from reaching your goals, they merely slow you down (which really goes back to the idea of setting attainable benchmarks). Don’t let the “I’m too busy” mentality keep you from making the most of the days you are given to live.

I hope I’m here for another forty-nine years, but I’m going to act like it could all end tomorrow. That way I know I’m not taking anything for granted.

Before I sneak off to eat a few cupcakes, tell me one attainable goal you could reach by year-end if you made it important?

XO-Jamie

 

Let’s Raise Some Money

On September 1st, I sent out my first newsletter. It included a few fun things, like a recipe for pumpkin bread, some insider info about the town I used as the basis for the fictional setting of my upcoming release, Accidentally Hers, and a chance to (a) vote for a charity to which I’ll be donating ten percent of my first week’s proceeds, and (b) win a signed, early-release copy of the book.

Sterling Canyon Book One, Coming October 6th

Sterling Canyon Book One, Coming October 6th

I’m thrilled to announce that CASA for Kids will be the recipient of my intended donation. I’ll admit, it was a very close race between CASA and Kids in Crisis. I would’ve been happy either way, but the fact that CASA was the charity I’d modeled “Child Advocacy Association” after (In the Cards) makes it a little special for me.

And, the winners of the book giveaway are Lori Raines and Julie Ayling! *applause* I’ll be sending those copies out right away.

If YOU want to help me raise money and awareness for CASA, please encourage fellow romance readers to pick up a copy of Accidentally Hers the week of its release! And if you want to have a chance to help me pick the charity I’ll make a donation to with the release of Worth the Trouble in February, make sure you sign up for my newsletter (see right-hand sidebar).

Finally, if I don’t say it enough, thanks so much for being part of my romance community. It’s brought me a lot of joy these past few years, and none of what I do would mean anything without each of you.

xo-Jamie

“D—– in a Box”

No, no…this isn’t a blog about the infamous SNL film short. Had to capture your attention because, after a long absence, Katherine’s back on the blog to talk about her latest culinary adventures:

With the start of school (where I work), kids’ sports, and helping with homework, the ease of summer grocery store trips and menu planning vanished. While I love cooking, the school-day afternoons just get away from me, and the family never seems to be able to eat at the same time. I needed help, and I think I found it!

You’ve probably heard of the new trend: dinner in a box. Multiple companies now deliver ready-to-cook meals to your doorstep.  Inside the box are all the ingredients you need for the meals you select, which typically take less than 60 minutes to prepare.  No deciding what to make for dinner.  No trip to the grocery store.  Everything you need is right at your fingertips.big hello fresh

I’d been debating whether or not to try one of these services for about six months while I wallowed in a rut of making the same meals over and again. I finally decided, why not try!

Last week I received my first box from Hello Fresh.

Here’s my verdict:

The box came with a large recipe booklet that included a list of all ingredients and step-by-step instructions.  Each of the recipes was easy to follow (even while shouting at my kids to turn down their music and do their homework). The meal came together very quickly, which was key! It was also extremely convenient to grab it from the fridge knowing everything I needed to make dinner was in that cute little white box. 3 hello fresh

I have to be honest, my only worry was whether the meals would provide a solid dinner for four people (which includes two hungry teenagers).  Happily, we actually had leftovers two out of the three nights. Better yet, all three meals were absolutely delicious!

I was most surprised by the Zucchini Noodle Lasagna.  At first I wasn’t sure that my teen son would buy in, but, he didn’t just like it, he loved it, and my entire family is still talking about it.lasagna

I really loved my first week of dinners from Hello Fresh. It’s on the pricey side (about $110 for 3 meals), but I’d probably spend close to that at the grocery store for similar ingredients. This way, I saved myself the shopping trip and I didn’t have to “think” about what to make. Back to school is such a busy time, so buying these healthy, balanced, tasty meals was a win-win.

I am a little excited because box #2 arrives this week! All I need to have on hand is a glass of wine to sip on while preparing my family dinners.

Cheers!

XO-Katherine