Getting Ready for a Road Trip


I take a lot of road trips. About every weekend, we are driving at least an hour and half one way from home to get into the mountains. Recently, I drove across the country, from CO to NJ with my pup to visit family. It took three days to get there, driving 10 hours the first and second days and 6 the last. During these long voyages, I get hungry. Especially when I’m with someone else (human that is, not canine). If I don’t come prepared with an abundance of snacks, I am left to vending machines, fast food restaurants, and very non-veggie friendly truck stops. I also end up spending lots of money. 

So, in light of my new budgetting/cooking spree, I decided to take portions of the next two days to make some food for the road. But first, where am I going? On Saturday, a couple girlfriends and I are driving 10 hours to Missoula, Montana to visit my friend’s parents. Then we are going up to Great Falls, to pick up one of her college friends and head to her cottage near the Canadian border. It will be a short trip as we have to be back by Wednesday night because I have PhD orientation on Thursday. However, the driving will be long and I am sure to get hungry.

I also wanted to keep in mind that some of the food I recently bought should get used so that it won’t go bad during the few days I’m gone. My husband only eats dinner at home, so while he is pretty good at scrounging around for food when I’m not home, I’m not sure if a huge package of basil will fit into one of his dinner concoctions. That led me to look up recipes that involve basil. I found two that I liked: strawberry basil jam and zucchini basil muffins. I decided to make a couple of modifications to both recipes (see below) since I didn’t have certain ingredients in my pantry or fridge (such as pectin or zucchini) and didn’t want to go out to the grocery store when I could use leftovers. I ended up making the jam with chia seeds, which I have an abundance of from my last shop at Costco, and used left over peppers from our pizza night. They turned out pretty good, although I think I overcompensated for the wetness of the peppers by using a little too much flour. They also stuck to the muffin tin a bit.

Seeing a couple bananas that were on their last legs in my fruit bowl, I also decided to make something sweet. I love the recipe below for tropical banana bread, although I always change it to include honey instead of sugar and apple sauce instead of eggs. I also add walnuts. Unfortunately, I, once again, didn’t do a very good job coating the pan so the bottom half of the bread broke away when I tried to get it out. No matter, it is still delicious and not too sweet.

Thinking about how expensive hummus is, I decided to make a huge amount of it. I used two cans of chickpeas. Using a trick that a very smart Israeli taught me, I boiled both in a pot with water for about 5 minutes. This made the already cooked chickpeas even softer. I took half of the pot (or about one can of chickpeas) and added tahini, garlic, lemon, salt, water, and some cardamom, just to be different, and as it spinned in my blender, drizzled olive oil. Eureka! For the other half of the chickpeas, I added tahini, water, and the eggplant sauce I had left over from the pizza night. So I basically made an eggplant sorta hummus which came out pretty delicious.

Tomorrow, I’m going to boil some eggs for an egg salad sandwich to bring on the road. Along with my hummus, some pita bread, my muffins, and the banana bread, I think I should be sufficiently ready for the road (and carbed up to my gills…). Hopefully the breads will last more than 10 hours, and I will leave half for Ep.

Strawberry basil chia jam: Based off this recipe, I used chia seeds instead of pectin. I cut up a large box of strawberries (16 oz) that was on sale last week and added them to my blender with a handful to basil leaves. After blending it, but making sure it was still chunky, I put it on the stove and cooked it until it was kind of saucy. I added honey to taste. I took it off the burner, waited a bit, and added 2 tablespoons of chia seeds and put it into a glass jar. I let it cool, and then put it into the fridge.

Bell Pepper Basil Muffins: Based of this recipe, I used bell peppers instead of zucchini and added ground pepper to the dough. I also included my cashew parmesan cheese to the mix and used almond milk and grapeseed oil instead of milk and olive oil (just cuz grapeseed oil is cheaper).

Banana Walnut Bread: Based on this recipe, I used applesauce instead of an egg (just to make it moist) and added walnuts. I also didn’t include pineapple and used almond milk instead of coconut milk. Need to grease the pan better next time! 

Smooth Hummus: I used one can of chickpeas, boiled in water for 5 minutes. Sort of followed this recipe.

Eggplant Hummus: I used one can of chickpeas, boiled in water for 5 minutes. Added about 1/2 cup of my eggplant sauce from pizza night, about 1/3 cup of tahini, and a 1/4 water.


Almost Left Over Pizza Night and Frugal Shopping


Going to the grocery store with a mission and on a budget allowed me to look at groceries in a whole new way. I felt as if I was a freshman in college again, where the price of some produce made me scoff and shake my head. As a working adult with a relatively steady family income, I barely look at food prices anymore. Food is cheap in Colorado, but there are definitely ways I can save here and there. For instance, as Cathy Erway said in her book, The Art of Eating In, buying lettuce or any type of greens in a plastic box as opposed to a head is significantly more expensive (between $4 to $6 for the box) and produces more waste in the form of that plastic box.

Inspired by another chapter in her book, I decided to call up my local pizzeria and see if they sold raw pizza dough. They did, and for $2.75 a pie! I picked up two balls of dough, freezing one for later. The dough was perfect, not too sticky and a little floury, much better than I could have done as it would have been my first time attempting to make pizza dough from scratch. I then headed to King Sooper’s to get some last minute ingredients. I wanted to take this opportunity to use vegetables that had been ignored in my fridge so I only bought some mushrooms and an eggplant to add to the toppings.

While walking through the grocery store, I felt as if all of a sudden my vision was clear. I was more aware of what I was buying and how much things cost. The yellow “sale” stickers popped out at me as I focused on my list. My budgetting authors say that to decrease grocery costs, it’s important to have a list and stick to it. Some even state that if you get an urge to buy something (like a coffee from the Starbucks at the front of the grocery store) it is sensible to walk out of the store and reason with yourself, and only return if you have a clear mind.

My need for Starbucks was not that unbearable (although as I write this now, I sure have a craving for a mocha!) and so I walked directly to the produce aisle where I found a box of mostly good looking mushrooms marked down to a $1.50 (as opposed to $3), a 4 oz. box of basil for $2.00 (the 1.5 oz boxes are normally $3), and eggplant on sale for $1.00. All the produce was organic and didn’t look too bad. Since I would be using a lot of it that night for pizza, I figured it was okay if some of the basil was a little brownish on the edges. I would just have to make sure to put it into my lunch and dinner the next day as well. I then grabbed some of my favorite bread ($4) and almond milk as I was running low ($3). I passed the sale aisle and found a bunch of oranges for $1 which I would use in a fruit tart made with pizza dough. I picked up a couple of cans of chickpeas for hummus I wanted to make later this week. I eat hummus like it’s my job and at around $4 a carton, it can get pretty expensive.

All in all, I spent around $20 for groceries and the pizza dough. I probably saved about $8! Since all the produce wasn’t used, and taking into account the groceries we did use that were already in the fridge and pantry, I’d say we spent about $5 for the pizza we made, which would be a savings of about $10-$12 for dinner if we had ordered one! With those prices, I might actually be able to stick to my $300 a month grocery budget ūüôā

For the pizza, we made four pizza’s in one with about 2/3 of the dough. 1/3 of the dough we left for our fruit tart. See ingredient below. The pizza was AMAZING!!! And I was so glad that I didn’t even miss the cheese on my slices! Ep liked them too, although I think he loved his chicken one the most. Success!



Cooked at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Dough cooked on baking pan, spread thin. Pan and dough coated with olive oil.

Ep’s Leftover Chicken Pizza: Sauce- Basil marinara, topped with leftover chicken, red-orange-yellow peppers, onions, mushrooms, all sliced super thin, and mozerrella cheese.

Ep’s Leftover Stuffed Olive and Cheese Pizza: Sauce- Eggplant sauce (see below), topped with five different kinds of cheese left over in the fridge and sliced bluecheese stuffed olives we already had.

Lex’s Leftover Veggie Pizza: Sauce- Eggplant sauce, topped with red-yellow-orange peppers, onions, mushrooms, and cashew parmesan cheese (see below).

Lex’s Leftover Tomato and Basil Pizza: Sauce- Basil marinara, topped with tomato slices, fresh basil leaves, balsamic glaze, and cashew parmesan cheese

Eggplant Sauce: I got this idea from an eggplant queso sauce I saw online. I changed it up to make it more Italian instead of Mexican and didnt add thickener so it came out more of a pizza sauce than a cheese like texture. One eggplant, sliced in half, cooked at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until soft. Scoop out eggplant and put into blender (after it cools) and add portions of oregano, rosemary, cashew milk (or alternative), yeast flakes, apple cider vinegar, garlic salt. TAste as you go and add more of everything or not. I only put a little cashew milk in at first (about 1/2 a cup) so it wouldn’t be too liquidy.

Cashew parmesan cheese: 1/2 cup cashews, 1/4 cup yeast flakes, garlic salt to taste, blend until paremesan consistency (inspired by this recipe)

For the tart, after trying to bake the pizza dough with coconut cream and the fruit on top, and it not working because the cream turned into oil in the oven and leaked all over, we tried again by baking just the dough by itself and then adding the cream and already cooked fruit on top after everything had cooled. Dough cooked at 400 for 15 minutes. Cream kept in the fridge until ready to serve.

Pizza Fruit Tart: Pizza dough, sauce- coconut cream (canned with vanilla and honey mixed in), grapes, cherries, oranges, strawberries, blueberries sliced thin.

Leftovers: Only about a two inch square of olive and cheese pizza for Ep. About half of each of Lex’s pizza’s. The second round of fruit tart was devoured, mostly by Lex ūüôā

Cooking and Budgeting Again


With the end of my current work contract looming on August 5th and not much of an income in sight, I’ve had to get down and fruggle with our expenses. Starting a PhD program in the fall will allow me to work as an RA, which will bring in a pretty miniscule paycheck. Not that I’m not grateful for getting the job, but we will definitely have to start living on less and mostly on Ep’s income.

As is my personality, I’ve been visiting the local public library and gathering books on how to better budget and control my expenses. Like a lot of people, the biggest weight on our monthly credit card is eating out. Ep and I are total foodies and we both come from foody families. Going to a restaurant is the way we’ve always celebrated, even the little things. This would be okay, if we didn’t celebrate everything, like Jackson, our pup, learning “High Five” or it being a week before my birthday, a couple days before by birthday, and then my birthday. We also use restauranting to cull boredom, as a quick fix for laziness in the kitchen, or for convenience when we are just really really hungry and not home.

So, back to the library I’ve been and home again with books about cooking, eating in, and not eating out. I blasted through Living Large on Less by Christina Spence and am now enthralled in The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway. I read through Dave Ramsey’s book on finances as well and have created a budget of “Fixed and Variable Essential Costs” (thank you Christina) as well as a “Debt Snowball” to tackle (yay Dave!). I’ve also become increasingly more active on Pinterest in search of delicious meals and fruggle food shopping.

Now for goal setting, because a I LOVE TO SET GOALS! I’m going to try to spend $300 a month on groceries. Ep will have an additional $100 a month for the subsidized food he gets from the cafeteria at work. Then, we will each have $40 a week to spend on whatever else we want. This includes alcohol, coffee, going out to dinner, etc. This is based on an average of what we spend on food over the last six months. So, I’m thinking it’s manageable with a little planning, thought, and control.

I probably won’t be able to see how well I do with this until a month or so in as my fridge and pantry are already pretty full. However, I’ll be keeping track of what I spend per month and what I’m buying. Some ways I anticipate being able to do this is:

  • only buying things I need (and not that fifth bottle of salsa or that expensive premade sushi)
  • making bigger meals and freezing leftovers
  • buying bulk products (such as lettuce) instead of smaller packages (such as those pre-shredded lettuce boxes)
  • making stuff at home (like bread or jam (I’ll have to check if it’s actually cheaper to make jam at home instead of buying it in the jar) or salsa or hummus)
  • buying more when things are on sale
  • be more conscious of what is in the fridge (especially that veggie drawer which sometimes is forgotten) and don’t throw out food
  • eat lots of leftovers
  • make creative things with what’s left in the fridge or pantry

This will probably also make me more of a vegan than I already am. I currently don’t eat meat or dairy but do eat fish, shellfish, eggs, and honey. Fish is sort of expensive so I might get the good salmon only once in a while. If i crave the stuff, I can always make canned tuna salads which is pretty cheap.

After cleaning my fridge and, gulp, throwing out a lot of things in jars that we never ate, I’ve put my apron on, spoon in hand, and started to cook. The pantry is next on the cleaning list, although I hope to eat a lot of stuff out of it before I tackle that monster!

For tonight, it will be left over minestrone soup I made for a dinner party the other night, egg salad sandwiches, and vegan blueberry muffins for dessert!

Minestrone Soup: I used this Mario Batali Food network recipe and added vegetable broth. I somehow made way more than 4 servings (I managed to feed 5 people the other night and still have about 6 servings left). I probably put the same amount of veggies but more noodles and broth.

Half Egg Salad Sandwiches: Boiled eggs, dijon mustard, mayo, pepper, and garlic salt with spinach on Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed (expensive but delicious).

Vegan Blueberry Muffins: I used this recipe but used apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar, a heaping tablespoons of coconut cream, cashew milk instead of almond milk, honey instead of sugar (I just kind of eyed how much honey), and no oil except coconut oil to grease the muffin tin.

Leftovers: More soup (in the freezer for a later dinner), egg salad (for lunch tomorrow?), and blueberry muffins (for any and every occasion until they are gonzo)!

Revisiting My Resolutions


Back in December, I came up with four resolutions that I wanted to follow this year. It’s now October, and I have to say that I’m currently about half successful with them. While I stopped keeping track of everything, I have absolutely started to eat 1,000 times better than I did last year. I stopped eating land meat (I still eat fish and some sea creatures) and am off dairy. I started taking supplements such as B12 and probiotics to make sure that my energy and gut still work despite my food choices as well as other vitamins to take care of my heart and skin.

I’m also exercising more. This is first off because I live in Colorado and I actually want to be outside and secondly because I weigh about 20 pounds less than I did last year and am able to move my body around a lot easier. I never thought of myself as overweight but I can definitely feel the difference when I climb or run. The fact that I actually like to and can trail run shows me that I’m eating healthier. I’m also cooking a lot and discovering a wonderful passion and talent (if I do say so myself) that I never knew I had!

Yoga and meditation have not become part of my routine, however. If I’m sore, I will do some yoga moves and they always make me feel better but I am still too anti-routine and not disciplined enough to take the time and do a yoga or meditation session!

I’m not too worried about it though. It took my 27 years to figure out how to eat the way I like and it took me a move across the country to do more exercise. I have faith that when my body is ready for meditation and yoga, it will let me know. I am learning to be patient with myself because if I push, I know I will quit before I even get started. Practicing this realization, in itself, is a huge step for me.

Eat Pray, Love this book!


This whole writing a book thing is totally new to me. Most of my writing in the past, consisted of e-mails, facebook posts, text messages, and a few “academic” essays and reports. I’m learning day by day that writing a memoir requires a totally different style.

When I first tackled this project, I did what I do best. I researched. One thing I can safely say about University is that it taught me how to find answers. Being an active member of my local public library, I looked up “How To Write” books, of which there is a whole section! I also took out other people’s memoirs, which I planned to use as examples of what I hope to eventually complete. Like an art student who first learns to draw by looking at paintings done by famous artists, I too am learning from the literary masters.

If you try to teach yourself how to write, you will find that one of the most important things, besides grammar and spelling maybe, is your voice. This is something I’m trying to find. Depending on what I’m writing, my voice, or style of writing, changes. It also might alter depending on who I’m reading at the time. For example, after finishing Douglas Adams’, Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I had the urge to write something funny, quick, and ludicrous. To be genuine, I need to develop my own style.

The first memoir I tackled (and recently finished) since I started writing my own is¬†Eat, Pray, Love¬†by Elizabeth Gilbert.¬†I realize I’m a little late to join the “I Love Eat, Pray, Love!” bandwagon. It’s true that I saw the movie first. It’s also true that I fell in love with Javier Bardem, hard, but still, I didn’t read the book. This is most likely because I just wasn’t reading anything back then. I was also afraid that the book would be too Chicken Soup for the Soul, which¬†I was a little turned off by. (I realize now that my decision was a little short sighted).

Eventually, I read the book because Paula Balzer, author of Writing and Selling Your Memoir¬†told me to. Well she didn’t actually personally tell me, but in her book, among a long list of must read memoirs, she named¬†Eat, Pray, Love.¬†I found this book to be delightful, confusing but enlightening, troubling, and inspirational. Obviously I’m not alone in my view since the book did sell something like a gajillion copies!

My year abroad brought on new discoveries about myself. The first thing I found was that I LOVE TO READ! The second thing was that I LOVE TO WRITE. I also found out that I am interested in spirituality, meditation, and yoga. I adore food, which is something I’ve known for a long time, and traveling is pretty much the best thing in the world for me. I also LOVE LOVE! Does any of this sound familiar?

It’s true I am not recovering from a divorce, do not live in New York City (I did live in NJ though!), and am not a professional writer. I have never been to the three Is (Italy, India, and Indonesia) except for a day in Milan. However, I found many similarities between our adventures.¬†Gilbert’s experiences were an amplification of my own travels in Asia and I ended up studying the book as much as I was reading it for enjoyment.

Beyond developing my craft, Gilbert cleared up some big questions I had about people and religion. She also made me want to go to Italy and eat my face off, but I don’t think that’s the main point of her book. Although she seems to be much more religious than I am, her description of searching for God is very similar to my own search for what I call “Truth”. While I am not religious in a scriptural sense, I came to the understanding that my own spiritual journey over the last year parallels Gilbert’s, only less intense.

In Mongolia, for example, my husband and I took meditation classes. Our “guru” was an Australian nun named Thubten who, in the most beautiful and clear way, educated us on how to be mindful. As described in another one of my posts, she spoke of black smoke, or negative, harmful emotions, and white light, or positive, helpful emotions. She taught us how to fill ourselves with the white light and push out the black spoke. She spoke about compassion and love. She gave me the understanding that to live a healthy and happy lifestyle, I must seek Truth and meaning. I need to be comfortable with my emotions and thoughts. I must seek out the wise, peaceful me that sits patiently in the corner while the crazy chatty me runs around stealing the show. In other words, I need to just chill out.

From a technical standpoint, I found Gilbert’s writing style exciting and clear. She is very personal and emotional but not in a whiny way. Her description was also good enough for me to visualize the people with who she interacted or the food that she ate but didn’t go on too long so that I felt bored. I also liked how she spoke to the readers. For example, instead of narrating the book from an outside disconnected observer, she allowed you to enter her mind and heart. She moved me.

In my own writing, I am still having trouble easing up a bit and shaking those stiff academic sentence structures. I’m trying to open up, which besides making for a more interesting book, is proving to be quite therapeutic. In a way, writing this book is a form a meditation. Importantly, through my literary reflections, I am getting closer and closer to finding Truth.

New Year Resolutions


Every three months, the business where I work organizes departmental meetings to discuss how we can make our company better. Each division brainstorms a specific action that will enhance the service provided to our customers. Then, a method is set up to quantify this action. For the next three months, my coworkers and I check in with each other once a week to see how many times we successfully performed our duty. If our goals were not reached, we identify the obstacles that prevented us from doing our jobs and strategize how to overcome these issues.

Creating quantifiable measures and reporting them incentivizes us to perform on a daily basis. Dedicating three months to one daily goal makes our practice become habit. Furthermore, once the three months are up and we move onto a new specific target, it is expected that we continue our previous measures, since we are now aware that our actions help our business.

With the New Year coming up, perhaps I can use this method to stick to good habits I have trouble developing. Every single year, without fail, before the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, I resolve to do more exercise. I promise to eat less sweets and cheese. This year, I’m contemplating adding meditating and practicing yoga to my list of goals for 2014. Pessimistically, I sort of know that if I just make a promise, I’m not going to perform these goals as much as I would like. Therefore, I’m inclined just this once to bring work home and use this three month strategy in my personal life. So, here is my rough plan:


12 months, 4 goals, 3 months per goal

January, February, March- Eat Better

April, May, June- Practice Yoga

July, August, September- Exercise More

October, November, December- Meditate

While you may be thinking that these four resolutions are way simple, I find them to be essential to living life. However, I have difficulty with performing any of them on a daily, even weekly, basis. Part of it has to do with having a resilient, youthful, and healthy body; being married to a man who loves me no matter how I look; belonging to a supportive and loving family; and, possessing a mind that is most of the time at ease. So, it hasn’t been too critical for me to follow these habits. I do not need them to survive day by day. However, I feel that adopting these enlightening practices will increase my quality of life and make me a healthier, more spiritual, and more compassionate person. And I do possess the desire to be better.

Why don’t I just do all these things all at once? Well, I’m going to try. I mean, these healthy practices are pretty much essential to filling my life with contentment. However, just doing these things is easier said than done. Especially when I am a notorious excuser, winer, and unfulfiller of New Year’s resolutions. In 2014, I will try something different.

For the first three months of the year, while my official resolution is the very general desire to “Eat Better”, I’m hoping to also exercise, practice yoga, and meditate. However, I only want to track “Eat Better”, so that I can make my desires habitual. As December comes to a close, I am going to brainstorm how to successfully perform this feat. I will conduct research regarding how to change my diet and consumption.

For example, my tummy and my skin tell me I should stay away from dairy products. I know I should eat more greens and less bread. I stopped eating meat, so I need to make sure to get the right amount of protein, calcium, magnesium, and sodium in non-meat products. I also want to develop the self control to stop eating when my stomach is full and not over eat. I’d like to stay away from products that are over processed and make my own food from scratch, like humus or salad dressing.

Part of the effectiveness of this strategy is to track data in an easy and fun way. Counting calories or jotting down everything I ate on a specific day are not things that I find to be easy or fun. Therefore, I’m going to have to be a bit more creative about how to monitor my goals. I’m thinking posting recipes will help with that. Maybe dedicating a blog post to describing an especially delicious meal, a great restaurant, or cool organic practices. I might give myself a ranking of how well I think I ate that day. Gold star stickers might be granted for a job well done…

I can use social media as a way to peer pressure myself into sticking to my resolution. I will also hold meetings with myself (and maybe others, if I can convince them to come on board with me) on a weekly basis to decide if I met my goals. If I didn’t, I will reboot and contemplate on how to do better the next week.

Just a quick word about my four resolutions. I’m starting with the easiest one for me. I like to cook and be creative in the kitchen. I am not too far from having a daily diet of which I can be proud.

“Practice Yoga”, will be difficult for me since it most likely will require waking up even earlier than I do now (5:30AM!). At one time, I was practicing on a daily basis and I am aware of the benefits felt by my body and mind.

“Exercise More”, is probably the hardest. It will take excessive will and creativity to get myself to work out more than once a week…This is why I left this for the summer months, hoping that being able to do things outside will help.

I have little experience with “Meditate” and find it very challenging. With all my other habits taking up more of my morning, I will find it difficult to motivate myself to practice on a daily basis. Since being mindful is essential to finding inner peace, this resolution is probably the most important one for me to accomplish.

I didn’t place “Write” on that list above because writing will be part of this entire process. I intend to use blogs and social media to report my weekly performance and hopefully have a platform where I can seek advice and conduct research.

Wish me luck!

My Writer’s Bucket List


In the last year, I made the incredible and life changing discovery that I liked to write. As discussed previously in this blog, this revelation pushed me to maintain correspondence with a very small group of fans while on my trip through Asia. It also made me very excited to start a blog, attempt to enhance my presence online via twitter and facebook, and write a book.

Since settling in Fort Collins, I’m working on building my skills and reputation as a writer. I’ve read “how to write books” including Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott and Writing and Selling Your Memoir by Paula Balzer. In my bookshelf sit another half dozen, patiently waiting to be read. For pleasure, I’m devouring memoirs. ¬†Right now, I’m in the middle of Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert¬†and plan next to read Stephen King’s On Writing. I’ve also joined a local writer’s group and a book club at the library.

While I am just at the beginning of what I hope to be a long and prosperous career, I don’t think it’s too soon to create what Dana Sitar calls, a “Writer’s Bucket List”. I totally want to do three out of the five items on her list including: 1. do something bizarre just to write about it; 2. self-publish; and 3. find a mentor. However, I am not that interested in spending my leisure time in 4. editing someone else’s writing, nor do I desire to 5. live in poverty, no matter how good it will be for my career.

Since I don’t think a Bucket List should only have three items on it, I thought I could add a few more things. So with all the necessary pomp and circumstance, here is my Writer’s Bucket List (in no particular order):

Alexis’ Writer’s Bucket List

1. Write a poem (that’s actually good)

2. Publish a book (or finish one?)

3. Write science fiction (that’s not too Star Warsy… although Star Wars is THE BEST!)

4. Go viral (on-line, not medically)

5. Have a conversation with an accomplished author (and don’t sound like a dolt)

6. Do something bizarre just to write about it (without getting arrested)

7. Self-publish my writing (but not because I’m the only one who likes it)

8. Meet George R. R. Martin (and try not to act like a stalker)

9. Find a mentor (that isn’t that much more successful than I am)

10. Get to a point where I write just to write (without caring what others think about my writing)