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Posted on Dec 19, 2012 in Food | 11 comments

Twinsies

You know that person? That one friend who is so eerily similar to you, it’s a little bit frightening? I like to think that most people have someone like that in their lives. And for me, that person is my good friend Aileen.

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Our friendship story has either been in the works for a very long time, or it’s still pretty new–I can’t really decide which. In the grand scheme of life, we haven’t actually known each other that long, but I think we all know that time isn’t everything. Aileen is the sister of Joanna, my freshman year college roommate. I’d heard about this mystery sister quite a bit that year, but we didn’t actually meet until many years later. Joanna and I reconnected after we graduated from college (go Dukes!) due to the amazingness that is social media, and it was at this point that I connected with Aileen as well.

And thank goodness for that.

See, Aileen and I are basically twins. Which hopefully Joanna won’t get mad at me for saying, since she and Aileen are ACTUAL twins. Like, born-60-seconds-apart, shared-the-same-womb twins. (…as opposed to the other kind? Hahahahaha.) But there is just so MUCH that Aileen and I share: a tendency to stray toward the melodramatic, lifelong battles with the neuroses that actually make us totally awesome and super good listmakers, and a deep, unyielding love of Harry Potter, cheese, and American Musical Theatre. Oh yeah, and there’s this:

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That’s right, in case you hadn’t already pieced it together from the numerous mentions I’ve made of her before, Aileen is my glorious, patient, wonderful book editor as well. In fact, check out this interview article where Aileen talks about what the painstaking editing process for Terra was like, or her own blog post on it!

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Aileen has been such a HUGELY integral part of Terra being as awesome and kickass as it is (in my, y’know, totally unbiased opinion, hahaha), and last night we finally got to celebrate the book’s launch together… and in the best possible way. With a homemade meal, mini bottles of champagne, and pumpkin-spice rice krispie ball pops (!!) that Aileen brought over.

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Being the good sport that she is, she happily (?) helped make my garlicky dreams come true by helping me whip up my delectable Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic recipe.

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We also had roasted Brussels sprouts (uh, duh) and I found this particularly huge B-sprouts stalk at the grocery store… which reminded me that while it really does look cool, but it’s such an extra pain in the patooty. Which I guess is why I’m lucky that Aileen was willing to shuck the stalk, hahahaha.

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Aaaanyway, the two of us got down to business in the kitchen, chopping and dicing and drinking champagne–as all truly great chefs do, I’m sure–whilst simultaneously taaaaalkingtalkingtalkingtalkingtalking because we’re really, really good at that.

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Also, we peeled so much garlic that my hands still smell like garlic as I type this. I keep vacillating between whether that’s a good or bad thing.

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PEEL ALL THE GARLIC.

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Ultimately, garlicky-fingers or not, we ended up with a feast fit for kings. Er, queens. Er, modern day self-proclaimed princesses. We also made the recipe for Celebrations Quinoa with Dried Cranberries and Spiced Pecans that was served at Anne’s wedding.

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I have been sitting on this recipe since Anne sent it to me and now I do not even understand why I waited. It. Was. Phenomenal. Seriously, make it, make it now. SO easy and SO delicious. I don’t even love quinoa that much, and I’m still saying it.

ANYWAY. Basically, it was kind of a perfect Tuesday evening. Which is actually awesome, because I make no attempts to hide my general hatred for Tuesdays. They are typically the very worst day of the week, after all. But not this one! There was delicious homemade food, booze, baked goods, and my amazing friend. Also, schnauzers in Christmas sweaters. Win-win-win…win.

(Also, I know I linked to it way at the top, but it bears mentioning again that Aileen’s blog, Army Pants and Flip Flops, is amazing. It’s seriously fracking funny, and you should read it. Her writing is legitimately laugh-out-loud hilarious and there are many, many, MANY references to cheese. And Harry Potter. And basically all things awesome. Okay, I’m done now.)

Happy Wednesday! My sister flies into town tonight and is going to be here through Christmas, and I’m SO EXCITED!! And scared, because I haven’t seen her in over a month and I really have no idea what to expect with regard to her super-preggo-baby-belly situation. If you feel like winning a bet tonight, I suggest you put money down on me crying.

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Posted on Dec 18, 2012 in Dear Diary | 29 comments

Bracing Myself

So in case you hadn’t noticed it from the heartfelt announcement last week, or the 80,000 references I’ve made since, I wrote a book. And I published that book, effectively marking the single most exciting event of my life to date. (Yes, even eclipsing both my Harry Potter birthday party and that time that I spoke to Daniel Radcliffe.)

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Everyone who’s offered feedback on the book so far has been amazingly positive and encouraging! Terra even has 11 5-star reviews on Amazon so far, which is seriously amazing (thank you to those of you who have already read and reviewed the book!) — like, mindbogglingly so. Of course, I know that this ego-inflating love will only last so long. Eventually, somebody is going to pick up Terra and decide it’s really not their cup of tea. They will dislike it–maybe even hate it–and that’s okay! No book is for everyone, and I even know people that (gasp!) don’t like Harry Potter or really didn’t like The Hunger Games, and they are totally entitled to that opinion. Regardless of how misguided it may be. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So ultimately, someone is going to dislike my book enough that they feel compelled to leave a negative review on Amazon or Goodreads or their blog or whatever. And maybe it’ll be really thoughtful and well-articulated and make some very valid points that I can use to improve my writing/the story in future books. Or, maybe it’ll be an all-caps trollfest of a comment that’s like, “THIS BOOK TOTALLY SUCKS FOR SOME UNSPECIFIED REASON! DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME! THIS AUTHOR IS THE WORST WRITER EVER, AND SHE’S UGLY, AND I WANT THOSE HOURS OF MY LIFE BACK!” And if it is, well, it is. I’ll have to learn how to deal with that.

See, I am a self-proclaimed wimp when it comes to criticism. I have skin like vellum, I’m super sensitive, I take EVERYTHING personally (seriously, just ask my family). Or, at least, that’s how I used to be. I really do think that writing this blog has helped toughen me up a little bit. Even though I’ve never really experienced the brunt of an internet movement’s backlash, or even had too many vocal haters on GOMI, there are definitely people out there who don’t like my blog, or don’t think I’m doing a good job with my weight loss/food choices/general attempts to grow up, or simply just don’t like me, period. And that’s valid too, because everyone has the right to their own opinion. Plus, there are definitely people out there that I don’t particularly adore, so how could I possibly expect myself to be immune from the same feelings? So, yes, despite my all-encompassing desire to have everyone ever in the whole wide world be in love with me, I really am finally starting to get to a place where I’m okay with knowing there are people out there who won’t.

So, while, yes, it is nice to bask in the glow of rave reviews from my wonderful readers thus far, in the back of my mind there’s always a little spark–like the pilot light of my self-protection gas fireplace–reminding me not to get too swept away. Because when I do get that first 1-star review, or stumble across that scathing blog post, and my family finds me cradling myself in the fetal position in the corner of my living room, I’m going to need to find the wherewithal to eventually pick myself back up again. Because even after I burst into tears and declare to the Twittersphere world that I’m never going to write again, that is not the truth. I will keep writing. Of course I will.

I always knew that even if this book only sold a dozen copies to people that are related to me by blood, I would keep going. Finish the story, finish the series, continue to try. Because nothing that was ever worth having ever came easy… or something like that. And because this is what I want to do. Like, really do, you know? And I know this post is starting to creep into the borders of Cheesyland, but I don’t care. ๐Ÿ™‚

ANYWAY. The bottom line is that I’m really trying very hard to keep a level head now, so that when I do have to face the inevitable bad review music, I don’t go tailspinning into the doldrums so hard that I can’t pull myself back out again. Of course, this is a lot easier said now than I’m sure it will be to actually handle later. As The Oatmeal so brilliantly put it:

How I feel after reading 1,000 insightful, positive comments about my work: The whole internet loves me.
How I feel after reading 1,000 insightful, positive comments about my work and ONE negative one: The whole internet hates me. ๐Ÿ™

Do you consider yourself to be someone with a thick skin? Or are you a super sensitive special snowflake like me? Ahahahaha. ๐Ÿ˜€

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Posted on Dec 13, 2012 in Giveaway | 0 comments

Winner, and Still Champion!

So in yesterday’s awesome, bubbleriffic excitement over my book release, I totally spaced on the fact that I was also supposed to pick the winners for the Blue Diamond Almonds special seasonal flavors giveaway! Sorry!

So, without further adieu, here are the winners!

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Congratulations Heather and Sarah!

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Email me at gretchen@honeyishrunkthegretchen.com with your mailing addresses, and I’ll ensure the goods get sent your way!

Have an awesome Vampire Diaries Day Thursday, everyone! And don’t forget to pick up your copy of Terra, hehe. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Posted on Dec 12, 2012 in Dear Diary | 67 comments

Holy Crap. I Wrote a Book.

I seriously searched for like half an hour, just trying to find ONE gif or ONE Youtube clip that showed Leslie Knope on Parks & Recreation in the episode “Win, Lose, or Draw” when she goes to vote for herself on the City Councilman ballot. You know, that moment she goes and fulfills her lifelong dream, no big deal.

Unfortunately, the internet failed me and I came up short. So if you’re seen the episode, you’ll just have to reimagine the heartwarming-to-the-point-of-tears moment in your mind. And if you’re not familiar with the show, well, this analogy is probably lost on you (a fate you deserve for not watching this amazing show, I might add). That said, I think you probably still get the gist. Today, honestly and without fail, feels like one of the most significant days of my life. Granted, I know I’ve only been walking this earth for 24.5 years, but still. That’s some meaningful ish.

Today is the official launch day of Terra.
The book that I wrote.

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I wrote a book.
A REAL book.
Like, with pages (real and digital) and words that form sentences and an “About the Author” section that pays homage to my obsession with my dogs.
This is so flippin’ weird. In the best POSSIBLE way, of course.

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Because I didn’t “just” write a book. I wrote it, and then I sought out the help and expertise I needed to craft it into something amazing. Something I honestly could not be more proud of. Something I truly believe others will enjoy, definitely like, and maybe even love. And then I went on to publish it, to make some sordid attempts to market it, and here we are. Right here, right now. And yes, that is a High School Musical 3 song reference. You’re welcome.

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If you creep on my writing blog, you might have seen that I actually soft-launched the book yesterday, to ensure that everything was up and functional in time for today. And even though I got a lot of awesome encouragement from the few people who picked up an early copy yesterday, I knew that things wouldn’t feel REAL until today. Until I wrote this post. Until I made all the announcements, did my happy/disbelief dance, and got to say offically–OFFICIALLY–that my book is published. And that I am an author.

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See, I’m not what you’d call a finisher. Oh, sure, I’m a great starter. I’ve got ideas and ambitions and things I want to try coming out the wazoo. I want to do and be EVERYTHING: painter, singer, public speaker, successful entrepreneur, photographer, blogger, writer, fashion model, makeup artist. The list goes on and on… and on. But all most of those things have ever amounted to is entirely too much money wasted on supplies/equipment I no longer use, and many, many, MANY unfinished projects. That’s just how I’ve always been. A kickstarter with no follow-through. I’ve got ALL THE HOBBIES, I’ve been in and out of jobs since I graduated from college–I even switched majors halfway through… To be honest, writing this blog is the only endeavor I’ve actually taken on that I’ve stuck with for any significant length of time. So I guess credit where credit’s due, because evidently along with all my self-awareness and self-reflection and general musings up in here, I’ve also learned a little bit about perseverance. Go figure.

This is my book’s launch day. THIS, finally, is a deadline that I have met. For maybe the first time in my entire life, I did something I said I was going to do. I said I would write & publish a book by December 2012, and I did. I actually did it. And that, right there, is an amazing thing. Regardless of whether tons of people end up buying my book, regardless of whether anyone even likes it, I did what I set out to do. And I literally have never been more proud of myself. Not when I lost those first pounds, not when I got under 200-pounds for the first time since high school, not when I ran a relay across Massachusetts. No, this.

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I feel like I’ve been sprinting towards this very day for the past 6 months (not to mention the whole 24 years prior to that), so to say that I’m having some difficulties in processing the fact that the book is ACTUALLY PUBLISHED… well, it’s putting it lightly. Well, perhaps difficulty isn’t the right word to use, but I kind of used up all of my words when I spent 83,512 on my novel (yep, that’s the final word count. Crazy, right?) so you’ll have to forgive me. Really, the only thing that’s difficult about what is pretty much single-handedly the most exciting time of my life, is that I keep bursting into tears at random intervals as I write this post, and it’s making it rather hard to keep my train of thought on track.

Don’t worry, they’re happy tears. The happiest, really. The I-can’t-believe-I-made-it kind. The kind that make you literally pinch yourself–because even though you know it’s just an old cliched saying, you think, just this once, maybe you really are dreaming and you just don’t know it.

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Thank you, to everyone who helped me make this a reality. In particular, thanks goes out to my editor and general muse, Aileen, without whom Terra would be a completely different kind of beast. (Seriously, you guys would have been retching from the amount of sappy, saccharine cheesiness in the book, haha. What can I say? I love me some cheese!) And to my brother and sister, for whom I think the dedication above speaks well enough. (Click on the picture for a larger image if you can’t read it, and prepare to “aww.”) But also, just thank YOU. You, my blog readers, who have been endlessly supportive with regard to so many different aspects of my life. This would not be happening if it weren’t for you.

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Terra, just click here to see a list of all the places it’s currently available, or follow one of these links:

Kindle
Nook
Kobo
Paperback

It’s $9.99 for the paperback, and at a special price of $4.99 right now for the eBook! Support for iBooks and Google Books will be following, hopefully soon! Oh, and the paperback version hasn’t been linked to Amazon yet, but word is that will be happening shortly as well. So again, thank you. For your support, for your encouragement, and just for coming along for the ride.

<3,
Gretchen

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Posted on Dec 10, 2012 in Dear Diary | 21 comments

5 Things I Cannot Fracking Wait For

Do forgive the Battlestar Galactica-style swearing in this post title, but there are a few upcoming things that I am pretty gosh-darned-tootin’ dang-nabbit excited for, and you are about to hear all about them. Happy Monday! Hahaha.

1. MY BOOK RELEASE!!

I know, I know, you are probably (definitely?) sick and tired of hearing about book-related stuff here. But rest assured, we can all see the light at the end of that tunnel! The release day of Terra is THIS WEDNESDAY (which happens to be 12/12/12. I actually did not plan this on purpose, but it really worked out nicely, hahaha) and I am SO EXCITED SOMETIMES I JUST SIT AND BOUNCE UP AND DOWN IN MY CHAIR. Or on my feet. Or laying prostrate in my bed. (Have you ever tried bouncing whilst laying down, by the way? Not as easy as one might think.)

Auuuuugh, I’m just so excited and terrified but mostly excited and pipe-dreamily hopeful and… eeep! If you’re one of the sporadic-check-in readers and aren’t too sure what all this book-talk is about, feel free to check out my writing blog, or the book’s Goodreads page. THREE DAYS!

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2. My super preggo sister!

My “big” sister Jenny (I use that term loosely since she is 7 inches shorter than I am) and her husband are coming home for the holidays on the 19th! They moved to Houston over the summer, just when they found out that Jenny was super-dee-duper preggo (for the first time, yayyyy!) and even though I’ve been lucky to see her sporadically since the move, I’m SO excited to get a nice long period of hang-outage with my sissy poo.

I do need to prepare myself though, because every time I see her, she is more and more pregnant (um, duh) and it’s always a little jarring. As in, I pretty much just hone in straight on her belly and start to cry. Luckily, this surprises no one.

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3. CHRISTMAS!!!

Poor, unaware readers who have found this job in the time between last Christmas and this one… I’m sorry. You are probably not yet aware of the extreme, dear, obsessive, passionate love I have for this time of year. I. LOVE. CHRISTMAS. And this year is, of course, no exception. Once Jenny & Dan get back into town, there will be much cookie decorating, gingerbread house making, eggnog drinking, and general merriment. Yayyyyyyy!

4. Les Mis

Speaking of Christmas, guess what movie comes out Christmas Day? Yep, Les Miserables! (Well, the musical movie, not to be confused with the non-musical movie that came out in 1998.) I am a die-hard Les Mis fan (I’ve seen the musical like five times, and would gladly see it a dozen times more) and am SO excited about the cast, the director, the everything. Ahhhhhh, it’s gonna be so gooooooood, ermahgerrrrrd.

5. Game of Thrones

I know this is kind of a jump, since the new season of Game of Thrones won’t be starting until March 2013 (whyyyyy?), but I really needed something to round out this list, since 5 Things always sounds better than 4 Things, hahaha. Anyway, if you’re not already a GoT fan, you need to load up on Seasons 1 & 2 ASAP, because it’s flippin’ amazing. Although, fair warning, there is not a small amount of boobage shown, hahahaha. Anyway, this is definitely one of the most highly anticipated shows on my listย (y’know, given the fact that Vampire Diaries is already on TV… though this week is the last episode before the winter break, nooooo!) and I just wanted to spread the word. Jon Snow forevs!

Aaaaand, there you have it. Just a little taste of what’s whetting my appetite lately.

What upcoming things are you most excited for right now?

PS: There’s still time to get your entries in for my Blue Diamond Almonds giveaway!

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