Celebrating 31 years
Celebrating 31 years

 

Today the Best Male Cook and I are celebrating our 31st wedding anniversary.

We were married on a hot September Labor Day weekend in Lexington, KY.

Warren is an incredible person and loving father. He owns an old New Braunfels grill of which he is a master (follow my Instagram stories @greenapron to see the holey-grill) and he brews “liquid bread” for all to enjoy.

The fact that we’re celebrating our anniversary doesn’t have a lot to do with cookbooks, specifically, but I do believe there are a few similarities between long-term, committed relationships, and writing and running a business. If you’ll humor me, I’ll expand a little bit.

When I married Warren I made a decision to be married and to stay married to him. I also made a pact with myself: to hold up my end of the bargain to take care of myself and provide for my own happiness. I’ve always known that Warren isn’t here to make me happy. That’s my job and completely within my power. His job is to be here for me to love. And he does that well as a steady, consistent presence in my life.

With my cookbooks, coaching clients, and business I decided to think the same way. I hold up my end of the bargain. In order to cook, be on my feet in a kitchen, write, and manage my business, I take care of myself physically and emotionally. I value health so that I can show up to cook, write, and coach every day. My books and my business aren’t here to make me happy. It’s my job to manage my thoughts and have fun all along the way so that ideas and inspiration and motivation flow and so that I have a happy life, and not wait for the perfect book, clients, or situation to make me happy. Then, the offshoot is that I can write and create and teach from that good-feeling place. In turn, my books help you and you, in turn, can share your value with the world you live in. That’s the awesome, rippling power of making clear decision to do something.

After I decided to be married, I committed to Warren and to the idea of being married. I’m not saying that it was always easy, but it’s certainly been possible. I looked to create the future I wanted. I found friends who are examples of committed relationships. We spent time with them and valued what they did to remain committed. This commitment shut the door on entertaining other options and wow, that freed up so much of my brain power to do other fun things.

In a similar fashion, with my cookbooks, coaching clients, and business, I am committed to them all as well. Once I sign a contract, I finish the book. When a client enrolls in coaching, I show up and stick with them as long as they are gaining benefit from the coaching relationship. I commit to …

6 Tips for Well-Being
6 Tips for Well-Being

Being a mom can sometimes feel lonely. How can that be when surrounded by hustle, bustle, kids, and activity.

I venture to guess that in the absence of other mental illnesses, what we are lonely for is a connection with ourselves. When we’re raising children, we often lose touch with the best version of who we really are.

I’m here to say it’s not selfish to connect with you. Here’s my recipe for well-being that I try my best to practice.

1. Rest and sleep. There’s no heroism in sleep-deprivation. I literally used to love nap time when my kids were really little because I could take a power nap too. That’s not as necessary now, because my nighttime sleep isn’t interrupted, but I can’t overestimate the power of rest and sleep for your self-care.

2. Eat well. Choose foods that fuel your mom-self and give you energy. For me this means I limit sugar, alcohol, and simple carbohydrates from chips, crackers, cakes, cookies, and ice cream. I drink a lot of fresh water, eat a lot of colorful vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. My energy levels are great and I feel good most of the time. I attribute that physical feeling of well-being to what I eat and to my sleep.

3. Choose thoughts that serve you. Your environment will prove true whatever you think, so deliberately focus on what you want to show up in your life. If you think you’re kids are cranky, or that you’re crazy busy guess what? Your kids act cranky and you feel crazy busy. (Below is my favorite YouTube video on this brainpower center called the Reticular Activating System.)

4. In quiet sit, every morning, for at least 10 to 15 minutes. No phone. No TV. Just you and quiet. Try to avoid the mental to-do list. Just sit and listen and be.

5. Play with people who are fun and have fun with your kids. They aren’t always going to want you around, so if you have a craving to play, now’s the time. Picnics, nature walks, banging on pots and pans. Embrace this chance to do what other adults don’t always take the time to do – play and have fun. I used to tell myself having kids felt was like I was on vacation. And we had a lot of fun for sure.

6. Enjoy inputs that uplift – music, books, TV, movies. Uplifting generates good thoughts which drive positive emotions and actions. This is why the Hallmark Channel is so popular.

When we show up for ourselves and be the best we can be, we’re easier to be around. We don’t mind solitude, and we don’t look for people and activities outside of us to make us feel better. And, if you do feel lonely, and if you feel darkness overcomes you more often than not, please reach out to someone. You’re not alone.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook

Anthony Bourdain
Anthony Bourdain

It comes as no surprise  – the death of Anthony Bourdain has touched so many. Bourdain’s post-chef career as a food writer, author, and travel show host was launched by his writing, Don’t Eat Before Reading This, published in The New Yorker in April 1999.

Shortly after this no-name chef told his story about what happens behind closed doors in restaurants, he was offered a contract for his first book Kitchen Confidential. The rest, as they say, was history.

What captivated me was his willingness to go where most wouldn’t dare. His honest, descriptive, and shocking appraisals of life in a restaurant kitchen weren’t liked by all, but, by and large, his I-don’t-give-a-flying-you-know-what attitude and the sheer act of being himself created fans who loved and admired him for writing like he talked and being who he was.

Bourdain, interviewed on the occasion of his 60th birthday for First We Feast quipped, “I joke about not giving a f*** being a very good business model for me,” he said, “but it’s true. The absolute certainty that nobody was going to buy or read or care about Kitchen Confidential was what allowed me to write it. I didn’t have to think about what people expected. I didn’t care. And as a result, I was able to write this book quickly and without tormenting myself. And that seemed to work out and I learned from that experience and I tried very hard. Whether I’m meeting with a group of television executives or telling a story, I don’t think about ‘the fans’; I don’t think about what audiences expect, and I’m not afraid of what will they think of me, or what if they don’t like it and I’m not on television anymore.” And then the kicker, the thing that got the audience pumping, “You know, I’ll go back to brunch….. I don’t care.”

Here’s what I think is the saddest part of the whole turn of events this past week with Bourdain, and even in the same light, Kate Spade.  His fan’s love and admiration for him, and his bad-boy ways, wasn’t enough to overcome the darkness and despair, and maintain the energy required to continue to live life as he knew it.  So, he made the decision to leave it all, including a sweet 11-year old daughter.

My hope and belief is that he is now at peace connected to Love in a way that none of us have ever experienced. I for one would love to know what he really thinks about this “place”. For if there’s one mortal person I know I could count on for the full report it’s Anthony Bourdain.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel

Going LIVE!
Going LIVE!

If there is one change I made to my business (and personal life) during the past year that made a huge difference for me and my clients (and family) it would be “going live”.

When you’re LIVE people can see you on camera. There is more connection, engagement, communication.

So, in the past 12 months, I’ve had

  • LIVE Mastermind Groups
  • LIVE 1:1 Coaching Calls
  • LIVE WeChat calls with my son in Austria
  • LIVE group video calls with my siblings
  • LIVE Cookbook Writing Q & A calls for members of my email list

LIVE is risky. Not only can people hear us, but they can see us. We put ourselves and our faces out there.

LIVE is so good. Plus it’s fun and connects me with clients and family like never before.

As a result of LIVE broadcasts, masterminds, and coaching I tripled my coaching and mastermind client load over the past 12 months.

And, LIVE gets easier and easier the more I do.

Next, I plan to offer LIVE webinars, Q & A Calls, and Facebook or YouTube LIVE to promote my work to a larger audience.

How much LIVE work are you doing in your business?

If you said not much, I challenge you to take the time to LIVE.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

Checklist
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”

Cookbook Writing Workbook

What Is A Cookbook Coach? 

10 Reasons to Hire A Cookbook Coach

5 Tips for Energy Management
5 Tips for Energy Management

The older I get the more I realize how important my energy level is.

I’m not talking about 5-Hour Energy drinks or extreme coffee consumption, I’m talking about natural feel-good energy.

Because when I have energy, I’m more positive, appreciative, and focused. A better version of me. My business benefits. My family benefits. My clients benefit. And most importantly, when I feel good I offer value all around.

Here are a few of my “secrets”  to energy management:

1. Adequate sleep. With teens out driving around, I set a curfew for them, and adjust my sleep. No excuses or stories. This was key even when they were little and waking me up at night.

2. Intentional hydration with water

3. Limited sugar, white flour, alcohol, and caffeine. (And Peeps, chocolate bunnies, and Opera Cream eggs.🐣)

4. Lot’s of fresh veggies, whole-grains, and high-quality protein from fish, legumes, lean beef, chicken, and tofu.

5. Some sort of body movement every day: walk the dog, head to the gym, take the steps, dance in the kitchen (the kids love this), vacuum the house.

Some think this doesn’t sound like “fun”. But I’ll tell you what’s fun.

Feeling energetic and patient.

Feeling physically good in my body – no aches or pains.

Having the energy to wake up earlier than the rest of the house to think and focus.

Getting in the zone while my kids are in school and then focus on the family after 3:00 pm.

That’s my prescription for energy.

And here’s the best part – it works for kids too! And you should see what happens then.


Cookbook author, editor, and Culinary Dietitian Maggie Green, RDN, LD coaches first-time cookbook authors during the pre-publication phase of writing a cookbook. 

Would you like to write a cookbook, but feel alone in the pre-publication phase of writing?

Are you stuck thinking about your cookbook idea or has you project fizzled?

Do you feel overwhelmed with publishing options and the recipes, photography, and publishing process?

I’ve been there. I know first-hand that there’s not a lot of support for first-time cookbook authors who don’t have an agent or a publisher yet.  That’s why I started my work as a cookbook writing coach.

Here are a few resources for you as you venture into the world of cookbook writing: 

Checklist
An 11-point checklist that helps you answer the question, “Am I Ready to Write a Cookbook?”

Cookbook Writing Workbook

What Is A Cookbook Coach? 

10 Reasons to Hire A Cookbook Coach

How To Trust Yourself
How To Trust Yourself

 

My daughter moved home from college over the weekend. She lived in her freshman dorm for eight months and had a great first year. I feel excited about our summer together and it’s good to have her home.

Today I’ve been thinking a lot about trust. Maybe as a first-time writer, parent, or business owner, you can relate to this.

Several years ago I really wanted to write a cookbook. I would schedule time on my calendar to write the table of contents for a book proposal,  record a recipe, or even test a recipe. These “scheduled times”  show up on my calendar and my brain would say, “Don’t worry about doing this. It won’t matter anyway. Plus it’s a lot of work, and it’s not going to make any difference if you do it just this once. No one will ever know.”

The sad thing is I listened to my brain.

I didn’t create.

I didn’t write.

I did this over and over. There was a time when the work I needed to do for my first cookbook wouldn’t get done, again.

I felt sluggish. I indulged in self-loathing. I didn’t do what I said I was going to do.

Instead of owning up to the truth of what was going on, I excused myself from myself with you’re really busy, feeling tired, or are confused about what to do.

And the more I told myself that I was busy, tired, or confused, the more my world showed me evidence that I was tired, busy, or confused. They cycle continued. I less I showed up for myself, and the less I showed up the fewer tasks related to dreams were accomplished.

Maybe this sounds familiar?

I’d do anything for my kids, and for my clients. I show up for them, on time. I buy them healthy food, cook for them, feed them. I deliver projects to my clients on time, and when I drove my kids around, I delivered them to their activities on time. I don’t expect my kids or clients to be perfect. I help them with kindness and compassion. I commit to them, and for sure I do what I say I’m going to do. A natural result of this is that my kids and my clients trust me.

How come I couldn’t trust me? Why when I scheduled time for myself, I didn’t show up?

After some introspection, I was onto myself.

I could see the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be.

I was in reality over here: making plans to write and create content, but instead, my brain was over there: telling me to do everything for everyone, and telling me I was too tired, confused, or busy for myself.

In order to make permanent changes, the first thing I had to do was decide to become a person who could trust myself. I knew I had it in me, and my decision to grow started everything.…

5 Secrets to Consistent Content Creation
5 Secrets to Consistent Content Creation

One of my superpowers is creating consistent content for my business.

*Regular blog posts since 2010

*Four cookbooks since 2011

*Weekly newsletters since 2012

Do you struggle with regular content creation? Do you start strong with a good idea for a book, blog, or newsletter, but then fizzle out and lack consistency in the producing of the blog posts, newsletters, or cookbooks?

Consistency is king. Customers like consistency. It’s trustworthy. Publishers like consistency. It’s dependable. Your readers like consistency. They want to hear from you. They like what you write about.

In order to help you move from struggling and overwhelmed, I want to share my five secrets to consistent content creation.

1. Decide if you want to create consistent content. You can do this if you want to. If your answer is yes, then let’s do it! If your answer is no, that’s ok. Quit beating yourself up and move on to another way to spend your time.

2. Pick one day and a specific time: I write newsletter and blog post content once a week on Mondays. I spend no more than two hours to do this. I get it done and don’t have to worry about the newsletter or blog post until the next Monday. On Mondays, my sweet spot is between the hours of  8 – 10 am. I set myself up for success. I don’t schedule phone calls during this time. I don’t run errands during this time. I don’t go get coffee with a friend during this time. This time is for my content. Each and every Monday morning. For you, it might be midnight – 2 am. The time doesn’t matter. Just pick a time where you are awake, alert, focused. And I hear what you’re thinking: but I’ve got little kids, I have a job, I have so much to do, I’m so busy. If that’s the case, go back to #1 and decide.

3. Get yourself in a good feeling place before you write. I like to show up on Mondays (and every day, quite frankly) refreshed and ready. For me, this means I have completed my morning routine and I’m cleaned up for the day. I can’t produce when I’m sitting around feeling and smelling like I just crawled out of bed. I work better when I’m clean, dressed, smell good, and my household tasks that I do on Monday mornings are underway.

4. Show up at your computer or laptop. Sit down (or stand up if you want to), and write (or create). By the time I actually sit down, I have a topic in mind to write about. These topics pop into my head in a variety of ways, but most often they occur to me during my morning routine. (This routine is a no-brainer and consists of some quiet coffee time, breakfast with my son, clean up the kitchen, shower, and morning notebook time.) You’d be amazed how many ideas pop into my head when I’m focused …

If you want to write a cookbook: You have to write
If you want to write a cookbook: You have to write

This may be a rant of sorts, but I have something on my mind.

We all have dreams.

Dreams to own our own home. Raise a family. Live a life of travel and excitement.  Some dreams may be more specific such as open a restaurant, buy season tickets to the New Orleans Pelicans, or live on a wooden houseboat in Sausalito, CA. You get the picture. Your dreams are your dreams. Don’t let anyone ever tell you otherwise.

But, if you have a dream of writing a cookbook, or a blog, or a newsletter for your audience, you have to get practical at some point.

Practical, not in the sense, that “you-can’t-write-a-cookbook-because-you’re-not-a-celebrity” practical (I don’t buy into that one. You’re looking at a four-time cookbook author who is not a TV star), or, “no-one-is-reading-your-blog-anyway” practical,  but practical in the sense that “you-have-to-write” practical.  “The-words-have-to-get-on-the-page” practical.  or “Talk-your-book-and-have-it-transcribed” practical.

Here’s what I mean.

This blog post didn’t write itself. My cookbooks didn’t write themselves. And, my weekly newsletter isn’t produced by a content creator other than me.

I’m sitting here at my computer, in my office, writing these words.

My fingers are typing on a black keyboard. There’s a load of laundry in the dryer, the dog is barking at people lined up at my neighbor’s house for an estate sale, and my college-aged daughter just texted me about moving out of her dorm. This is called LIFE – all the things and people and stuff we do in between the time when we write our cookbooks and our blog posts and newsletters.

Truth be told, I created the space and energy to be sitting here. I’m not too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed, or too exhausted, to sit here with my fingers on my keyboard and write. For this is what writers do. We write whether we “feel” like it or not. We show up for ourselves. We create content. We write books. We get them published. We send newsletters. And, deep down we know that if we don’t write, none of the books, blogs, or newsletters happen.

Here’s the upshot: dream all you want. I love dreams. I love living dreams. I adore watching my clients speak their dreams and make them come true. But, like I tell them: if you dream of a cookbook, or a regularly updated blog, or a newsletter for your audience –  you have to sit down and write.

No matter how busy you think you are, no matter how much time you don’t think you have, no matter how overwhelmed you feel, no matter the design of your blog, or your logo, or your Instagram feed. If you want to produce a piece written content, you have to put your fingers on your proverbial black keyboard, or your pen to the notebook, and WRITE.

Writing takes time.

Writing takes up space in your day, or your evening, or your morning, or your night.

Writing means we’re not doing other …

You're On The Team!

My youngest son’s basketball team qualified for the Kentucky High School Sweet Sixteen (state basketball tournament.)

Out of over 200 teams, 16 are left.

He gets to ride the bus with the team. Stay in a hotel with the team. Eat with the team. Warm up with the team. Play with the team.. He’s so excited for this opportunity. It’s really the icing on the cake.

Back in January, he hit a wall. Practices were becoming a grind. He asked me if it was all worth it.

I said yes, but you’re either in or you’re out. And if you’ve chosen to play the sport, and they’ve chosen you to be on the team, you owe it to them to be all in.

Do you ever feel like that as a mom, first-time cookbook author, business owner? Hit the wall? Ask if it’s all worth it?

Here’s my advice:

  • Go all in.
  • Do it all because you’ve chosen to be a mom and to own your own business.
  • Drop the hard, struggle, overwhelm.
  • Frame your life differently.
  • Enjoy the freedom and flexibility running your own business brings.
  • Plan ahead and spend Thursday morning at a pep-rally or help with a spelling test at school.
  • Lead with your life.
  • Practice. Hit the wall. Bounce back. Enjoy your reward.
  • You’re on the team and the team needs you.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

Worry Has No Upside
Worry Has No Upside

My oldest son left last Friday to study abroad in Austria for 5 months.

He was so sweet telling me goodbye at the airport and as his mom, I feel a whole range of emotions, from pride to worry.

I hugged him and told him if there’s anything at all he needed or that I could do for him just give me the word. As a mom, you all know this. We’d do anything for our kids.

I’ve never had a child so far away from home. I must admit – it feels really strange. Suddenly,  it feels like part of my body is walking around on the continent of Europe. He’s been in college for over 2 years, so it’s not the separation that is new. It’s the distance that makes this experience feel unique.

Despite the distance, I have decided not to worry about the million things I could worry about.

There is no upside to worry. I’d rather sleep, eat well, run my business, have fun, and trust that all is well than worry.

Worry takes up space in my brain. I could use this space for inspiration, ideas, and creativity instead.

Worry is a feeling that comes from my thoughts.

I can control my thoughts and make deliberate choices about what I’ll think about.

Here are the thoughts I choose to think about his being away for 5 months:

  • All is well
  • He is ready for this
  • This is an amazing opportunity for him to study the German language and learn
  • I appreciate all the ways his university has set up this program for their students to take advantage of
  • He has succeeded in applying and getting to Austria
  • He has always wanted to do this and now’s his time
  • He paid attention to other students, learned from them, and here he fulfilling a dream
  • He coordinated the efforts that studying abroad requires from applications to student visas and immunizations to airline reservations
  • I can handle this
  • He can handle this
  • I focus on what I can control while he is there
  • I am learning as a mom grow to from situations such as this

Those thoughts make me feel good, peaceful, and calm.

And, that’s a much better place than worry.

And it’s all possible with a change in the way I think.

If you tend to worry, ask yourself what are thoughts that make you worry.

Make a list of alternative (believable) thoughts instead and then practice them.

It’s time to kiss worry goodbye.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”

Time To Get Off The Struggle Bus
Time To Get Off The Struggle Bus

Recently I overheard a conversation about the “struggle bus”. There were people on this struggle bus. The story involved drama and situations described as hard and unfair.

Since that conversation, I’ve heard a lot of people using the word struggle to describe their clients, jobs, writing, relationships, toddlers, and teens.

Struggle is a verb. A struggle is defined as to “make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction.”

Battle. Conflict. Clash. All the same as a struggle.

Struggle is a thought we choose to think about a circumstance.

When we take a circumstance, such as a toddler who won’t nap, a recipe that won’t come together, or a blog post that won’t flow and attach struggle to it, we feel bad. As a result, we have a negative reaction to our feeling and we may yell, feel ashamed, or sit at our computer and resist the blog post we need to write. The results we get are a crying, non-sleeping toddler, feeling bad about ourselves, or a blog post that’s not written.

When we take the same circumstance (or someone else maybe has the same circumstance) and attach ease or flow to it instead of struggle, we feel a better emotion and we can have a positive reaction to it. We realize nothing has gone wrong and that this circumstance is temporary. We lay on the couch with our wide-awake toddler and watch Caillou reruns, make notes on the recipe and plan to try it again, or we get up from our computer and focus on something else for a while until the ideas for the blog post flows a little bit better. As a result, our outcomes are more positive.

A struggle isn’t real. It’s our mind playing tricks on us telling us something about situations we all face. So we get to choose. Would we rather have battles, conflicts, and clashes, or flow, ease, and peace?

It’s a new year. And a new day. It’s time for the struggle bus to leave the station.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”. 

First Snow Day of 2018!
First Snow Day of 2018!

Welcome to 2018 and my first blog post of the new year. And guess what, today we have a Snow Day!

I’ve always loved snow days. And, I love them for the same reason I love being a mom who runs her business from home. Snow Days are fun. Snow Days are different. And, when they’re unexpected they’re even better. Who doesn’t love a little bit of unexpected fun now and then?

You see, I thought my Monday would be different. I thought it would be my first full Monday after Christmas break that I’d have available to “work.” I was planning to get “so much done.” Today was going to be “all about me and my to-do list.” Because, on Mondays, I focus on Marketing. I was going to write my weekly emails, write a blog post, meet virtually with my VA, and set up email sequences for my upcoming webinar. This was going to be my day.

Then, Wham-O. An ice storm, followed by snow. School was first delayed 90 minutes, then they canceled. So, I did what every mom of school-aged kids does when there’s a snow day, and everyone is still asleep. I made another cup of coffee, watched Oprah’s video from the Golden Globes, listened to a podcast, put a load of laundry in the dryer, washed my face, put on my favorite jeans, cozy sweater and boots, lit a candle in my office, and basked in not having to leave the house just yet. I am also secretly hoping that when my son wakes up, we can make chocolate-chip pancakes and enjoy some breakfast together.

Yes, we have a snow day on our hands, and yes, my idea of how my day was planned suddenly changed. But you know what? My thoughts about the circumstance that I couldn’t change changed too. As you see, changing my thoughts in response to a circumstance I can’t change is my secret to a life as a mom who runs her business, and writes her cookbooks, from home. A life filled with snow days, sick kids, day-care closed, and anything else life throws at a mom who runs her business from home. In short, it’s called “going with the flow”.

Rather than resisting and raising my blood pressure, raging on social media, or texting my sister or friend to complain, I did one simple thing. I changed my thoughts. Rather than think thoughts that my list of to-dos wouldn’t get done in the way I envisioned, I shifted to, well if we’re all at home I might as well make the best of it. Suddenly I felt cozy, appreciative and ready for some fun with a boy who could eat three-times as many pancakes as I could.

My change in thought and my feelings then changed my actions. And as a result, my day is already going great. And this will spill over to my son because whether you want to believe this or not, a mom set …

The Power of Showing Up
The Power of Showing Up

One thing I’m going to try this year is to use the phrase show up to define my actions. With projects that need my focused attention, as well as activities in other parts of my life and business that are important, I think there will be great benefit from the daily reminder to show up in everything I plan to do. For example, If I promise I’ll call someone, schedule lunch or coffee, send an email, finish a project, attend a function or party, or sign a contract, it’s important for the sake of personal integrity and business relationships that I do what I say I’m going to do.

Accountability and dependability have always been important to me, and I work hard to be accountable and dependable with others. At the core of who I am, I don’t like to others down. The sad reality, though, is that I often let myself down. I think about doing something for myself, or dream of a personal goal, and I might not follow through, or if I do, it’s not with the best of what I can give. So I wonder if I can’t count on myself, who can I count on?

I see this challenge too when I work with individuals who want to write a cookbook. When they get into the work of writing recipes or a proposal, they don’t show up for themselves. They end up working on other projects and meet other deadlines for everyone else, but they fail to commit to their own project and dream. Even after discussions about time management, planning, and using a calendar to schedule time to take action, they use the scheduled time to work on their project. In short, they didn’t show up.

This idea of showing up for ourselves can have more than one meaning, and both were discussed at length in a podcast I recently listened to. In the The Life CoachSchool podcast with Brooke Castillo, Brooke stresses the importance of showing up for ourselves in two main areas: how we present ourselves, especially when we work alone part of the day, as well as how we plan and schedule our goals and show up to get the work done to accomplish our goals. Below is the link to these two podcasts.

I plan to get 2017 off to a good start and set my goals for the year. I then plan to schedule what I need to do and show up to do the work.  In doing this, I hope to accomplish all that I set out to do in 2017 not only for my clients but also for myself. 

Podcast #84 Showing Up discusses the importance of caring for ourselves and presenting our best self every day. Don’t listen to this if you’re in the “work in your pajamas”camp.

Podcast #126 The Power of Planning discusses the importance of planning and the elimination of indecision in our actions to show up and do everything we plan and …

175 Simple Wintertime Pleasures
175 Simple Wintertime Pleasures

Originally published in 2011, I ran across this list in my files and it made me smile. Four years have passed since it was written, but it’s funny how there’s very little on this list that I would change. My kids are older, I’m older, and time is marching on, but the things that make me happy are pretty much the same. The Best Male Cook asked me this morning what I wanted for Christmas. I think I’ll show him this list. It pretty much sums up the way I feel about all the good things life has to offer.

  • A blank page
  • A clean bill of health
  • A dad and son headed to the mall
  • A drive through Kentucky back roads
  • A dusting of snow that won’t melt
  • A few priorities for the week
  • A fresh notebook
  • A freshly bathed dog
  • A freshly vacuumed rug
  • A good tear jerker
  • A hard day’s work
  • A hilarious movie
  • A hot shower
  • A job well done
  • A juicy homemade burger
  • A love note
  • A Midnight train to Georgia
  • A new pen
  • A new recipe
  • A new white shirt
  • A nice, wide, smile
  • A note from a friend
  • A photograph that catches a sideways glance
  • A pizza party
  • A pleasant-scented candle
  • A quiet house on Christmas eve
  • A roaring fire in the fireplace
  • A sleeping child
  • A warm pair of socks
  • A young boy with a new watch
  • Accomplishing a task long overdue
  • Aged gouda cheese
  • An a ha moment
  • An Aeropress coffee maker
  • An awake child
  • An emergency fund
  • An emphatic yes or no from a child
  • An evening wine and cheese party
  • An organized book bag
  • An unexpected hug
  • Another writer’s perspective
  • Automatic coffee pots
  • Baking Spritz cookies
  • Baking while snow falls
  • Bing and David singing “Little Drummer Boy”
  • Bourbon-barrel ale
  • Ceramic Santas my Aunt Eileen painted
  • Chap-Stick
  • Checking something off my list
  • Chili Con Carne
  • Christmas Spirit candles
  • Clementine tangerines
  • Constant Comment tea
  • Dave Bruebeck
  • Dinner with my sisters and my mother
  • Doing a little bit at a time
  • Dreams
  • Driving the back roads
  • Dusted tabletops
  • Eighty’s music
  • Energy
  • Fingerprint-less kitchen cabinets
  • Freedom to live with intention
  • Fresh Christmas tree
  • Fresh laundry
  • Fresh smelling shower gel
  • Fresh, whole ingredients
  • Frost on the rooftops
  • Getting up early
  • Good health
  • Gratitude and humility
  • Hair falling softly around my daughters face
  • Hand lotion
  • Happy school-age, high-school-age, and college-age kids
  • Having a plan
  • Having the pots and pans cleaned up before dinner is ready
  • Hearing a first grader read
  • Honey bell oranges
  • Hot chai tea with milk and a dash of sugar
  • Hot green tea to warm my hands
  • Hot tea and shortbread
  • Hot, hot water to wash dishes
  • Ice on the trees
  • King Rat nutcracker
  • Knowing I can accomplish a task
  • Krohn Conservatory Winter flower show
  • Lazy mornings at home
  • Leaving a secret note for someone
  • Lentil soup in the slow cooker
  • Less is more
  • Limestone walls in Central Kentucky
  • Lip balm
  • Listening to a good radio interview
  • Listening to children in the
Dealing with Overwhelm
Dealing with Overwhelm

I think we all feel overwhelmed at times. I know I do, and I have been know to let it show when dealing with my kids and my spouse.  I know my private cookbook coaching clients feel overwhelmed too. They tell me about it and their overwhelm sometimes makes them want to stop the dream of writing their own cookbook. That’s the scary part of overwhelm. We don’t function at our best when we feel that way and if we’re not careful we let it the feeling drown us in inaction or worse we let it make us want to quit.

Overwhelm is a feeling, a strong one at times, but a feeling nonetheless. The good news is that feelings are fleeting and they aren’t right or wrong. They just are. I try to remember that I can change the way I feel through concrete actions in another direction. stress

When I feel overwhelmed I ask myself where the pressure is coming from. It’s usually one of these areas:

  • Looming deadlines for projects
  • Saying yes to too much
  • Goals I have set for myself that aren’t realistic
  • Habits that interfere with my work and life
  • My expectations of myself (like I can do it all – today!)
  • Expectations of others (spouse, kids, family, co-workers, volunteer commitments)
  • Lack of self-care, sleep, exercise, quiet-time

Once I’ve identified my source of pressure I take concrete actions to make an adjustment if needed. Sometimes I need to improve my productivity focus and time management. Sometimes I need to work in more focused blocks of time on very small, but prioritized tasks. Maybe this is a wake-up call to take better care of myself with sleep, exercise, prayer, and a tightened up morning routine. Maybe I need to focus on what’s important right now and set realistic expectations of what I’m able to accomplish with the time I have.

Overwhelm is not just limited to you and me. Dawn Falcone, The Chaos Liberator, writes about overwhelm, and so does Elise Moreau with 5 Simple Things You Can Do to Avoid Feeling Overwhelmed.

When you feel overwhelmed remember that you’re not alone and also remember you can do something about it.

Cookbook author and culinary dietitian Maggie Green coaches aspiring cookbook authors in the process of writing cookbooks, cookbook proposals, and building their author platform. Download her checklist “Am I Ready to Write A Cookbook?”. 

The Possibilities That Different Holds
The Possibilities That Different Holds

Yesterday afternoon my oldest son came home right after school for the last time. Sports are over and today he goes to work. Next week Senior exams and the following week he graduates from high school. It’s been an exhilarating 12-year run of elementary school, middle school, high school. He’s excited about his college plans and so am I.

Yesterday was my last, “Hello, are you hungry?” with his backpack slung over his shoulder and his car keys twirling on a UC lanyard at the end of his finger. Yesterday was our last chat about his school day while he lives under this roof.  Yesterday was the last time he “fills me in” on something on his mind from a long day at school. I knew this day was coming.

In preparation I made one of his favorite snacks: guacamole. I also bought Oreos and brewed iced tea and made simple syrup for his sweet tea. He gave me a hug, ate some chips and guacamole, and then left to meet his friends to watch a soccer game at a local Irish pub. I smiled when he left. He’s happy and optimistic. I am too, but honestly the happiness comes in waves, between watery peeks through my eyeglasses.

He’s been with me through numerous cookbook projects. He tasted and commented on just about everything I’ve ever cooked and baked for our family over the past 18 years, as well as on every recipe I’ve developed, tested, or prepared for cookbook projects. By choice, my work blurs the lines between  him as family and as recipe taste tester. Between my office and our kitchen. Between being his mom and meeting work deadlines. Between writing my own books and articles and reading and commenting on his written work.

I knew in 2003 when he marched off into his 1st grade classroom with his lunchbox in hand, packed with an olive-nut cream cheese sandwich and apple slices,  that this day would come. I also knew deep down in my gut that he and his sister and brother were the reason  why I had to blend my family and my work – my test kitchen with their home kitchen.

As a result he’s grown up exposed to some tasty food experiences, wonderful cookbook authors, and fun book tour events for various cookbook projects including my own. Little did he know as he grew taller, stronger, and wiser that I would grow up too. Older yes, but most importantly appreciative of the times when his world revolved around our family and home with my test kitchen in the middle.

This fall, the after-school hours will be different. I won’t have to cut three avocados when I make guacamole. Only two. We won’t buzz through a pack of Oreos so quickly, and the simple syrup will last a bit longer. I’m not sad as much as I am stunned. It’s truly been something to watch a curious, talkative, boy turn into a smart, articulate, well-dressed young …

Five Arbitrary Thoughts – Volume II #2
Five Arbitrary Thoughts – Volume II #2

 

1. I’m struggling with my five thoughts for today. Have you ever felt that way when you sit down to write? The muse just isn’t there. More often than you may realize, this is how writing feels to both me and my cookbook coaching clients. But, I always come back with “regardless of a lack of inspiration, the act of sitting down at a regular time to write is the most important thing.” Set your timer if you have too, but always show up and write.  Words will come. They may not be publishable, and they may not be exciting, but at least you’re writing. And, a first draft is better than no draft at all.

2. The weather has turned cooler in my town and it’s been one of those weeks where later in the day it’s warmer outdoors than it is in my house. Sipping green tea while I work is a sure sign that the weather is cool, as is my packing in the sandals, putting on socks, and wearing a jacket when I walk in the morning.

3. Every year I send out a calendar card for my business. It’s a flat card the next calendar year at a glance on the front side of the card. If you’re looking for nice calendar cards to send to your customers or clients, check out Tiny Prints. You can order the cards online and they’ll be shipped in about one week. My cards for 2014 have arrived and are ready for me to address and mail in December. I like to send a hand-written note to my clients at least once a year to thank them for their business over the past year and to wish them great things for the next year.

4. I am fortunate to work with a client who is creating a digital product. This project has been a huge undertaking from code-creation to design. I’ve learned a great deal from this project and can’t wait to share the news.

5. The 30-day blog challenge is 30% finished. I’ve done 10/30 days. On Wednesday I didn’t post until later than my usual time, but I did post. Same for today. I find that the easiest way for me to write blog posts day-after-day is to generate mock-ups and ideas for blog posts in a Word doc. Then I fill in my ideas as the days roll around. I like to write the entire blog post in Word, spell-check, erase any formatting, and then paste post into my blog dashboard. By maintaining an ongoing Word doc I have all my blog ideas and posts in one document and I can look back to previous posts and ahead to ideas I’ve jotted down.

Have a great weekend everyone. Get out and do something fun. Be sure to eat some apples too. They’re delicious this year!…

Five Arbitrary Thoughts - Volume 2 No. 1
Five Arbitrary Thoughts - Volume 2 No. 1

 

1. During the month of October I am participating in a 30-day blog challenge. The challenge is to post 30 times in 30 days. It’s too early to predict how this will go and a few times I’ve second-guessed myself for agreeing to participate. The reason I joined is because I knew this challenge would force me to focus on a daily commitment to write. As a food and nutrition writer, cookbook author, and cookbook coach I spend more time focusing on my paid, deadline-driven work than on tasks that are important for my business and personal growth, but have no deadline. So if nothing else, this blog challenge will make me pay attention, every day, to something important, but not urgent.

2. When I work with aspiring cookbook authors, the one thing they almost all struggle with is developing a writing routine for a project that’s not immediately tied to an income stream. They struggle with making a commitment to write every day because life gets in the way. I’m always on the lookout for what writers do to develop a routine for writing. Some writers write best in the morning and some prefer to write in the evening. But, no matter the time of day the most productive writers all have a writing routine where they show up everyday and write. Nothing will happen if we don’t put our pen to the paper. It’s like expecting fresh home-prepared supper to appear if someone doesn’t put a knife to the cutting board – it won’t happen. Time to call for pizza, again.  Here’s a link to an article about developing a routine.

3. Speaking of routines, there are a few things I am faithful to on a weekly basis and have committed to a routine. This isn’t all that I do each day, but I commit to these tasks on specific days. After the task is done I free up  mental energy worrying about these tasks because I know I have a weekly commitment to them:

Monday – write marketing copy, hand write cards/notes
Tuesday – book keeping, client phone calls
Wednesday – client phone calls, recipe testing/editing
Thursday – shop for groceries, fill my car with gas, client phone calls
Friday -errands, prospective client follow-up

I challenge you to make a list of the tasks you need to do every week and assign one day to take care of that task.

4. Speaking of routines: if you like Twitter search the hashtag #beforebreakfast. Laura Vanderkam author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home tweets using this hashtag as do many others who are making the most of the time before breakfast. It’s interesting to see what others focus on in the morning.

5. I hope everyone has a great weekend. If you’re interested in writing a cookbook of your own, don’t forget to sign up for my weekly ezine Fork, Pen, and

Favorite Week of The Year
Favorite Week of The Year

This is bar-none my favorite week of the year. To top this year off, The Best Male Cook is off “work” all week. He’s out running errands right now and since TeenApron just crawled out of his cave we’ll all go out this afternoon for some fresh air and I’m sure a bite to eat. Tonight it’s “Pub Game” night here at the GreenApron home. I have no idea what this really means except I see Shut The Box in my future along with some Shepard’s Pie.

I send all best wishes for a peaceful week where ever you are. Your reading this blog means the world to me and I hope you’re safe, sound, happy, well-fed, and feeling grateful for the year we’ve lived and the year to come~…