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Friday, October 31, 2014

Eeeek! The New Novel is HERE!

Starlight Symphonies of Oak and Glass is OUT! Today, snag it on Kindle AND  in paperback from Amazon.

A little something for all your tastes. Adventure. Action. Murder. Betrayal. Secrets. History. Love. Friendship. Redemption. Each character takes turns telling the story, sharing their deepest doubts and fondest hopes. All the while, wondering if the ship they are sailing on can possibly make it back to harbor safely. 

Thank you for your love + support + reading my books!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cauliflower Hot Wings

The question we get asked most about our diet is, "Don't you miss eating meat?"

The answer is a resounding, NO.
Not only because it's difficult for us not think of it now as a rotting animal corpse decomposing in our stomach, but also because of the many moral + health + ecological problems associated with ingesting meat. 

All of that aside though, one of the perks of our diet is the creativity one can find when meat is no longer the center of attention in the meal. 
For Terrence, this has been an interesting and tasty adjustment.
 For myself, it really hasn't been that big of a deal. My family has always indulged in vegetables, always filling plates with salads and baked sweet potatoes, seasoned fresh tomatoes and sautéed mushrooms. So, for me, it's just permission to eat my favorite things en masse. 

Recently, we got the idea to toss our roasted cauliflower with hot wing sauce, and we both agreed that the result was way better than the original. No bones to pick, no messy fingers from trying to get the minuscule amounts of meat off the bone. Instead, more flavor, more vitamins and minerals, AND...we get to eat like two cauliflower heads with no worry about calories. Winner, winner, hot-wing dinner. 

2 heads of washed cauliflower, torn into little drummette size pieces. (Little white trees)
1 or 2 tbsps of olive oil (optional)
salt + pepper to season
hot wing sauce of choice. We like Wing Time Sauce in Medium

-Pre-heat oven to 375F
-Spread cauliflower pieces on a foil lined baking sheet. Dust with salt and pepper and mix olive oil. The olive oil is entirely optional. We often roast veggies without it. 
-When the cauliflower has just begun to get little blackened pieces on the ends, and can be stabbed through with a fork, it's done. It should should be soft, but still firm. If that makes any sense. 
-Pour cauliflower into a mixing bowl with wing sauce and toss until coated. The amount of wing sauce will depend on preference. I like it to be evenly coated, but still recognizable as cauliflower and not just hot wing spoons. 

Enjoy served with green beans, roasted potatoes or sweet potato fries. 


Monday, October 27, 2014

Dublin Night Out

Dublin Night Out

Ever since I purchased this amazing dress from Dorothy Perkins, I have been itching to wear it. Along with my Alice Collection from Popbasic, I thought it would be perfect for some fancy nights out in Galway and Dublin. Especially after mucking about in our wellies and cable knit sweaters all day and being rained on.

As much as I like adventure, I'm not the most daring of fashion wearers. ( I abhor the word fashionista. YUCK) So, as you can probably tell, I prefer to stick with classics and neutrals and let a well-fitting piece do the talking. Anyway, as you are reading these words I bet  I'll be wearing a variation of this on the streets of Dublin, and probably spilling a pint all over it. 


Dublin Night Out by alexnolandia featuring an elbow length sleeve dress

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Pumpkin Oatmeal

It's October, so I'm into the whole Autumn thing right now along with everyone else. Couples Costume? Check. Cinnamon flavored everything? Check. Crockpot Chili? Check.

New unnecessary Pumpkin recipe? Double check. 

I found this recipe for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Oatmeal online, and after reading "Add ingredients, combine, and turn on slow cooker." I was like, "I can do that!" The recipe is really delicious (after you add honey and a smidgen of butter or coconut oil) it has fiber from the oats and pumpkin, and I added quinoa and chia seeds, so my version is a million jillion times better than the one I found.

Here in Houston, it still doesn't feel like fall, and that's a major bummer. I need 65 degree days like a bum needs a bologna sandwich, and Texas just isn't cutting it. Which is why this pumpkin porridge, eaten inside my over-airconditioned apartment is a gift from the heavens.

Plus, Mr. Nolandia and I have gotta start eating our porridge...we're leaving for Ireland in just a few days! 

Anyway, here's in the ingredients, and a link to the recipe:

  1. 1 cup steel cut oats
  2. 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
  3. 3 cups water
  4. 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  5. 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  6. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  7. 1 tsp stevia (to taste), optional
  8. 1 pinch salt
  10.  I added:
  11. 1/4 cup chia seeds
  12. 1/3 cup quinoa
  13. 1 more cup of water ( and a little extra oats...I wanted to ref. and eat the next day too.)
Head on over to the Peanut Butter and Peppers Blog for the recipe and enjoy! 


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

From the Inside, Looking Out

I live in one of the largest cities in America. A hub of energy, finance, sales and new restaurants and shops. 

And yet, I yearn for another place. 

Don't get me wrong, Houston has its charms. Lots of vegetarian restaurants, infused drinks, swanky wine bars. Good art museums, art fairs and farmer's markets. But, to me, it feels like it is missing a soul. Or, maybe I'm just not tapped into it. 

In either case, when I'm trapped here too long, my heart starts to beat a little harder. There's a painful, trapped feeling that starts to swell in my chest. I bring up our photos of Amsterdam, Antwerp, Paris, Amalfi, Naples, Barcelona...all of our trips. All of the discoveries and stomachaches and squabbles and too many glasses of wine nights that we had. And I wonder why we even came back?

Which leads me right back into gratitude. For now, this city and our jobs here are what enable us to travel how we do. We have health, we have healthy fruits and vegetables to eat, we have a safe place to live, and we have each other and our memories of all of the adventures we've had. 

And there's so many more to come. (Ireland tomorrow! And Don't FORGET Starlight Symphonies of Oak and Glass the new book, is out in paperback and kindle on October 31st! Pre-Order on Kindle today for $2.99)

It's corny and sappy and overused, but that doesn't make gratitude unimportant. Thank your lucky stars for what you have, do it often...and soon, what you have will be enough. 


Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Surprise in the Mail

Raise your hand if you like mail. 
Me too. I love getting mail, even crap mail like bed, bath and beyond coupons. Can you imagine my excitement when my box full o' goodies arrived one Thursday afternoon a few weeks ago? Ecstatic. I was peeling apart the tape on the elevator, stupid smile on my face.

I had just received my first PopBasic box.

The concept of the company is really compelling. As a traveler and basic clothing aficionado, I was immediately hooked. Every month or thereabouts, they release a new clothing collection. There's always two to three items, and always under $100. It could be a shawl cardigan and a striped tee with a statement necklace, or a basic tee with a scarf and a leather clutch. 

The purpose is to build your wardrobe with high quality basics that can be mixed and matched and styled. For me, this was a great way to marry clothes with accessories for upcoming trips. 

When I opened the box, I found a knee-grazing slinky black dress, a gold bangle, and a golden key necklace. Along with the main goods, there was also a bright red lipstick and a purple/mauvey chubby eye pencil. Cloud 9 people. I'm a always a sucker for a black dress. 

They ship worldwide for free, and the micro-collections are well curated and high quality. The only drawback? I did say, micro-collection. Meaning that the clothes and accessories are such a good price because they are bought in bulk (I assume) one time, and when they're out, they're out. So, you'd need to sign up to figure out when the next drop is, in order not to miss it. (And I will fight you to the death for a small or xs!)

So, cool company, clothes get the nod for travel basics, and if you'd like to squeal like a newborn piglet when you get your box in the mail, check the following link. If you sign up, you get $15 to spend. You're welcome. 

xx and see you back here Tuesday!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Packing for Europe

Need a perfect packing list for Europe? You're in luck because I've got my favorite tips + tricks for packing the perfect bag on Coast to Coast Central. 

So read on, take note, and start've got places to go!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Starlight Symphonies

How can I explain writing a book? It is the most wonderful, draining, humiliating, soul-baring thing one can do. It's you on a page. It's thoughts made real. It's other people reading your mind, and judging whether or not they like what they found there. Writing a book, a short story, or a novella is profoundly humbling. 

The most rewarding thing has nothing to do with sales, or rank, or any measurable success. For me, it is someone to write me an email, or comment on a post, or to call me or text me that they connected with my writing. That they hated a character, loved a character, felt their heartbreak or "kept coming back to" a certain line or paragraph. That's what writers do. They make us feel. Good books tell us we aren't alone and that we were never alone and that everyone else is just as joyful/broken/confused/conflicted as we are. 

I think Ernest Hemingway said it best, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down to a typewriter and bleed."

My latest work, a historical fiction novel set in 1820s Michigan, follows a few different characters on a rocky voyage from Detroit to Mackinac Island. It focuses on love, betrayal, murder, magic and the very real dangers of early American life. I am very proud of this work, and I'm oh-so-anxious wait for you to read it!

As a teaser, here's the blurb on the back of the book:

Starlight Symphonies of Oak and Glass
A swirling chaos settles over a ship becalmed... 

A stirring novel of history, of magic, of the mysteries of the northern lakes, and the spell they cast over those who know them.

An ordinary crossing from Detroit to Mackinac Island in a wild 19th century Michigan, turns desperate as the ship runs afoul of the weather. In turns the victim of a series of eerie calms and inexplicable storms, the schooner is a captive of the whims of the lake. 

The characters take turns telling the tale, each having their own story to reveal. The crushing obstacles of the voyage shine light on the past lives, loves, betrayals and misdeeds of all aboard. The brave company must find redemption, if they are ever to sail brightly toward their destiny. 

This latest work will be released at the end of October, but is available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle, by clicking here:
You can download the kindle app, for free, to any apple product, all smartphones, and of course, the kindle. You can also read write from your computer if you buy the digital book on Amazon. 

If you're holding out for the're in for a treat, because the jacket is beyond gorgeous. 

I can't wait to hear what you think, and am excited to share my story with you. 

As ever, xx

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Biking the Golden Gate Bridge

A few months back, Terrence and I had a grand adventure on the Golden Gate. One of us liked the experience more than the other. 
Check the full article on Coast to Coast Central for  details + why you should add this to your bucket list ASAP.

And check back Thursday for big news about the newest novel!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hey, I wrote that!

At the end of this month, Nolandia has some exciting news. 1. The New book will be out soon, and and secondly, we will be exploring Ireland. 

I get so much inspiration for my novels + short stories from the places we have visited and the cultures we have experienced. New perspectives on humanity, hearing stories and legends and places that set the imagination on fire. 
Recently, when we were up in Michigan, spending time in the forests and lakes, we found my books in the local bookstore. I can't tell you how much it meant to me to see my words travel so far from the little computer that they were originally typed on, and out in the world, filling someone else's imagination.

The new book, "Starlight Symphonies of Oak and Glass" is a tale of a ship becalmed on Lake Huron in the 1820s. Stories of early Michigan and early America always hold interest for me, and so I had a great time working on this book. I hope you get as much enjoyment from reading it as I got writing it. 

Anyway, until it is out, please enjoy sale prices on Shears of Fate: A Novella of Madness and Memory, and Wide, Wild, Everywhere: Short Stories for Wanderers. Both available in paperback and on kindle, and both at reduced prices in anticipation of the new book. 

Thank you, for continuing to read my words on the blog and in the books. Thank you for sharing my adventures. 


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Best Waffles in Belgium for C2C Central

Move over Belgian Waffles! The best waffles in the world are definitely from Belgium, but they're not their trademark variety. Instead, these yeasty hunks of sweetness are a completely different tantalizing animal. 

The memory of which has haunted me daily since our last visit. In fact my knees feel a little weak as I type this, and I may or may not be foaming at the mouth--rabid for a bite. 
Check the article on Coast to Coast Central, and prepare for the dark pit of despair you will fall into if   waffles are not readily available. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Goodbye Summer Sangria

Recently, Terrence and I went floating down the Guadalupe River with a group of friends. If you have  ever partaken of this glorious summer pastime, you know that the  main purpose is drinking, getting a tan and trying to find a way to contort your body so that you don't look fat in the tube. Usually, libation of choice is beer. And, I like beer. But, not that much. And not int the sun. And not for hours. And not when it makes me bloat (especially when my body is contorted into a strange shape).

So, I decided to make myself a jug of cool, white sangria with lots of fruit and flavor. I stumbled upon a recipe online, and realized I had struck liquid gold. I used peaches, pineapples, mangoes and blueberries. It turned out LOVELY. In fact, so lovely, that most of the people in my group were clamoring for "just a little bite of peach!" or "just one more sip! I promise!" If bringing sangria to a beer party was ever looked down upon, then it is no longer. Feel free to sip this fruity summer sweetness whenever you please. 

Gather together:
Sweet white wine. Cava, Prosecco, Moscato, Gewurtztraminer, or Riesling. (I used a semi-sweet Riesling)
Triple Sec
Lemon Juice
Cut fruit of your choice

Click the following to head on over to WineFolly to score the recipe. (Listed as the White Peach and Cava recipe on the website) It's LEGIT: Sangria Recipe

 See ya back here Thursday! xx

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Lake Michigan Sunshine

If I had to imagine heaven, I think it would look a little like a Lake Michigan summer day. Just easy breezes and soft sunlight winking down, bathing all beach goers in warmth. 

The lake water is cold, but it is refreshing and almost, dare I say, purifying? It is not like other water, honestly. There is something sacred and beautiful about it, like, beautiful in that "gives me so many feelings" kind of way. 

Plus, it's a family thing. My Dad and stepmom, my furry dog sisters, and my incredibly handsome husband, all under one sun, staring out at the ships passing lazily on this inland sea. 
 Heavenly, right?


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Amalfi Nights

Lately we are missing the sultry sweetness of nights on the Amalfi Coast. It was only a little over a month ago that we were sipping sweet white wine to the hum of the incoming crashing waves of the sea. Something in those magic star-filled evenings, strolling the streets, lingering in the piazza over a kiss or the far off sound of music playing in someone's apartment, calling us like a siren's song. 

We miss those Amalfi nights, and breathe in the memories of their beauty and simplicity. 
We travel far and wide here in Nolandia, but there is no substitute for that Southern Italian Coast, our honeymoon-forever place.