Sunday Smatterings

Hello, chickens, happy Mother's Day! Hope y'all had a good week.

As you may have heard, Catherine and I headed to New York to start writing Brit #5 (it's called THE BLOOD CABAL—how cool is that?). We ate lots of great food, had the best visit with our fabulous publisher, Gallery Books, complete with champagne and cupcakes (honestly, book people are the best). We had a grand ol' time getting into Nicholas and Mike's next adventure, and I can't wait to dive headfirst into fleshing this beauty out. I also managed lunches with my Mira folk, too. LIE TO ME World domination plans continue.

And thanks for all of your well wishes—I'm feeling a bit better after being under the weather all week, though I still sound like Lauren Bacall. Oh well, there are worse things...


Here's what happened on the Internets this week:


People Are Adding “And Then The Murders Began” To Famous Book Openings, And It’s Impossible Not To Laugh. This is sheer brilliance.
 

When You're Obsessive. A short ode from The Passive Guy.
 

Digital Detox: Is It Right for You? Y'all know about my annual social media fast around Lent. Sometimes a detox resets your perspective and revamps the way you work. For me, this is nothing short of magical.
 

Smartphones Are the New Cigarettes. Because we all suffer from second-hand tech. We really do.
 

Two Million Stars on the Move. Space is pretty freaking cool.
 

Quiz! Can You Guess the Classic Book by These Extremely Vague Descriptions? Because we all need a Buzzfeed quiz to make us question our intelligence.
 

12 Unforgettable Forests in Literature. Because who doesn't want to escape into the woods sometimes?
 

Libraries We Wouldn't Mind Getting Locked Into. For those who would rather escape into a place with air-conditioning and a bathroom.
 

Some of the Most Amusing—and Mortifying—Messages People Have Sent to the WRONG Number. 😂😂😂


And closer to home:


A WORD ON WORDS With Helen Ellis. I'm not sure if I've ever laughed more in an interview! Helen Ellis is a powerhouse, y'all, and it's time she become a household name. In our delightful chat, Helen and I talk about living as a Southerner in "the Ultimate North," whether the New York or South is a more sinister place, when it's okay not to be nice, and why Maybelline lipstick may be the world's most frightening fashion accessory. 
 

What I'm Into (May 2017). These are 5 things I'm seriously grooving on this month.
 

Daily Tao ☯ 5.8.17. Don't forget—I'm blogging (nearly) every day! Follow my New York adventures with Catherine, starting with May 8. 


***Bonus Section: BIG NEWS!***

Bargains! There's a new page on JTEllison.com called Bargains (an original name, I know!), where all sorts of fun goodies will live: free and discounted books, contests of all stripes, etc. We'll let you know when new things pop up on the Bargains page, but check back sometimes to see the loot you can get on a discount.


That's it from me! Happy Mother's Day to all, especially you who are furbaby mommies like me, enjoy some spring sunshine, take an extra long walk or two, and we'll talk again soon.

xo,
J.T.

What I'm Into (January 2017)

Here's a quick roundup of the stuff that's turning my crank this month!

The Genius Deck

I haven’t been stuck, per se (ahem, she says, she who doesn’t believe in writer’s block), but I have been fighting with this new manuscript, and when I came across The Genius Deck, I fell, hard. The idea of lateral thinking to boost creativity isn’t new, but when you’re fighting something that shouldn’t be hard, it’s revelatory. I played around with it a bit this afternoon and ended up with 500 new words on the book. So it does work. 

 



My new MacBook Pro’s keyboard

I was gifted a new laptop for Christmas, and I have to say, the new MacBook keyboards are pretty freaking cool. The keys are bigger, and placed closer together. When I move back to my Air for a few things, I feel like my fingers are spread out all over the place. A huge improvement in my eyes. Plus — OMG, retina screen! And Emoji touchbar! It’s not really useful yet, but it is fun to play with. I can see how it will eventually be a very powerful tool.


Alyssa’s Healthy Oatmeal Bites

My husband and I are dropping soy from our diet entirely, which means a whole new set of hidden ingredients to be on the lookout for. Soy lethicin, the sludge leftover from soy production, is in EVERYTHING… So when I came across these healthy oatmeal cookie bites from Alyssa’s, I jumped for joy. There is simply nothing bad for you in them, and they are delicious. I love it when something addictive is good for you. 


Moroccan Mint tea

I’ve always been a fan of spearmint, and this Moroccan Mint is my favorite. Great to have an an afternoon pick me up, or for an upset stomach, it’s rich and flavorful, and have the best scent! Makes brilliant iced tea, too.

 


ReadKit - AKA Instapaper and Feedly in one place

When I was setting up the new MacBook, I had to decide what apps I wanted to download. I had heard the battery life wasn’t very good. Though I’ll tell you, I’ve been working nonstop since 11 A.M. today and I’m at 47% with 3+ hours remaining, so not too bad… that should be a full 10 hours, which is what they say, plus my wi-fi’s been on the whole time. It’s varied quite a bit since I got it, the battery really does depend on the actions, so I’m looking forward to the update with the promised fixes.

Anywho, I had to think through what I wanted to port over. ReadKit is a big part of my workflow. I use Instapaper for articles to read later, and Feedly for my RSS feeds, and I send research articles to Evernote from both places, as well as to Buffer, when I want to share with y’all. ReadKit lets me put both Instapaper and Feedly in a single interface, which is beautiful and easy to navigate. It’s only for the Mac—I still use the individual apps when I’m reading on my iPad—but I’ve been using it for years and love it. Highly recommended.


What are you into this month?

12.01.16 - What I'm Into This Month

What I'm Into (November 2016)

So my friends at She Reads do a great “What We’re Into” monthly blog topic that I thought I’d co-opt, because it’s very clever and very fun, and I’m restructuring everything here, so why not, right? Here goes.

What I'm Into This Month
 

My porch

It’s been a perfect Fall so far — cool but not cold, blue skies, and very little rain, so the cats and I have been out on the porch writing and ruminating. I am going to miss it once things turn cold (like today). There's really nothing I like better than being outside and sheltered, especially during a rainstorm.
 

Harney and Sons Teas

I don’t drink coffee, so tea is my mainstay. I discovered Harney and Sons a few months ago and now have a full compliment in my cabinet. I do loose leaf, not bags, and they brew up consistently yummy every time. My favorite blend is two teaspoons of Earl Grey Supreme and one teaspoon Formosa Oolong.  I also dig their Jasmine tea and add it to the Earl Grey for an afternoon treat.

 

Outlook for iOS

I have been a Gmail aficionado for years, but I discovered they are sending all the email from my website to trash (sorry if you wrote and didn’t receive a reply — please write again!). Since they aren’t playing nice with my website, I'm going to have to use Outlook for Mac for the foreseeable future. To prepare, I downloaded the Outlook app to my iPhone and iPad, and fell in love. It is clean, simple, beautiful, reliable, with some of the best customer service I’ve ever had. Plus, my calendar, contacts, and files are all in one place. I’m not in love with the Mac version, but it’s growing on me. 

 

100% Pure Makeup

I have horrible allergies to chemicals, and have been having a terrible time lately with makeup, shampoo, and the like. I found this brand by accident, and I am absolutely in love. I bought the blush, eyeshadow and lip stain and was so impressed I’ve gone back for their coconut shampoo, too. 100% Pure means just that — literally no chemicals, all plant based. It’s certified vegan, and not terribly expensive, either. Win-win for us all.

 

Amazon Echo

Did you know that I’m a classical music junkie? I’ve tied my I Heart Radio to my Amazon Echo, and now beautiful music is only an “Alexa? Play a classic station” away. I know, I know, it’s super lazy of me, but it’s so convenient, and the sound on the Echo is wonderful. There’s something very fun and futuristic about having all of the news and music and shopping at my (voice) command.

 

What are you into this month?