The Happy Girl Blog

Happy girls are the prettiest girls

8.09.2015

Midsummer Spartan Race news

Whoa...I'm making an appearance on this sadly neglected blog? Yes, yes I am.

I'm stopping in because there is some cool Spartan race news I just found out about and I figured I would share with you. I am sure there are some awesome athletes who may read this and want discount codes and race news, right? YES. I'm putting a Spartan race on my must-do race calendar for next year when it returns to Austin (along with Rock 'N Roll half marathon New Orleans in February and another triathlon at some point), and hopefully there is a race soon near you if you are interested.

By the way, Spartan races not just for crossfitters and endurance race fanatics. They are for anyone who wants to challenge themselves in a whole new way. Who doesn't want to take on this challenge and say they completed a Spartan race? It's sort of the best obstacle race you can complete, with mad bragging rights.

Want to hit up a race before summer is over? Good news, I've got a code for you to save some moola. Use code: SPARTANSUMMER to save $20, $30 or $40 off a race. Lucky you.
We all know that misery loves company, er, athletic prowess loves company, so I can imagine if you sign up for a race you will be dragging your nearest and dearest, and most badass, friends along with you. 
Recruit three friends and your next race is free.
We have more races than ever, in new locations. We also have new obstacles, new burpees, new finisher tees, new medals and new stories to tell. So when your friends hit you with excuses, you have the facts to hit them with.
Recruit three of your friends sign up, you’ll get your next race on us; completely free! Your friends will also get $20 off of their race. That means everyone wins.
We’ll see you and your team at the starting line. Use Code: TEAM

You can look up a race near you, or plan a "race-cation", which is a great opportunity to visit a new place AND get your Spartan on. Just check out this link for more details. Ahem, there are races in Canada and
 Europe. Can you say destination race? 
Calgary friends, there is a race NEXT WEEKEND for you. You're welcome.
Prepare for your next Spartan Race with a FREE Spartan Workout! Learn exercises from official Spartan SGX Coaches to help you over the toughest of obstacles while you train with like-minded Spartans. Earn your signature "I'm Training for a Spartan Race" T-shirt and wear it with pride while you continue to train up until race day. All you need to bring is some water, a towel, and friends!

So, tell me...
Will you take the challenge? AROO!!!

4.05.2015

Book links and almost release day!

What up, happy people?!

Guess what?

My book releases in less than 25 hours. Yes, so soon. Tuesday April 7th at midnight (like what comes right after 11:59pm on Monday April 6th, just to be clear) A Taste of Bliss will go live on all e-book retailers I have uploaded to. Which is practically all of them, because I like to cover my bases like that.
These are all pre-order links until it goes live on Tuesday, which is when they will become buy links instead.
Amazon Kindle
Barnes & Noble Nook
iBooks
Google play
Kobo
Know what else is cool? I have a paperback that is ALREADY available to order. Because who doesn't want to be able to buy the hardcover early? If you buy it off Amazon and still want a Kindle version, I have ebook matching on so you save $2 off the Kindle price of $2.99.

Paperback on Amazon

When I received my paperback proof in the mail last week and held my book for the very first time, I was brought to tears. Every part of this journey has been humbling and incredible, but actually holding my physical book in my hands was the craziest part. This is a big, crazy, surreal dream that is actually coming true after a lot of hard work and a lot of dreaming big. I can hardly believe it.
Want some sexy teasers? Of course you do!

3.20.2015

Book news!

*mic tap*

Uh, hey there, Happy Girl followers--if there are any left!
I have news.
Good news.
Good news as in book news, because y'all know that's my life now.
Look at that beautiful cover. It's pretty dreamy, right? Kari Ayasha of Cover to Cover designs put that beauty together with photos shot by Josh Baker of AzulOx Visuals. It's a little light and almost "chick lit" style for the kind of story it is, but I like it. I didn't want to put a black and white man chest with bold lettering on my cover. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE those covers on other books, but for this one, I needed something different.
And more news!
A Taste of Bliss has a release date! April 7, 2015 my little novel that could will go out into the world of ebooks and try to make a name for herself. I'm keeping my expectations realistic and low: No one knows about me. I don't have a back stock of books that I can use as a stepping stone or a large fan base from previous releases. Nope, I am doing this all indie style. I'm trying to build a fan base on my Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter. Maybe through those interactions I can drum up some likes and sales. Who knows.
You know what would make this book a success for me?
Just to have my book published.
It doesn't matter if I make back the money I put into producing it (um, even though it's self-published, it was definitely NOT free. I paid a professional editor, cover designer, formatter, hired a PR company, bought ISBN numbers, bought domains and built a website, etc.), I am not looking to make money off this. Oh, of course, it would be amazing to get some sales, but if I don't and my expectations are high, I'll be disappointed.
I do not want to be disappointed.

Want to know how you can help me out? Spread the word.
Yup, that's it. Post my pre-order and social links anywhere you want to. Tell your friends.
Read the blurb; if you like it, tell someone else.
If you really feel like supporting me, buy a copy from one of the many places I will have it for sale.
If you like what you have read, review it wherever you bought the book. Those reviews mean so much. Mostly, they tell other readers what you thought, which can help them decide if they want to purchase the book for themselves.

Follow me on Facebook: Adrian R. Hale on FB
You can add it to your Goodreads to be read pile by clicking this link: A Taste of Bliss on Goodreads

You can pre-order at the following links:
Amazon: Kindle
Google: Google play
Smashwords: for e-readers
Barnes & Noble, kobo, iBooks, paperback: coming soon!

Adrian can be found around the web here:
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A Taste of Bliss
by Adrian R. Hale

All Bliss Kaufman wanted was a sandwich and a nap after a grueling day beautifying this week’s bridal party. So when a bartender with a panty-melting grin offers her dinner and a ride on his motorcycle, Bliss swerves from her plans for one unexpected night with Talan McGregor. Just one. It was never supposed to go further. But once isn’t enough for Talan who returns demanding more--and his timing couldn’t be worse.

A life-changing diagnosis forces Bliss to abandon her carefully crafted plans. Even though she can make anyone beautiful with enough makeup and hair product, she can’t fix everything with her 50-pound bag of beauty tricks. Bliss is starting to think she might need Talan after all, but letting him in means cracking open her heart and embracing a life without a safety net.

After all, love is life’s greatest complication, and might just be worth the risk.

1.13.2015

Tasty Tuesday: steam-fried sausage and veggies

You know what's good? When you make a recipe that is easy and makes you feel like you're eating decently. I love striving for health when it comes to my food, but dang, I hate the preparation involved to get there. Enter the genius of throwing a bunch of stuff in your fridge into a skillet and steam-frying (totes legit cooking term) it all together until yumminess occurs. Well, B, the veggie hater, would say the sausage part was good, but he still ate the bowl I served him.
Steam-fried Sausage and Veggies
Ingredients:
  • 1 package Aidell's chicken apple sausages (or 5 links of your fave cooked chicken sausage), sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced and quartered
  • 1 small sweet potato, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup of cooked broccoli (mine was frozen, so I microwaved for two minutes and dumped it in semi-frozen)
Directions:
Slice, chop and assemble ingredients. Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Brown sausage and sweet potato, then add zucchini and broccoli. Cook thoroughly and serve. 

Easy, right? And tasty. I'm not paleo or anything, but I think this recipe would fit that diet pretty easily. 

1.01.2015

To 2015, and beyond

My little blog turned four years old yesterday. I wasn't a very good blogger in 2014, so of course I didn't write up a year in review post, or wish The Happy Girl Blog happy blogiversary. Instead, I lived outside the computer, had friends over for mass amounts of delicious food, drinks and hours of entertainment via Cards Against Humanity. You find out the true depravity of people with that game, and it's wonderful.

2015 is going to be the year of dreaming big and chasing after them. My 2015 vision board was made back in October while in Newport Beach, (thanks to the fortuitous timing of my visit and the friend I saw who arranged for a career coach to lead the board creation), and I am already running full speed ahead toward those goals.
I plan to publish the first of four planned books early this year. If I can get to the other three and put out a fantastic product I'm proud of, you better believe I will get all four out there. 

I want to learn as much as possible about being an indie author (read: self-published), and each day it seems like something new is presented to me. I do not have monetary goals other than to make back the investment I've put into this process. Sure, finding success and seeing great sales is the cherry on top, but really, it's more about getting the story out of my head and into the hands of readers, connecting with them, and being happy with my work.

I do not plan to be a better blogger. My new author friend Heidi Joy Trethaway has a resolution to say NO more often, to make room for YES. Because being creative takes time and energy. If you spend your time and energy on everything else that is asked of you, you have less time to create and make the most of your time. Or something like that. I will have to learn to say no more often to make sure the quality of what I put out is better. That means saying no to social events, things that take time away from writing, and finding a way to string up my monkey mind so it's not bouncing every which way when I sit down to write. Sorry sweet little blog, that means fewer entries, and I am okay with that. You can stay up to date with me via my new website, AdrianRHale.com, on my author Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter. I have a blog feature on the website that will hopefully get more content as I get closer to publishing this monster, and will make this blog less book focused.
 So what are your 2015 goals and resolutions? Are you dreaming big, like me? 

12.22.2014

Grandma Ople's apple pie

In 2010, when I was still blogging on a now defunct blog over at WordPress, I wrote a post about my favorite apple pie recipe.

A friend of mine, also named Adrienne (we spell it differently) loved the recipe so much she begged me to find it for her this year after a tech snafu that caused her to lose the link.

So, I figured I would add it to my current blog (even though I'm terrible about updating) so I could find it easier.

Enjoy!
***
A lot of women can ask their mom or grandma for a trusty pie recipe, however my grandma is not really known as a cook. She can get along all right in the kitchen, but she will be the first person to let you know she isn’t very good. Instead of asking my own grandma for her apple pie recipe (because she doesn’t have one) I looked to allrecipes.com for a yummy apple pie recipe. One of the first recipes I looked at was Grandma Ople’s apple pie. It looked easy enough and had delicious ingredients, so I decided to give it a try.
I followed the recipe very closely, only adding a little cinnamon, and using trader Joe’s frozen pie crust, even making the lattice top crust. The pie was amazing. I mean melt in your mouth, buttery perfection. I have never had an apple pie that delicious. The only bad thing was it wasn’t very pretty with the lumpy lattice top.
I made the pie again for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner party I was attending, and decided to use a full crust this time. It turned out even better this time around, and I got so many wonderfully sweet comments on how yummy it was! The other day, my friend Adrienne asked for apple pie recipes, and of course I had to offer her Grandma Ople’s recipe! I don’t know who Grandma Ople is, but I just want to hug and kiss her for creating this wonderful recipe! I am giving you the recipe with my own little additions and changes so you can try it for yourself!

Grandma Ople’s Apple Pie, a la Adrian
1 pkg Trader Joe’s frozen pie crust (includes 2)
6 large (8 small) Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tbls flour
1/4 water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, cinnamon, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Place the bottom crust in your pan. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, remove and let cool for a few minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, pour sugar and butter mixture over apples, saving just a little of the mix for the top crust. Toss to coat, then fill pie crust with apples, mounding slightly.
4. Cover with full crust and paint with leftover sugar mixture. Pinch both crusts together, making a pattern if you want all the way around the pie.
5. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F. Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.
Remove, let cool and enjoy!! Let me know if you use this pie recipe, I want to see if you make any adjustments and what you think!

12.11.2014

Mid-December check in

Well, well.  It looks like I'm back for my mid-month single entry check-in. It's about time I update you on the goings on in my life.

On November 30th, I finished the first draft of my novel.Cue trumpets and fire off the cupcake cannons. I was so happy to type 'the end'! Since then, I have revised, edited, chopped out entire chapters, rewritten entire sections, and stressed.


Yes, stressed.

There is a whole nother world involved in the business aspect of publishing your novel. It's not just about finishing your story and making the decision to self-publish, like I thought. I have learned about cover designers, formatters, buying ISBN numbers, copyrights, professional editors, marketing your novel so people know about it, Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords, CreateSpace, printing on demand, and more. I have asked question after question to my author friends, bugging them about everything. Thank God they seem to be happy to share with a newbie like me.

Serious thanks go out to them, the people who are sharing all of their hard-earned information with me. I would still be Googling and hoping Wikipedia had the answers I was looking for, and maybe not ever finding out what the right way to do things would be. Because experience trumps Google every time.
I've also changed the working title of my novel. Bliss was already highly represented on Amazon and Goodreads with titles in so many different genres.  My second option, Talan's Bliss, just didn't cut it for me. I decided to pull a line straight from the novel and go with A Taste of Bliss instead. So far, so good. It also gives me a name for the series I hope it starts, The Taste series.

I have been just as busy creating my author alter-ego brand. I designed a website. It's simple and doesn't have much info right now, but it's working if  you want to check it out. www.AdrianRHale.com I would absolutely love it if you would connect with me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I could use some fans, and I think it would be awesome to share more of this process with people who have supported me from the beginning.

I have a cover photo shoot set up for next week to get the image I want to use for the cover. It's pretty exciting to see my vision coming together like this. I mean, a few months back, it was just a fantasy that someday I would write a story I thought was worthy of publishing. A vision board, a story idea, and a month of writing furiously later, and here I am, hoping I'll soon have a finished product.
Outside of my writing, I have just been working and holding down the fort. I spent last weekend in California, working at my old salon, seeing family and friends. I brought home a nasty little cold, but made it out of the Bay Area before #HellaStorm hit today. Have you seen that hashtag or the coverage of the crazy rain and winds that hit the Northern California area today? Crazy.

And now I must return to my editing and leave my blog alone for another month or so. Happy holidays, merry Christmas, happy New Year, and also, happy birthday to me in a few weeks. I'm not celebrating it this year (boo, hiss, mean dirty birthdays!) but it's worth a mention now.

See you in the new year, friends!

11.19.2014

Your first taste of Bliss

So, I'm not much a style maven, but sometimes you just have these outfit ideas that won't leave you alone. The novel I am writing for NaNoWriMo is almost finished, and my main character, Bliss, needed some outfit ideas.

I took to Polyvore to put together a mood board for her. She's an independent young hair and makeup artist living in San Francisco (hmm, where have I heard that before?) and her love interest is a Ducati riding winery owner. Bliss has pink ombre hair, a penchant for lipstick, and wears a lot of pink and black. I wanted to throw in some simple jewelry that would lend a fun air to the outfit, so I grabbed a Harry Potter themed necklace, and found an Omega men's watch on the site Invaluable. Have you heard of it? Invaluable is the world's premiere online marketplace, featuring all sorts of jewelry, watches, antiques, collectibles, and even entire estate sales. Cool right? It was easy to search for watches, and do a little dreaming for my own style needs. You can search through the men's watch section here and do your own dreaming. I think the simple, chunky silver watch with the black face is perfect for Bliss. 

I guess she and I share a love for masculine time pieces, as well as many other qualities I might have given her ;)
Bliss, a novel

11.17.2014

TXWB farm to table dinner

I knew it. I knew exactly what would happen after the #Blogtober14 month was over. And it did. I haven't blogged since Halloween.

Granted, I have a pretty good excuse. I took up with NaNoWriMo (click the link to find out all about nation novel writing month!) and all of my creative energy was solely focused on creating 50,000 words in 30 days. Well, I hit 50k on November 11th, so I more than achieved that goal. However, my story isn't finished, and I don't know it ever will be, because it just keeps giving me more to write about. I'm currently sitting at 57,823 words, and feel like my story has another few thousand words in it before I can successfully tie all the loose ends and answer any lingering questions I posed earlier on in my writing.

But life goes on, and there is fun stuff  that I would like to remember later on when my memory fuzzes out. So here I am, not finished with my novel, but needing to update anyone who reads about the things that make me happy.

Texas Women Bloggers is a group of exactly what the title says. We are women, in Texas, who blog. I was added to the group when Casey told me about it, and I was instantly blown away by the high level of blogging going on by these lovely ladies. Now, I willingly call myself a bad blogger because I have a terrible time generating meaningful content, or keeping to a posting schedule of any sort that engages readers and keeps you coming back. I really felt the need to join this group anyway, and tag along to the farm to table dinner that was put on in Dallas on Saturday evening. It would give me a chance to see some of my favorite people, as well as meet more. I was super nervous that the group would call me out as a fraud for my bad blogger ways, and honestly, I thought they might consider themselves above me for being better at this thing. Low and behold, they were really cool chicks. No one judged me. No one ostracized me for not having mad giveaways, a huge follower count, or for not being sponsored in any way. They were truly lovely people, funny, nice and a pleasure to get to know.
This is called a selfie bomb. It's the newest craze. You totally surprise someone with a selfie. a la, selfie bomb.
And surprise pictures. Not the best for capturing the best sides of people. Sorry, Amber.
I did realize something interesting, though. During dinner, we had to stand up and introduce ourselves to the other 38 or so women in attendance. I apparently do not like public speaking. It made me so nervous I was shaking from the adrenaline rush, and maybe a little sweaty. This from the girl who used to lead assemblies in front of my entire junior high school. The girl who willingly wore a longhorn cow mascot costume to football games in high school. The girl who wanted to be an actress so bad I tried out for every play I could in high school, taking any role, just to have my time on the stage. What the heck happened to that girl? I guess I used to be far more introverted, and as I have aged (ugh, kill me, I hate that word) I have become more introverted and prefer much smaller groups. Like of three.
So this dinner. I took a handful of pictures, but I'm quite terrible with that, so you will have to enjoy the few below. We met at the Urban Acres warehouse, which is a community supported agriculture group that provides locally grown produce for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. It was set up beautifully with a long table decked out for dinner, beams wrapped in twinkle lights, a sundae bar, and the cutest tote bags and mugs as favors.
There was a great photo booth area with props that I did not take advantage of,  lots of yummy food from Market Street, and wine pairings from Lost Oak Winery.
I was particularly fond of the blanc dubois white that was served with our kale salad. It was phenomenal, and I don't even like wine. Actually, the moscato and the Riesling they had available were also super tasty, and I could go for a bottle of all three. I got to sit with my bestie Casey, and spent a bunch of time with my girls Stephanie and Amber.
Love this photo of the three of us. Definitely going on my gallery wall.
So what have y'all been up to this November? Anything fun? Are any of you participating in naNoWriMo also? I want to hear all about it.

10.31.2014

Happy Halloween!!

Today, my wonderful, loyal blog friends, is the very last day of #Blogtober14. Now, I am quite proud of my month of blogging and think it was fantastic to have prompts for each day, but I am so done with daily blogging. I was never a 7 day a week blogger, even when I was a good blogger. Now that I am a once every few months or so blogger, 31 days was crazy! But big props to Helene and Taylor for hosting such a great idea and giving me the inspiration to post each day.

But today I am all over this prompt. Because seriously, Halloween is my jam. I absolutely love dressing up, and a day that is all about it is fantastic. So Halloween. I didn't know what to do for a bit, and every time I settled on a costume, I would change my mind.
Mermaid?
Dia de los Muertos skull face?
Lion or tiger?
Daenerys Targaryen?
All great ideas but either would cost me more than I wanted out of pocket, I didn't have the exact skills needed, or I just plain changed my mind. And then I saw it. And it stuck.
The Cheshire cat. It would be easy to use the makeup I already own, along with the cat ear headband, and pink pants. All I needed was an Alice in Wonderland t-shirt and a jumbo eyeshadow pencil the tutorial I found called for. I just needed to have confidence in my makeup abilities, which for face paint is sketchy.
I may have brought costume props to the salon for the other girls to wear. Then insisted on a group photo! After scaring Samantha when I surprised her in the back room in full crazy makeup. It was freaking people out to see a big old painted smile move when I talked and smiled. But it went over well!
 All day I had to fight the urge to rub or scratch my face. My allergies are out of control this week, making me all sorts of itchy, stuffy, runny, and just plain annoyed with my face. Also, it was such a relief to go home and wipe most of it off and put lip balm on. Oh, lip balm feels so stinking good. I may be just a little addicted to the stuff, so to not be able to even rub my lips together for 6 hours was torture. But I really loved the pink and purple eyes, and my huge purple lashes. So I left that until all the trick-or-treaters had gone home.

And R.I.P to my pink feather boa tail. Brisket got a hold of that when I was washing my face, and it is no more. Funny enough, I think I got that boa for my 16th birthday from girlfriends at school. And that shows you just how much I horde costume pieces.

What did you do for Halloween?
Helene in Between Blogtober

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