Happy girls are the prettiest girls


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.

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
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!


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!


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


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.


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.
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


Birthday Boy

Today is Billy's *cough cough* birthday! While we are missing spending (another) birthday with family, we know they are thinking about him today.

Billy is the kind of guy who is easy to like, but hard to get to know. He's very approachable, but doesn't open up easily. If you get close to him, you will have a rock steady friend for life who has your back in all situations. He is a sweet and gentle soul in a warrior's body. He is smart, a fount of knowledge of all sorts, happy to provide insight and feedback when asked, but doesn't force information on you. He is my fixer, my exlainer, my steadying force. He loves with his whole self, and asks very little in return. He is selfless and considerate.

To my Billy bear, my love, my best friend-

Happy birthday to you, my love! I am so thankful to be spending another year celebrating you. I want you to know that I am so proud of you. You don't hear it enough, I am sure. Even when things are not all rainbows and roses, you have found a way to make it work, reaching for the optimism and rationalizing your way out of the dark places. Thank you for everything you have done for us. Having you by my side makes life easy. You are the single most important thing in my life. Your friendship, love and devotion is mind-blowing and so beautiful. Thank you for always making me laugh. For putting up with my sometimes irrational, often smelly, and very goofy self. I just love everything about you. You feed me when I get hangry, support my varying and far-reaching interests, and always, always make sure to cop a feel and tell me how much you love me and my assets.

Love always,
Sorry for no #Blogtober14 post, it was "Facts about you", and frankly, all you gotta do is read back a bit through this blog to learn everything you need to know about me ;)


NaNoWriMo instead of embarrassing moments #Blogtober14

So, the #Blogtober14 prompt today is "Embarrassing Moments". Um, no. I put anything embarrassing that happens to me way out of mind. Knowing that my memory is rather sad anyway, this isn't difficult to do.

How about we talk about something else. Can you tell I'm uncomfortable with this topic? Yup.

Instead, let's talk about NaNoWriMo. That would be National Novel Writing Month, for anyone who hasn't seen that acronym. Here's what the official site has to say about the whole thing:
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought fleetingly about writing a novel.
And I plan on doing it. I haven't written anything substantial since August 2013. That's over a year of having ideas bounce around in my head, maybe writing down the general concept, sketching out a few characters, then abandon them in Google Drive somewhere. I've missed the rush of developing a story, falling in love with my characters, and seeing them through to "The End". It doesn't matter that I haven't done anything with the two novels I've written; at least they are finished and have the option to be edited or turned into something else. 
For NaNo, I have a new concept in mind for my story. I am actually trying something new by plotting out where I want the story to go before I start writing. I'm normally a "write whatever pops into your head" person, which can lead to plot issues and the story wanting to end itself way before you do. I figure getting prepped before NaNoWriMo starts is a good plan. 
I imagine that devoting a month to intense writing will mean I all but abandon this blog again. It's been good to get on here every day (or so) and pump out a few posts answering prompts. I haven't had much original content sans prompts though, which looks bleak for future posting. Hopefully I'll find inspiration and motivation to blog while I'm crazy busy writing for NaNoWriMo.
Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? How did it go? What did you learn, and how did you approach the crazy month of writing a novel?


Superstitions and Spartan race giveaway #Blogtober14

I'm not a very superstitious person. I'm not even all that sentimental, but that's another blog post entirely. Sometimes though, superstition can rear it's weird head in the most unlikely of situations.

When I was in middle school, I picked up a superstitious habit from my best friend, Shannon. She would kiss her hand and smack the roof of the car anytime the car went through a yellow light. Her theory was that she was blowing a kiss to God and acknowledging Him for keeping the car and passengers safe. I did that up until a few years ago, when I realized throwing a kiss up had little effect on my driving, and might actually make me less safe.

As for common superstitions, I put no stock in them. i live with two black cats that regularly cross my path. I've broken mirrors and walked under more ladders than I can count.

You can probably consider my OCD habits a bit superstitious. I have to load the dishwasher a certain way or it bugs me to no end. There's a particular way to fold clothes, too. Billy isn't the biggest fan of my ways, and even after 7 years of living together, he still won't commit to doing things my way. He's missing out.

I think I get more set in my ways than superstitious. Before races, I like to eat the same thing: an English muffin with avocado and turkey or egg whites. I've been taught not to switch things up, so that's what I do. It seems to have worked, I haven't had any stomach issues when I have a race. And the simplicity of having a breakfast I am accustomed to is good for my pre-race nerves.
Speaking of races, The Spartan race series contacted me to help build buzz for the upcoming November events going on in Dallas, Miller Park and Mississippi. Have you ever done an obstacle race? A Spartan race, at that? These races look legit.
There are Sprint, Super and Beast length races, and a Triple Crown event that you could do for a chance to win $500,000! I've never participated in an obstacle race, but I think they look challenging and a lot of fun. As a perk for my blog readers, Spartan has offered two free race entries for me to giveaway, AND a 10% off code for anyone who is interested.
How about that code for 10% off your entry? Here you go! Use code SPARTANBLOGGER at checkout to apply your discount. 
Would you rather win a FREE ENTRY to any Spartan race? Enter the giveaway below! Spartan Races provided me with the free entries and the discount code, but all views and opinions are my own.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Helene in Between Blogtober


Younger me #Blogtober14

Dear younger Adrian,

What up, love? I am writing to high school aged me, because that was when I was truly developing my personality, and becoming the woman I am now. Back to you, oh younger me. Your music is still the shit. I know you don't swear, ever, but I do, so I am sorry I failed you. To think that I still listen to some of the bands you discovered, loved, cried to, and made the soundtrack of your life, is pretty sweet. Death Cab for Cutie, Jimmy Eat World, Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory still make it onto my playlists. Bright eyes, however, does not. You weren't even that into Connor Oberst then, anyway. You'll be wetting your pants to know that I met Chris Carabba of Dashboard Confessional, and years later watched his solo acoustic show, and yes, he's still emo amazingness, long after the end of emo music. *sobs*
Yeah, it's a tiny picture, but your computer hard drive was erased in 2007, so every photo you had stored on it disappeared forever. This was stored in some obscure site, so that's the only way I can share it now.

I'm sorry to tell you that giant folder of CDs that contained pretty much your whole burned catalog of music was stolen in 2009. I lost pretty much all of the music we discovered in high school because I hadn't converted everything to digital format yet. Some of those bands may never be discovered again, but you will be happy to know I am still discovering amazing music, even if it may not have been what you listen to. I mean, some of the indie stuff I love is a little on the folk side, which you would have considered country, and hated. Oh yeah, I live in Texas now, and sometimes listen to country, too. Don't throw stones, though, it's decent stuff. And you can still be a California girl even if you don't live within the state.

You will be happy to know that I did something with that love of writing you developed as a senior. I have written a few novel length stories, and have so many ideas in my head for more. I think you would be proud. Even though I dropped journalism and the idea of writing for a music magazine pretty quickly, I never lost my love for putting words to paper. Or screen, as our technology has made so easy. Maybe I'll even publish one of these stories someday. I'm still working on my confidence with my writing, it's a long process. And PS- your angsty rhyming couplet poems were pretty terrible, but I am glad you filled notebooks with them and expressed yourself somehow. Sorry (not sorry) I threw them all away. 

Speaking of love, stop chasing it so hard, kid! All of those boys you worry over, lead on because you like the attention, and get your heart broken for, won't even come close to the amazing guy you will meet in just a short time. He's waiting for you, babe, and he thinks you are amazing. You will definitely appreciate how easy life is with him, after struggling so much with former loves you lost, or left. You have to work so hard on crappy relationships and boyfriends who half-ass relationships now, because they aren't right for you. He is. You'll see. His love will be a game changer.
And stop shoving your finger down your throat when you get stressed. Part-time bulimia is no way to live your life, and has no effect whatsoever on your weight, which is minuscule, by the way. You are the tiniest you will ever be, beautiful without trying, and have way more self-worth than how you feel about your body allows. All you are doing is obsessing and piling shame on yourself for what you are doing in secret. You don't need that. It's a lifelong process, but you will learn to love yourself for who you are and what you can do, rather than how you look or what you weigh. 
 Yes, that is a guitar pick around my neck. What? I met Matt Flynn, the drummer for Maroon 5 that night. Yes, Lexie is a goddess of redheaded perfection. She still is, even 12 years later.
 Didn't everyone jump on their best friend's back anytime a (Kodak disposable) camera came out?

You and Lexie are still good friends. You live in different states, and she's still travel obsessed, but now she gets paid for it as a flight attendant. You started a relationship that would be easy to pick up anytime you got together, as far apart as those occasions may be. You will actually develop some amazing girlfriends in the upcoming years. I know, it's crazy to think that you will have more girlfriends than guy friends soon, but it's true. And oh, will you value them and everything they bring to your life! You don't have to compete with these ladies; they support you, cherish you, and make you feel loved, appreciated and happy. You are blessed beyond belief with amazing friends, near and far.

We are doing pretty well, career wise, also. It may not have been the direction you were imagining, but being a hairstylist and makeup artist is pretty awesome. All of that prom hair you did for free is now paying off, literally. You get to be creative every time you step in the salon, or head out on location. Brides seem to love you and your work, it's pretty awesome.

So keep your chin up, pretty girl (yeah, I referenced a Sugar Cult song, thought you'd like that), and follow your passions. You might get your heart broken more times than you should, but you gain something new with each path your heart takes you down, in love, and in life.

Love Always,
Adrian today

Helene in Between Blogtober

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