A morning trip to Singapore

One of the perks of having a blog for so long is that I get invited to do some really cool things. Yesterday’s event was by far the coolest.

On a breezy September morning, my friend and I traveled up to the fourth floor of an anonymous building on Fifth Avenue. When the elevator doors opened, we were transported to Singapore. In honor of the 50th anniversary of Singapore’s independence, I and about fifteen other bloggers were about to participate in a cooking class with the top chefs of Singapore.

Bloggers observing chef Justin Quek of Sky 57 making crab vermicelli in a light ginger broth.

Bloggers observing chef Justin Quek of Sky on 57 making crab vermicelli in a light ginger broth.

I guess if I read any of the promotional material before arriving I would have known that a ton of crab was in store. After all, the name of the event was The Singapore Crab Throwdown! I’ve never eaten four crab dishes before noon, but I’m not complaining.

The morning started out with Wayne Liew, head chef of Keng Eng Kee, going over the basic flavors of the traditional cuisine and making us some spicy, sweet and sour chili crab.

Next up, Salted Egg Yolk Crab, which sounds less than appetizing but was one of the most unique and delightful flavors I’ve ever had. Wayne told us that they ferment the yolk in salt and then add cream and some other secret ingredients to make what I would call a umamified version of hollandaise sauce.

Crab makes me happy :)

Crab makes me happy :)

After a short break to wash our crabby hands, Justin Quek of Sky on 57 took over. Justin showed us how quality ingredients (you have to make your own broth) and the right proportions, can make an elegant, simple and divine soup. I find ginger an obnoxious overwhelming flavor, but Justin’s ginger broth was so gentle it changed my mind on ginger forever!

We finished with a dish on the other end of the spectrum: the bold Wok Fried Black Pepper Crab with Lobster. Those strong flavors stayed with me for the rest of the day – and again, I’m not complaining :)

The chefs were so sweet and humble even though they are profoundly accomplished and internationally renowned. I loved getting to taste how the same main ingredient can be prepared with wildly different flavors. I left desperately wanting to visit Singapore and continuing this culinary tour of the senses.

If you’re in New York, there are still a few more events you can check out. As part of Singapore restaurant week, many popular restaurants are adding special Singaporean-inspired dishes to their menu. For instance, Shake Shack has a Singapore milkshake, The Meatball Shop is offering a Singapore meatball, and Bergdorf and Goodman is hosting a Singaporean feast. For more info on the events, click here.


I left feeling like a super star!

32 things I love about Mike Sayre

20150905_013013I cannot believe I met my husband when he was a mere 24 years old. Over the past seven years, I’ve been privy to some of the amazing traits that make him so special. On this day we celebrate his birth, I would like to share one thing I love about him for each year of his life.

  1. A few years ago Mike decided he wanted to learn how to play piano and guitar. He’s been practicing every single day since then, and there were some rough patches, but now he can play beautifully, and I find that level of determination inspiring.
  2. Mike always knows how to get where he wants to go. In the forest, he knows how to use a compass and in the concrete jungle, he remembers to get the address of the place we’re going. I would still be lost without his help.
  3. He’s so patient and loving. For five days in a row, our cat peed in our bed. We spent so much money and time at the laundromat, and I was at my wit’s end. When I got to the point where I was ready to give her away, Mike decided that she was begging for attention, so he started cuddling with her more often and giving her catnip. She hasn’t peed since.
  4. Mike is the biggest advocate of following your dreams. When he meets someone who doesn’t seem satisfied with their work, he becomes obsessed with trying to help them to find what they love to do.
  5. On that note, he’s the one who encouraged me to start the Heso project.
  6. IMG_20141028_211839He’s an incredible musician. Not only is he a classically trained French Horn player, but he also composes music for film and television. Here’s a small sample of his music.
  7. He’s an utter goofball. There’s this one dance he does around the house that cracks him up, and once he starts he can’t stop.
  8. Mid-sentence, he’ll stop what he’s doing to write down an idea for a song.
  9. Cindy Crawford has nothing on the cute little mole Mike has on his left cheek.
  10. For the past six months, he’s been competing with me to get more twitter followers. We both can’t stand Twitter, but we realize it’s necessary for our careers, so it’s been good motivation to stay active on that platform. As you can see, I’m kicking his butt! Here’s mine and here’s his, if you want to go and even the score.
  11. He gets along with my friends, and he reminds me to reach out to my friends when I’m being an anti-social homebody.
  12. On our third date, Mike let me cut his hair, and he continues to let me experiment on his beautiful, golden waves.
  13. When it’s his turn to cook, he finds the most elaborate recipe to cook. It’s never just pasta with him.2014-09-12 00.26.18
  14. He can sing the entire soundtrack to Jesus Christ Superstar, Chess, and Les Miserables.
  15. He has great legs. When I point this out to him, he’ll point his toes and say “Oh these old things?”
  16. He is always pushing himself to do better. The man is seriously motivated.
  17. He gives the best feedback on my writing. If something’s not working, I can rely on him to give me his honest opinion.
  18. Mike is colorblind and sometimes has a hard time accepting that. It’s always amusing when he mixes up his colors or picks out an outfit that clashes.
  19. Whenever I rub his shoulders, he makes a sound like he’s never been massaged before in his life, and he can’t believe it feels so good.
  20. He is a chocolate chip fiend. Seriously you can’t leave him alone with those cookies.
  21. He gave me the gift of health. Last January, I told him I wished I could run again, but my knee hurt too much. He patiently coached me, and I went from running one minute at a time to running for six miles straight! I’ve never felt better, and my knee is all better. Best gift he ever gave me :)
  22. People seem to think that Bernie Sanders came out of nowhere, but Mike has been watching C-SPAN for years just to hear Bernie speak.
  23. For some reason, he’s crazy about stripes on clothes. Whenever I wear something with stripes on it, he says “stripies!” like a little kid.
  24. Sometimes I overhear him meowing at the cats. He’ll start laughing and then come to me and say one of the cats just said the darndest thing. I repeat, goofball.WW105
  25. He says, “nunya” (short for none of your business) when I ask him what he’s doing. Even when he’s being a child it’s kind of cute.
  26. He’s been by my side through every Writers Work Conference and keeps me going when I want to quit.
  27. If I tell him something’s important to me, he’ll try it out and be open-minded. Six years ago, he trusted me and took The Living Course, and that means the world to me.
  28. He’s always researching the best way to do everything and the best products. If he recommends a phone to buy I’m certain that it’s the best.
  29. He could live off of pita bread for days, which makes #13 even more special.
  30. He’s an incredible poet and songwriter. He has unique perspectives and a sensitive outlook on the world.
  31. He’ll wear one pair of shoes until the soles disintegrate.
  32. He’s the most loving, kind, creative, handsome, smart, funny, romantic man I know!

How much does your t-shirt cost?

They’re lucky to have jobs.

This is what employers said about indentured servants in the 18th century.

It’s what Robber Barons said about young children and poor people during the Industrial Revolution.

It’s also what people have been saying for years to justify sweatshops.

But the economy will crash.

This is what plantation owners said when abolitionism was first suggested.

It’s what people say now to argue for the mindless consumption of goods to support capitalism.

There is always an economic argument for abusing poor people. But every advancement in humanity and civility took place because people put their values before their bank accounts. Imagine what it would be like to work in the United States if we didn’t have the labor movement, or if slavery still existed. Our lives would be a lot like sweatshop workers in Bangladesh and Cambodia.

I recently watched a documentary that made it clear how unchecked capitalism, spiritual emptiness, corporate greed, climate change, workers rights, and globalism can all be wrapped up in the story of a t-shirt.

I urge you to watch The True Cost and tell me what you think about it. It’s available on Netflix or you can rent it through their website. I’m ready to stop being an ignorant shopper. I’m ready to quit thinking about the money I’m saving at the expense of others. I’m ready to account fo the true cost. Are you?

trash dump

One of the costs of disposable clothing: landfills of last month’s fashion.


One of the costs of disposable clothing: women living their lives in factories, working 70 hours a week and still unable to provide for their children.


Directly after getting back from West Virginia, I stopped at my apartment to say hi to my kitties and then boarded a flight to Santa Fe.

I arrived in Santa Fe with one mission in mind, to work with my great friend on her wonderful screenplay.


Friends that write together stay together!

I remember when I started this blog I had trouble with the career advice: “figure out how to get paid doing what you love to do.” As I was writing on the porch of my friend’s stunning Santa Fe house, overlooking the mountains and breathing in the juniper-scented air, I thought, ok I figured it out.


Soaking up some sun while coming up with ideas.

Jetlag was working in my favor, so I got to see the stunning sunrises almost every day. Here are some of my favorites:

But don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all work:

After this summer, I feel like I took huge leaps towards the writing career I want. Sorry to still be so secretive about the details, but I hope to be able to talk more about soon!

From West Virginia to Santa Fe (Part 1)

This Summer I had the great opportunity to taking my laptop on the road.

I love living in NYC, but Mike and I really wanted to switch it up this summer and get as far away from the city. We really needed concentrated quiet time to focus on our writing projects.


On our way to Durbin, West Virginia!

We used AirBnB to rent this gigantic house in Durbin, West Virginia for two weeks. I couldn’t believe how nice the house was for the price we paid ($50 a day!). If you have no clue what AirBnB is, it’s a way of renting a room or a house from individuals and it’s typically much cheaper and much more unique than staying at a hotel or BnB. If you want to try it out, let me know and I’ll send you a $25 off coupon :)


Our beautiful home for two weeks!

The house came complete with a banjo, which we played on the porch every night. The porch was also home to the feistiest hummingbirds I’ve ever seen. Throughout the two weeks, friends and family came to stay the night, and we got to see more of West Virginia, including a hike to Seneca Rocks, a ride on the historic steam train, and a rafting trip down the New River Gorge. All in all, if I had to choose one word to describe West Virginia, it would be “green.”

But most importantly, I got to write!


My writing home for the two weeks.

Every morning I wrote for four blessed hours, and then, after lunch, I wrote for another four blessed hours! Since we were right by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, there were no cell phone towers, so I didn’t have any distractions. Well… except for this:


The hungry stray cat we adopted for two weeks. We named him Squeaks.

I got to finish the second draft of my screenplay while I was there!

Now I’m putting my screenplay aside for three weeks so I gain some objectivity, and moving on to work with my friend on her screenplay. Which brings me to Santa Fe.

But not so fast. You’ll have to wait until my next post for the some of the most beautiful sunrise pictures.

Stop using this word

Are your thoughts bringing you down without you even knowing it?

Yesterday, for the first time ever, I was able to run for three miles without stopping on any of the major hills. As I was running, I thought “wow, I’m really surprised I could do that.”

On this run, I was also thinking about how surprised I was to make a profit from the writing conference I’m organizing and hosting (Next Saturday!!!).

That’s when I realized how much I use the word surprised. Using that word subconsciously implies that:

1. I didn’t think I was capable of that action, i.e. reveals low self-regard.

2. That it was a miraculous occurrence that had nothing to do with hard work and dedication.

Why not use the word impressed instead?

I was impressed that I was able to run up hills without stopping. I was impressed that my conference is a financial success.

Using the word impressed celebrates the hard work and success and implies respect and admiration for yourself.

It’s a small tweak, but it’s worth the effort. Words have meanings beyond their definitions. They reveal what we actually think about ourselves and the world. If said enough, they can change how we feel. Gandhi said it best:Gandhi

Today I challenge you to really dissect your self-talk and see if there are any words that are bringing you down. I’d love to hear which words you come up with, what you realize about them, and which word you are going to replace it with.

How writing conference organizers embarrass themselves


Here are a few words from one of my speakers at the upcoming June 27 conference. If anyone is thinking of a freelance writing career, or looking for ways to boost their career, you should definitely come and hear her talk.!

Originally posted on April Greene:

By asking me to speak!

Oh, I joke. I’m really hoping to not embarrass my friend and fellow writer Tracy Sayre at her next awesome Writers Work conference, coming up on Saturday, June 27 in Manhattan.

Her excellent conferences provide newb and experienced writers alike with opportunities to network, hear useful advice from interesting speakers, and sometimes even take a few minutes to write on the fly and share what happens.

I’m super touched that Tracy asked me to hold court on the topic “How to Pay the Rent with Your Writing”—something I suppose I have been managing to do for a while! Now, I just have to think of what to say…

There are still a handful of tickets left as I type this. Git yer hands on ’em now and I’ll see you there!


Writers Work

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You are the solution

Two years ago I was browsing the internet trying to find a solution. I had hit a wall with my writing. I needed to meet other writers who knew what I was going through. I needed to meet agents and editors who could help advance my career. I needed to get inspired and motivated. A writers conference was exactly what I needed.

After researching several writer’s conferences, I realized a loan was actually what I needed. Most of them were upwards of $500. Plus, when I read the reviews people complained that the conferences were too crowded and the guests left feeling overwhelmed and even more anonymous.

That’s when it hit me.

I already had a lot of connections with the publishing world and I already knew lots of writers. What was to stop me from creating the exact conference I wanted to attend? Nothing!

So often we look for solutions outside of ourselves, ignoring our own resources and abilities. We forget that everything out there, everything that is well established and perhaps intimidating, started out as some person’s crazy idea. The only difference between a crazy idea and an established event is action and time.

Cut to the present moment. I am now gearing up for my third conference for writers. It’s small-scale (under 50 people), affordable ( $115-$160), and, most importantly, inspiring. I created exactly what I needed and I’m helping other writers in the process.

I’m not going to lie it’s been extremely difficult. I spend hours contacting potential speakers, putting together the perfect schedule, researching venues, promoting the event, preparing all the materials, and hosting. I spend countless hours on each conference and I’m still not breaking even. BUT it’s worth it when I get messages like this from former guests:

IMG_3217“This was the BEST writing workshop ever! It learned so much!”
“A fabulous, relaxing, well-organized event for inspiring, connecting and educating aspiring authors.”
“A meeting of writers and aspiring writers with meaningful speakers and opportunities to mingle and network. I felt invigorated and inspired by the day.”

Sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is give what you need to others. Never underestimate the tools you already have!

***If you are a writer in the NYC area, I’d love to see you at my next conference on Saturday, June 27. Use this link for 10% off! Please share this with any writers you know. For more info, check out my website.***

Purple Hair (Part 2) the reveal

Apparently I chose a color that’s on trend and impossible to find. I wanted a look that went from black to dark violet to silvery lavender. The fist beauty supply store didn’t have the colors and told us to go to Wigs and Plus to get the lavender dye. Ashley, ever the trooper, made the trek only to find out they have been sold out of lavender for three months. While searching high and low for this dye, Ashley ended up running into the actual Ricky of Ricky’s NYC, a specialty beauty supply store that’s awesome. He told her there was no way she’d ever find lavender dye and gave her the recipe for making it (3oz of clear dye, 1 oz of pink and a drop of violet dye).

So yesterday we got started on the purple ombre!


I washed out the dye and started styling. I love how it came out! Mermaid hair!!!

Now that it’s done I have no idea why I waited so long. A HUGE thank you to Ashley for your time, encouragement, and artistry!