Jana Says

Living life from cover to cover

Tag Archive: writing

This week in: Traveling, Baking, Celebrating, and more

I’d start off this week’s recap by mentioning the snow, or lack thereof, but that seems like it’s all been done to death this week so instead, let’s just jump right in and see what happened This Week in Jana’s Life.

this week

This week in reading…Still working through The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace. When that’s done, I’ll move on to All the Bright Places because my library actually has one copy!!! In other news, I’ve checked out The Goldfinch for the 9204723th time and I still have yet to read it. I think I need to surrender the fantasy on this one. 

This week in being an adult…I made an appointment with a GI doctor to deal with some issues that have been plaguing me for a long, long time. Longer than I should admit. But I put on my big girl panties and made the appointment. It means I have to postpone my haircut but hell, that’s waited long enough. What’s a few more days?

This week in travel planning…In addition to our big trip to Disney in April, I’m planning some short day trips to get me through the spring. Living in Delaware doesn’t have many advantages outside of tax free shopping but one perk is the proximity to 4 major cities (plus the beach). In less than 2 hours, I can get to Philly, Baltimore, DC, and NYC. I’m actually taking advantage of this in the upcoming months.

This week in celebrating…We’re headed to Long Island on Saturday to celebrate my dad’s birthday (1/28) and my nephew’s (2/1). Plus, I get to see my grandmother who is finally moving back up to NY from Florida! There might also be a surprise addition if time permits. Stay tuned on Instagram for that. (It’s not a new pet. Although I want one because I want all the dogs).

This week in TV watching…Guys, the final season of Parks and Rec is both awesome and making me so sad. I don’t watch many comedies besides this one, Mom, and Big Bang and I can’t not have any on my viewing schedule. Suggestions?

This week in being annoyed by Buzzfeed…Hey, Buzzfeed! Enough with the Harry Potter shit. Also Friends. We get it. You like it. But enough already.

This week in wishing I had more money…I found out Rush and Billy Joel will be performing in Philly this summer. They’re two of my favorites and I’ve seen them before but they’re old and I don’t know how much longer they’ll be around so I feel like I need to go see them now except I really can’t afford to. 

This week in writing…My book is getting there! I’ve managed to condense two half started stories into one longer one and I’m working through making it a little more cohesive. Once that’s done, I can work on the second half which is mostly mapped out in my head. When this draft is done, I’m going to need proofreaders and people who are willing to give me honest feedback, even if it hurts my feelings (trust when I say nothing you can say to me will be worse than I say to myself). Anyone interested?

This week in laughing…If you follow me on Instagram, you saw the picture of my daughter’s math homework and you know why this is funny:


This week in bakingNadine gave her recipe for peanut butter cookies. Because peanut butter is basically one of the best foods ever, and because I mentioned this recipe to her, here’s a recipe for peanut butter cheesecake balls (I can’t remember where I found it originally):

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Balls


  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I suggest using regular creamy, or the fake natural stuff from Skippy or Jif or whatever brand you prefer. The actual natural peanut butter doesn’t work right in recipes)
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (full fat, of course)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • Chocolate chips (I don’t measure these. I just dump a whole bunch in until I decide it’s enough)


  1. Mix together peanut butter, cream cheese, and sugar. I found using a hand mixer did a fine job. Probably too much for a regular spoon. This stuff is thick.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips.
  3. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Take mixture out of fridge, roll into balls. Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Eat.

The original recipe called for them to be coated in melted chocolate but that just seemed like too much effort and way too messy so I skipped that part. Didn’t matter, though, because my family ate them like I’ve been forbidden from ever making them again.

That’s all, folks! Have a great weekend and I’ll see you back here on Monday or Tuesday (still trying to work out a good blogging schedule). Enjoy the Super Bowl! Or the commercials! Or just the food!

resized signature 2

Simplifying in December

GoalSettingLinkupThird month of Choose Your Own Adventure challenge is in the books. And I’m pleased to report, it mostly went well.

So that’s good.

As a refresher, I focused on organizing three areas of my house, with a plan to work on my Pinterest boards as well (you can read the full post if you want). With regard to Pinterest, I did eliminate some pins and boards, but I’ve decided this is a work in progress. There’s just too much in there to have dealt with all in one month. I’m hoping to have this all done by January as long as I can follow my new rule of one pin in, one pin out. 

With regard to the three areas of my house I wanted to organize this month–my living room table, my front entrance closet, and my daugther’s homework station–I got it all done. I only remembered to take a before picture of the homework station so forgive me for the lack of complete details.

Here’s the results. I’ve highlighted all the things I used to complete the challenge and I only needed to spend $1 (on the crayon caddy) to do it. Everything else was taken repurposed from another part of the house. Not pictured are the trash bag of coats and shoes for Goodwill and the mountain of paper tossed into recycling. I apologize for my shitty photography and also the puke green color of my wall. I hate it and haven’t yet picked a new color to replace it.

Organizing results


The theme for December is simplify. I like this and I actually got an inadvertent head start when my husband and I decided that our daughter would have a choice–a big birthday party again or just a few friends for a sleepover and then a family activity of her choosing on her actual birthday (which is a Saturday so that makes for easy planning). She chose the sleepover. And this is awesome because her friends are great kids, mostly well behaved (two of them are sisters from a set of triplets; the third is a boy and is definitely not invited), and they all get along. They’ll be at my house around 8 so it’s cupcakes and snacks. I’m not even buying crafts for them to do. They’re creative. We have Frozen. It’s easy, cheap, and I don’t have to put on pants. Simplified birthday FTW!

I felt like I needed to come up with something else to simplify because I had the birthday thing already planned and settled before this theme was announced and using it as the only challenge seems like cheating. It proved to be harder than I anticipated. I’m not really one to make things complicated. I’m pretty good at keeping things simplified. I know my limits, don’t pack my schedule, am good at saying no to things I don’t want to do (unless it involves my family), and clutter makes me anxious. This list had some great ideas to focus on except I already do a whole bunch of them. Christmas Eve is just the three of us and we have our simple traditions down to a science. 

So I got stuck.

Then I started looking around and I realized I can simplify my blogging life. I have no fewer than 6 notebooks full of ideas and two planners I’m working from. It’s very easy to get confused. If I can consolidate all of that, and perhaps start using some automated tools and an editorial planner, I can focus on other blogging stuff and my two(!) new projects for 2015. So that’s my focus. Simply blogging tasks. 

Are you guys participating in the simplify challenge? What are you focusing on?


resized signature 2



P.S. Don’t forget to enter my Amazon gift card giveaway if you haven’t already!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Confession: My big, scary goal

According to my blog planner, I was supposed to start my cheer mom series today. However, my blog planner is sort of turning into a speed limit sign; it’s a guideline rather than an absolute. So instead of starting the series today, I’m going to backtrack to a post I’ve had in draft for awhile and confess something that makes me nervous.

One of the tasks from the Intentional Blogging Challenge I quasi-participated in last month was vulnerability. To confess something. That’s not really a problem for me since I’m all about sharing my weaknesses and imperfections and what I’m learning as I muddle through my daily life, trying to figure it all out. However. There’s one thing that I’ve leaked out in drips and drabs but I’ve never fully explained.

That thing is my big, hairy, scary goal. What I’ve been dreaming about since second grade when my teacher was shocked by the fact that, at 7, I knew how to properly use an ellipses.


That goal? To write a book that’s published in paper and is available for sale in real, brick and mortar bookstores (what’s left of them, anyway).

But it’s so much more than that. 

I want a literary agent. I want a PR agent. Basically, I want “people”.

I want my books to be on the New York Times bestseller list.

I want at least one of my books to be developed into a movie.

I want a multi-book deal with a traditional publishing house.

I want to do a multi-city book tour (and I have all the cities picked out, too, so really, it’s all about having the book to sell since I make a great travel planner. See, agents? Part of your job is done for you).

I want to have TV appearances (I think. I’m not 100% committed to this one yet. But it is a reason why I’m working so hard to lose weight. Need to look good on camera). 

I want to reply “I’m a writer” when people ask me what I do for a living (I’m mean, technically I can tell people that but I’d like to have a paycheck to back it up).

I want to finally achieve the goal I set for myself all those years ago so I can tell that little girl “we did it”. She had big dreams back then. It’s up to me to honor them so if I ever have a time machine, I can go back and tell her that no matter how she feels, she shouldn’t quit (unless older me meeting second grade me causes some weird sort of Back to the Future/space-time continuum rift in which case, second grade me is shit out of luck and she’s on her own until she’s 37).

Now that I can admit my goal, I can stop hiding behind it and being evasive about it, it’s time to actually start working towards it (this is the part where I get stuck and all the terrible voices start talking to me, convincing me I shouldn’t do bother, so I clearly need to work through this, too). goals 2Because I know that none of this will fall into my lap. Much as I’d like, the outlook does not look good that I’ll have a post go viral and come to the minds and eyes of all the people who can help me make my dream come true. Nope. Instead I need to rely on my own discipline, hard work, commitment, and the little bit of talent I have. 

Basically, it’s up to me. And I have a ton of work ahead of me. 

But I have a list. I have tasks, short term goals, things to do, people to connect with, and a whole lot of time I need to put in to make this happen.

I’ll do it, though.

It’s too important not to. 

If I can just get out of my own way.

Do you guys have a big, scary goal? What is it? Is there anything I can do to help you achieve it?

resized signature 2


Linking up with Liz

The Hump Day Blog Hop

July goals and June goals recap

Remember when I posted my June goals? It seems like yesterday but really, it was a whole month ago. And in that 28 days, I did, well, pretty much nothing. Maybe not nothing but not really a whole lot either. Because this is kind of how I felt:


Let’s assess.

  1. Lose weight. My fat ass has a whole lot of pounds to lose and I did lose a couple of them this month. Not exactly sure how much because you know all that bloat and nonsense you carry around when you’re getting your period? Yeah, it made my end of the month weigh in depressing and probably inaccurate. So, I guess I can say I accomplished this one but not sure how well I accomplished it.
  2. Work on the couch 2 5k. Not quite up to the whole 5k but almost. Finishing up week 7 and I have to keep repeating days as I refuse to allow myself to move on until I can do a whole run without stopping and 25 straight minutes is HARD, y’all. We’ll call this goal accomplished but with prejudice.
  3. Essential oils. I did a ton of research and narrowed down the areas I’m going to use them in (insect repellent, aromatherapy-type stuff, and cleaning products) but I didn’t buy any. I can’t figure out which ones are good, which ones are bad, and honestly, they’re kind of an expensive commitment and I don’t want to pick the wrong ones. We’ll also call this one accomplished but with prejudice.
  4. Crochet potholder. Fuck crocheting. I’m done. I gave up spending any time and energy on something I just cannot do. Maybe I’ll try to find a different project as far as crocheting goes but a potholder or blanket or anything like that can seriously suck it. Failed this one with pride.
  5. Sew pillowcase. No excuse on this one except lack of planning. I could have made time to do it but didn’t. I need to get better with my schedule. Failed this with shame.

Alright, now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to July. I don’t think I’ll be too ambitious because summer is in full swing and with my daughter home, it makes it a bit more difficult to work on time consuming projects. And rather than set myself up for failure, I’ll just back off the ambition. 

  1. Lose weight. Same as last month, and probably a staple until I get to my goal weight. So let’s plan on this one as a staple goal for awhile.
  2. Complete couch 2 5k and run the race. The husband and I signed up for a 5k on July 19 and my goal is just to survive it. Because clearly I hate myself and purposefully sign up for my first race. In July.
  3. Bring back Pinterest project Tuesday. You know all those pins I have? I should probably actually do some of them. Then I can share what I did and amuse you all with my failures. Also, it’s a good way to keep my daughter busy.
  4. Outline my novel. I have long had a dream of being a published author, with my book sold in bookstores and doing a book tour and all that jazz. That’s not going to happen if I don’t write a book. But I have an idea. I just need to fine tune it and get writing.
  5. Host a linkup. I have this idea for a linkup (well, two actually but I’ll save one for August) and I want to roll it out. The premise is “Notes to My Teenage Self” and the idea is to write a letter to yourself at any age in your teen years about any topic you want–body image, money, career, friendships, relationships, etc. But it gets better! Then I want to take all your posts and compile them into an eBook. It’ll be available for free and first and then I’ll set a price, with proceeds donated to a charity TBD.
     notes buttonThat’s all she wrote for my July goals. Completely doable and I’m hoping to be able to write “accomplished” next to all of these in August!