The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Friday, September 16, 2016

One of Our Favorite Primal Recipes

I just did a blog post about our fitness journey and how we've begun to Primal eating style as created and explained by Mark Sisson at Mark's Daily Apple.

As I sit here munching on a primal energy bar, I thought I should share this recipe with the world. Deek and I are CRAZY over it! Just this morning, we fake argued over them. We only had four slivers left, and wanting to be a generous wife to my overly generous husband, I offered him all four. He said he wanted to leave me some because we love them so much. I insisted. He insisted. Finally, he took two out and put them in a bag for him and left me the other too. That man is just beyond thoughtful!


Here's the original recipe from Mark's site: Primal Energy Bars

But Deek and I have made some modifications, so here's our recipe:

Deek and Erin's Modified Primal Energy Bars

Ingredients: (We usually double the recipe)
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Omega Trek Mix (I pick out the cranberries--they mess up the flow of the food)
1/2 cup Trader Joe's crushed pecans
1 scoop of Warrior Blend chocolate protein powder (I'm allergic to milk and soy)
1/4 cup homemade cashew butter
1/4 cup Trader Joe's coconut oil 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Pour nuts into a food processor. Pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground.
  2. On a cookie sheet, toast nuts until golden brown. I set the oven to 350 and let them toast for about 10 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and coconut butter. I do 30 seconds for 1 batch and 45 seconds for a double batch. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add protein powder. Mix thoroughly. Fold in nut mixture and mix.
  6. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour mixture onto that.
  7. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
  8. Cut into squares or strips.
  9. Enjoy! If you don't plan to eat immediately, put them in a sealed container and keep in the refrigerator. 
If you drink black coffee, I recommend taking a bite of primal energy bar then taking a sip of coffee. Your mind will be blown! Holy wow!

If you're looking for a non-dairy, non-soy, or vegan alternative to standard protein powder, one with the appropriate balance of amino acids, I recommend this one. My former trainer, Leo, had me bring in nearly every kind of non-dairy protein powder on the market, and he gave a big ole "no" to every single one of them except this one. He said only Warrior Blend had the right balance for muscle development. That worked for me because of all the ones I tried, I liked the flavor of this one the best. Oh, and I just had to reorder and discovered it qualifies for Amazon's 1 Day Free Shipping for Prime Members!! WOOT!

And since you've probably often seen me in photos with my "Pizza is Life" shirt, here's a primal idea to be able to nosh on your much loved pizza!

The Friday night favorite at our house!

Do you have primal recipes you enjoy? If so, I'd love to hear them! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Truth About Diet, Food, and Exercise

If you've read my bio, you know I used to be a fitness trainer. More specifically, I trained runners. And I was a runner. <cue sound of record scratching> Did I just say "was a runner?" Did you read that right? Yep and yep. So, let me just put this out there. I'm not writing this blog to be all "this is what you should do" and "this is what you shouldn't do," but instead, I'd like to be open and lay out my journey in hopes it will help or inspire others.

I think I would describe my shape as an "upside down funnel." I have small shoulders and a lean torso, but man do things balloon out at the bottom. My grandmother, who is a twin, says I have "twinning hips." LOL! I played a lot of sports in my youth, particularly soccer, so I have large quadricep muscles. Basically, the bottom half of me is out of alignment (in my opinion) with the top half.
Me as a teenager with a artist who painted Gone with the Wind portraits.
Excuse the quality of my parents' old camera. LOL!

I had a very dark period in my life, and during that time, I watched what I ate and exercised a lot. I could control my food when aspects of my life were out of control. And I could exercise to relieve stress and escape. During that time, I was super fit. I began running, and soon, I began training runners as well. I took up boxing, kickboxing, and lifting for cross-training.

First place! WOOT! 
(Notice how my smiles are often forced unless I'm with friends or special family members, and sometimes even then. This is part of the dark period. BUT you'll notice a BIG change in the genuineness of my smile when Deek enters my life)

My running partner and soul sister, Dawn. She's also a Dream Team member!

Ninja mud run with my girlies!


More cross-training

Once, prior to deciding to run half marathons, I tried this diet called Primal from Mark's Daily Apple. I felt amazing eating that way. My body really responded to the higher fat, lower carb idea, and I thrived physically. But I had to stop that eating plan in order to run longer.

Super slim on the Primal eating plan

As a long distance runner, I learned bad habits. Since I'm so small, I burn my entire daily caloric intake during a 10+ mile run. I tried to do it the right way--eating healthy foods after my runs--but I just couldn't consume enough calories to make up for the deficit. I'd get sick, shake, or feel like passing out (and that's with consuming Gatorade and gels during the run). It got so bad, I even went to see a nutritionist. But nothing worked...until I discovered the secret. Post-run, I'd eat a bowl of EnviroKidz Koala Crisps (yes, I ate kids' cereal; it's good) with chocolate coconut milk. After my shower, I'd have half of a large pizza and a 24oz Coke. Only then did I not feel like passing out. Sounds great, right? The only problem was, I was eating pizza and drinking Coke! And I got used to eating that way...

Half marathon with my bestie (aka: "twin") from high school

Thankfully, the dark period came to an end, but with that came lots of new stresses. Instead of eating right, I turned to food for comfort. I stopped exercising as much, but I kept eating like someone who ran and trained a lot. Pizza, Coke, Wendy's Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers comprised way too much of my diet.

Fries... Man, do I love fries.

And I continued to eat that way for quite a while, without any repercussions because I'd been so fit beforehand. Then, Deek and I decided to start dating, and a bright, happy light shined in my life. I wanted to get back into better shape (Deek was super into fitness and very buff).

Deek at the gym with his very serious trainer! 

Soon, Deek spent half of his time on one coast and half of his time on the other, and we knew that wouldn't work for much longer. So, we decided I would move to the Pacific Northwest with him for a while and then he would move back to the South with me for a while. I ran my last half marathon in March 2014, packed up, and moved across the country to live with Deek.

Last half marathon
Everything is awesome, except running 13.1 miles in the pouring, freezing rain!

For the first time, I was truly happy. So you'd think my eating would improve, right? Well, Deek and I started doing what we call "happy eating." LOL! We ate *because* we were happy. Yes, we worked out together too, but we had trouble establishing a good workout routine because we moved, sold houses, and traveled back and forth across the country several times. Just when we'd get on a good fitness/eating roll, it would be time to take the train across the country to the South for a month. Let me tell ya, that really messes up those good habits!

Panda Express

Yep, more Wendy's


But we did some running and lifting and a lot of hiking and adventuring.

Kiss before our run

Deek ran is first official 5k race

Weight training

But despite the workouts, the pounds crept up on both of us, thanks to our bad eating habits. When we moved back to the South, we vowed to get those pounds off. After a few stutter-starts, I'm pleased to say we've FINALLY figured out an eating and workout routine that has consistently slimmed us down! We returned to that eating style which had worked so well for me in the past, Primal

Drinking my protein shake

We eat higher fat, lower carb meals. It takes some planning, but we're both committed to it. I'm so grateful that Deek's not one of those guys who thinks cooking is a "woman's job." We do it together, and we can get the meals made so much faster because of it. And we've found ways to work in some of our favorite foods!

Meatsa! Crust is made from ground chicken. Oh, so good!

The exercise program is straightforward and easy to do. We focus a lot on bodyweight training, and we sprint once a week (tabatas). Boy, do we hate tabatas, but they're great for us! And we walk...a lot.

We found a pedestrian bridge in the South. How very Pacific Northwest!

And guess what? The pounds are falling off. We're losing weight, eating in a way that works for our bodies, and getting/feeling fit. We have energy to do what we want to do and aren't limited by the extra weight. In fact, we just had an epic date weekend where we went ziplining over a waterfall. This course required a good amount of upper and lower body strength, and we completed it like a boss.

Headed out to zipline! 
(Note the genuine, big, goofy grin my handsome husband puts on my face!!)

I'm not one of those people who believes every diet is a one-size-fits-all. I've tried my fair share of ones that worked for other people but didn't work for me (NutriSystem, Weight Watchers, SlimFast, counting calories). I am hypothyroid, so the calories in/calories out methodology is pure bunk for me. I have to eat an endocrine based diet (diabetic, South Beach, paleo, primal), or I will not see any results. I also have a protein based body, meaning I run best on protein and fat instead of carbs. Carbs leave me feeling immediately hungry, shaky, and unsatisfied. 

Me after tabatas, but it's also how carbs make me feel. LOL!

And I'm done running. I no longer need to go for a long run to destress or escape. I'm insanely happy with my life. And I'm convinced that running, ironically, started me down this path which led to weight gain. I was always hungry and ate more as a result. With bodyweight training and sprints, my hunger stays in check while my heart and muscles get the necessary workout.

Chillin' on da porch with our protein shakes after a workout

And I can fit into my old clothes again.
(Deek kept taking pics of me during our date--to a primal friendly place--and telling me how beautiful he thinks I am. #LuckyGirl)

I'm thankful to have a partner who works with me on fitness and exercise goals. He's my true partner in every aspect of life, and he puts the smile on my face and the skip in my step. I adore him more than words can ever express! I'm thankful to be on this fitness journey and this life journey with such an amazing man!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Leaving the Rat Race

I've been thinking lately that our lifestyle must really make some people scratch their heads. At our age, we're supposed to be chasing the next big thing--a bigger house, flashier cars, more stuff, all the "things" people are "supposed" to want. But Deek and I have gone in the opposite direction. We've gotten out of the rat race. And I'm sure people wonder, "Can they really be happy?"

Well, here's the honest to goodness truth: yes.

Deek and me exploring our town

What a complete and total relief to not reach for the next thing. What a joy to just BE present in this moment, to be thankful for what we have and enjoy the freedom our life provides.

I honestly wasn't sure how I'd feel about living in an apartment. We went from owning a home to renting a home to renting a town home to now renting an apartment. (Side note: We LOVE renting. I know it doesn't have tax benefits, yada yada, but there's freedom. If there's a problem, someone else fixes it and pays for it. We just have to arrange the time for the workmen to come.) But I've found I really like apartment life. I'm an extrovert, so I don't mind the noises from upstairs or the throngs of other people who live here. Our neighbors are super great in that they're quiet, polite, and respectful.

I also adore the amenities we have here: a saltwater pool, free Starbucks 24/7, a state-of-the-art gym, free breakfast on Tuesday mornings, walking trails all over the place, and we're within walking distance of Trader Joe's (which may or may not be a good thing for the wallet--LOL). Also, the complex is super cool about letting you personalize. We're allowed to paint the apartment and screen in the porch. Deek screened in our porch last weekend, and I've literally been out there every day to sit, drink coffee, and enjoy the sounds of summer.

Coffee and reading poolside!

Views from the screened in porch

Oh look, I'm there...again!

Deek and I still have one car and don't have plans to get another one anytime soon. I get up early and take him to work and then pick him up in the evenings. It affords us extra time together (not that the commute is long--we picked this apartment specifically because it's super close to his work), and he's close enough that we can go for a walk or have lunch together most days.

Look what we saw on our latest walk around the lake at his work!

When we moved, we could only take what we could fit in a small 6x12 UHaul trailer. It sounds big, but when you put stuff in it, it's not. So, we sold or gave away a whole lot of our possessions. And you know what? We don't miss those items. Instead, it's freeing. When we got the apartment, we only bought a few items, but overall, we have a very small amount of "things." And I love it. The apartment looks spacious, it's a cinch to clean, and we aren't inundated with junk.

Of course, we had to keep our favorite works of literature! ;) 

My dad is a realtor, and he said the trend of late is to scale back. Renting is becoming as popular (and in some areas, more popular) than buying. More and more people are getting out of the rat race. They're seeing the benefit in stepping back and living a simpler life. 

If Deek and I elect to buy a house, it will only be as an investment for our future vagabond lifestyle plans. But we both dread the thought. If we get a house, we'll actually have to start making our own coffee again (the horror)! LOL! But seriously, it's amazing to be able to spend our time and money on things we want to instead of things we have to. 

This weekend, we had a lazy weekend (I think we're still exhausted from the move/living in a hotel/job hunting because we STILL haven't felt like adventuring). Deek said, "If we had a house, we might be doing yard work right now, but instead, we're writing and taking selfies with our unamused cat. I love this life!"

Bless Trinna's heart. She puts up with all her humans' antics!

Lazy day hair

I love this life too. I mean, I epically love it. 

And best of all, I get to spend all this free time with my best friend/husband/love/soulmate, Deek! I always have the best time with him! We talk about nothing and everything and laugh... a lot. I'm happier than I ever dreamed I could be. It's all about people, not stuff. That's where the real life is. 


They have pedestrian bridges in the South. How very Portland!

Found some interesting art on one of our walks

Trinna baby loves the relaxed lifestyle too! ;)

So, today, stop what you're frantically doing and take a look at the people in your life. Kiss your significant other and ask him/her how the day went. Spend time reading to your children. Call your mom and/or dad. Be sure to take time every day to show the people in your life just how much they mean to you. The rat race can wait. Relationships can't. 

Until next time, love and laugh out loud! <3

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

She Runs Away Cover Reveal -- Jessica Calla

Today is the cover reveal for She Runs Away by Jessica Calla! It's Book 2 in the Sheridan Hall Series and a follow up story about Ben, whom you may remember from She Laughs In Pink. And stay tuned for a giveaway!!

Let me just say, Jessica is a SUPERB write, and Anita at Racepoint is an SUPERB cover artist. So, when you put the two together...mind blown! Enjoy!

The Cover

TitleShe Runs Away (Sheridan Hall Series, Book 2)
Author: Jessica Calla
Genre: New Adult
Release date: November 15, 2016
PublisherBookFish Books
Cover Artist: Anita Carroll at Race-Point

After tragedy strikes New Jersey University's Sheridan Hall, freshman quarterback Ben Riley’s stable, normal life is turned upside down. Sidelined from playing the game he loves and on the verge of losing his scholarship, Ben wants nothing more than to escape the chaos of college and return home to rural Pennsylvania and his family.

Yet, there’s something that keeps him from running. Or someone. A cute blonde he had a chance with but blew off for all the wrong reasons.

Megan Smith has secrets. Secrets that have burned her in the past. Secrets she’s unwilling to share with anyone at Sheridan Hall—especially Ben, her sexy, rough-around-the-edges floormate who broke her heart in a matter of days after moving into Sheridan. Meg decided early on that it’s easier to live life on her own than to share her secrets and let people in.

Meg runs, and Ben follows. But sooner or later, the clock on their chance at love will expire. With inner demons dragging them both down, they must find a way to stop running and trust one another or risk losing their perfectly matched love forever.
Preorder She Runs Away!

About the Author
Jessica Calla is a contemporary romance and women's fiction author who moonlights during the day as an attorney. If she's not writing, lawyering, or parenting, you'll most likely find her at the movies, scrolling through her Twitter feed, or gulping down various forms of caffeine (sometimes all three at once).

Jessica is a member of Romance Writers of America, involved in the Contemporary, Young Adult, and New Jersey Chapters, and is a member of the Women’s Fiction Writers Association. She recently became the oldest marketing intern ever at BookFish Books, and was named a Young Adult mentor for the FicFest writing contest. A Jersey girl through and through, she resides in the central part of the state with her husband, two sons, and dog.

Find Jessica on Twitter (@jess_calla) or at her website ( She loves to make reader and writer friends.
Author Pic She Laughs in Pink Jessica Calla
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of She Runs Away. One person will win a $25 Amazon gift card!
Here is the link to the rafflecopter giveaway:
Now that we've shared this awesome cover, we can't wait to share the book! See you in November (just in time for Christmas--YAY)!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Guest Post -- Approaching Publication by J.P. Dailing

Today we're taking a break from my constant chatter (LOL!) because I have the pleasure of hosting J.P. Dailing! He is married to author Jennifer Acres, so they're a married writing duo like me and Deek. #Represent!

His novella, Urban Legend, releases soon! Join him as he hosts an awesome Facebook party to celebrate (deets in the post!)!

Approaching Publication
Three 'C's For Managing the Beast

Self-publishing is a voracious, bloodthirsty beast, and don't let anyone tell you different. I love the beasts though. I want to feed them, cuddle with them, and spend my life raising many, many beast-babies. It'll be a fulfilling life, but not an easy one. The beasts will never be domesticated, are near impossible to tame, are vaguely conceivable to house-train, and even simple survival of each one is a victory.

I'm surviving my first beast right now. Urban Legend is a YA urban fantasy novella series where a young teen orphan, Rylee, begins to manifest illegal magic that captures the attention of the heir to one of the ruling houses within the Vampirum and a government agent for the US Department of Mysticism and Metaphysics. The idea for this series has been coalescing for several years, and now it is finally finding life as my debut book. I'm so excited for Urban Legend's release on August 23rd that I am throwing a Facebook Launch Party with giveaways and live streams and a lot of fun in one place.

During the course grappling with the beast, I discovered the three main pillars of my process which can either act as stepping stones if respected or roadblocks if not: Creativity, Consistency, and Community.


The hardest kind of creativity for me isn't coming up with a fresh new story or unique take on a well-loved trope, but getting the stupid manuscript finished. The first draft is hard enough; once the mess is on the page, it is a nightmare that can only be vanquished by the nimblest of wits. "How can I get this character more accessible?" "What can I do to fill this plot hole?" "How can I make these chapters work without tossing two week's worth of work?" "Is there anything I can do make this not horrible?" These kinds of questions raced through my brain every time I sat down do to write and it was ticklish to find ways to hammer down the right answers. Plus if the work isn't hard enough, there are plenty of adulting issues that can crash the party. House-sitting, getting wisdom teeth pulled, and dealing with being rear-ended are a few examples (and all happened to me within the last couple of months). It's like playing 3D sudoku where the result will never come out perfect and is actively trying to murder you with a personal grudge. But the trick is to keep one step ahead and (leading into the next part) keep hacking away.


Consistency in writing is key. The words are not going to be good all the time, sometimes the muse isn't talkative and what results resembles a half-digested owl pellet. That's gross and disturbing, but par for the course. Losing a week here and there of writing due to personal crises, day-to-day adulting, or just needing to take a break to avoid burn out can stall productive momentum. (This isn't to say we writers shouldn't have breaks. Breaks are absolutely essential. No one can pour from an empty cup). We are creatures of habit. What we do over and over again, we excel at. For writing to be more than a hobby, it must be a routine, part of my day. My best work has always come through maintaining my schedule. No one wants to drive a car that works really well sometimes, then dies just as often. We'll choose the reliable vehicle that we can trust, even if it looks like it went full speed through Godzilla's digestive tract.


Nothing can be created inside a vacuum. We need to live to express life on the page and we need to have connection to connect with readers. I'm primarily an introvert and, aside from rare exceptions, people tend to tire me out. Not in a negative way; using a phone uses the battery and I need a place to recharge. Yet humanity isn't a collection of lone wolves. We are a pack. I've never felt more excited or alive or more confident with my writing than when I started building my community. Not a network of authors and readers that could help me further my career mind you, but a collection of awesome people I interact with who make me feel happy by exchanging silly gifs or Hamilton references on twitter. I've been spoiled by my beta readers who gave me honest opinions about my work and allowed me to become better. And my wife is the absolute best. She encourages me when I'm down and tells it like it is when my story isn't working. She is my partner in every sense of the term (yes, even in crime). It's too easy to homogenize ideas within yourself. Go out and mix it up a little. You'd be amazed what the results end up being.

Is there a beast you've been wrestling with, or wanting to set free from its cage, or is it still an egg and you fear what might hatch? Go for it. It'll be a monumental effort, possibly violent, always dangerous, and in the end one of the most precious elements of your life. Art shapes the artist who creates. Go forth and show the world what you can do.

J. P. Dailing

YA Fantasy Author