Friday, October 07th, 2016 | Author:

…the chance to win a cameo in my upcoming book!

That’s right, you heard me. I’ve been diligently working on the follow up to Bai Tide, Take the Bai Road, and will be submitting it to my publisher at the end of the month, which means it’s time to select my next lucky reader for a cameo in the book! This one’s a fun one: Mexican drug cartels, high-speed chases, gun fights, giant freighter ships, and treason, oh my!

Where do you fit into that mess? It’s time to find out.

Look at this cute kid. Don't you want to help him?

Look at this cute kid. Don’t you want to help him?

I’m doing this a little differently this time. Instead of spreading the word about my books to your friends and family, which I always appreciate, all you have to do to win a cameo is help. Yep, all you have to do is donate to the Haitian Health Foundation and not only will you feel like a good person, you could soon be an immortalized forever in my book AND still feel like a good person.


The reason I picked the HHF is, poor Haiti. They’ve barely been able to rebuild after the massive 2010 earthquake that destroyed so much of their infrastructure and killed so many people, and now they have to deal with Hurricane Matthew, which swept through on Wednesday, killing hundreds more. The HHF is an established charity that uses over 91% of the funds it collects to directly fund programs and medical supplies for the people who need them.

Hurricane Matthew. What a jerk.

Hurricane Matthew. What a jerk.

To enter, simply donate through their website, click the button to dedicate your donation to someone special, and type in my name (Erika Mitchell) and email address ( Or, if you prefer, you can donate and then just email or or comment here that you did it.

This is an excellent cause and believe me, you’ll enjoy your cameo if you do win so donate now and hopefully I’ll be drawing your name out of a digital hat soon!

FacebookTwitterRedditTumblrGoogle+EmailPrintThanks for sharing!
Category: Writing  | Tags: ,  | Comments off
Monday, February 08th, 2016 | Author:

I had an important realization the other day. I’d been feeling enormously frustrated about my weight because, for the last two months, I’ve been kicking absolute ass with eating well and exercising and have only lost five measly pounds to date. For someone with well over thirty five pounds to lose, five pounds in two months really sucks.

It’s been the weirdest thing. Longtime readers of this blog will remember I’ve lost this exact set of pounds twice before. I’m pretty good at it. It’s not like I’m a weight loss novice with no idea what she’s doing. My weight loss method is the same this time, but the results are not.

Strange, right?

'And one, and two, and three, and don't get discouraged Manatee, and four, and five...'Granted, what I have to remember is I’m still rehabbing my knee from the surgery I had back in May. My leg atrophied quite a bit from the years of pain and seven weeks of crutches, and now I’m getting stronger and muscle weighs more than fat and blah blah blah.


Every morning I’d weigh myself and get profoundly dejected and frustrated. How could I be exercising so much and eating so little and still be so overweight?! IT SHOULD NOT BE PHYSICALLY POSSIBLE.

And yet, surprise surprise, getting upset about the whole thing wasn’t magically making me thinner. It wasn’t until two things happened that I stopped feeling the acidic caress of futility every morning:

One, Wes hid my scale. As much as it annoys me on occasion not to know whether I’m making progress, I’m for SURE a lot happier being in the dark about whatever lack of weight loss I’ve got going on.

Two, I realized while I was praying that I’ve been focusing on exactly the wrong thing. For years, I’ve been praying for a relief from my knee pain. For the freedom to move and exercise and even sleep without pain, and you know what? I can. And what am I doing? Complaining about the numbers on the scale.

I realized that the list of things my body can do FAR outweighs what it won’t do right now, and man, that’s significant. I’d be a fool to keep my focus on my weight when I can hug my kids, go for walks with my family, think clearly, hear, see, sing, and enjoy good health.

It’s amazing how a simple shift in perspective can make life much better!

Also, I’m now at the gym six times a week. I’m officially in danger of becoming one of those people who starts all her stories with, “I was at the gym the other day and…” because this is all I do now. Gym, Parent, Laundry. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?

Category: Exercise  | Tags:  | Comments off
Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 | Author:

game of scones 3Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a French pastry cooking class with my mother in law and sisters in law. We baked madeleines, an apple tarte tatin, and some eclairs.

At the beginning of the class, the teacher invited us to come share our baking horror stories and, when I told her I’d managed to set some scones on fire, she pressed me for more details.

Now, bear in mind, this is a lady who has interned at bakeries in both France and England. She can whip up a batch of cream puffs in her sleep. She’s probably seen every baking error in the book, so I was confident that she’d know what I did wrong the fateful morning I conflagrated a batch of breakfast pastries.

I explained to her how I cut the butter into the lemon ricotta scones, how I then pressed them into a greased scone pan, and then put them into the oven only to run to said oven in horror when thick black smoke started pouring up to the ceiling. The smoke detector blaring, I opened the oven to see butter bubbling up out of the scone pan and onto the bottom of the oven, where it was burning on contact and stinking to high heaven.

Of course, this happened to be the moment the friends we’d invited over for breakfast arrived. The chaos, stench, and mess definitely spelled out a sincere welcome, trust me.

After I relayed this story, the pastry chef wiped her brow with the back of one hand and said, “I’ve never heard of that happening before.”

You see, in a scone recipe, cutting chunks of cold butter into the dough enables the butter to be a rising agent. As the butter melts, the steam pushes the dough up to create little pockets of luscious deliciousness. Only in mine, the butter just leaked out to ruin brunch.

I have to imagine blundering a recipe so bad a pastry chef can’t even figure out what you did is some kind of accomplishment. Like, maybe in the great video game of life I’ve unlocked a new level and my badge looks like an oven on fire?

Question is, is that considered leveling up or down?

Category: Food  | Tags:  | Comments off
Friday, January 08th, 2016 | Author:

Well, I don’t know about you, but 2016 is off to a great start for me. I’m down almost five pounds since Christmas (amazing what you can accomplish when your knee allows you to exercise), my house is organized, my kids are doing great, Wes and I are clicking, life is good. Makes for boring blogging, though.

My only complaint, and really it’s a small one, is that the gym is SO overcrowded. I’m still seeing the regulars around, but now there are all these new people camping out on machines, taking up all the lockers, and taking up the stretching mat area so I have to take a mat over to the hard scratchy floor when I’m done with my workout. Boo.

While I’m tickled there are so many people trying to get healthier, I’m annoyed they’re doing it at my gym, all at the same time.

Truth be told, I’ve never understood the point of New Year resolutions. I’m assuming the people at the gym were flabby/untoned/overweight/etc. before the holidays, so why wait until January to do something about it?

Anyway, annoyances aside, life is good. Also, I’m reading a book right now that I’m obsessed with: The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell. I’ll never write that well. Ever. It’s both comforting and a little discouraging.

How’s your 2016 shaping up so far?

Wednesday, January 06th, 2016 | Author:

That title really says it all, doesn’t it? Once a year is my new blogging goal. If I can do that, I reckon it’ll satisfy the five of you who still check here for new content. Oh, don’t mind me. I’m only kidding. I know there’s three of you.

Wow, though. What haven’t I been up to since my last post?

Look at this cake. LOOK AT IT.

Look at this cake. LOOK AT IT.

In December, Wes and I celebrated ten years of marriage by renewing our vows in front of most of our nearest and dearest. We threw the kind of holiday party we’ve always wanted to throw, and I realized that the one thing that’s been missing in my life up until now is Cards Against Humanity. Between CAH and the champagne I had for dinner, it was an exceptionally merry evening. My best friend baked an incredible, decadent, fancy-pants cake for us, and there was laughter and festivity at our house until after midnight. For old folks like us, that was quite late and I woke up the next morning feeling approximately one million years old. I was a dessicated, dried-up mummy and the only thing I could do all day was lie on the couch and doze. If that’s not indicative of an excellent party, I don’t know what is.

1After our party, Wes surprised me with a four-day trip to Seattle wherein we stayed at a lovely hotel, went out for fancy dinners, and walked around downtown amid Christmas finery like two people with nary a care in the world. And we were! Life is going really well and we were delighted to celebrate our tenth anniversary wherever we went. We found an amazing coffee shop in Pike Place Market called Ghost Alley Espresso which, for those in the know, is tucked into the corner under the stairs leading to the infamous Gum Wall. I had the best espresso of my life there, and the proprietor is a lovely lady with a knack for crafting de-freaking-licious latte concoctions. We found a little bakery next to our hotel called La Belle Epicurean and there was no shortage of delightful confections to sample there.

3We also had an encounter that sounds like something out of a dream. We were walking through downtown when we passed a guy walking an Irish Wolfhound (If you’ve never seen an Irish Wolfhound, they’re huge!). We said hello to the guy and the dog, after which we played ping pong at some tables set out on the sidewalk for some reason, but I couldn’t pick up the ball for some reason because my gloves were too slippery. Doesn’t that sound weird? I also may have eaten the tiny pumpkin cheesecake we bought from the Confectional down in Pike Place Market that I promised I’d save half of for Wes, and that made his face look like the picture on the left.

Us standing in front of the strangely inexplicable trash sculpture at McCaw Hall.

Us standing in front of the strangely inexplicable trash sculpture at McCaw Hall.

Then, for our grand finale, we went to see the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Nutcracker, followed by a midnight viewing of Star Wars. Because we got to the theatre fifteen minutes before the movie started, we got to watch the movie from almost the front row, but we didn’t care because we both enjoyed the movie so much. The Nutcracker was dreamy and fun, Star Wars was not a huge disappointment (which was really all we were asking for), and we came home exhausted from way. too. much. fun.

Suffice it to say, we thoroughly celebrated ten years of matrimony in the highest of styles. Here’s to the New Year, and the next ten!

Category: Lifestyle  | Tags: ,  | Comments off