Week by numbers.

Coming down to the end of 2019, and a few last numbers to report.

  • 76,859, draft 1.5 of Under the Rain of Light is rocking in at.  Given I want to toss a few chapters, and write a few more, I still think 80K is a realistic place for the second draft (i.e. the one I want people to read).
  • 1,000, conservative guess of how many times I used the word ‘just’ in this draft.  One of my ‘clean up activities’ is going through a manuscript and seeking out words I use too often, or are weak.  Cut to me cringing when I see ‘just’ 4 times on one page.
  • 50, minutes, my current average daily amount of time on Instagram.  I am sad.
  • 3 hours, 25 minutes, my average daily screen time on my phone.  That’s another number I’d really like to change next year.
  • 8,178, steps, on average for December.  Can you tell we started fostering a dog this month?  And I don’t always bring my phone with me on our walkies, so the number could be higher.
  • Too much, (TMI), blood.  The former owners of Phoebe the foster pup never had her fixed, and the littlest dachshund went on heat last week.  If you’ve ever experienced this particular moment in nature, my best to you.  We’re hoping it’s over soon.
  • 1, pair of designer Italian shoes chewed up by Phoebe (my fault entirely for leaving them out).
  • 1, pair of designer shoes found at a great price today on consignment.
  • 1, house party we’ll be attending this evening.
  • 2, seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel we binged over the holidays.
  • ALL, the pasta we’re making as our contribution to said house party.
  • ALL, the food I’m seem to be eating recently as part of A to Za’atar.
  • 0, trips currently planned for 2019.

Overall, 2018 delivered some interesting elements, and I’m cautiously optimistic to see what 2019 will be like.


Week by numbers.

Whatcha been up to?  I got my holiday shop on today and knocked off most of my list (for other people, poor Hubs).  Other than that, we’re helping prep for our friend’s giant party tomorrow, then a festive brunch on Sunday.

  • 73,648, words, current length of the Louvre project.  Of course, I think I’m going to need to pull a nuclear option and do some major rewriting once I get to the end of this draft, so… I have no idea what that means for my current word count.
  • 40%, off, my dream shoes.  I’ve literally had my eye on these Gianvito Rossi’s for OVER A YEAR, and today BOOM they were on sale and in my size.  I may or may not have done a happy dance in Bloomingdales.
  • 1, giant leg of lamb I have in the fridge.  Being a food blogger has some very strange perks.  Don’t worry, we’re cooking it for our friends big festive blow out tomorrow.
  • 1, video celebrating the start of EAFOL, of which I’m involve in for the first time next year!
  • 1, paperback version of The Queen of England: Coronation, now available!
  • 12+ million, views, I have on my photos on Google Maps.
  • 43, minutes I averaged on Instagram last week – yay for bringing numbers down!
  • 5, mid-to-terrible movies, Hubs and I have watched as part of our Christmas spirit initiative.
  • 6, episodes, of The Great British Baking Show watched.  It’s the ultimate in soothing programming.
  • 4, episodes, of Fake or Fortune watched.  As research for the Louvre manuscript, this show has been absolutely wonderful!  I’m trying to download other seasons now.

What are you doing this weekend?

Week by numbers (Black Friday/Cyber Monday version).

Just thought I’d share a few of my spending habits with you…  I’m pretty sure it’s in my blood, but I love a discount.  Give me a coupon and I’m there.  So, this time of year is always exciting for me.  Given I recently discovered Ebates (a cash back website, here’s the link in case you feel like saving some dosh), I’m just watching my numbers rise with every purchase.

Also, because I am a total dork (and was trying not to overspend), I made a list and really tried to stick to it.

So, what did I pick up?

  • A new pack of business cards from Moo (30% off).  Really, a sort of bland buy, but my ‘nice’ cards (I have two versions) rarely go on sale, so I scooped some up.  Here’s my referral link, if you’re interested.  My cards are always getting compliments, so I see no reason to change.
  • Banana Republic.  I was ready for a dress, but in the end, opted for a shirt (entire site was 50% off).  Given I am in the middle of a purge of ‘I hate everything in my closet,’ it was time to pick up a few decent garments.
  • Sephora.  I keep wanting to ‘quit’ the site, but then I can’t.  After a rather drunken conversation about skincare regimens with three very knowledgable women on the subject, I pulled the trigger on some Drunk Elephant (I pretty much only buy at this time of year).
  • Amazon.  Hubs wanted a 23 & Me kit, and they were on sale.  Done.  (And hey, if you’re on Amazon, you can add or review any of my books, just saying).
  • Express.  I saw a shirt I liked, and then a dress.  40% off (I ordered early and missed the 50% off, no big). Both have somehow already arrived, and I am very happy with both.
  • Box of Style.  I’m such a sucker for a good box of stuff.  Ebates coupon + another coupon brought the price to something reasonable.  It’s probably a good thing that PopSugar is now blocked (for whatever reason) in the UAE.  I’m hoping the box is shipped soon!
  • Flywheel.  Classes aren’t cheap, so I’m booking as many as possible.  30% off.
  • Wisestamp.  I have a fun e-mail signature (necessary, I believe, especially when I pitch out a lot and want to rep myself in a professional manner).  The site has some other items on their platform, and I’m curious to see if adding them will have any impact on my traffic.  The savings were significant, but I’m also going to pull the plug if no magic happens in 30 days.

So close, but not quite:

  • The Limited.  Had a dress I liked, but didn’t love.  7/10 will probably regret not purchasing.
  • Birchbox.  Another site that was close, but not quite (a few of their limited edition boxes as well as regular beauty items).
  • Tom’s.  My old ones are, well, old.  Given they were 30% off, I’m pretty sure this one is going to haunt me.


What did you nab in the sales?  Anything fun?

Week by Numbers.

A second week in a row?  It must be procrastination.

  • 29, pages out of 210 pages.  Actually, it’s more like page 70 of 210, but I’ve been moving stuff around.  I’m still not sure if changing the chapters around is going to stick.
  • 72,256, words.  Let’s see what the week ahead holds.  There’s a lot going on.
  • 2, rather disappointing dining experiences I’ve had in the past week.  both from places I’ve had wonderful meals at in the past — not sure what’s really going on.
  • 16, courses, at a restaurant I had high expectations for — with excellent results!
  • 8, PM, my bedtime on Thursday and Friday night this week.
    • 5, AM, my ensuing wake up time the following morning — allows for LOTS of work to get done (no complaints here, except that it’s weirdly dark out).
  • Some, progress I’ve made towards getting The Queen of England: Coronation ready for paperback.  I thought I had it all arranged, but my cover still needs a bit of work (sad face).
  • 1, Murder Mystery dinner I’m attending this week.
  • 1, Google Local Guides sent out globally featuring my face (among two others).
  • 2, perfect Christmas presents ordered for friends.  Hubs and I literally high fived when we opened the package (misplaced for a day by Aramex).
  • 1, ticket received for not wearing a seatbelt in Abu Dhabi (I wasn’t in Abu Dhabi this week).
    • 1, ticket deleted from my record.
    • 1, actual ticket for undefined reasons on MBZ from Sunday.
  • 1, reading slump ended.  Hallelujah.
  • 1:09, average time per day I spend on Instagram.  Please excuse me while I die a little.  Really need to bring that number down!!

How was your week?


Week by Numbers.

Once again, I live.

  • 1, meeting with a local publishing professional.  Leading to – maybe – some movement on some of my unpublished works.  It’s why I will NOT be moving ahead to publish The Queen of England: Ascension, at the moment. And instead…
  • 30, pages out of 206.  Although I finally finished my red pen edit of Under the Rain of Light (what I consider the first draft) last week, I thought I would give it a break while I moved ahead with the Queen 3.  Instead, I’m swapping them around and am full steam on the second draft of the Louvre heist.  Whew, it’s in rough shape – so I’m guessing this will probably take me through the end of the year.
  • 1, celebrity chef met this week (Simon Rimmer, what a lad).
    • 4, pies, as part of the cooking class that I made.  Vegetarian goats cheese and beetroot, if you’re wondering.
  • 1, of 4 – other guest judges for the upcoming JLT dining awards.  I’m super excited to be involved with this!
  • 1, sort of pilot I’ll be filming next week.
  • 2, days we had a short-term foster, Pepper, from K9 Friends last week.
    • 1, steak he stole off my plate.
    • 0, barking.
  • 1, new book idea I came up with!  They usually arrive once a year, so I’m glad that another manuscript has successfully arrived from the universe.
  • 20, year high school reunion that took place last weekend in my hometown.  You’ll imagine that the commute was a bit much for me (and that technically I was in town for the original dates, before it was moved and I was already out of the country).  Am I upset to have missed the event?  Not exactly.  Would it have been fun?  Definitely.
  • 1, invitation to a property I’ve wanted to visit since we first moved here (Zighy Bay, a Six Senses resort).  We’ll be there later this month – I can’t wait! (And no flights involved).

What have you been up to recently?

Week by numbers.

Hello, I am officially crawling out from under my editing rock to say hello (before I crawl back again).

  • 72,240, words, in the final draft of The Queen of England: Ascension. In case you’re wondering, that’s a bit of an addition from the 68,583 words the second draft came in at.  While I did add the usual acknowledgements, and questions, the remainder are all scenes that needed more.  I’m very happy with how the trilogy is ending.  My next step is to send the book to my formatter, then send it to my Kindle, and read it for any final issues.  Oh, and pick a day to publish…
  • 1, final cover, of The Queen of England: Ascension that is also complete.  My cover artist and I had started the process earlier in the year, but took a step back, as we could not find a cover model that suited.  Now, I have a great cover (definitely worth waiting for), and some extra materials to work up some marketing.
  • 1, new foster kitty we have in our lives.  After the passing of Nubbins, I knew that we would most likely need another cat in our lives, but just wasn’t sure of the timing.  In this instance, Tig showed up to K9 Friends (where I volunteer).  She was injured, so was taken to a local vet to get stitched up and put on antibiotics.  I was able to take her for two days, and now that her new family had issues with their cats, she’s come back to us again.  Allergies aside, we’re definitely considering keeping her, as she is just a lovable little soul.
  • 1, giant book drought I’ve been in.  In nearly three weeks, I haven’t been able to get into any new book…and I’ve tried about 15 or more.  I’ve been relying on old classics, and finally last night, got into The Dreamers.
  • 1, new country visited — over Eid, Hubs and I and friends went to Sofia, Bulgaria — definitely worth a visit.
  • 1, new book I’m going to hopefully start editing from tomorrow.  It’s time to take Under the Rain of Light from rough draft to first draft.
  • 2, countries to visit in the next few weeks.  Maldives for Hubs’ birthday and fingers crossed, a press trip to Korea (it’s already been cancelled once, so I’m hoping this time around I’m able to go).

What have you been up to?

Week by numbers.

Wrapping up a few things before heading home!

  • ~750, days since I was last in the United States.  At least that is what I calculated my trips apart as.  Given the current state of the world, this feels about right.  What’s funny is how my internal clock went off approximately 1 week ago, and I’ve been really ready to go ever since.  I don’t imagine I’ll want to stay, as I love my life here in Dubai.
  • 1, second draft sent to my editor of The Queen #3.  In this edit, I did my best to really ‘read’ the book.  I took out as much extra as I could, and stumbled on a scene that needed to be added.
  • 5, Michelin stars in my future next week, and…
  • 4, tasting menus.  I am delight.
  • 30, degree difference between Dubai and London. I am excited to not step outside and immediately regret my decisions.
  • 6,362, words I’m into my next manuscript.  With a dead zone between finishing editing Queen #3 and leaving for vacation, I decided to get a leg up on next year’s book.  My hope is to hit 10K before we leave, but 8K seems a bit more realistic.
  • Moderate, success I’ve had keeping with my intermittent fasting.  Some days are definitely better than others, but I’ve been keeping to a schedule as much as possible.  Even if I don’t hit 13 hours, I do try for 11-12 whenever possible. I think I’ve lost weight, but am not entirely positive.
  • ???, I need to calculate which countries I’ve been to for my customs form, and should probably get this in order before we leave on Tuesday.

We leave on Tuesday, so I’m not sure what, if any regularity I’ll be posting between July 17th – August 3rd.

What have you been up to?