It was recently semla day here in Sweden, so lets talk about semlas!

These are one of Phong’s favorite treats. Classically it’s just a bun, gutted, and filled with almond paste and cream. Over the last few years there have been a few twists made each year. Last year they made semla wraps and this year the bakeries tried a nutella semla and a vanilla semla.

We bought the classic, the vanilla, and the nutella to give them all a try. Phong still favors the classic.

I actually really liked the nutella one. I’d like a more chocolaty try next year, maybe with some kind of gooey chocolate inside.

The vanilla was nice too. I pretty much like every version of the semla more than the original. Sweden has Semla Day on the 13th of February. Other times of the year can be really hard to get semlas. Phong often wants them for his birthday in July and I have quite a time trying to find a bakery to make them in the summer.

These are a classic though, so if you’re around when they’re in season you should give the semla a try!

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You were right. -An open letter to my mother-

Dear Mom,

You were right.

The things I thought were so important in my teens, were completely forgotten by my mid-twenties.

You were right.

I am beautiful. And you weren’t saying it in that annoying, all mom’s think their kids are beautiful way. You meant it and it was something deeper. I am beautiful and it has nothing to do with my hair or my skin or the way a dress fits.

You were right.

Some things are wrong even if no one knows about it, because I’d know about it and that’s enough.

You were right.

Vegetables are amazing and I was missing out as a child.


But you were wrong about Buffy. That show is awesome.

Love, Cheryl

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From California to Sweden~What I miss and what I don’t

-Things I miss about California-

Halloween. It’s not really a thing in Sweden and I miss it. Growing up, we went to the pumpkin patch every year to pick out our own. My mom’s rule was that we could get any pumpkin we wanted, so long as we could carry it back on our own. I miss the haunted houses and adorable kids trying to remember what to say after getting up the nerve to ring the doorbell of a stranger.

Thunderstorms and downpours. I miss walking in it, garbage cans being swept down the street and getting soaked to the bone in a minute.

Cereal. I know that sounds silly. Of course, there’s cereal in Sweden but it’s healthy. They seem to think breakfast isn’t supposed to be dessert. Nonsense.

The smell of rain on hot asphalt.

Taco Bell. Don’t judge me.

Thanksgiving. Not actual Thanksgiving—just that week we get off from work/school. I miss that week…

Conversations with strangers. Yes, I’m one of those people that have a one-time interaction with someone in a line for coffee. It turns out that might be an American thing. Swedes look at me like I’m crazy sometimes if I try to talk to them in line. Even if I’m just giving them a compliment!

Target. It’s a recent infatuation but oh how I long for her. My desire is real, and it is red.

Roadside strawberries.

-Things I don’t miss about California-

The sun. I don’t tan, I just burn, and that’s hard living if you’re in California.

Apples that look perfect but taste like nothing. I’ll take the ugly little apples in Sweden any day.

It feels like all the cafes are Starbucks. Don’t get me wrong, I like Starbucks just fine, but Sweden is busting with privately owned cafes with their own bakeries and it’s amazing.

Public transportation. Outside big cities, it gets real sketchy real fast. Everyone has to have a car. My home town didn’t even always have sidewalks or crosswalks. You just had to get a ride to the other side or try making a run for it.

Did I mention the sun? I once burned my eyelids standing on a beach for five minutes talking to my aunt. Eyelids. Burned. Madness.

The spiders. Have you seen a wolf spider before? Google it if you want nightmares.

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I’ve never  been particularly sentimental about New Years but I do love the opportunity to make lists and organize. It’s like each year is a drawer full of the things we did, thought, read, and experienced.

In 2017,

  • I published my first novel, Vanity in Dust
  • Did a bunch of writing and editing on other projects
  • Read piles of books
  • Wrote a scifi
  • Put together half a dozen Ikea things
  • Visited my family in California
  • Dyed my hair pink (admittedly, I did very little of the work, but I did sit still for a long time)
  • Visited New York for the first time ever
  • Went blonde
  • Turned 30

And what do I hope to put into the drawer of 2018?

  • Publish the second book in the Crowns & Ash series, Detox in Letters
  • Read all the books piled in my Amazon cart plus all the ones I run into this year
  • Figure out how to put screws in that concrete wall in my kitchen
  • Find an agent for my scifi series
  • Do a bunch of book giveaways!
  • Get pastel mermaid hair
  • Publish a horror
  • Write at least one more book

Wish me luck! And I hope all of your years get better and better.

The beautiful picture at the top is another amazing photo by Linn Arvidsson of Books and Knitting. Check out her webpage or add her on instagram if you like pretty book pictures in your feed.


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Author Goals


My firsts goals in writing were to finish my books and be published. I’ll never be done finishing books, because there’s always another one waiting to be written, but this year my first book was published.

So, what do the rest of my author goals look like at the moment?

See my book on a store shelf. I get excited whenever I see Vanity in Dust anywhere. I’m sure I’ll have a full on giggle fit when I see it on a store shelf.

Finish the Crowns & Ash series. I can’t wait to get to that ending! I have the second and third written and the fourth and fifth outlined.

Science Fiction! I want to publish a scifi series. Space ships, high tech adventure, pirates, maddening viruses and androids! I have the roughest rough draft of the first book waiting in line to be revised and I am so excited that I dream about it.

Fanfiction! It would be a real “achievement unlocked” moment for me if anyone was ever so interested and invested in one of my worlds that they would write a fanfic for it. And the stranger the better.

Write enough books that I can start doing hilarious dedications. I love funny dedications! But I have a list of people I want to sincerely dedicate books to that I should probably get through first.

Publish horror novels. I like writing scary books and would love to see some of those published too.

I’m sure there’s more but maybe that’s enough for right now. We’ll see how many more I come up with in another year.



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