Category Archives: discipline

New Business for the Court

Welcome Back!

Welcome back to me, that is.

I took a break from curating Taste Life Twice last December to finish drafting my third novel.

And I’ve done a lot of deep thinking since then. I took an honest look at the new direction I’ve taken since coming to Portland and finally, FINALLY, I’m able to say it: I’m letting go of this TLT endeavor (the cooking classes were the first to be sacrificed) to embrace a more focused platform.

Instead of trying to explain to people how my passions for food, literature, and travel describe a person on fire for life, I’m opening up a different sort of shopfront.

New Item of Business:


Kinda obvious, yes? That’s good.

I’m a writer now, and having given that idea a little time, I discovered it needed a lot more time. Hence, a writer’s website.

I hope you join me to continue the adventure there.

Lord Byron emptying the mind writing will be my space for all things writerly.

It will feature a lot of fun facts I learn along the way about the writing craft and about the particular settings for different novels, as well as inspiration and quotes from writers past. It’s just getting started now, but should fill out in the coming weeks, for an official launch at the end of May.

One of the fun tweaks I’ve started is a series of posts called ‘Titbits’ which spotlights the most fascinating or quirkiest random facts that I unearth in the research process. Being fellow curious, literary-minded nerds, I bet you’ll enjoy them too.

I’ll still be keeping TLT open, but posting more like once a month instead of the 1-2 times a week I was doing at my peak last year. That will allow me to focus on, where I can build my base of book fans and get ‘stuck in’ to the writing path more deeply.

As the feedback trickles in for the draft of my second novel, I’ll be excited to share my new heroine with you over the summer!  All the best, Margaret


Image via PinkUnderbelly

Can She Repeat Her Feat?

Why am I feeling so good about this Fall Book Sale I have going on?

Because it’s in honor of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)!

For those who don’t yet know, NaNoWriMo is an online and in-person forum around the USA for writers to get themselves fired-up to concentrate for one month enough to get 50,000 words out of their heads and onto the page. That’s about 1,700 words a day: quite the feat!

world trade center man on wire

Especially for new writers, a routine like that can seem impossible, unreachable. ‘What about life getting in the way?’ you ask. Right. Like taking a road trip up the eastern coast of North America during NaNo last year? Mm-hmm. Develop a plan, prepare for setbacks, and stay flexible.

Anyone want to try this with me? 😉 I will be attempting to repeat my attempt from last year, the result of which is sitting on my virtual shelf, waiting for its editing time, come December.

I think my best advice is still: Just Try It, You Might Like It.

Don’t forget to download Memory’s Hostage for free when it goes on sale! (sign up here to get a notification)


Image via Surrender to the Void

Nonstop Awesomeness, On the GO!

In July, Taste Life Twice ran three feature posts on authors. And now, for something completely different… (combining our food and travel themes): meet our featured Nomad Foodie, Nathan Agin.

Nathan’s been living out of a backpack for the last three years. He’s challenged himself to stay on-track with his passion of healthy living while discovering the world through travel, not an easy task. It’s all going to be in his new show, Travel. Eat. Thrive. Here’s the preview:

I asked Nathan a few questions about his efforts, lifestyle, and lessons learned.

First of all, tell us a bit more about the show Travel. Eat. Thrive. How does it help people with cooking at home?

The show is designed to share restaurants around the world serving nutritious and delicious food, and then—how you can make those same meals at home! We connect with someone locally—someone who wants to eat healthier—taking that person out to different restaurants, and then to have him or her decide what meal to recreate in the kitchen at home. There are lots of ideas of how to engage and include the audience (something I think many current food and travel shows are missing)—from viewers directly contributing content to creating worldwide communities around food.

Why do you think it’s so hard to eat healthy when eating out? Is it an American problem? Or are there places where it’s not a problem?

Because there is so much JUNK out there! :)

Fast food, processed foods, sugar, and unhealthy fats have become such a part of the food available out there. This stuff is very cheap to produce, which is why it is EVERYWHERE. This is not just an American issue, though we do have some of the highest obesity numbers—lots of other places and cultures are struggling with the proliferation of “not-food” out there.

We’re also wired to enjoy sugary, salty, and fatty things, so what’s even more problematic is that many companies know this and design their products to be as addictive as possible. These types of foods provide such little nutritional content that we end up in a cycle of eating more because we’re not getting the nutrients we need, thus leading to serious issues like obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

When I’ve traveled to Europe and South America, there are some of the same issues. Yes, there are places that focus more on locally-grown, whole foods, but then in these same countries, you can often find fast-food chains, local markets full of candy and processed foods, and sugary beverages as far as the eye can see. This is a global problem, and we need a global solution. Based on all the work out there around food and health now, I do think we’re headed in the right direction.

For a peek at what Nathan does to remedy those processed-food candidates, check out this video from San Diego:


Many people with a regimen at home, me included, relax the rules for the more uncertain circumstances they may encounter while traveling. Where did you get your driving impulse to stay fit and disciplined, even while traveling?

Even before I became a nomad, I had been learning about nutrition and living optimally, so it was really a question of integrity: if I *knew* what to do and what worked for me, did I have the character and strength to put this into practice?

Many people can skirt this issue while on the road because they’ll say, “when I get back home, I’ll eat better and get back to exercising.” Well, since I don’t have a home, if I’m going to do these things, I just need to start!

Really it’s a question of willpower, which is a muscle like anything else, and the more you develop it, the stronger it gets. Willpower is what will help you create and stick with new routines and going outside your comfort zone. A meditation practice (even 30 seconds per day!) is actually one of the best ways to develop your willpower muscle!


Much of the damage done while eating on the go could be attributed to the lack of control over one’s own routine, i.e. no kitchen, no fresh produce, no refrigeration, etc. How do you grapple with such big changes in routine?

Usually when you’re on the road, it’s not about dramatically improving your health or training for a triathlon; you just want to focus on what will help you maintain, sustain, energize, and inspire.

I like to say that you need to remember to pack two things: Commitment and Flexibility. Commitment is your pledge to yourself in terms of what you do everyday to hit the four words above; these are more general terms, like exercise, meditation, nutrition, gratitude, etc. Flexibility refers to *how* you can practice your commitment—you might only be able to squeeze in 10 minutes of yoga (instead of your usual 90) or maybe you can find a couple pieces of fruit for breakfast instead of a green smoothie.

The fact is you are doing something—which is WAY better than nothing, and you’re keeping up your routine, rather than letting it all slide, feeling guilty, and depressed (which can add to the stress you might already be experiencing from being in a different place).

Do whatever you can to keep yourself grounded and connected to your regular way of life—these habits will absolutely help you feel more present and energized during your travels.


Thanks to Nathan, our featured passionista this month, and a fellow WDSer, for living the life he imagines and being an inspiration! 

If this kind of info is up your alley, I invite you to check out Nathan’s new show Travel. Eat. Thrive. Right now for the launch, you can enter to WIN a free meal for two at restaurants around the US (and Canada!)—check out the contest!