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2018 Wraps Up!

2019 is almost here. I unwrapped my new calendar for the coming year, thrilled and yet baffled by my choice this time. For the past few years, I’ve learned that buying fancy calendars makes me ridiculously happy. I’ve been getting Parisian calendars because the photographer featured was Irene Suchocki, and after, Georgianna Lane, and they made Paris way more charming than I remember it being. Which made my room that much more charming. Then I moved on to patisserie calendars, making me drool over the pretty desserts I uncovered as each month passed by. 

This time, there were no patisserie calendars to be found. So threw my aesthetics out the window and committed to a Mystery Science Theater 3k calendar: 

2018-12-28 08:24:37.854.jpeg

So what does that say about how different the new year will go for me? All I know is that perhaps it will be a little less pretty, but infinitely more zany and fun. 

It’s been such a long time since I blogged here! I’ve been enjoying social media in all its forms, but especially Instagram which continues to serve as a photo diary of what I’ve been up to during the year. It’s hard to remember to blog since I feel like I’m doing it daily on there.

When I saw that my last post was in 2017, I realized I had to put together something before the year changed. So here we are. 




When I look back to the beginning of 2018, I can’t believe how much has happened. I have to begin with Jennie Dunham of Dunham Literary, Inc. In February, she became my literary agent. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent querying agents and how much I learned from the process. It still feels like a dream now that I’m working with Jennie, but I’m happy to have begun a new chapter in my career with her. 

Waiting is still very much a thing. Sometimes even more than it was before. And I found that with all the time I had, I could make 2018 a year to break a record. 

Up until this year, I’ve had to juggle writing new material and revising old material – all under deadlines. This time, I could write new material all year round. No hitting the brakes. No screeching halts to pick back up another project needing polishing. This was the year I wrote more than I ever thought possible. I finished the first drafts of THREE manuscripts. 


Here are the stats:

1. MG #1 (60,573 words)

2. YA Book #2 of 3 (91,249 words)

3. MG #2 (59,170 words)


That’s… 210,992 words for 2018. Woah. WOAH. 

I don’t know if I can follow this up with 2019’s goals. But it’s kind of tempting. 


People and Places


My gosh, I met so many people this year. From left to right:


1. E.R. Warren. That’s right. THE E.R. Warren of Figment. Or as I like to call her, Emily (we’re friends, you know. Privileges). We met on, the teen writing site that changed our lives forever. I’m pretty sure we met sometime in 2011, around the time we all joined and the site was still new and growing. That’s a long time, right? Well, because of my trip to Disneyland, I finally got to meet Emily in person! Was she awesome? Heck yes. Was it awkward? Not at all. It’s like… we left off right where we were through our texts and phone calls. In fact, we talked so much that our waiter pretty much gave up on taking our orders for at least an hour haha. 

2. Joey Chou. Thanks to Epcot’s Festival of the Arts, I got to meet one of my favorite artists. He was signing his prints at the festival. I wished I had a million blank walls at my house so I could purchase the canvas sizes and hang them up at home (alas, I’m all out of wall space). We had a fun conversation about art and how I wasn’t an artist (not since high school at least, when I traded in my sketchbooks for novel-writing) and his experience illustrating books. 

3. Tim Tracker and Jenn Tracker. I can’t even remember when I started watching Tim and Jenn’s vlogs on YouTube, but it wasn’t soon enough. I love watching their adventures in Disney, Universal, and some of the other theme parks we have around Florida. As slim as the changes were, I’d always hoped I’d run into them at the parks. However, I finally got to meet them in person at MegaCon in May. Jenn was helping a friend with her booth and Tim showed up later. I loved talking to them about how much I loved their videos of Tokyo Disney that they had just posted.  I also got to ask Tim and Jenn about the Roger Rabbit ride at Disneyland, the ride was most looking forward to for my Disneyland trip (not a surprise – they said it was awesome… and it was). 

4. Black Panther. This counts, right? We had a lovely conversation in Disneyland about Florida weather and how great the Incredicoaster is – especially the tunnel where they pump the smell of freshly-baked cookies. 

Last but not least, I got to meet two actors from Gotham, one of my favorite shows. And by “meet,” I mean like all of five seconds to have my picture taken with them. You know how conventions work. But it’s amazing how much can be packed into such a small moment: I got to shake both their hands. They were both very kind. 


Sean Pertwee (left) plays Alfred Pennyworth and David Mazouz (right) plays young Bruce Wayne on the show. I got to see them talk about the show on a panel beforehand, which was really fun because they both talked openly about their roles and what it was like to step into another version of the Batman mythology. 

I don’t know how I’m going to deal in 2019. The 5th and final season will be airing in January 2019. The story will be over. I’ve been watching the show since it first aired and it’s surreal to think it will end. But these things do happen. I can hardly wait to see how the show wraps up. 


2019 Goals


This year has been good in some ways, but kind of a disaster in others. I think everyone had challenges this year, but we made it! We’re almost on the other side. 

My workshop buddies and I were talking about the new year and how we thought making our goals real – like, by writing them out – would give them more power to come true. So I’m going to share a few of them here in the hopes that we may be on to something. 


1. Find a new home for my stories. 

2. Write another MG book.

3. Finish the 3rd book in the YA trilogy I alluded to.

4. Spend less money lol. 

5. Make significant progress with my TBR pile to free up more room on my bookshelves (the pile is a monster. It keeps growing). 

6. See more of Central Florida.

7. Fill the house with more white and teal/seafoam/turquoise/mint colors. I’ve committed. 

8. Ride every ride at Universal and see every show and eat all the food (Making the most of my UOAP pass before it runs out in like… a year and a half). 

9. Try new things at Disney (tours, restaurants, rides I haven’t gotten fast passes for yet, etc.). 



What are you proud of from 2018? What are some of your fondest memories? And what do you hope 2019 will bring you? 




Sculpting My Own Boyfriend: The Grimbaud Life

You've probably read the blurb for Love Charms and Other Catastrophes by now. And no doubt, this particular part has caused you pause:

"Concerned that its favorite charm maker has given up on finding a boyfriend of her own, Love takes matters into its own hands and delivers the perfect boyfriend to her in a giftwrapped box...literally."


I don't know how I would react if I found a boyfriend wrapped in a nice box on my doorstep. Nope. No idea. 

But as I did some shopping this month, I found something that I knew I had to try because it reminds me of Hijiri. It might, in fact, be a thing sold in Grimbaud. 

I'm still not sure if a love charm is attached to this thing, but... this is for you, guys. I bought this:

Yes, this is a real thing. Take a moment to read the front and back of the kit. Savor those words. Your, your, your. I love the focus.

In February, when you can't help but look at others - other couples, in particular, and jab your own heart in the process - the message here is ironically sweet for a joke gift. The minute you open the kit, this is about what you want. Kind of appealing. 

So let's see how I did with it.

As promised, the kit comes with polymer clay and an instruction booklet. This is the time where you sit with your eyes closed, envisioning the perfect guy you'll create with your super fantastic artistic skills. 

Then you actually start sculpting head. And it begins:

I'm not getting "dreamy," are you? He looked more like John Malkovich as a Muppet. 

Plus, I got fingernail prints all over him. BATTLE SCARS. How do polymer clay sculptors avoid making those???

Thoughts I was meditating on: What is love? What's for dinner? Why do I love it when guys roll up their shirtsleeves? Who thought it was a good idea to put googly eyes in this kit and why would that be romantic?

You'll have to check my Instagram for my thoughts on sculpting my boyfriend's hair - but let's just say that I was VERY determined not to copy the hair on the kit. 

Now then. Time to sculpt the body. One big problem, though. When I opened the blue pack of clay meant for the t-shirt, the clay was completely hard. I couldn't use it! WHAT TO DO?

My boyfriend decided for me that his favorite color is black. So I prayed that I had enough of that clay to cover the rest of his body and set to work. I couldn't help but add the crumbled, useless bits of blue clay I managed to dig out. VICTORY CRUMBS.

I am also incapable of sculpting thin arms. 

There is no need to show you how painstaking it was to sculpt his legs. For a brief moment, I considered not giving him a torso. I was out of clay. But then - I still had brown clay left! If you see him on the street, please don't ask him why his pants are two different colors. He'll be embarrassed. Maybe. 

My polymer clay boyfriend is needy. Instead of sculpting flowers, I had to use the yellow clay for shoes. 

So here he is, standing up (leaning on) his paper bedroom. A bedroom I wouldn't have dreamed of, but you know. It came with the kit. 

Side by side comparison. They look almost the same. If you squint. 

Okay, so I didn't sculpt my dream boyfriend. My skills just aren't that great. I also realized that I will probably never sculpt adorable tiny clay food, so I should move on to another hobby like making pop-up books or terrariums. 

After finishing and cleaning up all the bits of clay, I finished by afternoon with another very February treat:

So tell me... how was your Valentine's Day? Have you ever attempted to sculpt before and how did it go?

Disney's Food & Wine Festival 2015

IT'S THAT TIME AGAIN! After missing last year's festival, I aggressively prepared for what was sure to be the most epic Food & Wine Festival yet at Disney.

It also helps that this year is the 2oth Anniversary of the festival! So hang on tight because I ate a lot.    

20th Anniversary Merch

But first! The merchandise. Disney takes its anniversaries seriously. This means mountains of merchandise to commemorate the year

I don't have the heart to tell you how many of those items I now own. But let's just say me and my wallet came to an agreement based off of the wise words of Agent Cooper:

I may have gone overboard. 

My biggest splurge this year was a Dooney & Bourke purse designed specifically for this year's anniversary. Full disclaimer: I'm not a purse person. I'm definitely NOT a designer purse person. But I figured that if I were to ever get one, this would be the purse of my dreams. Zoom in. See? Many different foods and countries from the festival are printed here, along with monorails (love) and Disney characters eating. Perfection. And then I got to experience what it's like to actually buy one of these things. Like the fact that each purse is completely unique because of how the pattern was printed. My brain stuttered when the cast member pulled out three different purses and asked me to pick which one I wanted.

What do you think?

I also couldn't resist getting miniature garbage cans. I should probably mention that these are not replicas of garbage cans actually used in the park, like the Magic Kingdom series released last year. But still. You never know. 

And lastly, Annual Passholders were given gifts this year - but we have to work for them.  If we came three times to the festival, on the third visit, we would get a commemorative wine glass. You can see the stamps I got for visits #1 and #2 (they tore the page out in exchange for the wine glass, alas) and said wine glass. It's tiny but terribly cute. 

The Eats

Time for the food! There were a few new booths this year, but the key feature was the two booths inspired by the television show, The Chew: Chew Lab and Sustainable Chew. I don't think these booths will be back next year since it seems like The Chew's appearance is an anniversary special. A total shame, since one of my favorite dishes comes from the Chew Lab: the Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey-Caramel.

The main draw for me was the fact that it's frozen in liquid nitrogen. The novelty of it caught me (I mean, how many years have I watched chefs on the Food Network dunk things in liquid nitrogen? It always looks impressive and somewhat mystical). I took a video of the truffles being pulled from their cryogenic slumber via my Instagram:

A video posted by Kim (@kimkaralius) on


After eating another truffle during my fourth visit to the festival, a cast member came up to my mom and I and asked how we liked the dessert. Of course we said we loved it and I couldn't help but gush about the liquid nitrogen. He gave me a weird look and said, "You do know that all it does is freeze things, right?" 


I see his point, but can't I be impressed?

Another home run this was the Hard Cider Flight from the Farm Fresh booth! This was another one of my attempts at adulting that actually worked out well! I love hard cider, but I had no idea that there were so many different flavors. The raspberry hard cider was good, but the pear one? WOAH. The pumpkin cider made me feel like it was actually October for like... five seconds (it's still really hot in Florida, sorry). The elderberry was my absolute favorite! I've never had elderberry before. Funny the first time is in cider. Hurrah!

Beyond the above treats, I have to say that everything I tried this year was wonderful. Which of these sounds good to you? Have you been to the festival this year and tried any of these?

Mango Jasmine Tea with Bubbles (China Booth)

Traditional Haggis with Neeps and Tatties (Scotland Booth)

Bulgogi BBQ Short Rib with Steamed Rice and Cucumber Kimchi (South Korea Booth)

Pork Spareribs with Red Wine, Fennel, and Cheesy Mascarpone Grits sustainably presented on VerTerra Dinnerware (Sustainable Chew Booth)

Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour Dole Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (Hawai'i Booth)

Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies (Australia Booth)

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogi with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream (Poland Booth)

The Tipsy Laird: Whiskey-soaked Cake with Lemon Cream and Toasted Oats (Scotland Booth)

Lobster and Seafood Fisherman's Pie (Ireland Booth)

Souffle de Yuca: Yuca Souffle topped with Griddled Cheese (Dominican Republic Booth)

Lechon Asado: Roasted Pork with Mangu, Pickled Red Onions, Avocado (Dominican Republic Booth)

Loaded Mac 'n' Cheese with Nueske's Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers, and Green Onions (Farm Fresh Booth)

Meeting Robert Irvine... Again!

Getting to see Robert Irvine at the festival was the Big Exciting Event for me this year. After seeing him for the first time in 2011, and then again last year, I was thrilled to find out that he was returning for a demo and book signing. 

His new book is called Fit Fuel; it's an interesting combination of healthy recipes and workout routines to help lead readers towards a heatlhier lifestyle. Of course, the book has much more to offer than just that, including full color photos of Robert Irvine demonstating exercises and other fun stuff. You'll just have to grab a copy ;) 

It's been inspiring to me since I've made a big effort to eat healthier (and therefore balance out my love of junk food) and exercise (to combat the hours I sit in front of a computer at work + writing time).  My mom and I have been a team in this - she's been doing much better than I have and I'm proud of her. 

Knowing how challenging it was to see Robert last year, Mom and I got up VERY early in the morning and arrived at the park before it opened. I've actually never been to Epcot before opening, so it was pretty fun to see how my favorite park starts its day (lots of bubbles) compared to Magic Kingdom's grand welcome. We ALMOST ran all the way to the Festival Center to get our wristbands for the signing. Almost. More like extreme power walking. But we got the bands! 

Then we got to watch Robert Irvine's demonstration (hilarious and unpredictable as always) and got in line for the book signing. 

Was Robert Irvine awesome? YES. Even though I've grown so much this year from all my experiences chatting with readers and booksellers, I STILL found myself tongue-tied and less-than-eloquent when we approached his signing table. Oh well. I guess some things never change ;) 

Does that book in my hand look familiar? I decided to give a copy of Love Fortunes and Other Disasters to Robert Irvine. My mom and I have been reading his books and watching his shows for years; he's someone who gives so much and I wanted to give something back. Plus, I have a feeling he'll get a kick out of Fallon Dupree and her parents ;) 

The below pictures can't convey the feels. I signed my book for him, my hands shaking like crazy, and he was nice enough to hold down the book cover for me. After Mom and I were ready to head out to World Showcase, we took one last peek at Robert's signing and saw Love Fortunes still on the table. I hope he enjoys the book! 

Another Festival has gone by with so many great memories and one happy stomach. As always, I'm so happy to share the food and fun with you all. 

Thank you so much for being patient with me as well. Balancing Love Charms work and other upcoming bookish machinations kept me fully occupied over the past weeks, but I can't wait to reveal those surprises in the months to come!