returning to the keyboard.

Having been away for a little over 2 months, I have to be honest.  It feels a little awkward coming back.

My blog has always felt a lot like home to me, mostly because I like to invite all of you into my own personal life.  Only right now, it doesn’t feel as much like home, mostly because I haven’t been here in such a long time.   I don’t even know, really, where to start.

I guess I should just start with the reason why I left in the first place.

I grew tired of cooking.

There.

I said it.

Years and years of throwing together meals, indulging myself in fabulous new cuisines and breathing in the fresh aromas that encapsulated me in my tiny little kitchen.  How, you ask, could I grow tired of that?

Last week I got together with a group of college buddies, only to hear one of my foodie friends state that she too had grown tired of cooking.  That at the end of the day, the last thing she wanted to do was to even think of preparing dinner.  I suddenly realized that I wasn’t alone.

It happens to all of us.  We grow tired of the things that we love.  And sometimes we have to step far away.  But usually, more often than not, we walk on back.  Because it’s in us.  Those intricate little things that make us who we are.

And that is the plain and simple story of why I left.  There are no other dramatic stories to tell, and I’m truly sorry if I worried some of you with my unexpected leave!  I haven’t yet fallen off the planet. 😉

There are so many things that I can’t wait to catch all of you up on.  Life is exciting and a lot has happened over the past two months.

(Nicole, by the way, deserves credit for getting me started again, after routinely asking me when I’m going to start blogging…thanks, Nicole!) :mrgreen:

I’ll save most of what I have to share for the upcoming weeks, but I do want to introduce you all to Humphrey.

I’m a self reported dog lover.  Dog behavior and training fascinates me.  I’m obsessed with big black labs and drooly, snoring bulldogs.  Always have been, always will be.

But then I met Humphrey (formerly known as Digger) at a cat shelter.

I fell in love with him as soon as he crawled up into my lap.  While the other cats could care less of my very presence, Humphrey purred and kneaded his way deep into my heart.

He’s turned out to be a little handful of love mixed with mischief mixed with “cat”titude.  He knows what he likes and he’ll let you know if he doesn’t.  He loves to climb and knock things over.  Most of all, he loves to be brushed and snuggled and fed (organic beef and liver is his fave.)

I’ll share lots more about him in the coming weeks!

Well.

As awkward as it feels to just come walking right back in, as if nothing has changed—no time has elapsed–it still feels really good to be here once again.

Home always makes sense.

Besides, I’ve honest to goodness missed all of you.  It feels really good to be back. 😀

QUESTION: What is the most exciting thing that has happened to you in the past 2 months?  Haha!…Apparently, I have a LOT to catch up on. 😉

Job Interview Snippets and Tips

I’ve applied to well over 20 jobs.

I’ve had a total of 5 interviews.

There’s no question that it’s a tough job market out there right now for almost everyone…in almost every field.

Obviously, I’m still looking for another part-time or full-time job in addition to my current part-time job.  And I wish I would have had someone share their job interview experience with me at the very beginning to save me a lot of mistakes and mishaps.  Which is why I decided to share my own personal experiences with all of you fellow job-seekers out there!

SARAH’S LIST OF INTERVIEW DO’S and DON’TS

1. Buy a nice suit.

Or at least a nice outfit, depending on how formal your job interview is expected to be.  This is for several reasons: (a) You want to walk in feeling confident and looking your best.  Feeling confident will show in your attitude, demeanor and voice.  Also, (b) if you’re neck and neck with a fellow contender, they’re going to choose the person who looked the part.  Lastly, (c) it’s always expected that you’re going to dress DOWN from the interview on.  So don’t show up in sloppy attire, because to them, that just means you’ll look really bad once you’re actually working. 😉

2. Print extra copies of your resume and reference letters.

After each and every interview, I’ve had someone ask me for an extra resume which they forgot to print.  One time, HR didn’t have a copy of my reference letters and asked for this as well.  You never want to show up looking unprepared!

3. Research the company.

First of all, I know how desperate the job hunt can be.  But you have to convince yourself not to take any job that you feel uncomfortable with.  Really.  You want to find out if you’ll fit in with the company’s policies, ideas, beliefs.  Is the company expanding?  Can you grow there?  Is there room for development and growth?  Look at the company website, facebook, news articles, etc.

And, of course, it’s good to know where the company is heading.  You want to show them that if they hire you, you can help them reach their goals!

4. Know thyself.

In other words, spend a day or two just going through your past experiences.  A former professor gave me this advice, and I can not express how important this is.

You’ll never know all the questions that will be asked on interview day.  But remembering that time when you had a conflict with a coworker and how you dealt with it, or that day when you had a super busy/stressful day and how you dealt with that, will serve you well.  You can bring in your personal experiences with most of the questions that will be asked.  And, you’ll feel prepared.

5. Have a strong resume.

Keep it organized and straightforward.  Read through it time and time again.  Have good, honest people look it over for you as well and ask them what they think (would they hire you?)

6. Be yourself.

The best interviews that I’ve had were the ones when I convinced myself to just relax and be myself.  These are the ones when I was told by the hiring managers that I was an extremely close contender.  Relax.  Breathe.  Don’t be afraid to show them your personality!

7. Think of something that makes you stand out.

Food blogger?  Active in the community?  Author of a newsletter?  Involved in leadership positions?  Active at your church?  Experience working with various age groups/personalities?

Think of the things that really make you pop out from other people so that they’ll remember you come decision day!

8. Don’t talk too much.

I have this problem.  Big time.  The worst interviews I’ve had have been the ones where I gab on and on about myself, only to realize that I’ve been side tracked from the original question (gulp!…never a good thing!)  People want straight forward answers.  Keep it simple and be specific!

9. Review popular questions.

Google “popular job interview questions” and spend some time thinking them over.  You’ll go to your interview feeling prepared.

10. Shake off excess energy.

I’m always a bundle of nerves before an interview.  Going for a run or a long walk beforehand really calms me down and brings everything into perspective.

11. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Give yourself a pat on the back for doing your best.

We all have good interview and bad interview experiences (trust me on that one!)  Give yourself permission to cry a little or to vent to a friend or to get upset for an hour or two.  But then pick yourself back up, shake off the dirt, and carry on.  It takes one YES to make this all worth it.  Keep plugging away.  Learn from your mistakes.

And then, move forward.


QUESTION: What are your top interview do’s and don’ts?

dressed up pollock.

I went for a nice long walk around the nearby lake today, and I experienced this vivid flashback of when I used to go fishing with my dad.

Floating on trusty ol’ Rita–our big green canoe–we would paddle our way to the middle of some lake and then we’d just sit there.  We’d sit there for hours and hours with our fishing rods, waiting patiently until we felt the gentle tug of a fish.

(or a floating piece of seaweedoops!)

We’d spend the day swatting at pesky mosquitoes and talking about nothing and everything all at once.  We’d watch dragon flies skim above the mirrored sheets of water, the sun reflecting colorful sparkles off of their shimmery wings.

As a 10 year old girl hanging out with her dad, I was convinced that each delicious moment was just a tiny speck of what heaven would someday feel like.  The perfect time of day.  Feeling nothing but happiness.  And, probably, spending time talking to God about nothing and everything all at once.

Heaven.

And really, at the end of the day, it didn’t really matter if dad and I went home with trout or without.  

It was the experience.

It was delicious.

And it had (absolutely) nothing to do with the fish.

Fast forward 14 years.  I became a dietitian, promoting fish and all of its health benefits and how delicious it can be and so on and so forth.

But, well, here’s the clinker…

I don’t really like fish very much.

Wild caught salmon, yes.  I could eat that every single day of my life and never grow tired of it.*

*this is not at all an exaggeration

But all the other fish, like halibut and haddock and cod and pollock?

Meh…

(unless it’s fried, but what *doesn’t* taste good when it’s been batter dipped and deep fried?  Honestly?)

Maybe you’re like me.  You could take fish or leave it, but you’d still like to make it a bigger part of your diet.

Or maybe you love all fish.  Any fish.

Whatever the case may be, let’s all admit that salsa makes everything better. 😉

You could just douse your fish in butter and breadcrumbs, but that sort of negates the whole “heart healthy” point of eating more fish.  Better saved for those special occasions, “once in a whiles,” or eating out.

Salsa and avocado, however, add flavor AND health benefits.  An easy way to sneak in that extra dose of veggies and some heart healthy fats.

I really do find most white fish to be lacking in flavor, which is just one of the reasons why I lean more towards cooking with salmon.

Add a zing of fresh salsa and avocado (and maybe a splash of lime!), however, and tada! 

Dinner becomes delicious.

Most grocery stores carry the fresh salsas like this one in the refrigerated cases of the produce department.  Nestled deep somewhere between the tofu and the alfalfa sprouts, and sometimes near the refrigerated salad dressings.

And since you can recreate almost any meal with nothing but a scoop of fresh salsa, I’d say it’s worth seeking out.

Salsa and Avocado 
(Serves 2) 

Pollock fillets were on sale this past week, and it just so happens that I had a tub of salsa to use up.  Perfecto!

This super simple salsa, however, also goes well on marinated tofu steaks, grilled chicken breasts and thin slices of lean steak.  Or, you could just serve it with some black beans and tortilla chips for a tasty afternoon snack.  Enjoy!

  • 1/3 cup fresh salsa
  • 1/2 avocado, diced
  • fresh lemon juice
  • black pepper
  • cilantro (optional)
  1. Combine ingredients together.  Serve immediately.
QUESTION: Do you eat much fish on a regular basis?  What are you favorite kinds/recipes?  I’m not a big fish person, but I do love fish tacos, wild caught salmon and manhattan styled fish chowders. 😀

A (non) made up post.

What would it mean for you NOT to apply any makeup tomorrow morning?

I don’t actually wear all that much makeup.  A little colored lip gloss.  Some rouge.  Eye liner and mascara.

But I do wear it.  Most of the time.

Except for this morning, when I decided that it was just plain ridiculous for me to waist 10 minutes of my life on primping before going to the grocery store for some yogurt.  To the grocery store!  I may be a single gal, but this is hardly a good enough reason to throw on some cover girl eye liner.  Really, now.

So, gulp, I went completely and utterly without.

My inspiration came from Caitlyn, as she’s currently not wearing any makeup at all for a set period of time, as a way for her to think about who she is without it and why she feels that she needs it.

The result?  Well.  I’d like to say that I walked through the grocery store with an air of unexpected confidence.  With an inner sense of peace.

More natural.  

More beautiful.

Truth is, I remembered (and remembered very well) that I had absolutely nothing on my face.  That my eyes felt lifeless without their usual dark coat of mascara.  That I probably looked as sickly as I was feeling yesterday.

Confidence?  What confidence?

After throwing my makeup on to go out for the rest of the day, however, I suddenly—magically!!  with some help from a masacara wand—felt better.

More beautiful.

More…natural?

Speaking from an honest heart, I absolutely hate that I felt this way!

The fact that a paint job made all the difference in my confidence level is just downright disturbing.

Not that I would never go to a job interview without wearing makeup.  And–c’mon!–holidays are practically made for smoky eyes.  I love trying new colors and practicing new techniques.  But I’m shocked and, quite frankly, ashamed by how much I felt the need to wear it.  To the grocery store.  To pick up a tub of yogurt.  

The point is, I think that a lot of these negative thoughts of how we see ourselves comes from us personally and not from others.

I’ve heard many girls exclaim that their boyfriend/husband likes them better natural or with very minimal makeup.  It’s true that we are our own biggest critics.  We notice our own flaws as if they’re so obvious, when really?  They’re not.

All of this kind of makes you wonder…

Why can’t we love ourselves for who we are in the same way that we love others for who they are (with or without makeup)?

What is it about a smear of liner or a shimmery eye shadow that makes us feel more special.  More desirable?

Why can’t we see ourselves the way that God sees us?  Beautiful, special, and absolutely wonderful.  

QUESTION: Do you wear makeup on a daily basis?  Do you feel or act differently when you aren’t wearing makeup versus when you do?

Happy Valentines!

Another big, b-i-g, BIG interview this afternoon.

Another day of feeling utterly exhausted and spent afterwards (what IS it about interviews that does this to a person?)

Another 3 mile run to bring my mind back to planet earth.

Busy, busy, busy.

But!!

Never too busy to wish you all a very HAPPY Valentine’s Day and to say know how much I appreciate each and every one of you!!!  😀

HAPPY VALENTINES!!!

A Day of Good Eats.

The dietitian side of me is always curious to see what other people are eating on a daily basis, so I figured that it might be fun to have a day of showing what I’m eating from morning till night.

Some days are different (i.e., I like ice cream and french fries too!) but for the most part, this is a pretty typical pattern.

Especially the night time chocolate snack, which is an absolute MUST.  Chocolate has heart health benefits and it keeps my cravings at bay.  So yes.  That makes chocolate a must, must, must in my life. 😉

7:00am Breakfast

Breakfast this morning was 1/4 cup oatmeal cooked with 1 cup water and lots of spice, in the form of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.   I cooked the oats for about 3 minutes in the microwave, with 1/2 a banana.  The other half was served on top, along with 2 Tbsp. almond butter.

Plus a glass of vanilla soy milk on the side for some extra protein and a calcium boost.

8:00am Break
Gotta get my daily coffee fix!
I used to only drink sweetened coffee until discovering that the sweetness of soy milk was enough to satisfy me.  And now I’m turned on to unsweetened almond milk, which gives the coffee a nice nutty flavor (without any added sweeteners.)
10:30am Break
A cup of apple spiced tea after a brisk 45 minute morning walk.
11:00am Lunch
Grocery shopping came later in the afternoon, which meant I had to (literally) scrounge around the fridge to make today’s lunch.
Thankfully, there were plenty of mixed greens left, so I had a large plate of that with a diced carrot, about 1/4 cup salsa, 1/2 cup beans, 2 Tbsp walnut pieces and 2 Wasa Sourdough crackers crumbled on top.  Lemon juice and fresh black pepper completed the deal for a surprisingly satisfying (and filling!) lunch.
3:00pm Snack
There’s something about a parfait that makes everything seem so special.  Something about spooning crunchy sweet bits of berries, granola and yogurt out of a large jar that is just so irresistibly fun!
Today’s parfait included layers of about 1 cup plain, fat free yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon, 1 cup of strawberries and 1/4 cup homemade granola.  
Layers of goodness.
5:30pm Break
Drinking licorice tea while making dinner!
6:15pm Dinner
Thursdays can be a bit insane around here, so I made dinner simple tonight.
In a 400 degree oven, I roasted 1 chopped kabocha squash, 10 brusses sprouts (halved,) 1 large fennel bulb (sliced thin), 5 cloves garlic (peeled and sliced,) 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar and 2 pinches of crushed red pepper in the oven for 40 minutes, flipping half way through the cooking time.
Once that was ready, I simply scooped about 2 cups worth of veggies on top of about 1/2 cup cooked rice.  The finishing touch was 1/4 cup 50% reduced fat cheddar cheese and 1 Tbsp. sesame seeds.
You can’t go wrong with any combination of roasted veggies, healthy fats, protein and a whole grain underneath.
Sometimes simple really is best!
8:00pm Snack
Daily chocolate fix = handful of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate covered almonds.
Yummy finish.
QUESTION: Do your days seem to follow a pretty “set” pattern as far as your eating habits go?  I don’t follow any hard and fast rules but I will almost always (1) have some form of produce with each snack/meal, (2) have a piece of some form of dark chocolate and (3) eat every 3-4 hours to keep my metabolism humming and to keep feelings of starvation away.  These simple three guidelines keep me happy. 😀

active and shopping.

Yesterday’s workout:

5 mile run.

Today’s workout:

6 hours of retail therapy.

And for the life of me, I just can’t decide which I enjoy more. 😉

Today’s Steals and Deals:

H&M polka dot peasant blouse, $13

H&M Black and White Floral T, $10

The Loft’s green 4-inch shorts, $39.95

(thinking summer already :mrgreen: )

JCPenney Top, $18

I think I was following some sort of color scheme!

You can really get a lot of walking in during a full day of shopping.

And there’s lots to show for it at the end of the day.

What’s not to love about that? 😉

QUESTION: What activity have YOU been most enjoying lately?  I’ve really been getting back into a running groove, which I’m really excited about.  I’d also like to reintroduce the 100-day burpee challenge (and actually stick with it!)