putting a positive spin on being rejected

Rejection sucks, plain and simple. Nobody wants to feel it, but it’s inevitable at some point. Luckily on the other end of things, when one door closes another one tends to open in some shape or form. Run with it and don’t look back.

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This was a candid pic of me finding out our surf lessons in San Diego last month were going to be cancelled due to a strong rip current that day. Genuine look of disappointment was the perfect representation for this post. Ha. 

For this post to make sense, I need to back up and explain how a person becomes a Registered Dietitian (RD) or what the credential changed to more recently, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN.) An undergraduate degree with a verified Didactic Program in Dietetics is your first step. Typically during the spring semester of your senior year of undergrad you apply to an internship. This is the tricky part of becoming an RDN – a Dietetic Internship (DI) is not what you think of when you hear the word internship. It’s actually more schooling and you have to pay for it. The extra tricky part is that the standard programs accept you through a “match.” You apply online and rank your programs, they rank their applicants and if you are matched, you get accepted. You have 5 years from graduation to complete an internship before your undergrad coursework is no longer acceptable to apply.

To my knowledge everyone in my graduating dietetics class who applied got accepted except one girl who didn’t and ended up doing something else completely epic. I, on the other hand, decided to take a year off. I had proven to myself that working an average of 30 hours a week to support myself through school did not give me enough time and energy to focus on my grades. That’s how paying for an internship would be for me and it’s not recommended to work during one.

My plan was to get a job in a related field and just take one year off. As I have talked about in previous posts, I found a job at WIC where they happen to offer a PAID internship to 8 people working for WIC in the states of Maryland and Virginia. Our district has had an excellent history of our nutritionists getting accepted into the program so I was highly advised to forget about the match program and apply for this internship where I would be given my full salary and educational leave to complete the internship and be eligible to sit for the exam. No scenario could have been better for me with my circumstances. I had a gut feeling (or maybe it was just self doubt) the entire time that it wasn’t going to happen but I went with it anyway, supported and encouraged by my family, friends and coworkers the whole time. Unfortunately I did not get accepted – womp. Even though I had been carrying that negative feeling with me the entire time, it was still a pretty devastating blow. The majority of my peers have already completed their internships, sat for the exam and are working as Registered Dietitians. And I’m over here working as a nutritionist, no offense to any nutritionists out there. I love the field I’m in just desperately want to hold the credentials that allow me to be respected in my field and make a comfortable living for myself.

It’s difficult not to compare yourself to other people you graduated with and feel inferior for not having accomplished as much in the same time frame. Getting that letter of rejection crushed me and made me feel like I’m not good enough (because if I was I would have been accepted) and that I may have picked the wrong field. I always struggled with my grades in the science classes during undergrad and I wondered if maybe I’m just not smart enough. I was embarrassed to have to tell everyone who knew what I was working towards that I didn’t get accepted and that I’m still trying to figure out where to go from here. It was hard enough taking a year off and not immediately furthering my career because I want this for myself more than anything. I’ve been wondering why in the world I had all these roadblocks to moving to Charleston and then to staying in Ocean City. I moved back home which was difficult for my pride and the distance it put me from all of my friends but it helped my bank account immensely. I was hoping and praying with all I had that the direction I was being guided was going to be to this WIC internship but for now that’s not the case. I was forced to swallow that very bitter pill along with my pride.

I couldn’t just accept no as an answer so I asked the director what I could do to better my application in the future. I got a lot of very positive and encouraging feedback. Apparently the internship this year got an overwhelming number of applicants and I didn’t hold enough work or leadership experience compared to the ones who got accepted. I did, however, have very strong references and grades (a 3.1 isn’t strong to me but I’m certainly not going to argue with her on that!) Essentially I was half-way there. That helped a little and with the loving support and kind words I got from friends, family and my boyfriend, I’ve managed to live.

So here I am with another year ahead of me before I can start an internship if I’m accepted next year and that sucks. But we’ve covered the rejection and now I get to tell you about my other door that has opened!

Through one of my mom’s friends I got connected with a lady who owns a local Anytime Fitness. She wants me to teach classes to gym members and the community as well as offer one-on-one counseling to members. I’m going to get paid because people are coming to me for nutrition counseling. RDN or not, this is a dream come true for me and the perfect next step in building my skills, resume and networking within my community.

It’s possible that I’m feeling more positive because something so awesome has come through for me but either way this past month has been chock full of lessons and after house sitting for some family friends on vacation and playing farm girl all last week, (if you’re envisioning me with a terrified look as I try to feed, give water and collect eggs from chickens that make sounds similar to velociraptors – you’re spot on) I’ve got chickens on the brain. So don’t put all your eggs in one basket and don’t count your chickens before they hatch. Don’t let getting turned down make you feel like you aren’t good enough, period – it’s just that this (whatever you were dying to have) wasn’t right for you and the person or company or whatever it was. Work on what you need to do to better yourself and increase your chances of not be turned down next time – don’t ever give up!

 

 

fresh red cabbage salsa

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Cabbage seems like a weird ingredient to salsa and this was not a premeditated ingredient. For dinner last night we were going to make a fresh avocado, black bean, corn and red cabbage salad but we also had a jar of salsa, decided to mix it together and the result was aaamazing!

Ingredients:

  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup cooked corn, cooled
  • 1/4 head red cabbage
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 jar Cuban-Style Black Bean Salsa (Archer Farms brand from Target)
    • I seriously think it’s worth a trip to Target for this salsa. So. Good. And while you’re there grab a bag of Way Better Snacks Sweet Potato Corn Tortilla Chips. This was my first time trying sweet potato chips and they’re delicious! Perfect, healthy pairing for this salsa.
    • The lime juice in the salsa did a great job of preserving the avocado. This recipe is a good party size or if you want, divvy it up and eat it later as a meal.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Cover tightly and store in fridge if you don’t eat it all right away. Enjoy!

why i came home from my cross-country road trip a lot more well-rounded and a little less basic

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This all started well before the trip actually began. I was invited to go on a road trip with some of my best friends. They drove from Maryland to California. I flew into L.A. and rode back with them. Luckily my boyfriend had picked up the hobby of hiking and camping during our time apart so I was able to borrow all the gear I needed from him, except the hiking boots.

On a trip to New Jersey to visit, he took me to REI. This store is SO cool but upon initial glance I knew I was completely out of my element. I wore a loose-fitting white top tucked into high wasted patterned shorts, a bunch of pretty bracelets and sandals. I tell you this because every single time I bent over to try on boots my boobs were totally visible to the guys trying to help me find something that fit but also didn’t violate my fashion rules. Yes, I’m one of those. After trying 3 or 4 pairs on and hiking up and down the little “mountain” they have available, I found a pair that would work and spent the most money I’ve ever spent on shoes on a pair of hiking boots. It hurt to swipe my credit card.

My boyfriend decided we should go on a little hike to break my boots in the next morning. What I didn’t realize was that he was taking me to what essentially was a jungle. I don’t deal well with hiking into a green, overgrown forest where I can’t see anything around me after being warned of the danger of bears. I lasted about 15 minutes before he realized I was silently crying and we needed to turn around. I desperately wished I was sitting in a Starbucks with an iced soy latte in my hands because that is my safe place. My boyfriend also makes me feel safe, but just not in a bear infested jungle.

Fast forward several weeks and I somehow managed to pack all my stuff into a tiny designer duffel bag and an over-sized purse. I did give my bigger stuff to my friends to pack in the car but this was still undoubtedly a feat. I usually take 3 bags everywhere I go, not including my purse. I had to get up at 2:45am to shower, finish packing and make it to my mom’s by 4 so we could get to the airport. I find my mom rather saintly for volunteering to take me to the airport at such an ungodly hour in addition to the fact that she had to come inside with me so I didn’t freak out because I’ve never flown alone. Somehow I managed to have a great flight despite two cats and a small child being directly in front and behind me, respectively.

I’m not going to use this post to regale you with my whole adventure, just enough to make my point. So here are the top 5 things from my trip that show some real personal growth (like growing a pair and not being a princess in addition to learning valuable life lessons) and becoming slightly less basic along the way.

1) I felt pretty hot when we went out in Vegas which is not a look I’m used to accomplishing. I was determined to remain classy and put together. I wore a pair of four inch heels without breaking my ankles for hours until I realized that my pain was outweighing my need to be a dignified human and I walked hand in hand with one of my friends to catch a cab. If I told you the part of how I threw a slight tantrum because there was no EDM being played after extensive research on this club and that Calvin Harris was there the day before and after me, you might not believe I became less basic in the slightest…but that was only day 2.

2) I slept in a tent. For the first time. Right outside the Grand Canyon. I was slightly terrified of the forest and any animals that call it their home but I had a blow up sleeping pad that my friends referred to as a raft to ease me into the experience. We cooked pancakes, mac and cheese and quesadillas during our two days there over the fire and I had to repeatedly make a water run to the spicket to fetch water, pay $2 for an 8 minute shower and do dishes in a large cooking pot. Even though at the end of every day I’m positive that we managed to convince a handful of people that we were homeless, that was my first real experience of roughing it and I honestly loved it.

 3) I scaled a real rock wall, barefoot, to get to a waterfall. On the way back I made a bad move with my footing and was stuck. I had a few moments where I was convinced I was about to fall off and crack my skull on the many rocks beneath me as I was rushed quickly down the stream of the fall, but I got it together and made it down. It was exhilarating. I went skydiving last year but that guy jumped out of the plane with me attached to him, I didn’t have the nerve to jump. I am honestly not much of an adrenaline junkie and rarely put myself into any kind of dangerous situation – but that was freaking awesome. Oh and I peed in the woods right before we did that. Such a bad-ass, I know!

4) I drove for 10 straight hours (9 if you count the time change) until 1 am after I declared that I wanted the first driving shift of our all-nighter because I’m useless driving at night. I’m sure this is partly due to the exact opposite of everything I say happening but equally to the excitement of being on a roadtrip with my friends and driving through Kansas during an intense thunderstorm. It really amped me up. My biggest fear is a tornado but I put the American flag hat that I was wearing on backwards and I was ready to go. Didn’t even fall asleep once!

5) Towards the end of the week we decided to drive all through the night to Nashville and simultaneously realized the camp ground we were headed to didn’t have a shower. This meant we would go more than 48 hours without bathing. I instantly burst into tears. While everyone in the car knew I was upset they had no idea I was crying for an hour in the car. But it wasn’t just about showering. A lot of stuff had been building up before this trip and anticipation of finding out about my dietetic internship (which I did not get btw) just needed to come out and the no showering was the last straw. We were driving through the Rocky Mountains and I was so amazed by the beauty of the nature around me and finally convinced myself that the world still turns despite all these problems and worries. I managed to collect myself and be normal and happy again. This was a clarifying moment because I chose to keep being happy when I was grieving my own personal crisis. I didn’t know at the time that I was going to get denied for the internship and while some more tears were shed, that moment in the car where I chose to stop being a baby and put my big girl panties on even though none of my problems were resolved, made me realize it will all work out. And the showering part did work out. We used water jugs filled up with freezing cold campsite water to bathe ourselves in the woods in our bikinis. And no it wasn’t some kind of sexy, soapy, cinematic scene, I promise.

As silly as the majority of this may sound, I seriously overcame a lot of ridiculous fears and inconveniences to daily functioning that I had conjured up over my lifetime. I’m proud of my sense of adventure and for spending 9 days indulging my wanderlust while exploring my country a little more. If you ever have the opportunity to road trip, go – and don’t think twice!

mini margarita key lime pies

For a little summer treat at work tomorrow I found a recipe for Individual Frozen Key Lime Pies and tweaked it a bit by adding tequila because why not?

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They didn’t turn out as pretty as expected but as with all other things I publish in my blog I don’t have time to redo recipes. The taste makes up for anything appearance lacks!

Here’s what ya need:

  • 16oz Cool Whip
  • 8oz neufchatel cheese (the store-brand, low-fat cream cheese)
  • a can of low-fat sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice (takes a whole lb to squeeze this much so you may want some extra for garnish)
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 20 Vanilla Wafers
  • 1/4 cup tequila

crust

So in my head I was envisioning using the wafers as the crust as a whole without taking into consideration that these get flipped upside down in the end. I improvised to take a few handfuls, crush them up and combine them with 1/2 stick of melted butter for the crust.

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Start mixing the cream cheese and add sweetened condensed milk until combined. Add lime juice and tequila. Finally add in thawed Cool Whip.

Fill silicon cups almost full and sprinkle with the crust crumbs. Place on a tray and let sit in freezer for several hours until set. Gently peel silicon wrappers off, garnish with Cool Whip, limes or sprinkles. Store in freezer.

Enjoy!

the happiness challenge

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Laying by the pool for a few days during my mini vacation was a perfect opportunity to pick up a book, The Happiness Hypothesis, that I’ve been slowly reading for over a year now. Yesterday I got to the part about how back in the day Benjamin Franklin made a list of 13 virtues he wanted to incorporate into his daily life. To make this happen he made a chart with the 13 virtues as the rows and 7 columns with the days of the week. For 13 weeks, focusing on one virtue each week, he worked on these things, marking a black dot with the virtue he didn’t accomplish or stay true to. He focused on one specifically but did take the time to mark if he didn’t do the others. After 13 weeks the charts got less spotty and he claimed that he was, “by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it.” Ben Franklin was a pretty smart guy so I thought it would be cool to make a list of my own virtues and work on them, my own little happiness challenge.

 . . . . . . .

I didn’t go by “virtues” per say, just some things I would like to improve upon and truly believe will lead to a happier, healthier life. And just for the record I know that I spend a lot of time talking about happiness and I would not consider myself to be a generally unhappy person. I just have a very strong belief that if we’re living we need to be working towards our fullest potential in all aspects (making sure to include relaxation and understanding personal limitations) because if not, what’s the point? So here are my 7:

Thought

Think before you speak, especially when frustrated, angry or intoxicated. I’m a really self-aware person. When I’m around people I don’t know well or don’t spend a lot of time around, I don’t actually think any more before I say things I just tend to beat myself up more if I say something dumb or hurtful. Lately I’ve noticed that some of the things coming out of my mouth just need to stop. The solution? I need to think before I speak. Forgiveness can be given but words are never forgotten.

Gossip

Don’t talk negatively about someone just to talk about them. Sometimes I think the real world is worse than high school when it comes to gossip. Probably because the things you’re gossiping about hold more weight and meaning than they do in high school even thought that’s a super sensitive time when words probably hurt more than when you’re older and learn to let things go or you can separate yourself from the people you’re done with. I have a friend who quickly made me realize by her lack of participating in gossip that I do it entirely way too much and I have so much respect and admiration for her for this. There’s a fine line I struggle with walking. When are you venting because a person’s actions make you feel like you’re going to explode or just talking about someone because it’s something to do and it actually brings you closer to the person or people you’re talking to because you now have something in common – judgment and opinion about someone else where you think you’re better or at least know better. I’m about 100% sure this is going to be the most difficult.

Social Media

Stay off Facebook and Instagram before 9am and after 9pm. I posted a few weeks back about how much influence social media can have on your life if you let it and it can really begin to have a negative impact. I came up with this rule a week ago so that social media wasn’t how I was ending or beginning my day because it shouldn’t hold that much importance. My boyfriend loved this idea and is doing it with me. I slacked about 2 days after I started because it was the weekend and then vacation but those are the times I should probably be using it even less so.

Fitness

Workout 5 times a week. I actually really love exercise. It hurts and sometimes I feel like if I continue I will keel over dead, but afterwards I love being sweaty and feeling like I accomplished something. I love being sore the next day because I worked that hard and seeing the results of the hard work you put in is the greatest feeling. Whether it be running, playing tennis, hiking, zumba, pilates, yoga, weight training or kickboxing – just 5 times a week. Good for me and really not that difficult to accomplish.

Meditation

Quiet your mind, even if it’s just for 5 minutes a day. How many times have I mentioned this in blog posts and in conversation? A bunch. Have I started doing it? No. Enough said.

Presence

Be in the moment when you’re with friends, family and your significant other. Putting the phone away to spend time with the people who matter to you and are right in front of your face shouldn’t be too much to ask for but in today’s society ,well at least America’s, it is. I have hurt peoples’ feelings too many times with this one and I want to be living in the moment, not in cyber space.

Kindness

Do something kind for someone every day. One of my favorite quotes is, “throw kindness around like confetti.” It doesn’t have to be anything expensive. It could just be throwing a compliment someone’s way or just not being too lazy to do something for someone who needs it. I have to remember to keep my boundaries firmly in place and to not bend over backwards for people all the time but I just want to remember to be kind and do it every day because that’s who I am and who I always want to be.

 . . . . . . .

I’m going to start this challenge this coming Sunday. I have no clue how it’s going to turn out, if it will really make that much of a difference in my life or not. But I think Ben was on to something and I can’t wait to see where this takes me.

If you decide to do something like this in your own life, please comment below, or PM me on Facebook. I would love to hear about your happiness challenge!

coconut-pecan cupcakes with dark chocolate & coconut frosting

It’s only June 7th and I attended my 3rd BBQ of the season this weekend. This summer is starting off right! Some friends and family got together and I was asked to bring the dessert. My brother’s girlfriend picked these out. The cake recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes book and the frosting I threw together.

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Coconut-Pecan Cupcakes

  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 TBSP coconut extract
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk (9 ounces)

In a Ziploc bag, crush pecans. Ideally they would be processed but I am currently lacking a food processor so a Ziploc bag and a meat tenderizer got the job done. Add 1 cup coconut and set aside.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in coconut and pecan mixture.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add extract and then eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Alternate adding flour mixture with milk until just combined. Fill cupcake pans with liners and fill each 3/4 way full of batter. Bake at 350º for about 22 minutes.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Frosting

  •  5 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup almond milk

Begin creaming butter and add 1 cup powdered sugar at a time. Add cocoa powder, coconut extract and milk.

Pipe on to cooled cupcakes and sprinkle with remaining coconut flakes.

Enjoy!!

5 things nobody told me about post-grad life

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Adulting is no joke. It’s been just over a year since graduation and I’ve had time to reflect on some things I hadn’t been expecting or prepared for during this time of transition that I just finally feel I’m settling into nicely. Ranging from depressing to hilarious, here are the top five.

1) distance makes all of your friendships more difficult and loneliness is always hiding around the corner

I spent the entire summer after graduation living in Ocean City, MD with my best friend. Between my two jobs, trips home and friends visiting, I was busy all the time. And then I moved home to start a full-time job. I only have a few friends less than 2.5 hours away from me and I hardly see them. The transition from having most of my best friends no longer than 10 minutes away at all times to moving home is a continual struggle. I miss my friends so much and feel incredibly left out anytime something fun happens and I’m not there. Adding a long-distance relationship into this equation makes it even trickier. I have to actively try to not feel left out when I’m not invited to something that would not have made any sense to have been invited to in the first place. And learning how to just be – to enjoy having nothing to do has been the most difficult task since graduating. Oh and I work in an office by myself with nobody close to my age in the building, out in the country. I experienced more culture shock moving from a community full of students to a small town with limited activities and young people than I did living in Spain for 6 weeks.

. . . . . . .

I had a lot of family come down for my graduation weekend and I left the day after. I didn’t have time or energy to go downtown one more time and honestly I felt so relieved. I had this plan to recuperate and basically never get drunk that again. I was way off with that one.

2) drinking is still the go-to activity when all else fails or really just in general

Now that I’ve pretty much tamed my wild college drinking habits this one has me conflicted. I actually enjoy drinking because I like that taste of a lot of alcohol. I LOVE wine. Beer is pretty great sometimes and I could go for a tequila, vodka or gin cocktail at any time. It’s also fun to pretend like nothing really did change and keep on drinking together as the common denominator we can forever hold. We have fun together and more fun when we drink.

The con to this little factoid is that I can barely tolerate hangovers anymore and the thought of drinking calories that are going to work against my diet and exercise to be in the shape and health that I want is painful.

So why drink? Why not find friends who don’t drink so much? Because I love my friends and cannot imagine my life without them. I assume one day we’ll all feel more like adults and have less time to drink together but I hope that the fun we have (when I’m keeping a handle on myself) will never stop.

. . . . . . .

3) wearing leggings, yoga pants and norts are appropriate day wear

Now I am a real adult who has to change my clothes at the gym after work because it’s not okay to wear your gym clothes all day. And incase you didn’t know already, “norts” are short for Nike shorts. I enjoy presenting myself nicely and am truly not a lazy person. I actually care a lot about presentation and do my best to look the part of whatever I am doing. However, sometimes the only clothing I desire to place on my body is anything but pants. This winter I tried on an outfit that I would have worn at school in a heart-beat. A large sweater and leggings and boots. Boom, outfit accomplished. When I put these items on I looked at my reflection in the mirror and for the first time ever it was brought to my attention that the hemline of my sweater was just barely covering my crotch. If I had to lift my arms up, you could see it. And it felt inappropriate. As long as you’re not sporting a large and protruding nether region, leggings in college are perfect for the gym, downtown, class and even sleeping in, even if you can see the outline of things. But not anymore. My mother has been pointing this out to me for years and naturally I ignored her but this year, I noticed and it was a sad reality.

. . . . . . .

4) hanging out with friends of the opposite sex when one or both of you have a significant other just got weird

All the sudden it started feeling weird to be out in public with one of my best guy friends without my boyfriend and or their girlfriend being present. Shockingly this is also something my mother told me would happen and I blatantly disregarded it. The nature of the relationship I have with my boyfriend is another complication. We started dating right before I left for college, dated for a little over two years and broke up. We met a lot of each others’ friends but we don’t have any mutual friends and trying to incorporate ourselves into our friend groups is pretty awkward for both of us. A whole new lense is added when looking at situations where you’re bringing the new person in to the group and you want everybody to get along just as if it were completely normal to have this other person there. And from our experience, this doesn’t happen. What is the solution? Besides lots of effort, patience and forgiveness with each other, couple friends! Double dating makes the situation so much more relaxed and it’s way easier to build a friendship couple to couple than bringing one person to meet like seven others.

. . . . . . .

 5) full time jobs

When I got my big-girl job back in September I was absolutely thrilled. It put me one step closer to becoming an RD and I get to share my knowledge of health and nutrition to help families every day. I really do love my job. Plus the salary and benefits are great for my first job. I can pay all my bills, well only because I live at home.

BUT….

I can’t skip work because without trying to make my-self sound all important, unless I am too sick to be useful, I have to come in. There are people depending on me to be there and usually there is no one extra in our district to cover.

Being late is not okay. This was a great flaw to overcome, my tendency to be 2-3 mins late always. With my internship application deadline fast approaching (more details on this soon!) I have been extra careful to be on my absolute best behavior. The fear of God was placed in me when I left the house late for a meeting the other Friday because I was dealing with some important family stuff that held me up. I sped like crazy down the interstate, pulled into the parking lot, no spaces. I turn around and pull into the parking garage and am following a slow-poke. I finally get into a space and turn my car off. While reaching for my stuff I got a giant paper cut that bled and required me to take another moment to scream and curse in my car before getting out and running into the building. I was late 3 minutes late.

I can’t leave until my shift is up even if all my work is done and sometimes I feel like a prisoner.

I already ranted about this in a previous post but summer break is no longer a thing. This does make vacation extremely exciting and more fun than ever before but some days when the only logical action is to lay by a pool or on the beach all day, I’m imprisoned once more. Wah.

There are prices to pay for making a living. On the bright side, my job is probably reducing my chances of developing skin cancer.

 . . . . . . .

I genuinely love my life and the process of learning and growing every day no matter how difficult and painful it sometimes may be and no matter how many basic white girl ranting sessions I choose to have. It really wouldn’t hurt to throw these things into a course on what to expect out of life before graduating… but it would be a whole lot less entertaining and fulfilling to not have to go through all these struggles and figure it out on your own since, “life is a journey, not a guided tour.”

almost-skinny mini cheesecakes with Chambord-soaked berries

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Had to be a little festive in celebrating Memorial Day at our cookout this weekend. Thought some mini cheesecakes with berries would be fun and to make it my own I soaked the berries in Chambord, went as “skinny” as my boyfriend would allow with substitutions all on a yummy chocolate crust.

Chocolate Crust

  • 2 cups crushed chocolate wafers
  • 7 TBSP melted butter
  • 3 TBSP sugar

Mix sugar and chocolate crumbs, (I crushed the wafers with a meat tenderizer in a plastic bag to get the right consistency) stir in melted butter and press in the bottom of cupcake liners. Bake for 5 minutes at 350º. Let cool.

Cheesecake

  • 4 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened – 2 regular, 2 low-fat
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 – 6oz plain Chobani container looks perfect
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Combine sugar and flour and mix in with cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time. Finally add the vanilla, yogurt and heavy cream. Scrape sides of bowl after each addition. Fill each cupcake liner almost full. Bake for ~20 minutes at 350º or until mostly set (just a little jiggly) and not yet cracked.Original recipe calledf for 24 but we got 24 regular size mini cheesecakes and had enough to make 6 jumbo cupcake tin size ones. One chocolate wafer fit perfectly in each bottom of this pan and no extra crust was needed!

Topping

  • 1/2 cup blueberries, washed
  • 1 cup strawberries, washed cored and quartered
  • Chambord – raspberry liqueur

Place berries separately in plastic Ziploc bags, pour enough Chambord to cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours. Drain and arrange as desired on cheesecakes.

Keep refrigerated and enjoy!

Recipe modified from cookingclassy.com.

Shout-out to my handsome man for being such a great assistant and to his dad’s girlfriend for the chocolate crust and Chambord-soaked berry suggestion!

spinach & mango smoothie

 

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Last week at work we hosted an annual “Rev Your Bev” event for the first time. It’s powered by the Virginia Foundation for a Healthy Youth and when we signed up with a time and location for May 13th, they sent a box of resources, including sugar cubes with table tent pictures of commonly consumed beverages to really open peoples’ eyes to the amount of sugar they contain. We had a pledge board and sign to take a picture with for posting with #REVYOURBEV. While some people could have cared less, others got excited about working towards a change which as a current nutritionist and future RD got me excited! I’m never going to stop baking delectable, fattening treats loaded with sugar but I thought my blog could also use some recipes from the way I eat on a daily basis. So here you have it, my spinach & mango smoothie.

Putting spinach in a smoothie has always scared me because the thought of drinking a leaf just isn’t appetizing BUT I decided to throw some spinach and a few other things I enjoy in a blender in hopes it would turn out not only edible but delicious. Luckily for this morning’s breakfast, it did!

spinach & mango smoothie

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup OJ
  • 2 handfuls fresh spinach
  • 3/4 cup mango
  • 1 scoop vanilla or unflavored protein powder

Blend and enjoy!

Side note: I don’t like the sound of blenders to begin with so I avoid putting ice in them. A handful would probably be a good addition to this drink if your ears can handle it.

comparison is the thief of joy

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When my bathing suit showed up in the mail last week I was thrilled. I couldn’t wait to share how far I’ve come in my journey towards fitness and living an active, healthy life, which in turn has given me a body I’m proud of. The only way I could really think to show the change was placing a photo from a year ago next to one today. As I was finishing up my Instagram, I hesitated whether or not to share it on Facebook because there is definitely more of a filter for what’s socially acceptable in your Facebook news-feed than on your Instagram feed.

As my Instagram starting blowing up I waited for someone to like my photo on Facebook and while more time passed without any “likers,” I seriously considered taking the photo down. I felt a little bit embarrassed, wondering if maybe my transformation really wasn’t as good as I thought or that people didn’t want to be associated with a girl who puts a picture of herself in a bikini on the internet to show off. I also wondered if I sounded like I was fat-shaming and if I was going to offend anyone. Definitely not proud to admit that I lost sleep over that post.

But that’s absolutely insane. Why am I letting other peoples’ opinions bring me down or lift me up on such a large scale? Falling into the deep dark pit of determining how awesome I am based on the number of likes I get on an Insta or FB post is a legitimate problem. It was never something I put conscious thought into at first but then I began to compare myself… if this girl has only this many likes on her profile picture and I have three times the amount I must be prettier. And that’s absurd…because who cares?!

The funny part about all of this is that I used to be the most insecure person I knew and that has really changed in the last year. Of course I have moments where I feel less than adequate in many categories, but that’s okay. Social media has made me feel less secure in a lot of instances. The solution here isn’t to stop using social media tho, because let’s be real I’m a blogger and I’m gaining more followers and having more popular posts and that’s so cool! The ability to get my opinion out there and talk about the things I’ve learned and things I’ve done with people who actually are interested in what I have to share is an awesome feeling especially coming from a blog where my original intention was to sell Avon online. I just have to remember to keep myself in check when it comes to not getting the desired number of “likes” or looking less than perfect in a picture.

Let’s back up for a second though because I bet you’re wondering, if it doesn’t matter what people think of me, why did I post that picture? Let me tell you. I did it because I’m proud of my accomplishment. That transformation was a big deal to me. I have always had a tendency to set goals so high that I can never reach them and I have been working so hard for years to get in shape – and I did it!! That is something to celebrate and I genuinely wanted to share that with my friends and family as much as I did the day I graduated from college. Health is important to me, I’m working towards obtaining my credentials of R.D. and eating well and being in shape is part of who I am and who I want to be, I’m at my best when I’m taking care of myself by eating good foods and working out. And I think if you’re proud of your body you should show it off! I used to be a lot more focused on modesty and a statement like that would have offended the tiny little close-minded girl who graduated high school five years ago, but I’m a lot more relaxed post bachelors degree. I think college does that to some people.

I don’t mean show your body off so that you become the object of an inappropriate someone’s desire though, just so you feel good. And I want to stress that that is in no way me fat-shaming or saying that I am better because I lost weight and got in shape. I love all people and to help others be the best, happiest versions of themselves they can be is what I’m all about. Through healthy eating and exercise and any bit of my crazy past I can share to give someone a laugh or feel better for even a few minutes just because they are truly not alone. I think that is our duty as people – to be the best we can be and for me, I am my best when I can run around in a bikini during the summer feeling confident in my body and as the person I’ve fought so hard to become.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Just let that quote simmer for a hot second. I want to have goals and role models but comparing myself to someone else has never turned out to leave me feeling positive unless it’s putting someone else down and eventually I think that’s worse. I don’t want to get bogged down by who liked what. I’m just going to do me, the absolute best version of me that I can and work hard every day to not let any other person’s negative opinion or lack-there-of cause me grief. Cause at the end of the day, the social media show we put on isn’t the one that really counts and our happiness should never dwell there.