|October 20, 2014||Filled under Working|
I’ve had three “big girl” jobs since finishing grad school and each one has provided plenty of new and valuable learning experiences. Aside from learning my industry and specific job-related skills, my greatest takeaways from these positions have been less content-focused and more about growing as a person. There is something to be said for still being entry-level, even with 3-5 years of experience under your belt.
I look back at the employee I was a year or two ago and I’m not super pleased with myself. I was too fast, mistake-prone, easily offended and stubborn. I couldn’t understand why no one would listen to my ideas or if they did listen, why they would then take them and change them. And I couldn’t understand why people didn’t value what I had to say.
I recognize that as “the new guy,” my main job for the first few months at these jobs was to learn. But a year into both, I still felt undervalued (by some, not all). Maybe it was the environments at these jobs that I was working in or maybe it was my own lack of confidence. Or maybe it was the combination of the two feeding each other. Regardless, the change I see in myself now is incredible. This new job has either come at a time when I’ve finally figured myself out as an employee or finally provided the environment I need to grow into the employee I want to be. Honestly, it’s probably both.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I’m not second guessing throwing my thoughts and opinions in the ring. I feel respected, or at least acknowledged, for my specialty and experience that I bring to the table. People expect me to chime in – and I actually do!
A year ago, I never would have felt comfortable sending an email out questioning the grammar on our materials. They were the higher-ups and if they didn’t see it, maybe I was wrong…so I just kept quiet. I wasn’t putting my ideas out there. I was just the behind-the-scenes hamster spinning the wheels and to do exactly as I was told–no more, no less. Now I realize how ridiculous I was being.
People hire you to a job not just for your skills, but for your ideas. You have to speak up in the workplace. And you have to work in a place where you feel comfortable doing so. In previous jobs, I kept quiet because I was too intimidated to join the conversation. Now I think I feel more comfortable and I’ve started to join in.
What I’m saying is this: don’t just be a worker bee getting things done quietly. Have ideas. Be creative. Bring something to the table. Otherwise, you’ll never get promoted to head worker bee, or eventually, queen.
|October 16, 2014||Filled under Living the Dream, Rant|
I am constantly reading these articles and I feel like I’m always think the same thing as I scroll through, looking for the bold words that the author has arbitrarily identified as the points of the article.
I’m always thinking, “this doesn’t apply to me.”
I feel like I deal with my negative thoughts and my bad moods just fine. Or at least, right now I’m fine so that particular article isn’t relevant to me. And it struck me today while I was going through Tiny Buddha’s list of top 100 articles that telling myself that these articles are irrelevant to me and my situation is completely defeating their purpose.
No one wrote these articles with me in mind. They wrote them probably with themselves in mind, or someone close to them, or for some imaginary person that they base all of their articles on.
Reading these articles is about finding something you can take away and use in your own life. Finding every reason why they don’t apply perfectly to your situation isn’t helping your and it’s defeating the purpose of trying to improve yourself in the first place. It’s about finding from these articles what YOU can use. And it’s about not fighting back against the idea that you might need to change.
Heck, I WANT to change, improve and grow, and I still find myself fighting back.
It makes sense that we want to fight the idea of change, even if we want to be better people. But I think being aware of it is the first step in letting something new into our lives.
No matter how often I say I want to meet new people and make more friends, I’ve been resistant to really getting close to people. Part of it might be habit or fear, but it’s important to recognize this feeling and push past it.
I’ll never – we’ll never – get better if we don’t.
|October 9, 2014||Filled under Fooding|
Okay, this is a long one! I’ve been trying out a bunch of fun recipes lately and I’ve definitely found some keepers to throw into the weekly rotation!
I think my biggest challenge to take on when it comes to food is portion size. I either make too much food and never finish the leftovers (if they aren’t *quite enough* for lunch), or the food tastes so good that I just keep going back for more. I’m doing by best to eat as frugally as possible and multiple servings in one sitting (when I really don’t need another helping) is definitely not frugal. But it just tastes so good! Gah! The struggle is real.
I was feeling fancy one weekend so I made sweet crepes for my guests! Big hit. Recipe here.
And it’s that time of year again when I start to whip out my favorite hearty breakfasts at work! This is especially nice now since I’m biking to work and it jump starts my metabolism. I’m starving by the time I get in! Savory oatmeal really does the trick — no seriously, try it!
1/2 c oatmeal
Salt & Pepper
Lunch & Dinner
Roasted zucchini, corn and black bean tacos! YUM! Recipe here.
Curried Beef and potatoes! (except I used turkey! :] ) Recipe here.
This was a kitchen sink recipe…whatever I had in my fridge/cupboard! Quinoa, peas, tomatoes, kidney beans, sausage..it wasn’t half bad! (but a little over-salted…oops)
See what I mean about serving size?! I need smaller plates. Tilapia with rice and beans and a side salad. I was sooo full, but soooo happy.
Just for Fun
This is some DELICIOUS real Indian food that I had delivered from the most magical new place that opened up two blocks from my house. Could not be more excited about this. The only problem is there’s $25 delivery minimum and I feel like a fatty when I order $30 worth of Indian food for myself… oops. #sorrynotsorry
Also, my new favorite dessert is grilled peaches and ice cream! Can it please be summer forever?
|October 7, 2014||Filled under Product Review, Running|
Oh man, this review is a LONG time coming. I was actually sent this product before my hiatus, so I apologize for it taking me so long to finally get it up. But I can say with absolute certainty that this is a product I fully support, especially during the warm weather months and now that it’s peak season for races.
I should preface by saying that I am a BIG believer in electrolyte drinks. I can’t stand gatorade or any especially sugary sports drinks, but I can tell a significant difference in my workouts when I replenish with any kind of electrolyte drink. For a long time, I’ve been using the MIO fit water enhancers with electrolytes, but they still taste super sugary and synthetic to me.
So when I was approached by Ignite Naturals to do a review of their product, IN Refresh Electrolytes, I was excited. For me, finding a non-sugary, refreshing drink to have during and after workouts is critical.
They have a good variety of flavors. I’ve tried all of them and can say that they are ALL good. I don’t have a favorite. Not too sugary, subtle flavors that didn’t turn me off while drinking them. Your options are:
Dragonfruit Lemon Lime
Tangerine Passion Fruit
And while I haven’t been running as much recently, I’ve been playing a lot of soccer and the weather has been HOT this year, so having these drinks has been incredible.
My team actually had playoffs recently (because we’re awesome) and ended up having to play two games back to back. I fully expected to feel like death, but having IN Refresh instead of just straight water was an absolute life saver. I was tired, sure, but I didn’t feel like I was going to die and I didn’t experience ANY cramping which usually happens when I have more sugary drinks.
And for the price, you get a pretty good deal! Personally, I would opt for the 10-pack variety box so you can try all the flavors. I like to mix it up and wouldn’t want the same one every time, but you definitely get the better deal with the one-flavor tub. Plus, it’s easier to make the drinks as weak or as strong as you need.
Get 10% off your order! [CODE: IN00362]
But seriously, I can’t speak highly enough about what a difference electrolyte drinks make when you’re working out. You may not think you need it, but you know that light-headed feeling you get after you’ve been working out. Even after you have a full meal, you just haven’t quite recovered? Try one of these and you’ll be amazed how much better you feel!
Check out the IN Refresh nutrition facts here.
I’m actually a little embarrassed by how long it took me to figure out how to properly recover after a workout…..but at least I’m on the right track now!
Disclosure: I was provided this product in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
How do you hydrate before and after working out?
What flavor sounds good to you?
|October 3, 2014||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
Every so often I go through these mini personal check-ins to see where I am in my life. And I’m almost always pleasantly surprised.
6 months ago I was living at home with my parents.
6 months ago I was working at a job that wasn’t giving me what I needed.
6 months ago I felt like I was constantly teetering on the edge of a total meltdown.
I have a great living situation (even if the house isn’t quite what I want long-term).
I LOVE my new job. It’s a great move personally and professionally, and I’m excited every day to get up and go into the office.
And generally, I feel really comfortable with my life. Sure, there are still some things that I get anxious about, but I don’t feel like every day is a battle to not completely lose my mind.
It’s these little reflections that make me feel like I’m moving in the right direction. It may not be the direction I thought I was going to take, but it’s the one I’m on and it’s working out just fine. But now, since things have improved and changed, it’s time to take another look at what’s really important in my life and keep moving toward accomplishing my goals and dreams.
So I mustache the question….
What’s important to me?
Right now, I think the thing I value most is my relationships with people those I feel close to, or would like to be closer with. My biggest fear is feeling alone in the city, but no matter where I am, it’s easy to feel alone. So I want to foster and build my relationships with people who are here and also those who aren’t. That’s definitely my #1 priority right now. I want to be surrounded by wonder people that I feel close to. Ain’t nothing wrong with that!
I think my own personal improvement is also still on this list. I am really trying with Spanish these days! (No, really!) and I’m clearly trying to get back into blogging more regularly (yay!) and I want to start reading and writing fiction again (it’s time). And I want to stay as physically fit and healthy as I can. (It’s a long-term investment in myself!)
And I still have international travel on my radar. Now that I have the time and the savings for it, it’s time to take advantage of the world. Just need to find the right people to travel with….but lord help me if I keep using that as an excuse not to go…
Finally, I think I want to start contributing to the world in some way. I always thought that if I focused on improving myself, eventually I would transition into also giving back and contributing to the world, but now I’m thinking maybe I was looking at it backwards. Maybe doing some good in the world will do some good for me. Either way, doing good is something I’d like to add to my plate. (The only downside being that all the places I want to volunteer only have times available while I’m at work! d’oh!)
What’s important to you?
How have you grown or changed in the past 6 months?
|October 1, 2014||Filled under Living the Dream|
Happy October! I’m still struggling to accept that fall is here, even if it is cloud and rainy outside. It’s still like, 75-80 degrees everyday. MAKE UP YOUR MIND, WEATHER!
But I digress, Fall is here wither I want it to be or not. At least it comes with other perk! Like a visit from The Professor! He came to stay with me for a few days while my parents were out of town and, of course, spent most of his time with me getting into trouble any way he could.
Cup of water? Yeah, that’s getting knocked over.
Oh, you wanted these piles of stuff organized on your desk? Now they’re on the floor.
Saturdays are for sleeping in? Not anymore! I need attention NOW!
It was wonderful to have him around again, since I missed his furry little butt, but there are few things I don’t miss about having a cat around. And considering he isn’t much of a cuddler, he wasn’t helping his case by lovin’ up on me.
And now, here he is doing something stupid…like getting stuck in a the couch cushions.
Ooooo, what’s in here?
Seems awful deep….
He stayed there for a good twenty minutes before finally wiggling his way out. Silly cats being silly.
Awww, I miss him so much Maybe it’s time for a visit home!
|September 29, 2014||Filled under Fooding|
Food! Fresh fruits and veggies = amazing meals. Here are some of the more colorful things I’ve been enjoying recently!
Two eggs over a potato and vegetable scramble! Best way to start the day.
Workday breakfast. Peaches with Kashi cereal and almond milk. And coffee. Always coffee.
Tilapia filets have been on sale at the store recently so I’ve been enjoying some tasty fishies. Always paired with a pasta and veggies! mmmm
What’s on the menu for you this week?
|September 23, 2014||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
I guess it’s time to finally embrace the fact that summer is just about over and fall is here. It seems days of 90+ degree weather is behind us and we’re enjoying nights in the 50s and 60s, and days in the 70s. So, basically the most perfect weather ever. It’s sort of hard to complain.
Maybe it was the incredibly long winter last year that has kept me stubbornly grasping at the idea of an endless summer, or maybe it’s because the coming fall means a lot of changes. Either way, I’ve never been so reluctant for my favorite season to arrive.
Still, the idea of pumpkin everything, candles, scarves, boots and apple picking has me feeling good. There is just something about this season that makes me want to nest – just bunker down for some cozy time at home.
It’s a bittersweet time of year. So many people I care about are leaving and that makes me incredibly sad. Off to school. Off to new jobs. Off to new lives. Some I will see again, others I probably won’t. But it’s also my first fall in the city truly living on my own. I am incredibly motivated and fulfilled by my job. I finally feel capable to being a functional adult – bettering myself while having a good time.
It’s a good time (with all this change) to start building some new habits (or to fall back into some old ones.)
I wanted to point out a couple of cool websites I’ve been playing on this week, one I’ve used before and one I only just discovered.
First, I love Chains.cc. It’s an accountability app that uses the old Seinfeld methodology of “Don’t break the chain!” I used their religiously for a while, but stopped suddenly and have just now rediscovered it. And so many fun new features! It’s great for keeping a record of how often you do the things you want to do, and those loooong breaks in the chains are sometimes enough to motivate you to finally start doing something again.
These are the chains I’ve listed that I’d like to keep up with. We’ll see how it goes! Obviously, not all of these will get done every day, but being able to see what I’m doing and what I’m not doing will be helpful regardless.
And second, for all my gaming friends, you’ll appreciate this: HabitRPG.
This is easily one of the coolest things I’ve seen on the internet recently. It’s a lot like Fitocracy, but with even more functionality in terms of daily tasks, To-Dos, and habits you want to encourage. Plus, there is a pretty decent social aspect and who doesn’t want to level up and create awesome characters!?! I haven’t played RPGs in a long time, but they still hold a very special place in my heart. And I’m a big fan of instant gratification, so this helps with that as well.
Between the two, I will probably try to keep up with Chains and will eventually stop using HabitRPG, but I thought it was super fun and wanted to point it out. And if in a few months, I’m still toying around in there, then that’s just a testament to how fun of a product it is!
|September 18, 2014||Filled under Rant|
Every so often this really catch song pops up on my Spotify playlist and I start getting into it until I start listening to the lyrics more closely. Watch the video below:
It get’s me every time for two reasons:
1. The concept of staying with someone because they are “the only thing” you know is extremely frustrating to me.
2. I relate to this song WAY MORE than I’d like to.
It turns out, my irritation with this song is more or less my own irritation with myself. Sometimes I stick with people who might not be the best for me because I’ve grown accustomed to the situation they bring. Logically, I know this is ridiculous. No one should be afraid of letting go of the less-than-positive things in their life simply because they are afraid of the unknown or the uncomfortable. And yet, here I am, guilty of this exact thing.
Though, to my credit, I think I’m slowly getting better about this.
I’ve started acknowledging that change is good and that comfortable is not comfortable if it makes you miserable.
It’s about weighing the pros and cons, and if the only pro is that “you know what you’re gonna get” (and what you’re gonna get isn’t what you want) then it’s time for a change. Especially when there are a whole bunch of unknown alternatives out there just waiting to be discovered when you shed the dead weight of uncomfortable comforts.
Sometimes you can’t wait for life to make the change for you. You’ve got to make the change yourself.
Who I am I kidding? I’m just sitting here waiting, so I’m no better than the girl in the song. But hey, it’s something I’m working on and something for anyone else in a similar situation to think about. We’re better than this, we really are.
|September 16, 2014||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
I’m sure by now I’ve talked at length about my newfound love of journaling. I’m not talking about blogging (the most public journal ever), but rather the private journal I carry with me wherever I go and try to write in every day.
There have been a number of positive side effects associated with regular journaling, including:
- Clarify your thoughts and feelings. Do you ever seem all jumbled up inside, unsure of what you want or feel? Taking a few minutes to jot down your thoughts and emotions (no editing!) will quickly get you in touch with your internal world.
- Know yourself better. By writing routinely you will get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You will also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being.
- Reduce stress. Writing about anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By doing so you will feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.
- Solve problems more effectively. Typically we problem solve from a left-brained, analytical perspective. But sometimes the answer can only be found by engaging right-brained creativity and intuition. Writing unlocks these other capabilities, and affords the opportunity for unexpected solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
- Resolve disagreements with others. Writing about misunderstandings rather than stewing over them will help you to understand another’s point of view. And you just may come up with a sensible resolution to the conflict.
Found this while walking around DC
As a near-daily practice, it’s just nice to get it all out on paper. If nothing else, once it’s on the page it’s out of my head and as I write it, all of those jumbled thoughts start to come together. I can really start to understand how I feel. And since I know no one will ever read it, I can be completely honest with myself.
Though, it’s funny how when I’m journaling, I can still feel my inner voice trying to censor my thoughts. Even in our own minds, we are trying to say what we think we should say, or feel how we should feel, rather than how we actually feel.
It’s also a great way to reflect on the victories behind you.
For me, always looking at the next few steps ahead is one of the most defeating feelings ever. When you are always looking in front of you, up toward the peek of the mountain, you never take a look back to see how far you’ve already traveled. Sometimes you need to flip back a few pages and realize how much you’ve already accomplished and feel good about that instead of beating yourself up for still having so far to go.
And other times, you discover the patterns of your fears and failures, and realize exactly what you need to do next.
For example, a personal insight I gained from journaling:
For so long I’ve been anxious and nervous in so many situations. Meeting new people. Starting a new job. Doing pretty much anything I haven’t done before. And I’ve come to realize that this anxiety is present because I lack the confidence in myself that I am able to handle these new situations.
When you are always looking for the support of someone else to be the strength that pushes you forward, you are leaving yourself woefully unprepared for life. Once that person—that perceived strength—is gone, you realize you haven’t cultivated any faith or confidence in yourself. I had gotten so used to being lead around that I never learned how to take charge of my own direction.
So here’s my new goal: have the confidence to know that I can take on whatever life throws at me, no matter who is or is not at my side.
“A bird sitting on a tiny branch never fears for the integrity of the branch, for he has faith in the strength of his own wings.”