The Designer Side

So I mentioned we would talk a little bit about design on this blog since it is my background, so here is your first design post:

Just Painting MatteAs you may or may not know, we moved into a new place about a month ago that is TOTALLY different from our house (which apparently I am still calling mine). A lot of the decor we have doesn’t quite fit (yet, anyway) and the feel of the place is very different. Despite going from a home to an apartment, I feel like the space is much more open and bright (most likely related to large windows and the 9 foot white walls ;). Normally I would balk at white walls and I hated them as a child but to be honest, I am kind of enjoying it. I guess you could say its like having a blank canvas. Which is an excellent segway to my post for this week!

The dining area in our new place looked a bit plain with the giant white wall behind it. Nothing we brought with us really fit the wall well so we decided to commission a new painting for the dining area.  I pinned my little heart out looking for inspiration and after a few days finally found it! Unfortunately, I could not find the original artist- but-thank you-thank you-thank you- whoever you are- for inspiring me.

So how did I made this happen? It was quite simple really, aside from gathering materials, it took me all of about 3 hours total to create- using only these ingredients!

PicMonkey Collage with Words

Yes its true, art doesn’t have to be complicated at all! I literally used materials I had around the house, plus a quick trip to the art store (or even a big box store really) for canvas, acrylic, and a round sponge. It can also be inexpensive! If you plan well, you can easily find a 40-50% off coupon for art stores. I got my canvases for 40% off using a Hobby Lobby coupon.

 To get started, I mixed the white acrylic with some water and brushed both canvases from top to bottom using a regular paint brush we had in our toolbox. Then I used the regular brush again to add in some background color using a touch of  sea-foam green mixed with the white/water mixture, and some Dijon mustard looking yellow mixed with black.

Just painting 1st

Then I studied my Pinterest inspiration for color layering.  To me, it looked like the pink/orange/yellow were more hidden, with an overlay of darker colors, and then the light sea-foam on top- so that was my approach.

Me Matte

For each dot color, I mixed up my palate up on a paper plate and use a red solo cup with about 1/4 cup of water to create the dripping effect. Simply dip your round sponge onto paper plate, then dip it into solo cup, and stamp away!

The best part of this was that it was supposed to be imperfect, and it didn’t matter if I had to remix a color and it didn’t match my first few stamps, it just made it more unique! I chose to add in some teal to match the tiny spots in the rug and our place mats, and you can certainly adjust it to meet your taste as well.

Final Matte{ Final Destination: Dining Area }

So there you have it- the walls still look a little bare, and I still have a lot of decorating to do around our new place, but I think I am off to a good start! Stay tuned…and have a great weekend!

The College Years (Part Deux) Deux/Morning Glory Egg White Oats

Continued from The College Years (Part Deux)…

…again it was time to devise a plan. I had to leave my full time design job behind and look for something more flexible. On a side note, this was when the housing market really started to take a nosedive and remodeling was the last thing on any homeowners mind. If I had to pick a good time to leave, this was it. I searched constantly for a more flexible job…and came to the conclusion that the answer was retail.

Yes Retail! My torture of choice. Where else was I going to find the flexibility I needed?  This would become a period in time where I would acquire quite the most unique plethora of jobs.  Previously I had one job in high school that also carried into most of most of my first college experience, and then my full time design job. That was it. In a period of about 3 years, I went from clothing retail, to food service, back to retail (this time selling the great outdoors!), and then eventually met my goal to get my foot in the door at a local hospital (two actually!). It was probably one of the most interesting experiences of my life thus far.

You see, its a big deal to find work/volunteer experience in dietetics for your Dietetic Internship application, preferably in food, nutrition, or fitness focused. As you can see here that’s not always an option, and luckily some Internship Directors understand that. While some of my jobs had absolutely nothing to do with dietetics I still managed to learn a lot, especially from the people I worked with.

I met many different people with many different life situations. Not everyone graduates high school and goes to college and lands a successful 9-5 job.  I realize that’s stating the obvious,  but what was most interesting about the jobs I had was learning the different perspectives on life in regards to priorities, leisure activities, and the general lifestyles of my fellow employees.  For most of my life it has been second nature to head to the gym after work/school…and for some people its not even close to being on their radar. And that’s just one example.  These experiences prepared me for becoming a Dietitian in ways I didn’t even know were possible. While it was tough going through it at the time, I’m glad it happened the way it did. I feel like I am a better Dietitian because of it.  To all those who are currently on the dietetic journey: remember you can make every experience count!!

Now that I’ve completely gone off topic about my college experience by talking wayyy to much about my work experience, I think I will continue off topic by introducing my breakfast for this week: Morning Glory Egg White Oats!

Yes that muffin I love so dearly has now morphed its way into a hot breakfast and I wanted to share it with you.

MGM Baggies

I spent part of my Sunday Prep on breakfast by creating baggies full of zucchini, carrots, apples, raisins, and walnuts so it would be easier during the week. I started with 1/3 cup of Oats and cooked them in the microwave for 1 minute.

Prebake

Then I added my pre-prepped baggie, 1/3 cup of egg whites, vanilla extract, and enough cinnamon for ten people (I heart cinnamon). I  stirred it all together and microwaved again for about 2 1/2 minutes.

Finished

Above is the final microwaved product. Its really hard to take a picture of something that is steaming hot FYI. I promise to work on it.

Post-microwave, I added some Chia seeds, Stevia Drops, and stirred again. I don’t know about your microwave, but at this point it was REALLY hot, so don’t burn your tongue because you are as excited as I am to eat this delicious breakfast!

Morning Glory Egg White Oats

1/3 Cup Old Fashioned Oats
2/3 Cup Water
1/3 Cup Egg Whites
1/3 Cup of shredded zucchini
1/3 Cup mixture of shredded Carrots and apple chunks
1 TBSP Raisins (If you can find baking raisins, they are awesome!)
1/2-1 TBSP Chopped Walnuts
To Taste: Cinnamon
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
To Taste: Stevia Drops

Optional: Chia Seeds etc.

Directions

1) Mix oats and water together, microwave for 1 minute

2) Stir in egg whites, mixture of fruits/veggies/walnuts, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Microwave for another 2-3 minutes

3) Add in Stevia or other preferred sweetener, chia seeds, or whatever your heart desires

4) Let cool- and enjoy!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Pumpkin Pie- From Scratch!

Pumpkin Pie

Making a pie is a lot of work ?

That’s what I once thought. NO WAY would I be able to create a pie from scratch and have it A) Turn out like the picture (OK, almost) and B) actually taste good.

Three years ago or so I set out to make the very first Thanksgiving pumpkin pie for my family that was made from scratch. THE VERY FIRST! Talk about intimidating. There are many ways to go about it, and many short cuts:

  • Premade dough
  • Premade filling
  • Frozen
  • Store bought
  • Precut store bought (really?)

But I wanted to make it my way (somewhat, ahem, healthier), with the help from Martha of course. Side note: If you are ever in the business of making something from scratch and aren’t sure where to start, always consult Martha. Countless times I have started with her recipes and they have never failed me.

This recipe for pumpkin pie was derived from Martha’s website. I would provide the link, but unfortunately I cannot remember which one it is and there are 317 of them! Of course she recommended you even make the pureed pumpkin from scratch, but I thought I had assigned myself quite the task already so I DID buy the canned version of the pumpkin puree.

The crust was simple: flour, butter, salt, water. Process –> BAM. This is now my go to for any dessert requiring a crust. The food processor does most of the work and the rolling pin does the rest. No sweat!

The filling component was almost a let down in that it was SO simple to put together. I simply added the ingredients in a bowl and mixed.

All that was left was pre-baking the crust, adding the filling and leaving it up to the oven to do the rest. Doesn’t that seem simple? It was.

Pumpkin Pie

Filling Ingredients:
1 can solid pack canned pumpkin (15 oz)
3 eggs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cups evaporated skim milk
Pie Crust Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup flour- 3/4 cup White, 1/2 cup Whole Wheat
1 Stick Butter, diced
1/2 tsp salt
3 TBSP Ice Water
1 Egg, for crust glaze
2 Tsp heavy cream, for crust glaze
Side Items:
Whipped Topping

Directions

1. Make pie crust by blending flour, butter,  and salt in the food processor. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time. Tiny balls will form, but can be pressed together to create one ball of dough. Refrigerate for about a half an hour before continuing.
2. Preheat the oven to 375.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger disk of dough into a 14-inch round. Fit round into a 10-inch pie plate; trim and fold dough under flush with rim of pie plate. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.Whisk 1 egg and heavy cream in a small bowl; set aside.
3. If decor is desired, Roll out remaining disk of dough to 1/8 inch thick. Using a 1-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter (or get creative with a paring knife!), cut out leaves. Brush edges of pie shell with egg wash. Arrange leaves around edges, pressing to adhere. Brush leaves with egg wash. Freeze for an additional 10 minutes.
4. Cut a large circle of parchment paper; fit into pie plate, extending about edges. Fill with pie weights (or rice, or beans, whatever you have on hand).
5. Bake pie shell 10 minutes. Remove weights and parchment; bake 5 minutes more. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
6. Transfer pumpkin to a large bowl. Add brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, nutmeg, 3 eggs, and evaporated milk; whisk until combined.
7. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer pumpkin mixture to pie shell. Bake until all but the center is set, 50 to 60 minutes. Let pie cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into wedges, and serve with whipped cream.

pie closeup

Of course you can add little decorative measures like my acorns and leaf motif (which I could definitely use some work on…or maybe some cookie cutters to do that for me too) and make your own whipped topping (which I HIGHLY recommend. Worth.Every.Calorie), but for your basic pumpkin pie, this was quite simple.

The best part is watching everyone dig in! Knowing that you made something that some consider impossible, and on top of that people are willing to eat it?! Its a wonderful feeling. You should try it sometime if you haven’t  already.

Have you ever made a pie from scratch? Tell me about your experience below!

Sold.

Front

So as I mentioned in my last post, we sold our house! Both hubby and I have been commuting 40+ minutes to work for some time now and have gone back and forth in regards to selling and moving closer to the city over the past few years. This June we finally took the plunge.

Backyard 2

We spent 4 months on the market which is NOT bad at all compared to most home sales, but we did have to drop the price a bit to get someone to put an offer in.

Living Room

Boy was that a long four months. It all started right before I graduated from my internship- through studying for and passing the RD exam- and several job interviews- lots of tiring stuff on top of trying to keep the house in perfect condition in case someone wanted to schedule a showing.

Kitchen

We had planned a long weekend getaway for our anniversary when it happened; an offer! The buyers were ready to move fast which was fine with us, but that is when all the memories came pouring in…

Bedroom 2

Despite fighting traffic to and from work for sometimes many hours at a time, this home has some serious memories.

Office

We built this house from the ground up. Shortly after, we became husband and wife! We learned what real neighbors are all about (and will miss them SO much). We celebrated major holidays, accomplishments, and milestones. Most importantly, we learned how to work as a team. In fact, most of what you see in our home was created and put together by US (even the desks!).

Basement

Most of the moving wasn’t terrible emotion-wise, in fact, it came down to the last trip to the house to pick up some odds an ends (um I forgot to pack up the freezer with all my frozen treats in it- hello!!) when I finally broke into tears…I’m going to miss that awesome little house and the all the memories that came with it. If I could pick it all up and move it closer to our jobs I totally would.

Living Room 2

We close officially today (maybe as your reading this?), and as much as I am sad about leaving things I love behind, I am also very excited to start a new chapter. I have wanted to live closer to a city for I don’t know how long, and my commute has become a measly 15 minutes (I don’t even have to get on the highway!).  We also downsized into an apartment, leaving us with even more time that might have been spent on house maintenance and the like.

Foyer

So as I walk out the front door one last time,  I still can’t believe  we lived in one spot for the past 6 years (after spending all that time moving around in college!) and now have to re-learn how to do the simplest things (re: my massive weekly grocery haul now has a built-in stair climbing cardio session).  I am definitely excited about making new memories in a new town that I get to explore little by little with my hubby.  It will certainly be an adventure, and as always I am up for the challenge 🙂

{2013 and Beyond!}

{2013 and Beyond!}

The College Years (Part Deux)

So I decided to go back to school for dietetics. This wasn’t going to be easy, as there was no way I was going to be able to leave my full-time position. Why?  In the space between my decision to go back to school and actually going back to school, I had…

gotten married…

{ Est. 2007 }

{ Est. 2007 }

built a house…

{ Home Sweet Home }

{ Home Sweet Home }

…and while we lived with my parents to completely pay for our wedding upfront (yeah were awesome!), we still had a lot on our plates like student loans, credit card debt, and the “burden” of outfitting our brand new house. It just wasn’t going to be feasible to stop what I was doing and change directions. I was going to need a really good plan to pull this off but luckily I was motivated and up for the challenge.

I explored a variety of options and just like my initial search for a new career, I came up with a few dead ends. It was frustrating. Many places require you to go during the day for your entire degree and some tuition rates were just outrageous! I also began to wonder what my hubby thought about all this career change business. Quite honestly I was afraid to find out!

“Hi, OK, so now that we’re married, I am gonna go ahead and quit my job and find another career path!”

I just felt like one of those brides who turned the switch after he put a ring on it. Who wouldn’t be scared?!

One day I came home completely defeated. I had no idea how I was going to make this work and I was ready to throw in the towel (there’s that twenty-something drama!). That’s when my wonderful husband looked at me and said “I have never seen you give in so early in the game, keep going and we will find a way to make it work” (Yeah, he’s a dream y’all). That’s when I knew that A) I could make it happen and B) He was going to support my decision. I kept moving.

I finally found my opportunity at a local community college: Cincinnati State.  They offered evening courses at a severely discounted rate compared to most universities in the area, and everything would transfer smoothly when I needed to move on to my core classes at the University of Cincinnati. In enrolled and started at the very bottom of the science curriculum: Biology 101.

Most people would loathe the fact that they had to start at the bottom in a crummy community college but you know what? I. Loved. It. I don’t know why community colleges get such a bad wrap, Cincinnati State was AWESOME! I don’t know if it was my excitement and willingness to learn, but I really enjoyed my experience there. It was totally different from my first go at college. Each course was challenging and enjoyable and I felt like I got something out of each course that I would actually apply! The professors were also encouraging and mostly inspiring as well.  I knew I was heading in the right direction.

So that’s how I managed my introductory classes: I worked full time as an interior designer during the day, and became a dietetics student at night. I did my homework in my car on my lunch break and read my books on the elliptical at the gym and somehow fit it all in. I was determined and on my way!

The next challenge came when I was ready for daytime classes…

So I think everyone would agree that its time I start mixing it up a bit between my “story” and some good eats…and some design! That beautiful house you see above has recently been sold, were moving closer to the city, and there is plenty shopping to be had!!

Stay Tuned!

Intermission…

I’m loving sharing my story but let’s face it: It’s time to see some food! Since I have graduated from my Dietetic Internship, I have been baking up a STORM at my house. Between my internship with associated homework/presentations, my … Continue reading

The Transition- How I went from clueless to Action!

So I began to look at my options…… what the heck were my options!? I felt completely lost (as most early twenty-somethings would oh-so-dramatically proclaim). I would make random lists of ideas I had for careers, but then have no idea what to do with them. Or I would research my ideas for a new career and realize I would be right back in the same spot wondering what to do. It was also horrifying to think about the fact that I would be throwing four years of college down the drain. Was it really the best idea to drop the career I am just starting for something else?

My initial idea was to segway into Graphic Design, another class I took my senior year that I found exciting and challenging. I also L-O-V-E stationery— what If I designed stationery!? So I sat down with my cool Adobe Fireworks program and decided I would get to work right away!  I spent hours playing around trying to design something I could be even remotely proud of, but in the end most of my time was spent staring into space. What did I posses that would make me successful in this type of job? Certainly not a wealth of ideas…and how am I going to make a difference here? Hmmm…Moving on…

anti-9-5-guide-practical-career-advice-for-michelle-goodman-paperback-cover-art

What happened next was a complete freak accident that would set me on the right path. I came across this book: The ANTI 9-5 guide by Michelle Goodman. I wouldn’t say I am “anti” 9-5, but I would say I needed career advice, and I would say I think outside the “cube”, so on a whim, I purchased the book.

Boy, did I hit the jackpot! This book was perfect for generating and directing my thoughts towards what I wanted to do with my life. I didn’t even finish the book before I had my epiphany!  You go Michelle, you go.

I simply read the chapters and completed the activities throughout the book and there it was staring me right in the face amongst a list of things I enjoyed-

DIETETICS.

dietetics_sky_is_the

The task in the book was simply to generate a list of things I enjoy regardless of whether or not it was considered a career, and then slowly narrow it down into feasible path.  This book also allowed you to dream big (in a way that almost lets you get ideas off your chest and out into the open, in order to make way for even better ideas).

It made perfect sense. I had become really interested in fueling my body the right way, incorporating exercise into my daily routine, and I was a food blog addict.  This was and still is a topic that I am constantly interested in learning more about and considering the overweight/obesity rates in the United States, this certainly met my job requirements of finding a way to make a difference. Overall, my selection of dietetics actually coincided with many items I had put on my list of things I enjoyed, which provided me with enough evidence to pursue the next step- Going back to College.

I guess overall I make it seem simple have the “aha!” moment and make that change in your career path or even declare what you are going to to “forever”.
Its. Not. Easy. There are people that struggle with this daily who are 15-20  years into a job that they don’t even like. It’s hard not to get discouraged and throw in the towel but you have to keep moving. If you are stuck in this spot keep pushing!

Here are some things I learned along the way:

  • What are you passionate about in life? What makes you truly happy?Make a list and see what connections you can make. If you can, check out ANTI 9-5 at the library!
  • Volunteer with professions you might be interested in. Its the best way to get exposure and figure out if it is right for you before invest some serious time and money into it. Even if you meet a dead end, you at least know you tried and can cross it off your list!
  • Don’t turn down opportunities, even if you think they might be strange or maybe not worth your time. You never know what you might come across in the process!

Next week I dive into my college experience the second time around as a newlywed. With a mortgage. With a full-time job…stay tuned!

Me at Twenty-Three

So lets start from the beginning…

Baby B

Ok, not they very beginning, but where I started to question my career path:

If I am being honest, it was my senior year in college.

I had always told myself I was not a science person. I avoided challenging science classes in high school and I even managed to avoid my science gen-eds in college (by taking ridiculous courses like weather, which is actually hard and consequently not ridiculous FYI).  It all came down to my last semester in college when I had to take a general biology course in order to graduate.

I dreaded taking this class, but soon realized that I enjoyed it and I was good at it (!), which was even more terrifying. Me + Science? What was that all about? I didn’t think too much on it, and continued on to graduate with my bachelors in Interior Design.

Grad Brit

Post graduation, I was quickly snatched up by my previous summer internship location. My first job right out of the gate was a lead designer for a high-end residential design company. As a new grad, a full-time design job was as sweet as you could hope for, so I accepted.

Since I had completed my internship there, I knew what I was getting into:

The initial visit to dream with your potential client and take measurements, coming up with the perfect floor plan, following my clients around helping them complete their selections- its everyone’s dream right? It was definitely mine in the beginning.

I. Loved. It. It was like being on DIY Network every day!

Before & After{A favorite project of mine}

But overtime, I began to realize that this was likely my final destination career-wise, unless I picked up shop and moved to a bigger city with more opportunity.  Suddenly, I began to panic, and it felt like the walls were closing in on me. Is this what I want forever?

Looking back, I realize I didn’t have to feel this way so soon.  At this moment in my life however, I didn’t know how to network (or how vital it really is to a career), I didn’t understand what you had to do to enhance your career, and I didn’t realize how important it was to go through an accredited program.  I had a four year degree and felt like I didn’t have the tools I needed to carry me through a successful career in interior design.

You might want to ask: “OK, so why didn’t you stick it out and figure out a way to improve your situation?”

Well if your asking, there were many other things that factored in to my decision to change directions:

1- The clients I were seeing on a daily basis were intelligent, successful, and they were totally making a difference in other peoples lives. I realized I wanted to be that person on the other side.  Sure, I improved someones quality of life by incorporating their first-ever dishwasher into their floor plan, but really? This wasn’t the ground breaking difference I had in mind.

2- Was I really interested in even recovering what I may have missed by not attending an accredited program? I told you about my Biology experience, not to mention the fact that I learned a thing or two about healthy eating and physical activity during my “Freshman 15” phase (no, you really can’t eat mini brownies with M&M’s on top for breakfast everyday and get away with it).  I found myself interested obsessed with food blogs, trying and creating new recieps, improving my eating habits, and achieving fitness goals.  I didn’t know what it meant at the time, but I knew my list of things I  enjoy was moving away from design and towards something else.

3- I wanted to explore my limits. I mentioned earlier that I never thought of myself as a science person, but what if I was? What if I had what it takes to conquer science and be that intelligent, successful person making a difference? What if challenging myself in high school and college was a missed opportunity for the path I was truly meant to be on?

So I began to explore my options…

Long Time Coming

Image

Ta-da! It’s finally here.

I have been wanting and trying to start a blog (TwoHungryPeople anyone?…I didn’t think so.) for I don’t know how many years. The ideas have always been there, but the niche has not.

What makes me unique? I wasn’t sure before, but the answer was always right in front of my face. Literally. I mean who goes all the way through design school, gets a job, gets married, and decides to start her career all over? Ok, switching careers is all too common, but typically people don’t go from one side of the brain to the other. Granite Samples to Medical Nutrition Therapy? Interesting…

Every interview I have and every new person I meet- whats the first thing they want to talk about? Sooooooo you have an interior design degree? How the heck did you get here? Its an instant conversation starter. If for some reason they don’t have a design question, there is always a question about nutrition!

So there you have it. The Designer Dietitian. To me, a niche used to mean the space in your shower for your soap and shampoo, but now its finally my reason to blog.

This blog is about my journey from Interior Designer to Registered Dietitian, and how both somehow work together to make me a strange hybrid; even though I am still searching for my niche within my new career.  But don’t worry! I love to cook, workout, and have fun, so this will definitely be about more than my career journey. There will be recipes, tips & tricks, and maybe the occasional design question to tackle.

So Enjoy! Or don’t. I’ll be here anyways. But if you do, leave me a message! I am fascinated with all the wonderful blogs in the world and would love to hear about your blog or your favorites.