Bridal Showers: Garden Brunch

Bridal showers have become a normal weekend event for me. I mentioned in a recent post that I am apart of 5 different weddings…just this year! I have had the pleasure of throwing two showers, alongside my family, so far. I thought it would be a fun addition to the blog if I shared little style tips and inspirations with you to simplify your next bridal shower! The first shower that I’m going to share with you is….

Paige’s Garden Brunch

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For my cousin Paige we did a beautiful Garden Brunch at my family’s restaurant Bella Rose Bakery & Cafe. Paige is the head baker for this family run business so of course her shower had to be filled with sweet treats and delicious food! The chair that Paige and I are sitting on is from a family friend. She set up these elegant curtains with the chair just for Paige. I thought this was such a sweet idea! It gave Paige a special place to sit while she opened her presents. Since seeing this I have set up a present opening area for all of my brides-to-be.

 

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Each table had a floral arrangement from the local flower shop with pink roses, white accents and greenery. The favors were cookies with Paige’s new initial. Each table was also given two different Italian sodas from, Whole Foods, to choose from as a non-alcoholic beverage option.

 

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Menu

Egg, sausage, and cheese casserole

Potato Casserole

Coffee Cake

Bacon Skewers

Assorted baked goods

Fruit cups

Champagne Cake

 

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Personal Statement

Ahhh the dreaded personal statement. My friends I were editing our personal statements up to the very last second before DICAS was due. This is by far the hardest part of the DICAS application! It’s basically saying tell me why you are more worthy than the dozens (sometimes hundreds) or people applying for this internship, tell us who you are, what you have accomplished, and why that’s important….in 1,000 words of less. Which leaves you sitting there either in two different places. 1. Staring at a blank screen thinking I don’t have anything impressive to talk about or 2. Trying to take out every adjective you can to take your 2,000 words down to 1,000. But don’t worry! EVERYONE struggles with their personal statement no matter their writing strengths. I have come up with a few different questions and exercises that really helped me bring my personal statement to something that wasn’t painfully embarrassing! I will be sharing both my original personal statement and final personal statement with you so you can see the transformation.

My adviser met with each one of us students that were applying for DICAS. Part of the list of items she asked us to bring was our personal statement. It was incredibly uncomfortable and slightly demeaning to have someone bluntly explain to you how horrible your writing was. But it was exactly what I needed! She did the following as she read and I highly encourage you to do the same!

  • Looked for descriptive words that were used more than once. (I used success at least 12 different times! Which means 1.2% of my personal statement used the word success!)
  • Looked for a story that flowed rather than just paragraphs that explained separately.
  • Took out whole sentences and paragraphs

One thing I will never forget Dr. Herzig telling me was “do you want people to read this and think that you just haphazardly decided to pursue this career? Or do you want people to read this and say wow she was very persistent and intentional?” After she asked me those questions I looked at it completely different! Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself! Locate your strengths and create a story of a victor, not a victim. 

Before you begin your personal statement take some time to complete the following exercise and questions.

  1. Write why you want to be a dietitian. Don’t worry about flow, grammar, impressive words. Just write.
  2. Once you have written this down read through it and pick out ideas that you can build off of.
  3. Why do you want to go to this specific internship?
  4. What is something unique about yourself that is different from others?
  5. What are different strengths or weaknesses that people have pointed out about you?
  6. What do you personally feel your greatest strength is?
  7. Create a list of the volunteer and work experiences that you have done. Write down what qualities, lessons, and strengths each experience has given you.
  8. What is your dream career if you had no limitations?
  9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?
  10. What is something in the dietetics field that has always interested you?

After you complete these experiences read over all of it. Write down any additional thoughts that you have that could go into your personal statement. Remember that this is all free writing. Just dream and reflect!

Once you have finished these exercises take a peak at the questions DICAS is requiring you to answer in your personal statement. Then go to your internship website and see what additional questions (in any) you will need to answer. Start your FIRST draft. I bolded this word because I have rewritten my personal statement at least 5 different times. This is not including all of the edits and changes that I have made to it! I have had 6 different people read over it looking for errors and miscommunications.

Once you have written that first draft and read it for spelling and grammar errors, set it down and walk away. Come back the next day and reread it with fresh eyes. Then give it to professors, career specialists and classmates.

Below I have shared with you my first draft and my final draft of my personal statement. Feel free to comment any questions you have or contact me if you need fresh eyes to read your personal statement. I would be more than happy to give you some advice and direction. I will not write it for you though! I ONLY read finished work of people really interested in my opinion.

First Draft of Personal Statement

Personal Statement Final Draft

Also, I hope you all enjoy this beautiful picture of my nutrition girls! I would not have made in through my last two years of school without them! I still hang out with these gals even after graduation. This picture was taken by Sam Justice who is an incredible photographer (and Alyssa’s husband – Check out her blog at https://www.alyssakayle.com)!  So thankful for talented friends!

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How I got into Cal Poly, SLO

In two weeks I will be starting a new journey at Cal Poly, SLO as a dietetic intern. I can’t believe that I am about to live the life I have dreamed about for the last 5 years! With this new journey beginning I thought it was the perfect time to look back on my journey here. In August of 2013 I started my long road of becoming a registered dietitian. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I sat in the library of Fresno State searching through every. single. major. Fresno State had to offer. I was a biology major in pursuit of medical school, desperate to find my calling and a career that would interest me and pay my bills. Thankfully the major Food Science and Nutrition didn’t take long to get to, since the list of majors was in alphabetical order. I looked through the course work, the overview of the career options, and instantly fell in love. Like many of you, I loved the science aspect of nutrition but was pulled in by the cooking classes and community options. I ran over to my new adviser to get my paper signed off and quickly became a nutrition major. Little did I know the next 4 years would be filled with hundreds of volunteer hours, countless group projects, and science classes that would bring me to tears. Looking back at the journey, I don’t think I would change a thing.

Now that you know a little bit of my back story, let’s jump into how I got matched to Cal Poly, SLO’s dietetic internship program. There are a few things that I am going to highlight but I will go into more detail in upcoming posts.

Volunteer Hours

I know, I know, you have heard it a THOUSAND times…get your volunteer hours. It’s so much more than the number of hours you earn. When I first started collecting my volunteer hours I heard a dietetic intern speak at a Student Nutrition and Dietetic Association meeting. She explained how she signed up for every volunteer opportunity that crossed her path. After hearing that, my mind was set on accepting every invitation I received. I quickly realized that if I wanted to have a social life, keep up with my grades, and sleep more than 6 hours a night I couldn’t accept every opportunity that presented itself. It worked for that specific intern and got her matched her first time around but for me, that wasn’t going to fly.

When I finally decided to place Cal Poly as my first choice on DICAS I went and spoke with Kati Fosselius (my awesome DI director) to make sure she could put a face with the name when my application showed up on her desk. She explained to me that she wanted interns with experience that showed both breadth and depth. I loved the way she put this concept. When applying to your dietetic internship it’s not about having 200 different volunteer opportunities that are only an hour each. It’s about having 4-5 volunteer opportunities that equal 200 hours or more. I will go into greater detail about this in a coming post on volunteering.

Letter of Recommendation

Looking back over my DICAS application, there were a lot of contributing factors that went into my match. I think one of the strongest areas were my letters of recommendation. One of my goals in college was to get to know my professors and I am so proud to say that I accomplished this goal. Leaving high school I didn’t really know my teachers on a personal level like many of my friends did, so I was determined for college to be different. Through office hours, sitting in the front of the class, and working with my professors on outside projects and grants I was able to build up a list of professionals and teachers that were more than willing to write stellar letters of recommendation for me. I will also be writing a more detailed article about letters of recommendation and the etiquette that should accompany them. For now start thinking about professors, RDs, volunteer coordinators, and advisers that you could build a relationship with. Building these relationships are essential for personal letters of recommendation but the benefits of knowing these professionals do not end at an incredible letter of rec. Creating relationships with my professors and other nutrition professionals has promoted maturity, responsibility and accountability in me. I have been given the opportunity to participate in three different research studies, 3-4 different grant funded community projects, and was often recommended to tutor my classmates. Knowing your professors makes a world of difference in your college experience and in your applications.

Personal Statement

Writing has always been a strong suite of mine. But writing a personal statement literally took the life out of me. You could be the strongest writer with the most expansive vocabulary and still find yourself staring at a blank Microsoft word document for hours. Personal statements are not essays. Internship directors do not want flashy vocab words, descriptive language, or a fancy medical jargon – they want to know you…in 1,000 words or less. I have written six different drafts of my personal statement, sat down with 7 different people, and still didn’t feel confident when I submitted it. Don’t take this as a discouragement though! It is so difficult to write about yourself! The best advice I can give you (until I write an entire blog post on this) is to be yourself. Write down why you wanted to be a dietitian in the first place. Think about who you are when you started this journey and who you are now. Look at the volunteer and work experiences that you have and relate them to strengths that internship directors are looking for. Personal statement writing is a beast but you can totally do it successfully! I will share a copy of my personal statement soon and I will also try to dig up my first draft so that you can see the incredible difference that editing and some soul searching can make.

Meet the Internship Director

My DPD adviser pushed all of us seniors to go and visit our perspective internships. I don’t know how big of a difference this makes in the overall acceptance into an internship because you’re either qualified or you’re not. Going and visiting and internship director isn’t going to change the fact that you have a 2.9 GPA. If you are a competitive applicant though, going and visiting a school shows that you are serious about that internship and you are willing to sacrifice your time and money to find out more. Internship directors are able to put a face to the name on the application and they will remember that you went. If meeting the internship director face to face isn’t an option, then set up a phone or Skype meeting. Taking initiative to meet a director says a lot about your motivation and drive.

These are the four things that I believe made me stand out as an applicant. I was fortunate enough to receive an interview for each internship I applied to and got matched my first time with my number one internship. Out of 144 applicants I was one of nine chosen. I don’t share this with you to brag but to give me some credibility on the subject. I didn’t get into Cal Poly because I’m a genius or because I’m some amazing applicant. I got in because I listened to the advice of my mentors, put in the effort to make myself stand out, and communicated with past and present interns. This is just an overview of what a successful application looks like. I will be posting articles in greater detail about the application process, volunteering, letters of recommendation and so much more! I will also be uploading some printable resources to help with the personal statement writing and resume building. Be sure to comment with questions below! My goal is to make your DICAS application a simple process so let me know how I can better serve you!

 

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Pico de Gallo

One of my favorite things to eat during the hot Valley summers is fresh pico de gallo! The Central Valley is home to the freshest produce. I mean they don’t call us the agricultural capital of the world for nothing. Aside for the fresh produce that comes from local farmers, there are also a lot of home-grown gardens that allow people to get their fruit and vegetable fix. Growing up, my grandmother always had a garden. Her star was the tomatoes. I would eat them like an apple when I was little. I have the sweetest memory sitting at my grandma’s counter with my Aunt Paula talking about our “tomato club” as we ate tomatoes that we had just picked off the vine.

The best way to make pico de gallo is from fresh garden produce. I don’t always have access to home grown tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, and onion but when I do….it’s life changing! I decided to share my go-to pico de gallo recipe with all of you so that you can enjoy this fresh summer treat in your own kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 8 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 jalapeños, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 small lemons, juiced
  • 3 small limes, juiced
  • garlic salt to taste

Directions 

  1. Chop and dice tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeños, and onion.
  2. Combine tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeños, and onion in large bowl.
  3. Add lime and lemon juice.
  4. Add garlic salt to taste.
  5. Mix ingredients.
  6. Taste mixture and add additional salt or other ingredients.

Remember that salsa ingredients can vary greatly in flavor so purchase an extra ingredients in case you need to add. Tomatoes absorb everything so don’t be afraid to be a little liberal with the salt.

1 pound pizza dough1%2F2 to 1 cup tomato sauce2 to 3 cups other toppings_ sautéed onions, sautéed mushrooms, pepperoni, cooked sausage, cooked bacon, diced peppers, leftover veggies, or any other favorites1 to 2 cups (.png

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Expectations

I sat with a friend planning her wedding, this beautiful Sunday afternoon. This has been a common outing for me this year; planning, attending, and being in weddings, that is. I will have been in 5 weddings, attended 10, and helped plan 7 in the last two years. It’s an incredibly joyful time of life for me and the people that I am close to. I have always been a little obsessed with weddings and the planning process. I have always looked at engaged women with envy as they show off their shimmery rings, make their well thought out excel spread sheets, and find that perfect white gown. As I planned with my dear friend today, her sister began giving advice on the expectations that we set for people. She said that we often expect people to react out of character during weddings or other big events.

For example I do not have a father that gets over the hill excited about anything…unless it has to do with some ridiculous gadget! (I think most dads are like this!) He just does not come pre-loaded with a personality that is filled with exuberance. I know this very well about my father. Yet I still expect him to respond with excitement when I tell him good news, but I find myself bothered and annoyed at his lack of expression every time. See I expect my father to act out of character in a special moment…but I can only expect him to respond within his character. I will almost always be disappointed if I put expectations on him that he cannot meet.

Similarly, I have imagined myself in various situations acting out of character; graduation, college, work, marriage, etc. Before I started college I imagined myself able to handle the stress, studying every night, and not needing the social aspect of school anymore. I saw myself as this grown adult who was ready to take on the world. My imagination was playing tricks on me! I wasn’t seeing who I was then in the situations that I was imaging. I was seeing this older and wiser woman walking through Fresno State’s halls. When I got to that school it felt different from what I had expected. I was still struggling with things I had struggled with in high school, I was still an extravert that didn’t know how to study, and I was confused as to why I felt so much younger than everyone else. In my mind I had imagining myself older and more mature; able to handle anything. But the truth is unless my character changes, I am who I am in every situation. No matter if the location, people or circumstance changes.

I listened to a podcast a few months ago from Jaimie Ivy (I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS PODCAST.) She had a special guest on the show talking about the transition from single woman to married woman. She explained that before she got married she imagined herself getting up early to make her husband breakfast, prepare an extravagant lunch, and have the house spotless by the time he was home….all while working a full time job. Once she got married she felt too tired to get up early to prepare breakfast, didn’t really feel like making his lunch the night before, and was way to busy to keep the house spotless everyday. She explained to the audience how she felt like an absolute failure. A failure as a wife, a woman….just a failure. She realized that she has never been a morning person and has never really enjoyed cooking. So why would her desires and character change now that she was married? There wasn’t something magical that happened at the alter to make her into a wife as soon as she said ” I do.” There wasn’t some special transfer that made her able to get up early when she slipped on that ring. She had to realize that she was who she was, even in marriage.

You do change in marriage…or so I’ve heard. You do learn how to be a wife, how to merge your life with another human, and how to communicate with someone who is now you’re person. You could even become a morning person in marriage if you wanted to. But the act of being married does not change who you are. The act of going to Fresno State didn’t change who I was. And the act of me turning 23 doesn’t change me into an adult. The experiences, prayer, people, and decisions we make change our character, not our new titles.

So I encourage all of you to work on who you are now instead of focusing on who you will be then. Our expectations can make or break an experience or relationship. Who you are and how you perceive life is more influential than a person or situation. Release the expectations that you have of people and yourself and learn to work with people’s character rather than against. You cannot control the way people react or how circumstances play out, but you can control your reaction.

 

“The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.”

Luke 6:45

Also I hope you all enjoyed the beautiful picture of my new cousin Robyn from her wedding day! Sometimes God gives you things that are better than you could have expected and Robyn’s addition to our family was one of those.

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RD2B: How to Study Like A Pro

Studying and I have always had a love hate relationship – I love the results and hate the work. Although I would much rather being doing quit possibly anything other than studying, I love the feeling of recognizing the content. During my undergrad I became very efficient at studying for exams. I knew my routine, my attention span, and what study techniques would benefit me and what techniques would waste my time. I decided to share a few of my tips with all of you RD2Bs so that you can use the most of your time. Keep in mind these study techniques are for science-based courses. I had a lot of engineer friends that didn’t understand my study techniques because they were for memorization not for concept grasping!

Record Your Lectures

When I took biochem my (first) senior year I was terrified. I knew the professor was challenging and that she talked way to fast for me to ever keep up. So I took a tip from someone and recorded all of her lectures. This allowed me to sit in class without worrying if I missed something on my notes. I could actually pay attention to the concept and learn while she was talking. I would take light notes of things she worked out on their board but for the most part I would listen. Then the next day I would go back and take more detailed notes from that lecture. It was so helpful during finals seasons as well! Concepts from August that I now had to remember in December weren’t so scary because I could re-listen to the lecture. This is an incredible help for anatomy and physiology also!

Print Out the PowerPoint

I never understood why people printed out the powerpoint. I would always laugh at my friend Linda as she sat in the front row with her PowerPoints printed out. Then I realized how much better it was to be able to take written notes next to the concepts being taught. I began combining my new technique of listening to recorded lectures and printing out the PowerPoint. I would print out the PowerPoint and take my notes from class and add them to the printed sheet. I would then go back and listen to the lecture and take notes on the printed PowerPoint. I know this sounds excessive but when the test came around I didn’t really have to study all that hard from it because I had heard the material twice and written it three times. All I needed to do was go back and look over notes to make sure it was memorized.

Make Your Own Study Guide

I love with professors give you a detailed study guide! They do all of the hard work for you! As I got deeper into college I realized that professors aren’t that generous all the time. So I started making my own study guides. Just the physical act of creating your own questions and finding the answers allowed me to remember the content. I would pull up my notes and begin creating questions that went along with the content. Then I would type the correct answer on a seperate piece of paper and answer the study guide the next day. This was especially helpful in my Food Service Management classes. The information was so broad and specific that I needed a way to remember the information. This was the best way, for me, to remember.

Build A Study Group

When I was taking Anatomy and Physiology I had so many people telling me to get into a study group. I thought that it was useless and I was a little uncomfortable sitting in a room with people I didn’t know. I studied on my own for that class and it robbed me of my soul! My junior year I finally started a study group with 5 of the girls that were in my major. This same study group got together for every test for the next two years. We made it through advanced nutrition, community nutrition, food and culture, clinical nutrition, and all of our food service management classes together. I don’t know what my junior and senior years would have looked like without this group of people. Find people in your major (or classes) early and form a group. There is nothing more helpful than being at a white board teaching your classmates the material. You remember the content incredibly fast! My A&P professor always used to tell us it takes hearing, doing, seeing and speaking to remember something. The hearing and seeing come from your lecture, but the doing and speaking come from your study group!

STAY ORGANIZED

I put this title in all bold because I cannot tell you how many student do poorly in classes because they cannot organize their lives. They don’t know how to plan their own schedules, prioritize their time, keep track of past and present assignments, or remember where they saved their homework! If you fail to plan, you plan to fail….it’s that simple. Find an organization system that works for you and stick with it! Personally, I love my planned. I put all of my assignments for the semester in the “month” part of the planner that way I can see everything that is coming up. Then I spend, at the most, an hour looking over what is due this week and I strategically plan out which assignments to do on what days. I am not a procrastinator, I am an early bird. This has saved me from stress and crappy work.

Additional Tips:

  1. Get a whiteboard
  2. Check your work
  3. Take breaks to prevent burnout
  4. Eat before you study
  5. Determine the times of day you are most focused and able to study

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Strawberry Bruschetta

This week I had the opportunity to catch up with my precious friends from my nutrition program. We were all asked to bring an appetizer to our friend Linda’s for a catch up night. Due to my refrigerator being broken I needed something simply (of course) and quick! After looking at some Pinterest pictures and looking through my pile of recipes I decided to make this beautiful Strawberry Bruschetta! All of the recipes that I was seeing were calling for goat or cream cheese. But to be honest I am much more of a Brie fan! So I made my own version of this recipe! Hope you enjoy!

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These beautiful bite-sized pieces are perfect for any summer party. They have a sweet and savory flavor to them that offers both refreshment and a tartness. You can either toast the bread or leave it as is. The pictures you see are the un-toasted version of these beauties.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of strawberries
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 bunch of basil
  • 1 baguette
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 oz container of Brie Cheese

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut baguette into 1/2 inch slices.
  • Lightly brush slices with olive oil
  • Bake in oven until lightly toasted
  • In separate bowl combine sliced strawberries, chiffonade basil, and balsalmic vinegar.
  • Spread Brie cheese on toasted baguette.
  • Spoon strawberry mixture into baguette.
  • Lightly top with salt.

 

Be sure to pin this recipe to save for later!

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