You know her as the Manager of Community Engagement — your link to the DailyFeats team. We at DailyFeats know her as a social media guru with a passion for people and innovative technology. Now, thanks to our new Team Member Profile series, we can all get to know a bit more about what really makes Sara tick.
By Shannon Wagner, Marketing & Community Engagement
It’s no secret that DailyFeats wants to help people build better habits. We continually do research into sustainable behavior change and the technology that makes it possible, and lately I’ve been thinking about my own habits, specifically the ones I’d like to adopt, and why some stick and some don’t.
We’re thrilled to announce a challenge with the creator of the Mindful Moon iPhone app, which helps to incorporate positivity throughout your day with reminders that make you mindful of your mood. The Think Brighter challenge will help you do just that. Here’s a little more from Eric to get you started.
This is the latest in our Featured Member series, in which we shine a spotlight on the amazing people we’re meeting as we grow.
Today, meet Renee…
chef, attorney, student, volunteer, and all-around wonder woman.
1. We think it’s fantastic that you’re working toward a degree culinary nutrition, and studying to become a registered dietician. But we’re curious – after working as a practicing attorney, what made you decide to get into cooking? Or have they always been dual interests?
I’ve wanted to go to culinary school ever since I was 16, when a graduating friend went to one. When I asked my mother about it, she responded with this gem: “Don’t ever do anything you love for a living because you’ll grow to hate it.” (Yes, she was rather embittered about her career choice.) I actually bought into that for decades, until the corollary finally became clear in my mind: it’s far better to spend over 60% of your waking hours doing something that you dislike. What kind of advice is that?
It took until I turned 40 and realized, in short, “if not now, when?” that it was time to make my dreams a reality. As much as I love some parts of the practice of law, other parts feel soul-draining; cooking, on the other hand, is life-affirming and soul-feeding for me. Add that to a few other things that fell in line and a new culinary student was forged!
2. Of course, to be in the culinary nutrition field you have to have a love of food. What’s the first dish you ever learned to cook, and what’s your favorite one to make today?
It’s hard for me to identify the first dish because I can’t remember not helping my mother or grandmother cook and bake. I know that I was making babka (Polish sweet raisin egg-bread) with my grandmother from a very young age. I also remember, as part of fulfilling a requirement for a Girl Scout badge, cooking Barbie’s Hot Pot on my own. (Yes, there was a Barbie cookbook and I had a copy!)
Talking about favorite things to make is sort of like asking a parent to talk about their favorite child — while there might be one that the parent relates to better, there is no real favorite. The first thing to jump out at me, though, is sourdough bread. I love baking sourdough — from culturing and feeding the living yeast culture, through kneading and shaping the loaf, through watching it as the yeast continues to live and create the flavor in the bread itself. It’s time intensive and more than a bit of a pain — sourdough starters take time and money to keep going — but I love doing it.
3. We know that when cooking you always have to be on your toes and multitasking, but no matter how hard you try, sometimes things just go wrong. Have you ever had any kitchen disasters?
Most definitely! One of my earliest was when I was in sixth grade. It actually taught me something that I’m glad I learned very early — read your recipe completely, multiple times, before doing anything! I was making some sort of apple cake for a foreign recipe day at school and added the applesauce to the batter rather than saving it for the topping. Oops!
I’ve had some major disasters more recently, too — it’s part of learning new things. I’ve both undercooked and overbaked cookies, and at work I’ve baked my share of “chocolate bacon.” I won’t go into details about my first ever attempt at making chicken parmesan; I’ll just say that I’d never made it before and that it was another learning experience.
4. You’re a student, an attorney, a town selectman, a regular volunteer at your local farmers market, and an active Rotary Club member – phew! Did we forget anything? What’s your secret to maintaining your balancing act?
I’m sure you and I both forgot something, but I’m not sure that I want to remember what it is at the moment! I think a big part of my secret is prioritizing — focusing on those things that need to be done the most quickly and, while I’m working on them, not worrying about the other commitments. Sometimes that doesn’t work — I have, on more than one occasion, had multiple deadlines on the same day — in which case I just need to push myself to get one or more things done in advance.
The downside to all of this is that what suffers the most when I’m pushing towards a deadline is myself — the quality of the food I eat goes down and I don’t exercise. I’m working on changing that, and DailyFeats is definitely helping me there. Sometimes I will say to myself, “No, you’re not reaching for that box, you can cook this in 15 minutes” just so I can check off a few feats. DailyFeats also helps me remember my personal priorities after I’ve met my deadlines — “Oh, right, I haven’t done that in a week, I can do it today.”
I find it somewhat sad that I need reminders to take care of myself, but I’ve learned that I do. And while I’d like to make the mental shift that would have me not forgetting, for now I’ll take the strategies — like using DailyFeats — that help me get back on track.
5. If you had the option to clone yourself as many times as you wanted, how many do you think you’d need?
Oh my — I’d probably need like at least 5. One to work full-time and earn enough money to support all of us; one to do all the research (volunteer- or town-related) that I never find the time to do; one to do all the housework and gardening that I’m always scrambling to catch up with; one to focus on fundraising for the organizations I’m involved with; and one to do paperwork and all the coordinating necessary to make all 6 of us work well together. I could focus on going to school, enhancing my cooking skills, putting in time with the organizations I volunteer with, and spending time with my husband and my friends. Heck, I might even have time to travel!
Keep working on your goals:
Check in the feats you already do:
Find new feats to do:
Hide the stuff you don’t need to see:
Take it offline:
As always, let us know what you think by shooting a note over to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to answer any of your questions and bring your feedback to our product team.
by Janine Adams, Peace of Mind Organizing
As a professional organizer, I get to see inside people’s homes and see the challenges that face them. You know what I see? Lots and lots of paper. And much of it is unopened mail.
Why don’t people open their mail? I think sometimes they can’t be bothered, and then when the pile gets too big, they get overwhelmed. And the mail can get scary. There can be correspondence from the IRS, past-due notices, denials from insurance companies lurking in there. But you know what? Ignoring that stuff doesn’t make it go away. And it sure doesn’t make the situation any better.
The other thing to remember is that sometimes there’s great stuff in the mail. A letter from a loved one. A refund check. Maybe even a notice that you’ve inherited something inside a really scary-looking letter from an attorney. Hey, yesterday I received a thank-you card with a $25 Starbucks card inside. I’d be bummed if I’d never opened that.
If you stay on top of your mail, you don’t have to look at the piles. You don’t have to worry about what might be lurking there. You have an opportunity to take action on any bad news that might be there. You pay your bills on time. I bet you can guess that I think staying on top of the mail is a good thing.
How do you go about doing it? The system that I suggest to my clients, which has been very successful for most, is quite simple. Here are the steps:
* Buy a desktop file box, with no lid, no more than about six inches deep. Make it pretty, so you can keep it out on a desk. I call this your Action Box.
Click through to read more of Janine’s tips and claim a valuable discount on her organizing guide and e-course…
By Sara Hopson, Manager of Community Engagement
My teammate Monique and I spent June 22-24 in Aurora, Colorado at the gorgeous University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus for the Fitness and Health Bloggers Conference, where we were a participating partner. We had an awesome weekend, full to the brim: learning about the latest fitness and health research, trying new workouts with the rest of the attendees, and getting to know what some really enthusiastic and inspiring bloggers are up to all around the country. Elle Potter and Allan Wright did some fantastic work organizing the weekend’s events, sponsors, and speakers. Thanks guys!
Not surprisingly, we exercised three times in 24 hours, and all three were totally new workouts for me. Julie (from A Better Life with Burgers) and I sweated it out during Tabata Boot Camp, and a big group of us enjoyed Zumba together on Saturday evening.
As a sort of fitness novice of late — having only begun working out seriously a year ago, after five years of inactivity following high school — I was pleased to feel so welcome and comfortable around this group of registered dietitians, certified personal trainers, wellness coaches, yogis, and marathon runners. Everyone was, above all else, super enthusiastic.
(L-R) Ted Vickey (who I learned day 1 hails from the same TINY town in PA as I do) & AdamBordes from ACE Fitness presented on how to use the Internet to grow your fitness business. Their special guest was Shanti, of YouTube fame for her video blogs about her weight loss journey. Very moving stuff.
On Saturday morning, we attended the optional yoga class led by the wonderful Clare. She made us all fall in love with the mantra from Meditations from the Mat: “Show up, burn brightly, live passionately holding nothing back. When the work is done, step back, and let go.”
One of the four cohort breakout sessions was a cooking demo led by the Anschutz Wellness Center’s Chef Paolo Neville, who creates and prepares the meals served in its Bistro Ellaia. Get the recipe for the meal we saw prepared and tried here (it’s grilled chicken with red lentils and a curry yogurt sauce, with a fennel watermelon salad. Yum!).
(L-R) The four cohort breakout sessions had us in small groups, venturing to different corners of the Wellness Center and the library, to learn about all kinds of things that are happening at the University of Colorado’s Medical Campus.
We visited the grocery lab, provided by King Sooper, to learn about the research they’ll do there, including educating people about the relatively new NuVal system, which was created with the intention of helping people comparison shop more knowledgably. The bloggers in attendance (including Tamara, Carissa, Sandra, and Andrew, among others I’m sure I’ve left out) had some pretty spot-on tips for making it and the grocery lab even better.
We watched Chef Paolo’s cooking demo, referenced earlier,
and learned how Dr. Iñigo San Millán and his team use individual assessment on athletes to learn their fitness level through lactate levels in the bloodstream during exercise. I have to admit - I thought it’d be over my head at first, but he did a great job of explaining it in terms that all of us could understand… and it was really neat to see this assessment happen right in front of us.
(L-R) Monique loved the Anschutz Center’s green roof, where they grow herbs and produce for the center… and help insulate the building by growing native grasses and plants that don’t require much water. That’s called xeriscaping! (Thanks for the lesson, Monique!)
The Anschutz Wellness Center is just gorgeous. State-of-the-art fitness facilities (including killer locker rooms), a metabolic kitchen, and beautiful details like the mod entryway made it a pleasure to spend the weekend here.
Choose Cherries provided us with a scrumptious breakfast Saturday, and snacks all weekend. We had big helpings of oatmeal, yogurt, fresh fruit, nuts, and a delish smoothie featuring tart cherry juice, which is uber-good for you.
We were also thrilled to meet the ladies from FitApproach, even getting to take home a #SweatPink swag bag (which I love!), a couple sweet TechnoGym representatives, including one who flew in straight from Italy, and Boston’s own Kristen Mercier! Angela, from DErunnerNIAL, won the $50 SpaFinder gift card during the tradeshow, which I’m sure she’ll use to relieve some of that marathon runner stress she’s built up — totally deserving!
Overall, the weekend renewed our hope in good food, good friends, and good being done all around us. Plus, we did a ton of feats… all of which I promptly checked in upon returning home ;) We’re excited to begin to work with so many of the talented, generous, and world-changing thought leaders we met, and bring their awesomeness right to your DailyFeats experience — stay tuned for great partnerships to come!
We have a lot to be proud of at DailyFeats: our talented content and product development team, our super organized office manager, our B-Corp certification. But what hold high above all else is our members — as diverse as they are extraordinary.
In our new regular series, we’ll introduce you to one of these people.
Today, meet CarolBeth…
1. You’re getting your masters degree in piano performance, and you can play classical music as well as rock’n’roll—you’re quite the musician! Tell us, what was the first song you learned how to play on the piano?
Oh, my goodness, that was a long time ago! I was only 7 years old! But I just looked it up (yes, I still have that book!) and it was “Hot Cross Buns”, which is NOT a song about someone who just sat on a metal folding chair in the sun wearing shorts.
2. It’s obvious that you love to travel—you’ve been to Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, Israel, and Greece. Where to next? Do you have a bucket list of places you want to visit?
I love to travel, particularly in cultures different from our own. People are the same everywhere; they live, they love, they have to figure out how to survive, sometimes against monumental odds. What fascinates me is the myriad ways they do that. Every culture has splendid and wonderful things, and other things not so wonderful. Of course, I prefer to think about the splendid things, not about how I can’t drink the water! Right now I’d love to go to Washington, D.C. (I’ve never been there!). I think I could spend a WEEK in the halls of the Smithsonian Institution, and take a bus tour of all the wonderful and historic sites of the area. I’d also like to go to India, Thailand, and Europe!
3. You’ve led such an eclectic life, with your hobbies and jobs ranging from disc jockey and newsperson, to horse trainer, ham radio operator, and piano teacher. In all your experience, what is the strangest and/or funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
Oh, that’s a hard one! I’ve been “hit upon” by a fellow in Egypt on a rooftop, I’ve won a goat milking contest (though I’d never milked a goat in my life!), I’ve bashed a car with a sledgehammer while standing on top of it wearing stiletto heels, on television! But probably the weirdest is that I once sank in cow manure up to my armpits. It took three baths for the water to quit running green.
4. How were you able to entertain 68 guests at once? Do you have magic powers?
I’ve often wished I had Samantha Stevens’ (TV show “Bewitched”) nose, but no, it wasn’t magic! It was an open house. When I served 60, it was my sons’ graduation party: finger foods, all prepared ahead. When I served 68, it was an Easter breakfast, and we just cooked to order as people came (think “restaurant”). Yes, the kitchen was a MESS. The most I’ve had to a sit-down dinner, all at once, was about 38, for my 50th Birthday Celebration. Secret: FABULOUS recipes, but easy, and made ahead. Tables EVERYWHERE. Invite interesting people. PARTY!
5. Imagine there is an alternate universe with an alternate CarolBeth. What would she be doing right now?
The only way to do this is to imagine two alternate CarolBeths.
First CarolBeth: She is awakening in her private jet on the way to Calcutta, India, having strawberries and cheese for breakfast with her…ahem…significant other. While there, she is going to check on the charities she has established there…teaching people skills to help them survive and get out of poverty. Her jet has a grand piano. When she returns, she’ll be playing Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini” with the New York Philharmonic. She’s just published a book that is on the bestseller list. She’s also MUCH skinnier.
Second CarolBeth: She is awakening in a hut cobbled together out of cardboard and a holey plastic tarp. Three of her children died in infancy of dysentery. She doesn’t know where her next meal will come from, though she’s going to check the garbage heap. She’s also much skinnier.
Come to think of it, I prefer the CarolBeth that I am right now, I am so blessed…even though I’m not so skinny!