Clever Tuesday Tips

Don’t have a pizza cutter on hand? Use scissors to cut pizza!

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Amplify phone speakers by putting them in a ceramic bowl

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Can’t quite finish your iced coffee? Put it in the freezer overnight and fill it up with cold-brewed coffee the next day. Voila- just like a coffee ice cube!

Interaction Across Social Media Platforms

I recently received an interesting comment on my 10 Thoughts for Friday post. I mentioned in the post that I respond to invites from people on LinkedIn with a short message asking them to clarify why they’re connecting with me. My wording:

Hi x, 

Thank you for the invitation to connect on LinkedIn! I wanted to check in and see what you were interested in connecting about since I don’t believe we’ve met in person.  

Thank you and take care,


Vicki commented on the post and urged me to accept the LinkedIn contacts, stating that “Nearly never will you be connected to by a weirdo – and if you are, it doesn’t reflect on you. LinkedIn is simply about building your network, sharing ideas, and making new business acquaintances…” In contrast, her thoughts were to be more cautious with Facebook and Twitter: “this is where I might use your response, to vet your new connections.” Lastly she said “You want your FB friends to actually be friends (or, I do).”

All of this got me thinking about how different individuals interact across social media platforms, their actions often based on assumptions or past experiences. Although there are very few formal rules governing our social media interactions, people have formed divergent ideas of etiquette- some platform by platform and others about social media as a whole.

Here is how I approach each platform and why:

  • LinkedIn: By now, you know my philosophy on LinkedIn. I accept people I know and follow up with those I don’t know. But there’s a reason that I don’t readily accept everyone: I actually had a weird experience with LinkedIn that changed my perspective a bit. I was added by an individual who was connected to others that I know and trust. Turns out, he wanted me to join his iffy business venture. I don’t think I would have been so trusting if I hadn’t seen that others I knew were connected to him. Hence my reasoning for being more cautious in accepting invites. There are also features on LinkedIn that lend themselves to keeping a curated network. You can ask contacts to connect you to their contacts. If people in the chain don’t know each other in real life, it dilutes the effectiveness of this feature because they are unable to vouch for each other. For more on my LinkedIn philosophy, see my post To Connect or Not to Connect: The Rules of LinkedIn.
  • Twitter: My love affair with Twitter is well-known. I see it as the most open of all the social networks. I welcome any and all follows that are not porn bots🙂  Unless you have a closed account, you can’t control who follows you, so I don’t think it reflects on you (in contrast to LinkedIn, for example, where you have to make a decision whether to accept or reject a connection). As for who I follow: if I am interested in the content of the tweets, I will follow the person. I see Twitter as more about content than relationships (in contrast again to LinkedIn).
  • Foursquare: I sometimes get requests from strangers on FourSquare, which I decline. I share the check-ins that I want others to see on Twitter, but I prefer only my friends to see some, so I think it’s important to keep this network closed.
  • Facebook: As Vicki said, Facebook is for your real friends. 100% agreed! As I said in my comment to her, I see it as the only place on the internet where I can be my 22 (almost 23!) year old self. One thing that makes it slightly more complicated: Raleigh networking is very casual, so sometimes the line between friend and acquaintance blurs. In the past year, I’ve begun accepting business contacts, which I have mixed feelings about.
  • Pinterest: I’m not sharing anything particularly personal, so I’m flattered when people follow my boards. I follow boards of friends and other people that I stumble upon🙂
  • Blog: The more the merrier!

Clearly, I approach each social media platform differently. I think it’s important to do so because they all have unique missions and features that make them more fitting for one kind of relationship over another (i.e. LinkedIn provides more value to business relationships than friendships). If I were to approach each platform in the same way, I may as well just be using one, right?

Where do you stand? Why? Do you approach social media as a whole or platform by platform? 

Thank you to Vicki for prompting such an interesting discussion!

Weekend Reading

Nerd alert: What 5 Famous Dishes From Literature Would Look Like

Along the same lines as The Busy Trap: What Happened to Downtime?

A great read: Top 5 Regrets from Dying People

Cute overload: The Cutest Things That Ever Happened

Makes my mouth water: Lemon Yogurt Pasta with Zucchini and Summer Squash; Crustless Summer Zucchini Pie

Just had this conversation with friends: Why Your Handshake Matters and How to Get It Right

Helpful little guide: You’re a What?! Decoding Today’s Job Titles

Love her philosophy: My Take on Running

Note to self: Remembering the Good Things

There’s Always Something

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Some people approach life with a “glass half empty” mentality, believing that there is always something to be upset about. And guess what? There is. From trivial issues- like an unpaid bill or a fight with a friend- to bigger problems- like foreclosure, poverty, or illness- there is always something in life to get down about, fret about, and worry about.

But do you want to live your life constantly focusing on things that could go wrong?

On the flip side, there’s always something to be happy about. Maybe you refer to it as finding the silver lining. Or Pollyannaism {based on the movie character Pollyanna, who played The Glad Game where she found something to be glad about in every circumstance}.

I’m not saying you should sweep your own problems under the rug; trivialize other people’s concerns; or adopt a “who cares” attitude about world issues.

What I am encouraging is acknowledging that you can always see life from two perspectives: generally positive or generally negative. In my experience, approaching is from a negative mindset doesn’t accomplish much except worry, anxiety, and stress.

So how are you going to approach life today?

P.S. A little “glass half full” humor:

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On the Horizon: Upcoming Trips

Transitioning back to the workweek after a family staycation and a fun birthday weekend is a challenge- as Nutritionella pointed out, ever feel like you need a vacation to recover from vacation?

I thought it would help to remind myself of the fun trips I have on the horizon for the rest of summer and the beginning of fall.

Back to Hollymead

Work & fun trip to DC

Bachelorette party at undisclosed location

First time in Nashville

First time in San Francisco

Thank goodness I have generous family, friends, family friends, and friend’s family in cool places! We’ll be driving to most of these places, so the gas split between multiple people won’t be too expensive. For the other places, I/we have managed to find great deals by browsing Southwest’s fall sales and planning trips around the cheapest dates {hooray for workplace flexibility!}.

Where are you headed this summer/fall? What tips do you have for affordable travel? 

P.S. For more travel inspiration, check out Linnie’s Summer Travel Series!

On the Menu for the Week {Getting Back Into the Routine}

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Eggs over medium with sour cream & green tomatillo salsa at Flying Biscuit

Zatarain’s New Orleans Style Jambalaya Mix with bell pepper, onions, and sausage

Buffalo chicken crack dip {corn} quesadillas

Ginger & cumin marinated tomatoes

Cool as a cucumber salad

Chicken satay with peanut sauce

Spinach and garlic butter steak pinwheels

Peanut Lime Sauce with Chicken and Rice Noodles

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It’s very rare that I actually measure ingredients when I prepare dishes, but I was determined to make this recipe easily replicable. I served it with chicken, rice noodles, and vegetables {see below} but you could also use it as a dipping sauce! Either way, this easy no-cook peanut sauce is adaptable and pretty dang delicious!

Serves 1.

Peanut Lime Sauce
  • 2 tbsp smooth or crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 tsp soy sauce {I use gluten-free Tamari}
  • 1-2 tbsp peanuts
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1-2 small clove of garlic
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • Several dashes of cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients; stir or blend in Magic Bullet until well-mixed. Store in fridge until needed.

Chicken & Rice Noodles
  • Julienned carrots
  • Chopped jalapenos
  • Thinly sliced onions
  • Cilantro
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sriracha

Prepare chicken using this method or buy a rotisserie chicken if you’re pressed for time! Prepare rice noodles according to package. In a small skillet, saute carrots, onions, and jalapenos over medium with olive oil until tender. If desired, heat peanut sauce in skillet.

Layer rice noodles, chicken, and vegetables in bowl; pour peanut sauce over; and garnish with cilantro, sesame seeds, and sriracha.
  • For best results, leave sauce in refrigerator overnight. This will allow the flavors to blend completely
  • I bought a rotisserie chicken, tore it into pieces, and let it sit in the sauce overnight to marinate. You could do the same with chicken breasts
  • You could also garnish with basil or mint
  • This dish can be served hot or cold; I prefer it hot
  • Make it vegetarian just by leaving off the chicken

Staycation with the [Extended] Family

A much overdue recap of my family’s visit to Raleigh! Alternate title: Staycation with the Whole Fam Damily🙂

Last Sunday morning, my uncle and cousins from Norway arrived in Raleigh for the first time ever! We were on a mission to show them the best of Raleigh without doing too much boring sightseeing  stuff [sightseeing is not terribly interesting to 13 and 15 year olds, apparently!]. The highlight of seeing them is always just hanging out, catching up, and acting like kids, so we wanted to focus on that.

Took them to Cracker Barrel for the first time

Spent the day at pool having raft races & attempting to stand up on our rafts

Enjoyed a mocha coconut Starbucks frappuccino

Had a cook out with several of our close friends

Went back to the pool for boys vs girls pool volleyball

Ate brunch at Flying Biscuit, where we may or may not have filled a glass of water with all the condiments on our table and then dared each other to drink it [we’re a very mature family]

Got ice cream at Yummy Monkey [coffee & rocky road]

Roller skated at Wheels in Durham to Call Me Maybe and Justin Bieber

Ate pork nachos and chicken tacos at Raleigh Times

Spun in our office chairs to make ourselves dizzy

Ate a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny’s [my strawberry banana smoothie was delicious]

Spent the day at Frankie’s Fun Park on the bumper boats, playing laser tag, and doing go-karts

Saw TED at the North Hills movie theatre

Ate brunch at NOFO & explored the cute market

Ate more Yummy Monkey ice cream [mint chocolate chip & coffee]

Unfortunately, they had to leave on Wednesday evening. It was so sad saying goodbye, as it always is.

Love you, Norway fam :) 

Weekly Check-In: The Rooms of Your Life

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Ever heard of The Nine Rooms of Happiness: Loving Yourself, Finding Your Purpose, and Getting Over Life’s Little Imperfections? The premise of the book is that each room in the house correlates to a different area of your life:

The bedroom for love and intimacy, the family room for grown siblings and parents, the bathroom for body image, health, and vanity, the living room for friends, the office for bills, career and so on.”

I always think of this analogy when I assess my life because it helps ensure that you don’t leave out one critical area!

Whenever I feel overwhelmed {or to prevent feeling overwhelmed} I do a check-in of each “room” of my life.

Financials: Are all my bills paid? Did I stick to my budget this week? Could I cut out any expenses next week?

Health: Do I feel like I exercised enough? Did I infuse exercise into my daily actions? Did I eat healthy, fresh foods? What do I regret eating {usually gluten!} that I can work on next week? Did I get enough sleep?

Relationships: Have I maintained a good balance of my relationships? Have I made an effort to keep in touch with friends and family in other cities? Have I done so even if things are going well for me {I find it’s easier to remember to contact friends when you need support!}? Do I have any interpersonal issues I need to address? Did I apologized when I needed to? Did I make an effort to make new friends or strengthen current friendships? Did I do kind things for friends and family?

Career: Did I put in the necessary hours this week? What did I excel at? What could I have done better? What advice, tips, and feedback can I take in to improve my performance? Did I ask for or take feedback?

Mental health: How do I feel emotionally? How can I maintain or improve my mood? Are things at home organized and clean? Have I pampered myself {painted nails, hair cut, etc}?

Intellectual health: Did I challenge myself intellectually through absorbing new information? Did I stay up-to-date on current events? Did I pursue interests outside of work?

Community: Was I proud of who I was this week? Did I make an effort to brighten the days of people around me with small gestures? Did I make the community better {by volunteering or otherwise?}? Did I take advantage of the city?

P.S. My blog posts have been a bit heavy lately. I’m doing great and having plenty of fun, but thinking a lot about self-improvement and personal growth. I’m not sure the exact catalyst for this, but hopefully these posts help you if you’re experiencing similar sentiments!

My Birthday Weekend!

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In other news, it’s my birthday weekend! Last year’s birthday was filled with daisies, a new car, a visit from my mom, and a great celebration with local and visiting friends.

This year I’m having a pretty low-key celebration with friends. The weekend includes a dip party, a day by the pool, a girls night out, gluten-free treats, and birthday freebies.

Stay tuned for all the details🙂