Why I’m 25 & Living At Home

An Unexpected Decision
All throughout high school, I couldn’t wait to move out; to be on my own, living independently. I think I may have literally counted down the days to ‘freedom.’ Despite that, a little less than a year ago, I made the life-changing decision to move back home.

‘Moving home’ was a little different for me than it is for most. I was moving into a new home with my mom and grandmother. Yes, three generations under one roof. At the time, the move was supposed to be temporary, or at least that’s what I told myself.

young-game-match-kids

Photo credit www.pexels.com

My Personal Insecurities
When I first made the transition, I felt insecure telling even close friends. In my mind, I saw it as failure. This is despite the fact that in 2013, 21% of 25 to 29-year-olds lived at home, a number that has been steadily on the incline.

Most people, or so I thought, saw moving home as a sign of weakness and lack of financial stability. Not only that, but I had friends who were getting married and starting their own families and building their own homes. How was it that I was reverting back to a child-like state while my friends were turning into full-blown adults?

Meeting My Family All Over Again
Once I got beyond my initial insecurity I realized that moving home was, in fact, a gift. So often young adults move out and rush to start their own lives. In many cases, close family connections take a backseat to building their own lives. Me on the other hand? I had the opportunity to get to know my family all over again.

During my time at home, my aunt, uncle and brother have all come out for extended stays. While I lived on my own, I would go on short trips to visit them or to dinner when they were in town, but these experiences were always rushed. It seemed like just at the moment we were settling in, it was time for us to get on a plane and go back to our own lives.

After living on my own the last seven years, moving in with my mom and grandmother was like moving in with two new roommates. I learned about their new habits, lifestyle, likes and dislikes – things that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. People change, and after being away for so long, I had missed so many of those changes. Now I have been given the opportunity to learn about them all over again.

It’s Not All Sunshine & Rainbows
Like with any roommate, there will be conflicts. Combine this inevitability with some fun grandmother-mother-daughter dynamics, and sometimes, things get crazy. During my time at home, my mother and I especially have had to work hard to build a new type of relationship. One founded on respect for each other as mother and daughter as well as two adults.

There’s also another fun component: my love life. No matter what anyone says, no parent is totally apathetic regarding their children bringing someone home. I recently had to have that incredibly awkward conversation with someone who had only known me since I’ve lived at home. Saying, ‘well I’ll have to check with my mom,’ before having someone over isn’t ideal, but it’s a small price to pay for the new relationships I’ve forged with my family while being at home.

My Conclusion
If you have the chance to move home for a while in your twenties, do it. November will mark one year that I’ve lived at home, and I cherish every moment of it. You learn so much more about your family once you’ve experienced life on your own than you ever would when you’re a child or a teenager.

It’s highly unlikely you’ll have that opportunity later in life. Plus, there’s the added benefit of delicious food around the house all the time, which doesn’t hurt.

Have you or someone you know lived at home? What was the experience like?

7 Steps To A Classy Resignation

Resigning from a job is like going through a breakup. Just like with romantic parting-of-ways, professional transitions can get messy and emotional. Most people don’t like change–especially rejection.

That’s why it’s important to be a class-act–no matter how hard it may be–when giving your resignation. Otherwise, it could end up being a public image nightmare for both you and your soon-to-be ex-company.

Based on my experiences, I’ve put together a seven-step guide to a classy resignation:

red exit sign

Photo credit www.pexels.com.

  • Understand Your ‘Why’. Going into a breakup with an unclear understanding of your ‘Why’ will make it easy for your boss to poke holes in your reasoning. I advise writing these down and practicing what you want to say beforehand so you can get your message across clearly and concisely.
  • Decide on the ‘How’. Depending on the level of formality within your company, it might make sense to write a letter of resignation first and then speak to your boss. At some companies, it might be best to schedule a time to meet with your boss to give he or she the news in person. Gauge your situation and decide what’s best for you.
  • Have the Talk. Whether you send a letter beforehand or not, when you finally speak with your boss, it’s important to use words and phrases including, “I am” or “I’ve decided.” Phrases such as, “I’m thinking” or “I feel like,” leave your decision open for interpretation. Approach the conversation confidently so your boss doesn’t try to persuade you otherwise. If your employer starts to become upset, criticize or blame you for the resignation, stay calm and realize it’s likely due to a resistance to change or frustration. Remember your ‘Why’ and stick to your guns.
  • Discuss Next Steps. Realize that by resigning, the company will now have to start the process of finding someone to replace you. Assuming there isn’t a more serious matter requiring you to leave immediately, ask your employer how much time they need to get things in order. Some employers want two full weeks; some don’t want employees who have resigned to stay longer than a day or two after giving notice. Be ready for either possibility and to help out if a full two weeks are requested.
  • Act Professional. Whether your employer asks you to leave after only two days or to stay a full two weeks, you need to be respectful of them, the company and your co-workers. Don’t bad mouth the company to your coworkers, even if you feel the urge to do so. By shining a light on the employer’s bad practices, you put your coworkers in an awkward situation that isn’t good for anyone. Inevitably, anything you say will get back to your boss, making you look bad in the process.
  • Exit Gracefully. When the last day comes, there will be some emotions that come to the surface. Even if your co-workers are your best of friends or if they’re just acquaintances, showing excitement at not being a part of the company any longer (or even too much excitement for you new opportunity) would come off as ungrateful. No matter what, keep your head high, your opinions to yourself, and thank your team and boss for the time you had with them. Even if it wasn’t the best of experiences, you inevitably learned something, even if it was only how to leave a company gracefully.
  • Be Respectful. A classy resignation doesn’t end on your last day at the company. Assuming you don’t move to another country and change industries, future bosses will likely have shared connections with your previous company. Due to this, bad-mouthing them–even months later–can be detrimental to your reputation. Be prepared with your explanation about why you left the company, because inevitably, people will ask. A friend of mine, Raoul Encinas, gave me some great advice on how to approach this situation that stuck with me. Consider the following two situations:

Situation 1: Someone crashed into your car and totaled it. A friend asks you what you’re doing tomorrow, and you respond, “Dealing with insurance because my car got totaled!” They’ll inevitably respond with something sympathetic like, “That’s terrible!”

Situation 2: Someone crashed into your car and totaled it. A friend asks you what you’re doing tomorrow, and you respond, “Going to get a brand new car!” There’s a good chance they’ll respond with something positive like, “Oh wow, so cool!”

Breakups are never easy, but if you can approach the situation with class, respect and honesty, you can get out the other side maintaining positive relationships with your ex-company as you move onto new opportunities.

Have you ever encountered a difficult professional breakup situation?

25 Quarter Century Life Lessons

While I wouldn’t say that I’ve fallen victim to a quarter-life crisis just yet, celebrating my 25th birthday does prompt a bit of self-reflection. In honor of that, and also to satisfy my personal goal of getting back into blogging, here are 25 lessons that I’ve learned in my first quarter century:

Photo by www.pexel.com.

Photo credit www.pexels.com.

  1. Love your family. At the end of the day, they’ll always be there for you.
  2. Listen to your gut. It really does know best.
  3. Meet people, as many as you can. You never know who you’ll meet or connect with and where those relationships might lead you.
  4. Get your beauty (and sanity) rest. People need between 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
  5. Find a creative outlet. This could be writing, working on a motorcycle, cooking or any other way to express your creativity.
  6. Volunteer. This is a great way to give back while exploring new passions.
  7. Travel; with friends, with family and alone. There’s so much to learn about yourself and human nature by traveling the world.
  8. Be present. It’s important not to look too far in the future or dwell too much in the past, or you’ll end up missing all of the amazing things right in front of you.
  9. Make an investment in your long-term health. Try out different fitness classes and activities to see what you enjoy and then make a commitment.
  10. Get out of your comfort zone. There’s growth to be had and things to be learned by doing things differently than the way they’ve always been done.
  11. Discover your passion. It’s easier said than done, but don’t settle for what presents itself. Continue to search and try new things.
  12. Never stop learning. There is literally no end to new information and new opportunities available to you.
  13. Stand up for what you believe in. If you let people push you around or tell you what you should believe in, you might eventually lose yourself entirely.
  14. Love completely. Relationships are not worth being in if you don’t give yourself entirely. Embrace people who enter your life warmly, but know when to let them go.
  15. Don’t live through the lens of social media. You’ll end up missing all the amazing people and experiences happening around you.
  16. Forgive yourself. Everyone, and I mean everyone, screws up. Some may be public, some may never surface, but in the end we all have to move on.
  17. Tell the truth. Lies compound on lies and eventually, they come back around.
  18. Say please and thank you. These small gestures have a huge impact when it comes to showing others your appreciation.
  19. Enjoy the small things, whatever those small things are. Be it chocolate, marathon Netflix sessions or painting your nails, you deserve it.
  20. Take mental breaks. Meditation isn’t the easiest activity to embrace, but it’s important to find time to take mental breaks and center yourself.
  21. Make time for friends. It’s easy to lose touch over the years, but if they’re really important to you, make the time to connect.
  22. Understand your work-life balance. Everyone has a different threshold of their work-life balance or “blend.” Figure out what yours is and stick to it.
  23. Understand quality over quantity. This approach can be applied to so many facets of life, and it’s important to understand the difference.
  24. Find happiness in small things. There really is something to be happy and thankful for every day
  25. Love yourself. You are pretty awesome after all.

Here’s to another 25 wonderful years and many more lessons to learn. What lessons did you learn (or are you learning) during your first quarter century?

Baked Oats Variations & Sauce

For those who know me, they know that during the summer months I ate Overnight Oats like it was a religion. I was absolutely obsessed.

Now that it’s gotten colder though, cold oats in the morning just don’t do the trick. That’s why I decided to try out my Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats last week. Since then, I’ve gotten creative with how to change up this easy and delicious recipe. Here are a couple of my latest recipes!

Cinnamon Apple Baked Oats

Baked Oats Base Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons all natural sugar & stevia blend
  • 1/4 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 medium banana mashed
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Dash of salt

Instructions: Turn your oven on to 375 degrees. While that heats up, spray a single-serving ramekin with coconut oil so your baked oats won’t stick. Then, mix all dry ingredients in the ramekin. Mix in wet ingredients once combined. After mixture is combined, add in creative variation (suggestions listed below). Make sure all additives are covered so the baking doesn’t dry them out.

Once the oven is heated up, cover the oats with tinfoil and put the oats in for 20 minutes. Uncover the oats and cook for another 5 minutes. Once it’s somewhat golden/crispy on top, take it out and let it cool for a minute. Then enjoy either straight from the ramekin or transfer to another plate.

Here are the two variations that I’ve experimented with this week (both of which were delicious):

  • Blueberry & Coconut
    • 1/4 cup blueberries
    • Add in a tablespoon of coconut
    • A small amount of coconut to put on top the oats
    • Dash of cinnamon to top the oats
  • Cinnamon Apple & Raisin
    • Chop up 1/4 cup worth apple of choice
    • Add in a tablespoon of raisins
    • A couple small slices of apple to top the oats
    • Dash of cinnamon to top the oats

Vanilla Cinnamon Sauce Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons ISO100 vanilla protein powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • Cinnamon to taste

Instructions: Mix together the ingredients in a small bowl. Add additional protein powder if you’d like a thicker consistency. Once the oats have been placed upside down on a plate, slowly pour the sauce on the oats. Top the oats with the necessary additives based on the recipe you’re following.

Then sit back and enjoy! What creative combinations have you come up with?

Vanilla Protein Fluff Crepes

This might be one of my favorite weeks of the year. It’s the official start of the holiday season, which means spending time with family and lots of delicious food!

This year for Thanksgiving, I’m in Maine visiting my dad. So, of course, we had to whip up is crepes for breakfast. Yum, right?

Unfortunately, it seems like everyone has some sort of dietary restriction. Between the five of us, we had to find a way to make our crepes Gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free. Quite the task, right?

Well, we got a little creative and made some of the most delicious crepes I’ve ever had. On top of that, the crepes were just under 90 calories a piece!

Crepe Ingredients:Crepe with Almonds, Protein Fluff, Coconut and White Chocolate

  • 1 cup Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup banana pureed (about 1 large banana)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions: Puree 1/2 cup banana and mix in flour. Gradually add in the milk and water, stirring to combine. Add the salt and mix until smooth. Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and scoop ~1/4 cup batter for each crepe. Tilt the pan in a circular motion so the batter coats the surface evenly. Cook for about 2 minutes until golden brown and then flip until golden brown. Serve immediately. Makes about 7 crepes.

Then, I decided if we were going to have crepes, I absolutely had to try making protein fluff. I always see delicious pictures of it on Instagram, so it was time to experiment.

Vanilla Protein Fluff Ingredients: 

  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Instructions: Put all the ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth. After that, place in a large bowl and whip with an electric or hand mixer until the fluff is light and sort of gooey. Enjoy immediately.

The protein fluff was a complete success, and so delicious! I added the fluff, almonds, white chocolate pieces and shredded coconut to my crepes. Rolled them up and enjoyed these delicious treats for a healthy (and sweet) post-workout breakfast!

Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats

There’s nothing like a rainy morning to make you want to have something warm and delicious for breakfast. And considering how infrequently that happens in Arizona, I felt the need to make the most of it today.

That’s what spurred my new single-serving Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats recipe. I looked up some single-serving recipes that I could sort of following and stumbled upon this delicious looking cookie dough baked oatmeal recipe.

Considering some of my new dietary restrictions and obsessions, I decided to switch it up a bit and make it into my own creation. That’s how I ended up with this amazing (and protein packed) breakfast.

Triple-Chocolate Baked Oats

Ingredients: 

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons all natural sugar & stevia blend
  • 1/4 cup vanilla unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 medium banana mashed
  • 1/2 Double Chocolate Quest Bar
  • 1 teaspoon semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
  • Cinnamon to taste
  • Dash of salt

Instructions: Turn your oven on to 375 degrees. While that heats up, spray a single-serving ramekin with coconut oil so your baked oats won’t stick. Then, mix all dry ingredients in the ramekin. Mix in wet ingredients once combined. After mixture is combined, cut up quest bar into small pieces and mix into the oats. Make sure the pieces are all fully covered so the baking doesn’t dry them out.

Once the oven is heated up, cover the oats with tinfoil and put the oats in for 20 minutes. Uncover the oats and cook for another 5 minutes. Once it’s somewhat golden/crispy on top, take it out and let it cool for a minute. Then enjoy either straight from the ramekin or transfer to another plate.

Nutrition: 333 Calories, 7.5g Fat, 13g Fiber, 19g Sugar, 17g Protein

Kale & Pomegranate Salad Recipe

Decided to get a little crazy and buy a pomegranate for the first time yesterday at the store. I saw this recipe on Instagram a while ago and thought it looked amazing, so I wanted to create my own version!

I’ve also been on a kale-kick lately (like most people right now) but I hadn’t perfected how to use it in a salad. What I figured out was that if you cut the kale into thin strips and massage it with 1/2 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, it softens it up so that its easy to eat and tastes delicious!

Salad Ingredients: 

  • 2 large leaves of kaleKale Salad
  • 6 chopped almonds
  • 1 tablespoon feta
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup basmati & wild rice mix
  • 1 tablespoon raisins

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon squeezed
  • 1 tablespoon honey (I would probably use 2 tablespoons next text to make the dressing a little thicker)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Instructions: Chop the kale up into thin pieces and massage with 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Let sit for about 10 minutes before using. Chop up almonds (if you’re using whole almonds) into smaller pieces and set aside. For the dressing, mix all ingredients together and microwave for 15 seconds. Mix and set in the fridge for about 10 minutes. For the rice, I had leftovers that I just went ahead and heated up.

After the dressing has cooled and kale is set, place kale on a large plate. Arrange toppings on the salad however you want, I thought it looked fun with them in different groups, and then drizzle the dressing on top. Your masterpiece is now prepared and ready to be enjoyed!

Feel free to share your unique variation of this delicious salad!

My Quest Obsession

“Any food that requires enhancing by the use of chemical substances should in no way be considered a food.”

– John H. Tobe

Anyone that has ever traveled and tried to eat healthy has inevitably encountered the, “what’s a healthy snack to take on the plane,” conundrum. So many things are labeled, “healthy,” “low-calorie” or “skinny” snacking options.

Over the last couple years, I can honestly say I’ve tried around 80% of them. Some of the popular options are Clif Bars, Special K Protein Snack Bars, Larabars, KIND Bars and Quest Bars.

Coconut Quest Bar and Coffee

By far, my two favorites are Quest Bars and KIND Bars. KIND Bars tend to be more sweet than filling, so Quest Bars provide a better all-around option. They have ~20g. of protein and only ~5g. active carbs and range from 160 – 210 calories per bar.

Ask Men published the article, “Energy & Protein Bar,” that dives into what to look for in a protein bar, and also listed the top 10 protein bars. Quest bars were listed as #1.

Quest has also expanded their product line to low-calorie pasta and high-protein peanut butter cups.

Another reason that I love Quest is because of their brand. Being a social media and digital marketing strategist, I thoroughly appreciate when a company can effectively engage their customers and develop brand dedication. This is abundantly clear on Quest’s social channels including their Facebook, Twitter and Blog.

Quest Bar Treats Topped with Almond ButterSince falling in love with Quest Bars, I’ve tried almost all the flavors and products. One of my favorite treats that I’ve created are Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Balls (pictured left).

Here’s the recipe: Take 1 Chocolate Peanut Butter Quest Bar and break it into 6 pieces. Place 1 chocolate chip on each piece and roll it into a ball. Place the six balls separately on a coconut-oil sprayed plate. Microwave for 15 seconds. Afterwards, top each ball with a drop of almond butter (I used ~1/2 a tablespoon of almond butter total). Dash a little cinnamon on top and then enjoy! For all 6 balls it was ~250 calories.

Quest Pasta with Homemade Red Sauce, Veggies and FetaAnother delicious meal I created was a homemade red sauce with veggies and Quest Pasta (pictured right). The sauce was made with onions, mushrooms and zucchini and topped with feta. It was my first time making a tomato sauce from scratch, and I must say, it was delicious!

So, moral of the story: If you haven’t tried Quest Bars yet, you’re missing out. They are absolutely delicious and I promise you’ll find a flavor that you’ll love.

What delicious Quest recipes have you found or created? I’m always looking for more culinary inspiration, so feel free to share!