A Year Ago

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Good morning, blog friends!!! :mrgreen:

Seriously, how is it Monday already? The weekend flew by, didn’t it? Jeeeeez!


This morning’s breakfast was really tasty. I combined bulgur wheat with oat bran for a soft and creamy, yet chewy bowl of goodness.


To make my bulgar + oat bran, I added 1/4 cup of bulgar wheat and 1/4 cup of oat bran to a medium-size pot. Next, I added 1/2 cup of non-fat milk, 1/2 cup of water, chopped dates, chia seeds, and ground flaxseed meal. Then, I cooked it all, while stirring continuously, for about 3-4 minutes until most of the liquid cooked away.

(Here’s how to make bulgar in the microwaveable.)


I also enjoyed some yummy iced coffee with breakfast.


I tried a new flavor this morning: Chocolate Cherry Cordial. It tastes like sweet, smooth cherry coffee. Mmm! It’s awesome as iced coffee– no sweetener needed!



Breakfast was really filling this morning. The bulgar + oat bran provided 11 grams of fiber. No wonder!


P.S. You can win some bulgur (and a cute bowl) over on Trading Up Downtown this morning! 😉

A Year Ago

I received a few comments and questions after I wrote about how much life has changed in the past year. The long-time readers know all about my job changes, moves, and other life-changing decisions. It’s been an interesting year! But, for the new readers, here’s a little recap of the past 12 months.

A year ago, I was working full-time for the Dean of Harvard College as her Executive Assistant. (I had recently left a position at the Harvard School of Public Health with the hope of finding a more challenging and “exciting” role.) I had only been in the position for a couple of months, but I knew it wasn’t for me. As much as I liked and respected the Dean and her Chief of Staff, scheduling meetings and buying lunch were not what I wanted to do with my life.

Meanwhile, Carrots ‘N’ Cake really started to take off. My readership started to grow and the demands of the blog increased. So, working full-time, I felt like I never had enough time to do everything– just as my March 30, 2009 post was titled: Never Enough Time. (Similar blog post titles from this time include: Rushed, Go, Go, Go, Busy Bee, Not a Vacation Day, and Rushin’.) But, I was determined to make it all work. Eventually, I started blogging during my lunch break, which sort of helped me balance my full-time job with blogging. I even came up with some blogging tips for people who work 9-5.

However, in the following months, my life got even crazier. I started writing a weekly blog post for Health.com, coordinating the Healthy Living Summit, writing for the Examiner, training for a half marathon, and planning my sister’s wedding shower and bachelorette. Oh, and Mal and I almost bought a house! It was INSANE! But, these were all things that I wanted to spend my time doing, but working full-time made it so much more difficult to do it all. I eventually took a short Blog Hiatus because I couldn’t deal with all of the stress in my life. But, as you can imagine, I missed blogging so much, I came back a few days later.

Now don’t get me wrong, my life wasn’t completely terrible during this time! I had an awesome summer, which included a birthday celebration, visiting Seattle, wine tasting in southern Vancouver, drinking tea at the Fairmont Empress, visiting Kath in Charlotte and Erica in Charleston, hosting the Healthy Living Summit, seeing Coldplay in concert, and getting the puppy pug that I always wanted. Despite all of these wonderful things, I was still completely strung-out and even somewhat depressed. I knew something needed to change, but I didn’t know what exactly. I thought maybe moving to a new part of Boston, closer to the city and my job, would make me happy, so Mal and I set out to find a new apartment.

After a few weeks of apartment hunting, Mal and I signed a new lease for a funky, loft-style apartment in the middle of South Boston. We were excited! But, there was a 2-week gap between our new and old leases, so Mal and I lived with our friends Dave and Marie during that time. We had a great experience living in the guest room of our friends’ house– it even felt like vacation at times— but, as you can imagine, being so unsettled in our lives added even more stress to it.

Moving Day finally came and it was an absolute nightmare. Mal and I decided to move our whole apartment by ourselves to save some money, which was a terrible idea! I don’t recommend it to anyone! Our move to Southie ended up being the Move from Hell! It was never-ending and there was plenty of blood, sweat, and tears. And, for this reason, I will never, ever move without hiring movers!

During this whole time, I was formulating a “plan of attack” to make some changes in my life. I basically made a “wish list” for how I wanted to improve things. It probably didn’t seem like it on the blog, but I was in a really bad place during this time. I was totally depressed, stressed, and constantly irritable. (My poor husband!) I finally realized that I need to do something or I’d just continue to feel this way.

Around this same time, I received an unexpected email from Melissa about writing a post about NuVal on my blog. This email exchange and blog post initiated my relationship with the company and eventually helped land me a job with them. I ended up pitching myself to the company, and a few months later, I received a call that changed my life: NuVal offered me a part-time position as a their Social Media Strategist! Of course, Mal and I celebrated appropriately with dinner and drinks in Newport! 😀

The whole time I was in Newport, I thought about what was more important to me: money or happiness. Leaving my job at Harvard would be a significant pay cut, but after much consideration, I valued my happiness (and sanity!) much more than the financial benefits. And, so, I resigned from my job first thing Monday morning and I have never looked back! Even on my very first day of work at NuVal, I knew my life would be better from then on.

I was only working 20 hours a week for NuVal, so I started working my connections to find additional sources of income. The folks at Gordon’s Wine and Liquors really enjoyed my blog post about the VinoVoyage, so I reached out to them about doing their social media. A simple business breakfast led to another part-time job and numerous wine, beer, and cheese events! :mrgreen:

By New Years 2010, things with my career were going really well. I had secured a book deal, I had more time to devote to my blog, and I liked all of my part-time jobs. But, my living situation was less than ideal.

After only a few months of living in South Boston, Mal and I decided it wasn’t for us and that we wanted to move. Eventually, we found people to take over our old lease, and with the help of our good friend, Marie, we searched for apartmentsfound a great one, and moved in. (This move was a million times easier!) Mal, Murphy, and I have never been happier! Now, when I take walks, I sing! 😉

Wow! That was much more than I intended to write! But, there it is… the past 12 months of my life. It’s crazy how much things can change in a year!

Question of the Day

How has your life changed in the past year?



  1. One year ago, I was in training to be an Officer in the United States Air Force in Alabama! I commissioned, met my wonderful boyfriend, moved to North Dakota, moved to back to Alabama then to Mississippi, went to school to be an Air Traffic Controller! Now I’m back in North Dakota (somewhere I never thought I’d be) serving my country. What a difference a year makes!

  2. Tina, thanks for sharing.. this is a very inspiring post.. for me the past year has brought many changes, i started graduate school, which is something that i have been toying with for a long time and my hubby and i have decided that were ready to start a family..i also started a blog which has been such a personal outlet for me.. keep you the great work that you do and i know the next year will be an even better one for you..i have to say, i dream of the day to be able to leave my 9-5PM 🙂

  3. I concur!!! So much can happen in the span of a year! The biggest change for me came in the form of meeting the love of my life…but shhh, I haven’t told him yet. Although, I’m sure he already knows. 🙂 And hopefully, he feels the same way!

  4. So glad you’re happier now Tina 🙂 That oat bran looks so creamy and yummm…

    One year ago, I developed an eating disorder. Everything else in my life has pretty much been a constant – and you know what, I should be pretty thankful for that!

    Your post is really inspiring, because now, while most things in my life haven’t really been changing (job, home life are the same, but the ED is slowly getting kicked to the curb), I really am feeling like a change. I sort of keep realising this isn’t how I thought I’d feel at this time in my life. Weird feeling? Maybe it’ll pass. I’m looking at your wish list now for inspiration!

  5. I loved this post so much, made me stop and reflect on my own (giant) life changes in the past year. I moved from my safe haven at school in Indiana to New Hampshire to be with my new boyfriend i met working in Pennsylvania during the summer. Then he graduated in December and we moved to his hometown in southern Florida. Where I got a job, an apartment, started blogging, grew up A TON, started cooking and being domestic, was more aware of what I put in my mouth, got a sewing machine, started an Etsy store, crafted my heart out…………….and whew here I am. What a year!!!

  6. Wow! You’ve had quite the year. It’s been fun taking the ride with you.

    Last year I was miserable working for a total SOB lawyer, getting sick to my stomach every day I walked through those office doors. I was lucky enough to get laid off in November and can’t remember being this happy in over 10 years.

    I’m a little worried about finding a new job but have been enjoying the time off and having the opportunity to take care of myself by going to the gym and finally making some progress in my weight loss.

    Now I need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. I dread the thought of going back to work in a lawfirm but I’ll need to decide whether to take the big paycheck or be happy. Is it possible to have both?

    What a difference a year makes, huh?

  7. i’m sort of where you were last year. i’m really stressed out and not happy at all with any of my employment opportunities. my personal life is really fantastic (living with the love of my life, talking about getting hitched!), but everything else is getting stressy and frustrating.

  8. OMg your whirl wind sounds like mine! I decided that I really didn’t like working for my current job anymore so I started part time at Saratoga hospital in March. After like 3 months Saratoga hosp offered me a full time position. I left my St. Peter’s job, got married and started a new full time at Saratoga hosp. Oh btw Blain and I are also signed a contract for building a house like a month after we got married. What can I say we like fast! All the while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and maintaining my workout schedule!

  9. This is just the blog post I needed to read today! I feel like I am almost in the exact same place, career-wise, and am trying to devise a plan to workon my own schedule, doing something I love and value. Thanks for sharing all the details of your story, really helps to know that I am not the only one going through this!

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