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. What an amazing, inspiring story! In the past year, I have: graduated from college, moved across the country, moved into my own apartment in San Francisco with my boyfriend, started my first job as a Kindergarten teacher, worked towards earning my teaching credential, started my own blog (http://gavigetsgoing.wordpress.com), run my first 5k and signed up for my first triathlon, and made significant life changes that will hopefully make me happier and healthier in the long run. Whew! I admire your desire for happiness and your awareness of what makes you happiest!

  2. Wow, what a recap!! I can’t believe all you’ve done in a year.
    In the last year I moved out to DC without knowing anyone and have had a wild ride! I have been here a year and a month or so now and I feel happy, settled and well-adjusted. But big changes are certainly not easy!! I guess you just have to always hope they pay off in the end and I’m glad to say mine did :).
    Glad to hear yours have too!

  3. Tina-this is an inspiring story. Too many times people get caught in keeping up with everyone else in terms of making money, job, etc. It’s so great to see you took a step back and are finding the rewards of more free time are outweighing the busy life you didn’t like. This is a great reminder to me– I currently have a job that keeps me VERY busy (and sometimes VERY miserable), but I will be leaving in a month as my husband and I are moving to Michigan.
    In the last year I’ve figured out that I need a career change :-), started two blogs (http://melleah.blogspot.com/ and http://goodetaste.blogspot.com/), started running, and have finally learned patience! I’m excited about the upcoming possibilities that come with our family’s move to the great North.

  4. In the past year, I ran my first 5K ever (yay!) and finished another year of grad school (finishing up my last semester now – whoopee!), visited Guatemala and crossed off Seattle on my list of places to visit in the US. I think once grad school is over, my life will be changing dramatically with a potential job change and maybe a move to a different area in DC. No wonder the year flies by!

  5. how have things changed? Wow, that’s a loaded question.

    A year ago, I was almost a year out of undergrad, and already back in school to get another degree in Education. I was in Ames Iowa (yeeeaaa), basically living with my on-again/off-again boyfriend.
    Then in May I moved back “home” to Minnesota, broke it off with the boy, started earning grad credits teaching at 2 different schools, working for the family business, and coach lacrosse (wow-o-wow). What a year it’s been. but it’s been wonderful, so no complaints 🙂

    What a difference a year makes!


  6. what a year you’ve had! re-reading your year ha given me quite a bit of hope now though…i feel as though i’m in the same sort of spot you were, and hearing what you’ve said about the changes in your life make me excited for what’s around the corner in mine!

    in the past year i’ve traveled internationally, been promoted, and found how blogging has helped my health and happiness increase exponentially. Woohoo!

  7. Hey Tina,
    Thanks for sharing this post. I think I was a reader of your blog during some of your later changes. I love how your blog titles just flow into all that you had to say. Almost like it developed it’s own story 🙂

    The biggest change for me was becoming a mommy!! Our pregnancy wasn’t planned per say so there were worries, nervousness, and fear that we wouldn’t be the best parents. But my daughter completes me and she brings the true happiness that we needed in our lives!!

  8. Good for you girl! I admire your courage for following your heart and realizing that happiness is way more important than money! If everyone pursued their dreams and passions, I think this world would be filled with more peace and joy. Congrats on your success and good luck with your future endeavors!!! You are an inspiration…

  9. Wow girl, you have been through a LOT! I’ve been following your blog for about a year now and it’s funny but reading your blog, you can just TELL that you are so much happier now!! Your happiness just exudes from you 🙂
    This has been a big year for me too!! I have got out of a 4 year relationship, switched from a teaching major to a business major to FINALLY pursuing culinary school, found a love of running, and had a stress fracture that has kept me from running and exercise since December. So it definitely had its ups and downs but I’m hoping this following year will be MUCH better!

  10. Your year is so inspiring! I also believe that good things happen to those that work hard and, sometimes, you just need a little patience. I bought a house in the last year and while I’m SO grateful for it, I am now going through the feelings that you did last year about feeling unfulfilled. I’m currently trying to expand my talents and passions for healthy living, while still maintianing my current job because – have I mentioned – I now own a house?!?

  11. It was sooo great reading your recap! I’m in a new career that I have gone through many years of college & graduate school to achieve, but I know it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I go to sleep and wake up thinking about my blog, foods I want to eat to photograph for the blog, and recipes I wanna try and share with my readers! Nerdish….I know! 🙂 I LOVE writing my blog, but working 40+ hours a week, attemping daily workouts, trying to manage the home responsibilities, and still spend time with my precious hubby is very, very difficult!! It is a relief to read your recap and I’ll continue to hope that I too can find some writing opportunity something-or-another that I can do instead of my current career!


  12. I am anxiously awaiting to see how my life is going to change. For the past 4 years, I have been taking the courses I need to become a Registered Dietitian and get my MPH degree. During the same time I have been working to pay my way through school. On April 5, I find out what dietetic internship (if I get placed) I have been matched too. The internship is my final step (well besides the RD exam of course) in this long journey I committed myself to. I can’t wait!

  13. It’s been a really big year for me. In the last year, I changed jobs, moved in with my boyfriend, and I’ve started keeping a blog about my weight loss. I’ve been toying with the idea of finishing my book too.

  14. I love how you changed everything to do what you love. A lot of people do not have the courage to make these big changes, but i am glad you did and could show other people that is is possible!

  15. Thanks for sharing many of the changes over the past 12 months…it’s always interesting to look back and see how we’ve grown and changed. And I’m so glad that you’ve made changes that make you happy! 😀

    Breakfast looks delish! I’m a huge bulgur fan, but haven’t had any in ages! 😀

  16. Woah, what a whirlwind your year has been! I’m glad everything has worked out. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason 🙂 My year has been hectic as well: I graduated college, moved to Boston (from the south shore–not a huge move), started my first real job (ahh!), took the MCAT, and I am finishing up my applications to medical school. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings 🙂 (cross your fingers for an acceptance!!)

  17. Wow, what an amazing year it has been. I am definitely inspired by you to make similar changes in my life in order to be happier. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

  18. It was certainly a busy year for you – and so lovely that you’re in a better place now – physically and life-ily!

    Thinking back, this past year has been a real learning curve for me too – I’ve finally stopped feeling that I’m worthless, and it’s amazing how much better life is when you approach it head on and start letting go of inner demons (excuse the cliche). Next goals… work out what to do work-wise, and hopefully hold on to this self-respect! (and move out so I can get a pug.)

  19. Sounds like this was an awesome change for you, congrats on being in a such a happy place with your life and the people around you!

  20. Congrats on a huge year! I’ve been a reader since long before then and it’s been so fun to see all of the exciting changes you’ve made.

    I’ve started a blog, gotten a puppy, run a half marathon, and made some career advancements!

  21. holy cow…graduation, job interviews, took one but had to pass state boards…trained for said job, but failed state boards…round 2 of job interviews, accepted job, moved to new city alone, still working on establishing a life 🙂

  22. The past year has been wonderful — married the love of my life, became an RD, landed my dream job, bought my first home, purchased my first NEW car, became a mommy to my puppy Lily, traveled lots…it’s been great 🙂

  23. Wow what a year you’ve had! Thanks for the recap since I recently discovered your blog and absolutely love it! You’ve definitely inspired me to make similar changes in my own life/eating habits that I never thought possible.
    Thank you so much! 🙂

  24. Not much has happened this year for me. I graduated from college and started graduate school and my other brother got married so I have another sister in law now (no biological sisters for me so it’s nice to have 2 sisters now). I’m really hoping for a certain ring in the upcoming year though haha

  25. The main change in my life from the past year was being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and having to go totally gluten-free. I lost 50 pounds and my adult daughter moved to a city about an hour and a half away.

  26. Even though my blog is still a baby, it has definitely changed my life, opened many doors, and let me meet so many new people! You have had an amazing year, good for you! 🙂
    Speaking of the Vino Voyage, I am definitely hoping to go this year!

  27. So much in a year… this time last year I moved in with my current (awesome) roommate from a terrible situation, I was stressed about finals and getting ready for friends to visit. In the course of a year I had some panic attacks, realized I was NOT happy with school, and decided to finish with a masters instead of a PhD and move back to the east coast after I graduate. I discovered food blogs, stopped unhealthily counting calories, and eventually started my own blog. Now I’m training for a marathon, and about to graduate from grad school! It has flown by!

  28. You know I’ll be clicking all those past entry links when I get home! This past year I moved in with my bf (sinner!) and started my lil blog! I’ve also learned to accept my body and eat without guilt!

  29. I found my best friend from childhood online, found out we lived in the same metro area and now he’s part of my life again after 16 years! I’m so happy I got my best friend back!

  30. Tina, you inspire me SO much! You are pretty much where I’m on the path to becoming. This past year I made running a serious part of my life, completing two 5ks and a 10k which also helped me drop 20 of the 90lbs I’ve lost so far. I made the decision to finish my university degree (in Psychology) which has left me with very little time seeing as I also work full time (I take part time studies). But I keep going because, in the end, my goal is to help people see just how extraordinary they are and help give them the steps to change their lives for the better. I also met and moved in with my most fabulous boyfriend and am currently starting to put my ideas down for a healthy living blog myself!

    Thank you for your continued inspiration and for reminding me that, sometimes, we need to make risky decisions to get what we want and be all the happier for it!

  31. I LOVE this post! Reading your blog this year, I have been in awe of all of your changes, and your passion for following your heart. It’s truly inspiring!

  32. aw that is such a nice and strategically planned post. I admire all of the linking-back you do, to old posts. Even as a semi-long term reader, I love (procrastinating and) reading older posts!

    I just spoke with my 88 year old grandmother yesterday, who broke a mirror as well. She said she believes in a 3 week curse, not 7 years. “7 years is too unrealistic” says Grandma!

  33. Great post! I loved the one year wrap up! In the past year I was accepted to Northeastern Law, graduated from college, moved into my first apartment and lived alone, one week later I was accepted at UCLA law, took a leap of faith and moved cross country one month later, started law school, made new friends, finally learned how to drive, broke up with my ex boyfriend (absolutely the right move), lost 15 lbs, started a blog, and started reading Carrotsncake daily! Phew. It sure is nice to reflect on how much things can change in such a short time…

  34. Wow! You have had a crazy year. I think I started reading your blog about the time you switched jobs at Harvard and I can’t believe how much has happened in your life since then. It’s been so fun to watch your journey and I look forward to reading more.

    For me, the main thing that’s happened in the last year was the birth of our first child. It’s changed my life forever for the better.

  35. I feel like my life has become way more hectic, except I’m way behind you as far as balancing my life is concerned. It started with just being a part-time MBA student, volunteering for a non-profit that helps provide pet care (dog walking,fostering, etc.) for the disabled/ill, and working full-time at Northeastern. NOW it’s like, my life has exploded because I’m a board member of the non-profit I was volunteering for (long story, haha), and I’m also freelancing (writing, market research) for a start-up. Oh yeah and I’m still working full-time at the same job, still in school, have a boyfriend, etc. etc. INSANITY!

    The good news is that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I graduate in May 2010, and that will give me way more time to focus on everything else I’m doing. I might become a graduate assistant, but that would be the only addition to my life. I’ve found that I love to jump into things and live my life randomly, because you never know what will happen!

    I also have the advantage of being pretty well organized and asking for help when I need it. I gave myself permission to put other things on hold while focusing on what’s most important. I am good at removing unnecessary stressors from my life (I try to be as honest with myself as I am with other people), and I have created a place where I can just relax – my apartment! I live alone, and when I get home, I completely zone out and relax. It has been a life saver – as long as I have some peace and quiet mixed in with the chaos, I’m a happy girl!

    But I have no idea what my life will look like post-graduation this May – we’ll see!

  36. Thanks for posting this! I am somewhat new to the blog (less than a year, for sure!) but did know about some of this. It was really fun to click on the older posts though and see what I’ve missed!

    I especially liked reading the post about your tea experience in Victoria. We have a Fairmont hotel in my city and I’ve always wanted to go for afternoon tea. This may just be the push I need to actually go!

  37. Sounds like a unforgettable year! I moved to a new state and started grad school and a dietetic internship. Crazy how much things change in a year!

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