Two goals and a plane ticket……

Well this is the first entry for my series on getting ready to travel to, around, and then back from London.  This past weekend I decided that I needed to expand the horizon for job searching…….I mean I’ve put out seventy job applications since the end of March, and about half have come back as nos–either I didn’t have the entire skill set; I hadn’t been publishing that many papers (forgot to add in the handful of in-house student publications that my name is on); I had my PhD too long (yep, in today’s job market there are a large number of labs that prefer to hire scientists who have only been out of grad school less than four to five years; right now I’m not going to age myself and say how long I’ve had mine); or I didn’t have a strong background in a subject. Another quarter have also been ignored–I’ve sent a follow-up email and have yet to hear a peep back on the status of my application–I don’t mind getting rejected. At least that tells me that my application was at least considered. When I don’t get a response, I figure that my application for whatever reason ended up in the trash (or recycling) bin.

Okay lets look at these responses logically and from the opposite viewpoint–industry is about the bottom line; they don’t want to waste time training someone, if they can find the skill set in someone who may not have the terminal degree (that person may only have a masters). I understand this, and almost wish that they’d just list their preferred qualifications as the minimum qualifications.  Why?  Because I will still apply for a job even if I’m lack a skill or two–because I will honestly state that I know little (to nothing) about that skill, but I’m willing to learn; with the hopes that there will be someone who is willing to take the chance. Read More

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Review of “Light is the New Black: A guide to answering your soul’s calling and working your light” by Rebecca Campbell

This is the second book by Rebecca Campbell that I’ve read over the past few weeks (I actually started with “Rise Sister Rise”), and I loved it. I was once again drawn to look inwards even more with the questions that were spaced throughout the book (and I have most bookmarked to go back to, as I couldn’t seem to find the words just yet to answer the questions).

It is an amazing book to read, and have the realization that there are parts of us that we close off because we have the need to “fit in” with everyone else. It reminded me that I’d “grown quiet” during school, because I “talked funny” and didn’t like having my speech corrected. I had trouble making friends in school–I was the quiet (at least until you got to know me), bookish, nerdy one that never really fit in with any one crowd–also in group pictures for the most part I wasn’t smiling because it took too much energy to fake being happy around a bunch of people who may or may not have been overly friendly during the grade school to high school stage. That there are parts that we ignore because we’re focused on the parts that we’ve become good at, so that we can trudge through a 9-5 job (or longer depending on the project).

I’ve realized that since I’ve graduated with my PhD, I have let certain areas become closed off and stagnant due to the need to try to climb the scientific ladder. One of the exercises in the book is to make a list of all the things that light you up, no matter what it is—everyone is different, and that is fine. Another exercise is to write out a list of your ten most unique and eclectic mix of gifts, and to keep it growing by adding to it as you uncover more and more of your uniqueness daily/weekly/yearly.

I’m also starting to listen to the inner voice more—it’s getting easier to hear, a little louder each time I need to be reminded—that if something seems a little off, it is better to wait for the next opportunity than it is to jump and be miserable.  I’ve come to realize that what I want out of my scientific career may not be the same as others–and that it is something that I need to clarify to myself before I can express it to others (note to self–that would be something good to work on over the next few weeks).

While I’m still navigating my crossroads, I’ve realized that right now I’m currently seeking another job to replace the one that was just finished—there is a calling, but what that calling is, right now I’m still not sure on. Though I do know it will be tied in with science and education.

I’m slowly growing and taking steps that seem to be frightful, but at the same time could be in the direction that my inner guru is wanting me to go—I just have to slow down, listen, and start asking the universe to help guide me to where I need to be. I’ve finally realized that it is okay to say that I don’t have the answers, and I no longer know what I want to be when I grow up, but I’m open to suggestions from the universe.

So if you are listening Universe– I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m willing to listen and go where you direct.

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Summer visitors and flowers

Summer is in the process of winding down, we’re almost to mid-September (where has the past week gone?), and while I enjoy the changing of the seasons, I will miss seeing all the bright flowers, and the numerous birds and other animals that come through the yard. So here are just a few of the pictures I’ve been taking over the summer.

Rose of Sharons are in bloom.

We have numerous Rose of Sharon bushes lining one of our fences, acting as a natural privacy fence. The flowers range from the white, to pink and purple.  They’re wonderful for attracting both hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies to the backyard.

We had a small visitor to the wisteria flowers, since the wisteria decided too bloom twice this year

We were given a small wisteria plant from some friends several years ago, and planted it along the back fence.  Now that it is mature, we’ve realized that it was the wrong place to plant it, but are leaving it where it is (since a fiber-optic line and gas line run under it and we aren’t sure how deep its roots system has gotten).

A rather large moth decided to keep us company this afternoon

We had a visitor this afternoon, a rather large moth decided to take shelter on the underside of our patio umbrella today. I shall call it George.

One of the many butterfly species that has passed through the backyard

Butterflies are starting to come through the backyard again as they head south for the winter. This one decided to take a short break on the trunk of the elm tree.

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Baby steps (or crawls)….whatever moves you forward

Well things may be looking up slightly on the 9-5 job front (heard from another lab–they want letters of recommendation sent….Happy dance, and if I had to rank the three labs that I’ve gotten this request from, this one would probably be number one—now that doesn’t mean I’m going to jump right away if offered the job, but if I have to choose between this one and the one from yesterday–this one would win).  Also on the job front, since I’m still looking and haven’t had any solid offers, I’m thinking that I’ve earned a little vacation time (but will blend it with job hunting), and will start planning on a trip to London for next month (never been there, so try to take care of two things with one trip).  Plus that could be the push that I need to get out of my comfort zone and find my little niche and exactly what I’m suppose to be doing in the world.

Reading personal development books, using different courses online have helped with managing the anxiety levels, so that is a huge jump forward for me. I’m hoping that within the next couple of months (unless I move) to try to start tackling another issue/phobia that I know is also holding me back from being the best me possible.  This issue (as silly as it sounds) does affect a good portion of the population, though there is no scientific name for the phobia, or a real understanding of how a person has developed it. What is this phobia you ask?  The fear of driving–yes, I’m a adult who doesn’t have the formal training behind the wheel. The phobia started when I was young, and when people have given me driving lessons, they’ve always been slightly tense/on edge which didn’t help my anxiety being behind the wheel.  I’ve realized that this is something that I need to work on (especially since I want to try to travel to more of the US state and national parks and start hiking/backpacking/camping more–and it is hard to do if you don’t drive). But acknowledging the phobia itself is a good step (or crawl) forward. Reading up on the phobia, and trying to slowly get over it (without having to resort to medication) is also a good step in the right direction. The phobia probably has served its purpose in my life, just as the nagging feeling that I am probably close to working through it is also coming to a head in my life. The universe knows what we need, we just need to stop and listen every so often.

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Small steps forward are better than blind leaps

Well had a Skype interview today.  I think it went really well (as in I wasn’t a nervous wreck and talking a hundred miles a minute during it like I was during the previous one).  While I do have a few reservations about the job, I take the win of not having a huge anxiety induced indigestion attack for the rest of the day.  I’ve realized that the past several jobs have taught me one thing–take the time to think things over, and it is better to give yourself a large window, then a small one that you then try to dive through.  I think in the long run it will be better to be unemployed (volunteering for free) for a semester or so, then to find myself in a job that I’m miserable in within six to eight months. Moving is expensive and something I really only want to have to do maybe one or two more times over the next 5 to 10 years, which means finding a job or jobs that (1) I’m happy in, (2) treated like a part of the team; and (3) pays a living salary.  If there is a small part of me that isn’t going to be happy with the job, I may turn it down (unless it is a decent amount of money, then I may try to put up with it for a while–I don’t want to be unemployed forever).

Remember–there is beauty all around us and within us. We just need to look within ourselves to find where we need to be going, and we only need to open our eyes and our hearts to see the beauty around us. Take a moment and breath in the beauty of the world; smile and make someone’s day a little brighter, and to remind them that they to can smile.

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Strawberry Cafe Latte Shakeology

Print Recipe
Strawberry Cafe Latte Shakeology
Morning breakfast shake, that gives you your daily dose of dense, super food nutrition
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Shakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 5 minutes
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Shakes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Passive Time 5 minutes
  1. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. You can switch out the chilled black tea for 1 cup unsweetened almond milk or other low calorie beverage. Pour into a mug and enjoy
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Fixing out of alignment core values

So as I’ve been reading different personal development books, they have me looking back on what I’ve written with other ones.  One of the core questions that I’ve noticed in several of them is “how/what would you fix/change in your life right now?”

So I’ve been asking myself over the past month several questions:

What do I need to do to get my fitness/health routine back on track?

I’ve realized that I need to workout regularly again–I did manage to basically make it through the Shift Shop (lost 4 pounds and probably 16 inches during the program).  I’m starting another round of Country Heat, and then come October I may do another round of T25; or I may start my own hybrid calendar of beachbody workouts that incorporates both cardio and resistance training (both of which are needed for weight loss). I know that I need to drink my shakeology consistently (which I do manage at least 5 days out of the week), I need to cut back on both the refined carbs (pastries, cookies, buns) and processed meats [basically watch what I eat]; and drink more water.

What do I need to change to ensure I’m not ignoring my creative side?

Since I’ve started getting back into photography–I need to make sure that I have either my iPhone, or my camera ready to take a picture; and then I should try to upload those to the computer in a timely fashion.

I need to spend time finishing up my afghan that I started several years ago, and then spend time actually plotting out a design for an afghan (or scarf) and knitting those. I need to buy myself a crochet hook and teach myself how to crochet.

I need to spend time plotting out different designs for jewelry and other crafts.

I need to spend more time (or time in general) baking more healthy snacks and breakfast items.

What do I need to do to make sure that I’m taking enough time in the day/week to relax and recharge?

I need to make time to meditate.

I need to make clear time boundaries between work and home (including any homework).

I need to make time to do yoga (yes-this is actually dual purpose, since yoga can be considered exercising).

What do I need to do to ensure that I’m still pushing myself to learn something new (both personal and professional)?

I need to make time to brush up on foreign languages that I took in high school (Spanish and German), and then maybe learn a new one?

I need to work through the two e-course bundles that I’ve bought (coding and project management).

I need to continue reading personal development books, and work polishing the aspects about my current life that I’m not happy with.

Find a lab (or labs) that I could volunteer in as a technician to learn more skills to make myself more marketable.

What do I need to do to ensure that I’m not a stepping stone for someone else in the work place?

I need to stand up for myself and the work that I do.

I don’t have to “argue” and “fight”, but be firm and stand my ground that this is my work/project and it isn’t going to be handed off to someone else.

What do I need to do to ensure that I still enjoy research, but don’t burn out?

I need to find a lab that honors the idea that there is something else in life other than work.  If I find the project interesting, yes I may work more hours than the normal 40-50, but at the same time I’m not going to sacrifice my health again for a project.

The project/lab should be something where I am learning several new techniques and will be able to apply those throughout the project, and I’m not just doing the same thing over and over again for a year or two.

What do I need to do to ensure that I’m treated with respect, and that my work is actually appreciated?

I need to ensure that who I work for is someone who shows respect to everyone around them, and treats everyone as equal no matter what their education level is or what their job is, or  their connections.


So these are my current answers to how I can go about trying to fix some of my out-of-alignment core values in both my personal and professional life.  These answers may change over the course of the next several months, and probably over the next year.  It will all depend on how much and how quickly my inner light is able to shine through, or if I try to keep it contained and just settled.  I’m getting tired of just settling.  The spirit is getting tired of just settling, so we shall see, so it will be, so we shall see, so it will be.

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Review of “Rise Sister Rise: A Guide to Unleashing the Wise, Wild, Woman Within” by Rebecca Campbell

I have always been interested in books on spirituality, that didn’t drone on about Christianity. This is the first book by Rebecca that I’ve read (I’m just now starting “Light is the New Black”)—so I’m doing things a little backwards. This is a book that had me looking inwards more with the insightful questions that were spaced throughout the book. As I was reading, I could feel thoughts shifting and falling away. I am at a crossroads right now, and this book reminded me that I should take things slow, because if what I jump for isn’t meant for me, it too will soon fall away and I’ll just find myself back at the crossroads (or a similar location). It is time to let our selves heal, and find our way back to our natural internal rhyme of life.


This book opened my eyes to several issues that I’d been letting lie dormant for way to long. Actually issues, that I’d totally forgot about before a passage in the book would bring it to mind—I have several areas bookmarked for the questions to go back and answer, or the exercise to complete, or the mantra to repeat to myself when I need the reminded.


One such passage was on calling back my power from people I’d unknowingly given it away to. This is an exercise that I’m going to be completing in the next few days—this is something we all do—strive to meet the expectations of others (our parents, siblings, friends, coworkers, bosses, significant others), but at the same time we lose a piece of ourselves in the process. This is something I’d realized a couple of years ago, and thought I’d curtailed—but never thought of calling back all the power that I’d given away over the years.


Several other passages dealt with being in the here and now, and not worrying about yesterday or tomorrow. I’ve realized that this is an area that I need to work on (especially since I’m currently unemployed and job searching), but at the same time am wondering with the way the past couple of jobs have ended—is the universe trying to tell me that my path lays in some other direction that is away from research? I need to look into this possibility, and determine what path is the one I need to be on—but at the same time, enjoy each day as it comes—as I keep reminding myself—there is beauty everywhere, we just have to slow down and open our eyes and heart to see it.


Another passage that spoke to me was the one where our lives are a book, and each day/year is a page/chapter in that book. We are the sole authors of our book, but we do allow other to contribute to the book—we need to take control and make each chapter the best possible chapter (and not allow others to write huge portions of it). This includes the possibility of having to make a leap and not knowing how it will end. For me that means, potentially going back to school, switching fields totally, and starting over when I’m just a few years shy of turning 40.


For as Rebecca Campbell has said “Rise Sister Rise”

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Reflections on August

Well there goes the month (it doesn’t seem like its been that long since June turned into July). It is a day of reflection on how the goals set for the month, how I did with them, and to plan for the coming seasons.

I basically made it through Shift Shop (I say basically because I had week 3 spread out basically over two and half weeks). I enjoyed the program, though when it comes to short programs, I do like a little more variety in the workouts (I have a love/hate relationship with Autumn’s 21 Day Fix and 21 Day Fix Extreme programs [also from beachbody]. This isn’t to say that I won’t do another round of the Shift Shop, because I will—just not right now. I’m thinking for September I want a little different pace so it will be a coin flip between Yoga Booty Ballet on BOD (beachbody on demand) and Country Heat (Autumn’s 30 day dance program). I enjoy both programs and both are a little more low impact than Shift Shop was. I also managed to lose four pounds this month as well—which is exciting since I wasn’t following the meal plan for Shift Shop, and I have been letting my sweet tooth have a little more control than what it should (maybe the weight lose is due to not having my caramel high rise latte every day at work??? Probably has a little something to do with it).

I came close to my goal of 310,000 steps (basically 10,000/day) this month. The final tally will probably be about 306,000 by bed (so I manage to come pretty damn close). There were several off days this month—the half a week I had to recover from the bruised little toe, and then trying to get back into a routine of going into the lab to do work. I think coming to the conclusion that I need to move on, helped me to get past some of the problems yesterday and I managed to get a good number of steps in. I did have this big goal for the year of reaching 5 million steps for the year (which was basically a little over 14,000 steps/day); but when the mild bout of depression hit in early spring (due to a combination of not being happy on the job and the way this country was going), the daily steps went down and I fell behind on the goal—technically I’m a little over 2.6 million steps for the year (I’d basically have to do almost 20,000 steps/day for the rest of the year to get up to 5 million), so I may fall short of this yearly goal again.

I have been doing a lot of personal development reading for the month; I’ve finished:

Declutter your mind: how to stop worrying, relieve anxiety, and eliminate negative thinking by S.J. Scott and Barrie Davenport

23 Anti-Procrastination Habits: How to stop being lazy and overcome your procrastination by S.J. Scott

52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You by Brett Blumenthal

I’m currently reading the following three books (the titles of two should explain why I’m reading multiple books):

Rise Sister Rise: A guide to unleashing the wise wild woman within by Rebecca Campbell

Self Discovery Questions: 155 Breakthrough Questions to Accelerate Massive Action by Barrie Davenport

The 52 week Life Passion Project: The Path to uncover your Life Passion by Barrie Davenport

All three are great books (I’m probably further along in Rise Sister Rise, because I’m only answering every few questions; which means I will need to go back and answer all the other questions that I read through [mentally answered], but actually write the answers out and see how they’ve potentially changed since I started the book).

I like Rise Sister Rise, mainly because it talks about spirituality in terms of connecting to nature, the planet, the four major elements, and the old ways. I’ve never really been a follower of the major western religions (though I have nothing against them—I just don’t agree with how they’re taught or how people cherry pick the parts they want to follow that go with how they act). I am glad that the founding fathers put in the freedom of religion and worship how one chooses into the Constitution as part of the First Amendment (okay, off my little history/religion box).

I’ve also decided that I need to learn how to program—so I bought a couple of e-course bundles, and will slowly start working my way through those as well over the next couple of months (so that I can add those to my CV as additional skills).

I’m slowly working on accepting and welcoming my anxiety to where I can function without the potential anxiety/panic attacks that could leave me feeling nauseous for a week or so. I’m also job searching still, but realize that for every job there are probably 50+ applications in addition to mine, and that many of them are also younger than I am as well (plus probably have a few more skills). So in the coming months, I will be heading to career fairs, to see what could be out there, plus get an idea from recruiters there if going back to school for an MBA would be feasible or not.

I do have a Skype interview coming up next week for a potential postdoc position in Florida. I’ve never been to Florida, so I think it would be interesting to go there—learn some more skills, but also try to keep the balance of work with having a life (I’d like to explore a little bit of the state [at least around where I could potentially be living], and may a little of the surround states).

I’ve also realized that it will take awhile to work on breaking old habits and incorporating new ones from some of the books I’ve read into my day to day life. It is hard at times trying to silence your inner critic, especially when you realize that you are your own worse enemy at times. I’ll be the first to admit that at times I can have an overactive imagination and probably dwell on the worse case scenario a lot of the times—these are things that I’m working with—I’m not going to try to quiet my imagination (but I will try to tone it down at times), and instead of dwelling on how things could go bad (after meetings, etc)—I will imagine that things went wonderful and everyone got something out if.

Another big thing I’ve done this past month–was that I launched this blog. Right now there aren’t many followers and that is perfectly fine as I’m learning as I go (as with anything in life). Some days will always be better than others, and I know that some days no one may visit, and other days numerous people may visit–its the cyclic nature of life.

September’s goals are going to be:
(1) At least 300,000 steps (10,000 steps/day)
(2) Make it through the 30 day squat challenge
(3) Make it through another round of Country Heat
(4) Finish Rise Sister Rise, write and post reviews
(5) Determine next book to work into personal development reading list
(6) Work on the programming course bundles
(7) Determine which job fairs/expos to potentially go to
(8)—Potential move????

So until the next post–remember that there is beauty and kindness all around us–if we only open both our eyes and our hearts to see it. Smile, laugh, live, and love.

2 Comments Month in ReviewPersonal Development

Mental setbacks and knowing it is time to move on……..

Well I decided that I would start volunteering a few hours a day in my dad’s lab, mainly to get out of the house for awhile.  It’s only Tuesday and I’m already looking forward to the weekend again.  Why, you might ask?  The overall atmosphere of where I use to work really hasn’t changed; but a few weeks away and now going back I can see exactly how mentally draining the job was.  I love research, don’t get me wrong there; I also love what I’m volunteering to do (it’s a project that I’d been trying to finish up before the end of summer; and now I just might be able to)–I just don’t care for the overall disheartening atmosphere of the department anymore.

I’d been doing pretty good for the past couple of weeks of making sure that I at least get about 60oz of water in (the past two days its barely been hitting 50oz). I’ve got tension headaches again–to the degree that I had a few months ago.  I’d also been good about making sure that I at least got 80-90% of my steps in (if not 100%, plus another workout)–last two days–nope; once I got home I basically sat out in the backyard trying to find my mental center again.  My jaw is slightly sore from gritting my teeth (mainly in hopes that I don’t have to cross paths with that particular individual).

I’m hoping that maybe once I find an additional lab (that is in a different department) to also start volunteering in, some of the bad vibes will disappear since I won’t be in the same area quite so much. I know that additional skills are needed to be able to get into industry (which is why I need to start working on the e-course bundles that I just bought as well–but those are another blog post to come).

It is starting to look like a move is more than necessary for both my mental and physical health; it is also necessary for the job–will that job still be in science; will it be due to me starting school for yet another advanced degree (MS/MBA/???); that is part of the adventure.

We all need to remember that we are living our own “choose your own adventures” (remember those books–or have I just aged myself?). I’ve realized that I’ve picked fairly safe adventures since the end of high school (stayed in the same town for college [both undergrad & grad; though I did apply to some other programs out of state for grad]; and came back when the first job ended to try to recover financially (instead of trying to find another job in the city where I was living). Now it is the time for me to look at the slightly more riskier adventures and decided which one will hopefully work out.  While you can live a full life on with safe adventures–I’ve realized that person isn’t me any longer.  I’m finding it harder to stay civil with people that I don’t like and lets not even get into the politics in this country right now.

But let us remember that there is beauty all around us.  We just need to open our eyes and our hearts to see it.  Tomorrow take a look around you and notice something beautiful–maybe it is a butterfly flying by; or the color of a flower.  Beauty and love are there for all.  Let us start seeing it daily and maybe, just maybe we can start to heal the wounds of the planet.

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