What I learned in Italy: The Food Edition!👩‍🍳

What I learned in Italy: The Food Edition!👩‍🍳

Coming off a 10-day vacation in Italy with a 9.5-hour plane ride, a couple of blog ideas were bound to happen. For starters, the trip we had truly was a trip of a lifetime.

My family and our significant others rented a villa in Tuscany for 8 days.  We took day trips to the local towns, Florence, Luca, and Cinque Terre.  Then we ended the trip with two nights in Rome.

We were toured around by locals, taught how to cook pasta and pizza by a local chef, had multiple wine tastings at local Chianti wineries, and had some really interesting tours in the big cities.  We drank unlimited wine, Aperol Spritz’s, and ate homemade pasta and bread and oil Every. 👏Single.👏 Day👏.

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The best part was that the wifi and service at the villa totally sucked and I didn’t buy an international phone plan.  Therefore, for 7 nights I had little to no access to the internet, email, texts, and social media.  At first, it was infuriating but by day 2 I started to appreciate the lack of service because it truly forced me to unplug, focus and soak in all my surroundings.  It ended up being my blessing in disguise.

Being completely out of touch with my life back home, while experiencing new places, people and things, really makes you start to think about things more clearly.  It opens your eyes to another way of life and allows you to learn new things.  It’s one of my favorite parts about traveling.  Everything seems to get really clear for me.  Really simple. That happened on this trip.

 

I started to notice several things were different from my own lifestyle and the states back home, and since I am a blogger, I, of course, wanted to talk about it! 😊

There were two major differences I noticed when comparing Italy to the states.  As I am sure you can guess, one was the food because it’s Italy. Then the other was the lifestyle because again… Italy. I wanted to break it up and into two blogs so I can break down what I saw and learned!

 

Since Italy is most known for its food, I thought I would start there.

 

IMG_8407To give you a quick back story on me.  I am a food and health junkie; I love to eat healthy delicious food and I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.  At home, I don’t eat any dairy and little to no meat and primarily fish and eggs.  For carbs, I mainly eat sprouted bread, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.  I even try to buy oil sprayers so that I don’t use too much oil.  I try hard to make as many healthy choices as possible in my day to day life.  I’ve watched one too many documentaries and have read too many books on the topic do otherwise.

So when I was heading to the pasta, bread, meat and cheese capital of the world, I was a little nervous about how it would affect my body because I obviously wasn’t going to pass up on any of it while I am there.

Not to mention that the last time I went to Italy with my best friend I gained over 10 pounds and it took months to work off.  Granted we were fresh out of college and totally reckless eating Gelato at 11 am, but it still happened!

Though, I had heard multiple times from a lot of people that the food is different in Italy.  The ingredients are fresher, and they don’t use the chemicals that we do.  I believed all of that to be true, but I still questioned how my body would react.

Would I still get breakouts when I ate the dairy products? 

Would I get bloated and sore after eating the bread and pasta like I did at home?

 Would I get super hungover from 2 glasses of wine?

 

But once I got there and ate and drank ALL of the things… I didn’t.  I didn’t have any reaction at all. I was perfectly fine, the entire time.

 

This was my first lesson.

The food is LEGITIMATELY better in every single way.

When I say we ate pasta, bread, and cheese every single day, I am not kidding.  But it img_8784.jpgwasn’t because we were in Italy, but there really weren’t that many other options.  Salads were available, but nothing fun like we do in the states with craisins, nuts, quinoa, and other veggies.  It was straight up lettuce tomato and maybe some cucumber.

It was the same with the vegetable options, they were very limited. They DID have unlimited options for cheeses, meats, bread, and pasta, so that’s what we ate.  So, as a result of my surroundings, I ate all the things that I almost never eat, every single day, and I was totally fine.  I didn’t have one break out or a hangover and never felt the bloated achy feeling that I get when I eat bread at home.

I want to say it was mind-blowing… but it’s really wasn’t.   I knew exactly where all the cheeses, meats and wines were coming from and how they were being made.  Then the bread would start to go stale after being out for just a couple of hours. You couldn’t even bite into day-old bread.  Compared to the states, where I have no idea how they make the cheese, preserve it or where it comes from, and then the bread lasts for weeks without going bad…sketch.

One morning we went on an olive oil tasting and the woman who gave us the tasting said that she stopped buying chicken from the store because she didn’t know where it was coming from or how the chickens were being treated. It mattered to her to know what she was eating was coming from.  I think that is a major difference. We DON’T really know where our food is coming from or how it’s being prepared.  So much of what we eat, and buy is made for convenience, speed, and cost.  But because of that something gets lost (or added) in between and we are physically affected because of it.

The whole experience just made me stop and think about the foods I was putting into my body in an entirely different way.

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Speaking of the lady from the Olive Oil tasting, she made a huge impact on me in the short time we were together so the next two lessons are from what I learned in my conversations with her.

To give you back story on her, she and her husband own an olive tree farm.  The farm was passed down to them, it has been in the family for hundreds of years.  It is 99 acres of olive trees that his family would organically produce into olive oil.  They continued to keep that tradition alive and produce thousands of cans of olive oil every year.  So, she clearly knew a thing or two when it came to olive oil.  What I found most interesting was what TYPE of olive oil you should buy.

 

My next lesson was on Olive Oil Purchasing.

She taught us that once olive oil is made it needs to be kept in cold and dark places so that it doesn’t oxidize and lose the nutrients and vitamins.  Because of that, we should NOT be buying any olive oil unless it is in either a tinted glass bottle or a tin can.  She told us that anything that ISN’T in a tin can or tinted glass bottle is NOT 100% real olive oil and has some sort of chemical or additive in it to keep it the golden yellow color, and it doesn’t have the same vitamins and nutrients that real olive oil has.

She also said that you should NEVER buy olive oil that is in a plastic container because the chemicals from the plastic seep in.  After she said that we all gave each other a guilty look because we all knew that we ALL buy the jumbo plastic olive oil containers from Costco…

So pretty much all the olive oil I have ever eaten hasn’t been the best quality…which is nuts to think about because I pride myself on buying high-quality foods but at least we all know now so we can make better choices moving forward!

 

Moving on to my next lesson learned…

During our tasting, the woman told us that she gave cooking lessons, so I was excited to hear about the different meals she made.  In that conversation, she mentioned how in Italy the foods they cook change every season and went on to describe the foods that they eat in each season.

They ate for the season.  That was my next lesson.

They ate what was available to them at that point in time-based off of what was growing IMG_4550that season.  They ate tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer, and then the peppers and eggplant in the fall, and broccoli and cauliflower in the winter months.

They didn’t have a grocery store full of cauliflower crust pizzas or a plethora of options of vegetables, fruits, and foods to choose from. They primarily ate what was grown and picked last week from the farms.  For whatever reason, that made me stop and think for the first time when should I be eating certain foods.

Is a tomato you eat in summer as flavorful and full of nutrients and vitamins as the tomatoes you eat in the winter?  Where are the broccoli and cauliflower coming from that I am eating all summer long when it’s not in season until wintertime?

I am not a nutritionist and I didn’t try to go find the exact scientific answer to these questions. But if you look at it simply, we probably should be eating fruits and vegetables when they are in season, local, and freshly picked because that IS when they are at their best.

From that conversation, I am much more interested in not only learning more about eating for the season but also, what vegetables and fruits are best in what seasons so I can start to implement more of that in my own life.

 

 

Then the final thing I noticed, which ended up being my last lesson was that there was,

NO Snacking.

If you think about a typical US grocery store there are aisles and aisles dedicated to different snack bars, to-go packets of nuts, chips, cookies, and crackers. There are loads of it and we are constantly craving it.  Partially because it’s filled with sugars that we are addicted too, but more so because it’s a part of our culture.  Snacks between meals is a common thing that most people do in the US.

In Italy, they don’t do snacks.

There were few snacks available to buy at small-town grocery markets or at the convenience stores of the side streets.  They didn’t have chips for you to buy or bars or snacks.  They had meals.  They had bread, pastries, a slice of pizza, and all types of sandwiches with prosciutto, but there is very little else to buy outside of that.  They are more focused on eating meals and more “real foods”.   Think about how differently your own day would be if your only option for food was “real” food.  Food that didn’t come out of a package or freezer…

 

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Overall, I truly believe that submerging yourself in another culture is one of the best educations you can get because you are seeing and experiencing it firsthand.

 

Those were just a few of the details I noticed and the lessons that I learned while we were away.  I hope that you were as intrigued as I was, and it taught you something new or simply was just some food for thought. 😉

 

Summer Reads for 2019

Summer Reads for 2019

I LOVE reading.  It hasn’t always been this way, but I got here. 

 

When I was a kid, I didn’t always like reading, I actually kind of hated it at points.  But I always really wanted to like it.  I wanted to be thought of as a “reader”, a lover of books, pretty much a real live Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  I really wish I was kidding here…but I’m totally serious… 

 

At the time I just couldn’t get into any books that I would read.  Then in about 7th grade, I finally read this book Flipped.  It is a total teeny-bopper book, but I fell in love with it and it totally changed how I felt towards reading. 

It was the first time I ever really got sucked into a book.  After finishing it I wanted to experience that all-consuming feeling again.  I wanted to read a book that silenced the world around me and allowed me to escape for a couple of hours. 

 

Ever since then I have been on a constant quest of finding and reading really great books.  I have definitely had my share of boring books or books I hated, but for the most part, if I am not interested I stop reading and move on.  I have gotten over the whole idea of “finish every book you start” mentality.  Mostly because that would make me NOT enjoy reading, which is the whole point.   PLUS there are so many GREAT books out there to read, so why waste my time on one I don’t like?

 

Since we are in the height of summer, I find that this is often a time where I can get the most reading done on the weekends at the beach or on vacations, aka the best time to share with you some of my favorite Summer reads for 2019! 

 

These are books that I have recently read that totally sucked me in and kept me turning the pages at a rapid pace.   Check them out and let me know what you think!

 

becomingBecoming – Michelle Obama

To those that follow me, you know that I dedicated an entire blog post to our girl Michelle and her awesomeness.  But seriously this is a FANTASTIC book. The best book I have read in 2019. The way that Michelle openly writes about her life, you feel like her best friend at the end of it, like the two of you went through that all together.  When her heartbreaks, yours breaks. When she rejoices, you rejoice. After every stage of her life, I felt I could relate to her on such a deep level that I felt like she was actually talking ABOUT me and my life.  Once I finished the book I was so sad because we wouldn’t be able to “hang out” every day anymore.  She doesn’t know this, but after that book, we became best friends… 

If you only pick one of these books to try out… READ THIS!

 

thegoodgirlThe Good Girl – Mary Kubica

This is another GREAT BOOK!!  I was suggested to read this book and ended up loving it so much that I would stay in on weekends and would rush home from work to read it.  It was that freaking good. It was about a girl who was abducted and the storyline would bring you back and forth to the time frame of the abduction and afterward, telling about how it all went down and how she got to present day.  The twist at the end was so wild that it left you dumbfounded. I’m not kidding it was a better twist than Gone Girl… mic drop

 

something in the waterSomething in the Water – Catherine Steadman

I actually started this at the end of 2018, specifically on my honeymoon. So that was a bit of a fib for being a 2019 read, but still great and worth reading.  I specifically bought it because it was about a couple on their honeymoon and how one event changed the rest of their lives forever. It was definitely a page-turner with a twist at the end, which I always love.  Mostly, it was fun to read for me at the time because I was also ON my honeymoon and I could pretend my life was crazy and exciting, even though I was actually just laying on a beach chair drinking my Mojito… totally non-eventful. 

 

nine perfect strangersNine Perfect Strangers – Liane Moriarty 

This book was by one of my favorite authors, Liane Moriarty.  She wrote other amazing books like My Husband’s Secret and Big Little Lies (the HBO show).  Those were two books that I had read a couple of summer’s ago and LOVED them.  All of her books are twisted, different and VERY original. The settings, circumstances, and characters are all very relatable yet very unique at the same time.  Read any of her books and you will have a great ride. Nine Perfect Strangers is the one I picked up this summer and tore through it. It was about 9 strangers at a health resort that they came to cure themselves in one way or another.  None of them could have guessed the way that they would be “cured”…

 

the house at rivertonThe House at Riverton – Kate Morton 

I LOVE LOVE LOVE a great historical mystery novel.  I also really love this author, Kate Morton. I have read a couple of her books and they go back and forth between present-day and whatever time period the story is set in.  She gives such great detail on the character’s background and just enough of the setting where you can easily picture the whole thing in your mind. It’s set between the two major wars and is about an aristocratic family, a mysterious death, and long-kept secrets.  So. good. 

 

Girl, Wash Your Face and then Girl, Stop Apologizing – Rachel Hollis

I almost feel like this wouldn’t be an official blog post if I were to NOT write about Rach and my love for her books.   I have mentioned Rachel, her books, and everything else she does in MANY of my blogs. I think she pretty awesome and these books are what got me hooked in the first place.  When I first noticed “Girl, Wash Your Face”, I was very opposed to getting it. I had no idea who Rachel was, but I also was thinking it was an over-marketed book that would probably suck.  I had fallen into that marketing trap before and had been very disappointed. But boy was I wrong. I finally caved and bought it. As I read it I started to fall in love with Rachel, her honesty and authenticity.  I also LOVE her message. If you want a good pick-me-up book, this is the one for you. 

 

 

So there you go!  My top summer reads for 2019. So far. I have three books lined up for the remainder of the summer.  Let’s see if I can get to them by the end!

 

Happy reading!

What makes YOU an attractive candidate

What makes YOU an attractive candidate

In this blog, I try to make it a combination of work and play.  For most of us, that’s what our lives primarily consist of working our real-time jobs and then whatever we do outside of work, which isn’t always “play” or fun, but you get the idea!

 

Since I am a recruiter and interview people all day every day, I give career advice and interview advice from what I have experienced in hopes that it will help you when the time comes. 

 

Previously, I have talked about how to prep for an interview and how to write a thank-you note.  Those were tips that you can apply in real-time and you would then get an immediate reward from. 

 

Today I want to talk about the characteristics that make you a really attractive candidate to a hiring manager and they are characteristics that you have to build up over a longer period of time.  Writing thank you’s and preparing for interviews will definitely help you move forward during the interview process.  But I would like to focus on the characteristics or traits that you have worked on repeatedly, (hopefully) throughout your career, that you didn’t always see an immediate reward for, but will make you stand out in a hiring managers eyes.  

 

These are the top traits that an interviewer looks for when conducting an interview.   The things that you have to work towards your entire life and career. The intangibles that will make you the most attractive candidate.  

 

 

Can you do the job?

This seems like the dumbest question to ask – but it’s one of the most important.  Can you actually do the job you applied for, or have been recruited on? Very rarely will your “soft skills” or your ability to pick up on new things quickly, get you the job.  If a hiring manager is looking to fill an engineering position or a developer and you don’t have an engineering background and you can’t code… then you can’t actually do the job. Often times when hiring managers are searching for a person in a specific position, they need that person to be able to come in and almost hit the ground running.  They are not expecting you to know what the company does right away, but to at least have the skills to get the job done. 

 

 

Job Stability 

No matter how much the market is changing, and companies are evolving, or the circumstance at hand, hiring managers are STILL NOT interested in job hoppers.  

The definition of a job hopper will vary drastically from one person to another, but my personal rule of thumb is that if you have moved from one job to the next every 1-2 years, you look like a job hopper.  

Being in recruiting for years I have heard every story in the book as to WHY someone moved from one job to the next, and some are very legitimate and we can explain. But at first glance, it still doesn’t look great.  If we see that you have 10 years of constant job movement, maybe you should be vetting out your next job more carefully to make sure it really is a good move. 

This sounds negative, but it’s an elephant in the room and one of the biggest reasons a hiring manager won’t be interested in a candidate.   So I really want to make sure you are conscious of it when making a career step. 

On the other hand, if a hiring manager sees that you have been at a company for 3-6 years, they think the exact opposite.  They see someone who has stuck it out through the hard times, someone who took the time to learn and grow within a company, and who contributed years of their career to make it a better place. Someone they want to hire. 

Sometimes when we stop and try to see it from their perspective, we can better understand why they would feel that way and how we can better make decisions moving forward. 

 

 

Positive Outlook

Having a positive outlook isn’t something that is only talked about in self-help or fru fru stuff.  It’s legit and needed in the workplace. As you all know, “fires” or problems arise all the time. It’s inevitable and none of us can hide from it or control it, but what we can control is how we act or react when faced with adversity.  

If you are the type of person to freak out when shit hits the fan, no one really wants you on their team, because they have to pick you up and calm you down while they are trying to figure out a solution themselves.  On the other hand, if you are the type to look at a problem or unfortunate situation head-on thinking of solutions or the lessons learned, people will naturally be drawn to you needing that positivity to keep pushing them forward. 

Having a positive outlook and a can-do attitude is essential, and hiring managers can pick up on that just by how you talk about previous roles or situations you have worked through.  

Are you picking out the positive or the negative? Are you focusing on where you learned and could improve or where you lost? 

 

Work Ethic

I have never met a hiring manager that doesn’t love or respect a hard worker.  Some colleagues might get jealous or poke fun to settle their own insecurities to make themselves feel better, but that has never happened with a hiring manager.  

Your work ethic and how much of a driver you are comes through in an interview and is applicable to any job.  You know exactly who I am talking about too. It’s the person in the office who comes in early, or work late, and is just always giving it their all.  Hiring managers are never going to be upset about that and will bend over backward to keep employees like that happy or to get someone interested in joining their team.

A hard worker doesn’t only yield results faster, but it also brings the entire team motivation and overall energy to a level higher.  If everyone is goofing around in the office and not getting their work done, then there is less pressure to get back to your desk.  Whereas if there is one person grinding away, and hitting their goals and numbers while you sit and talk at your desk then there is a little bit of a nudge to get back to work to keep up. 

 

 

Culture Fit 

Aka – Can we work together?  As you all know, the people you work with or see in the office, you spend WAY more time with than your actual family and friends.  Since you spend so much time together it is crucial that you actually like each other and can get along.  

This one is typically harder to vet for.   Everyone is their own unique person, and no one ever wants you to change who you are, and it really depends on whether you just click with the hiring manager or not and if you have some of the basic qualities that a company is looking for. 

For example, many companies today have a “no asshole” policy.  There is no specific guideline or tool kit to follow to figure out if someone is an asshole or not, you just know or you don’t know.  

From a hiring perspective, a good way to be sure you like someone is to have the candidate interview with multiple people at a company to make sure the stories stay consistent and you get multiple opinions on a candidate.  This is never guaranteed to give you perfect results, but it will at least give you back up behind your ultimate decision. 

If you are the candidate interviewing for a job, if you have been a good person your whole life and you are kind and work hard you are probably going to be fine.  But what is most important here, is to just be yourself.  If you aren’t clicking with a team or meshing with a hiring manager it probably isn’t the best place for YOU.  

Remember interviewing is a two-sided sale.  BOTH parties have to be interested in each other to officially make a match.

 

 

Past Performance

How you have performed in a previous role or in anything in life, is likely a good indication of how you will perform in the future.  History repeats itself.  In the past, if you were a really hard worker with a positive attitude and didn’t give up until a goal was accomplished or an initiative met, you will likely act the same way when faced with another problem. 

If the opposite happens and you dodge conflict, or are always late with deadlines and blaming others for things that come up, you will likely continue to do that in your next role.  

Now with that said, there are always tough work environments or circumstances outside of our control that hinder us from hitting a goal.  But like I said in the job hopper bullet, if this is continually happening job after job then a hiring manager is going to get suspicious on where the blame should really lie. 

Hiring managers want top performers so that the top performers could help them meet their own objectives and goals, and will be a good influence on their team. 

 

In general, whenever you are interviewing for your next job the only thing that you can do is your best.  Put your best foot forward and show up to every interview prepared and ready to show them the best version of yourself.   

 

From now on, in your current role and every role moving forward, if you are consciously thinking about and working towards these long term characteristics to be the best version of yourself then no matter where you go or where you are, you will be valued and you will make your way to the top. 

 

Until next time, stay classy. 😎

Auntie Carol’s Secret Salad Equation

Auntie Carol’s Secret Salad Equation

Coming off of a long Fourth of July party weekend I am feeling like I shouldn’t be eating anything BUT salads.  This past weekend I way overindulged in s’mores, wine, Twizzlers and chips, guac and blueberry buckle. It’s how we celebrate the fourth, like total gluttons, and I love every second of it.  #balance

 

But when you get whiplash from snapping back into reality Monday morning, I am almost ALWAYS reluctant to putting greens back into my system, especially salad. 

 

When I graduated from college and started working full time, I was still figuring out how to make healthy food that I actually loved eating that wasn’t totally basic and awful.  At the time I cared more about calories and less about if I would actually enjoy what I was eating. My salads consisted of romaine lettuce, cucumbers, and tomatoes with a balsamic dressing and a protein.  BORINGGG.  

It’s no wonder that after a year of eating that for lunch Every. Single. Day.  that I had sworn off salads for lunch forever. I brought myself to the point where I hated salads.   But it doesn’t have to be that way. You can load up a salad with veggies and fruit making it delicious AND healthy.  I just simply didn’t know how, but Auntie Carol did and does. 

 

As I mentioned in my blog, “Summer Picnic Essentials”, my Auntie Carol makes THE BEST salads of all time.  I kid you not, every time her salad comes out, people flock, everyone gets second helpings and it is one of the few dishes that is completely gone at the end.  They are just so freaking good. 

 

A couple of weeks ago when I was writing the other blog I emailed my Auntie Carol asking for her Secret recipe.  I told her, THE PEOPLE MUST KNOW!! And then asked her permission to share this equation with you. There is a science behind this all, a method to her madness!  She was kind enough to let me share it with you. This may very well change your world entirely, so in advance, ‘you’re welcome’, and THANK YOU to the GOAT of salad making, Auntie Carol. 

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These guidelines are a direct copy and paste from my Gmail conversation with her.. here we gooooo!!

 

Here are the main guidelines for salad dressing.

 1). Everything needs to be chopped into small cubes (even lettuce, spinach etc.).  No one should have to have to use a knife when eating it.  

 2). Salad should consist of Half lettuce & Half fruit or vegetables.  I usually use green & yellow zucchini (cut into cubes).

 3).Cut grape tomatoes evenly into ¼

 4).  Add something interesting with the vegetables. (figs, green apple, orange, blueberries, avocado, red cabbage, thawed frozen green peas)

 5).  Add something with texture (chopped nuts, bacon, etc.)

6). Mix it all together.

 

 These are my guidelines to make your own salad dressing:

 2/3 cup oil, 1/3 cup vinegar, 2 tablespoons of Dijon Muster, 1 tablespoon of Honey …. basic mix and then can change it up….

 Ways to change it up

Add 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, hummus, or an Avocado to make a creamy dressing

Add 2 tablespoons of citrus, ex. lemon, lime, orange”

 

I really think this deserves a round of applause.   Exact, simple and clear guidelines on how to make a salad that everyone will love. 

 

One really important part that you don’t want to forget is to make your own salad dressing.  This truly is a game changer with all salads. It tastes amazing and is WAY healthier for you than almost all store-bought salad dressings.  Bottled dressings are full of extra chemicals and sugar. Yes, they add sugar to their salad dressing. 

 

Auntie Carol’s salad dressing recipe can be made in a mason jar where you just shake it up on your own.  Or if you want to go next level throw the ingredients into a magic bullet and whip it up. The magic bullet turns it into this creamy goodness that makes your mouth water. It thickens as you mix.

 

I personally also add salt, pepper, and chopped garlic to my salad dressing because I am Italian and more garlic makes everything better. 

So there you have it!! The world’s best salad equation at your fingertips!   I hope you enjoy and let me know what you think once you try it out! 

 

Until next time, Bon appetite! 

 

 

How badly do you REALLY want it?

How badly do you REALLY want it?

Relationship advice from a recruiter… 

 

When I first started recruiting my boss at the time would always compare the situations we were working through to relationships.  Leaving your company is like breaking up with a significant other, and how attentive a candidate is during an interview process shows how interested they are in the job, or a relationship.

 

At first, I thought it was a bit out there, “how could a business transaction be like a relationship?”.  But the more examples they gave, and the more time I recruited and worked through those deals, I started to realize just how accurate that comparison is. 

 

One of the best lessons that I learned, which turned into a question that loomed over my head every day with every candidate and client that I talked to was, “How badly do they really want it?” 

 

Whether that question was directed toward if a candidate really wanted the job or the employer really wanted to hire the candidate, I thought about it constantly.  Once a candidate was officially in the process I would constantly be looking out for warning signs, or any sign that would tell me if the candidate wanted the job or the client wanted to make the hire. 

 

This was really important for me to understand because that would determine whether or not I would make a sale.  Since recruiting is a two-sided sale, and they have to both like each other in order for the deal to go through. Because of that, this is a super important question that I had to constantly question and find answers throughout the interview process.  Luckily, if you are looking for the answer, there are ALWAYS signs pointing you in the right direction.  As a recruiter, I got really good at looking for those signs and then finding them. 

 

When I first started out those signs weren’t always super clear.  I would ask different questions to help me get a better gauge, but often times I was still unsure.  As my career progressed, I finally started to work on better jobs that people actually wanted and then recruited better candidates for jobs that managers actually wanted to hire.  At that point, I started to fully understand and saw how someone acts when they REALLY want something. 

 

How people act when they REALLY want something may be obvious to some of you, but personally I never fully understood it until I witnessed it as a recruiter.  When it finally clicked, it dawned on me that this same reality is true in SO many more areas of our lives. People will ALWAYS act differently when they REALLY want something to happen. 

This is a huge LIFE lesson for all of us that can carry over to getting a new job, dating, or going after a goal.  This is a life lesson that I wish I could go back and tell my high school self about love, goals, and dreams, but since I can’t do that, I am sharing it with you. =]

 

In writing this blog, I wanted to share with you how to find the clues and signs that determine how badly you or someone else really wants something. 

Below are the top traits that I have noticed in candidates and clients on how they start to act when they really want a job or really want to hire a candidate.  You will quickly see how these can be applied in many other areas of your life. 

 

 

RESPONSIVENESS 

This is the first thing I notice in a candidate and client when they are interested.  They actually respond to me and they do it in a timely manner. Instead of the typical 1-2 days of waiting before you get feedback or a response, it’s more immediate.  If they stay interested, this responsiveness continues throughout the whole interviewing process.  I don’t have to nag or hunt them down for an answer. They freely and quickly give me the answers to my questions.  

This is the same in relationships.  If someone is taking days to text you back or is playing the game and they won’t reach out for a couple of days.  They probably aren’t THAT interested at the time. That could change, but if they really wanted to talk to you, they would respond or reach out.  

This reality made me wince because I would remember all of the times I made up stories in my head of why someone WASN’T texting me back or reaching out.  I would make up the most ridiculous stories to make myself feel better when in reality, they simply weren’t interested. 

FOLLOW-UP 

Whenever a candidate is interested in a job, they will reach out a lot, asking the status of the job, how they are doing in the interview process, they ask for advice on how to stand out and what they can do to keep moving forward.  The same holds true for the client side. When a client really wants a candidate, they will ask me the candidates status throughout the interview process to gauge how interested the candidate is and what we will have to do to get them to take the job. They both follow-up with ME to check in and see what the other is thinking. 

This holds true in relationships in two ways, maybe you meet someone through a friend and then you are constantly following up with the friend who set you up to check in to see what the other person thinks of you and if you really have a chance.  Or very simply, if someone is interested in you, they will follow up after a date and ask you to meet up again.  

FLEXIBILITY 

You start to notice this trait later on in the interviewing process.  At the beginning of the recruiting process, typically, you need the first date/interview or two to happen before the sparks start flying.  But once that fire gets going there is this magical thing called flexibility that starts to grow. At this point, the candidate and client want to woo each other.  They want to make each other happy, so they loosen up their strict standards and checklists and even their calendars.  The times they couldn’t make an interview before they are now magically wide open.  Salary ranges are now “open to discussion”. Commutes and travel requirements that were a hard no, are now a maybe.   

In relationships, when you really start to like someone, the flexibility grows.  It grows in ways like realizing she really loves sushi, and even though you hate it you take her to out to sushi to make her happy.  Or the times you know he loves to watch baseball so you take him to a game, but you really despise the sport and are legitimately upset there isn’t halftime so you can take a break from it, but you do it because you like him.  

Those small ways new found flexibilities, and the ways we will bend to make something work, they are indications that they care and want you. 

 

ENERGY LEVEL 

This makes me think of a puppy.  When you first come home from work and you have a puppy they are just so freaking excited to see you.  They run, they jump, they go get their toys to show you. You can almost see their brains working, working out their next move to show their excitement.  People act the same way when they are excited, except they aren’t quite as cute. 

When people are excited about an opportunity their energy level’s spike up.  You can hear the excitement in their voice through the phone and through their emails.  You can feel it from the managers when they are talking about how an interview went with a candidate they really liked.  It’s like everyone is on an interview high, just happy and excited about what’s happening and next steps.  The energy level for the entire search lifted up like a cloud and we are all floating up there waiting for the final decision. 

This is the same with relationships. Think about when a new couple is in that “honeymoon stage”.  They talk about each other at nauseam and think that every little thing the other one does is the cutest thing in the world.  They are always smiling, excited and happy.  That high that they are riding, the excited energy that is buzzing through the relationship, that only happens when you really like someone.  

 

So there you have it! The top traits that I have picked up on, to help me fully understand how badly someone really wants something.

There are a lot more signs and details that I could share with you.  More signs that show whether a candidate really wants the job, a manager really wants to make the hire, or someone is really interested in starting in a relationship.  BUT we would be here for a very long time and these are the basics that will still point you in the right direction. 

 

On your next interview or date, look for these traits and follow these signs to really gauge how interested they are.   It might even lead you to realize he or she is THE one… 

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My Favorite Podcasts

My Favorite Podcasts

Good Morning!

This week’s blog was inspired by my friend Meg. =]  

The other day Meg asked me and my other friend, Carol, what were some good podcasts that she should listen to.  That question got me to thinking of writing a blog about podcast recommendations because there are also just so many options out there and it’s hard to even know where to start looking.

 

When you are first getting into podcasts there are so many to pick from that it could get pretty overwhelming.  This is the case with books, TV shows and movies.  It feels like at every turn I am constantly hearing about a NEW podcast, show or book that was just released.  It’s gotten to the point where we literally have hundreds if not thousands of options to pick from and the last thing you want to do is to make the WRONG choice.  

 

I hate when I waste my time reading a book and then halfway through decide I don’t like it.  Or when I invest my time into a new TV series or podcast and then find out that by episode 3 or 4 I can’t stand the person.  There is nothing that infuriates me more than time wasted, ESPECIALLY when it’s for a leisurely activity because I have so little time for it in the first place.  

 

Sometimes I get so caught up in making the WRONG choice, that it leads me to just picking what I already know.  Watching a movie I have watched 5 million times, or listening to one of the podcasts on my small list that I rotate through because at the end of the day I know what to expect and how I will feel after.  I need that little bit of certainty in my life.

 

I would rather know that I am going to love whatever I invest my time and money into and because of that I always LOVE getting a good recommendation.  

 

Anytime a friend brings me a book and says “you HAVE to read this”, or when a sister-in-law tells you over dinner, “you HAVE to watch this movie”, you are almost never disappointed.   When I get suggestions from friends and family, those are the times that I can’t stop turning the page or I come back to the podcast every single day in the car.

 

So, when Meg asked us what our favorite podcasts were I thought, might as well share them with everyone in case anyone else out there is like me and wants a little guidance on what to try out next. =]

 

Now, depending on the time of day, weather, how I am feeling, or who I am with can change the type of podcast I want to listen to, drastically.  I am assuming I’m not the only person like this so I decided to share them by category.  I broke them up into HeartwarmingBusiness/Goal-oriented, Mystery, and Funny.   

 

Let’s start with HEARTWARMING.

Some days are just tough days, for whatever reason, and days like that I like to listen to uplifting stuff.  I like to listen to stories that remind me that you can overcome anything, all is still right in the world and love prevails all.  

super soulSuper Soul Sunday is pretty much my go-to in this category.  You get a mix of all of those feel-good feelings, leaving you believing that everything will always be okay.  The host is our girl, Oprah, and you know anything and everything she stamps her name on is going to be not good, but great.  She encourages us all to take a minute to pause and connect with the deeper meanings of the world.

Some of my favorites interviews are with Brene Brown and Joe Biden. Definitely check those two out.

 

Then there is the BUSINESS/GOAL-ORIENTED podcast category.

These are the types of podcasts I listen to the most.  I throw one on my drive into work to get myself mentally motivated and prepared for a workday.  If you have followed my blogs you can tell that I am a very goal-oriented person, so I love to learn new tips and tricks by other business women and men.  These podcasts are always really interesting, telling you the story of how the top people in their field got to where they are today.

My favorites in this category are:

school of greatnessThe School of Greatness – The host of this podcast is a former professional athlete, Lewis Howes. Lewis is always bringing on different guests who are leaders in their space, celebrities, or people who are making waves in the world in their own small way.  The guests talk about how they came to be, and then they always end the interview with what their definition of greatness is and three things they would like to leave behind in the world. 

 

goal diggerThe Goal Digger Podcast – This podcast is run by Jenna Kutcher, a photographer, influencer and educator.  I think this is THE BEST podcast for exact how-tos for starting your own small business, especially with marketing and social media tips.  She tells you exactly what you should be doing to create an email list, ways to stay productive, and how to build a brand. When I first started listening I was in awe of how much information she was giving to her listeners for FREE.  On top of that, she is all about self-love and is an Aeire Clothing spokes-person which is my favorite brand and meaning behind a brand, so it pretty much makes her the best ever.

 

rise podcastRise Podcast –  I couldn’t leave out my girl Rachel Hollis.  Her podcast is very similar to Jenna Kutcher’s and Lewis Howe’s where she both gives advice and direction on what small business owners should be doing and she interviews top business owners in their space to learn from them.  Her shows are more all-encompassing in business. For example, she brings on finance experts, she talks about how to overcome the fear of failure, and how to scale your business. The best part is that she breaks it down to make it all really really simple and digestible.  She wants everyone to be able to understand the message and take away something from the show. I also just love listening to her in general, so this was a great way I could continue to listen to her that wasn’t in a blog or book form.

 

Tim-Ferriss-Podcast_1600xThe Tim Ferris Show – This was actually one of the first podcasts I ever got into.  His interviews are very long, but they talk about a lot and nothing at the same time so you really get to know the guest on the show.  He also somehow gets them to talk about more than the typical talking points they will do on other shows. It’s funny because he graduated from Princeton, and you can tell her graduated from an Ivy league.  He is very articulate and prepared and I feel like he would love caviar or something like that. But it is a really good show and I feel smarter every time after I listen to it.

 

Now to get a little less serious and move into the MYSTERY category.

I love listening, watching, reading an anything murder mystery.  There is just something about a good murder mystery that gets me going.  These are the podcasts I listen to if I don’t want to think and want to watch a movie in my mind while I am driving.  Dan and I also always listen to these together on long car rides.

My favorites are:

atlanta monster.jpgThe Atlanta Monster/Monster: The Zodiac – This one is fantastic!  It is a breakdown of the unsolved murder cases of The Atlanta Monster and The Zodiac.  Each story has a series of episodes attached to it, and it breaks down different parts of the investigations.  It constantly keeps you on your toes and guessing who it was, why it happened, and where they went wrong in figuring out who the real murderer was.  It’s really good and keeps you engaged and on your toes for long car rides.

 

in the darkIn the Dark – This murder mystery is in a very similar format.  It is all about the murder case of a boy who went missing and then years later the killer admitted to everything he did.  It breaks down every part of an investigation and gets all the facts of what happened and what didn’t happen. You totally get sucked in and question, “How did they NOT find him?”. Another really good listen for a car ride.

 

serial killersSerial Killers –  This show is a bunch of short stories about different serial killers in the world.  Typically the stories are about serial killers you have never even heard about that might have happened in your town or state!  I was hooked on this one when I listened to a show where it talked about a serial killer that I had never hear of before that lived in Connecticut!  I liked how they focused on small cases that go under the radar that leave you thinking, how did I never know about that!?

 

Then finally I wanted to add in a FUNNY podcast series.  

I will start off by saying that I do not typically listen to funny podcasts or stand up comedians, it’s just not my thing.  But I do love Ron Burgandy and Anchorman, so when someone suggested Dan and I give this podcast a listen we couldn’t say no.

 

ron burgundyThe Ron Burgandy Podcast is stupid and funny.  Very light hearted and if you need a good laugh I would definitely recommend giving this a listen. I can’t say more than that because I have only listened to about an episode or two.

 

 

 

That just about sums it all up!  Now you know the handful of podcasts that I rotate through regularly.  Try them out and let me know which one you love!

Also, keep the recommendation train going and let us know which podcasts are your favorites so we could give them a listen too!  

Leave a comment on what your favorite podcasts are right now!

What is your Legacy? – Notes from my talk with the Miss Connecticut Contestants

What is your Legacy? – Notes from my talk with the Miss Connecticut Contestants

Good Morning!

Today I wanted to share with you a speech I prepared for the Miss Connecticut 2019 contestants.  As some of you know I was Miss Connecticut in 2012, and that experience changed my life entirely.  I was a totally different person and looked at the world in such a different way before I was a part of the Miss America Organization.  

 

I went into the organization thinking small, not really realizing the impact that one person can make in their own world.  I came out with big audacious dreams, having a better understanding of the ripple effect from one small positive event. But the best part was, for the first time, I really believed in myself and my ability to achieve my dreams.  I believed in my ability to make a difference in our world.

 

I talked a bit about that with the contestants who were running for the Miss Connecticut 2019 title.  I talked about a legacy, and what that really means. I talked about what I wanted my legacy to be as Miss Connecticut but how I continue to live that legacy every day.

 

My hope in sharing this speech with you is to help you remember that we all have a legacy we leave behind.  A way that we all are remembered when we phase in and out of people’s lives. How we show up and what we do every day really does matter.  

 

At the very least, this may give you a little glimpse into my world the year I was Miss Connecticut. 😉

 

Enjoy!
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“Hey Everyone,

I am Emily Audibert McGrath, and I was Miss Connecticut in 2012.  To those of you who don’t know me, I won Miss Connecticut the first year I ever ran in a pageant.  It’s kind of a fun fact about me, but also gives me a good bird’s eye view of the pageant system as a whole.  


To give a quick background on me, I ran for Miss Connecticut in the first place because my dance teacher, Miss Amy, suggested that I ran in our local pageant. She was my biggest role model growing up, and I hoped I could have the same impact on other young girls the way that she did on me, so I decided to run. I ran in the 2012 Miss Wolcott pageant and ended up winning.

Once I won I didn’t even want to run for Miss Connecticut, I was perfectly content as Miss Wolcott because being Miss Wolcott was a really BIG deal in our town.  I actually asked my business manager if I HAD to run, and she said yes. I was contractually obligated to run unless I wanted to step down as Miss Wolcott and I didn’t want to do that, so I started to prep for the Miss Connecticut 2012 pageant.  I ended up winning that title as well.

That’s a quick cliff note version of how I got to where I am today.  

 

But today, I wanted to talk with you all about that final question on your Miss Connecticut paperwork, the question that asks, “What do you want your legacy to be?”

 

I remember when I was filling out my paperwork for the first time I felt like that was such a deep lofty question, and I didn’t feel like I ever a good enough answer for it.  It always stumped me just like the question, “why should YOU be the next miss Connecticut?” My thought always was “ I don’t know! I just want to be and I think I will be good at it?!”

For both of these questions, in my heart, I knew I wanted to be Miss Connecticut and would be a good one, just like I knew I wanted to leave a good legacy behind, but I always had a hard time articulating exactly what that was.

 

What do I want my legacy to be?

 

Looking back now I can see it a bit more clearly, and even though at the time I really couldn’t explain to you what I wanted my legacy to be, I always knew what kind of Miss Connecticut and person I wanted to be in my life.  Now I see, that is exactly what my legacy was.

 

My year as Miss Wolcott and then Miss Connecticut was a bit of a whirlwind, but throughout that year I always had the same mindset and goal in mind.  I wanted to make an impact on the young women and girls that I met, and I wanted to be the role model that I would like to see in the world.

 

That was my mantra for the year.  What kind of impact can I make? How can I show up as the role model I want to see in our world?  For me the answer wasn’t a big extravagant goal, to run a huge event or really anything major where I was the main focus.  Instead, I wanted to help enhance events for other people and when I went to an event to really see and interact with the people I met.  I wanted to make everyone I met feel comfortable and special, and then maybe even inspired after met me. I didn’t want to be thought of like someone on a pedestal, but as someone that you would feel comfortable talking to in any setting.  Someone who when you walked away from our conversation, you not only felt better about yourself but you also left thinking, if she can do it, then so can I.

 

That was the person I wanted to be remembered as.  That was the impact I wanted to make.

 

I got a glimpse of that impact at one particular event as Miss Connecticut.

I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a Superintendent’s Award Ceremony.  To give you some context these were students that were hand-selected by the teachers in the entire school district as being a “top student”.  They were picked because of their academics because they were a good student and role model in the classroom and they gave back to their community.  

The age range of the students was wide, there were some in elementary school and others about to graduate and head off to college.  I had to present a topic that would be applicable to all of them at all of those drastically different stages of their lives. I decided to make my theme, “Never Give Up”.

I told them stories about how at various points in my life, I was the underdog or was told that I wasn’t smart enough or experienced enough to succeed but I didn’t listen, never gave up, and prevailed.  I told them about the time where I worked really hard for dance scholarship at my studio, it was based on improvement and I made sure I went to extra technique classes and was constantly helping and working hard to get better.  Then the end of the year came and I didn’t get it, and I talked about how much that crushed me. But then the following year, I got back up tried harder and won the scholarship. I told them of the time my Chemistry teacher told me I wasn’t smart enough to take AP Chem, but I did it anyways and then won the AP Chemistry award at the end of the year, over the top students in my class.  I told them how about no one pegged me to win for Miss Connecticut. No one even thought that I was a top contender, but I didn’t listen, worked hard and won the title. Every time when I was told I wasn’t enough, I didn’t listen, I kept going and came out on top because I never gave up on myself.

I told the students how they were all already so much more successful than I ever was at their age and that I knew that they could do anything that they set their mind to, as long as they always stood back up, and never gave up on themselves.  I was so emotional at that end that I totally cried, in a very non-public speaker way. But when I looked up I noticed everyone else had tears in their eyes too. Parents, students, teachers. They all felt what I felt, and were reminiscing in their own minds of times that they overcame because they never gave up.

Then at the end of that event, I was signing these autograph pads for some of the students, and I saw a little girl out of the corner of my eye, with light and feathery blonde hair, hiding under her dad’s arm but looking my way.  I smiled and she turned away. Then I continued to sign for the other students and then there she was in line to see me, shy and sheepish next to her dad. She must have only been in 1st or 2nd grade. When it was finally her turn she came up to me, I smiled, asked her name and started signing.  As I was looking down signing her name I heard this little voice say “My mom always told me to never give up. And I promise I will never ever give up.” At that moment I looked at that precious little face, full of hope and at that moment I totally lost my marbles and gave her a huge hug with tears in my eyes.  I told her I was proud of her, she was a good girl and that she would do such great things.

 

I wanted to share that story because it was one of the best experiences of my life, not just as Miss Connecticut.  But I think that story really shows what this organization is all about and what our legacy really is, being a role model and encouraging others to be the best version of themselves.

 

Being in the pageant system it’s easy to get lost in the politics, the small minute details of your hair, makeup, and clothes, things that don’t really matter.  The only thing that really matters is understanding that you have a platform and an avenue to make an impact on other people’s lives. You have the opportunity to use your voice, and share it with your community to help make it a better place in any way that you can.

 

Even though there will only be two of you walking away from tonight with a new crown, it doesn’t mean that the rest of you, or any of us ever really take off our crown and stop spreading the good word.  It doesn’t mean we stop being a role model for others or stop giving back to help others in whatever way we are most passionate about.

 

I think the true spirit of Miss America never goes away and lives on in all of us in some way or another, beyond the time that we are wearing a crown.  That is our legacy.

 

When I think back on the women I competed with at the National level, so many of them are still embodying the title and they have been for years.  Many of them are in our own pageant system.  Acacia, Alyssa, Kaitlyn, Morgan, Eliza, Miss Amy, these are just a few who are all still give back to their community in some way.  They all STILL make you feel comfortable and seen. They STILL make you feel special every time you see them or talk to them at any event. They truly are STILL wearing their invisible crowns.  

 

It’s so cliche to say “invisible crown” and I hate myself for it but that but at the end of the day it’s true and being here on the official pageant day, I think it’s important for you all to remember that.   You don’t need to be a Miss Connecticut to make that type of impact. You can do it every single day, with or without a crown. This organization has armed you with the tools to be a powerhouse of a woman. Take those tools and never stop using them for good.  Never stop trying to make an impact on your world, even if it’s just your family and friends. Be the role model that you want to see in this world. That is the true spirit of the crown. That is the legacy you will leave behind, not just as a titleholder, but in your lifetime.