Life Living at an Extended Stay Hotel

Hello, there!  I haven’t updated you all in awhile, but quite honestly – there hasn’t been a ton to update on.  We are currently living in an extended stay hotel, which is MUCH better than the previous motel we had been staying in.  I’m SO glad we switched!!  In my previous post, I talked about how there was no kitchen or breakfast – coming up with decent meals was tough.

In the current hotel, we have a small kitchen & they even gave us pots & plates to use.  There’s a full sized fridge/freezer, microwave, sink, & cook top.  I can make eggs!!! :)

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I can’t tell you how nice it is to be able to make things like eggs & bacon for breakfast, to have room in the fridge for yogurt & salads… so nice!  There’s coffee & a “grab & go breakfast” with items (muffins, granola bars, fruit, oatmeal) up by the front desk each morning.  I usually go out & grab a dark coffee & maybe a piece of fruit, then add that to the breakfast meal I prepare in our room.

Sometimes I walk to Chipotle for lunch, other times I make a large salad with fruit & chicken, or grab a sandwich.

For dinner we usually go out to eat somewhere in the area – there are LOTS of restaurants nearby!

As for how long we’ll be here… not sure.  My husband has some interviews in SF, so we’ll have to see how that all shakes out…

Have a great week!!

Tips for Eating Healthy Away From Home – Motel Living

Hello, friends!  Happy Friday!!  As some of you may have learned from my previous post – we’re moving!!  Hopefully to San Francisco – soon (as soon as we can secure jobs)!  Eeeee!!!!  So exciting!  It’s been a dream.  You know what hasn’t quite been a dream?  Living in a motel!!!

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Our lease on the apartment was up, so we put all of our stuff into storage & decided to just live in a motel/hotels for the time it took to find/secure jobs in SF.  We started out in a motel… we stayed there just over a week, & I’m not gonna lie – it was rough!

This is what my “kitchen” looked like… not a whole lot to work with to make decent meals!  I brought my own Breville coffee maker & toaster.

My make-shift "kitchen"

My makeshift “kitchen”

Basically, our motel room consisted of the above, the bathroom, & a bed that took up most of the room space.  Oh, & that tiny little table & bench you can kinda see.

So what does one do & eat in such a small space?  Let’s start with the food… Breakfast consisted of pretty much oatmeal & coffee every day.

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I used organic old fashioned rolled oats, then added water, chia & hemp seeds, cinnamon, sea salt, a dash of vanilla, & usually either banana slices or fresh blueberries.  I then added a spoonful of PB on top.  The oatmeal was pretty easy to make there since I didn’t have to refrigerate it & had access to a microwave.  Adding the hemp seeds and PB added a bit of protein & fat to the meal to balance it out a bit. 😉

For lunches… I pretty much ate the same thing every. single. day.  I bought some sprouted grain bread at the store & would toast it, then make a sandwich using some ham slices & sliced cheddar.  Kind of like a grilled ham & cheese… I just tossed it in the microwave to make it a bit meltier, then added a side of raw baby carrots & half an avocado to balance it out.

Toasted ham & cheese sandwich, raw baby carrots, & half an avocado

Toasted ham & cheese sandwich, raw baby carrots, & half an avocado

To stay sane healthy & active, I would take Mya on a daily morning walk, sometimes in the afternoon as well.  I also sometimes would do short Zumba workouts off of YouTube in the tiny motel room in front of the end of the bed.  I’d just not be able to move back & forth too much, but then try & march in place when needed. 😉

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For dinners, we’d always eat out.  Sometimes we’d go to Noodles, or have subs at Subway or Cousins.  Other times we’d go to Buffalo Wild Wings & get a salad or Naked Tenders.  Another time I picked up some Chinese takeout of steamed chicken & mixed veggies.

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For snacks, I kept bananas & apples in the room since they didn’t need to be refrigerated (my tiny fridge hardly fit anything).  I also kept some organic nut/fruit bars on hand, along with mixed nuts & trail mix.

At the end of the day, yes – motel living isn’t optimal, but you CAN live fairly healthy here if you want to.  Also, this is just one more step closer to our dream…

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I hope some of my tips for living in less than optimal temporary conditions was helpful!

Do you have any tips to share?

What’s next? We’re moving!

Hey there, foodie friends!  So now that I’m an RD… what’s next?!  We’re moving!  Since I’ve last posted – we’ve moved out of our apartment, put all of our furniture into storage, & are now living week-to-week in motels & hotels!  We’re still in the Oshkosh, WI area since my husband is still working… but, things are rolling!

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Where do we plan/hope to move to??  San Francisco, baby!!  Brian & I have been in love with the city by the bay for quite some time now… it’s been a dream to move there – & we’re trying to make that dream a reality!!

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It’s hard to believe we’ve decided to chase the SF dream!  We’ve been planning this for quite some time now – more time than we’d thought we’d need, but that’s not how it worked out!  It’s all good though, we’re rolling with the punches & are getting closer to making it happen.

I’m currently looking for dietitian positions in SF and the East Bay area.  Hunting for a job IS currently my job, & I am SO excited to get into a career that I love.  Hopefully things will be starting to fall into place soon.  In the meantime, I plan to share some of my tips/tricks for surviving in a motel & having no kitchen. 😉

Eye on the prize.

Have you ever done something similar & chased the dream?  What’s YOUR favorite city?

How I Studied For [and Passed] the RD Exam

Hey there, friends!  Today, I’d like to share a few tips on how I studied for the Registered Dietitian Exam, as well as WHAT materials I used to study.  I was told that it was a record – I was the first in my internship class to take & pass the RD Exam so quickly!  So hopefully I can pass some good karma on to you as well, especially since I know that there are still a TON of you out there that are getting ready to take the exam soon.

Studying

My dietetic internship program required that we purchase the Jean Inman study guide with the CDs, so I obviously used that as one of my main study materials.  It can be purchased from Jean’s site, for $385.  You may also be lucky if your internship does not require you to purchase it brand new (ours did) – & find a used copy off of eBay.

The Jean Inman study guide

The Jean Inman study guide

I also heard great things about the “Hess & Hunt” guide, which is another study guide actually called “Review of Dietetics Manual for the Registered Dietitian Exam 2014-2015” by Mary Abbott Hess.  I purchased mine used off of eBay, but you can pick up a copy via the company’s website, here.  I believe it retails new for about $150.

This book is useful to me because it’s more detailed than the Inman guide in that it describes the WHY and is not simply a study outline.  It still has all of the domain breakdowns that the Inman guide has, but has more detail.  So, if you’re a detail person or wanting more info than just an outline, check this one out.

The "Hess & Hunt" study guide/outline

The “Hess & Hunt” study guide/outline

Another study material I purchased was access to the MedPreps online RD quizzes.  I got a month’s access for $30.  I thought this was helpful in practicing questions in an online format, which would give me a better feel for how the actual test would be.  I found it fairly helpful, though frustrating at times as some answers were doubled up, some were repetitive, & there were occasional typos.  Just keep all that in mind. 😉

I also signed up to get emailed a weekly question (for free) from Dietitian Exam.com.

Okay, so now that I’ve filled you in on the WHAT (materials) I studied, let’s get into the HOW.

Something that my internship tried out this year is that they provided us with a live webinar with Jean Inman!!  We actually got TWO separate days with her going through her guide, which was VERY helpful & awesome!!  I was able to highlight anything she said to note in the guide, which helps, but it also helped to have that repetition & to hear things again.  Mrs. Inman suggested that we schedule & plan time to study, which is exactly what I did!  I made a plan in my calendar to study about 10 pages in the Inman guide each night.  I read each page twice, & once I got the general concept, I moved on.

All of the item in red, below, are the pages & sections that I was studying.  I just moved through from front to back in order of the guide.  It took about 2 and a half weeks or so & I started it while I was still in my internship, which is partly why I could sit for the RD exam so soon after finishing.

My calendar & study plan

My calendar & study plan

Once I was through with studying my Inman guide, I focused more on the MedPreps online practice quizzes.  I had been doing them sporadically at night during my studying, but I put a bit more emphasis on them at this point.

I also browsed & paged through the Hess & Hunt study guide, but didn’t read it in a detailed manner.  I mainly focused on any concepts that were difficult to understand, as well as checking to see if there was any additional information I should put into memory.

Next, I went through & answered all of the study questions included in the back of the Jean Inman study guide (you get a packet of over 1000 questions & answers).  If I got a question wrong, I’d go back & do those again.

Lastly, I made several practice tests for myself.  I compiled questions from each domain in the question packet, mainly based on the amount/percentage seen from each domain on the exam.  I usually made my tests anywhere from 125 – 150 questions or so.  I timed myself, then calculated the percentage I got wrong & then went through & compiled all the wrong questions & re-tested myself on those once I had reviewed the correct answer.   I made myself about 9 practice exams in total, so I definitely felt pretty ready for the exam, especially when I was only getting a handful wrong & scoring around 90% on them.

Testing Day – On the day of my exam, I exercised to burn off any excess energy/nerves, ate a healthy breakfast, had a little coffee (not too much), & made sure NOT to study at all that day.  I focused on relaxing things & watching TV, or listening to music that made me feel happy.  I scheduled my exam in the afternoon because it was an hour & 15-minute drive to the site & they ask that you arrive a half hour early.  I chose 3pm, which was perfect traffic-wise to get there.  I arrived at my site an hour & a half before my test & just made sure I knew where I was going, then left & went down the street a bit to waste some time at Trader Joe’s & Target.  I then came back to my site & went in a half hour before my test, which worked out perfectly!  They were even able to take me for my exam about 20 mintues early.

Once you’re done – CELEBRATE!!!!

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Write RD on everything, you deserve it & have worked HARD for this!!  Remember, you’ve got this – you KNOW the info, you just need to pass. 😉

Best of luck!!!

I PASSED!!

Why, hello there friends!  Guess what I did today?  Here’s a hint… in involved stress, lots of studying, & anxiety.  Nope, wasn’t a new haircut (although that CAN be stressful)!  Guess again.  Ok, give up?  I took the RD exam this afternoon!!!  How do you think I did??  Here’s a little hint…

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I PASSED!!!!

So relieved!!!!

So relieved!!!!

It took me just under 2 hours to take this test… & I’m not gonna lie – it was tough!!!!  I honestly thought that by question 50 I wasn’t doing too hot, but tried to stay focused & kept doing my best… & by question 100 I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to pass.  Thankfully, I DID pass & the test automatically shut off right at the minimum question amount, 125.  That was scary!!!!  I’m pretty sure I got one of the most difficult exams since I was only given the very minimal amount of questions… I’ve read that if you have an easier exam you’ll have to answer possibly up to 145 questions to make it fair.  Yikes!  

I’m just so happy I passed & made it through with a bit of wiggle room as well!  I didn’t get the highest score, but not the lowest either!  Passing is all that matters with this test anyway!

After my test shut off & I finished my exit survey, my results then popped onto the screen.  I mistakenly first just saw an 18 from one of my category breakdowns & immediately, my stomach sank… I thought for sure I had failed!!  Luckily, it only took about a minute before I pulled it together & looked up into the upper left corner where it said “pass” and my score.  Phew!!!!   I think I recall saying “I passed” under my breath, lol (half in disbelief).  

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It’s not completely official until you see it in writing!! ;)

I just had to write the “RD” with my name for the first time… felt great!!!

Well, now it is on to the real world & searching for jobs!!  I don’t think passing has completely sunk in yet though… I’ve actually achieved my dream & goal of becoming an RD!!!  Yes!!!

Thank you SO much to my loving, amazingly supportive husband, Brian, for always sticking by me & being my biggest cheerleader!!  Thank you to my family, friends, & preceptors as well – you’ve all played a part in helping me make my dream come true!!

Have you ever taken an important life-altering test, only to at first think you didn’t pass?!
What’s the most stressful test you’ve taken?