Everyday Inspirations


~ home ~

Guest Blogger: Kayla Smith
Kayla's day job is in the wholesale department at Del Sol L.C. but her true passions lie in event planning and triathlon. You can find her on the weekends with the Riehl Events creative team or standing on the podium at a local sprint triathlon. She plans to complete her first Ironman in 2012.

If you are anything like me, every time the seasons change you get itchy to re-arrange the furniture. You know, mix it up a little! And no matter what you do, there is always that one empty corner, constantly nagging you to fill it. Well, I found a solution to the nagging and the itching. I call it my seasonal vase. I create a different arrangement for each season.  

With yesterday being the first official day of summer, it is time to transition the vase from spring to summer. To make your own, simply take a stroll through your favorite craft store and look for items that remind you of summer. I was in the mood to be on a sandy beach with a margarita in my hand so I went for pieces with a tropical flair.  

Some other possible summer vases include sunflowers; mini beach balls; lemons, limes and other colorful fruit; seashells; or anything that says summer to you. 

Making a seasonal arrangement is easy, cheap, and fast. It will freshen up a room and save your relationship from the strain of asking your man to help you with the heavy lifting. Now just relax in the sun with a cold drink, admire your summery seasonal vase and contemplate what you will do for fall!
(Click photos to see the full-size image.)
Talk to you all tonight at our Mixer Mixer Twitter baking party! See the live feed here and follow us @365inspirations

~ food ~

Guest Blogger: Audrey Maynard
Audrey Maynard is a fundraiser at Westminster College, a private, liberal arts school in Salt Lake City. She is finishing her Masters in Professional Communication and is writing a cookbook tentatively titled Our Living Traditions: A Culinary Celebration of Utah’s Cultural Heritage.

One of my all-time favorite cultural events in Utah is the Living Traditions Festival, which takes place each May on the grounds of the Salt Lake City and County Building. I love this festival so much, in fact, that I now host the Living Traditions Kitchen, and I’m writing a culturally-themed cookbook that will be sold at the festival next year.

Working with community organizations that participate in the Living Traditions Festival has helped me realize that I don’t have to travel long distances to experience the beauty and character of countries thousands of miles away. Dozens of ethnic groups are living and thriving in Utah, and their restaurants, markets, shops and places of worship are integral pieces of what makes up our cultural landscape.

So, today I hope to inspire you to seek out Utah’s diversity in any way you can. Try an ethnic restaurant you’ve never been to before, cook something new and shop for ingredients at locally-owned ethnic markets, or check out an upcoming cultural festival. I’ve even done the legwork for you and researched a few to consider:

June 11-12
Utah Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Utah Asian Festival

July 9-10
Payson Scottish Festival  

July 17
Llama Fest

August 21
Ferragosto: Italian Street Fair
Oktoberfest (through October 10)

September 9-12
Greek Festival

One more thing…
As a guest blogger (thank you, Ashley!), I was planning to focus on sharing recipes demonstrated at this year’s Living Traditions Kitchen. My apologies—I sort of went off on a tangent in the above commentary!

Here is my favorite recipe from Living Traditions, demonstrated by my friend Vaughn Mossman (owner of Pounders Hawaiian Island Grill). It is a fantastic twist on fried chicken and is perfect for your next summer barbeque or picnic!

Mochiko Chicken

2 lbs. chicken thighs, deboned
4 Tbsp. Mochiko flour (available at most Asian markets)
4 Tbsp. cornstarch
4 Tbsp. sugar
5 Tbsp. Hawaiian-style soy sauce (such as AlohaShoyu)
½ tsp. sea salt
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup green onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

Oil for frying

  1. Cut each chicken thigh into 2 to 3 pieces. Place in sealable container for marinating. 
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Marinate chicken in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours.
  3. Heat 1" cooking oil in skillet. Fry pieces of chicken in oil turning until evenly cooked through on all sides. Serve hot or cold.

~ a better you ~

Guest Blogger: Susan Cannon
Susan Cannon is a Salt Lake City-based commercial banker with fifteen years of experience in risk management. Since she was laid off last August, she took a leading role in finalizing arrangements for her daughter's September wedding, completed a contract risk policy assignment with a Utah financial services company, started a blog, and continues training for stock market trading. Check out her blog at www.feliciaevita.blogspot.com.

No question, unemployment can be tough. Your entire world as you knew it changes. But you can survive and thrive while you look for your next job. A few helpful hints that have saved me during unemployment ...

Reframing “I'm Unemployed”
Fascinating how some people meeting you for the first time or even long-time associates assume you have a strange disease called unemploymentitis. Maybe this is why there are leper colonies. I've found it more fashionable to say I'm "between jobs."

Muchas Gracias
Be sure to thank the kind friends and thoughtful former colleagues who send job leads and postings within their organizations. Keep in touch with former colleagues to let them know you are still looking. And be careful what you say if your former colleagues are your Facebook friends!

Click SUBMIT To Apply
Online applications are great, but don't forget networking and if you are at the appropriate level in your career, work with a headhunter (or two). Don't be discouraged if your interviews are phone interviews at first – you can do them in your pajamas. You may apply for hundreds of jobs before you even get a face-to-face interview. And be as flexible as you can about job function, work location, work hours, and other factors, even compensation, if possible. In some cases, people may need to consider temporary or contract work while they job search. I did a three month contract assignment after I was laid off. The environment of the company where I worked was just what I needed to transition out of the stressful pre-layoff situation at my previous job.

Stay Positive
The job market can be tough, especially if you were in a middle or senior management. People have said “wow” when they saw my resume, but I'm still seeking that elusive job offer, as are several of my work peers who were laid off about the same time last year. Several of us “unemployees” are sending each other postings and ideas for how to attract the attention of employers, as well as providing much needed moral support.

You Can Trip Over Someone While Walking Sideways
Even though you may have overlapping skills that would be applicable in another field, lateral moves may be more difficult. A higher number of applications means that employers will be able to select from candidates with direct experience in the job function. For example, even though I was willing to take a 33% pay cut for one job, another candidate who held the same position in another organization was selected for the job.

Don't Let Your Brain Atrophy
Keep a regular but flexible schedule. If nothing else, put yourself in school at no charge. The internet has hundreds of free classes to improve your skills in everything from spreadsheets to writing. I'm learning all about stock options trading and search engine optimization. You may develop skills that would be valuable if you switch industries or decide to start your own business instead of getting another job. And be sure to eat healthy and get plenty of exercise to boost your spirits.

Life Goes On
Unemployment status won't give you a bye on other life eventualities ... relationship drama, car problems, putting our dog to sleep, toilet troubles, and heating system failures. I've had it all. Still, life will be more pleasant if you can find things to be thankful for.

With a Little Help From My Friends
A friendly phone call can work wonders! So can a meal out at an inexpensive diner or the $1 menu at a fast food restaurant. In my case, getting together with my weekly jewelry making group is a delight.

Seek Rebate Checks and Free Coupon Offers
Spend only on necessities. I never used to get so excited about rebate checks from my credit card company or my insurance carrier. Free coupons with no purchase minimum from Victoria's Secret, Wal-Mart and Kohl's have arrived in the mail. Fast food freebies from Einsteins and Chick-Fil-A have appeared in my email, along with deep discount coupons from Groupon for purchase of essentials like garden plants, meat and cheese at more than 50% off.

Enjoy Your Time Away from Office Politics
I admit, I don't miss caustic emails and meetings filled with jockeying. And I miss all of this even less when I read Meeting Boy, who mentions the Seven Dwarves in a meeting: Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Bossy, Boring, Spacey, and Conniving. If you are working, you know those fellows! And there's no time like when you are off work to travel because your vacation time doesn't have to be approved by your manager! I've gone on two very inexpensive vacations, made possible because of frequent flyer miles and a free place to stay and pooling of resources in a large group.

And Finally, Add Water to Almost Everything
I've always been a fan of adding water to my drinks, but I now add water to everything from salad dressing to hair styling milk. Amazing how product manufacturers con us into thinking that a certain consistency is necessary for use of their products. What I cannot add water to I make at home, laundry soap and bread, for example.

Unemployment is like everything else in life. Embrace it, make it your friend, and sooner or later, you really will find the next big thing.