How to Do An Overnight Shift

Part of my new job’s work schedule includes at least one overnight shift per week (I say at least because we have to sign up for “on call” overnight shifts, as well). So far, I have completed two overnight shifts and I’m proud to say I’ve learned a thing or two about getting through them in the healthiest way possible. I’m not saying that what I do will work for everyone (for example, I’m not required to complete any tasks but staying up during the night), but here is what has worked for me:

1. Sleep in the morning of the overnight. I start preparing the night before the overnight by staying up until between 1 AM and 3 AM. This allows me to sleep in as late as I possibly can the day before my overnight shift.

2. Don’t eat carbs and processed sugars during the day. I keep my diet very clean the day before the overnight.

3. Relax during the day. I don’t expend too much energy that day. I don’t exercise more than going on a walk.

4. Rest in bed. Even if you can’t fall asleep, spend at least an hour before dinner lying in bed with your eyes closed.

5. Shower after dinner. Before leaving for the overnight, I find that a shower helps trick my body into thinking that it’s time to wake up.

6. Keep yourself entertained at night. I always bring a bunch of different entertainment options with me, including a laptop, TV shows, movies, books, and review books (to study). Text people for as late as anyone else stays awake. Make to-do lists.

7. Walk around if you catch yourself falling asleep. I like to take a quick walk around the room, then sit down.

8. Drink a lot of water and eat food that is high in protein and low in carbs. I usually stick to walnuts, plain non-fat Greek yogurt, an apple, and peanut butter. Don’t eat too much, though. Being full will make you sleepier. I only drink coffee watered down with almond milk as a last resort.

9. When you get home, sleep for a maximum of four hours. If you sleep all day after the overnight, then it’s going to be very difficult to fall asleep the following night!

10. Go to bed before midnight and hug your pillow. You made it! Now, it’s time to go on with your life with a regular sleep schedule like the rest of the world.


Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Yesterday, after texting my boyfriend that I was going to make cauliflower pizza, he was skeptical. “I tried cauliflower on a pizza once,” he said. “It wasn’t very good.” It wasn’t until I sent a picture to him later of the finished product that I realized I hadn’t been clear about my newest experimental baking endeavor. I did not put cauliflower on top of my pizza; rather, the cauliflower kind of was my pizza. In other words, I used the cauliflower as the base for my crust as a low carb gluten-free alternative to pizza. Pretty cool, huh? Thanks to Pinterest, trying this recipe out has been on my to-do list for at least a year. I finally got the opportunity to take a swing at it when there was a huge head of cauliflower in the fridge on the verge of going bad.

The recipe is sinfully simple, although it may be a bit time intensive. I highly recommend you give this a shot, though; you won’t be disappointed!


1.25 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
2.5 cups grated cauliflower
1 large egg
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 cup tomato sauce
Nonstick cooking spray
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Basil leaves (to taste)


1. Grate your cauliflower. I used a regular old box grater (the same I use to grate mozzarella cheese) and it worked like a charm.
2. Chop your onion and grate your mozz cheese. I shouldn’t have to tell you this in a step, but what the heck.
3. Place the cauliflower crumbles into a bowl and microwave for 6-7 minutes or until warm and pliable.
4. Add a whipped up large egg and 1 cup of mozzarella cheese to the bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Spray the oven tray, then place the mixture onto it. Form the crust (it should be about 10″). Be sure not to make it too thick because then it’s more likely for the middle to be softer when its done. The crispier the better!
6. Place in oven at 425 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Wait until the crust is browned on top.
7. Remove the crust, spread the sauce, add the garlic and red pepper flakes, then sprinkle cheese and onions on top.
8. Put it back into the oven for ten more minutes.
9. If you feel so inclined, sprinkle basil leaves on top.

It’s not actually burnt! The crusts should look like that–nice and crispy. 

During Picture #1

I just finished level one of the Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred and I have mixed feelings. So far, my weight and measurements are the same as when I started. Additionally, I have not noticed too much difference in my muscles. I can still only do about five push-ups. The only small changes I’ve seen so far are slightly more defined muscles in my calves and my right bicep finally starting to show (for some reason, my right bicep is historically much smaller than my left even though I’m right-handed).

For all you visual people out there, here is my “during” picture, which you can compare with my starting picture here. I do not see any difference and I actually may even think I look better in the first set of pictures! Of course, I’m going to keep pushing through the DVD because I know I’m only one third of the way there. Jillian is very inspiring and keeps me pushing myself, so I’m enjoying the workouts and they really make me sweat, too!

Carolyn 30 DS level2

The Sunshine Award

sunshine awardThere was no better way to start my Sunday morning after completing my very first grown-up 40-hour work week than to log onto WordPress to discover that the wonderful Kate of the blog A Hundred Affections had nominated me for an award! I started my blog in early July because I realized that I was less than six months away from my 24th birthday. 24 is my favorite number and I realized that I wanted to make sure, in whatever way possible, that 24 would be an absolutely incredible year for me. What better way to ensure that than by improving myself now, as a 23-year-old? So far, I have blogged about my journey, covering topics such as how to win sweepstakes (okay, I still haven’t won one), healthy recipes, and progress on individual fitness goals. It makes me feel happy that I can be a little ray of sunshine through my “ideal me” journey for someone else!

“The Sunshine Award recognizes bloggers whose writings “light up the dark corners of our minds” The rules are simple and provided below: (1) Thank the person who gave you the award in your blog post. (2) Do the Q&A below. (3) Pass on the award to 10 – 12 deserving and inspiring bloggers, inform them and link to their blogs.”

Having thanked Kate, I’ll get to answering those just-for-fun questions!

Favorite color? I always cite a tie between purple and blue. Blue is certainly my favorite color to wear, probably due to my light blue eyes!

Favorite animal? Dolphins are my favorite. I love how they look happy all the time and have that gleeful chattering sound they make.

Favorite number? 24! It’s funny that is a question on here given its significance to this blog.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink? I drink good ole-fashioned water more than anything else, but my go-to drinks otherwise are unsweetened green tea, mango smoothies (!), and hot chocolate during fall and winter.

Favorite alcoholic drink? So, I don’t drink. I have taken a few teeny tiny sips of drinks because I’m really curious about what they taste like. So far, all I’ve figured out is that I really, really don’t like top shelf whiskey.

Facebook or Twitter? Definitely Facebook. I created a Twitter account a few years ago, but I never really figured out how to use it. I only tweet occasionally if I need to share something for a giveaway.

My passions? Helping other people, working with kids (especially those who need help the most), reading, writing, spending time in the great outdoors, meeting new people, trying new things, living a healthy lifestyle, playing the violin, seeing performances in the arts, etc. Overall, I enjoy spending my time in such a way so that at the end of the day I think, “Wow. I really took advantage of the fact that I’m alive today.”

Now, here are my nominations! This was tough as I enjoy a lot of wonderful blogs here on WordPress.

25 before I’m 25

The Shut Down Runner

Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities

278 to Boston

100 Days of Evelyn

GRIT by Brit

Project Light to Life

Ajaytau 2010

Honk If You’re Vegan


Conquer the world.


Thanks for having amazing, inspirational, fun-to-read blogs, everyone! 😀

First Day

mefirstdayorthoschoolTuesday was my first day of school, but this time I was not the student or even the teacher. I was the counselor. The dormitory counselor, to be exact, otherwise known as the person who spends every waking (and sleeping) hour with the kids when they are not in class. This school is different because the kids don’t leave; they live there. And for 40+ hours a week, I sort of live there, too. First days are special because you are often filled with all kinds of emotions: excitement, fear, nervousness, joy, and hope, to name a few. First days are magical because your impression of this new chapter in your life is completely untarnished by any negative experience that may be in your future. The first day is the most beautiful and pure experience you will ever have when it comes to that particular life journey. “Anything can happen,” you think. “Think of the people I will meet and the lives I will save.” But then, what comes after the first day is the real journey. The first day is just the beginning, as rose-colored and perfect as it is. After the first day is when relationships are built and progress is made–all the real important stuff. So, everyone, enjoy your first days, but look forward to everything the future holds!

Carpe Diem


One of the main things that is essential for me in moving toward my ideal is learning to fully seize the day. I imagine that this is something I will be striving for most of my life, but I want to make a point to prioritize it right now. Carpe diem. Seize the day. This means taking chances. It means taking opportunities. It means getting outside of my comfort zone. It means not being afraid. It is everything. It means not procrastinating (do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today). It means not sitting in front of a screen half the day instead of going out there and being. It means treating my body like a temple so that I have the energy and strength to go out and do. It means telling the people I love that I love them. It means removing the people from my life that bring me down. It means paying attention to both my needs and those of the ones I love. It means letting myself be a little bit hedonistic every once in a while. It means living more in the present, using the past only to learn lessons; think of the future just enough to make sure it becomes what you want it to become. And if it doesn’t become what you want it to become, don’t sweat it. Just keep doing and giving and trying and loving. Verb.

This post is a reminder for me about the intangible part of my ideal me journey because seizing the day is not something that can be exactly quantified. It is more of a mindset and an attitude toward how I live my life. In other words…YOLO!

I Got a Job!

I got the job! After lots of back and forth emails, phone calls, and missed phone calls, my background check finally went through and I received notice that I have officially been extended a job offer. And…I accepted! I will not pretend that this job is some kind of godsend or fairy tale. However,  I strongly believe that it is an excellent match to both my experience and interests. Without giving too much away for the sake of anonymity, I’ll tell you a little bit about my brand spanking new job. (I still have to figure out how confidentiality at the job works, but it’s safe to say that I probably won’t be able to say much about it here.)

The Job: I will be a dorm counselor at a residential school for severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. The school has a prestigious reputation within the mental health community for its effective therapeutic techniques in helping students grow and meet normal developmental benchmarks. Students are sent to the school with psychological issues that run the gamut from autism to bipolar disorder to schizophrenia (and a lot in between). Typically, students are sent to the school because the resources available to them at home and their traditional school are not enough to meet their diverse needs.

As a dormitory counselor, I play a vital part in successfully carrying out each student’s individual treatment plan. A member of the treatment team and the supportive therapeutic community, I monitor each student’s level of functioning and I collect data on their progress. In addition to planning therapeutic recreational activities, I also will utilize my counseling skills to provide support for all students and to promote pro-social problem-solving skills. When necessary, I will use nonviolent physical restraint methods that I will learn from my certification in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention to ensure everyone’s safety.

The school has students in elementary school and students in high school; they are separated into different dorms based on age and gender. This year, I will be working with the younger elementary-aged boys. The hours are irregular, which means that nothing is sacred. Not weekends, not nights, not Christmas–nothing. These kids need support 24/7 and that does not mesh well with a Monday-Friday 9-5 job. While I’ll only officially work 40 hours, there will be overtime for things like birthdays, graduations, and anniversaries (a way to celebrate the anniversaries of when students were first admitted to the school).

I am ready to delve into this adventure headfirst! I have already started brainstorming different activities I can lead with the students and I have started looking up research articles on the treatment the school follows. Now it’s time for the next chapter in my life. I have a college degree and I’m about to go use it. It’s an exciting time to be 23 and alive. 🙂