So... We Got a Puppy.

Meet Warren, the Northside pup with a heart of gold (I hope).

Meet Warren, the Northside pup with a heart of gold (I hope).


We got a puppy. 


But I promise, we're not going to keep him.


Famous last words. I know. Which is precisely why I thought fostering a pup was a perfect Hey Eleanor challenge. 

We adopted my best gal, Patsy, from Pet Project Rescue about two years ago. She's the light of my life! If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, my blog or in real life, you know I'm a wee bit obsessed


Ever since we added Patsy (or as I call her for short, Patricia) to our clan, I've wanted to foster other rescues. So many doggies need temporary housing, and if someone wouldn't have been willing let Patsy stay with them, we'd never have her. We're paying it forward. 


Meet Warren.

Adopt me & I will love you forever!

Adopt me & I will love you forever!


Apparently, he's been roaming the streets for North Minneapolis for the last week. Though he's neutered and microchipped (but not registered), neighbors didn't seem to know where he came from. No tags, no collar, no nothing. PPR posted on Lost Dogs Minnesota, talked the Humane Society and no one seems to be looking for this guy. 


So he's staying with us for two weeks until he's cleared for adoption. 


Thus far, Warren has only peed in our house twice (and apparently puked on his way over). When he's not peeing, he's either playing with Patsy or sitting on my feet. 


He sure is cute. 


He's currently about 10-12 pounds and will probably top out around 25-30, though who even knows 'cause we don't know how old he is. Four months? Five? As for breed... maybe a shiba inu mix? Beats me.


Looking to add a sweet dude to your family & you live in the Twin Cities? Check out PPR's website. Warren will be up there soon!

In the meantime, I'll keep y'all up to date on Warren.

#TBT: How To Bounce Back From An Idiotic Mistake


In 2007, I weaseled my way into an awesome job with Andrew Zimmern's company, Food Works, Inc. He said he needed a marketing/web/writer/communications person; really, what he needed was cheap help. I was 25 and up for anything that allowed me to talk and write about food/travel. 


I obviously took the job. 


To say we were running a bare bones operation hardly covers it. At the time, it was just Andrew, his assistant Dusti (aka the person who ran everything) and me. We shared a three bedroom, third floor apartment on Grand Avenue with a sober living company, which meant people were always leaving urine samples in the bathroom.


You can't make this stuff up. 


After, I dunno, a meeeellion internships, I'd become very accustomed to the day-to-day responsibilities of the lowest person on the totem pole. Send boring emails, answer the phone, pick up lunch. I was a grade-A, busy-work beyotch.
 

Six weeks into the job, Andrew asked (told) me that I was to have a segment on his pre-recorded weekend radio show. He just needed a five minute interview of me talking to a chef.


All by myself. 


Fast-forward seven years and I've literally interviewed every chef you can imagine. Daniel Boulud, Lidia Bastianich, Jose Andres, Guy Fieri. I mean, you name a chef & I've interviewed them. But in 2007, I'd never even met a real-life chef. Aside from my years working in a catering kitchen, I had no idea how the restaurant world worked. I'd barely even eaten in for-real restaurants.  


But this sounded like an amazing opportunity, so I said, "Sure!"


My very first interview was Michelle Gayer, who'd worked for Charlie Trotter & is one of the best pastry chefs in the country. At the time, she was teaching at Le Cordon Bleu. This was before Salty Tart. None of this mattered a bit because I didn't even know what a Charlie Trotter was, let alone what a pastry chef actually did. Make cookies? Maybe!

Somehow, I got through the interview. I listened when it aired that weekend and everything sounded pretty darn good.


Wow, the power and magic of editing! 


With one whole interview under my belt, I was clearly an expert journalist. Twenty-five, and already slated to be the next Katie Couric!

I scheduled my next interview with John Occhiato, who was the chef at Damico Cucina. When I arrived, the two of us sat at the restaurant bar. They didn't open for a few more hours, so Chef Occhiato offered to make me an espresso. For free!


Sure, why not!


I plugged in the microphone and pressed record. I then asked him hard-hitting questions, like about his first kitchen job and why Minnesotans like Italian food. He talked about his farm (this was before I knew farm-to-table was a thing) and sourcing the best ingredients and all sorts of other stuff. 

We chatted for about 20 minutes, and I figured I had all I'd need. But when I got back to the office and went to download my file, I got nothing but 20 minutes of fuzz.

I'd plugged the microphone into the headphone jack.


@!^$&%(#)!@$#&!

 

This damn interview was supposed to air in two days, and I had nothing. First things first: I berated myself for being such a big, dumb idiot. Next, I weighed my options: Tell Andrew (not appealing), tell our producer Christopher (reasonable option), or ask Chef Occhiato if he'd redo the interview (so embarrassing!).


In the end, I called the chef and explained the situation.


He was so cool about it and invited me back the next day. I asked him the same questions, he answered similarly, and in the end, I can't remember if I ever told Andrew or Christopher. 

I learned a few great lessons that week: First, make sure you're microphone is plugged into the right spot! Jeez!

Second, everybody makes idiotic mistakes.

Third, if you eff up, say something. You might not need to tell your boss (or whoever will react the most) right away, but if you 'fess up to someone who can help, you're setting yourself up for redemption. We've all been there and most people are more than happy to help out a fellow human. 

So the next time you accidentally copy the wrong Sarah on a very personal email, realized you filmed the whole thing without actually pressing record, or inadvertently link to your own blog instead of Food & Wine magazine in a tweet from a really well-followed Twitter account (oopsies), find someone who will support you and help make it right. Ok, in that last scenario, I just deleted the tweet without telling a soul. 

And if that person's nowhere in sight, run!

* * *
 

Other mistake tales:  Me + Excel + Taxes = Mistakes City! Like learning from other people's mistakes? Check out this free downloadable, compiled by my pal Sarah.

Everyday Eleanor: Psychologist Karen Young on Being Human

Humans: they're just like us!

Humans: they're just like us!


If I could do college all over again, I'd definitely take lots more psychology classes. I'm so intrigued by how the human mind works, which is precisely why I love psychologist Karen Young's blog, Hey Sigmund (great blog name, btw). Read this post and you will love her blog, too. Her no-jargon, straight talk on anxiety, depression, relationships and stress is super-relatable. If she ever writes a book, I'll be the first one to pick up a copy. I ask her about mental wellness, why a growth-mindset is important, and the best part about being human.

* * *

What initially drew you to psychology?

People are fascinating. Within every life is a story, and every story is a complex, rich, extraordinary one. It’s not even necessarily about the big things, but about the day to day detail of being human. What we talk about over breakfast, what makes us happy or sends us crazy with hate. What hurts us, what makes us keep wanting to be better and what keeps getting in our way. Psychology is about people sharing their story, or important pieces of it and I love that. We can be so alike in some ways and yet so vastly different in others. Psychology is constantly evolving and trying to make some sort of sense of what we do and why we do it, but that task will be endless. Thankfully.

 

I love your blog, Hey Sigmund. What inspired you to start a site that discusses psychology in a jargon-free way?

Thank you! People do pretty amazing things with the right information. All of us have within us everything we need to be complete, but sometimes it’s buried under the noise of daily life or the rubble from things that once were. Sometimes people need a hand to scrape it away. Other times, the right information can strip through the layers to expose the strength, wisdom and resources that those people had all along. Everyone deserves the opportunity to find what they need within themselves, because it’s there. It’s always there.

 

What’s the most damaging misconception about mental illness?

That it’s about character. Mental illness is about chemistry, not character and living with a mental illness would be so much less of a burden if every single person on the planet knew this. The truth is that mental illness can happen to anyone and it has nothing to do with character. Some personality traits might make people vulnerable to certain mental illnesses, but those same traits are the traits that make those people likable, driven, successful. The strength that’s needed to carry on with a mental illness is immense. People with mental illness are some of the strongest, most likeable, capable people I know. I wish there was a way for everyone know that. Talking about it is a good place to start.

 

One of my favorite topics you write about is a growth-mindset. What exactly is a growth mindset and why is it important?

I love that you love that. It’s a favourite of mine, too.

A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence, ability and certain human traits are not fixed, but that they can be improved with time and effort. When people believe that they have the capacity to change, they are more likely to do what’s necessary to give effect to that. They’ll work harder, practice more, rise to challenges and be more persistent.  The good news is that a growth mindset can be nurtured in anybody.

On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence, ability and certain traits come from natural ability or genes and can’t be changed. As you can imagine, with a mindset like that, people would be less likely to persist when the going gets tough, put in the hard work, or meet challenges because of the inherent belief that nothing will reall y make a difference.

It comes from the work of Carol Dweck and the research around what a growth mindset can do is remarkable. It’s been shown to improve learning, academic performance, resilience, protection against depression – just to name a few.

 

A lot of people suffer from mental illness, and yet we often find it difficult to talk about. How can a person quietly suffering from mental illness reach out? What’s the best way to approach a loved one you suspect is struggling?

Conversation is key. Start by asking and feeding back what you’ve noticed that has you worried, ‘You seem flat/down/sad,’ or, ‘You don’t seem to be yourself Can I do anything?’ Any question that avoids a ‘Yes/No’ response is ideal. Asking, ‘Are you okay’ is great – it shows that you’ve noticed, but it does run the risk of the person saying, ‘yes’ regardless of whether or not that’s a true reflection of how they are feeling. You don’t want to ask too many questions as to crowd the person but it’s important to let them know that you’re there if they ever want to talk.  

Also, try to avoid talking someone out of feeling what they’re feeling. Avoid saying things like, ‘It’s not that bad’, or ‘What have you got to be stressed/depressed/anxious about?’. Even if this is said with loving intent, the truth is that people feel how they feel because it’s how they feel. If feeling better was a simple as believing that it’s not that bad, they would have done that already. Let them know that you can see that they’re struggling and that you’re here if they want to talk, or if they don’t want to talk but just want someone to be around.

 

In terms of our mental wellness, what are the three harmful things you wish people would stop doing?

Stop hanging on to things that are trying to let go of you. Hanging on to relationships, emotions or beliefs long after they’ve stopped working is one of the biggest ways people get in their own way.

Comparison. The more you compare yourself to other people, the more you’ll find things about yourself that you don’t think measure up. This is because we tend to look at the overall picture in other people, then choose pieces of ourselves to examine. Everyone has their fragile ‘pieces’, but if you look at the big picture, they’ll be hidden away. We need to look at the overall picture more with ourselves, rather than picking at the pieces that we don’t feel the love for.

Fear of failure. Fearing failure will always hold people back more than actually failing. If something hasn’t worked out as expected, it means that there’s been an attempt and a great opportunity to learn and grow. If we always act in such a way as to avoid failure, we never learn or grow or feel the edges of ourselves – and it can feel pretty awesome right there.
 


What are the three best things we can do for psychological wellness?

Oh there’s so many - but my top three …

Choose wisely the people you let get close to you. This is the biggest. I’ve heard it said that we are a combination, of the top five people we spend time with. Makes sense to me. The best relationships are the ones we allow ourselves to be open to – open to someone else’s wisdom, compassion, energy, love. But, by being open to the good, we can’t help but be open to the bad. Though everyone has their frayed edges, it’s how their edge rub up against yours. Sometimes it’s not even about the person, but the combination of people. It can be a little bit of wonderful, or it can be a red hot mess. Knowing when to let go is important.

 Self-compassion. Mistakes are the lifeblood of growth, and as humans we are entitled to make our share. Actually it’s more than that, we have to make them! It’s how we learn and grow. It’s where we discover our limits and our edges and most often, the extraordinary things we’re capable of.  But, if we don’t allow ourselves the grace to get it wrong now and then, we stagnate.

Gratitude. When we are grateful for what we have, we’re focusing on the good. When that happens, we feel positive, energised and content. 

 

What’s the best thing about ‘being human’?

Getting to hang out with other humans. And being allowed to have frayed edges. Being human means being fallible, vulnerable, imperfect. Within that is untold potential and the unexpected surprises that come with trying again and finding a better way to be. 


* * *

Karen is a psychologist, mother, Huffington Post contributor and coffee lover – not always in that order. You can find her on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook, as well as on her super-useful blog, Hey Sigmund. She lives in Australia and probably has a really cool accent. 

 


 

You can check out my other Everyday Eleanor interviews in the archives. You know you want to.

Have you done something ballsy, like moved to a foreign country for work (or *gulp* love)? Flung yourself head-first into something people said couldn't be done? Given up all your worldly possessions and joined the circus? I want to hear your Everyday Eleanor story. Email me at heyeleanorproject@gmail.com.

Ridiculous Qs: He has the best voice, ever. But would you want it for yourself?

I somehow found myself watching basketball last weekend. (I barely even know what March Madness is. However, I do know I want the Badgers to win.) And with sports come commercials. And with commercials come insurance commercials. And with insurance commercials come Dennis Haysbert.


You know who I'm talking about.


The All State guy with the magical voice. 

Anyhow, Haysbert might be tied withe James Earl Jones for the best voice, ever... which got me thinking about this week's ridiculous question.

A nasty warlock captures you, threatening to hold you captive for the rest of your life . He’ll only let you go under one condition: you change your voice forever.

If you are a woman, you will sound exactly like Dennis Haysbert until the day your die. If you are a man, you will sound exactly like Sarah Palin.

There’s a catch: you forgo the voice change if you pass it along to your significant other. So your boyfriend/husband would sound like Sarah Palin or your girlfriend/wife would sound like Dennis Haysbert. If you are in a same-sex relationship, your partner would get the voice that wasn’t offered to you (so your female partner gets Sarah Palin; your male partner is the AllState Guy).

This warlock is a real jerk, so you definitely want to get out of there! Which voice option do you choose?

So... could you handle sounding like Dennis Haysbert as a woman? Could you still love a man that sounded like Sarah Palin? And what's worse-- a lady sounding like a sexy baritone voiceover actor or a guy sounding like Sarah Palin?

AND PS I am already wishing I'd made the female voice Kathleen Turner, because I feel like that is a little more equal and less annoying than Sarah Palin, dang it!

* * *


Remember, these are insane, hypothetical questions intended to basically break your brain (in a good way! Kinda.). Please share you answer in the comments. PS Here are previous Ridiculous Qs. Have your own ridiculous question? Email it to heyeleanorproject@gmail.com.

10 Crazy-Exciting Milestones Every Blogger Should Celebrate

10-milestones-blogger-celebrate.jpg


I started Hey Eleanor about 18 months ago. At first, it seemed like no one was ever going to see it. 


Ever.


And then, they did. My traffic jumped from 10 people to 40. My Facebook page hit 100 likes. Someone tweeted a link to a post I wrote. 

I love celebrating. Really, who doesn't? If you're a blogger, I suggest you get yourself a party hat and vuvuzela right now 'cause you gotta celebrate the little moments. All of them! Blogging is a daily grind. You might pour your heart and soul into a post and get nothing in return. Then the next day, you link to a stupid squirrel video and everyone goes bananas. 

People say blogging isn't a sprint, it's a marathon, and while I hate cliches, that stupid one is especially true.

It takes a lot of small, incremental wins to be the next Pinch of Yum or Un-fancy or My Name is Yeh. I would know 'cause I am working on it.

So if you're new at this (or even if you're not), get ready to celebrate these super exciting milestones.


You think they won't happen, but they will. Trust me.  


* * *

 

1. Your first comment.

Nobody commented on my first Hey Eleanor post. And that's cool. But on day two, a friend from college told me "congrats!" for using a chainsaw. She did point out that I didn't mention what I learned from the experience, but oh well! If you're still reading Kate: I learned how to not die while using a chainsaw!
 

2. Your first comment from someone you don't know!

Almost a month into Hey Eleanor, I went skydiving. Tasha left a comment (who was about the ninth person to comment on my blog, ever). I'm 99.9 percent sure I do not know Tasha in real life! Whoa! Cheers!
 

3. The first time you get 100+ visitors in a day.

I will never forget this one. I was at my brother's apartment in LA, sitting on a blow-up air mattress in his guest bedroom when this post got, like, 137 views in three hours. By the next day, it had something like 400 views! I later realized it was because I accidentally tweeted a link to the page from Andrew Zimmern's twitter account (I managed his social media for six years... whoopsies!), but hey, it was still exciting and a ton of people commented on it via Facebook. 

 

4. The first email you get from a stranger.

Her name is Ariana and she emailed me on 10/6/2013 to say she loved the blog and that I should go skydiving... which coincidentally, I was doing the following weekend!

An honorable mention goes out to Marguerite, a person I do know in real life, but emailed me saying my blog had inspired her to say yes to an opportunity to "give a presentation to 1,000 brilliant biologists (some very famous names) at a synthetic biology conference... in English (not my native language), in Germany (not my native country). And I am not even a scientist, I'm a designer. And I hate speaking in public." Go Marguerite!

 

5. Your first Internet friend.

If you're not connecting with amazing people through your blog, you are doing it wrong! Within the first few months, I'd met a handful of kick-ass ladies who gave me all sorts of helpful advice. Thanks Dr. Justine, Sarah, KatieJina & Sally

That said, I lifted a champagne flute [of bone broth] the day I realized I had my first Internet friend. Which is to say, a person I met over the Internet that I still do not know in real life, but I consider a real-life friend. Na zdraví, Mel J!


6. Your first dollar.

People love asking how one makes money blogging. Great question. It's a mix of ads, sponsored content, affiliate links, ebooks and lots of other stuff I don't even know about yet.

But if you are planning on quitting your job to go bloggin' full-time, I got news for you. It turns out, getting rich from Google Ads or BlogHer isn't easy. In fact, the first day I ran Google Ads, I think I made six cents. But after a month, I'd made, like $13!

And you know what I did? I bought a fancy glass of pinot noir and celebrated. Because $13 is better than zero dollars and you gotta start somewhere. 


7. The first time someone wants to meet you for coffee/drinks/lunch.

There is nothing more warm-fuzzy inducing than having a perfect stranger A) tell you they love what you're doing and B) ask if they can treat you to a cup of coffee. I say so long as you have time and they don't seem creepy, meet them! Why not! Who knows-- they might even send you some delicious cheese after the fact, like Hannah did (hi Hannah!).


8. The first time someone asks you for blogging advice.

Ha, as if I'm an expert or something!

But as it turns out, by the time someone asked me for legit advice for starting their own blog, I knew a lot. I had opinions about Word Press vs Squarespace vs Blogger. I knew about post frequency and photos and how to promote yourself on social media. I loved sharing what I've learned. And what's more, it felt awesome to reflect on how much I'd learned. 


9. The first time you tell someone about your blog and they've actually heard of it.


This happened last fall at my friend's cookbook release party. Someone was all, "What do you do?" and I said, "I have a blog called Hey Eleanor!" And then they said, "I LOVE HEY ELEANOR!"

It was the absolute coolest!


10. The first time a stranger comes up to you IRL and says they love your blog.

I've been Hey Eleanoring for over a year and a half and this just happened last week. I was enjoying a drink at the most basic watering hole in the land (Green Mill on Hennepin... it's nothing special, and that's precisely why I love it!), and Clara-- who I don't know, but we have a mutual friend-- came up to me just to say she loved the blog. Aw, shucks! 


* * *
 

It's so important to revisit the small, simple reminders of how far I've come and how much I've accomplished. Two years ago, Hey Eleanor didn't even exist. I'm proud of what I've built, one post at a time, and excited for whatever milestones are next.

No matter how big or small. 

This Week's Best Stuff on the Internet


An interesting look at the death photography industry along the River Ganges. It's actually rather beautiful.
 

She didn't speak French. He didn't speak English. They fell in love and have Google to thank


Did you go to UW-Madison? If so, you'll love this website


ATTN Clairsonic users: I got FOUR Mia replacement brush heads for less than $5. They off-brand, but work great! 


This article is about kids and anxiety, but I think people of all ages can relate.


Why it's okay (and maybe advantageous) to settle for just good enough. 


This news anchor geeking out over Sharon Van Etton is pretty darn adorable. 


Newsflash: It's not about fat or thin


Do you love Key lime pie? I'm obsessed and this is my favorite recipe.


I can't wait to see this movie. The question is WHERE do I see it? Halp!


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If you like these links, you might like following me on Twitter & Instagram, where I'm always sharing the coolest, scariest, funnest stuff I find on the web.

You can also sign up to get all my posts delivered to you via email. Easy!