Welcome to Pickles & Honey! My name is Amanda and I’m a twenty-something living just outside of Boston. Here’s my story…

Amanda and Honey

I spent most of my twenties working a 9-5, climbing the corporate ladder, and trying to maximize my salary as a search engine optimization (SEO) manager. I taught myself SEO, built and managed a large team of people, more than doubled my department’s revenue…and then I got completely burnt out.

So I accepted a position with another company making more money, but traded my downtown, open-office environment to work in a cubicle in the ‘burbs. I tried to convince myself that I could make it work for the ‘right’ amount of money, but quickly realized that spending 8 hours in a cubicle wasn’t for me…no matter how much I was getting paid. Forcing myself to show up and put on a happy face really took its toll on me, and I felt like I was losing more and more of myself with each passing day.

My husband, Aaron, was also going through a similar quarter-life crisis, and together we decided that we needed a total change of scenery and moved 3,000+ miles to San Francisco. I started working from home, still for the same company, so I could maintain a steady income.

San Francisco Fog

This is when things really went downhill.  I had romanticized the city and how it would change my life. My apartment became a glorified cubicle, my dog (Honey) became my only co-worker, and I was still staring at a computer screen all day…only now I was 3,000+ miles from family and friends, in a city I ended up hating.

But as difficult as this experience was for me, it was exactly what I needed. I learned more about myself in that year than I had in the previous four. I felt a sense of instant clarity about what’s important to me and what I want my life to look like. And I traded a lot of my fears for motivation to create the life I want.

So I moved 3,000+ miles back to Boston. I quit my 9-5. And I’ve left safe, but stagnant to pursue what I love – writing, specifically about a feel-good, compassionate, health-promoting way of living, through food, career, puppies, and all of the other little and big things I’m learning along the way.

Barley Side

Over the years, what I’ve realized is that often, we let life turn into this assembly line, where we make passive choices based on what’s put in front of us. We don’t know exactly what we want to fill that space, and so we let our priorities get out of whack and invest all of our energy into unsatisfying work and things we feel like we should be doing. Because here’s where a lot of us get stuck:

How do we actually want to spend our time?

It can be an overwhelming, even paralyzing question when we’re not sure. And in these moments, what has worked for me has been to simplify: Try new things. Incorporate new experiences with the goal being simply to have more fun. In the end, it’s the combined power of these baby steps that will serve as the foundation for bigger leaps as we build momentum and begin making active choices.

Stay open to the possibilities…


P.S. Let’s keep in touch! Sign up to receive my posts via email or subscribe to my RSS feed. You can also follow me on facebooktwitterinstagram, and pinterest.

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Roger October 16, 2011 at 1:59 am

I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?


Amanda October 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Yes, I plan on it!


Erin @ Big Girl Feats October 19, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Your blog is so cute (and so is your dog!). I just left my job to be a full-time masters student. It’s crazy and scary but I’m so happy to be doing something I love. Good for you for making yourself happy! :)


Amanda October 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Thanks, Erin! Congrats on leaving your job to pursue what you love! I totally agree that it’s scary and stressful, but it’s also incredibly exciting to (finally) be working towards the things that make me happy.

P.S. Love your blog and Sadie! What a sweetie. :)


Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl October 28, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Great story. But you didn’t like SF? Surprising. But I heard Boston is pretty cool. I hope to take the leap very soon. And am nervous, but very willing.

Congrats on your journey and learning more about you. :)


Amanda October 28, 2011 at 8:33 pm

I found SF to be over-hyped, but there’s no denying it’s incredibly beautiful. For me, it’s a nice place to visit, but Boston is my home.

Good luck to you on taking that leap. I’m still kind of scared about everything that I’ve set in motion (particularly quitting my full-time job), but it’s also really liberating. :)


Lindsey @ Morningstar Project October 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Hi! I just found your blog and loved reading your about page. I’m currently working an 8-6 job (I wish just 9-5!) and finding myself miserable and stressed everyday. It definitely takes a toll on your body and my mindset. Probably why I try to write an upbeat blog to help me find that daily dose if inspiration. Look forward to reading more of your posts!


Amanda October 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Hi, Lindsey! I can certainly sympathize with feeling miserable and stressed. I felt that way for a couple of years, and it followed me from one job to the next. It took me a very long time to figure out what I needed to do to become more fulfilled, and I’m now just trying to take things one day at a time, focusing on the things that make me happy.

I think it’s great that you’re using your blog as a way to find happiness and stay positive. I’m looking forward to reading your posts! :)


vegmom November 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm

Just found your blog via twitter, LOVE that doggie pic, how cute is that!!!!
I’m a 3o something soon to be 40 something Mom to a human and canine, and full time worker bee that is just now realizing I want different.

So awesome for you to figure this out when younger and jump in to doing something about it. I look forward to reading about your journey.


Amanda November 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. :)


Elina (Healthy and Sane) November 18, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Your story is so incredibly similar to mine. I kept telling myself that the fact that I was making good money should be sufficient to deal with all the work crap and that I should be very thankful to have an income that can support my hobbies. But it wasn’t enough. Money is just money at the end of the day. I quit 2 weeks ago so it’s still too early to tell how things will turn out, but I haven’t been happier!! :)
PS – your dog is adorable!!!!


Amanda November 18, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I’m so glad you commented, Elina! I just checked out your blog and I’m excited to follow along. :)

Congratulations on leaving an unsatisfying job! I tried for so long to convince myself that a good salary should be enough, and I had several people tell me I should just be thankful I had a job or that I should just do the things I enjoy outside of work. This is all true up to a point, but in the end, I decided “good enough” wasn’t what I wanted for my life.

So great to “meet” someone with a similar story!


Faith @ For the Health of It November 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

Hi Amanda! I just found your blog today and I’m so excited about all of your recipes. I literally want to try everything on your homepage, and I’m sure there are a few hundred others I’ll be drooling over ;)

I can related to the feelings of the unpleasant job. I left the preschool that had been sucking the life out of me for several months almost a year ago, and I’ve been happily writing ever since. It’s awesome to see that so many other women have made similar decisions for their futures. Thanks for all of the inspiration – in life and in the kitchen. Can’t wait to read more!


Amanda November 30, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Thanks, Faith! I’m so happy to hear that you also followed your heart and left an unsatisfying job to pursue writing. I definitely credit the blog world (and stories like yours) with helping to show me that it’s possible to find a career you love, and totally worth the risk of leaving one you don’t. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog! :)


Jennifer December 8, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Hate SF?! Uncomprehensible.


Amanda December 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Yeah, SF wasn’t for me. Although, I did like the Healdsburg and Palo Alto areas.

Are you from the area?


Gina K. December 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm

Just saw that you were a newbie (as am I) on the Boston Food Bloggers list. I love your blog! very creative.


Amanda December 18, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Thanks, Gina! Nice to “meet” you. :)


Willow @ My Own Trail December 22, 2011 at 7:44 pm

I just discovered your blog and loved reading your story. I’m about to go through a similar life transformation. At the ripe old age of 35, I have finally realized that I want more out of my life (or at least different) than what I currently have. I’m so lucky to have a fabulous husband and two great kids, which is very fulfilling, but I can’t say the same about my work life. I’m in a career (higher education) that I have always been passionate about, but over the past year I have come to the realization that I’m not doing what I really want to do, which is write. I ended up in higher education because I am a career student. I am a career student because I love the process of learning, researching and writing. So, I think it’s time to take my passion to the next level. I’m not sure when I will be able to leave my full-time job, but I’m hoping it will be in the next year. I’m taking baby steps. My first goal: Upgrade my blog, which I started in June. I’m not planning to make money with my blog, but I still want it to be my best work since it is out there in cyberspace.


Amanda December 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me, Willow. I can totally relate to how you’re feeling, and I’ve certainly been there. I also understand what you mean about enjoying being a “career student” – I’ve thought about going back to school many times, but ultimately decided that it was more the challenge and feeling of moving forward that I was seeking. I may go back one day though, perhaps for culinary school/nutrition…

I’m excited to check out your blog and read more! Simply knowing what you’re passionate about (writing) is a huge step in the right direction. :)


Andrea January 3, 2012 at 3:29 am

Would love to hear more about your story! I’m new to your blog… and I live in SF, actually :-) Looking forward to reading more in 2012 ~ happy new year!


Amanda January 3, 2012 at 12:22 pm

Welcome and happy new year!


Carly January 4, 2012 at 2:56 am

I just found your blog and am excited to read more! I am also a 20 something living in Boston. I’m in my final year of grad school doing the non-paid internship thing. Looking forward to reading more and your dogs are so cute!


Amanda January 4, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Hey Carly! Welcome and thanks for your comment! :)


Stephanie @ Mr and Meatless January 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I hate S.F. too! Love Boston, though. I’m totally jealous. Quite an admirable thing you did quitting your job to do what you love. I’m currently working on facing the fears that keep me from doing the same thing. Glad I found your blog!


Amanda January 4, 2012 at 11:03 pm

haha People are usually horrified when they hear I didn’t like SF. Kind of refreshing to “meet” someone who also isn’t a fan!

Looking forward to checking out your blog too! :)


Katie @ ohshineon January 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Love to hear you’ve found yourself after a hefty and challenging journey… but that’s what makes it all worth while, right? Super inspiring that you quit your job when you realized it wasn’t making you truly happy. Mad props, girl.

Where are you located in Boston? I’m from Newton, just 15 minutes west of the wonderful city!


Amanda January 16, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Thanks, Katie! I’m in Brookline. :)


Marie Yvette February 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Love your backstory! Mine ended up being a mid-life crisis; and fortunately, after I was laid-off from my job, I decided to stop the 9-5 rat race and go back to school for my Masters in Education. The Universe puts things in perspective while giving us the strength to pursue our passions! I look forward to reading more from you (esp. your vegetarian recipes). :)


Amanda February 20, 2012 at 1:45 am

I love your outlook! Congrats to you on being able to turn a tough situation into something positive!


Ashleigh O'Reilly February 22, 2012 at 10:05 am

You go girl! Thanks for getting me hooked on yet another blog…. dang it.


Amanda February 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm

haha Thanks, Ashleigh!


Kristen March 9, 2012 at 5:50 pm

I moved from Boston to SF too, and also have dreams of getting back to friends & family & what feels like home – although I’ve started to love CA for the weather & awesome veg food. Love your blog!


Amanda March 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I also sometimes miss the food in CA – the farmer’s markets were incredible! I could definitely get used to living in wine country for a month or two during the fall (Sept/Oct) when everything is at its peak and the weather is amazing. SF itself wasn’t really for me though.

Looking forward to checking out your blog!


Kim March 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I saw a recipe, the kale salad, on Pinterest and followed that bunny trail to your blog. I am going to be doing that salad today, and I plan on looking into more of your recipes very soon. They are unique and intriguing, and that’s what makes eating healthfully so nice! I will certainly be passing this site to some interested friends…


Amanda March 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Thanks so much for the kind words, Kim! Let me know what you think of the salad!


Charmaine March 15, 2012 at 11:03 pm

I love your blog! Discovered you through my passion of reading other cupcake blogs. I had a great and exciting contract job which I resigned last Oct 2011, to go to a ‘perm’ role for the same co but just different dept. Thought I hit the jackpot except after 2 mos, I found out that it was a job from hell. With my health and stress levels going downhill, I decided to quit my job! After a couple of weeks, got another offer for another project, great role and $$$ except I was confined in a box office. Told myself, that the $ is so worth for a boring job like this, so I will survive to stay here. With 3 regular people that talks to me (work related) and no interaction with other people and all I do is ‘process papers J’ all day with a great pay. For lunch time, we sit in a middle of an empty ugly warehouse, the only area we can go to and then back to our desk to work and there was no nice place to walk around just to have a breather. I can not imagine that life in 2012 is this boring and sad! Although other people think that I am silly to walk away for a job that pays too much $$$ (which of course helps us payoff a debt), but I thought differently about all this. For me being healthy (as our body reacts to stress in a very negative unhealthy way) and sane is beyond the $$$ per hour rate! So I decided to 1quit this job and this kind of life. I still need to work but now I am looking at things in a different angle: I am looking for an exciting job even for less $, talking to a career coach, trying to get serious again in my cupcake baking business (my plan B-who knows I might quit my career life soon with my passion of baking!) and learning to set up my blog. Even in my ‘jobless’ stage, I want to be grateful that I have the opportunity to do the things I love even for a moment. I am thankful too for my supportive husband and beautiful 2 kids. I aim to live and work ~ enjoying every moment! Thanks for your inspirational blog.


Amanda March 16, 2012 at 12:04 am

I could not agree more with you about prioritizing your health and sanity above a well-paying job. Life is way too short to hate your career, and I think it’s awesome that you’re working on a cupcake business and blogging – I have always sort of wanted to open my own cupcake shop or something similar. :) Thank you so much for commenting and sharing your story!


Kitchen Vignettes March 20, 2012 at 3:00 am

It’s so inspiring to hear your story! Thank you for sharing it :-) I think working 9 to 5 in front of a computer is not what humans were made for. I’m about to go on a 7-month leave of absence and hoping to reconnect with my passions (farming!) during this time. Great blog!


Amanda March 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Oh wow, a 7-month leave sounds fantastic! Good for you – I hope you have a blast and who knows where you’ll be at the end of it. Maybe you’ll be able to turn that passion into your career!


Nikki Ostrower April 27, 2012 at 12:57 pm

You are such an inspiration!


Amanda April 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm

Thanks so much for the kind words, Nikki!


Nada (One Arab Vegan) May 12, 2012 at 8:41 pm

First of all, your pup is adorable. Secondly, I loved reading about your story and really do admire you for taking your happiness into your own hands! As a soon-to-be graduate hoping to enter the full-time workforce soon, it’s definitely given me a lot to think about. Boston is one of the only U.S. cities I’ve visited and I loved it so I totally understand why you’d want to go back – I certainly do :)


Amanda May 12, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Thanks, Nada. :) Best of luck to you as you transition into the workforce – it’s an exciting time!


christy May 19, 2012 at 2:40 am

Great blog! Great story! I found you on Pinterest and couldn’t resist checking out your blog more when I saw the peppermint patty recipe. Our family is gluten and dairy free so any treats that look that good rocks in our book. :) Have a great weekend. Gonna add you to my list of blogs this weekend. :)


Amanda May 19, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Thank so much, Christy! Those peppermint patties are one of my favorite recipes, although I have to be careful about keeping them in the house. Cannot.stop.eating.them. :)


Michelle June 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm

Hey Amanda!

Just stumbled upon your blog.. very cool I must say :)

I have a similar story: I grew up in Maine and went to school at UVM. I moved out to San Diego with my boyfriend and now we live in the South Bay area of LA. UGH! I can so relate to moving away and being unsatisfied with all the things that don’t go the way you had hoped. I’m in the 8-5 position (for the $$) only to dream about moving back to the seasons and the great family and friends I have. Why does it have to be so hard to make decisions when you get older? So unfair right?! haha

I’m a Vegetarian and definitely eat Gluten Free/Vegan if I have the option. Your pulp muffins and pumpkin chocolate chip bread look great.. I can’t wait to try them!!

Best of Luck,



Amanda June 13, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Hey Michelle! Thanks so much for sharing a little about your cross-country move. It does seem harder to make decisions as we get older, I think because we’re more aware of everything that goes along with those decisions. I know I personally have a tendency to over-think everything, although at some point you just have to take a leap! Sorry you’re not a big fan of LA (I felt the same way about SF), but I’m sure you’ll be better for the experience. I had a much greater appreciation for Boston after I left, and I remind myself how grateful I am to be here every day. You’ll get there. :)

I haven’t had that pumpkin chocolate chip bread in forever. It’s so good! I wonder if I can find pumpkin at this time of the year…



Youlan July 10, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Dear Amanda,

just out of curiosity… sorry for asking, but i also have an office job that I would love to quit to do things that do matter more to me, but how do you manage to make a living now?



Amanda July 11, 2012 at 8:21 am

Hi Youlan, I would love to say that I make a living blogging, but that’s not the case (at least not yet!). I work about 25 hours/week as a freelance SEO consultant. It allows me a decent paycheck, with the freedom of a flexible schedule. I don’t see myself doing SEO forever, but for now, it works.

When I was working a more traditional 9-5, I tried to make sure I built things into my day/weekends that I enjoyed – whether it was taking a class at the gym, volunteering at an animal shelter, or taking a baking class. Basically, things that made me happy when my job wasn’t cutting it.

I wish you the best in transitioning to work that’s more fulfilling. Hang in there!


Madison @ Veggieful.com July 17, 2012 at 11:09 pm

Hello! Just popping by to tell you that I nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award!


Have a lovely day :)


Amanda July 18, 2012 at 7:53 am

Thanks, Madison! That’s so sweet of you. I’m excited to read your post! :)


Dede July 28, 2012 at 1:13 am

I am so with you on all you wrote…. live in the SF Bay Area……one day when I go to Boston, I would love to have coffee with you! I wish you all the happiness and success one life can contain!


Amanda July 28, 2012 at 8:21 am

Thanks so much, Dede! Let me know when you’re in town and we’ll grab coffee! :)


Baking Serendipity August 2, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I couldn’t not say…I adore your story, and your blog! I see so much of my own story in yours, but it’s Cleveland that is home and Phoenix that is not and I too am so glad to be back :)


Amanda August 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

Thanks for the sweet words, Sarah! I think it’s important to get out of our comfort zone and try living in different places, but it sure is nice to be back home. I have a whole new appreciation for where I live. :)


Margie Analise August 10, 2012 at 4:10 am

Congratulations on having the courage to do what most people won’t. Taking a chance on something far away from family and friends, then having the guts to say it wasn’t the right choice, and doing what you knew to be right for you. Taking chances is the path to true fulfillment, and ultimately success!

Love your blog, a beautiful balance of personal, pooches and amazing healthy YUM recipes.

Looking forward to continued reading! So glad I subscribed!



Amanda August 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

Thank you for such a nice comment, Margie. The decision to come back to Boston was actually harder than the one to move out to CA. Part of me felt like an idiot for uprooting my life and then ultimately deciding it wasn’t what I wanted. I really appreciate your perspective on “having the guts to say it wasn’t the right choice”. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up over these kinds of decisions, but often we have to put ourselves out there in order to gain clarity on what we want.

Thanks so much for subscribing. :)


connie curtis August 13, 2012 at 10:42 am

So how is your blogging creating a review or you doing other side projects. I am also passionate about healthy eating, healthy environment. My journey started because of food allergies and some courses I took through Landmark Education. Would love to hear more about where you are today besides back in Boston. I am assuming your husband moved back too but you didnt say that.


Amanda August 13, 2012 at 11:05 am

Hi, Connie! Thanks for commenting. I occasionally post about life things as opposed to recipes (often under the happiness category), but I’d like to do a follow-up sometime soon with where I am and where I hope to be in the future. I make a little revenue through BlogHer, but I work part-time as an SEO consultant to pay the bills. It’s not my dream job, but it allows me the flexibility to blog, at least for now. Also, my husband and I moved back to Boston together.


Leslie Muse August 14, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Hi Amanda: Our stories have some similarities. I recently quit a safe and stagnant 9-5 job to pursue my passions too. I have started back on a vegetarian diet for health reasons. I’ve joined the Reboot Juicing movement started by Joe Cook (Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead) and found your blog while searching for vegan recipes. I have a long list of interests I’d like to try to turn into something I can pay the bills with. Good luck with all you’re doing. I hope your passions prove more financially rewarding than your “pays the bills” gig. Thank you for your nicely statement comment “It’s so easy to beat ourselves up over these kinds of decisions, but often we have to put ourselves out there in order to gain clarity on what we want”. I’m working on gaining clarity right now.


Amanda August 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Congrats, Leslie! That’s so awesome that you left an unfulfilling job to pursue what you love! It takes a lot of courage to do that. I watched Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead a while ago and was blown away at the results. I immediately made myself a big veggie juice. haha I’m sure daily juicing will create a noticeable improvement in your health. Now if only juicers cleaned themselves… ;)
Thank you so much for the well wishes. Best of luck to you too! And the clarity will come as you try new things – give it time. :)


Larin August 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm

hi amanda – I stumbled upon your blog while looking for a quick & easy chickpea recipe (my legumes are marinating in balsamic vinegar as I type…). Your blog is so informative and personable – and your dog looks like a sweetie! Normally I wouldn’t comment, but in reading your bio I felt compelled.

About three years ago I quit my cushy job working in state politics (researching and drafting legislation with the attorney general’s office). I wore blazers and fancy pants everyday. I had in a tiny white office full of government approved furniture. I made decent money and was home by 5:30 no matter what. But holy hell was I miserable. One arbitrary day (fueled by a friend’s mantra that Fortune Favors The Bold) I quit my job and decided to pursue freelance film production. And I’ve had tremendous success. Now everything I wear is sweat coated cotton, I lug things off a 5-ton truck, and sometimes I put in 90 hours a week – but I couldn’t be happier. I’ve worked with some amazing directors and actors on everything from Walmart commercials to Steven Spielberg films.

(and I also live outside Boston)


Amanda August 23, 2012 at 8:38 pm

I’m so glad you commented, Larin! And thank you for the kind words about my blog. I absolutely love your story! It takes so much courage to leave a stable job, but you clearly were meant to take that leap. There’s no better feeling than when you find what drives you and all of the hours feel like fun as opposed to work. Congrats on all of your success! Your story is really inspiring.


Lori @ forkfuloffreedom September 21, 2012 at 9:22 am

I’m so glad to have stumbled upon your blog over at Running to the Kitchen. I feel like a long lost sister, seeing as I have said your exact words to my husband a time or two, or three, or a hundred, “I realized that spending 8 hours in a cubicle wasn’t for me…no matter how much I was getting paid. Forcing myself to show up and put on a happy face really took its toll on me, and I felt like I was losing more and more of myself with each passing day.” It’s encouraging to know that I’m not alone. Your determination to follow your passion is very encouraging and helps to light my fire to continue moving in the direction of my dreams.


Amanda September 21, 2012 at 9:54 am

I’m glad you found my blog too! :) You are definitely not alone in feeling that way! I think a lot of people are unhappy in their careers (and personal lives, and so on), but few actually take the steps to change their situation. It’s hard, but it’s so worth it. Keep at it – all of those small steps in the direction of your dreams really do add up.


Carly E. Spillner September 22, 2012 at 2:31 am

I am excited to read about so many inspiring women who weren’t afraid to follow there hearts dream and start writing and leave jobs that don’t bring them joy. I have worked combined 20 years for a company that, yes pays me well but does not bring me joy. I went back to school some 8 years ago to pursue my dream of being a massage therapist. I am still practicing but only at at a part time rate. I hope to make the jump to put myself back in the drivers seat to doing my passion work and I look forward to seeing your blog on all your yummys. I am a almost 40 year old come the new year. I have a almost 2yr. old daughter and I want her to know we can follow our dreams and be whatever we want at any age. I think when the economy took a hit I went running back to the old familiar reliable paycheck and lost myself, but slowly I am finding my confidence and I am in hope of also following my passion of writing. We all have abook in us, and a story to tell. I am sure mine is entirely relateable and many women would like my catchy title, so I hope to soon share more of that with all of the wonderful readers of your blog. Gods Blessings and the highest regard for your passion of following your heart. Carly Spillner of Seattle, Wa.


Amanda September 24, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thanks so much for sharing a little of your story, Carly. It can be really challenging to balance doing work we enjoy with work that pays the bills. I completely understand choosing a reliable paycheck, especially when the economy was so shaky (not that it still isn’t), but that’s great that you’re getting back to your passions. :)


Bella @ Feed Me, I'm Cranky September 30, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Hi Amanda! I


Bella @ Feed Me, I'm Cranky September 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Hehe true story, my dogs jumped on my laptop and I guess the “submit” button got pushed before I could finish! I wanted to say that I can totally relate to your feelings and have often wondered how I could make a living doing something I truly love. I find that freelancing affords the best balance of having a stable income with the freedom to work on my passion projects. But it is a universal question, isn’t it? How to pay the pills while keeping your soul & passions in tact ;) Best of luck and I look forward to following you!


Amanda September 30, 2012 at 4:24 pm

haha Too funny! Thanks so much for commenting. I agree with you about freelancing affording a good balance between making money and working on passion projects. My goal is of course to figure out a way for my freelance/passion projects to be one in the same, but for now, I just really appreciate the fact that I can mostly make my own schedule. :) Looking forward to checking out your blog!


anneliesz October 3, 2012 at 5:59 pm

There is something to be said about being disturbed and jostled out of one’s comfort zone. It really does bring great clarity about matters that before might have been clouded. Sad to hear SF ended up being a city you hated. I might posit that neighborhood had something to do with it? That or those 1000s of miles between you and your family. Glad to hear you’re in a better place and following your bliss!


Amanda October 3, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Thanks, Annelies! Neighborhood definitely had something to do with it. I lived in Laurel Heights, and I swear it was sunny the day I saw the apartment and then cloudy and cold 99% of the time after that. Total rookie mistake living there, but we couldn’t find an apartment in the neighborhoods we liked (there were literally like 30 people showing up to see some places – competition is intense!). Being so far from family was also really hard.

Living in wine country, on the other hand…I could do that for a couple of months out of the year. ;)


Liz October 8, 2012 at 4:38 am

Wow, never thought it would be possible to HATE San Francisco – so much to love there! Never having to deal with a nasty winter is just the tip of the iceberg!


Amanda October 8, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Yeah, San Francisco wasn’t for me. I think I just really like the East Coast energy, and the weather was not good where I was living (Laurel Heights – and that played a huge role). I also like the seasons in Boston, although you’re right – winters can be rough! I would very much like this year’s winter to be a repeat of last year, but I have a feeling we’re going to get enough snow to make up for hardly any last year! Time to buy some boots. ;)


Jeff November 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Your story is so genuine. Thank you for sharing. I turned to work for many years and made good money. It really drained my soul. I spent about a year really looking inward and it has made all the difference.

Thank you for your inspiration.



Amanda November 11, 2012 at 7:48 am

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day or to get stuck on making more money, but I could not agree more about the importance of taking the time to look inward and figure out whether that’s truly how we want to spend our time. It’s crazy how quickly the time passes and before we know it, it’s been a year, two years, and so on.
Thanks for sharing a little of your story! It takes courage to re-evaluate whether a job is still serving you and make changes if it isn’t.


caren @ voodies November 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm

Oh, you and I are birds of a feather girl. I read your story like I was reading my own journal, only the city I hate is LA and the place I love is the bay area (there’s not accounting for taste, right?).

I’ve also done the in and out of corporate like a hot potato thing. It just kills me to be there.

I’m so much happier now, writing and planning. I’m happy I found you.

BTW, honey is adorable. I have a little pug (among other critters) and I love her dearly.



Amanda November 22, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Thank you so much for commenting, Caren! It’s always nice to connect with other people who have similar stories.
I didn’t dislike the entire bay area, but living in SF proper was not for me. And I totally hear you on LA. I only drove past it on my way back to Boston and the traffic alone was enough to keep me far, far away!
Off to go check out your blog… :)


karen December 22, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Hi Amanda,
I needed a vegan cranberry bread recipe for my daughter who is coming for Christmas. I love the recipe, but love your story more!!!! Life is too short to be doing something that makes you miserable everyday,. Take it from a 65 year old grandma, you are on the right path.


Amanda December 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

Thank you so much, Karen. I really appreciate your kind words, and I’m so glad you love the cranberry bread recipe. Have a wonderful Christmas!


Lisa Horvath January 4, 2013 at 8:42 am

Our stories are so similar, except I left SF for Boston, but it has yet to feel like home. Here’s to following passions!


Amanda January 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I just read a little about your story on your ‘About’ page – our stories are very similar! I think it can take quite a while for a new place to feel like home and create a little community. I definitely struggled with that when I moved across the country. Hang in there. I’m sure it will get better, and in the meantime, if you ever want to chat about SF & Boston, feel free to email me :) I’m looking forward to reading more of your posts!


Tena March 13, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Just found your blog. I hear you on the San Francisco front. Overpriced. Cold and foggy. I lived there from 2000-2005, but now I love elsewhere. Also, almost all my friends from that time period live elsewhere, too. It’s gorgeous, but I missed experiencing summer and well…being able to afford a lifestyle of ease. Good for you for figuring out where you want to be and what’s important to you!

Looking forward to reading more of your blog!


Amanda March 14, 2013 at 9:09 am

It’s always kind of refreshing to find other people who aren’t totally in love with SF. I definitely feel like I’m in the minority, but it’s very different living somewhere versus vacationing there. I somehow did not realize just how cold it would be! Even if it’s in the 40s or 50s, it feels so much colder because it’s that damp, foggy cold. I also didn’t help myself by choosing an apartment that was in a cloud 95% of the time. ;)


shannan July 14, 2013 at 1:25 am

Just found your blog. I wish there had been blogs 10 years ago. I left my job 10 years ago, not from dissatisfaction but a 40th birthday surprise who came at 32 weeks. She has been worth it though. For years she was everything free, rice products and fruits and veggie were all she ate. At five GI Doctor took her off the diet but I’m in the process with her Pediatrician switching back. She loves pancakes, peanut butter, yogurt and nutella.
Glad you are following your heart. Love Your Pup


Amanda July 14, 2013 at 9:41 am

Thank you, Shannan! Those diet restrictions sound tough, although it seems like you both are handling them well. I’m dealing with what I think is a gluten allergy, so I can sympathize on some level. I have a couple of pancake recipes on my blog – one with wheat flour, and another gluten-free variation, as well as a few nut butter recipes your daughter might enjoy. :)


Abby @ The Frosted Vegan July 29, 2013 at 1:59 pm

So I can’t even remember if I’ve commented on this yet (oops!) but I want you to know that this resonates with me so so much! I admire your staright forward approach and honest words. I think sometimes bloggers make everything look “perfect” and “easy” and it’s easy to get caught up into the comparison game. I can’t wait to follow you on your journey and keep reading your blog!! :)


Amanda July 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

I agree about the images being portrayed on some blogs and falling into the comparison game. I try to just remind myself that I’m only seeing a small glimpse into someone else’s life, and who knows what the big picture actually looks like for her/him. No one’s life is perfect!
Thank you so much for reading and for commenting! You raise a really valid point about blogging.


Jared French August 13, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Some really great recipes here. Nice work.

I stopped drinking (w/exception to Kombucha brews), switching to mostly vegan diet when possible. More energy, less caffiene toxicity…

Love the goji berry cookies. I have ~3lbs of these berries dried, looking for some inspiration! haha


Amanda August 14, 2013 at 7:51 am

Thanks, Jared! Glad to hear you’re feeling the energy boost that comes from a plant-based diet! I know exactly what you mean about the caffeine – it makes me feel terrible! Trying to convince my husband to cut back on the coffee…
That is A LOT of goji berries! So many cookie, baked good, smoothie, etc combinations…enjoy them!


Stephanie September 20, 2013 at 1:49 am

I had a similar experience when I left New York and went to SF to do travel nursing. The city was cold in more ways than one, I felt very alone, and East Coast to West is a massive culture shock that people really dont tell you about.
I do have a question though, for an animal lover like yourself, I would think you would give a shelter dog a home rather than a designer breed. What happened there?


Amanda September 20, 2013 at 9:06 am

East Coast to West is a massive culture shock for sure! I didn’t anticipate it being so different. In some ways, it was nice – SF is way more laid back, there’s less road rage, etc, but I also felt like the pace was too slow and nonchalant for me. It’s definitely a personal preference though.
As far as my dogs, Honey was actually supposed to be my parents’ dog. They were on a year-long wait list for her, and due to a change in plans, I ended up taking her. Shelter dog or not, she is one of the best decisions I have ever made. We personally met with the breeder several times and she’s running a very sound, loving business, with her dogs living in her home as part of her family.
Our next dog was from a shelter (you can read about that here) because we wanted to give a shelter dog a good home. To make a long, momentarily heartbreaking story short, it didn’t work out and we ended up re-homing her (she is in a PERFECT family now). We decided to bring another puggle from the same breeder into our family, and we could not be happier. Barley is such a great dog.
I love love love animals and whole-heartedly support animal shelters – monetarily and by volunteering my time at our local MSPCA – but to be honest, bringing a dog from a shelter into our (rented) apartment with limited background information on the dog, is a gamble. I know people who have adopted and the dogs could not be a better fit for their families, and others who encountered issues (behavioral, temperament) that could only be managed. Suffice it to say, we put a lot of thought and effort (and compassion) into our decisions with regard to our dogs.


Kathy Bowen December 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Amanda congrats!! Takes lots of courage to do what you have done!
Do you know about the Dream Factory? It is a group of women supporting women to pursue their Dreams It is located in Framingham, Concord,Reading, and Ashland
Would love to tell you more about it
Keep dreaming ;-)


Amanda December 9, 2013 at 9:37 am

Thanks so much, Kathy! I had not heard of the Dream Factory, but I love the idea behind it! I’ll have to look it up. :)


Kathy Bowen December 10, 2013 at 9:40 pm

Amanda Would love to introduce you to a wonderfully supportive group of women. Let’s stay in touch


Tiffany January 8, 2014 at 8:54 pm

I love your story. I’m sitting at my cubicle, right now, reading it. It’s making me wish I had the courage (and the means) to do what you did, because what are we doing and why are we doing it if we’re not happy? Kudos on your courage and for of course, providing us awesome recipes. (=


Amanda January 9, 2014 at 8:30 am

I’ve been there, Tiffany! It takes time to work up both the courage and the financial means to leave an unhappy job, but it is possible. I’ll be writing more about how I did this soon, but in the meantime, you might want to read a few of my previous posts in the happiness category (Sometimes You Have to Leap, Doing Things Differently, Making Active Choices, etc). Hang in there! <3


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