Archive by Author

Reflecting

23 Jul

The news has really got me down. Unnecessary hatred, poor decisions from powerful men, death, accusations, and political bashing. This weekend, I just shut it down. I avoided the TV news, Twitter, and online news sites. It was lovely. 

In my own bubble, life is good. Pittsburgh is thriving. My family is happy. Professional life is moving. Thousands of Pittsburghers came together to throw water balloons for Haiti

Do Good

Within a time of so much sadness in the news, I’m reminding myself that there is good in the world – and I want to be a part of it.

To kick off Monday, I reminded myself of the importance of the little things. Take small steps towards good – whether that be your greater purpose, #1 goal, or a quest to find peace and happiness. I’m trying to refocus my energy away from things I can’t control towards positivity in my own world and people within it. 

Happy Monday to you. Make your world a better place today.

A “Must Read”…in My Humble Opinion

16 Jul

We’re all busy, right? Right. Lately – well, the past year – I’ve been juggling ideas of starting my own business, enrolling in an MBA program, and a bunch of other personal and professional endeavors. While I figure things out…or life just figures itself out on the go…I decided to dedicate 2012 towards professional and insightful reading. Sure, the latest Nicholas Sparks book and a few fun ones have been thrown into the mix, but I’ve really embraced this new trend going on in my iPad’s ebook reader.

I’m just 6 months into this resolution to read professional development style books. Can’t. Get. Enough. In conversations, I consistently find myself referring to new ideas or studies I recently learned about. Dan is probably so sick of hearing me say, “This book I’m reading…so interesting! Listen to this….!”

This new-to-me genre has pushed my mind to think in new ways. I’ve developed a broader sense of success. As my reading list continues to grow, my ways of thinking, planning, and problem solving have evolved. This is good. While I still figure out my next few career goals (MBA is the primary question mark right now), I feel like I’m learning more than I have in years.

Now, I leave you with a “must read“: Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer. If you are an idea-generator, creative professional, entrepreneur, manager…the list goes on – read this book. While I finished this almost two months ago, it has remained in my thoughts since. Now that’s a sign of a good read.

Since posting (just 10 minutes ago), I’ve already received a few messages about other reading suggestions. Please check out my two public reading lists:

Katie Vojtko on Goodreads

Katie Vojtko’s Book Wishlist (on Amazon)

“He” vs. “She”

29 Jun

Disclaimer: I’m not a feminist. I’m a proponent of earned income, position, and opportunity.

The other day, I was on a call with a client I’ve been working with for several weeks and a nice, professional relationship was developing. This gentleman was without a doubt traditional, conservative, and near retirement. Without getting into detail, we ran into a little hiccup that was beyond my control. During a conversation, I suggested that he speak with our Vice President who’ll be able to handle the issue much better than myself. He replied, “Sure, put him in touch with me.” That “him” is a lady.

Now, this isn’t the issue to me. In reality, “he” is the appropriate, gender-neutral term when speaking of a person who you do not know. However, I couldn’t shake it. There’s a lot in the news recently about women in the workplace, particularly this article on Why Women Can’t Have it All, which was posted first in the Atlantic. To summarize the too-long-for-work essay, Ann-Marie Slaughter, a high profile foreign policy analyst, says that women cannot be both an involved, active mother and a ladder-climbing, advancing professional – at least not at the same time. She points out the generational differences explaining that younger professional women find the idea of having a baller career and being a perfect mother exhausting and impossible. I happen to agree.

There have been a few driving forces and ideas in my life these days: Starting my own business, being creative, growing a stronger network. However, there’s one underlying factor I always dream about. And that is balance. I want to work my ass off for days, weeks, months, years…whatever. But when I need downtime, I’m 100% cool with turning off all of my devices and having some peace. Further, I dream of the day I have a kid or two and it’s perfectly cool to bring them into my office, which is of course well-equipped with a few games to keep them occupied. Running a business and running a household shouldn’t be impossible. With technology, a good partner, and a flexible working environment, women should be able to have it all.

To me, life is all about balance. That balance applies to my diet, schedule, work life, family time, and social schedule…really, every part of my life. I feel like die-hard professional women lose that balance and I won’t have it in my life. Maybe this is coming from the young optimist in me, however I get giddy (and motivated) when thinking about fulfilling all of my dreams – on my own time.

Beer Swappin’ — Summer Edition

21 Jun

For nearly a year now, Dan and I have hosted what we call: “Seasonal Beer Swaps.” This is a chance for our friends – from our workplaces, colleges, family, and neighbors – to try some new, interesting, sometimes hard-to-find craft beer. We’ve begun to host these at the beginning of each season (June, Sept., Nov., March). I usually make some yummy bites, provide some beer, and have a little party. The main purpose, however, is to swap yo beer!

Each person brings over one 24-bottle case of seasonal craft beer (bonus points for uniqueness). Then we equally distribute between all the cases. For example, if 12 cases were brought, each person leaves with a mixed case with 12 types of beer (2 bottles of each). It’s proven to be a fun way to try new beers without the investment of purchasing a full case. Plus, craft beer is a common interest among a huge segment of our friends. We love bringing together so many people from several circles of friends.

Our next swap will be in September – Oktoberfests, pumpkins – all are welcome!

Here’s what we swapped in last weekend’s Summer Beer Swap:

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O’Fallon Wheach Wheat Beer

Dogfish Head Festina Pêche

Samuel Adams Porch Rocker

Southern Tier Hop Sun

Lagunitas Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale

Cisco Brewers Whale’s Tale Pale Ale

Harpoon Summer

Saranac Blueberry Blonde Ale

Anchor Steam Summer Beer

The Best Pizza I’ve Ever Made.

19 Jun

I have a serious love for homemade pizza. It’s my opportunity to take care of all my savory cravings in one meal. Usually, it involves bacon. Who am I kidding – it ALWAYS involves bacon! Homemade pizza comes out of my kitchen about 2-3/month, especially on the weekends alongside a bottle of red wine. Perfection to me.

Dan and I are pretty deep into our first CSA summer. We’ve been loving the goods from Clarion River Organics but holy moly it’s hard to keep up sometimes. A bit too much food for a couple that still enjoys a few restaurant meals each week. However, the challenge of cooking with new ingredients has been really exciting.

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On Sunday, I pulled fennel, kale, garlic scapes, young red onions, and a few other things out of the bag. My first thought: WTF am I gonna do with these young red onions. My second thought: let’s make a gameplan. If you’re going to go through all these veggies, you need to map out the week’s dinners to make sure to optimize all your goods. 

Below is the menu for the week. While I’ve only crossed off two of the 4.5 items, I just have to gush about the pizza I made last night. So sorry I didn’t take a photo. It was truly restaurant-worthy.

Sunday: Penne pasta with pancetta, fontina & mozzarella, fennel bulbs, onion, and tomatoes. Result: delicious. Great leftovers for our lunches this week.

Monday: Homemade pizza with bacon, caramelized spring onions, fennel, left over fontina cheese PLUS a grilled wedge salad with romain, bacon, blue cheese, and cracked pepper. Result: Completely delicious. I actually was super proud of myself. That pizza…I’m still dreaming about the pizza. HOLY YUM. 

Tuesday: Tonight, we’re going to go with lettuce wraps. We have an abundance of lettuce and greens in the house – gotta use it up!

Wednesday: Dining out

Thursday: Gnocchi with sweet potatoes, red kale, sage, and a little cheese. Pretty excited about this!

You’ll notice garlic scapes are MIA from this menu. We also got them last week and I fell in love with garlic scape pesto. It’s tangy, little sweet, and fresh. I plan to make another batch of the pesto, but throw it in the freezer this time. It’ll be nice to enjoy a little summer treat when we’re seeing snow out the window 🙂

Happy cooking, friends!

 

“Take a swing…your bat is right in front of you”

14 Jun

“Take a swing…your bat is right in front of you”

Gary Vaynerchuk inspires me constantly. If there’s anyone I can identify as a professional role model, it has to be this guy. Think about his words, you want to succeed. You have big goals. Take a swing. Make it happen.

My Weekend in Photos

9 Apr

This weekend included all the right ingredients to make it a great one.

On Thursday, we bowled to celebrate Mr. Mulford’s big day — when’s the last time you went to a bowling birthday party? Great times. Friday included a long lunch with old college friends, downtime with my man, and a tried and true Yinzer Church Fish Fry at Holy Angels Parish. To celebrate my best friend’s 25th, on Saturday we dined at the neighborhood’s new Thai place and continued the night with several drinks. Dan and I wrapped up the weekend with jam-packed Easter at each of our parents’ homes.

To top it off, I have had some incredibly energetic business-related conversations, yielding new ideas and dreams. Somehow, I was able to fit in a few hours to hash out these ideas a little further.

I truly went to bed so happy (yet exhausted) last night.

While I didn’t capture any photos of our Easter craziness, below are some from the rest of the fun, celebratory weekend.

– Katie

Two of my closest buds from my college years, Andrew (left) celebrated his birthday with a BOWLING PARTY! When's the last time you went to a birthday bowling party -- 4th grade???

A long lunch with great girlfriends - nothing better!

The perfect gift for Luke. He's been admiring this little pot for months!

Cousin Time!

Our best friends and neighbors!

Andrew brought a new friend to the party with whom I immediately connected. So fun!