Today is a fabulous day

Had some great conversations yesterday around feelings and social behaviors with cohort-mates. It made me reflect on friendships and how I think other people perceive me. My deep fear that keeps me from making friends was shared and received well. Being able to express my feelings here at Hack Reactor has been helpful with increasing my confidence in myself and my voice (opinion).

In addition, people are really digging the Prezi Enneagram Presentation I presented on Monday. This is a topic I love to talk about, and am knowledgeable on and digs down to my deepest desire to share new things with people and expand people’s worlds and experiences.


Best holiday gift?!

Exciting news: After multiple attempts (4) and 9 months of studying JavaScript, I passed the technical interview and was accepted into Hack Reactor!

My JavaScript self study journey included the following:

Online Tutorials
CodeSchool JavaScript Road Trip 1,2, and 3
Codeacademy JavaScript Path
Udacity Object Oriented JavaScript

Free Form Practice
Writing my own code with tests (My GitHub Code)
Learning from peers at work
Solving random higher order function problems (My GitHub Code)

Hack Reactor JavaScript Fundamentals: Scope, Closures, Higher-Order Functions
Girl Develop It JS102: Objects, Arrays and Functions
Girl Develop It JS200: JavaScript and the Web
Girl Develop It JS401: Intro to Unit Testing with Jasmine
Girl Develop It JS404: Intro to AngularJS
Hack Reactor Fulcrum

Eloquent JavaScript, chapter 5
You Don’t Know JS This and Object Prototypes
You Don’t know JS Scopes and Closures

MEAN Stack Self Study:
CodeSchool Real-time Web with Node.js
CodeSchool Shaping up with Angular.js
CodeSchool Building Blocks of Express.js

Hack Reactor: Home Stretch

Hack Reactor is a tough tough program to get into. I understand why it is named one of the best quality and most prestigious by Forbes. It requires pre-course materials (aka Fulcrum) to be completed before starting the program so everyone is at the same level at the start. They estimate it takes 9 weeks for students to finish the pre-course materials. In other words, it’s a lot of work even before getting into the program. Fulcrum includes two check-ins where someone on the Fulcrum staff review your code and also challenge you with creating functioning code on the spot. This is to prepare you for the two technical interviews where you do coding on the spot with little help!

Interview #1 for me was on November 18, 2015 and that’s when I was accepted into the program (pending completion of pre-course work). This acceptance started a slew of actions at for me at my current place of work, like asking for a personal leave or preparing to turn in my resignation because this is how dedicated I am to this career path. Along with human resourcing concerns, how long health insurance will last on unpaid leave, etc. On top of that there were personal items to consider, paying the $2K deposit to hold my spot, what will I eat during the intensive program? and what about laundry? (all that for another day’s post)

This morning, I aced my second interview. I was so incredibly nervous for this because at this point they STILL could tell me I’m not ready for the program, that I have to wait and study more (I was told this 3 times with interview #1, which has drawn this out this very moment for almost a year).

But… they didn’t tell me I had to wait or study more. =)

All that is left is one exercise creating a jQuery twitter app before I’m officially accepted into Hack Reactor January 2016 cohort.

Hack Reactor Fulcrum Article

As a current Fulcrum student, I’m intrigued that this article is stating it is for people who have no experience coding. Fulcrum is a tough course (aka pre-course work for admitted Hack Reactor students) – this is coming from someone who has been around computers all their life, someone who has taken many programming classes over the years and knows the basics of building a static website, but who has also dabbled in CMS, php and databases.

I would say that the Fulcrum material bridges the gap between someone who is new to coding – but has done all of the free (or inexpensive) online tutorials, read books and has built simple pages – and someone who wants to get into an immersion program like Hack Reactor which requires you to have practiced and understand loops, if than statements, css, html, git, jQuery, test driven development, higher order functions, recursion and object oriented patterns.

During my 9 months of self study of JavaScript, I came across less than two paragraphs on higher order functions or recursion.

Hack Reactor Fulcrum – The Tipping Point

An email came across my inbox today:

We’re writing to follow up on your interview with [us] last month.

At the time of your interview, we did not have a great way to offer our educational programs to candidates that didn’t meet our technical bar. We’ve always invited people to re-apply after a study period, but we know it’s easy to get lost and discouraged when trying to follow along with online tutorials.

In order to help people like you study up and progress in your learning goals, we’ve developed a new open-enrollment online program called Hack Reactor Fulcrum. It’s made up of the material that used to be the first three weeks of Hack Reactor, and now constitutes the pre-course homework that Hack Reactor students must complete before starting the program.

Fulcrum is an exceptional way to prepare for your next interview, and, the tuition counts towards your Hack Reactor tuition if you ultimately pass the admissions process. We’re recommending it to you if you’re still interested in Hack Reactor, or in the craft of coding in general.

Admissions Specialist, Hack Reactor

This could not have come at a better time because just as the email eluded to, I was getting discouraged with my self-study progress and inability to pass the technical interview with Hack Reactor. I immediately signed up for Fulcrum without blinking an eye. My dream is to be a JavaScript developer and something said inside me that Fulcrum is the tipping point I need to get there.

Later on in the day, while on a run, I received a phone call from a state where I know no one. I picked up and it was the CEO of Hack Reactor. He was calling just to tell me that I was the first person to sign up for Fulcrum. Wow.

EWG’s 2015 Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen

Ever wonder which foods to buy organic and which foods have the least amount of pesticide residue? Wouldn’t it be great if someone would do the research for you and just give you the top 12 that you should buy organic.


Dirty Dozen are foods to always buy organic. Clean Fifteen contain less than 4 pesticides on these non-organic foods.

This guide is to assist the choice of when to buy organic foods (Dirty Dozen) and when there is the option to buy non-organic because the risk of pesticides is lower (Clean Fifteen).

The PDF is really handy if you want to print it out and keep it in your wallet or purse for when you are at the grocery store. Download the 2015 EWG Pesticide Guide PDF

Or you can visit the EWG website to learn more about pesticides on food or the Environmental Working Group.

Eat Clean Challenge Retrostpective

Final day of the challenge. I made a gf pumpkin pie to celebrate.

This is what I’ve learned:

  • After cutting so many vegetables and preparing foods more than usual, I realized I need a better knife set.
  • My “go-to” quick salad (lettuce, rice cheese, dried cranberries, candied pecans) and quick snack (homemade trail mix) that I thought was healthy actually was loaded with sugar.
  • I eat a lot more fruit than vegetables.
  • It’s possible to eat clean and eat much less than the recommended amount of vegetables in a day – there were some days I only had 1-2 servings of vegetables.
  • Avoiding sugar and sweet treats isn’t as hard as I originally thought (this coming from someone who ate a dessert every day!)
  • Planning out the week’s meals (or even getting a jumpstart with a big bowl of quinoa or rice) for the week is important so there isn’t a temptation to grab something quick and easy (usually packaged) in the evening after a long day.
  • Set aside time to plan out (and prepare) quick snacks like cleaned up carrots instead of always grabbing fruit as a snack.
  • It is possible to go a month without artificial sweeteners, and non-dairy cheese (or any cheese).
  • Mainstream peanut butter has sugar in it, and it doesn’t have to. Big names like Smucker produces a no-sugar PB and sells it in grocery stores.
  • 1 cup of 0% fat Greek yogurt (protein) for breakfast is the key to not indulging in bad foods all day (and coconut milk yogurt has virtually no protein in it).
  • Excess/added sugar may make me phlegmy (still need to test this theory).
  • Eating clean (including no processed foods, and little added sugar) does not mean quick weight loss or any weight loss at all.
  • It is possible to get bored with the same vegetables or salads every day and that could lead to wanting processed foods for variety. Try to plan ahead and make new recipes. A CSA box will help with that to keep fresh (and odd) vegetables coming into your house that you wouldn’t otherwise buy.
  • When eating a lot of vegetables and fruits, I noticed more gas, especially with hummus, broccoli and cauliflower. Avoiding FODMAP foods (and gas-X) can help with that.

I would definitely do this challenge again in a future month. I was committed to the challenge up until the Marathon weekend when I allowed carbs to fuel for the marathon. Then I lost my resolve. So this was more like a 21 day challenge. You can review the foods I ate on this challenge.

Now onto some deliciousness…

Day 29 of 30 day Eat Clean Challenge

Victories: Met my water intake! Gluten Free! No artificial sweeteners! Dairy free!

Today was a feast! I couldn’t stop eating. I kept it clean though! I made a pumpkin pie tonight, so today is my last eat clean day.

Clean food consisted of:

  • Coconut Grove Yogurt
  • Homemade granola: oats, chia seeds, flax seeds
  • Nectarine*
  • Cantaloupe
  • Homemade granola*
  • Go Raw Carrot Cake chips: coconut, carrots, dates, salt
  • Raisins*
  • Mixed greens, peppers, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, carrots, sunflower seeds, evoo roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Tofu, peppers, onions, green beans, salt & pepper, tomato
  • 3 small tomatoes, two small onions, garlic, evoo, basalmic vinegar, basil, salt & pepper
  • Fritos
  • 64+ oz of fluids (water and decaf tea)

Not-so-clean foods today:

  • Mixed roasted nuts (oil)
  • Avocado Mousse: Avocado, cocoa powder, honey, coconut milk

Total Servings (estimated):

  • Fruit: 3
  • Veggies: 3
  • Legumes: 2

* Foods that fall under FODMAP.

Day 28 of 30 day Eat Clean Challenge

Victories: Met my water intake! No artificial sweeteners! Dairy free!

I was happy when I realized I left my house for Np workout without a credit card for breakfast club at Tartine bakery. I was good and didn’t order anything but as I was leaving they handed out free samples of chocolate cake. My hands were faster than my mind. 😦

Clean food consisted of:

  • Plums*
  • Quinoa, peanut butter (no sugar), strawberry purée
  • Cantaloupe, pineapple, honeydew
  • Blackberries*, raspberries, blueberries
  • Chipotle: lettuce, brown rice, black beans, carnitas
  • Avocado Mousse: Avocado, cocoa powder, honey, coconut milk
  • Homemade granola (dried fruit*)
  • Forager Nuts & chocolate drink: cashews, almonds, coconut water, coconut, oatmeal, dates, cacao, vanilla bean, sea salt
  • Go Raw Carrot Cake chips: coconut, carrots, dates*, salt
  • 64+ oz of fluids (water)

Not-so-clean foods today:

Not at all clean foods:

  • 4 bites of chocolate cake.

Total Servings (estimated):

  • Fruit: 4
  • Veggies: 1
  • Legumes: 1

* Foods that fall under FODMAP.