Hi, I’m Mandy. Welcome to Wine and Wieners – a blog about healthy food, relationships, wine and wieners (dogs!). My goal is to inspire you to appreciate and love your life through vegetarian/plant-based foods, good wine & animals.
**Prepare yourselves. This might be the longest About Me Page you will ever read…but hey, it’s all about me, right?
My “Food” Story:
“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path, and leave a trail.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
The truth is, I used to fear of food. I thought that any food I ate was going to make me fat. So, like a lot of women (and men too!), I started depriving myself of food. Then, after years of guilt, counting calories, bingeing and purging, and depression, I knew something had to change and it wasn’t my body, it was me.
With hard work, persistence and a healthy, primarily plant-based diet, I was able to overcome my struggles with disordered eating. I no longer count calories, weigh myself obsessively, or work out for hours on end. I feel balanced again.
As my relationship with food continues to improve, I continue eating mostly plant-based foods, but I also enjoy dairy and fish. This is what works for me. Some people call me a pescatarian, but I personally think that sounds like some weird superhero. Superhero or not, I am proud of the journey I have made with my relationship with food, and I strive to bring you some of the delicious recipes I’ve enjoyed along the way.
Oh, and one more thing… I love wine. I mean, I really love wine. Like uh-lot.
Anybody who knows me also knows that I’ve had a difficult time answering the inevitable question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” If I’m being honest, I still don’t have the answer to that question. But what I do know is that I love animals. Animals make me happy. And as someone who believes that if you’re spending more time at your job (as most people are) than you are at home, you deserve to be happy at work.
With that said…
I graduated from Boise State University (yes people, I’m from Idaho) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication/Journalism. I landed a marketing job right out of college and worked there for a few years – made excellent money, great benefits blah blah..but deep down, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to “do with my life.” So I left the marketing job and started managing a coffee shop. Loved it for awhile but I still had animals in the back of my mind – deep down, I knew I needed to pursue a career working with animals in some way. I finally buckled down and did some research on good animal programs and found one in Gainesville, Florida-the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo. I applied, was accepted and on June 9th, 2012, I packed my belongings and moved across the country to Florida.
The program was very intense – a lot of studying (which I’m terrible at), tests (also terrible at), but then we got to spend a majority of our day being zookeepers. Actual zookeepers! I met some of my closest friends in the program and I learned a lot of valuable tools for working in the animal field. I also learned a lot about myself – you’re forced to do that when you move over 3,000 miles away from everything you’ve ever known.
Three months before graduation I was interviewed for a zookeeping job in South Florida. I got the job and moved south on May 9th, 2014. I worked as a zookeeper for almost two years and it was incredible – it was one of the best experiences of my life, unfortunately the money wasn’t great, the schedule sucked (which they warned us about in school) and it was taking a toll on my body. 😦 So I finally made the decision to leave my zookeeping job.
It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make and sometimes, I still wonder if I made the right one – I do believe that all of the decisions we make in life lead us to where we are supposed to be, so for whatever reason it was the right one.
Now, I’m working as a veterinary technician at a small animal hospital. I do like it – still working with animals yeah! But I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss zookeeping…
I met Bryan on July 12th, 2014 (I only remember that because it’s my dad’s birthday). He took me to a quirky, little local restaurant – comfort food bliss. We didn’t hit it off right away, but right away I adored him. Cheesy right?
Our relationship hasn’t always been perfect, and we have had to work at it, but it’s the best relationship I’ve ever been in. I feel very lucky to have him by my side. He truly is my favorite person on the planet.
Bryan is a talented dive guide and photographer (prepare to see some of his photographs, they are much better than mine). We have gone on many adventures together and I look forward to sharing our future adventures with you.
Together, we have three dogs: Buddy, Lily & Baxter.
Here’s the breakdown:
Buddy: 9 year-old Black and tan dachshund. Lovable, goofy and not very smart. Lily: 10 year-old Red dachshund. Sassy, independent, loyal and always hungry (just like her momma). Baxter: Bryan’s dog, my step-dog. 3 year-old Miniature Pinscher/Chihuahua. Full of energy and love, enjoys cuddling.
Prepare to see a lot of pictures of them…
So that’s it! A little (okay, a lot) about me. Thank you for finding your way to my website. I hope you will browse, stay awhile, find a few good recipes, laugh at some doggy pictures, and leave me a comment to say hello.
Lots of light, love and gratitude to you.