How many times have you felt beside yourself with anxiety over an upcoming interview?

Of course, that always happens when you really, really want the job. Who stresses over an interview for a job that’s not super exciting?

When I held my Regional Manager position at TidalWheel, I interviewed oodles of people: potential instructors, staff members, and managers. I feel like I’ve seen the best, the worst, and the strangest the interview world has to offer.

Thankfully, having the experience as the other person behind the desk (or counter) has given me a peek into what hiring managers are noticing and looking for. It has given me so much more confidence in approaching my own interviews now that I’m seeking full time employment elsewhere.

Here, I’ve compiled my down and dirty tips for a rock star interview:

1. Over-Prepare

Hiring managers notice every detail about you. Whether it really matters in the industry for which you’re applying, they always take notice of what you’re wearing, how you speak, what color nail polish you’re wearing, and what your tattoos say. Don’t write anything off as “well, it the fitness industry, so they don’t care if I have a huge skull tattoo on my lower back,” or “This is an eclectic place. They totally won’t mind all my facial piercings.”

Although you want to be yourself, be the most conservative version of yourself. Take off your crazy nail polish, take out your piercings, wear conservative shoes, and cover yourself up (no cleavage). It’s better to stay on the safer side since you never know the values of your interviewer.

2. Google Yourself

Recruiters and hiring managers will almost always look you up on social media and search engines. Google yourself and make sure everything on your social media is exactly the image you’re willing to portray to your potential future boss.

3. Do Your Research

Learn as much as you can about the establishment for which you’re applying. Look up their website and social media and pretend you’re going to give a presentation about the place to a total stranger. If you can, visit the establishment and try their product. That will always, always stand out and impress the person who is interviewing you. I can say from experience those who were current clients at TidalWheel or applicants who tried TidalWheel before their interview had an instant leg up.

4. Arrive On Time, Not Early

Hiring managers are generally fitting interviews into a full day of work, and in my case, I was always scrambling 15 minutes before each interview to reread a resume and do a background check on social media and Google. When an applicant arrives early, it sometimes prevented me from doing the appropriate refreshing about them I needed, making the interview redundant and more difficult for me.

Give yourself extra time to drive to the meeting location and wait in your car to brush up on the background of the company. Avoid going in for your interview more than 5 minutes ahead of time.

5. Show You Want it

Don’t play it cool. Interviewers are usually passionate about their company, and they want to see that you can be, too. Be bubbly, excited, passionate, and candid. Even if you feel you’re overqualified for the position, don’t show that. Show them how thrilled you would be to hold this position and be on their team.

6. Be Honest & Eager

If they ask you about an expertise in which you have no background, be honest. Tell them you may not have a prior background with the topic in question, but you would love to learn more about it and are a quick learner. It’ll show your go-getter nature and prove that you want to learn.

7. Ask Questions

The most impressive interview I ever conducted was one in which the applicant asked me many questions. Ask the interviewer why they love their job. Ask them what kind of leader your boss is. Ask how they think you’d fit into the company. It will prove you’re a detailed thinker and actually care about the environment in which you work. I’m willing to bet it’ll blow them away like it did me.

8. Follow Up

Always, always send a thank-you e-mail. Sending a hand-written note used to be the rule of thumb, but in this era, decisions are typically made faster than snail mail travel. Be sure to get an e-mail address from your interviewer before you leave “for follow up questions” so you can send a proper thank-you. Tell the interviewer how impressed you are with the company and what an honor it would be to join the team.

Take a deep breath, have confidence in yourself, and if you’ve done everything you can to land this job, you’re golden — it’s just up to them and if you meet the qualifications necessary and match the needs of the company. And remember, if it doesn’t work out, it just wasn’t meant to be. :)

Now go get ‘em, tiger.

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Yesterday, history was made. I attended my first cooking class. Wha-bam!

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 2.05.57 PMPhoto from the SouthernSeasonRVA instagram account

I have passed the Richmond Southern Season on more than one occasion, curiously eying the place and wondering what it contained.

Turns out, it’s a huge, beautiful gourmet food emporium complete with restaurant and cooking school. I headed to a “Tapas Girls Night Out” cooking class with Brittany last night, and we had a blasty blast. We cooked, we ate, and we wandered the shop and sampled the delicious wine, cheese, and… popcorn. You wouldn’t expect anything less, would you?

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Upon arrival, we were given aprons, a glass of wine, and went to work making assorted tapas at the large cooking school kitchen bar. (BTW, you need to check Brittany’s blog for the cool photos of us cooking. I wasn’t smart enough to bring my DSLR, and she’s the pro).

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All the food we made/ate was delicious, but the wine kind of stole the show for me. If you’ve ever had Villa Wolf Gewürztraminer, you know what I’ma talkin’ about. I think I’ve actually found my all-time favorite. So much so that I used our Cooking Class coupon on a bottle as we left.

Brittany and I started at the zucchini cake station, which reminded us a little of a crabcake without the meat. They were very easy to mix up and sauté, and after they were plated, they tasted amazing. We even were told how to make our own crème fraîche.

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Shown here is our zucchini cake topped with crème fraîche, smoked trout, and chives.

It’s very likely I’ll try making these at home in the future!

Next, came the best fresh spring roll I think I’ve ever tasted. I’ve had some really great tasting ones before, but the ingredients were so fresh, Brit and I agreed they knocked it out of the ballpark. I didn’t snag a photo of the spring rolls, but trust me, they tasted better than they looked. We dipped them in a delicious Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce, which was made by the Cooking School chef.

In addition to the zucchini cakes and spring rolls, the class made Gruyere biscuits with pimento cheese (holy smokes, delicious!), pimentos con queso (gimme dat goat cheese), and asian lettuce wraps with peanut sauce. The peanut sauce was to die for, as well.

I may have to amend my statement declaring the wine as my favorite part of the entire night. The dessert absolutely stole the show.

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Just take a look at that chocolate pot de creme. Holy smokes, it was rich… and in a good way! On top was a little whipped cream, a drizzle of orange olive oil which reminded me of a chocolate orange, and a sprinkling of fleur de sel with Piment d’Espelette. The chili salt was amazing, and I even got a little more to sprinkle on top of my chocolate.

And see that sorbet on the side? It was made by former White House Pastry Chef, Roland Mesnier. It’s a red wine blend sorbet, and for someone who isn’t a sorbet/sherbert fan, I loved it, especially in the same bite as the rich chocolate. Also pictured on the side is a delicious homemade praline ice cream.

One of my favorite things I learned in class was that to make the chocolate pot de creme, you need to put a towel as well as water in the pan to cushion the ramekins and moisten the dessert. Who knew?! …I didn’t. If you knew, don’t tell me, because I’m feeling really educated right now.

Now, who wants to come over for a tapas dinner party? I’ll make the same exact thing all over again because it’s now the only fancy thing I know how to make. ;)

Have you ever been to a cooking class? What amazing trick did you learn? I want to hear!

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Sport Chalet Giveaway Winners!

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Hidee ho! I apologize for the delay in posting the good news about our Sport Chalet Giveaway Winner — lifeofblyss.com is sporting some interesting technical difficulties that made it impossible for me to view comments and figure out who our winners were. Womp, womp. So I had to get crafty and go through the back […]

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September 4, 2014

I hit the jackpot a few weeks ago when an old coworker who was signed up for the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon landed tickets for a Virginia Tech football game and could no longer make the race. I half-jokingly told her I’d run in her place, and two days later, I found […]

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GIVEAWAY: So Now I’m an “Expert”

August 29, 2014

I look up to people who can do one thing really, really well. Pros, rock stars, you know. I’ve always been that kind of person who likes to wear many hats. I just do a lot of things satisfactorily. Like that word? I did. I used it. So, when Sport Chalet contacted me to join […]

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Exotic Alyssa

August 28, 2014

Recently, I met someone who had never heard of the name “Alyssa” before. It was so exotic to them that when we first met, they asked me to pronounce it twice. Then, when I was referred to a family member by said person, the question in response was, “Is she white?” Why, yes. I am […]

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My First Commercial

August 25, 2014

As promised, you guys get to see my best “car browsing” face from The Auto Connection Commercial. For those of you who are impressed by immature humor, I’ll show you my friend’s really high brow comment about my face: My friends. Making things inappropriate since the mid- to late-80’s. I’d smack him, but I need […]

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Matt Nathanson’s Favorite

August 21, 2014
www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHx4BlF6V2o”

Something amazing happened on my annual family beach vacay that totally made this summer 110 times better. It was Matt Nathanson. He happened. If you’re confused, go listen to Come On, Get Higher. Then you’ll know who he is. Upon arriving in Myrtle Beach, my best friend Maggie and I headed to the House of […]

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All My Best Moves

August 19, 2014

Turns out T Swift is yoinking all my best dance floor material. But it’s a-okay. I’ll allow it, since her new song is actually pretty on the money. Enjoy below. I’m going to go freshen up my repertoire just so people don’t confuse me for her on the dance flo’. …You know, since it happens […]

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The Coolest (Part-Time) Job.

August 9, 2014

So, I know I’ve been complaining about my whole unemployment status. But seriously, my part-time jobs have been rocking my world. Has anyone gotten exceedingly confused after seeing me in photos on Instagram with a local doggy celeb, in Army ASUs, and carrying around a fake baby? Not to worry; I didn’t give birth, marry […]

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