Hi and welcome to Apples and Optimism! I’m glad you stopped by!

Hi, I’m Dana, a 23 year old recent college graduate currently living in Pittsburgh, PA. I am a lover of vegetables, running, BodyAttack, carrot cake and pretending to be Martha Stewart (I have dreams of throwing parties with fun snacks and cocktails when I am older and have the funds….).

I recently got my BS in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, and I currently work as a Research Specialist. I have dreams to have a career/go somewhere in the health/food/wellness world and am currently working on figuring out exactly how to make that happen.

I also LOVE food  and decided to start this blog in order to have an outlet to talk about and share my love of all things food/health/wellness related.

My Food Philosophy

I firmly believe that food and eating should be fun! It is one of my personal missions to always make the act of eating as exciting and delicious as possible. Whether I am eating a full course, sit down meal or a granola bar in my car,  I always aim to make every meal or snack I consume “the best thing I ever ate.”  We eat at least three times a day, everyday, so why waste time eating something if you don’t enjoy it? It is a little goal of mine to show how easy/fun/exciting it can be to live  life fueled by healthy, good-for-you food.

I follow a mostly vegetarian diet with some fish thrown in every now and again. I have been eating this way for about 2 years, and I honestly have never felt better. Vegetarian cooking and meal planning has completely refocused my view on what a “balanced” meal looks like and has caused me to try so many new foods that I now love and enjoy on a daily basis (kale, tempeh, nutritional yeast…). It has also helped be become so much more aware of how food makes me feel and what fuels me best (side note: I don’t think there is any right or wrong way of eating, this is just what seems to be working best for me at the moment… eat what makes you happy!).

While I follow a pretty healthy diet on a daily basis, I love to treat myself as well, and I would say that I probably follow the 80/20 mindset (healthy foods 80% of the time, more indulgent foods 20% of the time) or the “everything in moderation” approach when it comes to eating. I have been on many sides of the eating spectrum (ranging from an eating disorder when I was younger to an “off the wagon”/eat everything I possibly can approach through out high school and early college), but I believe I have finally found my “happy eating place” where I can eat whatever I want and feel good about my body/mind as well. It has been a long journey on my road to health (which I can delve more deeply into later), but I believe I have finally learned the “secret” to being able to enjoy all different types of food and still feel healthy and strong as well.

Why Apples and Optimism?

I am calling my blog Apples and Optimism because, first of all, I LOVE food. I love reading about it, talking about it, preparing it, etc. (i.e., Apples).  I also actually do really love apples, and they are one of my favorite foods. I legitimately get excited to eat my daily apple every day.

Besides my food focus, I also tend to be quite the positive person (i.e., Optimism). I hate to dwell on negativity for too long, and I like to find the positive side to situations (there usually is always a positive)! I wanted my blog name to reflect that side of me as well…

Who’s Who?

Some people you might hear me talk about from time to time….


Sami is my identical twin sister who also happens to be one of my roommates here in Pittsburgh. She is currently in grad school to become a speech language pathologist and is also a lover of healthy food as well.


Jon is my boyfriend of 3 years who also lives in Pittsburgh at the moment. We met during our sophomore year at PITT and have been dating ever since.


Lindsay is my older sister who lives in Philly right now. She is my rock and I always go to her when I need some good advice. She is the best big sister a girl could ask for.


My mom lives in Philly as well, but we stay connected as much as possible. She is an amazing woman/mom and one of the most passionate people I know…. She also has more energy than probably about 10 people combined.


My cousin who is very similar to me in her love of both  running and peanut butter….

And here are a few more friends/family members  whose names you might here pop up every so often….. Mary, Hannah, Jen, Timmy, Brooke, Erin, Erin, Allison, Shana, Michelle…..

So I hope you stick around! If you have any questions or comments feel free to email me (I’d love to hear from you!) at:



4 responses

  1. I too will be sticking around! Your positive outlook on life and passion for healthy eating inspires me every day to take control of my health and to better myself through food.

  2. Pingback: My favorite ways to eat kale | Apples and Optimism

  3. Pingback: WIAW #7 (March 7, 2012) | Apples and Optimism

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