Wow, a reflection blog post at the end of the year, my originality amazes me every day.

Truthfully, since getting off the train after Christmas, literally since stepping onto solid ground, my life has not stopped moving, aside from sleeping. Work was waiting for me at the office and I needed groceries and to unpack and make use of my gym membership, etc. So I'm allowing my brain to rest a little bit until 2011 and I'm instead thinking back to what I learned this year, my first year (well, half year) as a post grad.

I've learned so much. I know now that the workforce doesn't care so much if you're a bright eyed young adult with a fancy degree. In fact, many employers see your optimism as a deal breaker- it's sad but true. Thankfully, I've also learned that while the majority may be like this, not all workplaces are. Some places are willing to take a chance on you, but it's up to you to do everything in your power to prove you deserve it.

I've learned that paying bills takes a lot of planning. I've learned that dealing with health insurance is one of the most confusing and annoying hurdles EVER, but that I'm thankful I have it. I've learned that it's possible to move to a city you know virtually nothing about, and make a life there for yourself. I've learned how to sublet an apartment, how to find an apartment, how to keep up an apartment.

Most of all, in 2010 I learned that I could do all of these things on my own. I'm a long way from being completely independent, but I am on the right track. See you in the new year post grads. What are a few things you've learned this year?

Don't Feed Into the Hype

I've noticed that New Year's Eve celebrations are often over rated. Your plans rarely turn out as you had hoped: the person you wanted to see ended up showing up with someone else, it snows 2 feet and you can't leave the house, you accidentally indulge in too many libations before the party. Last year Allie and I almost had to cancel our plans because of snow, but we convinced a friend with 4-wheel drive to bring us to the party.

So how can you prevent disappointment on New Year's?
  1. Expectation Management. Don't get your hopes up too high! Don't think it's going to be the best night of your life and it might just turn out that way.
  2. Libation Management. Don't overindulge too soon. Keep a steady pace so you're ready to go when the New Year rings in.
  3. Romance Management. Unless you are in a committed relationship, go solo. Why create more pressure with a relationship that is iffy? And why not find someone dashing at a party who is equally looking for someone to kiss at midnight? If you don't have someone to kiss who cares? You have to live up to no one's expectations but your own, which should already be managed as per step 1.
  4. HAVE FUN!!!! Stop over thinking the night and just have fun.

Good Luck and prosper post grads!


Hi guys, I'm back from a short trip home and I'm fresh out of inspiration, so I'm stealing Shikole's post idea and making a list of a few 2010 highlights.

1. Having the ability to go home and see my family this year, even though I live five hours away. It's been much tougher this year without built in college breaks, but I've still managed to be home for every holiday!

2. Graduating in May & finding a job. Enough said.

3. Meeting so many new friends without losing the old ones. I've met so many nice people since moving to Rochester, and am lucky that I continue to share bonds with my college and high school friends. (getting to see some of them again over Christmas break was awesome!)

4. My boyfriend. I met him in 2010, and while we are very different people, he always sees things in a positive light and I learn from him everyday.

5. Starting out my career in Rochester (especially this summer). People that have never been to Rochester see it has more of an industrial city without much to offer. They are wrong. I live in the best neighborhood, with so many summer festivals, parks, restaurants, shops, nightlife. It has everything. If only I could somehow stop the snow..

3 Days Left!

There are only three days left of this wonderful year of 2010. In reading all my other favorite blogs I noticed that they are all posting the best and worst of 2010. I was considering doing some of the same, but I cannot for the life of me think of anything original to list the best of. I considered my best and worst hookups of 2010, but that might end up being in bad taste. I then considered doing my best and worst food experiments of the year, which still might happen, but I have a couple more I want to try first. I think the very short moral of my story is that I can't think of anything original to do a best of list for.


Please readers tell me what kind of list you would like to read!!!

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays post grads!! We appreciate you following.

My Top Times of 2010

2010 was by far better than 2009. I believe every one of my close friends, as well as myself, were counting down the days until that horrid year came to a close. Thank goodness it brought in 2010. I'm not saying this year was all good, but I'd like to share with you my top 7 experiences of 2010.

1. Graduating College. Finally. After 4 years. We succeeded post grads!
2. Landing a job a mere week after graduating. I'm not sure if I'm lucky or THAT
stubborn, but it happened and it was amazing.
3. Successfully cooking my first Thanksgiving turkey. I brined it and everything.
4. Pirate Bar during Shark Week. Yes we dressed as pirates. And there were shark themed drinks!
5. Snowpocolypse. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.I'm serious, no school or work for 2 weeks but my car got plowed in.And the shovel snapped in half. And we ran out of wine. And there was 4.5 feet of snow.
6. I got my second tattoo, and it's about time. I've been talking about doing it for over a year. This one was for my Dad.
7. I don't really have a number seven yet. There are still 8 days left in 2010. I'm hoping number seven hasn't happened yet.

What were your best times of 2010 post grads? Share with us!

The Sex Playlist

As a follow up to my last playlist, I felt like I needed something a little more fun and racy than chill. So I've decided to share with you a sex playlist instead. Now, there are several different kinds of sex playlists. It all depends on the kind of sex you want to be having. So, I have included a couple songs for Sensual Sex, a couple for Sexy Sex and a few for Raw Animalistic Sex. Some of them are a little unexpected but try them before you judge.

Sensual Sex:
1. The Postal Service "Nothing Better"
2. Rod Stewart "Have I Told You Lately"
3. Marvin Gaye "Sexual Healing"
4. Van Halen "Why Can't This be Love"

Sexy Sex:
1. Leighton Meester "Somebody to Love"
2. Avant "Makin Good Love"
3. Jamie Fox "Slow"
4. Blondie "Heart of Glass"
5. Usher "Trading Places"

Raw Animalistic Sex:
1. Eagles "Victim of Love"
2. Buckcherry "Crazy Bitch"
3. Heart "Magic Man"
4. She Wants Revenge "Tear Me Apart"
5. Eminem "Shake That"

This playlist is by no means all inclusive. But I highly recommend trying it out ;)

And just because I have to please also watch this hilarious video about sex that includes some very good looking men I would very gladly have sex with. No it's not porn, I promise.

I'm a Carrie.. Kind Of..

Disclaimer: Dear readers, If you are not a girl/ Sex and the City fan, you may want to scroll down a few paragraphs. Or read another post...

Today at work as I edited something for my boss, I had this revelation: I'm a writer. I thought I would know this already, since my job pretty much entails writing all day long.. but for some reason I viewed being a writer as this sort of glamorous and unattainable position. I blame Sex and the City.

Carrie Bradshaw, the main character of Sex and the City, is a freelance writer and dater extraordinaire. She pretty much embodied how I saw my post grad life unraveling way back in high school. Everyone identified with SATC characters back then, and while I most definitely was a Charlotte personality wise, I longed to someday be a Carrie in the career department. The desire to work for a huge publication and write a column about my life didn't subside until one day in the beginning of my senior year in college.

One quiet afternoon, I sat at my desk and gazed out of my apartment window, job listings flooding my laptop screen. I couldn't help but wonder (If you didn't catch this Sex and the City reference, shame on you..), could I actually be a writer like Carrie?

I started to research journalist salaries, spoke to one of my favorite professors, and analyzed my current qualifications. The answer I found? No, at this point in my life, I unfortunately cannot be Carrie Bradshaw.

I should have seen this coming, considering the show wasn't even close to reality. To deal, I instead chose to look for positions that involve writing as a major component, and eventually was led to where I am currently working. Is my job glamorous? No. Do I work from home in my trendy Manhattan apartment that I can magically afford based on my freelance income? No. But I do have stability, and I do get to write every single day. I've begun to seek out personal writing in other ways. This blog is one of them (surprise!) and I recently started another called Spare Change Living.

So while I'm not living the Carrie Bradshaw dream writer lifestyle, I am most definitely still a writer. Someday in the future maybe I'll reconsider attempting the freelance lifestyle, or maybe not, I have years to see how my life will turn out. I'm content being a Charlotte for now.

New Years Resolutions

I always hate it when people make New Years Resolutions that are unrealistic. Not just unrealistic, but not in their nature. It's been proven that we do what is in our nature (thank you Plato). So if you are the kind of person who hates getting up in the morning, why in the world would you make a resolution to wake up earlier to go to the gym? If you want to go to the gym that badly, make your resolution to go after work/in the evening. There is much more of a chance of you doing it. Instead of making a resolution to lose 5 pounds, make one to eat edamame 3 times a week (if you like edamame of course). It is a healthier choice than chips so it will still work towards your ultimate goal of losing weight, but it's something you are actually likely to do.

Personally I think NYRs are difficult. I get bored easily so sticking to something for an entire year isn't quite in my nature. Last year, in light of that fact, I made my resolution to visit/experience the things in DC that I should have already experienced after living here for 4 years.

During this past year I finally visited the National Cathedral, the Mormon Temple, The Portrait Gallery, The Waterfront down in SW and I have purchased my ticket to visit the Newseum. While this does not nearly cover all the places I still want to go, it is quite a good start and satisfies my NYR. I really liked it because it made me go out and about in the city to experience its splendor instead of just being a sheltered little college student in NW.

I'm not sure what I'm going to resolve to do for 2011 yet. Any ideas?

Packing and Post Grad

Although I'm only going home for a little while for Christmas, and am not doing anything quite as selfless as Shikole (who talks about volunteering on Christmas Day here), I am facing a somewhat superficial dilemma. Packing.

I'm used to driving home for breaks. This gives me the luxury of bringing whatever I want back with me. Laundry? No problem! Summer clothes that I don't wear anymore/ need in my closet? Throw them in the trunk!

Since I'm only going to be home for a few days for Christmas I decided to take the train (to avoid wintery weather and car issues). This means I need to consolidate my clothing for three days + a bunch of presents into one small suitcase.

I'm sensing this whole packing phenomenon will be something I need to get used to. Especially since I'll probably be moving someplace else far away from home when I eventually leave Rochester. Still, it's tough to figure out exactly what you want to wear/ will need with you three days in advance.

This is where I need your help post grads. Send me your packing tips! And follow The Real Post Grad on blogger while you're at it! Thanks!!

My First Independent Christmas

I am not returning home for Christmas this year. I only get Friday off of work and can't afford anything but the bus that would require an entire day to travel. So instead I'm staying in DC for the holidays. For the first time.

I'm still torn about just how I feel about this. I know that realistically and financially this is the right choice. However, Christmas is a holiday meant to be spent with family. Every time I start to feel sorry for myself, though, I think about all those who can't even afford a meal for the holiday. Or those who have no home to celebrate it in. I am lucky enough to have a roof over my head and afford to eat.

So instead of being sad that I am not spending the holiday with my family, I'm donating my time to deliver meals to those who can't afford them. Food and Friends is an organization that provides meals to families that can't afford it because they are financing treatments for illnesses such as AIDS and cancer. They are struggling in more ways that just financially and I am happy to be able to help out in any way I can.

The holidays are a time to be grateful for what you have and help those who have less. In DC alone there are thousands of men, women and children who have no where to live and thousands more who are struggling to put food on the table. Donating 2 hours of my Christmas doesn't even seem like enough.


I want a cat. No, a kitten. A fluffy little fur ball of a kitten to snuggle with. Every time I see my friend's cat, Cooper, it makes me want one even more. But is a pet a good idea for us post grads to have right now?

  1. Cute, Cuddly play thing
  2. You may be saving an animal from euthanization
  3. No more mice or rats anywhere around your house
  1. They cost money to maintain
  2. You have to clean up after more than yourself
  3. It's probably against your lease
So is it worth it? I'm currently thinking not because I'm not sure if I can give an animal the attention it needs either. I can't even give myself the attention I need. But I still really want a kitten.

Friday Friday FRIDAY

Friday has always been my favorite day of the week. Even though it involves work during the day (or previously work and school during my college and high school years), there is just so much anticipation and excitement throughout the day. I am so productive on Fridays because I know there is a break in sight. It's kind of like Christmas Eve. All of the excitement of Christmas Day, but you still get to look forward to it.

Fridays are even more important in my post grad life. I am thankful for my job, but I have to admit, it uses up a lot of my brain power. Fridays are the light at the end of the tunnel. In college, there are of course Friday and Saturday party nights, but there are also Thirsty Thursdays, Wasted get the idea. Pretty much, if you were devoted enough to have a nightlife, you could go out any night of the week and still reasonably function the next day.

In work life there are Friday nights, and Saturday nights. More power to the people that can still go out during the week and function at a 9-5 position. I just can't. Tonight as I sip on a margarita and indugle in Mexican food, I will rejoice knowing that tomorrow I can sleep in past 7:00 am.

Happy Friday post grads! What's your favorite weekend day, and why?

End of the Semester

It's finals week, and I am so stressed about all of my papers, tests, and presentations. I can't wait until I get to go home for a month to relax after this insane semester.

This has been my thought process around this time of year for the past four years or my life. Insane stress levels that resulted in energy drink binges, late night study sessions, and finally that feeling of absolute freedom when it was all over.

This does not exist in post grad world. Well, the stress is still there, but it comes in a different form. For me, my work stresses revolve around writing and researching, because that's what I do all day. I try to write articles that people care about, and then stress about whether they are being read. The stress is lessened, but consistent.. where in the college world, you can have relatively a care free semesters, but a finals week that makes you want to rip your hair out.

As much as I miss parts of college, I think I like the post grad schedule stress schedule much more. What about you readers?

Hit Me!

Allison had a pretty inclusive list of ways to make money outside of your salary. I learned a new one this weekend. It's more fun than babysitting, earns more money than dog walking, and doesn't require giving up any of your possessions. I became a BlackJack dealer this weekend.

There are companies that are hired to make Vegas Nights happen. Whether it be an office holiday party like the one I worked this weekend, a birthday party, or just a fun night of gambling, dealers are in demand. At least in the DC metro area they are.

If you know how to play BlackJack, Craps, Roulette or Poker you should look into these companies. Most will provide basic training for those who have never been on the dealing end before. It's also not that big of a deal if you make minor mistakes. It's illegal to play with real money at these parties so you aren't really taking anyone's money. The top winners tend to win prizes instead. At the party I worked one of the prizes was a 46 inch flat screen television.

And let me tell you, the money is good. Most of the parties last for about 3 hours and the dealers who get to sit down make around $75 for it. That's $25 an hour. Plus whatever tips you can get. Yeah, tips can be good. Not to mention you can meet a lot of eligible people there for all you singles. So go check it out Post Grads, deal yourselves a winning hand.

How to Make Money (When Your Salary Doesn't Cut It)

That's right, I have the secret to making extra income so that you'll never have to work full time again! Do I sound like a bad advertisement on the sidebar of your Facebook page yet?

The truth is, to make money- you've got to put in the time. Working a full time job is an excellent way to secure financial freedom, but sometimes it just isn't enough to take care of all of our other expenses. Here are a few tips for how to make some money on the side, while still have time for your original full time job.

- Freelance projects. If you are a writer, designer, or have any skill that others may not, consider taking on freelance assignments for extra cash.

-Babysitting. We've all done it at one point in our lives. This is a great way to make some additional money! Babysitting hours are often at night, which means it won't interfere with your workday. Come up with rates and post ads on local bulliten boards or community websites to get yourself going.

-Dog Walking. This sounds like something a child might do, but if you live in a city, you'd be surprised how many people would be so thankful to have someone take their dog out for a jog a few times a week!

-Bartending/ Waitressing/ Retail. These second jobs are not glamorous, but the hours generally do work in conjunction with the typical 9-5 schedule.

-Sell things! This is not a consistent source of income by any means, but let's say you need money for a security deposit or for the holiday season. Look around your room and storage space and think about what you really need. List the things you don't need or use on craigslist and see what happens! Downsizing is an excellent way to earn some extra cash.

Any more ideas?

Chill Out Playlist

Do you ever just hate all the music you have in your itunes? You want something new but have no idea where to find it? Me too. I usually ask friends for recommendations. Today a friend introduced me to It has playlists that other people have already created for you to listen to. For free.

While on the topic, though, I decided that I should give you all one of my personal playlists to explore. I've been trying to listen to a lot of chill music lately to calm my nerves and decrease the anger bubbling inside. Have a listen Post Grads and let me know if you have any recommendations for me!

  1. Morcheeba "Over and Over"
  2. Jack's Mannequin "What Gets You Off"
  3. Mike Posner "Please Don't Go"
  4. Eric Hutchinson "Rock and Roll"
  5. G. Love and Special Sauce "Peace, Love and Happiness"
  6. Justin Nozuka "Be Back Soon"
  7. Pink Floyd "Wish You Were Here"
  8. Vampire Weekend "One"
  9. The Postal Service "Sleeping In"
  10. The Eagles "Peaceful Easy Feeling"
  11. Sara Bareilles "King of Anything"
  12. Eric Clapton "I've Got a Rock and Roll Heart"
  13. Thriving Ivory "Secret Life"
  14. Michael Franti "All I Want is You"
  15. The Killers "Spaceman"
  16. Jack's Mannequin "Holiday From Real"
  17. Morcheeba "The Sea"

Holiday Office Parties

It's that time of year again. When the higher ups want to do something nice for their employees but really just force you to spend even more time with your coworkers. Don't get me wrong, I am all for holiday office parties. I am very much looking forward to my own to be held next week. There are some tricky parts of them to keep in mind though while having some team bonding.

  1. Alcohol. What is appropriate? Typically the rule of thumb is just not to get shwasted. It's alright to get your drink on, but don't get sloppy. Remember that you are still around your coworkers in a work environment and they will likely judge you professionally for it. This is a little trickier for my personal office party because my boss doesn't drink. Not sure how to handle that yet.
  2. Are you obligated to go? Sometimes you really just don't want to attend. However, you may lose out on some imperative work place bonding. Unless you have already put in your 2 weeks notice, you should at least make an appearance. What do you have to lose other than an hour of your life?
  3. Conversation. Talking about work is almost inevitable, that is the one thing you all have in common. However, the party was organized for enjoyment, not for work. Find some other common ground with your coworkers. No need to bring the stress of the office with you into the holidays.
  4. Inter-Office Hook Ups. This is the time of year and occasion where people think it's ok to ignore the fact they work with a person and hook up anyway. If that might be you please steer clear of the mistletoe and don't drink too much. I am the only female that works in my office, I'm very grateful that no one is even close to eligible for me.
On that note, enjoy your first Holiday Office Parties Post Grads!!!!


Let's get real. Shikole and I write a lot of advice posts on this blog about things we've learned so far as new post grads... but if you ever saw our gchat conversations, you would probably stop reading this all together. We're barely keeping our heads above water in this crazy post grad world, and sometimes I feel like I should be getting more advice than I'm giving.

Part of me still feels like a college student. Like I'm on an extended full time internship that will end soon and I'll be going back to school. It's not really that I miss being in college. I'm just in disbelief that it's over.

A few weeks ago, an article that I wrote for my company was published in an actual news publication. I brought the newspaper home for Thanksgiving to show my parents, and realized that it didn't really feel much different from when I used to do design/ writing for my college's magazine or newspaper. Except in this publication, my article was alongside professionals in an industry that I continue learn more about on a daily basis. These type of opportunities were things I strived for in college, to get my writing out there, to build up my portfolio. But now, it's really happening. This is what I've worked for and I'm almost indifferent.

This is where I enlist your help post grads. This time around I'm asking for advice. How do I snap out of it? How did you help you brain finally cope with the idea that you are no longer striving to break into the working world.. that you're now actually part of it?

Mean Old Lady Syndrome

I guess I shouldn't classify my current actions under the term "mean old lady" because there are plenty of very nice ones. Unfortunately, after working at a retail store during my college breaks (Homegoods) that was frequented by this percentage of the old lady population, I have built up quite the stereotype.

These type of ladies are enraged when discounted bird statues aren't on sale for more than the 75% percent off markdown price. They complain about unswept sidewalks, huff over the fact that the bathroom is in the back of the store, and write down our names on their receipts so they can make sure to get us "in trouble" if there were any discrepancies.

Unfortunately, during the past week or so, I think I've started to become one.

I'm not sure if it's the suddenly freezing snowy weather, or other womanly problems bringing it out of me, but I have been quite the feisty "old lady" post grad lately. Last week, the road near my job wasn't plowed, leaving it an icy mess the next day. I called up the City of Rochester to complain.

Yesterday, I called up my landlord and told him that we NEED a new flusher chain on our toilet because the safety pin trick he keeps trying to make us use is just not cutting it anymore. He said he would see what he could do, and I said I'll see him within the next two days.

I then called him up again later that night to tell him that our lease states our driveway will be plowed if more than three inches of snow fall. We had about 8 or so yesterday, and I ended up shoveling the whole thing twice (with help from my very nice boyfriend)... no snow plows in sight. This morning he sent a plow over at 2am. Yes, it was annoying and woke me up- but at least it was done.

I think I might actually like this side of me. I've found that if speak my mind with confidence, people will eventually listen and do the things that should have been done in the first place. I hope to keep this part up. But, if you ever find me haggling down the price of glassware in a home decor store, please tell me to snap out of it.

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Did I Mention It's Snowing?

When people told me it snows a lot in Rochester, I honestly didn't think I would notice that much of a change from my hometown (also in upstate NY), or my college town (only 30 minutes away from Rochester). I now understand what it means to live close to Lake Ontario. It means snow, every day. Not blizzard conditions by any means, but just constant, steady, snow.

The photos above were taken from my bedroom window this morning... welcome to winter!

UPDATE: 4:34 pm Today I got myself out of my "I hate snow" funk and went for a walk around my neighborhood in a snow storm. I bundled up with my coat, hat, scarf, mittens, and snow boots and set out armed with my camera. Right now I'm operating without any photo editing software so please don't mind the poor quality of these photos. Here are a few more from my walk today.

This planetarium is pretty much behind my apartment in Rochester!

While I may be just a tad stressed out about my Dodge Neon slipping and sliding to work during these snowy days, I love that this Sunday I could just go for a walk to a local coffee shop and relax, when this time of the year was always so hectic as a college student. No finals, presentations, or evaluations for us, post grads! Just the holiday season to embrace!

Istanbul or Bust

During our giveaway a reader had requested more posts about travel. Lucky for Rachel, I plan on doing just that when I get my tax return. I have been considering many places to go for my 10 vacation days from work. I was thinking Israel because I love Jewish men, and also Germany because I'm German and love beer. I considered Maldives because my roommate showed me a gorgeous hotel and resort there that has an underwater restaurant. But I think I have decided that I really want to go to Istanbul. I went online and found a round trip plane ticket as well as 7 nights at a hotel for only $850. I would go in March around my birthday and fly out during the week which cuts down on flight costs.

Hotel Agan is the best one I found. It is located within walking distance of the Blue Mosque, one of the many sights I plan on seeing while there. It's officially called the Sultan Ahmed Mosque but gained it's nickname because of the blue tiles inside.

The Topkapi Palace is another site I plan on visiting. It was the main residence for the Sultan during the reign of the Ottoman Empire. I would love to walk through such a beautiful building and gardens that has been in existence for so long. I'm especially interested in visiting the Harem. I've read about them in so many books and want to actually see what one looks like.

The last place currently on my list of places to visit is the Grand Bazaar. Haggling with the Turks sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon.

Any other suggestions on where to go in Istanbul?

Snow Day

Oh wait... no. Snow days don't exist anymore in the post grad world!

While I believe that many parts of my undergraduate education failed to prepare me for the working world, this was actually not one of them. My college, located in very winter-y Western, NY, had two official "snow days" the entire four years I attended. Both were during my freshman year. One was due to a blizzard, and the other because the insane wind chill made in dangerous for us to walk outside. Apparently those snow days were the first in 50+ years.

So basically, I'm used to figuring out ways to make it to class and work during inclement weather. The difference now is that I am reliant on a car to get me to my job that is about 10- 15 minutes from my apartment. In college, I either lived on campus, or close enough where I could walk to campus if I needed to. In post grad life, it seems like the annoyance of winter weather is magnified.

To cope, I'm trying my best to make sure that my car maintenance is up to date, that I have my handy small shovel in my trunk, and an ice scraper. Today I avoided the nearest highway, where people tend to get into accidents if it's raining outside, and opted to take slower city streets home from work. Remembering to brake slowly and avoiding sudden jerks of the steering wheel are two more tips that have helped me stay safe in the snow these past few years.

Happy un-snow day post grads!