Single Girl Problems

We have not been writing many posts related to relationships in Post Grad lately, and my older post about being Post Grad and Single is still getting a lot of traffic (thanks all!) so I figured it was about time to add another relationship post.

Now, I'd like to start off by saying that I love being single. I love the freedom and independence, not having to answer to anyone else or plan around anyone else's schedule. I love the possibilities. You never really know when you will meet the next man worthy of a date, so you look at every single one you pass and wonder if something will change him from a stranger to a lover.

That said, being Single also has it's drawbacks. The most prevalent problems I am facing are below:

  1. No one else is around to kill bugs/mice but me. And I will if I have to, but it is certainly nice to have a man around to be all tough and manly and just take care of it.
  2. I have no t-shirts to steal... I mean wear. For some reason mens' t-shirts are just SO much more comfy.
  3. I get self conscious about sex. Not the act itself, trust me that's fine, but the potential numbers I'm accumulating while single. There's a movie that just came out with Anna Farris called "What's your Number?" where she finds her exes in order to avoid raising her number. Yup, done that.
  4. For some reason men like to be the one driving, which is fine by me. Especially in this city, driving is stressful. But alas, while single I have to drive myself around.
Now if those four things could be solved, AND I could stay single, I think I'd be a happy camper.

Home Sweet Apartment

I showed you all a few pictures of my apartment when I had just moved in back in May, but I thought I would share a few more since I've been settled for a few months. Living on my own as a post grad has been the best decision I've made in a long time. While I'm not opposed to having apartment-mates in the future, they will need to be friends that I know I'm compatible with.

Here are a few photos of my finished apartment and some suggestions for furnishing your first solo place!

Tip #1: USE CRAIGSLIST. My coffee table, tv stand, desk, swivel chair, bookcase, and kitchen table are all from Craigslist. I get a little weirded out buying couches or chairs from Craigslist (I worry about bed bugs or other infestation issues), but I know plenty of people that have been successful getting couches off of the website. If you are comfortable with used things, you could literally furnish your whole apartment with affordable second hand items.

Tip #2: Dual purpose pieces. After a ton of research, I ended up purchasing my futon from Walmart for about 150 dollars. I chose this one because I knew I wanted to have friends and family come visit me and have a comfortable place to sleep. It's pretty comfortable as a couch and also opens up into an awesome sleeping area.

Tip #3: Choose your splurges carefully. I love interior design and design blogs, so it's easy to be swept away by adorable pieces I see. My splurge item will always be bedding, and eventually when I move into a larger apartment, and comfy sectional couch. My splurge for this apartment was my flower chair. It was a little over a hundred dollars from Target, but I thankfully had a 50 dollar gift card to put towards it, making it much more reasonable.

Tip #4: Keep an eye on the curb. The end table next to my futon was found outside of my office next to a dumpster and I have seen a ton of awesome pieces while running through my neighborhood that I would love to take if I had the space. Craigslist may be cheap, but curbside shopping is free!

Tip#5 Pay attention to apartment bulletin boards. I haven't gotten any of my pieces this way, but people use the bulletin board in my apartment building all the time when they are moving and looking to get rid of things. I've seen free chairs, tables, and couches listed.

The Wicked, Beloved Goon Squad

This weekend was the National Book Festival in DC, one of my favorite free festivals offered in the Nation's Capital. Every year authors gather in different themed tents to speak to their fans as well as sign books. This year there was even a Magic School Bus that children could walk through.

The author line up this year was impressive and I was so excited to see them I woke up at 7:30am on a Saturday morning to make sure I could get downtown in time for the 10am start time. That's commitment right there.

The three authors I heard speak were phenomenal and each one offered up something different. I left with several pieces of advice from each and a lot of inspiration.

The first speaker was Toni Morrison. Yes, the same woman who wrote Beloved and Jazz and several other books that you've probably heard of. This woman is apparently 80 years old (for some reason every single author felt the need to share their age) and is absolutely amazing. She told 2 anecdotes I could relate to but my favorite was her explanation of how she learned that words were powerful. She said she was about 5 and writing with chalk outside with her sister when she saw a word in graffiti on a building. They wanted to learn the word so they copied it in chalk. Then their mother came out and freaked, making them get the hose to wash the word away. Can you guess what word it was? I'll give you a hint, it starts with F and ends in -uck.

The next author I think I liked hearing the most even though I haven't read any of her books yet. Jennifer Egan wrote "A Visit from the Goon Squad" which I now must read. Her talk was a lot more helpful to me as a writer, she shared her process and gave tips that I very much appreciated. She started by telling us all that her stories start with just a place and a time. Not a character. Not a plot line. Not even a fully developed idea. Just a place and a time are needed to explore where the story can go.

Jennifer also shared that her writing group is an imperative part of her process. A friend and I recently joined one in hopes this would be the case. Hearing this from such an accomplished author makes me appreciate my group even more.

The third and final author I stayed to hear from was Gregory Macguire, author of Wicked. He explained to the audience that he came up with the character for the Wicked Witch of the West from his fascination with Hitler. Yes, Hitler. I really liked that he shared this because it made me realize that as a writer I have the freedom to create a character without boundaries. Previously I have come to a road block in my stories because I have an incomplete idea in my head that I haven't considered altering. He helped me re-discover the creative freedom writing gives.

I would like to thank all the authors who contributed to the festival and especially the three that have inspired me to do more with my current writing projects.

Opposites Attract.. At Least In Entrepreneurship

I recently read an interesting article on The Daily Grindstone about how entrepreneurs should look to partner with those who are their opposites when founding a business. We often hear that opposites attract in romantic relationships (which I don't think is true, but that's another story..), but not so much in the business world. Wouldn't it be more beneficial to partner with someone who mirrors your working style?

Look no further that this blog for proof that working with someone different from yourself can be beneficial. While I am generally quieter, more sensitive, and tend to think creatively, Shikole is not at all afraid to speak her mind, is excellent at networking, and is always the life of the party (those who know her can attest to this fact).  These personality traits do not make us complete opposites, but I do see them come out in our writing style and the way we run this little blog. We balance each other out, and since we share the common goal to make this blog the best it can be, we virtually never step on each other's toes.

I would definitely suggest checking out the article if you and a friend are considering starting a business, or even blog, together.

I'm Not Lost

The Associated Press, as well as other news outlets, have recently taken to calling us "The Lost Generation." All this based on the 2010 Census results that were released this week. While it is obvious that the recession did cause the record numbers of unemployment and living at home that came through in the the Census, the numbers have shown nothing of our determination.
Post Grads have it bad right now. We all know that, the numbers prove that, but the numbers aren't showing things like how many jobs we apply for a week, or how many basement apartments we look at in hopes of sharing with a friend to get out of our parents house.

I resent being called a Lost Generation. It implies that we no longer know what we want. In reality, I think we all know what we want, it is just more difficult to get it. Never the less, we are still trying.

The media needs to give our generation more credit. The statistics are grim but labeling us in a negative manner is not going to improve anything. We at The Real Post Grad want to encourage all of this so-called Lost Generation to prove the country wrong. Let's overcome these statistics and make something amazing!

Busy Days

Sorry we have been MIA for a bit! We are both dealing with some pretty busy schedules this week. We'll be back soon! To apologize for our absence, I leave you with this.


Room by Emma Donaghue

This book stunned me in so many ways. The concept itself was difficult to wrap my head around. It also made me realize that people's coping mechanisms are astounding. The human brain can do such great things when it has to. The entire book is written from the perspective of a 5 year old, but it's his mother that intrigued me most. Imagine having to create a life for yourself and a child in a Room.

Would you think to use egg shells as mosaic tiles so that your child can do art projects? Or use toilet paper rolls to make a castle that beads can play in? Would you be able to come up with reasons to tell your 5 year old why the people in the television can be in grass and outside and he can't?

I don't think I have completely processed this book yet, I am still in shock. I would highly recommend reading it, but only if you are mentally prepared. I was close to tears several times. I was also laughing, though, because a lot of normal things when described by a 5 year old are hilarious.

Rating 4.75/5 stars

In Case You Need To Laugh

Ok, so this video the first time made me think "ohmygodhedied." But every time after that it made me laugh so hard I was almost crying. Imagine me, on a conference call, randomly starting to laugh so hard I'm crying. That was my day today.

Crazy Drink

Last night, I headed out to Wegmans to pick up a few groceries and stumbled upon a very unique drink. It's called "blk." and is mineral water that's naturally black.

The prodcut description from Amazon reads "Our proprietary blend of fulvic acid (a derivative of plant matter) is mined from an 80 million year old source deep within the earth. Naturally black in color, the formula binds to the molecules of our pure Canadian spring water giving blk its signature black color, with no artificial dyes, coloring, or additives. Fulvic acid is critical in the growth of plant life, helping the transportation and absorption of nutrients. Fulvic acid's small molecular structure allows for the fast absorption of over 77 different trace minerals and elements, powerful electrolytes, and antioxidants." 

I had just gone for a long run so I figured I could use some extra minerals and electrolytes, plus, it's black water, so I had to try it. The verdict? It looked like un-carbonated Pepsi and tasted.....just like water. My boyfriend said that if you chugged it, the drink left a slight multivitamin aftertaste (ew) in your mouth, which I couldn't really taste.

The effects for me came about an hour afterwards. I suddenly felt so incredibly energized, but not in a caffeine induced sort of way. My stomach had the same feeling I get after taking a multivitamin. Needless to say, I wish I had saved my blk. drink for this morning!

I definitely would suggest that anyone try this new drink. I found mine right in the checkout line, but you can also order them online through sites like Amazon. Not only will you get a ton of minerals your body may be lacking, but you can also brag that you drank black water. Or freak people out with it. Your choice :).
My only advice is to drink it before 8pm, as it does give you a kick of energy!

Love Lost

Since graduating I have lost my love for politics. I was a political science major for 4 years and adored following the polls and critiquing the platforms and watching the debates. Now I feel like all of politics is a game of manipulation that I don't want to play.

Opening the New York Times on my computer screen this morning is what cemented this feeling. There was a headline that read "Seeing Ripple in Jewish Vote." I like Jews so I read the caption of the article: "Republicans are hoping to seize on unhappiness among some Jewish voters over the president’s treatment of Israel."

That is when I got angry. Republican plan on using the unrest of a group of people to gain support. Not only that, but it is a complicated issue that Republicans themselves probably wouldn't have handled any differently. Oh, not to mention that not all Jews are Israeli and they are just putting them all in the same generic group.

I don't want to pretend that I know about the Israeli conflict because it is not my specialty, but I know enough to have lost some respect for my country's politics.

In college an election was exciting. To me it was a chance to make America better. Obviously there are voting blocks that candidates cater to and it is a competition so some people play dirty. I don't think it's exciting any more. I would rather see our politicians helps people and better the country instead of waste their time going in circles about the debt ceiling. The debt ceiling is important, but not more important than the homelessness in our country, or the job market, or the schools that are suffering. I think our politicians need to get their priorities straight and stop playing games.

On a similar note, I really want to know how much money is spent on elections compared to charity in an election year. Think about it.

Post Grad Pets

My office is located near the downtown area of Rochester, yet we still seem to attract animals like crazy. Outside of my office we have tons of pigeons and squirrels (not uncommon for a city), woodchucks, about a month ago we found a stray puppy, and most recently a stray kitten. Most of my co-workers are animal lovers (one of them even adopted the stray dog we found.) But we can't help but wonder what's going to show up once we find a home for this cat.  A horse?

What our office stray cat looks like :)
 All of the strays coming around have me thinking about post grad pet ownership. Growing up, I never had a dog or cat (my dad is allergic to animal hair) so I got my childhood animal fix by riding horses. I thought for the longest time that the second I got my own place, I would get a dog or cat to call my own.

Now that I finally have my own place, I've realized that I'm not at a point in my life where I can take care of an animal just yet. From what I can tell, having a puppy is like having a small child and I'm just not home enough to give one the attention it deserves (did I mention I also live in a studio and I love large dog breeds?) While cats have become the new "starter pet" for our generation, I still wouldn't feel right adopting one until I was in the exact right place in my life.

I also thought maybe I would wait until I moved in with a significant other before making a dog purchase. Two sets of hands is better than one with a puppy, right? From what I hear, having a love puppy can be complicated too. I have a friend who took his ex girlfriend to court over a dog they shared and eventually lost custody even though he covered most of the dog's expenses.

I'm interested in learning about your post grad pet experiences! Did you get a pet as soon as you graduated? If so, what kind? Do you find it's tough to take care of  the animal now, or was getting a critter in your twenties the best decision you've ever made?

I'm looking into animal shelters where I can volunteer to get my animal fix. Until then, youtube videos of cute animals will just have to suffice.

Day Trips: Renaissance Festival

Living in the DC metro area gives me access to some amazing events to partake in. One of these events is the Renaissance Festival. What better way to escape the daily grind of Post Grad life than going back in time, drinking Meade and throwing axes? That's right, there is no better way!

Some people go all out with their attire for this. I tried really hard to find a suitable outfit, but to no avail. Turns out I have no clothing for the occasion, but my friends do!

At the festival there are so many shows to watch, all of which are included with admission. One of my personal favorites is the "O'Danny Girls." According to their bio they are " a harmonious trio that is ribald for your pleasure! They will regale you with harmony and lyrics that will tickle your funny bone - and other areas not fit for printing." This is a very accurate description.

There are also rounds of Jousting to watch while a Jester holds up a "Huzzah" sign for the crowd. There mare many comedy acts, a ballet performance, almost anything you can think of they have.

Speaking of anything you can think of, there are so many varieties of food it's amazing. The giant turkey legs are a classic, but there are also things like fried mac and cheese on a stick, fried pickles, fried ice cream, steak on a stake, etc. Between all the fried food and the Meade, though, my stomach was not too happy with me.

If ever you need to escape real world, try going back in time, this Post Grad highly recommends it.


Today marks ten years since 9/11. Do you remember where you were when you found out? 

I was in 8th grade, switching between classes when a friend ran up to me in the hallway and told me that  planes had crashed into the twin towers. I think I was in disbelief, because it didn't really register with me that people were actually inside those buildings, dying as we went about our morning classes. I just remember thinking that it must have been some sort of accident. In the next class periods, our teachers turned on radio news reports and tried their best to explain what was happening. Tons of kids got picked up early from school as the twin towers fell to the ground.

That evening, my family and I sat in the living room and watched the news replay the planes hitting the towers over and over. It was on every single channel and just didn't look real. 

I remember my band teachers telling us how we are all related to each other by some law of sixths (he could have been making that up... he was an interesting man) and we likely knew someone who knew someone that was now dead. I didn't personally know anyone who passed away that day thankfully, but it's likely that there were people in my town who did. Shikole and I grew up and hour and a half north of NYC, and many people in our town are city transplants or work in the city part time.

We sincerely hope that all of those who lost loved ones or were affected in any way by 9/11 are finding some peace today, ten years after the horrible event. Take a second to remember where you were that day, reflect on how far you've come as a person, and think about how far we still need to progress as a nation.


There's no question that everyone and their mom (literally) is on Facebook these days. But what about Facebook's slightly dorkier and business-minded cousin website? Yup, we're talking about LinkedIn today.

When I thought I might like to have a career in online publishing, I made an appointment to talk with one of my favorite professors to see what options were out there for me. Before we got into career options, the first thing she asked me was if I had a LinkedIn profile. I made one that afternoon.

What is LinkedIn?

For those who are only vaguely familiar with the site, your LinkedIn profile is essentially your online resume with a more personal touch. You can write your own "about me" section and link to personal websites/ twitter pages in addition to providing all of your past job and schooling info.  LinkedIn also has a recommendation feature, where past employers can write up summaries on your work experience that will display on your profile.

What you should include in your profile:

One of my professor's best LinkedIn tips: make sure you don't put "SUNY Geneseo (insert your college name here) student" under your profession at the top of your profile, unless your plan is to become a graduate student. I was ready to hit the workforce, so instead I took stock of my personal writing projects and called myself a "magazine journalist and blogger". Since I had examples of where I was published, I felt okay using this title. It made me feel powerful to stop placing myself into the college student category. This is definitely not to say that you should make up a career, but make sure you are giving yourself a title based on your skills, not where you attend school.

The other tip I have for anyone new to LinkedIn is to make sure you commit to your profile. If you want a career as a social media strategist or writer, make sure your profile reflects your skills. Leaving your profile completely empty with only "I'm a recent grad looking for job opportunities" under "about me" is not the way to go about attracting potential employers.

Instead, take the time to write out a thoughtful LinkedIn page. Contact old employers on LinkedIn and ask for recommendations. Hook LinkedIn up to your Twitter account, join LinkedIn groups, and actively participate in discussions.

Why LinkedIn is so valuable:

Resumes are great tools to use in the job hunt, but they can easily get lost in the shuffle of a busy office. LinkedIn is easily accessible anywhere with an internet connection (which is pretty much everywhere nowadays.) For example, every time you write a follow up email to a potential employer, include your LinkedIn page link under your signature. This not only makes you appear social media savvy, but is also a quick way for employers to scan your qualifications and see what past employers have to say about you.

LinkedIn is also a valuable resource for job openings. I'm alerted at least five times a day about job openings in my field that might be of interest to me. It's possible that you and a potential employer will even be members of the same LinkedIn group.
About half of the people I know the professional world actually don't have LinkedIn profiles, which seems crazy to me, since the site is entirely free and easy to navigate. I hope a few of of these tips can help you turn your LinkedIn profile page into the best one possible or inspire you to create one for yourself!

Drive to Work Playlist

It's very hard for me to be happy on the drive to work. It took me from my nice, comfy bed and will provide a headache for the next 9-10 hours, why would I be happy? Unfortunately I have to talk to clients at work so being unhappy is not an option. The only solution I have found is listening to great music on my commute.

  1. Kane Show on 99.5 FM. I know this isn't a song, per se, but the morning show is really funny.
  2. Ida Maria "Bad Karma" It is so upbeat but has a message I can relate to while driving into work.
  3. Kanye West. Just about anything by Kanye. Top 2 right now are "Hell of a Life" and "Power"
  4. Citizen Cope "son's Gonna Rise."
  5. MGMT "Time to Pretend"

What songs do you listen to to make going to work a little less sad?

Working Out Before Work


Last week, I did something that I swore wouldn't be able to accomplish. I dragged myself out of bed at 6am and worked out in the morning before heading to my 9-5 job. I know that tons of dedicated athletes and gym rats do this daily, but for me, doing this twice last week was quite the eye opener.

For the longest time, my nights after work have always been filled with something. Either I was heading to the gym, or cleaning the apartment, teaching piano, seeing friends/boyfriend, getting groceries.. you know how it goes. I felt like I never was home before 7:30 and by the time I'd get back to the apartment, I'd just be too tired to do much of anything. Working out in the morning completely frees up my night time. I'm planning on using my new chunk of free time to go on long walks, read, develop a professional website for myself, and play more music.

What do you do stay healthy while working a 9-5? I'm always looking for new exercise ideas! I've been obsessed with zumba lately.. mostly because the class is so fun that I forget I'm actually toning muscles. I definitely recommend it! I've also always wanted to become a runner, but I find it hard to stay motivated/ entertained during long distances. Give me workout suggestions, friends! :)

Hope you all had a wonderful long weekend!

Why I Love My Friends

Friends are the most important part of being a Post Grad. Almost every other part of your life has changed. You need your friends more than ever. And as we have written before, making friends as a Post Grad is not easy. Who else is going to help you move? Or carry you home when you've indulged in a little too much at happy hour? Your friends of course!

So below are the reasons I love my friends.

  • They judge me juuuuust enough. I hate being judged as a rule, but I also know that I don't always make the best decisions. My friends judge me just enough to let me know that they care and I might be an idiot, but not too much so I know they still love me.
  • They indulge in my culinary adventures. Actually they usually encourage them. How am I supposed to know how fantastic, or vomit inducing, my cooking and baking is unless they try the creations?
  • They encourage my creativity. Now that college is over there is less opportunity that presents itself for being creative, unless you've somehow landed a job in that field. From this blog to the writing group that was just created, without my friends they would not exist!
  • They are dorks just as much as I am. I need to be able to make casual references to The Cave and be understood.
  • They are awesome. 'Nuff said.

I hope all of you have a great Labor Day weekend and that you get to spend it with your friends!

Random Thoughts Before a Long Weekend

Nothing like waking up with a head cold to start off the labor day weekend right! Tonight I'm packing, consuming as much Vitamin C as possible, and then trying to get to bed early so I can wake up, work a half day, and drive 5hrs home for the weekend.

I can't wait to relax at home and see my parents, but I'm also excited because my boyfriend is coming with me this time around. There is something about showing off your hometown to out of town friends or boyfriends that really helps you to see it with new eyes. I'm hoping this weekend will be a great way to send off Summer 2011.

Speaking of that... where did summer go? How is it that college kids are already back to classes? I guess when your working full time summer really is just a season. I can't complain though, because this summer I managed to fit in some pretty fun activities.

1. Last weekend, I visited Niagara Falls (about an hour and a half drive from my apartment). We stayed on the American side, which I have to say is definitely not as nice or built up (or clean) as the Canadian side, but it's always amazing to see those huge falls.

2. I finally went to see a minor league game for the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A affiliate of the Twins). They lost, but watching the game with a beer and popcorn on a beautiful summer night was just so fun and relaxing.

3. Saw fireworks. One of the towns here puts on July 4th display that is on par with Disney World fireworks.

4. Went on a double date mini golfing. So cliche, so summery.

5. Exercised outside and swam! I know I still have more time to do this, but after being cooped up all winter, running around my neighborhood just does not get old.

There's more, but these were some of my favorite summery highlights this season. Are you sad to see another post grad summer leave us behind, or are you ready for fall?