10 Questions- Allison

Shikole and I have been wanting to make videos a part of this blog for a long time. We finally decided that since we've been getting some awesome traffic lately from 20 Something Bloggers, it was the right time to make a "get to know you" video. So, we made up a list of 10 random questions for each of us to answer. Here are mine! Shikole's video will be coming up soon!

Apple Bread

It snowed this weekend. Granted, we did not get nearly as much as the Tri-State area, but DC doesn't usually get snow at all, let alone in October. And cold weather is yet another trigger that makes me want to bake.

So I decided to make some apple bread. Apples are a great fall flavor and I have been wanting to incorporate them into a recipe for a few weeks now. I also recently bought a bread pan that I wanted to break in, so a bread was definitely in order.

2 Apples, chopped
1 Stick of butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine butter and sugar until smooth
3. Beat in eggs
4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and cloves
5. Mix dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until dough forms.
6. Fold in apple pieces
7. Bake for 1 hour

I wish I could share how it turned out, but it is still baking. My apartment smells amazing right now, though, which is always a good sign. The aroma is also helping my creative process, my NanoWrimo outline is coming together splendidly.

Halloween Light Show Video

Happy Friday! Since this weekend I'm sure lots of post grads will be out and about celebrating the holiday, I thought I'd share this awesome light show I saw circulating around Facebook. This is completely awesome, but can you imagine their electric bill?

Sex Dreams

We all have them. And while Allison has been all productive making pumpkins and cleaning her apartment, I've been over analyzing my inappropriate, out of my control, slumber movies.

My latest sex dream made work today very awkward. Although, I don't know if it even counts as a sex dream. Every friend I have said that to today has had the response, "How can you not be sure? Either it was or it wasn't."


My dream involved the cuddling while scantily clad, in the same bed, with hair amiss. Picture that. Now tell me what just happened. Sex. It was very apparent that the deed was done, but luckily I did not have to witness it in my head. So, there is a "kinda" sex dream.

Some of you may be thinking, "Why would you want to miss the fun part of the dream?"

Well, readers, my kinda sex dream was with one of my bosses. That's right, I had to go to work today knowing that in my dream I had had relations with one of my bosses, and then cuddled. I felt dirty all day even though I had not actually done anything. It was horribly awkward.

And of course now I am over analyzing the kinda sex dream. What does it mean that we did it in my subconscious? Am I attracted to my boss? Am I really desperate to get laid? Was it good? Would it be good? I looked up dream meanings on different websites but none of them had a clear explanation for me, mostly because i only had a Kinda Sex Dream. An article at Divine Caroline had the most helpful response for me, but still did not make my day less awkward.

Have any of you had a really awkward sex dream? Please share so I feel the slightest bit less strange about having a kinda sex dream about one of my bosses.

Apartment Detox

This weekend I completed the "throw away 50 things" challenge from my last post. Let me tell you, it was an amazing experience. It reminded me of one of those those fancy rejuvenating juice cleanses that eliminates your toxins, except for your apartment. Or so I've heard.... I don't have the will power needed for juice cleanses.

I'm pretty positive that I could easily find about fifty more things in my place to trash and will definitely repeat this "apartment detox" in the next few months. Having less clutter around helps me to feel at peace, which is exactly what I need after a long day of work. Here's photo evidence of my results:

In the mix: shrunken clothing, old credit card bills, assorted beauty products, old magazines, college papers, uncomfortable shoes, art project disasters.. the list goes on and on.

In addition to my cleaning binge this weekend, my boyfriend and I went pumpkin picking and carved them up Saturday afternoon! I carved mine into a nighttime scene, as depicted below. Did anyone else know that white heirloom pumpkins have light green insides? You learn something new everyday..

Throw Away 50 Things

I have a little bit of an issue with throwing things away. I'm not a hoarder by any means (you've seen my apartment! I have proof!), but I do sometimes find myself attached to certain things that hold "sentimental value" that really just clutter up my life and surroundings. Old copies of the magazine I wrote for in college? Sure, it would be fine to save one of those.. except I found about ten copies of each issue in my old college backpack the other day. A necklace that I bought for a school dance in high school? It might hold a sweet memory, but I had questionable taste back then, and it's pretty much just clogging up my jewelry box at the moment.

There's also plenty of un-sentimental clutter, like the almost empty Bath & Body Works lotions I save just in case I need to smell like Cherry Blossom or Sensual Amber someday. Or the old bank statements that accumulated on my desk before I finally went paperless.

So, this weekend I plan to use an idea I read about on the website Makeunder My Life and throw away 50 things in my apartment. The fifty items can include clothing, outdated paperwork, or even smaller things smaller things like makeup or dried up highlighters (yup, pretty sure I've got some of those laying around too). I'm planning to donate anything that's in good shape, but the rest of my junk will be finding a new home in the dumpster.

Stay tuned for photos.. this should be interesting. Anyone else want to take part in the challenge with me? Link up your blog below!

Flashback Friday

A week or so ago I linked up a few of our favorite relationship posts and today I'm going to link back to a few of our best posts on apartment living!

Home Sweet Apartment A guide to furnishing your first place and a few photos of mine!
Flood Waters Rising When disaster strikes..
ISPs for Dummies We're all connected to the Internet in our apartments.. learn more about your provider!
Making the Best of It My decision to move to Rochester, NY and what I learned,
What Moving Has Taught Me About Independence One of the hardest parts of apartment living? Moving!

Have a great weekend post grads! Tomorrow I am planning to do almost every fall activity possible. This will include pumpkin picking, carving, a fall foliage ski lift ride, and finishing the day off with a haunted house! What are your plans?

The Game of Life

Do you remember playing the board game when you were a kid? Picking what color car was just given to you to play with and getting in line to "attend college" at the start? When I was younger I actually did the math to figure out how old you were supposed to be when each of the major events happened on the board. Please don't ask me what it came out to, I don't remember and have no intention of doing that much math again.

Looking back at this game now I cannot understand why it was fun because it is so unrealistic. Maybe it was fun, BECAUSE it was unrealistic. Just looking at the Big Green "Pay Day" squares gets on my nerves. Automatic pay day? Really? I wish I got an automatic payday for driving around in my car.

This game made me believe that if you went to college, you got a cool job. That was all: college = job. This is false and the makers of the game should rethink that. Even more aggravating, though, is that everyone bought a house. Everyone automatically had enough money to buy one, wanted one, and got one at the same time. There was no "apartment living" or "crashing on a couch", no, everyone bought a house, even if it was the beat up trailer option.

I want to remake The Game of Life into something more realistic so that no other generation of children grows up with such butterfly and rainbows expectations. Changes will include:

  • Instead of "have a baby girl" the space will read. "pregnancy test positive" and then there will be 2 options "have the baby" or "abort!" Aborting will get you a life LIFE token.
  • Rockstar will not be a career option. It will be replaced with Unemployed.
  • There will be no stop sign forcing you to marry or buy a house or get a job, there will be no stop signs at all.
  • Loans for college will now be $80,000 instead of $40,000. Maybe college cost that little back in the 60s when this game was created, but not anymore.
  • Paydays are not automatic, they only happen when you spin a 10. Then you will realize how lucky you are to be getting paid.
  • You walk your little person around the board until you can afford a car.

It is sad how unrealistic everything is when we are children. From Disney movies to board games, we grew up with some very false ideas in our heads. I guess it's time to grow up and play Gin Rummy instead. Gin and Rum are things that haven't changed since we were kids.

What's Your Walk Score?

One of the major priorities I keep in mind when apartment hunting is walkability. I love where I live in Rochester because I have restaurants, cafes, and grocery stores all within a few blocks of my apartment. I know wherever I live next, I will have to be positive that I can walk to at least some nearby attractions.

It was pretty easy for me to determine where I wanted to live in Rochester since I went to college nearby and could scope out neighborhoods before my move, but this wouldn't have worked if I was moving across the country for a new job. Thankfully, Walkscore.com exists as a useful tool for post grads that might be moving to a brand new area and are looking to live in a walkable neighborhood.

The Walk Score website is extremely easy to navigate and provides a "walk score" for any address or city in the U.S on a scale from 0-100. For example, the walk score for my current apartment is an 82/100.. pretty good in my opinion! The walk score for the town where Shikole and I grew up? 6/100. This is why we moved to cities, people.

Another valuable tool on the website is their new apartment search/ commute calculator. No one likes to be stuck in an hour of traffic after working 8 hours. This tool helps you to locate apartments near your job and takes into consideration your preferred mode of transportation for commuting (by foot, public transportation, or car).

Hope you find some of these tools helpful! Let me know if any of you have experiences with Walk Score!

Maple Spice Cookies

When I am stressed I bake. And for this Post Grad, it has been an extremely stressful week, month and year. I actually feel like the Friends theme song is my anthem: my job's a joke, I'm broke and my love life is D.O.A. SO to remedy the situation I took a trip to the baking aisle of Safeway to get some supplies.

Today I decided to make a delectable fall treat: Maple Spice Cookies. Sweet but not too sweet with a touch of spice, all wrapped up in a golden brown cookie.


2 cups Flour
1/3 Cup Butter
1 Egg
1 Egg white
3/4 Teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 Teaspoons maple extract
1 Teaspoon vanilla Extract
1 Cup Brown Sugar
A few dashes each of All Spice, Cloves and Cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 325
2. Combine the sugar and butter (softened) until mixed thoroughly
3. Add the eggs and extracts. Beat until well blended.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and spices.
5. Gradually add dry mixture to wet mixture while stirring. It is ready when it forms a dough.
6. Put balls of dough on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes until done.
I also like toppings on cookies, so half of these got Maple Syrup drizzled on top and the other half got a thin layer of frosting. Both turned out to be the perfect fall cookie and made my stress levels temporarily decrease. I am sure the sugar also helped.

The Tech World

I used to know nothing about technology. By nothing I mean I could press the "on" button and then I was lost.

After being at my job for about 16 months, I now have some knowledge as to how things work. So much so that I can give instructions as to how to set up email from the server on an iPhone. But now I have noticed that I've crossed over to the dark side.

When friends explain the state of their technology at work I get stressed out. The company my roommate works at does not even have a domain. They use gmail. And not one of their computers has more that 512MB of storage space. I actually had a reaction to this; I needed to fix it. I started laying out an upgrade plan in my head and explaining why my way is better. And I actually knew what I was saying.

I was watching FlashPoint the other night and had a similar reaction. They started talking about assigning a dynamic IP to something and I actually started yelling at the television. You need a static IP to do anything like that.

This is no doubt a sign that I work too much, but it is also a sign that I am learning things I never had an interest in before. I still don't think I have much of an interest, but knowing that rebooting a computer solves most of its issues is very helpful in life.

I am glad that this job has taught me something, but I hate that I am now picking up on tech related issues outside of work. I need to bake something to make this all better. Maple Spice Cookies anyone? (hint: there will be a recipe up for this later.)


When I moved to Rochester, I knew about four people in the entire city. I figured this would be a great start to making friends, but soon realized that my boyfriend and I worked very opposite schedules and my college friends had busy lives and their own significant others to spend time with.

So, I started looking into other options. I considered taking classes (which required money I didn't really want to spend) and volunteering (still attempting to get more involved in this). I eventually decided to check out a website I'd read about in a few magazines: meetup.com

The only problem? Every Rochester meetup group seemed to cater towards 40 and 50 year old singles who loved to cook together and go bowling. Needless to say, these groups didn't exact fit what I was looking for. After thoroughly searching all the groups in the Rochester area, I finally just decided to create my own group for Rochester 20 somethings. Putting myself out there as an organizer made me responsible for planning fun events for a group of people I had never met. I was very nervous before attending my first meetup, but thrilled when I saw the number of members triple over the first few weeks of creating the group.

It turns out, I had nothing at all to be worried about. In my past year in Rochester I've met tons of nice new people through the group, and I plan to join meetup groups in every city I move to from here on out. Meetup.com has improved their site since I began the group and now any group member can create an event on the site. This takes a ton of pressure off of the meetup organizer and has helped to make our now 100+ member group much more collaborative. As a group we've held picnics, bar hops, hiking excursions, brewery tours, concerts, visited art galleries, and so much more.

I've since stepped down from my "organizer" meetup position, but I still attend events regularly and have met some some great friends through the site. I would definitely recommend this site to anyone moving to a new city. If there's not a group out there that fits your age group or interests, don't hesitate to make your own!

Have any of you attending a meetup event in your area? What were your thoughts?

Charity Walks

I really enjoy participating in Charity Walks. I love knowing that there are thousands of people there walking with me that also want to help. I love walking in DC because there are so many historical monuments and picturesque scenes along the way. I love knowing that my small contribution and an hour of my time will help people who need it more than I do. And I still love the shirt you get for participating.

In DC there is a Charity Walk "season" if you will. Between September and December there is a walk almost every weekend for a different cause. Next weekend is the Light the Night walk for Leukemia and Lymphoma, the Help the Homeless walk is right before Thanksgiving, you get the idea.

In a couple weeks my friends and I will be participating in the Whitman- Walker Aids walk for the 5th year in a row. DC has the highest rate of Aids infection in the country so this walk is a very personal one for many people who participate. We have a team called the Awkward Turtles if anyone in the DC area would like to join us in our quest. If you are not in the DC area and can spare a few dollars we would also appreciate donations to the cause.

Do any of you participate in charity walks in your city?

Bring It Around Town

We have nearly 400 posts on this little site of ours so I thought it might be fun to link to a few of my past favorites in upcoming entries! It's Friday, which means it's "date night" for many post grads out there, so I'm linking to a few of my favorite entries from our relationship category!

Wedding Bells Are Ringing
Post Grad Dating Rituals
Online Dating
When Dating Becomes A Chore

Also, check out Lauren's Thoughts for a few cute fall inspired date ideas!

Guest Post: Why Blogging Isn't a Waste of Time

A few weeks ago we discovered Erin over at Analyfe. She has a fantastic blog that covers musings of a Post Grad trying to navigate life. Obviously we were drawn to her. Below is a guest post she has agreed to grace us with. Please read about her other topics, books, and thoughts, over at Analyfe when finished.

"Have you applied for any jobs recently?" I glance up guiltily from my blog stats every time I'm asked this question. Truth is, five months after graduation and ten months after beginning my job search, I've lost hope in the conventional job search. Companies receive hundreds of applications for each position, and unless you're the cream of the crop, you aren't even considered.

The past month or so, I've taken networking to an extreme. Rather than being ashamed of my unemployment, I've become eager to learn about every possible opportunity. I've stepped out of my comfort zone and forced myself to talk to people about my skills, my interests, and even my blog.

I've been blogging for about ten months and it's not been something I talk about; however, lately I've reconsidered whether blogging is really a bad thing. Maybe through writing and maintaining a blog, I'm building marketable skills.

  • I blog daily as part of WordPress Post-a-Day 2011, which shows my dedication, persistence, and commitment.
  • Ten months ago, WordPress terrified me and I didn't understand anything. I've since mastered nearly every aspect of the site and its tools and resources. I’m a quick learner.
  • Blogging makes me a better writer; it helps me develop my voice, hone in my skills, and simply gain more experience.
  • Having a public blog exposes me to the world and makes me vulnerable, yet this vulnerability allows for constructive criticism and compliments from strangers. My fear of criticism has disintegrated and my adaptability has skyrocketed.
  • Blogging is essentially an extensive social network. The blogosphere is where I can go and know that I'm not alone, that others like me are struggling to find work and to find their way. Blogging gives me hope and encouragement.
  • I promote my blog through Twitter, a Facebook page, 20 Something Bloggers, and Google Plus. I've unknowingly become a social media marketing maven. I know how efficiently to share what I have to offer, as well as discover and promote others' content. I understand how the internet mediates mutually beneficial relationships among web users and know how to take advantage of it.

Going back to networking, I was recently put into contact with the owner of a small local paper. I offered my personal blog as a sample of my writing and she was thoroughly impressed with my work. I'm still in the training stage, but I hope to take on the job of freelance copywriter for the paper, and eventually write feature stories.

Another company got in touch with me, offering an interview. "I have several resumes in front of me, many from applicants far more qualified than you, but your cover letter was phenomenal. I'd like for you to come in so we can talk a bit." My good writing skills led to an interview I probably wouldn't have gotten otherwise. I still can’t stop grinning.

I've received criticism for spending so much time blogging when I "should" be out looking for a job. I've often felt guilty about this; however, in the past few weeks I've realized that blogging is actually helping me in my job search. Blogging is improving my writing skills and enhancing my ability to commit to a project and see it through. Blogging is teaching me to self-promote, network, and empathize with others (by following their personal blogs). Blogging has boosted my confidence and kept me sane. Without realizing it, blogging has prepared me to face the adverse economy.

Blogging isn't a waste of time. Don't let anyone tell you it is.

City Mouse

Allow me to paint the scene for you.

It's Wednesday night. I had just come home from an awesome night celebrating my friend's birthday and tasting Oktoberfest beers. I walked into my kitchen leisurely for a glass of water, flick on the light and see something tiny and brown scurry under my microwave. I let out a scream that probably woke up neighbors on both sides of my apartment.

I have never seen a live "wild" mouse in person, only in pet stores and in cages. We found a dead mouse in the apartment I lived in last year, but it was almost a given in that space. The apartment was run down, and old, with lots of nooks and crannies for mice to hide. But not my new apartment!! I clean diligently here, it appears like my apartment is sealed off, and my building is well maintained.

With my adrenaline pumping, I cornered the mouse, tipped up its little microwave hiding spot, and screamed again as the tiny mouse came hurdling right towards me after an HOUR of luring it out. I used my broom to scare it back away, and it jumped off of my counter and under the refrigerator. I spent the next hour googling "things mice hate". Eventually I fell asleep at 2 am, petrified that I would wake up with a mouse in my bed.

Mouse: 1 Allie : 0

This weekend, my boyfriend baited traps with peanut butter and we hoped to lure my new furry roommate out from under the fridge. All weekend long we noticed that the traps were moved slightly, and peanut butter had been eaten.. but no mice were being caught! 

Mouse: 2 Allie:0

So, I'm taking more preventative measures. Did you know that mice hate the smell of dryer sheets, cayenne pepper, and mint? Right now my kitchen smells like an overly seasoned laundry room.

Anyone have any ideas for trapping this guy that I haven't thought of? I'm thinking about borrowing a friend's cat..

NanoWrimo Season

November is novel writing month. Every year NanoWrimo has a writing contest where participants write a novel in a month. I participated last year but only got about 1700 words out of the 50,000 that were required to complete the challenge. I did, however, at least force myself to start writing again.

This year, I already have a concept in mind. I still don't know if I will make it to 50,000 words in just 30 days, but I'm already in better shape than last years challenge.

I think I have mentioned before that I want to write a book of personal essays. Think David Sedaris meets Chelsea Handler with a splash of Sloane Crosley. That will be my book. I also already have a few topics in mind for chapters of my novel in the making. Wait, I think that is now 2 steps ahead of where I was last year.

The rules state that writing cannot begin until November, but I think planning my writing before then is completely legitimate.

I know that several of my friends and fellow bloggers are participating in this challenge as well. I would love you to add me as a writing buddy on the site! Let me know if you're interested and I will send you my username.

Good luck to all. Let's write some novels.

Guest Post at Analyfe

Our fellow blogger, Erin, of Analyfe has been gracious enough to let us do a guest post for her. It is up now and we hope you all will check it out! You should also read past our guest post to her own posts because they are fantastic.

Thank you Erin!