HelloGiggles-Top Ten Signs You're An Adult

This article from HelloGiggles called the Top Ten Signs You're An Adult is completely true for me, especially number 1. Check it out and let us know if any of these signs apply to you. I'm guessing at least five of them apply to most post grads!

P.S. It's New Year's Eve tonight! I will be staying in with my parents tonight to ring in the new year and I can't wait. Especially since I was just visiting some friends in NYC yesterday and we mistakenly ended up walking through the crazy crowds in Times Square. People were already in the corrals to watch the ball drop, at 6pm last night. I know some people thrive on stuff like that, but getting pushed around the sidewalk by tourists with huge backpacks is not appealing at all to me.

This is actually the first New Year's Eve that I haven't had to be someplace wearing something sparkly. I think I'll start out tonight with some wine, a bath, and a face mask. We hope 2012 is the best year yet for all of our readers! Just want to say again how much we appreciate everyone we've connected with since starting TRPG.

Top 5 TV Show Characters I Can Relate To

When I watch TV I have a habit of inserting myself into the show. There is always a character that I either see myself as or can relate to, or looks alarmingly like me. I know this is how the writers want it to be, they need to draw people in by making the characters easy to relate to. However, there have been entire seasons of shows that have mirrored my life, or at least in my head they did.

So, below are the top 5 characters that I relate to.

  1. Jessica from True Blood. This is only because she is my celebrity doppelganger. So much so that my ex was drunkenly convinced that I was a vampire.
  2. Robin from How I Met Your Mother. One of my exes was a Barney and we happened to have been seeing each other the same season Robin and Barney were together. I also would love to be a news anchor and don't want kids.
  3. A mixture of Bree and Lynette from Desperate Housewives. I'm secretly a soccer mom, even though I'd rather be the powerful career woman like Lynette, but I'm also a wine-o control freak like Bree.
  4. Carrie from Sex and the City. I have had my own Mr. Big and being a sex columnist is my dream job. Although I am not even close to making her style mistakes.
  5. Deb from Dexter. Curses too much, works too much, often runs from commitment. We are like soul mates.
I felt like the end of the year deserved some lists of Top things and this is what I came up with so far. What characters resonate with you guys most?

Old Friends

I wrote a post last year about how I feel lucky to have maintained such a solid group of high school friends, but I just wanted to revisit the subject since I spent Monday evening with these same old friends and it was an awesome time. It's great to have people in your life that have accomplished such varied things, but are also still so grounded and easy to pick right back up with after not seeing each other for a year (or years) at a time.
From 2008 ish. Just a few awesome friends hanging out at a laser roller rink
I also think spending time with my diverse group of friends helped to reinforce that there really is no right or wrong at this stage in our post grad life. All of my friends are living such different post grad lifestyles. A few are in serious relationships, some work 60 hour weeks, others are in a completely differently field than they expected, some are in grad school, a few live close to home, and others live across the country.

As a group of friends we've progressed from slightly dorky high schoolers to (still dorky) young adults that are busy working, financing new cars, and renting apartments that cost more per month than what we would make in an entire summer at our high school part time jobs. We get tired at 11pm now and only drink beer that actually tastes good.... we're growing up.

A few of my favorite high school girls. And bonus points because we were actually still in  high school when this pic was taken.
I was sad to say goodbye to my old friends for what looks like another year, but I know we'll be back together, reminiscing about happy times before we know it. And maybe when we all become extremely successful we can take awesome friend-cations and visit each other more than once each year.

Best of 2011

A friend and I have a theory that odd numbered years suck. 2011 was no exception, overall not the best year. However, nothing is all bad, and I would like to share the highlights of my 2011 before it is forever in the past.
  1. My Trip to Turkey. One of the best decisions I have ever made and I will never forget it.
  2. Two raises and a promotion at work. My social life may have gone downhill this past year, but at least my work life is headed in the right direction.
  3. The 2011 National Book Festival. I got to see some of the best authors speak and share.
  4. The writing group I am a part of now. I have gotten a lot of much needed feedback and motivation.
  5. Winery hopping while the weather was nice. Definitely some of the best day trips that exist. (Below is Naked Mountain Winery, yes, it is called, Naked Mountain.)
  6. All the new friends I've made over the past 12 months. I'm pretty much against people, so you should all feel very privileged.
  7. The Hunger Games. Don't even pretend like you didn't read and love them. I can't wait for the movie but have low expectations of it being even close to as good as the books.

How was 2011 for the rest of you? Was it miserable all around or just for me? I can't be the only one this theory applies to. Fingers crossed the even year of 2012 brings many more highlights!

Ho Ho Ho

My roommates both went home for the holiday, one is 22 and one is 32. It got me thinking about what age you start making your own Holiday traditions and stop going home for your parents'. I get that family is a large part of the holidays, and spending Christmas with the family is pretty standard. But at what point do you stop taking days off to travel to see them and instead start doing your own thing for the holidays?

I stopped going home for the holidays last year. I skype with my family on Christmas morning, but that is all. I don't like returning to the small town I grew up in, and we don't really have any traditions, other than the food that is made on Christmas Eve.

Christmas, to me, is almost as much of a Hallmark Holiday as as Valentine's Day. I have no connection to the religious aspect of it, and it all seems to be centered on gifts and food, cheesy music and too many decorations. Don't get me wrong, I love gifts and food, but it's not a reason to travel home for. Especially not when I have friends in town to spend it with.

All Christmas means to me this year is a three day weekend to relax. I have been so stressed lately it is insane. I was so stressed yesterday that a muscle in my toes spasmed. It was a strange sensation I hadn't had before. It threw off my balance because the toe wouldn't stay where I needed it. It's like my body was telling me I had to stay put.

So I plan on cooking, relaxing with friends and watching Dexter this weekend. The holiday will be in the background making the frosting on my cake green and the wine mulled, but it will be just like any other weekend.

Does that make me a Scrooge?

Office Relationships

Lately, I've been watching The Office on Netflix, and am totally entranced by the awkward chemistry that is Jim and Pam. For those that have never seen the show, Jim and Pam are two co-workers at the fictional company Dunder Mifflin who start out crushing on each other and eventually end up together throughout the seasons. I won't give away too much detail in case any of you haven't watched this amazing series yet. I may be a bit biased since John Krasinski (Jim) is one of my celebrity crushes..

Office relationships are really not an issue in my office since the majority of the staff is married, in a relationship outside of the office, or separated by about a 20 year age gap, but I have been wondering what is considered office appropriate in larger companies.

So here's where I turn to you, post grads! Are you allowed to date co-workers at your job? Is it the norm in your office, or frowned upon? Have you ever been in an office relationship? Fill me in!


Hey all, I'll be making a few changes our blog over the next two weeks, so please hang in there as our style changes a bit. I promise the results will be pretty and will make our site a bit easier to navigate!

Winter Beach

Strangely enough, Rochester has not seen any type of major snowfall yet this season. Day after day I hear news reports about how this time last year we already had seen four feet of snow. This year? Nothing!

I figure our luck will run out soon, so I drove about 15 minutes away from the city to Lake Ontario beach to snap a few shots before the snow hits. Due to some lake effect snow last night, there was some actually snow on the beach. I was also literally the only person on the huge beach, which was a little bit eerie. Walking around the abandoned beach made for a peaceful way to spend an afternoon. Makes me wish I lived walking distance to a place like this, maybe minus the snow though. 

The coast of Lake Ontario

This lake is HUGE. Can you see Canada on the other side? 

Gotta love that winter sky

The Theory of Twice Removed

I have a theory about dating. First off, I hate most aspects of it with a passion. I hate awkwardness, I hate the Q&A part of getting to know someone else, I hate the pressure associated with dating a new person. This is how my theory came into being.

There are several ways to meet someone new, but most of them suck. If you meet someone at a bar I can almost guarantee that they will not be in your life more than 3 weeks. You can try online dating, but ever since the Craigslist killer, this creeps me out. You can ask your friends to set you up, but if that goes badly then all the awkwardness increases times a thousand.

My solution: The Theory of Twice Removed. I'll explain. The best people to date are friends of friends of friends.

- If you start dating someone you are friends with shit will likely hit the fan. It could ruin a friendship, your current friends will feel the need to take sides if it ends badly, etc., etc.

- If you start dating a friend of a friend they are still too close in proximity of your main friend group to avoid them. You probably met at a party,
but they will also be at every party after this one. They are pretty well vetted by someone who's judgement you kind of trust, but if it ends badly even more people will feel awkward. Do you really want to be asked why it didn't work while the person is drinking a beer in the other room?

- If you start dating a friend of a friend of a friend you are in a perfect situation. Example: Your friend's, roommate's best friend. They are far enough removed from your circle of friends that you will probably not awkwardly run into them at a party, but close enough that if you are interested it will be simple to get them there. No one's feelings will get hurt if it doesn't work out, except maybe theirs.

The last 3 people I dated fit my theory. None of them worked out, sadly enough, but it doesn't matter because I never really have to see them again. On the bright side, if they do happen to be a mutual friend's party, we can still hook up. It's a great position to be in.

The only issue I have encountered with my Theory, is that everyone tends to hang out with the same people. At some point, the pool of FoFoF will run out. But I think I am willing to take my chances until then.

My First Christmas Tree

This weekend I bought my first Christmas tree! It's amazing that even as a fake tree, this little $7.99 gem resembles a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.... but I still love it. I haven't decorated for Christmas since living on my own, so this tree is kind of a big deal for me. Even though I love traveling home for the holidays to my parent's fully decorated home, I think it's important to make some of my own holiday traditions as a I start to get older. This little tree will be the start of mine :). What about you all? Have you started any awesome holiday traditions of your own since graduating?


Dealing with Stress

Something I think many post grads struggle with is disconnecting from our jobs after work. Whether our bosses can reach us by email or smart phone at any time of the night, or we just torture ourselves by obsessing over work after the day is done, it can get to the point where it's just not healthy.

Last Christmas I whined and complained on this blog about how I only had 2 and a half days home for the entire holiday. At that point, I didn't have paid vacation time, and felt like I was being guilted into only taking one extra day off for the holiday. I hated my friends that got the week in between Christmas and New Years off, resented my company for the limited vacation days, and was generally just in a negative mood for the whole Christmas season.

This year I'm doing things a little differently. I'm taking four vacation days and making the five hour trip home for the entire week between Christmas and New Years. This break is going to give me the chance to see a few more of my downstate NY friends and spend some holiday time with my family that I just didn't get last year. I'm in a much better frame of mind this Christmas season because I have this break to look forward to. I'm allowing myself some time to disconnect.

I think the best way to figure out how you can disconnect is to simply think about what makes you happy (outside of the workplace) and then go for it.  For me, the absolute best disconnect is visiting home and seeing family. I saved up my vacation time for months, and I'm going for it. For others it might be taking a trip to another country, or even having a staycation where you allow yourself to do absolutely nothing.

While taking time away from the office is the ultimate disconnect, it's also important that a disconnect from work can happen on weeknights and two-day weekends too. Here are a few ways to do so:

1. Distract with fun: I'm lucky that my current co-workers and supervisors do not expect me to take work home. However, I'm a stresser by nature and often find myself worrying about various work projects when I'm off the clock. To distract myself, I de-stress after work by running at the gym, reading, teaching myself Dixie Chicks songs on the guitar (yup... maybe I'll post a blog of that sometime..or not), and cooking. All of these activities give my mind something pleasant to focus on that relates in no way to my job.

2. Create space: If your boss has taken to frequently emailing you at your personal email and calling you after working hours, try waiting to contact him/her back until working hours the next day if it's not an emergency. This is a gentle reminder to the company that your home life does not require you to be constantly plugged in, and you might not be available after hours for work related business.

3. Ask for space: If you work in a job that is less regimented with workday hours, consider asking that you be contacted only in the case of emergencies after 7pm every night (or whatever time is comfortable for you). Sometimes being upfront with your employers about your need to unwind can be beneficial, especially if you point out that time for rest means you will be more productive during the day.

Work is an important part of life and being a dedicated employee is great, but allowing work to mentally weigh you down outside of the office is just not healthy. Venting about work to your girlfriends over margaritas is one thing, losing sleep because you are obsessing over the next workday is another.

Do you ever have problems disconnecting from the office? How do you tune out the workday and relax?

Some Favorite Posts

Allison has been summarizing some our favorite posts from within The Real Post Grad, but I want to make sure we are also spreading the word about other great posts. As bloggers we have other blogs we follow and 20 something bloggers we click with. It is a strange world here in Blog-ville, it's almost like we are making virtual friends with people we have never met. On that note, if you like our blog, you will probably like theirs too.

Some of my favorite posts from outside The Real Post Grad the past couple weeks include:

  1. Lauren's Thoughts has a great one about technology ruining our lives.
  2. Analyfe has a book review of something I now want to read.
  3. Forever 20 Somethings has a great piece about Transformers, and I don't mean the movie.
  4. Girls in Their 20s goes through Office Style on a budget
  5. Thought Catalogue tries to explain why Girls like Jerks. I took this one to heart, I know it is true.
These are just some of my favorites from blogs other than ours. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you all for being such loyal readers. We really do appreciate it.

Warby Parker

Does your health insurance plan offer minimal or no eye care coverage? Still need new eyeglasses? I would highly recommend checking out Warby Parker.

Warby Parker is an online shop that offers a wide range fashionable and vintage inspired frames for men and women. The best part? Your Warby Parker prescription glasses of choice will only set you back 98 dollars.

As other glasses wearers can attest, glasses are not cheap. Before checking out Warby Parker, I went to a few different stores, including Empire Vision and Lens Crafters, and found that they charge upwards of 300 dollars for very standard frames and lenses. I'm very picky when it comes to shopping for anything, so I always have a tough time finding glasses in stores that are perfect for me, and I really don't enjoy the salespeople that breathe down your neck while you're looking.

Buying glasses online seemed impossible to me at first (how do you try them on???), but it's actually very easy with Warby Parker. Here's how it works:

Step 1: You need your prescription. I see an opthamologist since eye problems run in my family and I had cataract surgery in high school (that thing old people get...), so I got my prescription from my doctor. If you don't see an opthamologist, you can get your eyes tested at an optometrists office for around 60-90 dollars (sometimes there are even sales on eye exams).

Step 2: Visit warbyparker.com and pick out five frames that you like. Warby Parker mails you these frames (including return packaging) for free so you can try them on in the comfort of your own home. And make your family members and boyfriend vote on their favorite like I did.

Step 3: Place your order. You can even scan in your prescription if you're afraid of filling it in wrong on their site, or simply give them your eye doctor's number and they will call to find out your prescription for you!

Step 4: Wear your awesome glasses and feel proud of yourself for getting such a great deal. Warby Parker does not accept insurance, but does offer you a receipt that you can mail to your insurance company if you do get some coverage.

Warby Parker has gotten a bit of a reputation as a hipster brand in the blogosphere which is why I initially tried going the more traditional route when I needed new glasses, but I can assure you that even though some of their styles border on hipster territory, many do not!

My new Warby Parker glasses!
Feel free to ask me any questions if you've considered Warby Parker, or visit them online- their customer service department is very helpful.

(I also just realized this post sounds like an advertisement for Warby Parker, but I wanted to clarify that we were compensated in no way for this review! I just really love a good deal. )

How to Use Leftover Stuffing

After Thanksgiving I had a lot of leftovers. I made enough food to feed about 6 people, but there were only 3 of us, and 2 left a couple days later. If you do the math, that means I was left to eat food for 4.3 people before it went bad. Fact.

I am personally not a huge fan of stuffing most of the time. The flavor is great, but the consistency isn't my favorite. I like it when it is baked so the outside is crispy, but we didn't have the patience or space in the oven to make that happen this year.

Instead of throwing away my leftover stuffing, I decided to make mini-quiches with it. Bare with me, please, they were actually quite delectable. For 6 of these creations please read below.

- Leftover Stuffing
- 3 eggs
- 2 slices of cheese (any kind you like, I used Havarti)
- Some Spinach

  1. Grease 6 holes in a muffin pan and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spoon about a tablespoon of stuffing into each greased hole
  3. Put a couple spinach leaves on top (1-2 per mini-quiche is fine)
  4. Layer on a quarter of a slice of cheese per mini-quiche
  5. Scramble the eggs in a bowl and pour about a half an egg into each hole
Bake for 12-15 minutes until eggs are cooked through. Use a knife to unstick from the sides of the pan and voila! The are great as finger foods, so simple to make, and delicious, even to the girl who doesn't like stuffing.

Icelandic Adventure

Remember last year when I used my tax refund to go Turkey? Well now that it is almost the end of another year, I have again started to think about how to spend my refund. I will actually be sticking to a destination from my original "Where Should I Go Next" list. Iceland!

I will be traveling with two of my closest friends this time instead of going solo. While traveling so far alone was certainly an adventure, I am looking forward to having company in my debauchery on this trip.

The trip will be at the end of March so that we are there during the prime viewing season of the Northern Lights. So far our trip will include:
  1. Whale Watching
  2. The Blue Lagoon
  3. Puffin Island
  4. Eating puffin (apparently it's like chicken there)
  5. Going to the Elf Museum
  6. Northern Lights
There are several more attractions being considered, but the above are definitely going to happen. Right now we are in our planning and discovery phase of the trip, so almost everything sounds awesome. We also watched the Bizarre Foods and No Reservations Iceland episodes to prepare. If anyone has any books, movies or music I should check out before the trip please let me know!