Post-grad life consists of day-long marathons of The Hills, copious amounts of Burger King chicken fries and a lack of showers. But despite what you may think, it's not easy. It's often a lack of good food, lack of money and a lot of self-loathing.
Though the job searching process is a rough one remember that some time off is good for the soul, even if it isn't for the wallet. This time off means you have no schedule and no commitments- if you're going to do that inexplicable lifelong-goal trip to the Kentucky derby, now is probably the time to do it. If you ever gonna learn Japanese just for fun, this would be the opportunity. You have all day long to work on that Miranda Kerr body, so you're out of excuses.
To keep yourself sane during this "in-between" period of life (and keep some dollars in your pocket) here are a few things I find that help:
1. LUSH shampoo bars - I recently discovered these and I swear I will never go back. I have oily hair, and often buy multiple brands of shampoos hoping that some combination will work. Upon using the Jumping Juniper bar (which smells like lilacs!) I knew that I had found my miracle. These bars ($10 a piece, but completely worth it) don't take much to lather up and are said to last for over 80 washes. Plus, it leaves my hair silkier and shiner than ever before and wards off oil for days.
2. Great jeans - In the few months of post grad, your weight will fluctuate. College jeans may not fit anymore. Anything but leggings feel like torture. American Eagle doesn't really cut it anymore. My solution came in an accidental sale where I needed a good deal: buy one get one free jeans at New York and Company… where I had a coupon. The jeans (which are actually great quality denim leggings) fit like a glove, adhere to the right places on my body (extra room in the hips and bum), and are super comfortable. Plus, one pair was free. The stretchy material also allows me to gain or lose pounds without having the "jeans" become completely useless. Good deal.
3. A good book - There are only so many episodes of Dating Naked that you can watch without thinking the world has completely and totally lost it. A good book will keep your brain from completely turning to slime after 8 hours of Spongebob. A good book will keep you company on a Friday night when you're out of bar money. A good book is your best friend. I swear by this.
BONUS: Great book recommendations: Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn, Dare Me - Meg Abbott, The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins, Crank - Ellen Hopkins, Piece of Cake - Cupcake Brown, Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac - Gabrielle Zevin, 13 Reasons Why - , White Girl Problems - Babe Walker
4. Duolingo app - This free app makes learning languages easy and fun. In a game-like format, the app offers basics in a wide variety of languages including Spanish and French. The app won't make you fluent, but it will definitely get you through a dream vacation (or a possible future business trip!)
5. A shoe for all seasons - Shoes aren't cheap. (Sadly.) So buying 18 pairs of sandals and flip-flops right now is probably not your best bet. While shoe shopping, opt for a pair that will transition smoothly into fall and winter. I personally love Vans slip-ons. They come in a lot of patterns and colors so chose one that suits your style best! Also, these are chic.
6. Blankets. - You can never have enough blankets at this stage in your life. They're great for when you have visitors. They're great to keep you warm without cranking up the heat (aka save you money). They are awesome to cuddle with during those Netflix binges. A big, soft one will be a little pricier, but I promise you it is worth a few extra bucks. The softer the better- you'll know when you feel it. You can get the on sale at TJ Maxx if you're looking for a really good deal.
7. RAMEN. - Okay, okay this is a personal comfort food. (I love it.) But in all honestly, it's awesome. On days when I didn't really want to cook, it was the perfect solution. On days when I just wanted something warm, it worked. On days when I forgot to go grocery shopping, it was my best friend. But the best part about ramen is, you don't just have to eat it as soup. Lately I've been using the noodles in stir fry dishes with chicken and vegetables, and it tastes awesome. Some people even add the noodles in salad for a nice crunch, or add peanut butter in the noodles to make a pad-thai type dish. All in all, ramen is pretty much all you need. Ramen is life.
xo hope you survive.
also, don't stop job searching even if you cry.
Miley Cyrus once said, "Going out doesn't make you a bad person, just like going to church doesn't make me a good person." I never expected to call a twerking ex-Disney star wise, but I'm gonna go ahead and call Miley pretty damn smart.
As I enter the battlefield of the job market (aka some sick and twisted version of The Hunger Games), I noticed a lot of interviews that absolutely have to mention my university's reputation. With a wink in their voice each time, it's like I can almost hear them saying I know what you did for the last four years you crazy animal, through the phone. I've tried laughing along with it, tried defending it, and once just flatly responded with "haha ya." (Which I really don't advice because it's basically the bitchy cousin of the "K" text.) I haven't decided if my school's reputation is helping or hindering me yet- but seeing as I currently don't have a job with a salary, I'm going to go ahead and assume that it's not exactly helping.
Looking back on my college career,and painfully reflecting on the X amount of dollars of debt that I'm probably most definitely in, I began to realize that all of my lessons and knowledge never took place in a classroom. Every skill and talent that I value myself for was not taught to me by a professor or a text book. I look back on the long weeks of classes, notes, papers and tests, and realized that while all of those things look good in my portfolio and reflected in a number (also known as a GPA), they aren't what make me a good communicator, a good writer or most of all, a good team member and friend.
So, for everyone who's currently attending a party school with hopes that your education will be valuable someday, or for anyone who has just graduated from a party school hoping that your university's name isn't a scarlet letter on your resume- just remember that your education is/was so, so much more than what you have on paper.
Oh, and for all of the employers throwing any resume with a party school name directly in the trash, you might want to go dig them out asap.
Here's why party school students are great:
Time Management Skills are Top. Notch.
Do you think we made it to graduation by blacking out every night to Rihanna's latest single with no sense of responsibility? Hell no. Every minute of our day was planned in order to meet every deadline. Every detail was thought out and executed from eating tons of carbs post-night out to drinking about 14 water bottles the morning after. We made it to every class on time, with time to stop at Starbucks in between. Every duck was precisely in a row while simultaneously dealing with a hangover- and if that doesn't make us superheroes, then I don't know what does.
You Can Handle Pretty Much Any Crisis. Ever.
Your friend did what last night? You ruined who's new Steve Maddens? You tweeted what lyrics and tagged your crush? Where are your keys? Oops. Good thing you are a pro at fixing problems by now.
You're practically a CEO at dodging exes at the bar and consolidating your best friend when her crush leaves with another girl. You're a trained veteran at helping the girl who had a little too much at the party get home safe, and most of all, you know how to handle your own mistakes.
I know what you're thinking, if you were a responsible adult, you wouldn't make these mistakes. As a dedicated viewer of the adults on The Real Housewives of Orange County, I know this isn't true. Also, how would you learn to deal with mistakes if you never made them?
Also, you begin to learn that apologies are your best friend and to not sweat the small stuff- valuable for when you send that unnoticed grammar mistake in an to your boss.
Socialization Skills = Off. The. Chain.
Yeah, okay, we drank. We went to parties. Someone most likely has an embarrassing picture of us somewhere on their phone. But we met people that we never would have met in classrooms, from different majors and with different experience and skills that you've never even heard of. Conversations and connections were made with interesting people who you may have never talked to.
One of the things that bothers me about the school system is that you're immediately filtered into classes that only include students in your majors. Even many of your gen-eds were designed on a schedule centered around our majors.
Some of my favorite friends have no idea what public relations actually is- a nice breather from conversations about news releases, campaigns, and tough news reporting professors. Some of my best friends are training to be nurses, nutritionists, physical trainers, businessmen and teachers- people I never, ever would have met if I stayed in the Media or Journalism buildings day in and day out. I know people who only have friends in their major, which is awesome- they must have a great network of people to rely on throughout their career, but one of the things I'm looking forward to most in life is hearing the stories about these different careers, these different departments of employment, and learning from them.
Money Budgeting Is Something You Learned Early On.
Okay, if you're being honest, this probably took all four years to fully learn. There are probably many nights of ramen and scraping pennies together just to buy a gas station hot dog involved in this lesson. There are probably chilling memories of ordering $40 dollars worth of pizza and McDonald's receipts you found the next morning that made your stomach turn. (Or maybe that was just the hangover). But the fact of the matter is, you eventually learned your lesson- even if it did take awhile and cost you $150 dollars in french fries.
You also learned that nothing is free, going out to dinner without your parents requires you to actually pay for your food and that shots become 8 times more expensive after midnight. SAD.
Most importantly, you have life experience.
You're strong as hell. You know how to deal with rejection- which is great when about 30 companies don't even email you back. You've learned when to trust that "this is bad situation" intuition. You've learned that not all people are what they seem to be, and that just because someone buys you a drink does not mean he wants to marry you. You learned that you're not a good dancer, but it's okay. You also learned that you should maybe stay away from karaoke nights for the rest of your life, but that's okay too. You got real about the fact that you're probably not going to be a millionaire a year out of graduation, and that you need to work hard for what you want.
Most of all, you've learned about yourself. Something no textbook, no teacher, or no university curriculum could ever teach you. Cherish that. Forever.
And just remember, while an Ivy School degree looks badass in a frame on a wall- your actual, valuable skills are badass. And you don't need a piece of paper to prove it. XO.
This morning I spent 10 minutes of precious getting ready time staring in the mirror in my underwear pinching my love handles, sucking in my stomach and squeezing my thighs in hopes that it would magically create a thigh gap. "I'm going to go on a run after work today," I promised myself as I skipped breakfast and opted for a less-delicious coffee at Starbucks because it had fewer calories.
I really like keeping my blog posts fun, non-controversial and focused on things that make me happy- things that make others happy. I want my writing to be light-hearted and enjoyable to read. But as I wandered the internet, I came across a picture of a blonde girl in some tight green skinny jeans. I wish my legs looked like that, I thought.
Then I stopped and thought, when have my legs ever looked like that? Even in high school as a size two from running track or soccer, taking three dance classes a night and trotting through choreography at musical rehearsals my legs had always been muscular, never thin.
And I stopped again, would I be as happy without those spontaneous trips to Sonic with my best friends? Probably not. I take a second to remind myself how I feel every time I order a salad for dinner when I really, really, want pasta. And the days when I make the last minute decision for fruit for breakfast solely because it's less calories than a bagel cream cheese. Some days, yeah, I want the fruit. Other days I definitely, really want the bagel.
This isn't a declaration to eat Chipotle for breakfast, lunch and dinner or drop your evening work out (even if it's just 30 crunches during the commercials on Pretty Little Liars). It's a declaration to be realistic. If you're staring in the mirror pinching and squeezing parts of your body with the image of a Victoria's Secret model in mind- remind yourself that it's their job to look like that. Their occupation is dieting, working out and looking good half-naked. And in all honesty, Miranda Kerr doesn't even look like Miranda Kerr.
It's a declaration to be happy.
A declaration of being mindful of what my body wants, choosing what would make me happy. Pizza for dinner? Do it. I'd rather read a book for an hour than run? Fine with me. To me, being healthy isn't all about the six-pack flat abs or the thigh gap. To me, healthy also means being happy. Want those love handles gone? Work on it- it doesn't have to happen overnight.
All in all, having a Beyonce body would be great. But what makes me happy the most is a plate of chicken tenders and fries, in a dress that looks great on me regardless of my love handles and muscular legs in front of an episode of Grey's Anatomy with a boyfriend that would rather me be happy, healthy and sane than miserable, hungry bitch that's been eating nothing but salads for a week.
Independence Day is a hidden gem. Like, when you're a little kid in grade school and your teacher asks the class what their favorite holiday is, no one ever says the Fourth of July. They're totally missing out.
I can sum up the holiday in just one word: awesome. Let me explain:
First things first, there are literally hot dogs (or tofu dogs!!) and hamburgers, like, everywhere. I'm not even sure you can even escape the smell of them if you wanted to. So you know what they say- if you can't beat 'em join 'em. Have 10.
Second- the beloved college-party theme "AMURRICA" is literally everywhere, and it's great. Nothing I love more than tee shirts with American flags and various forms of stars and stripes running around aimlessly with cold beers in one hand and hot dogs in the other.
Third- At night time the sky is literally covered in fireworks glitter. And everyone is just quiet for like, 15 minutes, all looking at the same thing- all feeling the same emotion: Gotta get a pic for Instagram and caption it with Katy Perry "Firework" lyrics.
Plus, it's the only summer holiday that gets everyone out of work to actually run around in the hot weather that we complain about all summer long. This day is made for grills, cold drinks and some form of pool. Don't have a pool- channel your inner kid and run through a sprinkler or start up a water balloon fight. You'll only look silly for like, 2 minutes but it's worth it I promise.
Looking for some Fourth of July Fashion? No worries, I got you.
Looking for some Fourth of July party tunes? No worries, I got you again.
Gold Trans Am - Ke$ha
Party in the U.S.A - Miley Cyrus
American Girl - Bonnie McKee
National Anthem - Lana Del Rey
Party & Bullsh*t - Rita Ora
Toes - Zac Brown Band
Made In the USA - Demi Lovato
Have fun. Eat like 1,000 hot dogs. Get drunk off of cheap beer. And don't play with sparklers while drunk. Kbye.
An ending can easily make or break a book for me. Even if it's in a series, your ending needs to be solid for me to be satisfied. The Fever by Megan Abbott has an interesting plot- Teen girls in a small town plagued with a mysterious illness, and they're dropping like flies. Speculations of the cause of the illness range from the town's toxic lake to demonic possession to a hybrid STD to a bad batch of the HPV vaccine.
The book often switches between the main characters, focusing on their different experiences and their personal attachment to the situation at hand. It goes from a parent's point of view, to an older brother's, to a best friend's without any strong voice or shift of events. It can get confusing, and even frustrating at times, but in the end it somewhat comes together and somewhat makes sense. Somewhat.
Abbott writes with a dream-like flow, using flashbacks and metaphors that read almost like poetry. Sometimes, it's hard to understand exactly why some parts were included, as they prove pointless to the plot of the story. Almost like fluff to fill the pages and distract you from the bigger picture. You want to believe all of the sidetracking relates to a bigger picture, but ultimately, it doesn't.
The book will stick with you, at least for a little while. It will make you question society. Are the vaccines we inject into our bodies actually harming us? Should we be more mindful of our water systems? But it won't prevail with a grand, ecological or life-changing ending:
See ahead if you wanna ruin it for yourself, if not and you want to read the book, mind that it's a slow first 100 pages, and then you can't put it down til the end. The end is a surprise, yes, but you almost wish that it was something else. I'd recommend it for someone who is looking for a book to pass the time, but I wouldn't immediately put it on my list of Top 10 recommendations. And that's all I'm gonna say. XO
Okay if you're anything like me, I already know you read past the WARNING: SPOILERS heading. So I'm going to try to keep the spoilers to a minimum.
The book comes short at the ending- not all questions answered. And not in a good way. Or thoughtful way. It feels like just a blatant laziness on Abbott's part.
While in the book it notes that many girls come into the hospital with the symptoms of this illness- only one received a diagnosis. A diagnosis that was only pertaining to her (what someone did to her), and none of the other girls. The most disturbing case being Kim, who posted videos on YouTube from inside the hospital describing the sickness- something in her throat, trying to get out- providing a mental vision of what looks like the poor little girl from The Exorcist. That's a pretty big image to leave me with, Abbott, with no hope, relief or explanation for this girl.
Okay, Now this is a BIG SPOILER. So, seriously, don't read unless you want to ruin everything for yourself.
Another issue I have is with the Gabby/Eli situation. Eli never has a final word- never mentions if he did, in fact, feel about Gabby. Not before, not after the event. Both Deenie nor Eli not Tom speak their feelings towards Gabby's trial. And it's frustrating to me, because apparently that's what the whole book is about. Gabby's insane love for Eli, Deenie's brother and Tom's son. So you see, that's a pretty big string to leave untied. I don't even really care what happens to Gabby in the trial, in the end, or for the rest of her life. Do I hope she gets an Orange Is the New Black style spin-off. Kind of. But what I really need to know is how the main character freaking feel about it.
The other thing that bothers me is the fact that no one's doing anything about the lake. The lake- where the lady in the rain coat shows Deenie a glowing orange fungus, collected from the shore of the lake. The lake "wasn't the cause," but no one seems to give a fuck about the glowing orange, acidic, black-muck filled lake. The lake, who's water goes into everything in the town. I can't.