Winter wedding: Less-expensive, unique option | TribLIVE

And I’m back…I’ve been out of commission for a while, however, I needed some time to actually FIND a job rather than write about one.  Now, it’s on to the other parts of my life..boyfriend, moving out, and, of course, the possible future nuptials.

I live in Pittsburgh, so I am extremely excited about the idea of a winter wedding.  It makes me happy to think that everything might be covered in snow.  However, it makes me sad that it might be a wet, soggy, mop of a day.  We can’t live in the negative! We must always strive for the positive.

See the newly and freshly pressed article below.  Hopefully you smile as big as I did when I read it.

Winter wedding: Less-expensive, unique option | TribLIVE.

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What’s Next?

On a Saturday morning during the spring season, one likes to sleep in, roll out of bed, and possibly spend the morning in their sweats drinking coffee and reading a good magazine or book.  Maybe you like to rise early and go for a run or hop in the car with your hungover friends and make your way to the nearest grease-filled fast food joint for some sweet relief of the previous night’s bar hopping.  Any way you spend it, the realization and anxiety of a 20-some year old’s graduation and what happens next will hit you at some point on that day.

I have been asked by a few people who are at the corner of “I’m so happy I’m graduating” and “Holy crap, I’m graduating” what comes next.  Since I have graduated and supposedly am a professional adult, they are under the impression that I know the answer to that question.  Yet, the only response that we would find appropriate would most likely be “Life.”

When we were young, our elders would reminisce about their college days stating that they were the best times of their lives.  Now that our college days are over, the overwhelming feeling that we missed something fills our bellies and chests.  Were the days of drinking and house parties supposed to be the best days of our lives?  Did we miss out on something spectacular that everyone else seemed to have noticed? Has it passed us by without a whisper of acknowledgement?

Ponder this: when you graduate and head to your job or move home or move in with your significant other, your life has not subsequently ended.  The trials and tribulations of life itself and responsibilities have just begun.  However, are they bad?  In my opinion, we shouldn’t think so.  Life after graduating isn’t a downhill spiral or even a slope that one might take to get to the bottom.  The answer to the question should probably be shaped more as a resounding echo: “Life, at it’s finest.” This is what living is really about.  Taking chances and not having as much support.  Let yourself go through the highs and the lows and revel in the feeling of life.  Just another thought from a graduate’s perspective.

Running on Empty

Get up off the couch…and go straight to the cookie jar. An unreasonable request from my conscious is telling me to put on my running shoes and go outside for a long journey around the neighborhood, however, my immediate urge is to eat the cookie and sit back down on the couch.  As soon as I sit back down, I find myself seeing work out video commercials, a news story on Jillian Michaels, and a Weight Watchers Program infomercial.  The questions then become, what happened to the work out drive and how does one get the motivation back?

Back in “the day”, only a few short years ago, we felt young, invincible, and could bounce back from a night out on the town in eight hours.  Now that we are past our college-kegger and fraternity house partying days, we think that the weight might actually fall off considering we aren’t drinking as much beer.  If we aren’t taking the calories in, then we surely will be losing them, right?  However, we are at the age where our metabolisms begin to slow down and our bodies change from adolescents to men and women.  We have to move our tushies, get up, get out, and stop eating swirly cakes.  But how does one find the time or motivation?

Whether you are working 70-80 hours per week, a nine-to-five, or have yet to find that perfect job, we all have at least a half an hour per day to ourselves.  As most people do, we would like to take that half an hour to get on Facebook, watch our favorite show, or text that someone special.  We need to find that “oomph” to get our butts moving again.  Throw on those ridiculously tight clothes that have now probably gotten even tighter because of the lack of exercise, and run around the track like a mad man! We not only need motivation, but someone figuratively and literally pushing us out the door.

Oh how the mighty have fallen.  We used to look so good in a bathing suit and tight jeans.  Now, we are jealous of 21-year-olds’ thighs and 5-year-olds’ energy levels.  Yet, if we sit down and truly think about it – we don’t need to reinvent the wheel.  The old-fashioned tactics still work.  “Go play with your friends outside,” the mother (or father) voice says to the 10-year-old self. If you find that you don’t have friends, then go play with your dog.  If you don’t have a dog, then go rescue a dog, and play with your new dog.  And if worse comes to worse, go outside with a soccer ball and kick it to your imaginary friend.  This may be the pre-video game and internet explosion activity, however, it will help us on our journey back to a healthier, lovelier, person.  And maybe, just maybe, by taking this approach, we will grow (emotionally, not physically of course) as people. Just another thought from a graduate’s perspective.

Job Huntress

Find a firm, form a cover letter, fix your resume, mail the package. Rinse and repeat. Ten months after graduating from law school and six months after passing the bar exam, I am still scouring for a job. The struggle and toil of cold calling and attempting to find a job board that has new posts has, at some points, become too much to bear. Yet, they say I am not alone.

Our generation comes from a time where if you work hard enough to get the degree, the light at the end of the tunnel is a job. This is the process – the American way for 80’s babies, if you will. The deal was presented to us as if these things called “jobs” were just passed out freely to those with high GPAs and a good work ethic. “Well, of course,” they would say, “if you get that degree, you’re sure to make good money.” Or, “Education is a valuable asset that no one can take away from you.” It seemed like a no-brainer. Take the deal, and the possibilities are endless. However, no one ever mentioned that there was no guarantee. They neglected to shed light on Plan B.

Although most of us would agree that our education is a valuable tool, we also sit back and think of how we can actually use this $150k hammer we keep in our tool box. If we won’t be hired, how can we practice our skills? “We need exercise; a chance to use our skills!” Lumiere, Be Our Guest, Beauty and the Beast. We need more than just the Monster.com’s and LinkedIn’s of the world. We want to break away from the pack, bust out our new tool belt, and go to work for people who need our services. As green as we are, we are eager and willing to take the blame for our mistakes and not just say we will but actually try harder than any other candidate out there.

Maybe a different action is needed where the old job searches become inadequate. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Possibly a face-to-face encounter or a prominent selling tactic of oneself to an employer who needs a bit more convincing. Whatever it is, we need to find it. Just as they sold us the packaged deal of “stay in school,” they never said it would be easy. That illusion was assumed between the high school classes and college applications – when life was a bit easier and responsibility alluded us. A new direction, a new job-searching journey should and will be voyaged. Just a thought from a graduate’s perspective.

Glitter and Dating

“You have glitter on your face,” I said.

“That doesn’t mean I was at the strip club today,” he answered with a smirk.

“Excuse me?” I replied with eyebrows raised.

Laughter and a full blown smile then reached his lips, and I knew he was joking.  It took me a few seconds, but I got it.  Sometimes I think ‘Gullible‘ should be my middle name, yet some say it is the blonde roots growing out of my head.  However, when dating, I have often asked myself, do men truly like the ignorance of a mate, or do they look for someone who exemplifies the fine line between gullibility and stupidity?

While observing females in social situations, we have seen the very attractive, very educated girl walk up to a man (or woman) in a bar, put on the Valley girl voice and attempt to keep them interested.  One might think that she is stupid for faking this ridiculous phone-sex voice, but then she comes away with the catch, and we think, wait one second.  That actually worked?

Perhaps it’s the fact that she went up to the person at all – the sheer courage to approach someone in a social setting was the attraction.  Or perhaps the veil of brainless smiles appeased them for the evening, yet nothing like that will truly last forever.  Or even maybe, the mate will call her out on it on a later date, and they will share a fond, silly memory of how moronic her approach to him the night they met seemed.  Any way it turns out, it will still remain astonishing to the outsiders who witnessed the initial “pick up”.

At the end of the night, when all of the bottles and glasses have been cleaned up, the music goes off and the bar tender says those famous last words, we won’t think much about the previous interaction between airhead and cute catch.  We will only ponder the big picture event that makes every hug, kiss, hook up, engagement, and marriage happen – What is our catch looking for? Just another thought from a graduate’s perspective.

Showers: Bridal, Baby, or Otherwise

Last weekend my cousin played host to more than fifty people at her baby shower.  It was a lovely mid-March day, filled with balloons, diapers, tiny baby booties, strollers, soap shaped into pacifiers, a baby spa tub…er, what? Wow. Where does the ridiculousness end? While sitting next to the crazy aunt (don’t deny it – every family has one) making inappropriate comments such as, “She can start a department store with all of those clothes,” I felt like this baby is going to go to a spa the third day of his life, and I can’t afford to go get my nails done.

Amidst the spring and summer seasons, many of us will be invited and attend multiple showers.  Engagement parties, bridal showers, and baby showers are seemingly dated with new, fresh ideas for showering friends with gifts, i.e. diaper parties (for new dads), tool shower (for the groom), garden parties, and bridal teas.  After receiving an invitation to one of these parties, we might not know what to do.  Should we bring a gift?  Are the men invited? What does one wear?

To save ourselves from the embarrassment, we attempt to look to wedding and baby blogs for advice.  After reading twenty of them, we feel as though we have chosen a middle-ground outfit that will blend well, a nice, small gift in a well-researched price range, and a healthily rehearsed story about a guy or girl that we are currently dating – fake or real, no matter. We throw on a nice pair of pants and break out the “fashionable” jewelry.  Yet as we walk in to the party, we see the baby spa machine and the stuck up girl you knew from high school in her lovely maxi dress.

We, the viewers of the gift opening, the polite conversationalists, the diverters of awkward moments, and the fake smilers for the happy couples must stick together at these lovely events.  They are the happiest moments of someone’s life.  The moments will forever live on a coffee table in a cute and pastel-colored album.  So smile when they are excited for their unnecessary gifts, for some day, we will be there, too.  Just a thought from a graduate’s perspective.

Student Loans, a scary endeavor.

40 days – that is the amount of time I let my student loans go delinquent. 40 whole days. I was scared, like we all are, of the unknown. Interest rates, fixed, variable, credit score, and growing debt were terms that swarmed my head the first three days after the loan bill arrived from the loan office. Then, like any other unreasonably overwhelmed person, I tucked the letter away, pushed the idea out of my head, and pretended it all didn’t exist until day 41.  On day 41, I finally hit the wall of, “Just do it, just call them. Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think.”

Going into that phone call, we aren’t as naive as we assume ourselves to be. We know that our student debt is equal to five really, really nice cars, possibly a nice house in the country, or even four in-ground swimming pools with an attached water slide. However, none of us have owned anything like that in our lives before, so to say the task of facing that mountain of cash and paying back every penny is overwhelming is an understatement. We literally sit and stare at the loan statement when it arrives in the mail as if it were written in Mandarin Chinese. We don’t want to face it nor accept the fact that it will consume us if we don’t just make the call and talk to a real person at the student loan office.

15 years (well, 15 years and 41 days for me) on average is the amount of time it will take a law, medical, or graduate student to pay back their student loans.  Just hearing that figure can frighten someone to death – literally. The anxiety and nausea can be crippling when examining your student loans on the back end of school. You might think to yourself, “Was it worth it?” or “Why did I do this?” We don’t necessarily know the answers to those questions right now, but we do hope, by the time the last payment is sent, we will have a feeling that we made the right choice.

All in all, our futures don’t look that grim even with the mountain of student loans glaring at us daily. It is like we are sitting at the bottom of a 1,500 foot sinkhole and are expected to grow magical wings and fly to the top. We have dug ourselves in, and now we must find our way back out. Just know, you are not in this toil alone. We followed a dream – to become an attorney, a doctor, a nurse, a professor, a chemist, a pharmacist, etc. So let’s not give up – our dreams haven’t ended, they have just begun. Just a thought from a graduate’s perspective.

Wedding Limbo

Do you ever feel like every time you sign on to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram that someone has announced their engagement?  Or perhaps, you are “that person” who pins the photos of the bridal hair styles, bridesmaids dresses, or centerpiece ideas on your Pinterest board entitled “The Future Mrs.” or “Someday”.  And don’t think that I have forgotten about you, gentlemen.  You pretend to not care as you scroll over those pictures on your News Feed, but admit it, some of you do stop and think about your own future wedding.

To be honest, we are all stuck in what I like to call “Wedding Limbo”.  Our friends, our co-workers, and our relatives are all getting hitched while we watch every step from our computer screens pass us by – engagement party to bridal shower to rehearsal dinner and then the “Big Day“.  We roll our eyes and think to ourselves “another one?!” when we see the status change from “In a relationship” to “Engaged to“, but the blaring irony is that we want that – we want the happiness that is protruding from each and every picture we swear we will never tell anyone we actually viewed.

And yet after secretly criticizing every detail of someone else’s big day, we sit back, take a breath, and wonder when will it happen to us.  We don’t necessarily want it to happen tomorrow, but we have a feeling of being stuck – old enough for marriage, but still young enough to appreciate the freedom.  The funny thing is, we aren’t actually mad that these people are getting engaged and having a beautiful wedding, we are just disappointed that we are in Wedding Limbo: the place where it seems that everyone you know is having a wedding, your family begins to drop subtle hints, and your grandmother tells you to do it before she’s dead.  (True story.)

As I sit here and write, I think to myself – don’t rush into it.  We shouldn’t get caught up in the illusion of the pomp and circumstance.  We should be smart and think beyond what the wedding ceremony is all about: a happy, healthy marriage.  Once you’ve traveled down that road, you will most likely come to the conclusion that Wedding Limbo isn’t all that bad.  Consider it a bit of a last hurrah before the responsibility of life consumes you.  Revel in it, and have another beer.  Just a thought from a graduate’s perspective.

Roommates, aka Mum and Dad

“Goodnight Roomies!” I yell as I walk my way up the stairs into my old bedroom for a night of rest and relaxation.

“Night roomie,” my dad says from his old dusty chair in the living room.

His 26-year-old youngest daughter, his pride and joy, star soccer player in college and law school graduate has finally passed the bar exam and…moved home.  Moved home? Moved home.  After twenty-six years of schooling, internships, and grades, I moved back into my old room and stored all of my belongings in the basement “until further notice.”

Graduating in this economy hasn’t been the easiest on anyone.  Especially those who didn’t skip a beat: straight from high school to college and right into graduate, law or medical school.  We started back in a time where the money was flowing, gas was cheap, and winters actually had snow.  We ended up going back home, living with our parents, and seeing all of the kids in the “old neighborhood.” They are all grown up now – living at home just as us.  And at night, when we roll up the stairs to our old bedroom that once hung N*Sync and Michael Jordan posters, we think to ourselves, “What happened?” We had such hope when we started on our academic journey.  We had dreams of being someone – someone big.  We thought we were going to have a house, a dog, and a nice BMW by now.  Now we have dreams, or nightmares rather, of the day we truly move out and how we are going to make the rent payment.

Life isn’t all that bad – mum still cooks dinner just the same.  Much better than the cheap Easy Mac or the Ramen with grilled cheese we called dinner in graduate school.  And we think to ourselves that we shouldn’t complain too much, for we still have a roof over our heads and a warm blanket at night.  We do smile at the thought of how we used to feel that our parents didn’t know anything – when they really knew everything.  Advice isn’t taken with such a big grain of salt as it used to be, and when they ask, “Where are you going?” at 9:00 p.m., you aren’t as reluctant to tell them.  Let’s face it, you are in your mid-twenties.  You can go out to the bar every now and then.

So in sum, I guess it isn’t all that bad.  No money, a great academic degree, an actual suffix to put after your name (i.e. PhD, M.D., Esq., etc.), and living at home with the old roomies.  The ones who have supported you through thick and thin; the ones who will never let you truly fall on your face.  We will get there – eventually.  We must keep on the positive end of things – the jobs will come, the money will flow, and we will have a place of our own.  Just a thought from a graduate’s perspective.