Give a Little.

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I am constantly trying to better myself. I can look at my life and say I am genuinely happy. I love living in DC. I have a wonderful boyfriend and the best friends a girl could ask for. I am extremely close with my family. I have the cutest little cat in the world. But of course there are always little ways where I can make improvements.

In the past year I have tried to implement a system where every month or so I sit back and evaluate my life. What am I grateful for? What are my goals? What are areas of improvement? Up until about 2 months ago my major area of improvement and my major goal was to get out of my old job and find a new one in DC. Yippee! I can officially check those big things off my list.

Now that I have reached those 2 goals however I still need to keep evaluating. Where can I make improvements? What are my goals?

One thing I have identified recently is I want to be more selfless. I am a strong advocate that your 20s are the time in your life to be selfish in the big picture. You don’t have a husband, kids, a mortgage to worry about so do what’s best for you. Move across the country if you want. Pursue that dream job. Go back to school. Join the PeaceCorps. Be selfish in all those big areas because this is the time to discover who you are and what you really want.

But on the smaller scale you should always be trying to give back even if it’s just small acts of kindness. Open a door for someone. Give up your seat on the metro for the sweet old lady. Pay it forward by paying for someone else’s coffee or meal.

I am making a concerted effort to be more selfless with strangers and with my family and friends. I want to show my appreciation to the people around me whether that means sending my mom flowers out of the blue (on my 101 list!) or offering to visit a friend instead of them coming to see me. Maybe I’ll even let my boyfriend pick the next movie we watch instead of forcing him to sit through another romcom (that’s a big maybe Mr. Gregory!).

In what small ways can you be more selfless? Do you have a similar goal to give back? Let me know (:

101 in 1001 List Update

Back in October 2013 I created my 101 Things To Do in 1001 Days list. I was inspired by the wonderful Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling and instantly wanted to create my own 101 list. Since it’s been about 9 months since the start of my list I thought I would give a little update on what I’ve accomplished so far!

1. Create a list of 101 things.

6. Visit a winery. – I visited the Chaddsford Winery with my boyfriend in the spring. We ended up leaving with two bottles of wine so it was a good trip.

10. Take the next steps in my career (find a new job). – Yay!

31. Go to my second music festival. – Firefly 2014! So amazing.

47. Invest in all new underwear.

57. Complete a jigsaw puzzle.

58. Get a new credit card.

59. Have my own drink/bar cart in my apartment. – You can catch a glimpse of it here

62. Expand my professional network. – Thanks for all the help with my job search (:

64. Update my resume.

73. Go vegetarian for one week.

76. Kiss someone at midnight on New Year’s Eve.

81. Visit a museum. – I went to the Spy Museum and the National History Museum in the fall and the National Air and Space Museum just a few days ago. Now that I’m living in DC I have plenty of other museums I want to explore. Next on my list is the Newseum!

94. Attend a few of Tom’s soccer games. – I love seeing my brother play and with his senior year coming up I plan to attend at least one more game.

96. Dress up for work for one week.- At my old job our workplace dress code was very casual (think jeans and shorts). Now that I have my new job I’m forced to dress up every day for work.

Do you have your own 101 list? If you do put a link in the comments, I love reading them! 

Let’s Be Friends!

Being a post-grad is weird. I’ve been out of school for 2 years now and I’m still getting used to things in the “real world.” One of the biggest challenges after graduating is making friends. In college there are opportunities to make friends at every turn. In your dorm, in class, at parties, clubs, sports. It’s almost hard not to make friends. Out of college though, so many of those opportunities disappear and making friends becomes that much harder.

I’ve been trying to make new friends ever since I graduated and landed my first job. And now that I’m in a whole new city, my friend-making mission is in overdrive again. Here are some of my tips for making post-grad friends.

  • Never turn down an invitation. Every invitation you receive is an opportunity to meet someone new or further your connection with someone. Even if you think you will feel awkward or the event doesn’t seem like your usual scene, just try it out! You never know if you will enjoy something until you try it. It can be tempting to just go home after a long day of work, but if you turn down that happy hour with coworkers, the invite may never come again!
  • Make use of your connections. Networking pays off in so many ways! Check with your pals and see if they have any friends that live in the area too. Having a mutual friend automatically gives you some common ground. See if your buddy would mind passing along your contact info so you can get in touch with your soon-to-be friend. You can even plan trips to visit each other and kill 2 birds with one stone.
  • Try meetup.com and other similar sites. Meetup.com is a great resource for finding people your age with similar interests. You can search your area for all different types of meetup groups ranging from general going out groups, yoga groups, LGBT groups, and anything else you can think of! These types of events are great because everyone is going because they want to meet new people and make new friends. All you have to do is introduce yourself and the conversation will start flowing.
  • Volunteer, take a class, or join a team. Join a co-ed kickball team. Volunteer at your local animal shelter. Take a cooking or bartending class. The possibilities are endless. And even if you don’t make a new friend at least you learned a new skill or gave back to your community.
  • Be on your toes. View every experience as a chance to meet someone new. In line for Starbucks? Don’t be afraid to compliment the girl next to you on her killer shoes. Chat with the tellers at your local bank branch. Smile and say good morning to the regulars you see on your morning walk. These people might not end up being you BFFs but having just a familiar face that you can say hi to in your neighborhood can go a long way with boosting your confidence and your happiness.

Do you have any tips on how to make friends after school? How did you meet your best friends?

25 Things You Should Have Before You’re 25

So I just came across this article on Pinterest this morning. I read through it once and immediately fell in love.

25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Turns 25

The list is thoughtful and genuine and I agree with everything on the list. My 25th birthday is creeping closer and closer (it is almost exactly 4 months away, eee!) so I believe this list comes to me at the perfect time. There are a few things I can check off already, and a few items I need to work on. Here are some of my favorites.

2. The goal of a bank account with a few months’ living expenses in it, if she doesn’t have that already. Just in case. My dad has always stressed the importance of saving your money. Ever since I had my first job babysitting he has taught me to pay myself first aka put money into a savings account and do not touch it unless for an emergency or a special occasion. I’ve followed his advice as best as I can I fortunately do have a good amount of savings as a cushion in case anything goes wrong (God forbid!)

4. A best friend who is like a sister. I am seriously one of the luckiest girls in the world when it comes to friends. I have 6 girls who I know I can come to for anything and who I genuinely consider as my family. They all live in different locations and we don’t see each other like we used to, but when we do reunite, it is like no time has passed.

7. A closet of what she considers to be her “staples,” and among these things, something to wear to an interview, funeral, wedding, impromptu Friday night drink at a casual bar and dream date if ever someone were to call out of the blue. I’m working on this. I have never been much of a shopper (I know, shock) so when I do buy clothing, I need to know I will really love and use it many, many times. As I’ve aged my style has changed and evolved. Most of the time, I just want something easy and comfortable, but lately I’ve been trying to find pieces that are stylish and classic as well. I even created a list recently of staples for my wardrobe (I’ll share that in a later post!)

12. The recipes for a number of easy meals memorized. I have these! It’s just all about actually making them now, hahaha.

16. Enough of a healthy relationship with her body that her contentment no longer hinges on comparison, or what her partner would think. This is and (unfortunately) I think always will be a struggle for me. I’ve had my fair share of problems with body acceptance and self-confidence in the past. I continue to work on my relationship with myself every day and I feel better than I have in a long time. But still, it can be hard to love yourself sometimes.

17. At least one date in her memory with the kind of partner who wouldn’t care about those things anyway. My boyfriend is my best friend. He tells me all the time how beautiful he thinks I am and how much he loves me. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.

21. A relationship with her mother, even if it’s the decision that their relationship will be at least functioning, if not familial. My mom is my rock, my friend, my sounding board, my decorator, my everything. Seriously I don’t know where I would be without her.

25. An idea of who she wants to be. I have an idea and I’m running with it!

What do you think of the list? What are some items you have accomplished and what do you still need to work on?

The Craigslist Roommate

Moving in general can be stressful. Packing up all your belongings, getting transportation for your furniture, physically moving in all your items and making sure they fit in the space. What’s even more stressful is moving to a new city and not having a place lined up to live. This happened to me and in comes Craigslist to the rescue. Nowadays plenty of people find their roommates through Craigslist and I did the same. Here are some tips to navigating the Craigslist roommate process.

  1. Do your research. Making my move to DC was hard, and it was even harder because I was not familiar with the neighborhoods. Adams Morgan. Foggy Bottom. Chinatown. Columbia Heights. Cleveland Park. Not to mention you have the option of living in Arlington with its own unique neighborhoods (Clarendon, Crystal City, Rosslyn, Ballston) or you could also live in Maryland! It was all so overwhelming and I wasn’t sure what area would be best for me. So I turned to the internet. I had decided I wanted to take the Metro to work and I looked for areas along the line I needed to take. This helped me narrow down my scope. Then I looked into things like safety, attractions nearby, and proximity to restaurants and bars. Once you find a few areas or neighborhoods that look good to you, focus your search there and use them as keywords on Craigslist.
  2. Ask your friends. Friends are the ultimate best resource. I had a few friends who lived in DC already and I asked their advice on different areas and neighborhoods. They helped me search for apartments and sent me Craigslist ads they thought would interest me. When you’re moving to a new place tap into people who already know the area. Their first-hand knowledge is really unbeatable.
  3. Take a look. LOOK AT THE PLACE BEFORE YOU SIGN A LEASE. I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories of people moving into places sight unseen. Do not go that route if you can at all help it. Seeing a place first hand not only gives you an idea of the apartment or house you would be living in, but the neighborhood and your future roommates. Spend some time walking around the area to get a feel for things. Feel free to ask to see all areas of the house, not just the room you would be staying in. You do not want to encounter any surprises when you start to move in your furniture (like say a basement infested with mice! Eek!)
  4. Be honest and ask questions. As much as you are looking for the right place to live, these people are seeking the right roommate for their house. Be honest with the type of living environment you are looking for. You may want to keep to yourself and just be cordial to your roommate whereas the other person is looking for a live-in BFF. You may be uncomfortable with drugs and alcohol and the other person is 420 friendly. You may want your boyfriend to visit frequently and the other person may not want excessive guests. Be upfront with your needs or expectations and don’t be afraid to ask what the other person is looking for as well. If you are planning to live in a place for an extended period of time you want to try to ensure you can feel comfortable there.

Despite all this advice, there is only so much prepping you can do. Some things are going to be unknowns when you move in with strangers and you’ll just have to roll with the punches. Try to make the most out of the situation and realize, no living arrangement is permanent unless you want it to be!

Have you ever moved in with a stranger or found your roommate through Craigslist? What was your experience like?

New Chapters. New Beginnings.

Ah the life of a twenty-something. It is easy to feel lost and confused when things seem to be changing around you so rapidly. Just look at yourself and your peers and you can see the changes clearly. You go from being in college, to legally being able to enter bars, college graduation, first real job, first real apartment, second real job (and third and maybe even fourth), and finally moving in with significant others, marriage and even babies. Compare who you were at 20 to who you will be at 29 and you might not even think you’re looking at the same person.

But that’s what our twenties are all about. Growth. Change. New beginnings and new chapters. I’m going through some of these changes myself right now. Within the last month I quit my job, moved back in with my parents, found a new job in DC, moved into a house with 3 strangers and began my new full time position. Throw in a trip to the beach, a music festival, my younger brother’s graduation, and five (yes 5) trips to DC for interviews in between all those big changes and you’ve got one jam packed month.

Talk about overwhelming.

Everything was such a whirlwind and on one of my 2.5 hours drives down to DC I just cried the entire time. But now I’m here and I’m starting this new chapter. Even though it is overwhelming and pretty scary, it is also necessary. This is the time in our lives where we can make these kinds of decisions. We can pick and move to a new city. We can try a job field and then realize it’s not for us. We can travel for a year or volunteer in a developing country. We can make mistakes and take chances.

I’m on my own journey to figure out the kind of life I want to lead. This change is an adventure and I am looking forward to all the highs and lows that are in store for me.

Now’s the time. Do the thing that scares you. I’m telling you it will be worth it.