One Year Later: Talking My First Job Post-Grad + Comparison

As the saying goes, “A lot can happen in a year”.

When I graduated from college (you can see what I learned over my four years here!), I had my sights set on working in New York City. Having lived in New Jersey and New York all of my life, I never had given another city a second thought. Why would I work elsewhere if the greatest city in the world was a short train or ferry ride away?

But securing a job in New York City a la Carrie Bradshaw is not as easy as it seems. The greatest city in the world has a competitive job market, especially since I was in a state of confusion because I had no idea at all what career path I wanted to pursue. This led to my blindly sending out applications to any job that even just slightly appealed to me. I applied to roles in social media, media planning, public relations, copywriting, marketing, and even event planning, because those were roles that most logically paired with my communication degree.

After recieving quite a few rejections and entertaining some phone screenings and in-person interviews, with a heavy heart I decided to take a step back from NYC and apply to a few jobs locally just as a way to get work experience and a paycheck. I, again, applied to jobs blindly — to be a barista, a retail associate, and as an assistant in the activities department of a nursing home. Anything to get myself out of the house and make some moolah.

I was accepted for the activities role and have worked there for the past twelve months.

I so badly wanted to work in a role similar to that of my peers that was being shown off on Instagram–to ride the NYC subway to my trendy office, work the classic 9-5 job in something I was passionate about, and afterwards attend happy hour with my fellow young and hungry-to-work coworkers. It all seemed so glamorous.

Over the course of the last twelve months on the activities team, I have gained an immeasurable amount of soft skills that can be applied to just about any job. I have strengthed my interpersonal skills by building positive relationships with residents and families, learned how to remain calm under pressure when coworkers called out and I was to run entire social and recreational programs by myself, and sharpened my eye to detail by creating daily and monthly print activity calendars. I even made ammends with a seemingly “difficult” coworker on my team that few people thought fondly of, who told me that she believed that I would be a fantastic Activities Director.

Looking back on where I started, it is crazy to think that this job that originally began as something temporary is one that I have grown to love. I LOVE that I am able to build relationships with my sweet residents and make an impact in their lives by going the extra mile to make their day that much brighter. I enjoy hearing their stories of what kind of work they did, where they grew up, and how much things have changed since their days as young people. Truly a blessing in disguise.

As I mentioned earlier, is so easy to compare yourselves to others. For a very long time, I didn’t allow myself to be happy because I so heavily correlate happiness with landing a “good” job. 

We all say it- “I will be happy when…” You fill in the blank. 

“I lose ten pounds.” “I fall in love.” “I get my dream job.” Blah blah blah. 

We as a society are so heavily conditioned to believe that what we do for work is an extension of our identity. This, paired with the fact that we live online today, makes it SO easy to compare ourselves to those who look like they’ve got it all figured out…. we tear ourselves apart because we aren’t where society might think we should be. Jobs do NOT define our self-worth.

Jonas Brothers Take Asbury Park: Files of An Ex-SuperFan

Hi everyone! Happy Monday!

When it was announced that the Jonas Brothers were to record their MTV Video Music Awards performance at the Stony Pony on Sunday, 8/25, in Asbury Park, I was already plotting out my trip on Waze.

If you haven’t heard (or just aren’t from around here), the Stone Pony is a famous and historic music venue in Monmouth County, NJ that has allowed for major New Jersey musicians, like Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi, to get their start. Located just a block away from the boardwalk and beach, it’s a crazy-cool outdoor venue unlike any other.

Once a Jonas Brothers super-fan, I was excited to see my boys live, about thirty minutes from where I lived on the Jersey Shore. Rewind back to 2008 when I was convinced Nick Jonas would be my husband.

Although only a select few fans were offered tickets to watch the Jonas Brothers’ actual set inside the Stone Pony, they sang a few songs afterwards on a stage facing the Asbury Park boardwalk and beach for the public, for FREE. That meant that mere mortals like my boyfriend and I could see them in the flesh.

The entire area was absolutely MOBBED. According to New Jersey 105.1, over 8,000 people showed up to watch. Ocean Avenue, which was a block away from the venue, had been blocked off. Showing up about 45 minutes before showtime, my boyfriend and I luckily sought out spots on the boardwalk, which houses plenty of restauraunts and bars, nearby the stage before it was baricaded off.

The crowd clustered further down the boardwalk, while others camped out in beach chairs blankets on the sand and even more watched from the Watermark Bar nearby.

The set-list was short, and unlike a lot of fans wanted, they didn’t play any old favorites and only sang a few songs (“Sucker”, “Cool”, “I Believe”, and “Only Human”) from their newest album release, Happiness Begins.

The set was finished off with a fireworks, which was the cherry on top of the summer night. After the crowd dispersed, Tanner and I headed to Pop’s Garage, a nearby Mexican food spot, for tacos and margaritas. All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday night!

Who’s watching the VMAs tonight? I’m not a huge award show fan usually but I’m considering watching this year to hopefully catch a ~*glimpse~ of myself!

5 Easy Ways To Cut Calories At Starbucks

Ahh, Starbucks. A millennial, American staple. Where would we be without our caffeine?

Unfortunately, many of the delicious drinks we order without a second thought sometimes are loaded with empty calories. (Enter: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Frappucinos….). With summer on the horizon, many of us are finding ways to easily cut calories so we can look and ultimately FEEL better on the beach.

Read on to find out how to satisfy your Starbucks cravings, while also not cheating on your diet.

If you want to have a “treat yourself” drink, opt for a tall.

Do you really NEED that Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte anyway? Instead, order a tall and drink it slowly to really savor it. Everything is ok in moderation, anyway!

Go for “skinny” versions of drinks 

This means you’d like sugar-free syrup, nonfat milk and no whipped cream. Easy enough, right?

Ask for almond, soy or nonfat milk rather than having the regular whole milk 

You are also less likely to have a stomachache after, as these options will have you avoiding dairy.

If you love added flavor, ask for sugar-free syrup or fewer pumps of it.  

1-2 pumps of sugar-free syrup should definitely curb your sweet cravings.

Avoid going to Starbucks often.

I found I was cutting calories (and saving my precious paychecks) when I chose to make coffee at home with my own, low-calorie creamer that I love. If you’re in need of a good creamer, I’ve been recently loving the Trader Joe’s Lactose Free Coffee Creamer in Vanilla.

10 Last Minute Gifts For Her You Can Find on Amazon Prime

Procrastinating on Christmas shopping again? That makes two of us. 

I know that I’ve done a lot of my own Christmas shopping on Amazon Prime, thanks to their amazing free two-day shipping policy, AND because they sell just about anything you can think of. 

Whether she’s your girlfriend, sister, mother or second aunt once removed, it is likely that she will be happy receiving at least one of these gift ideas. I’ve also taken the liberty of including gifts of multiple price points. 

Wireless earbuds

In my eyes, you can never go wrong with technology — everyone has a cell phone.

Since Apple made the decision to remove the headphone jack on their newer iPhone releases, many consumers are making the switch to wireless bluetooth earphones.  They’re so easy to take on the go too! 

An essential oil diffuser

These are so popular these days because of their calming properties, and have been shown to promote higher quality sleep patterns. Perfect for that aunt that just started a new job and that cousin that’s working through her college application process.

A rose quartz face roller

For some reason, these rose quartz face rollers are flying off the shelves this season as they are considered to be the DIY version of getting a facial. A facial at home for a quarter of the price? Yes, please!

A winter scarf

Scarves are absolutely timeless. And a girl always need another one.

A reusable water bottle

I love my Swell bottle and bring it to work with me most days to ensure that I am always drinking enough water.  

The Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

The Amazon Echo offers many capabilities — you can use it to listen to music and audiobooks, adjust lighting in your home, etc. 

A female of any age will love this — your college aged cousin can use it to play her music at parties and your grandmother will finally be able to listen to 50 Shades of Grey aloud on Audible. 

A leather tote

Every girl could use a classic tote because it’s so incredibly versatile and low maintenance. She can use it for high school classes to carry her books or as a diaper bag if she’s a new mom. 

Becoming Michelle Obama

This is the book of the moment. Every female on the planet is either reading it, has read it, or wants to read it because who doesn’t love Michelle Obama?

A beanie 

You can’t go wrong with a cute winter hat. This pom pom beanie comes in a ton of colors so there is bound to be something that fits her personal style. 

A pajama set

Give a girl a matching pajama set, and she can conquer the world. That’s how the saying goes, right? 

23 Lessons I Learned by 23

In the words of the wise Blink-182, “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.” With that being said, after having already bypassed my birthday about a month ago, I have thought back on the lessons that I have learned over the course of my twenty three years spent living.

  1. Swearing is unattractive and makes you sound less intelligent.
  2. “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” – S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders
  3. Eat well not just to stay thin. Eat well for the sake of your well-being and mentality. Eat well because you’re WORTH IT.
  4. But still eat a burger sometimes, because life is short.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you really need it.
  6. Your struggles definitely do not define you, whether it be your depression or lack of mathematic skills.
  7. Making to-do lists to stay organized are the keys to your success.
  8. Your parents are getting older, too. Treasure the time you have with them.
  9. “The smartest thing a woman can ever learn is to never need a man”
  10. Good things come to those who wait, whether it be the right job or a romantic relationship.
  11. As much as you may try, you cannot control others. The moment you realize this, life becomes a lot easier.
  12. Other people won’t make you happy — you need to face your insecurities head on and love yourself first.
  13. It is more worthwhile to go to bed at midnight and wake up early to work rather than working through the night. Your mind will be much sharper.
  14. Binge-eating Oreos will not fix your failed Calculus exam.
  15. You will never regret being kind to others.
  16. 5 shots of tequila doesn’t make you a better dancer.
  17. Write everything down. You’ll never remember when that meeting was otherwise.
  18. Stop comparing yourself to others — everyone moves at their own pace.
  19. Always carry Advil with you. You’ll never know when you (or someone else) will need it.
  20. Oh, and a portable charger for long days out of the house.
  21. The way you say something is sometimes much more important than what you say. Speaking in a calm voice instead of raising your voice will often go over better.
  22. Have a headache? Drink water. Bloated? Drink water. Is your skin breaking out? Drink water. Water is always the answer, basically.
  23. You were made the way you are for a reason. Stop trying to force yourself into a box.

You can purchase my top here, similar shoes here and my skirt here.

5 Lessons College Taught Me That Can’t Be Found in A Book

As my grandmother said before her passing last December, I “blossomed” over my four years of college.

Throughout my undergraduate career, I switched majors once, acquired 3 internships, studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a semester, traveled to the Dominican Republic for a service trip, held several editorial positions at an online media outlet marketed toward empowered college-aged women, built strong relationships with my professors, and lastly, made friendships that will last a lifetime.

I learned a lot of content academically throughout the years, from what it takes to build a strong brand image to the functions of an enzyme.  But of course, there is more to learn than what can be discussed in a lecture hall. I have compiled this list of lessons that I have learned over the past four years, specifically ones that cannot be found in a textbook.

1. Who my real friends are. 

Keep in mind that these may not be the first friends you make. Don’t waste time hanging out with people because you feel that you should — life is too short. Your time should be spent with people who lift you up, make you laugh, and will support you during your darkest days.

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2. You should be confident in your decision to stay single because you deserve the best.

Some guys are just not nice and are not worth your time or tears.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, even if a guy is perfectly nice and does all the right things — treats you with respect, texts you “good morning”, and takes you out on real dates that don’t involve “Netflix & Chill” — it still may not feel right and that’s okay too.

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3. Not knowing what you want to do is one hundred percent okay.  

So many undergraduates face a great deal of anxiety when making the decision of what to major in. What do I want to do with my life, anyway? 

I entered college as a psychology major but after enduring said anxiety, I changed my major to communication my sophomore year and have not looked back since. I knew going into college that I wanted to work with people, but after a few courses in psychology that were geared towards working in a lab, I knew that I was in the wrong classes — I wanted to work with people on a daily basis.

I had heard through the grapevine that marketing pairs nicely with a communication major, so I picked up a minor in marketing. I loved being able to take classes in something that I found interesting, was definitely applicable to the real world, and something that I seemed to excel at.

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4. Taking care of yourself is so important, both mentally and physically. 

This past semester, I made the decision to completely change my eating habits alongside two of my close friends — I started tracking everything I ate, practiced portion control, and increased my water intake.  I lost about 15 pounds but gained an immeasurable amount of confidence. After years of being ashamed of my body, I was no longer hiding behind baggy clothing.

Choose to go to the gym, not because you need to lose weight, but because you are worth taking care of yourself. Reap the benefits of exercise — go to the gym for 20 minutes to blow off some steam, even when you have that psychology exam tomorrow that you’re going to “totally fail”.

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5. Traveling can truly change who you are as a person. 

I had the opportunity to study abroad for an entire semester in Florence, Italy and was able to truly grow as a person, as cheesy as it may sound. I gained senses of resilience and independence living in a city inhabited by people that spoke a language I was unfamiliar with, as well as traveling every weekend to different countries with the amazing friends that I made.

Conversely, on my service trip to the Dominican Republic with a group of students from my university, I was exposed to a way of life that I had never seen before. We were housed in the Mustard Seed community in Puerto Plato, DR, and volunteered to work with impoverished children with developmental disabilities. That week in January allowed me to solidify the fact that I want to take on a permanent career that allows me to help others.

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I cannot express in words how grateful I am that I was given the privilege to study at Fairfield University for the past four years. My time there will be greatly missed, but I am excited to see the amazing opportunities that are on the horizon for me. Once a Stag, always a Stag.

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Governors Ball Survival Guide

On Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, I attended day two of the popular New York City music festival, Governors Ball, alongside my sister and two of her friends. Gov Ball is held every summer on Randall’s Island Park.  The festival mainly draws in young people, most likely between the ages of 17-25, so I definitely felt right at home.

The festival features artists from a wide variety of genres, so there is definitely something for everyone. This year’s festival featured big names such as Travis Scott, Halsey, Pusha T and 2 Chainz, while also giving exposure to lesser known artists such as LANY (one of my personal favorites), Mikky Ekko and The Spencer Lee Band.

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As someone that had never attended Gov Ball before, I really did not have any idea what to expect. There was one thing that I did not know though — that I would be exhausted at the end of the day. But in the end, I am pretty sure that I came prepared. With this in mind, follow my 5 survival tips for Governors Ball and you should be good as gold.

Dress comfortably. 

Given the fact that you’ll be on your feet all day, wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I went with a bodysuit, flow-y shorts and sneakers for my Governor’s Ball outfit — I wanted to look put together, but wanted to still feel free to move around.

I purchased my black bodysuit from American Apparel (you can get a similar one here!), my shorts from Tobi, my purple sneakers are Supergas and my mirrored sunglasses are Ray Bans.

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Stay hydrated. 

It’s hot out there, friends, and passing out from dehydration unfortunately is all too common during the summer. Gov Ball allows guests to bring in reusable water bottles, so do so if you want to be environmentally friendly. Otherwise, I advise everyone to drink water every few hours — trust me, the $4 price tag is worth every penny if it keeps you from fainting. They also offer free fill-up stations, so you can refill your empty water bottle without having to pay again.

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Bring a portable charger. 

We arrived at Gov Ball at around 1 PM and left the show around 11:30 PM. You can do the math and assume that your phone battery will not last the entire day. And while the festival did offer complimentary charging stations to guests, investing in a portable charger to keep in your purse or backpack to charge your phone up would be a great idea.

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Protect yourself!

From the sun, that is. As someone who burns easily, I am always the one to bring along a bottle or can of spray sunscreen with me. At a music festival, the entire day is being spent in the sun, so definitely be sure to protect yourself from the sun’s powerful rays to avoid a nasty sunburn.

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Avoid the mosh pits. 

Ahh, no music festival would be complete without a moshpit. To avoid an injury, stay away from the area right at the front of the stage, as that is mainly where mosh pits tend to congregate — we learned this one the hard way during Travis Scott’s set.

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My Goals for 2018

Every year, everybody has the same basic goals — spend less money, lose weight, exercise more…but this year I want things to be different. I do not want to fall off the wagon on January 7th like so many people often do — I want to actually follow through with my goals, and in doing this, I want to make sure that my goals are realistic.

With this in mind, here are my New Years resolutions for 2018.

Begin a skincare regimen

I’m the kind of girl who often times cannot be bothered to do more than take her makeup off with a makeup wipe (and that’s on a good day!). In 2018, I want to begin taking better care of my skin and become more educated on skincare than just the basics of cleansers and moisturizers.

Attend fitness classes

I fall in and out of habit with working out often and I dread running on the treadmill or elliptical for 45 minutes simply because I don’t find it enjoyable. I have really enjoyed attending spin classes in the past, so in 2018 I vow to attend more classes/make room for the gym in my schedule because it’ll make getting fit much more fun and not something I view as a chore.

I am also joining Weight Watchers with two of my good friends so I hope pairing these together will help me to live a healthier lifestyle.

Drink more water

Drinking water has so many benefits – it clears your skin, prevents headaches, helps with weight loss…so why aren’t I drinking more of it? I want to make sure that my water bottle is always filled with ice and lemon, because I find myself drinking a lot more of it when it has a bit of a taste and is chilled.

Spend less money

I struggle with spending way too much money — I will go into Marshalls with the intention of buying a birthday gift for a friend, but I will often leave with a new top, candle and scarf that I had to have, oftentimes without the item I originally entered the store to purchase. I want to make sure that I save my receipts and create a budget that I will actually be able to stick to.

I also want to limit my purchasing coffee out to only once a week and then brew coffee at home with my Keurig the other days, as I know that this is where a lot of my money goes.

Become more organized 

Although most people would probably consider me a type-A person, you would be shocked to see how disorganized I am. My desk drawers are a mess and I often find myself scrambling to find my phone or car keys.

In the new year I’d like to declutter and make sure that everything I own has a place and is always put back in that place to save me time later.

Travel more

Last year I had the chance to spend a semester abroad in Florence, Italy, and since then I have wanted to travel more so than ever before.

I leave for a service trip to the Dominican Republic tomorrow (!!!!) and going on spring break to the Bahamas, but I would to love to plan a trip with friends after my graduation come May.

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Fall 2017 Favorites

Hi everyone and happy November!

It is so hard to believe that November is already halfway over and that Thanksgiving is next week. This year has been busier than ever — with fall semester of my senior year now in full swing, the pressure is on to apply to jobs and study hard. Not to mention that I am also interning part time at a marketing research firm….

With so much on my (and every other senior’s!) plate right now, it is important to have products that I can depend on. With this in mind,I have come across a few new things this fall that I naturally had to share with you all. So let’s get into my fall 2017 favorites!

An awesome planner 

I got this cute planner on sale at Michael’s and I have to say that it has definitely kept me organized. I would be lost without this thing, and not to mention its adorable marble print!

A great pair of jeans 

As a girl with thicker thighs and a butt, I never loved skinny jeans because I do not find them very flattering on my body type. So when I finally saw straight-leg jeans reappear in stores, I knew that I had to get my hands on a pair. I got an incredible pair from Madewell that I have LIVED in this fall. They are so comfy and I love the cut of them. The only cons are the price tag and the fact that they only come in one color. Madewell, please release these in darker washes!!

A comfy pair of motorcycle boots

Not a riding boot or LL Bean Boots kind of gal? I’ve got you, fam.  These Aquatalia boots are my favorite boots in the entire world, although very expensive. (Psst! They’re on sale for 54% off at Nordstrom Rack right now so snatch them up while you can!) They are so incredibly comfortable, warm and also waterproof, making them the perfect boot for wintertime. My sister and I have both lived in them for the past two years until we decided it was time to part ways with them because they were beaten to death. Naturally, I just repurchased them because of the sale!

A Dark Liquid Lip

While this is a new favorite of mine and have only worn it once or twice on nights out, I have to say that I was blown away by the Nars Powermatte Lip Pigment in Wild Night. Its a very deep purple and I like that it makes my teeth look white. I did not think that I could pull off a dark lip before trying this out!

Kat Von D Shade and Light Contour Palette  

When I spotted this amazing contour palette for $25 at Marshal’s after eyeing the full price item for nearly a year, I knew that I had to pick I up. While the one I just picked up is in its old packaging, which probably explains the difference in pricing, the pigmentation of these powders is incredible. I love using a bit of the middle banana shade to brighten the area under my eyes for everyday and then using the lightest contour shade to chisel out my cheekbones when I want to step up my makeup look.

Setting Spray

The Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray is my saving grace for nights out. After spending half an hour on my makeup, I want to ensure that my time was not wasted so I use this stuff to lock everything into place. It keeps my entire face looking nice for hours. Just make sure to wait to spray it on face after your mascara is completely dry to avoid making a mess under your eyes.

Keyboard cover

After having had to recently replace my computer, I knew it was time to take better care of my new one. With this in mind, I searched Amazon for a keyboard cover, as I often find myself spilling coffee and God-knows-what-else on my keyboard, which probably was something that led to my poor past computer’s demise. This Mosiso one is a great option — I purchased it on Amazon and while it took a day or so to get used to, I barely notice it anymore when I type on my computer. I also love the cool marble effect that it adds to my computer.

 

 

 

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Riverdale Drinking Game

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Riverdale, a teenage crime drama that is based off the Archie Comics, is sweeping the nation. With the words “Riverdale” constantly on everyone (and my own) lips, why not pair the hottest show of the season with a drinking game?! Many of the show’s viewers are young people, and what young person doesn’t like to sit down and watch some trashy tv with a bottle of wine?

So sit back and relax on this chilly Friday night, grab a few friends, and pop open a bottle of wine because this drinking game is about to get you lit.

Take a sip…

Every time Cheryl mentions her dead brother, Jason

Every time Archie isn’t wearing a shirt

Whenever “Dark Betty” is mentioned

Whenever Hermione calls Veronica “mija”

When Jughead’s teen angst comes out

Take a shot…

Whenever Pop’s is mentioned

Every time you roll your eyes at something Veronica says (her old life in New York, mention of her father in prison…)

Whenever someone makes a pop culture reference

When Archie doesn’t know what’s going on

Whenever someone mentions “jingle jangle”

Finish your drink…

When Jughead narrates a scene

Whenever Archie kisses someone