Monthly Archives: July 2011

This week's Favorites Friday is inspired by the State Fair, which opened in Sacramento on Thursday July 14th! I don't know what it is about the fair that I love but I can't help but go at least once or twice every summer. A small disclaimer: Those who are repulsed by fried foods may be disturbed.

Favorites Friday: All is Fair

1. Food I can't wait to try: Deep Fried Avocados

Yummmm

Not only is avocado my favorite "fruit" (yes, it's a fruit!) in the whole world but the idea of some warm batter surrounding it makes my heart sing. I know the deep frying it basically renders it unhealthy but you know it sounds delicious!!

2. The 2011 new State fair food I'll pass on: Raccoon on a stick

I can't even post of a picture of it because I can't bring myself to google what that will look like. Nope, not happening. Meeko from Pocahontas was one of my favorite characters and I just won't do it.

3. Best thing to do with a group of friends: The Hypnotist Show

If you manage to somehow get you or your friends chosen for the hypnotist show, it'll be a moment to remember for your whole life. I will say that I did get chosen for the hypnotist show and was NOT hypnotized but I think it was because I wasn't willing for my subconscious to roll with it. On 2 separate occasions, I had friends chosen who did CRAZY things and they said the experience was real. I still laugh when I remember the things they did that night and it's overall a great show.

4. Best thing I ever bought at the State fair: 600 thread count Egyptian "comfort" sheets

I know this sounds kinda crazy but I bought a set of sheets at the state fair last year and I considered them such a steal! It came as a set with a fitted sheet, loose sheet, and 2 pillow cases. I found them at this outdoor stand relatively close to Raging Waters and they only cost $20 for the whole set (which being a college student sounded fabulous). I completely doubt that they were 600 thread count or Egyptian cotton but I liked them just fine for $20! And yes, they were fully packaged in a legitimate way, as if they came from like Bed Bath and Beyond. I wouldn't say it was my best purchase ever but hands down a great deal when you're on a budget.

5. Young and old, don't leave the State fair without having: Funnel Cake

There are few things in this world as palate pleasing as funnel cake. Why is it that much better at the State fair? Who knows. But whether you like it with chocolate syrup, strawberries or ice cream, you gotta have one.

I wrote this entry prematurely and now I'm slightly sad I didn't go with a Harry Potter themed Favorites Friday (yes, I went to the midnight showing last night!). I think it's only fair that if some of my readers haven't seen the latest movie, I refrain from sharing any details so next week, expect at least 1 entry to be an homage to Harry.

Happy Friday all! Go see Harry Potter, it's amazing!

* I wrote this entry before the creation of SimplyEvani but since it's travel related, I decided to keep it!

Rob and I have taken all of our major vacations (and most of the minor ones) with other people. So as we embarked on the rollercoaster that was planning our own vacation, I was painfully unaware of how crazy it would make me. Luckily, Rob is always prepared for my insanity.

Daytona here we come!

First off, we had less than a month to plan a vacation in August. For me, that was like trying to fit an elephant in a suitcase, it's just impossible. I was nearly content with spending my week of vacation sitting at home watching How I Met Your Mother reruns when I found a deal to Orlando, Florida through Bookit.com. Flight and Hotel for 4 days as low at $309! Now it isn't my first rodeo on a travel website and I knew that taxes would take it to around $380. But under $400 seemed viable and suddenly the race for a vacation began.

I started by mentioning it to Rob and gauging his response to this deal. In clearly an act of insanity, once Rob is in, I suddenly drop out. I start rationalizing all the ways that it isn't fiscally responsible and how unnecessary a trip would be. Cue Rob for his next step, convincing me back into the vacation. For a few days, we dance back and forth mostly with me being gung-ho one minute and completely against it, all within the same short breath. One of my biggest flaws is my incessant need to research so I look up every viable hotel that fits with the deal and as soon as I'm enamored with a hotel, I start looking into reviews on tripadvisor.com. Then within an hour, I completely hate the hotel and move on to the next. You can see how this drew out for a good 4 days as I wiped out a majority of the hotels available in Orlando, FL.

Since we're walking distance, we'll definitely be in Downtown Disney!

Much to my dismay, this cheap deal through bookit.com was poised to end by midnight on Friday July 8. Come Thursday night, I singlehandedly researched my way into every hotel and scenario and was defeated. Rob comes over around 8 pm on Friday and takes the laptop. With me feeling dejected and overall beat from the experience of vacation planning, he finds a deal for a "Mystery Hotel located in Downtown Disney". What this meant is that bookit.com would not publish the hotel's name and guaranteed a list of amenities with a fabulous price. This seemed like the perfect solution. I began to panic about what if the hotel was bad, or had tacky furniture or even worse had no pool. Much to Rob's dismay, I managed to google search until I had a pretty good idea what this "Mystery" hotel was. More to save his sanity than my own,  I decided not to look into it's reviews. I told him I was ready to book and we decided we were in.

DisneyWorld, here we come!

My voice rather shaky as I confirmed the details of our flight and hotel, I worked through my panic and gave into the madness. Yes, we were paying $468 dollars (flight, hotel and the cost of shuttles to and from the airport directly to our hotel). Yes, we were going on vacation alone. And Yes, it was basically non-refundable. Those points made me panic. But imagining the 5 days and 4 nights we'll stay in our beautiful hotel in Florida, I could not be more excited! Our hotel has constant shuttles to all the DisneyWorld parks and we're within walking distance to Pleasure Island and Downtown Disney. We're planning definitely to stop by DisneyWorld, possibly the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Daytona beach. Moments after booking and getting the confirmation, I had brief moments of panic, followed by Rob squeezing my hand saying we did good. It makes me feel good that making decisions in life will be so much easier and more enjoyable with him by my side.

Besides my car, I've never bought anything as expensive as this trip. My panic and anxiety comes from the fact spending $400 doesn't come easily to me. Planning this vacation was a lesson in learning to let go for the sake of enjoyment and trusting that I won't make poor financial decisions. I mean, the best part of living at home is being able to save for life AND save for vacations to enjoy it all along the way. All I know is that in the coming months, I think I'll need a vacation from vacation planning!

Happy Friday everyone!

I finally took the plunge and went public with my blog on Tuesday. Although it wasn't one of my wittier entries, I feel that it fit the tone and topic of my blog pretty well. Hopefully I have a few new readers from it and if anyone new is reading, Welcome!

In case there are new people tuning in, Favorites Friday is a pretty self explanatory segment where I highlight 5 of my favorite things pertaining to a topic of my choosing. While not typically relevant to the post-grad side of me, it's usually a good chance for my readers to get to know me better or to read about interesting new products I find online. If they are purchasable items, the photo always links to the website, in case you're crazy enough to buy the things I showcase.

Favorites Friday: Summer Must Haves

This week I've been in vacation planning mode (when am I not vacation planning) and I figured a list of summer Must Haves was due.

1. A Good Lawn Chair

Lawn chair

Summer is never complete without a lawn chair. Primarily because my family spends so much time at the baseball fields but I think everyone needs to have at least one. For Sacramento locals, whether it be a day at the Sac River or the cheap lawn seats at the Rivercats games, find a lawn chair that suits you.

Umbrella attachment

For some, a chair that has a table for your drink of choice or for the skin conscious, a chair with an umbrella . Most of all, I think we all agree that if we saw someone in this crazy hammock like portable contraption, we would all most likely laugh.

No it's not for babies

2. Sunblock

Cannot live without

Ladies, listen up. Tan is beautiful but wrinkles are not. From the Skin Cancer Foundation Website: "Up to 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to aging are caused by the sun." Aside from the obvious cancerous reasons, if you are tanning for cosmetic reasons, at the least take precautions against the sun aging your face. The summer product I can't live without is Clinique's Super City Block Ultra Protection. It's SPF 40, costs around $18-21 and smells great. It's a moisturizer, tinted foundation and sunblock all in one! It doesn't leave my face feeling oily or shiny and I can't argue with Clinique cosmetic's reputation.

Regardless of whether you use Clinique or Coppertone, slather up and protect your skin!

3. A pair of Shades

Coach $110
Ray-Ban Aviators $182

So this goes hand in hand with the sunblock but who doesn't love a pair of shades in the summer? . There are so many shapes, shades and styles to wear that everyone can find a style that works for them. I truly believe everyone needs to own at least 1 pair of "legit" sunglasses (non-Forever 21, gas station or Target brand) because there's no denying the quality of a good pair of Coach or Ray-Ban sunglasses (and for anyone who knows me well, I'm the first person to side with frugality)

I was the type of person to go through maybe 4-6 pairs of Forever 21 sunglasses every summer which was "ok" with me since they were only about $5.99 each. When I got tired of finding the nose bridge bent or a lens popping out, I decided to get my first pair of real sunglasses. 3 years later not a single thing has gone wrong with my pair of Coach shades and they were worth every penny. Places like Macy and Nordstroms are good places to see a wide variety and try them on.

4. Go-To Pair of Shorts

A good pair of striped shorts
If only we all looked as tan and fit as this model!

Summer is all about taking it off and in Sacramento, the 100+ degree summers calls for as little clothing as possible. Everyone has got to have their go-to pair of shorts to call on. It's the pair that go with everything, require little to no fuss and keep your body temperature down as much as possible. Whether it be jean, cargo or mesh basketball shorts, find your pair and flaunt it proudly.

5. An open schedule and flexibility

BBQ

Summer is the season for making plans with friends and enjoying the warmth! Keep your schedule open for a last minute weekend barbecue or that river rafting trip you've always wanted to take. Make time to just sit outside or take a walk. Plan a neighborhood potluck  or pack up your stuff and head to the beach for the weekend. Just remember in a few short months, the rain will return so enjoy it while you can!

Happy Friday all! Have a great weekend :)

The question on every grad's mind

As the euphoric feelings of graduation faded away, unemployment and the daunting fear of not finding a job hit me like an 18-wheeler. The search for a full time job is what originally brought me to blogging, hoping to connect with other scared college grads like myself. Being officially a year out since my own graduation and hectic job search has put a lot of perspective on the whole process. As I breathe a little easier (as does my bank account) here are some of the things I've learned and would like to share with recent college grads:

1. Feelings are okay. First off, don't feel bad if you're scared/nervous/anxious about what comes next. You will undoubtedly  have friends that have it "all figured out" and they've already got admissions to their grad school or have had a full time job lined up since last year. Don't feel bad or guilty for not doing so, everyone sets their own pace. Allow yourself to feel however you feel about the new stage in your life and know that you don't have to put unnecessary pressure on yourself. How did I deal with my post grad unemployment? I forced my parents to get an adorable dog to follow me around 8 hours a day. And now he's my Mom's favorite child.

2. Take time. If you feel a little burnt out from school, take a small break before you start the job search. The summer after college may be your last legitimate summer before adult life and you WILL miss it. Take a graduation vacation or just veg on the couch for a bit, while you keep your eye open for jobs. There has to be a few shows you had been dying to watch in college that you never had the time for. Enjoy some time and pat yourself on the back for the accomplishment that is finishing school. I know a lot of people don't have this luxury but don't be afraid to take some time to yourself if you can.

3. Don't fight the facts, live with them. There's no doubt about it we live in tough times. Here are the facts: 1. Unemployment is high so jobs are relatively scarce. 2.College grads aren't getting the jobs they used to get. 3. The job market will be partial to experience and it may seem to you that you have little to none. All recent college grads can attest to this and stating these facts over and over don't make them any less true. But that doesn't mean you're not capable of getting a job, it means you have to work within your means. If that means working a less-than-glamorous job to gain experience for your next, do it. If the annual salary is going to a basically leave you nothing but food, take it with the hopes of moving upward. I'm not saying settle, I'm saying what everyone else is sayin, times are tough.

4. Use your resources. Before you even start looking for a job, get yourself prepared using the resources you have. If you are a Davis grad, the ICC is a great place to start and edit a resume or look for jobs. I didn't take myself off the Psych listserve at Davis and that's how I found my current job. Even if you don't attend Davis, I'm sure there are resources on campus to help you, it's just a matter of finding and using them. Also, use your connections through your family and friends, it's much easier to swing for a job if you have a personal connection to someone.

5. Narrow your focus. The #1 problem I know people have in job hunting is not having a target job or category. Although college was about picking a major and focusing on that, it doesn't mean we'll be lucky enough to find a job in that field. Even more so, just because you got a degree in a specific field doesn't mean you can't branch out into others. Overall, focus your job search. Searching for jobs in Econ could range from bank teller to IRS intern to any financial department within the state. Pick 3 jobs/titles you would be happy with and first search only for those 3 jobs/titles. That way, you can focus your resume and cover letter towards a specific field and make yourself a better applicant. Widen your focus after you've exhausted all the options in your previous search.

And take a deep breath, you're going to be fine.

Part II in the coming weeks!