Stream of Consciousness

Friday, February 8, 2013

If you're looking for my learning blog, I'm over on Tumblr: http://beingabeginner.tumblr.com/

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Monday, January 25, 2010

Week 2.5: Down -0.8

It's not outstanding, but it's not nearly as bad as it could have been. I still hit my at least 3x/week gym goal, tried yoga, and cooked a new recipe. However, I had a really rough, emotional week. And what happens when you have one of those? Toast. Doritos. Wine. Chocolate. This week one of my best friends from early childhood was diagnosed with cancer in his chest -- a mass the size of an orange pressing against his lung, making it nearly impossible to breathe. He's now being treated a MGH and the prognosis is good. But cancer is cancer and there's no guarantees.

And so clearly I ate a pile of carbs to make my body produce seratonin. Therapy Eating.
Research has proven that certain foods produce “feel good” chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in our brains that can literally be addictive. High sugar and fat combinations (e.g. ice cream, chocolate, doughnuts, cakes, and pies) can boost endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are our body’s natural pain killers; they produce a feeling of relaxation and even euphoria. Foods high in refined carbohydrate (e.g. white breads, pastries, chips, sodas, and candy) cause an increase of serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin provides sedation and calmness. Unfortunately, these “quick fixes” are brief. And over time – just like in other addictions – we may require more and more of the “substance” (high sugar/fat foods) to produce the desired effect. (from the Diet Channel)

Any suggestions for serotonin/endorphin replacements?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New Recipe: Spinach & Leek White Bean Soup

This Spinach & Leek White Bean Soup recipe is from my favorite recipe website, All Recipes.

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 leeks, bulb only, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans fat-free chicken broth
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, cannellini beans, bay leaves and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and stir in the couscous. Cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

I twisted it a little bit by using frozen spinach and adding an extra can of broth. Leeks aren ingredient that I've heard about before, but I've been to timid to try.

This soup is delish! And great for a gross, wet, cold day like today in Boston.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Week 1(ish): Down 6.2 lbs!

Week 1(ish): -6.2 lbs!

Pretty good start for a first week, though that is usually the biggest (shocking your system and all). I did really well on my gym commitment, too!

Keys to this week:
  1. Going to the gym three times. I want to go more, but it's a very solid start.
  2. Resisting the booze damage during Birthday Season kickoff weekend. I only had two drinks on Friday and two on Saturday. Less beer = less beer bellies.
  3. Thinking before eating. "Do I really want a hamburger - or will a turger burger be just as good for less calories?" "If I order a side salad, I can always steal one or two of Nick's fries to satisfy my craving without eating a whole pile."
  4. Competition. Made a bet with Steve. Loser buys dinner in June.
New things to try this week:
  1. Vinyasa Yoga class at BSC.
  2. Recipes from Fitness magazine (will post on how it goes!).
  3. Minimizing booze damage during Birthday Season

"Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was."
[Robert Louis Stevenson]

Monday, January 11, 2010

Out with the Old, In with the New (2010 Resolutions)

I still get emails from my old WW meetings leader, even though I'm a lapsed member and haven't attended in quite awhile. I always love her emails and have used today's as a framework for.... 2010 Resolutions!

Out With The Old, In With The New!

It’s a brand new year; a chance to start 2010 as you mean to go on. Ditching old habits which are unhelpful to your goals and replacing them with new ways, will hold you in good stead on your weight loss journey.

In With...

1. A positive attitude. Think of 3 positive affirmations about your weight loss. [...] Everyday write a positive message to yourself with your affirmations. [...] Whatever way you choose to do it, you’ll discover that a positive attitude can have a powerful effect on your success and help boost your confidence.

1. I am losing weight and gaining confidence.
2. I love to fuel my body with the healthiest food so it runs its best.
3. I am a healthy, capable, fit person.


2. Healthy habits. Ditch the old, negative ways and liven up your life with new lifestyle habits. Healthy eating, moving more, and managing your thoughts, feelings and environment will all help you lose weight. [...]

3. Making the most of mistakes. [...] believe in yourself and your ability to get back on track. This will help you re-focus [...]

4. Rewarding your achievements along the way. On your weight loss journey, depending on how many pounds you need to lose, it may take you some time to achieve your Goal Weight. To stay motivated, it’s vital to set smaller weight loss goals along the way [...] Non-scale goals, like dropping a clothes size or decreasing belt notches, also help. Think about how you will reward yourself when you get to each goal you set.

Short-term Goal :: -10 lbs :: pedicure
NSV :: collar bones, skinny jeans, dress
Long-term Goal :: -30 lbs (by June 1st) :: Steve owes me dinner (if I win)


5. Trying something different. Being adventurous and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can be a boost to your confidence. [...] Whatever you choose to do in 2010, banish self doubt, visualize yourself at Goal and remember – the old you is so last year!

Small :: Learning yoga/pilates.
Small :: Cooking with spices/produce out of my comfort zone (Adventures in Cooking).
Big :: Hiking Bald Peak & Kinsman in the Spring.

Monday, December 7, 2009

I can't get no shut-eye!*

I worked all day on Saturday and, though I had thoughts of seeing friends, decided to use the slushy-snow as an excuse to stay in. All was going according to plan - yummy dinner, History channel documentary on TV (Nick's favorite) and the apartment to myself. Until... the upstairs neighbors decided to throw a raging party. Now I'm all for getting your friends together and having a grand ol' time, but does it have to include tap dancing elephants? Because I'm pretty sure there was a circus that filed in the door, up the stairs and performed an award-winning (do they give out awards for tap dancers?) elephant ensemble tap number accompanied by some warped version of Lil Wayne pulsing through the bass.

Nights like Saturday are exactly why I am ready to move out of the city to a quieter town (or a duplex).

*I actually busted into a friend's parents room when I was 7 at a sleepover to say this when the other girls wouldn't be quiet. Apparently I've always been a little cranky about my sleep.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"Swoon Over Your Spoons"

Moving almost every year for the last five has caused me to constantly ask myself, "Do I really need that?" If the answer was yes, it got to stay. If the answer was no, it didn't usually make it to the trash. Instead most of my "no, I don't need that, but maybe one day I could possibly have a use or a space for it" stuff ended up at my parents house. That was until last month when my mom uttered the dreaded words, "Clean out the attic."

I was forced to sift through thousands of memories -- most of which were school-related papers and projects. It's hard to throw things away that represent so many hours of work -- of effort. But there were also many things stuffed in plastic trunks that I've purchased in moments of retail lust (ahem, those horrendous - but trendy at the time - patchwork jeans). As I was thinking about all the things I owned and why, I stumbled across any article from treehugger.com called "Love Your Stuff":

The problem, I argued, is not that we love stuff too much—but that we don't love it enough. Why else do people swoon over the next tech gadget; the next McMansion; or the next over sized car, before becoming bored and moving on to another obsession? That's not love, it's lust. And it's a promiscuous lust at that.

What if we rejected these consumer equivalents of a one night stand? What if we committed to our stuff instead? What if we settled into deep and meaningful, if somewhat polygamous, relationships with our possessions? Once we make the commitment to fall in love all over again with our houses, with our clothes, with our furniture, we start looking for qualities of durability, reliability, craftsmanship, beauty and sustainability, instead of cheap thrills and shallow gimmicks. We start nurturing, nourishing and maintaining what we have, rather than looking for something new. In short, we learn to live with less.

So as we rapidly approach the holiday (i.e. gimmie, gimmie, gimmie gifts) season, I plan to ask for -- and will try only to give -- really high quality, useful, durable, meaningful gifts. Some of the best gifts I've received over the last few years include a slow cooker and tool set. Not flashy or exciting, but I use them both on a near-weekly basis.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Halloween 2009: The Idea

Without a predetermined Halloween theme in July (oh, who are we kidding, more like January) this year, I've been putting off figuring out what I want to be/do for a costume. Last year by the start of October I already had my costume pieces together and was just working out the details of my hair.

I wanted to do something really fun this year and pick something that would be easily recognizable. We toyed with the idea of doing Marc Antony & Cleopatra, Batman & Robin or Catwoman or Superwoman, and Bonnie & Clyde (the boy wanted to be a gangster... SURPRISE). After looking at a few pictures of Bonnie & Clyde - the boy's clear favorite - I was unimpressed. But it helped me think up the perfect idea: gangsters & flappers!

Now the boy gets to be a Prohibition Era, John Dillinger-esque gangster and I get to be a Louise Brooks inspired flapper.


"Most beautiful dumb girls think they are smart and get away with it, because other people, on the whole, aren't much smarter."

"A well dressed woman, even though her purse is painfully empty, can conquer the world."


Let the costuming begin!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

September: A New Year

Screw January, who decided January should be the start of a new year anyways? Maybe it's some kind of Pavlovian response to nearly 20 years of new school years beginning right around Labor Day, but I've always felt that the sudden crispness of the air in September held more promise of a new year than the dull, frigid monotony of January. I mean really, what is even remotely motivating about December 26 through sometime in March when the world (at least New England) thaws? That's serious, hunker-down-and-read-a-good-novel time not hey-let-me-rehaul-my-life time.

Anyways, what that means is that I've been starting to fill my calendar back up again (just like Marisa). Gone are the long, lazy days by lakes or pools, soaking up the sun and disconnecting from the world. Let's see, there's:
  • Work: My 9-to-5 job, with busy and slow seasons, keeps me pretty occupied throughout the week.
  • Work #2: Ah, retail, gotta love it. Connecting with customers and completing a wall of perfectly folded chinos are the best rewards for a screwy schedule.
  • GSEM Task Force: A new group within our Girl Scout council whose goal is to unite and support the service units in the Boston metro area. I'll be specifically working on the Adult Development Committee to recruit, train and recognize adult volunteers. I'm also a working toward becoming a Council Facilitator so I can lead my own training sessions. If you're interested in getting involved - let me know!
  • "Open Classroom: Northeastern offers the community the chance to audit a class on urban policy and issues taught by Prof. Bluestone. Once you're registered, you can sit in on any of the classes from 9/10-12/10. A group of us are signing up (let [Marisa] know if you do too!), and while I may not buy all the books recommended on the official syllabus, I'm strangely hungry for poli-sci nerd knowledge and a classroom setting."
  • Football: I plan on actually watching games this year. And spending lazy Sundays cooking lavish meals in my new gorgeous kitchen. Open invitation!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mangeons Comme Les Francais

10 Diet Lessons From the French
1. Petite isn't just a dress size. One of the reasons France has an 11 percent obesity rate (as compared to America's 33 percent) is portion control. "A croissant in Paris is one ounce, while in Pittsburgh it's two," notes Chris Rosenbloom, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of nutrition at Georgia State University. Buy one and share it with your beau.
2. Never say diet. The French don't get involved in the carbs versus protein debate, nor do they label food groups like dairy or beef "bad." "There's an emphasis on eating a wide variety of foods—fruits, vegetables, beef, poultry, fish, bread and cheese— without overdoing any one thing," explains Susan Herrmann Loomis, a cooking teacher in Louviers, France, and author of the cooking memoir On Rue Tatin (Broadway Books, 2001).
3. There's no French equivalent of Butter Buds. Most French regard processed foods with the utter disdain they usually reserve for instant coffee. In other words, they'd rather have a small piece of "real" chocolate than a big slab of some low-fat chocolate dessert. The fact is, the sugar calories in low-fat sweets probably negate any fat grams saved— which won't get you any closer to fitting into those YSL jeans.
4. Snacking is a faux pas. They rarely snack, and they eat meals only while sitting at a table. Americans, on the other hand, eat everywhere-in our cars, at our desks, in the checkout line at the grocery store. In fact, the average calorie consumption in the United States is 3,642 a day, versus 3,551 in France— a small difference that can add up to a five-pound weight gain in six months. Quelle horreur!
5. Soak up the color. French women fill up on bright-colored vegetables, whether they're in zucchini soup or a beet, lettuce and cabbage salad before their entrée. Good thing, too, since the antioxidants in these foods help stave off the free radicals produced by cigarette smoke.
6. Make the most of meals. The French space out their courses and eat them at a leisurely pace— generally with friends and family, reports Loomis. In addition to cutting down on indigestion, this practice makes them less likely to overindulge, because the sensation of fullness has time to develop.
7. Wine and dine. Bordeaux and Beaujolais are staples, but French women usually drink them with their meal— no guzzling one or two glasses at the bar before dinner. Plus, glasses in France are only partially filled-the better to taste the wine and cut down on calories.
8. C'est cheese. They love cheese, but treat it as if it were a delicacy— eating it only after meals and stopping after just a slice or two, says Loomis. And although French cheeses seem rich, many (like Brie and chèvre) are actually lower in calories than American favorites.
9. Park your car. Thirty-five percent of the time, the French get where they're going by walking or biking. Americans don't leave home without their cars a whopping 84 percent of the time.
10. Boycott the buffet. In France, you won't find many all-you-can-eat fests, such as brunch buffets, tailgate parties and unlimited pasta and dessert bars, where it's easy for the calories to add up quickly. The French realize that they will get to eat again in a few hours.

(Courtesy of my lovely WW leader, Arlene.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

The word is... Responsibility

I have loved living in the city for the last 5 years. But with my roommate moving out and everyone unsure of their long-term plans (or already paired off) -- it looks like I won't be staying in my apartment come Sept. 1. When this very real possibility presented itself yesterday I basically had an anxiety attack. I LOVE my place (great views, safe, good management) and I really didn't want to leave. But as I stayed awake, eyes wide open staring at the ceiling, and contemplated the reality of each of my possibilities at 2 am, I realized moving home might not be so bad after all.

First and foremost, moving home is the most responsible financial choice. Right now I'm spending about $1,000 on average for rent, utilities and a T pass. If I moved home I would have to add a car payment and bus fare, but that still only totals to just under $400. Since I don't actually have a job yet, eliminating those expenses will be a big relief. And when I do get one, it will give me the cashflow to pay off my credit cards and chip away at my student loans.

Secondly, living only an hour away from the city - with bus transportation if I don't want to drive - means the commute won't be too bad. Plus, with all my friends and boyfriend living here still, I'll always have a place to crash on late nights.

A decision that seemed devastating at first (you should have heard me whining, but I don't waaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnaaaa move home), actually seems like a blessing in disguise. Besides, once my finances are in order, I can move into my OWN place! So I guess it's like all those cliches: Que sera, sera; God works in mysterious ways; Change is the only constant.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Weight Watchers - Again! (For the Last Time!)

Last Monday I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting in about 7 years. In 2007 I had success with WW Online, but recently it just hadn't helped me be accountable to myself. The logical choice was to join again right before the official Beginning of Summer Weekend - you know BBQ, beer and fried seafood season.

I won't have my first weigh-in until Monday, but I'm hoping it will go well. The reason I've always picked Monday as my weigh-in day is because it really helps remind me not to go overboard on the weekends. (Update: I was down only -1.6 lbs, which was good but not stellar. Working on hitting 5% by Family Picture Day on June 29th.)

I'm also working on building my running endurance. My goal is to make it all the way around the lake (3 miles) without walking by the end of the summer. So far I can make it about 1 mile, and then alternate running and walking the last 2 miles.

So here's to joining again, hopefully for the last time. WHEN I reach my goal weight I will become a Lifetime Member. Here I go again... wish me luck!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

One-Sentence Commencement Speeches

Northeastern graduated two weeks ago and BU graduates this weekend (along with a plethora of other schools). Our speaker was Dr. Kenneth Cole (and yes, he is now a doctor) - who was surprisingly good - and if anyone has a copy of his speech I would love it.

PostSecret's Frank Warren delivered a commencement speech at St. Mary's College in Maryland this week and asked students to submit "one sentence speeches."

I did not know what to expect by tapping into your collective wisdom, but I was soon thrilled by the insight, humor, and inspiration I felt in your earnest one-sentence commencement speeches. Here are just a few.

Be wise enough not to be reckless, but brave enough to take great risks.

It’s okay to fail – learn from it and you will succeed.

It’s better to be pissed-off than pissed-on.

These next three all offer solid advice about making the transition from St Mary’s to the real world.

With the increased prevalence of multi-drug resistant bacteria and the increasingly epidemic worldwide outbreak of swine flu, WASH YOUR HANDS . . . RELIGIOUSLY.

In the real world, you must wear shoes.

I know some of us are going to walk off this stage today with no idea about what comes next – embrace it, find something that makes you happy, and follow it wherever it leads.

The comments section of PostSecret also has thousands of others. Some of my favorites:

You can do anything. But not everything.

No matter how low you consider yourself, there is always someone looking up at you wishing they were that high.

It''s okay to be afraid, but don't let that fear hold you back. Instead, have it push you forward, breaking through the barrier you thought was there.

It's ok to be scared and it's even ok to fail; you don't have to be perfect.

"to do is to be" - nietzsche
"to be is to do" - kant
"do be do be do" - sinatra
only your song matters in the end

Thursday, May 7, 2009

CGS Gets Some Love from GSEM

From the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts May newsletter:

NORTHEASTERN CAMPUS GIRL SCOUTS RECOGNIZED WITH PHOENIX AWARD

Northeastern Campus Girl Scouts was rewarded for tripling its membrship this year! They worked with more than 50 girls in four troops, participating in several council programs including Innocent or Guilty and the Girl 2 Girl Conference. They hosted trainings, and took part in many student activities as a group, including Empowering Speaker Series with Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, camping and volunteer fairs. This year, Campus Girl Scouts acquired office space and added e-board positions. They sold more than 1,500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies on campus through booth sales alone! Congrats!

I am so, so proud of CGS and all they've accomplished this year. And so happy to have been part of that for my time at Northeastern.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spring - Looking Forward

So, it's been a month. I'm not really sure where it went - April was a very blah month for me. I had some lovely career freak-outs, decided to stop worrying about "being on a diet," worked a lot of long hours and realized that graduation is a real thing that is happening.

But right now I'm sitting on my deck in the gorgeous 70+ degree weather, looking at all the new leaves on the trees and magnolia blossums and realizing that spring is REALLY here. That means nights outside after work, more fresh air, adventures that do no involve the couch & the Wii and hopefully some grilling.

The city in the summer months can be a lot of fun, the bars and restaurants all open their patios, which are prime for people watching. But the warm weather definitely makes me miss the suburbs/country a lot more as well. You can't have a grill in the city. You can't jump in a lake. You can't drive with nowhere to go, with the windows down and the radio up.

I would love to be able to take more advantage of my Zipcar membership this summer by getting out of the city more. Anyone have good ideas for day trips to get away from the crowds*, tall buildings and overwhelming pavement?

*Side note: speaking of crowds, I waited at Hynes for 40 minutes last Saturday afternoon because Red Sox & Marathon tourists filled every single T trolley to capacity. I finally caught the D line out - I love, love living close to all 3 lines.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Hardest Part of Exercise

Is getting dressed. Tying your sneakers usually takes more mental and physical effort than actually moving your body.

After working all morning in the mall, I was determined to go for a walk and get some fresh air this afternoon. It started raining just as I had finally convinced myself to get up and go, so I threw on my rain jacket with a hood, and hit the pavement.

I walked up, around, over, and back around Corey Hill, which is near my house. There are several paths that cut up the terraces, which are extended sets of stairs - intense! But it was totally worth it because I remembered there was a swing set at the top of the hill where the playground and park are.

Then I walked down the hill toward Beacon Street and power-walked the rest of the way home, past some very tempting restaurants (who wants to try Roadhouse or Dalia's with me?).

This is exactly the kind of exercise I used to love when I lived in Ownings Mills (Baltimore). It's exercise disguised as neighbordhood expoloration, fresh air and occassional sunshine. And because it didn't leave my bronchitis-wrecked lungs gasping for air, I might actually do it again - on a regular basis!

What's your favorite kind of exercise?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Girl Scouts v. Boy Scouts

Dan Kennedy posted a 'no-class comment' that was made by a Boy Scouts of America spokeswoman on Saturday in the Boston Globe:
The Girl Scouts, pretty much they're known for the Girl Scout cookies. When people think of Boy Scouts, they think of Eagle awards. They think of service.

His post has garnered tons of responses - from those defending Boy Scouts and their spokeswoman to those who say that scouting in general has gone the way of the dinosaur. I, of course, had to weigh in:

I have been a Girl Scout for 18 years - from kindergarten through college and I am now training to be a trainer for GS Eatern Mass. It's frustrating that just because Girl Scouts isn't organized like Boy Scouts - that you have to earn Eagle, etc like levels - makes people think that it's any less legitimate.

I volunteered running a troop for 5 years in Roxbury, across the street from Northesatern University. Almost every week for those five years the girls would squeal in delight and the boys would ask, "Can we come? Why don't we have boy scouts??" So where are these Eagle scouts, who have invested all this time in their projects - are they continuing to give back to the community and foster another generation of involved young citizens?

And GS might be most well known for cookies - but that is the major source of income for funding programs and camps, especially for girls who are unable to afford registration fees, etc. So please, buy a box and give it away. But know that your money isn't for the delicious cookies but so that girls like mine can actually participate in events.



I'd love to know what everyone else thinks - former Boy and Girl Scouts, and those who have never been involved.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Resolution Update: A Slightly Delayed 2-Month Status Report

2009 Resolutions: The Two Month Update
  1. Lose 20 lbs. by graduation (May 1) - I've mostly failed at this goal, althought it remains on the backburner. After reading Fat Land, I've attempted to cut out all high-fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oils (soybean & palm) from my groceries. This has been a great way to help me focus on eating more natural foods and less diet-oriented over-processed foods. Plus, now that the weather is nice I can get outside to be active. In fact, after work tonight the boy and I want on a bike ride/roller blade adventure around the block (about 2.5 miles).
  2. Plant a vegetable/herb garden on the deck - More on this project in April!
  3. Improve my impact on the environment - Trying to figure out if I can compost in the city (without causing a foul smell to waft from my deck).
  4. Balance my checkbook! - Off by $20 dollars. After 45 minutes of struggle decided to just adjust it and move on. I've also started using Mint.com which has been super useful. It gives you an overview of all your online accounts, tracks your spending by category, lets you create budgets, and even emails you to remind you when your bills are due!
  5. Journal everyday - I've been journaling a lot more, for sure.
  6. Have more adventures - Despite my propensity to stay in most nights, I've been having some superb adventures. I had a photoshoot for headshots with Cait Madden (@caitmadden), a hilarious brunch with about 15 of my closest friends at Tremont 647 that later turned into an adventure in Photoshop, and dinner at Eastern Standard with the boy's family. Last week Mike came up and we did a mini beer bar crawl that ended in hilarity at Deep Ellum when we met up with a bigger group of friends. The best adventure so far has been driving up to Maine for two days (10 hours worth of driving plus 3 hours on the bus) to go skiing at Sugarloaf. The mountain was fantastic, the intructors & ambassadors kindly saved a few of my friends. And the day after skiing, we had a Snowpocalypse in the backyard (there was still 3.5 feet of snow there)!
  7. Spend more time with my friends - See above & last night's escapades at Sunset Grill & Tap. (Damn, we do a lot of drinking in teams!)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

The 20-something Hustle

Recently graduated and realizing there's not many full-time desk job opportunities just waiting to fall into your lap? Welcome to our 20-something hustle.

With all the news about layoffs and the serious lack of companies looking to hire entry-level people, a lot of us are left wondering what we should do. And while I keep tossing around the idea of grad school, I know that I really don't want to be back in a classroom quite yet. What I've discovered instead is actually a schedule and a lifestyle (minus having to work on weekends) that works way better for me than if I had settled for a full 9-to-5 right away.

As a 20-something I have the luxury of only needing to support myself and my bills, no kids, no dog, and no ailing parents that need my care. I've always been a person who likes to keep busy and keep my options open, and working on a variety of projects has let me do just that.

My 20-something hustle line-up
  • Working part-time in communications at a health care policy institute. This let's me work on another aspect of communications - mostly PR - while exploring a new industry (I was in financials before). Plus it pays the bills.
  • Working part-time in retail. Again, paying the bills. But I also like the opportunity to connect with really great clients and see my friends.
  • Consulting for a start-up. I've done a web design & usability project for them and now I'm working on teaching myself SEO stuff so I can present it to them. If they use it - great! And if they don't - well now I know SEO and have something pretty cool to add to my resume.
  • Editing a book about people that are passionate about their jobs. I still owe the author my edits (which I should do this morning). This one is a great example of why I think we should go back to the barter system (more on this later). But basically I edit the book for free and get a little shoutout at the end. Plus it's a cause I totally believe in.
  • Facilitating training for Girl Scouts. I haven't started this yet, because I still need to attend a train-the-trainer session, but I'm excited to be able to spread an organization that I believe so strongly in, especially in the inner city where it's harder to find training.
So what are you doing to keep busy post-graduation? Working on any interesting projects? Please share!