5 Investments Every Post Grad Should Make

It’s been 4 months since May graduation (omg!) and I’m finally starting to get this “adulting thing” under my belt.

Just in case you’re also trying to get your act together, I wanted to create a little guide for what I consider the 5 best investments you can make as a recent college grad! (FYI: this can apply to literally anyone)

ONE – FURNITURE // If you read my story about how I ended up in Old Town, you’d understand that I pretty much dropped everything at college to take an internship, sans furniture. Sure, I’ve accumulated a few pieces over the years that have seen various dorm rooms. But do I really need a white fur butterfly chair? Most likely not.

Decorating your first apartment should be one of the joys of starting that #adulting life, especially if you binge watch HGTV, and consider Joanna Gaines your #1 role model. When you invest in your apartment, you should spend a little more time, money, and energy into making an environment you’re excited to come home to.

Regardless of your budget, furniture shopping can be expensive. It’s costly, time consuming, and most likely emotionally draining (It’s one of the reasons why you should never go to IKEA on a date, especially early on in your relationship). I recommend buying one piece of furniture that you absolutely love, like a statement couch to work your room around. If you have a studio apartment, you might want to focus on a really nice bed.

TWO – A QUALITY MATTRESS // A good night’s sleep is everything. I don’t know if I aged about 10 years within the past few months or what, but I have no idea how I ever slept soundly on a dorm mattress, or thrived on very few hours of sleep.

When I moved, I picked a mattress based only on convenience rather than comfort, and I paid major dues for it for months. If there’s one thing I can nudge/suggest/scream from the rooftops for you to invest in, it’s a good mattress. It majorly affects your mood, and starts the day off on the right foot. Sleep is imperative, we all need to do it, so at least make it a priority. Ask Arianna Huffington.

THREE – YOURSELF //Quick question, what’s your “thing?”

Are you really into coffee? I highly suggest buying a french press (which can be found anywhere) or a Nespresso (if you have the money). I love spending an extra penny on some freshly ground coffee from local roasteries. If you’re in the DMV, my favorites come from Misha’s in Old Town, or Zeke’s!

The same concept applies for whatever interests/hobbies you have. Running shoes, a new racquet… you need to treat yo’self to something nice.

My latest favorite way to treat myself is to invest in a luxe set of pajamas. I’ve been loving Anthropologie in general lately, and I especially love their lounge wear. Regardless of budget again, you can find some cute pjs wherever you go, especially Target.

FOUR – PHILANTHROPIC EFFORTS // I started writing this post in one of my favorite coffee/bake shops in Alexandria, Buzz Bake Shop. I spent a majority of last semester there while I cranked out my Capstone, and where I began studying for the LSAT last month.

I asked the lady sitting next to me what she would suggest every recent grad to invest in, and the first thing out of her mouth was charity. This could be a few dollars into the Red Cross drive, or donating your time and efforts into volunteering, but it’s important to make giving to charity a priority while you’re young, so it’s not as egregious of a task once you get older.

Giving a few dollars to your church collection, donate to hurricane relief funds, or buy the homeless man on your block a sandwich. I challenge you to spend a little of your time and money making the world a better place.

FIVE – WORK WARDROBE STAPLES // To me, this is the ultimate no-brainer. As you prepare to graduate college, you need to start picking out business professional attire, or at least put money aside to purchase some pieces you love for your new job.

Every post grad girl needs a classic blazer, whether in navy or blue, a little black dress, a great (and neutral) work bag, and some killer shoes. Developing your work wardrobe beyond that depends on your style, but every girl needs to rely on solid pieces they love and feel confident in.

What do you consider to be a great investment for every recent college grad?

Overcoming Burnout

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

You can’t always a be a “yes girl.”

Believe me, I’ve tried.

I have a pretty obsessive personality; when I find something I love, I put 150% into it, and want to do whatever I can to help it succeed. For me, it’s led to so much burnout, even in the day-to-day.

One of my close friends recently shared the quote that keeps him in check: “a little bit a lot.”

I work in a super fast-paced field, which typically results in a lot of tasks at one time. I find comfort in knowing each and every day is different, which taught me a thing or two about task/time management.

But I also find myself taking on so much more than I can handle, in multiple areas of my life.

I find that working out is the perfect metaphor to dealing with this whole “biting off more than you can chew” situation.

So, you’re getting back into running after a few months off. You used to run 3-5 miles every other day, and cross train on off days. Thinking you can handle running that again, you push yourself to complete the same mileage that you did before for one week. You feel great about your mileage, but the next week, you basically feel like you were hit by a bus. Your shin splints are killing you, and you can hardly walk.

Congrats, you’re drained, discouraged and now injured.

Why would you do this to your brain if you wouldn’t do it to your body?

A little bit a lot. Everything in moderation. A little bit every day to build back up to it, or you’ll just set yourself back.

The same goes for work.

I love my job, but have a problem with saying yes to everything, because I want to be able to help in as many areas as possible. The key? A little bit a lot. Get as much done in moderation as you can, but put your all into those small doses.

If you legitimately can’t take on a huge project, don’t. To stay fresh, and maintain an agile mindset, you need to focus on being the best at what you are doing, not the best at getting everything accomplished.

And that starts outside of the workplace. You need a solid mind/body before you can even consider developing a healthy work/life balance.

I asked my friends what helps them overcome burnout, and here are some of my favorite tips:

  • “a little bit a lot” – repeat it to yourself, now one more time. it’s better to do everything well, and in small doses. you can’t run a marathon with one week of training after a lifetime of couch potato-ing.
  •  focus on your health, first and foremost – ask anyone. people who work in high-stress environments typically rely on their workout routines to keep their minds and bodies active. I’ve found that my productivity suffers if I don’t work out in the morning. It’s like missing that first cup of coffee.
  • turn to Something much larger than yourself – at the end of the day, everybody needs something or Someone to believe in. Find your favorite Bible verses, and write them in the margin of your planner. Memorize them. My personal favorites right now are Philippinans 4:6-7 and Psalms 46:5.
  • utilize your calendars, sticky notes and to-do lists – writing everything down might help you realize that you can’t build Rome in a day. schedule your tasks. I love how my Day Designer has an hourly planner next to my to do lists. If it looks like too much, it probably is. You shouldn’t start panicking while looking at your daily tasks.
  • take a deep breath – ’nuff said. try a meditation app, like Headspace.
  • happiness starts with healthy eating – okay, I understand that you love coming home to fries and wine after a rough day. but studies have shown (look at Whole30’s research) that clean eating leads to decreased brain fog and overall mental clarity. Think about it.

What’s your best tip or trick to avoid burnout?

Morning Musings: 6.12.17

 

  1. I bought my first french press and it’s life-changing. I love having a reason to invest in myself in the morning. I’m always open to suggestions and recommendations – what’s your favorite coffee?
  2. Every Type-A workaholic needs a kick-butt planner. The Day Designer (and their free printables, hint hint, nudge nudge) is changing my life, one to-do-list at a time.
  3. Love a good breakfast but hate rushing to work in the a.m.? Word to the wise, meal prep your breakfast ahead of time. Add this bomb sausage-veggie fritatta recipe to this week’s lineup. Your mornings are about to get much easier + tastier. #treatyoself
  4. Starting to lose your love for avocado toast? Try adding a dollop of Wild Friends Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter + banana to some whole wheat bread for a sweet & salty start. It’s better for you than reaching for your trusty Nutella, so you’ll probably thank yourself for it.
  5. I’ve been listening to podcasts like crazy lately, especially during AM workouts. It’s a great way to get your mind off of the 5am wakeup-call. I personally love listening to news outlets first thing in the morning. It’s my multi-tasking version of reading the newspaper over coffee. (checkout NPR’s Up First for a quick dose of the news!)
    • Current favorites:
      • The Balanced Blonde: Soul on Fire
      • NPR Up First
      • My Favorite Murder
      • What You Missed in History Class
  6. Speaking of getting the news, I’ve been loving reading The Skimm. Do you subscribe? If not, you should.

Monday Morning Mantra:

“Do what you love and you’ll never hate a Monday”

Escape the (Comfort) Zone

Let’s get personal-

First things first. Hi, my name is Sarah (you know that), and I have always been absolutely terrified of getting out of my comfort zone. I grew up in the same county in which I attended elementary, middle, high school and college. I recently made the biggest jump of my entire life, and it changed everything (for the better).

I’m not a risk-taker. In fact, for the longest time I was the exact opposite. I grew up with an energetic best friend who was always on the verge of doing the craziest, most daring activities (read: skateboarding down steep hills, CrossFit). I on the other hand, always appreciated my little bubble, and wanted to maintain a level of absolute contentment.

I’ve always been independent, to a certain extent. I’m simultaneously incredibly outgoing and I love spending time by myself. I am a walking, breathing enigma in more ways than one.

If you follow along with me on social media, you’ll realize that I recently made an entirely humongous decision. I packed up my entire life and moved away to pursue a career I love, and began to find myself in the process.

Anyone who knows me, and knows me well, has known of my plans to move to D.C. since I was a child. Add in a mix of cobblestone, a dash of colonial architecture and place it on the water? Boom, dream town. And that’s what I fell (truly, madly, deeply) in love with in Old Town Alexandria. My first encounter was on a rainy, windy, miserable night in December. King St., the main stretch in the Historic District, is lined with trees and Christmas lights – breathtaking. And if you can fall in love with something in disgusting conditions, it really shows where your soul is.

Let’s fast forward one month; I dropped (literally) everything, accepted an internship, packed up my life in one week, and moved 4 hours from home.

As ideal as it may sound to move to your dream town, (Old Town is quintessential Sarah Selip town, I swear) it can be terrifying. Sometimes life really isn’t in your favor. When these unlucky situations happen you realize the importance of being your own best friend, picking yourself up by your bootstraps, and learning to deal with it on your own.

I’m a pretty lucky person, superstition-wise. I’ve always had the best luck winning Chinese auctions and raffle baskets. But sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting people. These experiences, (both good and bad) teach you how to cope. How to build your skill set, how to be stronger. New experiences lead to better sense of self and help you determine who you are, what you want to be.

If you’re ever feeling uninspired, get the heck out of your bubble, your skill set, do whatever makes you completely uncomfortable. Last summer I was searching far and wide for a journalism or editorial internship in Pittsburgh. I’ve always been enthralled by the idea of working in fashion editorials, so that was a no-brainer. For whatever reason, I found TABLE Magazine. I, a picky eater at the time, had just started to explore my options and expand my palate. The idea of working for a food magazine? Completely foreign concept to me- I didn’t know a thing or two about food, drinks, what the heck gazpacho is (gazpacho: a Spanish-style soup made with a tomato or veggie base, served chilled).

But like most experiences of the sort, I dove right in. I quickly became completely encompassed in the lifestyle that food brings to the table (no pun intended… for once). Like fashion, it mimics culture, heritage, tradition.I found an entirely new passion and appreciation over one short summer. I attended events, networked my butt off, and put everything I had into being the best intern I could be, saying yes to everything, even if it meant long nights and jam packed schedules.

Moving to Alexandria has been one of the hardest times of my life for a plethora of reasons. I’ve dealt with a lot, and my schedule can seem a bit daunting at times. But engulfing myself in the hard hitting world of political public relations, yet another wild change of field, has been the best thing for my personal growth. I’ve created new goals and dreamt new dreams. I’m painting a better picture of what I want for my future.

To get out of your comfort zone is an absolutely terrifying thing. Believe me, I know and I’ve been there so many times as of late. But in my humble opinion, the key to life is to learn and love. There’s always more out there – more to see, experience, understand. More people to talk to, things to see, and beauty to attempt to understand.

I challenge you to do one thing a day that unreservedly terrifies you: ask a colleague to coffee, try to do 5 more pushups, wake up an hour earlier to watch the sunrise. Talk to the person who sits near you in class, put yourself out there. These little experiences create your character. Please don’t waste the time you have.

Easy Winter Style with Rhea Footwear

Trench Coat • Chambray button-down (similar, on sale!) • Chunky sweater (similar)

Leather leggings (on sale!) • Leather booties (c/o) • CrossbodyWatch

Two things about Winter in Western PA:

  1. It can get a little intense: cold weather, wind & lots of ice
  2. It lasts forever. A few years back, I had a snow day in mid-April. Mid-APRIL. That just isn’t okay.

Lucky for us, winter this year seems bit milder than normal, despite frigid temp drops here and there. Not too bad, but requires lots of layering. Going to college in Western PA can be quite troublesome. I’ve realized that although cold-weather is my favorite season to dress for, trying to look chic when braving the arctic campus tundra (a bit of an exaggeration) is nearly impossible. And if you’re as clutzy as I am, wearing anything other than winter boots means that there’s a huge chance I’ll end up falling on my butt in the middle of campus.

Fellow college students, listen up: this is where Rhea Footwear comes in. Who said you couldn’t look stylish and maintain your footing while crossing campus? These chic little non-slip booties provide legitimate comfort and the perfect tread for winter weather, two things that are really hard to check off at the same time when it comes to winter footwear. I feel like I’m usually either sacrificing comfort or safety for style, and that’s definitely impractical.

When it comes to winter style, your mother was right. Layering is key. My winter break surrounded a ton of traveling, which ultimately resulted in the creation of my “winter uniform”. It’s pretty simple: button down + oversized sweater + leather booties. I centered this variation around my favorite leather leggings from Tuckernuck for a bit of an edgy twist. Anything that can keep you warm and look put together is a go for me.

Thank you so much to Rhea Footwear for collaborating with me on this post.