Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Post-Graduation Blues

I kind of figured I wouldn't have a job before Christmas, and now with 2010 almost over, I'm starting to get antsy.

I keep getting things in the mail from my student loan company, further depressing me and making me wonder how I will pay it all back. I have till March to find a job, but I'd prefer to have something by Valentines Day - the sooner the better. If I can't find a job in my field by then I'll be forced to do retail or fast food to just pay on at least one student loan so we don't deplete all the money we have.

I apply for at least five jobs a day, sometimes ten on a good day. Mailing, emailing and faxing applications, resumes and cover letters consumes the first two hours of my morning every day. I haven't had a single interview and I've been applying since November 1st. Its really starting to wear on me. I know that I'm qualified for at least 90% of the jobs I apply for and no one will give me the time of day. I sometimes get rejection emails within a half an hour of applying - there is NO way they read my resume and application that quickly.

I've networked some, but there are at least 10 people that won't return my emails, phone calls or linked-in messages about wanting to get together. I know this is a busy time of year, but some response would be nice.

I just feel like I'm running out of ideas and every time I look at my diploma it makes me more and more depressed....I'm totally open to suggestions not just about job hunting but also about how to get my mood in a better place!

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Christmas Re-cap

I cannot believe that Christmas 2010 has come and gone already. As I sit here on the couch, looking at the tree, no longer consumed with presents I feel a little sad. There is so much preparation for this day and in a moment it seems to be over. I would say this year was one of the nicest holidays I've had in a while.

For starters, my dad had a job this year and I completed my degree. Although my grandparents weren't here, which was a little odd it was still a really nice day. Christmas Eve we went to 4pm mass to see my parents sing and then it was off to my mom and dad's for dinner. We have a traditional polish meal of pierogies, fish and my mom's amazing rolls and we also had corn casserole and a salad. Afterward we had our gift exchange and shared some wine, laughs and fun. Andrew and I both got some awesome gifts - a Starbucks gift set, Godiva hot chocolate set and movie passes.

Christmas morning we were up bright and early to go to his family's Christmas breakfast and white elephant exchange. We had awesome fruit, casseroles and cookies and exchanged our gifts. Its fun finding things around the house that you think other people in the family would want. I got some awesome items from Andrew's sister including some antique candy and meat thermometers (in a dorky way, I'm obsessed with them) and adorable kitchen towels. Andrew's mom made me a binder that included all her favorite recipes and some from her mom, mother-in-law and aunts. It really meant more to me then any gift. We went to my parents in the afternoon to exchange gifts. My two faves were my Clinique Even Better Dark Spot Corrector for my acne scars and the picture coasters my mom made me with old photos in them.

We spent the evening at home, eating leftovers and watching movies snuggled up on the couch. It was the best Christmas I've had in years for some reason and I'd love to relive that weekend again!

Here are a few photos from the festivities.

Family photo

Goofy photo - the River Dancing is a long story.

Even dogs need a gift from Santa :)

Presents and the village under the tree.

I hope you all had a wonderful and blessed Christmas!!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas to you and yours

These are some of the photos I took at the zoo lights over the weekend. I'm sure I'll post a Christmas recap on Sunday or Monday. I finally got my shopping done today and all the gifts are wrapped and under the tree. Money was a little tight this year with me not working so although the gifts aren't the most expensive a lot of thought went into them. I just hope Andrew likes the gifts I got him with some of my graduation money, he is the hardest person to buy gifts for because when he wants something he buys it right then.

I hope all my readers have a wonderful holiday, be sure to tell those around you how much you love and appreciate them especially this time of year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Santa's Surprises cookies

My mom made these cookies last year and I was hooked! I believe the recipe is from a girl she works with - they take a little time to make but they are really tasty and loved by everyone!

Santa's Surprises

2 sticks of unsalted butter softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 large bag of miniature Snickers bars unwrapped

- Cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in peanut butter and blend until combined. Then add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
- Sift together flour, baking soda and salt and mix well with wet ingredients.
- Cover bowl and chill dough in the fridge for 2-3 hours (note: I'm not sure what would happen if you left it in longer, I chilled mine for 2 hours)
- Meanwhile, unwrap snickers bars and place in a bowl.

- Preheat oven to 325 and prepare cookie sheets (note: I used parchment paper and sprayed a little Pam on them as well)
- Remove dough from fridge and make into 1 Tbsp balls and flatten. Place a snickers bar in the middle and form the dough around the candy to make a ball - place on cookie sheet.
- Bake each batch for 10-12 minutes and cool on a wire rack. Garnish with powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate if desired. (note: I didn't have any chocolate so I just did the powdered sugar).

Monday, December 13, 2010

Photography play time

I got a lovely Canon Rebel T1i from Andrew's parents for a graduation present. I've always loved taking pictures and I've been eying digital SLR cameras for quite some time. I didn't want something super fancy, just something I could change the lens on and take really crisp photos. I think this camera will be perfect for that! I ordered a Dummies book off Amazon last night to help me learn the in's and out's of how the camera works, but I've been able to figure some things out on my own. Here are a few shots I took today and then edited them in photo-shop.

My sweet little Bessie - she is going to be my subject for these photo trials.
I like the look of the black and white with a slight sepia tint.
I think I like the regular version of this one best, I love the snow on her nose and the little bit stuck to her ears.

We are going to the zoo this weekend for the Christmas lights and I hope to get some good photos there and I'll be sure to share those as well!!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

All I want for Christmas.....

Is a job that I love where I make enough money to pay off my student loans....

Some things I know I won't get: an iPad, Fish-eye lens for my digital SLR, new HTC phone at Sprint with 4G and a Wii (I know I'm a little behind on wanting one of those)

A Basset Hound with bows on its ears.

Clinique Clinical Dark Spot Corrector to help with my acne scars.

A pair of black flats.

A magical weight loss pill that will make me drop 40lbs.

This is really the first time in a long time I have been this happy, but at the same time there is so much more I want out of life. I am anxious, nervous and scared about finding a job and paying on all of this debt I owe to my college. Don't get me wrong, I feel so wonderful for finally graduating, but there is so much more I still want to do.

This weekend was a bit of a wake up call on all of my debt. We went to look at a car for me to replace our early 90's Volvo only to realize my loans have put the idea of a car loan on hold. I feel silly for getting my hopes up.

So what are some of the outlandish things you'd love for Christmas?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

No words are needed for this post

But I'll still write a few! Bet you can't guess what's inside of this lovely leather case! I was beyond thrilled to get my diploma yesterday. We went to my parents house last night with a bottle of champagne to celebrate and Andrew's mom took me to lunch as well. Tomorrow night, Andrew and I are going out to celebrate since work has been nuts for him lately and he's been doing 10-11 hour days.

I've been spending a lot of time applying for jobs lately and networking with Alumni from my college.

I also got a fancy digital camera for a grad present so expect to see some photos soon!!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Post-Graduation Goals

I've been officially done with school for one week now. Later in the week I can get my transcripts and by Christmas I'll have my actual diploma! I've got a lot I'd like to and that I'm starting to accomplish now that I have more free time.
  • Find a job! I need to have one by March when the student loan payments start coming due again. I've been applying for jobs since Halloween and I have a few networking meetings lined up in the coming weeks.
  • Get my Christmas cookies made (I'm planning to start on that later today or tomorrow morning).
  • Get the house well organized.
  • Take my pile of Goodwill stuff to the Goodwill.
  • Clean out my kitchen cabinets.
  • Start and finish my Christmas shopping. All I've done so far is order some things from bookorder through my mom.
  • Go through all of my school stuff and decide what I really want to keep, and possibly have a math bonfire.
  • Try some new recipes or get a new cookbook.
  • Go thrifting for winter clothes, which I'm planning to do on Wednesday.
I'm giving myself till New Years to get most of this list done. I think that it should be easy to do if I can accomplish one or two things per day. Today I'm getting laundry caught up since we weren't home all weekend and getting the bathroom cleaned. I've also been making lots of phone calls making sure everything is lined up for getting my diploma and making some appointments for after the holidays.

It feels so good to be done with school, but now I don't know what to do with myself. I really hope to get a job sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

I've got my tree up.

My table is all decorated.

The 50 free photo cards I won from Shutterfly are going to arrive today according to the UPS tracking website. (I'm not positing a pic of them because I want them to be a surprise)

I'll probably do some baking this week and maybe start getting ideas for gifts.

The outdoor lights will most likely go up this week once Andrew figures out why the outlet doesn't work.

There is a chill in the air and I've already seen snowflakes a few times.

I adore Christmas time, I would say that and Halloween are my two favorite Holidays because they both involve fun parties and decorating. Its so fun to have my own place to decorate but sometimes I miss getting a tree with my parents and brother though its still fun with Andrew. I have some new cookie recipes I want to try this year and have a few white elephant gifts chosen from my "basement junk" for the gift exchange with Andrews family.

Are you excited for Christmas?