Being a twenty-something fresh out of college and just a few months deep in my first postgrad position — in this case, a traineeship — I am constantly field questions like "How's the real world?" and "Is your job going well?" and "California, huh?"

I never really knew how to respond. I mean, yes. California is great, and everything at my job is going well. But I'm kind of stuck in limbo between college and career life, which isn't necessarily the greatest situation. Sure, it feels nice to be slightly carefree for just a little bit longer, but that comes at a cost. And the cost is about to come back and bite me in the ass.

While I'd been galavanting off to the desert every other weekend this summer, work had been deciding that they would soon need to disband the provided housing and pay us a monthly stipend instead. And a tight one at that. And there was me, essentially living paycheck to paycheck, paying the minimum on bills and not racking up any savings. 

Well, I finally faced reality and decided it was time to start acting more like a grownup.

With some encouragement and good advice from a roommate, I made a rough draft of a monthly budget for both the next couple of months, as well as post-provided-housing months. (Which is also when I have to start paying off a loan.)

I've come to realized that though I am not making great money by any means, I am making enough. It just means I have to be responsible with it and not blow it on iced caramel macchiatos and basically anything I come across in Target. 

So here's to new adventures in self control and frugality. And trying to be a little less college, and a little more (young) adult.



You could say I didn't act my age this weekend. Which doesn't seem quite right because 22 is prime Vegas age. (After 21, that is.)

But, no.

I now own my own bingo dauber and will probably never take a Vegas trip again that doesn't involve a round of bingo. It may have a senior citizen stereotype, but you don't know how intense bingo is until you try it. (Especially when you're running late and have to catch up your cards after 20 numbers have already been called.) Did I win? No. But I only lost $30 to funding two hours of bingo instead of God-knows-how-much down in the casino at Blackjack and Wolf Run.

And then my sister and I channeled our inner preteen for a bit. All I have to say is: Backstreet Boys and Jesse McCartney? Still got it. (Jesse's dancing alone may have been worth my $40.) However, Pauly D was the worst. No one needs to fist pump for a straight 30 minutes while listening to him play iTunes. And OH MY GOSH THE SCREAMING GIRLS. Pretty sure my ears were still ringing when I woke up at the crack of dawn to drive back to Orange County.

Weekend well spent? I'd say so.



One of the great things about living in California is being in such close proximity to two of my siblings. Four to six hours in the car is nothing compared to the cross-country flight that used to be required for a visit. And therefore, I make visits more often. (I've probably seen my sister in Vegas more this summer than in the last three years combined.)

I've been to Vegas for birthdays and concerts and out-of-town visitors. I've been to Phoenix just for fun and some sibling and nephew bonding.

This weekend is no exception. Once the horrendous Southern California traffic dies down this evening, I'm headed to Vegas once again for some bingo and boy bands. :)

(Maybe after this I'll stay put a while and actually get to know Orange County and L.A. But we'll see!)


California livin'

Three months ago, I drove 2,091 miles from my hometown in Indiana to Orange County, California. You could say it's kind of been like a dream, and I had certainly dreamed of it for most of my life. But you could say it's pretty normal, too. Just with a better view. 

Nestled between the mountains and the ocean, I live in compact area of luxury apartment complexes and shopping centers. That's Irvine, at least. But all the cities here have their own personality. Old downtown Orange is so charming, and once you hit the right part of Anaheim it's Disney central. Old money in the north, new money — and Real Housewives — in the south.

Though the trainee program at work feels like a big experiment at times, things are going really well. I work with great people who help me grow. I enjoy the freedom I get to inject my own style in my work and try new things. There are tons of people my age, thanks to the program. And we are basically The Real World meets The Paper but without our own reality show.

Right now I feel like I'm in the middle of transition from college to real world adult. So things feel permanent yet unstable all at the same time. I've decided that for right now, there are no longterm plans. I'm just to go ride out this opportunity until I feel like I'm ready to move on.

In the meantime, I'm doing just fine with my sunshine and palm trees.