Advice for the New College Graduate

Yesterday was a year since a graduated from Siena College. Ugh, it hurts even just typing those words. I literally remember typing this post about what I’ll remember most about Siena. The only thing is… I remember so much more. Now that I’m a year and a day out of college (sobs into my keyboard), I figured I would tell you a few things I’ve learned along the way since graduating.

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Jeans| Top (Sale)|Jacket (Similar)|Purse Similar|Shoes

Expect the unexpected and run with it. 

I never expected to do so much after I graduated. I literally thought I was going to dive in deep into finding a job, land one, and then hopefully work my way up. Although that is completely true and exactly what happened/is happening, I never expected to have accomplished so much in one year’s time. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to go see different places through work and my own time. I’ve been able to explore northern Arkansas, Houston, San Diego, Skytop, New York City, Anaheim, and even new places in my little old state of Connecticut. When you start your first job don’t sit idly on your hands. If you finish a task find another one to do or speak up that you need more work. You’ll be surprised how many opportunities fall into your lap if you do this.

Don’t forget to give yourself “me” time.

After college, I’ve ended up landing a job that was an hour commute each way. The commute eats up a good chunk of my time so I cut the commute in half on Tuesdays by going to a pilates studio. This little bit of me time helps me refocus and recharge. This blog and the gym are both vital outlets as well. When you start an “adult job” you need to find a way to escape so whether that is going to the gym, blogging, or riding horses… you need something.  (Also, if you end up having a long commute like me check out this post on how to survive that commute).

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Finding a job right after college might be difficult. 

Some of my friends had jobs lined up right after college, and some of them took seven months to find a job. It really ends up being the luck of the draw when it comes to finding a job after college. Well, I say that but I applied to almost a 100 different jobs before I found the right one. I found the right job because I worked hard for it. Persistence is key so make sure you write a killer cover letter and follow up with interviews. For more advice on what finding a job is like after college read this post.

Start saving money now. 

During college, it is almost impossible to save money but once you land that dream job and you have a steady income coming in, start saving as much money as soon you can. I use two apps: YNAB and Acorns to help keep track of my money.

YNAB is by far the biggest lifesaver. You can create all of these different folders in the app so that you can divide up your new check. I have tabs for future rent (still living with my parents one year out of college), transportation (driving 2 hours each day really adds up), gifts, vacation, fitness, dining out, fun money, and reimbursement (every time I travel for work I keep track of expenses this way). You can also put goals for each folder so that you reach a certain amount in the future. For example, I’m going to be moving out of my parent’s house in a year or two so I put a goal on how much money I want to have saved when I do. Also, when I’m saving for a cute new bag I take money out of my fun money and put it towards a new folder.

As for Acorns, this app automatically rounds up your purchases and invests that money for you! I started this in January and already have $200 saved in the app. Also, if you shop certain stores listed on the account you can get money back from those purchases! This is such a great app to set up and then just forget about it. You’ll be shocked when you open it up and you already have money saved.

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If you’re a recent grad, what are you most excited about being in the “adult” world? If you’ve already graduated, what advice would you offer a recent grad? Let me know in the comments down below.

As always,

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Rethink the Way You Buy Jeans

Let’s talk about America’s favorite piece of clothing: jeans. I’m jean obsessed. Growing up my brothers used to mock me because of my different colored jeans. They even had a song for when I wore my pink pair… “Logan pink pants Porter” still rings in my ears to this day. Nonetheless, my love for the classic pair of jeans has never faded.

It didn’t occur to me how jeans were actually made until I watched the Trust Cost. I figured cotton and a little bit of stretch make the ideal jean. I knew so little about how much jeans and the cotton production ruin the environment surrounding the factories and cotton farms. I never knew that although cotton is only planted on 2.4% of agriculture land, it accounts for nearly 11% of pesticide sales in the world. I never even though of the beloved plastic elasticity in my jeans being the exact reason why it is so hard to recycle jeans. The more I researched the more I started to feel guilty about the cheap pair of $12 jeans I found at Marshalls. Who made those jeans and what conditions were they made in? I started asking myself more and more questions and found myself researching until the wee hours of the night. That’s when it occurred to me that needed to make a vow to stop buying cheap, fast fashion jeans and either thrift of invest in ethical jeans that will last. So when I was looking for a new pair of white jeans, I found Everlane.

Everlane White Pants

Jeans | Boots | Sweater (Sold out… Similar) | Jacket (Similiar) | Belt (Same on eBay)

Everlane is a slow fashion company that focuses on basics with a touch of creativity. The reason I found this basic store so incredibly comforting is that they show the factories that make their clothes on the website and then break down the cost of the item directly  (see their jean factory here). I know, wild. So let me take you through the process of making these jeans and explain to you why these ones, in particular, are the white jeans you need for spring.

“Belly” washing machines that are used in standard denim manufacture plants waste up to 1,500 liters of water per pair of jeans (about 132 Gatorade coolers).

Depending on where you live water may not seem that important because it always seems like it is raining or snowing (ex: these snowy pictures). But 35% of the world’s population doesn’t have proper access to clean water. Instead of wasting all of that water, Everlane’s factory, Saitex, uses a closed water system and super-efficient jet washing machines. The result? Only .4 liters of water is lost due to evaporation. By being conscious of the water consumption, Everlane is making a difference in jean production and the community around the factories.

Often times factories in developing countries dump polluted water back into the waterway, which directly affects the surrounding communities. 

Saitex recycles 98% of all used water and when it comes out the other side, it’s so clean you can actually drink it. You don’t have to worry about Everlane’s factories polluting the surrounding areas. Instead, you can have a clear conscious buying a pair of wicked cute jeans.

IMG_0112.jpgIMG_0126Most denim factories use an insane amount of energy for their factories because they have to constantly dry the jeans. 

Saitex airdries 85% of their jeans and the rest of the jeans are dried with energy coming from solar panels. This has allowed their factory to reduce energy usage by 5.3 million kilowatts of power and reduce CO2 emissions by almost 80%. Kudos for clean energy!

All denim creates a toxic byproduct called sludge.

No matter how clean a denim factory is, jeans will still create a byproduct called sludge. This byproduct is nearly impossible to get rid of until Saitex found out that when you mix sludge with concrete the toxic material can no longer leech into the environment. The factory uses this method to make concrete bricks to build affordable homes. So far, Saitex has built ten homes with these bricks. So not only are they creating jeans but they’re actually creating homes from a byproduct!

Everlane White PantsIMG_0137My top four picks for your white jean wardrobe:white jeans.jpg

Everlane ($68) | Able ($128) | Amour Vert ($178) | DL1961 ($188)

So if you’re ready to buy another pair of white jeans for this spring and summer why not buy a pair that is better for the environment. When you’re buying a pair of jeans that are better quality make sure to check what the jeans are actually made of. Look for the ratio of cotton to spandex and make sure that you’re not just buying a cheap pair of jeggings that will only last a few washes. A good pair of jeans will be made out of either 100% cotton or 99% cotton with 1% spandex. Staples, like jeans, that you wear again and again deserve to be invested in.

What do you think about Everlane? Did you know how jeans were produced? Let me know in the comments down below. (Also, I’m very curious if you think it’s wrong to wear white before Memorial Day… I clearly have no shame).

As always,

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