Graduated Learning: Life after College

I got my degree, I got a job…now what?

The pregnant scientist March 1, 2016

Filed under: Pregnancy — Stephanie @ 9:10 am
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The convenient thing about this pregnancy was that I finally got a smartphone only a few weeks after finding out I was pregnant.  This meant when I was out at a restaurant and wanted to know if I could eat something or not (was it one of the “not while you’re pregnant” foods?) I could go ahead and google it really quickly.  Of course, googling other pregnancy related topics while pregnant can lead you down a rabbit hole of panic and worry.  DON’T DO IT.  Even though I did.  The few times my OB/GYN mentioned a minor concern, you bet I googled the topic until I was basically in tears with worry.  And then of course there was no actual issue after all.

This all being said:  searching online for answers during pregnancy can be both useful but also misleading if you’re not looking in the right places (Avoid pregnancy forums!  Stick to trusted sources!)

So, I got a pretty good idea of what foods I should stay away from.  I even read the book Expecting Better before getting pregnant, so I got a good idea of why certain foods were on the restricted list, and what foods were actually okay to eat.  Basically:  listeria is one of the top worries for foodborne illness, but it’s also the most difficult to reliably prevent 😦

Another (of many) upsides of reading Expecting Better was finding information about other potential hazardous exposures, like mercury (i.e. what fish I should eat and what fish I should avoid) and what medications and products were safe to use while pregnant (I found out about safefetus.com which I checked whenever I was prescribed something new or wanted to use something over the counter).  Of course, you can also ask your OB/GYN or Midwife if you have any questions about medication (or other concerns!)

But one other concern that came up for me was the safety of my baby while I worked in the lab.  I spend a good part of my time in a research lab, so I wanted to make sure I wasn’t exposing my baby to anything in utero.

I reached out to one of my twitter friends, @Chemjobber , who had in the past posted a link to a reddit page where people discussed the potential hazards of working in certain environments while pregnant.  I asked him if he knew of any good resources for figuring out what to avoid besides using MSDSs.  He in turn reached out to a colleague who wrote a post on additional advice for scientists who are or plan on becoming pregnant.  He also sent along a few other links to check out.

Now that we have our adorable baby and I’m breastfeeding, I’ve found yet another resource for what medicines and other products are okay while breastfeeding, LactMed.  Similar to safefetus, it reviews what medicines and other chemicals are safe or dangerous while breastfeeding.  (I also came across this list of other resources from Kelly Mom) Again, don’t be afraid to ask your OB/GYN, Midwife, or Pediatrician if you have a concern about what you can or can’t use while breastfeeding!

What were your go-to resources when you had questions about what you should/shouldn’t eat/do/be around while pregnant?

 

 

 

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Everything’s Different Now February 12, 2016

Filed under: Pregnancy,Uncategorized — Stephanie @ 8:52 pm
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I’ve been a bit MIA on the blog.  Partially because I didn’t feel like I had much to say.  But partially because I was nervous to blog about my pregnancy.

So, the good news is:  I had a baby!

My husband and I are overjoyed!  And also exhausted.

The pregnancy definitely had ups and downs, including a few moments when doctors thought things might be wrong with my baby.  But in the end, we have a healthy baby and couldn’t be happier!

In the words of Mabel from Gravity Falls:  Everything’s different now.

I’ve been unsure about blogging my birth story because a) I’m not sure anyone would actually care to read it and b) maybe it’s just a bit too much oversharing.  Let me know if you’re interested in reading it (or think I should skip it).

I’m not sure how much I will continue blogging.  There are bound to be things to write about (we’re still house-hunting, and of course there are lots of money things to discuss when it comes to raising a child) but I’ll look to you guys for feedback and thoughts on what I write.  As always, you can see my thoughts about baby farts and naps by following me on twitter.

 

 

That time something cool happened on the internet April 11, 2015

Filed under: Just for Fun — Stephanie @ 7:37 pm
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So, this really has nothing to do with personal finance or fitness or any of my usual topics. It just is a fun story I wanted to share.

I now have a theme song.  For the details behind how I gained a theme song, read the rest of the story below.

 

You may or may not know I love listening to podcasts. I especially like listening to them on car rides, on my jogs, or even during tedious tasks like doing the dishes.

Well, one of the podcasts I really enjoy is How to Do Everything, which is made by Mike Danforth and Ian Chillag, producers of Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me.  It’s a super fun podcast where people submit questions on, well, how to do everything, and they get experts to answer the questions.

Another podcast I’ve been enjoying is Reply All, the first podcast to come out of Gimlet Media (not including the podcast exploring the starting of Gimlet Media, Startup).  I also like TLDR,which is a podcast that came out of On the Media.  The guys who started TLDR are now the guys who do Reply All.  Both podcasts explore strange and interesting things related to the internet.

Another thing Reply All and TLDR have in common besides their co-hosts Alex and PJ is the creator of their theme song.  In the credits for both shows, they’ve told the audience that their theme song was written by “the mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder“. (in case you’re curious, here’s the TLDR theme and the Reply All theme).  A lot of music heard on Reply All is made by Breakmaster Cylinder.

Well, one day, I suggested on twitter that the HTDE and the Reply All guys should interview each other.  The Reply All folks said they love HTDE, but claim they don’t know how to do anything.  So I suggested that they could tell them how to get Breakmaster Cylinder to write a theme song for you.  And that’s when Breakmaster Cylinder chimed in, initially by typing out what my theme song could sound like.  Then, a day later, he sent me a link to MY THEME SONG!

Like I said, it’s just a silly fun story about how interacting with people on the internet sometimes results in something fun and awesome.  Now that I have a theme song, I feel like I should have a podcast of my own.  Would you listen to a personal finance podcast from me?

 

Walk for Hunger: Because it’s not over yet April 9, 2015

Filed under: Boston,Fitness,Food — Stephanie @ 7:42 pm
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CIMG0259 In less than a month, I’ll be joining thousands of others in walking 20 miles throughout Boston and neighboring cities for Walk For Hunger.  The Walk for Hunger is an annual fundraising event run by Project Bread to raise money and awareness to combat hunger.

This will be my 4th year participating in the Walk For Hunger. I’m happy to say that for the past 3 years, I’ve raised more and more money each year. I passed $1k my first year, $2k my second year, and raised over $3k my third year. I’d LOVE if we could raise over $4k this year, but we’re still a ways away.  I believe in this cause, and I love that this program allows me to help people gain access to healthy, nutritious food.

So, again this year, I’m asking for your donations.  Any amount you contribute can help!

As in years past, my blogging friend Joe Taxpayer has put forth challenge funds. This year his challenge is the same as last year: When we raise $1k, he’ll contribute $500, and when we reach $2k, he’ll contribute another $500. It’s a great added incentive to get everyone to donate!

How can your contribution help?  Below are just a few examples:

$25 Provides a nourishing hot meal for 15 people at a community supper program
$50  Helps a low-income family purchase $100 worth of fresh produce at a farmers’ market through double value coupons
$100  Provides grocery gift cards to low-income seniors.

The good news is, any donation, big or small, helps get healthy, nutritious food to those in need!  Even $5 or $10 makes an impact!

And if you donate, you can see if your employer will match your contribution.

Also, if you’re local, you can also help out by volunteering, either before, during, or after the Walk!

Or join me in walking!  You don’t have to walk all 20 miles if that’s too intense for you!  You can sign up as an individual walker or join a team (look to see if your company has a team!)

If you have any questions about how you can help, let me know!

Thanks for all your support!

[Edit:  For those of you wondering, we didn’t hit $4k this year, but we did raise $3016!  Thanks for all your support!]

 

Our Honeymoon to Ireland: Day 1: Dublin March 16, 2015

Filed under: Travel — Stephanie @ 7:40 pm
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I suppose I should actually start this trip with Day 0:  leaving Boston.  Our flight left Boston at 9pm Monday night (June 30th), and we tried to get a little bit of sleep on the flight.

We arrived in Dublin July 1 at 8am Dublin time, which is equivalent to 3am Boston time…so we were a little bit sleepy still.

Picked up our rental car, making the executive decision that I would be the sole driver experiencing driving on the other side of the street.

We drove to our hotel, and attempted to check in, but we were too early.  We got advice and a map from the hotel concierge so we could explore Dublin for a bit before our room was ready.  Got our first Irish Breakfast of the trip at Candy Cafe per the recommendation of the concierge.  It would be the first of many Irish Breakfasts.

We continued on our walk, stopping by the Garden of Remembrance, and heading down Parnell Square East–>Cavendish –> O’Connell Street Upper.

Made our way to the Trinity College campus, and hung out in a lovely courtyard.   Saw a very cool sculpture commemorating the Nobel Prize won by Ernest T.S. Walton.

Apples and Atoms

At this point, we sat down in the courtyard to review our next steps.  It was at that moment that we realized just how insanely exhausted we were.  While I tried to read through my guide books, my husband fell asleep on me.  Then I started nodding off.  So we made our way back to the hotel to take a nap.  We weren’t really going to make much progress without some sleep.

After a nice long nap, we headed back downtown the same way, and briefly popped into the National Gallery of Ireland, but they were just about to close, so we got only about 15 minutes worth of art.  We then explored the fun sculptures and lovely greenery of Merrion Square Park.  Then we made our way to the Temple Bar area to meet up with some of our friends!  They had actually been at our wedding, then flew out to start their Ireland vacation as well!  We had dinner at at The Port House.  It was a traditional tapas bar.  Not the most Irish option, but it was really delicious.  We laughed when we saw that one of our “vegetable” options on the menu was deep fried cheese with honey.  Of course we ordered that as one of our options!  (and that wasn’t the only time we had fried cheese that week.  Because why not?)

We grabbed some gelato nearby for dessert, then explored more of Trinity College, including watching some of the World Cup game at The Pav, the campus bar.  We started feeling sleepy again during the game, so we made our way back to our hotel.

Great way to kick off our honeymoon!

Here are a few photos from our first day in Ireland!

 

This snow makes me want to move! February 25, 2015

Filed under: Personal Finance — Stephanie @ 10:18 pm
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I can’t believe we’re finally in a week where no major snow storms are predicted for our area.  You’d think after growing up in Buffalo, and then living in Boston for most of my adult life, I’d be used to all this snow.  NOPE.

I know I should count my blessings.  There are many people living in Boston who have been hit much harder by these storms.  Our public transit system is still not back to normal and may not be for days or weeks!

But it does get me thinking about wanting to move.

I actually don’t mean moving to Florida or California or Hawaii.  I just mean moving to our own house.

I love our current apartment.  The landlords are great, with adorable kids, and they’ve been really accommodating during this storm.  During the first Blizzard (Juno) they even helped me dig out my car, then moved my car into their driveway (where they’ve been letting us keep one of our cars overnight since the snow emergency went in place February 2nd) and that day they even invited me up for some tasty soup and a movie!  They’re good people.

And I love our location:  close enough to public transit and good restaurants but also pretty close to the highway so we can hop on the highway easily for our daily commutes or a trip up to Vermont.

But one of the issues that has made me a little bit crazy is the winter parking situation.  I’ve been dreaming of a place with a garage.  And even with a driveway, as long as we got a snowblower.  I know this makes me sound spoiled, but one of the things that makes me stress out beyond having to shovel out my car after a storm is worrying about if there will still be a spot available when I come back from work or the grocery store or visiting a friend.  There’s plenty of argument around whether or not space savers should be used (and in many cities, they’re technically illegal).  With a parking ban which was in effect for 3 weeks (which means we couldn’t actually park on the street in front of our house, or on the odd side of the side streets), there’s mathematically not enough space for every car that needs to park.  So any time I left, I worried I’ll come back and have nowhere to park my car.

Phew.  See, it’s this tiny issue that makes me go from calm and collected to raving mad.  Again, I realize how lucky I am otherwise (at least I have a car that I need to park!), but it just stresses me out!

So.  I’d love to buy a house somewhere, in part, so I can have a garage.  It’s not the only reason, of course.  After we got married, we’ve been thinking more about those “next steps” (having kids, buying a house, etc. etc.)  So, we’ve started scanning Zillow for potential houses.  Of course, within this search is trying to figure out WHERE to move to.  Like I said, we like our current location for convenience to all sorts of things.  But buying a house much closer to work (~20 miles from our current location) would be convenient, especially if we’re thinking ahead to kids (preschool, school, etc.).  But moving away from our current area means moving away from most of our friends, including quite a few who are car-less.  I have faith they’d manage the public transit or Zipcar option, but I worry we’d see a lot less of them.  Then again, they say when you have kids, you don’t see much of friends anyway, so maybe that’s where we’re headed?

Beyond location, my husband and I have to start thinking about what we want in a house.  We know we want a back yard (and of course, that coveted garage!) but how many rooms?  What style?  A move-in-ready house or one that requires lots of work and upgrades?

I think our next steps, if we decide we want to start seriously considering buying a house, is to get pre-approved for a mortgage.  We’ve both been saving up money for ages for a down payment, so hopefully we’ll have enough to buy something when we do start looking!

How has the winter storm impacted you?

p.s. special thanks to Anne and Alison for their tweets that got me started on this blog post!

 

Reviewing 2014: Looking ahead to 2015 January 4, 2015

Filed under: General Blogging,Personal Finance,Travel — Stephanie @ 1:56 pm
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Happy New Year!

As you may have noticed, I’ve been absent on the blog since September. Partially because after my post about our honeymoon, I realized I felt weird talking about all the places we went in Ireland on our honeymoon. If I ever feel un-weird about it in the future, I’ll try to post more about it. Sorry for that.

The other reason you haven’t seen a lot of me is because I felt like I’d run out of things to talk about. This blog started out as a way for me to research, share, and get help on all the big personal finance choices that happen early on in our adult lives. Well, I got through most of that, and had started talking more about fitness. But I feel like I know what I like doing for fitness, so I ran out of things to talk about there.

So, where does that leave things?

I still did some pretty great things this year. I even blogged about a few of them!
The big one, of course, was getting married! It was such a blast, and I’m so happy how everything went (and, you know, the whole “being married” part is pretty excellent).

Other side thoughts:
First trip to Europe under my belt
Finally got my (now) husband to sign up for a Roth IRA (and got advice from all of you on the best place to open a Roth)
Walked all 20 miles of the Walk for Hunger and raised over $3000 ($3,318.87 to be exact!)

Other things I did this year? A lot of them are related to the “married finances” thing.
-We opened up a joint checking account. Most of our accounts are still separate, but it’s a first step to figuring out shared finances
-We moved my husband onto my car insurance to lower our rates, and reviewed our coverage levels to make sure we had the right amount.
-We also moved my husband onto my health insurance plan, which also helps save money and make the whole insurance things just a tiny bit easier to manage
-We started checking out (term) life insurance to try to figure out how much we needed and how much it would cost us.
-We signed up for a legal plan through my work (for ~$100) that gives us free use of some local lawyers so we can draw up legal documents like Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Health Care Proxies (more stuff you don’t want to have to think about, but you have to think about).  It seemed like a more economical choice to use my company’s legal plan than paying a local lawyer for these documents.

Looking ahead to 2015, I hope to get back into blogging.  There are some more things on my to do list when it comes to money and health/fitness.  And so hopefully I will remain a part of this blogging community.  I’m much more active on twitter, so feel free to join me in discussions over there.  And let me know what you’d like to hear about from me.

How do you get over the slump of “I have nothing left to write about”?  How was your 2014?  What do you hope to hear from me in 2015?

Thanks for sticking with me!