Looks like the Apartment Gods have not smiled upon us. After losing two perfect apartments for the same dumb reasons and not seeing any others that matched the location/utilities/price range we were hoping for, we have given up our search. My roommate is going to move in with her sister, and I am going to continue to live with my parents. Unless I want to live with random Craigslist strangers, there really isn't anyone else I can look with.
I'm pretty upset and stressed, since I was so looking forward to having my own kitchen, but I am taking this as a sign that I need to save my money and make my cross-country move sometime in the not-too-distant future.
Moving to California has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I need to take the steps to make it happen. It won't be for a while still, but it's more likely it will happen if I can establish a solid savings and try to get some freelance work to boost my resume while continuing to gain job experience at my current job (which I love). It's a terrifying idea--moving thousands of miles away from everything I've ever known--but also an exciting one. In fact, with the money I was going to put towards the apartment, I'm already halfway to my goal of what I want to save before I move. I think I can actually do this, if I am patient and work hard and plan it out.
I'm disappointed that I won't be getting my own place right now, but in the long run I know this is a good thing.
So, friends in Western Massachusetts, I will need to borrow your kitchens for a little longer. I promise anything I make that ends up on this blog, you can eat as payment for me messing up your kitchen. I thank you in advance for your help :)
And Los Angeles/California friends: keep me in the loop for when you or people you know are looking for roommates ;)