January is “Get Organized Month” – Schoolwork Edition

The semester is starting to pick up and with it the assignments are starting to pile up as well. At times, just looking at the stack of papers and notes in front of you is enough to make you want to hibernate until the summer rolls around. With so many topics covered within each class, it’s hard to stay organized which, in turn, makes studying and reviewing the subject matter even harder. The key idea here is that organizing your materials should be a continuous process and not a one-time thing. Incorporate staying organized into your everyday routine and you’ll be good to go all semester long! Different methods work for different people, but we’re bringing you a few tips to get you started!

Get a Planner…and Use It: Even those of us with the best memories can’t keep track of every assignment or important date that professors put out there. Get a planner (available at your conveniently located campus bookstore) and make a point to write down every current and upcoming assignment your professor mentions. In addition to this, include any meetings or other important events. I always found it helpful to also include a post-it of To-Do items for the current day as well. Make it a habit to check your agenda every morning and evening and you’ll be less likely to forget an assignment – promise!

Stay organized by keeping track of your schedule in a planner!

Prioritize: Every student operates differently. For me, I can focus on a big project much better if I have already completed all of my other smaller assignments. Some students would rather get the big one out of the way first, however. Find out which you prefer and work accordingly. Next time you have several assignments due at once, list out which you intend to complete first and give yourself a deadline. Work towards it and move onto the next assignment.

Categorize, Label, and Color Code: Before you claim that I am being overly meticulous, I’ll have you know that this method has never failed me! How many times have you rushed off to class only to realize that you grabbed the wrong notebook? Keep all of your books and their corresponding notebooks together and avoid this mistake. Label or color code them to match and you’ll grow accustomed to grouping them together automatically.

Color coding helps you keep your materials in order.

The same goes for what you have inside your notebooks. Give every set of notes a date and title and you’ll save a lot of time scouring through the pages looking for a minute detail. Binder dividers are another great way to categorize your notes and make locating a specific topic easy.

Study on a Schedule: My main advice here is to start studying ahead of time and space out your sessions. This is much better for retention and lets you avoid cramming. However….I understand that sometimes this might not happen (but try your best!) so at least make a point to study on a schedule. Outline all of the topics you want to cover and star any that you’ve had trouble with so you know to focus on those. Work your way through everything until you’re set for your exam!

Organize your Computer: Nowadays, so many things are completed using the computer that it’s important to organize this too! Create separate folders for each course and then appropriate sub folders for any assignment or group of assignments. Back up all of your important documents on a flash drive to avoid the risk of losing anything. Keep your email inbox organized by using folders as well!

We hope we’ve helped you start off the semester in an organized manner. Have any questions or suggestions? We love reading your comments, so post them below!

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Freaky Friday: Saint Louis University

A quick Google search for ghosts at Saint Louis University brings up more than 2 million results…literally. Luckily for me, a dedicated Facebook group created by students of SLU was among the first few links I researched, and here I found all of the information I needed for this week’s Freaky Friday post.

It became clear from browsing the posts that the Saint Louis University Paranormal Investigators were on to something. The group previously hosted ghost-seeking events on campus and shared pictures of the outings as well as details about the mysterious sounds they heard. One picture of a staircase on campus has a caption that claims an elderly woman’s ghost has been seen there before, yet it is unclear if she was out to play the night the picture was taken.

Other activities were documented on the page, including a viewing of the movie The Exorcist, yet their fan page has not been active in about a year. Maybe they stumbled on to something that kept them from continuing their ghost-hunting efforts? Do you attend Saint Louis University? Do you know why the Paranormal Investigators group appears to be no longer active? Share what you know with us, below!

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DIY Dorm: Upcycled Soup Cans

I’ve always been a huge fan of “upcycling” – using old objects for new and creative purposes (remember the T-shirt Pillows from a few weeks ago?). So when I came across my stash of soup waiting to be eaten, I was inspired…by the cans. Why not get even MORE bang for my buck and make use of not just the soup inside, but the container it comes in? A key factor in my dorm-life diet, soup cans were inexpensive and always on hand – just begging to be incorporated into a fun DIY project. With only a few budget-friendly items and little bit of your time, you’ll be turning your recycling into awesome dorm decor.

What You’ll Need:

– Empty soup can (I used an empty can of Campbell’s Tomato Soup)
– Tape measure or ruler
– Glue
– Wrapping paper (or any type of printed paper you’d like)
– Scissors
– Ribbon* (optional, for decorative purposes)

What You’ll Do:

1) First, make sure your can of soup is empty and rinsed clean. You don’t want any leftover soup ruining your project! Next, peel off the wrapper from the outside. It should come off fairly easily, though you may need to scrape a bit where it was glued. Don’t stress too much though, it’s going to be covered up.

Measure your can from top to bottom, as pictured here.

2) Next, using your tape measure, measure the height of your soup can (as seen in the photo) and make a mental note of this. Then, measure the distance around the outside of the can and add 1/2 an inch to this number (for gluing purposes). You may need to use a string or ribbon for this because it is not linear. These measurements will act as the height and width of the rectangular piece of wrapping paper you are going to wrap around the outside of the can.

3) Cut out your rectangular section of wrapping paper, according to the measurements you found. Place a line of glue along the shorter edge and press it flush onto the can. Wrap the paper around the cylinder, line the other end with glue, and press in place.

4) I also added a ribbon around the bottom rim, for decorative purposes following the same steps for the paper.

The final product!

I chose to use my soup can as a vase but they also make great pencil or school supply holders. You can add whatever you like to the outside as well! If you want to incorporate stickers or other appliques, get creative and really make it your own. If you decide you’d like a new pattern around the outside, just grab another can and get decorating!

Have any other ideas or suggestions for us? Don’t hesitate to post a comment below – we love hearing from you!

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The IT List: Patterns

We’ve always been a fan of solid colors; they look great on everybody and never go out of style. But this winter, we’re really going crazy over all types of patterns! Floral, animal print, geometric – the possibilities are endless. Patterns add a whimsical sort of fun to any outfit and definitely make your ensemble stand out. We’re bringing you ways to subtly incorporate this trend into your everyday style. Check out a few of our suggestions and – as always – we would love to hear yours!

Soak up the sun in style with these patterned shades.

We mentioned in our blog yesterday that soaking up some sun is helpful in beating the winter blues (if you missed it, you definitely want to see our tips here). So grab your sunglasses (and sunscreen) and head out for a quick walk or jog! Offset the chilly air with a pair of fun, patterned shades like the ones pictured, each for under $10 at Forever 21. The leopard pattern adds sophisticated flair to your weekend outfits while the floral pair is bold and bright, perfect for gaining attention on your walk to class.

Girls AND guys can step out in this style trend from Converse.

Shoes are also a great place to showcase your favorite designs. Paired with solid tights or fitted jeans, you’ll definitely make a statement with your fancy footwear. Whether you opt for flats or heels, shoes are a great way to add flare to your outfit without being too over-the-top. They also allow you to add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral ensemble. Guys should embrace this trend too – we love these plaid sneakers from Converse!

We also love patterns that you can Mix and Match. CollegeFashion shows a great example of Jessica Alba sporting a striped top with an animal print scarf (Check it out for yourself here) that looks trendy and effortless, without being overdone. Pair a simple patterned shirt with a subtly patterned accessory – not neon-colored geometric pants with a wild and crazy top (leave that to the experts, like Nicki Minaj).

Wristlets are an easy way to try out this style. Pick one up at your campus bookstore!

Any college student knows how important it is to keep your keys, Student ID, and any money or other wallet items in one, easy spot. Wristlets that zip closed are perfect for running all over campus and for a night out with friends. If you’re not ready to commit to a full-on patterned ensemble, a wristlet designed like this one from Vera Bradley is the perfect start. Choose from a variety of patterns and sizes at your campus bookstore!

Are you ready to try out these style tips and become an icon of campus fashion? Share pictures of your favorite patterned accessories and tell us how you wear them in the comments below.

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Beat the Winter Blues!

If you’re like me, you know that the wintertime always starts out fun. There are new sweaters to wear, flavored hot chocolates to drink, and warm fireplaces to snuggle up by. But as the season drags on, the excitement begins to wear off. The cold settles in, it gets dark sooner, and even your skin and hair can get temperamental. The mild weather of spring and sunny heat of summer seem like far off dreams. In an ideal world, I would suggest that we all hop a plane together and hide out in the Bahamas until the last bits of ice begin to thaw but, unfortunately, that is just not a realistic proposition. However, there are easier (and less expensive) ways to beat the winter blues, wherever you are – so keep reading! By the end of this post, you’ll be ready to take on the wind and snow (or at least get out from under the covers) with our fun activities and insight!

– Get some sun (with sunscreen, of course) – The Vitamin D and natural light are proven to boost your mood. Open up those shades, people! If you’re dealing with a particularly gloomy span of time, consider investing in Light Therapy, Full Spectrum light bulbs. Their effects are similar to real sunlight.

– Work out. – Remember the part in the movie Legally Blonde, when Reese Witherspoon gleefully asserts that “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!”? Believe it or not, the blonde was on to something. Even if it’s for only 20 minutes, try to squeeze in a quick walk or work out to pump yourself up.

Our tips will have you jumping for joy - despite the weather!

– Hang out with friends. What better way to offset your melancholy mood than by socializing with friends? Whether you stay in and watch a movie or go out and do something, the face to face interaction will keep you feeling good. Plan a fun activity and you’ll forget that it’s even winter!

– Invest in fresh flowers. We found this great idea on TheFrisky.com and absolutely loved it. They point out how the bright-colors are an instant mood boost – and we agree! Plus, your flowers will add instant flare to your dorm. Take a look at their other great suggestions here.

If these tips just aren’t enough to get you out of the seasonal slump, here are some other quick fixes:

1) Listen to peppy and upbeat music. Don’t fight the urge to dance!
2) Drink hot tea (January IS Hot Tea month after all).
3) Learn to knit.
4) Read a good book (or two).
5) Play a board game.
6) Take up yoga.
7) Get a massage.
8 ) Take a hot shower.
9) Invest in a good moisturizer.
10) Embrace the weather – snowball fight, anyone?

We’re sure that you have your own ways of dealing with the Winter Blues – and we’d love to hear them! Post a comment below and let us know what works for you.

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Dish It: Pizza Popcorn

As a college student, you probably think of popcorn as a delicious snack that is easy to make within the limited confines of a dorm room. However, do you get tired of the same old salt-and-butter routine? Then look no further! We came across this mouth-watering recipe on Belly Bytes, a website dedicated to all things delicious, and couldn’t resist sharing it with our College Juice readers. It combines the deliciousness of popcorn with the savory taste of pizza (minus all of the calories). The result is a simple, flavor-packed recipe you’ll want to share with everyone you know.

What You’ll Need:
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 quarts hot, low-fat popcorn

What You’ll Do:
1) In blender, blend cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, salt and pepper for about three minutes. If you don’t have a blender, mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl.
2) Place popcorn in large bowl; sprinkle with cheese mixture.
3) Toss ingredients gently to coat evenly.

*Recipe yields 3 quarts of Pizza-Flavored Popcorn.

I’m getting hungry just thinking about this popcorn! Have another popcorn variety you’re dying to share with us? Post a comment below!

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New Year’s Resolution Check-In

It has been less than three weeks since we welcomed in 2012 but it’s already National Ditch Your Resolution Day! We hope you’re still working toward yours (after using our easy guide on how to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions, of course) but just in case you’re struggling, we thought we’d check in on you and bring a little motivation!
When working towards your New Year’s Resolution, keep in mind three things:

1) Don’t forget that these things take time. About.com wants to make sure that we “Remember that Change is a Process”. It’s only been a few weeks, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you’re not seeing changes immediately. Your resolution is not a sprint; it’s a day-to-day improvement that will only get better – and easier – over time.

Keep motivation close by!

2) Remember the reason behind the resolution. When you find yourself slacking on your goal, remind yourself why you chose this resolution. Once you remember why it was important to you in the first place, your motivation will be renewed.

3) Think positive. It’s easy to start to feel negative once the initial motivation behind the resolution fades, but positive thinking can be one of your best assets. Whether you develop a personal mantra or think of an inspirational quote, do what you can to keep a positive outlook.

Remember these three pieces of advice and you’ll be a Resolution-Breaker no more! Do you have a special way of keeping yourself motivated? Share it with us below!

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January is “Get Organized Month” – Desk Edition

You know the deal – every year you start out as a clean, mean, organized machine. That is, until you realize how much easier it is to use your desk as a coat rack/make-up counter/ping pong table (you get the idea). Think your messy desk is beyond repair? We’re here to help you reclaim your space and keep it neat and orderly for the rest of the semester!

Elimination Time - Go through your desk, one section at a time, and clear out anything that you don’t need. The excess clutter is only going to make it twice as hard to get organized. Toss any wrappers or old papers in the trash or recycling and get them out of the way immediately. Once you’ve done this, take out all that is remaining and divide it into three piles: a Keep Pile, a Move Pile, and a Trash-You-Missed Pile. The Keep Pile will be the stuff that remains in your desk, while the Move Pile consists of items that you don’t want to throw out but would be better situated elsewhere. The Trash-You-Missed Pile is just that and can be moved straight into the garbage. Once this is all done, you can begin organizing your desk with all of your necessary school supplies.

My desk organizer keeps all of my things in order!

Compartmentalize and Prioritize –
Ever spent precious time searching every drawer in your desk looking for something as minute as a paper clip? I know I have. Now think how much easier it would be if all of your school supplies had a specific spot in your desk. Fit everything into a category – small supplies (paperclips, erasers), writing implements, etc. Then ask yourself if there are any items that you use frequently and would like access to at all times. Keep these within reach to make it easy on yourself. Drawer and desk organizers are great for keeping all items in a proper place. Dedicate each compartment to a different set of things and never waste time searching again. Swing by your campus bookstore and pick one up today!

The same idea goes for textbooks, folders, and binders. Keep books with their corresponding notebooks and avoid the hassle of grabbing the wrong set on your way out the door.

Even “Junk” Deserves a Place – Let’s be serious here – little, useless trinkets and mementos are not going to be tossed in the trash simply because they’re not “technically” part of your supplies. Rather than fighting the hoarder within you, take preemptive measures to ensure it won’t affect your ability to stay organized. Dedicate a small bin or section of one drawer (you don’t need a whole drawer – no excuses) specifically to “junk.” By limiting these small items to one area, you’re keeping your belongings in order while still retaining any “memories” you’ve collected.

Maintenance is Key - It’s not realistic to expect your desk to remain immaculate at all times. When extracurricular activities and schoolwork start to hit their peak, making sure your desk is in order probably falls fairly low on the list of priorities. However, take a few minutes once a week or every two weeks to check that no clutter is making its way into your neat and orderly desk. By keeping up with this regularly, you’ll avoid having to perform a complete desk-overhaul.

Now that your desk is in order, we’re getting ready to take on your School Work! Next week we’ll be back with surefire ways to keep your ever-growing amount of homework in order. We’d love to hear your feedback, suggestions, or questions – so share them with us below!

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National Dress Up Your Pet Day

Yesterday might as well have been Fashion Week for Animals. It was National Dress Up Your Pet Day! Despite being part of an animal-loving bunch, I won’t lie – when I was younger I thought people who placed bows on their cats or sweaters on their dogs were a little weird. That is, until I discovered how absolutely adorable the results can be. I am a very firm believer that anything that irritates or is otherwise uncomfortable for the pet should be avoided but as long as your pet doesn’t mind, celebrating this day takes “cute” to a whole new level. Make sure your dog, cat, bunny, etc can move freely – after all, you want them to be able to show off their ensemble!

Pretty in pink!

Whether you opt for a festive costume (my dog has a Santa Suit she loves prancing around in during the holidays) or a weather-appropriate outfit (she also has a pink winter coat for when it snows), show us how you and your furry friend would celebrate the holiday by leaving pictures below! Share any outfit ideas or crazy costumes you’ve seen with us in the comments.
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Places to Visit: US Edition Part I

The semester might have just started, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start planning your Spring Break traveling extravaganza. We’re not referring to the clichéd, wild spring break as seen in movies. Instead, we have our sights set on the chance to see some really cool places without even leaving the country. So whether you’re looking for a trip on a budget, a multi-destination road trip, or to just soak up some of the United States, check out a few of the awesome places we’ve seen (or would like to see) – and don’t forget to bring your camera!

Some of these places are obvious choices, while others may fly more under the radar. However, the list is meant to be limitless so don’t hesitate to share your own picks with us!

Any book-lover has got to visit the NY Public Library!

New York City – Times Square. The Empire State Building. Central Park. I could go on forever! If you’ve never been there, you should go and if you have been there…you should go again. With countless (literally, countless) things to do, places to eat, and sights to see, you can never take too many bites out of the Big Apple. Head over to Madame Tussaud’s and snap some photos with “celebrities” (or their wax figures, at least) or take in some art at one of the many museums (I enjoy the Guggenheim). Whatever you decide to do, it will definitely make your Spring Break worthwhile.

Austin, TX – Music lovers, listen up! The city of Austin is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World” – and for good reason! The US News compares Austin’s 6th Street to the famed Bourbon Street in New Orleans, and ensures that it has something for everyone. Looking for something a little different? Wander over to Zilker Park, which will delight sports and nature lovers alike.

Baltimore's Inner Harbor - beautiful!

Inner Harbor, Baltimore MD - Our next stop is a great place for those who don’t want education to be lost on their Spring Break (yes, learning can be fun too!). The Inner Harbor, in Baltimore, Maryland is home to both the National Aquarium, and the Maryland Science Center. Baltimore.org informs us that the Aquarium houses more than 16,000 different creatures while the Science Center features a 360 degree IMAX theater in addition to the Davis Planetarium. Having visited both the Aquarium and the Science Center, I can assure you that both are incredibly worthwhile.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, CA -  As a child, the opening credits of the show Full House made me want to visit San Francisco every time I saw them. Now that I’m older and wiser (okay, maybe just older) my yearning to visit this California city, especially its iconic bridge, has not waned. With places to hike, shop, and learn, the Golden Gate Bridge and its hometown are perfect to explore on your break from college.

The Space Needle, Seattle, WA - No, I’m not talking about a trip to Mars. A friend of mine traveled here recently and I have been envious ever since! The Needle’s observation deck offers a 360 degree view of the surrounding area – from the city’s towering buildings all the way to Mt. Rainier. If taking in the view from the top works up an appetite, head to the Sky City restaurant and experience dining at a whole new level.

History buffs will love visiting the Washington Monument!

Washington DC – Our nation’s capital is a fantastic place to visit because it has the feel of a modern metropolis, but is still chock full of history. While you are there, make sure you visit both the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, a big statue with an even bigger historical context. These statues commemorating two of our greatest presidents are not something you want to miss. Political affirmations aside, time spent in the District of Columbia will not be time wasted.

The Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona - This final destination on the list does not require an explanation. One of nature’s greatest wonders, the word “grand” is no overstatement. With breath-taking views from every direction, The Grand Canyon offers excitement for everyone from the sightseer to the adrenaline junkie. Be sure to bring a camera, it’s a sight you won’t want to miss.

Don’t fret if you feel this list is too short, we’ll be back in a two weeks with Places to Visit: US Edition Part II! In the meantime, share with us any cool places you’ve visited or any sights you’ve just been dying to see. Bon Voyage!

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