Simple Ways to Go Green: Part II

As promised, we’re back with Simple Ways to Go Green Part II (if you missed Part I, you can find it here)! Doing your part to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle isn’t hard. Keep reading for more tips!

1. RECYCLE OLD CELL PHONES – With the rapid growth of new technology, devices – like cell phones – are quickly becoming outdated and tossed aside for newer, faster and cooler versions. Not everyone realizes that their batteries contain toxic chemicals that damage our environment. So instead of tossing your old phone in the garbage or having it collect dust on a shelf, sell it to a site like greenphone.com. This way, you get some cash back, and your phone goes to someone that needs it. Everybody wins!

2. DONATE YOUR OLD STUFF – Don’t throw away any usable items! Clothes, for example, are a great donation because there will always be someone that needs them. You can even try trading clothes you don’t want anymore with friends. Sites like freecycle.com and Craigslist are great places to post items that you want to give away. Who knows, you might even make a few dollars AND make someone’s day. And maybe, in turn, that makes your day. Isn’t recycling the best??

3. TAKE SHORTER SHOWERS – Now, I know you like to belt out your own rendition of the entire new Beyoncé album in the shower every morning, but it’s not the most environmentally-responsible use of your time. Stick to the get in, get clean, get out routine. Beyoncé will be waiting for you when you move onto hair and makeup.

4. PAY BILLS ONLINE – I’m sure that many of you do this already, but it’s very important to share. Reduce your paper trail by taking care of loan and bill payments via the company’s website – some companies even offer you a discount for doing so. Be sure you opt-in for paperless (electronic) invoices and statements as well. You can even set up automatic payments for reoccurring bills so you have one less thing to get in trouble for forgetting each month. Yay Internet!

5. SHOP AT THRIFT STORES – Lucky for us, vintage is the new black! Shopping at thrift shops is a great way to find clothes and styles you wouldn’t find anywhere else – for a fraction of the price of something new. They aren’t exclusive to “old” clothes/shoes/bags either. Thrift stores more often than not have name brands, and luxury ones at that. Been drooling over the ultra-expensive black leather clutches at the Gucci store? A brand new one could be hiding at the thrift shop up the street – selling at about 5% of the store price. Run, don’t walk.

Do you have any green advice to share? Post a comment below!

Check out our Environmentally Friendly Pinterest Board.
Catch up on Simple Ways to Go Green: Part I.

Written by Guest Blogger, Sandy Gomez

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Simple Ways to Go Green: Part I

Saving the planet should be a year-round mission, but with Earth Day rapidly approaching, we’re feeling particularly inspired to go green. Gather some inspiration of your own with our list of Simple Ways to Go Green below.  Full posts →

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DIY Dorm: Repurpose Old Clothes For A New Look

Do these, because…free.

FRINGED T-SHIRT SCARF – from AllDayChic.com
Materials: t-shirt, scissors

1. Cut your t-shirt all the way across, just under the armpits

2. Cut roughly 20cm fringes all along the bottom of the shirt (front and back)

3. Stretch each fringe for a longer, thinner result

OPTIONAL

4. Knot the fringes together in pairs of two.

5. Take one fringe from each pair and knot it with an adjacent fringe.

Stretch the scarf to your liking and enjoy!

DRAPED T-SHIRT VEST – from Wobosobi.blogspot.com
Materials: XL men’s t-shirt, scissors

1. Cut off the collar and sleeves, as well as a slit down both sides.

2. Open and slip arms through the hole.

That’s it. Crazy, huh?

P.S. You can also fashion it into a scarf – just pull one side of the vest through the opposite arm-hole.

SWEATER BAG – from PerchedOnAWhim.com
Materials: old sweater, scissors, needle and thread

1. Cut off the sleeves and neckline (as shown)

2. Line up the handles and bottom of the bag (I’d recommend turning the fabric inside out at this point)

3. Sew a straight line across the bottom, joining both sides (Turn bag right-side out when finished)

Voila! Cute new purse. (To prevent the fabric from unraveling or for a more finished look, fold over and sew the edges of the handles.)

What kind of re-purposing have you done this year? Did you try one of the tutorials above? Let us know how yours turned out!

Written by Guest Blogger, Sandy Gomez

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How To Be A Darn Good Dorm Roommate

Living in close quarters with someone – friend or stranger – can become a toxic situation very quickly. By the end of your college career, you will have more than enough fill-in-the-blank roommate stories. Don’t let the memories of the best time of your life be clouded with negative thoughts about how your first roommate almost ruined your freshman year.

Try these 3 tricks for living harmoniously… or something like that:

1. LAY DOWN THE LAW – And yes, I do mean a roommate agreement. You don’t need to take it as far as a signed contract – but be sure to cover all the matters that are important to you and your happiness for the school year. Here’s a few that I find to be particularly significant:

  • CLEANING – Make a schedule AND keep on top of it. Choose a day of the week to wipe down the desks, take out the garbage, and get those dust bunnies out from under the bed (they aren’t as cute as they sound).
  • SHARING – Be sure to establish what’s on or off limits. If you’ve had issues sharing since Jimmy popped the eyeball out of your Furby in the 4th grade, be honest about it. But you also can’t expect to be able to borrow new roomie’s things as you please. A good, general rule of thumb here is to ask BEFORE borrowing. Sorry Suzy, you can wear my new Michael Kors leather jacket the day Ryan Gosling gets down on one knee and proposes to me (so, to be clear, we’re looking at an estimated 2-3 years here).
  • GUESTS – This is a BIG one! Set up the rules around friends hanging out during the week (compare your class/work schedules), as well as finding common ground on overnight guests. If you or your roommate has a significant other, this is particularly vital to discuss early on. Look at the situation carefully from both perspectives. It’s not uncommon or unreasonable to say couple sleepovers make you uncomfortable – just make sure you have an appropriate delivery. “IHATEYOURUGLYBOYFRIEND!” rarely ever works out nicely.
  • QUIET TIME – Go over your school and extracurricular schedules and come to an agreement about quiet time – this covers both studying and sleeping. There are few things more annoying than being woken up at 3am the morning of an exam by your roommate turning on the lights, slamming drawers, and mumbling about their missing mac and cheese. That being said, if you need to study for a rescheduled Saturday exam and your roommate has friends coming over, there’s always the library and student center if you need another quiet space to study. During finals week, re-visit the schedule and make changes as you both see fit. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer – it’s what works for you and your roomie.

2. MAKE TIME FOR EACH OTHER – Whether your new roommate is a friend, acquaintance, or stranger, it’s important to set time aside for just the two of you.

  • COMMON GROUND – Get to know each other. What do you have in common? Come up with something that you both enjoy doing. This could be anything from working out, to watching The Walking Dead, to making music together. If you literally HATE everything that Brian loves, go to the dining hall and have a meal together once or twice a week. Bonding with your roommate can do wonders for your relationship, and it gives you both an open forum to discuss any issues you’ve had that week, or the opportunity to ask if it’s okay that your brother comes to stay next Friday night.

3. BE RESPECTFUL – You’d be amazed how big of a difference the “little things” make. Always keep in mind how it would feel to be in your roommate’s shoes, or how you would like to be treated if the situation were reversed.

  • BE TIDY – Being clean and being tidy are vastly different. That being said – don’t be a slob! Keep your things on your side of the room/closet and put them away when you’re finished. This will not only keep your roomie happy, it will also keep you organized. No more meltdowns because you lost your lucky headband. No sir.
  • TAKE GOOD CARE OF HIS/HER POSSESSIONS – If you borrow something of your roommate’s (after you’ve asked permission, of course), treat it as your own and be sure to promptly return it. If it’s clothing, wash it. If it’s a book, put it on his/her desk. If it’s cookies, replace them. If it’s a tissue… they probably don’t want it back. But buy a new box if you finish them off.
  • KEEP PRIVATE MATTERS PRIVATE – Undoubtedly, you will learn more information about your roommate than you ever wished to know. It is imperative that you keep these things to yourself in order to keep a healthy relationship with said roomie. Whether the matter is embarrassing, upsetting, or downright disturbing, they clearly do not want the world to know. Not everything is for you to judge or understand. If it gets back to your roommate that you spread the word about their chronic feet-sweat, the rest of the year probably isn’t going to be pretty. Not to mention, all of your dirty laundry is just minutes away from blasting off into the Twittersphere.
  • COMMUNICATE & COMPROMISE – If there’s one thing you take from this post, have it be this: When you have an issue with your roommate, go straight to him/her. As a non-confrontational person, I understand not wanting to rock the boat – but at what expense? If you have a problem with something that your roommate is doing, simply, but nicely, ask them to stop. If the situation is more complex than that, give some options that require you to meet in the middle. If she can’t sleep without the TV on, but you can’t sleep with it on – you have a number of choices. You could try ear plugs and a sleep mask, she could try sleeping with her laptop and headphones, or you could both put together a calming music playlist to fall asleep to. Or maybe you could put on the Golf Channel and bore yourself into a coma. Who knows? The real lesson here: there’s always a good compromise.

Make the most of your college experience by keeping a strong roommate relationship. Use these rules for a guideline and find what works for you and your roomie!

How do you and you roommate get along? Anything to add to the list? Let us know! Find even MORE tips here.

Written by Guest Blogger, Sandy Gomez

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Download Worthy: Waze

I know, like myself, you probably have an arsenal of good excuses for being late—

“I was waiting for my deodorant to dry.”
“I super-glued my eye thinking it was contact solution.”
“I fell asleep in the shower.”

But wouldn’t you like to cut down on your tardiness if you could avoid it?

Waze is the “world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app,” and the perfect tool to help you with your punctuality. It may not be able to make you get up earlier, or help you find your other shoe, but this app will make your commute significantly less lengthy.

Waze has a number of really interesting features, aside from being a general GPS. Here’s a few of its coolest attributes:

  1. CHOOSE YOUR ROUTE – Waze will always automatically set you up with the quickest route to your destination (based on real-time traffic reported by other users), but you also have the option of avoiding tolls or highways by choosing a different route. Your course will also change to a quicker alternate route if traffic begins to build on its current path. I’ve found that feature to be extremely helpful whenever there’s any unexpected heavy traffic during my commute.
  2. REPORT AND RECEIVE ROUTE ISSUES – As you drive, Waze will alert you to road reports from other users. For example, if there is a car stopped on the side of the road, Waze will tell you to be cautious as you approach its location. The app also notifies you of other reports on your route, including hidden cop cars, accidents, road obstructions, construction, red light cameras, and more. You can report what you see along your drive to help others and earn bonus points, but I find this to be easier and safer with a passenger to help. (Keep your eyes on the road!)
  3. RIDE WITH FRIENDS – If you connect your Waze to Facebook, you will automatically be able to see which friends are currently using the app, and even be able to communicate with them. If multiple friends are navigating to the same location, you can see how far away everyone is relative to the destination and each other. There’s also an option to text your route to a friend (already at the destination) that will show your ETA and real-time updates of your location.

Besides all that, there are even more capabilities that Waze has to offer, and I suggest you see them for yourself! Be late because you “couldn’t find any clothes,” not because of traffic.

The Waze app is available for FREE on Google Play, the Apple Store, and the Windows Phone Store. Are you a Waze fan? Let us know what you think!

Written by Guest Blogger, Sandy Gomez

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Adobe Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition

What could be better than world-class creative software? How about world-class creative software at a student-friendly price — plus a US$160 Barnes & Noble gift card!

We’re excited to announce an INCREDIBLE deal that’s available in select Barnes & Noble College Stores now through March 3, 2014. Get a US$160 Barnes & Noble gift card when you buy Adobe Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition. Now you can create like a pro, but pay like a student — and get a whole bunch of books, eBooks, movies, and other items on your wish list too!


Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition is perfect for any student who wants to create something amazing. Why? You get access to the latest versions of every Adobe creative tool — including Adobe Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, and InDesign CC — plus new features and updates as soon as they’re released. You also get a free Behance ProSite, which makes it easy to share your work with recruiters and the larger creative community.

Get in touch with your creativity.

Creative Cloud gives you every tool you need to experiment with any creative medium and find new ways to express your ideas. Create posters for your club, presentations for class, t-shirts for your favorite cause, videos for your band, or anything else you can imagine.

 

Build your resume.

Looking for a job or internship? With Photoshop or Illustrator skills on your resume, you can get recruiters’ attention. And by building personal websites, mobile sites, and iPad apps, you can get them talking about an offer. You can even create a customized portfolio of your work using Behance ProSite — and did we mention it’s FREE with your Creative Cloud membership?

 

Stay ahead of the curve.
Why wait to get your hands on new features? With Creative Cloud, you get instant access so can always keep your skills current and your work on the cutting edge. And you can access an ever-expanding library of video tutorials that help you master the new stuff fast.

 

Be a team player.

Creative Cloud comes with 20GB of cloud storage and automatic file syncing, so you can access your work and share files with classmates and professors from your desktop, laptop, or tablet — anytime. Your next group project just got easier.

 

Don’t forget — you can get a US$160 Barnes & Noble gift card when you buy Creative Cloud Student and Teacher Edition in select Barnes & Noble College stores! Check with your store today — savings end March 3, 2014.

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Get Organized Month: Keeping Up Your Calendar

We’re continuing our “Get Organized Month” series by tackling another important area of every students’ life – their calendar. Between classes, internships, and group meetings (not to mention the other hundred things college students have to worry about), keeping an organized schedule of events and due dates can be unbelievably helpful. Different systems work for everyone, but we’ve got some tips and insights to get you started! Keep reading… Full posts →

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Get Organized Month: Closet Clean-Up

Yesterday, we posted our Organization Tip #1 for the month to our Facebook page (check it out here). Overflowing or disorganized closets seem to creep into just about every home, dorm, and apartment out there. The best way to tackle a “bursting-at-the-seams” closet? Shave down your wardrobe!

Let’s all be honest here – filtering our wardrobes is usually way more difficult than it should be. After all, it’s just clothes (it’s not like you’re giving away a puppy or anything…). So why is it that the moment we decide to give away some items, we suddenly become very attached to clothes we haven’t worn in years?

In honor of Get Organized Month, we’re bringing you some of the best tips, tricks, hacks, and rules…whatever it takes to help you Get Organized! Let’s get started on that closet. Check out our tips for minimizing your clothing inventory and be sure to comment with any of your own!

Tip One: Follow the “One-Year Rule”. If you haven’t worn something in more than a year, what makes you think you will in the future? Put all “one-year-rule” items in the Discard Pile – no excuses!

Tip Two: Be honest about what fits and what doesn’t. If something is too big, there is no reason to keep it. And as tempting as it might be to keep smaller clothes as “inspiration” to get in shape, get rid of them anyway. Treat yourself to new clothes when you’re in shape instead.

Tip Three: Beware of too many “extras”. It’s nice to have a bunch of tees or sweatpants to throw on before you go to sleep or hit the gym. However, these types of items are easy to hoard, so determine how many is too many. There is no reason to have 25 old tees taking up space in your closet.

*If you just can’t part with some of your tees, make them into pillows instead! We’ve got a simple DIY here.

Tip Four: Relocate what you can. This applies to all “seasonal” items – think heavy sweaters, shorts, sandals, etc. I can’t think of why you might need a pair of strappy sandals in the winter, so why let them take over precious real estate in your closet? Move these items somewhere you don’t need immediate access to: a bin in the attic, a box under your bed, etc. Rotate them as the seasons change.

Tip Five: Understand your closet is a “work in progress”. Work through it in sections: tackle your tees one day, your jeans the next, etc. You’ll get through it!

Now that you’ve got a pile of clothes, decide what you’re going to do with them! Don’t throw away any clothing unless it’s in really poor condition (or if there is another good reason not to give it to someone else). You might not wear something, but someone else might! Donating is the best option. Goodwill, Salvation Army, or a local secondhand store are all great choices. Some recycling centers also have a clothing drop. Research your area and find out what your options are.

Don’t forget to head to our Facebook page to enter the “Get Organized Month” Sweepstakes! The winner will receive a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card, so don’t miss your chance. All you need to do is fill out the form and share YOUR best organization tip here.

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January is “Get Organized Month”

Getting organized: it’s one of those things we always want to do, we always talk about doing, and we might even dedicate an entire Pinterest board to ideas and tips regarding how to do it. Actually getting organized, though…that’s where the problems arise. That’s why we’re dedicating the next few weeks to helping you get your organization game up. From your closet to your classwork, we’re going to cover everything you need to celebrate “Get Organized Month” the right way.

What better way to kick off our organizational boot camp than with a sweepstakes? Through the end of January, we’re happy to announce the “Get Organized Month” Sweepstakes taking place on our Facebook page. Just head to the sweepstakes tab and tell us your BEST tip for staying organized. Winner takes home a $50 gift card, so don’t miss your chance!

Be sure to check back next week as we kick off our Organization Series with one of the toughest  areas to tackle…the closet in your dorm! Until then, get a head start by checking out our advice from previous years.

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The Original Right Pack

Getting everything in order for the new term seems to be on everyone’s minds lately. With the next semester sneaking up, getting top-quality supplies couldn’t be more important.

We’ve always been big fans of the JanSport Right Pack. It’s big enough to fit a laptop or stash a few textbooks, but never feels bulky or over-sized. The pockets are perfect for keeping smaller items organized, while the padded straps keep your shoulders in tip-top shape.

Imagine our surprise when we discovered that this bag we’re so fond of was actually invented by college students! Back in the late 1960′s, a few friends from the University of Washington were looking for a way to keep their things dry despite the rainy Seattle weather. A few years later, the Right Pack was born. With its signature suede and sturdy leather bottom, the Right Pack has endured the test of time (and rightfully so!).

We love hearing tales of success and JanSport’s origins are just that. With their business first set up above a transmission shop, their team has come a long way. Their story just goes to show that a dream, an idea, and hard work go a long way.

 

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