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Whether you’re stressed out from your job or internship or bored sitting at home, take advantage of your summer break from school by adopting a great new hobby: gardening. If you live in the suburbs and have a lawn, it won’t be too hard to ripen that green thumb. If you’re from the city, look into urban agriculture nearby or maybe even visit a farm.
Gardening is perfect for those of you who are working long hours- especially indoors- because it will get you outside and allow you to breathe some fresh air (and catch up on some vitamin D!). Also, it is highly relaxing, so prepare for all that stress from work to just melt away…
If you’re mostly spending your summer break at home, then what better way to get outdoors and experience something new? And who knows…if you end up really enjoying it, maybe your new hobby will come back with you to school in the fall! Maybe you’ll even get your friends into gardening too!
Visit your local plant exchange and ask the employees about which plants would grow best in your area. Personally, I really enjoy growing herbs because they smell good and you can eat a lot of them. Nothing like some fresh basil from the garden! Gardening is the perfect way to feel like you’re doing something productive and beneficial to yourself during your summer break! Happy Planting!
Find more inspiration on our Environmentally Friendly Pinterest board!
Written by Guest Blogger, Ilana S. of Rutgers University
Being a college student myself, I know we are constantly on the go – running from class, to the gym, to the library. These hectic schedules typically cause us to grab the most convenient snack option. Unfortunately, often times these fast snacks are not giving us the extra boost of energy that we need to get us through the day. So, instead of walking out the door and reaching for that bag of greasy potato chips or chocolate chip cookies, try these healthier on the go snack options that taste just as good!
1. Fruit – Apples, bananas, pears, etc. are great fruits that you can eat on the go! If you prefer to have these fruits in slices, just take a few minutes to cut them up and put them in a plastic bag. Many grocery stores also sell prepackaged sliced fruit that you can keep right in your fridge. These fruits will keep you full throughout the day, unlike “fruity snacks,” which have limited nutritional value.
2. Trail Mix – You can find tons of pre-made bags of trail mix at any grocery store. Try to find mixes that contain mainly nuts with the least amount of salt. Feel free to also make your own trail mix by combining your favorite nuts, dried fruit, and dark chocolate chips! For more ideas of what to add to your homemade trail mix, check out these recipes here.
3. Bars – I’m not taking about candy bars! There are many nutritious bars containing natural and healthy ingredients that you can easily grab and eat on the go. KIND bars, Luna bars, and LARA bars are all great options and come in a variety of delicious flavors (plus, you can find most of these at your campus bookstore!). One of my favorites is KIND’s peanut butter dark chocolate bar. It tastes just as good, or even better, as a Snickers bar!
Any suggestions? Tweet us @BNcollege, hashtag #healthyBNC!
Written by Guest Blogger, Kat P. of Elon University
Now that summer has finally arrived it’s time to kick those neutrals to the curb and play it up with the hue that’s been making a big splash. Coral is everywhere right now, from subtle pops of color in accessories to full-blown attention grabbing lipsticks….and let me tell you, I am obsessed. This color can be a little tricky to navigate, but once you find the right shade you can rock this trend all summer long.
…and then move on to bolder statements.
Are you loving this coral trend for the summer? Let us know!
Written by Guest Blogger, Chloe L. of Penn State University
With the World Cup kicking off (pun intended) this week, I thought I’d put together a list of 5 United States players to watch this month. The success of the U.S. will depend highly on their performance. Plus, you’ll be able to impress your friends with all of your “fútbol” knowledge whenever the World Cup comes up in conversation (you’re welcome).
At 35 years old, this may be Tim Howard’s last opportunity to bring World Cup glory to the United States. The long time goalie of the United States team has had a successful career in the English Premier League, having played for Everton since 2007. He has been the starter for the U.S. for many years now and has a history of playing through pain and injuries. The U.S. is going to have to keep him healthy and hope he has a strong performance if they hope to beat teams like Germany and Portugal who are both loaded with talented forwards.
Player #2: Clint Dempsey- Forward/Attacking Midfield
Dempsey is another American who has had success playing in England’s prestigious Premier league. He has played for Tottenham Hostpur, and Fulham, where he is the club’s highest premier league goal scorer of all time. He has most recently been playing for the MLS team, the Seattle Sounders F.C. on loan. Dempsey has been struggling as of late to score as many goals, but hopefully he can change that. I’m hoping he will lead the U.S. team and help them keep up with the other high powered offenses in their group.
Player #3: Michael Bradley – Midfielder
This world cup is Michael Bradley’s chance to establish himself as the face and leader of American soccer. He will need to come up big and control the middle of the field if the U.S. hopes to compete. Being the son of former team U.S.A. coach Bob Bradley, Michael has been involved with soccer at a competitive level his whole life. This World Cup is his opportunity to show the world that he should be recognized as one of the dominant midfielders in the game.
Player #4: Jozy Altidore – Forward
Along with Bradley, Jozy Altidore is part of the next generation of American Soccer players, working to establish the United States as a legitimate World Cup competitor. Altidore is only 24 years old and has already proven to be a key player for Team USA in international matches. Although he has been quiet as of late, on June 7th he scored two goals against a solid Nigerian team. Hopefully he can carry that momentum into the World Cup and provide team USA with some serious firepower.
Player #5: Julian Green – Midfield
Playing for the German powerhouse Bayern Munich, Julian Green has experience playing with – and against – the best players in the world. The 19 year old superstar actually has dual citizenship in the United States and Germany – he was born in the United States to a German mother and American father, but moved to Germany at the age of two. Lucky for America, he chose to represent the United States in the World Cup. Here’s hoping he makes Germany regret not being chosen!
Which players are you keeping your eyes on? Have you been following the World Cup?
Written by Guest Blogger, Jared B. of Vanderbilt University
I know what you’re thinking, colored mascara?! I know, I know…it seems extreme, but it’s perfect for summer! With more companies delving into this newest trend, there are colors that will suit everyone. If you’re looking for a more subtle pop color try a deep purple, if you’re feeling adventurous reach for a neon pink. It’s the easiest way to shake-up your makeup routine and bring an unexpected punch of color to your look. Here are some of the brands that I have been fawning over recently:
(Clockwise from Top Left: Maybelline Volum’ Express Mega Plush Deep Velvets Washable Mascara in Purple Velvet -$5.94, butter | LONDON WINK Mascara in Pistol Pink – $20, Makeup Forever Smoky Lash in Green – $23.00, NYX Cosmetics Color Mascara in Blue Dream -$6.99)
Have you tried this new trend? Are you loving it? Let us know!
Written by Guest Blogger, Chloe L. of Penn State
Few authors have achieved such incredible fame in their lifetimes as J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, has. It is a feat that can be viewed as both a blessing and a curse, because after the widespread acceptance and praise for her work on the Harry Potter novels, her name has been forever attached to that series and will always be associated with its modern literary success. However, since 2012, Rowling has begun branching out, away from the young adult fantasy genre toward more adult fiction with The Casual Vacancy, a tragicomedy with themes completely removed from the Harry Potter universe. From the publication of The Casual Vacancy, it has become clear that Rowling aspires to be known for more than just her novels about wizardry and teen fiction. She believes that she is ready to move on beyond that.
But what really surprised readers and her fans in 2013 was a novel published under the name Robert Galbraith, a fictitious pseudonym to mask Rowling’s true identity as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. The Cuckoo’s Calling is an adult crime fiction novel published in the same year about an English private investigator who lost a leg in the Afghan War. He forms a strong bond with his partner Robin, who aides him in all of his detective endeavors as he seeks to find who is really behind a woman’s supposed “suicide”.
One of the biggest controversies surrounding this novel was the release of the truth that Rowling was really the one behind the book. Some readers were excited to know the truth, while others – like Rowling herself – wished her pen name would have remained a mask for a little while longer. Either way, when it was found out that Rowling wrote it, sales went through the roof, making The Cuckoo’s Calling a bestseller.
Rowling spoke to The Sunday Times on July 14, 2013 about her feelings upon being discovered as the author, saying that “being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience… It has been wonderful to publish without hype and expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback under a different name.”
Unfortunately for Rowling, the cat is out of the bag. Everyone is already talking about her upcoming novel, The Silkworm, the sequel to The Cuckoo’s Calling, said to be released June 19th, 2014.
I got a chance to read the first two chapters of The Silkworm and found it to be quite enjoyable, picking up after the conflict from the first novel in the series was resolved. In terms of readability, the language used is very visual and hardly expository at all, suggesting that to fully enjoy many aspects of the novel the reader should have read the first book in the series (though it is not strictly required to do so). I would also say that Galbraith’s (Rowling’s) style is much more adult in nature, using profanity liberally and expanding upon themes not widely accessible to most of her previously younger audience. This novel, just like Rowling’s last, is completely intended for an adult readership and the instant fans of the already popular series after the revelations about Robert Galbraith.
From the first few pages, Cormoran Strike, the protagonist private investigator, is back at it again, dealing with various other clients that hire him to investigate crimes and suspicions that they may have about people in their lives. Although Strike is a down-on-his-luck sort of guy who was homeless for a while, living in his office and doing poorly economically, he is a very competent investigator and an insightful detective. However, he would be nothing without his secretary and loyal partner Robin who keeps him on track with all of his clients and associates.
What’s interesting about Robin and Strike is their relationship was built up quite a bit in The Cuckoo’s Calling, without spoiling any major plot points. I did find one interesting note from the first novel that may point to clues about the full extent of the plot of the second. Near the end of The Cuckoo’s Calling, Strike gives Robin a green silk dress that he bought from a dress shop called Vashti. Robin had tried it on while they were there to follow leads on the case they were investigating.I suspect his gesture may have something to do with the greater plot of The Silkworm, especially because Strike mentions in the first book that he somewhat regrets getting Robin the dress because of how that motion might look to her fiancé Matthew.
I know I’m not as good a detective as Cormoran Strike. Whether or not my suspicions about the novel are true, I am certain of one thing…this novel should be picked up by any J.K. Rowling fan and/or follower of the Robert Galbraith phenomenon. This book looks like it is going to be just as exciting and suspenseful as the last. Rowling truly strikes again with another volume of fresh content that people worldwide will be excited to read.
Written by Guest Blogger, Dan H. of Emerson College
Heading off to college in the fall is overwhelming enough without the stress of packing up your entire bedroom to take to a fairly small and shared dorm room space. Don’t fret, I am here to help! I have created a list of some “Do’s and Do Not’s” of Dorm Décor just for you.
Let’s start with the “Do’s”…
1. Bring an ottoman with built in storage space. Not only are they an aesthetically pleasing addition to any room (they can be found in a variety of different styles), but they are also highly functional. While they may look like they are just for decoration, within the ottoman is additional space for storing towels, sheets, or whatever meets your individual storage needs. Also, the ottoman is great for socializing because it serves as a perfect place for friends to sit when they come over to see your dorm! The classic black, gender-neutral ottoman shown in the photo above would be the perfect fit for any dorm room. They also offer the ottoman in purple, for those of you who like a splash of color. Snag one at select Barnes & Noble College Bookstores!
2. Get some extra lighting for your dorm room! I can tell you from experience that the dim ceiling light at the center of your dorm room is definitely not enough to keep your space well lit. With homework and reading to keep up with, friends to hang out with, and Ramen to cook for you and your roommate, you’re going to need plenty of light. String lights are a wonderful addition to your dorm room. They are pretty to look at, provide extra lighting, and are perfect for when one roommate wants to go to sleep, while the other still needs a little bit of light for staying up to do homework. You should also definitely bring a lamp for your desk; it will help for homework and provide extra lighting when you’re trying to find your bed when you get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night! Just make sure you find out if your school has any regulations!
3. Remember to grab an air freshener plug-in! This may be the most important “Do” on the list. With a few hundred teenagers constantly in and out of the dorms, they can start to smell a bit funky (re: a lot funky), and that is why it is necessary to take precaution. Not only will a scented air freshener plug-in keep your space smelling fresh at all times, but it will bring joy and relief to all of your fellow dorm mates and guests as well. It may not exactly be a physical decoration, but the delicious scent will add to the vibrant energy of the room. It allows for everyone to feel more at home and you won’t have to spray the room with Febreze a million times. After all, you’re very busy!
4. Bring plenty of storage! It is very important to keep your dorm room organized, as it is the space in which you will be living, lounging, doing homework, and keeping yourself inspired. It can be difficult to keep your college life in order when you don’t know where anything is, so that is why I recommend bubble storage crates and large stack drawers. They are perfect for storing and stacking under the bed, in the closet, or anywhere else you may find extra space. Also, bed risers are a must as they allow for additional storage space under the bed. The storage items above come in a multitude of different colors and can also be purchased from the Rutgers Book Store website (and select other B&N College sites as well!).
1. Bring a rug without a vacuum cleaner. Rugs are a very stylish addition to your dorm room and provide a home-y feel. However, make no mistake – they collect dust, crumbs, hair, etc. I love my rugs, but half way through the year, I stopped using them because I kept getting them dirty. If you are going to bring a rug, I definitely recommend bringing a vacuum cleaner (and some carpet cleaner) because you are going to have to use it a lot! However, if you can get past that, then a rug could be a great addition to your college dorm room.
2. Pack a ton of stuffed animals. While stuffed animals can seem like a cute idea, it is important to limit the amount that you bring to school. Don’t get me a wrong, I’m a huge fan, but when there are too many on the bed you will most likely end up kicking them off and onto the floor. Additionally, the stuffed animals can collect dust, so if you or your roommate’s allergies are bad, it can get annoying very quickly.
3. Steal the furniture from your floor’s lounge or common room and move it to your own room. I know it can be tempting for some of you rebellious students out there, but let me assure you that it is not worth the risk. If you get caught, you will definitely get in trouble with your RA and you will have angry floor mates who don’t have lounge furniture to relax and do their homework on. I know the common room has a lot of great tables, chair, and couches to utilize, but leave them in the lounge where they belong and use them there. However, if you do end up taking them and getting caught, make sure you compliment your housing supervisor on how tasteful and elegant their dorm furniture is and maybe you’ll get off easy.
Well there you have it, a perfect list of “Do’s and Do Not’s” that will hopefully be of much help to you all during the summer months when you begin packing and planning for school. Good luck! I know you’ll all do wonderfully now that your stress concerning packing and dorm decorating ideas is well taken care of!
Written by Guest Blogger, Ilana S. of Rutgers University