How To Spend Money Responsibly In College

This year has been pretty big for me financially and while I’m excited about all the super adult changes that have been happening, I’m also lowkey scared. I’ve been making more money blogging this year, I got a small part-time job on campus, I got my first credit card, and (unfortunately) I have more expenses. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty overwhelming and I’ve been trying to start better spending habits, because if I can’t be financially responsible now when I don’t have as many expenses on my plate, I’m probably going to be a mess when I have to worry about rent, groceries, and bills.

I think that everyone says that saving money is really hard, but honestly spending it responsibly is even harder. Unless you’ve mastered the art of pulling stacks of green out of the air, you’re probably going to find yourself torn between buying the things you want and need and pretending like it’s not the end of the world if you don’t shell out the cash for a new laptop to replace your fried one. Kinda hurts, doesn’t it?

See also: How To Be Money-Smart When Studying Abroad

I know lots of people will probably tell you that the best way to make this pain hurt a little less is to be more conscious of your spending, but that’s way easier said than done. So here are some things that I generally try to keep in mind when trying to be more mindful of how I spend money.

1. Avoid eating out frequently. 

Especially if you have a campus meal plan! I know dining hall food isn’t always very appetizing and sometimes you get tired of eating the same thing, but ordering pizza or Chinese food every week means you’re spending money that you wouldn’t have had to spend if you just cooked what you have or used your meal plan on campus.

2. You don’t need to party or buy alcohol because everyone else is doing it. 

Going out can be really tempting when everyone else wants to, but it’s also costly. Do what’s best for your budget, not what’s best for someone else’s boredom. Going out every week will definitely kill your wallet, especially when you also have to factor in transportation costs.

3. If you see something you think you really, really want…just wait. 

I am SO guilty of always seeing something that I think I need ASAP but then not caring about it two weeks later. Before you splurge on that limited edition eyeshadow palette or that expensive jacket you don’t know what to pair with, give it some time. If you find yourself still dreaming about the item, it’s safe to say that you’re good purchasing it.

4. Use student discounts when you make purchases. 

There are so many sites and services that are happy to give students money off on purchases—you just need to find them! I wrote a post about a service called UNiDAYS, which is perfect for saving money on your favorite brands, so be sure to check that out.

5. Splurge once in a while. 

It’s totally okay to splurge; just make sure you really want it. I usually try to put some money off to the side specifically for the items I want to splurge on. I really like the idea of saving money with a specific purchase goal in mind, so when I actually use the money I don’t feel bad because I had planned on using it in the first place.

6. Get rid of any subscriptions you’re paying for but not using.

I hear people talk about subscriptions and memberships that they pay for but don’t use far too often and it honestly makes me cringe. I understand the logic behind it—you think you’ll actually use it because you’re paying extra money for it—but when you find that you’re literally just throwing money out the window on something you aren’t using, you should seriously just consider canceling. It’s a waste of your hard-earned cash, and to be completely blunt, if you really wanted it you’d be using it.

7. Make note of what you spend your money on. 

But don’t be like me and say you’re going to write everything down and then not (oops). Just be aware of what you’re spending money on if you’re using a credit card. This way, if you see an unfamiliar charge on your bill, you can address it. If you don’t want to get a physical notebook for this, just create a simple Google spreadsheet.

8. Don’t abuse your credit card. 

Honestly, I was excited for my first credit card but also kind of stingy about making purchases. Like, I debated using my card for the first time on a purchase that was credit card only because I was so nervous to use it after all the stories of crazy interest rates and all that. Make card purchases that you know for a fact you can pay off completely when your bill arrives. If you only pay the minimum amount on your bill, that’s when you accrue the dreaded interest. So while you may feel powerful with a credit card in your possession, don’t go overboard!

9. Always be aware of the amount of money you have left. 

This is pretty self-explanatory but one of the best ways to be smart about how you spend money is to always know how much you have. This will help you decide if you really want to go out tonight, or if you can really afford the handbag you’ve been eyeing.

10. Be a smart textbook shopper. 

My freshman year, I spent $500 on textbooks because I bought them all brand new and didn’t open my eyes to a beautiful thing called borrowing from the library. Being smart about where and how (and if) you buy textbooks can help you save so much money. I won’t go into too much detail because I have a full post on How To Save Money In College, but make sure you exhaust all other options before buying a book brand new or even used.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Buying Textbooks In College

11. Purchase your needs before your wants. 

I mean, it’s pretty clear what’s more important here. If you dropped your laptop and need to repair it so you can turn in assignments then you should obviously make that a priority.

12. Travel as cost effectively as possible. 

If you can walk, walk. it’ll save you bus fare, a train ticket, gas money—whatever. Always consider all of your travel options before you decide what to do. Transportation fare adds up very quickly over time, after all. For one of my reporting classes, I often have to travel off campus and while I’ve been taking the train a lot, I think it may be more cost effective for me to rent a car and drive to where I need to be. So, I’m probably going to just start doing that instead. So that means no more spending $30+ on round-trip train tickets!

What are your tips for responsible money-spending? 

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How To Balance Class Work, A Job & Your Social Life In College

How To Balance School, Work, and Social Life in College

Oh man, I seriously feel like I haven’t had the time for us to have one of our little heart-to-heart advice things that I do here because this semester is CRAZY. Holy hell, it’s INSANE for me right now, and I’m sure you’re really feelin’ the weight of yours, too. Which is why I was inspired to write this post.

This semester is unlike anything I’ve had before because I have more commitments now, more classes, and I’ve really stepped up in some roles. I’m taking seven classes (which I don’t recommend doing!), I got a small part-time job on campus cuz ya girl needs that cash flow, I’ve moved up to an e-board position for a club I’ve been part of for two years now, I’m taking a bartending class for a certification, and I’m assisting with the sports broadcast on my campus. Oh, and I’m also on the brink of creating my YouTube channel and blogging, even though I haven’t been sticking to my usual blogging schedule as of late (I promise I’m still here!!!). So a lot of people get surprised when they see me Snapchatting from the gym and they ask me how I even have time for all that.

Not gonna lie, it took me a few weeks to stop staying up till 3a.m. to do homework, and to finally feel less overwhelmed even though the amount of work I’ve been getting isn’t getting lighter anytime soon. I really believe that a huge chunk of success and feeling happy in college is due in part to effectively balancing all of your obligations, so I’m sharing what I’ve been doing to manage all the hats I wear. It can be so easy to feel like you aren’t paying enough attention to your school work, or like you’re missing out on all the fun stuff your friends are doing because you just have so much on your plate. If you’ve got a crazy semester and you aren’t quite sure how to balance everything, read on to find out!

Related: 11 Things To Do When You Feel Overwhelmed In College

1. Make use of your weekends as much as you can.

It’s totally fine to have a lazy, unproductive day once in a while, and Saturdays and Sundays are perfect for that. But you’d be surprised by how much more chill your weekdays get when you finish all or most of your assignments during the weekend. The assignments in each of my class feel like mini projects because they require so much time, attention, and iced coffee, so I know that the weekends are my best bet for planning their completion and, well, completing them!

Plan everything out ahead of time in your planner so you know what needs to get done (if you don’t have one yet, check out my thoughts on the ClassTracker Planner!). The list might be daunting, but if you use the weekend to tackle them, you won’t have to lose sleep doing the assignments during the week.

Related: How To Create An Effective Study Schedule

2. Grab dinner with friends and use that time to socialize.

I mean, you have to eat at some point so you might as well turn dinner into hangout time for you and your friends. I know your schedules won’t always match up but even if you’re able to eat dinner together twice a week or three times a week, you’ll still get in some much-needed squad time. It doesn’t even have to be a meal—sign up for a fitness class together; join a club together; study together.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

3. Be open to change.

I’m a meticulous planner, but I’ve definitely come to realize that—in the words of former Seventeen EIC Ann Shoket—life is messy and you need to embrace the mess. I know that planning things out can help you stay on top of your schedule, but don’t try to plan your day out down to the last minute because it will only stress you out if things don’t go the way you needed them to go. Have a general idea of what you’re doing during the day, but be flexible enough to go with the flow if things don’t work out.

4. Don’t save things for the last minute.

This goes with what I was saying before about getting all your shit done over the weekend. If you wait until the day before an assignment is due before you actually start it, you’re likely going to hole yourself up in your room until you finish, and you’re going to stress and won’t be able to take care of any other obligations you have.

5. Get in the habit of waking up early.

I know no one wants to ever have to do that but if you’ve ever had an 8a.m. class or work an early morning shift, you’re already familiar with the absolute *joy* of waking up at the ass crack of dawn. Actually, this is what I started doing in order to get my workouts in! On days I know I won’t have time to go to the gym at night, I wake up two hours before my first class and I work out. It’s honestly more refreshing and I actually don’t feel tired during the day! I shower afterward, so I’m really awake and I reward myself by dressing extra cute and doing my makeup a little extra nice.

If you think you need more hours in the day, just try waking up earlier to better accommodate your schedule. You might find that it’s the perfect time for you to study, or hit the gym, or pick up on that passion project you’ve had to step away from. You don’t have to be up at 5a.m. to do things; start small.

Related: How To Prepare For Early Morning College Classes

6. Set reminders for yourself.

I like scheduling my obligations into my phone as I make plans so I don’t forget anything. Gotta FaceTime your best friend at 5p.m.? Have a study group at 4:30 that you can’t miss? Schedule them in case you forget! I like setting my reminders for 20 minutes beforehand so that in the event that I do forget, at least I have some time to recover from the initial surprise and re-plan if needed.

7. Do work in between classes, if you can.

When my classes were really spaced out, this was my ultimate secret to almost never pulling all-nighters, but now that I have almost no time in between, I can’t really do that. But if you can manage to complete a few assignments while you wait for your next class, you’ll have more time at night to go out, attend club meetings, work, and even just have some chill time.

8. If you can’t take on more, DON’T.

This is the time when everyone and their mother wants you to join their club, or apply for their thing, or pick up an extra hour at work. Biting off more than you can chew will make it more difficult for you to keep up with everything else going on for you. I so badly wanted to also be a writing tutor this semester, and I even applied for the position but didn’t get picked and honestly it worked out for the better because I don’t even know when I’d have the time to tutor! Remember that you also don’t need to fill in every single gap in your schedule. Try to leave a free hour or two that you can use to relax if you really need it!

9. Be honest about your schedule.

So yeah, this goes hand in hand with my last point…to avoid piling on your plate, you have to be honest about what you can and can’t do. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t know how to say no to people and it always comes back to bite me in the ass when I’m suddenly overwhelmed because I have so much going on—ugh! Just because you’re free when someone asks if you’re free doesn’t mean you have to use that time to do what they want you to do. Maybe you’d like that time to unwind and treat yourself. Or maybe you want to reserve that time to hang out with a friend or special someone. Simply say that your schedule is really packed and you can fit anything else in—even if they swear on their mother’s father’s aunt’s cousin’s uncle’s grave that it won’t take up much time at all.

10. Only take on the meaningful obligations.

Something I’ve definitely come to realize is that it’s better to have one or two big obligations that make a significant impact for you than to have a bunch of small things here and there that you can hardly talk about. Sure, the small things might be fun and nice, but if you’re spending so much time and energy on those obligations and you can’t really use them to help yourself down the line, it might be time to walk away. Focus one one or two things that you can really put your attention into. You’ll get more out of the experience because you won’t be running your energy levels dry on five different things! If you feel like you need to drop culinary club and the math society to have an internship geared toward your desired career, it’s probably better to just do the internship.

Related: How I Landed An Editorial Beauty + Fashion Internship In NYC

I want to hear how your semester is going so far! What’s your favorite part of the week and what’s your least favorite? 

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10 Habits That Will Make You Happier In College

A question that college students often ask is: how do you stay happy in college when there’s so many things going on? The short answer is, well, it’s hard. When you’ve got projects and papers due every other week and assignments flying at you at full speed, it can be pretty easy to always feel like you’re drowning. Not to mention the fact that you’ve got to balance all this with your other passions. I’m sitting on a train to the city as I’m typing this, and let me tell you, I can go on and on about the fact that there needs to be way more hours in the day. But simply put, it’s super easy to feel totally drained in college and you’re not the only one. 

The long (and honestly much more encouraging) answer to this age-old question is actually what I’m going to be outlining in this post. Over the years, I’ve found that adopting certain habits have actually helped me keep my head above water and feel overall much more satisfied with my college experiences. And since this is, without a doubt, going to be my toughest semester yet and the toughest for many other people, I decided to share those habits with you. Read on to find out what they are! 

1. Learning how to have experiences on your own.

Everything is better with company. Correction: Some things are better with company. Sometimes it’s much more relaxing and fulfilling to swallow your pride and go to that festival by yourself, or attend that event on campus alone—yes, even if you think you’re going to look awkward as hell by yourself. The truth is that your friends won’t always be there to help you have fun, so you need to learn how to make your own fun! Trust me, it’ll pay off and you might actually enjoy taking yourself on these little excursions by yourself.

Related: 12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

2. Making more time for friends.

I know, I literally just said you have to learn how to be by yourself, but that doesn’t mean you should totally exile your friends from the kingdom that is your hectic college schedule. I used to put my schedule ahead of hanging out with friends because in my mind, it was more alleviating to just get shit done. But then this would lead to me feeling very unsatisfied even after I’ve finished everything. So I always feel so much better studying and working in the company of close friends. It’s nice to know that there’s someone with you even when you have the worst assignments ever. Plus, you’re still getting your work done! If you’re really busy, you can also make time for friends by suggesting you eat dinner together on certain days, or planning trips to the gym together.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

3. Taking chances more often.

Sticking to the same routine is familiar and comfortable, but sometimes it also gets boring. Make a habit of shaking things up once in a while, because how many surprises do we really get in life? Whether it’s applying to study abroad when you’ve never left the country before, or trying out a new fitness class you’ve never heard of, the thrill of a new experience can really boost your mood and help you stay wonderfully curious. 😉 Again, it doesn’t have to be a major gamble on your life or anything; just go for the small things, even if it’s just changing up your Starbucks order every Monday or something.

4. Starting a relaxation routine.

OH. EM. GEE. Seriously, if you can’t remember the last time you had a moment of chill time, it’s probably time for you to have some chill time stat!!! I know, easier said than done. But it’s important to at least have a go-to relaxation routine that you can jump into when you’re feeling super stressed. I’m still trying to nail my ultimate routine, but part of it definitely includes cooling under eye masks and lots and lots of Beyoncé. You don’t need a three-hour routine, either. Even just having an hour to yourself to get your head together can make such a difference. Get in the habit of doing this regularly.

5. Stop seeing your peers as competition.

Ugh, seriously, constantly plotting ways to stay two steps ahead of Tom, Dick, and Harry so you can be the best in the class is SO. EFFING. EXHAUSTING and so not worth your energy! I seriously hate seeing classmates prefer to tear each other down and try to be slick with each other instead of helping one another out! Yes, someday you very well may be competing for the same job or internship, but right now you’re colleagues. So instead of using your energy to remain a lone wolf and avoid helping your classmates, form a study group or group chat for internship links or something. Quid pro quo, my friend, quid pro quo. If you really need help, or if you’re looking for connections, your classmates might just be the ones to help you there.

Related: Networking 101: How To Survive Networking Events As A College Student

6. Stop thinking you always have to be the best.

I know many of us are used to the fame and prestige that comes with being known as the smartest kid in high school, or he best karate student in the dojo, but you don’t always have to be numero uno. Everyone falters and fails, and you’re no less smart or less talented when you do. It takes a lot of energy to be envious of someone for understanding something you don’t, or for picking up a skill faster than you can. Do yourself a favor and let it go. In fact, use it as an opportunity to be-friend that person and ask for tips or advice. You’ll have more energy to be happy when you’re not constantly trying to outdo your “rival.”

7. Learning to be happy for other peoples’ successes.

You’d want your friends and peers to be happy for you when you have a major victory, so learn how to not be insanely jealous if someone you know gets an internship you wanted, or when your friend gets their dream job and you have nothing. Dwelling on what other people have will make you miserable, and your time is much better spent thinking about what you can do to further your own goals while taking the time to celebrate accomplishments with friends.

8. Dressing up for class once in a while. 

No, there is nothing wrong with dressing up for class a few times a week; there doesn’t need to be a special occasion for you to whip out your prettiest crop top and cutest ankle booties. Dressing up can seriously boost your mood, even when you have class until 10pm without a break and a slew of meetings afterward.

Related: How To Dress Stylishly And Professionally On A College Budget

9. Developing a good relationship with at least one professor.

When I was in middle school, I used to have that one teacher who I could randomly visit during lunch or during trips to the bathroom just to talk about my progress in school and how I’m doing. In high school, I had the same thing. And now, college is no different. It’s really nice to have someone who could offer you a new perspective, someone on the inside who’s been through all this already who isn’t your mom or dad. Don’t get me wrong, I still tell my parents everything, but having a professor you trust can really put you on the path to success. They will go the extra mile to make you more comfortable in the program and address any goals and give you advice for the future. Get to know your professors during syllabus week and see which ones you click with the best.

10. Complaining less.

Honestly, I’m still working on this, but I think I’ve gotten better at it over the years! I usually complain as a means of venting to people, but it’s also really important to recognize when complaining is actually stressing you out more, or causing you to make a bigger deal out of something than necessary. Plus, complaining can affect your friends if it gets to the point where they feel like they rarely hear a good experience come out of your mouth. Try journaling if you feel like you need to get your thoughts out. Or complain to your parents because I think they want nothing more than to squash your fears and stress. I’ve also been trying to look for the positive in everything, even when things don’t work for me, so that usually helps me feel better about any situations!

Hope you guys liked this post and you’ll give these tips a try!

What are your tips for having a happier college experience? 

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10 Things To Know About Being Single In College

You can probably crown me the queen of being single. It’s simply something I’m really used to. In fact, the idea of me being in a relationship seems so strange to me. Yeah, I think I’m a great person (modest, I know), but I’ve been single for such a long time that it feels like hell would practically freeze over if there were suddenly a guy in the picture. But anyone who’s been single for a while can certainly attest to joking about that at least once!

In college, there are always couples kissing, holding hands, and just being generally cute, and maybe at some point you wished you had something like that, too—someone to surprise you with your favorite iced coffee (exactly how you like it) at work; someone to walk you to class; someone to laugh with you even when you know you’re not funny. But now you’re probably just fine with living the single life and getting a puppy or two. While relationships can teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you, you can also learn a lot from being single. So if you’ve been single for a while and aren’t sure where you stand, or you’re about to enter college as a single lady or guy, this one’s for you.

Side note: I literally NEVER write about romance and relationships on here, so yay me for trying new things! *applause*

1. You’ll notice how many times people mention their boyfriends or girlfriends in regular conversation.

People talk about their S/O’s A LOT. Good for them for being happy and finding someone, but you’ll definitely notice how little you can contribute to those conversations unless it’s your close friend talking about their partner. There have been so many times when I met new people on campus and they’ll start telling me about some adorable habit their boyfriend has, or something nice their boyfriend did for them once, and I can really only find myself saying, “awww, that’s so cute” because, well, I can’t relate.

2. You’ll probably try using a dating app at some point.

Tinder, Bumble, and whatever else is out there will probably be glued to your hands for a couple of weeks. You’ll go through the excitement of trying something new, the thrill of swiping right on people, the anxiety when you finally get a match, and the annoyance at people who only have group photos with friends up and don’t specify WHICH ONE they are. Then you’ll say screw it and just delete the damn thing because you’re over it. I know people pass a lot of judgement against those who use Tinder, but you never know who you’ll meet — I have friends who have developed strong relationships with the people they met on Tinder!

3. You assume everyone is dating someone.

The earth’s dynamic equilibrium is where everyone on campus has a boyfriend or girlfriend except for you. That’s more or less what you’ll think at least once and pretty much be fine with it. While most of the people you meet seem to be in a relationship, it’s important to remember that NOT EVERYONE in college has a boyfriend or girlfriend. Some people aren’t ready for a relationship and some people simply just don’t want to date, and some people just haven’t found the right person yet. Don’t let your FOMO get the best of you.

4. You’ll sometimes go to events alone.

Your S/O is a special kind of bestie. Maybe your friends hate football and wouldn’t be caught dead at a game, but you can get away with dragging your partner to a game. When you’re not in a relationship, it can be kind of easy to quickly exhaust all your buddy options for events. A lot of your close friends may have gone home for the weekend, or have an exam they need to study for. You learn to attend things by yourself and make your own fun. It’s awkward at first because everyone seems to know everyone there, but you get used to just doing you. It’s good practice because there will be times in life when you just have to suck it up and do things by yourself.

P.S., Football season is among us! Check out my Ultimate Guide To College Game Day just for collegiates!!

5. You’ll become a little more adventurous.

Yes, traveling is a part of it but I was talking about the fact that you’ll want to try new things no matter where you are. Not gonna lie, you’ll run into times when you’re in your room all alone, bored out of your mind, and just wanna have some fun. This can prompt you to let your adventurous side take over, and before you know it, you’ll have tried out every restaurant in the area, gone to all the best museums in the city, and had photoshoots in every beach and/or park within walking distance.

Related: How To Travel Cheaply In Your 20’s

 

10 Things To Know About Being Single In College

 

6. It’s all about you.

You probably hear this one a lot, but when you’re single you don’t have to worry about amending your schedule for someone else’s or being sad about leaving your partner behind to travel, and all those other pieces of insight that can basically be boiled down into one common theme: The only two people you have to worry about are you and yourself. Personally, with the semester I just had, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had been dating someone and I had to keep re-scheduling with him or cutting things short to deal with assignments from my classes. At times, it was difficult to make it to study sessions with my friends because of all the tasks I had to take care of. I’m glad all I really had to worry about was keeping myself healthy so I could do what I had to do.

Related: 20 Ways To Be Healthier In College

7. You can focus on your school work better.

Like I said before, I don’t know how I would’ve balanced a relationship with my course load because this was the most intense, most demanding, most I-wanted-to-cry-every-step-of-the-way semester I’ve ever had. Having a partner to talk to and text can be nice, but it can also sometimes be distracting when you have a lot to do. You’re in college to learn and, yes, have some fun along the way, but it’s much easier to get work done when your phone isn’t blowing up with 80 text messages about meeting his or her family next weekend.

8. You’ll get to spend more time getting to know your friends.

You’ve probably heard the classic story of the girl who gets a boyfriend and forgets her friends even exist. While we were all cautioned against this when we were in like middle school, it still sometimes happens. What’s more is that sometimes your friends may just want to hang out with you — without your boyfriend or girlfriend. Being single gives you the chance to get closer to your friends over wings at BDUBS every Tuesday night, or bond with your books every other night. Friendships are one relationship you definitely can’t forget to form in college.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

9. You’d still like to date someone.

I didn’t say the feeling of wanting a relationship would go away. Granted, you won’t be crying yourself to sleep at night thinking about how lonely you are, but dating will eventually become a passing thought you have once in a while. And if you think you learned more about yourself, matured as a person, and are ready to start looking for potential baes, then you’ll be on the lookout (and you’ll probably have your friends on the lookout for you, too).

10. You might actually really like being single.

On the other hand, you could realize that commitment just isn’t for you and you’re ready to take on the world with just you, a coffee mug, and your favorite pair of combat boots.

I know this isn’t my usual type of post, but I really wanted to talk about the single life in college! I hope I made sense and I hope that I gave any of my single college guys and gals out there something to remember. By the way, one of my favorite college bloggers, Caitlyn of College with Caitlyn, has a post with more insight on What It’s Like To Be Single In College. Check it out! 🙂

What’s the best adventure you’ve gone on by yourself?

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Picked By Jasmin: July Favorites

July Favorites

Can you believe July is pretty much over already??? I remember a month ago when I was writing about how much I loved “Binge” by Tyler Oakley in my June Favorites post. And now, here I am about to talk about the new items I’m obsessed with this month. It’s super crazy. In less than one month, I’m going to be back on my college campus, studying for quizzes, writing stories for campus publications, and overall just drowning in work with a venti Starbucks iced white chocolate mocha to keep me company. Fortunately for me, I actually received an item this month to help me stay on top of my shit as easily as possible (P.S., that item made this list!!) Anyways, if you’re curious about my favorite beauty, style, and lifestyle items and products from this month, keep reading!

Beauty

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette

In July, I attended a Charlotte Tilbury product launch preview event for my internship and it was amazing! Everything was so old Hollywood-themed and fancy—I felt just like a star! Other members of the media and I got the first look at Charlotte’s upcoming collection (and we got to meet Charlotte and try the products too!) I was able to keep this eyeshadow palette and it’s now my new favorite palette! I don’t use too many high end eyeshadows, but this one is insanely beautiful. There are 12 shades and they are divided into four different looks: Day look, Desk look, Date look, and Disco look. Day, desk, date, disco! The palette essentially tells you which shades to wear for various life occasions (i.e. the day look is great for an everyday makeup look, desk look is great for your job or internship, etc.) I really like that because sometimes, figuring out which shades from a palette to pair together can be so daunting. And if you’ve ever found yourself running late to your 8a.m. class, you know ain’t nobody got time for figuring out what shades look good together.

Charlotte Tilbury Instant Eye Palette

Most of the looks are subtle (save for date and disco eye) but the eyeshadows are pretty pigmented, so always apply a little to begin with and add more as needed. The palette, along with all of the other products in Charlotte Tilbury’s collection, will become available for sale sometime this August, if you’re interested in purchasing one.

Colourpop Amethyst Crystal Priming Spray

When Colourpop’s Crystal collection dropped, I basically lost my shit. I was so intrigued by the idea of makeup infused with crushed crystals, that I knew I had to snag a set for myself before they were all sold out. I purchased the entire Amethyst set, which includes the priming spray, highlighter, and lip balm, but the Amethyst Crystal Priming Spray is actually my favorite product in the set. I don’t use priming sprays ever because I have oily skin and the primers I’ve used in the past have only made my skin oilier, and with the summer heat I’d rather not have my face look like a greased frying pan. But, let me tell you, this one dries into the skin super quickly, and my foundation looks super smooth on top of it. And guess what, no oily skin at the end of the day! I was really worried my first time trying it, but now I wear it under my makeup whenever I know I’ll be out for a long time. The priming spray is $6 on Colourpop’s site but I paid $18 for the entire Amethyst set.

Style

H&M Off-the-Shoulder Top

So we’ve all definitely seen these off-the-shoulder tops that everyone’s rocking this summer. I think these tops are so cute, so I bought one to wear to day one of HerConference and I’m so glad I did! This top fit so perfectly and it was really comfortable. I was really worried about wearing tops like these because I thought they’d slip down throughout the day, which I would’ve been really annoyed by. But luckily, that wasn’t the case at all. I think a big part of that is ensuring you buy the correct size, so ALWAYS try them on before you buy to make sure you won’t have to keep tugging them up throughout the day! I also really loved the cute self-tie detail at the elbows. I got it from H&M for less than $20 and I’m definitely bringing this top to college with me for any fun events.

H&M Off the Shoulder Top

Books

“Almost Adulting” by Arden Rose

So, I was in Manhattan one day at Kinokuniya, one of my favorite bookstores, and I was just on a book buying binge. I love these books related to being an adult, conquering life, and just generally being a badass, so I decided to pick this one up since, well, I’m going to be a real-ass adult (whether I like to admit it or not) in about a year, so I might as well stock up on adulting tips early (any post-grad bloggers out there? I’d love to hear more about life after graduation! Drop your links in the comments!). “Almost Adulting” touches on various aspects of YouTuber Arden’s life, including living in an apartment, money, and romance (ooh la la). I loved that she included lots of anecdotes from her life, but I would’ve loved to see more blatantly defined tips and explanations throughout each chapter rather than a checklist at the end of each. Still, I really loved this book, and it’s definitely a favorite of mine. P.S., if you ever need convincing that YouTube can help you find your true love, this book will have you sold, but that’s the only spoiler I’m giving out here!

Almost Adulting by Arden Rose, Power Your Happy by Lisa Sugar

“Power Your Happy” by Lisa Sugar

Lisa Sugar? Doesn’t that name sound familiar? Could this be the same Lisa Sugar who founded the wildly popular POPSUGAR??? Why, yes, she is. I’ve been a huge fan of POPSUGAR ever since I started watching their “Eat the Trend” videos on YouTube. I love the site so much and actually hope to work at POPSUGAR one day as either a viral content writer or food writer. All HerConference attendees were given swag bags and a copy of “Power Your Happy” was inside each one of them (yay for free books!) Lisa is, of course, insanely successful, and POPSUGAR is clearly doing something right in the world of media. This book basically talks about the steps Lisa took to start and grow POPSUGAR, and how she’s managed to be such a badass while leading such a positive life. I haven’t finished reading the entire book yet (as you can probably see, I’ve made some notes in the book) but I love it so much so far that I really wanted to include it here!

Lifestyle/College

ClassTracker Planner

In July, I received the ClassTracker Planner to try out and it’s definitely become a favorite of mine. I wrote a review of the ClassTracker planner, so I won’t spoil how great it is here, but if you’re looking for a way to organize your life for the new semester, this planner can definitely help with that. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a planner in college, even if you swear up and down that you don’t need one. Because, honestly, I know people who struggled with all of their assignments and obligations prior to using a planner, and then afterward, they were able to completely transform their time management skills. I’m not going to say too much, but the way this planner is organized makes it insanely easy for you to keep track of important dates, quizzes and exams, extracurriculars, and more. Check out my review for more info, plus, the review also contains tips for staying on top of assignments!

What are your favorite products this month? Are you a post-grad lifestyle blogger? Leave your link below! 

Picked By Jasmin: June Favorites

June Favorites

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first in a series that I will hopefully commit to for all eternity. Today, I present Picked by Jasmin, a new thing I’m doing at the end of every month where I basically tell you all about products that I love to death that I either purchased or received. In the past, I have tried doing what I called “kiss lists,” a roundup of beauty products for that month that I loved (check my May Kiss List from a million years ago to see what I’m talking about). And I didn’t really like doing it because there were some months that I really didn’t have too many beauty favorites, and then there was the issue where I forgot to write my next kiss list… Also, I just got bored with it. But I still love sharing my thoughts on products with you because maybe you tried the same thing and loved it just as much as I did. Or, maybe you didn’t like something but I can offer you a new way of making the most of it. Or, maybe I’m not a fan of something and you can give me suggestions. You get the idea.

So, instead of just doing a bunch of beauty products every month with swatches and photos of lipstick tubes arranged in different ways, I’m actually going to branch out to include any fashion and lifestyle products or services I’m loving as well. I’m super excited for this because I always feel like I’m trying a ton of new things across those categories, and I have so much to say about them! So, without further ado, here are the items that were picked by Jasmin this month.

Beauty

Jergens Natural Glow Daily Firming Moisturizer

Sooooooo I have medium-tan skin and in the summertime, I tend to get even tanner, which wouldn’t be so annoying if I didn’t have the weirdest tan lines from my clothing choices. My school had a regatta event on a particularly hot day, but I hadn’t packed any shorts because first, I don’t own any cute pairs, and second, it had been brick city for the last couple of weeks in May and I didn’t think the day would near 90. Alas, it did, and I wore super light capri yoga leggings outside. Long story short, I got sharp AF tan lines straight across my calves, and whenever I wore skirts or dresses I could feel the awkward smiles directed at them.

I had an event coming up for which I would surely wear a dress and be surrounded by tons of flashing cameras and I wanted my legs to be ONE uniform shade. Now, I had never used any type of tanning lotion or skintone enhancing lotion, so I wasn’t so sure if the Natural Glow Moisturizer would even work. But Walmart had a tube for medium to tan skin, and it promised to make the legs look firmer by decreasing the look of cellulite. Seeing as it couldn’t hurt to make my thunder thighs look like they bring a little less thunder, I decided to give it a shot. I was really impressed with the results I got! The lotion works gradually, but you start seeing your skintone become a little more tan in just a few days. And, obviously, a lotion won’t cut three inches from your thighs, but I did see less cellulite around my chunkier areas. I was amazed that it actually worked, but I do recommend using the lotion daily for best results. I’d also say that the best use for this product is to even out any harsh tan lines — not to give yourself a full-body Cancun glow.

Pretty Woman Nail Polish Limited Edition Summer Collection “Mermaid Kisses”

June Favorite Pretty Woman Limited Edition Summer Collection

Even though my soul is as dark as my leggings, I live for the mermaid trend that’s been swimming through Instagram for who knows how long. So, when I was approached with the opportunity to try out a select duo from the collection, I was absolutely ecstatic. Here’s how these polishes work: Each shade comes as a duo of one pantone color and one chrome color. You apply the pantone polish first, and after it’s dry, you apply the chrome polish over it for that mermaid flair.

I received the “Mermaid Kisses” duo, which is a shade of light blue and I fell in love! I applied it for an outing to a Brooklyn coffee shop that makes the famous geode and mermaid lattes (mermaid overload!!!!). I really love that I can spice up a manicure with just two coats of polish (I only applied one coat of pantone and one coat of chrome) so I think this will definitely be that go-to polish for when I really want pretty nails but don’t have a ton of time to dedicate to fancy nail art.

Fashion

Chunky black suede heels

After I received an invitation to the Red Carpet Premiere of the movie Good Fortune, I realized that some aspects of my inner middle school tomboy had still remained with me through the years, and I basically had NO cute pairs of formal heels. Seeing as I couldn’t show up in my $7 H&M flip flops, I went shopping for a cute pair of heels that could work for the event, and found these at JCPenney. I fell in love as soon as I saw them because I just really love chunky heels because I think they give more support than heels the thickness of pencils (though, those are pretty cute too). It fit perfectly and matched my dress. Though they were very painful to walk in after being in them for a movie premiere and an after party, I brought those $7 flip flops with me to change into and my feet were fine. While I certainly wouldn’t casually wear these around campus, I’m definitely keeping them around for any future fancy events.

Quay Australia High Tea Sunglasses

June Beauty Favorites Quay Australia High Tea Sunglasses

I have an irrational obsession with sunglasses and it’s no secret. A person shouldn’t need 12 pairs of sunglasses, yet I find a reason to keep growing my collection. I received these sunglasses from my internship (perks of being a beauty and fashion intern!) and I’ve worn them ever since. Orange is my summer color obsession because I was immediately drawn to the color of these glasses, plus I’ve been daydreaming about orange-red lipstick for the last month now. While I’m known for hoarding sunglasses like it’s my job, I’m also known for breaking sunglasses like it’s my side hustle. I think I just need a really good sunglasses case and, finally, I’ll stop fishing out broken glasses from the bottom of my backpack. In any case, I’m taking extremely good care of these sunnies. I looked into Quay Australia more and I’m really loving their Cat Eye collection (sweet and sassy, just like me!) But the High Tea sunglasses are definitely one of the prettiest shades I’ve ever worn.

Books

“Binge” by Tyler Oakley

June Favorites Binge By Tyler Oakley

I’ll admit that since summer break began for me, reading hasn’t totally been my priority. Most days it’s simply making it out of the house in time to catch the 8a.m. bus lest I have a 30-minute wait. But when I went to a bookstore in Times Square literally five days ago, I was browsing the shelves and as soon as I saw the name Tyler Oakley printed on the cover, I snatched that book from its place.

You may not already know this, but I EFFING LOVE TYLER OAKLEY. He’s hilarious and sassy on YouTube, and his videos are too darn entertaining. Plus, we have the same birthday, so there’s no way I could not like him. “Binge” has been out for a while, but this was my first time reading it, and I finished it in two days! Each chapter recounts memories — the good, the bad, the horrifying, the sexy –from Tyler’s life so far. Plus there are also some hilarious chapters, like Tyler’s definitive ranking of the Disney princes (nope, prince charming ain’t number one!) and his If-I-Were-Beyonce-For-A-Day bucketlist. This was such a great read, especially since i love hearing peoples’ personal stories, and because (not to sound like a crazy fangirl here) but Tyler’s writing voice is very much like my own in the sense that we write the way we’d talk to friends. Plus, he’s really uncensored. I love this, and I appreciate this, so I’m definitely looking forward to his future works.

Related: How To Make Time For Reading Books In College

Lifestyle

The Bagel Shop in Brooklyn

This shop is deadass called The Bagel Shop — I’m really not trying to be generic like saying “the perfume store in Forest Hills,” or “the pizza place in Manhattan.” I’ve been aware of the rainbow bagel trend since it first became a thing, but up until last week had never actually tried a rainbow bagel. Well, I took a trip to Brooklyn, found the shop, and ate bagels to my heart’s content. I’m kidding. I didn’t do that. Well, I did the find the shop in Brooklyn but I had one bagel (super delicious) then left the shop to go to a 99 cent store but then walked back into the shop and ordered two more for the road.

I got a red, white, and blue bagel in honor of Independence Day and got the cannoli cream cheese as a spread. They have so many spreads that it’s so hard to choose one. While they have sweet spreads like the cannoli and cookie dough cream cheese, they also have savory ones like buffalo chicken and spinach. The bagels are slightly sweeter than the traditional bagel, and they have sprinkles on top. I loved these bagels so much that I’d be crazy enough to drive down to Brooklyn every week to stock up on bagels if I had a car. And a lot of money.

What products have you been loving lately? 

My Experience At The Red Carpet Premiere Of Good Fortune: The John Paul DeJoria Story

red carpet premiere of good fortune

My Thursday nights are usually full of the clicking of keys on my laptop and the sound of me dying of laughter from watching one of my favorite TV shows, “Impractical Jokers.” But this past Thursday night was full of laughs, inspiration, painful heels, and a little bit of Patrón tequila *wink wink* I was lucky enough to have been invited to the Red Carpet World Premiere of “Good Fortune,” a documentary on the true rags to riches story of John Paul DeJoria. John Paul DeJoria is the co-founder of the salon-famous Paul Mitchell Systems (you’ll probably recognize their iconic black and white shampoo and conditioner bottles on the shelves of hair salons). He also went on to become the founder and CEO of Patrón tequila a.k.a. the $200 bottles on the top shelf. I don’t know about you, but I love a good “started from the bottom” story because it truly depicts the very lesson our parents, teachers, and bosses have drilled into our minds over and over again: hard work pays off. But John Paul not only worked hard. He also tackled challenges and went the extra mile with his heart on his sleeve. He, both literally and figuratively, proved that when you’re at the bottom, the only way you can go is up.

red carpet premiere of good fortune

I was lucky enough to be my best friend’s Carrie Bradshaw for the night, as I was able to bring her as a plus one (yay!) When we walked into the AMC Lowe’s on Lincoln Square (where the screening was taking place) we were immediately immersed in a bustling crowd of photographers taking photos of attendees at the red carpet. It was so spectacular and so surreal (and very, very hot!) We didn’t get the chance to take photos on the red carpet ourselves (hopefully next time!) but we still got some great photos at the screening. Escalators led upstairs to a much cooler area, and we received complimentary popcorn, water, and candy (yum!)

red carpet premiere of good fortune

You can probably already tell that I loved the movie so much (Psst! You can get it on DVD starting in August!) and I also thought the Q&A portion was super insightful. I had no idea that John Paul was on “Shark Tank” (my parents’ favorite show) and people asked him some fantastic questions. Afterward, everyone cleared out ASAP because the next portion of the evening was about to begin…The reception and after party!!!

red carpet premiere of good fortune

The reception and after party were held at Lincoln Square Steak, about five minutes or less from the theatre, except my GPS wanted to take me the long way, so a five-minute walk ended up being a 10-minute walk…in very painful 4.5-inch heels. Luckily, I brought flip flops to change into, so my feet were saved. When we got there, I felt like such a V.I.P. because my name was on the list and we were invited in. I got to enjoy a delicious cupcake in honor of the movie, talk to some really great people who told me that they admire my work right here on this ol’ blog, and I even got to take photos with J.P. himself! Not to mention the fact that my best friend and I accidentally stole the seat of an entrepreneur from “Shark Tank.” Oops.

red carpet premiere of good fortune

The night was topped off with a wonderful, and might I add, aesthetic, little goodie bag with Marula Oil shampoo and conditioner from the John Paul Mitchell Systems!!! The whole evening was so surreal and so worth the painful shoes and sleep-deprived brain at work the next morning. Of course, I love telling you all about the lessons I learned from my experiences, and I love giving you tips in case you find yourself in the same position, so here are some things I learned/tips for attending red carpet premieres.

1. BE POLITE! 

The person standing next to you in line for tequila could be the editor of one of your favorite magazines, or an entrepreneur on one of your favorite TV shows! Always, always, always be polite and smile no matter how hot and sweaty you are, no matter how many people just bumped into you within the time frame of two minutes, and no matter how many times you skillfully dodged splashes of alcohol on your dress. A positive attitude goes a really long way!

2. ATTEND THE AFTER PARTY, NO MATTER HOW LATE IT IS. 

I was surprised to see that it was already almost 10p.m. by the time the screening and Q&A were over. I actually told my parents I’d be home by 10:30 or 11p.m. and that so clearly wasn’t happening. But staying out longer was so worth it because the after party was so great! Of course, let your parents know if you’ll be out later than you said you would. There’s always an experience waiting for you; it’s your job to welcome it. Plus, if I hadn’t attended the party, I wouldn’t have been able to talk to great people, meet John Paul DeJoria, or try the tequila everyone is in love with.

3. ARRIVE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES BEFORE THE TIME ON YOUR INVITATION. 

If your invitation says to arrive by 8p.m., plan to arrive by 7:30p.m. at the absolute latest. In fact, in the future, I would arrive at least 40 minutes early to an event like this because there are so many people that it gets crowded quickly. Plus, it’s easier to enjoy the entire experience when you aren’t rushing to get there. If you have to wait five minutes for doors to open or for the red carpet to be set up for photos, waiting won’t kill you.

4. BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES TO CHANGE INTO. 

This was my savior that night and I am forever grateful to the person who invented flip flops. At first, I just wanted to be extra sophisticated and bring just a wristlet, but then I knew I wouldn’t walk in heels the whole night, so I decided to use a bag that was just big enough to snugly fit my flip-flops, and it was really worth it. This is especially important if you’re wearing brand new shoes you haven’t broken in yet.

5. SOME THINGS ARE REALLY WORTH WAITING FOR.   

My friend and I waited on line to meet J.P. for nearly 40 minutes because, well, everyone wanted to meet him! And it’s obvious why: he’s genuinely a caring, positive individual and he literally radiates inspiration. Of course, there were also friends and businessmen and businesswomen who were apparently his lifelong friends so I guess they had meet & greet priority. But when we were finally able to talk to him, I was so stunned all I could do was say my name and smile really big. Nevertheless, it was awesome and I will probably brag about it for the next year or so. #sorrynotsorry

 

This was such an amazing experience, and certainly one that I never expected to have! Maybe as the editor in chief of a magazine, but certainly not as a 21-year-old college girl, and I am so grateful to have been able to attend! I really hope that I can go out to more awesome events like these in the near future, and I hope that even more people will become familiar with John Paul DeJoria’s story because his story of hard work is also our story.

Thanks for reading! 

12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

During the winter months, everyone around me sees a winter wonderland with snow angels, igloos, and hot chocolate. I see a death trap with black ice, wet socks, and poofy jackets that make me look like a marshmallow. I’d gladly take the hot summer any day. When you go to a college in a region that experiences all four seasons, you don’t actually get to enjoy the summer on campus with friends. In New York, it starts getting chilly around October, and even when spring officially begins in March, we often still have cold weather through May! But I think we’re finally starting to see more sunlight and more gorgeous weather, which hopefully isn’t just a fluke. That said, it’s the perfect time for hanging out with friends and making memories. Whether you’re chilling with friends from your hometown who you haven’t seen all year, or you’re meeting up with your new college pals you saw just a few weeks ago (though, it feels like a year), here are some ways you and your friends can have some fun this summer.

1. Attend a free outdoor festival.

Be on the lookout for food and art festivals in your neighborhood. I go to school on Long Island and there’s always some sort of festival happening around the spring and summer — the Oyster Festival, Lobster Festival, music festivals. You can get into these festivals for little to no money, and you can spend as long as you want and try everything you see. A quick search on Google for fun festivals in the area should give you some ideas.

2. Go to the beach.

This can be a meticulously planned day-long trip or a spur of the moment stop for an hour or so. You can never go wrong with taking photos while your hair blows in the breeze, or building sand castles and collecting pretty rocks. If you decide to go for the entire day, make sure you come prepared with sunscreen, water to keep you hydrated, and cute sunglasses so you look as sharp as the sun.

12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

3. Go for an ice cream run.

Well, unless you or one of your friends is lactose intolerant. In that case, go for a dairy-free ice cream run. One time, my friends and I stopped by this ice cream shop in town that was known for having the best ice cream in the area and it was SO good! Turn it into a journey for finding the best place for soft serve. You can also never go wrong with hitting up a childhood favorite for a vanilla cone with sprinkles.

12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

4. Make ice cream together.

On the other hand, if you’re really feeling your inner culinary genius, try making your own ice cream at home. I’ve done it when I got bored of eating whatever’s from the store, because it’s so easy to really customize it and turn it into something of your own. If you’re going for a plain vanilla ice cream, simply whip up some heavy whipping cream until you see peaks (but not butter!) and mix in condensed milk. Freeze and you’re ready to eat! From there you can add whatever toppings and things you want, and you can turn this activity into an ice cream party for you and your friends.

5. Have a picnic in the park. 

It has been my dream to have a picnic photoshoot. You can invite as many friends as you’d like, and you don’t have to worry about there not being enough space because you’re outdoors and there’s certainly room for everyone. It can be a potluck-type of picnic where everyone brings some food or drink item to share so one person doesn’t have to do all the work.

6. Go for a run and turn it into a routine.

This is perfect for hanging out with friends from your hometown. You can plan a daily or weekly run through the neighborhood with them to make up for not being able to see each other all year. This is a great way to reach any health and fitness goals with a buddy. And if running isn’t your cup of tea, you can always walk or get creative and do outdoor yoga.

Related: How To Make Time For Going To The Gym In College

7. Have an outdoor photoshoot. 

I used to hate taking pictures of myself in high school, but when I started blogging I began taking photos more and, well, sometimes I needed to be in them. Now I love, love, LOVE having photoshoots with friends and I always have so many ideas for them. I have a Pinterest board dedicated to fun photoshoots I want to do, and you don’t even need a fancy DSLR — an iPhone would be great for the job. You never know when you’ll need a really good photo of yourself!

12 Ways To Enjoy The Summer With Friends

8. Attend an outdoor concert. 

Check to see if there are any free concerts happening in your area this summer. I know in New York City, there are free concerts happening throughout the summer for various artists. This is a fun way to get to see a singer you really like without having to pay hundreds of dollars for a ticket. And afterwards, you and your friends can hang out ad grab a bite to eat at a local shop. Be sure to check out my concert checklist for tips on what to bring with you!

9. Have a pool party in your backyard. 

I recently got a lip-shaped pool float from my internship and it’s so cool and so pretty and I’m dying to get it in the water. I don’t know how to swim, so I guess it works for me. But if you’re just using an inflatable pool in your backyard, you don’t really need to know how to swim, and you also don’t have to drive to a public pool. Blow one up that’s big enough for you and your friends, fill it with water, grab some sodas or even some fancy *adult* beverages and chill.

10. Attend a conference together. 

I know conferences sound boring, but there are actually some really cool ones for millennials that you can look into. They’re great ways to hang out with your besties, meet new people, and forward your career while learning new things. Her Conference is definitely my favorite. I went last year and had a blast, so I’m obviously super excited for this year’s. Pick a conference together, but also remember that you may need to book tickets in advanced.

By the way, if you’re curious about my Her Conference experience, be sure to read my post on the 19 things I learned from it.

11. Go on a tour of your city. 

While I visit New York City more often than I visit (the dentist? my neighborhood library? office hours?) I still have never gone on an actual tour of the place. I’ve always thought those red double decker tour buses looked cool, but I’ve never hopped on one for sightseeing. This is a cool idea for you and your friends, especially if you don’t always go to your nearest metro city. You might even discover a few new favorites.

Related: The Awkward Traveler’s Guide To Manhattan Part One: Basics + Battery Park

12. Hit the highway for a road trip. 

A road trip can be anywhere from Brooklyn to Montauk, or from Vermont to California. It’s all up to you and how long you’re willing to tolerate all your friends in one cramped car. Just kidding. But a road trip would be the perfect way to catch up with hometown friends or make new memories with college buddies. All you need is a car, a friend who can drive, and the wind in your hair.

What are your ideas for hanging out with friends this summer? 

Follow me on Pinterest for more great tips and ideas related to college and lifestyle!

How To Recover From An Unproductive Day

how to recover from an unproductive day

This past Saturday was one of the most unproductive Saturdays of my life. I laid in bed watching Facebook videos for most of the day, and while I was really cozy and content doing it, I knew that there was some important work that I would probably try to high tail it to finish on Sunday. I should probably actually call this post “How To Save Your Ass Before Monday.” But sometimes unproductive days are very much-needed, like when you’ve been running around all week and just want a day to be lazy. They’re sometimes good for your mental health, but bad for your GPA! You can’t go back in time and redo the entire day (oh, I wish!) but you can ensure you make a comeback so you can try to salvage what’s left of your good student rep before Monday.

1. Admit that you were unproductive.

The first step is to essentially admit that you screwed up. You had the entire day to study for Tuesday’s exam — there was nothing stopping you. You had enough sleep the night before, you ate well, you even got dressed to head to the library, but you just didn’t do anything. Netflix might’ve won that round. Now you can stop beating yourself up for screwing up and work towards preventing this from happening the next day.

2. Make a plan for tomorrow.

Create a to-do list in your favorite planner. This will help remind you of all the things you should’ve done today but didn’t have to do tomorrow. I like writing down tasks in the best order for doing them because it helps me stay on track; I don’t have to think about which of my 99 problems I should tackle next. My plan for the following day consisted of me going to the gym in the morning, coming back to my room for a shower and heading to my second home (a.k.a. Starbucks) to get work done for the rest of the day.

3. Get your sleep (but don’t sleep in!)

Sleeping adequately is crucial to ensuring that you have enough energy the next day to finish all the things you put off. However, be careful to not sleep in! I find that when I sleep in, I feel lazier during the day and therefore less likely to actually finish all the work I planned to do. Start your day off bright and early (sure, I guess 9a.m. can count as ‘early’). I know Sundays are ideal for sleeping until noon, but you can offset any early morning grumpiness using my tips for making mornings more exciting.

how to recover from an unproductive day

4. Put errands at the top of your list.

Gotta do laundry? Need to run to the pharmacy? Want to go to the gym? Complete all these first so you don’t have to worry about them later in the day. Plus, running errands are a good way to ease into your to-do list. Personally, this helps me stay on track with everything else I have to do because my mind is too distracted to jump right into studying first thing in the morning.

5. Get dressed up.

Get dressed up??? How will this help me be more productive??? If you’re like me, you’re probably thinking that you’d spend half a day alone trying to figure out what to wear, but hear me out. How many times have you thrown on a pair of comfy sweats and a workout top and then proceeded to chill in your room because you were already comfortable so you figured: why not get even cozier in bed? Your clothes can be pretty influential on your overall mood. I find that when I, as well as people I know personally, dress nicely — jeans, a nice top and nice shoes, business casual or like we’re going on a casual date — we tend to be in the mood for getting shit done and going out of our way to make things happen. Plus, it’s a good excuse to show off how cute you look to the rest of your campus. Take your wardrobe into account the next time you’re feeling unmotivated to work. I decided to do my makeup extra nicely to put myself in the mood for tackling homework.

6. Work with a group.

Don’t feel like struggling through chemistry alone? Hit up some of your friends and propose a study group. Even if it’s just for a couple of hours, being in the company of other people who have to get shit done will help you get your shit done. I do this all the time — even though half my friends aren’t even Journalism majors. It’s just really nice to be around friends when I have to do something I don’t feel like doing.

Related: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

What are your tips for being productive? 

21 Things I Want To Do Before I’m 22

You guys, I’m 21 today!!! And with that, I must say, YIKES, I’M 21 TODAY! I’m getting closer and closer to life as a grown ass job-working, bill-paying adult, but before that happens I wanted to make sure that I live my college life to the fullest so I graduate with no regrets (at least no more regrets).

So in the spirit of being 21, I decided to make a list of things I want to do before this time next year. I know that a year can fly by really quickly (p.s., check out my post on things I learned from one year of blogging!) and I hate setting goals and then realizing in the end that I didn’t reach them, but if there’s anything I’ve learned so far in 2017, it’s that some things aren’t always as far-fetched as they seem. I’m not saying that dreaming about flying like a bird will help you grow wings and fly, but I am saying that with enough planning and effort, you can get what you want eventually instead of wondering what could have been. I’m rambling now. I’m getting old; I’ll probably be 22 by the time I finish this introduction.

Alright, now I’m done. Check out my list and let me know if you have any similar aspirations!

1. Travel to California.

Ever since I returned from my study abroad trip to Ireland, I’ve been very travel crazy. Who am I kidding, I’ve been travel crazy even before I got on that plane! I’ve been dreaming about traveling to Cali for a really long time now. I know it’s “just another state” but I’m excited to experience the media industry there since that’s where some of my job aspirations lie, and also possibly meet a celebrity! I’ve even been looking into interning in California this semester at a media company, but I know this will be very expensive since I don’t have relatives or friends who reside in Cali and I’ll likely have to pay for university housing if I actually get an opportunity there. But I’m willing to bet my birthday cake that there’s a possibility if I look hard enough, so that’s what I’m going to keep doing.

Also, my badass best friend got an internship with a Cali-based company for the summer so we’re hoping to travel there together this summer and hang out a week before her internship starts. So maybe I’ll get to see San Fran after all!

2. Intern at a well-known company.

While we’re still talking about summer plans, this is one of my hopes for the three months before the fall semester. I had a fantastic editorial internship last summer at a company that was already kind of big but has gotten EVEN bigger over the last six months. One day, my cousin messaged me a link to one of their Facebook beauty videos and I felt super proud telling her that I actually used to work there! I hope to be able to do this again this summer.

3. Publish a book.

Or at least already be in the process of publishing a book. I have wanted to be an author since I was in middle school and wrote my first shitty novel. But no time like the present, right? I didn’t do as much writing as I would’ve liked to have done during my spring break, but that’s already in the past. I enjoy writing both fiction and self-help type of things, so maybe my first book will be one of those (PLOT TWIST: my first book will be BOTH. *gasp* No, let’s not).

4. Attend College Fashion Week.

I was SO upset when I couldn’t attend CFW this past fall, but this year, I’m READY FOR IT. Her Campus organizes it every year, and, let’s be real, any HC event is full of glamour, free stuff and general awesomeness, so you can bet your strawberry daiquiri I’ll make every effort to be there. I think CFW is such an empowering event because the models are REAL college girls who come from so many different backgrounds and are unique in their own way, so I’m really excited for the chance to go this fall.

5. Have a photoshoot on the beach.

My first time actually walking on a beach was when I was in Ireland and went to Inch Beach. It was cold as hell, if hell were to freeze over, but it was still really cool. My group didn’t stay on the beach long, but the next time I go to any beach, I intend to go prepared for a day of fun photo-taking (and actual sunlight).

6. Take a spontaneous trip somewhere.

I wanted to do this for my spring break this year with my best friend. My plan was to basically call her up and be like, “dude, what’re you doing this spring break? Nothing? Let’s go on a train ride to South Carolina!” Unfortunately for us, our spring breaks didn’t overlap so no spontaneous train trip happened. I’m gonna be on the look out for spontaneous travel opportunities over the next year, because why not?

7. Work with more brands on my blog and social media.

I really love learning about new brands and sharing them with y’all, so I definitely hope to work with more brands this year. I have already gotten to work with amazing ones like Clarisonic and Essence makeup, and I had so much fun while doing it!

8. Make a scrapbook.

I have been thinking about this for a while now but never actually made a move to go out and buy scrapbook materials. Oops. Now’s as good a time as any to start, I suppose. It would be nice to have something to look back at cherish.

9. Start a YouTube channel.

I promised myself I’d start a YouTube channel in 2017 and I still have yet to do it! I love watching videos and I also love shooting and editing videos. I’ll be damned if I don’t post even ONE video on YouTube by March of next year. Space and time for filming and editing are my biggest obstacles this semester, but hopefully I can make something work.

10. Get blog merch.

I want to get my blog logo printed on stickers, baseball caps, shirts and basically other cute things. It’s shameless self promotion and I want to have something symbolic of how far I’ve come with Macarons & Mascara.

11. Buy a pair of really expensive sunglasses.

I’m not extra, I promise. But I really love Kate Spade and I’ve been eyeing their sunglasses for a really long time now. I’ve become more of a invest-in-one-really-high-quality-thing kind of person instead of a buy-a-ton-of-cute-things-for-cheap kind of person, and expensive sunglasses are definitely on my list. It’s much better to buy one good thing that can last you a really long time than to spend less money on a low-quality item that you KNOW is low-quality and will have to be replaced in a few months.

12. Learn how to swim.

If it ain’t an inflatable swimming pool, I’ll probably drown in it. Yeah, I don’t know how to swim, which is probably a skill everyone should possess. But luckily, the swimming pool at my school is supposedly opening up next semester, and one of my friends is a part-time swim teacher and has promised to teach me how to swim even if she has to drag me to the pool everyday, so I feel blessed.

13. Get a tattoo. 

This has been on my list probably since I was in high school. I love tattoos and I love looking at other peoples’ tattoos and hearing about what it means to them. I also have a kind of low pain tolerance, so I don’t know what’s going to happen there, but hopefully I’ll be less of a chicken this year and just go for it.

14. Take a bartending class. 

My college offers bartending classes to students where we can earn a certificate by the end of the semester. I think this is pretty cool even if I might not get a part-time job as a barista. It’s something interesting so why not!

15. Take myself on a date. 

I feel awkward when I’m out somewhere by myself so I want to work on getting over that. I keep looking up articles on places to take yourself on a date and I’ve been seeing some really cool stuff (including taking yourself on a trip to Iceland!!!) Maybe travel is in the stars for me.

16. Become better at makeup. 

I love makeup and have so much of it. I really hope to be able to take the time perfect techniques for eye makeup so I can do pretty looks for events and special occasions.

17. Donate clothes I no longer wear. 

I have too many items in my closet that I haven’t touched in years and seeing it all sitting there annoys me because I know that there’s probably someone else who could put the clothes to good use. It’s probably going to take a while, but I want to do a thorough cleaning of my closet. I think this is definitely the year I finally get up and actually do it.

18. Be featured in a magazine. 

I’ve imagined seeing myself in a magazine (and maybe even on the COVER) since I was a little girl. It’s probably far-fetched but a girl can dream!

19. Win a lot of money on those scratch off games. 

I’m obsessed with scratch off game cards. Especially the $1 ones so I can buy a bunch of them at once. I’ve one money off of them several times before but nothing to really brag about. It would be cool to win like $500 or $1,000 from a scratch off game, so fingers crossed!

20. Create the ultimate dorm room. 

My dorm decor game has gradually gotten stronger over the years. I’ve been building a more and more comfortable and efficient dorm room by simply organizing things differently and getting the right decor for my aesthetic. Hopefully, my senior year will bless me with the genius idea for a dorm room that will make everyone else cry.

21. Keep blogging! 

Heck, I sure hope that a year from now I’ll still be doing what I’m doing at this very moment! Blogging is so much fun and I’ve been able to connect with so many other people who share that interest with me.

Here’s to being 21! 

5 Simple Ways To Make More Time For Reading Books

5 simple ways to make time for reading books

Eight out of 10 college students will tell you that when they were younger, they could finish an entire book in, like, a day. Don’t quote me on that. That’s 100% a statistic that I made up for drama. But a lot of people I’ve talked to about reading have shared that experience and I think that it’s very important. I, too, was one of those fast readers who would much rather stick her nose inside a good book instead of good middle school gossip. Over the years, I lost that passion for reading so much so that when people asked me what my favorite past time was or what hobbies I had, I stopped including reading. When I got to college it was even worse because I got very wrapped up in the change of pace of college academics freshman year. As the college years go on, people tend to get busier and busier because they’re taking more advanced classes, getting jobs or internships and generally trying to get more involved. I can say without a doubt that this semester is by far the busiest semester I’ve had, yet this is also the semester that I’ve been reading the most books since coming to college.

I can go on and on about how important it is to keep reading, and how it can benefit your academic career, but I’m pretty sure I’ve written at least one article somewhere about this already. One thing I will say, however, is if you’re really into writing and you hope to someday become an author, you MUST read books. You pick up a lot about style and what makes a good story when you actually read them. I have hopes of publishing a few (or more) books in my lifetime, so reading is definitely something I need to stay on top of. I also have some book recommendations that I might end up doing an entire blog post on in the near future, so let me know what you think about that post idea! Without further ado, because I think this intro is getting kind of longwinded, here are my ways for making more time for reading in college.

1. Make reading the last thing you do before you go to sleep. 

This is one of the biggest things I started doing and it honestly feels so refreshing to not have a phone screen be the last thing I see before I go to sleep. Basically, if you would normally be on your phone for about an hour before falling asleep, use that hour to read a chapter or two of whatever book you started. Get in your pajamas, take off your makeup and dive under the covers with your book. I’m actually trying to get a small book light so I don’t have to keep the lights on too long for my roommate if I want to read (so if you’re worried about bothering your roommate with the light, this is also a good idea for you).

2. Always carry a book in your backpack. 

This is the second best thing I started doing and it’s been really helpful for getting me to continue reading — even when I think I won’t have time. I like doing work during any free time I have in between my classes, but sometimes it can be hard to focus because my mind just isn’t into it at the moment. When this happens, I like to take 30-40 minutes to continue reading where I left off so I can start focusing on something. I go to my favorite work spot on campus, find a comfy chair, order a drink, put on my smart looking glasses, and start reading. I usually find that it’s much easier to transition into homework when I do this.

3. Create an account on Goodreads. 

I used to have a Goodreads account when I was in seventh grade because my teacher made us create one. My friends and I used it beyond the classroom and would share books with each other and make recommendations, and add things to our lists. After middle school, I stopped using Goodreads but this year I remembered that it existed, so I started using it again. It’s really cool because you can set reading challenges for yourself, keep track of books you read, books you want to read, and books you are currently reading. My goal is to read 100 books in 2017, so just simply having this goal is motivating me to keep reading. Creating a Goodreads account won’t make you suddenly clear three hours a day in your schedule for reading, but it will be that little reminder telling you to keep going.

4. Join a book club on campus (or create one!) 

I find it interesting how much progress you can make on one task when that’s all you can focus on for an hour. If you go to a book reading club, you’ll spend the hour reading your book. You can get pretty far in, depending on the book. If you didn’t attend the club or don’t have one on campus, chances are you’d fill that club meeting time with some other activity. Find out if your campus has one of these clubs, and if not, try to start one for yourself. It could even be a non-official “club” that’s basically a group of people coming together in a dining hall or outside on the grass.

5. Read before doing homework to get yourself focused. 

This ties into carrying a book with you, so I won’t go into too much detail here. But try to take as much time as you need to get focused before delving into homework assignments or study sessions. You won’t be able to retain much of what you study if you’re unfocused, anyway, so you might as well use the time to do something productive. If you have time to scroll through your entire Facebook newsfeed (TWICE!!!) you probably have time to read a chapter in a book.

What’s your current favorite book? 

20 Ways To Be Healthier In College

This is my sixth semester of college and, let me tell you, even when you tell yourself that you’e going to start being healthy in college, IT’S HARD. Your dining options aren’t always in line with your definition of healthy; your assignments have you pulling your hair out; your body tells you to go to bed but your pile of homework tells you to get shit done. Yeah, it’s pretty difficult, but it doesn’t have to be one big improvement all at once. I’ve come up with a list of small, actionable things that you can start doing to have a healthier college experience.

1. Get enough sleep!

Lots of college students pride themselves on being able to run through an entire day on four hours of sleep or less. The way you hear people bragging about this, you’d think they were competing against each other or something. Not getting enough sleep will make you very sluggish and less alert during your classes.

2. Hang out with friends.

Being social is actually really important for being healthy. Sometimes you just want to get out of your room and be around people for a little while. Also, friends are great for when you feel like you really need to get something off your chest. If you’re worried you can’t see your friends because you have a lot of homework, schedule a study date with them. I do this with my friends all the time, even though none of us are studying the same thing. It’s just really nice to see them and have them as company. Be sure to check out my Secrets For Making New Friends In College!

3. Don’t substitute snack foods for meals.

I was super guilty of doing this and it’s really unhealthy. You don’t get as much energy as you need to get through the rest of the day, and you’ll likely end up being hungry again really soon. A pack of crackers is not lunch. Sit down for an actual meal if you’re hungry and you’ll feel much more full. I know a lot of people look for healthy options on campus and college campuses aren’t exactly breeding grounds for healthy foods, but if your campus has a dietician, make an appointment with him or her. The campus dietician can help you identify food options that suit what you’re looking for.

4. Have a piece of fruit with every meal.

I started doing this during one mini winter semester at my school and I felt pretty healthy because, before, I was completely disregarding fruit in my diet, unless I grabbed a fruit smoothie from Red Mango. I started having a banana with everything I ate — with cereal for breakfast, with a sandwich wrap for lunch, with pasta for dinner (I chose a banana because I’m allergic to apples and the only open dining hall only had apples or bananas as fruit options). It helped fill me up quicker and I didn’t even feel the need to grab ice cream or cookies for dessert. This is a good trick to try if you also have a sugar habit you’re trying to kick.

5. Give yourself breaks when you do work.

Don’t try to cram all of your chemistry notes into your brain over the course of four straight hours. Your brain can get fatigued and you won’t be able to retain what you study. I like taking a 10-minute social media break after every hour or so of studying or doing work. Another method of studying I’ve heard of is called the Pomodoro technique where you work for 25 minutes, take a five-minute break and then repeat each work-study block as needed. However, you must give your full, undivided attention to your task during those 25 minutes. If you have tried the Pomodoro technique, let me know if you were successful with it!

Related: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session

6. Listen to your body.

This is one of the most important things you could do for yourself. Always put your personal health above everything else — yes, even above going to class! If you’re extremely exhausted and feeling extremely crappy, don’t push yourself to go to an event or even go to class if you don’t think you can make it. It’s better to show up performing at your best than at your worst. Listening to your body can really tell you what you need. A headache may not seem like a big deal, but it can be your body’s way of telling you that you’re dehydrated and need some water ASAP (this has happened to me a lot). Be aware of the signals!

7. Don’t hold grudges.

I’m a natural grudge-holder, but I’ve learned over the years that holding grudges takes some SERIOUS energy — energy that I can expend doing other more worthwhile things. There aren’t enough hours in the day to walk around with a chip on your shoulder because someone did you wrong. I don’t forget what people do, but I move on from the situation and I don’t make it the number one thing on my mind anymore. It feels so much better to just think about the more important stuff in life and not sit over one insignificant thing that I’ll probably forget about by the end of the semester.

8. Have alcoholic drinks in moderation.

I get that everyone wants to go out and party once in a while to relieve some stress and momentarily forget about school, but use caution when drinking. Avoid binge-drinking (four drinks in one sitting for girls) and try to drink with people you trust who will look after you if you need care.

9. Bundle up when it’s cold outside.

If  you see people shivering outside and you think you should wear a hat, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY WEAR A HAT. I know the weather can sometimes deceive you, but it doesn’t hurt to at least pack a hat or scarf in your backpack in case you need it. It’s better to overcompensate for cold weather than to walk outside unprepared. Don’t play games with the cold; it can get you sick in a heartbeat. For more tips, be sure to check out my post on How To Avoid Getting Sick In College.

20 Ways To Be Healthier In College

10. Drink lots of water.

This ties into my point on listening to your body. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel it. I get headaches in a specific part of my head when I really need water, and those headaches can hinder me from staying focused on my work. Water is also a good substitute for coffee when you’re trying to stay alert but don’t want to add to your caffeine intake. I like carrying around a refillable water bottle during the day because I find that I drink more water than if I were to just use a recyclable bottle of water.

11. Follow the instructions for using gym equipment. 

If you’re one of the brave souls who like to mix things up at the gym and try out different types of equipment, first off, good for you — I’m too comfortable with the few machines I use to try out different ones. Second, make sure you keep yourself safe by asking for help if you aren’t sure how to use a machine or equipment. I know it can be a daunting task because you don’t want to look like you’ve never been to the gym before, but really, who cares? Everyone at the gym should be there to work and focus on themselves, not judge others. Better safe than sorry!

12. Walk to class instead of taking the bus.

This is an easy way to get your steps in for the day. My campus is huge and there are several buses running through it. Walking to class from my dorm room, even if it takes 15 minutes, is a great way for me to stretch my legs (and get my heart rate up if I’m running late!)

13. Avoid pulling all-nighters.

Sometimes, staying up extremely late is unavoidable if you have an extremely packed schedule, but if you can avoid it, you should. This ties in with my first point on getting enough sleep, so I won’t talk about this too much.

14. Create a bedtime routine to help you sleep.

If you sometimes get in bed but find yourself unable to actually sleep for another few hours, try coming up with a bedtime routine to get you to sleep. Here’s my routine: After finishing homework, I remove my makeup and take a shower; I get into my pajamas and hop into bed; I go through my phone for about 30 minutes to catch up on social media or messages; I read whatever book I’m enjoying at the time for about an hour to an hour and a half. I’m usually able to fall asleep by midnight if I do this. My routine is pretty simple, but feel free to do whatever you need to do to fall asleep. What’s your bedtime routine? Let me know in the comments!

15. Take care of yourself as soon as you think you’re starting to get sick.

If you feel your throat starting to feel dry and sore, get some cough drops and start drinking really warm tea. Don’t wait until it progresses to your nose getting stuffy and you coughing up a lung before you decide to take medicine or get treatment.

16. Find healthy ways of venting your frustrations.

Everyone has shitty days, but the way you handle them is what’s really important. I’m the type of person who needs to complain loudly to get something that really upset me off my chest. I always feel like I can move on once I tell someone about it. If you aren’t big on talking to others when you’re upset, venting to a journal is a great alternative.

17. Don’t over-exert yourself.

This ties into listening to the messages your body sends you, so I won’t go into too much detail with this one. I’m not just talking physically here, I’m also talking mentally. Don’t pile on too many obligations for your brain to handle. Know what your limit is and don’t try to exceed it.

18. Listen to music.

Listening to music is like a temporary break from your mind. I love listening to music in the morning while I brush my teeth and shower for class. It makes me feel so much better about having to wake up for my 8a.m. and it puts me in a really good mood. For more ways to have a brighter morning, check out my post on How To Make Your Mornings More Exciting.

19. Ask for help when you need it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help if you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness and it’s completely okay to seek it. Looking out for yourself is one of the best things you could do.  Your college likely has free resources for students, so don’t be afraid to ask around and find the services that will suit you.

20. Set goals and be realistic about them.

Goal-setting is a healthy way to track progress and find ways to improve your performance. I love setting goals because if I reach or surpass them, I feel extra good, and if I don’t reach my goals I know exactly what I have to work on for next time.

What are your tips for healthy living in college? 

10 Easy Ways To Relax + Enjoy Alone Time In College

10 easy ways to relax + enjoy alone time in college

Wanna know the biggest secret that successful students are hiding from everyone? They DON’T do work 24/7. Insane, right? We all have our share of difficult days and mountains of homework, but don’t forget to take some time to chill and think about something other than school work. Relaxation is a crucial part of taking care of ourselves, and if we skip this step then it won’t be long before our academics start to slip. Currently, I have an 18-credit schedule, school clubs that I’m part of, an internship (and I may be getting a second one this semester! Fingers crossed for me!), a blog (obviously), and friends and family to keep up with. And, trust me, I make sure I make some time to lounge around better than any house cat. We all have very different ways of relaxing, but the most important part of it is making sure that during this magical time, your mind is relaxed and you aren’t concerned with your obligations.

Don’t expect to have a jacuzzi at your disposal with scented candles, bath bombs, and flower petals in your dorm room (one of those things isn’t even allowed in college dorms!) but there are still some easy ways that you can chill and have some time to yourself.

1. Give yourself a manicure.

I’m a huge fan of nail art and more often than not, I can be found in my dorm room painting my nails while I catch up on my favorite shows on Netflix. You’ll have to block out at least an hour and a half to do your nails because it takes time for them to dry. And if you’re trying to do a fancy design, you’ll need more time, which means you can chill for much longer. It’s also fun to scroll through Pinterest to look for cute designs to do, so this is another great excuse to hop onto Pinterest.

Related: 5 Types Of Pinterest Boards That Will Make Life Easier

2. Read a good book.

I used to be able to read a book a day but for a while, I stopped when things got a bit crazy with school work. This year, I really picked reading back up and it’s one of my favorite ways to relax. I like to read for an hour before I start my assignments and I also save it as the last thing I do at night before going to bed instead of scrolling through my phone. Books are just a nice way to escape your world and live in someone else’s for a few hours. This is a good way to give your undivided attention to something not school and adult life-related. I highly recommend “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before,” by Jenny Han. It’s what I’m currently reading and it’s such a good book! What book are you obsessing over right now? Let me know in the comments!

3. Create DIY face masks.

I live for DIY! I find so many cute projects on Pinterest and I can’t help but save them all to try out later. If you collected any great recipes for masks from Pinterest, now’s a great time to test them out. You can also scroll through the internet and watch TV while you wait for your mask to dry. It’s a great way to treat yo’self while you treat yo skin. Just make sure that the ingredients you use in the face masks aren’t harmful to your skin!

Related: DIY Cupcake Bath Bombs

4. Soak your feet in hot water and read a magazine.

It’s like having a spa day in the comfort of your dorm room! Sure, you’ll need a large enough container to hold the hot water, and a bit of space but, honestly, I’m extra enough that I would totally do this! Hell, I would buy a container JUST to do this. I used to sometimes soak my hands in really warm water to soften my nails just before I cut them and it was SO relaxing. Hot water just has this calming effect against the skin and it feels AMAZING. You can even plan a full on pedicure day! If you ~really~ want to do this right, you can invest in some scented oil and rose petals and add them to your foot soak. Don’t forget the magazine!

5. Bake delicious goodies.

This is yet another excuse to scroll through Pinterest for hours. This requires a bit of planning if you don’t already have all the ingredients at your disposal, but it’s totally worth it! Baking has been a hobby of mine since I was in middle school and I discovered that I make some seriously kickass fudge brownies. You can easily turn this activity into a girls’ night thing if you wanted to. My suite mate and I plan to bake cookies in our kitchen and share them with our entire floor.

6. Workout at the gym.

This isn’t exactly a creative suggestion since you’ve probably seen this idea in any article or blog post related to relaxing in college, but nevertheless, it’s worth mentioning. Working out doesn’t always mean running on the treadmill or doing squats on a mat; sign up for a fitness class at your college recreation center. My personal favorites are Zumba and Zumba toning. Challenge yourself to try every fitness class at least once. If it’s too cold to walk to the gym, you can bring the fitness to your dorm room, well, minus the treadmill… Invest in a yoga mat so you can easily practice poses, squats, pushups and other things.

7. Practice your hobbies.

We can probably all name at least two things that we used to do all the time when we were in high school but stopped having time for when we got to college. Do that. Pick it back up. You don’t necessarily have to start a new hobby in your free time. This way, you don’t have to worry about potentially not enjoying what you try. I used to make friendship bracelets every single day when I was in high school. I’d sit in front of the TV and do these complicated designs. I hear so many people talk about the things they used to do when they were in high school but stopped after coming to college. If you miss it, then use your alone time to get back on it.

8. Go to a local event by yourself.

Literally just take yourself on a date. I don’t do too many things by myself because I’m very used to always going out with a friend, but this is something I’d like to start trying out. I think that this is a good way to enjoy what you want to enjoy because you won’t have to go by anyone else’s schedule and you won’t have to try to accommodate for anyone but yourself. If this isn’t something you’re used to, start off by looking for events happening in your school’s area.

9. Start a journal.

Ever have something on your mind that you just can’t tell anyone else for whatever reason? Write those thoughts down in a journal! It’s probably better than passive aggressively writing a social media status about it. Plus, you’ll be getting it off your chest without stirring up any drama. I’m sorry, I’m making this sound like journaling is exclusively for venting about things that annoy you. It’s not. Journaling is perfect for simply talking about what happened during the day. You can really add memories to your journal by pasting photographs in there. When I studied abroad, I kept a daily journal and bought postcards that I taped to the pages. You can also start a scrapbook project during your chill time. I think I definitely regret not starting a scrapbook when I started college, but I guess it’s never too late to start one!

10. Go for a walk.

I know a lot of people enjoy taking long walks by themselves. It’s very relaxing because you can just go at your own pace and not worry about reaching a particular destination. Just walk for as long as you feel like you need to. If you’re feeling particularly full of energy, go for a jog instead.

What’s your favorite way to unwind? 

Don’t forget to check out these posts: How To Get Over The Winter Break Blues, 13 Tips For Getting A’s In Your Classes

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How To Get Over The Winter Break Blues

It was great six-week break, even if Netflix and Doritos were your best friend for the most part. But it’s about time to go back to college and do college stuff and be kind of an adult for the next 15 weeks. Heaven help us all. No matter what you did over the winter break, you might long a little (or a lot) for those days of relaxation. Simply put, you’re just not ready to deal with dorm life, classes, and deadlines again and that’s okay. Adjusting to a new semester is rarely ever easy for anyone — whether it’s your first semester of college or your eighth. I know a lot of people tell me that their winter break made them accustomed to not doing much and it’s going to be really hard to get back into a demanding routine. Been there, done that! But here are my tips for never going back…

1. Meet up with friends ASAP.

I’ll be honest here. I sometimes have those moments when I want to socialize with everyone and those moments when I don’t feel like talking to anyone and just want to get right down to what I have to do. More often than not, the start of my semesters have been full of me not really feeling like hanging with people. But seeing people and catching up with friends from the semester before makes things a lot easier because you feel like you have people going through the same things as you. No one is particularly thrilled to go back to all-nighters and homework up to their ears, but at least you can all grab coffee and nervously laugh about those impending moments together! If you can schedule even just 30 minutes for a quick breakfast with a friend or two, your mood will definitely improve.

Related: 10 Secrets For Making New Friends In College

2. Visit old professors you were close to.

Even just stopping by for a quick ‘hi’ can help greatly. Hold onto any connections you made with professors from the previous semester. This is a great time to make small talk and chat about the weather because you aren’t as busy, and if you’re feeling unsure about the semester that lies ahead, your old professor might be able to help encourage you and soothe some worries by offering advice and resources. A lot of people think that networking starts after you leave college, but the truth is that it starts the minute your freshman self sets foot on campus. You never know what kind of information you can get out of your professors.

3. Make an effort to go out.

I know it’s January and snuggling up to hot chocolate indoors can feel very tempting, but also be sure to leave the room once in a while and see what’s happening on campus. The flood of emails about welcome back parties and events may be a bit overwhelming, but go through them and see which events stick out to you the most. Don’t forget about your college involvement fair! This is also a great opportunity to see what clubs and organizations are out there. Also, despite what many people may think, it’s never too late to want to get involved on campus. I’m a second semester junior and I still get excited for involvement fairs because every organization is a new chance to get involved with campus in a new way and meet a ton of new people.

4. Create to-do lists.

This is one of the easiest ways to get back into the swing of things if you feel you’ve gotten a bit lazy over the break. I always say that I live by to-do lists because they’re a quick and easy way to get all the obligations running through your mind down on paper so you can tackle them in a more organized fashion. You may have 10 different syllabi to print out, homework on the first day, textbooks to purchase, and a host of other things to do, and writing them all down on paper will make it much easier to keep track of what you still need to do.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To Organizing Your Life In College

5. Busy yourself up.

Sometimes you might feel like the beginning of your semester is light and you have ample free time to chill. WARNING: Moments like these can also be rare and dangerous. Be aware that this can also contribute to feelings of laziness. I’m not saying that you should pile the obligations of the world onto your shoulders, but adding extracurriculars, a job, or an internship to your schedule can certainly help with time management because you’ll have less time to feel lazy. I find that when I’m less busy is actually when I burn myself out because I have fewer experiences to learn from and motivate me. I’m definitely still looking around for an on-campus job and keeping an eye out for an extracurricular or two that I can join. As always, be careful to not bite off more than you can chew. Everyone’s balance is different, so be able to know when you’ve made yourself TOO busy.

6. Set goals. 

Where do you want to be in two weeks? In one month? By spring break? These don’t have to be long term goals, and they also don’t have to be related to academics. Maybe your goal is to go to the gym at least four times a week *cough* my goal *cough*. Maybe you have a secret life as an aspiring author and your goal is to write 25 pages a week for the book you’re working on. Maybe you just want to get back on track with viciously reading books and you want to start a new book every two weeks. Every goal counts!

7. Dream about spring break plans. 

Well, this may not sound like a good idea because you’ll probably get sad that spring break feels like it’s never going to come, BUT you can also use it as a motivator to keep putting your best foot forward. You’ll earn a much-needed break and you’ll get to enjoy it no matter what your plans are — whether you’re hitting up Miami with your squad or planning an entire week of adventures in the city with your best friend.

How do you get over the winter break blues? 

Last Minute Gift Idea: DIY Cupcake Bath Bombs

diy cupcake bath bombs

I’m not gonna lie, the holiday season can be pretty hectic. And finding last minute gifts for friends, co-workers, and second cousins twice removed just adds on to the craziness. If a surprise gift exchange at your job has you worried with no idea what to get people, here’s a ~yummy~ idea that you can DIY right in your kitchen: cupcake bath bombs! Bath bombs have become super popular this year because they’re so aesthetically pleasing, they smell good, and they turn your bath water bright colors (and anything that magically turns things pink and purple is already awesome).

So basically, I have a slightly last minute gift exchange and had no idea what to get people, but after scrolling through Pinterest and finding bath bomb recipes, I decided to make some of my own to give as gifts. I found this “recipe” for cupcake bath bombs on Trending With Tori‘s YouTube channel and followed the instructions. Here’s what you’ll need:

  •  1 cup baking soda
  •  1/2 cup citric acid
  •  1/2 cup corn starch
  •  1/2 cup epsom salts
  •  2 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
  •  3/4 teaspoon water
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  1 teaspoon almond extract
  •  4 drops of neon gel food coloring

These ingredients are for making the bath bomb part that will dissolve when you put it in water. You probably already have most of these items at home. I didn’t have citric acid or epsom salt lying around so I ran out to the grocery store to buy them. For the frosting part of the cupcake bath bomb, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

So I kinda messed up…For some reason I thought that meringue powder was royal icing powder (which I already had at home) and I used royal icing for the frosting instead! No wonder my frosting turned out slightly goopy! In any case, it still dried well and they look great, so it’s okay.

diy cupcake bath bombs

I didn’t take photos of me in the process of making the bath bombs because I literally made them last night and didn’t have really good lighting. The first thing you’re going to do is get a large bowl, ideally one that you don’t use to cook things in. Gather all of your dry ingredients and mix them together with a plastic fork to evenly distribute them. Put this bowl aside and in another bowl, combine your coconut oil, water, vanilla and almond extracts, and food coloring of your choice. It doesn’t have to be specifically gel based — you can use whatever food coloring you have on hand.

So this part is where you’re going to want to take things slow but work quickly…if that makes sense…You’re going to add the coconut oil mixture one tablespoon at a time to your dry mixture. After each addition, mix thoroughly. Adding the wet ingredients little by little prevents the baking soda from completely reacting with the liquids. You want the texture of your mixture to become something like wet sand, but not too damp or too dry. I ended up using up all of my coconut oil mixture.

Prepare a cupcake baking tray by lining the holes with cling wrap. If you have silicone cupcake liners, they would work so well and make the bath bombs look even more like cupcakes. I didn’t have them so I just used cling wrap over my tray. Fill the molds and remember to press down very firmly. This mixture made exactly 10 bath bombs.

diy cupcake bath bombs

Let them sit out for around 30 minutes. I got hungry and had to grab a snack, so I let them sit out for about 45 minutes. To make the frosting, add the meringue powder and warm water to a bowl and mix it with an electric mixer until it becomes white and foamy. This took around 3-4 minutes of mixing for me. Add powdered sugar until the mixture is stiff and you can pipe it with decorating tips. I actually ended up using closer to three cups of powdered sugar in total, but maybe that’s because I didn’t use meringue powder…

Next, I piped the frosting onto the “cupcakes” using a resealable bag and a decorating tip. Be sure to add the sprinkles right after piping because they start drying fast! Boom, now you have adorable cupcake bath bombs that you DIY’d! I can’t wait to give these as gifts because they’re super pretty. Don’t forget to check out my Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for great gift ideas for everyone in your life!

What are your last minute gift ideas?