Monday, September 29, 2014

Back to School: Study Resources

The Internet is a great place to find information you need fast. It can also be a place filled with distractions and cat videos. To help those who are now in full swing of school, we have complied some helpful sites that you can use a resource for studying. These are in no way a substitute for attending class or taking notes, but they are definitely helpful resources to check out.

Study Blue: Study Blue is a great site for studying for a specific class. Classmates are able to share notes and study guides for a specific class or exam. There are various ways to study as well, from flashcards to personalized practice exams. It is a great site and I recommend checking it out. In my experience with Study Blue, I have yet to run into a pay wall and have been able to use all of the features free.

Khan Academy: Khan Academy provides free world-class education for everyone. The site has been around since 2006 and has millions of users from across the globe. Once signing in you can customize your own personalized learning dashboard, take practice quizzes, and watch micro lectures over thousands of subjects.

Crash Course Videos: YouTube can be both distracting and helpful, so be careful how you use it. There are some very helpful channels such as Crash Course, which gives 10-15 minute lectures over various topics. There are also other helpful channels, like asapSCIENCE, Vsauce, and more, which has helpful information in short, and entertaining videos.

Like previously stated, just be careful when on YouTube. You are just one suggested video away from wasting 2 hours of your life and somehow ending up on cat videos (it always ends like this).

Lynda: Lynda offers thousands of video tutorials and courses for software, creative, and business skills. Industry experts teach the videos, so it is a helpful and reliable source. The site offers both free and paid services, although in my experience, the free version has been just fine.

Evernote: Evernote is used mainly for note taking and archiving. Notes can be made via text, voice memos, photos, or handwritten and shared across different computers and phones. This is helpful for keeping track of your notes and having them available on more than just a notebook. The site offers free and premium services as well, but once again the free has worked just fine for me.

Try them out and see which one works for you. Maybe it’s none of these; maybe reviewing your own notes is what works best. Just do what works best for you and helps you retain the most. Like everything else you wish to be good at, doing well in a class takes time and effort. Keep studying and best of luck this school year!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Organization: Cables and Cords

Technology is amazing, we can store thousands of songs in our pocket, can connect with people in many ways, and so much more. The only thing not amazing about technology are the cords and wires that keep them running. They are everywhere and can be an eyesore. So until everything can run and charge wirelessly, we have three options:
            1) We can ignore the cords.
            2) We can clean up the cords and wires.
            3) We can just not use technology and live in the woods.
For this post we are fortunately (or unfortunately if you are pumped about living in the woods) talking about option number 2. We will take our home back from the cords!

Make It & Love It turned a lotion bottle into a cellphone-charging holder. Not only does it look great, but also hides your cellphone charging cord. You can check out their guide here.

If you have a lot of exposed cables from your desk or TV stand, you can use a cable concealer to hide the mess. This is essentially a plastic tube that runs all of your cables through it. It can be stuck to the backside or underneath a desk or placed along a wall to hide the mess of cords. This is also a great way to keep the cords organized.

Bred clips can be used to label yours cords, which is great as some look the same and you don’t want to risk unplugging something you didn’t intend to. You could also tie colored string or around cables to keep things color coordinated.  

Binder clips can be used to prevent cords from falling. A good example of this would be clipping one to the side of your desk and running your laptop charger through the loop. This way when you unplug your laptop the cord won’t fall behind your desk but rather stay in place. 

So there you have it! Some ways to hide those loose cables taking over your home. It can some take some time to untangle everything, but once you get everything organized you won’t have to worry about that in the future. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Tiny House Style Spotlight

Clean and Simple. Source: onekindesign

Have any of you seen the documentary “Tiny” on Netflix? Neither have I, but I hear it’s good. It got me thinking, although it can seem really luxurious and amazing to have a huge place, why not try and embrace the idea of living minimalistically in a small space?

The idea behind the Tiny House Movement is to downsize the amount of space that we live in. After all, Americans spend ⅓ to ½ their income on their homes. As apartment dwellers, living in a smaller space is already done for you, and the next step is just to cut back on the amount of clutter that you have.

  • The first part of this is to reduce what you own. Go through your clothes, household items, furniture.. How much of it is truly necessary?
  • What you don’t need, either sell or donate! (The extra cash or good deed will feel good)

Now, after you do all that, staying a minimalist can be the hardest part of this whole process.

  • First, organize and categorize the things that you do need to keep.
  • Second, continue the process. The more you think about it, the more you may come to realize that some of the things that you still have are not necessary. If you come across those kinds of things, get rid of them!

Being a minimalist is an ongoing process that you can’t just do once and then forget about. Eventually, you will need to buy something or things will start to accumulate again. When that happens, you just go through this process again! The idea is that you are sort of constantly doing it, so that way you don’t end up with a ton of unnecessary items.

The most important part of this is that when you do go to buy something, it is important to really spend time thinking about the purchase. Do you really need it? How long are you going to use it for? Why do you want it? Is it really worth it?

Another thing you can focus on after having been a minimalist for awhile is the quality of the items that you buy. If you buy fewer things, then you will have more money to spend on higher quality items that will last you longer.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Talk Like A Pirate Day!

Ahoy thar mateys! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Oregon Residents John Baur and Mark Summers created the annual holiday in 1995. What started out as a joke quickly grew in popularity and is now recognized internationally.

So how can you celebrate today like a true pirate? We’ve made a list to help you out!

Know Yer History!

You can brush up on your knowledge of the holiday by visiting the official Talk Like a Pirate website at: The site has everything you need to successfully talk like a pirate!

Switch Yer Tongue Matey!

Some sites celebrate the holiday with pirate themed Easter eggs, but some, like Facebook, let you change your language to Pirate year round! To change your language to pirate go to setting > language > English (Pirate) and there you are! 

Ignorrre the squiggles!

Autocorrect is a fantastic tool. However, on days like today it will get in the way of yer pirate talk. Make sure yer phone don’t correct yer grammarrrr n ya don’t let the red squiggles bother ye!

Know Yer True Captains!

There have been many famous pirates, both real and fictional, throughout the years. Below are some of the famous real and fictional pirates!

Captain Kidd - a well known pirate who buried his treasure on Long Island.
Blackbeard – one of the most ruthless pirates ever, who commanded over 300 pirates and a fleet of four ships!

Mary Read & Anne Bonny – the only female pirates recorded in history!

Captain Hook – the villain in the popular Peter Pan story.
Captain Jack Sparrow – played by Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean. Jack Sparrow is one of the most famous and entertaining pirates around.
One-eyed Willy – from the beloved movie The Goonies.
Captain Morgan – the mascot for Captain Morgan Rum. Known for his famous leg resting on a keg pose.
Patchy the Pirate – Of course had to include a pirate from Spongebob SquarePants. Patchy is the pirate used in the live action specials and movies for the show.

So thar ye have it mateys! Yer set to sail the mighty seas of Iowa like a true pirate! Yaarrggghh!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Color Wheel: Teal


As fall is quickly approaching, we bring you back to the early days of summer with deep blue skies and dark green trees with the color teal. Although we can’t prevent summer from ending, we can bring some of those colors into our homes with this weeks color wheel post. 

Teal is the mix of blue and green and can range anywhere from a dark to medium blue or a dark green. The complimentary color of teal is coral, which we did a post about just a few months ago. So if our post encouraged you to add some coral to your home, then this post will compliment your great decision!

Some may be hesitant to bring teal into there homes, as a lot of people use it more as an accent color than a primary, but when done correctly teal can really make a room beautiful. Blue is a calming color and green is associated with good feelings, so the two combined create an equally wholesome feel.

I don’t expect anyone to go crazy with teal and completely redesign your home around it, but adding some color here and there is always nice and can look great.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Do It Yourself Organization


Being organized is always a great feeling. Knowing exactly where something is and having a clean home has no negatives. Unfortunately, getting organized can be difficult for some people, myself included; so below we have come up with a list of ways to help us all get a little more organized!

Get Rid of Clutter:

The best way to get uncluttered is to get rid of what you don’t use. Go through what you have and donate or sell anything that you don’t need anymore.

What To Get Rid Of:

The website had an interesting method for finding what clothes you don’t wear. They suggested turning all of your hangers backwards and then whenever you wear an item, hang it back up the usual way. After about 6 months go back through your closet and see which hangers are still left unturned, these are the clothes you should get ride of!

Have A Home For Everything:

This is a good tactic for keeping things neat and organized. If something has a place, then it can always be put back into its place!

Plastic Tubs:

Plastic tubs are great for organizing. Using plastic tubs in cabinets can make grabbing items from the back easier. Sliding out the tub and grabbing what you need is easier than taking everything in front of it out!

Sort things by Function:

Having this mentality can help you keep things together in a way that makes sense to you. With this, you know where to put new items and where to find older things.

Think About Wasted Space:

What space do you have that could creatively be used to store things? Think about under your bed, couch, etc. Under bed drawers, like this example from Martha Stewart’s website, is a great way to store things under your bed while staying organized!
If you have a lack of storage space in your bathroom and have a towel rack that’s not in use, hang a basket from the towel rack! Simply DIY 2 has a great tutorial on how you can get more storage in your bathroom while still looking nice!
Another great place to store items is on the inside of a closet or cabinet door. Using shoe organizers you can hang cleaning supplies, rolled up towels, makeup, and of course shoes! 

Staying Organized:

Ultimately being organized is something that takes time and effort, but undoubtedly pays off. A big part of being organized is staying in the mindset. Making list, using calendars and reminders, and staying positive will help you be organized in both your home and life!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back to School Series: Snacks for Class

Getting back to the swing of things can be a bit of a struggle. And for college students, finding a way to  fit in meals throughout the day can be a huge pain. If you're anything like me, it's a lot of coffee and whatever I can grab from the on-campus cafes (which--although quite delicious--is far from fulfilling or healthy). Whether you just need something you can throw in your bag and eat quickly or something you can enjoy in-between classes, check out my list of suggestions below!

  • Fruit (I would suggest things like apples, pears, and bananas. Simple. Not too messy, and relatively easy to toss in your bag and run.)
  • String Cheese
  • Mini Muffins (make your own or get some from the store!)
  • Trail Mix or Dried Fruit
  • Granola Bars
  • Roasted Chick Peas (Not quite as complicated as you might think. Check out this recipe!)

  • Cheese and Crackers (This one never occurs to me, but it's a relatively easy to make snack that can fuel you for a long time. Just make sure not to forget it in your bag for too long!)
  • Yogurt
  • Veggies and Hummus
  • Mason Jar Meals (Mason Jars are the best, especially when you are a hungry college student. You can make a salad in them, a yogurt parfait, the possibilities are practically endless!)
  • Quinoa (This one can seem a bit more intimidating, but you can eat it hot or cold and put practically any spice or extra things with it and it will still taste good!)
  • Banana Dog (This was my old standard the year I had back to back lectures over the lunch hour. Really simple; just take a tortilla, spread peanut butter over it, and then toss a banana in the middle! Then you wrap the whole thing up and, vwah-lah, you have a Banana Dog. Add some Nutella to the mix if you want a treat!)
  • Sandwich (When all else fails, you can always make a sandwich!)

  • A Hot Drink (Try some tea, coffee, or hot chocolate! If you have to stay up late, it will help if you stay hydrated, and it's just nice to drink something toasty warm.)
  • Popcorn (This one is very simple. If you want a spicier version, try tossing it with melted butter and Sriracha)
  • Veggies (add some hummus, eat it plain, or try roasting them in the oven for about ten minutes with olive oil, salt, and pepper over them)
  • Cereal (Find one that you like and eat it dry!)