Putting my own Twist on my Dorm Room

Living in the dorms can be both the best and worst part of college. For some, it’s exciting to live with a roommate, but others absolutely dread it. My first two years living in the dorms have been great experiences. This year I am going into my third year living in a dorm because I work as a Resident Assistant [RA]. This is my second year working as an RA and a wonderful perk of the job is getting my own free room! This leaves me with a whole double-sized dorm to myself — and I get to style it myself too. \

Dorm decorating was one of the most exciting things for me when coming to college. Because I am going into my third year living in the dorms, I’ve outgrown some decor and acquired some new items.. When shopping for decor, I am constantly looking for items that are budget friendly [as always] and/or items that I will be able to use in my future apartment. 

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This year I took a lot of inspo for my dorm decorations from Pinterest and Instagram. I have been really into vintage patterned rugs and the colors of a sunset. The rug I have is the cutest burnt orange patterned rug that was given to me as a hand me down from my parents [thanks mom and dad, you saved me 200 dollars!]. This rug is the focal point of my room and the basis for my color scheme.

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My bedspread is the same one I’ve had since my junior year of high school. It’s a queen-sized fluffy grey comforter from Target. The oversized bedspread helps hide the ~unattractive~ storage under my bed and also makes the generic twin xl dorm bed look way more cozy. 

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This year, my room has a cute window nook that I decided to put my bed into. With my headboard against the window, paired with my fluffy comforter and fairy lights, I’ve created such a cozy feel that makes it so hard to get out of bed in the mornings. At the foot of my bed sits a beat up vintage trunk from my dad’s college years. This trunk is the perfect storage for my winter clothes, but still adds a bit of style to the room.

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To the right of my bed is another little nook with my desk and futon. Freshman year of college I bought this desk hutch that not only helps me keep organized but adds a nice touch to my desk. On the hutch, I added some decor items like an old polaroid camera [found at goodwill for 4 dollars!], a skull shaped bottle and old, orange tins to tie together some of  my room colors. Right next to my desk is a black futon from IKEA that I got on sale for 75 dollars— it’s super simple looking, but I spiced it up with a blush pink knit throw blanket and a patterned pillow. The wall above the futon is currently bare, but I am waiting to get a tapestry from Urban Outfitters to help cover up the blank wall. Tapestries are such an easy way to spice up a dorm room. The slanted wall across the way is the perfect blank canvas for a gallery wall where I’ve hung a collection of different girl-power inspired prints and pictures, from my #INCHAARG sticker to the Planned Parenthood poster I held at the 2019 Women’s March on Washington. 

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On the other side of the room is less exciting as it holds my makeshift kitchen nook with a fridge and microwave. Right next to that is my mirror and sink. I made it into more of a vanity by moving my desk chair to the sink [let’s be real, no homework is getting done at my dorm desk — that’s what Sunday’s at Donkey Coffee are meant for]. To make this area look a little cuter, I organized my skincare products and makeup items and put them on display. 

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My dorm has really come together after a few weeks of moving in. I am still looking for a few more items to spruce up the space, such as a large, floor length mirror and the tapestry from UO. I love my space and decorating it makes it feel so homey. I am excited for this to be my dorm for the year!

Reflection: Halfway to Graduation

This year I will be going into my junior year of college— and wow, that feels weird to say. I know everyone you will ever speak to about college will say this, but college really does fly by. It doesn’t feel like it’s been two years and I sure as hell am not ready for real adulthood in just two more years. Over these two years, I have rediscovered myself, made amazing new friends, developed new skills and learned so many life lessons that I will carry with me long after I walk out of the Convocation Center, diploma in hand. 

Now that I am moved onto campus for junior year and am looking at apartments for my senior year, it is finally hitting me how soon college is coming to a close. I am starting to realize how these life-changing people I’ve met will be parting ways to do amazing things. It first hit me when I was on a long car ride and “I’ll Always Remember You” by Hannah Montana came on [this is cheesy, I know]. Every aspect of the song hit me so hard it brought me to tears. The lyrics to the sheer fact that the song is a near and dear part of my childhood. 

All of these realizations that have come to mind have led me to some reflection of my college experience.I need to take these next two years and cherish them. I have a hard time being present and living in the moment. It’s been something I’ve been trying to work on for a while, but it is super important to me that I be more present during these next two years. As time rolls on, I’ll start getting to my “lasts” and have to say goodbyes. I want to be able to fully enjoy every moment between now and then. 

College so far has been such an enjoyable experience and I am so excited to experience the rest of my journey . From the good to the bad, and everything in between, I’m going to cherish my junior and senior years with my people on this amazing campus.

Four Trendy Outfits For Fashionistas on a Budget

Shopping for new clothes is easily one of my favorite activities. Picking out new pieces and putting together outfits is very exciting to me. What’s not exciting is having to spend lots of money on a new wardrobe. As a ~broke college student~, I always strive to find deals, sales and discount stores. Thrifting is my favorite way to shop for cheap clothes that won’t break the bank, and an added plus to thrifting is that is a sustainable way to shop. I’ve recently been trying to switch all my clothes shopping at second-hand stores, but it’s not always easy to find the specific items you’re looking for.

As I’ve been shopping a bit more for the back to school season, I’ve been collecting new items to change up my wardrobe. I put together a few outfits to wear for any occasion during the late summer months. All items in each outfit are all budget-friendly but still super cute. 

The first outfit is super easy to put together but still looks trendy. The base of the outfit is a pair of vintage Wrangler jeans [found for only $1.99!!] that I turned into shorts and a thrifted Harley Davidson tee tucked in. To spice up the outfit, I add a thrifted cheetah bandana [very trendy right now], hoop earrings, a few stacked necklaces and bracelets [I wear the same ones every day], and a mauve handbag from TJ Maxx. I top off the look with a pair of black slip-on vans and now it’s the perfect fit to wear just about anywhere. 

The next outfit is taking the same shorts from the first look [these shorts have been my go-to shorts all summer] and pairing it with an orange scarf tied as a shirt. This has been a huge trend that has been very popular recently and can be worn multiple different ways. I pair this look with the same jewelry and sometimes dress it up a bit with a pair of tan platform sandals. 

The third outfit is a lot dressier for around the same price as the past two outfits. The base of the outfit is a pair of yellow flowy pants found at the thrift store for only $2.99! For the top, I took the bandana from the first outfit and tie it on like a tube top. The colors of these two pieces look fantastic together. To top off the outfit, I put on the same tan platform sandals and also add some gold hoop earrings. 

The last outfit is perfect for any concert or a night out on the town and is so easy to put together. The base of the outfit is a pair of black high waisted skinny jeans and a black long sleeve top. Any black top works, however, I choose to go with an off the shoulder style to draw attention to my shoulders. To make the outfit pop, I add a statement belt to be the main part of the outfit. This belt has a tortoise shell circle buckle that is super in right now. For the shoes, I would either dress it up even further with a pair of black wedges or dress it down a bit with a pair of black slip-on vans.

All of these outfits are possible on a budget. I am able to reuse clothing items in different ways for multiple looks and still make it look brand new. They are super cute without hurting the bank, so that makes them a whole lot more enjoyable! Keeping an eye out on your local thrift stores and sales at all your favorite retailers is the best way to have an affordable wardrobe!

Shop Local: Support Farmer’s Markets

The best part about Saturday mornings in the summer are farmers markets! Central Ohio has so many amazing options for farmers markets. This summer, I have visited two that Columbus has to offer: the Worthington Farmers Market and the Dublin Market. The two markets are unique in their own ways, from the fresh baked goods they offer to the local art on display. They are both held on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will continue to run until October.

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I have been going to the Worthington Farmers Market for a few summers and it has easily become something I look forward to every year. The market is set up on a strip of local shops and restaurants. One of my favorite traditions to do while there is enjoy the market and then stop somewhere for brunch [my go-to spots are  La Chatelaine and The Whitney House]. After brunch, I always make sure to pick up a Native Cold Pressed Juice to sip on while I browse the market’s various vendors. The market features a ton of vendors from all over that supply fresh produce, pastries, cheeses, plants and coffee. All of the produce I have gotten from the market have been of the highest quality. The fresh blackberries sold at Worthington are some of the best I’ve ever had, but my absolute favorite market find is the raspberry jalapeno jam [trust me, it’s life changing]. Before leaving, my family always makes sure to stop at The Fromagerie to pick up mouth-watering cheese puff pastries.  

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Though the Worthington Farmers Market has become a summer staple for me, this year I wanted to be sure to also check out a new market. A few weekends ago, I visited the Dublin Market for the first time and loved it. It’s a newer market and features a lot of different vendors compared to the Worthington Market. They have a few booths with handmade kitchenware like bamboo cutting boards and patterned serving bowls that will add a bit of personality to any kitchen. A few local boutiques also set up booths with one-of-a-kind pieces. One of my favorite booths had handmade jewelry that was nothing like I’d ever seen before. To top it off, I didn’t leave the market empty-handed. While pursuing the vendors, I couldn’t help but buy a bouquet of fresh flowers, a chocolate croissant and of course, a cold brew coffee [LVNG Limitless runs on cold brew, honestly]. It was a perfect Saturday morning spent in Dublin, Ohio enjoying all things local. 

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Farmers Markets are the best way to simultaneously support local businesses and vendors while also filling your home with high-quality produce, food and other home goods. Share your favorite local markets with us on Instagram

Discover: Lincoln, Maine

Road tripping to Maine has been a yearly tradition since the summer after I graduated high school. The first year I went, I absolutely fell in love with the state. The small towns and the beautiful outdoors captured my heart. My best friend has a cabin that her family built in 2002 in Lincoln. The cabin is small but holds so many memories and has quickly become my summer home away from home! 

In years past, we’ve gone to Bar Harbour, Acadia and whitewater rafted at the Penobscot but this year we decided to spend the whole week at the cabin and give ourselves only one day to go out and explore. For that one day we did something way out of my comfort zone. We went to Baxter State Park and hiked Mount Katahdin, the highest point in Maine. 

Hiking the mountain was hands-down the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It took us 15 miles, over 36,000 steps and 12 hours to climb the whole mountain. But, the views from the top and the feeling of accomplishment were enough to make up for the tiring journey. One thing that has stuck with me since climbing Khatadin is how the process of climbing wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it was going to be. I doubted my body’s ability to hike and climb for that long but have since learned that my body is capable of way more than I think it is and I shouldn’t be so quick to doubt myself. I am so proud of myself for climbing Katahdin and I am excited to be able to say that I’ve done it. 

Other than climbing the mountain, I also got to paddleboard and kayak on the lake, have a cookout, read by the water, watch movies and play card games. The time spent at the cabin was so relaxing. After the hectic summer I’ve had, this week away from the chaos of working full-time was a necessity. I took the time to fully recharge [I even slept for a whole 12 hours one night!] and take a mental break. 

Going to Maine is a trip I look forward to every summer. The whole state is absolutely breathtaking, from the views from the top of Katahdin to seeing a moose walking across the road during sunrise [yeah, we actually saw that! It was amazing]. My friend has been coming to Maine since she was a kid and had told me all about it throughout high school. Once we graduated, we finally got to go and I got to experience it myself. Now anytime I can, I try to share my love for Maine with others and try to get them to go. So if you ever get the chance, visit Maine!

Discover: German Village, Columbus, OH

This month’s Hometown Hangout was spent falling in love with a small, unique part of Columbus: German Village. My family and I came out for a fun outing after work. We started the day at Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees, browsing their chocolate selection, and picked an assortment to snack on while we drank our coffees. I absolutely loved the dark chocolate pecan wurtles [their take on a turtle], pecan bark and peanut butter delights. The chocolates paired perfectly with their almond milk latte! 

After we finished our coffees we strolled down the street while admiring the beautiful brick roads and unique homes. One home was staged for an open house, so we got a good look on the inside. It was so adorable and perfect for a small family! I would love to live in a small neighborhood like this one day [preferably in Chicago or New York City though]. 

A few blocks over we ended up at The Book Loft, where we browsed the 32 [!] rooms of books. They had every kind of book you could imagine, including a large selection of vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, that made gourmet cooking look easy. After a while of browsing, I walked away with You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. I’ve been wanting to get this book for a while and this post by Kenzie Keaton was the final push to get myself to get it. I’m super excited to sit down and read it. I plan to come down to Schiller Park, just down the street from The Book Loft, to read it!

After collecting a few other books,including Misery by Stephen King and The Beastie Boys Book, we went out for dinner. We stopped at Wunderbar and Pierogi Mountain, a bar and german style eatery combined [bonus: Monday was dollar pierogi night!]. We loaded up on some pergois, vegan mushroom stroganoff, vegan schnitzel and fries. The food was so good! The mushroom stroganoff was my favorite thing we ate. It was packed with flavor! I loved how the restaurant was very vegan and vegetarian friendly. Almost every menu item was able to be made vegan. We left with full bellies and big smiles! 

German Village is one of my favorite places central Ohio has to offer. It is a perfect area for a date night with a special someone or a day out with the family. Stop by German Village the next time you get a chance because you won’t regret it!

Building a Garden & Growing Memories

This summer, my family and I thought it would be a fun idea to start a garden in our backyard. We made a list of the produce we use a lot in the summer and decided to do a salsa-themed garden. Fresh salsa is a staple in our fridge throughout the summer [but how can it not be? It pairs perfectly with chips for a quick midday snack or tops off homemade ~vegetarian~ tacos for dinner] so we thought it would be perfect to have a garden full of all the supplies we need!

In addition to me my mom, my dad and my younger sister, our home also houses three fur babies. Our dogs spend a lot of time outside in the backyard, so our first concern was being able to keep them away from our plants. We decided to build a raised bed to ensure the plants wouldn’t be bothered. My father bought a bunch of cedar wood [cedar is the best wood to use when building raised beds because the natural oils keep it from rotting] and screwed and sealed them together.

Once the beds were assembled, we filled the bottom half of the 3-foot-tall  bed with dirt and the top half with gardening soil. Next, we went to Home Depot to purchase the plants and got down to business; we planted roma tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, poblano peppers and some yellow sweet peppers [we don’t put sweet peppers in our salsa, but they are still a go-to snack in the summer, so we added them anyway]. While at Home Depot, we also bought small planters that sit on the side of our deck for herbs. In the four planters, we planted cilantro, parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary. These herbs are all used very often when cooking, so we thought it would be best to have them all closer to the house on the deck.

Starting this garden has been a fun bonding experience with my family. I loved spending a whole day with them putting this all together. Listening to music, talking about the future and planting was a blast. Now, we all work together to water and tend to it everyday.

It’s been a few weeks since we planted the first seeds and we’re already seeing some growth! The peppers are beginning to sprout and the cilantro is growing tall. I loved the process of putting this garden together and I want to add more. This experience made me so excited to own a house with a yard [or maybe even a farm!] to garden one day!

How To: Switch to Sustainability on a Budget

One of my big intentions for 2019 was to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Over the past few months I’ve been researching and gathering new items to help me become more sustainable in my daily life. I wanted to share some new items that I recommend and some other products I have yet to try but am looking forward to trying in the near future!

Two items I use everyday, that I think everyone should have by now, are  reusable water bottles and coffee cups. There’s no reason to buy single use plastic water bottles anymore when it is so much more cost efficient and environmentally friendly to fill a reusable cup. Many coffee shops now offer a discount if you bring in your own cup, so there is no valid excuse to not have one. I am a big fan of my Hydroflask for water and my Yeti for coffee because they have great temperature control, but it isn’t absolutely necessary to go for the name brands! Anything that isn’t a single-use plastic water bottle is great!

Another go-to of mine are canvas bags and reusable produce bags. These are another item that I believe everyone should have already. These make shopping much more eco-friendly and are given out for free very often. I actually have five canvas bags that I’ve gotten for free. Plastic bags add an unnecessary amount of plastic in the environment and reusable bags are an easy way to cut plastic out of your life. Build up a collection of them and keep them in your car so they are always ready to be used!

When it comes to cooking and meal prepping, using tupperware and beeswax wrap are both great to keep your meals sustainable. Beeswax wrap is the green alternative to plastic wrap, it’s reusable and it keeps food fresh! Another item I am looking forward to adding to my collection are Stasher Bags, a reusable alternative to single use plastic zip bags. I’ve heard so many amazing things about them and I can’t wait to get them!

As far as beauty and skin care items, I’ve focused on a few big switches. In the past two years, I’ve switched to using bamboo toothbrushes in place of plastic ones and started using reusable cotton pads. I haven’t bought a plastic toothbrush in over a year and its easily one of my favorite changes I’ve made. As far as the cotton pads, they’re definitely not as easy as regular cotton pads because they need to be washed frequently, but it’s worth it. Another switch I’ve been working on is making your own skincare products or buying from a small business! I am currently working on switching all of my skin care products to homemade items from a friend who makes them all herself. Cydney [one of our contributors!!] owns a homemade skincare business [@sugareescrubs on insta!] and it’s all based on using all natural and sustainable products!!

In addition to all of these items, I’m also going green in many other aspects of my life! I’ve ditched dryer sheets for wool balls, given up the Keurig for a french press and I am planning to start composting my food scraps!

There are many more ways to be sustainable than replacing your Starbucks straw with a mental one [but still, any small change can make a difference!]. My switch to becoming more sustainable has been a slow process, but I constantly remind myself that any change is a step in the right direction to living a greener life. One thing I really appreciated about this switch is how budget friendly it has been. I’ve been able to comfortably purchase all these products without breaking the bank. As I enter my junior year of college and start grocery shopping and cooking for myself more, I will be working on new ways to stay sustainable such as trying bulk shopping!

Discover: Grandview, Ohio

Looking for somewhere to take that special someone to show them just how much you love them? Or maybe you and your #girlgang just need a day of carefree fun. Whatever the occasion, Grandview, Ohio is the perfect small strip of shops and restaurants great for a date with a loved one.  

Start your day with a lovely breakfast and coffee from Stauff’s. The breakfast is absolutely fantastic and the coffee is even better. I ordered my usual almond milk latte and a potato and egg breakfast hash. The hash was very filling and super delicious! I highly recommend getting to Stauff’s before the kitchen closes at 3 p.m. to try out their breakfast!

After coffee, take a stroll down the street and be sure to stop at The Candle Lab! The Candle Lab is such a cute first date idea, especially the one in Grandview. It isn’t super busy all the time compared to some of their other locations and it’s a fun way to get to know the person you are with. It’s also a great place for birthday celebrations or bachelorette parties! You will be given a clipboard and will leisurely sniff your way down a wall of candles, making sure to take note of your favorite scents. I went for an outdoorsy-scent theme so I picked scents like campfire, eucalyptus and pine. After you’ve picked your list of scents, you go to the bar and an employee will help you match what scents would pair best together. For mine, I found that campfire, balsam fir and mahogany would create the smell I was going for. Once you’ve decided, you are given the three scent oils and you slowly combined them until you’ve reached your desired smell. You then mix your oil with the wax and wait 1 to 2 hours for the wax to harden.

During the few hours I waited for my candle, I walked around and enjoyed the small shops along the street like State of Devotion and Tread. After, I just had to stop and grab a couple scoops of  Jeni’s ice cream. My favorite way to get Jeni’s is to get the trio and try out three different flavors. Jeni’s always has new and interesting flavor choices, so it’s hard to pick just one. Some of my favorites are darkest chocolate, gooey butter cake and coffee with cream and sugar.

Grandview is a super cute location with a lot to offer. I have loved growing up with it being just a short drive from my house! I highly encourage anyone who lives in Columbus or is visiting to stop by Grandview!

Working Full Time but Still Having Fun

This summer my weeks will be filled with 60 hours of work between two jobs to save money for my fall semester tuition. I have decided going into summer to not let all of this working keep me from having fun. I have been at it for a week and I can definitely say that I am still excited for summer.

One big factor that has kept me feeling excited about summer is keeping a positive mental attitude. When waking up at six in the morning to go to work instead of feeling annoyed that I’m up early to go work for 12 hours, I focus on how I am lucky to even be waking up. I focus on how I get to wake up to see the sunrise while I enjoy my cup of coffee. I’ve gotten up a bit earlier so I can enjoy my morning and not feel like I have to rush out the door. I listen to music, prepare a simple breakfast, and get ready. This has made going to work at 8 am a way more positive experience and now I look forward to getting up and enjoying my morning. Though sometimes I find it hard to get up in the morning, I still think that I am way more of a morning person and I thrive off of early mornings. I am going to channel this early riser part of me and use it to start going to the gym at 6 am.

While at work, I keep up my positive attitude while and try to focus less on ‘what time is’ or ‘how much longer until I’m off’ and more on ‘what else can I do to get my mind off the clock and make time go by faster’. Keeping myself busy makes the time fly by. My full time job is at a daycare, so when I’m not doing teacher things like making a bulletin board or planning for summer camp, I try to play and connect with the kids as much as I can. I love getting to know my kids as much as I can while working the summers. Kids have such an interesting perspective and it’s fun to hear about their silly stories.

After my long work days I try to avoid laying right down as I get home. I try to keep myself up and make plans with my friends or family. I like to to keep myself up and doing something after work so my days don’t turn into just working. Whether it be having a bonfire with my friends or a quick Target run with my sister, I like to doing something fun before turning in for the night.

Overall, this first week has really shown me that it is still possible for me to have fun and I am honestly super excited to see what else this summer has in store for me.