Monthly Archives: August 2014

Do you have Dorm Decor?

Decorations n Stuff

 

(Poster – Godfather, Poster – Archer, Painting – Triptych [Three Panel Painting], Banner – NorCal, Fountain – Sculpture, Indoor plants – Juniper Bonsai Tree)

The nice thing about dormitories and apartments is that many come pre furnished and include basic amenities. However, the first thing that you probably notice when walking into your new dorm or apartment is how empty it looks. Sure there may be a few couches, a dining table, chairs and a bed, but for the most part that’s basically it. Even the walls are tend to be blank. Simply put, a new apartment looks cozy, but seems lifeless. In order to make an apartment or dorm your home, you have to give it your own personal touch. So I’ve decided to come up with a list of just a few things that I do to turn a house into a home:

1. Throw up some banners on the walls. A themed banner or flag from your state (or country) is an especially good idea if you are living out of your native state (or country) – don’t be afraid to be proud of where you come from! A large banner can also be hung on a blank wall to add some life to the monotone colored interior. If you’ve got an upper floor window, you could also let the banner fly loose to let the world know what you’re all about.

2. Get some posters to decorate your room. It’s your room so it should reflect your interests. Put up some posters of your favorite movies or t.v. shows. Not only will it make your room feel more decorated but it will also male your room feel more personal and comfortable.

3. Add some paintings in your living room. Your living room is usually the first thing guests will see and often times will be the place that mosts guests will spend time when visiting you. Having a few paintings on the wall will add some class to your apartment and if all else fails while entertaining guests, they can serve as last resort conversation pieces.

4. If there are some empty spaces in your apartment or dorm that the furniture does’t fill you can always add some small sculptures to make your place seem more full. As with paintings, sculptures can add some class to your place and serve as conversation pieces.

5. The last item on the list is to add some indoor plants. Indoor plants literally add life to an apartment. They add color to your humble abode and make your place seem more lively. Apparently taking care of plants is also said to be a cathartic exercise and can relieve stress such as the zen Juniper Bonsai tree.

How do you decorate your place?

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Filed under Activities, Books, Decor, Education, Fashion

It’s the Simple Pleasures

%22My Favorite Things%22

(Anthology – Disney Movie Collection, Barbecue – Portable grill, Cook Book – Low & Slow, Shirt – Plaid shirt/ T- Shirt, Jeans – Pair of Levis)

If you are lucky enough not to have been exposed to any form of news media in the past few weeks, you’re probably feeling very optimistic about the world. However, since news media somehow makes it’s way into every aspect of everyday life that’s probably not likely. With all the media coverage on the growing violence instigated by ISIS in the Middle East, the riots in Ferguson, and the spread of the ebola virus, it is very easy to get upset about the current state of world affairs. So this week, I’ve decided to take a step back from the rather morose media coverage and focus on the little things in life that can cheer us up when we’re down; things like “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” or “brown paper packages tied up with string” (Sound of Music anybody?) that make our day a little brighter without us even realizing it.

Firstly, your favorite shirts or Jeans. Everyone has their favorite shirt that fits just right or their favorite pairs of jeans that are just too comfortable. These are the ones that your not afraid to wear more than once in a week. The ones that you can always rely on if you don’t know what to wear and make you wonder why your wardrobe is unnecessarily big. So appreciate your favorite pair of clothes while they last, they really can make your day a little better.

Second on the list is barbecuing or simply cooking in general. A tasty meal is something everyone can appreciate, but being able to grill, cook, bake, or barbecue is a reward all it’s own. Taking time out of your day to prepare some delicious food can be extremely relaxing and cathartic if done right. The smells of delicious food, the anticipation of a hot meal, and the social interaction that can accompany cooking make it one of the simple pleasures in life that many people underestimate.

Third on the list is Disney movies. Yes you read that right – Disney movies. Let’s be honest, if you enjoyed disney movies as a kid, chances are you’ve watched one or two of them again as an adult. But a little dash of nostalgia can go a long way and re-watching our favorite childhood movies can bring us back to a time when we did have any worries – Hakuna Matata. Plus, no one can watch a kid’s disney movie and feel terribly sad at the end.

These are just a few of the little things that I enjoy and can brighten up my day no matter what mood I’m in.

What are some of your simple pleasures that can make your day just a little better?

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Filed under Activities, Food

Modernize your Workout routine with these Tech-cessories

Healthy Tech

(Scale – Withings Smart Body Analyzer, FUEL – Nike Fuelband, Other Wristband – Fitbit Flex, Chest Strap – Under Armour Armour39, Fork – HAPIfork)

We’ve heard all the fitness cliches before: “There’s no substitute for diet and exercise”, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”, or “It’s called a ‘WORK’ out for a reason”, and while these overused pump-up phrases are generally true, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t little things that can make getting healthier a little easier. While of course “there is no substitute for a proper diet and exercise”, there is some pretty fancy tech out there that can enhance your journey to healthy living.

The first item on the list is something everyone’s heard about. The Nike Fuel Band has been advertised everywhere by Nike. In fact, it’s probably one of the first things you see when walking into a Nike store. What does it do exactly? Well for starters, it’s not just meant to be worn for when your working out. The Fuel Band is meant to by worn throughout the day, keeping track of your activity and calories burned and converting the measurements into a simple easy to understand number that Nike has very cleverly named “Nike Fuel”. It also functions as a watch for when you don’t have your phone with you.

You may think of the Fitbit Flex as just a less popular version of the Nike Fuel Band, but you would be vastly oversimplifying the Fitbit’s function. While it also keeps track of steps, distance, and calories, the Fitbit also takes sleep into account. Sleep is one of the few things that people forget to consider when trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Well with the Fitbit, you can keep track of your sleep cycles and measure the quality of your sleep. It also functions as an alarm clock, for (again) when you forget your phone.

The Under Armour Armour39 is a work-out chest strap, that unlike the Fuel band or Fitbit, was made purely for keeping track of your workouts. It keeps track of your heart rate, calories burned, and a new measurement that Under Armour calls WILLpower – a rating from 0.0 to 10.0 on the quality of your workout. The Armour39 transmits all the information to your iPhone and displays it on the Armour39 app.

The sleek looking scale is known as the Withings Smart Body Analyzer. This may seem just like a fancy new way to describe a weight scale, however, the Smart Body Analyzer does more than just measure a person’s weight. It takes more important measurements that are more directly related to a healthy lifestyle, specifically Body Mass Index (BMI) and (resting) heart-rate. For some reason it also measures the quality of the air in which it is placed, which you wouldn’t exactly expect from your scale, but is still handy for making sure you stay healthy. Like the Armour 39, the Withings Smartbody Analyzer sends Data directly to your mobile device.

The last tech gadget looks deceptively simple however the HAPIfork may be a stroke of genius. It is essentially an eating utensil that tells you when you are eating too much. Okay maybe that’s an oversimplification. The HAPIfork is a Bluetooth enabled “smartfork” that keeps track of your eating habits and sends the data to your personal Online Dashboard. While online, you can see trends in your eating habits and advice on how to modify your diet to get the healthy results you want.

And of course there are dozens apps for mobile devices that can offer advice on workout routines, keep track of calorie intake and expenditure, and virtually every aspect of healthy living.

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Filed under Electronics, Fitness, Health

How Tech’d up are you for School?

 

Tech-stuff Bond

(Case – Macbook pro case, Keyboard – Accessories, Bag – Mackbook Bag, Laptop – 15” Macbook pro with retina Display, Kindle – Kindle Fire, iPad – 16GB iPad 2, Stylus – smartphone/ tablet stylus.)

Last week I wrote about the joys of “Back to School” week and the basic must haves supplies of going back to school. However I realized after writing that article, that many of those items are very slowly being replaced by numerous tech devices. Take the last decade for example (2000-2010), the only things that kids in school used to do homework was a pen, paper, and notebook and for the most part technological exposure was limited to using the internet for research and using a computer to write essays. However in recent years, technology has been making its way into the classrooms. Online courses can now be substituted for regular courses, smart-boards replace chalk boards and assignments can be given and submitted online rather than in a classroom. While the modern classroom still requires the use of a pen and paper, these are being gradually replaced by different technology. So this week I’m going to focus on certain tech-stuffs that you can add to your collection of school supplies.

For college students, having a laptop is a must. Sure, any student can make use of computers at a campus library, but having a laptop (while expensive) is very, very convenient. Many students in college prefer to take notes on their laptops, and as an added bonus some college professors post lecture notes on their course websites, so being able to access those on your computer while in class can be helpful. And if you’re planning on spending a decent amount of money on a laptop, you might as well make sure it’s worth it and get a laptop that does the job. I personally use a 15” Macbook Pro. While it’s a little heavier than the Macbook air, the hogher processing power and memory storage are mean that I can use my Macbook for things other than school-work.

And lets be honest, when you buy a laptop, it’s not going to be just for schoolwork, you’re going to use it, most likely for every day use, so why not personalize your laptop? Apple has developed many accessories for their products, but some of them are worth buying for both practical and aesthetic reasons. Take a Macbook case for example. It provides some protection for your very, very expensive piece of tech, and can be customized to fit your personality. Keyboard covers can give your laptop an added flair and also serve to protect your laptop from scratches, dirt, or food/drink spills. Laptop bags are essential if you plan on going somewhere without a backpack or an adequately sized purse. It limits your laptops exposure to anything that can damage it which is equally important if you’re traveling somewhere far or simply looking to use your laptop at the local Starbucks.

Some students that I’ve met don’t like using their laptops but instead prefer to use their iPads. They’re lighter than laptops and can access the internet the same, however you probably won’t be writing essays or working on assignments with them. You can however take written notes with them. Thanks to the app Paper for iPad, your iPad become an electronic notepad. All you need is an electronic stylus and you can draw, or take notes on your tablet or mobile device.

Last week I also mentioned that Amazon has a special membership for students that need textbooks. Well as I’ve found out, some textbooks now are available for purchase on Kindle. Now I don’t think I can overstate how convenient having three or four textbooks worth of information on one small device. Not only does it cut down on the amount of stuff you have to carry with you, but you’ll have all your information consolidated in one place!

With this decade already well underway, technology seems to be a part of every day life. And the strange thing is that many of the tech that we already take for granted wasn’t available to us barely ten years ago. However, in my opinion, no matter how far technology can take us there will always be some things that technology cannot replace.

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Filed under Education, Electronics

A Gift for Any Guy

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.35.33 PM

 

( Portable Grill – Uncommon Goods, iPhone case – Mophie, Scratch off map – Uncommon Goods, T-shirt – Vineyard Vines, Cuff Links – Real Simple, Sunglasses – RayBan, Watch – Nordstrom, Face Mug – Uncommon Goods, Gloves – Real Simple )

I have always been one to think that shopping for guys is so difficult, but it no longer has to be. Whether you need a present for a guy in your life for graduation, a birthday, or even a nice surprise, look no further! Anyone is bound to love one of these great gifts.

The portable briefcase grill is the perfect addition to any kebab lover’s life. It fits within a briefcase (if you choose to keep it there) that happens to be perfect for a meal for two.

The iPhone charging on the go case is not only a gift just for guys. Anyone and everyone should have one if they carry an iPhone everyday. When your phone dies, it sometimes feels like there may never be a charger in site. This case will charge your phone on the go- plus, its stylish and sleek! Don’t ever be stuck with a dead phone again.

Do you know a person with the travel bug? I know I do. This scratch map is looks awesome, plus it’s great to keep track of all the places you have visited. Just take a coin and scratch off the places you have visited, revealing color in their place.

I’ll admit, I love vineyard vines t-shirts. They are so comfortable and stylish. They make the perfect gift for any guy (or girl) who has a pretty style, or one that just enjoys colorful shirts with a fun logo. There are so many colors and styles you can’t go wrong!

These cuff links are for the businessman. They are perfect for any man’s tuxedo and add a touch of color. Their packaging doesn’t hurt either!

RayBan sunglasses are a classic at any age. Be careful though, because this particular style does not always fit every face. They have so many to choose from though that it shouldn’t be any problem. They are of great quality and protect your eyes from harmful rays.

This Nixon watch has just enough edge as style. Its leather strap makes it look a little old fashioned but the face makes it look sleek and modern. It even keeps track of the date for those guys who can’t always remember what day it is like me.

For any man stuck in the cold often, cashmere blend gloves are the perfect solution. They protect your hands while providing a fashionable touch. Who ever is lucky enough to receive these may never take them off!

Last but definitely not least, the cookie face mug. Let me just say I would not be opposed to receiving one of these every birthday. This mug is beyond cool. It is perfect for milk and cookie combinations or even donuts and coffee, whatever you prefer. Plus, it brightens anyone’s day.

Don’t ever be stuck looking for a gift and settling on something mediocre.

 

 

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Filed under Style

Back To School Basics

Back To School Basics

 

(Paper – College Ruled, Pens – G2 Ballpoint, Pencils – Mechanical BiC pencils, Binder – Organizing Folders, Backpack – Classic JanSport, Notebooks – Mead Spiral Notebooks)

Summertime Sadness (Sorta)

Well it’s that time of the year again. Near the end of Summer and the beginning of Fall. Take a trip to your local Target or Walmart and you’ll see signs that Summer is nearly over. And I’m not speaking metaphorically – you will literally see signs marking sections that are specific to “Back to School” items.

For all you parents out there “Back to School” is the start of the daily routine of dropping the kids off and picking them up several hours later and possibly attending PTA meetings every few weeks – just another list of things to add into your already busy schedule. But if you are a kid or even a young teenager, school is most likely at the center of what you do. It forms the basis of your social life, teaches things you may or may not find useful in the future, and hopefully opens your mind up to the possibilities around you. We’ve all been there and whether you love it or you hate it, school forms the basis of our formative years. For those of us lucky enough to have the motivation and means to pursue a higher education, schooling becomes even more important. In college almost everything you do will involve school and I’m not just referring to studies and homework. The people you hang out with will more than likely be classmates, roommates, or people in your dorm. You may find yourself working one or two jobs at a time to pay off those pesky student loans, to keep up with housing payments, to afford school books, or even to buy groceries. Basically school becomes your main focus (hopefully) and for good reason: it’s a springboard to future career tracks as well as a realm of various possibilities even if you think that the material you are learning is “useless”.

If you’ve managed to read this far without getting bored, you’re probably wondering what that rant had to do with “back to school” stuff. Well the answer is simple: Since schooling is so important (as previously indicated), it makes sense to be prepared from Day One. All of the items on this list are oriented to college students, with a focus on practical, inexpensive, and light weight items.

The first thing that you need obviously is something to hold your books, supplies, and if you have one, a laptop. A rugged yet lightweight backpack is ideal and if you’ve got a tight budget, I’d recommend the Classic JanSport backpack. It’s really the basic backpack that both looks the part for a college student and is durable enough to last the year.

So backpack, check. Now for items useful in classes, you’re obviously going to need something to take notes with and on. Mead Spiral Notebooks are great to take to class because they don’t take up space in your bag and because they can serve as both your notebook and your source of lined paper for written assignments or essays. If you’re not the person that likes to keep different notebooks for different classes, then you can keep all your notes together in one big Binder. All your assignments and notes will be organized and available in one place. Of course if you don’t buy a spiral notebook, you will need to stock up on a lot of college ruled paper. As for writing tools, I prefer G2 ballpoint pens simply because they are relatively inexpensive and are very smooth to write with. I would however advise buying a few cases of these pens as they may get lost or broken frequently. If you need a pencil, say for some sort of math class, I would recommend buying Mechanical BiC Pencils in bulk. These pencils are very convenient as you don’t need to sharpen them, they’re almost always ready to use, and they use number 2 pencil lead (the type that most scan-tron tests need).

These are of course just the basics of what a college student will need for classes, but other than course-specific books or materials like calculators, they really are the only items that every class requires.

Speaking of books, many college students complain about how expensive their textbooks are at the college bookstore. Well in case you don’t know, Amazon has a special offer for college students that sign up for student memberships, with discounted shipping and other great benefits to help you save some money. For some text books, they even have a “rent” option that allows you to order a book for the semester at only a fraction of the normal cost.

While summer is coming to an end and you are making all your preparations for the coming Fall season, don’t forget to enjoy yourself the last few weeks of vacation. After all, Summer’s not over just yet.

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Filed under Books, Education