Halloween Door Decor

Doors aren’t just for security, they’re portals to your domain. And a blank canvas just waiting for your decorating genius to touch. With Halloween right around the corner, you have a perfect excuse to get into dorm decor and see for yourself how much of a difference a decorated threshold can make.

Halloween Door Decor

Not sure how to get started? Consider the following tips, tricks, and inspiration:

Getting in the Spirit with Halloween Door Decor

  • Mummy :: A great mummy door decor can be done as simply as this example where all you need is streamers and black and white construction paper. Wrap the streamers around your door as tightly as possible, cut out four circles, and ta-da! You have a mummy. For those of you who are a bit more ambitious, try out this more thematic approach.
  • Witch & Broom :: Want to make your Halloween door decor a bit extra? Check out this crafty model of a witch crashing into a door. This one will take a bit of time to recreate, but it isn’t too challenging. Start by cutting out a plywood base and paint it matte black. Then glue pieces of foam core along the edges to simulate broken plaster around a dark hole. Finish the look off with by mounting a pair of mannequin legs donned with old stockings and thrift store boots.
  • Giant Furry Monster :: This is another simple door decor that is ideal for those who love textures. Start with some furry fabric (fabric stores tend to have large supplies come Halloween) and cut out enough to cover your door. Then, same as with the mummy, cut out cartoonish eyes to glue on for a hidden-in-the-dark look.
  • An Eyeball.  You don’t have to decorate the entire facade of your door to make a visual impact. Consider this unique Halloween door decoration of a piercing blue eye that stares at passerbys. To create your own, all you’ll need is an antique frame, bright green cloth, and an eyeball from a Halloween store. If you can’t find the size eyeball you need, paint one using a table top tennis ball sort of like this.

Of course, this is by no means the only list of possibilities. From bats to the undead, the Halloween season has plenty of themes to build from. Let us know how your door turned out by tagging us on Instagram!

Planning a Successful Semester

All throughout College Station, students are moving into new places and getting re-adjusted to new homes-away-from-homes. Everyone is picking their courses, meeting new best friends, and scouting out their favorite study (and party) areas.

Planning a Successful Semester

Obviously, as exciting as this is, it also can quickly tip the scales to overwhelming. Get started on the right foot and keep a great pace this semester with the following tips for planning success:

3 Tips for Planning a Successful Semester

  • Develop a list of SMART Goals.  SMART goals are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. An example of a great SMART goal that meets all these criteria: My goal is to get all Bs or above this semester. To achieve that, I will study at least 10 hours in the library each week. I will also meet with professors at least once a week. I will keep a notebook for each assignment with highlighted notes that I can use for exam preparation. By semester’s end, I will have obtained all As and Bs in my classes.
  • Break down due dates and big goals into daily tasks.  It’s easy to say what your semester resolutions or goals are; the hard part is putting in the work to achieve them. One thing that every highly productive student has in common is the ability to break down big tasks into bite-size chunks they can achieve. College A+ students don’t cram for exams the night before. Nor do they attempt to throw together a research paper in one weekend. The best tactic to stay on track, stay successful, and actually learn (not just remember for a day) the information taught is to break down every big paper, project, and exam into small bits. Plan out hours to study, organize notes, and gather research materials.
  • Plan it all in writing.  Grab a student-specific agenda or planner and write down your SMART goals and daily tasks. Pair them with benchmarks you can double check every week. You might also consider getting organized with Google Calendar. Check out this tutorial to learn how you can use this tool to upload important semester dates (use each course syllabus as a general outline) and sign up for notifications via SMS and/or emails to help keep you on track.

You already know Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well, neither was a successful college career. It is important to think big, but plan small. Develop SMART goals that you can break down and use the tools you have to remind you of your tasks and keep you on track.

Tips for Sharing the Fridge

Northpoint Crossing’s student apartments come with a ton of amenities. Here, you get private bedrooms features walk-in closets with in-room washer and dryer. Plus there’s pre-installed high-speed wireless internet with all the hardware you need to get connected from day one. But perhaps one of the best in-room amenities is a fully stocked kitchen complete with modern appliances. This includes a large refrigerator with ice maker and dishwasher for less complaining about dirty dishes.

3 Tips for Sharing a Fridge With Roomies

Of course, even a dishwasher won’t wash away all the little disagreements that are a part of living with roommates. The following are a few good refrigerator rules to help keep the peace between roommates:

3 Great Rules for Fridge Sharing

  • Separate the fridge symmetrically.  Keeping refrigerator shelves as symmetrical as possible allows the interior space to be divided equally and fairly among roommates. While of course there will be some overlap, having established zones will ensure everyone has place to put their groceries and are responsible for maintaining those groceries (like throwing out that rotten tomato).
  • Use the door as communal space.  Once you have the interior figured out, consider the benefits of making the door a communal space. This is the ideal spot for things like condiments, coffee creamer, and other more share-worth items. An established communal section keeps the more personal areas from becoming cluttered and helps foster good roommate vibes. Just make sure you have an agreed policy in place for who whose responsibility it is to replace used items.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no (and listen when others say back off).  Of course, not everyone wants to share every condiment. Maybe your aunt makes you homemade barbecue sauce or you like to splurge on organic soy creamer. Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to say that something is absolutely not sharable. Just be sure to communicate that with your roommates. Do this verbally first and later, if absolutely necessary, grab a sharpie and some tape to make it clear. Don’t forget that this also goes both ways and yes, your roommate absolutely notice is there is a spoonful missing from her favorite ice cream tub.

You might be surprised at how tense things can get around the fridge. Maybe one person hates having their milk used or someone else takes WAY too long to clean out their perishables. Following the above tips are a great way to establish good ground rules for a happier and healthier roommate relationship.

10 Things Seniors Wish Freshmen Knew

Your freshman year of college is a special type of experience that you can’t ever re-do. It’s a pivotal moment in which you step out from the structure and guidance of high school living to the independence and opportunities of college. Naturally, for many this is equal parts exciting and overwhelming.

freshman advice from seniors

Make the most (and get the most) out of your first year at TAMU with the following senior advice:

10 Things Seniors Wish Freshmen Knew

  1. Class attendance matters.  Sure, you can choose to sleep in and skip those classes. After all, your parents aren’t here to check on you and your school isn’t going to call home. But class attendance goes a long way in keeping grades up and professors thinking fondly of you.
  2. Establish healthy eating habits.  Developing bad eating habits in this first stressful year is a good way to mess up your metabolism and sabotage your health. Be conscious now of your daily food intake.
  3. Don’t skip out on sleep.  Sleep is a necessity and five hours of shut-eye is not enough. Aim for 7 to 9 hours a night.
  4. Take professors not just classes.  Research professors just like you would any course as a great professor can make any subject exciting. But even the most exciting subject can be made boring or frustrating by a bad (or mediocre) professor.
  5. Figure out your optimum study habits now.  Every one has a set style, method, and time that makes for their optimum studying. Find out yours now to make the next years of college as productive as possible.
  6. Spend time off campus.  Spend some time exploring College Station, this is about to be your home for the next four (or five years).
  7. Find the student discounts.  To build on that point, find those restaurants and businesses that offer student discounts and put them on your favorite list.
  8. Take advantage of college teams and sports.  Getting the right mix of exercise and social life isn’t always easy. But by taking advantage of a college walk-on intramural team or club sport you can enjoy both. Don’t worry if you don’t have experience, these teams are designed for the newbies.
  9. Roommates aren’t easy, now is the time to learn to be a good one.  Being a good roommate is a learning experience. In the following years, you are also likely to encounter a mix of the best and worst room-sharing experiences. Be patient and establish rules and conflict resolutions early on. This will help in communicating and overcoming roommate problems when they arise (and they will arise).
  10. Less talking, more doing.  This isn’t a dress rehearsal. Take action now.

Share Your Stories

Have your older friends, relatives, or mentors imparted their own college advice? Let us know your favorite tips in the comments!


How to Upgrade Your Basic Pool Party

All apartments and student housing centers are not created equal. In the hot days of June, there are few things students want more than easy pool access. At Northpoint Crossing, residents have not just one but two pools to celebrate summer in. And really, isn’t it time to officially kick off the start of summer?

college station pool party

Take advantage of Northpoint Crossing’s amenities and show your friends and fellow residents a great time with a pool party. Just consider the following tips for best effects:

How to Upgrade Your Basic Pool Party at Northpoint Crossing

  • Choose an appropriate time. Talk with the Northpoint Crossing resident managers to nail down a good time. In general, because summer classes are back in session, you’ll probably find the most success with a Saturday or Sunday.
  • Don’t forget the music (or the sunscreen). Music is the magic ingredient that really transforms a pool atmosphere into a party center. Make sure your iPhone has a waterproof case and grab some Bluetooth speakers to set up a little self-DJ station.
  • Correlate photos with a hashtag.  If you love Instagram, consider setting out a sign with the party’s hashtag to make it easier to look at everyone’s photos later. This is especially a good idea if the party happens to coincide with a friend’s birthday or grad celebrations.
  • Grab the grillables.  Swimming can really get an appetite going. Keep your guests filled and ready for a round two by stocking up on grillables before the party. There are several outdoor grills for use at Northpoint Crossing. Of course, if you really aren’t the cooking kind of person, you can always just opt to gather money and order pizza for delivery.
  • Have some pool activities or games ready. Sure, some people are content just to mingle. But to get people laughing and engaged, you’ll want to have some pool acvitives or games in mind. This could be as simple as having a water volleyball (or basketball) set set-up or as involved as a frozen t-shirt contest. Check out this blog to get inspired with swimming pool games. You can keep things interesting on the pool deck with something like an oversized Jenga set.

Stop Reading and Start Swimming!

From swimming pools to rooftop terraces, exercise facilities, and grilling stations, Northpoint Crossing has all the amenities a college student might want. So why wouldn’t you want to take advantage of them? Go set-up that June pool party and splash into summer!


Fun & Unique Things to Do in College Station

May is the classic start of summer for the Bryan-College Station area. Average temperatures range between the mid-70s and 80s, making for a perfect time to be outdoors. So go ahead and enjoy some time away from your studies.

What to Do In College Station

This month, grab your closest pals and check out these fun (and unique) things to do in College Station:

4 Fun & Unique Things to Do in College Station

  1. Rock out at Lakeside Icehouse and Lake Bryan.  The Lakeside Icehouse at Lake Bryan is one of those rare local gems that are only possible due to the right mix of location, people, and activities. Here, you can rent a campsite and wake up to the sunrise on Lake Bryan. Or spend the warm summer afternoons swimming, fishing, and boating. If you love live music and delicious southern fare, then head down to the Lakeside Icehouse. This lively location is known for featuring hot and upcoming music talents. One exciting event coming up is the two-day Rock Away Cystic Fibrosis Music Festival taking place May 12 and 13.
  2. Feel the wind in your hair at Lone Star Trapeze Academy.  Enjoy a first-hand look at circus living and fly through the sky at this one-of-a-kind academy. Here, a highly experienced team of acrobats are eager and ready to teach the art of trapeze. Enjoy personalized lessons or book a group for an exciting day event. Just make sure everyone is ready to get loose and feel the air whoosh beneath their feet.
  3. Throw frisbees and watch the pups play at Research Park.  Situated on the edge of the Texas A&M campus, Research Park has something for just about everyone. But our two favorites is the impressive 18-hole disc golf course and the off-leash area alive with hilarious puppy antics. This latter dog area is beloved by both owners and wish-they-were-owners thanks to an overlooking grassy knoll ideal for a blanket, book, and early summer picnic. But for those disc golfers among you, there really is no better place in the city. Research Park boasts the city’s only 18-hole course. Plus, some water hazards that make for more exciting and challenging play.
  4. Or stay in the shade and problem solve at Escape Room.  Escape Room BCS just opened its doors last year and already it’s become a massive hit among students and older game aficionados. This unique business locks participants in a room with a group of people (you can play with strangers or your friends). Everyone then must work together to find clues and solve a series of puzzles that will allow them to escape. It’s an immersive experience and ideal for those who love haunted houses, board games, or simply solving mysteries.

Have you already been to all the above? What is your favorite place to go and thing to do during these first warm days of summer? Sound off on Facebook and tag us!

Quick Graduate Checklist

Worried you spent more of your senior enjoying the social benefits rather than the scholarly ones? You’re not alone. Many seniors drag their heels when it comes to preparing for what will come after they get off the commencement stage. But that date is getting any further way and when it comes to getting ready, now is better than tomorrow.

Three Important Tasks to Complete Before Gradation

Plus, it just takes a few baby steps to get the ball rolling on success. Consider the following quick graduate checklist to help you get back on track:

The Three Must-Dos of a Graduate Checklist

  • Get those recommendations now.  Whether you plan on going straight into the workforce, graduating into grad school, or even spending a year traveling Asian countrysides, go get your recommendations now. Talk to your favorite professors, TAs, and other scholars you’ve worked with over the last few years. Have them draft a letter a recommendation while your unique skills, aptitude, and personality are fresh in their mind.
  • Write, rewrite, and perfect your resume.  Take a weekend and dedicate it to reflecting upon your college career and drafting several forms of your perfect resume. Consider some of the biggest projects and most defining moments. Once you have an outline of a good resume, open up another doc and start typing up your thoughts of what you want to do next. Tailor a few different resume drafts to fit those perfect positions and places you have in mind.
  • Do some QC on your social profiles.  Snapchat and WhatsApp are definitely social godsends for their focus on privacy. Unfortunately, not all social media platforms are so… easily forgetful of our impromptu thoughts and actions. You’re about to hit the professional world which means you’re in need of a professional online profile. Do a purge of your general accounts and everything you don’t want seen by future employers and HR managers is protected behind stringent privacy settings. Google your name and do what you can to ensure only those results that reflect positively on you come up. Or, if nothing comes up, depending upon your desired line of work, consider starting a blog, website, or SEO-enriched LinkedIn so you do show up.

So are you ready to take that walk? What are you most nervous about in regards to your impending graduation? Sound off on social media and don’t forget to tag us!

Get Creative with Easter Eggs

It doesn’t matter if you’re three, twenty-three, or eighty-three, decorating Easter eggs is fun. Plus, and this especially important with final exams creeping ever closer, a little art therapy does wonders for reducing stress.

Four Creative Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

Studies show that even if you lack an artist bent, being crafty for just 45 minutes can significantly reduce body stress levels. So put down that book for a second, grab a dozen eggs, and check out these Easter egg ideas:

4 Creative Ways to Decorate Easter Eggs

  • Sharpie Doodles.  No excuses here; everyone can doodle. Begin by grabbing a raw egg, sticking it on both ends and blowing out the yolk. Then take a permanent marker, any color will do, and begin making lines, circles, dots, and curves to create a one-of-a-kind creation.
  • Mod Podge Decoupage.  Strictly speaking, this how-to isn’t about decorating eggs but rather creating egg-like decorations from balloons and tissue paper decorations. These mod podge creations are great for hanging up as spatial decorations.
  • Silk Dyed Eggs.  This is another great egg decorating option for those who are not into hand painting. Here, all you need are silk ties and vinegar to create beautiful eggshell prints. Make sure you grab 100% silk ties (can be had for cheap at any thrift store) with bright and bold patterns. You’ll then wrap each egg into the silk and drop them into a boiling vinegar+water mixture to transfer the tie pattern onto the egg.
  • Watercolor with style.  Finally, for those of you who do want to get your fingers a little dirty and be a little artsier, grab your watercolor paint and pencils and turn up the music for some true artistic time. Watercolors are wonderful as its something anyone can do; all it takes is a few brush strokes and you have a light and whimsy look. Experiment with colors, shapes, and other doodles of your own design.

If for whatever reason the above don’t work out for you, you can always grab a classic Paas or similar brand egg decorating kit at the nearest corner store. Invite your friends over for snacks, laughs, and decorations.

Staying Motivated Post-Break

Le sigh. That beautiful, week-long respite of Spring Break is over. Instead of beach parties and long tubes down the Guadalupe, it’s time for alarm clocks and lecture halls. This period between the end of spring break and the start of summer can arguably be the most difficult for students to stay motivated and on top of projects.

Staying Motivated After Spring Break

Consider the following tips to help you stay focused and motivated during these final weeks:

Strategies for Post-Break School Success

  • Get back into a steady routine.  Even if you spent the entire week binging on your favorite Netflix videos, getting back into the routine of things is tough. However, putting together a strict schedule and adhering to it will help you get right back into the swing of things. Even small routines like studying at the same place and time every day can significantly help you retain focus and stay motivated. If you’re naturally adverse to a schedule or not a morning person, this can be REALLY difficult. So start with a simple and gentle morning routine of activities you enjoy, like a cup of coffee in bed or sun salutations by the pool.
  • Stick to a healthy diet.  Toss out the potato chips and start stocking your refrigerator with healthy food options. If you’re detoxing from a high sugar or alcohol heavy break, your body will struggle with energy. So eat lots of vegetables and fruits to stay energized and nourished. Also, remember to drink plenty of water to keep fatigue at bay.
  • Grab friends and create a support network.  You don’t have to go it alone! The same people who kicked it with you on the beaches of South Padre Island are likely just in need of some study help as you. Use your classmates and friends as a post-spring break sound-off board to vent, swap notes, and encourage each other to stay motivated for end-of-term success. Plus,
  • Give yourself something to look forward. Finally, you don’t have to kill off all fun during these last six weeks or so. Schedule in some mini-rewards and off-school activities to help you stay motivated and feeling good about where you are. Get a good grade on a paper? Treat yourself to your favorite restaurant. Successfully navigate a stressful week at your part-time job? Enjoy a weekend out by the lake or with friends.

Have your own strategies for post-spring break success? Sound off in the comments and good luck getting your college groove back!


Top Texan Spring Break Destinations

You don’t have to take a cruise out to the Caribbean or fly down to Mexico to have a good time and enjoy thrilling parties this Spring Break. You already know our state’s tagline of everything is bigger (and better) in Texas.

Top Texas Spring Break Destinations

So save on the interstate (and international) travel and check out these hot places to party right here in Texas:

Top Texan Spring Break Destinations

  • South Padre Island.  Alright, we’ll start with the obvious for those who missed the annual memo. Long before MTV crews ever hit the shoreline, South Padre Island was the unofficial Texas Spring Break, must-go destination. In fact, the Travel Channel has ranked it as the number three best spring break destination in the world. Every year, this tropical oasis becomes college party central with cheap hotel rooms, wild day parties, great beach bars and all the sun, surf, and sand you could want. Other, less booze-filled activities, include boating, fishing, and even bird-watching for those outdoor lovers among you.
  • Austin & the Guadalupe River.  For a more laid-back, urban-meets-country spring break, take your crew to Austin. Here you’ll find some of the most exciting nightlife in the state as well as some delicious barbecue joints. Just make sure you spend at least one day (although we’d recommend more, because, why not?) out tubing on the Guadalupe River. With no ban on cans, you can drink and party while you float, but be sure to bring a floatable cooler for those empties, and kick back as the current takes you down. Pro-tip, check out this new outfitter if you don’t have your own tubing equipment or shuttle set-up.
  • Port Aransas.  Maybe you’re noticing a bit of a water trend, but really getting cool and wet before the heat sets in is what spring break is all about. Port A and its Mustang Island offer miles of sandy beaches to play in and near. This area tends to be significantly less crazy and crowded than the aforementioned South Padre Island but still offers plenty of day and nightlife excitement for college students escaping their dorms and textbooks.

Do you have your own favorite Texan Spring Break destination? Tips for where to go and what to bring? Sound off on social media and let us know where you’d rather be this March.


Dorm Room Date Night

Making time for dating isn’t easy during college. Not only do you have a ton of school, social, and extracurricular things on your plate, but dorm living with roommates can make romantic one-on-ones a bit of a challenge. But today we’re here to help! Whether you’re hungry for some tips on a low-stress (but still special) Valentine’s Day or in search of general tips for a successful dorm room date night, you’ve come to the right place.

Dorm room Date Night

Sweet & Easy Dorm Room Date Ideas

Musical Duets.  Music is like fertilizer for romance. But you don’t need to be an accomplished musician to apply it. In fact, we recommend this one for couples with little to no musical experience as experts say couples who learn together and try new things grow closer.

So for this one, grab a budget-friendly ukulele or two and your laptop for YouTube instructions and favorite songs. Ukuleles are incredibly easy to learn and with them you can play many pop and country songs. They are also easy to carry and store and aren’t as loud as other instruments, which will please your neighbors. Try starting out with this easy tutorial for “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers.

Dinner and a movie.  There’s a reason why this is a classic. But you don’t have to shell out tons of cash for a restaurant dinner and theater tickets. Have a dinner and film date in your dorm room offers the chance of cooking together. Plus, you can freely talk and flirt without getting hushed by other film lovers.

Upgrade this by making it a theme. For example, if you’re planning on watching a beloved anime flick, get sushi takeout or get the ingredients and roll your own. Not into raw fish? Try this banana “sushi”. Or if you want to do a new rom-com, ditch the dinner table and opt for an indoor picnic. Gather together fruit with cut sandwiches, fruit, and, of course, chocolate. Themes have a way of pulling things together and transforming a basic “Netflix and Chill” into a special event that’s planned and looked forward to.

Create together.  Arts and crafts never gets old. In fact, they can make you feel young and alive. That’s because crafting release special chemicals in your brain that boost your happiness in the same way that falling in love does.

The trick to successfully doing crafts together is to center on something you both love. Are you both plant and garden lovers? Try a terrarium creation. Love action figures or similar collectible items? Create a unique DIY lamp. Want to use your tools and paintbrushes? Go big with a wood pallet coffee table build.

Whichever of these date night ideas or others you choose, the best relationship tip here is to tailor plants to fit both your lives. Whether you define your couple-ness by the quiet times together, the wild nights out, or the fun nights in, focus on what makes you both happy together.


4 Slimming Workouts for the Aerobics Room

TAMU students overwhelmingly choose to live at Northpoint Crossing because of the amenities. Here, you have a swimming pool, sauna, rooftop terraces, game room, and a fully-outfitted weight area.

All of which are just outside your apartment door. But also, perhaps most notably for those looking to keep the notorious Freshman 15 at bay and stay in good health, there is the aerobics and multi-purpose room. A workout room complete with spin bikes. Get inspired to take full advantage of this space to get in shape with the following slimming workouts:

4 Workouts for A Slimmer, Healthier You

  • Jumping Rope.  Jumping rope is a killer, yet vastly underappreciated calorie-burning exercise. You’d have to jog for over thirty minutes to work off more calories than you’d burn with ten minutes of jumping rope. That’s because this workout tones both your upper and lower body while quickly boosting your heart rate. It’s also great for brain health because it involves coordination, rhythm, and strategy. So grab the ropes, print out this guide, and get jumping in the aerobics room.
  • Kettlebells.  Kettlebells for Dummies author Sarah Lurie boasts, “A kettlebell workout can be done in half the time of typical workouts and burn twice as many calories… Most kettlebell exercises give you a cardiovascular workout and a full-body strength workout at the same time.” Kettlebells are an inexpensive yet incredibly effective way to burn calories and tone your body. Plus, they are ideal workouts for smaller spaces.
  • Yoga.  There are plenty of great places to unroll a yoga mat at Northpoint Crossing. Get to the rooftop just before dawn and get into your mountain pose as the sun peeks out from the horizon. Or, grab a couple friends and lead a challenging asana session in the aerobics and multi-purpose room.  It doesn’t matter what style of yoga you prefer, this versatile workout provides practitioners with a host of benefits. Such benefits include increased flexibility, improved energy, increased muscle strength and tone, and more.
  • Indoor Cycling.  The on-site aerobics room includes several state-of-the-art spin bikes. Study or listen to your favorite podcast as you enjoy this effective, low-impact workout. Spinning works both your major leg muscles and your abdominal muscles to help you burn those calories and keep your body toned and fit.

Excited to take full advantage of the North Crossing aerobics and multi-purpose room? Stay tuned for future articles about great exercises and workouts you can do here. Plus advice on how to get the most out of the other premier amenities available on-site.

New Calendars for the New Year

After the hustle and bustle of the holidays and final exams, the new year offers new opportunities to recollect and start fresh. No matter what your 2017 goals are, be they fitness, school, or otherwise, calendars are an ideal way to help you stay on track.

4 New Calendars for 2017

They’re simple yet versatile tools that can fit any design and decor ideas you have. The following list offers fun and creative calendar varieties we love that are easy to make and beautiful to use:

4 New Calendars for 2017

  • Paint Swatch Calendar.  For just $5 in supplies, you can create a unique and reusable calendar. Begin by heading to your local home improvement or painting supply store and grab paint samples in your favorite colors. Then check out this tutorial for creating a poster-size calendar.
  • Vintage Journal-esque Calendar.  In December, there was a trend among older social media users of comparing 2006 pictures of themselves with 2016 versions. There’s something beautiful about reflecting about who you were and what you were doing one decade with the person you are today. To take that idea and apply it offline, consider this vintage jouranl-sque calendar. The idea is to fill a fruit box or similar container with postcards and date-stamped index cards. For each day, write the year and a one-line snippet of something done that day. It won’t look like much the first year, but the more you keep with it, the more rewarding it’ll get. As a college student, this is the ideal time to start marking down the events in your first decade as an independent adult. You can also use this calendar as a fun gift idea.
  • Desk Calendar.  If you’re looking for something simple, then perhaps this how-to is the project for you. Sweet, stylish, and simple. All you need here is a few pages of printable calendars, your favorite quotes, and cardstock. With these items you can create a desk calendar ideal for showing the dates with flair. You might also substitute the side quotes with your favorite printed Instagram pics.
  • Canvas & Ribbon Calendar. All the aforementioned calendars are great for viewing dates and recording memories. But they lack a third dimension, a place to pin and store items. The Canvas & Ribbon calendar tutorial by Thrifty Crafty Girl is ideal for fulfilling that need. With this calendar, you can easily keep track of everything and store items like your crush’s business card, an upcoming concert ticket, a found feather, and much more.

Which of these calendars do you love the best? Or do you have your own ideas on how to keep track of your new year’s resolutions and stay on top of important dates? Then sound off in the comments!

Christmas Trees You Can’t Kill

A large part of getting in tune with the holidays — any holiday — involves home decorations. For Christmas, that means busting out the wreaths, red and green sweaters, and of course, setting up the classic Christmas tree. But student life isn’t conducive to keeping the traditional fir tree alive over the holidays.


Are you eager to decorate for the holidays but don’t want a tree that’ll wither and die over the holiday break? Consider the following great non-traditional Christmas trees:

3 Non-Traditional Christmas Tree Ideas

  • Hardback Christmas Tree.  Frustrated that the bookstore won’t take back last semester’s books? Turn those used books into Christmas inspiration by constructing a Hardback Christmas Tree like this one. Start by grabbing as many books as you can gather and a couple of empty boxes. Sort your books by size and shape and use the boxes as an inner core of your non-traditional Christmas tree. Then simply stack your books in a pyramid-like fashion until you’ve reached the top. Use Christmas lights as the perfect final touch.
  • Reclaimed Pallet Tree.  Wood pallets are a staple of the shipping industry, but once they’ve reached their final destination, they generally get tossed out or sold for a couple dollars. This makes them the perfect staple for budget-friendly projects, such as for a non-traditional Christmas tree. All you need is a pallet (or a couple thin boards from the lumber store), a hammer, saw, nails, and some decorating materials. Cut and layer wood pieces along a cross-section so you form a tree-like pattern such as this Pallet Christmas Tree. Then decorate as you see fit! You can drape on the Christmas lights, use stencils or wallpaper for an extra touch, or hang Christmas ornaments from each board.
  • A Ladder Tree. If you’re planning on having a lot of presents under your Christmas tree, or if you have a Christmas-themed display you also want to set up, then this Ladder Christmas Tree might just be the alternative option for you. The basics needed are just a ladder and some boards, but again you can take decorating as far as you want. Add lights and pine cones and pile the wrapped presents high on this functional and aesthetically pleasing faux tree.

Feeling inspired yet? Whether you choose to replicate one of the above non-traditional Christmas trees or have another idea in store, let us known how it goes. Take a picture and add it to the comments!



Packing for College

We’re huge fans of simplifying your belongings before any big move. Not just because going through your stuff before you start packing for college will prevent packing regret (it’s a thing), but you’ll also travel light to your new life as a TAMU student!

make room for something new

Step One: Sort It Out

It helps to start by sorting everything into categories. Separate clothing from keepsakes, books from electronics, and beauty supplies from paperwork. This way you’ll be able to see that you actually have two t-shirts from the fundraising BBQ instead of just one. Or three eyeshadow palettes that are similar enough to keep just one.

Step Two: Keep the Goods

Go through everything and decide what you really want to keep. For clothes, if it fits and is in good shape, keep it. If not, put it it the discard pile (more about that later). For beauty products, get rid of anything that is expired or you don’t like anymore (*ahem* blue glitter eyeliner from Halloween 2014). For electronics, discard any toys or devices that don’t work. Keep only what fits, what works, what you really love, and what you truly need. You’ll be surprised at how little that really is.

Step Three: Donate the Useable Stuff

After getting rid of the trash, you’ll notice a theme. There’s a lot of really good stuff in this discard pile! Someone could use it! Like the Kindle that still works. Or the cell phone with a cracked screen.

The answer? Donate it. Goodwill will take electronics and put them to good use. Or let your younger siblings and friends go shopping in the pile. They’ll have a rough time saying goodbye, and having your t-shirts or artwork might make it easier on them.

Step Four: Throw Away the Trash

Once you have the donates separated, decide what is in such bad shape it needs to be thrown away. If it is broken and unfixable, get rid of it. If you’re only keeping it because of that time you wore it and that thing happened, record the memory in a journal and get rid of the t-shirt riddled with holes or the pillow covered in drool marks.

This goes for old drawings, art projects, and school papers. If you have a digital form, trash it. If you want to record it, scan it in and have your parents store it on a hard drive. My rule is that if it’s not framable or a once-in-a-lifetime highlight (think ACT/SAT records here), you can scan it in and throw away the original. Unless your mom is a scrapbooking queen. Then just hand it over to her.

Step Five: Review the Keepers

Wait a day or two, and then go back through the keep pile. Make sure you still want to keep each item. If any donates or throw aways snuck their way into the keep pile, weed them back out. Then decide what needs to be stored for memories, and what needs to be packed for college. You’ll be home for holidays, so try to only take what you need for the first semester. Then clean it, fold it, store it, pack it. Whatever you need to do to boil your life down into what can fit on a the plane or in a car!

If you need more inspiration, read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The author is a bit kooky, but her method really works well.

How to Wash Clothes

Learning how to wash clothes isn’t the sexiest part of being a college student, but it definitely is a required life skill when you’ve got no clean underwear left and you’re contemplating doing a flippy floppy out of desperation (spoiler alert: the answer is no).

how to wash clothes

How to Wash Clothes

For most co-eds, the washer and dryer are NOPE territory so we’re going to give you some simple steps and a few pro-tips. Follow our advice and you’ll reduce your chances of dying all your whites blurple by 99%.

Step 1 – Choosing a Detergent
Going to the store and walking down the detergent aisle can be super intimidating. There are about a million different brand, scent, and type combinations and you have no idea what to choose. Pods are probably going to be your best bet; they’re a little more expensive, but you never have to worry about a bubble explosion.
Fabric softener isn’t necessary, but it cuts down on static cling. It comes in three forms:

  • Liquid for the washer
  • Sheets for the dryer
  • Hypo-allergenic balls for the dryer

Tip: If you’re homesick, pick the same products your mom uses. You’ll get a whiff of home every time you pull on a fresh white tee.

Step 2 – Sorting your Clothes
At the very least, you’re going to want to separate your clothes into to three basic piles: darks, lights, and whites – each pile gets washed by itself. That’s the easy way, but if you feel safe getting a little fancier here are some advanced laundry sorting techniques:

  • Separate your reds
  • Separate your denim and other sturdier fabrics
  • Put your delicates in a mesh bag

Tip: Using a divided laundry bag makes laundry day go faster.

Step 3 – Starting the Washer
Once you’ve loaded up the washer with clothes and a single detergent pod, you need to pick which cycle to run. Almost every washer is different but they usually have temperature settings that look like this:

  • Darks – cold wash / cold rinse
  • Lights – cold wash / cold or warm rinse
  • Whites – hot wash / cold rinse

Most washers have a specific space for liquid fabric softener. If yours doesn’t, you can use a self-releasing ball.

Tip: If it doesn’t fit in the washer, it won’t fit in the dryer

Step 4 – Starting the Dryer
Once you’ve placed the wet clothes in the dryer you can add either your fabric softener sheet or balls. For most loads a medium heat and regular fabric setting is fine. Use a lower heat and gentler fabric setting for more delicate fabrics. You can avoid wrinkles by taking the clothes out and folding/hanging them as soon as the dryer is finished.

Tip: Ain’t nobody got time for folding! So just pick up a wrinkle releaser on your next Amazon shopping binge.

By following these tips, you’ll learn how to wash clothes like a boss in no time!

How to Make Friends at College

college station apartments

Making new friends is a tricky situation at any point in your life and doing it at college is no exception. Luckily there are tons of ways to branch out and meet people. Here are our favorite places and tips for how to make friends at college!

Befriend your roommate(s)

This is really obvious, but it needs to be said. You’re going to be living in close quarters for a full year. If that’s not a friendship building exercise, I don’t know what is. Also, RAs organize events specifically for you to meet and hang out with people in your building. A sad RA is bad for everyone so go.

Join a club

There is literally a club for anything and everything at your college. I promise. Are you into politics? Music? Star Wars? There’s a club for it. If you try one for a while and it doesn’t really fit, you can always just stop and try something else. That’s perfectly ok. The club police aren’t going to come for you.

Play a sport

Sports are a great, fast way to build relationships with new people. You don’t need to be a pro either. Intramural sports are there for people who just enjoy playing as a team. Not into traditional sports? Most schools even have Quidditch teams.

Get a part-time job on campus

Any part-time job will help you meet new people, but an on-campus job has a few perks. They’ll be more willing to work with your class schedule, all of your coworkers will be students too, and you’ll get a steady paycheck. Bonus: commiserating about customers or your boss is the easiest and fastest way to make friends at work.

A Real Life Packing List for Freshman Year

Photo by Bino Storyteller via Unsplash.

Ah, freshman year. The smell of new books that cost a mere $500 to purchase. The feeling of freedom from the parents. And the anxiety of packing. Don’t worry! By your second semester in university, you’ll be an old pro at the packing list. Until then, here are our suggestions for ten items you might forget on your packing list for freshman year.

Coffee maker

Even if you don’t drink coffee now, you’ll need it when midnight comes and you remember your 5-page paper on the disappearing bee population is due at 8 a.m. A one-cup Keurig is perfect for your room. It doesn’t take up a lot of space and they make K-cups for everything from cappuccino to lemonade.

2 sets of sheets

You can start with the best of intentions, but at some point you’re going to fall behind on laundry or spill something on your sheets right before bedtime. You’ll thank yourself when you can pull out a fresh set of sheets and avoid a surprisingly uncomfortable night of sleep.

Mattress protector

A pre-owned mattress is nobody’s best friend. They’re thin, usually made of an unidentifiable material, and they’ve been slept on by countless people. Do yourself multiple favors by investing in a quality mattress protector. Pro tip: pair the protector with a memory foam mattress topper – you’ll sleep like a little angel baby.

Cold medicine

You can wash your hands 30 times a day, but at some point you ARE going to get sick. It’s basically unavoidable when you live in a building completely inhabited by 18- or 19-year-olds. So one day when you wake up feeling like you got hit by truck and you can’t breathe through your nose, you’ll be thankful you planned ahead.


There’s a law that holds true in all student housing: Any time you really need a good night’s sleep, your neighbor will make as much noise as they possibly can. Stock up on earplugs and you’ll have one less thing to worry about.


Most days you’ll be able to get away with wrinkled clothes; but once in a while you’re going to have to look like you didn’t just roll out of bed and grab the first shirt you could reach. On those days, you’ll need a steamer. It’s easier to use and way more compact than an iron and ironing board.

Power strip/extension cords

Student housing outlets are few and far between and they’re never actually where you need them to be. Almost everything you own requires some form of electricity. Avoid the migraine and invest in a power strip and a few quality extension cords.

Adhesive hooks/strips

Your room is a blank canvas. You can decorate it the way you’ve always wanted to and your parents can’t say anything. You can’t paint or put holes in the walls, but you can buy adhesive hooks/strips so you’ll be able to hang posters, lights, and that awesome tapestry you found at the tea lounge down the street.


The lighting in your room is most likely going to be fluorescent. It’s super inexpensive, but it doesn’t do anyone any favors. A floor lamp with a standard bulb should give plenty of light for your room and a desk lamp will prevent you from straining your eyes during those late nights.


You’re going to get homesick at some point (or multiple points). It happens to everyone and it’s ok. Bringing a few meaningful items from home will help you get through those lonely nights when you’re missing mom and dad.

Photo by Bino Storyteller via Unsplash.