Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Little Guide: Moving Out

Holy moly it's the last week of classes here at Clemson! In less than two weeks, I will officially be a senior in college. Ugh that just gave me chills. I feel so old and I'm not ready for that. Anyway, the end of the semester brings lots of stress - term papers and projects, final exams, and leaving your beloved college town :'(. With so much going on, being prepared to leave the space that has served as your home for the last nine months can be extraordinarily difficult! But have no fear! I am here to help. This year is my third year moving out of a dorm,  so I guess you could say I'm a bit of a pro at this point. Here are my tips to help you from losing your mind as you move out!

 // Know How You're Getting Home (And Coming Back in the Fall) //

DUH! Right? Well it makes a big difference! My freshman year, my mom came and picked me up, so I had the luxury of her SUV to carry my stuff home. What I didn't plan for was flying back in the fall, so I had WAY too much stuff for two suitcases and had to pay those expensive overweight fees (Dad was not happy, I don't recommend). Last year, I flew home so I was limited to two suitcases, my carryon duffle and a tote - PTL for Southwest's free two suitcases. Knowing I had limited space definitely influenced what I brought home - clothes and necessities only. If you go to school closer to home, this may not be as big of a concern to you, but it's still good to think about.

// Figure Out Storage //

Personally, even if I didn't live half way across the country, I wouldn't want to lug all my stuff back home - I can pack a lot into a dorm room. I highly recommend getting a storage unit or using a moving/storage company (my campus has a university endorsed option) to keep all of your items safe over the summer. To reduce the cost, look into storing your stuff with your froomies so all of y'all have your stuff in the same place when it's time to move into your new digs in the fall. I've also used the generosity of my sweet boyfriend who let me keep all of my stuff at his apartment last summer so I didn't have to pay for storage. Either way, find an option that works for you and your budget.

// Plan Packing Around Exams //

Trust me, you do not want to realize after your Friday night exam that you have to be checked out by 10am Saturday. If you're busy all during exam week, plan breaks in your studying to start packing up. Fifteen minutes to take things off the walls, thirty minutes to start packing up suitcases. Not only will you have a productive way to get your mind off of studying for a few minutes, but by the time you're worn out at the end of the week, you won't be freaking out that you have to pack, you'll have time to relax and say goodbye to friends.
 // Lighten Your Load //

Those 15 ratty old t shirts you told yourself you'd wear, the 10 notebooks from gen ed classes that will never cross your mind again, that big stack of textbooks - those things don't need to keep making the trip back and forth with you. Donate or sell clothes you didn't end up wearing this year. Sell textbooks back to the university, or through a buy back program, or on your university class Facebook page. Take pictures of notes to add to a study bank, but then recycle those notebooks. Do as much as you can to reduce your load, especially if it's things you don't need. Just make sure you're doing it in a sustainable way - donating and recycling are always better than just throwing things out. 

// Get Creative //

No I don't mean spending your packing (or studying) time painting canvases. I mean get creative with your packing! Big boxes are expensive, take up a lot of space, and will just get thrown out, consider packing in items you already have. Hampers are great for storing bedding and towels. Have a storage ottoman in your room? Use it as a safe spot to put photos, items on your walls, and any breakable items. If you only need one suitcase to take home, use the other to hold your off season clothing and shoes. Not only will you get everything packed up, but it'll be easier on your wallet - win, win.

// Consider Space Bags //

I've had space bags in my rooms for the past three years. They're great for storing winter clothes, but they can also help your pillows, duvet cover, and any other fluffy items taking up less of your precious storage space. They can be a little delicate, and despite what I thought, are not capable of being stuffed full and still being useful, so get 3 or 4 (they're pretty inexpensive) and get packing.

// Label or Make Note of Where Things Are Packed //

This one is especially true if you're using a moving service, you'll want to have everything labeled with your name. If you're moving yourself out, it's still a good idea to know where things are packed. You won't want to start off the next year by spending twenty minutes trying to figure out where the heck you put your pillow cases. Make a note on your phone, label boxes, or put sticky notes on your items of what is inside so that moving in in August goes smoother.

// Clean Everything //

Of course you have to leave your room clean when you move out, but consider cleaning everything else before it goes into storage. Wash all your sheets and towels before packing them away. Wipe down Keurigs, other appliances, tables, chairs, etc. Dust items before packing them up. Do your laundry before you pack it - this may seem weird considering you're about to go home and have parents who can (if you're lucky) do your laundry, but it's kinda gross to pack dirty clothes - especially if you're packing the week before you leave - and it'll make unpacking so much easier, because if there is anything worse than packing, it's unpacking.

// Give Yourself A Break //

Just like with studying, sometimes you'll need a break from packing. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed with how much you have to do and not having enough time to do it, take a break. Go walk around campus for a bit, grab a quick coffee with your friend before they leave, enjoy spring time. In the end, you will get moved out of your dorm on time and you don't need to stress yourself out over it.

// Enjoy Your Last Few Days //

You are in college after all. You won't be back for a few months and this may be the last time you see your friends before you all set off on your summer adventures. Pat yourself on the back for surviving the semester and final exams and treat yo' self to dinner with friends. I always get nostalgic at the end of the school year - even if the semester has been tough. We're only in college once and it is so much more than just academics. Appreciate the beauty of your campus and the fun memories you've made over the course of the year. But don't be sad, in a few months, you'll get to do it all again. 

Do you have any other tips for moving out? I would love to hear!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Sustainable Blogging?

Have you ever walked out of a class with a holy-crap-my-whole-world-view-and-perspective-just-changed feeling? Because I just did.

Last semester, I decided that I wanted to go into marketing and marketing research after graduation next year. In order to pursue that goal, I decided to take a class on consumer behavior this semester. Throughout the past three months, sitting in lecture has only reaffirmed that this is the area I am interested in and want to pursue, but today it rocked my world. 

Our professor has us read articles before each day and today's got the ball rolling for me. (Read it here!) The article gives the background of what really goes into producing products for the fashion industry and how much your $8 shirt from Forever 21 really costs in terms of labor and our environment. I can hear the groans. Yet another privileged millennial blaming the previous generations for killing our environment without any real intentions of fixing it. And maybe that's true. 

But get this, I don't really give much concern to the environment, as horrible as that is. I'm a Southerner born and raised, who has identified as conservative for as long as I can remember. I don't take the stance that the EPA is horrible, but the safety and longevity of our planet isn't something that crosses my mind on a regular basis, does it cross yours? If so, kudos to you. I'm not saying that one class has made me change all my political beliefs (not going to get into that one), but it has got my wheels turning. 

The biggest thing that kept coming into my head while my professor lectured was "what would sustainability look like for blogging?" As a blog-lover and attempting blogger myself, I read at least twenty blog posts every single day. You know what they all center on? Consumption. Bloggers make money by getting others to consume and by consuming themselves. Companies send out products to digital influencers with the hopes that they'll share them with their following and all of us who look to these influencers for what's "on trend" will buy those products too. 

This isn't a new concept at all. How long have celebrities appeared in ads so consumers would associate the product with their favorite celebrity and buy it? But this marketing strategy is continuing this notion that materialism makes you happy and you need the newest, coolest, trendiest thing in order to fit in with society. Now there is nothing wrong with trends and the cycle of what is popular in fashion, but what would it look like if we only encouraged NECESSARY consumption? What would blogging look like?

Would we see fewer bloggers? Or would we see bloggers encourage re-wearing and re-styling items? Of course we don't see bloggers' real lives through the internet, they may wear the same piece a hundred times. But what does that matter if they're not telling those they influence that they do wear an item until it's completely worn out or until it's out grown, then pass it on? What gets portrayed is constant frivolous consumption and it encourages other to do the same. 

The articles I liked at the top suggested investing in pieces and then wearing them until they're completely worn out. That doesn't always seem realistic, speaking as a poor college student who can't afford to drop $100 on jeans, but I think it could be possible. And I would really like to see it happen. Yes seeing all of the pretty, new, trendy fashions on beautiful bloggers is fun, but I think it also drives this perception that you need to have those things and always be getting more new things, especially if you're someone who wants to be a blogger. I would love to see blogs about minimalistic buying and capsule closets and how to creatively style pieces you already have. I think it could make a huge difference. If bloggers change how they encourage consumption, maybe it would change how companies approach producing and marketing their products, and in turn encourage them to produce in a more sustainable way. 

These are just my long, post-paradigm-shifting-class thoughts, but I would love to hear your thoughts. What do you think? Could blogging as an industry become more sustainable?

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

March Top 10!

Happy April friends! Where has the time gone?! I can't believe we're already a quarter of the way into 2017. This year is flying by! I only have a month left until I'm a senior in college...what? Crazy! March was a fun, busy month so I wanted to share some of my favorites from the last few weeks. 

Here is what I've loved this month!

1 // Spring Break was the week before last and tbh I'm still trying to get back into school mode - easier said than done. I didn't have a wild spring break, but I got to spend a relaxing few days at the beach with my boyfriend and some good friends. We had gorgeous weather and a ton of fun. Somehow I also managed to come away from it without a sunburn, which is basically a miracle for me! 

2 // The next best thing of the month happened when I got back from spring break. I got my Clemson ring!!!! For those of you who don't know, the Clemson ring is iconic. There is a ton of tradition wrapped up in the ring and ring ceremony, and receiving my ring was one of the biggest accomplishments of my college career. My mom flew in the weekend before and I got enjoy the end of my break with her, shopping around town and venturing into adorable downtown Greenville. Then on Monday I got my ring! I keep staring at my hand. I can't believe that I've already completed 3/4 of my degree and the countdown to graduation next year is seeming so short.

3 // In preparation for spring break, I picked up some fun spring items from Old Navy. I got this one piece swimsuit - love the ruffle. I also finally jumped on the off the shoulder trend train with this cute chambray top. I wore it when my mom was in town and it was so comfortable and really cute.

4 // I mentioned in my Proactiv+ Experience post that I was switching to more natural skincare that was recommended by Julia of Lemon Stripes. I've now been using these products for about two months and I have seen amazing changes in my skin, it has never been this consistently clear! I'm planning to do a skincare routine on the blog soon, so keep an eye out for that.

5 // With the improvement in my skin, I've been wearing foundation a lot less. Instead, I've been reverting to my junior high days and relying on concealer and powder to cover any little spots that come up. This concealer and this one are my favorites and I love this powder.

6 // Before spring break, I wanted to get a pair of cute, comfy, beach friendly sandals. I picked up this pair from Target for $15. I wore them all through spring break and nonstop since. They go with everything and are so cute!

7 // Like everyone else, I saw Beauty and the Beast this month. If you haven't seen it yet, run don't walk! Belle was always may favorite princess when I was little because she was brunette and liked to read - I could relate to her - so I was super excited to see Emma Watson's portrayal of her. The whole film was stunning. The costumes and music, even the digital effects, were perfectly done. I liked it way more than the live-action Cinderella that came out a while back and it makes me super excited for the other recreations Disney has planned in the coming years.

8 // I don't know if I should be proud or embarrassed of this, but in the last six weeks, I have watched all nine seasons of The Office. I never watched it before and wanted to see what all the hype was about. Well I got sucked in, fast. It's really fun to see the character development over the seasons and Jim and Pam are all of the #relationshipgoals. It probably wasn't the most productive use of time, but I used it as background noise while I was doing other things.

9 // Over spring break I finally had a chance to do some reading for fun. I love to read and decided to pick up a few books to read on the beach. So far I haven't even finished one, but I am nearly done with The Shack by William Paul Young. It's really amazing and I highly recommend it - even though I'm not done with it yet. It's added a new perspective for me and changed the way I look at certain things. Definitely worth a read!

10 // I'm still in denial that within the next month I will be finishing my junior year of college. It gives me chills. I am excited to wrap up the year and all that comes with it - lake days, the spring game, Mike's formal, military ball. There are exciting days to come, I can feel it.

What are you looking forward to in April?