Living On or Off Campus

Are you a new college student?  There are lots of things to prepare for, but one of the most important factors to consider is housing.  You will want to have your housing situation squared away so that you can focus on your studies.  There are three options: living on campus, living off campus in an apartment or living at home and commuting.  A great way to help you decide is to compare costs of each.  Here is a great article discussing the pros and cons of Living On Campus or Living Off Campus.

Brighten Up

If you’ve found yourself in an apartment with very few windows or even worse – no windows, don’t despair! There are alternative ways to brighten your space as well as your mood. The best part is, it’s possible to do without breaking the bank!

The first and most obvious way to lighten it all up is with paint. Picking a light neutral paint color to use on both the walls and ceiling will increase the amount of light reflected back to you. If you decide to repaint the trim as well, always pick a slightly brighter shade than the walls to add a nice contrasting pop.

If your apartment does have windows, don’t subdue them with heavy or dark window treatments, but keep blinds, curtains, or valances to a minimum and in light airy colors and fabrics.

Mirrors help reflect light and make a space feel bigger and brighter. Find a large decorative mirror to use as a focal point in your living room or apartment entrance and you’ll be surprised at how well it opens up the space and improves the lighting.

If you decide to replace furniture or if you’re shopping for new furniture anyway, consider neutral, light colored furniture, transparent pieces, or options which are open in their design, letting light and color through. Dark, chunky furniture can feel overwhelming in a small space, especially with little light.

One last important thing to do is to add light fixtures and lamps. Add all the extra light you can to make your space inviting and uplifting. Use bulbs with a good amount of light output and which mimic daylight the best.

Where to Begin: The First Things to Do in Your New Apartment

Moving can be an overwhelming process no matter how organized and methodical you are. Once all the boxes and furniture are moved into your new place, here are some guidelines to help you get started with ease.

Get the things out that you will need to survive the day and following night – your toothbrush, sheets for the bed, a bath towel, phone charger, etc. These things are your lifeline and will help you manage while the rest of the moving and unpacking chaos ensues.

If the apartment is not totally clean from the last tenants, now is a good time to take care of that before it’s all covered in furniture and stacks of belongings! It’s easier to clean the floors when nothing is in the way and it will also prevent your things from getting dirty as you unpack.

Tentatively arrange the furniture and place boxes in their respective rooms before starting to pull things out. This will help tame the clutter of unpacking and hopefully help you retain sanity while doing so! Once you have boxes in the places, pick one room to dedicate the most time to and complete before flitting back and forth all over the place. You’ll be able to find some comfort in having at least one nearly finished space by the end of the night.

Try not to be overwhelmed by the process, as stressful as it can be. The more organized you stay, the less painful the transition will be!

Click here to see more tips.

Keep Mosquitoes at Bay

It’s commonly known that the mosquitoes in Florida can get pretty aggressive. If you’re one of the unlucky ones that they seem to particularly be fond of (like myself), you’re going to need some tricks up your sleeve to keep those irritating insects away. Bug spray products which use DEET work, but they have many harmful side effects to the environment and the people who use them. Try a DEET-free approach with one of these tactics.

Citronella oil is truly one of the most effective ways to repel mosquitoes. The age-old citronella candle is actually as useful as the hardware store wants you to believe. However, citronella is not the only oil which achieves the desired effect. Other natural essential oils like lavender, peppermint, spearmint, and lemongrass also help defend against mosquito bites. These oils are available at your local natural foods and health supply stores and can be applied to your skin or used in a diffuser.

Growing up with Avon products, I’ve come to believe the semi-mystical properties of Skin So Soft bath products as mosquito repellents. Avon, however does not confirm or deny the effectiveness of the bath product line. Regardless of whether or not it’s intentionally meant to be used this way, in the south, generations of women have sworn by it to ward off the pesky bloodsuckers.

A more long-term way of keeping the mosquitoes away is to keep plants around your outdoor area which are naturally offensive to the insects. Rosemary is a great plant to start with – it is easy to grow and it can be used to enhance your cooking as well! Mosquitoes also dislike geraniums, catnip, peppermint, lavender, marigolds, and basil.

For more reading on warding off mosquitoes the natural way, check out this link here.

Taming the Recycling Clutter

If you’re an avid recycler, you probably realize how quickly the empty bottles and cans can stack up. Not to mention if you recycle paper as well, it can become overwhelming over the course of a week, taking over the limited space remaining in your kitchen or hallway and driving you crazy!

In most apartments, renters have more wall space than you do square footage. Using that wall space to its fullest potential will help you keep down the clutter! Adding hooks to the wall for hanging recyclable bags gets them off the floor and out of your way. If you are so lucky to have some floor space, but want to double up the duty your recyclables are doing, you can store your bins within another container (preferably one which has a seat or surface type top). That way you get your recycling out of sight and can use the container it’s hiding in as a functional object. Another great method of getting the recycling out of your way is to store it in containers which fit underneath another piece of furniture in the kitchen, such as a set of shelves. These containers don’t have to be ugly plastic bins, either. Pick attractive matching containers which complement the space and your decor.

Just because you move to a smaller space doesn’t mean you have to give up recycling. With a little effort and creativity you can tame the empty bottle clutter!

For more inspiration, check out more information here.


Keep Your Canine Friend Cool This Summer!

It can be easy to forget that dogs and people are not affected by summer heat the same way. When you’re out at the beach or just enjoying the sunshine outside your apartment, remember to take precautions to keep your buddy cool and safe!

Dogs don’t sweat, but they pant to alleviate the moisture in their bodies. It’s important to realize that if the heat and humidity are too high, they may not be able to relieve themselves of moisture quickly enough, and it will become a serious health risk.

The most important thing to have with you and your dog is plenty of cold water. In addition to drinking water, a spritzer bottle of cold water can also help cool your pup down from time to time. It is best to keep walks and vigorous activities shorter during the extremely hot summer days; the morning and evening hours are better for these because the temperature is generally lower. Activities like swimming and digging in the dirt can help keep your dog cool during the hotter parts of the day by cooling his or her paw pads, which are extremely sensitive and typically absorb heat from the ground.

Be aware of the signs of heatstroke and dehydration. If your dog appears lethargic, is breathing too hard, has red eyes, seems uncoordinated, or becomes unconscious, seek immediate help at your veterinary hospital.

For additional information, read more at the Humane Society’s website here.

Study tips for college kids

Classes are over and summer is knocking out on your door, but there is still one thing you have to do before you can enjoy the warm rays of the sun… take your finals. Yes, they suck and we all hate them, but they are the only things keeping you from those hot days by the beach, so listen to these study tips to make sure you pass your finals this semester.

  • Don’t do all of your studying in one night. Cramming usually won’t help you. Yes, there are those miracle people who can look at the material just one time the day of the exam and do the best out of everyone in the class, but more often than not, this won’t get you a good grade. Spend at least 20 minutes a day the week before the exam reviewing the material.
  • Have all your study material out and ready to review, that means all textbooks, notes, worksheet, etc.
  • Take short breaks often. No, that does not mean getting on Netflix. Instead, take a 5-10 minute snack break or take a quick walk around the neighborhood.
  • If you do choose to study in a group, only study with those who take the class seriously. Studying in a huge group with your friends will most likely lead to just hanging out and chatting rather than studying.
  • Don’t eat while you study, it is more distracting than you think.
  • Have someone else test you on the material to find out what you need work on

Good luck on your finals!

More test taking tips here.

To tip or not to tip the moving help

First of all, if someone is helping you move, hired or not, they are helping you in a big way so the answer is generally yes, you should tip. If, however, the service was terrible, you’ve had things break, or the movers did not listen to your requests, do not feel like you have to tip, tipping should depend on how good the service was, just like in a restaurant.

  • If there is only one or two movers, about $50-$70 (to split between them) is a good tip. Keep in mind, it you had a lot of heavy stuff, an extra $10 or more might be added.
  • If there was more than one or two movers, $30 for each of them is good. Give the total to the supervisor to make sure that it gets split evenly.
  • Besides money, provide drinks and even lunch if the move takes a long time. It does not have to be a 5-course meal, but ordering a box of pizza or two will be greatly appreciated.

More moving tips here.

10 tips for a successful move

Whether you are moving out of your dorm, moving from one apartment to another, moving into your first apartment/house, or even moving back home, the process of packing is never a fun one. Being someone who has gone through a lot of moves, I know the struggle of organizing, packing, and cleaning my apartment/home when it comes time to move out. Here are some tips to make your next move the most successful one yet.

  • Have all of your moving supplies ready before you start packing, as in making sure you have plenty of boxes, tape, and markers right by your side. You don’t want to run out of something as important as boxes in the middle of packing.
  • Make sure you have assembled your boxes properly… you wouldn’t want it falling apart in the middle of the move.
  • Always pack the heavier items at the bottom of a box.
  • If you have a bunch of small boxes filled already, put them all in one big box so you can carry more things at once.
  • Keep your most important items in a specific bag or box that only you will carry. You don’t want to lose them or have something damage it in any of the other boxes.
  • Once your boxes seem full, fill any free spaces with linen or sheets. That gives your sheets a place to stay and it keeps the rest of the items in the box from moving around as much.
  • Don’t use garbage bags as boxes… they will just rip and tear, making more of a mess than actually being useful.
  • If it is absolutely essential that you have to carry liquids, make sure to label the box “this side up” to keep the liquids from spilling.
  • If you’ll need tools to assemble furniture, make sure to keep them near you so they won’t be lost among the rest of the boxes.
  • Mark all of your boxes so you know what’s in each box.

Happy moving!

More moving tips here.


Got a craving for chicken? One of Gainesville’s newest restaurants, PDQ, may be just the place for you. Located at 3403 W University Ave, PDQ emphasizes that their fresh, juicy chicken is unlike any other in town. You can get their chicken tenders crispy or grilled with any of their seven homemade sauces. Not in the mood for chicken tenders? Try one of their sandwiches from grilled turkey breast to spicy buffalo. On top of that, if you really wanted to stick to the healthier side, pick any of their hand-tossed salads that will be sure to please. Open every day from 10:30 am to 10:30 pm, stop on by to get your chicken tender on!

PDQ Website