Managing College Stress

study

College can be one of the most liberating, enjoyable experiences of your life. It is generally the first opportunity one is given to truly be the master of one’s own life’s path. Having this authority is empowering, however comes with a great deal of weight. There are many big decisions to be made and responsibilities to assume as a college student. Chances are, your parents are no longer checking to make sure you stick to your path and follow through on all of your assignments. When adjusting to the college lifestyle, or when experiencing the strains of the your academic workload, it is key to understand how you can manage stress. Otherwise it can have detrimental physical and emotional side effects.

The attitude you adopt in everyday life can make a big difference in your level of stress. For example, if you have a difficult assignment due soon, instead of thinking about how hard it will be or how you don’t think you can handle it, remember that you’ve made it through years of school and various difficulties before in your life and you have the strength to make another stride. Remember, those who we consider successful have all met difficulties (and have also failed at times, too!)

Keeping your academics organized will help eliminate stress later. Maintain an up-to-date calendar with your assignments and due dates, as well as other goals and when they should be met. A daily to-do list or set of goals is a good way to stay on track every day and keep up with what needs to be done. Clutter can also contribute to stress, so a clean, calm environment is always best.

Use de-stressing activities to cool down and recenter yourself. If you are feeling worn out, try a power nap. Power naps can help you feel more alert and ready to be productive. Exercise is a great way to relieve excess stress and clear your mind. Try yoga, a run, or your favorite type of exercise for at least 20 minutes every day.

For additional information on identifying stressors and alleviating their effects, use University of Florida’s set of great resources on school stress here.

 

(photo credit: http://liberalartssociety.tumblr.com/)

Best Fall 2015 Decor!

coffee and cat

Personally, I have a hard time enjoying the season changes this time of year. Even if you don’t like anything else about Autumn, at least the change in seasons is an excuse to update the apartment with a little festive decor (eat your heart out, Christmas decorations). The color palette is warm, cozy, and inviting, and even a little edgy and spooky if you’re into Halloween. If you still need another reason to embrace the season, it’s an excuse to do a little shopping.

Embrace jewel tone colors and soft neutrals in your color palette. Texture plays an important role in fluffy and soft surroundings, which amplify the level of coziness in your apartment. Soft, warm toned lighting creates the right kind of comfortable atmosphere.

Here are some great ideas to consider:

This woodblock print is perfect for the walls

An awesome cat candle with just enough creepy for Halloween

 A must-have for fall themed drinks

It’s not fall without a cozy throw blanket to hang out under (even if it’s not cold outside yet)

Everything in faux fur, please

 Ambience in a lamp

Happy decorating!

 

 

(photo credit: http://other-side-of-midnight.tumblr.com/)

How Much Would You Pay For Your Apartment?

bedroom

Among the many criteria apartment shoppers have in mind while looking for a new place, by far the biggest, most important piece of information is almost always the price. There’s a logical reason for this, too. Financial problems can dramatically increase the amount of stress on an individual and decrease the level of happiness, which is exactly the opposite of what we all want. So the question at hand is: do you know how much rent you can afford to pay?

The first and most mathematical way to look at this is by annual income. The rule of thumb is that it is wise to pay no more than 30% of your total combined annual income for your apartment. So, if you make $50,000, use one of these two methods to determine the maximum:

$50,000 x .30 = $15,000,   $15,000 ÷ 12 = $1250

OR

$50,000 ÷ 40 = $1250

Both of these formulas bring you to the same number, but the second very obviously is a shortcut with fewer steps.

Your comfort level has everything to do with how much you pay as well. If you are comfortable paying more than 30% of your salary to have the apartment you want and possibly skimping on other budgeted items or luxuries, then the decision to pay a little more is justified. Or, if you would rather save more and spend less, you can set a budget accordingly by using this number as an out of range, upward limit.

When considering how much is affordable don’t forget to factor in utilities, upgrades, and a small allotment for repairs or furniture. Determining what you can afford before you start shopping for a new place will be greatly beneficial and help you remain financially comfortable.

 

Cool Alternatives to Hanging Framed Art

If fancy picture frames aren’t your thing, there are plenty of fun and easy alternatives to hanging up your favorite prints and pictures. Many of these ideas are much less expensive than traditional picture frames as well, which is a great added bonus.

If you’re starting with prints and photos you already have, try one of these hanging methods.

  • Use string and tacks to make a “clothesline” style hanging mechanism and attach pictures with clothespins or other clips. (photo via apartmenttherapy.com)

clipboard art

  • Use clipboards! Inexpensive clipboards hold art and can be hung on a simple single nail or tack in the wall. It’s a creative way to be able to change out your art easily without re-hanging all the time. Just switch the picture out. (photo via decor8blog.com

clipboard

  • If you want to try hanging non-framed objects that aren’t pictures, try tapestries from stores like Society6.com, which offer tons of choices of designs to pick from. UrbanOutfitters.com also has an ever rotating assortment of wall tapestries. (photo via society6.com)

fish art

  • Use a wooden clothes hanger with clips (like for skirts) to hang pictures as seen in this photo from houzz.com

dont give up

  • There are a myriad of ways to decorate your walls without investing in expensive frames. See if you can come up with a new one!

5 Things to Love About Fall (That Aren’t Pumpkin Spice Lattes)

I know not everyone agrees, but I honestly think the best thing in the entire world is summer. So when fall rolls around, I feel the panic set in and the realization hits me that there will be no more of that lovely summer fun for a good while. Thankfully, the Gainesville climate is forgiving and mild, but my mind still says, “Give me summer!”. In spite of this, here are some simple reminders that it is perfectly ok, maybe even exciting, that the season is changing to Autumn again.

Fall and Halloween Decorations – Turn your apartment into an autumnal wonderland. The colors alone are exciting: red, orange, yellow, warm and inviting hues to decorate with and celebrate the harvest season. Gourds come in so many lovely shapes and colors and are generally inexpensive, so go to town decorating with them. If you’re a fan of Halloween, embrace the eccentric and spooky things you can get away with once a year! It’s the only time it’s really acceptable put up fake cobwebs (and ignore the real ones)! If you’re not so much into the typical fall color scheme, try something gilded and minimalist along these lines – Check out these ideas. 

  1. The Food – It might get cool enough for your to consider baking in your oven again! One bummer about the hot months is firing up the oven can make being in your apartment unbearable. Once again the opportunity comes to bake ALL the things – cookies, cinnamon buns, sweet potato casserole…mmmm. Not to mention all those heavily spiced fall recipes abundantly available on the internet.
  2. Football – Attending football games, tailgating, throwing parties at home…all have the distinctive fall feel. Whether you’re into college football or the NFL, football is a staple of the season.
  3. Less Humidity – This may sound trivial, but this is a big deal! Less humidity means better hair days, less sticking to your clothes, and less worry about mildew. Being outside becomes an all around more pleasant experience without all that nasty humidity. Maybe the mosquitos will lighten up, too…
  4. Oktoberfest – Okay, so I could have picked any number of things for the fifth point (No Shave November, Fall Leaves, Comfortable Clothing) but who doesn’t like a good party? I will never turn down a reason to celebrate. Enjoy Autumn, y’all!

Do You Tailgate or Party at Home?

Football season is here and there’s nothing more fun than getting amped up for the big game with your friends! Generally this is best accomplished through eating gratuitous amounts of delicious, unhealthy food (no complaints here). But where do you prefer to have your raucous pre-game festivities? Are you an avid game attender or do you like to entertain at home, surrounded by the comforts of your own apartment?

There’s certainly an argument for both. Attending the game in person is exhilarating and the tailgating festivities are a serious tradition in the south – get up at the crack of dawn, get your food and beverages ready, and hang out for hours in the parking lot with your best blue and orange on! If you’re not a morning person, a perfectly good ritual can be had in the confines of your own cozy home. There won’t be as early of a start, you’ll have more time to prep before guests arrive, the weather can’t get you down, and you won’t need to use portable toilets!

So either way, here are some great ways to make the best of game day!

For the Tailgaters

 Country Living’s Easy Tailgating Recipes – 26 of them!

The Ultimate Southern Tailgate

The Monster List of Tailgating Games

The University of Florida Tailgating Guide

 

For the Apartment Party People

Food Network Game Day Party Ideas

8 Easy Game Day Snack Recipes!

Florida Gator Party Food

Be a Successful Host

 

Cleaning Habits to Embrace Now So You Don’t Have to Clean Later

Nobody likes an all day cleaning extravaganza, but if you don’t want your place to constantly look like a well lived-in bachelor pad, embracing some simple tidy habits may help in the long run. If consistently practiced, cleaning your apartment will be like a dream (not a nightmare)!

 

  1. Make the Bed – It doesn’t sound like much, and Mama always said to, but it can REALLY help your place look put together and tidy. And the best part is, this only takes about a minute to do.
  2. Put Clothes Away – Stop dropping them all over the floor as you change your clothes when you come home. Or if you’re like me, put away the 30 different articles of clothing you got out so you could decide what to wear. Nothing is messier looking than clothes littered around the apartment.
  3. Don’t Let the Dishes Stack Up – As miserable as it is to cook dinner and also have to clean up, it’s best to do this dishes immediately after you eat. Otherwise they will sit there and look nasty, stinking up your lovely apartment. If you have a dishwasher, you’ve got it easy. Otherwise, throw those gloves on and scrub. You’ll be glad when you don’t have to look at that mess the next morning.
  4. Lots of Nice Looking Baskets – Easily contain little messes in baskets. Stray cords and cables, mail, pens, doodads, knick knacks, thingamajigs – throw them in a basket.
  5. Clean Up as You Go – Taking care of little things as they happen relieves cleaning stress later. Wiping up coffee rings, throwing away excess paper or packaging from purchases, organizing a little here and there while you think of it. It all helps in the long run! Embrace these good habits!

Vintage Gators for You and Your Apartment

School spirit runs deep, especially this time of year when school has just begun and football season fast approaches. It’s the perfect time to spice up your apartment with some orange and blue decor, just in time for your first pre-game party. If you opt for retro charm for your decorating instead of the usual run of the mill college bookstore decor, you might like these antique Gator themed finds.

gator pennent

University of Florida Pennant

gator jacket

1980’s Gators Jacket

gator salt and pepper

Salt and Pepper Shakers

gator ring

Gold Gator Ring

gator piggy bank

Gator Piggy Bank

Make Your Own Laundry Detergent and Save Some Dollars!

Doing laundry is a necessity and a fact of life no matter how you look at it. Unfortunately, the detergent companies are well aware of this and love to sell consumers highly priced laundry detergents. If you have a little bit of patience, you can make your detergent for a lot less in the long run. If you have sensitive skin, this may be the best option for you anyway as it will be unscented and mostly chemical free unless you choose otherwise.

Here’s what you need:

1 Bar Fels-Naptha or Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap

1 Cup Washing Soda

1 Cup Borax

A Plastic or Glass Airtight Container

(Add several TBSP Oxi Clean if you want to add extra stain fighting power)

Grate the entire bar of soap using a hand-held grater. If you want to chop the soap up more finely, use a food processor to create a powder from the soap. Mix with the other ingredients and store in the airtight container. Each load of laundry only needs a rounded tablespoon of the detergent formula, which should be put in the washing machine BEFORE your laundry. This will ensure the mixture dissolves completely and doesn’t leave any powdery spots on your clothes.

 There are multiple ways to make your own detergent, so for more recipes take a look here.