Fall Drinks you can Make in your Dorm Room

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Foggy autumn morning

Fall is for warm flannel blankets, fashionable checkerboard patterns, snuggling up by a cozy fire, and enjoying a frothy, spiced drink. If you’re not careful, you can end up spending a fortune at the grocery store or coffee shop on artisan or specialty drinks. Instead, craft your own fall drinks by trying one of these three amazing fall drink recipes — which you can easily make in your own dorm room!

apple hanging next to cider jar

Homemade Apple Cider

You don’t need an apple press or a ton of time to make apple cider. Really, all you need to do is have access to a large pot and a stove to make this recipe happen. Experiment with different varieties of apples and a number of spices until you find the recipe that works for you. We guarantee it’s much better than store-bought versions!

 Ingredients:

  • 10-12 apples, sliced or in large chunks
  • 1 ½ tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. allspice
  • ½ cup sugar

 Directions:

  • Pour apples into a large pot and cover with 2-3 inches of water
  • Add the cinnamon, allspice, and sugar until mixed completely
  • Bring to a boil and keep it there for an hour
  • Cover the pot and let simmer for two hours
  • Strain the apple cider until all of the chunks are out and stir to ensure it’s mixed properly. Serve warm or cool.

Pumpkin Spice Latte in glass

DIY Pumpkin Spiced Latte

At $4 a cup, we’ll pass on Starbucks! This homemade version is easy and fast, and you can serve it up at a party or tailgate! The only equipment you’ll need is a coffee maker, a blender (or hand mixer), and a microwave. It’s so simple and delicious, and this recipe makes 3 mugs so you can share with your roomies!

 Ingredients:

  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6-8 oz. coffee
  • Whipped cream (as desired)

 Directions:

  • Warm milk in microwave at ten-second intervals until warm
  • Place warmed milk, sugar, pumpkin spice, and vanilla in a blender and blend, or hand mix until mixture is foamy
  • Divide milk mixture among 3 cups
  • Add coffee and stir gently for a few seconds
  • Add whip cream and any extra pumpkin spice as garnish

Tailgating punch with fall inspired flavors

Tailgaters Punch

When you need a tasty, crowd-pleasing drink fast, you could stick with one of those pre-prepared sugar-laden fruit punch drinks, or even DIY the typically bland, overdone homemade kind. But none of those really says fall — definitely not like this seasonal version. Warm and full of apple and honey, it’s just what you need for cooler mornings and afternoons without missing out on that more festive feel. Plus, it pairs perfectly with tailgating foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, and BBQ.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups hot black tea
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups cranberry juice
  • 4 cups apple juice or apple cider
  • 3 cups orange juice, pulp-free
  • 4 cinnamon sticks

Directions:

  • Blend and stir all ingredients in large pot
  • Bring mixture to boil
  • Lower temperature and allow to simmer for 1-2 hours
  • Remove cinnamon sticks and serve warm or cold

These three recipes will help you sip on fall flavors all season long, without breaking your budget. Let us know which ones you make and what your favorite turns out to be!

How to Make the Perfect Fall Semester Class Schedule

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Spring is done, and fall is right around the corner. That means it’s time to start thinking about next year’s classes and schedules. With a little bit of prep work and planning, you can easily build a schedule that works for you. These are the steps you need to follow if you want to make the perfect fall class schedule and rock your fall registration.

 

Step One: Check Your Registration Status

All schools do registration differently. Some prioritize seniors, while others do a random pick. You may be required to register in person if you’re a freshman or will be totally on your own if you’re an upperclassman. Most, however, separate students into some kind of group which designates the orders in which you will register.

In many cases, you may qualify for what is frequently called “priority registration.” This designation is to give students who need a leg up on other students a chance to register in the first few rounds. If you think you may qualify, check with your advisor as soon as possible.

 

Step Two: Learn the Rules on Add/Drops

Many schools provide you with the ability to register for a larger amount of classes than you actually need. This allows you to use the time before the drop period ends to see what courses work best for you. In other words, you’ve got a few days to a week to explore what’s out there!

Still, make sure you understand the rules about how to register for classes you may want to drop later. And, be sure to put a reminder in your calendar to drop the classes you decide against before the drop deadline!

 

Step Three: Knock Out Your Requirements First, Electives Last

Most advisors will recommend that you spend your first few semesters in college knocking out your pre-reqs first, especially if you’re not 100% sure about your major. These classes often fill up quickly, so be sure you have learned the schedules of those classes and monitor them if you’re registering near the end so you can snatch up the last seats quickly.

Electives, while important, should be the last thing on your mind. They should fill up the gaps in your schedule and be your most flexible in terms of timing in case you need to swap them out for a more important class.

 

Step Four: Find a Balance

It’s crucial that you know what your classes are like before you enroll. Use sites like ratemyprofessors.com to feel out if you’re in for a ton of work or if the class is one you can float by. You can also request a syllabus from last year’s class if the professor’s been around for a while.

Try to find a good mix of challenging and fun. If the class is too easy or dry, you’ll be bored and disinterested. If it’s overly difficult, you’ll likely drop out or burn out by midterms. Understand your comfort level, and don’t push too hard unless absolutely necessary.

 

Step Five: Double and Triple Check Your Schedule Plans

One of the easiest mistakes to make when it comes to registration is not understanding your required classes! Everyone from seniors to freshman do this, so you really do need to loop in your advisor in if you have any questions or concerns. Have them look over your plan A and plan B schedule and keep an ongoing list of your required courses on hand so that you can review with them if there are questions.

While you may have their help, it is on you to get your registration right. By coming prepared, having a plan, and doing your research, you can make a fall class schedule that’s perfect for you.

Hacks for Hosting Friendsgiving Dinner at College

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Friendsgiving, or Thanksgiving for friends, is almost here, and we are already drooling over how awesome it’s going to be! All over, college students like us are taking on their own Thanksgiving celebrations and bringing them straight to the dorm. While it may seem impossible to do a full-on dinner party, you can make it happen with these 12 hacks for hosting thanksgiving dinner!

 

1. Get Lucky with Pot-Luck

One of the easiest ways to host a successful Friendsgiving in a dorm or small apartment is to make it pot-luck. Assemble a list of essential food items and have each of your guests select what they will bring or make.

 

2. Order It In

No cooks among you or limited access to fridges and ovens? Order in instead. Restaurants and catering companies offer Thanksgiving-to-go a few days in advance. Just pick up your pre-cooked turkey and sides and serve hot. Viola!

 

3. Reserve a Common Space

Your 200 square foot dorm is probably not going to cut it. But because it’s the holidays, you may be able to convince your RA to let you use (or rent) you a common area, such as a lounge or event space, instead. That provides you more seating and tables to spread out!

 

4. Rent Another Room

If you’ve decided that your dorm will have to do, ask another student if you can rent their room to store your big furniture (such as a bed, desk or storage container) while you host your party. You might have to slip them some money for it, but you’ll be thankful for the extra room.

 

5. Make It a Picnic

If you’re not able to get the seating you need, consider doing a Thanksgiving picnic. Spread out flannel or brown and gold blankets on the floor and host a simple meal like turkey sandwiches with cranberry jelly.

 

6. Don’t Forget Entertainment

We love DIY games like giant Jenga or watching Christmas movies such as Christmas Vacation. You can also play a game of Thanksgiving-themed BINGO or Minute to Win It.

 

7. Hold a DIY Decor Contest

Don’t spend a ton of cash on centerpieces when you can have your friends do it for you. Host a contest where everyone brings a DIY floral or non-floral centerpiece. Then, have guests places beads or pennies next to their favorites. The winner takes all.

 

8. Curtain Tablecloths

Covering up ugly folding tables is a must, but table cloths are pricey. Instead, go thrift store shopping for window curtains. Most are just the right height and length, and you won’t feel bad about throwing these away or donating them when done.

 

9. Colored Fiestaware

“Who’s glass is this?” No thanks. Get plastic Fiestaware in different colors for each guest. Then no one has to play the guessing game of where they left their drink or whose plate is in their seat.

 

10. Pre-Make Leftover Bags

You can find plastic takeout boxes at most dollar stores. Before serving your meal, fill each up with a second course and stash to the side. When your guests are ready to go, hand them a takeout box as a party favor!

 

11. Game Hens Over Turkeys

Turkeys are complicated, massive, and not exactly dorm-friendly. Instead of turkeys, go with cornish game hens. They are already individually sized to perfectly fit in mini-fridges and they take less time to cook.

 

12. Make It a Community Affair

Dream of a party with strangers and friends alike? More than likely, there’s someone on your campus who doesn’t have a family to go home to or may be from another country. Get the word out about your Friendsgiving and make it a party you’ll never forget by inviting both your friends and your fellow students to join in and share what they are thankful for.

 

Fall Favorites: What’s Back for Fall 2016

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Fall-2016-Trend

Whether it is a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks or maybe taking out those fuzzy UGGS or a long cardigan… welcome back Fall! Leaves are falling, the weather’s becoming colder — I’m not sure about you, but this is my favorite time of the year! Here are some of my fall favorites for this upcoming season.

My Favorite Trends & Things About the Fall Season

GIF via Giphy

Combat Boots: My favorite kind of boots. Wear them. Love them. They’re the perfect mix of functional and fashionable. They’re durable enough for your treks to class, and stylish enough to pair with a casual dress on a girls’ night. 

UGGS: These fuzzy and comfortable shoes are perfect for the fall. Wear them outdoors or indoors for casual comfort.

GIF via Giphy

Oversized Sweatpants & Sweatshirts: Who doesn’t love comfy sweaters that make you wanna cuddle up with your friends or even your dog!? Whether it’s a nice cashmere sweater, your boyfriend’s hoodie or a hand-me-down from a beloved family member, there’s nothing better than the comfort fall fashion offers.

Snag a pair of comfy sweatpants from Victoria Secret or rep a sweatshirt with your school’s name. They’re great to mix with both casual and class-appropriate wear. Wear them around your residence hall for comfort, or pair your sweatshirt with a nice pair of jeans when running errands.

 

Image via Quinnipiac University

Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Starbucks is back with our favorite drinks! Go out and get yourself this delicious drink you will not regret. If your campus doesn’t have a Starbucks, use the coffee machine in your dorm or the coffee and ingredients at your dining hall to whip up a fall drink. Buy simple ingredients like cinnamon or hot chocolate packets — these non-perishables will stay fresh in your dorm room through the winter!

Image via Giphy

High Knee Boots: If your knees get cold, you won’t regret buying these babies! They’re also perfect for a night out.

Fuzzy Socks: Perfect for those cold fall days, by the fireplace or in your room. No matter if they have a silly design or are just plain unstylish – comfort is the most important when you’re hanging out in your dorm.

Hot Chocolate: Buy it. Drink it. Love it. The BEST drink for fall and winter. Like I mentioned before, you can buy these packets to keep in your dorm room, and they won’t go bad.

31 Days of Halloween Movies: Freeform (the new name for ABC Family) is showing all your favorite Halloween hits.

Halloween: My all time favorite holiday. Who doesn’t love dressing up? I can’t imagine not celebrating this day.

GIF via Giphy

Thanksgiving: The best day to eat and feast like a pig, play football and spending time with family.

GIF via Giphy

Hope everyone is enjoying this amazing fall just like my friends and I are!

 

The Best Halloween Care Packages

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Halloween Care Packages

Halloween is here, and most college students are excited for one of the most fun nights of the year. But even though they’re long past the age to go trick or treating, that doesn’t mean you can’t provide them with a little fun this holiday! With a little help from OCM’s awesome line of themed care packages, you can treat your college student to a bit of ghoulish delight! Here are just a few of our top picks.

Signature Halloween Cupcakes

Cupcakes are totally in this season, which means your favorite student will love receiving a collection of Halloween cupcakes in their mail. Four jumbo-sized cupcakes means they can even share with a roommate or friend, and the flavors are packed with fall fun. They’ll love the Pumpkin Spiced Jack O’Lantern, Candy Corn, Spider Chocolate, and Cobweb Confetti!

Power Workout Potion

If your student’s ideal costume is 80’s workout leotards or a muscle man suit, they’re probably less concerned about sweets and more focused on getting their reps in. With the Power Workout Potion package, you’ll keep them on the right track by fueling their run or lifting session. Complete with Gel Shots, Clif Bars, and Yogi Tea, there’s something for every top or aspiring athlete in or out of their costume.

Power Workout Potion

Scare Package

One of our three more traditional care gifts, the Scare Package is perfect for a surprise that won’t shock the budget. Full of favorite treats from their trick or treating days, your college student will enjoy digging into bite-sized chocolate bars, M&Ms, Oreos, and more! Topped off with a spooky Pez dispenser and candy corn, they’ll be hyped up for the holiday! Want more or less, check out the Trick or Treater and the Ghoulish Goodies for even more options.

Scare Package

Haunted House Halloween Gift Tower

Looking to cast a spell on your student? The perfect package to impress is hands down the Haunted House Halloween Gift Tower. Decorated like their favorite haunted house, the boxes are filled to the brim with enough candy to last them until the holidays. The bottom layer is additionally packed with colorful candy and caramel popcorn for an extra treat they’ll really love.

Hobgoblin Healthy Blend

If your college student more terrified of gaining the freshman 15 or is focused on fitting into their favorite costume, the Hobgoblin Healthy Blend is the perfect selection. We’ve cut out the candy and honed in on the good stuff — granolas, fruit leathers, fall favorite soups, corn chips, raw apple chips, tea, and more! For a gluten free option, you can select the Gluten Free Halloween, and vegans will enjoy the Vanishing Vegan.

Hobgoblin Healthy Care Package

Love From Home Plan

You don’t have to stop at just gifting for Halloween! Care packages make every holiday special by providing your student with a little love and care straight from home. The Love From Home Plan is just one of several options that ensures your college student receives packages year round. The Love From Home features the Trick or Treater, the Valentine Surprise, the Out of the Blue Package, the Fall Finals Support Package, the Shamrock Surprise, the Easter Care Package, and the Energy Pack.

5 Transitions into Fall Fun

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Fall Activites

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (Christmas aside)!! The leaves are starting to change, the air has a slight crispness to it, and the faint aromas of apples and cinnamon seem to hang in the air. That’s right…Fall is here! And there are so many different ways to celebrate.

1.) Go apple picking!

Wizard of Oz

Image via Giphy

Grab a few girlfriends and go apple picking!

2.) Bundle up!

cold

Image via Giphy

Seriously, it can go from nice 75° one day to a breezy 60° the next.

3.) Visit a local farmer’s market!

scarecrow

Image via Giphy

This is the best way to support local organic farmers, and makes for a fun outing with your friends or family!

4.) Make some seasonal goodies!

Pie Animated

Image via Giphy

Make all the pies and fall-themed goodies imaginable. Yum.

5.) Stay in with a fall movie!

charlie brown pumpkin

Image via Giphy

If it’s too chilly to head outside, why not bundle up on a couch and watch a fall classic?

 

What is your favorite time of year?

What are some ways that you are looking forward to celebrating fall?

 

Seasonal Transitions: Keep Warm With 4 Key Pieces

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Tour guides and chat ambassadors here at St. Michael’s College in Vermont are asked several questions from prospective students and parents on a regular basis. Usually, a few particular questions come up repeatedly. One of which revolves around the notorious New England-winter: how cold does it get and how do you handle that while getting around campus?

Truth be told, Vermont doesn’t really get that much colder than the rest of New England does in the fall/winter seasons, and keeping warm comes down to your careful preparation, wherever you are with a cold winter.

As you’re packing up to move back to your college campus at summer’s close, your first thought probably won’t be to grab your winter jacket. However, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the end of summer transitions to the beginning of fall, and you certainly don’t want to wait until Thanksgiving break to bring those warm items back to college.

Thankfully, there are only four key items you’ll want to bring in addition to the rest of your summer wardrobe to ensure a smooth, warm transition into the beginning of fall:

1.) Down Vest

BLU

Down vests are a personal favorite of mine. They’re an easy extra layer to throw over a sweater, hoodie, or long-sleeved shirt, and not only do they go the extra mile in adding a little warmth, but they also add a new dimension to your outfit!

2.) Hat or Headwarmer

8aba09cca828425570c6d483573a2b6ePersonally, all I need is a little headwarmer as the weather starts to get cool, and I only pull the hats out when winter truly hits.

3.) Scarf

best-infinity-scarf-670km040113Along the same lines as the down vest, a scarf adds to both your warmth and your outfit.

 

4.) Gloves

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On especially chilly fall days, gloves can go a long way in keeping warm on a trek across campus.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post, and stay warm!!

What are your favorite fall fashion staples? How do you stay warm on campus?

Fall Favorites: Fashion, Food & Fun

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Colorful foliage, crisp air, and pumpkin lattes…there’s no denying it, fall is here! There’s no better way to celebrate than getting into the spirit of all things autumn. Here at my small Vermont college, most students are native New Englanders who couldn’t be more excited to welcome the changing seasons, myself included! So without further ado, here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate fall here at St. Michael’s College!

1.) Layer Up!

One of the most fun things about fall is all the fashion options that the cooler weather brings: boots and high socks, flannels and vests, scarves and jackets, the opportunities are endless! Bundle up, play with different colors and patterns, and make an extra cozy, cute appearance in class!

Fall Outfit With White Scarf,Puff Vest and Long Boots

2.) Seasonal Snacks

Grabbing a pumpkin latte or snickerdoodle cookie at your dining hall or campus cafe makes for a great pre-class pick-me-up. It is fall after all; you don’t have to worry about squeezing into your bikini any time soon. So go ahead, indulge a little!

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3.) Explore Off Campus!

This weekend, I got off campus for a hike in classic middle-of-nowhere-Vermont. As we made our way up the mountain, we witnessed a little battle of the seasons…

hike

…we were surprised to find a fresh layer of snow covering the fallen leaves! It was beautiful, and while the snow, leaves and ice made for a slippery descent, I’m so glad I got out and enjoyed the spectacle of the changing seasons!

What are your favorite parts about fall, and how do you celebrate them at college?

My Favorite Ways to Fall into Fall!

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It seems like just yesterday we were relaxing poolside soaking up the summer sun and now the cooler weather is on it’s way. Just because the weather is cooling down doesn’t mean you have to put your social life on hold and lock yourself in your dorm. There are a ton of fun things to do to celebrate fall. Because let’s be honest…it is the best season by far! Today, I’m sharing my favorite things to do on and around campus during fall.

GO APPLE PICKING

I had never been apple picking before I came to college and now we go every year! It’s the thing to do with your friends during this season. Even if you don’t have a car, there are tons of clubs on campus that make trips to the orchard throughout the fall, so you can easily hitch a ride with them. It so much fun to just go out and wander through all the apple trees and try to find the best apples. And because you are buying them straight from the source, they tend to be cheaper too!

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CARVING PUMPKINS

It’s seems to be impossible to not carve a pumpkin during the fall. The best part is you can pick up a pumpkin just about anywhere, so they should have them at an on campus grocery store. And with Pinterest there are literally so many different ways to decorate and carve them. The options are endless! Plus you can then bake the seeds if you have access to an oven, which is my favorite part.

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COFFEE DATES

Pretty much every college girl I know loves a pumpkin spice latte during fall, so what’s better than grabbing your best friends and stopping at the local coffee shop in between classes? It’s a great way to take a little time out from the craziness of classes and just relax and unwind. Sometimes all you need is your girlfriends and a pumpkin spice latte to get your mind off things.

Happy October!