Last Minute Dorm Shopping List

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With only a few weeks (or less) until you move into your residence hall, you’re probably feeling pretty good about the supplies you’ve picked up. But hold up, we can pretty much bet that you’ve forgotten a few essentials. Don’t believe us? Take a look at these last-minute dorm shopping list must-haves to see if you’ve got your dorm and desk covered.

 

Stapler, Staples, and Stapler Remover

This isn’t high school anymore. Your professor doesn’t have her own classroom with supplies for you to use. You’ll need to carry around your own stash of staples when turning in papers or working on an assignment. Don’t forget — this is essential.

 

Notecards, Highlighters, and at Least One Notepad

Sure, you’ll probably take most of your notes on the computer and you may be all into the e-textbook. But there will be times when you’ll need to print something out and take notes on it. You may even have to complete an assignment in class on, you know, paper! Don’t be caught without some of the basics, even if you’re loaded with the best and latest tech.

 

Extra Batteries

Late nights out, traveling for an internship, emergencies — these are all reasons why you’ll want to carry around an extra battery for, at least, your phone. You may also want a backup for your laptop or tablet. Throw one in your purse or backpack and forget about it.

 

Good Lighting

Dorm room lights are usually those industrial lights you see in generic office buildings — the kind that spread bright white light and gives you instant migraines. But for a few bucks, you can turn off those ugly overhead lights and make your dorm rooms nice and comfortable. Pick up some floor, desk, and wall lights. Get creative and make your lighting source a canopy over your bed or coordinate your lamps with your minimal room theme.

 

Easy-to-Clean Rugs

Dorm floors are notoriously cold and unforgiving. A warm, comfortable rug is one of those things you’ll be glad you have come wintertime. But read the tag before you invest. You’ll want one that hides stains, is easy to vacuum, and is relatively inexpensive.

 

Purple Rug from OCM

 

Bed in a Bag

Let’s go over the absolute needs: blankets, long size bedding, pillows, towels, and an organizer. Who wants to do all that shopping when you can instead just buy a Value Pak!? Everything’s included and you can find one to match your style. It’s so easy, you won’t have to worry about the first night!

 

Textbooks

Don’t make the mistake and wait until the day of class to buy your books. In most cases, they’ll be out of stock or limited options. Instead of paying more for the new version at your bookseller, check out eBay or Amazon for cheaper options that will be shipped to your dorm in a day or two. It’s a great way to save some bucks and get you ready for class.

 

Food and Cooking Supplies

While you probably paid a fortune to have a meal plan, sometimes you won’t be able to make it to the cafeteria or will want to stay in. Having a few food staples at the ready will be a big help. We’re talking non-perishable comfort food like mac and cheese, noodles, and soup (microwavable foods). Grab some bowls, plates, silverware, and cookware, and you’ll be all ready to wow your floormates as the resident dorm chef.

Smart Black Friday Buys for College Students

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black friday college buysWe’re all about Black Friday! The tradition of getting up at the crack of dawn to go shopping is tailor-made for us, especially if it means saving a TON of money on college essentials. If you’re shopping on what is arguably the best deal day of the year, here’s a list of smart Black Friday buys for college students.

1.    Headphones

We’re all about Beats, but we’d take any on-ear, Bluetooth headphone in a chrome or vintage color (such as rose gold or wood look). If Beats aren’t in your budget, even with Black Friday deals, try Skullcandy or JayBird.

 
2.    New Dorm Bedding

With winter semester looming, we’re going to need some bedding that can withstand drafty dorm rooms. Load us up with cute quilts, fleece throws, or flannel sheets. Darker colors work for the winter look, but white is extra comfy for a hotel feel.

 
3.    Slippers and PJs

We’ve been walking around our dorm community in our high school pajamas this whole semester. While we love comfy, we’re getting embarrassed by the holes in our slippers. Fleece, please. It’s extra soft and warm.

4.    Upgraded Storage Solutions

After the holidays, we’re coming home back to campus with loads of new gifts, but nowhere to put them. We’d love if you snagged us some storage cubes, tubs, or under-the-bed systems. Desk and closet organizers also go a long way.

 
5.    Upscale Pillows and Mattress Toppers

Sleeping on uncomfortable dorm mattresses has taken a toll on us. A feather-down or hypoallergenic pillows for our neck and ultra-luxurious mattress toppers to make our sleep more pleasant.

 
6.    Chromebook or Tablet

We’re loving how affordable it is to use computers today. We can make a tablet like an iPad to take notes, write papers, or collaborate with our classmates. But if we need a new computer and cash is limited, Chromebooks are equally powerful and totally college-friendly for a fraction of the cost of a MacBook.

7.    Winter Clothing and Gear

Believe it or not, but we spend a ton of time outdoors walking to and from class, to the cafeteria, or even to the gym. That means we need winter and weather-proof gear that can withstand snow and below zero temperatures. Load up on parkas, boots, and gloves!

8.    Smartwatches

We love wearable technology, especially if it helps us be more productive. Apple watches are all the rage for those with iPhones, but we also love Fitbit HR2’s that track our steps and send us text messages while we work out.

9.    Essential Appliances

We would love to wake up to the smell of coffee in the morning. A single-cup coffee maker or an electric pot would keep us from having to spend a small fortune at Starbucks this morning. Rice cookers and blenders can also help us stay healthy and keep our eating at home in our dorms.

10.  Holiday Décor

We want to get into the holiday spirit as well! A small Christmas tree with a few ornaments would make us feel warm and bright, and we could use some dangling lights and tinsel to up our décor style.  

Back-to-School Style Guide

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Back to School Fashion

It’s time to throw away those cargo shorts and hide away the ratty t-shirts you’ve been lounging in all summer. Back-to-school shopping is FINALLY here, and that means replacing your wardrobe with the most popular new looks. From top to bottom, accessories and shoes, this back-to-school style guide has got your shopping list covered!

Textured Cardigans

Cardigan from http://helloparry.com

 

For both girls and guys, easy to throw on cardigans are an absolute must for college. While a few years back was all about fitted and boyfriend styles, this fall brings back an old favorite for lounge experts — the long, textured cardigan. Find a neutral color (gray is totally in), and look for one that hits you at your mid-thigh or knee. Then, select a cardigan made from an interesting, heavy material such as faux fur or chunky knit.

Rain Boots

Image via http://peachesinapod.com

 

Puddle jumping isn’t just for your little sibling. You’ll be forced to brave the elements walking between classes on campus, so make the most of it by making a rainy day a stylish day. Hunter rain boots are all the rave this year. But you can easily find look alikes if their high price isn’t in your budget. Select one that is mid to high calf in a single, muted color. We especially love deep greens or a patent black.

Boho Sleeve Dresses

Image from http://peaceloveshea.com

 

Even though fall is fast approaching, summer festivals are probably still on your mind. Extend your summer obsession by picking dresses with interesting sleeve styles. Bell, flounce, and cut outs are great sleeve types to stay warm while looking effortless. Add a floral or tribal pattern in fall color patterns for an even more season-appropriate look.

Pencil Skirts

Pencil Skirt from http://trendycurvy.com

 

Street style is bringing in the vintage flair with a classic take on an office favorite: the pencil skirt. Fitted tight to your legs and hips, you can rock this look with just about any top or shoe choice. Add a t-shirt and low-top sneakers when going to class and switch them out with a sleeveless, embellished blouse and heels for a girl’s night out or a first date.

Fall Beach Wear

Beach Wear from http://galmeetsglam.com

 

Again, you don’t have to say goodbye to summer just because your back in class. By mimicking beach and boat wear with your laid back looks, you’ll look stylish year-round. Start by breaking the white after Labor Day rule with skinny white jeans or ankle pants. Add the next biggest pattern trend, black and white stripes, and top off with a worn-in baseball cap. Don’t forget the bag! Beach bags are perfect for carrying around your books, laptop, and accessories.

Pink and Green Accents

Image via http://atlantic-pacific.blogspot.com

 

Tweed and preppy dressers should get excited. Pastel pinks and light greens are the must have color for accessories. Whether it’s in your purse and shoes or necklaces and scarves, these colors are both girly and street appropriate. We’re especially falling for rosey pink necklaces and earrings in gold and bronze, both of which can be matched with black or gray outfits.  

Summer Adventures: A Guide to Buying Your Textbooks

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Textbooks

With only a little less than a month left before the start of the fall semester (is it just me, or has this been the quickest summer yet?!), it’s textbook-buying season again. And while it may not seem like there’s much to it, a lot must go into consideration when buying textbooks for the upcoming semester.

So that being said, take note of the tips below before buying your textbooks this summer!

1.) Opt for earlier rather than later.

Depending on where you order/buy your textbooks, you never know how long it might take for certain books to ship and arrive. That said, err on the side of caution and minimize the risk of not receiving a book on time — get it done on the earlier side. Ordering about a month before the semester starts should give you plenty of time.

2.) Ask around…

Before buying a book for a class you know friends or roommates may have already taken, be sure to ask around. If they have the book, they may sell it to you for a much more reasonable price, or they may even let you have it for free. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

3.) Pay attention to detail…

If your school or professor provides an ISBN number with their list of required texts, that most likely means that they want you to have a specific version or edition for the class. That being said, pay attention to ISBN numbers before getting your books. If you use sites like Amazon (like I do), make it even easier on yourself and copy and paste the ISBN right into the search bar. You’ll be taken directly to the exact version of the book you need.

4.) Know where to shop.

Chances are your school will send out emails and flyers from the campus bookstore, all likely urging you to buy your required texts there. However, while that may seem like a convenient option, your books will probably be full price there, and you’ll only be able to return them at the end of the semester for a handful of change. You will find books for a much more reasonable price elsewhere, and you might even be able to return them when you’re done. For example, buying used books on Amazon has always worked great for me. I find my required texts quickly, get them for a great deal, and I’m usually able to return them directly to Amazon when I’m done using them in exchange for store credit.

 

Good luck, happy shopping, and be sure to enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

What are your tried and true textbook-buying strategies?

Top 7 Shoe Trends for Summer 2015

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Is your wardrobe in need of a seasonal upgrade? Change up your look with the item that brings your outfit together – the shoes! Summer 2015 footwear is ready to rock your world with throwback styles and a mix of playful and classic designs.

1.   Metallics

New Look

Metallic colors have been dominating runways for the last several years, and it’s not about to go away this summer. Gold on black, more than ever, is leading the way in special occasion, dressy heels. Copper colored sandals blends well with most colors. And silver still fairs well as an accent metallic, such as on straps or bedazzled jewels.

2.   Chunky Heels

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Goodbye, stilettos! See you later, wedges! This summer, chunky heels are all the rage. Inspired by the 1960s, this funky, comfortable look, adds a sturdy feel to the shoe, especially a peep- or open-toe. Look for styles that have heels called sleeper or block when shopping around.

3.   Woven

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With natural texture being the choice of material for summer shoes, designers can do a ton to add a visual appeal to the shoes. One favorite is adding a woven look. For business casual shoes, style your flats with a silk weave. Sandals look great with a twisted or braided leather strap.

4.   Mules

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Another ‘60s and ‘70s favorite is making an appearance this season. Mule-style shoes with a higher heel are a flirty footwear piece that becomes this summer’s must-have. Stylish girls will love the open back and heel exposure. But those who really love to experiment with fashion won’t just stick with a peep-toe mule sandal; they will also play around with the traditional, closed-toe version paired with a skirt or pair of skinny pants.

5.   Patriotic Colors in Patterns

chanel-red-white-stripe-pvc-ankle-strap-sandals-spring-20131

Casual shoes demand a traditional color palette – red, white, and blue are the top choices for this season. Stripes and chevrons are always an easy choice, while polka dot is a bit more playful and feminine. These colors and patterns work best when they are in the espadrille or boat shoe style.

6.   Patent Leather

Patent-leather-boat-shoe

Speaking of boat shoe, this look is long due for a facelift. With leather taking over summer, it’s no wonder why so many designers are putting out patent leather boat shoes and moccasins. It’s a mix of serious and casual that make this design so much fun. This unexpected style choice can pair well with jeans or shorts.

7.   Ankle Moccasins

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Ankle boots are so 2014. Ankle moccasins, however, are ready to take over your shoe collection. The difference between the two is subtle—it’s mainly in the fabric. Ankle moccasins are made out of that iconic brown suede or a looser leather (such as moose hide) compared to boots in a thicker or patent leather. Ankle moccasins are great for hitting a music festival in or being the accessory highlight of a boho outfit. Find a pair with fringe or beading for an extra 2015-style bonus.

Which shoe style have you been rocking this summer? Let us know!

Find & Seek – A Game of Personal Style

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Much like our own lives, our personal style goes through many phases. Whether we are moving on from high school to college, from college to the real world, or from a puny dorm room into a big kid apartment, a change of space and pace often gives us a new perspective on ourselves and who we want to be. Inevitably, our fashion tastes change, as well, as we consider how we want to project ourselves to the rest of the world. This can be an outrageously fun time of your life, and if you are fashion-obsessed like yours truly, it happens even when you change your bedspread.

But there are many a questions that can arise during these moments: What trends do I follow? What trends can I even pull off? Where do I start? with basics and add on from there, or with trends and fill in the gaps? To shop online or to shop in-store? What stores/brands do I even go to? When is it OK to pay full price and when can I expect a deal? And what the heck do I do with all my old clothes?

Nightmare, right? WRONG. This kind of stuff is my heart and soul, my banana bread and peanut butter, my ripped jeans and plain white tee. In other words, you’ve come to the right girl for the answers.

Let me be fashionably late to introduce myself– my name is Meredith Wadsworth, but according to my 5th grade nemesis, you can call me Wad-of-Gum for short. I am a twenty-something girl who currently attends college in a rural, southern(ish) town and spends her summers interning with various fashion companies in New York City. I claim myself to be no expert to the industry (I’m working on it), but I do know more than a thing or two about keeping up with the style game when you feel as though your Pinterest board and budget just don’t agree.

I will be able to answer all of the aforementioned style questions and more, but that’s all in due time. For now, I’d like to thank you for reading this post and welcoming me into your life. I promise not to impose– hopefully only inspire!

So, until next time, I will leave you with three basic stepping stones for figuring out your personal style:

1. Determine your style icon(s). Maybe it is Blake Lively. Maybe it is your grandmama. Maybe it is Phoebe Buffet. Real, fake, old, young, famous– consider whose style you wish to emulate and why.

2. What are the three things in your wardrobe that you wear the most? Why do you wear them so often?

3. What do you want your clothes to say about you?

I encourage you to think about these three things, maul them over in your down time, let ’em sink in while sipping your green tea in bed, or during Game of Thrones commercials. Then, check back in with me and be ready to take things to the next level.

On your marks, get set, go.

Meredith is a contributing writer for OCM, and writes a personal style blog Fifteenth & Fifth. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @missmeredithrw for more!

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Dorm Room Shopping

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There are a lot things that future college students believe that they absolutely must have for their dorm room that, in reality, are unnecessary. I still remember my mom and I running through Bed, Bath, and Beyond desperately looking for items that sat in my room for 9 months. After a year under my belt, I am able to distinguish the items that I used frequently from the ones that I never touched.

Do Buy:

Clip-On Bedside Table-

Most beds in freshmen dorms are either lofted or bunked. A clip-on bedside table is easily attached and can hold things like an alarm clock, phone, water bottle, book, whatever you like right next to you at night. It makes your life easier by not having to climb down from your bed every time you need to grab something.

 

Colored Sheets-

While white sheets go with everything and are a very easy purchase, they also stain easily. I accidentally put my white sheets in the washer with my blue jeans and ended up with nicely tinted blue sheets the rest of the year. It is easier to buy blue, purple, or any colored sheets that will not turn a different color every time you wash them.

 

Small Vacuum-

I ended up using my small vacuum several times a week. People are always coming in and out of your room and dirt and crumbs are constantly on your floor. Having a small vacuum that you can store easily will help keep your room tidy without taking up too much space.

 

Lots of Picture Frames-

It will be nice to have lots of pictures of friends and family around your room to remind you that home is not as far as you think. They can also be a great conversation starter with your roommate!

 

Do Not Buy:

Drying Rack-

While this sounds like a good idea now, it will only take up lots of space and be a hassle to you and your roommate. Clothes that do not go in the dryer can be easily hung in various places around your room.

 

Sewing Kit-

Most eighteen year olds, including myself, do not know how to sew. If a situation arises where something needs to be sewed, it is very easy to run to a local store to buy a needle and thread. No need to buy an entire kit.

 

Candles-

Most of these are not allowed in dorm rooms anyway, but some students think that they will make the room homier. While they do bring a nice scent, they can be a hassle to you and your roommate because they can be messy and can easily be forgotten to blow out. If you’re looking for something to make your room smell nice, I would suggest an air freshener over candles.

 

Good Luck with dorm room shopping!

Summer Before College Series 2: Starting College Shopping-The Preliminary List

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Good morning!

The next topic in my “Summer Before College Series” is what to put on your preliminary college shopping list. The preliminary list is primarily for students to slowly ease into the college shopping process. Based on my personal experience, it is easier to separate your shopping list into tiny categories, starting with this preliminary list. This list should be based on necessities, things that every student in every dorm needs. Once you get the details about your room and/or roommate, you can start to tackle the other sub-lists.

I have chosen a popular preliminary list comprised of three necessities that every college student needs, no matter their room/roommate situation:

  1. Shower Caddy-Believe it or not, this was my very first college purchase. Everyone needs a shower caddy, no matter if you will use a communal or a private bathroom. These caddies are a great way to keep all of your bathroom necessities together.
  2. Bedding-Bedding is another major necessity in a dorm room. It is a fantastic way to show off your personality. You can make it as bright and colorful or as plain and simple as you want it to be. Some of you may think that it will be hard to pick out exactly what you want with so many options. My advice? The typical bed size in college dorms is Twin XL, so just start with the bedding that fits this size point and then go from there. Many stores sell great college-sized bedding packs that usually consist of everything necessary to make a bed. BED BATH & BEYOND, Ross, Target, and our very own OCM, just to name a few! After looking at all of your options, just pick the one that sticks out to you the most.
  3. School Supplies-Basic school supplies are a big item on a preliminary shopping list. Believe me, you will need tons of pens and number two pencils for all of the exams and notes you will take. For this first trip, you will also be safe in buying scissors, tape, a stapler, and paper clips, all used to keep your projects and belongings together and organized. Highlighters are another major necessity, used to highlight any important information in your notes or textbooks. The final supply that you can add to your preliminary list would be a three-hole-punch. You will use these a lot more often than you think! Notice that I did not put any sort of notebook or binder on the list of supplies. I would advise you not to buy these items until you go to your first day of each class. After getting a taste of the class, you will be better able to determine which note taking style you will use. If the professor talks fast, you may want to take notes on your laptop and then print them out to put in a binder or folder. In comparison, if your professor speaks slowly or states that he/she will put notes of some form on the board, then you may want to take notes by hand in a notebook. As you can see, note taking really depends on the professor and you will not really know which type you will use until you get to that first day of class.

Now that you know three essential items for college, you can build your preliminary list and get some college shopping jitters out of the way!