Wait, This Is MY Room?


College is an exciting experience that opens your mind and views to a lot of different things. You have a chance to start fresh and be whoever you want to be. In some cases, students go off to college and come back with new mindsets, style, etc. This isn’t a bad thing, it just means that you’ve experienced more in your life and have lived on your own away from home.

You may have met new friends that changed your way of thinking or your personality. You also may have gotten into a new style of clothing or dyed your hair. This is all normal and part of finding out who you are and who you want to be while away at school.

When you come back home to live for the summer, you may walk in to your old room with an eery feeling. Was this really you who painted the walls pepto-bismol pink and pasted the ponies all over it? What’s up with that old pillowcase and de-fuzzed fleece throw? It may be time for a tune-up to match the new you. If you feel like a stranger in your own room, that may be because what you like has changed – even if it’s just temporarily.

If you want to make your room more ‘you’ when you come home to live for the summer, here’s a few ways to spruce up your space to make it more up to date.

1) Move your furniture around – If you’re on a budget and don’t feel like buying new items for your room, moving your furniture around is a great alternate choice. Maybe the stuff you have in your room is already great, you just need a little change. Try moving your bed to an opposite wall (ask someone for help – don’t hurt yourself!) and move your TV to a different location. Maybe add a few updated pictures to your frames – a fresh you needs a fresh start!

2) Arts & Crafts = Win – No matter how old I get, I will always have at least one hand-painted and generously sprinkled sparkle frame in my room somewhere. Sure, buying stuff for your room is convenient and great, but there’s nothing like a personalized, homemade touch to brighten up your home! I used the square mountable shelves found at Target and placed them on my wall, leveled off. I then went to Michael’s (you can go to any craft store) and picked up two very basic, unfinished photo frames. I just used my favorite wood-durable paints and painted them bright colors. Then, I topped them off with sparkly sticker letters and other items to match what the photo was about. They may be a little cheesy- but I wouldn’t trade them in for anything. They make great gifts, too!

3) Re-purposing-There’s 10,000.5 tutorials on Pinterest now a days with excellent ideas on how to use old, broken items and turn them into functional and amazing decor. If you’re trying to create an edgy yet modern approach, head to your nearest thrift store or garage sale and find an old vintage mirror. Cover the glass with plastic and tape off the edges with painter’s tape. Then you can either give the mirror’s outer edges a rustic, worn appeal with sand paper and stain, or spray paint the entire outside with neon spray paint! For a nifty headboard, try taking some old shutters (you can find these at any junk-yard, just be careful when searching) and sanding them down. Paint a few coats of stain on them and let them dry. Then you can hang them up either vertically or horizontally behind your bed as a rustic and modern headboard. Old lamps, stained dressers, etc – the list goes on! And they’re fun to do, too. Just make sure that you’re in a well ventilated area so you can get some fresh air.

Have any other ideas on how to spruce up an old room? Share your budget friendly tips!

Image from here. Check out her awesome rustic headboard tutorial!

Studying Through The Summer? 1 Thing You’ll Need!


For those of you who are skipping their summer to get ahead on their studies and taking summer classes, we salute you. It’s hard to study all through a semester and deprive yourself of a break to stay on the grind. Studying through the summer is a great way to keep your brain fresh and active, while hopefully cutting the time you’re in college down by however many classes you take. Even if you’re studying abroad for the summer, you’re still being proactive to complete your degree!

If you are studying during the summer, there’s one accessory you may want to look into getting. A laptop bag. This is especially important if you plan to be attending classes during the summer. Why? The summer is known for beautiful weather, but it also can bring in some crazy rain! If your laptop is as important to your studies (and life) as mine is, you really should look into protecting it from damage. Even if it’s only 5 minutes walking from your car to campus, rain can get into your laptop and fry that hard drive.

Take it from me learning the hard way. Even if it isn’t raining outside, just the movement of your laptop from one place to another can be enough to damage it. In my case, my charging port got malfunctioned. No big deal right? Wrong. A damaged charging port (from just moving around in my bag without a case) means that it had to be shipped back to the manufacturer for parts at a minimum of 2 weeks. If you’re like me and can’t go a day without using your beloved laptop, that poses as a serious problem. Not to mention an expensive one, at that.

If you’re looking for some practical but inexpensive ways to protect your laptop here’s a few ideas for every taste!

Backpack with Laptop Sleeve

1) Backpacks with built in laptop sleeves– This was my favorite selection because it was practical for heading to class. I could pick a backpack that I liked print-wise and then find one with a laptop sleeve to protect my computer from sliding around inside and getting damaged. I was on a budget, so I found one on amazon for 25 bucks! It was Hurley brand and covered in Cheetah print- just my style! Looking for a similar style? Google it up! Here’s an example of one they have out right now with a built-in laptop sleeve for up to 13 inches of laptop!

Laptop Sleeve

2) Laptop Sleeves– These you can find almost anywhere today. I got one from my local Five and Below store for just under $5.00! The quality was durable and strong, and it was big enough to fit my 17” screen. This was important because I wanted a sleeve that I could put my laptop in that was snug enough that it didn’t slide around, but not so snug that I couldn’t zip it shut. If I was traveling to a friend’s house or heading to one class without my backpack, I could just slip my laptop in the sleeve and be on my way. The only downside is that I couldn’t fit my large block-charging unit and cord in the sleeve itself, but that’s what my purse is for!Laptop Briefcase

3) Laptop Bag or Briefcase – More suitable for a business environment, such as for your college internship or job, a laptop bag or briefcase is a great way to protect your laptop while still staying professional. These are also big enough where you can carry other items in them as well while staying organized. Most of the time these are made from nylon and have a water-proof outside fabric to keep all your documents – and your laptop – protected and secure.

Regardless of which option you choose, make sure you choose something! Taking the steps to protect your files and laptop is a great way to prevent any future issues. A broken laptop the night of your final term paper deadline is a disaster. Not having the $800 and 2 weeks to spare to send it out for repairs is even worse. In addition to protecting it externally, make sure you also have a great anti virus and backup software in place too. That way, if anything happens, you’re backed up and don’t lose anything crucial. If you’re looking for a great way to knock out 2 birds with one stone, check out our Secure Laptop Value Pak. We’ve thought ahead to protect your laptop before you had a chance to accidentally forget! Couple that with a colorful surge protector, and you’re all set for success!

My Work Experience at a Horse Farm Last Summer


I’ve always loved horses and wanted to travel, so last summer I decided I’m going to put these two together and go work on a horse farm in Australia. Yes, in Australia, in the Victoria area in the south of the continent, with a great family and beautiful ranch with horses, cattle and sheep. Perfect! So I’m going to try to share some of the best moments I had while working on this farm.

I found this Australian family online through a work and travel program. They were looking for some help around the farm and in their beautiful garden. The family I lived with, run their own activity-based school camp with a flying fox and lots of fun activities like playing in their own lake. Other people were also working and volunteering there. Since my job was mostly on the horse farm, I spent a large part of my time with three girls from France who were there on a horse apprenticeship. We enjoyed the time on the job so much that we also hung out in our free time.

There was a little staff house built on the farm where all volunteers and workers lived. The house had everything, except a kitchen; the farm owners were preparing the food by themselves, and that was the best part because their food is absolutely delicious. They knew how to cook and everything was fresh right from the garden, just real organic vegetables.

My job was mostly helping around the farm taking care of the horses, but we also had lots of other chores like building fences, feeding the dogs, rescuing kittens, etc. Personally, I was skeptical about working with cats. I know because I have them and noticed that they always got in some kind of trouble. I also noticed that farm work is never done. I always wanted to have a horse farm, but I never thought that it would be so much work and fun; we were painting houses, riding in tractors, riding the horses and just relaxing in the rural countryside with our visitors. It was great taking care of the animals on the farm. I spent lots of time playing with the baby horses and those were some of the best moments; they are so fragile and their deep eyes were absolutely amazing. One night, while I was there, a foal was born. Alice, one of the French girls, found out first and we all got there, standing behind the door, waiting for the newborn and witnessing the miracle of life. It was an unforgettable moment for all of us.

Aside from the work, in our free time we also had lots of things to do on the farm and in the camp. I had a chance to learn how to fish in the lake (trust me, that’s a very hard task to do). We also went canoeing and hiking in the near mountainous region. Peter and Marry organized us a trip to Canberra, the capital city of Australia, which was in the same region as we were. We once went to Sydney too, but I personally enjoyed Canberra more. Unlike other capital cities in the world, Canberra is built in a gorgeous valley and the natural surrounding is so amazing that it feels like the whole city is located inside a large beautiful park. We visited the National Museum of Australia, Capitol Hill, and of course, one of the most impressive war museums in the world, the Australian War Memorial.

Overall, I was so happy with my work experience at the horse farm last summer that I decided to repeat it once again this next summer, except that this time, instead of Australia, I’ll be heading to some European country. Being on this farm made me realize how wonderful it is to connect with nature and the “simple life”, so I guess I’ll be looking for some similar experience, like Normandy in France. What do you think?

Nine Questions to Ask your Friends Home from College


No one will be more honest with you than your friends. So, if you’re heading off to college this fall, or preparing to apply to university take advantage of your friends’ knowledge. Track down anyone you know from high school or sports programs that’s in college already and get the inside scoop this summer. You’ll be surprised at how much information your friends have to offer, and they’ll love talking to you about their experiences.

1)What should I expect in the dorms?

Will the dorms be like the movies? Is independence as cool as it seems? Your friends will be able to tell you plenty of stories about their roommates and experiences living in a residence hall.

2)Is college really harder than high school?

We’ve all heard scary stories about college grades and professors, but are they really worse than your Spanish teacher who assigns two essays a week and refuses to let you speak in English, even when you have no idea what’s going on? Your friend will be able to give you a better picture of what college is like, especially if they went to the same high school.

3)What’s the best way to meet people?

Someone who shares your interests (and knows you) might have some great insights on the best way for you to meet people on campus, which will help you settle into your university easier.

4)What’s the food like?

Just remember that not all cafeteria food is made alike, and your university might have way better food than your friend’s school

5)Should I do anything to prepare for college now?

Aside from purchasing all your dorm room essentials, my answer to this question would be a definite no, but your friend might have a different opinion.

6)Do you like college

Make sure you get an explanation for her answer. Also, remember that opinions are shaped by your perception of your experiences. If you head to college with a positive attitude you’ll probably love it more than you will if you expect to be miserable.

7)What advice do you have for me

This is the best question, because it opens the floor for your friend to tell you anything about college. There are probably things that your friend wishes she had known before her freshmen year, and this is a great opportunity for her to share them with you.

8)What activities would you recommend

Did your friend have the time of her life in honors society? Did she find an internship through her membership with the Women in Science and Engineering? (WISE) Ask your friend about opportunities available to you in school and remember the ones that interest you.

9)Do you have any tips for how to live with a roommate?

Your experience will be different from your friends, but it never hurts to get some advice from someone who has lived through the journey you will soon embark on. So get their advice on how to meet your roommate for the first time, and how to deal with the inevitable arguments and issues.