Dos and Don’ts of Packing for College

Right now, it feels like everything is coming to an end and I’m actually super excited. With less than one week until finals, I’m ready to be done with school and just go home. However, there are still quite a few things I need to do before I can leave Iowa City.

As far as my remaining homework for classes goes, I only need to do extra credit for my Interpersonal Communications class (and yes, I need to do it). The rest of my time here is going to be spent studying for my three finals, working a few shifts, and packing up all of my belongings.

In an attempt at being productive and wanting to effectively use my move-out time, I decided to take home a few things a week early. I’m visiting home to do some Prom makeup for one of my friends in high school and wanted to take advantage of this trip to lighten the load for move-out day. Last weekend, I packed up half of my closet and realized just how much stuff I actually have here. A lot of it surprisingly came in handy, and other things I found were just completely useless.

When moving in, and over the course of the school year, I over-packed and definitely over-estimated how much I’d be using some items. So, for my final blog post of my freshman year, I wanted to take the time to give incoming freshmen some advice on what/what not to pack when you move up to the dorms in Iowa (and probably any college) in the fall!

DON’T BRING…

Heels

I had one pair of heels here and never wore them. When packing to move in, I thought “Oh, I’ll bring these just in case I ever need them”. I should’ve decided right then and there to just leave them at home. Unless you’re planning on being in a sorority and/or actually prefer to wear heels when you get dressed up, by all means, go for it. However, that’s not me. I’m already a very tall girl who hates feeling uncomfortable in shoes so I should’ve seen this coming.

An Ironing board

I found a cute miniature one for $5 at IKEA and thought it’d be super useful. I even have a handheld iron to use with it (duh), but all they did this semester was sit in my closet. If you put your laundry away ASAP, your clothes probably won’t wrinkle anyway and if they do, I have a solution for that later on…

More than one set of dinnerware

Celia, my roommate, brought two coffee mugs, one plate and one set of silverware for herself and that was it. I, on the other hand, brought about two sets of silverware, two bowls, one soup bowl, four coffee mugs, four plastic cups, and four plates. We definitely had the space for all of these items, and they all actually went to good use. However, this led to piles of unwashed dishes for weeks at a time #notgood.

A Padlock

While going through my things, I found a padlock in the bottom of my desk still in its packaging. I remember thinking, “what did I even need this for?”. Then it hit me. The bathrooms in our dorm have lockers in them so that students can safely store their shower belongings. While this is a great concept, they’re just too small for the shower caddy that I have. Also, it’s really not that big of a deal to carry a caddy to and from your room every time you need to shower.

Dixie cups

Just don’t buy them. If you have a water bottle, you’ll be drinking water from that all the time. Plus, these little cups just accumulate unneeded waste if they’re not recycled.

A trashcan

I’m pretty sure the university makes it clear that they supply you with a trashcan, but I decided that I wanted one for myself anyway. Of course, it went to good use and was never really in the way, however, if it saves you $5, then cool. There’s no need.

High school t-shirts

This might seem kind of insensitive, but you honestly don’t need those t-shirts from high school. They take up space, and truthfully, I would much rather fill my drawers with Iowa apparel now. If you have younger siblings or friends, hand down your t-shirts to them. I’m the oldest of three girls and I remember always thinking my friends who wore clothes from their older siblings that were dated before we were in high school were super cool. Sounds lame, but it’s true! Make your siblings look cooler and just give them those homecoming t-shirts. If you don’t have younger siblings to give your used stuff to, donate it or just keep them for when you visit home!

DO BRING…

Wrinkle remover spray

If you were to only take one of my suggestions from this version of my list, you ABSOLUTELY need to purchase some of this magic. It’s such a life saver. This spray takes less than five minutes to make your clothes completely wrinkle-free and smells like fresh laundry.

Lots, and lots of Command Strips

You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll actually use these handy little hooks and velcro stickies, so just stock up. From decorations to towel hooks, I guarantee you’ll find a purpose for them.

Alternative lighting

For decorative purposes, Celia and I brought little fairy lights to put in our room. They created such a cute space while providing really calming lights. Throughout the course of the year, we also placed a tall lamp and a shorter, bedside lamp in the far corners of our room to replace the overhead fluorescent light that’s in every dorm. Doing this really helped to make the room feel more relaxed and cozy. This may sound a little dramatic, but we honestly feel like it improved the quality of life we had in our room. Harsh, white light from the huge, fluorescent bulbs really bothered us and having the lamps as an alternative form of lighting really helped to make our room feel like a home.

Contact paper

While this is not entirely necessary and basically just for decorative purposes, it can really liven up your room. We had a really ugly surface right underneath of our sink and it immediately looked better with this stuff. Contact paper is a sticky, but 100% removable, wall-paper-like product and makes unsightly surfaces tolerable.

Vanity mirrors

Unless you and your roommate are cool with sharing one mirror above the sink, you’re going to need to invest in one to place on your desk. I understand that this is probably a much different story between girls and guys, but whatever. Celia and I each have light up vanity mirrors for our desks and bought a cheap full-body one from Target to put on our door. I’m not sure where Celia bought hers, but mine was a DIY project I made from IKEA products.

A mattress pad

Finally, another item you definitely need to pack for college. I used to think the mattresses were pretty comfortable so I never prioritized purchasing one of these. However, I’ve got some serious back pain at the moment and I’m blaming it on my terrible mattress. I’ve laid on beds with mattress pads here and they truly are a game changer. 10/10 recommend.

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Thank you so much for reading! I really tried to gather the most helpful tips for packing this school year, and hopefully, somebody finds this useful 🙂

As this is my last blog post for this school year, I just wanted to take a moment to thank Iowa’s Office of Admissions for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts, experiences, and advice. This was such a great experience for me and I’m so happy to say that I’ll be returning as an undergraduate admissions blogger in the fall!

Don’t forget, you can always keep up with me this summer on my personal social media accounts! ✨

https://freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

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College: Expectations vs. Reality

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about my overall experience during my first year of college, it’s that I shouldn’t have set my expectations so high. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had a pretty great time so far at the University of Iowa. But it’s hard to know how any experience is going to play out, especially if it’s a major change like going to a university for the first time. With that being said, here are some of the major expectations I had coming into college and how they actually turned out.

EXPECTATION: I love the dining halls! I definitely won’t get tired of the food here

REALITY: *avoids the dining hall as much as possible by the end of first semester*

The dining halls may seem to have a wide variety of options to choose from, but trust me, you’re going to find that there’s maybe a total of three meals you like. Then once you’ve eaten those enough, you WILL get tired of them. I was a huge fan of the burritos at Burge first semester, and since I loved them so much, I’d get them just about every night of the week. Except now, I can no longer stand the taste of the chicken they use in them (no matter how tasty it may be).

For some reason, it doesn’t feel like there are nearly enough options anymore and I’ll actually end up spending money on food some nights just to avoid eating in the dining hall. Flex meals have become a really great alternative to eating in Burge or Hillcrest, and so far I’ve used up about twice the amount of flex meals I used last semester in an attempt to eat a wider variety of food.

EXPECTATION: All-nighters totally won’t suck

REALITY: They totally do

I learned this the hard way earlier this week, actually. I pulled my first all-nighter ever on a 5-7 page rough draft of a research paper for my Interpretation of Literature class and I would never in a million years recommend this to anyone. In high school, I anticipated the idea that I’d probably end up going through with an all-nighter at least once in my first year of college and now that I’ve actually done it, I will never do it again. Going without sleep for over 36 hours is not something I should’ve looked forward to. I’m a HUGE procrastinator so of course I saw this coming, but it definitely taught me a lesson to never procrastinate that hard again. I was absolutely miserable and it completely screwed with my body/mind’s sense of time and ability to function.

EXPECTATION: Going out every single night of the weekend because #freedom

REALITY: Staying in at least 1 night of the weekend because #responsibilities

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I had such high expectations for my social life when I really should’ve set the bar much lower. Sure, on occasion I’ll go out with friends Thursday-Saturday night, but more often than not, you’ll find me just chilling in my room on the weekends doing homework or just relaxing. Plus, I guarantee at some point you’ll need to make yourself stay in one weekend night to study for that Monday exam.

   

EXPECTATION: Not studying for an exam and miraculously acing it

REALITY: *Not studying for an exam then getting a D*

Usually, for the first exam of a course, I’ll go without studying just to see how I’ll do solely based on the information I’ve already absorbed from lecture/discussion/etc. However, this method has yet to work out positively for me. I’ve noticed that we cover a lot more information in one exam in college than one exam in high school, so it’s going to take more than what you can just remember off the top of your head. It’s pretty funny that I know this but have yet to actually practice what I preach.

EXPECTATION: All my friends from high school will totally hang out with me all the time

REALITY: *only sees high school friends once a month*

If you’re going to the same college as at least a couple of your friends from high school and expect to keep in close touch with them, you’re setting yourself up for quite a bit of disappointment down the road. I have some of my best friends living on campus with me at Iowa, and I see them maybe once every month or so.

Initially, this made me really upset and seriously question those relationships, but what I needed to understand was that we all have completely different lives now, and that’s the reason aren’t talking as much as we used to.

In high school, you and your friends’ academic schedules are all timed identically with one another and all of your friends are (most likely) located within the same building. Whereas in college, it’s extremely difficult to coordinate times to see friends during the day since everyone’s class schedules vary so much.

However, when you do see them, it usually results in a pretty great reunion where you catch up on anything and everything!

EXPECTATION: *BONGO: Red Route arriving in 2 minutes*

REALITY: *2 minutes later: Cambus has already been to your stop and is disappearing in the distance*

Never trust the Cambus app, Bongo, to always be on time because it will occasionally betray you. I always try to be at a stop around 5 minutes before it arrives just in case cause:

EXPECTATION: I’ll join and attend 10 clubs and love them all!

REALITY: *Never goes to 8/10 meetings but still gets emails twice a week*

Ah, there’s nothing like the rush of ambition you feel during your first few weeks on campus. “I can do anything!” “Sign me up!” “I have so much free time!” are all thoughts you have during the activities and student organizations fair at the beginning of the year. Except, in reality, you have literally no time for anything besides maybe two of the clubs on campus. But whatever, there’s always next year!

EXPECTATION: I’ll only take the elevator up to my room, like, once a day

REALITY: *hasn’t used the stairs in 6 weeks*

Now, my room is at least located on the second floor of my hall, so I always willingly choose to take the stairs up there because it really isn’t that much of a climb. However, I know there are some residence halls on campus with well over twice the number of floors my dorm has so I get that the struggle can be real. On my busiest days, I find myself walking about 5 miles around campus so I completely understand the urge to take the elevator every chance you get.

EXPECTATION: It’s going to be so great to get out of the house and away from my annoying parents

REALITY: *texts them daily and loves taking advantage of any opportunity to come home*

I remember feeling so ready to get to college by the end of my senior year of high school. I so badly wanted to feel independence like never before and couldn’t wait to experience what it was like to be totally free from all parental control. I’m pretty sure this feeling lasted about three days. Yes, the freedom is amazing, but it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be.  I remember FaceTiming with my mom at least once a week for the first month I was at school and feeling surprised that I was actually super excited to come home for the first time.

EXPECTATION: Any free time in my schedule will be spent studying!

REALITY: *takes naps during any and/or all free time*

I remember planning my schedule first semester during orientation thinking, “wow, I’m going to have so much free time to do homework in between my classes!”. Although that’s what I could have been spending my time doing, it definitely wasn’t what I ended up doing at all on most days.

If I ever have more than an hour in between classes, you know I’m going back to bed for a little bit. I’m an avid napper and it’s honestly the only thing (besides caffeine) that gets me through my day anymore now that I’m taking primarily morning classes.

EXPECTATION: I’m never going to skip class because I’m here to learn!

REALITY: *Skips class at least once a month*

I’ve noticed that for most classes, attendance policy usually allows each student 3 unexplained absences. Policies vary by class, but this is what’s typically been the case for me and trust me, I’ve definitely taken advantage of it.

I try my absolute best to attend every class I can in the first half of the semester so that I can save those three free absences for when I need them most. I was always that student who showed up to school even while being painfully ill just because I hated missing class. However, that all went out the door when I learned I could basically have a few free passes. This especially comes in handy for morning classes when you’ve accidentally slept in, are actually super sick, or you’re honestly just not feeling it.

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As always, thanks for reading! Make sure to check out my personal blog site and feel free to follow my various social media accounts to see my daily life on and off campus 🙂

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@rachel_crack

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Views: Finding a Job on Campus

I know, it’s been a while. I’ve honestly had a really hard time pushing through this semester ever since I got back from Spring Break and all of my procrastination has left me feeling super behind in all of my classes. There really isn’t a time where I feel completely on top of everything and I’m constantly overwhelmed with work to do. I am taking one more class than last semester so the workload is a bit heavier, but I know everything will (eventually) be okay. However, I still felt like there was something missing.

I had been meaning to get a job at school since the beginning of second semester, then at the end of February, I finally scored one! For those who didn’t already know, I’m now a hostess at Northside Bistro in Iowa City. It’s a cute restaurant just a few blocks down from the Pappajohn Business Building on market street, and it has such a great location for students who are only able to walk to work. Before I get ahead of myself, below you’ll read about my experience when applying along with a few helpful tips for landing your perfect job on campus.

1. Figure out what YOU want

When looking for a job, I had to first consider what would work best for me. I knew before I even started school that I wanted to work on campus, but I didn’t feel quite ready to start working right away first semester. So, I decided to take all of my first half of freshman year to just focus on academics and get acquainted in Iowa City.

This went pretty well for me most of the time, however, I must admit that I’m quite an avid shopper and having absolutely no income for six months was pretty hard for me. Now, I wouldn’t go spending like crazy or anything because I like to believe that I’m pretty good at managing my money, but it was a little bit of an adjustment to be seeing my savings dwindle instead of growing.

Before coming to college, I had been employed since I was 15 years old. I was saving up just about half of every paycheck I made in those four years to help fund myself whenever I’d go off to college. I knew that this money would be mostly for me (shopping, going out to eat, buying toiletries/necessities, recreation, etc.) and maybe a few textbooks here and there, but I had never touched it that whole time. After saving all of it for over four years it just felt so weird to use it, even though I was spending my money here on exactly what I was planning to be spending it on.

Around November, I was over it. I needed income and I needed to start saving up money again. I thought I had a job lined up to be a hostess at Graze downtown because my dad knows their owner, but the management never got back to me even after contacting them multiple times over the course of two months.

My whole plan was to have a job set up before second semester began, so it really sucked to feel so unsure about having/not having a position at Graze. They strung me along for two months when I could’ve been applying to other places. It was now January and just as I was about to give up, I dropped my phone into a bowl of water.

Yeah, I know, pretty unfortunate. However, on my angsty, rage-filled walk over to Johnny’s Market to get rice to soak my phone in, “NOW HIRING: Host” caught my eye. The front door was locked, but it was only about 30 minutes before the sign said they were closed. If I hadn’t dropped my phone in water, I probably would’ve never walked past that hiring sign, and I was so upset with what had just happened and just generally fed up with the fact that I didn’t have a job yet that I went to the back door and knocked until someone came over to give me an application.

By the end of February, I had the job! I had to make a few arrangements in order to keep it since I’m living at home over the summer, but so far, it’s been super great. I plan on becoming a waitress eventually, but I know that won’t happen until after summer. I’m completely okay with it though because although I have four years of experience at a restaurant, I’ve never been strictly a Hostess before so it’s a great learning experience for me.

The restaurant itself is super cool, too. Northside’s whole theme is “Iowa-inspired” so every aspect of the restaurant is focused on being local. Besides simply being a local business, the furniture is all mostly made from repurposed wood from an old barn, and they’re pushing for 80% of the menu to be made with ingredients from local farms in eastern Iowa. I didn’t know this before applying, but being the huge supporter of local businesses that I am, I found this really impressive and it was right then that I knew Northside Bistro was going to be the perfect fit for me.

2. Experience is Key

Once you have a clear idea of what kind of job you want to have on campus, try to work toward getting at least some experience before applying. If you know you want to work at one of the various retail stores in Iowa City or even the Campus stores, try to get a summer job in retail at the mall. If you want to work at a coffee shop here, try to get some experience at a local cafe in your hometown, and so on and so forth. By just having experience working for a summer, you’ll increase your chances significantly of getting the job you want while you’re at school. I’m sure a lot of kids come here and apply with no experience so when you walk in having at least 2 months of it, you’re putting yourself that much closer to getting hired.

Thanks to the job I had in high school, I have a little over four years of experience in the restaurant industry and that made me feel really confident applying to places here. From the time I was 14, I knew that I wanted to be a waitress for the majority of my young-adulthood so I started working toward that right away. I’m not saying that everyone needs four years of experience to get a job, but I will admit that it’s pretty impressive to employers and basically guarantees you a position wherever you apply.

3. Plan Ahead

Since I knew I wanted to be employed second semester, I decided to plan my class schedule around a potential work schedule. I tried to leave my evenings as free as possible. Besides choir, (which inevitably gets out at 5:20 on Tuesdays and Thursdays) the latest class I have gets out at 3:20, allowing me just enough time to get to work by 4:30 every other day. My weekends, including Fridays, are completely free so I knew that this would get me even more brownie points in an interview seeing as a restaurant’s busiest times happen on the weekends.

Taking the time to hand-craft my class schedule around the specific work schedule of someone who’s applying for a job in a restaurant made me feel that much more confident in getting employed. It shows the employer that you’ve put thought into working there AND if you have fewer conflicts with their typical shifts, it makes their job easier when scheduling.

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These may seem like really basic, obvious tips when applying for jobs on campus (or anywhere), but they’re the three main things I gave a lot of consideration when trying to find the perfect job for me. I don’t see myself working in restaurants for the rest of my life, but it makes a lot of sense for me right now given my previous experience and because of how much I love the environment in which I’m working!

As always, thank you so much for reading and again, I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging as frequently as usual. I’ve been in a funk, but I’m working toward getting out of it and can’t wait to get some more content out for you guys before the school year’s over! (Only 5 more weeks, not including finals, but who’s counting 😉)

 

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@rachel_crack

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(re)views: Food Truck

Lunch: the one time of day I’m always looking forward to no matter how I’m feeling. There’s seriously nothing more satisfying than fulfilling your hunger, and lately, I’ve been taking advantage of the Street Hawk Food Truck.

Located on the T. Anne Clearly walkway right behind Calvin Hall and across from the Pappajohn Business Building, the Food Truck is easily accessible to any customer because of its close proximity to the heart of campus. From what I’ve briefly researched, the Food Truck debuted this past fall semester as a means of alleviating the congestion at the dining hall in Burge, making it now one of the 8 locations on campus students can redeem flex meals. I wouldn’t get lunch here too often last semester because I’d occasionally sleep through the afternoon and just wait to eat until dinner (that’s what strictly having evening classes will do to you) but now with my classes primarily taking place in the morning-early afternoon, I’m actually hungry for lunch at a normal time!

With the Gold meal plan, I’m allotted 75 flex meals to accompany my unlimited dining hall entries.  I think I ended last semester with a little over 60 of them in my account and unlike HawkDollars, flex meals don’t roll over. That’s 60 meals I let go to waste! So this semester I decided to use up as many of my flex meals as possible and I’ve gotta say, it’s pretty easy when you love the Food Truck as much as I do.

It’s almost been 5 weeks since I started my new round of flex meals and I’m already down to 55 of them! In that time, I’ve made it my goal to try new things from the food truck and make assessments on which meals I thought were the best. After all, it’s kinda free so why not? Also, every item on the menu is available for purchase if you’re someone who doesn’t have flex meals or HawkDollars to spare. However, if you’re a student who doesn’t have a meal plan, I would highly recommend getting together with a friend who does and using one of their flex meals (unless of course they don’t want you to, but I know I’m always down to share☺️)

Now, I’m no food critic and I still have yet to try everything on the menu, but below are some of my opinions on what I think is the best food the University has to offer.

Menu

 

My Top Picks

BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER

It’s no secret that this is the truck’s most popular item. I’ll be waiting in line for my meal and notice that a majority of food being called out the window is this one – but for good reason!

First of all, it’s got bacon and barbecue sauce on it so is there honestly anything else to say? I’m always on the lookout for good burgers and especially love the fried onion strings on this one. They also top it with cheddar cheese, 2 pickles, a tomato, and lettuce. I pretty much always get the cookies and chips as my two sides.

 

 

GARDEN VEGGIE BURGER

This semester I decided to become a little more health conscience and even though I’m sure there’s not much difference in calories between a regular burger and a veggie burger, I still feel a little better about my health after eating it. I’ve always been super willing to try new dishes and the Food Truck’s veggie burger pleasantly surprised me! They alternate the types of food, but there’s always at least one vegetarian option on the menu.

The patty is primarily made out of broccoli and it actually has a decent flavor. On the rest of the burger, you can choose to have lettuce, tomato, pickles, cheddar cheese, a tasty black bean spread, or of course, all of the above.

The only downsides to getting this sandwich are that since it’s not as popular as the actual burger, it takes a while for the cooks to get it out the window (same goes for the wrap I mention later) and the patty itself falls apart really easily. However, I don’t necessarily see this as a negative thing. The little crumbles that fall out clean up really well with the fresh potato chips 🙂

 

CHICKEN TACOS

Every day, the truck likes to feature an item that’s not on the menu, and one day I was lucky enough to catch these chicken tacos. In this meal, you get two tacos and although they look small, they’ll make up for it in deliciously fresh flavors. They’re made with traditional tortilla shells, which provides a unique aspect to this meal, especially for someone like me who has gotten used to Americanized taco shells and tortillas the size of my face.

I’ve only ever seen these as the special once, however, the truck now features Chorizo Tacos on their main menu. Chorizo is highly seasoned, ground up pork sausage and if you’re into spicy tacos, then these are for you.

 

FALAFEL WRAP

Finally, my favorite, the falafel wrap. If you would’ve told me last year that I’d be eating this just about every single day in college, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you the first thing about falafel let alone think I’d ever try it and like it.

Falafel, as it is defined by Google, is “a Middle Eastern dish of spiced mashed chickpeas or other pulses formed into balls or fritters and deep-fried, usually eaten with or in pita bread”. Inside the Food Truck’s wrap, the falafel is topped off with cucumbers, a pickled slaw, a creamy feta spread, and hummus. This is the other vegetarian menu item that gets swapped out with the veggie burger and these two are honestly the only things I eat for lunch anymore.

This image isn’t the best because if you look closely enough, you’ll see I got a little impatient and took a bite out of it before I could snap a picture (sorry, not sorry). And although you do get the choice of a chocolate chip cookie for a side, you probably won’t ever get DeLuxe bakery cookies with your meal. The day I got this wrap also happened to be Valentine’s day and this bakery was handing away free goodies right next to the truck so obviously I had to get one!

Again, I’m not an expert, this is just my personal opinion. I’m still going to make it my goal to try everything before the end of the semester and if I happen to find a new favorite (which is unlikely) you’ll be the first to hear about it 🙂

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As always, thanks for reading! Keep making sure to check out my social media for more of my daily life on campus and, of course, my page on the Admission’s website. I’m really close to earning my next digital metal, so even though it’s the same exact content, every view still counts!

freshhawk.wordpress.com

@rachel_crack

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Getting Cozy at Iowa

If you’re familiar with the weather patterns of this fabulous state, you know that you need to be prepared for anything. One morning in the winter, you could wake up to sunny skies and temperatures high in the 40s to 50s with the hopes of having a decent walk to your classes on campus. But wait! Just kidding! As soon as you leave your afternoon lecture, you see that there’s a torrential downpour and realize you’ve left your umbrella in your closet. Again.

As an Iowa native, I’ve come to terms with the inconsistency of our climate but I still find myself in the worst situations with this weather. You’d think by now I’d learn to check my weather app before leaving my room (or even take a peek out the window), but when I’m running late to class, that’s the last thing on my mind.

Lately, it’s been extremely cold on campus. Not necessarily snowy or rainy, just nasty, the-air-hurts-my-face cold. I’m generally very chilly at all times, even in heated buildings, so when it comes to getting cozy, I feel like I know a thing or two.

First, there are the obvious things like sweaters, fuzzy socks, and fleece-lined leggings to get me through a cold day, but I’ve found that having the right outerwear really makes a difference.

In high school, I remember always going for the “cuter” option when running out of the house in the winter. My outerwear usually involved wearing a sweatshirt, the knit sweater I was wearing with my outfit already, or no coat at all. I realize now that this was a really dumb move on my part, and is probably why my knuckles would get so dry that they bled from not wearing gloves. However, thinking back on it now, I had the luxury of a vehicle for transportation to and from my education and now all I’ve got is a crowded cambus (if I’m lucky) and whatever I put on myself.

Since the winter of my senior year, I’ve started to care less about how cute I looked in my outerwear and began to focus on comfort and warmth. For Christmas that year, the majority of my gifts were things to help prepare me for walking to class in the cold and they’ve honestly saved my life (that might be a little dramatic, but it feels too true).

I was going to make a post before the Holidays explaining all the things you should put on your wish-list in order to prepare for college in the midwest, but shopping for outerwear right now is more ideal. Most stores are putting all of their coats on sale in order to prepare for spring so get out there and catch those deals on these necessities while you still can!

Parka

First, you NEED to have a winter coat that goes below your waist. I’ve felt so #blessed to be warm all they way down to my knees while walking to class, and I know I’m not the only one who owns a long, down-filled coat who feels this way. All of my outerwear is from a Banana Republic outlet store so unfortunately, they’re not available anymore. However, I’ve done some research and found some similar products for you guys to check out if you haven’t done your college-winter-wear shopping yet! This mid-length one from Columbia looks just like mine, and is on sale right now, too!

WOMEN’S SNOW ECLIPSE™ MID JACKET

Rain Coat

Although this item won’t particularly help with warmth, it’ll surely come in handy on those days when you actually know it’s going to be raining. Finding a super cute raincoat is great for the spring and rainy fall days. I like mine so much I often layer it to give more dimension to some of my outfits. This one from Macy’s is on sale right now and I love the fitted waist.

Style & Co. Hooded Anorak Jacket

 

 

 

Vest

Including a lined vest in my college wardrobe made for a really great piece to layer with any outfit. In the fall, I found myself pairing this with simple long sleeved t-shirts, but it also looks extremely cute on top of flannels. This is a piece you can dress-up, dress-down, and layer on top of or underneath virtually anything. I actually think this one from Abercrombie is cuter than mine and I’m seriously considering purchasing this one for myself!

FLEECE QUILTED VEST

Snow Boots

Alright, now, this is the perfect example of why practicality and comfort sometimes need to be put above style. It gets really slick and snowy here in Iowa, so having a durable pair of snowshoes to put on before walking to class is 100% essential. These Totes boots are lined with a warm, fluffy, fabric and never fail to keep my toes warm.

TOTES ELLEN SHOW BOOTS

Rain Boots

As cute as Hunter rainboots are, they can get pretty pricey. My mom is the queen of finding good deals and introduced me to these adorable rain boots by the brand Chooka and they come at such a great price. The brown accents make these black boots easy to pair with any outfit and I love them so much!

Chooka Top Solid Rain Boot

Gloves, Scarves, ETC.

The additional accessories I include in my walking attire are almost as important as the big pieces, I think. I’m a huge fan of hats and beanies so when I randomly found this sparkly, knit IOWA hat at my local HyVee grocery store, I couldn’t help myself. I love when I’m shopping and little, unexpected surprises like that catch my eye.

Socks have recently become a huge obsession of mine and I love incorporating cute crew socks with my sneakers in order to keep my ankles warm. These were gifted to me by a friend, but you can find knit crew socks literally anywhere.

You can’t really tell, but the huge knit scarf I’m wearing is from Old Navy. They sell really nice, cheap scarves and so do places like The Gap and Target.

Finally, the gloves I’m wearing were gifted to me by my boyfriend’s mom and I couldn’t be more thankful for them! They’re a really nice, heavy duty pair from the brand Isotoner with touch screen finger tips and lined with fleece on the inside. Investing in quality gloves will save your hands from the harsh winter air and these have been such a great addition to my daily winter wear.

Isotoner Women’s Nylon SmarTouch Winter Texting Gloves in Concord Grape

 

 

 

 

Of course, the final thing I use to get cozy in the winter is a nice cup of coffee. A new coffee shop just opened up on Clinton street, called Cortado, and I absolutely love it.

My roommate, Celia, works here and I always visit her when she’s got a shift. The atmosphere is incredible, the prices are similar to (or often cheaper than) Starbucks and it’s closer to the heart of campus than Starbucks, too (therefore, less time walking in the cold). They sell a variety of coffee, pastries and even have a breakfast and lunch menu. My favorite drink is the Mochaccino, but I’ve also gotten the caramel latte a few times and indulged in a chocolate espresso muffin one morning.

Hours: 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

 

Thank you for reading and I hope this helps to make some of you a little bit cozier on campus this winter 🙂 As always, make sure to check out my personal blog and social media!

 

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Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Nothing is scarier than the thought of being unprepared for Halloween. Finding costumes to wear all three nights in a row may get a little challenging and now that Thursday has passed, we’re already one day into “Halloweekend”. As the last few hours of the week come to an end, you might find that you don’t have enough time (or, honestly, the money) to stop at Ragstock downtown. In today’s post, I’ll show you three costumes you can easily re-create with items you probably already have in your closet.

This first idea is definitely the laziest (yet most genius) costume idea you’ll ever see. My youngest sister Nicci went as her own Sim avatar last year for Halloween and helped inspire this look. Pair one of these diamond headbands with virtually ANY outfit and you’re instantly a Sim! Here’s how I made mine:

First of all, I made this accessory very informally. I estimated all of the measurements and even cut up the pieces of paper from a job application form I wasn’t going to use #recycling

But for the first step, cut up 10 isosceles triangles. Unlike the picture above, 12 triangles did not work for me so I had to get rid of tw0. I then colored them with a random permanent marker I found inside my desk but you could absolutely just use a regular marker or crayon. Take half of the triangles you’ve cut and tape them together five in a row to make the shape pictured above. You should have two of these. Add a final strip of tape to each of these large pieces to close up the ends. Next, tape the two larger triangles (the top and bottom halves of the final product) together. Connect it to a headband and you’re done!

Take half of the triangles you’ve cut and tape them together five in a row to make the shape pictured above. You should have two of these. Add a final strip of tape to each of these large pieces to close up the ends. Next, tape the two bottomless triangular pyramids together. Connect it to a headband and you’re done!

 

Although the next, and final, two costumes require a friend, they’re made up of some of the most basic pieces and colors any wardrobe could have. By just taking a sharpie, some notecards and a few pieces of string, I created name tags for “Netflix and Chill” and “Peanut Butter and Jelly” costumes.

img_1971  img_1970

These can easily be put together with even simpler clothes like T-shirts and leggings, but adding color coordinating lipstick and a beanie to the “Chill” costume will add a more personal touch to the overall look.

I only plan on dressing up once for Halloween this year but if I end up celebrating again, I’ll definitely rely on some of these looks to get me by for the evening! Hopefully, I’ve inspired a few of you to re-create these looks and regardless of whether you do wear them or not, I wish you all a Happy Halloween!! 👻

 

An Update

To be completely honest, I couldn’t come up with one specific thing I wanted this entry to be about. Although life is definitely starting to feel normal here, my day-to-day activities are becoming more and more miscellaneous.

So without further ado, here is a collection of things that I’ve done in the last two-ish weeks!

Since Halloween is approaching, Celia and I decided to make the room a little spookier. She put up various cling stickers and I swapped out our pink daisies above the microwave with some fall-themed ones instead. I also decided to make some DIY ghost friends one afternoon and they really add to the overall spook of the room. The best part: I made these little ghouls with just tissues, cotton balls, a sharpie, and string. Oh, and remember the pumpkins I talked about in my last post? Yeah, they got smelly really quick. So after about a week of being on display, they were out of our room.

One afternoon, my dad came up to visit me and I knew exactly where I wanted to take him for lunch. By using up two of my flex meals on the Street Hawk Food Truck, we were saving money and had a really great meal in the process. I don’t get to spend a lot of quality time with my dad, so I really loved having him here and having time to catch up. P.S. the cookies they offer as a side are even better if you microwave them.

On Wednesday, October 19th, I had my very first official choir concert with Women’s Chorale and it was so much fun. The concert started out with performances by two high schools from Iowa City, followed by the choirs from the university. I really love getting to watch other choirs sing, especially ones with male voices since being in Women’s Chorale clearly lacks tenor and bass parts. This concert was particularly special for me and my friend Sydney because we were given to opportunity to sing a duet for one of our songs. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a recording of our performance on the Internet but we sang to Susan Brumfield’s arrangement of No Time. I’m so honored to have had this opportunity and can’t wait to get up on stage to sing with my choir at the next concert.

ALSO, Celia and I decided that we want to keep living together! We’ve really loved being roommates and are currently looking for an apartment or house to rent together for our sophomore year. A few other girls we’re friends with are interested in living with us, and we’re super pumped just thinking about it.

You know it’s going to be a good day when you receive the “Congratulations! You have a package!” email from Housing and Dining. I recently purchased a bunch of stickers from redbubble.com and I’m obsessed. Each one’s a little different, but as a whole, they represent me perfectly. They’re all very special to me in their own way, but the little ribbon that reads “blog your heart out” and the text bubble at the bottom right corner that says “hold on i see a dog” are my favorites. These stickers were very inexpensive and redbubble.com constantly has sales going on (right now, it’s 20% off the whole store, 50% off every small sticker when you buy 6 or more, and 10% off if you are a new subscriber to their emails).

Earlier this year I received the cutest letters from my little cousins in Michigan. I hung them up on the corkboard near my desk and look at them every day ☺️ Since Starbucks is right across the street from the school of music, I stop by there pretty often. The gift card is much appreciated and it warms my heart to hear from some of the people I love the most.

❊     ❊     ❊     ❊     ❊

I’ll also throw in my favorite songs at the moment with my Fall 2016 Spotify playlist because, why not? If you listen to it, you’ll probably notice that this playlist is made up of primarily acoustic covers. I’m really starting to miss playing my guitar and this playlist exists simply because the strums of the guitar feel cozy and warm to me (feelings I want to have in fall) and I’m just trying to compensate. Enjoy! ✨

 

More than makeup

A huge hobby of mine is experimenting with makeup by trying out new colors, techniques and products. However, the college life doesn’t really promote this practice. I’ve noticed that a large majority of girls on campus aren’t dressing up or putting on much makeup for every day classes because no one here really cares. And as awesome as it is to be in an environment that’s much less judgmental than high school, my makeup-loving self starts to feel a little out of place.

No, I do not cake my face every day with pounds of makeup. Frequently I try to have makeup-free days to let my face breathe (because it’s healthy). But some days, I just need it to feel cute and confident. I definitely do feel more willing to talk to people and put myself out there if I’m feeling comfortable in my own skin. I understand that confidence comes differently for everyone but when my eyebrows are on fleek and I’m wearing my favorite lip product, I feel like I can do anything.

This look isn’t quite as glam as I can get; and if you know me, I love pulling off glitter on my eyes for a casual look. However this is the typical makeup routine I’ve obtained while at college and I usually go for it if I want to play it safe while still feeling confident. I also made sure to include some of my tips on finding inexpensive alternatives to the more high end products I used. Enjoy!

First I start off by applying foundation. I’m using two products because it’s that weird time in between Summer and Fall where I start losing my tan. I stopped by CVS in the Old Capitol Mall and bought some lighter BB cream so that I could mix it with my darker foundation to make my perfect shade. I then placed my new mixture on my face with my fingertips in little circles and blended it out with my dampened Beauty Blender. Dab the foundation in with the sponge and don’t forget to blend down your neck to avoid harsh lines on the edge of the face.

I really like the formula of the BB cream by itself because it’s coverage is light but gives my skin a really nice glow. This specific product was around $6 and I’m all for saving money whenever I can, especially when it’s with makeup. You also don’t have to spend the money on a beauty a Beauty Blender if you’re wanting a good makeup sponge. Real Techniques is a brand that sells makeup tools and brushes, and they sell their sponge for $7 at ULTA, Walgreens, Walmart and online through Target (where its only $4.99!!)

Next, I’m applying my holy grail concealer, from Maybelline’s FITme collection, and used the pointed end of my Beauty Blender to blend it in. Gotta hide the dark circles from staying up late watching Netflix all night. I then take my Laura Mercier translucent powder and a small, dense powder brush to set the concealer. I’ve had this product for a while now and honestly, Rimmel’s Stay Matte pressed powder works just as well for about ten times cheaper (I’m not kidding).

The brushes I’m using are from the brand bhcosmetics. Their store is online and they sell large brush sets for under $20! They’re pretty good quality for the price and for the amount of brushes you get and I’d definitely recommend them to anyone who wants to buy a set while on a budget. I’m using ones from the the Sculpt and Blend 2 – 10 piece brush set ($14.99!)

makeup-5

Before I get into the next step I want to make sure I mention how great this palette is. Before moving in, I decided to go through with purchasing a large Z Palette to put all of my most used eye-shadows and face products with metal plates all in one place. This really made packing easier while moving and it’s totally customizable. They have smaller sizes sold at Sephora, but the larger (more inexpensive) ones can be found on Amazon.

For my contour, I’m using a “handy buki” brush from bare minerals to apply two shades I took from my Anastasia Contour palette in light to medium.

Shortly after move-in, I broke the spooly (swirly brush thing) on the end of my only eyebrow brush so I had to make another trip to CVS and find another one. Luckily I found one, and for a really great price! Wet and Wild isn’t known for having great quality but I actually really like this product AND it was only $2. Score.

Now taking my Sephora blush in the shade No. 6 Heated, I’m going to apply it directly above where I applied my contour and right beneath my cheekbone. I really like this shimmery blush because it adds a nice flush of color to my face while also giving me some added sparkle. To finish up my face, I’m going to highlight the tops of my cheekbones with Becca Cosmetic’s highlighter in the shade Opal. This is another one step that can easily be replaced with a cheaper product. ULTA sells products from the brand Revolution and they carry really high quality highlighters for a very reasonable price.

For my eyes, I start by taking a fluffy eyeshadow brush and lightly dip it in the same warm bronzer I used as my contour. I placed this color in the hollows of my eyes, or the crease, to give them depth. I then take an even darker, chocolatey brown with a more angled fluffy brush and work that into the outer V of my crease to create a blurred angle on the outside of my eye. Finally, I take a flat eyeliner brush and a mixture of brown and black eyeshadow to create a muted, soft-looking wing.

I finish my eyes off with a layer or two of mascara and then move on to lips. I always try to  prep them with a layer of lip balm before applying other products (this is one that I happened to get for free in my first few weeks of being on campus). And last but not least, I top it off with my favorite lip product at the moment, Candy K gloss from Kylie Cosmetics.

And then I’m done! My makeup routine is pretty inconsistent and I either apply less or more than this depending on the occasion or my mood. However, this look is what I go for when I don’t know what else to do and want to keep it simple. It’s not a bad thing to go all out on your makeup, and it’s certainly not a bad thing to wear none at all if that’s what makes you feel comfortable and confident 😊✨

 

Inexpensive Hawkeye Apparel?

After attending the first three football games of the season and carefully reviewing Instagram posts from other Iowa students that I follow, I noticed a trend in Do It Yourself Hawkeye apparel. Girls all over Melrose and my Instagram feed would be wearing unique, creative variations of DIY-ed outfits by completely remodeling oversized t-shirts.

diy2In the spirit of wanting to look cute whenever I can, I decided to hop on this trend too. I also love crafting so it was a win-win. This Tuesday I stopped by Salvation Army to pick up really inexpensive Hawkeye t-shirts. I ended up finding two shirts for a total of 5 dollars. FIVE DOLLARS for inexpensive Hawkeye apparel. You probably didn’t think that existed, now did you? So even if I completely botched my t-shirts after cutting them up, I wouldn’t be out too much money (and even if you’re just looking for a place to find cheap Iowa clothes, taking some time to rummage through Salvation Army is a good idea).

For the first t-shirt I decided to just do a simple fringe cut on the bottom and this is what I came up with! Instructions on this top are in descriptions of the individual pictures below.

               diy4

For the next shirt, I decided to get a little fancy and make it into a cropped halter top. This one’s going to take a few more steps and if my pictures and tips don’t help very much, here’s the video I watched: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33paDZboUV4

Like I said, if my pictures and tips weren’t very clear for the halter top, please refer to the video. And if the edges aren’t straight or the fringe pieces aren’t even, it’s totally cool! I feel like any crafted t-shirts, take tie dye for example, have more character if they’re a little messed up. Sorry for posting so late this week, I came down with a bit of a cold this weekend and it hasn’t been too fun. But you’ll hear more about that in the next post so get excited 😉

As always, please make sure to check out my personal blog for more content! www.freshhawk.wordpress.com

Views: Kinnick

This Saturday, I had the most fun at a football game I think I have ever had in my life. Growing up in a family of Iowa Hawkeye fans, going to games at Kinnick Stadium was a pretty special, and often a rare occurrence. Sometimes we’d even do a fun thing called “tailgating” in one of my parent’s friend’s RVs or in the back of someone’s car in a parking lot. However none of these experiences prepared me for what game day is like as a student.

Saturday’s game started up at 6:30, however, the tailgating festivities always begin bright and early. Tailgates are great places to get hyped for the game and fill up on as much free food as possible before entering the stadium. I met up with some of my closest friends from high school at a tailgate and we were all wearing glitter!

We knew that the stands would fill up more quickly than last week’s game, so we left tailgating early to arrive one hour before kickoff. Not without some touch-ups on lipstick, though.

There really isn’t a bad seat in the house. Next time, though, I think I’m going to make it my goal to get even closer to the field. The whole student section is first-come-first-served so why not be as close as possible!? However as long as you’ve got good company (and the Hawks are winning) the game will be fun no matter what.

Screaming at the top of my lungs, cheesing until my face hurt for the Smile-Cam, and dancing to any music that was played made for a great time with my friends. Then, as the sun descended, the cell phone flashlights rose. Needless to say, Kinnick was pretty lit.

By the time the game was over (and won) I was starving, exhausted, and ready to go to bed. I don’t recommend buying any food at the game because, in my opinion, it’s far too overpriced for the budget of a college student. And since you can’t bring in your own water bottles, I make sure to have enough money for that when I go because its always important to stay hydrated.

Being a Hawkeye fan is amazing, but being a Hawkeye fan in the student section is even better. We’re only into the second game of the season and I can’t wait for more!