Annie’s August and September College-Themed Favorites

Have I mentioned that I started college recently?  Did you catch the sarcasm there?

As I’m writing this post, I’ve been in college for five (six?) weeks and am thriving.  I love the autonomy that comes with creating my own schedule and absolutely adore my flatmates, not to mention the dining hall food isn’t shabby at all.  Long story short, I love it here and am so glad to be attending such an amazing school and living on such a gorgeous campus.

The first week was a little rough because I was pretty homesick, but once I found a good group of friends and got settled in my dorm, I started to really enjoy myself and take advantage of all the opportunities my university offers.  I’ve gone to so many interesting cultural events, including seeing former Prime Minister David Cameron speak (which was amazing!) and getting my first henna tattoo.

In addition to trying so many new things, I truly feel like a new person.  Who I am at my core is unchanged, but I am surrounded by people who allow me to be my unabashedly true self and it is so freeing.  I have honestly loved and will honestly cherish every second.

With all of this lifestyle transition comes a transition of the stuff I use every day.  Without a commute to school and hours of time spent in the car between activities, not to mention a significantly smaller living space, my every day essentials have drastically changed.  I’ve found myself going for items that are more for function over fashion, but I love products that are both.  I’m also digging things that have multiple uses and take up as little space as possible because sharing a dorm room is definitely tight.

Here are a few products I’m loving this month:

Monaco Ankle Booties from Cleo Madison
Cleo Madison // Booties
What I love about these shoes is that they are the perfect mix of style and comfort.  I live in the back corner of campus, so I have to walk fifteen minutes each way to get to my classes.  Comfortable walking shoes are a must and these booties definitely do the trick!  They go so well with any outfit and are perfect to throw on before my 8 AM when I want to look put-together but just rolled out of bed.  I also love the boutique where these booties are from.  Cleo Madison is an online modest clothing boutique with adorable and affordable selections.
I received these booties in exchange for an honest review of the product.

DIY Gold Drip Mason Jars
Jars // Paints
I use these little jars to hold pens and pencils on my desk and they’re absolutely perfect and incredibly easy to make.  I bought some gold paint from Target, placed the jars upside down on a paper plate, and poured the paint over the jars.  Simple to make and absolutely adorable!

Download the App
Even though my campus is incredibly safe and has fantastic campus police, you can never be too careful walking at night.  I avoid walking alone after dark if at all possible, but sometimes the situation requires it.  In these instances, I use SafeTrek to make sure I get home without a scratch.  All you have to do is open up the app and press the big purple button.  When you release the button by removing your finger, you have ten seconds to type in a predetermined password.  If you don’t type in your password within the ten seconds, the police are sent to your exact location.  SafeTrek is $3.00 per month and totally eases my mind walking around campus!

Plates and Bowls from IKEA
Large Plates // Small Plates // Bowls // Polka Dot Bowls
Eating from takeout containers and dining hall plates can get a little tiring, so I bought a few little plates and bowls to use when I feel inclined to eat like a normal human being.  This pieces all came separately, but they go so well together and are incredibly easy to clean (which I know because my flat has no dishwasher).  They’re the perfect reminder for when I forget how to use proper dishes and silverware.

St. Ives Radiant Skin Face Scrub
Amazon // Target
Walking to and from class in the North Carolina heat is definitely the culprit of this girl’s greasy skin, but this scrub is perfect for combating oil and keeping my face silky smooth.  I love the tiny exfoliants in this scrub: they’re not too harsh, but pack just enough punch to make a difference.  The scent is also fruity and light and gorgeous and if it smells good, what’s not to love?

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Amazon // Goodreads // ThriftBooks
You know I had to throw a book in!  This book has become my safety blanket; I never leave the dorm without it.  I am currently reading When Dimple Met Rishi and absolutely love it.  Whenever my BIO 101 homework or a looming paper has me down, I crack this book open for a dose of sunshine and adorableness.  There’s been so much hype surrounding this book and I’m happy to report that Menon’s adorkable romance passes muster.

“Once Upon A Time” on Netflix
IMDB // Netflix
What’s life at college without a Netflix break every now and then?  I’ve been rewatching “Once Upon A Time” on Netflix as a way to destress and relax after a long day of stress and nonrelaxation.  This show centers around the lives of fairytale characters who were sent to our world by the Evil Queen’s curse.  All the characters live in quaint Storybrooke, Maine, with no memory of their lives before arriving in Storybrooke.  The cheese factor is astronomical, but I love this show nonetheless.

In conclusion, here are some of my favorite blog posts from the past few months:
Annie Gives Book Recommendations Based on Hogwarts House, in which I geek out about Harry Potter and give book recommendations.
Annie’s Friends Give Book Recommendations, in which my bestest gal pals share what books they think you should read next.
[LET’S CHAT] How Do You Find The Time To Blog? in which Mikaela from The Well-Thumbed Reader talks about time management for bloggers.

What products have you been loving recently?

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Annie’s Guide to Dorm Shopping

Hello friends!  As promised in my August monthly update (which you can read here), I’m going to share a little bit about how I shopped for college.

College preparation is overwhelming.  There are so many variables to consider: where you’ll be living, who you’ll be living with, what type of housing you’ll get, whether you’ll live off or on campus, et cetera.  On top of that, you have to be considerate of your roommate and how he or she would like to decorate the room.  It’s a lot to consider in a short amount of time, but it can be done if you do it right.

Here are some of my tips to tackle dorm shopping:

1. Make a list.  By that I mean make a big list.  I combed the internet for recommended packing lists and took inspiration from each to create one long list of things I needed to buy.  In the end, my list was six single-spaced pages long.  Pay attention to the minutia: list out every single thing you want to buy.  It looks much more intimidating than it is.  Which brings me to my second point…

2. Use Pinterest for inspiration.  There are so many college packing lists out there and it’s wise to use the resources available.  In addition to packing advice, you can also find loads of cute dorm room pictures to use if you’re unsure of your dorm style.  Here are some links to my college-themed Pinterest board and my dorm-themed Pinterest board.

3. Shop around your house first.  Now that you have your long and lovely list and abounding Pinspiration, it’s time to really get shopping.  Start at home.  Look around your house for small things you can take that you won’t miss when you come home.  For example, I took my pencil cups from my desk and some of my decorations off of my bookshelf, but I bought new sheets and blankets so I could leave mine at home.  Shopping around your house will also bring little pieces of home with you, making your room even more welcoming and familiar.

4. Buy food when you get there.  Even if you’re on a meal plan, it’s a good idea to have something to munch on during your late night study sessions.  However, waiting until you get to school to buy your food it a good idea because your food will be nice and fresh.  My go-to’s?  Goldfish, spearmint gum, white cheddar Cheezits, and Annie’s fruit snacks (yes, the brand is actually called Annie’s).

5. Make a doubt list.  If you’re wondering whether or not you should buy something, you should probably wait.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to shop once you get to college, so don’t waste space by packing something you’re not even sure you’ll use.  And if you’re like me, you’ll take one (or four) trips to Target or Walmart on move-in day.

6. Invest in Amazon Prime.  I can’t rave enough about how wonderful Amazon Prime is… and they have a student discount!  If you have an .edu email address or another form of documentation that you are, in fact, a college student, you can get Amazon Prime FREE for six months.  But wait: there’s more.  After the six months are up, you get Prime for half-off.  Instead of coughing up $100, you only have to cough up $50.  And did I mention they have included two-day shipping?
*Side note: this was not an ad for Amazon Prime; I just love their service!

7. Buy some school supplies before and some after you get to college.  Buy a single-subject notebook for each class and one binder for every two classes, plus some arbitrary pens and pencils, but I’d stop there.  Your professors may have specific requirements for each class, so wait until after syllabus week to purchase the rest of your supplies.  With that handy-dandy Amazon Prime subscription, this won’t be a problem.

What are your dorm shopping tips?

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