Fourth of July Party Ideas

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

It is the beginning of July, which means the coolest holiday of the summer is on the horizon! Here are some great ways to celebrate the Fourth of July with friends or family and not break the bank!

Fun With Food!

fourth of july - fun with food

It’s a party which means there has to be food! Change up the same old dishes and add some American spirit flare!

  • Cut up fruit. The easiest fruit would be watermelon into stars shapes and lay them out.
  • Make a healthy flag cake with bananas, strawberries and blueberries.
  • Make white-chocolate dipped strawberries and add blue sprinkles!

Games!

fourth of july - games

I would say games are for kids but who are we kidding? Adults have just as much fun playing games as kids do.

  • Corn hole of course is on the list, it’s a tradition.
  • A fun twist on the classic game Twister is to spray paint the dots on the lawn.  This way you can have more dots and more players!
  • Spray paint cans in red, white and blue and set the up.  Grab a ball and play backyard bowling!
  • Stick a stake in the ground. Grab glow-sticks and play ring toss in the dark!

Decorations!

fourth of july - decorations

You cannot have a party without some decorations to spice things up.

  • Pick up streamers from the store and string them up in the backyard to add color.
  • Buy white and red flowers and place them in a vase of water. Add blue food coloring to the water.
  • Spray paint mason jars and set them up on a colorful table runner.

I hope these ideas on how to change up your Fourth of July party spark your creativity!

Comment below with other fun ideas for the Fourth of July! And of course, Happy Fourth of July!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Choosing the Best Summer Hat

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

It’s summertime and the sun is out and shining. There are plenty of ways to protect yourself from the sun, but at the end of the day there is no better creation to protect your face from damaging UV rays than a hat. There are a bunch of different kinds and styles to choose from. Some are ageless and work in many settings, whereas others are only appropriate in specific settings.

While it is important to prevent burns and cover your face properly, it is also instrumental to have the right kind of hat to compliment your style and surroundings. Here are the main types of summer hats, along with when each should and can be used.

The Baseball Hat

baseball hat

The classic baseball hat is what most think of. The design is simple. It protects your face from the sun and can be worn effortlessly with a multitude of outfits. Different types of baseball hats can be used based on the social setting and location. Different styles can also be used to compliment one’s own personal style, with styles such as snap-backs gaining prominence as of recently. Baseball hats also give you the chance to show support for certain teams or brands.

The Sombrero

sombrero hat

Mexican sombrero hats are much more present in the country as they are designed to protect the face and neck from long days in the field under the hot summer sun. Although sombreros are not typically worn for fashion reasons, they have a highly functional use. These hats should be avoided in non-countryside settings as they are not commonplace in urbanized settings and are usually not necessary for these kinds of settings.

The Cowboy Hat

cowboy hat

The Cowboy hat is highly prevalent in the southern United States and mostly in the great state of Texas. The hat is particularly associated with ranch workers in the southern and Western U.S. The cowboy hat’s wide brim protects the face much like the sombrero without protruding as much from the base of the hat. However, it does not shadow the neck like a sombrero would. Beside being used for a functional reason, the cowboy hat is used frequently by those who dress in a cowboy style. Combined with cowboy boots, wrangler jeans, and a plaid or plain tee shirt, the cowboy hat can complete the cowboy style that is popular in Texas and some of the southwestern states.

The Bucket Hat

bucket hat

The Bucket hat, also known as a fisherman hat, is primarily used by fisherman as the name dictates. The hat has head wear design with a wide and downwards sloping brim, with occasional ventilation holes on the side. The hat was introduced as a fashion statement in the 60’s and has seen a revival as of late, especially among middle school children in the United States. Although the hat has some shade advantages over a common baseball hat, it is mostly used as a fashion accessory and is associated with today’s “hipster” scene. The bucket hats origins go way back as well, with many famous icons having sported the style at one point in their careers.

The Straw Hat

straw hat

The Straw hat has a wide brim and provides some shade from the sun. It is made of lighter materials than most hats, and this helps to keep the head cool. However, the straw is not always woven tightly, so it is possible for UV radiation to get through the holes in the hat and create burns. This hat is most commonly worn while gardening or at the beach.

The Wide Brimmed Hat

wide brimmed hat

The wide brimmed hat is mostly worn by women and provides strong protection from the sun. Its wide reach allows maximum cover of the skin and provides a cool alternative to a heavier hat. Some wide brimmed hats also can be made in sun resistant materials, providing further protection from the sun. Wide brim hats can be fashionable, while also preventing skin cancer by preventing damaging UV rays.

Everyone has a different style when it comes to head wear, but one thing is for sure; Hats can be a great way to not only protect you from the sun, but to compliment an outfit or fashion as well!

Comment below to share what summer hat works best for you.

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Ways To Stay Cool In The Summer Heat

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

We all love summer. Summer means a break from studies as well as a great time to hang out with friends and family. The only problem is that summer heat sometimes dampers your fun. These are some fun ways to stay cool in the heat!

summer heat - woman sweating

Freeze Fruit

summer heat -frozen fruit

Putting grapes, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc. into the freezer and freezing them is a great way to stay cool. There are plenty of uses for frozen fruit. It’s an easy snack to put out during a party or just a snack for yourself.

Water Spray

summer heat - spray bottle

Fans that spritz water are neat, but why would you spend a lot of money on something you could make at home? Go to the dollar store and buy a small spray bottle, fill it up with water and you’ve got a homemade one in a couple of dollars. For an extra something in your spray bottle, you can add a couple drops peppermint oil to create a cooling spray.

Summer Clothes

summer heat - summer clothes

This may seem like a silly tip to add, but we all wear clothes not made for summer sometimes. Whether it’s your favorite pair of jeans, or your lucky hoodie, it’s too hot. Try and stick to loose fabric, as well as more light weight fabric.

Drink a Lot of Water

summer heat - lots of water

If this is the only thing you take away from this post, that’s fine but seriously, drink more water. Most health agencies recommend a half a gallon of water a day, which equals out to eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Now, in the heat, your body is sweating and you’re working harder, so it’s much easier to become dehydrated. Some benefits of drinking lots of water are staying healthy and hydrated during the summer months (and all year round for that matter).

Style for the Heat

summer heat - hair style

We all love our long hair, but in the summer it can put a damper on things. Your hair is a natural insulator, so when you have long hair, your head and neck are going to get really hot. So try some cute up-do styles to stay a little cooler.

Hopefully these tips help you enjoy the summer heat a little more!

Comment below with more suggestions on how to beat the summer heat! 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

How to Have the Perfect Barbecue

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Summer is upon us and the sun is out and shining–well most of the time anyways. There are so many great ways to enjoy summer and having a barbecue is one of the best. If you like delicious food, music, and enjoying the company of your friends on a beautiful sunny day, then a summer barbecue is the perfect option. Here are some important things to do to ensure you have the best barbecue possible.

Plan Ahead With the Weather

barbecue weather

Nothing can ruin a barbecue more than the pouring rain. Soggy meat and muddy clothes can spoil a fun day quickly, so check ahead with the weather to try and select a day that is clear and sunny. Sometimes you will just get unlucky and the weather will do its best to ruin your day, but if you plan ahead you can usually avoid having a barbecue on a rainy miserable day.

Make a Fun Summertime Playlist

barbecue playlist

Upbeat music can really do a lot to boost your mood, so it is imperative to have a good selection of music to dance and sing to, or just enjoy in the background. Try to find a genre or selection of songs that are well known and positive. Summer themed songs can help enhance the experience as well. Be careful about selecting specific genres if you have a group with a variety of different tastes. When in doubt, it’s hard to go wrong with classic rock songs, as they tend to be universally more known. Some examples of bands that would work well on a barbecue playlist are The Beach Boys, as well as Queen and Journey.

Invite a Close Group of Friends

barbecue friends

Barbecues can be extremely fun, so make sure to get a good group of people who you like to be around and who are happy to be there. This doesn’t mean excluding people who may not necessarily fit in with everyone or who may be a little shyer. Barbecues are a great way to introduce friends to other friends who they may not know, as it is a relaxing setting in which people are generally upbeat and happy.

Stay Hydrated and Bring Refreshing Drinks

barbecue drinks

It is important to have plenty of liquids available in the hot summer sun, so bring plenty of refreshing drinks. Fruity drinks such as fruit juices and sodas are tasty beverages to bring to the event. For the 21+ crowd, cold beer as well as wine can be a nice treat to help one relax on a cold summer day. Consult local drinking laws if you are in public areas to ensure that you are drinking legally. It is also a good idea to bring water as it is refreshing and good for you to drink.  A cooler is also a good idea to keep in mind to keep your drinks cold.

Bring Something To Do As A Group

barbecue games

Barbecues can be fantastic events to just relax, sit around, and talk, but there are many other things that can be done at them.  Bringing card or board games can be a good relaxing way to enjoy each others company, as well as bringing balls or other items.  A soccer ball to kick around or a Frisbee to throw are very common barbecue items and can help to keep those who don’t like to remain sedentary having fun.

Bring Lots of Tasty Food

barbecue food

Ah, the best part of the barbecue: Food. The food at a barbecue may be the most important factor and is what a lot of people look forward to the most. The traditional barbecue foods are hot dogs, hamburgers and watermelon, which are all excellent choices that you cannot go wrong with.  Remember though that there are many other options as well. Pulled pork and brisket are a little harder to make but can be twice as delicious if made right. There are also plenty of barbecue sides available that you can bring such as sweet corn, potato salad, and baked beans. It is also a nice idea to bring a dessert that people can enjoy. Homemade brownies or cookies are a delicious idea, but you also can’t go wrong with something cold on a hot summer day, like ice cream or popsicles.  It is also very important to not forget condiments! Although some people may like their burgers or hot dogs plain, it can often be that extra bit of mustard, ketchup, or barbecue sauce that really helps to put the food over the edge.

If you follow all these steps, you will have a fantastic barbecue and have a wonderful day eating good food, enjoying some good music, and enjoying the company of friends and/or family!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Books To Read When You Miss John Green

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Are you missing this guy?

books to read

By now must of us have read at least one John Green book, or heard of one. A lot of you have already read all his books, multiple times. If you are one of those people you may be looking for some similar reading material. Here are some books to read to help you fill the void of John Green this summer. Not all of these books are new but they are all still amazing so keep an open mind.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story: Ned Vizzini

books to read

This is a story that follows Craig, a fifteen year old attending a very prestigious school.  He has very high hopes for himself which adds an enormous amount of pressure on him to succeed. A series of events ends with him in a mental institution, where he makes new friend and finds himself.  The books does very well at depicting mental issues and depression, without sugar-coating it, but refrains from being morbid. The storyline is a little intense, but the way Vizzini writes the story has you laughing throughout it’s entirety.  eCampus.com has It’s Kind of a Funny Story available to purchase for $7.45.

The Probability of Miracles: Wendy Wunder

books to read

This story follows Cam, a sarcastic teenager who has spend a lot of her life in and out of hospitals.  Her mom then has this idea: move them to Promise, Maine which is supposed to have miraculous powers.  When they arrive, Cam finds a sort of bucket list and as she moves down the list we see her fall in love, find self-love and even start to believe that maybe miracles CAN happen.  The story is not centered Cam’s illness, it is about how she copes with it and learns to enjoy her life. A feel good read that makes you smile with every chapter!  iTunes has the Probability of Miracles available to download for $7.99 if you want to read it by the pool on your iPhone or iPad.

Okay for Now: Gary D. Schmidt

books to read

Schmidt is a sort of western writer and this story is set in the Vietnam era so it is a little different than the other three by him. Teenage Doug moves to a new town, gets a new job and meets a new girl, Lil. Together the duo spend their free time at the public library where Doug get unofficial art lessons from the librarian.  The story follows Doug as he deals with his abusive father and his brother back from the war in Vietnam.  Schmidt does a good job of depicting life in a new town, as well as the incredible feat of incorporating art into the story. Knetbooks has Okay for Now available to rent for $9.25.

Perks of Being a Wallflower: Stephen Chboksy

books to read

A lot of people have seen this movie and the movie is actually pretty close to the book. Charlie is an incoming freshmen; a very quiet person without a lot of friends but he soon finds some. This is a coming of age story about a boy finding friends as place to fit in, as well as trying to deal with personal issues. This book is not as light as the others and I will admit that I cried while reading it. It is very inspirational and is a feel good read without being mushy, while also being more mature.

*Be warned that if you decide to read this one that the book goes into more detail and is much more intense than the movie and may make you feel uncomfortable at times.*

As always, as the cheapest option you can look for this title at a local library.  Knetbooks also has The Perks of Being a Wallflower available to rent for $10.00.

I hope that these suggestions of books to read when you’re missing John Green (sigh) help keep you occupied this summer!

Comment below if you have any feedback or more related books to suggest!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Five Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Dining out at nice restaurants and attending musical events are always good ideas for dates when looking to impress someone that you like. However, doing this on the regular can also put a very heavy strain on one’s wallet. Going on fancy dates can show that you care about someone and that you want to make them happy with romantic gestures, however the total can quickly add up. This is especially true for college students who often do not have the luxury of extra spending money to be thrown in wads at three-star restaurants. Just because you do not have the cash to go out to a fancy dinner every week doesn’t mean that you still can’t impress your date. While it is fun to go out to upscale restaurants frequently, sometimes the budget just doesn’t allow for it.

If you need ideas for dating on a budget, look no further as I will be providing you with some options that will let you have fun without breaking the budget.

Go For a Walk or Take a Hike

dating on a budget 1

Although it may seem simple, just walking around with someone can be a great way to get to know them better.  When choosing a spot to walk around, look for an area that is interesting or has aesthetic advantages. Find a place filled with culture! If you have the option, a big city is the perfect setting for a nice walk, as well as a pretty park or neighborhood. Nature walks and hikes are also a good option for those who live in close vicinity to a forest or other nature filled area. Walking is great for you as well, as being outdoors can significantly improve your health and even lower stress. Reduced stress level can make it easier to relax and enjoy the date. Now that’s killing two birds with one stone!

Get Dessert

dating on a budget 2

You may have heard people say that diamonds are the way to a girl’s heart. I would disagree, dessert is! Ice cream and frozen yogurt are always good choices, but you can’t go wrong with cake or pastries too. When seeking out dessert places, try looking for local patisseries and hidden gems. There is nothing wrong with going the classic Ben & Jerry’s route, but sometimes it can be fun to try somewhere new. It’s also commonly known that dessert improves your mood, so you are more likely to enjoy being with another person because you equate spending time with them with happier feelings. Carbohydrate-rich foods like desserts cause your brain to produce serotonin and tryptophan — chemicals that can promote your emotional well-being and thus make you a happier person

Have a Picnic

date ideas 5

Having a picnic in a park or pretty area is a great idea for a date. It is a setting that encourages conversation and creates an atmosphere of relaxation for both parties. As far as food for a picnic, you can’t go wrong with a classic sandwich and chips combination. Bringing a bottle of wine with glasses adds a little romance to the outing and can make it feel more like a date than just lunch (if you are 21+ of course). Once again, you can’t go wrong with dessert as bringing something chocolaty or rich will end the picnic in just the right way! A picnic is a great option as it can work at nearly any time of the day. You can have a lunchtime picnic and revel in the sunlight, or set up for a dinner picnic and enjoy the sunset and the night stars.

Attend a Sports Game

dating on a budget 6

Although tickets to certain games can be extremely pricey, there are often ways to get cheap tickets to a variety of different sporting events. Try taking advantage of student ticket deals as many colleges have deals worked out that will allow you to get into events and games for greatly reduced prices. Sports games are a great way to get to know someone that you may not be completely comfortable with, as you have the chance to sit and talk, with a decreased threat of awkward silence and a conversation topic (the event) already lined up for addressing. Sports events also offer a great opportunity for group dates which may benefit some individuals looking to strengthen relationships, but not quite sure how to do so. Some individuals may be nervous or uncomfortable on initial date and adding another couple or friends to the date may help to ease nervousness.

Visit a Museum

dating on a budget 4

Although some museums can be quite expensive and really put a dent in your wallet, colleges also do their best to make art available to students by offering student deals that make museums either much cheaper or free! Some museums will offer free admission to students within the local area, while others will host student nights. Visiting a museum is a great way to get to know someone as you can learn what they value and how they think by finding out their opinions and views on art. Although museums can make great date spots, it is also important not to get too caught up in the actual art and to allow yourself to talk to your date and get to know them rather than just the art you came to see. Remember, you are there for the date; not just the art.

There are many other options when dating on a budget that can be both romantic and fun. One great tip is to try something new together as this can bring added excitement to the table. Take advantage of student deals on events and museums as these can prove to be strong dates that don’t break the bank. The most important thing when planning a date is to choose something that you can both enjoy. Although some ideas may seem like great date ideas to you, people have different tastes and your date may not be enthralled by the idea of going to a baseball game or walking around a neighborhood. When planning, be creative and thoughtful and you can easily find a great idea for a date that will not empty your pockets.

What’s your favorite budget-friendly date idea? Comment below!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

5 Summery Strawberry Drink Ideas

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

The first day of summer this year is Sunday, June 21st. There will likely be some great patio dates and parties in your near future where you will want to enjoy refreshing, delicious drinks with your friends!  Strawberry drinks are always a big hit. Here are 5 summery strawberry drink ideas for you to try out.  I tried to mix it up with some non-alcoholic and alcoholic options but you can always add or subtract ingredients as preferred!

1. Sparkling Strawberry Limeade

strawberry drink ideas 1

The sparkling strawberry limeade is easy to make in large quantities and still maintains its great taste.  It is the perfect drink for hosting summer showers or birthday parties. Get the recipe for Sparkling Strawberry Limeade.

2. Strawberry Sangria

strawberry drink ideas 2

The strawberry sangria is perfect for an afternoon on the patio with your girlfriends! The combination of frozen and fresh strawberries is extra refreshing. This will surely be a hit to relax and enjoy some necessary girl talk. Get the recipe for Strawberry Sangria.

Tip: Want to enjoy this drink but not old enough to drink alcohol? Substitute the white zinfandel wine suggested in the recipe with the award-winning non-alcoholic Fre brand White Zinfandel.

3. Strawberry Iced Tea Cooler

strawberry drink ideas 3

Iced tea is a summertime classic! It’s perfect for keeping hydrated while boosting your energy levels. This spin on the popular classic adds some great flavor to the mix. Make yourself a big pitcher for your yard days to keep you hydrated and satisfied as you plant flowers or take care of some necessary weeding! Get the recipe for Strawberry Iced Tea Cooler.

4. Strawberry Mango Margaritas 

strawberry drink ideas 4

This cocktail is perfect for a little get together with friends this summer. It’s strong, sweet and delicious. A heads up- you will need a blender for this one! Get the recipe for Strawberry Mango Margaritas.

5. Strawberry-Cucumber Water

strawberry drink ideas 5

This is a simple, yet exciting alternative to hydrating with good old fashioned water.  You can make it with infused water or sparkling water depending on your preference. Keep this strawberry drink on deck for those hot days this summer when hydrating is extra important. Get the recipe for Strawberry-Cucumber Water.

Now that you have 5 great strawberry drink ideas for the summer I hope you try them out!

Tell us how you liked them in the comments below!

 

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

When You Should Call and When You Should Text

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Likely, the vast majority of the people you know have a cellphone. And (with the exception of that great-aunt or grandfather who doesn’t know how) most people use them pretty competently. Even with the few holdouts with ‘dumb phones‘, their phones can at least text. But, is that really the best method of communication? Here is my advice on when you should call and when you should text.

When you should really CALL someone:

"when

 

 

 

 

 

-You are making plans
-You are having a bad day and need meaningful conversation or advice
-You want to catch up with an out of town friend

When you should really just TEXT someone:

4-28 when you should call and when you should text 2

 

 

 

 

 

-You are confirming the plans you made in person or on the phone
-When speaking on the phone would be rude or would interrupt a situation on either end
-When the person you are contacting really just needs some good emojis in there life to make them smile

To sum it up, when you take the time to actually call someone it gives them more of a connection to you. You are saying, yes I have time for you and I will not just get around to talking to you. While texting is a VERY useful means of communication at certain times, you are likely to get a lot more out of a phone conversation.

Hopefully this advice helps you decide when you should call and when you should text. Leave your thoughts on the subject below!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Steps to Take When Emailing Your Professor

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Having trouble wording an email to a professor? Need help, but don’t know how to ask? Check out this guide to emailing your professor!

emailing your professor - 1

Step 1: WHAT?

Let your professor know as much as you can in the subject of the email you are sending them. Do not write out your whole question, but: “EDMS451 Section 2 Homework 8 Questions” lets your professor know which class you are in and gives them a general idea of what they should expect out of the email.

Step 2: Dear WHO?

Make sure that you address your professor professionally and most importantly, correctly. If you don’t know what they want to be called, err on the side of formality- It’s more polite to accidentally call your teacher, “Professor Johnson” when she wants to be called Susie rather than call her “Susie” when she wants to be called Professor Johnson.

Step 3: WHY?

Tell your professor why you are emailing. Don not just start- Question 6 doesn’t make sense!!! Also, make sure to use appropriate punctuation. Pretend you are writing to a potential employer in terms of formality. You might want to start your email, “I was having trouble with a couple problems on this week’s homework and was wondering if you could help me out?” If you are asking for a favor, like an extension on a homework assignment or a grade reconsideration, make sure to take full responsibility and make it clear that you understand they are not obligated to make an exception for you.  Acting entitled does not get students anywhere with their professors.

Step 4: SIGN OFF.

If you do not have an automatic signature, include a thank you, your first and last name and an email you regularly CHECK. It might look something like:

Thanks,

Amanda Drazen

email@university

Step 5: PROOFREAD.

When emailing your professor, remember that is is important to make sure that your email has no grammatical or spelling errors.  You want them to take you seriously.

Step 6: SEND

After you send the email to your professor you should reasonably continue to check for a response and respond promptly to the response.

EXAMPLE email:  

Subject: JOUR199 Section 5 Holiday Absence

Dear Professor Smith,

I hope that you are doing well. I am writing you to let you know of a conflict I have with an upcoming exam date. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take the exam scheduled for July 4th as my family has planned a trip out of town during the holiday.  I was wondering if I could take the exam earlier, maybe the Sunday before?

Thank you,

Amanda Drazen

email@university

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

Steps to Relieve Stress and Be Happy Before Finals

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr

We all have bad days. But, I have found that the bad and super stressed out days tend to come more and more frequently as the end of a college semester approaches. So, here are some steps to take to put a smile back on that face and be happy without avoiding studying!

Step 1: Happy Quote

happy quote

Write your favorite, inspirational happy quote and put it on the wall next to your bed to wake up to every morning. This will only take 5 minutes, but will help you get out on the right side of the bed. 

Step 2: Jamming to Music

happy music

Listen to jam music when you get ready in the morning! Get excited for the day to come! 

Step 3: Favorite Outfits

happy outfits

Wear your favorite outfits. Let me rephrase that: Wear your favorite *CLEAN* outfits. It will make you happy! 

Step 4: Treat Yourself

happy treat

If you got a good grade on a test, reward yourself! If you got a bad grade on a test, console yourself. Whether with a chocolate bar, a new magazine or a new t-shirt- treat yourself! 

Step 5: Sleep Well

happy Sleep

Make sure to be getting the right amount of sleep (I say hypocritically writing this at 1:30 AM with more work to do….). Well, I’ve heard this thing known to the outside-college-world as ‘sleep’ is really helpful and revitalizing!

And if all these fail and you’re still having a bad day: text your friend and tell her you need a hug. Always makes you feel better!  

happy hugs

Don’t forget to SMILE!!!

facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinteresttumblr