Archive for February, 2009

My Top 5: Facebook Privacy Settings

Hide Relationship Status Changes. It’s nice that your facebook friends care for you and all, but you probably don’t want to broadcast to them that you and your sweetie of 4 months just split–again. Luckily, you can remove your relationship status from that home-page feed we all watch for gossip.

How To: Go to Privacy > News and Wall Feed > Actions Visible to Friends and uncheck “Change Relationship Status.

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Create (and USE!) Friends Lists. These work just like the groups you can make in your email; you can create a list like “Family,” “BFFs,” or “Co-workers” and change privacy settings for just the people on that list! So no more worrying about not getting in to college because a clever admissions officer checks your profile.

How To: Go to Friends and click Make a New List (in the column on the left). Then start adding friends to the list. You’ll see the lists available in your Privacy settings when you go to customize them.

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Hide Your Contact Info. Even if you don’t want just anyone IMing (or calling!) you, you still have the option of making your contact info available to only a select few (like people from the friends lists you just created!).

How To: Go to Privacy > Profile > Contact Information and start customizing!

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Choose Who Can Tag (& See Tagged Photos of) You. Again, maybe you don’t want to share your weekend in Vegas with all your classmates and co-workers. Start by making sure you are the only one who can see which photos are tagged as having you in them.

How To: To make sure only you can see which photos/videos have tagged you, go to Privacy > Profile > Photos Tagged of You and choose Only Me. Then go to the Networks dropdown list and choose None of My Networks.

To select only certain people who can see these photos, choose Some People instead of Only Me. You can then either enter certain people, or one of your Friends Lists.

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Block Someone. This is just what it seems–it blocks any interaction with another person on facebook. Like the ex who won’t quit writing on your wall that you two are meant to be 2gether 4ever. Block someone and they can’t find you in searches, view your profile, write on your wall, etc. To them, it is almost as if you have no facebook profile. Just keep in mind that they could (obviously) take offense.

How To: Go to Privacy > Block People and enter their name in the “Person” box.

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4 comments February 28th, 2009

Get Fit: Dorm Room Workouts

Hey, um, do you work out?

Maybe you did… Last week… Or last month… Or last year. Maybe you hate the gym because nobody there looks like they need to work out at all. Or maybe you just can’t find the time in your busy schedule. Or you’re too tired.

But did you know that working out can actually give you more energy? It releases endorphins (remember, we learned that from Elle Woods), and those increase energy and put you in a better mood–woo hoo! Plus it clearly helps your body get (and stay) stronger, and it’s a great way to release tension. Sweet.

Where to Start

There are a few cardinal rules of successful exercise routines, so here’s a super-quick refresher course:

  • Warm Up. Be sure to do a 10 minute or so warm-up before you exercise such as jogging, or a few low intensity minutes on the stationary bike, treadmill or elliptical machine.  It is surprisingly easy to injure yourself doing a workout if you don’t prepare your muscles first.
  • Cardio & Strength. Don’t focus on just one of these–doing both cardio workouts (where you really get moving!) and strength training (where you lift weight–be it an actual weight or just your own body) is crucial to build strength & endurance.
  • Choose Something You Enjoy. There are a lot of ways to work out–you don’t have to go to the gym and run on the treadmill. Try doing things you enjoy, like swimming, biking, or even throwing a frisbee around–you’ll be more likely to keep up with your exercise regiment if you enjoy it.
  • Make it Routine. To be successful, you need to make exercise a part of your schedule, so set apart some time in your calendar.
  • Be Careful. This is a no-brainer. If you’re trying something new, be sure you’re doing it correctly so you don’t get hurt. If you have any condition that could potentially make exercise difficult or dangerous, always talk to your doctor first.
  • Stretch. It is important to stretch out after your workout when your muscles are warmed up so you can minimize your soreness and not cramp up (plus it feels really good after a hard workout!)

Fitness from Your Dorm Room

If you want to work out without hitting the gym, here are a few (free!) resources you might want to check out:

photo: Exercise in the 1950’s by hortongrou

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5 comments February 24th, 2009

Dorm Zen: Grow a (Teeny) Garden

Frankly, school has always stressed me out. Sometimes the mere sight of a text books makes my jaw tighten and a headache start building. Which is why I think it’s important (and just plain nice) to have a little moment of zen now and then.

Your Moment of Zen

Plants have long been revered as having a soothing influence, and its actually pretty rewarding to take care of something and watch it thrive.

If you want to start off with a super-easy plant, I’d recommend getting a “Lucky Bamboo” plant (these aren’t actually a true bamboo, but they look like it). You can get a good one for around $10, and they are very easy to care for–just make sure there is some water in the little bowl and you’re pretty much good to go. (Find more detailed care tips here or here .) My mom gave me a Lucky Bamboo before I went away to college, and it followed me through almost all four years!

Taking it to the Next Level

Once I’d mastered the Lucky Bamboo, I wanted to move on to something a little more exciting, so I tried out a terrarium. A terrarium is basically a little grouping of plants in a glass container. I tried one, too, in a glass “hurricane jar” from Crate & Barrell. (I tried to upload a pic for you but I kept getting an error message… Sorry!)

Plants like ferns (that’s what I chose) or cacti are great low-maintenance plants for terrariums. Learn more about making your own here. Just so you know, the Lucky Bamboo is way easier to maintain, but these terrariums are an awesome way to bring the outdoors in (especially in a cold climate!) Or check out these adorable thimble gardens.

No green thumb?

You can still make a silly toy-terrarium … Whatever it takes to reach the pinnacle of relaxation, right? 😉

photo: two straight lines

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5 comments February 20th, 2009

How to Miss a Day Without Killing Your Grades

What’s that? Grandma and Grandpa invited you to go skiing in the Alps? (I wish!!!)  Well you don’t have to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime, but you also don’t want to kill your grades. Here’s how to prep for minimal grade drooping if you know you’re going to miss a few days.

Check the Syllabus

No matter how great the opportunity, you don’t want to skip class if there’s a midterm. Trust me on this one!  Professors aren’t going to move the test so you can hit the slopes. So start by checking the syllabus for tests, papers that might be due, or other important deadlines.

Get a Study Buddy

It’s always a good idea to try to make at least one friend in each class. Besides having someone to pass notes to when the lectures get boring, you’ll also have someone to:

  • Swap notes with, or borrow notes from if (*cough*) one of you misses class,
  • Turn in your paper if you’re sick or (*ahem* ) out of town on the due date,
  • Study with, especially if you’re having a hard time with homework or some other concept you may have missed… for some reason

Get Your Work Done Ahead of Time

I think this is pretty self-explanatory, but you won’t want to be doing homework or writing an essay on time off, so get as much done beforehand as you can (especially if you need the aforementioned study buddy to turn it in for you.)

Talk to the Prof (if You Need to)

Your vacation plans may or may not matter to your teachers going to depend on the individual. But if you’re very concerned about a certain course you’re going to be missing, you can always explain the situation and see if they can help you out.

The kind (and generous… and rare!) professor may be willing to let you catch up a bit during office hours, or suggest you attend the course on a different day if he or she has duplicate classes.

photo: CMSeter

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2 comments February 16th, 2009

5 Reasons Why It’s Oh-So-Good to be Single

Like it or not, Valentine’s Day always seems to force us to contemplate our relationship status: being single, hooked up, serious, or otherwise. Having spent a good couple years of college being single (sometimes loving it, other times hating it) I thought this week was the perfect time to share a few reasons why being single is awesomely good.

  1. You Can Learn What You Love. When you’re on your own, you’re completely free to explore your life passions. You have time to indulge in a three hour novella-writing spree at 2 a.m. or take a road trip with your buddies to see the most incredible car museum this side of the Mississippi. And you’ll want to know that so you will make time for that passion when you do get into a relationship.
  2. You Can Learn How Strong You Are. When my dad was first diagnosed with cancer, I remember my mom wondering aloud if she could make it on her own-she’d gone from living with her parents straight to being married to my dad. She’d never had to cope with tough stuff on her own, so at almost fifty she was still unsure of her own personal strength.
  3. You Can Make Amazing Friends. Good relationships are wonderful but time consuming. Being single allows you the time and emotional energy to build deep and lasting friendships-friendships that will last even if relationships don’t.
  4. You Can Make Decisions for You. Being in a relationship means making a lot of decisions as a team, so enjoy the freedom you have to do things your way! Right now you get to choose exactly how to spend your time and money-from studying abroad to taking on a new job to road-tripping with your roommates. And you don’t have to share the remote.
  5. You Can Test Your Boundaries. Living at home or being in a serious relationship can both affect your ability to learn who you really are. It’s possible, of course, but it’s harder because (I reiterate!) your time and commitment are both more divided. So try new things (legal things, I mean), meet new people, and make big goals. See just how much you are capable of when you let yourself try.

And stop worrying about getting into a relationship if you’re not in one yet! The good ones find you when you’re doing the right things, anyway. 😉

And as always, please feel free to share your reasons why being single rocks with the class.

photo: lusi

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2 comments February 11th, 2009

Love, Love, Love: A DIY Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day (or Singles Awareness Day as some call it) is only a week away, so you’d better get started on your DIY-ing! Remember, you don’t have to have a boyfriend or girlfriend to enjoy the day there are a lot of people in your life who need some love! Send a card off to your BFF, your mama, or anyone else who could do with some more construction paper hearts in their life. (And ladies, if you don’t have a date may I recommend gathering some girls for some Jane Austen movies and a date with Ben and Jerry?)

Now on to the DIY-ing!

Rice Krispie Treat “Kisses.” These may possibly be the most adorable Valentine ever–Rice Krispie treats shaped like Hershey’s kisses, complete with the foil wrapper! I’d suggest involving a little chocolate, too–maybe a candy coating? Mmm.

Also try:

Felt ‘I Love You’ Book. Got a lot to say? Maybe more than will fit on a Hallmark card? Whip up one of these little books to share with your sweetie and fill it up with Reasons I Love You.

Also try:

Valentine’s Mobile. If you want easy and cute in one fell swoop, this sweet little mobile is your dream date. All you need is some scissors, paper, glue, and string.

Also try:

lots of LOVE

(many of these were found via One Pretty Thing . photo from Burda Style.)

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5 comments February 6th, 2009

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