Archive for July, 2009

Your First Place: Move-in Day Necessities

So Wednesday was the “big day” for me and my sweetie–we finally moved in to our new place, which means I am now writing to you from beautiful North Carolina!

To be a little more specific, I am writing to you from the floor of our new apartment, because our furniture–which was supposed to arrive yesterday–will not be here until next week.


What You Need (The Bare Necessities)

So clearly we had to run a few emergency errands to get the necessities that we hadn’t packed in the car. I wrote a post a while back about what you’d need your first night in the dorms, but I’ve amended the list and added where to go if you forget to pack it anyway. šŸ™‚

  • Wallet, cash, driver’s license & school ID
  • Medication (if applicable)
  • Clothes for 3 days (so you don’t have to do laundry), including underwear, socks, a bathing suit, and a sweatshirt
    • Buy: Ross, Walmart, or if you’re feeling adventurous, a thrift store
  • Good walking shoes (in case you do a tour of campus or a hike or something)
    • Buy: Ross
  • Toilet paper
    • Buy: Walmart or Target
  • Screwdriver (for putting furniture & etc. together) & scissors
    • Buy: Dollar store
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, deodorant, & shampoo
    • Buy: Dollar store or Walmart (soap was even cheaper than the dollar store!)
  • Towel & washcloth
    • Buy: Walmart, Kohl’s (sale), Target
  • Basic Eating Utensils (fork, spoon, bowl, cup, plate)
    • Buy: Dollar store (metal utensils for 50 cents each!) or thrift store
  • Cell phone, laptop, & chargers (thanks,Ā Christina, for adding this to the list!)
  • Pen & paper
  • First Aid Kit
    • Get a compact Johnson & Johnson one at Target for $1
  • Cooking stuff (utensils, pots, pans… if you don’t want to eat out)
    • Buy: Utensils at the dollar store, pots & pans at a thrift store
  • Snacks
  • Reading material (magazine, book)
    • Buy: Get books for cheap at a thrift store or used book store, or make a friend by borrowing from someone on your floor
  • Pillow & blankets/sheets or sleeping bag

I’m happy to say that I took my own advice and had packed a lot of this stuff. But it was the forgotten items (soap, utensils, bathing suit) that had us running errands so much of the first and second days. So plan ahead! :p

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2 comments July 24th, 2009

Dorm Zen: Container Gardening

As I was poking around the kid’s website atĀ Apartment Therapy, I came across an awesome dorm zen idea–container gardening! I did a little more research on it, and I was really impressed.
Those of us who have only a dorm room or an apartment to work with (and therefore limited gardening space) can still have a little garden. I love the idea of whipping up a small herb garden to make cooking cheaper (have you seen how expensive herbs are, even dried ones?!). Plus as you’ll remember, I’ve found thatĀ plants have a very soothing influence–a nice bonus when you’re studying for finals.

You’ll probably need a little bit of outdoor space–a small patio, balcony, or even a window box will do. Here are some links to get you started:

Has anybody given this a shot? I’m thinking of trying a little herb garden in my apartment! šŸ™‚

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13 comments July 22nd, 2009

Summer Fun: Backyard Movie Theater

I’ve always thought there was something magical about watching a movie outside. My college did a couple of “Dive-In Movies” where they projected a movie over the pool. People hung around on lounges or floated in inner tubes. I also caught a big movie at a park by the beach once.Ā There is a great thread on about how to set up a movie theater in your own back yard.

Here’s a summary of what you need, and where to get it.

1. Video Source. This one is pretty easy to come by–you just need something that can play your movie. A DVD or BluRay player or anything else that can play one or both of these things (laptop, xBox, Playstation, etc.) will do just fine.

2.Ā Projector. This is definitely the hardest to come by–mostly because they’re expensive. A typical projector runs $500-1000. There’s a thread aboutĀ finding cheap projectors over at Backyard Theater as well, but I suggest you try to borrow one if you can. Schools and churches usually have projectors, and many colleges will let you check out video equipment, or you could find a friend with a good home theater and see if they’ll lend you a projector for the night. (But take GOOD care of it!)

3.Ā Screen. According to the thread above, you’ll want your screen to be somewhere between 8-16 feet. To keep your costs down, it looks like bedsheets or a long expanse of white wall would be your best bet. You might have to recruit a friend with a white house. šŸ˜‰

4.Ā Sound. The most cost-effective options mentioned in the Backyard Theater thread were computer speakers (a good set with a subwoofer; check discount stores and eBay) or a boom box with auxillary inputs. Remember, you’re not going for home-theater quality sound, you just want to be able to hear the movie.


The Real Deal. Want to make your feature film look more like what you see in the theaters? A free video player program at VideoLAN ( can merge several files into one cohesive viewing experience, so you can add your own movie previews, a news reel, or pre-feature cartoons.

Snack Pack. What is a movie without snacks? Hit up the dollar store for goodies like candy, popcorn, and soda, or make it a cookout and grill some hotdogs and hamburgers. Or just make s’mores (remember, you can evenĀ make s’mores in a toaster oven.)

photo: AaronC

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3 comments July 20th, 2009

Cheap Chic: Clothes You Can Love AND Afford

I love to poke around College Fashion now and then. Authoress Zephyr has a great mix of coupons & deals, fashion tips, and style debates, and without her I still would not know that Anna Sui is debuting a line at Target!

With a move to a new climate coming up, I’m thinking a lot about new clothes and the back-to-school shopping trips my mom used to take me on (I miss those days, Mama!). And since we’ve all got to pinch some pennies these days, I thought I’d make a list of my top places to find great clothes on the cheap.

Thrift Stores. Are you guys sick of hearing about thrift shops yet? I’d stop talking about them, but some of them are SO amazing. If you can find one in an upscale neighborhood (click here for reviews and locations) you might be surprised how nice the cast-offs can be. Yes, it is more of a treasure hunt than a quick stop at Macy’s, but you end up feeling really accomplished when you find something great. Also, Goodwill bookstores have SUPER cheap books in really good condition.

Your best bet for: Vintage, quirky, and high-end at low-price

Off the Rack Stores. Yes, you have to take some time to search the racks for what you want, but rack stores like Marshalls (Coach bags for $50!), Ross, and Nordstrom Rack mean nearly-broke college kids can still wear Lucky jeans.

Your best bet for: Brand names

Kohls. My 12-year-old brother-in-law has been singing the praises of Kohls at least a year now–and I have to admit, that kid is pretty well dressed. So my sweetie and I finally stopped by the other day, and I was stunned that their clearance racks are so AMAZING. The hubs scored some non-dorky solid tees for $2 a piece, and I found some great Candies jeans for $15. Not bad. I also like Aeropostale for similar beachy-cash looks that don’t break the bank.

Your best bet for: Beachy, Casual, & Fun

H&M. I first met H&M in San Francisco, and fell in love with its hip clothes and reachable prices. Its trendy and fun, but I can still buy a pair of pants without feeling uber guilty. I also like Forever 21 (their products tend to last better than Old Navy’s) and occasionally Charlotte Russe.

Your best bet for: Trendy

And one more tip: A tailor can usually work wonders for a pretty good price, so if you have different proportions than the mannequins at the store, get something that fits in the most difficult spots and have a tailor fix the rest. šŸ™‚

photo by lamprinh

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1 comment July 8th, 2009


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