Posts filed under 'social life'

The Mid-Week Party: 5 Ideas to Help You Perk Up a Wednesday Night

Are your weeks feeling a little… flat? Nothing soothes the pain of the third consecutive hour of Chem lab or that monotonous summer job like the promise of something better waiting around the bend, so why not get your favorite people together and start a mid-week (or mid-month) tradition?

Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Dinner!

There’s not much reason to try new foods or cook a big meal when you’re dining solo, so talk your favorite people into doing a little weekly (or monthly, if you’re nervous chefs) dinner party. You can each bring something yummy, take turns cooking for each other, or make it a group activity where you all mess up the kitchen together.

Lucky for you, I’ve got some great ideas about starting a dinner club (and ideas to spice it up!).

…and a Movie

If dinner’s not your thing, why not start up a weekly movie night? It’s a great low-key activity, so you can invite anyone (handy if you’re looking for a reason to sit cozily next to your crush without being too obvious!) and you can take turns choosing the week’s film so you get a good taste of new genres, or stick to a theme like classic black and whites, the “Brat Pack” 80’s movies, or a marathon of James Bonds.

The NY Times list of the Best 1,000 Movies can help you start your list!

Be Bookish

Love books but hate textbooks? Starting up a casual book club is a fun way to make sure you fit some non-required reading into your schedule, and its kind of nice to share your opinion–good or bad–without being graded on it. Just be sure there are some comfy chairs and snacks involved.

Share your favorites and your to-read list on Goodreads and find something you can all get into!

Tube Time

Need something even easier to plan? Just get together to watch your favorite show. Pop some popcorn, secure the remote from your roomie, and enjoy the latest episode of The Voice.

Don’t worry if you missed last week’s episode, Television Without Pity can catch you up with funny, snarky reviews.

Get Creative

Still looking for more? Catch up on my previous suggestions for fun & easy get-togethers (for guys and girls), or come up with something on your own. Your mini-party can be anything from building a (legal!!) bonfire to working out en masse–just make it social, and make it fun!

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Add comment May 16th, 2011

Relationship Tip: Do As I’m Doing (Honey)

When it comes to free time, the genders obviously have different ideas about how it should be spent. The ladies want to shop, have deep conversations, and watch the Project Runway marathon on Lifetime (was anyone else shocked by the winner, btw??). The gentlemen: eating, sports, and a 24-hour game of Halo: Reach on xBox Live.

Tired of waiting around for your girl to finish her DVR’d SYTYCD or your guy to turn off the game console? May I suggest a tact the hubs and I have come up with?

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Give it a Shot

Okay, here’s the deal. No matter how stupid our significant others’ favorite pastimes may seem to us, for some reason they really dig them. And there is no better way to score points with your honey than to show some interest in what they love. (If you want to try it the other way around, ask your sweetie to join you doing something you really like, and see how it goes!)

So, I’m just going to throw out my own example. I’m no pro, but I did play a decent amount of Halo this summer (and even more since Reach came out because that’s how I get extra facetime with my man–you hear me, ladies?). My sweetie asked me to play with him one evening, and he was so excited that I gave in. It actually turned out to be pretty fun (full disclosure: I am no longer an embarrassment, but I still have trouble keeping aim when I’m in a firefight), and we’ve played a couple times a week since then. He still gets really excited any time I offer to play.

Make it Accessible

If you want to get your honey involved in your hobbies, take the pressure off. He’s never brought it up, but I know playing video games with me is a way different experience for the hubs than when he plays them with the guys–he turns down the gore (because I’m a girl, and gore is gross), leaves the game setting on normal (I would be pretty lame on a difficult setting, and I know it), and makes a point of giving me props when I do something well (even if its an accident).

Basically, he makes it less intimidating, and preserves my shy little newbie gamer ego.

It works the same way when you’re translating girl stuff for guys. Example? If you want your man to watch a Twilight movie with you, tell him you’ll throw together some killer movie snacks and make fun of the cheesy parts together. Make it low-key and not embarrassing, and be willing to see it from the other perspective.

Celebrate Success, Accept Failure

Not every hobby you share is going to translate to a new couples activity. If you find out you and your sweetie have something new in common, great. Add it to your list of date night activities. If sharing one more second of Monday Night Football together sounds worse than a 6am bio midterm, skip it–its no big deal.

Most relationships thrive on a combination of comfortable similarities and interesting differences, the point here is simply to take an interest and try something new.

Photo: brunopp

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1 comment November 3rd, 2010

Your Handy Dandy Back-to-School Roundup

Summer break is great, but now we get to gear up for another year of life on campus (and hopefully a little more independence–anyone else’s Dad keep the curfew thing going in the college years?). Ready for a refresher course in college living? Here we go!

Studying & Academics

Its that time again–time to hit the books and start getting the straight A’s your future employer wants you to get. 😉 Check out these study tips and get your game face on.

Productivity

One of the biggest challenges of life on your own is getting everything done and still having time to enjoy college! These productivity tips will help you start organizing so you can fit in all the important aspects of your life.

Money Stuff

Budgeting may not be fun, but it can be easy. Learn how to build your budget, save money, and build your credit score so you can graduate with a healthy bank account.

Health

Get healthy and stay healthy this year.

Dating

You don’t need a lot of green to impress your date. Take a look at these cheap-or-free (but still fun!) date ideas for fall, winter, and all year round.

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1 comment September 9th, 2010

Not Your Average Dinner Party

Food is a big deal in college, whether you’re on campus or off campus–especially when your main source of nutrition is ramen and cereal. Why not make dinner (or breakfast! Sorry I know that picture is of breakfast… But doesn’t it look amazing??) a little more interesting, and kick your social life up a notch in the process?

Round and Round

Starting a dinner club could be the best thing that ever happened to you if you’re tired of eating at the caf for every meal. Just pick a few people (preferably people who can cook a little!), and take turns cooking meals for each other. It will help everyone save money, and it means a fresh cooked meal a couple times a week.

Plus, if you all eat together, you get some bonus socialization.

True Cuisine

Already mastered the art of boiling water? Start a monthly food club where you can challenge your skills (and your taste buds!) A group of my friends started doing this their second year, and it was amazing. Each week they’d pick out a meal they’d always wanted to try, and get together and (at least try to) cook it. Sometimes they invited other people (like me! woohoo!) to stop by for samples. They honed their cooking skills, and had some pretty funny stories to tell by the end of the year.

A Little Friendly Competition

If any of you caught the Top Chef All-Stars this summer, I hope you saw the episode where the chefs had to cook amazing food in a dorm. It was awesome–I couldn’t believe the food they came up with using just microwaves, toasters, and hot plates!

Whip up a super-amusing dinner party Iron Chef style, using only the cooking utensils and items you have available. Your required ingredient can be anything you want, but keep it dorm-themed to be extra amusing. Gum? Easy Mac? You get the idea.

Get a couple of groups together, and assign judges to award a title to the winners. (Just keep in mind, this could go horribly wrong, so plan on ordering pizza afterward so you have something to eat!)

Looking for more ways to expand your social circle? Check out these ideas for parties (and here) and meeting people (and more here)!

If you’re more concerned with food than friends, why not take a peak at our cheap + easy college recipes? 🙂

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1 comment October 13th, 2009

3 Easy (FUN!) Ways to Meet New People in College

It’s easy to slip into a homesick slump after the initial adrenaline of moving out wears off, but don’t let yourself get bogged down with the blues–I’ve got three awesome ways to get your social life started right.

Go Clubbing… Sort of.

Want to learn how to knit, or play some intermural lacrosse, but your school doesn’t offer either? Head to the student center and start a club. Publicizing is easy on a college campus–there are billions of places to post fliers, many profs let you chalk info on one side of their lecture boards, RAs are willing and able to help, and then of course there are blogs, Tweets, and Facebook.

Here are some club ideas that took off at UCSD:

  • STITCH – A knitting/crocheting club focused on charity work. They taught members how to knit or crochet, then had sales of their goods (scarves, hats, etc.) each quarter, or gave away blankets to people or babies in need.
  • Muir Movie – Every year a bunch of students get together and make an independent film. They write scripts, do casting calls, film, edit, compose music–everything you can think of. And then of course they have an awesome premiere screening at the end of it all.
  • Inner-tube Water Polo – Indoor pools + inner-tubes + water polo. It is even more hilarious than it sounds.

And, bonus! Starting your own club looks great for leadership purposes, so you can add it to your scholarship apps and resumes!

TV Show Kick-Offs

It’s September, and while sadly that does mean homework has returned, it also means your favorite TV shows are starting to pop up with new seasons. Gather some like-minded people and some munchies and lay claim to your common room TV. Fav shows are great because they create common inside jokes and give you something to talk about once the show ends–plus you might get to sit next to that hottie from Chem for a full half an hour.

My Top Picks:

  • Project Runway; Started in August–catch up online
  • The Office; starts September 17th 9/8c
  • Fringe; starts September 17th 9/8c
  • Lost; starts January 2010
  • 24; starts January 2010

Want to watch a show/movie/video from online on your TV? It’s actually pretty easy, if you have the right stuff (and with so many people in the dorms, someone is bound to have what you need):

  • Find a laptop and TV with connection capability for an S-video, HDMI, Component, DVI, or VGA cable
  • For sound, either hook up your computer to the TV (you can use an iPod to Amp cable to hook this up, using the audio input on your TV and the headphone output on your laptop) or just get a good pair of computer speakers and set them up on either side of the TV, still connected to the laptop.

Did that make sense? If not, there are also instructions here.

Get Off Campus

Most college towns have a pretty good weekend scene, and depending on how urban or rural yours is, you could have a pretty wide variety of off-campus activities.

If you’re big city, there are probably hundreds of places you could go, but for suburban or small-town settings, start by checking out your student center or local community centers for cool stuff to do. One little club in downtown San Diego had swing dancing every Friday night, or you could get lessons for cheap at the community center in Balboa Park. There was always live music at one of the downtown restaurants, and in warmer weather there were outdoor movie showings. If you’re not big on nightlife, you could also try taking a class at a local YMCA, joining a book club at a local library, or signing up to volunteer somewhere. And obviously, if you do go out (especially at night) be smart and safe!

Okay, now get out there and make some friends!

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Add comment September 15th, 2009

The Best Ways to Cope With Embarrassing Moments

We’ve all been there: you’re hanging out with some cool new people, trying to make the best impression, and wham-o, the Most Embarrassing Moment (MEM) attacks.

And when I say we’ve all been there, I mean it. In fact, I was “there” just this past Monday. So let’s look at the situation, and your best options for handling your own MEM.

The Story

Monday night my sweetie and I were invited to a welcome dinner put on by a 2nd year med student and his wife. Several new med students and their significant others were going, and it was sort of a get-to-know-you deal, with dinner and the chance to ask some questions about the upcoming school year.

We don’t really know many people here, so I was very excited to go. I chose a special, brand new outfit, carefully did my makeup, and did several mirror checks before we left to make sure everything looked okay. We got to our host’s house right at six, perfectly on time.

And then as I was getting ready to get out of the car, my brand new pants split. Big time.

My sweetie and I had a sort of panicked “honey-my-pants-split!!!” conversation. I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say I turned around for him to assess the damage, and it was just as BAD as I’d feared. We searched the car for anything that might be wrapped around my waist, but there was nothing to be found. No change of clothes, no sweater, nothing.

Laughter

If I learned anything from junior high, it is that nothing glosses over an MEM like your own ability to laugh about it. If you turn red and get horribly embarrassed, people will remember it. They’ll bring it up in conversation. They’ll tease you. And you’ll probably get embarrassed all over again.

If you laugh at it yourself, you basically take their power away (why should they tease you when you already think it’s funny) and you might even be able to find the humor in the situation.

I immediately started laughing, and since we would have been at least a half an hour late if we’d gone home to get me a change of clothes, we decided to go in anyway. I considered telling the story to the hostess and asking her for a sweater (that probably would have been the best idea) but since we had never met them before, I  decided against it (though I look forward to telling her the story later when we know each other better!).

Confidence

If you’ve read even the back cover of pretty much any relationship or networking book, you know that people are attracted to confidence. While we opted to do some clever maneuvering–my honey had to stand behind me as we walked in and out, and while we got our buffet-style food, and I was pretty much glued to my chair any time in between–I also made sure to talk normally and comfortably, stand tall, and act like nothing was wrong.

Projecting confidence not only distracted people from noticing my wardrobe malfunction, but also made me feel better about the whole issue–and prepared me to be able to laugh if anyone mentioned it.

The End

So that is my most recent MEM–a pretty good one if I do say so myself. I’m happy to say we made it through the evening without anyone noticing, but you can bet I’ll do a more thorough wardrobe check before we meet new people from now on. 😉

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2 comments August 13th, 2009

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