things you should know before college | back to school series

College is an incredible exciting time! Whether you are a first-timer rookie or seasoned student, here are some great tips for preparing yourself for the upcoming semester!

Pack Smart

A little bit of everything truly goes a long way.

Free Stuff

Prepare for free stuff that you will collect as time goes on. The amount of tee shirts you will get within the first week will last you!

Textbooks

Your books can get really pricy so shop around and be smart! For an entire post I wrote about the subject, click here!

Water Kettle

Invest in a water kettle for coffee, tea, soup, oatmeal, and infinite amazing D.I.Y. goods you can make in your room (saving your precious money).

MicroFridge

Yes, you want a microwave and mini fridge. Just make sure you follow the rules and codes of the school and housing so that you do not get charged for having these in your room!

One Notebook

Having one five subject notebook should help for all of your classes per semester. Keep things simple and write all of your notes in this one notebook.

Explore

Learn about your college town for fun weekend exploration!

Self Care

Sleep is important, coffee is pricy and addicting. Care for yourself!

Enjoy

Go with the flow of life! Enjoy every moment you can because time truly flies by! Meet new people, do fun things, and enjoy it all! (Take many photos to document it all too!)

If you want to see my years of college vlogs, check out my LIVIN’ CA series at youtube.com/sarahfhamilton! Tweet or comment any questions/thoughts @sarahfhamilton.

Best of luck!

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10 college textbook life hacks | back to school series

Textbooks can be super pricy (and annoying) but after two years of college, here is a collection of my best advice for the ideal textbook college life hack.

Wait until the first week

Professors typically tell you on the first day what you will need and by when. Unless you get an email from the professor in advance, your best bet is to wait it out so you don’t get anything you don’t actually need.

Compare prices

There are really great deals out there for those who don’t look around first! FIY: your campus bookstore is the most convienent way, so they probably charge the most!

Check your school library

Every school is different, but at LMU, most (if not all) textbooks are on reserve and can be used in the library for a certain amount of time. Chances are, you can probably even check some out. This is a way to save money and use the wonderful resources of your campus library!

Search online for free copies

Sometimes, copies of textbooks end up online as beautiful PDF’s. Even older editions have most of what you need for class, so this is a great way to find what you need.

E-books over Hardcover (if you can!)

Freshman year, I got all of my books as hard copies…which is exactly why I try to use ebooks at all costs now. Textbooks can be heavy and bulky. Chances are, you are already using a laptop and bringing that around campus, so to have your book on your phone or laptop is incredibly convienent.

Rent Used 

Textbooks can be rented or bought. They can also be brand new or old. You may not get lucky with this everytime, but renting used books can save you a ton of money!

If you like it, buy it!

There are some books that may be super convienent and you may want to keep on hand. These are the ones you should just buy and hold onto for life.

Share with a friend/roomie/classmate

College is a time where you are surrounded by peers who are probably taking the same classes. Team up and share textbooks! One in doubt, if you have a friend in the class you need the textbook with, split the cost of the book and then share it. This also may form a great study-buddy friendship!

Check Facebook

Students post out their textbooks to sell or just get rid of. Not only can this be you when you are done with your books, but this is a way to meet new people and get the copies you need from someone who already took the class. You can even contact another classmate with the book and ask for photo copies of the pages you need for the assignment. (Thank you, technology!)

Sell bought textbooks 

I hope those college textbook life hacks help! If you have additional comments/questions/thoughts, comment below and/or tweet me @sarahfhamilton!

Best of Luck!

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healthy snacking to-go | back to school series 

No matter what level of schooling you are at (or even if you’re not at all!), having easy and healthy on the go snacks is a great thing. Here are some of my favorite snacks you can pack in a pinch!

Popcorn

It’s light and fun! My favorite brand is Boom Chicka Pop in the sea salt flavor!

Carrots

Match it with some almond or peanut butter or eat them as is! You can truly never go wrong with carrots.

Crackers

Skip the messy snacks that leave fingers dusty and orange and choose crackers and/or pretzels! Oyster crackers are amazing and for a filling snack, the Reduced Fat Wheat Thins are incredible.

Cereal

Cereal is my go to for all great snacking and breakfast delights! I recommend ones that are less to no sugar just for the sake of keeping your energy from peaking and falling mid-day. Special K and Corn Flakes are always ideal! Munch on its own or add some milk.

Fruit

Fruit can be trickier to pack but it still stands as an amazing snack! One in doubt, fruit cups and applesauce to go are ideal.

Quinoa & Couscous

If you need something a bit heartier, this lovely blend will pick you up while providing some nutrients. It goes well with meals and makes for a great hold-me-over snack! For extra flavor, add some soy sauce!

What are some of your favorite snacks? Let me know in the comments below or tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton!

Happy Snacking!

*This is not a sponsored post! All mentioned above is personal preference. However, please contact me if you or your brand would like to potentially have products featured on this site.

 

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actual college essentials | back to school series

It’s back to school season and already you are being bombarded by all the “essentials” and greatly enforced items but let’s be real…if you want to save a bunch of money and get things that will actually benefit you through the whole year, then this post is for you! Every store wants your business and even in this day and age, social media influencers are trying to help brand items as “necessities”, when that may not be the case.

Take it from me as an almost college junior…these are the essentials that I am highly recommending:

Water Heater

For tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soup…literally everything…I highly recommend having one on hand! Also, dorm life rules vary between different campuses, so make sure that you know what is allowed and what is not. (Check microwave & fridge policies!)

Large Storage Bins

I can’t tell you how great these are! Not only can you use them to store your belongings, but they also help transport during move-in and move-out day. Need a small desk in a pinch? Throw a long scarf over the top of it and it transforms! Multi-task items are key.

Layered Fashion

Having a bit of everything can never hurt, but it is far too easy to over pack clothing. Jeans and shoes can get really heavy too if you are worried about traveling with weight requirements for airlines. That being said, have a few of everything and make sure that it is layerable and easy to clean/match/wear. Dorm closets are small and chances are, you will not be too on-top of laundry so bring as much underwear as you can and a sample of your home closet to rotate through. Also, don’t bother bringing t-shirts because chances are, you will end up with a bunch of free ones within the first week alone.

Heavy Duty Backpack

Textbooks, notebooks, chargers and laptops all weigh quite a bit and if you have a busy day, the times of dropping things off in your high school locker are over. Get a backpack that will support your supplies comfortably, safely, and adorably. Trust me…you will want this to last a long time!

Laptop Case/Chargers/Phone Case

This goes without saying, but make sure that you have all of your electronic essentials and protection for them! I highly recommend phone cases that double as wallets too to keep your school ID and credit card close and safe.

External Hard Drive

As a film student and a person who just so happens to make a lot of videos (youtube.com/sarahfhamilton!), I have a great tendency to run out of space, need to back up my laptop as much as humanly possible, and bring files around with me. As a film student, an external hard drive (or two) are truly essential but I highly recommend to anyone in college. A flash drive or two helps as well. Store your stuff, keep it safe, and make sure that it stays as organized as possible!

Planner

I have been a solid believer in the agenda/planner since the earliest of my schooling days. It is truly a great way to organize your to-do’s in life and other reminders. Having one that works for the school year is absolutely great and the lighter it is, the more likely you are to carry it with you everywhere! Save yourself some stress and keep your thoughts on pages.

Essentials

A laundry bag or hamper, pillow, sheets, cleansers, personal hygiene items, small lamp, shower shoes/caddy, mirror, few bowls/mugs…keep few of these things on hand to make life simpler.

As it goes for textbooks and school supplies, wait until the end of the first week! Once you get your classes situated and syllabi read, you will have a much better idea of what you will actually need. Long story short, you will be collecting as the year goes by so start as minimalistic as possible and know that things you need will be collected as you go along.

I wish you the best of luck this upcoming school year! Let me know what some of your school essentials are in the comments below or tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton!

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Study Tips 101

  Hello!

If you have been to this site before, you are well aware that I have just started my first year of college…on the other side of the country! (If you’re new, welcome!) Recently, I have learned that high school is VERY different from college and so is my study techniques! In high school, I used to get everything I had to done before ever getting home. Even for the things that did end up needing to be done at home, I made it a point to work on it ASAP! Turns out, college doesn’t give me that kind of ability since i’m either living at school or schooling at home…whichever way you want to look at it! Moral of the story: I needed to figure out my new study techniques.

  • GET IT DONE ASAP: No matter what, this one always applies! If you have time to work on something…JUST DO IT!
  • DRINK WATER, STAY LIVELY: If I am too tired to work on something, I usually don’t end up working on it until I’m more awake. By staying hydrated, you’ll stay awake more and remain focused.
  • SNACK BREAK: As long as you’re not snacking every time you don’t want to be working on something, then a little snack break is a good way to stay focused but also have a minute to clear your mind.
  • FRIENDS: Study with friends! Not only can you all help each other understand things better, but it’s also a great reason to see your friends and still be productive.
  • MUSIC: This may or may not work for you, but sometimes having music helps. Soothing background music always keeps me more lively and sometimes provides better focus when trying to stay on task.
  • NEW LOCATION: Maybe you’re just easily distracted or incredibly bored with your current study area…that’s okay! Change it up every now and then and visit different places. Coffee shops, libraries and bookstores, your room, a park, the beach…there are so many locations out there! Find what works best for you.
  • THE GUM TRICK: Did you know that chewing mint gum while studying increases focus and helps your memory for when you have the same gum during a test or class? Try it out sometime! You may be surprised.

That is all on the helpful tip train today, but check back next week for an all new post! Also, let me know what kind of posts you would like to see and/or what study tricks and tips help you out.

Best of Luck!

me

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How to Get the Coolest Locker!

 
Hey, there.

If you’re here, chances are, you are still in school and totally want to have the coolest locker around. Luckily, my friend, you have come to the right place! Truth is, all throughout middle and high school (okay…even my elementary gym locker too!) I have been obsessed with decorating my locker each year to be fully functioning, adorable, and a place that I was proud to call my corner of the school. Because, let’s face it, you’re locker is the ONE place you see every day at school that only you own for the year! (Technically, it’s school property, but still!) Why not pimp it out and make it awesome?

Having the most decked out locker is awesome. Having it also be a place that you don’t mind going to is also super helpful if you like to stay organized throughout the year. Here are my top tips for making sure that your locker this year is both amazing and organized all year around!

Magnets, Mirror, the Works

I’m not saying to go out and buy all of those adorable locker decorations that you see while school supply shopping, but I am saying that even if you DIY it out, having those cute things help! Magnets can help hang papers in a pinch (while being super cute) and a mirror is a must have! If you would like, I even recommend some type of small rug or laminated wrapping paper to have on your door and on the floor. It cleans up the space and looks really cute!

Shelving is Key

Having sturdy locker shelves are super wonderful! They hold literally everything from your heavy textbooks and binders to books and whatever else you keep in your locker. Shelving instantly adds extra room in your locker for storage and as long as everything fits well, everything will be much more accessible for when you need it!

Mini Snapshots

Last year, I printed out little polaroid-looking photos of summer memories from that past summer. All year long, I enjoyed looking at those photos when I got a chance. Plus, it always brought memories and stories to tell whenever friends would stop by and see them. Having those photos were peaceful and made the locker space more personal to me.

Lighting

Little battery-ran string lights, light up letters, disco balls, magnet lights, chandeliers…whichever you choose is a great choice for you but I have to recommend something in the lighting department for your locker! They keep the small space more lit and look amazing. I had this multi-colored light up chandelier that was magnetized and it was always a wow factor for the space, as well as, really great lighting for a really dark locker.

Cute is Cute

Yes…I was that person who found old dollhouse curtains and hung them up in my locker…and it was adorable! Having a mug in there to hold pens and pencils is also a really unique way to go. If you have some cute decoration that you want to add into your locker, GO FOR IT! This is your space to decorate however and the more you make it to your liking, the more you’re going to want to go to it on a regular basis!

Smells Great

Okay, so lockers aren’t always the best smelling things, but whether it’s a hall or gym locker, I do recommend bringing an air freshener (if your school allows for it, of course!). They have little ones with the same scents as different candles which work so well and can be placed or hung in your locker. Plus, I find that they tend to last all year too.

Everything Else

Follow a theme if you would like. Add a little makeup bag filled with emergency goodies or even instant tea, coffee, and hot chocolate packs if you have the use for it. The possibilities are endless, but the main idea is to have fun with it and make it a place where you can go and pick up/drop off your stuff while still having a cool locker.

Best of luck to you Stylists out there! Oh, and if you try out any of these things or have your own fun locker decoration idea, tweet it out @LockerStyler, leave me a Facebook message, or send it to me. You may even be featured on the site!

Happy Locker Styling!

me

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Your Unusual BTS Guide

 
Hey you!

The Internet has begun its wrath of back to school videos, blog posts, and social media madness (not to mention the stores too!) and we are just starting that time yet again. Nonetheless, there are some school supplies that you just don’t usually see and I’m here to help you out with all that fun stuff! Keep on reading to make sure that you truly do have everything for school!

Portable Phone Charger

This is a lifesaver for those of you who keep your phone with you and use it throughout the school day! Making sure that you always have a charged phone will leave you no longer worrying about finding some other classmate and a wall outlet for your charging needs.

Food & Gum

The day can be long when waiting for lunch break, but having some kind of snack supply with you can be life changing! Plus, not only does keeping a pack or two of gum help you out for when it seems like your whole class is asking for a piece, but it can also help stimulate your brain! I find that minty gum is always the way to go!

Earphones

I remember having moments at school where a class would end up working in a computer lab or the library and using the school’s headphones. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I found that it’s helpful to just have your own to use. Also, listening to music during any down time you happen to have throughout the day is super relaxing!

Planner/Agenda

Okay, so you probably hear this one often, but it’s still super important to stay organized! From events to homework, tests, extracurricular activities, etcetera, it is so very beneficial to have everything written down in one place! I also recommend having one folder or small binder as your “carry-all” so that everything you have to carry from class to home is all in one place. (including extra paper!)

Extra Shoes

Maybe I was overdoing it, but having a pair of sneakers, flats, and flip flops in my locker all year round was one of the most helpful things I did each year. That way, I always had back-up shoes for any occasion! Let’s be real here; shoes can break, get muddy, be uncomfortable, or need to be changed for any reason. This way, none of those problems become too much of a day-long hassle!

Water Bottle

Stay hydrated! It will keep you alert and also minimize hunger. Also, your skin will clear up and you will feel great! Water is a win-win scenario!

I hope that this will help you out! I also want to hear all about what your BTS go-to’s are, so feel free to let me know in the comments below, Facebook, or Twitter (@LockerStyler).

Best of Luck!
me

 

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BTS Day 7: Lovely Locker

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Hey guys!

So today is the LAST DAY of my BTS series and it’s been a great week of great ideas for you this school year. Of course, there just has to be a post on decorating your locker to the max, and I’m super excited to show you a few little ideas to how. Having a stylish, organized locker is not only eye appealing and jaw dropping to everyone else, but it helps keep you happy and organized. After all, your locker is really the only place in the school dedicated as YOURS. Here are some of my favorite items to include in my locker…

  • Chandelier: Stores carry mini locker chandeliers and they are so adorable! Plus, a little bit of light in your locker brightens up the small space, and illuminates your stuff so it’s not so dark and dingy.
  • Mirror: Girls AND boys! I cannot stress enough how much a locker mirror helps! From a quick check with makeup, hair, and even after-lunch once overs, it’s really important so that somebody else doesn’t point out an embarrassing smudge or food stuck on your face! It’s helped a TON. Trust me on this one…
  • Rug/Flooring: I know this may seem kind of unnecessary, but you want to be able to keep even the bottom of your locker clean.
  • Magnets, Photos, Accessories: Cute quotes, magnets, and all that fun little stuff is totally adorable to keep on your locker door.
  • Gym Bag: Even if you have a gym locker, I would recommend keeping a pair of sneakers and some socks in your locker. Throw in deodorant too! You never know when you’re going to need it.
  • Shelving: These are a must. Organize all your folders, books, and binders on locker shelves.
  • Mini Air Freshener: Pick up a little mini car air freshener to hang in your locker. I did this with an apple scented one and I’m certain that I will again. It keeps your locker smelling fresh without being overly scented and stinking up the place.

These are just a FEW simple ideas of ways to spice up your locker. Keep posted as over the next few weeks I will update the Tour My Locker page, where I will post pictures of my locker.

Thank you again for joining me on my first BTS series week. I hope you were inspired and have some great ideas to help you start this school year right! But until then, enjoy the rest of your summer and be happy!

Stay Inspired!

me

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BTS Day 6: Trendy Fashion!

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Hey there!

So while you are all Back To School shopping, there are a few little things that I personally recommend getting for strutting through the halls! Of course, keeping it cute and cozy is the way to go, but being trendy and stylish is always a great WOW factor that always feels great! Here are some of my top stylish things for school apparel…

– Scarves! Cute, and keeps you toasty when it gets chilly!
– Cute Sneakers! For gym AND throughout the day!
– Light Sweatshirts! These add that nice extra layer for the chillier rooms without the extra need for wearing too much and getting to hot everywhere.
– Dressier Outfits! From dresses to skirts, it’s always fun to dress up every once and a while!
– Flats! The PERFECT shoes for school that literally go with just about everything.

and last but not least, find what feels great, looks great, and makes YOU happy. Confidence is ALWAYS key to anything you wear, and if you like it and it works for you, that’s what truly matters.

Good luck! See you tomorrow!

Style On!

me

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BTS Day 5: D.I.Y. Notebook

diy-notebook

Hey there!

Happy fifth day of my BTS series! Today I want to show you guys a fun, simple way to make a little notebook. Personally, i’m going to use mine as a mini literary journal for poetry and inspiration n’ stuff like that, but this can also be an ADORABLE little book for whatever little purposes you may have for during school. Even as a carry around easy source for extra paper, it’s light, small, and easy to make!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • cereal box
  • scissors
  • several sheets of printer paper
  • fancy wrapping paper or decorative tape
  • tape
  • permanent markers
  • hairband
  • button
  • thread
  • needle

BOOK BINDING STEPS:

  1. Take the empty cereal box and cut accordingly to make a long rectangle. Bend it in half, or like a book so that there is a little bit of room in the middle fold section like a binder.

  2. Fold so that the inside cardboard of the box is facing outward, and the cereal logos and such are inside.

  3. Use the wrapping paper or decorative tape to go over the non-cardboard looking section. This will be your inside cover.

  4. Fold your pages of printed paper together. Make sure that they fit evenly like a book inside of the cover you just made. If it doesn’t, trim accordingly.

  5. Place the pages inside the cover, and using the thread and needle, sew the pages in the middle to the book. Use a thumb tack to make poking the holes into the cardboard a lot easier! Remember to tie a tight knot at the end so it doesn’t come undone.

  6. On the front, sew on a large button like a door handle. On the other side, add the hairband to go around the button. Secure it all in place.

  7. Use the permanent markers and other decorating craft items to decorate your book, and you’re set!

There you have it! Here’s a final look at my book, and stay tuned throughout the fall to see what this turns into! Can you say, another upcoming autumn D.I.Y.?!?!?!?

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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post of the BTS series, and don’t forget that if YOU make this and post a picture on twitter @LockerStyler using the hashtag #BTSstyled, YOU can be featured on the blog! I can’t wait to see what you guys create!

Stay Crafty!

me

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