Posted in Home & Living

Turning your apartment into a sanctuary during these frigid winter months

While this winter is projected to bring freezing temperatures, simple changes can be made to your apartment to make you never want to leave.

Candles

During these frigid winter months, students can find themselves longing the warmth of a crackling fireplace. Unfortunately, almost none of the apartment complexes around Harrisonburg offer this amenity. Fortunately, lighting a bunch of candles can create the same effect. I bought this candle from T.J. Maxx for only $7.99 and it has a wooden wick so it crackles just like a real fireplace.

Buy one from Amazon for $22.34

Curtains

Hanging up curtains can make a bedroom feel much cozier. Choosing a sheer fabric allows as much sunlight in as possible during the day, which is sparse during these winter months. The fabric also acts as an extra layer of insulation between the window and your bedroom, which gives you the opportunity to save a little money on your heating bill.

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Buy a pair at Target for $4.49

Throw blankets/pillows

Adding throw blankets and pillows to a couch can make it appear much cozier and welcoming. It’s likely you and your roommates will opt for movie nights to avoid going out in the cold. Throw blankets and throw pillows will make your couches much more inviting and enjoyable.

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Buy this cable knit throw blanket from Target for $26.99

String lights

Hanging string lights allows you to avoid using the harsh overhead light fixtures in your bedroom. Overheard lights are often very bright and fluorescent which make the room appear cold. White string lights give off a warm glow which make your bedroom feel much more inviting and relaxing.

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Buy a 50-ct set from Target for $2.49

 

 

By: Caroline Jansen

Posted in Home & Living

Must-Have Cleaning Products for Apartment Living

Being on your own for the first time can be intimidating-especially when it comes to cleaning more than just your side of a dorm room. But having a few key essentials can help make the task of cleaning a little easier and little less of a chore.

1. Disinfectant Wipes

The all-around best tools to have in an apartment. From quickly wiping down a bathroom counter to cleaning off doorknobs to prevent the flu, these things always come in handy. Plus, they’re great for cleaning in a flash.

3-pack of Disinfectant Wipes

2. Paper Towels

The universal mess-cleaner, napkin, tissue, or whatever you need them to be at the moment. The list of uses for paper towels is never ending. You can even buy them in bulk packs, which is great if you’re like me and use at least 20 sheets a day. I make a lot of messes, okay?

Bulk Pack of Paper Towels

3. Swiffer Mop

For me personally, I’ve never even used one of those mops with a bundle of strings attached to the end that you ring out every time you go over the kitchen floor. A Swiffer mop is easy to use, easy to store, and gets the job done quickly and efficiently each and every time. Overall, an essential to keeping a clean apartment.

Swiffer Sweeper Mop for under $15

4. All-purpose Surface Cleaner

I think it goes without saying that this is an apartment staple. For cleaning off the counter after a Friday night meal at home or wiping off the dust from the desk that might not have been touched in a while… this stuff takes the dread out of cleaning (at least a little bit).

All-Purpose Surface Cleaner for under $3

5. Vacuum

If you’re anything like me, vacuuming is a chore that you like to put off for as long as possible. But if you’re tired of walking around on a layer of crumbs and strands of hair, a vacuum is the best cleaning tool to have. Even small ones do the trick. Just a few quick trips around the floor and your apartment will look as good as new in no time.

Dirt Devil Vacuum

Check out this similar post to see more apartment cleaning essentials!

No one likes cleaning, but keeping just a few key items on hand can help make the dreaded task a little less dreadful! Happy cleaning, everyone!

Hannah Long

Posted in Home & Living

3 Ways To Use Your Kitchen Appliances That You Probably Don’t Know

As a person who lives in an apartment away from parents, dealing with our own meal could be the most pleasant thing to do in the world or the least (!?)

Since we wrote an article about 5 kitchen must-haves last week and keep saying cooking by yourself is always a good idea, I figure today I can share some of my “technique for common kitchen appliance/ tools” that will make cooking for you at home a lot easier.

I’m going to introduce some techniques on different common kitchen appliance/ tools that everyone should have easy access to it and teach you how to make the best used of it!

1.A Toaster Oven

I’m guessing that most of us have a toaster oven. We use it for toasting our morning bagels and heat up some cold bread. But do you actually know you can use that as a real “oven”!? You can preheat it and bake a cake or make your own cookie, it will be just as efficient as a normal oven but a lot smaller (means that you can save some electricity, and don’t need to clean up all the mess!). You can also use it to cook/ heat up your chicken, just in a smaller size. Another thing I usually do with toaster oven is to heat up my french fries! The benefit of using a toaster oven instead of a microwave to heat up fried stuff is it can not only make it warm again, but also crispy in the outside and soft in the inside.

2. Microwave

I don’t know about most of you, but to me, microwave is an essential to my life. We all know microwave for its heating function, but do you know you can actually use it to do more than that!? I cook and bake with my microwave as well! Just like most of the college students, I’m always racing against the time, and microwave really saves me A LOT of time and afford. I cook broccoli and egg with microwave the most. For broccoli, all we need to do is put chopped fresh broccoli, water and some salt in a microwavable box and put it in the microwave for 7 mins, and it’s cooked!! Same as the egg, mix all the ingredient in microwavable box (without water) and just microwave it 2-3 mins. You don’t even have to use the stove at all!! You can also bake with microwave. There are a lot of microwavable cupcake or brownie recipe online, they are all fairly easy and you don’t even need to preheat it! No baking technique is required.

3. Electric Kettle

I love hot water, hot tea and hot chocolate, especially in the winter. And please don’t think I am weird, there are actually studies show that drinking drinks hot is better to your body. Anyways, I love hot stuff and an electric kettle can do all of these! However, besides using it to make hot water, do you know you can also make soup, pasta and boiled egg with it as well!? You must be thinking I’m kidding, but I’m actually not! Use Electric Kettle the same way you use a pot. If you are cooking soup, put all of your ingredients in water and boiled it. When it’s fully boiled, put your soup powder in it and it’s done!! Same thing as making pasta. You put your noodles in the kettle and make the lid open (you also want to keep checking it). Put whatever souse you want in it when the noodle is fully cooked, and there’s your delicious pasta!!

Leave a common below, let me know what’s your secret techniques on using kitchen appliances!!

Posted in Home & Living

Holiday Decorating on a Budget

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This time of year tends to be everyones favorite time of year, but the dread of holiday decorating may come as a burden to you. During the holiday season, we tend to spend more money so it may be a good idea to be especially frugal during this time of year. Keeping your apartment festive is easier (and cheaper!) than you may think, and a few simple tips can transform your apartment into a winter wonderland.

1. No room for a tree? Buy a mini one.

Christmas trees can be anywhere from $50 to $100, and not to mention they can take up a lot of space in an apartment. You can still achieve the Christmas feel by substituting a full sized tree for a mini one. The one I have in my apartment comes pre-decorated so I don’t have to spend more time and money decorating the tree itself.

This one’s less than $20 from Walmart.

2. Construct simple DIY decorations.

DIY crafts have the ability to transform simple items into beautiful pieces of art. I have fooled around with plenty of DIY decorations during the holiday seasons, but some of my favorite most successful projects are down below.

DIY Candy Cane Vase

DIY Pinecone Wreath

3. Transform old wine bottles.

Don’t lie, I know you have some old wine bottles laying around from last weekend! I tried this craft and it was extremely successful. Just paint the wine bottles with whatever color you prefer and cut out shapes such as antlers or buttons to transform these old wine bottles into snowmen or reindeers!

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4. Upgrade your kitchen table with a few splashes of festive color.

Adding something as simple as red or green placemats is a cheap and simple way to add that festive touch to your apartment. The best part? Buy them once and you never have to buy them again–just store away until next year!

Pack of 4 Placemats from Amazon for Less than $20

The holidays are supposed to be a time of bliss so don’t let the stress of decorating get to you. I hope these tricks allow you to fully get into the Christmas spirit–without breaking the bank!

Posted in Food

5 Appliances Every Kitchen Should Have

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Did you know that there’s a kitchen appliance whose sole purpose is to make smoothies? What about an appliance made specially to help you warm breakfast sandwiches? These days, there seems to be an appliance for almost everything. The question is, do you need all of these appliances to be successful in the kitchen? The answer is no, with there being only a few key essentials that will make your life drastically easier without breaking the bank.

1. Food Processor

Buying a food processor opened my eyes to a whole new world of efficiency and saving time. Preparing the food before you cook it tends to be the most tedious and difficult task while in the kitchen, and this little gadget will save you time in chopping anything from onions, to chicken, to garlic.

Try this one from Walmart for less than $10.

2. Toaster Oven

My toaster oven is so valuable in my kitchen because it serves multiple purposes. It heats up in half the time as a regular oven, making it easier to cook hand-held or frozen foods. It’s great in the fact that it works just as a regular oven, but you can also use it as a toaster. This multipurpose appliance speaks for itself, with its small structure being relatively easy to clean.

KOHLS 4-Slice Toaster Oven

3. Slow Cooker

Crock pots tend to be perfect for anyone who doesn’t have the time to slay over a stove all night. Throw all the ingredients in the cooker, and you’re done. Although you may think that this style of cooking can limit your options on dishes you can make, that’s completely false. You can make anything from dips, to soups, to stews to desserts all in this one appliance.

2 Qt. Slow Cooker from Target

4. Electric Mixer

Sure, you can spend double the time and arm power mixing that cake batter with a wooden spoon, but why would you want to? This is essential for bakers especially. The steady pulse delivered by the electric mixer allows you to better control the consistency of whatever it is you’re cooking.

Hamilton Beach Hand Mixer from Target – $10

5. Electric Kettle

A common misconception is that electric kettles are only valuable to tea drinkers. Although tea drinkers will benefit from the use of this product, regular cookers will too. Electric kettles can boil water in half the time. Not only that, but with the help of this nifty appliance, you won’t have to monitor a boiling pot of water to avoid it from boiling over. Any food items you may need to boil such as pasta or potatoes can be done so quickly and carefully.

Proctor Silex Electric Kettle from Target

By: Jessica Newman

Posted in Food

4 Tips To Make Eating Cheap Easier

img_4230It seems unbelievable that some college student can actually eat less than $25 per week. But if we really look into it, we can see a lot of those students eat instant, low-nutrition food (such as mac and cheese, ramen, tons of toast, and granola bars), and skip breakfast to accomplish this $25 per week goal.
So I asked myself, is there a way to eat cheap but healthier!? And the truth is price and the health can actually co-exist and be friends!!!!!!!
So here are the four tips that can help you accomplish your goal of not spending too much money but still have decent food:

1. Always cook by yourself and do your grocery shopping with a friend.
I don’t think we need to explain any more about “Why do we have to cook by ourself”. Cooking by ourself can not only let you control the budget, the ingredients you put it, but also the portion!
The reason I say finding a friend to do grocery shopping with you is because if you want to save money, Costco and Walmart might be the place you want to go. However, since they have to keep the price low, sometimes they have to make the portion a lot bigger than the usual one( if it’s in Costco, then they usually are), so if you can go with a friend you can offer them to split the thing you want to buy with you. In that case, you can get the stuff you want and also pay less!

2. Do not skip any of your meal, especially breakfast!!
There are studies show that if people skip meals for whatever reason, they will eventually get hungrier than they normally would and eat more in the next meal. And eating more in the next meal will not only cost you more money, it will also let you consume more calories.
Skipping breakfast is also a bad idea. breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day. It provides you energy and makes you function better. If you really want to save as much money as possible, I will recommend having some eggs, oatmeal, bananas or cereal for breakfast. They are cheap and easy to get and what’s even better is the protein can keep you full longer!

3. Tips for grocery shopping
A big thing about cooking at home with limited budget is “how to do grocery shopping correctly”. One thing I always do is I check the same thing in different stores. So I can always get the best deal.
Also, every supermarket has their own membership cards. A lot of them don’t even require any ID or stuff to apply for one, but they save you a couple dollars every time you shop there. Don’t underestimate a couple dollars, a lot of “couple dollars” can actually be a great amount of money. Besides discount, a lot of grocery stores will give/ mail out coupons to their members time to time, that could also save you a couple dollars on your next purchase.

4. Try to make 40-50% of your food veggies
Buy some frozen Vegies and stored they in your fridge!! They are usually cheap and can be kept longer than fresh veggies.
What I’ve been doing is I will put a bunch of veggies when I’m cooking, so it will look like a really big meal (and it actually full your stomach), but it’s a lot healthier than plain carbohydrates!

Posted in Uncategorized

Being Space-Savvy in a Tiny Bedroom Apartment

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One of the biggest concerns new-apartment dwellers have when first moving in is how much or how little they will have to bring due to their small bedroom size. Will I have room for my bulletin-board collage of my friends from home? What about my beanbag chair I’ve had since middle school? My shot glass collection?

Truth be told, apartment bedrooms aren’t exactly presidential suites. But, there are a few ways to maximize what little space you do have so you have your dream room, even in a not-so-dreamy apartment building.

1. Desk Hutch

A dorm room staple found its home again. Desk hutches are great for storing school supplies, textbooks, knick-knacks, displaying photos, calendars… really, they can hold just about anything. Plus, with no assembly required and an easy push against the wall, these things free up you work space and are overall, a total win.

Desk Hutch for under $45 

2. Behind-the-Toilet shelf

If you’re lucky enough to have your own bathroom or even if you share with another person, these things come in handy, especially if your sink is lacking surface space. I treat mine as my medicine cabinet, my hair-care supply closet, and my makeup vanity. They easily slide in right behind a toilet so they hold all things imaginable without taking up what little bathroom space you have.

Behind-the-Toilet shelf for under $20

3. Under-the-Bed storage boxes

If you’re anything like me, you might have the tendency to bring more than enough clothes for school. Under the bed boxes are cheap, hold quite a large amount of clothes, and slide easily under the bed so they’re out of the way and allow you to continue to over-pack on those winter sweaters and many pairs of leggings.

Under-the-Bed storage boxes for under $20

4. Cube-style storage containers

These cube containers are both cute and useful. I use mine to hold DVDs and my textbooks and the best part is, I can throw all of laundry on top if it when I’m too lazy to put it away. For the price of it, it’s really a good buy.

Storage bin for under $15

5. Portable storage containers

I find that these have multiple purposes. I use them to store makeup bags for when I travel home, my hairdryer, school supplies that I don’t always need right away such as ink cartridges, and even feminine products. They can be kept insight or even stores away in a closet. They come in multiple shapes and sizes, and I even have a small one to keep all of my hairbands and bobby pins out of the way and in a place where I know I won’t lose them.

3-Drawer storage cart for under $12  

By: Hannah Long