Back to School Dorm Room Essentials

Whether you are a freshman moving into the dorms for the first time or an upperclassman who just loves the dorm life, everyone will be moving into a new dorm this fall. That means it’s time to do a little back to school shopping to spruce up your new space! Don’t be fooled though, just because you see a comfy desk chair that would look perfect in your dorm doesn’t mean you should go ahead and buy it. All dorm rooms are different depending on your school and could include different items and different pieces of furniture. In this list, we break down exactly what you should go ahead and splurge on now and what you should wait to purchase until you have more information!

Buy These Now:

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Bedding: While your school will provide the bed and mattress, you will definitely need to bring your own sheets, pillows and blankets. Many dorm beds are extra-long twin sized so be careful when selecting sheet sizes. Extra-long twin is typically represented as Twin XL on the packaging. If you aren’t sure what size the beds are in your particular dorm, check with your school’s Housing Department before purchasing. Girls, go for the funky look with yellow and gray chevron. Guys, you should keep it simple with solid colors.

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Shower Supplies: Communal bathrooms are always tricky so you will probably need a bathrobe or shower wrap to avoid any indecent exposure when traveling back and forth to the showers. You will also need a shower tote to keep all your bath products together and make carrying them to the shower easier. Also, shower shoes are a must. Regular flips-flops will do the trick in a pinch but you should check out other options like these AquaFlops. They have a slip-resistant sole and have holes to let the water drain through your shoes.

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Laundry: Most colleges have a laundry room in each dorm for its residents to use so be sure to pick up some laundry detergent and fabric softener. We love Tide Pods because there is no measuring or messy powder to deal with. Just throw in your dirty clothes and toss in a pod for fresh, clean clothes. Don’t forget a cute laundry bag for those times when you go home to have Mom do your laundry! Febreze is another must-have product for those times when you’ve already worn something once but are too lazy to do laundry. Check out all the new scents here.

Pro Tip: You should pick up a pack of Shout Wipes and keep them with you at all times. You will inevitably spill things on yourself and these wipes will prevent you from walking around with a ketchup stain on your shirt all day.

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Cleaning Supplies: Newsflash! Now that you are in college, no one is going to clean up after you. If you want to keep things neat and tidy, it’s up to you. Ditch the traditional cleaning products and pick up plenty of easy-to-use cleaning products so that you can quickly clean up a mess. We recommend Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for cleaning up spills and killing germs at the same time, Windex Glass & Surface Wipes for keeping mirrors and windows squeaky clean and Windex Electronics Wipes for getting Cheetos dust off your laptop keyboard.

textbooks

Textbooks: You should get your textbooks as soon as your professors release their class information. Textbook companies have the largest selection of textbooks in late July with some of the cheapest prices. Getting ahead of the back to school rush ensures that you will get all the textbooks you need at a lower cost. Having your textbooks in hand when you move to campus will give you one less thing to stress about as the semester gets started. Whether you are renting or buying your textbooks this semester or if you are more of an ebook kind of student, check out eCampus.com for the best deals this semester.

Wait To Buy These:

Furniture and Desk Chairs: Many colleges will provide you with all the furniture you need, including a desk, desk chair and dresser. It’s best to wait before making large furniture purchases to see exactly what comes in your dorm room and to see how much extra space you are going to have once you and your roommate move all of your stuff in. You might decide that you actually don’t have room for that leopard print bean bag after all.

Appliances: Before buying a fridge, coffeemaker, microwave, etc. you should check with the Housing Department at your school to see what their rules are on small appliances. Some schools may have restrictions on what type of appliances you can have in your room or there may be a common room in your building that has these items available for everyone to use. If that’s the case you could save money by skipping over these items and just using the community appliances. If you can have a coffeemaker, check out this Mini Keurig. It comes in a ton of fun colors. (We love this yellow one!)

mini-keurig

Decorations & Wall Décor: You will more than likely have a roommate that you will be sharing your new tiny dorm room with, so it may be best to buy decorations after you have had the chance to meet your roommate and get a feel for his/her style. This could also be a great way to bond with your new roommate by shopping for room decorations together. Check out our Awesome Dorm Room board on Pinterest for decoration inspiration!

4 Must Watch Shows This Summer

Summer TV shows are back in full force and the choices are endless. We are currently in a television Golden Age, where the number of quality TV programs is at an all time high. What shows will you watch this summer? Here’s a short list to help you get started!

1. Orange is the New Black
7-8 OITNB PosterThe second season of OITNB was released in full on Netflix on June 6th, so you may already be caught up on this one, but for those of you who aren’t: there’s no better time than now! The show was a breakout hit after its first season was released in July 2013 and fans of the show eagerly waited for Season 2. The show, set in a minimum-security women’s prison in New York State, has received critical acclaim as well as positive viewer reception. Plus, there’s lots of awards’ season talk around the show and its cast as we get closer to the Emmy’s this August, so put this one at the top of your list.

2. True Blood
7-8 true blood posterThis HBO hit returned for its 7th and final season on June 22nd. If you haven’t watched the show before and you have an HBO Go account, all of the episodes are available online for you to watch at your leisure. For the final season, they amped up the drama and the stakes (pun intended) are higher than ever. Who will make it out alive? Tune in to find out.

3. Pretty Little Liars
7-8 pretty little liars posterThis ABC Family breakout hit debuted in June 2008 and has gained a loyal following ever since. The drama centers on a group of four friends who start receiving anonymous, threatening messages a year after their friend Alison goes missing. The show came back for its 5th season on June 10th and with Alison back in town, craziness ensues. If you’re not already watching this show, it’s time to start!

4. The Leftovers
7-8 the leftovers poster

Another HBO creation, this brand new show just premiered on June 29th. The show, from the co-creator of Lost, is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta. The show is set in the fictional town of Mapleton, New York three years after a “Rapture” that caused 2% of the world’s population to disappear without a trace. The show has received positive reviews and stars Justin Theroux, Liv Tyler, Amy Brenneman, and Christopher Eccleston. And yes, it is the same Christopher Eccleston who played the Ninth Doctor on Doctor Who!

 

Summer 2014 Blockbuster Sequels

PSST…Let us know by 6/17  in the comments which summer blockbuster sequels you are most looking forward to to be entered for a chance to win $20 to the movies!

With stars like Channing Tatum, Jessica Alba and Mark Wahlberg heating up the big screen this summer, it is shaping up to be the summer of movie sequels. Whether you are into comedies, thrillers or animated movies, we’ve got all the details (without spoilers!) on this summer’s biggest sequels. Don’t forget to catch up on your favorite movie franchises before going to see the newest installments, especially for titles like Transformers: Age of Extinction and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which haven’t seen a new release in the franchise since 2011.

So kick back with a bucket of popcorn and your favorite candy and enjoy the show!

22 jump street

22 Jump Street
Release Date: June 13th
Sequel to: 21 Jump Street
Genre: Action, Comedy
Rating: R

Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill are back at it again when they go undercover as undergrads at a local college to investigate a new drug that has taken over the campus. With no new leads, the two end up on a spring break trip to Mexico and shenanigans ensue.

how to train your dragon 2

How To Train Your Dragon 2
Release Date: June 13th
Sequel to: How to Train Your Dragon
Genre: Animation, Adventure
Rating: PG

The friendship of Hiccup and Toothless continues as they discover a secret ice cave full of wild dragons. The two find themselves in a battle in which the outcome will determine the future of both men and dragons alike.

transformers age of extinctionTransformers: Age of Extinction
Release Date: June 27th
Sequel to: Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Genre: Action, Adventure
Rating: Not Yet Rated

Director Michael Bay continues the franchise with its fourth installment. Set four years after the epic Chicago battle in Transformers: Dark of the Moon, a mechanic stumbles upon an old Autobot and his findings cause quite a stir with the government who want nothing more than to wipe out all the Transformers for good. Autobot favorites Optimus Prime and Bumblebee return along with a number of new characters, including Grimlock, a mechanical T-Rex.

dawn of planet of the apesDawn of the Planet of the Apes
Release Date: July 11th
Sequel to: Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi
Rating: Not Yet Rated

The continuation of 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes picks up a decade later with Caesar calling the shots as the leader of a large population of genetically-evolved apes. The apes struggle against the humans who have survived for the right to become Earth’s most dominant species.

planesPlanes: Fire & Rescue
Release Date: July 18th
Sequel to: Planes
Genre: Animation, Family
Rating: PG

In the second installment of Disney’s Planes, air racer Dusty learns that he may never race again so he switches careers and becomes an aerial firefighter. Dusty teams up with a fire and rescue helicopter and his team to battle a massive wildfire.

the purgeThe Purge: Anarchy
Release Date: July 18th
Sequel to: The Purge
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Rating: R

Due to escalating crime rates and overcrowded prisons, this sequel is set in a world where for one night a year all criminal activity, including murder, is legal. Most citizens barricade themselves inside their homes before nightfall to avoid the dangers of the night, however one couple finds themselves caught out after dark after their car breaks down on the highway.

the expendables 3The Expendables 3
Release Date: August 15th
Sequel to: The Expendables 2
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating: Not Yet Rated

With Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger (just to name a few!) starring in this film, it is sure to be an action-packed thrill ride. Mel Gibson plays Stonebanks, an arms dealer who has set out to end The Expendables once and for all.

sin citySin City: A Dame To Kill For
Release Date: August 22nd
Sequel to: Sin City
Genre: Action, Crime
Rating: Not Yet Rated

Frank Miller’s famous graphic novel Sin City heads back to the big screen for the third movie in this crime thriller starring Jessica Alba and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

PSST…Let us know by 6/17  in the comments which summer blockbuster sequels you are most looking forward to to be entered for a chance to win $20 to the movies!

Healthy Summer Snacks

Summer is finally here and with the bright sunshine and rising temperatures come the numerous invites to summer barbecues and parties. You can still enjoy these events without sacrificing your healthy eating habits! Swap out a few of the traditional summer snacks for these healthier alternatives.

fruit salad1.Fruit salad
Most berries are in season during the summer so take advantage of this and try a fruit salad. They’re super quick and easy to make and are sweet without the worry of artificial flavors and sweeteners. Simply slice up your favorite fruit and mix them together in a large bowl. Popular options are star fruit, kiwi, watermelon, mango, and strawberries.

 

turkey burger2.Turkey burgers
You can’t have a summer barbecue without a grilled burger. Try swapping out the traditional beef patty for a lower fat but equally satisfying turkey burger.

 

frozen greek yogurt

 

3. Frozen Greek yogurt
Trade your ice cream for frozen greek yogurt to have the same taste with much less fat.

 

 

 

 

green tea

4. Iced Tea
Iced teas are a great alternative to sugary drinks. Try green tea with a sprig of mint for freshness or honey for a sweeter drink.

 

 

 

 

angel food cake

 

5. Angel food cake
Between birthdays, graduation parties, and Independence Day, there’s bound to be a situation where desserts are a must. Angel food cake is a healthier alternative to most cakes because it has a very low fat content but still tastes great.

 

 

What are some of your favorite swaps to maintain healthy eating habits? Let us know in the comments below!