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New Series // Snippets 01.

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March 31, 2014
A few weeks ago, I shared some of my vision for this blog and how what I was currently doing didn't line up with that vision. I realized that I didn't just want to teach on this blog, though I truly believe that everyone has something to teach. I realized that I also wanted to show life through this blog. I want to read about what's going on in your life and though it may sound self-centered, I want you to know what's going on in my life. I believe it's a deep human instinct to want to share life with others. Why not do that through my blog?

I want to start a fairly regular series on my blog called Snippets, just about my thoughts in my daily life. I'd love your feedback and thoughts in the comments!

ONE. Some of you know that I'm going through the college selection process (yes, I'm that young). Lately though, it's been full of rejection. In the last week, I got rejected by one school, waitlisted by two others, and turned down for a women in science scholarship that I had sort of been banking on. It hasn't been easy, but I've been proud of myself in the way that I've handled it. I'm trusting that those colleges weren't the right ones for me and that there is something better in store for me. It's been a lesson in strength, in patience and in faith. I'm feeling encouraged that I still have two great schools that I like to consider (UVA is one of them!)

TWO. I love love love plants but I admit that I'm not the greatest plant mama. I've had my kale get attacked with some moldy-fungusy thing and my pansies are just getting all shriveled and brown because of all of our freezing weather. I spent some time today nurturing my little babies, pulling off the dead blooms or moldy leaves and clearing out the soil. I found it deeply therapeutic to spend time picking out the things that were suffocating my poor plants so that they can (hopefully!) live and thrive a while longer.

THREE. On a more lighthearted note, I've been using an app called Argus over the last week or two to track my steps every day. The recommended goal is 10,000 steps per day, and I find I don't even get close to that if I don't schedule in a good run or a session on the treadmill. It's ridiculous the kind of satisfaction I got when I hit 17,000 steps after a long day walking around UVA. Little victories, y'all!

Blog Post Organizer (Printable!) + Genetics 101

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March 26, 2014
In the last few months, I've started getting more organized with my blog. I've been keeping a place in Evernote for post ideas and using Google Calendar to plan posts ahead of time. But what I haven't found a good way to do is organize my ideas for a post ahead of time. Usually when I come up with a post idea, I'll have a couple phrases, bullet points, or pictures in my head that I want to make sure I include. But I tend to write only a proposed title, like "blog planning" in my Evernote. Then, when I go back to write it, I have no idea what I intended to write about.

I made this printable to suit my own needs, but I hope it will help you as well! You can print a bunch of these pages and make a binder of them. Whenever you have an awesome post idea, just pop it on one of these pages with a couple tags to help you organize it and a couple notes on content. When you're ready to write the post, just work through the page and remember to promote it on link-ups and social media. Then you're all done! How about that?!

I also use the tags section to help me organize my post ideas by category. Here on Call Me Sassafras, I blog about design, positivity, productivity, music and science. On every planning sheet, I'll write a broad category along with my other tags. Then I sort them out between those five categories. So when I'm getting ready to crank out a post, I try to look at what I've posted recently. If I've posted a lot about design, I'll look under another category for a post idea. 

That's about it! Feel free to use and share as you please, lovebugs! Just right-click on the image + click 'open in new tab' for the big ol' file. 

I hope that helps y'all organize your blog as much as it has helped me! Now, I get to do my favorite thing everrrrrr--share a science bit! :)

Today, I want to share a little bit about genetics. For every trait that you have (think eye color, blood type, etc), you have two pieces of information called 'alleles'. Each allele is part of a gene. Alleles can be either dominant (shown as R) or recessive (shown as r). In most genes, if you have an R allele and an r allele, you will show the dominant trait--the big R wins out and 'hides' the little r trait. If you have RR or rr, then you will show the respective trait. You get one allele from your mama and one from your dad. This is why you may look more like your mom or your dad but still have the same amount of genetic information from both parents.

So for example, pretend that brown eyes are the dominant trait (remember that's R!) and green eyes are recessive (r!). Pretend that my dad is RR and has brown eyes and my mom is rr and has green eyes. I would have to be Rr because I get one allele from each parent. But, the R allele is dominant. So even though I would be born an Rr, I would have brown eyes like my dad. 

Isn't that cool?! Over the coming days, we'll be talking about genetic disorders like Down syndrome and sickle cell anemia. It's gonna be cool, guys! 

Peace out, nerdballers.

Weekly Goals #30

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March 24, 2014
 Helloooooo ladies! Happy Monday! Last week off from classes was oh-so-lovely! I spent the whole week with my family in Florida, where we biked around, ate so. much. yummy food and just generally hung out. Even though it was rainy a good part of the week, we still got enough beach time in for me to get sunburnt. Where did I get sunburnt, you ask? My armpits. Like that little crook in front of your shoulder. Somehow, that's the only place (other than the tops of my feet, which always get scorched) that got as red as all the traffic lights that I occasionally run. I'm almost cried trying to put on a sports bra the next day (is that TMI? #sorrynotsorry).

Aaaaaanyways, I'm back to school this week and all the excitement that that brings! I've got about a month until exams so while the learning in my classes is winding down, the crazy stress of exams is right around the corner. :/ to add to that stress, I have something almost every weekend in April. Prayers, y'all. Send 'em this way. 

Last week, I talked about trying to find time for all the minutiae that comes with blogging beyond simply writing posts--the comments, the social media, the sponsorships, etc etc etc. I tried to be intentional about spending time doing all these things. I didn't do quite as much interaction as I had hoped as far it's social media (I'm working on it, really!), but I still feel good about my effort. 

I had been frustrated, as others of you are, that there's not a good way to comment from the bloglovin' app or even an iPhone in general. Just so ya know, I have found that the google chrome browser app will remember your login info for websites so it will keep you logged in to disqus. So that makes commenting a little but easier. I still have to bother to open up the post in chrome, but at least I don't have to log in every single time that I want to comment. 

So obviously, it's a process. But I'm on my way. 

Sort of shifting gears (I'm terrible at segues), I want to share my goal for next week--and really the next few weeks. I have a big, formal event with H in about a month. To out it straight, I'm really nervous. I get super anxious (like I cry and have to go home like a three year old who missed her nap) at social events, especially ones that require dressing up and being perfect all evening and socializing and dancing and yucky yuck yuck. But H really, really wants to go and I'm trying to be the fabulous girlfriend that I know I am somewhere inside, so we're going. 

I'm trying to plan ahead and make as many things as stress-free as possible, so that I have as little anxiety as possible. I made sure that I got a dress I like and that I feel good in. But I'm also going to work on getting in shape for the event, because I always feel better when I'm in shape. This week, my goal is to exercise today, Tuesday and Wednesday, since I'll be out of town Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with no chance to work out. 

I've found this treadmill workout that involves really short intervals (:30 to 1:00) that make up four bigger phases: incline, sprints, endurance and hills. I've never been a huge fan of the treadmill but I've run it a few times and it's not bad! I'll be doing that at least twice this week. 

What are your goals for the week? How do you exercise when you're out of town and without a gym/fitness center?

P.S. Today's my birthday! I'm not big on birthdays, but I just couldn't write this post without sneaking that in. :)

This post is brought to you by Netflix, orange-cranberry scones and Jillian Lorraine!

Hang out with Jillian: Bloglovin' / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram

Tips on Starting a Journaling Habit

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March 21, 2014
At the beginning of February, I decided that I wanted to start a regular journaling habit. I've said it time and again: journaling is not for me. My brain thinks faster than I can write and I get impatient that I can't get on paper my true thoughts on things. But I've read over and over and over again how good journaling is for you, both mentally and (surprisingly) physically. And so I keep giving it another try. 

Over the last six weeks, I've miraculously found a habit for myself in journaling. For the first time ever, I actually enjoy journaling. I don't journal every day--maybe only 2-3 times a week. But now I see why it's such a valuable habit to invest in. Journaling helps me review my day and forgive my mistakes and celebrate my victories.

01. Don't reread your entries.

I used to write journal entries with the intention of 'sounding cool' in case I ever went back and read them later. I would pretend like I hadn't really messed up or that I didn't get embarrassed or like I had it all together. But I didn't (duh). Journaling should be a place where you can let out the feelings that you hide all day, not another place where you have to pretend to be someone you're not. If you find this is hard for you, try journaling on a scrap piece of paper and then ripping it up. Eventually, I learned that I can write anything.

02. Skip what you don't want to talk about.

On that same note, I felt like I had to mention every part of my day. Journaling is for documenting life, but it's more a cathartic experience. Don't try to make a scrapbook for your kids out of your journal. If something was boring, stressful, sad or uncomfortable about your day, you can choose to journal your feelings out or you can choose to ignore it. It's your choice.

03. Have a prompt.

Sometimes on less busy days, it was tempting to skip journaling because I felt I didn't have any 'news' to record. Turns out, those are the days I enjoyed journaling the most. When you don't have a lot to say, choose a prompt to center your entry around. I'll do a post on sample journal prompts soon, but some simple ideas are to talk about two good things and two bad things about your day, a mistake you made, or something that made you smile. For more ideas, I wrote a post a few weeks ago with 10 prompts for gratitude journaling.

04. Set a timer.

Journaling can be tiring; that's just a fact of the matter. Especially when it's a new activity, it can be easy to journal too much and get burnt out. If you find that happening, set a timer for 5, 10 or 15 minutes. Remember: you can stop whenever you want--even if you've only written one sentence or you're mid-story.

05. Set a time

If you're trying to set any habit, it's incredibly valuable to set a time every day or every week to do it. I journal right before I get in bed. I'll brush my teeth/floss/etc and hop in bed with my journal and my pen. Eventually, my mind starts to remind me when I hop in bed that it's time to journal. If you're just starting out, an alarm or a phone ping can be especially helpful!

Do you journal? What are your tips for starting a habit of journaling?

Catching My Eye [links + love]

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March 19, 2014
Hellooooo! Happy Wednesday! In case you haven't gathered, I'm on a much-needed vacation in Florida with my family these days. So while I'm enjoying the sun (although it's supposed to rain, I thought I'd share some reading for you in case you're stuck inside. 

For the record, a lot of these links are from blogs that I follow, but I also find a lot of great links through Pinterest or Stumbleupon. So if you're looking for hours worth of procrastination, I suggest you start there!

+ DIY Pots for Small Plants // How About Orange. I've been dyingggg to get myself some succulents lately because they're just so cute and from what I've heard, I probably can't even kill them. Plus, I'm super into the geometric home decor trend and these fit right in!

+ Sarah of Smitten Studio shares a bunch of unique but really gorgeous wallpapers. My favorite is the black and white malachite print! I'd lurvvv to have a small wall of that.

+ Growing up, I've always been called things like feisty or bossy or bold. I love this post on why we should Ban Bossy as an insult.

+ This awesome round-up from Sarah Von Bargen will give you 10 awesome reasons to use your printer, including stationery, blog organization worksheets and origami business card holders! Yes!

+ This Global Brights color palette from Design-Seeds is beautiful. I think it'd look especially great on a health + wellness website!

+ Holy helpful! The Introvert's Guide to Getting in Shape (from my forever love, Lifehack).

That's all for today! Have a great rest of the week, friends!

Getting Involved in the Blog Community

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March 17, 2014
The last few weeks have been weird here on the blog. Can you feel it? I know I can. I've been out of town a good bit and I've had more guest posts than normal. I've scheduled all my posts ahead of time. I've been so busy with school that all the little details that come with blogging have fallen by the wayside. I've hardly been on Twitter, much less have I been sharing my own posts and much much less have I been sharing others posts--something that I love to do. I've been scanning through my blog feed on my phone, only reading the posts with really good titles/pictures. And when I find a good post, I never comment. 

As a result, I've been feeling a little bit sad about this blog. (I'm not going anywhere--exhale!) I've come to the conclusion that I can't put in half the time that I used to into this relationship (because this is sort of like my weird relationship with the people of the internet) and expect all of the same results. I've been spreading myself too thin. 

So this is my one goal for the week: get involved in the blog community again. I'm on vacation for a week, and for me, that means way more blogging. I'm really excited to start my new mission to 'revive my blog lovelife' and I hope it's not too late to build all my relationships back up with my blog and blog-reading friends. So I thought I'd lay out my step-by-step plan to squish myself back into this circle of friends and invite you to come along with me! If you're not feeling fulfilled by blogging lately, try one of these things!

Sponsoring. I used to think it was like paying for friends (which, incidentally, is also how I felt about sororities), but it's really not. It's visually (and financially) supporting the blogs you love. For me, the views and followers I get from sponsoring other blogs are minimal, I'm more interested in making a connection with another blogger. 

Sharing other blogger's posts. I love doing this because it helps me connect with both other bloggers and my followers. Every blogger loves to see someone love on a post that they spent time on and you're helping provide your followers with even more quality content to read!

Comment on the blogs you read. I find it especially inconvenient to comment on other blogs because I read 90% of my Bloglovin' feed from my phone. But I know how disappointed I feel when I spend hours on a post that I think will be a smash hit, only to watch it go without comments. Think about it this way: pretend you had some really great news and had lunch with your best friend to tell her your exciting news. But when you tell her, she just sits and looks at you. How sad would that be?! That's how blogging without comments feels. I know I'm bad at responding to comments, but I read every single one (and even save screenshots on my phone of many!).

Respond to comments left on your own blog (if you have one). This goes hand-in-hand with the last one, but I just have to mention it since I'm kinda-sorta terrible at it. I will respond to 90% of comments left here over time, but it may be 2-3 weeks before I get to it. I want to be better about responding promptly. How can I build a conversation with you lovely people if I wait two weeks to reply?!

Send an email! I've only done this a few times but I'd like to do it more. It seems like a somewhat revolutionary idea, to email a blogger instead of just commenting. But if you read a post that really, really clicks with you or helps you in a new way, I promise that you can make any blogger's day with a two-sentence email that tells them that. 

So all of these collective steps make up my goal for the week. Now I need you to help me. Leave a comment with a favorite blog, a favorite post (yours or someone else's!), an idea on how to get involved in the blog community or just any thoughts on this post. And I promise, I will respond. 

Netflix Actually Costs Me $480 a Month (and Other Thoughts on 'Going Without')

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March 10, 2014
Let me start a non-religious post with a short religion-related note: Last Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent in Catholic faiths. In short, Lent is the forty days leading up to the celebration of Christ's resurrection at Easter. Many people in the church use Lent as a time to "go without" certain privileges or pastimes or vices in order to focus more on their mental, physical, and spiritual health.

Though I'm not Catholic per se, I appreciate the thought behind Lent + sometimes decide to participate. This year, I've decided to mostly give up Netflix. I'll explain why I say 'mostly' in a second. 

Over the last few months, I've steadily started watching more and more television. A year ago, I would have said that I rarely watch TV--once or twice a month usually. As of right now, I watch at least an hour, usually two or three a day. I sometimes watch an episode midday or mid-afternoon when I just don't want to work. Then, when I get in bed at night, I watch one or two more episodes. 

I'm actually pretty ashamed to admit that--it's a lot of television and I know it. And when I think about all the many, many hours of TV I've watched, I just feel embarrassed. But when I think about all the things I don't manage to get done, even on days when I watch an episode or two of SVU, I just feel sad. How can my priorities be so off that I can go a full day without talking to my family or exercising or spending time with friends but I always have time for Dance Moms? 

And so I did some calculating, because (in case you're new here) I'm super analytical and that's what I do. Assuming I only watch one hour of TV a day (and that's for sure a minimal day), that's at least 30 hours a month. I make $16 an hour (when I tutor). And this is what really hit me: besides that teeny $8 a month charge, Netflix costs me $480 a month. Every month. At the very least. That's $5,760 a year. 

Think about that. 

But even more than the money I lose in time wasted, I lose valuable opportunities to connect with other people, love myself, and live a more fulfilled life. In six months, I'll be moving out of my house and starting a new life an eight hour drive away. These are the days I should be making the most of, not wasting away watching Dance Moms (which, I know, is beyond trashy). 

And so I've been considering just that. I'm not going to cut out TV because I do consider it my 'me' time at the end of the night. But I want to be more intentional with my time + take care not to miss the important things. For Lent, aka the next 40 days (or a little less now), I will only be watching one episode a day, 45 minutes maximum. 

But more importantly, I will use my newfound time carefully, investing it into my family, H, my faith, and myself.

What do you waste time on? Are you going without anything for Lent?

February in Favorites

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March 07, 2014

I was so not a fan of February. At least, I wasn't a fan of myself in February. I've been disconnected to just about everything (as I mentioned on Wednesday) + I've just been feeling out of it. I haven't let any comments on blogs in ages + it's all I can do to send out a tweet about new posts. But I did however, do pretty well on my February goals, even if I wish I had done better.

I made an effort to focus on health + journaling this month. I ended up journaling about 6-7 times over the month, which wasn't too bad considering I was out of town (and just not journaling) for about 10 days in February. I'm really enjoying cultivating this habit + I can't wait to tell you all some of the things that I've learned + things that I love about journaling!

As far as health, I had some really great weeks and some really not-so-great weeks. I tried getting up before school (5:20!!) and doing Jillian Michaels before class. I managed it for a week, but I'm not sure it's a practical option for me in the long run. I also went skiing for a week and though I didn't "work out," I promise you, I got exercise. Other than that, nothing. No runs.

In March, my focus is organization, in schoolwork, in blogging and mentally. Due to some back-to-back travel in March, I'm just super out of things. I need to get back on a posting schedule + get my life back in shape! And speaking of things being in shape, I do need to focus on health again this month because I just wasn't satisfied with my effort in February. To put it concretely, I'm going to log all of my workouts + keep looking to find an exercise that I enjoy (hello, I still haven't gone kickboxing).

Anyways, on to my favorites of February!

This month, I finally calmed down from my Elvis kick (though only slightly) and am really digging a lot of acoustic folk stuff. Totally random: did you know you can have your phone on during takeoff/landing in planes now? On one of my flights this month, coming home from Nashville, I put on my Urbanear headphones (from H, which I love) and some Arlo Guthrie. Somehow, I totally fell asleep + didn't even wake up until we landed! And then I kept my headphones on through the airport + felt so very zen just making my way through the airport. Here are a couple songs I was listening to:

City of New Orleans // Arlo Guthrie
No Bad News // Patty Griffin
Society // Eddie Vedder
Fall At Your Feet // Boy & Bear
The Wrote and the Writ // Johnny Flynn
(Nothing But) Flowers // Talking Heads (not folk, but it's a fun song!)

Again, I read nothing, except 1984 and Othello for my literature class. Seriously, my teacher has a serious thing for dystopian literature and I've got it up to here with it. Other than that, I read the free Nook sample for a biography on Ted Bundy, but I'm too embarrassed to actually buy it. I feel like a terrible person admitting it, but I'm actually fascinated by true crime. Is that weird?

But as for non-book reading, I've done quite a bit (as in blog-reading). Again, I'm so so bad about commenting since I always read from the Bloglovin' app which for real needs a commenting feature. It's so not cool. But anyways, I loved Every Day Cheer's post on How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note. I pride myself in writing good thank yous, but the reminder is always worthwhile! Oh Happy Day's DIY Dot Wall is just beyond adorable. Lastly, A Cup of Jo's post on Feminist Stock Photos, featuring women in leadership positions and scene that may not conform to typical gender roles just make my heart happy! Nothing like a stock photo with a daddy braiding his daughter's hair.

First off, I hope you got to read every guest post that I had here last week while I was vacationing in Breckenridge. I had three ladies send me some phenomenal content + I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Big shout-out to Kenzie, Amber and Victoria for literally being the coolest babes I know.

This month, I was particularly proud of my post on My Favorite Productivity Apps, in which I share my two biggest secrets to surviving life. Since I've started a quasi-habit of gratitude journaling, I loved that I could share with you 10 of my Prompts for Gratitude Journaling. Lastly, it seemed like everyone's favorite post around these parts lately has been my guide to Easy Peasy SEO for Blogger!

Oh man, do I love a good (preferably online) shopping day. If I had more money, this blog would be alll about fashion, makeup + good ol' home decor. But alas, I don't. But just for fun, I thought I'd share just a couple things on my wishlist lately.

Clockwise from top-left: Ombre Wreath / Pom-pom Garland / Wonderful World Print / Triceratops Succulent Planter

If you have a month recap post, please share the link! I love reading a good recap! 
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Honest Thoughts on Balance in Blogging

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March 05, 2014
I've been taking a long, careful look at my blog lately. And I have to say: I'm not satisfied. I'm not a huge fan of what my blog has morphed into. My blog has become a constant question of "what can I teach people today," which is all well and good. But I'm running out of things to teach. How can I keep writing posts on productivity when I spend at least half an hour on Pinterest a day and miss deadlines and have a messy bedroom sometimes? I've created this identity for myself as an "expert" in the things I blog about + that's just not fair. I'm not an expert in design, productivity, even music. 

When I first started blogging, it was all about me. I posted pictures of myself, recaps of my weekends, long posts on what I was thinking about or worried about. But no one was reading my blog then. No one cared to read about my conversation with a friend or what was good or terrible about my day. And I get that; I'm not complaining. I don't blame anyone on the internet for not caring about my mundane day-to-days. 

And so I've been teaching, because that's what people like to read. People like to read about how I design or stay productive. But I feel like I've been missing the personality, the genuine Allie-ness that used to emanate from my blog. I feel like I've been acting like someone I'm not, at least not completely. Some part of me truly is a teacher. I like spreading knowledge + getting it from others. But when I found that people preferred reading those kinds of posts, that became all I posted. 

We bloggers love to say that we only blog for ourselves. As if our blogs are our private journals that people just happen to read. But I would be lying if I said that my content doesn't revolve around my stats. If people like a post, you bet I'll post more of it. If people don't...well, it's less of a priority. And although many bloggers may not want to admit this, I love pageviews--and that's not a bad thing. I love knowing that I have people reading the words that I spend hours writing down. I revel in that. But I feel that I worry about my pageviews at the expense of creating a haven of honesty, friendship, and vibrancy in my blog.

I've felt to very out-of-touch with the blogging community as of late. All of my time goes to planning content, drafting posts or editing images. I honestly don't spend time commenting on other blogs, tweeting at my favorite bloggers or collaborating anymore. It's been months since I wrote a guest post. 

But, friends, I want to change. I want to be more genuine and real and (remember my word of the year?!) open. I don't want to have to choose between pageviews and accurately representing myself but it seems I might have to. But the community here in blogging is important enough that I'm going to do just that.

So consider this an announcement of sorts: this will be changing. Much of my blog content will be the same. But much will change. I want to show all of me on the blog--not just my "design, productivity, music, positivity + science," aka my five topics here on CMS. I'll be opening up about what it's like to start transitioning for college + preparing for a four-year long distance relationship. I want to talk about my struggles with anxiety and staying in shape and being the lone introvert in a family of extroverts. I'm going to talk about what I actually do--and not just how I do it faster or more productively. 

I want to breathe life into this blog again. And if it's at the price of pageviews, so be it. 

I really would love to hear your thoughts on this. Please leave me a comment--how often do you blog about personal things? How do you maintain a balance between blogging for stats + blogging for you?

Weekly Goals #29

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March 03, 2014
Hellooooo loves! Happy Monday! Well, I'm finally back from my trip to Colorado. Though lovely, I feel like I've been gone forever. I've hardly opened up my computer in a week and a half and it feels just weird-weird-weird. I'm still getting back into the swing of things so I'm keeping things super short and casual today.

Last week, I made a goal to exercise while on vacation. But I sooorta underestimated how much of an exercise skiing is in itself! Did you know that you can burn upwards of 400 calories an hour skiing? Yeah, for real, you can believe how excited I was to learn that, especially considering that some days I skied from 9 till 4. That's a whole lotta calories to get rid of! Needless to say, I got them all back with some Nutella ;) So I'm totally fine with not exercising officially all week since I walked around town lots + skied. 

But I'm not gonna spoil too much since I have a little recap planned for later this week. Just know that my awesome week included not only skiing, but also tubing, good food, drama and dogsledding. Yes. And if I can convince him, H might share a little bit about when he went snowmobiling!

Until then, let me share my goals for the week. I've got a lot to do to get back in place for the coming weeks. I'm missing classes again today because I'm in Tennessee. I'll need to be super focused to get caught up on classwork. In addition, I didn't write any blog posts for like ten whole days (they were all scheduled! gasp!) so my stock of prewritten posts is down to nil. This week I want to get back to my normal schedule of being at least three or four posts ahead. 

That's all today--what are your goals for the week?

5 Money-Saving Tips for (Already!) Broke College Students

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March 01, 2014
hello, call me sassafrass readers! my names victoria, i live in the suburbs of los angeles and i have a little blog called poverty luxe, where i talk a lot about crafts, clothes, cooking, and learning to love living the broke life. im really, really happy that allie invited me over to guest post, because ive got some goodies that i dont think you want to miss out on. 

spring is just around the corner, which means time for college acceptance letters and time to start freaking out about how expensive EVERYTHING even remotely college related is. well lucky for you, i have LOTS of experience in being a broke college student (actually, I'm going back to school next month), and while i dont have any advice on how to make the college itself any cheaper,  i  do have a few (five, to be exact) tips to make all those little expenses a LOT more manageable. 

lets get started, shall we?

1. skip the school bookstore at the beginning of the semester. 

basically, your school bookstore is THE MOST EXPENSIVE PLACE ON EARTH to buy textbooks and you should avoid it at all costs. as SOON as you get your syllabi (yes, thats the proper plural of syllabus), head over to, and search the isbn numbers of the books you need to find the best price (actually, you may need to make a stop at the bookstore to get those numbers). the great thing about is that it not only gives you price comparisons on the book youre looking for, but it ALSO FIGURES IN SALES TAX AND SHIPPING so that you know that youre getting the absolute best price on all of the internet. 

2. talk to your professors about what books/supplies youre actually going to use. 

i know professors are sometimes scary (especially if youre at a new school), but if you really want to save yourself from buying a $100 textbook that wasnt even necessary (which, im pretty sure you do), ask them about the booklist. sometimes the book isnt very important and theres a reserve copy in the library, sometimes an old (and therefore MUCH cheaper) edition is ok, sometimes the book is on the syllabus but its not even really part of the class. any one of these things could end up saving you some money (and all of these have happened multiple times in my college career), but youll never know if you have other options book-wise unless you ask. 

3. bring your own lunch/snacks/water. 

i really shouldn't have to tell you that fast food/convenience food is way expensive (and way unhealthy) and that buying bottled water (or soda) every day adds up to a LOT of money. this gets even worse when you get onto a college campus. fun fact: i briefly attended usc (one of the most expensive colleges in america) and you know how much a bean burrito and small soda at the campus food court cost? $9. simple things like packing yourself a sandwich or an apple and investing in a reusable water bottle can save you TONS of money over the course of a semester, with the added bonus of helping you to eat healthier and avoid the dreaded freshman 15. 

4. actually, skip the school bookstore at the end of the semester, too. 

so, you know how at the end of the semester you can sell your books back to the school for about .5 percent of what you paid for them and it makes you want to cry? well, selling your books yourself on (selling used books on amazon requires a merchant account, doesnt) will get you a LOT more money (actually, there were times that i made a profit flipping my used textbooks). pro tip: look at the current selling price of your book and price yours one cent lower, chances are your book will be the first to sell. 

5. buy your supplies at office stores. 

at back-to-school time, the big office stores have ALL the basic supplies (pens, pencils, notebooks, index cards, etc) on sale for SO CHEAP (sometimes even just pennies). it may not be the cutest stuff, but hey, why spend $5 on a notebook when you could get one for 50 cents? 

i hope that youve found these tips useful, they helped me immensely while i was in school, so i can personally attest to their effectiveness (and i plan on using every. single. one. this time around). 

do you have any tips for saving money at school? 

p.s. if youve enjoyed hanging out with me today, please stop by the blog and say hi! and dont forget to follow along on bloglovinFacebook, and twitter, hope to see you soon!

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