Sunday, February 7, 2016

Saving a Little Extra Cash in College

     It is no secret that college is expensive. It is also no secret that my summer job as a camp counselor does not pay me a fortune (but I would not change that for the world). So often times during the semester, I have to sit myself down and look at my spending. As a senior, I live in a house with my own kitchen, meaning that I have to buy groceries and cook my own food. I also have a car, so that is another added expense. While I do work when I am on campus, I often find myself really having to look at the money that I am earning and what I am spending on. So, here are some tips to manage your money while in college!

ONE// Save on textbooks. Seriously. There is almost no need to spend $200 on a textbook that you will probably only open once. I get the majority of my textbooks used on Amazon. They are so much cheaper and in the end, I am totally ok if it has a few highlights or notes written in. Often times, I would prefer that to a brand new book!
     If you cannot find it cheaper on Amazon, the library would be your second best bet. My roommate Candice and I are in a class together and she took out both books that we need from the library. We have been sharing them all semester and it has cost us nothing!
be like Matilda and get your books from the library!

TWO// Pat attention to events on campus. This past weekend we had the Winter Carnival on campus. Along with it being a ton of fun, there was free food! Free food means not having to spend money on something to eat or use groceries for a meal that I could have saved for a different time. These events are not only good for food, but also other things as well! On campus in the next few weeks we are having a used book sale and a clothing sale. These events are great places to go not only if you are looking for something to do, but also if you need a few things!


THREE// Check out some on-campus jobs. On campus we have both work study and non-work study jobs. I personally do not have a work study, but I do have two on campus jobs that are not work study. For me, those jobs are a tour guide and social ambassador. These jobs are super fun and it gives me a little bit of extra cash in my pocket every two weeks! There are also a lot of other jobs on campus that are not work study, such as working in the dining hall. Also, our job link is a great way to find jobs on campus and off!

FOUR// Find forms of payment that work for you. I am a firm believer in using cash whenever possible. That way, I always know just how much I am spending. At this time is not my plan to apply for a credit card, but for those fellows that are interested in this opportunity Credit Card Insider has a Student Credit Card section that could be a good point to start. They lay out the pros and cons of all possible credit cards so that you can see what would work best for you. Eventually a credit card will be in my wallet, but for now I will just stick with cash!
Like Beyonce, I'll stick with cash.
(i also wish i was beyonce)
FIVE// Your I.D. card is everything. Not only is it an important resource while you are on campus (as it controls your meal plan, printing, entry to buildings and laundry) but it is also a great resource off campus. A lot of stores offer discounts to students and they can be anywhere from 10% to 30% off your purchase. There are tons of websites that tell you all the discounts or you can just ask before you check out!



I hope these tips will help you save a little bit of money this semester!

Love,
Susanna

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Friday, January 22, 2016

Kitchen Confessions: Must Haves

     I don't mean to toot my own horn, but I am pretty good when it comes to cooking. I really enjoy it. Some people are intimidated by the kitchen, but personally, it the place that I feel most at home. Sometimes cooking to me means popping a piece of bread in the toaster and then putting peanut butter on it. Other times it means following a recipe or just whipping together a few things that I have in my fridge. Whatever it may be, its something that doesn't seem daunting to me. It is enjoyable.
     I will admit, being in college sometimes makes it difficult to cook. I mean, just think about it. We have a tiny kitchen in our house that 4 people (including me) share. There really isn't all that much space, especially because, for some reason, all of us like to congregate in the kitchen on most occasions. Before moving in, we started thinking up what we could possibly need kitchen utensil wise. Growing up and having a kitchen filled with every gadget you could possibly dream of, I never really thought of the exact tools that I would need to make three square meals a day. So, here is my list for all of you chefs, toast burners and wine pourers.

PREPARE:

Measuring Cups// Kind of goes without saying. These are important, especially if you love to bake as much as I do. When following a recipe, especially if you are making a baked good, it is important to get the measurements just right. I personally just have some plastic ones that were fairly cheap and they do the job just right!

Cutting Boards// We just have a bunch of plastic cutting boards in a drawer in our kitchen. Most people opt for wood boards, but I personally love the plastic ones. They are easy to store and a lot easier to clean. We use them for everything from veggies, fruits and meats.

UTENSILS:

Knives and Knife Sharpener// Again, important. Even more important- make sure they are sharp. I promise you it will make your life so much easier. The sharper the knife, the easier it is to cut things and it also makes it a lot less painful if you do happen to cut yourself in the process. Also, look up a few techniques on basic knife skills and how to cut certain items. It makes prep work a lot easier and safer for those that don't feel as comfortable in the kitchen.

Tongs// For me, I probably wouldn't have thought to bring them. For me, I only think of using tongs when grilling, which I do not do while I'm at school. But honestly, I find myself reaching for these more often than I thought. I use them mainly for cooking meats and roasting different vegetables. They are also useful when plating different meals.

Wooden Spoon// I use a wooden spoon for everything. I think I mainly gravitate towards it because I am forever scared that when I am cooking and using a plastic spoon, it will melt into my food. Unrealistic fear? Probably, but it still worries me! I use a wooden spoon for all of my mixing needs.

BIGGER ITEMS:

Cookie sheets// I use these all the time from actually making cookies, scones, pork chops, chicken and roasting vegetables. I easily use a cookie sheet twice a week if not more!

Saucepan and Frying Pan// Everyone in our house uses these multiple times a day. We use them to make eggs, any kind of meet and vegetables. They really come in handy all the time!

Glass Baking Dish// I love the one that we have here. I use it to make pasta bakes or my homemade mac and cheese! It is the perfect size and it everything cooks evenly!

     As for cooking, I hope to do a little bit more of it this semester. I have a little more free time than I usually do, so I am really looking forward to testing out new things in the kitchen. I think Friday will be my day for trying something new, seeing as I do not have classes on Friday. For today, I currently have beets, butternut squash and broccoli in the oven roasting. On them I made a quick sauce of olive oil, garlic and balsamic vinegar. Once they come out of the oven I plan to put a little goat cheese on top and enjoy. The whole house currently smells heavenly!
the final product! 


Love,
Susanna

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

ACL Diaries: Part 1

     As the title says, yes, I am on crutches. You're probably thinking, how did that possibly happen? Well, if you have been up to date with the posts, in early October I tore my ACL playing rugby. I knew that if I ever wanted to play sport again or do anything remotely active, I would need to get it fixed. So on Tuesday, Santa, I mean, the doctor, gave me the great present of a new ACL. Now let me tell ya, I seem happy and cheery now, but if you saw me yesterday, you probably thought I was going to die. Well, it sure felt like it. Essentially, in the type of ACL reconstruction that I had, they took out a piece of my patella and tibia with a piece of tendon attached. They drilled holes in both my femur and tibia and then threaded the piece they had taken out to reconstruct my ACL. Thankfully, everything else looked good so all they had to do was give me a new ACL.
     But, it isn't just a quick surgery. The full recovery for this surgery is 9-12 months and even then, it may take longer for my knee to actually feel like my knee. It will take a lot of time to rehab it and get it back to working condition. Right now, I have started to put weight on it, but I am not allowed to bend my knee yet. The past few days have consisted of a lot of sleeping and watching TV. The medicine that I was on made me really sick, so today is the first day that I have actually been able to eat something and keep it down. I start PT on Monday, so hopefully it won't be too bad. I plan on updating you all about how this is going, just because when I was planning the surgery, I wanted to know more about what to expect.
     As for the rest of my winter break, I plan on resting a lot and getting my knee in good condition. My hope for when it comes times to go back to school is that I can walk with crutches comfortably and that I can make it up stairs! I think its a pretty achievable goal!
     Wish me luck!
Love,
Susanna

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What am I listening to?
(I know, its weird that I am not posting a what I am listening to, mainly because I have not been listening to much music. Instead, I leave you with a what I have been watching. I highly suggest you watch the show Limitless. I have watched the whole season already!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Burlington on a Budget


     Although I have only lived in close proximity to Burlington for the past 4 years, it has really become home to me. I have probably said it before, but my mom hates it when I refer to college as home. But its the truth, both Saint Michael's and the surrounding area really do feel like home to me. It is no secret that Burlington is a great place. It has been voted one of the best college towns in the country and its food has been gaining great reviews over the past couple of years. Unlike its counterparts of Los Angeles, Manhattan and Boston, Burlington is a place to live and explore without breaking the bank. Trust me, I know. I'm a college kid after all. So, if you are a college kid living here or are just looking for some great places to explore, here are my top choices for things to eat and places to see in Burlington on a budget.

     Let's start the morning right. Everyone knows that the best way to start the day is with a great breakfast. What's better than some good food? Good food that won't break the bank. Assuming that you were a little slow moving in the morning, I would suggest Handy's Lunch. Handy's is a super old school place with only counter seating, so it approximately only seats 25-30 people. This often means that there can be a wait, but I mean, the longer the line the better the food, right? The people that work there are great. Earl, one of the owners, is really friendly and will do everything he can to make you feel nice and welcome. The food is great and it is really inexpensive considering how full you feel after. It is definitely one of my go to spots for breakfast!

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     After breakfast you are probably going to have to walk off all of the calories that you just consumed. One of my favorite places to do that is at Lake Champlain Waterfront. Perks of this? It's absolutely free to walk around and the view is fabulous. You can always see people riding bikes, cute dogs and who knows, you might even catch a glimpse of our lake monster, Champ. One of the cool places to visit at the waterfront is the ECHO Center. The ECHO Center is a non-profit organization that hopes to educate people about the ecology and history of Lake Champlain. It is an awesome place to visit for people of all ages. Tickets are fairly inexpensive as far as museums and aquariums go, and they often have ticket deals. Here you have the opportunity to watch them feed animals, meet some baby animals and learn about all of the things that go into making Lake Champlain great!
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     Wow, all that walking must have started to make you a little hungry. Just a short walk away from the Echo Center is Church Street Marketplace. It is arguably one of my favorite spots in all of Burlington. Here, you have the choice of dozens of restaurants, shops and bars to choose from. For lunch, my favorite place would have to be the Red Onion. If you want to enjoy the best sandwich of your life, then look no further. My favorite sandwich to get is the Red Onion. I mean, if they name their restaurant after it, it has to be good.  This sandwich has turkey, bacon, red onion (duh) and garlic mayo on your choice of fresh made bread. Delicious, right? A typically sandwich will cost you about $10 here, but it is more than enough for 2 people to split. Also, try one of their cookies. They are one of my favorites and I really don't like cookies that much.
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     After lunch, I would say that it would be in your best interest to just take the time to walk around Church Street Marketplace. As I said earlier, it is a long pedestrian street where there are tons of shops, restaurants and bars to visit. In my opinion it is honestly one of the best places to window shop. It's a great place on a budget because you don't actually have to buy anything. But, if you were so inclined to spend a little money, you could to to places like Tradewinds, Earth Bound and Homeport, which are some of my favorites.
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    After all that (window) shopping you are probably hungry again, right? I thought so. One of my favorite places is American Flatbread. I promise you will love this place the minute you walk in the door. Only a quick walk from Church Street, the rustic inside and the no cell phone sign really makes you feel at ease. On busy nights, like Friday's an Saturday's, there will normally be a wait. My suggestion is during the wait you should step up to the bar and try one of the local brews that they have on tap. Almost all of the ingredients used are local, free-range and organic, which makes eating pizza healthy, right? Any pizza you get here is good, but my personal favorite would be the buffalo chicken with blue cheese pizza. I like it because it has super thin crust and the sauce is super flavorful.
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     Finally, its time for dessert. Take your full belly and walk back up to Church Street and then one block past it to My Little Cupcake. This place is hands down my favorite place for something edible near Church Street. I cannot remember how my friends and I stumbled upon it but I am really happy we did. We make it our tradition now. Every time we go to Church Street we have to stop at My Little Cupcake to get a quick snack. They have both mini and regular sized cupcakes, along with cake pops, gluten free and vegan cupcakes. There is something for everyone! My personal favorites are the salted caramel and the red velvet. One of the cool things that they do for the 21+ crowd is every Friday night they have a pairing night, where you get 3 types of alcoholic beverages and 3 desserts for a flat price. They also have one of my favorite drool worthy accounts on Instagram!
[via]
    After all that I'm assuming that you are totally stuffed and exhausted. It must be time to head home to get some sleep! See, doing things during the day can be really fun and inexpensive.

    Winter months, especially January, is a time when many people start thinking about budgeting money. One of the places that I have recently discovered to help me do this is Personal Capital. They have awesome free financial tools that people what don't really know where to start can check out.

Love,
Susanna

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

Finals Schminals

     So that time is year is upon us. Sadly, that time of year is not too fun, instead it is probably one of the most frustrating times of the year. Yes, I mean finals. It is really weird to me to think that this is the second to last time that I will have to experience finals. Weird, I know. I have written a lot about prepping for finals. I think I post one almost every year or so. This post will kind of be a recap of everything we have discussed. I would say that this is my "holy grail" of studying hacks for finals. This list of things has helped me to survive numerous finals weeks and would ya look at me, I think i turned out ok. So, here we go!

ONE// Think about how much you have to do and how much time each task will take. I know, this is one of the most daunting tasks. It can be really frightening to actually visualize all the tasks that you have to accomplish. It is even scarier when you have to actually think of how long it will take you to accomplish these tasks. We all know that writing "read chapters 12-16" in your planner realistically gets you no where. Put a time on it. Say "read chapters 12-16 from 6-8pm". Then you will be more likely to do it.

TWO// When you are scheduling, add in a relaxing time. This sounds pretty weird to some people, but I promise you, it helps. Also, when adding it in, make it a non-negotiable. You should never feel guilty for taking time for yourself. This is something that is hard for me at times. When I have a lot of stuff to accomplish, I often feel like it is difficult to take time for myself. Adding it o your schedule forces you to take the time to refresh yourself. This also helps you to be more focused when studying.


THREE// Schedule in times to check social media. Whether you add this in on your "me-time', schedule time to check social media. I know that this is a problem for me. I am addicted to social media and I often get really distracted by it. When I set certain times to check it, it helps me to focus more on my work.


FOUR// Get everything together ahead of time. I am notorious for walking downstairs in my house or to the academic buildings, sitting down and then noticing that I do not have one of the things that I need to study. Then, I get completely out of the zone and have to get my head back into it. This goes for finding all the supplies you need, prepping playlists and making sure your computer is charged. Also, food and drinks is a big one for me. If I am hungry to thirsty while studying, I would put money on it that I will most likely get nothing done.



FIVE// Get some positive vibes circulating your space. Change the background on your computer. Write little notes in your planner. Do whatever you have to do to get you psyched and hyped to study. When you feel positive and happy studying will feel so much easier. The easiest way to do this you may ask? Smile.

SIX// Don't just write down one major task, instead, split it up into small groups. When I have a huge paper to write, I will instead split it up into small things, such as write thesis, do research, write body paragraphs or collect quotes. It makes a huge task become smaller and easier to accomplish.

SEVEN// Remember that finals is not a time to get everything absolutely perfect. At times it is hard to accept that you won't be perfect. But during finals, you have to understand that you cannot always achieve perfection. With a long to-do list, you won't be able to accomplish everything to your exact specifications. That is ok. Do everything to the best of your ability and you will be fine. Just remember, you do you and as long as you do your best, you're fabulous.


THREE// Do not pull all nighters. This isn't a problem for me. I love my sleep and I always will. I do have some friends that would prefer to stay up all night to study for an exam, but personally for me, I set a time for myself and if I don't finish everything by 11:30pm, I accept the fact that it probably won't get finished or that I need to wake up earlier to finish studying.

Well, that's all folks. I hope finals goes well for all of you. Remember, you can do it. In the end it is only a grade. Just work your hardest and you will be fine. 
Good Luck!

Love,
Susanna

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Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Best Feeling in the World

the trophy is back where it belongs.
     Wow. I guess that is all I can really say about this weekend. For those of you that don't know or are new to my blog, I play rugby and I love every second of it. SMC's women's rugby has a great reputation of bringing women together who have never played rugby before to compete at a high level. This season is one for the record books. We ended our regular season undefeated after winning our conference championship yesterday against Stonehill. To say that I am incredibly proud would be an understatement. Unfortunately, with a completely messed up knee, I couldn't compete in my last conference championship game as a member of the team, which is a personal battle all in itself. But watching my teammates play was something that I will never forget.
    Going into this game, we knew what we wanted to accomplish. We knew that we wanted to walk away victorious and that is what we did. Although some parts may have been a little slow or chaotic, we picked it up and everything worked out.
    I'm so proud to be a part of this team- to be a part of something great. Our entire team, both A side and B side, deserve this win. Without B-side, A-side would not be as good as it is today and without A-side we wouldn't have amazing role models for our newest players.
   I am so proud to be a part of this team. This team is something great. This team is family.
Next weekend we take on Smith College at SMC at 1pm in the first round of Nationals.
some pretty amazing people
Want to see some amazing photos of the game? Click the link HERE!

Love,
Susanna

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Breakfast of Champions

     I will be the first to admit that breakfast is probably my favorite meal of the day. It really is. I will eat scrambled eggs and oatmeal basically any time of the day, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. But, I will be the first to admit that I am completely lazy. I mean, sometimes I will spend a lot of time making food because I love to cook, but mornings are not my thing and I would much rather spend that extra 20 minutes in bed rather than spending my time in the kitchen. I also know that if I do not eat breakfast, there is no way that I will function for the rest of the day until I eat something. Soooooo, here are some of my favorite breakfast ideas when you are really short on time and money!

ONE// Banana Ice Cream. I mean, ice cream for breakfast? SIGN ME UP. So while this may seem totally not ok, I promise, it is ok to eat for breakfast. Essentially, it is just bananas. I'm serious. That's it. All you do is freeze some bananas then blend them up in the blender. Super easy and super delicious. I like to add a little vanilla sometimes along with cacao powder if I'm looking to be a little more exciting. I normally top if off with some fresh fruit and granola and it is honestly delicious! This is also a great breakfast that you can make the night before and pop in the freezer so it is ready to go when you wake up! And to be totally honest, I have a Tupperware of chocolate banana ice cream in my freezer right now waiting for me! It makes getting up in the morning easier when you are excited about breakfast!

Frozen Banana "Ice Cream" ~ made with just bananas and peanut butter, but tastes just like soft serve!:
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TWO//  Eggs in a mug. Sounds weird, I know. But you can cook eggs in a mug in the microwave and they are still completely safe to eat (I mean, people eat raw eggs, so this is definitely better!). All you do is crack an egg in your mug, mix it up, add all the yummy things like veggies, cheese and whatever else floats your boat. Then put it in the microwave and cook for about 2 minutes and 30 seconds (depending on your microwave) and then enjoy! 
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THREE// Overnight Oats (or oatmeal in general). I will be the first to admit that oatmeal is fairly new to me. I can say that I did not like oatmeal until the beginning of this year. I know, totally strange. I don't really know why I didn't like it seeing how much I eat it now. It is normally my go-to breakfast because it is super easy and really filling. I will normally opt to just make it hot in the morning. I like to add brown sugar and cinnamon to mine and top with bananas if I have them on hand. I recently discovered overnight oats. A lot of people call it "summer oatmeal" because you eat it cold. Basically you put your oats, yogurt and come milk in an individual jar, most people opt for mason jars, then leave it in the fridge overnight. The next morning it is ready for you to eat! 
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FOUR// Avocado Toast. I have to say that I absolutely adore avocados. I really do. There is just something about it that I just adore. Plus, it has some super healthy fats that keep you really energized all day long. One of my favorite things to do with avocado is to smash it up and put it on toast. Its super easy and delicious. I top it with a little salt and pepper. Sometimes I will chop up some extra veggies like tomatoes or spinach to put on top. If I am feeling super fancy, I'll cook and egg, but most of the time I just eat it plain! 
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FIVE// Smoothies or a smoothie bowl. This are pretty basic and really easy. Just grab some frozen fruit, some water, maybe a few veggies and blend it all together. Smoothies are really easy. Plus if you are in a rush you can take them to class with you. I have really started to take a liking to smoothie bowls. I think I like them because they feel more filling to me. Basically the difference is that they are thicker than smoothies. I will normally add a little less water or liquid to it. Then you pour it into a bowl and add your favorite toppings like granola, chia seeds and fresh fruit. 
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So those are some of my favorite breakfasts to enjoy in the morning! I hope you give some a try and learn to love breakfast the same way I do! 
Also a little update on my knee. Unfortunately the doctor thinks that I have torn my ACL. We aren't positive about the diagnosis yet, but I have a MRI scheduled later in the month that will tell us for sure! As for now, I am just wearing a brace when I walk and going to physical therapy 4 days a week!

Love,
Susanna

Questions? Comments? Just wanna say hey?
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