November 06, 2014

A Little Something Extra (Give Extra, Get Extra)

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #CollectiveBias #ExtraGumMoments


I'm all about giving a little something extra now and then. I love holidays and giving gifts, and Christmas is always my favorite time of year. Now that I'm in the US, I get to experience Thanksgiving - something I'm not used to at all! But I love the idea behind the holiday - and I love yet another reason to give thanks and celebrate the people around me.


As you know, I'm a Resident Assistant at school, and our new Residence Hall Director (aka my new boss) just arrived, and we've been getting to know her, have her get to know our staff and all that jazz. 


One of the activities we decided to do, was to do a little random act of kindness for each other. We all chose names, and we had to do a little something special - something extra for our person that week. And I knew the perfect way: to give Extra




The person I chose spoke a little about a book that inspired her when she was an RA - something that puts perspective into her life, and that she no longer had a copy with her. So I thought it would be awesome to create a little care package: her favorite book, Extra gum and a hand-written note.


I wanted to welcome her to our staff, to our school and encourage her to always find that little something "extra" every day, and that she'll fall in love with our school like we all did. And what better way to give a little something extra, than by actually giving Extra. 



But I didn't stop there. Gum is something that we don't think much about. You all remember pulling out a pack of gum in class and everyone staring at you secretly begging for a stick. It's an easy way to do a little something extra for someone. Especially this Thanksgiving. I'm including Extra Gum in all my holiday care-packages - and you should too. 


Do you love gum? Are you giving something Extra this holiday season?


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    October 09, 2014

    10 Things I Wish I Brought to College

    I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias. #AmazonWishList #AmazonHasIt #CollectiveBias

    I'm an online shopper, there's no denying that. I'm always up to date on the latest and biggest sales, looking for new trends and styles I want, and my credit card certainly hates me more than I even know. But one of my favorite online stores - where I get almost everything, is Amazon.

    Besides Amazon having basically everything, they also have this fantastic discount for students. Amazon Prime, which is usually costs $99/year, is only $49/year for students when you use your .edu email address, and students get six months free. Yes, you read that right. If you sign up here with your .edu email, you'll get to try Amazon Student for free for six months. 

    I get everything from Amazon: food, shoes, books, electronics, even clothes (my fave leggings are available there!), so when Amazon created their new #AmazonWishList feature, I loved it! Now, you can add items and products to your Amazon Wish List without even leaving Twitter. Say your favorite brand, or band, or a friend, or an author you love tweet something with an Amazon product link in it, you can reply with the hashtag #AmazonWishList and the product will be added to your wish list automatically. It's that easy. 

    So I was thinking about how much I rely on Amazon and all the online purchases I made freshman year after I discovered I forgot some of the most important things for college, and I figured I'd share some things I wish I brought to college with me.. 


    // Brita Pitchers: This one is a life-saver and I am so glad I ordered this one, because it saves SO much money and it's good for the environment.. helloooo no plastic bottles! One filter can replace 300 standard 16.9 ounce water bottles, so it's a win/win! The BPA-free filter can hold up to ten full cups at a time. (Plus, shop through this link and save $2!) 

    // Clorox Wipes: Seriously, you will get SO sick in college living in a communal dorm room with a communal bathroom and just tons of germs floating around everywhere. I made sure to order this three-pack freshman year because a) it smells good, so when I clean up my room it smells fresh, b) it helps me from getting sick, c) it was so helpful cleaning up drink spills, makeup residue and food crumbs! It kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, so that's one less worry when you're stressing right before finals! (Plus, shop using #AmazonWishList and save $1!)

    // Tissues: You will cry. You will cry a lot. Between homesickness, stress from classes and midterms and finals breakdowns, you'll need some tissues. Plus, once Fall hits and the weather gets colder, you'll want some tissues to help your runny nose! 

    // Hand-held Vacuum: This was a much-needed purchase freshman year. I lived in a quad. Four girls with very long hair. Four girls whose hair fell very quickly. There was so. much. hair. Seriously, invest in a mini-vac, for things like hair, crumbs and everything in between. 

    // Powerstrip (and an extra one): You can never have too many - enough said. So many chargers and electronics, not enough plugs. 

    // Double-sided tape: For the posters, flags and whiteboards that will sit on your desk until you remember to finally order this tape online. An easy way to decorate your dorm room!

    // Bathrobe: Admittedly, I didn't use this freshman year because I lived right across from the bathroom, but now that I'm living in freshman dorms again and sharing a communal bathroom with my residents, I understand how important it is and I'm SO glad I kept mine. I wear it at night, on my way to and from the shower, and just if I don't want to put a bra on.. #sorrynotsorry. 

    // Umbrella: Seriously, if you don't buy anything else on this list, BUY THIS! When it rains, it pours and your "waterproof" bag isn't as waterproof as you think. An umbrella is the way to go! 

    // Rain Boots: A must-have! I ruined a pair of beautiful leather boots running through the rain - these babies are a lifesaver when you step in a puddle or two. 

    // Keurig Coffee Maker: Life. Saver. It's college. All nighters, 8 ams, nonstop. Coffee will be your best friend! Save yourself some money and buy yourself a Keurig instead of 2 Starbucks a day! 

    These are all available on Amazon, and I included it all in my own #AmazonWishList

    This Wednesday, October 15th, from 11-12pm EST, Amazon will be offering special promotions on Twitter for the first ever #AmazonWishList Social Shopping Party!! There will be featured products and if you purchase them using the #AmazonWishList feature, you get exclusive discounts and a chance to win one of TEN Kindles that they're giving away! Talk about a win/win! I'll be tweeting and shopping (obviously), and hopefully winning one of the Kindles, and you should be too! 

    See you there and happy shopping!

    Is there anything you wish YOU packed with you for college? 
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    October 03, 2014

    Midterms Must-Haves

    I know, I haven't blogged in a while. But I just needed to remind you how tough college can be. Okay, you need no reminding, but I've been especially busy the last few weeks. Between school, Greek Life and Res Life, I have no time for a social life, and even less time for the blog life. But I'm trying to get back in the swing of things and I'm trying to do everything all at once. 

    I cannot believe that 6 weeks of school have already gone by. It's insane! Midterms are literally right around the corner, and thanks to Netflix conveniently releasing all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls at once, my studying habits went downhill real fast. But midterms are still on their way and I am trying to resort to my old studying habits and sharing my midterms must-haves. 


    // a planner: no midterms week is complete without your trusty planner - from homework, to study sessions, to scheduling some "me-time", my planner keeps me semi-sane during stressful weeks. 

    // your notes (obviously): don't even try to pull off a successful midterms week without these. if you're not an expert note-taker, make sure you read the required readings cover to cover and make some sort of notes, or ask professors if they have any study guide you should follow - it helps a ton. 

    // comfy clothes: no one looks cute midterms week. don't even try to look cute midterms week. yoga pants, leggings, oversized tees and sweaters, boots and baseball caps will become your go-tos for the stressful times, but early mornings and late nights aren't exactly prime time for your runway-ready looks. 

    // caffeine: maybe it's coffee. maybe it's tea. maybe it's just some soda - drink whatever you need to stay awake and focused. like Lorelai Gilmore, we all need our coffee in an IV midterms week. 


    // chocolate: and sometimes during midterms week, we just get a little stressed, and all we need is a huge bite of chocolate and a quick little vent sesh. i love Lindt Hello!, cause it takes the luxury of Lindt chocolate, and combines it with your favorite flavors like cookies n cream, and caramel brownie and a million more.

    I'm a little obsessed with the Lindt Hello collection, and it definitely makes the perfect studying accessory - there's no better way to reward yourself than with your fave chocolates.


    Happy studying and stay sane! I'm right there with ya.. 

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    September 08, 2014

    Fall Into Fashion

    This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group®, InStyle, Vogue and Elle, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #inspirefallfashion  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

    It's no secret that I devour fashion magazines. I have for as long as I can remember, and I love trying to incorporate the styles into my own wardrobe and my everyday outfits. I was at Target this weekend and picked up the September issues of InStyle and Elle, which have already been post-it note'd and flagged for easy thumbing through throughout the fall season.

    What made it even better was that Target paid me to buy magazines. No, not as in sponsoring this blog. I mean Target gave me (and everyone else) a $5 gift card when I purchased two magazines (InStyle, Vogue or Elle), and they can give you one too if you purchase between now and September 13th! Talk about a win/win!



    This season is full of trends I can rock: animal print, cherry red accessories, the colors green and aubergine, oversized blazers, knit sweaters and the ever-present equestrian riding boots. There were so many trends already represented in my closet, and I knew I had to try my hand at this season's hottest trends.

    the perfect fall outfit that you can create from your closet
    the perfect fall outfit that you can create from your closet

    I opted for an equestrian look because it's definitely my personal style. My brown riding boots are my go-to in the fall, and pairing them with a favorite pair of darker jeans is a win in my book. I fittingly decided to rock a peplum button-up Ralph Lauren shirt that I've had in my closet for forever. I picked up these Audrey Brooke boots my freshman year, and I haven't been able to part with them because a) they're so comfortable and b) they're the perfect color - they go with everything. I'm a firm believer in spending a little more for something that'll last you a lot longer, and at just under $200, Audrey Brooke boots are a steal for the quality.. I mean, they've lasted two Connecticut winters! 

    the perfect fall outfit that you can create from your closet
    the perfect fall outfit that you can create from your closet
    | Ralph Lauren shirt (old, but this is similar) | INC Jeans c/o |
    | Audrey Brooke riding boots (old, but these are similar) | Michael Kors watch |

    never thought to add a chunky sweater with a skirt and heels.. perfect fall outfit!

    I also loved the knit sweaters that I saw all throughout the pages of InStyle this month, and I knew I had to style one of my oversized sweaters for a fun fall look. I came upon this huge Old Navy sweater when I was visiting a friend at her work and I knew I needed it to pair with leggings and a pair of boots. I made sure to get an XL so it can be extra long and comfy - and trust me, it's perfect!

    never thought to add a chunky sweater with a skirt and heels.. perfect fall outfit!
    never thought to add a chunky sweater with a skirt and heels.. perfect fall outfit!
    | Old Navy sweater (old, but this looks similar) | Aeropostale skirt c/o | 
    | Aldo pumps (old, but these are similar) | 

    Like these looks? Pick up InStyle, Elle or Vogue's September issue and see all the newest trends and how you can rock them yourself! 


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    August 29, 2014

    Part of the Family: Flake-Free and Voluminous Hair

    This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed, however, are mine and that of The Caro Diaries. 



    It's no secret that I don't adapt to change very well. And I get it from somewhere - it's from my father. My father is such a creature of habit that he buys the same coffee, the same shaving cream, the same cologne and the same shampoo every single time for as long as I've known him - 20 years. He doesn't change, and it's something I love about him. And there's a reason he doesn't change: it's because it works. I truly believe that if something isn't broken, there's no need to fix it, and I definitely got that from Dad - because after 20+ years of using Head and Shoulders, his hair is still flake free, fantastic and soft as ever, and why change a good thing? 

    Head and Shoulders has been a part of my family for as long as I can remember, so when I found out that Head and Shoulders was also a part of Sofia Vergara's family and responsible for her gorgeous locks, I knew I needed to re-visit my dad's favorite shampoo and try it for myself this time, and needless to say I loved it! I love knowing that my hair is flake-free and I can part it, style it and showcase it whichever way I want. 

    I actually asked a friend of mine, Julia from Beauty by Julia to help me style my hair and make it look voluminous. I guess I always thought of Head and Shoulders as a "dad" shampoo, and not enough as one I could use and actually style my hair regularly. So we created two styles, and she even created a video to go with it so you can recreate the looks and look as fab as I did! 




    You can be #PartOfOurFamily too! H&S has teamed up with Sofia Vergara for the contest of a lifetime - to have the chance to meet the leading lady herself at a Head and Shoulders shoot. How you ask? Follow Head and Shoulders on Twitter, post a photo of your gorgeous, flake-free hair and tag #PartOfOurFamily and @HeadShoulders, and you'll be entered to win!

    Love my hairstyles? Don't forget to swing by Julia's channel and say hey, show some love or follow her on Instagram.. trust me, you'll be jealous! 

    I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

    August 26, 2014

    Pay It Forward, Read It Forward

    This is a sponsored post. All opinions expressed, however, are my own and that of The Caro Diaries. 

    On Saturday morning, I sat (along with all of the other RAs) with my residents and the entire class of 2018 while Wes Moore addressed them and welcomed them to QU. Wes' book, The Other Wes Moore, has been required reading for incoming freshman for the last three years, and having read the book myself, I found it particularly inspiring hearing him speak. The book discusses that he, and this other boy with the same name as him, had drastically different fates, despite growing up in similar neighborhoods and with a lot of similar factors. Wes, the author, was a Rhodes scholar, an officer in the U.S. Army, and many more among that, whereas the other Wes, chose a life of crime, and eventually a life-sentence in jail. 

    Wes spoke a lot about how potential does not equal opportunity, and there are millions in the world with the potential to do something great, but with no means or resources to get there. And this hit home for me because it reminded me a lot of my home and the beautiful island of Trinidad and Tobago. It was a reminder for me that I am so blessed to be able to experience an education of a lifetime in the US, at a top private university, and I get to experience so many things that I know many people back home can only dream of. There's no doubt that people in Trinidad have great potential because I know they do. I had classes with them. I grew up alongside them. 

    There's no doubt that college is expensive. Tuition is expensive, dorming is expensive, and books are certainly so ridiculously expensive - but every year, more and more professors and schools are accepting e-books. I'm not the kind of person who can learn much off of an e-book though, because I like highlighting, making notes in-book and learning as I go, and reading a book off my Kindle just doesn't do it for me. So McGraw-Hill Education's Smartbook, which is the first and only adaptive reading and learning experience designed to change how students read and learn. It continuously adapts to a student's study experience - highlighting content based on what you know and don't know. 

    But one of my favorite things about the SmartBook is what I recently learned about McGraw-Hill's new Read It Forward campaign. With every purchase through their CourseSmart series by October 31, McGraw-Hill Education will donate a textbook to children in need all over the world. You buy a book, they give a book. Because of McGraw-Hill, we have the power to help educate children around the world, we can give them opportunities and the resources to help them reach their potential. 


    McGraw-Hill Education supplied me with my own SmartBook to try it out myself, and I have to say it's super cool. Plus, by sending me the SmartBook, they also gave a textbook to a child in need - so it's even more rewarding to know that while I'm learning and expanding my mind, I'm allowing a child in need to do the same.

    Plus, McGraw-Hill understands how broke college kids can be, and they're offering 15% your purchase with the promo code FORWARD14 from now til October 31. With our help, SmartBook will have an even greater impact on student education than ever before, and there's nothing more rewarding than that. 

    Opportunity shouldn't overrule potential, and McGraw-Hill's Read It Forward is making sure of that. 

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    August 25, 2014

    The Do's and Don'ts of Sorority Recruitment

    First things first, I need to apologize for going MIA the last few weeks. I left NYC sadly and returned to campus for RA training, and starting my first week as an RA. I'm so lucky that I have 38 of the most amazing residents, and I'm obsessed with them already. I feel like a total mom, but it's fine because it comes naturally to me - I've always been the "mom" of my friend group.

    I may have spoken about it before, but I've actually temporarily disaffiliated from my sorority for this semester's formal recruitment. Yep, I'm becoming a recruitment counselor - also called a Rho Chi, Pi Chi and Rho Gamma at different schools, but basically, I disassociate - no letters, no events, no chapter - until bid day, when I get to run home after sending all the PNMs to their home too!

    I'm very excited about it, because I had a RC who changed my sorority recruitment experience. I went in wanting one sorority - not openly, but definitely in the back of my mind - and when I was cut on the second day, I was crushed. I cried to a recruitment counselor saying that I wanted to drop from recruitment, and I am so so so glad she convinced me to finish out the day and re-visit the sororities that asked me back, because that's when I fell in love with my own sorority.

    So I started thinking about things I wish I knew when I went through recruitment.. little tips and tricks to make it easier, and to prevent my tears. So this is a little "I wish I would have known..".

    // DO be open minded: you never know which sorority or what girls may surprise you - trust me, it's more common than you think. 

    // DON'T "suicide rush": don't go in only wanting one sorority, and letting it be known to everyone because it's the easiest way for sororities to drop you. no sorority wants to pref a girl who doesn't want them, so keep your mind open and your mouth shut! 

    // DO ignore rumors and stereotypes: rumors are called rumors for a reason - they're not real 9 times out of 10. don't go into recruitment with the talk that this sorority hazes and that sorority only chooses skinny girls and this sorority is full of the "weird girls", and those are the party girls on campus. ignore it, forget the stereotypes, and find where you fit in - without listening to others' opinions. 

    // DON'T be too upset if you get rejected: sometimes you don't get asked back by a sorority that you really liked, or thought you wanted - don't let that get you down. every sorority has a limited number of spots they can fill, and sometimes you just weren't one of the girls to grab one of those spots. don't let that discourage you - go back to the others, give them a second chance, and you may just fall in love with one of them too! 

    // DO dress appropriately: the only thing that'll make you even more nervous for recruitment is showing up in the wrong attire. pay proper attention to the recommended dress code. you don't want to show up in jeans on pref round, in a dress on bid day and in shorts when you're supposed to be business casual. it's great to stand out, but you may not be remembered in the way you'd like..

    // DON'T compare your "rush" experience to friends at another school: freaking yourself out because your friend who goes to a large state school experienced this or that during her recruitment period, or a friend who goes to a small liberal arts college experienced something completely different. every school does recruitment differently, and you shouldn't let what your friends say impact or scare you at all!

    // DO avoid controversial conversations: a good rule of thumb is to avoid the 5 B's: boys, booze, Barack (politics), beliefs and bucks. no one is going to talk about crazy parties, how drunk you were last week, or that you hate this, that or the other, because you don't know what the girl you're talking to believes, enjoys or even thinks. instead, discuss things about the chapter like their sisterhood, their philanthropy and what it's like to have 100+ sisters you can lean on, and leave a positive imprint on the chapter. 

    // DON'T forget to enjoy yourself: although it can be super stressful, recruitment is still meant to be fun and enjoyable, so relax, have fun and i'll see ya on the other side!

    Good luck with recruitment, ladies!

    Do you agree with these tips? What advice would you give to some PNMs going through formal recruitment? 


    Destination: College - Tips, Advice + Real Life

    Link Up Your College Life Blog Posts!

    Welcome to Destination: College - A Blog Hop! Join Caro from The Caro Diaries, Jessica from Seeking Individuality and Gina from Gina Alyse as we talk about everything college this month! Link up your college posts (past or present) and find different perspectives about college life through this blog hop. Join us every Monday throughout August to see what tips, advice and real life stories bloggers have to share! 

    The linkup will stay up the whole week until the next one goes live the next Monday, so you can link up with us everyday! 

    The Rules:

    1. Follow your hosts below: 
    Caro @ The Caro Diaries | Gina @ Gina Alyse |  Jessica @ Seeking Individuality

    2. Link up your posts about college life! 

    3. Click over to at least two other blogs and leave a comment to share the love and learn more about their college experiences!

    4. Use the hashtag, #CollegeBlogHop to share the linkup below or grab a button below to use on your blog! 

    Click to Tweet: "Join us in #CollegeBlogHop to share tips, advice + real life about college! #CollegeTips goo.gl/RNzBKF"
    Click to Tweet:  "College Bloggers: Link up with #CollegeBlogHop to share everything college w/ @GinaAlyse @thecarodiaries @S_Individuality goo.gl/C938Zl"

    Gina Alyse



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    August 12, 2014

    Dorm Room DIY: Spice Up Your Small Space

    It looks like I'm late to the link-up, but I have a valid reason, I swear.

    Depressingly enough, Sunday was my last day in NYC and I packed up all of my things and headed in a car to Connecticut and back to QU for Res Life training and my Junior year of college.. scaaary! After literally hauling all my things from the car to the elevator, and then dragging them into my room and setting up temporarily, I got a rush of excitement. In a week or so, these halls are gonna be filled with freshman, excited for their first taste of freedom, their first chance to create something of their own, and for the start of four of the best years of their life.. and I got inspired!

    My room is small - but very cozy, and I spent most of Sunday planning in my head how I'm going to rearrange the room. Which way I should put my bed. If I should put my desk against this corner or that one. How am I going to decorate. All of these thoughts literally ran through my head all day, and I started thinking of easy ways to make this dorm room feel like home. I've dealt with some tough roommate experiences in the past, making my room the opposite of home - so I'm excited to turn my new single room into my own little (tiny) apartment.

    So I'm sharing my fave DIY tricks to turn that small space into a comfortable one - and I'm keeping it cheap, because let's be real.. you're a college kid now!

    image via WikiHow


    // STRING ART

    Forget pictures of home hanging on your wall, this craft is one of my favorites because you get to rep not just your state, but your hometown too. Home is literally where the heart is with this cute DIY canvas that's easy to make and adds so much character and a great story to your bedroom..


    // JEWELRY BOARD

    There's no better way to showcase your fashion sense and style than by creating a chic jewelry board. Choosing fabrics that express your personality, and showing off your fave accessories add a unique touch to your room. Plus, how convenient is this one!?


    // PHOTO LETTER

    When you go to college, you're going to want to be surrounded by photos of home, friends, family and loved ones to remind you of them and provide a familiar face in all your new experiences. By buying a wooden letter and some mod podge, you can create a new dorm room accessory that's not only cute, but also personal!


    // CHARGING STATION

    In college, you'll be using your phone, laptop, e-reader and iPods pretty regularly, and need to charge them daily or weekly. This power station transforms your charger cords into a cute little station, and organizes and pretties up the usually cluttered section. It's fairly simple to do and makes a big difference when compared to tangled cords.


    // PHOTO LINES

    Sticking up photos all over your room is highly recommended while you're at school. It's a great way to surround yourself with friends, family and great memories, and to keep you calm when you're so far away from home. Using twine and clothes pins, this transforms your room and empty wall space so much more than a regular photo collage or frames would.


    // MAGNETIC MAKEUP BOARD

    This one is super useful and adds a girly touch to any room by showcasing your own makeup. It also forces you to filter through and only keep what you actually use. It would be great to stick next to your mirror and make your daily makeup routine so much easier!


    // CRAYON ART

    I've seen this one all over Pinterest and I've always loved it, so when I stumbled across this one I absolutely knew I needed to make it! It's so colorful and a quick way to brighten any room, but the inspirational word (or you can use a quote) adds some motivation daily which is always a plus when you're living away from home! Theinstructions sound easy enough.. but knowing me, I'd end up on Pinterest Fail! 
    UPDATE: the original owner of the photo and tutorial's blog is no longer available.


    // FRAMED WEEKLY CALENDAR

    When you're in college, you HAVE to be organized. You have no mom telling you to wake up and go to your 8am class, and no one is there to keep track of the 16 credits you're taking, all those tests and projects, as well as meetings and other extra curricular activities. I love the idea of this weekly calendar in these frames because it's a sort of to-do list, which is always useful when you're away from home.

    Are you inspired for some dorm room DIY? I am! Don't forget to click around and join in on the blog hop below and find other back to school posts, and many more!

    --

    Link Up Your College Life Blog Posts!

    Welcome to Destination: College - A Blog Hop! Join Caro from The Caro Diaries, Jessica from Seeking Individuality and Gina from Gina Alyse as we talk about everything college this month! Link up your college posts (past or present) and find different perspectives about college life through this blog hop. Join us every Monday throughout August to see what tips, advice and real life stories bloggers have to share!

    The linkup will stay up the whole week until the next one goes live the next Monday, so you can link up with us everyday!

    The Rules:

    1. Follow your hosts below:

    2. Link up your posts about college life!

    3. Click over to at least two other blogs and leave a comment to share the love and learn more about their college experiences!

    4. Use the hashtag, #CollegeBlogHop to share the linkup below or grab a button below to use on your blog!

    Click to Tweet: "Join us in #CollegeBlogHop to share tips, advice + real life about college! #CollegeTips goo.gl/RNzBKF"

    Click to Tweet: "College Bloggers: Link up with #CollegeBlogHop to share everything college w/ @GinaAlyse @thecarodiaries @S_Individuality goo.gl/C938Zl"

    Gina Alyse