The Classic Brunette

Thursday, July 28, 2016

12 Pros and Cons Of Living Off Campus

I'll be living off campus for my second year this upcoming Fall, and I know better than anyone that the decision to make the move from the dorms to a house or apartment away from campus is a big one. There are a lot of factors that go into making this move, the biggest being how your school functions. (ex: if everyone lives in the dorms at your school and moving off campus means living in the middle of nowhere, I think you already know what you're doing) I've been meaning to write this post for a while as I've been asked a few times if moving off campus was the right choice, or how it compares to being in the dorms. So today I'm sharing my 12 pros and cons for moving off campus!


Better, Healthier Food And You Can Cook For Yourself

Okay, so I realize this can be a con if you absolutely hate cooking or all you know how to make is a nice bowl of cereal. (No judgement, that was me until freshman year) However, I think this is definitely a pro considering you can make whatever meals you wish to, and it tends to be cheaper than getting a meal plan at school. You can also knock out that freshman fifteen by creating healthier meals with fruits and veggies instead of gorging on the dozens of cookies and chicken nuggets the dining hall has just sitting around. And you know what's even better? It kind of makes it feel like you're living in an actual home by having a few home cooked meals throughout the week. 

You Can (Possibly) Have Pets

This might not be a possibility everywhere, but many off campus houses and apartments are meant for just regular folk who like to own pets! My landlords are the nicest people, and even though our rental agreement for our house said no pets, we asked if we could get a small dog, and that's how we got Mowgli! P.S. It was Mowgli's 2nd birthday yesterday! Anyway, if you're the type of person who loves having a furry friend around to keep you company you might want to consider that when considering dorming or moving out.

Less Time Spent Moving and More Permanent Decoration

I say less moving time because I'm assuming that if you do move off campus you'll likely stay there for the remainder of your time at school. I feel like this is common, so you really would only have to move into your new place once instead of picking up and moving in and out every year. This also means that you can say goodbye to those ugly (yet very useful) command strips that the dorms urged you to use, and put up some real, lasting decorations. You can make your house or apartment look lived in and more comfortable knowing that you won't be leaving for a while. Need some inspiration? Check out my post on things to pack for college!

More Living Space

More likely than not you're dorm was an itty bitty shoebox that could barely squeeze two twin xl beds and whatever else your school provides. After moving into my house now I wonder how I ever lived in that small of a space! I'm getting to live in a four bedroom home for a little more than half of what I paid to live in my dorm. I'd say that's a huge pro!

No Pesky Dorm Rules

I know I wasn't the only one who was bummed when I learned that candles and christmas lights weren't allowed in on campus housing. Obviously I didn't follow the rules with candles for the most part (don't tell my old RAs!), but it was still annoying to have to hide my contraband items when they would do their random dorm checks. Another thing I wasn't a huge fan of was quiet hours being at odd times during the week. Yes, I knew that there were people studying in the dorms, but sometimes you just can't contain those juicy gossip sessions or loud movie nights and don't want to worry about getting yelled at. You don't really have that issue living off campus, well, unless you have a crazy neighbor!

You Get To Pick Your Own Roommates

Freshman year dorming can be a little risky since most schools pair roommates randomly. I've said it time and time again that I was extremely lucky with my roommate situation, but there are many others who aren't! Some schools have the option to dorm with people you know after freshman year, but from my understanding it isn't that common. By choosing to live off campus you get to pick who you live with, letting you live (hopefully!) peacefully with your friends instead of the crazy girl who sleeps odd hours and steals your stuff! 

Better Health

We all know that the dorms are a huge pool of germs and colds being spread around. Last year my campus was hit was the norovirus, and before that we had mono, strep throat, and bronchitis going around. When you move off campus, you suddenly become a lot less susceptible to those diseases and flus! And even if you do get sick off campus, your campus health center is still open to you!


More Difficult To Be Social

When you live a short walk away from half the school, it's kind of difficult not to be social. There are always people headed out to parties, going to free events on campus, or going to a friend's room to just hang out in the dorms. People are literally everywhere, so you're more likely to spend time with other students. When you're off campus it does make it a little harder since your friends are no longer right outside your door. Depending on how far you are it could be a bit of a longer walk, but it could also be a fifteen minute drive like it is for me!

Lack Of Convenience

Similar to the lack of social activities that happen outside of campus, there's a lack of convenience for a few other things as well. When living in the dorms you are most likely a short walk from main campus, which is most likely not the case if you've moved out. You also give up the convenience of using your meal plan at the dining hall, but this could also be a good thing! (See Pros) Overall things that were once very close or easy to access will be farther from your home. 

More Maintenance

When you live in the dorms, practically everything is taken care of for you. If the internet goes out, someone is already working on fixing it. If your toilet is impossibly plugged, you can call campus maintenance and they'll deal with it for you. When you're living off campus, you have to deal with everything yourself (or at least get in touch with your landlord). The house/apartment is your home, and you have to deal with the cleaning, the plumbing, the internet, etc. If something goes wrong, no one is automatically working on it for you. 


Transportation Needed

Where I go to school, it's basically a given that you will be bringing a car by sophomore year. If not, you're kind of stuck on campus. So I'm putting this in the neutral category because for some people, they already have some mode of transportation they use to move around town, but for others this means figuring out how you will be getting to and from school everyday. Many schools are in neighborhoods that have some form of public transportation, however the quality of it can differ drastically depending on the area. 

Bills and Finances

Again, depending on where you are, you could be paying more or less by living off campus. In many cases you're going to be spending less, but you'll also be paying your own bills. Keeping track of the bills is a little bit of an inconvenience, but if it's keeping you from spending extra money, it's worth it.

So as you can tell I'm a little biased about living off campus, but that's because I've had such a positive experience with it! What are your thoughts on dorm vs. off campus housing?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Purple Floral Dress + Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

I'm officially joining the rest of the fashion blogging world and talking about the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. I'm already a basic blogger, so it's about time! ;) I shopped the sale a few days ago when it went open to the public and only got this dress since so much was sold out already! 

Although this dress is a little on the short side, it honestly doesn't feel that way when wearing it. I also have longer legs for my height (5'3''), so that makes things look a little shorter on me as well. My best friend also tried it on and she's 5'8'' and it was a good length on her, so taller girls it can still work for you too.

This dress stood out to me on the rack because this purple/lavender color is to die for! It's so light and girly, and perfect for both summer and fall. I'm probably buying too many things with bell sleeves on them, but they are just too cute to pass up. 

Also a side note, after looking at these photos I think it's clear that I need some sort of self tanner to make me not look like I'm part ghost, haha! Anyone else in the extremely pale club like me? I didn't notice how pale my legs were until going through these pictures! I've never been able to tan, and I'm definitely jealous of those of you that can!

I've rounded up a few of my favorite things from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale, so maybe we can twin with this dress! Also, the lace up flats I'm wearing aren't from the sale, but this pair looks exactly the same!

Have you bought anything from the sale?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Chicago Recap

If you follow me on any social media, you'll know that I spent the last 3-ish days in Chicago! Well, I actually really only spent one day in the city, the rest of the time I was either traveling or confined to the hotel due to tiredness! One day was definitely not enough in this city, so I hope to be back soon. This post was supposed to go up yesterday, but for some reason all my pictures were coming out extremely blurry and I still can't figure out I got them to the best quality I could to show you all. Here's a short recap of what I did while I was in Chicago!

I've been to the Chicago airport a few times, and my favorite part is definitely this beautiful rainbow hallway! Last time I was there I was running through it to catch my plane to Rome and didn't get to experience it like I wanted to, but this time I got to stroll through. It's just so pretty!

It's one of my dad's goals to visit every baseball stadium, so we had bought tickets to a Cubs/Mets game while we were there. We didn't stay the whole time, but it was so fun to see another ballpark (the second oldest in the nation at 102 years old!) and how excited all the fans were to watch the Cubbies win! Let me say though, the seats in this stadium are very oddly numbered (My dad and I had seats next to each other and the numbers were 12 and 110...) and the seats are ridiculously close together. I was practically sitting on the kid next to me and I couldn't deal with that along with the heat and humidity.

My number one goal while in the city was to find 'The Bean' or as it's actually named, Cloudgate. Along the way we found the Chicago Theatre sign and some great city views. By the time we got to the bean though I was so hot and gross that I was done for the day. Y'all Chicago is so humid and nobody warned me! I feel like that's a well-known fact about anywhere but the west coast, but still, I was not at all used to this type of weather. We didn't get to go to the John Hancock Tower like I wanted, but honestly we were so tired and felt like we were melting so we called it a day.

I definitely want to go back to Chicago and do some more exploring, I wish I had more time there! Maybe I'll go when it's not so humid! 

Have you ever visited Chicago?

Monday, July 18, 2016

10 Airport + Travel Tips To Help Save Time And Money

When I was younger I was the kid who was constantly asking my parents about when our next vacation would be, where we would be headed off to, and research all the amazing things we could do when we got there. Even if we were just taking a two hour trip to my grandpa's house I would still plan out when I could make time to visit the horses that were down the road from his house. As I've gotten older and traveled more, (find all my travel posts HERE) I've had a lot more experience planning my own trips. There's so much that goes into making travel plans, but there are also so many tricks that can help to make everything easier, and more importantly, cheaper! And with me leaving for Chicago tomorrow morning, I thought it was perfect timing to share the tips that I've learned.

1. Book Flights on Tuesdays at 3pm

After lengthy research into how to find the cheapest airline tickets, I've found that booking on Tuesdays at around 3pm always seems to give me the best and least expensive options. It's a day that doesn't see much travel traffic, and if you're booking far enough in advance, you should be getting a great deal! Also if you have Google Chrome you should be looking up tickets on an incognito window, otherwise prices might go up with each search!

2. Don't Be Afraid of Long Layovers or Odd Flight Times

On my trip to Ireland, my friends and I booked a red eye flight with a 10 hour layover in Washington D.C. We did this on purpose, knowing that we would end up at our final destination early in the afternoon, but also knowing that we probably wouldn't get much sleep. If this is something you can handle or have time to take a nap when you arrive, I recommend leaving on those red eyes! During your long layover you can go out and explore the city you're in to make the most of your downtime. While in D.C. we had a great time wandering in and out of museums and monuments, and it was almost like a mini vacation within our larger trip! Plus, most people tend to avoid these odd hour flights or long stops, making than cheaper. But speaking of layovers...

3. Don't Be Fooled by Short Layovers

If you aren't up for a super long layover, I would still recommend having at least an hour between flights. I once made the mistake of choosing a 40 minute layover in Chicago when traveling to Rome, and everything that could go wrong did, which made me almost miss my plane. My first flight was delayed by 25 minutes, then when we finally got to Chicago my next flight was leaving from all the way across the airport. Do you all know how big Chicago O'Hare is? It's huge! So imagine me running at top speed, nearly knocking down people with my carryon bag trying to make that flight. It was one of the scariest moments of my life (I hate being late, but missing a flight is one of my nightmares!) It wasn't an experience I want to repeat again, so here's my warning to you all not to follow in my footsteps!

4. Always Get to the Airport 2 Hours Early

There are a few exceptions to this rule, the main one being that if you're flying out of a small airport you won't need this much time. But for major airports, my rule of thumb is to arrive two hours before my departure time. I do this because it gives a generous amount of time if something were to go wrong or you forgot something, etc. Two hours is long enough so that if the security line runs long, or you want to stop for something to eat, or even if you just need extra time to charge your phone or laptop before heading on the plane (curse those planes without outlets!) you'll have plenty of time to do it. And if something does happen to go wrong, you won't be worried that you don't have enough time to resolve the problem.

5. Prepare for Security Ahead of Time

There's nothing that I hate more than the person who is going at a sloth's pace through security, especially if I have a plane to catch. I always come prepared and want to pass through security as quickly as possible. When packing my carryon I make sure all the items security wants separated are at the top. This normally includes any liquids I have and my laptop. I also try to take off my shoes and jacket right before it's my turn to put my stuff down. For the most part, I tend to avoid wearing shoes that take too long to put on or take off, as they will slow me down. This is a simple tip, but if everyone was just a little more prepared for security, the lines would probably move twice as fast.

6. If Going Somewhere Foreign, Learn Some of the Language

 It's always good when traveling to have a couple key phrases in the native language written down or memorized. My go to phrases include how to order food, how to buy something, asking where the bathroom is, and asking where a place is located. You can write these down, although I definitely recommend trying to memorize them to the best of your ability. I've learned that if you try to speak the language you'll get better treatment from the locals than by just speaking english. Along with being treated with more respect (and treating the locals with more respect!) they might just give you cheaper prices if you're buying something. Obviously this won't happen at regular stores or restaurants, but if you're at a flea market or buying something off the street, you might just be able to haggle the price down more if you're doing it in their language.

7. Make Copies of All Important Documents

It's always a good idea to be better safe than sorry when traveling, especially abroad. You never know if you might lose a piece of luggage, or someone might steal your wallet, either way it's best to have a copy of a few key things. When traveling abroad especially I always carry a few copies of my driver's license and passport. I keep one copy in my carry on and another in separate pocket in my luggage. Hopefully you won't need to pull these out, but again, always better to be prepared!

8. Know the Local Transportation 

I always do a little research on how to get around wherever I'm staying and attempt to find the cheapest way to get around. For a simple example if I were traveling to New York I wouldn't just assume that I'll be taking a taxi everywhere, but I would look into the subway system or even walking! I would plan out an itinerary of all the things I want to see and then make a little map of the best route I can take and how to get to and from each place.

9. Make Sure You Have Snacks + Water on Road Trips

I regularly do the 7 hour drive from my school in Southern California to San Francisco, so I know quite a bit about long road trips. I always have an extra case of water in my car just in case something overheats, I'm dying of thirst, or I get stuck somewhere on the road without a store nearby. Luckily I haven't been stuck out in the middle of nowhere before, but I always come prepared (are you sensing an overall theme here?) just in case. A great list of things to keep in your car during a road trip include water, snacks, a blanket, and all emergency numbers!

10. Always Tell Your Bank When You're Traveling

You're so excited to go to that exotic location with those gorgeous beaches and fancy restaurants that serve the best food, and when you go to pay for your food or items the cashier tells you that your credit card is locked. This is something that happens way too often to those traveling, and letting your credit card company and/or bank know when you'll be going on an extended vacation will help resolve any issues before they even show up. You don't want to be put in that awkward situation where you end up on hold with your credit card company for what seems like hours because they aren't sure if someone stole your card or not. And while on the subject, always bring some cash just in case. ;)

What's your #1 travel tip?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Estee Edit Makeup Review

Happy Thursday! As you might have seen on my Instagram I was recently given the opportunity to try a few products from The Estee Edit by Estee Lauder. I may not be the biggest beauty junkie, but I still love trying out new products! I'm so happy that as a blogger I get to try these products out not just for me, but for all of you as well. 

The worst thing is when you're so excited to try a new lipstick, mascara, foundation or what have you, and you're completely disappointed when the product doesn't work right, the color is off, or it just looks plain awful. I hate that, and I don't want y'all to go through that, so hopefully when I'm doing these reviews I can help you figure out what works and what doesn't. Every time I go out to buy a new beauty product (especially the expensive ones!) I do a little research on whether or not it's worth the purchase, and before I had a blog, beauty blogs were where I went searching, and I want to be a source for you all like others were for me. Anyway, let's get on to the review!

There are two parts to this product: the golden-brown highlighter and a "universally flattering" lotion that really does give you the overall glow it says it will. I've used this the past few days as my face makeup. On the instructions it says you can use it either by itself or along with your makeup, so of course I tried both! With my makeup I mixed it in and it just gave me a subtle glow look, and I just used the highlighter as usual. It looked pretty good, but I actually really liked how I looked when I just used the lotion and highlighter on their own. When using the hydrate + glow by itself you get a glowing complexion. I felt like my skin looked so fresh and dewy, it was awesome! I think using this is also a great way to make it look like you're more experienced with makeup. With this it made me look like I had gone somewhere and had someone do my face makeup for me! Hands down this is my favorite product from The Estee Edit.

Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan of this color on me. I received the darkest shade of this lipstick, so it wasn't what I was expecting when I was told I would be getting a "nude color." It looks great if I'm trying to go for a darker look, although that isn't really my style. If you're the type of person who loves wearing darker shades though, or want to try out a darker lip color for the Fall months I would recommend it. It's very creamy and hydrating, so my lips felt moisturized when I had it on. It does take a few swipes to get the full pigment from it though!

So I was graciously gifted with great genes (so much alliteration!) with very small pores. So, using this on my face honestly didn't do much! It did make my skin incredibly soft though, so soft that I kept touching my face more during the day than I probably should. I tried it out on the back of my hand, where my pores are slightly larger, and it did noticeably shrink them! So if you do have larger pores, I think this could definitely help. It also acts as a way to make your skin look more matte, so where I normally have a slightly shiny forehead, I had no shine using this. 

I wasn't exactly sure what this was when I got it because I thought the hydrate + glow was supposed to be the highlighter, but this was actually the highlighter! This one also says that you can use it alone or with your regular makeup, but I decided it was a little too gold for my skin tone to use by itself. I used it as a normal highlighter, and I'm positive that I didn't use enough of it on my face as I was in a rush to do my makeup the day I tried it. So it provided a little highlight, but not as much as I wanted. I did see that some people who also got this to try received this in a white color instead of gold, I think that would have been a lot better for me! Either way, I'll be trying this out again soon to get a stronger pigment 

I was really surprised at how much I loved these products (minus the lipstick), but I actually think I'm going to use that hydrate + glow lotion a lot, especially for the rest of the summer! All the products are noticeably of great quality, and if you're looking to try some new makeup, this would be a great place to start. 

Have you tried any of The Estee Edit's products? 

Product was provided by The Estee Edit and Influenster for review purposes, but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make The Classic Brunette possible!
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