Friday, October 31, 2014

Back to Class with CampusBookRentals.com

This post was sponsored by CampusBookRentals.com. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

I've partnered with CampusBookRentals.com in the past, but this time around I can share my personal experience (spoiler - super convenient and easy)!

My boyfriend Andrew is finishing up his undergrad degree, so last semester we ordered two of the books he needed from the website. All he had to do was search by title or isbn #, pick a rental period, and order. CampusBookRentals takes care of your shipping and they even provide a return envelope so you literally drop your books in the mail when the semester is over. Andrew ended up getting the wrong book for one of his classes, and CampusBookRentals made it easy to return it for credit.

I would absolutely encourage Andrew to rent again from CampusBookRentals. When I was in college, I hated the buy-back price I'd be offered from the book store on campus, so I tried to resell them on Amazon. If someone wanted to purchase my book, I then had to get all the shipping materials myself and make a trip to the post office. Ever heard the expression time is money? I definitely appreciate the ease of renting!

If you did buy books and are looking to make some money back, CampusBookRentals has another program to help! It's called RentBack.com, and although I haven't used it myself yet, RentBack is new initiative that allows students to rent the textbooks they own - to other students, which is awesome because it makes you 2-4x more money compared to what you'd make through buy-back options!

Some other perks of CampusBookRentals.com:
-save 40-90% off of book store prices
-free shipping both ways
-can highlight in the textbooks
-flexible renting periods
-we donate to Operation Smile with each textbook rented

That last perk is one of the best. I love to support companies that give back, and Operation Smile is a great cause. You should visit their site, but Operation Smile is an international children's medical charity that performs safe, effective cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, and delivers postoperative and ongoing medical therapies to children in low and middle income countries.

I hope you will consider renting books this semester. I'm not lying when I say that I wouldn't go back to the traditional method of buying books. If you have any questions about renting, ask in the comments!

Here's a quick video explaining exactly how it works!



Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hello Again

I'm back to say "hi." I know I'm very inconsistent, but sometimes I like to come back to the blogging world because you all are so inspiring.

The last few months I was able to travel quite a bit - Mexico, Chicago, Maine, Las Vegas, and Colombia. (Yes, the country.) I was also promoted at work. And turned 26. So, life happened and still happens.

What truthfully prompted this return is that I have a couple of sponsored posts coming up, so look for those. Also, my very good friend Colleen is blogging because she just moved to Thailand to be an English teacher! I love her blog so the least I can do is return the favor should she ever get bored and want to read about my life in Michigan; ) Plus I always want to blog, it just falls to the bottom of my to do list.

So allow me to share a quick moment in time from my summer (I had my first lobster roll, appropriately in Maine), and I'll be back soon to share more stories!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Kitty Miracle

So maybe this isn't your typical miracle, but to me this story is as close as it gets.

The story begins one morning last July, when I was headed out my back door for a shopping errand. I was delayed by some adorable kittens in my backyard. I counted at least 5, including the mama. They were probably only 3 months old. I hung out for a while to see if I could get close to any. Not this time, but they'd be back.

Bran, Brave, and Mama one of the first times I saw them.

Throughout the summer I got to know all the cats - turns out there was a mama and 5 kittens. I started feeding them and they would often sleep on our covered porch, all 5 kittens snuggled up on one lawn chair. At first only mama would let us pet her, but by the end of our time together I could even pet the pipsqueak a little. We have an organization in Grand Rapids called Carol's Ferals, who supports the TNR effort (trap, neuter, return). I was able to have all 6 of my friends fixed before going on a 2 week vacation abroad. When we returned I was worried they wouldn't show up again, but after a few days there they were. This was around the time when they were letting me pet them and I was hoping I could find homes for my friends.

From left to right: Brave, Bran, Princess Pipsqueakers, Mu-Mu, and Grey.

September 17th, 2013 was the last time I saw 5 of the 6 cats. They straight up disappeared, and I was upset to say the least. I was so worried about what could have happened to them because they knew they had a steady meal at my house and had consistently been there each day. Brave came back a day later, alone and looking slightly bewildered. We brought him inside the house for a night to protect him and our friends adopted him the next day. I was happy that I had at least saved one.

Brave - my friends Brad and Kate adopted him (taken before his family disappeared).

Flash forward to this morning. I was scrolling through my facebook newsfeed and saw a story from Carol's Ferals about a new cat they have in the shelter named Decklan. I thought, "wow he looks so much like Bran," one of the kittens from last summer. So much so that I had to compare a photo I had taken to the ones posted on Carol's facebook. Turns out, if this isn't Bran then he has an identical twin - check out these photos!

This photo is one I took of Bran last summer after I got him neutered. Btw, I named him Bran as a Game of Thrones reference - I once startled him so much that he fell off of the porch (he was fine).

These photos are of Bran now, AKA Decklan. If you look at all his features, they are the same cat! Wow!


Isn't that a modern day miracle? I was so happy I almost teared up. What are the odds not only that he is alive, but that he ended up at the same shelter that I got him neutered through and I happened to see the post on facebook? Thinking for almost a year that this little guy probably didn't make it and now here he is. I still wonder where the other four are, but if Bran made it then maybe they are out there somewhere, too.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Rent the Runway Review

I've known about Rent the Runway for a while - I can't actually remember how I first learned of it. As Andrew and I prepared for his sister's destination wedding in Florida, I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to rent a dress or two. After all, they weren't selling much in the way of wedding worthy dresses for warmer climates here in Michigan. So I scoured the site over and over looking for the perfect dress. There were many I liked, but some were too expensive, not available in my size, or not quite right for the occasion. I finally settled on two, and this is how it went!

I placed my order for two Shoshanna dresses about three weeks before the wedding weekend (you can order up to four months in advance). I decided to get them shipped right to Florida so I didn't have to worry about transporting them. When you decide on a dress from RTR, you can choose a back up size for free, and also a second dress of equal or lesser value for $32.50. Also, if you purchase the year-long membership for $30, your shipping and insurance charges are waived, and you get a free rental on your birthday, so I signed up for that as well. I had favorited many dresses, but went with the Shoshanna ones after looking through the photos and reviews from other renters, which were super helpful. You can narrow the reviews by similar body type to yours, and it gives you a much more accurate sense of how the dress will fit since most of us don't have the genes of a model. My rental period was for four days, and I actually received my dresses a day early, so they were there when I arrived in Florida.

The first dress I wore for the bridal shower. I had ordered a back up size in this one and ended up going with the larger size. Luckily that worked out because the smaller size was very faded. Hmm. Anyway, I don't normally like pastels, but this looked great with the darker blues. One of the necklaces I brought matched just fine, and I received many compliments!

The dress I wore for the wedding was perfect! I loved it and it was so me. It was actually slightly cooler than normal in Florida in March, so I was a little chilly, but once we danced intensely to "Timber" I was fine; )
I also wore the larger size in this dress. RTR only sends you one backup, but I found the size chart on Shoshanna's site and was freaking out that the one I ordered wasn't going to fit. No one answered the emails I sent, so I got ahold of them on Twitter and they kindly sent me an additional size. Really I could have worn either size in this dress, but the smaller one had some very tiny stains that no one would have noticed but me.
I also think the dress brought me good luck, being so floral and bright, because I caught the bouquet. NBD!


A few other notes about RTR:

  • They send your dresses via UPS on hangers and in a RTR garment bag, which you get to keep. Fun!
  • You can also rent accessories on the site, some as cheaply as $5. You can also buy things that can't be returned like spanx, tights, and insoles.
  • RTR has dresses and accessories from something like 200 different designers
  • At the end of your rental period, you simply pack the dresses in the provided UPS envelope and drop it in a UPS box or schedule a pickup. Easy.
  • If you want to try out RTR and let me refer you, we both get a $20 credit once you rent.
Have you ever tried Rent the Runway? How was your experience?
If you do decide to try it out, I'd love to hear how it goes!

*This review is not affiliated with Rent the Runway. I just wanted to try it and opted to share my experience!


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

PhillyFest!

Geez, I kinda fell off the wagon with blogging there for a minute! I made it to and from Philadelphia successfully and even though it was still cold, it felt so nice to be in 40 degree weather with no snow in sight. (Plus we're going to Florida in two weeks, yesss!)

I'm watching United States of Tara and don't feel like trying to be witty, so here's the trip in pictures. Good night!

We went to a great coffee shop called Menagerie.

Gaby and I in the 1700s.

I thought this was like some psychedelic bell, but I guess it's just foreign.

The Liberty Bell!



Nicole, Doug, Gaby, me, and Andrew!

We ran up 66 steps like Rocky!

Waterworks (like Monopoly!)

Any trips planned for you?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Heading to Philadelphia

Hey friends! Happy Friday. I'm taking a weekend trip to Philadelphia and am looking for recommendations! I've been once before - 10 years ago (I'm feeling super old right now). Anyway - suggestions for a vegetarian/vegan cheese steak? This is my main goal. Also, I'm sooooo looking forward to a high temperature of 49 degrees on Sunday. Do I sound crazy yet? I'm even feeling like 20 degrees is 'warm' these days. Oh, cruel winter, how I hate you.

Throwback from my Philadelphia trip - 10 years ago!! Whoa.

What are your weekend plans? Going anywhere fun or still snowed in?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Vegan a Week #5

I'm not going to share my meals with you because they were repeats and I'm sure I'm already boring you enough with endless salads! But I did indeed have a vegan day this week on Monday, and to prepare, I made vegan cookies on Sunday! I thought I'd share my recipe because these are sooo good (and summery, if you're missing it as much as I am!)

Lemon Poppyseed Vegan Cookies
makes approximately 36 cookies
prep time - 15 minutes
baking time - 10 minutes per batch
Ingredients
Cookies:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy/almond yogurt
  • zest of one lemon
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds (optional)

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Directions
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet. Beat margarine and sugar until creamy. Beat in sour cream, yogurt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix well.
2. Mix in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Fold in poppyseeds. With floured hands, roll into rounded teaspoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Cool completely before glazing.

I'm not kidding about the floured hands - this dough is sticky!

3. For glaze, mix the powdered sugar and enough lemon juice to reach your desired consistency. Place cooled cookies on wax paper to glaze.
4. Enjoy!


Share with your friends, family, and coworkers. They will have no idea they are vegan! So delicious!