Guest Post: Drinking on a Dime in NYC

WordPress just informed me that my last post was my 21st post (yay!) and to ring in my 21st post, I decided that my next post should be about one of the pluses of being 21: legal drinking. Now, I’m no lush, but I have to be honest, I love a good margarita (It’s all about the salt baby) and a great glass of dry red wine. Unfortunately, the price of a drink in New York is about the same as my college tuition. Luckily, my fellow blogger Kylie has some great tips on how to stretch your drinking dollars. Here are some of her suggestions!
Times are hard but that doesn’t have to stop every college student breaking the bank when it comes to going out and drinking, despite living in one of the priciest cities in the nation. Here are some ways to enjoy going out (or staying in) without there being plastic liquor bottles involved (queue reactionary gag)

1. Pick your liquor carefully: The $10 bottle of Tequila may be tempting, but save yourself the hangover. Good, cheap booze does exist.

Unless you want to party with these guys, I suggest buying liquor that you won't be embarassed to take out of the brown paper bag

Gin: Gordon’s London Dry Gin $15, 80 proof
Great for mixing cocktails and with tonic water.

Vodka: Pinnacle  $12.99, 70 proof
They have every flavor from Apple to Le Double Expresso but, my favorites are the Whipped and Cotton Candy. The sweetness masks the alcohol incredibly.

Rum: Bacardi, $16.99, 70 proof
Mix with punch, coke, or pretty much any beverage and your cost per drink is so low, you’re practically stealing.

The earlier you get there, the better the deals

2. Happy Hour: It’s your best friend

Session House, Barcelona Bar (after seeing they have Harry Potter shots I am totally trying it), G-50 Bar and Grill, O’Neill’s Irish Bar all have drink specials and are minutes away from Lincoln Center and/or Grand Central Station.

3. Coupon It

Travelzoo’s Local Deals is one of my favorite and right now they’re offering this deal for six cocktails at the Dream Hotel for $39. Assuming you’ll split that between a friend, that’s 20 bucks for 3 specialty cocktails which would normally cost $45. Or take all the drinks for yourself and have a dreamy night. Groupon also occasionally has specials on wine and liquors.

4. BYOB

Pick restaurants that are BYOB, just make sure to find out before arriving if they have a corking fee.

5. Watch your intake: Just because you’ve saved a ton of cash on liquor doesn’t give you the excuse to get absolutely blitzkrieged drunk. Also, keep the embarrassing pictures to a minimum. Your Facebook with thank you in the morning.

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Dorm Room Decorating

Whoever lives here has great taste

Use bright colors to cheer up a gloomy room

My workspace

Decorating a dorm room is tricky. You can’t paint the walls, everyone has the same bland furniture, lack of space, and a small budget are interior design nightmares. Everyday I dream of the time when I can get my own apartment and decorate to my heart’s delight. Unfortunately, that may be a while and so in the mean time I’m making due by getting a bit creative. Having a beautiful dorm room is doable, and having a beautiful dorm room that cost you next to nothing to decorate is even more attainable. Here are a few ideas from my own humble abode to snazz up your space:

Treasure Hunt in your own Home! Before you go out and grab some knickknacks or a trendy comforter, search your basement, linen closet and attic for decorations. While I was snooping I found an amazing antique comforter that was perfect for my color scheme right in my own linen closet. I also brought an old desk lamp that I found in the basement, and repurposed an old flower vase as a pencil holder.

Found it in my closet!

I rescued this baby from my basement. Also, a big thanks to my friend Joanna for the gorgeous flowers!

Swapped out the flowers for pens

 

Incorporate throw pillows! Pillows are a great way to add some color to your room. Look for cheap throw pillows at places like Homegoods, or if you have a sewing machine like me, you can make your own!

DIY pillows

Follow design blogs! I was inspired by a blog post about clothespins (I wish I remembered the blog’s name because I would obviously give them credit for such a genius idea) when I came up with this postcard and quote tags idea. Sites like Apartment Therapy, Made By Girl, A Punch of Color, and Delight by Design are great sources for designspiration.

Inspired by a blog post

Found this old stamp at a book store for 25 cents

Stationary stores have amazing post cards

Hit flea markets, garage sales and street vendors! Many of my knickknacks were found while rifling through a box filled with junk. But like they say one man’s junk is another girl’s desk accessory.

TR is actually an old Avon cologne bottle. His head is the cap! haha

I found this box at an antique store in Lancaster, PA. Because the wood is cracked I only paid $2

Now I use it as a jewelry box!

Have any other decorating ideas? How did you decorate your dorm room? Please share I’d love to hear!

Mid-Term Munchies

My apologies for not posting for a week (or two). I have been in the throes of mid-terms and unfortunately the blog took a backseat when it came to studying. But now I’m back and raring to write a bunch of posts I wanted to do this past week, but didn’t have time for.

The Most Interesting Man in the World studies through osmosis...unfortunately, I am not The Most Interesting Man in the World

So let me tell you about my week. About 80% of my time was spent at Club Lib and the rest of it was spent sleeping or eating everything frozen, fried or delivered. Once mid-terms and finals hit my eating habits take a nasty turn for the worse and I become Countess of Carbtown. This is a problem not only because A. it’s unhealthy, but B. My body is not a big fan of gluten. I know this may seem shocking as all of my food posts have been gluten heaven, but hey a girl has to indulge sometimes. My diet is usually as gluten-free as a college student’s diet can be  as I find that I have much more energy when I don’t eat wheat and processed foods.

Ronald McDonald and I are BFFLS during mid-term week

I don’t know about you, but after a few days of pizza, low mein and $3 subs (suck it Subway), my body screams for fresh fruits and vegetables. So that’s why the other night I packed up my things, bid adieu to my designated study desk and said hello to my neglected kitchen. I had recently gone to the Arthur Avenue Market and picked up some fresh peppers, onions, a carrot and kale. My pantry was in rough shape consisting of tuna fish cans, olive oil, cocoa powder (for smoothies) and quinoa. What is a girl to do? Make quinoa-stuffed peppers!

Here is what you’ll need:

-one large bell pepper, de-seeded and decap(itat)ed

-about 1/4-1/3 cup of quinoa, cooked

-Chopped vegetables (I used kale, carrots and onions but you can use anything left in your fridge)

-Spices for seasoning (I used salt, pepper, chicken buillon, and paprika)

-shredded parmesan or cheddar cheese (optional)

Fresh ingredients > fast food

Directions:

-Preheat over to 375 degrees

-Cut off top of bell pepper, de-seed

-Cook quinoa as directed on packaging

-Dice vegetables and saute in oil or butter until tender

-Combine quinoa with veggies

-Stuff quinoa mixture into bell pepper

-Place pepper standing up on well-oiled baking sheet and leave in over for about twenty minutes or until the skin starts to blister

-Top with shredded cheese

ENJOY!

Not only is this meal healthier, but it is much less expensive than ordering out! My total for this meal? Less than $2.00!

Have and Have (Nots)

My Dad's Car on Freshman Move-In day

So this post should have been written before school started, but hopefully you can still find it useful. I remember before my freshman year of college, I was bombarded by catalogs, credit card offers (this was when you still could get one at 18), blog posts, and my own university’s recommendations on what I need for college.  For the most part I got everything that was suggested and I thought I was good to go. How wrong I was. I found myself lugging home a ton of unnecessary knickknacks and clothing on breaks. I also got a rude awakening on things I should have packed. So here is my list on the must-haves and have-nots of college living.

Must-Haves:

-Bank Account at the college or local bank: Unless your regional bank reimburses you for ATM fees (are there still any out there?), open an account with the bank that provides the on-campus ATMs or another local bank. Additionally, if you have a job or receive a check, it is much easier to deposit it when you have an account with a local bank.

-Checkbook: Never written a check before? Well you better learn how. Although checkbooks seem outdated, they still come in handy when you need to make your housing deposit or pay bills.

-Insurance card: Make sure your parents give you a copy before you leave.

-Formal Business and Business Casual attire: Don’t wait until senior year to begin your business wardrobe. Whether you are a freshman or a grad student, it is always smart to have at least one formal business and one business casual outfit in your closet at all times. This means: one suit or a dress with a blazer, khakis and a nice blouse (or the equivalent), and a professional pair of heels or flats. You never know when an internship or employment opportunity may arise, and you don’t want to be stuck with jeans and a sweater for the interview.

-Business cards: When someone asks for your information, sending it to them via text message is efficient but not professional. Invest in some business cards to hand out while networking. It doesn’t have to be super fancy, just your name contact info, university and perhaps major. You can usually order a few hundred online for less than ten dollars.

-Cooking Skills: If you are entering college or in college, now is the time to learn how to cook. There is nothing worse than eating ramen noodles for the fifth night in a row. Ask your parents or consult food blogs or even YouTube to get some great tips and meal ideas. Cooking for yourself is not only fun, but healthier and less expensive than eating out. Here are a few of my favorite food blogs: Brokeass Gourmet (how fitting), Smitten Kitchen, Green LiteBites, Noble Pig, and for my vegetarian/vegan friends Chocolate Covered Katie and SpaBettie.

-Sewing Kit: I absolutely guarantee you will need this at least once during college, and it is definitely something I overlooked while packing.

Must Have (Nots):

-Pets: Sure that puppy/kitten/gerbil was absolutely adorable when you first bought it, but having a pet in college is a bad idea. Not only do you have to spend money on vaccinations, food, pet visits and toys, pets can also take up an enormous amount of time and energy, two things most college students lack. Who wants to house-break a puppy when you have a final to study for? Or who wants to argue over whose turn is it to clean the kitty litter box? I don’t and I don’t think you do either. If you are in desperate need of an animal companion, consider a fish or volunteer at the local animal shelter once a week.

-Car: Okay, I’m going to be honest here, I wish I had a car at school. It would be easier for groceries and trips home, but cars can be a big financial burden on college students. Living in NYC, it is completely unnecessary for me to have a car when I have a ton of affordable transportation options off campus. However, if you absolutely do need a car in college consider carpooling to grocery stores, class, or back home that way you don’t have to pay for all the gas. Also, never let anyone borrow your car. That is just setting yourself up for disaster.

-Printer: Yes, having a printer in your room is convenient, but having to blow $30+ on cartridges each month isn’t. At-home printers also have a wonderful way of not working when you need them to. Do some research and see if your school offers free printing or has multiple printing stations across campus. If schools do charge it is usually only between 5 and 10 cents per page.

-Credit Cards: This is a point of contention amongst college students and parents. I personally do not have a credit card and have never had the need for one.  I disagree with having an “emergency” card especially if you know you like to shop. If you and your parents decide to go ahead and get you one, do not use it without your parents’ knowledge or if you don’t have room in your budget to do so. Also, NEVER EVER EVER bring it out when going out to dinner or out to the bars. Bring enough cash to cover yourself and perhaps a bit more for a taxi, but leave the plastic at home. You wouldn’t be too happy waking up to a $300 credit card bill from TJ Shenanigans because you were in a generous mood and decided to buy the bar a round of shots.

-Decorations/Knickknacks: Having a great looking dorm room is a must. However, your dorm room shouldn’t resemble an audition video for Hoarders: Buried Alive. Bring a few pictures, and a knick-knack or two but keep in mind how little of a space you will be living in. Apartment Therapy has some great ideas for dorm room decorating.