how-to

How to Make Your Own Infused Waters

Healthy Waterimage source 

It’s no surprise that my Pinterest feed these past few weeks have consisted of colorful bikinis, floral prints, pastel colors, and spring décor. But my favorite trend of the season? Infused water.

For the longest time I couldn’t bring myself to drink water, it was just so bland compared to my favorite fizzy soda pop flavors. However, last semester a friend of mine introduced me to infused water, and I was instantly hooked. Infused water helps make staying hydrated fun, offers a dose of essential vitamins, gently cleanses your body and works as a natural skin care. But, the best part about it all? It’s such a quick and easy process, it takes just under 5 minutes to prepare!

Making your own infused water is quick and simple! Here’s how to make your own infused water:

Step 1: Fill a pitcher with water,

Step 2: add thinly sliced fruits, herbs or spices and ice

Step 3: chill in the refrigerator.

For stronger flavored water, prepare it a day ahead and keep it in the fridge overnight before drinking, The fruit should stay fresh as long as you keep your water refrigerated, and should be consumed in 3-5 days. That’s it! No fancy gadgets or confusing recipe cards, it’s simple as 1,2,3.

Here are a some infused water recipes that make will make your taste buds sing…

 - Raspberry +  lemon  +  mint

 - Strawberry  +  Kiwi

- Lemon  +  cucumber  +  mint

 - Blackberry  +  cherry  +  lime

 - Orange  +  lemon  +  lime

 - Strawberry + Lime + Mint

We’re always on the hunt for new flavor combinations, so snap a photo of your beautiful beverage on Instagram or tweet us your favorite recipe on twitter by using #tastebuddanceparty

 

Cheers!

Fruit Infused Waterimage source

How to Negotiate a Salary

Money, can’t live with it, can’t live without it. Salaries shouldn’t be important when it comes to accepting a job offer you really want, but unfortunately, we need money (and lots of it these days) to get by. Between rent, buying a new professional wardrobe for said job, phone bills, food, and other expenses, your paycheck will go down the drain fast. An important skill to have when entering the job market is knowing how to negotiate your salary, so both you and your boss are satisfied and you don’t end up living in your cubicle.

The first step is self-evaluation. This part is tricky because you have to get a sense of what you are worth—and no, this doesn’t include all the chores you did around the house as a kid or what a good person you are. You need to think of your skill set and what you can bring to the company you’re working for. This is more than just considering if you can do the job—you got the job, so hopefully you can. It’s about progress in your field, striving to do better, making recommendations and if you’re willing to go beyond the work requirements. Professionals recommend that you keep track of your progression, making a file of your best work and any recognition you receive. If you really have no idea how to begin to consider what you are worth, there are even websites like PayScale and Vault that will determine a reasonable salary for you based on the company, your location, and other factors. You should also talk to colleagues and people in similar job positions elsewhere to get an idea what an average salary for your work looks like. Ultimately, doing your job, doing it well and going beyond what you have to do will give you more leeway in your negotiation.

Another important aspect to keep in mind is to not walk into the job offer with big money signs going off in your head. Consider yourself lucky to have a job in this economy, and don’t expect a certain salary just because you used to make it with your own company or it’s the amount you want to make. Don’t suggest a salary to your employer before they even lay an offer on the table. Your new employers don’t even need to know what you used to make, though sometimes they’ll ask for a range. Since salaries can be a touchy subject, try to keep this conversation for the post job offer period. When they propose a salary to you, think of all the research you did ahead of time. Consider your worth, what others are making and compare the marks. If it’s close to what you expected, congrats! You got a job and you don’t have to sweat through some awkwardness of negotiating. If it’s too low, it’s time to get polite and reasonable.

Discuss with your employer the work you did before the job offer. Convince them of your worth and why you are worthy of such an amount. It will also help to tie in your knowledge of what other people are making in a similar job position. A lot of people are afraid to negotiate because they think they’ll come off as rude or too aggressive. It might feel awkward at first, but being assertive isn’t necessarily bad as long as you speak to your employer politely and don’t get too demanding. Negotiating will not lose the job—unless you’re completely unrealistic or rude to an extreme. Keep in mind, not all companies will be able to up your pay simply because they don’t have the means. In this case, ask your boss about the potential for raise evaluations when possible or the opportunity for bonuses. Don’t automatically assume you can’t take the position because there isn’t enough money in it for you—unless there is absolutely no way you can live off of the offered salary.

The best thing you can do in approaching your boss to discuss a salary is to be honest with yourself and with them. If you know you deserve more than you’re making, don’t be afraid to speak up and show off all the hard work you have done for the company or what you are capable of doing. Be realistic about what you think you should be making and what the company can afford to pay you. Further, even if your salary itself can’t be made, ask about bonuses or later raises with evaluations that can boost you to the amount of dough you always wanted and more.

Good luck and may the best negotiator…have lots of money!

-ToonyToon

3 Ways to Go from “Good” to “Great” Papers

Ask any one of my friends.  When I have to write a paper, I want to literally shoot myself in the face & end it all.  I’m dramatic and whiny but I always get it done, correctly and on time.  I can’t make the process any more enjoyable but hopefully these tips can take your paper to the next level.3 Ways to Go From "Good" to "Great" Papers

#1 Don’t worry about filling up pages.  This is the number one way to get a C or lower on a paper.  It leads to rambling repeated ideas rephrased and a lack of coherent structure.

#2 A great way to avoid #1, determine the scope of your paper.   Scope means the size of the question you want to answer.

I’ll give you an example of a prompt I received in an ethics and public policy paper.

“Which is more important: maximizing happiness or minimizing rights violations?”  The reading for the paper was 200 pages and the scope of the original question is HUGE.  A doctoral thesis could be written on that question alone and I only have 3-5 pages to work with.  So I change the question.  Instead of addressing everything, I answer ‘maximizing happiness is more important that minimizing rights violation when conditions A, B and C exist.  Boom, thesis and scope knocked out in one fell swoop.

Which naturally leads to step…

#3 unpack your ideas.  Focus on two or three points for a paper of 3-5 pages and then thoroughly argue them.  How do you achieve this?  Think of every objection you can think of to the point you are trying to make and address those weaknesses and objections.  Addressing counterarguements makes your thesis stronger, not weaker and it builds up to that page limit constructively while leaving the writer with only a few points to address well. That is, in a nutshell, what unpacking is.

One last word of advice, it is such a rookie mistake we have all been guilty of at one point or another, and it will bite you in the butt every time.  The thesaurus is not a data mine for you to intellectualize your paper with more eloquence. The thesaurus is to tease out nuances for an idea you are trying to express (ex. I don’t just want to beat my opponent, I want to hammer him).  Use with caution!

Good luck, I hope this helps!  Questions are welcome in the comments section.

 

Wonderbread

I’m reading Biology: Concepts and Connections

Never Pull an All-Nighter Again (unless you want to)

The All-Nighter:  a panic and caffeine-fueled attempt to cobble together an acceptable academic document such as an essay, lab report, or problem set.  Usually directly followed by The Mad Dash to wherever said document is due.

If you are entering freshman year or are a chronic procrastinator, this post is for you.  You cannot write a quality paper in one night.  It’s just not going to happen. If you were here in person I would grab your face and squeeze your cheeks together like that aunt you avoid at family gatherings, look deeply into your wonderfully naive eyes and tell you not to sell yourself short like that.  OK?  They sound romantic and so…college, I hear you.  But it’s like trying to lose ten pounds in a day.  You’re not going to reach your goal and you’ll feel like crap the next day.  Shaky anxiety from too much caffeine and falling behind on everything else in life does not have to be part of your college experience, nor do you have to spend all your time in the library.  Here’s how:

If you have time to get schoolwork done during the day, use it.  Nighttime is full of distractions.  All your friends are out of class, meal times run long, better TV shows are on.  You get the point, the list is endless.

When it comes to writing a paper, give yourself ten hours for a 3-5 pager, double that for a 10-pager, and so on.  If you use a calendar like Google or Ical (which I highly recommend), use those time guidelines as a rule of thumb and give yourself a day as a cushion.  Any more than that is unrealistic if you’re a procrastinator.

One thing I try to avoid is scheduling huge blocks of time devoted to writing.  It sets you up for dread and procrastination.  Everyone operates differently, though.  Pay attention to how you are most productive and use that to your advantage on your next big project.  Also key is working out the finer points of your paper while doing mundane tasks.  Whether that’s making your drive/walk to class every morning, or cleaning your Superhero figurine collection (I’m not judging, I swear).  Keeping your paper on the backburner of your brain will keep you from pulling an all-nighter.

One last thing, and I realize this is oddly specific and personal but it took me a while to figure out and might help you, too.  I find that sometimes a cup of calming tea is better than coffee or energy drinks to write.  It gets you out of “HOLY SHIT I HAVE TO GET SOMETHING ON PAPER OR I’M GOING TO FAIL” mode to an “okay, let’s take this one step at a time” mindset.

Still having problems writing that “A” paper?  Coming soon…. How To Write a Paper So Wickedly Fantastic Your Professor Will Try to Pass it Off As His Own Kids’.  The length of that title was completely necessary, thanks for asking.

 

Wonderbread

I’m reading Anatomy and Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function