summer

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

It’s finally summer 16′. Along with warmer weather, longer days, and summer getaways comes some great new music that is sure to pump up your summer. Trying to put together the ultimate summer playlist? Look no further. These 5 new albums are perfect for summer!

1. Skin by Flume

Electronic music producer and DJ, Flume, has been climbing upwards in the music world and his new album has really solidified his talent. Skin features an array of top musicians such as Tove Lo, Vince Staples, and Beck. Flume’s signature sound is woven together in this album along with pretty melodies and catchy beats which make it perfect for summer parties and get togethers.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

2. A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead

Perhaps more for those rainy summer days, Radiohead’s 9th studio album,  A Moon Shaped Pool stands out as an album that marks this summer. It’s melancholic sound is similar to the band’s other albums, but A Moon Shaped Pool presents itself with a unique and tasteful style.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

3. Ash & Ice by The Kills

You’ve probably heard ‘Doing it to Death’ a few times this year. Punk band The Kills released their new album Ash & Ice just in time for summer. It’s sound is reminiscent of 70’s punk with a modern twist and lead singer, Alison Mosshart’s voice really gives the album a prominent sound. The upbeat feel also is perfect for any summer road trip playlist.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

4. Day of the Dead byVarious Artists

Bummed out about missing the Grateful Dead’s final show last year in Chicago? Well, the new album Day of the Dead was just released and you’re in luck. The album featured 60 of the Grateful Dead’s hits covered by some great artists including Phosphorescent, Mumford & Sons, The National, and The War on Drugs. Road tripping to a music festival this summer? Pop this on the radio and everyone in the car will love you.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

5. Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper

Sunday candy? How about summer candy? Chance, you’ve done it again. Coloring Book is arguably Chance the Rapper’s best work so far and he’s really been making his way to the top. The album features a top notch list of feature artists including Future, Kanye West,Young Thug, and even Justin Bieber. Mix this album into a summer party playlist and everyone will be dancing.

5 New Albums Perfect for Summer

4 Ways to Save Money During Summer

save money

As a current college student, I definitely know the struggle of not having a lot of money. It can be a sensitive subject for me, especially when I’m talking about it with my parents. During the summer, college students are expected to find and maintain a job to earn money but sometimes I think parents forget how hard it is to find a job. It’s not as easy as you think! You don’t always luck out and get the first job you apply for. Sometimes it will take time but until that job comes around. Here are some ways that I have managed to spend less and save money this summer.

1. Budget

I cannot stress enough how important budgeting can be. So much money can be wasted if you don’t look carefully in to how much you spend daily, weekly, or even monthly. Making some type of budget to stick with and checking it continuously can make the difference on having $20 leftover or having $200 leftover when the summer comes to an end.

2. Plan ahead

In the summer, it is so easy to swept up by random events that you want to go to like concerts or making a trip with friends somewhere. Just like budgeting, you need to plan wisely how to use your money especially if there ends up being surprised bills later on that you aren’t ready for like car problems or parking tickets. Having planned set aside money can take some stress off of spending money on bills later on knowing you had planned ahead accordingly.

3. Use Your Resources

It so easy (I’m definitely guilty of it) to spend money on things simple things like coffee or eating out for lunch when using the resources you have at home can a cheaper alternative. Making coffee at home or making dinner at home can cut out those extra expenditures that you think won’t hurt your bank account but added up monthly can leave a serious dent in your pocket.

4. Never Impulse Buy

So much money can easily disappear when you buy something spontaneously. Sure in the moment you might really like those cool pair of shoes are worth it but in the end you probably already have a pair just like it at home. Taking out the impulse purchases and cutting back can be life lessons in college that help us out in the long run.

Hopefully these tips can help you save money this summer. Comment below with more ways to save!

6 “Healthy” Foods to Avoid this Summer

Walking into a supermarket you’re met with a plethora of food options. Labels throw phrases like “no sugar added,” “low-fat,” and “all-natural” around, but how true are these claims? It’s easy to believe what you see in front of you rather than really research the foods you buy. They have to be true if they’re on the label, right? Wrong. Buying those items, on the surface, seems like a healthy alternative, but often times it isn’t. The following foods are commonly labeled as healthy foods, but in reality should be avoided.

1. Energy Bars

healthy foods - energy bars

Everyone’s guilty of it: you’re running late, no time to eat so you grab an energy bar on the way out thinking, “Well it’s better than buying a McDonald’s breakfast or not having breakfast at all!” Many energy bars today claim to be healthy and good for you, however that is not the case. Many times they have a nutritional profile like a candy bar’s, not like fit foods’. Some even have as much sugar as candy. However, not all bars are unhealthy. Check the ingredients list as well as the amount of sugar and calories a bar has to determine if it’s basically the same as eating candy for breakfast.

2. Dried Fruit

healthy foods - dried fruit

Dried fruit, considering the fact that it’s fruit, seems like a guilty-free snack. Little do people know, however, companies add sugar to enhance the flavor and use sulfur dioxide to preserve freshness, making dried fruit more like little candies. When eating dried fruit you do get all the vitamins, minerals and fiber the fruit has to offer, but it is often easy to eat more than one serving at a time thanks to the added sugar. You’re better off sticking to actual fruit.

3. Wraps

healthy foods - wraps

 

Wraps are the supposed healthier alternative to breads because they’re thinner but just because it’s thinner doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthier. Most restaurants and delis package your sandwich fixings into a 12-inch wrap. That wrap can hold twice the amount of calories than a regular sandwich. More often than not, spinach, tomato and whole grain wraps contain additional coloring and flavoring. A healthier alternative to bread and wraps are lettuce wraps.

4. Skim Milk

healthy foods - skim milk

Most people think skim milk is better than whole milk because it doesn’t contain any fat. Although this is true, skim milk also eliminates essential vitamins. Skim milk is made with synthetic vitamins to attempt to replace the calcium and protein lost during processing. There is little benefit to buying fat-free dairy products.

5. Flavored Yogurt

healthy foods - flavored yogurt

Flavored yogurt is another food that is supposedly healthy and also quick and easy. You know that the small cup isn’t very filling and you’ll be craving something with more substance only 10 minutes after eating, yet you still reach for it. Flavored yogurts are actually full of sugar, with most brands having about 15 grams of sugar per 6 ounce serving. Switching to plain Greek yogurt is a better option that will leave you more satisfied and full of protein for a full day.

I hope this lists helps you choose healthy foods, and not “healthy” foods during your next trip to the supermarket. What are some of your favorite healthy snacks? Share in the comments below!

How to Have the Perfect Barbecue

Summer is upon us and the sun is out and shining–well most of the time anyways. There are so many great ways to enjoy summer and having a barbecue is one of the best. If you like delicious food, music, and enjoying the company of your friends on a beautiful sunny day, then a summer barbecue is the perfect option. Here are some important things to do to ensure you have the best barbecue possible.

Plan Ahead With the Weather

barbecue weather

Nothing can ruin a barbecue more than the pouring rain. Soggy meat and muddy clothes can spoil a fun day quickly, so check ahead with the weather to try and select a day that is clear and sunny. Sometimes you will just get unlucky and the weather will do its best to ruin your day, but if you plan ahead you can usually avoid having a barbecue on a rainy miserable day.

Make a Fun Summertime Playlist

barbecue playlist

Upbeat music can really do a lot to boost your mood, so it is imperative to have a good selection of music to dance and sing to, or just enjoy in the background. Try to find a genre or selection of songs that are well known and positive. Summer themed songs can help enhance the experience as well. Be careful about selecting specific genres if you have a group with a variety of different tastes. When in doubt, it’s hard to go wrong with classic rock songs, as they tend to be universally more known. Some examples of bands that would work well on a barbecue playlist are The Beach Boys, as well as Queen and Journey.

Invite a Close Group of Friends

barbecue friends

Barbecues can be extremely fun, so make sure to get a good group of people who you like to be around and who are happy to be there. This doesn’t mean excluding people who may not necessarily fit in with everyone or who may be a little shyer. Barbecues are a great way to introduce friends to other friends who they may not know, as it is a relaxing setting in which people are generally upbeat and happy.

Stay Hydrated and Bring Refreshing Drinks

barbecue drinks

It is important to have plenty of liquids available in the hot summer sun, so bring plenty of refreshing drinks. Fruity drinks such as fruit juices and sodas are tasty beverages to bring to the event. For the 21+ crowd, cold beer as well as wine can be a nice treat to help one relax on a cold summer day. Consult local drinking laws if you are in public areas to ensure that you are drinking legally. It is also a good idea to bring water as it is refreshing and good for you to drink.  A cooler is also a good idea to keep in mind to keep your drinks cold.

Bring Something To Do As A Group

barbecue games

Barbecues can be fantastic events to just relax, sit around, and talk, but there are many other things that can be done at them.  Bringing card or board games can be a good relaxing way to enjoy each others company, as well as bringing balls or other items.  A soccer ball to kick around or a Frisbee to throw are very common barbecue items and can help to keep those who don’t like to remain sedentary having fun.

Bring Lots of Tasty Food

barbecue food

Ah, the best part of the barbecue: Food. The food at a barbecue may be the most important factor and is what a lot of people look forward to the most. The traditional barbecue foods are hot dogs, hamburgers and watermelon, which are all excellent choices that you cannot go wrong with.  Remember though that there are many other options as well. Pulled pork and brisket are a little harder to make but can be twice as delicious if made right. There are also plenty of barbecue sides available that you can bring such as sweet corn, potato salad, and baked beans. It is also a nice idea to bring a dessert that people can enjoy. Homemade brownies or cookies are a delicious idea, but you also can’t go wrong with something cold on a hot summer day, like ice cream or popsicles.  It is also very important to not forget condiments! Although some people may like their burgers or hot dogs plain, it can often be that extra bit of mustard, ketchup, or barbecue sauce that really helps to put the food over the edge.

If you follow all these steps, you will have a fantastic barbecue and have a wonderful day eating good food, enjoying some good music, and enjoying the company of friends and/or family!

Books To Read When You Miss John Green

Are you missing this guy?

books to read

By now must of us have read at least one John Green book, or heard of one. A lot of you have already read all his books, multiple times. If you are one of those people you may be looking for some similar reading material. Here are some books to read to help you fill the void of John Green this summer. Not all of these books are new but they are all still amazing so keep an open mind.

It’s Kind of a Funny Story: Ned Vizzini

books to read

This is a story that follows Craig, a fifteen year old attending a very prestigious school.  He has very high hopes for himself which adds an enormous amount of pressure on him to succeed. A series of events ends with him in a mental institution, where he makes new friend and finds himself.  The books does very well at depicting mental issues and depression, without sugar-coating it, but refrains from being morbid. The storyline is a little intense, but the way Vizzini writes the story has you laughing throughout it’s entirety.  eCampus.com has It’s Kind of a Funny Story available to purchase for $7.45.

The Probability of Miracles: Wendy Wunder

books to read

This story follows Cam, a sarcastic teenager who has spend a lot of her life in and out of hospitals.  Her mom then has this idea: move them to Promise, Maine which is supposed to have miraculous powers.  When they arrive, Cam finds a sort of bucket list and as she moves down the list we see her fall in love, find self-love and even start to believe that maybe miracles CAN happen.  The story is not centered Cam’s illness, it is about how she copes with it and learns to enjoy her life. A feel good read that makes you smile with every chapter!  iTunes has the Probability of Miracles available to download for $7.99 if you want to read it by the pool on your iPhone or iPad.

Okay for Now: Gary D. Schmidt

books to read

Schmidt is a sort of western writer and this story is set in the Vietnam era so it is a little different than the other three by him. Teenage Doug moves to a new town, gets a new job and meets a new girl, Lil. Together the duo spend their free time at the public library where Doug get unofficial art lessons from the librarian.  The story follows Doug as he deals with his abusive father and his brother back from the war in Vietnam.  Schmidt does a good job of depicting life in a new town, as well as the incredible feat of incorporating art into the story. Knetbooks has Okay for Now available to rent for $9.25.

Perks of Being a Wallflower: Stephen Chboksy

books to read

A lot of people have seen this movie and the movie is actually pretty close to the book. Charlie is an incoming freshmen; a very quiet person without a lot of friends but he soon finds some. This is a coming of age story about a boy finding friends as place to fit in, as well as trying to deal with personal issues. This book is not as light as the others and I will admit that I cried while reading it. It is very inspirational and is a feel good read without being mushy, while also being more mature.

*Be warned that if you decide to read this one that the book goes into more detail and is much more intense than the movie and may make you feel uncomfortable at times.*

As always, as the cheapest option you can look for this title at a local library.  Knetbooks also has The Perks of Being a Wallflower available to rent for $10.00.

I hope that these suggestions of books to read when you’re missing John Green (sigh) help keep you occupied this summer!

Comment below if you have any feedback or more related books to suggest!

Savoring Summer

Summer

Now that I’ll be a senior in college this year, I look back and realize exactly how precious this time of the year really was. Instead of really taking the time to enjoy my summers, I complained about how hot it was and shut myself in the house indefinitely. Now, I’m here trying to make up for all those squandered days and nights by doing this list of things I’ve found to be effective when trying to savor summer.

Grab a bunch of friends and do something out of your comfort zone.

                     Do something different! If everyone in the group is out of their comfort zone, you’ll all have to rely on each other to make the experience what it is. I’m currently planning a picnic, and looking up cabin rentals and laser tag specials as possible activities for my friends and I!

Grab lunch from different places around town.

Try not to eat at fast food places. You’ll never know what your local town offers if you don’t step out and try. My best friend and I are currently doing this and have been opened to a world of healthy, cheap foodie gems.

GO OUT.

A lot of us can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of “summer jobs”, but when you look back on your summers when you’re older, you’ll be wishing you did a little more of this and a little more of that on the dance floor when you had the chance.

Pool, pool, pool.

It’s hot. Why not? Grab a bunch of friends, tap into your younger days with pool noodles and goggles, and head down Splishy Splashy Way.

Gym.

  I know, I know. You’re like whaaat? While this may seem like an unconventional summer idea, this the only time you’re away from the stress of school that’s usually the cause of added weight gain. Why not try to get your body right before the school year? From personal experience, working out this summer has helped me gain a new sense of confidence… AND I can walk longer distances without sweating out of my shirt which is a total plus.

Stack that paper.

  Now’s the time to really get those hours in (or build up your resume), so you can ball out during the school year without worry!

Listen: I could give you all the ideas in the world, but it’s up to YOU to make your summer! For some of us (like myself) this is the last summer until true adulthood. This may even be your last summer away from your high school friends. It’s time to own the summer before school, or responsibility, snatches it away!

How To Prepare for Fall Semester in College

With summer in full swing, it’s difficult to think about returning to school and spending hours in lecture halls. However, there are a few things we can do to take advantage of the summer months in order to stay ahead of the game and be prepared for the upcoming fall semester.

1. Apply for Scholarships

6-13 cap-diploma-moneyMost college students are far too busy worrying about their vacation plans to bother with scholarship applications. This lower competition makes it a bit easier to win scholarships that are offered during the summer months.

2. Find a Job

6-13 bigstock-Waitress-Serving-Food-To-Senio-47117440Use your spare time in the summer to save money from working. Extra earnings can be used for books or to pay on interest on your student loans. Every little bit counts!


3. Intern

6-13 photodune-202599-smart-business-man-with-a-laptop-and-colleagues-at-the-back-mThere are many internship programs offered during the summer. It’s easier to focus on your internship when you don’t also have to commit time to your regular classes.  One simple way to get started is by visiting sites like this one.

4. Register for Classes

6-12 stack of books2The last thing you want to deal with is trying to register for a class for the fall semester only to find it has already been filled. Especially since sometimes certain classes are only offered one semester a year. Avoid all of the inconvenience by registering as early as possible.

How do you stay ahead of the game for upcoming semesters? Let us know in the comments below!

6 Thrifty Ways to Enjoy Summer Break

With May came graduations, the end of final exams, packing up, and moving on to the next chapter of this year: summer break. There is finally time to relax and spend time with family and friends, but as a college student or recent graduate, many of us are still on tight budgets. Here are some low cost (or free!) ways to enjoy this summer without breaking the bank.

1. Go to a public beach Beach_Public

If you live on a coast or by the Great Lakes, this can be a perfect option for you! Many beaches are free and have free parking for residents. You can also pack your own lunch and bring things to do such as a Frisbee or a volleyball.

 

 

Picnic2. Have a Picnic

If you don’t have any beaches nearby, find a park in your area and have a picnic. Bring a few friends and make it a potluck and you’ll cut costs even more.

 

 

Hiking3. Go Hiking

Take advantage of the sunshine and head out on a hiking trail in your area. The best part about it is it’s absolutely free! Spending time outdoors can really make you appreciate the beauty around you: no wifi required.

 

 

Museum4. Visit a Museum on a Free Day

During the summer months, many museums and aquariums have free days on the weekends. These places will usually advertise events such as these on their websites and in local newspapers.

 

 

Movies5. Go to the movies

When summer heat gets too intense, take advantage of air conditioning and catch a movie. After all, it’s time for summer blockbusters!

 

 

Concert6. Catch a Free Concert or Theatre Production

Keep an eye out for advertisements for local free concerts. Many parks and small theatres have shows for upcoming bands or community theatre productions. These ticket prices are usually very low (or free!) and you can support local artists at the same time. It’s a win-win!

 

 

Share your thrifty summer plans in the comments below!

The One Band You Need to See Live This Summer: DMB

Dave Matthews Bandsuntimes.com

With the spring semester quickly progressing, college kids everywhere are scurrying to make summer plans. Some travel, while others rent beach houses or relax at home. But personally, I like to go see live music. There’s no question about it: summer time is concert season. The warm weather makes for a comfortable outdoor experience to listen to some of my favorite bands. Yet, one band stands out far above the rest, and that’s the Dave Matthews Band.

I’ve seen DMB live ten times thus far, and I’ve never left a show disappointed. The environment at every show is electric, regardless of the venue, but summer shows are always the best. The lawn tends to be filled with college-aged kids looking for nothing but a good time. Once Dave Matthews gets on stage, the place simply erupts. Before the band even plays a single note, you just get the feeling that you’re about to see something special. And you always do.

DMBgorgeamphitheatre.net

For a band that’s played approximately 2,000 concerts over the course of about two decades, the energy of each performance is unbelievable. From Carter Beauford, the drummer, to Boyd Tinsley, the violinist, each member goes all out every night. Dave Matthews’ eccentric personality shines through in every performance, as he takes frequent breaks to talk to the crowd and thank them for coming, even sharing a story or two.

As a self-proclaimed Dave Matthews fanatic, the joy I get at these shows is hard to put into words. Yet, people who don’t even listen to the band come to the concerts and have a great time. The atmosphere and the music itself are perfect for any warm summer night. So if you’ve never experienced it, the one band you need to see live this summer: DMB.

Dave Matthews Banddiffuser.fm

 

 

Celebrating Memorial Day the Right Way

For many young people, Memorial Day is considered one of the first marks of summer. The public pools open, barbecues are planned, and those who work get a day off. However, Memorial Day has much more meaning than just a three day weekend. Memorial Day is a national holiday that honors all those Americans who have died serving our country. With Memorial Day just around the corner, now is a better time than any to contemplate the history and true meaning behind the holiday, and think of how you can celebrate Memorial Day the right way this year.

 Memorial Day

There are numerous differing accounts concerning the first Memorial Day, though most agree that it began during the Civil War era. Early observers of the holiday laid flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, and also paid respect to soldiers who died during the Civil War. The first official Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th, 1868. General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed the holiday, and by the late 1800’s, Memorial Day became a national observance. At first, Memorial Day was meant to pay respect only to the soldiers of the Civil War. Around 1890, it was expanded to honor Americans who died in any war.

There are many things that we can do to honor the soldiers who died defending us, and also those who are still living. Consider spending the day with any veterans or current soldiers you may know. It is important to tell them how much they mean to us, and to let them know what their service means to our country. After all, without them, we might not have a day off at all. Another way to show your thanks is to follow the old tradition of placing flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. I think that this was and still is a great way to honor our veterans. Perhaps we cannot ever truly repay them for what they did, but we can still give thanks as best we can.

If you are wondering how to spend your Memorial Day, consider some of these ideas as well as your own as to how to make the day a meaningful one that expresses gratitude and respect to our fallen soldiers. As long as we give thanks to those who have defended our freedom, we’ve spent Memorial Day the right way.

To learn more information about this holiday, check out www.funtrivia.com for some interesting facts. How do you celebrate a meaningful Memorial Day? Let us know!