Holidays

How to be Environmentally Friendly for the Holidays

environmentally friendly Christmas

The holidays are a time for cheer, happiness and everything bright! We’re always on the search for gifts for our friends and relatives while surrounded by decorations and lights. For many of us, it becomes easy to lose focus on things like school, work and even our finances. Gifting isn’t always cheap! One important thing that often gets overlooked during this joyful time of year by many is something that affects us all equally: the environment! Unfortunately, the holidays, with the lights and the gifts, is particularly non environmentally friendly. This year, however, if we all pitch in and pay a little extra attention, we can make some positive efforts towards preserving the Earth we all inhabit and love. Here are some tips on how to be environmentally friendly this holiday season:

Be Christmas Light Savvy

What are the holidays without Christmas lights? Boring? Dull? Anyways, as pretty as the twinkling bulbs all over your home are, they do tend to waste a lot of energy when not tended to. With the entire United States population of holiday lights combined, that’s a terrible amount of both air pollution from the carbon dioxide released when generating electricity and light pollution. There are several ways in which this could be reduced. One way is by adding a timer to your lights, causing them to shut off at a certain time. Another way would be to purchase energy efficient lights, including those of LED lights, which are much more energy efficient compared to incandescent lights. Christmas lights are necessary, but don’t have to be destructive.

Wrap Gifts Better

I’ll be the first to admit that I’d be upset if someone handed me a sweater without any wrapping. Year after year, we receive and wrap gifts in beautiful paper that we quickly rip off and throw away. The amount of waste from this process is exorbitant and it’s far from environmentally friendly. Compared to any other time of the year, there is a significantly higher amount of trash thrown away during the holidays.  It is estimated that there is enough wrapping paper used every year to cover 5,787 NFL football fields. I’m no running back, but I could tell that that’s terrifying. My suggestion is to find new ways to wrap your gifts. This can include old newspapers, paper shopping bags (Trader Joes?!) and old magazines. Paint them or add glitter for some extra pizzazz and you’ve got a gift whose wrapper kept on giving!

Shop Smarter

If I counted the miles I drove trying to find the perfect gift the in past few years, I’d have enough to circumnavigate the globe. Multiply my own inability to reasonably shop by everyone else in the same situation and that’s a lot of driving. Fortunately, the internet does exist. But for those that like to shop in actual stores, be strategic. Make lists ahead of time including a gift idea for everyone. Also make sure to add a backup idea if you can’t find what you need. Also, find people who also need to shop and carpool. By shopping in groups or pairs, not only are you being environmentally conscious by saving on gas, but you also have a group to give you advice when shopping. It’s a win-win.

I hope you can have a very merry environmentally friendly holidays using these simple and easy suggestions! Have some other tips? Drop them in the comments below!

Why December Shouldn’t Be Stressful

December student

It’s that time of year again where things begin to get hectic. If you’re a college student, December means assignments and finals are creeping up on us and exhaustion is setting in. The end of the semester is officially coming to a close. As we begin to feel stressed out and anxious, we also tend to forget about the amazing things that surround us. If you’re going through a tough time, and I’m sure many of us are, then please hear me out.

Take Time to Breathe

First off, I’d like to point out that stress, like anything, is only okay in moderation. Secondly, stress isn’t something to be proud of. Staying up all night, piling on extra assignments last minute and working until misery isn’t acceptable. We live in a world where overworking ourselves is praiseworthy. The more work, the better. Right? Wrong. It’s appreciable that you’re working hard, but it’s important to know that our society’s definition of hard work isn’t actually normal. As a student, you shouldn’t feel inadequate if you’re not pushing yourself over the edge.

Luckily, these busy and haphazardly spent days rushing between class, the library and back home for food and sleep intersect with the most wonderful time of year: the holidays! As you continue to prepare for the end of the semester (remember, don’t push yourself too hard), make sure to take in some of the joy and cheer that will be accumulating on every corner. Although it’s already December and most of the leaves have changed and perhaps fallen, the beauty of the transition from fall to winter doesn’t cease to be amazing.

Explore the Outdoors

Take some time this year to go outside and not just a five minute walk to a new building. Regardless of the cold, sweaters and gloves were invented for a reason. You should go outdoors! Research suggests that spending extra hours in the outdoors can lead to health benefits. For example, the sun is a great source of vitamin D. but remember sunscreen! Additionally, nature and the outdoors is thought to lead to an elevated mood and decreased stress levels. If your school is in nowhere land, take this opportunity to find the area with the post picturesque sunset; if you’re studying in a city, explore the city parks! Make sure to take photos. Oftentimes cold weather leads to the loveliest photos. 

Make Time for Family and Friends

You should take time to appreciate family and friends in December. With having just did this at Thanksgiving and the subsequent holidays coming shortly after, we can become even more stressed. However, the holidays aren’t meant to be stressful. Sure, cooking, cleaning, and having to embarrassingly describe to your relatives that you ‘just don’t quite know yet’ what you’re doing with your live isn’t quite fun, but the moments around that deserve to be cherished. So go ahead and plan a Friendsgiving, wear your matching pajamas with your siblings and escape your older relatives with your cousins. It’s worth it!

Enjoy Being a Student

Lastly, these last few years of college are really the only moments left before we’re catapulted into the real world. Embrace your youth as you experience these times while still being a student. Don’t let classes and assignments get in the way of feeling that holiday cheer that comes every year at this time. Drink lots of hot chocolate, take in the crisp fall air and over wear your favorite sweater. Regardless of how stressful we’re feeling, I can guarantee that these tough times will feel way better.

I hope that these suggestions help you have a successful and enjoyable December and end of fall semester. Have any other tips that have helped you? Leave them in the comment section below!

Best Places to Celebrate New Years Eve

New Years Eve- the time when people party so hard, they wake up the next day and make drastic changes to their life to make up for the debauchery that occurred the night before. New Years Eve is the best time of the year to party, have fun, and celebrate the past years triumphs. People all over the world party hard on New Years Eve. From India to Brazil to Japan to Iceland, New Years parties will be in full swing, with cultural traditions being the only difference in the celebrations. For the first time in a few years, I have no New Years plans (I should really start using Facebook). I decided to research some fun things to do across the U.S. in search of plans for the ultimate New Years Eve. I’ve compiled a list containing concerts, parties and events. Check it out:

Concerts

1. Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest. This is based in New York City, but there is also an L.A.event under the same name with different performers. This concert began in 1972, and it’s been a huge event every year since. If you like pop music, this concert is where you want to be. It’s in New York during the biggest party of the year. Performers include Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Pitbull and Hot Chella Rae. The hosts for this event are Jenny McCarthy and Fergie. This will more than likely be the biggest event of New Years, based on the amount of people who travel to NYC every year.

2. Together As One, Orange County,CA. This is like the ultimate rave, including performers Duck Sauce, Diplo, Bloody Beetroots, Chromeo, and Felix the Housecat, among others. This event is sure to be packed with partiers who will be ready to bring in the New Year with a bang.

3. PHISH at  Madison Square Garden, NYC, NY. Attention all hippies: find your way to New York for this four-day PHISH concert, which will rock from December 28th through New Years Eve. It’s been sold out since shortly after tickets went on sale, so this is sure to be a BIG concert.

4. BASSNECTAR Nashville, TN. This show is set to be HUGE. If you like dubstep music, then this is the show for you. Be ready to make your ears bleed.

Parties

1. New York City– The dropping of the crystal ball in Old Times Square is a gigantic event every year. People from all over the East coast and beyond gather in New York City for this event, making it among the most popular New Years destinations. It’s a tradition that has been going strong since 1907. I can’t imagine what New Years Eve would’ve been like during prohibition. You can buy your all-access party passes here.

2. New Orleans– Bourbon Street is the place to be year-round, so you can imagine what it’s like during New Years Eve. INSANITY. Most people realistically just can’t handle Bourbon Street, let alone during the craziest time of the year. Watch the ball drop at Jackson Square, and partake in adult beverages in any of the twelve million bars along Bourbon Street. Check out what’s going on in New Orleans on NYE here.

3. Seattle– I’ve heard from many people that Seattle turns into a city-wide party on New Years Eve. The Space Needle is turned into one big fireworks show, and besides that, there are many, many things to do in Seattle during New Years Eve. Check out the 35+ bars around city centre if you get thirsty. This isn’t quite like the other places on the list, so I understand if you are skeptical about this one, but you have to trust me. Seattle ROCKS on New Years Eve.

4. Las Vegas– Vegas and New Years Eve go together like chicken and waffles. Imagine a place where the party never stops. Literally it never stops, as there are no “last calls” in Vegas. Most cities force bars to close anytime between 2 and 6am, but not in the city that never sleeps. Check out the strip during New Years Eve, and you may begin to understand why it’s called “sin city.” One extra bonus about Vegas around New Years time is that you can bet on any of your favorite football (BCS) bowl games. Check out other NYE Vegas events here.

 

Alabaster

I’m reading Managerial Accounting

 

Sources:

http://www.globalgrasshopper.com/travel/travel-ideas/top-10-places-to-party-on-new-years-eve/

http://twincities.metromix.com/music/standard_photo_gallery/americas-coolest-new-years/2944607/photo/2944613

http://newyearsevecentral.com/

Best Places to Go Sledding

Sledding is one of those rare activities that is not only extremely fun, but free. It has given joy to kids and adults since the 1880’s, around the time the light bulb was invented. I remember my first experience going sledding as a kid, and it was at that point that I realized the best things in life truly are free. Sledding is a good workout, it’s extraordinarily fun, and when you find the right hill, it is tremendously exhilarating. Those of you who are like me and go sledding every year know a good spot to sled. Some of you know 2 or 3, but how many of you have actually taken a trip just for sledding? I’ve looked around at some places in the U.S. that people rank highly as local sledding destinations, and listed some of the better hills in America (according to locals). Check them out:

  • “Bridge Street Mega Hill” Located in Roanoke, Virginia, this hill is actually a street, but when the traffic is clear, and there is sufficient snow, it turns into a place where a few brave souls dare to sled down. 752-798 Bridge St. Southwest, Roanoke, VA 24015
  • Woodbury Ski Area – Located in Woodbury, Connecticut, Woodbury is known to be a great place for snow tubing. It’s many hills and trails will be sure to please skiers, snowboarders, tubers, and sledders alike. It’s also a hotspot for reggae and rock concerts.
  • Burholme Park – This Park is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is well-known to locals who have enjoyed its massive hills for years. Its only downfall is that it can get pretty crowded on a snowy day. 401 Cottman Ave. Philadelphia, PA 19111.
  • Capitol Hill – This is actually in Nashville, Tennessee. At the very top of “Capital Hill” there is a monster hill, which some locals believe to be the biggest hill in Nashville. Warning: This hill is pretty dangerous. 601 –699 U.S. 41, Nashville, TN 37219
  • Forest Park – Forest Park is located in St. Louis, Missouri. In Forest Park you will find Art Hill, which is a great place to go sledding because there are always fires to keep guests warm at the top of the hill (maintained by the park management), as well as snow bales to keep sledders in the designated areas. 35-57 Fine Arts Dr. St. Louis, MO 63110
Alabaster
I’m reading Macroeconomics

Sources:

http://www.gwigo.com/maps/juleswhite/best-places-to-go-sledding-in-nashville-tn.html

http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-places-to-go-sledding-in-philadelphia/

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/top-lists/best-places-to-go-sledding-in-nyc-new-jersey-connecticut/

http://tobogganhills.com/?query=USA&zoom=4

Last Minute Holiday Gifts from Skinit.com

Are you behind on your holiday shopping list? Still shopping for your college kids? Or are you looking for the perfect gag gift for your buddy? I think I can point you in the right direction. Skinit.com offers “skins” for phones, laptops, iPods, iPads, and the like. “Skins” are protective covers that will help keep your electronics safe, and display virtually anything that you want. They are guaranteed not to interfere with product functionality, they leave behind no mess, and they are specifically designed for each product.

There are endless possibilities in finding the right skin, ranging from sports team’s designs to artsy designs to customizable designs, which allow you to add your favorite picture, shape, or text. Get your girlfriend a skin for her laptop with her favorite picture of you two together for some added “brownie points.” Get your buddy a skin for his iPhone with the most embarrassing picture possible for $19.99. Skinit.com provides a cheap way to find a great gift for your friend or loved one. Check out the endless possibilities at Skinit.com, and you’ll see why they have become such a popular gift for people of all ages. Skinit has something for everybody.