Thursday, August 25, 2016

Great Organization for Small Spaces

Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a great week! For those of you who follow me on Instagram (@skylarclapperton) you know that my fiance and I recently moved into our first apartment together. All of the organizational hacks that have pinspired (inspiration from Pinterest) me have finally come to fruition and I wanted to share them with you!

So, I've lived in many tiny dorm rooms, as well as, just a bedroom in a 4 person apartment, so I definitely understand that furniture and extra organizational items need to be functional, but also save space. I've acquired a few things over the years and I have also added some as my needs have changed. But, enough with the rambling, let's get started!

Storage Ottoman

How I even survived during my college years without a storage ottoman, I don't know. They are a perfect extra piece of furniture, whether to put your feet on or to have guests sit on. They also play double-duty with all of the stuff they can fit inside of them! I use my ottoman to hold all of my greeting and thank you cards, as well as, some of my art supplies. I know where everything is and they aren't taking up any space on a shelf or in a desk drawer.

You can find these almost anywhere: Walmart, Target, HomeGoods ... etc. They come in so many different styles and sizes that are sure to compliment any decor in your room or apartment!

Closet Tension Rod

When I lived in my apartment during grad school, I had to supply my own curtain rod, so when we moved into our new apartment, with an already attached shower rod, I decided to put it to another use! We let our clothes air dry most of the time, so I put this tension rod across the doorway to save space with drying our clothes. We also use it for dress clothes that are ironed for a special event.

The great thing about this is that it does not take up any space, as long as you put it up high, and it is also movable. So, if you don't like where it is or if you only need it every so often, you can take it down and store it in a closet until the next time. You can find these in the curtain section in any department store or at a Walmart or Target.

Plastic Storage Shelf

This is literally one of the simplest, ugliest storage options, but it is also one of the most functional. It has been used to hold food, supplies, cooking equipment, and now its being used as a pantry. We don't have a lot of storage space in our kitchen, so we are using this to store our bigger drink bottles, extra paper products, and even my toolbox.

We placed it behind the door to save even more space. It has really come in handy for those 10/$10 deals at the grocery store. Any storage shelf will be so useful when you like stocking up on extra stuff each week!

Magnetic Message Board

Before I started grad school, I was graciously gifted an old, grungy cookie pan to use to cook. I'm kind of a spazz when it comes to clean/unused cooking supplies, so I thought I would just refurbish the old cookie pan to act as a magnetic message board. 

All I did was spray paint it black (you can pick any color that would match your decor), let it dry, and then started sticking papers and magnets to its front. I secured it to the wall using Command Strips (a lifesaver no matter if you live in an apartment or a dorm room)!

DIY Clothespin Holder

 I had one request to my fiance before we moved in together and that was to build me a holder for all of our drink koozies. We both collect them and I wanted a cool way to display them. To do this, he took an old window frame, nailed wire across the sections and then painted it white. So simple, yet so cute!

What's great is that if you would rather hang some pictures on it or use it to display recipes in your kitchen, you can do that! All you need to do is find the size window that you want and get started. You can also hang this up using Command Velcro Strips. Its cute, functional, and its perfect for organizing whatever it is that you need!

I hope you all enjoyed today's blog post and found some inspiration for creating some great organization options for yourself in your apartment or your dorm room. This is a great time to see how small of an area you can live in and what organization hacks are most important. If you have some other suggestions on finding some great organizational pieces, be sure to comment below!

enjoy the chase,

Monday, August 22, 2016

10 Quotes to Help you Through College Orientation

Hi everyone! Since a lot of you are going to be starting college orientation in the coming week or two (if you haven't already), I thought I would share some of my favorite inspirational quotes to help you get through Orientation. It can be a long few days of being in information session after information session without any real time to do what you really want: organize and decorate your room. So, while you're sitting in that session on Alcohol or Registering for classes, check back to this post to keep you inspired!!

"Isn't it fascinating how long a few minutes seem when you are completely alone with not a familiar face in sight?"
~ Kirby Lawson ~

"I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time."
~ Anna Freud ~ 

"Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go much further than people with vastly superior talent."
~ Sophia Loren ~

"The key to realizing a dream is to focus not on success but significance - and then even the small steps and little victories along your path will take on greater meaning."
~ Oprah Winfrey ~ 

"Books ... are like lobster shells, we surround ourselves withe them, then we grow out of them and leave them behind, as evidence of our earlier stages of development."
~ Dorothy L. Sayers ~

"If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves."
~ Maria Edgeworth ~

"They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself."
~ Andy Warhol ~

"Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do."
~ Oprah Winfrey ~

"The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you."
~ B.B. King ~

"Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle."
~ Christian D. Larsen ~

Especially this last one, you will think in the coming days that you are not meant to be at college, whether it's your particular school, the program you joined, the distance from home, or other things in the past that make you question. This is your destiny and you are certainly strong enough to live it. Don't forget that as you overcome your fears and face new challenges in the coming weeks. 

enjoy the chase,

Friday, August 19, 2016

5 Things that Decrease your Productivity and How to Fix them!

Hi everyone and Happy Friday! With school starting and work going into full gear, I thought I would dedicate a post to all of the things that we do that only decrease our productivity. I am a self-described Maximizer (maximizer of time, energy, and resources) so anything that decreases my productivity needs to be lost to the world (or at least mine).

It took my a few years to perfect my productivity abilities, but after some time I finally realized all of the things that were keeping me down, so I wanted to share them with you all!

1. Staying Logged In to Facebook - This is the worst thing for you when you are trying to get things accomplished. The amount of time that I wasted on Facebook in my first year at college (it also didn't help that I was homesick) could probably span 8 weeks. By staying automatically logged in to any social media, all I had to do was go to the page and I was sucked into it for easily thirty minutes. This not only sets you back those thirty minutes, but also the amount of time that it takes for you to find again what you were working on and reorganize your thoughts. To combat this, my first tip is to click the 'log out' button on your social media settings. Then the next time you log in, make sure that you don't have "Automatically Log In" checked or just log out each time you go on. This will make it less automatic of a thing to go onto your accounts and you also have to consciously choose to log in. It's like another barrier of protection from decreased productivity.

2. Keeping your Phone on Your Lap - It's almost the same thing as staying logged into your social media accounts. If you keep your cell phone right next to you at all time, you will be twice as likely to grab it right when it dings with a notification. Whether a text message, instagram like, or retweet, it will only keep you from getting what you need to do done. Especially when it dings every few minutes. My suggestion is to keep it in your backpack, at the end of your bed, or in another room while you are working on things. You could also turn text messages and notifications to silent, while keeping your phone calls loud so that if someone is really trying to reach you, you'll be able to answer it!

3. Working with friends - Your study habits are different from your roommate's, your best friend's, and your sister's, so studying with them might actually distract you more than it will help you. With everyone else's phones going off, and notifications dinging every few seconds, the likelihood of distractions intensifies. While studying with people in your class can help you with the material, you definitely all need to be committed to getting work done in order for it to work. To fix your friends decreasing your productivity, it may be necessary to curtail studying with friends and just spending your free time with them. I know when I worked in the library alongside friends, I had to be working on a project that was okay to be distracted by: PowerPoints, outlines, highlighting ... etc. anything that wasn't too brain-intensive but something that still needed to be done. Set guidelines for yourself so that you know when it is appropriate for friend distractions and when you really need to hunker down and work by yourself.

4. Your Study Habits - It takes a while to get into a rhythm for your studying and homework patterns, but you need to make sure the ones that you are continuing are the ones that help you out the most. You may find that working in your dorm room is distracting or working in the library makes you break your concentration. Every person is different, so if you consistently find yourself looking up from your laptop or your eye wandering around the room while you are reading, you may need to think of a better habit. My tip is to try new methods and get feedback from people in your life. Learn how they study and what works best for them. It may not work for you, but it could spark a new idea to help your stay on task and focused to finish!

5. Food and Drink - To this day, nothing is more distracting to me than drinking a Frappucinno and eating popcorn. I'm so focused on enjoying those items that it distracts me from what I should really be working on. You may think you're saving time by combining eating with school work, but it honestly just distracts you more (especially when you drop some chili on your laptop). To combat this, use your eating time to focus solely on that or to browse your social media accounts. This could definitely kill two birds with one stone, but make sure you're combining something that is mindless with your eating so not to decrease your productivity even more.

As we enter the new school year, it is really important that you start making your productivity a priority. Doing that at the start of the semester before papers and tests start happening, is only going to keep you organized and focused as the school year progresses. Are there any tips that you have for increasing productivity or something you cut out of your schedule that used to decrease your productivity. Share below so we can all learn! Have a great weekend!

enjoy the chase,

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Large Campus ... Large Pictures

Hi everyone! So, one of the major reasons I started this blog and am obsessed with college is because of the beauty of college campuses. Their beautifully manicured lawns, towering ivy covered buildings, great stadiums and gymnasiums ... so many things that are fantastic to shoot through a camera lens!

While en route to vacation last month, we stopped at the University of Richmond to take some pictures. This campus was probably the biggest I've ever been on, so I wanted to share with you all some of the pictures I took!

The campus was so large, it had its own lake!

College provides you with opportunities to see the globe!

If it weren't located in Richmond, VA, you'd think a Grecian play performed here.

It was a hot, humid, and hazy day when we visited, but the campus was still gorgeous! Share your recommendations below on what campuses I should plan to visit in the future! I'd love to hear! Have a great day!!

 enjoy the chase,

Saturday, August 13, 2016

College Packing Must Haves

Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a great weekend so far! For those of you headed out to college in the next few weeks, I wanted to do a post for you all about my college packing must haves! There are TONS of lists out there on what you should pack for your college dorm room. You could peruse Pinterest for years and still not find the exact items that I think you need! Let's get started!

Surge Protectors
When you're sharing a room with a roommate, your access to electrical outlets can be limited, especially if there are only two or three in the room to begin with. Because of this, my suggestion is to bring two different surge protectors with multiple outlets on them. Buy one with a shorter cord and one with a longer cord to make sure you will be able to reach all of your lights and appliances! 

Rain boots
In terms of clothes, rain boots are definitely the number one item I recommend students bring with them to college. Classes are outside, so you will need to walk through even the most torrential of downpours to get to a lecture. Rain boots are not only functional, but you can also find some really cute ones too. Another great thing is that they come in every price point and are available at a ton of stores, so the options are endless!

Professional Outfit
Another outfit item I recommend is bringing a few professional outfits with you. Especially if you think you might get a job on campus or you plan to interview for different opportunities throughout the year, it will come in handy. For those guys out there, definitely use your graduation party money (if you have any left) to buy a nice suit. This will come in handy for all four years in college and for internship and job interviews after graduation!

Stuffed Animal
If you are the sentimental type and have never slept the night without one of your stuffed animals, bring it with you! It will cause you less anxiety and overall make you calmer as you complete this transition. If you're worried about public opinion, then put it in your pillowcase. As a Resident Assistant, I saw so many of my residents bring their stuffed animals with them to college, while it can get excessive, don't feel weird if you bring your favorite!

Personal Contacts and Information
Any information that you are going to need while you are away at college you will want to bring with you. Contact numbers for your parents and other important people, your doctor's offices, and any other agencies that you use often (on paper also, you never know when you could lose your contacts in your phone). You will also want to have a copy of your parents' insurance cards if you do not use the student insurance offered at your college. Any paperwork that will be useful should an emergency arise, I would definitely bring with you!

Duffle Bag or Suitcase
You may be thinking to yourself, 'Well, duh, how else am I going to get my clothes to school.' But, you want to keep a small suitcase or a duffle bag at college with you so that you have it to pack clothes for a short weekend home or if you and your friends plan a trip out of town for Midterm Break. You can store it in your closet/wardrobe or if your residence hall has a storage area in the basement, you might be able to store it there too. 

Is there something you are definitely not leaving at home when you move into your dorm room in a few weeks? Be sure to share below in the comments! Good Luck with your packing and enjoy the last few days at home this summer!!

enjoy the chase,

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

College As Told By Big Bang Theory

Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a great start to your week and are prepping to go back to school (high school or college). Today, I thought I would do a fun post for you about the lighter side of college.

College students are truly a paradox because they have so many weird aspects of their lifestyle and of the make-up of their ideals ... simply because they are full-time students. One thing you will find in college is that you will have a favorite tv show and you will binge-watch it all four years in college. Big Bang Theory was and still is my favorite binge-worthy tv show (I have all of the seasons on DVD!) Because of that, I wanted to share with you "College As Told By Big Bang Theory"

You will say this over and over again as you sit on your bed with your glasses on, blanket over your head, a hoard of Starbucks coffee cups surrounding the garbage can, and your laptop propped open after an all-nighter.  This will also be a night that you will never forget ... no matter how hard you try!

When you find your spot in the library ... this is exactly how you will feel. Whether you find a cubicle or a corner table, your spot will be as coveted as Sheldon's spot on the couch!

You will have plenty of these moments in college ... where you want to cry from someone else's stupidity. Whether it be people in your residence hall trying to wash their soccer cleats or by Freshmen throwing their phones and wallets away because they forgot to take them off the tray in the Dining Hall, you will find funny moments where you shake your head and question future generations. (It's okay, we've all done it.)

One comparison between BBT and College is that loving the Harry Potter Series is completely acceptable. It's actually sometimes frowned upon if you don't love the Series. Television HP movie marathons will insight floor bonding in any residence hall!

There will be times, man do I tell you there will be time,s when this comes across your mind - event planning meeting, class discussions, Senate Sessions, sports debates ... etc. The good thing about college though, is that you will be surrounded by different opinions, ideals, beliefs, and customs which will help increase your tolerance for all of those differences you will meet in the world!

There will be plenty of moments for pie eating contests, from the start of the Basketball season, to staff bonding as a Resident Advisor, and free gift card nights at the Dining Hall. It will all be worth it though to gain some bragging rights!!

While simple and silly, I hope that this post gave you a smile and good laugh. I highly suggest finding a tv show that is going to make you laugh no matter what time of day or what episode you are watching. College is incredibly stressful and having a tv show to watch for a few minutes to help de-stress, can do wonders for your mental health!

I hope you all have a great week ahead!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. All images from Pinterest

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tips for the Admissions Interview

Hi everyone! Today I want to talk to you all about the Admissions Interview ... a vital part of your college visit and your plans to apply to college. Most often these happen on the college campus that you are visiting in the Admissions Office, but sometimes when Admissions Counselors are traveling they may do them at a coffee shop. Since I feel that there's a HUGE mystery behind the Admissions Interview, I wanted to give you some tips to ease the anxiety going into one!

Don't be nervous! If you're interviewing for a prestigious scholarship, I get it, but in all honesty the Admissions Interview is really just a chance for you and your Admissions Counselor to connect and for them to answer your questions about the college. A big part of it is to see if the college is going to be the right fit for you, rather than if you meet the standards.

Talk! This may seem silly, but there are students who go into interviews and don't want to talk at all. Admissions Interviews are rarely ever mandatory, so if you feel that you are not ready for it, that is perfectly fine - don't request one, just go on your campus tour. But, if you do choose to do one, you will genuinely want to do your best to talk and answer questions.

Ask for an Off-Campus Interview! If you know that you are not going to make it to campus this fall, then talk with your Admissions Counselor about setting up an Off-Campus Interview. Oftentimes (unless you're across the country from the institution) they will be travelling in your area to visit high schools, so the chances of being able to meet for an Interview are pretty high. If you're normally shy, this may help you more since you will be in an area where you feel comfortable.

Be Honest! If you want to major in something, tell them. If you want to play a sport, tell them. No matter what, do not lie about the activities you are involved in or that you want to pursue in college just to make the Admissions Counselor happy. We want more than anything for you to see yourself at our institution, but it isn't meant for everyone and we recognize that. If football is a mandatory thing, then tell us that; don't just stop responding to e-mails or hang up on phone calls in the future. It will save everyone involved, including yourself, a lot of time.

Admissions Counselors are people too! Truly and honestly, our words don't always come out the way we want, we can't always think of the name of that club you'd be perfect for, and we can't always answer your questions. Please know though, the Admissions Counselor does care about your Admissions Interview and wants you to get as much out of it as you need to help make your decisions come a little easier.

Ask any Questions you have! Whether they seem silly or redundant, ask those questions that you have. It opens up the conversation and you let your interests and background show through. Ask about students leaving campus on the weekend or about accepting AP scores. These are all good things to ask and Admissions Counselor want to know where you need more information. Even if they don't know, they will always do their best to find the answer for you or point you in the direction of where to find it.

As summer is winding down and you are planning your last few college visits before school starts, make sure you plan on doing an Admissions Interview to learn more about the college and how it will fit your needs and expectations for college. I hope these tips help you plan your day and ease you into that Interview just a little bit better!!

enjoy the chase,

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

3 DIY School Supplies

Happy August everyone and you know what that means .... school supplies time! This is literally my favorite time of year. Funny story ... this weekend I moved into an apartment with my fiance (sorry for the absence) and my mom and I were going through all of my school supplies ... literally two and half boxes filled with notebooks, post-it notes, folders, paper, pens, and so much more! Nonetheless, I am not-so low-key obsessed with school supplies and saving those pieces that have not quite lived their full life. Because of this, I wanted to dedicate a post into DIY-ing some cute school supplies before you head back to high school or college.

All of these items are things that I used everyday when I was in school and college, so I figured that they would be incredibly universal and customizable to whatever you like or what your color style is! Let's get started!!


How can we even have a conversation about school supplies without recognizing the almighty importance of pocket folders. If I can recall my school lists over the past years, at least 4 folders have been on that list each year. As these can get pretty bland for the older kids (unless you love Hello Kitty and the Avengers ... no shame), I thought we could snazz them up a little bit! 

This first one is just a painted monogram that I created. What's great about the type of folder I bought (less than $1.00 at Walmart) is that you can make imprints on it if you press hard enough, so I drew the monogram I wanted, you can print yours too if you would rather, and then just traced it right onto the folder.

After that I got the paint color I wanted, which was regular craft paint that my mom had in her cabinet, you could also use paint pens if you prefer. Then I just started painting over the indents from the tracing. 

Because my gold paint was on the thinner side, I did three coats on it to have it stand out a little bit more. Once that dried, I added some dots around the rest of the folder to give it more decoration! 

This next folder design was a no fuss one which is great for those of you who want to be creative, but don't have the time or the mess to put into painting a folder. All of the stripes are made of Washi tape (also from Walmart - about $3.50) and you can put them into any design you want. 

The one thing I like about washi tape is that it sticks, but not so much that it's hard to get off if you make a mistake or if your line isn't straight ... it took me three tries! 


I love a good sparkle, so when I saw this Washi tape, I knew I had to get it to decorate my new notebook. 

So, another great thing about using tape or paint for decorating your notebooks or school supplies is that you can have it be functional, as well as, cute. I always had to label my notebooks when I was in high school, especially with only two minutes at my locker between class, which was really only 30 seconds because of the treks down the hallway and the stops to talk to friends! 

For this one I just layered the tape to cover over the hideous "70 sheets, college-ruled" that is printed on it, and also on the top to make it symmetrical. It actually did take a steady hand to make sure everything was even, but again, luckily it can come off and be re-taped to fix any mistake. 

To add some extra snazz, I added a "MATH" label using the Washi tape cut into the letters. It is a really simple way to add that label that you need without having to write it out in Sharpie. If you have to put your name on it, you could also do that! This would also work with other folders as decoration too!


So, this one was definitely a "let's see how this goes" design. I love the look of watercolor designs, especially as backdrops for quotes, so I wanted to recreate that on this binder. I have to say...I'm quite proud of how it came out.

First, I put painter's tape around all of the edges so that paint wouldn't get on the inside or on the binding (basically everywhere I didn't want it to end up). This actually made it a lot easier when I was painting so that I could easily go off the edges without the fear of getting it everywhere. 

Next, I put a base of white craft paint all over the binder using a foam paint brush. To help with the blending on the paint later on in the process, I put a decent amount of white paint on a small paper plate so that I could add pink to it to slowly pigment it. 

Each time I added a drop or two of pink into the white on the paper plate, I started about an inch from the top of the newest shade and painted the rest of the way down. Then, add another two drops of pink to made the shade a little bit darker, and paint about an inch below the start of the next lightest pink. 

This is to create that gradient effect that water color does. Once I had it all painted and was pleased with the outcome. I put a small coating of polyurethane over top of the binder to smooth it out. (Craft paint can be pretty chalky and can even rub off if it isn't treated.) So, this binder was I think $1.00, but it definitely looks a lot better than just a plain 'ole black binder! If you don't like pink, try blue or green! 

The great thing about DIY-ing your school supplies is that you can completely make it your own, if you hate the color pink, get blue sparkly Washi tape, or purple paint for your monogram. If you hate monograms but love a good emoji, trace and paint that onto your folder. It is all about you so make it something awesome to keep you motivated throughout the school year!!  

If you plan on DIY-ing some of your school supplies, feel free to tag me on Twitter (@chasing_college) or on Instagram (@skylarclapperton). I'd love to see them, you may just inspire my next project!! 

enjoy the chase,