The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Every Type of Guy

Shopping for men can be hard, scratch that, impossible. Whether they're super picky or chronically indifferent, choosing the right gift can be difficult whether you just started dating or you've been together for years. Luckily, my boyfriend isn't shy about pointing out any little thing he would like to receive wrapped in shiny paper, so over the months I've been keeping track of all the things that have caught his eye.

And since my boyfriend is only one guy's opinion, I also enlisted the help of a few friends who we're happy to send me a Christmas list of items they'd be more than happy to find under the Christmas tree. Whether your brother, boyfriend or best friend enjoys movies or sporting events, you should be able to find something on this gift guide for every guy on your list.

For your convenience I have added direct links to the items (or closest match) beneath each image. I will not profit at all from you clicking or purchasing anything from those links, I was just trying to save you guys some time. Happy shopping!

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1. Running pants: for those awesome people that don't use the cold winter as an excuse to stop working out. 
2. Nike+ fuelband: to track just how many more calories they are burning than you, and other stuff
3. Compression socks: I can't explain it but guys go crazy for these! Plus, who doesn't need new socks?
4. Earbuds: the kind that won't fall off as they run, jump, lift, whatever happens at the gym
5. Reusable water bottle: so they can stop stealing your cute expensive ones 
6. Gym bag: so you never have to walk around with them carrying all their junk in a plastic bag again

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1. Movie tickets: make it easier on yourself and buy them a gift card that can be used anywhere
2. Popcorn maker: I got this for Christmas last year and it is amazing! 150% recommend to everyone!
3. Season DVD: choose any of their favorite television shows and pick up their favorite season
4. Movie basket: if you rather DIY, fill a basket with all their favorite snacks
5. Mug: because you can never have too many mugs, especially in the winter
6. Apple TV: to catch up on all his favorite TV shows, Netflix bingeing and Hulu and commitment nights

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1. External hard drive: this is one of those things that you didn't know how much you needed it till you have one
2. Portable speakers: whether he needs music to work out to or clean the apartment with
3. Apple TV: everyone should have one of these or a Google Chromecast, absolutely everyone
4. Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 Camera: my boyfriend loves his, and loves that I carry it in my purse even more
5. Mophie charger: I have this exact model and it charges my phone to 100% at least two full times
6. Earbuds: I've had this pair for over 6 months now and they are in the same conditions as when I first bought them

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1. Robe: I know it sounds weird, but my boyfriend went B-A-N-A-N-A-S for this robe. Don't ask me why, but he loves sitting around the apartment in it
2. Beard kit: to help his beard feel less like straw while still letting him feel manly
3. Sunglasses: wayfarers compliment everyone's face shape, they're an automatic win
4. Apple TV: I swear I'm not sponsored by Apple, I just really love watching Netflix on an actual TV
5.  Wallet: most guys don't replace their wallet often, which makes it a perfect gift that's also practical
6. Hoodie: winter is here, buy him something you can steal from him in a couple of weeks!

The 10 Most Effective Ways to Help You Study Last Minute

Nobody enjoys studying and anyone who says they enjoy sitting in front of an overpriced book is a liar. Don't trust them. Just like laundry, you have to get around to it eventually, unless you like paying for a class you're going to have to take again. Oh, and you'll be paying for that retake of course.

I graduated from college just over a year ago and I swear my last paper as a senior was written the day before it was due. Am I proud of this? Maybe a little, but I don't recommend it. Instead of pushing down your throat how you should study the entire semester and color code your notes, I'm going to give you the 10 ways I managed to get an A in every course, except economics because it sucked and it was right around the time I had an addiction to Fruit Ninja.

Studying doesn't have to be this thing you worry about all semester. As long as you go to class on a regular basis and actually try on your assignments, these 10 methods should help you get a good grade on your exam without you needing to spend every night in the library all semester long. I'm not advocating leaving your studying for the last minute, but let's be honest, you're going to. So for all my expert procrastinators out there, here's how to do it without losing your mind.

Have your headphones at all times.

Dorm rooms are loud, especially when your roommate has all take home exams. (Stares at with jealousy.) With most people flocking to the library for the first time all semester come finals time, you cant even count on that space to be quiet. Study groups, people eating Doritos, people listening to Taylor Swift on their headphones way too loud (me) are all reasons why you need your headphones with you always. Plus, nothing is more motivating than a Taylor, Beyonce, Nicki playlist. Trust me, you'll love it.

Spotify or Pandora for those of us who can't decide.

I'm definitely guilty of getting sucked into skipping song after song, wasting way too much time trying to find the perfect playlist and next thing I know an hour has passed and my study playlist may be perfect but I haven't actually studied. Both Spotify and Pandora have great radio/playlist options to help you avoid wasting any time.

We dont always study all semester like we're supposed to, but don't worry, I have 10 tips to help you get an A on your exam with some last minute studying.

Stock up on food ahead of time.

My favorite excuse to get out of studying is needing to go buy food, because hello, you can't study on an empty stomach! Don't fall for your own lies, buy food and snacks ahead of time so that you don't have a reason to make a quick run to 7 Eleven. Plus, you can use these same snacks as a reward when you finish reviewing those long chapters.

Visit office hours before the semester ends.

Listen, I totally get it, office hours are the worst. Professors and teaching assistants basically beg you to show up, promising that you can just stop by to chat or ask a quick question. But what happens the moment you do show up? Awkward silence and/or you have to stand outside and wait because some other student has never heard of this thing called the syllabus. Even though it feels weird, go! Take the time to write down every question you have and just ask them, if you're lucky there will already be a group of people there to make the one on one interaction less likely.

Related Post: 23 Signs You're a College Senior

Befriend at least one other person in the course.

My only goal the first week of class is to form a relationship with one other person, just one! Why? Because there will come a day when I sleep in or need to be in line somewhere for free tickets, and on that day I will need to have the notes of whatever I missed. Having a friend in the class will give you a person to reach out to when you have a quick question plus someone to remind you that the paper was pushed to another due date.

You might also like: For more tips on how to survive your college years, follow my >SURVIVING COLLEGE< board on Pinterest for tips on studying, internships, and all things college related!!

Form a study group, in real life or online.

Students at my university were super into sending mass emails to everyone in the class in order to share Google Docs or a location of where everyone would be meeting to study. It feels weird at first to write an email that 300+ people are going to read but just do it! Why waste time finding the answers to all the study guide questions when you can just split that work up into pieces?

Save time by looking at the chapter summary.

Let's be honest for a moment, 99% of us don't open the book until it's exam time, which means aint nobody got time to be catching up on all that reading. I'm not here to judge you, props to you for even buying the book! If you don't have time to read every freaking sentence, take time to read the chapter summary, then focus on the points mentioned there. If it was important enough to be mentioned in the synopsis, chances are there will be a question on it.

Get your shit together, I mean, get organized.

You can't study if you don't have all your notes in one place, haven't seen your book in weeks and lack the basic essentials like highlighters. Spend an hour getting all your supplies together so once you start you don't have to stop everything to find that handout from week two.

Read the syllabus.

Nothing is worse than being one of those students that asks a question that could be easily answered had they looked at the syllabus. Besides exam dates and book requirements, your syllabus most likely outlines what will be covered each day of class. If your professor spent three lectures on abc but only one on day lecturing on xyz, chances are they are more likely to ask you questions on abc. Your syllabus is an outline of the most important points to cover, so take advantage of it!

Force yourself to have some self control.

Some people have the skills necessary to be able to put down their phone and get down to business, then there's the rest of us. I swear I think I almost failed economics because I was determined to get a high score on Fruit Ninja, but don't be like me. Take advantage of apps like StayFocusd that lock you out of your Facebook account and other social media websites.

Is there anything you do to help you focus while you study? I'd love to hear your #1 distraction or motivator in the comments below.

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30 Thoughts Every Girl Has While Thanksgiving Shopping

Most years I don't celebrate Thanksgiving because I'm an incredibly picky eater who rather order a pizza than have to deal with cleaning up the mess afterwards. Having not been home for Thanksgiving for the past five years, I've almost forgotten what dishes you traditionally find on the table. This year my boyfriend and I are both away from family for the holiday, so I decided to be the strong independent woman I know I can be and cook a dinner for two. Well, shout orders at my boyfriend until I get frustrated and just do it all myself.

Before all that fun can happen I had to go shop for the ingredients, and again, I'm a picky eater who hasn't celebrated the holiday in years. This is what happened...

1. Okay, I'm doing this. I have a grocery list and the power of Pinterest to pull this off.

2. Let's get the most important stuff first, turkey and potatoes. 

3. How many servings of roasted potatoes can I eat? The limit does not exist. 

4. Five pounds should do. 

5. I can't buy a whole turkey, no way I'm sticking my hand in that thing. 

6. Why the fuck is a turkey breast 10 dollars more than a whole turkey? How does that make any sense?

7. Let it go and just buy the smallest one, we're not fisting a turkey this year. 

8. Shit, I have to season this thing. Oh look, they placed the seasonings right next to them for idiots like me.

9. I still have no idea which one to buy. I'll just use use the lemon pepper I put on my chicken.

10. Have to buy gravy, but I hate gravy, except all my guests will be expecting it. 

11. Ugh, does this mean I'm going to have to make this gravy?

12. Mashed potatoes, a staple at any Thanksgiving dinner. 

13. I'll just buy boxed ones, they're still Idaho potatoes apparently. 

14. Okay, I'm pretty much satisfied with what I have. 

15. Shit, all I have are meat and potatoes. Need sides!

16. Asparagus looks like an easy thing, let's grab a bunch of that.

17. I don't think I've ever technically ate asparagus. Do you boil it or....?

18. Pies! I'll bake a pie! I'll be the modern day Snow White, minus the 7 filthy roommates.

19. How do pies require so many ingredients?! Fuck it, I'll just buy one the day before and say I made it.

20. Okay what else, what the hell do people eat on Thanksgiving?

21. Cranberry sauce, I swear I've seen that in an episode of Friends.

22. Where do they keep the cranberry sauce?! Forget it, someone can bring that with them. 

23. Okay this is already like 60 dollars in groceries, maybe my dinner can be like bring your own side.

24.God these lines are so long, does nobody have a job?!

25. I've already spent way too much money, stop scanning things!

26. Okay, that wasn't so bad, now I just have to carry all this home. 

27. I feel like my arms are going to fall off.

28. Craaap, I forgot the most basic thing! The damn tray for the turkey.

29. Also I only own two plates.

30. Now I have to go all the way back tomorrow.

Are any of you cooking Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow? Let me know in the comments below what you're most worried you'll burn in the oven or your full proof signature dish! I may or may not still need some ideas for side dishes.

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What I'm Most Thankful for This Year :: November 2015

What I'm Thankful for this Thanksgiving :: Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks. Read on to hear what five things I'm most thankful for in 2015

Two thousand fifteen was a funny year for me, mostly because I felt like a small child learning to walk. I like to joke that 2014 was the year I became an adult, with moments like graduating college and landing my first real job. Last year was the year I moved across the country, joined the workforce, and paid my rent with money I had earned, not scholarships, earned!

When I look back at what this year included, I realize that 2014 may have been the year I became an adult, but 2015 was the year I figured out what the hell I was doing. From leasing my first apartment without roommates and quitting my job in hopes of finding something better, the past eleven months have been nothing more than taking chances and hoping the outcome is positive.

Along the way I've had the support of my boyfriend to help keep me sane and friends to remind me that I've never been one to take the easy way. As I sat down to narrow down what five things I am most thankful for this year, I realized they were things that I either had all along or got a hold of thanks to the people I had beside me.

My cat, Max.

Listen, I get it's weird to be thankful to your cat but hear me out. All of my friends live three thousand miles away from me. Every single one of them. Since moving to Washington DC my cat has been the one stable thing I can rely on when roommates were too busy to comfort me and a boyfriend that sometimes was the reason I was upset in the first place. Animals have the most comforting presence, plus, how can you not feel instantly better when you look at his adorable sleeping face?

Related Post: Things My Cat Has No Respect For

Crappy old jobs and my amazing new one.

I'm a firm believer in the phrase, "do your time." Maybe that's not a thing people say but it's definitely a thing people should do. I worked a job that paid me minimum wage, only offered me part time hours and never once invited me to any company events. Oh yeah, all while living in the second most expensive city in America. I hated it, but I stuck around. Working there gave me the experience I needed to be where I am today; a shiny, well paying, friendly law firm that always invites me to work happy hours and pays me enough to be able to afford the next thing I'm thankful for this year...

My tiny studio apartment.

Living alone was the best decision I ever made. Never mind that 50% of my monthly income goes to rent, nothing beats coming home to a space that is all yours. The decor? Mine. What's on TV? My favorite show. Those dirty dishes? Mine too. Roommates are fun and all, but this past spring I realized I was ready to be on my own. Rent is incredibly expensive in the city though, which is why taking the chance of quitting my job in hopes of a better one was a major risk, one that thankfully worked out in my favor. I may only have 500 square feet, but they're all mine. Well, mine and the cat's.

Related Post: What It's Like to Rent Your First Apartment, as told by The Real Housewives

Friends who have remained close to me.

Over a year has passed since I last visited home, or anywhere near the West Coast. With switching jobs, new apartments and graduate school, keeping in touch has been difficult. Thankfully I've found which people in my life I can count on to call hysterically at 2am because I'm lonely and rethinking all my life choices. It's hard enough keeping in touch with college friends after graduation, but you cant imagine the work it takes when you move to the other side of the country. My friends may never know how much I appreciate them answering my random phone calls, but it's those quick conversations that help me get through my toughest days.

Related Post: 5 Simple Ways Distance Has Strengthened My Friendships

My mother.

This past April my mom and sister visited Washington DC for a full week, which meant I spent seven days walking around like a tourist and standing outside restrooms because my mom literally always has to pee. I was beyond excited to see some family though, especially since during that time I was beyond overwhelmed with not knowing where I was going to live next and whether I should quit my job or not. For the past five years I've slowly moved further and further away from home, currently as far as I can before I jump to a new continent. Through all my moves my mom has been nothing but supportive, which is more than I can say about my friends' family members who always insist they stay close to home. It sounds weird to say I'm thankful for a mom that doesn't want me around, but I am, because if I had the pressure to stay in California who knows where I'd be right now.

I'm linking up with Nina from Hugs and Lattes for her #ThankfulHeart linkup. To read more about what people are thankful for this year or just take a peak at her hilarious blog, click here.

What are you most thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments below and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

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How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Without Your Family

Five years have passed since I last sat down for Thanksgiving dinner with my family. Even though the holiday was never that big of a deal in my home, it's one of those days where everyone expects you to travel back to where you're from and spend the day with relatives. The only problem? I live three thousand miles away from all of my relatives. So yeah, I will definitely once again be flying solo this year.

Whether you are thinking about spending the holidays alone this year because you're stuck at school or stuck working the day after the holiday, don't worry, I'm a seasoned veteran on how to not hate the holidays even if you don't have a home cooked meal to push you into a food coma. With so many different options of what to do, none including being asked about your relationship status by nosy relatives, you might even be a little glad that you saved yourself the price of airfare and survived the holidays all on your own. Or maybe with the help of just a few friends.

Surround yourself with people in a similar situation.

This tip is especially applicable if you are still in college, because with so many people on campus, you can't possibly be the only one that didn't have the chance to go home for the holidays. Pay attention to flyers around school or campus emails, there are usually events planned in or around campus targeted towards a holiday celebration for those who stuck around. An alternative is to find friends or fellow dorm neighbors who are in town and host a Friendsgiving. Have everyone bring one dish and voila, dinner is served!

Host your own Thanksgiving.

While you could technically host your own Thanksgiving dinner in college, who has the time, money or cooking abilities? Am I right? If you've aged a bit, think 22 and up, try hosting your own dinner for a change. You can still encourage guests to bring a side dish, just make sure you cover the essentials like turkey and mashed potatoes. Any friends who are local to the area or just don't want to spend the money to travel home can attend, leaving you looking like the most generous host of the year.

Attend a friend's family event.

Whether you're in college or just being an adult, attending a close friend's or significant other's family dinner is an option. As long as they promise to not leave your side at any moment, because hello, awkward! While this might be easier if you're younger, it's not totally out of the norm to be someone's plus one at a holiday party. As long as the dinner isn't super intimate you should be fine, but just in case, bring a little something like a pie to show your appreciation.

Spend the day volunteering.

My senior year of college I spent Thanksgiving volunteering at a local food bank in my university town. After spending the day serving food and talking to people in the community I suddenly wished I hadn't spent the last 3 years moping about being stuck at home alone on the holiday. Taking the time to give back to your community is so rewarding, and is especially helpful during holiday seasons when regular volunteers travel back home or have plans of their own. Take the step to call local shelter and soup kitchen to ask if they need any extra help for the day.

Reach out to family back home.

With apps like Skype, Hangouts, Facetime and about a million other forms of communication, there's no reason to feel like you are completely separated from those you love. Spend the time to call your mom or dad, I'm sure they'll love it no matter how busy the day is. If you feel you need an excuse to interrupt the festivities (which you don't by the way) just ask for some help on how to make that dish you all used to eat together. Real talk, I always call my mom to ask her at what temperature to bake my chicken because no one bakes chicken as good as that woman.

Start your own holiday tradition.

Instead of stressing out about all the things you're missing back home use the time to start a tradition of your own. With five years of celebrating on my own I've grown comfortable with my own Thanksgiving routine, which is making a dinner for one, complaining how there is nothing good on TV and stalking the website of all my favorite stores. I'm too terrified to shop on Black Friday so I just like to watch from a distance.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving this year? Will you be with friends, family or flying solo?

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Lies I Tell Myself Every Weekend

During college I never had a job, and to be honest, I hadn't actually held a paying position anywhere since I was fourteen. Without a real need for extra money (my tuition and rent was paid for with my scholarships) I chose to instead use all my free time to volunteer and involve myself with campus organizations. While I don't regret my choice to not work during college, life definitely hit me in the face when I graduated. I wasn't just looking for a job, I was looking for my first job ever.

Luckily I landed an okay position right out of college and a year later got hired doing something I had no idea I was even qualified to do. I am, I promise. This means that my life over the past year has transitioned from afternoon classes and daily naps to working 40+ hour weeks and no naps. With a full work week and the added bonus of evening graduate courses, by the time I get home I am usually exhausted and too far gone to think about anything other than setting my alarm for the next day.

Except on Friday nights. Friday nights have become this special night of the week, but not for the reasons you would think. After I do what I can with what's left of my day I usually dream up all these plans of what my weekend will consist of, knowing all too well that none of it will probably happen. But a girl can dream, right? Every weekend starts the same, high hopes about all the adventures I will go on, when in reality I watch four hour Lock Up marathons and eat popcorn till I am sporting a second trimester food baby.

Related Post: How I Rather Spend My Friday Night

I like to pretend....

I'll use the time to cook all my meals at home.
Not sure why I even bother coming up with this lie since I live in Washington DC, the land of brunching. Seriously though, brunching is a thing here, people use the word as a verb! While I would love to save the money and eat at home, if I didn't go out to brunch I would probably never leave my apartment on a Sunday. Maybe next weekend, if my favorite restaurant catches on fire or something.

All of my laundry will be washed, folded and put away.
Maybe the reason I can never seem to finish this task all the way through is because it requires so many steps. I've been doing my laundry since I was 11, I feel like I've done my time. Last month I literally bought more underwear to avoid doing laundry, yeah, I'm that lazy. Also, a lot of my clothes is hand wash, so I spend about two weeks debating whether or not I wanna take the chance by washing it normally. Really though, can we start a petition to outlaw hand wash items?!

any sort of schoolwork will get accomplished.
The weekend is full of so much free time, free time I could use to finally start that powerpoint or reply to that email about the group project. Except I'm too lazy to sign into my university's email account and I rather not spend my Saturday reading about mental illness. Instead I'll cram it all into Sunday night or better yet, Monday at work.

Related Post: Things I'm Sorry For

I'll visit that new museum, restaurant, cool new neighborhood, that I heard so much about.
Living in a city like Washington DC means there's always something to do, which is one of the main reasons I decided to relocate here. What no one ever mentions is that when you live in a place that aways has something going on, the thrill of going to an opening is a lot less, well, thrilling. Some nights I just dont care about how great the food is over there and how many hip places are opening up downtown. I just wanna go to my favorite take out place and watch reruns on TV.

I will put together a trendy cute outfit.
Working a 9-5 job means my life has become a blur of neutral colors and blouses I bought at H&M. Most days you will catch me wearing skinny black pants, a random blouse and a black cardigan. (I'm wearing that as I type this and I'm sure I'll be wearing it as I edit this.) (Update: As I edit I am wearing black pants, a black tank and a brown-ish blazer. Nailed it.) Weekends give me the opportunity to put to use all that cute clothes I own, except I'm lazy and I haven't done laundry in weeks. See above. So instead I wear black pants with a tank top, you know, to mix things up. Plus my shoulders miss seeing the light of day.

I will finish that list of boring chores.
Why are clothes that require dry cleaning or hand washing even manufactured? Can we all take a vote to ban any clothing that isn't machine washable, the type that doesn't mind if you wash it next to your towels and gross sheets. Boring chores are the epitome of adulthood. Tasks like needing to buy toilet paper and calling the cable company cause your remote control only works when it wants to are things that are all up to you, and with no roommates, if you ignore it then you have to live in your own pitiful (very dirty) apartment.

Related Post: What It's Like to Rent Your First Apartment, as told by The Real Housewives

I will avoid spending too much money, ie, going to Target.
Being an adult means you are suddenly in charge of the most boring things, like making sure you have paper napkins and snacks to pack for work. The problem is that you can find all these boring items in the most exicting place on earth, Target! So next thing you know, on your way to "grab toothpaste and nothing else," you have a new purse and a Glade candle that will totally reinvent your apartment's atmosphere. Goodbye 50 dollars, it was nice having you.

I'll go to bed at a reasonable time.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not out at a bar until 2 am, I'm doing the exact opposite. I'm at home, wearing the same shorts I bought at my college bookstore, browsing Pinterest while some ghost hunters TV show plays in the background. It's not glamorous, and it doesn't make much sense, but I also wouldn't want to spend my time any other way. During the week I have to force myself to put down my laptop and go to sleep, so weekends let me finally pin for days and watch TV until my eyelids involuntary close. I know I could probably benefit from the extra hours of REM sleep but my Twitter isn't going to update itself!

I will finish that DIY project.
Crafts have always been something I enjoy doing, including everything from painting to clay sculpture. When I found out Pinterest existed I lost my mind at how many DIY boards there were, and to this day daydream about those coasters I need to make and that dirt I need to buy to finish my terrarium. While I love making things on my own I usually do it on a whim, meaning I have nowhere near all the materials I need. Then Monday usually comes around and with a full work week I lack the time to finish the project, and the cycle begins there. I really wish I would just finish designing my gallery wall, as soon as I get the chance to buy some hanging wire!

Is there anything you pledge to get done every Friday night but always avoid getting around to once the weekend starts? Let me know all the things you can't be bothered to follow through on in the comments below!

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5 Simple Ways Distance Has Strengthened My Friendships

5 Simple Ways Distance Has Strengthened my Friendships :: Keeping in touch with friends after college is hard, but staying close when you move far away is even harder. Read on to see how distance has made my friendships closer and stronger than ever before.

Family is not something I place a lot of emphasis on in my life. While I have a mother I'm very close to and a sister who I modeled my personality after, I've always been a bit off to the side in regards to my extended family. With too many cousins to remember and the added three thousand mile space between myself and any blood relatives, I've learned to be comfortable being on my own.

Beginning in college I got used to the idea that holidays could be celebrated with just one or two people, or simply a pet if that's all you had around. College taught me that it's the people around you that make the day special, and you don't need to share ancestors to enjoy their company. Friendships became difficult to hold on to when I moved from California to Washington DC though, because on top of the distance there was a three hour time difference. Suddenly people I saw daily were never around, and daily conversations transitioned into occasional Facebook chats.

Distance didn't damage all my friendships though, in fact, some have become stronger than they were before. With a little extra attention and effort paid, I've been able to maintain close ties with those that are willing to continue including me in their life despite the space between us. While it isn't easy never being able to go to lunch or celebrate their big moments, our mutual commitment to not let our friendship slip beats any Starbucks run we did in the past. Here are the ways in which distance actually helped my friendships grow stronger...

Weeded out people I was never truly close to.
The easiest way to determine who is a close friend and who is someone you became friends with just for the convenience is to move far, far away from them. Good friends will be there to say goodbye your last night in town and continually reach out to you your first few weeks in a new place. Acquaintances stop being acquaintances  the moment you no longer share a zip code. Good friends stick around no matter how far you may go.

Related Post: Signs You're in a Long Distance Friendship

Quality has replaced quantity.
My roommates have always become my best friends, from freshmen year of college to my last semester. Studying at a small campus meant my friends were always around, many living a short walking distance from my apartment. The hardest part of moving far from your friends is not seeing them as often, which is why it's important to make the most out of the time you do have together. Quality time has replaced the quantity of time I spend with my friends, ranging from a short visit back home to a long phone call on a weekday night. Even though we spend a fraction of the time we used to, the time we share together now is much more important to the both of us.

We have become better communicators.
With many of my friends having a hectic life like me, finding time to catch up between work schedules and graduate classes proves to be a dilemma when you add in the three hour time difference. Because of this hiccup, I've found that the way we communicate has changed. With my old college roommate, we do most of our communicating through Instagram and often tag each other in things we know the other would like. With my study abroad friends, phone calls have become one of our rituals when commuting home. Each friendship has changed in it's own way so that keeping in touch doesn't become inconvenient for either of us.

We know who to reach out to for emotional support. 
Listen, moving away from everything and everyone you know is hard, which is why you need to find one person you can call during those really tough days. I have about three friends who I can call anytime of the day to brag about an awesome deal I found at Target or cry about how I have no idea how I can make rent this month. With most people fading into the distance when you move far away, it'll be easier to determine who you can rely on for encouragement when you need it most.

Related Post: The Cost of Living the Dream

Mutual effort makes us appreciate the friendship more than ever. 
Anyone who takes the time to talk to you over the phone, like a real phone call, is a true friend and you should send them a postcard or something. The easier thing to do when someone moves away is to only see and talk to them when they're in town, so if your friends are still including you in group chats and tagging you on hilarious memes on Instagram hold onto them, because the majority of people will move on with their lives. Staying close takes so much more work when you can't be together, but just like with a romantic relationship, when you finally do get to meetup, it's the most fun you'll have all month.

Do any of you have experience moving away from all your friends? How did you cope with the change? What methods did you use to make sure you didn't lose contact over time?

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How to Make the Best Resume with 10 Easy Tips

How to Make the Best Resume with 10 Easy Tips :: Need to revamp your resume or are you writing it for the first time? Check out how to make the best resume with 10 easy to follow steps! All 10 tips are applicable whether you're still in college or looking for a new job.

Before moving to Washington DC I was your typical college student with no real clue of what my next step was, with a resume that reflected just how all over the place I was. Luckily my first job was kind enough to look past my inability to choose a focus by hiring me as their shift manager. When I applied to the position I assumed I'd be doing typical front desk tasks, like answering phones and sorting through everyday paperwork. What I left with instead were the tools needed to get a job in a city as competitive as Washington DC.

The organization I worked for focused on helping individuals lift themselves out of poverty, with its primary focus being resume creation and job applications. Having worked there for just under a year and seeing hundreds of resumes in that time, both good and bad, I learned what employers are looking for in a resume. With open positions now receiving hundreds of applications thanks to websites like Indeed and Monster, having a resume that is impressive while straight to the point is now more important than ever.

If you're looking to spruce up your current resume or planning your first draft, make sure you avoid the all too common mistakes that will leave your resume in the recycling bin with all the other rejects.

Your resume is the true first impression.
You know how you wouldn't walk into an interview with mismatched socks? The same rule should apply to your resume. Everything should match in your outfit and your formatting! Pay attention to the types of bullets you use, spacing between information, how you style the date and fonts. A common mistake people make is how they provide the dates they worked somewhere. If you included the month in your school graduation double check to make sure you also included the month in your work experience dates.

Cut out anything irrelevant. 
My general rule for choosing what makes it onto my resume is that the experience needs to be applicable to the job I am applying for, meaning a social media internship might not have skills that easily transition into a legal secretary position. While you can tweak certain aspects of a job to highlight skills you might use in whatever space you hope to fill, make sure you aren't just filling up space on your resume with skills that are irrelevant to the new position.

Save time by using old job posting descriptions.
One of the hardest part of writing a resume is describing your current and past work experience. While you know you accomplished a lot, putting your day to day tasks into words can be difficult if you've fallen into a routine at work or just cant remember what your old job duties were. By using the job description your company uses when hiring new employees, you save the time of writing out a job description and can potentially be reminded of former tasks you took part in.

Pay attention to tense.
This one is so simple that it's often overlooked, but if you don't work somewhere anymore, you must go back and reword your experience to past tense. So instead of saying "Maintain inventory of blah blah blah," change it to "Maintained inventory of blah blah blah." By jumping tense from experience to experience it can confuse the person reviewing your resume. Avoid this misstep by only talking in present tense about the place you are currently working.

Less is more, but don't get carried away.
So often people forget that employers are only looking for a brief, yet detailed, description of your past experience. While bullet points give off the idea that maybe you don't have to use full, grammatically correct sentences, don't be fooled! Always, always, always write in full sentences. Try to keep the sentence to one line on the page, or at least avoid having only one word hanging out by itself in the line down below.

Action words make people excited!
So often I saw people writing 'I' statements in their resume, and while technically there was nothing wrong with it, they could do so much better. Instead of putting "I was in charge of staff schedules," you can reword it to say, "Coordinated daily schedule for approximately 20 staff members." The latter one not only puts what you did (the action word) at the forefront, but it gives some value to what you did with the number twenty. Which leads me to my next point...

Numbers add value. (No pun intended)
The only thing that stands out more than bold lettering in a resume are numbers! Anytime you can quantify your experience you're adding value to the work you did. Instead of simply saying you supervised a team, be specific by saying a team of how many people. If you were in charge of the company's social media accounts, specify how many accounts you managed on a daily basis. By adding numbers you are adding detail to your resume without taking up too much space or time.

Pull keywords from the job posting.
With job openings being more competitive than ever, employers are turning to software that can weed out applications before they even take a first look. To avoid being cut out of the running, use keywords and language from the job posting to boost your resume. If a posting is for a customer service position, utilizing words like teamwork and cooperation will better your chance of being called for an interview.

Don't forget to mention your skills.
This year I have been interviewed  three separate times. Each and every time the person leading the interview has spent a substantial porition of time wanting to talk about the last few lines on my resume, my skills. Included in this section are any computer skills I have (PowerPoint, Excel, Blogger), languages I speak and marketing abilities (social media campaigns I've ran, knowledge of platforms to create marketing materials, etc). Because none of these things are directly related to what I majored in, I found that including a little blurb at the bottom of my resume is an easy way to point out I have skills outside the classroom and outside of my field.

Ask yourself, "would I want to read this resume?"
Employers can get hundreds of resumes for every job listing they post, which makes it that much more important that your resume stand out for all the right reasons. Once you've drafted and edited your resume print it out and look at it objectively, or even better, have a friend review it. You want to make sure it describes your experience and skills while still being visually pleasing. Nobody wants to review a resume with six past job sites, size 9 font and margins that almost don't exist. By using the tips listed above you should be able to create a resume that emphasizes the information that is beneficial to the new job while sticking to the one page rule.

For more articles on resume writing, interview advice and what to wear on your first day, follow my Career Tips and Advice for Twenty Somethings!!

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Do you have any tips for making a resume stand out? What do you struggle with the most on your resume? Drop your advice or questions in the comment section below!

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8 Weird Things I Do When Home Alone

8 Weird Things I Do When Home Alone :: We all have weird habits in our everyday life, but then there's those things we only do when behind closed doors. From staring at ourselves in the mirror to dancing to Beyonce, here are the 8 weirdest things I do the moment my boyfriend isn't around.

My living situation is a bit on the complicated side. While I do technically have my own apartment, I rarely have it all to myself. With a boyfriend that stays over every night and gets home from work before me, I don't always have the alone time I thought I would when I signed the lease. I'm not complaining though, without that boy there would still be a spider underneath a shoe box in my hallway and I'd still be pretending to not see those old moldy potatoes in the back of my cabinet.

Friday and Saturday nights though are the two nights a week I have the apartment all to myself. While my boyfriend checks IDs and kicks people out of a bar for being too drunk to function, I like to do all the little things that I've been doing since before we ever met. We all have little quirks, but I like to think of mine more as rituals. I mean, why else would I turn down the lights and double check all the doors are locked?

Spend a lot of time looking at my eyebrows.
A LOT. I have been known to sit on the ground in front of my full length mirror for an hour at a time, not even plucking or shaping, just staring. Arguing with myself over which one is the biggest embarrassment and cursing the eyebrow gods for making them sisters and not twins.

Debating whether or not I have a mustache.
99% of the time I decide on "no, I do not have a mustache," but hey, you cant win them all! For all my dark haired sisters out there, you know what I'm talking about! Try having black hair and pale white skin, it's not pretty. While I try to pay attention to what's going on above my lips sometimes life gets in the way and next thing I know I'm brushing my teeth while the dad from Bob's burgers looks back at me.

Have long conversations with my cat.
Other people do this too, right? I don't know why I do it or where it all started, but I've had full on conversations with my cat about what happened at work and how I really need to get around to returning that dress that didn't fit me. And by conversations, I mean I talk endlessly while Max stares up at me hoping I'll drop him a treat. Usually I do, unless it's one of the dozen things I need him to remind me to buy next time I'm going to the store.

Facebook stalk my frenemies.
Ex-boyfriends, old high school friends, friends of people I barely know myself, it doesn't matter who, there's only one criteria: I have no real desire to spend time with them. I don't know why I do it, but nothing is more fun that catching up on people's lives without them knowing about it. Plus, if they didn't want you to see their gym selfie they should really update their privacy settings. Don't judge me, I'm only crazy from a safe distance.

Put on my granny pajamas.
Everyone owns a pair of pajamas that they aren't proud of. Whether you've had them since middle school or they are three sizes too large, we all have them. In my case, my mom buys me a pair every Christmas, from Costco to be more specific. Don't let the fact I call them granny pajamas confuse you though, I love them! They are so soft no matter how many times I wash them, always in a muted pastel color and even have decent sized pockets. The second my boyfriend leaves the apartment, or on nights when I cant be bothered to care what I look like, I jump into my fuzzy pink coordinated pajama set and eat myself into a food coma. They're loose, no one can tell anyways.

Wonder where my glasses are.
Reason #1256 why I appreciate my boyfriend, he always know where my glasses are. Ask him about the remote or his own phone and he'll have no clue, but my glasses are luckily always on his radar. So on the nights when I'm home alone, a good portion of that time is spend searching under couches and piles of blankets mumbling about how I should just get that eye surgery already.

Trying and failing at cooking new things.
I am a very picky eater, however picky you think you may be, imagine being able to list all the foods you eat with your two hands. And I don't even need all my fingers. Just because I hate to try new things when it comes to food doesn't mean I want to turn my boyfriend into a chicken and potato kind of guy, which is why I sometimes try to learn how to cook new things when he's not around. Usually it looks terrible or I missed a key ingredient/step, so I like to get rid of the evidence and pretend like it never happened.

Plan a vacation.
This definitely tops the list as the weirdest thing I do when I have a few hours to myself. My love for travelling hasn't lessened ever since I started working full time, but with no vacation days or money to go on a real trip, I opt for the second best thing, imaginary ones! I have spent hours on travel websites comparing moderately priced hotels and cheap plane tickets because even in my fantasy I know I won't be flying first class.

Are there any weird habits you have when home alone? I know I can't be the only one that belts out Beyonce the moment I hear the door close behind my boyfriend! Let me know what your list of weird things includes in a comment below!

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Things My Cat Has No Respect For

Adopting a cat is the best decision I made in 2014. Forget the fact I accepted an offer to attend grad school or that I moved across the country, bringing home Max hands down is the moment I am most proud of last year. With that in mind, he can be kind of a jerk sometimes.

My cat isn't the typical cat, meaning he's always been more dog like since the day I brought him home. Max insists on following me everywhere, isn't afraid to be vocal when he wants something, and is pretty social when meeting someone for the first time. But unlike most cats, he could really care less about the rules of the house. Or just the fact that I rather not have dirt all over my freshly mopped floors. There are a lot of things Max claims to have no time for, but here are a few he consistently has no respect for. 

The bathroom being a private space
From the day I brought him home he would cry and meow until I let him come inside and watch me pee. The problem only grew worse when he insisted he also needed to stand guard and make sure I made it out of the shower okay. I don't know where he learned these weird habits, luckily he has given up his shower guard duty. But don't worry, he will be waiting outside the door to make sure everything turned out okay. 

Any plant with leaves. 
Maybe I should have learned my lesson by now but I just can't resist buying a pretty new house plant every once in a while. While the rest of us see leaves, Max sees a snarky green monster who needs to be destroyed as soon as possible. He doesn't just stop at knocking a plant over, he finds joy in dragging the corpse plant all around the apartment then rolling in the dirt.

That the bed is a shared space. 
When I first adopted Max I was single, meaning I opted to buy a full sized bed to perfectly fit me and my cat. While he was sometimes a bit of a hog, we coexisted peacefully. That was until my boyfriend showed up and took up space, a lot of it. Nowadays Max is in a constant tug of war, with him wanting his claimed corner at the bottom of the bed and our feet consistently accidentally kicking him off at night. No matter how many times one of us rolls onto him he never gives up, refusing to sleep no where except beside me on the bed. 

The rug I bought on sale.
For almost a year Max and I lived in a family home that had wooden floors throughout. With my hate for vacuuming I avoided buying a rug until I moved into my new apartment recently, with hideous dark wood floors that needed to be covered quickly. It was then that Max realized how amazingly fun it is to claw at the fibers of carpet, and it hasn't yet lost it's allure two months later. I try to not yell at him too much about it, I figure him scratching his nails on something is as satisfying as me cracking my knuckles. And how are you gonna deny someone the pleasure of cracking their knuckles?!

The fact that my phone is ringing.
I don't know if this weird trait is special to just my cat or all cats, but Max has this weird tendency to want to sit directly on top of my phone. I like to believe it's because he sees how much time I spend on it and it's his way of saying, "hey, pay attention to me instead," but most likely it's just warm and he wants to inconvenience me. Usually I don't mind, but as soon as my phone starts to ring it's like his body suction cups to the bed and there's no chance I'll be returning that call anytime soon.

The five second rule. 
I get that cats are capable of killing animals in the wild and eating raw meat and all that, which is fine by me, but my cat sees every dropped piece of food as a personal challenge. Just like a dog he stands around while I cook dinner, waiting for me to make a mistake. He doesn't care that the floor hasn't been mopped in weeks and that piece of chicken bounced off every dusty drawer before it hit the ground, he will gladly pounce at it like me end of season sale. 

Do you have a furry family member who refuses to do as it's told? Or am I alone in having adopted an animal who finds personal joy in hiding my socks? Let me know what rules your pets could care less about in the comment section below!

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Things I'm Sorry For

At least once I day I find myself yelling, "oh my god, how did I forget that?" to myself. Usually I'm talking about the fact that I failed once again to type a response to that text I saw while walking down the street or scrolling through hours of Instagram posts. I am definitely one of those people that will bump into a chair and then apologize for being in the way. And don't get me started on mannequins at Macys, those things basically have a heartbeat.

Over the past week I've been jotting down things I'm sorry for, whether my fault or not. Mostly my fault though. Some I feel terrible about and I promise to try to do better, others I'm not that mad about and you shouldn't be either. 

Forgetting to say 'Happy Birthday.'
Yesss, I know Facebook reminds you when you log on and sends you a text plus we've known each other for years but I was like super busy and didn't even check Facebook that day. I promise to make it up to you with a super long winded text about how busy my life is to justify forgetting your birthday then an Instagram post with a paragraph caption explaining how good of friends we are and how no one can replace you. But please don't replace me, I'll try to do better next year. Probably. 

Cutting in line. 
Before you come at me with pitchforks hear me out! I am 100% against line cutters! Don't like em, don't ever let them slide by me, would vote to have that be something you could get ticketed for if I had the chance. So before you call me a hypocrite this is what happens. I'm waiting for the bus stop, off to the side because other people were there before me. As the bus pulls up it stops literally right in front of me, right in front of me guys! What am I supposed to do? Not get on? So I accidentally cut in front of an entire group of people, but hey, destiny decided I needed to get on first. 

Replying to emails days later. 
While I check my email no less than 50 times a day, I am terrible at replying. Why? Because I'm lazy. Yes I saw the email, yes I heard the notification on my phone, yes I even may have the answer you need, but I do not want to type it out and then stress about how to sign the end of the email. Best? Sincerely? Thank you? More like no thank you, I'll just tell you next time I see you in person. 

Never replying to your text. 
In my defense, I read your text! I don't know why I so terrible, but I have a bad habit of reading a text, replying in my mind, but never actually sending my reply. Then I love to sit in my bed of lies and give a thousand excuses about how my phone was on silent and in my purse which I left at work and that's why i couldn't respond. Oh, and all those Instagram photos you saw me liking, well I must have been hacked. Sorry, truly truly sorry.

Long winded stories with no real plot. 
Kevin Hart had it right, women do love to tell long stories with no real beginning, middle or end, usually about someone at work, and spill details about things you know nothing about. This one is mainly aimed to my friends who I like to call as I walk home, and for all the hours they've spent listening to me rant about how this girl at work had the nerve to talk about her holiday party knowing I was within earshot and not invited. I like to tell long pointless stories, please don't hate me.

Is there anything you do on a regular basis that you're sorry for? If so, leave a comment below, I promise to not hold it against you! 

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