Tag Archives: shopping

Crazy About Kindle!

Here it is: the long-awaited Kindle review post! Before I start, you should know that I am in no way being endorsed or rewarded for the sentiments expressed here and I am not affiliated with Amazon in any way (except in the lusting-after-everything-they-carry way). This is just my true view on the product. Enjoy!

I love to read. Reading is my true love. So before we get into why I love the Kindle, I’d like to start by clearing up the following:

  1. I will never stop buying real books
  2. I will never get rid of my bookshelves of wonderful real books
  3. I too, am a sucker for turning musty-smelling pages made of paper

So… it’s not like I hate books or anything, it’s just that there are so many situations where the Kindle is so much more convenient. Examples?

  • You’re a journalism student, forced to read upwards of five newspapers a day. Rather than wrestle with the dastardly pages of print newspapers, you simply subscribe to them on your Kindle and they are delivered overnight via WiFi, at cheaper rates than print subscriptions.
  • You’re an english lit student, forced to read several million classic novels per semester. You get them all for free on the Kindle store (since they’re old and out-of-copywrite) and bring your 8.5 oz device around instead of lugging novels to the library.
  • You’re a business woman who loves reading, and who must go on several business trips per year. You simply browse the selection on the Kindle store, download on the go, and read!

Okay I have to stop. I feel like I’m writing a Kindle ad campaign. A cheesy one. An unsuccessful one. So let’s move on to the review portion of the post, shall we?

Features I Love..

  • I can read with one hand. This may not seem like a big deal, but consider this: no more do I have to worry about the book closing if I don’t hold down the pages. I can read all like “Look Ma, no hands!”. It’s way more fun than it sounds, I promise.
  • I can highlight whatever I want, and those highlights get collected for my later perusal. When I read A Fraction of the Whole, I underlined tons of enlightening paragraphs. But the only way I can find them now is by flipping through the book – frustrating. When I read Crazy Sexy Diet on my Kindle, I highlighted a whole bunch of tips on everything from veggies to exercise, so now I have the Sparknotes version on both my Kindle and my computer.
  • I can search for whatever I want. With any books, I am forever flipping back through the pages, in search of that one sentence that stuck with me or that one character introduction that didn’t seem important at the time (but now I can’t remember who they are!). On my Kindle, I can search for anything on any page, and it’s actually a surprisingly reliable function.
  • I can learn new words easily. Whenever I don’t know a word, I just move the cursor next to it and voila! A definition from the New Oxford dictionary.
  • There’s a web browser, so whenever I have WiFi, I can look at anything I want online! And websites render surprisingly well on the browser.
  • It has the capacity to Tweet or Facebook any highlights I make, if I choose. So get ready to geek out with me if I post my favourite passages from Alice in Wonderland!! Hehe.
  • It has a stellar battery life. Since getting it mid-January, I’ve only charged it once, and it’s still going strong. If you keep the WiFi off except when you’re using it, I’m told this prolongs the battery even more.
  • It’s really easy to buy content on the go – Amazon uses a one-click system which makes it simple to buy things without the hassle of typing in credit card numbers every time.

Wishes..

  • I wish that the Text-to-Speech function was a little more refined. As it stands, almost any ebook you download from the Kindle store has the capacity to be read aloud to you by a robotic voice. As much as I adore the idea behind this feature – hello, reading while doing chores!!! – it doesn’t work very well right now. I’ve tried it several times now, and the voices (your choice of male or female) tend to blur words together, making it very hard to understand. But it’s such an innovative feature, so hopefully updates will come out soon!
  • I wish the keyboard was a bit faster, it lags slightly. Not enough to really impair anything I do, but enough to be noticeable.

Content..

I’ve gotten most of the content on my Kindle online, for free. If you become the lucky recipient of a Kindle, the first place I would look would be Kindle’s own page on where to find free Kindle content. My favourite of these would be the Kindle Popular Classics page, or Project Gutenberg. Both websites specialize in free, out-of-copywrite classics – everything from Emma to Dracula.

I have a whole category of PDFs that I’ve gotten from various websites – Focus from zenhabits, A Brief Guide to World Domination from Chris Guillebeau, and various other personal documents (notes to self, lists, etc). Kindle supports most file formats (for a complete list, click here), and other formats are usually convertible to one that Kindle does support.

Newspaper and magazine subscriptions seem to be priced much lower on the Kindle than in paper, and most come with a free trial period, anywhere from 14 (Globe and Mail) to 60 (New York Times) days.

And the huge plethora of paid content is nothing to scoff at either! I mentioned that I read Crazy Sexy Diet, it was one of the first books I ever purchased on my Kindle. After seeing the price in the bookstore (about $30 Canadian), I decided to save myself some money, and bought the ebook version for $9.99! Sure, it won’t be an addition to my paper book collection, but I still got all the same information, and at a significant discount. It’s good for us students!

Your Thoughts?

Anyone out there have an eReader? If so, what do you use it for? What do you like or dislike about it? I’d love to hear any tips/tricks/hacks you have to share with a newbie owner!

And if you don’t have one, would you ever consider getting one? Why or why not? Let me know what you think about them in general.

As always, feel free to email me at effieboo.inlimbo@gmail.com or leave me a comment below!

xoxo,

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Beat the Back-to-School Blahs

Photo thanks to bofh

So. You had a long, luxurious break spent gorging yourself on food, friends and free time. You wasted away the days sleeping in, watching movies and making sandwiches, leaving the mess for someone else to clean up. You had a wonderful, lazy, ridiculous few weeks off.

..Unfortunately, all good things come to an end, and school has presented itself as an inevitability that you are suddenly dreading with every fiber of your being. You have begun your goodbyes: “Goodbye, social life! Sayonara free time! Adios fun!” and begun your hellos: “Hello boring academic reading! Bonjour exhaustion! Ola junk food!”. Suffice to say you’re probably not feeling great about the coming semester. Visions of sugarplums summer vacation are dancing in your head.

Never fear! Your guide to beating the blahs is here!

1. Make it easier for yourself

Photo thanks to cfetcher

Get organized! Pick up some colourful binders, label them and keep your notes filed away where you can easily find them. If possible, take an interesting, easy course. Re-arrange your schedule so that it fits your life: for example, eliminate early classes. Stock your freezer with quick, easy meals like perogies, lasagna, edamame, pizza, burgers, bagels, frozen dinners, etc. Make it easy for you to eat whole, balanced meals instead of skipping them or ordering food (expensive!). Stock up on essentials like toilet paper, paper towels, kleenex, toothpaste, etc, so that you don’t have to always be running to the store for more.

Anything that you can do now, up front, to make it easier for yourself in the long run, I encourage you to do! That way, later on, when you’re running out of energy, time, and any essentials, you’ll be grateful to yourself for having cleared away some of the muck and creating a slightly easier existence.

2. Inject fun into your routine

Photo thanks to mlr

Brighten your note-taking with colourful pens and/or paper. Schedule a study/textbook reading/cooking gourmet food date with a friend once a week. Make time for your personal special activities: turn the computer off one hour earlier and spend the time reading, writing, drawing, dreaming. Take the scenic route to class. Create elaborate meals whenever you have time. Dress up for school. Take a bubble bath instead of a shower. Watch part of a movie every time you finish a reading/assignment. Reward yourself for doing annoying tasks (laundry, dishes, toilet-cleaning?) with candy, a magazine, a new eye shadow, etc. Resolve to wind down with a glass of wine once or twice a week. Listen to music while you’re getting ready in the morning.

I know people who say they just don’t have any time for fun. That’s nonsense! As long as you make a small effort in your day to stop and smell the roses & appreciate the little things, you’ll be happy at the end of every day, rather than burnt out and depressed.


3. Fix what’s broken

Photo thanks to daviddoctorrose

Replace that old towel that never dries you off properly. Buy a shoe rack so that it’s easier to find and organize your shoes. Write yourself a reminder to water the plants, take out the garbage, etc, etc. Pick your clothes up off the floor. Move that table that you keep running into. Re-organize your kitchen cabinets so it’s easier to reach the things you use most often. Hang up that picture that’s been leaning against the wall since March. Buy a timer for the oven so that you stop burning things. Re-arrange the furniture so that you feel more zen. Get to class earlier so you don’t get a bad seat.

By ‘broken’ I mean not working. Take a good look at your life, your home, your daily routine, and hone in on the things that annoy you every day. There are most likely several things that bug you on a daily, weekly or occasional basis that only require a few minutes of effort to change. In order to have a successful semester, try tweaking a few things in your life to keep you running smoothly and happily throughout the school year.

4. Make your space beautiful

Photo thanks to missvu

Buy new linens for your bed and make it a cozy, nest-y haven. Keep photos of friends and family around all the time. Clear the clutter off your desk or workspace. Cover the walls with magazine cutouts, photos, murals, collages, artwork. Keep all your favourite things in plain sight. Colour-code your bookshelves. Paint the walls your favourite colours. Hang up a blackboard and write inspirational quotes on it in colourful chalk. Buy scented candles. Have living things: pets, plants, flowers. Always have soft music playing.

Make your house a home, a place where you love to be. Make your bed just for sleeping so that when you cozy down into your fluffy duvet, it feels luxurious and comfy. Light candles, play music, keep beautiful things all around you. When exams roll around, it will be nice to have a special, comfortable place that relaxes and calms you.

5. Cut back on time-wasters

Photo thanks to balakov

 

One of the things I’ve never understood are people who complain and complain about how exhausted, burnt out and stressed they are, who complain about having absolutely no free time, and who spend several hours a day on facebook. Huh? I don’t get it. Unless your desired use of what little free time you have is to creep people on the internet, than this whole statement doesn’t make sense. The sad part is, I know people who say that no, they have no free time and no, time spent on facebook doesn’t count as free time. Wait, what? So they’d rather be doing activities that they actually enjoy, like reading a novel, riding their bike, hanging out with friends? And they can’t do those things because they don’t have time? But they have time to log into facebook for hours at a time? Confusing.

I’m not exactly a saint on the social media front, and I have logged a good chunk of time on facebook, but I would never claim that I had no time for activities I enjoy. I simply chose to spent that free time online instead of engaged in interesting activities. One of my resolutions for the new year is to cut down on time wasters. Force yourself off of facebook, off of twitter, off your blog reader, stop watching tv shows you don’t even enjoy, quit checking your email 340 times a day, and focus. Force yourself to find other ways to spend that time. Force yourself to do a more mindful activity. It won’t be easy, since your brain would initially prefer to be on autopilot skimming through pictures of that weird kid from high school’s family reunion, but your soul will thank you in the end. Pump up the creativity!

And Breathe Deep!

Find joy in the little things. Always plan so that you have something to look forward to. Put in the work every day so you don’t have to cram at the very end. Spend some time every day re-centering yourself, relaxing, and breathing deep. Work hard, play hard, focus in class (my very best advice to myself, it’s the single best way to spend less time reviewing at the end of the course), don’t procrastinate. Make time for the special things. Get enough sleep and good food. Don’t burn yourself out. Smile.

And banish those blahs!

xoxo,


Posted in How To, Life, Recommendations, University | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

5 Easy DIY Gift Ideas

Okay, so now that I’ve tackled gifts for the men and for the women in your life that you can purchase, how about a few ideas of what you could potentially make them yourself?

Creating a gift yourself is a totally a win-win situation. You will feel very accomplished and fulfilled, and they will LOVE it because you put in the three key ingredients: time, effort and love. That is the recipe for successful gift-giving.

I know what you’re thinking though: “I suck at DIY. I am the least crafty person in the whole world. It’s too much work. I don’t wanna!”

Hush, child. It will be fine, alright? I’ll take you through this, step by step!

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1. Framed Photos

Photo thanks to room2593

While not exactly DIY, giving a gift of a photo in a beautiful frame definitely reflects thought and effort. People are always looking for unique, pretty things to put around their homes as reminders of people who love them! So here’s your chance to contribute, I promise your present won’t be in vain.

Here’s what you do:

+ Find a beautiful photo, either online (try here, here and here) or of your own creation

+ Look for one that would be special to the person: either a photo of them, their family, or just a beautiful landscape or image of something they really love.

+ Get your hands on a frame! Idea: see if you can find one at Goodwill or a thrift store and spray paint it a pretty colour. Fun fun fun.

And there you have it. A lovely reminder of you and your love!

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2. Baked Goods

Photo thanks to booleansplit

One of my favourite gift options for the holidays is baked goodies. Cheap, easy, adorable, thoughtful, it’s the perfect gift! Plus, there are so many fun and creative ways to package your treats.

+ My top picks? Cookies of any variety, cupcakes, squares, holiday-themed bark (try candy cane, maple, white chocolate & cranberries..the list goes on!), if you’re ambitious – or you only have a few gifts to give – pie, cakes, pumpkin breads, biscotti, chocolates (truffles, brownies, mmm)! Am I making you hungry yet? Good, that means your giftee will be just as amazed and delighted by your present.

+ Wrap them up in cute ways! Find an old tin with a cute pattern on it, line it with wax paper and fill with goodies. Or get a pretty plate and stack it high, then wrap the whole thing with cellophane and a pretty bow. Or how about buying a pretty purse or bag or cute little Christmas stocking and stuffing it full of treats?

You do that, and visions of sugar plums will be dancing in their heads.

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3. Do-it-Themselves Baked Goods!

Photo thanks to photoann

Another fun and easy idea is to create a cute little package for someone to make themselves their own treats on a cold winter’s night. Even if they are self-professed non-bakers, they will definitely be grateful if you package up all the ingredients for them and include a short recipe. :) Here are some ideas:

+ Get a cute mug, and fill it with the ingredients for Microwave Chocolate Cake. Attach a little hand-written card listing the steps in how to make it!

+ Package together a gourmet hot chocolate mix, complete with an adorable cup and plenty of mini marshmellows

+ Fill a mason jar in layers with the ingredients for a yummy cookie (sugars, flours, chocolate chips, extras) and affix the recipe to the side. Try this adorable recipe from Bakerella!

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4. A Token of Your Talents

Photo thanks to ummella

What’s something you’re really good at? Don’t say you’re not good at anything. I know you are. Why not use that special talent to create something special for everyone on your list?

If you’re an artist (even an amateur!), draw/paint/sketch/pastel/sculpt.

If you enjoy taking pictures, see #1.

If you’re a writer, dream up a short story (or a long one), get it printed (try here) and gift it.

If you like to knit, create some fluffy mittens or a scarf.

If you’re a musician, record some holiday music on your computer or online!

..You get the point, right? The point is: no matter what you’re good at, and no matter what you think of the finished product or its caliber, the receiver of these gifts will be astonished. They will cherish them forever, because they came straight from the heart, wrapped up in love. :)

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5. Bath Products

Photo thanks to cyron

Again, don’t freak out about how DIY this sounds. It doesn’t have to be super complicated or stressful! Here are a few recipes to make some delectable lotions and potions for everyone on your list:

Bath bombs (so expensive at Lush, so cheap DIY – I read that citric acid = lemon juice for our purposes)

Bath salts (mmm, I want to add peppermint oil to mine!)

Lemon & honey body scrub

Sugar face scrub

Check out tons more great ideas for slightly more complicated recipes here :)

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And you’re done!

See! That wasn’t too scary, now was it? Just think how nice it would feel to gift something straight from your heart, made with your own two hands. I’d say that’d be living the true spirit of the holidays. :) Hope you were inspired!

Any other ideas for DIY gifts? I’d love to hear them!

 

xoxo,


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Holiday Gift Guide 2010: Men in Your Life

Alright! Now that it’s officially December, I am definitely allowed to start daydreaming and brainstorming about what to buy or make for my loved ones. While I believe that the best gifts are thoughtful ones, especially if you create them yourself, I realize that making presents for everyone on your list could be a bit time consuming, especially around exam season!

..Which is why I’ve put together a little list of things you could purchase for any guy in your life: brother, father, lover. These items really spark my giving spirit: they’re all beautifully made and would (hopefully!) make the receiver’s day just a little bit brighter every time they were used. Voila:

Music by Andrew Zuckerman – $31.50

Bormioli Wine Decanter – $59

Cotton corduroy shirt from Banana Republic – $69.50

iPod Nano 6th Generation – $159

Leather bound journal – $23

Bodum Bistro juicer – $69.95

Personalized M&Ms – from $8.49

Burberry Cashmere Check scarf – $335

Ralph Lauren Big Pony Colognes – $50 each

Plus anything that pertains specifically to the man you’re buying for. For example, my Dad loves to read, so maybe I’ll get him the latest Grisham or Connelly thriller. Or an universal remote for the flatscreen he’s thinking of buying. Or a really, really nice pen. For my boyfriend? Vintage comic books or gourmet coffee or a wooden guitar pick. Choose something personal and awesome!

Okay, that’s all for my inspiration. I’d love to hear what you’re thinking of buying for the men in your lives! Let me know, if you want.

I’ll be posting a list for the women in your life soon, so stay tuned. :)

xoxo,




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What to Bring to Your Dorm Room!

[This post is the last in my Back to School Series]

So you’re going off to University. You must be terrified. Holy moly! Even as I was packing my bags this year, I was remembering my sheer terror as I packed them last year. Luckily, for me that has passed, but maybe you’re still feeling that way? All I can say is: it’s going to be okay! And read this if you want more encouragement. :)

As my last post in my very fun-to-write back to school series, I’m talking about what to bring.

Dorm Room Necessities

 

My dorm room!
My dorm room!

 

Besides the obvious – school supplies, bedding, books and knicknacks – there are tons of things that fill the average dorm room. Food, snacks, and beer abound, along with dirty laundry and stacks of paper. Depending on the size of your room, it could be neater (small space = higher organization!), but nonetheless, most dorm rooms are crammed full of lots of goodies. Now, I know you’ve been scouring the articles online about what else you might need, and you’ve probably heard it all. In case you haven’t though, here are a few awesome lists of what to bring: very comprehensive!

But maybe you’ve read it all before, and want my personal opinion on the subject. The verdict: for rez, you don’t need that much stuff!! I know how exciting it is to be moving away, and I know you want to take everything with you (I sure did..). But remember, you’ll be moving home for the summer most likely, so pack light! I had way, way too much stuff when I moved home! So besides the absolute essentials and a few homey touches, here are my picks for enjoyable dorm living:

 

Journal

 

On a notebook, far, far away
Image by midnightglory via Flickr

 

For me, one of the most indispensable items to have in your toolkit. Even if you can’t manage to journal every day about your crazy adventures, it’s still incredibly useful for when you feel sad or scared or just plain frustrated! I swear by my journal, and always pick ones that are bright and happy. You could also use a sombre Moleskine to record all your seriously serious thoughts.. :)

Plate, cup and cutlery


Because who knows when you’ll be munching on some real Thanksgiving dinner or lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry sauce or a full Hanukkah feast? (Yes, all of which occurred my first year, along with countless brownies, cookies, muffins and other munchies.) Always be prepared! Who knows when the opportunity for food will come along?

 

Sleeping Bag

 

 

A person in a sleeping bag
Image via Wikipedia

 

Very useful! Bring with you when you visit friends, or when they visit you! Also can be used for extra warmth if you live somewhere ridiculously cold.

Earplugs

 

iPod Earplugs
Image by wmbreedveld via Flickr

 

So important! Who knows when the guy directly above you will blast Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin until two in the morning, while bouncing a tennis ball against his wall. Oh wait, I know when he’ll do that! Every stinking night. Avoid the drama and use earplugs. Use them when an ultimate frisbee tournament goes on for a month, every night, until midnight. Use them when you’re at the library for total peace. Love earplugs. Totally a necessity.

 

Flat plastic storage boxes

 

31 January 2007 (2): Stacking Boxes
Image by Ulleskelf via Flickr

 

These are perfect when you have a small space. They fit so neatly under any dorm bed and can act as your little pantry/pharmacy for the year. I kept extra kleenex boxes, contact solution, extra lightbulbs, and way more tucked into those handy little spaces. Great use of space, especially when you don’t have much!

Extra floor lamp

 

IKEA Lamp
Image by Matzelchen via Flickr

 

Ooh. So indispensable for me first year. When it gets dark at 5 in the winter, I get thoroughly depressed, especially if all the lighting I have is an overhead light and a desk lamp. Not feeling it. I favour tall floor lamps, cheap at Ikea that can stand in one corner of your room and cast a loving glow over the whole space. Lovely. :)

 

Rug

 

Afghanmatta.jpg
Image via Wikipedia

 

My rugs kept my feet warm, my room colourful and my floors cleaner. Love rugs. Yay rugs!

 

Your musical instrument

 

 

DanElectro & Kay Guitars - Ottawa 01 08
Image by Mikey G Ottawa via Flickr

 

I found that playing my guitar was a huge stress-reliever last year. anytime I felt overwhelmed, I could just reach into the corner of my room and strum away. I also play the piano, and nearer to the end of the year I started playing the pianos downstairs in our rez. If you don’t play an instrument, sorry! But I really recommend bringing yours if you do have one.

Related Articles

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How exciting!

Isn’t it fabulous to move into a new place and start making it your own?! I love that feeling of settling in somewhere so much, of laying all your things our and getting organized and making everything look absolutely gorgeous! I’m moving into my very first apartment tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited to make it wonderfully mine. I’ll keep you posted on that front!

What do you think about my picks for comfy dorm living? What changed your life when you were living in a tiny room? Let me know!

Good luck with the transition my loves!

xoxo,


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