COLLEGE LIFE.

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How to Make Money Off Your Closet

Spring cleaning might be over, but if you’re like me, graduating from college and moving to a new city, it is only beginning. As someone with a tendency to hoard things, I have trouble letting go to that hot pink Kate Spade handbag that I haven’t worn since Freshmen year. Not anymore! I have found a few amazing ways to make money off the items in my closet.

Now I have some free space, extra cash, and a lot less to move to my soon-to-be tiny New York City apartment.

Where to Sell Designer Items: Poshmark

The Poshmark app is incredibly easy to use and perfect to sell any items that were originally $50 or more.

Shoppers can make offers on your items, comment questions, and even bundle for discounts. My favorite part of this interaction is also that you can make counteroffers and see what your earnings would be every step of the way.

If an item sells for under $15, they keep $2.95. If you sell for over $15, they keep 20%. I have found this to be fair and honestly less than most consignment shops where you have the hassle of going in person and not being able to market your goods.

I have made five sales so far and could not be happier. When an item sells, you are emailed a shipping label. You print it and mail the item. It is literally that easy!

Check out my Poshmark Closet!

Where to Sell Fast Fashion: Plato’s Closet

I love Forever 21 and H&M as much as the next girl, but do not have the patience to try to resell a $15 item on Poshmark. The amount you would make is not worth the hassle, in my opinion, so I love Plato’s Closet! You can bring in literal trashbags full of clothing items and they choose what they want.

In my experience, they offer $2-$8 depending on the item and condition of it. While they can be somewhat picky about wear, I find that these rates are great to get rid of those items that you just do not wear frequently.

MY GOAL

As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. That includes making money back on items that are sitting around clogging up your closet! I hope that this post gave you an idea of how you can sell some of your items and turn your closet into your bank!

~ALANA ROBIN

Create a Healthy Lifestyle in 21 Days

I’ve heard it said that it takes 21 days to create a habit. So after continuously hearing my vegetarian friends talk about how they had to make sure they ate enough protein in a day, I decided I should start thinking about what I eat each day and put a little more effort into living a healthy lifestyle.

I have always thought about making a healthy choice when eating or picking between two options, but I never actively thought about the variety of foods I was putting into my body in a 24 hour period. With only a limited amount of time standing between me and “adulthood” (aka college graduation), I decided it was time to make a change for the better.

Why You Should Track Your Food for 21 Days

Each meal, I opened the “MyFitnessPal” app to log the ingredients within my meal. After I log them, I view the nutrients in each item. While its good to sometimes see the calorie count, seeing the nutrients is far more important and calories can be misleading.

At the end of the first day, I looked to see where I was at. My carbohydrate, cholesterol, and sodium intakes were above the suggested goal. The following day, my cholesterol, fat, and vitamin A & C intakes were above the suggested goal. That confirmed my belief that I had no idea what I was eating, so I decided to start looking at the nutrients in food before eating it and make active decisions about what to eat.

What a Typical Day of Eating Now Looks Like For Me

Breakfast

  • Light and Fit Greek Yogurt: High in Protein!
  • Coffee with 1 TBSP of Creamer: Creamers not great for you, so moderation is key. I used to just dump in a lot…now I make an effort to not have more than I need.

Or

  • Half a Bagel with 1 TBSP of Peanut Butter: for days when it will be awhile until lunch, I eat this for a more filling breakfast!

Lunch

  • Soup or a Sandwich: I eat lunch on campus, so now I try to go easy on a sauce (pesto, not pesto mayo) and choose a lighter multigrain bread option instead of a sub roll. Small choices make a difference in your overall health!

Dinner

  • Stir Fry: 1 Cup of Brown Rice, 3 Oz. Tofu, 1 Cup of Brussel Sprouts, canned corn, canned black beans with soy or teriyaki sauce. I mix up which veggies I use and sometimes use chicken breast or quinoa, but this is a great meal! The rice makes it filling with a bit of a carbohydrate, but the other ingredients are wonderful for protein and various vitamins.

Snacks

I try to eat only two or three of the following snacks each day:

  • Skinny Popcorn
  • Peanut Butter and a Banana
  • Oreos (just one or two!)
  • Annies Cheddar Bunnies
  • GoMacro Bars

Cheat Foods That Aren’t Cheats

La Croix: I like soda and juice. Its a fact. But the chemicals in soda and the sugars in juice mean one cup of OJ is all I can really let myself have each day. La Croix is perfect for when I’m craving a fruity or bubbly beverage because it is all natural and sugar free.

Chocolate Rice Cakes: These are great when you need your chocolate fix because they are a bit filling and super delicious with chocolatey goodness.

Pick the Right Snacks to Bring to Campus

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One struggle to a balanced diet for me is that I am consistently reaching for snacks on campus that aren’t as good for me as I thought. Recently, GoMacro reached out to me and offered me some of their bars to sample. It is safe to say, I am extremely impressed. Their goal is to not sacrifice taste for nutrition, which I am all about! Especially since I have been working on improving my own overall nutrition.

My favorite flavor is the Sunny Uplift. Like the name says, it is the perfect pick me up during days when I have classes for 5 hours and need something to hold me over until my late lunch. Their bars are vegan, gluten free, soy free, organic, and all around delicious. I would highly recommend the protein bars if you find that your diet could use some extra nutrients!

Shop their whole collection, or check out the new line of vegan bars!

The Key to Success

This post is not about minimizing the number of calories you eat to lose weight fast. This post is about watching what you eat to make healthier, but still realistic, decisions in what you eat each day. For me, tracking my food has helped me to find out whats actually in the foods I am eating and where I can get my nutrients from, like the GoMacro bars. In addition, it has helped me to eliminate “bored snacking” aka when I take a study break and mindlessly eat whatever is on my shelf.

~Alana Robin

Goals for 2017 Success!

After a few weeks at home de-stressing from a long semester, I was thrilled to ring in 2017 last night! Now that the year has started it is time to set some goals for 2017. For the past couple of years, I have been setting goals to accomplish in 2017 instead of resolutions. I find goals easier to accomplish! Unlike resolutions, you can break a goal, so there’s no giving up. Some of my goals I am 99% sure I will accomplish, but others are harder.

Milestone Goals for 2017

  • Graduate from College
  • Move to New York City
  • Start my Career

Travel Goals for 2017

  • Go to at least 3 states I have never been
  • Travel Europe and try new foods along the way

Fitness Goals for 2017

  • Run a 5K without stopping to walk
  • Run a 10K (let’s be real- I will have to stop and walk a bit)
  • Complete a Sprint Triathlon (Swim 0.5 mi, Bike 12.4 mi, Run 3.1 mi)
  • Go to the gym/run everyday for 1 month

Foodie Goals for 2017

  • Develop 3 creative (and filling!) salad recipes for the blog
  • Go one month without Pizza (I love pizza. This will be very difficult.)
  • Try one new restaurant every week for a month
  • Go two weeks without eating out (I know I won’t be able to do a month)

Financial Goals for 2017

  • Save 3 months worth of expenses in an emergency fund
  • Don’t buy anything but food for one month (gotta curb that shopping obsession)
  • Keep track of my budgets each month

I encourage you all to set some goals for yourself and check them off this year. They are a great way to stay motivated and be the best you!

Throughout the year, I will be coming back to this post to give updates and will also be posting about some of my accomplishments as full posts! Stay tuned and let me know what your major goals are in the comments.

~Alana Robin

College Gift Guide for Girls

Thanksgiving is over, which means the retail world is in full on holiday season. Personally, I love the holidays and shopping for gifts. My mom and I always spend Black Friday at the mall shopping for everyone on our list, and−despite the crowds−I love picking out fun presents for family and friends. Plus, Black Friday gives you a little kick in the butt to make quick decisions and move on, instead of dwelling on one gift for too long. Seeing as I am already in the holiday gift giving mode, I thought I would make a college gift guide for girls that has a wide variety of items for various budgets and relationships.

Gifts For Your College Daughter

The Powered Headboard

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Picture me. Freshmen year. Dangling off the side of my twin bed trying to reach my phone. I know, not a pretty vision. Most dorms, do not have outlets in sensible locations, so it becomes extremely difficult to reach your phone or even computer charger to your bed. As many college girls know, your bed is your main work space, so this is a problem.

I was lucky enough to have Cheyenne Products reach out to me to try their powered headboard. Guys, I am so impressed. I wish I had this as a freshmen to help me through those long days of reaching a few feet from my bed and trying to balance.

This headboard is equipped with a long cord out the bottom to plug into a far away outlet with a regular plug and 2 USB ports on the top. It also comes with mounting screws and command strips so you can pick how to hang it up! I used the command strips for easy removal. It is an amazing gift in the under $150 range for your High School Senior or College Freshmen!

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Beats by Dre

I personally do not have Beats, but most of my friends do. These headphones are supposed to be the best option for when you’re in a crowded library because they can drown out the noise around you and enable you to focus. A lot of my friends won’t leave the house without them, so they are great gift in the $100-300 range, depending on which model you purchase.

Beauty Subscriptions

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Beauty subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving. There are a few options and they can be 100% customized to your budget, which is perfect! You can gift someone one month, two months, three, a year, whatever you want, and they keep showing up on their doorstep so the fun doesn’t end at your holiday celebration.

$10 Subscriptions

  • Ipsy: I am subscribed to Ipsy and love it for a few small samples of wonderful makeup brands. If you want a peak into what to expect, check out my September or November reviews.
  • Birchbox: I have never subscribed to Birchbox, but I have been to the NYC store.  They have a great assortment of products from skincare to makeup to hair care and arrive in a cute box each month.

$21 Subscriptions

  • Glossybox: This box has larger products from the same and some more luxurious brands than Ipsy and Birchbox. I’ve been watching reviews of this box for ages and think it consistently has wonderful products. The best part? You get a discount the longer you subscribe.
  • Boxycharm: This box also provides larger products from luxurious brands. For $21 a month, it seems like a great box to give as a gift. Your daughter—or friend/ niece/sister—will get to try out full sizes of some fabulous beauty products. Based on the law of competition, they also provide discounts the longer you subscribe.

Gifts for Your College Friends

Trendy Jewelry

Oh hey, Forever 21. You have such cute and trendy jewelry for under $5. If you have a secret santa or gift exchange coming up, trendy jewelry is the perfect gift because it is affordable, but still useful for whoever you give it to!

Quirky Mugs

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Who doesn’t love hot chocolate on a cold day when you’re on a budget and can’t turn the heat up much higher? Quirky mugs are the perfect gift for friends, and if you go to TJMaxx, they can be under $5 as well!

TV Fan Shirts

My best friend got me a Bachelor shirt for my birthday, and I thought it was the perfect gift. We always watch the show together, so a fun Graphic T was the perfect token of our friendship. Plus, it will be great to wear while we watch when the show returns in January!

Tickets

To a movie, concert, play— whatever is within your budget! It is always fun to give a gift that also serves as a fun outing for you and a friend.

MY GOAL

As always on Sophistication and Sparkles, my goal is to help you get the most out of life during your college years and early twenties. Certain things are worth splurging on—hey, upcoming Spring textbook order—but others aren’t. I hope that this college gift guide gave you some unique and basic gift ideas without breaking the bank!

~Alana Robin