5 things i’ve learned living off campus

As much as I hate to say it, this is my final year at Union. Just in case you haven’t noticed from any of my previous posts, I am obsessed with Union. Like, the same level of that line in the classic Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, It Takes Two: that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of stuff…that’s how I feel about Union. However, as sad as the prospect of leaving Union feels, it also brings plenty of new adventures. So far, my biggest has been living off campus and independently for the first time, and I have definitely learned a lot already.

maura house blog

  1. Your landlord is your best friend. When you no longer have Mom and Dad to fix every single broken appliance, or to help you change that light-bulb or when your basement floods due to burst pipes, that is where your trusty landlord comes in. Cultivating a friendly, mutually respectful relationship with your landlord is rule number one of living on your own, because unlike my parents back in Massachusetts, Paul the Landlord is just one phone call away to help us change the batteries in our smoke detectors (yes, that happened today). As independent as I like to be now that I am a senior, there are still things that I need a little help with, and thanks to my handy dandy landlord, I never need to struggle for too long.
  2. Food is expensive. Now that I don’t have a meal plan, my wallet has become marginally more thin. That being said, I now do all of my own grocery shopping and cooking every day rather than make daily Reamer visits. In the past years, I would splurge at least twice a week on delivery or going out to eat with friends. Now, that luxury has become a thing of the past. I’m a newfound penny-pincher, whose bank account is now reserved for splurging on groceries from Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market rather than Mr. Wasabi delivery.
  3. Club Schaffer is your second home. When you live with six of your best friends, it is absolutely impossible to get any work done, and I really wish I was exaggerating with impossible. As much as I love my housemates, they are way too distracting for me to study at home. I live on the third floor overlooking our living room and kitchen, and the walls are not exactly soundproof. I can hear the TV at all times and every conversation going on below, so the comfort and quiet of Schaffer Library is extremely necessary.
  4. Be nice to your neighbors. I am lucky enough to live surrounded by my best friends. With one common driveway, all of my neighbors are four houses full of friends who make living off-campus that much more fun. However, I do have one non-Union neighbor hugging one side of our house. In a big city like Schenectady, not all of your neighbors are going to be June and Ward Cleaver, and senior year is a good lesson in being a respectful and courteous adult, conscious of how your behavior will affect those around you who may not share the same affinity for frat parties.
  5. Thank your parents. As much as I would like to say I am totally independent – financially and otherwise – that is woefully far from the truth. Having the absolute time off my life off campus as a senior would never have been even remotely possible if it were not for the very generous help from my parents! They are the reason I am even at Union, let alone living in my favorite house in the world, 22.5.

the final summer of back to college shopping

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Brita for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Senior year means quite a few things for me; some are exciting, some are sad and some are bittersweet. One last summer spent shopping to go back to school definitely falls under the bittersweet category. Shopping for my final year at Union College isn't just different because it will be my last time doing it, but also different because this time around, I'm shopping to furnish a house, not a dorm room. As a senior, I'm living off campus in a house with six other girls, responsible now for providing kitchen supplies, living room decor and bathroom toiletries in addition to my usual bedroom furnishing. Although it's certainly more of a financial undertaking, I could not be more excited, and frankly a little bummed my search for the perfect items is over.

Target is always my go-to back to college spot. In fact, it's my go-to everything spot, as I often even do my grocery shopping there while away at school! Never can I ever leave Target without spending at least $50…it's an obsession. Here are some of the products I picked up in my most recent Target back to college spree, this time catered to my house's needs rather than just my dorm room:

  1. Decorative throw pillows – Now that I'm in my own, big room, I get to have a queen sized bed! After three years of squishing into those twin XL sized beds that college campuses are so fond of, I'm loving the fact that I can finally stretch out. It also means I have much more room to furnish my bed with more than just a couple of pillows and a comforter – now I have room for a body pillow, throw pillows and my pillow pet! Target has an awesome selection of throw pillows available both online and in stores. 
  2. Wine rack – As seven 21 and 22-year old girls, we certainly appreciate a glass of wine at the end of a long day. Since kitchen furnishings are now part of my shopping list, I kept an eye out for things that would benefit us all, and a wire wine rack for our kitchen was a perfect item to not only make our space more adorable, but also more practical.
  3. Art Prints– I am obsessed with finding cute prints of quotes I love, and Etsy.com is the best place to find inexpensive prints to frame and hang. Target is my favorite place to find adorable yet cost efficient frames for both individual and collage prints for any room decor. 
  4. Brita® – For the past three years at college, a Brita® (available at Target) water filter has been beyond necessary, but impractical for my living situations. With just a small mini fridge to share between two people, there was never enough room to accommodate one while leaving enough space for the rest of the food and drinks. However, now that I have a full sized fridge and plenty of counter space, a Brita® was a must. Not only is it environmentally efficient, but it also helps keep my wallet full by not needing to buy bottled water for my filtered fix. Instead, I can do it all in the comfort of my own kitchen. 

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a belated birthday blog

On February 4th, at long last, I finally celebrated my 21st birthday! For a college student, turning 21 is basically the Holy Grail. Until I turn 25 and can legally rent a car, this is essentially the last birthday with a significant amount of meaning and privileges attached. As any Union College student would, I of course celebrated the big night at Bomber’s with my best friends, complete with that massive margarita that they gift customers when it is their birthday. Prior to my Bomber’s celebration, my best friends could not have made my day more special. I was presented with all of my favorite snacks at midnight (they know that food is the way to my heart) and when I came home from work, my entire bedroom was decorated! One of my friends even delivered me a Panera breadbowl with broccoli cheddar soup to work for my lunch. Amazing.

This past weekend, my parents came up for dinner on Saturday night, and they took my friends and I to Marotta’s! My mom had even set up little goodie bags for us on our plates before we got there, and it was adorable. Dinner was to die for – I got the lobster ravioli and my first legal drink (Chianti!). It was the perfect way to wrap up a week of birthday celebrations. I have the best friends and family in the world, and I can’t thank them enough for making my 21st the best birthday yet!

the pink pineapple? more like the BEST pineapple!

I am a huge etsy.com lover. Seriously, huge. I once got an amazing ring that had a lightening bolt and Harry Potter’s signature glasses handmade with my birthstone and it was the best day ever. I’m also obsessed with the monograms that people are capable, and as a sorority girl, it’s pretty easy to find really amazing stuff with our deltas and my initials! In Lilly prints, no less! Thus, I stumbled upon The Pink Pineapple…oh my god, you guys. Love. The owner, Katie, is such a sweetheart and literally so great to work with. I could not be more obsessed with my yellow Lilly pocket printed t-shirt with three deltas monogrammed on it! One of my favorite products Katie sells is a shirt with your initials monogrammed on a Lilly print of your state! Are we kidding?! So cool. I also got a super cool new toy for the beach – it’s a monogrammed cup holder for my drink! I’m counting down the days until summer when I can put it to good use on Singing Beach. My next purchase from Katie is definitely going to be the shirts she does with circle monograms and Lilly prints…I’m salivating over them.


Thanks so much Katie at The Pink Pineapple! Everyone check her out! https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThePinkPineappleShop

please help my best friend with her recovery!

This weekend, my best friend in the world was the victim of a hit and run while attempting to hail a cab with her boyfriend in Boston. A car hit her and sent her flying, where she landed on a parked car. She has a concussion, lots of broken bones (collarbone, nose, ribs, etc), stitches and will need surgery on both her leg and her elbow. Anything that you all could donate would be so helpful, as her family is really struggling to figure out how they will be able to cover all of her medical bills. Wishing you the speediest of recoveries, pretty girl. Love you to the moon and back.



most wonderful time of the year…oscar noms!


As most of you may know, I have a huge movie buff. We’re talking human form of iMDB here. It’s kind of a problem. That being said, awards season is my favorite season of all! Now that we are wrapping up the minor leagues (I’m looking at you People/Critics Choice Awards, SAG and Golden Globes) it’s time for the major leagues: The Academy Awards. I’m a complete film snob with super strong opinions regarding who should have been nominated and who should subsequently win, so I figured I would share my thoughts and predictions with you all! I won’t bore you with my predictions for things like foreign film and film editing, because, let’s be serious: I know nothing about film editing and I don’t want to sound like a moron. Plus, I would rant and rave for hours so I will stick to the most important categories. But who knows, maybe some of you might agree with my predictions!

Best Picture:

The nominees for this category are so predictable, which is no surprise given Oscars’ history. Nominations are totally political and often don’t necessary reflect the actual quality of the film which is beyond infuriating…but I digress. Despite some heavy hitters in this category, there are only a few nominees that stand a legitimate chance. The Screen Actor Guild Awards and Golden Globes are very good at predicting who will take home the Oscar, in which case I should be inclined to say American Hustle will end up victorious…but that makes me mad. I have to be honest, I really did not love American Hustle. I’m all about David O. Russell and the same cast of actors he always uses (Lawrence, Adams, Bale and Cooper), but this one just didn’t do it for me. I would be inclined to say Gravity, but I’m a big believer in that if you don’t have someone nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress from the same movie, you probably won’t win. That being said, as much as I hate to admit it, American Hustle will take home the night’s top honor.

Best Actor:

First of all, let me just say how appalled I am that Tom Hanks did not receive a nomination for Saving Mr. Banks or for Captain Phillips. I was devastated. However, even if he had received a nomination, I’m not sure that Hanks would have even taken the award home: this honor belongs to Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Actress:

If Amy Adams wins, I will throw the biggest hissy fit of my life. She was terrible in American Hustle. There, I said it. Sorry Amy Adams but you never would have conned me with that horrific British accent you clumsily utilized throughout the movie. Atrocious. I think this one will be going to Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, which if it means Adams doesn’t get another award, then it is a-okay by me.

Best Supporting Actor:

I would love to see newcomer Barkhad Abdi from Captain Phillips take it home, but unfortunately, I know he won’t. Instead, I think it is inevitable that Jared Leto of Dallas Buyers Club will be the winner, which is wholeheartedly deserved.

Best Supporting Actress:

JLaw, I love you, but you don’t deserve another Oscar this year. Someone had to say it. Yes, you were fabulous in American Hustle, and probably worthy of the nomination, but not worthy of the win. The Oscar will go to Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave.

Best Director:

This one is a toss up, full of some seriously heavy hitters. Scorcese, McQueen and Russell? Come on. Ultimately, however, I think that it will go to Alfonso Cuaron for the wonderfully different and unique Gravity.


Today I got the very exciting news that I have landed the internship I wanted for this summer! I have to say, being offered a dream job my first week back at Union was a very nice way to start off my first term back of junior year. Plus, I’m loving that internship hunting will no longer be a concern for the rest of the year! Such a relief.

Starting in June, I will be working with a program run by the District Attorney’s Office called the Essex County Child Abuse Project. I will be working as a team member with the Family Crimes and Sexual Assault Unit of my county alongside an Assistant District Attorney, a witness advocate, a State Police Officer, a medical official and ECCAP staff to investigate all claims of child abuse, both sexual and physical. Through this position, I will be working to help determine the best course of action for the child and family affected and helping to conduct interviews and investigations.

I could not be more excited to get to work with this wonderful organization doing such necessary and effective work! Is it June, yet?!

child abuse