Archive for the ‘College’ Category

The Gift of Organization

One of my favorite online companies is Levenger. Their tagline is “Tools for Serious Readers” which hooked me right in. Their tools really are great – my friends joke that my husband should be calling them to establish a monthly limit for my spending with them! One of my favorite lines is the “Circa” line of paper and notebooks. You can see it here. The idea is that you can take secure notes (like a spiral notebook) and then move them within a notebook or from notebook to notebook; the flexibility of a three-ring binder without the bulk. The new covers are available in a bright microfiber cloth or a colorful glossy cardboard which is appealing to the younger crowd and makes this a terrific graduation gift idea for the student moving on to college. A bunch of loose paper along with a couple of notebook covers and he/she can travel from class to class with just one notebook and rearrange the notes into separate notebooks once back in the dormitory. Just beware: if you are a reader or writer this is addictive territory!

What is that SMELL!

Dan: I am a college student, and even though I try as hard as possible to stay clean, neat, and organized, sometimes it simply does not happen for me.  Between all of my classes going into full overdrive, missing classes for economics team due to traveling, and socializing; carpet soaks and dusting do not make it in the schedule.  So, to take care of the problem I continually gift myself a bottle of febreze.  It is a great cleaning gift idea because it does not just mask smells that are embedded in clothes, bedding, and carpet but it lifts them out.

Proctor and Gamble has many different products out of the febreze line (there are febreze candles, detergent, spray, aerosal, etc.) and all of them help to freshen up your life a bit.  There has been some controversy as to the overall “wellness” factor associated with febreze.  Containing many artificially inseminated ingredients it is not exactly “green”.  If that is something important to you than do not buy febreze.

Grace: This is definitely a great gift idea for a college student.  My room gets so messy and whenever I want to clean it, I have to ask around and literally beg people to borrow their cleaning materials.  In addition to febreze products, I would definitely recommend either a broom, small vacuum cleaner, or a swiffer, and probably some anti-bacterial wipes.  Even though I don’t spend much time in my room anymore, it’s still nice to come back to a clean living space!

I NEED to get Organized!

Dan: I am really starting to feel the squeeze of college right before Thanksgiving as all my professors try to get as much done as possible before break.  Unfortunately, when you multiply that by five professors all trying to do the same thing the effect is not pleasant.  In due part, I find myself digging through papers, trying to find previous assignments and informational packets.  For the most part, I am quite organized in retrospect of previous semesters, but I am still having a difficult time.  I could really use an organizational system such as a filing cabinet to get my classes together.  For someone like me it would make a wonderful and useful gift.

I could make a drawer a single subject or class (or a file a single subject or class).  Then I can additionally add subsets to the courses such as assignments, notes, and exams.  For the time being I will make due, but if you know someone who has many things to keep track of and does not have the equipment to do it…this is the perfect gift.  It is proven that organization reduces stress and can enhance your productivity.  Many people question how important being organized really is.  It really is that important when it comes down to those rare moments when you need that certain item and cannot find it.

Grace: Dan, I completely agree with this gift.  I’ve always talked about getting some kind of desk or filing cabinet for school, but I’ve never gotten around to it and really regret not buying one.  Although many schools provide desks, there’s no such thing as too much organization!  The best thing about these set of drawers is that you can use them after college too, since they look so nice.  I would definitely recommend them as a gift!

Printing Perfect

Dan: During the summer before entering into my freshman year in college, my parents took me to Staples to find an appropriate printer for my dorm.  Today, there are even more printing and copying choices and it has only been a little over two full calendar years.  However, the two biggest distinctions between printers are whether or not they use ink or are laser printers.  We ended up buying a laser printer due to their cost effective nature; however, if you have a more creative major or career and need color, than a printer using ink would be the better choice.

My samsung ML series printer was a great gift to me from my parents.  My printer has never, let me repeat that, never let me down.  It has never had a paper jam, software problems, etc and has always been trustworthy and most importantly reliable.  The printer itself was between forty and fifty dollars with the toner cartridges costing around sixty dollars.  Sixty dollars might sound terrible, but when one cartridge lasts for more than a year it is actually a steal than having to replace ink cartridges.  If you have a child entering into college or are considering helping out a friend at home or at work then consider a Samsung printer.  It is a necessity in today’s busy world and makes a wonderful and useful gift.

Grace: As someone who does not have a printer at school, I cannot even begin to tell you how useful they are and what a great gift one would be for someone who doesn’t have one, especially if they’re in college.  Finding a reliable printer is incredibly difficult these days and nobody wants to giving someone a gift that will cause them endless stress and grief, so it’s definitely worthwhile to do your research first.  Samsung printers are known for their reliability and good quality, so I, too, would recommend giving one as a gift.

Some People Think…

Dan: Some people think that they do not need a safe place to put their belongings because of a multitude of reasons such as, “I live in a good neighborhood.”  However, no one’s precious belongings deserve to be unsafe and unprotected, especially if your home or apartment does not have a home security system.  This is leads to my next gift recommendation which is some kind of lock box.  Lock boxes that you can find at staples are expensive (around $100) and can easily be picked up and taken away.

This is why I recommend this lock box and file cabinet combination from Ikea. I have one in my apartment room and this is where I keep my things of inherent and greatest importance.  It is extremely heavy once constructed and cannot be picked up and taken away by one person alone.  It was slighlty challenging to put together, but once complete it is totally worth it.  So if you know someone who is not careful with their belongings this would make the greatest gift for them.

Grace: I really like the dual practicality of this gift idea; not only is it a safe place to store items, but it also has all the organizational benefits of a filing cabinet.  For a college student or new home owner, space is fairly limited, so the more things that can be combined into one, the better.  Also, the lock box- filing cabinet combination Dan recommended is very streamline and basic, making it easy to incorporate into any room.  I agree with Dan and think this makes a great gift idea!

Posters are not just for College

Dan: There is a stigma that exists that posters only exist for decorating college dorms and trashy establishments.  However, I find that posters can really personalize any space whether it is the office or your house.  I am in love with music and really nerdy cartoons and books.  Therefore, in order to express the inner geek that I am, I decorate my apartment with streams of guitar posters and star wars models.  I like doing this because it really makes my part of the apartment my own domain.  I feel as if everyone should be true to themselves and do what I did!

This is why I think posters make absolutely excellent gifts.  If you have a friend or family member that you know really well, give them something that shows you know them for who they really are!

Grace: I could really use a poster or two because my dorm room is so empty.  I completley agree that posters make great gifts.  They really add a nice touch to any room, whether it’s a dorm room or just a room in your house.  There are so really nice print-outs of interesting designs and paintings that, when framed, add a very unique, decorative style.  This is a great gift idea!

Cook At School With Ease

Grace: For me, the most difficult part of having to live away from my family isn’t just that I miss them, but I also really miss home-cooked meals!  College food was exciting for about a week my freshman year, and it went downhill after that.  Even just being able to cook at school would be nice, but I don’t have any utensils!

A great multipurpose gift is this Crate and Barrel Kitchen Crock that has all kinds of useful utensils.  I can’t even begin to tell you how annoying it is to have to bake using plastic spoons and my rice cooker; it works, but life would be so much easier if I just had all the utensils to begin with.  This set is not only useful in the college world, but it’s also great for once the recepient leaves school because they won’t have to worry about buying kitchen supplies.  Not to mention, this gift is also great for new homeowners or newlyweds.  There is an endless number of people this gift would be perfect for!

Dan: This is a really great gift idea Grace!  I am somewhat in the same predicament since my roommates and I are missing a few crucial cooking/eating utensils.  Most of our forks, spoons, and knives are hand-downs from our grandparents and don’t even cut because they have not been sharpened in such a long time.  Save your college student despair and furnish them with this great gift.  This gift is really perfect for anyone who is in need of some kitchen utensils.

Scented Candles are not Stale Gifts

Dan: Now that I have my own room at school in my apartment, the way my room smells is because of the way I treat it!  I no longer have a roommate sleeping in the same room as me that I can blame for the “guy” smell.  Therefore, when I went out shopping for things that I needed for the upcoming school year and went out on a limb and bought a Febreze candle.  So far it looks great and smells refreshing as well.

I have always hated super scented candles and air fresheners that constantly release oils into the air.  So if you are not keen on the idea of letting smelly oils evaporate all over your belongings then getting the Febreze candle is a really great gift idea.  Some people think that scented candles are an unoriginal gift idea.  Not so fast!  A lot of people, like myself, need scented candles, and even if you don’t need one, they are very relaxing and can help someone unwind at the end of the day.  You can also have fun buying scented candles.  What is that person’s favorite thing and can that be associated with a candle?

Grace: I love getting scented candles as gifts!  Even if they’re never lit, they add a nice decorative touch to any room.  If you’re willing to spend a little more money on candles, they also have candles that are carved into interesting shapes (such as floating candles carved into flowers) or ones that have other decorative designs within the wax.  Also, if you really want to personalize your gift and have artistic talent, you can even make your own candle holder!  However, I would suggest exercising caution if you’re planning on giving a candle as a gift to a college student because some colleges don’t allow candles in dorms.  The last thing your friend needs is a fine.

Umbrellas are a Necessary Gift

Dan: I had an umbrella but I lost it over a year ago.  Today it was raining and I was sitting in class feeling like I just took a swim in the ocean.  If anyone has been in class soaking wet before because they had to walk in the rain, than you know how I feel.  I have a raincoat but it just does not quite do the job like a trusty umbrella would.  A great gift someone could give to me…cough cough…just kidding…would be an umbrella.

Some people may be thinking that an umbrella would not make a great gift.  However, if you know someone that really needs one or has one that does not work very well an umbrella would be a great gift idea.  Not all umbrellas are made equally and the quality range is quite drastic.  Many umbrellas under the $40 limit can be quite flimsy and have too small a diameter.  Therefore, spending a good amount of money on an umbrella is definitely worth the effort.  Not only will you or someone else be drier in the end, but that umbrella will not have to be replaced anytime soon.

Grace: I absolutely hate getting rained on, so having an umbrella is an absolute necessity for me.  There are a lot of really cute umbrellas these days to choose from too.  I definitely agree with Dan on spending a little bit of money on an umbrella because I have had multiple cheap umbrellas that either fall apart, or during heavy rains, the umbrella fails completely and the water drips through.  I really enjoy this gift idea!

The Gift for a City Dweller

Dan: Hi everyone! I just spent the weekend in West Philadelphia helping my sister move into a new apartment. I now return to you with a new gift idea! A lot of people today (at least in the United States) get around in the car. However, if you live in a congested area like my sister does, it costs an arm and a leg to even get a parking space in a garage. Pretty much said, my sister has no good use for having a car. Sometimes this can be a hassle for her since she cannot easily escape the city whenever she wants to. Luckily, there are options for her to get around the city more quickly than just walking.

A great gift idea for her, and many other city dwellers, would be a bicycle. Not only a bike, but long boards, unicycles, etc are also great transportation gift ideas. The bike does not have to be the greatest made, but there are specifications to consider. Different bikes are designed to handle different conditions. You may assume that a “road bike” is the best gift choice for someone like my sister because she is located in a concrete jungle. However, knowing my sister, she may not be comfortable sharing the road with ruckus drivers. Therefore, I would probably get her a mountain bike or combination bike that features road bike comfort and thicker, more sturdy tires and tubes allowing her to venture onto the sidewalk.

I would personally recommend a combination bike because they usually work for most types of terrain no matter your location. They also usually have a wide array of different gears unlike certain “recreational” combination bikes found around beach communities. Give the gift of exercise and transportation! I would personally recommend Schwinn bikes due to my previous experience with them and their durability.

Grace: Dan, this is a really great gift idea! At school there is really no point in having a car because our campus is so small, but at the same time, it’s annoying to have to walk everywhere. A bike would make my life so much easier! This is the case with many college students, and a bike would make a great graduation gift for an incoming freshman. As Dan also mentioned, bikes are useful outside of college too. For example, at home I live close enough to the center of town that it seems a waste to drive there, but it’s too far to walk; a bike would really settle the difference and I’d be getting exercise and helping the environment!