Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Campus Book Rentals

This post is for all my college girls!

I'm starting college in just a few weeks (eeek!), and I've been wondering about the whole textbook thing. I was just thinking about how I need to find a good textbook website when I came across an email in my inbox from CampusBookRentals.com. They asked me to do a post, and I of course said yes since I figured a lot of you are now in the college textbook market like I am.

So what is CampusBookRentals.com?

According to their website.....
"Renting textbooks can save you a lot of money, and is a far superior alternative to buying your books. You can rent your textbooks without the risk of your books becoming devalued by the end of the semester, and of course, you can easily rent them online. Over 1 million customers rent textbooks from us at over 5,500 college campuses across the nation. Join the movement, pay less for your college books, and save your hard-earned money."

Why use CampusBookRentals.com?

For one, you can save 40-90% off of bookstore prices. They offer free shipping both ways, so you don't even have to pay to ship the books back at the end of the semester. You can highlight in the textbooks. They have flexible renting periods and a 15-day grace period in case you need your book longer than initially anticipated. So you can keep your books up to 15 days longer free of charge! And one of my favorite features is that a portion of the proceeds from each textbook rented is donated to Operation Smile. Operation Smile's mission is to provide free cleft surgeries to "children and young adults born with facial deformities." You can read more about what Operation Smile does here. I just love it when companies give back!

Forbes Magazine also called CampusBookRentals.com "One of America's most promising companies."

How does it work?

Watch this video for more information on how it all works!

What if you don't want to rent your textbooks, or you have to buy them?

CampusBookRentals.com recently launched RentBack.com.

"RentBack is a new initiative that allows students to rent textbooks they own to other students....which is awesome because it makes them 2-4x more money compared to what they'd make through buyback options!"

Here's a little video on how RentBack works.

I want to add in here that I have not yet tried CampusBookRentals.com out myself, but I definitely will be for this upcoming semester. It looks like a great place to buy textbooks, so I just wanted to share it with you all to give you another option when browsing for college books since I know they can be so expensive.

I hope you all found this helpful and that you will check out CampusBookRentals.com. Have a great day!

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions expressed are my own.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shopping & Sweet Treats

On Friday my friend Danielle and I went up to Easton for the day to do some shopping. There is just nothing like Easton around us, so I always look forward to going up there. It was an absolutely gorgeous day too, so we had perfect weather for walking around all of the outdoor shops.

Our first stop was lunch, and we went to Piada. Easton has tons of different restaurants, but I always like going some place that I can't go to back home. That's why I love Piada. It's super unique since it's basically like an Italian Chipotle. You can get a piada, which is a thin piece of Italian dough, and then whatever toppings you want, or you can get a pasta bowl with your choice of toppings. It's SO good. If there was one by me, I would go there a lot. This is my piada with spaghetti, chicken, alfredo sauce, and mozzarella cheese inside. Yum!

So pretty!

We went in this store that sold all things made in Ohio. It was actually super neat and had tons of jams and syrups that I was dying to try (I'm actually wishing I had picked up the Cinnamon Sticky Bun Syrup!). It was just such a cute store, and when we saw that they were selling homemade gourmet cotton candy, we had to get some! I haven't tried mine yet, but Danielle told me it was really good, so I'm super excited to dig into it later.

They even have palm trees at Easton. PALM TREES IN OHIO. Just another reason Easton is one of my favorite places......

After some shopping, we stopped in Jeni's to get some ice cream. I had heard of Jeni's before, so when I saw that one recently opened at Easton, I was so excited.

The inside of the shop was so cute.

All of their flavors are super unique too - I wanted to try them all! You don't just go in and order chocolate or vanilla - the flavors are way fancier than that. I ended up getting a combination of Salty Caramel and Dark Chocolate, which was delicious.

An American Girl store just recently opened up at Easton as well. Where was this when I was 8?!

I was American Girl obsessed when I was little, so we had to go in and reminisce on our childhood.

Danielle and I both decided that we want a job just doing doll hair all day.

I just love the overall feel of Easton and all of the little streets lined with store fronts.

We stopped in this little chocolate boutique called Le Chocoholique. I was stunned with how gorgeous their chocolates were. Each one was hand crafted to perfection. The store itself was really adorable with couches and a fireplace. Looking at this display case, it's hard to even tell they are chocolates with how exquisite they were.

The chocolates were pricey, but I'm a bit of a chocolate snob. And being a baker, I can totally appreciate the work that went into them and the fact that they need to charge more for the time put into it. I bought the Red Velvet truffle, and it was divine.

We walked around and shopped for hours since the place is so big.

We had dinner at the California Pizza Kitchen, and the pizza we split was super yummy.

Before heading out, we had to stop and buy a few more goodies to take home. I got a Peanut Butter and Chocolate cookie from Cheryl's that I had this afternoon.

We also popped in Sugardaddy's, which is one of my favorite places to go at Easton.

I'm a creature of habit and got the Rich Mint Brownie, which is what I always get. It's just so good though.

I had a very successful day of shopping, and the sales were great. I love scoring good deals. I'm thinking of doing a post soon on the things I bought because I got a few inexpensive wardrobe staples as well as some other fun things!

It was such a fun day filled with friends, shopping, and sweets - what else could you ask for?!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Life = Good

This past weekend my parents went out of town on an adults-only trip with some of their friends. That left me with a long weekend (4 nights) all to myself. At first I wasn't sure how I was going to like it, but it ended up being fun! Not that I didn't miss my family (because I did), but it almost felt like a little mini vacation getting to do a lot of things on my own. Talk about a whole lot of freedom!

On Saturday I went for a nice long walk in my neighborhood with my iPod cranked. Not something I usually do, but it was fun.

I went out to the BonBonerie in the afternoon. It's one of my favorite bakeries around here, but I really don't go that often because it's off the beaten path, so I made the special detour!

There were so many good things to choose from.

I was torn between one of their signature cookies (my favorite) and a macaron. I ended up going with the cookie. I'll just have to go back soon and try the macaron and some of the other things :)

Then I headed out the mall. I love shopping with other people, but I admit that sometimes it's just as enjoyable going by myself - ha! It's nice to be able to go wherever you want and spend as much time shopping in whatever store you feel like.

I went out there with the mindset that I would only buy a new book at the bookstore (which I did). I'm going shopping with my friend tomorrow, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money. So this was a window shopping trip. And I did do some window shopping. I saw this super cute book at Anthropology that is right up my alley, but I passed on it thinking I could maybe pick it up tomorrow.

But then I ended up deviating from the plan a bit - ha! There were such good sales that I just couldn't pass up some of the deals. When I went to Ulta, I realized I had a coupon for $3.50 off a $10 purchase. Maybelline products were also BOGO 50% off , and I've been wanting to pick up a few Maybelline things. So I ended up getting over $13 worth of products for $7! Then Sephora had their OPI nail polish line 50% off. You never see Sephora having a good sale like that, especially on OPI, so I just had to pick up a new bottle. I also found a cute cardigan at Macy's that was originally $44 that I got for $4 after discounts. WHAT? 90% off! Hello! With deals that good, it would have been a sin to say no. Right?

There was one point where I was browsing in Barnes & Noble after just shopping in Ulta (one of my simple pleasures in life), I was having a little conversation on Instagram with one of the girls I met on orientation talking about stuff we want to do together in the fall (so fun!), and I had just read two texts from friends about doing something the next day. It was one of those moments where my heart felt so full that I thought it would burst. I love those times when everything seems just perfect in life.

I also found a cupcake bakery right by the mall that I didn't even know existed! I know, I know, two bakeries in one day. I'm crazy. My rationale was that since my parents were on vacation, I was basically on vacation too. And on vacation we do things like eat lots of dessert and have ice cream every day. So I was just acting like I was on vacation. See, totally normal. Makes sense to you too, right? :)

It was a cute little shop that I would definitely go back to. Gigi's is a national chain, but I just never knew we had one. How cute is their packaging?

They really like their frosting apparently. I got the Red Velvet (duh!), but I would love to try some of the other flavors. I liked their Red Velvet - the frosting was good even though there was so much of it. I didn't think the icing was too overpowering, which was good.

Sunday afternoon I went to the park and took a walk by myself. It was such a perfect afternoon!

I hung out with my favorite pup some too.

I had dinner that night with a few friends as well. Then we swung by Graeter's since it was National Ice Cream Day and their cones were $1.43. Yum!

On my way home from work Monday it started absolutely pouring. As in, I was going 25 in a 45 because I could barely see anything. And then I took this picture less than half an hour later. Clear and sunny! Our weather is SO bipolar.

Since the storm had passed so quick, I went to Target that night just to look around, and I ended up leaving with this book. I used to get this devotional e-mailed to me every morning, and I really enjoyed it. With not getting the e-mails though, I never look at them anymore, and I wanted to get back into it. I'm excited to start my day off with a little inspiration every morning now :)

I also went through the Chick-fil-a drive thru to get a Cookies & Creme shake, which is my absolute favorite. A shake always makes for a better day!

On Tuesday afternoon I went swimming with one of my friends and had so much fun! I haven't had a lot of time to swim this summer, so it was nice to just relax and talk.

That night I curled up in bed early with Coco and turned on a movie. I watched lots of movies these past few days (including Christmas Vacation which I have to watch at least once every summer - ha!). I also had the perk of sleeping in my parents' queen size bed with the flat screen TV. I'm going to miss that......

I woke up the next morning with my sweet puppy snuggled up right next to me. Is there anything better?

Silly selfies before work!

My parents came home last night with a few goodies, including a big tub of my favorite Harry & David chocolate fruit. I'm pretty sure I could eat my weight in this stuff :)

It was a little weird being home by myself these past few days. I had to take care of the dog, and make sure the house was all locked up, do the dishes, and make myself dinner. It was a lot of responsibility I'm not used to - ha! But even though I definitely had fun, I'm even more happy to have my family back home!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I feel like I have had a lot of time to think lately. I find my mind just wandering a lot about a bunch of different things.

But lately my mind has been guiding me towards thoughts of the past a lot.

And I've been feeling pretty nostalgic about it.

I have been thinking a LOT about high school and the steadily approaching college situation.

I feel like it's finally starting to sink in that I'm completely 100% done with high school. I'm never going back. I find myself reminiscing about high school stuff. I think about the teachers I may never see again. I smile a bit when I remember the way we used to joke around in so many of my classes. And then I start to get sad when I am reminded of all the incredibly sweet people who came into my life in the past four years.

It seems kind of unfair, you know?

I meet new people and make new friendships (some of which I only made in the past year or so), and now I feel like those relationships are being taken from me.

Sure, I'll stay in touch with high school friends over Facebook and Twitter and through Instagram and texting. But that's not the same.

Technology is nice, but it's no where close to being able to share real laughter with those people.

When I graduated, college still seemed kind of far away. I mean, three months is a decent amount of time. Everyone was talking about senior trips and graduation parties back then.

Now suddenly the topic of conversation has turned into class schedules, orientation, and move in dates. WHAT?!

Where did the time go? How is it that I only have about a month until some of my friends leave this state completely?

There are still things I want to do and memories I want to make before college starts.

The girls I ate lunch with this year want to get together for one last meal together. I am certainly excited for that, but a piece of me is sad about it at the same time. I know that when we walk away from that meal, there is a good chance that we'll never get back together for another one.

It's not that we aren't friends or that we will no longer get along. Instead, I have found that life often tends to get in the way of things a bit.

My grade school friends had wanted to get together one last time during the school year before we headed off to college, and that never happened.

People naturally grow apart, and I think that's what is making me so nostalgic.

There are people in my life now that I don't want to grow apart from.

I am afraid of the uncertainty that comes with the distance of college.

I admit that I don't have a TON of friends. But the friends I do have? They are real, and they have shown me what it means to be a friend. I've got a few quality friends, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So the nostalgia has been creeping in as reality has finally hit me. I don't think it's going to go away super fast either. In fact, I think there will always be a little place in my heart that hurts a little bit when I think back on high school. Not because it was a hard, depressing time, but because it was so good that I didn't want to leave.

So for now I'm taking it one day at a time, and my time hasn't run out quite yet.

I'm praying for guidance and strength as I near a huge transitional time in my life.

I'm also praying that maybe, just maybe, this quote is true......

Monday, July 22, 2013

Recent Randoms

Just dropping in real quick today to do a post on some recent randoms that have been happening lately.

Look at my sweet girl - I love her so much!

A few weeks ago my mom and I babysat my cousin Savannah. She's just so cute :)

She loved chewing on ice!

My family and I went bike riding a few Saturdays ago. We have never just gone and rode bikes for exercise. And we rode for 8 miles. I don't know what was wrong with us - ha! It was hot, but I definitely got in a good workout.

After a rough and rainy start to summer, we've had pretty good weather this past week. It's been hot, but rain-free.

I'm still dealing with my wisdom teeth removal. I'm getting a little better each day. I was happy that I didn't get too swollen, and the little swelling I did experience was easily covered up with a little bronzer and highlighter :) In fact, the day after I got them out my mom and I went out to Rookwood and had lunch at First Watch. I hadn't been expecting to be able to get out that soon. I got fruit crepes which were easy to chew and super delicious after a day of all liquid food.

I've been doing a lot of reading lately too. I just finished up these two books - Confessions of a Shopaholic and Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe. I really enjoyed them both since they were both based on topics I love - shopping and baking!

This has been my view for the last few days. In fact, I'm sitting in bed with Coco at my feet as I type this.

I mentioned in one of my other recent posts (here) that I bit the bullet and finally bought a bubble necklace. I had always liked them, but I never wanted to pay the money because I didn't think I would get much wear out of it. I thought that such a large statement necklace wouldn't go with a lot and that it would just sit in the back of my closet. Since I got it, I've already worn it twice though. I think it's going to be more versatile than I initially thought. When I put this top on the other day, it needed something, and the bubble was exactly what it needed!

My family and I went Friday night to visit our family friend's new baby. I babysit his sister a lot, so I can't wait to get to be friends with him too!

The last few weeks have been fun and relaxing. Getting my wisdom teeth out wasn't fun, but it gave me a lot of opportunities to chill, which I was grateful for since I haven't done a ton of that this summer. I also got to swim for the first time in Cincinnati this year. I had been swimming on both of my vacations, but not at home! I'm glad the weather is finally turning around.

I hope you all are having as good of a summer as I am!