14 Essentials For Your First Apartment

Live It Up With These 14 Essentials For Your First Apartment — You're Welcome, Sis

This is the time to take advantage of the fact that you're not living in a dorm or sorority house for the upcoming school year. I'm here to tell you the things that you MUST have over before anything else.

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There are so many items that you can get for your apartment, especially if it's your first apartment — you might go a little overboard. I'm here to give a little guidance even though I haven't lived in my own apartment yet (but will be very soon) I have thought about what I need to have or what I want to have. This is my happy medium list of your needs and wants.

1. Essential oil diffuser

I was very torn deciding between a candle and a diffuser, but with a diffuser, you can put whatever scents in it that you want and with candles, you have to have a few because each scent represents a different mood, so you would essentially become a candle hoarder, and no one needs that. A diffuser is perfect to have in your room on your bedside table to use whenever I find it the most beneficial when you are trying to relax.

2. Coffee pot

Okay, I know a lot of people are Keurig fans, but hear me out for a sec. We all used our Keurig in the dorms and what not, so why not take the opportunity to make GOOD coffee? My favorite smell in the morning is fresh coffee — it really wakes me up. If you're going to have your own kitchen next semester, take up that counter space and get yourself a coffee pot!

3. Wall art

I'm very excited to put things on my wall and decorate my space the way I've always wanted. I feel like pictures, a tapestry, or any type of art can really make your room feel "homey" and personal. When I finally move into my apartment, I plan on buying picture collages to hang on my wall, cute framed paintings/pictures to hang in my bathroom and I have to have the Jersey Shore tapestry — obviously because my name is Sam, duh.

4. Hanging lights

You all know what lights I'm talking about! You know the pictures with girls standing in front of the strings of lights on their wall? Yeah, these are the lights. They are perfect for smaller walls because then, you give yourself a designated space to take cute pictures in your own apartment. Or, you can hang them behind your bed kind of as a headboard, which is what I plan on doing.

5. Nightstand

This is something I can't wait to have again! My nightstand is one of my favorite parts of my bedroom because I put everything on it, and I love having that one spot. Everyone has a junk drawer or area they always put their stuff. They know where to find it — the nightstand is mine. I cannot wait to have my junk drawer back as well as a spot to put an actual lamp.

6. Area rug

This is something that can be so cute for your living room. Yeah, carpet is nice and all, but an area rug can be so much cuter! You can match your couch pillows and throw blankets to your area rug to bring the whole room together, giving those interior designer vibes.

7. Detergent

This is a funny one. I know most of us have used Tide pods for the last two years. Boy, am I ready for a change! I am so desperate to use detergent at this point — I would do it if I wasn't worried about ruining my clothes in our nasty washing machines. If you don't know, Tide pods are the worst because they have a tendency to explode all over your clothes, ultimately ruining them. It sucks that you can't rewash them because you know it'll just happen again, so you can understand why my 20-year-old self is excited to use detergent.

8. Britta box

I love Brittas! Sadly, I wasn't able to use one this year because we have a mini fridge, and I don't feel like sharing my personal items with my entire house. So I plan on using that Britta box that fits perfectly on the top shelf of your fridge, so if you need water, you don't need to take the box out. Super convenient and worth it!

9. Shower mat

I may be basic, but I'm definitely not the only one who is excited to have their own bathroom (sorry if you still have to share, I feel your pain). I am literally ecstatic about not sharing a bathroom and getting to decorate it the way I want. I've always wanted a cute bath mat and being a basic gal, I will definitely buy the 'Get Naked' one from Urban Outfitters. Sorry, not sorry.

10. Bathroom cart

This will be super helpful for more storage in the bathroom! I have so many different bathroom items and whatnot that there is absolutely no way everything will fit in my bathroom next year without additional storage.

11. Over-the-door shoe rack

I have about 9475303745 pairs of shoes, and I need the most storage for them as possible. So, an over-the-door shoe rack is perfect for most of my shoes and making them more accessible rather than leaving them on the floor. I love having them hang over the door because I have more space in my actual closet for my infinite amount of clothing.

12. Desk calendar

This such a must-have item. That huge desk calendar that you put everything on and has your whole life planned on it. I love using my planner and my phone to make sure I don't miss anything. I like studying at a desk (if I have one) or do work there, so it will be even more helpful to have another spot to see where my plans are, keeping me aware always.

13. Stand alone mirror

This is not a necessity, but a full body mirror definitely is! I haven't been able to use one in forever, which is a huge deal to me because I love to see my whole outfit before I leave to go somewhere. If you don't see it on yourself, are you really in a good outfit?

14. Jewelry organizer

There are some things you have to give up when you share a room and most of your space with other people and this is one of them. I've always wanted one to hang necklaces and earrings and just to have one place where all my jewelry is. I have all my necklaces and earrings in bags and it sucks because I always forget that I have certain accessories to wear with certain outfits. Ugh, it's a struggle, but I cannot wait to have a place to put it all next year.

There are many things you need to have when you move into an apartment — I am aware of that. BUT, cooking ware, cleaning supplies, etc. are boring. These items I came up with to add to my own apartment (and bedroom) that I can't wait to start putting it all together!

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I'm 20 Years Old And Still Love Dying Easter Eggs

Who doesn't love this historic tradition?

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Easter has always been an important holiday in my household. It holds both the religious and family aspects. However, there is one tradition that I still hold very close to my heart.

My favorite part about Easter is getting to paint the eggs. Not an Easter has passed that my family hasn't partaken in it. I look forward to it each year, and it wouldn't be Easter without them.

Every year the designs become more and more intricate. The weeks leading up to Easter, I look up different designs on Pinterest in preparation for the "big day". Nothing can make me more excited about this holiday.

Now, that I'm away at college, we have to plan when these traditions will take place. It becomes hard trying to fit in a week's worth of stuff over one weekend, but this will not be missed.

Fitting an entire Easter dinner the night before Easter and dying eggs all in the same day, but it will be done. I love getting to become creative on such a silly thing.

In all the years I've been dying the eggs, I don't think I've ever actually eaten the egg after I've been too afraid to crack into the beautifully decorated egg. Also, hard-boiled eggs are not exactly appetizing to me either.

As I'm getting older, it's even more important that I carry on these traditions. Something so small as dying eggs holds a lot of meaning, and I enjoy having time put aside each year to spend it with my parents.

Going from a little kid who loved to drop the eggs in multiple color dye and drawing crazy pictures, to being in college and still wanting to continue on the tradition.

So yes, I'm 20 and still enjoy partaking in a little kid activity. Through my eyes though, it's so much more. It's carrying on a tradition and getting to spend time with my parents. I couldn't ask for anything better this Easter season.

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