From: your poor college friend

ImageI love doing these every year. On a college budget, you cannot possible expect to budget for individual gifts for everyone on your list. I like to do these for friends, coworkers and acquaintances every year around the Holidays.

You can buy a crate of mason jars or pick out some cute mugs at the dollar / second hand store. I like to put hot cocoa (or apple cider) in a little baggy and tie a candy cane and a shooter of Bailey’s or Peppermint Schnapps to it. 🙂 It makes for an adorable (adult) gift!

A look at intellectual disabilities

Helped put together a multimedia kit about intellectual disabilities. The end product turned out well. It has some useful resources and features for everyone. 

Instant carmel

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One can sweetened condensed milk = one can of carmel.

I had to share this. I tried it for the first time since my grandma told me about it and it turned out great! All you do is boil a can of sweetened condensed milk (unopened) for about three hours. Ta-dah!

Alternatively, you can put the can in a crockpot overnight. Just make sure the can stays submersed in water at all times, otherwise

it will explode. Wait for it to cool completely before you open it, too. 🙂

It’s really good for dipping. The carmel is soft and remains pourable. It’s about the consistency of molasses when you’re finished. Enjoy!

2013: the dumbest year in history

HospitelThis list on BuzzFeed (33 Dumbest Things That Happened in 2013) made my day. 😀

Drones: not the kind that spy on you, the kind that deliver your packages

Why wait a whole day for a package when you could get it thirty minutes from now?
According to Amazon, that’s the future of online shopping. All I see is a far-fetched dream that fixes a nonexistent problem. In a society filled with paranoia over the already drone-filled sky, Amazon thinks they are going to get approval for thousands of tiny helicopters to fly over the nation?
I think not. That’s not to say something similar will never exist; however, I don’t think society is ready for this technology just yet.
Most articles quote the FAA hurdles; they don’t even consider other unintended consequences of the tech: the potentials for hacking into the GPS systems and stealing packages, for other companies to follow suit with drones of their own, the increase in Amazon factories (the drones only currently have a 10-mile capability), the list goes on …
You have to admit, though, the thought of getting your package in 30 minutes is pretty neat. 🙂

Put down the remote!

We’ve all been there: sitting on the couch on a beautiful Saturday afternoon because ‘we don’t have the money to go out and there’s nothing to do anyway.’

Well, there is plenty to do if you live in Fort Collins, Colo. (sorry, outsiders). You just have to know where to look.

Fort Collins is a city full of opportunities for free fun if you know who to ask. Whether you prefer the leisure of drinking beer with some buddies or the rush of conquering a 5.12 sport climb on Crystal Wall, the area has a lot to offer.

If you’re looking for a great alternative to sitting in the house all day watching reruns of Grey’s Anatomy, pick up a Frisbee. Edora Park offers a variety of fun obstacles: trees, a creek and plenty of bikers! It’s also open all year.

Considering it’s winter, this doesn’t necessarily apply right now, but in thinking ahead, Poudre Canyon is just a short drive from Fort Collins and offers abundant climbing opportunities no matter your style.

Paradise is a sport climber’s dream, but if you want the intensity of a tradition climb, Crystal Wall is right across the Poudre River and offers a number of climbs all the way up to 5.12. Beginners don’t fret; there are plenty of starter routes for you as well. For a comprehensive list of routes, visit http://nococlimbing.org/guidebooks/poudre-canyon-rock-routes to download the complete guidebook for free!

If you’re looking for a lengthier getaway, Poudre Canyon also happens to be surrounded by National Forest. That means all-you-can-stand free camping!

That particular neck of the woods is Roosevelt National Forest and is maintained by Canyon Lakes Ranger District Five of the U.S. Forest Service. Hike, camp, climb, picnic – whatever your heart desires!

“Canyon Lakes Ranger District five manages over 650,000 acres of nation forest,” Reghan Cloudman, public affairs specialist for the U.S. Forest Service said. “Poudre Canyon is always one of the most popular places for climbers and campers, though.”

If you’re not in to hiking back to the middle of nowhere to set up camp and you’re willing to spend a few bucks, the U.S. Forest Service manages a number of designated campsites closer to town.

“We have 21 campgrounds and 33 trailheads,” Cloudman said. “We sell maps of the area at our office here in Fort Collins.”

If you’re interested in buying a map of the area or planning a backpacking excursion, contact visitor’s services at (970) 295-6900.

Although not free, Horsetooth Mountain and Lory State Park are areas still worth noting. For just a small entrance fee, a variety of activities including hiking, picnicking and mountain biking are available.

“We are thankful we are able to offer free or low-cost events on our parks and open spaces because we love getting our entire community involved and outside,” said Kerri Rollins, a representative for Larimer County Natural Resources.

Looking for a more laid back complementary experience? Hop on a bus and head to the nearest brewery. Wherever you are in Fort Collins, you’re never far from a great beer (or, for you minors, cream soda)!

Anheuser-Busch is located just off I-25 and conducts factory tours Thursday through Monday every 30-45 minutes between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

“We do host free group tours during regular business hours,” a representative of Anheuser-Busch said. “If a group is fifteen or more guests, we ask that they call at least two weeks in advance to set up a group tour.”

Now, the best part – free beer! Conclude your factory tour with two, 11 ounce samples of your choice of draft.

For more information on upcoming events, call Anheuser-Busch at (970) 490-4691 or visit their Facebook page.

If you’re craving a more local taste, Odell and Fort Collins breweries also offer free tours Monday through Saturday at 1, 2 and 3 PM.

For more information on tour group caps and upcoming events visit http://odellbrewing.com/contact/brewery-tours.

These are just a few suggestions to point you in the right direction to having fun on a budget. For more information, get off the couch and contact visitor’s services in Fort Collins at (970) 232-3840 or email information@ftcollins.com to request a free 2011-2012 visitors guide.

Get outside and enjoy the free fun regardless of rain or shine! Fort Collins wasn’t named the best place in the country to live by Money Magazine because we have good television channels!

Hello old friends

I fell off the wagon on my blog writing for a while; but, it’s nice to be back after a delicious Turkey Day. 😛 I had my very first black friday experience and my very last. How do people enjoy this? I wanted to punch my way out of there the minute I arrived … anyhow, with a full stomach and most of my Christmas shopping taken care of, I look forward to getting back to my writing to share more fun stories and advice with everyone! Hope you enjoyed your holiday. 

Always read the fine print

Let’s be honest, when we order something online we never read the service agreement. Well, that impatience could end up costing you thousands. 

A woman is currently being fined $3,500 for writing a negative review about a company online. How, you say? Apparently the company included a statement in their service agreement banning any negative reviews. Let’s start by saying that if a company feels the need to ban its customers from giving negative reviews, that should serve as a red flag (that is, if you actually read the agreement). 

The whole story is on Yahoo News. Be forewarned, you will be appalled and angered. 

Become more connected with an electronic tattoo

As if technology wasn’t already invasion enough, Google is patenting an “electronic neck tattoo.” They call it a tattoo for reasons unknown to me, because it is actually an adhesive patch, roughly the size of a postage stamp.

CNN News wrote a brief article summing up its capabilities, but it seems like a little much.

Tips everyone could use

I come across these all the time as a student, as I would guess you do. Everyone claims to have the best tips for “surviving college,” and usually there are at least a few of value. This is the first one I have actually come across where I can see myself using all of these.  

A few from BuzzFeed:

  1. Incentive studying
  1. Stronger WiFi signal
  1. Folding clothes to save space

There are many more at BuzzFeed