OITNB is Back!

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My inner OITNB fan girl internally screamed when Netflix released the latest trailer for season four of “Orange Is The New Black.” For those of you who have not yet binged OITNB, the story for the show is based off Piper Kerman’s 2011 memoir, “Orange Is The New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison.”

OITNB is anything and everything. According to IMDB.com, the show centers around Piper Chapman, a thirty-something who is sentenced to 15 months in a prison after she’s convicted of a decade-old crime where she transported money for her drug-dealing girlfriend. Essentially the show in a nutshell is badass.

For my fellow OITNB binge-watchers, let’s recap what happened last season:

1. Bennett went MIA

Bennett and Daya were happy and about to have a baby when poof! Bennett went bye-bye after spending time with his beloved Daya’s crazy family. I know I was really rooting for Bennett and Daya to fall happily ever after. Damn you Bennett!

2. Nicky gets ahold of Vee’s stash

Nicky gets ahold of Vee’s heroin stash at the end of season two. With Nicky being a recovering addict, she decided she had to get the drugs out herself. She enlists corrections officer Luscheck, who ultimately throws her under the bus. (Bastard.)

3. Piper enlists the women of Litchfield to sell underwear to pervy old guys

Piper was assigned to making underwear for the Whispers lingerie company. She would gather unused material to make her own underwear and have the lovely women of Litchfield wear them around and then sell them online to creeps. (Ew.)

4. Black Cindy converts

After the prison food is replaced with mush, Black Cindy learns that if inmates are Jewish they can receive kosher meals. Black Cindy makes it her mission to convert to Judaism and actually “finds her people.”

5. Alex is back

That’s right. Pipers boo thang is back in Litchfield. Alex immediately believes someone is out to get her. At the end of season three she is cornered by one of the drug cartel members which makes us all feel a little on edge.

Now that we’re pretty much up to speed on what happened in season three of OITNB, what do we have to look forward to in season four? Well, you can imagine there will be more drama, romance, friendships and backstabbing.

The official trailer for season four teases us viewers that Piper doesn’t feel safe in Litchfield, Taystee now has a desk job as Mr. Caputo’s assistant, there will be new prisoners and there will be secrets, lies and deceit that will unfold this season when the ladies of Litchfield return June 17 on Netflix.

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A ‘Grey’ Thursday? We’ll See.

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For Grey’s Anatomy fans everywhere, it’s a big day. The season 12 finale premieres tonight. After experiencing emotional trauma that even Owen Hunt couldn’t salvage, we know to brace ourselves when a season comes to a close. With that in mind, here are a few hopes shared by Grey’s fanatics for this upcoming TGIT. Listen up Shonda Rhimes:

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1. Cristina Returns

The landmark character loss that eternally changed the course of the show was Cristina’s departure. Meredith is struggling without her person. She needs Cristina there to give her pep talks, talk some sense into her decision making, and most importantly bring back the dance parties with tequila.

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2. Arizona and Callie Get Back Together

Second to Mer-Der, these two were the ultimate power couple up until Shonda shattered our last hope at finding love. In the finale, fingers are crossed that these two realize how absurd this custody battle is, forgive each other, get remarried, and live happily ever after (until the next earth shattering tragedy at Grey Sloan Memorial).

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3. Jo Says “JK!”

Last week, after Alex’s third proposal to long term girlfriend Jo, she gave him an answer, but it was the wrong one. Alex has been through almost as much emotional turbulence as Callie (which is a whole lot) and deserves a happy, lasting relationship. Jo needs to snap out of this BS and accept the proposal. If not, she probably has some terrible mental illness that inhibits her from seeing how sexy/caring/doctory Alex is.

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4. April and Jackson Find Peace

I don’t care what form this comes in, but I can’t stand to watch them go through any more pain together. Remarry, raise the kid together, or never speak again, but please no more ups and downs. Although, I wouldn’t mind if they did decide to get back together, after all she did leave a guy at the alter for Jackson and that shouldn’t go to waste.

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5. Meredith Wakes Up

I know Derek’s dead and we can’t really bring him back as that would defy the whole “science and medicine” thing. BUT, he can’t just lay in the ground and let Meredith go get it on with the next hot Doc in town. She needs to wake up, next to Derek, and shake off the bad dream that has been the last two years. PLEASE, SHONDA!

There’s No Place Like Home

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Let me preface this article by saying I am not a hermit. I love spending time with my friends, going to the park, shopping at Kroger, etc. But anyone who knows me is well aware that my favorite place is my bed, wearing pajamas and fuzzy socks, with a mug of coffee. While some might say acting like an 80-year-old when you’re a college student is “lame,” being a homebody definitely has its perks. Here are a few reasons why.

Let’s Get Moving

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Classes are finally out (for some), all stress is gone, and being able to sleep in and not have a care in the world is the absolute best feeling. Summer break is only a few months long, and the time always flies by. I usually create a fun bucket list for the summer to ensure I make time for adventures.

Here are 20 things I plan to do, and everyone should try to do before summer is over:

Go to the Aquarium:

Getting to see all the different types of fish, sharks and all sorts of things there is definitely worth the trip and money.

Go to the Zoo:

Seeing all sorts of animals in their semi natural habit is a fun and eye opening opportunity, and a super fun trip for the summertime.

Go to a Baseball Game:

Doesn’t really have to be a baseball game, but get out and go somewhere to watch a sporting event! They’re always fun and entertaining. (Plus the food is always delicious – and bad for you)

Go Fishing:

Getting to go to a pond or river to try and catch some fish is rather relaxing and can be a fun trip with friends. Wear sunscreen, trust me.

Go to the Beach (or Lake):

Beach trips are essential for any summer break. Getting away from home, staying in a house or hotel and being able to relax for a week or so is so nice. Being able to hear the waves crash on the shore and lay in the sand is one of the best feelings

Eat lots of Seafood:

One of my favorite things about the summertime is being able to eat seafood, especially Rockefeller Oysters!

Sleep Under the Stars:

This doesn’t cost anything! Grab a friend, a few sleeping bags and enjoy nature for a night! Watch for unsuspecting animals though.

Go to an Amusement Park:

Going to any amusement park during summer break is always a must. Getting on as many rides as possible and getting you or your friends out of y’alls comfort zones is one of the biggest perks of going!

Go on a Picnic:

Pack a lunch, go to a park or a fun place and eat with some of your friends while enjoying time outdoors. Take your pets! They will love it just as much as you!

Go Kayaking:

This is really fun, and something a lot of people have never done. Head out to a near by lake and start your adventure.

Have a Bonfire:

The real reason to have a campfire is so you can roast marshmallows and make as many s’mores as possible.

Try every DQ Blizzard flavor:

What challenge could be better than trying to eat as many DQ blizzards as possible? I can’t think of anything.

Go to Church:

This is a free activity that just helps me personally feel good.

Get out and Run:

Maybe try for a 5k or just simple run here and there.

Go Biking:

As long as you have a bike, this is a great way to get some exercise at the same time as having a blast. Being able to bike somewhere that has different sightseeing opportunities is an amazing experience.

Glow-Bowl:

This a cheaper, fun activity to do to get out of the house and have some fun.

Help a Stranger:

Giving back and helping someone else is really rewarding not only for yourself but it benefits that stranger tremendously.

Go Hiking:

This is a cheap way to have an adventure and be able to experience the awesomeness of nature at the same time.

Learn Something New:

Whether it be learning how to play an instrument or a video game, expand your mind and see what you can accomplish!

Grow as a Person:

I think this is one of the most important things you can do for yourself this summer. Take time out to really discover who you are and what you want out of life. This will help you grow and start to figure out your future!

What’s Free Time?

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Here are my thoughts on how to manage your precious time while in college:

SCHOOL COMES FIRST.

Yeah, I know I probably sound like your mom, but what’s the point of spending money on college if you’re not going to put in the work? College is your job. If you haven’t realized that now, you will by your junior year. I promise. Once you understand this, managing other things becomes a little easier.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR.

Thank you Steve Jobs for the iPhone calendar that alerts me when I have things coming up. At the beginning of the semester, go through and write down when all your tests/projects/presentations are due – you will know what days and weeks will be your most busy ones. Also, if you have a job, mark down your hours ASAP.

TAKE A BREAK.

This is what my friends and I are personally struggling the most with this summer. We’re in the height of our junior year, and our schedules allow for very little free time due to jobs and classes. No matter how busy you get or how long your list is, you need to make some time for yourself. Pick at least one day on a weekend and devote to making irrational purchases, eating like a pig, and staying out with your friends at 4th Street Live until 4am.

COMMUNICATE.

Between you and your friends and family. The ones who truly care about you will totally understand if you forgot to call them back or have to reschedule a dinner date. However, they deserve a few hours of your undivided attention now and again. Let them know your schedule and make sure they understand you haven’t forgotten about them.

YOU WILL SURVIVE.

Some weeks, there just isn’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that you should have. This is a revelation I had last year. Never should you compromise your health or well-being to ensure that you got every single thing accomplished. You will know you’re on the right track with time management when the balance scale lays straight. We’re human – not perfect, and there’s always tomorrow!

 

 

Well, That Stinks.

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Doing laundry stinks (pun intended). So why not reschedule for next week, next month, or the next time you visit your parents’ house? Because it’s gross, that’s why.

Here are five signs it’s time to man up, grab a roll of quarters, and drag your smelly hamper down to the nearest Laundromat ASAP.

WHERE’S MY FLOOR?

Generally, floors are made out of three basic materials: hardwood, carpet, or tile. Therefore, if your floor looks like it’s made entirely out of clothes, it’s time to do your laundry. You never know. You might find a couple extra quarters beneath all that mess.

MISMATCHED SOCKS

Look at your feet. Are your socks different colors? Is one an ankle sock and the other a tube? Yes? OK. Now look in a mirror and reevaluate your life.

Mismatched socks are a sure sign that it’s time to do your laundry. So remember, always look down before you go out.

DIDN’T YOU WEAR THAT YESTERDAY?

What do you do when someone asks, “Didn’t you wear that yesterday?” First, lie. Second, run home and do your laundry. Third, avoid that person for at least a few days.

OVERFLOWING HAMPER

Most hampers are designed to carry a single load of laundry. So, if your hamper’s overflowing with dirty clothes, it’s time to dump in the wash, throw in some Tide, and do your damn laundry.

EMPTY HANGERS

Take a look inside your closet. If there are so many empty hangers it looks like a sale rack on Christmas Eve, today is laundry day.

Just do it. You will thank yourself later.

 

Let’s Do This

Finals. This is the most stressful time for any class. Along with worrying about papers, tests, presentations, projects and whatnot, we also have to worry about the grades that have been accumulating all semester. Sometimes it can come as a shock that you’re just not doing as well as you want to in one or more classes. While worrying about grades is super fun and all, there are more constructive and productive things to do this time of year.

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  1. Attend and Participate in Class

In many classes, participation really does count. If you attend the rest of your classes–and really try to pay attention and participate (speak up in class, unless it’s a big lecture class where that’s not expected), it can make a huge positive bump in your grade.

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  1. Talk to the Professor

Professors are the ones that will be giving grades–they’ll tell you exactly why you’re getting that B, C, D or F. Most of the time they will also be able to offer you extra credit or ways to make up for missed assignments and classes.

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  1. Ask Questions

On the note of talking to your professor, another great thing to do is to ask questions. I usually start the given homework on the day that I get it (even in class that day, if I can manage it). That way I have plenty of time to ask questions and so I don’t spend hours struggling on something the professor could explain in two minutes.

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  1. Reassess Time Commitments

While you’ve managed to get through a good chunk of the semester fulfilling time commitments, whatever they may be, it doesn’t mean that you’ve been handling them as well as you thought. Personally, my motivation for school went down last year so I decided to ask for fewer hours at work, which gave me more time to focus on school. Considering this is my last year, I figured I should enjoy learning in a college environment while I can! There’s always time to make money later in life. Maybe.

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  1. Cut Down on Binging to Get More Sleep

Whether you’re a late night heavy drinker, heavy reader, or heavy Netflix binge-watcher, it’s probably taking a toll on both your sleep and homework needs. Take advantage of any early weeknights to stay caught up on sleep, this way you’ll have more focus during class and during study sessions. I have to actually set an end point in my shows so I’ll get to bed at a decent time instead of watching an entire season of Bob’s Burgers.

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  1. Finish strong

With these tips, your grades will be looking fabulous by the time finals roll around. But that’s no reason to not focus on finals, really putting effort into final projects and other assignments will boost your grade even more and show your professor that you are dedicated to raising your grade! You can do it.

 

A MAJOR Guide

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“So what are you majoring in?”

“Oh, I’m undecided.”

“Hmm. So, like, what are you thinking about?”

Cue internal screaming.

“I’ll get back to you on that.”

Tell me. How many times have you had this conversation? Probably what seems like a million. If you’re undeclared, don’t panic. Your future is just as unclear as your friend who is a business major or just happens to be applying for nursing school. 80% of students change their major at least once, and on average they change majors at least three times. So, in being undeclared, you’re a step ahead of your peers by acknowledging that you really aren’t sure where you want your path to lead. Congratulations!!!

Let’s be real. The fact of the matter is you will have to declare a major eventually. Instead of making it this huge, daunting, life-altering decision, take it in baby steps.

Baby step #1

There are two ways you can approach your undecided college education: the easy way or the smart way. The easy way entails you taking classes that you will do well in, and thus boosting your GPA. The smart way means taking classes in a wide variety of subjects so you can test the waters and see what interests you. CAUTION: Classes cost money, and lots of it.

BABY STEP #2

Talk to your friends and upperclassmen. Since most people have changed their majors, find out what they liked and didn’t like about the classes they took. Don’t dismiss a class just because your friend hated it – find out why they hated it. Hopefully their experience will help you figure out which classes you want to try out.

BABY STEP #3

After talking to your friends, the best way to pick which classes to take is to look at what your university requires of you. When do you have to declare your major? Can you take classes that would count for your core? Which majors do you have to apply to? That way you’ll only get exposed to majors that you can actually pursue. DON’T be afraid to speak to your advisors, they can assist in guiding you in the right direction!

If you’re worried about declaring your major or graduating on time, try taking classes over the summer. That way you can try out whatever you want without worrying about that graduation date.

BABY STEP #4

My last bit of advice is to take your research seriously. Many career centers offer comprehensive online tests that will point you in the direction of careers & majors. Similar ones are also available to you through the Internet. In addition to listing possible majors, these tests can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses. Are you artistic? Do you enjoy helping others? Then you can search which majors are best suited for your strengths.

If you’re undeclared, don’t stress! You will find something that you enjoy and makes your tuition money worth it. Just be practical about it and have an attack plan, so you can make the most out of your time in the classroom.

 

Netflix Life Hacks

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If you’re as Netflix-obsessed as I am, then you need to step your game up with a few hacks to take your binge watching abilities to the next level. Become a Netflix expert with these SEVEN tips and make the most of your many useless hours spent on the couch.

 

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1. Hide activity from your Netflix history

Maybe you promised your roommate you would wait to binge watch the rest of Grey’s Anatomy with them, and then had zero self control and watched them all anyway (no judgment). Or maybe you don’t really want the new person you’re seeing to know you watched Jackass 3D last weekend. What happens between you and Netflix should stay between you and Netflix. And now you can trust Netflix to hide all your secrets. Just go to Netflix.com/WiViewingActivity, then, click ‘X’ to the right of anything you’d rather others not know about.

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2. Unlock Hidden Genre Categories

We love that Netflix recommends titles to us, sometimes with alarming accuracy (*why yes Netflix I do want to watch an inappropriate comedy about..*). But sometimes you’re in the mood for something very very specific and the generic genres such as Horror, Comedy, or Documentary, don’t really fit the bill. Prepare to have your mind blown, because there are dozens of secret Netflix categories for you to peruse as long as you know the URL search codes, which can be Googled. Go to www.netflix.com/browse/genre/ and type in your desired search code at the end of the URL.

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3. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

Suppose you just want to watch Harry Potter without having to move your mouse, control your viewing by using shortcuts below:

  • Press M to mute
  • Hit F to go into fullscreen mode
  • ESC to exit fullscreen
  • Tap to spacebar to pause (for bathroom breaks, snack refills, snag a beer, etc.)
  • Shift+Left arrow – Rewind
  • Shift+Right arrow – Fast Forward
  • Up arrow – Volume Up
  • Down arrow – Volume Down

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4. Set Data Usage Limits

Binge watching on-the-go killing your data? An hour of streaming Family Guy can use up to 3GB of precious data and kill your cell phone plan. Set limitations on how much data Netflix can use but going to Your Account → My Profile → Playback Settings. Then select the level of data usage you want from low to high 3GB of binging an hour.

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5. Watch in HD

The same settings above (Your Account → My Profile → Playback Settings) will also allow you to stream in HD. But obviously HD is a data suck, so make sure you are watching while on Wi-Fi.

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6. Stop Buffering

Buffering is the worst. Nothing is more rage inducing than buffering during your me time. Use this secret menu to reduce buffering playback. To access the menu, hit: Shift+Alt+Left Click (Shift+Option+Click on a Mac). Then select stream manager and match the playback and buffering.

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7. Change the Subtitle Font

So say you’re like super fancy and watch a ton of foreign films: If your eyes hurt from reading lines of yellow text on subtitles, you can customize how subtitles appear from the color, font type and background.  Go to to Your Account → My Profile → Subtitle appearances.

 

Returning to Class After Derby Week 101

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Goodbye obnoxiously large hats, goodbye bottomless mimosas, Mint Juleps & Oaks Lillies, goodbye $2 bets and beautiful horses.

Staying motivated the first few days after the craziness that is the Kentucky Derby can be a daunting task for those of us that celebrate accordingly. You’re so not ready for summer classes right now, you’re hoping people notice your new tan and you’re officially counting down the weeks until summer really starts. I feel ya. Here are FOUR tips to help you hold it all together and make it through to (actual) summer freedom:

b1.21. Sleep:

It’s needed not only to keep you alert, alive, and rejuvenated, but it also keeps your mind sharp for that 9am class you have Monday morning. So, do you and your professors a favor and sleep as much as you can outside of class and not in it.

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2. Be Prepared:

Drink coffee, eat breakfast, and print your syllabi out. Nothing is worse than being cranky, hungover, and angry all wrapped into a little awful burrito after the exciting weekend you had.

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3. Make a List:

As I know all too well, summer classes are a sprint and NOT a marathon like a normal semester. Dig the syllabi out of your backpack and figure out what upcoming assignments are due in the coming weeks. Get your ducks in a row by jotting down tasks that need to get done between now and the end of the term. Trust me: you will thank yourself later.

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 4. Treat Yourself:

If you stay focused, work hard, and prioritize your life, returning to school just after the wildest time in Kentucky will be a breeze. When it is all said and done, go to the nearest El Nopal and have yourself a margarita because you my friend DESERVE it! Knowing there is an added bonus as a reward may help you find the extra push you needed to get through it all.