2014, blog, casual, coffee, informative, kcup, keurig

8 Ways to Use your Keurig

This machine can do more than just coffee

Keurigs can be used for more than just a quick cup of coffee. Get the most out of your machine by using it for other things.

Mind-blowing ways to use your Keurig:

  1. Make hot water for ramen or those instant macaroni cups. This is great for college students or if you don’t want to boil water on the stove and get another pan dirty. 
  2. Use the hot water for instant oatmeal. Save time in the morning by quickly getting your hot water from the Keurig. Pour the oatmeal into a bowl and place the bowl under the Keurig. Plus, oatmeal is healthy and keeps you full longer than other breakfast foods. 
  3. Hot water for cleaning around the house. 
  4. Make hot tea. No more boiling water over the stove or microwaving water. The Keurig is happy to give you hot water if you press the button without a K Cup inside. 
  5. Make hot cocoa. You can either buy the specific hot chocolate K Cups or you can pour a packet of hot cocoa mix into a mug and put it under the Keurig and use its hot water. I think the latter option is cheaper. 
  6. Make your own K Cup. I bought one of those reusable K Cups so that I can put my own coffee inside. I feel like I’m saving money when I use it because it seems cheaper to buy a bag of Folgers or Starbucks coffee that’s already ground up than to buy K Cups. Be sure to clean your reusable K Cup frequently. 
  7. Prepare iced drinks by placing ice inside your cup before running through the brew cycle. It’s just like making iced tea or iced coffee. Feel free to add lots of cream and sugar if you want. 
  8. Use your K Cup twice. To save money and get lighter tasting coffee, your K Cup can take a second pass through. The package says you’re not supposed to do this but I’ve heard of K Cups lasting up to three brew cycles. If you’re feeling rebellious, reuse the K Cups. 
This is the reusable K Cup I bought.
I can put whatever coffee grounds I want inside. 

I jumped on the Keurig band wagon late because I didn’t want to give up my old coffee maker. I thought, I’m fine just doing things the old fashioned way and it’s really not that much trouble.

When my friend, Olivia, moved back overseas she offered her Keurig to me so I bought it from her. I discovered what everyone else already knew: Keurigs are helpful. My favorite part about the Keurig is how easy clean up is. You just throw the old K Cup away. No more rinsing out the coffee pot or having a smelly trash can filled with old coffee beans.

2014, blog, filters, graphics, informative, instagram

Fun With Filters

I wrote this blog post for The Longaberger Company’s blog.
You can view the original here.
Filters are what separate Instagram from your regular phone camera. Instead of editing each photo’s brightness and saturation, you can choose from pre-made filters that can transform your selfie into a photograph that even Robert Mapplethorpe would be jealous of. 
It seems like there are 31 different filter flavors, but Instagram actually only has 19 filters to choose from. It’s easy to slide through and preview what your photo will look like with different filters.
I wanted to illuminate a few of my favorite filters and how they can best be used in your epic cell phone photography adventures.  
I chose this example image to illustrate how filters can improve any pic.
Rise: This filter gives your pictures a golden glow like a rising sun. (The names of the filters aren’t just coincidental) Its soft light can be great for improving the appearance of skin in close-ups aka selfies.
Valencia: To give images a nice faded quality, this is what you want to use. It washes out some but not all the color by increasing the exposure. It’s great for making photos look more antique-y, bringing out delicate colors especially for beach pics.
The Valenica filter makes pics look like antique photos
Sierra: If you were daydreaming with your camera, this is what it’d look like. It has a cloudy quality that makes it gorgeous for landscapes. You can skip the trip to the spa and just shoot a calming pic with Sierra.
Earlybird: The earlybird catches the filter. Picture a western cowboy standing in a ghost town and that’s what Earlybird gives you. It has an old-fashioned quality with its red and golden colors. It’s one of the most flattering Instagram filters, according to The Huffington Post. No need to get a tan because it gives your skin an instant bronzer. 
Sutro: This one can add a spooky gothic quality to your pictures, making it good for Halloween. It adds smokiness to your images by making the highlights and shadows more dramatic. Purple is my favorite color in the universe so I love that Sutro increases the purples in a picture.
The Sutro filter makes pics spookier 
Inkwell: One of only two black and white filters, Inkwell plays with lights and shadows very artistically. This is my favorite black and white filter (sorry Willow! Nothing personal) because of how it takes the attention back to the subject of the photo. That’s what good black and white photography ought to always do.
Walden: No longer will you wonder what Henry David Thoreau’s fav Instagram filter was. This filter gives photos a pleasant light, making it ideal for photographing young children. It increases the pic’s exposure and adds a subtle sense of being washed out. It’s an Instagram classic!
Henry David Thoreau’s fav filter
Hefe: Hefe gives you high saturation and high contrast which makes for vibrant yet warm photos. It’s great for photos with lots of colors and can be used both indoors and outdoors. If you’re lucky enough to live near mountains, Hefe is your go-to filter (think of it as your new little black dress but on Instagram.)
Hopefully you learned a thing or two about Instagram’s various filters. I leave you with one final potentially mind-blowing challenge: Take a picture of a coffee filter using an Instagram filter.

blog, graphics, how-to, informative, nails, newspaper

How to do Newspaper Nails

Newspaper nails are really easy, last a long time and a unique way to paint your nails. They are all the rage on Pinterest right now and you’re guaranteed to get compliments. They are one of my favorite ways to paint my nails because of how cool they look and how long they last. 
You will need: 
Rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl Alcohol) 
Clear base coat
White nail polish
Newspaper or Magazine
Clear top Coat
Rubbing alcohol, white nail polish, clear nail polish and a bowl. 
Step 1: Paint your nails with a clear base coat to protect your nails. Let dry. 

The base coat protects your nails from discoloring 
 Step 2: Paint on two coats of white nail polish. 
Two coats of white nail polish
Step 3: Cut out some newspaper text or pictures you want. Keep them small. 
Step 4: Pour rubbing alcohol into bowl
Step 5: Let the newspaper piece soak for about a minute
Step 6: Carefully put the newspaper onto your nail 
Press paper onto nail for 15+ seconds. 
Step 7: Press firmly on the newspaper for at least 15 seconds. Make sure all sides of the paper transfer to the nail. Be patient. 

I used both text and pictures from the newspaper
Step 8: Repeat for your other nails 
Step 9: Apply a top coat
Step 10: Show your friends and receive compliments. 

These lasted two weeks on my nails 
Be patient! I didn’t wait until the white nail polish was 100% dry and so it didn’t work out. 
Leave the newspaper on longer than 15seconds until it fully transfers

2014, blog, concert, informative, writing

More "Roaring" and less "Abductions"

I love listening to pop music. I have ever since I was little. Now, whenever I turn on the radio, I hear a Katy Perry song. She dominates Top 40 radio stations. Doesn’t matter if you like her or hate her, you can’t escape her. 

I went to her Prismatic concert last night and had a great time. It was incredibly entertaining! The costumes were out of this world and it felt like I was at a Cirque du Soleil show instead of a concert. There were lots of young girls in the audience and that mad me think about whether Katy Perry’s songs were appropriate for children and if they were sending a positive message. 

Something I found fascinating is that the same artist can perform songs inappropriate for children like “E.T.”  but then also inspirational female-empowering anthems like “Roar.”  How can she have such polar opposite songs? 

The lyrics of “E.T.” are quite straightforward and troubling: 

Take me, ta-ta-take me
Wanna be a victim
Ready for abduction

                     Then, Kanye West chimes into the song: 

Tell me whats next? Alien sex.
Imma disrobe you
Then Imma probe you
See I abducted you
            So I tell you what to do

I like this song but it always pains me to sing along because I know what that the lyrics are basically condoning rape. I don’t know why Katy Perry or Kanye West didn’t get more criticism for these appalling lyrics. I disagree with the claim that the song is about “falling in love with a foreigner.” It’s not about falling in love, it’s about sexual assault.  

So there you have “E.T.” from 2011 Fast forward three years to 2014 when “Roar” debuted. Check out these lyrics:

‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar

You held me down, but I got up (HEY!)
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, you hear that sound
Like thunder gonna shake the ground

I could include the whole song’s lyrics because all of it demonstrates a strong female standing up for herself. Great! Where were these lyrics in 2011? The majority of the songs from her “Teenage Dream” album don’t have a troublesome message (except Peacock, which I think is too much of a silly double entendre). I find it troubling that “E.T.” blew up on the Top 40 charts when it has such problematic lyrics. 

I’m glad that “Roar” had such success and that young girls are now singing along to that song. 
2014, debbie, deborahgillum, denison, gillum, green, informative, TheDen, university, website

Going Green On the Hill: An Update

Going Green On the Hill: An Update

byDebbie Gillum ’14

With the campus starting to look green for spring, Denison is continuing to go green and be more sustainable.

Facilities Services has been improving buildings by replacing old light bulbs with fluorescent lights that consume less energy and have a longer lifespan. They have also added occupancy sensors that automatically turn off not the lights and reduce the heating and air conditioning in unoccupied rooms.

Most recently, the facilities team has started working on updating the heating and air conditioning systems in Knapp and Olin.

“We started the work over spring break. We hope to be done by the end of summer,” said Bob Jude, Denison’s Energy and Project Specialist.

The funding for making campus buildings more energy efficient comes from the Green Hill Revolving Loan Fund, which was started in 2011. The university is committed to setting aside three million dollars over a four to six year period to be used to fund energy efficient projects. The fund is revolving in the sense that it uses the proceeds from energy savings to fund future projects. This fund is part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge initiative, which challenges over 30 universities to make a commitment to green revolving funds.     

“We were already spending money on sustainable campus renovations and we knew we would continue to reinvest in our buildings so it was an easy decision to be part of the Billion Dollar Green Challenge,” said Seth Patton, Vice President of Finance and Management, “These kinds of investments make sense for our campus.”

For example, when money is invested in replacing older lighting in residential halls with newer, more efficient florescent lights, then the savings from what would have spent on electricity goes back into the fund. In about three to six years, the improvements will result in a return on investment.

“Since the start of the fund, we have invested about $1.2 million, mostly on lighting. Through these sustainable investments, we have saved roughly $300,000,” said Jeremy King, the Campus Sustainability Coordinator.

Each year, the facilities team has about $450,000 to invest in making campus improvements. A set amount of $50,000 is set aside to be used for community initiatives, such as ideas for solar panels or outdoor LED lights. Ideas can be submitted by anyone to Jeremy King.

With improved heating and cooling systems as well as lights, energy consumption has decreased by ten percent.

“But, this doesn’t mean that our costs are down,” Jude said. He explained how with rising energy costs, the reduction in energy consumption results in spending roughly the same each year. The reductions help to combat inflation.

Art Chonko, director of Facilities Services, appreciated how Denison has built in maintenance and renovation costs into the operating budget. He said that does not happen at  all universities.

“We don’t do it just for the money,” he said, “We’re also concerned with conserving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

After Olin and Knapp, Chonko hopes the Facilities team will work on making the library and Mitchell use energy more efficiently.  He said that the idea of using more solar panels was also being explored.

While the Facilities team works to reduce energy consumption through upgrading technology, a fair amount of energy can be saved by making simple behavioral changes.

“When devices are left plugged in, they still use energy. They don’t use a lot of energy but there are a lot of these devices around campus,” said Jude.

King encouraged students to turn off lights when they leave a room and to “be more aware of where they are using energy.”

Chonko said that heating and cooling rooms can be very costly.

“Even adjusting the temperature a few degrees can use significantly less energy,” he said.  

Chonko said that Denison is making good steps in using energy more efficiently and reducing energy use, but there is still a ways to go.

“We need to continue doing what we’re doing,” he said, “And it needs to be a community effort.”

“We don’t do it just for sound financial management; we’re also concerned with conserving energy and reducing our carbon footprint.”

2014, debbie, deborahgillum, hacks, informative, life, lifehacks, tips, travel

My Life Hacks

Life Hacks that I’ve learned and used over the years. These will help you stay organized and pack more efficiently. 
To best keep old headphones organized, take bits of cardboard and cut them into small pieces. Make a cut on the top and bottom then wrap the headphones around the cardboard. You can also keep them in small plastic containers. 
When packing earrings for a trip, pin them onto an old tie. I did this when I went to Denmark for four months. I borrowed my dad’s old tie, chose my earrings, folded it up carefully in my luggage and when I arrived, all I had to do was tie it up somewhere so I could see the earrings. Easy!

With your earrings on a tie, you can easily pack them, see all of your earrings and you can fit a lot. 

To display bracelets, use old toiler paper roll holders. I wrapped them in blue wrapping paper so they looked nicer. 
Buy one of these cheap toothbrush holders. I found this at Wal-Mart for $2. It sticks to your mirror with suction cups and you can use it to hold toothpaste, toothbrushes, teaser combs and other combs. I have one at home and school. 

Clip your hair clippies onto your hairbrush holder. This way, you can easily see them and access them for styling your hair. 

For a cute way to diaplay stuffed animals like Beanie Babies, build them a a beanie ark. My uncle built this for me when I was little. You can fit tons of Beanie Babies on this. However, make sure to include two of every animal!

When travelling, save room in your suitcase by stuffing your shoes with socks, underwear, t-shirts, tank tops, etc. This is a big help. Let’s hope you have pretty big shoes to fill. haha

In this box, I squished a pair of pants, two long sleeve shirts and a sweatshirt. This is what packing looks like when you don’t fold or roll up your clothes. Don’t do this. 

Much better! To save room when packing, tightly roll up your clothes. You can even use rubber bands to make sure they stay tightly rolled. You’ll be amazed how much space this saves. 
The cheapest and best lip moisturizer around is petroleum jelly. My dermatologist recommended this to me in middle school and I’ve been using it ever since. Put some on before you go to bed and wake up with softer lips. It’s better than any chap stick or lip gloss.
A fun way to display rings is on a mannequin hand. I got this off eBay a few years ago. Bonus: You can practice manicures on this hand. It also comes in handy around Halloween or for pranks.

To remember which cord goes with what device, use a matching sticker. I put a blue sticker on the device and the cord. I also put a sticky note on it. You can also use a bread tab thing to mark the cord.
More Life Hacks:
Photos taken by Debbie.