Wrapping Presents 101

I know this may have been a better post to have before Christmas, but of course my procrastinator self didn’t wrap my presents until Christmas Eve, a few hours before our family dinner party. Although wrapping presents yourself is much more difficult, it saves you money and is a good skill to learn for the rest of your life. After seeing some tweets and pictures of people struggling I decided to help a sista out and share how I have learned to wrap presents, with a special appearance from my favorite boys of One Direction.

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Restaurant Style Grilled Chicken Quesadilla

So I just started serving at the Vine in Iowa City and I have become obsessed with their Buffalo Chicken Quesadilla. Although I didn’t have all the ingredients I wanted to make that, I did make a scrumptious, restaurant-style chicken quesadilla that was way better than Panchero’s or Chipotle (although I still love them).

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I used frozen chicken breasts (defrost by placing frozen bag of chicken in bowl of hot water), shredded cheese, tomatoes, onions, and minced garlic  that I already had in my apartment and didn’t want to just throw away (wasting precious money) before I left for break for this quesadilla. The trick to homemade quesadillas is cooking your vegetables and chicken separately before you put them in your tortilla so they are thoroughly cooked and warm. Also, spray Pam in your pan and heat both sides of your tortilla before you add your cheese and other ingredients to get your tortilla nice and crispy like the restaurants.

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Shopping Style Steals: Tanger Outlet

So if you’re like me, you have been spending the last two weeks working on final projects, papers, and studying for finals. I HATE FINALS WEEK! Ugh, it’s the most stressful time of the school semester but don’t worry, you’re almost done! Anyway, yesterday I needed a little study break and what did I choose to do? Shopping, of course!

Instead of going to the mall close to my school in Iowa City, I drove about 20 minutes to a town called Williamsburg, IA where there is a Tanger Outlet Center. If you have never been to an outlet center before, it’s basically a little plaza with discount outlets for brand name stores. While the plan was to get some Christmas shopping done for my family, I may or may not have bought a few items for myself. I can never say no to a good sale…sigh.


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It’s Tail-Great Season

I can’t believe it. Two more days and it will be a month since the first day of classes started at the University of Iowa. Where has the time gone?!

As awful as it is being back in the classroom, one thing I looked forward to all summer was tailgate season, or as I like to call it, tail-“great” season.

Since tailgating season is my favorite time of the year, I thought it would only be appropriate to have it as my first blog post.

My favorite part about tailgating and going to  football games is getting to dress up in my school’s colors. As a University of Iowa student, there is just something really special about walking down Melrose and seeing all the black and yellow.

While there are several stores on campus that sell awesome university apparel, they can be pretty pricey. I have some personal tips and ideas I got from girls on campus about cute, creative, and most importantly, cheap ways to dress up for a football games that can be applicable at any university.

My first tip: personalize. It is so easy to put on a pair of shorts and a school t-shirt or jersey, but dress it up so your outfit is unique. Some of the cutest outfits I’ve seen at tailgates have been girls who cut up their t-shirt in creative ways or pair it with a flannel shirt or metallic leggings from Ragstock. Just because it’s a football game doesn’t mean you can’t still show off your personal style and have fun with it. For my first Iowa game, I decided to put together an outfit with the university’s color scheme.

My outfit consisted of:

  • White tube top (Wal-Mart, $5)
  • DIY high-waisted black denim shorts made from “mom jeans” (Goodwill, $4)
    • I used this simple Youtube tutorial to make mine. (link to- GlamourandPosh “DIY Vintage Distressed High-Waisted Jean Shorts”)
  • Yellow bandana for my hair (Wal-Mart, $1)

I got so many compliments on this outfit, and not including my shoes (I wore black Vans), and it was all for only $10.  Here is a picture of my outfit from that game (I’m in the middle).


My second tip: never pay for anything full price. I got a great tip from my friend Taylor Dalbey, a junior at my school, about how our campus store “Iowa Book” has a downstairs area with a bunch of university apparel on clearance. There were a bunch of shirts for only $5 and sweatshirts and hoodies for $20. (There’s also a section on their Iowa Book website). Definitely check out clearance sections at your own university campus stores. Also, stores like T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s are great places to look for campus clothing at discounted prices.

My third tip: Don’t be afraid to borrow and trade tailgate clothes with friends. I got this one from Jessica Shedd, a freshman. For example, black and yellow overalls are absolutely adorable for tailgates but they cost nearly $60. Split the cost with a roommate and share, or ask to borrow from a friend. Almost all girls love sharing closets. Here’s a picture from the Iowa vs. Iowa State game in Ames where I borrowed my friend’s overalls. I also pulled my hair back with a yellow flower clip I bought from Hobby Lobby for only $2.99!


My last tip: buy items that aren’t necessarily supposed to be for tailgates, but make them so they are. Caitlin Johnson, a junior, told me how she bought a pair of $5 white sneakers from Wal-Mart and splattered them with black and yellow paint. I loved this idea so I will be making my own pair later this week and I will update this post with a picture. This goes back to my tip of personalizing everything you wear. It’s not only cuter, but it also can save you big bucks.

I hope these money-saving tips help you and get your creative mind going. I’d love to hear some of your tips and pictures of your outfits from tailgates because I’m always on the lookout for new outfit ideas.

Tailgate hard for me, ladies!

Michelle Ngo