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In Lifestyle on
May 10, 2018

5 Easy Tips To Keep Your Apartment Fresh And Clean

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GladeFineFragranceMist #CollectiveBias

Keeping your apartment fresh can be a hassle. When you are a student or a young adult who has a million things to do every day, keeping your apartment in tip-top condition can fall to the bottom of your to-do list. Today on The Happy Arkansan I am going to walk through some stuff that you can do to keep your apartment smelling and looking good so when you come home you can relax instead of worry.

 #AD: 5 Easy Tips To Keep Your Apartment Fresh And Clean | Are  you struggling to keep your apartment fresh and clean? Today on the blog I am breaking down five easy tips you can follow if you want to keep your apartment clean for the spring. #GladeFineFragranceMist #CollectiveBias

Keep Reading, Darling

In Lifestyle on
March 21, 2018

How To Get Ready For A Road Trip On A Budget

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #EarthDayDriveAway #CollectiveBias

It’s road trip season, y’all! In my neck of the woods, the weather is starting to get warmer and I am ready to be on the road with my family. In fact, we are going on a trip this weekend to celebrate my birthday! Before that happens though, I teamed up with ExxonMobil to share a few tips and tricks on how to get ready for a road trip on a budget.

How To Get Ready For A Road Trip On A Budget | It's road trip season! Join me as I talk about how to prepare for a road trip on a budget as well as what ExxonMobil Mobil 1 oil can do for your car. #EarthDayDriveAway #CollectiveBias

1. Know Where You Are Going

Whenever you go on a road trip, you have to know where you are going.

Take some time before you hit the road to map out getting to your destination. You can do this on the way, but I like taking the time to do it before I leave.

I find that you are much more confident on the road if you know where you are going before you get in the car. We have a GPS on our phones, so utilize that to see a path to your destination.

2. Pack Snacks Before You Leave

Snacks are so important for road trips. Being able to buy a bunch of snacks at your local Walmart instead of going to various gas stations along the way is great. Plus, while you are at Walmart, you can pick up some Mobil 1™ oil for your car!

Road trips are even better if you have a cooler. You can pop all the necessary cold snacks into your cooler, while you have a couple of snacks like chips and popcorn outside of the cooler. This will help you stay on the road longer and save money on snack purchases in the long run.

3. Take Care Of Your Car

As long as I could remember my dad was extra safe whenever we went any long distance in our car. He would always wash it, check under the hood to make sure everything looked good, and even check/change the oil on the car. I was always unsure of his overly detailed nature when it came to driving on the road, but as I have gotten older, I can respect this.

Checking your oil (along with all the other important fluids) is so important. It’s never fun to be stranded on the side of the road, especially if you are some place new.

I recently went to my local Walmart and I got to see all sorts of awesome ExxonMobil Mobil 1™ products. They have various different products depending on the needs of your car.

What I love most is Walmart and ExxonMobil’s oil selector tool. Before my dad and I went to Walmart, we checked out the tool on my phone to select the best motor oil for the car. Then it was super simple to go to Walmart and pick up the right oil. We ended up getting the Mobil 1™ High Mileage version, as it was one that was recommended to us, and one we thought our car would benefit from.

One version that looked extremely interesting was the Mobil 1™ Annual Protection version. In fact, If every car in the U.S. used Mobil 1™ Annual Protection we would prevent or reduce enough CO2 emissions to fill the Empire State Building more than 5,000 times*!

Mobil 1™ can reduce the carbon footprint of your vehicle by the CO2 equivalent of 96 lbs.** This is great for road trips because you can travel all while impacting the environment less than you normally would with most oils.

Taking care of your car is so important for the longevity of your trip. If you take the time to look after your car you can avoid heavily priced experiences like getting a car towed and serviced in a city you don’t know that well.

Earth Day Drive Away

To support Earth Day, ExxonMobil is doing something pretty special! They are giving away a Chevy Equinox!

Do you want the chance to win a Chevy Equinox, plus $10 off your next Mobil 1™ purchase at Walmart?

Well, here is what you gotta do!

Enter to win the Chevy Equinox in one of two ways:

  • By purchasing 5 quarts of Mobil 1™ in the store or a Mobil 1™ oil change at the Auto Care Center
  • By recycling any used oil at an Auto Care Center

If you enter by purchasing 5 quarts of Mobil 1™ or getting a Mobil 1™ oil change at the Auto Car Center you are also eligible to receive a $10 Select Certificate valid on a future Mobil 1™ purchase at Walmart.

To enter the giveaway and/or get your $10 Select Certificate you must go to earthdaydriveaway.com to fill out the entry form. It’s super simple and it just requires a bit of information about you and a picture of your receipt to enter.

Remember there is a limit of 2 entries in the sweepstakes per customer (1 for purchasing and 1 for recycling).

This promotion runs until April 30th, 2018!

4. Bring Some Cash

It’s hard to stay on a budget when you can just swipe your card for everything. I would never encourage you to be cardless, but I encourage you to take some cash out at the ATM before you leave on your road trip.

Try to stick with all cash first, then for emergencies use your card. Your card should always be an option, but try not to make it the only option!

It’s so easy to swipe away on your card. Utilize cash during your trip so you have to think about every purchase. This will help you become a bit stingy with your money so you are only spending it on things that matter.

5. Find Free Things To Do

Each city, no matter how small, has some fun free things that you can do.

Ask people around town if they know of any fun, free things that you can do before you spend a lot of cash. You should always do a couple of paid things, but don’t make them the entire trip!

Here are some fun activities you can do for free:

  • Go to the beach or lake of the town you are visiting
  • People watch at the park
  • Check out the local shops and go window shopping
  • See if any museums are free or have free hours
  • Check out the local farmer’s or artisan’s market
  • Get tourist-y and check out cool statues, monuments, or murals

Some of the best ways to explore a city are free. See the town through the eyes of the locals and go exploring.

Try to spot these free things before you ever leave your house so you know exactly how much of your time will be spent doing free things each day.

Conclusion

Spring is the perfect season for getting away with a road trip! The open road is calling your name (or at least it’s calling mine.) Get out of your comfort zone this spring/summer and go exploring. There are so many beautiful places in the world to explore.

Remember to go to your local Walmart to pick up some Mobil 1™ for your car. If you are unsure of what kind of oil to get, make sure that you use the very simple oil selector tool to help you out! Then, once you are done with your oil change, don’t forget to enter the sweepstakes
so you can win a Chevy Equinox!

*Estimates made based on aggregation of the United States’ average car and motor oil statistics

**Estimates made based on CO2 equivalent emissions derived from Life Cycle Assessment of Mobil 1 vs. conventional motor oil. Assumes switching from a conventional motor oil of higher viscosity grade to Mobil 1 Annual Protection. Include Production, Use, Disposal, and Fuel Economy attributed to motor oil over its lifetime. Calculation based on average U.S. vehicle engine oil sump size, average MPG, average oil change interval and average annual driving distance. Assumes nominal fuel economy improvement when switching from a higher viscosity grade to lower viscosity grade. Assumes new vehicles under warranty follow OEM recommend oil change interval. Mobil 1 Annual Protection is guaranteed to protect for one full year or 20,000 miles, whichever comes first. You may or may not obtain these benefits depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.

In Lifestyle on
February 12, 2018

How To Chase Your Creative Dreams With Diet Coke®

Disclaimer: This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #BreakFromOrdinary #DietCoke #CollectiveBias

Living your creative dreams is far from ordinary. Most people go their entire lives within the confines of the status quo, afraid to chase after the things that make them happiest. Today with the help of Diet Coke® we are going to break from the ordinary, and find out how to chase our creative dreams when we are going through college or living the 9-5 life.

 AD: How To Chase Your Creative Dreams With Diet Coke | You were meant to chase your creative dreams and break from the ordinary, but how do you do that with a 9-5 job or while you are in college? Today with the help of Diet Coke (now available in sleek 12 oz cans and new flavors at @Walmart) we are going to learn how to live our creative dreams right now. #BreakFromOrdinary #DietCoke #CollectiveBias

1. Start Now

I love freelance writing, but one thing I wish I did was start sooner. I didn’t give myself a running start like I should have, and now I am trying to play catch up! So, instead of waiting until the moment is perfect, start now.

If you want to break from the ordinary, you have to be ready to make big moves. Now, this doesn’t mean being irrational and quitting your stable 9-5 job, but it does mean taking time to start the projects that you want to start now. Do it on the side until the side can become your full-time gig.

Diet Coke is the perfect companion to following your creative dreams. Your best decisions come when you are relaxed, drinking your fave beverage, and thinking about the tough decisions you need to make to create focus.

2. Create Some Focus

There is a huge misconception that creative people are unfocused, that they bounce from project to project, or that they live by the seat of their pants. This is simply not true. You can’t do everything in the world, and this is just something that you will have to grapple with.

Be honest with yourself. Create some focus in your life by drilling down to what’s most important to you. Sometimes that means that you will have to prioritize creative work over taking a second nap or watching your favorite show on television.

Think About What You Focus On Daily

Go through your day and notice what you focus on. Write down on a sheet of paper all the things you focused on today. Do you find yourself focusing or bringing importance to things that aren’t all that important to you? Create a list of things you actually want to focus on. Compare the list of what you want to focus on and what you focused on. Adjust your life accordingly to make sure that you are focusing on the important things in your life.

Say No

Saying no is hard. It’s especially hard when you have to say no to yourself. When I talk about saying no, I’m not just talking about saying no to your friends and family. Often we lose focus and try to do a million different things, but at the end of the day we have to hunker down and do what really matters. Think back to what your focus was from earlier, if you want to do something that’s not within that focus, you will probably have to say no.

I have been having to do this a lot lately. This weekend I even made a big move while sipping all the Diet Coke to make The Happy Arkansan my primary blog and to stop creating content as Amanda Cross Blog. This was a big move for me, because at first I thought combining my blogs would be the best bet, and upon further creative inspection, I realized that abandoning Amanda Cross Blog content altogether was the best move.

I recently got sent the entire collection of Diet Coke flavors in their sleek 12 oz can design. It was so fun to unbox the original Diet Coke along with four new flavors: Fiesty Cherry, Zesty Blood Orange, Ginger Lime, and Twisted Mango. Each flavor is distinct and I can’t wait to share my favorite flavors with you later in the post.

3. Create A Creative Routine

Creativity blossoms when you create a specific routine for it to do so. If you have random spurts of creativity, you can’t expect to invite creativity in. Create some time in your schedule daily, weekly, or monthly where you are shining creatively. I encourage at least weekly, because it’s hard to start a monthly habit.

Often we think that we can’t afford to be creative, but often we are wasting time in other aspects of our life. Walk through your day, where are your time sucks? Are you spending too much time on homework because you are procrastinating? Are you wasting too much time on chores because you are thinking about doing chores instead of just doing them? Think through your day because chances are you are wasting at least a little bit of time that you could put towards creativity if you just switched your perspective a little.

Diet Coke and its four new flavors fit perfectly in your creative lifestyle. The sleek cans make creating and drinking your new favorite flavor a breeze. I love that they are available in packs or singles so that I can take my Diet Coke anywhere that my creative lifestyle takes me. You can pick which flavor looks best to you or you can try them all. The packs are perfect for sharing the bold and refreshing taste of Diet Coke with all your creative friends!

The Diet Coke can has a new look, but it’s still the same Diet Coke you have come to know and love! I love this new slim can because it takes up less space on my desk than the original 12 oz can. It makes burning the midnight creative oil so much easier.

How To Chase Your Creative Dreams With Diet Coke

Diet Coke Fiesty Cherry is my favorite of all the new flavors. It packs a cherry punch and I feel it’s the best gateway into trying all the new flavors from Diet Coke.

How To Chase Your Creative Dreams With Diet Coke

Diet Coke Ginger Lime was my second favorite flavor. It puts a unique spin on lime centered sodas, and it was so refreshing!

How To Chase Your Creative Dreams With Diet Coke

Diet Coke Twisted Mango is the most tropical of the new flavors from Diet Coke. It was fun to try this quirky, twisted mango flavor.

How To Chase Your Creative Dreams With Diet Coke

Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange was probably my parents favorite one to try. I am a huge fan of orange in soda, so It was fun to try Diet Coke’s twist on this flavor.

4. Take Up Space For Creativity In Your Home

One huge way to be more creative is to make a space for creativity in your home. If you hide away your creative pursuits in a box in the corner, it’s going to be hard to convince yourself to whip out the box and set up for your creative endeavors. Instead of hiding your creativity, give it space to flourish and prosper. If you are an artist, set up an easel and a space for all your painting material; if you are a musician, set up a space for all your instruments; etc.

Once you have a space for your creative endeavors, all you have to do is go to that space and start creating. You don’t have to make a big scene of pulling out all your gear and losing interest in the process of doing so.

When I am getting ready to start blogging for the day, I like to sit down with my beverage of choice (which as of late has been Diet Coke Fiesty Cherry) and I pull out my computer. I like to keep my computer on consistently (only putting it in sleep mode) so that it boots up quickly and doesn’t hassle me. This helps me get right into blogging instead of waiting and losing interest.

All of these fun Diet Coke flavors are available at your local Walmart so you can try any of the cool new flavors by heading to your nearest store. I am obsessed with all the new flavors and my parents love them too. The new flavors have the same taste you would expect from any Diet Coke product, but with a twist of bold, fruity flavor.

Conclusion

If you are a creative, you should never lose your creative spirit. Do something every day that keeps up your creativity and helps you break from the ordinary routine of everyday life.

I want to thank The Coca-Cola Company one more time for sponsoring today’s blog post. Don’t forget to check out Diet Coke’s new slim 12 oz. cans and flavors at your nearest Walmart. I really do love these new flavors and I can’t wait for you to try them so we can talk about them.

What’s your best advice for living your creative dreams? What Diet Coke flavor are you looking forward to trying?

In Lifestyle on
October 27, 2017

5 Ways To Spread Joy This Holiday Season

Disclaimer: This post has been sponsored by Basic Invite. All opinions are my own.

We have almost reached the first holiday in the season of giving. Halloween is quickly approaching, and soon after the other fall/winter holidays will fall in line. This time of year is such a cheer-y one, and it’s important for all of us to help spread that love and cheer. So, today on the blog, I have teamed up with the lovelies at Basic Invite to discuss how you can spread some holiday cheer this year.

Basic Invite is an amazing website with hundreds of Christmas and holiday cards. Basic Invite is even offering 30% off all their holiday cheer right now with the code: HOLI30! If you are in need of holiday cards Basic Invite has your back.

We will chat more about them later though, for now, let’s chat about more ways to spread holiday joy!

 AD; 5 Ways To Spread Joy This Holiday Season With Basic Invite | Want to spread some holiday cheer this year, but you aren't sure where to start? In this collaboration with Basic Invite, I am showing you exactly how to spread joy this holiday season with time, love, and the prettiest holiday cards around.

1. Volunteer your Time

There are so many worthy causes that you can spend some time with this year. It doesn’t take a lot of time, but just a few hours this winter could really make a difference.

  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Servers are definitely always needed, and if you can rally people in your life to make a big time or food donation with you, that would be even cooler!
  • Spend some time at an animal shelter. Dogs and cats also need some Christmas cheer! Spend a bit of time with a puppy and help them have some fun this holiday.
  • Sing songs and hang out with people at nursing homes. This one is so so so important. Being in a nursing home can be really lonely at times, especially during the holiday season. Go spread some love and volunteer there, meet the sweetest people, and listen to all their stories.
    • Do the same at a children’s hospital! Children get lonely around the holidays too, especially at bigger hospitals where they may be away from their family for treatment.

2. Donate To A Worthy Cause

There are SO many worthy holiday causes!

At my bank they usually have a tree up with all the neighborhood children who can’t afford to have a great Christmas. You can go, sponsor a child, and get them all sorts of fun goodies, wrap them, then deliver them back to the bank for them to deliver the presents. I am sure that your bank or somewhere in your town has a similar program.

If you can’t find that program in your town, I also love Operation Christmas Child. I did this a few times in college, and it’s an easy thing to do. You get a fun Operation Christmas Child shoe box, fill it with necessities like toothbrushes (but not tooth paste), bar soap, combs/brushes, clothes, wash cloths, stuffed animals, etc. You can fill the box as much as you’d like, and be sure to include a personal note along with it! Here are their suggestions for what to include in the box.

These are my two favorite ways, but there are SO many worthy causes to donate to during the holidays. It’s all about seeking out the right ways to donate so that people are positively affected.

3. Give A Gift To Someone You Wouldn’t Think To

We obviously think of members of our family and close friends, but your gift giving doesn’t have to stop there. Here are some people you may also want to give gifts to:

  • Your Mailman: You have to be careful about this, because your mailman won’t be able to accept just any gifts. They need to be worth less than $20, and they can’t just be straight cash. There are many regulations that you can look up if you search for giving a present to your mailman.
  • Your Adviser or Professor: You may need to check in with your college on this one, but you might be able to swing getting a professor or adviser a gift (or at least some cute Christmas cards.)
  • Your Roommate: Even if you aren’t super close with your roommate, it’s worth getting them a little something, even if it’s a $10 gift card to their favorite coffee place. It’s always the thought that counts.

Pay It Forward

There are so many gifts that probably wouldn’t be classified as straight up gifts. Like:

  • Paying for the coffee of the person behind you in line.
  • Bringing food a friend while they are studying for finals.
  • Donate your frequent flyer miles to charity if you have any.

There are so many quick and interesting ways that you can make a difference in someone else’s life this holiday season.

4. Leave inspirational messages To People

An inspirational message can lift you up for the rest of the day. There are many ways that you can do this:

  • Shower people in compliments. Each time you think of something nice to say to someone, make sure that you actually say it to them. Do you see someone in the mall and love their hair? Make sure you let them know that! When you take the small time to let people know, it will be such a great feeling for that person. I know how much compliments positively effect me, and they can do the same for others.
  • Type out some random inspiration and leave it places. Go to Google or Pinterest and look up inspirational phrases and quotes. Type all of those out on a sheet of paper, cut them out, and leave them in random places on campus and in your town. When people find them, it’s bound to brighten their day. Make sure you leave the notes in a place people are likely to find.

These inspirational messages can make the day of the people on the other end of them, so speak happiness into other people’s lives!

5. Customize & Send Holiday Cards With Basic Invite

Last, but certainly not least, get some cute Christmas cards from Basic Invite to send to people! Basic Invite is an awesome company with a ton of different design options for your cute holiday cards. Here are some things that set Basic Invite a part from the rest:

  • Custom Samples: Sometimes it’s hard to imagine exactly how something will look printed. Basic Invite allows you to order custom samples before everything is printed, that way you can make changes or order as you wish.
  • Almost Unlimited Colors: I mean the customization of a card is pretty fantastic. There were SO many colors when I went to design my test image for this blog post. In fact, there are over 180 and you can add color to every element that you add. So, if you add text, some snow, some fronds, etc. you can make them all different colors, or the same for a cohesive look. Since you can change the colors for each element, you can create some amazing and unique holiday cards with Basic Invite.
  • All The Envelope Colors: On top of amazing colors in your design, you can also have amazing colors in your envelopes. In fact, Basic Invite has over 40 different envelope colors making everything all so awesome!
  • Address Capturing Service: No one likes to gather all the addresses during the holidays. Basic Invite has a service that allows you to send a link wherever be it email, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. that captures all your friends and families mailing address. Then Basic Invite will print that information on envelopes for you along with your return address. Then, when you get them in the mail all you have to do is place a stamp on them and send the cards on their merry way.

With all of these awesome perks, it’s no wonder Basic Invite is the perfect place to create cute holiday cards! Check out just a few of the holiday cards you can send:

College Student Holiday Card Ideas

  • If you have a pet, dress them up in holiday gear for your holiday card. Pets are always welcome on my fridge (and the fridge of most people!)
  • Five words. Ugly Christmas Sweater Holiday Card. Find the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find, and use that for your holiday card.
  • Mean Girls Style Holiday Cards: Yes, slay, jingle bell rock! Although, you may want to wear longer clothes if you are sending this to your family.
  • Library Christmas Cards. You know, to remind your family and friends that you are spending at least a little bit of time in the library.

As you can see, even college students can create holiday cards to be merry and bright!

Who To give/Send Holiday Cards To

You may be wondering, who would I send cards to if I got them? Well, I got you covered:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Hall mates in your residence hall
  • Neighbors in your apartment
  • Military personnel
  • Children in the hospital
  • Elderly people in nursing homes
  • Professors

I mean, the list can go on and on. You never know how much a simple, sweet card can impact someone during the holiday season.

Conclusion

We are in the season of giving, y’all! Don’t be afraid to get in the holiday spirit! There are so many worthwhile causes out there that you can gravitate toward to spread some holiday cheer. Basic Invite is a great way to create cute holiday cards to go along with all your holiday gift giving. Don’t forget, that if you use the code HOLI30 you will get 30% off all holiday cards!