July 31, 2017

What to Expect at a Pre-Law Academy

Helloooo! I'm back with another guest post! The office that I'm working in this summer has close ties with the law school so this summer we got two prelaw students who came and worked with us for a little bit as part of one of their classes. I got to be a mentor to one of the students and help her work on a project for our office. Long story short, she's amazing and I convinced her to do a Q&A with me so I could do a blog post over our undergrad's pre law summer program since I missed out on participating in it when I was in undergrad. 

little about today's writer Kaitlin...
Pre Law Academy | brazenandbrunette.com
School: Texas Tech University (Senior)
Major: Marketing
Minor: Public Relations

What is the Texas Tech Pre-Law Academy?

The Pre-Law Academy is a summer program available for Texas Tech students as well as students from other colleges who are interested in going to law school. Students in the program have the opportunity to take seven hours of undergraduate coursework relevant to law and the classes are taught at the Texas Tech law school. The program prepares pre-law students for the demands of law school by giving them an inside look into what a law school class is like and teaching them the ins and outs of law school and the legal profession. You can read more about the program here.

Did you have to apply for the program? 

I did have to apply. The application is posted online and included general demographic and academic history questions. In addition to the application, I had to submit a resume and one letter of recommendation. After my application was reviewed, I interviewed with the director of the program. The interview was not intensive; I was asked questions such as: “Why do you want to participate in the program?,” “What made you want to be a lawyer?,” etc. The director also went into more depth about what the program entails.

Could you take summer classes and do the program?

The program includes 7 hours of undergraduate coursework. Classes are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and include several hours of homework each night. I would not recommend taking other classes or working because the program is so intensive.

The classes include:

Argumentation and Debate (COMS 3314, 3 credit hours) — This class was comprised of reading supreme court cases relating to first amendment rights and analyzing the justices’ arguments. We discussed the type of argument he/she was making and why he/she chose to frame the argument in that way. To make the class more like law school, the professor “cold called,” meaning students would be randomly selected to discuss the reading as part of our grade. We had to be prepared to talk about every court case and reading each day. For the final, we had to write a judicial opinion about a case pending in the Supreme Court. (One of the hardest collegiate assignments I have ever had!)

Lawyering Skills: Legal Analysis & Advocacy (PLAW 4301, 3 credit hours) — This class is a condensed version of the Legal Practice course law students are required to take. We had two main assignments: a closed legal memo and an appellate argument. The closed memo was over a fictional case for which we had to write about whether the defendant in the case would be found guilty or not by analyzing Texas statute and case law. For the second project, we had to argue an appellate case where the professor (acting as a justice) would ask questions to both sides about whether or not the lower court’s decision should be overturned.

Seminar in Legal Profession (PLAW 3101, 1 credit hour) — The seminar was composed of guest speakers who came and spoke about law school and the legal profession. We learned about the law school admission process, the Bar, student wellness in law school, and much more. We also toured the Lubbock County Jail.

Legal Profession Internship (PLAW 3002) — This part of the program is optional. You may choose whether you want to complete 1, 2, or 3 credit hours. I completed my 1 hour internship at the Office of Dispute Resolution, where I worked on a pre-trial diversion project. Completing the internship added another dimension to the program, and I would highly recommend it!

What was the best part about the program?

You become close with your classmates. There were only 17 people in the program this summer, which made it much more intimate. You could always count on classmates to help out if needed. It was also nice to experience the “I’m not going to law school/ I’m going to law school” roller-coaster with others. The academy also validated my decision to go to law school, which was the biggest benefit of the program. Even though the academy was difficult, I now feel confident saying I want to be a lawyer.

What was the worst part about the program?

It was the most challenging academic experience I have ever had. I have experienced academical success since starting college and have done so without much difficulty. The classes in the academy required more effort than I had ever had to put into a class before. Although I cried, stayed up all night, and questioned my intelligence at times, I feel more confident in myself and my ability to be successful in a truly challenging academic setting.

Did the program affect your decision to study law?

Before the program, I was on the fence about attending law school. I am now 100% sure because of the program. My biggest concern was whether I would enjoy it, which I could not know without doing it first. The program gave me the opportunity to get insight into what it would be like, and I loved what I found.

Do you feel that you are more prepared for law school after this program than if you hadn't gone through the program?

I am definitely better prepared for law school after completing the program. I have gained surface knowledge that others going into law school don’t have, which gives me an advantage.

What skill did the program help you improve most? 

My reading and comprehension has improved drastically. I learned how to read quickly while still being able to understand the material. For the debate class, not only did I have to understand the case, I had to process why the justice was saying what he/she said. In the lawyering skills class, I was required to break down a statute word by word and relate it to a case. Also, we learned about how the legal system works, which was really useful not only for someone who wants to practice law, but also for any U.S. citizen.

Anything else you think people should know about the program?

I would highly recommend this program for anyone interested in going to law school. Even if you complete the program and decide that law school is not for you, that’s better than figuring that out after you start. If you do love it, then you will be better prepared for law school than your peers. It truly was an amazing experience, and I absolutely loved it!  

July 28, 2017

How to Build a Law School Capsule Wardrobe

What law students actually wear to class and what to wear to law school. What clothes to buy for law school. What to wear to a law class. Do you need a suit for law school. What do people wear to law school. Capsule wardrobe for a student budget. Law school outfit ideas. Law school outfit inspiration. How to dress in law school. law school blog. law student blogger | brazenandbrunette.com

Almost exactly 2 years ago, I was a nervous little 0L who had no idea what to wear in law school. I even wrote this post about it. Coming from being a sorority girl in college, my entire wardrobe was nothing but Nike shorts and oversized frat tanks or forever 21 dresses. I seriously didn't even really have a pair of jeans that still fit, so I basically had to build up an entire new wardrobe for law school. 

What I said in my original post is still mostly true and if you do a Pinterest search you still pretty much only find pictures of Michaela Pratt (from HTGAWM) outfits. But I'm here to give you the low down on what law school is really like so let me be the first to warn you that if you show up in business casual on the first day of school, you'll be a little overdressed. In general, you'll probably only need a pencil skirt for major events or interviews and will be fine dressing a lot more casually the rest of the time.

Related: The difference between business professional, business casual, and casual

But let me warn you not to dress too casually. One day my 1L year I was dressed like a slob and of course that was the day when my school email was like *surprise* the Court of Appeals justices are on campus today for lunch. I was too embarrassed to show up looking so sloppy because I didn't want to be disrespectful so I missed out on a great opportunity simply because of my outfit. And this summer I wasn't in the mood to put on makeup or do my hair and of course that was the day that my professor decided to move up my presentation to that day so I had to stand up in front of my class looking like I just got off a 12 hour flight. 

So long story short, it is worth it to put some effort to look decent for class. If you're coming straight from college and have no clothes like I did, this can get really expensive really fast. Luckily from my experience of spending 5 months abroad, I've learned about the magic of a capsule wardrobe. It's genius because you only have to invest in a few basic pieces that all mix and match to make a lot of outfits with not a lot of clothes. 

The basics

Jeans — Start with jeans, because you can get by with one or two pairs of jeans to begin with. A pair of light wash boyfriend jeans and a pair of skinny black jeans will literally go with anything. Yep, you can be that level of casual with jeans in law school. 

Leggings — Actually, you can even pull off leggings in law school. Just try to look nice and instead of a big t-shirt, try wearing a cute top and a cardigan. Since it is grad school though, I usually dress up my leggings with the rest of my outfit just a little so I at least don't look like I've just been out running errands.

Shirts — With shirts, make sure that they match each pair of your jeans (this should be easy) and that they're versatile. What I mean by that is that the same shirt will look just as good on you standing up in class reciting a case as it will while you're at dinner on a date. The easiest thing is to start out with neutrals like a white, gray, black, and black and white striped shirt. Monochromatic is a classic color scheme that not only will match each of your pants, it will also be super easy to add color in. 

Dresses — The next thing I suggest you look in to are the nicer basics. I looove t-shirt dresses and probably wear one to class at least once a week. They're comfortable but not so casual that I would feel embarrassed meeting a new lawyer in. Start with a chambray one, a striped one, and a solid color. Another thing I'm obsessed with is rompers. Both of these are great investments because you can make them work for both class and bars on the weekend.

Cardigans — Another nicer basic to invest in are cardigans. Either the AC will be blasting in your classroom or it'll be cold outside so they're always good to have on you. I keep one stashed in my carrel and if you have a job that's semi-casual, you can use these to get away with wearing spaghetti strap shirts to work. 

Sweaters — One last thing to add is a chunky knit sweater. You can wear them with jean shorts when it starts getting cooler or leggings when it's actually cold. They also are great to wear with long socks for a Netflix marathon over Christmas break, jussayin.

To make getting a new wardrobe cheaper, I suggest getting these basic shirts and then every month or so get a few new shirts in color and by the end of the year you should have a pretty solid wardrobe foundation.

The extras 

Here's something that I've learned that's crazy— shoes make the outfit! I know this sounds very Carrie Bradshaw, but hear me out. You can make one outfit work in all sorts of situations just by changing out the shoes. Here's what I mean...
Law School Capsule Wardrobe | brazenandbrunette.com
See what I'm talking about?? Shoes aren't usually as "trendy" so a pair you buy this weekend will probably still be in style in 3 years. And to get real with y'all real quick, stress eating is a real problem in law school but the nice thing about shoes is that if you gain 10 pounds they'll all still fit you just as well. 

When I got to law school, basically the only shoes that I had were my Chacos and club heels so this is where I had to stock up the most because you can't exactly wear skinny jeans with chacos and you for sure can't wear club heels. So one day while I was procrastinating reading, I decided to shop around real quick and ended up on Zappos. It's basically the Amazon of shoes because they have everything plus 2-day shipping. Here's how I built up my shoe collection...

Sandals — As you may remember, I worked at the Texas Capitol during the summer when they're not in session so everyone tends to dress more casual. One day I saw a girl wearing Tory Burch Miller sandals and even though they're basically flip flops, they looked soo classy and actually not out of place at all. Obviously I had to get them so I got the black patent leather sandals and they've turned out perfect. What's funny is that in my office this summer, four other girls have worn these to work! Another sandal option that goes with everything but is half the price of Tory is Jack Rodgers. Both of these sandal brands are well known for their quality that lasts for years and also are always in style.

Sneakers — I love my Converse because they go with everything plus are super comfortable. I wear them several times a week to class and they're my go-to shoe to pack when I'm traveling. Even if you're just wearing leggings to class, swap out your tennis shoes for these and go for a Piko if you're set on wearing a baggy shirt and you'll look way more put together while still being just as lazy. Converse sneakers are classic, but another great sneaker to consider is Adidas. They're a little more in right now and look great with a pair of ripped jeans and a t-shirt.

Heels — I'm 5'2 so I personally love wearing heels to class just so my feet can touch the ground (short people probs lol). To pull this off without looking too overdressed for class, my favorite heels to wear are wedges when it's warm and booties when it's cool. My 2L year I got a pair of Steve Madden wedges and have been wearing them to my summer classes because they're so comfortable. To save money, get one pair of booties that will go with everything. The Toms Majorca is my personal favorite because it's brown and black so it basically goes with everything plus it's a peep toe so your feet won't get too hot and you can wear them Spring - Fall. 

Boots — Get you a pair of cognac riding boots. They look great with dresses without seeming too dressy (plus keep your legs warm in the fall) and always look cute with both jeans and leggings. Once it starts to get cool, I basically wear these every day to class. Another set of boots to save up for (or ask for birthday/Christmas) is quality rain boots. After years of making due with cheap Target boots, I finally got a pair of Hunter Rain boots my senior year and I literally get so excited when it rains so I can wear them. Get them in red! I swear every time I wear them I get complimented on the color. They run big but don't size down and then in the winter you can wear thick socks and make them into snow boots.

And that's it! I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but that's the point. If you get shoes that go with practically any top or a dress that versatile for almost any situation, you won't need to get a whole lot. You'll see that this is a good thing because if you're going to law school then you're about to be paying like at least $90k. To build up a wardrobe on a student budget, keep an eye out for when any of these things go on sale, and buy them once they do. The Zappos sale tab is great for this because there's always something on sale! Another easy way to make this as cheap as possible is to start out with the bare minimum (one pair of jeans, two pairs of shoes, and three tops) and buy one or two things each month. 

Huge shoutout to Zappos for collaborating with me on this post!

Law School Capsule Wardrobe | brazenandbrunette.com


July 24, 2017

2nd Blogiversary

Brazen and Brunette is two years old!! Thank you to every reader who has helped make this blog a success | brazenandbrunette.com

Yayyy you guys as of yesterday my blog is TWO!! For a trip down memory lane, here is the post that started it all. I can't say thank you enough to each and every one of you for taking a chance on my random ramblings and sticking with me through my 1L and 2L years. This blog has literally been one of the highlights of being in law school and I'm so glad that y'all take the time to help make this blog a success. Still to this day I love getting to help prospective and current law students by messaging and commenting back to y'all. I'm not exaggerating on how the emails and comments I get from y'all completely make my day and I do still read the nice parts to my friends to brag about how amazing y'all are. Ok sappy shit over haha. I thought I'd do like what I did for my first blogiversary and take a little time out from my normal posts to give y'all an update on what's been going on here and Brazen and Brunette.

Blog Update

My blog hasn't changed as drastically as it did the first year, but I did do some things to try to help and improve it. I still love my blog design so I think I'll be keeping it here for a few years (if you're a blogger looking for a new blog design, this is the site where I got mine). 

Last year I went from being anon to public, but I actually still have only told a few of my friends and my sister. It's not that I'm trying to hide it, but I feel weird telling them that I'm a "blogger" because I think most people think of a 15 year old having an online diary when they hear blogger. Also the majority of my friends have nothing to do with law school so I know they wouldn't even care to read my post.

It wasn't even until this past semester that I even started adding this to the hobbies part of my resumé. At first I was too embarrassed to put that on a job resumé for the same reasons that I haven't even told all of my friends, but after talking to my school's career counselor (she's a DG too so we get along great) I decided to add it. She told me to put it on there because it will give interviewers something to ask me about so we can have a conversation where they get to know me personally. And she was right because every interview that I've gone in to since then has asked me to tell them more about it. I just make sure to explain it as a "how-to law school" blog so they're reassured that it isn't just a diary and I won't be writing any potentially confidential information.

One of the things that I'm most proud that I've started the Law School Blogs Pinterest group.  In less than a year it's grown to feature 21 different law school bloggers and over 2,000 followers! Not only do I love it as essentially a one-stop-shop for 0Ls to find a post about about any of their law school questions, it's also turned into a place for other law school bloggers to come together and for baby bloggers to be able to reach a large audience from the get go to help their new blog grow.

Another change from last year is that I've been working hard to make the name Brazen and Brunette grow, and it's been working! I've featured guest posts from reader Chandler and bloggers Heather and Jordin, was featured on a law school podcast, reached out to Quimbee and Plum Paper Planners so that I could get you guys discounts, become an ambassador for theSkimm, and have become a member of the Influence Her Collective, Activate by Bloglovin, and She Is Media. I'm excited because here pretty soon I have plans to work with other law school bloggers (spoiler alert it's this blog), have more guest writers, and work with more brands so my blog will continue to expand! PS - if you ever feel like you have something to say but aren't ready to start up your own blog, feel free to email me because I'd love to feature more readers as guest posts!!

Blog Report

I'm so so so happy that my blog has continued to grow.

2nd Blogiversary | brazenandbrunette.com

My page views have been all over the place and at first when they started to go down I was a little bit worried that I wasn't doing enough to write helpful posts or share it enough. But then I realized duh they're going down because most of my readers are 1Ls and once school started they were too busy to read my posts, which explains why it goes up in the summer. To make sure that I still am writing helpful posts, I'd really appreciate it if you could go here and "endorse" what you want to see more of! 

Even when page views went down, I still was happy overall because this time last year I hadn't broken 20k views and now that's closer to my average! Last year I set a goal to reach 30k views a month and I finally reached that goal this May but have been meeting that goal every month since. 

I've also seen my social media grow a lot faster this past year. I thank Tailwind for helping me grow my Pinterest and Hootsuite for helping me grow my Facebook/Twitter (more on those below). I have gotten a lot better about having two Twitters (one personal, one for the blog) and try to use my blog Twitter more as a way to interact with y'all. I'm still debating on what to do about Instagram because right now I just have my personal one and I'm not quite sure if I want to start sharing blog-related stuff (new posts, new favorites, and work/school outfits) on there. I want to start sharing more of my life with y'all because I love it when bloggers I follow do that, but right now most of my Instagram followers are my friends from high school and college who have no clue (and to be honest, probably no interest) about my law school blogging. But I'm just not sure if having an Insta just for my blog is being too extra or if any of y'all would want that. So if you have some thoughts, please feel free to comment or email because I need help making up my mind!

Goal for 2018: reach 45k views a month

Income Report

To repeat what I said last year, I'm not sharing these numbers to come off as bragging, but simply so that I can be honest with y'all about referral fees that I collect when you visit a website or sign up for something that I've recommended. 

Ads (google): $111
Affiliate: $578
Expenses: $129
Net: $560 (not too bad side money)

I had Google AdSense for about a year and just recently decided to take those ads off my site, so that's one change. I ended up deciding that their ads were starting to ruin the integrity of my site and it just wasn't worth it. I hate going to websites that are covered in ads that I accidentally click on, they always make pages load slower, they're distracting, and as the owner of my site I didn't really get much say in which ads were posted so I didn't like that I could potentially be endorsing a product or service that I personally wouldn't recommend. 

Instead I've realized that by working with brands directly, I can control what is being featured on my blog and making sure that you're not wasting your time with a crap product or brand. At first, the only brands that were reaching out to be were very fishy and I didn't even hesitate to decline their offers. Honestly some of these really annoyed me because I could tell from their pitch that these companies had never even visited my site or read one of my posts. But now I've learned more about blogging so I'm excited to collaborate with some genuinely good brands that are worthwhile.

Last year I set what I see now as a little too-high goal to make $75 a month and ended up averaging about $46 instead. I say averaging because some months were slow and it'd only be like $10 so I just want to be candid for any of you wanting to start making money off your blog that it's not exactly as lucrative as you'd wish.

I did have quite a few expenses, but in my opinion they've been worth it. One of my best investments for my blog has been Tailwind for sure. I blogged about specific stats in my 7 tools I use to blog post, but my Pinterest (and therefore readers) has definitely grown the most because of this. Another place that I've been focusing more on is Facebook. I use Hootsuite to make sure that I'm sharing posts almost every day and I've promoted my Understanding your law student and Law school as told by Elle Woods posts on Facebook and have seen pretty good results from sharing those less-serious posts. It's not in my budget right now, but I do plan on experimenting with promoting posts on Pinterest and Twitter and expanding Facebook ads once I can afford to do that. One thing I did try that I didn't feel I got a good return on was Google Ads. At this point I don't think that my blog is big enough for me to be doing that again any time in the near future.

Goal for 2018: reach $60 a month

Well that about wraps up my two year blogiversary! Again thank you all for listening to me, I can't explain to y'all how much this blog means to me and how fun it's been getting to help all of y'all feel a little less nervous when you sit in on your first day of law school. Feel free to pop open a bottle of André and celebrate with me!! 

July 17, 2017

A Guide to Moving in With Your Boyfriend

What to expect when moving in with your boyfriend and what things you need when you move in with your boyfriend. Living with your boyfriend. Why you should live with your boyfriend before marriage. Tips for moving in with your boyfriend. What I learned moving in with my boyfriend | brazenandbrunette.com

Hello friends, I have news for you... me and my bf have moved in together. Yep big things going on in my life because apparently I can't escape adulating lol. If you want a fun "should we move in together quiz," take this quiz

Anyways one thing that really surprised me about going to law school is how many people are wifed up. I was expecting law school to be just like 17th grade but surprisingly a lot of law students are in their late 20's/early 30's and I swear everyone you meet is either married (some even with kids!), engaged, or in a serious relationship. So I'm guessing at least one of you out there will be in this situation soon so I figured I might as well blog about my whole 3 weeks of experience.

Related: New apartment hunting tips

What to expect

First off, let me prepare you for how this will go living with your POSSLQ (lil family law reference for y'all). The first day or two is like a "honeymoon phase" where you're both just so excited to get to see each other so much and you're ordering pizza to have with your LaMarca so you can have a cute photo session of yay we're living together because when else can you be this cutesy cheesy? 

But then comes an adjustment period. This is where you have little fights over things that are inevitable because you just couldn't have prepared for it— like you both shower at the same time of the day but there's not enough hot water or time for you two to keep up this routine so someone will have to change their daily schedule, or one of you prefers to empty out a clean dishwasher and slowly reload it with dirty dishes while the other prefers to keep an empty dishwasher and load dirty dishes as you go. In my case, he moved in with me so this also included him getting used to where I keep things so I'm not getting calls in the middle of the day because for the love of God he can't find where I store the salt and pepper. 

But then you get used to living together and things are great. It's nice to have someone help me zip up my dresses before work or help me cook dinner after studying. Here's another bonus— one day last week I just didn't sleep well but I still had to rally for work and then stick it out through class/reading and after my workout I just fell to the floor and cried from feeling exhausted and overwhelmed but luckily I had someone who could rub my back and remind me that I'm a badass. 10/10 would recommend having someone on standby to comfort you through a mental breakdown.

What you'll need

Alexa + smart switchOkay I already shared my echo dot as one of my Spring Semester Favorites, but I felt the need to include it again in this list too. In less than a week we already had a situation where we both ended up in bed but lights were still on in the living room. Back in the 20th Century, this would've meant that someone one would have to get out of the nice warm bed and go turn everything off. Cue argument over who was the last person in that room and should be the one sacrificed to the Cold Air Gods. But I had him install a smart switch so now all we have to do is just say Alexa turn off the lamp and problem solved. We plan to get another one for the TV and honestly probably some for bedroom lamps because once you get used to this you can't go back to being a peasant who actually has to touch a lamp switch haha (kidding but not).

Amazon FireTV Stick - Part of the adjustment period is learning to live your life but with someone else there. There's times when his show is on but I need to study or when my show is on at the exact time that that one of his shows are on. So getting something like the fire stick solves a little bit of this because if one of us can't watch our show then we can just go in later and catch up. We ended up having one for the bedroom TV and one for the living room TV so if all else fails we can always just go to the other room to watch something.

Bar - I don't have room in my little apartment for a bar cart, so I make do with this bar shelf. This has turned out to be super handy so far because we love to invite friends over to drink and play poker or cards against humanity. Pro tip- when you first move in together, host a "stock the bar" party and invite literally everyone. What will happen is that your friends will all bring over some liquor, wine, or beer and then boom you're stocked up on free alcohol all at the expense of some mixers, ice, and cups. 

Go ahead and get this bar set. The ice bucket is a little small but other than that it's perfect. Oh and you'll want this electric wine opener (I love it) and these wine caps (traditional wine stoppers usually make bottles too tall for fridge shelves). When we were out shopping for what we'd need when we moved in together, he picked up a set of small wine glasses for us to get and I said If I'm going to live with you, I'm going to need the BIG glasses and this lady that was right beside us overheard me and started dying laughing and told him that I was right. I'm assuming she has experience of living with an S.O. so if she's right then we'll be going through a lot of wine.

Dishwasher magnet - Remember how you'll have little fights over things you didn't anticipate? Prevent at least one of these with a dishwasher magnet that tells you if the dishes are dirty or clean. Because nothing is worse than grabbing a bowl out of the dishwasher because you think they're all clean but you don't realize that the dishwasher is actually full of dirty dishes.

Extra basics - Just trust me that you will need at least double bath towels, dishes, and silverware than what you expect. When I lived with roommates in undergrad we all brought our own things. But here you're playing house (or actually living it) with a shared bathroom and being real adults who are past using paper plates and plastic forks. So get extra of what you think you'll need or else you'll be running the dishwasher or washing machine every other day just so you can have something to eat with or dry off with.

Grocery rebate apps - If you think that having your S.O. move in will equal your grocery bill going down since he can help you pay, you are mistaken. Having a guy around means that you'll go through food faster and there will also be the added expense of having to buy his snacks that you don't like so you never paid for before. And especially now that we are trying new recipes (more on that later), it feels like we're always at the grocery store. 

So we both use Ibotta all the time! I made him download it too because you get an extra $10 free when you sign up (yay free money) and have him use it after every trip he takes... but heads up you can't trick it into you both using the receipt at the same time so only one person use one at a time. But you can also use another very similar app called Checkout 51 that gives you $5 free when you sign up (yay free money x2). So while you both can't use the same receipt for Ibotta, you can use the same receipt for Checkout 51 since they have different promotions. This works out great because sometimes one app has a special that the other doesn't so I definitely recommend using both to get the most $$ back (I'm up to over $40 this summer from both combined!!)

Headphones - Idk what it is but guys love their video games so expect one to be the plus one with your guy. I actually picked out this gaming headset for him after his last one died and he loves it. He can chat with his friends during their raids and I don't have to hear all of them shouting out directions through my TV. On the flipside of this, I have realized that studying is a little bit more tricky with a roommate (I lived alone for 1L and 2L year). While my basic noise-canceling headphones worked just fine to block out my neighbor's noises, I had to step up and get some serious noise-canceling headphones. Right now these are super helpful while I take online classes so I can hear to my lecture videos and he doesn't have to tip-toe around.

Mouthwash - Add this to your nightly routine and it'll really help cut down on morning breath! It's a small little thing but it really does help so you can lay in bed in the morning and cuddle and chat without being self-conscious about your breath being like that one episode from SpongeBob.

Phone chargers - I'm hereby coining Nikki's Law, defined as "for every roommate you have, you will lose a phone charger cord and/or cube." But for real though, go ahead and order an extra phone cord (double points if it's extra long) and at least one extra cube. I promise you they're going to "borrow" it and never return it. So right now we have two phone cords/cubes in the bedroom, another set in the living room, another set in the kitchen, and another in each car. It's worth the investment to have a way to charge your phone at every place you normally need it and then no one is stealing anyone else's any losing carrying it around the house. 

Poo pouri - I got this as a gag gift at Christmas but jokes on them it's actually very useful. Long story short, keep this somewhere where you can't miss it (like right by the toilet paper or toilet handle) and have both of you get in the habit of spraying this on the water before you go to the bathroom. Then this saves you from the very awkward Hey don't go in there for a few minutes conversation.

Recipe book - We came up with this idea and it's too cute for me to not share with anyone who will listen. Get a blank recipe book. Pick a night of the week that is "experiment night." Take turns finding recipes through Pinterest or the Food Network App or wherever and then y'all try cooking a new recipe together. Whoever finds the recipe writes it down in the book if it turns out to be a win. In the end you have a recipe book that's full of only dishes that you know you both like (so later you can just blindly open to a page and cook that) but it also doubles as a cute memento of all of the meals you've shared together.

Shopping list pad - Another one of my Spring Favorites. In undergrad I didn't care when my roommates ate or what they ate because we all just kinda had our own meal schedule. With your SO it's a little different and you end up planning meals and shopping together. This pad helps keep track of all of the things you need for that. It's also a good way to avoid those moments when you get home from the grocery store and he goes oh yeah I forgot to tell you that I used up all of the milk this morning. Again, just trying to prevent those unnecessary little fights. Another thing very similar to this that I got is this "honey do" list and it's actually great. I'm still pleasantly surprised every time I write hang pictures above nightstand and then I come home and they're actually hung!

Sleep set - In an ideal world, you both would go to bed and get up at the same time together. But unfortunately in the real world, and especially during that first week of adjusting, that's not always the case. A good sleep mask with ear plugs is a good thing to have on hand so that both of y'all can go to sleep when you want to and stay asleep for as long as you want to. It's also nice just to have for those terrible days when you come home from class and just need to nap away your problems.

Trashcan with a lid - Another just trust me thing. Even if he's grown up with sisters, you're still going to have to hear an Ew gross! once a month if your bathroom trashcan doesn't have a lid. I swear guys never get used to this.

Wreath - Technically you could use this even if you live alone because they're just so gosh darn cute, but once you start having a home together you should make it look official. Get you a little door wreath and you'll be amazed at how homey your place will instantly feel and you'll feel so grown up when everyone sees it when they come over.

What I've learned

Because I'm a law student, the number one thing that I had to do before we even unpacked the first box was explain what I needed out of him so I could study. In the least bitchy way I could, I had to explain that his job now included quizzing me on my outline before finals and making himself seen and not heard when I had to read and especially the day before finals. I also had to explain to him that in general, but especially around finals, I am a little ball of stress, so if I get bitchy or I spontaneously start crying he needs to know that it's just because of the stress and not necessarily because I hate him. Obviously just because I'm a law student doesn't mean that I can be a complete pain, but sorry kid law students are just a little harder to live with than regular people. Another must that I had to point out: even if the Facebook video of the puppy saving the kitten is adorable and I'd love it, please just save it until a study break and don't interrupt me "real quick" because then I'll get out of my groove. 

And since we both have pretty full schedules, weekends are the best. We got this picnic basket and every weekend we'll pack it with either lunch (club sandwiches are our fave so far) or brunch (fruit and croissants for the win) and go exploring and find a new park. Getting outside and just spending time chatting or playing cards or something is a great way to keep from becoming super boring. We like picnics because they're free but if all else just plan on getting out of the house and spending time together while you can.