The Computer & Eye Health

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Rohto. All opinions and text are my own.

Just because you sit in front of a computer all day doesn't mean you have to suffer the pain because of it. Learn how to prevent computer eye strain even while going to school or working a 9-5.

Whether you’re writing a school paper or working 9-5 at a desk, we spend a lot of time in front of computers. As a blogger and someone that works a full-time office job, I am so guilty. Eye health has always been important, but now as we spend so much time in front of screens, it’s even more important to take care of our eyes.

Constantly looking at a screen- whether it be the computer, a cell phone or the TV- can cause what is known as computer eye strain (also called digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome). Symptoms include everything from headache to blurred vision and dry eyes.

Technology is a blessing in so many ways, but with it, we really need to take extra measures to protect our vision. You can avoid computer eye strain be factoring in these five tips:

Eye Drops

Every day isn’t perfect. We can help protect our eyes by controlling our lighting, taking breaks and more, but sometimes we can’t control the lighting; Sometimes we can’t get away from our desks because the work is piled high. To help your eyes even while sitting in front of a screen, you can always revert to eye drops. Rohto has a number of different eye drop options to choose from- Itch Relief, Multi-Symptom Relief, Dry Eye Relief, Redness Relief and Maximum Redness Relief- to help with any unwanted eye-related symptom.


The Maximum Redness Relief, for example, soothes eye strain, refreshes and lubricates and relieves redness of the eye. Don’t overlook that Rohto eye drops are also cooling, so if your eyes start to feel cool and tingly, that’s completely normal and means they’re working!

Since you can use these eye drops up to four times daily, you’ll be able to work comfortably even with a long day in front of the computer. You can pick them up at Walmart, Walgreens, Kroger, CVS and more.

Lighting

Maybe this seems obvious, but again, like eye strain in general, it’s just one of those things we don’t always think about. Having the proper amount of lighting will greatly reduce the amount of strain put on your eyes. You can have too much lighting or too little lighting. Avoid both sitting in the dark and sitting under harsh fluorescent lighting or bright light streaming in through a window. And while you’re checking the lighting around you, adjust your computer brightness to match the lighting. They should be the same level of brightness.

Blinking

It sounds silly to say, “make sure you’re blinking,” right? But sometimes we just get into the zone of our work and we can stare at the screen just a little bit too long. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still blink! But blinking help keeps the front of your eyes moist and clean, so it never hurts to blink more than necessary. Especially as a contact wearer, I find myself blinking a lot.

Frequent Breaks

Taking frequent breaks from your computer is healthy for your eyes and also improves your concentration and productivity. Ideally, your break would include a walk or a little bit of sunshine, but even just taking a look away from your computer screen to talk to your cubicle-mate would be better than nothing. This will still give your eyes a break from focusing and staring into the blue light of your device.

Computer Glasses

Computer glasses are a serious game changer. I got my own pair last year, and I keep them at work, so I have them all the time. Don’t believe how important eye health is and how detrimental our computer screens can be? My office is buying computer glasses for our employees!

If you don’t know what computer glasses are, it’s pretty simple. Computer glasses have lenses with a special coating that reflects and absorbs the blue light that comes from your electronics and is harmful to your eyes. Blocking these harsh lights can relieve eye strain, itchiness, irritation and headaches caused by looking at your electronic screens for long periods of time.

To make them even more convenient, you can normally find computer glasses as reading glasses, prescription glasses or just plain computer glasses. I opted for regular computer glasses because I’m an avid contact wearer, and since I’m near-sighted, I don’t need glasses to look at my computer screen late at night even after I’ve taken out my contacts.

Have you noticed that tech companies are becoming more aware of digital eye strain? That’s why the iPhone now has auto-brightness and night shift (which turns your screen red instead of blue, eliminating blue light). I cannot express enough how amazing it is to see these kinds of shifts from large corporations, but it’s still our responsibility to ultimately protect our eye health. Not to mention, protecting your eyes will be all around more comfortable and enjoyable. No one likes dry eyes.

Have you ever used Rohto Eye Drops or tried out the eye-friendly iOS features? Have you suffered from computer eye strain?

How to Make Friends in a New City

Make Friends in a New City QUICKLY! My tried and true tips and tricks to making connections after a big move.

I made the big announcement in my last post that I moved to a new city! It has been the biggest, greatest adventure. Making friends was the one and only thing I was nervous about when moving out of state to a city where I knew absolutely no one.

I worried that I would have no way to meet people. I worried that people wouldn’t be friendly and eager to form a new friendship.

Let me just say this: I was so, so wrong.

I have been in my new city for less than a month, and I have already developed friendships. Obviously I haven’t made a “best” friend. How could I in a month?! What I have done is create connections around the city and developed friendships that I know will blossom into even more serious friendships.

Honestly, making friends in a new city by myself has been way easier than I anticipated.

If you’re moving to a new city, making new friends can be easy for you as well. I’m not special! I didn’t do anything crazy or unique. If you’re preparing to move and are worried, don’t be. If you’re thinking about moving to a new place but are hesitant because you don’t know anyone, don’t be!

You can make friends in a new city.


How to Make Friends in a New City (with Technology)

With apps and websites dedicated to meeting new people and making new friends, making friends is easier than ever. I think apps for meeting new people are great because you know that you are both on the same page. You both want to get out and make friends!

Hey! VINA

Hey! VINA is my personal favorite way to make friends in a new city. I have had so much fun and success with this app. Hey! VINA is an app that functions a lot like Tinder; you swipe left or right, have a brief bio and are able to connect your Instagram account. The difference: it’s female-only and for platonic friendships.

I’ve met three amazing ladies off of this app. Each experience was so great and completely normal. I am 100% making real friendships thanks to Hey! VINA. The app recommends you only send a few messages back and forth, getting to know each other, before you meet in person. I couldn’t agree with this more. The more you message back and forth, the harder and weirder it is once you meet in person.

I know that the idea of meeting up with random girls from the internet sounds rather strange. I say, “go for it.” We are so lucky to be able to have such simple ways to connect with people.

Meetup

Meetup is another app that I found and downloaded (there is also a website version). Meetup, however, is very different from Hey! VINA. In Meetup, people from your area create groups that revolve around a particular interest. Then the organizers host events for everyone in the group.

Examples of different groups include book clubs, groups for 20-somethings, volunteer groups, groups for writers, hiking groups, photography groups and so many more. If you have an interest and are located next to a big city, chances are likely there is a Meetup for it. If there isn’t, you can organize a group yourself for $14.99 a month!

For a little while right after my big move, I thought about starting a blogger group in my area, but I’ve had so much luck with Hey! VINA and have been so busy, I haven’t utilized Meetup at all and, for that reason, can’t imagine starting my own group at this time.


How to Make Friends in a New City (the Natural Way)

If you’re looking for a slower, more natural way to make friends, no worries, you don’t have to turn to the internet. There are plenty of steps you can take in your day-to-day life to make friends over time. Make sure to:

Always say “yes”

Even if an activity is outside of your comfort zone, say “yes.” Even if you’re feeling tired after a long day of work, say “yes.” This holds true especially when you’re just starting out in a new city. It’s best to get out and stay busy, working on making connections.

Leave your apartment

If you don’t have any invites and you don’t want to revert to technology to make friends, you can still meet new people on your own! The best possible way to naturally bump into potential friends is to leave your apartment. Even if you are doing something you could do in your apartment, leave anyway. For example, instead of reading a book in bed, take it to the park. Instead of browsing the internet from the comfort of your couch, bring your laptop to a coffee shop.

Go to the same places

With that being said, when you leave your apartment, go to some of the same places. Have you ever been in a coffee shop and instantly been able to spot the regulars? It’s because the people that frequently visit that coffee shop talk to the baristas and other patrons. Going to the same places will allow you to see the same people frequently. One day, they may strike up conversation. Or you can! Just say “Hey! I’ve seen you here before. How are you today?” and take the conversation from there- ask about them! The worst possible thing that could happen is they give a short answer and go back to their business.

Sign up for Something

Whether it’s an intramural sports team, book club or volunteer group, signing up for a group that you’ll see regularly is a great way to make friends. Not to mention, you will all have at least one thing in common! You have that to work with.

Have you ever moved to a new city alone? How do you make friends in a new city? Have you tried my favorite Hey! VINA?

How to Make Friends in a New City (with Great Conversation)

But that’s not all! In order for you to have the best chance at making awesome connections and new best friends, I’ve put together a conversation toolkit, jam-packed with conversation starters!

Once you’ve found people with common interests, you still have to have genuine, fun conversations to keep the friendship going strong.

Download my conversation toolkit below by entering your name and email address, and you will receive the conversation starters right to your inbox!


I Moved & Exploring 12 South

I Believe in Nashville Mural in 12 South Nashville

Guess what?! I moved. A little over three weeks ago I received a job offer for an Editorial Assistant position from a company in Tennessee. I took it! With that, I had 12 days to get to Nashville before my first day on the job. Yep, 12 days. And I did it!

Seven days after I first received the news of my offer, I drove down to Tennessee with two cars packed full of everything (almost) I own. The next day I toured apartments. The day after that I signed a lease and moved my belongings into my new place. Needless to say, it was a whirlwind. But in a good way. Little time lead to big action and less thinking.

I got settled in quickly, started work and before I knew it, my first week full week in Tennessee was over.

This past weekend it finally felt like I was starting to settle in. I caught up on much needed sleep. An AT&T technician installed my internet (YAY!). I cleaned my apartment and put away the last of my scattered belongings.

This past weekend I also found the time to explore. I may have only been at work for a week, but I’ve already received so many suggestions on where to go in the Nashville area from excited co-workers. I’m 95% sure the 12 South Neighborhood of Nashville won for “most suggested.” I took the advice, I went and I loved it!

Between sitting in Frothy Monkey, enjoying an iced almond milk latte, and wandering the streets, I spent about an hour and 45 minutes in 12 South. I could have easily stayed there longer. So many restaurants and shops with a chic, industrial feel line the street. I did make it to three noteworthy spots!

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM

Sprinkles Cupcake ATM in 12 South Nashville

After Frothy Monkey, I went to the Sprinkles Cupcake ATM. I must admit, I’ve been in walking distance of a Sprinkles Cupcake ATM before. Those Chicagoans obsess over the ATM there. For some reason, though, I’ve never felt compelled to try it!

At the ATM I grabbed a dark chocolate cupcake and snapped a few pictures (of course). Funny story… I was filming a video of the ATM door opening up to my cupcake. When the door opened, I went to reach my hand in to grab my cupcake, watching through the camera on my phone, and I jammed my hand into the metal because you can’t accurately judge where your hand is going by the view on your screen. Oh my gosh, the crowd behind me was laughing so hard. I had to laugh at myself!

Amelia’s Flower Truck

Amelia's Flower Truck (Nashville's Mobile Flower Shop) in 12 South Nashville

Walking down the street, my eyes lit up when I spotted Amelia’s Flower Truck. Why is it that everything is so much cuter in little truck form?

Amelia’s Flower Truck isn’t always in 12 South. It travels. Sometimes it’s in The Gulch, Edgehill Village, East Nashville, etc. Make sure to check out the calendar before heading to 12 South if you’re really hoping to pick up some stems!

Amelia's Flower Truck (Nashville's Mobile Flower Shop) in 12 South Nashville

I personally didn’t pick up any flowers this time around because I’m saving up for longer lasting household items! If I start buying flowers now, I just know I’ll want fresh ones every week.

Right next to Amelia’s was another truck- a food truck called S’more Love Bakery. Of course, it was also adorable… because it’s in little truck (kind of camper-like) form! If I hadn’t already had half a cupcake, I definitely would have grabbed a s’more… Next time!

I also stopped by the “I believe in Nashville” mural to take a quick picture (as seen above), which is right across from the adorable Draper James store, which, for anyone who doesn’t know, is Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line. It’s very high-end, but some of the home goods are more affordable. I personally love the Lemon Melamine Tray! It may not be necessary anymore because “hello, fall!,” but it is on sale if that’s incentive enough.

And… that’s a wrap on my 12 South Nashville adventure! I will definitely be going back to explore more and to show around friends and family when they come to visit.

One thing I’ve noticed for sure in my short time being here is that there is so much to do, so much to see!

My goal for the month of October is to post a middle Tennessee bucket list like the Illinois summer bucket list I made. This one will be much longer though. I’ll also try to make a blog post for each spot I check off the list.

But in case you can’t tell, I love it here already- and I don’t just mean 12 South. Tennessee is amazing, and I can 100% see a future for myself down here. My quick decision was the best decision. Make sure to stick around for my next adventure…

Have you ever been to 12 South Nashville? What are your favorite things to do in the 12 South Nashville area?

How to Make Your Dorm Room Feel More Like Home

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

Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

When I first moved away for college, I’d never been away from home for more than a month- even then I was only staying with my grandparents. Then, I was preparing for a whole year away from home. I have to be honest. I didn’t know what to expect. I was moving in with a random roommate to a town I had only briefly visited twice before.

In order to avoid homesickness, I was quick to try to make my dorm room feel as much like home as possible. Here are tips and tricks for how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

DIY Photo Wall

Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

Decorating with photos is a great way to help you feel more at home in your dorm room. Every time you come home, you’ll be able to look at familiar faces and smiles. Decorating with pictures could simply include setting picture frames on your desk, dresser and night stand, or you can go further and create a DIY picture wall. There are so many ideas for picture walls all over Pinterest. I personally like to keep it simple.

For my current picture wall, I enhanced my pictures by sticking scrapbook paper behind them. I also added a little extra decor by creating a DIY tassel garland. Another great idea for extra decor is Christmas lights!

If you want to add more character to your photo collage wall, add prints or quotes. You can find them internet. There are so many cute, free prints available on Pinterest and blogs.

If you want a different idea on how to dress up your wall with pictures, try hanging them with string and clothes pins! Fun fact: I had a photo wall with strings and clothes pins for my first semester of freshman year. Second semester I switched to a collage of photos and my favorite quotes.

Succulents

I personally think plants add an instant feeling of homeyness. While I would have loved to have decorated my dorm room with endless plants, those take work. If you don’t put in the work, they die. As a busy student who frequently went away for the weekend, it just wouldn’t have worked for me. My suggestion for anyone like me is to invest in succulents. Succulents do not need nearly as much water as other plants. In fact, you can kill your succulents by overwatering them! Their low maintenance needs makes them perfect for a dorm room and busy college student.

Essential Oils

Nature's Truth Essential Oils | Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

I love essential oils. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that on the blog before. Essential oils have so many different uses. You can make your own soaps, candles, scrubs and sprays. DIY ideas here!

You can also use essential oils as air fresheners by using a diffuser. I firmly believe that a big part of feeling at home and comfortable in a new space is scent. You know when you walk into your house after not being there for a long time and the scent just kind of welcomes you home? I love that feeling.

That’s why I think using essential oils as an air freshener will make your dorm room feel more like home. Even if it doesn’t smell like your original home, you’ll start to create new familiarity in your dorm room with the scent.

Why not just buy a normal air freshener? I personally use essential oils because they are 100% pure and plant based. My favorite oils are the Mental Clarity and Calming oils by Nature’s Truth (pictured above).

I use the Calming oil right before bed. If you meditate, it’s also great for meditation. The scent is floral and citrusy with hints of spice. The scent is so soothing after a long day.

I like to use the Mental Clarity oil while I work at my desk. It has a much more herbal scent that focuses and centers, so I can concur my busy blogging to-do list.

Nature's Truth Essential Oils | Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

To use my oils, I use the Mini Diffuser by Nature’s truth. I love it because it is so extremely portable. It plugs into any USB outlet, so when I am working at my desk, I can simply plug it into my computer! It has two different setting- interval or constant. Interval lets out mist every 10 seconds, while the constant setting runs constantly for 30 minutes.

Nature's Truth Essential Oils | Dorm rooms have a way of feeling cold on move-in day. Here are four quick tips on how to make your dorm room feel more like home.

I picked up these oils with the mini diffuser at Meijer, where they are located in the vitamin aisle! Nature’s Truth also has Lavender, Peppermint, Energy, Peace, Muscle Ease, Breathe Easy oils and more. If you’re going shopping for Nature’s Truth oils, make sure to print out their Stimulate The Senses Coupon first.

Cozy Decor

Walking into the typical college dorm room, you normally see hard lines and cold tile- two things that don’t feel very homey at all. That’s why when decorating, always go with cozy decor. Think furry pillows, a cushioned chair, fuzzy blanket or a soft rug. Avoid any more harsh lines and hard materials. By adding cozy decor, you’ll instantly feel more at home.

At the end of the day, go with your instincts. Your dorm room is yours. If adding posters on every flat surface will bring you comfort, do it. If adding twinkling fairy lights will make your day, do it! Your dorm room is uniquely yours (and well, your roommates too). No one knows you better than you. Just let your personality shine through when decorating your dorm room. You will instantly feel more comfortable there.

How do you make a new place feel like home? Have you ever tried essential oils? Make sure to check out Nature’s Truth and grab the Stimulate The Senses Coupon for $1 off.