So here it is...another school year, a new roommate, a new job, a new space to call your own. On this journey of independence you may face such questions as "which slip cover will hide pizza stains best?" and "are all apartment leases the same?" To answer these and other questions, here are a few of my favorite titles on decorating, cooking, and financing the single lifestyle. Be sure to check them out at your local Abilene Public Library branch.
As far as decorating and organizing goes, you'll want to look at Jenna Mahoney's Small Apartment Hacks: 101 Ingenious DIY Solutions for Living, Organizing, and Entertaining and Lourdes Dumke's How to Decrorate & Furnish Your Apartment on a Budget. Both these books give practical and stylish yet budget friendly tips for many different types of living spaces and arrangements.
My Top Pick: Apartment Therapy: The Eight Step Home Cure by Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, an interior designer in New York City. Ryan is amply qualified to help you transform your space into a home. The book includes a quiz to help figure out what your needs are and where to start, plus (you guessed it) an eight week transformation plan. What I found most informative was the whole concept of "flow." Ryan counsels readers to avoid movie theater syndrome, TV on one wall, couch on the other, and a huge walkway in between. Instead Ryan suggests moving furniture away from the walls, opening up windows and creating a meandering foot path through the apartment.
For cooking, a good book is Food Network's How to Boil Water: Life Beyond Takeout. This title will help inexperienced cooks prepare good meals with maximum taste on minimal time. If you have better cooking chops, try The Ultimate Student Cookbook: From Chicken to Chili by Tiffany Goodall. More than 100 easy recipes for terrific food on a student's budget are included, using minimal equipment, techniques, and ingredients available at any grocery store.
My Top Pick: College Cooking: Feed Yourself and Your Friends by Megan and Jill Carle. This book has great recipes even a skilled chef will love! Put up those ramen noodle and start cooking meals like tortilla soup, Tuscan salad, what's-in-the-fridge frittata, crab cakes with roasted red pepper sauce, peanut butter cup bars, and mini blueberry turnovers. Chapters include Survival Cooking, Avoiding the Freshman Fifteen, Impressing Your Date, and Cooking for the Masses. Megan and Jill, a couple of University of Arizona college students, write from personal experience. "After watching so many of our friends stumble around the kitchen [we] decided we needed to write a book specifically geared for college students. In other words, very little equipment, very little cooking experience, and very little money.
Speaking of very little money, managing what you do have takes on extra importance when you're newly on your own. Take a look at Beth Kobliner's Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties or financial guru Suze Orman's The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. These two address special financial concerns, including paying off college loans, obtaining & managing credit cards, buying a car, and financing a first house or apartment.
My Top Pick: Personal Finance in Your 20s for Dummies by Eric Tyson. When it comes to protecting your financial future, starting sooner rather than later is the smartest think you can do. This hands-on guide provides you with the targeted financial advice about budgeting & savings, credit card management, insurance & "grown up stuff." This book has everything you need to establish firm financial footing in your 20s and to secure your finances for years to come.
So, if you're making a new beginning this fall, whatever it is, drop by your Abilene Public Library and get some help! You may be surprised at what you can find.
Article Contributed by Anne Ellis, Mockingbird Branch Manager