Apps to Keep you Organised

“This semester I am going to be totally organised, attend every one of my lectures, have all my assignments done on time and handed in early, sufficient filing for all my extra study and get four HD’s on my transcript”.

Yep. I say that to myself at the beginning of every semester too. Hilarious I know.
It’s around this time, week 4-5 that these levels of motivation really start to die. Hardcore. I’m talking like Game-of-Thrones-execution-style die. Never to be seen or heard of again. It’s conveniently around the time all my first assignments are due, and just really throws my whole ‘Be a good student’ thing right off balance.  Screw you motivation levels.

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But then I remember, that’s why the internet was created. To help lazy individuals like me get our shit sorted and appear as organised and capable.

So instead of researching the journal articles I need for that assignment due this week, I researched apps to keep me organised.

Guys I think I’ve struck gold.  These apps help you get heaps of stuff done with very little effort. And that’s really what we want isn’t it.

Ok. Let’s get organised!

1.       Dropbox

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This is a frikkin godsend. Remember all those times you looked like a looser emailing documents to yourself, only to have it never leave your outbox, followed by having to explain to your tutor that your printer didn’t work, then the internet didn’t work, but can you please still have an extension?

Well no more!

Dropbox acts as a storage folder that you can access anywhere. Essentially you save any document to your Dropbox folder and you can open it and edit it anywhere you please!

What’s even better is that you can share this folder with your friends or family so that you can all access documents, saving you from waiting for your email to send that incredibly large file.

And yes, this is free. You’re sold aren’t you.

 

2.       Evernote

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This is like a notebook, diary, shopping list, checklist, photo album, and the back of your hand all in one convenient location! Evernote is your ultimate pocket organiser but on your phone/laptop/ipad or all of the above if you choose to sync it!

You can create to-do lists and check them off, you can take photos of handwritten notes and provided you don’t scribble like a 3 yr old, Evernote will interpret the text and you can search it! (I know right! Amazzzzzing!)

Also, it’s Free!!

3.       Last Pass

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Never forget a password again (unless you’re really stupid and forget the one password you need to access this app, then yea, you won’t ever remember a password again).

This little beauty allows you to store all your passwords in one handy dandy safe little place so that you will never lose them again. It’s your own little portable safe. Much better than all those little pieces of paper you’ve thrown everywhere with very important login details on them.

What’s that? It’s free? You know it.

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Hitting the Sweet Spots

You’ve finished dinner, done your study and now you’re feeling a bit peckish.

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Even though summer has come to an end, I still find myself craving an ice cream indulgence from time to time, and my freezer is always running low on the stuff. Sometimes it’s nice to jump in the car and go on a bit of an adventure to satisfy those frosty cravings.
I have compiled the best of the best that Sydney has to offer in the way of Ice-cream and Gelatos so that next time you get that internal scream for ice-cream, you know just where to go!

 

Sydneys Top 5 : Ice Cream Parlours

1.    Gelato Messina

Literally has every flavour under the sun ranging anywhere from apple pie, yoghurt, peanut butter, cassata, pavlova and blood orange. I encourage you to try a unique flavour when you visit because I guarantee you will find nothing like it anywhere else. It’s about $6 for two scoops of the best quality ice cream you’ll ever eat and is open late so you can satisfy those sneaky late night cravings. With 4 locations (Darlinghurst, The Star, Surry Hills and Bondi) and over 40 flavours to choose from in store, you’re simply spoilt for choice!

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2.    N2 Extreme Gelato

Located: 43/1 Dixon St, Haymarket 2000

 

You won’t believe me when I tell you but yes, this store makes gelato with liquid nitrogen. N2 (the symbol for nitrogen) also have a website with a requests section, where fans can make up flavours, and see them potentially made up in-store. They use all fresh ingredients, no syrups and customers can watch their creations made before their eyes. Warning: try and go here during the day because due to the store being super-duper popular, the line gets ridiculously long at night.

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 3.    Bar Italia

Located: 169 Norton St, Leichhardt 2040

 

This bar/restaurant/gelato-ice creamery is cosily tucked away in the heart of Leichardt. Decked out in traditional Italian style, this is the perfect place for a cheap eat or first date, very fun cute and delicious! A must-go if you are also a coffee lover!

 

Belinda Porra tries Bar Italia's passionfruit gelato.

4.    Pompei’s

Located: 126-130 Roscoe St Bondi 2026

 

If sitting outside on the footpath on a Friday night with a slice of pizza, some Campari followed by a sweet smooth gelato is your idea of a good time, this is where you need to be. The café has a really relaxed environment while still being one of the busiest places on the block! Plan ahead here though as it can get pretty busy.

 

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5.    Cow and the Moon Gelato Bar

Located: 181 Enmore Rd, Enmore 2042

This is your classic “I just want some good ice cream” destination. A calm, sweet and relaxing environment, traditionalists will be very pleased here with all their favourite flavours on offer and a few unique ones to keep the adventurous customers interested. Great destination both day and night.

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Wine Time is Fine Time!

Its 6pm, you’re home alone, and you have already watched the Notebook for the third time this week.
Life is screaming Wine Time.

But why indulge in this by yourself when you could grab a couple of pals and explore some of Sydney’s finest wine bars? You would be surprised just how many of these there are in Sydney (many of them are tucked away in cute little alleyways) and if you are looking for perhaps a cute yet classy night out, you should defiantly take the time to indulge in some wine!

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I have taken on the oh so dreary task (lol) of hunting down four of the best, and I think I can safely say I have adequately tested each and every venue to deliver you the best recommendations.

So get ready to become classier than Audrey Hepburn’s shoe collection:

 

Top 4 Sydney Wine Bars (in no particular order)

1.       Hemmingways Manly

Located: 48 North Steyne, Manly, NSW 2095

This cute library-themed bar is fantastic if you are looking to catch up with friends, or have a little quiet time to yourself to perhaps write a blog of finish off some study. All the staff are very friendly and certainly add to the experience. The drinks were fantastic! Not only was there plenty of wine, but they also had a great range of craft beers to choose from (if you’re not feeling fine for wine, beer is perfectly ok).

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 2.       The Winery

Located: 285a Crown St, Surry Hills 2010

 

This place is not one if you are looking for a quiet space, I’m warning you now. It is pretty busy, but that is because it’s so frikkin awesome! Having wine here kind of feels like you are in the Hunter Valley (with all the wine cask tables and fairy lights), except they moved the Hunter Valley into New York City and people are everywhere. With that being said the service is still fantastic and I felt as though I could order a wine off the menu without sounding like an idiot who couldn’t pronounce what I wanted. This one was a win for me and I know I’ll be going back very soon.

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3.       The Baxter Inn

Located: 152-156 Clarence St, Sydney, NSW 2000 (In the Basement)

 

To be honest, this one is more for the Whisky lovin gentlemen out there. While the wine is still free flowing, this bar will take you back in time to a world of manners and suspenders.

With over 360 premium whiskeys on offer, you simply can’t leave just having tried one (I certainly didn’t).Now don’t let the dodgy laneway entrance fool you; this is one of those secret bars I was talking about, so you have to trust your instincts and walk right on in. I promise you won’t regret it.

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 4.       Bar Tapavino

Located: 6 – 8 Bulletin Place, Sydney CBD, NSW  2000

 

This one is one for the wine connoisseurs (I say this because I don’t know much about wine and I felt I learnt so much when I went here). When you walk up to the bar, just tell the bar tender what kind of tastes you like, it can be anything from texture to types of fruit, and I guarantee they will find one that you will love. They blew me away with every single drink! Also take advantage of the fantastic tapas on the menu here, seriously. The cheese platter is to die for and I also ate some delicious dish with prosciutto and man was it tasty! This bar is right near Circular Quay so you can even end your night with a lovely walk around the harbour. So cute!

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DIY and Budget Buys #1

If you are anything like me, you would have been standing first inline to collect your brand-new shiny concession travel sticker in an effort to save your hard earned pennies this semester.

As much as I try to be proactive with these money saving efforts of mine, I still can’t seem to stop opening my wallet and finding it completely empty.

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Now I’m no shopaholic. As a business student I like to think I can be strategic about how I earn and spend my money, although this never really seems to be illustrated in my actual day-to-day life. I am constantly finding things I need to have, no matter how little money I have or how busy I seem to be.

I am sure there are all too many of you out there who are battling with a similar problem so I thought I would share with you some of my best budget buys and DIY projects! These are just some things that may be necessities for some or perhaps a sneaky treat for others, but do not fret. At the risk of sounding like one of these rug sale ads, everything I’m going to show you is UNDER $20!! That’s right! $20 people!!

Let the budget hunt begin!

1.       Budget Hair Treatment

Who needs to spend $50 on a de-frizz, keratin all in one treatment for dry and damaged hair when you can do it yourself for under $20!

Run on down to your local supermarket and grab a jar of Pure Coconut Oil. This stuff will only set you about $7-$12 depending on how much you get, but let me tell you, you will not be disappointed!

Pop some in a microwave safe bowl and heat it in the microwave until melted. Apply to your hair like you would conditioner and then cover it up with a shower cap. Leave for about 15-20 mins and wash thoroughly. I promise your hair will have a brand new shine and be completely frizz free!

Coconut oil is also a fantastic substitute for regular olive oil when cooking and can also be used as an all over body moisturiser!

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2.       Recycle Cans

Instead of walking in to Kikki K or the most expensive make up store ever to purchase that pencil tin or make up brush holder you always wanted, why not make your own.

Grab any old tin (could be the baked beans you’ve been eating the last 5 nights in a row).

Make sure you give it a good rinse and file of any sharp metal edges so that you don’t cut yourself.

Next, buy yourself some pretty paper and a tub of Modge Podge Glue (this should cost about $19 in total).  Place the paper on the tin in whatever decorative design you like and then lather on the Modge Podge. This will seal the paper and help protect your beautiful tin from any scratches.

The uses for these tins are endless! Pot plants, storage containers, gift ideas…look how much money you are saving already!

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 3.       Budget Jewellery /Gift Idea

With all those 21st’s on the horizon my bank account is struggling to keep all my friends feeling special and loved so here is another handy budget Idea I found for those of you who are feeling a little crafty. You can grab twine from any craft shop and a box of about 24 gold hexagonal nuts should only set you back $5 from Bunnings.

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 4.       Healthy Breakfast to Save you $$$

If you can set aside a bit of time on Sunday afternoon, use this simple recipe to whip up some toasted muesli. This will last you the whole week, probably longer and you can even take some with you to work or uni to save yourself spending extra money.

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

1/4 cup sunflower seeds

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped

1/2 cup dessicated coconut

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup honey

2 tbsp canola oil

1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup sultanas

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C. Cover 2 baking trays with baking paper and set aside.

 

In a small saucepan, add honey and canola oil. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes.

 

In a large bowl combine all the oats, seeds, nuts and coconut. Pour the honey and oil mixture in and stir to coat.

 

Pour onto the lined trays and bake for 15 minutes. Stir every 3-4 minutes.

 

Allow to cool after toasting and stir through apricots and sultanas.

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5.       Fabric Covered Canvas

If you need a bit of decoration in your place, you don’t need to go to dare gallery and spend $500. All you need is a canvas, any size you please, and a piece of fabric that will cover it in the design you wish to hang in your room. Canvases range in price although I promise you can purchase both a canvas and some material for under $20. Try your local Hot Dollar or craft store for a healthy selection of sizes.

Cover the canvas with the material (make sure you iron it first) and then once you are happy with its placement, staple it to the wooden frame.

 

Tada! You can now call yourself Picasso!

 

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So there are just a few money saving ideas to get you started. I’ll be sure to post some more soon as I stumble upon them.  So go on, start creating and saving!

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So…You Want to Drink Coffee

So you’ve made a new friend, and they invited you to grab a coffee. Awesome!

Except you have never had a coffee. (No, instant coffee and coffee flavoured milk do not count)The last thing you want is to turn up, freak-out trying to remember that type of coffee your boss ordered once and then confuse the hot barista standing at the counter. No deal.

What you need is a handy guide on popular coffee orders and the inside scoop on what they say about you. Get ready for a caffeine hit!

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 1.       The Flat White

This coffee is somewhat of an Australian pioneered invention. It’s a basic milk coffee with only a very minimal layer of froth on top and is the perfect drink for those who enjoy the taste of coffee but want something that doesn’t disappear in one gulp. It kind of says “hey, I like coffee.” Defiantly a safe option.

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2.       The Cappuccino

For those who enjoy a coffee but also have a sweet tooth. The cappuccino has a bit more froth than the flat white but with a cute sprinkle of chocolate on top. If you don’t drink coffee all that often, this maybe a good option as it will ease you in to the coffee taste.  Plus, it’s totally fun to eat the froth and chocolate first with a spoon, and no you won’t be judged.

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3.       The Latte

I’ll be honest, in the coffee world, this is a bit of a sissy drink, especially if you order it as a soy-decaf (for the love of god don’t do that). It’s a milk based coffee, but the ratio of milk to coffee is very much swinging milk’s way. This is a great coffee if you have already consumed five this morning to get you focused for your 9am lecture and  want another one without sending yourself to the emergency room with heart palpitations.

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4.       The Mocha

Did you accidentally order coffee with that hot chocolate? The mocha is pretty much code for “hot chocolate in disguise”, and essentially tastes like bitter coco. It contains coffee, milk and a large chocolate component in the form of powder, melted chocolate or syrup. This is the perfect drink if coffee scares you, or you have a sweet tooth and want a bit of a caffeine hit.

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5.       The Espresso

This is your no-shit straight to the point beverage (beverage is a very generous word, we will go with shot), and is the only shot acceptable to consume before 4pm on a weekday. This is essentially a straight shot of coffee and is designed for those on the go or who need a quick pick me up. Not for the faint hearted.

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6.       The Piccolo Latte

Next to the Espresso, this is another stronger option, however does come with a splash of milk. If you’re after something strong but are enjoying a catch up over your coffee, this is a great selection.  Also, not a lot of uni students know this coffee even exists so you look like a bit of a coffee connoisseur with this order. Extra points to you!

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Now go enjoy your coffee and make new friends! (and try not to get addicted)

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Life Hacks: Student Edition

Are you a student?

Are you super busy all the time with your never ending holidays and part time job?

Would you like life to occasionally throw you a bone and be shown some quick and easy shortcuts on how to perform everyday tasks?

What you need are some life hacks! And today must be your lucky day because I’ve collaborated the best of the best in one handy location. Here are 14 Life Hacks that are guaranteed to make that stressful day of yours a little better.

 

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#1. Time to clean your microwave? Place a bowl of water in there and microwave it for 3 minutes. The steam will loosen any dried food on the inside and will make it heaps easier to clean.

#2. When leaving water to boil on the stove, place a wooden spoon across the top of the saucepan to prevent the water from bubbling over.

#3. If you’re having a BBQ, but have run out of cute little dishes to serve sauce and dips, use a muffin tray!

#4. When going on a trip to the beach, clean out an empty sunscreen bottle and pop your wallet and keys inside for a thief-proof beach safe.

#5. When heating up last night’s leftovers, create a little hole in the middle of your food. That way it will heat up faster and more evenly.

#6.  Wash your shower curtain with salt when you first buy it and it will never mold.

#7.  Always make a mess when pouring pancakes? Pour the mixture into an empty tomato sauce botte for an incredible no-mess experience.

#8. If you’re an extremely kind person who often lends their belongs to friends but can never remember where they went, start an album on your phone with pictures of them holding the item when you give it to them. Ultimate evidence!

#9. Got a creased collar? Use your (or your sister or girlfriend or mum’s) hair straightener. They make for a perfect collar iron!

#10. If you always tear up when chopping onions, chew on some gum while you work. (I don’t know the science behind this, just trust me)

#11. If your rented apartment came with a spacious kitchen that is really the world’s smallest kitchenette, pull out the top drawer ¾ of the way and place your chopping board on top. Tada! Instant bench space!

#12. Is your couch pillow is looking a little flat? Place it in direct sunlight for approx. 30min. The heat will absorb any moisture in the pillow and plump it right up!

#13. If your muscles just aren’t strong enough to pull that darn rubbish bag out of the bin, drill two holes in the bottom. It will prevent any suction and make taking the bins out super easy.

#14. If you need a caffeine hit, but it’s a hot day, fill an ice tray with an instant coffee blend. That way when you pop these coffee cubes into your ice coffee, it won’t get watered down.

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Now sit back, put your feet up and take it easy. You’ve just hacked life.

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Tasty Treats for Healthy Eats

This post goes out to all the optimists who adopted super original 2014 New Years Resolutions featuring any of the following:

– Go to the gym more

– Eat healthier

– Get that hot bikini bod

– Fit into that size (whatever) dress

 

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How’s that going for you?

Well, if you are anything like me, you were really committed to these resolutions until about day 3 and then that chocolate brownie was calling your name and who were you to say no?

But I have good news! You can still be healthy while not compromising on taste or time (we don’t all have enough time to be little master chefs), and for those of you who have a habit of getting to the cash register, only to find your wallet empty, these ideas could save you a few pennies too.

I’ve grabbed a few of my personal favourite recipes that are pretty quick and easy, and with a little preparation the night before (I say this because I assume none of you are going to get up any earlier, even if it means a better lunch), you could have a lunchbox that is talk of the tute!

(All of these have been expertly tested on their taste, travelability and simplicity…by me)

 

Tomato, Watermelon and Fetta Salad with Mint Dressing

You will need:

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

2 tbsp chopped mint

4 tomatoes, chopped

500g watermelon, cut into chunks

200g pack feta cheese, crumbled

 

1.         Make the dressing by mixing the oil, vinegar, and mint together ( you can add a few chilli flakes for that extra zing if you like)

2.         Put the tomatoes and watermelon in a bowl. Pour over the dressing and leave to stand for 10 mins to allow the fruit to get really juicy. Gently stir through the feta, then throw into a cute little Tupperware container, ready to pop in your bag.

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Banana Tortilla Snacks (What could be better than a one-step recipe?)

You will need:

1 Tortilla

2 tbsp Peanut Butter

1 Banana

2 tbsp sultanas

1 tbsp honey (Manuka has heaps of great health benefits and tastes great!)

A sprinkle of shredded coconut

1. Lay tortilla flat. Spread peanut butter and honey on tortilla. Place banana in the middle and sprinkle the sultanas and shredded coconut on top. Wrap, and serve.

 

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Nutty Goats Cheese Bites (another 1 stepper)

1 French baguette sliced

1 tub spreadable goat cheese

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

12 red seedless grapes, halved

1.      Spread each slice of bread with some goats cheese and then sprinkle with pecans. Place a grape or 2 on top to satisfy any sweet tooth.

 

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All recipes are best shared with optimistic friends with similar resolutions.

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O – It’s That time of Year Again!

O-Week MQFor those who are new-comer’s to university life, O-week can be a shock to the system. As this is not my first O-week, I like to think I’ve really sussed it out and can offer some tips that will help to make it the best first week of Uni ever.

Here is my essential guide to doing O-week right:

The Free Stuff

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Free Stuff is O-week’s middle name. Bring an empty bag people, you will not be leaving here empty handed. Seriously, if you are living out of home, you may not need to go shopping this week.

With a million stalls advertising everything from textbook rental to Quidditch tournaments there is little chance you are leaving here without something catching your eye, and by all means, you should embrace this! However, I am here to warn you of a very serious event that may occur post O-week if you are not careful.

The inevitable Inbox Flood.

While everyone should most certainly join at least one club or society (because getting involved is awesome), you want to be educated in the Free Stuff  for Details Exchange.  Proceed with caution. Yes, you may get that little sachet of Red Jelly Beans you’ve always dreamed of, but you may have cost your fingers a lot of work sorting through your inbox and deleting emails about things you’re not really that interested in, all because you wrote down your email address.  And no, they do not automatically filter to junk mail. It’s a serious killer.

The Game Plan

The best way to attack O-week is to do a circuit of all the stalls to get an idea of what’s on offer, and then go wild! Don’t let the crowds scare you, you should be aware that this is the most people you will see at university ever. They all suddenly start sleeping in as of next week – you of course would NEVER do that…

What you really want to do is think hard about where you interests lie, and there is sure to be a society for you! Anything from food, sci-fi and beauty though to religion, politics and even academic societies. (If you’re looking for those HD’s this semester these societies are great because they may send you some information that will make that essay of yours sound incredible).

Make sure you get involved because you only have one week to sign up to all these exciting clubs and societies and you don’t know what you may miss out on if you don’t sign up!

Making Friends

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O-week offers heaps of exciting events that get everyone mingling and more often than not include cheap drinks to get that conversation flowing (woo!).  Now if meeting new people isn’t really your thing, I have a sure fire way to help turn that attitude around.

Making friends isn’t that hard. Trust me. As long you as you leave your house with a warm and inviting smile, you can’t go wrong. I can even write you a little script that is sure to reward you with a friendly response from any person you choose to target as your new buddy.

It will go something along the lines of this:

“Hey there, I’m [insert your name], what’s your name?”

“Oh cool, what are you studying”

Ta da! You’ve now successfully got yourself a new acquaintance. Now all you have to do is remember their name and add them on Facebook and you have locked in that friendship!

Now run free and share your email with the world. And don’t eat all your free stuff in one day. I do it every single year.

 

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