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How-to

Apartment Hacks: A Guide to Saving Money and Time

It’s week six now. If this is your first year in your new apartment, you’ve had at least two monthly rent due dates pass, as well as the majority of your midterms. On top of this, you’ve had to do all the other things you’ve always had to do: homework, reading, extracurricular activities, volunteering, hanging out with friends and most importantly, watching Netflix. There’s also the very real possibility you don’t even have a couch yet.

Apartment life is harsh. It can be cruel. The relentless churn of monthly bills and rent payments, the never-ending mess (made worse by your messy roommate’s existence), the relative social isolation compared to the Hill. What’s an apartment-dweller to do? Here at Mojo, we understand your struggle. Money is tight. Extra time is nonexistent. Here is a handy-dandy guide with some apartment hacks to make your life a little easier.

Groceries and other basic purchases

  • Check out the Smart & Final weekly circular. It offers deals on basic groceries such as meat and produce.
  • Invest in a Costco membership card, either by yourself or with your friends and roommates, assuming at least one person has a car. Costco is great for bulk items like paper towels, toilet paper and groceries you use a lot of. (Emphasis is on “a lot.”)
  • Use Google Shopping Express. (It only offers dry goods; no fresh dairy, meat or produce.) There is a three-month trial with free delivery, and it generally delivers to your door within about 24 hours. This is especially efficient for heavier things, such as bags of rice or flour – both a time- and money-saver. Google Shopping Express offers many different items from different stores, including Costco and Smart & Final. It’s also useful for other items, though its selection may be limited.
  • If you only want to stay in Westwood and shop at Trader Joe’s, Ralphs or Target, be sure to keep a general idea of where to go between the three stores for specific items at their cheapest price. In other works, check and compare prices between Trader Joe’s, Ralphs and Target because these stores are so close to each other! Trader Joe’s, for example, has cheaper bags of lemons than Ralphs – last time I checked, Trader Joe’s had a pound of lemons for a dollar and cents and Ralph’s was selling lemons for $4. Pro tip: Go with some friends who also need to do some grocery shopping and just split it up. Once you have a general idea of what’s cheapest where, you’ll always know you’ll be saving the most money on what you need. 
  • If you’re looking for specialty or ethnic foods, Ralphs is almost always a rip-off. Try looking for stores further away or online to get your box of Japanese curry, kimchi or whatever. Nijiya Market on Sawtelle Boulevard is much cheaper for curry boxes, for example, and Korean red chili paste can be bought off Amazon.
  • Make a monthly grocery budget. Save your receipts for a month and figure out how much you’re spending on groceries so you can figure out what’s necessary and what you can do without. You’ll be amazed by the final number.

Cooking

  • Make an off-day a “bulk cooking” day. Whenever you have an uninterrupted two hours, make bulk foods like stir-fry and pasta salads so you can survive the rest of your busy week/month/life (until it runs out, I guess). You can also experiment with freezing bulk portions of foods, so buying freezer bags or Tupperware is a great add-on to this bulk-cooking technique.
  • Separate frozen meats into single portions, cut onions and other vegetables in bulk and refrigerate ahead of time. This speaks to the usual evening when you’re exhausted but still need to cook dinner, and you haven’t even defrosted your chicken breasts that are stuck in a hunk of other chicken breasts.
  • Cook “one-pot dinners” or similar dish-efficient meals. Plenty of recipes online are targeted at busy people who don’t like cooking food that results in 1,093,230,982 dirty dishes, not counting the final plate and silverware you’re eating off. Try making these, and figure out the best way to minimize the dishes you need to do.

Cleaning

  • If you live with other people (which you most likely do), you’ve probably figured out an efficient way to delegate cleaning responsibilities to everyone. While cleaning may be a drag, figure out the best, quickest way to complete your chores. Once you do that, buy appropriate cleaning supplies in bulk, and your chores will be a lot quicker and easier.
  • Invest in all-purpose cleaning supplies to cut down on the number of cleaning supplies you need to buy. This can range from Lysol wipes to general all-purpose cleaner. You can also make your own, for a variety of purposes. (Hint: This involves a lot of baking soda and vinegar – a good idea to buy in bulk from Costco.)
  • If you have a cleaning schedule that changes weekly or biweekly, try to negotiate with your roommates to have your midterm/heavy weeks off cleaning. A little bit of coordination and organization can go a long way, and it prevents your apartment from going entirely to the dogs.
  • Keep emergency cleaning supplies on hand. In other words, have a game plan for apartment cleaning emergencies, such as:
    - Your drunk friend vomits all over everything after you throw a party
    - Major spills on carpet or furniture, of any type (wine, food, etc.)
    - Other major disasters
    A lot can be fixed with around-the-house products, but you may need to invest in some heavy-duty cleaner to keep around for those disaster situations.

General

  • Keep a list of numbers for plumbers and repairmen on hand for all those things your lease doesn’t cover or your apartment manager refuses to fix.
  • Set reminders on your phone for bills and rent payments, even if your roommates are in charge of those.

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Arts & EntertainmentCultureHow-to

The Guide to the Getty

For those of you who have not yet been able to make it to the Getty Center, I highly recommend it. As one of the most visited museums in the United States, the Getty Museum is well worth visiting. Housing art from several different eras, it really does cater to all interests, from illuminated manuscripts to photographs to art from Van Gogh and Cezanne.

I don’t know too much about art, but while walking around there were several paintings that I recognized and was just blown away to see in person (AKA if you don’t like art, STILL GO).

For example, this Van Gogh painting is amazing:

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

Plus it’s free. We’re poor college students. We like free. The only money I spent all day was $1.75 each way for the bus. Speaking of the bus, it’s super easy to get to the Getty (I’m talking about the Center, not Villa, which is a different destination altogether). There’s a stop right next to the entrance to Bel Air on Sunset Boulevard and Bellagio Drive. Just walk up De Neve Drive past Sunset Village, and you’ll get to a crosswalk. The bus stop is on the Bel Air side, right next to the entrance.

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

The walk is not that long, and the bus ride is super short. You get off of the bus at the Sepulveda Boulevard stop, you cross the street, and you’ve arrived! You take a tram up the hill to the museum, and, trust me, it’s super self-explanatory (I’m saying this as the worst person in the whole world at orienting herself and reading maps involving public transport). The view from the tram is great, and it only gets better the closer to you get to the museum.

The first thing I did was take pictures of the incredible view and of the museum and its gardens. It’s #instagramworthy. And I know, because I instagrammed it.

Rhiannon Davies/Daily Bruin

Rhiannon Davies / Daily Bruin

Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to and what you thought of the Getty!

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How-toUncategorized

Five Pick-Up Lines You Could Use in College

In college it can be scary asking someone out. Worry no more! When you’re in a tight spot and need a pick-up line, here are some options for you:

1. Is your name Wi-Fi? Because I’m feeling a connection.

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2. You must be the square root of -1, because you can’t be real.

3. I wish I was your coronary artery, so I could be wrapped around your heart.

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5. You’re at the top of my Amazon wish list.

5. Are you a library book? Because I can’t stop checking you out.

I hope that the next time you build up the courage to ask someone out, you refer to Mojo for some ideas! We are here to support you. If you have any more corny pick-up lines, let us know in the comments!

 

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How-to

Seven Ideas to Make Your New Home More Home-y

So now that everyone has unpacked their decorations and essentials from home and attempted to make their dorm or apartment feel a little bit more like home, here are some tips to make your living space a little more cozy.

1. Fairy lights
Now for all you Pinterest lovers out there, this one doesn’t even need explaining. Fairy lights are simply a must in every dorm room.

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2. A fish
We all realized our cats and dogs couldn’t fit in our suitcases when we moved in. So what’s the cure for missing our beloved pets from home? Get a fish! As long as the tank doesn’t exceed 10 gallons in your dorm, it’s the perfect way to cope with your pet-induced heartache – just as long as you don’t treat your little fishy like Darla.
3. Rug
Putting a nice big rug on the floor transforms your dorm from sketchy, never-vacuumed carpet to a super-cool statement piece. And if you ever find a prince who knows how to ride one, you’ll be prepared.
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4. Terrarium
Nothing is cuter than a bunch of little cacti in a glass bowl. The best part? Cactus requires little to no effort – great for those of us who lack that coveted green thumb.
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5. Curtain rod
Privacy is virtually impossible in a cramped little dorm room, but a curtain hung across your bed gets you a little bit closer. It’s definitely the best way to avoid judgment from your roommates for staying up till 4 a.m. watching “Gossip Girl.” #xoxo
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6. Washi tape 
This adorable patterned tape can go ANYWHERE – pencils, pictures, your bed frame, closet doors, etc. You can get it online and it won’t rip off any of the paint on the dorm walls. After you get your first roll of washi tape, you’ll make up excuses to decorate and tape up everything.
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7. Reed oil diffusers 
It’s a miracle to find anything strong enough to cover the unwavering smell of ramen and midterm-induced tears in a dorm room. Using reed oil diffusers to cover up these bad smells with vanilla or lavender definitely makes your room feel more comforting.
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Food and DiningHow-toScience & HealthUncategorized

Tips for Flu Season: Three Alternatives to Chicken Soup

It’s week five here at UCLA, and midterm season is in full swing. The libraries are more crowded than ever, and sweatpants have become increasingly popular. But you know what other season has also started? Flu season.

The free flu vaccine booths next to the Bruin Bear probably give it away, but less so than your friend’s incessant cough and tissue trail. Being sick makes you want to run home to your mom’s soup and your own bed, but this option is cut short for many students on campus. So, as a current flu victim, I’ve gathered some simple habits you could easily weave into your dining hall schedule to help you fight the infectious trend.

No Sugar

If you’re anything like me, dessert is a must. No matter how full I am, I will always have room for whatever is waiting for me at the dessert station. However, sugar can inhibit your immune system if consumed regularly when sick. It’s going to be a hard journey, but if I can do it, you can too.

Honey and Lemon Tea

Instead of drinking cranberry spritzer or Coke with your meal, opt for tea or hot water. Yeah, everyone knows to drink tea when they are sick, but we aren’t done yet. The crucial ingredients are honey and lemons. Honey is known to have antibacterial properties and to help with the discomfort from sore throats. The lemons add much-needed vitamin C and antioxidants to the simple drink. Not only did you just make yourself a medicinal remedy, but you also created a delicious drink. Pinkies up!

Wash Your Hands

As college students, our hands may be the dirtiest parts of our bodies. From touching door handles to elevator buttons, our hands are indirectly in contact with hundreds of other people on campus. The spread of all unseen germs is easier than it seems. So, right when you go into swipe into the dining halls, utilize that hand sanitizer dispenser. It only takes a couple of seconds to walk over and place your hand under the machine. If you notice that these dispensers are empty, you can easily carry the travel-size hand sanitizer bottles, which can be found in any convenience store, including the Hill Top Shop.

If you have any other helpful tips or advice for the sick, feel free to comment and let us know!

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