A lady never reveals her age, but let’s just say I’ve been around the block a few times. By that, I mean I’ve ruined my fair share of dresses, shoes, and recruitment conversations. After going through everything, somehow graduating with honors, and volunteering as an alum, I figured I had some wisdom that ought to be shared.
On your dress: My future-mother-in-law is a stain removal goddess, and it is to her I owe great thanks. Her trick for removing wine stains is simply time, cold water, pre-wash stain remover, and soft scrubbing. Don’t wait forever to try to remove these stains. The quicker you act, the better your chances are of getting it out.
On your lips: When you’re brushing your teeth in the morning, take your sudsy toothbrush and softly brush your lips where they’re stained. If you had some mean pino noir last night and it doesn’t all come off, just wear dark lipstick for the day. You needed to switch up your look anyway.
To remove stains: As soon as possible, dump a little peroxide on the stain, dab with a cloth or paper towel, and rinse with cold water. Repeat those steps until the stain is gone.
To ease the pain: Everyone is going to be popping pills, obviously, but I also found that applying a heat pad to my abdomen helps me feel a little better. Or, like, have your cat lay on you while you nap. It’s both emotional and physical therapy.
To stop being crazy: JK. Can’t stop, won’t stop.
To prevent pain: High heels destroy the balls of every girl’s feet. If you don’t want to end up walking barefoot, shoes in hand, like a peasant, you can insert gel insoles that are just for the balls of your feet. Your feet will be in heaven.
To prevent blisters: First and foremost, buy shoes that fit you. If your shoes are too tight, you’re just asking for your feet to be destroyed. Any shoe department employee will tell you to buy your shoes in the afternoon after you’ve been walking for a while. That’s when your feet are their largest. Secondly, there are skin-colored, stick-on pads you can buy that are specifically made to prevent blisters. They’re just a step above band-aids. You can use them for the infamous Sperry blisters as well.
To find a great deal: Signing up for email notifications from clothing stores will help you know when sales are, and you may even get a discount code just for signing up. There are also a lot of websites and stores, like Forever 21, that offer great dress options at prices under $100. Then, you won’t feel so bad when you completely destroy your dress at formal.
To fix a rip: Small sewing kits can be purchased at drug stores, supermarkets, and craft stores. Google some quick stitching directions, and your dress will be good as new in a few minutes.
If it won’t zip: It once took a small army to hold my dress closed while someone helped me zip it, but it eventually worked. If there’s absolutely no way it will close, wear a wrap around your back and shoulders or a nice cardigan for the night. You could also take it to a seamstress if you have a week or so before formal. They can tailor the zipper part into a lace-up back that will fit despite any unexpected extra pounds.
Getting through recruitment is a huge feat. Getting through recruitment and maintaining your sanity, well that’s just plain unheard of. After many years of going through this hell, I’ve learned a few things: mints are your best friend, caffeine pills may save your life, and knowing how to “small talk” is an important skill many under the age of 50 do not possess. Just do what your recruitment chair says and try your best not to cry.
In your room: Tall boots in your closet are the best alcohol-hiding devices known to (wo)man.
Around campus: Vodka–and any other clear alcohol–in a water bottle is the best disguise for transporting alcohol in its raw form. If you want a mixed drink, dump it in a travel coffee mug and be on your way. You can throw it in your purse, carry it around in your hand, and (because everyone breaks the law at one point or another) even drive around with it in your car on the way to a party. Chances are no one will notice.
If you’re making a cooler: It’s almost impossible to sand a cooler until it’s completely flat. And don’t think you can use your dad’s electric sander, because you’ll probably end up weakening or even busting through the plastic. Be sure to use a good spray-on base layer that will stick to plastic. Ask your dad to help with any spray-paint. You don’t want to inhale that shit. Use acrylic paint for your designs and top with a few coats of Mod Podge when you’re finished. For more intricate designs, you can cheat by gluing on printed pictures with Mod Podge and painting over them a little for a handmade effect. No one will know the difference.
If you’re making a paddle: There are tons of different paddle shapes to pick from, and they can be found all over the Internet. Don’t solely rely on the usual trip to Michael’s, JoAnn’s, or Hobby Lobby because paddle-making season tremendously depletes in-store supplies.
If you’re making wooden letters: You can also find these all over the Internet and at Greek stores, or you can use English alphabet letters from the local craft store. If you’re not great at painting, patterned paper makes a great design and is super easy to trace and glue on.
If you’re making lettered shirts: All you’ll need is fabric, a roll of iron-on fabric adhesive, an iron, and printed and cut-out letters for a tracing template. Iron the glue onto the back side of the fabric, trace your letters backwards onto the paper side of the adhesive, cut them out, and voila! You have letters that can be ironed onto any shirt, canvas bag, pillow, blanket, whatever. There’s no need to pay for expensive lettered things when you can make them for so much less.
Literally everything else: Puff paint is best applied with a toothpick for precision, but it takes forever.
And for all crafting endeavors, always look it up on Pinterest first, find directions online, or just go on Etsy to find what you’re looking for. No one has to know you bought it.
To prevent hangovers, I’ve noticed that drinking better quality alcohol leads to a less painful morning after. If you’re going to down the cheap stuff though, always go to sleep after a particularly rambunctious night with an enormous jug of water with a spill-proof lid. If you won’t remember, set it next to your bed before you go out. Also, carry 400mg of ibuprofen with you at all times when alcohol is involved. (Acetaminophen and alcohol aren’t good for you together, so stay away from it.) No matter where you wake up, you can pop those bad boys and go about your day. If you’re at vomit phase, say a prayer to ask for forgiveness and mercy because you sure as hell could use it. Good luck, girlfriend. It’ll be over soon.
When you’re hosting them: Always have a great host/DJ/speaker. This person should be popular, charismatic, and make your organization look awesome. Even if the event tanks because all the participants are drunk, awkward, and/or unprepared, everyone else will still have fun.
When you’re participating in them: You’re ultimate goal should either be to look hot or to win the damn thing. Bonus points if you can do both. Make sure you practice a ton and limit your drinking before doing whatever you have to do in front of the entire who’s-who of campus..