Get giveaways and the hottest HC content in your inbox!

Sign up for HC Study Break
Get HC in your inbox!

Julie Florence

More by Julie Florence

How-To Tuesday: Stuffed Shells


This is my favorite meal to make in college. It’s cheap, quick and perfect for any night. Whether you’re making dinner for your friends, boyfriend or to enjoy alone, these stuffed shells will not disappoint.

What you’ll need:

Jumbo pasta shells

1 15 oz. container ricotta cheese

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Salt and pepper

Jar of pasta sauce



Basil leaves

Preheat oven to 375º. Cook pasta shells according to package. Drain and set aside to cool. While pasta is cooking, stir together ricotta, egg, salt and pepper. This is where I add chopped basil leaves and spinach, but that is optional. The amount is also up to you. I usually use about 5 chopped basil leaves and a handful of chopped spinach. However, these shells taste just as good with only cheese! Spread ¾ cup pasta sauce on the bottom of a 9X13 baking dish (I use marinara, but you could use your favorite sauce.) Once shells are cooled, stuff them with a spoonful of cheese mixture and place upright in dish. Pour remaining sauce over pasta shells and cover with shredded mozzarella. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10 more minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Let cool and serve!

This recipe is very adaptable, so be creative! You can use chicken and Alfredo sauce or you can even use seasoned ground beef and cheddar cheese. The possibilities are endless!

Birchbox Review



Birchbox is a unique monthly subscription where you get a box sent to your home once a month that includes various samples of high-end beauty products. They’ve been known to send things such as nail polishes, shampoo and conditioner, makeup products, hair products, fragrances and more! Birchbox allows you to customize a profile to help the company select samples based on your personal beauty preferences. You can fill out things such as skin color, hair color, hair texture/type, fashion style, what you want more of, what you want less of, etc.

I have always been interested in Birchbox, but didn’t want to purchase it due to my low college student budget. After saving a few paychecks, I decided to indulge. Birchbox is definitely worth the money and I will stay a subscriber for as long as my paycheck agrees! I was pleasantly satisfied with the majority of the products I received. Here is what was in my January Birchbox.


Beauty Protector and Detangler-$21.95

This product acts as a heat protector and a conditioning detangler. Honestly, after ONE use, I was hooked. It made my hair feel incredibly soft and the smell is great. 


Whish Body Butter $24

Jay Nice at The Castle Theatre


ISU alum, Jay Nice, will be performing at The Castle Theatre on February 9th along with Guaranteed Raw and Chris Webby.  Jay Nice has over 40,000+ hits on YouTube along with multiple songs on Soundcloud with the same amount of hits. He recently earned a spot on the NEW Coast 2 Coast Top 50 Indie Mixtape.  He is also currently in the process of planning his first nationwide tour set for Fall 2014!

You can head over to to get your tickets. Doors open at 6:30p.m and the show beings at 7:00p.m. This is an all ages event.

So check out his music and grab your tickets to see this ISU native perform right here in Bloomington! You won’t want to miss this.


-"Lose Your Mind" featuring Boc Sneezy


-Official Website:




-Download the ENTIRE album FREE here:


Jen Stewart-Holliday



Jen Stewart-Holliday is not your average 23 year old. She’s a senior at ISU majoring in Environmental Health with a minor in Biological Sciences. Jen has had a passion for baking ever since she was young and about two years ago she decided to turn her passion into an amazing and selfless cause. Jen set up a Facebook page called Simply Treats in hopes to fundraise for different charities.  She bakes all kinds of yummy treats and donates 100% of the profits to charity! She bakes all kinds of treats such as cupcakes, cake pops, cookies and more.

Her Campus: How long have you been baking?

Jen Stewart-Holliday: My grandma taught me to bake when I was really 3 years old. Like most kids (I think), I started baking with mom and grandma in the kitchen. Grandma taught me to make everything from scratch just like her mom and grandma a few tricks she learned along the way.


HC: When did you decide to turn your hobby into a means for donating to charities? 

Jen: I started my Facebook page back in May 2012.


HC: What can you tell us about your Facebook page?

Jen: All of the proceeds from the various fundraising items I have available go towards the Relay for Life (April 25-26 @ ISU QUAD! - Ask me how to sign up!). Baking is something that I love to do, and it can also be a stress reliever at times too. So I figure if I get enjoyment out of making all these treats that I will never eat, why not put them to good use?

High End Make Up Worth The Money


My go to places for purchasing makeup have always been Target or Walmart. I hated spending money on makeup because sometimes you can buy low end products and they will work just as good as high end makeup, but sometimes you need to splurge. After a demonstration at Ulta, I was hooked on a few different products. I’m really frugal, so making these purchases was something I really thought about. (I even went home and checked reviews!) I am so satisfied with these purchases and will definitely buy them again.

(I’ve also asked my HC ISU girls what their favorite products are, so I will include their opinions as well.)


1.     Benefit “Hello Flawless” Powder Foundation ($34)

After trying this powder in the store, I was hooked. I never really used any face makeup because I hate the way it made my face feel so cakey and heavy. This powder is so lightweight and has amazing coverage. I will buy this product over and over again.


2.     Benefit “They’re Real” Mascara ($23)

I have always wanted to try this product ever since it first came out, but never felt like spending the money. My eyelashes are really short and straight, so most mascara does nothing for them. Sephora ended up giving me a free mini tube of this mascara for my birthday and I was obsessed! (You can buy a mini bottle for $10) This mascara gives your eyelashes and amazing length and I would recommend it to everyone.  HC ISU writer Falynn Lannert agrees with me… we both LOVE this mascara!


How To: Snowman Pretzels


These snowman pretzels are too cute and sure to be a hit at any holiday party! Follow these simple steps to put a twist on your standard chocolate covered pretzels.


You'll Need:

Pretzel rings 

White baking chocolate

Fruit Roll-Ups

Mini chocolate chips

Small orange candy (like chocolate covered sunflower seeds or mini m&ms) 


Black food coloring marker


Melt the chocolate as directed on the packaging.

Use a dab of chocolate to stick the two pretzel rings together. 

Use a spoon to fill the rings with chocolate.

Use a tweezer to pick up the small orange candy and place it as the nose.

Using the tweezer, pick up the mini chocolate chips for the eyes (so that the flat surface of the chocolate chip is showing and the pointy side is down) and place them on the melted chocolate.

Once the chocolate has dried, you can use black food coloring or an edible marker to draw on a mouth.

You then will take a small strip of a fruit snack to use as the scarf as directed in the picture.



5 Easy DIY Christmas Gifts


As college students, we’re faced with a limited budget. I found some easy homemade gifts that will cost little to nothing to make (and I’m not talking about macaroni crafts)… these are gifts that someone would actually be happy to receive.

1. Dollar Store Candle

Buy a cheap tall candle at the dollar store. Wrap blue painters tape around it in a design that you prefer, then spray paint in whatever color you want. You can also wrap yarn or string around the candle to make a smaller design (like the picture above.) Wait for it to dry and take the paint off to reveal your masterpiece. Voila!


2. Personalized Letter

Buy a wood letter from a craft store then paint it in the color you desire. Hot glue beads or pearls once the paint dries to give it a unique decoration.


3. Pushpin Art


Buy a blank canvas. Use pushpins to create whatever design you would like. In order to have a clean picture, you should trace the design on the canvas with a pencil first.


4. Letter Collage

10 Favorite Fall Nail Polish Colors



With my nail polish collection growing every week, I’m always looking for new and unique colors that are in season. I’ve rounded up a few the most popular Fall shades to share with you!

1.     Essie “Nice is Nice”

This pale purple is the perfect shade for the fall and it goes with everything.



2.     Essie “Penny Talk”


3.     OPI “Diva of Geneva”

This is one of my favorite colors by OPI. The dark shimmery plum color is a great accessory to any wardrobe.


4.     OPI “Into the Night”


5.     Essie “Cruise Control”

Bright pinks are more of a summer color, but this subtle pink is perfect for Fall.

6. Essie “Raspberry Red”

Pinterst Fail: Caramel Apple



I love completing projects that I find on Pinterest. I have successfully executed recipes and a ton of crafts. I’m usually fairly successful when trying out different recipes and such… well, until now.

I’ve had this “recipe” pinned for a while now. I had some leftover caramels from a dish I made last week so I decided to give this one a try.

Here is the original pin:

So I figured, “How hard can it be?!” First, I hulled out an apple — which by the way was NOT easy. Every time I tried to cut the perimeter of the apple, the knife went through the other end leaving my apple looking pathetic. After I had had enough, I moved on. 

I melted some leftover Kraft caramels combined with about a teaspoon of water and ended up with a nice liquid caramel. 

After that, I poured the caramel into the sad looking apples and popped them into the fridge. 

After about an hour, the caramel had hardened (or so I had thought) and I began cutting. Liquid, milky caramel flowed from each apple… it was a disaster. The caramel sitting at the bottom must have not hardened as quickly as the top. Not to mention, the apples started browning as soon as I cut them up.  Here were my results:


The Government Shutdown Explained



As many of you know, the government shut down last night. This is a lot of information to process and can be confusing to understand, so I’ll provide a rundown of what is happening.

The House and the Senate couldn’t agree on a bill to fund the government in the allotted time, which results in part of the government shutting down. There are parts of the Government that need to be funded every year, and if Congress can’t agree on how to fund them, a government shutdown takes place. 

“To get a bit more specific: Each year, the House and Senate are supposed to agree on 12 appropriations bills to fund the federal agencies and set spending priorities. Congress has become really bad at passing these bills, so in recent years they've resorted to stopgap budgets to keep the government funded (known as "continuing resolutions"). The last stopgap passed on March 28, 2013, and ends on Sept. 30.” (Washington Post)

Obviously not all of the government is shut down, so here are a few examples of things that are staying open (not a complete list, taken directly from Washington Post)

-- Any employee or office that "provides for the national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property." That means the U.S. military will keep operating, for one. So will embassies abroad.