Browsing Tag


Fall 2018

How to Travel on a Budget

By Dina Merani

Howdy…  I know we all have a lot of things on our plate this semester. I hope everyone is doing well so far this semester. Don’t stress about your college life. iIf you find something in your life that you don’t like, or you’re having trouble achieving what you want, hang in there. Keep fighting for it and I believe you can do it. No matter what happens it’s life, and this is how the cookie crumbles. If you cannot do one thing that you want, try another thing that you like or something else that makes you happy. What makes you happy will make your life way better than what you had lost before. Exploring the world and traveling can be the best way for you to make you happier. While you’re traveling, you might find some new things. Speaking of traveling, you might say traveling is my Middle Name, and I always looking for new places to go. You may think that traveling costs so much money because you need a hotel and good food. First, if your goal is just to see that place, you are in the right place, because I am going to give 5 ways to travel on a budget.

Dina in an airport with luggage and stuffed animal

Dina in an airport, sitting at a gate

Photography by Zac Clough

1. Travel with friend

Dina and friend on railroad tracks

Dina and friend at Golden Gate Bridge

A friend is someone who is always there for you when you are happy and sad. They always support you no matter what happens to you. If you have that kind of friend (bestie), you can ask your friend to go traveling with you. Why your friend? By traveling with your bestie, you and your bestie and share some things together. For example, looking for a cheap hostel that you and your friend can stay in together. If you want a cheaper option, there is Airbnb. This type of accommodation is often way cheaper than hostel. You can look for the cheapest one and you and your friend can stay in same room and split the price. This is I did when I went to Seattle and San Francisco for the first time. I always go with my bestie and we always share everything, and if either of us needs food or money, we can help each other.

2. Make Friends

Dina and friends posing outside airport with luggage

Photography by Zac Clough

Make as many friends as you can, especially make friends from different countries. By making lots of friends you can travel to where they live more easily. They might help you with food or accommodations when you come visit them. Which means you don’t need to pay lot of money for accommodation and food. I did the same thing when I visited Portland. I have friends there, they helped me with accommodations (I stayed with them) and cooked for myself in their place, and it was so exciting that I could spend some time with them as well.

3. Join Club on Campus (Group Tour)

Dina and friends walking into airport with luggage
There will many different clubs on campus, and in those clubs there may be a trip to go somewhere. By joining and becoming an active member in your club, you might get a chance to go to a new place for a small amount of money and people in your group may help you with that. For example, I joined the University of Montana Pacific Islander Club last year and became active in it this semester by get involved in meetings and others club events. Through this club, I might get go to Hawaii next year over Spring Break. How fun and exciting! Oh my… I can’t wait for this trip. See? Some clubs at the University can give benefits for you and who knows? You might get the same chance like me .

4. Cook by yourself

If you don’t have enough money to buy food while you’re traveling, you can cook by yourself. That’s cheaper than you eating at a restaurant. Not only that, but  food that you cook by yourself can be more delicious than the food in five star hotels or restaurants.

5. Be brave

Oh yeah, without bravery, you cannot go traveling. You should have that bravery in yourself. Just makes sure you’re brave when you get stuck somewhere or your bestie is not with you. In my experience, I didn’t have enough money to buy an airplane ticket and I really wanted to travel. I decided to travel 11 hours by myself by bus and I did it. I arrived safety. All that I needed was to be brave.

Dina with coffee on a subway

Dina on a subway

All these experiences are just so amazing to me and I’m so happy that I got to share this with you all. Hopefully there is one or two tips that you can try on your trip whenever you wanna go. Thank you so much to spend time reading this. XOXO @dMerani95.

Spring 2018

Men’s Fashion Tips

Thomas, black leather jacket, gray tee shirt, brown and black flannel, black skinny jeans

By Thomas Gruner, Trendsetter Alumnus

Ah, men’s fashion. It’s almost like the awkward forgotten step-child sometimes. Honestly, when you think of fashion in most senses, like retailers, bloggers, etc., they’re almost all centered around women. Not many places, except for a select few(especially in MT) offer quality men’s clothing. Sure, taking a trip to Target or H&M can be easy for men, but they hold mostly basics. I always look for more than just the average denim and T-shirt, but then again, I’m told I’m rather extra sometimes. So I guess it really all comes down to your personal style/personality.

But hey, for all you guys who are looking for something a little more than a basic T-shirt and straight fitting jeans, here’s my top 10 tips for men’s fashion:

Know your fit & size!

Full photo, including Thomas' brown lace up shoes

The most important thing ever! You never want something that doesn’t fit well, it could give off a little too much hobo, and not enough chic. Make sure you keep it what you want too! I personally like a nice skinny denim, but can still go with a straight leg pant(depending on the mood) and I always go for a slim fit top because I personally prefer things to be fitted.

Play around with layers.

Close up of Thomas' layers, the gray textured shirt, the brown and gray flannel and the leather jacket

I LOVE layering, which shows in just about any of my outfits! Layers can be a comfortability thing, but also just a straight up statement. Never be afraid to throw an extra piece on top to bring an outfit to the next level. Whether it be a nice light jacket, flannel, or cardigan, it can always be added!

Know which colors work best for you.

Thomas smiling

For example, if you have light hair and light complexion, getting away with a super light color(besides basic neutrals) can be tough. With my dark hair, and decently pale complexion, I’ve found that earthy tones, more into the greens, work best for me. And just remember, black is always a safe one and you can NEVER wear too much of it.

Variety, variety, variety!

Yes, that’s surprising coming from me, because I’ve gotten very comfortable with my easy black jeans and boots. But let me tell you, when I’m feeling adventurous, and I branch out into a nice blue denim and play around with tops, it’s like a breath of fresh air!

Don’t be afraid to venture into different styles!

Thomas smiling, leaning against a fence

I mean, there’s just so many out there! Especially if you don’t know your personal style yet, play around. And when you do find it, don’t get too comfortable with it(i.e. me currently). The best part about fashion is being able to dress like a new person everyday.

Know the season.

Now, this sounds a little silly, because it’s more of retailer thing, but it’s always nice to have current colors and trends! For example, you have the fun bright colors of spring, then you get into the paler tones for summer, throw some burnt reds and earthy tones in around fall, and finally all the deep blues and darker tones for winter!


This is more of a personal preference, but organize your wardrobe. Being one who is not only a neat freak sometimes but also having worked full time in fashion retail, I organize my closet almost weekly, and pack up things I don’t necessarily need(by season). I always go by sleeve length, so I can just go down the  line and pick up my layers, and then I also have style with style. For example, basic tees, then graphic tees, then textured tees, etc. It might be overboard, but hey, it’s easy when I wake up half an hour late and have to put together a decent outfit in two minutes.

Explore new stores!

Don’t be afraid to go places you wouldn’t typically think of for shopping. I’m a huge believer in thrifting so I go to Goodwill and other local thrift shops weekly to pick up nice finds. Not only is thrifting fun, but you can save a lot of money. Some of my nicest shoes have come from the local goodwill, or other thrift stores. My best find is a pair of $250 Oxfords I snagged for $6, and then one of my favorite pair of suede Chelsea boots, originally $129 that I got for $4. Sure, they’re used, lightly for the most part, but it honestly adds character!

Gender? Oh, I don’t know her…

Real talk though, all of my pants, except for maybe three pairs, have come from my work, Maurices, which is a women’s retailer. Really don’t be afraid to branch out a little. Like, a sweater is a sweater, pants are pants, shoes are shoes. Whatever your comfortability level may be, blue jeans are just blue jeans, and if you want a little more, androgyny never hurt anybody.

Have fun!

Of course, as everybody says, have fun with YOUR style! Fashion is fun, clothes are fun, colors are fun, so play around and kill it! Don’t be afraid to add that extra layer, or that last minute accessory, or add a little bit of edge to your style.

Thomas looking down

We need some more men’s fashion here in Montana, so many people treat it as taboo here. Sounds dramatic but I can’t even describe the looks I get sometimes. Like when they see it, they treat it as some unknown language. So seriously, branch out a little guys. I doubt you’ll regret it. An overall tip is to just look into some men’s fashion bloggers, they’re professionals at this whole thing, and I’m sure you’ll find something/somebody you can relate to.


Photography by McKenna Munden | @kennaphotography