Monthly Archives: December 2011

Top 10 Most Memorable Songs of 2011

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…according to guest blogger Serena Piper

By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

Songs can be a symbol of something important that happened to us. They can remind us of happy times with friends and family and sad times of heartbreak.

Here are the top 10 songs of 2011 (in no particular order) that we will forever remember for one reason or another:

‘It Will Rain’ by Bruno Mars. A chorus that gives you goosebumps is always memorable. So is the fact that it played during the credits of Twilight: Breaking Dawn.

‘Sexy and I Know It’ by LMFAO. At first the lyrics make you want to laugh, and then you watch the music video and…nope, it makes you laugh even more. The song has an incredibly addicting beat and who can resist the hilarity that comes with five guys in speedos thrusting their, um, packages in our faces?

‘Someone Like You’ by Adele. If there was ever a song about empowerment and finally telling yourself that you are able to move on from a broken relationship, it’s this one. Past heartbreaks are a little less painful when there’s a song to perfectly describe how you feel and a reminder that you’re not the only one to go through something painful. Plus, Saturday Night Live did a spoof about this song, so now we know it’s legit.

‘Remind Me’ by Brad Paisley ft. Carrie Underwood. A song review by says “The chorus plays like a couple rediscovering lost romance over a glass of wine.” Carrie’s amazing voice combined with Brad’s sweet country twang make for a song similar to a wake-up call. “Now we keep saying that we’re OK / But I don’t wanna settle for good not great.”

‘Stereo Hearts’ by Gym Class Heroes ft. Adam Levine. Stereo Hearts takes the cake for being creative and using metaphors about literally being a piece of music in different situations. Besides the catchy melody and sweet lyrics, it’s a song we’ll never get tired of.

‘Good Life’ by OneRepublic. It’s one of those roll-down-the-car-windows-and-blast-it-as-loud-as-you-can songs. Perfect for representing the summer of 2011.

‘The Lazy Song’ by Bruno Mars. I can’t tell you how many times my roommate and I listened to this song on our way to class each morning; it became our theme song until we were actually able to be lazy! And the music video was created in just one take!

‘F**k You’ by Cee Lo Green. Provocative lyrics, fun and artsy. The perfect song to belt out to, even if the radio’s edited version doesn’t have the same umph!

‘Baggage Claim’ by Miranda Lambert. I love Miranda’s kick-butt attitude, which comes across loud and clear in ‘Baggage Claim.’ Despite being married to a fellow country star, the snappy lyrics in this song remind us that Miranda hasn’t lost her sharp tongue.

‘Firework’ by Katy Perry. I’m not a dedicated fan of hers yet, but I have to admit that this one has an inspirational message: believe in yourself.

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5 New Year’s Resolutions & How to Help Get Them Done!

Filed under: College Life - BookRenter Team

Well friends, here we go— 2012 kicks off on Sunday (new week, new month, new year – how fitting!) and we’re ready to make good on some seriously long-time-coming resolutions. Here’s a look at 5 pillars of the personal goal arena, and some fantastic online resources you can leverage to help make them real!

Resolution #1: I will eat better! Whether you want to transform your body, lose a few pounds or maintain a healthy weight, fueling your body with the right foods is super important—and there’s no time like the New Year to make this serious commitment. Not sure where to start? Head over to for mouth-watering spins on your favorite guilty pleasures. Recipes feature clever calorie-saving alternative ingredients as well as Weight Watcher Point values to help you stay on track.

Resolution #2: I will be more organized! Personal agenda books are vital tools for efficient and responsible living. With so much of our day-to-day taking place online, an online planner can be the ideal solution for maximum organization. Platforms like Google Calendar are great for mapping out your daily, weekly, and monthly obligations—and seamlessly sync with most smart-phones so you can take your planner on-the-go.

Resolution #3: I will laugh more! They say laughter is the best medicine, so here’s to a healthier You in 2012. The Internet is chock-full of things to laugh about. Bookmark BuzzFeed’s Cute and LOL tabs for starters.

Resolution #4: I will manage my money better! We all want to make the most of our money, but sometimes it’s easy to lose track of expenditures. Online finance management tools can help you set budgets and stick to them. is a fantastic (and free!) service for managing personal finances, streamlining online bill payments, and helping you better understand your spending habits.

Resolution #5: I will save money! While you’re at it, why not make a resolution to save money where you can. is a must-visit resource for hot deals on everything from health care to groceries. Look into for amazing deals on local restaurants, shopping, travel, and more. For cheap college textbooks, we’re a fan of… naturally 🙂

Happy New Year, everyone!

© laurent hamels –
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The Top 10 People of 2011

Filed under: College Life, Social Life/Relationships - BookRenter Team
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…according to guest blogger, Serena Piper

By guest blogger Serena Piper
Journalism major at the University of Oregon. Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus Oregon. Magazine, freelance blogger, future world traveler. In her spare time, she likes to read as many books as she can, go for long drives, and peruse news websites. Hopes to one day write for National Geographic.

It’s December and in the spirit of the New Year, let’s do a countdown of the top 10 people that made 2011 the year that it was. We all have those lists in our head, “Oh, those people will be so memorable by the end of year… we’ll never forget this,” so let’s see who made the list and who didn’t!

10. Muammar Gaddafi – Gaddafi ruled Libya from 1977 until August 2011. The February protests against him escalated into the 2011 Libyan Civil War. He was captured on October 18th and almost a month later, his son and brother-in-law were captured too. He was beaten to death shortly after.

9. Osama Bin Laden – At first we couldn’t believe it was true when news channels reported in May that Osama bin Laden, deemed the “architect of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks” by CBS News, was killed. He was tracked down “not far from a Pakistani military academy was killed in a firefight by American forces May 2nd.”

8. Kim Kardashian – In August, Kim married in an elaborate, $10 million wedding. By October, Kardashian was filing for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Her husband of 72 days didn’t go down quietly; he refused the divorce and instead asked for an annulment. This leaves us all wondering: who will get Kim’s wedding ring?

7. Steve JobsThe New York Times called him “the visionary co-founder of Apple who helped usher in the era of personal computers and then led a cultural transformation.” Steve Jobs passed away of complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 56. Before he died, he said, “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way you know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

6. Amy Winehouse – The 27-year-old British soul singer died in July from alcohol poisoning. She was known for her 2007 hit song, “Rehab.” Perhaps the most tragic thing about Winehouse’s death is that she joins a long list of rockers who died before 27, including Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix.

5. Betty Ford – The First Lady of the U.S. from 1974 to 1977 also died in July. She was best known for raising breast cancer awareness following her own mastectomy and was an activist for the Equal Rights Amendment. She was known for more than being her husband’s sidekick and influenced on the lives of many people.

4. Rebecca Black – This list would not be complete without including the 14-year-old girl who created that awfully annoying video we all love to hate. Her mom paid $4,000 to have the song recorded. Even though the video got over 167 million views after it was uploaded to YouTube, Rebecca Black was able lay claim to the most disliked video on YouTube (until Rick Perry’s recent campaign ad surpassed it the week of December 5). Well, that’s one way to gain fame.

3. Justin Bieber – Bieber’s film, Never Say Never, was released in February and grossed $30.3 million in its first weekend. In June, he was ranked second on Forbes’ list of Best-Paid Celebrities under 30. And recently, he was accused of fathering a child. Thank God to all of the Bieber fans out there that those accusations were not true.

2. Taylor Swift – Recently, Swift was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year at the Billboard ‘Women In Music’ event. She has sold out every show of her Speak Now World Tour and she was named Entertainer of the Year at both the ACM and CMA Awards. Seems like 2011 may have been her year. Is this a peak or will she keep going up in 2012?

1. Dr. Conrad Murray – The physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Michael Jackson was given in November to 4 years in jail. Prosecutors contended that had it not been for Murray’s negligence, Jackson would still be here today. Looks like the Michael Jackson era has officially come to a close.

Do you agree with my picks? Who do you think will make the list in 2012?

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Happy Holidays from BookRenter!

Filed under: Company Updates - BookRenter Team

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Sugar Overload: Favorite Holiday Cookie Recipes

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By guest blogger Tiana Bouma
Tiana is a senior at University of Oregon double majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a focus in magazine. Her hometown is now Bend, OR but she graduated from high school in Danville, CA. After graduating from UO, she plans on traveling and working for National Geographic. During her spare time, she enjoys music, reading, sports and movies.

The weather is getting colder. The fall season is long over and Thanksgiving has come and gone. Winter time means we are given little reprieve from classes and homework and tests and everything else professors throw our way. Winter break is almost here!

Winter break also means time with family, amazing food, and some seasonal winter movies. There is something irresistible about the aroma of warm spices and freshly baked goodies.  Mixing up batches of dough and baking trays of cookies while listening to holiday music is a great activity you can do during your time off.

Holiday-shaped sugar cookies with frosting are classic, yet are also an easy fall back. In addition, there are so many more choices for a new baking adventure!

Here are 2 great recipes to get you rolling (pun intended!):
(Gathered from and

Frosted Cut-Out Sugar Cookies



  • 3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 drops any color food coloring


  1. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least one hour.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 1/2 inches apart onto cookie sheets.
  3. Bake for 6 to 8 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove cookies from baking sheets to cool on wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.
  4. In a small bowl, beat the butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Mix in the milk one tablespoon at a time until a good spreading consistency is reached. Stir in food coloring to desired shade. Decorate cooled cookies, and set on waxed paper to harden.

Peppermint Candy Cane Twists



  • 1 package (18-ounce) refrigerated sugar cookie dough, room temperature (recommended:
  • Pillsbury), or home-made sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (recommended: McCormick)
  • 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring


Cut the roll of cookie dough in half. Put the halves in separate large mixing bowls. In 1 bowl, thoroughly mix 1/4 cup of the flour and the peppermint extract into cookie dough. In the second bowl, add the remaining 1/4 cup flour and enough food coloring to make a red dough. Mix well with gloved hands until the color is well blended.

Divide the white and red dough into 24 pieces each, (for a total of 48 pieces). Roll each piece into a rope 8 inches long and about 1/4-inch in diameter.

To shape candy canes, arrange 1 rope of each color side by side on parchment lined cookie sheets. Gently twist together and shape into a candy cane. Repeat with the remaining pieces, spacing the cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake until edges are very lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest, about 5 minutes, before transferring the cookies to racks. Gently remove them from the cookie sheets with a long metal spatula and cool on cooling racks.

What are you looking forward to baking this holiday season?

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