Reading Hack

I’m a History MA graduate student and it took me about four months to learn how to perform like a “History MA graduate student.” One important performance lesson I learned is the art of graduate school reading. I had no clue that it required so much tact. I wondered how people got so much reading done so quickly (hint they didn’t). Before learning this reading hack, I felt intellectually inferior. My sense of imposter syndrome reached a new high.

But boy, oh boy — I had an ah-ha moment when my professor taught my class ‘the trick.’

Book reviews, book reviews, book reviews! And strategic reading!!! It is more effective to read some info about the author, historiography (in my case) i.e. a book review or two, the introduction and the conclusion and a bit of each chapter in between (preferably all of the chapters assigned). Then to try an muscle through books cover to cover.

Reading in order, cover to cover is a style of reading best left for leisure rather than class. ❤

Rebecca Minkoff Tote Bag & Wallet Review

I think the Rebecca Minkoff Washed Nylon Tote and Becky Continental Wallet are amazing choices for any graduate student! I purchased the tote because it has a zipper, and can expand at the sides. I also love the bag’s nylon fabric. It makes it easy to clean. I adore the fact that the bag is all black ––– its a less obvious choice for repetitive wear to class. Black matches everything after all.

The Becky wallet has so many card slots, six rows on both sides of the wallet. It has a zipper with leather fringe detail and a back pocket on the outside. The wallet’s leather smells deliciously sweet and perfectly leathery. I love the gold accents on the front of the wallet because it adds a youthful edge. I got the wallet on sale and I very much recommend this purchase. The quality and price makes the bag and wallet worth it.

I feel like my blog may slowly become an ode to Rebecca Minkoff. I love the brand’s feminist ethos, affordability, and quality. They also use affirm, a credit program that allows customers to make small monthly payments rather than pay for items in full. ❤

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My Long Term Travel Luggage Packing

When it comes to airport travel, I’ve been aboard the struggle bus for many years. Mainly, because of inexpensive and overweight luggage. 😦 I’ve always dreamed of worry free long distance travel with luggage packed thoughtfully under the 50 lb weight limit.

Throughout my high school years I traveled from state to state following my family’s consulting projects. I’d spend five months in Tacoma, Washington, then two in New York City and later five in Akron, Ohio, so on and so forth. During college, I often studied abroad and traveled regionally. I am by no means a travel expert, but I can confidently say I have a decent amount of airplane travel experience.

I’ve had cheap-o “hard” suitcases literally split in two, luggage handles and wheels fall off mid-travel, and I’ve routinely suffered from overweight luggage. I write the word suffer not melodramatically but in an effort to realistically describe what it feels like to frantically stuff clothes into a tote bag. Then have said bag’s handles rip off due to the weight while running to a new gate that magically decided to change in the last minute.

So when I started to plan for my one-way ticket journey to Ireland, I knew this was my opportunity to shine ––– to tactfully pack four suitcases! I ordered my new Kenneth Cole Reaction Going Places 3 Pc Spinner Luggage Set from Macy’s and also picked up a $30 Samsonite large black duffle bag (not pictured) from my local mall. I purchased my neon yellow luggage tags from Amazon.

I love the Kenneth Cole suitcase set, it was originally over $700 but its now on sale for $160. The suitcase material is a blazer-like fabric that’s easy to clean with lysol wipes. Because the luggage is fabric material, I don’t recommend cleaning it with hand paper because it can make it look linty.

I figured out the secret sauce to avoiding overweight luggage is a recipe of 1.) using vacuum bags for all clothing (non leather), 2.) getting an at-home luggage scale, 3.) avoiding the purchase of full-sized toiletries.

The vacuum bags greatly reduced the weight of my clothing. While the luggage scale gave me peace of mind because I know that each of my bags are under the weight limit. Additionally, full-sized toiletries are too weighty and unnecessary. Things like soap can be purchased in most places. Instead of packing a full box of anything, I only packed one of each thing. Like one bar of soap, for example, to use the first night upon arrival. I made a few exceptions, but mainly stuck to this tactic.

After researching companies in my area and calling UPS, DHL and more, I realized checking in one extra bag for international travel is the most affordable option. I get two free checked bags for my international flight and only had to pay a little over $200 for my extra checked luggage. That’s a little over $200 for three large suitcases (two Kenneth Cole ones and one Samsonite), this is much cheaper than spending over $700 to send one 20x20x20 moving box from the US to Ireland.

I think its better late than never to learn from travel mistakes. I hope to continue to travel and pack smartly! ❤ unnamed-4