Travel Tips!!

So since May 2014, I’ve been on 24 flights, (and will probably be taking four flights more before the summer ends) and about two or three. Traveling sometimes is such a hassle, so here are some tips to make your time traveling much easier!

Pack light and efficiently. Normally when I am traveling, I only travel with a “carry-on” suitcase and a rather large purse. When I bring my laptop, I put it as well as anything I will need immediately (such as the TSA liquids Baggie, Book, Snacks, Etc) in the large purse. Normally TSA makes you take your laptops and liquids out anyways, so it makes it so much easier to just whip it out your purse, instead of digging in the suitcase.

  
In my main suitcase, I have a system. Heaviest items such as shoes go at the very bottom. Normally I put shoes in a plastic Walmart bag because I don’t want the bottom of my dirty shoes touching my beautiful clothes! Speaking of clothes – it has to be strategic! I would suggest light clothes that can be worn in multiple ways depending on where you’re going. If it’s summer time, and you are just going to a weekend trip, dresses are the way to go! I also try to stick to the same color palette so that you don’t have to bring as many accessories because they could go from outfit to outfit every day.

After you have planned out every outfit you need to take then pack the clothes, I roll the outfits together in a way. So I fold the item like half way, then just roll it up and pack it as tightly as I can in the latter half of the suitcase. Then on top of that, I pack underwear, bras, socks, and hair products, anything else I think I’ll need.  I have recently started just having a prepackaged toiletries “grab bag,” equipped with bobby pins, face wash, toothbrush and deodorant, and all the other things I use daily – just in travel size, already ready to go. Zip up the suitcase, and be ready to go! Then if I am carrying my laptop, or need any cords, with my suitcase already zipped and standing upwards, I place the cords and stuff in that mini section after everything has settled in the suitcase.

  
 Dress smart and light on the day of travel! This is so important. It’s okay to be cute, but comfortable, and functional is the way to go! My go-to outfit is a pair of black leggings, cute shirt, and flats, usually with a sweater, or scarf (because planes are cold!). The way you dress will make your TSA security check go either really good or really bad. For easy TSA security check, I suggest the following. Good easy to remove and put back on shoes, such as flip-flops, or flats. I would leave your belts (if you need one) and jewelry in your carry-on “purse.” That way you don’t have to worry about taking them off while in the security check line and save yourself time. Then after you’ve gone through the checkpoint, put all those things back on and be fly!

Arrive early to the airport. You never know if it’ll take you a long time for security. Or how much time boarding will take. It is better to be early for your flight than running to catch it! Early arrival to the airport will give you the opportunity to get snacks if you need it, go to the bathroom prior to getting on the plane, or find your gate in a complicated airport. As the beloved Hampton University saying goes: “To be early is to be on time, to be one time is to be late, and to be late is unacceptable.” I would also try to be as kind as possible to all the staff, TSA agents, and ticket people because they can make or break your entire day!

Bring headphones! I cannot stress it enough. Something about being isolated in your own little musical world. I would also create the playlist. I have a specific playlist if I am sleepy, or trying to stay awake and do work. It may just be me, but I hate with great passion the sound of the plane’s engine. So to prevent me listening to that awful and horrific noise, I bought some BOMB Bose headphones to block out that noise!

Take a bomb travel selfie! My IG is full of bomb travel selfies, I try to make them look very artistic, and sometimes it doesn’t work. However. I suggest taking a selfie with your luggage, to signify that you are in transit, and then a very touristy picture with an amazing background behind you! I have taken to taking pictures of the scenery around me because sometimes there is no one around to take your picture. Also selfies with the scenery is beautiful as well!

    

  

HAVE FUN! Enjoy your time traveling, and make the best of every single moment, because it never lasts as long as it should.

Keep It Classy,

-T. Renae

Renae

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Love Yourself Challenge Week Two: 25 Reasons Why You Love Yourself

Ladies & Co. introduced the “Love Yourself Like A Queen” challenge last week and it’s already making an impact!  The 7-week challenge was created for women to self-reflect and look within ourselves through God. Last week we wrote love letters to our first loves, ourselves! Week 2’s activity was to think about 25 reasons you love yourself and I’m honored to be sharing my reasons. 25 reasons should come easy to a woman of confidence, but it took more time than anticipated to create my list.  I even had to pull in love ones to complete it, but this is my perfect list! Week 2’s challenge wasn’t just about the list, it was an activity to look from within to examine yourself in a positive light. In this life, we are our worst critics but this gave us an opportunity to reflect on the elements, characteristics and qualities that make us the beautiful queens we are!

What you love about yourself

  1. I am a child of God.
  2. I work hard to achieve my goals.
  3. I’m more actively involved in church.
  4. I’m acknowledging who I am.
  5. I’m content in my own skin and with my connection to God.
  6. I’m more aware of who I can depend on.
  7. I’m learning not to let anyone or anything steal my joy.
  8. I am recognizing my own self-worth.
  9. I’m appreciating all the wisdom my parents have shared with me.
  10. I’m walking in my purpose.
  11. I have a 5-10 year plan for my life (knowing everything does not always go according to this plan).
  12. The love, passion and commitment I have for seniors, children, and people in need.
  13. I am not allowing stress to control my behavior.
  14. I’m learning to broaden my horizons.
  15. I’m discovering my happy place!
  16. I’m becoming more humble in my journey.
  17. I know that I am made in God’s image so I am beautiful just the way I am.
  18. I am my sister’s keeper.
  19. I love to motivate and encourage those around me.
  20. I am family oriented.
  21. I have the hope and faith that our generation will positively impact the world.
  22. I am open to what God has in store for me.
  23. I try to see the good in all people.
  24. I’ve been transforming my mind, body and soul to be healthier.
  25. I am a phenomenal woman!

A.Rochell

Thirteen Reasons Why – Book Review 

So I started reading this book tonight called Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. And I’m on page 325/463. It’s about this girl who commits suicide, and then basically records on cassette tapes basically all the reasons why she did it. Basically people’s actions, indirectly caused her   To take her life.* so basically the story follows this boy named Clay, and he receives the tapes. Now the only way a person could get the tapes is if they are on the list, and there is a story about the person. So I’m at the part where she is talking about Clay, and it’s so incredibly sad.  Because if only Clay hadn’t been so shy, and think she was so far out of his league, he might have been able to save her. ** she talks about how great of a person he was, and how nobody has anything bad to say about him. And how when she first meets him and really has their first conversation she revels at how easy he is to talk to, and then the book switches back to his point of view and how guilty he feels about not stepping up to talk to her sooner. And I feel for him so much, because that would kill me to have that happen to someone I want to get to know, and admire and care for so much from afar. It hurts. I hurt for Clay. I’m crying for Clay. It’s just crazy how someone’s actions, no matter how big or small affect a person. My heart is literally aching for him. Why do I feel like this? This is too sad. I want to scream. It’s so sad. This is too much, Clay blaming himself, because he might of been the only person who could’ve saved her. Gosh my heart aches for Clay, he didn’t deserve that.
*NOTE: I don’t plan on, or want to take my life, ever. Life gets hard, yes but I don’t want to end my life. Just like a note.
** NOTE: I’m hyperventilating at this point of writing this. And I don’t know why. I’m crying like bawling, and I literally cannot stop.
—————
Fast forward to when I actually finish the book. At 1:57AM. So let me explain, above is an excerpt, well not really an excerpt but a post in my journal, while I was reading the book I felt overwhelmed and I needed a break, or release. So I put it in my journal. THIS book was amazing but incredibly sad. I’m still coming down from the feels but damn. This book literally changed my whole outlook on life. It literally shows you how exactly someone who thinks their actions were nothing significant, turn out to be super significant in someone else’s life. I could not put this book down, I started it around 10:30 the night before and just could not stop reading. When I read I become super invested in the characters, and they become apart of who I am. The characters in this book definitely will be with me for a while. This book literally had me in tears, smiling, hyperventilating, all over the place. Emotional roller coaster to the max! But it definitely had, and will continue to have an impact on me. The book is set up basically Hannah, talking to Clay (I don’t want to give to much away, so I’m being vague), and Clay’s reactions to what she says. The book aesthetic and set up was flawless. I thought when I started reading I would be a little confused, but no it was great and easy to read. So I kinda gave a summary earlier in this post so I’m not going to repeat myself.
This book really really touched me.  It is crazy to me and so heartbreaking to think there are people out there in the world who feel like this, and are going through similar situations like this.  If you are going through something get help. Talk to someone. Any one. Read this book. Call the suicide hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE. Visit the website www.hopeline.com. Get through the next fifteen minutes. You are so loved, and needed in this world. Trust me. I need you. We need you.

Keep It Classy,

T.Renae

Book Reviews

So in the second week of February, I decided that I wanted to start back reading more. I felt like in college, I don’t get to read as much and it was making me very sad. I grew up reading so much, and then once I hit college I stopped. I missed it so much. Anyways. So here are the review of the five books I have read since starting my book reading challenge on February 9th, and the links to buy them. I personally did not buy all of these books, I rented them from my local library through the OverDrive app via e-books.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova 

So I read this book because I saw the movie trailer and I am one of those people, who if I see a movie trailer based off a book, I have to read the book. I probably won’t go see the movie, because I am picky about movies and this book would have to be done perfectly to work. I also am a psychology major at Hampton University and last semester I took a neurological psychology class, which we spent a good portion of the semester talking about Alzheimer’s Disease. It is about a 50-year old professor at Harvard University: Alice. She is married to another professor at Harvard, and they have grown-up children that are all on separate paths. So in addition to her everyday stressors, and life, she finds out that she has Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. The story is basically about how Alice and her family deal with her new diagnosis and her descent into Alzheimer.  So the book was beautifully written. It starts off in this “highly educated” tone of voice (if that makes sense) of this simplistic language. Which it was very interesting because it is done in a way that you won’t realize it until the end. In my opinion it was done to show Alice’s descent into Alzheimer’s. The author was highly knowledgeable about the subject, and you could tell she did her research on the subject – an extensive amount of research. I truly enjoyed this book, however it is not for the weak hearted. It is not sad, but it is not a super happy book either. I overall loved the book, and I could not stop reading for anything. I seriously enjoyed it. I highly recommend it!

The Boleyn King by Laura Andersen

So if you like historical fiction, or Philippa Gregory Books, or The Tudors This is the book for you. (Alright confession – I copied this from the book of the book, but it is EXTREMELY accurate. I love historical fiction. I never grow tired of it, however I cannot read it whenever. I have to be in the mood to read it. So this book is about what would’ve happened if Anne Boleyn, the second wife of King Henry the VIII had a son, and consequently saving her life and upholding her Queen-ship. The book follows Anne’s son William, Anne’s daughter Elizabeth, Will’s best friend Dominic and Elizabeth’s best friend Minuette, and their lives, and the issues of England, and Will’s Kingship. The book was surprisingly good. I have read books before that try to be like the Gregory book series, but this had its own unique feel to it. This is a truly “What If,” book, every turn and twist in the book was well thought out. I truly enjoyed the book. I don’t want to say too much about the book because I want every one to read it and enjoy it for themselves. The book was very interesting, because it went through each person’s perspective, but not in a choppy way. It transitioned very smooth, showed each event from each of the characters’ mind and what they thought of everything. It was really refreshing, I did not think I would like the book to be honest. However when I started the book, I was instantly wrapped into it, and COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!

Sunday’s at Tiffany’s by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet 

This is a book starts out about a little lonely girl by the name is Jane, and her imaginary friend Michael. Jane’s mother is a very powerful and influential producer, but only has time for her daughter on Sundays, to look at jewelry at Tiffany’s. Michael leaves Jane on her ninth birthday, and she is supposed to forget him and then the book transitions into her adulthood life. Then Jane just happens to run into Michael later in life and things unfold thus far. The book is to me, balances between real life and imagination. Now this book is simple read, but there has a lot background information so that you can really get to know each character individually. While this is not one of my favorite James Patterson book, it was well written and a quick read. The structure was interesting, alternating between Jane and Micheal’s point of view. It is a cute little love story that has some very intense twists at the end to keep you guessing. I recommend this book to anyone who is trying to get back into reading, or wants to transition from young adult books to “adult” fiction.

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

This book was completely out of my comfort zone as far as books go. The book is about Samantha, who dies, and then gets a second chance at life. Then keeps re-living the last day of her life. Each time she re-lives her life, she uncovers something new about her death, as well as altering the ways in which she dies a few times. This book was very well put together. It places you right inside of the head of a popular girl’s head, and every emotion you feel as well, even Samantha’s frustration as she keeps re-living her life. The book didn’t feel trite, or receptive as someone would think with the reliving of the life of Samantha. I personally felt like the book had a very good unexpected ending, and ended with me feeling very content with how everything turned out in Samantha’s life. I don’t know how exactly how to explain it, but it is a written, thought-provoking book.

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand.

I have just finished reading this book. The book just came out last month (which I just found out). It was recommended to me through the overdrive app based on Before I Fall. It is really good. The book was incredibly sad, but heartwarming and distinct. The book follows a girl named Alexis, or Lex, a senior in high school right after her younger brother, Tyler, commits suicide. The book highlights how Lex deals with the death of her brother, and her life after, in addition to her parents’ divorce, high school BS, and more. This book really touched me. While I have never known anyone to commit suicide, it seriously hurts me when people die. I am very sensitive. Anyways. I thought the book was sad but had a happy ending, even if it wasn’t what I expected. I loved how at the end of the book, the author tied the entire thing together and it all clicked. All the pieces of the puzzle are solved within the last two chapters, which resolved a lot of my unanswered questions. The book definitely touches on a lot of subjects, but in a good way to somewhat expose you to the emotions that a person goes through when a loved one takes their life. Overall, great read, it may take you a few days to read because it is overwhelming emotionally, but in a good way. (Fun Fact: I started putting together this review, and then saved it to be posted and about an hour later I finished this book! How Cool!)

I am always looking for new things to read, not just to review, but I love books and reading! So What are some of your favorite books, be sure to comment below and let me know! I would love to hear them!

Keep It Classy, 

T.Renae