Grad School Favorites

It’s back to school time. The smell of new notebooks and Ticonderoga pencils (I mean they have the best erasers am I right?) fill the air. Staying up all night trying to pick out an outfit for the first day back. Except now with COVID-19 your outfit will most likely be a comfy pair of leggings and t-shirt as you attend classes from your home. Here are some of my desk favorites to help me tackle my first year in a PhD program:

Blue Light Blocking Glasses
Astoria Glasses. Image via Eyebuydirect.com

Since I work from home and will now attend classes virtually I will spend a tremendous amount of time in front of a computer. In the past, I tend to get migraines around hour 12. I am hoping these blue light blocking glasses will help the headaches as well as improve my sleep. I ordered them from Eye Buy Direct. I was able to add my prescription to them as well so I could wear them while watching tv and doing other blue light activities.

Hanging File Holder

While we are entering the virtual era, I still like having some things printed for quick reference. After all, technology can and will fail us when we need it the most. I refuse to have a cluttered desk and it’s very important that every piece of paper has a home. I purchased two small tabletop hanging file holders from Target for only $13 a piece. In addition, I picked up some cute inside folders for them while I was there. Click here to view.

Hanging File Holder with Folders Gold/Black Grid. Image via Target.com
2020-21 Kelly Ventura Academic Planner 5.875" x 8.625" Clear Pocket Cover Wirebound – Scarlet - image 2 of 7
Kelly Ventura for Blue Sky Planner. Image via Target.com

Organization is key! While I use my calendar on my iPhone which syncs to my MacBook, I love the security of a physical planner. I only write school related things in my planner. Sometimes our calendars become bombarded with appointments and reminders, having a dedicated place for my school assignments really helps (yes I know you can create separate calendars on your phone, but I like what I like).

Hand Lotion

Is anyone else washing/santizing their hands a million times a day? No? Well you should be! As Raven would say “Ya Nasty”. If you are, good job, then you know your hands are probably dry and ashy. I like to keep hand lotion on my desk so that after breaks, it’s within reach. The Bath & Body Works Stress Relief Lotion is great, it hydrates and relieves your stress at the same time. Now if only, it could clear my acne and help me drop me 50 lbs, but that’s another story for another blog post. If you have sensitive skin or just aren’t a fan of the fragrance, I also recommend the Cerave Therapeutic Hand Cream.


While I am not a tech junkie, I consider myself to be more tech savvy than the average person. Working solely on a laptop can become frustrating. I purchased an additional monitor for work in the beginning of the pandemic. It became my best friend when I realized I could use it for my personal computer as well. I do have a different keyboard and mouse set but I will link an affordable version with a great rating. Let’s talk about the game changers in my life:

22″ Monitor

Sceptre 22″ Monitor. Image via Amazon.com

Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo

Logitech Keyboard and Mouse via Amazon.com

While there are so many more things I love about my desk such as my fan and weekly flower arrangements, I have to draw the line somewhere. Thank you for reading and I wish you all the success if you are endeavoring on your graduate school journey.

“Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome”.

-Arthur Ashe


Self Care or Selfless?

Why Self Care is Important

This isn’t another one of those posts telling you to read a book and meditate because it is necessary. However, I do believe many times we as humans put 100 things before ourselves. This can result in feeling worn/burned out. So I like to think of self care as ways that allow me to relax and recharge.

Bubble Baths

You always hear “bathing is sitting in your own filth” but it’s YOURS to sit in haha. Ok, but if that is a concern, you can always take a shower first to remove the filth. Somewhere along the lines, I stopped taking baths. But I recently discovered how relaxing they can be. Bath time has definitely upgraded to include Netflix and wine. I like to take bubble baths with the Bath and Body Works Aromatherapy foam wash. It makes the bathroom smell like a spa. My set up is not as professional as a bath caddy but it works for me! I use a tray table and place my iPad on it to watch Netflix. I actually prefer that my iPad is on the outside of the tub as opposed to resting on a bath caddy.

Taking a Walk

I don’t know why it takes me forever to motivate myself to go for a walk because I never regret it afterwards. Taking a slow walk with great music is a way to clear my mind. I get overwhelmed overthinking about things I can’t control so the best way to stop it, is to take a walk, even if it is only 30 minutes.

Watching a Good Movie

Unfortunately, I do not like reading. I refuse to pretend to be someone I am not. I don’t like it. Period. But I do like watching reality TV and good movies. Sunday evenings after I “finish” school work, I enjoy curling up on the couch and watching a movie with popcorn. Is it really self care? Maybe not to some people, but I enjoy it and it helps me relax so it counts.

Skin Care Routine

I admit sometimes I fall asleep without washing my face. I know, I know it’s bad, but I don’t sleep in makeup. I consider my skin care routine as taking care of myself therefore I count it as self care. I actively see a dermatologist for my acne and hyperpigmentation, so I leave that up to the professionals. I think if you don’t have a skin care routine, even if you wash your face and wear SPF then you’re doing more than most.

Try to add one thing to your weekly routine to take care of yourself and remember self care is not selfish. Being selfless will eventually lead to you being unable to help those you love the most.

Stay safe,


One Semester Down…How Many More to go?

Fall 2020 has Officially Ended – Hallelujah

Somewhere along the lines I got caught up in a whirlwind between school and work. I truly do not understand how people work full-time, go to school full-time and manage having a family. I can barely keep up with me, myself and I. But I survived my first semester.

So Here’s What I Learned

Planning only get’s you so far, especially if you don’t stick to the plan. I would tell myself that I would start my school work at a certain time, but sometimes I was not mentally ready. This of course resulted in me starting and ending later in the night than I would prefer.

Balance is truly the key to remaining sane throughout the process. I had one weekend where I did not have homework due, so I took a Saturday off and walked around an outdoor outlet mall (because there’s a pandemic after all). I would work on school related things such as reading, watching lectures, completing homework or studying Monday – Sunday. I eventually stated that I needed Sunday evening’s off to just relax and watch reality TV. You must build in time to recharge and take care of yourself.

Feeling overwhelmed will mostly likely be inevitable. There were days when I thought I could handle everything and others where I laid on the floor under my desk and cried. I just had to remind myself that I was able, capable and would get through it come hell or high water.

You need a support system comprised of people who will be understanding even when they don’t understand what you’re going through. It’s difficult when I can’t express my difficulties to my friends since they don’t know I’m in school (Read my Introduction for an explanation). However, the few family members that are aware listen to my random screams for help.

The moral of the story is that you can do this! Remember to breathe and take it one day at a time.

May you follow your dreams,


Quarantine Purchases

Has anyone else’s bank account taken a severe hit since we’ve been quarantined? I think I began to order things in order to cope with being “stuck” in the house. While some purchases were not necessary, some turned out to be the best purchases I’ve made all year.

Nespresso Machine

Since the Starbuck locations near me closed their cafes and only had the drive through available, the lines were wrapped around the building. I was naive to think I could run out for coffee in between conference calls. Eventually I got fed up and purchased a Nespresso by Breville Vertuoline Coffee and Espresso Maker Bundle in Chrome from Bed Bath and Beyond. It has truly been a pleasant addition. While I already own a Keurig, the Nespresso allowed me to make americanos, lattes and cappuccinos. The milk frother was an added bonus.

Ninja Foodi 6 in 1 2-Basket Air Fryer

Front Zoom. Ninja - Ninja® Foodi® 6-in-1 8-qt., 2-Basket Air Fryer with DualZone™ Technology - Dark Grey.

I’ll be honest since I haven’t used this product yet, but I know I’ll love it. I’ve watched various reviews and food demos and this is the air fryer for me. It has 6 functions. I can set it to bake a potato in one basket and air fry a steak in the other and the meal will FINISH AT THE SAME TIME! It will take the hassle out of timing each item.

I’ve purchased some random things such as candles, KS Jewelry and pots. But I’ll update this post as long as this pandemic sticks around.