Travel Diary: Oxford, England

Last summer, I embarked on a spontaneous trip to England. While, there I visited the archaic city of Oxford , with more than a thousand years of history as one of the oldest universities in the world.

I was enthralled by the profound scholarly vibe that emanated through the charismatic streets of Oxford. Left in awe by the majestic architecture and distinct traditions of this ancient university.

It was surreal exploring a university that was founded in the year 1096 , as a university for monks, that was later open to the public and has continued to be the birthplace of revolutionary ideas and leaders.

……..

 

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Sheldonian Theatre , site of graduation for Oxford students

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Views from the top of the Sheldonian theatre viewing deck 

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The ancient scholars and philosophers safeguarding the Sheldonian Theatre 

 

how charming is Oxford?

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Tower of the Five Orders at the Divinity School 

 

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Bodleian Library ; reminiscent of the architectural splendors of ancient rome 

 

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Afternoon Tea at Oxford; english tea, currant scones with clotted cream and jam..

 

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rustic street signs

 

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scrumptious British cookies or should I say biscuits at the historic Covered Market (est. 1774) 

 

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Harry Potter dining hall!!

 

 

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“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

Fall Adventure Ideas

With the chilly weather and college application deadlines looming ahead, I haven’t been out on a fun, carefree adventure in a while. I have been craving the excursions of summer and of last year, when I had more time on my hands. I figured it was time to ditch the books and my cozy room for a new experience that will inspire me. Here are a couple of ideas that will get you out of the house and throw in a little adventure into your week.

Museum Days

Truthfully, I’m down on to go to any museum during any season. But I think museums during autumn are special. People walk into the halls bundled up in their fall gear, coffee and camera in hand. The art and history are lovely, but people watching is nice too, especially in LA. Most museums take only about an hour or so to go through, so after your short excursion you have the rest of your day to hit the books or do other work.

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The Broad, Los Angeles

Morning Hikes

Talk about killing two birds with one stone- satisfying the crave of adventure and exercise is fulfilled with hiking. The cool morning air energizes your lungs and the nature clears your mind. Fall hikes are definitely picturesque as well, with the color change of the trees and the falling leaves.

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Abalone Cove, Palos Verdes

Antique Stores

My sister and I were bored one day after school, so I invited my friend to come with us to the local antique store we discovered a couple of years ago. Crammed with things from used postcards to Russian dolls, its truly an exciting place, albeit a little creepy. Also a fun place to take cool, vintage pictures! You never know what you will discover at an antique shop; it is like going back in time. I found a yearbook from the 60’s with the funniest senior quotes.

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Studio Antiques, El Segundo

Coffee Shops

It’s not autumn (or a hectic school year) without weekly trips to the local coffee shop to motivate myself with a farfalla (Oreo/espresso frappe aka heaven in a cup) to do school work. I love the atmosphere of coffee shops. Make it an adventure and discover a new coffee shop every week, try a new drink or pastry every time you stop by, or talk to the interesting person in front of you in line who orders the same drink as you. july-18-2016-841

Blue Butterfly Coffee Company, El Segundo

Corn Mazes

I had at least add one cliché fall activity in here. Personally, I’ve never been to a corn maze but it sounds like a great and exciting time. The car ride there would be an adventure in itself; most farms with mazes are a good drive away. Gather a couple of your friends, and prepare to spooked and challenged by a well-made corn maze.

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Big Horse Corn Maze, Temecula (not my photo)

So there you have it, 5 excursions you should go on between finishing assignments and avoiding the rain without going too far and not spending a lot of money. Also, very moderate and doable, so you can’t put it off. Go on, adventure awaits!

Have fun,

Firda

June Favorites by S

Hello summertime. Goodbye real life.

It has been so invigorating relaxing this past week. I have set aside this week, the first week of my summer, to doing what I want. This means not touching my tons of AP summer homework stacked up on my desk and neglecting studying for the SAT’s for just this week. I really wanted to destress and have time for doing the things that I love the most. Anyways, with that being said, this week I have had plenty of time to catch up with old friends, shop, and have a spa day… something that I needed very much after the hectic month of May. How has everyone else been doing?

With that being said, let me get into my June favorites.

Lately, I have been loving the 80s fashion trends. I had such a fun shopping day with my mother on Monday and I picked up a few 80s inspired things from my favorite shop, ZARA.

Here’s a mini haul as to what I purchased, and I can honestly say that they are my current fashion favorites

  1. Bomber Jacket

Don’t hang clothing off of chandeliers , not a very good idea, but you got to do what you got to do for the blog, right? Anyways, what i particularly love about this jacket is that it has the cute green stripe through the sleeves and also the “Don’t grow up” message on the back of the jacket adds extra flair to it. I love the color scheme of the jacket and it can easily be paired with a simple crop top and some jeans. It can also be worn with a light colored dress and I wore this with my baby blue halter maxi dress.

2.  Simple tops

I got this sparkly grey crop top with patches on it. Patches were a major trend from the 90s and they are in right now. The patches on this top make it more interesting and fun. I also bought this peachy pink top and I love the material of it and the contrast with the white.

 

Also, in this shopping trip, I went to Topshop , and picked up some ballerina-esque black tie up heels. They are my ultimate favorite heels right now.  I literally could not resist them. I have been loving the Ballerina trends right now from tie up heels/sandals to wrap tops. This trend is by far my favorite.

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Beauty favorites:

  1. I have been loving the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Aquacealer Concealer. This is the best concealer of all time. With dark circles caused by finals and stress, this concealer has been my go to. A little tiny bit goes a long way to cover up the darkness under my eyes and brighten them immediately. Although this is not a permanent solution to getting rid of dark circles, this concealer does an excellent job in concealing them. Definitely worth it. I got mine from Sephora.

 

 

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2. My second favorite of this month has been the Bath and Body Works Italian Citrus Sun Body lotion. It has a sweet and citrusy scent to it which makes it smell divine. I can’t get enough of this flavor. I have also been loving the perfume , Chance by Chanel, that I recently got. It has an energetic and floral scent which I love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. My last but most favorite, beauty favorite of June is the Rosewater Aromatherapy Mist from Target and the California Rose Sea Salt Souffle from Whole foods. The Sea Salt Souffle is a 2 in 1 bath soak and body scrub. It has dried rose petals in it and smells like a rose garden which is incredible to bathe in. The aromatherapy mist is a great facial toner and I love spritzing it all over my body, face, and hair after I shower . Its a great addition to your post-shower routine before putting on lotion. Rose water is an excellent toner and keeps you hydrated.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Favorites:

  1. Chocolate covered Stawberries are the best fruit and chocolate combination there is. I have been making them so often this month and they are my favorite thing to snack on. It is so simple and easy to make all you have to do is melt some semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler ( a pot filled halfway with  water, boiled, and then place a stove proof bowl on top of the pot and let the heat of the water underneath melt the chocolate. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water or you can just melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolate melts). It is super easy to make these. Or if you are really lazy, you can always by them from Godiva because Godiva is the best Chocolatier there is. There truffles are my absolute favorite.

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2.  Room DIY. My cousin got me this cute wooden heart for my room. It was blank and I decided to paint over it in some shades of emerald green and paint the word “live” on it in a cursive font. This has been my favorite room decor item so far and it is so easy to do yet so cute.

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That sums up my favorites of the month, so far, considering its only been half the month. Hope you all have an adventurous summer filled with happiness and positivity.

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

 

 

Spa Night

With all of the stress, work, and everything going on in our busy lives, it is important for us to occasionally RELAX. I mean put down our phones , turn off its notifications,and spend a couple of hours devoting some time to doing what we love and DE-STRESSING ourselves both mentally and physically.

To me a spa night consists of my best friends , some yoga,  a luxurious Bubble bath, some baking , and tons of LAUGHTER and a good Old Hollywood movie to watch at night ( Breakfast at Tiffany’s and How to Steal a Million are some of my favs ) .And thats what I did this past Sunday. It truly made all the difference and has helped me clear my head and gave me amazing vibes. I swear vibes are everything.

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Bubble Bath Essentials:

A good bubble bath NEEDS

  • dark chocolate ( Godiva has the best)
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • Pink Grapefruit Italian Soda Cocktail ( its virgin) with a splash of orange juice, ginger ale, Pink grapefruit Italian soda,  and fresh fruit (sliced strawberries and tangerines)  + mint & plenty of ICE
  • A good body scrub
  • Candles
  • Classical or Relaxing Spa music (pandora has some good stations)

 

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The ultimate comforting dessert is PECAN PIE and since baking is like the most therapeutic thing EVER to me, I had a lot of fun making it and devouring it with tons of whipped cream

 

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This is the opening scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Your Fifth Avenue outfit cannot get any cuter than this ? It can if Hubert de Givenchy was your designer and stylist. 

 

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A little yoga with a watermelon lemonade candle from Bath & Body Works burning on the side, is the perfect duo and the best way to get some relaxing exercise into your Spa Night. I love the after feeling of yoga, my body and mind feel rejuvenated. 

 

I hope my version of a Spa Night has inspired you to have your own. Good vibes only.

XOXO,

SHIZA

New Year, Healthier Me

Although I believe that New Year’s Resolutions do not EVER work, I do believe that it is a good time for self- reflections and perhaps a new mindset. I am not saying that your resolutions won’t work, I am just saying you would rather use it to contemplate on where you are at your life and find ways to make achievable, positive changes. Nothing too crazy or dramatic, because just because the calendar year changes, that doesn’t mean you have too, too. With that being said, I am going to share with you guys some healthy breakfast and drink ideas which will have you feeling great both inside and out. I have been enjoying eating healthier since the start of this New Year because with my cousin’s Big Fat Indian Wedding this past December, I was tired of eating rich and spicy Indian food.

Breakfast- Smoothie Bowl

Smoothie Bowls are all the rage right now and what’s great about them is that they are an easy to make breakfast for your busy mornings. You can even make the smoothie the night before and top it right before eating. It makes for a refreshing and satisfying breakfast that will give you the energy boost that you need to kickstart your day!

You can literally use any fruits that you want in the smoothie bowl, blend the fruits (ex: strawberries , blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, mango, kiwi) up with about a 1/4 cup of greek yogurt, a splash of orange juice, and a drizzle of agave nectar or honey for some sweetness and you have yourself a delicious smoothie. Make sure you put in more yogurt than juice so that the smoothie is thick and can be eaten with a spoon. I literally eyeball it. No need to be really specific , the possibilities are endless. Each smoothie that I make has its own unique flavor and taste.

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A very berry smoothie

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A mango, strawberry, & raspberry smoothie

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The mango, strawberry, raspberry one blended.

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Toppings:

  • Pomegranate Seeds
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Chia Seeds
  • Sliced Almonds
  • Granola
  • Dates
  • Drizzle of Honey or Agave Nectar
  • Coconut Shavings
  • Kiwi
  • Chocolate Chips

Hydrate- Coconut Water

I absolutely adore coconut water , especially from a fresh coconut. Although, I do enjoy vita coconut water or the Taste Nirvana Real Thai coconut water with pulp that come in green bottles from the store year-round when I can’t find Thai Coconuts. Coconut water has more potassium than a 4 bananas and is packed with electrolytes and tons of other health benefits.

 

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Hydrate-Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice

I love to drink pressed orange juice throughout the day. Orange juice is an excellent source of Vitamin C and a great thing to drink as a snack that keeps you refreshed and satisfied. I go through several bottles of these a week. If you own a juicer you can juice your own oranges and make freshly squeezed orange juice at home. You can even make your own fresh oj blends using other citrus such as blood oranges, grapefruit, or tangerines. It will take a few extra minutes but it is definitely worth it and can easily spruce up breakfast on the weekends.

 

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  Eat – Salads

Salads are a great way to stay in shape especially when they are packed with wholesome ingredients and fruits and vegetables that you enjoy to it and are served with light, homeade dressings that are not packed with calories and fat because store bought dressings can LITERALLY KILL your salad. I shared a scrumptious salad recipe on another blog post titled “Summer Salad Recipe” so check it out if you are interested in making a healthy homemade salad packed with flavor .

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My homemade Summer Salad from the blog 

 

These are a few ideas on healthy eating, stay fit and well both on the inside and out. SO sorry this post is a month late (I drafted it but never go to actually completing and posting it) , but i hope the New Years Resolutions you made in January apply to your life today .

XOXO

Shiza

 

 

January Favs!

As January comes to an end, here are a couple of my favorites from this weird and hectic (for me, anyway) month!

Food: 

My first try of Paradise Bowls acai in Manhattan Beach! Really refreshing and pseudo-healthy but quite $$. Will def try the other flavors in the future.

Jams: 

Finals week = chillaxing music to study to, aka John Mayer. I listened to probably all his albums which had me reminiscing, but Room for Squares definitely caught my attention. Specifically,

No Such Thing – John Mayer

Why Georgia – John Mayer

83 – John Mayer

Neon – John Mayer

Style:

Copped these new periwinkle blue Converse in like November but decided to finally try them out for the new semester. A nice dash of spring during these chilly winter months.

Places:

I went by the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles for the Japanese new year. It’s such an informative and interesting; it digs deep into the Japanese internment camps on the West coast and the dark side of American history. It also has some super cool Japanese art!

 A total must if you’re in the area.

Reads:

See How They Run, the sequel of All Fall Down by Ally Carter came out recently! It’s about a teenage girl named Grace who lives in an American embassy in a small coastal European country filled with scandalous secrets, which is also the place where her mother was targeted and killed. I read some of it at the bookstore but forgot my money but I’m definitely going back to buy it! It was so gripping and had incredible imagery; I can’t wait to finish it.

Miscellaneous:

We got new moon jellies at the aquarium and they look absolutely incredible when the lights are off that I had to share!! Visit your local aquarium if you’re bored one weekend.

Another thing I’ve started in January was a social media cleanse. I deleted my Instagram and Twitter apps from my phone last week. It’s been kind of lonely and you have a crazy amount of time to think, but I think it has helped me focus on me more than what some people did over the weekend. I encourage you all to test it out even for a day.

Hope you enjoyed all my favorites for January and try them out in February!

Always,
Firda

(Water) Falling in Love | Santa Ynez Falls Hike

A super fun and relaxing way to unplug while also exercising is hiking! There are so many great hiking spots here in LA, but I totally fell in love with Santa Ynez Falls in Pacific Palisades. It’s a pretty easy hike; perfect for beginners, although there’s a few  rocks to climb and streams to cross at the end towards the small waterfall, but nothing too hard. We were there at about 9, and we had the whole place to ourselves! It was cute and quaint, if you could describe a hiking trail as that. I had just finished The Scarlet Letter, and Santa Ynez gave me the woods in Boston vibes although it probably wasn’t like it, besides the stream and the sun peeking through the trees ever so often. It was pretty chilly and shady, so it was a good idea that I had brought a light jacket. Anyway, I’ll for sure come here again to take some better pictures and maybe have a lil photoshoot with friends. Free parking and free entrance- just another reason to spend the day at Santa Ynez Falls. Some photos of the reverie below! Let me know what your favorite hiking spots are!

XO,

Firda

 

another world

 

surrounded by the trees

 

as the light hits the fall leaves

 

nature

 

rock ‘n streams

 

action shot!! drought in California what?

 

we made it! cutest lil waterfall! would be a lovely dip in the summertime

 

nice leaves

 

edgy tunnel

 

art!

 

drives on the PCH with Spanish music> anything else ever

Through One Lens & Another: A Series 

So hey- I was scrolling through my photos and found some gems I took at the Hermosa Festival during Labor Day through the lens of my sparkly phone & sunglasses. Just a simple beach day with the fam- sissy featured.  I don’t know what I was trying to accomplish that day; I think I was inspired by Shelby Hamiltons ‘s blog and how she did some cool photos with her sunglasses but I sure am glad I did. Also, I think I was trying to see Hermosa through the lens of someone from a distant time with vintage-y photos. It’s weird thinking about past intentions. I call this work “Through One Lens and Another”. Enjoy and please tell me what you think!

Xo- Firda

 

Sitting, waiting, wishing

 

Sparkly vanilla cones

 

The flowers (?) reminded me of my old house when one time we used them to make a stew and then a cat peed in it. Don’t know the name of this plant to this day..

Labor day beach mob

I want a boat

 

Would never get tired of this view

 

A perfect imperfection

 

All smiles

 

Pier people

 

http://travelaway.me/reykjavik-the-stunning-capital-of-iceland/

Daydreaming- Iceland

Lush green mountains, black sand beaches, and relaxing hot springs- what more could you want from a beautiful island vacation? I was always mesmerized by Iceland’s beauty from photos on Tumblr and Instagram, but Justin Bieber’s music video for his new single I’ll Show You really took the cake. Basically, it’s him frolicking through Iceland’s gorgeous green hills and rock formations, gazing at waterfalls, and dipping into it’s hot springs. Goals. But since not all of us are pop stars and can’t hop on a plane to Iceland right at this moment (although someone told me there was a Groupon for it), let these doodled photos take you into the daydream that is Iceland (which actually means island in Icelandic- the more you know..).


Reykjavik-the pretty capital is filled with museums about Vikings, the rotating Perlan glass dome, and the über cool (or should I say warm;) geothermal Blue Lagoon spa.


The Blue Lagoon spa- shout out to volcanos man!


In Vík í Myrdal, has a long stretch of black basalt beaches, and another shoutout to volcanoes.


Gullfoss Waterfall- This waterfall produces rainbows all the time..ok.


The blue ice caves of Skaftafell- How it would look if you were in a blue bubble, probably.

These are only some of the amazing snapshots of Iceland- waiting for the day I can see these in real life and not daydreams!

Xo- Firda

*Not my photos, just my edits*

Photo Credits:

Reykjavik
Blue Lagoon Spa
Black Sand Beach
Gullfoss Waterfall
Blue Ice Caves

Manhattan , New York

Hey guys , I know its been a while, but we are finally back on! Last month, I went to Manhattan for a short five day trip. It was truly a dream come true moment for me, because it was my first time visiting and I have been obsessed with Manhattan since I started watching Gossip Girl. Manhattan was truly everything I expected it to be and more.

Here are pictures that I took from my trip…. Enjoy!

Times Square at Night

Times Square at Night

Times Square in the day time

Times Square in the day time

5th Avenue

5th Avenue (I was definitely having an Audrey Hepburn moment!)

Flatiron Building in the Flatiron District , one of my favorite buildings straight across Madison Square Park

Flatiron Building in the Flatiron District , one of my favorite buildings straight across Madison Square Park

Empire State Building when  I was having an Affair to Remember Moment here!!

Empire State Building when I was having an Affair to Remember Moment here!!

View from the deck at night at the Empire State Building

View from the deck at night at the Empire State Building

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Manhattan Skyline

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island

New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street

New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street

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Being an APUSH nerd, I was very excited to see Federall Hall, where President George Washington was inaugurated

Being an APUSH nerd, I was very excited to see Federal Hall, where President George Washington was inaugurated

I had a Gossip Girl moment at Grand Central : Spotted Serena van der Woodsen getting off the train at Grand Central, look whose back... XOXO Gossip Girl

I had a Gossip Girl moment at Grand Central :
Spotted Serena van der Woodsen getting off the train at Grand Central, look whose back… XOXO Gossip Girl

Chuck Bass's Hotel, the Empire, in the Upper West Side ( Gossip Girl lovers would know)

Chuck Bass’s Hotel, the Empire, in the Upper West Side ( Gossip Girl lovers would know)

Manhattan from a helicopter's view

Manhattan from a helicopter’s view

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The lovely Central Park

The lovely Central Park

Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Upper East Side

Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Upper East Side

The cutest building EVER in Little Italy

The cutest building EVER in Little Italy

Winter ice skating at the Rockefeller Center

Winter ice skating at the Rockefeller Center

The aesthetic of Manhattan is so fun, energizing, and upbeat. It’s almost as if the city never sleep, you will se people walking around at midnight. Its really truly beautiful. I can’t wait to go back. Xx

Shiza