Midnight Blue | Desi OOTD ft. AghaNoor

Heya everyone!

Today’s post is a desi outfit one, been too long since my last! It’s been a quite few months regarding desi party and wedding life, but with the wedding season approaching, its about to get back into full swing, realll quick.

This outfit i wore to a pre-wedding party for one of my many cousins getting married this year iA! I love the color of it, because you all know by now my favorite color is blue. This is more of deep purple, midnight blue shade. I love the simplicity but the fanciness of it – it’s perfect to wear to any occasion really.

The outfit was a gift actually, but it’s by Agha Noor a pretty well-known Pakistani brand. My first from this brand, so i definitely like it. Unfortunately, this brand is notorious for just selling kurtis (shirts) – so the struggle to find a matching dupatta and trousers is so real. Luckily my mom’s had golden pants made for us for us to use in situations like this, and they matched my outfit so that worked out well. We had to get dupattas made though because this shade is tough to match.

Overall, i love the way the look turned out!

It came with the undershirt/shimeez/lining thing, and since the weather was beautiful this day, i didn’t have to bring a jacket to cover up!

Here’s a quick look of my glam from this day too! I actually was pretty satisfied with how it turned out for most part, which is never a common occurrence!

Makeup Details:
Eyebrows- ABG Brow Wiz
Eyelid primer – UD Primer Potion & Mac Paint Pot
Eyeshadows- Huda Beauty, Lorac Pro, Naked palettes
Primers – Mac Prep + Prime & Benefit Porefessional Primer
Under eye corrector – YSL Touche Eclat
Concelear – Tarte Maracuja Creaseless Concelear  (Shade medium)
Foundation- Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Foundation mixed with YSL Foundation
Contour – ABH Contour Cream Kit
Highlight – Carli Bybel Palette – second shade on bottom left
Blush- Nars Orgasm Blush
Lips – I can’t remember the shades, but i used my mom’s NYX Lingerie shades for first time!
Setting Spray – UD De-slick Setting Spray

I think that’s all! Let me know what you think of the look! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on my blog!

Until next time, xoxo

 

 

Top 5 Beach Essentials with Tripping!

Hi Everyone!

It’s been a little while since my Last post and i’m still somewhat recovering/trying to find myself. In the mean time….I was inspired by tripping to come up with some ideas for this post, and as I was looking for a distraction, this seemed like a fitting one!!

Are there certain items you find yourself needing at the beach but always forget? We’re all victims to this – and it is so annoying! It’s hard to remember everything you need for a day at the beach, so making lists really helps! Weather you’re headed to the Bahamas, Florida, or a local beach this spring for your beach day – it’s always great to plan ahead and find yourself a nice place to stay! I’d kill for a Florida vacation right now – and after checking out Florida rentals page i’m totally craving some time in the sun!

But for now – let me share with you, what my beach must-haves are!

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  1. Big beach bag + towel
    How can you go to the beach without a towel? I’m sure we’ve all forgotten it at some point, but it’s so necessary even if you don’t plan to go into the water. It can be used as a seat – or a cushion between you and the sand you lay or sit on.
    I always pack my beach essentials in a big bag – where I can easily access everything that i need at any moment!
  1. Book
    I’m one of those people who likes to totally chill out on the beach. Reading has always been a hobby, and the beach is a great time and place to catch up on reading!
  2. Snacks
    Hello! Is anyone always hungry at the beach (or anywhere really) like me? I’ve become quite a snacker in recent years (ugh) but we all know how pricey boardwalk food can be. Keeping snacks like chips, cookies, crackers, juice, soda, WATER, and anything else you enjoy is so needed for a full day in the sun.
  3. Sunblock
    No explanation needed. You need to protect your skin! Apply some before you even leave home for your journey, and take it with you to re-apply as needed.
  4. A big sun hat
    I love sun hats! I’m not a big sun-bather, so i like my hat to protect me from the sun! Plus it can look super cute with your beachy outfits!
  5. Frisbee / ball / activities/games
    Whenever we go to the beach with family – we love to throw around a Frisbee and run around in the sand! Activities are the best way to pass time especially if you’re going on a family vacation.

So that’s all folks! These are my beach essentials! I can’t wait to go on a beach vacation sometime this summer.

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on my blog happenings.

Until next time, XOXO

Current State of Mind…

Thursday, February 16th.

I was feeling pretty crappy the night before, not totally sure why, but wasn’t surprised since these feelings literally come and go as tides these days. But what i did do was decide to go into work on Thursday, later than normal. I literally never do that unless necessary. So the fact that i was willingly doing this…was surprising to me as well.

Anyways, that morning on Thursday i decided to stop by my usual Starbucks on the way to work, but went inside to get my drink + breakfast. Another thing i never do. But i figured since i was going to work late, i would treat myself to a normal breakfast.

I sat down with my breakfast and had 1 piece of lined paper with me and a pen, and i just began writing. Whatever I was thinking and feeling, I just wrote it all down. No particular reason, i just wanted to get it out there and i hoped it would  ease some of the anxiety and overwhelming feelings i was having from the prior night.

I finished my meal and drove onto work. It was a day like any other really, except around 10 am or so – at that point i think my subconscious was in some real overtime mode and i didn’t really feel it until it literally came crashing at around 10 am. I ran to the bathroom (which was luckily empty at the time!), got into a stall, and just started to silently bawl.

I was having a mini-panic attack and couldn’t control my tears for a solid 5 minutes or so. I took some deep breaths and tried to calm myself down, because i heard some ladies walk into the bathroom and i didn’t want to be overheard. I waited till the bathroom was empty again and took some more deep breaths and went to the sink and attempted to calm myself even more. I probably spent a good 10-15 minutes in there, but once my eyes were finally not so red, i made it back to my desk.

For awhile i was contemplating asking my boss if i could just leave and take a personal day or tell her i wasn’t feeling well, i ended up doing neither. Somehow by 11 am, i forced myself into my work and it was successful in getting my mind off of everything.

The day went on, and i was silent most of it, and just kept to myself. I then also stayed a little late at work by maybe 5 minutes or so, than i normally leave. And boy do i wish i had left early. Without going into too much detail, i got into an accident on my way home from work that day. It was around 5 pm. At first, i was dazed once my car got hit. The tears came again, and i couldn’t understand how i was already having a crappy day and it just got even worse.

Anyways, i don’t really want to go into details of it here but after a few hours, i finally made it home. Currently car-less but thankfully for my family’s cars and other means coming through for time being.

It was a rough day to say the least. Probably one of the worst i’ve had in a long long time. It was crazy afterwards, since no one besides me knew of my little meltdown in the bathroom, that on top of that an accident had to happen as well. I ended up taking the next day, Friday off of work, and my team was helpful and understanding given the situation with the accident.


What caused the panic-attack in the bathroom? Why was i feeling the way i was? Why did i decide to go into work late that exact day, and then get hit on my way home? What did i want? SO many questions and i don’t know if i have the answers to it all.

This thing we call life is a crazy thing. We see people with ‘so much’ (money, status, home, family, friends, health, etc.) and they either are or seem to be happy. We see others with ‘not a lot’, who are the same; happy or perhaps not. Why do we as humans never seem to be fulfilled regardless of how much or how little we have? Why are we constantly craving more? I always ask myself this, most of the time don’t come up with answers and shove the thoughts to the side of my brain and carry on.

I don’t want to sound ungrateful at all in any way. Because i know how blessed i am to be living the life i have. I thank God for it everyday. But lately there is something that just keeps bothering me and it is basically surrounding this work-life + school + where i just am in life.

Lately i’ve constantly been wondering why i feel like a robot and have come close to contemplating that maybe i need to change jobs or wishing that i was just doing something more fun and creative with my day job. It’s hilarious to think now, that when i was in high school, i dreamed of a 9-5 corporate America job. Literally dreamed. Craved. It was the reason i went into college and studied Business. And i love what i studied, i wouldn’t change that ever. But i’m sad that it made me a slave shackled to my desk all day everyday and where i live for the weekends. If there are any youngins’ out there – just know that you will become like this as well if you want to work that traditional 9-5 life.

The other issue is, that i can’t imagine not working the 9-5 life. I like a lot of structure to my life and daily activity – so that is what a regular job provides. But i’m also feeling super lost and bored with it, and what holds me back? Fear of change. I really do like my current job, company, team, boss, environment for most part. I know that if i was unhappy with any or all of this – i would look for a new job in a heartbeat. That is what i did after my first job – to get to this current/second job of mine. But the comfort i have where i am currently, is holding me back from even applying or seeking a new opportunity.

After this accident, my mom is now even suggesting that i look for something new, something closer to home. I have a long commute – almost hour each way – and it literally drains me. I’ve been doing it for 2 years now , so i can say i’m used to it, but it does not mean that i don’t hate it. I despise the drive. The only thing that makes it worth it is that i know i’m not unhappy at the job.

I’ve always dreamed of working for a fashion/beauty company – of course on the corporate side. Something like a L’oreal, Revlon, Gucci, Maybelline, etc. type company. It would combine my love of beauty and fashion with my academics. I know that if i try to look for a job in that field, i may be able to find it – but i’m afraid to take the plunge because that would mean starting over. Starting over with a new company, team, boss, and just another adjustment. I’m not sure i want to do that.

But then i think to myself – if not now, when? I’m only going to be this young, once. It’s the only time i can live my life for myself. I just don’t have the courage. I don’t have someone to push me into this deep end of the pool either – to give me the courage. It’s now all about ‘make sure you think it through’, ‘it’s a big decision’, etc. I am considering to start looking for some ‘fun’ jobs, and applying just to see what happens. But then i wonder – why?! Is it worth it? What if i get a call from these places and then interviews, and then an offer!? Would i take it?! What is the point to entice myself if i won’t ultimately take the new job!

Aside from the work aspect, my car accident has put me in a funk state of mind. I’m trying not to dwell on it too much, and it makes me hate driving even more than i did before. It’s in the back of my mind and is probably affecting me mentally in a way i cant see right now. Literally i love trains and public transport – unfortunately there is no method of using that to get to where i work currently. But i miss my train commuting days from college. I wish i could give up driving all together – or get a butler to drive me around forever (ha!). But neither are possible.

So now – here i am. I’m feeling a bit lost  with everything in life if you can’t tell already. I don’t even know how i’m really dealing with it or if i am at all – i’m quite good at suffocating my feelings, hiding behind a mask, and letting myself get to a breaking point. I have not even really discussed this with any of my friends / people my own age, who would be able to maybe give the best advice.

I am constantly feeling like i just want to take a break from life. Literally just check out – go somewhere – and not look back for at least a little while. It just seems like a dream, and not something i can turn into a reality though.

This is the current state of my mind. Any advice or tips would be much appreciated, in the comments below or shoot me an email. I think i may take a little break from the blog for a little while – not that i want to, because this has become my safe haven and i love it! But i don’t think i can produce good/creative content currently. I also think it may just help me focus on my real life and perhaps figure something out. I’ll still probably be on my Instagram a bit – so follow me there if  you don’t already.

See you guys in a bit. XOXO

Cold Shoulder + OTK Boots! #ootd for Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day lovelies!!

I can’t believe we are halfway through February. This year is flying by just as every year does!

In today’s post, i’m bringing an outfit that is perfect for a date night or gal-entines for this valentine’s day!

This is a brand new winter coat that I bought a few weeks ago from Macys. If you read my Recent trip post you know how cold it was in the Grand Canyon and that navy coat was not cutting it for me. I realized it was time to invest in a proper winter jacket before this season ended. I browsed online on the Macy’s website and there were so many jackets to choose from! Ultimately i went with this one because it looked heavy duty enough but still stylish for winter.

I love its length and it is quite thick inside to keep me warm, but not overwhelmingly heavy. I love the little inserts in the fingers/hands that are nice for if you don’t have gloves on you and want a little protection on your hands. Also, every time i buy a new jacket or coat, the #1 thing i need is a good hood. Only because with the rain and snow we have here in the Northeast, hoods are so necessary to keep yourself dry! So this faux fur lining around the hood is perfect for extra protection, and the hood is quite big and roomy so it basically covers all the way until my forehead – but i don’t mind! This is a perfect feminine jacket that i hope to keep and use for the next few years!

Jacket

Now onto the outfit! The Cold shoulder trend has been around for awhile now, and it’s about time i jump on that bandwagon! This cold shoulder top was from one of my favorite stores…The Limited, but i’m sure you guys have seen how they went out of business! SO SAD! That was one of my go-to stores for office friendly attire. Sighs. I can’t link it to the direct top since The Limited’s website is no longer available, but there are plenty of places to find similar cold shoulder tops!

I love the sweatery material of the top which makes it perfect for this season! The deep purple color is also a nice touch, because i don’t own anything in this specific shade. The horizontal lines and color mix are a nice extra touch!

Now onto my favorite part of the look…the boots! OTK is all the rage and i’ve been on the hunt for the perfect pair for some time now. These were actually a birthday gift from my sisters back in November, and i LOVE them!

They are suade material so i would not wear them in the rain, but they are extremely well fitting and keep me super warm – which i love! The color is neutral enough for me to wear it with any colored outfit really, so i’ve been wearing these boots with a few different looks recently.

Check them out!

OTK Boots

And that is the look! Let me know what you guys think!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on the blog!

Until next time, xoxo

OGX Shampoo & Conditioner Review

Hi!

My hair has always been a problem factor for me over the last few years. I seem to try everything but nothing really works.

I’d been using the Matrix Biolage line for awhile now (over a year) and wasn’t seeing any improvement after some time.

I had heard about OGX a few times, but when i visited my cousins in August, i had to use their shampoo since i didn’t travel with my own. I saw they were using OGX and i was like okay now i definitely need to try this out! I waited for my giant bottles of Matrix to finish before buying these OGX products though.

So OGX has a lot of varieties and i didn’t know which would be best for my hair issues/conditions. I think i played it safe and bought the Biotin & Collagen Shampoo because these are the two proteins needed in hair to keep it looking thicker and healthier. And i didn’t get the matching conditioner with it…again not sure if this is best idea. I got the Keratin oil conditioner because Keratin is another protein needed for hair health. Plus this stated anti-breakage, so i really hoped this would help reduce my hair fall and split end issues.

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First use – super easy to brush through after showering. Conditioner has a stronger scent than the shampoo, conditioner is also not super thick, almost thin/watery when rubbed between fingers and put into hair. Shampoo is literally a shade of purple! Not a strong scent and does not foam up nearly as much as other shampoos do.

Second use – felt pretty similar to first time. Overall, still finding that the dryness to my hair – which has existed for years now, still exists even after using this shampoo + conditioner. Don’t know what more to do at this point to get some life/moisture in my hair. Still no complaints about this shampoo or conditioner though!

After the second use, the day after i ended up getting a haircut cuz i’ve been tired of my hair for about a month now, finally got around to cutting it! Nothing dramatic, just 1 &1/2 inches off length and reshaped my layers. So now using the shampoo on this fresh hair…let’s see if there’s any difference!

Third use – feels the same, just on my shorter hair. Nice and soft afterwards, the anti-breakage conditioner definitely works at least on first day of showering. I barely pull out any hairs when i brush or run my hands through my hair, so i LOVE that!

Unfortunately, that anti-breakage of the conditioner effect, wears off after first 24-36 hours. After that, running my hands through my hair or brushing, does result in some pieces of hair falling out, which is natural though. Wish the conditioner was like permanent ! 😉

After the third use, the next few uses were basically the same. Nothing exceptionally different. I am glad i switched shampoos because something too long is not that great for your hair necessary!

I was getting compliments on my hair looking ‘fuller’ in the center/crown portion and looking like it had life. So in that sense the shampoo was doing it’s job. I’m still looking for best ways to grow/get healthy length in my hair…

Final Verdict: After using this shampoo + conditioner combo for almost 2 months now, i can safely say i cannot go more than 3 days without washing my hair. I never normally do, but i literally cannot do so anymore because by the 3rd day my hair is basically gross (and goes up in a ponytail until i shower to wash it). It definitely is a combo of this new shampoo/conditioner + my natural hair tendency.
That’s the only thing i don’t like about this new shampoo and conditioner. I feel like this shampoo overall leaves somewhat of a greasy or residue behind on my hair from the first day, that does not get noticed or becomes more pronounced by the 3rd. I hate that. Does anyone else feel this way? Ugh. Otherwise i have no issues with this shampoo, it’s faint smell and the sulfate-free is awesome. But Overall i’d give it a 3.5/5

I do want to try more things from OGX so if anyone has any suggestions, leave them down below! My hair is generally dry so if anyone has any tips or products to use, i’d LOVE TO KNOW!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on the blog!

Until next time, XOXO

#adoreyourself With Adore Me! Jump start to the new year!

Hi!

With the new year comes new challenges, resolutions, and changes. It can be so difficult to get yourself going in the new year. Sometimes, it doesn’t even feel like a new year because, well it is just another day isn’t it?

I’m not much of a resolutions type person – but the New year brings a sense of’ New’ to life. Weather that be with a new job, at home, with a relationship or just for yourself!

Tips for ‘treating yourself’: 

  • We all are guilty of not doing this enough, I know I am. Getting wrapped up in life, is just an excuse we all use. Lately i’ve been feeling super unmotivated, and i can’t figure out why!
  • I decided to take a night off during the week and do nothing but enjoy myself. This basically included me binge-watching all of Season 1 of This is Us (if you don’t watch it- YOU NEED TO!) – but it felt good to do that!
  • Don’t feel guilty about doing it. I know it’s so hard not to – especially if you have a family or other responsibilities – but we are all human! You can only do so much.
  • Take a night off during the week to do something YOU enjoy on your own. The peace of mind that comes after is so gratifying.

How to stay motivated for an active lifestyle:

  • The key is to take care of yourself this year. Eat better, stay active, and do what YOU love. Stop trying to ‘please’ others. It is YOUR life and you are in control of it.
  • I have a hard time getting over my own crazy thoughts a lot of the times too. It is hard, in this crazy social media world we live in, to not compare yourself to others.
  • But it’s important to be centered and content with who YOU are. You have the right to be happy, healthy and #adoreyourself
  • Take up a new activity, find a new hobby, read a new book (my favorite pass time activity), or just enjoy some time with friends!

Essentials for an active lifestyle:

  • Cute workout / athletic wear! The best and basically only essential for us girls out there that is so necessary to keep active. I know that if i’m wearing cute gym attire, it automatically makes me more excited and keen on working out!
  • Check out some of the great Activewear and Fitness  wear to get you inspired to kick butt in all aspects of the year!
  • Tip – sleep in your workout clothes, and if you want to get a quick work out in the morning, you have NO excuse! Wake up, roll out of bed and out the door!

I want to know how you’ll continue to take care of yourself in the coming year! Whether it’s having a pampering “treat yourself” day, exercising more, eating better, or simply just wearing something you love, how do you #adoreyourself?

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on my blog happenings. Until next time, XOXO

 

10 Makeup Tricks for Lazy People (Guest Post)

Hey guys!

It has been WAY too long since a guest blog has hit my blog! I miss featuring you guys and want to continue to do so this year! Check out how you can contribute, right here!


Hi there! My name is Safa and I’m the author of the blog Safa Loves. I’ve been kindly invited to write today’s guest post so I hope you like it!

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m notoriously lazy. Like ridiculously lazy. I’m so lazy that when I chop up a banana to put in my porridge..

I chop it inside the banana peel.

All because I’m too lazy to get a chopping board and have to wash that up afterwards. Yeah it’s pretty bad.

So trying to mix my love of makeup and my lazy trait has always sort of been a challenge for me but thankfully, I’ve managed to pick up and figure out a few tricks that mean my makeup requires minimal effort and can take practically no time at all. Which means more time for sleeping and eating.

I’ve gathered quite a long list of tricks but I’ll try and keep it relatively simple, here we go!

Have a skincare routine – Maybe this goes against the laziness idea but it balances out in the end. All you have to do is keep on top of your skincare, make sure to cleanse daily, moisturise in the morning and evening, tone, exfoliate at least once a week and use face masks. It sounds like a lot of effort but spending a few minutes here and there really will cut down the amount of effort you need to put into your routine.

Use spray bottles – This links with the first trick, put toner into a spray bottle and use that to make your skincare routine even more convenient.

Wear a bold lip – If you’re not in the mood to actually put any effort into your makeup, then a bold lip will make it look like you have. Dab on your base, swipe on a couple coats of mascara and apply your bold lip. Simple!

Spot conceal – Instead of applying foundation and concealer all over your face, just apply it in the small spaces where you think you need it. Not only will this save you time but it’ll give your skin a chance to breath and give your makeup an overall more natural appearance. Use a concealer that is your exact skin tone shade and use gentle patting motions to blend it over each area.

Use tints – You’ve probably all seen the peel off lip and eyebrow tint videos, right? Well it turns out they can be pretty useful. Applying the tint to exfoliated lips the night before will ensure the colour stays on nicely. Make sure to moisturise too. I’ve never tried the eyebrow tints but they seem good. It doesn’t require much effort, just apply, leave and then peel off.

Multi-use products – Using these is such a time saver and it means you won’t have to go and look for three different products. You can use a cream blush on you lips, cheeks and even your eyes!

Don’t apply concealer on your eyelid – By doing this you’ve already probably got a darker natural appearing base. Apply some shimmer (highlighter) over the top and you’re done.

Lots of mascara – You barely need to do anything if your lashes look great. Add some tinted lip balm and maybe a base if you’re in the mood.

Colour corrector – Some people swear that by wearing some of this they don’t need any other makeup. I like to add a tiny bit of concealer over top, set it and then I’m done. Pretty good looking skin.

Line the tightline – I’ve used this trick for years, line the top waterline with a brown or black pencil liner. If you have dark lashes you’re done! They’ll look more volumized.

And that’s this list done! I hope you find this post helpful, it’s been really fun writing it.

You can find me on my blog and social media too:

Blog : Safa Loves

Instagram : safa_loves

Pinterest : safaloves

Safa x

Las Vegas & Grand Canyon Trip | January 2017

Hiya!

It has been a minute since i’ve blogged! Happy new year to everyone and belated happy holidays! Can’t believe we’re already into 2017, time is flying! If you checked out my last post you would know that i was going to be taking my first travel of 2017 in January!

I was posting on my Instagram throughout my trip as well – so be sure to check it out for even more pictures from the trip!

This is going to be our family trip of the year or two, because most of my other trips this year are all going to be for the numerous cousins of mine getting married this year iA!

So as a family we wanted to travel somewhere early this year because both my sisters had winter break and i had some vacation days that i could rollover and use by March from work – so January ended up being the best time to go that worked for everyone!

When deciding where to travel to, was the hardest part. Originally we were thinking of travelling abroad/internationally but quickly realized just how expensive that would have been considering we have so many other travels this year to make for the weddings.

We ended up sticking to the USA for our trip which is fine, since there are definitely states within this country i haven’t seen! First my dad had suggested to go to Hawaii but we weren’t too keen on just chilling at the beaches. Ultimately we had the idea of going to Las Vegas because a couple of people had told my mom over the years that LV is a great place to go even with a family. None of us had been to LV prior to this besides my dad, for work though. What worked out even better was that The Grand Canyon is only a 4 hour drive from LV so we planned our trip with going to both places in 1 go.

So in this post i’ll recap the trip to the best of my memory + tips + things we did and all my recommendations! Sit back and enjoy 🙂


How we planned for the trip:

  • We bought our tickets over thanksgiving weekend, which was about a month and half prior to our travel dates. We took a direct United Airlines flight to Las Vegas airport and spent 2 & 1/2 days there, then planned to drive the 3rd day down to Grand Canyon and spend the remaining 2 & 1/2 days there, and on the last day to drive back up to Vegas and fly home.
  • We quickly realized that January is not the most popular month to visit the Grand Canyon so it worked perfectly because we wouldn’t have the extreme # of visitors while we went there + not so many kids since they would all be in school.
  • It was tough to get/find a good hotel to stay at in Las Vegas. I couldn’t understand why because like the GC, LV is a popular summer destination. Given that we were going to travel in the thick of the winter, it was odd to see so many sold out hotels! Anyways, my mom ultimately found the hotel we stayed at in Vegas, known as South Point. It was not on the strip (famous street (s) of LV). I didn’t mind – we were nice and far away enough to not be disturbed by the noise and pollution of the Downtown, but also only a 8 min car ride from the strip so it was easy to travel to it.
  • The Grand Canyon hotel we stayed at was on the south side of the canyon (one of the only two parts of the Canyon opened in this season + the most popular side) which was much easier and quicker to find and book The Grand Canyon Grand Hotel – it was only a couple of miles from the entrance to the Grand Canyon!
  • Once our tickets + hotels were booked – we were basically all set to go in terms of travelling and accommodation. The only part left was for my sisters & i to plan out what we wanted to do – especially in LV.

Itinerary:

  • My sisters & I created a Google Doc amongst us to write down the things we definitely wanted to see and do on our trip! The doc started out pretty messy, but by the end we had it nicely laid out by day and all the activities / things to do/see.
  • As with any trip, plans are changed last minute. We had a bit of that happen during the trip as expected, but we were overall happy with it since we got to do everything we basically wanted to do!
  • I’d highly recommend creating a Google Doc or a shared area where you can save ideas, attractions, restaurants etc. that you want to check out! It’s so much quicker and easier than writing it down by pen and paper.
  • We worked on the google doc over the month and half we had after booking the tickets. It wasn’t time consuming or tedious, and we’d go days or weeks without looking at it. But by the time we had to go – it was all ready!

Actual trip:

  • So we flew on 1/5/17 and since we were going from east coast to the west coast, we basically lost the whole day ( 5 & 1/2 hour plane ride) but since there is a 3 hour time difference, we got there around 8 pm local LV time.
  • We checked into our South Point hotel which was quite lavish, as everything is in LV. The main floor had the hotel casino and there were about 22 floors of rooms! In addition, they had an indoor bowling alley, movie theater, arcade, and plenty of restaurants all within the hotel! I’d have never seen a hotel with a bowling alley or theater in it before, so it was quite crazy and over the top!
  • Since we got there pretty late, we didn’t do anything really that first night besides just relax and ordered in food. We used Uber Eats to order in Halal food on the first  night! Super convenient and pretty decent food!
  • After a decent night’s sleep – we woke up on 1/6 to finally get out and about in LV! So a thing to note about LV is that their hotels on the strip – are their main attractions. They have them built to represent different parts of the world – so there’s basically a Paris hotel with a fake eiffel tower in the front of it, there’s a Caesar’s Palace, a Venetian hotel, the Mirage, Bellagio, a NYC based hotel with empire state building and an Egypt hotel shaped in a pyramid with a sphinx in the front. It’s super cool and crazy to see! Within the hotels, they also have their major attractions which are worth seeing as well!
  • So we headed to Mandalay Bay which is a hotel with a shark reef/aquarium inside of it!

    It was pretty cool, i liked the sharks and Jellyfish the best!

  • After the Bay, we headed to the Venetian hotel which has the indoor and outdoor gondola rides as its main attraction! How awesome! Unfortunately, the outdoor was under construction and closed so we had to  stick to the indoor ride. The whole hotel is built around Italy, so it has super high end fashion stores throughout the hotel and in the center of it, the ‘river’ runs with the gondola rides! Super pretty! This was one of my favorite parts of the Vegas trip.
  • After this, we headed to the Palazzo hotel which was basically next door to the Venetian, to check out their giant LOVE sign and their waterfall. Chinese new year is also in January so a lot of the hotels were decorated for that as well. It’s nice to see that they are so culturally aware and actually redecorate for holidays!IMG_4557.jpg
  • After this, we decided to get an early dinner! We were right on the main part of the strip so there were plenty of spots to really choose from to eat at. We ended up going to an italian place for dinner that night which was right by the Fashion Mall which was on one end of the strip. This mall was the only ‘normal’ mall around, with regular affordable stores, unlike all the high end stores we saw in the hotels !
  • After dinner, we went to the famous Bellagio Hotel – where they have the water show in front of the hotel every 15 mins after 8 pm. Super pretty!IMG_4562.jpg
  • After the fountain show, we walked over to the mirage hotel where they have another nightly show – but this time its a volcano show! Unfortunately, at this point of the night my phone had died and turned off so no pics of this!
  • We ended up going back to the hotel at this point and called it a night!
  • The second day was much more relaxed in comparison to the first day. The main highlight of this day was the observation deck. We wanted to see the LV skyline from up top and so we got tickets for the High Roller which is a giant ferris wheel observation deck to see the city view! It was pretty spectacular to see it and we went around sunset so it was perfect timing!
  • We went to eat at a mexican place after this which was right on the street that the high roller is on as well. Pretty decent food!
  • The next day was our last day in LV – we had to rent a car and drive to Arizona for the Grand Canyon that day but along the way we stopped by Red Rock Canyon which is half hour from LV as well as the Hoover dam, which is another hour or so away. Both awesome and definitely MUST – SEEs if you’re in the LV area!
  • We stopped by here for maybe an hour or so and then continued our journey to the Grand Canyon and got there at night. So we checked into our hotel and slept and got ready for the next day!
  • Here’s where plans went array…the following day it was raining and foggy and absolutely no visibility. So the whole day was a wash and wasted! The canyon was basically impossible to go to and see, so we had to spend our time in the little town/village our hotel was in. And let me tell you…the whole town was basically a road long. There was nothing to do there besides some restaurants, gift shops, a MCDonalds (of course, America), a Wendys, Pizza Hut, and other local things. So we ate at a local Mexican place for dinner and literally just chilled the day away.
  • Luckily the next day was perfect weather for the canyon! Now The Grand Canyon was colder than i thought it would be, we had to wear our gloves and hats the whole time, because we were on such high elevation the wind was also crazy! It was beautiful sight though. The pictures definitely do not it any justice!!
  • The next day was our chance to see the west side of the canyon, which is different for sure compared to the south. The south is definitely bigger and has a visitor’s center in the center where you can take free shuttle busses around to all the different view points to see the canyon.
  • For the west side, we had to book a tour bus and get there. The west is still owned and run by the Native Americans of that land, so it is extremely different in how it looks and operates. The main attraction there is the horseshoe/skywalk where you legit walk onto this area that is manmade into a horseshoe shape and underneath is glass and all clear so you have a view above, straight ahead and below you of the canyon. They have strict security on this attraction so no phones are allowed. They have professional photographers though who take your photos so you can still document it.

     

  • And that was our trip! We drove back to LV on the last day to return the car and get ready for our flight early the next morning back home.

It was definitely a fun and filled trip! One i definitely won’t forget. Grand Canyon is definitely a place to visit and i hope to visit it again someday maybe in some years. I’d definitely recommend this trip to anyone, especially families – it is definitely family friendly and safe to do with kids as well.

If you’ve ever been to either, would love to hear your thoughts on it as well! Comment below to let me know!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on the blog!

Until next time, XOXO

2016; A Recap

Wow. Another year has flown by. This has probably been the fastest year yet (I think i say that every year) but i really mean it!

Too much has happened this year which has also made it seem like it has flown by at rocket speed! I really wish time would slow down more, or we humans knew how to appreciate it more.

I wanted to do a recap post discussing some of the things that have happened this year to me, my blog, and in life in general!

This is in no particular order, just whatever was coming to my mind! So grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!


Weddings & New Beginnings-
So as you guys know, my 1 and only boy first cousin on my moms side got married this May (mA). And if you are desi, you know how family desi weddings basically consume your life for months leading up to it! I recapped all my outfits for the wedding after the wedding (you can check em out if you missed them: here & here)
That was a lot of fun and has me itching for my next family wedding…
Speaking of, my other cousin on my moms side, also got engaged this August! She and I are very close (she’s the older sister i never had) so i flew to CA for a few days to attend her engagement! I didn’t blog about this because a.) I repeated an outfit you’ve all already seen on my blog last year here and b.) Since i couldn’t do an outfit post, not much else to blog about, plus i will definitely recap it next year after the wedding iA for you guys, so stay tuned! August 2017 iA!
As for myself…Alhumd as many things have progressed in the right direction there as well. Can’t go into too much detail right now because it’s all still on a holding process/waiting period, so we shall see!

Travels-
Nowhere abroad or exotic this year, but some local America travels!

  • Went to Atlanta, GA in March to visit family and explore downtown. Haven’t been in probably 13+ years, it is a frikin fantastic ‘new’ city. I could totally imagine living in downtown ATL (but not outside/suburbia…) so hey, maybe someday!
  • Virginia-for my cousins wedding in May (see above)
  • California-for a few days for my cousins engagement in August (see above)
    And that’s about it for out of state travels for me!
  • Pocono Mountains (PA) – Labor Day weekend in September with the family! It was fun and adventurous short trip filled with hiking, zip lining, horse back riding and sun!
  • Have an exciting family vacation coming up in January…so stay tuned for that, will definitely blog about it afterwards!
  • And the rest of 2017 will most likely be consumed with my cousin’s wedding, plus a few more cousins who are all in process of most likely getting married….EEK!!

Blogger Life-
I hit the big 1 year mark of blogging this April! Again it feels like time flewww, sometimes it feels like yesterday was just the beginning!
If you’ve been following me for some time, you know that my blogging schedule has also changed a few times since I began. At one point, i was doing 3 posts a week (wow, sounds crazy to me now) and then i think it came down to 2/week, and now to 1/week.

At the beginning, i was just  crazed with wanting to post about whatever i thought was remotely interesting and to get myself out there. But over time i realized, my content was loosing substance and if i didn’t feel my heart in it 100% 3x a week, there was no point in posting so much.

I am happy with myself for dedicating myself to this blog though. I love it! I love writing creatively with no boundaries and am thankful to my overly critical brain, to have let myself go down to 2 and now 1 post a week.

You guys may even know that i took a few breaks for a couple weeks here and there this summer & fall. And i didn’t beat myself over it. Because we all need breaks.

So now i can say, i post 1x a week, and take breaks sometimes here and there as well. I think it is what’s best for me.

School & Work-
The beginning of this year, i applied for a senior role/next step up for myself at work and after months of HR being slow and networking with the team lead in charge of the role, i was told ‘i lacked the adequate experience necessary for the role’. You can imagine the stress and sadness i had after this all happened. Ultimately, in June/July of this year i ended up getting the promotion i was looking for / needed and alhumd things have been well!

Ah, the struggle sometimes. Working full time and doing school part time, does basically eat up a lot of my time. I’m glad i did take the first part of the summer off (during my cousins wedding) and didn’t take any classes then. I fully enjoyed the break and wedding more, with the lack of stress school typically has.

Since then though, i’m back to taking 1-2 classes at any given time, in the evenings, after work. Alhumd for making it this far, and i hope the next year of schooling goes with ease as well, then the end is in sight!

Me, Myself & I-
My oh my, not sure how i can put into words how i’ve felt this year or how this year has changed me for the better or the worse.

This year for the most part, was good to me. I grew professionally for sure, and now feel really at home at the place i work. I’m coming up close to 2 years now – and i wouldn’t change it for the world. iA onto bigger things right where i am.

Personally, i think the later part of the year, i finally began to just sort of give myself a break. I really am trying to not take everything so seriously and take breaks when i can and just do things i enjoy. It’s always been difficult for me to do that, and still is from time to time, but it’s so necessary to keep your sanity.

The spring time of this year, i joined the 8 week fitness challenge at my workplace gym (anyone who follows me on  Instagram saw the weekly posts) and it made me feel SO good. But once Ramadan came around, i could not work out and since then basically been lacking. I restarted going to the gym actually late November – so let’s see how long i last this time.

I got into my first ever car accident this summer after almost 5+ years of driving. It was horrific, but not my fault and probably could have been much worse. Thankfully i drive a big enough car that it was not impacted too much, but i’m basically sccared from driving since. Unfortunately, my commute to work is just so long that i have no other way of getting there, but i wish i could just not drive as much as i do. This accident also changed my life because i’ve always had soreness and stuff in my back, but this made it worse, and i ended up having to do Physical Therapy for about 2 months after that. I LOVED PT! I wish it never ended lol but of course its $$ even after insurance so i can’t keep going unless i really need to. Thankfully, i have at home exercises i attempt to do daily to keep the back pain at bay. Any one have any tips on this – please let me know!

And what else! Lots of food, shopping, meeting friends and family and enjoying myself as much as i could. I hope 2017 brings more of the same and even better!

Misc.-
Discovering and using Netflix was one of the best things to have happened to me, LOL wow i sound like a grandma. But yeah, if you don’t have or use Netflix, go sign yourself up for it please. It literally numbs my mind and allows me to do something unproductive and enjoy myself without feeling guilty. Favorite shows: House of Cards (oh my god, everyone please watch this!), Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black, Fuller House and for my Gilmore Girls fans – how good was the revival?
P.S. If you have any Netflix show suggestions, please let me know below, i’m on the hunt!!


BTW How cute is this Kate Spade planner i got for this year? So perfect and girly, love it! Especially the little ‘things to do’ for each month – so perfectly summed up, small, life things!

And that is all i think! Let me know how your year was and what exciting resolutions or things you have planned for 2017!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on my blog happenings!

Until next time, XOXO

A Letter to My College Self…

Dear F,

You have just embarked on the most incredible 4 year journey, you’ll remember for a lifetime. Sure, your first semester is miserable and you hate every minute of it especially because you don’t have any friends (just wait until October…), and you cry every chance you get because you want to go back to high school. But trust me baby girl, you will learn to love this place.

Putting the mushiness aside, let me tell you about the good, the bad, and the lessons or things you wish you had known when you began this journey.

The Good:

The study habits and organizational skills you’re building right now as you study, will last your entire life and ultimately change you into a better more responsible adult, so indulge in them and schedule away little girl!

Your first year will totally dishearten you. You will feel like you’re about to get ‘kicked’ out of this college and program and make it nowhere in life. Keep trudging along. You’re second year is where the light shines and you finally start to do well. You finally begin to fall in love with the career path you’ve chosen and begin to really feel like you belong. Stick through it.

Don’t spend more than $200 on books a semester (if you can help it). Chegg.com will be your new best friend. Manage your nonexistent college student budget now so you know how to manage your money once you really have some later. Ask around for friends who have taken similar classes or professors if you can borrow or buy the book from them for much cheaper, all of these tricks will help you save $ and make some connections!

Same goes for food. Thankfully you never had that freshman-15 problem, and you were smart to bring home food when you can. But when you didn’t you would eat pretty badly in the cafeterias. Try to go to free school events and eating there to save some $, or have the healthiest options whenever possible!

The Bad:

Giving yourself no time to mentally relax or give yourself any YOU time, really, really took a toll on your mental health. If only you had realized how unnecessary half the stress you took upon yourself was, you’d be a much happier or at least a healthier person today. Maybe join the gym, take yoga classes, find ways to relax with what is offered at your school – it would go a long long way.

Take advantage of the student resources around you, no matter how much $ you think your parents have, one day they will be asking you for help. From counseling services to the financial aid office, college is one of the only times in life where people will be willing to help you finance your education. After college, you can learn more about your options to better finance your student loans.

A lot of the girls you are friends with, were friends with in those 4 years, you unfortunately don’t talk to or see much of once you leave. It is not your fault at all – too much drama and too many issues occurred in your friend group which caused it to basically break apart. Don’t worry though, none of them hate you and you kept the handful you needed close to you after you graduate, and that is all that matters.

What to learn from….

College taught you how to plan, organize, grow as a professional and attain skills and experiences you would not have gotten anywhere else. Sure it takes you awhile to determine what within business you want to study, and it takes you longer to get that first solid internship – but by senior year, you are soaring and that is all that matters.

Nothing else would i change about your college experience. Just that stress – that stress – you know what i’m talking about, if you had done something about it earlier, you would have saved so many gray hairs on your head today. Perhaps it was best though, the timing of everything in life is always perfect.

Don’t worry though. You were so fearful of graduation and just not knowing where life would take you, but look at you today. You are doing well, beyond well, for yourself. Increase your trust and faith in God and all will be well.

With so much love,
F.


I’d love to hear your guys’ thoughts on this. It was a little emotional to write that all out, only because i did love college. There are some things i wish i could have changed, but that’s for anything in life.

But i loved doing this post in collaboration with Earnest because it’s something so relate-able to a recent grad or someone who is in college now. I really hope you college kids who read my blog – find some sort of reassurance or hope in reading this. That would be all i could hope for from my blog.

If you guys have further questions, or want advice about college, i am in no means an expert but i have a lot of first hand experience that i would LOVE to share with anyone who could benefit from it. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss: sprinkleofsurprise@gmail.com

As always, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram to stay up to date on my blog happenings!

Until next time, XOXO