Saturday, January 21, 2017

First Day Thoughts

It is currently 6:20 AM. I want to write about school before the last of my firsts is over. I started grad school this week, which has conjured up a lot of feelings. One of those feelings is that of knowing absolutely nothing. Over the years, I have learned to embrace this feeling in a big, warm hug. 

You walk into the first day of class, with nothing in hand but your willingness to do something you've never done before. You don't know anyone or, anything really and you get that funny feeling in the pit of your stomach. The fluttering of the butterflies of possibility. There's only one way to go from here, up and beyond your aspirations for yourself. 

I am in love with this feeling. It humbles me and makes me feel about the size of a pebble. I am so incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue my education, to learn, and to grow. I realize how much I missed being in this environment and how I have something many people never get to experience. 

This morning, I have my first Saturday class. Yes, I'm a bit nervous, the butterflies have been fluttering about since last night, but I am also hopeful, and excited, and delusionally optimistic, the way a learner willing to gain new perspectives ought to be.

xo Aneela

Thursday, January 12, 2017

In-Flight Fashion Essentials for Smooth Travels

If you find yourself having anxiety over the perfect outfit to wear while traveling, I've got just the thing for you! I've scoured the Internet and curated a list of affordable (and fashionable!) clothing and accessories to remedy many of the annoyances people have about traveling by plane; whether it be feeling too cold, too hot, or just generally uncomfortable and inconvenienced by the clothing they've chosen to wear. So, feel free to use this list to build the perfect in-flight outfit and fly like a seasoned traveler! I've included images of my favorites with shop-able links below.

One of the keys to a great in-flight outfit is LAYERING. Cardigans are great for this, guys! They are super comfortable, come in so many cute styles, and the best part, a cardigan can double as a pillow when smushed up into a ball!

Much like the over-sized cardigan, I also have a special affinity for blanket scarves. If you're not picking up on the pattern here, it's the bigger the more cozy mozy kind of vibes. You could use a blanket scarf as a shawl, a blanket, or a make-shift neck pillow. And of course I chose plaid ones because fashion, duh!

When I travel, top handle and shoulder bags are totally out of the question. I believe the easiest bag to carry is a backpack. I mean, you're barely "carrying it". It distributes its weight evenly on the body, making it super comfortable and ergonomically pleasing. It also allows for the hands to be free which is a huge incentive in my opinion. And with one of the options I've listed below, you won't be compromising on style!

Booties are more comfortable than typical heels and more "put-together looking" than sneakers. And they're just so stinkin' cute and trendy. I bought a pair this fall and I practically never take them off. I am very obsessed with the ones I've chosen for this post! Check them out!

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have a super great day!

xo Aneela

Monday, October 17, 2016


Hello! In this post, I want to share some of the drugstore products I have been loving lately. I'm not really following a lot of beauty blogs at the moment, so I don't know if these are hyped about products or underrated gems I've discovered. Nonetheless, here are the products I have been reaching for every day and love using! Enjoy!

I absolutely LOVE this palette! It's very similar to the Urban Decay palettes at literally a fraction of the price. I bought #2 because it's full of easy-to-wear warm toned shadows. I just love how they look on my skin color! 

Lately, I had been getting tired of my hair because it has gotten so long again and the length really weighs it down and makes it look just blahh. So, I bought this spray with hopes to create texture and interest in my hair. I find that it works really well. It creates natural-looking volume when sprayed onto lightly damp hair, massaged throughout, and blow-dried. It has a nice clean scent and doesn't create product build-up.

I've tried a good number of higher end mascaras (mostly freebies from Sephora) like Benefit, Smashbox, and Guerlain and I'm always left wondering why people pay that much for a mascara that does virtually nothing in my opinion, I bought this one on a trip recently because I had left mine at home and I just really love it. It does what it's supposed to do in my opinion which is to create thickness without clumping and lengthen without creating spidery lashes. 

I have never contoured or owned a contour powder in my life, so I decided to try one out. I found this one by Wet n’ Wild for like 3 bucks. It is shade number 749A called “Dulce de Leche” and comes with a contour shade and YELLOW TONED highlight. THANK YOU WET N’ WILD FOR ACKNOWLEDGING THAT BROWN PEOPLE ACTUALLY EXIST. I can never find drugstore products that actually match my undertones, but this one totally hits the spot.

My sister basically forced me to use this foundation because she thought the one I used previously wasn't the right color or finish. I reluctantly gave in and realized she was completely right. I always thought you should go a shade lighter than your skin color to prevent looking orange or dirty, but I've discovered that using the same color as my skin looks better in photos and more natural in sunlight as well. The formula of this foundation is matte, so my face doesn't get super shiny and the foundation doesn't slide off throughout the day. I am using shade 104 or golden beige. Neither the finish nor the color of this foundation are ones I thought I would ever use, but I have grown to love this look and I don't think I'll ever go lighter again.  

I hope you enjoyed my current drugstore beauty favorites! Now, share some of yours in the comments below! I'd love to know what you love!

I hope you have a great day!

xo Aneela

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

The post where I tell you to do your nails at home.

My little sister and I try out our own at-home nail art.

Ok so picture this: I’m on Poshmark gushing (side note: Did I just use the word ‘gushing’? Who am I?) over some dannijo jewelry when suddenly I come across a picture that stops me right in my tracks. I mean yeah, the ring is nice, but what really catches my attention are this woman’s nails. They look so thought out, yet at the same time, so effortless and DIY-able. All of a sudden, I have a zillion questions in my head? “Did she do those herself?”, “What a color combination?!”, and the classic, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

So, after some brief conversation thorough interrogation, I am happy to report I come bearing answers! This woman lives in New York City and works for Christian Louboutin! Doesn’t this story just keep getting better like pizza the next morning? Anyways, so she’s probably one of those “I ain’t got time for nonsense, but I still like cute nails” type of girls because she goes to this ultra-cool nail salon called Paintbox. They are a “modern manicure studio” and their whole premise from what I have seen is that they come out with a look book every season containing carefully curated color combinations and simple designs for customers to choose from. So, you can’t just request your own idea, you have to choose from the book. This is actually brilliant because the colors and designs they have chosen are universally flattering! They also have a nail photo booth, so you can take the perfect instagram and show off your fresh paws to the world!

Some examples of Paintbox designs via @paintboxnails on instagram

But back to reality, not all of us live in NYC, so some of us “do have time for nonsense AND still like cute nails”.

So, I basically looked through my nail polish collection and found color combinations, gems, and stickers that remind me of the paint box vibe. I showed the @paintboxnails instagram account to my mom and sisters for inspiration too and we created our own looks based off of the designs we saw. It’s so much fun to do them at home and with a few good tools, they look just as good as a salon manicure. I have included some pictures of our simple designs below.

Some examples of designs we created using simple tools and techniques.

Here is a video I made showing you some of the tools I use to create a long-lasting Paintbox inspired manicure:

At Home Nail Art Basics // The Desi Knot Blog:

P.S. In the video, I totally forgot to mention clear top coats. They are really important in ensuring your manicure will last and any glitter or gems you use don't fall off easily.

I hope you all have a great week! Until next time, take care!

xo Aneela

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

8 Inspiring Quotes for a Healthy Dose of Optimism

Hey everyone! Summer is officially over and we're all getting back into our normal routines and responsibilities. It can be hard to get back into the swing of things when you are uninspired or pessimistic, so I decided to share 8 of my favorite quotes with you in today's post. Next time you miss the warm sunshine or the parties, read these quotes for a healthy dose of optimism and keep on trekking on! You can do it!

Let me know if you found any of these quotes to be inspiring and share any that you live by. I would love to read them! Take care!

xo Aneela

1. "On the difficult days, when the world's on your shoulders, remember that diamonds are made under the weight of the mountains." -Beau Taplin

2. "Get out from your house from your cave, from your car. From the place you feel safe from the place that you are.Get out and go running go funning, go wild. Get out from your head and get growing, dear child." -Dallas Clayton

3. "Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen." -Michael Jordan

4. "Take a step back today. Look at all the beautiful things you have." -Unknown

5. "I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it  with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good." -Roald Dahl

6. "And there it stood, a flower on a rock, where nothing else lived for a hundred miles in every direction. This flower was life, bold and true, standing proud to the sky, lapping up sunlight, digging his roots into the ground, he was living, no matter what the world told him he couldn't be, he just went on, chin up into the sun, and I realized, that life, by its very nature is brave." -Atticus

7. "It’s hard to stay mad, when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life… You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday. -Lester Burnham

8. "Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So, love the people who treat you right and forget about the ones who don't. And believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said that it would be easy. They just promised it would be worth it." -Harvey MacKay

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Natural Skincare Recipes for Clear + Radiant Skin

Do you suffer from dry or dull skin? Do chemical ridden skincare products from the store cause irritation for you? Or maybe you can't be bothered to fork over large sums of money for all natural skincare lotions and potions? 

If any of the above issues sound familiar, you've come to the right place! Today, I will share two all natural skincare products that you can easily (and inexpensively) make at home with ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen already. These are great for common skin issues, so pull up your sleeves and get ready to do it yourself!
Turmeric Mask // How to Make It:
Combine about two tablespoons of gram flour with a quarter teaspoon of turmeric. Add in a splash of olive oil and then whole milk until you reach mask consistency. Make sure to add milk slowly to ensure your mask doesn't become too runny. If that does happen, just add a bit more gram flour. Transfer the mask into a sealed container (such as a mason jar), refrigerate, and mask away!

Why Use It?
This mask is great for anyone wanting to work on acne scars, preventing blemishes, and getting a radiant inner glow. Gram flour is great for removing sun tan as well as cleaning out and tightening the pores. It also lightens the overall tone of the skin which is great for fading acne scars and other blemishes. The turmeric powder is great for gently healing blemishes and redness. Olive oil works as a good moisturizing agent in the mask and the whole milk will soothe and calm the skin.   

Coffee Scrub // How to Make It:
For this scrub, combine equal parts ground coffee, coconut oil, and brown sugar in a bowl. Transfer into a sealed container. Refrigerate for best results as coconut oil will solidify to create a better mask consistency. 

Why Use It?
This scrub is excellent for exfoliating the skin, removing dead skin cells, improving circulation, and smoothing out the skin. Now, I love a good cup of coffee for an energy boost, but did you know that the caffeine from coffee grounds provides many benefits when applied to the skin?! Caffeine helps to tighten the skin and reduce puffiness. If applied as a mask under the eyes, this mixture can also help reduce the appearance of dark under-eye circles. And since caffeine is loaded with antioxidants, it helps fight premature wrinkles, sun spots, and fine lines. The brown sugar also acts as a gentle moisturizing exfoliant and the coconut oil is also a supreme moisturizing agent. And again, everything is completely natural! Bottom line, this scrub is a win-win all around!

I hope that you enjoyed these DIY skincare recipes! Let me know if you end up trying them out! 

xo Aneela

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How to Set Yourself Up for a Successful School Year

Bad news guys, summer is almost over! And we all know what that means. Many of you are heading back to the big S word. School. But, have no fear! I have some tips that I've learned over the years for making the year go by a little smoother. 

I have no earth shattering advice to give you, just simple "tricks" that worked well for me. The major thing I learned in school was that earning an A at the end of the semester/year is not only about studying hard. I think the image you set up of yourself in front of your teachers is also a part of the equation. I can almost say this as a fact, but if you have your doubts, I can say for a fact that it won't hurt to work on both aspects. Try it. You might like what happens as a result. 

Keeping both working hard and showing that you're working hard in mind, I give you, 10 things you can do to set yourself up for success this school year!

I hope you enjoy these tips and own your grades! Happy Tuesday!

xo Aneela

1. Be early. 
Pretty self-explanatory, get to class early. Not only will it bring you peace of mind, your teachers will notice. Some teachers chat with students who show up early which is a great time to establish rapport with them. This way, if you ever need them for a recommendation or advice, it won't seem like you're asking out of the blue. 

2. Sit toward the front of the classroom.
This is an advantage if you make it into one. It used to motivate me to not miss class because the teacher is more likely to notice if a "gunner" is missing. Also, you are more likely to be called on if you have something to say if you sit near the front of the room. And, I noticed that there were far fewer distractions for me this way. I didn't find myself sitting there wondering what kind of bagel the girl in front of me was eating.

3. Get an agenda that works for you. AND USE IT.
Find an agenda you like and actually USE it. I know there are a lot of really fancy ones out there these days, but I just use a basic one from Target and it does the job. At the beginning of every semester, I used to sit down with my syllabus for each class and fill in the deadlines for all assignments, projects, and exams into my planner. Then, I would write down all dates for extracurriculars and clubs. This is basically fool proof if you actually reference your planner regularly. I don't think I ever missed a single deadline, so I know it works!

4. Build a relationship with EACH of your teachers/professors.
Take advantage of office hours. Use email to keep in touch outside of the classroom and it doesn't have to directly be about class. If you find a relevant article about a current class topic, send it to your teacher. They usually love that and might even share it with the whole class!

5. Find a study space that works for you.
Identify a quiet place where you get your best work done. Make sure it is somewhere you can avoid distractions. During undergrad, the main floor of our library was the social area. My friends always used to hang out there and we were allowed to talk while we worked. But, if I had to do something that requires a lot of concentration (like study for an exam or write an essay) I would go to the second floor of the library. Literally no one ever went there. It was kind of grim and so quiet you could hear the buzzing of the tube lights over you, but when I studied there, I would forget that there is life outside the second floor. 

6. Make friends with like-minded people.
Now, I am not telling you to abandon your less studious friends, but you become your friends in a way. It is easier to care about your grades and make sacrifices for them if you are surrounded by others with the same values. Just saying. 

7. Participate in class.
You remember things better when you say them out loud because you actually think about what you're asking/answering rather than when you're passively listening. The classroom is no place to be passive, folks!

8. Fearlessly ask questions.
It's YOUR grade, ask YOUR questions. 

9. Use your time wisely.
Out of all the tips I have listed, this is the one I find most challenging. Procrastination is your enemy. The sooner you start your work and the more time you give yourself, the more likely you are to be satisfied with the end result. I know, easier said than done, but it is so worth it. 

10. Also, be wise about your time right before bed.
Doing a few simple tasks at night can really help prepare you for the day ahead. Lay out your outfit, pack your lunch, make sure your bag is ready to go with all of your completed homework inside. When I started doing this, I slept better, woke up more optimistic, and ultimately had a better day at school.