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 leftover pizza for breakfast? 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 clients 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. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

How to Get Yourself out of a Creative Rut

I thought this would be the perfect topic to write about today as I have gone through one of the most major ruts (creative and otherwise) over the past few months. I want to talk about what I have learned going through the experience and the steps I am still taking to get over it. I am using this post as a starting point for my commitment to this blog as you will see below.

I know how horrible it is to feel negative, uninspired, and downright frustrated sometimes, but I am here to tell you it is completely normal to feel like this. All we can do is wake up every morning and just show up and hopefully, eventually things start looking up. So here is how to get yourself out of a creative rut:

Board the Happy Train Everyday
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo! I find that it really helps to spend some chunk of time every single day doing something that I know will make me happy. Make a list if you have to and reference it the next time you are feeling uninspired. This all depends on your personality and preferences, but some surefire things that work for me are being with my family, going for a walk outside, painting my nails, drinking coffee, and looking at art blogs. Minus the last item, none of these require technology and I like to just leave my phone somewhere and not think about anything happening online. As inspiring as the internet can be, it can also be overwhelming specifically when going through one of these moods, so I like to limit it.  I would recommend trying a little internet detox occasionally and seeing what it does for you and your creative energy.

Re-evaluate Goals & Brainstorm Ideas
So, now that we’ve gotten the positive energy going, I like to use these times to my full advantage by writing out goals and brainstorming a list of ideas for future blog posts, photo ideas, recipes, etc. This makes it much easier to follow through with creating content when I am not as inspired or positive. And with anything you plan to do regularly, it’s a good idea to have a running list of ideas to work from. For example, if my goal is to publish one post per week, it would not be very efficient for me to think of an idea, execute it, tweak it, and post it all in that week. That would take a lot of time and I probably wouldn’t be fully satisfied with the end product.

Commit Publicly
What I mean by this is, whatever primary creative goal you have, tell people about it! Own it! For example, I am committing to publishing a blog post every Tuesday starting today and I am declaring it for anyone who cares to listen. I have included it in my Instagram bio for added accountability. You can call it cheesy, but I know this will force me to think creatively and write regularly, which is something I hold very dear to my heart. I have ideas and I want to share them with the world! In addition to committing verbally, make sure your actions match your words. Get organized, hold your project sacred, and work constantly to remove any barriers that could prevent you from achieving your goals. This is something I am really focusing on now more than ever. 

I hope these tips will prove to be helpful and good luck with all of your creative and other endeavors! Happy Tuesday!

xo  Aneela

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The 'I Heart Summer' Tag

Hi. Well, this is awkward. It's been a while since I've written here. So, I'm going to transition back into blogging with an easy peezy tag post. And, with the first day of summer being just a few days ago, what better tag than the 'I Heart Summer' Tag? I hope you enjoy my answers to these questions and get excited for summer! No matter what your plans are for the summer, I hope it's poppin'!

Oh also, the photos in this post are from my trip to Guatemala because you know, they're totally relevant. Who am I kidding, I just need an excuse to sneak these in wherever remotely possible and I will do just that ;)

1. Favorite bronzer for summer?
My all-time favorite bronzer is a discontinued one from VS Pink that is on its last leg at the moment, sad life. It’s that perfect shade that makes it look like the summer sun caressed you in the kindest of manners. Definitely irreplaceable, but to share something attainable with you all, the Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder is almost as good. I use the shade medium, which is just a tad darker than my skin color and produces a subtle effect. Get it: here

2. You're relaxing in a hammock, on a tropical island. What are you sipping on?
Considering my biggest guilty pleasure of LIFE is coffee, it would probably be an iced coffee. Also, I really really love coconut water, so as long as we are using our imaginations, I'd probably have that in between to off-set the caffeine rush.

3. Favorite summer lip product?
THIS. It's the perfect color and formulation in my opinion.

4. Pool or Beach?
Hands down, the beach. And as much as I LOVE ocean beaches, I also genuinely appreciate lake beaches too. Luckily, Lake Michigan is only a fifteen minute drive from my house and while certain parts aren't that great, other areas will just take your breath away!

5. Sun bathing or fake tan?
Neither. I'm brown and my people can't participate in these shenanigans.

6. Favorite summer nail polish?
White, hot pink, turquoise, basically any color that's going to really contrast and accentuate my tan toasted skin.

7. Any summer traditions?
Every year, we do the 4th of July Parade in my town and go to the festival at nights with my cousins. It is definitely one of the highlights of my summer and I always run into people from high school, which is fun. A personal tradition of mine is that I read fiction books during the summer. I go to the library more regularly, and life just feels more "oomphy" when your mind can travel to far off places and time periods at a moment's notice. Currently, I am reading Even After All This Time by Afschineh Latifi. So far, I am obsessed with it and have to force myself to put it down.

8. Favorite summer scent?
I love that potent sweet scent that gardens get in the summer time humidity, especially after a rain shower. Also, I love the artificial coconut and vanilla scent in sunscreen. You know, the one? I live for that smell. 

9. Favorite BBQ food?
Anything that has been touched by the BBQ hand of Midas is my favorite food. I love barbecues, and barbecue sauce, and summer, and life. 

10. Any summer vacation plans this year?
Yes! I am going to the east coast at the end of July and seeing my best friend who I haven't seen in what feels like ages, so needless to say, I am so stoked, U know?!!

Now, that you know some summery facts about me, share yours in the comments below! I'm interested to know your favorite thing about the summer season. Tell me, tell me, please! :)

Have a happy day!

xo Aneela

Monday, January 25, 2016

The One Who Couldn't Stay // Spoken Word

The regular congregation of birds outside my bedroom window

You sought refuge from the bitter cold, inquiring for a place to stay.
I watched the light seep out of you and embrace the night like day.

And in my childish excitement, fixed up the finest room the inn had to offer.
Eagerly passing you its key.

True, you were a guest, but I had arranged a permanent abode.
Hoping you could stay.

How little did I know?
You were just another nomad, stopping to catch your breath along the way.

Well, I hope you find your way.

And, how true is what they say?
They all go away.
Eventually, they all go away.

// To listen to an audio version of this piece, click here //

Thursday, January 21, 2016

50 Facts about Me

The sunrise from my bedroom window
Some time ago, I did the '20 Questions Tag' on the blog. If you are interested, you can read that by clicking here. I got a request do more posts about me, so I decided to compile a list of 50 (interesting?) facts you probably didn't know about me before. It was fun to sit down and dig my cranial matter for these and I hope you enjoy reading them! So, here we go!

1. I am an aries, but I don’t believe in horoscopes.

2. I was named by my favorite person in the world and I love my name.

3. One of my favorite books of all time is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It is a great tale of friendship and sacrifice. I can read it over and over again.

4. I could sit in a busy place and people-watch for hours.

5. When I am tired, my eyes water uncontrollably, so people tend to think I am crying even though I am perfectly fine.

6. I am double jointed in my thumbs, so I can make them look really funny if I want to freak someone out.

7. I was in a really bad car accident with my mom when I was young. To this day, I am the most jumpy/paranoid passenger ever. I really prefer to be in the driver seat.

8. I love desserts. When I meet people who don’t like dessert and ESPECIALLY chocolate, I wonder if they can really be trusted ;)

9. I am not afraid of spiders at all.

10. I didn’t know what I wanted to study at university and I made my decision based off of a character from a reality TV show. I am thoroughly satisfied with my decision.

11. I really, really love being around people. I love hearing the constant buzz of people talking, but sometimes I get too excited being around them, so I have to tune it out for a bit, calm down, and get back into it.   

12. I used to practice Bikram and I was pretty good at it. I don’t know why I stopped.

13. I’m very easily startled in “real life”, but I love watching scary movies.

14. When I was in middle school, I almost got suspended from school for scanning my face in the computer lab scanner. When I got called to the principal’s office, she was sitting there with my dad and a manila envelope. She asked me to open it and inside was 8.5” x 11” scan of my face. I screamed out of shock.

15. I love art and making things. I have been artistic for as long as I can remember.

16. I absolutely LOVE to travel! Far away is great, but I also love seeing new places nearby just as much. I don’t believe you have to go to a far off land to have an enjoyable time.

17. Unlike every other girl on the planet, I actually don’t like pumpkin spiced lattes, at all.

18. When I like a song, I will play it on repeat over and over again until I don’t like it anymore. If I just love it too much, I will avoid listening to it, so that I don’t ever stop liking it.

19. My first pet was called pinky. He/she was a pink goldfish.

20. During my teenage years, I went through a major bronzer phase as a result of watching The Hills. I have heavy photographic documentation of this phase and I am not embarrassed by it.

21. I love horses! I cannot put my adoration for them into words, so I will leave it at this, I love horses.

22. I’m secretly very bad at math, well actually just numbers in general too. I suppose it’s not really a secret. If you know me, you will know this about me.

23. Although I do dabble into a lot of interests, I don’t believe I have one true talent and I am ok with that.

24. Dogs hate me. I don’t know why, they just do.

25. I am really good at giving advice, but horrible at following my own advice.

26. I have wanted to get the ombre effect done on my hair ever since it became trendy, but haven’t had the courage to actually get it done. Mainly because I am terrified of color/bleaching damage.

27. When I was about four, my dad ran over my foot with a car. Yes, it was completely by accident and no, I was not a big girl about it.

28. Growing up, I had a lot of math tutors. They would come over on the weekends. I would go to them after school. I dreaded it and none of them were able to work their magic on me.

29. I much prefer making food at home and knowing exactly what is in it/ how it was made than going to a restaurant.

30. I am quite the cry baby. If I see someone crying, I also start crying even if I don’t know what they are crying about.

31. I think that the southwest salad from McDonald’s is ridiculously delicious.

32. I have really bad FOMO. There are a lot of things I do simply because I am afraid of what I could be missing out on.

33. When I was younger, I wanted to be a librarian or a grocery store cashier when I grew up.

34. I strongly dislike flip flops and I would not wear them even inside of my house.

35. I used to have a pet turtle named Otis, but a few months ago he ran away from home and hasn't come back yet.

36. I consider myself to be a very girly girl. I adore getting dressed up. I love makeup and jewelry and fashion. I don’t think I have a single tomboyish bone in my body.

37. I love going to baseball games, but I don’t understand the game.

38. I still have my first doll. Her name is Dorothy and she is missing an eyeball, but I still love her just the same.

39. When I was sixteen, I cut front bangs in my own hair. I would never do it again, but I didn’t regret it for a moment. I just NEEDED to know what it was like to have front bangs.

40. I am a very excitable person about everything in general, but especially with plans. The feeling of looking forward to and planning for something is just as exciting as the thing itself for me.

41. Freshly painted nails make me very happy. Between my sisters and I, we own an inhumane amount of nail polishes and nail art supplies. But if it were just up to me, I could be satisfied with five colors. If you are wondering, they are baby pink, red, lilac, black, and white. Yes, I have thought this through thoroughly.

42. When I went to Germany, I bought a piece of the Berlin Wall to bring home with me. I was the cause for many a laugh after that because everyone kept saying I had paid good money for a fragment of a brick.

43. I have always, and still do, dream of living on a farm with animals and crops. I am totally about that “living off the land” life. Sigh.

44. I absolutely love sending and receiving letters. I have kept every single letter I have ever received in its original envelope in a box in my room.

45. Last year, I donated seventeen inches of my hair. I chopped it off myself as a spur of the moment decision late one night when I couldn’t fall asleep. Some of my best decisions are made at 3 AM lol.

46. I am a really big believer in chivalry. It isn’t dead and when I see it, it’s beautiful.

47. I am horrible at following people back on social media because busy/cluttered news feeds make me anxious.

48. When I was younger, I had an extensive rock collection. Each rock had a human name and I remembered all of the names.

49. I am a huge environment person. I am very particular about not littering and making sure to recycle. I rarely believe in confrontation, but if I see someone in public littering, I will call them out and I will not be subtle about it.

50. As cliché as it may sound, my biggest dream in life is to make a difference in the world. I don’t know what it will be yet, but I want to leave something great behind. God willing.

Well, that's 50! I hope you found this at least a little entertaining to read! I'm curious to know an interesting fact about you, leave it in the comments below!

Hope you have a great day!

xo Aneela

Sunday, January 17, 2016

How To: Breakfast Entertaining Made Simple

My first attempt at making a gif ;)
Around Thanksgiving time, I wrote a post about breakfast ideas I had used at the time since we had family over, but I wasn't able to share original pictures because I didn't get a chance to take any. You can read that post by clicking here

So, to make up for where that post fell short, I am writing another one with original pictures, hoping this one will be a one-stop destination for an entire breakfast arrangement, complete with how to plan out your menu, beverages, and all of that mumbo jumbo. 

Side note: The pictures in this post are from my snapchat. I just made an account for the blog a couple days ago. I don't know how I feel about temporary content yet, but I'm trying it out sharing mostly recipe/outfit pictures and videos because that has been my life these past few days. I hope to share more craft/recipe/organization tips through videos in the future. I also plan on using it as a sort of "behind the scenes" look at the blog. Let me know if there is something you would be interested in seeing in a snap story and I will try my best to make it happen. We shall see where the snap journey takes us! Add me as a friend if you like! My account is: thedesiknotblog 

The Food
I would say, as with most things in life, the middle path is key here. You don't want to skimp on the number of dishes because your guests should feel special, but you also don't want to go overboard because that can be uncomfortable as a guest. The goal is to make your guest feel welcome and avoid awkwardness at all costs. 

For a complete breakfast, I would say it is important to look at the basic food groups and make sure you have a good balance with something from each category. Below I will list out the categories and what we (my mom and I) served for each of them:
  • Fruit: For a simple way to serve fruit. Make a fruit salad! Just cut up the fruits of your choosing and add a splash of lemon juice. The sourness in the lemon will amplify the sweetness in the fruit. Mind blown. I used bananas, oranges, grapes, and peaches. You can use whatever is in season and available in your area. 

  • Grains: For this category, I decided to get fresh pastries from the bakery and arrange them on a platter. I used croissants, cookies, muffins, and scones. I also served sour dough, white, and whole grain toast for healthier carb options.

  • Protein: The easiest protein is egg. We did fried eggs one day and scrambled eggs on another (pictured above). Super duper easy peazy. 
  • Dairy: In terms of dairy, it's really simple to arrange a few different types of cheeses on a platter. You could also serve milk as one of your beverages. More on beverages later in the post. 

  • Vegetables: Veggies are a bit tricky to sneak into breakfast. For our scrambled eggs, we used tomatoes, onions, potatoes, scallions, and cilantro. You could also serve avocado as a side or make green juice. 
This is a personal choice you have to make based on who is visiting, but I would say the magic number is three drinks, other than water of course. Create a balance between hot and cold, caffeinated and juices, etc. Below are some ideas of drinks you could choose from when creating your menu:
  • Orange Juice
  • Green Juice
  • Coffee 
  • Tea (oh glorious tea)
  • Milk
  • Fruit Smoothies

Hope you enjoyed these ideas! What is your favorite thing to have for breakfast? Share below!

xo Aneela

Friday, January 8, 2016

Coming Home // Spoken Word

“Home is where your heart is full. You feel a constant euphoria and you never want to leave that moment that you wish could last an eternity.”

If I leave my house and travel 343 miles north, past the final traces of city life, sometime after the last of even the familiar golden arches of a McDonald’s restaurant, there sits a place perched high on a hill, surrounded by busy clusters of tall trees, that is home.

I have left a vital component of my heart in this place. Yes, without it my heart still continues to beat according to schedule, but it is left to carry out its affairs without the capacity to breathe full satiated breaths.

Breathe in. Breathe out. 


When I am here, my heart is full

I am home, alas, for a short while. 


My mind does not wander to any place outside of these walls. 

I do not merely hear words. I listen for fear that I will forget the quirks and phrasings in her voice. 

I do not simply see. I watch every gesture, intended and otherwise, and commit it to memory. 

I do not speak. I pour out the sentiments building up from this newfound fullness in my heart. 

Then, as suddenly as I showed up at its doorstep, I gather these raw reflections in my heart, scoop up my belongings, and depart to come home to a house.

// To listen to an audio version of this piece, click here //

Thursday, January 7, 2016

DIY Homemade Mini Desserts Party Platter

Hello everyone! Happy New Year to all of you!

I had this post written up and scheduled to automatically publish on January 1st, but technical difficulties ensued (as they do once in a blue moon) and the entire post got deleted. So, that night must have seen a blue moon and I am now about to write this for the second time because better late than never, am I right?

For New Year's Eve, I went to a Great Gatsby themed party at my friends' house in Chicago. It was a beautiful evening filled with lots of laughter, eating, and (failed) Cranium playing. Is it just us or is that an impossibly difficult game?!

We all dressed up in the Gatsby roaring 20's theme. I wore a black and white dress (made by my mom) with lace and fringe across the front with long necklaces, stacked bracelets, and a beaded headpiece. I will include a detail shot of the outfit at the end of this post if you're interested/need inspiration for a future themed partayyy.

Moving on to the reason you started reading this post, for the party, I  made a platter of bite-sized desserts using different kinds of chocolates.

I found the compartmentalized platter at the Dollar Store, so that was a steal! Otherwise you could use a large tray and just put each dessert in a bowl on the tray. Also, the chocolate balls in the center compartment of the tray are from the holiday section at the grocery store. I imagine you could find something similar year-round or you could prove to be ultra domesticated and make those yourself too! ;)

Working clockwise starting at the top of the picture, I will tell you how to make each of the items shown above:

Pretzel Reese's Pieces Hugs
Preheat your oven to 200F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and in a single layer, lay out as many square shaped pretzels as you want to make. Then, place a Hershey's kiss on top of each pretzel, unwrapped of course! Bake in the oven for about 4-5 minutes, until the chocolate looks shiny. You don't want the chocolate to start melting! Watch it like a hawk until the kisses are glossy, but still have their original shape. Remove from oven and immediately press a Reese's pieces candy onto each kiss. And voila! Easy as pie...well I'd say it's way easier than pie actually!

Polka Dot Rice Krispies
For these, you will either need to make your own rice krispy treats or buy already made ones. Cut them into small bite-sized pieces and dip them half-way into the melted chocolate of your choice. Immediately press Reese's Pieces into the chocolate before it hardens to create a polka dot design.

Belgian Chocolate Truffles
Ok ok, these truffles are the more ambitious element of the platter. Who better to teach you how to make Belgian chocolate truffles than a Belgian chef? You can find Chef Eddy Van Damme's recipe by clicking here.

White Chocolate Sparklies
Simply dip one side of square pretzels into white chocolate and sprinkle with some gold edible glitter. I have a slight obsession with Nestle Tollhouse white chocolate morsels. It's so smooth and the crunch from the glitter complements it very well! The sparkle is very Gatsby bling!

Pumpkin Spice Bites
Again using rice krispies, witha knife, cut the krispies into cubes and dip just the top of each into pumpkin spice flavored chocolate. Sprinkle with chocolate jimmies for the finishing touch.

Drowning Gummy Worms 
These gummy worms are drowning, but they don't need a lifeguard to come to the rescue. They are happily drowning in chocolate! Yes, they are as easy to make as they look. Just dip half of each worm into melted chocolate and lay them out parchment paper to cool.

xo Aneela

P.S. All of these treats taste better chilled, so for best results, refrigerate before serving.

P.P.S. As promised, here is a detail shot of my outfit from the Great Gatsby themed party. Darn it, I just realized I forgot to include the headpiece arghhh. Well, I hope you like it anyway and have a great day!