11/29/13

what we're grateful for.

keeping up the darjeelings tradition:

  • my family, as always
  • homemade cookies
  • getting socks as presents
  • potlucks
  • boston
  • harry styles
  • fancy cheeses
  • sisterhood
  • christmas pandora
  • trader joe's
  • teachers who care about you
  • jane austen books
  • movie nights
  • dancing every day
  • passionate people
  • train rides
  • leggings
  • late night study buddies
  • sunflowers
  • madewell
  • new york
  • flour bakery
  • early mornings
  • honest conversations
  • hiking trips
  • new friends
  • small-world stories
  • acknowledging the goodness in others

  • ♥ maria
  • good friends
  • pecan pies
  • the parent trap
  • bollywood dance sequences 
  • harry styles
  • a little princess
  • clean bedsheets
  • feminism
  • people who take shameless selfies
  • peach andre
  • new york city
  • kind people
  • yoga pants
  • spotify
  • flash mob videos
  • people who truly care about you
  • spontaneous individuals
  • boston sunsets/sunrises
  • friends reruns
  • babies
  • big sweaters
  • breezeless days
  • playlists made by people you love
  • fresh berries
  • peppermint
  • receiving letters

  • ♥ pratibha
  • new friends
  • new places
  • driving with the windows down and the music up
  • passionate people
  • my dog
  • my parents
  • my sister
  • short hair
  • winged eyeliner
  • late night target runs
  • patterned leggings 
  • party pants
  • college 
  • trader joe's 
  • harry styles
  • christmas decorations
  • long walks in the cold
  • cardigans 
  • hot fudge sundaes 
  • television 
  • feminism 
  • funky beats 
  • my major
  • people who love what they do 
  • group chats 
  • extroverts 
  • beanies 
  • words
  • butts
    ♥ alex

10/14/13

homemade larabars!


i love larabars -- they're healthy, delicious, and all-natural.
they're also kind of expensive, so considering they only have 3
ingredients, i thought i'd make some on my own! so this weekend
while i was at home with access to a beautifully large food processor,
i made two varieties -- cranberry almond bars & banana bread bites:

{recipe sources: 1 2}



cranberry almond bars:
makes 10 bars
  • 1 cup nuts (i used almonds)
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates (without pits)
  • 1 cup dried fruit (i used dried cranberries)
  1. grind the nuts in a food processor until they are finely chopped.
  2. add the dates and dried fruit and process again until you have a sticky glob and the almonds have been mixed into it.
  3. place your mixture (it might be a little crumbly! don't worry) onto a piece of parchment paper, and put another piece on top. use your hands or a rolling pin to flatten the mixture into a rough rectangular shape. slice into bars and put in the refrigerator to set and store.
banana bread bites:
makes 10-12 bites

  • 1 cup nuts (i used almonds - i bet peanuts would be FAB)
  • 5-6 medjool dates (without pits)
  • 1 small banana, sliced*
  1. grind the almonds in a food processor until they are finely chopped.
  2. add the dates and banana and process again until you have a sticky glob and the almonds have been mixed into it.
  3. roll the mixture into balls and place on parchment paper in the refrigerator to set & store.
*a lot of the recipes i saw for the banana bread larabars recommended dehydrating the bananas first (basically putting them in the oven at low heat for like 4 hours) but ain't nobody got time for that so i just used the raw bananas and fewer dates than the recipes i saw for dried fruit and they turned out fine :)


feel free to get creative with using different fruits and nuts and even fun things
like coconut flakes or chocolate! these took maybe 20 minutes to make, including
cleaning the food processor between batches, and you can make them in whatever
flavor you want! these are a great snack for me to have in class or before dance and
now that i know how easy they are to make, i'm sure i'll be having lots more of them :)



i hope you've all enjoyed your long columbus day weekend! 
much love from my home sweet home,

maria <3

10/6/13

trader joe's haul!

some of you may already be aware of this, but i love grocery shopping. i am borderline obsessed with grocery shopping. i love planning out my meals and figuring out the most efficient ingredients to buy to make everything! one of the reasons i moved off the meal plan at school this year was so that i could have more control over what i ate, which means more grocery shopping! luckily, my school provides weekly shuttles to various grocery stores so i don't have to find someone with a car [a rarity] or lug lots of grocery bags on public transportation. i used to always shop at a normal supermarket, shaw's, but this year i've decided to start shopping at trader joe's! i had heard great things about their food, and loved how lots of things looked healthy and organic. so, last weekend pratibha and i did some darjeeling style grocery shopping! as we were waiting for the shuttle to go back, we decided to document our spoils:


[not shown in video: greek yogurt, bananas, black beans, oatmeal, chicken noodle
soup, chickpeas, kind bars, feta cheese, eggs, grapes, pita bread]




 highlights:

bananas.
$0.19 each. and huge!

feta cubes in brine.
this is sold in a really clever container so the feta is in a little basket which you can pull out to get your portion of cheese, and then lower it back in so it can soak in the brine. perfect for throwing on salads or in pita pockets!

cuban style black beans.
these are SO delicious and much easier than getting plain black beans and having to add all the spices separately. and only $0.99 for a can!

pita bread.
i LOVE pita for its versatility - you can make pita sandwiches, put it in the oven with some olive oil for pita chips, or even spread with tomato sauce and cheese for little pizzas! the trader joe's version is the perfect size for yummy little pita pockets.

questionable:

pomegranate seeds.
don't get me wrong, i love pomegranate seeds. but these were one of the most expensive things i bought and i only got to have a few because for some reason they went bad after just a couple days even though i kept them in the refrigerator :(

turkey.
as i mentioned in the video, i don't really like turkey, or meat in general......i should probably just stop buying it? oops. not your fault, tj.

meals & snacks:
some things i've eaten over the past week with these ingredients.

*pita pocket with turkey, havarti, spinach, & hummus.
*baby spinach salad with feta, dried cranberries & walnuts.
*greek yogurt with granola and grapes or pomegranate seeds.
*baby carrots with hummus.
*oatmeal with sliced bananas and peanut butter.
*scrambled eggs with spinach and feta.

i had a super crazy week academically, so i didn't eat a whole lot of defined meals - lots of small study snacks! this week i'm planning on making something yummy with the brussels sprouts - maybe a pesto pasta with brussels sprouts and mushrooms! we shall see.

<3 maria (& pratibha)



8/28/13

my new home!

so as you all know, I recently moved away from home to college! I've only been here for almost 2 weeks now but I can already tell that I'm going to have a really great year. the people are nice (also nice to look at if you know what I mean) and my dorm is cute, and since I can't be creepy and take pictures of strangers, I'm going to show you the space I'll be calling home this fall and spring! (:


^^ comforter from bed bath and beyond ^^


^^ the map is from barnes & noble, the ron swanson mona lisa was a birthday gift from a friend (the best birthday gift ever...), and you all know where the star garland came from! (; ^^


^^ my bedside dresser complete with fake flowers from target and a card with harry styles on it that my roommate gave to me for my birthday hehe ^^


^^ my playbills and signed ed sheeran CD and my desk area! (also...hello me..) ^^


^^ all my office supplies are from target (truly a magical place) ^^


^^ another fake plant from target and some cute art that i printed out and framed to keep me motivated (: ^^


^^ a shower curtain???? ^^


^^ or a closet door?? (; ^^


^^ aaaand a final shot of everything together! ^^

i hope you enjoyed this little room tour! if you're starting college as well or just returning for another year, i hope you're having a great time! 

<3 alex


8/23/13

summer to-do's


after some unusually obnoxious flight cancellations and way too many plastic cups of complimentary apple juice, i am finally home! i only have 4 full days before i have to head back to school, and while i know i could very easily sleep the entire time, i've come up with a little list of things to do while i still have access to a car and free baking ingredients:


















polka dot denim. thrift shop mom jeans + scissors + white fabric paint = cute diy cutoffs? we shall see.

picture frames. i'm foreseeing another trip to the thrift shop for this one. or the dollar store? and spray paint. lots of spray paint. since i'll be living in a triple in my dorm this year (after having my own room for the past 2 years) i really want to create some more permanent decorations to make my space feel a little more like a home rather than just taping things to the walls.

diy studded sweater. i've got some plain sweaters that i hardly ever wear so i thought i'd spruce the shoulders up a bit with some cheap studs from amazon!

{picture sources x x x}









grilled vanilla bean mascarpone peaches with salted bourbon caramel. did you even just read that name?? do yourself a favor & click through to the recipe for some truly beautiful pictures of these noms - i emailed it to my mom like a month ago with "WE ARE SO MAKING THESE WHEN I GET HOME," so, it's happening.

lemon rosemary cake. so classy! can't wait to sit my family down and serve this adorable little cake for tea. (and i get to use my stand mixer again -- i've missed it kind of embarrassingly a lot.)

naked cake. my birthday is coming up, and as much as i love frosting, i've been dying to make a naked cake with pretty layers and decorations on top!


and of course i'll be walking to the gym every day to counterbalance all this cake...........of course. i hope you're all making the most of your last bits of summer & good luck to everyone starting back at school -- i'll be joining you way too shortly!!

xx maria


8/16/13

summer beauty products!


nyx lip cream
 i have this product in the colors san paulo and amsterdam, and i love them both a lot :~) the san paulo one is a bit more pinkish, while the amsterdam is better for a red lip. they glide on so smoothly and leave a nice matte look, which actually stays for a long time!! the only downside to this product is that it's not as moisturizing as i'd like but i just put some rose salve on afterwards and then there's no problem!
revlon colorstay ultimate suede lipstick
so i got this in the color SOCIALITE (hah that's me........) and i really like it a lot!! i wanted a more natual looking pink/nude color and because i have dark skin, this was a bit more difficult to find. usually anything i try that's "pink" or "nude" ends up looking too bright or too light but this was definitely the perfect shade! plus, it goes on really smoothly and lasts awhile without reapplication
nyx creme blush
 with other blushes, you probably need to swipe a couple times at the products to get the right amount of color, but with this creme blush, you literally just need a small dab. a little definitely goes a loooong way with this product, since it's extremely pigmented. but it does give a nice and non-chalky look!!
lush lip scrub 
all summer i'd been looking for the perfect lip scrub to use right before i applied any kind of lipstain/balm. so when i was in the lush store not too long ago, on the lookout for something cheap and long-lasting, i ended up buying their scrub in "mint julips"...and i've honestly really been loving it! all you need is a little pinch of product to rub on your lips, and you're good to go. i really liked it because it removed all flakiness/dry skin super easily and gave a really nice base for any other products you may want to use. it also left my lips feeling unbelievably minty and refreshed! plus, you can just lick it right off when you're done applying it, and it tastes pretty darn good
lush facemasks
 these are so so so wonderful and i'm actually heading out to buy some more later this week!! i've only used one so far (cupcake) but it was so good that i'm thinking about trying the love lettuce and brazened honey ones soon. the feeling the mask leaves on your skin is so refreshing, plus it smells quite nice too! very natural, and the effect it claims to have (to decrease oily skin/help with incoming acne) seems to be working on me. i'd definitely look into the different kinds they have if you're having face troubles or just want something to make your skin a bit healthier!!
update: in the time that i first started this post and now, i've actually gotten myself the love lettuce mask as well, and i find that i like it better than the cupcake one!! it has a nice aromatherapy-like smell to it and it very cool and exfoliating on the skin. 10/10 would recommend
eos shaving cream
 i used to use another shaving gel but i saw the eos ones at the store one time, and they were basically the same price, so i decided to give it a shot. they smell really nice, and aren't too frothy (???) that it would make actually shaving difficult!!
dove deodorant
 the best smellin deodorant on this planet earth
herbal essences tousle me softly 
sometimes i straighten my hair, sometimes i don't. when i don't (which is often) i use this product to get some natural and tame waves. without this mousse, my hair usually ends up frizzy in about 2 hours, which is really uncomfortable in this summer heat. so try this product if you have naturally wavy/curly hair!!
baby lips 
my go-to lip balm for summertime. it makes your lips feel super moisturized, and gives it a light tint of color at the same time :~) v good

and ya summer is almost over now.....but whatever, all still good products you can use whenever!!
<3 pratibha

8/7/13

winding down


    

in two weeks, i will be back in the US. i don't even know how it's possible that the time has passed by so quickly - i don't even have my chilean cell phone number memorized yet & i still sometimes get lost trying to get to my favorite ice cream place which is literally 1 kilometer from my apartment. but it's true: by next weekend, my 10 weeks of chile will be up.


with all the traveling i’ve been doing around chile each weekend, i’ve promised myself to spend my last weeks here exploring more of our home base of santiago. last weekend, my friend meryl and i explored a local market and finally got some souvenir shopping done, and then snuck into a museum (it was closed, but the door was open...) full of old religious statues and paintings. the next day we took a (free!) walking tour all around the city. after being here all summer we were a bit embarrassed that we had never been to the plaza de armas or seen the downtown area that is basically like the boylston st. of santiago, but we finally got at least a glimpse of everything, including a nice little break in lastarria for pisco sours & cinammon rolls. this weekend i’ll try to fit in some more museum visits (legitimate ones this time) and exploration. then, my parents are coming next wednesday (!!!) and by the weekend we'll head home, by way of a few days in buenos aires (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)


at this very moment, i am sitting in lab, looking out my window at a very rainy santiago. we didn’t have power or running water in lab all morning - the city shuts down when it rains. it will be a little weird going back to my lab at MIT - i’ve gotten used to the little quirks here, like storing our lunches in the cold room and celebrating everyone’s birthdays with homemade cake pops. but i’ve done a lot of science here too; i’ve gained experience in new lab techniques and learned so so much about cancer and cell signaling pathways (thanks to the nicest and most helpful and hilarious people who work in my lab) and i am insanely grateful to have had this opportunity to confirm that i love what i’m doing.  


<3 maria

8/5/13

diy tissue paper tassel garland!

dorm decorations have been on my mind quite a bit lately so i decided to look into some cheap and easy ways to make my own stuff instead of buying from places like urban outfitters or even etsy!! so here's a simple garland you guys can make from tissue paper (it's time-consuming, yes, but cheap and pretty easy to execute) so enjoy, and i hope it makes sense!

materials
tissue paper (it's difficult to find the gold color in stores, so i just ordered it on amazon!!)
scissors
exacto knife (or you could just use scissors)
twine
hot glue gun (i used super glue)
corkboard to cut on (if you're using an exacto knife)

i used three sheets of each color to make one full garland and because each sheet gives you four tassels, that's 36 tassels in total! you can definitely always use more or less, but i thought this was a good amount for the length of twine i wanted to use. let's get started!



for this next step, make sure that if you're using an exacto knife that you're cutting on top of a corkboard! and be careful, because these are extremely sharp instruments!! 
and don't forget to leave 2 inches at the top :~)



after you cut this down the middle, you'll get 3 pieces of tissue and one will be bigger than the other two. take this one and cut it in half. now you'll have four equal pieces! take each one of those pieces and...


once you've twisted it into a long strand, form a loop at the top and use superglue/hot glue gun to hold that loop shape. leave to dry for a bit and then string it all together and enjoy your finished product!


7/30/13

cruisin (part 2)

hello beautiful people! here's the last batch of pictures from my cruise! 


^^ my sister, my cousin and i in one of the ship's many pools and one of my favorite pictures from our trip to st. john! ^^


the ship docked at st. thomas, but we didn't stay there long. we took a taxi, a ferry, and then another taxi to get to the beach in st. john and it was totally worth the trip. st. john is absolutely beautiful. the water is crystal clear and the beaches are small and isolated. it felt like we were on our own private island!


^^ some wild donkeys! they were just chillin right outside the beach in st. john. we were so tempted to touch them, but used our better judgement and decided against it. ^^


^^ we went snorkeling! it was my first time ever and it was soooo much fun. we saw lots of tropical fish and even a stingray! there were tons of schools of teeny-tiny fish everywhere and it was so fun swimming through them because they make way for you! it was awesome. ^^






^^ our last stop was at st. maarten. this was my second time on the island and it was even better than the first. we went to the beach on the french side of the island (it's divided into two sides: french and dutch) and it was great. they have lots of water-activities to do such as parasailing, jet-skis, water-trampolines, etc. ^^


^^ me and the fam. i love them. (also me reppin the gator nation!) ^^


^^ us before riding jet-skis! my sister drove most of the time (i was terrified the whole time she drove) but i drove a bit towards the end of our 30-minute session (driving is waaaay better than being a passenger). it was so much fun! i felt like a total badass (; ^^ 


^^ the "kids" of the group at the mexican restaurant on board the ship. i put kids in quotation marks because our ages ranged from 15 to 23 (except for my 11-year-old cousin, poor guy) sooo yeah. "kids." ^^


so that's pretty much my cruise in a nutshell! it was soo much fun (10/10 would cruise again). but now that i'm back in reality it's time for me to get my life organized and prepare to move into my dorm!! i'm so excited to begin this new chapter of my life and i can't wait to share it with all of you! stay tuned!

<3 alex

7/29/13

grilled asparagus and creamy lemon quinoa!

hello friends!! hope you're all faring well in this insufferable summer heat (and doing what i do by staying indoors and watching netflix aha just kidding...kinda) anyway today i wanted to share one of my new favorite summer recipes with you :~) something that's delicious, healthy, and super easy to make. i got the inspiration to make this meal from greenkitchenstories {recipe} so all credit definitely goes to the owner(s) of that blog!!

ingredients (serves 2)
  • 1/4 cup white OR whole-grain quinoa (i used whole-grain bc i'm tryna be a better person)
  • however many stalks of asparagus you want (i used 6 but it was a little much for me)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red bell peppers (cut into bite size pieces and grill for a bit!)
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • a dash of coriander OR parsley (i used coriander!)

dressing ingredients
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon wedge

how to prepare

i just cooked the quinoa in our rice cooker but if you don't own a rice cooker, just follow the instructions on your package! usually they'll just tell you cook it in a saucepan on the stove with water. do this first, and set the quinoa aside to cool!

next, make the dressing. whisk the olive oil, soy sauce, and lemon juice together first, and then add the cumin. you may either have the cumin already ground into a powder (like my family does...because us indians use cumin for all things) or as seeds. either way, make sure the end result is a ground powder!!

for grilling the asparagus, you can either use a charcoal grill or a simple griddle pan over high heat. rinse and dry the asparagus, drizzle the olive oil on top, and season with salt. grill and turn as needed (mine took 5 minutes to get fully cooked)

while that's happening, you can get a bowl and throw the quinoa, dressing, feta cheese, and bell peppers together and mix well. i didn't actually grill my bell peppers, but they still tasted good!! arrange your asparagus on a plate and top with the quinoa. add the coriander leaves, and you're all set!

enjoy!!!
<3 pratibha

7/25/13

life lately

hello friends! this summer is coming to an end so quickly...i can't believe i go back to school in almost three weeks!!! so excited but also a little bit sad that summertime is over...because i won't have as much time to do as many things as i'd like to...oh well. this past month has been jam-packed with traveling and roadtrips and family and friends, it's been really insane! but i've been loving every single minute of it, so i just wanted to share some pictures with you guys. the first trip we went on was to seven springs resort in pennsylvania, and it was so beautiful...tons of fog, forestry, and quality ~family time~





there was a lot of food involved...


the next weekend, we headed up north to door county in wisconsin for the 4th of july. it's a small town next to lake michigan with tons of cute restaurants, water-related activities, and precious shops. and surprisingly, it ended up being one of the best trips we have ever been on! from strawberry picking to sunsets on our hotel's private beach to drive-in theaters, i really can't imagine a better family vacation (and if maria and alex ever come visit wisconsin, i am definitely taking them to door country bc i know they would love the quaintness of it all)








and then the next weekend, i took a train to michigan by myself to visit some old and wonderful friends from the middle school years!! and also to see one direction...which was obviously great. and i just want to say how nice it is that i haven't lost touch with a lot of my friends from way back in 2007 because they're all such amazing people and i've missed them so much (from all the moving around and whatnot) so it was a week well spent in their company






alriiiiight, that's all for now! but since college is approaching again, i'm working on a couple diy projects and ~beginning of college~ posts, so stay tuned for those posts coming shortly...and have a great rest of the summer, you donuts...
 <3 pratibha
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