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


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


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


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


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!

tissue paper (it's difficult to find the gold color in stores, so i just ordered it on amazon!!)
exacto knife (or you could just use scissors)
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!

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