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Twenty-something lessons learned

21 Aug

As I turn a year older this week, I sit back and reflect on the year that has gone by. And as I do so, I can’t help but notice all the lessons life has taught me in it. And although some of them were more bitter than not to live through, they were nonetheless important experiences for me to face, to learn from.

Today, I want to share some of those lessons with you, in the hopes that maybe they will aid someone out there in some way. After all, its best to learn from others’ mistakes than to go making your own, right?

  1. Sometimes you will trust the wrong people. It will hurt but you have to realize that it was not your fault and you will have to forgive yourself for it.
  2. Words can hurt more than you realize, so be careful with them.
  3. No one is irreplaceable, except your mother! If someone leaves your side, it is only to make space for another person. So stop fretting over the ones who walk away!
  4. On that note, remember this-hold your family close to yourself but your mother even closer. She is God’s greatest gift to you!
  5. Stop thinking about what others think of you and stop trying to see yourself from their eyes. Don’t re-type that text. Don’t reread what you sent! Learn to see yourself from your own eyes, learn to love what you see. Celebrate every part of yourself!
  6. Believe in miracles. That girl with the three rounds of failed pregnancies will call you from the hospital nursery post the birth of her twins. Your friend will get to marry the man she always loved. The class fellow who seemed to fail at everything will finally meet up with you and brag about all that they have achieved.
  7. Absolute honesty can at times hurt more than you can imagine. Don’t learn to lie, but do learn to identify the exact point where you need to, well, shut up.
  8. Love freely, but expect none in return. If you do, that is recipe for disaster. If you don’t, you shed half of your troubles.
  9. Buy those Stan Smiths. They never go out of style!
  10. Use the words that broke you the most as your biggest strength. Let them drive you to be your best self!
  11. Humility is the sexiest attribute to possess. That and intelligence.
  12. Opening about your insecurities isn’t easy, but if you talk to the right people about them you will be fine. If you choose the wrong person, don’t worry. The right ones will come along soon enough and help erase any harm done.
  13. Don’t pick up that call your instinct tells you not to. F**k your heart. Trust your mind in this one,
  14. Put your strengths in a box, block out everything else and focus on just them. Everything will then fall in place.
  15. Also, block every form of hater and hatred from your life. Don’t be mean, but just don’t give space to negativity in your life.
  16. Being young means you will make mistakes no matter how careful you are, so cut yourself some slack and enjoy life a bit.
  17. You can’t control every situation, it is just not humanly possible. So if things don’t go according to plan, don’t beat yourself down on it. Instead let yourself go with the flow for once!
  18. It is okay to have dreams different from your peers, you don’t have to want what others around you want.
  19. If your career is your number one priority, not only is that perfectly fine, but anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t have your best interests at heart. If they love you, they will support you no matter what, that is how simple the equation is. No ‘raised to the powers’, no variables in this one!
  20. Some people will hurt you no matter how much you love them and some will love you no matter how much hurt them. Cut out the former kind from your life, and start valuing the later group. Those are the ones that will be sitting proudly in the front row, cheering you on for every single one of your accomplishments, because they will be part of the reason you got on the stage in the first place!
  21. Your mom was right about there being a specific way to fold your laundry and to do the dishes and to dry the dishes. She was also spot on in her ways to identify and avoid fuc*boys. In fact, she was right about almost everything. You are old enough now to admit that.
  22. But maybe not old enough yet to admit how much like her you have become!
  23. Don’t let yourself be walked over by anyone, no matter how important they are to you or how much you love them. No one should have that kind of power over you, period. 

 

Friday Five

12 Aug

Travelling isn’t easy. 

There. I said it. 

I love travelling, honestly. But like all good things, it has its cons. And for me one of the biggest con is  packing. 

Somehow, every time, no matter how much I try, I end up leaving behind at least one very important thing. And mostly it’s not that I forget to pack it, it’s usually because in the past trips I wouldn’t have needed the item so I skip packing it this time. And by some law, it’s always that one thing I end up needing the most in the particular trip. 

One thing though that I no longer compromise on, and hence never leave behind, is my small collection of skin care products. Simply because you need to take extra care of your skin while travelling. Plus, no matter where you are travelling to, the chances of not finding the exact products that work for your skin are always higher than not. 

To avoid the risk of them bursting into my luggage though, I always hand carry my skin care products. Which essentially means I have to get travel sizes for all of them but thanks to shops like Sephora, it is so easy to get my favourite items in mini versions that it seems like no trouble at all!

Since I just got back from travelling abroad, and having packed my must haves again proved to be a great decision (for my skin), I figured I’d share with you the five travel sized skin care products I always have in my carry on and that I wouldn’t risk travelling without, ever!

1. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate® Cleanser Daily Foaming Wash 

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again. This cleanser is the best-especially for acne prone skins. I tend to break out more while travelling, but since I’ve begun travelling with this my breakouts have reduced marginally!

2.  First aid beauty Ultra Repair® Pure Mineral Sunscreen Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 40

I’ve combination skin that dries up even more when I’m travelling, so this is an essential travel item for me. If a strong (long lasting) moisturiser isn’t enough of a pro for you, the fact that this one comes with an SPF 40 should have you running for your credit card. 

3. Ouai Morning After Kit

Once you begin using this on your travels, there will be no going back. Trust me!

4. Dr. Jart+ Pore Minimalist Black Charcoal Sheet Mask

I love a good sheet mask. Especially when I’ve been out all day being a tourist. However, this charcoal one by Dr. Jart is probably the best one out there! Easy to use and very effective!

5. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment Sunscreen SPF 15

Just like the rest of yoir sun-exposed body parts, your lips deserve a little extra protection too and this sunscreen is here to save your day while keeping your lips moisturised and tinted!

Till next time,

Gull. 

Friday Five

1 Jul

Hi everyone!

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. I’m currently travelling which makes sitting down with my laptop to write a post really hard!

However, I had been really looking forward to write this week’s Friday Five. Why? Because it marks the start of the 4th of July weekend and (drum rolls please) it also marks the start of some amazing sales. Listing down my favourite five for you right here. Do check them out!


1. 50% off at Ann Taylor. I’m in love with this top. And how cute is this one. Use the code JUSTBEACHY at checkout to avail the offer. 


2. Up to 70% off at ASOS! Look at this top! Perfect for summer, no? And now perfectly priced too. 


3. Anthropologie is offering up to 30% off at select items. This top is perfect for this summer-on trend and just so cute!

4. Upto 60% off at the entire Old Navy online store! Now I can get this whole look at less than half the price! Ten minutes dance party? 


5. An extra 50% off on sale items at Banana Republic. What could be better? Maybe a 40% discount on regular priced items? ‘Omg’ indeed! (Seriously crushing on on this neck-tie top though!)

Happy shopping! Love,

 Gull!

How to perfect your airport look

27 Jun

Airport style has intrigued me since well before the age of Instagram and Snapchat, kids. (God, that makes me feel ancient!)

The main reason? I always wondered how all those celebrities looked so good even after having been stuck so long in an aircraft where the air will end up getting as stuffy and stale as in a semi-functional refrigerator. How did their clothes never look crumpled? How were their hair always so perfect?

Over the time, via a lot of hit and trial, I’ve found answers to some of my questions and in doing that, have improved my own personal “airport” style. 

Here is the first lesson that I have learned though-your “look” needs to have a perfect balance of chic, comfy and laid back. Something that looks great when you are boarding but also allows you to relax once you are on that plane!


Finding that perfect balance was the hard part but over the last few years I’ve found a go-to look for travelling and even though I still don’t manage to look as fresh as Victoria Beckham when I get off my flight, I can achieve blogger status in my post flight looks and for me that’s good enough. 

Here are my tips for getting your perfect airport look. 

Don’t wear light colours. 

No matter the length of your flight, even when you are super careful you will end up getting off the plane to find specks of stains of things you probably didn’t even touch. Even if you are super lucky and avoid that, every crinkle gets magnified in light colours and your clothes look like they have never been ironed. And have never been washed (from the overall stale air)!

Wear sweats or tights/leggings. 

Your legs, and your body needs to be able to have breathing space. Tight clothing doesn’t only cut down on that but also keeps you restricted and feeling uncomfortable. Plus, it definitely doesn’t help in your circulation to the lower limbs which is always a major concern for me on longer flights where I know my venous return is already getting compromised from the decreased activity and my posture (ok, too much medical jargon coming in). So for long flights I stick to comfy leggings or sweats!

However, for shorter flights stretchy jeans or cropped boyfriend jeans are my go to. They might not give me the space in long flights but they are “roomy” enough for shorter/domestic ones. 

Later, Layer, Layer 

For me, this has been so helpful. Because I either feel too hot or too cold while travelling. No in between. So, my go to is a loose tee with a light weight sweater , which I can remove or wear as the need be. And a jacket to layer. Stylish yet practical. 

Moreover, carrying a jacket thus has too many advantages-it warms me up when I am feeling too cold. Plus, I usually carry my heaviest jacket thus to cut down on my luggage weight. And, as my jacket collection is one of my favourite things in my wardrobe, any jacket that I fear wouldn’t be able to travel well in the luggage, I board with it. 

Most importantly, slip into the jacket when you get off your flight, and it will hide any imperfections in the rest of your look. (That’s why so many celebrities get off their flights with those cute but well covering jackets.) You will look put together no matter what the state of the rest of you is!

Keep socks 

They will keep your feet warm on the flight. But most importantly, when you walk through the security checks, slip them on and avoid having to walk completely barefoot through the line (and on that carpet)!

Keep your carry on light. 

I used to have so much in my hands I wouldn’t have the time, energy or enough free hands to focus on myself. So, now I keep it all minimal. An easy to manoeuvre carry on and a hand bag. That’s it. I keep the jacket on till I’m in the plane and then remove it or not depending on the temperature.

The girl who looks like she just walked out of the spa, not a flight? That’s one of her secrets. And I say that from personal experience!

Tie your hair. 

I used to think everyone boards the flight with their hair perfect, stays so through out and gets off thus too. I was so wrong. All I have learned is that the easiest way to keep my hair looking presentable is two tiered. Keep them in a loose bun through out (which, as a person with long hair, makes my life easier). And then brush them out and use a little dry shampoo right before landing. Because that is the only way you will look like you’ve showered in your life. Ever. 

Keep an extra pair of shoes 

And that’s the secret to all the heels you see in the “airport looks” done by your favourites. Smart girls always have an extra pair of heels on them that they pull on for boarding the flight and leaving it. Other than that, comfortable flats are all you will see them in. Always. 

Change out of those clothes 

Here is my favourite tip. It might make you feel a little extra, but, keep an extra tee in your carry on and change before landing. Especially if you know someone important is going to greet you at the airport and it has been a long flight. 

Your clothes aren’t the only factors that make up part of your airport looks, general hygiene and how fresh you look are equally important parts of the equation, so here are some tips on them!

Right after take off

Wash your face with a cleanser you prefer (get a travel-sized pack) and ensure that there is zero make-up on your face. Follow that up with a good moisturiser and an under-eye mask. 

In the flight 

Keep yourself well hydrated and avoid coffee and (if you drink) then keep their number minimum too. Drink loads of water, keep moisturising yourself and ask (nicely) for a hot towel or two to keep your hands and face completely clean. Keep breath mints with you and keep using that travel-sized perfume you brought along!  

Right before you land.

Wash your face . Brush your teeth and, if you can, floss. After refreshing yourself, use a little under eye concealer to instantly refresh your eyes. Swipe some mascara and a bit of eye liner. And you will look so much more presentable that even you will be surprised by the change! 
Cheers,

Gull

Friday Five 

24 Jun

Happy Friday everyone! This week went by in the blink of an eye and the realisation has left me with mixed emotions. Although I’m excited for what the future holds but I was having so much fun enjoying my vacations that their end is making me sad too!

However, bittersweet or not, I came across a lot many fun things this week which I’m too excited to share with you. Picking my top five was the hardest ever this time around but here they are, just for you!

1. These feminine lace-ups with the cutest details are available at the craziest (read:-ridiculously cheap) price! They are on sale though, so hurry up and get them while stocks last! (P.S. Express has an ‘up to 70% off’ sale going on so do check the whole sale out!)

 

2. This gorgeous H&M one-off-shoulder crop top that is on sale! And on trend too- we covered them in our June Style report in detail. (H&M has an ‘up to 60% off’ flash sale for today so hurry on over before you miss it!)

 

 

Kendra Scott earrings 

3. I’m in love with these Kendra Scott earrings! Honestly, they are cute but crazy, (just like my soul)! Get them here if they speak to you too!

 

 

 

J. Crew skirt

 
4. This ruffled skirt that I’ve seen on all of the best (and my favourite) fashion bloggers finally went on sale. And I couldn’t be happier!

 

Stella Sneakers

 


5. We all know white sneakers are here to stay, then why not add a little heel to them while staying comfortable and stylish? These sneakers by Stella do all that and more, giving any outfit an instant dose of edge. Get yours here!

 

Love,
Gull!

Weekend city guide-Miami edition

22 Jun

Happy Thursday everyone!

I am calling this guide a ‘mini’ one because I have only ever stayed there for two-three days max! The reason is simple, that’s the max amount of time I can spend doing ‘nothing’.

Don’t get me wrong, the endless ice-creams, the cutesy restaurants and cafes and the party scene there is pretty cool, and I love the quintessentially South Florida scene there, but as a tan person genetically, that is the max amount of sun bathing you will ever catch me doing. Ever. And when in Miami, you can not avoid the sun nor the beach-not enough, not at all!

So here is a Miami guide for anyone looking to do a small romantic getaway or a fun girls weekend there. (P.S., it is absolutely on my list for my bachelorette weekend though, like, duh.)

Where to stay

del

Delano-a view captured by their own photographer

 

Delano

 

It might be one of the priciest places to stay at in Miami, but the experience will be worth the splurge! Since it is Miami, the scene outside is the real deal-its infinity edge pool and bungalows with rainfall showers are what draw many a tourist here and the Agua Spa is like the sweet cherry on top of this deal. The suites themselves are nothing short of incredible featuring a tranquil white-on-white design scheme that will calm you to your core! My advice-stay here for one night at least! You will not regret the memories you will make!

Standard miami

The Standard (source: their website)


The Standard

If you are not looking to go overboard with your hotel expenditure (read:if you want to avoid bankruptcy), or if you plan to stay for more than a couple of nights, this one is a great choice! The Standard Hotel and Spa thinks of itself more as a spa with a few guestrooms rather than the other way round and has the perfect environment to help you unwind while you vacation. In between the outdoor soaking tubs, the 90-degree hammam, the cedar sauna and the on-site juice cafe-you will be addicted!

sanctuary

The Sanctuary (taken by their photographer)


Sanctuary South Beach

This is the ideal place to book if you are on a budget and yet still want to feel like you are staying at one of the best spots in the city. Their pool specifically makes you feel like you got more than what you paid for and not only are their rooms spacious and comfy but the beach and several shopping options are close by! The trick though is to book a month or more in advance for which they offer multiple too-good-to-be-true packages.

Where to Eat

versailles.jpg

Versailles


Versailles 

This place is one of the most iconic spots of Miami, called by some even ‘the most famous Cuban restaurant in the world’, and you definitely cant leave Miami before going here

Yardbird

 

 

If you are into Southern food and that too in a farm-to-table kind of a set-up, this is a must go for you! However, it was their brunch that stole my heart. (Available for weekends only, but too good!)

27-restaurant-4

27 Resturaunt

 

27 Restaurant

The interior has a colorful, beachy vibe (complete with picnic tables, bright shelving and catchy wallpaper). The menu is a mix of Caribbean, South American and Middle Eastern cuisines, and the food is divine!

 

ms cheez

Ms. Cheezious


Ms. Cheezious

 

This place on Biscayne Boulevard is one of a kind for one special reason-it is dedicated to cheese. From mac and cheese to grilled cheese, they serve it all but with quirky twists and at amazing prices. Two words-must go!

Fireman Derek’s Bake Shop

Started by an actual firefighter, they offer some of the best pies in the city-and the serving size of their slices is easily good enough for two! Economical and delicious-what more could one want?

The Local house

One of the best spots for brunch in the city! Their caramelized banana pancakes with creme fraiche are amazing! Also a must try is their crab cake benedict.

 

Where to get Caffeinated 

Las Olas Cafe 

For me, leaving Miami without trying some Cuban flavor was a huge no so my trip to Las Olas Cafe was a must! And was I glad that we went there. Getting served fantastic cups of coffee in a laid-back setting is in itself worth the extra walk in the May heat but the first sip of my café con leche y azúcar made all the extra effort more than worth it!

panther

Panther Coffee

Panther Coffee 

The reason Panther Coffee Miami Beach is a favorite with both locals and tourists is that it has kind of a Starbucks vibe but with much much better coffees. Plus, while their indoor space is great for work and meetings the outdoor seating in the breezeway is great for a fun, relaxed hangout!

Cafe Demetrio

It is a quaint European style coffeehouse that has some of the best artisanal brews in the city! Housed in a 1920s building with a garden-like terrace, it also offers live music-an over all combination that gives it an old world charm and makes it perfect for an afternoon retreat! Tip-try their Cafe Leo!

Bachour

Bachour Bakery + Bistro

Bachour Bakery + Bistro

Not exactly a cafe, but their coffee was amazing. However, what made this place an instant favorite for me were their macarons and their pastries! After all, who doesn’t love freshly baked goodies with their morning coffee?

Entertainment

Other than sunbathing on the beaches, that is. 

Rent a bike and explore

Two reasons why I suggest this-one, because this is a much better option than renting a car and trying to get around because parking in Miami, especially close to the beaches, is far from fun-we spent fifty minutes looking for a spot to park and then ended up having to pay extra to a valet to park for us. Secondly, Miami is like one flat biking town, and there is not a more fun and easy way to get from one place to another. Plus there are so many cute hidden spots that you can only stumble upon if you are biking!

Shop at 

The Mall at Lincoln road
It is a pedestrian only strip of boutiques and designer shops that is a must go for anyone looking for a good shopping experience!

Boho Hunter
This place will make you feel like you came to the beach unprepared, but will kindly offer all that you forgot you needed to bring! From wrap headbands for lounging by the pool to cute woven totes to ruffled skirts, they offer everything you will need to buy and then some! (They have an online store too which is ridiculously good!)

Books and books and Taschen (the later is on Lincoln rd.)
These shops are must visits for book lovers, especially if you forgot to bring a book for your day at the beach!

Must See

miami-beach-art-deco-district-ocean-blvd

Art Deco District


The Art Deco district-
The colorful buildings here are world famous, and there reason is pretty obvious for the colors and ‘art’ in them will leave you inspired! It’s an especially good spot for architecture buffs!
Tip:– Head to the Art Deco Welcome Center to get a guided/self-guided tour of the district!

Wynwood Arts District
Home to plenty of art galleries, shops, bars and some really amazing street art, this area is perfect for spending a relaxed afternoon in Miami.

Little Havana-
You can’t visit Miami without a trip to the city’s famous Cuban neighborhood. Packed with cigar shops, galleries, fantastic Cuban food and Cuban coffee spots, it is an experience in itself!

Little havana

A piece of Little Havana

 

vicayza.jpg

Vicayza

Vizcaya Museum and Garden- It is a national historic landmark and once you see it for yourself you will know what the hype is about! The property reminds you of an Italian villa and is a perfect spot for walking around, taking in some beautiful views and escaping the city’s hustle and bustle!

Must do

Kayak at Oleta River State Park
If you want to experience part of the natural beauty in the area, this park is a good way for that! For a non-sport-loving person like me (no shame, girl) it was an amazing spot for picnicking but locals suggested that the real way to see the park’s beauty was via kayaking! So do give it a try!

Jet-Ski-
How can you not when you are so close to such beautiful waters? There are multiple rental companies to use for this ‘must-do’, though
American WaterSports is usually the safest option. (Full disclosure-I might know how to swim, but huge water bodies scare me so I didn’t even go close to any of the jet skis!)

Enjoy the sunset from the South Point Park-
It is honestly the best spot to catch the sunset, both picturesque (think walkways, benches, green spaces) and relaxing!

Visit Key West
If you have an extra day on your hands, spend it in Key West. The beaches are less crowded and the views even prettier! Plus its famous coral reefs are ideal for activities like snorkeling and diving!

 

For your sweet tooth

bianco

Bianco Gelato


Bianco Gelato

For the absolute best gelato, you have to head here! Not only because of the taste but also because the owners are very quality conscious. Plus, they have so many options that it will leave you astounded-including even dairy-free ones!

 

Azucar-

Acuzar

 

Azucar ice cream

If you are amongst those who prefer their ice-creams to any gelato, this place should be on your list. Not only are their flavors incredible but they also make fresh ice-cream daily! It is located in Little Havana so try it out while you are touring the place!

Ella

This pop-up cafe is made for sugar lovers, or at least their buttermilk pancakes will make you feel so! A perfect spot for breakfast or for a grab-and-go sweet treat!

 

I hope next time you plan a visit to Miami, this guide will prove helpful to you! 

Lots of Love,
Gull.

Friday Five

17 Jun

Happy Friday everyone! Thank God the weekend is here-was said not by me because tbh I have been making such good use of my month off from med-school (i.e. I have been sleeping so much) that all my days have melted into one another and my Mondays have been as good as my Fridays!

Sorry, I get to feel this way only for three weeks once a year, hence I had to enjoy this/brag about it. However, I have also got five fab things for you today that I am sure you will love and will hopefully make you equally happy!

  1. The most gorgeous Rebecca Minkoff wrap around watch. 
    watch

    Rebecca Minkoff wrap around wrist watch

    Honestly, I was obsessed with it the minute I saw it! It is classy, with a twist and as it doubles as great arm candy it is perfect for travelling when you need accessories but also don’t have a lot of space for too many of them!

    ubd.jpg

    The “Go Naked” Urban decay perfume oil

  2. The new Urban decay perfume oil.
    Not only does it smell divine but it comes in a travel friendly bottle that fits in your purse, is easy to use and has the cutest packaging. It is limited edition though, so hurry and buy it while stocks last!

    jewelry

    Rings from Fervor Montreal

  3. Everything from Fervor Montreal.
    Especially their Chloe collection which is delicate and colorful at the same time.  And their statement rings! Each piece is so versatile, that it can go with almost anything-a quality I always look for when packing for over-seas trips because I want jewelry that can go with more than just one of my looks!
  4. This Furla travel bag which is everything!
    The best part is that it is on sale!! And I feel this bag (or one similar to it) is a must for every fashion-lover out there! It has length adjustable straps and can act as a backpack as well as a hand bag! (I love such flexible pieces!)
  5. This lash primer that has changed my life.
    Honestly, I always thought that lash primers were the most useless make-up item ever. Till I used this one and my perspective (and life) will now never be the same. One swipe of it on my lashes followed by my mascara and it feels like I am wearing the most natural-looking fake lashes. Does that make sense? I hope it does because I mean it-everywhere you go people will be commenting on your ‘brand new lashes’!

XO,
Gull.

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