Summer Sunday : Afternoon Tea

My idea of an ideal Sunday afternoon is getting my closest friends together for an English inspired afternoon tea session.

Conversations and the aroma of baked goodies filling the air. It wouldn’t be tea time without an elegant selection of tea cups and fresh cut flowers from the garden!

 

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Here is whats on the Menu:

  1. Daarjeling, Masala Chai | My grandmother brought loose leaf Daarjeling tea from a tea plantation in Daarjeling, India. This tea was so fragrant and infused with spices such as whole cinnamon and cardamom for an added warmth.
  2. Cucumber Tea Sandwiches | thinly sliced cucumbers, pepper jack cheese, lemon-dill mayo
  3. Chicken Cranberry Sandwiches |oven roasted chicken, cranberries, smoked chipotle gouda, sourdough bread , dijon mustard
  4. Personal Chicken Pot Pies | Chicken, carrots, peas in a creamy Alfredo sauce, topped with crust
  5. Cinnamon Streusal Muffins | These are from a boxed mix, but are delicious!
  6. Sparkling White Grape Cider | Passionfruit Italian Soda 

 

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This is from another tea that I hosted with Zaina. We switched things up a bit and added homeade vanilla bean cupcakes with chocolate frosting to the menu. Strawberries and nutella, meringue cookies from a local bakery, added more sweetness to the table.

The understated yet elegant runner is from Crate and Barrel. Crate and Barrel has fantastic dining decor items.

We added a string of Christmas tree lights for some fun.

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This comforting and light pumpkin spiced cake is an amazing fall addition to an Afternoon tea. I added some color to the platter with some fresh sprigs of rosemary from the garden. 

Scones are traditionally the heart of an English Afternoon Tea. The Tea parties depicted above did not have them. But, I do love make lemon blueberry scones. I use Tiffani Thiessan’s recipe – https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/blueberry-lemon-scones

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They are super easy to make and always come out spectacular. I serve them with raspberry jam and Devonshire clotted cream from Whole Foods. Clotted cream can be difficult to find in the States; the one I buy is the real deal and imported from England.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

The Perfect Weekday

I love a casual weekday where I can do things that I love. These ideal weekdays are a rare treasure. However, when they do occur, although understated, they are beyond special.

I started the day poolside with a homemade breakfast parfait. It had greek yogurt, fresh berries, granola, almonds, and a drizzle of honey.

 

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After this delightful breakfast, I went to Rolling Greens, a local nursery, to get some indoor trees for our house.

This was an adventure in itself. I love Rolling Greens.

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I ended up getting this tree for our living room. It adds so much freshness and a splash of color to our otherwise monochromatic living room.

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They had some rustic flowers laying out on the counter.

For lunch, I decided to make a Cleo inspired Grilled Halloumi, Watermelon Salad on a bed of lettuce with a light vinaigrette. Halloumi is a Mediterranean semi-hard cheese and its flavors are released when grilled.

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This was scrumptious.

Afternoon snack

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Would it even be a relaxing weekday, if you didn’t watch your favorite tv show? I had to make some stove top hot chocolate with dark chocolate, some half & half for added creaminess, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also cut up some fresh strawberries and had a mini chocolate croissant from Whole Foods.

Ramekins make everything better, right.

 

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For dinner, I arranged a cheese board with three types of cheeses, grilled crostini, fresh grapes, walnuts, raspberry jam, and a drizzle of honey.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

 

Malibu Farm + Zuma Beach// Pointe Dume

Cruising down PCH, wind in hair, Lana del Rey’s 13 Beachesplaying boldly in the background. This is my favorite way to spend a Saturday morning.

My first stop: Malibu Pier, to have an iconic California breakfast at the Malibu Farm restaurant. Everything about this place makes me happy.

From the rustic decor, the plants hanging from the ceiling, the rooftop terrace, and most importantly, the spectacular food!

Not to mention they make the best iced lattes + homemade watermelon juice.

 

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Their Swedish Mini Pancakes are my absolute favorite!

An artful juxtaposition of the most perfectly complementing flavors. The thin, soft yet subtly crisp pancakes, are topped with a tart medley of cooked berries, and then finished with a dollop of light homemade whipped cream.

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I also adore their fried egg sandwich. I ask to sub the bacon for avocado.

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Farm fresh vegetable stand on the Malibu Pier.

 

A quick, breezy drive down PCH later…….

Stop 2 : Zuma Beach : A secluded haven 

 

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Hike trails to Pointe Dume

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Sand in my toes, a breathtaking view- I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 

XOXO,

Shiza

The Floating City: Venezia

Summer in all of its anticipated glory is the time of the year we make concerted efforts to explore, traverse, and adventure hoping that we can accumulate a collection of memories that will last a lifetime.

You never know what experiences will be memorable. Last summer, while planning my trip to Italy, I initially thought that Venice would be an overhyped destination. I was more excited to see the less well known regions of Italy such as the Cinque Terre.

To my surprise, out of all of the extraordinarily beautiful cities that I visited in Italy, Venice is my favorite.

Venice is essentially a luminous labyrinth of bridges and canals interconnected in the most uncanny yet majestic way. Below the countless bridges, reveal centuries old water from the Adriatic Sea that was diverted into creating the Venice Lagoon.

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Me, Shiza, enjoying the Gondola ride

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  Opulent & Ornate | St. Mark’s Basilica  

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Inside the Gold laden Basilica

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Where to Stay | NH Collection Palazzo Barocio 

One of the most daunting aspects about visiting Venice is knowing where to stay. If you don’t choose wisely, you will have to haul your luggages around through cobblestone roads and bridges.

Therefore, it is vital that your hotel has its own water taxi dock. Once exiting the train station and fashionably enjoying a water taxi ride ride along the Grand Canal, our hotel had its own private dock, making it so easy for us! We stayed at the  NH Collection Palazzo Barocio hotel.

The rooms are of stellar quality, the staff are wonderful, and the lobby always had a warm welcome of Pelligrino and fruit infused waters.

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Hotel’s private water dock entrance

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View from our Hotel’s private dock

XOXO,

Shiza

 

June Favorites by S

Hello summertime. Goodbye real life.

It has been so invigorating relaxing this past week. I have set aside this week, the first week of my summer, to doing what I want. This means not touching my tons of AP summer homework stacked up on my desk and neglecting studying for the SAT’s for just this week. I really wanted to destress and have time for doing the things that I love the most. Anyways, with that being said, this week I have had plenty of time to catch up with old friends, shop, and have a spa day… something that I needed very much after the hectic month of May. How has everyone else been doing?

With that being said, let me get into my June favorites.

Lately, I have been loving the 80s fashion trends. I had such a fun shopping day with my mother on Monday and I picked up a few 80s inspired things from my favorite shop, ZARA.

Here’s a mini haul as to what I purchased, and I can honestly say that they are my current fashion favorites

  1. Bomber Jacket

Don’t hang clothing off of chandeliers , not a very good idea, but you got to do what you got to do for the blog, right? Anyways, what i particularly love about this jacket is that it has the cute green stripe through the sleeves and also the “Don’t grow up” message on the back of the jacket adds extra flair to it. I love the color scheme of the jacket and it can easily be paired with a simple crop top and some jeans. It can also be worn with a light colored dress and I wore this with my baby blue halter maxi dress.

2.  Simple tops

I got this sparkly grey crop top with patches on it. Patches were a major trend from the 90s and they are in right now. The patches on this top make it more interesting and fun. I also bought this peachy pink top and I love the material of it and the contrast with the white.

 

Also, in this shopping trip, I went to Topshop , and picked up some ballerina-esque black tie up heels. They are my ultimate favorite heels right now.  I literally could not resist them. I have been loving the Ballerina trends right now from tie up heels/sandals to wrap tops. This trend is by far my favorite.

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Beauty favorites:

  1. I have been loving the Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Aquacealer Concealer. This is the best concealer of all time. With dark circles caused by finals and stress, this concealer has been my go to. A little tiny bit goes a long way to cover up the darkness under my eyes and brighten them immediately. Although this is not a permanent solution to getting rid of dark circles, this concealer does an excellent job in concealing them. Definitely worth it. I got mine from Sephora.

 

 

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2. My second favorite of this month has been the Bath and Body Works Italian Citrus Sun Body lotion. It has a sweet and citrusy scent to it which makes it smell divine. I can’t get enough of this flavor. I have also been loving the perfume , Chance by Chanel, that I recently got. It has an energetic and floral scent which I love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3. My last but most favorite, beauty favorite of June is the Rosewater Aromatherapy Mist from Target and the California Rose Sea Salt Souffle from Whole foods. The Sea Salt Souffle is a 2 in 1 bath soak and body scrub. It has dried rose petals in it and smells like a rose garden which is incredible to bathe in. The aromatherapy mist is a great facial toner and I love spritzing it all over my body, face, and hair after I shower . Its a great addition to your post-shower routine before putting on lotion. Rose water is an excellent toner and keeps you hydrated.

 

 

 

Miscellaneous Favorites:

  1. Chocolate covered Stawberries are the best fruit and chocolate combination there is. I have been making them so often this month and they are my favorite thing to snack on. It is so simple and easy to make all you have to do is melt some semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler ( a pot filled halfway with  water, boiled, and then place a stove proof bowl on top of the pot and let the heat of the water underneath melt the chocolate. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water or you can just melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolate melts). It is super easy to make these. Or if you are really lazy, you can always by them from Godiva because Godiva is the best Chocolatier there is. There truffles are my absolute favorite.

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2.  Room DIY. My cousin got me this cute wooden heart for my room. It was blank and I decided to paint over it in some shades of emerald green and paint the word “live” on it in a cursive font. This has been my favorite room decor item so far and it is so easy to do yet so cute.

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That sums up my favorites of the month, so far, considering its only been half the month. Hope you all have an adventurous summer filled with happiness and positivity.

XOXO,

Shiza

 

 

 

 

Spa Night

With all of the stress, work, and everything going on in our busy lives, it is important for us to occasionally RELAX. I mean put down our phones , turn off its notifications,and spend a couple of hours devoting some time to doing what we love and DE-STRESSING ourselves both mentally and physically.

To me a spa night consists of my best friends , some yoga,  a luxurious Bubble bath, some baking , and tons of LAUGHTER and a good Old Hollywood movie to watch at night ( Breakfast at Tiffany’s and How to Steal a Million are some of my favs ) .And thats what I did this past Sunday. It truly made all the difference and has helped me clear my head and gave me amazing vibes. I swear vibes are everything.

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Bubble Bath Essentials:

A good bubble bath NEEDS

  • dark chocolate ( Godiva has the best)
  • Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
  • Pink Grapefruit Italian Soda Cocktail ( its virgin) with a splash of orange juice, ginger ale, Pink grapefruit Italian soda,  and fresh fruit (sliced strawberries and tangerines)  + mint & plenty of ICE
  • A good body scrub
  • Candles
  • Classical or Relaxing Spa music (pandora has some good stations)

 

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The ultimate comforting dessert is PECAN PIE and since baking is like the most therapeutic thing EVER to me, I had a lot of fun making it and devouring it with tons of whipped cream

 

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This is the opening scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Your Fifth Avenue outfit cannot get any cuter than this ? It can if Hubert de Givenchy was your designer and stylist. 

 

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A little yoga with a watermelon lemonade candle from Bath & Body Works burning on the side, is the perfect duo and the best way to get some relaxing exercise into your Spa Night. I love the after feeling of yoga, my body and mind feel rejuvenated. 

 

I hope my version of a Spa Night has inspired you to have your own. Good vibes only.

XOXO,

SHIZA

January Favs!

As January comes to an end, here are a couple of my favorites from this weird and hectic (for me, anyway) month!

Food: 

My first try of Paradise Bowls acai in Manhattan Beach! Really refreshing and pseudo-healthy but quite $$. Will def try the other flavors in the future.

Jams: 

Finals week = chillaxing music to study to, aka John Mayer. I listened to probably all his albums which had me reminiscing, but Room for Squares definitely caught my attention. Specifically,

No Such Thing – John Mayer

Why Georgia – John Mayer

83 – John Mayer

Neon – John Mayer

Style:

Copped these new periwinkle blue Converse in like November but decided to finally try them out for the new semester. A nice dash of spring during these chilly winter months.

Places:

I went by the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles for the Japanese new year. It’s such an informative and interesting; it digs deep into the Japanese internment camps on the West coast and the dark side of American history. It also has some super cool Japanese art!

 A total must if you’re in the area.

Reads:

See How They Run, the sequel of All Fall Down by Ally Carter came out recently! It’s about a teenage girl named Grace who lives in an American embassy in a small coastal European country filled with scandalous secrets, which is also the place where her mother was targeted and killed. I read some of it at the bookstore but forgot my money but I’m definitely going back to buy it! It was so gripping and had incredible imagery; I can’t wait to finish it.

Miscellaneous:

We got new moon jellies at the aquarium and they look absolutely incredible when the lights are off that I had to share!! Visit your local aquarium if you’re bored one weekend.

Another thing I’ve started in January was a social media cleanse. I deleted my Instagram and Twitter apps from my phone last week. It’s been kind of lonely and you have a crazy amount of time to think, but I think it has helped me focus on me more than what some people did over the weekend. I encourage you all to test it out even for a day.

Hope you enjoyed all my favorites for January and try them out in February!

Always,
Firda

(Water) Falling in Love | Santa Ynez Falls Hike

A super fun and relaxing way to unplug while also exercising is hiking! There are so many great hiking spots here in LA, but I totally fell in love with Santa Ynez Falls in Pacific Palisades. It’s a pretty easy hike; perfect for beginners, although there’s a few  rocks to climb and streams to cross at the end towards the small waterfall, but nothing too hard. We were there at about 9, and we had the whole place to ourselves! It was cute and quaint, if you could describe a hiking trail as that. I had just finished The Scarlet Letter, and Santa Ynez gave me the woods in Boston vibes although it probably wasn’t like it, besides the stream and the sun peeking through the trees ever so often. It was pretty chilly and shady, so it was a good idea that I had brought a light jacket. Anyway, I’ll for sure come here again to take some better pictures and maybe have a lil photoshoot with friends. Free parking and free entrance- just another reason to spend the day at Santa Ynez Falls. Some photos of the reverie below! Let me know what your favorite hiking spots are!

XO,

Firda

 

another world

 

surrounded by the trees

 

as the light hits the fall leaves

 

nature

 

rock ‘n streams

 

action shot!! drought in California what?

 

we made it! cutest lil waterfall! would be a lovely dip in the summertime

 

nice leaves

 

edgy tunnel

 

art!

 

drives on the PCH with Spanish music> anything else ever

Manhattan , New York

Hey guys , I know its been a while, but we are finally back on! Last month, I went to Manhattan for a short five day trip. It was truly a dream come true moment for me, because it was my first time visiting and I have been obsessed with Manhattan since I started watching Gossip Girl. Manhattan was truly everything I expected it to be and more.

Here are pictures that I took from my trip…. Enjoy!

Times Square at Night

Times Square at Night

Times Square in the day time

Times Square in the day time

5th Avenue

5th Avenue (I was definitely having an Audrey Hepburn moment!)

Flatiron Building in the Flatiron District , one of my favorite buildings straight across Madison Square Park

Flatiron Building in the Flatiron District , one of my favorite buildings straight across Madison Square Park

Empire State Building when  I was having an Affair to Remember Moment here!!

Empire State Building when I was having an Affair to Remember Moment here!!

View from the deck at night at the Empire State Building

View from the deck at night at the Empire State Building

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Manhattan Skyline

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island

Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island

New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street

New York Stock Exchange, Wall Street

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Being an APUSH nerd, I was very excited to see Federall Hall, where President George Washington was inaugurated

Being an APUSH nerd, I was very excited to see Federal Hall, where President George Washington was inaugurated

I had a Gossip Girl moment at Grand Central : Spotted Serena van der Woodsen getting off the train at Grand Central, look whose back... XOXO Gossip Girl

I had a Gossip Girl moment at Grand Central :
Spotted Serena van der Woodsen getting off the train at Grand Central, look whose back… XOXO Gossip Girl

Chuck Bass's Hotel, the Empire, in the Upper West Side ( Gossip Girl lovers would know)

Chuck Bass’s Hotel, the Empire, in the Upper West Side ( Gossip Girl lovers would know)

Manhattan from a helicopter's view

Manhattan from a helicopter’s view

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The lovely Central Park

The lovely Central Park

Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Upper East Side

Metropolitan Museum of Art in the Upper East Side

The cutest building EVER in Little Italy

The cutest building EVER in Little Italy

Winter ice skating at the Rockefeller Center

Winter ice skating at the Rockefeller Center

The aesthetic of Manhattan is so fun, energizing, and upbeat. It’s almost as if the city never sleep, you will se people walking around at midnight. Its really truly beautiful. I can’t wait to go back. Xx

Shiza

Summer Diaries Part 2 : Mumbai, India

While in India, I went on a four day trip to the charming city of Bollywood and the Arabian Sea. Here are pictures of my adventures!

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Aerial view of Mumbai from the flight.

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Versova Beach is a local , hidden beach that is beautiful! I rode a horse on the waterside here! It was so fun and relaxing.

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Gateway of India constructed to welcome the arrival of King George V and Queen Mary to Bombay (now Mumbai) .

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The famous Taj Hotel of Mumbai.

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Mumbai’s Speacialty breakfast : Vada Pau, consists of spicy fried potato patties filled with green chillies and served with fresh buns and a pudina (mint) chilli chutney and a sweet imli (tamarind) chutney. This is my favorite breakfast in Mumbai, I had it for three days straight because I loved it that much.

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This is from Naturals , a Juhu Beach based natural fruit ice cream shop’s watermelon ice cream! The shop offers fruity flavors but this one was my all time fav. The texture of the ice cream is very light yet creamy and the ice cream had little bits of fresh watermelon to it.

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Gorgeous Sea Link Bridge

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Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST)
is a historical train station built in 1887 to honor Queen Victoria’s 50th anniversery of being Queen.

Xoxo,
Shiza