Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in Review

Hey y'all! With first semester over and college applications behind me, I'm finally a second semester senior. All I have to do now is wait for the decisions, keep my grades up, and enjoy my last 8 months at home! I thought that I'd go ahead and do a recap of the year for y'all to know what I've been up to since August, as well as reflect a little bit on the lessons of 2014. (warning: I didn't align my pictures but yolo).

These two months were a blur of enjoying school and getting super involved with my blog. I was on a cooking high, and churned out recipes like no one's business. My personal favorite is still my Healthy Cookie Dough Dip, which I plan to make tomorrow :)

I ran for student government at school and won! I have to say this has been an incredibly fulfilling experience thus far, although trying at times, and I wouldn't give it up for the world. Thank you to all of you for being so supportive, even if you couldn't directly vote for me.

I finished the #100HappyDays Challenge! Even though the thoughts behind it are nice, I realized that I didn't like being forced to push all my happiness into a picture, every single day. I wrote more about it here!
I also finished my junior year and dove into a summer full of art class (I took it at the community college to fulfill a requirement), working at my lab in San Francisco, and early morning gym trips. OH, and college apps. Lots of those. 

I continued to enjoy my summer and actually met Cassey Ho, the creator of Blogilates! (As I type this I'm sore from her new Extreme Abs video- oh the irony). I also did some traveling, with a family vacation to Crater Lake and some college visits. I started off my senior year, which meant lots of schoolwork, in addition to writing my life story for college apps.

A big couple of months- I got my license, turned 17, went to my first concert (Neon Trees, American Authors, Lindsey Sterling, and Matt Nathanson) and participated in our school's annual Homecoming celebrations, a week so big that I broke my blog hiatus to recap it. More info here!

I fell in love with Taylor Swift's 1989 (Is it bad that this is in my highlights of the year?), got into the Christmas spirit (I made my Christmas playlist November 1st!), and Lynbrook won 1st place at our district-wide Olympics, IDC Fantastics. I finished college apps, and had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I started watching Grey's Anatomy, which is literally the world's most addicting show (On Season 6 and will hurt anyone who tries to spoil it for me). Christmas was amazing, and I got a really cool trio of iPhone lenses (fisheye, macro, and wide angle), and some books. Last weekend, we went to Tahoe, so I got to ski for the first time in 4 years, and play with my new lenses!

And with that, we're out. Cheers, 2014! Happy New Year to all y'all, and let's make 2015 our year :) See you soon- my blog break is officially over!

xo, Hima

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Recap: Homecoming Week!

Hey y'all! To any first time readers, HI! To everyone else, I know I said I'd be on a blog break until I finish college applications in December, but this past week was just too amazing not to be documented. This post is very very photo-heavy, so sorry for how long it is. Big shout out to Ian Pearman, Roger Chen, and Dara Jovkar for photos.
Last week was my high school's annual homecoming week, and as a senior, it was my last. Essentially, each class takes one day and transforms the school into whatever their theme is for that one day. We have a gauntlet before school, skits and dances during break, and a schoolwide rally and football game on Friday, as well as a dance on Friday. We start making decorations and working on our performances at the beginning of summer, so it's definitely a labor of love. Oh, and it's a class competition.
this was our backdrop from the skit, completely hand painted. I'm literally obsessed with it. 
The Lynbrook staff is absolutely phenomenal, and they take part in all the fun too! Their theme was travel through time, so my friends and I decided to hippie it out. Believe it or not, the guy in the middle is our wonderful Spanish teacher.

I'm actually really on board with headwraps now. I think it's time to bring that back. 

The freshman theme was pirates, and they were just so cute! Since I'm in student government, I went early to help them out with their gauntlet, and I had a lot of fun.

I borrowed the foam sword from a teacher for a while, but it got too annoying to carry around oops. 

The sophomores were ancient Japan, and they did a wonderful job. Their skit was the best I've seen among all the classes in my four years, so I'm really proud of them. Some of my leadership girls and I got to intro their skit, and we definitely worked some Iggy Azalea (from LA to Tokyo!) in. We even tried to be the Japanese flag hehe.

The juniors were ancient Greece, so what other than toga party??? As usual, 2016's decorations were gorgeous. After school Wednesday, we started setting up at school for senior homecoming on Thursday, and ended up pulling an all-nighter to finish up.

The senior theme was music through time. On Thursday morning, we had our gauntlet, and having had 0 sleep I lost my voice almost immediately. It was definitely worth it though. My stats teacher was a total homie and gave us time to nap in his class- I was out cold for a while. I was in the skit, playing Tupac, and although my shirt was about 7 sizes too big and my bandana fell off immediately, it was tons of fun. I got to introduce the skit again with all the other senior ASB officers.

pretty much the least intimidating Tupac ever but that's okay.
The Rally on Friday was incredible. I was in the skit as our school rival, but sadly there are no pictures of me doing so. My friends and I dressed up in the senior colors and spelled out Seniors XV (15, since we're the class of 2015), and that was a ton of fun.

Friday night I went to the homecoming game, and although we lost, our boys gave it their all, and it was a fitting end to homecoming week with all of my favorite people.

Although I had very little sleep, and was at school pretty much 24/7, I know that this was one of the best weeks of my life, and one of those high school memories that I'll cherish forever! Love you all!

xo, Hima

Monday, August 18, 2014

Instarecap + Blog Announcement

Hey y'all!
I haven't written a proper post in several weeks, except Monday Melodies, which is basically the easiest thing ever, so let's just say that unless you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug teehee), you have no idea what I've been doing for the past million years. And yaknow since this is a lifestyle blog, I thought I might write about what I've been up to, because those are some of the posts I enjoy most on my bbffl Marla's blog. I have a really big announcement today, so if that's what you're interested in, just scroll to the bottom of the post (:

On our Crater Lake trip, we stopped halfway, in Redding, CA, and got ice cream at the cutest little place ever! They hand make all their ice cream each day. This is 1/2 birthday cake (because I am OBSESSED with all things birthday cake/cake batter), and 1/2 chocolate chip.
Sundial Bridge, again in Redding. This bridge spans the Sacramento River (I think), and at night it's all lit up, and local musicians come out to play and people bring their dogs and it's pretty much the best thing ever. 
Lake sunset at Diamond Lake, Oregon while roasting s'mores. Best night ever? I think yes. 
Ahhh looking at this right now, I just want to go back to Crater Lake. Such a beautiful, and honestly surreal place. When you're looking at it, it's hard to believe how blue it is! Also there's some snow there that still hasn't melted, and we took Bella to experience it- funniest thing ever! She kept jumping around and kicking it into our faces. 

The day we got back from Crater Lake, my mom and I headed cross-country to visit friends/family and check out some colleges. I'm always that kid with the window seat with my face plastered to the window on planes- I just can't get enough of the views!
One of my favorite things to photograph is cathedrals. They just have such a serene symmetry and subtle opulence that I love. Also it makes me feel like I'm in a castle which is always fun (:                                     
My mom and I were still touring, and I started to really miss my younger brother, and I started thinking about what is going to happen when I go off to college next year. I was gone for two days and I missed him so much, so how am I ever going to last two months? He truly is my best friend and confidante. He also gives really great advice for a 10 year-old!
We stopped in Houston to visit my favorite aunt, which was lovely as always! And yes, I'm wearing a Disney Princess shirt. It says Royals. I hope to join their ranks some day. 
I hadn't baked in a while and I missed it. Chocolate chip cookies are always a foolproof recipe right? And yes, they tasted as good as they looked!

Okay, so on to that big announcement I keep talking about. I'm a senior in high school this year, which means I'm doing a whole lot of applying to colleges this semester. That's a lot of writing, and editing, and work in general, so I want to put my best foot forward. While I love blogging, it doesn't necessarily have the same importance in my life as a successful college career would have, so I've decided to take a blog break for this semester. I'll still be on Instagram and definitely can be reached by email (, but you likely won't see anything on this blog until December. So until then, bye everyone (: Wish me luck! 

xo, Hima

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Melodies Link-Up #7

HI everyone! Sorry for being SUCH a horrible blogger lately! The last two weeks have been a blur of no wifi, whirlwind travels, and before school stuff starting up again, so I haven't had time to blog or read all of your blogs. I also hella procrastinated on summer homework so I'm up to my ears in that right now :( Fortunately, there is one thing that keeps me going every week- music! Since this week was a lot of work/quiet time, my playlist is super slow and kind of trance-esque
I don't know what it is about Jack Johnson, but I just LOVE listening to him when I'm working. His voice is just so calming and makes me happy. (Yes, even with the infamous Pina Colada song). Let me know what your favorite song from this playlist is and please link up your latest playlist below! :)

xo, Hima

Hima Hearts

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Melodies Link Up #6

Hey y'all! Today I'm out of town again (this time in North Carolina- follow me on Instagram to keep up!) but I can't wait to get back and tell you guys about Crater Lake. SO many pictures to go through. Until then, check out this week's Monday Melodies link-up!

My playlist this week is different then most of mine thus far. I was listening to my work playlist when I came across a couple of songs by Foxes that I used to listen to ALL the time, and totally forgot about, so I re-fell in love with those. I also found this new (to me) group called Anthem Lights that does the BEST covers. I loved listening to the Best of 2013 Mash-up- brought back so many memories and songs I had forgotten about. Have you ever heard of them?

We also have our very own button that you can put into your blog post/on your sidebar. (I just realized how not exciting this is and how excited about this I am. Oh well, #bloggerproblems)
Hima Hearts
What have you been listening to this week? Let me know in the comments below! :)

xo, Hima

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Melodies Link Up #5

Hey y'all! I'm enjoying Crater Lake in Oregon right now, but we couldn't leave you hanging with Monday Melodies! This week's playlist is really an amalgam of songs that have really caught my interest this week- songs I've been humming unconsciously, singing in the shower/car, and working out to. True story- my workout buddy Monica and I created a plank challenge to Something I Need, by One Republic, because we are so in love with the song. Completing the challenge is a work in progress! ;)


Any songs on here that we have in common? Any songs that should be on Monday Melodies next week? Let me know in the comments below :)

xo, Hima

P.S. I'm guest-posting at blog goddess Helene's place today about my most-hated first world problems! Go check it out!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review: The Power of Habit

Remember way back when I used to do monthly book posts?  I liked that, but then finals and AP tests happened, so I literally did not read for a month and a half. I recently pulled out some books at home that I had never gotten around to reading. One of them was The Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg.
I have to say, I’m not a big self-help book reader, but I’m a huge science nerd, especially when it comes to things I can apply in my daily life, like habits, so I was pretty excited to read this book and understand how habits are formed. Overall, I would say the book was written in a fun and easy to follow way, with periodical anecdotes. Something that was really helpful for me was having Duhigg explain how a habit loop works in the first chapter, and then go back to the familiar structure in every chapter thereafter. Personally, I do wish this book included a little more hard science, but I can understand how that would be a turnoff for people not so interested in the neuroscience aspect of it.
Part of what made this book so good was how applicable the things I learned were. Once I started identifying the cues that prompted certain habits for me, It was easier to change them. The general principle behind changing bad habits, like sitting down for an episode of Orange in the New Black (not a fan by the way, hate on me all you want), after work instead of going to the gym, is identifying the cue and reward, and keeping both of those the same, while changing the behavior. If you watch TV after work, you might feel relaxed and enjoy unwinding, and you do it because you’re stressed out. So the solution to getting to the gym is identifying the feeling of getting stressed out and lacing up your running shoes (or shoving your foot in and adjusting if you’re lazy like me). In terms of reward, your brain will produce endorphins that will both relax and energize you.
Another concept I found really interesting was the idea of willpower as a muscle. If  you overwork a muscle, it gets tired and torn up, and doesn’t work as well as it could. In the same way, if you stay away from junk food all day and plan to go to the gym at night, your willpowers muscle might be overused and you might bings watch TV with junk food instead of going to the gym. For me, I tend to put off going to the gym unless I do It first thing in the morning, so I’ve been waking up early with my friend Monica and going around 6 AM. Of course, this habit is still in the making since we’ve only done it for a week. Of course, like any muscle, willpower can get stronger, which is why with practice, weaning off of junk food or soda becomes easier.
Pretty cool stuff, huh? And super applicable. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone even slightly interested in the science of habit (so basically everyone because humans are creatures of habit), and rate a solid 4.5 stars

What’s on your reading list? I’m definitely looking for new books to read. Leave a comment below and friend me on Goodreads so we can check each others’ books out!

P.S. Please help me! Blogger is not letting me align the top photo + this text and I don't know why. It's really bothering me- what do I do?

xo, Hima

Thursday, July 24, 2014


During the #100HappyDays challenge (okay, even I'm tired of talking about it. Last time, I promise), I always used the photo posts to write a little bit about what was going on in my life, but I haven't really done that in a while, so let's talk about what I'm currently doing. Oh yeah, and I'll just casually slip in some Instagram pictures from the last two weeks.

I'm currently...
Hello, Golden Gate Bridge. I love you too. 
L I S T E N I N G to Something I Need by OneRepublic! This song is on the playlist for BodyPump, which my workout buddy and I love, and we've fallen in love with this song. It's so cute and perfectly OneRepublic. It'll definitely show up on next week's Monday Melodies.

E A T I N G all the fruits! My favorite thing about summer is the abundance of fruits- peaches, nectarines, berries, and most recently,  gorgeously tart apples from our tree in the backyard. Also I tried sushi for the first time (see below!) and I really liked it!

D R I N K I N G water, as always. I'm just not a drinks person and I actually think water tastes really good.

I don't look like this on a daily basis. Or like ever. Senior portraits were a couple of weeks ago and I'm waiting for my prints!

W E A R I N G workout clothes. Pretty much all the time. I colored in the UnderArmour sign with black sharpie so now my black leggings look like fancy pants and I can wear them to work! #dontjudgeme. I'm actually the worst. My aspirations for the next year include developing the world's coolest workout clothes collection. 

F E E L I N G perfectly content. Nothing like summer for a recharge and reset between junior and senior year!

R E A D I N G Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian, by Avi Steinberg. Okay, how cool does that sound! I'm almost done, and white it was difficult for me to read at first, I'm glad I continued, because I actually really love it!

W A N T I N G Cellucor protein powder, new workout clothes. Muscle milk is gross, you guys. Especially when you have 4 pounds your mom bought on sale at Costco a year ago. (almost done though!)

N E E D I N G a new phone because I randomly lose service about 13 times a day. I want an iPhone for sure- I'm so over 0 case options. (Oh god, I sound so horrible. I promise I'm not actually a brat)

L O V I N G my new shoes from the Nike Outlet. I've had my old ones for 2.5 years now and they were starting to break down. Obsessed with these babies!

That's all for me today! :) What are you currently doing/loving/obsessed with/drinking/eating/whatever you can think of?

xo, Hima

Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Melodies Link-Up #4

Hey y'all! Welcome to the 4th week of Monday Melodies :)  This week my playlist is a little bit of everything because I was trying to find music to help me focus at work. I tried trance-y, relaxing music, as well as straight up EDM, and some upbeat workout songs, and I really liked them all! Thank you to those of you who gave me feedback with regards to having a new playlist each week- I've made those changes and I think I like it better too!

What are your favorite songs this week? Any of the same picks as me? Let me know in the comments below!

xo, Hima

Thursday, July 17, 2014

My Honest Thoughts on #100HappyDays

Hey y'all! So this post has been a long time coming. I finished the challenge on Instagram 2 weeks ago, and wrote my final recap last week, so check that out if you haven't already! I've also decided to intersperse my text with some of my favorite photos from the challenge, so enjoy!
I'm not going to lie, I did not get as much out of this challenge as I wanted to. According to the website:

       "People successfully completing the challenge claimed to:

        - Start noticing what makes them happy every day;
        - Be in a better mood every day;
        - Start receiving more compliments from other people;
        - Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
        - Become more optimistic;
        - Fall in love during the challenge."

I did notice what made me happy, but that was only because "Oh, crap, I need a post for today." I'm a really competitive person, so I was more worried about being one of the few people to finish the challenge (Shoutout to Marla and Shruthi for finishing too!) than actually finding things to be happy about. It really stressed me out when it was 9 PM and I hadn't posted anything for the day. 
I'm also a total perfectionist, so my photo had to be like-worthy, so not just a last-minute selfie, or poorly photographed food. Good composition, beautiful lighting, and not-obviously filtered (although I broke this rule a few times). Remember that I started this in March, so I was doing this all through AP tests and finals. Because of this, I turned to my 1500 photo camera roll/Facebook to look for throwbacks. I'm no even kidding, at the end of the challenge, I ran out of pictures to post. I'm pretty sure I posted 3 or 4 photos from my school's grad with different people. 

It's not that I always hated it. I loved taking the time to write a couple of thoughtful sentences about a friend whom I really appreciated, and it was truly an honor to be in another friend's post for the day. With the whole being happier thing, I'm already a pretty happy person, so that wasn't exactly my goal. 

The effects of #100HappyDays? Posting every single day means lots of notifications, so nowadays, I don't post everyday (thank god- it's WAY too much work), and I don't have as many notifications now, which was a little weird at first, but I've liked settling back into my regular routine of posting whenever I feel like it.

Do I recommend trying the challenge? Sure! It's definitely a challenge, and you'll feel accomplished for getting it done, and who knows- you might see the effects the foundation claims people see. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you. No harm in trying :)

If you've done the challenge, what are your thoughts on it? If not, would you consider trying it? 

xo, Hima