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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

That Time I Was Famous

Last Friday night (cue Katy Perry), I could NOT sleep at all. I set a 6:30 AM alarm and woke up four times throughout the night because I was just so excited. So when my alarm finally went off, I straight up jumped out of my bed (stubbing my toe in the process), and was ready in less than 15 minutes. An hour and a half later, I was still waiting for my mom to be ready. This weekend, I went to the Summer Shape Up, hosted by Jillian Michaels and Shape magazine, to take a POP Pilates Class with Cassey Ho, creator of POP Pilates and owner of Blogilates, the biggest fitness channel on Youtube.
I found out about Cassey around March of last year and did her videos on and off in addition to other workouts for a while, which was all fine, but what I really love about her is her unfailing dedication and positivity. Watching her videos or seeing her Instagram posts just make me really happy in general, and it was so cool to get to meet my fitness idol.

I found out about it on Wednesday from Emma, and I knew I was going as soon as I saw it! We got there around 9:15, even though our class wasn't until 10:45, since we thought it would be a really big event, but we walked through all the stalls in 20 minutes. Since we had time to kill, we decided to take a cardio class with Kendall Hogan. Anyone know who that is? I didn't, but the class was fun!

The blogilates class was only 30 minutes, but it was 30 minutes of the best torture ever. Everyone of the worst, most painful (i.e. her favorite) moves from her videos were in the workout: Earthquakes, leg circlethons- you name it, we did it. By the end of class, I was shaking, but so happy. For those of you who were wondering, she's exactly the same in real life as she is in the videos. Super happy, bubbly, and very motivating. 

Afterwards, there was a meet and greet, which was really fun, because we all personally got to talk to her. Now, to explain the title of this post, I felt famous because she posted a photo on Instagram, and I'm in it! It was kinda cool because some of my friends tagged me and I was just really starstruck. 

Have you ever met a celebrity? Who, and how? Let me know in the comments below!

xo, Hima

Monday, July 14, 2014

Monday Melodies Link Up #3

Hey y’all! So for this week’s Monday Melodies, I decided to stray from my usual alternative/pop/indie mix and go all out pop. I went to a POP Pilates class with Cassey Ho (more details on that tomorrow- still starstruck!), so I decided to go with a full on pop playlist! 
Check it out, and let me know what you're loving in the music world lately! Also, question. Right now I have one Monday Melodies playlist that I just add on to every week. Would y'all like it better if I had a new playlist with that week's songs every week? So the playlists would be short- 6-7 songs. Thoughts?


xo, Hima

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

100 Happy Days | Days 88 - 100!

Hey y'all! So it's been a few days since I finished the #100HappyDays challenge on Instagram, so I thought I should get around to writing my final recap. I'll be doing a post on my experience later this week, or early next week, but until then- yay for hella pictures! (hi marla).

Day 88: Throwback to grad with my IDC partner Hana! Hana and I are weirdly alike, from being Mindy Project obsessed to randomly dressing the same- our advisor constantly gets us confused! 

Day 88 (pt. 2 I guess): So over the course of 100 days, I was bound to mess up the numbers at some point. I guess this was supposed to be day 89, but whatever. Another throwback to the county fair 12 years ago with someone I couldn't imagine my life without!

Day 89: OMG WHAT?! Yeah, you read right. I wrote a post about this a couple of weeks ago- here's the link. 
Day 90: So I'm learning to drive, and on my first day of highway driving practice, I was blessed with this beautiful sunset! And no, I did not take this while driving. 

Day 91: Spent a glorious Sunday at the lake with my family- hiking, biking, and kayaking!

Day 92: Throwback to 1 year ago, when I started working as a teacher with Breakthrough Silicon Valley! Check out my post on my experience here
Day 93: This stuff is amazing! My favorite ice cream flavor is mint chip and this did not disappoint. Also, the original photo wasn't this saturated; I'm not sure what's up with blogger. 

Day 94: Looks amazing, doesn't it? I made my first ever smoothie bowl, and shared my experience and recipe here!

Day 95: I went to the art museum on a field trip with my art class last week, and I could not get over this beautiful painting from India! How amazing are those colors!?

Day 96: Apologies for the grime on the window, but the Caltrain was stuck for about 15 minutes, and this view definitely made things better!

Day 97: My favorite thing about summer is hands down the fruit. I would survive on berries and nectarines if my mother let me. 
Day 98: Beach days filled with dolphin sitings, boogie boarding, and reading books are always the best!
Day 99: We received this adorable note and biscotti from our fabulous neighbors. What's not happy about this? Sidenote: I love my neighborhood- everyone is so nice and helpful ALL the time!

Day 100 (!!) A beautiful sunset right outside my house. Yes, I was standing in the middle of the road. No, it doesn't matter because hardly anyone comes down our street!

Okay, before I sign off, two things:
1. Sorry for the sometimes abysmal photo quality and resulting irregular image sizing and random white spaces from putting landscape photos on Instagram.  It drives me nuts too, but the challenge is over, so we won't have to worry about it anymore!
2. I hit 250 followers on Bloglovin' yesterday! I just wanted to thank all of you for reading on/commenting on my blog- it means more to me than you could know! Y'all are the best :) LOVE YOU!

xo, Hima

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Melodies Link-up #2

Hey y'all! So we're back this week with the second Monday Melodies link-up, and like I said last week, my playlist is going to be my favorite road trip songs. We're going to Crater Lake at the end of July (and I'm driving!), so the perfect playlist is a must.

1. Easy to Love- Maxi Priest. I love the reggae beats and tones of this song mixed with the funky synth sounds. Plus, it's super easy to sing along to!

2. No Matter Where you Are- Us the Duo. Ever since my friend Divya told me about Us the Duo, I have been obsessed! They're a husband-wife duo, and their voices together are like melted caramel and a land of rainbows and 365 days of sunshine.

3. Oceans- Coasts. I went to the beach again yesterday, and everything ocean/beach has been my jam lately. This is a very Mumford and Sons-esque song (idk that's what I thought), and I love it!

4. Come With Me Now- KONGOS. I don't understand this song. It's just a country-pop vibe that is super catchy, and to be honest, I think country-inspired beats work the best for road trips.

5. Chandelier- Sia. Okay so I'm cheating and just putting down one of my faves, but this song straight up gives me chills. Everyone in the car with me knows that I can't hit the high notes, but I will screech along like a dying elephant anyway because it's just so good!

And now for everyone's favorite part, the link up!

xo, Hima

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is it just me or...

Lately I've figured out that there's a lot of things I have to do, and I'm not sure if they're unique to me. Let me know if it's just me or...
Image Source
-is it impossible to dress for San Francisco, because sometimes it’s freezing and sometimes it’s  warm and you never know when?

-is it nice to unplug for a little while and just enjoy the present?

-If anyone takes the train to work, is it just the Caltrain, or does no one talk to each other, ever?  In typical Hima fashion, I’ve tried to start a few conversations, and I’ve gotten straight up ignored.

-is getting a flip flop/flats tan something to be proud of?

-Is losing your phone and searching madly for it, only to find it in your wallet an hourly occurrence?

-Is street art/graffiti actually really really pretty/ To me, it’s nicer than seeing gray concrete is all!

-Are double-decker trains and buses really cool? I always ride on top!

-Does Rice University remind you of Hogwarts? (click for a picture)

-Does every girl (or guy with long hair), always have a single black hair tie on their wrist?

-do you have to set multiple alarms to wake up, because you know you’ll just turn the first one off? I even do this when it’s summer and I get, like 10 hours of sleep a night. I also have to put it across the room so I have to get up and walk.

Clearly, I’ve been worrying about these a lot lately. So please, assuage my worries and let me know if it is just me in the comments below! Feel free to ask your own is it just me questions too!

xo, Hima