Wednesday, September 23, 2015


Anyone who knows me well will tell you that I have a bit of an obsession with the sky. Whether it is the first timid light of the sun rising in the morning, the unapologetically bright cumulus clouds of midday, or the brilliant gradients in the evening, I love it all. More than once, I have stopped walking on my way to something, just to soak it all in, and more than likely take a photo.

There's something about the horrid LA smog that just makes sunsets so beautiful, like finding the silver (or bright pink) lining. This photo series is just a collection of my favorite pictures from the last 5 weeks. Enjoy!

maybe not the best photo of the sunset, but I love the way the pool glitters in the early evening light. 

VKC - our gorgeous tower, and what I think is the tallest building on campus. This is the view from just outside my dorm, and it's just as stunning every night. 

There is 0 filter on this photo. No brightening, no saturation, nothing. This is literally what the sky looked like on Monday night. Yes, I got up from our table at dinner to take pictures, and no, I am not ashamed. 
These wispy, barely-there clouds are my favorite kinds of clouds because of how the sun lights them up in the sky. 

If this isn't the world's greatest study view, I don't know what is. 

USC, I love you, your gorgeous architecture, and most importantly, your incredible sunsets. I have no doubt that I will literally make an album of these photos at some point. If you're ever amazed by the sky at any time of day, take a picture and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #skygramweekly :)

Until next time, 
xo, Hima

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Exploring LA: The Last Bookstore

Last Friday, my friend Melina invited me to go exploring with some of her friends. Although I've been at USC for a month now, I've only been off campus for something other than walking to CVS twice, so I was more than excited. Led by our fearless leader, we took the metro down a few stops to Grand Central Market, and wandered through. It reminded me of il Mercato Centrale in Florence, with the indoor/outdoor vibe and all the smaller food stalls. I was too busy taking it all in, and forgot to take photos oops.

After walking around some more, we found a small gelato shop, which was honestly the cutest thing ever. The employees were so nice and gracious in allowing us to sample as many flavors as we wanted. Melina and I ended up splitting the yummiest greek yogurt plum jam gelato- the perfect sweet/tart blend of summer.

Sweet tooth satisfied, we walked across the street to the Last Bookstore, the largest independently owned bookstore in LA. For a bibliophile like me, it was an incredible experience. Books, records, and gorgeous book-themed art plastered the walls. There was an author visit happening in the middle of the store, and tons of other people browsing.

Apart from the books, there was a lot of art displayed on the walls, and it was fun to walk around and look at them all. I discovered how much I love art and museums in Florence this summer, and I wish we had more time to peruse each one and compare them to one another 
I loved this bench and table display! Everything about it was so rustic and messy, but put together and industrial at the same time. 

Overall, I had a lot of fun, and I can't wait to explore more of LA and come back here. Apparently there's a section of the store that has thousands of $1 books. Unfortunately, it wasn't open when we were there, but hey- more reason to come back!

This is a little unrelated, but walking around downtown LA, we saw a lot of different kinds of people. Since we were all together in a big group, it was pretty safe, but I definitely wouldn't go out alone. In my freshman seminar right now, we're reading a book on the heroin trade in America. We're exploring it from all angles: the drug traffickers, addicts, and law enforcement, so it's very interesting. If anything, the book has taught me that anyone can be addicted to heroin - not just the typical homeless people that you see on the streets in big cities. As we walked around last week, I wondered if any the people we saw were tied what we had been reading about in class. Just food for thought, I guess :) 
Until next time, 
xo, Hima

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Game Day

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to experience my first ever game day at USC. After going to a high school that wasn't exactly known for sports (we actually had an 18 year homecoming losing streak), I was really excited to experience a USC football game. The game was scheduled for 8 PM, so imagine my surprise when I walked out of my dorm at 8 AM to a slew of tailgaters all over the quad.

I had planned to get my work done during the day, but the game day energy was palpable and incredibly distracting. Even when I sat down to read for my gender studies class, I found myself reading the same text over and over, so I gave up and let myself get sucked into the fun and spirit.

After a quick bookstore run to buy fancy knee socks and a hair bow, I donned my cutest USC gear (believe me, there is endless cute USC gear), and headed out with my floor. Game day was hot, and the endless crowds and grills made it even hotter, but we found a really dedicated fan braving the heat en route to the dining hall, so of course we needed a picture with him. 

Throughout the afternoon, we walked around campus getting hyped for the game and playing carnival games like the bean bag toss. It was so fun to meet people just as excited as I was. Also, flash tattoos are the coolest thing ever, but don't put them on your face because they HURT to scrub off. 

The game itself was super fun. We all walked over to the Coliseum together, led by the USC marching band, and it felt amazing to be a part of something so much bigger than me. The cheering, the chants, the jumping off my chair to catch a t-shirt (I was unsuccessful, but my roommate got one!), and screaming myself hoarse. Pretty sure the fight song is now ingrained in my memory (Shoutout to Noelle for screaming it with me every time!)

Post-game, I was ridiculously tired. By the time we walked back to our dorms, it was past midnight, but I was glad to have experienced my first game. Oh, and it definitely helped that we CRUSHED Arkansas State 55-6 (Cue a "Go beat the Redwolves!"). Can't wait to do it all over again this Saturday!

xo, Hima

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Begin Again

Surprise! I still exist! For a long time though, this little corner of the Internet didn't. I've decided to bring it back though, for a few reasons.

  1. I'm taking a seminar called "All Who Wander Are Not Lost" about building a portfolio for a career in medicine. It's a two unit class, and I thought it would be a fun way to take a smaller class (it's only 15 of us!) my freshman year. Part of the class includes starting a blog to chronicle our first semester in college and reflect on some of the reading we'll be doing. (Hi Dr. Quinn!)
  2. When I blogged regularly in high school, I always thought college bloggers were really cool. Now I can be cool too!? 
  3. I miss documenting my life and reflecting on it regularly. I've tried journalling so many times this year, but nothing beats adding photos and being able to interact with everyone reading on Facebook 
I know it's been a while since blogging has been a part of my life, but I'm ready if you are. I'm ready to watch this begin again. (let me know if you got the reference in the comments!)
So hi! If you're new to this, I'm Hima. I'm 17 years old, and I'm a freshman at the University of Southern California in LA. I blogged a lot in high school, but I stopped during my first semester of senior year to focus on writing my college essays. Then life happened and I got lazy, but I'm back and better than ever (I can only hope). 

It's been a little over two weeks since I arrived on campus for move in day, and oh, what a two weeks it has been. 
August 17th, 2015. 6 AM. My closest friends from high school (including my little brother on my left) came to see me off in the morning. It meant so much to have them all there, and I was definitely emotional as my dad and I pulled away from our curb, waving at my family and closest friends: the people I love most in this world. 

350 miles later, we unstuck ourselves from our seats and began the long and arduous process of unpacking my life. It always amazes me how just when I think I have everything, my mom thinks of something that I actually desperately need. These lovely ladies above are my floormates at USC's very own rose garden! We're the only all girls floor in the building (by chance), and it's honestly been amazing. We call ourselves Beta Kappa Di, so we're a sorority, no big deal. 

My bed! I live in a triple, which is actually two doubles put together, so we have a TON of space. I'm hoping to make a bunting banner to go across the top of the room too. Because our room is so big, is tends to be the social center of our floor - there are always five or six people in here. It's fun to socialize, but I know that if I need to study, I have to go to the library or head outside. 

Every year, President Nikias takes a photo with my residence hall, which is the scholarship dorm. We all know that selfies have replaced autographs in the last decade or so, so I had to snap at least one with the head honcho 

On one of the nights, we had a spirit rally, and it was so much fun! One of the reasons I was so excited to come here was that USC has SO much school spirit, which is definitely my jam. Our first football game is this Saturday, and I know it's going to be amazing standing with so many other people who love USC just as much as I do. 

I'm allergic to cats, so I tell myself I'm not a cat person. But seriously, look at these little kittens and try not to melt into a puddle of joy and happiness. During Welcome Week, I volunteered at a local cat adoption shelter, and it was amazing, as expected. One of my favorite things about volunteering is that there is no loser- everyone wins, and everyone is happy. I've been looking for some service organizations to join on campus, but there are so many it's a little overwhelming. 

(yes, this is off of Snapchat, but hey- check out that filter!)
In my freshman seminar, we did this activity to see who could build the tallest and most aesthetically pleasing tower out of paper and tape, and this is my group's tower. At this point, we had just put third paper prism on top, and we waited with bated breath of see if it would hold. In this activity,  our team leads showcased different kinds of leadership, from uninvolved to friendly and encouraging, and it was easy to see which one worked best. 

This is from ground level, so I'm sure it would have been even more stunning from the 8th floor of a building, but when I walked outside after dinner the other day, the sky was awash with color, and our beautiful tower stood like a beacon of knowledge - it was just so beautiful and surreal. 

I instagrammed this photo last week after the farmers' market (!!), and I think my caption sums up a lot of what I'm still feeling. 
"Today has me realizing what an amazing decision I made by choosing to come to USC. In a little over a week, I've been inspired by the incredible people I've met, bonded with the best floor ever, relearned how to study (lol hi bio) tried a Nike bootcamp that was so hard I thought I was going to die, been to our on-campus farmers' market, and had more fun than I ever imagined possible. Looking forward to this semester and the next four years more than ever. #fighton"

Over the last couple of weeks, I've talked to so many people who blow me away with how nice they are. All the upperclassmen are incredibly kind and always willing to offer advice and tips on how to get involved, manage classes, or make friends. Whenever I talk to someone, I walk away with this warm and fuzzy feeling of belonging. I wasn't so sure about the so called "Trojan Family" when I heard about it, but everything I've experienced here tells me that the Trojan Family is what defines USC, and I feel beyond blessed to be a part of it. 

Until next time, 

xo, Hima
P.S. Congratulations on getting through all of that! I love you a lot for sticking with me :)