Your Austin Food Guide

Lifestyle

Recently, I spent a long weekend in Austin, TX with friends and had a spectacular time trying the best food places and most famous tourist attractions. Our main purpose of going to Austin was to attend a conference, but we tried cramming in whatever we could when we had spare time. And trust me, we sure got hungry.

Halal Bros.

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You must have heard of the famous Halal Bros. that got its start in Brooklyn. They opened up another location on Guadalupe St. in Austin, and I have to say, it’s pretty darn good. They have amazing hummus, falafel, shawarma, gyro, and chicken over rice with a side of fresh salad. The picture above is of the combination plate. And don’t forget to ask for extra white sauce!

Gordough’s

banana

nutty

Gourmet + Doughnuts = Gourdough’s, get it? This little dessert truck is an Austin classic because of how crispy and delicious their donuts are. They have a variety of options on their menu, from The Nutty Valentine with strawberries and nutella, to Black Out with brownies, fudge and chocolate chips.

Lick Honest Ice Creams

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Lick Honest Ice creams has fun flavors on their menu like Horchata, and Roasted Beets and Fresh Mint. Ask for their waffle cone!

Popbar

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What’s cooler than handcrafted gelato on a stick? Create your own popsicle or get a pre-existing combination from the menu and design it with sprinkles, coconut shavings, cotton candy, milk, dark, or white chocolate. Do it for the gram!

Austin Chai Wala

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If you’re on-the-go and looking for an Indian breakfast, this is your best option. Austin Chai Wala is a food truck that serves anything from samosas and kashmiri chai to nutella parathas.

Arpeggio Grill

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This may be a Mediterranean restaurant, but they are well known for their 30-inch halal pizzas. Yes, it’s bigger than your face.

Longhorn Chicken

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If you’re looking for food past midnight, this is the best place to get halal fried chicken and waffles.

Post Halloween Health Hacks

Lifestyle

So Halloween happened, and I’m sure we all went a little crazy with our candy consumption. Or was that just me?

New York had me overeating and trying all sorts of local foods, but anyone who knows me knows I always watch what I eat because I’m a health freak. I came back to Houston about three months later, and had ten pounds added to my body. Sure, that sounds normal, but you have to know that I have been the same weight for about four years now. To see that three months changed all of that, really made me reevaluate my eating and fitness habits.

I haven’t kept up with a set workout schedule since my senior year of high school. That needed to change. College happened, a part-time internship on top of that, along with a two hour daily commute. You can see how my day flies by. If I’ve learned anything over the last few years being a workaholic, it’s that health is wealth. There have been times during finals week where I’d get so bogged down that I’d barely eat one hearty meal that day.

No matter how busy you get, always make time to eat healthy and workout at least twice a week. 

So here is my declaration of leading a new lifestyle and I’m going to show you what I’m doing. If you guys have any tips or suggestions to any improvements I can make, let me know in the comments!

1. Have hearty breakfasts and light dinners. We all know breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Since dinner is the last thing we eat, it’s better not to fill yourself up with fatty or oily foods since you don’t have much physical movement after that.

2. Eating in moderation is key, but I took it a step further and started guesstimating my calorie intake so it’s about 1900 calories per day. If you eat that Kit Kat, you’re going to have to compensate somewhere else in your diet. I try drinking an entire 0.5 liter water bottle before each meal so I don’t overeat. A lot of times, our body thinks it’s hungry, but it just needs water.

3. Green tea is my best friend. I used to keep it in a thermos and drink it after every meal, but lately I just drink it after dinner so it increases metabolism.

4. Take a quick walk after every meal. My goal is 300 steps. It’s a random number, but it seems to prevent food coma.

5. Eat and sleep at normal times and stick to your schedule. Once those two systems are in whack, it just ruins your skin and you tend to feel more groggy and grumpy overall. If you have that much work to do, wake up extra early since that’s when your mind is freshly woken up.

6. I do a few stretches and jumping jacks to wake myself up. You can add a caffeinated herbal or black tea to your routine if that helps. I used to be a crazy coffeeholic but I can’t consume it without like six packets of sugar, and we all know that’s inviting so many future health problems.

7. You just have to make time to work out. I can’t always make it to the gym, so I spend 10 minutes every morning doing intense moves inspired by my favorite fitness guru, Cassie Ho. She posts all her ‘Blogilates’ videos on YouTube and each one targets a different part of the body. Just 3-5 minutes long each, her short videos are just what you need to quickly squeeze in some exercise in your day. Trust me, it works because you will be sore after five minutes. These morning workouts will definitely get you pumped up for the rest of the day.

I know that’s a lot of information, but this is what works for me. If any of these tips interest you, I suggest taking it one step at a time. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself.

And now, onto my fall retro-inspired look!

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Shop my look

Bell Sleeve Dress: JustFab

Lipstick: Sephora Collection Cream Stain Liquid Lipstick – Coral Sunset, $14

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Thong Sandals: Wet Seal

Patterned Bell-Bottoms: Rue 21

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In case you missed my 2 minute Halloween comedy sketch, here it is!

Things to Do This Summer!

Lifestyle

I hope everyone is having an awesome summer. If you are not, here are some fun tips from my favorite YouTuber! Please make sure to SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube channel and follow me in Instagram @rafafarihah to keep up with my summertime adventures. Comment down below what you are up to, or what you hope to do this summer 🙂

A few things you can do without traveling:

  1. Netflix (I will post my favorite movie sites and my movie list for you this week!)
  2. Get a pet and play with it all day long (as you watch Netflix maybe? Hmmm..)
  3. Suntan in your backyard.
  4. Go on a picnic at the park.
  5. Go window shopping
  6. Go on a long drive or a day trip with friends.
  7. Visit your town’s local attractions! If you live in Houston, you NEED to see this list.
  8. Start a YouTube channel.
  9. Have a Barbecue!
  10. Camp out in your backyard in a tent (or even better, make your own tent. Be creative!)
  11. Star gaze in your backyard.
  12. Have a karaoke night.
  13. Volunteer and help somebody out.
  14. Learn a new language.
  15. Get a summer job so you have money for a spontaneous trip.
  16. Go mattress sliding down your staircase in your pajamas (works everytime)
  17. Take on a new hobby. Cooking, baking, arts & crafts, a sport, skateboarding, sewing, hacking. It can be ANYTHING. You have YouTube to teach you everything you desire to learn. I took up video editing and started YouTubing 🙂 Subscribe and I will love you more! https://www.youtube.com/c/RafaFarihah

A Noob’s Guide to Surviving Finals Week

Lifestyle
  1. Make a list of topics you need to cover. Getting it out of your head and putting it on paper helps. You need all the brain space you can get. Spend it on learning the actual material, not remembering what chapters the exam is over.
  2. Make a schedule for yourself. Give yourself a goal for the day. How many chapters do you want to finish by midnight? Be reasonable about it.
  3. Sit somewhere with natural lighting. Preferably on the top floor of a library by the window, so you are not tempted to see who is coming in and out of the building.
  4. Watch a motivational video before you start studying. If you are going to cram, you need 100% focus. P.S. Check out my motivational/inspirational videos posted every Monday.
  5. Keep all your essentials by your side. Have you pencil,pen, eraser, highlighter, notebook, notes/textbook, a snack, water bottle by your side. You don’t need to be getting up for things all the time. This only distracts.
  6. Keep your study area clean. An organized study space = an organized mind.
  7. Take 20 minute breaks every 2 hours of focused studying. Don’t burn yourself out. Just like your body needs time to digest food before you go to bed, your brain needs time to digest the information before you start a new chapter. Take a walk outside to get some fresh air and a bit of sun. It is scientifically proven to make you happier.
  8. Set up a time for your meals in your schedule. Feed your body. You know you can’t concentrate while your stomach growls at you in frustration.
  9. Stay hydrated. Sitting cooped up in a room all day studying is no excuse to forget taking care of your health. Your body heats up when you study rigorously for long periods of time. Cool it down with a glass of water.
  10. If you feel tired, take a 20 minute nap. Short enough to not let you dose off, but long enough to re-energize you till another 2 hours.
  11. Make midnight your deadline. Finish it off and call it a night at 12. Get at least 6 hours of sleep. It is proven that your mind is more fresh early in the morning after a good night’s sleep. You won’t be able to recollect the material if you haven’t given your brain the night to take in the information.
  12. Pack your exam essentials before bed. Two of everything. Keep your scantron,  #2 pencils, erasers, glasses/contacts, watch, water bottle, photo ID, calculator.
  13. Eat a good breakfast the morning of. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You don’t want to take an exam while hungry. I have made that mistake before. Not fun. Don’t forget your morning coffee.
  14. Take a deep breath and relax. YOU GOT THIS.

Watch a cute cat video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cbP2N1BQdYc

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TAKE A CHILL PILL : March 14

Lifestyle, Thoughts

Happy Pi Day my lovely readers!  Hope you are all having a wonderful Spring Break. Feel free to pig out and eat some Girl Scout Cookies. Make sure to buy them before cookie season ends!  Let me know in the comments below what your plans are for the break. I know I am just going to be watching Netflix, meeting old friends, exploring Houston, and spending time with family.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gr5FUITwFNk

INSPIRATIONAL VIDEO FOR THE WEEK : March 14

Lifestyle

No matter where you are from, how underdeveloped or terrible the circumstances, don’t ever let society tell you “You can’t do anything great in your life.” We are all capable of creating futures for ourselves, even if it means overriding our ego to ask for help. Never be ashamed of the people who raised you and brought you where you are in life. One day, when you are successful, you will proudly show the world your background and inspire everyone else who have it harder than you, to persevere.  You can show them that they too have a chance of succeeding.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0igmMoE1pWc

INSPIRATIONAL VIDEO FOR THE WEEK : February 29

Lifestyle, Thoughts

Black History Month is an annual celebration since 1976 of the achievements by black Americans. They have such a significant role in the development of our country and I would like to take a moment to commemorate all the black Americans who have brought this country to what greatness is has come to. One month is surely not enough to devote to them.

Watch this video of poets describing what Black History Month means to them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=riXNDSZplvc