Indian Wedding Meets Natural Disaster

Self

The holidays are over and boy, I have so much to catch you up on. My three week trip to India for my uncle’s wedding was a memorable one to say the least. From enjoying a 5-day wedding in India to getting stuck in New York for three days because the airport shut down, I have had a crazy start to the new year. I’ve documented my entire trip in the vlog below, so I’ll just give you the backstory and tell you how my year went from 100-0 real quick.

The uncle who got married is my mom’s youngest brother, who lives in Canada. My grandparents live in Hyderabad, India and the bride lives in India as well, so we all flew there for the wedding. Indian weddings last about a week, so each day calls for its own outfit and jewelry, which you can see in my vlog.

I visit India quite often, but it’s not always fun. We mostly sit at home in my grandparent’s home and eat scrumptious food, but you can only do that for so long, till it gets boring. Friends would make the experience more exciting, but when I lived in India for four years during middle and high school, it was in a completely different state.

The wedding, however, made this trip exponentially better. This was my first family wedding in India that I’m old enough to remember. It’s also the last wedding that will happen in our close family until my own wedding.

All my favorite uncles, aunts and cousins came over to stay at my grandparent’s house and there was so much going on all the time, that it was difficult to be bored. Sure, the tiny apartment got stuffy with all these people going in and out, and sleeping on the floors and couches. But there’s something about family coming together from all over the world to celebrate a joyous event, that warms my heart. Almost like how it would be during a family reunion for Thanksgiving (but we’re brown, we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving). We had two weeks to help with planning, find the perfect dresses, and treat ourselves with facials, manis, and pedis before the big week. You can watch all that fun stuff in my vlog.

Food Poisoning

The food was probably the best part of the trip (sorry, uncle). I had a feeling my four years of living there would give me enough immunity to eat whatever I wanted. Normally, it’s a requirement to get food poisoning as soon as you reach. But that didn’t happen, so I was taking advantage of it by binge eating all the local chaats and kulfis.  On January 2, my last day in India, I went to the annual Hyderabad exhibition, which is basically a carnival filled with food stalls, local shops and even rides. If you eat there as a foreigner, you’re basically asking for food poisoning by eating there. But I didn’t know that then.

I ate from 10 different stalls on my last day in India, and suffered the consequences when I woke up at 4 AM puking my insides out, on the morning of my 22 hr flight home. I was rushed to the family doctor and they ran an IV on me to get some glucose and antibiotics in my system.  I’ve only ever seen it in the movies, so you can imagine how cool I thought it was. After an hour of that, I felt like a new woman. Forget vomiting and nausea, I felt like I was active enough to run a marathon. We came home right after, spent 15 minutes gathering our luggage and went straight to the airport.

The ‘Bomb Cyclone’

I got accepted to the NPR Next Generation Radio weeklong boot camp, so my mom and I planned to come back home just in time to make it to that. I’d have two days to get rid of my jet lag.

On January 4, we landed in New York for one last flight to get home, but within moments of us landing, the airport shut down because of a ‘bomb cyclone.’ Don’t ask me what that is because I have no idea. New York was declared as being in a state of emergency. 4,000 flights got cancelled and to top it all off, they lost our four check-in suitcases full of clothes, jewelry and souvenirs from the trip. They said the next flight to Houston was on January 10, and that’s basically the end of my NPR program. With a 3 hour line to inquire about luggage and a 7 hour line to rebook a flight, he were stuck in JFK for 12 hours and it was chaotic. Think, natural disaster mode panic.

We left the airport hangry and disappointed. We couldn’t rebook the flight, and they told us to call customer service to find out the status of our luggage. The only thing we knew was that we had to take an hour long taxi ride to stay with my cousins in New Jersey, for who knows how long. These are the same cousins I stayed with during my summer working for BuzzFeed New York. I had no idea I’d be seeing them again this soon, but it was a pleasant surprise to both of us. After staying there for two days, which mainly consisted of my mom and I being on the phone for hours on hold with different airlines.

Ultimately, we found a flight the next day to Austin, and our family friends were graciously kind enough to pick us up and drive us home to Houston, which was 3 hours away. We got our luggage a week later, and I made it the night before my NPR program, which was absolutely amazing. The point is, it all works out in the end.

New York Bound and Newly Found

Self

First thing’s first, let’s talk about how fast this summer has swung by. Life took over and the next thing I knew, I hadn’t blogged in months. College has me back in the rhythm of things and this fall weather is looking oh, so good. Hold your horses. It’s not boot season yet, folks.

So what have I been up to lately? Don’t worry, I wasn’t just lazing around all summer long on my couch binge watching Grey’s, as tempting as that sounds. I wouldn’t be putting this baby on the backburner if it wasn’t something big. If you’ve been following me on Instagram and Snapchat (@rafafarihah), then you should know that I was spending my time as a news video intern at BuzzFeed New York. That’s right. New York City. You know, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of?

Airport OOTD

Fashion, Self

Hey guys! As you all know, I went on a trip to Canada recently for Eid and had a wonderful time exploring. I went sight seeing, food hunting, shopping, and more. You can follow me on Instagram @rafafarihah to watch all the cool videos I posted while there. I even brought back Canadian candy and made a YouTube video of it! I put so much work into my videos so I would really appreciate if you all Subscribed 😘

Anyways, on with my OOTD at the airport:

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Normally I look like a bum at the airport, but this year, I reinvented myself and started dressing up more often. I was going for a laid back and comfortable look, which is why I chose the joggers (basically cute sweatpants) and a light knit shirt with long slits. I have to admit, add a touch of leather to any boring outfit, and it becomes street chic. If you buy anything from my look, do invest in a quality faux leather jacket and pointed faux leather flats (which are about $10 sometimes if on sale). These two items will make any ordinary outfit go from “Okay” to “Wow!” And sometimes…we all need a little “Wow!” in our lives.

Shop my look

Top: JCPenney

Navy Faux Leather Jacket: Forever 21

Joggers: Charlotte Russe

Pointed Faux Leather Flats: Forever 21

Scarf: Get it on AliExpress here

Faux Leather Purse: Commercial Street, Bangalore, India

Concealer: Kat Von D Lock-It Concealer – Deep 34, $25

Foundation: Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation – Warm Nude 30, $10

Eyebrow Liner: Walmart; Salon Perfect Brow Pomade- Dark Brown, $5

Lipstick: ColourPop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipstick – Avenue, $6

Watch this tutorial to get my hijab look and check out ColourPop swatches here!

Make sure to request on my Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/Facebook any other makeup swatches/tutorials you want to see or other OOTD ideas you want me to try!

10 Ways to Have a Rocking Summer

Self

1. Go on a road trip with your best buddies.

It must have been a while since you last saw them anyways. We all get caught up in our own lives and drift apart. But once you see them again, it’s just like old times. What better way to bond than by being car-bound for six hours? Make sure to call shotgun!

2. Meet your inner artist.

Get away from the world and the problems it brings you. Go to a secluded area to just self-reflect, even if it is your backyard or local lake. Take a breather, ponder about who you are and what you want to be, and put those emotions into writing or art. Go on, write a poem. It helps to be mushy gushy once in a while.

3. Start a new hobby.

You remember that thing you said you would do if you had more time? Well, this is the time to do it. Take flying lessons, learn archery, tennis, or whatever it may be. Some activities are limited by age. It’s hard to go sky diving when you are 70.

4. Try new cuisines.

Food is the path to anyone’s heart. Try something you have never eaten before. Duck, lobster, calamari, shark, rabbit. Thai, Mongolian, Afghani, Indian, Greek. Your youth is the time to go crazy. You have to watch your diet once you are older.

5. Spend time with your family.

It’s true, family has your back no matter what. See how they are doing and update each other about your lives. Play with the new babies in the family, have a barbecue, and maybe even a small (but wild) family party.

6. Make a summer playlist.

Every superhero needs their own theme song. You are a man/woman on a mission: to have the best summer of your life. Compile a playlist of cool songs for when you are chilling at home, driving, and road-tripping. You will feel the LIT-level go up drastically.

7. Visit a theme park or museum.

You don’t have to travel to explore. Start small, within your city. Museums can be fun if you go with other people. Learn something new about the world. What you know can only make you stronger. Check out the amusement parks nearby. Nothing sings water parks more than summer.

8. Get involved with your community.

This vacation isn’t just about you. It’s also about what you can do for others, so try to give back. You will have this warm feeling that no road trip will give you. Start a club for the kids in your community, have a fundraiser, donate to charity. The list is endless.

9. Make awesome memories.

Don’t forget to take a bunch of quality photos wherever you go. It’s not as valuable as the real life memories you make, but it will just have to suffice for the future. Maybe you can make a neat scrapbook to show your kids one day. One think you should never do, is limit your options (make sure it’s legal though). Do something out of the ordinary, weird, spontaneous, and crazy. Ask yourself, “If not now, then when?”

10. Binge watch Netflix.

Having fun can be emotionally and physically draining. Sometimes you just need to be alone, curl up under that fleece blanket, and indulge yourself with a good rom-com (or horror movie). Make that midnight Walmart run to get Cookies n’ Cream ice cream and extra buttery popcorn. Treat yo’self.

10 Signs You’re Ready for Spring Break

Self, Thoughts

It is that time of year when the weather is adjusting to reach that ideal breezy spring getaway weather we all dream of. Say goodbye to scarves and riding boots because it’s time to whip out the sandals and palazzo pants. SB2K16 is just around the corner! College is just not appealing anymore because the only things on our minds are fun, food, and friends. Here are some signs you are ready to sprint home the moment college lets out:

1. You have started slacking off since the end of the first cycle of exams

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You have a whole week to catch up. Psyche! Not happening.

2. Your to-do list consists of salon appointments and beauty products to buy

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3. You are constantly checking to see when the weather is above 60 degrees

 

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4. You already bought concerts tickets months ago

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5. Your suitcase is stuffed with rompers and swimsuits even though you haven’t              worked out since last summer

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6. You can’t wait to meet the crew from High School. You called shotgun a LONG time ago

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7. Your best friend is your bed: No shame girls

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8. There is nothing better to do in your spare time than binge eat because you’ve finished all the good shows on Netflix

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9. Your skin is suspiciously too soft and pampered

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A little too suspicious… ehh Mrs. Doubtfire?

10. You piled up all your laundry to take home because you are just too lazy. That explains your clothing choices lately

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Around the World and Under the Stars

Photography, Self

Joy. Ecstasy. Happiness. Glee. What is this delicate emotion that several words have been coined to describe? Happiness is a not just a state of mind, but a way of life.

“I don’t fix problems. I fix my thinking. Then problems fix themselves.”

Louise L. Hay

Happiness comes hand in hand with not only appreciating the little things, but also trying different things. Take out 15 minutes from your day and just take a stroll outside your home or go for a relaxing drive. Go somewhere you haven’t been before, like a community event or a festival. Involving yourself can really make you perceive beauty in a different light. I did it and I will be forever grateful.

Recently, I came across an advertisement for the Magical Winter Lights festival in Houston, Texas. I googled it and with one look at their promotional video, I was astonished. Apparently it is the largest lantern festival in the nation. I HAD TO GO.

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The festival consisted of grandeur lantern displays of famous landmarks, with a section for each continent (except Antarctica, obviously). It has been a dream of mine to travel the world someday. Someday. Seeing the lantern monuments illuminated in the night sky under the constellations was absolutely enthralling.Photographs and words don’t do justice to the beauty of it all. For those of you who want to go, it is open till January 10, 2016 so hurry! Check out some shots I took and see for yourselves: 

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