Month: March 2014

Good Things Take Time

“Good things take time.”

Yes, Yes they do.

This is something I have learned the hard way. I am still trying to acquire this great quality they call patience.

For this Motivation Monday challenge, I want to train myself to become patient, knowing that only good can come out of it. By being patient, you can take time to self reflect and evaluate what you want, how to get it, and what to change within yourself to become a more refined version of you.

To achieve all those things, patience is required. I am naturally a very impatient person and when I want something, I want to make it happen now. I used to think this was a good quality to have but time has taught me otherwise. I’ve started to realize not only how ineffective this can be but also mentally and physically draining. Because you can’t do 30 things at once and give it your 100% effort.

You need patience by your side. You need time.

This simple equation can be the solution to many problems you can be facing. Just take a break for a second and think about just what is it you are trying to do. And do so with patience. Whether it be work, school, or socially related, patience and time are key elements in being successful.

So lets start this week on a positive note as we try to do so with patience. Because after all, good things take time. 😉

Bisous

-SH

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When Good Things Happen

Hello lovelies!

I apologize for not posting as often as I usually do this week. But good things have been happening!

This Life-Cleanse has been really kicking ass, and not just physically, but work-wise, college-wise, and mentally, its been very rewarding.

I do not want to reveal too much just yet, not until everything is solidified. But I will definitely keep you posted!

In the meantime, I have been thinking about something; when good things happen, is it because of your determination, luck, or faith? Perhaps it can be a combo of all 3 but I feel kind of strange to give myself so much credit without thinking that something such as luck played a big role in everything. Your feedback would be appreciated.

On another note, I have decided to officially launch sarahalwani.com within the next week! By “Officially launch” I mean telling my friends and family about this. This has been a personal project for me for quite some time and I find it ironic how “personal” to me means sharing this blog with the rest of the world and not the people in my life. I feel a little nervous but also excited!

By sharing this with friends and family, I am also committing myself to writing more and investing more time and energy into sarahalwani.com. This makes me feel equally anxious and happy.

These upcoming weeks will be quite busy as i try to balance work, classes, student organization matters and attempt to have a social life. Usually this will have me feeling overwhelmed but I recently bought a new planner and there’s just something about a new planner that makes me feel super refreshed and ready to take on life. Is that strange?

To combat my stress I also workout on a regular basis, which proves to be very helpful for you physically of course, and mentally.

What do you do to deal with daily stress?

Until next time!

Bisous

-SH

Fake It Till You Feel It

Mindy Kaling knows everything

Mindy Kaling knows everything

You know when you wake up to one of those days where you’re just dreading to even get out of bed? Well I’m having one of those days today. I have been pretty stressed out with upcoming exams, work, and just college stuff that needs to be taken care of.

I recently read somewhere that if you are feeling crummy or stressed, you should kind of force yourself to be happy (I know, it sounds weird) and then eventually you will feel happy. I thought this would be the perfect day to put this theory into practice for the Motivation Monday Challenge.

A “Fake it till you feel it” attitude shall be in order today.

Even though I have so much to do today (this week in general), I will try to approach it with a positive attitude, instead of dreadful one. This is easier said than done of course. Even right now I am having a hard time attempting it!
But I will do it, and for those of you who are experiencing a day like mine, let’s do this together. 🙂

I hope you have a wonderful, positive Fake-it-till-you-feel-it day!
I know I will.

Bisous,

-SH

Simply Sassy

Top-H&M
Skirt-Forever 21
Sunnies-Urban Outfitters
Handbag-H&M

This past weekend was perfect for a little catch up sesh with my good friend and co-worker, Ngoc. She is such a gentle soul! hehe. I know you’re reading this.

Anyways, we went to have an early dinner at Ciccio’s Cali which was very delicious, by the way. Since dress code was casual, I wanted to wear something simple but chic. I opted for this all black skirt-and-top combo to keep it simple along with a pair of nude flats. For a splash of color, I wore bright pink lipstick.

All black and then some pink!

All black and then some pink

Really wanted these sleeves to show haha!

Really wanted these sleeves to show haha!

Me and my girl

Me and my girl

I usually don’t like to wear bright colors when it comes to lipstick, going more for nude and subtle colors, but this season I’m really feelin’ it. It gave way to a very refreshing, simple, but chic look. I also love the leather half-sleeves on the top. They give the whole outfit an edge. These sunnies have also been my go-to accessory on almost every outfit because they can be so versatile and trendy!

Enjoying this beautiful weather with great company and great food

Enjoying this beautiful weather with great company and great food

What have you guys been really into this season that you haven’t been before?
Stay Sassy!
Bisous

-SH

Squats girl, squats.

Yaass!

Yes you heard it right, folks!

For every celeb, blogger, fitness instructor, friend, family member, or rando who told you squats are magical. Well guess what?
They are.

A big part of my “Life-Cleanse” is working out at the gym. Being the little person I am (I have a teeny tiny frame), I don’t have a butt. Nothing, zero, zip zilch, nada. So my goal was to get a booty and the key is: squats and lunges.

Here I will tell you how my routine progressed since I started working out (mid-Feb). A bunch of people have already told me that they see a difference which is super motivating, so I thought why not share my routine to help motivate others?

I usually do my squats and lunges at the end of my workout, no matter what day it is; leg or weights.

So first I started off with 50 squats and 50 lunges and no weights. Once that started becoming easier I went into 60 squats and 50 lunges. Then, 80 squats and 60 lunges. After that, 80 squats and 60 lunges carrying two 5 lbs dumbbells.

Finally, today was a big day for me because I carried 10 lbs dumbbells! For weight training I’ll carry 10-15 lbs nbd but this was a first for me.
Yay for progress.
It was the hardest set I’ve ever had to do, stopping every 10 squats/lunges to take a breath. But I made it, and so can you. Its so worth it when you wakeup the next day and your cheeks are sore lol! A good kind of sore. You know what I’m talking about. Baby steps are good, and the more you workout the more you progress.

Another thing I noticed is that if you have the time after a workout, you should reward yourself! This gives you something to look forward to and it motivates you when you’re all sweaty and tired and are thinking of giving up.
My reward is going to the pool. I’ll usually go home after a workout, make my protein shake to go, put on a swimsuit, grab a book and head to the pool to relax and get some color. 🙂 I’ll come back home to shower and feel super refreshed, energized, and tan! Ready to take on the rest of the day.

I hope my tips helped!Do you have any workout tips and motivators that help you get through a tough work out? I would love to hear them and try them out!

Don’t forget to do your squats.

Bisous

-SH

Nothing Personal

“Its nothing personal. Just business.”
“Don’t take it personally.”
“Don’t take it to heart.”

It can be so difficult to NOT take things personally sometimes, especially when they sound like those cliché phrases that I’ve mentioned above. I, for one, get defensive super quickly and that’s something I’m trying to work on. As part of my Life-Cleanse (read about it on You Just Gotta Want It) this will be this weeks challenge, and for those who do take things personally: don’t take it personally.

By taking it to heart, it gives the other person an advantage and makes you, to be blunt, feel shitty about yourself.

And why should you? Whether it’s someone in the workplace, friend, family member, or significant other, you shouldn’t feel less than what you think you are. Chances are, that person may be having a shit day and taking it out on you and others. There’s also always the option that they’re just a shit person in general.

People can suck sometimes. Don’t be too hard on yourself. The words “perfect” and “human” will never go hand-in-hand. Just be the best version of you. Put on a smile and kick some non personal ass!

” Try not to take things personally. What people say about you is a reflection of them, not you.”

Bisous

-SH

Classy, Versatile, and Insightful

“Classy,Versatile, and Insightful.”

Those are the three words that I would like people to use when describing me.

For the first motivational Monday segment, I wanted to inspire you to think of three words that YOU want people to use when describing you. These words can be things you are striving to be, or things you already believe that you are.

To dive deeper, think of three words that you DON’T want people to use when describing you as well.

Three things that I do not want people to use when they describe me?

“Insincere, cynical, and malicious.”

Share your thoughts below on what your favorable/unfavorable words are!

And don’t forget, Mondays are YOUR days. 😉

Bisous

-SH

Monday

What A Beautiful Mess

pointed arches

“I wake up to the sound of Vespas whizzing across the road. I feel a light breeze wander in and around my grandmother’s bedroom, where I lay half awake. I look around, all the windows are open and the curtains are dancing. The entire room is drenched in golden sunshine. What time is it anyway, I wonder. I check the clock on my side table and its 9:32 am on a warm July afternoon, in my city of Beirut, the capital of my home country, Lebanon. I catch my grandma’s eye as she sees me awake in bed and she rushes over to ask me if I want her to make me a sandwich or if I wanted go to down to the local bakery across the street and buy a freshly baked chocolate croissant. Ah, one of the reasons I love visiting my grandma during summers. She loves to baby me and I love to be babied by her. I tell her I’m not hungry yet and make myself some chai and head towards the veranda overlooking the bustling street below.

Its World Cup season, and as I look in front of me and around me I see colorful European flags hanging from one veranda to the next, in perfect harmony as if the neighbors intentionally intended on doing so. I hear a foreign Southeast Asian language being spoken above me. As I look up, I spot a housekeeper on the balcony on the floor above me, hanging clothes to dry, speaking to another housekeeper who is also on a balcony in the building across from us. They are talking in such an animated manner. Totally casual. I look below me and watch the people bustling about on the street, the baker talking to the butcher outside while they are on smoke breaks, the grocer trying to sell fruits on his grocery cart, calling out and saying that they are on special. Suddenly, overcome by hunger, I contemplate going down the street to get a croissant.

I go inside and realized the power went out. Hmm, a sandwich feels much more appealing now that the power is out and I don’t feel like taking the stairs. It wont be back for another 3 hours, which happens on a daily basis. What a beautiful mess this place is, I say to myself. I walk to the kitchen and see my grandma already making me a sandwich, letting me know who is coming over today and asking me if I had any laundry to give her, as well as a number of other matters that I can’t recall because I was too busy thinking how much I love being here, in this place, right now, with her.”

That was a mere glimpse of a typical morning in Beirut at my grandmother’s house, where I spend most of my summers. Sometimes, it’s the little things that connect you to a certain place, to certain people, and make you feel loved and cherished. I haven’t been there in almost two years because of my summer classes but I intend on going back very soon.

Do you have a simple memory that connects you to a place or person (or both)? I would love to hear it!

Bisous

-SH

You Just Gotta Want It

About a month ago, I woke up and came to the following realization: “I want to be a better me, I want to be a happier me.”

See at that point in my life, I wasn’t very “happy” but I also wasn’t depressed. Life was just a series of things to get through, go to class, go to work, study, and go out every once in a while. For the most part, I was very self-conscious in the things that I said and did, making it hard to be 100% myself. I don’t even know who 100% myself is yet because I had become so accustomed to feeling self-conscious. Plus, lets just say I did some unhealthy things, and was planning on quitting. So I figured, why not start a “Life-Cleanse?” Not just physically but also something internal to shift my perspective and change my attitude to a more positive one.

As awful as it is to say, I tend to be a natural pessimist or a “harsh realist”, so whenever something happens, the first thought that comes to my mind is “what do I do if it doesn’t work out?” half assuming that it won’t work out. I very badly wanted to change this way of thinking as well. And so I started the Life Cleanse. First, I stopped unhealthy habits cold turkey and started working out on a regular basis. Being about 105 lb., I obviously didn’t start working out to lose weight, but to tone and feel good about myself. And it worked. I would start my day with going to the gym about 4-5 times a week and would feel so much better about myself as the day went on. This created a domino effect and made me feel good about myself on the inside, as well. Next, I wanted to become more efficient and productive. And in getting more things done and not procrastinating as much, it boosted my attitude even more. Third, I wanted to surround myself with people and things that made me feel good. And if I couldn’t help in doing that 24/7, I wanted to avoid the negative people in my life, or people who don’t make me feel good about myself and rather uncomfortable and awkward.

I even picked up an old hobby I had abandoned and started reading again. This turned out to feel very therapeutic and soothing. My perspective has shifted immensely since then and it has only been a month. Everyone around me was very impressed and supportive, yet surprised that I am still sticking to my “Life-Cleanse” and even started a blog to top things off!

Looking back at things, I feel like I was somehow trapped in my own mind. I was insecure in who I was and had trouble with feeling inferior to others. However, I feel like a big part of that was all in my head. I wanted a stronger presence and this only comes when you were comfortable with who you are, know you where you’re going and who you are striving to be.

Yes I did get an amazing opportunity from my family who sent me halfway across the world to go to college and I appreciate that and am very grateful. But with that comes a lot of responsibility and courage. I believe moving away has made a positive effect overall on me but it also presented its downsides. Imagine being thrown in a country where you don’t know anyone saying “Ok off you go, see ya in 4 years!” That was what basically happened (more or less) but it has made me a better and stronger person in the end.

I still have my down moments when I ask myself “what am I doing?” or “this is never going to last.” These feelings are quickly replaced by positive and reinforcing ones, which is something I am slowly but surely getting used to. I am coming to terms with this not new, but rather improved version of myself.

What I’m trying to say is, all you gotta do is want it and that will prompt you to work for it. Really, there is no big secret or complicated formula. You.just.have.to.want.it. When you do something positive, you will feel positive. When you feel positive, you will want to do more and try more, and it becomes a cycle. The bonus part is that people will also feel positive when they are around you; especially the ones you care about the most. 🙂

Think about it, what is one thing you want to change about yourself to help you be a better, happier you? After all, we are all essentially a “work in progress.” If you’ve had a similar experience as I have, please share it below! I wanted to give a little insight on how my Life-Cleanse came about to inspire and support others who want to do their own version, or are in the process of one, like me. 🙂

Bisous

-SH

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Low Spend Trend

Crop Tee: Forever 21 High Waisted Jeans: Garage Statement Necklace: Zara Sunglasses: urban Outfitters Combat Boots: Some mall in Orlando

Crop Tee: Forever 21
High Waisted Jeans: Garage
Statement Necklace: Zara
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters
Combat Boots: Some mall in Orlando

Full shot of my go-to outfit

Full shot of my go-to outfit

Up close and personal with my statement necklace

Up close and personal with my statement necklace

So I’ve been currently obsessed with crop tops, but not just any crop tops. Crop T-SHIRTS. These things are amazing. They’re cute, comfy, and can be dressed up or down with just about anything. Just throw on a statement necklace and/or beanie and call it a day! If you’re feeling extra badass, add some combat boots.

No but really though, you can really notice how badass I feel with this outfit and being the minimalist that I am, I only added a statement necklace to give this outfit that certain “Je ne sais quoi” and still live by the “less is more” lifestyle.

The reason that I call this a “Low Spend Trend” is because it is totally affordable, these crop tees are sold at Forever 21 for just under $6 so naturally, I bought two of them.

What about you? What kind of trends are you currently obsessed with these days that are ballin on a budget for poor college kids like us?

Until next time!

Bisous,

-SH