Stars, Stripes and Gingham

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I hope everyone had a great 4th of July! I may not have been within borders on the day known as the New Years Eve of July, but I was still displaying my American pride in the country that started it all, England! I guess you could consider my scenario a bit controversial: I’m British, but I’m also American…. So whom do I side with? Well I’ve never officially chosen, because then I’d feel as if I’m cheating on the other. Instead, I like to stay within a friendly medium between the two (haha).

The historic day has turned from a day of sole remembrance to a day filled with celebrations, friends and fun. Stripes and stars filter the decadent streets with parades and festivities all across the country. The best part? Arraying yourself in the greatest collection of reds, whites and blues that you can get your hands on. From American flag one piece swimsuits, to blue and white striped jumpsuits and red gowns; however formal or informal your day, it’s always fun to plan an outfit that may be a bit more out there than your norm (whether it be a patterned polka-dot or a bold red). Although in London, I still had a great time putting together my look in celebration. I went with a blue and white gingham print crop-top and white high-wasted shorts. Accessories consisted of bright red lips, silver sandals, a pale bag and sunnies that topped of the 70’s look. I don’t normally go with a bold lip color, but I have to admit I felt more put together with it on, and I felt it made the outfit more timeless.

Top: ASOS (exact)

Bottoms: Zara (similar)

Bag: Zara (exact)

Shoes: Sam Edelman (exact)

Sunglasses: Unknown (similar)

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Xx,

Tash

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A little Bit of Lace

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As I am only interning at Cosmo UK for a short two weeks, it is hard to fit in trips to see my family—my grandparents and cousins all live a train ride outside of the madness of London, and I only get to see them when I come over. Last weekend was a trip to Hampshire to spend time with my cousins, and this past was a weekend getaway to my grandparents in the countryside of Kent, England. One of my favorite places, this house that my mum grew up in fills my mind with nothing but great memories. Picnics in the lovely garden, playing board games after breakfast in the kitchen and staying up all night watching and reciting the lines to The Parent Trap with my cousins. My granny, an avid gardener, also has the most beautiful garden with a long stone path and flowers, which are always in bloom. Over the years as I have gotten older and my schedule busier, I’ve been able to stay for shorter periods of time, and on this occasion I was only able to unwind for one short night in the countryside before it was back to the chaos of London that I cherish and love!

Top: Topshop (similar)

Skirt: Self-Portrait (similar)

Heels: Giavonto Rossi (similar)

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Xx,

Tash

Spruce ~ The Online Dermatologist

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A few weeks ago, out of thin air, my skin started breaking out. I freaked out because a. no one wants gross bumps creeping up under their skin (ew) and b. I had no idea what was causing it. Same skin care routine, same diet, same everything. WHAT!! How is this possible?

To make things even worse, I couldn’t get an appointment to see my dermatologist for a whole week. Seven more days with my skin looking like a pre-pubescent teenage girl with braces and side bangs? Um, no thanks. Side note- exaggeration my skin did not look nearly as bad as that. But regardless, to me it was an issue and I needed to find a solution.

Here’s where Spruce comes in, and saves my skin’s life. So I was doing some frantic internet searching in pursuit of a fast cure. I came across Spruce, which is a virtual dermatologist. This (**first visit free**) app allows you to connect with professional dermatologists without moving an inch from your couch. No joke, my beauty hitch was solved in about one hour and I seriously didn’t even leave my couch, or the Kardashians marathon, for that matter. After entering in standard medical information and answering general questions, I was asked to send pictures of my symptoms and wherever the acne-prone areas occur.

Within 24 hours you are guaranteed to get a personalized treatment plan with detailed and easy-to-follow instructions and even prescriptions sent digitally to your local pharmacy. When they say 24 hours, they’re just being modest. I received my diagnosis and prescription in less than one hour! Crazy!

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But the mastermind doesn’t stop here. After your first free “visit”, you are able to ask any questions and you will receive personal responses, prescription refills and follow-up visits with your personal doctor, and it’s possible to share your Spruce care record with your primary care physician.

My skin is proof that this app is pure genius and the dermatologists actually know what they’re talking about. After about one week of using the two creams that I was prescribed, my skin magically cleared up! I still use the two products religiously, and am almost ready for my first re-fill! Actually I am such an advocate for this app that my friends wouldn’t hear the last of it. It was a running commentary of every step of my first-visit, my life-altering experience. Hands down, best doctors visit I’ve ever had!

Xx,

Tash

 

Sydney Street Style

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Yes, it was winter in Australia when I was visiting. And yes, I still insisted on going to the beach. St. Kilda Beach was one of the “must-sees” in my Melbourne travel guide (I’m such a tourist it hurts), so one morning my brother and I took the tram thirty minutes to the seaside to see what all the hype was about. I knew I would be wandering around the beach town instead of laying in a bikini desperate for the slightest bit of color so, I thought this look was perfect for the occasion. I wore a navy and white checkered baby doll tank and bright mustardy-yellow cross-body for a beachy feel. Then I remembered it was below 60 degrees (lol) and I would probably freeze my butt off, so I added on a tan suede jacket which went well with the tank. Lastly, I incorporated statement sunnies to make the outfit a little more unique and my-style.

Jacket: Revolve Clothing

Cross Body: Topshop

Top: Zara

Sunnies: Revolve Clothing 

Boots: Zara

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Xx,

Tash

Three Ingredient Pancakes with Homemade Jam

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There is nothing better than satisfying your sweet tooth by tricking your taste buds into thinking you’re eating something sugary and bad, but really, it’s just pure health and deliciousness. When I’m craving chocolate or candy, but I don’t want to give in to my devil-side telling me to reach for the fatty cookie or carb-filled homemade pancakes, I often look to The Skinny Confidential’s recipe guide. Lauren has the best collection of very simple, easy to make and mostly healthy dishes that are so fun to experiment with. This is one that I stole from her list, and I love it so much that I make it at least 4 times a week. I introduce to you “Three ingredient pancakes with homemade jam”!

This recipe is so simple and so good, I actually prefer it to regular pancakes. The texture is gooey and delicious, while the homemade jam adds the perfect amount of sweetness. Not only is it flavorful and mouthwatering, the serving size that I prepare has barely any calories. You could even double the serving size in this recipe and it will still be a healthy and fulfilling snack. Find the recipe below…

Serving Size: About 6 small pancakes 

Pancake Ingredients:

  1. 1 egg
  2. 1/2 banana
  3. About 2 TB chia seeds

Jam Ingredients:

  1. Handful of raspberries (or any of your favorite berries)
  2. Alternative: Add a drizzle of agave to sweeten it up or add a sprinkle of chia seeds for more texture

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Directions

  1. Blend all pancake ingredients in a food processor or blender
  2. Heat frying pan on medium-low heat, spray with Pan
  3. Pour small amount of pancake mix onto pan and let it cook for a couple of minutes on each side, or until golden brown
  4. Once previous step is repeated until all pancakes are cooked, heat up the handful of fruit (for the jam) for about 10 seconds in the microwave
  5. Add in alternative ingredients, and mash up until they form a more liquid texture
  6. Place cooked pancakes and homemade jam on a plate, add some of your favorite berries to go with it

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Voila! So healthy, sweet, and delicious

Xx,

Tash

The Royal Arcade

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One thing Melbourne is known for is its world-famous cafes. Every street you wander down, any direction you look, your eyes will spot a quaint little coffee shop or your nose will detect the delicious aroma of a fresh brewed long black. For me, this is great. I am not a coffee addict, but close to it. I could sip on cappuccino after cappuccino after cappuccino, and that’s exactly what I did. While my brother was slaving over his final exams, I chose a different cafe every day to spend a little time in. I know this might sound boring, but they all have so much character and each one is so unique that in my eyes it was time well spent and a great way to get to know Melbourne.

One famous pedestrian alleyway in Melbourne is the Royal Arcade. This narrow cobblestone street is lined with restaurants and brasseries, all distinct in adornment and identity. I think I might have made my way back here every day, at least to walk through and eye the French and Italian tourists make themselves quite at home as they lounged outside with their wine and cigarettes. Below are some images photographed in the Royal Arcade~

Hat: Zara

Sweater: Zara

Sunnies: ASOS

Backpack: Topshop

Boots: Zara

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Xx,

Tash

Aussie: Asymmetry and Simplicity

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The past few weeks have been completely crazy, and I have 100% been slacking on my posts. This has seriously been stressing me out and I have been feeling really guilty, so don’t worry I promise I’m back! After Abu Dhabi I spent two-three weeks in Australia, based in Melbourne (where my brother is studying). I spent one full week in Melbourne and then my brother and I ventured off into the unknown where we found ourselves cuddling with Koalas in the rainforest and swimming with sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef. It was honestly one of the funnest, “yoloist” and most memorable three weeks of my life. I was hoping to leave with a new Australian accent, but instead I left with incredible memories and many new furry Kanga and Koala friends (satisfied!).

My first week in Melbourne was great, because I got to know the city really well. As it’s not that hard to get around and my brother was busy with classes that week, I spent most of my time wandering and exploring on my own. The weather was kind of (actually very) confusing- it’s currently winter there, but winter to them is like September/October/mid 60’s weather. WTF?! Packing was the most stressful thing ever- do I bring my winter jackets or do I not? And shoes? I had no idea. Here is one look I wore on one of the first days- it was so cold (and I was unprepared), so had to run to Topshop to buy this grey coat (not complaining about it, though).

This outfit reminded my of the Jacquemus Pre-Fall 2015 runway show. A ‘60s vibe combine with back-to-school uniform to sum it up. The effortlessness, symmetrical proportion, and simple hues are very similar to the pieces that make up this collection. Hope ya like it!

Blouse- Zara

Coat- Topshop

Jeans- Topshop

Lace Ups- ASOS

Back- Rebecca Minkoff

Sunnies- unknown boutique in London

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Xx,

Tash

College Fashionista Style Guru

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This summer, I will be joining the College Fashionista team as one of their Summer Style Gurus. College Fashionista is a fashion site where fashionistas can follow the latest trends that are popping up on campuses around the world. The team is made up of Style Gurus, students from across the globe who photograph and express current styles that are making an appearance on their campus. Each guru is able to express their own style and passions through their own personalized articles and homepage.

I will be posting my own articles every Wednesday throughout the summer. Because it is summer, I will not be posting from my campus, but from other locations during these next few months. Check back to this page every Wednesday for my articles on the latest trends and fashions that I come across!

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Xx,

Tash

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

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Day two: I hopped outta bed at 8am, ready to take Abu Dhabi day two by storm. Although jet lag had kicked in the previous night (and was not working in my favor), it was overpowered by my shear excitement to explore more of the city the next morning. After getting ready and having a quick breakfast, I was introduced to my driver at 9.30, and we were already on our way to the Grand Mosque before 10am.

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The Grand Mosque- there really aren’t words to describe it. Definitely one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen. Breathtaking. The pure white in contrast with the pure gold detailing and bright blue tiles, it looks so clean and refreshing. The driver had brought me an abaya to put on, as women are made to cover everything except for the face. He then gave me about 45 minutes to explore the religious site. Now, I could bore you with details about the architecture and the history, but I’ll spare you and skip all that.

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So next we were off to the date market. I freaked out when the guide informed me of this, because strangely, I LOVE DATES. Most people I know hate them or think they’re gross, but I don’t know what on earth they are talking about. They’re seriously delicious. I was maybe the happiest girl to have ever visited the date market, because they let me test out the different kinds- did you know there are over 90 types of dates? Yup. And they all taste so different. Anyways, I was really really enjoying myself at this date market.
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Once a sugar rush had hit due to date-overload, we headed over towards the Historical Village. This is an area of the city which depicts how the Arabs used to live, prior to the industrialization of the UAE. Honestly, I’m not sure quite how they did it because, although beautiful, it was so darn hot. Like, 110 Fahrenheit, and that’s on an average day. There were all types of artisans at work (glass blowers, carpet makers, to name a few), an agricultural community, and living quarters. The end of a tour and a trip that I will never forget.

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Xx,

Tash

Arabian Desert Safari

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Update: I’m moving to the desert. I love it. Its beautiful simplicity intertwined with the Arabian culture is absolutely breathtaking. The colors of the sandy dunes shining off of the bright blue skies without a cloud in the sky is one thing that everyone needs to see in their lifetime. Oh, and also, this place is made for Instagram. Everywhere you look, every angle you position your camera- BOOM! Quality insta right there. I had a fantastic experience on my desert safari, and so I’ll give you a little recap.

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I was collected by my guide at around 4:30pm, and after picking up another family of mother, aunt, two young children, and a friend (who all live in Abu Dhabi), we drove 45 minutes out into the isolated area of clear skies, camels, and sandy hills. First thing on the menu was the safari around the sand dunes. This consisted of about 15 safari cars speeding and bouncing up and down the dunes. The vehicles were doing all sorts of things that I thought vehicles shouldn’t be able to do. Terrified? Yes. Having the time of my life? Yes. On the way back we stopped at one of the camel farms just to watch them gaze and do their thang for about 15 minutes.

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“No pictures, please.”

 

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the two little boys!

 

Then, we were headed back to the desert camp. Here, all groups from the 15 cars joined in a big area with access to refreshments, henna painting, smoking from the midkwah (Arabian tradition), sand boarding, camel riding, and just about every cool Arabian cultured activity that comes to one’s mind. This is where I really connected with the family I was on the trip with- I felt like they had adopted me into their little family for the day. I enjoyed their company and they enjoyed mine as we bonded over the different areas of the world that we came from- each so fascinated by the other’s culture (I learned so much about the UAE from them!). At around eight o’clock, we were greeted with a vast buffet of Arabian classics. I’m talking hummus, barbecued meats, more barbecued meats, different types of rice and salads, all topped off with a local rice pudding, muhalabia.

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Henna art

 

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Traditional Arabic food

 

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Muhalabia (Arabic rice pudding)

 

Post dinner, meaning post food coma, was the entertainment of the night: Belly dancing! I had never before seen a professional belly dancer, and she was amazing. She balanced swords in places I didn’t know possible, moved her stomach in even stranger ways, and ended with a traditional Arabic dance. Winding down this spectacular evening, all lights were shut off, and all guests laid on their backs for star gazing. It was truly the perfect ending to the most perfectly imaginable day in the Abu Dhabi desert.

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my adopted family for the day 🙂

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Xx,

Tash