5 ways to keep your hair healthy & happy!

Hey babes!

I know it's been forever (again lol) but I'm back just in time for the school year! And don't get me wrong, I love summer, but I don't love the fact that all that time in the sun and by the pool leaves my hair dry and damaged. Here are 5 ways I get my hair healthy and happy again after everything I put it through!

my little blue life savers i use to keep my hair happy!

my little blue life savers i use to keep my hair happy!

1. go heat free

...whenever you can. ;)

Personally because of my hair texture, I tend to straighten and curl my hair most days, but because I apply that heat, I don't use a blow dryer and air dry after the shower. I've also been trying to cut down on heat even more, especially when I'm on vacation (I'm jumping in the ocean anyways, so what's the point!?).

I use an Organix coconut milk serum every day no matter what. When I'm traveling someplace tropical, I also use their Moroccan argan oil sea salt spray (pictured below) on damp hair, then throw it in braids, a bun, or in my towel turban in order to get those effortless beachy waves.

the organix moroccan argan oil sea salt spray

the organix moroccan argan oil sea salt spray

2. stay hydrated

Drinking a ton of water is good for you in every way, but it also does wonders for your hair and skin! It'll make your hair much stronger and shinier over time, and when your hair is hydrated, it's way less likely to split or break. 

A couple of fun ways to remind yourself to drink water are to get a cute water bottle to carry with you everywhere, or to download an app like Plant Nanny, which lets you track your daily intake in an adorable way by using it to water a cute plant on your phone!

However, if you're looking for a quicker way to hydrate your hair...

3. try a hair mask!

I recently discovered hello hair masks and wow, they are an absolute life saver! You apply them 30 minutes to 1 hour before you shower, and then rinse out thoroughly with your regular shampoo and conditioner. The masks leave your hair extra shiny, soft, and smelling amazing. I bought the Island Escape mask, and  it was perfect for when I got home from Nicaragua, completely bringing my hair back to life after all the pools and ocean damage!

the hello hair island botanical mask

the hello hair island botanical mask

 

4. get a trim

Sometimes no matter what you do, your ends get super dry and damaged, which means it's probably time for a haircut. I'll be real. if you know me, you know that changing my hair kind of terrifies me, but I do try to get the ends cleaned up every couple of months, because I know that when I don't regularly keep up on trimming my split ends, I have to cut it even shorter to get rid of the damage. 

5. meet the sugar bears!

After a haircut, I'm always missing my longer locks, which is why when those oh=so-famous blue sugarbear hair gummies showed up on my instagram feed, I figured it couldn't hurt to try them. You may be skeptical given how much they're advertised by insta models, but they do taste amazing (just like berries!), and they made my hair and nails noticeably stronger, and my hair grew back faster than usual. 

Since they are on the more expensive side, I personally order one to three months' supply after an especially drastic haircut, and I find that my hair is back to its former glory pretty quickly!

it's hard to just take two at a time!

it's hard to just take two at a time!

 

If you want to try any of these little blue life savers, I've included links to pick up the products talked about in this post below, and I hope that these tips work for you too! If you have any healthy hair secrets you swear by (and don't mind sharing) leave me a comment!

Thanks for stopping by, and come back again soon for my back-to-school series!

Much love,

Nish xoxo 

Organix Sea Salt Spray,  Organix Coconut Milk SerumHello Hair Island Escape MaskSugarBear Hair Gummies

the bachelor premiere recap

Hi loves, and happy new year! Clearly my resolution last year of posting every other week didn't work out so well, but I PROMISE you can expect to be hearing from me more (definitely at least once a week now that I'm jumping on the recap train!) So here goes!

first impressions:

Wow before we get into this, can I just say that during that season preview, I see WAY more diversity than I’ve ever seen in the entire rest of the franchise? I’m willing to give this a chance.

So I’ll be honest: when I first saw Nick on Andi’s season, I could not stand the guy. I thought he was such a creep, and then when he came back for Kaitlyn’s season I was pissed. We already had to put up with him once, why do we have to do this again? AND THEN THEY PUT HIM ON PARADISE and I may or may not have thrown my remote across the room. Over the course of BIP, though, he seemed to be much sweeter, though I questioned his sincerity for sure, so I’m very skeptical about having Nick as our bachelor.

Moving on. They keep playing the rejections and I am CRINGING. We’ve seen this happen so many times and it’s never any less uncomfortable. Fourth time's a charm, maybe?

rejection 2/3

rejection 2/3

Okay they're doing the whole family and shirtless workout montage, and someone’s been working out since his first appearance. I see you, boo. He’s so awkward oh my gosh. Okay I think I get it now, he’s kind of adorkable. That’s endearing I guess. I’d probably fall for that. 

AND COMMERCIAL BREAK. Is it bad I’m more excited over this live-action Beauty and the Beast preview than I am about this season?

the girls & the cocktail party:

Okay I missed this first girl’s name but she’s cute, she’s ETHNIC (!!) she’s a lawyer and she seems super #quirky and #relatable without trying to be. Update: her name is Rachel and she looks gorgeous in her red dress.

Danielle has super pretty hair, but she's not standing out to me otherwise. She's first out of the limo though, so she’s automatically a front runner. Her dress is cute though, you go girl.

AND WE’VE GOT OUR TOKEN CANADIAN! Vanessa is a teacher and I’m definitely automatically rooting for her. And Nick seems to like her, so this is good stuff!

Josephine the nurse with the cat seems like she’s trying really hard to be #quirky and #relatable and she probably loves pizza just like you!!

This boutique owner from Arkansas doesn’t stand out to me, but I like her clothes a lot. I might need to google this boutique. I guess her name is Raven, she’s in a super sparky dress and just made him call pigs with her. Hmm.

Corrine from Miami, I’m already irritated by you. You are twenty-four and you have a nanny which tells me you might not be ready to get married and be independent? And you called your vagine a vagine. There are a lot of red flags here.

Alexis has a cute doggo, and she’s obsessed with dolphins. I’m a fan of the doggo, but why are all these girls trying so hard to be weird?

Danielle the nurse is precious. I have a super good feeling about her, and her lob is so Pinterest. She seems sweet and genuine, and I’m thinking she's going to go pretty far. She brought him maple syrup and they seemed to have cute chemistry.

One of the best lines this episode was when she told Nick her sister picked out her dress, and he goes "well, good for your sister"

One of the best lines this episode was when she told Nick her sister picked out her dress, and he goes "well, good for your sister"

Taylor, are you Indian?! (Answer was no, she’s biracial, half black and half white, she seems sweet and I’m kind of relieved because I low key want to be the first Indian contestant). Her dress is STUNNING but that first impression was cringeworthy (all my friends said you're a piece of sh*t, yikes!)

Liz is friends with Jade and Tanner, they’re one of my favourite couples from the franchise. Like, anything Jade advertises on her Instagram I will probably purchase. She’s interesting because she already hooked up with Nick that’s #scandi I can’t wait to watch this drama

Blonde Elizabeth is second out of the limo, she’s all Southern and stuff and she seems sweet but her dress is a little prom/wedding?

Christen in her bright yellow dress looks like she’s a fangirl (ha haha get it, because of the fan?) also, she’s literally fangirling over him. I feel like this’ll just end up weirding him out.

Kristina, Angela, Michelle, Briana, eh, their dresses are pretty but they were on screen for about four seconds each. At this point, I'm distracted wondering who the drunk mess will be this season.

Lauren has a super pretty dress but again, these girls need to work on the first impressions!

Ida Marie has this cute two-piece dress on and the trust fall is cute!

Olivia, the girl from Alaska did an Eskimo kiss thing but oh my gosh this next girl literally RAN TO THE MANSION? Her name is Sarah and she just made the corniest runner-up joke. She’s going to do well. She reminds me of Kaitlyn, and I have a good feeling about her.

Now for the limo entrances that had me looking like Olivia from Ben's season.

In case you forgot.

In case you forgot.

Jasmine brought NEAL LANE? WYD? 

Hailey IS NOT WEARING UNDERWEAR. OKAY. NOTED.

Astrid is German, she’s talking about sex and stuff I guess, which is neat?

BACK TO LIZ. This is awkward this is awkward does he remember her? HE DOESN’T REMEMBER HER? It’ll probably hit him eventually. 

Okay, it hit him and he knows. Next limo.

Dramatic and romantic music for… Corrine. No nope please no.

Jaimi and Susannah and the one between those two were super odd.

Josephine is here and she tried to make him eat a hot dog out of a book. What’s with all of the red dresses? All of you look like varying shades of that dancer emoji:

Three more girls in red dresses, I’m actually starting to miss names but I did notice that Hailey with no underwear is also Canadian!

Lacey (also in red) came in on a camel to make a joke about humping. Nice.

Oh no, Alexis came in wearing a left shark suit. She’s insisting it’s a dolphin suit. I’m shook. 

Girl, you know this is a shark suit. Sharks have gills. I write about marine conservation sometimes, I know this.

Girl, you know this is a shark suit. Sharks have gills. I write about marine conservation sometimes, I know this.

So everyone’s flirting and they’re talking, and Christen ballroom dances with Nick and it’s very cute, and then JUST WHEN OUR GIRL CANADIAN VANESSA IS ABOUT TO GET THE FIRST KISS OF THE SEASON FREAKING CORRINE SWOOPS IN. I’m calling it now, this girl is the villain of the season. And I didn’t like her right from the intro package. 

I AM LIVID.

I AM LIVID.

And Jasmine who brought Neal Lane (green dress Jasmine) is already crying.

Left Shark Alexis is the drunk girl of the night and I'm so okay with it. Nick one hundred percent tried to tell this girl she was in a shark suit and she is so convinced it's a dolphin it’s painful.

Speaking of painful, Liz. Awww. This isn’t looking so good for you.

And our girl Rachel gets the first impression rose and the first actual cute kiss! 

 

rose ceremony time:

Vanessa, Danielle with the good hair, fangirl Christen, Astrid, ugh Corrine, prom dress Elizabeth, Jasmine who cried, Raven from Arkansas, Kristina who’s been crying and talking to the producers through the whole ceremony, Danielle the nurse who I love, Sarah the runner-up, Josephine the #quirky nurse, Lacey the with the camel, Taylor, Left Shark Alexis (lol what), Hailey with no underwear, Whitney (one of the red dress girls), Dominique (another red dress), Jamie, Brittany (red dress), and finally LIZ (!) are the women who receive roses tonight. 

I’m super sad that Ida Marie is leaving, I thought she was super cute, and I’m really surprised Lauren is leaving. I don’t actually remember the rest of the women who are exiting so they must not have gotten too much camera time. 

YES Vanessa, represent for us Canadians!

YES Vanessa, represent for us Canadians!

my predictions: 

Corrine is one hundred percent the villain, and Taylor will be the one who tries to call her out the most. They’ll end up on a two on one date, and besides the two of them, Liz will bring the drama because of her #scandi history with Nick. 

Vanessa and Hailey (the Canadians) the Danielles, Sarah, and Taylor are my front-runners this season. It's too early to call the final rose but I’m thinking maybe Vanessa (don’t hold me to it though!)

I know this is super different from my usual posts but let me know what you think! Who are your front runners? 

xoxo,

Nish

your travel horoscope: where to take your next trip

Hi loves! Got a case of wanderlust but don't know where to head next? Well look no further! Check your travel horoscope to find your perfect destination:

photo credit, japan: www.citycookie.co.uk // photo credit, new zealand: instagram.com/fearlessflashpacker

photo credit, japan: www.citycookie.co.uk // photo credit, new zealand: instagram.com/fearlessflashpacker

aries: japan & new zealand

Your energetic and ambitious nature means that you’re looking for an exciting destination that moves just as quickly as you do. You’re adventurous and brave, and you need to go someplace that can get your adrenaline pumping!

Visit Japan for the fast-paced city life in the capital, Tokyo, and get your adrenaline pumping on the world’s steepest rollercoaster or paragliding Mount Fuji. Or try visiting New Zealand, home to the adventure capital of the world where you can bungee jump, ski, surf, dive, and even jump off of the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere into downtown Auckland.

 

photo credit, italy: instagram.com/elitravelbug/ // photo credit, uae: Candi Hartman

photo credit, italy: instagram.com/elitravelbug/ // photo credit, uae: Candi Hartman

taurus: italy & the united arab emirates

You are dependable, reliable, and well-prepared, and you appreciate art, music, good food, and the finer things in life. Traveling to a classic, beautiful, and elegant destination is the way to go for you. 

Travel to Italy for incredible food, wine, art, and iconic sights like the Colosseum, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Statue of David, and Vatican City. If you’re looking for somewhere a little more out-of-the-box, try visiting Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. With its towering, futuristic skyscrapers, man-made beaches, and gorgeous mosques, the UAE is an incredible balance of classic and luxury.

 

photo credit, indonesia: instagram.com/thewildwildzest // photo credit, greece: Gloria, The Blog Abroad, instagram.com/glographics

photo credit, indonesia: instagram.com/thewildwildzest // photo credit, greece: Gloria, The Blog Abroadinstagram.com/glographics

gemini: indonesia & greece

You’re constantly looking for excitement, but the key to a good destination for you is duality that matches your personality. You need to visit someplace where you can explore the city and enjoy the nightlife, but also have a spot to unwind. 

Visit Bali, Indonesia for an exciting combination of incredible temples, markets, beaches, nightlife, and nature, all in a tropical destination. Or travel to Greece, where you can immerse yourself in history and explore the gorgeous islands during the day, and then dance the night away.

 

photo credit, cyprus: Gloria, The Blog Abroad, instagram.com/glographics // photo credit, saint lucia: roarloud.net

photo credit, cyprus: Gloria, The Blog Abroadinstagram.com/glographics // photo credit, saint lucia: roarloud.net

cancer: cyprus & saint lucia

You are sensitive, intuitive, and emotional, and your next trip should be a time for you to unwind and relax. Cancers thrive in the water, so you need a destination that lets you lounge at the beach in peace!

Cyprus is an island off the coast of Europe, home to adorable, colourful towns and inviting beaches. It’s not very popular with tourists yet, so make sure you go before it gets too crowded! For a truly beach-focused getaway, visit Saint Lucia in the Caribbean. This pristine, relaxing destination was made popular on Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor (and even though he wasn’t amazing, Saint Lucia sure looked like it was!)

 

photo credit, spain: www.citycookie.co.uk // photo credit, egypt: www.mylifeuntethered.com

photo credit, spain: www.citycookie.co.uk // photo credit, egypt: www.mylifeuntethered.com

leo: spain & egypt

Leo, you know that you’re royalty and adore traveling in style (hello, first class!). You want the biggest and the best, so make sure your next trip is to a bold destination that knows how to make you feel like a king or queen.

Travel to Spain to experience rich culture, amazing food (and sangria!) and to explore the streets of cities, like Barcelona and Granada, or take a luxury tour through Egypt to see the pyramids, soak up the sun at a resort by the Red Sea, and to experience legacy that the country’s royals left behind in ancient times.

 

photo credits: instagram.com/hailey_rch

virgo: france & israel

You are well-organized and a planner, always observing the world around you and taking in every little detail. Although you’re a planner, you also appreciate having brand-new experiences and learning about where you are. 

Take a classic trip through France to see the iconic sights of Paris, enjoy the countryside and French Rivera, and take a day trip to the luxurious neighboring country of Monaco. Or travel to Israel to explore, learn about its complex history and the religious significance it holds for so many people in the world.

 

photo credit, croatia: instagram.com/elitravelbug/ // photo credit, thailand: Sam Gross, thereshegoesagain.org

photo credit, croatia: instagram.com/elitravelbug/ // photo credit, thailand: Sam Gross, thereshegoesagain.org

libra: croatia & thailand 

You thrive in the company of others, and are bright and intelligent. You are captivated by the beauty of art, music, and nature, and need to travel to destinations that give you a social experience while still being surrounded by beauty.

Try staying at a hostel in Croatia, where you can explore castles, churches, and the incredible coastline that so many travelers are dying to visit! Or take a trip to Thailand, where you can learn about Buddhism, visit temples and the famous Thai islands, bargain at the many markets, and enjoy the company of other travelers who are just as excited and amazed as you are.

 

photo credit, tanzania: http://amusedobserver.com/en // photo credit, brazil: instagram.com/thewildwildzest

photo credit, tanzania: http://amusedobserver.com/en // photo credit, brazil: instagram.com/thewildwildzest

scorpio: brazil & tanzania

You are bold, brave, adventurous, and always up for a challenge. You are passionate, determined, and resourceful, and can handle anything the world throws at you. Push your limits and travel to an exciting and unpredictable destination.

Travel to bright, bustling, busy Brazil to experience city life in Rio de Janeiro and try your hand at paragliding (if you're lucky, you may be there in time for Carnival!), or trek into the Amazon to have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure experiencing the unique wildlife. If you’re a fan of nature, try traveling to Tanzania, where you can take a safari, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, or visit the gorgeous beaches of Zanzibar. No matter what, either destination will be sure to keep you on your toes!

 

photo credit, mongolia: Danni Moody at Junkateer // photo credit, morocco: acapriciouscompass.com

photo credit, mongolia: Danni Moody at Junkateer // photo credit, morocco: acapriciouscompass.com

sagittarius: mongolia & morocco

You are a free-spirited explorer at heart, constantly willing to open yourself up to new cultures, experiences, and people. You’re the type of person who is constantly working to learn more and take in the world around you, and you enjoy the journey just as much as the final destination. 

The nomadic culture and sprawling landscapes of Mongolia are things you could fall in love with given your explorative nature. You could try spending the night in a yurt, or traditional tent to try something new and get immersed into local culture. If you’re looking for a destination that’s a bit less isolated, try visiting Morocco to experience bustling city life and and a culture with both European and Middle Eastern influences.

 

photo credit, germany: instagram.com/btzar/ // photo credit, china: instagram.com/globaldegree/

photo credit, germany: instagram.com/btzar/ // photo credit, china: instagram.com/globaldegree/

capricorn: germany & china

You are driven, and your strong work ethic and organized nature mean that you’re a planner who enjoys taking well thought-out trips full of history and tradition. Travel to destinations that are rich in both.

Travel to Germany to learn about the country’s history and to visit historical churches, castles, and significant locations to the history of World War II, or maybe take part in the tradition of Oktoberfest! Take a trip to China to experience a country that is still very traditional, with many sights and buildings that date back to ancient times juxtaposed with its rapidly growing and very modern cities.

 

photo credit, fiji: instagram.com/jess_ismore/ // photo credit, south africa: instagram.com/thewildwildzest

photo credit, fiji: instagram.com/jess_ismore/ // photo credit, south africa: instagram.com/thewildwildzest

aquarius: fiji & south africa

You are energetic, and you love to pack your schedule full when you’re traveling. You are very curious, compassionate, aware and conscious of the people and the world around you, so make sure you travel to places that spark your inquisitive nature. 

Travel to Fiji and stay in eco-friendly accommodation as you experience the incredible beaches and marine life as well as the kind local culture that the country is so well-loved for, or take a trip to South Africa to get your heart beating as you skydive, climb Table Mountain, explore Cape Town, and even swim with great white sharks!

 

pisces: bhutan & iceland

You are sensitive and comfortable within your emotions, and you have a desire to immerse yourself in order feel and experience things on a deeper level. Your next destination should be one that allows you to unplug and reconnect with yourself and the world around you. 

Travel to the tucked-away nation of Bhutan to experience a Buddhist country that very few tourists have ever visited and to truly get in touch with the local lifestyle, or if you’re more looking to connect with nature, try taking a trip to Iceland, where you can hike and explore the beautiful sights to your heart’s content.

 

I hope this gave you some travel inspo! Special thanks to the amazing communities of Girls LOVE Travel, Girls vs. Globe, and Global Degree for their amazing photo contributions and constant support. 

xoxo,

-Nish 

#mancrushmonday: andrew santos

Hi loves! Today I'd like to introduce you all to one very lucky fella. Last week, his life was completely changed when he was selected as the winner of this year's Global Degree contest. He leaves April 6th for an all-expenses paid trip to every single country in Europe, and I had the chance to get to know him a little bit better before his big departure! Check it out:

A moment from Andrew's winning video!

A moment from Andrew's winning video!

Name: Andrew Santos

Age: 22

Hometown: Burnaby, British Columbia

Current Location: Burnaby, British Columbia

Instagram: @andrewsantosmedia

What are four words you would use to describe yourself?

Adventurous, outgoing, ambitious, and creative.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a video game artist for Electronic Arts. I did a programming summer camp in Grade 8 and quickly realized it wasn't my thing. Shortly after that I fell in love with film and I've wanted to make videos for a living ever since. 

What have your experiences with traveling been so far?

I’ve been on a few family vacations here and there, the biggest one being a month in Europe traveling from London to Greece via Euro rail. I took my first solo trip to Bali, Indonesia for six weeks last year. It was amazing, I’ve always wanted to go on my own adventure and it definitely was an adventure! Traveling solo made me step out of my comfort zone and I made a ton of amazing new friends. It was a life changing experience and it's what got me hooked on travel! 

What are some of your favourite places you've been to?

Bali, Indonesia, Santorini, Greece, and finally Whistler, BC (in my own backyard!) which my all time favourite and my second home. 

What's the craziest thing that's ever happened to you abroad?

I got stopped on my scooter in Bali for not having an international drivers license, so I ended up bribing the police with $10. Although it’s a pretty common thing there, it ended up happening twice to me! 

Andrew on his scooter in Bali (where he got stopped by the police twice!)

Andrew on his scooter in Bali (where he got stopped by the police twice!)

How did you hear about the Global Degree contest?

I first found out from watching Mike and Alex’s Facebook announcement that they filmed while parasailing in the Maldives. 

What made you decide to enter?

Traveling while making videos has always been something I wanted to do. I was working a regular 9-5 office job and felt really tied down. As soon as I found out about the contest, the travelling aspect sounded really appealing to me! Getting to work on video too is obviously a bonus! 

Andrew relaxing in the beautiful Bali, Indonesia

Andrew relaxing in the beautiful Bali, Indonesia

How did you come up with your (hilarious!) video?

For some reason I’ve always wanted to do a parody of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. I thought this contest would be an awesome opportunity to do it and help me stand out in a creative way. I’ve also done music videos for clients, so I knew I could do it well. 

What was your reaction when you found out you won?

Shocked. I still don’t think it’s fully hit me that in just a few days I’ll be leaving on a trip of a lifetime. I’ve also been overwhelmed with the support not only form my friends and family but other contest applicants who have congratulated me and are genuinely excited for me. I am so grateful. 

Which European destinations are you most excited about?

I’m Portuguese so I’ve always wanted to go back to Portugal. The last time I was there I was 7 years old. I’m also really looking forward to Croatia, Greece, Norway. I’m actually excited for every country cause any one of them could be my favourite! 

Andrew living it up in Whistler, Canada

Andrew living it up in Whistler, Canada

What are three things you HAVE to bring on the trip with you?

My camera, laptop, and toothbrush. The camera to capture everything. Laptop to interact with the Global Degree community, something I want to do a lot of while on this trip. Toothbrush, well, just for good hygiene. 

How do you plan find a balance between creating content (taking photos and videos) and living in the moment and enjoying your experiences in Europe?

I’m not too sure yet, I guess I’ll find out through this trip! But now with technology being so advance I feel like it’s only getting easier and easier to be creating content while getting to enjoy the experience at the same time. Super curious to find out the answer this one out myself. 

What advice do you have for others about traveling or following their dreams?

Put yourself out there, you never know what could happen. Work hard at whatever you are passionate about and be the best at it. I enter a ton of online contests and competitions and have lost my fair share, the most important thing is to keep going! 

Baby Andrew on his family trip to Santorini, Greece!

Baby Andrew on his family trip to Santorini, Greece!

rapid-fire questions!

Extra legroom or in-flight Wifi? Extra Legroom 

Skydive or SCUBA dive? Skydive

Night out or night in? Night out

What would your superpower be? Teleporting (Would save so much time!) 

Who would play you in a movie about your life? Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool was sick!)

Don't forget to follow Andrew on Instagram, and if you want to check out his winning video, you can do so here.

Thanks for reading and have an amazing week!

Love,

Nish

tinytea 14-day teatox review

Hi Loves!

As you may know one of my new year's resolutions is to get healthy and feel good. So when YourTea was kind enough to send me their TinyTea 14-Day Teatox to try out and review during the last two weeks of my fitness challenge, I couldn't wait.

first impressions

After getting a confirmation of my order, my 14-day TinyTea cleanse arrived super quickly, within about three business days. The packaging is simple and adorable and the bright pink and white colour scheme is super-cute and motivating. I found myself getting excited every time it was time to open up a new little pink package of TinyTea.

YourTea is also great about making their products feel personalized. When I opened up my box of TinyTea, I was pleasantly surprised to find notes and samples of their café teas included!

TinyTea contains natural ingredients without laxatives or senna, a plant usually used in “weight loss” teas as a natural laxative. I tried a tea with senna this past summer, and found it to be too harsh (it felt like I was running to the bathroom every five minutes!). I decided to go with YourTea because they were one of the only companies I could find that doesn’t use senna. Instead, the company uses principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine to develop their blends.

The ingredients are: Camellia Sinensis (Tea Plant), Fructus Hordei Geminatus 麦芽 (Germinated Barley), Cratigus Pinnatifida 山楂 (Chinese Hawthorn), Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae 陈皮 (Tangerine Peel), Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn 荷葉 (Lotus Leaf) and Semen Phaseoli 赤小豆 (Aduki Bean).

taste

I’m personally a huge fan of tea and always take my blends unsweetened, so I liked the taste and didn’t feel the need to add any lemon or honey. However it is important to know that the tea does taste very herbal (almost like a combination of jasmine, green, and black tea) and it can be an acquired taste.

 

the teatox

One of the main reasons for my teatox was that I had been experiencing stomach issues since the middle of November. I wasn’t able to keep much food down and had virtually no appetite, but despite barely eating (and not being able to hold any of the food that I did decide to eat) I was super bloated and gaining weight.

The first five days were definitely an adjustment. It felt like my body was flushing out all of the toxins that had been causing me problems for the past few months, and because of that, I found myself experiencing the morning run to the bathroom that is typical of most teatoxes. I was drinking the tea three times a day though, and this only happened in the morning after the first cup, and only for the first five days.  

Since the effects of the tea were most prominent at first, I noticed my bloating was basically gone after just a couple of days.

My bloating was gone after the first five days, and it stayed gone throughout the remainder of the 14-day teatox. I also noticed an increase in energy and that my sleeping patterns became much more regular—I didn’t have a hard time waking up in the mornings, and was going to bed around midnight, which is 2-3 hours earlier than usual for me.

I don’t usually have much of an appetite, but I did notice after the first week my usual cravings for chips and sweets were gone. It’s been about a week and a half since I finished my box of TinyTea, and I still don’t feel the need to eat junk food.

It was pretty easy for me to stay on schedule with my three cups a day: I would drink one when I woke up, one before or after my meal in the middle of the day (usually around 2-4pm) and one before bed. I also made sure to exercise regularly, as I started the teatox during the last two weeks of my #FITWITHNISH 30 Day-Challenge.

 

final results

I saw noticeable results that weren’t overly drastic, probably because I exercised regularly but didn’t eat any healthier than usual. My results probably would have been much more dramatic if I had gone on YourTea’s suggested clean eating plan, but as a university student living in a dorm, that just wasn’t doable for me.

The purpose of TinyTea is to aid in proper digestion, which frequently results in a decrease in bloating and weight loss. If you’re looking for quick and drastic results—this may not be the tea for you. However, if you plan to exercise regularly and eat well, and your goal is to gently and naturally reset your digestive system and decrease extra bloating (like mine!) then this is the PERFECT tea for you and I would definitely recommend it!

 

If you're interested, get the 14-Day Teatox or 28-Day Teatox , and don't forget to follow YourTea on Instagram and Facebook!

I hope you all have an amazing week, and make sure to comment if you end up deciding to try TinyTea out yourself!

-Nishaa

 

Disclaimer: YourTea was kind enough to provide me a complimentary 14-Day Teatox, however everything in this post is one hundred percent honest and my own opinions!

#womancrushwednesday: alexis rivard

Hi loves! I am so excited to introduce you all to one of my honorary big sisters, the amazing Alexis Rivard! Alexis is so kindhearted, open-minded, and supportive, and I hope you have just as much fun getting to know her as I did!

Name: Alexis Rivard

Age: 22                                                          

Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

Current Location: Ottawa, Canada

Blog: www.adventurousalexis.com

 

Sum up your adventures in four words.

Exciting, trying, life-changing and eye-opening. 

What are the top five places you have visited?

I'm going to cheat, sorry Nish! I've lived in two of these five and so I know them a little bit more intimately than your average traveller.

In no particular order: 

1. London, England. This is quite ironic, really, considering the first time I visited I absolutely hated the city. It's all about experiences though. Now it's one of my favourite cities in the world.

2. Tha Ton, Thailand. This small village is outside of Chiang Mai and has a river running through it that leads you to Chiang Rai and is worth a stay for at least a few days strictly for the calibre of the locals and how charming and lovely they are. Of course, the scenery helps too.

3. Amsterdam, Netherlands. Some of us might think it's all drugs and sex but there is so much more to the city than that. I definitely recommend visiting with a clear mind.

4. Tuscany, Italy. In 2013 I travelled through some small villages by car and stayed at peoples homes through AirBNB. I'll never forget looking over a field of sunflowers and eating figs off the tree for breakfast.

5. New York City, America. It's pretty cliche but I adored NYC. I'd go back in a heartbeat if it wasn't for the cost of it.  There is so much going on at all times of the day that it's hard not to love.

A photo that Alexis took in London, England, one of her favourite cities!

A photo that Alexis took in London, England, one of her favourite cities!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A journalist. Radio to be exact. I had my entire life planned out by the time I was five, actually. It hasn't really gone to plan at all and for the best reasons!

Tell me a little-known fact about yourself!

I'm a martial artist - or at least I was. I want to pick it back up one day to get my black belt because I got pretty close but travel is my main focus now and it's hard to get into dojos (karate studios) when you're on the road although I did attend a Tae Kwan Do class in Stuttgart, Germany to counteract all the kebab I was eating there.

Tell me about one of your most memorable adventures!

It's hard to choose but in Chiang Mai I spent two weeks volunteering at Elephant  Nature Park. During my time there I not only got to see elephants up close and take care of them I actually knew that I had helped. I did something good for these beautiful creatures that had been hurt so badly because of tourism.

Alexis volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Alexis volunteering at the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai, Thailand

What’s your guilty pleasure or "luxury item" while abroad?

I bring my laptop with me, not because I like the extra weight. For photos or writing, and with my upcoming trip, so I can edit and upload video. It's a luxury but it's necessary for me.

If you could go ANYWHERE, RIGHT NOW, where would you go and why?

Cape Town in South Africa. Well aside from the endless beauty in Cape Town there is just so much to do! Especially for an adventure traveller. I'd really like to do the Cape Camino at the start of my trip then try abseiling and finish off with a huge variety of water sports that are there. I've always wanted to try wind surfing and I've read it's a good spot for it. Plus South African wine is always a big plus for me!

What are your top three items on your bucket list?

Visit every UN country in the world, sky dive and meet Ellen DeGeneres. A girl can dream about the last one, hey?

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: one of Alexis' top five destinations she's been to!

Amsterdam, The Netherlands: one of Alexis' top five destinations she's been to!

So you've found yourself in some pretty crazy circumstances-- like being in Thailand without any money (check out her blog to read all about this!). What advice do you have for travelers to handle scary situations?

Allow yourself to freak out at first after that you have to realize that it's solvable. Everything is always solvable. Once you know that you can figure out a solution and you will be perfectly fine. It doesn't hurt as well to ask for help from people too.

I've noticed a theme on your blog is looking past stereotypes (which is really really cool). How do you keep an open mind and why do you think this is important while traveling?

I hadn't actually realized that but it's nice to hear, thank you. I'm able to keep an open mind in part because of the way I was raised and also because I force myself to be educated about the plight of others. As I'm a fairly privileged person, it would be so easy for me to ignore it but I'm also a minority and have faced a lot of closed doors as a result, which never gets easier. I would hardly want to contribute to this in any way. In short, it's about being an active person - being aware isn't enough anymore. As far as travel is concerned, I believe that if you want to see more than what you know you have to be open to more whether it's food, people or experiences. At the end of the day, you are a foreigner in their country and it's only right to be open to the way they live because that country was made for them and you are there to learn about it. Unless you're willing to do these things, you might as well stay in your home forever.

If you could give a new traveler one piece of advice, what would it be?

Plan your travels as best you can but allow for spontaneity too.

Alexis in Times Square, New York City

Alexis in Times Square, New York City

rapid fire questions!

Sand or snow? Sand.

Sky dive or SCUBA dive? Sky dive!

Spend the night in a tree house in the Amazon or a European castle? Tree house!

Hostel or hotel? Hostel. Definitely hostel.

Oktoberfest in Germany or Carnival in Brazil? Carnival! I've already been to Oktoberfest, actually.

Don't forget to check out Alexis' blog over at www.adventurousalexis.com to read all about her adventures!

Much love,

Nish

my top twelve with tinggly bucket list!

Hi loves!

I am so excited to announce that I am partnering with a super neat company called Tinggly! I am a firm believer in the idea that experiences are the best possible gift, and this company allows you to send a voucher to your loved ones that gives them access to one of over 300 unique experiences around the world. 

Warning: The website may give you a serious case of wanderlust, and make your bucket list grow MUCH longer.

That's why I've decided to create my own top twelve with Tinggly bucket list to help inspire you all and give you an idea of just what Tinggly has to offer:

1. Hit the lights

One thing I’ve always dreamed of doing is seeing the Northern Lights with my mom. Ever since I was little, she’s talked about seeing the lights, and there’s nothing more I want then to be able to help make one of my mom’s dreams come true since she’s always been so supportive of mine. Tinggly gives us two different options to do this: one on land in Alaska, and one by sea in Iceland!

This picture of Ella and her mom seeing the lights together for Christmas is so sweet!

This picture of Ella and her mom seeing the lights together for Christmas is so sweet!

 

2. See the Seven Wonders

I’ve been lucky enough to see the Taj Mahal, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but I still have six more to go! These day trips to Chichen Itza in Mexico, the Colosseum in Rome, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the Great Wall of China most DEFINITELY earn a place on my bucket list.

@kathr_ynstagram at the Pyramids of Giza

@kathr_ynstagram at the Pyramids of Giza

3. Go back in time

Okay, maybe I can't literally go back in time, but there’s something very Gastby-esque about the idea of being driven down the colourful streets of Cuba in a classic, antique car. The Classic Havana Tour For Two looks like such a fun way to spend an afternoon, and I hope I get the time to do this while in Cuba with my best friend Liv in November.

@nadiaaa5 got the chance to explore Havana, Cuba and see some of its classic cars!

@nadiaaa5 got the chance to explore Havana, Cuba and see some of its classic cars!

4. Take the jump

As some of you may know after my adventures in the South Pacific last summer, I’m also a HUGE adrenaline junkie. So anything that involves heights automatically earns a spot on my bucket list. From paragliding in Armenia or Georgia, hot air ballooning Estonia or Dubai, base flying in Germany, to the world’s longest zip line in Nepal, anything that gets the heart pounding makes my list.

5. Be a princess for a day

Who doesn’t dream of being a Disney princess? Well, I think spending the day at a castle in Germany, Lithuania, or the United Kingdom is the next best thing!

@btzar snapped this stunning pic on a cloudy day at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

@btzar snapped this stunning pic on a cloudy day at Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

Or better yet, there’s the chance to spend the night at a castle in Turkey or a 14th or 15th-century palace in India and REALLY feel just like a princess!

6. Just desserts

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about staying healthy, but must admit that I have a pretty serious sweet tooth. Not only do I love desserts, I also adore learning how to make them myself! I’m obsessed with this chocolate experience in Belgium and this pizza and gelato-making workshop in Florence.

7. Dive in

As a scuba and freediver, the ocean is basically my second home, and I love getting the chance to interact with its inhabitants firsthand in their natural habitat. There's a night dive with manta rays in Hawaii, a dolphin swim in New Zealand, and dives with great whites in South Africa and thresher sharks in the Philippines to choose from. Sign me up for all of the above, please!

@aliciasabatravel 's pic of the adorable Hector's Dolphins in New Zealand

@aliciasabatravel 's pic of the adorable Hector's Dolphins in New Zealand

8. Stay someplace special

Although I haven’t had the chance to stay in one yet, I have a growing obsession with the idea of unique hotels and hostels. These white pods in Switzerland and bubble rooms in France are two total stand-outs, and so is this ancient hotel in Crete (with no outlets or televisions, such a cool way to unplug!), and this lodge in Malawi.

9. J'aime Paris

I'm starting up French classes in the spring semester, and plan to study abroad in France next year. I cannot wait to see the timeless Eiffel Tower, and with a skip-the-line ticket, I won't have to wait very long at all!

@alexiakmett at the Eiffel Tower

@alexiakmett at the Eiffel Tower

10. Create a custom scent

While I'm in France, I would also love to visit Grasse (the perfume capital) to create my very own, one-of-a-kind scent! I think that the science of scent is fascinating, and getting the chance to make a bottle of perfume that's completely unique to me sounds so cool.

11. Picture perfect

I love photography, and think that one of the most unique ways to capture an image is from an aerial perspective. That’s why this flight for two over Uluru in Australia, and this flight for two over Las Vegas (with a limo ride and VIP treatment as a bonus!) make my list.

Look how stunning @btzar 's photo from ground level is, can't even imagine how amazing Uluru would look from the air!!

Look how stunning @btzar 's photo from ground level is, can't even imagine how amazing Uluru would look from the air!!

12. Explore home

Although jet setting around the world to have these experiences is beyond incredible, it's easy to forget the amazing things we can do in our own backyard. I'm still pretty new to living in Southern California, and haven't really gotten the chance to see what this beautiful area has to offer. That's why this surf lesson in San Diego and this kayaking trip to the Channel Islands just may hold the top spots on my bucket list.

 

And that wraps up my Top Twelve with Tinggly! Check out their website at www.tinggly.com and comment with your number one experience for yourself or the traveler in your life!

 

get fit with me!

Hi loves! So as you may have read yesterday, one of my main resolutions for 2015 is to get healthy and feel good. To kick things off, I'm doing a 30-day challenge starting tomorrow! Here's my plan if you want to follow along and get fit with me:

The #FITWITHNISH 30-Day Challenge

Day 1: 0:25 plank, 50 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 100 crunches, 5 leg raises and & dog legs

Day 2: 0:30 plank, 55 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 100 crunches, 8 leg raises & dog legs

Day 3: 0:35 plank, 60 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 100 crunches, 10 leg raises & dog legs

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: 0:40 plank, 70 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 150 crunches, 12 leg raises & dog legs

Day 6: 0:45 plank, 75 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 150 crunches, 15 leg raises & dog legs

Day 7: 0:50 plank, 80 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 150 crunches, 20 leg raises & dog legs

Day 8: Rest

Day 9: 1 :00 plank, 100 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 200 crunches, 30 leg raises & dog legs

Day 10: 1:05 plank, 105 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 200 crunches, 33 leg raises & dog legs

Day 11: 1:10 plank, 110 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 200 crunches, 35 leg raises & dog legs

Day 12: Rest

Day 13: 1:15 plank, 130 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 225 crunches, 40 leg raises & dog legs

Day 14: 1:20 plank, 135 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 225 crunches, 42 leg raises & dog legs

Day 15: 1:25 plank, 140 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 225 crunches, 45 leg raises & dog legs

Day 16: Rest

Day 17: 1:30 plank, 150 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 250 crunches, 45 leg raises & dog legs

Day 18: 1:35 plank, 155 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 250 crunches, 48 leg raises & dog legs

Day 19: 1:40 plank, 160 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 250 crunches, 50 leg raises & dog legs

Day 20: Rest

Day 21: 1:50 plank, 180 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 275 crunches, 52 leg raises & dog legs

Day 22: 2:00 plank, 185 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 275 crunches, 55 leg raises & dog legs

Day 23: 2:10 plank, 190 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 275 crunches, 58 leg raises & dog legs

Day 24: Rest

Day 25: 2:20 plank, 220 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 300 crunches, 60 leg raises & dog legs

Day 26: 2:30 plank, 225 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 300 crunches, 62 leg raises & dog legs

Day 27: 2:40 plank, 230 squats, 100 jumping jacks, 300 crunches, 65 leg raises & dog legs

Day 28: Rest

Day 29: 2:50 plank, 240 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 300 crunches, 68 leg raises & dog legs

Day 30: 3:00 plank, 250 squats, 200 jumping jacks, 300 crunches, 70 leg raises & dog legs


Three more things:

1.  You may be wondering what a dog leg is! Also known as the "peeing dog" exercise, it involves getting on your hands and knees and slowly swinging each leg out to the side (so that you look like a peeing dog-- it looks and sounds ridiculous but tones your tush and thighs like crazy!) 

2 .I'm planning to accompany this challenge with cardio like swimming, the elliptical machine, the "zombies run" app (depending on how well it works), and the Just Dance Wii games when I have free time. 

3. Don't forget it's okay to make little modifications-- you can break up the jumping jacks into little bursts of 25 or 50, do planks on your knees or using your elbows instead of your hands, do leg raises lying on your back, on your stomach Superman-style (or both, like I am!) or by doing wide-leg or tippy-toe squats. Whatever works best for you! 


Good luck and let me know how the plan goes for you by using the hashtag #FITWITHNISH! 

-Nishaa

xoxo

two thousand and sixteen: resolutions

Happy New Year, loves!

So my reflections on 2015 post ended up WAY longer than I had planned for it to be, so let’s keep the 2016 resolutions short and sweet! (And yes, part of the reason I'm posting this is definitely so I can hold myself more accountable to keeping my resolutions)

1. Stop procrastinating:

… Starting tomorrow.

2. Get healthy and feel good:

Lots of medical trouble (plus my first semester of college) has left me feeling bloated, icky, and out of shape, so I’m planning to start up workout plans, get into self-defense and dance classes, and eat healthier, and try to shift my self-image to be more positive. I’ve never had the best eating habits, and although this isn't necessarily about losing weight, it is about feeling good in my own skin and this year will be the year that happens! If you want to get fit with me, check out my 30-day workout plan coming in my next blog post tomorrow.

3. Start saving:

Traveling takes money, and I need to start saving it! By cutting down on eating out (to once a week in January, and once every other week and special occasions only from February onwards) I’ll already be saving tons, and I also plan to curb my spending by saving half of my paycheck and doing the penny-a-day challenge to fill up my travel jar for upcoming adventures.

4. Write:

I’ve been kind of awful at updating this blog regularly so I want to commit myself to at least one post per week on this site, and I want 2016 to be the year that I start trying to contribute to bigger websites.

And while I’m on the topic of writing more, I’d like to make sure that I keep a personal travel journal when I’m abroad (especially since I’m visiting more than ten different countries this year!). While the internet is great for documenting travel, it’d be nice to have someplace to privately and personally reflect each day.

5. More service:

2016 is the year that Making Waves becomes the Passport Project!

In addition to starting up a brand-new philanthropic campaign, I’d also like to volunteer more, both domestically and internationally, encourage others to do the same, and focus on helping people.

6. Self-care:

And although I want to focus on helping people this year, I know it’s also important to take care of myself. I’d like to be much more conscious and aware of self-care this year, and make sure that I take the time to stay healthy both physically and emotionally. (Hello bubble baths and books!)

7. See the world:

This year is going to be HUGE for travel. I’ll be visiting more than 10 different countries, as well as all six inhabited continents! (But don’t worry Antarctica, you’re next!) This isn’t so much a resolution as a plan, but it makes this year super exciting nonetheless.

8. Be brave:

Finally, 2016 will be the year of courage. Whether it’s standing up for myself and others, putting myself out there, having adventures, or taking risks, I want to be more bold and fearless this year, and make 2016 the best it can be!

Keep an eye out for updates on these resolutions every once in a while, and good luck keeping all of your resolutions!

Much love,

-Nishaa

What are your new year’s resolutions for 2016?

two thousand and fifteen: reflections

2015 has been a super significant year, so as it comes to a close, I wanted to take some time to reflect on the good, the bad, and the downright crazy things that the past twelve months have held.

1. Taking some time:

2015 was weird for me in the sense that it was the first time that I’ve taken some “me” time. After finishing high school right before turning seventeen, I found myself in a position where taking a year off wouldn’t put me “behind” my peers, and honestly, I wasn’t ready to go off to college right away. Taking the year off was hard at times. I’m someone who needs to stay busy, so having that much down time took some getting used to, but it also gave me plenty of room to discover my strengths, weaknesses, passions, and to grow.

beverly beach, oregon

beverly beach, oregon

 

2. Applying to college:

Going through the college application process for a second time, this time during a year off, I found myself with a much more clear path. Knowing that I needed a strong study abroad program, deciding that international advertising and communications I want to do as a career, and having a firm idea of what I needed out of my college experience, I looked at schools I hadn’t considered at all during my senior year. I ended up applying to twelve universities in three different countries (The United States, Canada, and Australia) and…

 

chapman university, say hello to your newest panther cub!

chapman university, say hello to your newest panther cub!

3. Getting accepted to (and attending!) my dream school:

Deciding on Chapman University was easy. The friendly environment, beautiful Southern California location, and the ability to study abroad on my dream program were all major factors for me, and to be completely honest, I knew it was the school for me the second I stepped onto campus for my admissions interview. I adore my double major in Strategic and Corporate Communications and Peace Studies, my classes and professors have been incredible, my two roommates are both the best, and I go to Disneyland almost once a week. What more could a girl ask for?

 

4. Meeting amazing people:

2015 has taught me that some of the best people can come from the most unexpected places. Becoming more involved at my church led me to incredible people, and so did entering the Global Degree contest. Even though I wasn’t selected as the winner, I still feel like I won through the hundreds of big sisters and two big brothers that being a part of the contest connected me with, and taking the risk of entering pushed me to do so many other things (like starting this blog) and I started to let myself dream big.

 

disneyland with liv, september 28th 2015

disneyland with liv, september 28th 2015

And speaking of amazing people, one of the best things that going to Chapman this year has given me is my best friend Liv. We met by chance (she was actually coming over from the dorm room next door to talk to my roommate—who wasn’t home), and have been spending almost all of our time together ever since. We’re Disneyland buddies and partners in crime, we can and do talk about everything and anything (I’m not kidding. We’ll talk about boy problems and serious social issues in the same conversation) and I am so grateful to have her in my life!

 

5. Overcoming fears:

This was the year of #yolo. Despite being a big worrier for my entire life, I decided to start to put myself out there and start to push myself out of my comfort zone and face some fears. I overcame my fear of doctors and hospitals and needles (that last one I REALLY faced), my fear of traveling alone, and finally a little fear of big heights:

jumping off the auckland sky tower, may 2015

jumping off the auckland sky tower, may 2015

From jumping off the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere to zip lining over a saltwater crocodile, this year was insane and I probably gave my mother multiple heart attacks (sorry mom!)

 

6. Starting up and growing as a travel blogger:

After the Global Degree contest ended, I was super inspired to start my own travel blog like so many of the other girls had. And so after a few less-than-successful attempts, nishaasharma.com was finally born at the end of August. I’ve been lucky enough to reach over 5,000 people between this website and my Instagram, @nishaasharma, been featured in articles about gap years and travel fails, and have gotten the chance to work with amazing companies like Serengetee, The BoobyPack, BeyondBeanie, and Life Before Work Travel. This has become something so much bigger than I ever expected and I’m constantly amazed by how much has happened this year.

the boobypack, as seen on shark tank

the boobypack, as seen on shark tank

 

7. Making childhood dreams come true:

When I was six and first watched Finding Nemo, my obsession with Australia began. I knew I had to go to the Great Barrier Reef, see the opera house, and travel up and down the coast like Marlin did. I spent my free time watching the Crocodile Hunter, Discovery Channel (hello, Shark Week!) and Animal Planet, and this year I FINALLY got to go and find Nemo in Australia. From traveling alone for the first time, to celebrating my eighteenth birthday in Sydney, and to swimming with the biggest fish in the ocean, Australia was everything my inner six year old could have asked for and much more. 

great barrier reef, queensland australia (i finally found nemo)

great barrier reef, queensland australia (i finally found nemo)

 

8. Learning that I deserve happiness:

This was the year I started living life for myself. Moving to California like I’ve always wanted to, traveling to the other side of the world, and all of the things I accomplished this year were the things I wanted to do, and worked my butt off to achieve. I’ve learned that I can’t live my life to please other people and live up to their expectations for me, and I’ve started to take risks, pursue my passions, live up to my own expectations for myself and follow my own dreams.

chapman university, september 2015

chapman university, september 2015


I hope your 2015 has been a year of growing and change, and that you all have an amazing new year, loves!


-Nishaa

xoxo

What are you most proud of from 2015?


5 reasons why you should visit exmouth

Hi Loves!

In June, I was lucky enough to find this little hidden town tucked away in a far corner of Australia. Here's why you should make a trip out to Exmouth, Western Australia next time you're down under. 

1. Escape The Crowds

The view from my apartment at the gorgeous Novotel Ningaloo Resort

The view from my apartment at the gorgeous Novotel Ningaloo Resort

Every time I need to explain where exactly Exmouth is, I'm reminded of this fact: Exmouth is not a huge tourist destination, and most people don't even know it exists (yet). Exmouth has a local population of 2,000 which reaches 6,000 at the most during peak season.

Since it's on the west coast, it isn't as easily reached as the usual destinations of Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane (which makes it all the more worth the while!) Not many people get out to this part of the country, and the few people who do know about it tend to be Australian locals.

2. The Location

Shot from the plane flying into Exmouth from Perth

Shot from the plane flying into Exmouth from Perth

Exmouth is located about an hour and a half's flight north of Perth, on the west coast of Australia. The weather stays in a nice 80-90 degree Fahrenheit range during most of the year during the day, meaning that it's always nice enough to be outside on the beach and if it's a little cooler, to check out the Cape Range National Park.

Exmouth is a nature lover's paradise, since it's in this wonderful position of having canyons and this amazing park which reaches out right to the water, where the Ningaloo Reef is located. Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringe reef in the world, and it's like the lesser known cousin of Cairns' Great Barrier Reef. Although the corals itself are much less colourful than on the Great Barrier Reef, the marine life is incredible (more on that later!)

3. The Road Trip

In Coral Bay at the beach by the Coral Gardens reef formation

In Coral Bay at the beach by the Coral Gardens reef formation

Exmouth is about a two-hour drive from a cute town called Coral Bay, and the drive between the two takes you on a gorgeous trip through Cape Range National Park. Not only is the destination of Coral Bay a great little touristy area to spend a day or two in, the journey itself also lets you see some really neat things, like kangaroos, lots of sheep, and termite nests taller than you are (which can be enjoyed from a reasonable distance!)

On a side note, a couple of tips for this road trip: 

Tip #1: If you rent a car to do this drive, remember that they are not insured after 5pm due to kangaroo activity at dusk! 

Tip #2: If you take this side trip, it's a perfect opportunity to enter the Ningaloo Tourism Board's Photography Competition, where you can win up to $1000!

4. The Beaches

Clean, no crowds, cool sand, clear and warm water where you don't need a wetsuit, and calm lagoons created by Ningaloo Reef's fringing the coastline.

Shot in Coral Bay while free diving the Coral Gardens

Shot in Coral Bay while free diving the Coral Gardens

Need I say more? 

5. The Marine Life 

Taken on a GoPro Hero 3+ during my day with Three Islands

Taken on a GoPro Hero 3+ during my day with Three Islands

To be honest this was the entire reason I made the trek out to Western Australia. I took a whale shark trip with Three Islands and it just might have been the highlight of my life. The staff was so friendly and kept us entertained and well-fed in between shark swims. We were very well-informed of the marine park's regulations and our interactions with the sharks were not disruptive of the animals.

If you don't feel super confident snorkeling and swimming in open water, don't worry! There's a lagoon snorkel at the beginning of the day and they provide life jackets and noodles if you need them! I was lucky enough to see four whale sharks, as well as a hammerhead shark, dolphins, manta rays and a turtle the day I went out on the boat. 

Amazing marine life can be viewed year-round, with manta rays always in Coral Bay. Other large pelagics like whale sharks and mantas make an appearance in Exmouth during the winter, with humpbacks coming in the spring and turtles nesting in the summer and fall. Check out this nifty wildlife calendar for more information, but know that no matter when you go you're bound to be amazed!

 

Exmouth can be reached through flying to Perth and catching one of the two daily flights up to Learmonth Airport. If you have any questions about places to stay or things to do, please drop me a message on the "Contact" page! 

Much love!

-Nishaa

xoxo

mind the gap: things to think about before taking the year off

Hi Loves!

I know some of you are in that exciting time of year right now where you’re a senior in high school and considering what college to go to in the fall; and I know that decision is difficult enough on its own but I’m about to give you some insight on another option: a gap year.

A gap year is basically taking a year (or maybe just a semester) off between graduating high school and beginning college. Some people do it to take a breather because they’re feeling burnt out, some work, some do internships, some volunteer, and some travel. It’s the first time you have this much time to do anything you want to do, so the options are endless, and you don’t have to pick just one.

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Victoria Australia

The Nobbies, Phillip Island, Victoria Australia

The Good

When you take a year off, you’re actually at an advantage in the competitive job market and college admissions. It can show self-motivation, a global awareness, and you quite literally have a full year to do nothing but build up your resume and fill your life with experiences to discuss with potential employers and to build networking connections. Lots of people come to college having never worked a job, and you have the opportunity to come in with job experience and it’s worth considering a domestic or international internship.

You can work on yourself and you get the chance to mature. I made a conscious effort to do the things I was afraid of and be more adventurous, became more independent, and grew as a person through having to be responsible for myself and the decisions I made while traveling. When you’re doing things like navigating a public transportation system in Australia and you can’t use Google Maps, suddenly the idea of going off to school isn’t so intimidating. And after taking the year off, it becomes much clearer what you’re looking for in both a career and a college experience, and you will be much more well informed in making your decisions.

If you decide to volunteer during your gap year, you can do good in the world. You can work locally by volunteering in homeless shelters, or even at your old elementary school. which is what I did when I wasn’t abroad. You can also go to another country and volunteer, which I’ll touch on more in a bit.

Pacific City, Oregon, United States

Pacific City, Oregon, United States

The Bad

The biggest problem with gap years happens when you have a lack of planning, which can lead to too much time on your hands. If you don’t make at least a few firm plans for your gap year, you can end up lounging around the house, sleeping until 2pm (which is totally okay every once in a while, don’t get me wrong!) and possibly even losing your motivation. There were definitely times last year where I would be super down, felt like an actual potato, and was worried about being able to go back into a school environment at all.

Which brings me to my next point, some aspects of starting college become more difficult. While you may be at an advantage, aspects of your social life may become harder. I just started my freshman year of college about a month and a half ago, and there are times where I can’t really connect to the people around me, because in taking the year off, I did a lot of the maturing and learning that people do during their first year of college (the crazy drinking? Not so appealing anymore!). I’ve found myself hanging out with a lot of upperclassmen even though I’m not technically older than my freshman class since I graduated at sixteen, and then took the time off, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because upperclassmen are a fun time.

The Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Queensland Australia

The Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Queensland Australia


The Options

Working is a great option, and it’s what I did for a majority of my gap year. You can go into a mall and work retail, host or wait at a restaurant, work at a parent’s friend’s office, babysit, or nanny. When you don’t have to work around being in school, you have the chance to make WAY more money. When you’re going around from job interview to job interview, you learn about the best way to present yourself and what your strengths are, since you get asked ALL the time.

Interning is something interesting, which can be done locally or internationally. Personally, I decided to intern with a travel agency in my hometown, which allowed me to learn a lot more about the world, my own travel goals and also how to work efficiently with others. You can also intern abroad, which allows you to travel the world AND build your resume!

A Working Holiday does something similar to an internship abroad, and it’s not an option that a lot of people are familiar with. Australia and New Zealand have working holiday visas for U.S citizens between the ages of 18 and 30, where you get to work in the country for half the year, and then adventure and travel within the country with the money you made for half the year! Expect a lot more information about this since it’s my plan for after college.

Volunteering is also a great option, and so is Adventure Travel. You can do this through a tour group or company, like Rustic Pathways (which is the company I volunteered in Costa Rica through), or you can travel independently (which is what I did for Australia and New Zealand)! Rustic Pathways is super cool because they offer volunteer and adventure options for gap years, which can be found at http://gap.rusticpathways.com

Camaronal Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica (photo by Andrew Jenkins, sign by yours truly and the Rustic Pathways crew)

Camaronal Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica (photo by Andrew Jenkins, sign by yours truly and the Rustic Pathways crew)

Tips

Have a plan and goals before you take your year off! This can help to combat that potato-ness that tends to happen sometimes. Even if you don’t have your entire year planned out day by day, you at least have things to look forward to and work towards.

Mix it up! You don’t have to pick just one of the things I listed above. Personally, I volunteered in Costa Rica, worked/interned/volunteered locally, went to Canada, worked, and finished things out in New Zealand and Australia on a solo trip.

Know where you want to grow. Consider the areas where you want to grow as a person. Maybe you want to be more independent, more adventurous, or more outgoing. Have a couple of goals and make choices to help you work towards those goals..

A gap year is amazing, but it isn’t the best option for everyone; make sure you feel that it is for you before you decide to do it!

And as always, if you need advice hit up that contact page!

Much love,

Nishaa

xoxo

 

cute with a cause: serengetee

Hi Loves!

As some of you may know I am a HUGE advocate for giving back and doing good in both the global community, as well as your personal local community, and I've been lucky enough to find an amazing company that does both!

Serengetee was founded by two college students on their Semester at Sea voyage (don't forget about Semester at Sea, there's much more to come about that!) who were inspired by different cultures and had their eyes opened to global issues. They wanted to start a business that would help the communities of the people they met, and that's how Serengetee was born.

How Does It Work?

The basic idea is that fabric is hand selected and purchased from different countries, which helps to contribute to local economies in the different communities. Serengetee then customizes different shirts, bags, fanny packs, hats, and belts using the fabrics you choose, and a portion of your purchase contributes to a charity that corresponds with the fabric.

Here are some examples, with photos featuring my adorable sister and my two beautiful friends Eileen and Dany!

Here's Dany, wearing the women's crop sweater in the fabric Phosi, which is from Laos! Phosi contributes to the charity Pencils of Promise, which builds schools in impoverished communities all over the world. 

Here's Dany, wearing the women's crop sweater in the fabric Phosi, which is from Laos! Phosi contributes to the charity Pencils of Promise, which builds schools in impoverished communities all over the world. 

Here's my little sister rocking a women's deep v-neck in Dupre, a fabric from here in the United States which also contributes to Pencils of Promise!

Here's my little sister rocking a women's deep v-neck in Dupre, a fabric from here in the United States which also contributes to Pencils of Promise!

My little sister again, this time wearing the crop tank top in the fabric Hudson. Hudson is also from the United States and it contributes to Feed My Starving Children, which combats youth hunger here in the U.S

My little sister again, this time wearing the crop tank top in the fabric Hudson. Hudson is also from the United States and it contributes to Feed My Starving Children, which combats youth hunger here in the U.S

Here's Eileen wearing the fabric Brasilia, which is from Brazil. It contributes to the Whole Planet Foundation, which provides micro loans to women in over 60 different countries

Here's Eileen wearing the fabric Brasilia, which is from Brazil. It contributes to the Whole Planet Foundation, which provides micro loans to women in over 60 different countries

Here's my little sis one more time, this time in Galaxy from the United States, which also contributes to Feed My Starving Children!

Here's my little sis one more time, this time in Galaxy from the United States, which also contributes to Feed My Starving Children!

So...

If you'd like to #weartheworld and help change the world, check out serengetee.com and apply the code Sharma15 at checkout for a 15% discount! Don't forget to post pictures in your new 'Getee gear and hashtag #weartheworld and #nishaasharma so I can obsess over how cute you all are. 

Much love,

Nishaa

xoxo

liebester award

Big thank you to Jessica Elliot with How Dare She (howdareshe.org) for the nomination and sending me these fun questions!

What is your goal with blogging?

I’d like to be the youngest woman to visit every United Nation, which I know is quite the massive undertaking! My goal with this blog is to document my steps along the way, raise awareness of other countries; both their beauty and their social issues (specifically concentrated on women’s and children’s rights, education, and marine conservation), and encourage youth to travel and make a difference themselves through my project Making Waves. 

What is your second favorite place you’ve visited, and why isn’t it number one? 

I would definitely have to say the Maldives, which is only second to Western Australia (specifically Exmouth and Coral Bay)! Both places are hotspots for larger marine life like sharks, whales, and manta rays, and as a freediver and lover of all things beach and ocean, they’re exactly where I need to be. Western Australia is more for backpackers, whereas the Maldives is more for luxury travelers and honeymooners. While both places are isolated, the Maldives is much more so than Western Australia. I also really enjoyed making friends and connections in WA, which isn’t something I got to do in the Maldives because of the nature of accommodations.

How do you decide which boxes to check and what you’re ok with missing?

I’m really big on volunteering and doing good whenever I enter another country, so if I am lucky enough to get to volunteer that automatically takes priority over sightseeing.

Usually next on my priority list are beaches, dive sites and major landmarks, and I also like to ask my friends for food recommendations before I go someplace new. I’m very much all about making relationships and having interactions while abroad, so usually deciding which boxes to check and which ones to miss comes from talking to other people. A lot of the time you find out that something isn’t always worth the hype and then you save yourself a lot of time. 

Do you travel mostly solo or with a compatriot? What do you think are the pros and cons of it?

I’ve only traveled a couple of times solo and the rest of the time has been with family, and as of right now I prefer traveling solo out of those two options. I love the freedom that you have when you’re solo because you get to decide every aspect of your trip, and it’s also way easier to make friends. The only major drawback is the loneliness that you experience in that weird phase of your trip before meeting people. I have yet to travel with friends or companions that I’ve decided myself, though, so I don’t feel like I have a fully formed view of traveling with a companion yet.

What challenges you when it comes to traveling and blogging?

I’m still getting the hang of traveling WHILE blogging! It’s hard because I’m very much someone who lives in the moment and gets caught up in the experience of things—half the time I forget that I’ve got blog posts to write when I get back to my room and it doesn’t end up happening. So I’ll awkwardly be posting about my Australia and New Zealand trip three months after the fact. I’ve made a point of making little notes in my phone about things I may want to put into the blog, and that’s helped a lot.

What’s been a time traveling that you found yourself surprised?

The biggest things that I’m surprised by are my own strength and the kindness of others.  This probably sounds ridiculous but I kind of feel like a superhero version of myself when I travel. I’m much more likely to try new foods, adventure more, and go outside of my comfort zone—I got through a ropes course with no problem and literally jumped off of a 192 meter building last time I traveled!

When it comes to the kindness of others, I’ve always found that the world is a much nicer place than the media would like us to think. Of course there are issues everywhere you go, but as long as you’re respectful of people and the culture, locals are always incredibly friendly and helpful.

What is your approach to language when traveling?

Personally I’m obsessed with languages, so I could be a bit biased here. I think that it’s really important to have at least some basics in the local language when you’re traveling someplace. You’re the guest in their home, and I think it’s incredibly unfair to expect an entire country to accommodate to you and speak English rather than taking the time to learn simple things like “hello”, “goodbye”, “do you speak English” and “I don’t speak ____” in the local language. And it’s not too hard to learn the basics! You can do it on the plane/bus/train ride to your destination.

What’s your approach to photography when it comes to capturing the moment vs. experiencing the moment?

I’m big on experience first, photos second. Then again I’ve found that it’s not usually something I have to decide between and I can have it both ways. For me, it’s a matter of taking a deep breath and taking it all in before jumping to find the best angle for Insta.

Cost-aside, what would be your ideal 2 week trip?

I would LOVE to island hop the South Pacific and visit Vanuatu, Samoa, Palau, Kiribati and Micronesia by flying out of Auckland. Like I said, I’m a freediver and have an obsession with marine life, so these places are super high on my diving bucket list. They’re also among the least visited countries in the world and are practically untouched in terms of both their nature and their original cultures and traditions. I don’t know a lot about South Pacific culture so I think it’d be really fascinating. 

What is a time you’ve felt really proud (preferably about yourself)?

My very first trip without my family was with a volunteer group to Costa Rica, and unfortunately I got appendicitis while I was on that trip. I had to get my surgery done in Costa Rica without any family or friends with me, and unfortunately was also the victim of a violent crime on that trip as well. The entire experience and the time afterwards was the most terrifying in my life. To this day, I’m proud of myself for picking myself back up and seeing that the world still isn’t such a bad place, and continuing to travel.

If people only took a few nuggets of what you write, what would you hope it to be?

I hope there are students and young adults out there who read my blog and see that it’s okay to be brave, take that leap of faith, and go seize the world. Whether that be actual travel or asking someone out, applying for that job, or making that big move they’ve always wanted to make but have been afraid to. I hope I can show people that they can overcome obstacles and inspire people to do their one big thing.

 

the most amazing place you've never heard of

I felt the need to share this country with all of you as soon as possible, because with climate change and rising sea levels, it won't be around much longer.

Ever heard of The Maldives? 
Don't worry, most people haven't. In fact, it's not even on most maps.
 


Let's zoom in a little.
 

Here's Southeast Asia. The Maldives is a chain of islands located on the southwest coast of India, it should be in the bottom left corner of the above picture. See where all that ocean is? Yup, somewhere in there, that's The Maldives.

Even though it's not on a map, I think that everyone needs to visit this little treasure of a country. It's made up of about 1,200 islands, only one of which is inhabited by Maldives Islanders. There's 199 more that are home to resorts, and the other thousand are completely untouched. The bigger islands are bordered by rings of coral reef, creating beautiful dimensions of blue. When you're flying in from Europe or India, the beauty of The Maldives will take your breath away before your plane even lands at the airport on Male (pronounced Mah-lay).

 

#50shadesofblue

Once you arrive there's a pretty big selection of resorts ranging from about 300 to more than 800 dollars per night on the islands surrounding Male, as well as budget accommodations on the island capital. If you're staying on Male, it's important to remember that this is an Islamic country, and you should stay more covered to respect the locals and their beliefs. Indian rupees are also not allowed into the country, so make sure that you exchange them to US dollars (the currency used in The Maldives) before departing if you're coming in from India.

However, most people go for the resorts, reached by boat or seaplane, and opt for over-the-water bungalows or villas. When my family and I went in 2012, we decided to go for a "garden bungalow" at Kurumba, which was significantly less expensive. The best part? Even with this discounted room, it barely a minute to walk to the beach. 

The four days spent on Kurumba were pure bliss. 

This is the case with a few of the islands, but Kurumba is especially known for its shark population. Mother black tip reef sharks come to the calm lagoon surrounding the resort to give birth, meaning that there's a lot of baby sharks hanging out by the beach! Like this one, who we called Timothy, who had a brother named Jimothy (I know, super creative).

 

We also learned to stand-up paddle board while on the island, which cost about $30 per person including equipment rental for the day. However, the highlight of my time in The Maldives was the snorkel safari that my sister and I did (approximately $100 per person).

Snorkeling on the coral reefs that surrounded uninhabited islands was incredible. The water was crystal clear, and we were able to see the ocean floor. Clownfish, tangs, and sea anemones were abundant, and we were soon joined by turtles and three different species of sharks. Whenever I'd read about sharks being eight to ten feet, I never thought much of it. That seemed on the smaller side, especially compared to the sixteen and twenty feet great white and tiger sharks. Being in the water with these graceful, agile, powerful creatures that are twice your size is the most humbling experience, that I'll never be able to fully articulate. 

Growing up I was a huge nerd, especially when it came to the ocean. I've been dreaming of interacting with sharks in the wild ever since I was in kindergarten, and I'd always stood by the idea that sharks aren't vicious man-eaters. Not only was I able to live out my childhood dream on this trip, I've also been able to come back and talk to kids about the misconceptions about sharks. 

 

The Maldives sound pretty great, right? Well you'd better hurry and get down there since they won't be around much longer. 

This country is the world's lowest, with its highest point being seven feet and a majority of it sitting below sea level. As our climate changes and ocean levels rise, The Maldives are quickly sinking. It's estimated that this country will be completely underwater within the next fifteen years.

That seriously sucks. If you're like me and want to honeymoon here after getting married, you'd better put a ring on it really fast. Unless we seriously turn our actions around and combat the damage that we as humans have done to the environment, The Maldives won't be a place that our kids and grandchildren get to see. WE might not even be able to see it. It's easy to brush the idea of climate change under the rug, to think it's not a big deal, but we are drowning a beautiful and amazing country.

The Maldives are one of the last pristine, untouched places on earth where you can experience nature above and underwater first hand, and they hold a special place in my heart. I hope that every person who reads this is able to experience it. In the meantime, raise awareness! Talk to people about climate change and about The Maldives. 

 

If you'd like to get seriously involved, visit the "Making Waves" tab to learn more about my new campaign (more on that next time), and if you're planning a trip, feel free to get in touch with me for any questions!

Much love,

-Nishaa

xoxo