Tragic Reality: 2017

2017: Natural disasters, mass shootings, presidential problems, foreign conflict.

This year has been rough to say the least. I hate reading the news and see “death” and “accident” flash before my eyes; it’s heartbreaking.

I express my sadness in poetry (nerd alert πŸ˜‰ ), so here’s a Shakespearian sonnet — yes, I did follow iambic pentameter with the correct syllable count.

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Tragic Reality

Abuse, disdain, surround our world today;

Each minute contains something full of hate

Most victims are forgotten by Tuesday

Though we observe this we accept our fate

***

A tragic life to sustain in, isn’t it?

But we can change this frightful narrative

With committed minds and gentle spirit

The fear can be withdrawn and we can give

***

The deathly dark gas can be extinguished

Instead a bright light can begin to shine

A peaceful world can open with less red

Less hatred, more compassion; imagine

***

But will this be apart of my lifetime?

I wonder and wait for the peaceful climb.

 

Life is difficult, annoying, and complicated, but I am immensely grateful for all the opportunities present in my life.

❀ ,

Hira

College Favorites

Hello, my wonderful friends!

I have seriously had zero-time to bake. The problem isn’t that I don’t have time (I mean, I don’t but I sleep and encourage mental well-being — take care of yourself). Baking is equal to measuring ingredients, mixing, cleaning, developing they’re are so many components, and while I truly love it, I just can’t seem to find time to do all the things baking entails in one sitting.

I still want to keep you guys updated on college life — so here are some products that have been keeping me alive!

1. CHOCOLATE COVERED PRETZELS

  • Everyone knows I have a major sweet tooth. I could eat dessert for every meal; it’s really a problem. To occupy my sweet tooth, I’ve been obsessively eating chocolate covered pretzels. I love them. Go to your nearest Costco NOW, and buy some — and mail them to me. πŸ˜‰

2. DRY SHAMPOO

  • I have always been a fan of dry shampoo — no water, no time — lately, though, I have been using it. A lot. My favorite is theΒ Batiste dry shampoo. I have tried many different brands and nothing beats this one — the original white type.

3. NPR’S UP FIRST

  • I love reading the news. I have favorite columnists and publications, but I haven’t had a lot of time to just sit and read (I’m still trying to find balance in my life, which is incredibly hard). To supplement for my lack of reading I have been living for this NPR podcast. It is my favorite way to start the day. I listen to it while I’m getting ready in the morning; it includes everything you need to start your day. I am a huge advocate in staying informed, so this is a great way.

4. WATER BOTTLE

  • I am one of those people who used to trash the earth with plastic bottles; however, now that I’m here it’s not practical to buy water bottles because they’re not accessible — and expensive. I love my water bottle; its environmentally friendly, temperature controlled, and perfect for my bag.

5. COLORED PENS

  • I love have visually appealing notes. I take so many notes; I have so much reading. To make things fluid I have the same notes color key for all my classes, and using these pens makes everything somewhat fun. I have already bought two packs.

6. CONCEALER

  • I absolutely love getting ready in the morning, and getting ready for fall is just a bonus — boots, sweaters, scarfs, dark lipstick. I use to go to my local makeup store and pick up my lifesaving concealer, but alas I am living on a college budget. While I do believe in treating yourself and buying things that make you happy; this is just an expense that doesn’t seem necessary. I have been loving the Maybelline concealers they work well and are within my budget.

7. PICTURES

  • Like most freshmen, I sometimes feel homesick. I miss the familiarity of home. Pictures have been such a great way to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. I am immensely grateful to be here, so looking at pictures reminds me of my family, supporters, and stages of life. I highly recommend to print out all of your favorite memories and put them on your wall or an album.

That’s all for now! I hope you all have been enjoying the weather. I will be posting a recipe soon, I promise.

❀ ,

Hira

College So Far + Life Update

Hello, friends!

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Yes, I did go around campus and force my friend take pictures of me. No, I am not ashamed. πŸ˜‰

I hope you all are well! I have so much going on in my life, but I wanted to check-in and tell you what I’m up to!

So, it has been about a month since I moved to Austin, and started this incredible journey of college. It has been exciting, overwhelming, and new. Very new. I have a new room, a new group of people around me, a new life. Everything is so unfamiliar.

I have been doing quite a bit of reflecting — because as you know I am too introspective. I need to get out of my own head sometimes.

Anyway, the only way to become stronger emotionally, intellectually, and physically is to be in an uncomfortable situation, so I am trying my best to maintain a positive outlook on everything.

Aside from the life adjustment, I have been LOVING my classes. I have gained such a new point of view on things I never thought about. Basically, my sociology textbook is my favorite book at the moment. Also, I know more about the radio than I know about my iPhone, so if you want to know who founded the radio (ahem: Guglielmo Marconi — no I didn’t call him macaroni for fun). πŸ˜‰

As far as organizations and clubs go the crazy person in me applied for too many positions. I figured that I would be rejected by the majority, and then maybe get one. But, no. I got all three that I applied for. It’s insane. All of these positions are big-time commitments, but I am incredibly excited to be a part of such amazing organizations. I’m going to go more in-depth in this soon. I want to film the first-semester recap, so I’ll talk about all the details then!

College life is weird. You have ultimate control. You can do homework or not. You can go to class or not. You can party or not. I need to learn to balance myself. I have been focused academically, but I want to make sure that I experience college — and not through the library, only.

Overall, here’s my little recap! College is exciting. Scary. But I have no words to describe how grateful I am for this opportunity.

❀ ,
Hira

August Things

August is over. Where did it go? I am looking for you, August.

Ok, wow, lots has happened!

This month, I went to California for my beautiful cousin’s wedding, and it was a blast. I’m a total family girl. I love spending time with family. All the time.

With that in mind let, you can probably imagine how difficult it was for me to move to college. I moved to Austin mid-August, and while it’s been a wonderful experience, I have also been immensely homesick. Obviously, that’s normal, but I consider my parents some of my closest friends. They have always been so supportive and loving, so this transition did not come easy. However, I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity. I love education. I love the impacts of education. I love learning. So, I am so excited to gain some knowledge in these 4-years to eventually make a positive difference.

I also want to take note and say posting will be very irregular, and I am truly sorry for that. Blogging is one of the activities I adore, but right now my priority is to get adjusted to this new phase and do well! But, I will definitely keep you guys updated because as my friends, you deserve to hear from me! I am also thinking about posting “life update” videos of some sort, so let me know if that sounds interesting. My next post will be an apartment tour, which I am so excited to post– I just need to get some stuff settled. Other than that, as soon as I get into the swing of things I will be throwing a dessert your way. πŸ™‚

Here some wedding photos because who doesn’t love a good picture(s), right?

I feel so conceited when I post so many pictures of myself, but I mean it was a wedding, I am never this fancy. Although, one of my professors asked me why I dress up every day for class, and all I did was laugh. I love blouses and shoes. Haha! Good luck in September, and pray/send positive vibes to all of the people affected by these horrific natural disasters.

❀️,

Hira

Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes

Oh, my. Let me tell you. These pineapple cakes are adorable, delicious, and so easy to make!

Summer is winding down, so I want to get all the fruity baking in before it's too late. I'm the type of person who thinks cinnamon, pumpkin, vanilla and cozy desserts are reserved for the fall and winter. While fruity, flowery, colorful desserts are for the spring and summer. However, chocolate is great for every season and anytime– morning, afternoon, night, midnight. πŸ™‚

I made these. I ate them. I am now dreaming of them.

 

YIELD: 24 cakes PREP TIME: 15 minutes

BAKING TIME: 20-25 minutes TOTAL TIME: 35-40 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1-1/2 20 ounce can of sliced pineapples; reserve pineapple juice
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 12 maraschino cherries cut in half

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease muffin pan with spray & flour.
  2. Cut pineapple slices into 4 pieces.
  3. Mix together cake mix, oil, eggs, and pineapple juice.
  4. In another bowl, stir together melted butter and brown sugar. Place 1-1/2 teaspoons of the mixture into each muffin pan cup, then place two pineapple pieces with a cherry in the center.
  5. Add 1/4 cup of batter into each cup.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes (or all the way to 25 minutes) until the toothpick comes out clean.
  7. As soon as the cakes come out of the oven allow to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around each cup and slowly remove cake (you can also invert).

NOTES:

  • Slightly adapted from here
  • Make sure to grease the pan thoroughly– these cakes love to stick.

 ❤️,

Hira

 

July Things

July, oh how I love you. Your sunny days, afternoons filled with laughter, nights filled with movies; a month of memories.

August is officially here, and that means school is almost here. I am sorry for all the college worries lately; it's just that chapter of life.

July started with my dreaded wisdom teeth surgery. I hate the idea of not having control over my words, so I decided to go for a local anesthesia. Meaning: I was numb for the procedure and had nitrous oxide (laughing gas), but I was still completely conscious. I could hear, feel (pressure), and talk. The removal wasn't awful, but the recovery was. I love crunchy, hard, solid foods: cereal, granola, cookies, bread. Eating mush was hard. I just didn't eat a lot, but nourishing your body is important for recovery (and life, in general). Overall, it wasn't a fun time, but it's not meant to be!

I also went to Houston for a wedding! Here are some pictures because traditional clothes are fun, right?

I hope you had an awesome July, and may August treat you well!

❤️ ,

Hira

 

Funfetti Sandwich Cookies

July is almost over, and here in Texas, I am melting. I know summertime is not usually equivalent to baking time, but I have so much more time to make the most unconventional desserts in the summer!

This month so far, I have been pretty busy. I went to a wedding this past weekend, which was definitely interesting. South Asian weddings are pretty insane. There are so many people, lots of food, and timing is always off. For example, if the invitation says to come at eight o’clock, many people don’t show up until ten o’clock. I am very punctual, so tardiness annoys me– a lot. I will share some pictures soon! πŸ™‚

Anyway, I wanted to make a fun and easy dessert. Easy to me is something that needs a couple of ingredients, but not lots of time. I love cheesecake and elaborate cakes, but summertime will slip by, so making easy desserts allows me to spend time with my family (and, well, have an amazing dessert close by πŸ˜‰ )

I have also been writing on The Odyssey Online, so feel free to check out my non-baking writing:Β here.

On to the cookies– I mean, sandwiches– wait, I mean, sandwich cookies. πŸ™‚

YIELD: 12-16 cookies (6-8 sandwiches) PREP TIME: 15 minutes

BAKING TIME: 12-15 minutes TOTAL TIME: 27-30 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • White cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup sprinkles
  • Pre-made vanilla frosting

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Mix eggs, oil, and cake mix. Add 1/2 cup of sprinkles (or desired amount).
  3. Scoop cookies onto cookie sheet, and allow to bake until the bottoms have cooked completely (note: they bake fast).
  4. Allow cookies to cool, while doing so, mix sprinkles vanilla frosting. Scoop frosting into a zip lock bag with desired tip (or no tip).
  5. Once cookies have cooled, create a sandwich with the two sprinkled cookies and frosting.

NOTES:

  • You may use your own frosting recipe, but I used a Betty Crocker can.
  • Use any sprinkles you want; you can even do a theme.
  • Recipe inspired fromΒ here.

 ❀ , 

HiraΒ