Author: ariana decastro

Life is Beautiful Weekend | 2018

Fresh coconuts, good weather, and even better company… Life got a little more beautiful in downtown Vegas last weekend when Life is Beautiful came back to town! The line up was pretty similar to Coachella’s with The Weeknd, Miguel, and Daniel Caesar as a few of the headliners, but the artists were just that good that I had to see them again! Plus, it didn’t hurt that LAUV, T-Pain, Florence + The Machine, Bastille, Arcade Fire and N.E.R.D. were there. Here’s a recap of the weekend! DAY 1 | Park on Fremont, The Weeknd & Daniel Caesar My cousins and I arrived downtown and had a few drinks at the Park on Fremont—a super cozy bar with the nicest ambience and the cutest patio—before heading to the festival. We hung out at Container Park for a few hours and watched local performers beatbox and breakdance, before getting serenaded by Daniel Caesar and ending our night dancing to The Weeknd. DAY 2 | Exploring the festival grounds, N.E.R.D., Miguel, and Florence + The Machine We arrived a …

“The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang: Book Review

“Girls like me intimidate boyfriends away. Girls like me have never been asked out by a single boy. Girls like me have to find their own way, make their own luck. I’ve had to fight for every success in my life, and I’m going to fight for this.” – Stella Lane This book is the perfect summer read! “The Kiss Quotient” by Helen Hoang is such a heartwarming, quirky, and quick read. The story is about Stella Lane, a successful math genius with Asperger’s who wants to enjoy dating despite her condition making it difficult to do so, and Michael Phan, an escort she hires to “professionally teach her” a thing or two about how to interact with men. Their time together, however, turns into more than just a business deal. I love that the main character, Stella, has autism. I think that’s a big reason that a lot of people picked up this book to begin with—it’s definitely why I chose it as my Book of the Month. It was hard to connect with …

A New Space for Me — and For You!

Hi, hello! May I just say that it feels so good to be back?! For my new readers, welcome. For my former (and shall I say, loyal) readers, welcome back. This is the new arianadecastro.com. It’s still as colorful and pink as ever. It’s still a bit all over the place (you’ll find recipes, and poetry, and book reviews, and photography, and travel diaries, and skincare tips, and…OK, you get where I’m going here). But I’ll tell you what has changed: Me. I told myself that this blog would be for me. For me to share the genuine “me.” The good, the bad, and the really ugly. And by sharing my truth, my hope is that this blog ends up feeling like it’s for you too. So much growth has happened since my blog launched in 2015. I was still a sophomore in college then and surprisingly had a lot of time on my hands. But that changed. I went through a really difficult creative writing block and I really had no enthusiasm for writing. …

How To Make Sure Your Instagram Posts Are Visually Appealing

Have you ever looked at someone’s Instagram feed and think, “Just how do they do that?” You probably see their followers commenting, “Feed goals,” and you think, “I wish my photos were pretty like that.” Well, you’re not alone. For so many people, Instagram has been a portfolio of their photographic work. It’s become more than just a place to filter your selfies with and has really become a place that people showcase their photographic skills. Some people just click their camera once and get a great photo, but for many people, it takes more than one try. For amateurs like myself, I’ve found a quick way to accomplish getting a visually appealing photo on Instagram. The main two things I use when I take photos are my handy dandy LED lamp and white rug from IKEA. The white light from the LED lamp allows me to achieve great lighting, even when I’m taking pictures at night, and the white rug gives me a solid background that brings cohesiveness to all of my photos no matter where I am. VSCO also plays …

Hogwarts Just Got a Little Closer To Home (& It Brought a Lot of Espresso With It!)

A new coffee shop in Nevada brews up magical caffeine concoctions for Henderson and Las Vegas locals. Bad Owl Coffee is a Harry Potter themed coffee shop, full of decorations that allude to the Harry Potter series, and as an avid Harry Potter fan, it’s become my favorite place to hang out! As soon as a customer walks in, they are transported to King’s Cross Station, where they’ll find “Platform 9 6/8” (photographed on the left) that mimics Platform 9¾ from the Harry Potter series. Half a luggage cart disappears into the wall, and Hedwig, Harry’s owl, is placed on top of the cart, just like in the story! While the all of the decor I photographed at Bad Owl Coffee was well-put-together and well-thought-out, the photo on the left is my favorite because it’s part of a signature Harry Potter moment that every fan knows. It was a bit difficult to photograph the decor because the coffee shop is always packed with people, but I tried to do the coffee shop justice as a fan. I used my Canon EOS Rebel T5 camera and had the perfect natural lighting for some of the …

Coachella Survival Guide: 10 Tips & Tricks To Help You Survive

Coachella is right around the corner and while I won’t be going this year, I wanted to share a few things that worked for me (and tips I wish I knew!) prior to going.   1) KIMONOS & SCARVES WILL BE YOUR BEST FRIEND While kimonos and scarves are a great addition to every outfit, it’s so much more than that. I didn’t realize how useful my kimono and scarf would be and had I known, I would’ve brought more. They were my multi-purpose tools throughout Coachella weekend. I used my kimono as a scarf: This is crucial! The walk from the shuttle to the actual location gets so dusty that you really want something that will cover your nose and mouth. And if you’re like me and you’re allergic to everything (& you get asthma!) having a kimono or a light scarf to wrap around your face is so important. Others use bandannas as well. You’ll also find that when there’s a lot of smoke around you and it gets hard to breathe, having …

Headshots for Zoe Marie ♡

That really awkward moment when you realize a 5-year-old knows how to pose in front of a camera better than you. Meet my baby cousin, Zoe Marie Paman, who’s a natural in front of the camera! Here are a few head shots I took of her:               I love taking photos of children that adore and revere being in front of the camera! I’ve mostly done photoshoots with kids and it’s truly so enjoyable. The confidence they end up exerting in front of the camera once they get comfortable is incomparable. Insecurities don’t exist for them. They just have fun. And I think that’s what really shines in front of the camera.