How to throw the BEST luau party

It’s finally finally FINALLY summer, which means time for endless pool parties and celebrations. My birthday just happens to be at the very beginning of summer (may 29th), and this year I also graduated from high school, so there was a lot to celebrate. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do to celebrate everything in the midst of tons of craziness. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m in love with anything tropical, pineapple, or beach themed, so I thought that a luau party would be the perfect fit. I also decided to have my party during the day because we all want to be super tanned during the summer…don’t we? Are you planning on having a pool party/luau party anytime soon and are looking for some inspiration? Here is exactly what I did to throw mine and how you can plan yours! I’ll also link all the stores I bought from below.

Decorations:

Like I said, I’m obsessed with anything tropical (especially pineapples), so I already had tons of decorations. I used wood pineapple cutouts in multiple colors, a blue pineapple lamp, a “welcome to paradise” sign, and tons and tons of leis. I also had these pastel colored paper streamers that I hung up around a super cute “happy birthday” banner. For the cutlery, I found orange and pink flamingo stirrers from Flying Tiger in Tokyo, as well as some flamingo straws.

Food and Drinks:

Of course my parties have to include lot’s of good food, but since it was brunch, I kept it fairly light. We have cut watermelon and grapes, mini egg frittatas with lot’s of veggies, pasta salad, pineapple grilled chicken and of course funfetti cake (my favorite!!). The pineapple chicken was great and added another tropical layer to the party. To make it: marinate chicken breasts in pineapple juice, soy sauce, garlic, hot sauce and lime, then grill for 3 minutes on each side. For the drinks, we made mojitos and pineapple juice and malibu… and we had a bottle of rose. Tip: If you are having a party by the pool, avoid glass by getting plastic champagne glasses from the dollar store.

Clothing:

Because I knew we were going to be taking lot’s of photos, I chose my outfit very carefully. I ended up going with my black Cotton On bikini top with my hot pink Hollister bottoms. And on top of that I wore my O’Neill high-waisted shorts with a blue-purple Brandy Melville crop top. My friends came dressed similarly with a lot of them wearing cute cover-ups or sun dresses.

Photo Booth:

There was no way my party was happening without a DIY photo booth, so that’s exactly what I did. I found a blank wall by our pool and decked it out. We hung the “happy birthday” banner with the colorful streamers around it. When taking pictures, we put on leis and used the pineapples and other decorations as props. I had also found a blackboard in my room, so I decided to use it. When each of my friends and I took a photo, we used the blackboard to write a word that described us or the way we first met. All of those photos turned out being really cute!

If you’re planning on throwing a party or celebration soon, I highly suggest doing something like this! Here are all the links, and happy celebrating!

My Pinterest Luau Board: https://www.pinterest.com/aimefukada/luauu/

Hollister: https://www.hollisterco.com

Cotton On: http://cottonon.com/US/

Cotton On Body: http://cottonon.com/US/shop-by-brand/cotton-on-body/

Typo: http://cottonon.com/MY/shop-by-brand/typo/

Flying Tiger: https://flyingtiger.com/

O’Neill: http://us.oneill.com/

Brandy Melville: https://www.brandymelvilleusa.com/

Pamper Night Routine

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to have a pamper night. With crazy and hectic lives and schedules, sometimes it’s nice to just unplug and #treatyourself. I will link everything I use throughout this routine at the end of this post!

  1. I start by changing into comfy clothes, taking off all my make-up (currently using Garnier’s micellar cleansing water) and washing my face. I also like to “unplug” so I try to stay away from social media for the night.
  2. When I have one of these nights I make sure that I’m pampering the inside of my body just as much as my outside, so I try to make myself a healthy dinner (typically some pasta loaded with veggies and a huge glass of ice lemon water or unsweetened iced tea).
  3. With my dinner, I plop down on the couch and watch a couple episodes of a fun TV show (my go-to’s are Friends, Full/Fuller House, Modern Family and Young & Hungry).
  4. After I’m done eating, I head into the bathroom to get everything set up. I’m a lush fanatic, so I fill up the bath and pop a bath bomb (favorites are intergalactic and sex bomb) and half a bubble bar in. I also light some candles (Bath & Body Works!!) and turn down the lights. Right before I get in, I will put on my first face-mask of the night. While I’m chilling in the bubbles, I put on my favorite YouTubers. If I’m doing this during the holiday season, I’ll have a hot chocolate or a chai tea latte, but other than that I have an iced tea (because I live in the tropics and it’s hot!).
  5. Once I get out of the bath, I put on comfy PJ’s or a fluffy bath robe and take off my face mask and put another on one (I always do a cleansing mask and then a hydrating mask).
  6. I then head to my room and turn on my fairy lights and pineapple lamps and spritz my favorite room scents. If I want something to snack on, I’ll grab some fruit, but other than that I just keep drinking water. I also make sure to keep my skin hydrated, so I wash off my mask, and put lotion all over my face and body.
  7. One thing I really try to do on these nights is to meditate. I found this amazing app called InSight Timer, and it basically walks you through a meditation. I always find that I sleep so much better and feel super calm when I do this.
  8. And then finally, I crawl into bed and watch a little more YouTube before I get a good night of beauty sleep.

 

Links:

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water:https://www.amazon.com/Garnier-SkinActive-Micellar-Cleansing-Waterproof/dp/B017PCGAXQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1495014292&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=garnier+micellar&psc=1

Innis Free Green Tea Face Wash:http://www.innisfreeworld.com/product/productView.do?prdSeq=10607&eventSeq=0&catCd01=UA

My favorite veggie pasta recipe: https://swimeatlove.com/2016/01/03/rocket-pasta-salad-recipe/

Tazo Passion Iced Tea (unsweetened):https://www.amazon.com/Tazo-Filter-Passion-Iced-count/dp/B01EYZ4X40/ref=sr_1_2_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1495014378&sr=8-2&keywords=tazo+passion+tea

Intergalactic Bath Bomb: https://www.lushusa.com/bath/bath-bombs/intergalactic/04031.html

Sex Bomb Bath Bomb: https://www.lushusa.com/bath/bath-bombs/sex-bomb/00157.html

Lush Bubble Bars: http://www.lushusa.com/bath/bubble-bars/

Bath & Body Works Candles: http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/c/home-fragrance/all-candles

Indian Healing Clay (cleansing mask): https://www.amazon.com/Aztec-Secret-Indian-Healing-Cleansing/dp/B0014P8L9W/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1495014393&sr=1-1&keywords=indian+healing+clay

Freeman Beauty Charcoal Mask (cleansing mask): https://www.amazon.com/Freeman-Facial-Charcoal-Black-Polish/dp/B00BZ1QN2C/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1495014496&sr=1-1&keywords=freeman%2Bbeauty%2Bcharcoal&th=1

Lush Coffee Mask/Scrub (hydrating mask): https://www.lushusa.com/face/masks/cup-o%27-coffee/9999905552.html

Aspyn+Parker: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCxjZe0qTFXh6jGm54LFWEDw

Zoella: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWRV5AVOlKJR1Flvgt310Cw

Niomi Smart: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtada9QdvOZOKgEIT-VL7Q

Room Spritz from The Bath Workshop: http://thebathworkshop.com/

Face Lotion: https://www.amazon.com/Curel-JAPAN-Lotion-Moisture-120ml/dp/B001JF68MY/ref=sr_1_15_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1495014497&sr=1-15&keywords=curel

Body Lotion: https://www.amazon.com/Jergens-Ultra-Healing-Lotion-Ounce/dp/B0034F9K36/ref=sr_1_2_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1495014479&sr=1-2&keywords=jergens

InSight Timer (app): https://insighttimer.com/

 

Mother’s Day Treats

This year, I was struggling to come up with a fun dessert to make for my mom on Mother’s Day. I had already done a flip-flop cake as well as a flower bouquet of cupcakes, and my creative juices weren’t able to come up with something new. After watching a video on The Scran Line (http://www.thescranline.com/baileys-truffle-cupcakes) I was inspired to create a fun flavored cupcake instead of making something that was visually different. I settled on vanilla angel food cupcakes with pink Prosecco buttercream frosting, topped with a Kahlua truffle. I thought it was different, fun, and super delicious…oh and my mom loved it too!

Ingredients:

Angel Food Cupcakes:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup white flour

6 egg whites

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

Prosecco Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup softened, unsalted butter

1 cup powdered/icing sugar

4 tbsp. Prosecco

4 drops red food coloring

Kahlua Truffles:

3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tbsp. Nutella

4 tbsp. Kahlua

To top:

Dark Chocolate shavings

Directions:

  1. Start by making the truffles. Put all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 40 seconds. Take it out and let it cool for 1 minute, then roll into balls and leave to set in refrigerator.
  2. For the cupcakes, start by sifting half the sugar and flour into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whip the egg whites, vanilla, salt, cream of tartar and remaining sugar until medium to stiff peaks form.
  3. Gently fold the flour and sugar mixture into the egg whites one spoon full at a time.
  4. Scoop into a lined cupcake tray and bake at 350f for 17 minutes. Once done, set aside to completely cool.
  5. For the frosting, whip the butter on high speed for 90 seconds or until light and fluffy. Slowly add in powdered sugar and Prosecco and continue to whip on medium speed.
  6. To assemble, pipe the frosting on to cooled cupcakes and place one truffle on top. Finish with dark chocolate shavings.

I hope you enjoy this, and happy mother’s day to all you amazing mothers out there!

almost time

I’m sitting here, tick tick tick, counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the moment I walk across the stage to receive my long-awaited diploma. It’s almost here. Ready or not, it will happen. There’s no postponing it, there’s no stopping it. Will it be a sad day, will it be an exciting day? I don’t really know and I won’t know until I’m in the moment. But I do know what it’s like right now. Exactly 3 weeks, 2 days and 20 hours away from walking into the theater in my navy blue cap and gown. It’s scary, it’s sad, it’s exciting, it’s every feeling you could possibly feel. I’m thinking back to my first days where I would cry getting on the bus in the morning to go to school. Now I’m crying thinking about getting on the plane to go to school. Back to my middle school days when I didn’t really care about my grades, but more about having fun. I think of all the fun I’m going to have on my new adventure. I remember my first day of high school, being extremely intimidated by the upper class-men and seniors, and I realize I’m going to be in that exact same place stepping foot onto my college campus as a freshman, again. I reminisce about all the memories I’ve made with my swim team, my second family. It’s only going to get better, and I imagine that I will soon find a new family with my college team. I’m thinking about right now; right now in this very moment. It will go fast, everyone said. Don’t forget to stop and appreciate it every once in a while, they said. I always took that into consideration, but also never fully took it into consideration. It went by so fast. I was just a first grader, then I was just a middle schooler and a freshman and now I’m here, 572 hours before it’s all done. I can only move forward in one way, with no regrets. No regrets for anything, even my mistakes. Because thinking back on it now, out of my lowest of times came my highest of moments. Am I ready to move on? Am I prepared to take on the “real world”? Whatever my answer is doesn’t matter, it’s going to happen. All I can do now is be thankful, thankful for all the people who got me here; friends, teachers, coaches, and family. Thankful for the moments that brought me joy and the times that made me grow as a person. While I don’t feel ready to leave, to move on and start a new journey, it’s going to happen and I am as prepared as I will ever be. 3 weeks, 2 days and 20 hours. Tick tick tick, it’s almost time.

Fit Girl Life: Healthy Snacks

One of the things I’m asked a lot is how I snack. People tend to think of snacking as a bad thing; chips, chocolate bars and cookies. However, I think snacking is the key to eating clean. If you cut back your main meal portions, you can fill up with healthy snacks between instead. This keeps you from overeating and from limiting spikes in your sugar level. Snacks don’t have to be unhealthy, in fact there are so many ways that you can make snacking healthy and fun! Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks:

  1. Cuckoo for Coconuts Trail Mix (Trader Joe’s): This trail mix is my current favorite snack. It comes in small snack sized bags, so it’s already portioned for you. It has toasted almonds, coconut praline cashews, coconut dark chocolate cups and toasted coconut. It really satisfies a sweet tooth and is super filling for such a small amount. (https://www.amazon.com/Trader-Joes-Cuckoo-Coconut-Individual/dp/B01N1UFCKN)
  2. Mamma Chia: These chia squeeze drinks come in all sorts of flavors and are super easy to grab on the go. They will fill you up and can even go in place of breakfast (especially if you’re in a rush). (https://www.amazon.com/Mamma-Chia-Squeeze-Vitality-Blackberry/dp/B00DOO7AY8/ref=sr_1_3_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1493189084&sr=1-3&keywords=mamma%2Bchia&th=1)
  3. Fresh popcorn: For some reason it took me 17 years to realize that instead of buying super salty popcorn from a box, I can buy a bag of kernels (which is cheaper btw) and pop them myself. My favorite flavorings are coconut oil and a little bit of honey, or chili powder, garlic powder and a little bit of salt. (https://www.amazon.com/Jolly-Time-Yellow-Popcorn-Kernels/dp/B0077USTMM/ref=sr_1_14_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1493189159&sr=1-14&keywords=popcorn+kernels)
  4. Peanut butter on… EVERYTHING: Peanut butter is one of those foods that seem to go with literally anything. Carrot sticks, crackers, apple slices, rice crackers, everything! Peanut butter is super filling and also filled with tons of protein, so I usually just have 2 tablespoons of peanut butter with one of the things listed above and I’m set for a good 2 hours. (https://www.amazon.com/Trader-Joes-Unsalted-Unblanched-Peanuts/dp/B00I4FAPPS/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1493189192&sr=1-1&keywords=trader+joe%27s+peanut+butter)
  5. Leftovers: Believe it or not, sometimes leftovers make the best snacks. We usually always have some leftover pasta, chicken, rice or beef, so I just go to the fridge to portion out a little to eat as a snack. You don’t need a big amount, you just need a little to go a long way.

What are your healthy snacks? Comment them down below to share:)

Fit Girl Life: Healthy Habits

Throughout my journey to self-love and acceptance, I’ve found that it’s super important to set habits that make it easier to being healthier over, both physically and mentally.

Habit #1: Drink lots and lots of water. I always have a 24 oz. water bottle with me, and make sure to drink around 1 full bottle for each 2 hour swim practice (I swim twice a day). In addition to that, I drink about 3 full bottles (75 oz.) during the school day. During dinner, I drink about 1 glass of water and 1 glass of unsweetened iced tea (currently obsessed with Tazo iced passion tea). One really helpful habit I’ve started to do is to drink about 1/2 cup of water before I eat. This helps to ensure that you don’t overeat. Something I’d do more of if I didn’t swim early in the mornings is to drink 1 full glass of water first thing in the morning. This just makes sure that you replenish the water and electrolytes you lose while asleep. The most useful thing anyone’s ever told me was that water is to your organs what oil is to your bike chains, helps everything fun smoothly.

Habit #2: Prioritize movement. Make sure that you get moving at every single day. That doesn’t mean that you have to go on a long run or spend an hour in the gym, get creative. Whether it’s taking your dog on a walk, take the stairs, or doing a short yoga routine at home, you will feel so much better once you’ve broken a sweat. Find a routine that works for you and fits your schedule. If you’re busy, sneak in 3 five minute workouts during your breaks, if you aren’t feeling too well, do a low intensity yoga routine, just as long as you get moving.

Habit #3: Eat multiple smaller meals throughout the day. For the past 3 years, I’ve been eating about 6 smaller meals throughout the day and I find that I don’t get that sluggish feeling I do when I’m really full and that I have more energy during the day. This is really easy when I’m at school since it works perfectly with my school schedule. My biggest meal is typically dinner (which is right after practice so I’m usually super hungry) and we usually have lots of meat, veggies and rice or pasta. For breakfast my go-to is granola with yoghurt which fills me up after morning practice. During the day I like to snack on cut fruit, peanut butter, pretzels, rice crackers and cut veggies.

Habit #4: Stock up on healthy snacks. When I’m at home for a long period of time doing homework or just sitting watching TV, I never have the energy to make myself a healthy snack, so instead of keeping easy-to-reach bags of chips of cookies around, stock up on healthy rice crackers, natural peanut butter, protein bars or chia drinks that are easy to grab when you have the munchies. If you have a sweet tooth, bake a batch of healthy coconut cookies or chocolate banana muffins for the week to grab whenever you want a sweet treat.

Habit #5: Find time to pamper yourself. My favorite ways to treat myself are to do my nails, put on a face mask (I use the Freeman Beauty masks, Indian Healing Clay and Lush masks), do a deep hair mask or take a bath with a Lush bath bomb. I try to do a combo of about 3 of those every week and I feel that it just rejuvenates me and makes me feel special. About once a month I do a full-out at home spa session where I take a bath, while I have a hair and face mask on watching my favorite shows. Then I get out and use my favorite lotion all over my body and do my nails in my room with candles lit. It’s important to take the time to pamper yourself, especially with such a hectic school or work schedule.

Habit #6: Meditate. This may sound a little hippie-ish, that’s what I thought when someone first told me about this, but it’s totally not! Since I don’t know how to meditate on my own, I found an app that has different types of meditations you can listen to. It’s called InSight Timer and it’s FREE! I use one when I’m going to sleep (sometimes) that lasts for about 18 minutes. I don’t do this every night, but I find that when I do, I sleep so much better.

Challenge yourself to add a new healthy habit to your routine, whether it’s one of these or something you come up with yourself. Your body and mind will thank you!

 

Life Through A Lens #10- Phuket

We’re back from our spring break beach vacation in Phuket. Here are some photos!

be be be be beachin’
no complaints here!
our hotel had a private beach enclosed between green hills
definition of lazy: me on this trip
tropical drinks part 1
amazing amazing dinner at EAT. restaurant and bar
no vacation is complete without a couple lush bath bombs
my favorite beach time activity
picture perfect resort
tropical drinks part 2
this view for 5 days;)
EAT. part 2–yes we went back!
tropical drinks part 3
the beautiful entrance to our hotel at sunset
happy hour with a view:)

INKED

In modern society, tattoos have become such a popular and common form of art. Whether it be a small flower on someones wrist, or a sleeve of multi-colored designs, I seem to see tattoos everywhere I go. They were always very intriguing to me, the idea of having something on your body that would never go away. I understood why adults around me recommended against it, but that never changed my desire to get one. The first time I really thought about getting a tattoo was in Social Studies class in 6th grade. I had already been swimming for a long time by then and it was a huge part of my life. I started doodling in my notebook and eventually got to drawing a cursive form of one of my favorite quotes, “just keep swimming”. That quote had so many meanings to me and my life. Of course it was a quote from Finding Nemo and one of my absolute favorite people, Ellen Degeneres, but it also told my life story.  No matter what happened, I just kept swimming. But of course I was only a 6th grader so I quickly pushed it aside. But as the years went on and as my passion for swimming grew deeper, it was always in the back of my mind. Last year, as a junior in high school, I faced a time in my life where nothing seemed to make sense. It got to the point that I was beginning to question my future in the pool, I just didn’t know if I had it in me anymore. It was a super hard time for me, but after months of soul searching and redirecting my path, I found my way back to the pool. I didn’t force anything, it was just a natural pull. When I got back to school for the beginning of my senior year (7 months ago), I decided that it was time for me to get my “just keep swimming” tattoo. The meaning had grown and developed since the time I first doodled it in my 6th grade Social Studies notebook. It was no longer just an impulsive decision that I was warned I would regret, but it was a symbol that would be engraved into me forever, to remind me that no matter what life throws at me and no matter how tangled up I get, if I just keep swimming, I’ll get through it. It was meaningful, thoughtful, and representative of my life. I was 100% confident that I was ready to get that tattoo. When the tattoo artist finished it, I was amazed at how meaningful it was. I know it’s only been 7 months, but I have a feeling it’s something I will never regret.

In addition to that tattoo, I also have a small wave on my ankle. While it wasn’t as thought out and deep as my other one, it’s a constant reminder of my love for the ocean, beach and nature. It’s also a reminder that while I may get caught up in the tides, the waves will always carry me back to shore. No matter how lost in life I get, if I find my way back to the pool, the beach or the ocean, it will take care of me and remind me that it will always be okay.

Top 10 Travel Tips

YAY because school’s finally out for spring break and we’re leaving for Phuket in 12 hours:) So to get in the spirit, here are my top 10 travel tips:

  1. Travel in style. While traveling is super exciting and fun, the actually airplane ride can be kind of grueling. I’ve always felt like dressing for the flight and having cute travel accessories with me always makes the plane feel a little more chic. Dress comfy, but cute; yoga pants or jeggings with a flowy top always fits the part. Passport covers are another way to feel a little more high-class. Right now, I have a white Kate Spade passport cover with gold polka dots, and I am 100% obsessed with it! Carry-on a cute bag so you can feel classy while shopping at the airport (tax free!).
  2. Turn the plane ride into a spa session. I was watching a Shay Mitchell video once and saw that she used face masks while she was on the plane. At first that sounded insane, but once I gave it a shot I was sold. My favorites are the hydrating face masks from Sephora or the Freeman Beauty masks. Now I have to warn you, the people sitting around you are going to look at you and whoever you’re traveling with may pretend not to know you, but there’s nothing better than walking off the plane and starting your vacation with a perfect face.
  3. Bring some coloring books along. I am definitely a sucker for watching as many movies as I can on a plane, but sometimes I just feel like I need a little change, something different to do, so I find that coloring is exactly what I want to do.
  4. Plan out where you’re going to eat. I know this is super “food nerdy” (is that even a word?!) of me, but researching restaurants to eat at before you go on a trip somewhere is amazing and makes life 10 times easier. I’ve also found that walking around the streets can be a little bit overwhelming (especially where there are so many restaurants to choose from), so doing a little research ahead of time can help to ensure that you find a local, safe, awesome place to eat.
  5. Pack smart. I have always been the person to over-pack, but there have been times where I have found myself in need of something that I don’t have. A lot of times this has to do with the outfits I have (or don’t have) with me. If we’re going to a city, I tend to pack way too many jean shorts and tops/shirts and if we’re going to the beach I always pack tons of casual beachy clothes. This would normally be okay but I’ve found myself in the past being in need of a nice outfit for dinner while we’re at the beach, or in need of a swim suit in the city. So what I do now is always have one super casual outfit, one city-wear outfit, and one outfit that would be perfect for a nice dinner. This just makes me feel safe and prepared for anything. 
  6. Try to avoid taxis/ubers as much as possible. While it’s so nice to just call an uber at the end of a long day of sightseeing, I’ve found that using local transportation, whether that be the bus system, the subway, or a tuk-tuk is a super fun way to get immersed into the culture. You get in the flow of the local’s daily lives and get a sense as to how they live. It’s also a great way of seeing more of the place your visiting, instead of just sitting in a car. 
  7. Take pictures, but also take time to disconnect. Trust me, I am a sucker for finding the perfect Instagram photos, but I also try to disconnect from my phone and social media while I’m traveling. Since I only have wi-fi at the hotel anyway, I find this pretty easy, but it can be difficult to try and stay off of Facebook and Snapchat during dinner. That being said, take tons and tons of photos. I’ve never regretted taking a photo, but there have been so many times where I wished that I had a photo of some view I saw. 
  8. Try to plan your own days. As easy as it is to just sign up for a tour, the amount you learn while planning your own day and trying to figure out your way around a new place is incredible. It gives you a chance to interact with locals, deal with the currency and maybe even try to learn the language. None of which would happen if you relied solely on someone else the whole time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a day doing something completely different as a tour!
  9. Try new foods. This has always come pretty naturally to me as I have never been a picky eater, but for those of you who are, try to push yourself outside your comfort zone a little bit and try a food or dish you’d never thought you’d try. There have been plenty of foods I’ve looked at and was hesitant to eat, but once I did I was glad I did. You don’t get the chance to try truly local foods that often, so don’t pass up that opportunity.
  10. Have fun! It’s so easy for us all to get caught up in the daily grind, whether it be school, work or anything else, so when you’re traveling and exploring a new culture, try to leave that all behind and soak in the beauty of the country. There is so many eye-opening experiences you can have while you’re traveling, so make sure you don’t let that get overshadowed by other thoughts.

As one of my favorite quotes goes, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”. Happy traveling!

Pre-Race Rituals

In honor of my next big meet starting tomorrow, I thought I would share some of my pre-race rituals with you. These are just a few different things I do before a big race to make sure that I get up to the block feeling 100% ready. I really hope that you find these interesting and helpful, but remember that you are your own athlete. Everyone’s going to have different mindsets before a race and will need to do something different from everyone else. Do you have your own pre-race ritual? And if you don’t, can you come up with one? Leave your ritual in the comments!

Day before:

  1. I always make sure that I get at least 30 minutes in the water the day before a race. I won’t do anything hard, just a meet warm-up and some dives and sprints, but I just need to make sure that I get a feel of the water. This can be hard to do, especially if you are traveling to your meet, but I find that even waking up extra early to get a quick swim in before your flight makes you feel a lot more confident about your race.
  2. Eat smart. While I always try to do this, I do this even more so the days leading up to a meet. If I have school that day, I will pack everything I’m going to eat that whole day the night before so I know I’m eating what I need to. I eat tons of fruit, nuts and bars, protein, and complex carbs. I love brown rice cakes with peanut butter and dried cranberries or bananas. It’s a perfect way to fill yourself up with protein on the go. I try not to eat too much meat or veggies the night before, just because they tend to be a little heavier and take longer to digest. Eat simple food that will digest and give you energy before your race.
  3. WATER! Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. 5% dehydration results in 35% loss in performance, so drink up!

Night before:

  1. Eat dinner fairly early and get to sleep as soon as possible. Give your body as much time as possible to digest all of your food so you swim with tons of energy and without a heavy stomach.
  2. Pack your bags. I always pack my bag the night before a swim meet. I find that I sleep so much better when I know that all I have to do in the morning is change and run out the door. Goggles, warm-up suits, race suits, caps (endless amounts of caps), clothes, jackets, and food. I have everything ready to go in my bag.

Day of the race:

  1. Get to the pool early. Nothing’s worse than stressing about being late to warm-ups or even your race. Don’t let that be the reason that you don’t swim well. I’d much rather get to the pool 15 minutes early that be running 5 minutes late, it just rattles your brain. Stretch, sleep, rest, do whatever you need to do to stay calm.
  2. Have a pump-up playlist. Some swimmers hate listening to music before a race, but I feel like (especially in the on-call room), having one earphone blasting music drowns out some of the negative thoughts around you. These are some of my must-haves on my playlist:
    • Turn Down for What- DJ Snake & Lil Jon
    • Die Young- Ke$ha
    •  Best Day of My Life- Gazzo Remix
    • Bo$$- Fifth Harmony
  3. If you are confident and excited about your race, there is no reason you shouldn’t have a good swim. When I get up to the block, there is nothing else I can do to prepare. I am confident that I have put in the work for my swim, and I am excited to finally race. Let yourself be excited, and be confident that you will swim your best. When I really stop and think about it, swimming that one race is ten times easier that what I do multiple times a day at practice. My body knows what it needs to do, and the time will be what the time needs to be.

If you have a big meet coming up, remember to stay calm and be confident! GOOD LUCK:)