As the 2017 year comes to a close, I wanted to stop and reflect on the year that has passed. While there is so much hate and negativity going around in the world, when you stop to think about life, you really only remember the good things. Just like anyone, my year had ups and downs, but at this time I am realizing how small and trivial the downs were, and how uplifting and exciting the ups were. These are my top ten moments (in chronological order) of 2017. I hope this inspires you all to think back on your year to remember all the amazing times.
1. February 2017- The last meet of varsity high school swim career was everything and more that I could have asked for. I was the captain of the team and we were in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for our conference championships. We had all trained super hard the whole season and were excited to see what we could do as a team. To be honest, I was not confident that we would be able to pull out a win, simply because we had a fairly young and new team. The gold medal came down to the very last relay, in which I was swimming. All we had to do was beat one relay team to snag the championship. As nerve-wracking as it was, it was the most amazing race of my life, full of nothing but excitement and adrenaline. As the anchor of our team touched the wall ahead of the other team, we broke out in tears of immense joy. The absolute highlight of my high school swimming career.
2. February 2017- I always knew that I wanted to travel to New Zealand before I graduated high school, and I got the opportunity to visit the beautiful country on a school trip in February. We spent 8 days doing everything from hiking, camping, luging, white water rafting, and visiting and staying in traditional Maori housing. It was a beyond incredible experience (though I have to admit, mentally challenging at times, especially during the hiking) and I am so lucky to have visited the country. I hope I can visit this amazing country again soon!
3. March 2017- One of my favorite parts about living in South East Asia is being able to travel around easily at a fairly low cost. At least once a year, my family goes on a quick vacation to a SEA beach destination. This year we went back to Phuket, Thailand for spring break and stayed at the Meridien. As usual, the beach was clean and beautiful, perfect for a little getaway. We spent our days lounging on the sand and spent our evenings exploring restaurants throughout the town. This five day trip with my family definitely made it into the top ten moments of this year.
4. June 2017- Of course one of the highlights of this year was this milestone, Graduation! It was a crazy and hectic time of the year, but I was so unbelievably lucky to have so many family and friends around me to celebrate. I was one of those people who just loved high school, so this moment was sad as I was saying goodbye to so many people and places, but also exciting as I started a new journey.
Graduation blog post: https://swimeatlove.com/2017/07/09/a-goodbye-to-high-school/
5. July 2017- Instead of coming back to the US for the summer (like we normally do), my family stayed in Asia and I was able to travel around a bit. My mom had a business trip to Seoul, and since I had never been I decided to tag along. Although we were only there for 3 days, we saw and did so much. From exploring the local malls to going to the Korean spa and eating lots of yummy Korean food, it was a blast.
6. July 2017- Every summer my family and I go to our lake cabin in Northern Japan for a few weeks to hang and spend time with family. Last year, we discovered what I like to call a hidden gem of the Tokyo area, Karuizawa. Mainly known for it’s outlet shopping mall, the beautiful suburb is filled with secret spots that are amazing. This year we took a day off from lake life and spent the day shopping, going to the hot springs, and visiting the cutest little vintage shops. Definitely a day well spent.
7. July 2017- Although this was an extremely sad time, it was also a very memorable time. After 18 years of living in Singapore, it was time for me to say goodbye (more like see you soon!) to my beautiful little island. As most of you probably know, I have so much love in my heart for this country. It was fun for me to spend time really appreciating all the things I love about Singapore and doing a little bit of exploring at home. The last week spend at home was full of family, friends, laughs and of course some Din Tai Fung and a Tiger beer for the road:)
8. August 2017- One of my biggest dreams came true this year not only as I started college in LA, but also as I began my career as a collegiate athlete. There have been so many “pinch me” moments these last few months as I’ve experienced things I’ve never dreamed of doing. From my first collegiate swim practice and swim meet to living the LA life, college has been everything and more I ever wished for.
9. October 2017- While being away from home was hard, I was lucky enough to have my dad visit me for a week in early October. We spent the weekend hanging around Downtown LA and Santa Monica, eating to our hearts content. As a foodie, it was a much needed break from the college food scene (though I have to admit, our school has really good food). We found amazing eateries everywhere from Santa Monica Boulevard to Sunset. It was such a fun weekend with my dad, and I was lucky to have him with me.
10. December 2017- After the first semester in college, it was so nice to be home with my family for the holidays. I had counted down the days, and it was definitely one of the best holiday seasons yet. I was lucky to have 2 1/2 weeks at home and spent so much of that time with my mom, dad, little sister and doggy. There was lot’s of Christmas shopping, yummy food, cooking, cheers-ing and laughter. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end the year.
Here’s to an amazing 2017 and an even better 2018!
Happy new year!
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all had an amazing holiday season and enjoyed the 12 Days posts. I’m definitely going to continue on the tradition to next year. Enjoy the end of 2017 and I’ll see you in the new year!
We’re almost there! If you are anything like me, the food during Christmas is one of the best part about celebrating. Whether you have your big meal on Christmas Eve or on Christmas Day, here is the guide to planning the ultimate Christmas dinner.
*If there’s a particular recipe I use I’ll link it in parentheses:
- One dip with crackers (https://damndelicious.net/2014/08/01/shrimp-scampi-dip/)
- Veggie/fruit platter with celery (for the dip) and grapes
- One roast (either glazed ham or turkey)
- Cajun shrimp (just cajun seasoning and shrimp, pan fried)
- Mashed potatoes
- Green bean casserole (https://www.campbells.com/kitchen/recipes/classic-green-bean-casserole/)
- Mac & Cheese
- Rolls (https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/bread-recipes/tear-n-share-garlic-bread/)
- Roasted brussels sprouts (roast in oven with whatever you like)
- Peppermint Ice Cream
- Bailey’s Chocolate Ice Cream
- Hot fudge
- Pecan pie
- Hot chocolate
- Christmas cookies (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/10269/shortbread-cookies-ii/)
- It’s not Christmas without some bubbly and wine
- Sparkling apple juice for kids
- Fun holiday cocktails (http://www.delish.com/holiday-recipes/christmas/g860/holiday-cocktails/)
- Tip: Freeze pomegranate for some festive flare
A little haul of all the Christmas treats and US favorites I brought home for the holidays!
Today’s post is one of my favorites, STOCKING STUFFERS! In our family, looking through our stockings is the first thing we do on Christmas morning. We wake up, go through our stockings, eat breakfast and then open presents, so stockings were the way we kicked off Christmas day. I hope you find this useful, and happy stuffing!
Stocking Stuffers for the Beauty Guru:
- Sheet face masks
- Bath bombs (Lush one’s are my favorite!)
- Nail polish
- Lip balm/gloss
- Glitter hair ties
- Travel-size lotion
- Mini make-up palettes
Stocking Stuffers for the Cook/Foodie:
- Pocket cookbook
- Round egg rings
- Mini Sriracha keychain
- Measuring spoon set
- Hot chocolate DIY kit
- Mini infused olive oil bottles
- Shaped ice cube tray
Stocking Stuffers for the Techie:
- Phone cases
- Fish eye lens for your phone
- Pop sockets
- Cute phone cords
- Portable chargers
- iTunes gift card
Stocking Stuffers for Pets (our doggy has a stocking too!):
- Water bowl
- Ball toys
Stocking Stuffers for the Home Lover:
- Mini candles
- Mason jars (so versatile!)
- Wall hangings
- Reed difusers
- Fuzzy socks
- Soap bars
Stocking Stuffers for Anyone!:
- Rice krispie treat coal
- Candy canes and candy bars
- Christmas ornaments
- Gift cards
- Fidget cubes
This post is all about PRESENTS! As much as we all (including myself) love receiving and opening presents, I find so much more joy in giving other people presents. Going Christmas present shopping is one of my favorite things I do all year. I love thinking about what my family and friends want and then wandering around the store for hours looking for the perfect gift. And the look on their faces when they love the gift makes everything 10 times better. One thing I started doing last year was making themed gift baskets by getting a bunch of different things related to the theme and putting it all in one basket, and it was amazing. So here is my Christmas Gift Basket Guide, happy shopping! (I’ll try to leave as many links)
Pamper Gift Basket:
- Lush bath bombs- Intergalactic and Sex Bomb are my favorites (http://www.lushusa.com/bath/bath-bombs/)
- Bath and Body Works Christmas candle (http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/c/home-fragrance/3-wick-candles)
- The Body Shop scrub (https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-us/body/body-scrub/c/c00016?gclid=Cj0KCQjw4eXPBRCtARIsADvOjY2wM7Wd-r2xVJkPvCb_lWA5v6DihKnC1V3nYsTlRvbxSks07UVsowQaAutiEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds&dclid=CNbviMepntcCFYz0ZAodnpMAZQ)
- Freeman Beauty face mask (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=freeman+beauty+face+mask&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Afreeman+beauty+face+mask)
- Hair towel (https://www.amazon.com/Ultra-Absorbent-Microfiber-Drying-Towel/dp/B01MFI1CAZ/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1509517941&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=hair+towel&psc=1)
- Hask argan oil hair mask (https://www.amazon.com/Hask-Morocco-Repairing-Conditioner-Treatment/dp/B008OLJW0Q/ref=sr_1_1_s_it?s=beauty&ie=UTF8&qid=1509517965&sr=1-1&keywords=hair+mask+packet)
- Nail polish
- Cute mug
- Fuzzy socks
- Tea bags or hot chocolate mixes
Movie Night Gift Basket:
- Favorite move or iTunes gift card
- Movie theater popcorn boxes (https://www.amazon.com/Movie-Theater-White-Striped-Popcorn/dp/B0056HGQP0/ref=sr_1_4_s_it?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1509518094&sr=1-4&keywords=popcorn+box)
- Movie theater candy (Red Vines, Cookie Dough Bites, Milk Duds, Junior Mints, Skittles, etc.)
- Comfy PJ’s
Gift Basket for the Chef:
- Cookbook- I love Jamie Oliver’s cookbooks (https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dgrocery&field-keywords=jamie+oliver+cookbook)
- ‘Kiss The Cook’ apron (https://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Cook-Cute-Apron-Kitchen/dp/B004E89OO2/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1509572468&sr=8-1&keywords=kiss+the+cook+apron)
- Microplane grater (https://www.amazon.com/Microplane-40020-Classic-Zester-Grater/dp/B00004S7V8/ref=sr_1_1?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1509572873&sr=8-1&keywords=microplane)
- Infused oils
- Seasoned salts
- Measuring cups/spoons set
- Oven mitts
Gift Basket for the Beauty Queen:
- Biore Deep Pore Cleansing Charcoal Cleanser (https://www.amazon.com/Biore-Deep-Charcoal-Cleanser-Ounce/dp/B00NQ2SEBG/ref=sr_1_1?srs=7301146011&ie=UTF8&qid=1509573728&sr=8-1&keywords=biore+charcoal+face+wash)
- Burt’s Bees lip balm (https://www.burtsbees.com/shop/lip-care/lip-balm/?navlvl=4)
- “Glitter, Gold, & Everything Bold” Makeup bag (https://www.sephora.com/product/glitter-gold-everything-bold-clutch-P412528?skuId=1834191)
- PINK Body Mist (https://www.victoriassecret.com/pink/accessories-mist-collection-beauty)
- Tarte Mini Flirt Eyeshadow Palette (https://www.sephora.com/product/tartlette-flirt-eyeshadow-palette-P424438?skuId=1994771&icid2=products%20grid:p424438)
- Tarte Pro Glow to Go Palette (https://www.sephora.com/product/tarteist-pro-to-go-highlight-contour-palette-P414993?skuId=1895531&icid2=products%20grid:p414993)
- Too Faced Better Than Sex Mini Mascara (https://www.sephora.com/product/better-than-sex-mini-P425608?skuId=1994318&icid2=products%20grid:p425608)
Gift Basket for the Fitness Junkie:
- Nike duffel bag (https://www.amazon.com/Crossbody-Unisex-Fitness-Workout-Backpack/dp/B010C7RMZQ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1509521133&sr=8-7&keywords=workout+bag+nike)
- Nike ‘Just Do It’ water bottle (https://www.amazon.com/NIKE-Just-Water-Bottle-Green/dp/B01IUZLR7Q/ref=sr_1_12?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1509575290&sr=1-12&keywords=nike+water+bottle)
- Running armband (https://www.amazon.com/Senbor-Sweatproof-Cellphone-Sportband-Fingerprint/dp/B071ZRPP25/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1509521290&sr=1-2-spons&keywords=running+armband&psc=1)
- Speed jump rope (https://www.amazon.com/Jump-Rope-Adjustable-International-Authorized/dp/B00LGXE5NS/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1509525610&sr=1-1-spons&keywords=speed+rope&psc=1)
- BlenderBottle (https://www.amazon.com/BlenderBottle-Classic-Shaker-Bottle-28-Ounce/dp/B00MVMCUK8/ref=sr_1_3?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1509579790&sr=1-3&keywords=blender+bottle)
- Protein bars
- Workout clothing store giftcard (LuluLemon, Nike, Reebok, etc.)