Happy summer! Here are the things I’ve been loving this summer. I will try to leave as many links down below at the end of this post. And please let me know what you’re loving this summer in the comments below!
Cotton On Body bikini top: http://cottonon.com/AU/p/body/fixed-triangle-bikini-top/9344943171917.html?region=AU#region=AU&start=1
Hollister bikini bottoms: https://www.hollisterco.com/shop/us/swimwear
The Body Shop bronzing gel: https://www.thebodyshop.com/en-us/makeup/bronzer/honey-bronze-tinted-face-gel/p/p000345
Sephora self-tanning mist: http://www.sephora.com/tinted-self-tanning-body-mist-P286510
Fittest On Earth (trailer): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkRYJp6vVJk
Kate Spade coconut cross-body: https://m.katespade.com/products/breath-of-fresh-air-coconut-drink-crossbody/PXRU6832.html
Coppertone Sport sunscreen: https://www.amazon.com/Coppertone-Sport-Lotion-SPF-Sunscreen-8/dp/B000YJFHXM/ref=sr_1_7_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1499302130&sr=8-7&keywords=coppertone+sunscreen
Neutrogena ultra-sheer dry touch sunscreen: https://www.amazon.com/Neutrogena-Ultra-Dry-Touch-Sunscreen-Lotion/dp/B00CHTZ2MS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1499302006&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=neutrogena+sunscreen&psc=1
Tiger Beer: https://tigerbeer.com.sg/
What’s better than a great workout… a great workout in the comfort of your own home while watching Friends. Whether you’re on the road, stuck in a hotel room or just too lazy to get over to the gym, this at-home workout will have you sweating y0ur butt off!
3 x 15 air squats
5 x 20 (total) high-knees
5 x 20 double skips
3 x 20 (total) lunge pulses
3 x 10 (total) front kicks
4 x 30 second plank
5 x 10 plank butt-ups
3 x 20 (total) fire hydrants
3 x 15 push-up pulses
4 x 20 (total) donkey kicks
3 x 30 reverse crunches
3 x 20 glute bridges
If you try this workout out, make sure to snap a picture and leave it in the comments:) Happy training!
As most of you already know, I was born and raised in Singapore. But that doesn’t mean that I’m Singaporean (in fact, I’m not). I hold an American and Greek passport. Racially speaking, I come from an American, Greek and Japanese passport, but I’ve never lived in any of those places. In Singapore, we don’t own a house, we rent an apartment. We do own a cabin by a lake in northern Japan, but we only stay there a few weeks every summer. My dad’s family lives in the US and my mom’s family lives in Japan. And to top everything off, I’m getting ready to make a move from Singapore to LA to begin college. So with this, well, complicated background, you can imagine how hard it would be to answer the questions, ‘where are you from?’ and ‘where is home?’. In face, it’s more than complicated, it’s nearly impossible.
Yesterday I was out at the famous Marina Bay Sands shopping with my mom. I’ve always loved the Marina Bay and Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore. While I can say that I’ve been almost everywhere in this small island, for the first time, I stepped outside the first floor of the Sands to stand in a spot I had never stood before. Directly in front of me was a body of water that would eventually turn into the Singapore River. The tall buildings of the CBD towered over the country. The Fullerton Bay Hotel stood with presence right next to the iconic Merlion. If I turned around, the three towers and ‘boat’ of the Marina Bay Sands leaned over me. It was the perfect 360 view of my favorite part of Singapore. There, in that moment, I felt so at home. It was a weird, but really cool feeling. I didn’t quite understand what about that view made me feel so at home, but it did. I quickly began to think more about what a home is and what or where home is for me.
A home could be a physical house. A home could be the country you were born in. A home could be the place you currently reside. A home could be where your family is from. A home could be where your family lives. A home could be wherever you are with your loved ones. So if all of those things make up a home, where is home for me? I started to think of all the times I had felt at home. I feel at home sitting in the living room with my family in our apartment in Singapore. I feel at home laying out at the beach on a sunny summer day in LA. I feel at home walking through the isles of Greece at night. I feel at home swimming in the lake by my family’s cabin in northern Japan. I feel at home sitting at a small, street-side restaurant in Phuket. I feel at home walking through along the Seine in Paris. So if all of those places and things make me feel at home, that still doesn’t really answer the question, ‘where is home?’. But maybe that’s not a question everybody can answer. Maybe home is not what we have always imagined it to be. You can say that home is where you are from, but then why do I feel at home in the streets of Thailand. You can say that home is where you are with your loved ones, but then why did I feel at home while on a language immersion trip in France without my family.
For me, home has taken on a meaning of it’s own, and it’s taken me 18 years to realize that. Home is not a place, home is not a thing, and home is not a person. Home is a feeling, a feeling of happiness. Home is the the places, things and people that make you happy. It’s being able to find smiles and laughter within our world. And that may not be an acceptable or understandable answer for most people, but that’s home for me.
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.
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.
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.
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/
Cotton On: http://cottonon.com/US/
Cotton On Body: http://cottonon.com/US/shop-by-brand/cotton-on-body/
Flying Tiger: https://flyingtiger.com/
Brandy Melville: https://www.brandymelvilleusa.com/
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!
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
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
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/
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!
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
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tbsp. Nutella
4 tbsp. Kahlua
Dark Chocolate shavings
I hope you enjoy this, and happy mother’s day to all you amazing mothers out there!
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.
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:
What are your healthy snacks? Comment them down below to share:)
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!