*200 Posts* Looking Back

Wow, here we are, 4 years and 200 posts later. I’m going to try not to make this too mushy, but I’m truly amazed, proud, in-awe, and every other positive adjective of myself, this blog and all the places it’s gone. When I first started I was a bored high school student sitting in a class I really didn’t care about. I didn’t know who I was and I was desperately looking for answers. Swimming, school, friends, family, I didn’t know what my true life’s purpose was. And it surely wasn’t to just float through life doing whatever, I needed a purpose. The driving force to get me going. I started writing about things I enjoyed: food, fitness, travel, body image. I wrote for myself. But suddenly I realized the power that I had with my words, the power this platform I created had. People started coming up to me at school, “hey, I read your blog post the other day on body image and it was so inspiring”, “you’re blog post on those Singapore brunch spots was awesome and I tried a bunch out”. I was reaching people, people were reading my blogs. That’s when writing about things I enjoyed or cared about became my passion. It wasn’t about putting on this front that everyone would like, it was about sharing my story, my journey and my experiences while promoting what I cared about, kindness, self love and positivity. No matter what I’m writing about, how old I get or where I am in the world, those three things will always be where I’m rooted, and those three things will always be where SwimEatLove is rooted. I’m beyond grateful everything this blog has given me. It’s connected me to some of the most incredible and inspiring people, allowed me a creative outlet to express myself without any limits, and it’s given me purpose. So while I’ve now hit this milestone of 200 posts, there’s no slowing down. I want to share my story, be open, honest and vulnerable as long as I possibly can.

So to celebrate, I thought my 200th post would be a look back on the last 4 years, the posts I’ve loved, the ones you’ve loved and a bunch of others in between.

It all started with me sharing my love for swimming, the good, the bad and the ugly. Butterfly or Butterdie “When you are floating there in the water desperately trying to grab onto the lane line, is when it hits you. You are gasping for air and using the lane line to keep you above the water, while also trying to rip your super tight goggles and cap(s) off your head.”

I’ve shared photos through Life Through A Lens to give you all a little peak into my life. I’ve shared my love for food through my Food Adventures from around the world and many recipes I’ve come up with myself (some heart healthy, some healthy for your soul).

I began to share my journey to self-love, although a hard one. The ‘Perfect’ Self. “It blows my mind that I can pick up a magazine with the header “The New Plus-Sized Model”, flip it open and see a gorgeous woman wearing size 8 clothes. As a society, we have painted a picture of what the ‘perfect’ woman looks like; long skinny legs, a flat stomach, thin arms, and narrow hips.”

When I traveled, you traveled. You came with me around the world; Thailand, Paris, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Cambodia, California and so many more. My adventures became your adventures and I loved that. I shared my journeys in those places and also what it took to get there. Holiday Travel Tips. “As this post is going up, I’m in an Uber on the way to LAX ready to hop on a plane and head back to see my family for the holidays. Since traveling is something that almost everyone does during the holidays in one way or another, I thought I would share my holiday travel guide/tips for today’s post. I’ve done some other “travel tips” posts in the past (be sure to check those out!), but this one will be my updated one specifically for the holidays. Enjoy and happy traveling! xx”

I found myself becoming interested in new and different things, and I shared that with you. Never thought I’d be a little fashion guru. Natural Glam- “No Makeup” Look. “Good morning lovelies! Now that it’s back to school and work, there’s a lot of 5 minute, easy makeup looks going on. Today I thought I’d share my natural, go-to no-makeup look with you all. I wasn’t always a ‘wear makeup to school’ kind of gal, but lately I’ve found that it helps me feel put together and ready for the day. Having basic makeup done makes me feel like I’ve made an effort for not only people around me, but myself as well. For me, natural looks are all about keeping your skin healthy and glowy while still covering up all the imperfections.”

And along with fashion, I’ve become obsessed with beauty, as well as all things summer and the beach but we already knew that. Summer Beauty. “It’s finally that time of the year where we’re all whipping out our bikinis/suits and headed to spend time at the beach, the lake or even just by the pool, soaking in every ounce of sunlight in hopes to get that perfectly sun-kissed skin. Today’s post is going to be all of my summer beauty tips and go-to’s to get you looking fresh, relaxed and glowing. Under each section I have linked some of the products I have been loving this summer.”

I shared by true and lasting love of my beautiful island of Singapore with you. Mega Guide to Singapore. “Planning on visiting Singapore or always wanting to visit? These are my top 10 things to do in Singapore. It may only be 31 miles wide and 17 miles long, but the beautiful island is PACKED with fun things to do!”

For two years now, I’ve brought you into my life during the holidays. Trying to share my profound love for Christmas and the season, 12 Days of Christmas has allowed me to do so. Christmas Tag. “Red or green – which color occupies your life during Christmas? Red, and red glitter. What’s your favorite Christmas accessory? Gold hoops. Do you buy presents or try DIYs? Buy presents, but I love putting together gift baskets/sets. Chocolate, Strawberry, or Vanilla – what do you prefer the most during Christmas? None of them… everything PEPPERMINT! What is your favorite Christmas slogan? Be naughty, save Santa the trip;)”

And what I’m most proud of is how open I’ve been about the hardest parts of my life. Sharing about my struggle with an eating disorder with you all was the hardest decision, but the best decision I ever made. As scary as it was, the number of people who reached out thanking me for trying to break the stigma was life-changing, and I don’t say that lightly. It was become a big part of my life and will stay with me forever, even way after recovery. That’s what this blog has been about, helping others feel less alone. Mental Health Moments are a way to make sure that this important conversation is being had. If no one else will talk about it, I sure as hell will. To My Eating Disorder… “Today is National Love Your Body Day, and while I try to preach and live by the idea of self-love, I’ve been struggling with this by a battling with an eating disorder. It’s not something a lot of people talk about, and it’s not something a lot of people talk about publicly. But I’m ready to break that mold. The scariest thing about this whole battle has been feeling alone in my fight. But I know I’m not the only one. I’m here telling my story with hopes that it can help others out there feel a little less alone. I’m not posting this looking for pity or attention, I’m posting this because reading other peoples stories was such a big part of the start of my recovery. If this can help even just one person feel a little less alone, then it’s worth it.”

How crazy is that, 200 posts. And guess what, I already see 400 on the horizon.

Much love always, Aime.

 

TOTM Eating Tips- *GIRLY CONTENT AHEAD*

*Girly content and lot’s of TMI ahead!*

After getting such great feedback from my TOTM skincare routine post, I thought I would do another one and this time on what to eat and what to avoid during that crazy time of the month. During your period your hormones go completely out of whack and cause the craziest and most intense of cravings, but it’s also the time when your body needs a nutritious and healthy diet the most. I’ve come up with my own list, partly from research and partly from my own experiences/opinions, of things to eat and things to avoid during your period. I hope you find this helpful and if you have anything else to add to the lists please comment them down below!

EAT MORE OF THIS-

  • Leafy greens- As awful as this sounds, leafy greens have TONS of iron which is exactly what you need during your period. Find some fun and different ways to make leafy greens a more interesting part of your diet and your body will thank you.
  • Bananas- Bananas contain so much potassium, vitamin B and vitamin C, all of which you need during the TOTM. They’are also supposed to help release serotonin so you cam boost your mood while you’re at it!
  • Dark chocolate- Getting a bit of dark chocolate with low sugar content in your body won’t only help curb some cravings, but it also is a great source of anti-oxidants and magnesium. It also contains the “happy hormone” serotonin so honestly why not have some.
  • Red meat- Just like the leafy greens, red meat is an easy way to up your iron intake. If you’re a vegetarian, try beans and lentils as an alternative source. But if you are a meat eater, use this as an excuse to have a piece of steak!
  • Cookies, chocolate, cake, whatever your heart desires- I’m not going to promote bingeing on junk food while you’re on your period, but also don’t deprive yourself completely. I’ve always preached balanced and that’s especially true during your TOTM. If your really feeling a piece of chocolate cake, GO FOR IT! Just be reasonable with your serving size and everything will be A-okay. The last thing you need is a full on break down session because you just want to indulge a bit (IT HAPPENS).

AVOID THIS-

  • Carbonated drinks and sodas- I’m not a soda drinker at all, but I do love my Kombucha’s and La Croixs. However when you’re on your period and already bloated and gassy (isn’t it lovely?!) carbonated drinks will only make that worse. Try sticking to water, teas and other non-sugary drinks.
  • Processed foods
  • Highly salted foods- Salt can cause unnecessary water retention which is the absolute last thing you want when on your period. Like I said above, your body is already retaining water because of the excess fluid in your uterus. Try and avoid salty foods especially if you’re feeling extra bloated.
  • Greasy/oily foods- An excess of oily foods in your system can cause inflammation, which is what you want to avoid at a time when your body is already inflamed. It’s also been known to increase pain which is, again, the last thing you want during the most miserable time of the month.
  • Caffeine- This is not something I do (I need my morning coffee), but I’ve done a lot of research around this and caffeine intake has been shown to increase estrogen levels which can lead to worse PMS symptoms.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post! Don’t forget to share your tips down below. See you soon! xx

Avocado Brownies- Recipe

Ingredients:

1/3 cup dark chocolate chips

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 avocado

1 ripe banana

1/4 cup zero calorie sugar substitute

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 cup flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

Directions:

  1. Melt the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil either in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, smash the avocado and banana. Add the sugar substitute, sugar and vanilla and beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium for 1 more minute.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the baking powder, salt, flour and whole wheat flour.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in three batches while continually beating until fully incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into a lined square tin and bake at 180 c for 22-25 minutes (brownies will be stickier than normal).
  6. Serve warm (maybe even add a little Halo Top ice cream if you’re feeling special:).
Avocado brownies on the bottom (the darker ones) and regular brownies on the top.

New Year, Same Me

One of the best things about 2017, for me, was that it was a year of discovery in many ways. I learned so much about myself, the people around me, the places I love and the world in general. With so many huge milestones happening this year, it would be hard not to stumble upon new discoveries. Usually at the beginning of every year I write my new years resolutions, typically revolving around school and swimming. This year when trying to write them, I found it particularly hard to think of anything. I starting reflecting on the past year and everything that had happened and I had learned. Instead of writing resolutions for the year, I decided to write myself vows, vows that I know have been created out of the experiences I’ve had over the past couple of years. My vows for the year represent who I am as a person and all the things I hold near and dear to my heart.

With lots of new and exciting content coming to the blog this year, I thought a perfect way to start is to share some of my vows for the year with you all. What are some of your resolutions/vows/goals for the year? Let’s share them in the comments below!

My Vows

1. I vow to put my family above everything else. After leaving home for college this year, I realized that there is absolutely nothing that is more important to me than the close bond I have with my family.

2. I vow to love myself and my body no matter what and to appreciate all the things my body allows me to do . After dealing with many years of body image struggles, I feel like 2017 was the first full year where I never looked in the mirror and thought I was fat or felt the need to suck my stomach in while wearing a bikini. It also happened to be the happiest I’ve ever been in my life.

3. I vow to allow myself to try new things, even if it seems scary. If there was a theme to this year, it would be trying new things. I’m going to be completely honest, most of the new things I tried were terrifying at first (ie. leaving home for the first time), but they also ended up being some of the best parts of the year.

4. I vow to become an adventurer of the world as best as I can. One of my biggest passions is traveling, and I was lucky enough to travel to two new countries (New Zealand and Korea) last year that I absolutely fell in love with. I hope that I can add another new country to the list this year. But beyond traveling to new countries, I vow to allow myself to explore the areas around me, whether it’s in Singapore, LA, or Tokyo, and to appreciate all the natural beauty of the world.

5. I vow to treat my body and mind as a temple, but in a balanced and healthy way. Of course I love working out, staying fit and eating healthy, but I also love skipping a day at the gym or pool to go explore a new city with my family and to eat food I love (even if it’s not the healthiest). I felt like 2017 was the most balanced year I have had. I focused on my health and fitness every single day, but also allowed myself to take a break if I felt like I needed it.

6. I vow to open myself up to new hobbies and passions. I had an amazing moment earlier this year where I discovered what I felt my life purpose was. That moment only came from allowing myself to try and find new things I was passionate about. I vow to allow myself room to try new things that I have an interest in, knowing full well that I may fail.

7. My last vow is to allow myself to be 100% real, authentic and honest on my blog and Instagram. This is something that I learned to do over the past 6 months, and it has been amazing. It’s not easy to be out on social media sharing personal information about your life and struggles, but I think it’s important for all of us to show our true selves every day on every platform. My whole goal through my blog and Instagram is to inspire others to be healthier, happier and laugh a little more. I have been amazed at the responses and messages I get to my posts, it’s what keeps me going every single day and I vow to keep that up as best as I can through this year.

I just wanted to end this by saying how extremely grateful I am to all of you for reading my posts and following along on my life adventures. This blog and Instagram have quickly become one of my biggest passions and I am so thankful for that!

My Study Playlist

I know I’m not just speaking for myself when I say that homework and studying can be MISERABLE. Most of the time, the only thing that can help me focus and write a paper or study is a really good playlist. Here are some of my favorite songs to listen to to keep me on task and motivated. What are your study songs? Comment them down below!

Chill:

Rise Up- Andra Day

Slow Hands- Niall Horan

Waiting on the World to Change- John Mayer

Yours- Russell Dickerson

Growing Up- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis (ft. Ed Sheeran)

Better Man- Little Big Town

Carry On- Fun

My Wish- Rascal Flatts

Terrified- Katherine McPhee

In Case You Didn’t Know- Brett Young

For Her- Chris Lane

Motivating:

Last Name- Carrie Underwood

Here I Go Again- Whitesnake

Can’t Get You Out of My Head- Kylie Minogue

Shoutout to my Ex- Little Mix

Underage- Kelsea Ballerini

Perfect Strangers- Jonas Blue

Love- Jana Kramer

Think of You- Chris Young (ft. Cassadee Pope)

Back Home- Andy Grammar

Life is a Highway- Rascal Flatts

Hold it Against Me- Britney Spears

 

 

#fitgirllife- Eating Clean in College

One of my biggest fears going into college was food. Not necessarily how good it was going to be (though that was something this foodie worried about), but how hard it was going to be to eat healthy. I had heard so much about “freshman 15” and seen so many friends come back from their first year having gained a lot of weight. Once I got to college, I scoped out the food situation and quickly figured out how to eat healthy and clean. I wrote down everything I ate for 3 days, and have it all down below for you to reference. Please keep in mind that on all three of these days, I had 3- 3 1/2 hours of hard workouts, so the calories (though I don’t count them) and quantity may seem a little high. I hope this helps and gives you some ideas about how to eat healthy in college!

Day 1:

2 hour swim

2 eggs over easy with Sriracha

Bagel with cream cheese

Bacon

Half a cup of coffee w/milk

1 rice cracker

1 banana with peanut butter

1 bag Skinny Pop (100 kcal)

1 hour weights

1/2 bottle Kevita Kombucha

Celery and peanut butter

1 grilled chicken breast with grilled asparagus and zucchini

 

Day 2:

2 hour swim

1/2 avocado and 2 eggs on 1 English muffin with Sriracha

Bacon

1 cup coffee w/ milk

1 rice cake

1 banana

Chobani yoghurt

1/4 cup granola

1 1/2 hour weights

Tomato and veggie soup (from Pacific)

Apples

Hummus and pita

 

Day 3:

2 eggs over easy on 1 piece of rye toast with Sriracha

Bacon

1/2 cup coffee

Fruit cup

Egg salad sandwich

1 hour weights

Small chia seed bar

1 packet of Trader Joe’s peanut trail mix

2 hour swim

1/2 bottle Kevita Kombucha

Grilled chicken with whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce and kale

1 rice cake

 

Top 15 Workout Jams #2- Pump Up

  1. Low- Flo Rida (ft. T-Pain) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1nM4OKvoXw)
  2. Believer- Imagine Dragons (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7wtfhZwyrcc)
  3. Buttons- Pussycat Dolls (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCLxJd1d84s)
  4. Strip That Down- Liam Payne (ft. Quavo) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSW2M-BB1NE)
  5. Good Grief- Bastille (Don Diablo Remix) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iaa03itxNZ0)
  6. Fight Song- Rachel Platten (Wildbeat remix) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy9ns90vMz8)
  7. The Fighter- Keith Urban (ft. Carrie Underwood) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzT4p-OaJ5c)
  8. I Like the Sound of That- Rascal Flatts (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIwKZLcQM0E)
  9. Something Just Like This- The Chainsmokers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM7MFYoylVs)
  10. There’s Nothing Holding Me Back- Shawn Mendes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dT2owtxkU8k)
  11. Dessert- Dawin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZp_axebSfQ)
  12. Black Magic- Little Mix (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MkElfR_NPBI)
  13. My House- Flo Rida (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uo35R9zQsAI)
  14. Giants- Matt Nathanson (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMbyup1xuFI)
  15. I Took a Pill in Ibiza- Mike Posner (Seeb Remix) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foE1mO2yM04)

#fitgirllife- Staying Fit on the Road

Right now, I’m in Tokyo, Japan staying in the first hotel of 5 hotels/houses/cabins that we will be staying in this summer. The hotel we’re in right now is more like a motel, so there is no gym. 2 of the hotels we’ll be staying in with have a gym (which is super helpful), but when we get to our lake cabin, all I’ll have is a lake, 2 x 10 kg weights and lots of space. Knowing all of this before we left for our trip, I started planning and researching for my workouts early. There are 3 key steps to staying fir on the road: 1) taking advantage of what you have around you, 2) getting and staying motivated, and 30 making it fun by incorporating your workout into your vacation.

  1. The hardest thing about working out while traveling is not always have a gym, proper equipment or a familiar workout space. While there is plenty you can do without equipment, it’s easy enough to find things around you to turn into workout equipment. For example, use a chair for step-ups, use the couch for split lunges, use the wall for wall sits and raised push-ups, use a large water bottle for scap retractions and use the luggage rack for box squats. Also look for places around you to incorporate into your workout. Today, I found a 300 meter steep hill that I used for hill sprints (which killed me!).
  2. The second hardest thing is to get and stay motivated. It’s so easy to just want to lay out at the beach all day or to just shop and eat, so the drive to workout might be really hard to find. What I’ve found really helps is planning ahead. Based on what we’re doing each day, I’ll plan out what my workout will be and when I’ll do it. I’ll then ask the people I’m with if we could try to be back at the hotel by a certain time so I can get my workout in. They’re always glad to help. And if you’re lucky, you might even get some new workout buddies too. Another way to stay motivated is to reward yourself. Whether it’s with a treat, a bag you’ve really been wanting or a spa day, it’s a fun way to motivate yourself while on vacation.
  3. The best way to staying motivated on vacation is to make working out fun. Workouts don’t always have to take place in a gym, they can happen anywhere you want. A few things you could do are hiking up a gorgeous mountain or cliff, taking a bike tour of the city, or playing a round of beach volleyball at the beach. But there are even simpler ways to get some exercise in; instead of taking the escalator or the elevator, walk up the stairs, and instead of taking a cab or the bus, walk around the city. It’s little changes you make throughout the day that will make a huge difference during your vacation.

So wherever in the world you are, whether you’re at home or traveling, make sure to make movement a priority today. There are so many different and fun ways to do it. Happy sweating!