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February 28, 2016

This past weekend was the 30th Anniversary of the EDSA People's Power Revolution here in the Philippines, the revolution overthrowing Marcos and the beginning of Corey's term, and so I had a glorious 4-day weekend in honor of the revolution. Mom and I decided to explore a new part of the Philippines--Bohol. Specifically, Alona Vida beach.
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February 21, 2016

Seaweed + Spicy Tuna Rolls

Undoubtedly one of the best perks to living in a city is the availability of all different types of cuisines, shops, and entertainment. New restaurants pop up daily, it seems, in BGC! So when I passed a woman offering free samples of sushi from a new restaurant a few weeks ago across from Market! Market! I knew I'd have to circle back and sample the rest of the menu.
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February 17, 2016


Wolves Without Teeth - Of Monsters and Men
A perfect road trip song...very Free People-y

Cake by the Ocean - DNCE
Pop-y perfection, Joe Jonas (and his yummy pink hair) leads the vocals for this 4-person piece...if you like Maroon 5 you'll love DNCE

This Ain't Over - Alex Newell
New life anthem from a Glee alum on the cusp of blowing up the charts (with a stellar neon video)

Make Me Like You - Gwen Stefani 
She filmed this all completely live during a commercial break at the Grammys! I think it's my new favorite music video....

Carousel - Melanie Martinez
If you're looking for a song that makes you feel like you're at a haunted carnival after dark....look no further. Major AHS vibes.

Sloppy Seconds - Watsky
One of my new favorite artists, I discovered him by accident after googling "moral of the story" for a lit paper!

UGH! - The 1975
Classic neon and shirtless Matty--what else could we want from a video?! Meanwhile the song is infectious.

Chewing Gum - Nina Nesbitt
A now-permanent fixture of my "Bad Ass Bitches With No Feelings" playlist, this song will make you feel sexy + badass

Honey, Honey - Mamma Mia! Soundtrack
Yup, I'm still obsessed

Believe - Mumford & Sons
Two words: indie magic. 

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February 13, 2016

#TeamCheer

My final APAC (Asian Pacific Activities Conference) took place in Hong Kong this year and, as the concluding chapter to a trilogy always does, my APAC journey ended on a high note.

I had never been to Hong Kong before (APAC swimming was generously hosted by Hong Kong International School this year) so I was pretty excited to get to see even a bit of the city. Within our first 2 hours in the city we hit Stanley Plaza, a beautiful shopping mall that would become the center of our out-of-the-pool activities, and I bought 2 shirts at the H&M. After this we headed to the school, met our homestays, and headed to their homes for the night. 

APAC is a unique experience because instead of staying in hotels or dorms, all athletes are hosted by families of the school. My roommate this year was freshman Libby and we stayed with Leah and Alyssa, students at HKIS.
Waiting for our next events
The 5-day meet was a bonding experience for our team from beginning to end. We laughed, played a lot of cards, cheered our lungs out, swam our hearts out, and not-so-subtly stalked the cute boys. We had several first and second place finishes in both individual and relay events and, most excitingly, at the APAC Closing Awards Ceremony both our boys and our girls teams won the APAC Sportsmanship award! I find this award to be particularly special because every other team has to vote for this award, we all rank each other, which means the other teams and other swimmers thought we had the best sportsmanship! What a fantastic parting gift for my last APAC!
I'll miss these girls so much!
My roommate last year, Sydney
On our final night we all had a team bonding trip to Stanley, as did several other teams actually, and it ended up being far more emotional that I originally thought! Tears were shed as goodbyes were said and hugs exchanged before heading back to our homestays for one more night.
My final APAC was a pretty great one, full of amazing teammates and some wonderful homestays (who have gotten me hooked on Hawaii Five-0, the newer one, which I honestly recommend to everyone now), and I know I'll remember this trip for years to come. As the girls' captain this year, I couldn't be prouder of how Airi, Chelsie, Libby, Lauren, Sydney, Jillian, Raina, and Ashley swam--I love and will miss them all.

xx

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February 11, 2016

18

It finally happened...the day I've been dreaming about and simultaneously dreading for a long time now. A day I honestly (sometimes) thought I would never see. A day that will live in my infamy forever. I turned 18. (If you followed me on Insta you would've seen this post that probably clued you in, and if you don't follow me on Instagram....you should! That can be your gift to me!)

Turning 18 was, on the surface, a pretty normal day. A cupcake for breakfast (because you have cake for breakfast on your birthday!), school, lots of hugs and greetings from friends, and a nice relaxing Lush-filled bath at home before bed. Throughout the day my emotions didn't fluctuate much, however the night before was pretty emotional. I went through some old baby pictures of me, and then some photos of me in elementary and middle school #memories, until finally I reached the end of my scrapbook. I thought I'd take a similar approach now and post some of my favorite pictures, some shared on the blog before and some new ones!
Mom still loves this dress because the collar matches the socks
#blondesincebirth 

We'll start with itty bitty baby me....arguably the cutest version! Little did I know then that I'd be living in Manila today.

I've been incredibly fortunate to take some amazing trips in my life....like my trip to Paris!
You can read all about my adventures in the City of Light here: part one, part two, part three, four, five, six, and seven!

I've also been to Thailand, Vietnam, Shanghai, Singapore, Beijing, Hong Kong, Dumaguete....the list goes on and on! And though the trips have been incredible, the biggest and best blessing in my life has been, by far, the people! My family and my friends are the biggest blessings in my life and I couldn't do any of what I do without them.
APAC swimming last year in Shanghai....
....and this year in Hong Kong! (Post coming soon)
I've made lots of nerdy friends in Academic Bowl (aka nerd brigade aka 'dodgebowl')....
I got all dolled up with friends at Luminescence last year....
I've made friends that have sadly moved away.... (here with Tate at Foodfest 2014)
and friends I'm certain I'll be giggling with until the day we die!

Overall this post was not meant to be another Rewind: 2015, but merely a look back at the blessings I have been given in my 18 years.

Okay...time to make a wish! This year, I hope all of us, me, my friends and family, my classmates, my teachers, all of you dear readers, and honestly everyone in the world, finds true happiness. I hope this year is far more peaceful than the last and I hope 2016 is the year people everywhere finally realize that love is a much, much better path than hatred.
Happy 18th to me....here's to 100 more!

xx
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February 6, 2016

The folks over at Dollar Shave Club (the nice people that send you fresh razors in a box every month--here are all of their box options) invited me to help them compile a list of some great Valentine's Day gift ideas! They'll be pinning some of their favorite ideas from the blogging community and I couldn't wait to come up with some fun ideas for them...and for you! If you happen to be single this Valentine's Day (like me) fear not because I have some fantastic gifts you can give yourself too!
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February 2, 2016

Today my best friend in the entire world, known affectionately as A, Ammie, Amrita, and, most of all, Hoe, turned 18. This is my tribute to her. (And also inclusion of pictures she wouldn't let me post on Facebook).

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