Sunday, May 10, 2015

Looking Back on the Year

There are officially nineteen days of school left, and I am super excited for summer! Now, my summer might sound boring to you, because all it involves is swimming, eating, and sleeping, but I am super pumped. Unfortunately, the end of the school year also comes along with the end of this blog. Blogging has been such a great experience, especially since I get to share all my stories with y’all. For my final post, I’m gonna share with you guys on how I have changed this year.

First, I have become more social around adults. As part of the leadership class that I am in, I am on a student board for our local performing arts center, the Park City Institute. I volunteered at shows throughout their season, and helped out by selling memberships. This opportunity has helped me feel more comfortable interacting with adults, and I am no longer afraid to go up to the lady at Ikea for my fav froyo like I used to be!

Now, high school has been a whirlwind, but I have learned how to manage my stress better. Next week, I have an AP test, and yesterday I spent like two hours watching T.V., so I guess I am kinda becoming a regular teenager as far as procrastination is concerned. Over spring break, I just chilled and did no homework, which ended up being pretty great. This year, I took more of an applicable approach towards studying, instead of just memorizing the facts, and it really paid off!

My blog, Splashin’ Fashion, has helped me become more self-aware. By reflecting on all of the key aspects to swimming, I have realized my strengths and weaknesses. There is definitely a difference between just doing a set in practice, and actually being conscious of your actions. This year was my first year of high school athletics, and I learned a variety of life lessons, from the importance of integrity to the value of close friendships.
My friend Elise and I
My first blog post, My Summer of Swimming, was horrible, awkward, and took me forever to write. In my more recent posts, like Heatless Hairstyles, I have really found my voice. As time has progressed, I have felt more comfortable writing posts. Hopefully, you have found my writing to be somewhat humorous and entertaining. 

Some parts of me haven’t changed though. I still am obsessed with swimming, hair, good grades, fruit snacks, potato chips, and cheez-its. The other day, I was really proud of myself because I thought that I had gone a month without eating potato chips, only to find out that my mom considers Pringles to be potato chips. This summer, I am gonna try to eat healthier, but I am not so sure how its going to go. I am also psyched because I now am taller than my mom, which is rather beast considering I had not grown in about three years.

Through twenty two blog posts, I hope that you have learned a little bit more about me. Thank you to my followers and everyone who has read this blog, as well an anyone who has contributed to my blog (You guys are da bomb.com). I know you guys are gonna miss me, but as Mrs. Alp would say, you don't have to go cry and fart around on the field. This is it…so adios!

XOXO

Siena

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

All 'Bout Those Braids

What’s up? Today, I have decided to share with y’all anything and everything about braiding! I started my braiding fad when I was about eight years old, after I received my first American Girl Doll, Nicki, and I always wanted her hair to be flawless. Ahhh…those were the good ole days. Since then, I pretty much have served as a hair stylist for my mom and my sis. After watching Youtube videos for hours on end, I have become a pretty decent braider if I must say so myself. Therefore, without further ado, let’s get started!

The Basic Braid

It might just be a simple three strand braid, but you’d be amazed on how versatile it is. Recently, messy looks have been in, so braids nowadays are much looser. If you want to take this style up a notch, try letting a few strands of hair frame your face and then give them a slight curl by using a curling wand!

The French Braid

My grandma, who kinda lives in a tree house, is especially pro at french braiding, so it is definitely a classic. Her french braids always turn out perfect, although it takes her forever as she takes itty bitty pieces of hair. There are many versions of a french braid, but some of my favs include a full head, side, as well as a french braid leading into a high pony.

The Waterfall Braid

This hairdo is definitely the most elegant of the braid family, and it is perfect for those fancy occasions like Prom and Homecoming, which unfortunately I don’t get to go to yet because I’m still a freshie. If you find that this stitching pattern is too difficult for you, check out this faux easier version here. I have tried this a couple of times, and it literally takes a few minutes to do, which is perfect for all of those early mornings where you are in a hurry to get to school.

The Dutch Braid

This braid is very similar to the french braid, but instead of pulling hair sections over into the braid, you pull them under. By doing so, I think it gives a much more sophisticated and mature look. The key to taking this braid to the next level involves “pancaking the edges”, which adds more volume and texture. 

The Fishtail Braid

Instead of using three strands of hair, you use two for this look. Fishtails have become very popular and are being modeled by celebrities at red carpet events. One of the aspects that I love about fishtails is that they are unique and can be worn pretty much anywhere. If you are looking for a legit fishtail tutorial, click here!

The Zipper Braid

I started learning how to do the zipper braid about a month ago, but I still haven’t mastered it. For some reason, my brain and hands don't cooperate and I always get lost. The zipper braid has a intricate and difficult stitching pattern, but once it is finished you look on fleek. Hopefully I will be able to perfect my zipper braid craft soon!

The Zipper Braid
Photo Courtesy: Cute Girls Hairstyles
Thank you guys for reading! My blogging experience is coming to an end *single tear*, but stay tuned for my grand finale! I’ll see ya later…:)

XOXO

Siena

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Faster is in the Future

Hey y’all! This past weekend, I watched the Arena Pro Swim Series at Mesa on TV, and I not only was blown away by the fast times, but also the suits. Specifically, I saw many swimmers wearing a new kneeskin from Speedo. So being that total nerd, I had to find out all ‘bout it. Turns out, it is *cue drumroll* … the Speedo LZR Racer X, and it is a piece of perfection. Coincidentally, on Thursday at practice, the sports marketing gal from Speedo showed up with a bunch of these suits for my team to try on and test in the chlorine!

My team looking beast in the Speedo LZR Racer X.
The Speedo LZR Racer X uses the newest technology for optimum performance. It all starts with the fabric, that stretches vertically but not horizontally for a swimmer to have full range of motion while providing compression and muscle efficiency. Also, the fabric is lightweight and long-lasting, so it will maintain water repellency throughout longer meets. Near the core, there are “ab activators” that help a swimmer have a neutral body line in the water. The entire suit is bonded together with support seams - that are in a metallic blue color and glisten in the sunlight - that inside contain the words Feel the Water. Feel the Speed. Feel Fast. Finally, the suit utilizes laser cut precision straps that are extremely comfortable. These straps are an improvement from the Speedo LZR Racer Elite 2 because they are in a v-shape, which relieve pressure from the shoulders.

When we got to actually put the kneeskins on, I tried on a closed back. The closed back suits are much harder to get into because you do not have the open circle to use to shimmy it on. But, after breaking a sweat and bruising every internal organ and reaching the point where you think the kneeskin will never go on (because it is literally two sizes to small), there is a magical moment where you pull over the final strap and are done! :)

It was finally time to hop into the pool, and immediately once I got into the water I could feel the difference. As I accelerated into every turn, my legs had a faster turn-over rate. Also, even after I was tired, the suit helped me stay buoyant and keep my hips up on backstroke. In fact, this suit is so good, that one my teammates claimed that it felt like they were cheating!

The Speedo LZR Racer X is a kneeskin like no other, and I guarantee that if you purchase it, you won’t be disappointed. I personally have only worn Arena and Blue Seventy, but I really, really, really, really, really, really wanna get this as my next one for long course season. This suit will have the whole world swimming faster within no time, and I can’t wait to see what is coming next from Speedo!

Thanks y’all for reading today! Be sure to comment below on your favorite kneeskin and stay tuned for more posts coming soon! 

XOXO

Siena

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Back to the Basics

Hey y’all! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, but after Age Group State, it was definitely a time for a break from both swimming and school! For this year’s break, I went to the beautiful island of Maui with my family! As I might have mentioned earlier, this summer I am heading to the Western Zone Age Group Championships (again!), which will be held in Kihei, Maui. While on vacation, I decided to stop by after scuba diving and check the pool out! It was pretty nice, except it had a ghetto scoreboard, but I’m pretty sure nothing can be too bad in Hawaii!

The Zones Pool

It’s finally time to start training for my fav time of year…long course season! The meets are held outside and there are less walls, which is definitely a bonus for me and my sucky turns. The first couple of weeks back in the chlorine are the most important, and they set the tone for pretty much everything in the future.

It’s always good to ease back into your routine, but that is not how we started off this time - unless you call sprinting for thirty minutes in dryland before you even get into the water easy breezy lemon squeezie. I have to admit, it is tempting to start off with a bang, especially by sprinting warm-up, but then the end of practice comes around and you literally are gasping for air.

Before a break, you are in your tip-top shape, just coming off of taper and big meets where you are getting best times. After a break, it is like swimming is an entirely new sport that you have never done. Therefore, it is important to watch your technique. Drilling is one of my favorite ways to practice technique and focus on all the “little things”. If you want to change your stroke, now is the time, as you can enforce these habits all season long. 

Now, during breaks you are supposed to remain somewhat active, and not be a couch potato. Well, I am not the example for this whatsoever. I slowly (key word: slowly) walked to the beach and attempted to tan, averaged twelve hours of sleep a night, and went out to eat every night while engulfing in bread and all sorts of desserts, such as hula pie! :)

Getting back in shape is really tough, but the harder you work, the quicker you’ll be there. On my team, we have been emphasizing leg driven strokes and underwaters. Because of these tough sets, I am super duper sore and walking up the stairs is a struggle. But in the end, it is all worth it, because hard work does pay off!

That is all that I have for y’all today. Be sure to comment down below on your experience with new seasons - I would love to hear ‘bout it! If you want to stay up-to-date with all my posts, please follow! Thanks for reading and I will see ya next time!

XOXO

Siena

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Adventures at Age Group State

As most of y’all already know, now that high school swimming is over, I train with club. Club practices are so much better than high school practices because we do a lot more distance and it is intense. This past weekend, I attended the 2015 Utah Short Course Age Group Championships. This meet has three age categories: 10 and under, 11-12, and 13-14. I’m one of the youngest in my grade, and it definitely has its drawbacks. It is never fun to be the last one to get your permit or license! But, I do get to graduate at the age of 17 and swim both age group and high school concurrently!

This year, the meet was held in Bountiful, Utah. If you ask me, Bountiful ain’t an interesting place, but has some pretty good places to eat. Because during swim meets, literally all I care about is food. I ate at Five Guys, In-N-Out, Paradise Bakery and Cafe, Texas Roadhouse, and Mikado. All of the aren’t the best nutritional choices, but nutrition is not, and will never be my forte. My challenge was trying to limit my fruit snack intake, but I averaged about six packages a session. Whoops!

The pool,  even though it isn't this pretty after sweaty swimmers!
Photo Courtesy of: Myrtha Pool
The swim meet began on Wednesday and ended on Saturday. I gotta skip school, so that was legit, except all the makeup work was boring. On Wednesday, I swam the 1650 freestyle (or the mile). Last year, I went nineteen minutes exactly in both my mile at short course and long course state. But this year I went seventeen minutes and fifty seven seconds! And I swear if I would have seen eighteen minutes exactly on the scoreboard, I would have questioned the meaning of life.

On Thursday, I swam the two hundred freestyle and four hundred individual medley in both prelims and finals, along with the two hundred freestyle relay. During a prelims and finals meet, you are supposed to swim fast in the morning and even faster at night. Unfortunately, some people completely ignore this idea, and decide to bag their races in the morning. This annoys me so much, put hey, I gotta go my own way! (Please take into consideration my extreme effort to give appreciation to High School Musical).

On Friday, I swam the one hundred backstroke, one hundred freestyle, five hundred freestyle, and two hundred medley relay. Friday was a rough day (mainly night) for me, but I had to move on quickly to prepare for Saturday! On Saturday, I swam the two hundred backstroke, one thousand freestyle, and four hundred freestyle relay. I did really well in these events, which was nice since I didn’t have the best races the day before.
Elise, Me, and Rachel.
There is something about the vibe that you get at age group meets. Maybe it is because there are really cute little kids, or that everyone knows each other because we have been racing for years! This meet was filled with inside jokes, competition, and the struggles shared among girls while getting into kneeskins. I can’t wait to see what Long Course Age Group will bring!

Thank you for reading this post! Be sure to comment below on your favorite event or stroke, and I’ll see y’all soon!

XOXO

Siena

Monday, March 23, 2015

Heatless Hairstyles

On my last post, my friend Alyssa asked, “What are your favorite no-heat hairstyles?” Today, I will tell you anything and everything ‘bout these hairdos. Being a swimmer, my hair is already really damaged from the chlorine, so I don’t wanna make it any worse. Also, I am pretty sure my hair is the thinnest in the entire world because my Papa decided to pass on his horrible genes. So, without further ado, lets get started! 

Warning: I usually look horrible when I wake up in the morning. But as far as bad hair days are concerned, ain’t nobody got time for that *insert sassy emoji here*! 

Literally me in the morning.
Photo Courtesy of: Travels of Yogi
Since sleep is bae, I like to get most of morning stuff done before hand and not procrastinate, like I do with my homework. My first no-heat hairstyle is sock bun curls. With slightly damp hair, take your sock bun and roll it up through your ponytail. After a night of flawless sleep, remove the sock bun and separate the curls with your fingers for a messier appearance. I have tried this look numerous times, and it doesn’t fail to please!

This next no-heat hairstyle is definitely my fav, mainly because it gives me a beachy vibe. All hope is needed, as PC has the longest winters. First, simply section off your wet hair and do two side french braids. In the morning, remove the braids and be prepared to be amazed. If you want to add a little volume and take your waves to the next level, spritz in a little bit of sea salt spray

Now, if you want to take a more traditional approach, you can use foam rollers. While your hair is moist, start dividing it. I prefer about one inch sections, but you can use different sizes to suit your needs. Foam rollers can be uncomfortable to sleep in, but they are totally worth it. I remember when I was little, for halloween I dressed up as a spa girl. I was such a dork back then!

Sometimes, the ends of your hair still will stay straight when you try these hairstyles. If so, you can touch it up a little with a curling wand or crimper. If your curls do not turn out how you like it, you can try a half up and half down or the perfect pony. Because these styles use damp hair, they tend to last all day. But, just in case, you can take a bit of hairspray for an extra hold.

As most of y’all know, I am absolutely obsessed with watching tutorials on how to do hair and makeup via Youtube. I mentioned this before, but Cute Girls Hairstyles is pretty much life. They have a lot of videos on clever no-heat hairstyles, and you can check them out on their channel here!


Paper Towel Curls
Photo Courtesy of: Cute Girls Hairstyles
That is all that I have for you fellas today. Please comment down below on if you have tried any of these no-heat hairstyles, or if you have any ideas for future blog posts. Your input is greatly appreciated! If want to stay up to date with my blog, follow me via email in the sidebar! Thanks :)

XOXO

Siena

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Conquering The Mental Battle

Every mind is complex. In swimming, the tough and the weak are defined through a series of brain games. When your body and your mind send you mixed signals, it can be difficult to know what is right. Swimming is a sport where hundredths of a second determine a winner and a loser. Swimming is a sport where waking up before dawn is the summer norm. But most importantly, swimming is a sport where dedication is a necessity.
One of my fav quotes
Photo Courtesy of: HD Wallpapers
On my team, we become mentally tough through our language. We are not allowed to say the word can’t, which is also known as the c-word. If we do say it, then we must do twenty five pushups and twenty five lunges. And boy, after dryland and a long practice, every pushup and lunge burns more than the last.

Right now, we are on taper for the age group state meet. Along with any taper comes the good ol’ pace set. By the end of pace, you are out of breath and all that lactic acid is building up in your muscles. Basically, your body feels horrible with a “capital h”. Yet, you know that if you give up, you won’t achieve your desired results. And later, you will know that you will regret it. In those last couple of one hundreds, you need to believe that you can. It all comes down to your attitude.

There are highs and lows in every sport, but the mid-season of swimming is notorious for being an ultimate. In the beginning, your body is fueled and you are excited to get back training. But after a couple of months, without any major meets, most people say practice is just a drag. How do you fix this problem? Think about the future. The final hoorah meet will come, and all of that hard work that you put in mid-season will pay off. 

Guess what, life isn’t perfect. Once in a while, you will have a disappointing swim. I can personally vouch for this, as basically every time I swim the two hundred butterfly, I drown the last fifty. But, you have to put those races in the past and learn from those mistakes.

Doesn’t everyone just love nerves? To a certain extent, pressure can be beneficial because it helps get the adrenaline running. I still remember how stressed I was for my first race at Zones. It was my first travel meet without my parents, and I didn’t trust my training. It was definitely reassuring knowing that my team was there cheering me on, but I still didn’t know how to focus. Sometimes all it takes is a couple deep breaths and a I can do it. And guess what, I ended that race with a personal best.

I am honestly not the most competitive person around, but it is important to focus on your race and not your competition. The only person that you are in control of is yourself, so you gotta make the most of it. Finally, the most important part is to have fun. You will never have dedication in the first place if you don’t enjoy what you are doing.

Preparing to warmup.
I hope you guys enjoyed these inspirational (and deep) words from me. As Ms. Alp (my Spanish teacher) would say, “It is okay to cry and go fart around in the field!” I recently gave a Ted Talk about how your attitude directly affects your performance in my leadership class, and it was the inspiration for this post. Be sure to comment below on how you stay calm before diving in, and I will see y’all soon!

XOXO

Siena