Baking Binge

Hey!

I hope your Fridays have been off to a lovely start! Mine started later than I anticipated when I rolled out of bed at 10:00. I got 7 hours of sleep two nights ago when I tried to “sleep in”, so I guess my body is finally accepting the fact that I can sleep in!

Yesterday’s breakfast was green, creamy, and banana-peanut butter-y — some of my favorite adjectives (in proper context).

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Amanda’s cookie dough oatmeal smoothie plus spinach + Greek yogurt for dippin’

For lunch, I knew I wanted avocado toast, because I missed that green food also. On the side I had some of my mom’s homemade salmon and tofu curry with mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Home cooking makes my heart sing fa la la la laaaaaa la la la la.

Sing along with me!!

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While I was eating this lunch, my baking binge began. I mean, the last time I baked something was during Thanksgiving, which wasn’t long ago, but the Christmas season (along with the one billion recipes I have bookmarked) gave me the URGE.

I wanted to use up some unsweetened, unsalted sunflower seed butter that tasted like pasty nothingness. Arman’s paleo cranberry walnut cookies were perfect for transforming the pasty sunflower seed butter into something mighty tasty!

Not before this happened though…

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Cleaning up an egg is messy business.

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There are only four cookies left now if that says anything about how good they are. No, I wasn’t the only one who ate them.

I visited my high school and met up with several friends in the afternoon. It felt weird, different, and the same all at once. I had to remind myself that it has only been six months since I’ve been at the school. I’m only barely an alumnus, but once you pop that high school bubble, things just aren’t the same because you’ve experienced so much more!

Then I made a trip to the grocery store to get more baking ingredients because I have a problem. I ate more curry for dinner, went to my high school’s winter concert, and came home to bake again at 10 pm.

First up was Amanda’s pumpkin gingerbread bars. My brother requested something pumpkin pie-like, and when he saw the pictures of Amanda’s bars, he pointed to it and said, “make that one!”

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Being me, I forgot to add the brown sugar to the pumpkin filling, so halfway through baking (when I realized I forgot to add the sugar), I poured about ¼ cup of maple syrup all over the bars to sweeten them. That’s why the bars look kinda dark and splotchy on top. Luckily, my desperate measures worked, and the bars were perfectly sweet and delicious!

My mom and I had our heart set on some bread-like treat, so I also made Kylie’s healthy pumpkin gingerbread since many of the ingredients for it were the same as those for the bars. It was past 11pm when I finished the batter for the bread, so I made muffins instead of a loaf to speed up the baking time. Also, muffins are cute.

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I made 12 in this mini Bundt pan, plus five more in a regular muffin pan. I contemplated having mine with vanilla ice cream, but I decided on a more nutritious accompaniment for a late night snack— Greek yogurt and peanut butter!

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YUM.

Now I need to share the bounty of baked goods! Or at least…I should share…

After the muffins, I finally turned in the whisk for the night and chilled out to Christmas music with my brother before going to sleep.

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Upon rising late this morning, I made myself a fancy brunch! I whisked together one egg and two egg whites with some salt, pepper, dried thyme, and dried sweet basil. Once it set in the pan, I added fresh spinach and parmigiano reggiano cheese. Then I topped the omelet with cranberry sauce because I’m a fan of the sweet/tart/salty flavor fiesta. I OD’d on it though, so I only had about half of the amount of cranberry sauce you see in this photo.

On the side was a pumpkin gingerbread muffin and banana!

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I ♥ brunch.

Ahhhh it’s past noon already! I am determined to be productive today. I’m hoping to work out, make a Christmas playlist for our road trip to Florida next week(!), and see some more friends. I’m having dinner with some dance friends tonight too! Pumped.

Happy Friday!

So tell me:

Do you ever go on a baking/cooking binge?

Pumpkin bread or gingerbread?

What do you want in an omelet this very minute?

The Great and Small Things I Learned {College Semester I}

Beautiful friends of the earth, HELLO!

I’m done with my first semester of college and my mind is blown. I am typing up this post from my cozy home in New York, and I could not be happier to be on winter break for a month(!) spending time with family and friends. I am, however, going to dearly miss my friends from BU!

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Finals are over, and I have concluded three things: I still despise statistics, I love psychology, and a good breakfast that involves peanut butter and banana makes any morning of a final exam better.

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Post-chemistry-final distress selfie

Mom picked up brother Ben and me from Boston yesterday, and I’m happy to report that our drive home was much swifter than our drive back home for Thanksgiving break. I drove most of the way home, and we were cruisin’ right along. Thank God!

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My last Boston meal for the semester was grilled lemongrass chicken with rice and veggies from a delicious Vietnamese takeout place. Hit the spot.

The Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester

Needless to say, college teaches you things. Of course you obtain your book smarts and knowledge of this awesome universe in which we live, but some of the most valuable things are learned by just living life away from home and getting out of that sweet comfort zone. So without further ado, here are some of the great and small things I’m taking away from my first semester at Boston University!

(P.S. I’m typing this list while listening to OneRepublic’s song, I Lived. It’s awesome inspiration music.)

  1. Holding doors for other people and having the door held for you is an easy way to make you smile.
  2. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have plans on a Friday or Saturday night. In fact, it’s often preferable.
  3. The fruit crisps are the best desserts in the dining halls (a la mode, of course). Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset
  4. The communal bathrooms will get gross, but you live through it.
  5. I still don’t know the names of all the guys on my floor (is that a good thing?).
  6. I have the best roommate!

    Happy birthday to the coolest roommate out there!!! 💃 #BUmovesandgrooves

    A photo posted by Alison (@alisonmty) on

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  7. Dorm workouts can make you as sweaty as a gym workout. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  8. But nothing beats an outdoor workout by the river. Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
  9. And running is oooooookayyyy…I guess. ;)Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
  10. 10 AM classes are ideal. Not too early, not too late.
  11. Always snag bananas from the dining hall. You can never have too many bananas.
  12. “Room keys, ID card, room keys, ID card, room keys, ID card, PHONE!” <— an important thing that needs to run through my mind whenever I leave the room.
  13. It is possible to make best friends in just three months.bu friends
  14. I’m the “mom” of the group.Processed with Moldiv
  15. Hugging gets you through the day/week/life.
  16. Statistics is poopy.
  17. So many of my problems in the past were a result of a negative outlook and a “woe is me” attitude. Mentality is incredibly powerful.
  18. You will observe weird people, and you will also be the observed weird person. Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
  19. I am a messy, klutzy person. Exhibit A // Exhibit B.
  20. Pedestrians RULE Boston. Sorry, drivers.
  21. The dorm walls are thinner than you think. Beware.
  22. How to cook steak…sort of.
  23. You will probably eat more sugar than you should, but life goes on and things will balance.picstitch
  24. There will always be cookies. Everywhere.
  25. Lunch and dinner dates are a thing and I kind of love them.Processed with Moldiv
  26. You will end up wasting more time than you wanted, but if you have the drive, you will find the time to get work done.
  27. Sleep is uhhhhhmaaaazinggggg.
  28. You walk so much in college. To go to class, to go to the gym, to get to a study place, to get your food…
  29. The funk in my dorm hallway slowly but surely gets worse every day (it’s honestly only the boys’ side). It was getting to near toxic levels when I left.
  30. Selfies are a way of life (see huge collage under #13).
  31. My blogger friends and readers are so wonderful and supportive.
  32. Speaking of wonderful…It’s good to say words such as wonderful, beautiful, and awesome to people, especially when you genuinely mean it.
  33. Humans are resilient like WHOA. We go through a lot.
  34. This semester has been one of the happiest times in my life.
  35. My faith has grown more this semester than it has in my entire life.10604424_10204140246360943_6812184516786650349_o

There are at least fifty other things I learned in addition to these, and I’ll probably think of them as soon as I hit publish, but here’s what I have for now!

It’s been so fun. There’s literally nothing I can say or do except to thank God for His abundant blessings. I pray that I can be fruitful with His gifts by spreading joy and service to others.

To whom much is given, much will be expected.

Have a fabulous day, friends! Good luck to all those finishing finals and traveling home! ♥

Thinking-Out-Loud

Thinking out loud with my favorite!

So tell me:

Three things you’ve learned in the past 3 months/6 months/year!

When was the last time you experienced profound mental, emotional, or spiritual growth?

What are you doing today?!

I’ll be baking, visiting my high school, and hopefully meeting up with some friends!

Hashtagging the Weekend

Hiya!

I’ve seen a few bloggers recap their weekends using hashtags because they’re just so relevant to our popular culture. It can get annoying, I must admit (*Edited to add: hashtags in general, not the hashtag blog posts!)…BUT as a college student with minimal time as I study for finals, I’m going to be a conformist and tell you about life lately through hashtags.

Sometimes you just need some Jimmy Fallon/Justin Timberlake action.

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#SecretSanta #CatholicGirlProbz

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#Jammies #HowAsianAmIWithThatBeanie #SheilasFace

(Sheila’s on the right, but you could probably figure that out ;) )

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#CatLover #SockLover #NailedThatGift

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#21 #OnlyOneWhoCanPullOffABirthdayTiara

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#NachoBusiness #Cheese #SoBad #SoGood

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#MoreSuccessfulThanSteak

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#BostonWinterSunBathing #DoILookMajestic #Studying #ThatShirtThough

Have a great Monday, friends!

So tell me:

Three hashtags that describe your weekend!

Have you ever done Secret Santa? 

Weekly Moves and Grooves XVI {Listen To Your Body}

 Just popping in (very late) this evening to share…

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Studying for finals swallowed me up this weekend. We are almost home free, fellas!

Sunday

20 min. bodyweight workout from Jess + leg strength

I loved this two-part bodyweight workout from Blonde Ponytail! I did it in my dorm at 7 pm because I wasn’t about that dark and cold mile trek to the gym on Sunday night.

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For the AMRAP, I did 9 or 10 rounds, I believe. I love how it moved quickly and incorporated simple yet effective functional movements. Like my favorite—burpees!

I also did three rounds of 10 pistol squats each leg + 20 Bulgarian split squat hops each leg. Those hops burnnnn.

Monday

5 min. row warmup + 400 Heavy Rep Workout from Hilary

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This was fun and tough! I used a 20# dumbbell for the single arm high pulls, a 30# bar for the thrusters, and a 35# dumbbell for everything else (the gym here does not have kettlebells). Also, instead of jumping rope after each round, I did 10 pushup burpees. It was quick (under 30 min.) but effective! Just what a college student needs!

Tuesday

30 min. arc trainer + 8 min. ab tabata

I did steady state cardio and it felt like an eternity, but it was a nice way to loosen up after Monday’s workout.

For the ab tabata, I did 4 rounds of 20 sec. work, 10 sec. rest:

Wednesday

Rest

Thursday

5 min. stairmaster warmup + leg workout

This workout was all over the place because I was kind of tired and my back was bothering me, so it was all about listening to my body.

I started with 8 weighted pistol squats each leg + 30 side jump lunges, then 10 regular pistols each leg + 30 side jump lunges, and then I stopped with the pistols there because my lower back wasn’t happy about it.

3 rounds of each set:

  • 12-15 Bulgarian split squats each leg (25#) + 20 jump lunges
  • 20 plie squats (35#) + 8 pulses in plie + 10 pulse squat jumps (pulse five times in squat position before jumping up)
  • 8-10 hamstring curls (90#) + 20 surfer jumps

And then I started this burpee/arm ladder workout with goblet squats instead of swings, but I stopped short because my body was just done. Yes, I could have pushed through, but I wanted to be kind to myself and just stretch.

Friday

arm workout

I warmed up with some pushups and shoulder mobility exercises before jumping into a “wing it” workout.

  • 4 sets: 8 lat pull downs + 12 arnold presses
  • 10 pushup burpees (random)

3 sets of each:

I finished with an 8 minute ab tabata with reverse crunch leg lifts, mountain climbers, and side plank hip raises L/R.

Saturday

Rest/Walking

I will be posting a HECK of a lot more once finals are over because then I’ll be on winter break, during which I will have zero homework. Hallelujah!

 

Cut Down the Time-Wasting

Officially done with classes this semester, y’all!

Last night my friends and I celebrated at the Catholic center (I know, I’m there 99% of the time) with a fun Christmas party. There were cookies, ugly sweaters, and gingerbread “houses.” ‘Twas a perfect way to end the semester before we dug into studying for finals!

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All the freshmen at the party. Check out my friend Albert in the middle with all us ladies. Player.

Before I enjoyed a multitude of cookies and snacks at the party, I ate some other delicious and more nutritious things earlier in the day. Breakfast was a classic pb-banana-honey oatmeal with scrambled eggs.

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I also ate an interesting yet tasty lunch with my friend, Lauren. We tried this vegan quinoa/mushroom Shepherd’s pie with cranberry mint sauce, and I was a fan! It was definitely no comfort food, but it was a cool alternative since “Veggie Galaxy” was at the dining hall as the guest chef of the day.

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Story time: I dropped my first plate of this all over the floor of the dining hall as we were walking back to our table because I’m clumsy and ridiculous. The picture above is take two. I like how my food just tends to fling everywhere.

Dinner also hit the spot, most likely because it involved copious amounts of dairy (for which I expressed my love yesterday) in the form of cheese. I had a whole wheat, chicken, cheese, and veggie quesadilla, as well as a little mac and cheese because it was baked and fresh out of the oven…

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Mmm mmm good.

Cutting Down the Time-Wasting

Now that finals are in less than a week, I need to FOCUS. I’m pretty good at managing my time, but there are also days where I’ll be doing work and then I’ll get “a little” distracted multiple times throughout the day. Before I know it, I’ve accumulated 1-2 hours of nothingness.

I’m all for slowing down and treating yourself in little ways every single day, but it’s easy to let little distractions snowball into major procrastination. Thus, as we approach finals week, here are some things to which I want to commit so that I can maximize productivity!

1) The ‘gram has got to go (at least during the day).

Instagram is my number one pitfall of doom. Tapping on the little icon on my phone to “just check a few posts” turns into a good 30 minutes of scrolling since I follow so many people. Once I start, I can’t stop.

2) Work out, but don’t over-think it.

I often spend way too much time deciding on what kind of workout I want to do some days. I scroll through workouts that I’ve saved on my phone, I consider making up my own workout, and I try to think of logistics as to when I’ll go to the gym. Sometimes I feel like I need to do “the right” workout, so I spend so much time thinking about what will be the most effective/intense/not intense.

I’m not necessarily proud of this fact that I over-think working out, so I want to work on just choosing a workout and being grateful for any sort of movement and exercise that I can get during the day.

3) Don’t listen to music while I study.

I’ve been in denial, but I know that I do not focus as well when I’m listening to music as I work.

4) Set time intervals for studying.

I’m a daydreamer when I am sitting and studying by myself for too long. If I set a timer for 30-60 minute intervals of focused studying and then 10-15 minutes of break time (NOT on my phone though), I can help myself stay engaged yet sane.

5) Go to places where I know I will not be distracted.

Sometimes I just want to study in my room, but I know I get distracted there because of friends coming in to talk and my bed being so close… So I want to make the effort to go to certain study places where I know I am most productive. That will allow me to walk more too!

Alright, I am kind of late for psychology review, so I’ll catch ya later. Best of luck to all my fellow college students on their finals!

Have a fantastic day!

So tell me:

What are some things you do that help cut down time-wasting?

What is your biggest productivity-sucker?

Instagram and music for me!

Do you have an ugly Christmas sweater?