Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

Hello!

I might post some Fascinating Friday Links later today, but I thought I’d first share with you some life happenings from the past couple of days! Here are the pros (thumbs up) and cons (thumbs down)…aka the two things that make up this wonderful cocktail of life.

Yesterday was a long day because the music students at my school had a field trip to Lake Compounce (an amusement park) for a music festival where we critiqued and judged.

Thumbs up 👍: Being on roller coasters with my best friends instead of being at school.

Thumbs down 👎: Getting whiplash and nearly crapping myself on some of the rides.

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The moment at which I thought I was going to die. Then again, I probably make this face at school too.

Thumbs up: Chorus got “Superior” ranking for our performance. That’s right.

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Thumbs up (or is it thumbs down?): It also took me a whopping two days to stop being sick of ice cream. I know, the long break was just what I needed. 😉

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Thumbs down: This soft serve was icy and not that good and it was $4!

Thumbs down: My friend Jeannine and I were going to go on a run together on Wednesday, but my exhaustion caused me to bail and skip out on the run. She’s not friends with me anymore.

Jokes. I think.

Thumbs down: I went home to take a nap that day, but I laid in bed my over-tired insomnia for an hour and a half.

Thumbs up: I slept better last night!

Thumbs up: I still got in some moves on Wednesday right in my bedroom. I worked on tons of handstands (which are getting better!), pushups, tricep dips, and I did an ab tabata.

Thumbs up: I’m hosting a HUGE sleepover tonight for all of dance company. That would be 15 girls total in my basement. It’s the seniors’ last one ever (maybe I shouldn’t have said that), but I’m so excited!!! My parents have been so generous in getting everything for snacks and breakfast tomorrow, so I hope these girls have an appetite tomorrow morning! My mom runs this place like a hotel, as you might know.

Thumbs up: Peaches are in season!!!

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Cookie dough cereal with peaches and bananas

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Peach banana peanut butter oatmeal smoothie (using this recipe + pb)

Thumbs down: It’s nearly impossible to look decent eating good peaches in public since the juice starts running down my arm and getting all over my face. I look like a savage hyena.

Thumbs up: Tomorrow is my birthday!

Thumbs down: I almost forgot about it.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

So tell me:

What are some of your recent thumbs up/thumbs down moments?

Do you like peaches?

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WIAW: Fine, I Love Almond Butter

Hi!

I’m typing this on Tuesday night as I often do, so I don’t know if I’m currently chipper as a spring bunny or if I’m a zombie right now. Probably the latter. My moves yesterday consisted of 3.5 hours of ballet since I decided to sleep through class last week. It hadn’t danced ballet for that long straight through since the Orlando Summer Ballet Intensive two years ago. It’s a good thing I love ballet!

For this week’s WIAW, I’m just going to focus on one food that I’ve been eating A LOT recently: almond butter. (I’m actually so excited. Any excuse to talk about nut butter is a good one to me!)

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With the queen of food parties and adorable things, Jenn!

You see, when I first started becoming obsessed with nut butter (thanks to healthy living blogs— I’m such a conformist), I stuck to fan-girling over the classic peanut butter. I then ventured into the land of sunflower seed butter, which is now one of my favorite things ever. I even made my own cashew butter once, but that didn’t hold my fancy for long.

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Greek yogurt with banana slices, chia, hemp, cinnamon, nutmeg, a pumpkin muffin top/scone, and almond butter

I had eaten almond butter in the past, but that was when I was still eating spoonfuls of sugary Peter Pan peanut butter (which is still awesome), so plain, unsalted almond butter was kinda gross to my typical middle schooler palate. Plus, what the heck was that weird grainy texture from the almond skin?

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Cookie dough cereal with banana, chia, hemp, and pepita sunseeed butter

Thus, I stayed away from almond butter for a good while. I was perfectly content with my roasted peanut butter goodness (I made the switch from Peter Pan to the kind with just peanuts). Other than that, change was never my strong suit.

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Overnight oats in a coconut peanut butter jar

Then I started seeing bloggers such as Amanda eating almond butter on the daily, Julianna bringing spoonfuls of it from her dorm to the dining hall (GENIUS. I’m gonna be that person in college.), and just everyone gushing over this peanut butter imposter convenient and healthy food.

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Hot oatmeal with mangoes, banana, and sunflower seed butter

So I decided one day at Trader Joe’s: I’m gonna take the leap of faith and try almond butter again. I tried it. I liked it, but I didn’t love it, so I tried to “get rid of it” by using a big half cup of the stuff in these granola bars.

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Greek yogurt with banana slices, banana muffin, chia, hemp, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pepita sunseed butter

But my dad loves almond butter, so he would eat a lot of it with muffins and toast, which prompted me to keep buying more for him.

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Oatmeal cookie dough smoothie (which has a big spoonful of almond butter in it!) blended with spinach + Greek yogurt for dipping

The more I bought it for him, the more I started to add it to my toast and bananas…But it was still the “inferior” nut butter. I always secretly wished I was having another nut butter instead of that one.

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Self-explanatory

Then one night, I needed a quick, satisfying snack before bed, so I grabbed a spoonful of almond butter. “Hm, this is really good.”

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Greek yogurt with the works + almond butter

That spoonful of almond butter has become a very regular snack for me lately, and now I can’t seem to keep my spoon out of the jar.  Almond butter has also found its way onto many a muffin…

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Banana muffin with almond butter

Now, I’m hooked. I ♥ almond butter.

Not as much as peanut butter, but it’s up there now. I’ve talked about it before, but I think it’s amazing how much my taste buds have changed in the past two years. Could be growing up, could be food blogs, probably both.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

So tell me:

Do you like almond butter? What is your favorite way to eat it?

What is your all-time favorite nut butter?

How have your taste buds changed in the past few years?

My Random Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is over. School should also be over. Memorial day weekend always makes me feel like we’re on summer break, but here we are with two weeks of school left. There isn’t much to complain about though— all but one of my final exams are over, it’s senior year, and I like my schoolmates…most of the time.

I hope you all had a wonderful Memorial Day, remembering our troops and spending time with family and friends! Mine started off pretty late since I decided to go to bed unreasonably late on Sunday night. Once I was up, I realized my mom was already starting the grill prep for our Memorial Day BBQ!

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Summer bounty in the raw

I felt so under-accomplished when I saw that she had already gone shopping, prepped some of the vegetables, started cooking the pork, and was dressed so nicely. My dad was also up and ready to do a load of yard work. Meanwhile, I rolled out of bed in my pajamas at 11 AM.

I helped her season the veggies if that counts for anything. I also tried to fix our wi-fi connection to no avail (I’m connected directly to our modem right now via cord).

Well, daughter of the year here snacked on mom’s amazing grilled feast throughout the afternoon:

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Evidently, we like the char.

Everything was incredible. Tip: Season your vegetables with sesame oil and black pepper before grilling— simple yet so flavorful! My mom grilled enough to feed an army, so we have leftovers for DAYS. Thanks, ma! And thanks, pa, for making our yard look pretty 🙂

After I digested, I took my moves outdoors because…it was Memorial Day! Outdoor fun is practically a necessity. I did some jump roping, handstands, and then a short circuit workout from Purely Twins. It was a hot one out there yesterday!

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I’m growing a mane apparently. Also, I feel like I’m wearing that shirt whenever I take a workout selfie. I promise I wash it.

Then I walked over to see my friend Daliza who was working. I also got ice cream because that’s the perfect post-workout snack, right?

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Cookies and cream + cherries jubilee

I’ve had ice cream for the past three days, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m getting sick of it. I’ll fall for it again soon enough though, I’m sure. Ice cream and I are tight like that.

I hung out with Daliza for a couple hours (apparently I like to watch her scoop ice cream and sweep floors for that long) before coming home to do some homework, read blogs, and eat dinner.

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More grilled goodies + quinoa/rice + more unpictured grilled mackerel and tofu

Now I’m sitting here, smelling of sweat and sunscreen because I still haven’t showered yet. TMI?

Have a terrific Tuesday, friends!

So tell me:

What is a highlight of your Memorial Day?

What is your favorite grilled food? 

Brother-Sister Rivalry

Hello and Happy Memorial Day!

This weekend has been the closest taste of summer yet, which I guess is often true once Memorial Day swings around. The community pools open, the air fills with BBQ smoke, and the Hugh Jass (stole that from Kath) bumble bees start harassing me. A lot of marvelous things have been happening in the past few days including some moves, a Frozen movie date, treats, and a trip to Boston!

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All marvelous things, yes? Thanks for hosting as always, Katie!

 

Here are the highlights:

Friday

1) Finished the AP Bio exam and keep myself from jumping up and down like a maniac.

2) Went to the gym for some moves:

5 min. arc trainer, then 3 sets of each:

  • 10 pistols each leg + 20 Bulgarian split squats each leg
  • 1 min. wall sit + 30 side jump lunges (my glutes were sore for two days AGAIN)
  • 20 hamstring ball roll-ins + 20 single leg bridge pulses

I was gonna do abs, so I started to do some exercises, but then I stopped because I just wasn’t feelin’ it.

3) Ate my new favorite dessert:

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Vanilla bean ice cream with fresh mangoes

You’re welcome.

Saturday

1) Baked the best banana muffins (from Two Peas and Their Pod) I’ve ever had:

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Fresh out of the oven with almond butter— this is what dreams are made of.

2) Went grocery shopping for two bunches of bananas, two tubs of 2% Greek yogurt, and two containers of hummus. It was like Noah’s Ark on that checkout conveyor belt.

3) Attended a super late lunch/early dinner with the other religious education teachers and volunteers, courtesy of our pastor who is retiring this year!

4) Worked on handstands. I’m starting to hover more with that freestanding handstand! I’ve caught the Crossfit Games bug. (You can yell at me for the fact that I’ve never done Crossfit in my life.)

5) Watched Frozen with one of my best friends, Daliza! Now I understand the hype for that movie— Anna is my hero and if Olaf were real, he’d be my best friend. Daliza and I are also working on our duets for some of the songs, so you better watch out for our voices in Frozen 2.

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Sunday

1) Drove up to Boston to visit Ben!

2) Disowned him for wearing this shirt:

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No.

Northeastern and Boston University sibling rivalry has commenced.

3) Ate a delicious sushi lunch at Avana Sushi:

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4) Bought some BU gear and put on my (mouse-like) game face:

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5) Walked to J.P. Licks for some awesome ice cream. Ben and I shared a scoop of mint cookies and cream (uh, two favorite flavors in one) and a pistachio scoop. Perfection:

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Wait, why did I share my ice cream with this kid again?

6) Took a lovely, long stroll along the Charles River. The weather was absolutely PERFECT on Sunday, even though it was supposed to rain according the forecast. The sun was out, there were almost no clouds in the sky, and the temperature was just right (even though I think I did overdress with my jeans and long sleeve shirt). Can we please just pause the weather so that it can be like this forever?

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Aww cute bro + sis picture…

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k bye.

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It really hasn’t sunk in that this will be my home for the next four years. I’m excited though!!

Now I’m off to go exercise outside on this warm, sunny Memorial Day, and then we’re gonna dig into my mom’s grilled feast! Hope you all have a wonderful day!

So tell me:

Three fun things you did this weekend!

What are you Americans doing for Memorial Day?

Have you ever watched Frozen?

No Greater Love

Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. — John 15:13

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Thank you to all the brave men and women who chose, are choosing, and will choose the greatest love for the sake of our nation’s safety and liberty.

Have a blessed Memorial Day ♥