Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2014}

‘Tis the last day of the two-thousand-fourteenth year of our Lord. Whoa whoa.

I was still a mime yesterday since my voice was nonexistent, and I felt slightly worse than I did on Monday, which was odd and unfortunate. A nosebleed both after breakfast and after dinner threw me off a lil’ bit. All is well though. I slept in, ate a delicious breakfast (that I could indeed taste!), and accomplished a lot!

Breakfast was a few baby slices of whole grain toast with sunflower seed butter and banana slices + two scrambled eggs with mixed greens.

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After nursing my nose, I chugged water and made some hot honey-lemon-mint water. I added lemon zest in addition to lemon juice, which created a beautiful aroma.

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I joined mom for a trip to Home Depot and Walgreens to pick up some items for the house, and then I spent the rest of the afternoon snacking rather than having a real lunch, since I ate breakfast at almost noon. But in addition to snacking all afternoon, I studied my Boston University tour guide notes and did an ab workout and stretching for some moves.

Dinner came later at 8pm involving simple green foods— avocado toast and salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Simplicity did the trick for my sick funk.

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Followed up by somethin’ sweet!

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Banana with peanut butter and unsweetened shredded coconut— heck yes. To be honest, I spent a little time trying to maneuver the banana so that it looked…presentable for the photo. Bananas are forever awkward. Just like me. You are what you eat!

dear alison

And nowww for the main event!

I’ve been loving reading other bloggers’ 2014 recaps and seeing friends and family post their reflections on social media. Of course, I want to join the end of the year party, so I’ve compiled twelve mini letters to myself for each month of the year. Basically, I’m going to tell myself how silly I was. And also how much I’ve grown as a person I guess. 😉

Thank YOU all for your incredible support through this little blog of mine. With so many changes happening this year, I wasn’t sure which path the blog would take, but I couldn’t be happier and more thankful for where it is right now. It’s all because of your love, encouragement, and conversation. Hugs, nut butter, and prayers for you all. ♥

Dear January Alison,

Congratulations on some college acceptances (Binghamton University, University of Maryland, University of Virginia)! Expanding your choices, uh oh. We all know you’re super decisive! Ha.

Also, congratulations on your first workout video! Except not really, because you can’t even see your legs at some parts of the video, and it’s a leg workout vlog. Quality work, kid.

But you did realize something important— that you weren’t giving your body as much rest as it needed. Thank you for that.

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Dear February Alison,

I’m laughing out loud because of this gem of a vlog (your first one ever!). You’re such a loner.

You seem to like writing letters to people, because you wrote one to your future husband, who may not even exist. But keep on waiting, you!

Watching the Olympics was fun, eh? Mom’s frightening enthusiasm for the USA vs. Canada hockey game is a foreshadowing of the hockey excitement that you will experience in college…you just don’t know it yet.

You shared your eating disorder struggles for National Eating Disorder Awareness week. People appreciated that, and so did you.

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Dear March Alison,

You got asked to prom! You almost missed the prom-posal because you’re clueless, but you’re a lucky girl to have been asked by a great friend in such a cool way!

Fortunately and unfortunately, you danced in your very last Benefit Concert with Company. It was a crazy week, but the memories are cherished.

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Dear April Alison,

College visits, hay hayyyy. You fell hard for University of Maryland and didn’t care too much about University of Virginia (but you did meet two of your favorite bloggers, Kath and Clare, while in Charlottesville eee!!!). At one point, you were set on becoming a Maryland Terp.

But then the kicker came, because there’s always a kicker. Boston University stole your heart and ran away with it. The end.

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Dear May Alison,

You’re legal now! Now you look like you’re 13 years old instead of 12!

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Dear June Alison, 

Wow, a LOT happened this month…

You guest starred on The Big Man’s World, no way! He probably just bribing you for mom’s home cooking. (Jokes, you da bomb, Arman.)

Second vlog is also in the books, look at you! Slightly less awkward than the first vlog, but you still talk too much.

One of your most doofus moments of the year happened when you hurt yourself doing burpees. You will still have the scar 6+ months later.

Aww, you made friends and met your roommate at college orientation! You’re tired of meeting new people, I know, but the best is yet to come.

Prom! Your hair looks good, stop crying. Also, new PR for number of hours awake *fist bump*.

You did it! You finished high school and you even managed to become valedictorian. Of course you made your speech about social media. You can’t get away, can you?

I’m glad you’re okay with not living a 100% clean, healthy, intensely active lifestyle, because that ain’t livin’, girl!

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Dear July Alison,

You recognized a new kind of discipline— the discipline of not exercising. Never thought you’d think that, huh?

You had probably the best vacation ever to Florida with your best friend, Daliza. Your family has practically adopted her. You guys did yoga outside, went to the beach and the farmers market, went to Disney World, went to Harry Potter World, saw Us the Duo in concert (only two days after you discovered them), and much more.

You also made this charming favorites vlog with Daliza, which you two thought was the funniest thing to ever exist. But no one else did. Also, let Daliza do your editing from now on.

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Dear August Alison,

Because you took a break from exercising last month, you’ve changed the way you see yourself for the better. Kudos!

And then you hurt yourself doing yoga. Minus one for you. But then you did your first tripod headstand, so I guess you gain that point back.

Never underestimate the power of house renovations. That ish is a serious workout.

The moment you’ve been waiting for has arrived! Goodbye, NY and hello, Boston!

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Dear September Alison,

The First Year Student Outreach Program at Boston University was a blast for you! Exhausting, but an absolute blast.

Wanna know what else is exhausting but an absolute blast? The dining halls at BU. I mean…classes and activities and all that jazz.

Your favorite memory of the semester was the fall retreat with the BU Catholic center this month. That’s a little taste of Heaven for ya.

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Dear October Alison, 

It’s natural to compare yourself to others, but you’ve realized that you’re not the girl next to you. You’re you, and that’s a wonderful thing. True balance in eats and exercise have arrived as a result of this mindset.

Hey, you finally went apple picking! Welcome to the northeast! Savor those apples because dining hall apples will make you sad forever after you’ve eaten fresh ones off the tree.

You and your friends have come up with perhaps your best Halloween costume to date. Grandma Twerk. I miss the bubble butt.

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Dear November Alison,

Stay sharp, because someone special is going to visit you! Oh, too late, you’re clueless. But Daliza visited you in Boston! Stop crying in the middle of the sidewalk, you’re in the way of busy students.

You ran the farthest you’ve ever run! 5 miles. Just admire that distance, because it won’t happen again in 2014. Maybe 2015. At least you’ve given running a shot!

Take the turkey out sooner for Thanksgiving next time.

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Dear December Alison,

First semester is over, can you believe it? You’ve learned a great deal.

You also loved a run? I barely recognize you anymore.

And now, here you are in Florida without a voice, typing this post…oh, hi. Me. Your number one lesson that you’ve learned this year was to just ride the waves (figuratively). Your word for the year was “now,” and I think you’ve developed upon that. You learned to let go of situations that you cannot handle, and you’ve made the conscious decision to not pity yourself yet still be willing to ask for help. In doing so, you’ve let yourself learn many little lessons, and you’ve found greater contentment. I’d say 2014 was transformative.

Keep on swimming,

Alison on December 31st, 2014.

Hope you all have a safe, fun, and fabulous New Years!

So tell me:

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned in 2014?

Three of your favorite memories from this year.

What are you doing for New Years Eve?

We’ll hopefully be watching Disney fireworks from afar, making s’mores, and drinking apple bubbly!

In the Wild

*wave*!!!

I had absolutely no voice yesterday, so I was whispering and using (made-up) sign language all day. I did feel better physically though! Thank you all for your well wishes and prayers. Y’all are sweeter than cream cheese frosting on red velvet cake (when in the South…).

I accomplished close to nothing yesterday, but that’s what vacation is all about, right? Actually, I always feel slightly guilty whenever my days pass and I haven’t done something work-like-productive. That feeling is bogus though, because a) life is too short to always be doing work, b) it’s winter break, c) I did a lot yesterday anyway!

Breakfast was a delicious green smoothie consisting of:

  • ½ c. unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ⅓ c. 2% Greek yogurt
  • ½ c. oats
  • cinnamon and nutmeg
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1 heaping tbsp. peanut butter
  • half a frozen banana
  • a crapton of spinach

All blended up and eaten out of a huge mug with a spoon and Honey Nut Cheerios on top for crunch!

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I made a run to Publix for a few food items that we don’t really need, but that we would like to have for some recipe experimentation. Ahem, crepes.

Although my body wasn’t feeling 100% yesterday, I still managed to get in some moves, which felt awesome after two days off due to feeling crappy. I did Jen’s “cookie crusher” workout, using light weights for some of the exercises. I took it slow and listened to my body extra carefully.

I also did some shoulder strength exercises later in the evening. Ooof the soreness in my shoulders is REAL, especially after this external rotation exercise. 5 lb. dumbbells never burned so much.

Lunch was composed of three of my favorite things— toast, avocado, and runny eggs. It’s an extremely close second to the peanut butter + banana combination, I must admit.

Carrots and hummus on the side!

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I did some relaxing blog reading and Food Network watching as I ate lunch, and then Ben came downstairs from his slumber (he’s completely, literally nocturnal) to eat. He asked me if I wanted to join him for a hike at the Disney Wildlife Preserve, which would essentially involve a 2 mile trail walk on flat land.

Count me in!

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He’s so sick of my picture-taking.

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I feel like I wear this EVERY time I go hiking.

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You can see the Disney influence on bench design.

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We didn’t see any wildlife that wasn’t a plant, except for a couple tiny frogs and a lizard that wasn’t even on the reserve land itself. Other people logged in animal sightings of creatures such as a young gator and a bobcat. What?!

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We figured that we didn’t get to see many animals because we went in the late afternoon when the sun was bright and hot. We saw this little fella only barely because he camouflaged so well.

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And then this lizard on the sidewalk. Remember when one of these got into our house?

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I found three sandhill cranes in their natural habitat though.

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It was a beautiful, warm walk with brother Ben!

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Back at home, I ate snacks, did some Instagram stalking, helped mom clean, and then ate dinner. I had Laotian sausage with sticky rice and a side salad. Plus bites and nibbles of other foods.

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Then the ol’ classic— dried figs and Greek yogurt for dessert.

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Our guests were at a water park all day, so they came home in the evening and we played some board games before going to sleep. Or at least, before they went to sleep. I’m typing this at 2 AM because I procrastinate when there’s nothing to procrastinate.

Also, I think my sickness has traveled to my nose, so I’ve lost my sense of taste. I just had a chunk of frozen banana and some almonds, and I could not taste the flavor of either at all. Sadness.

Today, I work! Work=studying my manual for BU tour guiding, reading, and just not watching youtube videos all night.

Happy New Years Eve Eve 🙂

So tell me:

Do you feel like you have to be doing something productive more often than not?

What is the wildest animal you’ve seen in nature?

For me, maybe a deer. I don’t get out into the wilderness that often.

What did you eat for lunch yesterday?

Sick Weekend

That would be the negative definition of “sick”. Not like, wicked awesome sick.

I mentioned in my Christmas recap that I felt like I was coming down with something. Lo and behold, I woke up with a fever on Saturday morning— the kind where nothing but sleep and water sounds appealing and it hurts to wear clothes. Fortunately, the perfect Florida weather warmed me up while I had the chills.

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Besides sleeping all day, I still managed to eat well throughout the day, because I knew that my body needed the energy to fight off my sickness. Breakfast was a no brainer because I prepared some delicious overnight oats in an almond butter jar the night before:

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A couple hours later, mom brought out this Vietnamese noodle meat thing… (I am the world’s #1 Asian). It was great!

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Lunch was snacky because I knew I wanted peanut butter and some sort of veggies. Carrots + hummus and a honey crisp apple with Greek yogurt cinnamon peanut butter dip sounded remotely good.

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Greeeeeeens! I was surprised that I was okay with eating this.

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Plus two of mom’s summer rolls that were bursting at the seams.DSC_0575

And then ice cream, which wasn’t the best idea, but what’s done is done. Peach cobbler ice cream + a little bit of cookies and cream.

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And let me tell y’all: There are no words to describe how difficult it is to get out of a hot shower when you’re experiencing aches and chills. I never ever EVER wanted to get out of that shower. Hot water was like “my precioussssss.”

Our weekend brightened up when my mom’s cousin’s family arrived to our house on Saturday night though! We’re already planning on doing tons of fun touristy things with them, as if I didn’t cover that already this summer.

On Sunday we stirred slowly in the morning, and my throat was still hurting, but my body was feeling much better. I made pancakes and eggs for everyone, and for myself I was craving egg-in-a-hole, which I burned because I have trouble judging the heat on electric stoves. And I just have a thing for overcooking food.

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Luckily, the runny yolk was an A+.

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After that I ate some yogurt with banana, cinnamon, and peanut butter. My cousin thought I was eating ice cream! I love ice cream, but not at 10 in the morning.

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We headed to Orlando farmers market in the afternoon for some perusing, lunching, and sunshine.

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Handmade Raaw Macaw bars were delicious! All wholesome ingredients.

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Brown rice bowl with Thai chicken, sweet potato and chard, and the works.

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“Act natural.”

Then we stopped by the airport because our guests needed to exchange their car rental. We should have traded the mini van for this sizzling option, no?

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Next up was a trip to Costco and Sam’s Club, followed by Downtown Disney! All big, fun, overwhelming places!

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Earl of Sandwich for dinner

Downtown Disney was a zoo— insanely crowded! But we managed to check out some of the cool sights, and the weather was perfect as an added bonus.

Our night ended with a trip to Publix right before it closed and some board games at home. It still hurts to swallow, but I am blessed. Smiling is great medicine.

Hope you all have a marvelous Monday!

MiMM

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Which foods do you prefer to eat when you’re sick?

Would you have ice cream at 10 am?

…Actually maybe I would if I was feelin’ extra over-the-top one day. Depends on the circumstances.

Mini van or sports car?

An Untraditional Christmas + Double Unders Cardio Workout

Greetings from Florida!

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa/Joyful Holiday Season! My mom, brother, and I were on the road for the past 48 hours (with a brief hotel break in Savannah, Georgia to catch some zzz’s) on our way to Florida, and we have finally arrived! My butt and legs are so thankful. #sittingissues

We were indeed driving all Christmas day, which explains the title of this post. It wasn’t an ideal way to spend the beloved holiday, but there were many festivities happening throughout the week that made up for it!

Christmas Eve Eve

My cousins, aunt, and uncle came over on Tuesday so that we could all spend some quality time together for a day. It was a joy to play with my little cousins, converse with my aunt and uncle, and celebrate the anticipation of Jesus on Christmas! And we ate lots because…’tis the season..?!

Mom and I prepared a buffet spread for the crowd that included curry chicken, green beans, salmon with dill honey mustard yogurt sauce, brown rice, and Singapore noodles from H-Mart. Everything was fabulous!

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Lots of cookies have been consumed in the past few days, but I think these chocolate-dipped peanut butter pretzels from our lovely neighbors take first prize. Oof. Just look at that peanut butter to pretzel ratio.

Christmas Eve

Mom and I got up early to prepare breakfast for everyone, and my cousin Angela also helped make the banana pancakes and waffles with me!

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That photo of the arranged Mickey Mouse pancakes/French toast muffins would be my plate, not my cousin’s. Because I knew I would be in Florida, so Disney, so yes.

The rest of the day involved more fellowship, food, relaxation, and some moves! I did Jen’s 1000 rep home workout before going to Christmas Mass in the evening.

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No equipment, but all sweat! It was a fun, fast-paced, effective workout. However, I only quickly ate an apple after doing this and before going to Mass, so I was starrrrrrving for the 2.5 hours before we went to dinner. Christmas Mass was glorious though, and the hymns were beautiful distractions from my hunger.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was spent at a Brazilian/Italian restaurant called Gaucho Grill. Daliza’s family kindly gave us a gift card for the restaurant as a thank you for taking Daliza to Florida with us this summer (missing you here now, girl). The food was so delicious!

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shared a crab cake for appetizer // Pop’s skirt steak // Ben’s meat-tastic paella // grilled asparagus and spinach for the table // Mom’s gargantuan chicken parm // my scallops with lentils // apple strudel a la mode to share for dessert 

Came hungry, left pretty stuffed, but happy.

Christmas Day

Why did we decide to travel all day on Christmas you might ask? Well, Pop only had Christmas Day off of work this week, but we needed to get to Florida to prepare the house for our family friends who are coming today. Thus, my family decided to spend Christmas Eve together before mom, Ben and I left for our two-day road trip. As I said before, these were not ideal Christmas plans, but we still had lots of family time, so it’s all good!

Ben and I drove the whole way down because poor mom is battling a stubborn, nasty cold that is giving her cough attacks and puffy eyes, so driving for her wouldn’t be very safe.

Morning of travel calls for overnight oats! Bonus points for it being in an almost-empty peanut butter jar.

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A road trip in the northeast also calls for a stop at Cinnabon. The three of us split this [big] baby sans frosting because none of us are too crazy about it— the cinnamon roll is sweet and delicious enough as is! (Sorry, Arman.)

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Virginia is for lovers…me, myself, and I.

After 12+ hours of driving, we hunkered down in Savannah, Georgia for the night. There is no feeling quite like stretching out after being cooped up in a car all day.

Ben and I walked to and from Hardee’s (a fast food restaurant) near the hotel for a refreshing evening walk. We didn’t get anything— just walked in, took a whiff of the burgers and fries, and left.

Afterwards, I convinced Ben to join me in doing this 15 minute arms and abs workout. The chest-to-floor pushups really got us both on that one!

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Too happy about hotel beds.

Friday

Also too happy about free included hotel breakfasts.

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oatmeal with honey, dried fruit, pecans, and banana + eggs

Ben generously took the last 4 hour driving shift all the way to Orlando, where we stopped for lunch at Tako Cheena, a little Asian-Latin fusion restaurant. We all got some yummy Asian tacos!

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tom yum chicken // “sweet stranger” tempeh and veggie // panko-crusted cod // tom yum shrimp // korean beef

And now we are finally settled into our Florida vacation house for the next 2.5 weeks! Moves were desperately needed after two days of mostly sitting, so Ben and I took a stroll around our neighborhood and then I did a quick impromptu workout in our backyard:

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This workout plus Florida humidity=drenched in sweat and chugging water like no other. The double unders were really fun though! I’ve improved a lot since this video from the summer!

Dinner last night was a salad of spinach (that traveled all the way down the east coast with us in a cooler) plus balsamic vinaigrette and parmigiano reggiano + half a toasted banh mi sandwich we picked up earlier in the afternoon.

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A couple hours later, I made a late night Publix run for some groceries, but this was the real reason I went:

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Publix ice cream is the besttttttttt. I got the limited edition peach cobbler ice cream…naturally. When I got home from the store, I grabbed a clean spoon and scooped out the melted perimeter of the ice cream carton, because that is where ice cream is in its prime state of matter. And that was all I needed. That big melty spoonful made me content.

There you have it, friends— our not-so-typical Christmas. Then again, what is a “typical” Christmas for us anyway? We almost didn’t make it to Christmas last year.

Thank God for safe travels and of course, for sending His Son as a child to dwell on earth and die for our sins. Wishing you all a blessed weekend wherever you are and whatever you’re up to!

(I unfortunately think I might be coming down with something… It was inevitable considering Ben and my mom have been coughing up a storm for the past week!)

So tell me:

One fun holiday-related thing you did this week!

The best thing you ate this week.

Do you like to jump rope?

Is there a food you like to get on road trips?

Do you love that melty part of ice cream or nah?

I Am The Most Indecisive Person Ever

Mornin’!

The world is set aright now because mom and I went for a mini spa day at the nail salon yesterday. My dry winter hands and feet are rejuvenated, my shoulders are loosened, and my finger nails are painted for the first time since…prom probably! Thanks for treating me, Madre!

My whole day was very chillax actually. It started with a breakfast that I leisurely made at 10 am:

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Leftover pumpkin gingerbread muffin French toast + Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and banana slices sauteed in coconut oil

Beautyyyyy. I ate it with a tiny fork because I wanted to savor every bite. To French toast-ify the muffins, I sliced a few of them in half horizontally and dipped them for approximately 30 seconds on each side in a whisked mixture of:

  • 1 egg
  • ~2 tbsp. almond milk
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Cook ’em up on a greased skillet/griddle on medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes each side (making sure to cook the rounded muffin tops all over) and voila! French toast muffins!

More treats came our way when my aunt’s famous cookies showed up for us in the mail!

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I mean, just look at those flavors. These cookies are buttery, just sweet enough, and delicious. Thanks, Aunt Sharon!

Moves were pretty zen yesterday too. I walked around my neighborhood for half an hour, with some breaks to do jump squats, jump lunges, high knees, and low jacks.

I also did this yoga video at night, but not after some ridiculous indecisiveness on my part. After coming home from our mini spa day at 5:30, I wasn’t too hungry, but I could have eaten dinner right then. I knew I wanted to do some yoga, so I could either do yoga for an hour first and then eat, or vice versa.

I first decided to eat, so I took out a sandwich from the fridge and started to warm it up in the panini maker. But then I thought, “Hmm, I think I can actually do yoga first.” So I turned off the panini maker after it had already started warming up the sandwich, wrapped the sandwich back up, and put it back in the fridge.

I went upstairs to start some yoga, but by the time I put up my hair and chose my yoga video, I had become hungrier. Then I thought, “Ugh, I think I’ll have dinner first.”

Thus, I went back down to the kitchen, thought for a few seconds as to whether I really wanted to eat dinner at that moment, and finally made the decision to eat. I took the sandwich back out of the fridge, put it back into the panini maker (which was still warm from when I first turned it on), and ate it before I changed my mind again.

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When I have too much time on my hands, I have too much time to think.

Welcome to my brain, folks!

Hope you have a lovely Christmas Eve Eve! Or just a lovely Tuesday! My cousins are coming over today, hooray!

So tell me:

Are you an indecisive person?

Do you like French toast?

Have you been eating Christmas cookies yet?

P.S. I’ve been missing posting more frequently like this! Winter break is allowing me to stay true to the title of my blog, Daily Moves and Grooves.