Two Museums, Two Desserts, Two Blistered Feet

I did something this weekend other than “oh ya know, just layin’ low…” !!!

Not that there’s anything wrong with laying low (after all, I love kicking up my feet after work these days). But it’s nice to exit the abode and live a little, especially when the weather is as gorgeous as it was this weekend!

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Friday

There’s nothing really to share about Friday except that I worked, ate my favorite dinner of the week, and went to bed at 9.

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brown rice with eel + avocado = all the good things in sushi, amplified in a bowl

Also, BEN CAME HOME FROM SPAIN! He completed El Camino de Santiago, which is historically a Christian walking pilgrimage. There are many routes, but Ben did a super long one that totaled 890 km (553 miles) within 32 days. Casual.

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Congrats, Ben! YOU ROCK.

He actually came home at 2 AM Saturday morning, but I snuck into his room later in the morning to say hi to him before I left for NYC.

Saturday

Since I went to bed so darn early, I woke up at around 6 AM for some sunrise moves and grooves!

100 burpee workout // 10 reps of each // Click here for demos!

  • 10 tuck jump burpees
  • 10 T pushup burpees
  • 10 candlestick to chair burpees
  • 10 alternating side burpees (this one actually hurt my shoulder a bit because the pushup becomes kinda awkward, so I would not recommend this variation)
  • 10 broad jump burpees
  • 10 spiderman pushup burpees
  • 10 handstand burpees
  • 10 superman burpees
  • 10 dive bomber burpees
  • 10 plank jack tuck jump burpees

I tried to do some new/weird variations to keep things interesting, so it was definitely a fun (and tiring) one!

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banana bread baked oatmeal with plain peanut butter + “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter from The Peanut Principle

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from the farmers’ market 😀

Plus a couple pieces of my mom’s egg white pork bake.

After washing up, Pop dropped me off at the train station to head down to the city! Cue this Tori Kelly song (because she is the soundtrack to my life).

First of all, I saw an extraordinary number of dads with their kids on the train/in the city that day, and it made my heart explode.

Secondly, Park Ave looks so clean and luxurious, but it honestly just smells like manure. #overrated

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First stop of the day was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Can you believe I’ve lived in NY for 11 years, and this was my first time going there?

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I guess if you don’t live in NY, you don’t really see the big deal. But this is one of those “must see” attractions in the city.

I did my tourist thing while waiting for my friend, Christine.

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Squealing greeting + photos in front of the MET, because we’re bananas (yellow on the outside, white on the inside, in case you haven’t seen me make that joke 100 times on the blog).

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apparently this is where Gossip Girl cast ate lunch in the show??

In we went!

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We interspersed our “ooo’s” and “aaah’s” with some serious girl talk and some attempts at reading our people’s language.

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My contribution every time: “I have no idea what it means, but it looks familiar.”

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At least we’re proficient in fit fam culture.

Art eventually drains ya girls, so we headed over to lunch at Bluestone Lane for some Australian fare at around 1 PM.
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the restaurant is an extension of an Episcopalian church!
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I spy vegemite toast and the word “brekkie”
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Christine got the egg and bacon roll + I got the Aussie meat pie with mint pea puree
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dynamite
Our waiter was Australian, which really added to the experience. Arman, I could not stop thinking about you.
We made it our mission to find both ice cream and Levain Bakery for dessert, so we took the scenic route and walked around the Central Park reservoir. It was the absolute perfect day to do it! Hot, but not unbearable, and bluuuuuue skies.
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We didn’t know where to get ice cream, but we happened upon Amorino Gelato, which is famous for making roses out of their gelato! That stuff is expensive, but it is undeniably pretty and delicious.
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Christine got fruity flavors + I got pistachio, black cherry, and a cookie butter flavor!
That cone was tiny and that gelato was melting wicked fast. You would think I was a magician, that’s how quickly I made it disappear.
We continued walking and found the legendary Levain Bakery. I had been hearing about their incredible chocolate chip cookies since I moved to New York, basically. This was THE DAY.
But first, a short wait on a line that spanned half the block. Expected.
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this is my “THIS IS BETTER THAN DISNEY WORLD BUT I’M TRYING TO BE CIVILIZED” pose
We descended into the little bakery…
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…I bought one chocolate chip cookie and one oatmeal raisin scone. We desperately needed to charge our phones, so we walked over to a Starbucks, where I finally unveiled the glory…
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 these are both HUGE
…wait for it!!!
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You have no idea how long I had been waiting to take that money shot. Ladies and gents, this was one of the best things that my taste buds have ever encountered. I’m not even a big fan of chocolate.
Warm.
Crispy on the outside.
Slightly under-baked and gooey on the inside.
Melted chocolate chips.
Rich walnut chunks.
Thick and decadent.
a poem about Levain’s chocolate chip cookie by Alison
Christine and I split the mega cookie, and we had a few bites of the scone, which was fantastic as well. Not too sweet at all, but BUTTERY. The bag smelled like buttered popcorn. Mmmmm.
Afterwards, we walked back around the reservoir to where we started, and continued with some more girl talk until Christine had to leave. Next museum of the day was Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design with one of my high school dance company mates, Susie!
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had to take a pic of this
This is probably my favorite museum of all time. It’s so interactive, and the vibe is an intersection between classical architecture and modern technology.
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They give you this high tech pen that acts as a memory stick. The pen has a “+” sign on the back that synchronizes to the “+” sign on each description panel on the exhibits. When you go home, you go onto their website and enter your unique code that they gave you, and you can see pictures of all the exhibits you saved via the pen. MAGICAL.
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This immersion room is your childhood dream. You basically design your own wallpaper with the pen, and watch it come to life in front of your eyes.
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Five stars for Cooper Hewitt! Thank you so much, Susie, for suggesting it!
We worked up a good appetite playing around in the museum. Susie chose an excellent Greek restaurant called Korali for dinner.
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a rare moment when no cars are about to run you over in the city
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beet salad with grapefruit, pine nuts, goat cheese, fennel, dill and scallions
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when the manager walks up to you offering a FREE platter of melted Greek cheese, you do not refuse (such a nice gesture of them!)
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soup of the day: lentil
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Susie gave me a bite of her lamb shank, which was heavenly
We also walked by this gem of a Citi bank sign (great eye, Susie).
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This is Gabby Douglas, US Olympic Gymnast. But peep the caption in the upper left hand corner…
THIS is Allyson Felix, US Olympic Track and Field Runner:
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Alright, Citi Bank.
And then I bid NYC a good night.
Ben picked me up at the train station, and I was all excited to tell him that I walked 11 miles that day (according to the Apple Health app), but then I remembered that he had been walking an average of 20 miles per day for the past month. Overachiever.
I still gave myself a foot massage before bed.
Sunday
I got up a little past 7 to get ready for Mass and say goodbye (already!) to Ben and Madre. Not for long though. Pop and I will meet them in Florida soon for our big family vacation next week!
Breakfast after Mass:
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I also had leftover roasted broccoli while cooking this. Cravings, man.
I watched some gymnastics, read some blogs, and napped before getting up and eating again. Sundays, man.
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smoked salmon avocado toast + unpictured carrots and hummus + half a frozen banana
Then I started this blog post and FaceTimed with my beautiful friend, Briana, from college. Followed by some killer moves and grooves in the basement (which I have deemed to be my “pain cave”).
60 seconds strength/45 seconds  cardio/20 seconds  plyometric/15 seconds rest
3 rounds of each block, 1 minute rest between blocks
BLOCK #1
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  • pistol squats (30 sec each leg)
  • jumping jacks
  • broad jumps over a step, lengthwise
BLOCK #3

BLOCK #4

I hadn’t done a workout that made my quads cry in a while. I stretched out before Pop and I went to one of our favorites for dinner— Bareburger!

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I made my own burger: turkey burger, spinach, sprouts, tomato, pimento cheese on sprout bun + ketchup and mustard
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sweet potato fries with their curry ketchup + special sauce
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the inner beauty of my burger
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Pop’s “Hog Wild” burger: wild boar burger, pimento cheese, frizzled chickpea onions (!?), fried egg, and pickled green tomatoes on a brioche bun
Decadence once again.
We picked up some groceries afterwards, and now I’m finishing typing this while watching sports on TV (← yay for Olympic season coming up!). ‘Twas a fabulous weekend filled with good food, great conversation, and even better people.
Back to the grind today, but one more week until vacation! Hope you all have stellar Monday. Give yourself a foot massage. You deserve it.
So tell me:
Two things you did this weekend!
What is your favorite museum?
What is the best cookie you’ve ever eaten?
Are there any sports you are following currently?
 

Five Minute Friday #16: Fitness is More Than Skills and Numbers

I just watched the US men’s gymnastics Olympic Trials, and I’m still speechless about it.

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I’m convinced that they’re not humans.

I’m also really sore from Wednesday’s workout as I type this, so anything that looks remotely strenuous sends pain waves to my brain.

4 rounds:
  • 10 squat cleans (55-65#)
  • 15 box jumps
 3 rounds each:
  • 12 curtsy lunges each leg (55#) ← died.
  • 25 plank jacks
  • 10 deadlifts (135#) ← died again. I don’t think I had deadlifted 135 in my life.
  • 20 jump lunges
Finisher: 5 min AMRAP
  • 16 alternating single arm DB swings (20#)
  • 15 goblet squats (15#)
  • 30 mountain climbers

On the food front, I was obsessed with this lunch salad this week:

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mixed greens, chopped Thai basil, mint, and cilantro, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, fish or chicken, peanut sauce

The fresh herbs are…

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^^^This photo is very obnoxious if you don’t understand the reference, I’m sorry. Actually, it’s obnoxious regardless.

Today I have a Five Minute Friday vlog! It’s been a hot minute. This week I’m talking about three lessons I’ve learned at work so far, including the lesson that fitness is more than skills and numbers.

Sure, competitive athletes measure fitness/performance based on race times, weight lifted, and reps accomplished (and I am a proponent of the attitude that what you can do > how you look when it comes to fitness), but let’s take it one step deeper…

link to the video in case it doesn’t work here!

Yes, there are baseline levels of fitness that we measure and need for health, but those little steps to get there are indispensable and worth celebrating! 

Happy weekend, friends! I’m going to be hanging out with a couple friends in NYC tomorrow, and I’m STOKED.

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on the “fitness journey”? What does it mean to you?

What is the best thing you ate for lunch this week?

Have you ever had a secretarial job?

What are you doing this weekend?

 

Meet One of My Closest Blog Friends: Colby Triolo

I don’t know if you’re ready for this.

I am bubbling over with excitement, because today you all get to meet one of my best blog buddies! Allow me to introduce Miss Colby Triolo!

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Technically, I’ve introduced her before a couple times on the blog. I met this cool chick at Blend last summer. We were cabin mates, and we were also two of maybe three people under 20 on the retreat, so we connected on that level. Confession: I stalked her Instagram beforehand and was very intimidated — so many followers, so much success, so many ab muscles— but that was all nonsense on my part, because Colby is one of the most genuine and caring souls I’ve met through the blog world (and life in general)!

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I also had the privilege of meeting up with her earlier this year for lunch + carrot cake (our true love).

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Colby’s motto is “You Make You,” which is evident through her dynamite Instagram account, blog, Youtube channel, and personal training business. Boom boom, fire power.

Some of my favorite things about Colby:

  • She takes her work seriously, but she doesn’t take herself too seriously.
  • She has a passion for healthy food and fitness, but she doesn’t let fitness take over her life (← READ THIS!)
  • Most importantly, she cares for others and works hard to make sure people know their worth and know that they are capable of not only overcoming setbacks, but also going above and beyond what they could have imagined.

Now why don’t I let Colby tell you about herself!? 🙂


What is your favorite breakfast? 

No question—scones w/ a cappuccino (all hail Lactaid).

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What is your favorite way to move? 

Call me crazy (you’re crazy -A), but I LOVE stadium workouts. ➔ Like this one!

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*Rocky music*

What is your favorite word (just one!)? Why did you pick that word? 

Can.”

About a year ago, when I was going through my chronic pain issues, I decided to take the word “cannot” out of my vocabulary. I was constantly being told that I can’t run, I can’t sit without my back perfectly straight, I can’t go away to college, I can’t live ‘normally’, I can’t

And for over two years I believed these things. However, the day that I removed “cannot” from my mind and replaced it with “can”, I stopped giving pain power, I gained my life back, and I proved that if you want something bad enough—you can achieve it by setting your mind to it.  Anything and everything is yours to take.

 

A photo posted by Colby Triolo • YouMakeYou® (@colbytriolo_youmakeyou) on May 4, 2016 at 2:28pm PDT

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Tell us about why you started your blog/Instagram account.

On a sad note, I started them in high school when I got a really bad concussion. After my concussion healed, post concussion syndrome set in and all I could do was work out and cook (and clean, yay). That was all my body could handle.  So I decided to put it to good use and start a blog!

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her pancake towers more appealing than the NYC skyline, honestly

What does your blog mean to you? What can we find on your blog? Has your blog evolved at all?  

I have had many ups and downs with blogging/social media.  There was a point where it was just a place for my mind to go, and then it took over my life, so I removed myself over the past year and now I can say I am back at a nice place of balance.

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are you drooling like I am right now???

My blog is a place for me to go to share my knowledge and interact with you lovely people.  It is also the reason I know this beautiful soul of a person, Alison! (Awww. I can say the same about you! ♥︎ -A)  On my blog, you can find healthy recipes, workouts, and general empowering articles.  I like to think of it as an online community for empowering others to empower themselves!  There is a also a motivational wall where readers can anonymously post their goals/dreams to work towards!

What is one major lesson you’ve learned through blogging/your presence on social media?  

As awesome as social media is and how amazing the relationships you can form are—social media is ~not~ real life.  There is a distinct difference between being behind a computer screen and out enjoying the real world.  In the same sense, it is essential to ~not~ compare yourself to what you see on social media because you are seeing such a small fraction of the real story.

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What is one goal, and how do you plan to achieve it? 

I have this dream of making the words “YouMakeYou”  have an influence on millions of peoples lives.  It saved my life, and it is so simple to integrate into your life that it can make a world of difference. When you realize that the answer is simply changing your mindset and believing in yourself/aligning your actions the right way, what can happen is amazing! I plan to achieve this by taking small steps on my blog and social media daily, and just sharing my knowledge while being true to myself and my story.

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WHAT A WOMAN.

I am honestly honored and #blessed to know you, Colby. Thank you for your refreshing and honest presence in the healthy living social media community. You make the world a happier place.

For more of Colby’s fantastic recipes, killer workout challenges, fun vlogs, and empowering motivation, check out:

Also, head over to her blog to read her interview of me if you want!

Hope you all have a kick-butt day! Make a positive difference in someone’s life, no matter how small.

So tell me:

Are you going to follow Colby!?

What is your one favorite word and why? 

Who are some of your favorite positive influences in the healthy living social media community? 

Oatmeal Two Ways

Oatmeal used to be “grandma” food to me.

(NOT that there is anything wrong with grandmothers; they are the coolest!)

Until 4 years ago. I came across a blog called Kath Eats, and her “tribute to oatmeal” page. I had never seen anyone make oatmeal look so sexy in my life.

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[from Kath Eats]

Ever since that day, I have been loving on oatmeal like it’s the only grain grown in America. It was her “whipped banana oatmeal” technique that really changed the game.

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Gina’s cookie dough oatmeal cereal is also a big favorite

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And then there was this idea of “overnight oats.” Oats soaked in dairy products overnight sounded ludicrous, but someone thought to soak bread in eggs to make French toast, so..

I posted my overnight oats recipe (based off Kath Eats’ recipe) when I first started this blog.

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But I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit. The main change is no Greek yogurt (inspired by my dairy dilemma, which btw is no longer an issue) + more chia seeds. Check it out.

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Overnight Oats (based on Kath Eats’ recipe)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup rolled or quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 very rude (← real autocorrect) ripe banana, sliced
  • ~1/4 c. other fruit, chopped (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp. nut butter

Step 1: For that “end of the jar” vibe (if you don’t have an almost-empty jar of nut butter, which would be ideal), scoop that nut butter into the bottom of your container (bowl-mug preferable, but anything will do).

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Add your dry ingredients (oats, spices, and chia seeds) and mix ’em together (don’t touch the nut butter).

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Add your milk and fruit, mix it all together (only scraping some of that nut butter from the bottom to mix with the rest).

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Let it sit in the fridge overnight, and wake up the next morning with excitement, knowing that a BOMB breakfast is already made and ready to eat.

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optional: top with granola for crunch

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special day when it’s overnight oats in a jar

Onto the hot oats.

I’ve been loving this oatmeal that is a hybrid of Kath’s whipped banana oatmeal + Jen’s egg white banana oatmeal. I made a video!

  • 1/2 c. rolled oats (or quick)
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1/2 very ripe banana, sliced
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • splash of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 egg white
  • any other fruits and/or toppings (*cough* nut butter)!

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It’s 11:00 pm, and I would like some oatmeal now.

So tell me:

What is your favorite way to eat oatmeal?

What is your favorite oatmeal recipe?

Did you always like oatmeal? I used to only eat those sickeningly sweet Quaker oatmeal packets, but now those taste like dessert to me!

A Grand Ol’ Weekend Recap

Instead of thinking of a title for this post, I’ll just l start typing as I belt out “No One” by Alicia Keys (← quality song).

There’s so much to share today, so let’s nix a proper intro and catch up!

Thursday

On June 9th, 2015, I chopped my hair to shoulder length. On June 16th, 2016, I chopped my hair to chin length. Who knows what June 2017 will bring? #pixiecut?

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even the same shirt color as the emoji

My hair was shoulder length all year, but it was starting to flip outwards like Betty Rubble from the Flintstone’s, which is not the look that I’m personally going for.

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Just like last year, I’ve gotten mixed reactions to my new ‘do, but most people have been in support of the short locks (thanks, friends)! One of my friends from work said I look 10 years old though…

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Ya know, I’d rather look like Dora than Betty Rubble, so I’d say it’s a step up.

After a long day of work, Pop and I came home to a KILLER dinner made my Madre. She made sushi hand rolls + delicious chicken drumsticks. *jaw drop*

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leftover brown rice + roasted broccoli on the side (pro tip from Madre: cut the meat off the bone a little bit before cooking if you want the drumsticks to cook more quickly. it’ll still be juicy!)

Spoiled.

Friday

Banana and mango overnight oats to start the day— my forever favorite ♥︎ (p.s. post about how to make oatmeal two ways coming soon!)

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Dinner was simple and light because I was planning on working out soonish afterwards.

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sunny egg on avocado toast with sriracha + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

But then I rebelled against my dairy cutdown and also ate cheesy jalapeño Popcorners. And then Pop came home and I decided that I really wanted Greek yogurt with dried figs.

“Sureeee. Go wild. But you might pay for it later.” – Pop

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I was totally fine later. Actually, my digestion this week might be the best it’s been in a while! Hmmm.

AFTER I ate dinner and dessert, I worked out at 10 pm in the basement. I needed 5 hours to decompress from work and nourish myself before working out, I guess.

A video posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on Jun 17, 2016 at 7:52pm PDT

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Saturday

A weekend breakfast favorite:

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake + peach + peanut butter + glass o’ milk

I really wanted to put Greek yogurt on this, but I think having too much dairy still wouldn’t be great for me.

Madre and I went on a couple errands including grocery shopping and clothes shopping. Productivity, I say!

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didn’t buy this, but LOL I am a mother from the 50s

Moves and grooves of the day: 20 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)

After Mass, Madre wanted to take Pop out to pre-Fathers’ Day dinner, so we went to a place called The Iron Tomato. It’s a casual Italian marketplace, so we each ordered something at different stations and reconvened.

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I got chicken meatloaf + artichokes, beets, and broccoli rabe to share with mom

We digested for a couple hours before I made a beloved classic for Pop and myself:

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Peanut butter banana soft serve!!! For two people: 3-4 frozen overripe bananas blended with peanut butter in a food processor, topped with granola.

Sunday (Father’s Day!)

My dad just made a good point (as a good father does): I FaceTimed a lot of people from Europe yesterday.

  1. Rachel in Ireland.
  2. My brother in Spain.
  3. My uncle, who is a priest in Rome.

What a great day already!

I made breakfast for Pop (and myself) in the morn’.

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made him a chorizo, onion, spinach egg white omelette + banana oatmeal

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banana, mango, chia oatmeal for moi

He opened his gift while eating. Peep the Sephora-bag-turned-“man-bag”.

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He loves Under Armor shirts!

After some more FaceTiming and relaxing, we all got started on our late afternoon BBQ! Pop requested that he grill on his special day. Madre and I went shopping and marinaded/skewered everything, and he and Madre split the grilling job. Teamwork!

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Madre’s incredible ribs, smothered in Stubb’s sticky sweet BBQ sauce (thanks so much to my pal for sending us this— you know who you are 🙂 )

To think that I used to not like ribs… So naive.

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our favorite Moroccan chicken!

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We ate everything in lettuce wraps, Asian style — with Thai basil, cilantro, fresh backyard mint, cherry tomatoes, bean sprouts, and Madre’s fantastic peanut sauce. None of us could choose a favorite meat that we cooked (maybe the ribs though).

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don’t ask me what I’m doing because I could not tell you

We cooked way too much food for three people, but hooray for leftovers for work lunches this week!

We ended “dinner” at 5 pm (talk to Europeans, eat like Europeans), after which we chilled out and digested. Pop and I went on a 2 mile walk around the ‘hood in the evening, and the weather was absolutely perfect. Cool and comfortable.

I got started on dessert when we got back home. We had weird peaches that were ripening but not softening. Like, we had them for a week, and they were starting to taste overripe (read: kinda alcoholic), but they were still hard. So I tried this recipe for individual peach crisps to put them to use.

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Pop and I had one each, topped with Talenti pistachio gelato. I ate the peach first (it was still hard and weird even after baking) and then ate the gelato. And then went back for a little more gelato.

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I just proceeded to do the 7 minute workout with Madre shortly after finishing dessert. Ice cream and squats is not an ideal combo, but I’ll survive.

I might do some late night stretching before turning in. My legs are super tight (I was a bad girl/PT student and didn’t stretch after working out on Saturday).

Happy Fathers’ Day to all fathers out there— of children or of souls! 🙂 You are so loved and appreciated.

Hope you all have one heck of a good Monday! Strike a silly pose when no one’s looking, but someone could be looking.

So tell me:

Did you do anything notable for Fathers’ Day/the weekend?

Do you like ribs?

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?

What is the worst hairstyle you’ve ever had? Honestly, my “bangs” in middle school were pretty painful.

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seriously WTF is happening with that