Pizza and Polite People in Padua

I’m not trying to make alliterations the norm around here, but they just work so well right now.

Megan and I made it to Italy and we are LOVING it so far. Let’s talk about Padua first.

Well we almost didn’t make it to our Airbnb because we took the correct bus…in the wrong direction. Thankfully, my limited knowledge of the Italian language, but mostly the tender kindness of a few different strangers on the bus, helped us get to our destination safe and sound (albeit pretty late).

Yes, I actually wear my bags like that. It feels a lot less ridiculous than it looks.

Some BelVita biscuits for breakfast the next morning. 


Then we were off to the beautiful city centre of Padua! This place is a quintessential Italian city in my mind. It’s so quaint, they’re still constructing stone roads, and the restaurants are open until the wee hours of the night. 


Our day in Padua consisted of walking, seeing churches, eating, repeating. First stop was a random church that was quite large.


Second stop was Scrovegni Chapel, which was built in the 14th century. It has magnificent frescoes within it, and it has gone through some incredible history. 


We actually weren’t expecting the tours to be open without reservation, but we got in so easily!


Then we walked around semi-aimlessly to pass time before heading to lunch. The biscuits I ate for breakfast surprisingly held me over, but I was READY for food by 12:30.


Pizza, please. 


We walked into Pinsa Pizza, where Megan had a classic diavolo (pepperoni) pizza, and I had the “Papa Francesco” (rocket, pepperoni, tomatoes, artichokes, and Parmesan) + a salad.


God bless good Italian pizza.

We carried around our leftover pizza in a box all day, which prompted judgy stares, but whatcha gonna do? Your girls didn’t want to waste good pizza.

We also wanted to save room for gelato 🙂


I got a new-to-me flavor called ricotta pistcachio krack (?? Not sure if that’s what it said). It was sort of like a mild cheesecake base with a crispy pistachio cookie/shell/swirl throughout. So unique and tasty!


We headed towards Prato Della Valle, a beautiful square near another 389274 basilicas. 


The highlight of the sights was the Basilica of St. Anthony. I got in trouble when I took my first picture because that was a no-no in this Basilica, but trust me when I say that this place is a phenomenal work of art. 


It was also cool that St. Anthony’s tomb was inside, along with several relics from him and other saints. This pizza box touched the tomb of St. Anthony, so my pizza was basically a fifth class relic. That I ate later.


We also went to St. Giustina’s Basilica, which was nice, but kind of an enigma. We still don’t really know who St. Giustina is, and half the things in the church were questionable, vague relics/tombs. 


St. Luke the Evangelist’s cage (in which he was kept when persecuted) was in there though! 


This cityyyyyy. *heart eyes*


We stopped into Cafe Pedrocchi for a pre-dinner snack (and wifi and toilets TBH), since most restaurants don’t reopen for dinner until 7 or 7:30pm. Our Airbnb host also recommended Cafe Pedrocchi because it’s the oldest cafe in Padua.


Megan and I each ordered two pastries each + water for me.

Cafe Pedrocchi is famous for their mint coffee, but since I don’t drink coffee, I got the Pedrocchi pastry, which was a mint chocolate cake (YUM), as well as the pistacchio cake pastry. Megan got a Bavarian cream one and a random one that might have been spiced, she doesn’t know.


It was nice to sit our butts down and play some hangman and MASH for old times’ sake. My “MASH”: I’m marrying a cute boy from college, living in a shack in New Mexico as a carrot cake baker with no kids and five cats. I don’t own a car so I walk everywhere. Not the worst life?

We had way too much fun playing that silly middle school game, but it passed the time well until Ristorante PePen opened for dinner. 


To start, Megan and I split this ridiculously good spinach gnocchi STUFFED WITH RICOTTA in a mushroom sauce. The best texture and so decadent.


For my entree, I had the grilled sea bass and was tricked into buying an extra side dish of grilled vegetables, but I wasn’t mad about it.


Mighty full after this meal. I took most of the vegetables to go.

We walked our way back to the Airbnb, still getting confused at some points as to where we were going (mostly my fault). 

Both nights in Padua, I was able to squeeze in a low impact (wanted to minimize banging in the apartment Airbnb) 16-20 minute workout while Megan showered. Just some slippery sock exercises, lunges, push-ups and such. We’ve been walking 9-11 miles per day, but it feels so nice to move after the long train rides and to stretch the muscles in different ranges of motion! 

On Tuesday morning, we ate a quick snack, checked out of the Airbnb, and walked back to St. Anthony’s for Mass. Afterwards, I quickly finished my leftover  relic pizza + grilled veggies from the previous day. Quickly because there was a bee who was very attracted to my food.

We did some more church things before arriving at the train station early and camping out there for a while. 


Our train was late, causing us to miss our connection, but it all worked out in the end. Not without some stir craziness and distress though.


Nevertheless, we made it to Assisi that night. A couple Americans were also in the same boat as us with the train delays and everything, so we shared a taxi to our respective accommodations for the night. 

All I will tell you about Assisi for now is that I knew I would like it just from the taxi ride up towards that city on a hill. 

Until tomorrow!

Sleepless in Switzerland

Doesn’t have the same ring as “Sleepless in Seattle”, does it? Megan’s suggestion: “Zzzz-less in Zurich.” What a genius.

Megan and I survived our one day in Zurich, and we managed to have some fun in there too 😉 We arrived at Zurich airport at around 9 pm on Friday night and got {almost} hopelessly lost trying to exit one of the connecting train stations. Who knew that the street exit was the flights of stairs above, rather than below??

We checked into our Airbnb, and one of our hosts was Thai! Madre was so excited when I told her and she sent a voice note of herself saying stuff in Thai, haha. 

Bonus: we had a fish tank in our room. 


We were both exhausted when we were getting settled into the room, but I think we were still a little strung from traveling and just being in a very unfamiliar place. We tossed and turned, huffed and puffed for two hours until Megan finally asked me, “Are you still awake?” 

“Yep. Glad I’m not the only one.”

We had planned to wake up at 7:45 to go hiking but scrapped that idea to sleep in a little bit more.

The breakfast provided was surprisingly very filling and satisfying! I had some muesli with whole milk and buttered toast.


Whole milk is dreamy. Made up for the lack of peanut butter fats 🙂

We decided that hiking was still a good idea, so we made our way to Uetliberg, Zurich’s “mountain” that is more like a hill compared to the Alps. Hiking up a genuine Swiss mountain would have taken all day, starting at 8 am, which was just not feasible for us this time around. Perhaps one day!


Uetliberg was still lovely though. Lots of forest paths and vistas overlooking the pristine city of Zurich. We kept seeing a bunch of runners and cyclists charging up the mountain with thighs and calves of steel.


I felt like I was in some sequel to the Sound of Music with all the vast fields and cow bells. 


They were really excited about the dog.

Our two hour hike led us up to a panorama restaurant called Felseness. We ate al fresco for the view, because otherwise it was too damn cold to be eating outside.


I got the traditional Swiss soup for something hot. It was creamy but not super heavy, filled with barley and root veggies. I also ate three slices of hearty bread with it, so I was nicely filled. Megan got a hefty ham and cheese sandwich.


We were happy that it was so filling because Swiss prices are up the wazoo. A medium-sized order of French fries with ketchup was 11 Francs. ELEVEN. Our orders were both under 15, so it wasn’t too bad, and we felt we got a bang for our buck (plus a stellar view!).


I guess Zurich does give you nice bathrooms with good toilet paper wherever you go, so there’s that. And some suave transportation. 

After lunch we took the sky tram down the mountain. 


A fun little rollercoaster to end the hike. We made it back to the Airbnb to take hot showers and change into slightly more posh clothing to go into town and to Mass. “Posh” meaning non-blue jeans and a smart casual shirt, both of which I had worn the day before.


In the city, we walked down Bahnhofstrasse, where all the high end shops and stores were located. 


As always though, the best parts are the priceless ones. These views down at the lake!!


In theory, I think you should be able to see the Alps from where we were, but it was slightly foggy, so the white, snow-capped mountains in the distance were hidden. This was still a magnificent view though!


This guy on the street making giant bubbles also made our night. 


We meandered our way to the church for Mass. The sun was setting and the lighting was just gorgeous throughout the town.


Although we could have gone to a German Mass, I found an English one before we got to Zurich, so it was nice to be able to understand everything.


After Mass, we walked back to Bahnhofstrasse for dinner at Zeughauskeller, an old armory and current touristy Swiss restaurant. It was packed, but we got a table shared with a Brazilian couple. The only catch was that we had to be out of there in one hour exactly, since there was a reservation for our table right after us. 


I was hungry and craving some Apline specials, so I ordered the venison steak medallions, which came with brussels sprouts, homemade spätzle, chestnuts, a roasted pear with cranberry sauce, and peppercorn gravy. Hit. The. Spot. So delicious!!!


And of course, I had to get an apple strudel for dessert. 


I only had, like, 5 minutes to eat this, and Megan only had one bite, so I was shoveling strudel like no one’s business. #champ


I took home about half of the spätzle and one venison steak, which I ate for breakfast the next morning 🙂 The steak was still just as good! Hey, when you pay 36 Francs for a meal, you make the most of it.

Megan and I checked out of the Airbnb and headed for the train station Sunday morning. We got there pretty early to avoid accidentally getting lost and missing our train, so we walked around the station for an hour or so. Zurich HB is huge! Practically a mall, and a lot more modern than Grand Central. 


However, the “WC” is not free. We took our most expensive pee ever that morning at 2 Francs per person. 


We didn’t even have to pee that badly, but we were afraid that the train might not have had a bathroom. Oh well, we needed to spend our Francs somehow.

Yesterday was all about travel. So many buses and trains aghhhh. The mountain view as we traveled through the Swiss Alps was the best though.

Train station food was about the same for me in Zurich and in Padua.



BelVita biscuits are also sustaining me. 

Getting to our Airbnb in Padua last night was quite the adventure, but I’ll save that for next time 🙂

Arrivederci!

In ‘N Out

Sorry to say…not the burger chain.

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No, I didn’t jet to the west coast to chow down on a Double Double. Although you’d probably be more interested in this post if I had…but please stay anyway! I’ve actually never had a burger from there when I have visited California, but I hear they are the bee’s knees (alright no one has said that exactly, but you get it).

Moves

Instead, I was in and out of the gym in less than 45 minutes, which is pretty speedy for me. I was trying to nap this afternoon since I didn’t have the best sleep last night, but I decided to be a little more productive since sleep is just not my pal these days. My mom needed the car by 5 PM to pick up my brother from work, so seeing that it was about 3:45, I needed to hustle!

As I was warming up on the elliptical, I was *this* close to throwin’ in the towel and going home because I felt so sleepy. But I just decided to go for something quick since I was already there. Thus, I completed one of my favorite fast and efficient workouts from Lindsay at The Lean Green Bean:

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Yay for more burpees!

I subbed in thrusters for the squat to overhead press, weighted squat jumps for the negative jumps, and regular box jumps for the jumpovers. The complex movements and burpees made my heart rate escalate very quickly and it stayed pumping throughout all four rounds! Knowing I had a limited time at the gym helped me push myself to take minimal rest and move fast (with good form). ‘Twas a sweaty one and I didn’t feel sleepy by the end! But now I am, ha.

My whole family is actually pretty tired today because everyone was up for some reason or another in the middle of the night. Hope you are all well-rested though!

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Yesterday I said I was going to meet up with a friend from dance, but I actually remembered later that our date was today! We had a lovely time catching up and talking about dance company events coming up this year. I’ll be talking more about company next week when dance bootcamp starts!

Have a nice evening!

So tell me: Have you ever had a burger from In ‘N Out? What do you like to do for quick workouts?

Desserts Abound {MIMM #1}

This weekend has been a blast and I wanted to share all the fun through Healthy Diva Eats’ Marvelous in My Monday (MIMM)!

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Marvelous is…

An active and super fun family reunion on Saturday. So blessed.

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Marvelous is…

Blueberry Eggo waffles with peanut butter and milk for breakfast. I was inspired by my 8-year-old cousin’s breakfast from Saturday. Don’t judge.

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Marvelous is…

Visiting my mom’s side of the family yesterday!

We went to Mass at 10:30 and then drove to a Vietnamese restaurant where we met up with my cousins, aunt, uncle, grandparents, and other uncle. I love seeing family! Lunch was delicious and filling:

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Fresh rolls for everyone to share

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Ben’s pho

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I ordered marinated eel, which came with vermicelli noodles and veggies

Marvelous is…

Hanging out with my cousins all day. Swimming, hovercrafting (yes), music jammin’, Apples to Apples, and eating. WHEN AM I NOT EATING ON THIS VACATION?!

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My cousins and uncle constructed a hovercraft!

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My cousin takin’ it for a spin.

They actually made a really cool video showing the hovercraft in action. Definitely check it out! (The Radioactive soundtrack makes the video. It’s intense.)

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Debating and deliberating in Apples to Apples. Megan (on the left) and I crushed the guys.

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They could and would jam all day and night. Like I said, music snobs  enthusiasts. 😀

Marvelous is…

Dinner made by my aunt and uncle!

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Chicken sandwich, veggies, and chicken/potato curry. The bomb.

Marvelous is…

Celebrating my Grandma’s birthday and having more dessert. I’m getting sick of it…..but nottttttt…….

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Love you, Grandma!

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I skipped cake, but had little samples of each of those bars you see above. Lemon coconut, some toffee-type macaroon, and caramel pecan brownie. A little goes a LONG way with these babies! Definitely satisfied my sweet tooth with those.

So there’s my weekend for ya! Pretty darn marvelous if you ask me. Today is our last day in Canada, and then we will be finito with vacations for the summer. It has been incredible and relaxing for the most part, but I am really excited to get back into routine. (I’m not going to be saying that in a few months–hello, college applications!)

Enjoying everything as it comes and thanking God for it all.

Happy Monday!

So tell me: How was your weekend? Any yummy desserts you’ve enjoyed recently? Do you like the game Apples to Apples?

Morning Ritual

Hey!

It’s a gloomy morning around my area, which might explain why I got up fairly late today. 9 AM I think is considered early for a lot of teenagers on summer break, but I love mornings, and I wanna get the party started ASAP!

I’ve developed a regular little routine for my mornings that stays pretty much the same throughout the summer and school year. The difference?

Summer: Ahh, what can I do today? 🙂

School year: Why am I up? I have 5 minutes to catch the bus. Ugh I gotta go get my socks.

Either way, this morning routine makes things much better. So after I roll out of bed and wash up, here’s how I groove:

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Say hello to He who made the new day.

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Breakfast. Favorite meal of the day! Today was a big bowl of Greek yogurt, banana slices, strawberries, chia seeds, a drizzle of agave, and of course, a spoonful of Naturally Nutty Vanilla Sunflower Seed Butter. Must have nut or seed butter.

Reading food blogs, especially Kath Eats Real Food, has definitely made me a breakfast enthusiast. I am ALL over the oats, pancakes, yogurt bowls, and cereals. I know, I know…I’m just another one of those conformist bloggers that hoards bananas and nut butters. I won’t argue. Because it’s true.

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Check email, blogs, and social media. Typical.

For quite a while now, I’ve been eating breakfast standing up. Not only to get a view of the TV, but also because I like to get off my butt when I can, especially if I’m going to be sitting at school all day. I feel like standing also helps my posture and keeps me just a liiiitle more awake than sitting (that may or may not be true). Here’s actually an interesting article about excess sitting that I recently read: Sitting is the New Smoking

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Watch the Today Show. A little bit o’ news. A little bit o’ culture.

Random find: You can watch pandas live on the internet. I just discovered this about 2.5 seconds ago thanks to the Today Show.

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Down the vites. Calcium and vitamin D. The gummies aren’t a chore though 😉

Andddd then I get started with some other things! Blogging right now obviously. Also on the to-do list: exercise, pack for Canada (on the road again!), and start my second summer reading book<–Last year of this!

See you this afternoon!

Let me know: What are some things you do in your “morning ritual”? What did you have for breakfast?