Shimmying in Charlotte + Recent Eats

On top of my titles as selfie queen, peanut butter lover, and daughter of God, add saxophone enthusiast.

Not because I can play the saxophone by any stretch of the imagination, but because I went to the MOST FUN jazz sax concert in Charlotte, NC this weekend with my dear friend Lauren and her awesome parents.

Going to NC for 24 hours for a saxophone concert is one of the most random things I’ve ever done, but that’s what I love about the whole thing. There’s a saxophonist named Gerald Albright who Lauren and I talk about all the time, even though we only really knew one of his songs (“Slam Dunk” – highly recommend if you want a good time).

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our “Ger bear”

Lauren’s parents had an extra ticket and very generously invited me down to hang out with them and watch the concert. And BOY did we have a blast!

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Gerald was ridiculously amazing, even more so than I was expecting. The other saxophone star above was Kirk Whalum, who solo’d in Whitney Houston’s song, “I Will Always Love You” (casual..maybe you’ve heard it) and played for her for almost ten years. WILD.

There was also some dancing and soul trains involved during the concert, and we were all loving it. Even if Lauren and I were likely the only ones under the age of 35 there. We shimmied our way through the concert (and the whole weekend, honestly).

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The best part of the weekend was just spending time with Lauren and her parents. They are the most beautiful family. They also know to take a couple Boston girls to Chick-Fil-A immediately upon arrival in NC.

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my first Chick-Fil-A sandwich ever

A milestone, you could say. It was perfect.

Lauren’s mom also brewed some delicious iced tea at home that we sipped as we chatted in their living room. I rather enjoy the simple things in life.

Before the concert on Saturday night, we went to dinner at The King’s Kitchen, which I would describe as an upscale Southern restaurant. The food was utterly delicious, AND the proceeds go towards feeding the hungry and towards life skills development programs.

I got the pot roast, which came with three sides and either corn bread or a biscuit. I went with mac and cheese, green beans, collards, and a biscuit (you know I love corn bread, but when the waiter suggests the biscuit, you go for the biscuit – a good move).

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I finished e v e r y t h i n g.

The show was about three hours long, so afterwards, we made one last pit stop at Amelie’s French Bakery for near-midnight dessert. We split a lavender lemon cake, chocolate ganache cake, vanilla eclair, and raspberry lemon tart between the four of us.

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I think the raspberry lemon tart got the best vote all around!

On Sunday morning, I made them avocado egg toast because it is a) a joy for me to cook breakfast for people; b) necessary for every person to try avocado egg toast. I had peanut butter honey toast because they bought natural peanut butter for me *happy crying eyes*.

After breakfast, we headed to Mass and then had a light lunch at Chopt, ” the creative salad company.”

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sweet corn quinoa salad + turmeric ginger iced tea

Ugh, so fresh and delicious.

I already miss Lauren and her parents!! Thank you all so much again for your hospitality, generosity and love ♥︎ It was such a fun weekend.

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Also, I love Charlotte! I will be returning one day 🙂


Lastly, here are some recent eats and scenes that I haven’t shared yet from the past week!

My friends and I have still been using up our Groupon classes at The Ring. I will be so sad when it’s over. I LOVE BOXING.

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I cooked fava beans for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. They remind me of edamame!

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Overnight oats forever and ever. This one was with blackberries – a fine addition!

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My girl Elayne invited me to go to spin class with her at the HandleBar a couple weeks ago (I’m so behind with this recap), and as always with spin, the class kicked my butt! But the instructor was awesome and so fun.

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Two Fridays ago, my friends Justin and Kevin and I went to eat at Pho Countryside as our pre-exam studying treat. It keeps us going.

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It was everything I needed.

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We followed that up with some frozen yogurt at Cafe 472 (with Elayne!).

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Kevin and I shared apple pie flavor with granola, but I am convinced they actually made us pineapple flavor. It was great regardless.

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Some more of my beloved Asian friends invited me to join them for Kimbap on a different day. It’s basically like extra large sushi rolls with lots of yum stuff like bulgogi meat, seasoned veggies, egg, and spam if ya fancy. It was so tasty. I have such generous people in my life, my goodness!!

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Lots of peanut butter Puffins as a night snack these days.

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Overnight oatmeal smoothie bowls are my go-to weekend breakfast this summer.

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I think I followed up that smoothie with these scrambled eggs shortly after. Just cuz I was extra hungry. I forget how delicious simple scrambled eggs with ketchup is!

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I had whole wheat three cheese tortellini with sun-dried tomato pesto for a couple nights. This night I decided to put the leftovers over some greens.

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I’ve still been eating a lot of sandwiches for lunch just about every day!

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So I was at Target one day and needed to buy more bread for my sandwich lifestyle. I usually get the Harvest Wheat loaf for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, so I tried to find an equivalent at Target.

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This one looked fine enough. When I got home, I decided to look at the ingredients (since the TJ’s one has a short and sweet list and I wanted to compare). I found…

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My first instinct was, “Aw man. I wish I could return this. HFCS is gross.” But then I thought, “Will I die? No. This is food. This is fine. It is bread. I will enjoy this bread and be grateful for it.” Do I want to buy this bread every week? Nah. But my life will not be a spiraling pit of doom if I have this bread for lunch every day for a couple weeks.

*steps off soapbox*

Last Sunday we went to Toscanini’s for ice cream Sunday! This is my favorite ice cream place in Boston. Listen to these flavors: thin mint (amazing) + matcha cookies ‘n’ cream cheesecake (yes, that’s one flavor and yes, it was delicious).

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Many days have looked like this recently! Blessed.

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On Friday night, a bunch of us celebrated our girl Zoe’s 21st birthday! She was abroad this summer and visited Boston to celebrate with us this weekend. WOOHOO!

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We started with apps and margarita’s at Sunset Cantina.

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And then moseyed on over to Landsdowne for some dancing!!

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I needed a midnight snack before bed that night. Smashed banana pb bread with cinnamon did the trick.

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When I don’t eat overnight oats for breakfast, Gina’s cookie dough cereal is another one on repeat.

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And last night I had another variation of pb banana that I hadn’t eaten in so long – Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie! With Greek yogurt to dip into it (remember when I did that all. the. time?).

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Hope you all have a marvelous Monday and a kick butt week! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

So tell me:

Are you a fan of jazz music? 

Have you ever been to Charlotte, NC?

Do you like Chick-Fil-A (juuuust talking about the food here)?

The top three things from your weekend!

Less Salad, More Bacon

Now, now. I still love vegetables.

But bacon has made its way into my heart (figuratively, maybe literally too, it’s all okay). It has helped fuel life lately, and life has been a blast! A busy blast and not always an easy one, but c’est la vie.

I used to eat salads every single day. If you’ve followed me for a long time, you might remember that a typical meal might be a huge bowl of spinach with leftover meat/pasta/stew just thrown on top (Rachel thinks that’s so weird, BTW).

For example:

Green, leafy (edible, non-smokable) things are obviously great for you, and I highly recommend them. However, I don’t recommend stressing over eating a salad a day. There are other ways you can reach your veggie intake each day, such as…

…rainbow colored carrots (how fun! from Trader Joe’s!)…

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…arugula in an avocado, egg, BACON, sriracha sandwich…

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…OR with tomatoes (actually a fruit, but for all intents and purposes a veggie) in a homemade BACON cheeseburger…

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…frozen brussels sprouts heated up in a pan with some spices…

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with leftover Annie’s mac and cheese, some rice, and turkey meatloaf

…OR you could eat almost-dead arugula as a side salad, just to compliment your avocado, BACON, egg toast.

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If you’re wondering, I get the uncured apple smoked bacon from Trader Joe’s!

Bacon has honestly helped me recognize that adding flavorful (often fatty/dense) foods to my meals makes me 10x more satisfied, so I’m less likely to think about food in the hour or two after I’m finished eating. I do love food, but it is so nice to not think about it all the time.

All this to say: Tune into what will truly satisfy your body at the moment. Is it really a salad? Or is it really something more dense like a bacon cheeseburger? It can be either one (I do still crave salads sometimes), but try to be honest with yourself. 🙂


What else has been happening this week!? (spoiler: so much.) Here are the highlights.

A much-needed Friday night hanging out with my BFF, Rachel. Complete with Annie’s mac and cheese for me….

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…and banana bread mug cakes a la mode for both of us.

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Lots of studying for functional anatomy.

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Studying is much better with friends like Elayne and study spaces like these.

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Sunday was Colby’s birthday, so she hosted a little picnic at Boston Public Garden! This lady is 21! *glasses clink*

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We drank mimosas out of Dunkin Donuts cups and ate fruit, Terra chips and scones…

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although I made these scones from a box mix and 75% of the people at the party were gluten-free and dairy-free, soooo…. 

…handstanded…

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♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎

…and I got to meet Nancy from Approaching Paleo (@approachingpaleo)! I’ve “known” her through social media and Fit University for so long now, but I finally got to hug this wonderful woman in person on Sunday.

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The internet can help us meet the most marvelous people, lemme tell ya.

Sunday evening involved the usual (yet always extraordinary) Mass and “ice cream Sunday” tradition! We went to Cold Stone.

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“cheesecake fantasy” that was melting so fast I nearly drank it like a milkshake

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We finished the night off with The Game of Things (NOT Game of Thrones), which never fails to make me double over in laughter.

I developed a pesky and painful blister under my second left toe that caused me to limp a lot earlier this week, so I bought some moleskin and got to work on taping that baby up.

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It’s not a gigantic blister, but the location was awkward and I had to make the taping biomechanically sound.

Lastly, one of the best parts of my week was last night when Ben, Rachel and I went boxing at The Ring.

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After LOVING boxing at Everybody Fights via ClassPass last week, I found a Groupon for The Ring last week and recruited friends to join me. We went to our free trial class last night!

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It was a doooooozy but so. freaking. fun. I am seriously such a big fan of boxing (haven’t sparred in my life, though, so don’t let me get too far ahead of myself), and the HIIT workout these gyms do to train are right up my alley.

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So now we get to box for free for a week and then get 5 extra classes with our Groupon on top of that. I’m SO STOKED. We even got our own wraps and gloves to keep!

Oh! One more thing that is long overdue. I was a guest on Emily’s podcast from Beauty in Christ a few weeks ago. We talked about intuitive exercise. Check out the podcast here if you’re interested! (p.s. Emily is a wonderful friend of mine and a beautiful light in the world, bringing both body positivity and the Love of God to everyone she meets.)

I hope you all have a great pre-Friday! Eat some bacon (or, like, full fat coconut milk if you’re vegan).

So tell me:

What is a food that is flavorful and satisfying that you like to add to your meals?

Have you ever tried boxing?

Two things that you’ve done this past week!

Weekend Confessions

weekend confessions

Confession #1: I’m currently blasting Ariana Grande’s “Right There” and belting it in my apartment (you know I’m rapping Big Sean’s part too), because Megan moved out and I’m alone.

Confession #2: I miss Megan a lot. I miss the microwave and trash bin that she provided this semester too, but I miss her more.

Confession #3: Finals are DONE, and I am now a senior/physical therapy graduate student!!! But I’m really feeling the “responsibility drop-off” (← literally just made that up) and have been trying to balance my empty study schedule with my real life to-do list.

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study break last week

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crepe study break as a farewell to our friend Tom from Ireland!

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fresh out of our gross anatomy final, dying inside a little but living the dream

Confession #4: Instead of doing the online portion for my CPR course on Thursday night after my last final, I went to a summer birthday celebration (for all of us who have summer birthdays that we cannot celebrate during the school year) and a bonfire.

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Confession #5: The amount of sugar I consumed that night (cake + ice cream + cookies + s’mores) is really scandalous as a future healthcare professional, but no regrets.

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Confession #6: Since I went to the bonfire, I went to sleep past 1pm, had to wake up at 7am to finish the online CPR course, literally RUN to print out my certificate and meet up with my friend Janice to go to the in-person portion of the CPR class. #responsible.

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But now I am CPR certified! “Ah ah ah ah stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.”

Confession #7: Lunch on Friday was very beige. For bucket listing, Rachel and I went to Roxy’s for grilled cheese and truffle fries, followed by Toscanini’s for the B3 (brown butter, brown sugar, brownie) flavor. A meal of champions!

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Rachel and I both got the three cheese: VT cheddar, muenster, and fontina cheeses inside perfectly crispy, buttery white bread.

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The truffle fries were RICH. Truffle oil with rosemary and salt. So fantastic.

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In addition to the B3 (the required bucket list item), Rachel got marshmallow fluff and I got butter almond (so much butter that day), and we both enjoyed them thoroughly. I’d say Toscanini’s has the best ice cream in the Boston area! It’s so dense and satisfying, similar to gelato.

Confession #8: I didn’t finish this blog post but scheduled it to post for this morning, so it was incomplete when it went up. Whoops. Here’s the rest.

Confession #9: Instead of sleeping early on Friday night (which I needed because I was exhausted), I went to my first Red Sox game ever because one of the Deans of the school was giving out a bunch of free tickets to my friends and me while we were playing hacky sack outside earlier in the day.

Sleep vs. first (and maybe only) Red Sox game ever with friends on a Friday night?

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I don’t even like baseball, but the experience was a blast.

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My favorite part was dancing between innings to try to get on the jumbotron but failing every time. I maybe watched the actual game for a total of 5 minutes.

Confession #10: It has been utterly freezing over here in Boston in the middle of May (read: 40-50*F), but since people are moved out and it’s supposed to be hot for the rest of the week, my apartment’s heat is off. That means I’ve been incubating myself in multiple layers inside my room.

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MIDDLE. OF. MAY.

What is this madness!?

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Confession #11: I worked out with Ben on Saturday, and his original workout was too hard for both of us that we had to scale it down as we went on. It was a great one though!

10 crab walk pushups // 10 plank up downs// 10 plank shoulder tap holds // 10 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

.3 mi run

15 crab walk pushups // 15 plank up downs // 15 plank shoulder tap holds // 15 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

.6 mi run

10 crab walk pushups // 10 plank up downs// 10 plank shoulder tap holds // 10 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

.9 mi run

15 crab walk pushups // 15 plank up downs // 15 plank shoulder tap holds // 15 burpee-squat-front lunge twists

1.2 mi run

We ran on the grass to mix up the terrain, which was good. Those complex burpees were apparently added in just for me, but they were killer!

Confession #12: I returned my rental book a day late, but Barnes and Noble is generous and gave me a two day grace period instead of charging me $45 right away.

Confession #13: Briana, Sarah, Dom and I watched the Hannah Montana Movie on Saturday night, and I 100% enjoyed it.

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Confession #14: I took a bunch of my friends to Le’s Vietnamese for pho on Sunday because it’s cheap and good food. They let me order and advise them on how to eat everything correctly.

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Between six of us, this was less than $40! And it was so satisfying and delicious on the rainy day.

Confession #15: We went to buy froyo afterwards, and my cup was $7. So much for saving money.

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The mochi made it really heavy…okay, the amount of froyo I got also made it really heavy.

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Confession #16: I worked out with Sarah yesterday morning and my butt is mighty sore today. We did some rowing, weighted step ups, split squats, and squat jumps. That’ll do it.

Confession #17: A bunch of us got together last night to watch Inside Out, which Sarah and I had watched halfway through but had to leave during a cliffhanger. We finally finished it last night, and I am unashamed to say that I shed a tear. What a great movie.

Confession #18: I’m definitely not an early bird anymore. My three day streak was short-lived.

Hope you all have a beautiful week!

So tell me:

Any “confessions” from this weekend?

The best thing you ate this weekend!

Your guilty pleasure movie.

Are you CPR certified?