Cheers, Dublin

HELLO, AMERICA!

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could not wipe the smile off my face when I saw this

I can hear Frank Sinatra singing, “New York, New York”.

It’s like I never even left this side of the pond. I’ve gone right back to eating sushi, driving, and using toilet paper that comes in roll form.

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I swear I did not ask for this to be taken, but Madre takes as many random photos as I do

No, but seriously, my brain is still processing the fact that I studied abroad in Ireland for the past 3.5 months. It was a whirlwind, a challenge, and a blast. I’ll save the reflections for another post and just focus on the transition from Europe back to America in this post.

My peers and I celebrated what felt like the end of an era during our last days in Dublin. Megan and I were basically obligated to go to one last brunch:

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The Lovely Food Co.1 was the first brunch place we ate at in Dublin, so we chose it as our last brunch destination to bring it full circle. ‘Twas a fabulous decision because this was the best brunch we had in Ireland. She ordered the eggs benedict, and I ordered the eggs royale (same thing except with smoked salmon instead of ham).

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The crusty bread was unconventional, but it totally worked. For brunch dessert, we split an order of their brioche French toast, since that’s what Megan ordered her first time there, and she could not stop thinking about since.

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For good reason!! This little guy was perfectly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Served with cream, berry compote, and classic maple syrup. #dead.

We may or may not have bought two desserts from the bakery to take away.

After walking around city centre to look for books for our plane ride (I ended up buying the fourth HP book because I needed to return the one I had to the library, but I still had 200+ pages left), we had a late farewell lunch with all the students and program directors at Il Corvo Italian restaurant.

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I had the lasagna with a side of veggies and happily finished it all. I also almost cried after one of the program director’s farewell speeches. All good things here!

Later that night, a few of us walked back to city centre for some gelato and store-perusing.

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“Florence cream” flavor from Gelato di Natura (it tasted like saffron!)

Megan and I also watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while eating our sneaked-in dinners in the back of the theatre.

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sandwiches and salads — your typical theatre fare 

p.s. the movie was great! a little confusing, but fantastic nevertheless. Eddie Redmayne *swoon*

And then, of course, we had to join the rest of our friends for one last night out on the town!

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baby Guinness shots (the first and last shot I will have ever had in Ireland…until next time!)

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I wish I could say I was cool and went pub-hopping that night, but I went home after the first bar and called it a night.

Saturday morning called for a quick workout and the last scramble to pack our whole lives into our suitcases (“It’s TWO POUNDS over 50!!!”). Eventually, we made it through the airport and onto the plane. My last meal in Ireland was this sandwich with veggies, relish, and an absurdly thick slice of cheese.

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Followed by a pretty tasty airplane dinner a few hours later. They served us turkey and stuffing meals with pasta and veggies, soda bread and Kerrygold butter (♥︎), and raspberry white chocolate mousse. What luxury!

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“milk in a stick”

Purchasing Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire for the plane ride was one of the wiser decisions I’ve made in my life. It occupied me for the almost the whole 7 hours! (It also blew my MIND.) I was also very surprised that I never napped or even got up to pee during the entire flight.

When we arrived in New York, my family greeted me at the airport, and I almost cried again. I was so happy to see them. Also, one of the first things my brother told me after I hugged him was that they bought me Lloyd’s carrot cake. I appreciate how well they know me.

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Even though it was past midnight Dublin time, it was only 7:30 pm when I met up with them and they hadn’t eaten dinner yet. By then, I was pretty hungry for a midnight snack/dinner too, so they took me to eat some delicious sushi, since I had not eaten any in Europe (I had trust issues).

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Also, Madre bought me a portable massage table for Christmas (upon my request, since I’ve been learning how to give good massages in Dublin), so Pop broke it in for me as I gave him a massage that night. The gift that keeps on giving, I say!

Regarding jetlag, I’m actually pretty adjusted already! I persevered and stayed up until 11:30pm NY time (4:30am Dublin time) and woke up at 9 am yesterday.

I was feeling ready to move and groove in the morning, but I had limited time before Mass, so I did 100 burpees for time. I tied my previous PR (6:12), but not without my heart feeling like it would explode. Holy smokes, I had not done a “sprint” like that in a while.

This dinner last night was nothing out of the ordinary except that I cooked the eggs on a gas stove (instead of electric like in our Dublin dorms, which I didn’t realize until now takes 10x longer to heat up) and that I topped it with SRIRACHA. Oh, how I missed thee.

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Followed by cake for dayyyyyyz.

Today I’m headed up to a very special city for a couple days 🙂 More to come!

I have so much to say and reflect upon in regards to my study abroad experience in Ireland, but for now, I’ll say:

Sláinte, Baile Átha Cliath (Cheers, Dublin)!

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

What is the best airport/airline food you’ve ever eaten?

Are there any things about coming home that you didn’t even realize you missed during an extended vacation/trip?

20 Things From My Life That I Regret (But Not Entirely)

I just finished a rather colorful bowl of oatmeal this AM.

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Sprinkles were welcomed onto my classic bowl of banana chia egg white oats, because I’m turning 20 today! Two decades and no longer a teen. I’d say that I feel closer to fully #adulting, but did I mention that a waitress gave me a kiddie menu in Vermont three weeks ago?

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I hope that all my fellow Americans had a lovely Memorial Day! The ‘rents and I took it easy. We attended our local Memorial Day ceremony, Mom and I went shopping, we all napped a bit, and some killer moves went down in honor of the fallen.

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the superintendent of my high school!

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salad with sautéed onions, mushrooms and chorizo (← new fave)

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Memorial Day 5/30/16 Workout

5 rounds for time: 30 pushup burpees + 16 alternating weighted pistol squats

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dinner was eel and Asian roasted brussels sprouts over brown rice (I LOVE EEL)

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new favorite late night snack: Greek yogurt and almond butter with dried figs

In honor of twenty years since emerging from the womb, I decided to make a list of twenty things, because that seems like a socially acceptable way to subtly scream on my blog that I have turned twenty years old.

I have learned plenty of lessons in these past twenty years, but instead of listing the lessons themselves, I am sharing twenty things that I regret doing/happening (but not entirely, because they’ve taught me that I am a foolish human being who constantly needs improvement/they’ve given me the best memories). So I do not necessarily condone all of the following things, but I am appreciative that God allows me to learn from mistakes.

1) Filming a plethora of home videos of my brother and myself dancing to Pokemon songs and Backstreet Boys.

2) Showing said home videos to my friends in high school and college.

3) Having a bowl haircut.

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4) Complaining to my parents that I didn’t want to go to Hawaii when I was seven years old because I had no interest in pineapples (they still dragged me along, thankfully).

5) Wanting to have hamstring muscles just like my figure skating friend when I was seven years old (the dawn of body comparison).

6) Waiting until the last minute on one of my elementary school math projects and getting a terrible grade.

7) Crying and getting mad at God because I didn’t get a lead role in my middle school’s musical, Willy Wonka, Jr. I got the part of an orange-faced, green-haired oompa loompa.

8) Any and every time I stomped through the house in an unreasonable rage.

9) Begging my mom to take me to buy Crocs. And Uggs.

10) Not paying attention to directions whenever my parents drove.

11) Not reading Harry Potter (and then the heavens rejoiced that she repented).

12) The whole phase of my life when I started wearing makeup and getting interested in fashion.

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blue eyeshadow and 10 lbs. of jewelry

13) Not keeping up with stretching after some time off of figure skating. It taught me early on that muscles do not stay flexible forever.

14) Counting calories and finding healthy living blogs that pushed my disordered eating further (but finding healthy living blogs was ultimately fruitful).

15) Discovering my love for nut butter. A blessing and a curse.

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16) Attending one high school Halloween party where there was a single handle of vodka, touchy people, and really bad lighting. But it taught me that I was not missing out on anything by not going to those parties.

17) Thinking that I did not want to study abroad because of FOMO (fear of missing out) at Boston. My friends who know what’s logical and good urged me to reconsider, and now I’m going to Dublin this fall!

18) All the times I did not engage in conversation with people because I did not think they were interesting enough or that I was interesting enough.

19) Not trusting in God’s mercy, which has plunged me into my darkest times yet ultimately brought me to my greatest joys after seeking Truth.

20) Not following politics. I need to inform myself more, but I’m also happy that I’m not stressing over the hubbub.

This was a lot more fun to write than I was expecting. And embarrassing!

Off to work now! Hope you all have a wonderful week!

So tell me:

What are some things you regret (but not really)? Can you relate to any of mine?

What did you do for Memorial Day?

Do you have any birthday traditions? Going out to dinner with the fam!

Virtual Breakfast Date

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…I would wish you a blessed Memorial Day (if you live in the US)! If you have the day off, I hope it’s filled with relaxation, sunshine, reflection, and good food! If you’re working/not living in the US, I hope you have a great day anyway 🙂

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Always grateful for the valiant and selfless men and women who protect our nation.

…I would tell you that I can check off week one of work at the rehab hospital! It was a looooong week, (but not luxuriously long like our time at Fiona’s summer house the week before). Starting a new job, meeting new people, and not doing anything stupid being on my best behavior is exhausting, which is to be expected. That being said, I am so stoked and thankful for this job. Example of excitement: I get to help with pool therapy!!!

…I would tell you that breakfasts this past week have been fabulous. With work, I’ve had to make a lot of quick yet filling breakfasts. And they must have the “trifecta” because I’m stubborn and obsessive.

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Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, blueberries, banana, granola, and maple walnut peanut butter (probz one of my favorite peanut butters ever)

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overnight oats with berries and granola

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peanut butter banana toast + Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, and berries

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Kylie’s “banana pudding

…I would tell you that weekend breakfast = pancakes.

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake with Greek yogurt + maple peanut butter + maple syrup + glass o’ milk

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Davida’s green silver dollar banana pancakes with all the same works

…I would tell you that I will be that gal who wears dress pants with sneakers. I am on my feet all day at work, and I care about my feet (as a future physical therapist and as a bipedal human being), so fashion will have to take the back seat. Not that I’m fashionable anyway.

…I would tell you that I get employee gym perks! The employee gym is a dungeon, but it’s nice to have access to some heavier weights and machines.

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…I would tell you that moves and grooves have been downright sweat fests thanks to the hot weather.

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On Wednesday, I walked + did some random plyometrics and drills outside, and I’m pretty sure tiny bugs were flying into me and dying in my sweat.

…I would tell you that I had something akin to baby food before my workout yesterday.

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My girl Christina @foodietunes gave it to me one day this past semester (or two semesters ago?), and I actually really liked it!

…I would tell you that I had these Performix BCAAs (that I won from a Fit University giveaway) after a couple workouts this weekend. I need to go back into my exercise physiology notes to see what BCAAs actually do, haha. They’re super tasty though! “Blue Razz Ice” flavor— so nostalgic.

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thank you for sending me these, Sarah!

…I would tell you that I need to shower so badly as I type this, but I locked a fat fly in my bathroom, and I don’t want to deal with it right now.

…I would tell you that I saw Daliza this weekend!!! She got us into a movie for free since she works at the theater. We watched Love & Friendship, which is a smaller-scale movie based on an early Jane Austen novella.

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I was expecting the movie to be very serious, and I could barely understand the characters’ old-fashioned British accents at the beginning, but as the movie went on, I was pleased to discover that this film is HILARIOUS. If there’s a small indie-film-theater around you, check this out! (Julia, I feel like you’d love this!)

Then Daliza treated me to Cold Stone (I got “Cheesecake Fantasy” in a waffle cone, OMG), and we walked around, catching up and inadvertently pouring melted ice cream all over the streets/our hands/faces.

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…I would thank you all very deeply for your condolences and love regarding Katie’s passing ♥︎

…I would tell you that I’m going to go shower now and face that fly. With God, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

If we were having breakfast, what would you tell me?

What is your favorite quick and filling breakfast?

What is the best movie you’ve watched recently?

What are you doing today?

Under 24 Hours in Kansas City

Greetings from St. Louis! Sorry I’m posting this update so late, but the past 48 hours have been a whirlwind. If you follow me on Snapchat, you might have seen that my travels to the Midwest did not go quite as planned.

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At 6AM, overnight oats in tow, Pop kindly drove me to the small local airport for my scheduled 8AM flight to Washington DC (where I had connecting flight to Kansas City).

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Long story short, my flight out of New York was delayed four times due to a broken plane, so I had to change my connecting flight a few times before they finally sent me to another [larger] airport in the city for a direct flight to Kansas…7 hours later than I was supposed to leave New York.

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I arrived safely though, so that’s all that matters!

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You might be wondering: Why the heck was I in Kansas? Well, we used to live near Kansas City over 10 years ago, so my mom wanted to walk down memory lane by visiting our old house, church, school, etc. It was pretty cool to revisit some bits of my childhood again!

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our old church

Our gracious friend invited my mom and I to stay at their house (which is like a palace, to be quite honest) for the night, so we ate some delicious home cooked food…

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…and snuggled their Yorkie who is better-groomed than I ever am.

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Now that I’m older, it’s wild to see how different the Midwest and Northeast cultures are.

Midwest: mostly white people, lots of land, huge houses, competitive suburbia, more Christian radio

Northeast: diversity, small houses for way too much money, people mind their own business, better food (had to say it)

Those are generalizations of course! 🙂

After a quick sushi lunch yesterday afternoon, Mom and I hit the road for St. Louis.

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Mom and I passed the time in the car with some great conversation. We checked in at our hotel at around 7PM and then headed to dinner at a fantastic little eatery called The Hot Pot.

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local chicken hotpot with all the veggies (“rake up the garden” is what they called it) and lemon mango curry sauce — finished every last bite!

We finished our day with some TJMaxx shopping, House Hunters, and face masks. Girlz nite.

I’ll catch ya later today with a little celebratory post… 😀 I’m seeing my little cousins today! I love babieeees.

So tell me:

Have you ever had crazy travel delays?

Do you notice regional differences in your country?

Have you ever been to the Midwest/do you live here?

Dad and Daughter Weekend

God bless America and God bless three day weekends. I don’t know why I said the latter; I just came back from vacation.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a lovely Memorial Day to my fellow Americans. As always, it’s nice to have a day off, but it is essential to remember why we do. Thank you to all the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we could live ours freely and joyfully.

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Let’s catch up!

Friday

Up and at ’em early for my physical therapy internship! Brought to you by overnight oats in a jar.

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I’ve been adding chia seeds to the mix, and they increase the doughiness factor by at least 50%. I totally made that up, but chia seeds = thicker overnight oats = even better texture.

Lunch was eaten in the parking lot after my internship. It was tuna salad I had made that morning (with Greek yogurt, mustard, honey, olive topping, paprika, and black pepper) on mixed greens, alongside 34 Degrees cracked pepper crackers from Blend.

Cracked pepper crackers that are like crack.

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I saw my partner in crime (Daliza) on Friday night! I greeted her with egg yolk dripping down my face/hands/arms as I ate this for dinner:

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Once you break the yolk, there’s no turning back. You just have to inhale the rest of the toast so you don’t lose the dippy goodness.

P.S. I’m going to convince Daliza to do another vlog with me!

Saturday

I slept in and made a rather patriotic breakfast for Dad and myself— Greek yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, chia seeds, a leftover whole wheat banana pancake, and Nuttzo power fuel.

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I don’t remember everything I did on Saturday, but I do know that I finally decided to unpack my luggage, did some moves with a leg strength circuit, and attended Mass. I also ate some delicious things in the afternoon!

Lunch was a salad with homemade tahini dressing, leftover pork chop (buried under there), and a sweet potato with melted garlic herb cheddar. Weird but YUM.

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I was feeling lunch dessert that day (…like every other day), so I broke into my stash of mint chocolate chunk Quest bars from Blend. I followed Aimee’s suggestion in my last post’s comments and microwaved it for exactly 23 seconds before topping it with peanut hazelnut butter.

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Yep, I’ll be doing that again! 🙂

Oh! I got new sneakers in the mail too! I won these in a huge raffle at the end of Blend retreat. Lucky for me, because I left my other sneakers in Boulder since they were so muddy from hiking all week.

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Thanks, Wellcoin and Puma!

After Mass, Pop and I went to my favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner! I went with the classic sushi combo that comes with yellowtail, tuna, and eel avocado rolls. All gone into my tummy.

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The waiter also surprised us with a complimentary dessert! Chocolate souffle cake with raspberry ice cream. Ohmahgoodness. I know I say I don’t like chocolate that much, but this was dreamy.

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Pop and I hunkered down for the night and watched not one, but two movies— The Giver and Macfarland USA. I totally loved both!

Sunday

Another sleep-in day, another breakfast for Pop and myself. I hadn’t eaten cookie dough cereal in a long time, so it wasn’t difficult to choose what I wanted that morning.

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I cleaned the floors on Sunday, and look at this horror.

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This is a picture of cleaning done in the highest shoe-traffic area of our house, but still, yuck! (Two-year-old word, I know.) You don’t really notice the dirt until you get down and scrub.

Moves involved yoga and a quick walk around the neighborhood. The weather was perfection!

I babysat at night and actually enjoyed my snack-time-esque dinner.

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I brought all the snacks myself, except for the cheese 🙂 (I was given permission.)

Monday

Pop and I started our Memorial Day with Mass and the local Memorial Day parade.

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Then we headed back home to cook and eat for the rest of the afternoon! Pop and I have never grilled without mom being around, since she is Mrs. Chefmaster Hospitality. But we had a successful cookout, I’d say! I shopped for the food, prepped it, and then left the grilling for Pop. He nailed it.

We had simple beef burgers with garlic herb cheddar and caramelized onions + tons of grilled vegetables. We also ate outstanding grilled shrimp using this marinade recipe.

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glass o’ vino in hand, what a natural
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Having a BBQ for two people also means lots of leftovers for the week!

Moves included grooving to music in the kitchen and a two mile neighborhood walk. I see a tan emerging!

After eating more of grilled goodies for dinner, we ended the night on a sweet note, as every night should end in my book. I macerated some fresh strawberries in lemon juice and honey for a few hours, and then we ate those on top of vanilla bean ice cream with a slice of the blueberry poppyseed mini loaf from Flagstaff House in Colorado!

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Me: I macerated some strawberries.

Dad: That sounds like it hurts.

[5 minutes later]

Dad: What did you say you did with these? Masqueraded?

Me: No, macerated. But masquerading them sounds fun.

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Hope you all have a great day! Clean your floors perhaps, eat string cheese, and say thank you to more people. *Also, stay tuned for an awesome giveaway later today!*

So tell me:

One productive thing you did this weekend.

One fun thing you did this weekend!

Do your floors ever get this dirty? We clean them often, I swear.

Americans, what did you eat for Memorial Day?