Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I got up before 6 am two days in a row, and got up before 8 on a SUNDAY.

Unlike most people in the healthy living blog world, I am usually a total night owl (for no good reason except that I’m a procrastinator who likes to start things an hour before I plan on going to bed). But for the past few days, I’ve been early(ish) to bed, early to rise.

The earlier sunrises definitely help. The weather has been pretty lovely lately too! So lovely that I took a one 1.5-hour break on Thursday to take a long walk with my friend Zoe.

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The next day was not quite as nice, but I still got up to run with my friends Sarah and Moises at 7 am. ‘Twas thanks to them that I started my early bird trend.

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I actually got up before 6am because I needed to pee really badly (typical), so I did a short 12 minute circuit outside before we met up for our run.

3 rounds, 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:

  • air squats
  • pushups
  • bench step up hops right
  • bench step up hops left
  • elevated knee to elbow planks
  • bridges

We ran three warm and humid miles. You might know that I don’t love running, but if it’s at a manageable pace with friends, I can deal.

Continuing with the trend of non-trends in weather, the rest of Friday was sunny and gorgeous!

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I worked for most of the day, came home to break for a snack…

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…sit on my butt for a couple hours, and then walk to dinner with my dear friends (who went on that awesome cruise with me last summer!) Christie and Monica.

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We met at Umai for sushi, because it’s basically canon law that we eat sushi whenever we see each other.

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And we finished it off with ice cream from J.P. Licks. I feel like people always eat ice cream after sushi, but that seems like a horrible combo when I think about it.

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mint cookies ‘n’ cream

We weren’t complaining at all though. It was so fun catching up with these ladies! ♥︎

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Instead of going out for more social activities after saying goodbye to Christie and Monica, I went home, did a whole bunch of nothing, and went to sleep a little after 11. My roommate Megan was so impressed. I almost never go to sleep before her.

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I did have a little bit of motivation to go to sleep early because I agreed to work out with my Spartan Race buddy, Ben, at 7am on Saturday morning. I was in charge of the workout, so I came up with this:

6 rounds:

  • Partner 1: Run to end of dock and back (a little less than 400m probably)
  • Partner 2: AMRAP 5 burpee bench jumpovers + 20 tricep dips + 10 plank jacks

We both agreed that the running was the worst part of it. Then we struggled through finished with 8 minutes of core before calling it a day.

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Next on the agenda was attending our friends Piers’ and Dani’s Confirmation Mass. A bunch of us from the Catholic Center headed to Newton to witness the beautiful sacrament and show support for Piers and Dani. It was a GREAT DAY.

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one of the most beautiful things in the world is seeing my friends so earnestly speaking with God

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Congratulations, Piers (pink tie front and center) and Dani (white dress)!!

The rest of the day involved studying, breakfast for dinner…

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plus a ton of roasted broccoli straight out of the oven

…and leftover carrot cake from Easter.

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I went to bed a little after 11 again, WOW.

Sunday was another wonderful day. I slept in until 7 (what a weird statement) and made Kylie’s simple paleo pancake for breakfast.

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added blueberries, topped with sunflower seed butter and maple syrup + 1.5 glasses o’ milk

The next eight hours of my life were spent helping out for our Catholic Center chaplain’s 20-year priesthood anniversary celebration (with a two hour break for Mass in there). I would not have wanted to spend those eight hours any other way than with good people in honor of a good man.

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A few people (shoutout to Fran, Joe, and Bobby!) worked exceptionally hard to make the whole surprise come together, and so many people came out to celebrate!

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We love you, Fr. Barnes!

And now it’s time to descend into the depths of finals. We have three days of classes left, but I feel like it’s all just a straight shot to the finish line of finals.

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🎶 here comes the sun doo doo dooooo 🎶

I’ll try to keep up this early bird streak; I like the early mornings, especially when the sun is up! I hope you all have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me:

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Something wonderful about your weekend!

Is sushi followed by ice cream a thing, or am I crazy? 

 

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In and Out of Canada {Take 2}

Another year, another jaunt to Canada for the weekend.

Toronto, Canada. The land in which I undoubtedly consume an inordinate amount of carbohydrates and sodium. But goodness gracious, how can you say no to the fried rice and crispy noodles?

The food wasn’t nearly as important as the occasion and the company of course. My family took a little trek to Toronto this weekend to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th anniversary! How beautiful, eh? (← had to)

Friday

Early wakeup to leave the house at 6AM! I definitely should not have stayed up until midnight to watch gymnastics/procrastinated laundry the night before. But Simone and Aly were worth it.

Nectarine banana overnight oats as per travel tradition.

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I was also nearly half deaf on Friday because my right ear has issues (I was born with two ear holes instead of one in that ear), so I’m prone to infection and having too much stuff in my ear. One of the more gross facts that you didn’t need to know about me. But not being able to hear that well out of even one ear really made me appreciate the gift of hearing!

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some morning double rainbow action

Madre had been up in Toronto since Tuesday, since she was the executive party planner. Pop, Ben and I took Friday off of work to drive up, and it took wayyyy too long. A road trip that usually takes 9 hours took almost 12 hours. But we made it safe and sound, which matters most.

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Salad dipped in guac. All I can hear is Rachel saying to me, “Be better. Or at least be less weird.”

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so much of this

We rolled into our cousins’ place at around 6pm. We were staying with the fit family again 🙂 Obviously that meant doing handstands and cartwheels in the basement with my cousin Amy upon arrival.

My family took off again soon after for dinner with other relatives at Congee Queen.

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congee = rice porridge with lots of good stuff inside

Pro: it’s cheap, delicious food. Con: it’s cheap, delicious food.

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best fried rice ever with [fake] crab, roe, and eel!

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I am positive that I ate more at this dinner than I do at Thanksgiving.

Back at home, I showered, and my cousin and I stretched while watching the Olympics with our parents. Only at their house can I enjoy a big stretching mat and foam rollers in front of the television!

Saturday

I slept in until 8ish and headed to the basement to warmup and do Jen’s 1000 Rep Workout.

My legs were insanely tight from sitting all day Friday, so this workout was great for loosening them up, but I could feel that there was lots of lactic acid in my body (not soreness but all around fatigue/tightness/heaviness). All I wanted was to foam roll and drink water until the cows came home.

After showering (and getting my right ear to hear again!), I helped Amy make avocado egg toast for her and her dad. She saw on my blog that I ate it once 25793 times before and bought the ingredients to make it while I was visiting.

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I’m always a proponent of spreading the avo-egg toast love, and I’m happy that they love it!

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For myself, I ate some quick banana oatmeal with protein powder and almond butter.

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While Madre, Pop and Ben were setting up the hall for the anniversary party the next day, I got to hang out with Amy. We played “Just Dance” and a Mario Party “board game” on the Wii after breakfast.

Working out + Just Dance made me pretty hungry again in no time. I ate leftovers for lunch with my cousin’s family before they left for Kung Fu practice (NBD). As for me, I laid horizontally on their couch (I had a stomachache for a bit), foam rolled, and caught up on blogs and reading.

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I did some handstands too. Amy believed that I could do a one-armed handstand facing the wall (after seeing my failure last week), and I could! The power of encouragement, man.

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When my family got back home, we headed to 5pm Mass. This parish we visited had the most beautiful-sounding music ministry. I cried.

Then for my favorite meal of the trip at my favorite restaurant in Toronto— Ten Ren’s Tea House! Everything here is cooked with tea, and they obviously sell a million kinds of tea beverages.

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p.s. More often than not in Toronto, we share everything family style. #justAsianthings

I actually skipped a tea beverage this time because I wanted a tea dessert, and I’m not really a dessert-sharer, so…. I ordered a green tea soft serve in a waffle cone for myself, which was fantastic.

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I also had a couple bites of “brick toast” for the first time ever. It’s what it sounds like— toast the size of a brick that’s caramelized and topped with something yummy. Our table shared a sweet milk custard one and a peanut butter (!) one.

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We’re pretty sure it was natural peanut butter because LOOK AT THE WAY IT MELTS. It also wasn’t too sweet. The sweet milk custard one was even better though, honestly. Imagine creme brûlée on top of toast….Yeah.

I also had a few bites of this snow ice dessert.

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It’s shaved ice topped with coconut milk and four toppings. We got tapioca, taro, lychee jelly, and red beans. Tasty and refreshing!

I think the rest of the night involved more stretching and Just Dance. We didn’t throw knives this time around, darn it.

Sunday

The big day! My family headed to the hall to prep for the anniversary party all morning.

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Sidenote: I was tweezing my brows in the car (I was NOT driving) on the way to the hall, which I do not recommend for effectiveness, accuracy, or safety.

We did some rehearsing, some decorating, and LOTS of food scooping into trays. As we were transferring all the food (that Congee Queen catered) into smaller trays, all I could think was, “these noodles are perpetual…this fried rice could feed an army and a half…this is all the General Tso’s chicken in Canada.”

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Needless to say, many people had many meals to take home at the end of the party.

There were several heartfelt speeches, many songs, lots of laughs, a couple baby screams, and almost three hundred people celebrating my grandparents’ inspiring 50 years of marriage. I sang “La Vie en Rose” for them with my brother accompanying on the piano!

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DSC_2657Pop and his bros singing + Ben on the keys + pad thai 
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twins!

I wore spiky, pointy-toed heels for 3 minutes before calling it quits and switching to sandals.

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So many people worked very hard to plan, set up, and attend this celebration. Special shoutout to my mom and her family and friends, who were indispensable contributors to the setup and cleanup of the party. They’re amazing! Everyone on both sides of the family who helped and came out to the celebration are just remarkable.

Cheers to everyone and to my Mah Mah and Yeh Yeh!

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We were utterly exhausted after running around all day. To think that Pop, Ben and I had originally planned on driving home to New York overnight immediately after the party makes me want to die inside. Thank God we were all able to get Monday off work.

I did go on a walk with my cousin, aunt and uncle after dinner because the weather outside was perfect and the sky looked like cotton candy!

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homemade jello made by Amy, naturally sweetened with honey and lemon — so refreshing!

But after watching the 100m men’s track final at night, I went to bed at 10 and passed. out.

Monday

Pop took one of our cars to go back home early with his aunt, and the rest of us slept in a little bit before we hit the road with our other car. I ate some breakfast cookie dough cereal before saying goodbyes, and then we were off!

First though, some road trip snacks from the Asian supermarket.

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cart-basket contraption

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“meat floss” seems neither appealing nor helpful in any way

Lunch on the road:

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pork bun

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cold Taiwanese noodles

Also, we bought ketchup chips in unhealthy and healthier form.

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A Canada classic that makes ketchup lovers rejoice and ketchup haters question humanity.

The trip home was a lot better than the trip to Toronto, thankfully. We even got some good views of Niagara Falls at the border!

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Our last hurrah was dinner at a Japanese restaurant with my dad’s aunt. I shared an eel avocado roll with my mom and ordered steamed chicken and vegetables with brown rice for myself. I was honestly craving as little salt and oil as possible. I love those two things, but Toronto serves it on a whole ‘nother level.

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It was a fun mini vacation with my beloved family, but I’m excited to go back to work and not have as much acne on my face 😀

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever tried brick toast or Taiwanese snow ice?

How has someone encouraged you recently? 

The Best Vacation Ever {Part 1}

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…I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to meet. To go over…EVERYTHING.

I couldn’t get it out of my head, I’m sorry. I’m done with that joke now.

But seriously, HELLO! I am no longer cruising through the deep blue sea, but I’m happy to be back to a routine. My family and our close friends were on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas last week for a fantastic vacation. That ship is a city on water, guys. A freaking masterpiece.

Without further ado, here’s part one of three (maybe four?) recaps of just the highlights of what I deem to have been the best vacation ever. Grab some popcorn if you so wish.

Friday, July 1st

Pop and I had a 9 pm flight that was delayed for three hours (guess that’s a lowlight, not a highlight).

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We killed a little bit of that time by walking through the parking lot with our luggages. This was actually Pop’s idea! #PopMovesAndGrooves

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Saturday, July 2nd

Madre and Ben picked us up at the Orlando airport at around 2 AM. I was half asleep and groggy, but Pop was basically sprinting out of the gate to find them. In my head: “Pop, 2 AM is NOT a time to have pep in your step.”

Breakfast at around 9:30.

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quick cook steel cut oats with peach, banana, and nuts

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sunny egg

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a piece of “banana bread” (a strange but satisfying texture)

3 rounds of this circuit workout with a 36# bar. That Florida humidity makes me feel like a soggy vegetable.

Lunch before heading to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park with Ben. He worked there last summer, so he got some free park pass perks, and I got to mooch off the benefits.

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There was a 1.5-hour thunderstorm safety closure, so Ben and I were sitting out in pouring rain in our bathing suits for a while, because we were wet anyway (we also forgot towels because we’re geniuses). But we still managed to ride all the slides once they reopened!

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Showered and dried myself with a single tank top.

Dinner at Crazy Buffet (pronounced cuh-RAZY, according to Ben) with good family friends! I ate one plate of real food, dessert second, and then another salad last. Needed to make sure I had room for dessert, ya know?

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Sunday, July 3rd

Early wake-up to drive to Fort Lauderdale for Mass before boarding the ship.

Once we met up with our family friends, we boarded and booked it straight for the lunch buffet. We were a little excited for the cruise food.

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The first of many. Lunches were usually all the veggies, some sort of curry with rice…

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…and a dessert that I really did NOT need to eat.

Our tiny stateroom was cozy, and our balcony overlooked the “Boardwalk” area of the ship. So cool.

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Of course, we had to explore this monster of a ship. I still don’t think I covered the whole entire thing over the course of a week.

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Pop was walking on the track at this time, I think #PopMovesAndGrooves

Oh man, this is where I start feeling sad because I miss it.

We were served a three course meal for dinner every. single. night. It was decadent and so delicious. You would think that I would feel full and bloated during the trip, but nay! On the contrary (ew, okay I’ll stop talking like that), my stomach felt GREAT the whole vacation. And I don’t care about having a flat belly, but it was actually flatter than ever.

Know what that means?

  • I’m not lactose-intolerant (I had so much ice cream on the cruise).
  • My bloating/GI discomfort comes from stress and eating as quickly as I can during my busy day.

Will work on that. But back to this cruise food. Three courses for EACH PERSON (sometimes even four if we were feeling two appetizers, because it was all included ← dangerous). Night 1:

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eggplant artichoke puff pastry tart

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orange “mojo” sauce pork chop

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carrot cake!

We also shared a lot of our food with one another, just so we could taste all the delicious flavors. Classy gluttons, I say.

I don’t remember what else we did that night, but I’m sure it was a blast.

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p.s. when we walked through this “Royal Promenade” area, there was ~included~ pizza, sandwiches, water, coffee, tea, desserts, and other snacks all day #help

Monday, July 4th

Breakfasts at the “Windjammer Marketplace” consisted of oatmeal with some combo of eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, and/or yogurt with fruit.

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topped with peanut butter later (yes, I did bring my own jar of Jif Natural)

First port — Nassau, Bahamas.

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“what do we do with it?”

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mannequin’s eyebrows impressively on fleek

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view from the ship as we sailed away

We didn’t do too much in Nassau except some walking and a little bit of underwhelming beachin’. It was a beautiful day though, and the waters were so clear!

Back on the boat, we celebrated America with some free pre-lunch flag cake that greeted the masses in front of Windjammer’s doors (not tantalizing at all for hungry tourists waiting on line for a table).

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‘Twas delicious cake, I must say.

Vegetables for lunch, please!

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salad, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, turkey burger with mushrooms and caramelized onions

The fitness center on the ship was great. I think I was most excited about the kettlebells, which I used in my workout on Monday. There were also TRX’s, but the fitness center lady reprimanded me for using it without a certified TRX instructor.

I forget exactly what I did on Monday, but I know it involved kettlebell swings, pushups, sumo squats, Russian twists, jump lunges, and BOSU ball stuff.

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PSA: Stretch, por favor

Monday night was formal night! AKA the night Alison gets into something other than athletic clothes.

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Fun fact: We went on our first cruise ever with Christie and Monica (pictured above) and their parents 12 years ago. Naturally, we did a then and now photo.

Everyone nailed it, but I’m WAY off.

Dinner that night was delicious, but not quite as good as the first night.

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one of my favorite appetizers: “Roman Vignolo Salad” with arugula, edamame, green beans, tomatoes, prosciutto, artichokes, and parmesan

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sole with a tomato caper sauce

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butter almond ice cream

I believe we saw an acrobatics show that night— Royal Caribbean’s original “Blue Planet”. Very entertaining and impressive! Followed by a super late night comedy show, which made me laugh until my abs hurt.

Tuesday, July 5th

We were at sea all day, so we slept in before a sit-down breakfast to change it up a bit. We decided that we all liked the buffet more though (mostly because there were more options).

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smoked salmon and herb egg white omelette 

Ben, my uncle, and I gave the FlowRider a go later on. If you’ve never seen a Royal Caribbean commercial, the FlowRider is essentially a surfing simulator on the ship. There are two ways you can do it— boogie board on your stomach (easier) or surfboard on your feet (harder).

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I don’t know this girl, but this is what it looks like.

A few comments about the FlowRider:

  • It’s a lot harder than it looks.
  • 10-year-olds show me up.
  • Falling off doesn’t hurt, but being swooshed up to the top like a half-dead fish can be painful…

…and it did do some damage to my brother. Poor Ben dislocated his shoulder on his surfboard run.

I’ll spare the image for privacy reasons, but long story short: The doctor on board popped it back in (I contemplated popping it back in when he first told us about it, but…I’m not that dumb). He was given a sling to wear for a while, he lost a little bit of function (guess who cut his food the rest of the trip? :D), but he’s okay, thank God.

After all the excitement, I went to eat a late lunch by myself at Windjammer.

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A few activities and maybe a nap led us to dinner.

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Ben and I shared the caprese salad + the arancini for appetizer

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pork tenderloin with provolone potatoes (*angels singing*) and vegetables

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favorite dessert of the trip: bread and butter pudding a la mode ➔ it was like a cross between creme brûlée and bread pudding

While Madre and Pop were at the “Love and Marriage Game Show” at night, Ben and I decorated the stateroom for the ‘rents anniversary the next day. Ben was the brain behind the beauty of the setup!

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When Madre and Pop came back late that night, they were so surprised and touched. Woohoo! Happy 25th to the lovely couple 🙂


Part 2 coming tomorrow! Holy toledo, this is quite an epic recap.

So tell me:

Have you ever been on a cruise?

Does your stomach feel better on vacation, even with more food?

What did you Americans do for Fourth of July?

Have you ever dislocated your shoulder?

What was the best thing you ate last week?

More content = more questions for you. Let’s chat, please; it’s been a while!

Movin’ and Groovin’ for 2 Years

This whole blogging thing is pretty awesome.

Drawing inspiration from other bloggers, gaining courage and motivation from readers, venting my emotions and thoughts, pushing past my comfort zone, making new friends beyond the screen, finding healing, growing in my faith…

IMG_4127Unrelated: Does it look like I’m looking down to my left in this photo? Because I’m NOT! It’s so weird that my hood + hair + the lighting makes it look that way! I’m actually looking straight ahead.

In the past, I tried picking up journaling as a hobby a handful of times, but I could never stick to it, because I can only have a dialogue with myself for so long before I get bored.

That’s where the blogging community has filled the space in my journaling aspirations. The best thing about blogging is that other people can read about my thoughts and experiences and draw me out of myself. This online “diary”is  not only about me, but about us as weird and broken human beings who are trying our darn hardest in this world.

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Today marks exactly two years that I’ve been writing here on Daily Moves and Grooves. I still use a WordPress preset theme, and I don’t have thousands of followers, but I am more than content with where my blog is right now.

Although I will always be an advocate for moves and grooves, I’ve moved a little bit away from the fitness realm of “healthy living.” I’ve learned how to incorporate a little more LIFE into this blog, with a sprinkle of healthy food and fitness. Just as my priorities in life have shifted, the focus of my blog has shifted towards health and fitness for living, not living for health and fitness.

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To each one of you who has commented, emailed, messaged me, or even texted me— you have truly touched my life, and for that I am so grateful. To each of you who has taken the time to read even one post of mine—I appreciate you.

You guys make me laugh, cry, and constantly re-evaluate my perspective on life. I’m a huge fan of you.

Here’s to many more years of movin’ and groovin’! God bless, y’all. (<— nothing says east coast more than that, right?)

Check out my previous post to see what I’m up to in the Midwest!

Weekend Confessions III

Hey there!

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends, whether you were celebrating the red, white, and blue or catching up on rest and relaxation! My weekend was very relaxing, but I also had a blast with my friends and family. So blessed!

MiMM

Joining Katie‘s marvelous Monday!

I have so much to say about my weekend, so I’m gonna do it confession style {third edition}:

Confession #1:

On the night when we were supposed to have fireworks(the night before 4th of July), Daliza and I wanted soft serve ice cream so badly, but the nasty thunderstorm was preventing us from going to get some. So we pouted and nearly cried like 4-year-olds…

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…until it stopped raining.

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Score.

We’re adults, I promise.

Confession #2:

I spend a good 20+ minutes each day working on my handstand. I shall stick the dang thing. Right, Amanda?

Confession #3:

My moves have been walking, Pilates, and yoga recently. Because slower workouts just need to happen right now.

Confession #4:

I left Ben at home on 4th of July to go to a graduation party. He had just arrived from Boston for the holiday weekend, so I picked him up, brought him home, and left him there. I made him pasta salad and he napped, so he was alright. He also went over to his friend’s house, so it’s not like I completely abandoned him. 😉

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Confession #5:

Italian families are so FUN. Michael had his graduation/his mom’s birthday party on the 4th, and it was a blast. Not only was the food amazing (*ahem* an Oreo+Reese’s ice cream cake— holla), but the company was even better. We played Loaded Questions of course (thanks for lending it to us, Veronica!).

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Also, watching the World Cup with his family was craaaaazy. In a good way!

Confession #6:

I was so hyper on sugar when I got home from the graduation party (ice cream + cookies=Alison is off the walls). It was too dark to walk outside and I wasn’t really feeling yoga, so I literally walked up and down my stairs for a good 20 minutes. I prayed while I was at it, because…I’m insane for walking up and down my stairs at 11 PM why not?

Confession #7:

This weekend was the first time I went to the pool this summer. I went because the kids I babysit wanted me to join them and their parents. My skin doesn’t like chlorine, so I didn’t want to go at first, but I caved (their little faces!!!) and went. It was fun! And COLD. Next time, I won’t go when the sun is setting.

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I just didn’t put my head underwater because a) I would have been extra cold; b) I still had makeup on— don’t wanna scare people looking like a raccoon.

Confession #8:

My parents are like teenagers updating their social media pages. 

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It’s okay, they needed to post real time updates for their anniversary celebration!

Confession #9:

The food at the restaurant we went to for their anniversary was pretty terrible. My gargantuan crab cake had lots of fillers and no flavor. Dad’s “blood orange mascarpone cheesecake” was rubbery. Mom’s “panna cotta” was curdled. The food was clearly not fresh, which was a bummer.

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Blood orange mascarpone cheesecake was actually just a funky rainbow sherbet sponge

#firstworldproblems

Oh well. Ya win some, ya lose some.

Confession #10:

I turned into a huge sports fan this weekend. All the World Cup and Wimbledon excitement has me yelling at the television like my dad. I do usually like watching tennis, but this is a once-every-four-years occurrence when it comes to soccer.

I know, I’m a fake fan.

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I definitely have so many more confessions, but I think ten is quite enough, huh? So despite the gnarly food at that restaurant, this weekend was absolutely splendid!

Hope you all have a marvelous day!

So tell me:

How did you celebrate 4th of July?

Have you gone swimming this summer?

Have you ever eaten food at a restaurant that was just nasty?