Big Kids in the Big City

I just finished one of the best smoothie bowls I’ve ever made!

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How I made it: Last night I mixed together 1/3 c. milk, 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. [dry] quick cooking steel cut oats, 1 tbsp. chia seeds in a bowl. I also sliced and froze a whole ripe banana and half a mango. This morning I added to a blender another 1/2 c. milk, the oat mixture, a lot of mixed greens, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of honey, and the frozen fruit. Then I blended ’til the cows came home (probably also ’til I woke up Madre, sorry :/ ).

This was the thickest and coldest smoothie ever, thanks to the overnight chia mixture + the frozen fruit. Topped with sunflower seeds, Honey Bunches of Oats, and sweetened shredded coconut.

All I need is a tropical beach.

Other fun eats from this week at home:

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quick cook steel cut oats (that 1/4 c. serving size is diddly squat) with butter-caramelized banana slices + Greek yogurt with the rest of the caramelized banana, chia seeds, cheerios, and sunflower seeds

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half of one of my lunches: salmon and hummus on top of the last of the spinach in the container (fewer dishes FTW)

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crockpot split soup – one of my all time faves

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overnight oats (made with the quick cook steel cut oats again, because that’s all we have at home), topped with sunflower seeds + Honey Bunches of Oats

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leftover split pea soup + salad with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I’ve also been eating copious amounts of Boom Chicka Pop’s kettle corn, because once you start you can’t stop.

On Wednesday I had the privilege of hanging out with some of my beautiful friends from Boston University in NYC! Casey, Connor, Louis, Adrienne, and Fiona ♥︎

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We met up in Times Square and walked almost 4 miles down to The World Trade Center from there. We lucked out with some gorgeous weather!

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I also lucked out when this famous bagel place was on the way.

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It’s called Best Bagel and Coffee, which is the most gimmicky name ever, but over 1,000 people on Yelp loved it, so I went. In Yelp I trust.

I went for bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat everything bagel.

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Indeed, this was whole and everything.

Confession: This was my first NY bagel in my entire life. Like, I’ve eaten bagels in the state of New York, but I’ve never had a quality NY bagel until this day. I’ve only lived here for 12 years. I’m a slow person in many regards.

My bagel sandwich was absolutely delicious and great walking fuel while the rest of my friends built up a “hangry” appetite for lunch by the time we arrived at the World Trade Center. It’s so interesting being the only nourished one in the group. You just watch everyone else get angry and/or delirious.

After they were all fed at a gastropub called Suspenders, we walked around to the 9/11 Memorial.

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Connor is from Maine, so the big city was a bit too overwhelming for him.

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sees grass. lays down.

And since I’m queen of navigation when it comes to food places, I brought my pals to Rice to Riches (the most vulgar but amazing rice pudding place you will ever enter)…

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…and then Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (it was featured on Food Network, so you know it’s legit).

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Holla for International Women’s Day!

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A delightful amount of food, a crap ton of walking, and countless laughs with some of my favorite people (I kind of hate myself for the cheesiness of that last one…but it’s true).

When I got home, my body wasn’t sore and had a lot of energy for the first time this whole week, so I did a quick 16 minute workout in the basement (30 seconds work/10 seconds rest/4 rounds):

Yesterday started with that smoothie up there + a manicure and pedicure with Madre early in the morning, because I had to take a train right back into the city for lunch with Pop, my brother, and Christine from Boutiquefull (also my good friend from BU)! Christine met my brother and dad in NYC, since they all work down there, so Pop asked to take us out to lunch one day.

I wouldn’t usually take a 40 minute train + 20 minute subway ride just to eat lunch in NYC, but I’d do it for these folks 🙂

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We went to Harry’s Italian, and let me just say, thank God for complimentary focaccia bread.

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Also for giant meatball subs, one of my favorite meals on the planet.

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It was so fun catching up with Christine and hanging out with Pop and bro Ben!

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After lunch, I headed uptown to meet with a couple of the Sisters of Life. I signed up to be a co-worker for them, which is essentially a volunteer to help women in crisis pregnancies (with resources, babysitting, material donations, praying, just being a friend, etc.), so we just chatted about that and all about life (duh).

All the Sisters of Life are just pure JOY. Ugh. Love ’em.

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stopped into this church as I was speed walking to catch my train back home

Last night we went to flavor town (as Guy Fieri would say) for dinner. In other words, I roasted/grilled a bunch of veggies, Madre made salmon and rice, and we dug in.

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grilled eggplant with s+p

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Moroccan roasted carrots (olive oil, salt, pepper, Moroccan spice, brown sugar)

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts!!!

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the crispy leaves are the best, and I pretty much ate all of them straight out of the oven

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homemade roasted bell peppers for the first time ever

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Madre’s perfectly cooked teriyaki salmon

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altogether now

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Madre bought apple strudels, so I ate one a la mode of course

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Fancy, eh? The occasion was our friend Brother Sam visiting for the night!

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‘Twas a lovely evening of food, fellowship, and watching embarrassing home videos with the guest.

I’ll catch ya back in Boston! I need to buckle down and study, because I spent 75% of this spring break reading blogs (#noragrets).

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

So tell me:

Do you like to sip or eat your smoothies? Eating them out of a bowl with a spoon is the superior way, but your opinion is still welcome.

Have you ever eaten a real New York bagel?

One fun thing you did this week!

The Best Vacation Ever {Part 3}

Part 1 and Part 2!

Friday, July 8th

The first of two consecutive days at sea. The day consisted of eating (duh)…

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…walking around by myself…

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…relaxing…

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Christie and her dad got 1st and 2nd in the mini golf competition!

…the Men’s International Belly Flop Competition (as ridiculous and hilarious as it sounds), and some other random activities. But the highlight by far

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I MET US THE DUO.

If you don’t know about them, they’re a married couple who sing together, and they’re pretty famous. Daliza and I saw them in concert two years ago in Orlando!

Here’s how this went down:

I’m walking along the “Boardwalk” with my friend Monica and her parents. I catch Carissa (the girl pictured above) from the corner of my eye walking with her parents. I do a double take and see her famous tattoo on her arm, but I’m not 100% sure it’s her. Monica and her parents don’t know who Us the Duo is, but they encourage me to see if it’s really them (after 30 seconds of “ahhhhh I don’t know…it’s fine…I won’t go…but wait…”).

I decide to stalk Carissa for a minute, and in less than 10 seconds I see Michael (her husband with an unmistakable curly man bun) sitting at the tequila bar, ordering some daiquiris. I go in for the kill:

I’m so sorry to bother you, but are you Us the Duo? (I knew it was them for sure at that point, but I thought it was polite to ask anyway.)

They introduce themselves (as if I didn’t already know their names, haha) and we all hug. Carissa’s dad takes a couple photos for us, and my cheeks are TREMBLING as I smile for the photo. What I feel like:

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They ask for my name twice and say, “Hopefully we get to see you around the ship again!” I cry inside.

A quick couple small slices of pizza before a 2.5-hour show that afternoon.

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Now, it was not my intention to stalk Michael and Carissa (I’m a fangirl, but I try to be cool, ya know), but my parents coincidentally grabbed seats right next to Us the Duo and their families for the matinee showing of Mamma Mia! I came in late because I went to the bathroom, so when I saw that they were right there, I freaked out.

a) It’s Us the Duo again.

b) They definitely think I’m stalking them.

c) I had to squeeze past them in the aisle, probably smelling a little bit like sweat and ocean spray.

I got to chat with Carissa’s dad though, who said my parents are amazing dancers (he saw them at the club the night before lol).

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should have changed out of my athletic clothes // peep Michael and Carissa doing their social media celebrity thing

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nervously playing with my pinky ring

I have to take a second to thank Madre for loving taking photos as much as I do and thus for capturing these special moments.

Anyway, Mamma Mia! was Broadway quality and so fun to watch!

After a 16 minute workout at the fitness center, I showered for that time of day again…DINNER.

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Royal Seafood Salad for appetizer

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Thai Chicken

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Classic soufflé with vanilla Grand Marnier sauce

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shared a couple bites of Ben’s baked Alaska

I’m a new fan of soufflé! I think the table shared one order of prime rib that night as well. I had a couple bites, and it was divine. This vacation assured me that I’m not becoming a vegan anytime soon.

Later that night, we went to two game shows that were wildly entertaining. My parents turned into different people during those game shows.

At around 11pm, my parents headed to the Dazzles club for some more dancing, so Ben and I joined them. Guess who walked in on me while I was doing the Macarena with only one other little boy on the dance floor???

Us

the

Duo.

I kinda sorta danced the Electric Slide with them later. At the end of the night, my family got to meet them and chat with their family as well. Me all night in my head: “Is this real!?!?”
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Michael’s mom wanted to hop into the photo!

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“He dislocated his shoulder on the FlowRider.”

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Michael and Carissa are incredibly down to earth and easy to talk to! (p.s. they’re tight with Tori Kelly NBD.)

What a top-notch way to end a Friday, am I right?

Saturday, July 9th

Last day on the cruise 😦

I decided to go way out of my comfort zone for breakfast and get mostly savory foods, including something called “vegetable upma”— some sort of grain with vegetables and spices. I loved it!

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also pineapple + split a blueberry muffin with mom

I somehow got lost from everyone when we split ways after breakfast, so I spent some time planning out these blog posts and writing thank you letters to some of the crew members who served us the whole week. Eventually, I went to lunch and rock climbing with Monica and my uncle.

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Took some groovy photos with Mort the squirrel (“jungle rat/mouse lemur”) from the movie Madagascar.

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Over at the fitness center, I did an impromptu cardio workout on the bike for 30 minutes while Monica and Ben cheered me on. When they left, I stayed to do an upper body and core workout.

Our last dinner of the cruise was delightful and as epic as the first dinner we had on the cruise.

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scallops and chorizo

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roasted turkey with brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes apple bread dressing (!!!) and cranberry sauce added on the side later

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warm apple strudel a la mode

The night ended with a game show based on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, where Ben went up for only one round because neither he nor the audience knew the shape of a British twenty-pence coin.

(It’s a freaking heptagon, by the way.)

We stayed in the same venue afterwards to spectate some superstar karaoke. Holy talent on that ship!

And finally, dancing at Dazzles as our last huzzah! With our friends Us the Duo, of course (I promise we were there before they arrived…although I left and came back after Ben called me that they were there. I’m creepy, I get it).

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This was the singer at the Dazzles nightclub all week. She and her husband and their band are super talented! It was actually so sweet to see Michael and Carissa cheering them on from the dance floor like fans too.

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#UsTheFamily

I want to go to their Dublin show so badly this fall, but they’re sold out!

In case it wasn’t obvious, this cruise was the experience of a lifetime. Thank you to all who made it happen, especially my parents ♥︎

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Sunday, July 10th

We had our last breakfast on the cruise at 6 am before disembarking.

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My family went to Mass before we met up with our friends in Miami for some tourism and lunch.

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Miami Beach

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walking in 92 degrees at 10 AM should not happen more than once a year

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Farmers’ Market beauties

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a parking meter that accepts change for feeding people who are homeless!

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fresh rolls, lettuce wraps, and green papaya salad for lunch

Our families parted ways after lunch and a sweaty walk back to our cars. Four hours of driving later, dinner was Greek!

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falafel to share

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chicken salad for me

Ben and Jerry’s awaited us the freezer (you can’t out-dessert me).

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a few spoonfuls from each 🙂

Monday, July 11th

Pop and I had a 4:30 AM wakeup for our flight back to New York. Madre kindly dropped us off at the airport, where I had a salad with walnuts, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, and blue cheese for breakfast (my brain was not functioning quite right at that hour, and I really wanted veggies).

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In flight snack:

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I slept the whole flight, not surprisingly. Back at home in NY, I did a quick 12 minute workout before showering and heading to a full day of work!

Back to reality, and I cannot complain at all.


These were some looooooooong recap posts. I’m keeping these posts as my “vacation diary”, but I hope you guys enjoyed reading too!

So tell me:

Have you ever run into a celebrity unexpectedly?

Have you heard of Us the Duo?

Do you like soufflé?

Have you seen your parents become different people in a different setting?

Current Mood(s)

It’s been a funky weekend.

My mood is currently a slurry of the following:

Upset, confused, uneasy, and heartbroken by the shootings (Christina Grimmie + mass shooting at Pulse) in Orlando this weekend.

I’m having a hard time just typing this blog post, because I’m watching several videos, reading tweets/statuses/articles, and just grappling with the whole situation and with the state of the world. May God be merciful to all, and may He grant rest to the souls of those who died and console their loved ones.

Friends, keep loving more deeply every day. Reflect on your purpose in this world. I don’t mean to be preachy right now, but when it comes to life and death, it’s important to ask yourself: What if my life on earth ended today? 

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Enraged, saddened, yet awe-inspired by the powerful letter the Stanford rape victim read aloud to her attacker.

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Unsure if cutting down on dairy is helping my tummy troubles. I’m currently drinking Lactaid milk (surprisingly, it’s exceptionally tasty milk) and avoiding Greek yogurt and cheese. I think I feel better with less Greek yogurt in particular (*tear*).

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the day before my mom picked up some Lactaid // carbs+pb isn’t the same without a glass o’ milk

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leftover green banana pancakes + banana cream sauce + glass o’ Lactaid (← doesn’t have the same ring to it)

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overnight oats made without Greek yogurt but with extra Lactaid milk, chia seeds, and half a scoop of vanilla protein powder — not bad!

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classic banana egg white oats (video tutorial coming soon!)

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baked banana bread oatmeal for this week’s breakfasts

I’m also unsure because I’m weak. I had a tiny bit of ice cream Saturday night with our leftover apple strudel from the farmers’ market 🙂 And I had a few cheesy jalapeño Popcorners yesterday.

I didn’t keel over or anything though, so it’s all good.

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Another likely culprit is definitely stress. I don’t notice my stress, but I think my body/mind has objectively been stressed these past few weeks.

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All that being said…

I’m ashamed and disappointed in myself. Honesty is the best policy. I feel ashamed that maybe my tummy troubles were actually coming from a few too many days of eating until I was stuffed, even if it was just a bunch of vegetables.

I have definitely not been binging by any means, but I do know that I sometimes stress eat and/or eat too quickly when I’m stressed. I was struck by the possibility that maybe my insides haven’t been cooperating because I just haven’t been too kind to them in regards to the volume I eat.

So I’ve been more aware of my stomach cues (without worrying about calories or anything), which (DUH) has been helping me feel more comfortable. I’m tempted to beat myself up about my recent eating habits, but I know that will just do me a disservice. Evaluate, learn, make the changes, and move on.

Somewhat off topic: Lunches these days have been all about eggs, which I find are easy on my stomach.

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two egg omelet with greens and onions + cherry tomatoes + avocado toast

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avocado toast with sunny egg and sriracha (among other things) for lunch on Saturday

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delicious bowl of quinoa, roasted broccoli, sautéed greens, onions, cherry tomatoes, chorizo + sunny egg + sriracha added post-pic

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Thankful that my body can move and exercise. I always try to be, but I’ve had to especially remind myself to be thankful this weekend because of some recent body image issues that I’ll talk more about tomorrow.

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Mom and I have been doing 7 minute workouts and Pilates together. So wonderful to move and groove with Madre.
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Working at a rehabilitation hospital has also done wonders for my perspective on physical ability, movement, and health.

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scene at lunch break

Saturday’s workout was a doozy! 4 rounds for time:

  • 10 burpee tuck jumps
  • 20 crazy Russian twists (10 each side, 15#)
  • 30 side jump lunges
  • 40 air squats with side leg lift
  • 50 mountain climbers

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HUSTLED on those last squats and mountain climbers when I saw that I could finish at 20 minutes

I did this yoga video yesterday, since everything was sore and my body had been craving good, organ-nourishing twists.

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Happy that I get to spend quality time with my parents on the weekends. We went out for sushi on Saturday night after Mass, followed by an evening walk.

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Mom and Pop’s sashimi for two

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cutest soy sauce dish

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my order: “Soho roll” (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, rice, roe, wrapped in soybean paper) + eel cucumber roll

Ain’t nothing like gooooooood sushi.

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Excited for friends and family in their adventures and endeavors. It’s so cool to see loved ones explore the world, learn, grow, and allow God to work through them.

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So there’s a lot happening in the head and the heart right now. A lot of it is growing pain, I think, which is encouraging and comforting. God is good, always.

I’m sorry if this post seems like a big, negative smash on your Monday, but that’s not my intent. This is just a reminder to myself and to all who read this that we need to support and uplift one another. Joy, beauty, heroism, and love exist, and it starts with you.

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So tell me:

What are your current moods?

Have you ever gone through periods of “meh” eating habits, even if you have a healthy mindset?

What are you thankful for today?

What is the best thing you did this weekend? Mass + dinner and walk with the parents ♥︎

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Weekend Confessions

weekend confessions

It’s been a while since I confessed to you all (because I don’t already bare my innermost thoughts to you on a weekly basis already).

So some confessions from the weekend:

Confession #1: I watched Me Before You with Daliza on Friday night, and I was crying my eyes out with all the other middle school girls in the theater. In my defense, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room except for Daliza’s. She was laughing at the rest of us.

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Confession #2: I loved and hated the movie. Loved because it was a very sweet romance (I’m a sucker). Plus, British accents. Hated because I have some qualms about the ending.

Confession #3: After the movie, I went home for a really cute baking date at home with a British guy ❤

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Cookie & Kate’s banana bread in muffin form

That guy would be Jamie Oliver. On Youtube. It was like a Skype cooking date, except we were cooking different things and he has no idea I exist.

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fresh out of the oven with a big smear of cinnamon raisin peanut butter from Stowe + glass o’ milk!

Confession #4: Dad’s birthday was on Saturday, but he did more work and service than I (and many people) did that day. He’s a star.

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Saturday’s breakfast: full fat Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, banana, banana muffin, and almond butter

Confession #5: Mom and I bought so much {rather expensive} food at the farmers’ market on Saturday with the reasoning that “we are supporting the locals.”

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I’m sorry, how many dollars?

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foraging in my natural habitat

I love special nut butters, but there are very few times I am willing to drop $13 for a standard jar.

Confession #6: I totally snacked my way through lunch at the farmers’ market. I love how you never fail to get excessive amounts of carbs and cheese at farmers’ markets.

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side confession: this fresh apple waffle was probably the best waffle I’ve EVER eaten — so doughy!

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this apple strudel is legit

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side confession: this tasted no different from chocolate cow milk, but that’s not a bad thing

Confession #7: I may never get tired of tacos.

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one carne enchilada + one chicken taco

Pop chose a local Mexican restaurant for his birthday dinner, and Mom and I could not be more pleased with his decision 😉

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he got a huge frozen margarita for his special day — atta boy

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chicken and pork chilaquiles as an appetizer to share

Confession #8: I always forget how wonderful one-on-one walks are. Pop and I took a late night walk through our humid and dark neighborhood. Good convo with a great man.

Confession #9: I indulged in more sweets on Pop’s birthday than on my own birthday. The farmers’ market lured Madre and I into buying many baked goods, sooooo, like, you gotta eat some while they’re fresh, right?

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a slice of apple strudel a la mode + a piece of this gluten/dairy/grain/everything-free blueberry scone

Confession # 10: I play eenie-meenie-miney-mo (sp?) for a lot of my trivial life decisions. Example: yesterday’s breakfast was a toss-up between three of Amanda’s recipes: oatmeal cookie dough smoothie, banana oat french toast bake, and chunky monkey pancakes.

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banana oat french toast bake won – topped with cinnamon raisin pb + glass o’ milk

Confession #11: I put Greek yogurt on my beef yesterday.

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LISTEN. It’s like sour cream if it’s full fat Greek yogurt (I’m saying this mostly to defend myself from my non-blogger friends, who think that even peanut butter with yogurt is weird).

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also had a hunk of a huge cheese biscuit…from the farmers’ market

Confession #12: The workout I did on Saturday left me quiiiiiite sore on Sunday. It was:

5 rounds of 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 3 wall walks. Then…

3 rounds (30 sec work, 10 sec rest):

  • burpees
  • alternating split lunges with 10# DB
  • toe touch + split sit-up
  • push-up with knee tap
  • high knees
  • heel tap burpees

I’m sorry. Half of those exercises probably mean NOTHING to you, because they are not conventional exercises that have real names.

Confession #13: When I did this 60 minute vinyasa yoga with Leigha Butler yesterday, I spent about 25% of the time staring at her doing poses beyond my anatomical capacity.

Confession #14: When I went on a walk with Madre yesterday, I was walking at maybe 2 mph because my butt was so sore.

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a slow incline that felt like a mountain – but look at how mystical this is!

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Confession #15: We secretly live near a rainforest.

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…that happens to have evergreens

Confession #16: I decided to watch home videos with mom last night because all I wanted were warm fuzzies.

Confession #17: Dinner last night was pita bread and veggies with hummus, these baked zucchini, and desserts…from the farmers’ market.

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Hope you all have a fantastic week! Support local businesses 🙂

So tell me:

What is your experience with farmers’ markets? Do you get giddy like I do? Do you give in to buying more expensive things than you normally would to #SupportLocal?

Do you ever play eenie-meenie-miney-mo to make life decisions?

Two fun things you did this weekend!

What do you think of Me Before You if you read/saw it?

Beautiful Weekend in Stowe, Vermont

I feel like I went to Narnia this weekend.

I was only gone with my family for 36 hours, but I feel like I was away for a week! After finals ended on Thursday night, I stayed with my parents at their hotel, since Friday required an early morning wake-up call for my brother’s graduation.

I went to bed past midnight and somehow got myself to roll out of bed at 5:35 AM (mostly because I needed to pee), so I hit up the hotel gym for a super quick workout. My hair was still in nightmare world and my eye bags were fluffier than my pillow.

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2 minute warmup + 16 minute HIIT (24 rounds of 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest) + stretching:

  • burpees
  • side jump lunges
  • DB clean and jerks (20# DBs)
  • tricep dips/spiderman planks
  • tuck jumps
  • split jack lunges/alternating reverse lunges (20#)

The ‘rents and I got dressed up and headed to TD Garden (home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics!) for the graduation. The arena doesn’t allow outside food or drink, so we made sure to eat a good meal before being in there for 6+ hours. Subway looked like the best option at 7 AM.

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egg white, cheese, veggie on honey oat

But since we got to the arena two hours early to get good seats, I was hungry by the time commencement started, so I bit the bullet and bought FIVE DOLLAR in-shell peanuts to tide me over. It was either those or hot dogs for $4. Hot dogs in the morning. Need I explain my decision?

Anyway, the commencement was just peachy. Their speaker was US Secretary of State, John Kerry! His best line that made the crowd go wild was: “You are Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”

Congratulations, Ben + Northeastern Class of 2016!

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Afterwards, we were so ready for lunch. I got a Thai chicken salad with some sort of sweet dressing that was delicious.

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We filled our bellies and then promptly hit the road for Stowe, VT for a little family weekend getaway.

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We stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, which was just gorgeous. The skies were a bit gloomy, but there are some awesome mountains behind those clouds.

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The resort itself was huge and beautiful as well. It was such a labyrinth to walk through. We felt like we we walked at least a quarter of a mile just to get to our room!

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Since we arrived pretty late, we bolted for the hotel restaurant for dinner before it closed. ‘Twas a convenient but pricey decision.

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mason jars ♥︎ 

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salad with pistachios, cranberries, and grilled chicken

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apple crisp a la mode

The room had a kitchen and some artsy, rustic cutlery. A blogger’s dream.

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Ben: “Should I model it?”

Saturday was a near perfect day in my book. I slept in and then started the day with a banana and some nuts and a workout at the {amazing} hotel gym.

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dynamic warmup + 3 rounds of:

  • 15 close-grip DB chest press
  • 30 double unders
  • 10 clean and jerks

+ playing around on the Pilates ladder barrel

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Then we brunched at a local place called McCarthy’s. Super Irish, which is perfect as I prepare to study abroad in Dublin this fall 🙂

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I ordered the French toast special with two sunny eggs + bacon. Everything breakfast should be. {Side note: I decided not to bring my peanut butter on this vacation because I thought I should try to detach myself, haha.}

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I also shared a very decent portion of my mom’s Irish home fries and corned beef. KILLER.

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Ben and I dropped off our parents back at the resort and then headed out on an expedition to Stowe Pinnacle!

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I would say I built this, but that would be a lie

It was about 1.65 miles going up, and the incline wasn’t crazy steep, but it was, as Ben put it, persistent. ‘Twas a fab idea to have such a hearty, fatty meal an hour before this. We made it to the summit in pretty good time though— approximately 50 minutes.

Boy, was this view worth it.

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It was pretty comparable to the glorious view from Bear Peak in Colorado a year ago, except this time I could breathe because we weren’t at high altitude.

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There were these two golden retrievers up at the summit that were old, fat, and adorable. We couldn’t tell if they belonged to anyone in particular, but all they wanted was to be loved by all the people who made it to the summit.

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freakin’ regal

We trekked back down the mountain, which is less physically challenging but definitely more technically challenging in terms of not falling off the face of the mountain. I only slipped and fell on my butt once going downhill, which is on par for me. I really need to wear the hiking shoes I have.

When we got back to the road, Ben and I went on a quest for a maple “creemee” per my friend Courtney’s suggestion. A creemee is special Vermont soft serve ice cream. Unfortunately, we could not find a place that was open and selling maple creemees. Unlike other cities we’re used to, Stowe actually closes shops seasonally *gasp*.

Instead, Ben stopped for a craft beer and we took a Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. Not a bad detour!

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I got their banana peanut butter frozen Greek yogurt because that epitomizes my food choices // Ben got strawberry cheesecake and Spectacular Speculoos (so good!)

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Ben and… Allie’s?

What a great post-hike snack 🙂

We went back to the hotel, showered, and then headed to dinner with our parents at the Trapp Family Lodge (yes, the von Trapps from Sound of Music!).

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spring vegetable salad with an amazing yogurt sauce + some of my mom’s pancetta-wrapped chicken thigh and quinoa + a bite of Ben’s wiener schnitzel

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roasted carrots for the table to share

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cheese plate

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the BEST apple strudel a la mode! 

Full and oh so content.

Sunday (Mother’s Day!) started with Mass and breakfast at Cafe on Main. I was in the mood for a good sandwich instead of breakfast food, so I went for the turkey club. Tasty!

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Then we walked downstairs to the quaint Stowe Mercantile store, where I freaked out over their local peanut/almond butters.

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May or may not have bought three jars.

Four hours later, we were back in Boston, where Ben and I unloaded/loaded some things from our places. We ended our family time with a late lunch at Super 88! All I wanted was crunchy, fresh vegetables, so I ordered the tofu and vegetable rice noodle soup. Hit the spot so good!

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And then the fam parted ways. I’m back in Boston for one more week, which means lots of oatmeal for meals, which is perfectly fine with me!

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THIS WAS SO LONG. But hey, thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far, consider yourself bear-hugged.

Hope you all have a magnificent Monday! I am grateful for YOU.

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Vermont?

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor!

Have you ever fallen on a hike?