Living Life on the Edge of a Cliff

Ireland keeps one-upping itself.

Just when I think, “THIS IS MY NEW FAVORITE PLACE EVER,” I go to another place, and I have to say the phrase again.

This weekend, I went to two of {seriously} my two new favorite places ever— Howth Cliffs and Cliffs of Moher. You could say that I was living life on the edge.

Thursday— Irish Sports

Before I get into the cliffs, I need to tell you about how we played Gaelic sports on Thursday morning. Instead of 2.5 hours of sitting in class, our contemporary Irish society class headed to the “pitches” for some traditional Irish sports (praaaaaise).

Sport #1: Gaelic football. I would describe this as a cross between soccer, American football, and rugby, played with a volleyball. I was pretty bad, but it was fun to try.

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[source]

Sport #2: Handball. The drills for this were a pain in the ass, but playing the actual game was fun! I liked this one the most. It’s basically squash without a racquet and with a softer, smaller ball.

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[source]

Sport #3: Hurling. Sounds horrendous already, doesn’t it? Well I played horrendously too. It’s like lacrosse + field hockey + baseball + do whatever the feck (← apparently an acceptable curse substitution here, even on daytime TV) you want. Just kidding, there are rules, but there are too many rules to remember for a rookie.

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I learned afterwards that our young instructor for the day was one of the best Irish sport athletes in the country, so… good. He saw me miss the ball about 10 times.

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that chin sweat.

Despite my skill deficiency, I had such a blast learning about the history of the sports and how to play them! Irish moves and grooves, I dig it 🙂

Friday— Howth

Howth is pronounced with a long ‘o’ sound. So like “oath” with an ‘h’ in front. Just FYI, because I wouldn’t have known.

My mom got back from her two-week tour around Ireland, and her sister was also in town! I met up with them on Friday morning for breakfast at Restaurant 104. I opted for a big, late breakfast including a goat cheese, spinach, and red pepper omelette. Then mom and I split a scone with butter, jam, and CREAM (← game changer).

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We had no plans for the day, but my aunt asked us, “Have you ever been to Howth?” I had not been, but Rachel told me I had to go, so Friday was the day! We took a fairly short rail ride out to the beautiful fishing village, and just did our tourist thing. Lots of looking around and photographing!

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The highlight of Howth is the cliff walk, so I took off on one of the paths while my mom and aunt stayed back at the beach. I wish they came along to see the beauty of the cliffs, but it was a blessing in disguise to do a solo hike.

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As I walked up the initial road, I saw some gorgeous properties along the coast. I told myself about 100 times during the whole cliff walk, “I want to live here.”

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wild blackberries!

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help, no one here to take photos with me

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I cannot explain how at peace and in awe I felt throughout the 1.5-hour walk around the cliffs. The wind was strong, the ocean was mystifying, and the solitude was rejuvenating. God exists, man.

On the walk down, I passed by some more cute houses and an abbey.

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I would have done the longer hike path, but I didn’t want to keep Madre and my aunt waiting too long. Plus, I was so parched. I ran out of water early on in my walk, so I needed hydration ASAP.

I met up with the ladies at Starbucks for some water and snacks, and then we popped into a lovely tea house for afternoon tea and cake. My aunt and I shared a pot of wonderful spearmint tea, and then we all shared a scrumptious slice of carrot cake.

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some of the best carrot cake we’ve ever tasted!! SO moist, and I’m not sorry for using that word.

Our eating schedule was weird with our late breakfast and dessert-lunch, so we ate dinner about an hour later at a restaurant called Deep. All the seafood restaurants looked fantastic, since we were in a fishing village after all.

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literally right from the boat to the market to the restaurant

We share calamari to start, and then I ate a decadent “open fish pie” for my entree.

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It looks like it’s just mashed potatoes in a dish, but there was so much fish underneath! Cod, salmon, and some others that I could not identify. Comfort food at best. Mom also shared a big piece of her fish + chips with me. The crust was perfect!

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My meal also came with a dessert (“my preciousss”), so I ordered the apple crumble. It was hot and the perfect sweet ending to a pretty sweet day.

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Thank you so much, Madre and Auntie Xay for an incredible day in Howth! And happy birthday to Auntie Xay as well 🙂

Saturday— Dublin

I had some work to do, so I laid low with Madre in my dorm room. She basically filmed a documentary of my life to show Pop, which I thought was hilarious. I did some homework, laundry, and a nice dorm workout in the morning/early afternoon. For my workout, I did a slowish 12 minute workout, followed by the first day workout in the free CodyApp KaisaFit challenge! I ♥︎ Kaisa.

After a shower and finishing up laundry (mom spoiled me and folded it all for me while I worked!), we walked to a late lunch at the Lovely Food Co.

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I ordered the superfood salad for some veggie power in my life. It was everything I could have wanted and more. I think it had roasted veggies, broccoli, seeds, homemade croutons, and halloumi cheese, among other things.

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Mom had the smoked salmon and crab sandwich per my recommendation. She shared a quarter of it with me + some of her tomato soup.

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And since Lovely Food Co. has some of the best desserts, we had to order one to share. She chose the spiced pear cake, which was another score. Moist, perfectly spiced, and just sweet enough.

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We went grocery shopping for my week ahead, and then an hour or two later, we walked to Mass with my friends Megan and Cristen. Then it was already dinner time at Dall’Italiano! My aunt also met up with us after her day of touring Dublin city centre.

We all craved pasta, and we left satisfied.

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I got the fettuccine with beef fillet, onions, and mushrooms in a red wine sauce. Molto bene! I have 1/3 of it in my fridge for leftovers 🙂

Then it was time to say farewell to my mother for three months (and my aunt for even longer probably!). So sad, but it was great to spend so much time with her in my first month in Ireland! She had a lot of fun on her tour too.

That night I FaceTimed with two of my favorite people too— Rachel and Joe! I’m not that homesick, but I do miss my friends dearly.

Sunday— Cliffs of Moher

FaceTiming Rachel until late at night made the 5:50 wakeup call a little rough. But a nice 45 minute walk to the bus stop was enough to wake me up! Plus overnight oats.

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ugliest breakfast ever, but one of the most delicious

Megan, Cristen and I took a Paddywagon Tour, which was informative, entertaining, and eventful. One person needed to pee really badly (not me this time! although I very much empathized with her), one person got bus sick on the side of the road, a couple people almost got left behind, and the tour guide was great but also passive aggressive.

I’d recommend the tour though!

We brought our lunches, which we ate at 10:30am on the bus due to our early breakfast.

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red pesto, cheddar, hummus, basil, and rocket sandwich (threw whatever I had in the fridge into this thing and it was so tasty!!)

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Our first stop was a revisit of Dunguaire Castle, where Megan and I experienced a medieval banquet last weekend. It was just a quick photo stop this time, but it was extra pretty with this cool cloud effect going on.

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Our second major pit stop was the Burrens and the Mini Cliffs. The views were stellar even there.

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The wind was straight-up concerning though. Cristen is a very petite lady, and we all agreed that she should not come close to the edges of the mini cliffs, because there was a legitimate possibility of her blowing off.

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can you see what I mean?

Our bus driver then rushed us over to lunch in Doolin, where we all had dessert, since we had already eaten our lunches. I bought this huge slice of sweet and rich berry bakewell gateaux.

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holy moly way too much sugar for one person

Then it was time for the CLIFFS. OF. MOHER.

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They really are as phenomenal as people say they are. It was too magnificent to be true, especially since we lucked out with the weather!

So Rachel came to the Cliffs over the summer and took a jumping photo with them, so I obviously had to take one as well. Take one: too narrow of a pathway and way too windy for comfort.

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Megan: “Alison I don’t think you should jump.”

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Me: “Yeah you’re right. Safety first.”

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Compromise.

But then later, we found a less windy and broader spot for the photo.

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Then Rachel posted this photo to her social media:

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mirror image, I say 😉

It was a nice steep climb to the highest point of the cliffs, but man was it worth going up there [twice].

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Megan: “Gets to the peak. Drops on knees in prayer.”

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As always, photos can never do these kinds of places justice. If you ever get the opportunity to go to Ireland, go experience the Cliffs of Moher for yourself.

We stopped by Bunratty Castle before our 2.5-hour trip back to Dublin.

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Manmade things are just “meh” now and forevermore.

I wanted all the movement and all the veggies and protein for dinner at around 9pm. Before I ate, I did a quick 10 minute HIIT in my room to get the blood flowing and to spend some extra pent-up energy.

I finished up my big bag of rocket (arugula) with a can of salmon + hummus, tomatoes, and some unpictured carrots.

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I ended the night with blogging and FaceTiming two more friends from Boston— PJ and Louis. YAY!

Monday— WorkWorkWorkWorkWorkWork

So many things to do now, so little time!!

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But this weekend was more than worth it.

Hope you all have a marvelous week!! Go outside and feel the wind in your hair if ya can.

So tell me:

Have you ever played a foreign sport before?

Have you ever taken a solo hike?

Have you ever been to the Cliffs of Moher?

What is the most beautiful natural phenomenon you’ve ever witnessed?

Two things you did this weekend!

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Not Quite Back to Dining Hall Food

I unintentionally squandered my unlimited meal plan yesterday.

I didn’t eat a single meal in the dining hall. I did, however, use my unlimited swipe-ability without guilt to pick up some fruit as a snack.

Yesterday was our last hurrah before the start of classes, and I’m glad to say that it was both a productive and fun day (without any heart palpitations, thank God).

I felt like a spring chicken after sleeping in and doing a bit of yoga and foam rolling in the morning. Once I was finished with all that, it was 10AM, so a quick dorm breakfast felt like the way to go.

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peanut butter + vanilla protein + banana on Dave’s killer bread

Followed by some human physiology reading, Jesus loving (Mass), and then more food. The admissions office graciously hosted a welcome back BBQ for all the admissions ambassadors (tour guides, etc.), complete with burgers, dogs, cookies, and sunshine.

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there’s a big burger patty in there somewhere

I was kinda antisocial at the BBQ, but I didn’t mean to be. I just needed to sit down and eat my burger with two hands, which meant that I had to remove myself from all the people standing and talking. In reality I was doing everyone a favor by not talking to them with lettuce in my teeth and mustard on my cheeks.

Domestic dorm duties beckoned me, so I went back to the dorm to do laundry and tub scrubbing.

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fueled by some zucchini bread that my wonderful roommate baked

My roommates told me not to clean the bathroom since it’s only been a week, but I rebelled and cleaned it anyway. Mold preys quickly.

And I prey on peanut butter even more quickly.

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My accidental homage to “I ♥ NY (aka The Big Apple)” 😉

I passed more time with blogging, folding laundry, and getting distracted by Tori Kelly’s VMA performance before leaving for the Catholic Center’s trip to the North End!

This week for me is filled with the BU Catholic Center’s First Week events, which is a time for any and all returning students and new students to hang out, meet friends, and partake in a merry time.

Day one was a scavenger hunt with tasks such as proposing to a stranger (who happens to look like Morgan Freeman).

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Day two was a trip to Quincy Market and the North End of Boston, which is like a more quaint version of NYC’s Little Italy.

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gyro plate with rice pilaf and salad from Quincy Market

HOUSED THIS. I told Rachel, “It scares me and thrills me that half of this meat is fat.”

Afterwards we walked to Mike’s Pastry in the North End, where our bomb-dig priest generously bought forty cannoli(s?) for the group.

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best cannoli I ever did eat // no chocolate chips 😀

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back to the endless selfies of college

Beautiful place and weather with beautiful people, eating beautiful food, and celebrating a beautiful Lord.

The day ended with deep thoughts/girl talk in my friends’ dorm room and typing up this blog post. Plus a shower, because hygiene is good.

P.S. I’m going to a modern dance class today, and I haven’t danced in forever, but I’m SO STOKED.

Wishing you all a beautiful day!

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So tell me:

Do you get self-conscious eating around people? I don’t usually, but when it comes to things with big leaves, I must hide my face.

Have you ever tried a cannoli?

Are you scrupulous about cleaning the bathroom like I am?

Why Did I Eat It?

HEY I’m blogging in the middle of a school week! That doesn’t happen very often these days, huh?

I’m even joining in on the What I Ate Wednesday fun for the first time in a few weeks!

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Today I’m showing you what I ate on Monday, a regular ol’ day in college. But I also wanted to share the reasons why I ate what I ate.

{My roommate just read that to herself and mocked me: “And this is why I added a pinch of salt. And this is why I had three scoops of oatmeal instead of two! And this is why I had 27 scoops of peanut butter instead of 24.” So this is how I am perceived in the world.}

I said it in my NEDA week post, but I’ll say it again: it can be difficult to not analyze food to some extent, even after recovering from an eating disorder. However, my mindset towards food has shifted from focusing on restriction and calories to focusing on nutrients, fuel, and happiness.

Sometimes I choose to eat certain foods to make sure I am getting enough macros, nutrients, etc. Other times, I choose to eat foods because I’m in a rush. Still other times, I choose to eat foods because they just taste good.

So here are Monday’s eats and the answers to the question: Why did I eat it?

Breakfast 

-Two egg scramble with all the veggies in the land // For protein, fiber, and nutrients + staying power for three straight hours of classes.

-Whole wheat apple pancake with peanut butter and banana on top // For whole grains, fruit, delicious taste, healthy fats and just…peanut butter.

-Glass o’ milk // To wash down the pancake with peanut butter and for calcium.

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Lunch

Grilled chicken // For protein, and it was spiced well.

-Salad with spinach, tomatoes, carrots, sautéed veggies, whole wheat pasta salad, and honey dijon dressing // For yet more veggie power, carbs, something to eat with the chicken, and taste (man this was delicious!).

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-Apple // To keep the doctor away 😉 And because I like to end on a sweet note.

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Snacks

-Wheat Thins // Because they’re a convenient snack that I have in my dorm and I love them.

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-Bare apple chips + a couple spoonfuls of almond butter // For energy to study, fiber, healthy fats, and protein. This is also one of my favorite snacks at the moment, but now I’m out of apple chips. 😦

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-Another spoonful of almond butter // I was still hungry and I knew I would not be eating dinner in another three hours.

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[I played intramural softball with some people from the Catholic Center, which was freezing, fun, and humorous all at the same time. I strongly despise softball/baseball, so this was truly one for the team. But it was low-key, so I’d do it again!]

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My thoughts: “But I can barely catch with my good hand.”

Dinner

-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, and gravy // Because I will eat any sort of meatloaf (okay, maybe not). Also for protein, carbs, veggies, and comfort (a good meal for thawing out from the cold outdoors).

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Dessert(s)

-Apple and raisin compote + peach cobbler ice cream // I wanted dessert.

There’s a little more explanation for this one. I grabbed the apple raisin compote in hopes to have it a la mode with vanilla ice cream, but there was no vanilla ice cream when I went to go get some. Thus, I tried this peach cobbler ice cream, but it was kinda gross to me, so I didn’t really eat it. I finished most of the apple raisin thing though.

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-Strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream // Because our faculty in residence baked it from scratch, so how could I say no? I also justified that I didn’t have much of my dessert at the dining hall, so…

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It was worth the Monday night sugar overload.

Looking back at my day of eats, it looks like I ate quite a lot. But as I was going about my day on Monday, this was the amount my body needed (and wanted when it came to the desserts). Even though I seek to get enough vegetables, whole grains, nutrients, etc., I am fortunate to say that I also truly enjoy the healthy foods I eat. Then I might have some (or a lot of) sugar because it’s also tasty and nourishing to my soul.

Mindful eating used to be my whole life, but with time, mindful eating has become a useful tool— an optional tool at times.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!

So tell me: 

Do you consider yourself a “mindful eater”?

What is a sweet treat that you’ve eaten recently?

Do you like softball or baseball?

Recent College vs. Home Eats

Look who’s here!

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It’s my dear friend Rachel from college! If you’ve been following me through my Boston University adventures, you’ve probably seen this pretty face show up multiple times. She’s here in New York for spring break to be as touristy as a tourist can get, and I’m her guide. Except I don’t know the geography of NYC, so we’ll see how that all works out. Thank God for the grid system, eh?

We were overwhelming ourselves last night with the possible things to do in NYC, which is practically endless. With some advice from my roommate over FaceTime, we narrowed it down to a few bunch of places we definitely want to see (some of these are new to me too!):

So, basically, dessert. I realized last night while planning this that I am so lucky to have all these incredible sights, attractions, and places to eat so close to me. I don’t often take advantage of it when I’m home, but now that I have a guest, I’m excited to be a tourist in my own “hometown” (I don’t live in NYC, just close enough).

And speaking of all that food, here are some of my recent eats! I always must say that we are spoiled with the quality, variety, and healthy options of food at BU, but it’s definitely always a treat to come home to the kitchen and mama’s cooking.

I also don’t eat as much when I’m at home, but that’s only because I’m not walking around nearly as much as I do when I’m on campus, so I’m just not as hungry. That being said, I am still blessed to be eating well at home (and you bet I’ll be eating a lot these next couple of days in the city…!).

Recent College Eats:

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whole wheat apple pancake with banana and peanut butter + scrambled eggs + glass o’ milk

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two eggs scrambled with vegetables + oatmeal with coconut, blueberries, and banana

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apple chips (with and without peanut butter)

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lots of green apples (so much better than the red ones in the dining halls)

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baked fish with rice + salad

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salad with sweet potatoes, tuna salad, some sort of bean dip, and feta

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the biggest portion of baked fish I’ve ever received + broccoli and root veggies

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vegan pumpkin bread (with a smidgen of chocolate ice cream that I thought would be vanilla ice cream)

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blueberry cobbler a la mode

Recent Home Eats:

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Kylie’s “banana pudding for breakfast

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LOADED Greek yogurt bowl with chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, half a banana, a morning glory muffin, granola, and a large pool of almond butter 

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carrots and Sabra roasted pine nut hummus

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we found Nuttzo Organic Smooth Power Fuel at Costco!!!

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mini morning glory muffin drenched in Nuttzo

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classic

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chicken tamale (that dad brought home from a church event) + two scrambled eggs with spinach and tomatoes

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salad with homemade honey mustard dressing + seedy toast with sunny eggs and sriracha

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amazing welcome feast for Rachel a la madre: salmon steamed in banana leaves, Thai basil chicken, Lao baked egg whites (so interesting!), pan roasted brussels sprouts, and sticky rice

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vanilla bean ice cream with banana slices and cinnamon

Stay tuned for NYC eats coming at ya later this week. It will be epic, I’m sure.

Hope you all have a terrific Tuesday!

So tell me:

Are you ever a tourist in your own hometown?

Which of the places listed above would you want to visit in NYC?

What is the best meal you’ve eaten in the past week?

A Day of Technological Difficulties {and a Day of Eats}

Two songs described my day yesterday: Technologic by Daft Punk and Wobble Baby by V.I.C. (I can explain).

“Technologic” because it seemed like my day revolved around resolving technology issues.

1) Buying a new graphing calculator.

2) Bringing my laptop to the Apple Store to get it diagnosed (it froze and then wouldn’t start up again).

3) Figuring out a small problem with our TV.

#1 and #3 are all fixed now, but #2 was a little more frustrating. I took it to the Apple Store, and it turns out that my laptop’s hard drive is messed up, so I have to get a new one.

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I lost all the information on my current hard drive, which is not terrible since I backed it up maybe a month or two ago, but I still lost a bunch of photos and my longggg, organized notes for tour guiding that I had worked on all winter break.

Bummer.

That’s where “Wobble Baby” comes in. There is a part in the song where he sings, “make ’em back it up, make ’em back it up.” So that was stuck in my head all day when I realized that I should back up my computer more often.

Despite my disappointment in not backing it up (my computer and my booty), it was still a great and productive day overall. My eats were delicious as a bonus!

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Joining Jenn’s WIAW party!

Breakfast

I already showed you at the end of yesterday’s post, but my morning meal was this wonderful banana overnight oatmeal smoothie. The recipe is here!

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Plus some pomegranate arils eaten straight up with a spoon.

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Lunch

Back to my staple foods: spinach salad dressed in olive oil, honey, and pepper + avocado toast + two sunny eggs.

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I put the eggs on top of the avocado toast so that the yolk could run onto the toast like a delightful waterfall of liquid sunshine.

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I apologize if you are not a supporter of #yolkporn.

Snacks

We picked up this new Lemon Twist flavor of Sabra hummus, and it is rocking my world. I’m dipping ALL the veggies in it!

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I also had some Korean pear slices that my mom cut up, but no photographical evidence lives.

Dinner

Since I ate the equivalent of one head of broccoli with that hummus, I only had room for one of mom’s coconut curry chicken drumsticks with bamboo shoots. Taaaaaaasty!

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Dessert

I was also saving room for dessert 😀

Daliza came over (!) and we shared a couple mug cakes that I made — Kylie’s pumpkin mug muffins (makes two, so Pop ate one) and two of Amanda’s banana bread mug cakes (one for mom).

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The perfect, quick treat for a frigid night indeed.

We ended it all with some more pomegranate!

I also finally let Daliza open my birthday gift for her that was delivered to her house two weeks ago. I didn’t let her open it until I got home from Florida because I wanted to be there for the live reaction!

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It’s a personalized pillow with some famous Russell Crowe movie quotes! (Daliza essentially likes to think of herself as Mrs. Crowe.) Can you name some of those movies?

Halfway through the week, folks! I’m cheering for you!

So tell me:

Have you had any technological issues lately?

What is your favorite dip? 

Hummus and spinach artichoke dip are my favorites!

Which actor’s/actress’ quotes would you put on a pillow? 

Maybe Anne Hathaway (to be honest, just thinking of The Princess Diaries.)