My First Spa Day

All good things must come to an end!

That’s been our motto for the past couple of days as everyone staying at our Florida home has been going back to their real homes for work and school. Mom and I were the last two left, so we spent Saturday cleaning and packing up the house and all our belongings. Despite “closing up shop”, it’s been an awesome (and super long) vacation, so there is absolutely nothing to be sad about.

Friday

Especially when you end the vacation with a spa day! This was my first spa day since I’m eighteen years old now. All my little girl dreams came true.

Pre-spa breakfast was avocado toast with a dippy egg and a banana on the side.

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We went to the Ritz Carlton spa for the day (ooh la la, I know), and the staff was incredibly kind (like, sometimes I was uncomfortable with how nice they were). They even allowed my day at the spa to be free of charge since my mom and aunt were both paying for day passes and facials.

Four thumbs up for customer service (I’m counting my toe thumbs)!!

Our spa day started with moves at the fitness center. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill and then completed Hillary’s arm and ab superset workout with 10-20 burpees after each superset instead of kettlebell swings.

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Thanks for creeping on me during my workout, Madre 

I was feelin’ weeeeak by the end of my workout, so a nourishing lunch afterwards was just perfect.

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“Bento box” with seared ahi tuna, mixed greens, three bean salad, and farro salad

I savored every last bite of this plate since it was all so delicious and fresh. The price was also great for all this food (look at all that tuna)!

Following lunch, we showered in the snazzy spa showers, put on the classic white robes, and then chillaxed.

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You bet I had some of those yogurt pretzels

I attempted to go into the sauna, but I only stayed for 5 minutes because I felt like a baking cookie. And the steam room…lasted 5 seconds. I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t breathe. Nuhthanks.

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The jacuzzi on the other hand…

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…yeah I could do that. I’m such a juvenile.

I spent my time in the jacuzzi for a bit, but I dried off and headed back to the empty studio in the fitness center to stretch while my mom and aunt were getting their faces lathered and massaged. I also kept snacking on the complimentary apples and snack mix, as well as the infused water. Alllllll the day. Strawberry-infused water was my favorite!

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I had a wonderful stretching session by my lonesome, and I even did a tiny bit of ballet at the barre. Oh how I miss it!

Is it sad that I was sore from stretching the next day? I guess I deprived my muscles of oxygen for a little too long during my deep stretches (after not having stretched in forever).

Eventually, our rejuvenating spa day came to an end. (Not that I really needed rejuvenation after a two-week vacation in Florida…) We later joined the dudes for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant.

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Rice vermicelli with grilled shrimp and abundant herbs and veggies

Then we went home for ice cream to balance out all the greens eaten throughout the day. 😉

Saturday

Florida was super chilly (by Florida standards), so hot oats hit the spot for breakfast!

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½ c. quick oats cooked in ½ c. water and ½ c. 2% milk // half a sliced banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, vanilla protein powder, pinch of salt stirred in // glob of peanut butter on top

As I mentioned at the top of this post, mom and I spent the day cleaning and packing while also dropping off family members at the airport for their respective flights. We did take a shopping break at TJMaxx in the late morning though!

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I’m season-confused. I got a sweater and three pairs of shorts, and I’m going back to single-digit temperatures in Boston. Spring will come soon enough, right?

A clean-out-the-fridge lunch was in order that afternoon: avocado toast with our last egg + practically half a box of spinach with tons of feta cheese. Plus an unpictured clementine and a million veggie straws aka one of the most addicting snacks out there.

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Oh my goodness, too many leaves in my stomach. But I enjoyed this simple lunch nonetheless!

After a long day of cleaning (and church in the evening), Madre offered to take me out to dinner at Seasons 52, a restaurant we had both been wanting to try for a while. I gratefully agreed!

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To start: grilled chicken pesto flatbread

The flatbread was to die for. Everything was packed with flavor but not too salty— a balance that is hard to come by!

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Mom’s order: pork tenderloin with sweet potato mash and roasted vegetables

She shared a good hunk of pork tenderloin with me, and mannnn was it delicious. I think I closed my eyes at one point as I savored the tender, flavorful piece of meat. Dishes like these prevent me from becoming a vegetarian.

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My order: “Winter Vegetable Tasting” that included citrus farro quinoa salad, a black bean & veggie soft taco, roasted golden beets, broccoli rabe, and grilled tofu with fruit salsa

There was not a thing on this plate that we didn’t enjoy! The citrus farro quinoa salad was our favorite though. We must re-create it at home!

I totally saved room for dessert, since we kept seeing waiters and waitresses walk around to other tables with plates of dessert shots.

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They brought out an assortment of mini desserts in shot glasses from which you could choose. If I remember correctly, they had: carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter mousse, pecan pie, s’mores, caramel macchiato, strawberry cannoli, key lime pie, blueberry lemon custard, and raspberry brownie.

Talk about tough life choices.

Without much hesitation, I chose the carrot cake, and mom chose the raspberry brownie. I ended up eating all of mine and most of hers. They were mini, so it’s a little more acceptable to eat 1.5 desserts, yes?

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Thanks for the fabulous dinner, Madre!

Sunday

Since we went to church on Saturday evening, mom and I got to sleep in before doing some last minute cleaning of the house.

I was also able to squeeze in some moves outside as it started to drizzle a bit: 5 minute jump rope warmup + Purely Twins’ crazy burpee leg workout (loved this!!!) + 8 minute ab tabata.

The ab tabata was 4 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest of weighted Russian twists, modified V-ups, crossover knee to elbow planks, and spiderman planks.

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I washed that shirt before wearing it again, promise.

As always, a day of travel calls for overnight oats!

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Now we’re en route to New York, but this time we’re taking the auto train rather than road tripping like we did on our way down to Florida. There’s snow in the northeast and I’m not sure if our bodies are ready for the temperature shock.

I’ve obviously been spoiled silly on this vacation, but I am looking forward to school, schedules, and just feeling productive. Nevertheless, I am beyond thankful for the family time and amazing experiences we’ve had in Florida!

P.S. I used so many parentheses in this post. Sorry, I love asides apparently.

So tell me:

Have you ever had a spa day?

Have you ever gotten sore from stretching? Please say yes.

What is your favorite cold-weather food?

Which of the dessert shots would you choose?

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An Untraditional Christmas + Double Unders Cardio Workout

Greetings from Florida!

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa/Joyful Holiday Season! My mom, brother, and I were on the road for the past 48 hours (with a brief hotel break in Savannah, Georgia to catch some zzz’s) on our way to Florida, and we have finally arrived! My butt and legs are so thankful. #sittingissues

We were indeed driving all Christmas day, which explains the title of this post. It wasn’t an ideal way to spend the beloved holiday, but there were many festivities happening throughout the week that made up for it!

Christmas Eve Eve

My cousins, aunt, and uncle came over on Tuesday so that we could all spend some quality time together for a day. It was a joy to play with my little cousins, converse with my aunt and uncle, and celebrate the anticipation of Jesus on Christmas! And we ate lots because…’tis the season..?!

Mom and I prepared a buffet spread for the crowd that included curry chicken, green beans, salmon with dill honey mustard yogurt sauce, brown rice, and Singapore noodles from H-Mart. Everything was fabulous!

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Lots of cookies have been consumed in the past few days, but I think these chocolate-dipped peanut butter pretzels from our lovely neighbors take first prize. Oof. Just look at that peanut butter to pretzel ratio.

Christmas Eve

Mom and I got up early to prepare breakfast for everyone, and my cousin Angela also helped make the banana pancakes and waffles with me!

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That photo of the arranged Mickey Mouse pancakes/French toast muffins would be my plate, not my cousin’s. Because I knew I would be in Florida, so Disney, so yes.

The rest of the day involved more fellowship, food, relaxation, and some moves! I did Jen’s 1000 rep home workout before going to Christmas Mass in the evening.

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No equipment, but all sweat! It was a fun, fast-paced, effective workout. However, I only quickly ate an apple after doing this and before going to Mass, so I was starrrrrrving for the 2.5 hours before we went to dinner. Christmas Mass was glorious though, and the hymns were beautiful distractions from my hunger.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was spent at a Brazilian/Italian restaurant called Gaucho Grill. Daliza’s family kindly gave us a gift card for the restaurant as a thank you for taking Daliza to Florida with us this summer (missing you here now, girl). The food was so delicious!

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shared a crab cake for appetizer // Pop’s skirt steak // Ben’s meat-tastic paella // grilled asparagus and spinach for the table // Mom’s gargantuan chicken parm // my scallops with lentils // apple strudel a la mode to share for dessert 

Came hungry, left pretty stuffed, but happy.

Christmas Day

Why did we decide to travel all day on Christmas you might ask? Well, Pop only had Christmas Day off of work this week, but we needed to get to Florida to prepare the house for our family friends who are coming today. Thus, my family decided to spend Christmas Eve together before mom, Ben and I left for our two-day road trip. As I said before, these were not ideal Christmas plans, but we still had lots of family time, so it’s all good!

Ben and I drove the whole way down because poor mom is battling a stubborn, nasty cold that is giving her cough attacks and puffy eyes, so driving for her wouldn’t be very safe.

Morning of travel calls for overnight oats! Bonus points for it being in an almost-empty peanut butter jar.

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A road trip in the northeast also calls for a stop at Cinnabon. The three of us split this [big] baby sans frosting because none of us are too crazy about it— the cinnamon roll is sweet and delicious enough as is! (Sorry, Arman.)

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Virginia is for lovers…me, myself, and I.

After 12+ hours of driving, we hunkered down in Savannah, Georgia for the night. There is no feeling quite like stretching out after being cooped up in a car all day.

Ben and I walked to and from Hardee’s (a fast food restaurant) near the hotel for a refreshing evening walk. We didn’t get anything— just walked in, took a whiff of the burgers and fries, and left.

Afterwards, I convinced Ben to join me in doing this 15 minute arms and abs workout. The chest-to-floor pushups really got us both on that one!

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Too happy about hotel beds.

Friday

Also too happy about free included hotel breakfasts.

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oatmeal with honey, dried fruit, pecans, and banana + eggs

Ben generously took the last 4 hour driving shift all the way to Orlando, where we stopped for lunch at Tako Cheena, a little Asian-Latin fusion restaurant. We all got some yummy Asian tacos!

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tom yum chicken // “sweet stranger” tempeh and veggie // panko-crusted cod // tom yum shrimp // korean beef

And now we are finally settled into our Florida vacation house for the next 2.5 weeks! Moves were desperately needed after two days of mostly sitting, so Ben and I took a stroll around our neighborhood and then I did a quick impromptu workout in our backyard:

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This workout plus Florida humidity=drenched in sweat and chugging water like no other. The double unders were really fun though! I’ve improved a lot since this video from the summer!

Dinner last night was a salad of spinach (that traveled all the way down the east coast with us in a cooler) plus balsamic vinaigrette and parmigiano reggiano + half a toasted banh mi sandwich we picked up earlier in the afternoon.

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A couple hours later, I made a late night Publix run for some groceries, but this was the real reason I went:

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Publix ice cream is the besttttttttt. I got the limited edition peach cobbler ice cream…naturally. When I got home from the store, I grabbed a clean spoon and scooped out the melted perimeter of the ice cream carton, because that is where ice cream is in its prime state of matter. And that was all I needed. That big melty spoonful made me content.

There you have it, friends— our not-so-typical Christmas. Then again, what is a “typical” Christmas for us anyway? We almost didn’t make it to Christmas last year.

Thank God for safe travels and of course, for sending His Son as a child to dwell on earth and die for our sins. Wishing you all a blessed weekend wherever you are and whatever you’re up to!

(I unfortunately think I might be coming down with something… It was inevitable considering Ben and my mom have been coughing up a storm for the past week!)

So tell me:

One fun holiday-related thing you did this week!

The best thing you ate this week.

Do you like to jump rope?

Is there a food you like to get on road trips?

Do you love that melty part of ice cream or nah?