Shimmying in Charlotte + Recent Eats

On top of my titles as selfie queen, peanut butter lover, and daughter of God, add saxophone enthusiast.

Not because I can play the saxophone by any stretch of the imagination, but because I went to the MOST FUN jazz sax concert in Charlotte, NC this weekend with my dear friend Lauren and her awesome parents.

Going to NC for 24 hours for a saxophone concert is one of the most random things I’ve ever done, but that’s what I love about the whole thing. There’s a saxophonist named Gerald Albright who Lauren and I talk about all the time, even though we only really knew one of his songs (“Slam Dunk” – highly recommend if you want a good time).


our “Ger bear”

Lauren’s parents had an extra ticket and very generously invited me down to hang out with them and watch the concert. And BOY did we have a blast!


Gerald was ridiculously amazing, even more so than I was expecting. The other saxophone star above was Kirk Whalum, who solo’d in Whitney Houston’s song, “I Will Always Love You” (casual..maybe you’ve heard it) and played for her for almost ten years. WILD.

There was also some dancing and soul trains involved during the concert, and we were all loving it. Even if Lauren and I were likely the only ones under the age of 35 there. We shimmied our way through the concert (and the whole weekend, honestly).


The best part of the weekend was just spending time with Lauren and her parents. They are the most beautiful family. They also know to take a couple Boston girls to Chick-Fil-A immediately upon arrival in NC.


my first Chick-Fil-A sandwich ever

A milestone, you could say. It was perfect.

Lauren’s mom also brewed some delicious iced tea at home that we sipped as we chatted in their living room. I rather enjoy the simple things in life.

Before the concert on Saturday night, we went to dinner at The King’s Kitchen, which I would describe as an upscale Southern restaurant. The food was utterly delicious, AND the proceeds go towards feeding the hungry and towards life skills development programs.

I got the pot roast, which came with three sides and either corn bread or a biscuit. I went with mac and cheese, green beans, collards, and a biscuit (you know I love corn bread, but when the waiter suggests the biscuit, you go for the biscuit – a good move).


I finished e v e r y t h i n g.

The show was about three hours long, so afterwards, we made one last pit stop at Amelie’s French Bakery for near-midnight dessert. We split a lavender lemon cake, chocolate ganache cake, vanilla eclair, and raspberry lemon tart between the four of us.


I think the raspberry lemon tart got the best vote all around!

On Sunday morning, I made them avocado egg toast because it is a) a joy for me to cook breakfast for people; b) necessary for every person to try avocado egg toast. I had peanut butter honey toast because they bought natural peanut butter for me *happy crying eyes*.

After breakfast, we headed to Mass and then had a light lunch at Chopt, ” the creative salad company.”


sweet corn quinoa salad + turmeric ginger iced tea

Ugh, so fresh and delicious.

I already miss Lauren and her parents!! Thank you all so much again for your hospitality, generosity and love ♥︎ It was such a fun weekend.


Also, I love Charlotte! I will be returning one day 🙂

Lastly, here are some recent eats and scenes that I haven’t shared yet from the past week!

My friends and I have still been using up our Groupon classes at The Ring. I will be so sad when it’s over. I LOVE BOXING.


I cooked fava beans for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. They remind me of edamame!


Overnight oats forever and ever. This one was with blackberries – a fine addition!


My girl Elayne invited me to go to spin class with her at the HandleBar a couple weeks ago (I’m so behind with this recap), and as always with spin, the class kicked my butt! But the instructor was awesome and so fun.


Two Fridays ago, my friends Justin and Kevin and I went to eat at Pho Countryside as our pre-exam studying treat. It keeps us going.


It was everything I needed.


We followed that up with some frozen yogurt at Cafe 472 (with Elayne!).


Kevin and I shared apple pie flavor with granola, but I am convinced they actually made us pineapple flavor. It was great regardless.


Some more of my beloved Asian friends invited me to join them for Kimbap on a different day. It’s basically like extra large sushi rolls with lots of yum stuff like bulgogi meat, seasoned veggies, egg, and spam if ya fancy. It was so tasty. I have such generous people in my life, my goodness!!


Lots of peanut butter Puffins as a night snack these days.


Overnight oatmeal smoothie bowls are my go-to weekend breakfast this summer.


I think I followed up that smoothie with these scrambled eggs shortly after. Just cuz I was extra hungry. I forget how delicious simple scrambled eggs with ketchup is!


I had whole wheat three cheese tortellini with sun-dried tomato pesto for a couple nights. This night I decided to put the leftovers over some greens.


I’ve still been eating a lot of sandwiches for lunch just about every day!


So I was at Target one day and needed to buy more bread for my sandwich lifestyle. I usually get the Harvest Wheat loaf for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, so I tried to find an equivalent at Target.


This one looked fine enough. When I got home, I decided to look at the ingredients (since the TJ’s one has a short and sweet list and I wanted to compare). I found…


My first instinct was, “Aw man. I wish I could return this. HFCS is gross.” But then I thought, “Will I die? No. This is food. This is fine. It is bread. I will enjoy this bread and be grateful for it.” Do I want to buy this bread every week? Nah. But my life will not be a spiraling pit of doom if I have this bread for lunch every day for a couple weeks.

*steps off soapbox*

Last Sunday we went to Toscanini’s for ice cream Sunday! This is my favorite ice cream place in Boston. Listen to these flavors: thin mint (amazing) + matcha cookies ‘n’ cream cheesecake (yes, that’s one flavor and yes, it was delicious).


Many days have looked like this recently! Blessed.


On Friday night, a bunch of us celebrated our girl Zoe’s 21st birthday! She was abroad this summer and visited Boston to celebrate with us this weekend. WOOHOO!


We started with apps and margarita’s at Sunset Cantina.


And then moseyed on over to Landsdowne for some dancing!!


I needed a midnight snack before bed that night. Smashed banana pb bread with cinnamon did the trick.


When I don’t eat overnight oats for breakfast, Gina’s cookie dough cereal is another one on repeat.


And last night I had another variation of pb banana that I hadn’t eaten in so long – Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie! With Greek yogurt to dip into it (remember when I did that all. the. time?).


Hope you all have a marvelous Monday and a kick butt week! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

So tell me:

Are you a fan of jazz music? 

Have you ever been to Charlotte, NC?

Do you like Chick-Fil-A (juuuust talking about the food here)?

The top three things from your weekend!


Less Salad, More Bacon

Now, now. I still love vegetables.

But bacon has made its way into my heart (figuratively, maybe literally too, it’s all okay). It has helped fuel life lately, and life has been a blast! A busy blast and not always an easy one, but c’est la vie.

I used to eat salads every single day. If you’ve followed me for a long time, you might remember that a typical meal might be a huge bowl of spinach with leftover meat/pasta/stew just thrown on top (Rachel thinks that’s so weird, BTW).

For example:

Green, leafy (edible, non-smokable) things are obviously great for you, and I highly recommend them. However, I don’t recommend stressing over eating a salad a day. There are other ways you can reach your veggie intake each day, such as…

…rainbow colored carrots (how fun! from Trader Joe’s!)…


…arugula in an avocado, egg, BACON, sriracha sandwich…


…OR with tomatoes (actually a fruit, but for all intents and purposes a veggie) in a homemade BACON cheeseburger…


…frozen brussels sprouts heated up in a pan with some spices…


with leftover Annie’s mac and cheese, some rice, and turkey meatloaf

…OR you could eat almost-dead arugula as a side salad, just to compliment your avocado, BACON, egg toast.


If you’re wondering, I get the uncured apple smoked bacon from Trader Joe’s!

Bacon has honestly helped me recognize that adding flavorful (often fatty/dense) foods to my meals makes me 10x more satisfied, so I’m less likely to think about food in the hour or two after I’m finished eating. I do love food, but it is so nice to not think about it all the time.

All this to say: Tune into what will truly satisfy your body at the moment. Is it really a salad? Or is it really something more dense like a bacon cheeseburger? It can be either one (I do still crave salads sometimes), but try to be honest with yourself. 🙂

What else has been happening this week!? (spoiler: so much.) Here are the highlights.

A much-needed Friday night hanging out with my BFF, Rachel. Complete with Annie’s mac and cheese for me….


…and banana bread mug cakes a la mode for both of us.


Lots of studying for functional anatomy.


Studying is much better with friends like Elayne and study spaces like these.


Sunday was Colby’s birthday, so she hosted a little picnic at Boston Public Garden! This lady is 21! *glasses clink*


We drank mimosas out of Dunkin Donuts cups and ate fruit, Terra chips and scones…



although I made these scones from a box mix and 75% of the people at the party were gluten-free and dairy-free, soooo…. 



♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎

…and I got to meet Nancy from Approaching Paleo (@approachingpaleo)! I’ve “known” her through social media and Fit University for so long now, but I finally got to hug this wonderful woman in person on Sunday.


The internet can help us meet the most marvelous people, lemme tell ya.

Sunday evening involved the usual (yet always extraordinary) Mass and “ice cream Sunday” tradition! We went to Cold Stone.


“cheesecake fantasy” that was melting so fast I nearly drank it like a milkshake


We finished the night off with The Game of Things (NOT Game of Thrones), which never fails to make me double over in laughter.

I developed a pesky and painful blister under my second left toe that caused me to limp a lot earlier this week, so I bought some moleskin and got to work on taping that baby up.


It’s not a gigantic blister, but the location was awkward and I had to make the taping biomechanically sound.

Lastly, one of the best parts of my week was last night when Ben, Rachel and I went boxing at The Ring.


After LOVING boxing at Everybody Fights via ClassPass last week, I found a Groupon for The Ring last week and recruited friends to join me. We went to our free trial class last night!


It was a doooooozy but so. freaking. fun. I am seriously such a big fan of boxing (haven’t sparred in my life, though, so don’t let me get too far ahead of myself), and the HIIT workout these gyms do to train are right up my alley.


So now we get to box for free for a week and then get 5 extra classes with our Groupon on top of that. I’m SO STOKED. We even got our own wraps and gloves to keep!

Oh! One more thing that is long overdue. I was a guest on Emily’s podcast from Beauty in Christ a few weeks ago. We talked about intuitive exercise. Check out the podcast here if you’re interested! (p.s. Emily is a wonderful friend of mine and a beautiful light in the world, bringing both body positivity and the Love of God to everyone she meets.)

I hope you all have a great pre-Friday! Eat some bacon (or, like, full fat coconut milk if you’re vegan).

So tell me:

What is a food that is flavorful and satisfying that you like to add to your meals?

Have you ever tried boxing?

Two things that you’ve done this past week!

Burning, Sweating, Smiling

I genuinely wonder how many gallons of sweat have been excreted from my body in this past week.

Summer is in full force, which is 75% of the reason why it’s been so long since I’ve posted. The other 25% is school. Those numbers are definitely supposed to be switched, but alas, this weekend definitely involved more summer fun than schoolwork.

There has been a lot of burnin’, sweatin’, and smilin’ happening here!


Yes, I’m starting all the way from last Wednesday, but I promise these are just the highlights.

After a full day of class, Colby, my friend/classmate Elayne and I used our ClassPass trial on a TRAINx360 class at a place called Everybody Fights in Boston’s financial district.


The gym looks pretty trendy and is packed with all kinds of equipment. Our energetic instructor took us through several stations, including four different boxing stations, air dyne bike, battle ropes, KB burpees, jump squats, rowing, med ball high knees, and suspension trainer pikes. We did 6 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds active rest at each station, and we were beat by the end of it.


Oh, and the instructor ended it with a squat finisher that burned my quads.


I freaking LOVED it though! The atmosphere, the group effort, the workout format, the movements. Highly recommend this gym if you’re in the Boston area!


burning, sweating and smiling

All last week I noshed on my favorite chicken drumsticks with brown rice and some sort of vegetable.



The most exciting news from Thursday was seeing a turtle on the way to campus…


…and using another one of my ClassPass trials on Happy Hour Yoga at BurnFit. This was both a relaxing and challenging class with some groovy tunes playing in the background.



After classes, I headed to the gym and completed this workout:

5 rounds:

  • 500m row (2:18 pace)
  • 10 burpees

12 minute abs:

Then I met up with some friends at Le’s Vietnamese Restaurant for some bomb pho. Rachel and I shared a bowl of pork/shrimp/egg roll vermicelli and a large bowl of meatball pho. It was everything we needed.


Fun fact: it has always been a rainy day when I’ve gone to Le’s. Pho weather is a thing.

Afterwards, we headed to Ben’s place to watch John Mulaney comedy on Netflix while eating ice cream right out of the carton. Casey, Lauren and I were sharing four different pints at once, and it was bliss.


everyone give attention to Casey’s corgi sweatshirt

Casey bought the birthday cake flavor of Halo Top, which everyone raves about, and for good reason because it was so good!!


The sun was out and burning bright. Perfect for kayaking (given that you have loads of sunscreen)!


Photo compliments of my friend Nico

My Boston friends + Colby (honorary Boston friend now 🙂 ) and I headed to Cambridge to rent some kayaks and explore the city by water for a couple hours. ‘Twas glorious.


Thank you x2 for capturing this, Nico!

Colby was my kayak buddy, but we made the mistake of putting her in the front. The stronger person is supposed to go in the back, so I think her mighty strength at the front of the boat (and my less mighty strength in the back) caused us to have some steering issues at the start, but we figured it out (sorta) by the end.


So much fun!!


Shoulder muscles and skin burning, definitely sweating, still smiling.

I didn’t have shorts to wear that day though, so I was wearing capris. This was the result.


That’s not disappearing until 2018.

After kayaking, we were more than ready for nourishment, so we took our kayaking receipts to Za for 10% off pizza! Lauren and I split a portobello/roasted red pepper/roasted garlic/goat cheese pizza + garlic scape/tomato/feta pizza.


Both were fantastic. The crust was perfectly doughy and crispy all at once.

For the rest of the day, I stayed home and got some schoolwork done. That time in the intense sun also wiped us all out.


I woke up early-ish to meet Ben for a quick workout before BEACH DAY! We ran a little less than 2 miles in the very muggy heat and then did a mini circuit of tricep dips and split squats before we needed to down a million gallons of water.


lol at the butt sweat, ew

Rachel kindly drove us to the beach because she’s an adult and has a car now. We were headed for one beach, but parking was full when we got there at around 11, so we went a few miles farther to Singing Beach, which worked out well!



The sun was hot but the water was NOT. I was literally kneeling in it so I could ice my injured knee. I couldn’t even keep my feet in the water for more than 30 seconds.


But Rachel is a cold-blooded fish apparently.


I don’t get it.

I was just trying to read some functional anatomy while not getting a weird textbook tan over my legs or anything.


We all packed our own sandwiches for lunch, and Rachel and I packed the same sandwich (except for the bread we used): pepperjack, turkey, arugula, bacon. I also had berry preserves and mustard on mine because I’m greedy for flavor.


Speaking of greedy, Lauren and I just listened to Ariana Grande’s song “Greedy” for the first time this weekend and are obsessed with it. That KEY CHANGE after the bridge!!



thanks for this photo, Austin!

After we frolicked at the beach all afternoon, we headed back home for showers and a quick turnaround to get to Mass at 6pm. Following Mass, we wanted fooooood. More importantly, we wanted to continue our ice cream Sunday tradition by going to J.P. Licks, so we planned around that. Yelp told me that Chilacates was cheap and delicious Mexican food, so we chose that for dinner.

I got three tacos that hit the spot. So much flavor!


al pastor (pork and pineapple) // chicken tinga (spicy chipotle sauce) // papas con chorizo (potatoes and chorizo) 

We all scream for ice cream!


I got a scoop of peanut butter cookies ‘n’ cream. Mmmmhmmmm.

The rest of our night involved The Game of Things, aka the greatest game to play with close friends/family. This photo of Ben and Austin laughing/crying sums up the night.



I had planned on hiking and going to brunch with the gang, but my knee was hurting from my short run with Ben on Sunday (the same pain I felt after the Spartan Race…I think it’s IT band syndrome), so I decided to stay home and rest. My moves and grooves of the day was Blogilates’ Extreme Abs 3, which never fails to annihilate my core.

Studying, laundry, a trip to the library, getting more quarters for laundry and cooking also needed to be done! Lunch intermission was an avocado, arugula, bacon, egg, sriracha sandwich. 😀


I made these spicy peanut chicken soba noodles for dinner, which I hadn’t made since Rachel’s birthday five months ago. These are THE BEST. I made so much of it, so I have leftovers for dayyyyyzzzz.


Tuesday – Fourth of July!

God bless America!!! This day was so wonderful.

I started off with some banana pudding for breakfast, followed by some studying and a 16 minute workout.


4 rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off:

  • tuck jump burpees
  • DB thrusters
  • skaters
  • dive bomber pushups
  • plank jack burpees
  • reverse lunge to front kick (one side at a time)


burnin’, sweatin’, smilin’

I took a long walk to Rachel’s place for the festivities and picked up some groceries on the way. Rachel and I double teamed and cooked up some burgers before everyone arrived.


Many chips with much dip, Lofthouse cookies (← forever have a place in my heart), apple pie, brownies, homemade chocolate chip banana bread a la mode…


100% brought peanut butter just for the banana bread

#BoozeAndGrooves was also in full swing. Ben brought some Jell-O shots, and I choked down this red one, which tasted exactly like cough syrup. The blue one was a little better. Lauren also made lovely prosecco grapes!


Alcohol doesn’t amaze me, but I appreciate fun and festive alcohol “snacks”(?).

After several hours of grazing, dancing, more grazing, and chatting, we cleaned up and headed out towards the river to get ready for the fireworks show. The fireworks weren’t until 10:30 pm, so we killed our time with some walking, playing “Contact” (← also a fun game!), and…


cigars burnin’, all of us were sweatin’, but only some of us were smilin’

…smoking cigars (NOT cigarettes, Madre and Pop!). I learned that you do not inhale the smoke from cigars, but you’re supposed to swirl it in your mouth to taste it and then puff it out. “For conversations about philosophy.”

You can see that I was just utterly pleased with the experience. I probably wouldn’t do it again because it doesn’t taste great, I still don’t like smoke that close to my lungs, and I don’t love that I’m emitting smoke around others. BUT I’m glad I tried it once, and to my friends’ pleasure, I didn’t absolutely hate it.

Weather-wise, it was a perfect night to celebrate our nation.


The fireworks were spectacular, but these people easily outdo them.


Back to reality. I had class all day and then went back to Everybody Fights with Elayne for our last ClassPass trial. This time we did the BAGSxBODY class, which involved a lot more punching of heavy bags. It was A BLAST. I need to box more!


burnin’, sweatin’ A LOT, smilin’ 

I just housed more soba noodles, 1/3 of a pan of roasted brussels sprouts, a frozen banana with pb, and some cereal after that boxing class.

It’s Thursday already!?

So tell me:

Americans – What did you do for the Fourth of July?

Have you ever tried boxing?

What is your favorite group game to play?

Three fun things you did this past week!