There’s Something About…

There’s something about carrying three backpacks to campus that reminds me of front-packing in Italy.

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There’s something about carrying a large box of vegetables around all day that makes others stare a bit.

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My friend Lauren orders a box of produce from Ward’s Berry Farms every week, but she very generously gave me hers last week since she was out of town! This thing had SO MUCH PRODUCE. The only thing was that I had to pick it up in the afternoon, carry it to class, to a fitness class, to Trader Joe’s, and on the bus. Talk about functional fitness.

There’s something about taking a fitness class with fellow healthy living/fitness social media influencers that makes me feel empowered and humbled at the same time.

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Last Thursday, Colby invited me to take a “Firestarter” HIIT class taught by her friend, Sam (@wellbysamantha), at Equinox (holy LUXURY gym!) in the financial district. It was a quick, sweaty and super fun class!

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My dear friend Christina (@foodietunes) was also present and kicking butt!

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There’s something about pizza (even if it’s just a frozen one from Trader Joe’s) on a Friday night.

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There’s something about finding a beer you enjoy.

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There’s something about said beer that makes me slightly loopy (not the primary reason I enjoyed it, just a side effect).

There’s something about caring friends who give me bread rolls to eat when seeing me loopy.

There’s something about the Game of Things that makes my friends and me cry of laughter every time.

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There’s something about people who say thank you when you hold the door open for them that makes your day just *that* much better.

There’s something about eating a smoothie out of a bowl that makes it 10x more satisfying than drinking it from a glass through a straw.

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There’s something about getting random texts from your friends about little things like tacos (@Sarah) that makes me so grateful for friendship (and technology).

There’s something about boxing that is addicting. I don’t think I’ve loved a form of training so much so quickly!!

There’s something about vegan ice cream that seems wrong to me, but it is still very so delicious.

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Confession: I bought this for Colby on the fourth of July since she eats dairy-free, but she left before dessert, so I took it for myself.

There’s something about the Vermonster from Ben & Jerry’s on National Ice Cream Day that feels so right (slightly gross, but overall so right).

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Alright, so the Vermonster. Twenty (yep) scoops of ice cream, four toppings, four whole bananas, caramel, fudge, four cookies, a brownie, and a mountain of whipped cream. In a bucket.

It took six of us (although we definitely could have used 8-10 people) plus a lot of rallying from Ben to finish it.

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We got five flavors (four scoops of each), but they all muddled together anyway. It was a delicious mess.

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Gluttony? Yep. Good for your health? Depends on how you look at it. Happiness? Yep. Doing it again? Probably never.

This summer is bringing a lot of ice cream into my body.

There’s something about great friends who are great study buddies that makes school fun.

There’s something about listening to old songs I forgot I loved (Natasha Bedingfield’s “These Words” and “Love Like This“) that makes me smile.

There’s something (infinite things) about how God works that is mysterious, not always what I want at the moment, yet always more beautiful than I could imagine.

So tell me:

“There’s something about…”

Have you recently rediscovered any old songs you loved?

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

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!)…

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

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

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

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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.

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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….

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

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Lots of studying for functional anatomy.

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

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

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

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

…handstanded…

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♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎

…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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

What You Didn’t See

Between the week in the life vlog I posted last week and the Spartan Race on Sunday, I’ve shown a lot of the good and fun things happening around these parts.

Indeed, things have been good and fun, and I am grateful for that. I also like to think that I don’t just show the nice parts of life, but also the turbulence. Nevertheless, there are plenty of emotions and happenings that you didn’t see these past few weeks, so here’s a peek into what you didn’t see…

What you didn’t see before the week in the life vlog was my lack of productivity and my fear that I would not be able to become productive for work and classes. The weeks before starting work as a teaching assistant, I felt like my days would waste away and I would fail at doing simple tasks like reading my book for book club. I was genuinely concerned that I would crumble once I started work and classes.

(I have since reminded myself that having things to do makes me productive. Having nothing to do drains 99.9% of all motivation from me.)

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Do any other single people out there find it takes forever to pack meals for the next day? How do parents do this for other humans every day??

What you didn’t see was my failure to keep up with book club and attend any meeting after the first intro meeting. (I still want to finish the book in my own time though!)

What you didn’t see before the Spartan Race was the real concern that my family and friends had for me when I reconsidered racing after my hip injury (← still don’t know what it really was). Some people were in disagreement with me attempting the race, and although I wanted them to trust my judgment, I am grateful and humbled to have people who care for me and keep me in check to make sure I was being a good PT-to-be.

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avocado toast with bacon, eggs, sriracha + some veggie has been my dinner many times these past two weeks

What you didn’t see was the number of times I double-booked phone call dates and night plans in the past two weeks. I guess it was only one time each, but still — two more times than I should have done.

What you didn’t see was me yelling at a driver while I was walking to work yesterday morning. I’m not usually an angry person on the road as a driver or pedestrian, but I was pretty upset that someone making a left turn purposefully accelerated, nearly hit me, and honked at me for walking in front of her, to which I responded, “I have the walk sign!!” because I did indeed have the walk sign.

After steaming and shaking my head in annoyance for a few minutes, I hoped she had a better day after whatever was going on in her morning.

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I had overnight oats in me at that point too, which helped.

I share these things because sharing all experiences — even the silly ones and the ones we’re less proud of — brings us together as #humans.


But now for some more fun things that you didn’t see yet!

Like these professional photos from the Spartan Race! I cannot stop laughing at them. Look at the seal on the first two photos — Spartan KIDS. Are we kidding!?

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casually checking for some dirt under the nails. just a lil bit in there.

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my friend Evan: “Is that the part of your day when you’re spinnin sick beats in da club?”

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the traverse wall — one of my favorite obstacles of the course!

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my life flashing before my eyes. BUT LOOK AT HOW HIGH BEN JUMPED!!

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I am Mulan.

HAHAHA I die.

I made my favorite meatloaf (← so easy and tasty, highly recommend) on Tuesday night, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it this week with some quinoa and roasted broccoli.

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the sauce is ketchup, mustard and brown sugar, and it is BOMB

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This is less fun, but it was fun while it lasted. I finished my bag of dried figs with Greek yogurt and peanut butter.

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On Wednesday night, my dear friend Megan treated me to a drink for a belated birthday celebration! It was so great to catch up with this radiant soul.

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We got mango margaritas! She called it the classic BU white girl drink, but guatever, I’m on board with fruity drinks. It was my first time having a margarita, and I was a fan. She got a sugar rim and I went with salt.

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It was the perfect accompaniment to my fish tacos + honey ale cornbread (!!!).

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Thank you again, Megan! ♥︎

Today is my last day of work as a gross anatomy TA, and I must say that I will miss it! The other TA I worked with has been amazing, and it was fun teaching the lab section of the course. I’ll get to know most of the students better in these next three years though, because a lot of them are my classmates! Grad schools starts Tuesday eeeeeeep.

Happy Friday!

So tell me:

Something I don’t know! 🙂

Do you like meatloaf?

Two things that happened this week!

 

We Finished the Spartan Sprint Race!

This weekend was all kinds of wonderful!

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for one, Friday started with overnight oats in an almond butter jar — always the best

And I hope you all share the same sentiment. Shoutout and prayers for your fathers and all fathers, alive and gone. Super special shoutout to Pop! Much love to my hero.

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I think this is from Father’s Day last year!

Friday

I posted this “half a week in the life” vlog in the morning! Then I worked all day in the lab, with a nice outdoor lunch break in there. Lunch was a hodgepodge of snacky foods because my fridge stockpile is depleting.

carrots and hummus, three hard boiled eggs with sriracha, Mary’s Gone Crackers, grapes

Coming home from work was just a wee bit rainy…

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All I needed to do was shampoo and rinse.

Soon after coming home, I quickly ate leftover roasted brussels sprouts straight from the fridge before a FaceTime date with one of my best friends, Emma. She’s one of those people who you can’t help but love and admire — truly a sweet and holy soul.

I wanted something sweet but also somewhat nutritious afterwards, so Amanda’s banana bread mug cake with extra peanut butter and lots of Greek yogurt came to the rescue.

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Saturday

On our last day before the Spartan Race, Ben and I did a short and simple 16 minute workout with some foam rolling in the morning.

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Next on the agenda for me was spiritual direction, which was more beautiful than I expected it to be, as it always is. I went to Mass directly after, and then walked to The Clayroom for a date with my girl Colby, who’s in Boston for the summer!! I ate a ham and cheese sandwich + grapes on the way there.

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I ♥︎ sandwiches – delicious, filling, portable, versatile

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The Clayroom is a pottery painting studio that Colby found after we decided to do an indoor activity given the rainy forecast on Saturday (it never even rained). We loved it!

First you choose your own piece of pottery (varied prices depending on the piece, plus a studio fee).

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And then you paint it as you please, pay for everything, leave your piece there, and pick it up a few days later after they’ve fired it in the kiln!

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Colby chose a big plate to paint for her dad for Father’s Day. Apparently he likes to grill, so she made him a very impressive “King of the Grill” plate. How sweet!

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I chose a pasta bowl (functional for the many things I eat in bowls) that I decorated with some doodles on the outside and something that might look familiar on the inside…

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The colors will be more vibrant once they’re fired in the kiln. We’re going to pick them up later this week, so I’ll show you our final products after that!

It was great catching up with Colby and having some good ol’ arts and crafts time with her. 🙂

At night, Casey, Ben and I had a slumber party so that Ben and I could carb up and also be ready to leave early in the morning the next day.

Ben made us a delicious dinner of cacio e pepe, cured meats, caprese, and toasted focaccino bread.

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I LOVE CARBS.

No slumber party is complete without braiding hair.

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We were planning on turning it in early, but we didn’t get to sleep until around 11, with a 5:15 AM wakeup just around the bend.

Sunday

I was on breakfast duty in the morning, so I brought all my favorites for a nice pre-race meal.

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Two slices of pb banana bread for all.

Casey wished us luck, and then Ben and I departed for Treasure Valley Scout Reservation, which was a little over an hour away. We were both feelin’ excited and nervous on the way! I said I would have nervous poops, but Ben thought I said “foops,” so now we’re dubbing nervous poops “foops.”

I’ve talked about bowel movements a lot here recently, I’m sorry.

When we arrived, there were already racers from earlier heats trekking through the obstacles, and the festival portion was bumpin’.

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The weather was pretty perfect for a race — overcast, not too hot, not too cold. Maybe just a little muggy, but not too bad.

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We warmed up, made sure we were just hydrated enough, and then lined up in the corrals for our 10 AM start time.

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so happy and clean before the race

Ben: “Let’s do a serious face.”

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Me: “This is as serious as I’m gonna get because I can’t stop smiling.”

Ben: “Oh c’monnnn!”

Me: “Fine.”

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The thing to shout at a Spartan Race is “AROO!” so the start line announcer rallied us up to chant “I AM A SPARTAN” and “AROO AROO AROO” several times before he yelled “GOOOOO!”

Guys, this race was so much fun!! The volunteers and other racers were enthusiastic and encouraging, the trails and obstacles were challenging yet fun, and there were just enough water stations.

The course was 5.1 miles, filled with:

  • muddy and rocky trails through the woods
  • GIANT hills
  • deep and sticky mud pits + giant hills up which you had to carry sandbags and buckets of rocks
  • barbed wire crawl
  • short and tall walls to climb over
  • an inverted wall
  • a traverse wall
  • a tire flip
  • a couple sets of monkey bars
  • a spear throw
  • a sandbag pulley
  • a rope climb
  • muddy water pits
  • a line of burning rocks to jump over at the finish!

For every obstacle you fail, you have a 30 burpee penalty. #yikes. I only had to do 90, which I’m proud of, considering I honestly thought I would have to do 300.

I was most concerned about the running because of my hips, but running through the woods was slow enough, and the damp soil helped absorb a lot of impact, so my hips felt great! What didn’t feel great were the uneven paths that torqued my right knee quite a bit, but I think I just need to ice and nurse it a bit this next week.

My favorite obstacles were actually the big hills, traverse wall, and the one set of monkey bars that I surprised myself by completing. The spear throw was my least favorite because I’m bitter about having very little hand-eye coordination.

The rope climb was another {bittersweet} favorite. I hadn’t climbed a rope since elementary school, I think. In the race, I used way too much arm strength since I didn’t know how to do the J-hook with my feet properly. I was *this* close to ringing the bell at the top, but my arms were absolutely fried (I was on that rope for a good two minutes), so I just started slipping and rope-burned my way down in failure. Womp womp.

It was sweet though, because the rope climb is one of the last obstacles on the course, so a bunch of people were watching and cheering me on from the sidelines. I mean, it was humbling to disappoint all of them when I didn’t make it, but it was still awesome to have people cheering for me.

Two hours and two minutes later, Ben and I crossed the finish line, muddy, sweaty, but full of joy! We downed water, a banana, and a Clif bar while beaming at the fact that WE DID IT and neither of us died/needed hospital assistance.

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In order, my goals for this race were to:

  1. glorify God
  2. have fun
  3. not injure myself seriously
  4. finish the race
  5. finish the race in good time

And I think Ben and I accomplished these goals, praise God!

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We got some swag upon finishing, including a nice medal, a T-shirt, some free food samples, and a beer. We hosed ourselves down, but Lord knows we would need a real shower later. Some of that mud was definitely commingled with some animal poop.

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Me: “I’m still really thirsty, which makes me want to drink this beer really quickly, but maybe I shouldn’t do that.”

I am so grateful that I got to run the Spartan Sprint safely and happily with one of my best buds. What a great experience!

But the Spartan Race was the second best thing of the weekend. Mass that evening was the best thing.

After Mass, a bunch of us went over to our friend Austin’s place for dinner since he had a bunch of leftovers from a party. Free food is better than gold for us college students.

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delicious chicken drumsticks + sausage and peppers

Ben and I had been half-joking about ordering the Vermonster (a 20-scoop ice cream sundae) at Ben & Jerry’s with a bunch of friends after our Spartan Race, but we decided that our stomachs would much prefer a more moderate amount of ice cream (still recovering from Scooper Bowl, TBH).

Back to White Mountain Creamery then!

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I went here on Memorial Day with Casey and Ben, but I needed to come back with Rachel since the “Cookie Monster” (cookies and cream with cookie dough throughout) was on our food bucket list. IMG_9130

This stuff was dreeeeamy. As was the scoop of blueberry white chocolate underneath.

I went to bed last night feeling quite tired and achy, but my heart was so full.

Monday

I woke up later than usual today because a) SLEEP; b) I took the bus instead of walking because my knee is hurting, but I was still rushing to get out of the house. Breakfast was leftover green pancakes with PB&J, eaten on the way to the bus stop.

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I’m working until around 6 today, and then I desperately need to go grocery shopping!

Hope you all have a kick-butt Monday! AROOOOOO! (← I actually find saying that very dog-like.)

So tell me:

Have you ever run an obstacle course race?

Have you ever painted pottery?

One delicious thing you ate and one fun thing you did this weekend!

The Most Ice Cream I’ve Ever Consumed

This post is not about “health.”

It is about L I V I N G though.

More on that in a bit. I’m back in Boston! I packed up my bags and took a train from New York to Boston on Wednesday afternoon. First, I had a dentist appointment (no cavities, but I have a chip in my front tooth and my wisdom are just starting to come in apparently?). Then Madre kindly took me out to lunch at Thai Basil before sending me off.

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“Bangkok Box” lunch special: salad, dumplings, chicken and veggies with peanut sauce, brown rice, and tapioca corn pudding — all for $10!!

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Madre’s “rad na” (flat rice noodles, chicken, and Chinese broccoli in Asian-style gravy)

We shared a lot of my box, and she gave me most of her rad na to take on my train ride 🙂

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The train ride went pretty quickly with some music, reading, blueberry-eating, and napping.

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I arrived in Boston a little past 7pm and decided to eat some of the leftover rad na for dinner outside the train station before calling an Uber to 1) let time pass for the Uber to be a little less expensive; 2) enjoy the perfect weather.

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So much for trying to save money on Uber though… There was a lot of confusion with pickups/cancellations, and I ended up wasting quite a bit of money in the debacle *facepalm*. But Uber kindly refunded a lot of it once I messaged them about the situations.

It was frustrating, but I made it home safe and sound. God is good.

When I got back, my Spartan friend, Ben, texted me: “Give me 10 minutes of abs to do!” So I looked on Pinterest and sent him this:

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[source]

I did the workout as well, in solidarity. It looks simple, but the lack of breaks until the end of the round is a GAME CHANGER. What a burner. I also did this 9 minute yoga because I just needed a good stretch after sitting on the train for hours.

Yesterday morning started with some leftover green pancakes that I froze before I left Boston. I’m glad I had them because I hadn’t gone grocery shopping yet.

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two with almond butter + two with peanut butter

Plus frozen grapes! Nature’s popsicle.

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I walked(!) to Trader Joe’s to grocery shop and meet up with Rachel just to catch up. We hadn’t seen each other in half a month! The plight of best friends.

When we got back to my apartment, I unloaded the groceries and arranged lunch shortly after.

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“snack plate” lunch: crackers, carrots with Sriracha hummus (so good!), lettuce rollups with ham + pepper jack + mustard

Rachel and I had some much needed chat time before she left at around 1pm. After she left, I ate a leftover piece of French toast from forever ago for lunch dessert (had to cut off some moldy parts of it, but I promise the rest was still okay).

Then it was time to cook! I made whole wheat spaghetti with sun-dried tomato pesto and fresh basil + grilled chicken breasts with dried thyme, basil, and oregano.

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I’m looking forward to having it these next few days! Sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil are two of my favorite things.

I moved and grooved with this low impact workout from Millionaire Hoy on YouTube. Have you ever seen his videos? He’s so funny and energetic! And his moves are really unique.

After a shower, I walked to the Catholic Center for Mass (and sweated again), but upon arrival, I promptly learned that the Catholic Center was actually closed. Womp womp.

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My friend Christina also showed up for the Mass that wasn’t actually happening, so we got to chat for a bit, which was nice!

I ate the spaghetti and chicken I had packed for dinner while heading to the T station to meet Ben for THE SCOOPER BOWL.

This was my first time going to Scooper Bowl, but it’s an annual, three-day fundraiser in Boston for The Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Insitute. Adults pay $15 (88 cents of every dollar goes to the DFCI) for all-you-can-eat ice cream. Isn’t that MADNESS!?

Indeed. Madness of the best sort. Masses of people came to City Hall Plaza to line up for a scoop of various ice cream flavors from several vendors including Baskin Robbins, Hood, Arctic Zero, Yasso, Friendly’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Vice Cream, Yuengling’s, Breyer’s, Edy’s, and Minus the Moo.

And these tastings are legit scoops. Not little baby spoon samples. This is SCOOPer bowl, kids. I consumed approximately 7 scoops of ice cream.

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[source]

We tried to find a shorter line to start, so Arctic Zero was first (ha). The reactions on people’s faces after they tried Arctic Zero were hilarious. I don’t mind Arctic Zero, but most people were not fans.

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Arctic Zero – cake batter

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Friendly’s – peanut butter fudge (so good)

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Ben & Jerry’s – Bob Marley’s One Love (banana ice cream & caramel and graham cracker swirls & fudge peace signs – probably my favorite flavor of the evening!) andddddd Frozen Flakes (cereal milk ice cream with cereal milk swirls – also very tasty)

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Vice Cream – mint chocolate chip (different but good texture)

The founder of Vice Cream is a cancer survivor himself, and his motto was, life is too short, so #EFIC (eat f***in’ ice cream). Well, I’m obviously on board with that.

At this point, I told Ben, “I’m coming to my end…” But we persevered.

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Breyer’s – Oreo (classic, always a good choice)

I didn’t finish this one nor any of the following ones, but it was still fun to taste them.

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Baskin Robbins – raspberry cheesecake 

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Yasso – chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream bar (honestly the worst thing of the night…Ben put it well: “It tastes like biting on the popsicle stick itself.”)

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Yuengling’s (not the beer!) – Butterbeer (ironically…but they made a disclaimer that it had nothing to do with Harry Potter)

My stomach/palate/heart/wellbeing could only muster a couple bites of these last flavors, but man, oh, man was Scooper Bowl an adventure. I loved it.

IMG_8872

#SpartanDiet

I do not condone excessive amounts of ice cream frequently, but I do condone livin’ a little every once in a while 🙂 And honestly, I felt a little crappy (physically) afterwards, but not terribly so.

Ben told me he’s going to work out a lot tomorrow, and I told him I’m going to eat so much soluble fiber.

Happy Friday, friends! Eat some ice cream this weekend.

So tell me:

Which ice cream flavor above sounds the best to you?

What is one way you “lived a little” recently?

Something you did yesterday!