University of Virginia + Washington DC Fun

Salutations! (Charlotte’s Web anyone?? 🙂 )

I totally wanted to put up a recap post of my visit to UVA yesterday, but I was pooped from another long day of walking and eating yet again. Thus, I’m comin’ atcha today with a huge photo dump from the past couple of days!

{If you haven’t read the other posts from my great college tour finale, you may want to check out what I think of University of Maryland and Charlottesville!}

Monday

Up and at ’em at 7:30 AM!

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Breakfast part 1: banana with coconut peanut butter in the hotel room

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Breakfast part 2: trail mix in the hotel room

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Breakfast part 3: hunk o’ yummy banana bread at the UVA Days on the Lawn Welcome (pear saved for later)

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Super talented a cappella groups entertaining us as we waited for the event to start

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Grand Wahoo welcome!

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Singing one of their famous anthems

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Bavaro Hall

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Kinesiology info session

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Word.

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After all our dining out this past weekend, I was more than ready for these veggies from the dining hall. They had some delicious options!

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And then this. Free froyo, people.

Alright, I’m sure you want to know the verdict on University of Virginia, so here’s the rundown:

Pros:

  • Gorgeous campus
  • Super nice people
  • Charlottesville is a very walkable town
  • Great education
  • Awesome Catholic center
  • Blogger/foodie town
  • Kinesiology program
  • Best campus food I’ve had so far
  • The students seem very serious about their studies
  • School spirit

Cons:

  • Out-of-state tuition is pricey
  • Distance (7 hour drive from home)
  • Not very close to a big city
  • The opportunities did not seem quite as vast as UMD

Conclusion:

I do not think I will attend UVA. As much as I liked my experience at Cville this weekend, UVA just didn’t click with me like UMD did. The price and distance are also major factors. This conclusion took a lot of thinking and pondering!

After the Days on the Lawn finished, mom and I drove to Dulles Airport (near DC) to pick my friend, Victoria, and her mom, who flew in from California! We’ve known each other since we were 5 years old when my family lived in southern California. Victoria is also visiting colleges on the east coast, so I have a buddy for this college decision process!

We went out to dinner with their friends who live in DC, which was fun, delicious, and filling. As if I hadn’t eaten enough this spring break. The restaurant was called Miss Saigon, and the food was absolutely fantastic.

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We shared a ton of dishes family style. We also left with four containers of leftovers.

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But there’s always room for mango with sticky rice!

I feel like I’ve had a food baby after every dinner on this trip. SO MUCH FOOD.

We did make it over 20,000 steps that day though!

Moves: a crapton of walking.

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Champs.

I ended up giving the Polar Loop to my mom so she could track her steps, and we were super excited to see that we made it to 20.6K steps on Monday!

Tuesday

Slept in until 8:30 AM. I basically max out at 8 hours of sleep nowadays.

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Coffee and hot cocoa at Illy with Victoria 🙂

We walked around American University for a while since that is one of Victoria’s top choices right now. It has a beautiful campus in the midst of DC. Plus, if she goes there and I go to UMD, we would be super close to one another! SoCal girls’ partayyyy.

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I guess I like to get in my veggies at lunchtime. This is the veggie burger in a lettuce wrap from Elevation Burger at the AU dining hall. Very tasty! Especially since it took 10 minutes for them to make…

In the afternoon, Victoria and her mom went to an art museum in DC while my mom and I went back to relax at the hotel. I snacked and got some homework done.

After picking them up and having dinner at the hotel cafe (we ordered a bunch of apps to share), everyone except my mom walked through wind, rain, and suddenly freezing temperatures for one reason and one reason alone.

Cupcakes.

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Baked and Wired Bakery

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After our courageous trek. Hi from Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

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Our reward!

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Carrot cake cupcake (they call them “cakecups”). It’s supposed to be “enough to share”…Haha. Nah.

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DEMOLISHED that sucker.

It’s a cycle, really. Snacky breakfast➔ veggies at lunch➔ sugar at night. It balances out.

This “cakecup” got me all sugared up for a late night workout at the spiffy hotel fitness center. Moves included a 1 mile run on the treadmill, some bodyweight lunges, pushups, and Julie’s 8 minute ab tabata. It felt good to move! And groove to my music when no one was watching 😉

Unrelated side note: I officially despise— DESPISE—driving in DC. Half of the roads are one-way for only certain hours in the day, some roads are two-lane or one-lane for certain hours in the day, there are too many roundabouts, tour buses are everywhere, cars are parked in driving lanes….holy moly. DC makes NYC look like a breeze.

And that’s a wrap! I apologize for the length of this post, but it was another two-days-in-one-post deal.

Hope you all have a happy hump day!

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Washington DC?

Do you like veggie burgers?

What is your favorite cake/cupcake flavor?

Where is the worst place in which you’ve driven?

 

Almond French Toast + Weekend at Binghamton {MIMM #24}

Happy President’s Day!

Hi, guys!

I hope you all had a fun Valentine’s Day and a restful weekend. I have a crapton of marvelous things to share with you all from this weekend, so let’s get to it!

MiMM

Thank you to Katie for another marvelous linkup!

A lot of bloggers have been recapping their awesome V-day happenings, and I’ve been commenting on them about what my Valentine’s plans looked like:

French toast for breakfast

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To make this:

  1. Whisk one egg. Mix in a splash of milk (enough to turn the egg a pale yellow color), dash of cinnamon + nutmeg, and a scant ¼ tsp. of almond extract. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.
  2. Heat up a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Soak 2 slices of hearty bread (day old/dried out preferably) in the mixture for about 30-40 seconds on each side.
  4. Add a small pat of butter or coconut oil into your heated skillet and add in the slices of bread. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Meanwhile, cut half a banana lengthwise and sear on the sides of the skillet along with the bread. About a minute per side.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with two more slices of bread (or however many slices until the egg mixture is all used up).
  7. Serve with desired toppings! (I love mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt, nut butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup.)

This was my Valentine’s Day gift to myself and it rocked my socks off. Thanks, Alison. You’re welcome, Alison.

Homemade cinnamon rolls (This recipe for the rolls [minus the egg— I don’t think you need it!] This recipe for the frosting)

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I couldn’t find our rolling pin, so I just used my mom’s pestle and wrapped it in wax paper. Gotta do what ya gotta do.

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These definitely turned out JUMBO-sized, but as Sir Mix-a-lot and Arman said, “I like big buns…and I cannot lie.” They did sink a little once they cooled though. I didn’t actually have a whole one with frosting and all until last night, and mannnnn was it dreamy. Like the recipe says, they really do taste like Cinnabon! 

Babysitting

The only stressful part about this was driving to the house because of all the snow (and I got lost), but otherwise, this guy was the cutest Valentine’s date ever. He was also the most well-behaved baby I’ve ever taken care of! I even got to do yoga after he went to sleep. Yeah, I did yoga at someone else’s house. Guatever. It was my dance director’s place, so it’s not THAT weird.

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{I received his mom’s permission to post this}

I believe Valentine’s Day was a success!

Early Saturday morning, my mom and I hit the slushy, snowy roads for Vestal, NY since this weekend was Binghamton University’s admitted students day!

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Pre-driving fuel: Greek yogurt (I go through containers like it’s my job), half sliced banana, leftover French toast, chia, hemp, sunflower seed butter

It was really not a good time to be on the roads, but the police cars, salt trucks, and ten other travelers on the road kept us company. Luckily, Binghamton is not terribly far from where we live, so we made it there in fair time.

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After checking into our hotel, we found a Vietnamese restaurant through Yelp called Nhu Y that was about 30 steps away, so we ate lunch there. We needed some pho to hit the spot on such a dreary day.

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Mom and I shared a bowl of beef meatball pho and a lemongrass chicken dish that was delicious! Binghamton isn’t really known for having the most amazing food, but this wasn’t bad at all.

After lunch, we veg-ed out in our room. When I finally had an ounce of motivation to get out of those fluffy hotel beds, I went to the hotel exercise room to do something.

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There weren’t many options, so I just did a 45-minute incline walk on the treadmill while watching the Olympics. By the way, workout selfies will forever make me uncomfortable. Check out that mini lion-mane.

The rest of our evening consisted of Mass at the Binghamton Catholic center (so lovely!), a sushi dinner, and late-night shopping at an awesome supermarket called Wegmans. We actually went a little crazy at Wegmans because it was like Target + Trader Joe’s in one. A dangerous duo (imagine me saying that in an Australian accent).

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Beautiful Mass as the snow softly fell outside— it felt like Christmas!

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Vestal sushi is sub-par since we’re so spoiled with the sushi around our area.

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We’re bread hoarders. (We freeze them for later.)

The next day was the Binghamton University Open House!

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Hotel breakfast: Oatmeal square, nut bar, orange

The parking and check-in were very well-organized, which is much appreciated. My favorite part of the whole day was probably the Welcome session though. One of the all-male a cappella groups called “The Crosbies” entertained us while we waited for the event to start. They are incredibly talented and hilarious entertainers!

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At 11:00, they introduced the BU President to make the welcoming address. Apparently, university presidents are superstars.

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Dying to shake hands with him 😉

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After his speech, along with a few others from different faculty members/students, we were allowed to break into different groups to attend sessions that interested us. Since it was FREEZING outside and I had already taken a campus tour in August, I passed on that. I decided on a general information session and the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences session.

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Of course, we tested out the campus food at lunch too.

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Sandwich made to order (chicken breast, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato on whole wheat) + minestrone soup

My meal was not too shabby, but the options in this dining hall seemed a lot more limited compared to that of University of Maryland. Other items available in this particular dining hall yesterday included pizza, made to order omelets and pancakes, savory breakfast/brunch foods, typical cafeteria hot foods (fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, etc.), and a salad bar.

Overall, my experience at the open house neither deterred me from Binghamton nor drew me to it. These are the main points I concluded from the weekend:

Pros: distance from home, value/price, community

Cons: academic programs may not be the best for my interest (physical therapy as of now), location is sort of out there

My mom and I agree that Binghamton University will probably not be the place for me. Right now, I think Maryland and Virginia are my top choices, and I’m visiting both in April. We shall see!

Ok, wow. Are you still reading this? 

This was definitely a longer post than usual, and most of you probably couldn’t care less about my college experience, but this weekend was definitely important in helping me discern my college decision.

Wait, I’m not done actually. So Blend Retreat 2014 tickets went on sale last night, and my mom and I are seriously considering going this year! If you don’t know what the Blend (blogger + friend = blend) Retreat is, it’s a blogger/blog-reader weekend retreat during which the attendees get to hang out, get active, get swag bags, and just have FUN. I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers attend in the past, and I can only imagine how amazing it would be to meet them in person!

You have no idea how excited I was to find out that my parents were on board with the trip. I could technically go by myself (I will have turned 18 just a week before the retreat— score), but my mom is totally up for going as well. The only thing that’s keeping us from registering right now is school. I have exams the Monday after we get back, and I’m just not sure if I could afford to go on a trip that weekend. It just depends on which subjects the exams are for, because then I can gauge how much pre-retreat-studying I should do. Schoooooool.

K, I’m done. Have a marvelous Monday, everyone 🙂

So tell me:

Tell me three things you did this weekend!

Are you planning on going to the Blend Retreat?!