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!

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29 Questions

Look at this pretty salad that I made for my brother and Pop!

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spinach, cherry tomatoes, pears, avocado, homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I don’t even make salads this pretty for myself. I just throw a leftover chicken drumstick on a pile of spinach and call it a day.

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I’m an expert at making pretty avocado egg toast now though

Other colorful eats from yesterday included caprese salad (a classic fave) and fresh mango with Greek yogurt and sunflower seeds.

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yes, all those were mine

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Plus a million other snacks and eats because yesterday was one of those “bottomless pit” kinda days. I also napped for a long time in the afternoon after a couple hours of gross anatomy studying. My body is taking all this rest and running with it (oxymoronic sentence?).

Madre and I also went to a free yoga class yesterday morning! A woman in our neighborhood is offering free classes once a week since she’s practicing for yoga teacher training. It was a great 55-minute ashtanga/vinyasa class! Madre was my paparazzi apparently, because I swear I didn’t ask her to take these photos for me. But alas, they exist.

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felt as uncomfortable as it looks because my right hip flexor was SO tight yesterday

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I also got my heart rate up after yoga with the 100 burpee challenge! Here’s a video of it because a) I’m home, so I have few better things to do with my life; b) I appreciate when other people show themselves dying (not literally) during a workout, because it’s very #human.

(NOT that you have to die during every workout. Au contraire. Rest is so important! I take an average of two rest days + two walking/yoga days per week. Going “all out” every day doesn’t work for me, mentally or physically.)

And now for some lightheartedness around these parts! I feel like my posts have been pretty serious recently. I came across this “29 Questions” blog survey on Tina’s blog yesterday and thought it would be fun to do here!

1. Who are you named after? I think I’m named after a TV character that my mom really liked. I was almost named Stephanie though.

2. Last time you cried? Sunday when I was talking to my dad about faith and relationships. Just young adult things.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes. It’s gotten messier as I’ve gotten older and less type A about neatness, but I can deal with it.DSC_3063

4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Roast beef!

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ohhh Cutty’s roast beef 1000 ♥︎ 

5. Do you still have your tonsils? Yep. This is the most random question ever.

6. Would you bungee jump? I would if I was with other friends/family who would do it with me.

7. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Peanut butter Puffins!

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Only when I have to.

9. Do you think you’re strong? Yes.

10. Favorite ice cream? Cookies ‘n’ cream. (Or the carrot cake ice cream from Salt & Straw if we’re getting specific.)

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it had carrot cake CHUNKS in it 

11. What is the first thing you notice about a person? I’m not sure, but Tina said a person’s smile, so I’m going to agree with that.

12. Football or baseball? Is it un-American if I abstain from this question?

13. What color pants are you wearing? Gray.

14. Last thing you ate? Some Indian snack mix that my mom put on the coffee table.

15. What are you listening to? “I Got” by Young the Giant.

16. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Yellow. (Haha, I wasn’t even thinking about my Asian-ness at first, but hey.)

17. Favorite smell? Freshly baked pumpkin bread or cookies.

18. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My aunt and cousins from California.

19. Married? Nope.

20. Hair color? Black/super dark brown. I’m not picky about what you call it.

21. Eye color? Black. These are most definitely black holes. It’s so hard to see my pupils!

22. Favorite food to eat? Guess.

 

23. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings all the way. I’m still scared of that Disney movie Hocus Pocus for crying out loud.

24. Last movie you watched? The Shack this past weekend.

25. What color shirt are you wearing? Turquoise (the workout shirt pictured above).

26. Favorite Holiday? Christmas! Easter is a close second. Thanksgiving a close third.

27. Beer or Wine? It depends. I’ll let you know for sure when I’m 21.

28. Night owl or morning person? Night owl (as I type this at 12:48am).

29. Favorite day of the week? Sunday. I love Mass and Sunday brunch 🙂

So tell me:

Your answers to any of these 29 questions!

Do you throw leftovers on top of salad greens and call it a salad?

Two things you did yesterday.

Commitment Issues

How ’bout them Patriots!?

If we’re being 100% honest, I left to study anatomy after Lady Gaga’s (EPIC) halftime show. #WorstBostonian. Megan and I got live updates via our screaming neighbors though.

So about these commitment issues. (No, there is no boy.) I talked about “operation: say yes” while I was studying abroad in Dublin, and that worked pretty well there, but I still have trouble committing to just about everything in my life.

Back story: Last week I had an unnecessarily rough time with a TWO page response paper for my religion class. My task was to answer “What is the role of ‘religion’ in medicine, if any?” in approximately 500 words, and it took me a total of six. hours.

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I texted Rachel telling her that I could punch a wall (I was literally yelling and shedding a tear or two when Megan wasn’t in the room), because I just could not for the life of me form my thoughts into a coherent TWO PAGE ESSAY. Luckily for me though, Rachel is a stellar best friend and competent paper editor who cuts all the crap.

Alison, I feel like you’re not committing to your argument, which, considering yourself, is not hard to believe.

Long story short: Rachel helped sort my thoughts and taught me that I just need to commit, not just in my paper arguments but in my LIFE.

Commit to social events. Commit to times and places. Commit to my ideas. Commit to my thoughts and words.

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I always commit to peanut butter though

I waste so much time (like those 6 hours on a two page paper) teetering back in forth in my mind about whether I should do something or say something, because I am (often subconsciously) terrified of commitment. I don’t want to be wrong. I (ironically) don’t want to waste my time if I make the “wrong” choice of plans. I want to please everyone all at the same time.

I felt like God was yelling at me to learn about commitment last week, because two different priests spoke beautiful words of wisdom that helped me realize my commitment issues.

  • Our Catholic Center priest, Fr. Barnes, spoke one day about how we shouldn’t overthink when choosing between two good things. For example, if you are choosing between helping a sick friend or making sandwiches for people who are homeless, you don’t need to mull over the decision forever. Just PICK ONE, because they’re both good, and you’re wasting time thinking about which one is the “right thing to do” when you could just be doing it. Fr. Barnes said, “God will bless it,” whichever you choose.
  • I was listening to a podcast by Fr. Mike Schmitz (← cannot recommend enough), and he said,

“God’s will is always something you know, because God always speaks in clarity…We have this weird idea that God tries to hide his will…I think we’re more interested in getting rid of the anxiety of making a big decision…God’s not waiting for you to answer a question he hasn’t asked yet…If it’s not absolutely clear what God wants and doesn’t want, then just move!”

In other words, just commit to what you know is good and right in that moment. If what you choose ends up being terrible, then hey, it’s called life and you learn from it.

And so I’ve tried to put this all into practice.

Should I go to the gym with Christina (@foodietunes) on a whim in between my classes?

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I only had time for a 14 minute workout and didn’t get to shower before my next class (did have deodorant though, so I wasn’t putrid), but I committed and had a blast with this chick. We practiced handstands to Aaron Carter’s new song to finish our workouts 🙂

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Should I go out and buy mozzarella and tomato to cook caprese chicken even though my basil is dying? (Seriously, this could become a big dilemma for me.)

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Um, yes. This was a fantastic idea. I set aside time to grocery shop and cook this properly (committed to using the grill AND the broiler), and it was one of the best things I’ve cooked in a while.

Should I spend a few hours on Saturday night with my girl friends?

Get your work done, Alison, and commit to this time with your friends (I am known to flake at the last minute for social gatherings).

Man, was this worth it. We talked, snacked, played Just Dance…

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…did (a single) square partner pushup…

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…and played the laughing game.

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Immediately after this was taken I said, “Wait why are we holding hands!? Ew, guys.” #waytoocheesy

Should Megan and I commit to making football-shaped scones for the Super Bowl party? 

Megan pitched the idea as a half-joke, but I took the idea and ran. We committed, bought the ingredients, and made our favorite British baked good.

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“football-shaped” is just one interpretation

As Rachel reminded me several times, scones are not a situationally-appropriate food for the Super Bowl, but they were still a hit!

I’ve been committing to other, more important things than scones, but my point is that I am at a point in my life where I need to improve my decision-making skills, overthink a bit less, and trust in myself a bit more (only because I know that God has entrusted me with knowledge and skills).

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Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

So tell me:

Do you have commitment issues?

Thoughts on the Super Bowl? (I have none to share because I didn’t really watch it.)

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

Dealing With Irritating People

It took me a few minutes to think of the title for this post.

What I really want to title it is: “What I do to calm myself down when I perceive others to be irritating, but really, I’m just hungry and tired and every little tick makes me slightly rage-y,” but that’s too long.

But first, thank you all for your feedback on my fitness post! I’m glad that it was helpful and that many of you related to my outlook on working out.

Before we get to Five Minute Friday, here are some scenes from the week:

It has been hot but gorgeous (just like you 😉 ) this week, so I’ve taken advantage of the green space at work to picnic outside during my lunch hour.

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utilizing the Sriracha 2 Go keychain that Christina (@foodietunes) gifted me at Christmas ♥︎ 

This was nice until yesterday. I think I sat on an anthill or something, because ants were crawling all over me and almost into my pants.

Overnight breakfasts made my {sleepy} mornings a little more exciting.

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Kylie’s banana pudding for breakfast

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overnight oats in a Nuttzo jar

Madre has been killin’ it with meals this week. I love cooking, but it’s nice to have dinner cooked and ready for you when you get home from work 🙂 Thanks, Madre!

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quinoa with mok fish (salmon and a little bit of egg binding steamed with lemongrass in a banana leaf) and roasted vegetables

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Last night’s dinner was easy, simple, and so satisfying.

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caprese + avocado toast

…followed by Greek yogurt + pb with dried figs.

p.s. my dinners look so puny here, but I promise I eat so many things before I get home for dinner…and then after dinner (I’m just trying to simulate those multiple-course cruise meals I guess).

And lastly, I just noticed that my leg looks painted with bruises. I was trying to “feel the steel” on my squat cleans yesterday, and I think I succeeded. Here was yesterday’s workout (after two lovely days of rest):

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This might mean absolutely nothing to you. Decoded version:

I actually did three squat cleans at 85#, because I was feelin’ good (I had a good amount of rest between sets while changing the weights). Not heavy by any means for avid weightlifters, but I just started squat cleans with an empty bar just 6 weeks ago, so I’m proud of myself! If I went to the actual gym more than once per week, I could speed up the progress, but…eh it’s guatever.

Now for the vlog!

link to video!

Hope you all have a fun weekend! Madre just poured a crap ton of kettle corn right in front of me so imma eat some.

So tell me:

How do you deal with irritating people/situations?

What was the best dinner you ate this week?

Have you eaten al fresco recently? 

Any accomplishments/progress (fitness or non-fitness-related) you’d like to share!

Overcoming My Fear of Being a Couch Potato

I just realized that the past three photos on my Instagram all include peanut butter, banana, and carbs.

Well, anyone who goes to my profile will immediately know the top three foods that sustain me. Truly, there is rarely a breakfast of mine that does not include all three of those things: peanut butter, banana, and carbs.

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Friday morning breakfast: Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, chia seeds, banana, berry banana muffin, and peanut butter

You know how carrots + onions + celery = mirepoix, and celery + onions + bell peppers = “The Holy Trinity” in Cajun cooking? Well I hereby proclaim that peanut butter + banana + carbs = The Breakfast Trifecta.

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Saturday morning breakfast: mango banana overnight oats

I’ve been watching the CrossFit Games this weekend, and I have nothing to say but “WOW”. I could actually say “ouch” because I’d probably be out of commission for a week (or dead) after just one of the thirteen grueling events those athletes completed.

While I was watching the fittest people on Earth doing their thing, I was eating dessert and being a couch potato.

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Friday night’s sweet treat was Cookie and Kate’s vegan banana nut scones that I un-veganized with 2% milk, butter and honey. I think I added too much milk, resulting in more of a cookie-cake texture, but they were still fantastic topped with peanut butter and almost-burnt pecans(<— SO TASTY.)

Back to this whole couch potato situation. Now, I still generally do not like sitting for long periods of time because my butt starts hurting or I get very antsy.

That being said, up until very recently, I would almost never let myself just veg out on the couch for a night, even if I really wanted to just kick my feet up and relax. I would try to get up and do some squats, push-ups, burpees— all to “stay active.” No matter how much activity and exercise I had done during the day, I just forced myself to keep moving. That’s what healthy people do, right?

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There was definitely an underlying, insanely irrational fear that being horizontal on the couch for a couple hours would somehow make all my food turn into fat or that I would get out of shape.

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Crazy stuff happens in my brain sometimes.

(All the time.)

Seriously though, literally giving my body REST— not just active rest— has done me more good than making sure I’m moving and grooving at all times. I have overcome my fear of being a couch potato.

Moving on to dessert numero dos. Saturday night’s CrossFit Games grub of choice was vanilla ice cream with mangoes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and toasted pecans.

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New favorite thing!!! This combination blew me away.

I also tried some of this Righteously Raw dark chocolate that I won from Jessie’s birthday giveaway.

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I ate that little piece on the top right. I’m sure dark chocolate lovers would very much enjoy Righteously Raw chocolate, but speaking as someone who doesn’t like chocolate that much in the first place… EW.

How do people like dark chocolate??? It’s like chocolate that you would give to someone for April Fools’ Day. “Jokes on you! It’s dark chocolate, not tasty milk chocolate!”

I guess you could say it was not smart of me to enter a giveaway for dark chocolate, but I thought I’d give it a try. Ya never know if you might like something you thought you hated, but this time, I still hated it. Don’t worry though, I’ll be sharing these!

Okay, I’ll just finish up this long post with some other scenes from the weekend.

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grilled pesto chicken for Saturday night dinner

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Amanda’s chunky monkey Greek yogurt pancakes for Sunday morning//HOLY MOLY DELICIOUS

Dad and I went to (yet another) local Italian festival yesterday, but this one had even more food and fun!

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cups of mini meatballs // Dad’s cacciatore meatballs and my caprese meatballs

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sun gear: sunglasses + cowboy hat

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pistachio and hazelnut gelato

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the best batch of strawberries we’ve ever bought

Food photo dump complete.

Hope that you all had a fabulous weekend and you have a kick-butt week ahead! But don’t forget to kick your feet up every once in a while.

So tell me:

Are you okay with being a couch potato sometimes?

Which three foods do you always eat together? Bread, avocado, and eggs is the Lunch Trifecta.

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?