A Deep Breath of Gratitude

I could C R Y.

It’s been oh so long, friends. Posting this blog post (after a 2+ month hiatus) feels like a huge virtual hug to any person out there who is reading this right now.

This semester has been a wild ride. Graduate school (+ life / growth / relationships) has proven to be quite different and much more challenging than I could have expected, but c’est la vie, eh?

But in the spirit of {American} Thanksgiving tomorrow, I thought this would be a fine time to take a hot minute to breathe and show gratitude for the things of life — the happy, the hurt, and every detail in between.

This semester…

I’ve experienced profound friendships.

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I’ve studied more than I ever have, but at the same time earned the most humbling and disappointing grades in my college career.

I’ve eaten some good-for-the-soul food.

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I’ve doubted my ability to become a competent physical therapist several times.

I’ve been ceaselessly encouraged by friends, family, and God to keep on keeping on.

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I’ve seen blue skies, gray skies, purple skies, and orange skies.

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I’ve had fun nights filled with line dancing, cheers-ing, and singing at the top of my lungs.

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I’ve had nights that didn’t seem to end even when the sun rose.

I’ve seen friends, family and strangers with even longer nights of the soul than I could imagine.

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I’ve made myself some wholesome foods.

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I’ve made myself think I’m eating wholesome foods.

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I’ve felt hurt in ways that I’ve never felt before.

But I’ve felt joy and the feeling of being cared for in ways that I’ve never felt before.

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I’ve seen what it means to be among beautiful women of God, who love to the very end.

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I’ve hurt others in ways I never intended but still wish I never did.

I’ve had to humble myself and apologize for my wrongdoings, which happen more times than I can count.

I’ve accomplished things in mind, soul, and body through God’s grace, and I’ve seen others do even more.

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I’ve seen tears of sadness, tears of guilt, tears of anger, and tears of joy.

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I’ve cried until I didn’t know why I was crying, and I’ve smiled until I didn’t know why I was smiling.

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I’ve dropped the ball in some friendships and allowed others to help me pick it up.

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I’ve seen God in every single day, in all of these things which remind me that, although we are dying, we are living all the more. I am beyond thankful for every person and every motion of the heart that has made this semester, this year, this LIFE… something beautiful.

God is good. All the time.

p.s. if you want to read something nourishing for the soul, please do yourself a favor and check out my friend Kelsey’s blog – she writes about beauty and about humanity so eloquently it hurts.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I am grateful for you.

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Soaking Up the Slumber

I have goosebumps.

It’s been a little bit chilly here in Boston this week! But man, is it lovely. We have been blessed with sunshine and ~perfect~ temperatures.

Classes start again in just 4 days, so I have given myself guilt-free permission to soak up as much slumber and relaxation as I can before all hell breaks loose (← drama queen).

For example, on Monday I set my alarm for 8 am, but I closed my eyes for two seconds… and the next thing I know, it’s 10 am. LOL. It’s still been a productive week of getting some errands done, catching up with friends, praying, and (yes) even a little bit of studying to prepare for classes.

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Here are some random thoughts and things from the noggin on this Friday:

1) What is your all-time favorite fudgy brownie recipe? I made some for my friends and myself last weekend using this recipe from I Am Baker, and they were delicious, but I’m open to recommendations!

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2) The Super Premium French Vanilla ice cream from Trader Joe’s is RIDICULOUS. It is the most luxuriously creamy and dreamy ice cream I have ever purchased from a store.

3) Shoutout to my friend Evan for poaching eggs for avocado toast. We ran into each other at Mass on Sunday and decided to catch up over lunch. I offered to make us avocado toast instead of going out to eat (yo girl has been spending so much $$ recently), and we both appreciated the decision.

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I think making avocado toast is my love language to all my friends.

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more egg toasts this week (one with cheese, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and cumin + one classic avocado with sriracha)

4) I had some random determination to make a vegetarian meal for this week’s dinners, so I made this chickpea and spinach curry. The full-fat coconut milk in it warms my heart and clogs my heart all at the same time, and I love it. This was also my first time using garam masala! It only took me TWENTY MINUTES to find it at the grocery store.

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5) The BEST thing I made this week was peach blueberry cobbler — a summer necessity in my book! I doubled this recipe and obviously added blueberries.

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buttery biscuit goodness enveloping saucy sweet fruit YES

Undoubtedly had to eat it a la mode (hot out of the oven, might I add). More of that dreamy vanilla ice cream from TJs.

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I got to share it with many friends the day I made it, which made me very happy.

6) I ate out for three meals in a row, and although I felt a little “blah” from all the heavy food, it was so worth the company and conversation. The food was also fabulous.

Meal #1 was at Audubon with my dear friend Casey. We hadn’t caught up one-on-one in so long, so this was much needed.

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love this girl so much

We shared the polpette (meatballs that they made with venison and beef) with asiago, tomato sauce and the most delicious charred hunk o’ bread.

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And then I had the roasted vegetable salad, which had delicious things like sweet potatoes, beets, fennel (did not realize how much I liked fennel ’til that night!), brussels sprouts, fennel, arugula, and pine nuts. Look how pretty this stack is!

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It does’t look like much in this photo, but there were SO MANY vegetables in there. I had to take some home.

Meal #2 and #3 do not have photo documentation because I didn’t feel like whipping out my phone in the middle of conversation. Yesterday afternoon, Fr. Barnes (our Catholic Center chaplain) kindly treated me to a burger and a beer at the Sunset Grill and Tap as a belated birthday gift to me. Both the burger and the beer (I got the Great Divide “Roadie” Grapefruit Radler) were superb.

Late at night, my friend Elayne and her parents generously treated me to dinner at Barcelona Wine and Tapas, since I helped Elayne move earlier in the day. We shared four bomb tapas + seafood paella + crepes and ice cream. Oh my goodness.

Full of many good things indeed.

7) I am convinced that my current training goals include move-in and move-out. I work out so that I can move furniture and boxes up and down stairs efficiently and safely. #FunctionalFitness.

8) This burpee box jump workout is killer if you ever need something to get the heart rate up. I subbed 12 heavy over-the-shoulder slam ball throws for the wall balls. Your soleus might be extremely sore the next day, to the point of wanting to strangle a small animal when foam rolling them.

This is also a short and sweet 16- minute workout that will make your butt sore for days.

4 rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off:

  • goblet squats (35# KB)
  • dive bomber pushups
  • box jumps (25 in)
  • side jump lunges
  • pushup burpees
  • KB swings (35#)

9) I just enjoyed a very green smoothie, because my veggie intake yesterday included lettuce on my burger and a couple mushrooms smothered in goat cheese. And many many potatoes.

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10) I hope my American/Canadian friends have wonderful Labor/Labour Day weekends! And good luck to all my fellow college students starting the new semester. If you’re anxious…

Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your lifespan? If even the smallest things are out of your control, why are you anxious about the rest? – Luke 12:25

These words have been giving me a lot of peace amidst the worry of a very busy semester ahead.

BYE FOR NOW!

So tell me:

What is a classic summer dessert that you love to eat/make every year?

What is your favorite store-bought brand of ice cream?

Favorite brownie recipe?

What are you doing this weekend?

College students: How does the schedule look like this semester? Mine makes me a little nauseous looking at it, but we shall overcome!!

 

Summer Lovin’

I think every blogger has used this title at least once in their careers.

But that could be said for “Day in the Life,” “Recent Eats,” “Lately,” etc. etc. etc.

I’m calling this post “Summer Lovin'” because a) it’s summer; b) I went to my friends’ wedding this weekend!!

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This was my first friend wedding. All other weddings I’ve attended up until this weekend had been for aunts and uncles who seemed to be at a life stage that was eons away from where I was. But here we are kicking off the start to what I’m sure will be many friend weddings in these next few years.

I’m not complaining, because I LOVE WEDDINGS.

On Saturday, my friends Sean and Alicia entered into the beautiful sacrament of Holy Matrimony. I met Sean through the Catholic Center when I was a freshman and he was a senior, and he became one of my “older brothers” during my first year at BU.

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“Can I be obnoxious and ask for a selfie with you guys?”

Sean and Alicia are high school sweethearts (CUTE), and they continue to be a stunning couple. It was a privilege watching two holy people unify in love for the glory of God.

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Their beach-themed wedding reception was also wonderful. It was a blast being there with some other folks who met Sean through the Catholic Center.

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The speeches were short and sweet, the evening was gorgeous, the conversations were fun, the food was DELISH…

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h’ors d’oeuvres and beer at cocktail hour + fab sun-dried tomato bread and butter + bomb salad + delicious chicken with rice and veggies + a slice of vanilla with raspberry mousse cake (ok, two slices)

…and the dancing scene was ON POINT. The bride, groom and respective parties made some solid song requests. Wedding dancing is one of my favorite things in the world, especially with the right people.

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Congratulations again, Sean and Alicia! Thank you for allowing me to celebrate such a joyful occasion with you and your loved ones. I’m definitely in the top 10 people who were most excited about your wedding 😉

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I LOVE YOU GUYS. May God bless both of you as you start this beautiful journey together.

I pray for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. I hope you are all safe and well.

So tell me:

Do you like weddings?

Do you remember your first friend wedding?

WAS IT WILD (like, “everyone’s getting old ahhh” WILD)? What did you do this weekend?

 

Virtual Breakfast Date

virtual breakfast date

…I would squeal that we get to chat over my FAVORITE MEAL OF THE DAY!

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overnight oats in an almost empty pb jar + granola on top for crunch

…I might yawn and say, “excuse me,” because I woke up at 6am (which is E A R L Y for this night owl) to work out with my dear friend Elayne.

Elayne: “Oh my gosh are you limping!?”

Me: “No I just can’t walk this early in the morning.”

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‘Twas so worth the sleepy sweat fest.

3 sets each:

  • 10 DB overhead burpees (10#)
  • 15 side plank hip dips (each side)
  • 20 KB swings (25#)

1 min. burpees

  • 10 renegade rows to plank jump
  • 20 alternating single leg v-ups
  • 20 overhead tricep extensions

1 min. burpees

  • 10 bird dogs
  • 10 plank kick throughs (each side)
  • 10 tabletop sit throughs

1 min. burpees

…I would ask you if you saw the solar eclipse, even though you’re probably 120% done with that convo. Madre and I saw it from home in New York, where we had 76% coverage. My brother’s girlfriend kindly gave us the special eclipse glasses for optimal viewing!

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AND for optimal photo-taking. (Hundred percent accidentally looked directly at the sun for a millisecond.)

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I was so stoked to get this shot of the eclipse right around peak time for us!

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…I would tell you about this weird breakfast I had at home, made with whatever we had on hand. I warmed up some frozen bananas, mashed them, mixed it with some brown rice Madre had just cooked, and topped it with cinnamon raisin peanut butter. IDK. It was delicious though! Rice-pudding-like.

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…I would surprise you by saying that I bought running shoes (more accurately, Madre gifted me new running shoes – thank you ma!). I’m not currently planning on running any races or anything, but a pair of comfy Asics were on sale at TJMaxx, so I just went for it. I do run occasionally, so it’ll be nice to have proper running shoes.

I ran a couple miles in them on solar eclipse day, and then I played around with these pistol burpee handstand ma-jiggies:

…I would excitedly tell you that my family and I ate a fantastic Italian dinner as we got to meet my brother’s new significant other 🙂 So much love for them.

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burrata to share as a starter (SO CREAMY AND DREAMY)

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salad that came with my pasta

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rich and delicious lobster ravioli with artichokes and roasted red peppers

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amaretto cake (and unpictured profiteroles) to share for dessert

…I would say that I love my brother. We only had an hour to really hang out and catch up with each other before I had to leave for Boston, but it was great QT. Grateful for this goon!

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are the feelings mutual? *shrug*

…I would tell you that I had homemade baklava with homemade skyr (Icelandic yogurt) for breakfast before driving to Boston. Ben’s girlfriend made a huge batch for all of us!! So sweet (literally and figuratively) of her. It was perfect.

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…I would remark at this gymnastics/stretching mat that Madre bought for me as a surprise. My room is a mini PT clinic.

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…I would proudly say that I finally picked a good pineapple. The last time I bought a pineapple, I had to drown it in honey and microwave it because it was THAT bad.

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…I would talk about how grateful I am for Rachel. It’s been so good living with her again, because now we can have girl chat with a glass of wine (or sangria) on the couch at the end of the day. That might change once classes start for me, but for now it’s delightful.

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proud of this working woman

…I would show you last night’s tasty dinner. I made Budget Bytes’ glazed pork chops, (← so easy and good!) roasted broccoli, and a random cheese quesadilla on the side (ended up dipping it in ketchup #sorry).

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…I would say that God has reminded recently to not be anxious about saying “yes” just to the big things He asks me to do, but to more importantly say “yes” to the very little and mundane things He asks me to do in daily life. If I cannot do His will in little things, there is no way I can do His will in big things. Loving in the littlest ways is sometimes the HARDEST.

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…I would squeal once again that I’m going to my friend’s wedding tomorrow! I LOVE WEDDINGS. AND I LOVE MY FRIENDS.

…I would ask you:

What did you eat for breakfast today?

What are some things you want to share? Happy, sad, cool, “aha” moments?

What are your favorite little ways to spend time with loved ones?

Plans for the weekend?

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).

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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!

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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).

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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It was everything I needed.

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

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

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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!!

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

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

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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…

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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).

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Many days have looked like this recently! Blessed.

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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!

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

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

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

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

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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?).

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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!