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!

Living Life Like the Little Ones

Thank you all a million times over for your love on last week’s blog anniversary post (and on every post, really)!

Pop and I made it back home to New York without any 7 hour delays, thank the Lord!

I spent the past three days with lots of family members, including lots of BABIES! (I’m that crazy lady who would like to hold your baby whenever you’re ready/in two minutes/now, please.) In case you missed the update last week, I was visiting St. Louis for my baby cousin’s baptism.Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset
Let’s catch up!

Friday

Mom and I started the day with a rather delicious and filling {complimentary} hotel breakfast. This is what I ate every morning:

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Two plain oatmeal packets with honey, banana, and two little packs of peanut butter + a box o’ milk

As long as the breakfast trifecta is present, I’m all set.

Then we went to see my baby cousins!

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My cousin CC (bottom right): “Um, Alison?”

Me: “Yes?”

CC: “Um, I’m having so much fun!”

From now on, I’m going to announce when I’m having fun, just like that.

They took us to a farm/park close to their house, where we saw some Butterball-worthy turkeys, loud goats, majestic horses, and lots of bacon giant pigs.

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Meet Maurice. He’s bigger than you and me.

We worked up an appetite for lunch involving a Southern/Midwestern delicacy.

Chick-fil-A, chickadees.

I’ve never seen a fast food joint so packed in my LIFE. A line that never shortened, a drive-thru that was backed up, and not a table to spare.

I was bummed that we missed breakfast, because the #1 thing I wanted was a biscuit, but I tried some of their fried chicken with the special sauce, and it was pretty bomb. My main order was the grilled chicken wrap + “superfood salad” (a cup of kale and craisins).

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The afternoon consisted of some hanging out and errands. Another Midwestern stereotype coming to life:

Man at TJMaxx (with beard, cowboy hat, and southern twang): *stares at me for a few seconds* ”

Excuse me? What nationality are you?”

Me: (in my 200% American accent) “I’m Chinese and Thai.”

Man: “Chinese and Thai… Well. Welcome to the United States!”

Me: ….

Man: “I mean, you probably already live here..”

Me: “haha yeah… I live in New York.” *walk away slowly*

He seemed rather intrigued that an Asian was standing there in the flesh.

Moving on. Dinner consisted of…

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We ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory and ordered another St. Louis classic to start— toasted ravioli.

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I like their definition of toasted (fried). I ordered the Angel Hair Pomodoro (so I guess… not spaghetti), which was everything I was craving and more. Followed by a peanut butter cookie from the hotel lobby.

After picking up bro Ben from the airport, I ended the night looking like my own worst nightmare.

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moisturizing, hydrating, terrifying face mask + lip gel mask thing

I Snapchatted my friends telling them to sleep with their eyes open that night. Sorry if this traumatized you. I’m still recovering myself.

Saturday

In short, Saturday involved family time allllll day, leading up to a big barbecue at my cousins’ house. It started with a wonderful walk with my aunt in the morning, and the day continued with helping out in the kitchen and contributing my “famous” roasted sweet potatoes.

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Steaks, burgers, creamed corn, sweet potatoes, and salad. I had some of everything and an oatmeal raisin cookie a la mode + sugar high for dessert. Thank you to all who made it happen!

With all the excitement and joy of being around family, especially the little ones, I didn’t have the time or care to worry about healthy food and/or exercise. You eat, play, and just enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. It makes sense, and the little ones have it down pat. 

And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” — Matthew 18:3-4

I’ve learned trusted that my body gravitates toward what it needs. If I need some butt-to-couch time, I will sit down and be a couch potato for a bit. If I want to let off some energy, I’ll go do something fun with people I love. For instance, the “big kids” went out for some frisbee golf at dusk, which was a blast.

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Ben, stop acting surprised that I’m taking candid photos of people

Sunday

This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad!

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The Sunday Mass and Baptism were beautiful (definitely cried tears of joy at some point), and the reception was lovely. God is good.

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Congratulations, Josephine and family!

After bittersweet goodbyes, everyone split ways. Dad and I en route to New York. Mom and bro Ben en route to Florida. We’ll see each other again soon!

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Asian cashew salad at Wendy’s in the Detroit airport for dinner

Back on the grind this week. We’ll get through it together.

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So tell me:

You and babies. What happens?

Do you ever use facial masks?

Have you ever played frisbee golf?

Have you ever eaten at Chick-fil-A?