An Untraditional Christmas + Double Unders Cardio Workout

Greetings from Florida!

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa/Joyful Holiday Season! My mom, brother, and I were on the road for the past 48 hours (with a brief hotel break in Savannah, Georgia to catch some zzz’s) on our way to Florida, and we have finally arrived! My butt and legs are so thankful. #sittingissues

We were indeed driving all Christmas day, which explains the title of this post. It wasn’t an ideal way to spend the beloved holiday, but there were many festivities happening throughout the week that made up for it!

Christmas Eve Eve

My cousins, aunt, and uncle came over on Tuesday so that we could all spend some quality time together for a day. It was a joy to play with my little cousins, converse with my aunt and uncle, and celebrate the anticipation of Jesus on Christmas! And we ate lots because…’tis the season..?!

Mom and I prepared a buffet spread for the crowd that included curry chicken, green beans, salmon with dill honey mustard yogurt sauce, brown rice, and Singapore noodles from H-Mart. Everything was fabulous!

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Lots of cookies have been consumed in the past few days, but I think these chocolate-dipped peanut butter pretzels from our lovely neighbors take first prize. Oof. Just look at that peanut butter to pretzel ratio.

Christmas Eve

Mom and I got up early to prepare breakfast for everyone, and my cousin Angela also helped make the banana pancakes and waffles with me!

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That photo of the arranged Mickey Mouse pancakes/French toast muffins would be my plate, not my cousin’s. Because I knew I would be in Florida, so Disney, so yes.

The rest of the day involved more fellowship, food, relaxation, and some moves! I did Jen’s 1000 rep home workout before going to Christmas Mass in the evening.

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No equipment, but all sweat! It was a fun, fast-paced, effective workout. However, I only quickly ate an apple after doing this and before going to Mass, so I was starrrrrrving for the 2.5 hours before we went to dinner. Christmas Mass was glorious though, and the hymns were beautiful distractions from my hunger.

Our Christmas Eve dinner was spent at a Brazilian/Italian restaurant called Gaucho Grill. Daliza’s family kindly gave us a gift card for the restaurant as a thank you for taking Daliza to Florida with us this summer (missing you here now, girl). The food was so delicious!

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shared a crab cake for appetizer // Pop’s skirt steak // Ben’s meat-tastic paella // grilled asparagus and spinach for the table // Mom’s gargantuan chicken parm // my scallops with lentils // apple strudel a la mode to share for dessert 

Came hungry, left pretty stuffed, but happy.

Christmas Day

Why did we decide to travel all day on Christmas you might ask? Well, Pop only had Christmas Day off of work this week, but we needed to get to Florida to prepare the house for our family friends who are coming today. Thus, my family decided to spend Christmas Eve together before mom, Ben and I left for our two-day road trip. As I said before, these were not ideal Christmas plans, but we still had lots of family time, so it’s all good!

Ben and I drove the whole way down because poor mom is battling a stubborn, nasty cold that is giving her cough attacks and puffy eyes, so driving for her wouldn’t be very safe.

Morning of travel calls for overnight oats! Bonus points for it being in an almost-empty peanut butter jar.

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A road trip in the northeast also calls for a stop at Cinnabon. The three of us split this [big] baby sans frosting because none of us are too crazy about it— the cinnamon roll is sweet and delicious enough as is! (Sorry, Arman.)

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Virginia is for lovers…me, myself, and I.

After 12+ hours of driving, we hunkered down in Savannah, Georgia for the night. There is no feeling quite like stretching out after being cooped up in a car all day.

Ben and I walked to and from Hardee’s (a fast food restaurant) near the hotel for a refreshing evening walk. We didn’t get anything— just walked in, took a whiff of the burgers and fries, and left.

Afterwards, I convinced Ben to join me in doing this 15 minute arms and abs workout. The chest-to-floor pushups really got us both on that one!

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Too happy about hotel beds.

Friday

Also too happy about free included hotel breakfasts.

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oatmeal with honey, dried fruit, pecans, and banana + eggs

Ben generously took the last 4 hour driving shift all the way to Orlando, where we stopped for lunch at Tako Cheena, a little Asian-Latin fusion restaurant. We all got some yummy Asian tacos!

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tom yum chicken // “sweet stranger” tempeh and veggie // panko-crusted cod // tom yum shrimp // korean beef

And now we are finally settled into our Florida vacation house for the next 2.5 weeks! Moves were desperately needed after two days of mostly sitting, so Ben and I took a stroll around our neighborhood and then I did a quick impromptu workout in our backyard:

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This workout plus Florida humidity=drenched in sweat and chugging water like no other. The double unders were really fun though! I’ve improved a lot since this video from the summer!

Dinner last night was a salad of spinach (that traveled all the way down the east coast with us in a cooler) plus balsamic vinaigrette and parmigiano reggiano + half a toasted banh mi sandwich we picked up earlier in the afternoon.

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A couple hours later, I made a late night Publix run for some groceries, but this was the real reason I went:

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Publix ice cream is the besttttttttt. I got the limited edition peach cobbler ice cream…naturally. When I got home from the store, I grabbed a clean spoon and scooped out the melted perimeter of the ice cream carton, because that is where ice cream is in its prime state of matter. And that was all I needed. That big melty spoonful made me content.

There you have it, friends— our not-so-typical Christmas. Then again, what is a “typical” Christmas for us anyway? We almost didn’t make it to Christmas last year.

Thank God for safe travels and of course, for sending His Son as a child to dwell on earth and die for our sins. Wishing you all a blessed weekend wherever you are and whatever you’re up to!

(I unfortunately think I might be coming down with something… It was inevitable considering Ben and my mom have been coughing up a storm for the past week!)

So tell me:

One fun holiday-related thing you did this week!

The best thing you ate this week.

Do you like to jump rope?

Is there a food you like to get on road trips?

Do you love that melty part of ice cream or nah?

WIAW: Florida to New York

Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your kind, thoughtful, and inspiring responses to yesterday’s post. You’re all the best!

Home sweet home!

I kid you not, I could not stop smiling when we were driving closer to my house here in New York. It’s so good to be back!

I was also probably smiling because I could finally get off my butt after 20+ hours. I thought I was going to explode like TNT at one point. Oh, and there were some train passengers that we’re pretty sure kept passing gas, and since mom and I were in one of the smaller, enclosed cabins, it was a little {VERY}  hard to breathe. Not cool. Nevertheless, I am very thankful for safe and swift travels overall!

My moves before we left for the autotrain station: Jess’ quick bodyweight countdown workout! Push-ups have gotten harder… 😉

There are some food items I want to share with you from this past week— from both Florida and New York— that never made it on the blog until now!

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Sharing the noms on Jenn‘s blog!

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Florida breakfast: overnight oats in a sunflower seed butter jar (plus a little more peanut butter because there wasn’t enough sunflower seed butter left at the bottom 😀 )

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NY breakfast: more of Kath’s peach dough boy smoothie (plus peanut butter blended in!)

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Florida lunch: “Asian tacos” aka Daliza’s leftover corn tortillas and carrots + Chinese takeout leftovers 

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Florida lunch: Mom’s udon noodles with tofu and eggs + side salad

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Last Florida lunch: Sushi at Amura!…

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…with doodles on the side

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Delaware lunch (from Virginia autotrain station to NY): split a turkey-brie-apple-mustard sandwich and bistro salad with momma

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Delaware treat: Cinnabon sans frosting split with mom

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Florida + NY snacks: All Dried Up Snacks from Orlando Farmers’ Market! The naked onion rings are the best!

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Florida dinner: toast with avocado, spring mix, scrambled eggs, and ketchup

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NY dinner: big salad + toast with almond butter + scrambled eggs with ketchup

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Florida dessert: Lucky Charms!!! This made me so happy.

When we were in Florida, I made Daliza and my family members the same breakfast as me almost every day, so that basically doubled the rate of nut butter consumption (not to mention the random spoonfuls, smoothies, and peanut butter sandwiches). We went through a large, Costco-sized peanut butter jar, a whole sunflower seed butter jar, and then another regular Publix peanut butter jar in just three weeks. Champs!

I have some errands and appointments today, and I’m actually pretty pumped to be on some sort of schedule again. I already visited Daliza, went on a short run/walk with Mike, and went grocery shopping last night!

{Story time: Daliza was coincidentally at the grocery store with her cousin when I went, but apparently I walked by without seeing her. So she snuck up behind me and squeezed my sides, which caused me to let out a wild, loud scream in the middle of the produce section. THANK YOU SO MUCH, DALIZA.}

That’s all for now, folks! Hope you have a beautiful day!

So tell me:

What was your favorite snack this past week?

Do you like Cinnabons?

Do your friends like to scare you to death?

Behind the Scenes #17: Just…Food.

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Reflecting on food with my fellow food lover, Amanda!

1. We’re finally home! After visiting several cities for the admitted students’ days at University of Maryland and University of Virginia, I’m so happy to be chillin’ out back at our house. Except for the fact that there were patches of snow on the ground when we arrived…Excuse me?

2. Remember how I said I despise driving in DC? Well, I meant it. I meant it with a deep burning passion, because getting out of that city was a pain yesterday. It’s a good thing I had this brunch at Busboys & Poets beforehand, which made things a whole lot more bearable 😉

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Mom and I shared the Oaxaca omelette that had black beans, pico, cheese, and GUACAMOLE. Served with the best home fries and whole wheat toast. So, so delicious.

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I had to take a picture of the men’s restroom sign. Had to.

3. After this amazing breakfast and almost a week without my usual breakfasts at home, I had some sort of enlightenment: I might be okay with savory breakfasts. I’m as shocked as you are, but I think I’ll start introducing some eggy, toasty-type breakfasts into my rotation! Sweet breakfasts will always have a special place in my belly heart though 🙂

4. I drove the whole 4.5 hours back home from DC yesterday, which has resulted in major tightness in my neck today. Luckily, we made a stop for Naked Juice and Cinnabons by the highway, so it’s all good.

5. After I attended altar server rehearsal at church for the Holy Thursday and Good Friday Masses last night, I met my parents and Victoria and her mom for dinner at a fancy tapas restaurant called 42. We had to wait a little while for a table to open up, but it was definitely worth it. We shared everything, and everything was divine. (A lot of these are small plates! Others aren’t 😉 )

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Crispy calamari, shrimp, and jalapeño with lemon tartar sauce

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Spring salad with arugula, grapefruit, asparagus, radish, pecans, and house balsamic vinaigrette

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Beef and pork pastry with burrata cheese and egg-yolk sauce

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Macau pepper steak with soft egg, burnt scallion chimichurri and brioche

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My dish: Halibut with mango pepper sauce, pickled mushrooms, zucchini, squash, and mint

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Mom’s dish (my FAVORITE of the night): whole wheat tortellini with black truffle, ricotta, parmesan, and herbs

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Victoria’s dish: Vegetable paella

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Dad’s dish: Branzino with lemon jam and roasted peanut potato

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Wendy’s (Victoria’s mom) dish: Kale caesar salad

6. Yeah, I’m not done yet. You didn’t think we wouldn’t leave room for dessert, did you??

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Cutest little plate of milk and cookies ever. Coconut macaroon, double chocolate chunk, snickerdoodle, and peanut butter cookies!

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Creme brûlée doughnuts. YOU READ THAT FLIPPIN’ RIGHT.

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“The Bar”: Ovaltine mousse, peanut butter crunch, dulce de leche, vanilla ice cream

I don’t know where all this food went, because looking at all these pictures, it looks like it was meant for 20 people. We didn’t finish the desserts, but we cleaned up our plates pretty darn well!

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This was before the food came. If we took a picture afterwards, we would have been slouching with our eyes closed…but still smiling 😀

7. I did have some MUCH needed house-made food for lunch yesterday though:

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Salad with homemade honey mustard dressing and a soft-boiled egg

Plus some fruit and snap peas with hummus. The freshness of this simple meal made my belly so happy…before I filled it with all those tapas, which also made my belly very happy. Tooooo happy.

8. Surprisingly, I was hungry for breakfast this morning. I was also craving oats and nut butter, so I had some cookie dough cereal and it hit the spot! Since we don’t have any ripe bananas currently, I ate it with kiwis, but I ended up eating those separately. Kiwis + nut butter is not my combo of choice.

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9. Of course, my hospitable mom set up a huge bed+breakfast spread for our guests:

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Because we obviously don’t have enough food in our lives.

10. I had a dream last night that I had a super cute piglet as a pet!!! I want him back.

Happy Holy Thursday! May we remember to serve others as the Lord has served us. 🙂

So tell me: 

When was the last time you really craved light, fresh food?

Sweet or savory breakfast?

Would you want a pet piglet?