Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup III

How many of my wrist and finger muscles are working as I type this right now??

Gross anatomy is on the brain. Luckily for me, I have all spring break at home to study! #turnup.

Each time I come home is a different experience, because I learn more and grow more every time I go back to school. I think this is a good time for the next part of “Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup”! (here is part I and II)

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1) When I was taking the train from Boston to NY to come home for spring break, I ran into a guy from my high school who I was kinda friends with back in the day. I was so surprised to see him that I said his name out loud in disbelief, half regretting it because thereafter I would have to talk to him.

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But it wasn’t weird. We caught up on life and had a pleasant train ride together, because we’re adults (with quasi-sheltered lives still) who can talk to each other like adults, despite the awkward high school world in which we once lived.

2) I’m over mirrors. Like, I guess I need them to make sure I don’t have spinach in my teeth and that my hair is at least a 6/10, but coming home to big mirrors is a reminder of why I was so obsessed with my body image.

At my apartment this year, I don’t change in front of any body-length mirrors, so I don’t really have time to “body check” (checking for chubby spots/muscles/imperfections, which can easily become an unhealthy habit). I have learned that the availability of big mirrors increases the likelihood of body checking, so I have also learned to be more deliberate in not dwelling too long in the mirror (striving for humility and self-esteem!).

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My advice to anyone who has trouble quitting body checking: do what this cat does.

No I’m kidding. For real: try to only have a full length mirror by your front door, so you can only check yourself when you’re fully dressed and ready to leave your place. Don’t let the mirror steal your joy!

3) I’m not afraid to challenge some things that my parents say. Not because I want to be a rebel, but because I want us all to find and know Truth. This goal allows our arguments to flourish in understanding, rationality, and trust in God, who knows better than any of us.

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4) Lent is showing me that I really am attached to peanut butter…so it’s good that I’m giving it up for 40 days. It’s hammering home that idea that food is just food.

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5) The family and I went to the Maryknoll Sisters’ annual charity concert again this year, and I was really getting into those classical pieces. Orchestra concerts, in my mind, were always the “bran flakes” of all events—fine but just meh. This year, although I’m no music connoisseur, I appreciated the music, the performers, and even the spectators more than ever. I don’t love classical music now, but I just appreciate it for what it is. This applies to a lot of other things/people in the world too.

It also didn’t hurt that the orchestra ended with a fantastic Lion King medley.

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Mini desserts are also a bonus.

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the pignoli cookie in the middle was the BEST

4) Despite all these new things I’m realizing at home, some things will always be the same. Like how my body seems to want more sleep and more food than ever when I’m at home.

Madre’s cooking is rocking my world per usual.

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Pillsbury crescent rolls are my childhood literally rolled into buttery, flaky parcels of goodness

6) Pop and I also went to go see a movie in theaters just like we did last spring break! This weekend we watched The Shack, based on the book by William P. Young. We both loved it! It has unmistakably Christian themes, but I think anyone can learn a lot about why tragic loss/evil happens from this movie.

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7) I really need to stretch more. These muscles aren’t getting any more flexy on their own!

So tell me:

An example of how you’ve learned to appreciate the “bran flakes of life.”

Thoughts on body checking in the mirror?

Have you watched any good movies lately?

Two things you did this weekend!

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Home Is Where the Food Is

So much food, so little time!!!

That seems to be the theme whenever I come home. Not the worst situation.

I’ve been home for a little over two days, and I have definitely been soaking up some R&R, spending time with the ‘rents, eating mom’s home cooking, and utilizing the kitchen.

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Friday

My friends Joe and Louis let me hitch a ride with them back home since we all live fairly close to one another. We left Boston on Friday afternoon, bumpin’ some tunes, chatting about our lives, and criticizing Joe for his love of country music for the 4 hour drive.

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Madre prepared a fabulous dinner that was waiting for us when we got to my house. What a wonderful woman.

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She sent Joe and Louis home with fried rice and egg rolls, because you don’t leave her establishment without food.

The rest of my night involved laundry, reading blogs, and watching YouTube videos until 2 AM because I’m dumb.

Saturday

I woke up naturally at 8:30 on Saturday (weird, considering I went to sleep so late), so I took my time getting downstairs and deciding what to eat for breakfast. I get very pensive about breakfast when I’m home, especially if I’m only home for a few days, because I know that I have limited time to utilize the kitchen/time to make some of my favorite breakfast recipes.

I was in the mood for either pancakes or oatmeal. But I can do regular oatmeal in my dorm any day… homemade pancakes though? Girl.

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I used The Baker Mama’s recipe for whole wheat banana pancakes, which were fluffy and delicious. I had three (+ another baby one) with blueberry Chobani, peanut butter, and fresh blueberries. Served with a glass o’ milk.

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WOW. I keep staring at this picture and reminiscing on the amazingness of this breakfast.

I think I caught up on some more blogs and took a nap before interviewing my mom for my Behavioral Biology of Women term paper. It was fun to hear all her stories! Lunch happened sometime in there.

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sautéed spinach, avocado, egg, and sriracha in a Flatout wrap + too many snacks to count

I got to move and groove in the basement for a bit as well! I worked on pull-up/chin-up negatives, pushups, and wall walks before doing a 20 minute circuit (and then stretching! #PTtobe).

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We went to Mass at night and then came home for dinner to make our way through some of the leftovers from Friday night.

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hodgepodge of noodles, spaghetti squash, tofu, fish, and vegetables topped with sriracha (the condiment of the gods) + a bunch of unpictured crackers with eggplant dip

Dad and I decided to watch Eddie the Eagle later that night at the theater, which was a good choice! An entertaining, feel-good kinda movie (with British accents, so +100).

Upon coming home, I ate another pancake with peanut butter, dried figs, and a glass o’ milk. 😀

Sunday

Smoothie Sunday (#smoothiesunday?)! This was an overnight oat smoothie (same recipe as this one) topped with granola that my dear friend Emma gifted me! (Catholic friend giving granola made by Catholic monks to fellow Catholic friend. How Catholic.)

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Fast forward through some relaxing reading, school reading, and blog reading… My parents and I went out to lunch at a seafood restaurant thanks to— the one and only— Groupon.

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Their warm sourdough with a sprinkle heavy dose of pepper to start.

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I went with the prix fixe option since it was the best deal. For appetizer I got the salad of the day, which was arugula with bell peppers, tomatoes, feta cheese, candied pistachios (!!!), and a lemon vinaigrette. It didn’t look like all that much at first, but it tasted great!

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For my entree I ordered the scallops with mushroom risotto. I also helped my mom with some of her lobster ravioli and had a bite of my dad’s parmesan-crusted cod. It was all pretty darn tasty!

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We took most of my risotto to go, along with the dessert that came with my prix fixe (pistachio cheesecake!) because a) I was full, b) we were in a rush to go to a concert, and c) we knew there would be cookies at the concert reception.

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It was a benefit concert to help support the Maryknoll Sisters’ global outreach mission. A local orchestra performed some awesome classical and cinematic pieces. My fave was the Jurassic Park piece at the end (mostly because it was the only one I could recognize, but also because it was spectacular).

During intermission, these happened.

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Beautiful mini desserts!!! I got a plate for myself and then had a bite of, like, five different cookies from my mom’s plate.

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Ugh, so good. The sisters baked all of them!

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Back at home, I changed into comfy clothes and went on a 3 mile walk around the ‘hood while listening to the latest Girls Gone WOD podcast. I ate a light dinner at around 8 since I was still kind of full from our big, late lunch.

And here I am typing up this blog post. It’s taken me two hours to type up this little recap. I’m queen of getting sidetracked (aka dancing to music and texting my friend about exploding stars).

The funny thing is that I had several different plans for spring break including a possible mission trip to Ireland or Guyana. Then I planned for a weeklong retreat after the mission trips didn’t work out, but the weeklong retreat was canceled, so then I was left with little to work with. Home has been a nice treat though ♥︎

Hope you all have a mighty fine Monday!

So tell me:

What is the best thing you ate this weekend? 

Oatmeal or pancakes?

Are you a fan of country music? 

Are you a fan of orchestra concerts? They’re not my number one activity of choice, but I can definitely enjoy and appreciate the music!

Spontaneity Can Lead to the Best Experiences

I’m not that adventurous.

If I say yes to doing something a little offbeat or spontaneous, it’s because I’m really going against my natural tendency. That natural tendency is to stick to plans or do productive things at home. Even in college, I can be a total homebody.

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my go-to excuse

However, during my last couple of days at home, I’ve agreed (sometimes reluctantly) to a few spontaneous ventures that I 100% loved.

It all started on Thursday morning with a spontaneous breakfast that I had never tried before: Julie’s egg white oatmeal protein pancake.

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I had been familiar with how much Julie loves this recipe for a long time, but I was always skeptical of it because the ingredients are egg whites, oats, stevia, and cinnamon. No blending involved. Hm.

Nevertheless, I branched out and made the monstrous pancake. First of all, just flipping the thing took 3 minutes. Secondly, I wasn’t very impressed at first bite, because it tasted like sweet egg whites… But the more I ate it, the more I enjoyed it. The peanut butter and banana helped, I’m sure.

Spontaneous breakfast — thumbs up!

My workout on Thursday was also spontaneous. I was kinda sore and really full for a long time from the mass of egg whites sitting in my stomach, so I bundled up, walked outside (per Amanda’s suggestion!) and headed towards the playground. When I got there I ended up doing a fun circuit workout using the bench!

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Spontaneous workout — thumbs up!

Lunch wasn’t spontaneous, but it was at a weird time of day (like, 4pm?) since I slept in and ate breakfast really late that day.

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flatout wrap with avocado, greens, honey mustard chicken, and artichokes (!!!)

I attended modern dance class at my old dance school on Thursday night, which was so fun. My good friend Susie (who was in dance company with me in high school) also attended the class asked if I wanted to join her for dinner afterwards.

My thought process: “I could go home and do some things on my to-do list. But that would be stupid and boring because COME ON, of course I want to catch up with Susie!!”

So we ate and chatted, and it was absolutely wonderful.

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We also ordered the same grilled vegetable sandwich, which was delicious.

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Spontaneous dinner date — thumbs up!

Yesterday brought about a few more spontaneous events. One was a lovely lunch date and walk with Madre! She wanted to take me to a cute patisserie in Greenwich, CT (where I spotted Food Network superstar Geoffrey Zakarian, who ignored me) called Aux Delices.

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It’s a pricey little place (classic Greenwich), but the food was well worth it.

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salmon salad, golden beets, wheat berry salad, and Italian tuna salad (#FishFriday)

Then we walked/jammed out/danced/snacked together.

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Spontaneous mother-daughter date — thumbs up!

I think the real kicker is this one. Our neighbors had two tickets to see Blind Boys of Alabama last night, but they offered the tickets to us since something came up and they couldn’t attend. I was about to say, “Aw thank you, but we have plans for dinner tonight.” But Madre quickly answered, “Oh! Thank you! Alison, you can go with Dad!”

Oooookay.

So we all ate a nice dinner at home together, and then Pop and I went to see this group that I had never heard of before.

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last sunny side eggs on avocado/cheese toast for a while! (drizzled with sriracha post-pic)

If you haven’t heard of Blind Boys of Alabama (like I hadn’t before last night), they’re a group of men who met at the Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s, where they first started singing together. They toured when Jim Crow laws were still in place, and they even performed for Martin Luther King Jr. benefits (how appropriate for this weekend in America!). HOW COOL!?

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I’d describe their style as bluesy gospel with a big dose of soul and a sprinkle of funk. They’re incredibly talented people!

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Verdict? Well, I was smiling and dancing in my seat the whole time if that says anything. I might have been the youngest one in the audience, but I was clapping and bopping my head just like the rest of ’em.

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Overall, I adored their music and their fun-loving, soulful character. Check out their grooviness.

Spontaneous concert — thumbs up!

Pop and I finished off the evening with classic yogurt bowls back at home.

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No-bake treat sampler on the side, compliments of Arman!

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Throwback to last year when Pop and I ate dessert together…

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Why did we decide on Greek yogurt over ice cream this year??? Beats me.

I’m going back to Boston today! Sad to be leaving home and blogging more than once a week, but stoked to be seeing friends and diving into the semester (← also nervous about the latter).

Happy Saturday!

So tell me:

Do you like spontaneity?

What was the last spontaneous thing you did and loved?

What was the last concert you attended?

Florida Weekend Confessions

Good morning!

We’re in the home stretch here in Florida! We have a little over a week before it’s time to head back to New York, and I’m actually quite happy about that. Although my time in the sunshine state has been absolutely wonderful, I’m ready to go back to our cozy home up north (I make it sound like I live in Alaska).

Today is also the day that Daliza leaves me 😦 Her family drove down from New York like hardcore troopers, so she’ll be joining them at a hotel, but she’ll still be nearby! My cousin, aunt, and uncle came in yesterday though, so we still have great company.

I’m feeling like it’s confession time again for this weekend recap. Honesty is the best policy, am I right? 😉

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Sharing my confessions on Katie‘s marvelous Monday linkup! 

Confession #1: I’m slightly obsessed with Us The Duo.

Their concert in Orlando on Friday night was so awesome. I don’t even care if I’ve known about their existence for only 5 days. I’m a fangirl and I already know the words to most of their songs. They are absolutely flawless when they sing live, which is a rarity these days with big-time musicians.

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They melt my heart.

Confession #2: Daliza and I learned the lyrics to this song:

It’s a song about BANANAS. A healthy living blogger’s dream right there. You should learn the words too, just to have it in your back pocket for impromptu performances. (This is the guy in Us the Duo and he performed it for us on Friday night, haha!)

Confession #3: Sometimes I just want Cheerios.

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But I also want sunflower seed butter. But putting sunflower seed butter in a regular bowl of cereal is a little inconvenient, so we compensate by making a rather patriotic yogurt bowl. Huzzah!

Confession #4: I probably would not do too well with hot yoga.

I think it was 90+ degrees F on Friday morning, and I made it through only 30 minutes of a yoga video before rolling up my mat and going back into the air-conditioned house.

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I was dripping sweat even though I was in the shade.

Confession #5: I’ve been watching the Crossfit Games all weekend.

I just can’t stop being in awe of those athletes. I also can’t stop staring at their shoulders!!!

Rich Froning? Incredible.

Confession #6: I am scared of Daliza.

She tried to pull my feet when we were swimming in my friend’s pool. Like, who does that?! She also scared me when I was walking out of a room, and I screamed and fell to the floor. Oh, she threw stuffed Pikachus at my head too. She doesn’t love me.

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“Do I have anything in my teeth?”

Confession #7: I ate soft serve ice cream two nights in a row.

And both were fantastic. Soft serve is just so delightful, I don’t think it gets old!

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Photo bomber in da purple shirt

Confession #8: I didn’t eat lunch on Saturday.

We went to our family friends’ house, and they said we would have an early dinner, so I just snacked on watermelon and cherries for “lunch” while swimming with Daliza. Needless to say, I was ravenous afterwards. I was so, so happy when I got to eat this delicious food made by our hostess.

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Daliza even tried fish (salmon) for the first time ever! She’s a very picky selective eater, so that was HUGE for her. She even said two days beforehand: “I would never eat fish.” OKAY. And then she tried eel last night. She has become a new person on this trip.

🙂

Confession #9: We ordered a little too much sushi.

I didn’t think it was possible, but the six of us (Daliza didn’t venture into the sushi) were stuffed to the brim after this meal, and this isn’t even all of it!

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Dragonfly restaurant with my cousin, aunt, and uncle

Confession #10: I really want some Lucky Charms.

It’s sitting in the pantry because I bought some last week “for my cousin.”

Confession #11: I did burpees this weekend!

I’ve been doing some here and there because I think I can start increasing my exercise a little more(!!) now. Slowly. I don’t do them often, but I did some and it felt so great!

I should go to sleep now. I’m making waffles for la famiglia in the morning/this morning/now.

Hope you all have a fantastic day!

So tell me:

What’s your favorite “indulgence” cereal?

Do you like hot yoga?

Soft or hard ice cream?

Confessions from the weekend!

Behind the Scenes #26: Harry Potter World

Hey, it’s another vacation recap! Crap.

I know I said I wasn’t going to do these the rest of the time I’m in Florida, but there is just too much I want to tell you all about our adventures… At least there was a vlog to break things up a bit on Wednesday?

I’ll keep this post as short and sweet as possible by doing it Thinking Out Loud style (i.e. a numbered list)!

1) A few days ago, coming back from the outlet mall, we came across this little guy struggling on the side of the road in our neighborhood:

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I’ll name him Squirt in honor of Finding Nemo.

We pulled over to take a picture of him, but we didn’t know what to do with him. Then a dude in sunglasses drove up, picked up the turtle, and put him back into the lake without saying anything, even though we were trying to ask questions. Then he drove back to where he came from. #iGuessSo.

2) Daliza and I went mini-golfing on Wednesday evening!

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I won, but that’s not saying too much since that was Daliza’s first time playing. I’ve even played at this course before and I got a double bogey (two more strokes than par) on the FIRST HOLE.

I also fell on my butt somewhere, somehow during our game, but that’s not important…

3) Wednesday night was lovely and relaxing with a dinner of pork/veggie spring rolls made by mom and movie night. Daliza and I watched Heaven is For Real (the movie based off of my favorite book) finally, and it was pretty good! The book was better though, of course.

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Parcels of goodness

4) Daliza and I spent a whopping 13 hours in Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure yesterday. My feet hated me. But we knocked out more than 12 rides and attractions, I believe! Go hard or go home (literally). Now, for all you Harry Potter fans (ARMAN):

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Hogwarts

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Diagon Alley

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Surprisingly very delicious ice cream in Diagon Alley! I had strawberries and peanut butter + sticky toffee pudding. Daliza had butterbeer soft serve!

5) Daliza was totally awe-inspired by the Harry Potter sections of the parks, and I thought it was pretty fantastic too. But I’ve never read Harry Potter, and I’ve only watched a couple of the movies, so I wasn’t quite as ecstatic as she was. This is why:

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Is he not so scary?

6) There was never a moment in the day during which I didn’t feel soaked. It was either water from a ride or just plain sweat. So nasty. It’s all a part of the experience though, right?

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7) The lines were not terribly long! Glad we didn’t waste $100 on an express pass. Oof.

8) I was in a breakfast rut during this vacation until this morning. I was in the mood for some doughy, creamy grains, but I didn’t make overnight oats last night. So I used the brown rice mom had made earlier this week for a peanut butter banana rice pudding of sorts.

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Hallelujah!!!

Wow, it was delicious. I hadn’t made a breakfast rice bowl like this in a while. I tweaked this recipe a bit:

  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 huge tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 baby banana/half a banana

Put all these ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 1-1.5 minutes. Mix well until the peanut butter and banana are combined with the rice and the milk is absorbed. Top with dollops of plain Greek yogurt and maple syrup. DIG IN.

Do it, please.

9) We’re going to a concert tonight! It’s a husband and wife duo called Us The Duo. Daliza actually introduced me to the group just two days ago, but I’ve been doing my job as a fangirl by listening to their music nonstop. If you like Colbie Caillat, Tori Kelly, Ingrid Michaelson or any other singer-songwriters like that, you’ll love these two. They’re adorable.

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10) I think I’m gonna do some yoga now. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

So tell me:

Are you good at mini-golf?

Are you a Harry Potter fan?

Ever eaten rice for breakfast?

Ever heard of Us The Duo?