A Single Lady’s Birthday

Putcha hands up!

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I had a wonderful single lady’s birthday yesterday! Not just in the sense that I don’t have a boyfriend, but 99% of my day was spent with just me, myself and I. But thanks to Facebook, email and FaceTime, I felt surrounded by my loved ones all day ♥︎

(I’m trying to type this post, but I’m so mesmerized by the above gif. THAT SYNCHRONIZATION.)

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After breakfast and blogging yesterday, I answered some emails and messages and FaceTimed Madre before working out in the teeny exercise room in the apartment building. I did another strength-based, low-impact, 16-minute workout to be kind to my hip/thigh/knee. 4 rounds, 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:

*DB = dumbbell

I ate a multipart lunch after the workout. It included carrots and hummus, avocado egg toast, grapes, and popcorn. The bliss of an almost empty fridge (seriously, I am a big fan of all these foods).

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There’s no way I’d rather eat this avocado egg toast than by myself. My face becomes a Jackson Pollock canvas for dripping egg yolk and bright red sriracha.

I then took a bus downtown to the St. Francis Chapel in the Prudential Center for confession, Mass, and prayer. I may have been by myself all day, but with God, we are never alone 🙂 I did also see three friends at Mass!

Carrot cake was on my mind all day, because as fun as it is to be able to drink legally now, there’s nothing like celebrating a birthday with good ol’ cake. I 100% searched “best carrot cake in Boston” earlier in the day to find that Flour Bakery had stellar reviews for their carrot cake. Luckily, it was only a 15 minute walk from the Prudential Center!

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It wasn’t the cheapest piece of carrot cake ever, but it looked so cute and delicious. And it was the last piece left. And the internet said it was exceptional carrot cake. And it was my birthday.

Bag o’ cake in hand, I walked/bussed back home to find Christie waiting for me with half a dozen Georgetown Cupcakes! How sweet (no pun intended)!

Before digging into the plethora of cake, I had some necessary tasks to complete: shower, laundry, real dinner. Then it was time to EAT CAKE. Christie basically had a tasting party of all the flavors.

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The carrot cake from Flour is amazing. It was my favorite cake of the night. It has raisins and walnuts (how I like it), it’s moist (not sorry) and dense, and the cream cheese frosting is perfect. I’d say it’s comparable to Lloyd’s carrot cake from NYC!

Mini cakes next!

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Reviews from top left:

  • Peanut Butter Fudge: YUM. Not an overwhelming flavor of either chocolate or peanut butter. Perfectly balanced and delicious. Second favorite.
  • “Vanilla Butterfly Surprise”: Perhaps intended for five-year-olds OR named by a five-year-old. Very tasty but we could not figure out for the life of us what exactly the flavor was. Vanilla funfetti but distinctly toasty. Brown butter? Sugar cookie? Toasted marshmallow? Popcorn? Fifth favorite.
  • Earl Grey: Earl grey flavor is definitely present but also light and pleasant. Third favorite of the night.
  • Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake: Raspberry cheesecake with cream cheese frosting on top. I’d be happy with just the cheesecake, but all of it together was wonderful. Fourth favorite.
  • “Purple Rose”: Just a vanilla cupcake, but well-executed. Sixth favorite, but it was still a great cupcake.
  • (another Earl Grey)

Now we have about 50% of everything left for snacking 🙂 Thank you so much again for this delicious treat, Christie!

An overall lovely day. Everyone’s birthday wishes also made my heart so full.

I’m going back to New York today for a week! It’ll be good to be home with the fam and to see some old friends!

So tell me:

What food/dessert do you like to eat on your birthday?

Most interesting cake flavor you’ve ever tried.

Two things you did yesterday!

 

 

 

Overwhelmed with Goodness

So much to tell you. SO LITTLE TIME.

How in the world is it the last week of classes this semester? I can’t deal. I can barely deal with this weekend. I went to work on Friday, and two things stood out to me while I was working:

  1. I set off the fire alarm making steak (this is the second time I’ve done that now, but that steak was PERFECT).
  2. My boss told me I have “a look of wellbeing.”

I was very flattered and humbled by that comment. Part of me was thinking, “Really? This is the face of one tired lady.” But another part of me was thinking, “Well, I think I know why.”

If I do indeed have a look of wellbeing, it’s because God has filled overflowed my life with nothing but love. He always has filled my life with love, but I think I have learned to better appreciate and focus on His love, rather than sulk in my insecurities, trials, doubts, guilt, and fears.

Basically, I am overwhelmed by the goodness around me. Sometimes I feel unworthy. Sometimes I squander the gifts I’ve been given. Sometimes I’m afraid it will all disappear. But that’s humanity. We’re not worthy, we do fall, and the world will pass away. That’s why I need God. Like, NEEEEEEEED.

And yeah, this got religious real quick, but even if we don’t share faith, I hope that you can relate to this sense of gratitude and awesomeness (in the truest sense of the word) in your life.

So what’s all this goodness then? Time for show-and-tell!

-People who genuinely care about your life.

-People who wait 3 more seconds to hold open the door for you.

-Laughter, even when studying is stressing you out.

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me trying to figure out if respiration is hindered when lying supine

-Good conversations with people who I’ve just met.

-Really good hugs and high-fives.

-Running with your best friend, even though you didn’t really want to at first.

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-The wonder and beauty of the human body and being able to learn about it in depth.

-Soul talk. It’s fun talking about food, fitness, the latest party, and Justin Bieber’s comeback, but nothing is as satisfying and fulfilling as talking about, well, what truly satisfies, fulfills, and challenges our souls.

-Seeing and experiencing the beauty of God with and through other people.

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-Sharing food and fellowship.

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Mike & Patty’s for our food bucket list!

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“Egg Fancy” = two fried eggs, avocado, bacon, cheddar, and house mayo (OMG) on multigrain

That was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever eaten.

My lab partner/friend/fellow foodie, Christina (go follow her on Instagram @foodietunes!), have been on many food adventures this weekend…

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breakfast before lab

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Indian night in the d-hall

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distracted by cupcakes during our walk on Saturday

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split a pumpkin gingerbread spice cupcake— OH WOW.

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grand opening promo event at Sweetgreen yesterday

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free {healthy} food? yes, please.

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One of my friends just came home after studying abroad in Australia for the past four months, and he gave me a Tim Tam to try! Very tasty.

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thinking about you, Arman

-People who affirm and encourage you constantly. It’s easy to be self-conscious or upset about your body, personality, or achievements. However, having people who truly believe that you are beautiful and who push you to be the best version of yourself— that helps you live a little more fully and confidently every day.

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So to YOU, I say: There will be many lies and doubts (both internal and external) holding you back from being the best version of yourself. It’s tempting to sit in grief until you feel good enough to finally do something great. This time of feeling weak and useless is the perfect time to start giving. In giving, you will receive so much. Give your smile, your thoughts, your talents, your love.

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I know I am currently living at a time of peak physical and social nourishment, so I understand that everything in my eyes seems like rainbows and unicorns. I have nothing to truly complain about. Maybe I’m naive and in a bubble. But I know for sure that “to whom much is given, much will be expected,” and I pray that I can just give from the overwhelming amount of goodness I am given.

Phew. Hope you all have a wonderful week 🙂 “Let us begin.”

So tell me:

The best thing you ate this weekend.

Three good things from last week/this weekend.

About the last time you set off the fire alarm (if ever).

University of Virginia + Washington DC Fun

Salutations! (Charlotte’s Web anyone?? 🙂 )

I totally wanted to put up a recap post of my visit to UVA yesterday, but I was pooped from another long day of walking and eating yet again. Thus, I’m comin’ atcha today with a huge photo dump from the past couple of days!

{If you haven’t read the other posts from my great college tour finale, you may want to check out what I think of University of Maryland and Charlottesville!}

Monday

Up and at ’em at 7:30 AM!

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Breakfast part 1: banana with coconut peanut butter in the hotel room

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Breakfast part 2: trail mix in the hotel room

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Breakfast part 3: hunk o’ yummy banana bread at the UVA Days on the Lawn Welcome (pear saved for later)

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Super talented a cappella groups entertaining us as we waited for the event to start

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Grand Wahoo welcome!

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Singing one of their famous anthems

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Bavaro Hall

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Kinesiology info session

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Word.

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After all our dining out this past weekend, I was more than ready for these veggies from the dining hall. They had some delicious options!

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And then this. Free froyo, people.

Alright, I’m sure you want to know the verdict on University of Virginia, so here’s the rundown:

Pros:

  • Gorgeous campus
  • Super nice people
  • Charlottesville is a very walkable town
  • Great education
  • Awesome Catholic center
  • Blogger/foodie town
  • Kinesiology program
  • Best campus food I’ve had so far
  • The students seem very serious about their studies
  • School spirit

Cons:

  • Out-of-state tuition is pricey
  • Distance (7 hour drive from home)
  • Not very close to a big city
  • The opportunities did not seem quite as vast as UMD

Conclusion:

I do not think I will attend UVA. As much as I liked my experience at Cville this weekend, UVA just didn’t click with me like UMD did. The price and distance are also major factors. This conclusion took a lot of thinking and pondering!

After the Days on the Lawn finished, mom and I drove to Dulles Airport (near DC) to pick my friend, Victoria, and her mom, who flew in from California! We’ve known each other since we were 5 years old when my family lived in southern California. Victoria is also visiting colleges on the east coast, so I have a buddy for this college decision process!

We went out to dinner with their friends who live in DC, which was fun, delicious, and filling. As if I hadn’t eaten enough this spring break. The restaurant was called Miss Saigon, and the food was absolutely fantastic.

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We shared a ton of dishes family style. We also left with four containers of leftovers.

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But there’s always room for mango with sticky rice!

I feel like I’ve had a food baby after every dinner on this trip. SO MUCH FOOD.

We did make it over 20,000 steps that day though!

Moves: a crapton of walking.

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Champs.

I ended up giving the Polar Loop to my mom so she could track her steps, and we were super excited to see that we made it to 20.6K steps on Monday!

Tuesday

Slept in until 8:30 AM. I basically max out at 8 hours of sleep nowadays.

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Coffee and hot cocoa at Illy with Victoria 🙂

We walked around American University for a while since that is one of Victoria’s top choices right now. It has a beautiful campus in the midst of DC. Plus, if she goes there and I go to UMD, we would be super close to one another! SoCal girls’ partayyyy.

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I guess I like to get in my veggies at lunchtime. This is the veggie burger in a lettuce wrap from Elevation Burger at the AU dining hall. Very tasty! Especially since it took 10 minutes for them to make…

In the afternoon, Victoria and her mom went to an art museum in DC while my mom and I went back to relax at the hotel. I snacked and got some homework done.

After picking them up and having dinner at the hotel cafe (we ordered a bunch of apps to share), everyone except my mom walked through wind, rain, and suddenly freezing temperatures for one reason and one reason alone.

Cupcakes.

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Baked and Wired Bakery

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After our courageous trek. Hi from Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

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Our reward!

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Carrot cake cupcake (they call them “cakecups”). It’s supposed to be “enough to share”…Haha. Nah.

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DEMOLISHED that sucker.

It’s a cycle, really. Snacky breakfast➔ veggies at lunch➔ sugar at night. It balances out.

This “cakecup” got me all sugared up for a late night workout at the spiffy hotel fitness center. Moves included a 1 mile run on the treadmill, some bodyweight lunges, pushups, and Julie’s 8 minute ab tabata. It felt good to move! And groove to my music when no one was watching 😉

Unrelated side note: I officially despise— DESPISE—driving in DC. Half of the roads are one-way for only certain hours in the day, some roads are two-lane or one-lane for certain hours in the day, there are too many roundabouts, tour buses are everywhere, cars are parked in driving lanes….holy moly. DC makes NYC look like a breeze.

And that’s a wrap! I apologize for the length of this post, but it was another two-days-in-one-post deal.

Hope you all have a happy hump day!

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Washington DC?

Do you like veggie burgers?

What is your favorite cake/cupcake flavor?

Where is the worst place in which you’ve driven?