Last Colorado Things

We are back to the mother ship!

But first, one more picture from Blend thanks to mom, who showed up as the guest photographer.

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After traveling from Boston to New York, New York to Colorado, Colorado to New York, I am done wandering for a while. (My mom and bro are still trekking along to Florida for my brother’s internship!)

Blend swag made travel snacking so easy.

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Madre loves these Quest protein chips. Look at that protein!

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Colorado was an epic vacation with my mom and brother, but I’m also happy to be home with my dad. Poor guy was eating leftovers from the fridge all week while we were eating fresh new foods in Colorado (and then posting them on social media where he could see). I’m also excited to be all domestic again this summer— mostly for the cooking, not as much for the cleaning and errands… Such is life.

Domesticity started early this morning with dropping off Pop at the train station, going grocery shopping (at 6AM when I can pace the aisles freely without judgement), and breakfast.

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Arman’s cake batter oatmeal is life-changing // sprinkles just because it’s “cake batter”

We left Colorado with a bang by going to Flagstaff House for a super splurge dinner on Sunday night. My mom insisted on taking me out to an early birthday dinner, since she and Ben would be away for my real birthday. I definitely didn’t need a fancy dinner, but I think my mom really wanted dinner with a view to treat me to something special. It’s not like it was difficult to accept either. 😉

The meal was rich (food-wise and moolah-wise), but we savored every bite, as well as the unbeatable mountain view.

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The service was excellent, and the food was outstanding. They even served complimentary amuse bouche  and palate cleansers throughout the meal.

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bottom left is our appetizer order: yellowfin tuna tartare and steak tartare with brioche toasts

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my entree: New Zealand salmon (cooked medium rare, OMG) with lump crab meat // Ben’s: pork tenderloin // Mom’s: natural Colorado chicken breast

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desserts: chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream // trio of vanilla bean, vegan vanilla bean, and salted caramel house-spun ice cream // tiny complimentary French toast with vanilla creme anglaise and candied pecans

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early birthday complimentary dessert platter

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complimentary mini blueberry poppyseed loaves to take home!

Incredible all around. The value is awesome when you account for the view, service, quality and taste of food, and amount of complimentary food!

I got some moves in at the hotel before we headed to the airport yesterday, and it was probably the last intense workout I’ll be doing in a while. (I’ll talk more about all that another day.) It was a good one though!

  • dynamic warmup
  • circuit workout // 3 rounds of each
    • 15 weighted step-ups each leg // 20 squat jumps
    • 5 reps of 5 bent over row+ 5 frog plank jumps // 15 leg lift crunches
    • 20 hamstring ball curls // 10 burpee tuck jumps
    • 12 sit-ups to shoulder press // 20 spiderman planks
  • tabata // 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest x8
    • burpees
    • high knees

I’m not a workout selfie person, but I thought my last gym workout for a while warranted one.

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Hashtag grind, hashtag muscles, hashtag gym. Did I nail it?

I followed it up with more Blend swag food: half a Quest bar + a sweet potato with a chocolate Nuttzo sample packet and a power fuel Nuttzo sample packet.

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And then an Asian chicken salad later in the afternoon.

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I went to bed late and woke up early this morning, so I’m about to take a nap before my eye doc appointment and then my first day at physical therapy internship!

Hope you all have a wonderful day! Take weird selfies today.

So tell me:

Have you gone to a splurge restaurant that was totally worth it?

What do you like to eat on airplanes?

Do you like gym selfies (seeing them or taking them)? I don’t mind seeing others’ gym selfies every once in a while, but I don’t really like taking them myself.

What are you doing today?

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That Time I Fell Into a Canyon

Thinking-Out-Loud

with Amanda today!

1) Guess what! I wasn’t sore yesterday! After the hardest hike of my life, I was fully expecting to wake up not being able to move my body, but I felt fresh and fine. I was confused. The hike felt so hard and painful, but I guess it was mostly the altitude? Or maybe I recovered so quickly because I ate very well after the hike? Whatever it was, I’m just happy I was not completely debilitated.

2) We saw more beautiful rocks yesterday! Our family friends drove us to Colorado Springs, where we first visited the “Garden of the Gods”.

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please smile, dude

3) After walking around the pedestrian-friendly path for a while, we ate an incredible lunch at The Sahara Cafe— a Middle Eastern restaurant with the most amazing falafel ever.

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owned this chicken gyro

4) I was stuffed for the next 6 hours after that meal, because what you don’t see are the sweet potato fries, babaganoush, and baklava that I also ate with the falafel and gyro.

5) All that pita bread must have energized some of us, because our next stop was Cave of the Winds, where four of us decided to do the “Terror-Dactyl” ride. Basically, you fall into a canyon, just strapped in by a few seatbelts and hung by a cord. Juuuuust rocks under us.

Supervisor: The ground comes at ya pretty fast, so it’s over quickly whatever happens!

Oh….

I apologize for my blood-curdling scream

I prayed beforehand. The worst part was actually the beginning when they tilted us forward so that we were parallel with the ground and all our weight was resting on their somewhat questionable seatbelts. There’s a GoPro video of Ben’s and my face during the whole thing, which I’ll be sure to share when I get it!

6) It was totally amazing and worth it (the fear and the $50…).

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the daredevils’ “before” shot

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head first into this beauty

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walking the plank

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after the drop, taking in the scenery and thanking God we’re alive

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Even my mom and aunt did a ride! They took the less extreme, but still thrilling zipline.

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my mom and aunt on the zipline!

7) After that excitement, we slowed it down with a fun cave tour! All those stalactites, stalagmites, and slightly claustrophobia-inducing rock tunnels.

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It was so neat! Our tour guide was awesome, and the history was fascinating. If you’re ever in Colorado Springs, I 100% recommend Cave of the Winds. Let me know if you try the Terror-Dactyl 😉

8) “Eat, hike, repeat” is our theme of the week, so after our afternoon activities, we ate a late dinner at Thai Diamond Cafe. I was still kinda full from lunch, so I shared bites of everyone’s food and ate a salad that I had originally packed for lunch. I left the restaurant very full again 🙂

9) I’m going to meet Emily from Beauty in Christ today!!! I am so super excited. I can relate to every single one of her blog posts. It’s so wonderful to have a blogger friend who is about my age, who has gone through similar experiences with an eating disorder, and who loves Christ with a passion.

10) Speaking of blogger friends, Blend is tomorrow!!! So many exclamation points and so many things to be grateful for. I am blessed to just be alive, but God’s generosity is overflowing every darn day.

So tell me:

Would you do Terror-Dactyl? Have you done anything like it?

Have you ever gone on a cave tour?

What did you eat yesterday?

Hiking in Colorado

If you want to get fit, come to Colorado.

My brother told me that Colorado has the fittest people in the nation, and I believe that wholeheartedly. The atmosphere and culture just scream: “Outdoors! Stay active! Wear sneakers!”

I mean, with this kind of land, how could the culture not be that way?

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When in Colorado, do as Colorado people do. So we’ve been getting outdoors and climbing ALL the rocks!

(Warning: A ridiculous amount of photos ahead!}

Monday: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

We started with a delicious breakfast a la hotel.

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scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg, Canadian bacon + oatmeal with honey, banana, and pb

other half of banana with more peanut butter

Mom: “Alison’s cooking.” ➔ aka cutting up a banana and spooning peanut butter onto my oatmeal.

Then we were off to Red Rocks! As soon as I started walking up the hill and stairs, my heart started beating what felt like twice as fast as usual. Hello, high altitude!

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But the beauty of the red rocks distracted me from my lack of lung capacity.

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The good people of Colorado were doing their thing, working out at the amphitheater by running the bleachers and climbing the stairs. Ben and I were inspired!

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 had to throw some burpee bench jumps in there

Ben and I decided to walk on the quick and leisurely 1.4 mile trail around the red rocks. Man, was it fantastic.

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Our time at Red Rocks ended up being a great workout between all the stairs and walking, so we were definitely ready for lunch afterwards.

DSC_0960 some Enlightened crisps to snack on

Ben found a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with great reviews on Yelp called Sherpa House. It was an all you can eat buffet for $9.99! NAAN, PLEASE AND THANKS.

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After a mighty satisfying lunch, Ben and I explored the town we were in— Golden, CO. My motive for exploration was finding ice cream, to be honest. But the quaint, western town was beautiful and charming! (We found awesome ice cream though. Caramel Oreo + Bing Cherry, oh my goodness.)

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The rest of our day was spent in our hotel room resting/blogging until we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some family friends. I had the roasted vegetable salad with grilled chicken, which I totally devoured. Plus lots of bread and olive oil.

Tuesday: Bear Peak

This hike was probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. At least, it’s up there. If you see a little Asian waddling with a look of pain on her face in Colorado today and tomorrow, it’s probably me.

I woke up at 7:30, and my body felt pretty tired— not quite sore, but just lead-like. I knew that Ben and I had a long hike planned at Bear Peak, but I secretly wasn’t opposed to just chillaxin’ instead. But we got up, ate breakfast, and tackled the darn hike. We are in Colorado!

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scrambled eggs + pineapple + oatmeal with honey and pb (I didn’t end up eating the yogurt)

but I did have a quarter of my mom’s waffle with the rest of the honey and banana

Let me just commentate our hike for you. We heard great things about this trail, the weather was perfect, and we were excited (Ben a little more so than I). The hike was almost 8 miles and took us just over 5 hours.

I knew it was going to be a tough hike, and I consider myself to be fairly fit, but WOWZA this hike was a whole ‘nother level for me.

At the start:

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In my head: Oh that’s cute. The start of the trail is going downhill. Bringing you down to go up. 

Me: It’s so not cool to be hiking up a mountain when you just ate a large breakfast.

Ben: Some people run up this mountain. In the winter.

Me: If we see a mountain lion or bear, the plan is that I get up on your shoulders and we make ourselves look huge. I’ll try not to scream and you just back away. And you film the whole thing.

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The hike up to the summit was about 3 miles, with 1.1 miles being straight up. Those 1.1 miles were the death of me. Ben had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. If I want to make excuses, I’d say we were climbing from 6,000 ft to 8,000 ft elevation, which is way up there for this city girl. I’m also a high maintenance packer who brought two water bottles, lots of snacks, and my jacket in my honker of a backpack.

Me: I feel like I’m using the stair master, running, doing burpees, and squatting all at the same time.

Ben: We have about 1,000 ft of elevation left. ➔ I give him a silent death stare.

Me: I definitely should have eaten pizza last night. Need carbs.

Me: My glycogen stores are depleting. I need a snack.

 peanut butter and banana on whole wheat sandwich thin

 A girl about our age was climbing up behind us, and I let her pass us because she was a beast and powered through those rocks much faster than I. Poor Ben had to keep stopping for me, but he said that made it easy for him. Ha.

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After a sweaty and butt-killing 2.5 hours, we carefully climbed up the rocks at the summit and just soaked. it. in.

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In my head: Worth it. Also, don’t fall off the mountain.

We ate a power lunch/snack at the summit before heading back down the longer but less steep 4 mile trail down the mountain.

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sweet potato, eaten just like that

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The hike down was so much less strenuous than the hike up (thanks, gravity), but it was still interesting. There was a creek that was rushing pretty hard due to melting snow, and we had to cross it back and forth at least ten times. Our feet got completely wet, but it was still a fun challenge to figure out how to cross each time.

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Ben: I lied about this being the drier side of the mountain.

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we climbed up that whole left side of the mountain

In my head: If anything will kill me on this hike, it would be a fly buzzing past my ear, causing me to spazz out and fall off the cliff.

Our last obstacle of the hike was passing by a rattlesnake, which made my heart beat just as fast as when we were ascending the mountain.

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7.8+ miles and 5+ hours later, we made it back to where we started. It was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved this hike, despite the pain my legs are in right now.

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I ate two more of those peanut butter banana sandwiches upon finishing. 🙂

Showers and relaxation were much needed afterwards. Then dinner! Mom took us to a Vietnamese restaurant, where I ate a rice vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and tons of veggies, herbs, and ground peanuts. We also shared egg rolls as an appetizer. Hit the spot so good.

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As you can see, I housed that bowl. Hiking hunger is as real as “runger.” I even had room for frozen yogurt.

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peanut butter and cookies ‘n’ cream with graham cracker crumbs, hemp granola, and mochi

Now it’s time to sleep. Does anyone who is attending Blend wanna bring a foam roller?

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Your lesson of the day: eat the dang pizza.

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Linking up this hiking and eating extravaganza with WIAW!

So tell me:

What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

Do you like hiking?

What sweet treats have you eaten lately? 

Boston to New York to Boulder

Good morning, sunshine (from Boulder, Colorado)!

Before I give you the lowdown on how I got to Boulder, I want to wish all the mamas in the world a {belated} Happy Mother’s Day! Y’all are real life superheroes— ones who are beautiful, strong, and loving. Of course, I am especially thankful for my own mother. I love you so much, Madre!

Alrighty. What the heck is up!?

I finished my freshman year of college!!! All I can think is: “That just happened” and “IT’S BLOWING MY MIND.” I’ll expand more on my feels tomorrow.

Final exams came and went, and so far they went well, despite organic chemistry being a sweaty and sniffly experience. While I was taking my last final on Friday, Madre helped me move out all my stuff from the dorm (I’m telling you— superwoman), and then we departed from Boston.

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I had a heavy heart saying goodbye to my friends and to the city of Boston, especially when my roommate threw this sap bomb on me:

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the cutest way to ask me to be her roomie again // love you, girl!

Also, Rachel wrote me the most heartfelt note that triggered some waterworks. But I’ll be back in Boston a couple times this summer to visit some friends, so it won’t be long until I return!

Upon arriving at home in New York (which almost feels like my secondary home now— whoa), I was craving my favorite oatmeal cookie dough smoothie, so that’s what I ate for dinner.

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with plain Greek yogurt for dipping, like old times

I also picked up some tapioca pudding at the grocery store. I’d say I got it because it’s my childhood favorite, but I probably got it mostly because I was feeling emotional/moody/tired. No regrets.

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Saturday was pretty busy, but I made sure to start it off right by “makin’ banana pancakes…” (I used this recipe from Cookin’ Canuck.)

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eaten with plain Greek yogurt, Nuttzo power fuel, and maple syrup // these were fat and fluffy pancakes! 🙂

And lunch was mama’s home cooking, which is always a win.

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curry catfish with sautéed tofu and zucchini over salad

After a long day of unpacking from Boston, packing for Colorado, working on a top secret Mother’s Day project for Madre, and Mass, my family and I went out for dinner at an upscale Laotian restaurant in the city called Khe-Yo.

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We ordered the special tasting menu, hence the epic amount of food (which we almost totally finished). So much delicious fish and so much sticky rice— Laotian food done right.

Our 4:45 AM wakeup on Sunday came much too quickly after I stayed up late packing, but I was still pumped to be en route to Colorado with my mom and brother. We’re here to explore Boulder for a few days, and then I’m going to Blend at the end of this week!

I very much appreciated this treadmill desk // found in the Minneapolis airport during our layover 

We traveled all yesterday morning, and then the rest of our day in Boulder involved lunch at Whole Foods, shopping, a workout, dinner, and blogging!

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Today we’re going to Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater! I am so excited for our Colorado adventures. I love seeing the mountains and breathing in the fresh air. The only thing that is throwing me for a loop is the SNOW that’s on the ground. Cue flashbacks to our snow-tastic Boston winter that lasted a little too long.

I hope you all have a lovely day!

So tell me:

What food were you craving this weekend?

Have you ever been to Denver or Boulder, CO? What do you love to do there!?

If you went away for college, did you feel like college became your home?