Permission

On this Memorial Day, let us never forget those who served our nation for the sake of our freedom and safety.

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A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.

– Joseph Campbell

How was the weekend!? Or how IS the weekend (for those who have today off!)?

This weekend (alright, this whole week), I’ve given myself permission to embrace this period of almost zero obligations. I had to get over the phase of discombobulation of having nothing to do, but it’s been a pleasant week of acclimating to living farther from campus and relaxing.

Friday

There have been some errands and work in there too (keeps me sane TBH), like on Friday. I gave a campus tour, since a lot of BU’s tour guides are out of town these next few weeks. In classic me fashion, I was running late and had to speed walk for 1 hour to make it right on time.

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Luckily it was a beautiful day for rush-walking + touring!

Afterwards, I gave myself permission to do a quick 16-minute workout, even though I had all the time in the world and all the gym space in the world (three cheers for the summer lull!).

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‘Twas a fun one! 4 rounds, 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:

Then I nommed on the lunch I packed that morning (part of the reason I was running late). I gave myself permission to take my time to eat this. I’m sure some of you understand that weekday lunch is often more or less inhaled on many days.

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leftover peas and roasted broccoli + egg, avocado, pepper jack, sriracha sandwich + blackberries

I had big plans to get a lot Brideshead Revisited reading done for book club, but I got through thirteen pages before I gave myself permission to take a nap in the library’s armchair.

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never goes to the library during the school year // falls asleep in the library during the summer

Before going to the library, though, I tried being that person to read on the stationary bike at the gym, but doing that kinda nauseated me. That + gym music = entirely ineffective reading.

I was awoken by an announcement that the library was closing in an hour. Thankfully, my friend Ben welcomed me to hang out with him before dinner, because I was groggy and without anything to do (what a nice problem to have).

Lauren, Nico, Ben and I went to Shawarma King for dinner. I got the vegetarian combo plate, which had falafel, hummus, babaganoush (omg so good), stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, cucumber tomato salad, rice, and pita. HOT DANG. I finished 85% of it.

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Then we went to Athan’s Bakery for dessert! I got their pistachio gelato, which was the most sub-par gelato I’ve ever had, but it was still a delicious frozen treat.

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We finished the night watching the original Grease movie. It’s the best bad movie of all time.

Saturday

Overnight oats to start the morning!

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strawberry banana overnight oats topped with the last of my KIND peanut butter granola

This fueled another nice long walk towards campus…

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please interpret this art

…for another Saturday Spartan workout with Ben!

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Ben planned out this fun workout for us:

4 rounds:

  • run around baseball field
  • 15 triangle pushups (slightly inclined)
  • 2 flexed arm hang holds, any grip (15 seconds each or until failure ← definitely only held it for 5 seconds at some points)
  • 25 Roman chair leg lifts
  • 15 inverted rows
  • 10 step up hops each leg

Topped it off with 10 minutes of core work.

I packed a snacky lunch to eat between the workout and a meeting with my spiritual director (basically someone who teaches me how to better give God permission to speak to me through prayer and to work in my life — the most important permission I could ever give).

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rosemary Triscuits with pepperjack cheese + carrots with hummus

I gave myself permission to actually think about the taste of this snack (I guess people call it “mindful eating”), and it was 10x more satisfying than any other time I’ve eaten carrots and hummus/crackers and cheese.

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loads o’ popcorn

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I rushed through the popcorn and KIND bar, but they were still tasty.

I also gave myself permission to buy water from Starbucks for $0.27 because all the places where I usually fill up my water bottle on campus were closed.

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This was less about permission and more about a fundamental need for water. I am endlessly grateful for constant, easy access to clean drinking water.

After spiritual direction, I video chatted with my uncle, aunt and cousins for two hours. We had a beautiful conversation. Ugh, I love them. I got to spend most of the two hours outdoors before I had to charge my phone.

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The only downside was standing up and realizing that the bench I was sitting on gave me splinters all over my backside.

I picked up some groceries afterwards and gave myself permission to take an Uber back home instead of walking or taking the bus (the fact that an Uber was only $2.20 at the time was also a big factor).

Look what I found at the store!

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Burpee plants!

Back at home, I showered, warmed up some leftovers for dinner, and spent time with Christie’s boyfriend’s dog, Koga. I got a taste of the neediness that most dog owners talk about. It’s annoying in the most adorable way.

Sunday

I gave myself permission to SLEEP. IN. I slept until 9:40! I promised I’d make French toast for all of us in the morning though, so I quickly got to work on that.

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one whole wheat + one brioche topped with butter sautéed bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup, and slivered almonds + strawberries + glass o’ almond milk

Definitely taking full advantage of Christie’s pretty dishes and silverware for my food photos 🙂

I planned on running to the park ~4 miles away to meet my friends for a picnic in the afternoon, but my hip/quads/knee (!?) have been hurting these past few days, and running was a solid no-go yesterday. So I gave myself permission to pass on the picnic, walk home and do yoga instead.

The pain? Google says it could be some muscle tightness. Could be a labral tear. Hopefully not the latter.

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I forget what I did for the rest of the day, but in the evening I walked to campus for Mass, and my friend Evan kindly drove me home afterwards (God bless gentlemanly friends).

Chopped salad for dinner! (Read: Salad cut up with a pair of kitchen scissors.)

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spinach, feta, strawberries, avocado, sunflower seeds, and homemade honey mustard vinaigrette

Followed by dried figs with peanut butter and Greek yogurt. A classic.

Now I’m going to give myself permission to continue lying in bed and read Brideshead Revisited for real this time.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday/Memorial Day!

Give God permission. — St. Teresa of Calcutta

So tell me:

Do you find it hard to give yourself permission to relax?

What is one thing you gave yourself permission to do this weekend?

Any good books you’re reading? 

 

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The Best Vacation Ever {Part 3}

Part 1 and Part 2!

Friday, July 8th

The first of two consecutive days at sea. The day consisted of eating (duh)…

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…walking around by myself…

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…relaxing…

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Christie and her dad got 1st and 2nd in the mini golf competition!

…the Men’s International Belly Flop Competition (as ridiculous and hilarious as it sounds), and some other random activities. But the highlight by far

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I MET US THE DUO.

If you don’t know about them, they’re a married couple who sing together, and they’re pretty famous. Daliza and I saw them in concert two years ago in Orlando!

Here’s how this went down:

I’m walking along the “Boardwalk” with my friend Monica and her parents. I catch Carissa (the girl pictured above) from the corner of my eye walking with her parents. I do a double take and see her famous tattoo on her arm, but I’m not 100% sure it’s her. Monica and her parents don’t know who Us the Duo is, but they encourage me to see if it’s really them (after 30 seconds of “ahhhhh I don’t know…it’s fine…I won’t go…but wait…”).

I decide to stalk Carissa for a minute, and in less than 10 seconds I see Michael (her husband with an unmistakable curly man bun) sitting at the tequila bar, ordering some daiquiris. I go in for the kill:

I’m so sorry to bother you, but are you Us the Duo? (I knew it was them for sure at that point, but I thought it was polite to ask anyway.)

They introduce themselves (as if I didn’t already know their names, haha) and we all hug. Carissa’s dad takes a couple photos for us, and my cheeks are TREMBLING as I smile for the photo. What I feel like:

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They ask for my name twice and say, “Hopefully we get to see you around the ship again!” I cry inside.

A quick couple small slices of pizza before a 2.5-hour show that afternoon.

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Now, it was not my intention to stalk Michael and Carissa (I’m a fangirl, but I try to be cool, ya know), but my parents coincidentally grabbed seats right next to Us the Duo and their families for the matinee showing of Mamma Mia! I came in late because I went to the bathroom, so when I saw that they were right there, I freaked out.

a) It’s Us the Duo again.

b) They definitely think I’m stalking them.

c) I had to squeeze past them in the aisle, probably smelling a little bit like sweat and ocean spray.

I got to chat with Carissa’s dad though, who said my parents are amazing dancers (he saw them at the club the night before lol).

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should have changed out of my athletic clothes // peep Michael and Carissa doing their social media celebrity thing

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nervously playing with my pinky ring

I have to take a second to thank Madre for loving taking photos as much as I do and thus for capturing these special moments.

Anyway, Mamma Mia! was Broadway quality and so fun to watch!

After a 16 minute workout at the fitness center, I showered for that time of day again…DINNER.

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Royal Seafood Salad for appetizer

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Thai Chicken

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Classic soufflé with vanilla Grand Marnier sauce

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shared a couple bites of Ben’s baked Alaska

I’m a new fan of soufflé! I think the table shared one order of prime rib that night as well. I had a couple bites, and it was divine. This vacation assured me that I’m not becoming a vegan anytime soon.

Later that night, we went to two game shows that were wildly entertaining. My parents turned into different people during those game shows.

At around 11pm, my parents headed to the Dazzles club for some more dancing, so Ben and I joined them. Guess who walked in on me while I was doing the Macarena with only one other little boy on the dance floor???

Us

the

Duo.

I kinda sorta danced the Electric Slide with them later. At the end of the night, my family got to meet them and chat with their family as well. Me all night in my head: “Is this real!?!?”
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Michael’s mom wanted to hop into the photo!

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“He dislocated his shoulder on the FlowRider.”

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Michael and Carissa are incredibly down to earth and easy to talk to! (p.s. they’re tight with Tori Kelly NBD.)

What a top-notch way to end a Friday, am I right?

Saturday, July 9th

Last day on the cruise 😦

I decided to go way out of my comfort zone for breakfast and get mostly savory foods, including something called “vegetable upma”— some sort of grain with vegetables and spices. I loved it!

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also pineapple + split a blueberry muffin with mom

I somehow got lost from everyone when we split ways after breakfast, so I spent some time planning out these blog posts and writing thank you letters to some of the crew members who served us the whole week. Eventually, I went to lunch and rock climbing with Monica and my uncle.

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Took some groovy photos with Mort the squirrel (“jungle rat/mouse lemur”) from the movie Madagascar.

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Over at the fitness center, I did an impromptu cardio workout on the bike for 30 minutes while Monica and Ben cheered me on. When they left, I stayed to do an upper body and core workout.

Our last dinner of the cruise was delightful and as epic as the first dinner we had on the cruise.

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scallops and chorizo

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roasted turkey with brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes apple bread dressing (!!!) and cranberry sauce added on the side later

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warm apple strudel a la mode

The night ended with a game show based on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, where Ben went up for only one round because neither he nor the audience knew the shape of a British twenty-pence coin.

(It’s a freaking heptagon, by the way.)

We stayed in the same venue afterwards to spectate some superstar karaoke. Holy talent on that ship!

And finally, dancing at Dazzles as our last huzzah! With our friends Us the Duo, of course (I promise we were there before they arrived…although I left and came back after Ben called me that they were there. I’m creepy, I get it).

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This was the singer at the Dazzles nightclub all week. She and her husband and their band are super talented! It was actually so sweet to see Michael and Carissa cheering them on from the dance floor like fans too.

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#UsTheFamily

I want to go to their Dublin show so badly this fall, but they’re sold out!

In case it wasn’t obvious, this cruise was the experience of a lifetime. Thank you to all who made it happen, especially my parents ♥︎

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Sunday, July 10th

We had our last breakfast on the cruise at 6 am before disembarking.

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My family went to Mass before we met up with our friends in Miami for some tourism and lunch.

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Miami Beach

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walking in 92 degrees at 10 AM should not happen more than once a year

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Farmers’ Market beauties

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a parking meter that accepts change for feeding people who are homeless!

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fresh rolls, lettuce wraps, and green papaya salad for lunch

Our families parted ways after lunch and a sweaty walk back to our cars. Four hours of driving later, dinner was Greek!

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falafel to share

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chicken salad for me

Ben and Jerry’s awaited us the freezer (you can’t out-dessert me).

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a few spoonfuls from each 🙂

Monday, July 11th

Pop and I had a 4:30 AM wakeup for our flight back to New York. Madre kindly dropped us off at the airport, where I had a salad with walnuts, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, and blue cheese for breakfast (my brain was not functioning quite right at that hour, and I really wanted veggies).

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In flight snack:

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I slept the whole flight, not surprisingly. Back at home in NY, I did a quick 12 minute workout before showering and heading to a full day of work!

Back to reality, and I cannot complain at all.


These were some looooooooong recap posts. I’m keeping these posts as my “vacation diary”, but I hope you guys enjoyed reading too!

So tell me:

Have you ever run into a celebrity unexpectedly?

Have you heard of Us the Duo?

Do you like soufflé?

Have you seen your parents become different people in a different setting?

You Want To Be Productive But Then…

Friday was the best April Fools’ Day of my LIFE.

I am truly grateful that all of you are so supportive of my fitness company endeavors. 😉

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how I felt about tricking even my DAD about starting a fitness company

This weekend, I had a nice long list of schoolwork and shorter list fun things that I needed/wanted to accomplish, but one thing leads to another, and the list of accomplished fun things inadvertently becomes longer and the list of accomplished schoolwork consequently becomes shorter…

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Friday started off on a productive note with banana oats in an almond butter jar, biomechanics, a campus tour and a workout at the gym.

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fab lunch: kung pao sweet potatoes over spinach + bbq lentil meatball sub

There were definitely some time periods during which I could have been studying when I opted to chat with new and old friends…

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salad with carrots, chicken, beets, and balsamic + some unknown, delicious, cheesy couscous concoction

…but I think some more homework snuck in there before a bunch of my friends and I headed swing dancing!

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we’re so gross and sweaty in this photo FYI; TMI

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too adorable

It’s always fun to move and groove, even if it’s with clammy men who are either exceptionally advanced or exceptionally…not advanced.

My fellow banana (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) friend, Christine, was in town this weekend so I had to hang out with her. On Saturday, I ate wild berry freezer waffles with peanut butter and an apple in 60 seconds before meeting up with Christine for coffee/tea and a bomb pear almond scone that she kindly shared with me.

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Girl talk with Christine is always a fun time! It wasn’t the studying I planned on, but it was 100x better. You should check out her blog for fashion and fitness (especially because fashion is nearly nonexistent here on Moves and Grooves)!

I went to work from 10-1 and then grabbed a freaking weird (but yummy) lunch while studying reading blogs and getting caught up in a political discussion thread on Facebook.

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“seared tuna” salad + roast beef, smoked gouda, veggie, mustard, artichoke herb spread sandwich on whole grain ciabatta + apple

I told you it was a freaking weird lunch. Separately, everything worked well, but I must say that the seared tuna was a little more like a fish version of spam. Not the worst thing?

Then I cranked out some work. Wait no, I went to go pray at church with my friend Kelsey for a bit. The prayer time was much needed. Then actually cranked out some work. Homework intermission was brought to you by Amsterdam Falafel!

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three falafel on the bottom with almost every topping possible

It’s one of the places on the food bucket list that Rachel and I are making our way through. Since Rachel already went to Amsterdam Falafel on her own though, I decided to go there on my own for dinner on Saturday night.

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I ate this in private. I know for a fact that I looked like a caveman eating this. ‘Twas super tasty!

I ended my night with some yoga. My arms and shoulders were BRICKS from whatever I did on Friday (probably the wall walks), so yoga was lovely.

For Sunday morning, I set my alarm for 8:00 and 8:30, the latter for if I wanted to sleep in. I turned off both alarms and slept until 9:20. I knew I needed it, so I was okay with sacrificing that extra hour of work for quality zzz’s.

Breakfast was a leftover whole wheat pancake with peanut butter, banana, and cinnamon.

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Then I went to confession and Mass with Kelsey before heading to lunch to be greeted with the best dining hall meal ever!

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It was “Sargent Choice” day for brunch in the d-halls, which meant that the Sargent Nutrition Center took over the options for the whole dining hall. They offered avocado toast (!!!) with sautéed spinach and a fried egg, so I beelined for that (and topped it with sriracha, of course). Plus a side of garlicky kale and butternut squash.

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And then for my sweet tooth, I had some plain Greek (!!!) yogurt with kiwi, peaches, and blueberries + applesauce tea cake with brown sugar glaze.

I end up eating more when the dining hall offers things that I normally eat at home, because I’m like:

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My afternoon consisted of a Catholic student group meeting at Harvard and a dorm workout (warmup, foam rolling, and a 20 minute leg circuit workout):

3 rounds of 10 seconds rest, 30 seconds work // Do each exercise twice for each round (once on each leg if applicable)

Then stretch!

I showered, did laundry, did some work, and then went to dinner with some friends, which ended with a good ol’ bowl of {three different kinds of} cereal.

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Afterwards, I called my parents for a quick bit to talk about some study abroad business! I’m going to Dublin, Ireland this fall!

My beautiful study/snapchat procrastination buddies for the night:

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It’s funny because I feel like the three of us talked the whole weekend about how we need to do work, yet we could not get ourselves to be as productive as we wanted to be. C’est la vie.

Hope you all have a productive week!

So tell me:

You want to be productive but then… 

Have you ever been swing dancing? 

Do you freak out when a restaurant/event/dining hall offers a bunch of healthy food that you love?

Things to do in Dublin, Ireland! 🙂

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?

Weekend Moves and Grooves {MIMM #25}

Today? School? What the heck is school?

Yes, yes. The time has finally come to go back to the grind after a seemingly endless string of snow days and then winter break. As much as I’ll miss my days of chillaxin’, I’d say it’s about time to get back into a routine. Spring is upon us, and I need to buckle down for all the events coming up!

This last weekend before turning my brain back on included a ton of moves & grooves (naturally), and a lot of delicious eats. All marvelous things!

MiMM

Linking up with Katie‘s Marvelous in My Monday!

Friday

This was technically my last day to myself since dance started back up on Saturday, so I definitely soaked up the time. My morning started off with my favorite breakfast— overnight oats. After reading blogs and doing some religious education prep, I went to my happy place and baked some banana nut muffins (using this recipe + walnuts). Does anyone else feel that baking is therapeutic? Or maybe I just think it’s therapeutic because I know I’ll have a sweet end product. 😉

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Moves

I headed to the gym for a bodyweight leg workout. After a 5 minute warmup on the arc trainer, I completed 3 rounds of each set of these bodyweight exercises:

  • 10 modified pistol squats (each leg) + 20 Bulgarian split squats (each leg)
  • 60 sec. wall sit (I did hold a weight for this one) + 20 lunge pulses each leg
  • 20 hamstring ball curls + 20 single leg bridge lifts (each leg)

Short and sweet! I ended with a quick 8 minute ab tabata that included 2 rounds of: toe touches, Russian twists, Spiderman planks, reverse crunches, side plank hip raises right and left, cross knee tuck planks, and ankle touches.

Then my mom came home with sashimi. She’s the best. ❤

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I also made a valiant effort to finally continue reading Catching Fire on Friday. Yeah, I’ve prolonged reading that book for about two years now. I still only read about 5 more pages…I’m not dedicated enough. But I wanna watch the dang movie, so that’s my motivation.

I was probably distracted by the awesomeness of this dinner:

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Sesame soba noodles (made by Mom), bell peppers, coconut oil roasted brussels sprouts, cashews, and a soft-boiled egg.

Everything was already prepped thanks to Mom, so this dinner came together in about 2 minutes, and it ROCKED. And if I may… #eattherainbow.

Saturday

I woke up thinking, “Wow. I actually have to do stuff today.” That stuff included dance from 11 AM -4 PM and then Mass at 5:30 PM. In the evening, we went out for a Groupon dinner (surprised?) at one of our favorite Persian restaurants. I totally spoiled my appetite by eating a snack at 4:30 after dance and then eating way too much of the appetizer. It was a delicious eggplant dip with house-made naan.

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I had only a few bites of my entree because I was already so full. Amazing falafel salad! I was sad that I couldn’t eat more of it.

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Lucky for me though, the waitress took quite a while before taking our dessert order and bringing them out, so I had time to digest and make room for the good stuff 🙂 Persian saffron ice cream and THE BEST saffron pistachio cake. I think it’s my favorite cake ever!

Sunday

Compared to others’ Sundays, mine are usually pretty long and full. It kinda goes against Sunday as a day of rest, but teaching Sunday school and dancing aren’t really considered work. It’s a joy to spread God’s teachings and dance with my girls!

My friend in dance company, Rachel, baked blueberry muffins for our brunch yesterday, and it hit the spot. I am a HUGE sucker for blueberry muffins. Hers had cinnamon and so many plump blueberries! Thank you for making my day, Rachel. 🙂

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Dance rehearsal was especially tiring yesterday, so I was more than ready to relax at home with my parents to watch the Harding-Kerrigan-20-year-later special (<—did anyone else watch that? the tension is real.) and the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. I smiled at Russia’s sense of humor as they mocked their own opening ceremonies.

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I’m sad that they’re over! Sochi bear’s tears almost made me cryI guess it’s a good thing though, because I would be staying up until the wee hours of school nights to watch them. My family always gets really into the games…as you can tell from our hockey-watching drama. We’re already looking forward to Rio! Oh, and the World Cup is this year too, right? So we’ll turn into soccer fans for a little while just for that. 

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#TeamUSA

So this is goodbye to the Olympics and my perpetual winter break. Unless it snows again. If it does, I can kiss my spring break goodbye.

It was a wonderful weekend though, and I hope the same is true for all of you! Have a great Monday, friends!

So tell me:

Do you find baking/cooking therapeutic?

What is the best cake you’ve ever had?

Three things you did this weekend!