Behind the Scenes #33: Feeling Productive Again

I haven’t thought out loud in forever (at least, in numbered list form), but today we are BACK.

Thinking-Out-Loud

1) I regret calling these kinds of posts “Behind the Scenes”. It was originally my attempt to come up with something other than “Thursday Thoughts” as a title, but I ended up joining Amanda’s thinking out loud linkup every time, so why didn’t I just call it “thinking out loud”?

I make life too complicated, that’s why.

2) Speaking of Amanda and her genius ideas, I made her pumpkin pie breakfast bake yesterday and it was a wintery pumpkin spice fiesta in my mouth!

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The breakfast bake is under there. Blessed are those who do not see yet believe.

I dressed it up with plain Greek yogurt, sunflower seed butter, pomegranate arils, and banana slices. Just beautiful.

2) I contemplated running yesterday, but the cold weather just killed it for me. I’m weak. Instead, I opted to take my moves to our basement (which is still pretty cold) to do this yoga video that focuses on hip-opening. Hallelujah, did I need that!

3) As I approach the start of second semester, I’m feeling the urge to be super productive in these last few days before I leave. Perhaps it is a result of my anxiety for the workload ahead, but I’m “warming up” by making checklists with activities other than eat and go to Disney.

4) Julianna even inspired me to make a budget spreadsheet! Since I haven’t worked yet this year, I am off to a great start with zero income and all expenditure.

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Yay for adulthood! (Note the childish font and color code.)

5) You know what else I realized when I lost all my hard drive information? I no longer have my thousands of recipes that I bookmarked on Safari. All my years of recipe hoarding…poof!

That could be a good thing though, because maybe now I’ll start only bookmarking recipes I honestly WILL make. Doubt it though.

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I pin all the recipes too.

6) Still going strong with the egg, feta, and spinach + avocado toast for lunch! I bought the feta cheese in Florida, so I feel responsible for helping to finish it. (We packed it in ice on the way up, plus the car was freezing as it sat in the train. The cheese is still fine, I’m alive.)

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Also, this combo is just delicious. I ♥ fats.

7) I am currently rocking knitted socks and the fugliest sweater in the all the land, but I don’t care because I am superbly snug.

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8) We also had our first use of the fireplace this winter! I happily stationed myself right in front of the fire while I did some work.

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I kept singing “chestnuuuuuts roasting on an open fire…” in my head. 11 months ’til Christmas!!!

9) I am thinking about how bittersweet it is to be going to back to college tomorrow. Bitter because…work, less sleep, less blogging, no family. But sweet because I get to see my amazing friends and learn more about this wonderful world!

My friend Sam told me that if you’re dreading going back to college, you’re probably not in the right place. Fortunately, I’m mostly looking forward to going back!

10) What should I make for breakfast today??? #WinterBreakBreakfastMission is almost at an end. PRESSURE. I’m thinking either this “cream cheese frosting for breakfast” or the classic cookie dough cereal.

Hope you all have a thankful Thursday! (what other positive adjectives start with “th”?)

So tell me:

How will you be productive today? 

Are you a recipe bookmarking fiend?

Do you care about wearing cute clothing around the house?

What are you eating for breakfast? 

My First Spa Day

All good things must come to an end!

That’s been our motto for the past couple of days as everyone staying at our Florida home has been going back to their real homes for work and school. Mom and I were the last two left, so we spent Saturday cleaning and packing up the house and all our belongings. Despite “closing up shop”, it’s been an awesome (and super long) vacation, so there is absolutely nothing to be sad about.

Friday

Especially when you end the vacation with a spa day! This was my first spa day since I’m eighteen years old now. All my little girl dreams came true.

Pre-spa breakfast was avocado toast with a dippy egg and a banana on the side.

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We went to the Ritz Carlton spa for the day (ooh la la, I know), and the staff was incredibly kind (like, sometimes I was uncomfortable with how nice they were). They even allowed my day at the spa to be free of charge since my mom and aunt were both paying for day passes and facials.

Four thumbs up for customer service (I’m counting my toe thumbs)!!

Our spa day started with moves at the fitness center. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill and then completed Hillary’s arm and ab superset workout with 10-20 burpees after each superset instead of kettlebell swings.

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Thanks for creeping on me during my workout, Madre 

I was feelin’ weeeeak by the end of my workout, so a nourishing lunch afterwards was just perfect.

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“Bento box” with seared ahi tuna, mixed greens, three bean salad, and farro salad

I savored every last bite of this plate since it was all so delicious and fresh. The price was also great for all this food (look at all that tuna)!

Following lunch, we showered in the snazzy spa showers, put on the classic white robes, and then chillaxed.

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You bet I had some of those yogurt pretzels

I attempted to go into the sauna, but I only stayed for 5 minutes because I felt like a baking cookie. And the steam room…lasted 5 seconds. I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t breathe. Nuhthanks.

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The jacuzzi on the other hand…

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…yeah I could do that. I’m such a juvenile.

I spent my time in the jacuzzi for a bit, but I dried off and headed back to the empty studio in the fitness center to stretch while my mom and aunt were getting their faces lathered and massaged. I also kept snacking on the complimentary apples and snack mix, as well as the infused water. Alllllll the day. Strawberry-infused water was my favorite!

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I had a wonderful stretching session by my lonesome, and I even did a tiny bit of ballet at the barre. Oh how I miss it!

Is it sad that I was sore from stretching the next day? I guess I deprived my muscles of oxygen for a little too long during my deep stretches (after not having stretched in forever).

Eventually, our rejuvenating spa day came to an end. (Not that I really needed rejuvenation after a two-week vacation in Florida…) We later joined the dudes for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant.

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Rice vermicelli with grilled shrimp and abundant herbs and veggies

Then we went home for ice cream to balance out all the greens eaten throughout the day. 😉

Saturday

Florida was super chilly (by Florida standards), so hot oats hit the spot for breakfast!

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½ c. quick oats cooked in ½ c. water and ½ c. 2% milk // half a sliced banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, vanilla protein powder, pinch of salt stirred in // glob of peanut butter on top

As I mentioned at the top of this post, mom and I spent the day cleaning and packing while also dropping off family members at the airport for their respective flights. We did take a shopping break at TJMaxx in the late morning though!

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I’m season-confused. I got a sweater and three pairs of shorts, and I’m going back to single-digit temperatures in Boston. Spring will come soon enough, right?

A clean-out-the-fridge lunch was in order that afternoon: avocado toast with our last egg + practically half a box of spinach with tons of feta cheese. Plus an unpictured clementine and a million veggie straws aka one of the most addicting snacks out there.

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Oh my goodness, too many leaves in my stomach. But I enjoyed this simple lunch nonetheless!

After a long day of cleaning (and church in the evening), Madre offered to take me out to dinner at Seasons 52, a restaurant we had both been wanting to try for a while. I gratefully agreed!

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To start: grilled chicken pesto flatbread

The flatbread was to die for. Everything was packed with flavor but not too salty— a balance that is hard to come by!

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Mom’s order: pork tenderloin with sweet potato mash and roasted vegetables

She shared a good hunk of pork tenderloin with me, and mannnn was it delicious. I think I closed my eyes at one point as I savored the tender, flavorful piece of meat. Dishes like these prevent me from becoming a vegetarian.

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My order: “Winter Vegetable Tasting” that included citrus farro quinoa salad, a black bean & veggie soft taco, roasted golden beets, broccoli rabe, and grilled tofu with fruit salsa

There was not a thing on this plate that we didn’t enjoy! The citrus farro quinoa salad was our favorite though. We must re-create it at home!

I totally saved room for dessert, since we kept seeing waiters and waitresses walk around to other tables with plates of dessert shots.

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They brought out an assortment of mini desserts in shot glasses from which you could choose. If I remember correctly, they had: carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter mousse, pecan pie, s’mores, caramel macchiato, strawberry cannoli, key lime pie, blueberry lemon custard, and raspberry brownie.

Talk about tough life choices.

Without much hesitation, I chose the carrot cake, and mom chose the raspberry brownie. I ended up eating all of mine and most of hers. They were mini, so it’s a little more acceptable to eat 1.5 desserts, yes?

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Thanks for the fabulous dinner, Madre!

Sunday

Since we went to church on Saturday evening, mom and I got to sleep in before doing some last minute cleaning of the house.

I was also able to squeeze in some moves outside as it started to drizzle a bit: 5 minute jump rope warmup + Purely Twins’ crazy burpee leg workout (loved this!!!) + 8 minute ab tabata.

The ab tabata was 4 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest of weighted Russian twists, modified V-ups, crossover knee to elbow planks, and spiderman planks.

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I washed that shirt before wearing it again, promise.

As always, a day of travel calls for overnight oats!

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Now we’re en route to New York, but this time we’re taking the auto train rather than road tripping like we did on our way down to Florida. There’s snow in the northeast and I’m not sure if our bodies are ready for the temperature shock.

I’ve obviously been spoiled silly on this vacation, but I am looking forward to school, schedules, and just feeling productive. Nevertheless, I am beyond thankful for the family time and amazing experiences we’ve had in Florida!

P.S. I used so many parentheses in this post. Sorry, I love asides apparently.

So tell me:

Have you ever had a spa day?

Have you ever gotten sore from stretching? Please say yes.

What is your favorite cold-weather food?

Which of the dessert shots would you choose?

WIAW: Benefit Week Eats

Good morning!

I hope you all had a good-spirited April Fools’ Day! Nothing much happened around here. The only thing some people (including myself) did in school was turn on our cell phone alarms for 2:23 PM, and then we left them in our lockers to make a commotion right before school ended. Apparently it caused a little bit of concern, since I guess it is alarming (literally) when all the lockers seem to come to life. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking though. After all, we’ve gotta save some juice for senior prank 😉

With the lack of posts all last week, I have not shown my recent eats! What a shame since I obviously love posting food pictures (*cough* Instagram). So naturally, I’m joining this week’s WIAW party to share what fueled me through my moves and grooves during Benefit Week!

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As always, hosted by my hero, Jenn. 😉

In absolutely no particular order, here are some of the things I’ve been eating:

Breakfasts

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Overnight oats in a mug

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Overnight oats in a peanut butter jar. GAHHH. (Perfect for transporting to early morning AP Calc review.)

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Overnight oats in an almond butter jar. Also taken to early AP Calc review. I’m sure people were judging, but guatever. 

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Gina’s cookie dough cereal with bananas and strawberries

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Banana bread English muffin with nut butter, banana slices + glass o’ milk (haven’t had one of those in a while!)

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Strawberry banana oats with a heavenly puddle of peanut butter.

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Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie (with spinach for green powahhh) + Greek yogurt for spoon dipping

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Friday’s nut butter-less breakfast: Greek yogurt, strawberries, banana, chia, hemp, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey

Lunches

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Whole wheat wrap with avocado, spinach, soft boiled egg, feta, and salsa added later. SO GOOD. I had another variation of this for dinner one night with two eggs and spicy brown mustard instead of salsa. I highly recommend this combo!

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Crab cakes on Benefit day!

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Chicken, cheese, spinach, spicy brown mustard sandwich on some weird-looking, but delicious, purple fruit/seed bread

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Naked Juice samples at school!

Snacks

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Cute cookies and goodies from the “Eloise at the Plaza”-themed dressing room

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A crapton of white cheddar popcorn and animal crackers from our circus dressing room

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I brought a Greek yogurt mess to dance almost every day last week. Included strawberries, banana slices, and nut butter.

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Green tea frappuccino from Starbucks on Benefit day (Thanks to Susie and others for picking up 15 orders!)

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I tried it! Carrots and almond butter— pretty darn tasty!

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Greek yogurt with banana and pineapple. Loving the summery produce!

I’ve also been having lots of dried figs and Greek yogurt per usual. 😉

Dinners

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Farro, spinach, grilled chicken

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Multigrain pasta, spinach, soft-boiled egg

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Grilled chicken, spinach, feta + avocado toast

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Farro, spinach, ground turkey, avocado, sriracha

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The best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten. Just wash ’em and eat. So fresh and flavorful!

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Dinner with the family (Ben was home for a day!) on Sunday! Ben got Sambal chicken and seafood. The other three of us shared a huge Sushi for Two platter. We also had some spring rolls as appetizer. Mmmmm.

How’s THAT for a recent eats recap?! It’s a good thing I just ate dinner, because otherwise, I would be hangry right about now. 😉

I hope you all have a great day!

So tell me:

What is the best vegetable you’ve eaten recently?

What do you like to put in wraps? 

Weekend Confessions II {MIMM #26}

Hello!

Man, I feel like I haven’t been a part of the blogosphere much at all in the past few days. Schoolwork, dance, and the usual engagements have kept me on my toes, that’s for sure. Nothing to complain about though 😉

I’m feeling the “confession” style post today to recap my weekend. I did one of these a few weeks ago, but since I always love reading about others’ deep, dark, treacherous secrets, I thought I’d share some of mine again! Just kidding, these confessions are about things like food and more food.

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Because fun confessions are marvelous 🙂 Thanks for hosting, Katie!

Confession #1

I played Cards Against Humanity, which is “a game for horrible people,” so that’s that.

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If you’ve never played it before, it’s basically super inappropriate Apples to Apples. I was at my friend Pam’s house with all the other senior girls in company, and we definitely got some good laughs out of this game. Should I feel grimy? Because I kinda do after playing that game.

Confession #2

I had breakfast for dinner on Friday night because Fridays require abstinence from meat, but also because I was lazy to cook fish.

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Two-egg omelet with broccoli, spinach, cheese, and ketchup + avocado toast

I ♥ eggs. Just get me chicken coop, and my protein (and cholesterol) will be set for life.

Confession #3

I took a picture of this at the dentist office:

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I was just excited that the fitness columnist for this Prevention magazine is from University of Maryland. Possible career involving writing + fitness?!

Confession #4

I packed an eh lunch for dance on Saturday. It was either the somewhat dry chicken or the questionable feta cheese. Or maybe I just really wanted a grilled cheese instead.

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Chicken, broccoli, and feta

Confession #5

I kinda died over this pool of crunchy peanut butter on Sunday morning.

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I had to melt it in a small bowl in the microwave first because for some reason, crunchy peanut butter stiffens up in the fridge a lot more than other nut butters. But that just means it became warm and fantastic in the microwave. Swoon.

Confession #6

Instead of being fueled by Popcorners at dance yesterday, I was fueled by string cheese and pita chips with hummus.

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A LOT more pita chips. Plus another half of my friend’s string cheese.

Me: “We shouldn’t just waste a cheese stick.” 

Confession #7

Dance was pretty much a high intensity workout yesterday. Rehearsal involved running our 13-minute piece straight through a couple times, and all of us were definitely fried by the end of the day. I feel the soreness already.

Confession #8

I’m so spoiled by Mom’s cooking. Now that she’s on vacation, I’ve been having to step up my cooking game, which isn’t nearly as finessed as her’s.

Exhibit A: I had to text her to ask how to cook pre-packaged gnocchi. Before you laugh at me, I know how to cook pasta and I know how to read directions. It’s just that a) I’ve just never cooked gnocchi before, so I wasn’t sure how long I was supposed to boil it, and b) Mom the space-saver threw out the box for the gnocchi, so there were no directions. It’s a good thing I asked her, because it only takes three minutes to cook! If I hadn’t asked, it may have been gnocchi soup for dinner.

Instead, it was a simple, yet tasty dish. I used a jarred sauce, but I upped the veggie power by adding broccoli.

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I had the gnocchi with leftover grilled chicken and brussels. I seared up some roasted red pepper spinach sausage for dad.

Confession #9

I made tuna salad sandwiches for meatless lunch options this week.

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Into the salad went: two cans of tuna, ¼ c. Greek yogurt, 1.5 tbsp spicy brown mustard, 1 tsp. dried dill, lots of pepper, 1 tbsp. honey, drizzle of olive oil, lots of halved red grapes

That’s not really a confession, but eating tuna salad doesn’t sound too sexy.

Confession #10

I finished two tubs of Greek yogurt in less than a week. By myself. It’s an addiction when two tubs are right next to each other in the recycling bin.

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Confession #11

Mom and I send those chubby Facebook stickers to each other to represent how our days went.

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Confession #12

I could be doing bio homework right now, but I’d much rather be blogging. I did half of the homework, and it’s due Wednesday anyway…. 😀

Hope you have a wonderful day!

So tell me:

What was the best dinner you had this weekend?

Have you ever played Cards Against Humanity?

What is one food you go through in the blink of an eye?

Any other weekend confessions?