In and Out of Canada {Take 2}

Another year, another jaunt to Canada for the weekend.

Toronto, Canada. The land in which I undoubtedly consume an inordinate amount of carbohydrates and sodium. But goodness gracious, how can you say no to the fried rice and crispy noodles?

The food wasn’t nearly as important as the occasion and the company of course. My family took a little trek to Toronto this weekend to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th anniversary! How beautiful, eh? (← had to)

Friday

Early wakeup to leave the house at 6AM! I definitely should not have stayed up until midnight to watch gymnastics/procrastinated laundry the night before. But Simone and Aly were worth it.

Nectarine banana overnight oats as per travel tradition.

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I was also nearly half deaf on Friday because my right ear has issues (I was born with two ear holes instead of one in that ear), so I’m prone to infection and having too much stuff in my ear. One of the more gross facts that you didn’t need to know about me. But not being able to hear that well out of even one ear really made me appreciate the gift of hearing!

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some morning double rainbow action

Madre had been up in Toronto since Tuesday, since she was the executive party planner. Pop, Ben and I took Friday off of work to drive up, and it took wayyyy too long. A road trip that usually takes 9 hours took almost 12 hours. But we made it safe and sound, which matters most.

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Salad dipped in guac. All I can hear is Rachel saying to me, “Be better. Or at least be less weird.”

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so much of this

We rolled into our cousins’ place at around 6pm. We were staying with the fit family again 🙂 Obviously that meant doing handstands and cartwheels in the basement with my cousin Amy upon arrival.

My family took off again soon after for dinner with other relatives at Congee Queen.

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congee = rice porridge with lots of good stuff inside

Pro: it’s cheap, delicious food. Con: it’s cheap, delicious food.

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best fried rice ever with [fake] crab, roe, and eel!

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I am positive that I ate more at this dinner than I do at Thanksgiving.

Back at home, I showered, and my cousin and I stretched while watching the Olympics with our parents. Only at their house can I enjoy a big stretching mat and foam rollers in front of the television!

Saturday

I slept in until 8ish and headed to the basement to warmup and do Jen’s 1000 Rep Workout.

My legs were insanely tight from sitting all day Friday, so this workout was great for loosening them up, but I could feel that there was lots of lactic acid in my body (not soreness but all around fatigue/tightness/heaviness). All I wanted was to foam roll and drink water until the cows came home.

After showering (and getting my right ear to hear again!), I helped Amy make avocado egg toast for her and her dad. She saw on my blog that I ate it once 25793 times before and bought the ingredients to make it while I was visiting.

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I’m always a proponent of spreading the avo-egg toast love, and I’m happy that they love it!

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For myself, I ate some quick banana oatmeal with protein powder and almond butter.

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While Madre, Pop and Ben were setting up the hall for the anniversary party the next day, I got to hang out with Amy. We played “Just Dance” and a Mario Party “board game” on the Wii after breakfast.

Working out + Just Dance made me pretty hungry again in no time. I ate leftovers for lunch with my cousin’s family before they left for Kung Fu practice (NBD). As for me, I laid horizontally on their couch (I had a stomachache for a bit), foam rolled, and caught up on blogs and reading.

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I did some handstands too. Amy believed that I could do a one-armed handstand facing the wall (after seeing my failure last week), and I could! The power of encouragement, man.

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When my family got back home, we headed to 5pm Mass. This parish we visited had the most beautiful-sounding music ministry. I cried.

Then for my favorite meal of the trip at my favorite restaurant in Toronto— Ten Ren’s Tea House! Everything here is cooked with tea, and they obviously sell a million kinds of tea beverages.

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p.s. More often than not in Toronto, we share everything family style. #justAsianthings

I actually skipped a tea beverage this time because I wanted a tea dessert, and I’m not really a dessert-sharer, so…. I ordered a green tea soft serve in a waffle cone for myself, which was fantastic.

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I also had a couple bites of “brick toast” for the first time ever. It’s what it sounds like— toast the size of a brick that’s caramelized and topped with something yummy. Our table shared a sweet milk custard one and a peanut butter (!) one.

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We’re pretty sure it was natural peanut butter because LOOK AT THE WAY IT MELTS. It also wasn’t too sweet. The sweet milk custard one was even better though, honestly. Imagine creme brûlée on top of toast….Yeah.

I also had a few bites of this snow ice dessert.

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It’s shaved ice topped with coconut milk and four toppings. We got tapioca, taro, lychee jelly, and red beans. Tasty and refreshing!

I think the rest of the night involved more stretching and Just Dance. We didn’t throw knives this time around, darn it.

Sunday

The big day! My family headed to the hall to prep for the anniversary party all morning.

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Sidenote: I was tweezing my brows in the car (I was NOT driving) on the way to the hall, which I do not recommend for effectiveness, accuracy, or safety.

We did some rehearsing, some decorating, and LOTS of food scooping into trays. As we were transferring all the food (that Congee Queen catered) into smaller trays, all I could think was, “these noodles are perpetual…this fried rice could feed an army and a half…this is all the General Tso’s chicken in Canada.”

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Needless to say, many people had many meals to take home at the end of the party.

There were several heartfelt speeches, many songs, lots of laughs, a couple baby screams, and almost three hundred people celebrating my grandparents’ inspiring 50 years of marriage. I sang “La Vie en Rose” for them with my brother accompanying on the piano!

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DSC_2657Pop and his bros singing + Ben on the keys + pad thai 
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twins!

I wore spiky, pointy-toed heels for 3 minutes before calling it quits and switching to sandals.

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So many people worked very hard to plan, set up, and attend this celebration. Special shoutout to my mom and her family and friends, who were indispensable contributors to the setup and cleanup of the party. They’re amazing! Everyone on both sides of the family who helped and came out to the celebration are just remarkable.

Cheers to everyone and to my Mah Mah and Yeh Yeh!

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We were utterly exhausted after running around all day. To think that Pop, Ben and I had originally planned on driving home to New York overnight immediately after the party makes me want to die inside. Thank God we were all able to get Monday off work.

I did go on a walk with my cousin, aunt and uncle after dinner because the weather outside was perfect and the sky looked like cotton candy!

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homemade jello made by Amy, naturally sweetened with honey and lemon — so refreshing!

But after watching the 100m men’s track final at night, I went to bed at 10 and passed. out.

Monday

Pop took one of our cars to go back home early with his aunt, and the rest of us slept in a little bit before we hit the road with our other car. I ate some breakfast cookie dough cereal before saying goodbyes, and then we were off!

First though, some road trip snacks from the Asian supermarket.

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cart-basket contraption

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“meat floss” seems neither appealing nor helpful in any way

Lunch on the road:

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pork bun

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cold Taiwanese noodles

Also, we bought ketchup chips in unhealthy and healthier form.

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A Canada classic that makes ketchup lovers rejoice and ketchup haters question humanity.

The trip home was a lot better than the trip to Toronto, thankfully. We even got some good views of Niagara Falls at the border!

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Our last hurrah was dinner at a Japanese restaurant with my dad’s aunt. I shared an eel avocado roll with my mom and ordered steamed chicken and vegetables with brown rice for myself. I was honestly craving as little salt and oil as possible. I love those two things, but Toronto serves it on a whole ‘nother level.

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It was a fun mini vacation with my beloved family, but I’m excited to go back to work and not have as much acne on my face 😀

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever tried brick toast or Taiwanese snow ice?

How has someone encouraged you recently? 

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Day in the Life of a Second Semester Sophomore

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A Tuesday in the life of a second semester college sophomore…

8:10 AM // First alarm goes off. Shut it.

8:15 AM // Second alarm goes off. Snooze.

8:25 AM // Third alarm goes off. Roll out of bed. {Should not have spent useless minutes scrolling Insta so late the night before.Bathroom, brush teeth, put in contacts, etc.

8:35 AM // Morning prayer.

8:40 AM // Change into athletic clothes, just for the morning while I’m still studying (I try to wear real pants as little as possible).

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8:50 AM // Head across the street to the dining hall for breakfast! Work on my nutrition project while eating.

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hard boiled egg (with sriracha) + whole wheat toast with pb and banana + frozen blueberries

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9:40 AM // Go back to my dorm building and read biomechanics in the study room.

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10:20 AM // Head back up to my room for some foam rolling and a 30-minute yoga video.

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11:00 AM // Change into real people clothes, tweeze my brows, and put on makeup.

11:20 AM // Film this week’s “Five Minute Friday’s” vlog and re-watch it. It’s over five minutes, dang it.

11:35 AM // Leave the room and walk to another dining hall for lunch with Rachel and Kelsey!

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salad with beets, peppers, and some sort of marinated potatoes + grilled chicken with eggplant relish, sautéed collards, and couscous

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plus an orange!

12:30 PM // Nutrition lecture. We learn about the basics of digestion, which isn’t the most exciting, but the professor is still awesome.

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1:20 PM // Get out of lecture early! Walk outside to the river for some fresh air since I have 30 minutes to kill before my next class. Re-film my vlog to see if I can get it under 5 minutes (spoiler: didn’t succeed).

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THIS WEATHER!!!

2:00 PM // Behavioral biology of women lecture. Such a fascinating course! Eat a snack before the lecture starts.

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half pb sandwich packed into napkins during lunch #resources

3:30 PM // Walk to the Catholic Center for a meeting.

4:10 PM // Send some messages to people and study exercise physiology (gotta keep on top of that) in the CC study room.

5:00 PM // Attend daily Mass in the upstairs chapel.

5:40 PM // Descend into the basement for the beloved free Tuesday pasta dinner! Have a grand ol’ time catching up with friends.

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6:45 PM // Start setting up for our weekly “Catholics on Campus” talk.

7:00 PM // Kick off the talk. Last night, one of the most hilarious nuns I’ve ever met came to talk to us about Catholic Church history. She transformed a history lesson into something that had my abs and cheek muscles hurtin’!

8:15 PM // Help clean up after the talk and walk back to my dorm. Eat a peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie (compliments of my Aunt Sharon from Christmas!).

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desperately need to do something about my nails/cuticles

8:45 PM // Shower, make appointments, write out my to-do list for Wednesday, brush teeth, chat with suite mates for a bit.

9:50 PM // Go up to the study room to take my online exercise physiology quiz.

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10:20 PM // Finish the (easy) quiz and curse myself out for getting one question wrong because the directions said “place in order from low to high glycemic load” and I put them in order from high to low. I deserved that.

10:30 PM // Start typing this blog post!

11:20 PM // Finish up the post, head back to my room, pray.

11:45 PM // Hit the hay. Feeling ever so slightly hungry, but I already brushed my teeth and I’m lazy. I DO THIS EVERY NIGHT UGH (9/10 times I just eat and brush again).


Every day is so different, but this is the gist of life right now. Some days I’m ultra productive, and other days I let myself get a little too distracted with friends/social media. Some days, it’s a nice balance of both. I like to think it’s “mental health”.

I’m having fun though! I’m feeling more comfortable with tackling the work in each of my courses, and I’ve been blessed to encounter so many people from whom I can draw inspiration and motivation. Including you guys!!

Some new Tori Kelly therapy for you all today:

Hope you all have a lovely Wednesday!

So tell me:

Do you have on and off days in terms of productivity?

What was the best thing you ate yesterday? The chicken with eggplant relish and couscous was pretty darn delicious!

A silly mistake you’ve recently made. (← for my own selfish, empathy-seeking purposes. 😀 ♥︎)

Foam Rollin’ In the Deep

Hey guys!

I hope you had a lovely Thursday!

I forgot to ask–how do you like the new banner up top? I thought it would be nice to make my own to give the website a little personal flava. 

Mine has gone by really fast, but it’s felt like a nice balance between work and relaxation. We went to a nice Mass at noon for the feast of the Assumption, and then it was lunch time for me!

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Chicken sandwich, carrots, apple, and creamy sriracha dip

I just improvised for that sriracha dip since I wanted something creamy to go with the sorta dry sandwich. It’s just one plain Laughing Cow wedge mixed with about a teaspoon or so of sriracha. Did the trick!

My legs are SORE from yesterday’s workout, so this fabulous tool came to the rescue:

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The Grid foam roller AKA cylinder of pain and joy.

My mom bought the Grid foam roller on sale from Groupon, and it is awesome. The grooves all over the foam roller (hence, “the grid”) help to really massage deeeep into the muscle tissues. It can hurt a lot when you’re sore, but the next day, my muscles feel so much better. I might want to even try foam rolling before workouts more often, since it seems to do wonders for Paige (look at #3 in her post).

The whole thing is supposed to be like a hand– the small squares simulate finger tips, the long rectangles simulate fingers, and the largest squares simulate palms. I’m not sure it feels like a hand, but I think it’s better off that way… I don’t want really want to think of hands rolling out my legs. Freak-ay.

Here’s a great infographic on foam rolling in case you’re not familiar with it!

Moves

After discussing our two gym options, I decided to stick with our previous gym, while my mom is still deciding which gym she’d like to join.

I focused on upper body today since I’m waddling like a penguin. After 20 minutes on the elliptical to shake out them legs and some painful stretching, I did Julie’s upper body superset workout with some slight changes.

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Training upper body has always been a challenge for me, so keeping up with short rests in supersets was tough! I ended with some core work.

Dinner

Doesn’t look all that appealing, but it was delicious!

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Lots o’ leftover grilled chicken, tofu, and onions on spinach + avocado toast with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Avocado toast is so, so good. If you have not tried it yet, you must! I think I sing a happy avocado toast song in my head every time I make it. (I did post an Instagram photo of avocado toast yesterday. So yes, I did have it again tonight. 😀 )

I’ll rummage through the kitchen for snacks later. Heh heh.

See you tomorrow! I think I’ll be going on a hike with Ben. Woohoo!

So tell me: Have you ever foam rolled before? If so, do you like it? Are you a fan of training upper body? Do you like avocado toast?

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