Goodness Gracious, Galway

Is there a place on this island that won’t steal my heart!?

My goodness, Ireland might be one of the most underrated beautiful nations in the world. Then again, I haven’t been around too much of the world yet, but I can appreciate this little country for what it is!

Friday

I did some chores and work in the morning before a few of us headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin city centre.

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This place is truly a masterpiece. Arches, carvings, stained-glass window, stairways, tombs— like a fantasy novel setting! It’s also Anglican, not Catholic, which I did not know!

Then I did homework on Friday night. Lame award of the year. But it was for good reason because I was also packing for a weekend trip to Galway. Even though it was a two day trip, I was more nervous for this weekend jaunt than leaving the US for Ireland. I think it was because this is the first trip I planned completely without my parents’ intervention at all. Just Megan, me, and the good ol’ Internet (← in other words, we had infinite resources at our fingertips).

Saturday

I woke up at around 5:50 to get in a super quick workout before we hit the road. I did a warmup + 12 minute workout before gathering my things, eating some pb+j banana oats, and walking to bus #1.

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We successfully made it to the airport, where bus #2 departed. But we used the airport restroom and found this dispenser, which was…handy?

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Megan: “Why can you get toffee from the same machine as your tampons?”

So we ran away to Galway. It was about a 2.5 hour bus ride, and we emerged in the new city (SUCCESS) without a plan until dinner time. First stop: lunch at The Dough Bros.

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They had free crunchy chocolate chip cookies at the order counter, so that was our appetizer 😀

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And then we shared the “Hey Pesto” pizza, which had homemade basil pesto, goat cheese, smoked semi-sundried tomatoes, balsamic red onions, and fresh rocket (arugula).

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BOMB.

With happy bellies, we walked around the streets of Galway city, which were just charming. Our secret mission was to find dessert (I had scones on my mind for whatever reason), so we circled around before finding a little strip of street vendors.

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I sampled four different kinds of bread from The Happy Loaf, and then I finally bought a white chocolate blueberry spelt muffin (that he baked right there in some outdoor oven contraption!).

Megan bought a caramel slice from a different vendor, and we brought our desserts to the River Corrib, where we blissfully enjoyed our treats with a view.

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the muffin could have used more blueberries, but it was still delicious!

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“the garbage swan” ➔ Megan’s unofficial name for this thing

We walked up to the ocean area called Salthill, which offered a delightful sea breeze and a peaceful atmosphere.

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We couldn’t stay too long, because we had to catch a bus to Kinvara for dinner. However, in our haste, Megan twisted her (semi-recently sprained) ankle 😦 Darn cobblestone.

Luckily there was an ambulance literally right there where she twisted her ankle, so I asked the EMTs for an ice pack. One guy, Tom, kindly ran around the corner (to who knows where) to get one, while another guy, Eoin (pronounced “own”) came to chat with us and check on Megan.

Not only were these two gentlemen very helpful in Megan’s plight, but Megan and I agreed that Eoin was a darn good-looking and friendly man, who made the situation slightly less stressful. He even recommended a good fish & chips place.

God provides.

Tom came with the ice (and even an ACE wrap), so Megan was able to elevate and ice her ankle on the 40 minute bus ride to Kinvara (couldn’t have been a better situation, given the circumstances!).

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She had to buy a brace once we arrived, but she’s a trooper. We walked a few minutes over to Dunguaire Castle, where we were scheduled for a medieval banquet!

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First, we toured. This thing is over 500 years old!

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location of the banquet we would enjoy in the evening

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super narrow at the top

Then I got antsy and did some weird things on the lawn, which definitely got in the way of some people’s photos from afar.

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Megan: “I took a picture of you doing your weird squats over there.” 

I was stretching my hips!

At 5:30, our banquet commenced. They served us mead at the beginning, which is honeyed wine. It was meh. I didn’t have much of it, but it was fun to sip it while listening to harp music.

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We made a toast and headed upstairs to the banquet! Sorry for the bad quality pics to come; medieval times aren’t generous with the lighting, ya know?

Each dinner course was announced, and our meal/social time was interlaced with lovely singing pieces. The singers were so talented!

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smoked salmon + capers and veggies

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soda bread with butter (Megan’s favorite food of the whole banquet. It was really good bread.)

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potato leek soup from a pitcher (my favorite food of the night, especially with the bread dipped in)

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no spoons!

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chicken in mushroom sauce + veggies and fried potatoes

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apple slice with fresh cream

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I had a single sip of red wine. I just don’t like alcohol apparently.

There was a longer performance after our meal was complete. Overall, Megan and I had a fun experience and were glad we did it. We were definitely the youngest ones there, but the couple sitting next to us was super friendly, and we loved talking with them!

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So stuffed and so happy.

Our first Airbnb experience was GREAT! Our host, Valerie, was phenomenal. She even picked us up from the castle after I told her that Megan was injured. Her room for us was so clean and cozy, and the bathroom was AMAZING (because any step up from a dorm bathroom is amazing). Also, her dog is the happiest dog on earth.

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she left us tea, water, and “buns”!!!

We slept well that night.

Sunday

Valerie prepared a nice breakfast for us, consisting of brown bread (can’t get enough) with butter and jam + tea + cereal.

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‘Twas hearty and filling for the journey back to Galway city. Valerie is the best; if you ever stay in Kinvara, go to her!!

Megan and I meandered around Galway city again once we got back there. We wanted to go to Mass at the Galway Cathedral at 12:30, but we had some time to kill. We visited the Spanish Arch, which was kinda underwhelming, but it’s old and historical!

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What we really got excited for was this playground.

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“living her best life”

Then we paid 50 cents to use the cathedral washroom before doing our church thing. Prayer, confession, photos, and Mass. The Galway Cathedral is just stunning!

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After Mass, we walked to Brasserie on the Corner for lunch. There was a two-course meal deal for €18.95, which was fantastic. Especially because of…

THE SODA BREAD.

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we’re slightly obsessed and vow to not eat anymore unless we are served it

I ordered the salmon with pea and bacon cream for my entree. The entrees came with potatoes two ways + steamed vegetables. Everything was so tasty!

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I had to eat very slowly, because this stuff was rich. But the dessert compartment stayed open for this peanut butter parfait (not the kind of parfait we’re used to back home…parfait is more of a frozen mousse here, kinda like a semifreddo) with vanilla ice cream and honeycomb.

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This meal kept us full until almost 10 pm!

And so we just strolled some more until our bus ride back home. We saw a few churches and revisited Salthill to walk down the whole bar and feel the wind in our hair. A very Titanic moment.

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what a precarious moment lol

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We barely talked, except for the few times we starting singing “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield. We just wanted to soak in the views and the breeze.

Megan and I also had a weird obsession with the award plaques on restaurant fronts. We just wanted to touch all of them.

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We’re adults. We travel on our own.

And now I’m back at the dorm, gearing up for our second week of classes. It’s funny, because finals are in less than a month. YAY.

But seriously, I am so grateful for this weekend in Galway with Megan and for the experiences I’ve had here in Ireland so far. God is good.

(All the time!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Galway?

Do you like Irish soda bread?

Have you ever used Airbnb?

Have you ever had an unfortunate experience, but somehow all the circumstances to deal with it were in place?

What did you do this weekend? 

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“Dessert Rejuvenates Me”

My room is decorated!!

With wet t-shirts and damp underwear. They’re donning my windows, armchair, desk, and radiators because the laundry was finally installed in our dorm, but my exceptionally large load of laundry was not sufficiently dried in one dry cycle.

I honestly might go frontier-style and start washing my clothes in the sink and air drying them, since laundry will be at least 4.50 euros each time. Yikes.

These past couple days:

Wednesday

We had an orientation for our internships that will start in November, and one thing that the presenter said that struck me was, “It’s not always about what you do on the job. It’s about who you are and how you are.” In other words, in Ireland at least, it is just as— if not, more— important to be social and interactive with your coworkers as it is to be constantly diligent and focused on your tasks. Forming good relationships can be more valuable in your work experience than merely doing what needs to be done.

I know I can get so caught up in doing my job that I forget to talk to people or even refuse to go to social functions. But there’s so much more to a work/learning environment than burying your nose in the work, and I’m excited to really allow myself to do that here and find that balance between work and “play”.

I get it, universe. It’s not all about “just doing well.”

In other news, look at these bathrooms on campus.

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The vibe is, like, Hulk meets hospital. It also smelled strongly like Skittles, which was pleasant.

Lunches recently have been eggs in some form with butter and carbs in some form.

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Thursday

One of my new friends, Kendall, woke up (semi-)early to work out with me before our morning class. It was a fabulous morning too, so we did it outside. YAY. We did a 30 minute HIIT:

7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 burpees
  • 20 reverse lunges
  • 30 plank jacks
  • 100 high knees
[30 sec break]
7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 pushup to T
  • 10 broad jumps
  • 20 spiderman planks
  • 20 air squats
[30 sec break]
7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 side plank side crunch each side
  • 10 side lunge to knee twist each leg
  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 20 split jack lunges
[30 sec break]
7 min AMRAP:
  • 10 in and out pushups
  • 20 sumo squat hip looseners
  • 15 plank to ankle taps each arm

The project manager on campus told us as we walked back to our dorm, “You know you’re making all of us feel guilty right?”

I wish I had answered, “JOIN US NEXT TIME!” But that would have been weird, so we just laughed.

Another Ireland lesson: Milk and yogurt expire much more quickly here than in the States. I almost poured curdled milk into my oatmeal yesterday and then I finished my extra sour Greek yogurt last night.

Lunch was 100% safe though.

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peep the potatoes with kerrygold butter, salt and pepper ♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎ 

The strawberries from the local grocery store here are also 5x better than Costco strawberries.

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The most frustrating moment of my Thursday was walking 45 minutes somewhere to pick up a bus card, but finding immediately upon walking into the office that the card machine was out of order. *heart drops to stomach* I hated the thought of wasting 90 minutes, but I loved the walk, and I even got to stop into a beautiful church to pray for a bit!

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This photo doesn’t do it justice. I walked in and froze for a couple seconds because I was in such awe.

We had our first Irish language lesson last night too. The professor is the sweetest and most joyful woman I’ve met in a while. The language still eludes me a bit, but it’s cool to learn about it!

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Leftover beef burger for dinner!

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split in half and eaten on top of toast with BBQ sauce, mustard, greens, white cheddar, and caramelized onions

This burger thing was the best culinary idea I’ve had in my 1.5 weeks living in Ireland (which isn’t saying much, given I’ve been living off oatmeal, chicken, and eggs).

Later, a few of us went out for dessert at Restaurant 104. They had “proper bread and butter pudding” on their menu, so I knew we had to go. And that’s just what I ordered!

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WITH raisins @Rachel

I also tried some of my friends’ sticky toffee pudding and [unpictured] “Death by Chocolate” cake.

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Everything was divine. When we all finished, Megan announced:

Dessert rejuvenates me. It’s my life source.

I’m so excited to be traveling Europe with this gal.

Now it’s Friday morning and I’m typing up this blog post! I need to do some schoolwork before going on a cliff walk later today. I did Blogilates’ Extreme Abs 3 (never gets easier) just ate some PB&J banana egg white oatmeal porridge to fuel the day:

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Have some good craic* this weekend!!! 😉

*craic is pronounced “crack” and means “fun”

So tell me:

What kinds of produce are much better abroad than at home for you? 

What is a recent frustrating experience for you?

What are you eating for breakfast this morning?

Do you like bread pudding?

Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup II

This is the most hippie thing I’ve ever posted.

I posted “Chronicles of Becoming a Grownup” a year ago (right about this time in the summer too!). And since they are chronicles, there must be subsequent posts!

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I even posted a photo of this exact breakfast in that post. This was yesterday’s breakfast (oatmeal cookie dough cereal via Fitnessista)

This is a quote from my first chronicle post a year ago:

“And don’t get me started on the mental/emotional/spiritual changes and revelations that are occurring as I become a grownup. To be chronicled in the future…”

Lo and behold. ‘Tis the future, and I am going to tell you about some of those mental/emotional/spiritual changes and revelations riiiiiight now.

Alternative title for this post: “Oh, That’s Why That’s a Cliche!

1) Revelation #1: Long story short— my coworker and I were blamed by a patient for unfairly helping another patient at the first patient’s expense. I have learned that I literally cannot make everyone happy, even if my colleagues and I are trying our very best to do so.

2) Adding on to revelation #1: I have to remember not to take things too personally and not to ruminate on how bad I feel about disappointing someone. It reminds me to help people NOT because I gain validation and appreciation but because I truly do care for them. I have to be willing to help, even if I know someone does not like me or he/she might have a negative response.

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3) Revelation #2: It’s easy to revert back to my former self when I’m back at home with my family. Sometimes I forget that I don’t “have to” be the baby of the family and I don’t have to bicker with family like I used to.

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4) Revelation #3: I find little things a lot funnier than I did when I was a teenager (yes, I know I just became a non-teen 2 months ago). Older folks have so many funny antics and hilarious things to say! Sometimes they’re not the nicest, but that applies to human beings in general.

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5) Revelation #4: I find it easier to understand why people act/react in inhospitable ways, especially as I work in a healthcare setting, and I thus feel a little less offended if someone is rude towards me. Not that rudeness is justified, but it can be more understandable.

6) Adding onto revelation #4: I’m (more often, but not always) slower to judge others by isolated character flaws.

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6) Revelation #5: The more I learn about others’ hard realities and the stresses that everyone works through in order to “make it”, the easier it becomes to despair sometimes. But there is a difference between empathy and straight up despair. Despair doesn’t help anyone. I cannot justify my sulking just because everyone else is sulking. Get out of your hole (and it’s okay to ask for help!), and someone else might be inspired to pick up his/her head as well.

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7) Adding onto revelation #5: Spread joy. ← I used to cringe at how cliche and grossly cheesy that phrase is, but the world can never, ever get enough of it. I don’t know about you, but a genuine smile or compliment can seriously make my day.

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8) Revelation #6: You want to be loved. I want to be loved. The person next door wants to be loved. Everyone wants to be loved, so START LOVING. Don’t wait on others. How to love is a whole ‘nother post (or two).

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9) Revelation #7: Cliches remain cliches until you realize why they’re cliches. Then they become ingrained life lessons. But of course, just because I learned these lessons a few times doesn’t mean that I don’t completely ignore them and allow my selfish/itch-bay side come out at times. #It’sAProcess

10) Revelation #8: GIFs are my favorite modern way of communicating the inner recesses of my brain.

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Hope you have a marvelous Thursday! Just love (like Us the Duo says in this great song):

So tell me:

What are some revelations you’ve had as you became/are becoming a grownup? Can you relate to any of mine here?

What is one cliche that is particularly relevant in your life right now?

Something that has brought you joy this past week!

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joining Amanda’s party today!

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?

Two Museums, Two Desserts, Two Blistered Feet

I did something this weekend other than “oh ya know, just layin’ low…” !!!

Not that there’s anything wrong with laying low (after all, I love kicking up my feet after work these days). But it’s nice to exit the abode and live a little, especially when the weather is as gorgeous as it was this weekend!

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Friday

There’s nothing really to share about Friday except that I worked, ate my favorite dinner of the week, and went to bed at 9.

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brown rice with eel + avocado = all the good things in sushi, amplified in a bowl

Also, BEN CAME HOME FROM SPAIN! He completed El Camino de Santiago, which is historically a Christian walking pilgrimage. There are many routes, but Ben did a super long one that totaled 890 km (553 miles) within 32 days. Casual.

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Congrats, Ben! YOU ROCK.

He actually came home at 2 AM Saturday morning, but I snuck into his room later in the morning to say hi to him before I left for NYC.

Saturday

Since I went to bed so darn early, I woke up at around 6 AM for some sunrise moves and grooves!

100 burpee workout // 10 reps of each // Click here for demos!

  • 10 tuck jump burpees
  • 10 T pushup burpees
  • 10 candlestick to chair burpees
  • 10 alternating side burpees (this one actually hurt my shoulder a bit because the pushup becomes kinda awkward, so I would not recommend this variation)
  • 10 broad jump burpees
  • 10 spiderman pushup burpees
  • 10 handstand burpees
  • 10 superman burpees
  • 10 dive bomber burpees
  • 10 plank jack tuck jump burpees

I tried to do some new/weird variations to keep things interesting, so it was definitely a fun (and tiring) one!

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banana bread baked oatmeal with plain peanut butter + “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter from The Peanut Principle

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from the farmers’ market 😀

Plus a couple pieces of my mom’s egg white pork bake.

After washing up, Pop dropped me off at the train station to head down to the city! Cue this Tori Kelly song (because she is the soundtrack to my life).

First of all, I saw an extraordinary number of dads with their kids on the train/in the city that day, and it made my heart explode.

Secondly, Park Ave looks so clean and luxurious, but it honestly just smells like manure. #overrated

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First stop of the day was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Can you believe I’ve lived in NY for 11 years, and this was my first time going there?

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I guess if you don’t live in NY, you don’t really see the big deal. But this is one of those “must see” attractions in the city.

I did my tourist thing while waiting for my friend, Christine.

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Squealing greeting + photos in front of the MET, because we’re bananas (yellow on the outside, white on the inside, in case you haven’t seen me make that joke 100 times on the blog).

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apparently this is where Gossip Girl cast ate lunch in the show??

In we went!

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We interspersed our “ooo’s” and “aaah’s” with some serious girl talk and some attempts at reading our people’s language.

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My contribution every time: “I have no idea what it means, but it looks familiar.”

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At least we’re proficient in fit fam culture.

Art eventually drains ya girls, so we headed over to lunch at Bluestone Lane for some Australian fare at around 1 PM.
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the restaurant is an extension of an Episcopalian church!
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I spy vegemite toast and the word “brekkie”
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Christine got the egg and bacon roll + I got the Aussie meat pie with mint pea puree
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dynamite
Our waiter was Australian, which really added to the experience. Arman, I could not stop thinking about you.
We made it our mission to find both ice cream and Levain Bakery for dessert, so we took the scenic route and walked around the Central Park reservoir. It was the absolute perfect day to do it! Hot, but not unbearable, and bluuuuuue skies.
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We didn’t know where to get ice cream, but we happened upon Amorino Gelato, which is famous for making roses out of their gelato! That stuff is expensive, but it is undeniably pretty and delicious.
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Christine got fruity flavors + I got pistachio, black cherry, and a cookie butter flavor!
That cone was tiny and that gelato was melting wicked fast. You would think I was a magician, that’s how quickly I made it disappear.
We continued walking and found the legendary Levain Bakery. I had been hearing about their incredible chocolate chip cookies since I moved to New York, basically. This was THE DAY.
But first, a short wait on a line that spanned half the block. Expected.
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this is my “THIS IS BETTER THAN DISNEY WORLD BUT I’M TRYING TO BE CIVILIZED” pose
We descended into the little bakery…
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…I bought one chocolate chip cookie and one oatmeal raisin scone. We desperately needed to charge our phones, so we walked over to a Starbucks, where I finally unveiled the glory…
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 these are both HUGE
…wait for it!!!
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You have no idea how long I had been waiting to take that money shot. Ladies and gents, this was one of the best things that my taste buds have ever encountered. I’m not even a big fan of chocolate.
Warm.
Crispy on the outside.
Slightly under-baked and gooey on the inside.
Melted chocolate chips.
Rich walnut chunks.
Thick and decadent.
a poem about Levain’s chocolate chip cookie by Alison
Christine and I split the mega cookie, and we had a few bites of the scone, which was fantastic as well. Not too sweet at all, but BUTTERY. The bag smelled like buttered popcorn. Mmmmm.
Afterwards, we walked back around the reservoir to where we started, and continued with some more girl talk until Christine had to leave. Next museum of the day was Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design with one of my high school dance company mates, Susie!
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had to take a pic of this
This is probably my favorite museum of all time. It’s so interactive, and the vibe is an intersection between classical architecture and modern technology.
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They give you this high tech pen that acts as a memory stick. The pen has a “+” sign on the back that synchronizes to the “+” sign on each description panel on the exhibits. When you go home, you go onto their website and enter your unique code that they gave you, and you can see pictures of all the exhibits you saved via the pen. MAGICAL.
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This immersion room is your childhood dream. You basically design your own wallpaper with the pen, and watch it come to life in front of your eyes.
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Five stars for Cooper Hewitt! Thank you so much, Susie, for suggesting it!
We worked up a good appetite playing around in the museum. Susie chose an excellent Greek restaurant called Korali for dinner.
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a rare moment when no cars are about to run you over in the city
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beet salad with grapefruit, pine nuts, goat cheese, fennel, dill and scallions
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when the manager walks up to you offering a FREE platter of melted Greek cheese, you do not refuse (such a nice gesture of them!)
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soup of the day: lentil
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Susie gave me a bite of her lamb shank, which was heavenly
We also walked by this gem of a Citi bank sign (great eye, Susie).
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This is Gabby Douglas, US Olympic Gymnast. But peep the caption in the upper left hand corner…
THIS is Allyson Felix, US Olympic Track and Field Runner:
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Alright, Citi Bank.
And then I bid NYC a good night.
Ben picked me up at the train station, and I was all excited to tell him that I walked 11 miles that day (according to the Apple Health app), but then I remembered that he had been walking an average of 20 miles per day for the past month. Overachiever.
I still gave myself a foot massage before bed.
Sunday
I got up a little past 7 to get ready for Mass and say goodbye (already!) to Ben and Madre. Not for long though. Pop and I will meet them in Florida soon for our big family vacation next week!
Breakfast after Mass:
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I also had leftover roasted broccoli while cooking this. Cravings, man.
I watched some gymnastics, read some blogs, and napped before getting up and eating again. Sundays, man.
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smoked salmon avocado toast + unpictured carrots and hummus + half a frozen banana
Then I started this blog post and FaceTimed with my beautiful friend, Briana, from college. Followed by some killer moves and grooves in the basement (which I have deemed to be my “pain cave”).
60 seconds strength/45 seconds  cardio/20 seconds  plyometric/15 seconds rest
3 rounds of each block, 1 minute rest between blocks
BLOCK #1
BLOCK #2
  • pistol squats (30 sec each leg)
  • jumping jacks
  • broad jumps over a step, lengthwise
BLOCK #3

BLOCK #4

I hadn’t done a workout that made my quads cry in a while. I stretched out before Pop and I went to one of our favorites for dinner— Bareburger!

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I made my own burger: turkey burger, spinach, sprouts, tomato, pimento cheese on sprout bun + ketchup and mustard
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sweet potato fries with their curry ketchup + special sauce
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the inner beauty of my burger
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Pop’s “Hog Wild” burger: wild boar burger, pimento cheese, frizzled chickpea onions (!?), fried egg, and pickled green tomatoes on a brioche bun
Decadence once again.
We picked up some groceries afterwards, and now I’m finishing typing this while watching sports on TV (← yay for Olympic season coming up!). ‘Twas a fabulous weekend filled with good food, great conversation, and even better people.
Back to the grind today, but one more week until vacation! Hope you all have stellar Monday. Give yourself a foot massage. You deserve it.
So tell me:
Two things you did this weekend!
What is your favorite museum?
What is the best cookie you’ve ever eaten?
Are there any sports you are following currently?