Gluttony or “Just Living”?

This weekend was definitely gluttony.

Disclaimer: If you are struggling with disordered eating, I ask that you please read with caution or not read this post at all. Please take care ♥︎ 

But let’s talk about guilt over gluttony in the context of recovering from an eating disorder. I’ll start with a little fact about myself:

Before I developed disordered eating habits, I experienced guilt over eating more than I thought I should, because I felt that I was being selfish if I ate to the point of satiation. What about all the children my age who have nothing to eat for dinner tonight? My parents shut that down really quickly, but this is a real sentiment that I had when I was younger.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s prudent and good to avoid gluttony and to be mindful of our brothers and sisters who have less to eat than us. However, I know from experience that there can be uncertainty between two thoughts during recovery:

“Am I eating all this for the sake of recovery?”

vs.

“Am I just being gluttonous?”

I am neither a dietitian nor a priest, but I do know that “gluttony” is necessary for recovery from an anorexia-type eating disorder. I put “gluttony” in quotation marks because eating a lot— an amount greater than you feel like eating—during recovery from an anorexia-type eating disorder is essential for healing the mind and body. It is the only way to get yourself to reach a healthy weight and challenge restricting behaviors.

(This doesn’t mean eating until you get sick, but many of you probably understand what I mean.)

So what happens once you are completely recovered (or even 99.9% recovered)? Personally, I believe I am well past the point of “eating more food for the sake of my health”. If I eat more than I think I should at this stage of my life, it’s probably unnecessary. But am I gluttonous or “just living”? 

I think it can be argued that “just living” involves a little bit of gluttony. Most of us don’t need that extra drink or dessert, but those extra treats that put us a little over the top can be good for our mental health and social experience.

According to Google, gluttony means “habitual greed or excess in eating”. I certainly believe that eating more than you really need is not a terrible thing every now and then (if you are at a healthy stage in life). However, for ME, once it becomes habitual — once excess eating becomes…excessive — that is where I’d say I’m being a little bit gluttonous.

This is a self-reflection. I do not mean to speak for anyone else! But I’m curious to hear if anyone has similar reflections.

So let’s look at the amount of food my family and I ate this weekend.

Friday Night

Dinner at Shiki with our family friends.

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some bites of my parents’ yakitori

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squid appetizer for everyone to share

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gigantic mussels for everyone to share as well

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sushi for me!

Saturday

Back story: We and our family friends are HUGE foodies, and for whatever reason, it’s a tradition for us to go into NYC and do a “food crawl” to many different food vendors. Rule: We must walk.

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light breakfast (light for my standards): Greek yogurt with half a banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, blueberries, and pb

First stop: Chelsea Market! Also known as the land of “I can’t choose what to eat.”

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We all parted ways and bought our own dishes before reconvening, but we also shared a bunch of things. Many little bites here and there!

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little bites of a couple kinds of doughnuts from Doughnuttery — delicious!

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one of my favorite bites of the day: ginger pecan pie

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egg, ham, cheese, scallion corn muffin — totally up my alley

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Ben’s Mexican plate with cactus and beef

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I couldn’t even finish my salad after bites of all the other things!

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way too much food before noon #chelseamarket #nyc

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After Chelsea, we walked uptown towards Broadway via High Line for a more scenic route. The weather was overcast, cool, and absolutely perfect!

We watched a matinee of Book of Mormon, which is a pretty esteemed musical. It was definitely hilarious, but it was also so vulgar and blasphemous that every time something funny happened, all I could do was stare with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. I may have smiled too.

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I do appreciate it as a musical, however. The music is super catchy and the acting was phenomenal.

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"Hello!" 📘👔🙏🏼 #bookofmormon #broadway #nyc

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We headed over to Koreatown for our post-show/pre-dinner snack. Madre and Pop suggested a Korean food court called Food Gallery 32.

I had a bite of taiyaki, which is a pastry shaped like a fish, stuffed with red bean paste. Fresh out of the iron, this thing was FANTASTIC. Crisp exterior, gooey interior, rich filling.

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Colby, you’d love this.

Plus a sip of Ben’s taro bubble tea.

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Dessert before dinner (but don’t worry, we ate dessert after dinner too).

My uncle made reservations for us at Momofuku Nishi, a trendy, modern Japanese restaurant.

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#minimalist

We were basically sitting on wooden boxes, but I wasn’t mad about it.

Family style all day!

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cold shanghai noodles

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some magical fried chicken

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butter noodles that tasted cheesy but weren’t actually cheesy

Then there was this “Impossible Burger” that we split into eight little pieces.

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Perhaps you are asking, “What the heck is this sad looking burger doing at an upscale Japanese restaurant?” Well, the burger is vegan (the patty at least). But it 100% looks and tastes like meat. Hence, the “Impossible” Burger.

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The only wow factor was that it was vegan, because otherwise, it just tasted like a really mediocre fast food burger with subpar french fries.

The main event was this 10 lb. pork roast that my uncle had to order ahead of time for our party of seven.

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the bone literally slid right out

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Ben rolling up the sleeves

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We ate it in lettuce wraps with many delicious condiments, herbs, and sticky rice. There was a good amount of meat that we got to take home for leftovers! It was a heavenly piece of meat.

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Then it was time to walk our way to dessert. Our family friends stopped at Momofuku Milk Bar to pick up some cookies to go. Then we headed to Van Leeuwen ice cream. On our way though, we got distracted by a place called Snowdays, which sells “shaved cream”.

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It’s a frozen block of cream that is shaved. My aunt shared her black sesame shaved cream with coconut and mochi with all of us. Pretty unique! It’s like ultra light ice cream.

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Had to take a picture for ol’ Disney Channel’s sake. Did anyone else watch Wizards of Waverly Place?

Finally, Van Leeuwen. Ben and I shared three scoops (I was greedy. We definitely should have just gotten two scoops). I chose ginger, honeycomb, and vegan banana nut. They were all so good! I couldn’t choose a favorite.

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Obviously, humans don’t need this much food (unless you burn calories like Michael Phelps). I did feel gluttonous (especially with that ice cream at the end), and I do not condone eating like this every day of course, but it happened, it was a wonderful time with family, and I am grateful for all the food.

So tell me:

Have you ever struggled with discerning gluttony vs. “just living”?

Have you ever done a “food crawl”?

What are you doing today? Happy Labo(u)r Day!!! 

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Thoughts On “Getting Back On Track” After Vacation

It’s only been a week since we got back home from vacation, and we’ve gone through two bunches of bananas already.

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I didn’t ask a question, but thanks for the answer anyway, Madre 🙂

Last week was as great a week of work as any could have been after vacation. I am so grateful for wonderful coworkers and mentors who make my job so enjoyable.

Let’s talk about “getting back on track” after a vacation.

After having three (or five) course meals for dinner every night on the cruise and heavier-than-normal breakfasts every morning, I was looking forward to a little bit of a break from endless food (although, I definitely chose to indulge in more food on the cruise). You could say that I was looking forward to “getting back on track”.

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my first meal back at home was classic avocado egg toast

But when I think of “getting back on track”, the first things that I’m tempted to do are:

  • Cut out all desserts for the next month.
  • Eat “clean” (whatever the heck that means) 100% of the time for the next month.
  • Compensate for the amount I ate on vacation by cutting down the amount/density/volume of food I eat.
  • Be strict about exercising and doing the “right” kind of exercise to maximize calorie burn.

Hear me out: These are just the first things that pop into my mind when I get back home. However, I’ve learned that this kind of absolutist mindset does me a huge disservice, and it stresses me out more than anything, which I don’t need for my digestive health or overall health.

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Pop and I went out to dinner the night we got back because we didn’t have any groceries yet // vegetable bibimbap + Kalbi beef short ribs to share

I definitely did NOT eat “clean” 100% of the time before the vacation, so why do I need to change anything after vacation? I’m still working, exercising, doing my activities of daily living, etc. Those still require fuel. I also often like to eat something sweet after a long day of work, so I don’t really want to deprive myself of that.

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still lots of sweet breakfasts (that sometimes had ADDED sugars in them *gasp*)

This doesn’t mean that I still want a three course meal with a decadent dessert every night. All I wanted was dried figs (which have quite a lot of sugar in them, even if it’s natural sugar) with Greek yogurt for a few nights last week, so that’s what I had.

Other days, I did still have some not-as-natural sugars. Like a slice of homemade banana bread at work, a Reese’s egg…also from work, and this snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich for National Ice Cream Day.

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You might be thinking, “Sure, Alison. But what if I actually gained a lot of weight on vacation?”

Well, I am in agreement with many wise RDs (like Robyn!) and healthy living bloggers; without too much thought, our bodies tend to naturally shift back to our happy weight. You’re going to be hitting your regular workouts again, which I presume worked well for you before vacation. You’re going to be back to your own kitchen, and you’re not going to have access to as much food as on vacation anyway.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with consciously and deliberately eating healthier and/or lighter foods after vacation. I just don’t think it’s helpful to shift to any kind of extreme “cleanse” mode. 

You went on vacation to get away from everyday routine for a little bit. Let yourself enjoy that during the vacation, but don’t let it haunt you after the vacation.

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spicy honey chicken thighs (based on this recipe) + roasted green beans for a dinner last week ➔ this was SO GOOD!

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turkey quinoa taco bake with avocado and cilantro (and Greek yogurt added post-photo) based on this recipe for another night ➔ this was ALSO SO GOOD

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avocado egg toast + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

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hunk o’ asiago sourdough

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quinoa with teriyaki chicken thighs + chicken spinach sausage + sautéed green beans a la Madre

It’s nice to be back in the kitchen to make our own nutritious food, but it was nice that none of us felt the need to eat oil-less, dry chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and brown rice every day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s kind of sad if you feel like you need to do that as “recompense”. I know I used to feel that way.

If you do want to “get back on track,” maybe focus more on the quality and nutrients of your food rather than the calories or amount. Eat what you know you need and what you know makes you feel genuinely good, whether that’s kale or chocolate cake. Treat Trust yoself.

Needless to say, I still indulged in some sweets and rich foods this week. For the most part though, I’ve been eating foods that I normally love, which are generally nutritious and delicious. As for workouts, those have also been the same (a post about my workouts is coming soon!).

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I got Ben on the overnight oats train *high fives*

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lots of perfect cado-avos

My family even decided to go out for a rather fancy dinner on Saturday night after Mass. We were planning on using a Groupon (of course) at a Thai restaurant, but it was closed. Thus, we were diverted to a nice Greek restaurant called MP Taverna that we had been wanting to try for a while.

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three dips to share // chickpea (with some extraordinary spices), eggplant, and cucumber yogurt

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“dumplings”: basically the fluffiest ricotta gnocchi you can imagine in a tomato-based sauce with spinach, lamb sausage, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and feta #dead

Hooray for family time and outdoor lighting! 🙂

Yesterday I hung out with my good friend Joe from college in the city! We celebrated National Ice Cream Day with ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery on High Line.

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We ate lunch after dessert, which is extra acceptable on National Ice Cream Day. Joe actually suggested salads, which was shocking but welcomed.

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I think there were tomatoes, roasted red peppers, broccoli, beets and brussels sprouts in there with creamy sriracha dressing

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you literally asked for it, Joe

It was so good catching up with him and walking around, despite the fact that we were being slow-cooked by the NYC heat.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Eat foods that are fluffy, cheesy, creamy, and spicy this week. Report back on Friday.

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation?

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

Two things you did this weekend!

Fueling for a Day in the City

The city is exhausting!

New York City in particular has the most draining effect on me. I definitely love the city, and I’m so lucky to be living close to one of the greatest cities in the world.

Besides the walking and heat, there is so much stimulation from the millions of people, cars, lights, sounds, and smells. If you try to slow down, you will either get run over by an automobile or pushed over by busy people. That being said, walking, dodging flying objects/people, and climbing stairs for a few hours requires lots of fuel.

Starting with breakfast!

Actually, starting with pre-breakfast. I woke up hungry at 5 AM. Why.

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spoonful of Nuttzo power fuel

I tried going back to sleep, but then 6 AM came before I could. After dropping off dad at the train station, I was READY for breakfast.

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Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, chia, and maple syrup // banana, strawberries, granola, and a giant scoop of peanut butter

A little while later I warmed up a couple of strawberry cornmeal griddle cakes that I had froze, and I snacked on one with some maple syrup as a morning snack. I did get to sleep a little more too!

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I took the day off from my {flexible, volunteer} internship to join up with some good friends from BU who are also NY/NJ locals, health professionals to be, and…Asian 🙂

By the time I had arrived at Grand Central and then walked 19 blocks to Shake Shack, I was a hungry, hungry hippo (<— always wanted that game when I was a kid).

We surprised our friend Dana with cupcakes and horridly off-pitch singing (on my part) for an early birthday celebration before ordering and chowing down on our burgers from Shake Shack.

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My first Shake Shack burger! It was perfect and I miss it already.

Tina and Cassandra were kind enough to pick up Georgetown Cupcakes for Dana, and Dana was kind enough to share with all of us!

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happy early birthday, Dana!

We trekked it over to High Line Park, where we took touristy pictures despite not being actual tourists. Before that though, we stopped by Eataly to use the restrooms, and LOOK WHAT WE FOUND.

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A NUTELLA BAR {inside Eataly, not inside the restroom}

Take deep breaths, I know it’s a lot to take in. We didn’t buy anything, but I need to go back to try it out soon!

Back to High Line… (thanks for the photos, Cassandra!)

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{posed}

After High Line and a quick walk through Chelsea Market, we parted ways and went home. I took a nap on the train because I was dead meat. I think I felt almost as tired as I did after our 7 mile hike in Colorado!

My stomach felt weird when I got home, but I knew I needed a snack. Or two.

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steamed veggies + 34 Degrees poppy seed crackers with hummus

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more Nuttzo (this spoonful + more because this spoon has limited space to hold drippy nut butter)

A couple hours later I ate caprese again as a dinner appetizer, along with the other cornmeal griddle cake from the morning.

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I was kinda full by the time I ate real dinner, but I didn’t stress out about it, ate slowly while conversing with Pop, and finished every last bite enjoyably!

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salad with homemade maple mustard dressing + ginger cilantro lime / pesto turkey meatballs + roasted sweet potatoes + corn on the cob

Huzzah for leftovers!

Night snack was this cinnamon roll Quest bar from the never-ending Blend swag bag.

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I microwaved it for 23 seconds (as suggested by a reader), and the Quest bar morphed into a Quest lava flow.

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I should start making Quest sculptures when they’re hot

And that’s a wrap! ‘Twas a blessed day of eats as always.

I have one more day of my internship this week before I head up to Boooooooston for the weekend! 😀 Hope you all have a wacky Wednesday in the best way possible!

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joining the WIAW party on Peas and Crayons!

So tell me:

Do you ever wake up hungry? It used to happen a lot more when I was depriving myself, but I guess it still happens once in a blue moon!

What is your favorite fast food burger joint?

Something sweet that you ate yesterday!

Weird Facts About Last Week

Are you ready for this post!? I don’t think you are. Because I’m not.

To put everything into context, I am back in Boston after a week of touring NYC with my friend Rachel for our spring break. I shared our Tuesday adventures with you all last week, but that was just the very beginning. More food, more fun, more freakiness awaited us.

To sum it all up without boring you to death, here are some weird facts about our experiences last week!

Fact #1: I basically forced vegetables down Rachel’s throat by hiding greens in all our breakfast foods. Such a mom move.

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Davida’s green silver dollar banana pancakes (one of my absolute favorites)

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banana peanut butter oatmeal “dough boy” smoothie with greens blended in (inspired by Kath Eats)

Fact #2: We were spontaneously part of a street show in Central Park, and someone jumped over my head.

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it’s because I’m short

Fact #3: We came across some trendy, delicious places to eat in NYC, and I pretended that frozen yogurt was a healthy afternoon snack.

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Toasties Deli and Chillbox Greek Frozen Yogurt

Fact #4: Rachel and I regressed to become 5-year-olds at Dylan’s Candy Bar. Candy is so nostalgic.

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Fact #5: It was warm enough for us to be a little sweaty while walking around in NYC. HOORAY FOR SWEAT! That means spring weather!

Fact #6: My family took us out to not one, but two Groupon meals last week. The first one was at our favorite Persian restaurant…

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The Groupon came with four desserts, ok?

And then the next night we went to Ichiro, aka my favorite Japanese restaurant ever.

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Fact #7: Rachel and I dedicated a whole day to studying. I know, what nerds.

Fact #8: We took a casual study break and met a stranger who also happens to be an awesome iPhone photographer (follow him on Instagram here!).

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{PC: @neivy}

Fact #9: We could have slid on our butts down this staircase of death if we wanted to weren’t careful.

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Fact #10: We ended our study day with the sushi dinner above, Cold Stone, and more nostalgia as we watched the movie Ice Princess. I almost gagged at how bad the acting is in that movie, but I used to love it.

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shared apple pie a la cold stone with the bro

Fact #11: Daliza was our tour guide for the day on Friday as she drove us all around our county to show Rachel (and me) the pretty and hip places.

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Fact #12: See that bottom right photo? That’s Rachel and me. Freaky things happen in Sleepy Hollow… (Anyone know the legend of the headless horseman?)

Fact #13: I eat banana soft serve with Greek yogurt. And apparently with cinnamon and granola as well!

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Fact #14: Rachel and I walked outdoors all day on Saturday despite it being rainy.

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NY Public Library, High Line, and Chelsea Market

Fact #15: We decided that we could live in Chelsea Market. All the food, all the shops, all the time.

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Fact #16: Rachel had her first authentic New York bagel ever, and I have never even eaten one myself.

Fact #17: But I did have the creamiest, richest “Two Cookies and Cream” ice cream from Ronnybrook in Chelsea Market with both Oreos and Biscoff cookies. Wowza.

Fact #18: I had a salad at Bareburger. Not because I was opposed to a burger by any means but because I really wanted artichokes. REALLY WANTED THEM.

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and those sweet potato fries

Fact #19: Overnight oats are so clutch when you have a 5AM train to catch.

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stop smiling, Rachel, it’s too early

Fact #20: I saw Grand Central the emptiest I’ve ever seen it.

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Fact #21: The other people who were crazy enough to take a 5AM train into the city on a Sunday morning were the NYC Half Marathon runners. #whodoesthat 😉

Fact #22: My wallet is crying, but the adventures were worth it.

Fact #23: We didn’t eat a lot or anything. Ha.

Fact #24: Rachel and I walked a total of 35 miles, give or take, last week.

Fact #25: Rachel receives credit for a lot of the photos in this post!

Fact #26: This year, Boston has officially broken the city’s snowfall record with 108.5 inches of snow this winter! Now it all needs to go away.

Happy Monday, everyone! It pains me to say that I probably will not be posting very much this week. Schoolwork post-spring break is calling. Hope you all have a wonderful week though!

So tell me:

Three weird facts about your last week!

Have you ever eaten a NY bagel?

Have you ever watched or been pulled into a street show?