We Finished the Spartan Sprint Race!

This weekend was all kinds of wonderful!

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for one, Friday started with overnight oats in an almond butter jar — always the best

And I hope you all share the same sentiment. Shoutout and prayers for your fathers and all fathers, alive and gone. Super special shoutout to Pop! Much love to my hero.

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I think this is from Father’s Day last year!

Friday

I posted this “half a week in the life” vlog in the morning! Then I worked all day in the lab, with a nice outdoor lunch break in there. Lunch was a hodgepodge of snacky foods because my fridge stockpile is depleting.

carrots and hummus, three hard boiled eggs with sriracha, Mary’s Gone Crackers, grapes

Coming home from work was just a wee bit rainy…

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All I needed to do was shampoo and rinse.

Soon after coming home, I quickly ate leftover roasted brussels sprouts straight from the fridge before a FaceTime date with one of my best friends, Emma. She’s one of those people who you can’t help but love and admire — truly a sweet and holy soul.

I wanted something sweet but also somewhat nutritious afterwards, so Amanda’s banana bread mug cake with extra peanut butter and lots of Greek yogurt came to the rescue.

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Saturday

On our last day before the Spartan Race, Ben and I did a short and simple 16 minute workout with some foam rolling in the morning.

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Next on the agenda for me was spiritual direction, which was more beautiful than I expected it to be, as it always is. I went to Mass directly after, and then walked to The Clayroom for a date with my girl Colby, who’s in Boston for the summer!! I ate a ham and cheese sandwich + grapes on the way there.

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I ♥︎ sandwiches – delicious, filling, portable, versatile

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The Clayroom is a pottery painting studio that Colby found after we decided to do an indoor activity given the rainy forecast on Saturday (it never even rained). We loved it!

First you choose your own piece of pottery (varied prices depending on the piece, plus a studio fee).

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And then you paint it as you please, pay for everything, leave your piece there, and pick it up a few days later after they’ve fired it in the kiln!

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Colby chose a big plate to paint for her dad for Father’s Day. Apparently he likes to grill, so she made him a very impressive “King of the Grill” plate. How sweet!

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I chose a pasta bowl (functional for the many things I eat in bowls) that I decorated with some doodles on the outside and something that might look familiar on the inside…

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The colors will be more vibrant once they’re fired in the kiln. We’re going to pick them up later this week, so I’ll show you our final products after that!

It was great catching up with Colby and having some good ol’ arts and crafts time with her. 🙂

At night, Casey, Ben and I had a slumber party so that Ben and I could carb up and also be ready to leave early in the morning the next day.

Ben made us a delicious dinner of cacio e pepe, cured meats, caprese, and toasted focaccino bread.

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I LOVE CARBS.

No slumber party is complete without braiding hair.

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We were planning on turning it in early, but we didn’t get to sleep until around 11, with a 5:15 AM wakeup just around the bend.

Sunday

I was on breakfast duty in the morning, so I brought all my favorites for a nice pre-race meal.

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Two slices of pb banana bread for all.

Casey wished us luck, and then Ben and I departed for Treasure Valley Scout Reservation, which was a little over an hour away. We were both feelin’ excited and nervous on the way! I said I would have nervous poops, but Ben thought I said “foops,” so now we’re dubbing nervous poops “foops.”

I’ve talked about bowel movements a lot here recently, I’m sorry.

When we arrived, there were already racers from earlier heats trekking through the obstacles, and the festival portion was bumpin’.

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The weather was pretty perfect for a race — overcast, not too hot, not too cold. Maybe just a little muggy, but not too bad.

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We warmed up, made sure we were just hydrated enough, and then lined up in the corrals for our 10 AM start time.

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so happy and clean before the race

Ben: “Let’s do a serious face.”

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Me: “This is as serious as I’m gonna get because I can’t stop smiling.”

Ben: “Oh c’monnnn!”

Me: “Fine.”

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The thing to shout at a Spartan Race is “AROO!” so the start line announcer rallied us up to chant “I AM A SPARTAN” and “AROO AROO AROO” several times before he yelled “GOOOOO!”

Guys, this race was so much fun!! The volunteers and other racers were enthusiastic and encouraging, the trails and obstacles were challenging yet fun, and there were just enough water stations.

The course was 5.1 miles, filled with:

  • muddy and rocky trails through the woods
  • GIANT hills
  • deep and sticky mud pits + giant hills up which you had to carry sandbags and buckets of rocks
  • barbed wire crawl
  • short and tall walls to climb over
  • an inverted wall
  • a traverse wall
  • a tire flip
  • a couple sets of monkey bars
  • a spear throw
  • a sandbag pulley
  • a rope climb
  • muddy water pits
  • a line of burning rocks to jump over at the finish!

For every obstacle you fail, you have a 30 burpee penalty. #yikes. I only had to do 90, which I’m proud of, considering I honestly thought I would have to do 300.

I was most concerned about the running because of my hips, but running through the woods was slow enough, and the damp soil helped absorb a lot of impact, so my hips felt great! What didn’t feel great were the uneven paths that torqued my right knee quite a bit, but I think I just need to ice and nurse it a bit this next week.

My favorite obstacles were actually the big hills, traverse wall, and the one set of monkey bars that I surprised myself by completing. The spear throw was my least favorite because I’m bitter about having very little hand-eye coordination.

The rope climb was another {bittersweet} favorite. I hadn’t climbed a rope since elementary school, I think. In the race, I used way too much arm strength since I didn’t know how to do the J-hook with my feet properly. I was *this* close to ringing the bell at the top, but my arms were absolutely fried (I was on that rope for a good two minutes), so I just started slipping and rope-burned my way down in failure. Womp womp.

It was sweet though, because the rope climb is one of the last obstacles on the course, so a bunch of people were watching and cheering me on from the sidelines. I mean, it was humbling to disappoint all of them when I didn’t make it, but it was still awesome to have people cheering for me.

Two hours and two minutes later, Ben and I crossed the finish line, muddy, sweaty, but full of joy! We downed water, a banana, and a Clif bar while beaming at the fact that WE DID IT and neither of us died/needed hospital assistance.

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In order, my goals for this race were to:

  1. glorify God
  2. have fun
  3. not injure myself seriously
  4. finish the race
  5. finish the race in good time

And I think Ben and I accomplished these goals, praise God!

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We got some swag upon finishing, including a nice medal, a T-shirt, some free food samples, and a beer. We hosed ourselves down, but Lord knows we would need a real shower later. Some of that mud was definitely commingled with some animal poop.

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Me: “I’m still really thirsty, which makes me want to drink this beer really quickly, but maybe I shouldn’t do that.”

I am so grateful that I got to run the Spartan Sprint safely and happily with one of my best buds. What a great experience!

But the Spartan Race was the second best thing of the weekend. Mass that evening was the best thing.

After Mass, a bunch of us went over to our friend Austin’s place for dinner since he had a bunch of leftovers from a party. Free food is better than gold for us college students.

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delicious chicken drumsticks + sausage and peppers

Ben and I had been half-joking about ordering the Vermonster (a 20-scoop ice cream sundae) at Ben & Jerry’s with a bunch of friends after our Spartan Race, but we decided that our stomachs would much prefer a more moderate amount of ice cream (still recovering from Scooper Bowl, TBH).

Back to White Mountain Creamery then!

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I went here on Memorial Day with Casey and Ben, but I needed to come back with Rachel since the “Cookie Monster” (cookies and cream with cookie dough throughout) was on our food bucket list. IMG_9130

This stuff was dreeeeamy. As was the scoop of blueberry white chocolate underneath.

I went to bed last night feeling quite tired and achy, but my heart was so full.

Monday

I woke up later than usual today because a) SLEEP; b) I took the bus instead of walking because my knee is hurting, but I was still rushing to get out of the house. Breakfast was leftover green pancakes with PB&J, eaten on the way to the bus stop.

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I’m working until around 6 today, and then I desperately need to go grocery shopping!

Hope you all have a kick-butt Monday! AROOOOOO! (← I actually find saying that very dog-like.)

So tell me:

Have you ever run an obstacle course race?

Have you ever painted pottery?

One delicious thing you ate and one fun thing you did this weekend!

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Marathon Monday 2017

PJ: “Marathon Monday is the most American day of the year.”

Me: “Even more so than Fourth of July?”

PJ: “Definitely.”

After this year, I can actually believe him. Marathon Monday, aka Patriot’s Day (technically, vice versa) was yesterday, and it was as awe-inspiring, patriotic, and fun as ever!

I’m sure many of you know that the Boston Marathon is a pretty huge deal, and we students at Boston University have the privilege of getting the day off classes watching the participants charge right through our campus.

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LOTS of police security

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If you missed coverage of it, here are 12 must-see things moments from the marathon. My friends and I got to see Jose Luis Sanchez (a marine who lost his leg and ran the race with a prosthetic leg while holding a LARGE American flag) run to the finish. It was incredible. Everyone who participated is incredible.

Marathon Monday is also a notorious drinking day for the young, 21+ adults of Boston, but that’s much less important.

My day started early with more peanut butter, banana, strawberry overnight oats (it’s good to be back).

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Then I headed to my friend Lauren’s place to watch them celebrate Marathon Monday the way young adults do 🙂

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applause for those leggings, please

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After a couple hours of hangin’ out, I headed back to my apartment to study for an hour and nap, because I have been the worst at letting myself sleep at night lately.

I woke up feeling refreshed and then scarfed down a quick lunch before meeting back up with the crew on their way to see our friend/Rachel’s boyfriend, Austin, at the finish line!

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As always, we had a grand ol’ time cheering on all the runners/cyclists. It’s not a Marathon Monday without losing your voice a little bit. But we were truly the loudest kids on the block when we saw Austin coming!

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Congrats, Austin!! He got pretty badly dehydrated but still finished in 3:45:15. What a champ.

The rest of us were just like, “Our feet hurt from standing. Let’s go eat.”

Afterwards, I went back home to study a little bit more and do a quick workout in the apartment:

4 rounds for time:

  • 10 pushup burpees
  • 20 jump lunges
  • 15 pushups
  • 30 mountain climbers each leg
  • 40 air squat to side leg lifts

It took just under 19 minutes to complete. That’s about the extent of my stamina right there.

Then I rushed out to meet PJ for dinner at Saloniki Greek in Fenway!

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It’s kinda like a Greek version of Chipotle or Subway, except a little more gourmet. I got “The George”, which had spicy Colorado lamb meatballs, charred eggplant spread, zesty garlic yogurt, secret sauce, greens, tomato, cucumber, Greek fries, and I added some broken olive tapenade, all in a homemade pita.

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It was giant and so delicious. I [slowly but surely, and very messily] finished every last bite. Thank you again for treating, PJ!

Of course, we had to end with dessert, so we went to Cafe 472 for frozen yogurt. I got the apple pie flavor with granola on top. This isn’t like other froyo, guys. This is more like a massive soft-serve-blizzard-type deal.

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I also finished every last bite of that. Look at this sunset we got to witness while we ate!

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Goodness gracious, I love you, Boston.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

So tell me:

Did you follow the marathon at all? What were your favorite parts if you did?

Best thing you ate yesterday! That pita for sure.

Good News, Bad News

What a week!

As the title suggests, things have been an ever-exciting cocktail of highs and lows. Life is a rickety wooden roller coaster, but fortunately, those are my favorite kinds of rides. Also, there is more good news than bad news!

Good News – Gross anatomy exams went so well last week! I am grateful for intelligent and motivating classmates/friends who helped me through that intense study period.

Good News – The men at the Catholic Center put on an incredible “Women’s Appreciation Night” last Thursday, complete with real plates and silverware, a three course meal, and SWING DANCING. Chivalry is not dead!

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look how dressed up they are!

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that bacon-wrapped chicken was bomb

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shoutout to Evan and Veronica for giving the swing dance lesson (and to all the guys for actually dancing with us – I tried hard to not be the leader 😀 )

Are we queens or what!?

Bad News – Megan and I have found SIX cockroaches in our apartment in the past two weeks. The first one was not cool, the second one was a problem, and the next four have been borderline traumatizing.

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And she really did leave a singular rain boot for me in the kitchen.

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As well as the delicious corn bread, which made matters slightly better.

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We finally just called Emergency Facilities yesterday, so they’re coming to fumigate the place today.

We’re clean people, we promise! We also tried spraying the place ourselves, but apparently, using bug killer spray on the perimeter of the floors just makes the roaches crawl on the walls and on top of the refrigerator (!!!????!?@#$!@#%!).

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How I currently walk around the apartment more often than not. Although, squishing the roaches is potentially worse, because it might attract more?? Whatever the case, Megan and I take at least 20 minutes to recover from each huge roach we encounter.

Me to Rachel:

Good News – We have a warm bed, food, and shelter. There are worse things that could be happening.

Bad News – Speaking of housing though, my roommates for next year and I are scrambling with apartment searching/landlord issues. GAH adulting is hard.

Good News – I have been drinking and eating delicious mango things.

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champagne mangos that go down like buttahhhh

Bad News – Last night I had one of those “oh crap I have so much work to do these next few weeks” moments. Naturally, I started writing this blog post in the midst of it all.

Good News – On Saturday, my friend Rebecca and I attended a free trial class at CrossFit Fenway! It was a pretty basic class, understandably, but I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the Crossfit “box”, and our instructor was very knowledgable and motivating.

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After going through the warmup + basic movements, our short WOD (workout of the day) was:

90 second max calorie row

1 min. rest

8 min. AMRAP:

  • 12 squats
  • 9 abmat situps
  • 6 ring rows

Nothing fancy, but it was fun to do it with a group. Other people at the gym were doing Open Workout 17.5 and I was wishing I could participate! Thrusters and double unders are two movements I can actually do.

Bad News – I think it would be fun to join CrossFit box, but it is expensiveeee and your girl can’t afford that right now. Also, our Fitness and Recreation center on campus is fantastic already.

Good News – I had my first workout/Bible study this past Sunday, and it was great! Four girls are in the group, and I take them through a 30-45 min. workout + a 30-45 min. Bible study based on Theology of the Body (trying to tie together that body-soul idea ya know). I’m really excited for it! The girls killed this workout I put together:

4 rounds (10 sec rest/30 sec work)

  • burpees
  • squats OR squats with overhead press
  • plank OR spiderman plank
  • side jump lunges
  • pushup to T OR plank to T
  • high knees

And then we had a good discussion about body image!

Bad News – It’s rainy all week.

Good News – I finally got to watch Inside Out, and I LOVE IT.

Bad News – I didn’t actually get to finish Inside Out, sooooo now I’m at a cliffhanger and I need to find another time to watch the rest.

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[source]

Good News – I watched all of Beauty and the Beast in theaters with Rachel on Friday, and it. was. magical. Wonderful animation and music, and Emma Watson is gorgeous. Highly recommend! (p.s. Disney is making a live-action Mulan movie coming out November 2018!!!)

Bad News – Eh, I’m done complaining. No more bad news.

Good News – I made and ate enchiladas for the first time ever last night. I bought a can of Hatch enchilada sauce from Thrive a while ago and finally put it to use with this recipe. They ROCK and I can’t wait to eat the rest of them this week!

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I hope you all have a great Tuesday! Laugh about the little problems and have faith that it will all be okay.

So tell me:

One piece of good news (you can share a bad one too if you want, but at least one good one!) 🙂

Have you ever had a pest problem?

Have you ever eaten enchiladas before?

 

Big Kids in the Big City

I just finished one of the best smoothie bowls I’ve ever made!

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How I made it: Last night I mixed together 1/3 c. milk, 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. [dry] quick cooking steel cut oats, 1 tbsp. chia seeds in a bowl. I also sliced and froze a whole ripe banana and half a mango. This morning I added to a blender another 1/2 c. milk, the oat mixture, a lot of mixed greens, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of honey, and the frozen fruit. Then I blended ’til the cows came home (probably also ’til I woke up Madre, sorry :/ ).

This was the thickest and coldest smoothie ever, thanks to the overnight chia mixture + the frozen fruit. Topped with sunflower seeds, Honey Bunches of Oats, and sweetened shredded coconut.

All I need is a tropical beach.

Other fun eats from this week at home:

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quick cook steel cut oats (that 1/4 c. serving size is diddly squat) with butter-caramelized banana slices + Greek yogurt with the rest of the caramelized banana, chia seeds, cheerios, and sunflower seeds

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half of one of my lunches: salmon and hummus on top of the last of the spinach in the container (fewer dishes FTW)

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crockpot split soup – one of my all time faves

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overnight oats (made with the quick cook steel cut oats again, because that’s all we have at home), topped with sunflower seeds + Honey Bunches of Oats

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leftover split pea soup + salad with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I’ve also been eating copious amounts of Boom Chicka Pop’s kettle corn, because once you start you can’t stop.

On Wednesday I had the privilege of hanging out with some of my beautiful friends from Boston University in NYC! Casey, Connor, Louis, Adrienne, and Fiona ♥︎

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We met up in Times Square and walked almost 4 miles down to The World Trade Center from there. We lucked out with some gorgeous weather!

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I also lucked out when this famous bagel place was on the way.

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It’s called Best Bagel and Coffee, which is the most gimmicky name ever, but over 1,000 people on Yelp loved it, so I went. In Yelp I trust.

I went for bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat everything bagel.

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Indeed, this was whole and everything.

Confession: This was my first NY bagel in my entire life. Like, I’ve eaten bagels in the state of New York, but I’ve never had a quality NY bagel until this day. I’ve only lived here for 12 years. I’m a slow person in many regards.

My bagel sandwich was absolutely delicious and great walking fuel while the rest of my friends built up a “hangry” appetite for lunch by the time we arrived at the World Trade Center. It’s so interesting being the only nourished one in the group. You just watch everyone else get angry and/or delirious.

After they were all fed at a gastropub called Suspenders, we walked around to the 9/11 Memorial.

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Connor is from Maine, so the big city was a bit too overwhelming for him.

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sees grass. lays down.

And since I’m queen of navigation when it comes to food places, I brought my pals to Rice to Riches (the most vulgar but amazing rice pudding place you will ever enter)…

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…and then Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (it was featured on Food Network, so you know it’s legit).

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Holla for International Women’s Day!

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A delightful amount of food, a crap ton of walking, and countless laughs with some of my favorite people (I kind of hate myself for the cheesiness of that last one…but it’s true).

When I got home, my body wasn’t sore and had a lot of energy for the first time this whole week, so I did a quick 16 minute workout in the basement (30 seconds work/10 seconds rest/4 rounds):

Yesterday started with that smoothie up there + a manicure and pedicure with Madre early in the morning, because I had to take a train right back into the city for lunch with Pop, my brother, and Christine from Boutiquefull (also my good friend from BU)! Christine met my brother and dad in NYC, since they all work down there, so Pop asked to take us out to lunch one day.

I wouldn’t usually take a 40 minute train + 20 minute subway ride just to eat lunch in NYC, but I’d do it for these folks 🙂

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We went to Harry’s Italian, and let me just say, thank God for complimentary focaccia bread.

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Also for giant meatball subs, one of my favorite meals on the planet.

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It was so fun catching up with Christine and hanging out with Pop and bro Ben!

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After lunch, I headed uptown to meet with a couple of the Sisters of Life. I signed up to be a co-worker for them, which is essentially a volunteer to help women in crisis pregnancies (with resources, babysitting, material donations, praying, just being a friend, etc.), so we just chatted about that and all about life (duh).

All the Sisters of Life are just pure JOY. Ugh. Love ’em.

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stopped into this church as I was speed walking to catch my train back home

Last night we went to flavor town (as Guy Fieri would say) for dinner. In other words, I roasted/grilled a bunch of veggies, Madre made salmon and rice, and we dug in.

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grilled eggplant with s+p

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Moroccan roasted carrots (olive oil, salt, pepper, Moroccan spice, brown sugar)

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts!!!

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the crispy leaves are the best, and I pretty much ate all of them straight out of the oven

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homemade roasted bell peppers for the first time ever

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Madre’s perfectly cooked teriyaki salmon

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altogether now

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Madre bought apple strudels, so I ate one a la mode of course

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Fancy, eh? The occasion was our friend Brother Sam visiting for the night!

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‘Twas a lovely evening of food, fellowship, and watching embarrassing home videos with the guest.

I’ll catch ya back in Boston! I need to buckle down and study, because I spent 75% of this spring break reading blogs (#noragrets).

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

So tell me:

Do you like to sip or eat your smoothies? Eating them out of a bowl with a spoon is the superior way, but your opinion is still welcome.

Have you ever eaten a real New York bagel?

One fun thing you did this week!

The Most Low Key New Year’s Eve

Happy 2017!!! That’s such a weird year number, but I can’t wait to see what it brings.

Saturday started with a fun stair workout to mix things up:

10-8-6-4-2 sets of stairs with two 5# dumbbells. This circuit in between each set:

I like this one a lot! After stretching and showering, I helped Madre prepare lunch for some family friends who I hadn’t seen since I was in diapers (so basically meeting them for the first time!). I made the salmon by baking it with a marinade of garlic salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and dried dill. It was one of the best salmons I’ve ever cooked!

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Madre did most of the cooking though. She made sautéed vegetables, brown rice, Chinese sausage, pork ribs, and pasta with meat sauce (“for the kids”). As always, everything was fantastic! Madre is amazing.

We ended the meal with her fried bananas, clementines, and some mint chip ice cream that was sitting in our freezer. We defy all common food combinations.

Once our house guests departed, we headed to vigil Mass. After that, I felt a wall of exhaustion hit me — the kind where I don’t want anyone to talk to me, because it takes too much energy to respond (or at least respond without sounding really grumpy). So I napped!

Soon after I woke up, we left for our 8pm dinner reservation at Seasons 52, a restaurant I had visited once before and wanted to return to while we were in Florida. They serve up a lot of delicious seasonal dishes that are sophisticated but not intimidating, healthy enough but not obnoxiously healthy.

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We all shared a braised short rib flatbread and blistered shishito peppers to start, which were both super tasty.

For me entree I ordered the caramelized sea scallops with leek and butternut squash risotto, broccolini, and lemon butter. I LOVE scallops and these were great!

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We like to share bites of all our dishes, so I had a bite of Madre’s roasted pork tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes, Ben’s seafood paella, and Pop’s lamb shank. All got a big thumbs up!

Our last dessert of 2016 was a trio of the famous Seasons 52 “delights” — classic desserts in mini glasses. I got the pecan pie, Madre got the chocolate peanut butter torte (this was my favorite!), and Ben got the raspberry cannoli.

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With full and happy bellies, I drove us home for the New Year’s countdown. There were fireworks going off from every direction (I think Disney was setting off a show every hour), so we didn’t even have to go anywhere to experience the celebration. Good thing, because my whole family was in bed before midnight, haha.

I spent the first hours of 2017 FaceTiming Rachel! It was cozy and fun 🙂

On the first day of 2017, I spent the whole day chillin’ at home. I…

  • Slept in. I feel like my sleep deficit is finally catching up with me.
  • Moved and grooved. I stretched (oh so sore from Saturday’s workout), tried to learn a dance on Youtube (lol), had a dance party by myself, and did Colby’s first workout of her 10 day holiday workout challenge!
  • Blogged (2016 recap here!)
  • Caught up with a couple friends
  • Listened to a great podcast
  • Caught up on other people’s blogs
  • Made breakfast for dinner

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open faced egg, Canadian bacon, and cheese sandwich + sautéed spinach

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more bread for dessert — toast with butter, honey, and cinnamon (tastes like a cinnamon roll!)

I’m off to San Antonio tomorrow for SEEK, a Catholic college students’ conference, and I’m pumped!!

I also just want to say thank you for being you. For your support this past year, your kind words, your prayers, and your existence. Much love to you ♥︎

So tell me:

How did you spend NYE and the first day of the year?