Burning, Sweating, Smiling

I genuinely wonder how many gallons of sweat have been excreted from my body in this past week.

Summer is in full force, which is 75% of the reason why it’s been so long since I’ve posted. The other 25% is school. Those numbers are definitely supposed to be switched, but alas, this weekend definitely involved more summer fun than schoolwork.

There has been a lot of burnin’, sweatin’, and smilin’ happening here!

Wednesday

Yes, I’m starting all the way from last Wednesday, but I promise these are just the highlights.

After a full day of class, Colby, my friend/classmate Elayne and I used our ClassPass trial on a TRAINx360 class at a place called Everybody Fights in Boston’s financial district.

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The gym looks pretty trendy and is packed with all kinds of equipment. Our energetic instructor took us through several stations, including four different boxing stations, air dyne bike, battle ropes, KB burpees, jump squats, rowing, med ball high knees, and suspension trainer pikes. We did 6 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds active rest at each station, and we were beat by the end of it.

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Oh, and the instructor ended it with a squat finisher that burned my quads.

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I freaking LOVED it though! The atmosphere, the group effort, the workout format, the movements. Highly recommend this gym if you’re in the Boston area!

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burning, sweating and smiling

All last week I noshed on my favorite chicken drumsticks with brown rice and some sort of vegetable.

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Thursday

The most exciting news from Thursday was seeing a turtle on the way to campus…

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…and using another one of my ClassPass trials on Happy Hour Yoga at BurnFit. This was both a relaxing and challenging class with some groovy tunes playing in the background.

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Friday

After classes, I headed to the gym and completed this workout:

5 rounds:

  • 500m row (2:18 pace)
  • 10 burpees

12 minute abs:

Then I met up with some friends at Le’s Vietnamese Restaurant for some bomb pho. Rachel and I shared a bowl of pork/shrimp/egg roll vermicelli and a large bowl of meatball pho. It was everything we needed.

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Fun fact: it has always been a rainy day when I’ve gone to Le’s. Pho weather is a thing.

Afterwards, we headed to Ben’s place to watch John Mulaney comedy on Netflix while eating ice cream right out of the carton. Casey, Lauren and I were sharing four different pints at once, and it was bliss.

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everyone give attention to Casey’s corgi sweatshirt

Casey bought the birthday cake flavor of Halo Top, which everyone raves about, and for good reason because it was so good!!

Saturday

The sun was out and burning bright. Perfect for kayaking (given that you have loads of sunscreen)!

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Photo compliments of my friend Nico

My Boston friends + Colby (honorary Boston friend now ūüôā ) and I headed to Cambridge to rent some kayaks and explore the city by water for a couple hours. ‘Twas glorious.

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Thank you x2 for capturing this, Nico!

Colby was my kayak buddy, but we made the mistake of putting her in the front. The stronger person is supposed to go in the back, so I think her mighty strength at the front of the boat (and my less mighty strength in the back) caused us to have some steering issues at the start, but we figured it out (sorta) by the end.

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So much fun!!

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Shoulder muscles and skin burning, definitely sweating, still smiling.

I didn’t have shorts to wear that day though, so I was wearing capris. This was the result.

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That’s not disappearing until 2018.

After kayaking, we were more than ready for nourishment, so we took our kayaking receipts to Za for 10% off pizza! Lauren and I split a portobello/roasted red pepper/roasted garlic/goat cheese pizza + garlic scape/tomato/feta pizza.

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Both were fantastic. The crust was perfectly doughy and crispy all at once.

For the rest of the day, I stayed home and got some schoolwork done. That time in the intense sun also wiped us all out.

Sunday

I woke up early-ish to meet Ben for a quick workout before BEACH DAY! We ran a little less than 2 miles in the very muggy heat and then did a mini circuit of tricep dips and split squats before we needed to down a million gallons of water.

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lol at the butt sweat, ew

Rachel kindly drove us to the beach because she’s an adult and has a car now. We were headed for one beach, but parking was full when we got there at around 11, so we went a few miles farther to Singing Beach, which worked out well!

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The sun was hot but the water was NOT. I was literally kneeling in it so I could ice my injured knee. I couldn’t even keep my feet in the water for more than 30 seconds.

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But Rachel is a cold-blooded fish apparently.

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I don’t get it.

I was just trying to read some functional anatomy while not getting a weird textbook tan over my legs or anything.

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We all packed our own sandwiches for lunch, and Rachel and I packed the same sandwich (except for the bread we used): pepperjack, turkey, arugula, bacon. I also had berry preserves and mustard on mine because I’m greedy for flavor.

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Speaking of greedy, Lauren and I just listened to Ariana Grande’s song “Greedy” for the first time this weekend and are obsessed with it. That KEY CHANGE after the bridge!!

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thanks for this photo, Austin!

After we frolicked at the beach all afternoon, we headed back home for showers and a quick turnaround to get to Mass at 6pm. Following Mass, we wanted fooooood. More importantly, we wanted to continue our ice cream Sunday tradition by going to J.P. Licks, so we planned around that. Yelp told me that Chilacates was cheap and delicious Mexican food, so we chose that for dinner.

I got three tacos that hit the spot. So much flavor!

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al pastor (pork and pineapple) // chicken tinga (spicy chipotle sauce) // papas con chorizo (potatoes and chorizo) 

We all scream for ice cream!

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I got a scoop of peanut butter cookies ‘n’ cream. Mmmmhmmmm.

The rest of our night involved The Game of Things, aka the greatest game to play with close friends/family. This photo of Ben and Austin laughing/crying sums up the night.

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Monday

I had planned on hiking and going to brunch with the gang, but my knee was hurting from my short run with Ben on Sunday (the same pain I felt after the Spartan Race…I think it’s IT band syndrome), so I decided to stay home and rest. My moves and grooves of the day was Blogilates’ Extreme Abs 3, which never fails to annihilate my core.

Studying, laundry, a trip to the library, getting more quarters for laundry and cooking also needed to be done! Lunch intermission was an avocado, arugula, bacon, egg, sriracha sandwich. ūüėÄ

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I made these spicy peanut chicken soba noodles for dinner, which I hadn’t made since Rachel’s birthday five months ago. These are THE BEST. I made so much of it, so I have leftovers for dayyyyyzzzz.

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Tuesday – Fourth of July!

God bless America!!! This day was so wonderful.

I started off with some banana pudding for breakfast, followed by some studying and a 16 minute workout.

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4 rounds, 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off:

  • tuck jump burpees
  • DB thrusters
  • skaters
  • dive bomber pushups
  • plank jack burpees
  • reverse lunge to front kick (one side at a time)

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burnin’, sweatin’, smilin’

I took a long walk to Rachel’s place for the festivities and picked up some groceries on the way. Rachel and I double teamed and cooked up some burgers before everyone arrived.

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Many chips with much dip, Lofthouse cookies (‚Üź forever have a place in my heart), apple pie, brownies, homemade chocolate chip banana bread a la mode…

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100% brought peanut butter just for the banana bread

#BoozeAndGrooves was also in full swing. Ben brought some Jell-O shots, and I choked down this red one, which tasted exactly like cough syrup. The blue one was a little better. Lauren also made lovely prosecco grapes!

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Alcohol doesn’t amaze me, but I appreciate fun and festive alcohol “snacks”(?).

After several hours of grazing, dancing, more grazing, and chatting, we cleaned up and headed out towards the river to get ready for the fireworks show. The fireworks weren’t until 10:30 pm, so we killed our time with some walking, playing “Contact” (‚Üź also a fun game!), and…

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cigars burnin’, all of us were sweatin’, but only some of us were smilin’

…smoking cigars (NOT cigarettes, Madre and Pop!). I learned that you do not inhale the smoke from cigars, but you’re supposed to swirl it in your mouth to taste it and then puff it out. “For conversations about philosophy.”

You can see that I was just utterly pleased with the experience. I probably wouldn’t do it again because it doesn’t taste great, I still don’t like smoke that close to my lungs, and I don’t love that I’m emitting smoke around others. BUT I’m glad I tried it once, and to my friends’ pleasure, I didn’t absolutely hate it.

Weather-wise, it was a perfect night to celebrate our nation.

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The fireworks were spectacular, but these people easily outdo them.

Wednesday

Back to reality. I had class all day and then went back to Everybody Fights with Elayne for our last ClassPass trial. This time we did the BAGSxBODY class, which involved a lot more punching of heavy bags. It was A BLAST. I need to box more!

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burnin’, sweatin’ A LOT, smilin’ 

I just housed more soba noodles, 1/3 of a pan of roasted brussels sprouts, a frozen banana with pb, and some cereal after that boxing class.

It’s Thursday already!?

So tell me:

Americans – What did you do for the Fourth of July?

Have you ever tried boxing?

What is your favorite group game to play?

Three fun things you did this past week!

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The Best Vacation Ever {Part 1}

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…I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to meet. To go over…EVERYTHING.

I couldn’t get it out of my head, I’m sorry. I’m done with that joke now.

But seriously, HELLO! I am no longer¬†cruising through the deep blue sea, but I’m happy to be back to a routine. My family and our close friends were on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas last week for a fantastic vacation. That ship is a city on water, guys. A freaking masterpiece.

Without further ado, here’s part one of three (maybe four?) recaps of just the highlights of¬†what I¬†deem¬†to have been¬†the best vacation ever. Grab some¬†popcorn if you so wish.

Friday, July 1st

Pop and I had a 9 pm flight that was delayed for three hours (guess that’s a lowlight, not a highlight).

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We killed a little bit of that time by walking through the parking lot with our luggages. This was actually Pop’s idea! #PopMovesAndGrooves

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Saturday, July 2nd

Madre and Ben picked us up at the Orlando airport at around 2 AM. I was half asleep and groggy, but Pop was basically sprinting out of the gate to find them. In my head:¬†“Pop, 2 AM is NOT¬†a time to have pep in your step.”

Breakfast at around 9:30.

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quick cook steel cut oats with peach, banana, and nuts

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sunny egg

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a piece of “banana bread” (a strange but satisfying texture)

3 rounds of this circuit workout with a 36# bar. That Florida humidity makes me feel like a soggy vegetable.

Lunch before heading to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park with Ben. He worked there last summer, so he got some free park pass perks, and I got to mooch off the benefits.

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There was a 1.5-hour thunderstorm safety closure, so Ben and I were sitting out in pouring rain in our bathing suits for a while, because we were wet anyway (we also forgot towels because we’re geniuses). But we still managed to ride all the slides once they reopened!

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Showered and dried myself with a single tank top.

Dinner at Crazy Buffet (pronounced cuh-RAZY, according to Ben) with good family friends! I ate one plate of real food, dessert second, and then another salad last. Needed to make sure I had room for dessert, ya know?

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Sunday, July 3rd

Early wake-up to drive to Fort Lauderdale for Mass before boarding the ship.

Once we met up with our family friends, we boarded and booked it straight for the lunch buffet. We were a little excited for the cruise food.

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The first of many. Lunches were usually all the veggies, some sort of curry with rice…

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…and a dessert that I really did NOT need to eat.

Our tiny stateroom was cozy, and our balcony overlooked the “Boardwalk” area of the ship. So cool.

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Of course, we had to explore this monster of a ship. I still don’t think I covered¬†the whole entire thing over the course of a week.

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Pop was walking on the track at this time, I think #PopMovesAndGrooves

Oh man, this is where I start feeling sad because I miss it.

We were served a three course meal for dinner every. single. night. It was decadent and so delicious. You would think that I would feel full and bloated during the trip, but nay! On the contrary (ew, okay I’ll stop talking like that), my stomach felt GREAT the whole vacation. And I don’t care about having a flat belly, but it was actually flatter than ever.

Know what that means?

  • I’m not lactose-intolerant (I had so much ice cream on the cruise).
  • My bloating/GI discomfort comes from stress and eating as quickly as I can during my busy day.

Will work on that. But back to this cruise food. Three courses for EACH PERSON (sometimes even four if we were feeling two appetizers, because it was all included¬†‚Üź dangerous). Night 1:

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eggplant artichoke puff pastry tart

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orange “mojo” sauce pork chop

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carrot cake!

We also shared a lot of our food with one another, just so we could taste all the delicious flavors. Classy gluttons, I say.

I don’t remember what else we did that night, but I’m sure it was a blast.

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p.s. when we walked through this “Royal Promenade” area, there was ~included~ pizza, sandwiches, water, coffee, tea, desserts, and other snacks all day #help

Monday, July 4th

Breakfasts at the “Windjammer Marketplace” consisted of oatmeal with some combo of eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, and/or yogurt with fruit.

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topped with peanut butter later (yes, I did bring my own jar of Jif Natural)

First port ‚ÄĒ Nassau, Bahamas.

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“what do we do with it?”

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mannequin’s eyebrows impressively on fleek

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view from the ship as we sailed away

We didn’t do too much in Nassau except some walking and a little bit of underwhelming beachin’. It was a beautiful day though, and the waters were so clear!

Back on the boat, we celebrated America with some free pre-lunch¬†flag¬†cake that greeted the masses in front of Windjammer’s doors (not tantalizing at all for hungry tourists waiting on line for a table).

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‘Twas delicious cake, I must say.

Vegetables for lunch, please!

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salad, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, turkey burger with mushrooms and caramelized onions

The fitness center on the ship was great. I think I was most excited about the kettlebells, which I used in my workout on Monday. There were also TRX’s, but the fitness center lady reprimanded me for using it without a certified TRX instructor.

I forget exactly what I did on Monday, but I know it involved kettlebell swings, pushups, sumo squats, Russian twists, jump lunges, and BOSU ball stuff.

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PSA: Stretch, por favor

Monday night was formal night! AKA the night Alison gets into something other than athletic clothes.

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Fun fact: We went on our first cruise ever with Christie and Monica (pictured above) and their parents 12 years ago. Naturally, we did a then and now photo.

Everyone nailed it, but¬†I’m WAY off.

Dinner that night was delicious, but not quite as good as the first night.

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one of my favorite appetizers: “Roman Vignolo Salad” with arugula, edamame, green beans, tomatoes, prosciutto, artichokes, and parmesan

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sole with a tomato caper sauce

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butter almond ice cream

I believe we saw an acrobatics show that night‚ÄĒ Royal Caribbean’s original “Blue Planet”. Very entertaining and impressive! Followed by a super late night comedy show, which made me laugh until my abs hurt.

Tuesday, July 5th

We were at sea all day, so we slept in before a sit-down breakfast to change it up a bit. We decided that we all liked the buffet more though (mostly because there were more options).

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smoked salmon and herb egg white omelette 

Ben, my uncle, and I gave the FlowRider a go later on. If you’ve never¬†seen a Royal Caribbean commercial, the FlowRider is essentially a surfing simulator on the ship. There are two ways you can do it‚ÄĒ boogie board on your stomach (easier) or surfboard on your feet (harder).

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I don’t know this girl, but this is what it looks like.

A few comments about the FlowRider:

  • It’s a lot harder than it looks.
  • 10-year-olds show me up.
  • Falling off doesn’t hurt, but being swooshed up to the top like a half-dead fish can be painful…

…and it did do some damage to my brother. Poor Ben¬†dislocated his shoulder on his surfboard run.

I’ll spare the image for privacy reasons, but long story short: The doctor on board popped it back in (I contemplated popping¬†it back in when he first told us about it, but…I’m not that¬†dumb). He was given a sling to wear for a while, he lost a little bit of function (guess who cut his food the rest of the trip? :D), but he’s okay, thank God.

After all the excitement, I went to eat a late lunch by myself at Windjammer.

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A few activities and maybe a nap led us to dinner.

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Ben and I shared the caprese salad + the arancini for appetizer

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pork tenderloin with provolone potatoes (*angels singing*) and vegetables

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favorite dessert of the trip: bread and butter pudding a la mode¬†‚ěĒ it was like a cross between creme¬†br√Ľl√©e and bread pudding

While Madre and Pop were at the “Love and Marriage Game Show” at night, Ben and I decorated the stateroom for the ‘rents anniversary the next day. Ben was the brain behind the beauty of the setup!

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When Madre and Pop came back late that night, they were so surprised and touched. Woohoo! Happy 25th to the lovely¬†couple ūüôā


Part 2 coming tomorrow! Holy toledo, this is quite an epic recap.

So tell me:

Have you ever been on a cruise?

Does your stomach feel better on vacation, even with more food?

What did you Americans do for Fourth of July?

Have you ever dislocated your shoulder?

What was the best thing you ate last week?

More content = more questions for you. Let’s chat, please; it’s been a while!

Fourth of July in Boston

Coming you today fresh out of one of the best weekends ever!

Fireworks were exploding for Fourth of July, and my heart was exploding with joy from being with people I love so much.

Here’s why this weekend was “one for the books,” in the words of Rachel.

-Overnight oats for the super early train ride into the city.

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-Smooth and safe bus rides to and from Boston.

-Lunch back at the ol’ Boston University.

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-Rachel finding me standing while eating this lunch (four hours on a bus = butt in pain). First words out of her mouth: “You are NOT standing right now.”

-Giving and receiving big hugs from my friends again.

-Praying with my friends. Having friends in faith is inspiration taken to a whole new level.

-A three hour walk around Boston with Rachel just because we had so much to talk about. Love that chick.

-Making pizza balls on the floor of Rachel’s apartment because… #collegestudentlife. The pizza balls were messy and uneven in size/shape, but they were delicious. Two girls, one package of pizza dough, God knows how much cheese, all gone.

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-Talking with my friends into the wee hours of the morning.

-Being woken up by sunshine and birds (not ideal at 7 AM, but still a beautiful thing).

-Banana oatmeal with pb made in my friends’ apartment¬†for breakfast.

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looks like a smaller portion than it actually was, mostly because my spoonful of peanut butter was HUGE

-Spending an absolutely gorgeous day at the beach with some of my favorite people.

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-Climbing rocks and playing frisbee on the beach.

-Eating a sandwich on the beach (it’s true, Jen‚ÄĒ tastes better on the beach!).

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-TORI KELLY CONCERT (with Jeff Leblanc as the opener). She sounds even better live. We got on line kinda late after getting back from the beach, so we could only get a spot in the back (it was general admission).

There was a guy who was at least 6 feet tall right in front me at first, but he realized I was strugglin’ behind him, so he courteously¬†asked if I wanted to switch spots with him. Forever grateful for little acts of kindness like that! Also, the venue is pretty small, so she still seemed so close.

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-Not worrying about specific eating times/what exactly/how much I’m eating, and just going with the flow. I snacked my way through dinner between the beach and the concert. Then I¬†had a second dinner with Ben and Rachel after the concert at 11 PM.

-A fabulous Fourth of July: sleeping in, brunch (I ate huevos rancheros for the first time‚ÄĒ amazing), watching Black Hawk Down (very violent, cried a bit), a¬†cute¬†apartment dinner, ice cream (PB cookies and cream from J.P. Licks,¬†oh my goodness), and fireworks over the Charles River.

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aptmt dinner collage

-Cheesy bread to finish off the day.

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-Saying goodbye to my friends. WAIT, I’m not being mean. Of course it broke my heart, but my sadness in saying goodbye reminded me that it is a wonderful gift from God to¬†have¬†such incredible friends¬†who I seriously trust with my life.

-Eating this classic lunch upon arriving back home. Avocado toast with sunny eggs and sriracha + leaves salad.

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-Fun things in the mail: new books and snail mail from my friend Emma! I ‚ô• pen pals.

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-USA Women’s Soccer Team winning the World Cup!

-My parents’ anniversary today! My bro and I are blessed to have parents who display such love and sacrifice for one another and for their children.

-Jury duty today. Not my activity of choice, but hey, might as well continue the proud-to-be-American theme, right?

Wishing you all an awesome Monday! Eat something doughy and cheesy.

So tell me:

American friends, what did you do for the Fourth?

Non-Americans, what did you do this weekend?

Have you ever been summoned for jury duty?

Fascinating Friday Links #39

Happy Fourth of July!

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[source]

Eat your corn on the cob!

I hope all my fellow Americans have a lovely, festive Independence Day today! My town had a less-than-ideal start to our festivities when our fireworks celebration got rained out big time.

Instead of watching fireworks, I stayed under the awning of my house to watch the nasty (but super cool) thunderstorm. I don’t know about you all, but I absolutely¬†love¬†thunderstorms!¬†Did you know I used to want to be a meteorologist? Wait, what if I was on the Today Show?! Non-mid-life crisis happening right now??

Anyway…if you’re not enjoying grilled foods, ice cream, and fireworks, you can check out this week’s fascinating Friday links!

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[You can still indulge without overwhelming yourself] Boxed Lunch, Or You Can’t Have It All via Kath Eats

[All about that little demon we call sugar] Sugar Simplified via The Real Life RD

[Eating for a purpose‚ÄĒ to live life!] Becoming an Intuitive Eater via Julianna Bananna

[Walking is so underrated!] Walking Workouts via Peanut Butter Fingers

[Move and groove] Do Anywhere Plyometric Workout via Cotter Crunch + Wicked Bodyweight WOD via The Blonde Ponytail + 12 Minute Stability Ball Workout via Purely Twins + Summer Shape Up Week 3 Workout via Fitnessista

[Awesome free workout program!] Glute Camp via Your Trainer Paige

Food for Thought

[Amen] Stupid Weight Loss Tips via Snack Therapy

[Important] 25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[Love this lady] Why I Won’t Be Working For a Bikini Body This Summer via Running With Spoons

[She’s awesome] I Have Cellulite‚ÄĒ So What? via Your Trainer Paige

[Stop criticizing and use her example to LEARN] Miley Can’t Hear You‚ÄĒ But We Can via Chastity Project

Food for Belly

[PLEASE] Caramelized Peach Caprese with Smoked Sea Salt via How Sweet It Is

[So, so cute] Gooey Whole Grain Cinnamon Rolls in Orange Cups via Yeah…Imma Eat That

[Love how fresh this looks] Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad via Pinch of Yum

[Now THAT’S a sandwich!!!] Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Melts with Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Mayo via Iowa Girl Eats

[Heavenly] Banana Bread Waffles with Honey Caramelized Bananas via Chocolate and Carrots

Miscellaneous Fun

[Hilarious] Need a Pick Me Up? via Peanut Butter Lover

[Mind-blowing] 50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World via Twisted Sifter

[If you haven’t seen Always’ new commercial #likeagirl‚Ķwatch it!] #LikeAGirl Commercial via YouTube

[The pie looks fantastic, but there’s a paperclip trick for pitting cherries?!] Sweet Cherry Pie via Flourishing Foodie

[YES, DAVS! Informative video for bloggers!] 4 Reasons to Start Building Your Email Subscribers Today via The Healthy Maven

[So great] 11 GIFs That Prove Dads Are Superheroes via BuzzFeed

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

So tell me:

What are you 4th of July plans?

I’m going to Michael’s graduation/4th of July/his mother’s birthday party!

 

What are you non-Americans doing this weekend?