Shimmying in Charlotte + Recent Eats

On top of my titles as selfie queen, peanut butter lover, and daughter of God, add saxophone enthusiast.

Not because I can play the saxophone by any stretch of the imagination, but because I went to the MOST FUN jazz sax concert in Charlotte, NC this weekend with my dear friend Lauren and her awesome parents.

Going to NC for 24 hours for a saxophone concert is one of the most random things I’ve ever done, but that’s what I love about the whole thing. There’s a saxophonist named Gerald Albright who Lauren and I talk about all the time, even though we only really knew one of his songs (“Slam Dunk” – highly recommend if you want a good time).

IMG_9770

our “Ger bear”

Lauren’s parents had an extra ticket and very generously invited me down to hang out with them and watch the concert. And BOY did we have a blast!

IMG_9763

Gerald was ridiculously amazing, even more so than I was expecting. The other saxophone star above was Kirk Whalum, who solo’d in Whitney Houston’s song, “I Will Always Love You” (casual..maybe you’ve heard it) and played for her for almost ten years. WILD.

There was also some dancing and soul trains involved during the concert, and we were all loving it. Even if Lauren and I were likely the only ones under the age of 35 there. We shimmied our way through the concert (and the whole weekend, honestly).

IMG_1438

The best part of the weekend was just spending time with Lauren and her parents. They are the most beautiful family. They also know to take a couple Boston girls to Chick-Fil-A immediately upon arrival in NC.

IMG_9750

my first Chick-Fil-A sandwich ever

A milestone, you could say. It was perfect.

Lauren’s mom also brewed some delicious iced tea at home that we sipped as we chatted in their living room. I rather enjoy the simple things in life.

Before the concert on Saturday night, we went to dinner at The King’s Kitchen, which I would describe as an upscale Southern restaurant. The food was utterly delicious, AND the proceeds go towards feeding the hungry and towards life skills development programs.

I got the pot roast, which came with three sides and either corn bread or a biscuit. I went with mac and cheese, green beans, collards, and a biscuit (you know I love corn bread, but when the waiter suggests the biscuit, you go for the biscuit – a good move).

IMG_9754

I finished e v e r y t h i n g.

The show was about three hours long, so afterwards, we made one last pit stop at Amelie’s French Bakery for near-midnight dessert. We split a lavender lemon cake, chocolate ganache cake, vanilla eclair, and raspberry lemon tart between the four of us.

IMG_9774

I think the raspberry lemon tart got the best vote all around!

On Sunday morning, I made them avocado egg toast because it is a) a joy for me to cook breakfast for people; b) necessary for every person to try avocado egg toast. I had peanut butter honey toast because they bought natural peanut butter for me *happy crying eyes*.

After breakfast, we headed to Mass and then had a light lunch at Chopt, ” the creative salad company.”

IMG_9775

sweet corn quinoa salad + turmeric ginger iced tea

Ugh, so fresh and delicious.

I already miss Lauren and her parents!! Thank you all so much again for your hospitality, generosity and love ♥︎ It was such a fun weekend.

IMG_9767

Also, I love Charlotte! I will be returning one day 🙂


Lastly, here are some recent eats and scenes that I haven’t shared yet from the past week!

My friends and I have still been using up our Groupon classes at The Ring. I will be so sad when it’s over. I LOVE BOXING.

IMG_9660

I cooked fava beans for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. They remind me of edamame!

IMG_9665

Overnight oats forever and ever. This one was with blackberries – a fine addition!

IMG_9636

My girl Elayne invited me to go to spin class with her at the HandleBar a couple weeks ago (I’m so behind with this recap), and as always with spin, the class kicked my butt! But the instructor was awesome and so fun.

IMG_9674IMG_9676

Two Fridays ago, my friends Justin and Kevin and I went to eat at Pho Countryside as our pre-exam studying treat. It keeps us going.

IMG_9677

It was everything I needed.

IMG_9678

We followed that up with some frozen yogurt at Cafe 472 (with Elayne!).

IMG_9679

Kevin and I shared apple pie flavor with granola, but I am convinced they actually made us pineapple flavor. It was great regardless.

IMG_9684

Some more of my beloved Asian friends invited me to join them for Kimbap on a different day. It’s basically like extra large sushi rolls with lots of yum stuff like bulgogi meat, seasoned veggies, egg, and spam if ya fancy. It was so tasty. I have such generous people in my life, my goodness!!

IMG_9687

Lots of peanut butter Puffins as a night snack these days.

IMG_9663

Overnight oatmeal smoothie bowls are my go-to weekend breakfast this summer.

IMG_9686

I think I followed up that smoothie with these scrambled eggs shortly after. Just cuz I was extra hungry. I forget how delicious simple scrambled eggs with ketchup is!

IMG_9692

I had whole wheat three cheese tortellini with sun-dried tomato pesto for a couple nights. This night I decided to put the leftovers over some greens.

IMG_9693

I’ve still been eating a lot of sandwiches for lunch just about every day!

IMG_9748

So I was at Target one day and needed to buy more bread for my sandwich lifestyle. I usually get the Harvest Wheat loaf for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, so I tried to find an equivalent at Target.

IMG_9694

This one looked fine enough. When I got home, I decided to look at the ingredients (since the TJ’s one has a short and sweet list and I wanted to compare). I found…

IMG_9695

My first instinct was, “Aw man. I wish I could return this. HFCS is gross.” But then I thought, “Will I die? No. This is food. This is fine. It is bread. I will enjoy this bread and be grateful for it.” Do I want to buy this bread every week? Nah. But my life will not be a spiraling pit of doom if I have this bread for lunch every day for a couple weeks.

*steps off soapbox*

Last Sunday we went to Toscanini’s for ice cream Sunday! This is my favorite ice cream place in Boston. Listen to these flavors: thin mint (amazing) + matcha cookies ‘n’ cream cheesecake (yes, that’s one flavor and yes, it was delicious).

IMG_9698

Many days have looked like this recently! Blessed.

IMG_9714

On Friday night, a bunch of us celebrated our girl Zoe’s 21st birthday! She was abroad this summer and visited Boston to celebrate with us this weekend. WOOHOO!

IMG_9732

We started with apps and margarita’s at Sunset Cantina.

IMG_9738

And then moseyed on over to Landsdowne for some dancing!!

IMG_9739

I needed a midnight snack before bed that night. Smashed banana pb bread with cinnamon did the trick.

IMG_9740

When I don’t eat overnight oats for breakfast, Gina’s cookie dough cereal is another one on repeat.

IMG_9741

And last night I had another variation of pb banana that I hadn’t eaten in so long – Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie! With Greek yogurt to dip into it (remember when I did that all. the. time?).

IMG_9781

Hope you all have a marvelous Monday and a kick butt week! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

So tell me:

Are you a fan of jazz music? 

Have you ever been to Charlotte, NC?

Do you like Chick-Fil-A (juuuust talking about the food here)?

The top three things from your weekend!

Spontaneity Can Lead to the Best Experiences

I’m not that adventurous.

If I say yes to doing something a little offbeat or spontaneous, it’s because I’m really going against my natural tendency. That natural tendency is to stick to plans or do productive things at home. Even in college, I can be a total homebody.

giphy

my go-to excuse

However, during my last couple of days at home, I’ve agreed (sometimes reluctantly) to a few spontaneous ventures that I 100% loved.

It all started on Thursday morning with a spontaneous breakfast that I had never tried before: Julie’s egg white oatmeal protein pancake.

DSC_2104

I had been familiar with how much Julie loves this recipe for a long time, but I was always skeptical of it because the ingredients are egg whites, oats, stevia, and cinnamon. No blending involved. Hm.

Nevertheless, I branched out and made the monstrous pancake. First of all, just flipping the thing took 3 minutes. Secondly, I wasn’t very impressed at first bite, because it tasted like sweet egg whites… But the more I ate it, the more I enjoyed it. The peanut butter and banana helped, I’m sure.

Spontaneous breakfast — thumbs up!

My workout on Thursday was also spontaneous. I was kinda sore and really full for a long time from the mass of egg whites sitting in my stomach, so I bundled up, walked outside (per Amanda’s suggestion!) and headed towards the playground. When I got there I ended up doing a fun circuit workout using the bench!

IMG_9891

Spontaneous workout — thumbs up!

Lunch wasn’t spontaneous, but it was at a weird time of day (like, 4pm?) since I slept in and ate breakfast really late that day.

DSC_2105

flatout wrap with avocado, greens, honey mustard chicken, and artichokes (!!!)

I attended modern dance class at my old dance school on Thursday night, which was so fun. My good friend Susie (who was in dance company with me in high school) also attended the class asked if I wanted to join her for dinner afterwards.

My thought process: “I could go home and do some things on my to-do list. But that would be stupid and boring because COME ON, of course I want to catch up with Susie!!”

So we ate and chatted, and it was absolutely wonderful.

IMG_9853

We also ordered the same grilled vegetable sandwich, which was delicious.

IMG_9855

Spontaneous dinner date — thumbs up!

Yesterday brought about a few more spontaneous events. One was a lovely lunch date and walk with Madre! She wanted to take me to a cute patisserie in Greenwich, CT (where I spotted Food Network superstar Geoffrey Zakarian, who ignored me) called Aux Delices.

IMG_9870 IMG_9871

It’s a pricey little place (classic Greenwich), but the food was well worth it.

IMG_9872

salmon salad, golden beets, wheat berry salad, and Italian tuna salad (#FishFriday)

Then we walked/jammed out/danced/snacked together.

IMG_9874

Spontaneous mother-daughter date — thumbs up!

I think the real kicker is this one. Our neighbors had two tickets to see Blind Boys of Alabama last night, but they offered the tickets to us since something came up and they couldn’t attend. I was about to say, “Aw thank you, but we have plans for dinner tonight.” But Madre quickly answered, “Oh! Thank you! Alison, you can go with Dad!”

Oooookay.

So we all ate a nice dinner at home together, and then Pop and I went to see this group that I had never heard of before.

DSC_2106

last sunny side eggs on avocado/cheese toast for a while! (drizzled with sriracha post-pic)

If you haven’t heard of Blind Boys of Alabama (like I hadn’t before last night), they’re a group of men who met at the Institute for the Negro Blind in the late 1930s, where they first started singing together. They toured when Jim Crow laws were still in place, and they even performed for Martin Luther King Jr. benefits (how appropriate for this weekend in America!). HOW COOL!?

IMG_9877

I’d describe their style as bluesy gospel with a big dose of soul and a sprinkle of funk. They’re incredibly talented people!

IMG_9881

Verdict? Well, I was smiling and dancing in my seat the whole time if that says anything. I might have been the youngest one in the audience, but I was clapping and bopping my head just like the rest of ’em.

IMG_9887

Overall, I adored their music and their fun-loving, soulful character. Check out their grooviness.

Spontaneous concert — thumbs up!

Pop and I finished off the evening with classic yogurt bowls back at home.

DSC_2108

No-bake treat sampler on the side, compliments of Arman!

12471894_10207633980675230_2909557917523967808_o

Throwback to last year when Pop and I ate dessert together…

DSC_0747

Why did we decide on Greek yogurt over ice cream this year??? Beats me.

I’m going back to Boston today! Sad to be leaving home and blogging more than once a week, but stoked to be seeing friends and diving into the semester (← also nervous about the latter).

Happy Saturday!

So tell me:

Do you like spontaneity?

What was the last spontaneous thing you did and loved?

What was the last concert you attended?