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!

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Someone Just Send Me to My Room For Bedtime, Please

I have never been so grateful for clean drinking water that is so readily available to me.

The weather here in New York has been tropical this summer! Hot (well, duh), raining in random patches, and always pretty humid. Needless to say, it has been a sweat fest here and I’ve been guzzling water all the livelong day.

Walking, running, standing, sitting — always sweating. Especially this weekend! Here’s what went down.

(Oh, and thank you all for your sweet words on the blog anniversary post! ♥︎)

Friday

I had never been so exhausted from work. Friday was only a little bit more physically demanding than any other work day, but MAN. I was honestly a tiny bit afraid of falling asleep on my drive back home (I knew I could make it though, don’t worry Mom and Dad). I think I ate enough. Maybe it was lack of sleep (thanks, Olympics).

I planned on working out after work, but nay to that. I sat on the couch and quasi-napped for three hours when I got home. Then I got a second wind at 10 pm thanks to a snack, watching track and field at the Olympics, and a spontaneous FaceTime with Rachel. Then I went to bed at almost midnight..yet again.

Someone needs to send me to my room to just read and go to sleep. I need disciplining like an 8-year-old, help.

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this almond and peanut butter with dried fruits and seeds (“Mad River Mojo”) from Stowe, VT is magical

Saturday

I did a quick 12 minute workout (12 Minute Athlete style) in the morning before showering and eating breakfast. I had a NYC date with two college friends that day!

3 rounds (30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest):

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banana bread baked oatmeal with peanut butter and Greek yogurt

I got to Grand Central and walked to Penn Station to meet my friend, Dana. It was a brisk 22 minute walk in the city heat, so going from that to standing in the oven subway station, I was soaked.

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So happy to see Dana! Not happy that our subway was delayed for almost half an hour though.

We finally made it to the Governors Island ferry station, where our friend Cassandra was patiently waiting for an hour. So sorry, girlfran. It was also down-pouring when we got there, which shocked Dana and me as we emerged from underground (that makes us sound like Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog).

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But one quick ferry ride over to Governors Island…

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…and we met clear-ish skies once again!

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As soon as we stepped foot onto the island, Dana asked, “Can we get lunch?” Praaaaise.

We walked around to explore our options, and we found a fun food truck hub.

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I chose Yaki Taco for three tacos: curry beef, chicken, and panko fried fish, which were all messy and delicious.

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“Don’t bother me. I’m eating.” ← name that old commercial slogan!

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they all look identical, but the meats are hidden under the slaw and “yum yum sauce”

Cassandra shared some of her cheese fries with us too. Ooooo, baby.

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you know it’s America when the cheese is more yellow than the Asian-Americans eating them the water bottle in the background

I knew I had to get some of this overpriced, organic ice cream from the Blue Marble stand.

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I got “The Governor” flavor, which the lady told me was a vanilla base with Grape Nuts oat clusters, caramel, and “white velvet” cake pieces. White velvet? You mean…vanilla cake?

#marketing

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it was still tasty, so I won’t hold it over her

With happy bellies, it was time to explore the island!

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peep Lady Liberty in the background

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After a few hours, we took the ferry back to Manhattan, where we parted ways. I walked back to Penn station while they went off to Brooklyn Bridge, since I wanted to make it back home in time for Mass with the fam, even though I probably reeked of sweat and city grime.

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I loved hanging out with Cassandra and Dana! Thanks, ladies, for a great time catching up and exploring the city (and for loving food as much as I do).

If you’re ever looking for a cheap but lovely and family-friendly NYC pit stop, check out Governors Island! I loved it.

After Mass, the family wanted to go to our favorite local Mexican restaurant. More tacos? Why not?

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maragarrrrrrita for the big man

I actually passed on more tacos and got the restaurant’s special salad and shared a good portion of mom’s rice (I ♥︎ Mexican rice).

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Also, can we look at the whole farm that was smashed between Ben’s cemita (sandwich on sesame seed bun)?

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in the words of Pop: “there’s like a whole flank steak on that”

Later at home, I ate half a giant peach (where’s James at??) + two warmed up oatmeal dried fruit cookies (from Christmas still!).

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And since I am so bad at going to sleep at a reasonable time, I also snacked on Wheat Thins, the world’s most underrated cracker.

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I went to sleep past 2 am.

Sunday

I “slept in” until 9:30, which isn’t sleeping in that much given the time I went to bed.

At least I did something productive the night before— prepping this overnight oatmeal smoothie inspired by Kath’s peach dough boy smoothie. I added a spoonful of peanut butter + half a large frozen banana and spinach in the morning.

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the fluffiest I’ve had in a long time!!

After doing some computer work and cleaning, I geared up for outdoor moves and grooves.

I’ve been wanting to do hill sprints for a while now, so I finally had the time and energy to do them yesterday. BUT HOLY FREAKING COW FLYING OVER THE MOON.

My lungs were not ready for the annihilation. It was also hot out!

Why would anyone want to take the path of charity, humility, chastity, and sacrifice for the sake of God's Kingdom? Because "Now, discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed." Hebrews 12:11-13 from Mass today. Similarly, I was thinking during this hill sprint workout: WHY THE HECK would anyone want to do hill sprints!? EVER. I don't run and I definitely don't sprint and I most certainly don't sprint up hills. Until today. I thought I was going to give up or maybe die (#dramatic), but just as in the faith, we run our way up that grueling hill over and over again, no matter how long the whole workout/faith journey takes us, and we become better for it. 5-4-3-2-1 hill sprints with this circuit between each round: 10 curb burpees 20 Russian twists each side 30 mountain climbers each leg 20 air squats 10 push-ups #faith #fituniversity @gofitu

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After one sprint, I was literally saying to myself repeatedly, “I’m dying.” But I also kept telling myself, “I can do this. I know I can.”

I thought about Allyson Felix, Usain Bolt, my track star friends from high school, and Jesus Christ for inspiration.

The workout:

5-4-3-2-1 hill sprints (approx. 125 m) with the following circuit between each set:

  • 10 curb burpees
  • 20 Russian twists each side
  • 30 mountain climbers each leg
  • 20 air squats
  • 10 pushups

It took me almost an hour to finish, because I needed to take a break and double over to breathe many times.

It sucked but it was…fun? Is that what athletes feel?

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immediate post workout snack

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late lunch sandwich: greens, Madre’s homemade pickled carrots and radishes, turkey, swiss, mustard, and sriracha + unpictured carrots and artichoke hummus

The rest of the evening involved showering, typing this blog post, and talking on the phone with Apple Support for my temperamental keyboard. The problem seems to be fixed for now though!

I’m also listening to old Hannah Montana music for kicks. I used to be obsessed.

I better go pack for Ireland and do important things before the Rio closing ceremonies comes on. Lord knows I will want to stay up for those.

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banana bread mug cake with Greek yogurt for a late night snack after dinner

Hope you guys have a sweet week! This one’s my last week of work at the rehab hospital already!

So tell me:

Are you good about getting to bed at a regular time? 

Have you ever done hill sprints? Did you die?

What is your guilty pleasure music from the past?

Sharing Food and Sharing Life in NYC

I am wearing fuchsia yoga pants right now and I feel fabulous.

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trying not to pull my tight hamstrings

I decided to attend ballet class at my old dance school tonight last night, but I don’t think I fit into any of my leotards and tights anymore. Ergo, these bright and fun capris! I never wear this color, but I’m a fan.

(Thanks for buying them for me, Madre ♥︎)

These past couple of days I have been meeting up with a few friends to share food and share life. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in college, it’s how to be a better listener and sharer. Last year, I developed a deeper and much more sincere interest in other people’s lives (especially people I don’t know that well).

I’ve also come to believe more that my own life experiences are worth sharing in conversation. I mean, I share my life to the whole world on this blog, but no one has to read it if he or she doesn’t want to. In real time conversation, however, I used to be afraid to talk about my life because I didn’t think it was interesting or that the other person wouldn’t care. Sometimes that’s true, but you never know which little stories could turn into great conversations.  It sparks human connection. I’ve said it before: Your story matters and it’s beautiful!

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

Anyway, let’s talk about Monday. It started off with breakfast, an 8 minute ab workout, and a train ride to Grand Central.

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whipped banana oatmeal: 1/2 c. oats, half banana, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, chia seeds, an egg, and peanut butter

I was on my way to see my girl Colby, who was one of my cabin-mates at Blend Retreat last year! We met up at Grand Central before walking to The Picnic Basket for some bomb-dig sandwiches.

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French Goat Cheese – chicken, sundried tomato pesto, grilled zucchini, figs, tomatoes and fresh greens on multigrain

This thing was massive and so tasty. I ate one half and saved the other half for later (ended up being Pop’s dinner on the train ride home!). Then it was time for the 50+ block walk to get the beloved…

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Lloyd’s carrot cake! Remember when Ben and I detoured to get this over Thanksgiving break? Colby saw my snapchat at the time and told me she wanted in on it.

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I wasn’t mad about it.

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does she love me or the carrot cake?

We housed our hefty slices of carrot cake WITH raisins and walnuts (major key) while our fingers froze off. FUNNY STORY: When we were walking back, we stopped at a Barnes and Noble to use the restroom, and my fingers were so cold that I couldn’t re-button my jeans. I am telling you, I could. not. do it. My fingers were deprived of the energy to do any sort of fine motor movements. Luckily, I was wearing a big ol’ belt, so I just buckled that over the button and called it a solution.

Moving on.

We walked only 20-ish blocks back before we decided to take the subway to Grand Central where Colby and I parted ways. It was such a privilege to spend the day with this girl! She is so genuine and kind, and I admire her balanced outlook on food and fitness.

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From there, I had two hours to kill before dinner with my lovely friend, Christine. After half an hour of catching up with some things on my phone, I explored Grand Central.

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casual squash tournament of champions going down

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Grand Central Apple Store

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Grand Central Market

You literally have everything you need there.

My phone was running low on battery, so I walked to a Duane Reade pharmacy and stood awkwardly behind a wall of paper towels and nail polish to charge my phone at an outlet. Then it was time for dinner at Lan Larb with Christine!

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spicy basil pork with rice

I thought I was still full from carrot cake until I finished this whole thing. I guess that’s what walking over 23,000 steps does to ya!

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p.s. I never check this app, but I was interested on Monday since we walked so much!

It was so fun catching up with Christine and having some great girl talk. She is such a sweetheart (with substantial sass!).

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I need lessons from Christine on how to pose in photos

Bonus: Yesterday I met up with an old friend from high school for lunch! She was kind enough to reach out to me so we could catch up.

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tuna cucumber and eel avocado roll (my faves!)

And that, my friends, is how to share food and share life. 

Just kidding, do it however you like. This was all a grand time though. I am so grateful for good people and nourishment.

So tell me:

Are you an open book, closed book, or somewhere in between when it comes to sharing life stories in conversation? I’m still somewhere in between, but I’m more of an open book than before! Also depends on the person/context obviously. Fun fact: I used to be more introverted, but according to my most recent Myers-Briggs test, I’m an extravert!

Have your fingers ever been SO cold that you literally couldn’t move them?

What is the best thing you ate Monday/yesterday? The carrot cake for me. Duh.

The brightest color of clothing you own!