Taking a Piece of Last Year Into the Next

I rang in my new year watching the Times Square countdown on TV while eating celery with hummus, drinking (sparkling) watered down pomegranate juice, and making overnight oats.

And I gotta be honest, I was pretty darn content with all of it (except the watered down pom juice; that was disgusting).

Here we are in 2018! Oooh I just realized that this is an Olympic year in PyeongChang! (Had to google that.) I doubt I’ll be able to watch any of it this year though, since it’ll be happening right at the beginning/middle of the semester :/

Here’s another collage of the past few days’ happenings. I’ll call this collage: “Food and fun, feat. the back of my head.”

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Breakfasts have still been of the peanut butter banana variety, and I don’t foresee that changing in 2018. Top left is an overnight oat smoothie blended with spinach in the morning, and below that is a Greek yogurt bowl with banana, cinnamon, honey and peanut butter.

I think breakfast with pb and banana will always make me feel…at home. It’s something I enjoy, and it gives me a sense of familiarity. Like, “Shhhhh, everything will be okay. There’s pb and banana here.”

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throwback pic from when I was in FL 3 years ago

The other day I was running around the neighborhood because it was gorgeous here in FL last week (now it’s all gloomy and blah). I had run 3 miles and was mentally prepared to go for another 1.5 mile loop, but just as I was passing by the house, Madre called me and asked, “Where are you? We’re eating lunch now. I made tuna tataki!” Running more vs. eating fresh tuna? The latter won, and boy was I happy about it. Thanks, ma!

I’ve been into @tanyapoppet‘s workouts these past few days. I’ve always loved her creativity and minimal use of equipment / time. I also feel like she performs at a level that is more advanced than my current level, but it’s still manageable and attainable. I did three rounds of this workout one night at, like, 11pm + this one yesterday. Good grief, I have not done these kinds of complex moves in a while, and my two-cookie-a-day lifestyle this past week did not make the workout easier.

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(Top middle photo on collage): On New Years Eve, Mom and Pop took our family friends (and me) out to Crazy Buffet for some MSG-loaded fun. Despite it being mainly an Asian buffet, my favorite thing I got was probably the mac & cheese and the coconut tapioca pudding HAHA.

(Bottom left corner photo on collage): Yesterday I made crab cakes using this recipe, and they were fabulous. The only setback was that I had to make fake Old Bay Seasoning, since I forgot to pick some up from the store and didn’t feel like getting a whole container for one recipe. We had about half of the spices used in Old Bay available in our pantry, but I had to grind up whole bay leaves with my fingers as best as I could. It was a pitiful sight, I’m sure.

Lots of Mass and prayer have been going down, as always. A lot of my prayer has guided me towards what I talked about in my last post — living for God and saying yes to Him today.

this year as with every year, Lord: Thy will be done

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I’m not a resolution person, because I dunno…December 31st was just as important and opportune for change / improvement as January 1st. Rather than making a new resolution for 2018, I think I want to take what I learned from 2017 with me into 2018, so that those lessons can foster growth in new ways.

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hahaha Spartan Race with my friend Ben was definitely a highlight of 2017

What do I mean? Well, the best thing I learned in 2017 was to say yes to God every day in the littlest ways. I know the basic things that God wants me to do: Love Him. Love others. Do my best in school. Take care of myself so that I can take care of others. 

I learned that persistently and consistently saying yes to any little thing that goes towards one of those things has somehow, by the grace of God, made me a better person (I think).

For example: Making someone feel important and heard by turning my shoulders squarely and intently towards the person while he/she is talking to me, instead of looking semi-annoyed and staying half-turned toward my laptop (do you know what I’m talking about???)… Even saying yes to little things like that matters.

Being obedient to God in all the tiny things has made life richer, because even mundane details become meaningful and even beautiful.

Thus, I just want to continue practicing saying yes to Him all day, every day in 2018 (and forever).

I neverrrr knowwww iffff anything I sayyyy makes senseeeee. Hopefully it does.

Happy First Tuesday of 2018! An occasion for some champagne, yes?

So tell me:

How did you ring in 2018?

Are you a resolution person? If yes, what are your resolutions? If not, do you do anything else going into the new year?

What is a food that always makes you feel “at home”?

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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?

Our First 5 Days of 2015

Well hey there, I haven’t talked to you all since last year!

Last year being five days ago, but still! Happy New Year! I hope you all had festive celebrations and fun times with family and friends. All the good F’s.

Besides some lingering sickness (read: hacking death coughs), we’ve been having a great time ringing in the new year in Florida! So much happened, but instead of boring you with a lengthy recap of everything, let’s do this alphabet style. I would like to share the fact that I do indeed know the alphabet. 😉

Ringing in the New Year: By the Letters

Avocado toast // Saturday night’s dinner along with sloppy joe meat and roasted cauliflower

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Beach trip // played frisbee for a couple hours

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Crepes // using Alton Brown’s recipe

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Ducklings // spotted in our neighbor’s backyard

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Ebelskivers // delightful Dutch round pancakes made by my aunt and uncle

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peanut butter-filled aka happiness-filled

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Forecast // looks very pleasant for the upcoming week here in FloridaScreen Shot 2015-01-03 at 8.48.38 PM

Group photos // ’tis the season

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Humbling // doing pistol squats and this leg workout after a week of being sick

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Ice cream // of the cookies and cream variety on NYE

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Jokes // trying to come up with some to incorporate into my Boston University tour guide script with only minor success

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Kansas family friends // who now live in Florida and are like family to us (they came over for NYE dinner with us, and then we went to their house for dinner on Friday night!)

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Luau // Disney’s “Spirit of Aloha” dinner and show was a blast!

(Besides the fact that I had to stand outside due to intense coughing at the end. Two people thought I worked there as I stood outside and asked me to point out the bathrooms. One of them was a little boy who called me ma’am!)

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those dinner rolls would be PINEAPPLE COCONUT rolls!!!

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I spy Madre

Marshmallows // roasted over hot charcoals for NYE s’mores

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Char, peel, eat, repeat

New Year’s Eve // spent at home with family and friends eating pulled chicken sliders, salad, ice cream, and more

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Overnight oats // with way too much peanut butter left at the bottom of this jumbo jar…never thought I’d say that

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doughy, peanut butter goodness

Pancakes // green silver dollar banana ones on Tuesday and “Melt-in-Your-Mouth” Bisquick ones on Saturday

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Quiet time // I need to set this aside for at least an hour before going to sleep

Ricola // cough drops are a hot commodity in this household currently

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Spinach in my smoothie // with frozen banana, vanilla protein powder, almond milk, cinnamon, nutmeg

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Typhoon Lagoon // Ben and I spent our Sunday there with our relatives

(There was a WICKED wave pool that reminded me of the huge wave that swallowed the world in the movie, The Day After Tomorrow. It was intense.

Dinner eaten at Downtown Disney, followed by the most difficult mini golf ever at Fairways.)

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Ben: “Again [with the selfies]??”

Upride down // did ten handstand pushups in a row with an abmat underneath my head!

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Visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios today!

Wawa walk-through // because Ben heard so much about this high class gas station chain

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Xylophones // one of the only practical words that start with X

Zzzz’s // caught some during several naps throughout the week

To all those going back to school and work today/sometime this week, I wish you good luck! You’re all rockstars, so let. it. ROCK.

{Happy birthday to my best friend and partner in ridiculousness, Daliza!!!}

So tell me:

Some letters that describe your weekend!

Have you ever tried Ebelskivers before?

Do you like wave pools?

Are you starting work/school today or later? Or have you already been on the grind?

WIAW: Melt in Your Mouth

Happy 2014!

That looks like something from a chain email.

But I hope your New Year was filled with color, bubbly drinks, and lots of smiles! My family and I kept our celebrations pretty low key, but I loved it. After going to Mass for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God, we decided on a whim to go to our favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner. I thought it would be a good meal to take you through for this first WIAW of 2014!

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Mosey on over to Jenn’s blog to see more drool-worthy eats!

It’s all iPhone pictures this week since I didn’t want to lug the big camera along to a dark restaurant anyway!

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Bro-derrrr

Lemme tell ya— spontaneity is a beautiful thing because this dinner was THE BOMB. Everything we put in our mouths just melted in the best way possible. Ichiro uses the freshest fish and meat, and the best flavors to compliment them. They also had a $65 prix fixe menu with some awesome selections. The prix fixe came with four small starters, an entree, and a dessert. My parents decided to go with it since it was a New Year’s special and they figured the food would be extra special.

And boy, was it extra special.

I’ll just show you some of their dishes that I tasted:

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Angel shrimp. I thought the crust tasted cheesy, but everyone else said it was just buttery. I still think it was cheese.

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A bite of my dad’s lobster bisque. It was like Sea World in there— they don’t scrimp on the lobster meat!

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Four Seasons Salad. The combo of mango, crabmeat, and greens was refreshing!

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One of my favorites of the night: Miso Black Cod. This REALLY melted in your mouth. And the filet was hefty for an appetizer!

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Everyone else’s favorite: Wagyu beef. My mom went to heaven and back when she took a bite.

And after sampling ALL that, my real entree came!

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Eel cucumber roll and “Mango Hawaii Roll” (salmon, avocado, mango, and wasabi caviar). Also incredibly melt-a-licious. 

There were only two dessert choices for the prix fixe, so my parents got one of each. Cheesecake and tiramisu!

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My mom is an official food Instagrammer. Check out that angle and depth of field! (And she literally just told me, “I think I’m becoming more professional now.”) 😉

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Ben and I had no problem cleaning off this plate.

Whenever I eat a really great meal, especially with my family, I can’t stop smiling afterwards. This was one of those meals. It’s kinda weird, and I fear that people may think I snuck something into my beverage, but it just goes to show how much I appreciate eating delicious food with people I love!

I was so full that I didn’t even have room for Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider once the clock struck 12, but maybe I’ll have some for a late celebration (of a possible snow day tomorrow?!). Wishful thinking.

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My family and I are in agreement that we’re excited to get back into a routine though. It has been quite the indulgent break, but we do not regret a single second of it! It will just be nice to return to “cleaner” foods.

In case you want to catch up on some posts from the past couple weeks, here’s what’s been happening:

Holy moly I’ve done a lot of blogging. I love free time.

So tell me:

How did you celebrate the New Year?

What is the best thing you’ve eaten for dinner lately?

What is one food that you love that melts in your mouth?