In and Out of Canada {Take 2}

Another year, another jaunt to Canada for the weekend.

Toronto, Canada. The land in which I undoubtedly consume an inordinate amount of carbohydrates and sodium. But goodness gracious, how can you say no to the fried rice and crispy noodles?

The food wasn’t nearly as important as the occasion and the company of course. My family took a little trek to Toronto this weekend to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th anniversary! How beautiful, eh? (← had to)

Friday

Early wakeup to leave the house at 6AM! I definitely should not have stayed up until midnight to watch gymnastics/procrastinated laundry the night before. But Simone and Aly were worth it.

Nectarine banana overnight oats as per travel tradition.

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I was also nearly half deaf on Friday because my right ear has issues (I was born with two ear holes instead of one in that ear), so I’m prone to infection and having too much stuff in my ear. One of the more gross facts that you didn’t need to know about me. But not being able to hear that well out of even one ear really made me appreciate the gift of hearing!

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some morning double rainbow action

Madre had been up in Toronto since Tuesday, since she was the executive party planner. Pop, Ben and I took Friday off of work to drive up, and it took wayyyy too long. A road trip that usually takes 9 hours took almost 12 hours. But we made it safe and sound, which matters most.

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Salad dipped in guac. All I can hear is Rachel saying to me, “Be better. Or at least be less weird.”

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so much of this

We rolled into our cousins’ place at around 6pm. We were staying with the fit family again 🙂 Obviously that meant doing handstands and cartwheels in the basement with my cousin Amy upon arrival.

My family took off again soon after for dinner with other relatives at Congee Queen.

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congee = rice porridge with lots of good stuff inside

Pro: it’s cheap, delicious food. Con: it’s cheap, delicious food.

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best fried rice ever with [fake] crab, roe, and eel!

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I am positive that I ate more at this dinner than I do at Thanksgiving.

Back at home, I showered, and my cousin and I stretched while watching the Olympics with our parents. Only at their house can I enjoy a big stretching mat and foam rollers in front of the television!

Saturday

I slept in until 8ish and headed to the basement to warmup and do Jen’s 1000 Rep Workout.

My legs were insanely tight from sitting all day Friday, so this workout was great for loosening them up, but I could feel that there was lots of lactic acid in my body (not soreness but all around fatigue/tightness/heaviness). All I wanted was to foam roll and drink water until the cows came home.

After showering (and getting my right ear to hear again!), I helped Amy make avocado egg toast for her and her dad. She saw on my blog that I ate it once 25793 times before and bought the ingredients to make it while I was visiting.

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I’m always a proponent of spreading the avo-egg toast love, and I’m happy that they love it!

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For myself, I ate some quick banana oatmeal with protein powder and almond butter.

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While Madre, Pop and Ben were setting up the hall for the anniversary party the next day, I got to hang out with Amy. We played “Just Dance” and a Mario Party “board game” on the Wii after breakfast.

Working out + Just Dance made me pretty hungry again in no time. I ate leftovers for lunch with my cousin’s family before they left for Kung Fu practice (NBD). As for me, I laid horizontally on their couch (I had a stomachache for a bit), foam rolled, and caught up on blogs and reading.

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I did some handstands too. Amy believed that I could do a one-armed handstand facing the wall (after seeing my failure last week), and I could! The power of encouragement, man.

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When my family got back home, we headed to 5pm Mass. This parish we visited had the most beautiful-sounding music ministry. I cried.

Then for my favorite meal of the trip at my favorite restaurant in Toronto— Ten Ren’s Tea House! Everything here is cooked with tea, and they obviously sell a million kinds of tea beverages.

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p.s. More often than not in Toronto, we share everything family style. #justAsianthings

I actually skipped a tea beverage this time because I wanted a tea dessert, and I’m not really a dessert-sharer, so…. I ordered a green tea soft serve in a waffle cone for myself, which was fantastic.

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I also had a couple bites of “brick toast” for the first time ever. It’s what it sounds like— toast the size of a brick that’s caramelized and topped with something yummy. Our table shared a sweet milk custard one and a peanut butter (!) one.

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We’re pretty sure it was natural peanut butter because LOOK AT THE WAY IT MELTS. It also wasn’t too sweet. The sweet milk custard one was even better though, honestly. Imagine creme brûlée on top of toast….Yeah.

I also had a few bites of this snow ice dessert.

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It’s shaved ice topped with coconut milk and four toppings. We got tapioca, taro, lychee jelly, and red beans. Tasty and refreshing!

I think the rest of the night involved more stretching and Just Dance. We didn’t throw knives this time around, darn it.

Sunday

The big day! My family headed to the hall to prep for the anniversary party all morning.

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Sidenote: I was tweezing my brows in the car (I was NOT driving) on the way to the hall, which I do not recommend for effectiveness, accuracy, or safety.

We did some rehearsing, some decorating, and LOTS of food scooping into trays. As we were transferring all the food (that Congee Queen catered) into smaller trays, all I could think was, “these noodles are perpetual…this fried rice could feed an army and a half…this is all the General Tso’s chicken in Canada.”

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Needless to say, many people had many meals to take home at the end of the party.

There were several heartfelt speeches, many songs, lots of laughs, a couple baby screams, and almost three hundred people celebrating my grandparents’ inspiring 50 years of marriage. I sang “La Vie en Rose” for them with my brother accompanying on the piano!

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DSC_2657Pop and his bros singing + Ben on the keys + pad thai 
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twins!

I wore spiky, pointy-toed heels for 3 minutes before calling it quits and switching to sandals.

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So many people worked very hard to plan, set up, and attend this celebration. Special shoutout to my mom and her family and friends, who were indispensable contributors to the setup and cleanup of the party. They’re amazing! Everyone on both sides of the family who helped and came out to the celebration are just remarkable.

Cheers to everyone and to my Mah Mah and Yeh Yeh!

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We were utterly exhausted after running around all day. To think that Pop, Ben and I had originally planned on driving home to New York overnight immediately after the party makes me want to die inside. Thank God we were all able to get Monday off work.

I did go on a walk with my cousin, aunt and uncle after dinner because the weather outside was perfect and the sky looked like cotton candy!

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homemade jello made by Amy, naturally sweetened with honey and lemon — so refreshing!

But after watching the 100m men’s track final at night, I went to bed at 10 and passed. out.

Monday

Pop took one of our cars to go back home early with his aunt, and the rest of us slept in a little bit before we hit the road with our other car. I ate some breakfast cookie dough cereal before saying goodbyes, and then we were off!

First though, some road trip snacks from the Asian supermarket.

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cart-basket contraption

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“meat floss” seems neither appealing nor helpful in any way

Lunch on the road:

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pork bun

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cold Taiwanese noodles

Also, we bought ketchup chips in unhealthy and healthier form.

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A Canada classic that makes ketchup lovers rejoice and ketchup haters question humanity.

The trip home was a lot better than the trip to Toronto, thankfully. We even got some good views of Niagara Falls at the border!

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Our last hurrah was dinner at a Japanese restaurant with my dad’s aunt. I shared an eel avocado roll with my mom and ordered steamed chicken and vegetables with brown rice for myself. I was honestly craving as little salt and oil as possible. I love those two things, but Toronto serves it on a whole ‘nother level.

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It was a fun mini vacation with my beloved family, but I’m excited to go back to work and not have as much acne on my face 😀

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever tried brick toast or Taiwanese snow ice?

How has someone encouraged you recently? 

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Day in the Life of a Ninja

Two trips down, one to go!

Not that I’m counting down vacations. St. Louis (for cousin’s Baptism) and Canada (to visit relatives) were a blast, and our last family trip is to Seattle (for a wedding) starts today. Then it’s the countdown to move-in day back in Boston!

Our last day in Canada had some ups and downs, but mostly ups. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you probably already know that I’ve exhausted the fact joke that I’ve been in ninja training, but I’m about to push it to the limit with this post.

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A Day in the Life of a Ninja (Monday)

7:00 AM— Wake up and go to the bathroom. Check emails, comments, and social media.

8:00 AM— Go back to sleep, because ninjas need rest to be on their game.

9:00 AM— Wake up again, brush teeth, etc. Eat breakfast, which is oatmeal a la microwave, because time is of the essence for ninjas (and I didn’t want to burn the bottom of my aunt’s pot like I did on Sunday morning, woo).

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quick oats, unflavored protein powder, cinnamon, banana, maple syrup, milk, and almond butter

10:00 AM— Change into ninja clothes (workout capris and top).

10:15 AM— Hang out with my cousin, Amy. Get my mind blown by hexaflexagons (<— seriously the coolest thing ever) and get my butt kicked in Super Smash Bros (virtual ninja training).

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she’s trying to create a character that looks like me, and the hair is pretty darn accurate

1:00 PM— Go to lunch at a tea house with Amy and her dad, because ninjas obviously like Asian food.

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delicious noodles, short ribs, chicken, soup dumplings, beef tendon wraps, and mango yogurt juice

2:30 PM— Digest at home and get ready for bouldering (aka ninja training for scaling mountains and buildings).

3:30 PM— Start bouldering! {I used to rock climb regularly when I was in fourth and fifth grade, so the smell of the gym was familiar and nostalgic. I missed it!} This was an absolute blast. We were all about focus and discipline during our training.

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my cousin and uncle are SO STRONG

5:45 PM— After burning out our hands, arms, and upper backs, we realize that we’re late for our dinner appointments. They drop me off to meet my dad.

6:45 PM—Dad and I arrive at my other aunt and uncle’s house and go to a pub for dinner from there. My stomach is hurting a little bit… Figure that I’m just hungry from all the climbing.

7:00 PM— Sit down to menus and some fun 70s music bingo. Try a sip of my dad’s beer because that’s legal for me in Canada.

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no idea what I’m doing

7:20 PM— Dig into my fish tacos! My aunt also shares one of her wings with me.

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7:50 PM— After finishing two of my tacos and sharing the third, we continue playing music bingo until my aunt wins a round! But then I totally kill the vibe when my stomach pains become semi-excruciating. Take a tablet from my aunt that’s supposed to absorb gas in your stomach. Go to the bathroom just in case.

8:00 PM— Aunt decides to take me back to her house to rest a little. Every step hurts my stomach! Aunt kindly nurses me with some tonic water and her comfy couch. Ninjas are not invincible.

8:30 PM— After lying down for a bit, stomach pain dissipates dramatically. Like, 100 to 0, real quick. We concluded that it was a heck of a lot of gas in my stomach for whatever reason (my stomach looked like a balloon, but I didn’t feel super full or anything). Thanks, Aunt Judy!!!

9:00 PM— Head back to cousin’s house, where we’re staying. Shower up.

9:30 PM— Practice throwing knives with the family, because ninjas. (Promise we’re not actually plotting to kill anyone. This is purely for fun…but that doesn’t sound much better, does it?)

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10:20 PM— Practice handstands. Evidently, my stomach pains were virtually nonexistent at this point, thanks be to God.

11:00 PM— Sleep!

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And yesterday we drove 9 hours back down to New York, where we did the whole unpack, laundry, repack deal. Here are some eats from our road trip!

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McDonald’s Asian grilled chicken salad (not too shabby!)

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lots of peanut butter in the car

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Bareburger for dinner: pickles and slaw to share // “blue elk” burger

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finished off the day with some vanilla bean ice cream + cinnamon and nutmeg (tastes like eggnog!)

Catch ya on the other side of the country! Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday 🙂

So tell me:

Have you ever gone rock climbing or bouldering? I rekindled my love for it on Monday. My shoulders and forearms the next day though… not so much.

Have you ever had extreme stomach pains due to gas? Doesn’t that sound sexy.

Have you ever done a sport/activity that seems scary to others? Like shooting or archery?

If you’ve ever been to Seattle or Portland, what should we do there?

Weekend in Charlottesville

The second stop of my final college tour is Charlottesville, and this town has been treating us quite wonderfully so far!

Saturday

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We took the 2.5 hour drive down to Cville from Maryland on Saturday morning. UVA con #1: Distance. It’s a total of 7+ hours away from my NY home, and the road from College Park, MD to Charlottesville is basically a two-lane highway with traffic lights. At least the farm lands on the way were pretty??

After we checked into our hotel, Mom and I searched for food around the UVA campus, naturally. We found a place called Marco and Luca Dumplings, and it had a tiny menu that highlighted their specialty fried pork + scallion dumplings.

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Dumplings to share, my order of the sesame peanut noodles, and mom’s order of the sweet and spicy noodles

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A pork bun to share as well

The noodles were my favorite! They were cold and refreshing for the hot day, and they had the perfect texture. Also, peanut sauce=’nough said.

Next up was lots and lots o’ walking around the UVA campus. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous here— 80s and sunny! (Today it’s supposed to be rainy and blah though.) However, the heat is literally a warm welcome to BUGS. The bumble bees here are the size of baby birds. I kid you not.

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After soaking up all the preppy-ness and loveliness of the campus and the Cville-ians, we headed over to the UVA Catholic center/church.

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We ended up hanging out there for a while and then attending the evening Mass for Palm Sunday there.

After walking back to our car, we drove to downtown Charlottesville for dinner at Revolutionary Soup. Kath has recommended it on her blog before, so I was excited to try it!

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To share: asparagus shiitake soup, half size local tofu wrap (local tofu, arugula, tomato, red onion, and fig dijon dressing), half Athens spinach salad (spinach, feta, artichokes, roasted peppers)

It was super tasty! My favorite thing on the tray was the salad. Love me some artichokes and cheeeeese.

Then we walked some more around the Downtown Mall.

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Hm. K.

Stopped for dessert of course. More gelato 😀

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Mine on the left: cookies and cream and ‘chi0 (pistachio). Mom’s on the right: coconut and mango.

I nearly licked my cup clean and then I helped mom finish hers. No gelato left behind. I also love how the spoons were like baby paddles, because that means the gelato disappears less quickly 😉 It’s also safe to say that cookies and cream is my favorite ice cream flavor. I always forget how good it is!

As we were walking back to our car, I spotted a cute crepe shop called The Flat… And we got sucked in.

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We only had about half, don’t worry. 😉

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Mom wanted to try a savory crepe, and I told her she would be mostly on her own since I was stuffed with gelato. We ordered the “Greene Eggs” crepe with eggs, feta, and veggies. I had a few bites and it was fantastic! Mom only had a few bites too, so we took the rest back to the hotel for me to have for breakfast yesterday morning 🙂 (We have a fridge and microwave in our hotel room.)

Yeah, I was full that night.

Moves for Saturday: walking and walking and walking. My feet were hurtin’ for sure. I need to whip ’em into shape just to walk around campus. Can someone give me a foot massage first though?

Sunday

Moves for Sunday: this Travel WOD-ish. I say “ish” because I did the whole thing, but I didn’t do the rounds and exercises immediately one after another. I would do a round, take a break, do some burpees, take a break…It was just something to get moving! Plus a little bit of walking to and fro.

Lunch yesterday was at a place called Fig Bistro and Bar.

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My order: Blackened crab cake with a poached egg and cheddar grits

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Mom’s order: Eggs in avocado

We shared half and half with each other, and it was decent. Our items sounded really delicious when we read them on the menu, but the actual taste and texture of everything was meh.

After chilling out in the hotel room and putting a tiny dent into my homework, I left to meet up with two of my favorite bloggers!

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Kath

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Clare

I may or may not have been fan-girling on the inside. We met at Kath’s soccer game to chat for a little bit, and it was lovely. These two ladies have been so inspirational to me in my blogging journey, and they are just as sweet and cool in person as they are on their blogs.

All of my oatmeal? Inspiration from Kath.

My motivation to cut down on exercise and recover from my ED? Inspiration from Clare.

Thanks so much for meeting with me, Kath and Clare!

Following the blogger meet-up, I drove back to the hotel to procrastinate for an hour or so and then actually do homework for a bit. Mom and I weren’t very hungry by 7:30, but we decided to just take the 20 minute walk to the Downtown Mall for dinner. Bizou looked pretty good, so we grabbed a table al fresco. We ordered the two specials of the evening and shared half and half again.

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Mom’s: Panko-crusted trout with cauliflower au gratin and arugula salad

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Mine: Crab cakes (that’s right— I had crab cakes twice yesterday) with cheesy polenta and arugula salad

{I smell like fish right now}

Everything was tasty, but these crab cakes weren’t the best either. Too salty and mayonnaise-y. I’m a picky crab cake eater. My favorite things were the salad and the cheesy polenta! Cheeeeeese.

As fun as eating out can be, I miss my oats, avocado toast, and Greek yogurt. I have had a perpetual food baby on this trip.

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Travesty.

Wow, Charlottesville. I haven’t even gone to the admitted students’ day yet (it’s today), but we’re getting along pretty darn well. I can’t wait to see how I feel about UVA after Days on the Lawn today!

So tell me:

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Have you ever met bloggers in person?

What’s on your agenda this Monday?