In and Out of Canada {Take Three}

We had such a productive four days in Toronto!

It’s seems that my family has an annual tradition of being in and out of Canada to visit relatives. Here was take one and take two.

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Whenever I leave the ever-walkable city of Boston, my daily step count plummets by approximately 15,000 steps, while my calorie intake increases significantly, especially when in Toronto, amidst Asian food paradise.

But…

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After a fun and active day on Thursday with my cousins, Friday was a fun and food-filled day with my cousins at the Canadian National Exhibition! First though — moves, grooves and breakfast.

I did a nice 10 minute warmup (I am a zombie if I work our first thing in the morning) before completing this 20 minute workout (30 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 5 rounds):

  • burpee tuck jumps
  • weighted squats
  • donkey kicks
  • superman to scapula retraction
  • burpee to plank kick throughs
  • hamstring ball curls

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Followed by 4 x 30-40 second wall walk holds and Greek yogurt with fruit and granola.

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My cousin Amy and I were chaperoned by my parents to the train station and then took a train and bus on our own to get downtown.

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Quick story: At the train station, I tried to pay for my ticket with a $50 Canadian bill, but the guy at the ticket counter told me, “Go away,” while gesturing to the turnstile. I was confused and slightly distressed and didn’t know what he wanted me to do until Amy whispered, “He wants us to go for free!” OH. (You don’t see this happen in Boston or NYC.)

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I’m eight years older than Amy, but age is obviously just a number when it comes to having a clue about anything.

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Anyway, after a pleasant (and free) ride on Toronto’s public transit, we arrived at the CNE, ready to explore! The CNE is basically an annual MEGA fair in downtown Toronto. Just visit the website if you want to learn about what happens there; it’s huge.

We explored the “farm” first, which is a building filled with farmers and their animals from around Canada.

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alpacas!

I felt the slightest tug to never eat pork or beef ever again, but I’m a cold-hearted person I think eating meat conscientiously is not a bad thing.

Next we visited the arts and crafts building, which housed hundreds of vendors and booths, which means we housed many samples in our bellies.

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Amy and I met up a little later with my other cousins, Kate and Megan! We all hung out together for the rest of the day, which made for a sweet girls’ day 🙂

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The CNE has quite a few shows and performances throughout the day, so we first went to the ice skating and acrobatics show. It was awesome (and a little heart-attack-inducing with some of those acrobatics). There was also a “Fire Guy” show in front of the arena beforehand.

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Then it was time for lunch! The food building is RIDICULOUS, guys. There are so many food stands, healthy and…daring alike.

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this is like 10% of it

I walked around for 10 minutes feeling overwhelmed yet hungry, but I knew that I definitely wanted pierogis (Polish potato and cheese dumplings), so I got a cup of four with sour cream on the side to start.

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My uncle also recommended the waffle ice cream sandwich (a CNE classic apparently), so I had my heart set on one of those. It did not disappoint!!

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it doesn’t look like much, but it was PERFECT — tender, buttery, warm and toasted waffles with good ol’ vanilla ice cream in the middle — UGH

I wish I had more time/money/space in my stomach to spare, because there were so many things I wanted to try. Look at this list of 10 outrageous foods at the CNE, some of which look repulsive and some of which I would so eat.

We scurried out of lunch to watch the parkour show just outside the food building! This was one of my favorite things at the CNE. It’s just so entertaining and awe-inspiring to see people flip and jump over obstacles like it’s absolutely nothing.

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After the parkour show, Amy and I walked around the carnival area while Megan and Kate went on a couple rides.

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Amy and I shared a corn dog at some point because a) Amy had never eaten corn dog before; b) I secretly love corn dogs.

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The four of us met back up at another big exhibition hall for more samples and people trying to sell us things, like these self-massagers (admittedly, I could have used that thing for an hour).

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There were also sand and butter sculptures in the making!

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the butter sculptors were working on recreating that black and white photo in the background — Justin Trudeau holding baby pandas LOL

‘Twas such a successful trip to the CNE with these beautiful ladies!

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met up with our Aunt Sharon at the very end too!

Amy and I headed back outbound to our families for sushi dinner at 8pm. I really wanted vegetables at this point, and a starter salad had to suffice for the day, but I’m okay with a day of only 2-ish servings of fruits/veggies.

Because THIS:

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{Sushi} Roll me outta there.

On Saturday we spent a lot of time with Pop’s parents, which was wonderful. There was also a big family lunch at Congee Queen in there!

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The rest of the day was just spent chillin’ with my grandparents, dropping them off at a wedding, a walk/deep chat with Pop, Mass, and then more foooooood.

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Vietnamese for dinner (aka so many veggies YES)

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my two kids in a candy store 😉

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banana + tapioca in coconut milk *moment of silence*

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red bean pastry

My Asian side (aka my whole side) thrives in Toronto.

We all had big plans for Sunday morning, but none of them really worked out. I had big plans to work out before we hit the road for NY, but that didn’t happen as I went to sleep past 1am.

We also had plans to leave at 7am, but that didn’t happen as we promptly discovered that our car battery was completely dead. Thank God for CAA for coming to the rescue! We only left 1.5 hours later than we planned, which wasn’t bad at all. (I also got to foam roll and stretch before sitting in the car all day #bless.)

Then the rest of the day involved road tripping. Snacks and stretching are a must.

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ketchup chips are a Canadian road trip specialty/necessity in our family

We were back in New York as the sun was setting, so we headed to So Gong Dong for a last hurrah Korean dinner.

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Korean short ribs to share (the best)

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veggie bibimbap

Madre also graciously helped me buy some new training/running shoes at TJMaxx after dinner since mine were about as useful as slippers.

One day in NY now before heading back to Boston for another four months!!

Hope you all have a joyous Monday!

p.s. WHO IN THE US IS WATCHING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE!? My brother gave me special eclipse glasses to view it this afternoon from NY (not total eclipse, but 76% coverage isn’t too bad!)

So tell me: 

Have you ever been to the CNE?

What is your favorite carnival food?

Two things you did this weekend!

Has your car battery ever died? Thank God ours didn’t die in the middle of the road!

 

 

Christmas Chronicles

Post-Christmas healthy living bloggers be like:

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And I’m still just like:

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There’s been an endless supply of food on our vacation in Canada so far, and I can’t say I’m very stressed or upset about it at all. It’s definitely a lot more sugar and salt than I’m used to in such a short period of time, but there’s some nutrition in there. Most importantly, though, there has been a lot of fellowship and joy surrounding the meals, which is the best part!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/weekend. Here’s what’s been going on with me and my family…

Christmas Eve breakfast was a festive affair! Davida’s green pancakes with pomegranate arils to complete the holiday look.

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We went to Mass on Christmas Eve since we would be traveling all day on Christmas.

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After Mass we ate dinner at our favorite Japanese restaurant for suuuuushiiii.

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note the ideal fish to rice ratio — crucial aspect

Apple pie a la mode was waiting for us at home (leftovers that we froze from Thanksgiving)!

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I WAS SO FULL. But superbly content.

I woke up at the fine time of 4:20 AM (lol) after going to sleep at midnight. I had a little bit of time before we were hitting the road, so I did a super quick workout just to get the blood flowing before being the car for 10 hours. Working out before traveling these days is about moving for the sake of moving, not for the sake of burning calories. It’s nice and a lot less self-imposed pressure.

Mom and I packed some quality road trip food, if I do say so myself. Exhibit A: Mom’s salmon, brown rice, and broccoli packets.

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When we finally arrived at my grandparents’ place, we had some good rounds of ping pong (if that doesn’t scream Chinese workout of the day, I don’t know what does).

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(Also, my grandma owns me in ping pong.)

Dinner was the first of many Chinese meals on our trip. It was absolutely delicious, MSG and all. The fish was super fresh too. Suuuuper fresh.

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I apologize if any of you are squeamish, but that fish was incredible.

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We’re staying at my fellow fit relatives’ place currently, so of course we partook in some ninja activities upon arrival.

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My bro offered to take a slow motion video of me throwing knives, and I thought that would be a fantastic idea so I could scare all my best friends back at college. ‘Twas a great Christmas overall 🙂

Leftover green pancakes the next morn’!

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My cousin and I worked up a sweat for an hour or so playing Just Dance on her Wii. That game is no joke! Like, you need a decent amount of dance skill to be fairly good at it.

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And then more food with more cousins for lunch! Followed by Mah Jong (Chinese card game) and Chinese checkers. Did I mention we’re part Chinese?

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solid combo of leftover Christmas food and fresh sushi

At night, we all attended my great uncle and aunt’s golden anniversary celebration. 50 years of marriage, how ’bout that!? Inspirational.

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It ain’t no celebration without copious amounts of food in this family. Ergo, more eating.

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Peep the full pig on the right. We like heads on our food evidently.

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Ermahgersh.

Also, ermahgersh at all the little ones and the ex-little ones who are now taller than me (not saying that much, because I’m so short).

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Yesterday morning, I woke up early-ish to get some moves and grooves in. I did a fun yet killer circuit workout that I came up with in the basement. A classic and refreshing Greek yogurt bowl was breakfast afterwards.

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My family went to Mass and lunch (more Chinese food!) from the late morning to the early afternoon. Then we drove over to my mom’s side of the family for the rest of the evening. They greeted us with more food hahaha. ha. ha.

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another great combo of Thai food and Shepherd’s pie

Surprisingly, I never felt super full or overwhelmed. I ate what I wanted, and that was that. Yes, there were more times than usual this past week when I felt stuffed, but honestly, it’s the holidays. THERE, I SAID IT. I’m using the holidays as an excuse. What are we gonna do about it?

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The best part was hanging out with my cousins though. We even unintentionally matched with our cousin telepathy.

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girls show teeth, boys do soft smiles

It was a fun evening, and now it’s late… and I’m kinda hungry again… Not even kidding.

I am beyond grateful for my family, nourishment, health, and fellowship. God is good. Joy to the World, the Lord has come!

Hope you all have a great Monday! Three more days of 2015!!!

So tell me:

Three things you did this Christmas/weekend! 

Best thing you ate over the holiday. The sushi on Christmas eve OR that super fresh fish.

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?

In and Out of Canada

Because everyone takes a weekend road trip to Canada.

Our adventure was supposed to start on Saturday morning at 5 am after a nice early bedtime on Friday night. But of course, why start the excitement Saturday morning when you can start it Friday night?

7:30 pm

Dad: “Aghh. I left my drivers license at the security desk of the bank today… They don’t usually take my license for security, so I forgot. You’re going to have to drive all the way to Canada by yourself…”

Alison: “Ohhhh man….. Well okay. It’ll be fine.”

8:30 pm

Dad: “I need to go get my license. I’m going to need to drive around when we’re in Canada.”

Me: “You’re going into the city to pick it up now??”

Dad: “Yep. You’ll drive me down. It’s better if I have my license.”

Me: “Oooooookay. Alllllllrighty.”

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So instead of going to bed at 9 like planned, we drove an hour down to the city, picked up his license, and then an hour back. Whatcha gonna do?

I’m glad we made that extra push to get his license though, because that made the 9 hour drive to Ontario much more doable being able to take turns.

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Overnight oats in a jar is THE way to go for early morning travels. 100%.

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Plus egg and cheese sandwiches.

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It’s also fun to know that I can import and order alcohol legally in Canada. *purple devil emoji*

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{importing scotch for my aunt, and had one sip of beer at a restaurant. haha.}

My dad and I are spending just a little bit of time here in Toronto primarily to visit my grandparents, but we’ve also seen tons of other relatives.

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Where there is family, there is food.

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puffy pita + fattoush chicken salad

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dim sum

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Moroccan feast incl. harissa carrots, fish tagine, and orange creme brûlée 

Things I’ve learned this trip:

  • All my cousins are growing up so fast (I guess I am too), and I’m having a little retrospective freak out.
  • Asian elders will always comment on your physical appearance, so you just have to deal with it.
  • I know I love my breakfasts, but making breakfast for five people is nerve-wracking, especially when you’re not in your own kitchen.

But it works out well when the people (my healthy, fitness-loving relatives) love the breakfast trifecta as much as I do.

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impromptu yogurt protein pancakes + classic banana oatmeal with fruit and nut butter

  • How to throw a knife.

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But I’ll keep that on the DL. *three purple devil emojis*

Canada is where the wild things are.

Today I’m rock climbing with my cousin! I’m in ninja training, essentially. Tomorrow, Dad and I are driving all the way back to New York, unpacking, and then packing again for Washington for a wedding. Weeeeeeee!

Hope you all have an awesome week. Watch out for ninjas.

So tell me:

Have you ever left something very important behind accidentally?

What is your favorite travel food?

Do you have any ninja skills? 

It’s Difficult to Eat Tacos With Good Manners

Thinking-Out-Loud

thanks for hosting the partay, Amanda ♥ 

1) I’m mighty happy that the WIAW switch-up with Gemma yesterday was so well-received! Thanks a ton for your comments (as always). I enjoyed going out of my blogging comfort zone by collaborating with such a cool gal! Thanks again, Gemma!

2) Corn on the cob. How do you feel about it? People say it’s a quintessential summer BBQ food, and I guess I agree, but I’m not head over heels for it. Stuff also gets stuck in your teeth when you gnaw it off the cob. HOWEVER, when you cook it in milk and butter with a sprinkle of sea salt (as suggested by Jo)…then I’m like a woodchuck eating the corn off the cob.

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3) My tailbone has been hurting and I have no idea why. It started out as almost a relieving feeling whenever I sat down after standing for a while, but now it just hurts. A good ol’ Google search gave me the 411; My pain could be due to pressure, injury, childbirth, or a tumor.

I like to think that the cause is pressure or injury, but who knows? My dad might be suspicious that I birthed a baby.

4) Back to food. I had the most barbaric eating experience of my life last night, thanks to these lettuce wrap tacos.

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this x4

Attempt to wrap the darn (delicious) thing ➔ stuff falls out and juice starts rolling down my arm. Bite the darn (delicious) thing ➔ stuff falls onto the plate/table and all over my face. Try to get a bite of tomato, cheese, meat, barley, lettuce, greek yogurt, and cheese all in one bite ➔ end up getting some of my hair in my mouth and looking like a squirrel packing acorns in its mouth.

Tacos are worth it. (Next time, real tortillas. We just didn’t have any this time.)

5) I ate this dinner in complete solitude, so I didn’t scar anyone for life with my horrendous manners, in case you were concerned.

6) Speaking of acorns though… I’m excited for autumn now! Our summer was fairly mild overall, but a few cooler days that we’ve had recently are leaving me longing for cool, crisp temperatures. I know Amanda agrees with me on this one 🙂

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yesterday’s breakfast made me think of autumn too

7) Speaking of fall… Move-in day for college is in less than two weeks. I wanna scream and shout and let it all out—the nervousness, the excitement, the EVERYTHING.

8) I feel like I need to unplug from reading blogs and from blogging in order to get everything on my to-do list done every day, but I like you guys a lot, so it’s hard.

9) I’ve developed a new “beauty mark” (or sun spot?) on my arm, and I’m trying really hard to accept the fact that it’s now a part of me, especially as my thumb birth mark starts to disappear. Out with the old, in with the new?

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superbly dry hands = story of my life

Is this a sign? A symbol for a new chapter in my life? What is the MEANING?

9) Totally kidding about the meaning. I couldn’t really care less.

10) Dad and I are headed up to Ontario on Saturday to visit my relatives for the weekend! Road triiiiip (<— said in the most white girl accent imaginable)!!!

Hope you all have a fantastic day! Keep your head up, it’s almost Friday 🙂

So tell me:

Do you like corn on the cob?

Do you ever eat something so messily that you question your civility?

Have you ever developed new beauty marks or have you ever lost birth marks?