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!

 

 

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Current Mood(s)

It’s been a funky weekend.

My mood is currently a slurry of the following:

Upset, confused, uneasy, and heartbroken by the shootings (Christina Grimmie + mass shooting at Pulse) in Orlando this weekend.

I’m having a hard time just typing this blog post, because I’m watching several videos, reading tweets/statuses/articles, and just grappling with the whole situation and with the state of the world. May God be merciful to all, and may He grant rest to the souls of those who died and console their loved ones.

Friends, keep loving more deeply every day. Reflect on your purpose in this world. I don’t mean to be preachy right now, but when it comes to life and death, it’s important to ask yourself: What if my life on earth ended today? 

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Enraged, saddened, yet awe-inspired by the powerful letter the Stanford rape victim read aloud to her attacker.

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Unsure if cutting down on dairy is helping my tummy troubles. I’m currently drinking Lactaid milk (surprisingly, it’s exceptionally tasty milk) and avoiding Greek yogurt and cheese. I think I feel better with less Greek yogurt in particular (*tear*).

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the day before my mom picked up some Lactaid // carbs+pb isn’t the same without a glass o’ milk

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leftover green banana pancakes + banana cream sauce + glass o’ Lactaid (← doesn’t have the same ring to it)

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overnight oats made without Greek yogurt but with extra Lactaid milk, chia seeds, and half a scoop of vanilla protein powder — not bad!

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classic banana egg white oats (video tutorial coming soon!)

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baked banana bread oatmeal for this week’s breakfasts

I’m also unsure because I’m weak. I had a tiny bit of ice cream Saturday night with our leftover apple strudel from the farmers’ market 🙂 And I had a few cheesy jalapeño Popcorners yesterday.

I didn’t keel over or anything though, so it’s all good.

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Another likely culprit is definitely stress. I don’t notice my stress, but I think my body/mind has objectively been stressed these past few weeks.

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All that being said…

I’m ashamed and disappointed in myself. Honesty is the best policy. I feel ashamed that maybe my tummy troubles were actually coming from a few too many days of eating until I was stuffed, even if it was just a bunch of vegetables.

I have definitely not been binging by any means, but I do know that I sometimes stress eat and/or eat too quickly when I’m stressed. I was struck by the possibility that maybe my insides haven’t been cooperating because I just haven’t been too kind to them in regards to the volume I eat.

So I’ve been more aware of my stomach cues (without worrying about calories or anything), which (DUH) has been helping me feel more comfortable. I’m tempted to beat myself up about my recent eating habits, but I know that will just do me a disservice. Evaluate, learn, make the changes, and move on.

Somewhat off topic: Lunches these days have been all about eggs, which I find are easy on my stomach.

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two egg omelet with greens and onions + cherry tomatoes + avocado toast

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avocado toast with sunny egg and sriracha (among other things) for lunch on Saturday

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delicious bowl of quinoa, roasted broccoli, sautéed greens, onions, cherry tomatoes, chorizo + sunny egg + sriracha added post-pic

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Thankful that my body can move and exercise. I always try to be, but I’ve had to especially remind myself to be thankful this weekend because of some recent body image issues that I’ll talk more about tomorrow.

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Mom and I have been doing 7 minute workouts and Pilates together. So wonderful to move and groove with Madre.
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Working at a rehabilitation hospital has also done wonders for my perspective on physical ability, movement, and health.

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scene at lunch break

Saturday’s workout was a doozy! 4 rounds for time:

  • 10 burpee tuck jumps
  • 20 crazy Russian twists (10 each side, 15#)
  • 30 side jump lunges
  • 40 air squats with side leg lift
  • 50 mountain climbers

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HUSTLED on those last squats and mountain climbers when I saw that I could finish at 20 minutes

I did this yoga video yesterday, since everything was sore and my body had been craving good, organ-nourishing twists.

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Happy that I get to spend quality time with my parents on the weekends. We went out for sushi on Saturday night after Mass, followed by an evening walk.

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Mom and Pop’s sashimi for two

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cutest soy sauce dish

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my order: “Soho roll” (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, rice, roe, wrapped in soybean paper) + eel cucumber roll

Ain’t nothing like gooooooood sushi.

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Excited for friends and family in their adventures and endeavors. It’s so cool to see loved ones explore the world, learn, grow, and allow God to work through them.

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So there’s a lot happening in the head and the heart right now. A lot of it is growing pain, I think, which is encouraging and comforting. God is good, always.

I’m sorry if this post seems like a big, negative smash on your Monday, but that’s not my intent. This is just a reminder to myself and to all who read this that we need to support and uplift one another. Joy, beauty, heroism, and love exist, and it starts with you.

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So tell me:

What are your current moods?

Have you ever gone through periods of “meh” eating habits, even if you have a healthy mindset?

What are you thankful for today?

What is the best thing you did this weekend? Mass + dinner and walk with the parents ♥︎

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See Ya Later, Boston

I’m back home in New York!

Where there is a kitchen and where the toilet paper is thick enough to use only three squares instead of seven.

That being said, I actually consider Boston my second home (maybe even just “home” now), since I do spend 8/12 months there. I also feel that the people I’ve met at BU are truly my second family. And I’m gonna cut the sap right there before I start crying and you start cringing.

Even though I’m not going to be living at “home” in Boston for another 8.5 months (oh my gosh) because I’m going to Dublin in the fall, I tried my best to maintain a “see ya later” attitude rather than a “goodbye” attitude, especially when it came to leaving friends.

My last few days in Boston were wonderful, spent with many people I love, and for that I am so grateful.

On Thursday, Rachel and I walked and talked for 2 hours, more or less. The weather was just perfect. We also watched The Parent Trap that night, which was a fantastic choice.

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My favorite moves of the week: Hillary’s Dirty Burpee Workout on Saturday morning. I had to dodge lots of families who were hanging out by the river for graduation festivities, but it was like an agility obstacle course, ya know? There were also so many other people working out too!

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last time workout there for a long time

That workout took everything out of me. The burpees felt like a break in between the .25 mile runs, which is evidence of how much little I run.

I tried this Aussie yogurt from our campus market store, since I had some dining points left to use. It’s called Noosa and it’s some of the richest, most delicious yogurt I’ve ever eaten. But I’m probably never going to have it again because I’m too cheap and buying individual cups of gourmet yogurt doesn’t seem very economical.

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I also finished up some Nature’s Path multigrain wild berry freezer waffles for breakfast one morning. Topped with pb and banana, naturally.

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On Saturday night after Mass, our Catholic Center chaplain, Fr. Barnes, hosted a potluck dinner for all the non-seniors who were still on campus. ‘Twas a lovely evening. We started with cheese and crackers (arguably the best appetizer of all time). My friends Casey and Fiona came through with some smoked gouda, brie, and sharp cheddar #BLESS.

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My friend Nico brought quiche, which made me squeal.

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Fr. Barnes made us the most satisfying spaghetti ever. Plain spaghetti tossed in olive oil with fresh tomatoes, grilled corn, raw garlic, Italian sausage, and basil. KILLER. I roasted some balsamic brussels sprouts and green beans to go along with it.

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“Look bourgeoisie.”

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Chef Barnes and Casey— two great people (p.s. Fr. Barnes has an awesome blog)

On Sunday morning, I attended the graduation for the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with some friends to support more friends. I hope we embarrassed them by how loudly and obnoxiously we cheered.

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Mom and Pop so generously drove up to Boston just to help me move out and drive me back home. What a lucky girl I am.

We ate dim sum for lunch and then hit the road. Back on the home front, I had/still have a lot of unpacking to do, but I got to cook! Honey mustard paprika salmon + honey balsamic roasted green beans and asparagus (can you tell that I like roasted things in balsamic?). Mom made quinoa too.

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I didn’t take a pic of the roasted veg

In the midst of unpacking, I saw that Emily from Beauty in Christ sent me the sweetest package! Nuttzo + homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! She’s so good to me.

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Of course, I microwaved and ate one of her cookies for dessert, and they are seriously some of the best peanut butter chocolate chip cookies I’ve ever eaten. UGH. Thank you so much, Emily! ♥︎ I highly recommend checking out her blog if you love good reflections and inspiration regarding body image and ED recovery + beautiful things/positivity in general.

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These next few days I will be with my friends Fiona and Rachel in upstate New York! I won’t have service, which is honestly a blessing, because I need to get my eyes off pixels for an extended amount of time. I’ll catch up with you guys soon though!

Hope you have a great week! Squeal with excitement over things like quiche.

So tell me:

Do you feel like you have/ever had a “second home” somewhere? I do still love home in NY and being with my parents ♥︎ Love you, mom and pop.

What is the best thing you ate this weekend?

Do you buy individual cups of yogurt or just big tubs like me? I buy individual ones if they’re on sale!

Home Is Where the Food Is

So much food, so little time!!!

That seems to be the theme whenever I come home. Not the worst situation.

I’ve been home for a little over two days, and I have definitely been soaking up some R&R, spending time with the ‘rents, eating mom’s home cooking, and utilizing the kitchen.

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Friday

My friends Joe and Louis let me hitch a ride with them back home since we all live fairly close to one another. We left Boston on Friday afternoon, bumpin’ some tunes, chatting about our lives, and criticizing Joe for his love of country music for the 4 hour drive.

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Madre prepared a fabulous dinner that was waiting for us when we got to my house. What a wonderful woman.

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She sent Joe and Louis home with fried rice and egg rolls, because you don’t leave her establishment without food.

The rest of my night involved laundry, reading blogs, and watching YouTube videos until 2 AM because I’m dumb.

Saturday

I woke up naturally at 8:30 on Saturday (weird, considering I went to sleep so late), so I took my time getting downstairs and deciding what to eat for breakfast. I get very pensive about breakfast when I’m home, especially if I’m only home for a few days, because I know that I have limited time to utilize the kitchen/time to make some of my favorite breakfast recipes.

I was in the mood for either pancakes or oatmeal. But I can do regular oatmeal in my dorm any day… homemade pancakes though? Girl.

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I used The Baker Mama’s recipe for whole wheat banana pancakes, which were fluffy and delicious. I had three (+ another baby one) with blueberry Chobani, peanut butter, and fresh blueberries. Served with a glass o’ milk.

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WOW. I keep staring at this picture and reminiscing on the amazingness of this breakfast.

I think I caught up on some more blogs and took a nap before interviewing my mom for my Behavioral Biology of Women term paper. It was fun to hear all her stories! Lunch happened sometime in there.

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sautéed spinach, avocado, egg, and sriracha in a Flatout wrap + too many snacks to count

I got to move and groove in the basement for a bit as well! I worked on pull-up/chin-up negatives, pushups, and wall walks before doing a 20 minute circuit (and then stretching! #PTtobe).

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We went to Mass at night and then came home for dinner to make our way through some of the leftovers from Friday night.

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hodgepodge of noodles, spaghetti squash, tofu, fish, and vegetables topped with sriracha (the condiment of the gods) + a bunch of unpictured crackers with eggplant dip

Dad and I decided to watch Eddie the Eagle later that night at the theater, which was a good choice! An entertaining, feel-good kinda movie (with British accents, so +100).

Upon coming home, I ate another pancake with peanut butter, dried figs, and a glass o’ milk. 😀

Sunday

Smoothie Sunday (#smoothiesunday?)! This was an overnight oat smoothie (same recipe as this one) topped with granola that my dear friend Emma gifted me! (Catholic friend giving granola made by Catholic monks to fellow Catholic friend. How Catholic.)

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Fast forward through some relaxing reading, school reading, and blog reading… My parents and I went out to lunch at a seafood restaurant thanks to— the one and only— Groupon.

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Their warm sourdough with a sprinkle heavy dose of pepper to start.

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I went with the prix fixe option since it was the best deal. For appetizer I got the salad of the day, which was arugula with bell peppers, tomatoes, feta cheese, candied pistachios (!!!), and a lemon vinaigrette. It didn’t look like all that much at first, but it tasted great!

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For my entree I ordered the scallops with mushroom risotto. I also helped my mom with some of her lobster ravioli and had a bite of my dad’s parmesan-crusted cod. It was all pretty darn tasty!

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We took most of my risotto to go, along with the dessert that came with my prix fixe (pistachio cheesecake!) because a) I was full, b) we were in a rush to go to a concert, and c) we knew there would be cookies at the concert reception.

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It was a benefit concert to help support the Maryknoll Sisters’ global outreach mission. A local orchestra performed some awesome classical and cinematic pieces. My fave was the Jurassic Park piece at the end (mostly because it was the only one I could recognize, but also because it was spectacular).

During intermission, these happened.

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Beautiful mini desserts!!! I got a plate for myself and then had a bite of, like, five different cookies from my mom’s plate.

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Ugh, so good. The sisters baked all of them!

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Back at home, I changed into comfy clothes and went on a 3 mile walk around the ‘hood while listening to the latest Girls Gone WOD podcast. I ate a light dinner at around 8 since I was still kind of full from our big, late lunch.

And here I am typing up this blog post. It’s taken me two hours to type up this little recap. I’m queen of getting sidetracked (aka dancing to music and texting my friend about exploding stars).

The funny thing is that I had several different plans for spring break including a possible mission trip to Ireland or Guyana. Then I planned for a weeklong retreat after the mission trips didn’t work out, but the weeklong retreat was canceled, so then I was left with little to work with. Home has been a nice treat though ♥︎

Hope you all have a mighty fine Monday!

So tell me:

What is the best thing you ate this weekend? 

Oatmeal or pancakes?

Are you a fan of country music? 

Are you a fan of orchestra concerts? They’re not my number one activity of choice, but I can definitely enjoy and appreciate the music!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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!?

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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?