Joyful Exhaustion

So I cried on Sunday night.

Crying is pretty much a weekly occurrence just to let out all the emotions that have built up from the week, which might sound like there’s a problem that I need to fix, but crying is a very normal and therapeutic thing for me. Sometimes I cry by myself, and sometimes my parents kindly let me cry irrelevantly in the middle of our conversation (love you, Madre and Pop).

Needless to say, it’s been a long week. I started developing a very “woe is me” mentality by the end of the weekend, but the more I pray and talk about what I’m feeling with others, the more I realize that I have been given nothing but love through the people and circumstances God has placed in my life.

9 hours of sleep on Sunday night wasn’t a bad thing either.

Besides keeping up with school, here are some other things that have kept me joyfully exhausted lately:

1) Grabbing a cheeseburger with Fr. Barnes (the priest at our Catholic Center) for lunch on Thursday.

2) Gearing up for Holy Week!

3) Making time to spend with friends, even if only at the dining hall. This dining hall dinner involved double the carbs, which meant double the fun.

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seafood and sausage paella, so fancy!

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cheese ravioli

4) Cooking allllll the things at work, which gets so tiring after 5+ hours! I have so much respect for chefs and stay-at-home mothers/fathers. Yeesh.

5) Colby from You Make You (@be.happyhealthyfit) came to Beantown this weekend!! She crashed at my (now roach-free!) place, which meant a lot of quality time together 🙂

Some scenes from our foodie/fit/fun adventures:

Salads + corn bread at the food court on Friday night, followed by some bona fide college comedy.

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We had some study sessions. This one featured a Quest cinnamon roll cereal bar that Colby gave me. It totally brought me back to the cereal bars of my childhood.

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Friends who sweat together…

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 (even though we were both really sore this day)

Nothing some good pho can’t fix! This was my first time at Le’s, and it crushed the game.

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We split an XL bowl of chicken pho…

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…and a pork/shrimp vermicelli bowl, all for a grand total of $20! College wallets rejoice!

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We finished almost all of it.

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But our dessert stomachs were ready for [vegan] ice cream. Colby is sadly allergic to gluten and dairy, so FoMu was a Godsend.

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FoMu serves vegan, coconut milk-based ice cream. I got strawberry (per the server’s recommendation) and “f’oreo” in a waffle cone.

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Verdict? Delicious, rich, and creamy! But you have to be okay with coconut, because you can definitely taste the coconut in all the flavors.

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Colby got peanut butter (made with Teddie’s pb!) and strawberry

Then Colby spotted this gluten-free, vegan ice cream cookie sandwich and, being allergic to dairy/gluten and being deprived of places like FoMu at her school, she said, “when in Boston…”

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So we split it 🙂 (’twas a whopping $7+ though, what the freak!?)

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We took an Uber home because a) very full; b) raining.

Ugh, it was so fun spending the weekend with Colby. She is such a kind and genuine soul, and she has a refreshing presence in the healthy living social media world. I love you and am so honored to have spent this time with you, Colby!

6) This is the opposite of exhaustion, but shoutout to Megan for being the best roommate and always cleaning up our apartment without complaining or really saying anything. I see ya and appreciate you greatly, girl.

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egg in a hole on my Rainforest Cafe plate // Megan: “you have to see the logo if we want to be endorsed”

7) Workout/Bible study on Sunday mornings! This week, we had a great conversation about combatting the fear of living with our own selves.

8) Brunch with my fellow future PT friend, Selena! We went to Tatte on Sunday, and it was glorious.

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I recommended that Selena get the shakshuka, which is what I got last year. She loved it!

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And I got the turkey B.L.A.T (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato), which was fan-freaking-tastic. Thick cut applewood bacon, chipotle mayo, toasted and buttered multigrain bread MMM. Finished every last bite!

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Of course, we finished our meals with a pastry from the bakery. She got the creme brûlée croissant (!!!), and I got the pear almond muffin. Both were incredible.

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8) Lots of gross anatomy studying. We already have another exam next week?

9) Giving tours in the snow and the sunshine. This spring weather is sloooooooooooowly but surely coming along.

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10) Keeping up with relationships with friends, family, and God. I often take advantage of one or the other, but I am constantly reminded of how precious these relationships are.

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So my exhaustion is mostly first-world-induced, I know. But fast-paced, privileged lives can be surprisingly threatening to true peace and joy, which can best be found in the silence and simplicity of God’s Love.

Hope you all have a great Tuesday!

So tell me:

Have you felt super busy/exhausted recently?

Have you ever tried vegan ice cream? 

Two things you’re grateful for!

 

 

Back in Boston: Same But Different

I think yesterday was the best first day of school I’ve ever had.

And I think it’s because I felt the least anxious I’ve ever felt on a first day of school. There were still feelings of uncertainty and awkwardness in terms of the flow of my day, but there were also feelings of calm and peace. Praise God for that!

Our first day of classes here at Boston University was just one of many things that have been the same but different as I’ve settled back into my beloved Boston.

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Moving in was the same in that the ‘rents and I stopped by Super 88 for lunch after all my stuff was unloaded…

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I was so ready for my fave lemongrass chicken after driving three hours + carrying heavy things up the stairs

…but it was different in that I was moving into an apartment with kitchen things!!

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Also different — I’m not living with my fabulous roommate from the past two years, Jordan 😦 But I am with Megan, and I couldn’t be more grateful!! Rachel also lives down the street, which is a nice bonus 🙂

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I did NOT eat all that cilantro and basil in one go

I have the same bedding since freshman year, but my living space is quite different. There’s…well, space! In reality, I just didn’t overpack (for the first time ever), and I also forgot essential things like an umbrella.

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I’ve been overloaded with the same excitement that I always have when I reunite with old friends and meet new ones, but I also have a different sense of peace that I didn’t have at the start of my sophomore year. I’m not as concerned about impressing other people, and I think I have lessons in humility (← GREAT read) to thank for that.

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lunch at Panera with a friend

I am so thrilled to have FitRec again, where I can do some of the same moves and grooves I used to do last year (I ♥︎ bodyweight/luggage workouts, but equipment is fun too). At the same time though, I’m approaching FitRec with a different perspective now. I feel like I can be more creative with my workouts, since I lived without a gym for the past eight months, and I go into the gym with a “less is more” attitude. Like, I don’t need to squat, use the rower, and the BOSU ball in one workout just because they’re all there.

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Also different — Rachel convinced me to run with her. She’s training for a 10K and she’s still on her easy runs, so I can tolerate that.

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run 3 min, walk 2 min x3 // “If you can’t do that then you need to go to the doctor.” – Rachel

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Found this at FitRec on Wednesday. Peep the second line. Think I could pass for age 4?

I’m tempted to keep my same flakiness when it comes to committing to plans. “Maybe I’ll go,” said Alison always. JUST COMMIT. That is something different I want to work on. Like sleeping over at Rachel’s place on my first night here, even though I was falling asleep in my dinner beforehand.

Cooking at college is different, since I’ve always had a regular dorm and a meal plan, but that just means I can eat the same things I do at home now! It is different that I have to come to the apartment all the time now though. I almost never hung out in my room the past two years in college.

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leftover pho from Super 88 with all the herbs

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you know it 🙂

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the only plates I brought were these Rainforest Cafe ones, and I don’t know why

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my aunt’s homemade banana bread + pb

I want to attack this semester with the same diligence that got me through school up to this point, but I also want to look at my days differently. I don’t want to be busy just because everyone else is or because I want to feel like superwoman. I do want to be productive and live each day with purpose.

That may involve going on prayerful walks between classes, rather than stressing about printing the 13488705 pages of notes that everyone else already printed for gross anatomy (people went HAM, holy smokes). Also different — not freaking about what other people are doing for class.

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It’s okay if I have five or four or even three things on my to-do list. I hope to do those things well, take time to fill myself (prayer, exercise, proper meals, sleep), and take time opening my mind and heart to what others might need during their day.

I’ve always thought that I was being selfish, or at least indulgent, if I didn’t fill up my days with work, but like many a wise (wo)man has stated, we can take care of others and do a better job if we take care of ourselves. Thanks, Lyss and Jen for that reminder as well ♥︎ This doesn’t mean that we need to avoid hard, long days like they’re the plague, but allowing ourselves mental, physical and spiritual space is necessary to tackle both the good and bad days.

Lord, how can I best serve you today?

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on living each day well?

What is one thing you cooked this week?

Do you ever get overwhelmed at the gym? Or with seeing new people?

Universal Studios + Killer Brunch

And when I say “killer,” I mean this brunch could actually shorten your lifespan.

Monday

Our week started off on a delicious but entirely unhealthy note at Hash House A Go Go for an early brunch. Ben found this place on the internet, intrigued by the epic portions and ridiculous dishes.

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I ordered the mushroom, artichoke, sundried tomato, spinach hash, which came with two eggs and a biscuit the size of a baby’s head. And some melons for good measure!

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I ate all the eggs and veggies and a lot of the potatoes before having a whole piece of Madre’s banana pecan French toast.

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And then several bites of this heart-stopper that Ben ordered:

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SAGE. FRIED. CHICKEN. EGGS. BENEDICT.

I stop breathing just fathoming it, but it was darn tasty. Mashed potatoes, two huge biscuits, a large fried chicken breast (hey, healthy breast meat!), maybe four scrambled eggs, a tarp covering of cheese, and a special hollandaise that flowed like a river over it all.

Ben did a pretty good job with it! He nixed the thick layer of cheese + all the hollandaise on top of the cheese + a lot of the potatoes + I helped him with a lot of his biscuit (which was amaaaazing with the sauce), but he still crushed that beast.

We didn’t eat real food again until 10 pm that night.

After that brunch of a lifetime, Madre and Pop dropped Ben and me off at Universal Studios for the day! I’ve been several times in the past, but my main motivation for going this time was Harry Potter World, since I’m actually a fan now 🙂

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Of course, everything was decked out for the holidays.

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The weather was beautiful except for one spot of light rain during the day. Also, the lines were surprisingly quite short for most of the rides! I don’t think we waited for more than 40 minutes for any ride, which is almost unheard of for Universal at this time of year. Using the “single riders” lane for some of the rides also made things more efficient for us.

To Diagon Alley! (throwback to when I was here two years ago but didn’t know what any of it meant!)

“Lunch” for Ben and me was Butterbeer and ice cream from Florean Fortescue’s. I got the salted caramel blondie + apple crumble flavors in a cone, and they were both fabulous.

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What a nutritious day!!!

As I am reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix…

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Heh heh.

We made it to almost every single ride and show in the park, so we felt quite accomplished by the end of the day!

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After the “Macy’s Holiday Parade”, we phoned home (E.T. phone homeeeeee) and asked our parents to pick us up. It was so much fun to hang out with Ben all day and experience the excitement of being an HP fan in HP World!

Madre had some delicious dinner waiting for us at home at around 10:30pm, which involved ALL the fresh veggies (thank the Lord).

I stayed up late blogging, but I knew that I could sleep in a bit yesterday.

Tuesday

The sound of the maintenance guy in the house + lawn mowers + the sunshine all woke me up at around 9am, but I indulged in some lazy bed time with my phone. I actually don’t love doing that, but sometimes it just happens.

I did an 8 minute ab workout because I was feeling it and then headed downstairs to eat my favorite breakfast.

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overnight oats!

I worked on some job applications in the morning early afternoon (with a five minute workout in there as a work break) before Pop and I walked over to the driving range to hit some balls. (← Is that the phrase? Because I feel like it’s not.)

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Now, I don’t play golf. I don’t have hand-eye coordination. But when Pop invited me to the driving range (“It doesn’t hurt to know how to swing a club!”), I agreed. I’m glad I went, but MAN was I horrendous.

I sort of decently hit 3/35 balls. The other 32 either went ten feet in front of me or went somewhere with a piece of sod flying after it.

Then I showered, lunched, massaged, and got massaged. Rough life we have here.

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plus grapes, greens, and tortilla chips

The rest of the day involved some job searching, emails, attempting to work out (and not really feeling it), talking with the family, and eating dinner.

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Madre’s homemade pho — so good! plus leftover potatoes from Hash House and a leftover cinnamon roll for dessert

I learned that I do not want to eat a decadent brunch and ice cream for my body’s fuel, but I don’t regret my food choices. It was all a good ~experience~.

So tell me:

What is the most outrageous dish you’ve ever eaten/someone you know has eaten?

Have you ever been to Harry Potter World?

Are you good at golf? Help me, please.

Behind the Scenes #16: Little Italy to Maryland

Hello hello!

I did not mean to abandon you yesterday without notice, but on Wednesday night, I had jazz class, ate dinner, had a deep, teary (but good!) conversation with my dad for no particular reason, and then I went to bed. Thus, I’m here now to tell you what’s been up the past couple of days!

I’ll do this Thinking Out Loud style, even though I missed the linkup yesterday. Meep.

1. As I mentioned on Wednesday, my Italian class went on a field trip to Little Italy, and it was great! We went to the Italian American museum, we ate, and then…..we ate some more. It was also a gorgeous day for walking around. Who could complain about that?

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This isn’t even close to showing all the food. Heh heh.

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Hey, Arman, I can get my hands on some awesome gelato too! Salted caramel and pistachio. So dreamy.

2. I have officially kicked off my final search for the place I will be for the next four years. AKA college. I am currently typing up this post from College Park, Maryland since UMD is the first stop of the trip. Mom and I drove down here yesterday so we could attend the accepted students’ day today.

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 This is my third time visiting UMD, so we’ll see if I love it as much as I did the other two times! I’m just excited to be visiting my top three colleges this spring break so that I can make a decision. Eee!

3. This hotel has great lotion. I appreciate some nice-smelling, quality lotion, ya know?

4. Dinner last night was the bomb. We went to a restaurant super close to campus called Pho D’Lite, and I ordered the pork vermicelli bowl. The flavor of the pork was fantastic, and the crushed peanuts added such a great texture! The appetizer was lame though. “Asian Poppers” were more like greasy mystery meat nuggets.

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Yuck.

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YUM.

5. My butt hurts from sitting in the car all day. Just thought I’d throw that out there. My school friends would understand that completely.

6. We may or may not have brought peanut butter for breakfasts during our trip…

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Which means there is a possibility I’ll have some this morning since I need to eat up those English muffins and bananas we also brought along. So much for my personal nut-butter-less Fridays during Lent rule.

7. We’re headed for Virginia tomorrow so that I can check out UVA’s accepted students’ day on Monday, which they call “Days on the Lawn.” That kinda makes me want to dress up and have a tea party there. Do you think they would like me if I tried to organize that?

8. I’m gonna hit the hay now (typing this at night)— it’s been a long day! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

IT’S SPRING BREAK FINALLY!

So tell me:

What is your favorite gelato flavor?

Do you ever bring nut butter with you on vacation?

What are you doing this weekend?

 

 

Almond French Toast + Weekend at Binghamton {MIMM #24}

Happy President’s Day!

Hi, guys!

I hope you all had a fun Valentine’s Day and a restful weekend. I have a crapton of marvelous things to share with you all from this weekend, so let’s get to it!

MiMM

Thank you to Katie for another marvelous linkup!

A lot of bloggers have been recapping their awesome V-day happenings, and I’ve been commenting on them about what my Valentine’s plans looked like:

French toast for breakfast

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To make this:

  1. Whisk one egg. Mix in a splash of milk (enough to turn the egg a pale yellow color), dash of cinnamon + nutmeg, and a scant ¼ tsp. of almond extract. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.
  2. Heat up a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Soak 2 slices of hearty bread (day old/dried out preferably) in the mixture for about 30-40 seconds on each side.
  4. Add a small pat of butter or coconut oil into your heated skillet and add in the slices of bread. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Meanwhile, cut half a banana lengthwise and sear on the sides of the skillet along with the bread. About a minute per side.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with two more slices of bread (or however many slices until the egg mixture is all used up).
  7. Serve with desired toppings! (I love mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt, nut butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup.)

This was my Valentine’s Day gift to myself and it rocked my socks off. Thanks, Alison. You’re welcome, Alison.

Homemade cinnamon rolls (This recipe for the rolls [minus the egg— I don’t think you need it!] This recipe for the frosting)

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I couldn’t find our rolling pin, so I just used my mom’s pestle and wrapped it in wax paper. Gotta do what ya gotta do.

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These definitely turned out JUMBO-sized, but as Sir Mix-a-lot and Arman said, “I like big buns…and I cannot lie.” They did sink a little once they cooled though. I didn’t actually have a whole one with frosting and all until last night, and mannnnn was it dreamy. Like the recipe says, they really do taste like Cinnabon! 

Babysitting

The only stressful part about this was driving to the house because of all the snow (and I got lost), but otherwise, this guy was the cutest Valentine’s date ever. He was also the most well-behaved baby I’ve ever taken care of! I even got to do yoga after he went to sleep. Yeah, I did yoga at someone else’s house. Guatever. It was my dance director’s place, so it’s not THAT weird.

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{I received his mom’s permission to post this}

I believe Valentine’s Day was a success!

Early Saturday morning, my mom and I hit the slushy, snowy roads for Vestal, NY since this weekend was Binghamton University’s admitted students day!

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Pre-driving fuel: Greek yogurt (I go through containers like it’s my job), half sliced banana, leftover French toast, chia, hemp, sunflower seed butter

It was really not a good time to be on the roads, but the police cars, salt trucks, and ten other travelers on the road kept us company. Luckily, Binghamton is not terribly far from where we live, so we made it there in fair time.

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After checking into our hotel, we found a Vietnamese restaurant through Yelp called Nhu Y that was about 30 steps away, so we ate lunch there. We needed some pho to hit the spot on such a dreary day.

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Mom and I shared a bowl of beef meatball pho and a lemongrass chicken dish that was delicious! Binghamton isn’t really known for having the most amazing food, but this wasn’t bad at all.

After lunch, we veg-ed out in our room. When I finally had an ounce of motivation to get out of those fluffy hotel beds, I went to the hotel exercise room to do something.

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There weren’t many options, so I just did a 45-minute incline walk on the treadmill while watching the Olympics. By the way, workout selfies will forever make me uncomfortable. Check out that mini lion-mane.

The rest of our evening consisted of Mass at the Binghamton Catholic center (so lovely!), a sushi dinner, and late-night shopping at an awesome supermarket called Wegmans. We actually went a little crazy at Wegmans because it was like Target + Trader Joe’s in one. A dangerous duo (imagine me saying that in an Australian accent).

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Beautiful Mass as the snow softly fell outside— it felt like Christmas!

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Vestal sushi is sub-par since we’re so spoiled with the sushi around our area.

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We’re bread hoarders. (We freeze them for later.)

The next day was the Binghamton University Open House!

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Hotel breakfast: Oatmeal square, nut bar, orange

The parking and check-in were very well-organized, which is much appreciated. My favorite part of the whole day was probably the Welcome session though. One of the all-male a cappella groups called “The Crosbies” entertained us while we waited for the event to start. They are incredibly talented and hilarious entertainers!

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At 11:00, they introduced the BU President to make the welcoming address. Apparently, university presidents are superstars.

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Dying to shake hands with him 😉

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After his speech, along with a few others from different faculty members/students, we were allowed to break into different groups to attend sessions that interested us. Since it was FREEZING outside and I had already taken a campus tour in August, I passed on that. I decided on a general information session and the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences session.

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Of course, we tested out the campus food at lunch too.

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Sandwich made to order (chicken breast, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato on whole wheat) + minestrone soup

My meal was not too shabby, but the options in this dining hall seemed a lot more limited compared to that of University of Maryland. Other items available in this particular dining hall yesterday included pizza, made to order omelets and pancakes, savory breakfast/brunch foods, typical cafeteria hot foods (fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, etc.), and a salad bar.

Overall, my experience at the open house neither deterred me from Binghamton nor drew me to it. These are the main points I concluded from the weekend:

Pros: distance from home, value/price, community

Cons: academic programs may not be the best for my interest (physical therapy as of now), location is sort of out there

My mom and I agree that Binghamton University will probably not be the place for me. Right now, I think Maryland and Virginia are my top choices, and I’m visiting both in April. We shall see!

Ok, wow. Are you still reading this? 

This was definitely a longer post than usual, and most of you probably couldn’t care less about my college experience, but this weekend was definitely important in helping me discern my college decision.

Wait, I’m not done actually. So Blend Retreat 2014 tickets went on sale last night, and my mom and I are seriously considering going this year! If you don’t know what the Blend (blogger + friend = blend) Retreat is, it’s a blogger/blog-reader weekend retreat during which the attendees get to hang out, get active, get swag bags, and just have FUN. I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers attend in the past, and I can only imagine how amazing it would be to meet them in person!

You have no idea how excited I was to find out that my parents were on board with the trip. I could technically go by myself (I will have turned 18 just a week before the retreat— score), but my mom is totally up for going as well. The only thing that’s keeping us from registering right now is school. I have exams the Monday after we get back, and I’m just not sure if I could afford to go on a trip that weekend. It just depends on which subjects the exams are for, because then I can gauge how much pre-retreat-studying I should do. Schoooooool.

K, I’m done. Have a marvelous Monday, everyone 🙂

So tell me:

Tell me three things you did this weekend!

Are you planning on going to the Blend Retreat?!