13 States in the Past Week

It’s like I’ve traveled through colonial America.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Habari Gani, and happy holidays ALL AROUND!!! I hope you have all enjoyed your holidays and that they have been filled with good people, conversation, fun and food 🙂

Let’s catch up! As the title suggests, I’ve been hopping all over the place ever since I arrived in (1) New York from Ireland.

Monday

On Monday morning, Madre dropped me off at the train station so I could head up to Boston for a couple days! It seems petty, but I really wanted to see Rachel and all my friends at school before finals ended and everyone scattered for winter break. 

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salad that I packed in a tupperware for a midmorning snack

(P.s. the train left from (2) Connecticut, and went through (3) Rhode Island before arriving in (4) Massachusetts.)

Upon arriving in Boston, Rachel kindly picked me up at the train station. We hugged, [almost] cried, and went straight to lunch at a bucket list place. As we do. 

Al’s Cafe was a two minute walk from the station and perfect for us hungry ladies. The item to get was the large meatball sub. Since we were quite hungry, we also ordered a large steak and onion sub. 

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But guys, when they say “large”, they actually mean MAMMOTH. These sandwiches are the size of freaking baseball bats!! Two feet, more or less.

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We split them, and although we ate a decent portion of them, they still made for a good 2.5 meals. They’re super delicious and cheap to boot!

I saw as many people as possible while in Boston, and it was just delightful. I couldn’t stop smiling.

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my friend Kelsey so sweetly made a welcome home sign for me ♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎ 

Rachel’s Christmas gift to me was also spot on.

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Tuesday 

We tackled one more bucket list place on Tuesday morning – the Thinking Cup for a cup of coffee.

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I don’t drink coffee, so this was actually my first full cup of coffee EVER. I got a cappuccino, and it was…fine.

I had to add a little sugar to make it more palatable, but I finished the whole thing, so I didn’t dislike it.

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A tasty Greek yogurt cup for my real food.

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I had a little over 24 hours with Rachel, as I had to drop her off at the airport at 1pm, but those 24 hours were worth it!

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I was pretty sleep deprived but also antsy at this point, so I took a long walk after dropping her off, which made me feel a lot better.

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Then I went to Mass at the Catholic Center, followed by dinner with Joe and girl talk with Fiona and Kelsey before I had to head back to NY.

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‘Twas a beautiful thing to reunite with some of my favorite people in Boston, even if just for a couple days. 

Wednesday

I started my day with a Popsugar cardio-kickboxing-sculpt-something-basic-girls-do workout, and then my parents and I took my great-aunt out for a Korean lunch!

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Korean short ribs might be my favorite meat ever

In the afternoon, I had to unpack and re-pack for Florida and Texas (more to come on Texas later).

That night, we picked up my brother from work in the city and rode into the sunset for (5) Maryland, our first pit stop in our road trip to Florida. We passed through (6) New Jersey, (7) Pennsylvania, and (8) Delaware.

Thursday

My cousins came to our hotel to have breakfast with us, so I moved and grooves super quickly with this < 10 minute body weight countdown workout before going to the lobby for a nice complimentary breakfast (yay for Marriott!) with the fam.

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Always fun to see these cuties (and my aunt and uncle, who are also cute 🙂 ).

Then it was time to hit the road again! We drove through (9) Virginia before arriving in (10) North Carolina for the night. 

Cracker Barrel for dinner! One of the most satisfying meals there ever was.

complimentary biscuits and cornbread (praaaaise) + lemon pepper trout with sweet carrots, steamed broccoli, and mac and cheese + apple pecan crumble pie a la mode to share for dessert

Friday

I utilized the exercise room for a 20 minute workout before breakfast. 

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plus a hard boiled egg

The last leg of our journey included (11) South Carolina and (12) Georgia before we finally reached (13) Florida! A total of 19 driving hours later…yowza.

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lunch on the road — Madre’s fantastic Asian pork and egg sandwich on Jewish rye bread (what a tasty combo, honestly)

We celebrated our arrival with dinner at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant!

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Ben and I also watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that night, which was unfortunately quite unsatisfactory compared to the book. There’s just SO MUCH HAPPENING IN THE BOOK. 

Christmas Eve

I got to sleeeeeep innnnnn (sort of, I went to bed at 2 am).

We ate breakfast, cleaned the house, exercised, and also I massaged Madre on our new portable massage table (that I requested ever since I started giving massages in Ireland)!

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We went to the Christmas vigil Mass in the evening, which was wonderful and so joyful! The Lord has come!

Then we drove to our friends’ place for Christmas Eve feasting and fellowship.

Christmas Day

I was up and at ’em early(ish), not for presents under the tree but to prepare brunch for the family. Just as exciting, in my opinion! I made Ben my sous chef 🙂

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I made square, muffin-sized quiches, and Ben helped me make cinnamon rolls, Canadian bacon, and turkey sausage.

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individual quiches = more buttery crust surface area (I used this crust recipe and this quiche recipe as a guide)

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mini frittatas with the extra egg mixture that couldn’t fit into the quiches

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in pajamas — the best way to do Christmas brunch

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used the Minimalist Baker’s recipe!

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swoooooon

Not gonna lie, Ben and I crushed the brunch game. We were all mighty happy clams all day after this meal!

Other Christmas happenings: more massages, a nap, yoga, and a visit to Disney Springs after dinner! Disney Springs is basically like Disney’s own little city with lots of shops and restaurants.

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a couple white dudes freestyle rapping — entertaining for sure haha

We walked around for a good 2+ hours, weaving in and out of the surprisingly dense crowd.

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the decorations were beautiful! (Disney only does aesthetically-pleasing everything, or else it’s not Disney.)

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Hoooooooowee. That’s a lot of catching up to digest, isn’t it? Just like how my stomach has a lot of digesting to do from brunch yesterday STILL. More on that in tomorrow’s post though!

So tell me:

Two things you did for Christmas/the holidays this weekend!

Does your family have any Christmas/holiday traditions?

Something outrageous, funny, or exciting you witnessed in the past week.

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The Real Harry Potter World {Edinburgh, Scotland}

You guys rock.

Thank you so much for all your support and input on last week’s post ♥︎ Having a loving community is a gift that fights half the battle.

But it’s been a good while since we’ve caught up! The highlights of this past week include:

1) Celebrating two birthdays of people in my study abroad program. Last week was one with an ice cream sundae party. I brought the peanut butter (and original) Oreos, naturally.

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On that note, I’ve been eating a lot more chocolates than usual here in Ireland. I say I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but Cadbury has a way of making me [literally] eat my words.

Last night, a few of us went out to dinner for another birthday at an Italian restaurant. I got the linguine with meatballs in a tomato basil sauce. Mm.

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Happy birthday to the awesome ladies!

2) Finishing our last final on Friday. Oyyy that was a cram exam, but I think we all did well. Our professor went pretty easy on us, thankfully.

3) Visiting Edinburgh, Scotland!

Megan, Cristen and I packed our knapsacks and set off for Scotland on Friday evening. We started with a 20-piece chicken nugget order from Burger King to share at Dublin Airport for “dinner” first. Twenty pieces for only 5 quid! This is why fast food is a problem.

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But I had not eaten meat this processed and non-filling in so long, and I LOVED IT.

We had just an hour-long flight before we landed in Glasgow. Flights were oodles cheaper into Glasgow than into Edinburgh, but we still had to pay a little over £16 and 2 hours to get to Edinburgh from Glasgow. You could argue that “time is money,” but even the return flight times from Edinburgh weren’t great on Sunday, so I think we ultimately made the right decision.

(Plus, I had more time to read Harry Potter.)

A trip isn’t a trip for Megan and me until we run into some public transportation issue the night we arrive at our destination city. This time wasn’t so bad, but we took the last local bus in the wrong direction, so it took us probably 45 minutes more than it should have as we had to wait for the bus to turn back around.

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adventures with the front pack return

At least Cristen was still smiling. Megan on the other hand was crying and drying her tears with [clean] cat socks.

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she’s actually only crying because something was in her eye

The bus driver was very kind though, and he let us camp out on the bus for the whole round trip.

We finally arrived at our Airbnb pretty late at night, but all things cheered up (for Megan at least) when we discovered that the hosts had a nice cat.

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She was living her BEST. LIFE. I’ve never seen Megan come alive like this.

Sleep was short that night because we had to be up early for our day tour of the Highlands! The days are so short here too. The sun rises at 8:30 am and sets at 3:30 pm, so we entered and returned to Edinburgh city centre in the dark on Saturday.

This awesome breakfast spread from our Airbnb host put a little pep into our morning though.

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We took the Highland Experience Tour, which took us to Glen Coe, Ben Nevis, Loch Ness, Inverness, and the Cairngorm Mountains. It usually does the route the other way around, but since daylight was limited, they started with Glen Coe and and ended with Cairngorm Mountains, which we thought was wise.

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allllll the haggis at one of our short pit stops

After a couple hours of snoozing and listening to our Scottish tour guide, we arrived at Glen Coe.

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“Three Sisters – Faith, Hope, and Charity”

The history of these places is fascinating (even though I was a sleep/daydreaming for half of it, the parts I caught were cool)!

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our tour guide, Stuart, with everything Scottish you could ever imagine

Ben Nevis as the sun went down:

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Commando Memorial

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I’m gonna miss all the sheep in Ireland 😦

We had our longest stop at Loch Ness, so we grabbed some lunch.

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chicken, mozzarella, pesto sandwich

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very sub-par carrot cake, but it was still carrot cake!

Then we went in search for the Loch Ness monster (aka Nessie).

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idk why I made myself so vulnerable to Nessie here

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There were some trails we hiked up that may have led to lookout points of the lake. We started on them but didn’t have time to finish them, but it was still SO nice to move the legs after sitting on the bus all day.

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Thereafter, the sky darkened quite quickly, so here was my last photo of the trip — Inverness, the capital of the Highlands.

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the RIVER Ness

It was kind of humorous coming back to Edinburgh, because although it was pitch black outside by 5 pm, Stuart kept saying things like, “If you look out to your right, you’ll see ___. It’s a little hard to find it in the dark.”

Poor guy was probably just obligated to say those things, because there was no chance we could see anything at that point.

We arrived back to Edinburgh at around 7:30 pm, so we searched around for a restaurant (NOT a pub) for a while before choosing Mum’s, a cozy British comfort food restaurant.

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We needed to go to a British/Scottish restaurant because Cristen and I were dead set on trying haggis. If you don’t know what haggis is, read here (unless you’re extremely queasy with weird foods).

Mum’s fortunately had an appetizer portion of “haggis, neeps, and tatties” (aka haggis, parsnips, and potatoes), so we all shared that.

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it also came with gravy on the side

It’s not bad at all! I like it, but I don’t love it. I would eat it, but I wouldn’t order it. It tastes like pate + shepherd’s pie. That doesn’t sound like the worst thing, right?

My main course blew the haggis out of Loch Ness the water though. I got the venison and redcurrant pie with veggies and chips, and it was everything I had been wanting in my 3.5 months in Ireland/the UK.

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I didn’t think I would be able to finish the pie, but I totally did. The puffy crust was absolutely perfect, and the stew underneath was savory and seasoned just right.

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Mmmm the wannabe-British-speaking part of me was comforted for sure (p.s. I have no idea how to speak in a Scottish or Irish accent still).

Cristen also ordered a glass of rosé for us all to share at the end. I had one sip. Not my jam.

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We finished our night with a short stroll around city centre and the Christmas market right before it closed.

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We knew we had to come back to see it in full the next day!

Sunday morning, we got up fairly early again to go to Mass in city centre at St. Mary’s Cathedral. Then we met up with my friend Mayu and her roommate, who are both studying abroad in Edinburgh. Mayu and I know each other from high school and haven’t seen each other since graduation!

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We met up at a cute French cafe called La Barantine Victoria, where I had vegetable quiche and peppermint hot chocolate.

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It was so good catching up with her for a bit and meeting her friend!

After we parted, Megan, Cristen and I meandered our way through town via the Royal Mile.  There were a couple guys who were playing the bagpipes on the street, so our Scottish experience was complete.

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Edinburgh is such a cool city. The buildings are all old, gothic, and kinda dark, but it works. It’s not depressing; it’s mystical. (Fun fact: J.K. Rowling lives in Edinburgh, and you can definitely see the HP inspiration in this city. Maybe that’s why I love it so much?)

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We made our way back to the Christmas Market eventually, which was teeming with people of all ages, craft stands, and food stands.

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Megan and Cristen got some treats for themselves (including fudge and sugar roasted almonds), and I got these mini pancakes (of Dutch origin apparently) with Biscoff cookie butter drizzled overtop.

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These were so delicious!!! Freshly made, doughy, and satisfying.

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They’re ebelskivers, I think!

We ventured into SantaLand at the Christmas market too, but it was really just toddler land with overpriced rides.

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It was such a fun experience though! We definitely felt the warmth and excitement of the holidays 🙂

Other stops of the day:

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Edinburgh Castle

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we didn’t have time to go inside, unfortunately, but the view from the top was still magnificent!

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we didn’t have time to hike up Arthur’s Seat, but you can see it in the background!

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I also purchased a Scottish wool stole (large scarf) at one point during the day

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how thrilled do you think this new HP fan was to be petting a tawny owl in Edinburgh!?!?

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the moon hangin’ out at 3:30 pm

Before we departed Edinburgh for Glasgow airport again, we stopped by Oink for some pulled pork sandwiches to take away per our friends’ recommendations. Megan and I bought one each to eat at the bus station.

Warning: Vegans/Vegetarians/Animal Lovers, shield your eyes.

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I got my pulled pork with BBQ sauce and onion sage stuffing on a wheat bun. This was delicious!! Super cheap too!

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We said goodbye to the wonderful city that is Edinburgh and then headed “home” for Dublin. Real home is coming in just four days though, and I can’t wait 🙂

So tell me: 

Have you ever been to Scotland?

What is the weirdest animal-based dish you’ve ever eaten?

Have you ever been to a Christmas Market?

Two things you did this weekend!

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!

WIAW: Something Old, Something New

Howdy!

I want to thank you all for your support and advice yesterday. It’s assuring to hear that a lot of other people are going through similar experiences— it just goes to show how hard it really is to rest more and eat more!

Unlike last week’s WIAW, which was all about recurring food themes, I’m going to attempt to bring a little more variety to the table with some new foods and some foods that I’m bringin’ back from the past. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that I’ve been posting meals like it’s my job. Maybe one of these days I’ll actually post a picture of something other than food… But food is usually more interesting than, say, my face? Or the generic sunset/fresh snow/cat-all-up-in-my-grill picture? Not that those aren’t fun to look at though! I don’t know where I’m going with this. I’m done. Food pictures.

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Check out Jenn’s linkup for some more spice of life!

{These are some eats from different days in the past week!}

Breakfasts

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Gina’s cookie dough cereal with strawberries and banana

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New: Love Grown Peach Almond Vanilla Hot Oats with a dollop of peanut butter and strawberries on the side

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New-ish: Greek yogurt with sliced banana, a strawberry banana muffin, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and a big spoonful of pepita sun seed butter. This was so good that I had it again the next morning…and again yesterday morning.

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Hot banana oatmeal in a cherry butter toffee peanut butter jar. RIP peanut butter jar.

Lunches

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Avocado toast, caprese salad, and two soft-boiled eggs with s+p

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New-ish: Turkey, cheese, lettuce, jalapeño greek yogurt dip panini + side salad with tomatoes and homemade peach jam vinaigrette

Snacks

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New: Bell peppers with jalapeño Greek yogurt dip from Costco

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New: Some bites of these Rickaroons that my mom bought via @Kayleale on Instagram. I’m telling you, my mom is a social media/foodie picture aficionado now.

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Giant, juicy oranges

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New: Strawberry banana muffins (used this recipe minus the streusel). Oh so wonderful!

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New: Not dried leaves…not goblin feet….Dried pears! Nothin’ but pears and they’re delicious, I promise.

Dinners

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New: Sushi date with a couple girl friends! Eel cucumber roll and Fantastic Roll (tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado, and marbled seaweed with a special dipping sauce). YUMFREAKINGTASTIC.

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Bringin’ it back: Kylie’s Whole Grain Crust Pizza Quiche! I made this once before, and I thought it was due time to make it again. I don’t make a recipe more than once very often!

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New: Homemade whole wheat crust margarita pizza! I was ridiculously close to tossing the dough when I made it, but I’m glad I stuck with it. It turned out quite tasty!

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A slice + side salad with some on-the-brink-of-too-smelly leftover salmon. 

Desserts

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More of these babies. {Recycled photo}

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Bringin’ it back: PEANUT BUTTER BANANA SOFT SERVE!!! With some Greek yogurt for added creaminess and protein. I’ll be adding the Greek yogurt from now on— so good!

I also want to add that my “little sister” from dance company, Lilly, tried overnight oats for the first time and LOVED them! I was a little too excited.

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In a sunflower seed butter jar, making it the optimal experience.

It was certainly nice to add some more fun flavors to my palate this week. Although, I could probably live off of just bananas, yogurt, avocado, brown rice, and grilled chicken.

Happy Wednesday! Yesterday was a half day because of the snow storm, and today may or may not be a two-hour delay…(I’m typing this on Tuesday night). Either way, stay safe and warm wherever you are!

So tell me:

Did you try any new foods this week?

Have you ever tried making a homemade pizza?

What kind of Instagram photos do you enjoy seeing the most?