Food Over Booze

My professor asked us to journal or blog for homework!!!

So now I won’t feel bad “productive procrastinating” when I blog. It is purely schoolwork 🙂

Friday

I started the morning with Lori and Michelle’s 18 minute plank workout. It is always killer.

Breakfast was my first overnight oats in Ireland! I hope I freaked people out with this.

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lots of peanut butter, banana, and raspberry preserves

This + a KIND bar on the bus fueled me well for our class field trip to Glendalough. Of course, it was the rainiest day of the entire week.

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I think I fell in love with Ireland on this trip. So much green and so many sheeeeeep!

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We made it through a couple of landmarks and a short hike before our tour guide gave us the option to either continue for another 1.5 hours or chicken out. I’m proud of our resilient group, because we were all down to keep hiking. Our tour guide saying, “It’s a Harry Potter-esque trail,” may have instigated the enthusiasm.

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I would have been miserable in the rain if the walk wasn’t so gorgeous. In fact, I have never used the word “gorgeous” so many times in a one hour period before.

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“This trail is gorgeous.”

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“These trees are gorgeous.”

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“This house is gorgeous.”

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“This waterfall is gorgeous.”

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“We are gorgeous.” (lol)

The word has lost all meaning.

But…this was GORGEOUS, guys.

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Totally worth the soaking discomfort and soggy chicken sandwich that I downed in the rain at the top of the mountain.

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bus snack feat. soaked wallet

Breakfast for dinner was the quick and lazy menu option of the night.

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I did manage to caramelize some onions and roast broccoli though.

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I went out to a bar that night with the rest of my classmates, and I was fully planning on buying a Ginger Jameson…but I was 100% NOT in the mood for a drink, so I didn’t get it. *sad trombone*

Instead, Megan and I got our share of booze by having sips of everyone else’s drinks. I discovered that I like mojitos!

I’ll buy my own drink one day, I promise.

Saturday

Money that I could have spent on booze was spent on food on Saturday. Food >>> booze. 

8 minute abs followed by a leisurely breakfast of hot banana oats cooked on the stovetop.

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A few of my friends and I walked to city centre since it was a gorgeous beautiful day. It was my ideal kinda day— lots of walking, exploring a new city, and eating good food with good people.

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handsome Irish men in a street fashion show

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“Hapenny” Bridge (Halfpenny Bridge)

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Temple Bar, which is an area and not an actual bar…

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I found a bakery called Queen of Tarts on Yelp when I was researching good bakeries back in the States, so I was stoked to visit while we were in city centre.

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I bought a huge blueberry scone and a slice of carrot cake, both to go. But look at this thing!!

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The kind lady asked, “Would you like that with butter and jam?” My heart.

Then for real food (sort of).

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The fries were subpar, but the fish with salt and vinegar and some tartar sauce was fabulous. We ate our lunch with this view.

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Then it was time to walk through Dublin Castle…

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…and Trinity University. I plan on going back to Trinity to see the Book of Kells!

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After almost getting lost on the way home, Megan and I finally made it back to the dorms. I played outside for a bit on the lush grass. I tried doing a workout, but my body was like, “Nay to that.” So I practiced handstands, pistol squats, and one-handed cartwheels (aerials one day maybe!).

I wanted green in my dinner:

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Then Megan and I warmed up our blueberry scones and added Kerrygold butter…

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…and raspberry preserves.

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The Irish do scones so right.

Then Megan and I spent over two hours making travel plans. Someone please be our travel agent and plan everything for us. We’re both indecisive and inexperienced, so planning anything is a game of, “Which airline? What’s cheaper? Is that safe? How does an Airbnb work?”

Sunday

Sleep in, work out for 20 minutes, eat yogurt, head to Mass.

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Then we brunched! I looked up the church and brunch place, choosing The Lovely Food Co.

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clipboard menus, much aesthetic

There was no question about what I wanted after skimming the menu. I went for the oak-smoked salmon and crab sandwich on their housemade soda bread.

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The soda bread was pretty dry, but it went perfectly with the flavorful crab and salty smoked salmon. UGH, so good. And it was less than 8€!

Madre was in town, since she’s taking a grand two week tour around Ireland, just ’cause {I’m here}. Megan and I visited her hotel for the afternoon and spent several more hours travel planning. So far, we have planned two weekend trips and three cities for our mid-semester Europe tour. Not too shabby, but it probably took way longer than necessary.

We had our second round of sweets from Queen of Tarts to fuel our travel planning 😉

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Someone teach us how to adult.

We decompressed with dinner at Sophie’s Bar and Restaurant. It was an early birthday celebration for Madre, but Madre also treated us. ♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎ Thank you, Ma!!

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we loved how they labeled the source of the butter

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smoked haddock risotto with teardrop peppers (so sweet and good!) and smoked cream to share for appetizer

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my corn-fed chicken (so tender and flavorful) with broccoli puree, broccolini, purple sprouts, and merlot vinaigrette

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Madre’s 8 oz. filet (melt-in-your-mouth) with black pudding mash (← black pudding bits in mashed potatoes, we think. it was good!)

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Megans’ fettuccine dish that she enjoyed!

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Madre’s choice for dessert: coconut parfait (more like a semifreddo) with pistachio ice cream and lime dressing

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they had swings by the elevators!

We also locked ourselves in the fire exit stairwell after dinner, but that’s a long story. It was so wonderful getting to see Madre all the way over here in Ireland. I’ll see her again when she gets back to Dublin after her two week tour!

Monday

First day of classes! I did a 30 minute HIIT workout in my room using resistance bands (that Madre brought me from home ♥︎) before eating breakfast and going to 2.5 hours of Contemporary Irish Society. We had a one hour lunch break, and then I had another 2.5 hours of Ethics in Healthcare. I think I’ll enjoy both classes and be especially challenged in the ethics class.

As much as I love eggs, buttered toast, and salad, I need to mix things up and go grocery shopping. One of the girls was making fajitas last night!

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But look at how golden the yolks are here.

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We also had our first fire drill as I was eating this dinner, but that’s okay. Safety and stuff, I guess.

Hope you all have a great week! Eat something with really good butter on it.

So tell me: 

Three gorgeous things you’ve seen recently.

Have you ever eaten scones with butter and jam? If you haven’t, you must. Kerrygold butter, preferably.

Are you good at making travel plans? Any tips for the rookies?

The Best Vacation Ever {Part 1}

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…I was wondering if after all these days you’d like to meet. To go over…EVERYTHING.

I couldn’t get it out of my head, I’m sorry. I’m done with that joke now.

But seriously, HELLO! I am no longer cruising through the deep blue sea, but I’m happy to be back to a routine. My family and our close friends were on the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas last week for a fantastic vacation. That ship is a city on water, guys. A freaking masterpiece.

Without further ado, here’s part one of three (maybe four?) recaps of just the highlights of what I deem to have been the best vacation ever. Grab some popcorn if you so wish.

Friday, July 1st

Pop and I had a 9 pm flight that was delayed for three hours (guess that’s a lowlight, not a highlight).

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We killed a little bit of that time by walking through the parking lot with our luggages. This was actually Pop’s idea! #PopMovesAndGrooves

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Saturday, July 2nd

Madre and Ben picked us up at the Orlando airport at around 2 AM. I was half asleep and groggy, but Pop was basically sprinting out of the gate to find them. In my head: “Pop, 2 AM is NOT a time to have pep in your step.”

Breakfast at around 9:30.

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quick cook steel cut oats with peach, banana, and nuts

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sunny egg

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a piece of “banana bread” (a strange but satisfying texture)

3 rounds of this circuit workout with a 36# bar. That Florida humidity makes me feel like a soggy vegetable.

Lunch before heading to Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park with Ben. He worked there last summer, so he got some free park pass perks, and I got to mooch off the benefits.

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There was a 1.5-hour thunderstorm safety closure, so Ben and I were sitting out in pouring rain in our bathing suits for a while, because we were wet anyway (we also forgot towels because we’re geniuses). But we still managed to ride all the slides once they reopened!

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Showered and dried myself with a single tank top.

Dinner at Crazy Buffet (pronounced cuh-RAZY, according to Ben) with good family friends! I ate one plate of real food, dessert second, and then another salad last. Needed to make sure I had room for dessert, ya know?

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Sunday, July 3rd

Early wake-up to drive to Fort Lauderdale for Mass before boarding the ship.

Once we met up with our family friends, we boarded and booked it straight for the lunch buffet. We were a little excited for the cruise food.

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The first of many. Lunches were usually all the veggies, some sort of curry with rice…

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…and a dessert that I really did NOT need to eat.

Our tiny stateroom was cozy, and our balcony overlooked the “Boardwalk” area of the ship. So cool.

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Of course, we had to explore this monster of a ship. I still don’t think I covered the whole entire thing over the course of a week.

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Pop was walking on the track at this time, I think #PopMovesAndGrooves

Oh man, this is where I start feeling sad because I miss it.

We were served a three course meal for dinner every. single. night. It was decadent and so delicious. You would think that I would feel full and bloated during the trip, but nay! On the contrary (ew, okay I’ll stop talking like that), my stomach felt GREAT the whole vacation. And I don’t care about having a flat belly, but it was actually flatter than ever.

Know what that means?

  • I’m not lactose-intolerant (I had so much ice cream on the cruise).
  • My bloating/GI discomfort comes from stress and eating as quickly as I can during my busy day.

Will work on that. But back to this cruise food. Three courses for EACH PERSON (sometimes even four if we were feeling two appetizers, because it was all included ← dangerous). Night 1:

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eggplant artichoke puff pastry tart

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orange “mojo” sauce pork chop

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carrot cake!

We also shared a lot of our food with one another, just so we could taste all the delicious flavors. Classy gluttons, I say.

I don’t remember what else we did that night, but I’m sure it was a blast.

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p.s. when we walked through this “Royal Promenade” area, there was ~included~ pizza, sandwiches, water, coffee, tea, desserts, and other snacks all day #help

Monday, July 4th

Breakfasts at the “Windjammer Marketplace” consisted of oatmeal with some combo of eggs, bacon, corned beef hash, and/or yogurt with fruit.

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topped with peanut butter later (yes, I did bring my own jar of Jif Natural)

First port — Nassau, Bahamas.

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“what do we do with it?”

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mannequin’s eyebrows impressively on fleek

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view from the ship as we sailed away

We didn’t do too much in Nassau except some walking and a little bit of underwhelming beachin’. It was a beautiful day though, and the waters were so clear!

Back on the boat, we celebrated America with some free pre-lunch flag cake that greeted the masses in front of Windjammer’s doors (not tantalizing at all for hungry tourists waiting on line for a table).

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‘Twas delicious cake, I must say.

Vegetables for lunch, please!

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salad, roasted carrots and sweet potatoes, turkey burger with mushrooms and caramelized onions

The fitness center on the ship was great. I think I was most excited about the kettlebells, which I used in my workout on Monday. There were also TRX’s, but the fitness center lady reprimanded me for using it without a certified TRX instructor.

I forget exactly what I did on Monday, but I know it involved kettlebell swings, pushups, sumo squats, Russian twists, jump lunges, and BOSU ball stuff.

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PSA: Stretch, por favor

Monday night was formal night! AKA the night Alison gets into something other than athletic clothes.

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Fun fact: We went on our first cruise ever with Christie and Monica (pictured above) and their parents 12 years ago. Naturally, we did a then and now photo.

Everyone nailed it, but I’m WAY off.

Dinner that night was delicious, but not quite as good as the first night.

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one of my favorite appetizers: “Roman Vignolo Salad” with arugula, edamame, green beans, tomatoes, prosciutto, artichokes, and parmesan

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sole with a tomato caper sauce

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butter almond ice cream

I believe we saw an acrobatics show that night— Royal Caribbean’s original “Blue Planet”. Very entertaining and impressive! Followed by a super late night comedy show, which made me laugh until my abs hurt.

Tuesday, July 5th

We were at sea all day, so we slept in before a sit-down breakfast to change it up a bit. We decided that we all liked the buffet more though (mostly because there were more options).

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smoked salmon and herb egg white omelette 

Ben, my uncle, and I gave the FlowRider a go later on. If you’ve never seen a Royal Caribbean commercial, the FlowRider is essentially a surfing simulator on the ship. There are two ways you can do it— boogie board on your stomach (easier) or surfboard on your feet (harder).

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I don’t know this girl, but this is what it looks like.

A few comments about the FlowRider:

  • It’s a lot harder than it looks.
  • 10-year-olds show me up.
  • Falling off doesn’t hurt, but being swooshed up to the top like a half-dead fish can be painful…

…and it did do some damage to my brother. Poor Ben dislocated his shoulder on his surfboard run.

I’ll spare the image for privacy reasons, but long story short: The doctor on board popped it back in (I contemplated popping it back in when he first told us about it, but…I’m not that dumb). He was given a sling to wear for a while, he lost a little bit of function (guess who cut his food the rest of the trip? :D), but he’s okay, thank God.

After all the excitement, I went to eat a late lunch by myself at Windjammer.

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A few activities and maybe a nap led us to dinner.

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Ben and I shared the caprese salad + the arancini for appetizer

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pork tenderloin with provolone potatoes (*angels singing*) and vegetables

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favorite dessert of the trip: bread and butter pudding a la mode ➔ it was like a cross between creme brûlée and bread pudding

While Madre and Pop were at the “Love and Marriage Game Show” at night, Ben and I decorated the stateroom for the ‘rents anniversary the next day. Ben was the brain behind the beauty of the setup!

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When Madre and Pop came back late that night, they were so surprised and touched. Woohoo! Happy 25th to the lovely couple 🙂


Part 2 coming tomorrow! Holy toledo, this is quite an epic recap.

So tell me:

Have you ever been on a cruise?

Does your stomach feel better on vacation, even with more food?

What did you Americans do for Fourth of July?

Have you ever dislocated your shoulder?

What was the best thing you ate last week?

More content = more questions for you. Let’s chat, please; it’s been a while!

Cool Fact About Thicker Thighs

I’m glad you guys have similar sentiments on becoming a grownup.

One thing that I definitely don’t mind about becoming a grownup is grocery shopping and cooking for myself…

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yesterday’s breakfast: full fat Greek yogurt mixed with chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia + banana, berry banana muffin, and peanut butter

So the hot weather took a turn for the CRAZY yesterday afternoon. The clouds were pouring like it was going out of style. I was driving 30-40 mph on the highway with my blinkers on, and visibility was maybe 10%. I thought the windshield might break because the rain was coming down so hard!

A thunder bolt from the fingertips of God seemed to strike right next to my car too, so that was exhilarating to say the least.

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While driving in the storm of the summer, I was listening to the Balanced Bites podcast (as requested by some of you!), and I learned the coolest fact from episode #191!

They talked about how having “nice, curvy, meaty thighs” as women is actually healthy. This is because the fat in our thighs is an indicator of “being a healthy, fertile woman.” Our thigh fat stores DHAs, which are amino acids that promote good neural developments for babies in the womb, and having those extra stores will contribute to a healthy baby.

Neat, eh? This isn’t to say that having naturally thin thighs is a bad thing, but having thicker thighs (holla!) is definitely not a bad thing either! Basically, just embrace your legz, ladies (and gents!).

My legs were fed by this delicious dinner last night:

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Jen’s honey balsamic chicken with pan-roasted brussels sprouts. Simple and tasty!

And lastly, here are this week’s moves and grooves! Wow, this post is all over the place, but it’s Friday. Everyone is loosing it, right?

weekly moves and grooves

  • Friday: 60 min. yoga
  • Saturday: Walk and lower body exercises every once in a while
  • Sunday: 8 minute abs
  • Monday: Handstands + bridges and leg lifts
  • Tuesday: Gymnastics warmup + 20 min yoga
  • Wednesday: Random exercises and stretching
  • Thursday: Rest

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Me when I’m blogging:

in the zone

A more pleasant face than I was expecting…usually I have total RBF (hi, Amanda 😉 )

Photo credits to madame Daliza:

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Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

So tell me:

Have you ever driven in torrential rain?

Which body part do you embrace, despite some insecurities? My legs used to be my least favorite part of my body, but now I’ve never been so grateful and confident in how strong and supportive they are, regardless of their size/shape.

What are you doing this weekend? I have a very special visitor coming in tonight! 😀

Behind the Scenes #28: My Strange Addiction

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With my headstand/handstand buddy, Amanda!

1) Another reason to love Thinking Out Loud: I don’t have to think of an intro. The DREADED INTRO.

2) I’ve been using a weekly planner to get back into the groove of physically writing down reminders, rather than typing them on my phone. There’s something about putting a pen to paper and making an actual checkmark that makes me feel so official and accomplished.

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Bonus points if I’m using a retractable ballpoint pen.

3) I did 300 double unders on Tuesday, and heyyyyoooo that stuff is harder than it sounds. I also did it after some fun moves inside that involved pushups, triceps dips, and super lame toes to bar (those were also a struggle), so my arms were noodly. It was fun though! It was drizzling too, which added serenity to a rather difficult jump rope experience.

4) Shoulders are sore from said moves.

5) Along with jumping rope and swimming at the beach in the rain, I’ve added ultimate frisbee to the list.

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6) I could stalk Kath’s old blog posts and Cait’s Instagram posts ALL DAY because of their delicious-looking food and clean photography. It’s “my strange addiction.”

7) I tried hemming one of my shirts for a whole hour the other day, and it looked like a 5-year-old did it. Actually, a 5-year-old could have probably done a better job. My mother laughed at it with me, and we decided to take out the thread completely and just let it hang without the thread, because anything would look better than my sewing job.

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[source]

8) My friend gatherings with Jeannine, Je’lyn, and Veronica seem to always revolve around ice cream. I’m going to agree with Jeannine with her statement, “I’m not opposed to ice cream.” Just putting that out there, but I think y’all knew that.

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9) Waterworks started flowing when my parents were talking about how my brother probably won’t be living at home for good ever again. We were just dancing to Pokemon songs in front of a video camera, like, YESTERDAY.

But this conversation was literally yesterday.

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I couldn’t resist making the song reference.

10) Packing, collaging, babysitting, and Mass for the Assumption on the agenda today! Hope you all have a beautiful day.

So tell me:

What is one of your “strange addictions”?

Have you ever played outside in the rain?

Are you a manual or electronic planner kinda person?

Tamales, Kittens, and Lizards, Oh My!

That’s not how it goes, I know.

This is the absolute last day you will read about my adventures in Florida— promise. Dad and the rest of my family left for home yesterday, and mom and I are headed home via auto train today! I must admit that I’m quite excited to be going back to New York, even though Florida has been awesome. T-minus 20 days until it’s time for Boston!!!

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Sharing the marvelous Florida finale on Katie‘s blog!

My awesome 10-year-old cousin, Amy, asked me every day this weekend: “Did you do your moves and grooves today?” She’s now my youngest blog-reader (to my knowledge), and this is a little shout-out to her and our countless games of 2048 on my phone.

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Watching the favorites vlog

Friday

When do most people like to go to the beach? When it’s hot and sunny, right? Well, my family likes to hit the waves when the sky looks like this:

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So ominous

The last thing we wanted after a grueling, hot day at Universal Studios was more sun. These clouds were pretty intense, but once the lightning cleared, we swam in the ocean while it was raining. At one point, we were the only ones in the water, which was both concerning and awesome. Moves: fighting the waves and running back and forth from the car to the ocean. 😀

Afterwards, the beach hunger monster hit us hard, so we went to dinner at a waterfront restaurant called Milliken’s Reef. Mom and I shared the crab cakes and broiled scallops. So delicious!

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We went home to celebrate Uncle G’s birthday with some ice cream cake!

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I don’t like Chips Ahoy, but this ice cream cake was pretty darn good to someone who’s not a huge fan of chocolate. Happy birthday, Uncle G!

Saturday

The healthy family and I started the day off with some outdoor (HOT) stretching, a little bit of kung fu, and indoor core work. I’m serious about the kung fu. They taught me some basic kicks and jumps, and I basically felt like Mulan. Later in the afternoon, we went to the Mall at Millennia, where my mom and aunt shopped. Meanwhile, in the Microsoft store…

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Attempt at advertising + #operationbeautiful note

Who thinks someone will actually visit my blog after seeing that? Because I don’t think I would visit a website someone wrote about on a Microsoft tablet. Too sketchy. I do hope someone believes that #operationbeautiful note!

After eating fantastic Thai food for dinner with our other family friends, we went to Downtown Disney for a lovely nighttime stroll.

Sunday

Mom, Dad, and I went to a wonderful (and wonderfully early) morning Mass before dropping off Dad at the airport. Then we took our guests to the final attraction of their Florida vacation— the Orlando Farmers’ Market! I had just eaten breakfast before we went, but when there are free samples and your family wants you to share tamales with them, you gotta eat.

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Tamales + fresh pineapple mango juice (so good)

I’ll consider it one huge brunch.

Oh, we also found free kittens.

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Uncle G should be called the cat whisperer.

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Free kittens anyone?

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These were the only cats I’ve ever met that made my heart melt. And no, we did not take one home, because although they were free and absolutely adorable, the cost of raising them is through the roof. College tuition says no.

Mom would also not be a fan. She resents cats for reasons of the past.

I did the most intense moves I’ve done in a while yesterday, and it was so fun! I did Lori and Michelle’s latest workout. Eventually, the sad time came to drop off my cousin and her parents at the airport…and then there were two. Mom and I have been wrapping up household cleaning and maintenance, which is like the depressing part of movies when all the fun is over and everyone has to go home.

In other news, a lizard made its way into our house. Eeeeeeek! Mom and I had our back door wide open to take in the patio furniture. I guess a lizard was inside the screen covering the patio (that is meant for blocking out wildlife……), and it decided it wanted some AC. We didn’t want to kill it, but Mom ended up smacking it too hard with a broom in an attempt to hold it down for a second. Poor fella.

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I took this picture of a lizard inside the screen covering on Saturday. This very well might have been the one that came in. Eerie, eh?

So that’s our odd weekend for ya! Swimming in the ocean while it’s down-pouring, holding kittens, and chasing lizards.

New York, here we come!

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Are you a cat person?

What is the craziest creature that has been inside your house?