Shimmying in Charlotte + Recent Eats

On top of my titles as selfie queen, peanut butter lover, and daughter of God, add saxophone enthusiast.

Not because I can play the saxophone by any stretch of the imagination, but because I went to the MOST FUN jazz sax concert in Charlotte, NC this weekend with my dear friend Lauren and her awesome parents.

Going to NC for 24 hours for a saxophone concert is one of the most random things I’ve ever done, but that’s what I love about the whole thing. There’s a saxophonist named Gerald Albright who Lauren and I talk about all the time, even though we only really knew one of his songs (“Slam Dunk” – highly recommend if you want a good time).

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our “Ger bear”

Lauren’s parents had an extra ticket and very generously invited me down to hang out with them and watch the concert. And BOY did we have a blast!

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Gerald was ridiculously amazing, even more so than I was expecting. The other saxophone star above was Kirk Whalum, who solo’d in Whitney Houston’s song, “I Will Always Love You” (casual..maybe you’ve heard it) and played for her for almost ten years. WILD.

There was also some dancing and soul trains involved during the concert, and we were all loving it. Even if Lauren and I were likely the only ones under the age of 35 there. We shimmied our way through the concert (and the whole weekend, honestly).

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The best part of the weekend was just spending time with Lauren and her parents. They are the most beautiful family. They also know to take a couple Boston girls to Chick-Fil-A immediately upon arrival in NC.

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my first Chick-Fil-A sandwich ever

A milestone, you could say. It was perfect.

Lauren’s mom also brewed some delicious iced tea at home that we sipped as we chatted in their living room. I rather enjoy the simple things in life.

Before the concert on Saturday night, we went to dinner at The King’s Kitchen, which I would describe as an upscale Southern restaurant. The food was utterly delicious, AND the proceeds go towards feeding the hungry and towards life skills development programs.

I got the pot roast, which came with three sides and either corn bread or a biscuit. I went with mac and cheese, green beans, collards, and a biscuit (you know I love corn bread, but when the waiter suggests the biscuit, you go for the biscuit – a good move).

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I finished e v e r y t h i n g.

The show was about three hours long, so afterwards, we made one last pit stop at Amelie’s French Bakery for near-midnight dessert. We split a lavender lemon cake, chocolate ganache cake, vanilla eclair, and raspberry lemon tart between the four of us.

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I think the raspberry lemon tart got the best vote all around!

On Sunday morning, I made them avocado egg toast because it is a) a joy for me to cook breakfast for people; b) necessary for every person to try avocado egg toast. I had peanut butter honey toast because they bought natural peanut butter for me *happy crying eyes*.

After breakfast, we headed to Mass and then had a light lunch at Chopt, ” the creative salad company.”

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sweet corn quinoa salad + turmeric ginger iced tea

Ugh, so fresh and delicious.

I already miss Lauren and her parents!! Thank you all so much again for your hospitality, generosity and love ♥︎ It was such a fun weekend.

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Also, I love Charlotte! I will be returning one day 🙂


Lastly, here are some recent eats and scenes that I haven’t shared yet from the past week!

My friends and I have still been using up our Groupon classes at The Ring. I will be so sad when it’s over. I LOVE BOXING.

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I cooked fava beans for the first time ever a couple weeks ago. They remind me of edamame!

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Overnight oats forever and ever. This one was with blackberries – a fine addition!

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My girl Elayne invited me to go to spin class with her at the HandleBar a couple weeks ago (I’m so behind with this recap), and as always with spin, the class kicked my butt! But the instructor was awesome and so fun.

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Two Fridays ago, my friends Justin and Kevin and I went to eat at Pho Countryside as our pre-exam studying treat. It keeps us going.

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It was everything I needed.

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We followed that up with some frozen yogurt at Cafe 472 (with Elayne!).

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Kevin and I shared apple pie flavor with granola, but I am convinced they actually made us pineapple flavor. It was great regardless.

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Some more of my beloved Asian friends invited me to join them for Kimbap on a different day. It’s basically like extra large sushi rolls with lots of yum stuff like bulgogi meat, seasoned veggies, egg, and spam if ya fancy. It was so tasty. I have such generous people in my life, my goodness!!

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Lots of peanut butter Puffins as a night snack these days.

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Overnight oatmeal smoothie bowls are my go-to weekend breakfast this summer.

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I think I followed up that smoothie with these scrambled eggs shortly after. Just cuz I was extra hungry. I forget how delicious simple scrambled eggs with ketchup is!

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I had whole wheat three cheese tortellini with sun-dried tomato pesto for a couple nights. This night I decided to put the leftovers over some greens.

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I’ve still been eating a lot of sandwiches for lunch just about every day!

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So I was at Target one day and needed to buy more bread for my sandwich lifestyle. I usually get the Harvest Wheat loaf for $1.99 at Trader Joe’s, so I tried to find an equivalent at Target.

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This one looked fine enough. When I got home, I decided to look at the ingredients (since the TJ’s one has a short and sweet list and I wanted to compare). I found…

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My first instinct was, “Aw man. I wish I could return this. HFCS is gross.” But then I thought, “Will I die? No. This is food. This is fine. It is bread. I will enjoy this bread and be grateful for it.” Do I want to buy this bread every week? Nah. But my life will not be a spiraling pit of doom if I have this bread for lunch every day for a couple weeks.

*steps off soapbox*

Last Sunday we went to Toscanini’s for ice cream Sunday! This is my favorite ice cream place in Boston. Listen to these flavors: thin mint (amazing) + matcha cookies ‘n’ cream cheesecake (yes, that’s one flavor and yes, it was delicious).

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Many days have looked like this recently! Blessed.

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On Friday night, a bunch of us celebrated our girl Zoe’s 21st birthday! She was abroad this summer and visited Boston to celebrate with us this weekend. WOOHOO!

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We started with apps and margarita’s at Sunset Cantina.

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And then moseyed on over to Landsdowne for some dancing!!

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I needed a midnight snack before bed that night. Smashed banana pb bread with cinnamon did the trick.

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When I don’t eat overnight oats for breakfast, Gina’s cookie dough cereal is another one on repeat.

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And last night I had another variation of pb banana that I hadn’t eaten in so long – Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie! With Greek yogurt to dip into it (remember when I did that all. the. time?).

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Hope you all have a marvelous Monday and a kick butt week! Don’t sweat the small stuff.

So tell me:

Are you a fan of jazz music? 

Have you ever been to Charlotte, NC?

Do you like Chick-Fil-A (juuuust talking about the food here)?

The top three things from your weekend!

Summer Job + Recent Eats and Moves

I’ve had some pretty sick tan lines for the past few weeks, and I’m proud of them in an odd way.

There are two different shirt styles printed on my back though. Like, mostly a racerback tan line, but also a faint bathing suit tan line. It’s a good thing I’ll be working in business casual clothes and scrubs all summer.

Speaking of which…

Yesterday I started my job at a rehabilitation hospital!

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It’s called HELP (Health Experience Learning Program), specifically designed for college students studying to be health professionals. We’ll be exposed to various health professions through classroom and clinical learning experience, and I could not be more excited!

I felt like a nervous child on her first day of school going into it yesterday, but as the orientation went on, I felt more comfortable and made some friends (I hope)!


I haven’t done a classic show-and-tell of my eats, moves, and grooves recently. I don’t know about you guys, but these are some of my favorite kinds of posts (ex: Kath’s “Lately” posts) because I like a nosy quick and dirty rundown of someone’s food and fitness.

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Gina’s oatmeal cookie dough cereal with blueberries and bananas

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avocado, smoked salmon, roasted red pepper, artichoke, spinach in a Flatout wrap

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whole wheat toast: one with avocado, egg, sriracha + one with pepperjack cheese and egg

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overnight oat green smoothie

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spinach, tomato, chorizo, cheddar, avocado egg white omelette for Pop — I was so wishing that I made this for myself though

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Italian chicken, mozzarella, basil, balsamic toasted sandwich

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salad at a local Mexican restaurant (eaten with corn tortillas taco style) with the family

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summer watermelon

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dried figs with plain Greek yogurt!

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my new favorite pasta dish inspired by Fr. Barnes: whole wheat spaghetti tossed with olive oil, marinated artichokes, mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, spinach, Italian herbs, minced garlic, and lots of black pepper, topped with chicken/shrimp. WOWZA

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leftover oatmeal dried fruit cookies from Christmas (thank God for freezers)1

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overnight oats in a peanut butter jar on my first day of work

Moves and grooves these days have been really…organic. My workouts are chosen and done on a day-by-day basis, depending on what else I’m doing, how I’m feeling, and the weather. Honestly, this go-with-the-flow attitude allows me to have the most fun working out.

Last week involved a lot of rest and light hikes at Fiona’s summer house, but there were some other great workouts sprinkled in there!

Last Monday I knew I wanted to go outdoors for a workout. I also really wanted to use this wall, so I put on my creative cap (which I don’t have with me more often than not) and did this doozy of a workout:

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsI broke that dumbbell at the very end of the workout because I dropped it on the ground in my exhaustion. At least it was 25 years old and had a good life.

On Friday, I did Tina’s At-Home Chipper Workout outside also. For the squats and lunges, I used my makeshift sandbag (a canvas bag filled with a bunch of random free weights ~26 lbs.). The burpees and pushups were the hardest!

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Also, I know how I should do hollow rocks, but I feel like I am a useless, cranky banana when I do them.

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Sunday’s workout involved these:

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The stairs may be going up, but it kinda feels like hell.

3 rounds:

  • STAIRS UP
  • 5 pistol squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 15 v-ups
  • 20 tricep dips
  • STAIRS DOWN
  • 5 pistol squats
  • 10 pushups
  • 15 v-ups
  • 20 tricep dips

And then up the stairs uno màs.

My body still felt like a stone from Friday’s workout, so I let myself take decent breaks in between rounds.

those DAM stairs are always killer. nice to be back home for the summer 🌞 #fituniversity @gofitu

A video posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on May 22, 2016 at 9:54am PDT

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsI also took a 1 hour walk on Saturday night in the drizzly dark while jamming out to music. Pretty sure all my neighbors thought I was an angsty teen.

Lastly, this yoga video saved my body from the tension and antsy-ness of sitting in orientation all day yesterday.

Hope you guys have a lovely day!

So tell me:

College students: What are you up to this summer?

What was your favorite summer job you ever had?

Do you like these kinds of posts?

Best way you moved this week!

Best dish you cooked this week.

Being Careful With So Much Free Time + Recent Eats

Remember Facebook/AIM/Twitter statuses like this?

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Translation: “Someone hit me up, I’m bored as !@#$.”

For the record, I never posted statuses like this, mostly because “af” was a little too rebellious for me. I did post photos like this though…

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ONLY five years ago!?

…which are 100x worse in my opinion. This is NETC, the Italian class “pet”. I’m in physical pain looking at this/thinking about the fact that I posted this on Facebook.

Anyway, I’ve been trying not to fall into that “bored af” mode. I’m keeping busy by meeting up with friends, catching up on blog stuff, chores, errands, exercise, and reading. My planner is really helping me stay accountable for daily tasks.

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That being said, I’d be lying if I said I’m not looking for things to do sometimes. Living in this age, when I’m looking for things to do, I almost robotically turn to social media. It pains me to say that I don’t turn to a good book or calling a friend or doing something else productive, but it’s true. I open up Facebook or Instagram.

Katherine from The Peanut Butter Lover just posted an incredible reflection on how subconscious scrolling is the norm these days. I am most definitely in that camp, and as hard as I strive to be more present (said everyone, always), I can’t help but fall into the trap of the hypnotic newsfeed, especially when I’m not as busy like I am during school.

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Besides the problem of not being present, I have to be careful with how much time I spend looking at fitness accounts on Instagram. I’ve recently found myself watching minutes, half-hours, whole hours browsing various fitness accounts.

Please let me be clear. I only enjoy following fitness accounts that are uplifting, genuinely inspiring, and balanced (for example, @kaisafit, @shaunaharrison, and @fitphotographermom). When I’m spending time on such accounts, I’m not comparing my body to theirs or thinking about how I can burn more calories. If I was, I would certainly express that (honesty is the best policy on Moves and Grooves after all). I’m more so thinking things like, “How can I get to where they are? What exercises do I have to do to achieve that? Should I do that today even though I’m sore? I want to be that strong too.”

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Even though my mind is in a much healthier place when I’m looking at social media these days, I still need to be wary of the comparison trap. I have come a long way throughout recovery, and the major lesson I’ve learned is that I don’t need to be her. I know this, but I need to remind myself of it often.

I do believe that I can find fitness inspiration without disordered thinking, but I just have to be careful not to become so immersed in it. I have an obsessive personality, so I need to use my extra free time prudently while I’m on break.


Now that we’ve had a nice heart to heart (or, my heart to yours…), let’s look at some of the good eats from this week!

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A classic: toast, pb, banana, cinnamon + glass o’ milk

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spaghetti squash, tomato basil sauce, and grilled Italian chicken (carbs were had before and after :))

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new favorite: Kylie’s simple paleo pancake with peanut butter, Greek yogurt, cinnamon + glass o’ milk

I met up with my dear friend Fiona (from college) on Monday. We went to the outlet mall, ate some Shake Shack, and had our own heart to heart conversations. She’s studying abroad this coming semester, so I’m gonna miss her like crazy!

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“Concrete” at Shake Shack. I got vanilla frozen custard with strawberry puree and “crispy crunchies”.

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chicken, avocado, mixed greens, colby jack cheese, and sriracha sandwich to go

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good ol’ overnight oats topped with granola

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avocado, egg, cheese, sriracha sandwich + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

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clementines are off the CHAIN right now

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strawberries ‘n’ cream protein smoothie

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this was so good: quinoa, honey balsamic chicken, and roasted broccoli

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dried figs with Greek yogurt!!! bringing back the good stuff

Additionally, I’ve been eating leftover cookies that overfloweth in our refrigerator and caramel popcorn that my aunt gave us. It’s a hard life, eh?

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my aunt’s delicious oatmeal fruit cookie mini muffins

Hope you all have a great day! I mean it.

So tell me: 

What do you find yourself doing if you have too much free time?

Did you post embarrassing things on social media in your younger days?

Are you still eating leftover holiday treats? “New Year, new you” is not a thing here.

Have you tried any delicious recipes recently? I’m thinking that honey balsamic chicken and roasted broccoli will be regular recipes for us!

Owning It

Three pieces of “news” for you:

1) I finished a Costco-sized jar of peanut butter [almost] all by myself in less than a month.

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finished it off with some [cooled] microwave oats

2) I’m currently eating with chopsticks in the dining hall because Asians are not really a minority at BU, and this dining hall has responded to that.

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3) THIS Buzzfeed post about socially awkward introverts hits home like no other.

Do you think trying and crying rhyme because of me?

Now, if you know me in person, you might not immediately call me an introvert. I love talking to people and I even enjoy public speaking. That being said, it takes a great deal of energy for me to be social, and I’m usually quite content eating a meal by myself. (Not just because I was temporarily mortified after last year’s salad explosion.)

In addition to liking my “me time,” my introverted-ness is evident in my straight up AWKWARDNESS around people.

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Sometimes, making good eye contact while talking with someone one-on-one is harder than looking into the sun.

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When I contribute to a group conversation, I often doubt myself and make my voice progressively quieter and more high-pitched. And then I laugh like a teenage witch.

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Sometimes I’m tempted to give up on saying hi to people in large groups.

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Keeping up with conversation without falling into boring small talk can result in me making many sentences and gestures that make no sense at all.

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But I’ve realized a few things:

a) If I let the awkward things come and go and pretend that I don’t feel my soul isn’t shriveling into itself, the awkwardness usually subsides more quickly.

b) The only way people can laugh WITH you is if you laugh at yourself.

c) Confidence really is the best thing you can wear.

d) Nobody cares that much about what I do or say. No one judges me harder than I judge myself.

e) I’m not alone in all this.

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So that time I nearly smash my butt slipping down the stairs behind a girl I don’t know…

…or that time I didn’t know what to say at the end of a group prayer except, “and… thank you.”…

…or those multiple times when my brain and mouth do not collaborate properly, and. I. just. talklikethisbecausemywords.don’t.work…

I’m just gonna own it. 


In other news, I’m going to the gynecologist again early this morning. I think we’ll be going over test results from last week and possibly doing some other tests. Thank you all again for your support and prayers!

And here are some eats from this week. I’ve been more a three square meals kinda gal lately with class scheduling and such. Therefore, each meal is pretty epic.
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oatmeal with honey, cinnamon, banana, and peanut butter + eggs and turkey bacon

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salad with feta and honey mustard dressing + chicken and rice

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salad with tuna and couscous + chicken and sweet potatoes

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fish cake with corn + salad + turkey burger with feta

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vegan pumpkin bread a la mode

Yo gurl can EAT.

Hope you all have a fabulous Friday and a great weekend ahead!

So tell me:

Any awkward antics?

Any recent embarrassing stories you’re willing to share?

What is the best thing you ate this week?  Definitely the pumpkin bread a la mode for me!

Getting Back Into a Routine {Recent Eats}

The altitude got to me in Colorado, but now the two hour time loss in New York is getting to me.

I’m such a wimp, I know. I’m mostly just bad at managing my time right now, so I end up going to sleep at midnight when I need to wake up at 6 AM to take my dad to the train station.

{Oh look, it’s 11:30 PM as I type this. Good.}

Luckily I have been keeping busy with my physical therapy internship, which I am loving so far! By observing and being in the clinical setting, I can really see myself in the career. I’m relieved that I don’t hate it 🙂

Moves have been on the slower side with some stretching, foam rolling, and strength exercises. It’s just what I need right now. I also went to a modern dance class at my good ol’ studio last night! It felt amazing to dance again. AMAZING. It also felt a little tight, because I haven’t been stretching enough…

Of course, the domestic duties are also keeping me busy. Since food is more exciting than chores and errands, I’m sharing some of the things I’ve been cooking up this week.

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leftover whole wheat banana pancakes from before Colorado (I froze ’em!) with 2% Greek yogurt, a trio of nut butters, and maple syrup + an unpictured glass o’ milk

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honey mustard pork chops with caramelized shallots + blanched broccoli with tahini sauce

For the tahini sauce (roughly): 1/4 c. tahini, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tsp. lime juice, 1 tbsp. maple syrup, water to make it drizzle-consistency

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lunch for a long day of interning and errands: salad with sweet potato, leftover pork, homemade honey mustard dressing // carrots and hummus // orange // BelVita biscuits // Balance Bar // Enlightened mesquite bbq crisps

Stay tuned for an awesome giveaway featuring Enlightened products! I’m addicted to their roasted broad beans, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

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whole grain seed toast with melted Cabot garlic and herb cheddar and two sunny side eggs + a storm of cracked black pepper

This was brunch-y, cheesy, salty, dippy goodness that I ate for dinner one night. Get the cheese. I’m not sponsored by Cabot, but I just want to announce that I love their garlic and herb cheddar.

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Kozyshack tapioca pudding with cinnamon and nutmeg

Y’all know how much I love tapioca pudding. Add cinnamon and nutmeg, and you won’t have to worry about anything ever again. (Ha, if only.)

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overnight oatmeal smoothie: oats, Greek yogurt, milk, chia seeds, and peanut butter stirred in the blender the night before // greens, frozen banana, frozen grapes, more milk added in the morning // blend and eat out of a bowl with a spoon!

I know it looks like swamp water with algae growth, but this was so delicious and quick in the morning. Normally I would also add granola for crunch, but we were out.

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Spaghetti squash!

This was my first time roasting spaghetti squash! I cut off the stem, sliced the squash in half lengthwise, scooped out the guts, rubbed each half with olive oil + salt + pepper, roasted them face-down for 40 minutes at 375F, let them cool, and then raked away with a fork until it looked like this:

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I added some caramelized shallots

I never wanted to try spaghetti squash in the past because I knew it wouldn’t taste like real spaghetti, but it’s still tasty! It’s tastes like other squashes except in string form.

I thought it would be a good time to try spaghetti squash since there was one left in the grocery store, and my dad is eating low carb right now (I can assure you that I am not eating low carb), so it was good base for something like my favorite sriracha chicken.

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sweet and spicy goodness

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coconut cashew Quest bar with sunflower seed butter

I still have tons of Quest bars from Blend (many of which my brother took to Florida as well), so I decided to have one for dessert last night. I followed Quest bar protocol and microwaved it before spreading the nut butter and eating it with a tiny fork. I Snapchatted my Blend roommate Colby to ask if I was doing it right, and she approved.

It’s already Friday! I hope all my fellow Americans have a fantastic Memorial Day Weekend. Pop and I will hopefully be doing a small barbecue for ourselves and any of my friends who want to come. You’re invited!…but I’m not giving you my address. Sorry.

So tell me:

Do you have trouble adjusting to different time zones?

Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? What do you like to eat with it?

What is your favorite way to eat Quest bars?

What are you doing this weekend? I’ll be cleaning the house, seeing Daliza (!!!), blogging, reading, BBQing, and eating ice cream, among other things.