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 #26: Harry Potter World

Hey, it’s another vacation recap! Crap.

I know I said I wasn’t going to do these the rest of the time I’m in Florida, but there is just too much I want to tell you all about our adventures… At least there was a vlog to break things up a bit on Wednesday?

I’ll keep this post as short and sweet as possible by doing it Thinking Out Loud style (i.e. a numbered list)!

1) A few days ago, coming back from the outlet mall, we came across this little guy struggling on the side of the road in our neighborhood:

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I’ll name him Squirt in honor of Finding Nemo.

We pulled over to take a picture of him, but we didn’t know what to do with him. Then a dude in sunglasses drove up, picked up the turtle, and put him back into the lake without saying anything, even though we were trying to ask questions. Then he drove back to where he came from. #iGuessSo.

2) Daliza and I went mini-golfing on Wednesday evening!

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I won, but that’s not saying too much since that was Daliza’s first time playing. I’ve even played at this course before and I got a double bogey (two more strokes than par) on the FIRST HOLE.

I also fell on my butt somewhere, somehow during our game, but that’s not important…

3) Wednesday night was lovely and relaxing with a dinner of pork/veggie spring rolls made by mom and movie night. Daliza and I watched Heaven is For Real (the movie based off of my favorite book) finally, and it was pretty good! The book was better though, of course.

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Parcels of goodness

4) Daliza and I spent a whopping 13 hours in Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure yesterday. My feet hated me. But we knocked out more than 12 rides and attractions, I believe! Go hard or go home (literally). Now, for all you Harry Potter fans (ARMAN):

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Hogwarts

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Diagon Alley

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Surprisingly very delicious ice cream in Diagon Alley! I had strawberries and peanut butter + sticky toffee pudding. Daliza had butterbeer soft serve!

5) Daliza was totally awe-inspired by the Harry Potter sections of the parks, and I thought it was pretty fantastic too. But I’ve never read Harry Potter, and I’ve only watched a couple of the movies, so I wasn’t quite as ecstatic as she was. This is why:

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Is he not so scary?

6) There was never a moment in the day during which I didn’t feel soaked. It was either water from a ride or just plain sweat. So nasty. It’s all a part of the experience though, right?

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7) The lines were not terribly long! Glad we didn’t waste $100 on an express pass. Oof.

8) I was in a breakfast rut during this vacation until this morning. I was in the mood for some doughy, creamy grains, but I didn’t make overnight oats last night. So I used the brown rice mom had made earlier this week for a peanut butter banana rice pudding of sorts.

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Hallelujah!!!

Wow, it was delicious. I hadn’t made a breakfast rice bowl like this in a while. I tweaked this recipe a bit:

  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 huge tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 baby banana/half a banana

Put all these ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 1-1.5 minutes. Mix well until the peanut butter and banana are combined with the rice and the milk is absorbed. Top with dollops of plain Greek yogurt and maple syrup. DIG IN.

Do it, please.

9) We’re going to a concert tonight! It’s a husband and wife duo called Us The Duo. Daliza actually introduced me to the group just two days ago, but I’ve been doing my job as a fangirl by listening to their music nonstop. If you like Colbie Caillat, Tori Kelly, Ingrid Michaelson or any other singer-songwriters like that, you’ll love these two. They’re adorable.

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10) I think I’m gonna do some yoga now. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

So tell me:

Are you good at mini-golf?

Are you a Harry Potter fan?

Ever eaten rice for breakfast?

Ever heard of Us The Duo?