Big Kids in the Big City

I just finished one of the best smoothie bowls I’ve ever made!

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How I made it: Last night I mixed together 1/3 c. milk, 1/4 c. Greek yogurt, 1/4 c. [dry] quick cooking steel cut oats, 1 tbsp. chia seeds in a bowl. I also sliced and froze a whole ripe banana and half a mango. This morning I added to a blender another 1/2 c. milk, the oat mixture, a lot of mixed greens, a pinch of salt, a drizzle of honey, and the frozen fruit. Then I blended ’til the cows came home (probably also ’til I woke up Madre, sorry :/ ).

This was the thickest and coldest smoothie ever, thanks to the overnight chia mixture + the frozen fruit. Topped with sunflower seeds, Honey Bunches of Oats, and sweetened shredded coconut.

All I need is a tropical beach.

Other fun eats from this week at home:

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quick cook steel cut oats (that 1/4 c. serving size is diddly squat) with butter-caramelized banana slices + Greek yogurt with the rest of the caramelized banana, chia seeds, cheerios, and sunflower seeds

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half of one of my lunches: salmon and hummus on top of the last of the spinach in the container (fewer dishes FTW)

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crockpot split soup – one of my all time faves

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overnight oats (made with the quick cook steel cut oats again, because that’s all we have at home), topped with sunflower seeds + Honey Bunches of Oats

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leftover split pea soup + salad with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I’ve also been eating copious amounts of Boom Chicka Pop’s kettle corn, because once you start you can’t stop.

On Wednesday I had the privilege of hanging out with some of my beautiful friends from Boston University in NYC! Casey, Connor, Louis, Adrienne, and Fiona ♥︎

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We met up in Times Square and walked almost 4 miles down to The World Trade Center from there. We lucked out with some gorgeous weather!

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I also lucked out when this famous bagel place was on the way.

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It’s called Best Bagel and Coffee, which is the most gimmicky name ever, but over 1,000 people on Yelp loved it, so I went. In Yelp I trust.

I went for bacon, egg, and cheese on a whole wheat everything bagel.

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Indeed, this was whole and everything.

Confession: This was my first NY bagel in my entire life. Like, I’ve eaten bagels in the state of New York, but I’ve never had a quality NY bagel until this day. I’ve only lived here for 12 years. I’m a slow person in many regards.

My bagel sandwich was absolutely delicious and great walking fuel while the rest of my friends built up a “hangry” appetite for lunch by the time we arrived at the World Trade Center. It’s so interesting being the only nourished one in the group. You just watch everyone else get angry and/or delirious.

After they were all fed at a gastropub called Suspenders, we walked around to the 9/11 Memorial.

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Connor is from Maine, so the big city was a bit too overwhelming for him.

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sees grass. lays down.

And since I’m queen of navigation when it comes to food places, I brought my pals to Rice to Riches (the most vulgar but amazing rice pudding place you will ever enter)…

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…and then Eileen’s Special Cheesecake (it was featured on Food Network, so you know it’s legit).

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Holla for International Women’s Day!

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A delightful amount of food, a crap ton of walking, and countless laughs with some of my favorite people (I kind of hate myself for the cheesiness of that last one…but it’s true).

When I got home, my body wasn’t sore and had a lot of energy for the first time this whole week, so I did a quick 16 minute workout in the basement (30 seconds work/10 seconds rest/4 rounds):

Yesterday started with that smoothie up there + a manicure and pedicure with Madre early in the morning, because I had to take a train right back into the city for lunch with Pop, my brother, and Christine from Boutiquefull (also my good friend from BU)! Christine met my brother and dad in NYC, since they all work down there, so Pop asked to take us out to lunch one day.

I wouldn’t usually take a 40 minute train + 20 minute subway ride just to eat lunch in NYC, but I’d do it for these folks 🙂

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We went to Harry’s Italian, and let me just say, thank God for complimentary focaccia bread.

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Also for giant meatball subs, one of my favorite meals on the planet.

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It was so fun catching up with Christine and hanging out with Pop and bro Ben!

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After lunch, I headed uptown to meet with a couple of the Sisters of Life. I signed up to be a co-worker for them, which is essentially a volunteer to help women in crisis pregnancies (with resources, babysitting, material donations, praying, just being a friend, etc.), so we just chatted about that and all about life (duh).

All the Sisters of Life are just pure JOY. Ugh. Love ’em.

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stopped into this church as I was speed walking to catch my train back home

Last night we went to flavor town (as Guy Fieri would say) for dinner. In other words, I roasted/grilled a bunch of veggies, Madre made salmon and rice, and we dug in.

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grilled eggplant with s+p

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Moroccan roasted carrots (olive oil, salt, pepper, Moroccan spice, brown sugar)

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honey balsamic roasted brussels sprouts!!!

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the crispy leaves are the best, and I pretty much ate all of them straight out of the oven

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homemade roasted bell peppers for the first time ever

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Madre’s perfectly cooked teriyaki salmon

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altogether now

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Madre bought apple strudels, so I ate one a la mode of course

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Fancy, eh? The occasion was our friend Brother Sam visiting for the night!

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‘Twas a lovely evening of food, fellowship, and watching embarrassing home videos with the guest.

I’ll catch ya back in Boston! I need to buckle down and study, because I spent 75% of this spring break reading blogs (#noragrets).

Hope you all have a blessed weekend!

So tell me:

Do you like to sip or eat your smoothies? Eating them out of a bowl with a spoon is the superior way, but your opinion is still welcome.

Have you ever eaten a real New York bagel?

One fun thing you did this week!

29 Questions

Look at this pretty salad that I made for my brother and Pop!

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spinach, cherry tomatoes, pears, avocado, homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

I don’t even make salads this pretty for myself. I just throw a leftover chicken drumstick on a pile of spinach and call it a day.

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I’m an expert at making pretty avocado egg toast now though

Other colorful eats from yesterday included caprese salad (a classic fave) and fresh mango with Greek yogurt and sunflower seeds.

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yes, all those were mine

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Plus a million other snacks and eats because yesterday was one of those “bottomless pit” kinda days. I also napped for a long time in the afternoon after a couple hours of gross anatomy studying. My body is taking all this rest and running with it (oxymoronic sentence?).

Madre and I also went to a free yoga class yesterday morning! A woman in our neighborhood is offering free classes once a week since she’s practicing for yoga teacher training. It was a great 55-minute ashtanga/vinyasa class! Madre was my paparazzi apparently, because I swear I didn’t ask her to take these photos for me. But alas, they exist.

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felt as uncomfortable as it looks because my right hip flexor was SO tight yesterday

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I also got my heart rate up after yoga with the 100 burpee challenge! Here’s a video of it because a) I’m home, so I have few better things to do with my life; b) I appreciate when other people show themselves dying (not literally) during a workout, because it’s very #human.

(NOT that you have to die during every workout. Au contraire. Rest is so important! I take an average of two rest days + two walking/yoga days per week. Going “all out” every day doesn’t work for me, mentally or physically.)

And now for some lightheartedness around these parts! I feel like my posts have been pretty serious recently. I came across this “29 Questions” blog survey on Tina’s blog yesterday and thought it would be fun to do here!

1. Who are you named after? I think I’m named after a TV character that my mom really liked. I was almost named Stephanie though.

2. Last time you cried? Sunday when I was talking to my dad about faith and relationships. Just young adult things.

3. Do you like your handwriting? Yes. It’s gotten messier as I’ve gotten older and less type A about neatness, but I can deal with it.DSC_3063

4. What is your favorite lunch meat? Roast beef!

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ohhh Cutty’s roast beef 1000 ♥︎ 

5. Do you still have your tonsils? Yep. This is the most random question ever.

6. Would you bungee jump? I would if I was with other friends/family who would do it with me.

7. What is your favorite kind of cereal? Peanut butter Puffins!

8. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Only when I have to.

9. Do you think you’re strong? Yes.

10. Favorite ice cream? Cookies ‘n’ cream. (Or the carrot cake ice cream from Salt & Straw if we’re getting specific.)

Processed with Moldiv

it had carrot cake CHUNKS in it 

11. What is the first thing you notice about a person? I’m not sure, but Tina said a person’s smile, so I’m going to agree with that.

12. Football or baseball? Is it un-American if I abstain from this question?

13. What color pants are you wearing? Gray.

14. Last thing you ate? Some Indian snack mix that my mom put on the coffee table.

15. What are you listening to? “I Got” by Young the Giant.

16. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Yellow. (Haha, I wasn’t even thinking about my Asian-ness at first, but hey.)

17. Favorite smell? Freshly baked pumpkin bread or cookies.

18. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone? My aunt and cousins from California.

19. Married? Nope.

20. Hair color? Black/super dark brown. I’m not picky about what you call it.

21. Eye color? Black. These are most definitely black holes. It’s so hard to see my pupils!

22. Favorite food to eat? Guess.

 

23. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings all the way. I’m still scared of that Disney movie Hocus Pocus for crying out loud.

24. Last movie you watched? The Shack this past weekend.

25. What color shirt are you wearing? Turquoise (the workout shirt pictured above).

26. Favorite Holiday? Christmas! Easter is a close second. Thanksgiving a close third.

27. Beer or Wine? It depends. I’ll let you know for sure when I’m 21.

28. Night owl or morning person? Night owl (as I type this at 12:48am).

29. Favorite day of the week? Sunday. I love Mass and Sunday brunch 🙂

So tell me:

Your answers to any of these 29 questions!

Do you throw leftovers on top of salad greens and call it a salad?

Two things you did yesterday.

Weekend Confessions

I feel like the primary purpose of this post is to let my parents know that I am alive and well. Hi, Madre and Pop!!

weekend confessions

Confession #1: I’m going to brag about the salmon and meatloaf I made at work on Friday. Even though I could only have small bites of each for quality control, I have decided that this was possibly the best salmon I’ve ever made and the best (also, the first and only) meatloaf I’ve ever made. Both of them had Trader Joe’s whole grain dijon mustard in it, FYI.

For the salmon: Season with salt and pepper. Rub a crap ton of the mustard + a good drizzle of honey all over. Top with a few dill sprigs. Bake at 425F for 12 minutes.

And I used this meatloaf recipe!

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the salmon looks burnt and the meatloaf looks average, but I promise they were so good! the mustard was all sweet and crispy on the salmon 😀

Confession #2: I almost lost my voice screaming at my first BU hockey game of the season. I hadn’t been to a game in almost a year, so it was great to be back in the “dog pound” cheering on our Terriers!

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we won against University of Maine 4-1 *high fives*

Confession #3: I’ve made more Irish friends during one week in Boston than I did in 3.5 months in Ireland. There’s an exchange student from Ireland who frequents the Catholic Center, so now I have a total of ONE [native] Irish friend who is my age.

Confession #4: I wanted to go to the gym at least once this weekend, but I never did. I’m pretty okay with it though.

Confession #5: I did do some interesting non-gym things like grooving to throwback songs with friends, running (!?), working out by the river at my favorite place, doing Blogilates that made our crooked floor boards creak, stretching while studying gross anatomy, and trying slider exercises with a paper plate!

Confession #6: Also instead of the gym, I did fun things like make/eat pancakes and watch The Office with my pals Ben and Rachel 🙂

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humungous banana and oreo pancakes

Confession #7: I ate at P.F. Changs (aka fake Asian food) and loved it.

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also we were starving, so anything tasted good // too hungry to eat it with chopsticks because that takes too much time #dontdowhatido

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‘Twas for my girl Domenica’s birthday (21!!!! check that sake in a wine glass). It was mighty fun hanging out with all these beautiful women!

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Confession #8: I ate chocolate cake and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can no longer say that I don’t like chocolate, I’ve just accepted it. It’s still not my favorite, and I wouldn’t order chocolate things, but I don’t dislike it.

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we got two “Great Wall of Chocolate” cakes to celebrate, and I was all about it

Confession #9: I ate carrot cake before lunch to celebrate my friend Louis’ birthday the next day. So many birthdays this weekend!

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“Like the liturgically significant candles?” – our friend, Pat, who made the cake

Confession #10: I don’t like to spend more than 10 minutes on dinner.

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Confession #11: Megan shared one of her chocolate pudding cups with me last night for dessert, and it was blissful. You bet I added peanut butter to that thing.

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Confession #12: I’m procrastinating getting my laundry out of the dryer, but I’ll go do that now.

Confession #13: I actually did go to confession this weekend.

Also, here’s a random picture of a breakfast that I ate, because I took the photo and the lighting was decent, and yogurt bowls tend to look aesthetically pleasing.

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Hope you have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me:

Two things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Did you watch any sports this weekend?

16 Hour Delay

I feel like under-eye circles are the battery display of my body.

I got 7 hours of sleep on Monday night (which is average), but I still felt pretty tired, and I had purple circles under my eyes.

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yesterday’s breakfast of overnight oats!

I decided to nap after breakfast, which turned into almost TWO extra hours of sleep (still catching up from last week)! Then my under-eye circles were gone.

Purple circles = battery running low. No circles = fully recharged.

Yesterday I talked all about SEEK in San Antonio, but I didn’t tell you guys the story of how I got home. It all started after one last breakfast with the BU crew at our hotel in San Antonio. A couple of my friends and I then took a Lyft to the San Antonio airport at around 8:30 am.

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handy dandy standy table at the San Antonio airport

My first flight was only 30 minutes to Houston, so that was fine. Then came the delays. Thanks to the winter weather that I forgot existed in the northeast, our flight from Houston to New York was delayed 20 minutes… then 50 minutes… then 90 minutes (at this point, I also started to realize that I developed plantar fasciitis in my left foot)… then we boarded. Then it was delayed for another 30 minutes… then we took off, flew, and landed!!…

…in Washington DC. *sad trombone* The runways at LaGuardia airport in NYC were too short and snowy for our plane to safely land, so we were diverted to Dulles Washington airport. There were a couple flights in the same situation as us, so we were stuck on the plane without a gate in DC for a couple hours. I didn’t even care that we weren’t making it to New York that night; my butt just really hurt.

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free TV on demand for all as a consolation gift

Eventually we made it off the plane, but everyone was in a fit about when the next flight to LaGuardia was and whether we were getting hotel vouchers for the night. ‘Twas a mighty unfortunate situation for clients and employees alike, especially at that ungodly hour of 1 AM.

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Some people on my flight had been traveling for over 24 hours from Auckland, New Zealand!! God bless ’em.

We got our generous hotel and meal vouchers for the night and headed to our hotels for the “night”. I bought a caesar salad at the airport and ate it in my large Embassy Suite at 2:30 AM.

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thank God for a comfy bed and a shower though! I was so ready to sleep in the airport

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I slept for a solid 3.5 hours before I had to wake up again and eat breakfast at the hotel (which was included — so many things to be thankful for).

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plus some scrambled eggs + ketchup

This Embassy Suites had two huge pet swans in their lobby too, which was something to wake up to.

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Our scheduled flight to LaGuardia was at 10am, but once we boarded, we were delayed for another hour (our flight was less than an hour, so we could have already been in NY by then) due to some paperwork that had to be completed for the diversion process. People were just about fuming from their ears.

But we finally landed in NYC at almost noon, only 16 hours after we were originally supposed to land. We were safe and sound, which is all that matters. My whole fam picked me up from the airport, and then we headed to lunch at a Korean restaurant in Flushing called Kun Sohn Korean Noodle House.

We all shared loads of fresh, hot, handmade noodle soups + dumplings + seafood pancake + kimchi. The perfect food to drive out the winter chill. Later that night, I went to an evening Mass and then straight to bed at 6:45pm for my 14 hours of glorious sleep.

On Monday, I ate breakfast, did some cleaning, and then moved and grooved. I worked out once in San Antonio on the one day I was willing to sacrifice sleep and get up at the butt-crack of dawn. I am thankful for that one workout though! It did also make my butt sore for the next three days. I’ve used the word “butt” four times in this post already.

I did Colby’s day two cardio and core workout from her 10 day burn challenge. It was so nice to get the blood pumping, but my body was feeeeeelin’ it after a wonky week of sleep, eats, and travel.

After a quick shower, I met up with two of my best dance friends from high school, Susie and Charli, for lunch. It was so good catching up with those beauties!

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devoured this veggie burger (my only vegetable last week was salsa #notmad)

After my two hour nap yesterday, I ate a classic lunch.

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avocado toast with eggs + salad with homemade honey dijon vinaigrette

Then Madre and I went to Bed Bath and Beyond and the nail salon, where I started studying for gross anatomy (the prof says that she “cannot overestimate how incredibly much work this class is”).

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“which bones and muscles is she massaging right now?”

Yoga is what my body needed, so I did this great yoga video by Leigha Butler before dinner (Madre was simultaneously doing Pilates right next to me in the basement haha).

Look what I had after dinner!!

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dried figs with {full fat Fage} greek yogurt 🙂

Also, I had some of Madre’s pork soup, which was seriously the best soup/pork I’ve ever tasted. I don’t know why, but this was my JAM. She simmered it for hours with pork bones, lemongrass, kefir leaves, and salt. That’s it.

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Doesn’t look like much, but it’s what’s inside that counts.

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! I’m going to be seeing some lovely ladies tonight. Both of their names start with a C 🙂

So tell me:

Have you ever had to stay overnight in a city due to a flight delay?

Two things you did yesterday!

Two of the Best Things in Ireland in One Day

Those two things would be:

  • breathtaking views
  • brown bread

Megan and I are obsessed with both here in Ireland, and lucky for us, we got to experience a good bit of both two weeks ago (I’m SO BEHIND) when we went to Connemara in County Galway!

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find the sheep!

Our day started at 7am, which is mighty early for this night owl. I ate some overnight oats (my go-to early morning breakfast— it’s already made for you!) before we walked 50 minutes to city centre to catch our bus to Galway in the dark hours of the morning. We got to watch the sun rise on the bus ride!

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I also slept and read some Harry Potter on the bus ride to Galway, where we transferred to our tour bus with Lally Tours. Our tour guide was an older man who said “ye” a lot, and I couldn’t help but think that he sounded like a narrator for some 1950s Irish documentary. Not that I’ve ever watched a 1950s Irish documentary, but I can imagine.

The tour was very low key with lots of photo stops, some stories, and a lot of good ol’ Irish music. The scenery really is the main attraction of Connemara, because there isn’t much else going on in the quaint and rural area. But these views are worth it.

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We stopped in a little town centre for a lunch break with a view. I had packed some sundried tomato pasta leftovers from the dorm for the trip.

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You could argue that it all starts looking the same, which is kind of true, but that doesn’t mean it all isn’t beautiful and wonderfully serene. This is wordless chicken noodle soup for the soul.

The longest pit stop of the day was at Kylemore Abbey, an abbey run by Benedictine nuns. It used to be a school for girls as well, but now it’s just open to visitors and obviously, the nuns do their thing there.

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I’d be a nun here

They had this beautiful Victorian walled garden that was growing, like, 10 different kinds of kale.

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PLUS there was so much space to run around in nature…

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…and climb trees!!

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living her best life

There’s also a sense of danger and mystery too, which is necessary to keep things interesting for the inhabitants, ya know?

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Or perhaps the bull is a lie and they just don’t want you adulterating this beauty.

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There was a tea house at the garden, and Megan and I were set on getting dessert there (obviously). After asking the boy working at the counter what he recommended, I decided on the [WARM] homemade apple pie with custard on top.

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The crust was perfect, and you know that’s what really matters.

(side note: love that you can pray, eat, move, and groove on this estate. just sayin’.)

After our afternoon sweets, we walked back over to Kylemore Abbey itself to tour around a bit.

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The abbey itself is nice, but it’s not AMAZING. I feel so overprivileged saying that, but the God-made views surrounding the abbey were honestly a lot more stunning than the building. I still enjoyed visiting the building though! Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to the Gothic cathedral down the path because we had to return to our bus.

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you can see the top of the Gothic cathedral at the very righthand side of the photo if you look closely

On the bus ride back to Galway, I completely knocked out. I guess I should mention the fact that I took motion sickness meds for the bus earlier that day, so that could have been the culprit. I forced myself to wake up and get off the bus for more views though.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this tour, and our tour guide was grandfatherly and adorable. When we got back to Galway and got off the bus, I told him, “I had a Euro to tip you but I dropped it somewhere on this bus…so I hope you find it! Thank you!”

He seemed to appreciate the sentiment. I promise I tried my best to look for the Euro coin.

Megan and I decided that we should have dinner in Galway before we bussed back to Dublin, since it would be past 9 by the time we got back. An Pucan looked like a good restaurant, so we popped into there.

Guys, dinner was DELICIOUS. I’ve discussed our love of brown bread here before (we discovered our love for it in Galway actually!), and we hadn’t had some good brown bread in a while. The appetizer brown bread on An Pucan’s menu looked too good to pass up, so we went for it.

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This was probably the best brown bread I’ve had so far, mostly because it was so hearty and wholesome, and it was served with roasted red pepper hummus and basil pesto. I wouldn’t think to put those things on brown bread, but it was so good!!

The waitress even brought out three more slices for us for free when we asked how much extra bread would cost. Too kind.

But that’s a lot of bread, so my entree salad felt extra filling. I got the powerhouse salad, which had the works— avocado, olives, tomato, artichokes, sprouts, quinoa, roasted red peppers, carrots, chickpeas, and feta. It was so refreshing and tasty!

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Megan’s burger looked fantastic too.

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She doesn’t like potatoes (I know, is she even Irish??), so I had about half of her fries, which were bomb.

We left full to the brim and very satisfied. Galway, we love you! We’ve been there three times at this point. (I, II, and now III)

When Megan and I got on the bus to Dublin, we scored our own seats (it wasn’t busy on the buses all day, so we got our own seats on every bus!), so we started messaging each other from across the aisle like fools.

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We both finished the first Harry Potter book on the way back home. 🙂

Connemara might be one of my favorite places I’ve visited in Ireland so far. I think a few of us are doing the Ring of Kerry this weekend, so I’m excited for that as well. I could look at Ireland’s rural views for DAYS.

So tell me:

Where is your favorite “boring” yet beautiful place?

Have you ever tried Irish brown bread before?