Summer’s Coming

It’s been forever and a half since I thought out loud with the lovely Amanda!

Thinking-Out-Loud

what’s thinking out loud?

1) I am never not surprised that it’s almost May. What the heck!?

2) Last week was the “Easter Octave”, which means that the Church celebrated Easter for eight days straight, since the joy of the Resurrection cannot be contained within one single day. Let me tell you, I celebrated. With lots of alleluias and just as many desserts (I definitely had two desserts on several days).

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thanks for the cute cookie, Megan!

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Sometimes I went for a slightly more nutritious dessert, but nevertheless, I let loose with my sweet tooth.

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Amanda’s banana bread mug cake — one of my favorite things ever

3) The day after the Boston Marathon, I went on a beautiful run with my two beautiful friends, Kelsey and Sarah. You all know I’m not a huge fan of running, but my body didn’t want to do any sort of strength/HIIT or even yoga, so I asked Kels and Sarah if I could run with them after Mass on Tuesday evening.

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I would say that I was inspired by the Boston Marathon, but…

Kels: “Do you wanna run a half marathon with us?”

Me: “…ehhhhhhhhhhhh.”

For now, I’ll stick to spontaneous runs when I feel like it 🙂

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3) I didn’t sign up for a half marathon, but my friend Ben and I did sign up for a Spartan Sprint Race!!! We talked about it on Marathon Monday and decided it would be a fun thing to do this summer. I’ve always wanted to do an obstacle course race for fun, so the time has come!

Our training regimen is really coming together:

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Finbar is our priest’s dog

The Spartan Sprint Race is a 3-5 mile course with 20+ obstacles. Although I want to be relatively in shape for the race, I’m not really changing anything about how I work out right now. My mind and body are happy with my 4-ish workouts per week, varying based on how I feel that day.

But I’m SO EXCITED FOR THIS RACE! There’s also beer at the end I think, and I’ll be 21 by then 🙂

4) It’s strawberry season/the grocery store has strawberries on sale!

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5) Last weekend was filled with so much a cappella, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My talented friends Adrienne and Connor each had their last a cappella concerts of their college careers, and they were both phenomenal.

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Our whole Catholic Center fam came out to support like proud (and very loud) relatives. Adrienne and Connor, you guys are amazing!

6) I am officially in finals mode now (even though classes end next Wednesday). I am finished with regular exams and now just have one research paper for religion & medicine, a final for health policy, and a final for gross anatomy. Nighttime study sessions are all the rage these days.

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7) Should it be warmer than 60*F at this point in the spring? Boston will have one day per week when the temperature exceeds 70, but the rest of the days are still pretty chilly. I don’t even know what normal temperatures are anymore (going from Ireland ➔ Florida ➔ NY ➔ Boston in less than two months).

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There have been some gorgeous days, though, as you can see. I do like the mild weather too, so I guess I shouldn’t complain before the heat hits.

8) I feel like I haven’t been cooking as much in the apartment recently, but when I do, it always feels like I’m trying to use up as many leftovers/things in the pantry as possible. It’s never too shabby though!

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omelette with spinach, onions, lots of cheese, and ketchup

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salad with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, feta, and grilled chicken

9) Campus dining has had some pretty good hits too.

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Thai chicken salad + sandwich (roast beef, gouda, veggies, artichoke herb spread [omg so good!] on whole grain ciabatta) + apple

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breakfast-for-dinner at the dining hall: actually, this vegan breakfast burrito was just okay (breakfast burritos definitely need real eggs and bacon)

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Sarah got this delicious-looking Monte Cristo at breakfast-for-dinner night

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fantastic maple banana bread pudding a la mode (Easter Octave is over, but when do I ever not have dessert?)

10) This week was filled with a lot of goodness, but I also had rough patches. I realized that I always try to emerge from trials a little more perfect than before (which isn’t bad in and of itself — God calls us to be perfected in Him), but I end up discouraged and even surprised when I find myself in the same weak and confused state that [I thought] I had overcome before.

I needed to re-learn that, even when I feel confused, weak, or like a failure: a) it’s okay to feel that way, because I am a weak human being; b) I don’t have to try to fix myself before asking others/God for help to be better. I can’t fix myself once and for all. That would be trying to dodge this thing called life.

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Hope you all have a great Thursday!

So tell me:

Have you ever done an obstacle course race?

How’s the weather where you are? Rain all week for us :/

Which in-season produce are you excited for?

Two fun things you did this past week!

American Version of Ireland

It’s 12:15am and I’m eating frozen bananas while standing in front of my radiator.

But I wanted to blog! My brain can only organize things into an incoherent list right now though, so that’s what we’ll work with today.

This past week:

1) We had a snow day on Tuesday and it ruined everything.

My gross anatomy lab practical that was supposed to be last Tuesday is now tomorrow, the same day as the gross anatomy lecture exam. #ILoveEverything.

2) I can’t complain about sleeping in and having warm Slytherin socks though (thanks, Fiona ♥︎).

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3) Megan and I also made a mini snowman after Mass that day.

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same.

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we named him Stello, the counterpart to Stella the storm

3) Megan, Briana and I were craving a taste of Ireland on our snow day, so we baked Irish brown bread (one of our favorite foods when we were abroad) using this recipe. It ROCKED fresh out of the oven with butter and jam/honey. *Irish jig*

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3 mini loaves

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we have finally mastered the art of baking in our hell-hot box of an oven

4) Another low regarding the snow/ice was that I walked 30 minutes to dance on Wednesday morning (and royally wiped out on the ice on the way there) all to find out that class was cancelled. ‘Twas totally my fault for not checking the facebook page for an update after the large snow storm.

5) I forgot how much I liked getting sandwiches/wraps at the dining hall until I ordered this beauty last week.

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roast beef, provolone, roasted veggies, lettuce, tomato, sprouts, honey mustard on whole wheat wrap

6) Some of my favorite moves and grooves from last week:

Wednesday: 10-1 pistol squat/burpee ladder (10 of each, then 9, 8,7…1) + squat clean practice

Saturday: 5 rounds of this functional workout from Peanut Butter Fingers + overhead squat practice

Friday: alllll the dancing for St. Paddy’s day!

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ugh this night was so fun!

7) I tried making a healthy homemade shamrock shake with peppermint stevia drops that had been sitting in my pantry unopened for ages.

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milk, yogurt, oats, chia seeds, frozen banana, 1/4 avocado, greens, vanilla protein powder, peppermint stevia drops

My friends hate me for making this.

It was tasty and creamy, but I should have just left out the stevia because it wasn’t that strong, so I kept adding more until it just left a nasty aftertaste.

At least it wasn’t as sickeningly sweet as the McDonald’s version? And it’s green!

8) I helped out with a high school confirmation retreat on Saturday and the church spoiled the volunteers by inviting us to their St. Patrick’s/St. Joseph’s potluck dinner!

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salad, lobster ravioli, jambalaya, clam fritter, eggplant parmigiana, shepherd’s pie, soda bread

#global.

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all the boxed baked goods!!!

I also ate Welch’s fruit snacks and Cheez-Its earlier in the day during the allotted snack time, and I was on cloud nostalgia.

9) Despite the complain train of this post, I am truly grateful for the many wonderful people and privileges I have in my life. And especially this week, I am grateful for the little trials and heartaches that God uses to teach me how to be better.

I hope you all have a fantastic Monday. Go get ’em!!!

So tell me:

How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Danced and snacked the night away with my friends (and watched them drink because I’m still a baby here in America).

Two things you’re grateful for.

The best thing you ate this weekend. That one lobster ravioli (raviolo?) I ate at the potluck was smashing.

What Moves You?

I GOT 14 HOURS OF SLEEP ON SUNDAY NIGHT.

I conked out a little before 7pm and woke up at almost 9am. I needed it though. This past week, I’ve gotten anywhere from 3-6 hours of sleep per night, but I am happy to report that this was mostly because of long, wonderful days.

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egg sandwich that I packed with me for my flight from Florida to Texas — very happy I brought this

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also very happy my flight provided Biscoff cookies 🙂

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Remember the Alamo!

As I said on Friday, I was in San Antonio, Texas for a Catholic conference called SEEK. The theme of the conference is, “What Moves You?”

So with almost 13,000 (!!!) other students (plus a whole lot of religious sisters and brothers, priests, missionaries, and others), we ventured on a four-day journey to reflect on this question.

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can you find Boston University?

Even though I felt like I was moving through a can of sardines the whole week, it was absolutely incredible to grow closer to Jesus Christ with so many other young people.

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Our days consisted of breakfast provided by our own BU missionaries (thanks so much1 ♥︎)…

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they even had pb because they’re the most considerate of souls

…followed by Adoration and Mass with over 13,000 people…

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…then a little Battle of the Sexes game show fun before our separate men’s and women’s talks. Fun fact: I was the contestant on Battle of the Sexes on the third day.

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thanks, Jaime 🙂

A little background: The men won the Battle of the Sexes the past two SEEK conferences. The score by the third day when I went up there was 4-3, women in the lead. But the men had one more lifeline, while the women had used both of them by third day (we had two total for the week — ask the audience and ask a religious). So the pressure of regaining the title for 7,000+ women was on my shoulders. Good thing I had a very strong sense of, “Trust in God; this isn’t about you,” in my heart by the third day.

Rachel filmed this for me:

Funny how I didn’t know the second question, which had to do with women’s rights… Rachel said the night before, “They chose the worst possible person for this.” A little bitter about that comment, but she’s not entirely wrong.

It ended in a tie (he got two right, I got one right), so later that night there was a tiebreaker that THE WOMEN WON. I’m convinced that Our Lady of Victory was interceding for us 😉

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Anyway, after the Battle of the Sexes and the respective men’s and women’s talks, we all broke for lunch, which was provided every day.

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always some variation of sandwich, chips, cookie, and water

After lunch, we had two 40-minute breakout sessions. There were so many talks to choose from each time. Throughout the week, we were blessed to hear a plethora of phenomenal speakers provide inspiration, insight, information, apologetics, and testimonies about different topics in the Catholic faith.

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The second talk ended at 4:45pm, and then we were on our own for dinner. We usually went for some Tex-Mex food, because…we were in Texas.

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tacos and tamales are my faves

Although, one night my Californian friend, Sarah, took us to In-N-Out — apparently an essential experience for all of us who had never been.

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“They all just look so happy there.”

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regular cheeseburger, no onions + vanilla shake

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thanks for the photo, Domenica!

‘Twas delicious!! Even if I was stuffing it into my face in our Uber as we rushed back to the conference that night.

At night, we would have a keynote at 7pm, followed by different programming each night. One night there was adoration with all 13,000 people (chillingly powerful). Another night there was a comedy show by Michael Jr. Another night there was a performance by The Oh Hellos (if you like folk rock, you HAVE to check them out!). Another night, my friends and I ditched the programming and bought ourselves ice cream from CVS.

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ice cream and fellowship  ♥︎ 

Also, San Antonio is a pretty sweet city. Everyone is so kind; it kinda throws off us northeasterners a bit.

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our mascot living his best life in San Antonio

So now to answer the question, “What moves you?”

After this SEEK conference, here’s what I’ve learned moves me:

  1. The unchanging nature of things, especially the unchanging nature of being a woman in a world where the model of femininity is constantly changing (see Lisa Cotter’s talk for more on this!).
  2. The Law of God, which is based on love.
  3. God’s Mercy and the mercy of others in my life.
  4. The fact that, although there are logical reasons to believe God exists, “for most of us, God is not a hypothesis; He is a personal experience.” – Matt Fradd
  5. “We are not the sum of our failures and weaknesses. We are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.” – St. John Paul II
  6. “God is not just the destination; He is the inspiration.” – John O’Leary
  7. The fervent prayer and worship of so many young people, as well as their support, kindness, and drive to use their talents for the sake of the Kingdom.
  8. The sight of lively and radiant nuns, brothers, friars, priests, and religious.
  9. God not just being a big part of my life but God being my life.
  10. The fact that a guilty conscience is helpful, but shame is not from God.
  11. The gift of writing, which is so helpful for focusing during prayer.
  12. The fact that what breaks my heart breaks God’s heart.
  13. The honest and vulnerable testimonies of men and women from every (and I mean every) walk of life.
  14. “If God is going to spend so much time designing the unique circular patterns on your fingertips, how much more will He care about the love that is in your heart?” -Sr. Bethany Madonna
  15. “You will become what you love.” – Leah Darrow
  16. Just as we can’t exercise and then go feed ourselves with whatever crap foods we want, we can’t just go to church/pray and then feed ourselves with media and activities that point us away from God. It’s a lifestyle.
  17. Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist.13782242_1136742099682279_7064718394112318411_n
  18. These people:

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the Boston University crew! thanks for the pic, Veronica!

So tell me:

What moves YOU?

A fun fact or two about last week!

Have you ever been to In-N-Out before? 

The Most Low Key New Year’s Eve

Happy 2017!!! That’s such a weird year number, but I can’t wait to see what it brings.

Saturday started with a fun stair workout to mix things up:

10-8-6-4-2 sets of stairs with two 5# dumbbells. This circuit in between each set:

I like this one a lot! After stretching and showering, I helped Madre prepare lunch for some family friends who I hadn’t seen since I was in diapers (so basically meeting them for the first time!). I made the salmon by baking it with a marinade of garlic salt, pepper, mustard, honey, and dried dill. It was one of the best salmons I’ve ever cooked!

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Madre did most of the cooking though. She made sautéed vegetables, brown rice, Chinese sausage, pork ribs, and pasta with meat sauce (“for the kids”). As always, everything was fantastic! Madre is amazing.

We ended the meal with her fried bananas, clementines, and some mint chip ice cream that was sitting in our freezer. We defy all common food combinations.

Once our house guests departed, we headed to vigil Mass. After that, I felt a wall of exhaustion hit me — the kind where I don’t want anyone to talk to me, because it takes too much energy to respond (or at least respond without sounding really grumpy). So I napped!

Soon after I woke up, we left for our 8pm dinner reservation at Seasons 52, a restaurant I had visited once before and wanted to return to while we were in Florida. They serve up a lot of delicious seasonal dishes that are sophisticated but not intimidating, healthy enough but not obnoxiously healthy.

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We all shared a braised short rib flatbread and blistered shishito peppers to start, which were both super tasty.

For me entree I ordered the caramelized sea scallops with leek and butternut squash risotto, broccolini, and lemon butter. I LOVE scallops and these were great!

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We like to share bites of all our dishes, so I had a bite of Madre’s roasted pork tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes, Ben’s seafood paella, and Pop’s lamb shank. All got a big thumbs up!

Our last dessert of 2016 was a trio of the famous Seasons 52 “delights” — classic desserts in mini glasses. I got the pecan pie, Madre got the chocolate peanut butter torte (this was my favorite!), and Ben got the raspberry cannoli.

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With full and happy bellies, I drove us home for the New Year’s countdown. There were fireworks going off from every direction (I think Disney was setting off a show every hour), so we didn’t even have to go anywhere to experience the celebration. Good thing, because my whole family was in bed before midnight, haha.

I spent the first hours of 2017 FaceTiming Rachel! It was cozy and fun 🙂

On the first day of 2017, I spent the whole day chillin’ at home. I…

  • Slept in. I feel like my sleep deficit is finally catching up with me.
  • Moved and grooved. I stretched (oh so sore from Saturday’s workout), tried to learn a dance on Youtube (lol), had a dance party by myself, and did Colby’s first workout of her 10 day holiday workout challenge!
  • Blogged (2016 recap here!)
  • Caught up with a couple friends
  • Listened to a great podcast
  • Caught up on other people’s blogs
  • Made breakfast for dinner

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open faced egg, Canadian bacon, and cheese sandwich + sautéed spinach

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more bread for dessert — toast with butter, honey, and cinnamon (tastes like a cinnamon roll!)

I’m off to San Antonio tomorrow for SEEK, a Catholic college students’ conference, and I’m pumped!!

I also just want to say thank you for being you. For your support this past year, your kind words, your prayers, and your existence. Much love to you ♥︎

So tell me:

How did you spend NYE and the first day of the year?

“It’s Just Food”

This is the phrase that has helped me keep a happy relationship with food in the past month or so.

When we were still in Dublin, Megan and I were talking about the different kinds of gluttony (#CatholicConvos), and what I learned from our conversation was that there are different kinds of gluttony. It’s not just eating too much; it can be eating too little, being unnecessarily picky or elitist with food, or being too preoccupied with food.

(Important: This doesn’t mean that people with eating disorders are gluttonous by choice, but there are similar behaviors involved.)

At the end of our conversation, Megan said something so simple that stuck with me:

It is just food.

Personally, this phrase helps me fight both temptations to overeat and temptations to restrict.

  • If I’m feeling greedy for food, I can tell myself, “It’s just food. It will not bring you lasting joy.”
  • If I’m feeling disappointed that something I ordered at a restaurant was less healthy than I was expecting, I can tell myself, “It’s just food. You are not a bad person because of this food. Enjoy what you’ve been given and be grateful.”

I am nowhere near perfect, of course, but reminding myself that food is just food can be very helpful in the moment.

(Also important: Food is just food, but of course this does not discredit the value of nutrition. Dietetics is a career for a reason!)

Now, let’s see how 2016 has been closing out over here!

Wednesday

I woke up wanting to do some fun moves and grooves that were different from my usual HIIT formats, so I came up with this circuit that I could do outside with the random pieces of equipment we had on hand.

4 rounds:

  • 30 double unders
  • 10 agility skaters each leg
  • 10 bar facing burpees
  • 30 stability ball crunches
  • 20 hamstring ball curls
  • 10 bench jumpovers
  • 10 decline pushups
  • 10 bulgarian split squat to press each leg
  • 3 wall walks
  • 20 double KB squats
  • 15 side plank crunch reaches each leg

This was super fun and tiring! Props to Madre for doing a great job filming 🙂

Afterwards, I showered and ate a small bowl of Greek yogurt, banana, cereal, and pb before we set off for yet another brunch! This one was big, but not as big as Monday’s. I think we would die if we did that again.

We went to Peach Valley Cafe, which is a place Ben and Madre had visited a couple times before. They wanted us to try their famous apple fritters with strawberry yogurt(!?)!

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they shake ’em up table side and then pour them out for the hungry crowd

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Ohhhhh man. These were like those freshly made, hot cider donuts at an apple orchard, except with bigger apple chunks inside and a creamy, sweet tang of strawberry yogurt on top. Unexpected but delicious combo!

For my main course, I ordered the superfood salad with salmon, but they accidentally gave me the summer salad, which I didn’t realize until I had already eaten half of it. It’s just food though.

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It was average. BUT Madre gave me basically a whole one of her blackened cod fish tacos, which were fantastic.

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Pop also shared his amazing buttery biscuit with us.

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Plus a couple of Madre’s sweet potato fries, which were definitely from frozen, but that’s okay.

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Okay, so maybe this was just as big as Monday’s brunch.

We headed to a park after brunch to walk around and admire its intense greenery.

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Next stop was Winter Park, a very posh and trendy city. In true “us” fashion though, we perused the outrageous candy store with seven billion kinds of soda and sweets that are intriguing but also make you gag.

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a disgrace to carrot cake and pb&j

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kid in a candy store 😉

We didn’t get candy, but we did get a burger from BurgerFi, which is not even an independent, trendy restaurant. It’s a chain…and there’s even one in BOSTON. Hahaha.

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Madre gets weak at the knees if anything has wagyu beef in it, so she asked if we could split it four ways… Pop: “I can’t tell if she’s kidding or not.”

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Ben: “It’s probably only 10% wagyu beef”

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it was super tasty, but oil was driiiiipping down my hand

After our burger adventures, we walked around Rollins College, which has a gorgeous campus.

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Pop: “It’s more like a resort than a college campus.”

Our next stop was East End Market, a small hipster market with lots of local produce, artisan foods, and craft beers.

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they even grow their own greens out front!

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I didn’t get anything here, but Madre got some brisket tacos, and Ben and Pop delighted in a beer flight.

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I really wanted to try their blueberry vanilla beer that they were raving about, but I’m not legal in this country yet. The one time I actually DO want to try beer…

We visited the Gaylord Palms Resort afterwards, since Madre loves it there. And finally we ended with a late but proper dinner at a local Latin restaurant. Ben and I shared the grilled chicken plate, which was a great ending to a great day.

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Thursday

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breakfast: overnight oat smoothie with oats, yogurt, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, pb, pinch of salt, frozen banana, and greens + granola

Mall day with Madre! We spent a long time at the Mall at Millennia, Marshall’s, and Costco (probably my favorite place out of the three, honestly). At the mall, we had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen.

At night, we joined the boys to watch Sing (Tori Kelly is in it hehe), which was a fun and very well done animated movie with a lot of talented voices. Definitely recommend!

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from Monday at Universal Studios 🙂

I may or may not have cried when Tori’s character, Meena, sang “Hallelujah”.

Friday

I started the day with a warmup and 16 minute workout before breakfast and a shower.

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the return of Gina’s cookie dough breakfast cereal!

Then Ben, Pop and I were off to Blue Spring State Park to see some manatees! The temperatures were frigid for Florida (read: low 60s with a breeze), which is perfect manatee spotting weather.

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tail spotted

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peep the little big guy’s snout

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these poor sea sausages are endangered 😦

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the spring really does look blue!

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We walked around and observed the gentle giants for an hour or so before I got really hungry and needed a big sandwich. I found Laspada’s on Yelp, so we drove there to get some bomb cheesesteaks.

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because why not have Northeastern cuisine in the South?

Ben got an original philly cheesesteak combo, I got the chicken cheesesteak supreme, and Pop got a grilled chicken salad.

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very hungry girl + eating a hot and fresh chicken cheesesteak = extremely satisfied

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Shoutout to all my Southern friends who are obsessed with authentic sweet tea:

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It really is better than Arizona iced tea.

When we got home, I laid in bed for a solid 20 minutes, on the verge of a nap. But then Pop asked if I wanted to walk to the driving range with him, so I agreed.

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We practiced “chipping”, which is a bit easier than “driving”(?) the ball. I might be getting okay at golf.

We are packing in the fun into the last of 2016 while it lasts! Be back soon with an end-of-the-year post 🙂

So tell me:

Thoughts on the “it’s just food” mantra?

Three things you’ve done to close out 2016!