Two Museums, Two Desserts, Two Blistered Feet

I did something this weekend other than “oh ya know, just layin’ low…” !!!

Not that there’s anything wrong with laying low (after all, I love kicking up my feet after work these days). But it’s nice to exit the abode and live a little, especially when the weather is as gorgeous as it was this weekend!

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Friday

There’s nothing really to share about Friday except that I worked, ate my favorite dinner of the week, and went to bed at 9.

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brown rice with eel + avocado = all the good things in sushi, amplified in a bowl

Also, BEN CAME HOME FROM SPAIN! He completed El Camino de Santiago, which is historically a Christian walking pilgrimage. There are many routes, but Ben did a super long one that totaled 890 km (553 miles) within 32 days. Casual.

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Congrats, Ben! YOU ROCK.

He actually came home at 2 AM Saturday morning, but I snuck into his room later in the morning to say hi to him before I left for NYC.

Saturday

Since I went to bed so darn early, I woke up at around 6 AM for some sunrise moves and grooves!

100 burpee workout // 10 reps of each // Click here for demos!

  • 10 tuck jump burpees
  • 10 T pushup burpees
  • 10 candlestick to chair burpees
  • 10 alternating side burpees (this one actually hurt my shoulder a bit because the pushup becomes kinda awkward, so I would not recommend this variation)
  • 10 broad jump burpees
  • 10 spiderman pushup burpees
  • 10 handstand burpees
  • 10 superman burpees
  • 10 dive bomber burpees
  • 10 plank jack tuck jump burpees

I tried to do some new/weird variations to keep things interesting, so it was definitely a fun (and tiring) one!

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banana bread baked oatmeal with plain peanut butter + “My Maine Squeeze” almond butter from The Peanut Principle

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from the farmers’ market 😀

Plus a couple pieces of my mom’s egg white pork bake.

After washing up, Pop dropped me off at the train station to head down to the city! Cue this Tori Kelly song (because she is the soundtrack to my life).

First of all, I saw an extraordinary number of dads with their kids on the train/in the city that day, and it made my heart explode.

Secondly, Park Ave looks so clean and luxurious, but it honestly just smells like manure. #overrated

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First stop of the day was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Can you believe I’ve lived in NY for 11 years, and this was my first time going there?

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I guess if you don’t live in NY, you don’t really see the big deal. But this is one of those “must see” attractions in the city.

I did my tourist thing while waiting for my friend, Christine.

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Squealing greeting + photos in front of the MET, because we’re bananas (yellow on the outside, white on the inside, in case you haven’t seen me make that joke 100 times on the blog).

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apparently this is where Gossip Girl cast ate lunch in the show??

In we went!

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We interspersed our “ooo’s” and “aaah’s” with some serious girl talk and some attempts at reading our people’s language.

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My contribution every time: “I have no idea what it means, but it looks familiar.”

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At least we’re proficient in fit fam culture.

Art eventually drains ya girls, so we headed over to lunch at Bluestone Lane for some Australian fare at around 1 PM.
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the restaurant is an extension of an Episcopalian church!
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I spy vegemite toast and the word “brekkie”
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Christine got the egg and bacon roll + I got the Aussie meat pie with mint pea puree
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dynamite
Our waiter was Australian, which really added to the experience. Arman, I could not stop thinking about you.
We made it our mission to find both ice cream and Levain Bakery for dessert, so we took the scenic route and walked around the Central Park reservoir. It was the absolute perfect day to do it! Hot, but not unbearable, and bluuuuuue skies.
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We didn’t know where to get ice cream, but we happened upon Amorino Gelato, which is famous for making roses out of their gelato! That stuff is expensive, but it is undeniably pretty and delicious.
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Christine got fruity flavors + I got pistachio, black cherry, and a cookie butter flavor!
That cone was tiny and that gelato was melting wicked fast. You would think I was a magician, that’s how quickly I made it disappear.
We continued walking and found the legendary Levain Bakery. I had been hearing about their incredible chocolate chip cookies since I moved to New York, basically. This was THE DAY.
But first, a short wait on a line that spanned half the block. Expected.
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this is my “THIS IS BETTER THAN DISNEY WORLD BUT I’M TRYING TO BE CIVILIZED” pose
We descended into the little bakery…
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…I bought one chocolate chip cookie and one oatmeal raisin scone. We desperately needed to charge our phones, so we walked over to a Starbucks, where I finally unveiled the glory…
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 these are both HUGE
…wait for it!!!
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You have no idea how long I had been waiting to take that money shot. Ladies and gents, this was one of the best things that my taste buds have ever encountered. I’m not even a big fan of chocolate.
Warm.
Crispy on the outside.
Slightly under-baked and gooey on the inside.
Melted chocolate chips.
Rich walnut chunks.
Thick and decadent.
a poem about Levain’s chocolate chip cookie by Alison
Christine and I split the mega cookie, and we had a few bites of the scone, which was fantastic as well. Not too sweet at all, but BUTTERY. The bag smelled like buttered popcorn. Mmmmm.
Afterwards, we walked back around the reservoir to where we started, and continued with some more girl talk until Christine had to leave. Next museum of the day was Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design with one of my high school dance company mates, Susie!
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had to take a pic of this
This is probably my favorite museum of all time. It’s so interactive, and the vibe is an intersection between classical architecture and modern technology.
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They give you this high tech pen that acts as a memory stick. The pen has a “+” sign on the back that synchronizes to the “+” sign on each description panel on the exhibits. When you go home, you go onto their website and enter your unique code that they gave you, and you can see pictures of all the exhibits you saved via the pen. MAGICAL.
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This immersion room is your childhood dream. You basically design your own wallpaper with the pen, and watch it come to life in front of your eyes.
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Five stars for Cooper Hewitt! Thank you so much, Susie, for suggesting it!
We worked up a good appetite playing around in the museum. Susie chose an excellent Greek restaurant called Korali for dinner.
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a rare moment when no cars are about to run you over in the city
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beet salad with grapefruit, pine nuts, goat cheese, fennel, dill and scallions
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when the manager walks up to you offering a FREE platter of melted Greek cheese, you do not refuse (such a nice gesture of them!)
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soup of the day: lentil
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Susie gave me a bite of her lamb shank, which was heavenly
We also walked by this gem of a Citi bank sign (great eye, Susie).
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This is Gabby Douglas, US Olympic Gymnast. But peep the caption in the upper left hand corner…
THIS is Allyson Felix, US Olympic Track and Field Runner:
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Alright, Citi Bank.
And then I bid NYC a good night.
Ben picked me up at the train station, and I was all excited to tell him that I walked 11 miles that day (according to the Apple Health app), but then I remembered that he had been walking an average of 20 miles per day for the past month. Overachiever.
I still gave myself a foot massage before bed.
Sunday
I got up a little past 7 to get ready for Mass and say goodbye (already!) to Ben and Madre. Not for long though. Pop and I will meet them in Florida soon for our big family vacation next week!
Breakfast after Mass:
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I also had leftover roasted broccoli while cooking this. Cravings, man.
I watched some gymnastics, read some blogs, and napped before getting up and eating again. Sundays, man.
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smoked salmon avocado toast + unpictured carrots and hummus + half a frozen banana
Then I started this blog post and FaceTimed with my beautiful friend, Briana, from college. Followed by some killer moves and grooves in the basement (which I have deemed to be my “pain cave”).
60 seconds strength/45 seconds  cardio/20 seconds  plyometric/15 seconds rest
3 rounds of each block, 1 minute rest between blocks
BLOCK #1
BLOCK #2
  • pistol squats (30 sec each leg)
  • jumping jacks
  • broad jumps over a step, lengthwise
BLOCK #3

BLOCK #4

I hadn’t done a workout that made my quads cry in a while. I stretched out before Pop and I went to one of our favorites for dinner— Bareburger!

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I made my own burger: turkey burger, spinach, sprouts, tomato, pimento cheese on sprout bun + ketchup and mustard
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sweet potato fries with their curry ketchup + special sauce
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the inner beauty of my burger
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Pop’s “Hog Wild” burger: wild boar burger, pimento cheese, frizzled chickpea onions (!?), fried egg, and pickled green tomatoes on a brioche bun
Decadence once again.
We picked up some groceries afterwards, and now I’m finishing typing this while watching sports on TV (← yay for Olympic season coming up!). ‘Twas a fabulous weekend filled with good food, great conversation, and even better people.
Back to the grind today, but one more week until vacation! Hope you all have stellar Monday. Give yourself a foot massage. You deserve it.
So tell me:
Two things you did this weekend!
What is your favorite museum?
What is the best cookie you’ve ever eaten?
Are there any sports you are following currently?
 
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Nothing Like A Little Friendly Competition

Everything huuuuurts.

This weekend was packed with good and fun things (at the expense of sleep and my safety at times), which explains why I’m posting this today instead of yesterday. What’s been happenin’!?

Friday

‘Twas a pretty standard day— class, bible study, gym (two rounds of this workout— another one of my faves @Jo), work, “trying” to do homework in my dorm on a Friday night.

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I was actually in a good mood

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they had avocado! *praise hands*

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very much wanted to eat the chicken I cooked at work

Saturday

Are you ever up in the middle of the night and tired enough that you can’t read a book but “on” enough that your brain can’t shut up? That was me this day.

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I must keep telling myself that I am indeed thankful for functioning kidneys.

Saturday was a big day because some folks at the Catholic Center (myself included) participated in a fun, athletic competition called the “St. Sebastian Cup”. My friend Lauren sent me a snapchat of herself that morning making a protein shake with the caption: “Are you scared?”

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I had overnight oats, so no, I was not scared.

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The competition consisted of three games of Ultimate Frisbee…

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

My team didn’t score a single point in all three games… but we had HEART. Unfortunately, heart doesn’t get you points.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

But then there was this banana relay race. We all had to jump across a field and back with a banana between our knees, then run with the banana between partners without using our hands, and finally eat the banana.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

EXPERT. But only good enough for second place.

Next came the painful part. We played two games of capture the flag, and I may or may not have been plowed over by one of my teammates when we were both sprinting to tag the same person. It all happened in slow motion, and before I knew it, we were both eating dirt and my right hip was talkin’ to me.

But as any elite athlete would, we carried on with the competition.

Lastly, we had tug o’ war with a thin, slippery nylon strap. Safe? Not at all. Blood was shed. Maybe it helps that St. Sebastian is a martyr? (Too dark?)

Anyway, my team got fourth (aka last), and Rachel’s team got first.

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copyright Cecilia R. Photography

(*cough* stacked team *cough* what?)

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It was a mighty fun time though, and we all went to the dining hall to feast on good food, including some bomb bread pudding.

At night, I attended a Women’s Retreat about being uniquely made. It was a lovely, heartwarming way to end a hard day of “friendly” competition (things got pretty spicy at some points!).

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The lovely ladies running the retreat made us vegan sweet potato chili! I un-veganized it with cheese and sour cream 🙂

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freshly baked chocolate banana bread ♥︎ 

I did some reading for class back at home afterwards, and I kept falling asleep. Rachel kept waking me up and motivating me to finish my homework like a good friend. But I wanted to sleep.

Sunday

I think it’s safe to say that everyone who participated in the St. Sebastian Cup woke up moaning in pain on Sunday morning. Convo with my girl, Lauren:

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The pain was even worse two days later.

But Sunday was a beautiful day for productivity, Mass, and National Siblings Day!

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banana oatmeal with almond butter for breakfast

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not a cloud in the sky

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finding places to stand and do work outside

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took the siblings out for dinner (Rachel is the “adopted sister”)

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roasted butternut squash, goat cheese, spinach, balsamic pizza

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berry + vanilla creme crepe

And then there was Monday, which was a solid day all around. We had stretch and massage day in dance class, so that was GREAT.

Hope you all have a fantastic week! Play outside and get into some friendly competition (just be careful).

So tell me:

What is your favorite competitive athletic activity?

Is there something that you get very competitive about?

What did you do this weekend? 

Things My Dad Says

This post is brought to you by Pop (aka my dad).

Pop and I had a very low-key weekend— nothing extraordinary, but everything a relaxing weekend should be. This meant that I got to spend lots of quality time with Pop and really listen to some of the insightful, ridiculous, and funny things he has to say (and do).

Our Friday night consisted of some slow cooker split pea soup, which was thick, naturally creamy, and reminiscent of my childhood.

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My dad is going easy on the carbs lately, so he’s been loving cheese and fruit plates with a few 34 Degrees crisps for “dessert”.

*FaceTiming with bro and mom*

Dad: “Alison’s making me a cheese plate! Just like on the cruise!”

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Natural 34 Degrees crisps with peach slices, dried figs, and goat chese

We woke up to a stormy morning on Saturday, and because I thought the world should know this immediately, I snapchatted the weather from my bed.

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Rainy Saturday mornings basically require hot oats for breakfast. A bowl for Pop and a bowl for moi.

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banana chia egg white oats with peanut butter

*Sky Full of Stars starts playing on my Spotify*

Dad: “Oooo! ‘Cause you’re a skyyyy, you’re a skyyy….’*starts raising the roof*

The rest of my day was pretty lazy. I did a barre workout from Youtube, caught up on blog reading, ate a delicious lunch, and used up some more Blend swag (STILL!!!).

*Dad sees my lunch.*

Dad: “Mmmm that looks really good!”

Me: ……… “Do you want the same thing?”

Dad: “Can you make an egg white version?” *smiles*

Me: “Mhmm.”

It makes me chuckle and makes me happy when he subtly suggests that he wants me to make him food 🙂

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avocado toast with a sunny egg + salad with maple mustard dressing + leftover Asian turkey

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afternoon smoothie with Gnarly vanilla protein powder (from Blend), milk, frozen banana, and peanut butter

I think this might be my favorite vanilla protein powder ever! (No sponsorship.)

Coming back from church….

Me: “I’m doing the barefoot mile tomorrow.”

Dad: (after a few seconds) “Barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen!…Have you heard that saying before?”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Dad: “I think it was an antifeminist saying during World War II or something.”

Me: “Hm, well it sounds like me.”

Dad: “What??”

Me: “The saying sounds like me.”

Dad: “You’re barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen???”

Me: “The barefoot in the kitchen part at least.”

Dad: “Oh! I was about to have a heart attack! I thought maybe you knew something that we didn’t!”

Me: “DAD! No!”

Later at night….

Dad: (Excitedly) “Do you wanna help me sign some checks?” [for church collection]

Me: “…..Kayyyyy.”

Dad: “We’ll have a check signing party!”

Me: *nods* “Yeeeeep.”

P.S. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about with the barefoot mile, the wonderful and inspiring Emily invited me via Facebook to Joy International’s Global Barefoot Mile on Sunday. Basically, you walk a mile barefoot in solidarity with all the children in Cambodia and other third world countries who have no shoes and who are victims of sex trafficking.

You can donate at Joy International’s website!

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It hurt, but that just made the walk more meaningful.

It’s also been HOT and HUMID this weekend!!! You step outside and you can’t breathe for a second.

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to cool down on Sunday afternoon: Quest peanut butter protein powder (from Blend also) blended with ice and milk

Dad and I made a trip to Costco to stock up on essentials for the next couple weeks, and our pickup included this beautiful wild caught salmon. I baked it at 400F for 12 minutes with some olive oil, balsamic, honey, and black pepper.

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Yep, lots for leftovers for the week! Served with soba noodles and maple mustard salad.

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In the words of Emeril: BAM!

Dad: “That salmon was so amazing, I can’t believe it!”

Me: “Oh thanks…” *nervous laugh*

Dad: …….. “I meant that it’s incredible how good it tastes. I didn’t mean it like that. That wasn’t meant to reflect you. You brought out the freshness of the salmon.”

Me: “I’m glad you liked it.” 🙂

Last but not least, my friend Michael took Daliza and me to Dairy Queen for our first time ever last night! Appropriate for National Ice Cream Day, eh? (<—Canadian side emerging.)

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The place was hoppin’ at 9 PM on a Sunday. Maybe because it’s one of two Dairy Queens in our tristate area. Maybe because the heat compels people to get ice cream.

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Mint Oreo Blizzard jeah jeahhhhh. They didn’t do the flip-the-cup-upside-down to show you how thick and creamy the blizzard is. I’ll forgive them though because the heat was making the ice cream melt faster than the Wicked Witch of the West.

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And that, my friends, is my weekend in a {rather large} nutshell. I love you, Dad ♥

Hope you all have a fantastic week ahead!

So tell me:

Do any of your parents, aunts/uncles, grandparents say funny things all the time? My mom is also a hoot.

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

Was it hot in your neck of the woods?

My First Spa Day

All good things must come to an end!

That’s been our motto for the past couple of days as everyone staying at our Florida home has been going back to their real homes for work and school. Mom and I were the last two left, so we spent Saturday cleaning and packing up the house and all our belongings. Despite “closing up shop”, it’s been an awesome (and super long) vacation, so there is absolutely nothing to be sad about.

Friday

Especially when you end the vacation with a spa day! This was my first spa day since I’m eighteen years old now. All my little girl dreams came true.

Pre-spa breakfast was avocado toast with a dippy egg and a banana on the side.

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We went to the Ritz Carlton spa for the day (ooh la la, I know), and the staff was incredibly kind (like, sometimes I was uncomfortable with how nice they were). They even allowed my day at the spa to be free of charge since my mom and aunt were both paying for day passes and facials.

Four thumbs up for customer service (I’m counting my toe thumbs)!!

Our spa day started with moves at the fitness center. I ran for 20 minutes on the treadmill and then completed Hillary’s arm and ab superset workout with 10-20 burpees after each superset instead of kettlebell swings.

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Thanks for creeping on me during my workout, Madre 

I was feelin’ weeeeak by the end of my workout, so a nourishing lunch afterwards was just perfect.

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“Bento box” with seared ahi tuna, mixed greens, three bean salad, and farro salad

I savored every last bite of this plate since it was all so delicious and fresh. The price was also great for all this food (look at all that tuna)!

Following lunch, we showered in the snazzy spa showers, put on the classic white robes, and then chillaxed.

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You bet I had some of those yogurt pretzels

I attempted to go into the sauna, but I only stayed for 5 minutes because I felt like a baking cookie. And the steam room…lasted 5 seconds. I couldn’t see anything and I couldn’t breathe. Nuhthanks.

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The jacuzzi on the other hand…

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…yeah I could do that. I’m such a juvenile.

I spent my time in the jacuzzi for a bit, but I dried off and headed back to the empty studio in the fitness center to stretch while my mom and aunt were getting their faces lathered and massaged. I also kept snacking on the complimentary apples and snack mix, as well as the infused water. Alllllll the day. Strawberry-infused water was my favorite!

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I had a wonderful stretching session by my lonesome, and I even did a tiny bit of ballet at the barre. Oh how I miss it!

Is it sad that I was sore from stretching the next day? I guess I deprived my muscles of oxygen for a little too long during my deep stretches (after not having stretched in forever).

Eventually, our rejuvenating spa day came to an end. (Not that I really needed rejuvenation after a two-week vacation in Florida…) We later joined the dudes for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant.

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Rice vermicelli with grilled shrimp and abundant herbs and veggies

Then we went home for ice cream to balance out all the greens eaten throughout the day. 😉

Saturday

Florida was super chilly (by Florida standards), so hot oats hit the spot for breakfast!

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½ c. quick oats cooked in ½ c. water and ½ c. 2% milk // half a sliced banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, vanilla protein powder, pinch of salt stirred in // glob of peanut butter on top

As I mentioned at the top of this post, mom and I spent the day cleaning and packing while also dropping off family members at the airport for their respective flights. We did take a shopping break at TJMaxx in the late morning though!

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I’m season-confused. I got a sweater and three pairs of shorts, and I’m going back to single-digit temperatures in Boston. Spring will come soon enough, right?

A clean-out-the-fridge lunch was in order that afternoon: avocado toast with our last egg + practically half a box of spinach with tons of feta cheese. Plus an unpictured clementine and a million veggie straws aka one of the most addicting snacks out there.

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Oh my goodness, too many leaves in my stomach. But I enjoyed this simple lunch nonetheless!

After a long day of cleaning (and church in the evening), Madre offered to take me out to dinner at Seasons 52, a restaurant we had both been wanting to try for a while. I gratefully agreed!

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To start: grilled chicken pesto flatbread

The flatbread was to die for. Everything was packed with flavor but not too salty— a balance that is hard to come by!

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Mom’s order: pork tenderloin with sweet potato mash and roasted vegetables

She shared a good hunk of pork tenderloin with me, and mannnn was it delicious. I think I closed my eyes at one point as I savored the tender, flavorful piece of meat. Dishes like these prevent me from becoming a vegetarian.

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My order: “Winter Vegetable Tasting” that included citrus farro quinoa salad, a black bean & veggie soft taco, roasted golden beets, broccoli rabe, and grilled tofu with fruit salsa

There was not a thing on this plate that we didn’t enjoy! The citrus farro quinoa salad was our favorite though. We must re-create it at home!

I totally saved room for dessert, since we kept seeing waiters and waitresses walk around to other tables with plates of dessert shots.

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They brought out an assortment of mini desserts in shot glasses from which you could choose. If I remember correctly, they had: carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter mousse, pecan pie, s’mores, caramel macchiato, strawberry cannoli, key lime pie, blueberry lemon custard, and raspberry brownie.

Talk about tough life choices.

Without much hesitation, I chose the carrot cake, and mom chose the raspberry brownie. I ended up eating all of mine and most of hers. They were mini, so it’s a little more acceptable to eat 1.5 desserts, yes?

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Thanks for the fabulous dinner, Madre!

Sunday

Since we went to church on Saturday evening, mom and I got to sleep in before doing some last minute cleaning of the house.

I was also able to squeeze in some moves outside as it started to drizzle a bit: 5 minute jump rope warmup + Purely Twins’ crazy burpee leg workout (loved this!!!) + 8 minute ab tabata.

The ab tabata was 4 rounds of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest of weighted Russian twists, modified V-ups, crossover knee to elbow planks, and spiderman planks.

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I washed that shirt before wearing it again, promise.

As always, a day of travel calls for overnight oats!

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Now we’re en route to New York, but this time we’re taking the auto train rather than road tripping like we did on our way down to Florida. There’s snow in the northeast and I’m not sure if our bodies are ready for the temperature shock.

I’ve obviously been spoiled silly on this vacation, but I am looking forward to school, schedules, and just feeling productive. Nevertheless, I am beyond thankful for the family time and amazing experiences we’ve had in Florida!

P.S. I used so many parentheses in this post. Sorry, I love asides apparently.

So tell me:

Have you ever had a spa day?

Have you ever gotten sore from stretching? Please say yes.

What is your favorite cold-weather food?

Which of the dessert shots would you choose?

Italian Food and Soccer

Hi!

My mom, Daliza, and I are currently Florida-bound! My dad is joining us at the end of the week, but we’ve been traveling a couple days via auto train, which is basically the coolest form of transportation on the east coast (it transports you AND your car!). They also feed you, and we all know how much I would appreciate that.

Daliza and I did some fun activities with our friends before saying farewell to New York for three weeks though!

On Friday night, my parents, Daliza, Jordan, Michael, and I (after prom crew!) went to La Festa Italiana at a local church. It was a cute little carnival with games, fantastic Italian food, and fun music. My parents were burning up the dance floor the whole night while I pretended I didn’t know them…. Just kidding, they’re actually fabulous ballroom dancers, and they looked so adorable!

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We didn’t win anything at all.

  The best part was definitely the food (you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?). I actually had my mind set on the meatball wedge alllll day long.

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Craving satisfied.

Except Jordan and Michael kept staring at me while I was eating it, which made me quite uncomfortable because I probably looked like a barbarian trying to fit the huge, saucy, meaty sandwich in my mouth. Thanks, dudes. ‘Preciate it.

It was obligatory to get some sort of Italian dessert too:

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Lemon Italian ice, baby!….

…followed by a food baby.

On Saturday the four of us played soccer along with Daliza’s cousins. I should say that they played soccer, and I was a disgrace. I don’t play soccer (I wish I could!), so it was a big mistake whenever my teammates passed the ball to me. The only thing I was good at was running to get the ball whenever I kicked it out of bounds.

Hey, I was giving 60% effort, 4000% of the time (<— such a funny video).

Nevertheless, it was a really fun time! It was also pretty dang hot, so we cooled off with ice cream at Baskin Robbins afterwards. Ice cream #becausefutbol.

And now, we start our adventure in Florida! I’ll be updating you all as much as I can while we’re there! Daliza and I are as stoked as two little girls going to Disney for the first time. Well, I’m excited to go to Publix Supermarket. 😉

Have a fantastic day, everyone!

So tell me:

Which Italian food do you crave?

Are you good at soccer?