In and Out of Canada {Take Three}

We had such a productive four days in Toronto!

It’s seems that my family has an annual tradition of being in and out of Canada to visit relatives. Here was take one and take two.

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Whenever I leave the ever-walkable city of Boston, my daily step count plummets by approximately 15,000 steps, while my calorie intake increases significantly, especially when in Toronto, amidst Asian food paradise.

But…

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After a fun and active day on Thursday with my cousins, Friday was a fun and food-filled day with my cousins at the Canadian National Exhibition! First though — moves, grooves and breakfast.

I did a nice 10 minute warmup (I am a zombie if I work our first thing in the morning) before completing this 20 minute workout (30 seconds on, 10 seconds off, 5 rounds):

  • burpee tuck jumps
  • weighted squats
  • donkey kicks
  • superman to scapula retraction
  • burpee to plank kick throughs
  • hamstring ball curls

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Followed by 4 x 30-40 second wall walk holds and Greek yogurt with fruit and granola.

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My cousin Amy and I were chaperoned by my parents to the train station and then took a train and bus on our own to get downtown.

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Quick story: At the train station, I tried to pay for my ticket with a $50 Canadian bill, but the guy at the ticket counter told me, “Go away,” while gesturing to the turnstile. I was confused and slightly distressed and didn’t know what he wanted me to do until Amy whispered, “He wants us to go for free!” OH. (You don’t see this happen in Boston or NYC.)

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I’m eight years older than Amy, but age is obviously just a number when it comes to having a clue about anything.

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Anyway, after a pleasant (and free) ride on Toronto’s public transit, we arrived at the CNE, ready to explore! The CNE is basically an annual MEGA fair in downtown Toronto. Just visit the website if you want to learn about what happens there; it’s huge.

We explored the “farm” first, which is a building filled with farmers and their animals from around Canada.

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alpacas!

I felt the slightest tug to never eat pork or beef ever again, but I’m a cold-hearted person I think eating meat conscientiously is not a bad thing.

Next we visited the arts and crafts building, which housed hundreds of vendors and booths, which means we housed many samples in our bellies.

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Amy and I met up a little later with my other cousins, Kate and Megan! We all hung out together for the rest of the day, which made for a sweet girls’ day 🙂

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The CNE has quite a few shows and performances throughout the day, so we first went to the ice skating and acrobatics show. It was awesome (and a little heart-attack-inducing with some of those acrobatics). There was also a “Fire Guy” show in front of the arena beforehand.

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Then it was time for lunch! The food building is RIDICULOUS, guys. There are so many food stands, healthy and…daring alike.

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this is like 10% of it

I walked around for 10 minutes feeling overwhelmed yet hungry, but I knew that I definitely wanted pierogis (Polish potato and cheese dumplings), so I got a cup of four with sour cream on the side to start.

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My uncle also recommended the waffle ice cream sandwich (a CNE classic apparently), so I had my heart set on one of those. It did not disappoint!!

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it doesn’t look like much, but it was PERFECT — tender, buttery, warm and toasted waffles with good ol’ vanilla ice cream in the middle — UGH

I wish I had more time/money/space in my stomach to spare, because there were so many things I wanted to try. Look at this list of 10 outrageous foods at the CNE, some of which look repulsive and some of which I would so eat.

We scurried out of lunch to watch the parkour show just outside the food building! This was one of my favorite things at the CNE. It’s just so entertaining and awe-inspiring to see people flip and jump over obstacles like it’s absolutely nothing.

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After the parkour show, Amy and I walked around the carnival area while Megan and Kate went on a couple rides.

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Amy and I shared a corn dog at some point because a) Amy had never eaten corn dog before; b) I secretly love corn dogs.

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The four of us met back up at another big exhibition hall for more samples and people trying to sell us things, like these self-massagers (admittedly, I could have used that thing for an hour).

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There were also sand and butter sculptures in the making!

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the butter sculptors were working on recreating that black and white photo in the background — Justin Trudeau holding baby pandas LOL

‘Twas such a successful trip to the CNE with these beautiful ladies!

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met up with our Aunt Sharon at the very end too!

Amy and I headed back outbound to our families for sushi dinner at 8pm. I really wanted vegetables at this point, and a starter salad had to suffice for the day, but I’m okay with a day of only 2-ish servings of fruits/veggies.

Because THIS:

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{Sushi} Roll me outta there.

On Saturday we spent a lot of time with Pop’s parents, which was wonderful. There was also a big family lunch at Congee Queen in there!

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The rest of the day was just spent chillin’ with my grandparents, dropping them off at a wedding, a walk/deep chat with Pop, Mass, and then more foooooood.

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Vietnamese for dinner (aka so many veggies YES)

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my two kids in a candy store 😉

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banana + tapioca in coconut milk *moment of silence*

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red bean pastry

My Asian side (aka my whole side) thrives in Toronto.

We all had big plans for Sunday morning, but none of them really worked out. I had big plans to work out before we hit the road for NY, but that didn’t happen as I went to sleep past 1am.

We also had plans to leave at 7am, but that didn’t happen as we promptly discovered that our car battery was completely dead. Thank God for CAA for coming to the rescue! We only left 1.5 hours later than we planned, which wasn’t bad at all. (I also got to foam roll and stretch before sitting in the car all day #bless.)

Then the rest of the day involved road tripping. Snacks and stretching are a must.

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ketchup chips are a Canadian road trip specialty/necessity in our family

We were back in New York as the sun was setting, so we headed to So Gong Dong for a last hurrah Korean dinner.

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Korean short ribs to share (the best)

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veggie bibimbap

Madre also graciously helped me buy some new training/running shoes at TJMaxx after dinner since mine were about as useful as slippers.

One day in NY now before heading back to Boston for another four months!!

Hope you all have a joyous Monday!

p.s. WHO IN THE US IS WATCHING THE SOLAR ECLIPSE!? My brother gave me special eclipse glasses to view it this afternoon from NY (not total eclipse, but 76% coverage isn’t too bad!)

So tell me: 

Have you ever been to the CNE?

What is your favorite carnival food?

Two things you did this weekend!

Has your car battery ever died? Thank God ours didn’t die in the middle of the road!

 

 

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Functional Families

(Although family is often dysfunctional, am I right?)

We are officially completely done with our first {summer} semester of PT school! I wish I could have taken a photo with all my friends who have truly been my functional {anatomy} family this summer as we’ve journeyed our way through the ups and downs of the summer semester and beyond. But for now I have this photo of Janice, Justin, Kevin and myself eating celebratory pizza at Blaze after our functional anatomy final on Tuesday!

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Darn good pizza, even better company.

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loaded mine with mozzarella, goat cheese, spinach, roasted broccoli, spinach, artichokes, sautéed onions, turkey meatball, and roasted red peppers – no limits on toppings when you build your own pizza!!

We celebrated that night with Game of Things and a Moana viewing party, which were both super fun (I had never seen Moana before then! Heihei the chicken is my spirit animal).

On Wednesday, my body decided it was a good idea to wake up at 6:30am after going to sleep at 2am (WHY), but my friends Elayne and Janice motivated me to go on a quick and easy run with them despite my sleepiness. I’m so glad I did; I love them (and I guess I like running again).

Afterwards, I had 45 minutes to shower, eat lunch, and pack for Toronto! My parents were already up here visiting relatives, so I flew up here to meet them. They met me at the airport with Extreme Pita takeout, because I told them I would be quite hungry when I got off the plane. Thanks, parents. ♥︎

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Madre also bought her favorite childhood candy to share with us.

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hadn’t eaten Cadbury chocolate since Ireland!

I got to see my grandparents and one set of cousins that night, which was such a treat. Most of my cousins are much younger than my brother and me, but it’s always so fun to interact with them and see how much they’ve grown since the last time I’ve seen them.

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I slept for NINE hours that night. *Crowds go wild*.

Yesterday morning, I met those same cousins at the park for some playtime and…

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tabata time!! Apparently, many of my uncles, aunts, and cousins are all super fit and active, which is extra fun. My uncle suggested we do a couple tabatas, which resulted in the most heart/body-warming time of my life.

I even went on Instagram for the first time in 8 months(!) to post the video, because it was THAT good of a moment.

What a functionally fit family. The girls (ages 7 and under) were SO into it, and it made me so utterly happy.

I was telling my uncle (triathlete, doctor and father of four, guatever) that this is what #fitmoms do and post on their Instagram accounts.

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You know, the swing suspension trainer thing. Don’t tell me you don’t know about it.

After a good bit of playing, lunch was brought to us by my parents…

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*angels singing*

…and my other cousin Amy with her new Vitamix!

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In the afternoon, Amy, my uncle George, and my dad headed over to The Hub for our annual bouldering trip!! More functional fit fam action! I talk about bouldering at this place all year round and always get stoked for it. This was my third time there with them.

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It was a very fun and challenging day! Amy, her friend and Uncle George were all killin’ it, so they were my inspirations. Pop was also killin’ it on auto-belay!

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I also appreciated these form signs in the gym. #functionalanatomy

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We were so ready for a snack afterwards, so to Chatime we went! Amy and I split a — get this — peanut. butter. croissant.

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I repeat.

Peanut. Butter. Croissant.

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There was peanut butter leaking outta that yummy, buttery, flaky pastry. UGH.

Not too long after, my great aunt had a home-cooked dinner waiting for us.

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Followed by a couple slices of taro loaf from Chatime.

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I proceeded to veg out on my phone for about an hour before praying for a couple hours and then getting hungry again. My aunt served us some frozen yogurt with berries and a waffle cookie to end the night on (my third) sweet note.

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God bless good family time — blood-related and otherwise.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend. Hug your loved ones tightly.

So tell me:

Have you ever done a family workout?

What is your favorite childhood candy?

Have you ever gone bouldering?

 

In and Out of Canada {Take 2}

Another year, another jaunt to Canada for the weekend.

Toronto, Canada. The land in which I undoubtedly consume an inordinate amount of carbohydrates and sodium. But goodness gracious, how can you say no to the fried rice and crispy noodles?

The food wasn’t nearly as important as the occasion and the company of course. My family took a little trek to Toronto this weekend to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th anniversary! How beautiful, eh? (← had to)

Friday

Early wakeup to leave the house at 6AM! I definitely should not have stayed up until midnight to watch gymnastics/procrastinated laundry the night before. But Simone and Aly were worth it.

Nectarine banana overnight oats as per travel tradition.

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I was also nearly half deaf on Friday because my right ear has issues (I was born with two ear holes instead of one in that ear), so I’m prone to infection and having too much stuff in my ear. One of the more gross facts that you didn’t need to know about me. But not being able to hear that well out of even one ear really made me appreciate the gift of hearing!

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some morning double rainbow action

Madre had been up in Toronto since Tuesday, since she was the executive party planner. Pop, Ben and I took Friday off of work to drive up, and it took wayyyy too long. A road trip that usually takes 9 hours took almost 12 hours. But we made it safe and sound, which matters most.

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Salad dipped in guac. All I can hear is Rachel saying to me, “Be better. Or at least be less weird.”

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so much of this

We rolled into our cousins’ place at around 6pm. We were staying with the fit family again 🙂 Obviously that meant doing handstands and cartwheels in the basement with my cousin Amy upon arrival.

My family took off again soon after for dinner with other relatives at Congee Queen.

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congee = rice porridge with lots of good stuff inside

Pro: it’s cheap, delicious food. Con: it’s cheap, delicious food.

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best fried rice ever with [fake] crab, roe, and eel!

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I am positive that I ate more at this dinner than I do at Thanksgiving.

Back at home, I showered, and my cousin and I stretched while watching the Olympics with our parents. Only at their house can I enjoy a big stretching mat and foam rollers in front of the television!

Saturday

I slept in until 8ish and headed to the basement to warmup and do Jen’s 1000 Rep Workout.

My legs were insanely tight from sitting all day Friday, so this workout was great for loosening them up, but I could feel that there was lots of lactic acid in my body (not soreness but all around fatigue/tightness/heaviness). All I wanted was to foam roll and drink water until the cows came home.

After showering (and getting my right ear to hear again!), I helped Amy make avocado egg toast for her and her dad. She saw on my blog that I ate it once 25793 times before and bought the ingredients to make it while I was visiting.

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I’m always a proponent of spreading the avo-egg toast love, and I’m happy that they love it!

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For myself, I ate some quick banana oatmeal with protein powder and almond butter.

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While Madre, Pop and Ben were setting up the hall for the anniversary party the next day, I got to hang out with Amy. We played “Just Dance” and a Mario Party “board game” on the Wii after breakfast.

Working out + Just Dance made me pretty hungry again in no time. I ate leftovers for lunch with my cousin’s family before they left for Kung Fu practice (NBD). As for me, I laid horizontally on their couch (I had a stomachache for a bit), foam rolled, and caught up on blogs and reading.

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I did some handstands too. Amy believed that I could do a one-armed handstand facing the wall (after seeing my failure last week), and I could! The power of encouragement, man.

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When my family got back home, we headed to 5pm Mass. This parish we visited had the most beautiful-sounding music ministry. I cried.

Then for my favorite meal of the trip at my favorite restaurant in Toronto— Ten Ren’s Tea House! Everything here is cooked with tea, and they obviously sell a million kinds of tea beverages.

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p.s. More often than not in Toronto, we share everything family style. #justAsianthings

I actually skipped a tea beverage this time because I wanted a tea dessert, and I’m not really a dessert-sharer, so…. I ordered a green tea soft serve in a waffle cone for myself, which was fantastic.

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I also had a couple bites of “brick toast” for the first time ever. It’s what it sounds like— toast the size of a brick that’s caramelized and topped with something yummy. Our table shared a sweet milk custard one and a peanut butter (!) one.

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We’re pretty sure it was natural peanut butter because LOOK AT THE WAY IT MELTS. It also wasn’t too sweet. The sweet milk custard one was even better though, honestly. Imagine creme brûlée on top of toast….Yeah.

I also had a few bites of this snow ice dessert.

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It’s shaved ice topped with coconut milk and four toppings. We got tapioca, taro, lychee jelly, and red beans. Tasty and refreshing!

I think the rest of the night involved more stretching and Just Dance. We didn’t throw knives this time around, darn it.

Sunday

The big day! My family headed to the hall to prep for the anniversary party all morning.

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Sidenote: I was tweezing my brows in the car (I was NOT driving) on the way to the hall, which I do not recommend for effectiveness, accuracy, or safety.

We did some rehearsing, some decorating, and LOTS of food scooping into trays. As we were transferring all the food (that Congee Queen catered) into smaller trays, all I could think was, “these noodles are perpetual…this fried rice could feed an army and a half…this is all the General Tso’s chicken in Canada.”

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Needless to say, many people had many meals to take home at the end of the party.

There were several heartfelt speeches, many songs, lots of laughs, a couple baby screams, and almost three hundred people celebrating my grandparents’ inspiring 50 years of marriage. I sang “La Vie en Rose” for them with my brother accompanying on the piano!

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DSC_2657Pop and his bros singing + Ben on the keys + pad thai 
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twins!

I wore spiky, pointy-toed heels for 3 minutes before calling it quits and switching to sandals.

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So many people worked very hard to plan, set up, and attend this celebration. Special shoutout to my mom and her family and friends, who were indispensable contributors to the setup and cleanup of the party. They’re amazing! Everyone on both sides of the family who helped and came out to the celebration are just remarkable.

Cheers to everyone and to my Mah Mah and Yeh Yeh!

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We were utterly exhausted after running around all day. To think that Pop, Ben and I had originally planned on driving home to New York overnight immediately after the party makes me want to die inside. Thank God we were all able to get Monday off work.

I did go on a walk with my cousin, aunt and uncle after dinner because the weather outside was perfect and the sky looked like cotton candy!

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homemade jello made by Amy, naturally sweetened with honey and lemon — so refreshing!

But after watching the 100m men’s track final at night, I went to bed at 10 and passed. out.

Monday

Pop took one of our cars to go back home early with his aunt, and the rest of us slept in a little bit before we hit the road with our other car. I ate some breakfast cookie dough cereal before saying goodbyes, and then we were off!

First though, some road trip snacks from the Asian supermarket.

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cart-basket contraption

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“meat floss” seems neither appealing nor helpful in any way

Lunch on the road:

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pork bun

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cold Taiwanese noodles

Also, we bought ketchup chips in unhealthy and healthier form.

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A Canada classic that makes ketchup lovers rejoice and ketchup haters question humanity.

The trip home was a lot better than the trip to Toronto, thankfully. We even got some good views of Niagara Falls at the border!

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Our last hurrah was dinner at a Japanese restaurant with my dad’s aunt. I shared an eel avocado roll with my mom and ordered steamed chicken and vegetables with brown rice for myself. I was honestly craving as little salt and oil as possible. I love those two things, but Toronto serves it on a whole ‘nother level.

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It was a fun mini vacation with my beloved family, but I’m excited to go back to work and not have as much acne on my face 😀

So tell me:

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever tried brick toast or Taiwanese snow ice?

How has someone encouraged you recently? 

New Things in the New Year

Greetings from New York! Let’s talk about some new things that I’ve already experienced in this new year! (Has the word “new” lost its meaning yet? If not, it will after you finish reading this post.)

Our last day of 2015 and first day of 2016 was spent with family, friends, and food. Classic. December 31st included sore muscles in new places that have never really been sore before (maybe my subscapularis?. It also included a delicious Vietnamese lunch with my cousins.

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grilled chicken and shrimp vermicelli bowl at Saigon Star (one of our faves)

We counted down to the New Year with our other cousin’s family and all their cool kung fu friends. I helped out by cooking some rosemary roasted potatoes and a garden salad, and I got a new compliment from my little cousin: “These are the best potatoes ever!” I might never hear that again. #cherish

Also, check out this beautiful appetizer spread by my aunt!

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Do not be deceived. I ate this and much more.

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Camping out by the snacks. She’s my mini-me.

Dessert was mochi ice cream and freshly baked {Pillsbury} chocolate chip cookies. Perfection, I say.

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We learned some new moves and grooves with Just Dance on the wii. My mom filmed Ben and me dancing to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. I was doing the dance a lot better in my head.

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when around kung fu masters, you do active things always

When it came time to count down the last seconds until 2016, we poured some bubbly and watched the live Times Square ball drop on TV. It was great, except the TV kept freezing up, and of course it froze on the last 5 seconds of the countdown.

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“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, fi- NOOOOOOO!”

Nevertheless, 2016 was still there and we all had a fun time celebrating.

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reppin’ my classiest wardrobe selection

On New Year’s Day, I got up early to try a new fitness class — the ever famous BodyPump! Now let me make this clear: I only tried this early (9:30AM lol) class on New Year’s because a) it was free with a gym trial pass; b) I don’t have BodyPump close to home; c) my cousin Liz came with me.

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Verdict? I enjoyed it! It could have been more challenging, but that’s because Liz and I stuck with lighter weights since it was our first time. I would do BodyPump (or other Les Mills classes) again, but I don’t know if I would actively seek it out.

Later that day, I watched a new movie. Guess which one.

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Star Warzzzzzz! I’ve never seen any other Star Wars movies, but I didn’t find it too difficult to follow the plot, and I actually loved the movie! BB8 (pictured above) is my favorite.

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Ate a banana from home and a whole small bag of popcorn.

My family and I departed Canada on Saturday, Subway sandwiches in tow. Thankfully, the drive was safe and pretty swift.

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road trip snacks!

Before hitting the road, I did this quick leg circuit. After the long trip, I was missing Just Dance with my cousin, so I did a random Shaun T dance DVD in the basement.

Yesterday involved Mass, buying new textbooks for the semester, Korean food, another new movie, errands, and a short workout.

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beloved Korean side dishes

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chicken bibimbap shared with Madre

After Mass and lunch, Pop and I watched the new film Brooklyn in theaters. We both loved it! It’s pretty much a rom com, but more old-timey (it takes place during the 1940s era of immigration in America).

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Highly recommend if you are up for a sweet, feel-good movie that’s not too intense.

And here we are at Monday. Best of luck to all those heading back to school or work!

……..I have two more weeks until I go back to school sorrysorrysorry.

May the force be with you.

So tell me:

What did you do for New Year’s?

Have you done anything new yet in 2016?

Did you watch Star Wars or Brooklyn?

What is the best thing you ate this weekend? The bibimbap for me!

Day in the Life of a Ninja

Two trips down, one to go!

Not that I’m counting down vacations. St. Louis (for cousin’s Baptism) and Canada (to visit relatives) were a blast, and our last family trip is to Seattle (for a wedding) starts today. Then it’s the countdown to move-in day back in Boston!

Our last day in Canada had some ups and downs, but mostly ups. If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat, you probably already know that I’ve exhausted the fact joke that I’ve been in ninja training, but I’m about to push it to the limit with this post.

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A Day in the Life of a Ninja (Monday)

7:00 AM— Wake up and go to the bathroom. Check emails, comments, and social media.

8:00 AM— Go back to sleep, because ninjas need rest to be on their game.

9:00 AM— Wake up again, brush teeth, etc. Eat breakfast, which is oatmeal a la microwave, because time is of the essence for ninjas (and I didn’t want to burn the bottom of my aunt’s pot like I did on Sunday morning, woo).

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quick oats, unflavored protein powder, cinnamon, banana, maple syrup, milk, and almond butter

10:00 AM— Change into ninja clothes (workout capris and top).

10:15 AM— Hang out with my cousin, Amy. Get my mind blown by hexaflexagons (<— seriously the coolest thing ever) and get my butt kicked in Super Smash Bros (virtual ninja training).

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she’s trying to create a character that looks like me, and the hair is pretty darn accurate

1:00 PM— Go to lunch at a tea house with Amy and her dad, because ninjas obviously like Asian food.

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delicious noodles, short ribs, chicken, soup dumplings, beef tendon wraps, and mango yogurt juice

2:30 PM— Digest at home and get ready for bouldering (aka ninja training for scaling mountains and buildings).

3:30 PM— Start bouldering! {I used to rock climb regularly when I was in fourth and fifth grade, so the smell of the gym was familiar and nostalgic. I missed it!} This was an absolute blast. We were all about focus and discipline during our training.

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my cousin and uncle are SO STRONG

5:45 PM— After burning out our hands, arms, and upper backs, we realize that we’re late for our dinner appointments. They drop me off to meet my dad.

6:45 PM—Dad and I arrive at my other aunt and uncle’s house and go to a pub for dinner from there. My stomach is hurting a little bit… Figure that I’m just hungry from all the climbing.

7:00 PM— Sit down to menus and some fun 70s music bingo. Try a sip of my dad’s beer because that’s legal for me in Canada.

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no idea what I’m doing

7:20 PM— Dig into my fish tacos! My aunt also shares one of her wings with me.

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7:50 PM— After finishing two of my tacos and sharing the third, we continue playing music bingo until my aunt wins a round! But then I totally kill the vibe when my stomach pains become semi-excruciating. Take a tablet from my aunt that’s supposed to absorb gas in your stomach. Go to the bathroom just in case.

8:00 PM— Aunt decides to take me back to her house to rest a little. Every step hurts my stomach! Aunt kindly nurses me with some tonic water and her comfy couch. Ninjas are not invincible.

8:30 PM— After lying down for a bit, stomach pain dissipates dramatically. Like, 100 to 0, real quick. We concluded that it was a heck of a lot of gas in my stomach for whatever reason (my stomach looked like a balloon, but I didn’t feel super full or anything). Thanks, Aunt Judy!!!

9:00 PM— Head back to cousin’s house, where we’re staying. Shower up.

9:30 PM— Practice throwing knives with the family, because ninjas. (Promise we’re not actually plotting to kill anyone. This is purely for fun…but that doesn’t sound much better, does it?)

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10:20 PM— Practice handstands. Evidently, my stomach pains were virtually nonexistent at this point, thanks be to God.

11:00 PM— Sleep!

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And yesterday we drove 9 hours back down to New York, where we did the whole unpack, laundry, repack deal. Here are some eats from our road trip!

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McDonald’s Asian grilled chicken salad (not too shabby!)

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lots of peanut butter in the car

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Bareburger for dinner: pickles and slaw to share // “blue elk” burger

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finished off the day with some vanilla bean ice cream + cinnamon and nutmeg (tastes like eggnog!)

Catch ya on the other side of the country! Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday 🙂

So tell me:

Have you ever gone rock climbing or bouldering? I rekindled my love for it on Monday. My shoulders and forearms the next day though… not so much.

Have you ever had extreme stomach pains due to gas? Doesn’t that sound sexy.

Have you ever done a sport/activity that seems scary to others? Like shooting or archery?

If you’ve ever been to Seattle or Portland, what should we do there?