Less Salad, More Bacon

Now, now. I still love vegetables.

But bacon has made its way into my heart (figuratively, maybe literally too, it’s all okay). It has helped fuel life lately, and life has been a blast! A busy blast and not always an easy one, but c’est la vie.

I used to eat salads every single day. If you’ve followed me for a long time, you might remember that a typical meal might be a huge bowl of spinach with leftover meat/pasta/stew just thrown on top (Rachel thinks that’s so weird, BTW).

For example:

Green, leafy (edible, non-smokable) things are obviously great for you, and I highly recommend them. However, I don’t recommend stressing over eating a salad a day. There are other ways you can reach your veggie intake each day, such as…

…rainbow colored carrots (how fun! from Trader Joe’s!)…

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…arugula in an avocado, egg, BACON, sriracha sandwich…

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…OR with tomatoes (actually a fruit, but for all intents and purposes a veggie) in a homemade BACON cheeseburger…

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…frozen brussels sprouts heated up in a pan with some spices…

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with leftover Annie’s mac and cheese, some rice, and turkey meatloaf

…OR you could eat almost-dead arugula as a side salad, just to compliment your avocado, BACON, egg toast.

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If you’re wondering, I get the uncured apple smoked bacon from Trader Joe’s!

Bacon has honestly helped me recognize that adding flavorful (often fatty/dense) foods to my meals makes me 10x more satisfied, so I’m less likely to think about food in the hour or two after I’m finished eating. I do love food, but it is so nice to not think about it all the time.

All this to say: Tune into what will truly satisfy your body at the moment. Is it really a salad? Or is it really something more dense like a bacon cheeseburger? It can be either one (I do still crave salads sometimes), but try to be honest with yourself. 🙂


What else has been happening this week!? (spoiler: so much.) Here are the highlights.

A much-needed Friday night hanging out with my BFF, Rachel. Complete with Annie’s mac and cheese for me….

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…and banana bread mug cakes a la mode for both of us.

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Lots of studying for functional anatomy.

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Studying is much better with friends like Elayne and study spaces like these.

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Sunday was Colby’s birthday, so she hosted a little picnic at Boston Public Garden! This lady is 21! *glasses clink*

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We drank mimosas out of Dunkin Donuts cups and ate fruit, Terra chips and scones…

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although I made these scones from a box mix and 75% of the people at the party were gluten-free and dairy-free, soooo…. 

…handstanded…

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♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎

…and I got to meet Nancy from Approaching Paleo (@approachingpaleo)! I’ve “known” her through social media and Fit University for so long now, but I finally got to hug this wonderful woman in person on Sunday.

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The internet can help us meet the most marvelous people, lemme tell ya.

Sunday evening involved the usual (yet always extraordinary) Mass and “ice cream Sunday” tradition! We went to Cold Stone.

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“cheesecake fantasy” that was melting so fast I nearly drank it like a milkshake

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We finished the night off with The Game of Things (NOT Game of Thrones), which never fails to make me double over in laughter.

I developed a pesky and painful blister under my second left toe that caused me to limp a lot earlier this week, so I bought some moleskin and got to work on taping that baby up.

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It’s not a gigantic blister, but the location was awkward and I had to make the taping biomechanically sound.

Lastly, one of the best parts of my week was last night when Ben, Rachel and I went boxing at The Ring.

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After LOVING boxing at Everybody Fights via ClassPass last week, I found a Groupon for The Ring last week and recruited friends to join me. We went to our free trial class last night!

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It was a doooooozy but so. freaking. fun. I am seriously such a big fan of boxing (haven’t sparred in my life, though, so don’t let me get too far ahead of myself), and the HIIT workout these gyms do to train are right up my alley.

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So now we get to box for free for a week and then get 5 extra classes with our Groupon on top of that. I’m SO STOKED. We even got our own wraps and gloves to keep!

Oh! One more thing that is long overdue. I was a guest on Emily’s podcast from Beauty in Christ a few weeks ago. We talked about intuitive exercise. Check out the podcast here if you’re interested! (p.s. Emily is a wonderful friend of mine and a beautiful light in the world, bringing both body positivity and the Love of God to everyone she meets.)

I hope you all have a great pre-Friday! Eat some bacon (or, like, full fat coconut milk if you’re vegan).

So tell me:

What is a food that is flavorful and satisfying that you like to add to your meals?

Have you ever tried boxing?

Two things that you’ve done this past week!

Hole-y Weekend

You know there are donuts and bagels involved in this post.

But first, can we talk about how it is absolutely frigid outside? Two weeks ago, the northeast was blessed with gorgeous weather, and now there’s this.

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#springbreak

And the temperature makes you hate everything when you’re outside.

But thank God for warm sunshine, warm clothes, warm radiators, and warm hearts.

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thanks for the pic, Fiona!

There’s supposed to a blizzard tomorrow, and this is the one time I am praying there is NOT a snow day, because I have a huge lab practical exam for gross anatomy that I would like to get over with ASAP. Please and thank you. The world revolves around me.

Before leaving home in New York on Friday morning, I made French toast for Madre, Brother Sam, and myself. It was some of the best French toast I’ve ever made! I think the keys were:

  • drying out the bread on a cooling rack overnight
  • adding more milk to the egg mixture (allows the inside of the toast to be more fluffy!)
  • sprinkling cinnamon over the bread after soaking it in the egg mixture, rather than adding cinnamon to the egg mixture (the latter causes clumps of cinnamon to form on the French toast)
  • using medium heat for the skillet
  • using a healthy dose of real butter for the skillet

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Also, real maple syrup!

Now that I’m back in the apartment, my food photo effort has decreased significantly, but the food has still been tasty.

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Friday night tuna salad made with Greek yogurt, mustard, sweet relish, raisins, chopped carrots, salt and pepper

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Greek yogurt with banana, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, granola + a couple handfuls of cashews

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two sunny eggs on buttered toast (ketchup added to eggs post-photo) + veggies with hummus

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microwave oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, banana, and cashews

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this morning’s breakfast: super thick overnight oat smoothie with frozen bananas, vanilla protein powder, oats, lots of chia seeds, milk, yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch o’ salt

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Irish soda bread sample from Trader Joe’s (one of the best parts of my job is shopping for my bosses at TJ’s, and this is why)

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smoked trout deviled eggs that my boss asked me to make from her South Beach cookbook, and dang that egg mixture (that I tasted for #qualitycontrol) was delicious

On Saturday night (after a 1.5-hour nap at 5pm + this Fitness Blender workout) I cooked one of the best meals in my apartment this year. I bought this Korean BBQ marinade from Thrive Market and used it to marinate chicken thighs (soooo much more flavorful and moist than chicken breast—just do it) for a few hours before grilling them.

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Served with brown rice, sautéed onions, and roasted garlic broccoli.

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and a substantial swirl of Sriracha post-photo 🙂

YUM.

Besides cooking and working, the rest of my weekend has involved lots of studying for that lab practical. Since I took a 1.5-hour nap on Saturday night, I ended up going to bed at 2am, which was actually 3am thanks to DST. Haha.

Sunday involved a lot of fun shenanigans though! First was my attempt at Crossfit Open Workout 17.1.

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The movements and equipment are accessible to me, so I thought I’d just go for it, but I definitely had to scale it. I used a 25-lb. dumbbell instead of a 35, and my gym only had an 18-in. or 24-in. box, so I used the 18-in.

And I still DIED. I had 7 burpee box jump-overs left by the 20 minute time cap. Womp womp. It was a “fun” workout though! Perhaps I will try it again later.

After I was annihilated, I showered and went to lab to study for a bit before meeting with Fiona, Rachel, and Austin for food bucket listing! On our list for the afternoon was Bagelsaurus for a sea salt bagel and Union Square Donuts for the PB&J donut (I gave up pb for Lent, but since it was Sunday, Rachel and I agreed that it would okay for me to have at least a bite of the donut).

Situation: Both places closed at 3pm, we were getting an Uber at around 2pm, and the walk between the two places was 28 minutes. Rachel and I thought we should divide and conquer, but Austin (the marathon runner) and Fiona (the army gal) convinced us that all of us could book it and make it to both places (because one of our rules for food bucket listing is that we go with each other to the actual store and buy the food together). Friends motivating friends for love of food.

I’m glad they pushed us, because we made it!

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Sadly, Union Square Donuts did not have the PB&J donut that day, but we decided to still cross it off the bucket list. Instead, we ordered six donuts to split between the four of us (omg so much donut).

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(left to right) top row: toasted coconut + maple bacon // middle row: Vietnamese coffee + orange cardamom poppy seed // bottom row: sea salted bourbon caramel + raspberry basil

Let’s talk about donuts. These were delicious. But since donuts aren’t my dessert of choice (I feel like it’s difficult to get really good flavor into a donut), none of them blew me away. The raspberry basil was probably my favorite though, because the basil packed a surprising punch. We were all super excited for the sea salted bourbon caramel, but it was kinda disappointing. Too much bourbon, not enough caramel. Like I said though, these were all delicious still! Good quality donuts for sure.

We bought the donuts first but ate them after our bagel sandwiches at Bagelsaurus.

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I got the “Eggspañola” on a sea salt bagel, which was an over medium egg, pimento aioli, feta cheese, parsley gremolata, and I added avocado.

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This was also fantastic! I loved the flavors of the pimento aioli and parsley gremolata + the saltiness of the feta + creaminess of the avocado + richness of the egg. The bagel was really chewy though, so with every bite, everything slid out of the sandwich. ‘Twas a blissfully messy situation.

(I still liked my NY bagel from last week better. I’ve had one NY bagel and now I know everything about bagels.)

Eating bagels and donuts in one afternoon… You could call it a “hole-y” Sunday (creds to all my friends for coming up with great donut/bagel puns).

We did also go to Mass at night, making it a truly holy Sunday 🙂

Lastly, we rang in the new week with my friend Lauren’s 21st!!

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Woohoo!! Happy birthday, Lauren, my dear ♥︎

Hope you all have a warm and productive Monday!

So tell me:

How do you feel about donuts?

Two fun things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Have you ever done a Crossfit Open workout?

 

Weekend Confessions

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

weekend confessions

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

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

And I used this meatloaf recipe!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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humungous banana and oreo pancakes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hope you have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me:

Two things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Did you watch any sports this weekend?

Reinforcing Lessons About Exercise

There is currently a fly buzzing around the kitchen, which makes me equal parts mad and sad. Mad because it wants to get at my banana bread mug cake. Sad because flies are gross.

Alright, I have some foodie talk this morning before we get into the meat of the post.

First of all, I ate classic overnight oats in a sunflower seed butter jar (with 2+ tbsp left in the jar) for breakfast yesterday! It might be one of my all-time favorite breakfasts. I enjoyed it in my backyard since it was such a gorgeous and mild morning. Very few things could have made it more perfect.

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Secondly, I think pita bread needs to be on people’s grocery lists more often. That’s right, I’m asserting my opinion over your grocery list. *smiling purple devil emoji* For good reason though! Pita bread takes sandwiches to a new level. The fluffy, doughy factor is superb, AND you can fit more oddly shaped foods inside.

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inside the pita: avocado, pork souvlaki, mint yogurt sauce, tomatoes, and sriracha added later

Let me know if you buy some pita bread now. If you do, I’ll look into marketing and advertising as a side job.

Speaking of jobs, I want to talk about some lessons that my physical therapy internship has taught me/reinforced. There is very little doubt in my mind that physical therapy is what I want to continue pursuing as a career, and it’s thanks to my summer internship experience and what it has taught me!

Besides everything I’ve learned about anatomy, diseases, and therapy techniques, I’ve sort of re-learned a lot of lessons about taking care of our bodies through movement.

Health Lessons Reinforced Through My Physical Therapy Internship

  • Do not dismiss seemingly easy exercises. Go back to the basics and re-check your form/range of motion. Try an exercise that you’ve never done before, even if it looks easy. You’d be very surprised how well certain exercises can work those smaller (yet still very important!) muscles.

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like these…they kill those smaller glute muscles you never knew you had

  • Flexibility is essential. This doesn’t mean you have to be able to bend backwards until your head is through your legs, but flexibility is certainly important for your overall health and fitness. A full range of motion will help you in your fitness endeavors as well as in injury prevention.
    • P.S. Hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds. That is the minimum for lengthening to actually occur. You can hold it longer, but it won’t make any difference. 30 seconds is the magic number!
  • Almost every injury or anatomical issue can be aided by core strengthening. Planks, y’all. Your core protects your back, promotes good posture (which also protects your back), supports your legs, and helps with balance.

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speaking of form…

  • Form is everything. I’m sure you all knew this already, but this is just to reiterate. Don’t go for another rep or for the advanced variation of an exercise if your form is off. Don’t do it. Don’t do it. Oh, unless…DON’T DO IT. I’m guilty of bad form, and I have indeed injured myself as a result.
    • Also, make sure to learn proper form before performing an exercise. I’m guilty of this as well, and guess what. I hurt myself because I didn’t know what I was doing.
  • Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. This is especially for people recovering from injury or getting back into an exercise routine after some time off. You might feel great when exercising, so it is easy to over-do it and agitate your body. You have to think about how your body might respond later. 
  • It’s all about progressThe looks on patients’ faces when they can walk without a limp or raise their arms completely overhead for the first time in months— it is the best part of the job. Exercise and movement is about YOUR progress. You will be filled with so much more joy if you just concern yourself with that rather than everyone else’s abilities.

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even if it’s literally one step at a time up a mountain

  • Be thankful for the ability to move. Exercise is nourishing for our bodies (in healthy amounts, of course). Whatever you do to move, keep safety first and rest when you need to. Exercise doesn’t have to be about getting big, getting skinny, or hitting PRs. It can just be about joy. It can just be about necessity for health. In any case, be thankful for movement and don’t disregard the “easy” stuff. Every form of exercise has its place.

With all that said, my PT internship has helped encourage me realize that there are so many ways I can move my body and improve its fitness without pushing it too hard. I can work on flexibility/mobility, balance, and strengthening those smaller muscles.

Kayyyy I’m done talking…typing…whatever. Hope you all have a grand ol’ day!

So tell me:

Do you like pita bread? What would you put inside?

What is one way you’ve progressed with your exercise/fitness recently? Resting more counts 🙂 

{Disclaimer: All information I learned is from two physical therapists with their doctorate in physical therapy. One is also a certified personal trainer.}

Behind the Scenes #13: Greek Yogurt Everywhere

Thinking-Out-Loud

I ♥ Thinking Out Loud and I ♥ Amanda for hosting it!

1. Well, the warm weather has fled. I’m disappointed. At least it didn’t snow though, because we’ve finally been able to revel in the fact that icebergs aren’t taking up half the road anymore. It definitely could be worse, but the snow just passed us, and only rain has fallen. Out goes the snow, in come the potholes!

2. On a similar note, I get slightly stressed when the street lights reflect off wet roads, obstructing my view of the road markings. I have to drive much more slowly, and you would think that others do as well, but I almost feel like drivers are more aggressive when it’s dark and rainy. I say a prayer every time I drive in such weather.

3. I decided to drive in these conditions last night just to get to Trader Joe’s. I could have gone to a closer store to pick up the groceries, but I kinda wanted to get almond butter and sunflower seed butter. Cuz, uh, dad likes almond butter. 😉

4. I’ve been hearing singing birds! I don’t like seeing the birds up close (they’re pretty scary, let’s be honest), but their chirps are a true blessing.

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5. Is it sad that my right forearm is sore from playing badminton in physical education? My forearms and wrists are WEAK.

6. I had to buy school lunch yesterday since I forgot to pack my sandwich. It reminded me why I haven’t bought school lunch all year.

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Green bean, bottom left➔ nightmares

The turkey was  salty, and there was some highly questionable yellow coloring throughout. The mashed sweet potatoes were alright, and I did eat those green beans because I was desperate for veggies. I could have bought a made-to-order Boar’s Head deli sandwich, but I was feelin’ cheap. (I made up for it at Trader Joe’s though…)

7. I’m finding Greek yogurt stains throughout the kitchen, which means two things: 1- I’m obsessed (to state the obvious).  2-I’m a messy person. Which was evident in this post when I showed you how my laptop likes to eat my food.

8. I had this delicious bowl of Greek yogurt, banana slices, chia, hemp, banana applesauce muffin, and sunflower seed butter yesterday morning:

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But I didn’t finish it at home before I had to drop off dad at the train station, so I brought it with me in the car. Call me crazy. It’s definitely not as portable as overnight oats in a jar, but I made sure it was snug behind my backpack in the back seat so there was a lower chance of projectile motion if {God forbid} anything were to happen. #makeitwork

Hm, maybe this is why I find Greek yogurt stains everywhere.

9. I’ve been working on modified pistol squats to a low box (which is still KILLER), so I’m hoping to get them without any assistance one of these days! Unless my short achilles decide otherwise.

10. Here’s a real behind the scenes look at me blogging at school:

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Photo creds to my girl, Kristi!

Hope you all have a great Thursday! Thursdays are the new Fridays it seems, right??

So tell me:

Which store do you make a “sacrifice” to go to?

Do you find remnants from a certain food seemingly everywhere?

What are you thinking about today?