13 States in the Past Week

It’s like I’ve traveled through colonial America.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Habari Gani, and happy holidays ALL AROUND!!! I hope you have all enjoyed your holidays and that they have been filled with good people, conversation, fun and food 🙂

Let’s catch up! As the title suggests, I’ve been hopping all over the place ever since I arrived in (1) New York from Ireland.

Monday

On Monday morning, Madre dropped me off at the train station so I could head up to Boston for a couple days! It seems petty, but I really wanted to see Rachel and all my friends at school before finals ended and everyone scattered for winter break. 

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salad that I packed in a tupperware for a midmorning snack

(P.s. the train left from (2) Connecticut, and went through (3) Rhode Island before arriving in (4) Massachusetts.)

Upon arriving in Boston, Rachel kindly picked me up at the train station. We hugged, [almost] cried, and went straight to lunch at a bucket list place. As we do. 

Al’s Cafe was a two minute walk from the station and perfect for us hungry ladies. The item to get was the large meatball sub. Since we were quite hungry, we also ordered a large steak and onion sub. 

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But guys, when they say “large”, they actually mean MAMMOTH. These sandwiches are the size of freaking baseball bats!! Two feet, more or less.

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We split them, and although we ate a decent portion of them, they still made for a good 2.5 meals. They’re super delicious and cheap to boot!

I saw as many people as possible while in Boston, and it was just delightful. I couldn’t stop smiling.

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my friend Kelsey so sweetly made a welcome home sign for me ♥︎ ♥︎ ♥︎ 

Rachel’s Christmas gift to me was also spot on.

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Tuesday 

We tackled one more bucket list place on Tuesday morning – the Thinking Cup for a cup of coffee.

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I don’t drink coffee, so this was actually my first full cup of coffee EVER. I got a cappuccino, and it was…fine.

I had to add a little sugar to make it more palatable, but I finished the whole thing, so I didn’t dislike it.

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A tasty Greek yogurt cup for my real food.

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I had a little over 24 hours with Rachel, as I had to drop her off at the airport at 1pm, but those 24 hours were worth it!

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I was pretty sleep deprived but also antsy at this point, so I took a long walk after dropping her off, which made me feel a lot better.

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Then I went to Mass at the Catholic Center, followed by dinner with Joe and girl talk with Fiona and Kelsey before I had to head back to NY.

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‘Twas a beautiful thing to reunite with some of my favorite people in Boston, even if just for a couple days. 

Wednesday

I started my day with a Popsugar cardio-kickboxing-sculpt-something-basic-girls-do workout, and then my parents and I took my great-aunt out for a Korean lunch!

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Korean short ribs might be my favorite meat ever

In the afternoon, I had to unpack and re-pack for Florida and Texas (more to come on Texas later).

That night, we picked up my brother from work in the city and rode into the sunset for (5) Maryland, our first pit stop in our road trip to Florida. We passed through (6) New Jersey, (7) Pennsylvania, and (8) Delaware.

Thursday

My cousins came to our hotel to have breakfast with us, so I moved and grooves super quickly with this < 10 minute body weight countdown workout before going to the lobby for a nice complimentary breakfast (yay for Marriott!) with the fam.

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Always fun to see these cuties (and my aunt and uncle, who are also cute 🙂 ).

Then it was time to hit the road again! We drove through (9) Virginia before arriving in (10) North Carolina for the night. 

Cracker Barrel for dinner! One of the most satisfying meals there ever was.

complimentary biscuits and cornbread (praaaaise) + lemon pepper trout with sweet carrots, steamed broccoli, and mac and cheese + apple pecan crumble pie a la mode to share for dessert

Friday

I utilized the exercise room for a 20 minute workout before breakfast. 

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plus a hard boiled egg

The last leg of our journey included (11) South Carolina and (12) Georgia before we finally reached (13) Florida! A total of 19 driving hours later…yowza.

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lunch on the road — Madre’s fantastic Asian pork and egg sandwich on Jewish rye bread (what a tasty combo, honestly)

We celebrated our arrival with dinner at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant!

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Ben and I also watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that night, which was unfortunately quite unsatisfactory compared to the book. There’s just SO MUCH HAPPENING IN THE BOOK. 

Christmas Eve

I got to sleeeeeep innnnnn (sort of, I went to bed at 2 am).

We ate breakfast, cleaned the house, exercised, and also I massaged Madre on our new portable massage table (that I requested ever since I started giving massages in Ireland)!

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We went to the Christmas vigil Mass in the evening, which was wonderful and so joyful! The Lord has come!

Then we drove to our friends’ place for Christmas Eve feasting and fellowship.

Christmas Day

I was up and at ’em early(ish), not for presents under the tree but to prepare brunch for the family. Just as exciting, in my opinion! I made Ben my sous chef 🙂

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I made square, muffin-sized quiches, and Ben helped me make cinnamon rolls, Canadian bacon, and turkey sausage.

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individual quiches = more buttery crust surface area (I used this crust recipe and this quiche recipe as a guide)

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mini frittatas with the extra egg mixture that couldn’t fit into the quiches

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in pajamas — the best way to do Christmas brunch

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used the Minimalist Baker’s recipe!

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swoooooon

Not gonna lie, Ben and I crushed the brunch game. We were all mighty happy clams all day after this meal!

Other Christmas happenings: more massages, a nap, yoga, and a visit to Disney Springs after dinner! Disney Springs is basically like Disney’s own little city with lots of shops and restaurants.

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a couple white dudes freestyle rapping — entertaining for sure haha

We walked around for a good 2+ hours, weaving in and out of the surprisingly dense crowd.

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the decorations were beautiful! (Disney only does aesthetically-pleasing everything, or else it’s not Disney.)

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Hoooooooowee. That’s a lot of catching up to digest, isn’t it? Just like how my stomach has a lot of digesting to do from brunch yesterday STILL. More on that in tomorrow’s post though!

So tell me:

Two things you did for Christmas/the holidays this weekend!

Does your family have any Christmas/holiday traditions?

Something outrageous, funny, or exciting you witnessed in the past week.

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Virtual Breakfast Date

virtual breakfast date

…I would wish you a blessed Memorial Day (if you live in the US)! If you have the day off, I hope it’s filled with relaxation, sunshine, reflection, and good food! If you’re working/not living in the US, I hope you have a great day anyway 🙂

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Always grateful for the valiant and selfless men and women who protect our nation.

…I would tell you that I can check off week one of work at the rehab hospital! It was a looooong week, (but not luxuriously long like our time at Fiona’s summer house the week before). Starting a new job, meeting new people, and not doing anything stupid being on my best behavior is exhausting, which is to be expected. That being said, I am so stoked and thankful for this job. Example of excitement: I get to help with pool therapy!!!

…I would tell you that breakfasts this past week have been fabulous. With work, I’ve had to make a lot of quick yet filling breakfasts. And they must have the “trifecta” because I’m stubborn and obsessive.

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Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, blueberries, banana, granola, and maple walnut peanut butter (probz one of my favorite peanut butters ever)

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overnight oats with berries and granola

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peanut butter banana toast + Greek yogurt with cinnamon, nutmeg, and berries

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Kylie’s “banana pudding

…I would tell you that weekend breakfast = pancakes.

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Kylie’s simple paleo pancake with Greek yogurt + maple peanut butter + maple syrup + glass o’ milk

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Davida’s green silver dollar banana pancakes with all the same works

…I would tell you that I will be that gal who wears dress pants with sneakers. I am on my feet all day at work, and I care about my feet (as a future physical therapist and as a bipedal human being), so fashion will have to take the back seat. Not that I’m fashionable anyway.

…I would tell you that I get employee gym perks! The employee gym is a dungeon, but it’s nice to have access to some heavier weights and machines.

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…I would tell you that moves and grooves have been downright sweat fests thanks to the hot weather.

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On Wednesday, I walked + did some random plyometrics and drills outside, and I’m pretty sure tiny bugs were flying into me and dying in my sweat.

…I would tell you that I had something akin to baby food before my workout yesterday.

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My girl Christina @foodietunes gave it to me one day this past semester (or two semesters ago?), and I actually really liked it!

…I would tell you that I had these Performix BCAAs (that I won from a Fit University giveaway) after a couple workouts this weekend. I need to go back into my exercise physiology notes to see what BCAAs actually do, haha. They’re super tasty though! “Blue Razz Ice” flavor— so nostalgic.

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thank you for sending me these, Sarah!

…I would tell you that I need to shower so badly as I type this, but I locked a fat fly in my bathroom, and I don’t want to deal with it right now.

…I would tell you that I saw Daliza this weekend!!! She got us into a movie for free since she works at the theater. We watched Love & Friendship, which is a smaller-scale movie based on an early Jane Austen novella.

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I was expecting the movie to be very serious, and I could barely understand the characters’ old-fashioned British accents at the beginning, but as the movie went on, I was pleased to discover that this film is HILARIOUS. If there’s a small indie-film-theater around you, check this out! (Julia, I feel like you’d love this!)

Then Daliza treated me to Cold Stone (I got “Cheesecake Fantasy” in a waffle cone, OMG), and we walked around, catching up and inadvertently pouring melted ice cream all over the streets/our hands/faces.

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…I would thank you all very deeply for your condolences and love regarding Katie’s passing ♥︎

…I would tell you that I’m going to go shower now and face that fly. With God, all things are possible. Matthew 19:26

If we were having breakfast, what would you tell me?

What is your favorite quick and filling breakfast?

What is the best movie you’ve watched recently?

What are you doing today?

Beautiful Weekend in Stowe, Vermont

I feel like I went to Narnia this weekend.

I was only gone with my family for 36 hours, but I feel like I was away for a week! After finals ended on Thursday night, I stayed with my parents at their hotel, since Friday required an early morning wake-up call for my brother’s graduation.

I went to bed past midnight and somehow got myself to roll out of bed at 5:35 AM (mostly because I needed to pee), so I hit up the hotel gym for a super quick workout. My hair was still in nightmare world and my eye bags were fluffier than my pillow.

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2 minute warmup + 16 minute HIIT (24 rounds of 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest) + stretching:

  • burpees
  • side jump lunges
  • DB clean and jerks (20# DBs)
  • tricep dips/spiderman planks
  • tuck jumps
  • split jack lunges/alternating reverse lunges (20#)

The ‘rents and I got dressed up and headed to TD Garden (home of the Boston Bruins and Celtics!) for the graduation. The arena doesn’t allow outside food or drink, so we made sure to eat a good meal before being in there for 6+ hours. Subway looked like the best option at 7 AM.

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egg white, cheese, veggie on honey oat

But since we got to the arena two hours early to get good seats, I was hungry by the time commencement started, so I bit the bullet and bought FIVE DOLLAR in-shell peanuts to tide me over. It was either those or hot dogs for $4. Hot dogs in the morning. Need I explain my decision?

Anyway, the commencement was just peachy. Their speaker was US Secretary of State, John Kerry! His best line that made the crowd go wild was: “You are Donald Trump’s worst nightmare.”

Congratulations, Ben + Northeastern Class of 2016!

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Afterwards, we were so ready for lunch. I got a Thai chicken salad with some sort of sweet dressing that was delicious.

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We filled our bellies and then promptly hit the road for Stowe, VT for a little family weekend getaway.

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We stayed at the Stowe Mountain Lodge, which was just gorgeous. The skies were a bit gloomy, but there are some awesome mountains behind those clouds.

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The resort itself was huge and beautiful as well. It was such a labyrinth to walk through. We felt like we we walked at least a quarter of a mile just to get to our room!

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Since we arrived pretty late, we bolted for the hotel restaurant for dinner before it closed. ‘Twas a convenient but pricey decision.

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mason jars ♥︎ 

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salad with pistachios, cranberries, and grilled chicken

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apple crisp a la mode

The room had a kitchen and some artsy, rustic cutlery. A blogger’s dream.

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Ben: “Should I model it?”

Saturday was a near perfect day in my book. I slept in and then started the day with a banana and some nuts and a workout at the {amazing} hotel gym.

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dynamic warmup + 3 rounds of:

  • 15 close-grip DB chest press
  • 30 double unders
  • 10 clean and jerks

+ playing around on the Pilates ladder barrel

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Then we brunched at a local place called McCarthy’s. Super Irish, which is perfect as I prepare to study abroad in Dublin this fall 🙂

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I ordered the French toast special with two sunny eggs + bacon. Everything breakfast should be. {Side note: I decided not to bring my peanut butter on this vacation because I thought I should try to detach myself, haha.}

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I also shared a very decent portion of my mom’s Irish home fries and corned beef. KILLER.

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Ben and I dropped off our parents back at the resort and then headed out on an expedition to Stowe Pinnacle!

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I would say I built this, but that would be a lie

It was about 1.65 miles going up, and the incline wasn’t crazy steep, but it was, as Ben put it, persistent. ‘Twas a fab idea to have such a hearty, fatty meal an hour before this. We made it to the summit in pretty good time though— approximately 50 minutes.

Boy, was this view worth it.

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It was pretty comparable to the glorious view from Bear Peak in Colorado a year ago, except this time I could breathe because we weren’t at high altitude.

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There were these two golden retrievers up at the summit that were old, fat, and adorable. We couldn’t tell if they belonged to anyone in particular, but all they wanted was to be loved by all the people who made it to the summit.

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freakin’ regal

We trekked back down the mountain, which is less physically challenging but definitely more technically challenging in terms of not falling off the face of the mountain. I only slipped and fell on my butt once going downhill, which is on par for me. I really need to wear the hiking shoes I have.

When we got back to the road, Ben and I went on a quest for a maple “creemee” per my friend Courtney’s suggestion. A creemee is special Vermont soft serve ice cream. Unfortunately, we could not find a place that was open and selling maple creemees. Unlike other cities we’re used to, Stowe actually closes shops seasonally *gasp*.

Instead, Ben stopped for a craft beer and we took a Ben & Jerry’s factory tour. Not a bad detour!

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I got their banana peanut butter frozen Greek yogurt because that epitomizes my food choices // Ben got strawberry cheesecake and Spectacular Speculoos (so good!)

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Ben and… Allie’s?

What a great post-hike snack 🙂

We went back to the hotel, showered, and then headed to dinner with our parents at the Trapp Family Lodge (yes, the von Trapps from Sound of Music!).

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spring vegetable salad with an amazing yogurt sauce + some of my mom’s pancetta-wrapped chicken thigh and quinoa + a bite of Ben’s wiener schnitzel

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roasted carrots for the table to share

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cheese plate

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the BEST apple strudel a la mode! 

Full and oh so content.

Sunday (Mother’s Day!) started with Mass and breakfast at Cafe on Main. I was in the mood for a good sandwich instead of breakfast food, so I went for the turkey club. Tasty!

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Then we walked downstairs to the quaint Stowe Mercantile store, where I freaked out over their local peanut/almond butters.

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May or may not have bought three jars.

Four hours later, we were back in Boston, where Ben and I unloaded/loaded some things from our places. We ended our family time with a late lunch at Super 88! All I wanted was crunchy, fresh vegetables, so I ordered the tofu and vegetable rice noodle soup. Hit the spot so good!

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And then the fam parted ways. I’m back in Boston for one more week, which means lots of oatmeal for meals, which is perfectly fine with me!

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THIS WAS SO LONG. But hey, thanks for reading! If you’ve made it this far, consider yourself bear-hugged.

Hope you all have a magnificent Monday! I am grateful for YOU.

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Vermont?

What was the best thing you did this weekend?

What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

Favorite Ben & Jerry’s flavor!

Have you ever fallen on a hike?

Dad and Daughter Weekend

God bless America and God bless three day weekends. I don’t know why I said the latter; I just came back from vacation.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a lovely Memorial Day to my fellow Americans. As always, it’s nice to have a day off, but it is essential to remember why we do. Thank you to all the men and women who sacrificed their lives so that we could live ours freely and joyfully.

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Let’s catch up!

Friday

Up and at ’em early for my physical therapy internship! Brought to you by overnight oats in a jar.

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I’ve been adding chia seeds to the mix, and they increase the doughiness factor by at least 50%. I totally made that up, but chia seeds = thicker overnight oats = even better texture.

Lunch was eaten in the parking lot after my internship. It was tuna salad I had made that morning (with Greek yogurt, mustard, honey, olive topping, paprika, and black pepper) on mixed greens, alongside 34 Degrees cracked pepper crackers from Blend.

Cracked pepper crackers that are like crack.

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I saw my partner in crime (Daliza) on Friday night! I greeted her with egg yolk dripping down my face/hands/arms as I ate this for dinner:

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Once you break the yolk, there’s no turning back. You just have to inhale the rest of the toast so you don’t lose the dippy goodness.

P.S. I’m going to convince Daliza to do another vlog with me!

Saturday

I slept in and made a rather patriotic breakfast for Dad and myself— Greek yogurt with blueberries, raspberries, banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, chia seeds, a leftover whole wheat banana pancake, and Nuttzo power fuel.

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I don’t remember everything I did on Saturday, but I do know that I finally decided to unpack my luggage, did some moves with a leg strength circuit, and attended Mass. I also ate some delicious things in the afternoon!

Lunch was a salad with homemade tahini dressing, leftover pork chop (buried under there), and a sweet potato with melted garlic herb cheddar. Weird but YUM.

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I was feeling lunch dessert that day (…like every other day), so I broke into my stash of mint chocolate chunk Quest bars from Blend. I followed Aimee’s suggestion in my last post’s comments and microwaved it for exactly 23 seconds before topping it with peanut hazelnut butter.

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Yep, I’ll be doing that again! 🙂

Oh! I got new sneakers in the mail too! I won these in a huge raffle at the end of Blend retreat. Lucky for me, because I left my other sneakers in Boulder since they were so muddy from hiking all week.

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Thanks, Wellcoin and Puma!

After Mass, Pop and I went to my favorite Japanese restaurant for dinner! I went with the classic sushi combo that comes with yellowtail, tuna, and eel avocado rolls. All gone into my tummy.

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The waiter also surprised us with a complimentary dessert! Chocolate souffle cake with raspberry ice cream. Ohmahgoodness. I know I say I don’t like chocolate that much, but this was dreamy.

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Pop and I hunkered down for the night and watched not one, but two movies— The Giver and Macfarland USA. I totally loved both!

Sunday

Another sleep-in day, another breakfast for Pop and myself. I hadn’t eaten cookie dough cereal in a long time, so it wasn’t difficult to choose what I wanted that morning.

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I cleaned the floors on Sunday, and look at this horror.

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This is a picture of cleaning done in the highest shoe-traffic area of our house, but still, yuck! (Two-year-old word, I know.) You don’t really notice the dirt until you get down and scrub.

Moves involved yoga and a quick walk around the neighborhood. The weather was perfection!

I babysat at night and actually enjoyed my snack-time-esque dinner.

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I brought all the snacks myself, except for the cheese 🙂 (I was given permission.)

Monday

Pop and I started our Memorial Day with Mass and the local Memorial Day parade.

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Then we headed back home to cook and eat for the rest of the afternoon! Pop and I have never grilled without mom being around, since she is Mrs. Chefmaster Hospitality. But we had a successful cookout, I’d say! I shopped for the food, prepped it, and then left the grilling for Pop. He nailed it.

We had simple beef burgers with garlic herb cheddar and caramelized onions + tons of grilled vegetables. We also ate outstanding grilled shrimp using this marinade recipe.

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glass o’ vino in hand, what a natural
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Having a BBQ for two people also means lots of leftovers for the week!

Moves included grooving to music in the kitchen and a two mile neighborhood walk. I see a tan emerging!

After eating more of grilled goodies for dinner, we ended the night on a sweet note, as every night should end in my book. I macerated some fresh strawberries in lemon juice and honey for a few hours, and then we ate those on top of vanilla bean ice cream with a slice of the blueberry poppyseed mini loaf from Flagstaff House in Colorado!

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Me: I macerated some strawberries.

Dad: That sounds like it hurts.

[5 minutes later]

Dad: What did you say you did with these? Masqueraded?

Me: No, macerated. But masquerading them sounds fun.

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Hope you all have a great day! Clean your floors perhaps, eat string cheese, and say thank you to more people. *Also, stay tuned for an awesome giveaway later today!*

So tell me:

One productive thing you did this weekend.

One fun thing you did this weekend!

Do your floors ever get this dirty? We clean them often, I swear.

Americans, what did you eat for Memorial Day? 

Fascinating Friday Links #39

Happy Fourth of July!

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Eat your corn on the cob!

I hope all my fellow Americans have a lovely, festive Independence Day today! My town had a less-than-ideal start to our festivities when our fireworks celebration got rained out big time.

Instead of watching fireworks, I stayed under the awning of my house to watch the nasty (but super cool) thunderstorm. I don’t know about you all, but I absolutely love thunderstorms! Did you know I used to want to be a meteorologist? Wait, what if I was on the Today Show?! Non-mid-life crisis happening right now??

Anyway…if you’re not enjoying grilled foods, ice cream, and fireworks, you can check out this week’s fascinating Friday links!

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[You can still indulge without overwhelming yourself] Boxed Lunch, Or You Can’t Have It All via Kath Eats

[All about that little demon we call sugar] Sugar Simplified via The Real Life RD

[Eating for a purpose— to live life!] Becoming an Intuitive Eater via Julianna Bananna

[Walking is so underrated!] Walking Workouts via Peanut Butter Fingers

[Move and groove] Do Anywhere Plyometric Workout via Cotter Crunch + Wicked Bodyweight WOD via The Blonde Ponytail + 12 Minute Stability Ball Workout via Purely Twins + Summer Shape Up Week 3 Workout via Fitnessista

[Awesome free workout program!] Glute Camp via Your Trainer Paige

Food for Thought

[Amen] Stupid Weight Loss Tips via Snack Therapy

[Important] 25 Things People in Healthy Relationships Don’t Do via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[Love this lady] Why I Won’t Be Working For a Bikini Body This Summer via Running With Spoons

[She’s awesome] I Have Cellulite— So What? via Your Trainer Paige

[Stop criticizing and use her example to LEARN] Miley Can’t Hear You— But We Can via Chastity Project

Food for Belly

[PLEASE] Caramelized Peach Caprese with Smoked Sea Salt via How Sweet It Is

[So, so cute] Gooey Whole Grain Cinnamon Rolls in Orange Cups via Yeah…Imma Eat That

[Love how fresh this looks] Herbed Quinoa Garden Veggie Salad via Pinch of Yum

[Now THAT’S a sandwich!!!] Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Melts with Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Mayo via Iowa Girl Eats

[Heavenly] Banana Bread Waffles with Honey Caramelized Bananas via Chocolate and Carrots

Miscellaneous Fun

[Hilarious] Need a Pick Me Up? via Peanut Butter Lover

[Mind-blowing] 50 Life Hacks to Simplify Your World via Twisted Sifter

[If you haven’t seen Always’ new commercial #likeagirl…watch it!] #LikeAGirl Commercial via YouTube

[The pie looks fantastic, but there’s a paperclip trick for pitting cherries?!] Sweet Cherry Pie via Flourishing Foodie

[YES, DAVS! Informative video for bloggers!] 4 Reasons to Start Building Your Email Subscribers Today via The Healthy Maven

[So great] 11 GIFs That Prove Dads Are Superheroes via BuzzFeed

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!

So tell me:

What are you 4th of July plans?

I’m going to Michael’s graduation/4th of July/his mother’s birthday party!

 

What are you non-Americans doing this weekend?