Current Simple Joys

Life is hectic and cluttered enough, so let’s keep things simple today.

current simple joys

Snow days.

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{last Thursday}

Making waffles with my roommate on said snow day.

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and glasses of milk in mason jars

Ecstatic Californian friends who have never experienced a snow day before (@Sarah).

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crooked smiles because I’m pretty sure the left side of my face was frozen

Sipping hot cocoa and talking about the mystery of the universe with friends after coming inside from the frigid cold.

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Situations/statements that make me or someone else laugh like an idiot.

When people do spot-on impressions of other people.

Workout dates with Christina.

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Followed by lunch dates + good lighting for food photos.

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@ Mei Mei’s Street Kitchen – we shared corn fritters…

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…and I got a classic double awesome 

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When my best friend gets me a piece of carrot cake with a glass o’ milk at the dining hall.

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Waking up after less than 7 hours of sleep but still feeling alert.

Bending over to stretch and letting blood rush to my head after a long day.

Perfect avocados.

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Which turn into perfect avocado egg toasts.

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When hundreds of gross anatomy flashcards pay off.

Friends who are undyingly loving of one another.

Gelato on sale.

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Painting my nails while studying.

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Standing close to the stage for an acoustic concert with my best friend.

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Hailey Knox opened – she is insanely talented!!!

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just supporting my close pals

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they are incredible ♥︎ 

Discovering a new song to play on repeat.

Breakfast that’s already made.

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Having pockets of time to move and groove in some way every day.

Mountains of guacamole.

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not a joy – stomach ache after eating this whole thing #whoops

FaceTiming with the family.

Having something to look forward to this weekend (retreat + long weekend + Rachel turning 21!).

So tell me:

Three current simple joys in your life!

What are you doing this weekend?

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The Best Vacation Ever {Part 3}

Part 1 and Part 2!

Friday, July 8th

The first of two consecutive days at sea. The day consisted of eating (duh)…

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…walking around by myself…

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…relaxing…

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Christie and her dad got 1st and 2nd in the mini golf competition!

…the Men’s International Belly Flop Competition (as ridiculous and hilarious as it sounds), and some other random activities. But the highlight by far

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I MET US THE DUO.

If you don’t know about them, they’re a married couple who sing together, and they’re pretty famous. Daliza and I saw them in concert two years ago in Orlando!

Here’s how this went down:

I’m walking along the “Boardwalk” with my friend Monica and her parents. I catch Carissa (the girl pictured above) from the corner of my eye walking with her parents. I do a double take and see her famous tattoo on her arm, but I’m not 100% sure it’s her. Monica and her parents don’t know who Us the Duo is, but they encourage me to see if it’s really them (after 30 seconds of “ahhhhh I don’t know…it’s fine…I won’t go…but wait…”).

I decide to stalk Carissa for a minute, and in less than 10 seconds I see Michael (her husband with an unmistakable curly man bun) sitting at the tequila bar, ordering some daiquiris. I go in for the kill:

I’m so sorry to bother you, but are you Us the Duo? (I knew it was them for sure at that point, but I thought it was polite to ask anyway.)

They introduce themselves (as if I didn’t already know their names, haha) and we all hug. Carissa’s dad takes a couple photos for us, and my cheeks are TREMBLING as I smile for the photo. What I feel like:

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[source]

They ask for my name twice and say, “Hopefully we get to see you around the ship again!” I cry inside.

A quick couple small slices of pizza before a 2.5-hour show that afternoon.

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Now, it was not my intention to stalk Michael and Carissa (I’m a fangirl, but I try to be cool, ya know), but my parents coincidentally grabbed seats right next to Us the Duo and their families for the matinee showing of Mamma Mia! I came in late because I went to the bathroom, so when I saw that they were right there, I freaked out.

a) It’s Us the Duo again.

b) They definitely think I’m stalking them.

c) I had to squeeze past them in the aisle, probably smelling a little bit like sweat and ocean spray.

I got to chat with Carissa’s dad though, who said my parents are amazing dancers (he saw them at the club the night before lol).

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should have changed out of my athletic clothes // peep Michael and Carissa doing their social media celebrity thing

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nervously playing with my pinky ring

I have to take a second to thank Madre for loving taking photos as much as I do and thus for capturing these special moments.

Anyway, Mamma Mia! was Broadway quality and so fun to watch!

After a 16 minute workout at the fitness center, I showered for that time of day again…DINNER.

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Royal Seafood Salad for appetizer

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Thai Chicken

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Classic soufflé with vanilla Grand Marnier sauce

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shared a couple bites of Ben’s baked Alaska

I’m a new fan of soufflé! I think the table shared one order of prime rib that night as well. I had a couple bites, and it was divine. This vacation assured me that I’m not becoming a vegan anytime soon.

Later that night, we went to two game shows that were wildly entertaining. My parents turned into different people during those game shows.

At around 11pm, my parents headed to the Dazzles club for some more dancing, so Ben and I joined them. Guess who walked in on me while I was doing the Macarena with only one other little boy on the dance floor???

Us

the

Duo.

I kinda sorta danced the Electric Slide with them later. At the end of the night, my family got to meet them and chat with their family as well. Me all night in my head: “Is this real!?!?”
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Michael’s mom wanted to hop into the photo!

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“He dislocated his shoulder on the FlowRider.”

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Michael and Carissa are incredibly down to earth and easy to talk to! (p.s. they’re tight with Tori Kelly NBD.)

What a top-notch way to end a Friday, am I right?

Saturday, July 9th

Last day on the cruise 😦

I decided to go way out of my comfort zone for breakfast and get mostly savory foods, including something called “vegetable upma”— some sort of grain with vegetables and spices. I loved it!

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also pineapple + split a blueberry muffin with mom

I somehow got lost from everyone when we split ways after breakfast, so I spent some time planning out these blog posts and writing thank you letters to some of the crew members who served us the whole week. Eventually, I went to lunch and rock climbing with Monica and my uncle.

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Took some groovy photos with Mort the squirrel (“jungle rat/mouse lemur”) from the movie Madagascar.

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Over at the fitness center, I did an impromptu cardio workout on the bike for 30 minutes while Monica and Ben cheered me on. When they left, I stayed to do an upper body and core workout.

Our last dinner of the cruise was delightful and as epic as the first dinner we had on the cruise.

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scallops and chorizo

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roasted turkey with brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes apple bread dressing (!!!) and cranberry sauce added on the side later

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warm apple strudel a la mode

The night ended with a game show based on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, where Ben went up for only one round because neither he nor the audience knew the shape of a British twenty-pence coin.

(It’s a freaking heptagon, by the way.)

We stayed in the same venue afterwards to spectate some superstar karaoke. Holy talent on that ship!

And finally, dancing at Dazzles as our last huzzah! With our friends Us the Duo, of course (I promise we were there before they arrived…although I left and came back after Ben called me that they were there. I’m creepy, I get it).

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This was the singer at the Dazzles nightclub all week. She and her husband and their band are super talented! It was actually so sweet to see Michael and Carissa cheering them on from the dance floor like fans too.

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#UsTheFamily

I want to go to their Dublin show so badly this fall, but they’re sold out!

In case it wasn’t obvious, this cruise was the experience of a lifetime. Thank you to all who made it happen, especially my parents ♥︎

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Sunday, July 10th

We had our last breakfast on the cruise at 6 am before disembarking.

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My family went to Mass before we met up with our friends in Miami for some tourism and lunch.

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Miami Beach

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walking in 92 degrees at 10 AM should not happen more than once a year

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Farmers’ Market beauties

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a parking meter that accepts change for feeding people who are homeless!

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fresh rolls, lettuce wraps, and green papaya salad for lunch

Our families parted ways after lunch and a sweaty walk back to our cars. Four hours of driving later, dinner was Greek!

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falafel to share

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chicken salad for me

Ben and Jerry’s awaited us the freezer (you can’t out-dessert me).

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a few spoonfuls from each 🙂

Monday, July 11th

Pop and I had a 4:30 AM wakeup for our flight back to New York. Madre kindly dropped us off at the airport, where I had a salad with walnuts, tomatoes, mandarin oranges, and blue cheese for breakfast (my brain was not functioning quite right at that hour, and I really wanted veggies).

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In flight snack:

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I slept the whole flight, not surprisingly. Back at home in NY, I did a quick 12 minute workout before showering and heading to a full day of work!

Back to reality, and I cannot complain at all.


These were some looooooooong recap posts. I’m keeping these posts as my “vacation diary”, but I hope you guys enjoyed reading too!

So tell me:

Have you ever run into a celebrity unexpectedly?

Have you heard of Us the Duo?

Do you like soufflé?

Have you seen your parents become different people in a different setting?

Florida Weekend Confessions

Good morning!

We’re in the home stretch here in Florida! We have a little over a week before it’s time to head back to New York, and I’m actually quite happy about that. Although my time in the sunshine state has been absolutely wonderful, I’m ready to go back to our cozy home up north (I make it sound like I live in Alaska).

Today is also the day that Daliza leaves me 😦 Her family drove down from New York like hardcore troopers, so she’ll be joining them at a hotel, but she’ll still be nearby! My cousin, aunt, and uncle came in yesterday though, so we still have great company.

I’m feeling like it’s confession time again for this weekend recap. Honesty is the best policy, am I right? 😉

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Sharing my confessions on Katie‘s marvelous Monday linkup! 

Confession #1: I’m slightly obsessed with Us The Duo.

Their concert in Orlando on Friday night was so awesome. I don’t even care if I’ve known about their existence for only 5 days. I’m a fangirl and I already know the words to most of their songs. They are absolutely flawless when they sing live, which is a rarity these days with big-time musicians.

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They melt my heart.

Confession #2: Daliza and I learned the lyrics to this song:

It’s a song about BANANAS. A healthy living blogger’s dream right there. You should learn the words too, just to have it in your back pocket for impromptu performances. (This is the guy in Us the Duo and he performed it for us on Friday night, haha!)

Confession #3: Sometimes I just want Cheerios.

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But I also want sunflower seed butter. But putting sunflower seed butter in a regular bowl of cereal is a little inconvenient, so we compensate by making a rather patriotic yogurt bowl. Huzzah!

Confession #4: I probably would not do too well with hot yoga.

I think it was 90+ degrees F on Friday morning, and I made it through only 30 minutes of a yoga video before rolling up my mat and going back into the air-conditioned house.

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I was dripping sweat even though I was in the shade.

Confession #5: I’ve been watching the Crossfit Games all weekend.

I just can’t stop being in awe of those athletes. I also can’t stop staring at their shoulders!!!

Rich Froning? Incredible.

Confession #6: I am scared of Daliza.

She tried to pull my feet when we were swimming in my friend’s pool. Like, who does that?! She also scared me when I was walking out of a room, and I screamed and fell to the floor. Oh, she threw stuffed Pikachus at my head too. She doesn’t love me.

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“Do I have anything in my teeth?”

Confession #7: I ate soft serve ice cream two nights in a row.

And both were fantastic. Soft serve is just so delightful, I don’t think it gets old!

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Photo bomber in da purple shirt

Confession #8: I didn’t eat lunch on Saturday.

We went to our family friends’ house, and they said we would have an early dinner, so I just snacked on watermelon and cherries for “lunch” while swimming with Daliza. Needless to say, I was ravenous afterwards. I was so, so happy when I got to eat this delicious food made by our hostess.

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Daliza even tried fish (salmon) for the first time ever! She’s a very picky selective eater, so that was HUGE for her. She even said two days beforehand: “I would never eat fish.” OKAY. And then she tried eel last night. She has become a new person on this trip.

🙂

Confession #9: We ordered a little too much sushi.

I didn’t think it was possible, but the six of us (Daliza didn’t venture into the sushi) were stuffed to the brim after this meal, and this isn’t even all of it!

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Dragonfly restaurant with my cousin, aunt, and uncle

Confession #10: I really want some Lucky Charms.

It’s sitting in the pantry because I bought some last week “for my cousin.”

Confession #11: I did burpees this weekend!

I’ve been doing some here and there because I think I can start increasing my exercise a little more(!!) now. Slowly. I don’t do them often, but I did some and it felt so great!

I should go to sleep now. I’m making waffles for la famiglia in the morning/this morning/now.

Hope you all have a fantastic day!

So tell me:

What’s your favorite “indulgence” cereal?

Do you like hot yoga?

Soft or hard ice cream?

Confessions from the weekend!

Behind the Scenes #26: Harry Potter World

Hey, it’s another vacation recap! Crap.

I know I said I wasn’t going to do these the rest of the time I’m in Florida, but there is just too much I want to tell you all about our adventures… At least there was a vlog to break things up a bit on Wednesday?

I’ll keep this post as short and sweet as possible by doing it Thinking Out Loud style (i.e. a numbered list)!

1) A few days ago, coming back from the outlet mall, we came across this little guy struggling on the side of the road in our neighborhood:

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I’ll name him Squirt in honor of Finding Nemo.

We pulled over to take a picture of him, but we didn’t know what to do with him. Then a dude in sunglasses drove up, picked up the turtle, and put him back into the lake without saying anything, even though we were trying to ask questions. Then he drove back to where he came from. #iGuessSo.

2) Daliza and I went mini-golfing on Wednesday evening!

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I won, but that’s not saying too much since that was Daliza’s first time playing. I’ve even played at this course before and I got a double bogey (two more strokes than par) on the FIRST HOLE.

I also fell on my butt somewhere, somehow during our game, but that’s not important…

3) Wednesday night was lovely and relaxing with a dinner of pork/veggie spring rolls made by mom and movie night. Daliza and I watched Heaven is For Real (the movie based off of my favorite book) finally, and it was pretty good! The book was better though, of course.

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Parcels of goodness

4) Daliza and I spent a whopping 13 hours in Universal Studios/Islands of Adventure yesterday. My feet hated me. But we knocked out more than 12 rides and attractions, I believe! Go hard or go home (literally). Now, for all you Harry Potter fans (ARMAN):

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Hogwarts

diagon alley

Diagon Alley

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Surprisingly very delicious ice cream in Diagon Alley! I had strawberries and peanut butter + sticky toffee pudding. Daliza had butterbeer soft serve!

5) Daliza was totally awe-inspired by the Harry Potter sections of the parks, and I thought it was pretty fantastic too. But I’ve never read Harry Potter, and I’ve only watched a couple of the movies, so I wasn’t quite as ecstatic as she was. This is why:

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Is he not so scary?

6) There was never a moment in the day during which I didn’t feel soaked. It was either water from a ride or just plain sweat. So nasty. It’s all a part of the experience though, right?

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7) The lines were not terribly long! Glad we didn’t waste $100 on an express pass. Oof.

8) I was in a breakfast rut during this vacation until this morning. I was in the mood for some doughy, creamy grains, but I didn’t make overnight oats last night. So I used the brown rice mom had made earlier this week for a peanut butter banana rice pudding of sorts.

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Hallelujah!!!

Wow, it was delicious. I hadn’t made a breakfast rice bowl like this in a while. I tweaked this recipe a bit:

  • ¾ cup cooked brown rice
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 1 huge tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 baby banana/half a banana

Put all these ingredients in a bowl and microwave for 1-1.5 minutes. Mix well until the peanut butter and banana are combined with the rice and the milk is absorbed. Top with dollops of plain Greek yogurt and maple syrup. DIG IN.

Do it, please.

9) We’re going to a concert tonight! It’s a husband and wife duo called Us The Duo. Daliza actually introduced me to the group just two days ago, but I’ve been doing my job as a fangirl by listening to their music nonstop. If you like Colbie Caillat, Tori Kelly, Ingrid Michaelson or any other singer-songwriters like that, you’ll love these two. They’re adorable.

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10) I think I’m gonna do some yoga now. Have a wonderful weekend, friends!

So tell me:

Are you good at mini-golf?

Are you a Harry Potter fan?

Ever eaten rice for breakfast?

Ever heard of Us The Duo?