Recent Eats {and the Lowdown on Lent}

Hey we didn’t have a snow day this week yet! And it’s Ash Wednesday!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while the past week, you might know that I’m Catholic and incredibly proud of it. Today is the start of Lent, aka 40 days of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving in preparation for Easter. That means yesterday was Fat Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras, aka do and eat everything you want to give up for the next 40 days.

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In case you want the lowdown on what we Catholics even do during these 40 days:

We only really need to fast (only one full meal and two smaller snacks that do not add up to one full meal) on the first Wednesday and last Friday of Lent, so it’s nothing crazy. We abstain from meat on every Friday though (meatless Friday instead of meatless Monday!). Also, we are strongly encouraged to give up unnecessary things that we love and/or do something extra as a sacrifice throughout the 40 days. It forces us to remember that there is nothing that can satisfy or fulfill us like God’s love and mercy can.

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^^^Not what Lent is.

Even if you’re not Catholic, it could be a refreshing experience to give up something for a month or so that will help you stay more focused or grateful. It doesn’t have to be food-related at all— it could be trash TV, profanity, petty complaining, gossip, looking at your phone at the table, etc.

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Just for the record, here’s what I’m doing this Lent:

  • Giving up music (I won’t voluntarily play music for myself, even when I work out ahhhhhhhhhh) and spending my quiet time praying instead.
  • Giving up scrolling through Instagram (I might still post photos of my own, but I won’t look through my feed at all.)
  • Reading Scripture every day

So yes, I was listening to music and looking at Instagram all day yesterday.

Some other things I’ve heard people are doing or have done for Lent: only getting one plate of food at the dining hall, giving up complaining, elevators, social media, makeup, meat, cheese, hot water (that means cold showers!)… People can be hard core.

I want to focus on making sacrifices that don’t have to do with food, so I’m not going to make any changes to my eating during Lent. With that said, here are only some of the delicious things I’ve been eating in the past few days!

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whole wheat French toast with banana and pb + scrambled eggs + glass o’ milk

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oatmeal with shredded coconut, pb, banana, and honey + scrambled eggs

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lentil and veggie African stew with sweet potatoes (YASSS) + some saucy-brothy Italian chicken 

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a five pound salad with romaine, carrots, tomatoes, roasted veggies, beets, and blue cheese(!!!)

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chipotle chicken (buried under there) with greens, barley salad, and feta

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roast beef, provolone, hummus, and veggie sandwich on wheat + more veggies and hummus + major veggie food baby 😛

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pork gyoza + scallion pancake + ramen with pork and a soft-boiled egg at Shabu and Mein when my parents came to visit!

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vanilla soft serve with frozen blueberries and granola (like, 10x this amount of granola)

Ahh food is so good. But not nearly as good as God.

Have a blessed day, everyone!

Side note: Fasting can be tricky if you are struggling (or have struggled) with an eating disorder. Fasting should be a challenging sacrifice, but it should also be reasonable and attainable in regards to your individual situation. If you are struggling with an eating disorder (which can be categorized as a mental disorder), you are exempt from fasting [source]. We fast to reiterate that our earthly needs cannot give us anything as valuable as God’s love, not to make ourselves miserable or unhealthy. Take care ♥

So tell me:

If you’re Catholic: Are you giving up anything/doing anything special for Lent?

If you’re not Catholic: What would you give up or do as a sacrifice for 40 days?

Do you like blue cheese?

Do you ever wish you didn’t eat so many vegetables at a meal?

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Behind the Scenes #18: Honey Mustard Dill Yogurt Sauce with Smoked Salmon

I’ve missed you!

I apologize for being MIA for the past couple of days, but I want to thank you all for your pep talks and congrats for my commitment to Boston University! I’m glad today’s Thursday because I get to play catch up in a random fashion though Amanda‘s ingenious Thinking Out Loud linkup 🙂

Thinking-Out-Loud

1. Colorful spring fruit is making me so happy. My mom made little containers of fruit salad yesterday— what an adorable woman. The fruit salad includes strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, kiwis, and pineapple. I ♥ the bounty of summer!

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2. I am somehow able to almost finish a jar of nut butter right before every early morning AP Calc review session, and it’s absolutely perfect because that means I get to take overnight oats on the go. I no longer give a single dang if anyone judges me for carrying a jar of nut butter to school. Actually, I never cared.

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Overnight oats in a sunflower seed butter jar = bliss. Until I realize I’m eating it in AP Calc. 😉

3. I’ve been a little overzealous in trying to find a roommate for college. I’ve met a few friends through the BU Facebook page already, but I found one girl that I clicked with right away. We excitedly agreed to room together…but then I turned into the #1 A-Hole of the Year. I realized that I’m in a special program that requires me to live in a specific dorm hall, but my newfound roommate wouldn’t be able to live in that dorm hall with me. Yeah, I forgot to mention that minor detail.

I sorta wanted to punch myself in the face because I felt so bad, but we’re gonna try to work something out. Starting off this whole college thing with a BANG, Alison.

4. This dinner last night:

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Smoked salmon on a whole wheat English muffin with honey mustard yogurt dill sauce + black grapes + broccoli

When I don’t have ripe avocados or cream cheese on hand, I love having this sauce with my smoked salmon:

Honey Mustard Dill Yogurt Sauce

  • 3 tbsp. Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. spicy brown mustard
  • 1-2 tsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. dried dill

Mix it all up and dollop it on your toast and smoked salmon! Top it with a generous amount of cracked black pepper if you so fancy. I definitely fancied the black pepper.

4. Today we had a half day of school! I actually just got back from having lunch with my friends Je’lyn, her sister Jade, Jeannine, Veronica, and Sam. We went to a snazzy cafe/bakery/market called Iron Tomato, and I got a loaded monster salad.

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It had mixed greens, chickpea salad, grilled veggies, artichokes, beets, grilled chicken, goat cheese, and honey mustard dressing.

Whenever there’s a salad bar, I go cuh-razy, which can sometimes defeat the purpose of a light meal, but guatever. And then I obviously had to get gelato, because you need to balance out all the veggies. 😉

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Vanilla honey pecan!

5. It’s a beautiful day today, so I think I’m gonna skip the gym and do some exercise outside instead!

6. I started listening to the radio in the car again since Lent ended, and I did not miss any good music. Royals and Team by Lorde are still playing, Kesha and Pitbull are still yelling Timber, and Let Her Go by Passenger still annoys me.

7. You wanna know something ironic? I got a t-shirt or sweater from EVERY one of my top colleges except Boston University. Of course. If they don’t send me one in the mail, I’ll order one online. I wonder if they have anything as fantastic as those Maryland leggings.

8. Speaking of BU again, I have an astonishingly similar college decision story as my brother, Ben, when he was choosing his college three years ago. You see, he was in between Johns Hopkins (in Baltimore, Maryland) and Northeastern (in Boston, Massachusetts). He was 90% sure he was going to Johns Hopkins in MD and only 10% was left for Northeastern, so he initially did not think he had to visit Northeastern. But then our wise mother took him to visit it anyway “just in case.” Sound familiar?? After the visit, his probabilities of going to either JH or Northeastern changed to 50/50, and lo and behold, he ended up at Northeastern in BOSTON.

I promise I didn’t choose BU just to follow his story. God just thought it would be funny if things worked out that way 😉

9. Currently listening to:

Any other Young the Giant fans out there?!

10. I hope you are all having a lovely Thursday so far!

So tell me:

Do you like smoked salmon?

What do you like to get in a salad?

Current favorite song?

University of Virginia + Washington DC Fun

Salutations! (Charlotte’s Web anyone?? 🙂 )

I totally wanted to put up a recap post of my visit to UVA yesterday, but I was pooped from another long day of walking and eating yet again. Thus, I’m comin’ atcha today with a huge photo dump from the past couple of days!

{If you haven’t read the other posts from my great college tour finale, you may want to check out what I think of University of Maryland and Charlottesville!}

Monday

Up and at ’em at 7:30 AM!

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Breakfast part 1: banana with coconut peanut butter in the hotel room

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Breakfast part 2: trail mix in the hotel room

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Breakfast part 3: hunk o’ yummy banana bread at the UVA Days on the Lawn Welcome (pear saved for later)

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Super talented a cappella groups entertaining us as we waited for the event to start

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Grand Wahoo welcome!

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Singing one of their famous anthems

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Bavaro Hall

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Kinesiology info session

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Word.

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After all our dining out this past weekend, I was more than ready for these veggies from the dining hall. They had some delicious options!

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And then this. Free froyo, people.

Alright, I’m sure you want to know the verdict on University of Virginia, so here’s the rundown:

Pros:

  • Gorgeous campus
  • Super nice people
  • Charlottesville is a very walkable town
  • Great education
  • Awesome Catholic center
  • Blogger/foodie town
  • Kinesiology program
  • Best campus food I’ve had so far
  • The students seem very serious about their studies
  • School spirit

Cons:

  • Out-of-state tuition is pricey
  • Distance (7 hour drive from home)
  • Not very close to a big city
  • The opportunities did not seem quite as vast as UMD

Conclusion:

I do not think I will attend UVA. As much as I liked my experience at Cville this weekend, UVA just didn’t click with me like UMD did. The price and distance are also major factors. This conclusion took a lot of thinking and pondering!

After the Days on the Lawn finished, mom and I drove to Dulles Airport (near DC) to pick my friend, Victoria, and her mom, who flew in from California! We’ve known each other since we were 5 years old when my family lived in southern California. Victoria is also visiting colleges on the east coast, so I have a buddy for this college decision process!

We went out to dinner with their friends who live in DC, which was fun, delicious, and filling. As if I hadn’t eaten enough this spring break. The restaurant was called Miss Saigon, and the food was absolutely fantastic.

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We shared a ton of dishes family style. We also left with four containers of leftovers.

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But there’s always room for mango with sticky rice!

I feel like I’ve had a food baby after every dinner on this trip. SO MUCH FOOD.

We did make it over 20,000 steps that day though!

Moves: a crapton of walking.

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Champs.

I ended up giving the Polar Loop to my mom so she could track her steps, and we were super excited to see that we made it to 20.6K steps on Monday!

Tuesday

Slept in until 8:30 AM. I basically max out at 8 hours of sleep nowadays.

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Coffee and hot cocoa at Illy with Victoria 🙂

We walked around American University for a while since that is one of Victoria’s top choices right now. It has a beautiful campus in the midst of DC. Plus, if she goes there and I go to UMD, we would be super close to one another! SoCal girls’ partayyyy.

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I guess I like to get in my veggies at lunchtime. This is the veggie burger in a lettuce wrap from Elevation Burger at the AU dining hall. Very tasty! Especially since it took 10 minutes for them to make…

In the afternoon, Victoria and her mom went to an art museum in DC while my mom and I went back to relax at the hotel. I snacked and got some homework done.

After picking them up and having dinner at the hotel cafe (we ordered a bunch of apps to share), everyone except my mom walked through wind, rain, and suddenly freezing temperatures for one reason and one reason alone.

Cupcakes.

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Baked and Wired Bakery

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After our courageous trek. Hi from Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.

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Our reward!

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Carrot cake cupcake (they call them “cakecups”). It’s supposed to be “enough to share”…Haha. Nah.

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DEMOLISHED that sucker.

It’s a cycle, really. Snacky breakfast➔ veggies at lunch➔ sugar at night. It balances out.

This “cakecup” got me all sugared up for a late night workout at the spiffy hotel fitness center. Moves included a 1 mile run on the treadmill, some bodyweight lunges, pushups, and Julie’s 8 minute ab tabata. It felt good to move! And groove to my music when no one was watching 😉

Unrelated side note: I officially despise— DESPISE—driving in DC. Half of the roads are one-way for only certain hours in the day, some roads are two-lane or one-lane for certain hours in the day, there are too many roundabouts, tour buses are everywhere, cars are parked in driving lanes….holy moly. DC makes NYC look like a breeze.

And that’s a wrap! I apologize for the length of this post, but it was another two-days-in-one-post deal.

Hope you all have a happy hump day!

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Washington DC?

Do you like veggie burgers?

What is your favorite cake/cupcake flavor?

Where is the worst place in which you’ve driven?

 

WIAW: Benefit Week Eats

Good morning!

I hope you all had a good-spirited April Fools’ Day! Nothing much happened around here. The only thing some people (including myself) did in school was turn on our cell phone alarms for 2:23 PM, and then we left them in our lockers to make a commotion right before school ended. Apparently it caused a little bit of concern, since I guess it is alarming (literally) when all the lockers seem to come to life. It wasn’t anything groundbreaking though. After all, we’ve gotta save some juice for senior prank 😉

With the lack of posts all last week, I have not shown my recent eats! What a shame since I obviously love posting food pictures (*cough* Instagram). So naturally, I’m joining this week’s WIAW party to share what fueled me through my moves and grooves during Benefit Week!

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As always, hosted by my hero, Jenn. 😉

In absolutely no particular order, here are some of the things I’ve been eating:

Breakfasts

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Overnight oats in a mug

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Overnight oats in a peanut butter jar. GAHHH. (Perfect for transporting to early morning AP Calc review.)

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Overnight oats in an almond butter jar. Also taken to early AP Calc review. I’m sure people were judging, but guatever. 

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Gina’s cookie dough cereal with bananas and strawberries

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Banana bread English muffin with nut butter, banana slices + glass o’ milk (haven’t had one of those in a while!)

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Strawberry banana oats with a heavenly puddle of peanut butter.

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Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie (with spinach for green powahhh) + Greek yogurt for spoon dipping

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Friday’s nut butter-less breakfast: Greek yogurt, strawberries, banana, chia, hemp, cinnamon, nutmeg, honey

Lunches

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Whole wheat wrap with avocado, spinach, soft boiled egg, feta, and salsa added later. SO GOOD. I had another variation of this for dinner one night with two eggs and spicy brown mustard instead of salsa. I highly recommend this combo!

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Crab cakes on Benefit day!

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Chicken, cheese, spinach, spicy brown mustard sandwich on some weird-looking, but delicious, purple fruit/seed bread

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Naked Juice samples at school!

Snacks

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Cute cookies and goodies from the “Eloise at the Plaza”-themed dressing room

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A crapton of white cheddar popcorn and animal crackers from our circus dressing room

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I brought a Greek yogurt mess to dance almost every day last week. Included strawberries, banana slices, and nut butter.

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Green tea frappuccino from Starbucks on Benefit day (Thanks to Susie and others for picking up 15 orders!)

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I tried it! Carrots and almond butter— pretty darn tasty!

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Greek yogurt with banana and pineapple. Loving the summery produce!

I’ve also been having lots of dried figs and Greek yogurt per usual. 😉

Dinners

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Farro, spinach, grilled chicken

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Multigrain pasta, spinach, soft-boiled egg

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Grilled chicken, spinach, feta + avocado toast

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Farro, spinach, ground turkey, avocado, sriracha

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The best tomatoes I’ve ever eaten. Just wash ’em and eat. So fresh and flavorful!

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Dinner with the family (Ben was home for a day!) on Sunday! Ben got Sambal chicken and seafood. The other three of us shared a huge Sushi for Two platter. We also had some spring rolls as appetizer. Mmmmm.

How’s THAT for a recent eats recap?! It’s a good thing I just ate dinner, because otherwise, I would be hangry right about now. 😉

I hope you all have a great day!

So tell me:

What is the best vegetable you’ve eaten recently?

What do you like to put in wraps? 

WIAW: Blogger-Inspired Meals

Yesterday was a solid day of eats. You know that feeling you get when you just finished a great workout? I felt like that except with my meals. I know you like that analogy.

Once upon a WIAW, I showed you some blogger-inspired breakfasts that I was loving, but yesterday’s meals were all inspired by some recent foods I’ve seen from other blogs lately. I’m kind of obsessed with looking at everyone else’s delicious food ideas on blogs and, of course, Instagram. To be honest, I’d say more than half of the photos I see on my Insta feed at any given time are of food. I post food pictures, I look at food pictures. Then I eat!

If you love food pictures too, Jenn‘s blog is the place to be!

Today I’m actually playing by the rules and showing what I ate in just one day! Reminder: I’m on winter break, so all my meals were eaten at home. I’m not playing hooky until 4th quarter 😉 (Kidding.)

Breakfast

My leisurely morning started with a comforting, satisfying breakfast inspired by Amanda‘s classic oatmeal with Greek yogurt.

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Greek yogurt with banana oatmeal and peanut butter layered on top

Snack

After finishing some biology homework, I needed a pick-me-up before {finally} doing some exercise. My legs wanted to MOVE after two straight days of road trips. Homemade granola bars from Amanda, Julie, and Jen inspired this one!

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A couple honey crisp apple slices + homemade granola bar (a whole one plus another nugget of one)

Lunch

After moving and grooving a bit (I did this workout from Lori and Michelle), I was hungry for lunch. More specifically, I wanted eggs. When I crave eggs, I will go “hangry” for them. I used to not know how to cook eggs, but luckily those sad days are over. Jen’s fabulous-looking omelet inspired this beauty.

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Two-egg omelet with dried basil, dried thyme, Mexican cheese blend, spinach, and ground turkey + ketchup on top + coconut oil brussels sprouts (made by mom this time!) + sesame seed toast

This hit the spot like no other. Like I said on Instagram, if college doesn’t have good food, I’ll just live off of eggs (and yogurt, oats, banana, and pb of course).

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The best bites were the ones with toast + omelet.

Snack

My afternoon consisted of blog-reading, AP calc homework, Food Network-watching, and Instagram-stalking. So a whole lot of nothing much. By the late afternoon though, I was feeling snacky. This one isn’t really inspired by anyone in particular, but almost every HL blogger eats veggies with hummus, right?

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Dinner

This one doesn’t look like anything new, but I added a little something extra thanks to Davida’s Thai Salmon Salad recipe yesterday.

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Quinoa + brussels + salmon + Thai basil + sriracha

The Thai basil added an Asian flare to an otherwise normal schnormal dish for me. I was about to add a peanut dressing of sorts, but I got lazy. Sriracha to the rescue!

I also had a handful of pistachios (my favorite nut) and a vanilla frozen Greek yogurt cup for a sweet end to my night.

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{recycled photo}

Before I say goodbye for today, I’ll update you on my Blend Retreat decision dilemma. My friend Veronica texted me yesterday that I should totally go ahead and buy the tickets since we probably won’t even have finals the following week (most final exams should be done before then). After deliberating and realizing that she was probably right, I got super excited that I might just be able to register for the retreat! However, after talking with my mom about it a little more, she sorta convinced me that the weekend might still end up being stressful for me. Friday, June 6th (the start of the retreat) is my last official day of high school, and I would miss that if I went to the retreat. Even though there are still several other senior events in the following weeks, I wouldn’t be able to spend that last day of school with my friends and teachers. Also, it’s not a short trip to and from Utah, so I’d probably be jet-lagged on the Monday we get back. If I do end up having a final early that morning, I’d be a zombie.

MOREOVER, I don’t think I’ll be going this year. I really hope to go next year though! My mom and I would probably want to stay and enjoy Utah even after the retreat ends too. It’s so gorgeous over there, and we want to be able to enjoy our time without the worries of school in the back of my mind.

Anddd that is all.

Happy Wednesday, everyone! Have a good one!

So tell me:

What is the last thing you ate that was inspired by another blogger/Instagrammer?

What do you love in your omelets?