In and Out of Canada {Take Three}

We had such a productive four days in Toronto!

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

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

But…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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alpacas!

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

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

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

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

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

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this is like 10% of it

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There were also sand and butter sculptures in the making!

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

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

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

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

Because THIS:

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{Sushi} Roll me outta there.

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

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

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Vietnamese for dinner (aka so many veggies YES)

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my two kids in a candy store 😉

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banana + tapioca in coconut milk *moment of silence*

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red bean pastry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Korean short ribs to share (the best)

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veggie bibimbap

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

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

Hope you all have a joyous Monday!

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

So tell me: 

Have you ever been to the CNE?

What is your favorite carnival food?

Two things you did this weekend!

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

 

 

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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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?

Five Minute Friday #13: The Trait I Value Most in People

Upside: It has been utterly GORGEOUS this week!

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morning workout with Rachel yesterday // she’s so stretchy

Downside: I could use more sleep. I know this because a) I’m nodding off in lectures more this week than ever before; b) I’ve been kinda out of it from 2-4pm every day (what I call my “dead period”); c) There are times when I want to do something (eat? exercise? talk to someone? dance?), but I have no idea what to do with myself to satisfy that urge.

Answer: SLEEP.

I also need to go on a social media cleanse this weekend, mostly because I need to buckle down and focus academically. On schedule this week: 2 exams, 1 paper due, 1 project due, and 1 lab exam.

Other upside: My family friends + Mom took me out to dinner on Wednesday night at the best Asian food court in Boston.

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Mom: “Alison do you want a taro bubble tea?” // Me: “No…but I know you do.” ← how she gets me to share a bubble tea with her.

REAL BIG UPSIDE: THIS DISNEY ORIGINAL MOVIE MARATHON AT THE END OF MAY. It’ll be one of the best birthday presents a girl could ask for.

Five Minute Friday time! (My brain cannot make this post coherent, I’m sorry.) This week is about the trait I value most in people, inspired by this post!

link to the video!

Hope you all have a rockin’ weekend!

So tell me:

What is the trait you value most in another person?

What is the trait you find most attractive in another person?

Do you have a “dead period” during the day when all you want is a nap?

What are you doing this weekend? Work, spring formal, SafeTalk training for suicide prevention, possibly an a cappella concert, HOMEWORK/STUDYING, Mass, and hopefully catching some extra zzz’s.

Hiking in Colorado

If you want to get fit, come to Colorado.

My brother told me that Colorado has the fittest people in the nation, and I believe that wholeheartedly. The atmosphere and culture just scream: “Outdoors! Stay active! Wear sneakers!”

I mean, with this kind of land, how could the culture not be that way?

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When in Colorado, do as Colorado people do. So we’ve been getting outdoors and climbing ALL the rocks!

(Warning: A ridiculous amount of photos ahead!}

Monday: Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

We started with a delicious breakfast a la hotel.

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scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg, Canadian bacon + oatmeal with honey, banana, and pb

other half of banana with more peanut butter

Mom: “Alison’s cooking.” ➔ aka cutting up a banana and spooning peanut butter onto my oatmeal.

Then we were off to Red Rocks! As soon as I started walking up the hill and stairs, my heart started beating what felt like twice as fast as usual. Hello, high altitude!

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But the beauty of the red rocks distracted me from my lack of lung capacity.

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The good people of Colorado were doing their thing, working out at the amphitheater by running the bleachers and climbing the stairs. Ben and I were inspired!

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 had to throw some burpee bench jumps in there

Ben and I decided to walk on the quick and leisurely 1.4 mile trail around the red rocks. Man, was it fantastic.

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Our time at Red Rocks ended up being a great workout between all the stairs and walking, so we were definitely ready for lunch afterwards.

DSC_0960 some Enlightened crisps to snack on

Ben found a Nepalese/Indian restaurant with great reviews on Yelp called Sherpa House. It was an all you can eat buffet for $9.99! NAAN, PLEASE AND THANKS.

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After a mighty satisfying lunch, Ben and I explored the town we were in— Golden, CO. My motive for exploration was finding ice cream, to be honest. But the quaint, western town was beautiful and charming! (We found awesome ice cream though. Caramel Oreo + Bing Cherry, oh my goodness.)

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The rest of our day was spent in our hotel room resting/blogging until we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen with some family friends. I had the roasted vegetable salad with grilled chicken, which I totally devoured. Plus lots of bread and olive oil.

Tuesday: Bear Peak

This hike was probably the hardest workout I’ve ever done. At least, it’s up there. If you see a little Asian waddling with a look of pain on her face in Colorado today and tomorrow, it’s probably me.

I woke up at 7:30, and my body felt pretty tired— not quite sore, but just lead-like. I knew that Ben and I had a long hike planned at Bear Peak, but I secretly wasn’t opposed to just chillaxin’ instead. But we got up, ate breakfast, and tackled the darn hike. We are in Colorado!

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scrambled eggs + pineapple + oatmeal with honey and pb (I didn’t end up eating the yogurt)

but I did have a quarter of my mom’s waffle with the rest of the honey and banana

Let me just commentate our hike for you. We heard great things about this trail, the weather was perfect, and we were excited (Ben a little more so than I). The hike was almost 8 miles and took us just over 5 hours.

I knew it was going to be a tough hike, and I consider myself to be fairly fit, but WOWZA this hike was a whole ‘nother level for me.

At the start:

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In my head: Oh that’s cute. The start of the trail is going downhill. Bringing you down to go up. 

Me: It’s so not cool to be hiking up a mountain when you just ate a large breakfast.

Ben: Some people run up this mountain. In the winter.

Me: If we see a mountain lion or bear, the plan is that I get up on your shoulders and we make ourselves look huge. I’ll try not to scream and you just back away. And you film the whole thing.

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The hike up to the summit was about 3 miles, with 1.1 miles being straight up. Those 1.1 miles were the death of me. Ben had to stop several times for me to catch my breath. If I want to make excuses, I’d say we were climbing from 6,000 ft to 8,000 ft elevation, which is way up there for this city girl. I’m also a high maintenance packer who brought two water bottles, lots of snacks, and my jacket in my honker of a backpack.

Me: I feel like I’m using the stair master, running, doing burpees, and squatting all at the same time.

Ben: We have about 1,000 ft of elevation left. ➔ I give him a silent death stare.

Me: I definitely should have eaten pizza last night. Need carbs.

Me: My glycogen stores are depleting. I need a snack.

 peanut butter and banana on whole wheat sandwich thin

 A girl about our age was climbing up behind us, and I let her pass us because she was a beast and powered through those rocks much faster than I. Poor Ben had to keep stopping for me, but he said that made it easy for him. Ha.

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After a sweaty and butt-killing 2.5 hours, we carefully climbed up the rocks at the summit and just soaked. it. in.

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In my head: Worth it. Also, don’t fall off the mountain.

We ate a power lunch/snack at the summit before heading back down the longer but less steep 4 mile trail down the mountain.

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sweet potato, eaten just like that

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The hike down was so much less strenuous than the hike up (thanks, gravity), but it was still interesting. There was a creek that was rushing pretty hard due to melting snow, and we had to cross it back and forth at least ten times. Our feet got completely wet, but it was still a fun challenge to figure out how to cross each time.

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Ben: I lied about this being the drier side of the mountain.

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we climbed up that whole left side of the mountain

In my head: If anything will kill me on this hike, it would be a fly buzzing past my ear, causing me to spazz out and fall off the cliff.

Our last obstacle of the hike was passing by a rattlesnake, which made my heart beat just as fast as when we were ascending the mountain.

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7.8+ miles and 5+ hours later, we made it back to where we started. It was an incredible experience and I absolutely loved this hike, despite the pain my legs are in right now.

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I ate two more of those peanut butter banana sandwiches upon finishing. 🙂

Showers and relaxation were much needed afterwards. Then dinner! Mom took us to a Vietnamese restaurant, where I ate a rice vermicelli bowl with grilled pork and tons of veggies, herbs, and ground peanuts. We also shared egg rolls as an appetizer. Hit the spot so good.

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As you can see, I housed that bowl. Hiking hunger is as real as “runger.” I even had room for frozen yogurt.

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peanut butter and cookies ‘n’ cream with graham cracker crumbs, hemp granola, and mochi

Now it’s time to sleep. Does anyone who is attending Blend wanna bring a foam roller?

Hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday! Your lesson of the day: eat the dang pizza.

WHAT-I-ATE-WEDNESDAY-NEW-BUTTON-PEAS-AND-CRAYONS

Linking up this hiking and eating extravaganza with WIAW!

So tell me:

What is the hardest workout you’ve ever done?

Do you like hiking?

What sweet treats have you eaten lately? 

Almond French Toast + Weekend at Binghamton {MIMM #24}

Happy President’s Day!

Hi, guys!

I hope you all had a fun Valentine’s Day and a restful weekend. I have a crapton of marvelous things to share with you all from this weekend, so let’s get to it!

MiMM

Thank you to Katie for another marvelous linkup!

A lot of bloggers have been recapping their awesome V-day happenings, and I’ve been commenting on them about what my Valentine’s plans looked like:

French toast for breakfast

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To make this:

  1. Whisk one egg. Mix in a splash of milk (enough to turn the egg a pale yellow color), dash of cinnamon + nutmeg, and a scant ¼ tsp. of almond extract. Pour mixture into a shallow dish.
  2. Heat up a skillet on medium-high heat.
  3. Soak 2 slices of hearty bread (day old/dried out preferably) in the mixture for about 30-40 seconds on each side.
  4. Add a small pat of butter or coconut oil into your heated skillet and add in the slices of bread. Cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
  5. Meanwhile, cut half a banana lengthwise and sear on the sides of the skillet along with the bread. About a minute per side.
  6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 with two more slices of bread (or however many slices until the egg mixture is all used up).
  7. Serve with desired toppings! (I love mine with a dollop of Greek yogurt, nut butter, and a drizzle of maple syrup.)

This was my Valentine’s Day gift to myself and it rocked my socks off. Thanks, Alison. You’re welcome, Alison.

Homemade cinnamon rolls (This recipe for the rolls [minus the egg— I don’t think you need it!] This recipe for the frosting)

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I couldn’t find our rolling pin, so I just used my mom’s pestle and wrapped it in wax paper. Gotta do what ya gotta do.

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These definitely turned out JUMBO-sized, but as Sir Mix-a-lot and Arman said, “I like big buns…and I cannot lie.” They did sink a little once they cooled though. I didn’t actually have a whole one with frosting and all until last night, and mannnnn was it dreamy. Like the recipe says, they really do taste like Cinnabon! 

Babysitting

The only stressful part about this was driving to the house because of all the snow (and I got lost), but otherwise, this guy was the cutest Valentine’s date ever. He was also the most well-behaved baby I’ve ever taken care of! I even got to do yoga after he went to sleep. Yeah, I did yoga at someone else’s house. Guatever. It was my dance director’s place, so it’s not THAT weird.

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{I received his mom’s permission to post this}

I believe Valentine’s Day was a success!

Early Saturday morning, my mom and I hit the slushy, snowy roads for Vestal, NY since this weekend was Binghamton University’s admitted students day!

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Pre-driving fuel: Greek yogurt (I go through containers like it’s my job), half sliced banana, leftover French toast, chia, hemp, sunflower seed butter

It was really not a good time to be on the roads, but the police cars, salt trucks, and ten other travelers on the road kept us company. Luckily, Binghamton is not terribly far from where we live, so we made it there in fair time.

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After checking into our hotel, we found a Vietnamese restaurant through Yelp called Nhu Y that was about 30 steps away, so we ate lunch there. We needed some pho to hit the spot on such a dreary day.

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Mom and I shared a bowl of beef meatball pho and a lemongrass chicken dish that was delicious! Binghamton isn’t really known for having the most amazing food, but this wasn’t bad at all.

After lunch, we veg-ed out in our room. When I finally had an ounce of motivation to get out of those fluffy hotel beds, I went to the hotel exercise room to do something.

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There weren’t many options, so I just did a 45-minute incline walk on the treadmill while watching the Olympics. By the way, workout selfies will forever make me uncomfortable. Check out that mini lion-mane.

The rest of our evening consisted of Mass at the Binghamton Catholic center (so lovely!), a sushi dinner, and late-night shopping at an awesome supermarket called Wegmans. We actually went a little crazy at Wegmans because it was like Target + Trader Joe’s in one. A dangerous duo (imagine me saying that in an Australian accent).

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Beautiful Mass as the snow softly fell outside— it felt like Christmas!

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Vestal sushi is sub-par since we’re so spoiled with the sushi around our area.

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We’re bread hoarders. (We freeze them for later.)

The next day was the Binghamton University Open House!

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Hotel breakfast: Oatmeal square, nut bar, orange

The parking and check-in were very well-organized, which is much appreciated. My favorite part of the whole day was probably the Welcome session though. One of the all-male a cappella groups called “The Crosbies” entertained us while we waited for the event to start. They are incredibly talented and hilarious entertainers!

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At 11:00, they introduced the BU President to make the welcoming address. Apparently, university presidents are superstars.

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Dying to shake hands with him 😉

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After his speech, along with a few others from different faculty members/students, we were allowed to break into different groups to attend sessions that interested us. Since it was FREEZING outside and I had already taken a campus tour in August, I passed on that. I decided on a general information session and the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences session.

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Of course, we tested out the campus food at lunch too.

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Sandwich made to order (chicken breast, roasted red peppers, muenster cheese, lettuce, tomato on whole wheat) + minestrone soup

My meal was not too shabby, but the options in this dining hall seemed a lot more limited compared to that of University of Maryland. Other items available in this particular dining hall yesterday included pizza, made to order omelets and pancakes, savory breakfast/brunch foods, typical cafeteria hot foods (fried chicken sandwiches, burgers, etc.), and a salad bar.

Overall, my experience at the open house neither deterred me from Binghamton nor drew me to it. These are the main points I concluded from the weekend:

Pros: distance from home, value/price, community

Cons: academic programs may not be the best for my interest (physical therapy as of now), location is sort of out there

My mom and I agree that Binghamton University will probably not be the place for me. Right now, I think Maryland and Virginia are my top choices, and I’m visiting both in April. We shall see!

Ok, wow. Are you still reading this? 

This was definitely a longer post than usual, and most of you probably couldn’t care less about my college experience, but this weekend was definitely important in helping me discern my college decision.

Wait, I’m not done actually. So Blend Retreat 2014 tickets went on sale last night, and my mom and I are seriously considering going this year! If you don’t know what the Blend (blogger + friend = blend) Retreat is, it’s a blogger/blog-reader weekend retreat during which the attendees get to hang out, get active, get swag bags, and just have FUN. I’ve seen some of my favorite bloggers attend in the past, and I can only imagine how amazing it would be to meet them in person!

You have no idea how excited I was to find out that my parents were on board with the trip. I could technically go by myself (I will have turned 18 just a week before the retreat— score), but my mom is totally up for going as well. The only thing that’s keeping us from registering right now is school. I have exams the Monday after we get back, and I’m just not sure if I could afford to go on a trip that weekend. It just depends on which subjects the exams are for, because then I can gauge how much pre-retreat-studying I should do. Schoooooool.

K, I’m done. Have a marvelous Monday, everyone 🙂

So tell me:

Tell me three things you did this weekend!

Are you planning on going to the Blend Retreat?!