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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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.

Friday Fun(ny) Facts

And then there were three…

We helped move Ben back into his apartment in Boston yesterday since he starts classes on Monday, leaving Pop, Madre and me at home. It’ll be my turn to go back to Boston in 8 days!

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not in this weather though…

For this Friday’s post, I’m sharing some random fun/funny facts about this week!

1) I accidentally discovered a way to make my eyelashes look fabulous. First of all, I have super short, straight eyelashes that point forwards and sometimes downwards (#AsianProblems). Mascara helps, but it’s still usually hard to see those little stinkers.

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Example.

Last week, when I was roasting baby potatoes for our New Year’s Eve dinner, I opened the oven to check on them and hot air/steam blasted my face. It kinda hurt and I felt something weird happen to my eyelashes. I feared they might have burned off or something, but when I checked in the mirror, it looked as if I just used the best eyelash curler in the world. The hot air seemed to have “ironed” my lashes upward (I was also wearing mascara).

Lesson: I need to put on mascara and then nearly burn my face to get nice-looking eyelashes. (Nah.)

2) I attempted to make lava cake for Madre, but it ended up being…cake. With a weird texture.

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I think I scrambled the egg in the stovetop portion of the recipe. At least it tastes good (to a chocolate-lover)!

3) I decided to run on Wednesday night, and I kept passing a couple ladies walking their dogs whenever I looped around. One of the ladies said, “You’re fast!” Hahaha that’s new. She was being quite generous because I was going at, like, 10:00 pace. But I still appreciated the encouragement!

4) I ate peanut butter with chopsticks.

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Long story short: I needed something to eat, there was nothing else to eat in the car, and there were no spoons around. Thankfully, Madre carries chopsticks in her purse.

5) Ben’s apartment is on the fourth floor of his building. There are no elevators in his building. I’ll leave it at that.

We did fuel very well the night before with a lovely family dinner at a place called Bistro 12IMG_9750

delicious, light, and crispy calamari to start

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(HUGE) tasty salmon

Madre, Ben and I fueled very well after the move-in too. Large platters of meat, rice, and veg at our favorite Vietnamese market.

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7) I am constantly in awe of the supportive blog community. Seriously, thank you all for being such great people who truly care about the person behind the blog post. ♥︎

Speaking of the blog community, here are a few of my favorite links from this week (and last week)!

A Letter to All Girls: You Are Magnificent, So Don’t Settle via The Peanut Butter Lover

The Smartest Thing You Can Do For Yourself Today via Marc and Angel

Sit Back and RELAX via Emmy’s Yummys

Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Bake via Fit Foodie Finds


Happy Friday, friends. I’m seeing Daliza today!!!

So tell me:

A fun/funny fact from this week.

Do you have a secret to luscious lashes?

What are you doing today?

New Things in the New Year

Greetings from New York! Let’s talk about some new things that I’ve already experienced in this new year! (Has the word “new” lost its meaning yet? If not, it will after you finish reading this post.)

Our last day of 2015 and first day of 2016 was spent with family, friends, and food. Classic. December 31st included sore muscles in new places that have never really been sore before (maybe my subscapularis?. It also included a delicious Vietnamese lunch with my cousins.

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grilled chicken and shrimp vermicelli bowl at Saigon Star (one of our faves)

We counted down to the New Year with our other cousin’s family and all their cool kung fu friends. I helped out by cooking some rosemary roasted potatoes and a garden salad, and I got a new compliment from my little cousin: “These are the best potatoes ever!” I might never hear that again. #cherish

Also, check out this beautiful appetizer spread by my aunt!

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Do not be deceived. I ate this and much more.

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Camping out by the snacks. She’s my mini-me.

Dessert was mochi ice cream and freshly baked {Pillsbury} chocolate chip cookies. Perfection, I say.

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We learned some new moves and grooves with Just Dance on the wii. My mom filmed Ben and me dancing to “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga. I was doing the dance a lot better in my head.

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when around kung fu masters, you do active things always

When it came time to count down the last seconds until 2016, we poured some bubbly and watched the live Times Square ball drop on TV. It was great, except the TV kept freezing up, and of course it froze on the last 5 seconds of the countdown.

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“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, fi- NOOOOOOO!”

Nevertheless, 2016 was still there and we all had a fun time celebrating.

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reppin’ my classiest wardrobe selection

On New Year’s Day, I got up early to try a new fitness class — the ever famous BodyPump! Now let me make this clear: I only tried this early (9:30AM lol) class on New Year’s because a) it was free with a gym trial pass; b) I don’t have BodyPump close to home; c) my cousin Liz came with me.

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Verdict? I enjoyed it! It could have been more challenging, but that’s because Liz and I stuck with lighter weights since it was our first time. I would do BodyPump (or other Les Mills classes) again, but I don’t know if I would actively seek it out.

Later that day, I watched a new movie. Guess which one.

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Star Warzzzzzz! I’ve never seen any other Star Wars movies, but I didn’t find it too difficult to follow the plot, and I actually loved the movie! BB8 (pictured above) is my favorite.

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Ate a banana from home and a whole small bag of popcorn.

My family and I departed Canada on Saturday, Subway sandwiches in tow. Thankfully, the drive was safe and pretty swift.

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road trip snacks!

Before hitting the road, I did this quick leg circuit. After the long trip, I was missing Just Dance with my cousin, so I did a random Shaun T dance DVD in the basement.

Yesterday involved Mass, buying new textbooks for the semester, Korean food, another new movie, errands, and a short workout.

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beloved Korean side dishes

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chicken bibimbap shared with Madre

After Mass and lunch, Pop and I watched the new film Brooklyn in theaters. We both loved it! It’s pretty much a rom com, but more old-timey (it takes place during the 1940s era of immigration in America).

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Highly recommend if you are up for a sweet, feel-good movie that’s not too intense.

And here we are at Monday. Best of luck to all those heading back to school or work!

……..I have two more weeks until I go back to school sorrysorrysorry.

May the force be with you.

So tell me:

What did you do for New Year’s?

Have you done anything new yet in 2016?

Did you watch Star Wars or Brooklyn?

What is the best thing you ate this weekend? The bibimbap for me!

Living the Suite Life

If you’re under 25 years old, don’t tell me you don’t remember The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.

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I still make references to that show in my daily conversations.

Anyway, the point of that reference is that I’m all moved into my dorm suite!

Madre and I left our house at 7AM and drove up about 4 hours to Boston yesterday. Any travel day of mine requires overnight oats if at all possible. Luckily (scarily) for me, I was polishing off yet another jar of peanut butter— perfect for overnight oats.

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brought four large, Costco-sized jars of pb to college, and that might be cutting it close

Once we arrived in Boston, we were hungry for lunch, so we stopped by our favorite cheap Vietnamese eatery for chicken vermicelli platters and egg rolls.

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fueled and fired up for moving in

Move-in went quite smoothly, thankfully! Madre was superwoman as always and helped me unpack and situate my belongings while I helped move Rachel from her summer apartment to the suite.

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my home for a while

The suite is set up as a double connected to another double, so Jordan (same roomie as last year!) + I are in one room together, and Rachel + Sheila are in the other.

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The space in the room and this view is quite remarkable. It’s quite an upgrade from our little box last year.

My only qualm is that the bathroom is in Rachel + Sheila’s side of the room. I tend to drink a lot of water, so I feel bad about walking through their room every time I need to empty my tiny tank.

Like last night at 2 AM. I woke up needing to pee, and I think I panicked for a good three minutes wondering whether I should try going to the bathroom in our suite or just going downstairs to the lobby to use the bathrooms there.

“It’s the first night, and I’m already going to piss off my roommates. Almost literally.”

“Should I just not flush? No, ew.”

“The guard in the lobby will think I’m a freak.”

The lobby idea won, and I learned my lesson to not chug half a water bottle before going to sleep.

Moving on…

The dining halls don’t open until Saturday night, so we’re doing our best with snacks and our MicroFridges.

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Jordan and Sheila cooked Rachel and me dinner last night though! A dorm-cooked meal, how lovely ♥

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They were able to cook this the night before in our dorm’s communal kitchen, which is BEAUTIFUL.

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We’re allowed to use it after 7pm on weekdays and anytime on the weekends. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, the sight of shiny kitchen appliances.

Jordan also brought us lunch from her work today. Cool roommate, that one.

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While most of my friends are working, I’ve been cleaning up the dorm rooms and doing other housekeeping things. I even got to go back to the beloved Esplanade to do some stretching and exercise. Goodness gracious, I’ve missed Boston.

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recycled picture from April when trees were still naked

Thankful.

So tell me:

Did you ever have to work out bathroom schedules/issues with roommates?

What is your favorite dorm food? peanutbuttersorrynotsorry.

Were you a fan of The Suite Life?

10 Out of 10

…I’m not talking about Paul Walker (RIP).

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Even though it IS #mancrushmonday.

I’m giving a 10/10 to these past three days! My uncle has been asking us how we rate every day on this vacation on a scale from 1-10 (10 being the best), and I’ve given everything 7 or higher. Mall day was an 8 and Disney World was a 7.5, but this weekend has shown even higher ratings on my radar!

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Joining the marvelous Monday party on Katie‘s blog!

Friday: Madeira Beach and Bubba Gump

Ranking: 8

This was my first time going to Madeira beach, which is on the Gulf of Mexico side of Florida. The waters are considerably warmer (like, almost HOT) than the Atlantic waters, and the waves are pretty calm. It’s two hours away, so we stopped at a Vietnamese restaurant called Ben Thanh for lunch.

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Grilled pork vermicelli bowl

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Power napping!

It was a perfect day to be at the beach! We swam a bit, collected shells, kicked around a soccer ball, and built a sand castle that someone ended up stealing. Hmph. We didn’t even get to take a picture of it, but it was a fabulous castle. I also attempted handstands. I flipped over three times.

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Once we worked up an appetite at the beach, we cleaned up and walked over to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. for dinner. “Run Forrest, Run!”

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There are little notches under the cups so that they can hook onto each other. Magic = ruined.

I ordered the gumbo and house salad, and they were very meh. I had about three bites of the gumbo because it was WAY too salty, and the house salad was average. I ended up sharing my aunt’s seafood pasta and Daliza’s mac and cheese (so good!).

Even though we were stuffed, as we were driving home, my aunt spotted a shake shop with a really long line, so she exclaimed: “That’s gotta be a GOOD shake shop!” Sooooooo we went and got shakes there.

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Mint shake for me!

I drank as much as I could, but this thing was huge, so I finished about ¾ of it. Sugar coma.

Saturday: “Staycation” with Daliza

Ranking: 8.5

While my mom took my aunt, uncle, and cousins to St. Augustine, Daliza and I slept in and stayed home for the day. We started with a leisurely breakfast and a flashback movie— Mulan (aka my hero).

After spending way to much time trying to pump up the bike wheels, we finally got to biking around my neighborhood in the hot sun.

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Daliza said it felt like we were out there for 10 minutes, but we biked for about an hour before coming into the air-conditioned house for a refreshing lunch at 4 PM…Ha. Then we tried to hunt down alligators (by hunt down, I mean take a good picture of them) in the lake behind my house. We found one peeking out of the water!

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Yep, that little thing in the water would be it.

I couldn’t zoom in quite far enough to get the details, but Daliza’s video camera showed that it was an alligator for sure. After a few hours of doing that plus a whole bunch of nothing, we did an hour of Pilates before hunkering down for dinner and more Disney movies. We mini-marathoned it with Hercules and Mulan II.

Sometimes it’s nice to take a vacation from hard core vacationing…if that makes sense.

Sunday: Orlando Farmers’ Market and Cocoa Beach

Ranking: 10

I finally found my 10/10 day! Yesterday started with an early morning wake-up call (read: I overslept and my mom had to barge into my room) for 8 AM Mass and a little grocery shopping. After breakfast, we all headed downtown to the Orlando Farmers’ Market!

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I was overwhelmed by all the amazing food and merchandise stands there. They even had outdoor yoga classes for $5! Daliza and I might try that next Sunday. Yesterday we were just sampling all the food. ALL THE FOOD.

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We also encountered some fun/ferocious/freaky animals. The swans were trying to eat my little cousin. We even saw black swans!

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After eating, sweating, and repeating, we drove to Cocoa Beach. It was sunny and gorgeous when we got there, and the waves looked a whole lot more exciting than the ones at Madeira Beach. Daliza and I weren’t planning on swimming, so we didn’t bring our bathing suits. However, the water looked too enticing to pass up, so we bit the bullet and just bought new bathing suits there. Worth it! Even though the clouds started coming in and looking nasty. They just made the waves bigger for us!

Apparently there was a riptide, so we all had to be careful and not go out too far. Daliza and I just sang this song as we jumped over the waves.

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All the beach fun wore us out and made us READY for dinner. It was a quick drive to “Thai Thai” restaurant for some Thai and Japanese cuisine. Sushi for me, kids meal katsu chicken for Daliza. She loved it.

Then it was time to head home, finally. But first, we made a pit stop to Abracadabra Ice Cream Factory for some liquid nitrogen ice cream!

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They start with the cream/sugar base, you choose three toss-ins, and then they add the liquid nitrogen

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I chose mint, oreo, and graham crackers for my ice cream concoction. We all thought the ice cream itself was just sickeningly sweet, so most of us didn’t finish. A travesty, I know. That’s enough sugar for the rest of the week.

I’m done. Peace out.

Have a wonderful day, friends!

So tell me:

About your weekend!

Do you like the beach? Waves or no waves?

What do you love the most about farmers’ markets?

Have you ever tried liquid nitrogen ice cream?