Early to Bed, Early to Rise

I got up before 6 am two days in a row, and got up before 8 on a SUNDAY.

Unlike most people in the healthy living blog world, I am usually a total night owl (for no good reason except that I’m a procrastinator who likes to start things an hour before I plan on going to bed). But for the past few days, I’ve been early(ish) to bed, early to rise.

The earlier sunrises definitely help. The weather has been pretty lovely lately too! So lovely that I took a one 1.5-hour break on Thursday to take a long walk with my friend Zoe.

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The next day was not quite as nice, but I still got up to run with my friends Sarah and Moises at 7 am. ‘Twas thanks to them that I started my early bird trend.

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I actually got up before 6am because I needed to pee really badly (typical), so I did a short 12 minute circuit outside before we met up for our run.

3 rounds, 30 seconds work, 10 seconds rest:

  • air squats
  • pushups
  • bench step up hops right
  • bench step up hops left
  • elevated knee to elbow planks
  • bridges

We ran three warm and humid miles. You might know that I don’t love running, but if it’s at a manageable pace with friends, I can deal.

Continuing with the trend of non-trends in weather, the rest of Friday was sunny and gorgeous!

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I worked for most of the day, came home to break for a snack…

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…sit on my butt for a couple hours, and then walk to dinner with my dear friends (who went on that awesome cruise with me last summer!) Christie and Monica.

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We met at Umai for sushi, because it’s basically canon law that we eat sushi whenever we see each other.

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And we finished it off with ice cream from J.P. Licks. I feel like people always eat ice cream after sushi, but that seems like a horrible combo when I think about it.

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mint cookies ‘n’ cream

We weren’t complaining at all though. It was so fun catching up with these ladies! ♥︎

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Instead of going out for more social activities after saying goodbye to Christie and Monica, I went home, did a whole bunch of nothing, and went to sleep a little after 11. My roommate Megan was so impressed. I almost never go to sleep before her.

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I did have a little bit of motivation to go to sleep early because I agreed to work out with my Spartan Race buddy, Ben, at 7am on Saturday morning. I was in charge of the workout, so I came up with this:

6 rounds:

  • Partner 1: Run to end of dock and back (a little less than 400m probably)
  • Partner 2: AMRAP 5 burpee bench jumpovers + 20 tricep dips + 10 plank jacks

We both agreed that the running was the worst part of it. Then we struggled through finished with 8 minutes of core before calling it a day.

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Next on the agenda was attending our friends Piers’ and Dani’s Confirmation Mass. A bunch of us from the Catholic Center headed to Newton to witness the beautiful sacrament and show support for Piers and Dani. It was a GREAT DAY.

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one of the most beautiful things in the world is seeing my friends so earnestly speaking with God

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Congratulations, Piers (pink tie front and center) and Dani (white dress)!!

The rest of the day involved studying, breakfast for dinner…

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plus a ton of roasted broccoli straight out of the oven

…and leftover carrot cake from Easter.

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I went to bed a little after 11 again, WOW.

Sunday was another wonderful day. I slept in until 7 (what a weird statement) and made Kylie’s simple paleo pancake for breakfast.

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added blueberries, topped with sunflower seed butter and maple syrup + 1.5 glasses o’ milk

The next eight hours of my life were spent helping out for our Catholic Center chaplain’s 20-year priesthood anniversary celebration (with a two hour break for Mass in there). I would not have wanted to spend those eight hours any other way than with good people in honor of a good man.

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A few people (shoutout to Fran, Joe, and Bobby!) worked exceptionally hard to make the whole surprise come together, and so many people came out to celebrate!

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We love you, Fr. Barnes!

And now it’s time to descend into the depths of finals. We have three days of classes left, but I feel like it’s all just a straight shot to the finish line of finals.

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🎶 here comes the sun doo doo dooooo 🎶

I’ll try to keep up this early bird streak; I like the early mornings, especially when the sun is up! I hope you all have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me:

Are you a night owl or an early bird?

Something wonderful about your weekend!

Is sushi followed by ice cream a thing, or am I crazy? 

 

Hole-y Weekend

You know there are donuts and bagels involved in this post.

But first, can we talk about how it is absolutely frigid outside? Two weeks ago, the northeast was blessed with gorgeous weather, and now there’s this.

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#springbreak

And the temperature makes you hate everything when you’re outside.

But thank God for warm sunshine, warm clothes, warm radiators, and warm hearts.

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thanks for the pic, Fiona!

There’s supposed to a blizzard tomorrow, and this is the one time I am praying there is NOT a snow day, because I have a huge lab practical exam for gross anatomy that I would like to get over with ASAP. Please and thank you. The world revolves around me.

Before leaving home in New York on Friday morning, I made French toast for Madre, Brother Sam, and myself. It was some of the best French toast I’ve ever made! I think the keys were:

  • drying out the bread on a cooling rack overnight
  • adding more milk to the egg mixture (allows the inside of the toast to be more fluffy!)
  • sprinkling cinnamon over the bread after soaking it in the egg mixture, rather than adding cinnamon to the egg mixture (the latter causes clumps of cinnamon to form on the French toast)
  • using medium heat for the skillet
  • using a healthy dose of real butter for the skillet

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Also, real maple syrup!

Now that I’m back in the apartment, my food photo effort has decreased significantly, but the food has still been tasty.

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Friday night tuna salad made with Greek yogurt, mustard, sweet relish, raisins, chopped carrots, salt and pepper

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Greek yogurt with banana, honey, cinnamon, nutmeg, granola + a couple handfuls of cashews

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two sunny eggs on buttered toast (ketchup added to eggs post-photo) + veggies with hummus

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microwave oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg, honey, banana, and cashews

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this morning’s breakfast: super thick overnight oat smoothie with frozen bananas, vanilla protein powder, oats, lots of chia seeds, milk, yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch o’ salt

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Irish soda bread sample from Trader Joe’s (one of the best parts of my job is shopping for my bosses at TJ’s, and this is why)

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smoked trout deviled eggs that my boss asked me to make from her South Beach cookbook, and dang that egg mixture (that I tasted for #qualitycontrol) was delicious

On Saturday night (after a 1.5-hour nap at 5pm + this Fitness Blender workout) I cooked one of the best meals in my apartment this year. I bought this Korean BBQ marinade from Thrive Market and used it to marinate chicken thighs (soooo much more flavorful and moist than chicken breast—just do it) for a few hours before grilling them.

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Served with brown rice, sautéed onions, and roasted garlic broccoli.

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and a substantial swirl of Sriracha post-photo 🙂

YUM.

Besides cooking and working, the rest of my weekend has involved lots of studying for that lab practical. Since I took a 1.5-hour nap on Saturday night, I ended up going to bed at 2am, which was actually 3am thanks to DST. Haha.

Sunday involved a lot of fun shenanigans though! First was my attempt at Crossfit Open Workout 17.1.

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[source]

The movements and equipment are accessible to me, so I thought I’d just go for it, but I definitely had to scale it. I used a 25-lb. dumbbell instead of a 35, and my gym only had an 18-in. or 24-in. box, so I used the 18-in.

And I still DIED. I had 7 burpee box jump-overs left by the 20 minute time cap. Womp womp. It was a “fun” workout though! Perhaps I will try it again later.

After I was annihilated, I showered and went to lab to study for a bit before meeting with Fiona, Rachel, and Austin for food bucket listing! On our list for the afternoon was Bagelsaurus for a sea salt bagel and Union Square Donuts for the PB&J donut (I gave up pb for Lent, but since it was Sunday, Rachel and I agreed that it would okay for me to have at least a bite of the donut).

Situation: Both places closed at 3pm, we were getting an Uber at around 2pm, and the walk between the two places was 28 minutes. Rachel and I thought we should divide and conquer, but Austin (the marathon runner) and Fiona (the army gal) convinced us that all of us could book it and make it to both places (because one of our rules for food bucket listing is that we go with each other to the actual store and buy the food together). Friends motivating friends for love of food.

I’m glad they pushed us, because we made it!

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Sadly, Union Square Donuts did not have the PB&J donut that day, but we decided to still cross it off the bucket list. Instead, we ordered six donuts to split between the four of us (omg so much donut).

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(left to right) top row: toasted coconut + maple bacon // middle row: Vietnamese coffee + orange cardamom poppy seed // bottom row: sea salted bourbon caramel + raspberry basil

Let’s talk about donuts. These were delicious. But since donuts aren’t my dessert of choice (I feel like it’s difficult to get really good flavor into a donut), none of them blew me away. The raspberry basil was probably my favorite though, because the basil packed a surprising punch. We were all super excited for the sea salted bourbon caramel, but it was kinda disappointing. Too much bourbon, not enough caramel. Like I said though, these were all delicious still! Good quality donuts for sure.

We bought the donuts first but ate them after our bagel sandwiches at Bagelsaurus.

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I got the “Eggspañola” on a sea salt bagel, which was an over medium egg, pimento aioli, feta cheese, parsley gremolata, and I added avocado.

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This was also fantastic! I loved the flavors of the pimento aioli and parsley gremolata + the saltiness of the feta + creaminess of the avocado + richness of the egg. The bagel was really chewy though, so with every bite, everything slid out of the sandwich. ‘Twas a blissfully messy situation.

(I still liked my NY bagel from last week better. I’ve had one NY bagel and now I know everything about bagels.)

Eating bagels and donuts in one afternoon… You could call it a “hole-y” Sunday (creds to all my friends for coming up with great donut/bagel puns).

We did also go to Mass at night, making it a truly holy Sunday 🙂

Lastly, we rang in the new week with my friend Lauren’s 21st!!

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Woohoo!! Happy birthday, Lauren, my dear ♥︎

Hope you all have a warm and productive Monday!

So tell me:

How do you feel about donuts?

Two fun things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Have you ever done a Crossfit Open workout?

 

Lately

I have been the WORST with blogging recently.

I have good and bad excuses, but here’s the lowdown on what’s been happening these past couple weeks!

Before retreat, one of the missionaries at our Catholic Center, Courtney, cooked a killer breakfast (before 7am!) for our little junior Bible study group.

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Complete with eggs, bacon, cinnamon rolls (!!!), toast, fresh berries, and the most unassumingly tasty frozen heart waffles from Whole Foods.

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Courtney, you are wonderful. Thank you so much!

The night after retreat was the countdown to Rachel’s 21st birthday! A bunch of us rallied enough energy to play Just Dance in a common room too tiny for our large group before all the 21+ peeps (including Rachel now!) took a shot at midnight.

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in this moment: “It’s midnight!!!”

‘Twas an exciting night! I was alllll about the dancing (even without booze in me 😉 ).

On Rachel’s actual birthday (which happened to be a day off for President’s Day hallelujah), I took her out to UBurger for some good food and great chats. As we do 🙂

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big papi burger for her, cheeseburger for me, sweet potato fries to share

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The rest of the week was GLORIOUS.

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Boston was teased with the most gorgeous spring weather last week. I got nostalgic, thinking about all the fun spring things from last year. It actually made me kinda sad too, because I know that although it felt like April/May (aka Easter season + end of the semester), I knew it was only February.

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Nevertheless, people around campus were so much happier and more energetic! It’s like the universe changes for the better when the weather gets warm.

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There was still a little bit of snow on the ground, but that all disappeared by the end of the week. I even got to play hacky sack with my friends outside #quintessentialcollegethings. Plus yoga by the river on Thursday morning between classes!

Aaaaaand this week there’s a forecast of snow again.

Random update: I cooked this fantastic pasta dish for my meals last week.

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Whole wheat spaghetti with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, lots of fresh basil, olive oil, and herby chicken. All my faves.

The food and birthday celebrations for Rachel continued over the weekend!

Fish tacos + the BEST honey ale cornbread on Friday:

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there were not enough napkins for this goodness

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check that margarita in front of Rachel eyoooo

Rebecca, Fiona, Rachel and I brunched at Lulu’s on Saturday, which was another beautiful day.

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donut holes with warm chocolate sauce to start

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I got the vegan buddha bowl: mesclun greens, sweet chili noodles, spiced chickpeas and button mushrooms, grape tomatoes, avocado, and sliced almonds. So tasty!

On Sunday, I gave my big gift to Rachel. I took her through a day of 21 meaningful things for her 21st birthday. Some of those things included a breakfast of yogurt + pb, Mass, a trip to El Pelon for the outstanding El Guapo burrito (from our food bucket list)…

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rice, beans, grilled steak, fried plantains(!), salsa, lettuce, jack cheese in the most doughy tortilla in all the land

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you bet we housed each of ours completely

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Sarah also surprised Rachel when she joined us for burritos 🙂

…a 2.5-hour walk through Boston…

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…a homemade dinner of soba noodles with chicken, peppers, and peanut sauce (soba noodles are one of Rachel’s favorite things ever)…

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Her boyfriend, Austin, was a surprise guest for the night! God bless the dude. He had raced 6 miles at a 6:23 pace earlier that day after 4 hours of sleep. Casual.

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…and we finished the day by watching Step Up and eating this PB&J flavor from Ben & Jerry’s, because she’s the jelly to my peanut butter 🙂

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p.s. highly recommend this flavor to all your pb&j lovers

Good times with good people, man.

Speaking of peanut butter though, I’m giving it up for Lent. And not just peanut butter but ALL nut/seed butters. Whaaaaaaaaaaaat!?

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banana pudding for breakfast via Imma Eat That

I’ve contemplated giving up nut butter for Lent in the past, but I was always afraid because I consumed many of my calories from peanut butter, and I wanted to be sensitive to my disordered eating recovery. This year, I feel absolutely sure that giving up nut butter is truly out of sacrifice and not out of any restrictive mindset.

I’m really not excited about it, but that’s a sign that it’s something good for me to give up for Lent 🙂

Megan: “Feel the loss, Alison.”

Hope you all have a great Monday!

So tell me:

How’s the weather where you are?

Does nice weather make you nostalgic about anything?

Three things you did this weekend!

If you observe Lent, what are you thinking of doing/giving up?

Weekend Confessions

I feel like the primary purpose of this post is to let my parents know that I am alive and well. Hi, Madre and Pop!!

weekend confessions

Confession #1: I’m going to brag about the salmon and meatloaf I made at work on Friday. Even though I could only have small bites of each for quality control, I have decided that this was possibly the best salmon I’ve ever made and the best (also, the first and only) meatloaf I’ve ever made. Both of them had Trader Joe’s whole grain dijon mustard in it, FYI.

For the salmon: Season with salt and pepper. Rub a crap ton of the mustard + a good drizzle of honey all over. Top with a few dill sprigs. Bake at 425F for 12 minutes.

And I used this meatloaf recipe!

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the salmon looks burnt and the meatloaf looks average, but I promise they were so good! the mustard was all sweet and crispy on the salmon 😀

Confession #2: I almost lost my voice screaming at my first BU hockey game of the season. I hadn’t been to a game in almost a year, so it was great to be back in the “dog pound” cheering on our Terriers!

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we won against University of Maine 4-1 *high fives*

Confession #3: I’ve made more Irish friends during one week in Boston than I did in 3.5 months in Ireland. There’s an exchange student from Ireland who frequents the Catholic Center, so now I have a total of ONE [native] Irish friend who is my age.

Confession #4: I wanted to go to the gym at least once this weekend, but I never did. I’m pretty okay with it though.

Confession #5: I did do some interesting non-gym things like grooving to throwback songs with friends, running (!?), working out by the river at my favorite place, doing Blogilates that made our crooked floor boards creak, stretching while studying gross anatomy, and trying slider exercises with a paper plate!

Confession #6: Also instead of the gym, I did fun things like make/eat pancakes and watch The Office with my pals Ben and Rachel 🙂

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humungous banana and oreo pancakes

Confession #7: I ate at P.F. Changs (aka fake Asian food) and loved it.

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also we were starving, so anything tasted good // too hungry to eat it with chopsticks because that takes too much time #dontdowhatido

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‘Twas for my girl Domenica’s birthday (21!!!! check that sake in a wine glass). It was mighty fun hanging out with all these beautiful women!

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Confession #8: I ate chocolate cake and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can no longer say that I don’t like chocolate, I’ve just accepted it. It’s still not my favorite, and I wouldn’t order chocolate things, but I don’t dislike it.

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we got two “Great Wall of Chocolate” cakes to celebrate, and I was all about it

Confession #9: I ate carrot cake before lunch to celebrate my friend Louis’ birthday the next day. So many birthdays this weekend!

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“Like the liturgically significant candles?” – our friend, Pat, who made the cake

Confession #10: I don’t like to spend more than 10 minutes on dinner.

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Confession #11: Megan shared one of her chocolate pudding cups with me last night for dessert, and it was blissful. You bet I added peanut butter to that thing.

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Confession #12: I’m procrastinating getting my laundry out of the dryer, but I’ll go do that now.

Confession #13: I actually did go to confession this weekend.

Also, here’s a random picture of a breakfast that I ate, because I took the photo and the lighting was decent, and yogurt bowls tend to look aesthetically pleasing.

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Hope you have a marvelous Monday!

So tell me:

Two things you did this weekend!

What is the best thing you’ve cooked recently?

Did you watch any sports this weekend?

13 States in the Past Week

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

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

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

Monday

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

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salad that I packed in a tupperware for a midmorning snack

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday 

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

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

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

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A tasty Greek yogurt cup for my real food.

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

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

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

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

Wednesday

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

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Korean short ribs might be my favorite meat ever

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

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

Thursday

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

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

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

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

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

Friday

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

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plus a hard boiled egg

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

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

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

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

Christmas Eve

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

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

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

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

Christmas Day

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

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

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

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

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in pajamas — the best way to do Christmas brunch

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used the Minimalist Baker’s recipe!

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swoooooon

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

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

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a couple white dudes freestyle rapping — entertaining for sure haha

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

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

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

So tell me:

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

Does your family have any Christmas/holiday traditions?

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