a valentine’s day full of joy.

Valentine’s Day. It can be such a cliché, but I don’t care! It’s such a fun day, whether you’re celebrating with your girls or your significant other– live it up 🙂

My valentine’s day started early with a walk around campus, having some ‘me’ time.
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After the boy finally woke up and meandered over, I threw together a quick breakfast from random stuff I had in the fridge. Eggs + bacon for him. Bacon, chicken + salad for her.

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The morning/afternoon were spent doing homework, getting a workout in, and running to the grocery store for Valentine’s Day supplies!

After some failed appetizers– apparently I do not know how to hard boil eggs– we headed out around campus to snap some photos. We have had this activity on our bucket list for a while, and considering we’re seniors, it was about time! We stopped by the lake, the chapel, the library, and the bell tower, and had a blast!

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^^I really do go to a beautiful school^^

Then it was time for the main course! First up: the boy came up with this delicious idea: some frozen berries pureed + champagne = bubbly heaven.

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For our main course: chicken and vegetable red curry. We actually took on the challenge and made the sauce ourselves (well we used a paste, but it’s still more steps than buying the sauce in a bottle) with coconut milk, and it was yum. I’m lucky my best friend is willing to try new recipes for me! He’s clearly the more domestic one 😉

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^^chicken, curry sauce, peppers, zucchini. delicious.^^

After dinner, we took a break from eating and built a fort. We used sheets, blankets, candles, and sleeping bags for the full fort effect 🙂

Next up: dessert time! Another recipe my boyfriend was willing to try for his weird ‘healthy’ girlfriend. Paleo molten lava cakes for two from Taylor Made it Paleo. Topped with a little salted caramel ice cream, this was divine.

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^^chocolate, will you be my Valentine?^^

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Hope y’all had a great Valentine’s/Galentine’s/Bro-entine’s day too!

Question of the day:

Chocolate or caramel?

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a long break/pause/hiatus/time off.

Hey guys! Anyone still there? I can’t believe I haven’t posted since August 24! I didn’t play for such a long break, but it was certainly needed. After taking my second MCAT exam (September 4) things didn’t calm down like I had thought dreamed they would. Instead, my *neglected* school work (while studying for the MCAT) was awaiting me, I had my roommate’s engagement party to throw a week later, and my mom came to visit! All wonderful things, but they certainly kept//are keeping me very busy.

The mental break was just what I needed, to focus on my school work and not worry about getting a post up every day. But, I have to be honest- I missed this! I love sharing little bits & pieces with you guys, just as I hope you enjoy reading!

I am excited to get back to sharing with you all. For today I just wanted to share a few things I’ve been up to!

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^^Morning walks still happening. I love my campus.^^

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^^Mostly ‘primal’ eating but I’m just trying to focus on being a nutrient seeker. That’s the goal.^^

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^^This one time, the bf and I climbed the bell tower. We think we’re pretty cool.^^

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^^Friends at the engagement party// The happy couple. Aren’t they adorable?^^

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^^Sometimes, we like to go out. These crêpes at Tandem Crêperie and Coffeehouse were amazing.^^

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^^Friends at dinner. Being weird.^^

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^^First retreat of the year. EVM (Exploration of Vocation and Ministry) is an awesome group, and the neon shirts… no comment.^^

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^^We also like to play Capture the Flag in Academic Buildings. Don’t all college seniors spend their Saturday nights like this? They should! It was ridiculously fun.^^

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Happy Sunday!

What have you guys been up to? Most exciting thing this September?

Favorites Lately.

The great things I am loving this week!

Long walks in the sunshine

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After finishing his DAT this past week, my boyfriend had a little more free time. We were able to go on 2 morning walks together, which was much more fun than taking my morning walks alone. The beautiful scenery doesn’t hurt.

Dinner parties

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Last week we had a little gathering of our random group who’s here for the summer. Veggies, olives, salsa, guacamole, salami, (gluten free) chocolate cake.. all the good stuff.

Good Health Natural Foods Avocado Oil Chips

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I picked these chips up at Whole Foods this past week, and they are so good. It’s so rare to find chips that aren’t fried in harmful seed oils. I am seriously in awe that I haven’t eaten them all yet. Find some here. You won’t regret it.

Plantain Chips

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These Trader Joe’s chips are so crispy and perfect with salsa or guacamole. I love making my own plantain chips, but for a quick snack, or a side these are easy & can be stored longer than my homemade ones.

Trail Mix..in bulk.

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Trail mix has always had a special place in my heart. Probably because I always went for the ones with m&ms and//or plenty of chocolate. Now, though I love simple, whole trail mixes without all the unnecessary sugar & weird ingredients.

Purely Elizabeth Granola

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This granola was on sale at Whole Foods this weekend. And it just happened to be the same day I was testing “non-gluten grains” for my Whole30 reintroduction. How could I resist? This granola is gluten-free, vegan and has no refined sugar. You seriously need to try it ASAP!

Nikki’s Coconut Butter

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If you couldn’t tell just from looking, every flavor of Nikki’s Coconut Butter is simply amazing. This one, however, has a special place in my heart. I mean.. dark chocolate fudge without a bunch of low quality processed ingredients. Need I say more?

Theo Chocolate

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Theo chocolate. It’s organic//fair-trade//non-GMO and also happen to taste ridiculously good. This salted almond is my first bar of Theo’s but I know I will be back for more. My favorite part is that Theo chocolate doesn’t have any soy lecithin. This is an ’emulsifier’ put in chocolate bars to keep the cocoa and cocoa butter together. It contains herbicides, pesticides, GMOs, and phytoestrogens from the soy. I say..if they don’t have to be in there, I’ll take my chocolate without please & thanks. 

Question of the day:

What are some of your favorites lately?

WIAW- going with the flow.

Yesterday was a busy day for me! Lots of driving, meetings, people to see and places to be. The day definitely didn’t go how I was planning (as far as eats) but that’s ok. Sometimes we just have to go with the flow right? We can try to eat healthy, plan our ‘perfect’ meals for the day, but in reality we can’t predict everything and that’s ok. Healthy living is about living– not stressing every moment over what you ate//will eat//want to eat…

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Coffee to start the WIAW day. Always.

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I had a free morning so I went on about an hour walk, enjoying the scenery, and enjoying the quiet.

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My first meal of the day: Paleo pumpkin bread, Kale chips, and scrambled eggs.

After my morning cleaning and doing work, I packed up my lunch for a meeting with the Youth group I’m working with this summer. The meeting was about 40 minutes away, so I packed a good amount of trail mix (for before/during) and planned to eat a salad I had left at the Church for my main course. When I got to the meeting, I realized my boss had forgotten to grab my salad. Ooops. I luckily had  a pretty hefty portion of trail mix to munch on. Not the ideal lunch at all. Not filled with nutrients, protein, or vegetables… but it did the trick. Go with the flow. 

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The trail mix that I was so glad to have with me. I also downed two unsweetened iced teas before realizing they were caffeinated.

After I made the drive back, I ran up to my apartment and changed, before heading right back out to the gym. I met my boyfriend for another awesome workout! Yesterday was upper body and I felt awesome. Honestly, it was probably all the caffeine, but I pushed through the workout harder than I normally do and it felt great. I am hoping to make a lot of progress in my upper body strength this summer, and this is a good start.

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Dinner: Sweet potato + bell pepper + onion + spinach “hash” with 5 eggs mixed in. Split between the boy and I.

After dinner, I headed off to my bible study, forgetting that I had barely eaten lunch and hadn’t had too big of a dinner. By the time I made it back to my apartment, 2 hours later, I was ready for some food.

The quickest on-hand snacks came from the ever so awesome Graze box. Delicious! I’ll share more details on the snacks soon. If you haven’t tried these adorable snack boxes yet, you need to get in on the goodness.

I’ve really been trying not to snack at night, because that is when I usually tend to let my sweet tooth out. But, I knew my body was hungry last night, and I certainly hadn’t given my system enough food for the walk, the activity of my day, and a workout. Eating after dinner isn’t the worst thing in the world. If you’re really listening to your body and eating intuitively it’s ok to go with the flow.

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I was pretty hungry, so I ate the “Raspberry & Coconut Muffin” pack as well as the “Peach Cobbler” pack. Still under 300 calories, but so so tasty.

Question of the day:

Do you ‘go with the flow’ with your food?

Thinking Out Loud…in pictures.

Thursdays are for Thinking Out Loud. Unfiltered thoughts, here they come.

1. Morning walks. Seriously, one of my favorite times of the day. I walked ~4 miles today while listening to a sermon by Timothy Keller and talking to my mom (on the phone). I am lucky to have the Swamp Rabbit Trail running right behind my school, so it’s easy to hop on for a morning walk/run. I used this trail all the time during my half marathon training but it’s a little hot for long outdoor runs these days.

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2. Coffee. Even though I drink the same amount almost every day (~1/2 a cup before my walk and the rest after), there’s something I just enjoy infinitely more about drinking out of this extra large cup. I think it just makes it more fun & fancy.

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3. Failed chia seed pudding. I made two of these last night as a meal planning attempt. Apparently I didn’t mix them well enough because this morning I ended up with clumped chia pudding at the bottom topped with some vanilla cinnamon-y almond milk. I’m sure it will be delicious, but not the pudding I was looking for!

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4. I bought this candle last week (because it was on clearance at TJMaxx and I mean.. you can’t beat that!) but it’s just been sitting in the candle holder. My matches and lighter are tucked away in my storage unit and I haven’t taken the time to find them yet. All for the best though, considering we’re not technically  allowed to have candles in our apartments. Sigh.

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5. These little 5 lb weights are the best. I keep them under my bed and they’re perfect for a quick circuit, or just 5 minutes of exercise to get my blood flowing between working at my computer for hours. I’ll share some of my mini workouts with y’all soon!

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6. In addition to my extra-large coffee mug obsession, I have a straw habit. Drinking from straws is my favorite, and I notice I drink much more water when I have a straw– it makes grabbing a sip so easy and convenient!

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7. The best for last. I’ve enjoyed a few pieces of this chocolate over the past few days. Honestly, I’m surprised it has lasted so long. If you are anywhere near a TJ’s you must pick this bar (and/or one of their other amazing flavors) up ASAP. The combination of dark, amazing chocolate, creamy sweet caramel, and the chunks of sea salt is so on point. I’ll definitely be picking up another bar on my next TJ’s trip.

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Questions of the day:

What’s your favorite treat lately?

What do you do every day to make yourself smile?

On: Rest.

Time for some Thinking Out Loud!

I am currently sitting on the plane back to Greenville, typing in the air. The past few days have been crazy around here! It wasn’t easy to find the balance between packing, studying, workouts, and making sure I spent enough time with my favorite people (aka the fam) before heading back down to South Carolina for the whole summer.

A funny thing happened in the midst of all the busy days. I didn’t go to the gym- Thursday or Friday. As someone who is likes control and order in her life, I normally don’t skip a day at the gym, and in the past missing a workout would have made me feel stressed and out of control. Especially in the midst of a week (like this one) where I was eating out more, and indulging in some treats.

But who wants to live tied to a schedule, stressed out anytime life gets a little crazy, or anytime we miss a few workouts. Not me! Being able to let go of that control, and just enjoying the time with my family was such a blessing. God has brought me so far in this journey, and He continually shows me that I don’t need to be in control, in fact I can’t be in control- He already is!

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Thursday morning, I woke up and it was pouring rain. My mom was at work already, and I was stuck at home. I like to get a morning walk in with my mom every day, but what can you do?! Rain is rain. I studied most of the day, and didn’t do anything too eventful. At lunch time, I did a 30 minute mini-circuit workout, just to get the blood flowing back to my head. Mid-afternoon, my mom arrived home and we decided to go for a walk, to hang out and make up for the walk we had missed in the morning. Normally, 2:30-3, when my mom arrives home, is right when I head to the gym. But I decided that spending 1 hour+ with my mom would be much more beneficial to my health than any workout. In addition to the excellent conversation, we ended up walking 5+ hilly miles, so we got our own little workout in after all! I told myself I was going to do a workout in our basement later that night, but between talking to my mom, studying, making dinner, and starting to pack.. I never did. And I was completely happy with that decision!

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Friday morning, I woke up and walked with my mom, as per our usual schedule. We walked our normal 3 miles, enjoying the early morning chill in the air.  The time spent together was so valuable! We always have fun on our walks, even if I was getting pretty hungry hangry for breakfast by the end 😉

We had to rush to clean & prepare our house before a family came to check it out at 10:30 (my parents are selling!). My mom met up with a friend to walk 2.5 more miles (way to go Mama T!) and I got ready for the day. While our house was being shown, we spent an hour shopping at the Gap, and I scored a bunch of cute new dresses! I spent the rest of the morning packing, eating lunch, packing more, and studying a little bit.

Mid afternoon one of my best friends stopped by so we could hang out– who knows the next time we’ll both be on Long Island at the same time! We decided to walk the ~1.3 miles from my house down to Dunkin Donuts for an afternoon ice coffee. The walk wasn’t bad at all, but the sun sure was shining down on us! I pretty much guzzled down my iced coffee, and enjoyed every sip! Plus, it was “National Donut Day” so we each got a free donut with our drink. Normally, I would never eat a donut, especially on a day I hadn’t been to the gym– you know, a day I hadn’t “earned” it. I got a frosted chocolate donut with sprinkles, but mostly ate the frosting.. I wanted the treat but didn’t really want to risk it with all that gluten.

That night, my Dad and I headed out for a delicious dinner in downtown Port Jefferson. I had a greek salad with salmon- simple and delicious. After dinner we walked around for a while and enjoyed the sunset. Then we grabbed some ice cream- yum! I had chocolate soft serve and rainbow sprinkles.

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It was such an enjoyable day, and I was glad I didn’t stop to worry about the working out, or what I was eating. I had what I wanted and I felt great about it! Plus, with all that walking and activity, I was getting good ‘exercise’ without putting the stress of a hard workout on my body.

Saturday morning, it was another mom & daughter walk- our last for a while :(. After the walk, we had tea together! There is the cutest little Tea Room in our town, and it’s a fun date for anyone who enjoys some good tea. I had apple-cranberry tea, and a cinnamon scone. A fun and perfect morning!

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After packing all Saturday afternoon, I headed to the gym and did a 40 minute HIIT workout. After a few days out of the gym, I felt awesome! I’m sure I would have enjoyed working out on Thursday and Friday, but I enjoyed spending time with my family and friends so much more. My priorities are way different than they were a year ago or 2, and that is something to be thankful for. I can’t wait until the next time I get to spend time with my favorite people!

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Do you ever choose fun over the gym? 

When was the last time you took a rest day, or *gasp* two?

Thinking Out Loud: Randomness + Happiness.

Thursdays are for… Thinking Out Loud.

1. This little boy makes me so happy. He runs around, up and down the stairs, and has the best little laugh. Walking with him (ok he rides in the stroller) and my mom every morning puts me in a good mood and make the rest of the day brighter.

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2. Summer fashion. I am so looking forward to wearing cute outfits! In the month of May, I spent more time in leggings and a t-shirt than in ‘real clothes’. #studylife. But after I take the MCAT (Friday the 13 🙈🙈) I will be free and living in the real world (at least until I get my scores back ha! 😉). These summer outfits are giving me the shopping itch!

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^^perfect for church?^^

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^^dinner date or a walk in the park. via.^^

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^^wanderings around town, or day trip adventures!^^

3. Father’s Day is almost here. Unfortunately it’s a week afterI leave home, so I won’t be able to celebrate with my dad. I am storing up some ideas though, for things to give him!

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^^This is probably meant for a younger child but.. isn’t it cute? If only I were a little more crafty…Make it.^^

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^^I am definitely an evil child but I think this is hilarious. More here.^^

4. I’m not usually into drinking my calories, but on those hot summer days (which I’m sure there will be plenty of in South Carolina) a cool drink can be way better than a snack. Plus I love that this recipe (Watermelon Hibiscus Lime Cooler) has both a virgin//alcoholic option. Whatever your mood!

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^^Check out the recipe.^^

5. I figured that since I’m about to be a senior in college, I should probably learn how to do more than eyeliner + mascara. It’s a start!

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^^Makeup hacks every woman should know, here.^^

6. Joy not just happiness- is found only when I walk with God. Such a perfect reminder on these long study days. God is with us!

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^^Read more here.^^

Too much spinach.

Yesterday morning started in the most marvelous way- a walk with my mama and her adorable little friend Chase. 15 months of cuteness!

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We walked for about an hour before baby boy needed to go home for his nap. After my mom and Chase headed off, I went back in to make some breakfast and start my studying for the day. I attempted a green smoothie but.. accidentally dropped in 2x the amount of spinach I wanted. Needless to say, this way a very vegetable-y smoothie. I still drank it, but I won’t share the recipe and put y’all through the same torture.

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Lunch was small and eaten quickly, so I forgot a picture! Chips, salsa, hummus, and leftover veggies from the night before. Not a very complete meal, I know! Which is probably why this happened later:

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^^^So much delicious in one place. Chocolate chips and almond butter- courtesy of Trader Joe’s. This is probably the most heavenly combination. I had to tear myself away so I could get back to studying.^^^

After a few more hours of studying, I went over and signed up for a gym membership. It’s a pretty small place, but they have all the basic machines + cardio equipment + free weights, so it’ll be perfect for me! I got in an hour of cardio on the Arc Machine, the best afternoon energizer!

A little bit later, I got started on another delicious dinner. Tilapia with lemon pepper, cooked in coconut oil, sweet potatoes, and chopped veggie salad. Another healthy dinner on the books.

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The rest of the evening was pretty nondescript: more studying, some cleaning, and chilling with my ‘rents.

Snack a little later: delicious frozen fruit and chocolate chips.

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What’s your favorite way to cook fish?

What oil do you use in cooking?

The Happiest Place On Earth

Yesterday morning was the beginning of an exciting weekend for me! I spent the morning packing things up and doing some homework. Before I knew it, it was time to get on my way. A friend drove me to the airport, so I didn’t have to worry about parking or leaving my car there.

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^^I went for comfy on this trip. I wore my favorite GapFit gFlex pants— they are super comfortable + flattering {always a bonus!} with the shirt for my boyfriend’s Semi-Formal this weekend. I am so sad to be missing it 😥 but he is so supportive and happy for me to be running the half marathon. We’ll still have formal!^^

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^^breakfast before getting on the road. I never know how healthy I’ll be able to eat when traveling {and I try not to worry about it so much} so I like to eat a healthy meal before I leave.^^

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After my first flight {to Atlanta} I grabbed some lunch. I had packed a salad, but I ended up checking my bigger bag plane side due to a super full flight. And my salad was in that bag! Oops. But I ended up with a salad that was delicious. Blue cheese, almond slivers, apple, spinach, and salmon. Not shabby for an airport {although it definitely didn’t come cheaply!

My flight was then delayed an hour. Boo! But, I took advantage of that and walked ~2.5 miles around the airport for some good activity! It felt awesome to move around before sitting on another flight.

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Then…. it was Orlando time! I arrived and picked up my bag with no problem. I had booked a shuttle before arriving, so the driver met me outside and we were on our way. My friend Krista was supposed to meet me at the airport but her flight was cancelled due to fog on Long Island. So sad! But she was able to fly in this morning, so it all worked out.

I arrived at my hotel, Shades of Green and checked in. Shades of Green is a Disney hotel {right across the street from the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian Resort} specifically for members and families of the US Military. My dad is a retired Navy officer, so Krista and I are able to stay here. It’s more reasonably priced and it is still a wonderful hotel. I’ll share some pictures of our room and around the hotel!

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Waiting in my room, was an awesome gift basket. My amazing mom, and Krista’s mom, sent us a gift basket with cheese, water, strawberries, bananas, and apples! It was so sweet and thoughtful of them! I brought my own rice cakes as well, so I can’t wait to spread some cheese on those for a snack.

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^^For dinner, I went down to the hotel restaurant for a solo date. I’ve actually never eaten in a restaurant by myself before… it felt so odd! But I texted, read some on my phone, and looked at Instagram. For dinner I went with the grilled salmon. It came with risotto, but I opted for 2x the vegetable sides. The salmon was delicious, especially because I was so starving by that point. The side salad was great too, with balsamic dressing.^^

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^^After dinner, I charged my phone in the room for a while before heading out for a quick workout. I hopped on an elliptical-type thing for 20 minutes and did an incline walk on the treadmill for another 10. I wasn’t really feeling the workout, so I called it a day. Travel makes me tired y’all!^^

Back in my room, I snacked on some of the strawberries and settled in. Early bedtime for me– because I need to be well rested for tomorrow. Not mention we have to leave the hotel before 4:30 am. AH!

Question of the day:

What are your plans this weekend?

What is the earliest you’ve had to get up for a flight/race/event?

Hurts So Good.

Ah, Sundays. For me that usually means church, active rest//light workout days, and lots lots lots of homework {which I’ve usually put off all week/weekend..}. This Sunday, I started my day off with a simple breakfast– banana, greek yogurt, and some trail mix. A little healthier today, since my trail mix didn’t include any M&Ms {disclaimer: that is because I ate all those m&ms yesterday ;)}.

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After some studying in the morning {para mi examen de español esta lunes} I snacked on some trail mix + fruit.

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^^my beautiful bag from my mama!^^

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Then, I headed off to the gym to get a workout in. The 1 mile walk to the gym was a nice warmup. At the gym, I biked for 10 minutes, before hopping on the Elliptical for a 30 minute stint. My legs were definitely sore from that 12 miler yesterday, but this workout stretched them out. It hurt so good!

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Sunday night was spent studying and trying not to stress over my Español examen Monday morning. Dinner was a mix– tilapia, bell pepper, onions, spinach, lettuce, and goat cheese. Basically all the leftovers I had sitting around! Followed up by some popcorn. Just the way I like to study 😉

Monday:

Monday morning started off early early. I woke up at 6:20 {guess I was nervous about my test!}, and studied for a few hours before whipping up something to eat. Greek yogurt, an apple, Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Raisin granola, and some cinnamon on top! Perfect healthy breakfast before a test day!

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My first class was so long and so boring I practically fell asleep. #sorrynotsorry.. Physics just isn’t my thing!

Then it was more study study study and some lunch.

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I went with a jumbo salad again! This is pretty much my classic Dining Hall meal– there aren’t many healthy options there, so I stick to what works. I don’t mind– this combination is pretty delicious! I used to nom hard on the pita chips, but now that I am gluten free, I can’t. Oh well.. probably healthier anyway ;)!

The test went well! It was long, but I am glad to be done with it. I always feel like the first test is the hardest– I don’t know what to expect, or what the professor’s style will be. But, once you get past that first hurdle, you have a better idea of how to study!

The afternoon was spent in the lab. Some days it’s the MOST interesting and I get a ton done. Yesterday, was not one of those days. I spent 2 hours trying to get a system to work. Oh well, they can’t all be fun days!

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My workout was simple, because my little legs were still sore from Saturday. I hopped on the Elliptical for 10 minutes, before a treadmill freed up. Then I did a 30 minute HIIT workout on the treadmill. I ran 6.5-6.7 at a 0% incline, and then every .1-.2 miles, I increased the incline from 1-4%, and increased the speed. It felt awesome, and I definitely pushed myself harder than I normally do on the treadmill. I love a workout that changes it up and challenges me!

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For dinner, I ate at the Dining Hall again– Chili and chips + hummus for me.

Then it was 6-9 pm of my MCAT class. Not the most fun night, but hey, it’ll pay off when I’m taking that test in May!

Question of the day:

Any snow by you today?

What do you do to challenge yourself in a workout?