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Coming Home

Hi friends! It’s been a little while. I’m home for all of 3 weeks, and it’s going to be a little bit of a vet school app bootcamp here. I’m struggling a little bit with the flow of my main essay, so I’m hoping this blog post is a nice little warm up to get my creative juices flowing!

Let’s catch up! I’m back in California. But let’s take it back a little bit for some food+fitness+life, shall we?

Tennessee Food

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I finally improved the appearance of my new favorite breakfast a little bit. It’s just a sunbutter+blueberry sandwich, soaked in 1 egg white and then baked in tinfoil! Super easy and delicious, and the egg adds a little kick of protein. I ate theses with copious amounts of watermelon.

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There was a Wednesday night Farmer’s Market with tamales. I had a delicious sweet potato tamale the week prior and was hoping for another one, but I was on the later so so cheese was my only option. Still delicious! On the side was one of the weirder things I’ve eaten. I sprinkled salt, pepper, and garlic on lettuce leaves and then dipped them in guacamole. It was just too much lettuce…

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I’m a pretty big fan of Publix now. It was the closest grocery, and had lots of great healthy+GF options. And gourmet yogurt. This and the bananas foster yogurt was delicious!

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I had one last honey lavender iced latte at K Brew while finished up the first draft of my essay!

Tennessee Life

On my last day, I got off pretty early. It didn’t take me long to decide what I wanted to do. I went to Ijams one last time for a little hike by the river. I took a slightly different trail than the previous time and explored some different areas.

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And then Saturday I was homeward bound. What is crazy? There was literally no line going through security in Knoxville. As in, I was literally the only person.

California

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My favorite cookies ever happen to be at one of the places in the SFO terminal. I was hoping the entire 5 hour flight that 1. I would happen to pass it and 2. they would still be open! It turns out, the place was right by where I exited security, so I picked up a spicy cinnamon GF cookie. I think I preferred the non-spicy version I tried previously, but this was the only option.

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To be honest, it feels weird being home, especially the first day or two. I feel like I was worlds away, and came back a different person. I had so many new experiences in Tennessee, and I did so much in a short time. To be honest, I’m glad I’ve moved on to new things instead of moped around about how I was going to miss my undergrad. At first, I didn’t feel ready to go to TN so soon after graduating, but I think it was for the better.

Sunday, I dove right back into things. First, I went to a spin class at the local studio. Then, I made amazing banana bread. I used my tried and true recipe, and separated it into two halves: one plain, one with raspberries and chocolate chips.

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For dinner that night, I was back to the soup+avocado toast grind. Butternut squash chicken soup.

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That evening, I met up with my college roommate for the Panic at the Disco+Weezer concert. I’ve grown particularly obsessed with Panic over the course of the last year, so when I was able to make the concert work given my travel dates, I was excited! Honestly, I could care less about Weezer. I probably haven’t listened to them since middle school, but liked them well enough then.

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It was a great show, but we had seats on the lawn so unfortunately we were pretty far back. I haven’t been to many concerts lately, but the concerts I’ve been to I’ve always been able to be closer to the action. Maybe next time!

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I enjoyed Weezer as well, and found I knew more songs than I realized.

In terms of workouts, I’ve been going back to my home Crossfit. We tend to do more barbell movements there, and I’m already feeling this morning’s workout! For strength, we did back squats. It was supposed to be 5 sets of 3 at 90%, but since I lost a ton of strength with my foot injury, I did 5×5 at 70%. I’ve squatted some since my injury at the TN Crossfit, but it was pretty low volume. So I’m going to be feeling this. The WOD was also a heavy one: 15 Min AMRAP of 10 hand release push ups and 5 deadlifts, which I did at 155#. While my squats may have gotten weak, my deadlifts have progressed because it was one of the few movements I could do for a while! I made it through almost 12 rounds.

I also went back to teach spin on Tuesday! I’m subbing as much as I can in the few weeks I’m home. I saw a ton of regulars, which was just so fantastic.

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And finally, wrapping up some food for the week.

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When my roommate came, she brought a ton of AMAZING peaches! They don’t last a long time because they’re perfectly ripe, so we’ve been eating them like crazy. No problem for me! I had a peach+nectarine for breakfast the other day, with a side of banana bread.

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Yesterday I had a cappuccino with a really delicious cranberry oat bar to fuel an essay brainstorming session.

And finally, the best thing.

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We made Brazilian Cheese Bread! I got the idea from Alison. It’s made with tapioca flour and cheese, and is naturally gluten free. I used this recipe. They came out beautifully, and it was a super fast recipe!

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We served them alongside Grilled Peach and Goat cheese salad, which was amazing with the fresh summer peaches.

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What have you been up to??

Exploring Knoxville

After a pretty intense week, Friday night I was able to start exploring Knoxville!

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Friday night I went to Central Burgers and Taps with some of the people I’ve met while here and their dogs. This is a very dog friendly city, and most places with outdoor seating allow dogs.

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Saturday morning began with a Crossfit class!

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I hadn’t done any intense exercise in a week, so it felt good to sweat! (And sweat I did—no AC!) We did about 1000 burpees, push ups, wall balls, and ab mat sit ups. Well, maybe not 1000, but over 100 of each! We did a deck of cards workout, where each movement was a deck of cards. The coach let the class choose, and apartment the class is full of masochists, haha! In all seriousness though, the people were SO nice. Some of the most genuinely nice people I’ve met in the Crossfit community. I wasn’t sure I was going to try to do a membership because the class time I can make is 5:30am (ouch), but I was won over!

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Next up was a trip to the only gluten free bakery in Knoxville, for their Saturday morning biscuits! Benefit Your Life was a bit of a drive (apparently you can drive 13 miles on the highway and still be in Knoxville?), but totally worth it. I got an egg and cheese biscuit, and a strawberry, banana, orange smoothie.

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Plus a chocolate chip cookie for later.

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After cleaning up, I enjoyed my lack of schedule by reading a book for an hour or so before heading out to explore the city (i.e. plant my butt in a coffeeshop and work on vet school apps). I headed to K Brew, and had to try their special, a honey lavender latte.

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I’m not normally a sweet coffee person, but this was AMAZING. I’m going to have to go back and try their cappuccinos too to really evaluate this coffeeshop!

I ate my cookie while working on apps. Necessary to make them a little bit sweeter. In all seriousness though, having such a low stress and happy environment makes them a lot less stressful.

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I was there for about 2 hours before I headed down to Market Square to walk around. Apparently there’s a nice farmer’s market there Saturday mornings!

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I then stopped at a salad and sandwich/burger restaurant for a turkey, avocado, and ranch salad.

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Followed by frozen custard. Chocolate/vanilla swirl.

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This was from Rita’s. Apparently there’s one near my house in CA that I have yet to try, but this was really good! (Shake Shack is better though.)

From there I drove around the area to try and get my bearings and ran some errands, before heading out again with the same people. We played corn holes, which I’m decent at but not as good as you might think, given my pitching background!

Today I have another full day to explore, and after my workout, I’m not sure what I want to do!

Have you ever been to Knoxville? Recommendations for me?

Thunder from Down Under+Last Post from This Side of the Mississippi Round 2

Guys. It is currently Saturday night (this post will go up Sunday while I am in the air), and I leave for TN tomorrow. My flight LEAVES at 5am. Ouch. This is my last post from this side of the Mississippi! Recently on time hop, I came across my “Last Post from This Side of the Mississippi” from my summer in DC, so I guess this is round 2! I definitely want to blog about my experience in TN, but understand that I can’t talk about what I’m doing due to confidentiality reasons, so expect more of the usual food and fitness+weekend adventures!

This week has been crazy, trying to do everything before I go.

You may be wondering about the first part of the title of this post. My parents and I went to “Thunder from Down Under” Tuesday night, aka an Australian Shepherd playgroup at the local dog training/agility facility. Chloe LOVES playing with other dogs, and is a rough player. She hasn’t had the chance to play with a ton of Aussies. This was just the cutest idea! 6 dogs showed up, and Chloe stuck with the same one most of the time. I wish my pictures were less blurry, but crazy dogs=constant motion.

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Chloe and her new BFF, Bacon. It was so funny to see all the dogs play and interact with the same behaviors and mannerisms!

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About halfway through, they started to get a bit tired! When she gets tired, Chloe tends to just roll on her back and play from the ground.

Thursday was another busy day for me. I started with morning Crossfit. I did cleans for the first time since my stress fracture, 2 months. I was careful and kept it light, but was still sore the next day! My foot felt good during them. I went straight from there to meet my sister for iced coffee.

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And then from there, I ran home to pick up Chloe for a walk with my High School friends. I hadn’t driven her in my small car since she has been full grown, and she kept trying to come into the front seat/my lap! She’s too big for that! It was great to see my friends.

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Since my foot injury, I haven’t walked any sizable distance. That plus Olympic lifting that morning was a lot, and my foot was sore the next morning.

I was more than ready for lunch afterwards!

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Microwave quesadilla, salad with Greek Feta dressing, and chicken.

More food: Fig and Goat cheese salad.

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Microwaved gluten free blondie with caramel sauce and frozen yogurt.

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Friday, my dad and I went to the Giant’s game. Food, as always was the highlight. Cauliflower flatbread with truffle oil for me, plus a cucumber and feta salad split with my dad.

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Plus some of my dad’s hot fudge sundae.

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We ended up pulling out a win by inches…it was not pretty there at the end!

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As per usual, it was freezing. I had a long sleeve, sweatshirt, north face, and scarf, plus we had a blanket, and I was still so cold! I feel like I need to soak up the cold though before heading to TN!

It was fireworks night, so we stayed after the game to watch. While we waited, the birds swooped in!

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And then, it was time for fireworks. It was a great show—the fireworks were really sparkly and pretty, plus we were really close.

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The next morning, I drove down to my school Crossfit for the last time. I’ve been sad for a while about this day. This Crossfit has really become my family over the past 3 years. Through crazy school stress, illnesses, and two major injuries, it’s always been there. I spent so much time there over the past 3 years, and it really was one of the highlights of my college experience. While I still argue that sometimes you regret a workout (some types of soreness are brutal), I knew that whenever I went in, no matter what else was going on, I would leave feeling better. I think I’ve been there in every imaginable mental state. The workout was a great one to end on. A LONG partner workout, similar to the previous week but worse because of the addition of wall balls.

2 Sets

AMRAP 5 Rest 1

Max Assault Bike Cals
16 Alternating DB Snatch

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Max Rower Cals
20 Wall Ball

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AMRAP 5 Toes to Bar + 5 Burpee
5 Pt Shuttle Sprint

For the final grouping, I subbed 25 kettle bell swings for the shuttle run, and push ups for the burpees. KB swings combined with toes to bar KILLED my grip! It’s funny; I haven’t done many toes to bar lately (not for any good reason), but they have still gotten WAY stronger for me since doing so much ab work while my foot was in a boot. I guess it does carry over!

At the end of class, I said my goodbyes which I tried my best (and failed) to keep it together for. I’m really going to miss that place.

After a failed errand, lunch at home was rotisserie chicken, avocado toast, and fruit (pictures is the nectarine, plus cherries and some pear).

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We had more errands to run that afternoon to prepare for my trip, but on the way, I wanted to get froyo. We ended up at Menchies. I love how they label all their nutrition info+allergens. And that they have sample cups readily available! I got some toasted marshmallow and some chocolate frozen yogurt, which I topped with hot fudge, strawberry,s and milk chocolate.

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Dinner at home was a good one. Cheese soufflés (it’s a Cooking Light recipe that we’ve made quite a few times over the years).

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Plus steamed artichokes and roasted Japanese yams. IMG_7729

For dessert+plain snacks, I made some more sweet potato zucchini bread, but with a few changes. I didn’t have quite enough sweet potato, so I threw in half a banana, and to change up the flavor a bit, I reduced the spices and put in butterscotch extract. It was a hit in my house!

And with that, from this side of the Mississippi, that’s all she wrote.

Where is your favorite place to go in the summer?

Boot Takes on Murph (Memorial Day Recap)

Hello! Checking back in for a Memorial Day recap.

Memorial Day is a time to remember and honor those who have served. Thank you.

When we left off, I was getting ready for my freshman dorm reunion on Saturday evening.

I had a lot of fun at the reunion, but left with sort of strange feelings.

Dinner was delicious. I was trying to be careful with my stomach so I didn’t eat a lot, but would totally go back to the catering restaurant at a later date.

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Make your own tacos! Mine with chicken and veggie filling.

It was great catching up with people. I actually saw the end of the Warriors game with a table of guys who were streaming it. I did find myself mostly talking to the people I’m still in touch with though.I guess there’s a reason we’ve stayed in touch! I actually think I’m still pretty close to all my good friends from freshman year.

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freshman reunion

I left a bit early to hang out with another friend, and I feel like I missed out on a bit of fun, as everyone migrated back to visit our freshman dorm. I think it’s probably for the best because walking clear across campus in a boot wouldn’t have been a good idea, but I missed hanged out with those people.

After spending the evening being careful with my stomach, I actually had a really, really bad flare Saturday night after I got back. Our chef made GF chocolate cake, and my friend made me GFG snickerdoodle cupcakes, and I just had too much, and the fat in them sent me into a bad flare. On the one hand, I do feel like my stomach has healed a ton. But this is a reminder I have to be careful. Now, pretty much every flare or mini flare I have, there’s a clear cause, and in this case it was the fat in the cake/frosting. I had a pretty rough night. I had to stay up far later than planned because I was too nauseated to get in bed. Finally after a second dose of stomach meds, I started feeling better. Luckily, I woke up feeling much better, although tired.

Sunday morning, I went to another farmer’s market with a couple of friends. I’ve always heard that there were kittens there, but I never actually saw them until this week. How adorable!

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I got a large quantity of fruit (after 2 days of farmer’s markets, I’m totally stocked), and my friends and I stopped at one of the stands for lunch. It was a sandwich place, but you could get it as a “paleo plate” over lettuce with an egg, instead of bread, so that’s what I did! I got the avocado, which was mashed avocado and fresh mozzarella. SUPER delicious.

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After the farmer’s market, I stopped at a sorority alumnae brunch to celebrate my chapter’s birthday. We had bagels and died tea, and it was nice to catch up with those who have graduated, and hear about life in the real world.

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Monday, I went home to clean out my closet. Both my home Crossfit and school Crossfit were doing Murph, which is one of my favorite Crossfit workouts. I had a tough decision as to which gym I should do it at, and ultimately decided to do it at home. I was happy with that choice; it feels like summer now, it was great to see everyone, and now I’m a bit more excited for summer (aka post-grad).

Since I have a stress fracture in my foot, I had to modify. I figured I could do push ups and pull ups, so I was at least half way there! For those of your unfamiliar with Murph, it is a hero WOD typically done every memorial day. It is:

1 mile run

100 pull ups

200 push ups

300 squats

1 mile run

The pull ups, push ups, and squats can be broken up however you want, but most people do 5-10-15.

I knew I would have to sub the assault bike for the runs, but wan’t sure about the squats. I can do deadlifts because the weight is entirely on my heels, but I’ve stayed away from squats. I decided to see how it felt. If I felt like it was at all unsafe for my foot, I planned to switch to sit ups in place of squats. As it turned out, the squats were fine, I just couldn’t rush them.

This was my fourth time doing Murph. (Just for fun, here, here, and here.)

So how did it go? Let’s just start by remembering that I haven’t done a single squat in 4 weeks. Moving on.

I did 3 miles on the bike for the mile run, which took about 9 minutes. I used a band for the pull ups and did strict, but it actually felt really easy, so about halfway through (round 10 of 20) I started doing kipping no-band pull ups for 3-5 of my sets of 5. I honestly probably could/should have ditched the band for the whole workout and just done kipping pull ups the whole way, but it really surprised me that I felt as good as I did. I’ve definitely gotten stronger since hurting my foot: before, I could only string together 3 kips, and now I can do 5, even in round 20! The push ups I scaled on my knees, and they actually felt much easier than expected as well. Next year, I hope to do the workout unscaled!

For the squats, they felt hdd but less awful than they could have been.

I finished Murph in about 51:00. One of my slower times, but I have no problem with that! I was so happy I was able to do what I did. Murph is one of my favorites, as I mentioned, and was really the only exercise thing I was sad about missing out on with my foot.

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Boot takes on Murph.

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Afterwards, I went home, ready for some PROTEIN. We had grilled chicken and peach salad with goat cheese, plus some baked Lays on the side while watching the Giant’s game.

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After cleaning myself up, I made a recipe I’ve had bookmarked for a while, Blueberry Zucchini bread.

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It came out beautifully, and was delicious! Although its 1/2c of sugar is a little higher than I’m used to, so I think it would still be great with 1/3 of a cup!

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My main task/reason for going home was to clean out my closet before I dump a whole bunch of stuff from school there. I’m entering a new stage of my life, so it’s out with the old! I think I made pretty decent progress. Someone decided to be oh so helpful. In denial that she is not a lap dog.

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A few nights again, my friends and I had a little Pinterest party, and I learned they had entire boards devoted to soup. Um, YES. Soup was courtesy of my friend Kate’s pin. Sweet potato, kale, and corn chowder. Served with GF avocado toast.

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I love that despite having soup more or less every week, I’m still finding new and different recipes!

I watched about an hour of the Warriors game, before rushing back to campus for my last sorority initiation.

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And now it’s back to reality. Sort of. I only have classes Tuesday and Wednesday this week before finals start Friday, and only have 1 class Tuesdays. Summer is so close! Not sure how I feel about impending graduation though….

Also, if you’re wondering whether or not you should do 300 squats after not doing them in a month, the answer is a solid no. I’m in a world of pain! Last night (Monday), I wasn’t feeling too bad, but throughout Tuesday I’m growing progressively more and more immobile. My quads are just LIT UP right now. Stairs are the mortal enemy. Both up and down. Between that and the boot, it’s rough walking! My arms/shoulders actually aren’t crazy sore, though the soreness is starting to come in a little stronger. Nothing compared to legs though. I basically don’t want to move at all. For a while.

(Want to see the aftermath of past memorial day Murphs? Here and here.)

Have you ever done Murph? What’s the hardest part for you?

Feels Like Summer

After a particularly cold and wet spring, with temperatures climbing to the 80s, it feels like summer!

And if we’re being honest…it feels really hard to keep pushing through with classes!

On Wednesday, we had a Senior Toast. It was a chance to see our class and drop something in the time capsule, which will buried under our class plaque in the quad and opened in 100 years. My contribution was my Giants ticket from Monday night!

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At the toast, there was a chocolate fountain+liquid nitrogen to dip things in! I had a banana covered in chocolate and then frozen in liquid nitrogen.

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^My God, this is a thing??

Dinner that night was also fabulous. Shrimp risotto, garlic bread (GF), and tomato and cream cheese jam.

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I actually had a little bit of a rough time after that chocolate. I felt it in my heart (I’m crazy caffeine sensitive), and couldn’t fall asleep for a while.

This week was rough on my stomach, with some high fat items and the chocolate. I’ve just been craving fruits and veggies to get that out of my system!

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Also: still cat sitting! Boot goings cat sitting?

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Thursday evening I went to a spin class, and on the drive back I had a really strong feeling that something bad was going to happen. I was really concerned, until I realized my heart was racing from the chocolate. Chocolate sometimes gives me really bad anxiety the next day (presumably from the caffeine). I also now understand the heart attack symptom that is “an overwhelming sense of doom.”

Thursday night, the boot took on the last senior night of the year! It was crazy crowded, but I still enjoyed seeing everyone!

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Friday, after class, I was looking forward to a low-key evening.

I started my morning with some Blogilates videos: I think I did Extreme Abs, and then an oblique focused one? I took the workout to a local park/grassy spot and got drenched on the dewy grass. Luckily, Friday was the first time the weather was really starting to warm up, so I decided to just embrace it!

Dinner was pretty delicious. It was steak, but since that’s not my thing I grabbed some leftover teriyaki salmon from the fridge. Our chef seriously makes the best salmon! He also made a giant GF chocolate cake, which was crazy rich or chocolately, so I was able to enjoy it without the sense of impending doom! The frosting was really light, almost whipped.

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I spent the night watching my friend’s dance performance, and then having a very long conversation about alternative medicine with my roommate. As a scientist, I have to give it the side-eye, but I am trying to keep an open mind, because there still are a lot of things we don’t know or understand yet. I told her the only reason I was able to buy some of the things we were talking about is that our universe is 70% dark energy, and we have no clue what that is, so it’s theoretically possible that plays a role. #biomajor

I actually went to bed far later than planned, but was up for a morning spin class. It was nice to get my sweat on to start the day. Even nicer? I stopped by the farmer’s market on the way back and picked on lots of fresh summer produce! I’m ready to embrace it with open arms.

Lunch after spin was a nectarine+a tortilla pizza with shrimp, salad, and half a slice of cake.

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The main event of the day was the last Stanford baseball game of the season! I’ve really enjoyed going to games this year, and I’m sad to see the season ending.

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It was a bit of a scorcher. I’m glad I decided to wear a hat! There was no shade or breeze for most of the game, and I just sat there roasting and sweating.

As for the game, it was 0-0 until the 6th or 7th, and they drew the first blood was a 1-0 lead. We took the lead in the 7th, with back to back home runs, and held on to win 3-1.

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My gosh, I love baseball.

After the game, I wasn’t ready to shower for an event tonight because I didn’t want start sweating once I was clean, so my roommate and I went out for a little drive, with the top down. It was the perfect day for it! We blasted music and enjoyed the scenery. One of my favorite things to listen to is a set of medleys by Anthem Lights. They have best of 2015, 2012, etc. The best of 2013 brings back all the freshman year feels. Jeez!

And with that, I’m actually off to a freshman dorm reunion tonight! Crazy how fast these 4 years have passed.

What are you looking forward to this summer?