Virtual Breakfast Date

Hey, hi, hello, let’s meet and eat.

virtual breakfast date

…I would {obviously} peek at what you’re having for breakfast. Here’s what I’m having this morning:

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To wipe that disgusted/confused look off some of your faces, I’d explain that it’s an overnight oat smoothie blended with greens this morning and topped with the crunchiest purple corn flakes (I just attempted to find which brand it was, because we threw out the box, but I’m not sure which one it is!). I would assure you that it tastes delicious. Wanna try a bite?

…I would say never mind, don’t have a bite. I came down with a fever a few days ago and I feel 95% recovered, but my throat still hurts a bit, so don’t take your chances.

…I would attribute my sickness to two days in a row of theme parks in less-than-ideal weather. But with an ideal theme park companion by my side! My dear friend, Lauren (fellow air saxophone and groovy tune enthusiast), visited us in Florida for a few days after New Years, and we had a grand ol’ time.

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The night she arrived, Madre and I (poor Pop was the first to get a fever that night) took her to Disney Springs for dinner and perusing. We shared so many hysterical laughs at the silliest things, and it was the best.

…I would exclaim that dinner at Paddlefish was STELLAR. They started us off with the fluffiest bread with honey cinnamon butter, and now I think honey cinnamon butter should be on every table across the nation. Lauren got the mahi-mahi special, which had a macadamia nut crust and sat on top of crab fried rice. Madre got the fish and chips, which came with two giant pieces of perfectly crispy fried cod and sweet potato fries (her absolute favorite). And I got the scallops with bacon, crispy brussels sprouts, and cauliflower puree. We all shared bites of each other’s dishes, and everything was blissful.

We finished the meal with their “charred carrot cake,” which was three times larger than I was expecting. It came with excellent vanilla ice cream, shortbread crumbles and little fried carrots *jaw drops*. We took most of it home.

…I would stop drooling over my past meal and continue the story of our fun evening. Following dinner, we walked around and admired the charm of overpriced Disney merchandise.

mom: “kiss the Lego girl!” *obey* mom: “alison you need to be closer” 🤭

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THEN WE DANCED…and participated in a lip synch competition that was 20 minutes longer than we were expecting. I posted some of the craziness on Instagram:

I was l i v i n g. This is basically what I do in my room by myself when I’m bored, except this time I was less loser status and actually had an audience! Having Lauren there was extra fun, because she’s often my groove buddy.

…I would tell you that we went to Universal Studios and Disney’s Magic Kingdom the next two days. It was rainy and chilly on Universal day, so some of the rides were down unfortunately.

after v. before the rain at universal studios #hunchbacksofharrypotterworld

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Lauren and I managed to have a nice time at Harry Potter World though, sipping warm Butterbeer, eating delicious ice cream from Florean Fontescue, and remarking at how Diagon Alley = diagonally, and Knockturn Alley = nocturnally. But the Revenge of the Mummy ride outside of HP World was our favorite. We went twice.

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Magic Kingdom was…fine. Mistake #1 was arriving at 11am, which is way too late for a theme park like Disney. It was utterly packed that day (the wait for Space Mountain kept teetering between 2.5 to 4 hours lol), and also utterly FREEZING for Florida. I was quite underdressed and just miserable by the end of the day, but it was still fun hanging out with Lauren all day and even meeting up with our friend Domenica and her cousins sometime in there (bottom middle photo)!

…I would say that Lauren really made the theme parks fun. If it weren’t for her humor and both of our “well…we’ll work with what we got” personalities, it would have been a rather disappointing two days. But anything can be a great time if you let it be.

…I would wish you warmth! As we road-tripped home from FL to NY this weekend, it felt like the movie The Day After Tomorrow when the ice was invading the city like a wave. Just coldness creeping and increasing with every pit stop. I’m such a baby when it comes to the cold. You’d think I’d be okay with it living in the Northeast for 12 years, but nah.

…I would say that I’ve been eating ohhhhh so well this winter break. But I’m sure you’ve noticed.

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Yes, we did go to Popeyes on our road trip. It was one of the greasiest most delicious things I’ve ever put into my mouth. Other things have included desserts from my brother and his girlfriend (she got me banana pudding from Magnolia bakery!), sushi (I think NY has the best sushi in the northeast), and mom’s homemade food (*angels singing*).

…I would laugh at how I had coffee date with a friend in a heated train station yesterday. My friend who I met abroad in Ireland, Cristen, and I got hot beverages and muffins from The Black Cow yesterday, but there were no seats left in the tiny coffee shop. Thus, I asked the cashier if she knew any place nearby where we could just sit and chat, and she suggested the train station… So we went.

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These chairs were actually attached to the floor because they were more like art pieces, I think. But it was heated in there, sort of. I had to push a button every 20 minutes that said, “PRESS IF YOU WANT HEAT.” YES WE WANT HEAT.

Cristen and I are up for anything though, and we had a lovely time catching up on life. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I had the steamed milk and honey (loved it) and a morning glory muffin.

Soul warmed by conversation and esophagus warmed by hot beverages.

…I would shut up now because this post is so long and ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast?

Have you ever had a less-than-ideal theme park experience?

Tell me about an odd situation you’ve experienced recently.

How was your first week of 2018?

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Taking a Piece of Last Year Into the Next

I rang in my new year watching the Times Square countdown on TV while eating celery with hummus, drinking (sparkling) watered down pomegranate juice, and making overnight oats.

And I gotta be honest, I was pretty darn content with all of it (except the watered down pom juice; that was disgusting).

Here we are in 2018! Oooh I just realized that this is an Olympic year in PyeongChang! (Had to google that.) I doubt I’ll be able to watch any of it this year though, since it’ll be happening right at the beginning/middle of the semester :/

Here’s another collage of the past few days’ happenings. I’ll call this collage: “Food and fun, feat. the back of my head.”

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Breakfasts have still been of the peanut butter banana variety, and I don’t foresee that changing in 2018. Top left is an overnight oat smoothie blended with spinach in the morning, and below that is a Greek yogurt bowl with banana, cinnamon, honey and peanut butter.

I think breakfast with pb and banana will always make me feel…at home. It’s something I enjoy, and it gives me a sense of familiarity. Like, “Shhhhh, everything will be okay. There’s pb and banana here.”

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throwback pic from when I was in FL 3 years ago

The other day I was running around the neighborhood because it was gorgeous here in FL last week (now it’s all gloomy and blah). I had run 3 miles and was mentally prepared to go for another 1.5 mile loop, but just as I was passing by the house, Madre called me and asked, “Where are you? We’re eating lunch now. I made tuna tataki!” Running more vs. eating fresh tuna? The latter won, and boy was I happy about it. Thanks, ma!

I’ve been into @tanyapoppet‘s workouts these past few days. I’ve always loved her creativity and minimal use of equipment / time. I also feel like she performs at a level that is more advanced than my current level, but it’s still manageable and attainable. I did three rounds of this workout one night at, like, 11pm + this one yesterday. Good grief, I have not done these kinds of complex moves in a while, and my two-cookie-a-day lifestyle this past week did not make the workout easier.

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(Top middle photo on collage): On New Years Eve, Mom and Pop took our family friends (and me) out to Crazy Buffet for some MSG-loaded fun. Despite it being mainly an Asian buffet, my favorite thing I got was probably the mac & cheese and the coconut tapioca pudding HAHA.

(Bottom left corner photo on collage): Yesterday I made crab cakes using this recipe, and they were fabulous. The only setback was that I had to make fake Old Bay Seasoning, since I forgot to pick some up from the store and didn’t feel like getting a whole container for one recipe. We had about half of the spices used in Old Bay available in our pantry, but I had to grind up whole bay leaves with my fingers as best as I could. It was a pitiful sight, I’m sure.

Lots of Mass and prayer have been going down, as always. A lot of my prayer has guided me towards what I talked about in my last post — living for God and saying yes to Him today.

this year as with every year, Lord: Thy will be done

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I’m not a resolution person, because I dunno…December 31st was just as important and opportune for change / improvement as January 1st. Rather than making a new resolution for 2018, I think I want to take what I learned from 2017 with me into 2018, so that those lessons can foster growth in new ways.

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hahaha Spartan Race with my friend Ben was definitely a highlight of 2017

What do I mean? Well, the best thing I learned in 2017 was to say yes to God every day in the littlest ways. I know the basic things that God wants me to do: Love Him. Love others. Do my best in school. Take care of myself so that I can take care of others. 

I learned that persistently and consistently saying yes to any little thing that goes towards one of those things has somehow, by the grace of God, made me a better person (I think).

For example: Making someone feel important and heard by turning my shoulders squarely and intently towards the person while he/she is talking to me, instead of looking semi-annoyed and staying half-turned toward my laptop (do you know what I’m talking about???)… Even saying yes to little things like that matters.

Being obedient to God in all the tiny things has made life richer, because even mundane details become meaningful and even beautiful.

Thus, I just want to continue practicing saying yes to Him all day, every day in 2018 (and forever).

I neverrrr knowwww iffff anything I sayyyy makes senseeeee. Hopefully it does.

Happy First Tuesday of 2018! An occasion for some champagne, yes?

So tell me:

How did you ring in 2018?

Are you a resolution person? If yes, what are your resolutions? If not, do you do anything else going into the new year?

What is a food that always makes you feel “at home”?

Today.

This blog post is not even about today, LOL.

In its purest cliché description, this post is about living in the moment. The theme stems from the plethora of changes — mental, intellectual, spiritual, physical (← idk, maybe less so), emotional — I’ve experienced in these past few months.

I’m the kind of person who takes her sweet time (I’m the most inefficient person I know) to try to do things “right,” whatever that means.

I face normal, everyday questions:

Should I study by myself or with classmates? 

Do I take the train or Uber or walk?

What should I pack for dinner? Should I buy dinner instead? 

Should I listen to Tori Kelly or Young the Giant in the 4 minutes I have before I arrive at my destination?

And then there are some bigger questions:

Why has God placed this person/friendship/relationship in my life?

What are my professional goals?

Where will I be a year from now?

What path do I need to take in order to best serve God for the rest of my life?

What is the right thing to do so that everyone is happy in the long run?

It is these latter questions that wrack my brain 5/7 days a week, because I don’t have a single dang clue what the answers are. I have a hard enough time coming to a decent answer for the everyday questions; the big questions just sort of debilitate me.

Of course, I’m sure nearly everyone feels the same way that I do about big questions regarding the future. How can anyone be sure about the future? But somehow I still forget that the only thing I can do is love and serve God today. Our words and actions today do indeed have ramifications for the future, but your mind, body and spirit can’t be anywhere but here today. For our lives are made up of days.

SO TODAY IS GOOD AND IMPORTANT AND CANNOT BE AVOIDED SO LIVE IT, DANG IT.

That yelling was mostly for myself. A self pep talk you could say. I didn’t mean to yell at you.

All that said, here are some moments with my family that I tried to live fully in the moments they were happening.

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Ben and I took our parents out to Hemingway’s for dinner as a Christmas present, since the best gift we can really give to each other at this point in our lives is quality time and food. I got {absurdly expensive} crab cakes, which were delightful with the coconut grits underneath and perfectly cooked asparagus on top.

The rosemary sourdough rolls at the start were also fantastic, but they were no cheese biscuits (the complimentary bread that was served when we first went to the restaurant three years ago). RIP cheese biscuits. I will dream about thee forever.

We all split calamari as an appetizer and key lime pie for dessert as well. Both hit all the right spots.

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I’ve been peddle boating with Madre! There have been alligator sightings in the lake in the past, so I’m always a little on edge about that, but thus far we have not been eaten.

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On Wednesday morning, Madre, Ben and I (Pop was working from home — man of the year) went to Keke’s Breakfast Cafe for…breakfast, naturally. It’s apparently extremely popular, so we worked up an appetite and waited approximately 25 minutes for a table. ‘Twas worth it though because just LOOK at the food.

Ben got the apple cinnamon stuffed French toast with home fries and sausage; Mom got regular French toast with eggs and sausage; and I got the largest blueberry pancake in the world with eggs and {bomb} bacon.

^^^True story. I ordered two pancakes at first, but then the waiter asked, “Are you sure?? Have you seen the size of our pancakes? If I eat two then I pass out.”

In my head at first I thought, “You don’t even know me.” But then I was like #humility and #dontbegreedy, so I ordered one pancake instead. Good thing, because the pancake was like a literal 9-inch cake in height and diameter, guys. I had to take 1/3 of it home. I NEVER LEAVE PANCAKES BEHIND USUALLY.

But it was a large, high-quality pancake. So fluffy and buttery. High recommend. Butter and Aunt Jemima required.

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^^^Random: Saw this at Publix. This is bad. I hate this headline, and I don’t hate many things. If you lose 10 lbs in 48 hours, something is WRONG.

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To end on a positive note though, God is good all the time.

And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

— “So Will I” by Hillsong United

(if you wanna hear something beautiful today, listen to ^^this song, especially the Tori Kelly version)

Enjoy today 🙂

So tell me:

Thoughts about living today.

Waffles, French toast, or pancakes?

What is something ridiculous you’ve seen recently?

 

Out of Blogging Shape

Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all had a fantastic day with loved ones yesterday!

Six months ago, you wouldn’t have to ask me once to remember to blog, but currently, I feel as though I’ve fallen out of “blogging shape”. Several friends have had to remind me that I could utilize my break from school to blog more, and I just respond by saying, “…Huh. You’re right. I almost forgot I had a blog.”

Part of the reason I’ve been hesitant to bite the bullet and blog more frequently again (besides grad school busyness finally dying down and my subsequent desire to do absolutely nothing) is that I feel like I have too much I could blog about. As I both implicitly and explicitly described in my traditional end-of-semester blog post, I have learned oodles of academic lessons and life lessons alike; I could probably write a short novel about everything that swirls around my head these days.

But as I would do when getting back into physical shape, I’ll ease into blogging shape again by starting light and slow. Let’s start with a recap of Christmas break so far.

(Also, I’m running out of media storage space on WordPress, and since your girl doesn’t have the time nor the money to upgrade to WordPress Premium just for extra photo storage, we’re gonna work with collages. Not ideal, but better than nothing!)

Christmas collage

We made it to balmy Florida last Friday, feeling climate-confused (i.e. hot and cranky) carrying our heavy winter coats out of the airplane and into the humidity of Orlando. I cannot complain about the 70 degree temperatures and blue skies down here though 😀

Most of our meals have been Asian home-cooked meals made by Madre. Everything from pho to spring rolls to sticky rice with Laotian sausage to Korean galbi jjim (aka the best beef dish I ever did taste). She snuck in steak with blue cheese sauce one night too, and that was SOULFUL. I love cooking for myself in Boston, but ain’t nobody got time for steak over there.

Other things I’ve eaten include oatmeal (classic), Cheetos (childhood fave), avocado egg toast (classic), fried bananas (omg), salads (nutrition), and fried pork belly (LIVE UR LIFE).

Moves and grooves have come in the form of hula hooping, peddle boating (Ben gifted the boat to the fam for Christmas!), Just Dance, Wii Sports, and some outdoor workouts.

Side note: If you peddle boat fast enough, it’s a decent butt workout. Should I peddle boat to a spin class playlist??

We technically started Christmas Day on the dot at 12am with midnight Mass, which was gloooooorious! Ladies dressed in red, trumpets blasting (legit trumpets were used during Mass, so fun), joyful spirits, and Jesus in the manger. UGH.

I also ate an embarrassing number of my aunt’s homemade cookies to celebrate. 🙂

After sleeping in, we ate brunch and then FaceTimed many of our family members for a couple hours. I fried some bananas for the masses and did 100 burpees for time and for… fun (?) before we headed to our family friends’ house for Christmas dinner!

The top left corner photo of the collage shows just a little bit of what we ate. Everyone’s mother is such a good cook!! Options included pot roast, galbi jjim that Madre made, sweet and salty ribs, pancit malabon (Filipino noodle dish), peanut oxtail with eggplant and bok choy, asparagus, and loads of white rice as the base for all that goodness. Dessert included fried bananas, brownies, and pistachio muffins. #blessed and #stuffed.

The “kids” (read: all of us under the age of 27) watched a hilariously and nauseatingly cheesy Hallmark movie before we switched to Beauty and the Beast, to which we sang along with passion and enthusiasm.

Back at home, I prayed with the Christmas Day Gospel (John 1:1-18) and reflected on the truly incredible and beautiful mystery of Christmas. This quote from the former pope also struck me:

God’s sign is the baby in need of help and in poverty. Exactly the same sign has been given to us… God’s sign is simplicity… God’s sign is that he makes himself small for us. This is how he reigns.

He does not come with power and outward splendor. He comes as a baby — defenseless and in need of our help. He does not want to overwhelm us with his strength. He takes away or fear of his greatness. He asks for our love: so he makes himself a child. He wants nothing other from us than our love, through which we spontaneously learn to enter into his feelings, his thoughts, and his will — we learn to live with him and to practice with him that humility of renunciation that belongs to the very essence of love.

God made himself small so that we could understand him, welcome him, and love him…

Christmas has become the feast of gifts in imitation of God who has given himself to us. Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind to be touched by this fact!

— Pope Benedict XVI

And with that, I wish you a blessed week ahead, friends. I think I’m going to go on a walk (step counts always plummet by literally thousands when I’m home vs. at school), work out… and maybe study a bit (I know, I am cringing too, but I must retain information!).

I feel like I used so many parentheses in this post. *shrug*

So tell me:

How did you celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday during this season)?

Best thing you ate this week.

Have you ever gone peddle boating?

 

The Great and Small Things I Learned This Semester {First Semester Grad School}

OooOooohohohoOooooOOOOh where to even BEGIN!?

I already gave a glimpse of this wild semester when I posted way back during Thanksgiving, but I must say again…it has been eventful. A plethora of thoughts and emotions stampede through my mind when I even begin to think about these past four months — so many, in fact, that I more often than not feel numb to everything and have to cerebrally reflect on how much I’ve experienced.

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With that, here’s my attempt at rehashing my first senior year / PT grad school semester.

  1. Grad school is hard. I was definitely expecting it to be different from my undergraduate experience, but I was not expecting such a steep learning curve.
  2. I still like physical therapy (praise the LORD).
  3. I very literally would not have made it if it were not for the support, encouragement, and joy of my friends in the PT program with me.IMG_0936
  4. I must study with other people in order to do well in PT school. I swore by self-studying for the past three years of college, but now it is an absolute necessity to study with others 80% of the time in order to succeed.IMG_1055
  5. Grades truly do not reflect one’s ability to be an excellent professional.
  6. Nor do grades reflect personal worth (I knew this before, but I was challenged to deeply believe it for myself this semester).
  7. Oh. so. much. about physical therapy. And we’ve only scraped the surface.IMG_0591
  8. I kind of like PT in an acute setting, even though the class that taught acute PT interventions was r o u g h at the start for me.
  9. I’ve discovered that I have poor motor control of my right thumb, potentially due to phone scrolling. Embarrassing.
  10. I used to run with poor foot strike form, but Janice helped me to run with a softer forefoot strike. (Hereafter, I stop talking about PT. Thanks. Sorry.)
  11. Janice also helped me to love running more and make me believe that I can be a decent runner if I wanted to be. Do I want to be though…? Question for another day.IMG_0488
  12. I need to improve my communication skills via text / email to avoid misinterpretation, disappointment, and unintended hurt.
  13. I can definitely eat overnight oats every day of my life and not get sick of them.
  14. Putting shredded zucchini in my overnight oats makes my friends cringe, but it’s now one of my favorite and easiest ways to eat more vegetables (it’s like spinach in a smoothie; ya can’t taste it, I swear).IMG_E0464
  15. Praying every day is as critical to my life as breathing is, and taking 30 minutes to attend daily Mass when possible is always worth it.
  16. If I am not intentional as heck (← stole that phrase from some lovely friends of mine) with seeing friends and talking to loved ones, it won’t happen in grad school. It either goes into the calendar the minute I want to make plans, or it never happens.IMG_0924
  17. Packing breakfast / lunch / dinner for the next day takes eons. How do mothers do this for their minivan full of children???
  18. Food and fitness have not been the least bit stressful to me this semester, probably because I’ve had no brain space to stress over it, and that is a beautiful thing. It’s been there for health, survival, and enjoyment, and that is it.IMG_0893an example of food for freakin’ enjoyment (that’s cheesecake on top of the milkshake @ Boston Burger Company)
  19. Keeping up to date with current events is a big weakness of mine that I want to improve.
  20. I am never alone. Every movement of the heart has been experienced by someone else and often by Jesus Christ Himself.IMG_1062
  21. I am terrible at saying what I mean.
  22. How to be a girlfriend. (!!)IMG_0631
  23. SO MANY darn things about patience, humility, how to receive love, and how to give love, heavily due to #22.IMG_1019
  24. How to learn from others. Yes, I learned how to learn from others. It’s called humility and openness to trying new things.IMG_1049
  25. How to answer difficult questions and use my brain until it almost physically hurts.
  26. How to utilize every last inch of a drying rack for my large loads of laundry.
  27. I don’t know how to keep myself from filling my backpack to the brim with stuff every day. It looks like I’m about to hike Everest on a daily basis.
  28. Best friends are faithful.IMG_0386
  29. We’re gonna freakin’ make it.
  30. Saying, “…but it’s a beautiful life,” in the midst of the most stressful moments is a good and helpful thing to do.DSC_3910
  31. God is faithful. When God tells us, “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,” {Is 41:10} He means it. He allows hurt and painful growth, but He always helps.

There’s no way to avoid this sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech, but guatever…

Thank you to every single person who I’ve encountered this semester; every friend who has talked, studied, ate, laughed, cried, screamed, and prayed with me; every person who prayed for me; every moment that hurt me; every moment that made me feel on top of the world; every person who genuinely loved me; every person who did a random act of kindness for me or for someone else; you for reading this; my family; and the Author of Life, who gave me the privilege of experiencing it all for yet another semester.

So tell me: What have you learned these past four months!?