25 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

You know what hurts a lot?

Stubbing your toes. I get bruises, cuts, bumps, and scrapes all the time, but nothing hurts quite like when your poor little piggies get assaulted by a coffee table’s leg.

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I bring that up because I just collapsed on the couch wailing at the world after stubbing my toe, while my brother and dad were watching the Democratic National Convention. They didn’t pay any attention to me, so I’m pleading for belated consolation.

On a happier note, today I’m doing a light-hearted survey that I found on Hayley’s blog a while ago. I’ve had deep thoughts for the past few posts, so this is a little break for me (and you). And who doesn’t love a good survey!?

25 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me

Emphasis on “probably”, because Lord knows that I share about 90% of my life and thoughts on this blog.

1. I’m happiest when I’m praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament…

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photo credit to my friend, Bobby

 2. especially if it’s on retreat. Truly a glimpse of Heaven.

3. I’ve always wanted to lay outside somewhere quiet and dark and stare at the stars with someone I love. Also to see the Northern Lights.

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via Michael Shainblum Photography

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via Michael Shainblum Photography ➔ visit this guy’s Instagram!! I’m obsessed.

4. My family and I have a tradition of “the family hug”, in which we say “one, two, three, SQUEEZE”, subsequently squeezing each other in a four-way hug. Repeat for a total of three squeezes and then kiss one another on the cheek.

5. I was a terrible thrower. Still can’t really aim/follow through with any sort of projectile object.

6. My first job was searching and entering addresses into a spreadsheet for my dad.

7. I could probably eat (besides peanut butter and bananas) a sandwich every day.

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8. I wish I could bring all my Boston friends to Dublin with me this fall. </3

9. I was born on the same day as Brooke Shields.

10. My all time favorite films are Anne of Green Gables, The Help, and The Princess Diaries.

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11. I do a pretty mean British accent (but not on the spot, so don’t ask me to do it if you see me in person).

12. I’m still mad that I didn’t keep up my rigorous stretching after figure skating and high school dance.

13. I met my husband…  Did I!?

14. I always knew I wanted to pursue a job related to human movement. I wanted to be a dance choreographer (among other things) before gaining interest in physical therapy.

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15. I’m not afraid to be vulnerable. I wasn’t always unafraid of vulnerability though! I credit a lot of good people at college for changing me.

16. I make the best overnight oats, yogurt bowls, and avocado egg toast (because I can’t actually come up with my own recipes for much).

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17. I have absolutely no patience for rudeness toward anyone who is genuinely trying his/her best to provide good customer service.

18. I always cry when there is a sky full of stars (cue Coldplay).

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via Michael Shainblum Photography (but I’ve never seen a sky full of stars like THIS)

19. I’m overwhelmed by the possible ways by which I can finish this sentence.

20. I spent 2 years playing lead roles in my middle school musicals. I was Molly in Annie, Jr. in 7th grade and Jasmine in Aladdin, Jr in 8th grade.

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too small to fill out the scandalous “belly shirt” = wrinkly Jasmine

 21. I wish that every person had sufficient and convenient access to fresh water. (Ya know what, I’ll say what Hayley said: “I wish…everyone in the world had enough food, water, and shelter. And love.”)

22. At age 5, I was deeply in love with my Sailor Moon CD. I would sing and dance to the songs in my parents’ gigantic bathroom in Kansas, and Ben would film me. Video evidence is strictly confidential.

23. I believe if people took time to learn the complete truth before making judgements, the world would be a better place. Seeking truth will lead to Truth (aka God), and there would be a greater sense of understanding and peace in the world.

24. I can’t stand port-a-potties. I choose the woods over a port-a-potty any day.

25. Whenever “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by JT or “Let It Go” by James Bay is on the radio, I listen (changed this one, because I don’t really watch TV, but I listen to music like it’s my job).


And this isn’t a fun post without some recent food photos!

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peanut butter banana soft serve with Pop on Sunday night

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Sunday lunch: lettuce wraps with steamed lemongrass salmon, Thai basil, cilantro, fresh backyard mint, and sriracha

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Tuesday breakfast: leftover banana pancakes with butter and blueberries + two eggs scrambled with lots of veggies

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Monday dinner a la Madre: honey sriracha chicken drumsticks (she used this spice blend!) + sautéed mushrooms and onions over greens (+ unpictured salad roll)

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Wednesday breakfast: blueberry muffin overnight oats inspired by Fit Foodie Finds’ recipe

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the best

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tried this new bar

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it looks more gross than my cuticles, but it tastes fine

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and lastly, here is Ben doing post-dislocation shoulder exercises using bananas #TheWorldisYourGym

Happy pre-Friday already!

So tell me:

You’ve always wanted to…

You do a pretty mean…

You can’t stand…

Or any of the other questions you want to answer!

No Hunger, No Problem

Did any of you watch the CrossFit Games this past week!?

In-freaking-sane. I was on the edge of my seat eating kettle corn watching these superhumans do the impossible.

In other news…

Three of my high school dance company friends got together for a reunion at Bareburger. It had been forever since I’d seen Pam and Charli (I saw Susie not too long ago in the city), and it was so fun catching up with these girls! We’re all talking about our jobs and intense research projects these days. TOO MUCH (quasi-)ADULTING.

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what radiant women

As Charli said, we came with our eager stomachs for some kickass burgers. Pam also spotted these incredible brussels sprouts on the menu that we shared. Get this: brussels sprouts with sriracha, blue cheese, pork belly, and butternut squash.

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Whoever thought of this combo is out of his/her mind, yet so brilliant. For my burger, I got the El Matador: bison burger, queso fresco, pickled jalapeños, guac, pico de gallo, and green leaf lettuce on a sprout bun.

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it looks like a guacamole sandwich tower at first sight, which is very pleasing

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Demolished that.

Warning: the rest of this is going to be very first world problem. 

When my family went out for our Groupon dinner (that was postponed last week) at North Street Tavern after Mass, I was not hungry at all. Lunch at Bareburger was fatty and filling, but it was also pretty late (we finished at around 3:30).

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I could have eaten a salad at Bareburger, but I didn’t want to be “that person” to order salad at a burger place, especially while dining with good friends. Not that they would have judged me, but I knew that we chose this reunion to be at Bareburger for a reason (read: dang delicious burgers).

I also really wanted a burger because I had just worked out and I wanted hearty foooooood.

If I’m honest, I was almost…disappointed that I was so full by the time dinner rolled around. We were about to eat at this fancy restaurant, and I had zero desire for any food. This would have stressed me out to NO END a couple years ago.

“Why did I eat so much at lunch? I will definitely only have a salad now. Maybe I just shouldn’t eat at all. Should I just try to stuff all this food?”

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crab cakes with mango salsa for the table to share ➔ 1/2 a cake for each person

But as intro anatomy taught me, rest and digest is the way to go. It’s easier said than done for some of us (trust me), but there’s no need to stress over food. In my recovery, there was a weird phase where I unsure whether I was stuffed because I actually overate or because I just needed to adjust to this new amount of food that I should be eating. This made me hyper-attentive to my stomach at all times, and I would stress about having to eat a certain amount for each meal, even if I wasn’t that hungry.

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tuna tartare ➔ mom shared a bite with me

Sometimes that anxiety still creeps up on me, even though I’m certain that I’m eating a healthy amount overall. Or maybe it’s just anxiety that I need to eat all this good food while it’s in front of me. Either way, I’ve learned to CHILL.

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mom’s fave: sweet potato fries ➔ I had a few of these

If I’m not hungry at all, no one is forcing me to eat. Don’t eat. If I have a few bites of food— because, hey, I’m at a nice restaurant with my family— that’s still okay. God gave us food to live and to enjoy, but He definitely did not give it to us to stress over it.

If you’ve struggled with food in any way, you know that it’s hard to naturally accept those thoughts “like a normal person”, but I can attest that it is possible to work through it.

Luckily for me, the rest of the family didn’t have nearly as much food as I did during the day, so they were ready for this meal.

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my wood-fired personal pizza with roasted red peppers, mushrooms, ricotta, and basil ➔ 2 slices of this

As I relaxed into the meal more, I found that my appetite started to appear (it had been ~4 hours since I finished at Bareburger by then).

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a bite or two of Ben’s lobster mac and cheese

I knew to save room for dessert, don’t you worry. This I finished all by myself.

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carrot cake!

A few disclaimers:

  1. We ordered so much food because the Groupon was worth a LOT.
  2. Hooray for leftovers.
  3. We are humbly grateful to have so much delicious food available to us.
  4. We also don’t usually eat out every weekend, but I dunno, I guess we have Groupons to use.

Other eats at home have involved peanut butter and banana (but I didn’t need to say that).

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brown rice breakfast bowl

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overnight oat smoothie with blueberries added in

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whole wheat banana pancakes for Sunday morning breakfast

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topped with Greek yogurt, nut butter, and blueberries

I also taught Ben how to make and eat avocado egg toast. It is truly an art and a skill. Let me know if you want a tutorial.

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I’d say the young lad needs a bit more practice, but not bad for a rookie.

Hope you all have an awesome Monday! Rest and digest.

So tell me: 

Thoughts on this first world problem of mine.

What was your Sunday morning breakfast?

Did you watch the CrossFit Games?

What are you thankful for today? Well, if I do indeed wake up after I go to sleep tonight (typing this Sunday night), then I’m thankful for another day of life and for the opportunity to go a job that I find enjoyable and fulfilling.

 

Dealing With Irritating People

It took me a few minutes to think of the title for this post.

What I really want to title it is: “What I do to calm myself down when I perceive others to be irritating, but really, I’m just hungry and tired and every little tick makes me slightly rage-y,” but that’s too long.

But first, thank you all for your feedback on my fitness post! I’m glad that it was helpful and that many of you related to my outlook on working out.

Before we get to Five Minute Friday, here are some scenes from the week:

It has been hot but gorgeous (just like you😉 ) this week, so I’ve taken advantage of the green space at work to picnic outside during my lunch hour.

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utilizing the Sriracha 2 Go keychain that Christina (@foodietunes) gifted me at Christmas ♥︎ 

This was nice until yesterday. I think I sat on an anthill or something, because ants were crawling all over me and almost into my pants.

Overnight breakfasts made my {sleepy} mornings a little more exciting.

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Kylie’s banana pudding for breakfast

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overnight oats in a Nuttzo jar

Madre has been killin’ it with meals this week. I love cooking, but it’s nice to have dinner cooked and ready for you when you get home from work:) Thanks, Madre!

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quinoa with mok fish (salmon and a little bit of egg binding steamed with lemongrass in a banana leaf) and roasted vegetables

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Last night’s dinner was easy, simple, and so satisfying.

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caprese + avocado toast

…followed by Greek yogurt + pb with dried figs.

p.s. my dinners look so puny here, but I promise I eat so many things before I get home for dinner…and then after dinner (I’m just trying to simulate those multiple-course cruise meals I guess).

And lastly, I just noticed that my leg looks painted with bruises. I was trying to “feel the steel” on my squat cleans yesterday, and I think I succeeded. Here was yesterday’s workout (after two lovely days of rest):

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This might mean absolutely nothing to you. Decoded version:

I actually did three squat cleans at 85#, because I was feelin’ good (I had a good amount of rest between sets while changing the weights). Not heavy by any means for avid weightlifters, but I just started squat cleans with an empty bar just 6 weeks ago, so I’m proud of myself! If I went to the actual gym more than once per week, I could speed up the progress, but…eh it’s guatever.

Now for the vlog!

link to video!

Hope you all have a fun weekend! Madre just poured a crap ton of kettle corn right in front of me so imma eat some.

So tell me:

How do you deal with irritating people/situations?

What was the best dinner you ate this week?

Have you eaten al fresco recently? 

Any accomplishments/progress (fitness or non-fitness-related) you’d like to share!

Everything You Would Want To Know About My Fitness Lately

Apparently being “on track” was a hot topic early this week!

I posted my thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation on Monday. Paige posted “How to Bounce Back After Falling Off Track” on Monday. Colby posted “Staying On Track” on Sunday. (p.s. loved both of their posts! go check ’em out!)

Also hot this week? The TEMPERATURES.

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…for some people this is light cheese, but this is steamy for me.

These temperatures are making me feel perpetually sweaty. Not to mention how much my face sweats during my workouts, especially if I take them outdoors.

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I’m not a cat person, but this fella here is my spirit animal of the summer.

And that was the drawn-out transition to the real topic of today: how my fitness has been looking lately!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that I’ve been posting more fitness videos in the past few months, ever since I officially joined Fit University.

I could say, “A bunch of people have been asking me about my workouts,” but that would be a big, fat lie. I think only my aunt has actually asked, but I thought I’d give you all a detailed post about my fitness in case you were curious!


How often do I work out? 

Right now, 4-6 times per week. I try to move in some way or another every day, but complete rest days are definitely in there every week.

What is a typical week of workouts for me?

  • 2-4 days of HIIT workouts OR strength/conditioning
  • 2-4 active rest days/lower intensity workouts (yoga, pilates, skill work, etc.)
  • 1-2 full rest days

I rarely do solely strength days these days, mostly because I don’t have time, but I also don’t currently have access to a lot of good, heavy strength equipment (read: a squat rack). If I do strength, there’s always some cardio/circuit training involved.

For example, here are last week’s workouts:

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sorry for the weird formatting — these are all screenshots

How do I decide what to do?

My workout depends on:

  • how much time I have
  • what kind of equipment is available/if I get to the gym or not
  • what I’m feeling that day (the #1 factor)

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sometimes I feel like this before and/or after the gym

Sometimes I write my workouts the day before if I have an idea of what my body will want/what I would like to work on. More often than not though, I just go with the flow. I love to challenge myself in order to improve, but I don’t strictly hold myself to a certain workout/rep scheme/weight if I’m really not feelin’ it. I’ve really learned to embrace modification.

I also like to add a lot of compound movements (like burpees!) to my workouts. I don’t usually like to dedicate any more than one hour to a structured workout, so compound movements help me work a bunch of different muscle groups in a short period of time!

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rowing is the only cardio machine I like these days

Lastly, I draw inspiration from so many different people around the internet. My favorites:

I love to do their workouts, but for the most part, I’ve been writing my own workouts based on their formats. Or sometimes I just come up with something completely new.

P.S. Most of the time, I end with stretching.

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Do I have any fitness goals?

I’m mostly just aiming to be consistent and to continuously challenge myself, but if I had to point out specific goals (which I have not written down until now):

  • handstand walks
  • one arm handstand hold with my legs together (against a wall for now)
  • strict toes to bar
  • increase pull-up reps
  • explosiveness

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I need to get back to these stairs sometime soon too.

How do I get better at a skill/exercise?

Do it over and over and over again. Use progressions (!!!), do drills, and focus on good form, but just practice. Take good rest days and eat enough too!

How do I decide whether I want to work out or not?

I do not work out when:

  • I’m absolutely exhausted, to the point where walking is difficult and I know I need sleep.
  • I have other fun plans that I cannot pass up.
  • It’s been a while since I’ve taken a rest day.
  • I just don’t have time.

I might work out OR do an active rest day if:

  • I’m sore.
  • I’m really craving a stretch.
  • I just want to work on yoga, pilates, mobility or skills.
  • I’m sleepy.
  • Sweating a lot would be inconvenient.

I do work out (i.e. circuit/HIIT/strength) when none of the above apply.

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Why do I work out?

It makes me happy. (Don’t roll your eyes at me yet!)

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No, working out did not always make me happy in the past. Yes, workouts can totally suck while I’m doing them.

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me between every round of last Thursday’s workout

That’s why I’m such a proponent of working out depending on how you feel. It’s important to challenge yourself and push past comfort if you want to improve, this is true. But if you’re making yourself miserable day in and day out, you’re damaging your relationship with fitness (and probably damaging your body too).

I still get nervous before some of my workouts, because I know they’ll be difficult. I still think of giving up after the first round sometimes.

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It’s an awesome feeling to be 100% spent after completing a workout, but not every day!

The difference between now and the past (when I obsessively exercised in tandem with my disordered eating habits) is that I don’t lift a weight just because someone else lifted that weight. I appreciate the progress that I make, but realize that some days are better than others. I no longer work out with the pressure of burning a certain number of calories. I am no longer ashamed of modifying. I am no longer afraid to fail.

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throwback to when Sarah’s Cyc class absolutely kicked my ass

It took me a long time to be okay with those things, but time is a great healer. I thank God for the gift of movement and its healing/therapeutic/confidence-boosting powers. I guess that’s why physical therapy is so attractive to me!

How do I motivate myself to work out?

Before the workout: The more I listen to my body and allow myself to do the workout I’m craving, the more motivated I am. On harder workout days, it does take a little bit more mental effort, but knowing that there is an opportunity to move, improve, and take care of my body is enough to get me to at least start the workout.

During the workout: I used to think of badass athletes for motivation when I worked out, but ever since starting work at the rehab hospital, I actually think of the patients when I work out. In my head, I hear the therapists saying things like, “You said you couldn’t do one more step ten steps ago! One more, c’mon.” People who are fighting to walk inspire me to fight during my workouts, as cheeeeeeee-zeeeeee as that sounds.

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How do I know when to push through workouts/How do I push through?

It takes time to truly listen to your body. I think each individual has to find out how to do that through trial and error. I’ve learned some nuggets of wisdom from great fitness role models that have helped me though:

  • Complete a good warmup and see how you feel if you are on the fence about working out or not.
  • The beginning of the workout is always the hardest…
  • …BUT if your form is failing (on exercises that you can normally do well) and you feel miserable after the first round, you probably need to stop and take a day off OR modify. Working out can do more damage than good on some days.
  • Focus on one exercise at a time.
  • Form and safety are most important.
  • You don’t have to push to failure every time. I don’t even think you should push to failure every time.
  • BREATHE.
  • You can often do more than your mind initially thinks you can do. (And if your body can’t, then at least you tried!)

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So there ya have it! Everything about my fitness that you didn’t even ask for.:) But seriously, I hope some of you found this helpful for your own fitness journeys. Please remember that these are all things that have worked for me personally through experience. Everyone is different! And although I do my best to learn from credible sources, I am not an expert in anything.


So tell me:

How do you like to move on a weekly basis?

Do you have any fitness goals?

How do you listen to your body when it comes to working out or not?

Thoughts On “Getting Back On Track” After Vacation

It’s only been a week since we got back home from vacation, and we’ve gone through two bunches of bananas already.

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I didn’t ask a question, but thanks for the answer anyway, Madre:)

Last week was as great a week of work as any could have been after vacation. I am so grateful for wonderful coworkers and mentors who make my job so enjoyable.

Let’s talk about “getting back on track” after a vacation.

After having three (or five) course meals for dinner every night on the cruise and heavier-than-normal breakfasts every morning, I was looking forward to a little bit of a break from endless food (although, I definitely chose to indulge in more food on the cruise). You could say that I was looking forward to “getting back on track”.

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my first meal back at home was classic avocado egg toast

But when I think of “getting back on track”, the first things that I’m tempted to do are:

  • Cut out all desserts for the next month.
  • Eat “clean” (whatever the heck that means) 100% of the time for the next month.
  • Compensate for the amount I ate on vacation by cutting down the amount/density/volume of food I eat.
  • Be strict about exercising and doing the “right” kind of exercise to maximize calorie burn.

Hear me out: These are just the first things that pop into my mind when I get back home. However, I’ve learned that this kind of absolutist mindset does me a huge disservice, and it stresses me out more than anything, which I don’t need for my digestive health or overall health.

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Pop and I went out to dinner the night we got back because we didn’t have any groceries yet // vegetable bibimbap + Kalbi beef short ribs to share

I definitely did NOT eat “clean” 100% of the time before the vacation, so why do I need to change anything after vacation? I’m still working, exercising, doing my activities of daily living, etc. Those still require fuel. I also often like to eat something sweet after a long day of work, so I don’t really want to deprive myself of that.

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still lots of sweet breakfasts (that sometimes had ADDED sugars in them *gasp*)

This doesn’t mean that I still want a three course meal with a decadent dessert every night. All I wanted was dried figs (which have quite a lot of sugar in them, even if it’s natural sugar) with Greek yogurt for a few nights last week, so that’s what I had.

Other days, I did still have some not-as-natural sugars. Like a slice of homemade banana bread at work, a Reese’s egg…also from work, and this snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich for National Ice Cream Day.

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You might be thinking, “Sure, Alison. But what if I actually gained a lot of weight on vacation?”

Well, I am in agreement with many wise RDs (like Robyn!) and healthy living bloggers; without too much thought, our bodies tend to naturally shift back to our happy weight. You’re going to be hitting your regular workouts again, which I presume worked well for you before vacation. You’re going to be back to your own kitchen, and you’re not going to have access to as much food as on vacation anyway.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with consciously and deliberately eating healthier and/or lighter foods after vacation. I just don’t think it’s helpful to shift to any kind of extreme “cleanse” mode. 

You went on vacation to get away from everyday routine for a little bit. Let yourself enjoy that during the vacation, but don’t let it haunt you after the vacation.

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spicy honey chicken thighs (based on this recipe) + roasted green beans for a dinner last week ➔ this was SO GOOD!

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turkey quinoa taco bake with avocado and cilantro (and Greek yogurt added post-photo) based on this recipe for another night ➔ this was ALSO SO GOOD

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avocado egg toast + salad with homemade honey mustard dressing

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hunk o’ asiago sourdough

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quinoa with teriyaki chicken thighs + chicken spinach sausage + sautéed green beans a la Madre

It’s nice to be back in the kitchen to make our own nutritious food, but it was nice that none of us felt the need to eat oil-less, dry chicken breasts with steamed vegetables and brown rice every day. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it’s kind of sad if you feel like you need to do that as “recompense”. I know I used to feel that way.

If you do want to “get back on track,” maybe focus more on the quality and nutrients of your food rather than the calories or amount. Eat what you know you need and what you know makes you feel genuinely good, whether that’s kale or chocolate cake. Treat Trust yoself.

Needless to say, I still indulged in some sweets and rich foods this week. For the most part though, I’ve been eating foods that I normally love, which are generally nutritious and delicious. As for workouts, those have also been the same (a post about my workouts is coming soon!).

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I got Ben on the overnight oats train *high fives*

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lots of perfect cado-avos

My family even decided to go out for a rather fancy dinner on Saturday night after Mass. We were planning on using a Groupon (of course) at a Thai restaurant, but it was closed. Thus, we were diverted to a nice Greek restaurant called MP Taverna that we had been wanting to try for a while.

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three dips to share // chickpea (with some extraordinary spices), eggplant, and cucumber yogurt

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“dumplings”: basically the fluffiest ricotta gnocchi you can imagine in a tomato-based sauce with spinach, lamb sausage, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, and feta #dead

Hooray for family time and outdoor lighting!:)

Yesterday I hung out with my good friend Joe from college in the city! We celebrated National Ice Cream Day with ice cream sandwiches from Melt Bakery on High Line.

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We ate lunch after dessert, which is extra acceptable on National Ice Cream Day. Joe actually suggested salads, which was shocking but welcomed.

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I think there were tomatoes, roasted red peppers, broccoli, beets and brussels sprouts in there with creamy sriracha dressing

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you literally asked for it, Joe

It was so good catching up with him and walking around, despite the fact that we were being slow-cooked by the NYC heat.

I hope you all have a fantastic week! Eat foods that are fluffy, cheesy, creamy, and spicy this week. Report back on Friday.

So tell me:

What are your thoughts on “getting back on track” after vacation?

Did you celebrate National Ice Cream Day?

Two things you did this weekend!