Adventure Awaits

I am trying to fit my life into a school backpack for ten days.

We finished finals for two of our classes, and now we are off on our ten-day, mid-semester break! I guess you could say that Megan and I will be backpacking through Europe, which is crazy. I think it didn’t really hit us until now that we are traveling through Europe by ourselves for ten days, because we’ve been in Ireland (sort of) by ourselves for so long already.

Traveling through Ireland is very different from traveling through Switzerland and Italy though. We don’t speak Swiss German, and I haven’t taken Italian in three years. Plus, we won’t have data, so Google translate won’t always come to our rescue.



But what’s adventure without some tourist sign language and getting a little lost!?

I may or may not have spent 2.5 hours writing out all the directions and details for just one day of travel.

These past few days have been all about cleaning out the fridge. Lots of eggs, leftover rice and pasta, and overnight oats!


white rice, beef, tikka masala sauce + an egg on top


avocado egg toast! ♥︎ 


white rice, spicy tomato sauce, beef


It says “end-of-life” on my paper because I was studying end-of-life issues for ethics, just FYI.


whole wheat pasta with spicy tomato sauce, beef, and some goat cheese that a friend was trying to get rid of


overnight oats never get old

Megan and I decided to rent the first Harry Potter book from the library to read during our travels, since neither of us have ever read the books.


I am genuinely excited.

I am also currently eating bunches of spinach with my fingers dipped in hummus, so that’s where we’re at. Nothing out of the ordinary though.

Hopefully, I can keep you guys updated on the big trip as we go from city to city. I’m not bringing my laptop, so we’ll see how well posting works on my phone. If not, we’ll have a heck of a lot to catch up on when I return! If any of you have recommendations for places to eat or things to see in Zurich, Padua, Assisi, or Rome, hit me up🙂

Have a fantastic weekend, whatever you’re doing and wherever you go. Pick up an old book that you’ve always wanted to read.

So tell me:

Have you ever backpacked through Europe?

What is one thing you’ve been eating repetitively this week?

Have you ever hopped on a book bandwagon extremely late?

Bread, Butter, Cheese and Sugar

The diet of champions.

I did something spontaneous, and it worked out tremendously! I had been wanting to have a wine and cheese night for the longest time this semester, so I finally reached out to my peers, asking if they were down for such an event this weekend.


Long story short: They were down, and we all pulled together for a fabulous wine and cheese night!


A few of us picked up some artisan cheeses from Sheridan’s Cheesemonger in city centre, and it was surprisingly so inexpensive! Other people picked up some cheeses from the local grocery store too, which were just as delicious. The selection included gouda, some aged cheddars, blue, goat, brie (so much brie), and chive + onion cheddar.

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What you don’t see here is the baked brie in puff pastry that a couple girls made. *drool* You can see at the top right of my plate below that I got a nice hunk of it though!


I went back for the equivalent of, like, five more plates. I also learned that I hate wine. I almost choked every time I swallowed it.

We played Heads Up and Sardines afterward, because we’re quasi-adults. Such a fun night!

Other eats recently have involved a load of carbs, butter, and sugar. All the things that are demonized by our culture, but hey, when in Ireland…


afternoon scones with butter and jam are my favorite

I’m aware of the general amount of carbs and fat I’m consuming here, and sometimes I’m tempted to be bothered by the fact, but I never feel overloaded or gross with the treats I’m eating. Granted, I don’t always feel like a spring chicken after a heavy meal (i.e. wine and cheese night), but I also don’t feel deprived or restricted, which is good for the mind AND body.



I still love green things

If we’re being 100% honest, sometimes I still look at my stomach and think, “I know I could do better with my diet.” But then I remember, “What would that do for me? Would I really be happier with a little less fat? Is that where my worth is?”

And then the rational side of Alison comes back. Of course my worth is not in my body. I’m feeling energetic, lively, and grateful, and it is my duty to radiate that outwards, not to focus it inwards for some construction of “perfection”.


Irish oat “flapjacks” (aka oats, butter, golden syrup, and brown sugar — DELICIOUS)


Megan shared some of her garlic bread with me, and it was so satisfying

This isn’t anything we haven’t heard before (from myself or from the rest of social media), but reminders are always needed.


I baked something! Some banana bread baked oatmeal for easy breakfasts this week.


still going strong with the pb banana for breakfast #forever

Another sign that recovery is always subtly ongoing: I used to love having pasta for dinner in middle school, but then disordered eating shut that down in high school, and even in college to an extent. A bowl of pasta for any meal was subconsciously ingrained in my mind as “too many carbs” for so long that I generally avoided it, with or without deliberate thought about my carb intake. It’s not that I wouldn’t eat a bowl of pasta (trust me), I just wouldn’t consider it first on a menu or cook it for myself, even if I was craving it.


It had been a long time, but I bought a bag of pasta and cooked it up with some beef and spicy tomato sauce on Saturday night. Plus some unpictured roasted broccoli!


*punches the air because it was so good*

Similar sentiments about white bagels, actually, now that I think about it. Again, I have no actual “fears” of these foods anymore, but I just recently realized that I don’t often get them for myself, and for no good reason. ‘Cause I really love pasta and bagels!!

(I’m saying all this not because I’m struggling, but because honesty is the best policy. I want to reassure others that having these thoughts/realizations, even after recovery, is still normal. We can kick ’em to the curb though🙂 )


brunch after Mass at Metro Cafe yesterday: toasted bagel with smoked salmon, guacamole, and rocket salad


Speaking of Mass, the church we went to yesterday was gorgeous, and the choir was phenomenal! It was the best Mass experience I’ve had in Ireland so far. The church was St. Teresa of Avila on Clarendon St.


After brunch, we were walking back home when I spotted Murphy’s Ice Cream. I squealed.


It was €5 for this tiny cup, but it was a special tiny cup of ice cream. I mean, butterscotch whipped cream? C’mon. Definitely a better deal than a €5 shot.

Two last spontaneous things I did:

I RAN. 4.5 miles! I haven’t run that far in…a year? Two years? It was beautiful outside, and I was too sore to do any strength/HIIT stuff, so running was the perfect way to move and groove on Friday.


Second spontaneous thing was cooking this weird rice dish last night with leftover white rice, tikka masala sauce, spinach, and two eggs.


it was alright

Hope you all have a wonderful week! We have a couple finals and then a 10-day mid-semester break!!

So tell me:

Do you like wine?

What did you do this weekend? 

How are we feeling about carbs, butter, and sugar these days?

Operation “Say Yes”

…”to the dress.” I’m getting married!

Just kidding. This is about how I am the flakiest, most indecisive person ever.

“Hey, Alison, do you wanna go out tonight?”

“Oh!…maybe. I’ll let you know. I want to, but I need to do ‘stuff’ tonight.”

“Okay let me know!”

(Two hours later) “I think I’ll come!”


(20 minutes later) “Actually…I think I should stay in….”

“Aw. Okay.”

(5 minutes later) “But should I just go out?”

“Yeah if you can!”

(2 minutes later) “Maybe not…”

“Alison… Do whatever you want.”

I’m indecisive because I spend too much time thinking about whether I should go somewhere or not, and then I end up procrastinating anyway, when I could have gone out, come back, and done what I needed to do.

So this past week was Operation: “Say Yes”

Yes to going out on Thursday night.

Because Thursdays are the new Friday, right? We actually don’t have classes on Friday, so Thursday really is the start of our weekends for the first half of our semester.

97% of the time, I’m not one to say, “I wanna go out tonight!” I’m usually more like, “let’s go get dessert and be in our PJs early tonight!” But I felt like celebrating the submission of our first big paper on Thursday, so I went out to a pub with some friends that night. It was my first night really “going out” in regards to drinking and such.

I drank more than I ever have that night, but I was still totally sober throughout, haha.


“Baby Guinness” (Kahlua and a touch of Bailey’s— looks like a Guinness but tastes like chocolate!)

I only had one of these. I’m not that tolerant (or wealthy).


arguably the most pointless €5 purchase of my life

Not even tipsy, but not mad about it. Watching all the other wild kids around me was fun enough.

My favorite part was coming back past midnight and sharing a big bowl of popcorn with my friend.


Yes to napping.

Because I went to bed at 2:30 am after a night out and woke up naturally at 8:50-ish on Friday morning.

I was thinking of doing a longer workout later that day rather than napping, but napping gave me energy to PR my 100 burpee time! 6:16!

I was on the ground panting two minutes before this photo was taken

Yes to walking somewhere solely for dessert.

My friend Brenna and I went to Bread & Butter to pick up dessert on Friday night, which was a freaking fantastic decision. I bought bread and butter pudding for €2.95, and the portion was HUGE. Megan was kind enough to have half, and she shared her vanilla ice cream with me to go with it🙂


this is only one half of the whole portion they gave me

10x better than alcohol. 100x happier. (Half the price too, holla.)

Yes to the Bray Cliff Walk with three friends.

I could have spent the whole day working on my ethics essay, but I decided to go to another cliff walk for the first half of the day. So worth the fresh air, exercise, and company!

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selfie with a banana, because I am a banana

The walk took approximately 2 hours, since we stopped for a bunch of photo sessions.



thank you to Brigid and Caroline for this photo!

For lunch, we chose The Happy Pear, a super cute vegetarian market/cafe/restaurant.


I got this bomb Buddha bowl, which had brown rice, pickled cabbage, “kimchi” (wasn’t actually kimchi, but that’s what they called it), lentil dahl, garlic kale, avocado, and sweet potato fries!


Hiking and buddha bowls, are we in LA!?

Yes to FaceTiming four people over the weekend.

I miss my friends a lot, and although it can take a couple hours to FaceTime a couple people, it is always worth it to talk with such beautiful souls. I laughed and cried.

Yes to Sunday brunch.

After Mass on Sunday, I met up with my friend Cassandra for brunch at a fabulous little place called Herbstreet.

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This was one of those restaurants where you think, “I could honestly order any of this.” Cassandra and I both went for savory + sweet.

Cassandra got the “Eggos Mexicalos” for her main, which was spicy and satisfying (and GUACAMOLE). I got a strange combo— smoked salmon with capers and dill creme fraiche + small stack of blueberry pancakes with orange butter. I ate them separately, don’t worry.

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I was totally craving pancakes, and MAN did these deliver. I love blueberry pancakes, but the zesty orange butter really put it over the top.

The best of the meal was Cassandra’s sweet pick: the French toast with caramelized bananas, pecans, and clotted. cream.


Be still my heart (but not literally, please, I know this is a lot of cholesterol, sry). We already decided that we have to go back.


Yes to working out outside. 

I usually work out in my room these days, because a) that’s all I have time for; b) it’s dewy and cold outside in the morning. But on Sunday, I took a nap and just went outside with my jump rope. It was glorious to move and groove outside!!!


5 rounds:

  • 50 double unders
  • 2 laps (~1/3 of a mile)
  • 5 pistol squats each leg

Yes to walking.

It can be time-consuming to walk to city centre from our campus, and sometimes I feel like I should save time and take the bus, but it’s [almost] always a good idea to walk.

I say [almost], because yesterday we walked to Parliament for a field trip, and it was down pouring. I was soaked and freezing throughout the rest of the field trip, but Megan reminded me to be grateful that I can go home and be warm, whereas some people cannot.


Yes to cooking for real. 

I bit the bullet and bought a tikka masala simmer sauce for some chicken, plus bell peppers and real rice (I refuse to buy microwave or “boil in a bag” rice).


Prior to this, I had just been seasoning things with salt and pepper because I wanted to be cheap and minimalist, but variety is the spice of life. Or spice is the variety of life?

This delicious lunch salad also happened a couple days ago:


beets, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, two fried eggs, salt and pepper

Yes to saying no to blogging.

It’s been a busy week with essay writing and such, so the blog has been on the back burner. I wanted to type this post for Monday…then Tuesday…then Wednesday…then Thursday…and now it’s finally typed. Life happens, and I’m always learning how to prioritize.

Yes to a free online yoga inversions class on the CodyApp.

It was on Tuesday night right after my healthcare policy class ended, plus it was free, so I just signed up and did it! I highly recommend CodyApp, guys. I mean, I’ve only tried the free classes so far, but even those are great. This inversions class really did help me learn more about handstand alignment!


not in the inversions class, but wanted to see how titibasana was coming along

I hope you guys have an awesome weekend! I’m organizing a wine and cheese night for the group tonight, and I AM PUMPED. Finals are next week already, LOL (we start internships in November!).

So tell me:

Are you indecisive?

Is it hard for you to say yes to things?

Two beautiful things that you did/happened to you this week!

Day in the Life: Study Abroad

You knew this post had to come sooner or later.

Here’s a day in the life of a student (me) studying abroad in Ireland.

7:50 AM — Wake up, mostly because I need to pee. Roll out of bed and stumble down the long hallway to go to the bathroom. Come back to the room to brush teeth and change.

8:20 AM — Pray.

8:30 AM — 8 minute abs.



8:38 AM — Change into longer pants, put on makeup, and gather my stuff to go.

8:55 AM — Breakfast! I finished up my tub of Greek yogurt with some cinnamon, nutmeg, and golden syrup (doesn’t taste like anything special), and I ate a sweet potato breakfast bowl that I prepared the night before, following Jen’s recipe. It was a nice change from oatmeal!

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baked microwaved sweet potato (mashed) + mashed banana + cinnamon + nutmeg + almond milk + peanut butter

9:15 AM — Head off on a long walk to the National Museum of Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks for our sociology field trip! ‘Twas a gorgeous day to walk.


10:15 AM — Arrive at the museum. We are assigned a worksheet to fill out as we go through the museum.


11:30 AM — Finish the worksheet and feel like I didn’t really learn that much, since we were all kinda rushing to finish and head back for lunch. #badstudents. It was fun though!

11:45 AM — Walk back to the dorms with Megan. Snack on an orange as we’re walking.


in case you forgot what an orange looked like

12:35 PM — Stop by the grocery store for some essentials.


12:55 PM — Make it back to the dorms on the verge of ravenous. We had already walked 6 miles by lunch! Prepare a quick and easy lunch.


two slices of buttered soda bread + two eggs + so many carrots with hummus

1:30 PM — Hang out in the kitchen and talk with people while washing dishes. Listen to a friend practice her ethics presentation.

1:45 PM — Walk to class.

2:00 PM — Sit back and relax as I listen to all my peers’ ethics presentations for 2.5 hours. (I got mine over with last week😀 )

4:30 PM — Class is over. Walk back to the dorms and spend some time catching up on emails, but mostly wasting time on social media.

5:00 PM — Snack on salad that my friend gave me since she doesn’t like arugula. With the last of my carrots, as if I hadn’t eaten enough beta carotene in the day. I ate the equivalent of three small, whole carrots that day.


5:15 PM — Work on my sociology essay.

5:50 PM — Walk over to the chapel on the campus across the street for the first student Mass of the semester! I meet Megan there.

6:10 PM — Mass (with people under the age of 25, hallelujah).

7:00 PM — Pizza and socializing (after many minutes of awkwardly waiting to see if any Irish students would approach us. We learned that Irish people are not super confrontational and are “afraid of American confidence,” as our sociology professor explained to us).

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plus one more slice (“they’re tiny slices!”) + a piece of intensely sweet chocolate orange creme candy

7:50 PM — Head over to the library to finish my essay.

8:15 PM — Finish essay, type up the references (DEATH), read, edit.


9:40 PM— PRINT IT.


9:45 PM — Walk back to my dorm.

10:00 PM — Chat with some friends on Facebook, answer emails, do some other random things that are obviously not important enough for me to remember.


decided to check the health app since I knew I walked a lot that day— wooohoo!

11:30 PM — Practice handstands and realize that my head position needs to be tucked a little more to help my body stay stacked (gotta love late night revelations).

11:45 PM — Get ready for bed and pray.

12:00 AM — Try to read an article for ethics class but cannot for the life of me process any of it. So I go have a snack instead.


12:30 AM— Brush teeth again and go to sleep.

I need to be better about having more order to my nights.

So tell me:

What did you eat for breakfast yesterday?

Two things you do in your “day in the life”! 

What is your nighttime routine? 

“Booze and Grooves”

My friend Ben came up with it.

When I left for Ireland last month, he told me he expected my adventures to be titled “booze and grooves” and to disregard liver health. I’m only listening to his first suggestion.

This weekend we had a class trip to Northern Ireland! The history of division between the British/Protestants vs. Irish/Catholics is jarring yet fascinating. One of the first things our tour guide in Belfast said was, “This is the most dangerous part of Belfast… If a taxi honks at you, sprint back to the bus as fast you can. That’s the most important.”


Illegal murals are a big part of the culture. They are all political statements rooted in the violent divisions that manifested only two decades ago.

I was that student who asked, “Are you being serious?” He answered with a straight face, “Does it look like I’m kidding?”

“No, sir.”


But later he told us that he was kidding, and we all laughed (*nervous relief laughs for me*). We still couldn’t really open our mouths about religion or politics though.


I must admit that I felt uncomfortable in Belfast for the first half of the day, but after visiting the peace wall, going downtown, and learning about the government at the Parliament building reassured me that peace is being pursued.

Belfast peace wall feat. @ustheduo lyrics ✌🏼 #StopJustLove #Belfast #DublinMovesAndGrooves

A photo posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

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They even served us afternoon coffee, tea, and biscuits during our break, which was the cutest. I am officially a fan of digestive biscuits dipped in tea.




Witnessing and experiencing the city made for one excellent history lesson!

For dinner that night, a bunch of us went to Robinson’s and ate inside a “snug”, which we learned was the ladies’ corner back in the day, where we might have been served alcohol if the men of institution were feelin’ nice enough. Coincidentally, we were a bunch of ladies gathered in a snug on Thursday night. But we bought our own drinks🙂


I ordered the shepherd’s pie, which was more like sloppy joe with a lot of mashed potatoes on top, but I was fine with that.


Pretty much demolished the whole thing. Then it was time to get wild and cuh-razy at the Crown Liquor Saloon, ooo la la.


Megan and I had not bought an alcoholic drink in Ireland until that night, so we both bought Jameson Gingers and celebrated! Everyone else was probably more excited for us than we were for ourselves, but I appreciated the energy.


Jameson Ginger is probably one of my favorite drinks that I’ve tasted in my short and limited experience with alcohol consumption, but it still doesn’t compare to the taste of ice cream.

So Megan and I enjoyed our drinks, but we’re more willing to put our money towards a happier cause— dessert. It was still super fun to actually go out with people (I’m such a square usually).

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We still went to bed before 1 am, only after watching an Irish dating show on TV.

On Friday morning, Megan and I grabbed breakfast at cafe approximately 20 paces from our hotel lobby. I ordered porridge with banana, honey, and peanut butter, and it ROCKED. The oats were cooked to a texture that was doughy and satisfying, and the addition of whole milk was life-changing.


At first, I wasn’t sure if there was peanut butter in there because it was hidden by the banana slices, but after asking, the waiter said, “It’s in there! A surprise underneath. There’s enough for two in there.”

“Enough for two people.” I laughed when I finished the bowl, because that’s how much peanut butter I always put in my oats.

Megan and I went on a brisk walk around the city (brisk because we almost got lost) before our class headed to Giant’s Causeway!

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It was just as beautiful as the Cliffs of Moher!

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The unique part of Giant’s Causeway is the rocks. There are tens of thousands of rocks shaped like hexagons due to how the volcanic lava solidified and cracked over the period of hundreds of thousands of years.

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But you could also choose to believe that giants did it.😉


photo from my friend Cassandra!

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PC: Cassandra

geometry and earth science would have been way more fun here!! // #GiantsCauseway #DublinMovesAndGrooves

A photo posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on

Yet another beautiful experience in Ireland.

Not a beautiful experience? Rushing to buy Irish stew with brown bread for lunch and having the butter packets melt from the heat of the stew all over your paper bag on the bus.


Megan: “Butter disaster 2016.”


The stew was delicious though!!

One pit stop on the way to Derry for the Games of Thrones fans:


I don’t watch the show, but if you do, does this look familiar?? (p.s. my friends spotted the whole cast inside a bar on Thursday night!)

Next stop was Derry/Londonderry (depending on whether you’re a Nationalist or a Unionist). We toured some more murals and the big wall in the middle of the city. It was so nice to move the legs and witness some stunning views of the whole city.

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Our hotel was a 15 minute drive out of the city, so we settled into our rooms before taking a taxi back in for dinner. HOWEVER, everything on a Friday night was closed! Megan, Cristen and I wanted to go to a restaurant called Blackbird for a wagyu beef burger (per my mom’s recommendation), but they told us that they stop serving food at 5pm.


Disappointed, we walked around to find another restaurant, but everything except the bars and some random fast food places had their gates down. So strange. We decided to go a chain chicken restaurant called Nando’s, which was still a good dinner!


medium spice chicken on a super grain salad bowl

I was satisfied, and I had missed green vegetables. AND AVOCADO.

Then we wanted ice cream, so the waitress at Nando’s suggested Joe Jackson’s inside a mall down the street. I got the honeycomb and strawberry cheesecake flavors, which hit the spot!


The night wasn’t what we were expecting, but it was still a delicious and fun adventure. We also successfully hailed a taxi back to our hotel, which was a win.

Also, we had to put key card into this slot by the door of our hotel room in order for the electricity to work. Different!


Saturday morning, I ate a whole grain roll with peanut butter that we bought the night before for breakfast.


There was a big gym in the hotel, so I took full advantage during our free morning. I was STOKED to be using gym equipment for the first time in a month!


I warmed up and did three sets each of:

  • 10 Bulgarian split squats each leg + 20 jump lunges
  • squats (varying weights) + 20 squat jumps
  • 12 deadlifts (105#) + 30 side jump lunges

Then I did EMOM 10:

  • 5 squat cleans (65#)
  • 8 burpees over the bar

That EMOM absolutely crushed my entire being. I don’t often think “I’m dying” after a workout, but this one made me feel that way.


I stretched my legs and did some lat pull downs, military presses, and tricep pull downs to finish.

Naturally, two days later, I still can’t move anything in my body.

A bunch of us ordered lunch at the hotel restaurant before hitting the road back to Dublin. It was a bizarre experience in that the service took so long and no one really knew what was going on, but we learned that the restaurant isn’t usually open and prepared to serve 15 hungry kids at that time, so everyone was just discombobulated.

The servers were very kind though, and the food was great! These fries…


I ordered a toasted beef, brie, and tomato sandwich, which I ate on the bus.


The rest of the day back on campus involved unpacking, roasting brussels sprouts, and jamming out to Disney music with my friends.

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Sunday morning was some play, but mostly work. We have essays due this week!! First, Megan and I went to Mass in city centre, which was a lovely 2.5-mile walk. Then we met up with Cristen at Brother Hubbard for lunch. This is one of my favorite restaurants that I’ve been to Ireland so far!

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I ordered the Turkish eggs menemem, which included herbs and roasted peppers on toasted sourdough. Best scrambled eggs ever.


Megan shared some of her pulled pork with me too, which was so tasty.


We walked back to campus, where worked hard for the rest of the day. There was a break for grocery shopping and dinner in there somewhere. And dessert! Megan and I picked up desserts from Bread and Butter on our way back from lunch earlier, so we used them as incentives to get work done.


I’m always down for carrot cake.

I also got to FaceTime Rachel at night!

“Work hard, play hard” is a fun motto to live by, but then it reverses to “play hard, work hard,” and I’m really feeling that vibe right now. Time to go finish this essay! And hopefully some yoga to streeeeetch.


overnight oats in a jar that I just ate🙂

Hope you all have a kick-butt week!!

(p.s. apparently there have been some issues with the commenting system on my blog, so I apologize!! I’ll try to get the problem fixed ASAP!)

So tell me:

Have you ever been to Northern Ireland?

What is the coolest geologic phenomenon you’ve ever seen?

What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? I need ideas for next time!

Two things you did this weekend!