Pizza and Polite People in Padua

I’m not trying to make alliterations the norm around here, but they just work so well right now.

Megan and I made it to Italy and we are LOVING it so far. Let’s talk about Padua first.

Well we almost didn’t make it to our Airbnb because we took the correct bus…in the wrong direction. Thankfully, my limited knowledge of the Italian language, but mostly the tender kindness of a few different strangers on the bus, helped us get to our destination safe and sound (albeit pretty late).

Yes, I actually wear my bags like that. It feels a lot less ridiculous than it looks.

Some BelVita biscuits for breakfast the next morning. 


Then we were off to the beautiful city centre of Padua! This place is a quintessential Italian city in my mind. It’s so quaint, they’re still constructing stone roads, and the restaurants are open until the wee hours of the night. 


Our day in Padua consisted of walking, seeing churches, eating, repeating. First stop was a random church that was quite large.


Second stop was Scrovegni Chapel, which was built in the 14th century. It has magnificent frescoes within it, and it has gone through some incredible history. 


We actually weren’t expecting the tours to be open without reservation, but we got in so easily!


Then we walked around semi-aimlessly to pass time before heading to lunch. The biscuits I ate for breakfast surprisingly held me over, but I was READY for food by 12:30.


Pizza, please. 


We walked into Pinsa Pizza, where Megan had a classic diavolo (pepperoni) pizza, and I had the “Papa Francesco” (rocket, pepperoni, tomatoes, artichokes, and Parmesan) + a salad.


God bless good Italian pizza.

We carried around our leftover pizza in a box all day, which prompted judgy stares, but whatcha gonna do? Your girls didn’t want to waste good pizza.

We also wanted to save room for gelato 🙂


I got a new-to-me flavor called ricotta pistcachio krack (?? Not sure if that’s what it said). It was sort of like a mild cheesecake base with a crispy pistachio cookie/shell/swirl throughout. So unique and tasty!


We headed towards Prato Della Valle, a beautiful square near another 389274 basilicas. 


The highlight of the sights was the Basilica of St. Anthony. I got in trouble when I took my first picture because that was a no-no in this Basilica, but trust me when I say that this place is a phenomenal work of art. 


It was also cool that St. Anthony’s tomb was inside, along with several relics from him and other saints. This pizza box touched the tomb of St. Anthony, so my pizza was basically a fifth class relic. That I ate later.


We also went to St. Giustina’s Basilica, which was nice, but kind of an enigma. We still don’t really know who St. Giustina is, and half the things in the church were questionable, vague relics/tombs. 


St. Luke the Evangelist’s cage (in which he was kept when persecuted) was in there though! 


This cityyyyyy. *heart eyes*


We stopped into Cafe Pedrocchi for a pre-dinner snack (and wifi and toilets TBH), since most restaurants don’t reopen for dinner until 7 or 7:30pm. Our Airbnb host also recommended Cafe Pedrocchi because it’s the oldest cafe in Padua.


Megan and I each ordered two pastries each + water for me.

Cafe Pedrocchi is famous for their mint coffee, but since I don’t drink coffee, I got the Pedrocchi pastry, which was a mint chocolate cake (YUM), as well as the pistacchio cake pastry. Megan got a Bavarian cream one and a random one that might have been spiced, she doesn’t know.


It was nice to sit our butts down and play some hangman and MASH for old times’ sake. My “MASH”: I’m marrying a cute boy from college, living in a shack in New Mexico as a carrot cake baker with no kids and five cats. I don’t own a car so I walk everywhere. Not the worst life?

We had way too much fun playing that silly middle school game, but it passed the time well until Ristorante PePen opened for dinner. 


To start, Megan and I split this ridiculously good spinach gnocchi STUFFED WITH RICOTTA in a mushroom sauce. The best texture and so decadent.


For my entree, I had the grilled sea bass and was tricked into buying an extra side dish of grilled vegetables, but I wasn’t mad about it.


Mighty full after this meal. I took most of the vegetables to go.

We walked our way back to the Airbnb, still getting confused at some points as to where we were going (mostly my fault). 

Both nights in Padua, I was able to squeeze in a low impact (wanted to minimize banging in the apartment Airbnb) 16-20 minute workout while Megan showered. Just some slippery sock exercises, lunges, push-ups and such. We’ve been walking 9-11 miles per day, but it feels so nice to move after the long train rides and to stretch the muscles in different ranges of motion! 

On Tuesday morning, we ate a quick snack, checked out of the Airbnb, and walked back to St. Anthony’s for Mass. Afterwards, I quickly finished my leftover  relic pizza + grilled veggies from the previous day. Quickly because there was a bee who was very attracted to my food.

We did some more church things before arriving at the train station early and camping out there for a while. 


Our train was late, causing us to miss our connection, but it all worked out in the end. Not without some stir craziness and distress though.


Nevertheless, we made it to Assisi that night. A couple Americans were also in the same boat as us with the train delays and everything, so we shared a taxi to our respective accommodations for the night. 

All I will tell you about Assisi for now is that I knew I would like it just from the taxi ride up towards that city on a hill. 

Until tomorrow!

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Sleepless in Switzerland

Doesn’t have the same ring as “Sleepless in Seattle”, does it? Megan’s suggestion: “Zzzz-less in Zurich.” What a genius.

Megan and I survived our one day in Zurich, and we managed to have some fun in there too 😉 We arrived at Zurich airport at around 9 pm on Friday night and got {almost} hopelessly lost trying to exit one of the connecting train stations. Who knew that the street exit was the flights of stairs above, rather than below??

We checked into our Airbnb, and one of our hosts was Thai! Madre was so excited when I told her and she sent a voice note of herself saying stuff in Thai, haha. 

Bonus: we had a fish tank in our room. 


We were both exhausted when we were getting settled into the room, but I think we were still a little strung from traveling and just being in a very unfamiliar place. We tossed and turned, huffed and puffed for two hours until Megan finally asked me, “Are you still awake?” 

“Yep. Glad I’m not the only one.”

We had planned to wake up at 7:45 to go hiking but scrapped that idea to sleep in a little bit more.

The breakfast provided was surprisingly very filling and satisfying! I had some muesli with whole milk and buttered toast.


Whole milk is dreamy. Made up for the lack of peanut butter fats 🙂

We decided that hiking was still a good idea, so we made our way to Uetliberg, Zurich’s “mountain” that is more like a hill compared to the Alps. Hiking up a genuine Swiss mountain would have taken all day, starting at 8 am, which was just not feasible for us this time around. Perhaps one day!


Uetliberg was still lovely though. Lots of forest paths and vistas overlooking the pristine city of Zurich. We kept seeing a bunch of runners and cyclists charging up the mountain with thighs and calves of steel.


I felt like I was in some sequel to the Sound of Music with all the vast fields and cow bells. 


They were really excited about the dog.

Our two hour hike led us up to a panorama restaurant called Felseness. We ate al fresco for the view, because otherwise it was too damn cold to be eating outside.


I got the traditional Swiss soup for something hot. It was creamy but not super heavy, filled with barley and root veggies. I also ate three slices of hearty bread with it, so I was nicely filled. Megan got a hefty ham and cheese sandwich.


We were happy that it was so filling because Swiss prices are up the wazoo. A medium-sized order of French fries with ketchup was 11 Francs. ELEVEN. Our orders were both under 15, so it wasn’t too bad, and we felt we got a bang for our buck (plus a stellar view!).


I guess Zurich does give you nice bathrooms with good toilet paper wherever you go, so there’s that. And some suave transportation. 

After lunch we took the sky tram down the mountain. 


A fun little rollercoaster to end the hike. We made it back to the Airbnb to take hot showers and change into slightly more posh clothing to go into town and to Mass. “Posh” meaning non-blue jeans and a smart casual shirt, both of which I had worn the day before.


In the city, we walked down Bahnhofstrasse, where all the high end shops and stores were located. 


As always though, the best parts are the priceless ones. These views down at the lake!!


In theory, I think you should be able to see the Alps from where we were, but it was slightly foggy, so the white, snow-capped mountains in the distance were hidden. This was still a magnificent view though!


This guy on the street making giant bubbles also made our night. 


We meandered our way to the church for Mass. The sun was setting and the lighting was just gorgeous throughout the town.


Although we could have gone to a German Mass, I found an English one before we got to Zurich, so it was nice to be able to understand everything.


After Mass, we walked back to Bahnhofstrasse for dinner at Zeughauskeller, an old armory and current touristy Swiss restaurant. It was packed, but we got a table shared with a Brazilian couple. The only catch was that we had to be out of there in one hour exactly, since there was a reservation for our table right after us. 


I was hungry and craving some Apline specials, so I ordered the venison steak medallions, which came with brussels sprouts, homemade spätzle, chestnuts, a roasted pear with cranberry sauce, and peppercorn gravy. Hit. The. Spot. So delicious!!!


And of course, I had to get an apple strudel for dessert. 


I only had, like, 5 minutes to eat this, and Megan only had one bite, so I was shoveling strudel like no one’s business. #champ


I took home about half of the spätzle and one venison steak, which I ate for breakfast the next morning 🙂 The steak was still just as good! Hey, when you pay 36 Francs for a meal, you make the most of it.

Megan and I checked out of the Airbnb and headed for the train station Sunday morning. We got there pretty early to avoid accidentally getting lost and missing our train, so we walked around the station for an hour or so. Zurich HB is huge! Practically a mall, and a lot more modern than Grand Central. 


However, the “WC” is not free. We took our most expensive pee ever that morning at 2 Francs per person. 


We didn’t even have to pee that badly, but we were afraid that the train might not have had a bathroom. Oh well, we needed to spend our Francs somehow.

Yesterday was all about travel. So many buses and trains aghhhh. The mountain view as we traveled through the Swiss Alps was the best though.

Train station food was about the same for me in Zurich and in Padua.



BelVita biscuits are also sustaining me. 

Getting to our Airbnb in Padua last night was quite the adventure, but I’ll save that for next time 🙂

Arrivederci!

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.

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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!

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

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avocado egg toast! ♥︎ 

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white rice, spicy tomato sauce, beef

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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!

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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…

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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.

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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”.

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

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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.

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

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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.

Silliness!!!

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!

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*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 🙂 )

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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!”

“Yay!”

(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.

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“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).

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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.

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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!
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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 🙂

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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.

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thank you to Brigid and Caroline for this photo!

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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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.

#HUMBLED.

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).

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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:

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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!

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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!