Day in the Life: Internship Abroad

There are only a couple weeks left of my Dublin study abroad experience, can you believe it!?

I shared a day in the life post a couple months ago when we still had classes all day, but now we are well into the internship phase of the program, which involves a full day (more or less) of work Monday through Thursday.

I intern at a private physiotherapy clinic that focuses on dry needling, manual therapy, massage, and Pilates classes. I am loving it! The people are wonderful, the patients are so kind, and I am learning a lot about the international physiotherapy scene. I even get to massage patients who are willing to let a li’l student knead them out.

Here’s what Monday looked like this week. This was actually an unusual day because we had a conference in the evening, which threw off the work hours a bit, but it’s still a general idea of what goes on.

7:55 AM – First alarm goes off. Snooze.

8:04 AM – Second alarm goes off. “I could get up now. But I don’t have to and I could use more sleep.” Reset alarm for 8:30.

8:30 AM – THIRD alarm goes off. Drag butt out of bed. Go to the bathroom, brush teeth, say morning prayer.

8:50 AM – Head to the kitchen for breakfast. There is never a day when I am not excited for overnight oats.

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so ugly, but the value is within.

9:05 AM – Decide that I should roast my broccoli that’s been sitting in the fridge for days. I get home late on Mondays (and especially this particular day), so I know I’ll be happy to have it already roasted when I get back at night.

9:30 AM – Start typing this blog post as I wait for my broccoli. (Somewhat unrelated: Ever since I read Paige’s post on her productivity secret, I’ve been using the “Pomodoro Method” to get work done this past week, and I am a believer! Definitely check out Paige’s post if you’re interested.)

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I use this pomodoro method app

9:45 AM – Broccoli is out of the oven. I taste test as always, no matter how hot it is.

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olive oil, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper at 400F for ~30 min

9:50 AM – Let the broccoli cool for a bit, pack it up, wash the dishes.

10:10 AM – Squeeze in a very quick warmup + workout. I was feeling energetic and willing to sprint, but you know me. I don’t actually run (plus I have my bursitis as an excuse), so I sprinted in the form of burpees with Lori and Michelle’s 100 burpee challenge. It’s one of my favorite workouts of all time!

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10:35 AM – Stretch and figure that I would be cutting it too close to shower before I need to leave to catch the bus. I’m not sweating that much…

10:40 AM – Comb hair, put on makeup, pack my bag, and put on a good dose of deodorant (I promise I am a hygienic person).

11:00 AM – Leave the dorm to catch the bus. I walk to a farther bus stop because the bus would take a little while to get to the closer stop anyway, so I might as well meet it farther down.

11:20 AM – Hop on the bus and pull out this honker of a book.

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People probably think I’m actually 12 years old, but HP is worth it ♥︎

11:40 AM – Hop off the bus and walk a couple blocks to work.

11:50 AM – Arrive at work. My bosses didn’t have too many patients in for the day since they were preparing for the conference, so my day involved helping them with the prep, researching for my paper on trigger points, and the usual desk duties.

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I also snacked on these “milk & cereals” flavored BelVita biscuits throughout the early afternoon. They kind of taste like coconut biscuits, which is a-okay with me.

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3:30 PM – The biscuits held me over quite well, so I had a very late lunch. ‘Twas this ugly-looking egg and sausage scramble that I had made the night before. It tasted like stuffing since I used the same sausage and herbs I used for Thanksgiving, so in other words, it was delicious.

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pork and apple sausage + one egg + egg white + sautéed onion + spinach + thyme + sage possibly?

I followed this with a big, juicy orange.

4:20 PM – Leave with one of the physiotherapists for the conference at a hotel in Dún Laoghaire (pronounced “Dunleary”).

4:40 PM – Arrive at the hotel and help set up and sort through all the logistics of the night. I ate a Cadbury caramel chocolate at some point. My supervisor told me, “This is the only kind of chocolate. America does sweets well, but they don’t do chocolate well.”

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I must admit that this stuff is LUSCIOUS

6:00 PM – Head downstairs to the exhibition tables for tea and biscuit hour (a fine practice which I’ve come to love in Ireland).

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I put milk in my tea and I don’t know why. It does nothing.

7:00 PM – Conference begins! It was hosted by a woman from Parliament with the Migraine Association of Ireland, and our physiotherapy company gave a presentation about myofascial trigger points as a potential source of migraines, which can be relieved through massage and dry needling.

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7:30 PM – We give our presentation to the first session. When I say “we” and “our”, I mean the owner presented and I was the guinea pig for dry needling. It was fun having a couple dozen people staring at my trap muscles twitching like crazy.

8:15 PM – Second session presentation.

9:00 PM – The therapists stick around to answer questions before we clean up everything and head back to the clinic to drop it off.

10:00 PM – Back at the clinic, where we unload everything. They kindly call me a taxi to get home.

10:20 PM – Get home ready for FOOD. I warm up my pre-roasted broccoli (*ding*) + leftover pizza from Sunday night.

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11:00 PM – Shower after reading blogs for a bit.

11:30 PM – Pray and head to bed.

So this might not be a true “day in the life,” because I don’t usually have work until 10 pm, but it was still an exciting day of interning!

So tell me: 

Three things in your daily routine. 

What is your favorite chocolate brand? 

Have you ever heard about trigger points as a cause of migraines?

First Friendsgiving

GUYS, I HAD AN AMAZING DATE THIS WEEKEND.

Actually, I had many dates!

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🙂

I didn’t fall in love with an Irish boy, but I did fall in love with these luxurious Medjool dates that a patient brought into work last week. What have I been doing without these things my whole life!? They taste like caramel and maple syrup!!!

My supervisor at work told me to take the box home on Thursday, since they knew I had a big Thanksgiving feast that night where I could share the bounty of dates.

How was your Thanksgiving, American friends? I don’t feel like it happened, since it’s not celebrated here in Ireland, and this weekend was the first time I really missed New York. My family mom was sending me lots of photos of the Macy’s Parade and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which tugged at my heart a little bit. New York is the BEST place during the holidays!

But my friends and I here got down with the holiday spirit here in Dublin too! Two lovely ladies in our program took it upon themselves to organize an epic Friendsgiving on Thursday night, and the event totally surpassed everyone’s expectations.

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all out with the decor and table settings!

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the masters behind the night: Edna and Becca

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In true Thanksgiving fashion, there was so much food. Edna and Becca cooked a lot of it, others contributed more dishes, and the rest made monetary contributions. It worked out quite well! I contributed sausage and apple stuffing (my favorite Thanksgiving food) using this recipe.

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The only thing that put a damper on my night was that I was not hungry AT. ALL. My stomach had been in a funk in the days leading up to Thanksgiving, so as much as I wanted to eat all the delicious food, I had zero desire to put anything into my stomach. Fortunately, though, the night proceeded very slowly, so I had time to slowly digest appetizers…

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…before the main course. By then it was only a little bit uncomfortable to eat, so I got to try a good number of dishes!

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turkey (possibly pork though?) with sausage and veggies + cranberry sauce + brussels sprouts galore + stuffing + goat cheese pomegranate salad + roasted carrots + butternut squash + mac and cheese + mashed potatoes + mashed sweet potatoes

I nearly cleared that plate. #Perseverance. Everything was delicious.

There was also an immense dessert selection, so I told myself: “Choose wisely. You have limited space even in your dessert stomach.”

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apple pie a la mode + cake (that our program director bought for us!)

Sufficiently stuffed.

Even better than the food, though, was the company. I am beyond grateful for the wonderful people in my study abroad program. They are all gems.

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last four photos compliments of my friend, Cassandra

Thank you to everyone who made the night a complete success!

The rest of my weekend largely involved reading Harry Potter, watching Harry Potter, working on an essay, and eating leftovers. Megan and I are on the fourth HP book, and we are falling in love with the wizarding world more and more.

(Side note: I took the sorting quiz again, and I’m actually a Hufflepuff. I don’t know how I feel about it. I was starting to embrace Slytherin.)

I have all this leftover celery from my stuffing, and since I don’t love celery by itself, I tried ants on a log.

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I don’t really get it. It’s like…why would you ruin peanut butter with celery?

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leftover pork and apple sausage + caramelized onions with sage and thyme (I have way too many herbs left over) over spinach

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the best leftovers

Megan and I made some new food yesterday too — pancakes! We used this recipe and finished the whole batch between the two of us. “Four servings” is a suggestion, right?

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banana pancakes for me, chocolate chip for Megan

As always, I ate my pancakes with plain yogurt, peanut butter and maple syrup.

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Me: “Don’t judge me for this weird thing I’m about to do.” *puts yogurt and peanut butter on pancakes*

Megan: “It’s just not my ideal pancake, but I respect that. Peanut butter isn’t weird. The yogurt is a little weird. But as long as you enjoy it.”

Thanks, girl!

Our plethora of pancakes was breakfast and lunch. At night, we ate more carbs in the form of pizza at Independent Pizza Company.

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mozzarella, parma ham, arugula, tomatoes, and parmesan — perfection

And now I have pizza leftovers for dinner tonight 🙂

Moves and grooves have been a little less intense recently because of my mild bursitis, but I’m still doing some fun HIIT with lower impact exercises. I miss all the walking I normally do around town, but now I get to focus on stretching, which I have not been doing enough this whole semester. I’m paying for it now.

Hope you all have a great start to the week! I thank God for you ♥︎

So tell me:

Your three favorite things about this Thanksgiving weekend if you celebrated!

Do you like Medjool dates? 

One thing you’re excited for today. Less than three weeks before we go back to the States, WHAT!? (Not that I haven’t been loving it here, but I’m excited to go home too.)

I’m a Slytherin!?

APPALLED.

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I was appalled when these Pottermore results showed up on my screen. I chose a snowy owl as my pet, guys. HOW.

I guess I should just own it, because apparently I’m in the “coolest and edgiest house” in Hogwarts. Slytherins are also “frequently misunderstood,” which might be fairly accurate for me.

The day after I took this quiz, I was telling my friends: “I can’t believe I’m a Slytherin.”

Friend: “How come you’re wearing black and green right now then?”

*Look down at my green Ireland t-shirt and black athletic pants*

Touche.

If you couldn’t tell, I’m thoroughly obsessed with Harry Potter now. Megan and I finished the second book and movie last week, and now we’re well into number three. HELP (but don’t, because I’m having so much fun).

Besides becoming completely immersed in the wizarding world of HP, other good things have happened in the past week, like KaisaFit liking my Instagram video! She’s one of my favorite fitness influencers of all time, and I couldn’t help but smile when she liked one of my videos that I hashtagged #KaisaFitxAsics for one of her giveaways. No shame.

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She also liked every other video with that hashtag, so I’m not special, but I won’t let that fact steal my excitement.

On Saturday, a few of us went on a Ring of Kerry bus tour! We started our day super early at 5am so that we could walk to the bus pickup in city centre. Thankfully, we had 2.5 hours to nap as we drove to Killarney.

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It had snowed a few days before we visited, which is rare for Ireland. It made the mountains look even more beautiful!

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The Toc Waterfall in Killarney National Park was my favorite stop of all. The moss-covered trees looked magical (HP on the mind, ya know), and the waterfall itself was bigger than I imagined!

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water and green things— a Slytherin’s dream.

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The tour was a lot of sitting on the bus with many photo stops that ranged from 10-45 minutes each. The scenery was gorgeous for sure, but I don’t think it was my favorite bus tour in Ireland. Connemara a couple weeks ago might have won it for me.

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always climbing trees

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Inch beach in Dingle

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We had a long lunch break in Killarney, so Megan and I walked around the charming city (reminded us a lot of Galway!) and bought…

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DESSERT.

We both got this super sweet sticky toffee caramel apple muffin, which was delicious. I very much desired a glass of milk to go with it, but life wasn’t bad without it.

(p.s. we had already eaten real lunch on the bus at 10 am due to early morning wakeup.)

It was a long trip, mostly due to travel time between places, but I enjoyed it! I think that was my last trip within Ireland, and I’m glad I went.

The weather has been frigid these days. Usually I wouldn’t mind, but I’ve had to wear only my Toms outside because I’m pretty sure I have retrocalcaneal bursitis, which causes my heel to hurt when I wear any tight shoes, such as boots or sneakers. Toms give me just enough room for my inflamed bursa to breathe.

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It’s nice to work in a physiotherapy clinic, where people can take care of me and educate me on the job 🙂 Google is also great.

Luckily, Megan offered me her bag of frozen vegetables to ice my heel like the good friend she is.

I have been advised to not do high impact exercise for a while, and to even take it easy on lower body weight bearing for a couple days. I’ve been mostly compliant. Sadly though, walking is becoming more and more painful, and I generally walk with a slight limp now.

It’s so hard to avoid walking though! How else am I supposed to go to Mass and Sunday brunch!? (The bus, yes…)

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After Mass this past Sunday, Megan and I went to Whitefriar Grill for another Sunday brunch. This one was a WINNER. She got the classic eggs benedict, and I got the crab cake eggs benedict to compare with the one I got at San Lorenzo’s last weekend.

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This was our favorite savory brunch so far. The crab cakes in my dish were a lot fresher at Whitefriar than at San Lorenzo’s IMO. And that hollandaise was phenomenal. Megan agrees!

We also got free watermelon bellinis because I “checked in” on Yelp.

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“We don’t always drink, but when we do, it’s for free.” – Megan

We didn’t even finish them.

Later on Sunday night, Megan and I made some amazing focaccia bread, if I do say so myself. Megan comes up with the best ideas. Last weekend she suggested scones, which were a hit. This week, focaccia was another fabulous treat.

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We made it using this recipe, plus rosemary, thyme, garlic, and caramelized onions. ‘Twas a pillow of olive-oily, aromatic goodness.

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fresh out of the oven ♥︎ 

We’ll be in Boston opening up our scone and focaccia storefront soon.

Hope you all have a wonderful day!!

So tell me:

Which1 Hogwarts house are you? 🙂 I want to retake mine, but the Sorting Hat has decided.

What is one delicious thing you made and/or ate this weekend?

Have you ever been to the Ring of Kerry? 

Two of the Best Things in Ireland in One Day

Those two things would be:

  • breathtaking views
  • brown bread

Megan and I are obsessed with both here in Ireland, and lucky for us, we got to experience a good bit of both two weeks ago (I’m SO BEHIND) when we went to Connemara in County Galway!

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find the sheep!

Our day started at 7am, which is mighty early for this night owl. I ate some overnight oats (my go-to early morning breakfast— it’s already made for you!) before we walked 50 minutes to city centre to catch our bus to Galway in the dark hours of the morning. We got to watch the sun rise on the bus ride!

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I also slept and read some Harry Potter on the bus ride to Galway, where we transferred to our tour bus with Lally Tours. Our tour guide was an older man who said “ye” a lot, and I couldn’t help but think that he sounded like a narrator for some 1950s Irish documentary. Not that I’ve ever watched a 1950s Irish documentary, but I can imagine.

The tour was very low key with lots of photo stops, some stories, and a lot of good ol’ Irish music. The scenery really is the main attraction of Connemara, because there isn’t much else going on in the quaint and rural area. But these views are worth it.

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We stopped in a little town centre for a lunch break with a view. I had packed some sundried tomato pasta leftovers from the dorm for the trip.

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You could argue that it all starts looking the same, which is kind of true, but that doesn’t mean it all isn’t beautiful and wonderfully serene. This is wordless chicken noodle soup for the soul.

The longest pit stop of the day was at Kylemore Abbey, an abbey run by Benedictine nuns. It used to be a school for girls as well, but now it’s just open to visitors and obviously, the nuns do their thing there.

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I’d be a nun here

They had this beautiful Victorian walled garden that was growing, like, 10 different kinds of kale.

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PLUS there was so much space to run around in nature…

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…and climb trees!!

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living her best life

There’s also a sense of danger and mystery too, which is necessary to keep things interesting for the inhabitants, ya know?

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Or perhaps the bull is a lie and they just don’t want you adulterating this beauty.

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There was a tea house at the garden, and Megan and I were set on getting dessert there (obviously). After asking the boy working at the counter what he recommended, I decided on the [WARM] homemade apple pie with custard on top.

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The crust was perfect, and you know that’s what really matters.

(side note: love that you can pray, eat, move, and groove on this estate. just sayin’.)

After our afternoon sweets, we walked back over to Kylemore Abbey itself to tour around a bit.

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The abbey itself is nice, but it’s not AMAZING. I feel so overprivileged saying that, but the God-made views surrounding the abbey were honestly a lot more stunning than the building. I still enjoyed visiting the building though! Unfortunately, we were not able to make it to the Gothic cathedral down the path because we had to return to our bus.

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you can see the top of the Gothic cathedral at the very righthand side of the photo if you look closely

On the bus ride back to Galway, I completely knocked out. I guess I should mention the fact that I took motion sickness meds for the bus earlier that day, so that could have been the culprit. I forced myself to wake up and get off the bus for more views though.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this tour, and our tour guide was grandfatherly and adorable. When we got back to Galway and got off the bus, I told him, “I had a Euro to tip you but I dropped it somewhere on this bus…so I hope you find it! Thank you!”

He seemed to appreciate the sentiment. I promise I tried my best to look for the Euro coin.

Megan and I decided that we should have dinner in Galway before we bussed back to Dublin, since it would be past 9 by the time we got back. An Pucan looked like a good restaurant, so we popped into there.

Guys, dinner was DELICIOUS. I’ve discussed our love of brown bread here before (we discovered our love for it in Galway actually!), and we hadn’t had some good brown bread in a while. The appetizer brown bread on An Pucan’s menu looked too good to pass up, so we went for it.

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This was probably the best brown bread I’ve had so far, mostly because it was so hearty and wholesome, and it was served with roasted red pepper hummus and basil pesto. I wouldn’t think to put those things on brown bread, but it was so good!!

The waitress even brought out three more slices for us for free when we asked how much extra bread would cost. Too kind.

But that’s a lot of bread, so my entree salad felt extra filling. I got the powerhouse salad, which had the works— avocado, olives, tomato, artichokes, sprouts, quinoa, roasted red peppers, carrots, chickpeas, and feta. It was so refreshing and tasty!

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Megan’s burger looked fantastic too.

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She doesn’t like potatoes (I know, is she even Irish??), so I had about half of her fries, which were bomb.

We left full to the brim and very satisfied. Galway, we love you! We’ve been there three times at this point. (I, II, and now III)

When Megan and I got on the bus to Dublin, we scored our own seats (it wasn’t busy on the buses all day, so we got our own seats on every bus!), so we started messaging each other from across the aisle like fools.

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We both finished the first Harry Potter book on the way back home. 🙂

Connemara might be one of my favorite places I’ve visited in Ireland so far. I think a few of us are doing the Ring of Kerry this weekend, so I’m excited for that as well. I could look at Ireland’s rural views for DAYS.

So tell me:

Where is your favorite “boring” yet beautiful place?

Have you ever tried Irish brown bread before? 

Virtual Brunch Date

If we were having brunch…

…I would sit down with wild hair, out of breath, and slightly overwhelmed. But look at all this brunch! Megan and I have adopted a tradition of eating brunch in town after Sunday Mass. It’s always a heart-healthy affair highlight of the week!

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two weekends ago at Herbstreet: “breakfast of champions” cassava rosti with smoked salmon, spinach, avocado, a poached egg, and capers — top notch.

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yesterday at San Lorenzo’s: crab cakes with poached eggs and hollandaise + char-grilled asparagus, tomato, arugula, and home fries 

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sorry and you’re welcome for this photo

…I would tell you that I cleaned my plate both weeks.

…I would tell you that our good friend from Boston, Briana, who is studying abroad in Spain, visited us in Dublin a couple weeks ago! Of course, we had to get some bread and butter pudding with her 🙂

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…I would tell you how pleasantly surprised I am with the Dublin Zoo. A few of us went two Fridays ago, and we had so much fun! It was pretty cold, but a lot of the animals were out to say hello. But we were reminded very easily that zoos are mainly an attraction for people ages 5-13.

“Moooom! MOM. Mooooooooom, look!!! It’s a TIGER!”

I was just as intrigued by the tykes as I was by the animals, tbh.

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ostriches are the most fabulous/terrifying creatures

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…I would tell you that, although I didn’t miss peanut butter too much in Switzerland and Italy, it was good to be reunited with my fave when I got back to Ireland.

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…I would tell you that the weekends are not just about brunch. Dessert is also our idea of a good time.

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post-zoo, pre-dinner crepe with banana and salted caramel + vanilla ice cream

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spiced pear ginger cake a la mode on some random night

…I would tell you that I’ve also been cookin’ up some colorful, more nutritious foods. I basically cook one thing to eat for lunch/dinner the entire week. Some say it’s sad and boring to eat the same thing every day for five days straight, but I don’t mind at all.

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beet and goat cheese salad with balsamic

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two weeks ago: whole wheat rotini with sundried tomatoes, basil, chicken, and garlic (best thing I’ve cooked here in Dublin!)

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last week: white jasmine rice with chicken, peppers, and Jalfrezi sauce

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salmon salad (greek yogurt, spicy mustard, cracked black pepper, and raisins— don’t judge, it was good!)

A lot of eggs also.

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goat cheese, spinach, eggs, ketchup on toast

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avocado, goat cheese, mustard, spinach, egg sandwich

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classic avocado toast with eggs

Would it be more economical to invest in an actual hen at this point?

…I would tell you that I am enjoying my internship at a physiotherapy clinic so far! Some of the highs:

  • I get to observe some of the sessions and compare physiotherapy in Ireland to physical therapy in the States.
  • The people at work are super kind and fun.
  • They play Boyce Avenue all day at the office.
  • I get to wear long athletic pants and sneakers (BLESS).
  • They dry needle and massage me for educational purposes.
  • I get to participate in the Pilates classes.
  • I can take the bus (and read Harry Potter on the ride) OR walk if I’m feelin’ it.
  • The owner of the clinic bought me a superb doughnut one day last week.

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I don’t even like chocolate, but this was amazing

Some of the lows:

  • Sometimes the desk part of the job involves more sitting than my butt prefers.
  • I made an extremely poor choice of footwear one day last week…

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they were squelching with water by the time I arrived at work — completely saturated

…I would tell you that dry needling is not common in the US, but it is in Ireland, and I kinda love it. It’s like aggressive acupuncture? A super thin needle is inserted into your myofascial trigger points (your muscle “knots”) repeatedly, and the muscle grabs onto the needle and releases, causing it to “break up” the trigger point. It’s a sore process during and afterward for a day or so, but it works!! She did my traps and calves. Yeeeeeeeesh.

“Your calf reaction is pretty intense.”

Yeah, I felt it.

…I would tell you that I laid low this weekend and loved it. I barely did anything on Friday after class. I wasted time on my phone, ate pizza and gelato with friends, and watched Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with Megan and Cristen (I’m such a fan now. A whole new world has been opened unto me.)

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dinner at Milano: dough balls with garlic butter to start (yeah, it’s everything you want)

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Roman-style thin crust pizza with goat cheese, caramelized onions, red onion, spinach + a salad in the middle — divine.

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I sense the holidays 🙂

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mint chip gelato at Gino’s!

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a bite of Megan’s pistachio gelato cannoli — so pretty!

…I would tell you that Megan and I wanted to WALK on Saturday, so walk we did! Almost 10 miles just around Dublin city centre. We learned that TJMaxx here is called TKMaxx and that Burger King’s chicken fries are actually delicious.

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Comes to Ireland. Goes to Burger King for chicken fries.

And God bless Megan. As we walked back home after several hours of semi-aimless window shopping, she said, “Let’s make scones tonight!”

So we did! We picked up the ingredients for less than €5 and got 12 scones out of this recipe. This is dangerous, friends. DANGEROUS.

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we made a few cinnamon swirl, a couple plain, a couple chocolate chip, and a couple cinnamon raisin 

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These were freaking fantastic (on their own OR with butter OR with butter and jam), not gonna lie. Comparable to, or even better than, all the other scones we’ve had here in Ireland!

We also made Irish flapjacks, which are not pancakes. They’re oat bars with golden syrup, brown sugar, and butter.

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“It’s like really unhealthy granola.” -Megan. AKA your dream that you try to suppress.

Shhh. Let it happen.

…I would tell you that moves and grooves have been happening as they may. Recently I’ve felt pretty tired and sore overall (probably lack of sleep for no good reason), but that just means that workouts are even more fun and appreciated when I feel up to them!

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…I would apologize for this being so long and for being bad about blogging recently. I am always so appreciative of the loving comments and support!

…I would also thank all those who shared their thoughts and feelings with me regarding my random vlog yesterday, “Why Am I Catholic?”

…I would ask you:

What are you eating for breakfast/brunch this morning?

Tell me two things about your life lately!

Have you ever tried dry needling or acupuncture?