Summer’s Coming

It’s been forever and a half since I thought out loud with the lovely Amanda!

Thinking-Out-Loud

what’s thinking out loud?

1) I am never not surprised that it’s almost May. What the heck!?

2) Last week was the “Easter Octave”, which means that the Church celebrated Easter for eight days straight, since the joy of the Resurrection cannot be contained within one single day. Let me tell you, I celebrated. With lots of alleluias and just as many desserts (I definitely had two desserts on several days).

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thanks for the cute cookie, Megan!

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Sometimes I went for a slightly more nutritious dessert, but nevertheless, I let loose with my sweet tooth.

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Amanda’s banana bread mug cake — one of my favorite things ever

3) The day after the Boston Marathon, I went on a beautiful run with my two beautiful friends, Kelsey and Sarah. You all know I’m not a huge fan of running, but my body didn’t want to do any sort of strength/HIIT or even yoga, so I asked Kels and Sarah if I could run with them after Mass on Tuesday evening.

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I would say that I was inspired by the Boston Marathon, but…

Kels: “Do you wanna run a half marathon with us?”

Me: “…ehhhhhhhhhhhh.”

For now, I’ll stick to spontaneous runs when I feel like it 🙂

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3) I didn’t sign up for a half marathon, but my friend Ben and I did sign up for a Spartan Sprint Race!!! We talked about it on Marathon Monday and decided it would be a fun thing to do this summer. I’ve always wanted to do an obstacle course race for fun, so the time has come!

Our training regimen is really coming together:

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Finbar is our priest’s dog

The Spartan Sprint Race is a 3-5 mile course with 20+ obstacles. Although I want to be relatively in shape for the race, I’m not really changing anything about how I work out right now. My mind and body are happy with my 4-ish workouts per week, varying based on how I feel that day.

But I’m SO EXCITED FOR THIS RACE! There’s also beer at the end I think, and I’ll be 21 by then 🙂

4) It’s strawberry season/the grocery store has strawberries on sale!

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5) Last weekend was filled with so much a cappella, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My talented friends Adrienne and Connor each had their last a cappella concerts of their college careers, and they were both phenomenal.

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Our whole Catholic Center fam came out to support like proud (and very loud) relatives. Adrienne and Connor, you guys are amazing!

6) I am officially in finals mode now (even though classes end next Wednesday). I am finished with regular exams and now just have one research paper for religion & medicine, a final for health policy, and a final for gross anatomy. Nighttime study sessions are all the rage these days.

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7) Should it be warmer than 60*F at this point in the spring? Boston will have one day per week when the temperature exceeds 70, but the rest of the days are still pretty chilly. I don’t even know what normal temperatures are anymore (going from Ireland ➔ Florida ➔ NY ➔ Boston in less than two months).

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There have been some gorgeous days, though, as you can see. I do like the mild weather too, so I guess I shouldn’t complain before the heat hits.

8) I feel like I haven’t been cooking as much in the apartment recently, but when I do, it always feels like I’m trying to use up as many leftovers/things in the pantry as possible. It’s never too shabby though!

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omelette with spinach, onions, lots of cheese, and ketchup

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salad with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, feta, and grilled chicken

9) Campus dining has had some pretty good hits too.

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Thai chicken salad + sandwich (roast beef, gouda, veggies, artichoke herb spread [omg so good!] on whole grain ciabatta) + apple

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breakfast-for-dinner at the dining hall: actually, this vegan breakfast burrito was just okay (breakfast burritos definitely need real eggs and bacon)

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Sarah got this delicious-looking Monte Cristo at breakfast-for-dinner night

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fantastic maple banana bread pudding a la mode (Easter Octave is over, but when do I ever not have dessert?)

10) This week was filled with a lot of goodness, but I also had rough patches. I realized that I always try to emerge from trials a little more perfect than before (which isn’t bad in and of itself — God calls us to be perfected in Him), but I end up discouraged and even surprised when I find myself in the same weak and confused state that [I thought] I had overcome before.

I needed to re-learn that, even when I feel confused, weak, or like a failure: a) it’s okay to feel that way, because I am a weak human being; b) I don’t have to try to fix myself before asking others/God for help to be better. I can’t fix myself once and for all. That would be trying to dodge this thing called life.

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Hope you all have a great Thursday!

So tell me:

Have you ever done an obstacle course race?

How’s the weather where you are? Rain all week for us :/

Which in-season produce are you excited for?

Two fun things you did this past week!

The Best Vacation Ever {Part 2}

Click here for part 1!

Wednesday, July 6th

Next port of call— St. Thomas!

Breakfast at Windjammer first, though.

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On land, we took a van tour around the island, checking out a view of Magen’s Bay, as well as the biggest gift shop on St. Thomas (which is not saying a whole lot, but it is big!). The driving on the island is…uh…thrilling.

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Some fresh coconut water/meat at the vantage point. It’s actually not as amazing as I thought it would be, but it was still as fresh as you can get. The guy who sold it to us climbs the coconut trees every morning himself!

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The gift shop has these “world famous” banana daiquiris (I got a virgin one, which was tastier than the rum one IMO).

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I actually tried this same banana daiquiri five years ago when my family went on a cruise after my brother’s high school graduation. #TBT, shall we?

banana daiquiri

2011

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2016

Oh look, they changed the sign to make “world famous” bigger. And Ben feat. the sweaty sling showed up this time!

Iguanas roamed the island. Think they’re the same ones we saw five years ago? This one looks kinda like old.

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Our driver took us downtown, where we ate some Caribbean food for lunch. Ben and I shared this fantastic curry chicken with plantains and steamed veggies on the side. The chicken was so tender!

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Also, on land, we always found a place with wifi. You should have seen us— at the table, all looking down at our phones. It was pretty sad and embarrassing in retrospect, but we had the whole rest of the week to talk with one another, phone-free (excuses, excuses, I know).

Then we walked over two hot and sweaty miles back to the cruise ship.

We did some more activities and relaxing before another three five-course meal. But salad and surprise celebratory cake don’t really count as courses, right? I kid; it was immense.

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The “kids”‘ favorite appetizer of the cruise: crab cakes! Christie: “I could just have ten of these for my meal.”

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salad with pears, walnuts, and blue cheese

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parsley-crusted cod with lobster sauce, veggie jasmine rice, and more veggies

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My uncle and aunt surprised my parents with an anniversary cake, so we all had a slice (it was such good cake!!)

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…and some of us had second dessert. This was a strawberry shortcake parfait of sorts.

No regrets, honestly.

If I’m not mistaken, we watched a sensational water acrobatics show called “OceanAria” that night. Crazy amazing diving, stunts, choreography, and concept.

(p.s. we also watched a marvelous ice skating show the previous night, but I forgot to include it in yesterday’s post!)

Afterwards, there was a big ol’ 70s party around the ship! Lots of hip thrusting by men dressed up as the Village People, singing, and of course, grooving 🙂 I had no 70s attire, but this denim jumpsuit was close enough.

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You guys should have seen Pop dancing to those 70s tunes. #PopMovesAndGrooves ← this will become a thing.

Our wonderful stateroom attendant folded some towel animals that made my heart happy. This anteater-crane-fish was my favorite.

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This is what I look like when I’m in my room by myself

Thursday, July 7th

St. Kitts! This was our favorite port of the three!

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had to do crow somewhere

We took another scenic taxi tour across the island. At one stop, we got to hold a monkey in a freaking diaper next to a donkey dressed in dreads and sunglasses. Everyday things by everyday people.

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Perhaps he was pooping at this instant, but I’ll never know

It was $2 for each person to take a picture with the monkey, but I think it was 100% worth it. He (she?) had really soft paws.

Next stop was Cockleshell Beach! Ugh, what a gorgeous place. Beach surrounded by mountains = the dream.

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God’s glory everywhere

If you check Instagram later, you can find some moves and grooves that Madre helped me film on the beach! (I didn’t actually do a full workout because people were staring AND I wanted to just chill.)

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Lunch at Windjammer back on the boat.

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I think a nap, rock climbing, and 16 minute workout eventually happened at the fitness center.

Dinner that night was excellent!

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seafood ceviche

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shared some of Ben’s spinach dip with chips and bread

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ricotta and spinach shell pasta (I almost never order straight up pasta dishes, but I’m so glad I did this night!)

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warm chocolate cake a la mode

GUYS. I’m not a huge fan of chocolate, but this warm chocolate cake was the most moist and heavenly chocolate cake of my life.

We watched the headliner show of the week, which was an incredibly talented a cappella group called VoicePlay (← check out their Youtube channel!). I loved them! I wanted to take a photo with them, because they’re superstars in their own right, AND they might be mega famous one of these days 😉

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Dancing, game shows, walking around and/or karaoke spectating probably happened later on.


Last part coming tomorrow!

So tell me:

Have you ever held a monkey or other exotic animal before?

What is the best chocolate cake you’ve ever eaten? What is the best show you’ve seen in the past year?

What did you eat for lunch yesterday?

Incredible Things

There are some incredible things as of late that are noteworthy:

It’s incredible that Thanksgiving is this week. That means finals are coming, which means the semester is almost over, which means I’m almost halfway done with sophomore year of college, which means my senior friends are almost done with college, which means I need to shut the freak up before I go insane.

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dining hall thanksgiving dinner {that cornbread stuffing}

It’s incredible how kind people can be, despite the fact that you’ve only met in person once (or not at all). My blogger friends near and far have been nothing but kind and loving to me and to other fellow bloggers, often for no particular reason. Sweet prayers and messages from Julia and Hayley. Kind words by Emily. Heavy care packages from a certain no-bake king. All of YOU who choose to read about what goes on in my brain. God bless you.

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The power of a 10 minute nap is incredible. I was in desperate need of a nap the morning/afternoon before my exam on Thursday. I could have studied straight through until 3:30 pm, but my friends forced me to take a nap. SO BENEFICIAL. My brain could actually function. Who ‘da thunk?

It’s incredible how talented humans are. Besides people like Michael Phelps, Mother Theresa, and Beyonce, there are some darn talented people around you! Including you. I was reminded of that at my friends’ a cappella concert on Friday night.

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It’s incredible how God shows so much love through people. It’s truly life-changing to have friends and family who seek to love as Christ loves.

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It’s incredible how much work I have to do over Thanksgiving. I’m just complaining for the sake of it, which is not model behavior, but… I have two exams and two essays due next week. It’s always a good time to be thankful for a great education, but this is REALLY a good time for that, eh?

It’s incredible that it’s still pretty warm outside in late November. Not that I’m complaining!

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It’s incredible that Justin Bieber made it onto my Spotify playlist. It’s his song “Sorry“. I’m sorry I like it. UGH.

The power of patience and prayer is incredible. Because guess what this girl got this weekend!!! Let’s just say I might not need another gynecology appointment. More on this later.

Find something to smile about at every hour of the day. When in doubt, nap it out.

So tell me:

Something incredible in your life right now.

Thanksgiving plans for my fellow Americans? I’m going back to New York to see the much-missed fam and COOK!

Fall Fever

Nothing like a little fall fever, am I right?

I’m not talking about #pumpkinspicelife fall fever. I’m talking about a legit fever— the illness. This weekend I think I came down with just that, so I took it pretty easy, drank lots of water, and popped cough drops as if I actually needed them.

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hot soup hit the spot

Thankfully, my roommates knew exactly how to take care of me. Jordan gave me some Theraflu (her “drug of choice”), and Rachel made sure that I resisted consuming copious amounts of dairy, despite me wanting ice cream for dessert last night. She also dealt with my melodrama well.

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Besides some strange heart palpitations and achiness, this weekend involved a bunch of great events and even better people.

After lots of human physiology studying, Friday festivities were very much welcomed.

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A bunch of my friends and I attended an a cappella concert featuring a few of our talented friends. I seriously almost cry whenever I hear how beautiful their voices are. Like, how are people so amazing?

just one of the many groups we watched *heart eyes emoji*

Random fact: they gave out free chocolate-covered bacon to a few lucky winners. My friends were among them.

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My voice was giving out on Saturday, which was perfect for a day of touring and Catholic Center Phone-a-thon-ing.

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I left a lot of messages with a voice that sounded like a dying frog, but maybe that will induce pity and bigger donations. Or not.

Many meals and much fellowship took place as well.

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I figured that I should eat a lot of toast while I was sick, but I think I should eat buttered toast more often. I forgot how simple and delicious that stuff is.

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bonus points for cinnamon raisin toast

These past couple of weeks have been filled with midterms for all of us at BU, so we’re just trucking along. Nothing to truly complain about though. God is good!

Also, thank you all for your support and kind words on last week’s post. My relationship with exercise has been a rocky one for the past three years, so although it’s liberating to be free from obsession with exercise, it certainly took work and patience with myself to get to this point. And it’s still not perfect!

If you’re struggling with an unhealthy relationship with exercise, I can honestly say that my best piece of advice is to try decreasing the amount of exercise OR try some less intense but really enjoyable forms of exercise (hiking, walking, yoga, leisurely bike rides) for a month or so.

the gym is unappealing when there’s fresh, crisp fall air #BUmovesandgrooves

A video posted by Alison (@alison_grooves) on Oct 23, 2015 at 2:51pm PDT

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Even if you’re not necessarily trying to gain back physical health (like I still am right now), I discovered that these things aid in mental health more than anything. It might help you take a step back from exercise and refocus on other fulfilling things in life. I know it did for me!

As always, I must say that I am not a medical professional, so please take everything with a grain of salt and advice from your own doctors. 🙂

Hope you all have a great week ahead! Take your vitamins and get sleep.

So tell me:

Have you gotten sick recently with the change in weather? 

Are you a fan of a cappella?

Do you like buttered toast?

What did you do this weekend?

Weekend Confessions IV

Happy Marathon Monday!

I am stoked to be a part of the Boston community for Marathon Monday this year. Y’all know that I’m no runner, but the energy and camaraderie that is emanating from this city is exhilarating!

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Boston Forever by Judith Chasin {via}

Also, it’s awesome knowing that so many of YOU love running, and you might know some people running in the marathon. I know that Tina @ Carrots ‘n’ Cake and Morganne @ Nut Butter Runner are running in it! Maybe I can stalk them and track them down to say hello (in the most non-creepy way possible)!

I’ll be sure to fill you in on the excitement after today. Praying for all the workers, volunteers, spectators, and runners!

And now, I have some lighthearted confessions about my week that you can either relate to or use to feel better about yourself. 🙂

I finished a jar of peanut butter by myself in one week.

Here we see the very last of my (delicious) Teddie peanut butter that I bought just two Fridays ago. On Saturday morning, I made some quick oats with cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, banana, and a pinch of salt, and then I just dumped it in the almost empty jar!

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My buddy PJ told me, “I’m not even mad, I’m just impressed.”

I was the “mom” secretly taking pictures of my two friends getting Confirmed.

Congratulations to my dear friends Cherie and Janice, who both received Confirmation this weekend! We celebrated with them at Mass and then later at Cherie’s place for fellowship and food. Speaking of food…

I went back for seconds of Cookie Butter ice cream, because COOKIE BUTTER ICE CREAM.

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Swing dancing = weekend “turn up” in our books.

Sweaty ol’ stranger men and all.

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I’m about a head-and-a-half shorter than all the girls pictured above.

What’s life like up there above 5’3″?

I missed an online homework assignment for organic chem.

Gahhhhh. It’s one of those grades that doesn’t make a huge difference, but it’s especially disappointing to lose points for it because of my carelessness. Thankfully, after emailing the professor, he kindly allowed me to complete the assignment late at no penalty.

Moral of the story: work hard at all times, make sure the professor knows you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Life happens!

My meals and eating times have been very weird lately.

I’ve been having double lunches and snacky/weirdly-timed dinners.

On Friday, I ate a late lunch at 2pm after class. Then I snacked on a lot of veggies, crackers, and hummus during work. Then I ate dinner at almost 10 pm at Clay Pot Cafe with my mom, bro, and family friends.

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normal lunch

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super late dinner

On Saturday, after my friends’ Confirmation and anatomy review, my blood sugar was low to the flo’, so I needed to eat lunch in the dining hall before going to Cherie’s place to eat more Indian food and desserts. Then dinner was chips at swing dancing and frozen banana with peanut butter in my dorm at midnight.

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lunch before Cherie’s

Finally, yesterday, I ate fruit and peanut butter for breakfast in my dorm, a normal brunch at 12:30pm, a super early snack-turned-dinner at 4pm, and then a light second dinner at 9:30pm.

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snack-turned-dinner

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second dinner + a biscuit and some curly fries

I have no idea. This is college, so nothing is normal.

I dream that I can be in an a cappella group, but then I sing to myself in my dorm and come back to reality.

I’ll leave the singing glory to my friend Adrienne and her other awesome a cappella group members. They blow me away every single time!

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This cover of “All I Ask of You” by Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson has been on repeat.

It’s a beautiful thing amidst my pop/rap/alternative regulars.

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Please tell me you can empathize with me on some of these?

I hope you all have a great day and week ahead! Just as I will be cheering on the marathoners, I am cheering YOU on in your endeavors this week!

So tell me:

Something new you tried in the past week!

Is your eating schedule ever outta whack?

Do you know anyone running in the Boston Marathon/anyone who has run in it in the past?