What Moves You?

I GOT 14 HOURS OF SLEEP ON SUNDAY NIGHT.

I conked out a little before 7pm and woke up at almost 9am. I needed it though. This past week, I’ve gotten anywhere from 3-6 hours of sleep per night, but I am happy to report that this was mostly because of long, wonderful days.

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egg sandwich that I packed with me for my flight from Florida to Texas — very happy I brought this

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also very happy my flight provided Biscoff cookies 🙂

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Remember the Alamo!

As I said on Friday, I was in San Antonio, Texas for a Catholic conference called SEEK. The theme of the conference is, “What Moves You?”

So with almost 13,000 (!!!) other students (plus a whole lot of religious sisters and brothers, priests, missionaries, and others), we ventured on a four-day journey to reflect on this question.

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can you find Boston University?

Even though I felt like I was moving through a can of sardines the whole week, it was absolutely incredible to grow closer to Jesus Christ with so many other young people.

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Our days consisted of breakfast provided by our own BU missionaries (thanks so much1 ♥︎)…

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they even had pb because they’re the most considerate of souls

…followed by Adoration and Mass with over 13,000 people…

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…then a little Battle of the Sexes game show fun before our separate men’s and women’s talks. Fun fact: I was the contestant on Battle of the Sexes on the third day.

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thanks, Jaime 🙂

A little background: The men won the Battle of the Sexes the past two SEEK conferences. The score by the third day when I went up there was 4-3, women in the lead. But the men had one more lifeline, while the women had used both of them by third day (we had two total for the week — ask the audience and ask a religious). So the pressure of regaining the title for 7,000+ women was on my shoulders. Good thing I had a very strong sense of, “Trust in God; this isn’t about you,” in my heart by the third day.

Rachel filmed this for me:

Funny how I didn’t know the second question, which had to do with women’s rights… Rachel said the night before, “They chose the worst possible person for this.” A little bitter about that comment, but she’s not entirely wrong.

It ended in a tie (he got two right, I got one right), so later that night there was a tiebreaker that THE WOMEN WON. I’m convinced that Our Lady of Victory was interceding for us 😉

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[source]

Anyway, after the Battle of the Sexes and the respective men’s and women’s talks, we all broke for lunch, which was provided every day.

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always some variation of sandwich, chips, cookie, and water

After lunch, we had two 40-minute breakout sessions. There were so many talks to choose from each time. Throughout the week, we were blessed to hear a plethora of phenomenal speakers provide inspiration, insight, information, apologetics, and testimonies about different topics in the Catholic faith.

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The second talk ended at 4:45pm, and then we were on our own for dinner. We usually went for some Tex-Mex food, because…we were in Texas.

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tacos and tamales are my faves

Although, one night my Californian friend, Sarah, took us to In-N-Out — apparently an essential experience for all of us who had never been.

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“They all just look so happy there.”

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regular cheeseburger, no onions + vanilla shake

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thanks for the photo, Domenica!

‘Twas delicious!! Even if I was stuffing it into my face in our Uber as we rushed back to the conference that night.

At night, we would have a keynote at 7pm, followed by different programming each night. One night there was adoration with all 13,000 people (chillingly powerful). Another night there was a comedy show by Michael Jr. Another night there was a performance by The Oh Hellos (if you like folk rock, you HAVE to check them out!). Another night, my friends and I ditched the programming and bought ourselves ice cream from CVS.

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ice cream and fellowship  ♥︎ 

Also, San Antonio is a pretty sweet city. Everyone is so kind; it kinda throws off us northeasterners a bit.

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our mascot living his best life in San Antonio

So now to answer the question, “What moves you?”

After this SEEK conference, here’s what I’ve learned moves me:

  1. The unchanging nature of things, especially the unchanging nature of being a woman in a world where the model of femininity is constantly changing (see Lisa Cotter’s talk for more on this!).
  2. The Law of God, which is based on love.
  3. God’s Mercy and the mercy of others in my life.
  4. The fact that, although there are logical reasons to believe God exists, “for most of us, God is not a hypothesis; He is a personal experience.” – Matt Fradd
  5. “We are not the sum of our failures and weaknesses. We are the sum of the Father’s love for us and our real capacity to become the image of His Son.” – St. John Paul II
  6. “God is not just the destination; He is the inspiration.” – John O’Leary
  7. The fervent prayer and worship of so many young people, as well as their support, kindness, and drive to use their talents for the sake of the Kingdom.
  8. The sight of lively and radiant nuns, brothers, friars, priests, and religious.
  9. God not just being a big part of my life but God being my life.
  10. The fact that a guilty conscience is helpful, but shame is not from God.
  11. The gift of writing, which is so helpful for focusing during prayer.
  12. The fact that what breaks my heart breaks God’s heart.
  13. The honest and vulnerable testimonies of men and women from every (and I mean every) walk of life.
  14. “If God is going to spend so much time designing the unique circular patterns on your fingertips, how much more will He care about the love that is in your heart?” -Sr. Bethany Madonna
  15. “You will become what you love.” – Leah Darrow
  16. Just as we can’t exercise and then go feed ourselves with whatever crap foods we want, we can’t just go to church/pray and then feed ourselves with media and activities that point us away from God. It’s a lifestyle.
  17. Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist.13782242_1136742099682279_7064718394112318411_n
  18. These people:

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the Boston University crew! thanks for the pic, Veronica!

So tell me:

What moves YOU?

A fun fact or two about last week!

Have you ever been to In-N-Out before? 

I Don’t Know How to Exist in a Pub, But I Do Know How to Pour a Guinness

This is the most beer that has ever surrounded me in my life.

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You can tell I’m cut out for the Irish lifestyle.

This past week was fun! Since my long day of work last Monday, work has involved massaging a couple butts (honestly though, I’m loving the massage experience) and Christmas dinner at a teppanyaki place! It was a lot of fun going out with the staff members after hours. They even made me take home the bottle of white wine, which is currently sitting on my desk, since we’re not allowed to keep alcohol in the dorm kitchens. *shrugs*

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my tiny eyebrows are still on my face

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‘Twas a super savory selection of meats and fried rice. It was just a lot of oil and soy sauce, but I still appreciated the Asian flavors. I hadn’t eaten Asian food since New York!

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The music was very international as well. They played “La Bamba” and “Brown Eyed Girl”, which were random but also two of my favorites, so I can’t complain!

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On Friday night, a few of my friends here invited me to join them for the Etihad Skyline tour at Croke Park, which was a tour of the Dublin skyline at dusk from the top of the biggest stadium in Ireland. It was such a unique experience!

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The tour guide took us to the top of the stadium, which has a walkway all along its border, and then she pointed out all the landmarks around Dublin from there as the sun was setting.

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We lucked out with relatively warm weather and no wind!

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She gave us harnesses for one point on the tour when we were standing on a slightly precarious balcony that looked straight down to the stadium.

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As long as you’re a competent walker, you don’t need the harness, but it adds an element of danger and fun 17 stories up, ya know?

The tour ended with a complimentary tea/coffee/hot chocolate, and we of course all chose the hot chocolate.

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I hadn’t had hot chocolate in forever, and this Cadbury one was the bomb. The marshmallows were the best part.

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Highly recommend the Etihad Skyline tour for something different in Dublin! We loved the view, the experience, our tour guide, and the hot chocolate 🙂

Saturday was pretty productive (WHOA!). I studied a bit, worked out, did some homework, did laundry, FaceTimed Madre, and went grocery shopping. In the evening, Megan and I did a mini mobile soup kitchen inspired by our friends back in Boston, who give out sandwiches, socks, blankets, and other goods to people who are homeless every. single. week. They are so full of love; we had to bring the love to Dublin too, even if on a smaller scale!

Then we headed to Mass at our favorite church and dinner. We had a pub called P.Mac’s in mind, but when we arrived, our plans slowly changed.

We got to P.Mac’s at around 7, and they were serving food until 7:45. Not a problem, except the atmosphere was definitely more bar than restaurant at that point. No one was eating food, and when we tried to find a table, people gave us weird looks. I asked a waitress if we could eat…then how we should go about eating…and where we should get a table. Basically, HELP US DO PUBS.

After probably only two minutes of walking around cluelessly, we decided that we weren’t cool enough for P.Mac’s after dark and left for a different restaurant. *sad trombone*

It’s okay though, we found American BBQ.

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Pitt Bro’s BBQ was bustling (and had good reviews on Yelp, to be honest), so we waited for a table and dug into some satisfying pulled pork!

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Megan got the pulled pork bun meal with mac and cheese, and I got the pulled pork meat meal with salad and mac and cheese.

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The pulled pork was awesome, but the sides were just meh. The mac and cheese wasn’t cheesy enough, but nothing some pulled pork can’t fix up.

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What a hero.

We ate prettttty quickly because we were hungry hippos by the time our food arrived, but we had room for the complimentary, swirl-your-own vanilla soft serve!!

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CLASSIC. It was so good. What a way to increase my itch for America.

We actually went back to church after dinner, because they had a prayer service with Adoration, confessions, and music going on. Better yet, it was hosted by young people our age! There have not been many people under the age of 60 at Mass in Ireland. It was a beautiful and unexpected night.

On Sunday, we brunched per usual 🙂

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My friend Cassandra invited a few of us to White Moose Cafe, which was so cute and HILARIOUS. They had a “breastfeeding corking fee” (because they allow breastfeeding there, and they are known for their satire).

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My food was delicious too! I had their spinoff of huevos rancheros, which was two baked eggs in a spicy sauce with chorizo, peppers, and kidney beans, served with homemade tortilla crisps.

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Megan and I also split an order of silver dollar pancakes with berry compote and mascarpone cream. They were denser pancakes, but I enjoyed them.

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Afterwards, Cassandra and I headed to the famous Guinness Storehouse! I don’t even like Guinness, but it’s an Ireland staple, so why not?

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The museum itself was amazing. It’s self-guided, but the layout is seamless as you ascend the museum’s seven stories.

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peep the bottom right quote: “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle” -graffiti

I didn’t see what that had to do with anything, but Guinness has a giant fish riding a bike.

Of course, the tour includes Guinness itself. We first learned HOW to taste Guinness. I had been doing it wrong (the two times I ever sipped Guinness).

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At the end, we learned how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness and left as certified pourers. BOOM. Someone sign me up to be a bartender.

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#unimpressed

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Lastly, we drank our perfectly-poured pints up at the Gravity Bar, which overlooks all of Dublin.

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Like I said, I don’t love Guinness, but this Guinness was a lot better than the previous ones I’ve tasted. Something to do with the freshness (and my pouring skills), I’m sure! I could still only drink 1/4 of my pint. It’s a lot.

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I’m glad I went though, because if there’s anything I learned in Ireland, it’s how to pour a Guinness. And that hops are plants.

Have a wonderful week, everyone! I have a more serious post coming for you on Wednesday… ooooooooooo.

So tell me:

Do you like Guinness? What is your favorite beer?

The best thing you ate this weekend!

Have you ever stepped into a place that felt too cool for you? 

Beautiful Weather, Beautiful People

Well HOWDY.

I’ve missed you all as much as I’ve missed overnight oats!! That’s a whole heck of a lot of missing, guys. You’re special.

I know I posted weekly workouts on Sunday, but I actually want to talk to you about life and what’s been happening these past five days! I mentioned last week that I would be going on a weekend retreat with the Catholic center, and retreat we did.

The site was a summer camp in New Hampshire, and I’ve never felt so rugged and one with nature in my life. Can you tell I’m a city girl? (<— never thought I’d say that, but it’s true I guess.) My Girl Scout roommate was laughing at me when I told her about my experiences. She said I missed out on childhood.

Daddy long legs everywhere, sleeping in the freezing cold cabins, only using hand sanitizer to wash our hands, and SPIDERS IN THE SHOWER.

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What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

On the positive side, the stars in the night sky made me giddy with joy because we don’t see those where I live in New York. I was seriously giggling like a child and I could have looked at the sky all night. This view wasn’t too shabby either.

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The weather was utterly perfect during the day throughout the weekend.

We were also fed mighty well thanks to Catholic center staff member, Fran, and her husband Doug! Can we take a moment to appreciate the provision of banana pancakes and peanut butter? Amen.

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Aside from living camp life and eating delicious food, the actual core of the retreat was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. We prayed by ourselves, with each other, for each other, and for our loved ones. We adored, praised, and worshipped Christ our Lord. We reflected in the beauty of nature, and we reconciled ourselves to God.

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Hi, PJ!

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve cried as much in one day as I did on Saturday. Listening to my friends speak about their journeys of faith and just being in the presence of amazing people who love God so passionately melted my heart and made me pour out waterfalls of tears.

I think I saved at least two bathroom trips thanks to all the tears that came out of me.

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As wonderful as it was to get away from “reality”, it was still a tiring experience. I was (literally) sick and exhausted coming back from the retreat. So worth it though.

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Creds to the cool kid, Liz

Thank you a million times over to all the people who worked behind the scenes to make the retreat such an incredible experience! I can’t wait for the spring retreat 🙂

Back on campus…

Monday night involved a swanky-ish Rose Banquet for all the freshmen in the College of Health and Rehab Sciences (Sargent College) of Boston University. The food was fantastic and the company was even better. <— I am grateful to say that that seems to be the theme lately!

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And yes, I did eat that whole chocolate cake, and it was pretty divine. I guess I can no longer say that I don’t like chocolate.

Lastly, some miscellaneous notes on life:

  • I wore rain boots for the first time in my life yesterday.
  • I like having dance parties with my roomie.
  • I really need to do my nails.
  • I am an apple and banana hoarder in my dorm. Welcome, fruit flies! Sorry, roomie.
  • I despise statistics.
  • Do any of you have questions to ask me about ANYTHING? College, food, fitness, faith, fashion, anything else that starts with and “f”?
    • I’m thinking about doing a Q&A if anyone is interested, so comment or shoot me an email if you have any inquiries!

I hope you are all having a great week so far. We’re halfway to the weekend, y’all!

So tell me:

Do you have any questions for me? 

Do you like camp life?

Three fun things you’ve done recently!